Uncertainty monster visits MIT: Part II

by Judith Curry

I’m in San Diego, with a few moments to catch up on the blog and share my impressions of my visit to MIT.

Here are some random musings from my visit, which I enjoyed very much.  I’ll focus on topics that I think the Denizens might find interesting.

Lunch with students

I had lunch with about 10 graduate students, which was very enjoyable.  Two of the students frequented the climate blogs, primarily Real Climate and other blogs on their blog list (one of the students reads my blog).  The students that the read the blogs were much more conversant with broad range of issues surrounding climate science than those that didn’t read the blogs.

The students were interested in my interactions with the private sector, and my general impressions of opportunities and pros/cons associated with jobs in academia, private sector and government labs.

Meetings with faculty members

I had the opportunity for one-on-one meetings with six faculty members, each of which was very interesting in a different way.

Two of the younger faculty members frequently read the blogs, they were under the impression that the students were getting a lot of information from them (although this was not particularly the case of the students with whom I had lunch).  Both tried to peruse a range of climate blogs (and frequently read Climate Etc).  In terms of skeptical blogs, one faculty member mentioned that the main skeptical blog they visited was the Heartland Inst blog; was unaware of Climate Audit, Blackboard, WUWT, Bishop Hill, etc.

I did encounter an interesting item of academic gossip – Susan Solomon will be joining the MIT faculty in January.

Another interesting note.  Last week, Susan Solomon gave EAPS’ other named lecture, the Houghton Lecture. Next week, for the regular seminar series, the speaker will be Mike Mann (who was invited by the students).

Seminar

The final version of my presentation is posted uncertainty monster mit final

I would like thank all of you who provided constructive suggestions for my .ppt slides.  There were about 100 people in the audience, and it was pouring rain which may have kept a few people away.

Overall, I was pleased with the seminar.  Some minor technical difficulties with the computer jumping to the next slide everytime the computer was touched in any way.  The seminar was about 10 minutes longer than I planned for.  But I think it went well.

There was time for about a half dozen questions.  The one technical question about the science was related to optimal fingerprinting methods, which I didn’t have time to delve into any detail, that would be a good topic for a future post.  Several other questions were related to decision making under uncertainty.  One person asked what could be done about the IPCC, since it seemed to be rather broken.  My response was that I didn’t seen any signs of change, and that the only hope might be to put the IPCC under the auspices solely of the WMO.

One faculty member came up to me after the talk, and thanked me profusely for having the courage to say what I did, and said he agreed with everything I said, and hoped that our field could change its direction from the unfortunate path that we were on.

Note, Richard Lindzen was not on campus, apparently it was a religious holiday for him.

Reception

The most interesting discussions were at the reception following the talk.  People were glad that I “stirred the pot” and got people thinking.

One faculty member thought I wimped out a bit on my answer regarding the IPCC, and thought that the IPCC should just be disbanded. This started a discussion on the IPCC.  Ron Prinn related a very interesting story.  Ron was a lead author on AR4 Chapter 2.  He is a big fan of the Morgan et al. (2006) expert elicitation study on aerosol radiative forcing (mentioned on slide 30 of my talk), and in fact recommended to Morgan that he conduct this study.  Prinn tried to get the Ch 2 group to include this paper in their chapter but they refused to.  The argument was that they decided on their consensus approach, and didn’t want to confuse things with a different methodology (that happened to include a result whereby aerosol indirect effects in the 20th century might be -2.1 W m-2 or more, which is a value that is larger than the direct CO2 forcing in the 20th century (1.7 Wm-2). He was unable to get this study even included in the references, although he was a lead author.

My overall impression was that the audience was more than ready to hear my arguments about uncertainty. I received a strong impression that the really good scientists at MIT want to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in (largely owing to the IPCC) and get climate science back on track.  Concerns were raised about the adverse effects of the politicization of climate science were having on recruiting students into this field.

So I think my message was well received, by an audience that does not have the reputation of being overly polite or shy about disagreeing.

276 responses to “Uncertainty monster visits MIT: Part II

  1. Sounds like it went very well.

  2. Judy – I’m glad to hear your presentation went well. It’s interesting that more of the questions asked were non-technical than technical, and that there was sentiment in your audience to disband the IPCC. It’s clear that the subject invokes some strong opinions, although I’d like to think that a preference for reform would be more prevalent than a sentiment to disband.

    It’s sad that politicization is adversely affecting student recruitment. Did you get a sense of what specifically is discouraging students from entering the field?

    If indirect aerosol forcing for the twentieth century was -2.1 m-2, what would that tell us about climate sensitivity?

    • Fred, that would be a good topic. Since the 1910 to 1940 period is considered to have very low aerosol forcing and forcing is tweaked to get better matches with observations, I would suspect that it would indicated a lower sensitivity. Also, since the study was not included in AR4, I doubt that it enhanced the accuracy of the projections.

      • Dallas – All other things equal, I believe it would signify a very high climate sensitivity – almost impossibly high. That’s because the 0.84 C temperature rise of the past century would be matched against a net positive forcing that would be much smaller than previously thought. In fact, based on the IPCC estimates, the warming would be associated with a net forcing of only about 0.2 to 0.3 W m-2. That would put ECS well over 4.5 C/CO2 doubling, which is considered to be a realistic upper bound.

        I’m sure the sensitivity isn’t that high, and that many other variables affect the estimates. However, much skepticism about climate sensitivity values involves the claim that negative aerosol forcing has been inflated to make the sensitivity come out high. The figure of -2.1 W m-2 implies that the IPCC actually underestimated the negative forcing.

      • We discussed part of the 1910-1940 a long time ago. The TSI studies used would tend to overestimate solar forcing by about 0.1 degrees for that period, and Gavin said that aerosol forcing was particularly low, possibly due to the depression, but mainly due to low volcanic activity. We will see., but I can’t see a sensitivity over 4 C and 1910-1940 was pre-significant CO2.

      • Dallas – I agree with you that an ECS much over 4 C is unlikely (whether it’s 4 or 4.5 is probably not very important). My point was that the more negative the value for aerosol forcing, the higher the ECS – again all other things being equal.

        Regarding 1910-1940, the forcing from anthropogenic ghgs can’t explain the entire warming, but shouldn’t be underestimated.

      • I agree with you that an ECS much over 4 C is unlikely (whether it’s 4 or 4.5 is probably not very important)

        Climate science is twice as detached from reality as physics. It has equilibrium climate sensitivity, and no-feedback climate sensitivity. Physics only has string theory.

        The relevance of ECS and NFCS to anything to do with reality is as fictional as a tale of two cities. One can theorize about them until the cows come home, but theories about unobservables are simply an alternative to spending the afternoon on the Sunday Times crossword. The numbers produced from the comfort of an armchair, with the help of a computer, are meaningful only in the eye of the beholder.

        Transient climate response is only slightly better. It assumes that CO2 has a constant CAGR of 1%. Since surface temperature depends logarithmically on CO2, the constant CAGR would imply that surface temperature attributable to CO2 is increasing linearly. It then follows that the anthropogenic contribution to global warming is a straight line. As Girma and Arfur Bryant keep pointing out, this line is around 0.06 °C/decade since 1880 (and .045 °C since 1850 according to Excel). Hence if we use transient climate response based on 1880-now we can forecast a rise of 0.6 °C over the next hundred years, or 0.45 °C based on 1850-now.

        The transient climate response concept therefore supports the climate skeptic position that the temperature isn’t going to rise dramatically. The law of unintended consequences strikes again.

        Fortunately it is extremely easy to shoot down transient climate response. As a model of global warming since 1850, the associated r^2 is an unconvincing 0.63. One can model modern climate way better than this.

        The problem I see here is that we still don’t have an adequate notion of climate sensitivity. If we did we’d be in a better position to argue that we’re in for a rise of 2-4 °C between now and 2100, which is what the last 160 years of data is telling me. (And no, I don’t know how to narrow that range, I only know it’s a lot more than 0.6 °C.)

        If you’re at the American Geophysical Union meeting in SF on Dec. 8, I’ll be presenting my recommendations on how to get these numbers right and use them for useful projections in session GC438B starting 1:40 pm.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        In actual fact the CAGR of atmospheric CO2 has been around 0.43% per year since 1960 and most recently, as well (rather than % per year). If we assume a continuation of this CAGR we will arrive at around 580 ppmv by 2100 (close to the IPCC “scenario and storyline” B1).

        Using a model-derived CS of 3.2C, IPCC arrives at 1.8C theoretical warming by 2100 for this case.

        If we use the actually observed TCS from 1850 to 2010 (and the IPCC model assumptions on natural forcing plus other anthropogenic forcing beside CO2) we would arrive at around 0.8C warming by 2100.

        But, as others have remarked before me, if the CO2/temperature relationship is logarithmic and CO2 levels continue to rise at a constant exponential rate, the warming impact should be linear. This would point to warming of around 0.7C between today and 2100.

        Max

      • manacker, the rate of CO2 increase has doubled since the 60’s from about 1 ppm per year to 2 ppm per year. I don’t know why you assume it will now remain constant. Continued growth of this rate leads to 1000 ppm by 2100, but it may not continue throughout the century, depending mostly, as it does, on the growth of the world economy.

      • Jim D

        You wrote:

        manacker, the rate of CO2 increase has doubled since the 60′s from about 1 ppm per year to 2 ppm per year. I don’t know why you assume it will now remain constant. Continued growth of this rate leads to 1000 ppm by 2100, but it may not continue throughout the century, depending mostly, as it does, on the growth of the world economy.

        Better check your arithmetic, Jim.

        I have NOT assumed constant linear increase in CO2 concentration, but a continuation of the exponential rate (i.e. compounded annual growth rate). This has been around 0.43% per year since the 1960s and has remained at this rate over the most recent period.

        At this exponential growth rate, atmospheric CO2 should reach a level of around 580 ppmv by year 2100 (IPCC “scenario and storyline” B1).

        Population growth rate is anticipated to decrease sharply over the 21st century (from the high CAGR of 1.7% per year we saw from 1960 to to 2000 to around 0.45% per year (growing from today’s ~7 trillion to ~10.5 trillion by 2100).

        So it is reasonable to assume that the exponential rate of CO2 growth will not INCREASE over the 21st century, but most likely DECREASE.

        At any rate, I have not assumed it would do either.

        BTW, to arrive at 850 ppmv (IPCC “scenario and storyline” A1B), the exponential rate would have to double to a CAGR of 0.86% per year.

        And to reach your level of 1,000 ppmv, we would have to burn up all the “inferred possible fossil fuel resources” of our planet, as recently estimated by the World Energy Council.

        These are “pipe dream” figures, Jim.

        Come back down to Planet Earth.

        Maz

      • Vaughan Pratt

        What does the following 160-year global mean temperature data shows?

        http://bit.ly/qGcD9M

      • manacker, 580 ppm by 2100 is an average of not much above 2 ppm for the 90 remaining years. That is today’s rate, not a growing rate.

      • Transient climate response is only slightly better. It assumes that CO2 has a constant CAGR of 1%.

        Vaughan – There is no need to assume that. The recent thread on probabilistic estimates of transient climate sensitivity addresses this point, and references two papers providing evidence that TCR/TCS can give us a good picture of how the climate will evolve in response to a range of future CO2 scenarios as long as they don’t differ radically from those of the past century. The papers also indicate that TCR/TCS derived from simple energy balance models yields temperature trajectories not very different from what would be expected from equilibrium climate sensitivity estimates, where temperature was still fairly early in its course toward equilibrium. The uncertainties exist, but are probably less limiting than you perceive.

      • Vaughan Pratt wrote: but theories about unobservables are simply an alternative to spending the afternoon on the Sunday Times crossword.

        Atoms, electrons, neutrons, positrons, protons, quarks etc were the objects of much fruitful theorizing before they became observable. In fact, in some cases it was the accuracy of the fruitful theorizing that made them observable. If the climate sensitivity is constant, it will become observable if thermometers are maintained well enough for long enough.

      • “Physics only has string theory.”
        Is there any way to experimentally test and invalidate string theory?

        Is there any way to experimentally “test” the IPCC’s “90%” confidence that most “climate change” is due to anthropogenic causes?

        While IPCC estimates of 2.5 to 4 C climate sensitivity, any “skeptic” estimates of climate sensitivity below 1.5 C down to 0.5 C appear to be effectively excluded from IPCC reports.

      • Atoms, electrons, neutrons, positrons, protons, quarks etc were the objects of much fruitful theorizing before they became observable

        Well, it’s true I’m being unkind to string theory, perhaps strings will become observable at some future time.

        I’m less confident that either no-feedback climate sensitivity or equilibrium climate sensitivity will ever become observable. But if I’m wrong it won’t be a first. ;)

      • In actual fact the CAGR of atmospheric CO2 has been around 0.43% per year since 1960 and most recently, as well (rather than % per year). If we assume a continuation of this CAGR we will arrive at around 580 ppmv by 2100 (close to the IPCC “scenario and storyline” B1).

        You claimed this a few weeks ago, I forget which thread, and I pointed out to you then that at the start of the Keeling curve, CO2 was rising at a CAGR of 0.21%, whereas now it is rising at a CAGR of 0.58%. That’s a nontrivial difference.

        You’ve picked a number in between these two, 0.43%, and used it to argue that the CAGR is constant.

        Suppose we see a car speeding up from 21 mph, and a minute later reaching 58 mph. Can you show that the car was actually going 43 mph the whole minute, and that it will remain at 43 mph throughout the next minute?

        Unless you can show that, I don’t see how you can show that CO2 has been increasing with a constant CAGR of 0.43% since 1960, and will continue to increase at 0.43% for the next half century.

        As I said at the time, there is no mechanism by which atmospheric CO2 can grow exponentially. There is however a mechanism by which anthropogenic CO2 can grow exponentially. This is the CO2 level less 280 ppmv. Anthropogenic CO2 does have a constant CAGR, and it is a genuinely constant 2.2%, starting at that value in 1958, still having that value today, and likely to have it in 20 years time.

        Assuming that a highly variable value is actually constant is a great step forward for logic, as it allows one to prove much that could not be proved before.

        However I do agree with your point to Jim D that if CO2 continues to accumulate at its present rate we will run out of fossil fuel by 2100. The current 2.2% CAGR is simply not sustainable. It’s a valid point.

      • There is no need to assume that. The recent thread on probabilistic estimates of transient climate sensitivity addresses this point, and references two papers providing evidence that TCR/TCS can give us a good picture of how the climate will evolve in response to a range of future CO2 scenarios as long as they don’t differ radically from those of the past century.

        I was referring to the concept defined in AR4. Those who redefine “elephant” to mean “dog” will need to show some patience with those who continue to believe elephants have trunks.

      • Vaughan

        How accounted for changes in natural CO2 emissions and absorption rates as they vary over time in response to conditions.

      • How [have you?] accounted for changes in natural CO2 emissions and absorption rates as they vary over time in response to conditions.

        Excellent question. I’ve been modeling them as depending linearly on both the natural and anthropogenic forcings in order for the linear algebra to take them into account automatically. This assumption doesn’t seem to have unduly stressed the model so far, but we might see significant nonlinearities creep in over the next few decades if the temperature continues to rise. The same could be said of other phenomena, and detecting and sorting out relevant nonlinearities could be tricky. Meanwhile they don’t seem to seriously compromise naive modeling of the kind I’m doing (naive in the sense that I stay away from general circulation models).

      • @Girma What does the following 160-year global mean temperature data shows? http://bit.ly/qGcD9M

        Ah, very nice graph. Three things immediately come to mind.

        1. Very little warming is happening. But you are shortchanging yourself here because you could make that point even more effectively with more appropriately chosen offsets.

        2. Your trendline shows continued warming, so apparently we have not yet arrived at the promised cooling period. This is consistent with my understanding, glad to know we agree on some things.

        3. You’re getting a correlation coefficient R = 0.8 (R^2 = 0.63) with that fit. This is a result of using Woodfortrees, which limits you to straight line models. If you were modeling the trajectory of an arrow fired into the air, would you fit a straight line? No, of course not, you wouldn’t get a good fit and you’d predict the arrow would rise forever which of course it wouldn’t.

        Instead you’d fit a parabola, that is, a second-degree polynomial, in order to get a more meaningful result.

        If you have access to a spreadsheet program like Excel or Open Office CALC, you can go beyond WoodForTrees and try out a wider range of models than just straight lines. For example this least squares fit of a 6th degree polynomial to the same HADCRUT data you’re modeling gives a more plausible fit than a straight line. I asked Excel to project to 2020 on the basis of the previous 160 years and it concluded that the temperature will continue to climb for the next decade. Since R = 0.9 (R^2 = 0.8043) the fit is a lot better than the R = 0.8 (R^2 = 0.63) Woodfortrees is giving you with its limitation to straight line models.

        While simple-minded polynomial fitting of this kind, whether linear or 6th degree, is all well and good, the model of long-term climate I’m using to achieve R = 0.9975 (R^2 = 0.995) is more faithful to the physics and to the last half millennium of temperature proxies such as tree rings.

      • For example this least squares fit of a 6th degree polynomial to the same HADCRUT data you’re modeling gives a more plausible fit than a straight line.

        Actually what you would fit is the convolution of actual fossil fuel emissions with a CO2 impulse response function described here (this uses the diffusional approximation to carbon sequestering) :

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/fat-tail-impulse-response-of-co2.html

        This will get to the CO2 atmospheric concentration plus background. Then do whatever you need to fit the temperature sensitivity to CO2 levels.

        I am not a fan of fitting to arbitrary functions because I really don’t think that constitutes anything scientific, and acts more as a heuristic than a way of verifying anything.

        The way I described it is the only way that you will be able to propagate uncertainty. Uncertainty propagation only works if you have a fundamental paper trail of physical derivations. These derivation steps and their parametric form are the pieces with the aleatory uncertainty and if you ignore these you get meaningless results.

      • Except that the error bar on the aerosol forcing is 100% and the scientific understanding is low according to the IPCC. Its just another unknown unknown about which there is a lot of argument.

        It’s a little like solar irradience which as Judith shows is a subject of a lot of dispute.

        The more I see of climate science the more I agree with Lindzen’s characterization of it as a “small primitive field beset with immense uncertainty.”

      • “The -2.1 W m-2 figure is intended to evoke exactly the reaction you have expressed, namely:

        that the IPCC actually underestimated the negative forcing”

        What it is intended to invoke, dunno, but indirect aerosols effects are the fun ones, clouds. So more moisture…?

      • Fred Moolten

        All other things equal, I believe it would signify a very high climate sensitivity – almost impossibly high.

        Key phrases:

        “all other things equal” As we see from the unexplained early 20th century warming and the unexplained current lack of warming, “all other things” are NOT “equal”.

        “almost impossibly high”. Yep. How about “inifinite”? Impossible” is probably a very good description, Fred. [Otherwise our planet would long ago have switched to Venus-like conditions.]

        The -2.1 W m-2 figure is intended to evoke exactly the reaction you have expressed, namely:

        that the IPCC actually underestimated the negative forcing

        and that the CS should actually be higher than estimated by IPCC.

        Question: What is the color of that herring?

        Max

      • Jim D

        A little lesson in basic arithmetic for you

        IPCC based its AR4 WG1 report on 2005 as the latest data.
        Link to IPCC SRES scenarios and storylines

        http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/special-reports/spm/sres-en.pdf

        Atmospheric CO2 had increased at an exponential rate of 0.46% per year (compounded annual growth rate) since 1980 (over 25 years):
        1980: 337.9 ppmv
        2005: 379.0 ppmv
        379.0 / 337.9 = 1.122
        (1.122)^(1/25) = 1.0046
        = 0.46% CAGR

        For its “scenario and storyline” B1, IPCC assumed a continuation of the same exponential rate of 0.46% per year CAGR:
        2005: 379 ppmv
        2100: 584 ppmv
        584 / 379 = 1.542
        (1.542)^(1/95) = 1.0046
        = 0.46% CAGR

        For other “scenarios and storylines” IPCC assumed even higher exponential rates of increase, for example A1F1 assumes a CAGR of 0.88% to 870 ppmv.

        UN projections on population growth forecast a sharp decline in the CAGR from 1.7% in the late 20th century to a projected 0.45% CAGR for the 21st century (reaching 10.5 billion by 2100). GDP projections also reflect a similar slowdown in CAGR. So it is safe to assume that the CAGR for CO2 will not shift to a higher exponential rate than already seen.

        IOW case B1 can be considered the upper limit or “worst case scenario”.

        Max

      • manacker, no it is not an exponential rate based on 0 ppm, it is one based on 280 ppm (as Vaughan Pratt has said to you too), This exponential rate has doubled every 33 years, so we are now adding 2 ppm per year when in the 1960’s it was 1 ppm per year, and this increase rate has not showed any sign of slowing down soon, but will eventually be limited possibly by fossil fuel reserves being harder to extract. So expect 4 ppm per year in the 2030’s, and so on. This results in 1000 ppm in 2100 if new fossil fuels (like oil shale) are developed to continue the growth, and that is a reason to stop this growth.

      • Good luck reaching him, he may not be able to hear you.

      • You are waffling, Jim D. The exponential rate is what it is. It is not “based on 280 ppmv” any more than it is based on 0 or 390 ppmv.

        It is based on the recently observed exponential rate of increase in atmospheric CO2.

        What we have here, Jim, is an exponential rate of CO2 increase and a logarithmic CO2/temperature correlation, resulting in a roughly linear rate of temperature increase.

        Pretty simple, once one thinks about it.

        Max

      • I have this CO2 rise derived and well-calibrated by the Fokker-Planck diffusion equation, so we should be able to evaluate any future emission scenario and figure out the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

      • Yes, Vaughan, I saw your post, but thought I had answered it in my response to JimD.

        You are confusing changes in the annual rate of “human CO2 emissions” (the putative root cause for increased atmospheric CO2 concentrations) with the changes in the atmospheric concentrations themselves (the theoretical cause of greenhouse temperature increase).

        It is the latter, which is of importance as far as future temperature projections are concerned.

        IPCC has assumed (for case B1) that these concentrations would increase at the same exponential rate as has been observed in the recent past (0.46% CAGR), despite the fact that both population CAGR and GDP GAGR are expected to slow down sharply; this results in a 2100 concentration of 584 ppmv.

        For other cases, IPCC has assumed an increase in the exponential rate of increase of atmospheric CO2, with higher projected CO2 levels.

        I have argued with Jim that his fear of 1,000 ppmv by 2100 is poorly founded, in view of a) the projected 21st century slowdown of CAGR of both population and GDP. and b) the fact that this concentration represents approximately the amount of CO2 one would expect when ALL the “inferred possible fossil fuel resources in place” on our planet (per WEC estimates) have been used up, some day in the far distant future.

        I hope this has cleared up any misunderstanding you apparently still had.

        Max

    • The Morgan et al. (2006) survey of experts came up with the full range of -0.25 to -2.1 W/m2 for total aerosol forcing, though I don’t think these larger values could be just forcing without feedback included somehow. Perhaps some of their experts didn’t make this important distinction since these were heuristic numbers given to a survey.

    • Alexander Harvey

      Fred,

      I find it interesting that the group would not wish to comment on the ultra-high aerosol route, perhaps it is just too controversial. I must presume the group must grasp that it amounts to a doomsday conjecture. I think you see this and I comment on it from time to time. Perhaps it would seem to smack of scare-mongering. Politically it leads to places where no one seems to wish to go.

      Alex

      • Alexander Harvey

        FWIW,

        The updated version of the GISS global effective forcing file moved the sum of Reflective Aerosols and AIE for the year 2000 from -1.81 to -2.16 whilst the WMGHG stayed at 2.64. I am surprised that I haven’t seen much in the way of comment on this change which is edgily close to the OMG position. I would be interested to know if there was a paper that explained the method of calculation. The issue was flagged in their ice age sensitivity analysis but I don’t recall it being firmed up into hard figures.

        Alex

      • Alexander Harvey

        I thought I ought to check and the paper is indeed referenced in the data file:

        http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/1105/1105.1140.pdf

        34 pages plus references so a bit too long for me to read right now. It could be interesting.

  3. Thanks, Professor Curry, for your efforts to communicate the problems in climatology.

    As mentioned earlier, I think the root of the problem is the blind belief that Earth’s heat source is a steady H-fusion reactor, “in equilibrium” [1], and that climate change must therefore be induced by man.

    Did you get a chance to speak with Professor Zuber about information on the internal structure of the Sun that she might obtain by measuring gravity anomalies?

    Again, thanks for your efforts to restore sanity to government science.

    1. The 1967 Bilderberg Model of the Sun

    http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1968SoPh….3….5G

  4. It’s a shame that trying to be objective and use the scientific method is deemed courageous (and correctly so) by other scientists,

  5. Dr. Curry

    100 people in the pouring rain on a Thursday night (and Rosh Hashanah) at MIT sounds pretty decent.

    It may be worthwhile to invite professors to post exam topics and employers to make posts about their companies, if the goal is to improve the mix of interested young minds and promote the sort of topics you sometimes mention you wish you could do more of.

    I’m more than half serious, too.

    As for improving the IPCC.. do you have an example of an ideal organization that performs the way you’d prefer the IPCC to do? Examples of parts of organizations?

    What specifically do you see as working better about these organizations, and how did they achieve it.

    Organizational failure is never an accident. It takes hard work to produce consistent mistake and long-term, repeated delivery of poor outcomes.

    These habits of work can be identified and learned from.

    Given the extraordinary high profile of the IPCC, the microscopic scrutiny it’s been under since its inception, this should be easy.

    Of course, the highest standard of data examination ought be applied to such a project.

  6. Judith, I agree that your talk materials are very helpful and that this blog is a fantastic place to exchange ideas. I wanted to relate for you and your denizens my experience on RealClimate in the last week as I think it is revealing about what the “team” is saying.

    First, RealClimate is heavily focused on very detailed science issues. It is heavily moderated to eliminate criticism of specific climate scientists. Its handling of the Wagner resignation was a little big condescending in tone and refused to deal with the issue of Trenberth’s influence except for a dismissive comment. It was also quite clear that they knew what was bad science and what was good science. This attitude looks bad to me.

    Second, I think they realize that there is a PR problem with climate science and on purely technical issues, they were honest with me — always adhering to the party line however.

    Third, I obtained a very clear idea of exactly what the models do and it is not inspiring of confidence in them.
    1. The models integrate the same GCM models used for weather prediction in time accurate mode for long time periods with varying forcings (which of course must be specified even if they are unknown).
    2. Weather predictions diverge after about a week, very badly. Climate simulations are said to have meaning because every model run shows stability in long term average features. Thus, there is no a priori reason whatever for the assumption that these remarkably long time integrations are meaningful. My own take is that the most famous example of a strange attractor does not exhibit the claimed stability of average features. But convincing theory here may be a lot way away.
    3. The models are NOT claimed to be the basis for the 3-4 degree C climate sensitivity to doubling CO2. This is claimed to come from estimates based on simpler models of energy balance parameterized using paleoclimate. This strikes me as very strange and fraught with uncertainty. We can’t even agree on the forcings and feedbacks for the last 50 years.
    4. The models use the best numerical methods of the 1960’s such as explicit time marching, a method fraught with numerical difficulties and well known to exhibit poor numerical error control. When I suggested they look at more modern numerical methods and included some excellent references, there was silence. In fairness, upgrading to modern methods would no doubt be a huge task, but the payoffs could be very big.
    5. They could point me to no studies of sensitivity of the models to the pararmeters. This is one of your big points, Judy. There were some claims that I don’t believe that there were only a few of these. I don’t believe this. Any model of clouds it seems to me must involve scores of parameters. Anyway, this was shocking to me as a fluid dynamicist as this is the first thing most careful engineers would do with any computer model presented to them as reliable and predictive, i.e., run careful sensitivity studies with regard to all parameters.
    6. It seems to me that there is a real problem with the models and that there is a realization on the team that the problems cannot be papered over.

    In short, there may be reason for some optimism that the establishment in climate science is changing a little in the right direction, no doubt mostly due to people like Prof. Curry.
    Anyway, thanks again for this blog.

    • I found this an extremely interesting post. Thank you for taking the time.

      • Agreed. Perhaps David could expand this into a guest post, the model stuff not the RC stuff. There are new ideas here.

      • David Young: re ‘…This is claimed to come from estimates based on simpler models of energy balance parameterized using paleoclimate.’ . Can you provide a link to this discussion on RC?

    • David Y: Found your interesting discussion with Gavin on RC, so need to link. Thanks.

    • David – The RC exchange of comments was fascinating, and testifies to the value of discussions between an expert in climate science modeling (Gavin) and in fluid dynamics (David). I am neither, although I’m aware of some of the empirical evidence. For more of this, an informative website is
      Isaac Held’s Blog, which he started in February of this year, and which discusses some of the modeling issues in extensive detail. In any case, I think the impression left by the RC exchange in the minds of some who read it may differ from the perception you describe here. Regarding climate sensitivity, the current estimates for sensitivity to long term forcings come from multiple different approaches, including both GCMs and simple energy balance models, and that subject can’t be resolved by referring only to the virtues and limitations discussed in the exchange.

      • Thanks for the link to Held’s blog. I will spend some time there. I agree that the RC exchange does not resolve the issue of climate sensitivity, but it did result in a big increase in understanding on my part. It always seems to me when I reflect on it that as computational models get more complex, we need better scientific metrics to use in judging the output. This is where better numerics come in. Sensitivity studies are only practical if computer time is reasonable. And most people are surprised about the things in their code that can make sensitivity studies not meaningful. As I said on RC, going implicit can have very big payoffs.

      • steven mosher

        I just read it and enjoyed it as well.. talk about vortices takes me back..

        hehe

        http://www.rollinghillsresearch.com/Water_Tunnels/Prepared_experiments.htm

    • David, some very interesting ideas, thank you, we look forward to hearing more.

    • steven mosher

      David:

      watch everything here

      http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/index.html

      “3. The models are NOT claimed to be the basis for the 3-4 degree C climate sensitivity to doubling CO2. ……

      ########################
      you should probably go back through the blog posts here until you find the one where we discuss Hansen’s Paleo work. The models are not, as RC points out, the basis for 3-4C. There various approaches to estimating this figure. After you read Hansen you’ll understand that it’s not so strange
      If you want an estimate based on observations… start here I like this
      baysian approach

      http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/120812001.html


      4. The models use the best numerical methods of the 1960′s such as explicit time marching,…….
      I
      ##########################

      see this video and see this whole series for better information
      than you will get from Gavin. The vast major of models use a leapfrog with Robert-Asselin filter. See the slides and the video below

      http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/120815301.html

      5. They could point me to no studies of sensitivity of the models to the pararmeters.”

      Well, there are studies but you need to know how to look for them. Look for emulation studies. Start here and contact the guys who do this work.

      http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/120717001.html

    • Very helpful insights, David, thank you.

      One of your points brings up a favorite bugaboo of mine:

      3. The models are NOT claimed to be the basis for the 3-4 degree C climate sensitivity to doubling CO2. This is claimed to come from estimates based on simpler models of energy balance parameterized using paleoclimate. … This strikes me as very strange and fraught with uncertainty. We can’t even agree on the forcings and feedbacks for the last 50 years.

      My concern here is the more specific one of time constants. A few weeks ago I complained in the relevant thread on this blog that David Archer was basing his estimate of CO2 residence time on the PETM event of 55.8 million years ago, together with simulations running for many hundreds of years. Now we see Schmidt using a similar paleoclimate analogy for climate sensitivity.

      The paleoclimate analogy has the problem that events in those days happened at a snail’s pace compared to now. Land and sea have very different heat capacities and thermal conductivities, and hence different time constants. (In EE terminology we’re dealing with RC circuits, for which the characteristic time is sqrt(RC), where R in this case is thermal resistance and C is heat capacity. In Isaac Held’s terminology we’re dealing with a two-box model, with Held’s β and γ as conductances = reciprocals of resistances.)

      The thermal responses of land and sea over a 50-year period are certain to be very different from those over a 500-year or 5000-year period. Most of the heat from a 50-year-wide thermal pulse, or “slug,” goes into the ocean because it has a shorter time constant than the land. But a 5000-year-wide pulse will find the land better able to absorb it than the ocean, since the land has higher heat capacity and its longer time constant is not the obstacle it is for a 50-year-wide pulse.

      This is not to say that no information whatsoever can be extracted from paleoclimatology, but rather that the requisite temporal transformations must be applied in order to make such information relevant to modern global warming. The naive analogies being drawn by Archer and Schmidt fall far short of that requirement.

      • This is not to say that no information whatsoever can be extracted from paleoclimatology, but rather that the requisite temporal transformations must be applied in order to make such information relevant to modern global warming. The naive analogies being drawn by Archer and Schmidt fall far short of that requirement.

        The CO2 adjustment time has I think nothing to do with fluid dynamics modeling and everything to do with diffusion. In other words, it is not Navier-Stokes but the Fokker-Planck solution that will get us the correct formulation.

        http://theoilconundrum.blogspot.com/2011/09/derivation-of-maxent-diffusion-applied.html

  7. Re Lindzen being away from the campus 9/29 and 30 were Rosh Hashanah which is the Jewish New Year. You may safely assume that he will also be away on 10/8 which is Yom Kippur. btw, this may also have kept the number of attendees down.

    RG

  8. Alexander Harvey

    Judith,

    “My response was that I didn’t seen any signs of change, and that the only hope might be to put the IPCC under the auspices solely of the WMO.”

    What harm did the WMO ever do to you? :)

    Give them the hard science (WGI) by all means but the rest might be a cruel and unusual punishment.

    Alex

  9. I’m not sure what advantage there will be in putting the IPCC under the auspices of the WMO.

    The objection to the IPCC, especially as part of the UN, is largely political. The US right want to reach for their guns at the mere suggestion of the UN ! Maybe they’d be more inclined to listen if it was under the auspices of the US military!

    I often think that President Reagan was a lot smarter than he was given credit for. When pushing to set up the IPCC in the 80’s, I think he would have known that even if the IPCC did end up saying what they since have, their association with the UN would effectively neutralise their message as far as large swathes of the US public were concerned.

    • Many object to the IPCC for being an environmental advocacy group, as its co-owner UNEP is. This has nothing to do with being anti-UN. Perhaps it would be more honest scientifically if it were just under WMO. I have my doubts but it is a compromise position.

      • This has nothing to do with being anti-UN.

        lol!

        The shared hatred among many “skeptics” for the UN and the IPCC is purely coincidental. You NEVER hear skeptics talking about the “One World Government” intentions of the “convinced.”

        Right.

      • Anti UN? Yep, to a degree. They don’t have exactly a stellar track record in many respects. So separation of enforcement and policy is a pretty good idea. That checks and balances kinda thing.

      • Dallas –

        (Although I don’t t think it should be necessary) I will clarify that I don’t assume that anti-UN sentiments are relevant for all “skeptics.” But to categorically state that “this has nothing to do with being anti-UN” is laughable. Try going over to WUWT and dropping in positive comment about the UN and watch what happens. lol!

        To “deny” that for some skeptics, hatred for the UN is relevant is simply to deny a phenomenon that is abundantly evident.

        I’m all for checks and balances – and I see quite a few criticisms of the IPCC process that I think are valid. But for at least some members of the “skeptical” community, criticisms of the IPCC process are just one of many manifestations of an overriding political orientation that drives their reasoning – and that political orientation includes being anti-UN.

        Disfunctionality is not unique to the UN. I don’t know how well GIT is run, but my guess is that it is disfunctional at many levels. To object to the IPCC merely because the UN is disfunctional at some levels would be roughly equivalent to objecting to Judith’s work because GIT is disfuncitonal at some levels.

      • It’s also possible to believe that the UN and the IPCC are dysfunctional for different reasons, and to distinguish on that point. That should be easy for a student of distinction, such as yourself, to see.
        ================

      • It’s also possible to believe that the UN and the IPCC are dysfunctional

        I notice now that my spelling is disfunctional.

      • Steven,

        You have no way of ascertaining anything about their motivation and proving it.

        I responded to David’s comment that the “This has nothing to do with being anti-UN.” I will stand by my observation that David’s comment was laughable. If you think that “This has nothing to do with being anti-UN,” be my guest.

        You do have a way of ascertaining whether their concern is valid or not.

        Who are “they?” If “they” are people who have concerns about the IPCC process – I share opinions with some of them, and disagree with others. If “they” are people predisposed to be anti-IPCC because of a political ideology that is anti-UN, they are entitled to feel that way. The fact that they’re entitled to feel that way doesn’t make them disapper.

        In fact, the evidence available to you about their concerns is of much higher quality than the evidence available to you about their motivations.

        Once again, IMO, you are conflating two groups. If you think, as David asserted, that “This has nothing to do with the UN,” you are entitled. Knock yourself out. However, I think that it is laughably obvious that there are some, those who frequently express anti-UN sentiment or who frequently state extremist political ideology that is completely consistent in myriad ways with those who frequently express anti-UN sentiment, for whom anti-UN sentiment has something to do with “this.”

        I object to the IPCC violating it owns principles.
        A UN hater objects to the IPCC for violating its own principles.

        Really? How can you ascertain why they object to the IPCC?

        Political motivations, psychological analysis is utterly beside the point.

        I disagree with you there – but you’re entitled to that perspective. However, it seems that if you responded on a consistent basis to those who speak to the political motivations and psychological analysis of the IPCC and other players in the climate debate, you would be spending a lot of time making your point to hunter, and Jim Own, and mannacker, and GaryM, and Bruce, and cwon, and Wagathon, and many, many other commenters here at Climate Etc. Maybe you do. I couldn’t really say. But my impression is that you’re much more interested in expressing that opinion to me than you are to them. I find that interesting. Do you?

        I could speculate why you try to turn every discussion of facts into a discussion of motivation,

        Why stop now? You have posted quite a bit in the past about how worthless my posts are, about how I’m a troll, about how I should have my posts deleted, about how low my intelligence is, etc. Why would you stop now?

        but I won’t. I will merely observe that this is what you do.

        Observe away, my friend.

        Rather than investigate the actual complaint, you look at the complainer.. is he black? is he a jew? is a homosexual, a republican, a leftist.

        Although David has turned his posts directly towards who I am, I haven’t done that here at all. I have examined the logic and the implausibility of his posts. Also, I find that comment rather ironic given that you frequently focus posts in response to my comments on who I am (mostly with accompanying insults)- indeed, as you have done in this very thread although I have not done that with you

        It’s sickening to watch.

        I’m sorry to sicken you, steven. I have no intention of doing so.

      • Joshua, I did not mean to suggest that there are no anti-UN feelings at play in the debate, for of course there are. My point its that people objecting to the advocacy work of the IPCC can do so independently of their UN feelings. It is a separate issue. I, for example, have no problems with the UN per se, but I despise the IPCC, on its own.

      • Joshua rattles his little drum and stamps his little feet. Martha shrills on the fife. Those two are marching off to battle, but the troops have decided it’s too cold to fight and are returning to their campfires.
        ==========================

      • The troops are in Panama City, going nowhere as fast as possible.

        http://www.iisd.ca/climate/ccwg16/

      • My point its that people objecting to the advocacy work of the IPCC can do so independently of their UN feelings.

        Point taken.

        But I would suggest that if people have a strong starting orientation of anti-UN sentiment, the chances are that such independence is very hard to establish. Not impossible, and I wouldn’t presume one way or the other for any particular individual – but again, as a categorical statement, to say that anti-UN and anti-IPCC sentiment are unrelated to each other in the “skeptical” community would fly in the face of much available evidence.

      • Kim: Joshua’s interests are sociological while mine are logical, so we are looking at two different aspects of the debate. I am in it while Joshua is looking in from outside, as it were. However, if he is claiming scientifically that most of the criticism of the IPCC is motivated by anti-UN feelings then I think he is simply factually wrong, as I see little evidence of this in the voicing of the arguments. But it is an empirical question, for which we have virtually no data, so who cares? Sociology does not resolve issues.

      • However, if he is claiming scientifically that most of the criticism of the IPCC is motivated by anti-UN feelings

        No. I’m not saying that “most” of the criticism of the IPCC is motivated by anti-UN feelings. In fact, I haven’t stated that I consider criticism of the IPCC to be motivated by anti-UN feelings for anyone

        What I have said is that for some “skeptics” anti-IPCC sentiments and anti-UN sentiments are both manifestations of a political orientation. As such, to say that they have “nothing to do with…” each other would be inaccurate.

        I have never stated an opinion on to what degree anti-UN and anti-IPCC sentiments are inter-related among “skeptics.” I haven’t stated an opinion on that topic because I’d have no way of gathering evidence to make such an evaluation.

        I have specifically said that for any individual, I make no presumptions in that regard – but to categorically state that “this has nothing to do with being anti-UN,” flies in the face of much available evidence.

        I have also said that I assume it is possible that some people might be able to keep hatred for the IPCC independent from their hatred for the UN, although I would consider being able to do so extremely difficult.

        I hope that clears things up with respect you your speculation in the quote I excerpted above about what I do or don’t “claim?”

      • David –

        Actually, let’s look at this statement of yours in a bit more detail, shall we?

        Joshua, I did not mean to suggest that there are no anti-UN feelings at play in the debate, for of course there are. My point its that people objecting to the advocacy work of the IPCC can do so independently of their UN feelings. It is a separate issue.

        Allow me to suggest a slight re-wording?

        ….some peopleobjecting to the advocacy work of the IPCC can do so independently of their UN feelings. For those people it is a separate issue….

      • steven mosher

        Joshua,

        understanding why somebody believes that X is the case has nothing whatsoever to do with X being the case or not being the case.

        To be sure some skeptics question the IPCC because they dislike the UN. that “fact” has nothing whatsoever to do with the objectionalbe aspects of the IPCC. For example, Many of us objected to the method the IPCC proposed for making reviewer comments open and transparent. There approach was to secure the document in Harvard’s special collections library requiring anyone who wanted to read them to travel to cambridge. My objection to this has nothing to do with my attitudes toward the UN. I didnt even know the UN had anything to do with the IPCC. Of course, some of the people who shared my objection MAY have been motivated by animus toward the UN, but their motivation or psychological state can have nothing whatsoever to do with the merit of the objection. Of course after papering a few offices with FOIA the IPCC saw the light and followed their own damn principles making the open document freely available.

      • steven –

        that “fact” has nothing whatsoever to do with the objectionalbe aspects of the IPCC.

        Perhaps not for you. The problem is that when you have people predisposed, by virtue of political ideology, to oppose anything connected to the UN, you have no way of ascertaining whether their opposition to the IPCC is driven by an independent assessment of the IPCC, or whether it is a manifestation of their overriding political ideology.

        My objection to this has nothing to do with my attitudes toward the UN. I didnt even know the UN had anything to do with the IPCC. Of course, some of the people who shared my objection MAY have been motivated by animus toward the UN, but their motivation or psychological state can have nothing whatsoever to do with the merit of the objection.

        That’s all fine with me, as long as you qualify your statements with “may” and “can,” and I don’t believe that there’s anything in that post of yours that would be inconsistent with anything I’ve posted here. And in fact, I believe that if you read my posts, you will see specific acknowledgement of that point by me previously.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/30/uncertainty-monster-visits-mit-part-ii/#comment-117300

        (Although I don’t t think it should be necessary) I will clarify that I don’t assume that anti-UN sentiments are relevant for all “skeptics.” But to categorically state that “this has nothing to do with being anti-UN” is laughable.

        I’m honestly not sure why you feel it necessary to make that point to me given my previous posts.

        But whatever, none of that changes the inaccuracy in David’s statement, or his intransigence in just acknowledging that his statement wasn’t sufficiently qualified and moving on. Instead, he doubles-down with self-contradictory statements, and unfortunately, chooses to find fault with my logical reasoning (similar to how, in the past, he’s found fault with my character and/or intelligence).

      • steven mosher

        Joshua,

        ” The problem is that when you have people predisposed, by virtue of political ideology, to oppose anything connected to the UN, you have no way of ascertaining whether their opposition to the IPCC is driven by an independent assessment of the IPCC, or whether it is a manifestation of their overriding political ideology.”

        You have no way of ascertaining anything about their motivation and proving it

        You do have a way of ascertaining whether their concern is valid or not.

        In fact, the evidence available to you about their concerns is of much higher quality than the evidence available to you about their motivations.

        I object to the IPCC violating it owns principles.
        A UN hater objects to the IPCC for violating its own principles.

        appealing to motivations is knight move thinking.

        Political motivations, psychological analysis is utterly beside the point. You engage in this trivial pursuit of the unobservable. What you avoid discussing are the actual facts. What you avoid discussing are the things you can observe. I could speculate why you try to turn every discussion of facts into a discussion of motivation, but I won’t. I will merely observe that this is what you do. Rather than investigate the actual complaint, you look at the complainer.. is he black? is he a jew? is a homosexual, a republican, a leftist. It’s sickening to watch

      • Steven,

        You have no way of ascertaining anything about their motivation and proving it.

        I responded to David’s comment that the “This has nothing to do with being anti-UN.” I will stand by my observation that David’s comment was laughable. If you think that “This has nothing to do with being anti-UN,” be my guest.

        You do have a way of ascertaining whether their concern is valid or not.

        Who are “they?” If “they” are people who have concerns about the IPCC process – I share opinions with some of them, and disagree with others. If “they” are people predisposed to be anti-IPCC because of a political ideology that is anti-UN, they are entitled to feel that way. The fact that they’re entitled to feel that way doesn’t make them disapper.

        In fact, the evidence available to you about their concerns is of much higher quality than the evidence available to you about their motivations.

        Once again, IMO, you are conflating two groups. If you think, as David asserted, that “This has nothing to do with the UN,” you are entitled. Knock yourself out. However, I think that it is laughably obvious that there are some, those who frequently express anti-UN sentiment or who frequently state extremist political ideology that is completely consistent in myriad ways with those who frequently express anti-UN sentiment, for whom anti-UN sentiment has something to do with “this.”

        I object to the IPCC violating it owns principles.
        A UN hater objects to the IPCC for violating its own principles.

        Really? How can you ascertain why they object to the IPCC?

        Political motivations, psychological analysis is utterly beside the point.

        If that’s how you feel, then I’m surprised that you aren’t more active in making that point to hunter, Wagathon, manacker, Bruce, Jim Owen, cwon, and numerous other commenters at this site who frequently comment on the political motivations and psychology of “warmists” and climate scientists and the IPCC. Now perhaps you have written many responses to them on that topic, but I don’t recall reading them. If you haven’t made such comments, then it seems that you are selectively concerned with making such comments to me. I find that interesting. Do you find that interesting?

        I could speculate why you try to turn every discussion of facts into a discussion of motivation, but I won’t.

        lol! Right. You won’t speculate on it. You will just insult my intelligence, tell me that I know nothing about academic rhetoric, call me a troll, ask Judith to censor my posts, etc.

        I will merely observe that this is what you do.

        Well, that along with insulting my intelligence, telling me that I know nothing about academic rhetoric, calling me a troll, asking Judith to censor my posts, etc.

        Rather than investigate the actual complaint, you look at the complainer..

        Actually, I think that is untrue. For example, in this thread, David has focused his comments on “who I am,” although I have focused my comments on what I perceive to be an illogic and implausibility in his posts. I also find your comment there rather ironic given that you frequently focus your responses to me on “who I am,” and in fact, you have done so in this very thread, although I have not done likewise with you.

        It’s sickening to watch

        I’m sorry if I make you sick, steven. It isn’t my intention to do so, if that makes you feel any better.

      • Joshua, you are objecting to your own mistaken interpretation of what I said. Have fun with that. (You do it a lot.) It is both self entertaining and self contained.

      • This has nothing to do with being anti-UN.

        Right. My mistaken interpretation of what you said.

        Yet another display of “personal responsibility” so characteristic of “conservatives,” eh David?

        lol!

      • steven mosher

        Its funny. I started my criticism of the IPCC in 2007. In 2009 when I started to write the book, I decided to look into how the IPCC was started. So, two years after I started the criticism I discovered that it was UN sanctioned.

        Understanding that some people may question the IPCC because it is connected to the UN is a form of the genetic fallacy. Of course they can have right beliefs for the wrong reasons.

      • With respect to a potentially ambiguous antecedent of “this.”

        From Temp’s statement:

        The objection to the IPCC, especially as part of the UN, is largely political.

        Your statement:

        Thishas nothing to do with being anti-UN.”

        You stated that “the objection to the IPCC, especially as a part of the UN,” has nothing to do with being anti-UN.

        As I said earlier. lol!

      • Joshua, now you are actually working hard to misunderstand me. “This” refers to objections to IPCC advocacy. Such objections are logically independent of the fact that the IPCC is part of the UN. I suspect you do not have a firm grasp of logical independence, because your interpretations are typically psychological and sociological.

      • Such objections are logically independent of the fact that the IPCC is part of the UN.

        Not for people whose political orientation leads them to disapproval of anything related to the UN. Again, I would suggest a re-wording:

        For some peoplesuch objections are logically independent of the fact that the IPCC is part of the UN.

      • Joshua does work hard at misunderstanding.

        “Many object to the IPCC for being an environmental advocacy group, as its co-owner UNEP is. This has nothing to do with being anti-UN. ”

        Obviously what you said was, the fact that the IPCC is an environmental advocacy group is the reason “many object to the IPCC” and not simply because it is a unit of the politically opinionated view of the UN (referring to the post you replied to). Which is a valid view that even Joshua later admits.

        Then Joshua goes on to argue that what he took out of context means something other than what you obviously wrote and were responding to.

        Joshua apparently thinks it is fun to evaluate every word that someone writes to deconstruct what they could have possibly meant other than what was actually intended. To me he is the equivilent of a grammer or spelling nerd that does not add to the discussion, they just post replies pointing out potential errors that are overlooked by everyone else as unimportant to the actual conversation.

        Maybe someday people will realize most of what he posts is pointless to respond to. It is hard to do when he bates the trap to get people to respond.

      • David

        Many people probably have become more skeptical of UN recomendations overall due to the perception that the UN has strongly supported the implementation of actions on CO2 that do not appear to be justified. The position may not be wholely justified, but it seems a logical by product.

    • I’m just wondering how the IPCC could establish greater credibility with many sceptics, including many on this blog.

      Moving away from the UN? Possibly that might help a bit. But, I’d say it’s not going to make a great deal of difference. For instance, even if they did, I can’t imagine Wagathon ever saying anything like “Its really good that the IPCC no longer have anything to do with the UN. I’m now firmly of the opinion that what they say about AGW is perfectly correct and we should really do what we can to limit CO2 emissions”.

      So, the IPCC really need to say something different and at the same time maintain some sort of scientific credibility to win over the hardened sceptics. How can they do they do this?

      For a start they need to do something to reduce the 3degC figure for climate sensitivity. That’s just far too high. Yes, there are higher estimates but there are lower ones also. So why doesn’t the IPCC put out the figure to tender?
      They could then accept the lowest one. Providing of course that it was fully supported by the usual peer review process, and it wasn’t totally dependent on computer modelling.

      Even people like Manacker may come on board as IPCC supporters. It would be worth a try.

  10. Judith,
    Have you ever read the book “The Deniers”?

    Al Gore says any scientist who disagrees with him on Global Warming is a kook, or a crook.

    Guess he never met these guys

    Dr. Edward Wegman–former chairman of the Committee on Applied and Theoretical Statistics of the National Academy of Sciences–demolishes the famous “hockey stick” graph that launched the global warming panic.

    Dr. David Bromwich–president of the International Commission on Polar Meteorology–says “it’s hard to see a global warming signal from the mainland of Antarctica right now.”

    Prof. Paul Reiter–Chief of Insects and Infectious Diseases at the famed Pasteur Institute–says “no major scientist with any long record in this field” accepts Al Gore’s claim that global warming spreads mosquito-borne diseases.

    Prof. Hendrik Tennekes–director of research, Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute–states “there exists no sound theoretical framework for climate predictability studies” used for global warming forecasts.

    Dr. Christopher Landsea–past chairman of the American Meteorological Society’s Committee on Tropical Meteorology and Tropical Cyclones–says “there are no known scientific studies that show a conclusive physical link between global warming and observed hurricane frequency and intensity.”

    Dr. Antonino Zichichi–one of the world’s foremost physicists, former president of the European Physical Society, who discovered nuclear antimatter–calls global warming models “incoherent and invalid.”

    Dr. Zbigniew Jaworowski–world-renowned expert on the ancient ice cores used in climate research–says the U.N. “based its global-warming hypothesis on arbitrary assumptions and these assumptions, it is now clear, are false.”

    Prof. Tom V. Segalstad–head of the Geological Museum, University of Oslo–says “most leading geologists” know the U.N.’s views “of Earth processes are implausible.”

    Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu–founding director of the International Arctic Research Center, twice named one of the “1,000 Most Cited Scientists,” says much “Arctic warming during the last half of the last century is due to natural change.”

    Dr. Claude Allegre–member, U.S. National Academy of Sciences and French Academy of Science, he was among the first to sound the alarm on the dangers of global warming. His view now: “The cause of this climate change is unknown.”

    Dr. Richard Lindzen–Professor of Meteorology at M.I.T., member, the National Research Council Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, says global warming alarmists “are trumpeting catastrophes that couldn’t happen even if the models were right.”

    Dr. Habibullo Abdussamatov–head of the space research laboratory of the Russian Academy of Science’s Pulkovo Observatory and of the International Space Station’s Astrometria project says “the common view that man’s industrial activity is a deciding factor in global warming has emerged from a misinterpretation of cause and effect relations.”

    Dr. Richard Tol–Principal researcher at the Institute for Environmental Studies at Vrije Universiteit, and Adjunct Professor at the Center for Integrated Study of the Human Dimensions of Global Change, at Carnegie Mellon University, calls the most influential global warming report of all time “preposterous . . . alarmist and incompetent.”

    Dr. Sami Solanki–director and scientific member at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Germany, who argues that changes in the Sun’s state, not human activity, may be the principal cause of global warming: “The sun has been at its strongest over the past 60 years and may now be affecting global temperatures.”

    Prof. Freeman Dyson–one of the world’s most eminent physicists says the models used to justify global warming alarmism are “full of fudge factors” and “do not begin to describe the real world.”

    Dr. Eigils Friis-Christensen–director of the Danish National Space Centre, vice-president of the International Association of Geomagnetism and Aeronomy, who argues that changes in the Sun’s behavior could account for most of the warming attributed by the UN to man-made CO2.

  11. Judith Curry

    Thanks very much for up-dating us.

    Sounds like your presentation was well accepted and raised some interesting discussion.

    The ensuing question about the future of the IPCC is not just a hypothetical or rhetorical one.

    The IPCC process has been shown to be corrupted and is not working for the good of climate science, as you and many others have observed.

    This process has politicized the whole topic of AGW to the point that once-revered scientific institutions, such as NAS and the RS, have become political supporters of a fictional “consensus” that human CO2 emissions will lead to catastrophic global warming and climate change. This viewpoint has become the only “politically correct” viewpoint among scientists today, with those who reject it being ostracized or declared “kooks” or “crooks” (Al Gore).

    The options regarding the IPCC seem to be: abandon and replace or drastically modify.

    A future AR5 report is doomed to irrelevance otherwise IMO.

    This could be a good topic for a future thread: “what to do about the IPCC?”

    I realize that such a thread would be like poking a stick into a hornet’s nest, but it needs doing IMO.

    Max

    • Max,

      Planetary science is far more deeper and complex.
      The consensus of scientists created a vacuum of theory protection at all costs no matter how much evidence is being discovered.
      Their is a fantastic amount of measurable evidence of simple calculations that can change vastly our current mindset in science.
      But that would also effect our current beliefs and generate a whole planet to having an education of no value except for the fiction aspect in the physics and science.
      Motion is far greater understood when you have actual measurable parameters which a single formula cannot cover as it is too confining on orbs.

    • Maybe there could be several discussions of the IPCC arranged under very clear and distinct headings. My favorite heading would be something like this: “Suppose the IPCC functioned perfectly, what would it contribute?”

      It seems to me that the IPCC was created to gather emerging scientific results that are relevant to climate science, summarize the main points, and create an “executive summary” for decision makers. What would this contribute and to whom?

      Let’s use Dr. Curry as a standard. The ideal IPCC’s product could serve Dr. Curry as a catalog of research in climate science and the “executive summary” could serve as an outline of the points at which climate science impinges on climate policy. Dr. Curry might want to peruse the catalog to find interesting items that are new to her. She might read the “executive summary” in the same way, though I doubt that it would provide something new to her in the way of climate policy.

      All in all, the ideal IPCC’s product would be rather boring to Dr. Curry. Now, let’s compare the ideal product to the actual product.

      The actual product will continue to support the idea that there is such a thing as scientific consensus. This is a topic that belongs to scientific method and to the philosophy of science. The actual product will continue to support the idea that some so-called scientists exist outside the consensus and it will recommend that their views should be discounted. The actual product will continue to promote the view that climate science has shown that CAGW is underway and that drastic steps are necessary. I could go on forever but I hope that I can stop here and that my point is clear. Nearly all of this is of no interest to Dr. Curry because her understanding of the science is superior to anything that might appear in the actual IPCC report. What will interest Dr. Curry are the efforts of the IPCC to communicate their “message” when that “message” goes beyond the science. That is an extremely important topic and it alone justifies the existence of this blog.

      What is my point about the IPCC? If it did its job, its product would be useful to Dr. Curry but not a page turner by any means. Most readers of this blog would benefit from the report in the same way as Dr. Curry. But the IPCC does not do its job.

      The actual IPCC report will continue a political campaign in favor of drastic measures to mitigate the effects of CAGW. It will be chocked full of statements that take us into scientific methodology, philosophy, and good old raw politics. The IPCC will prove once again that they are incapable of learning from “Climate Etc.”

      Short of disbanding the IPCC, which could only be a good thing for climate science, the solution to the IPCC problem is to appoint editors who are scientists, though not necessarily climate scientists, and give them the twin mandates of removing from the report anything that does not belong to the “emerging scientific research” in climate science and removing from the “executive summary” anything that does not reveal new scientific results that impinge on climate policy. In practical terms, this would mean that words such as consensus would not appear in the document. The words would not appear because they are not relevant, not because they have been banned.

      If the next IPCC report is exciting then its producers will have exceeded their mandate and they will continue to cause serious harm to climate science.

      • Theo

        Your recommended treatment for the IPCC would appear to be akin to lower body surgery – but maybe that is exactly what is required.

  12. The lack of awareness on behalf of the students concerns me.. just realclimate!

    Surely they must at least be aware of Climate Audit?

    But of course if you only look at Realclimates blog roll.. you will never find anything outside of an insular group of people..

    Judith, did you point out to any students, that Climate Etc, is not approved of at realclimate, presumably some students would have the intellectual curiosity to ask why not…..

    Maybe a little challenge to the students, ask at RC

    Why will Realclimate not link to Climate Etc, or Climate AUDIT, lucia, Pielke jnr/snr, or Spencer, etc.. if asked at Realclimate the answer may speak loudly to the students about the thinking at RC

    Remember , as it is on the record, when the question was asked before of three of those mention… That Dr Eric Steig at RC, said they considered those people to be dishones (not just wrong) but dishonest.

    • I understand RC even refuses to link to scienceofdoom, which makes me wonder what the RC people are afraid of there. Can they really be so anti-science?

  13. Easy to explain decreased recruiting. The number of students who don’t read Climate, Etc., Bishop Hill, Climate Audit, and Watts Up is declining.

    You don’t have to answer, but I suspect Georgia Tech is not having trouble recruiting.
    =================

  14. It’s actually pretty appalling that only one student out of eight reads outside the consensus blogs. And they’re inviting Michael Mann to speak?

    The rot runs deep, children.
    =============

    • Where’s the curiosity? I’m bummed. Does this happen everywhere?
      ===============

      • Theo Goodwin

        Graduate school is pretty much a matter of tunnel vision. You have to work really hard. A lack of interest in blogs indicates nothing for graduate students.

      • I think the tunnel vision is exactly the problem. The fact that it has become a way of life or is hard work, doesn’t excuse it.

        Andrew

  15. David Young,

    Your observations from behind the enemy lines are fascinating, like those of an anthropologist studying some primitive culture :>). I often find myself wondering what it’s like to be on the team these days, and can only imagine a kind of embattled mentality. Those guys must know they’re hanging on by a thread.

    • The discussion was in a thread on Greenland meltdown, and most certainly not one of those that might justify negative judgment on the willingness of Gavin to answer fairly to comments.

      The first few comments of David Young indicated total misunderstanding on, how GCMs are used in climate science. At the end he had learned that, but some other issues were not discussed to his satisfaction. At that point the discussion had certainly gone far beyond of what’s reasonable in a thread on Greenland meltdown.

      If that discussion would be representative of every discussion on RC, everybody should be happy with the site.

  16. “I received a strong impression that the really good scientists at MIT want to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in (largely owing to the IPCC) and get climate science back on track”

    The talk was in fact quite poorly attended as evidenced by your own description. It is ridiculous to make this kind of sweeping, loaded statement.

    Ron Prinn? You could note what he in fact says, rather than what you vaguely suggest he might think. Based on the most current science of his team with the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change, Ron Prinn says the science in AR4 may have seriously underestimated the amount of human-caused warming that will occur this century without substantial policy change i.e., emissions reductions. That is what he says.

    Exactly where have the ‘good scientists at MIT’ said what you say they have said? Can you back that up? And wWho are the ‘good’ scientists? It is difficult to be demonstrate that what you say has substance, without more information. Or is it that all those scientists are only telling you, in secret. ;-)

    The reality is that the talk was poorly attended and it was not likely because of rain. While scientists and the public are not ignoring issues related to the IPCC, uncertainty or political issues, you are not seen as as a good source of information by peers, students or the general public.

    But you still have your personal blog. :-)

    • Martha,

      Have you ever attracted an audience of 100?

    • Martha –

      If I’m not mistaken, the “really good scientists” at MIT are the ones that agree with Judith. All the other scientists at MIT are either fake good scientists, or bad scientists.

    • Martha, attendance is a strawman and then you sink to drivel. Bring your A game.
      ==============

    • I guess the actual global temperature is suddenly going on the big upward trend that it hasn’t so far. You may have noticed that the actual temp hasn’t gotten as high as the models predicted it would. If it hasn’t panned out so far, why should we believe anyone who says it’ll pan out later?

    • John Carpenter

      Martha,

      Your using the ‘sour grapes’ argument. Not very well either.

      Very high brow…what kind of pleasure do you gain by writing such a post?

    • Nice try, Martha. FYI Ron Prinn and Kerry Emanuel were the members of the committee that selected me. Ron is the person who said that he was very pleased with my seminar and wanted someone to “stir the pot.” He was also a primary participant in the discussion that was critical of the IPCC. I don’t know of anyone at MIT that is NOT a good scientist. The room for the talk probably would hold 150 people, there were some empty seats, hence my estimate of 100 attendees. I have attended very few university seminars where there were more than 100 people in the audience.

      As a rule, when I am having a conversation with someone, I assume that the conversation is “off the record”, i.e. not something to publish, hence my comments were general with regards to who actually said what.

      When you get invited to give a named Lecture at MIT, let me know how it goes.

      And stay tuned for my keynote address at a forthcoming conference on climate change conference.

      • I don’t know of anyone at MIT that is NOT a good scientist.

        So then, is the distinction you were making above between the “really good scientists” and the “good scientists?”

        And is the distinguishing criterion there “want[ing] to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in…”?

      • Seriously, Judith – what does this mean?

        I received a strong impression that the really good scientists at MIT want to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in.

        One meaning could be that you think that all the scientists at MIT are “really good scientists,” and that all the scientists at MIT want to “get away from the crazy situation….”

        Another meaning could be that you think that there is some distinction between the “really good scientists” at MIT and some other scientists at MIT, and that the “really good scientists” want to “get away from the crazy situation….”

        Was your meaning one of those two, or is this just another case of the “misinterpreting” that I do often?

      • Joshua

        IMO- it seems to be a case of you quickly trying to “judge” the meaning of Judith’s comments and your being frustrated and impatient in the potential for her comment to have multiple motivations.

        You asked her for a clarification of the message. Perhaps she will expand on her thoughts, but I don’t think that is an obligation.

        I have not always agreed with Judith’s focus on the topic, but would you agree that she seems to be trying to get scientists to focus on getting good reliable, repeatable data and to acknowledge that there are still many unknowns. If scientists studying the topic focus on reducing the unknowns, and honestly communicating the degree of unknowns (uncertainty) vs. being the leading advocates for policy implementation and arguing publicly that to disagree with their conclusions is anti science–scientific credibility will increase.

      • I posted a comment on the other “Uncertainty Monster Visits MIT” thread, that I think it is particularly apropos as a contract to these last two semantic nit picks of Dr. Curry by our resident asymetrical bias warrior.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/28/uncertainty-monster-visits-mit/#comment-117365

        The main point being the almost total lack of content in the vast majority of Joshua’s numerous posts.

      • Rob –

        … but would you agree that she seems to be trying to get scientists to focus on getting good reliable, repeatable data and to acknowledge that there are still many unknowns.

        I mostly assume that is the case. But sometimes I don’t know. First, I think that some of her efforts will rather obviously prove counterproductive if that is her goal (for example, by failing to denounce unproductive elements of the “skeptical” side of the debate, and by almost exclusively focusing her criticism on the “pro-consensus” side of the debate, I would argue that she only fuels the unproductive elements in the “skeptical” side and only fuels the entrenchment on the “convinced” side.). Secondly, sometimes she seems to say things that seem to me to be inconsistent with that goal, and when pushed on those instances, she reacts in a dismissive way that also suggests that her motivations might be more complicated than how you describe above.

        Her statement about the “really good scientists” would be a case in point. She can simply choose to ignore a questioning of what she means by that statement – as she has sometimes done in similar situations the past. Or, she could simply be dismissive of questioning of her statement with a throw away line, as she has also done in similar situations the past. Neither of those types of responses increase her credibility, IMO.

        If scientists studying the topic focus on reducing the unknowns, and honestly communicating the degree of unknowns (uncertainty) vs. being the leading advocates for policy implementation and arguing publicly that to disagree with their conclusions is anti science–scientific credibility will increase.

        There I completely agree. And to the extent that Judith’s efforts are clearly consistent with that goal and sometimes I think that they are – I support them.

      • Joshua

        I have read Judith make many negative comments about posters skeptical positions and she has described their positions as being “scientifically unsupportable“. What is she supposed to do? Is she supposed to comment on every half baked post?

      • Rob –

        I don’t expect Judith to do anything in particular, I certainly don’t expect her to comment on every half-baked post, and I certainly don’t think that she has an obligation (as I believe you suggested earlier?) to do anything in particular. It’s her blog – she calls the shots. I’m only here at her indulgence – not to have expectations or to determine her obligations.

        That said, I remain curious about some of the things that she says that seem to suggest biases in her perspective, or that seem to be insufficiently comprehensive in their analysis, and when she fails to comment in response to the nakedly political comments of a great number of commenters at her site (as well as at places like WUWT), I fail to understand how she reconciles the comments she reads with her statements that there is a “vast asymmetry” in influence of political ideology and/or tribalism on the different sides of the debate. On the one hand, she credits her denizens as being influential, and she considers the “skeptical” blogosphere to be important to climate science, yet on the other hand she casually dismisses the overt political influences contained therein.

      • “Is she supposed to comment on every half baked post?”

        The more nuttier of the posts shouldn’t be allowed to stand without challenge. And that would take up too much time? Yes, that’s the problem she finds herself in having set up Climate etc.

      • Latimer Alder

        @tempterrain

        ‘The more nuttier of the posts shouldn’t be allowed to stand without challenge’

        Please explain why you think such posts must be challenged. Do you believe that the audience aren’t savvy enough to make their own judgements? Or do you feel anxious wthout a Big Moderator defining what is acceptable for your tender eyes to read?

        Seems to me that you cannot distinguish between the idea of providing a forum for discussion and being a censor. That Robert, Martha. Joshua and a few others are still free to post here shows that Judith has clearly grasped this idea while you still have work to do on it.

      • If this was any other blog I would agree with you. However, Judith is an established climate scientist. She needs to be more careful about what she allows to go unchallenged than she apparently is, especially when she has invited the initial posting herself.

      • Latimer Alder

        @tempterrain

        Your remark ‘becasue Judith is an established climate scientist’ does not satisfactorily answer my questionat all. Please explain why occupying this position means that you believe that she could or should heavily moderate other people’s posts….assuming that she had either the inclination or time.

      • LA, For instance, we’ve seen claims that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have risen by some absurdly low figure, like 5%, in the last 200 years. These are clearly incorrect. The true figure is 40%.
        As a owner of the blog Judith shouldn’t let this sort of thing pass unchallenged. Its called scientific responsibility.

      • Latimer Alder

        @tempterrain

        ‘we’ve seen claims that CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have risen by some absurdly low figure, like 5%, in the last 200 years’.

        and

        ‘As a owner of the blog Judith shouldn’t let this sort of thing pass unchallenged. Its called scientific responsibility’

        Tosh and piffle. As far as I can tell Judith does her readership the courtesy of assuming that we all have some critical and technical faculties and are capable of assessing evidence for ourselves without needing to intervene at every stage.

        Unlike some other blogs whose stated purpose is entirely didactical – ‘we tell you what to think’ – where you may feel more intellectually comfortable, this one tries to be exploratory as well. It is not designed as a bombastic lecture in The One True Way of Faith but a many-to-many conversation. And like any conversation there is an amount of noise in the signal. Most of the denizens here are comfortable..and thrive in this environment.

        So I’m content that Judith moderates with a very light touch. And if another poster were to make a griveous error there is always your own eagle eyes for any divergence from orthodoxy to correct them. As well as Joshua, Martha, Louise and the like to lecture us all on our many imaginary personal and intellectual deficiences. So we are not short of blogger-led moderation.

        But if you still feel uncomfortable that somebody without your – or my – finely-honed abilities to distinguish Truth from Falsehood and Correctness from Deviation – will see a comment here that isn’t 100% correct, then I suggest that you leave the big boys to get on with it and find another much more protected sandpit to play in. You’ll be happier there.

      • > And stay tuned for my keynote address at a forthcoming conference on climate change conference.

        Are you speaking at the WCRP OSC?

    • Martha (referring to Dr Judith) :
      “…..you are not seen as as a good source of information by peers, students or the general public.”

      As usual you make these assertions against Dr Curry without providing one iota of evidence. Were you at the MIT talk? Did you take a poll of the audience and the wider public? What were the results? This is merely handwaving. You seem to be greatly threatened by this blog, and, unable to argue from any kind of intellectual foundation, you can only resort to insults and ad hom attacks in an attempt to undermine our host. You are guilty of far worse than many of the commentators who you regularly characterize as fascist. It’s time to grow up, Martha. You will feel a lot better about life and may even get a few friends.

      • Maybe I can help Martha out. You’ve asked for an “iota of evidence”. How big is an iota BTW?

        I’m a member of the general public and I wouldn’t regard the contents of this blog as a particularly useful source of information. So there you go!

        Mind you, having said that, I wouldn’t extend the criticism to all of Judith’s writings. She used to be OK on the subject, generally, and still is particularly in her scientific papers, at least as far as I can tell. Certainly, it would be hard to guess that the Judith Curry who writes papers about the effect of AGW in the Antarctic region is the same JC who runs this blog.

    • steven mosher

      “The reality is that the talk was poorly attended and it was not likely because of rain.”

      next you’ll say that the jewish folks stayed away not because of the holiday but rather because the speaker had a blog where fascists run rampant.

      filling 100 of 150 seats isnt poor attendance if nobody gives a rats ass about climate change. And you determine why people didnt attended by talking to those who didnt. When you do that and have some facts get back to us

    • Martha,

      You ask who the “really good scientists” are at MIT ? Judith’s answer is that they are the ones’s who ” want to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in (largely owing to the IPCC) and get climate science back on track” !

      In other words the “really good” ones, be they politicians, economists, scientists, or whatever, are the same ones who happen to agree with our own POV.

      I guess we all are guilty of making that sort of misjudgement from time to time.

      • actually Temp, I read that statement quite differently. I read it as that by being employed at MIT you are/have to be a really good scientist. I think that MIT still has the cache as being one of if not the best institute on earth for science.

        So again, when reading in blogs and something sounds weird, slow down, reread and try putting emphasize on other words and phrases, then you might get the inflection that is in the mind of the author as they typed their words.

        the REALLY good scientists AT MIT…

      • So you’re saying that “ALL the really good scientists at MIT want to get away from…….etc etc ……………..”

        I see.

        I’ve just had a quick look at MITs (climate change) website, and there doesn’t seem to be anything which is particularly critical of the IPCC. It all seems fairly mainstream sort of stuff:

        http://globalchange.mit.edu/news/news-item.php?id=109

        So, I guess you must agree with this? Especially as you’ve said “to be employed at MIT you are/have to be a really good scientist.”

      • Temp, was only trying to illustrate that in blogs, you cannot hear the emphasize that the speaker is putting on their words/phrases, so we must not assume that how we read things is how the author meant for their words/phrases to be taken.

        You know, that personnal bias thingy, as was amply shown in my post, because I have always considered MIT to be the top of the top, so I assumed that Dr. Curry was stating ……..

        Anyway, have a great day.

      • steven mosher

        Agree with you on general conclusion reached by T. Palmer (better science needed to address uncertainties before investing in mitigation), but detected an appeal for more taxpayer money for (among other things) “new computing infrastructure” in the closing sentences.

        Let’s take the current stalemate of opinion as justifying a renewed effort to do all we humanly can to reduce existing uncertainties in predictions of climate change, globally and regionally, so we can move the argument forward, one way or the other, for the good of humanity. This will require a new sense of dedication both by scientists and by politicians around the world: by scientists to focus their efforts on the science needed to reduce uncertainties, and by politicians to fund the technological infrastructure needed to enable this science to be done as effectively and speedily as possible.

        So Palmer presents some good post-Climategate thoughts on what is now needed to get things back on track.

        But what I see missing in his statement is the recognition of what got us into this impasse in the first place.

        Complete openness and transparency of data will more and more become an absolute prerequisite for any future funding by an increasingly skeptical general public, as will complete objectivity and the absence of any perceived AGW activism by the climate scientists themselves.

        IMO this will be very difficult, if not outright impossible, with the current structure and process of the IPCC.

        As the bard wrote: therein lies the rub

        Max

      • That entire Newton Institute series on stochastic models in climate science is very interesting. The audiences are small but they get into it.

        The USA scientific funding agencies have outlined research in stochastic processes as one of the “grand challenges” in scientific study. IMO, there is very little Nobel prize material in this discipline, but there is incredible room for characterizing natural phenomenon that are governed by disorder. This is pretty obvious in that entropy is an enduring property, but we have really only scratched the surface as to how this applies to climate science and other areas.

        I am convinced that some of the approaches by Paltridge and now Roderick Dewar (who gave a talk at the Newton series, but the video is missing) will be the most effective way to reduce the state space and degrees of freedom without losing the predictive powers. It may not in fact be possible but that is why they call it a grand challenge.

      • Hmmm, don’t know if he is a really good scientist Mosh, the room seemed to have less then 100 people in attendance, so according to the Martha Scale, I would put him at about “an almost OK scientist”

      • I feel Palmer is being a little naive in thinking that the hurdle is getting scientists to reduce uncertainty in their models, when really it is getting the public to have more certainty in models. These are very different things. The scientists are already very confident of the 2-4.5 degree sensitivity range based on models, paleoclimate and energy budget reasoning, and this is actionable, but parts of the public (the loud ones) don’t see this certainty, and won’t until the decadal warming trends persist for a few more. I give it 20 years to reduce public uncertainty based on the ‘seeing is believing’ type of evidence.

    • As for one who attended, and walked across town in the pouring rain to see Judith speak, I would have to say it was pretty well attended.

  17. The talk was in fact quite poorly attended as evidenced by your own description. It is ridiculous to make this kind of sweeping, loaded statement.

    Martha,

    I take it that you can point to attendance figures for talks at MIT (high, low, average) to support your assertion that it was “quite poorly attended”. Or is yours the “sweeping, loaded statement”?

    • “quite poorly attended as evidenced by your own description”

      is actually what I said.

      But since you ask, an important speaker at a modern, large university campus would typically involve the attendance of hundreds. At MIT — more. Why? Because it has a very broad spectrum of coursework in all aspects of the physical, chemical and biological sciences, as well as a very strong focus on public policy and public health, and the campus is known for its students’ enthusiasm for clean energy technology. Do your own observational math (and filter out that some faculty members would likely be asking students to attend instead of going to class, along with filtering out the politeness of faculty who feel obligated to attend these things). I don’t need to do my own statistical study to encourage the most basic reflection on these things.

      More to the point of my comment, however, is the willful misrepresentation of the views of Ron Prinn, to readers. You’d think he was a Curry-type ‘skeptic’, from her rose-coloured comments. THAT is completely untrue. It is impossible to avoid calling it what it is, namely, misrepresentation to suit herself. I don’t call that realistic, or remotely objective. Signifcant ‘impressions’ of one’s experiences and interactions should be based in reality.

      He is not a skeptic of any kind. His many public activities and public statements about his research and recommendations directly contradict Curry’s outdated presentation of science and her promotion of inaction on emissions reductions. Try Google, and Ron Prinn. Try this, if you are too lazy to do the most basic research: http://www.technologyreview.com/printer_friendly_article.aspx?id=19942

      Do I care whether you or anyone else on a personal blog exercises basic observation, internet and reasoning skills? Not so much. Your choice.

      • steven mosher

        Seriously.. hundreds? I would expect that the people who planned the room at MIT know more about attendance at MIT events than you do. Maybe you know better. I dont see how you would know better, but the fact that you seem to think you know better is very revealing.
        In any case the people who planned the event booked a room for 150.
        Go figure, maybe they should have called you and you would have told them how many people typically attend an event at MIT.. hundreds…
        As it turns out they picked a room that was just about right.

        I’d say they understand more about attendance at MIT events than you do. But go ahead, correct us and them

      • Thanks Louise, the room was about 70% full, so I probably underestimated the number of attendees.

      • I don’t need to do my own statistical study to encourage the most basic reflection on these things.

        That would be a “no”, then. I thought so.

      • Latimer Alder

        @martha

        ‘an important speaker at a modern, large university campus would typically involve the attendance of hundreds. At MIT — more’

        Please can you point me to some recent statistics, peer-reviewed in a mainstream stats journal that confirms your assertion? .

      • steven mosher

        ‘More to the point of my comment, however, is the willful misrepresentation of the views of Ron Prinn, to readers. You’d think he was a Curry-type ‘skeptic’, from her rose-coloured comments. THAT is completely untrue. ”

        Huh? She explained that he told a story. She said nothing about his “views”. She said .. ron told an interesting story. How you get his views from the fact that he told a story is beyond me. he told a story. The stpry was about how he was unable to get a paper into Ar4. This is nothing new. This tells me nothing about his views on climate change, insinuates nothing, suggests nothing. He told a story. She said he told a story. How in the world you infer misrepresentation from that is a mystery. I do not think he is a curry type skeptic, could not tell you what a curry like skeptic is and from what I know of Judith nobody is quite like her.

      • Martha,

        “filter out that some faculty members would likely be asking students to attend instead of going to class, along with filtering out the politeness of faculty who feel obligated to attend these things”

        Have you ever been to a lecture like this at MIT? Have you ever spoken to an MIT Professor or observed their work routines? they don’t have time to attend lectures out of politeness and I have never seen or heard of telling students to attend one of these instead of class! (in addition to?, yes!, instead of?, no.)

        I spent 5 years there, please stop with the analysis of attendance size. You don’t know what you are talking about. Also remember (or learn) that climate science is not the center of the MIT universe, even for those who are enamored of alternative energy in all its forms.

      • >an important speaker at a modern, large university campus would typically involve the attendance of hundreds. At MIT — more. Why?

        This is stupid. Michael Mann’s talk was attended by fewer people than Judy Curry’s. Should I now conclude that Michael Mann is not seen as a good source of information by students, peers, and the general public?

    • Martha,

      I’m not sure whether 100 is a good attendance for an MIT seminar. Even if it isn’t I wouldn’t say that is necessarily a reflection on Judith’s ability as a climate scientist.

      Maybe the Viscount Christopher Monckton, or Senator Inhofe would have attracted a larger audience. If so, what would that indicate?

      I’d say it would demonstrate that quantity isn’t necessarily a good measure of quality.

  18. I received a strong impression that the really good scientists at MIT want to get away from the crazy situation that climate science has found itself in (largely owing to the IPCC) and get climate science back on track.

    Amen!

    • …get climate science back on track

      For example, attempt to explain why the global mean temperature (GMT) touches but never cross an upper GMT boundary line in all the recorded 160 years data shown in the following graph.

      http://bit.ly/qGcD9M

  19. …get climate science back on track

    For example, attempt to explain why the global mean temperature (GMT) touches but never cross [for long] an upper GMT boundary line in all the recorded 160 years data shown in the following graph.

    http://bit.ly/qGcD9M

  20. Wow! Very interesting story. Who would have guessed that MIT faculty and students were so unaware of the level of science being done on blogs?

    How can people read RealClimate and not know about ClimateAudit?

    I’m shocked they didn’t know Michael Mann’s work has been thoroughly debunked by Steve McIntyre in the literature and on ClimateAudit. I’m shocked they didn’t know Steig et al had been refuted in the peer literature by a combination of bloggers. I’m shocked they did not know the blogs played a central role is publicizing the release of the Climategate emails and other documents.

    When I was in graduate school (not climate science, of course), we were all very aware of the current debates within our field of study. We attended scholarly meetings and heard speakers from both sides. The world has certainly changed in the last 30 years!

    • I’m curious. Does anyone know if this level of intellectual disinterest by graduate students common in other fields at the university? Or is this perhaps another indication that climate science is not healthy?

    • Latimer Alder

      I just tried a very difficult climate related experiment. I typed the magic phrase ‘climate blogs’ into the magic google machine. And in the first page of hits there were references to RC, CA and WUWT.

      Does this make more curious than the average MIT student? Or is the concept of ‘an experiment’ still so alien to climatologists that they wouldn’t know/dare how to carry out a similar exercise? Would admitting to having heard of the last two be sufficient to have them excomannicated from the One True Religion?

  21. Sorry to stray off topic, but I was flabbergasted by something I just read:

    http://online.wsj.com/article/…..32438.html

    The most flabbergasting part; our energy policy is based on a fantasy:

    When it was Mr. Hamm’s turn to talk briefly with President Obama, “I told him of the revolution in the oil and gas industry and how we have the capacity to produce enough oil to enable America to replace OPEC. I wanted to make sure he knew about this.”

    The president’s reaction? “He turned to me and said, ‘Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130 miles per gallon.’” Mr. Hamm holds his head in his hands and says, “Even if you believed that, why would you want to stop oil and gas development? It was pretty disappointing.”

    • I have been VERY disappointed in the administrations energy policies.

      • I am hoping that Fred can tell us something about that battery and how it is going to do that 130 MPG thing.

      • I’m not sure how equivalence was calculated.

      • Fred,

        Use your imagination. A battery has to be charged with electricity, unless those two Nobel Prize winning geniuses have come up with something else. So aren’t they talking about a car that will go 130 miles on some amount of electricity that is equal in cost to a gallon of gasoline? Do you believe that, Fred?

      • That’s not necessarily what was meant by “equivalent”.

      • It may be the A123 nanophosphate “Founded in 2001 by Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, Dr. Bart Riley and Ric Fulop, A123 Systems’ proprietary Nanophosphate technology is built on breakthrough nanoscale materials initially developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.” Looked great on paper, didn’t quite make the transition into the real world though.

      • I have been VERY disappointed in Chu. It’s one thing for some know-nothing activist to say something stupid like 130 MPGE. He has no excuse. He knows good and well that the EPA MPGE numbers are a thermodynamic fraud.

      • P.E.,

        You will notice that the usual suspects will not attempt to justify that 135 mpg equivalent battery fantasy. Just long-winded, disingenuous dodging.

    • The most flabbergasting part; our energy policy is based on a fantasy:

      What fantasy? All you have to do is go to the IEA site, http://www.iea.org/stats/mods.asp, pay a fee and you can get all the info on world oil supplies and capacity you want. It will set you back several thousand dollars but then you get to see how the consultants, such as Daniel Yergin, accumulate their numbers.
      If you can’t afford to pay for the data, then you have to be clever and do some data mining of internet sources, where the information gets leaked out. http://www.theoildrum.com/node/8366

      We have to ask the question as to why this data is expensive. Why isn’t it all just freely and publicly available? Did we not learn anything from ClimateGate? :)

      The point is that the industry data will show exactly how the laws of diminishing returns sets in. The pricey information is not that different than what independent analysts have been offering up, perhaps 2o% more optimistic, but the way they twist it for public consumption is unbelievably disingenuous. But that’s what happens when fossil fuel industry consultants control the data.

      • Wehub, that is a lot of bull. Just tell me how that 130mpg battery is going to work.

      • 130 mpg sounds pretty mild by comparison.

      • That is a little gas electric hybrid that does not violate the laws of physics. Tell me how that 130 mpg equivalent battery is going to work? Is it going a car that weighs 7 ounces? You people make me laugh.

      • Wehub, that is a lot of bull. Just tell me how that 130mpg battery is going to work.

        I see, any data and information that we use for making decisions is bull.
        The analysis of fossil fuel depletion and the analysis of climate change have a lot in common. At the most fundamental level, they are both analyses of trends toward an asymptote. There is an uncertainty in the asymptote and an uncertainty in the rate at which we will reach the asymptote.
        Once you can accept this way of thinking about the problem and what the administration obviously understands, then you can start arguing against or for particular alternative energy strategies.

      • What is your argument for an energy strategy based on the belief that in five years we will have a battery that will allow a car to travel 130 miles for the equivalent cost of a gallon of gasoline? Do you bleive we will have such a battery in five years?

      • What is your argument for an energy strategy based on the belief that in five years we will have a battery that will allow a car to travel 130 miles for the equivalent cost of a gallon of gasoline?

        You said right away that you were straying off-topic with your post. I am trying to get it on topic. Any policy decisions are based on data available, and the data suggests that we will need to deal with less conventional fossil fuel energy resources, either because of depletion or because of concerns about climate change.
        There is of course uncertainty in both information regarding rates of depletion and rates of climate change. Just as what is said in the article, the administration obviously wants to look at alternative energy sources (because of oil depletion ) and green energy sources (because of concerns of climate change).
        What is your uncertainty in oil depletion? Is oil depletion uncertainty a Monster?

    • Don Monfort

      It was tough for buggy whip producers to accept that their industry would cease to be a dominant force in the world of transportation, and I’m sure some called the internal combustion engine a fantasy.

      Wick trimmers, too, must have though the tungsten filament a matter of speculative faith that ought not impact their livelihoods.

      Oh, how the movie moguls and radio giants opposed the television, and wondered why anyone would ever invest in such a fiction.

      Technology shifts. Change happens. No one industry is forever.

      Get over it.

      • And the fossil fuel industry is going to be rendered obsolete by 130 mpg batteries? How is that going to work? do you have a clue?

      • Don Monfort

        I have no particular need nor desire to see the fossil industry obsolete — although in its current form, it will become obsolete, just as the fossil industry of 60 years ago is obsolete now — though I do see a real need for the carbon emission industry to start paying for the fraction of the carbon cycle it exploits for two good reasons.

        1.) The carbon cycle can now be practically administered on in the Market, which expands the Market and introduces Capitalist mechanisms for improving the allocation of scarce resources by the democracy of individual budget choice. This shifts control of carbon from the State to the individual, and from central planning committee decisions to free choice.

        2.) Carbon emission is inefficient due a) the clumsiness and inelegance of central planning, b) the inverted rewards for excessive emission due subsidy to free riders, and c) the failure of innovation due lack of competition and the subsequent rewards for finding a better way to use the resource.

        While there are other good reasons, I’ve yet to hear anyone substantively challenge Capitalism or disprove the benefits of operating a fair Market.

        If you think you can do so, go for it. Let’s hear your better-than-Capitalism plan.

      • Bart R,

        You have me confused with someone else. I would be perfectly happy with the market coming up with something cheaper and cleaner to obsolete fossil fuels. But it ain’t gonna happen in five years, with a 130mpg battery. The problem is our energy policy is being forged by morons who believe it will. Follow me now?

      • I would be perfectly happy with the market coming up with something cheaper and cleaner to obsolete fossil fuels. But it ain’t gonna happen in five years, with a 130mpg battery. The problem is our energy policy is being forged by morons who believe it will.

        If you put it that way, OK. But then we should have said the same thing about our goal to put a man on the moon within 5 years of JFK stating that objective. What that had to do with practical concerns, was very debatable, but it planted seeds for motivating the public to get behind the idea. This seems a trivially obvious leadership move.

      • Bart

        You wrote a couple of specific points that are worth examination.

        1.) The carbon cycle can now be practically administered on in the Market, which expands the Market and introduces Capitalist mechanisms for improving the allocation of scarce resources by the democracy of individual budget choice. This shifts control of carbon from the State to the individual, and from central planning committee decisions to free choice.

        IMO you have written in an obtuse manner trying to sound academic, but you are suggesting a tax on energy produced by fossil fuels.

        I believe we have exchanged thoughts on this in the past. To summarize past points:

        The US certainly needs to increase revenues, so generally I would not be opposed to the idea of something to perform this function. The question is whether the instrument being proposed to raise revenue is an efficient means and whether it is targeting the segment of the population you wish to have to pay the tax.

        A carbon tax will be predominately paid by the lower income segments of society and is usually politically unpopular for this reason. You have previously suggested a “tax credit” for the lower income segments to offset this impact, but if that is done you eliminate most of the benefits of the tax. Including the tax credit reduces the efficiency of the tax as a means of raising revenue and would decrease the motivation to reduce consumption.

        2.) Carbon emission is inefficient due a) the clumsiness and inelegance of central planning, b) the inverted rewards for excessive emission due subsidy to free riders, and c) the failure of innovation due lack of competition and the subsequent rewards for finding a better way to use the resource.

        Sorry, but on this one my decoder ring is not working so your comment does not seem to make sense.

        I am guessing that you believe that it is inefficient to emit CO2 because in your opinion you believe that the long term costs of the harms are not being taken into consideration. In order to make a reasonable judgment on this, you would need to have pretty darn reliable data on the net harms to society that emitting CO2 causes.

        IMO the climate models used to reach conclusions of any harms have not produced reliable enough results to reach those conclusions

      • Rob Starkey (http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/30/uncertainty-monster-visits-mit-part-ii/#comment-117404)

        We have indeed exchanged thoughts on earlier versions of our views. Mine have evolved somewhat, in no small part due our exchanges, and one observes yours seem too, to have advanced in many ways.

        However, you mistake my views in ways that are not mere quibble, but clear and fundamental differences:

        “The US certainly needs to increase revenues,”

        I do not know this to be a fact, but I do know it plays no direct role in my reasoning.

        As I intend all revenues collected from carbon emission to go per capita to every owner of the carbon cycle — which would be every citizen — the state gets nothing, other than the smallest fee possible for administering the process.

        Indeed, where the carbon revenues are applied to what the state believes ratepayers owe it, there is lower tax churn, so the state ought charge less than the marginal cost of administration.

        “..so generally I would not be opposed to the idea of something to perform this function.”

        Is therefore not directly relevant. As the Market would grow, efficiency would increase, and free riders would be squeezed out of the economy, all of value to the State, there would be both indirect benefits to the State in terms of it reaching its objectives, and a larger Market base on which to draw for revenues as taxes, hence lower of tax rates could still generate increased revenue to the State as an indirect result.

        “The question is whether the instrument being proposed to raise revenue is an efficient means and whether it is targeting the segment of the population you wish to have to pay the tax.”

        Here, the distinction of mechanisms becomes more important. I’m proposing a Market price for carbon emission.

        Whatever the Market will bear, to the point of maximum revenue to the owners of the carbon cycle — every citizen, per capita — is the right price for carbon emission. This would result in hundreds or thousands of dollars revenue a year to all citizens.

        For the seventy percent who emit drastically less carbon than the average, this represents a substantial windfall, and empowers every citizen to decide whether to apply this windfall to emitting more carbon or to any other Market good they choose, by the simple expedient of not emitting carbon needlessly.

        “A carbon tax will be predominately paid by the lower income segments of society and is usually politically unpopular for this reason.”

        This statement is untrue in so many ways, it is hard to know where to begin. The highest emitters of carbon by far are the wealthiest in America; the proposal I make is by no means a tax, and does not weigh on the topic of whether there ought be a carbon tax over and above my proposal or not. The revenue of a carbon tax would go to the State, not the owners of the carbon cycle.

        “You have previously suggested a “tax credit” for the lower income segments to offset this impact, but if that is done you eliminate most of the benefits of the tax.”

        That sounds suspiciously like socialist redistributive thinking in its formation, (see Ross McKittrick’s PhD thesis for his argument supporting that plan) and like handwaving in its conclusion. It would be much like me saying, for example, the redistribution of taxes collected on the backs of Americans to the pockets of fossil fuel companies eliminates most of the benefits of taxing wages. Except I see less benefits of taxing wages than, apparently, some.

        “Including the tax credit reduces the efficiency of the tax as a means of raising revenue and would decrease the motivation to reduce consumption. “

        Except for the churn-reducing, administrative ease, stability at source, and that my proposal doesn’t deliver revenue directly to the State, thereby giving the State disincentive to its too-eager tendency to promote needless consumption, you’re dead on.

        Oh.. you’ve mentioned the names of a couple of my former clients, so I can tell you, your view of the automotive industry is.. skewed.

      • How dismal.
        =======

      • Bart

        When you write:

        “I intend all revenues collected from carbon emission to go per capita to every owner of the carbon cycle — which would be every citizen — the state gets nothing, other than the smallest fee possible for administering the process.”

        In the best case you are designing an extremely inefficient process for collecting taxes.

        In all probability (imo) your suggestion would result in a system that would collecte revenue inefficiently and discourage overall economic growth

      • Rob Starkey (http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/30/uncertainty-monster-visits-mit-part-ii/#comment-117491)

        In the best case you are designing an extremely inefficient process for collecting taxes.

        Not sure I follow your assertion.

        Processes for collecting money from retail and commercial sales of GHG-producing fuels are already in place across America for almost all fossil fuels; where the process can’t be administered for practical reasons (like burning wood), alas but for every penny that falls through the cracks, tens of thousands of the revenue that rightfully belongs in the hands of the owners of the carbon cycle get to the right place. Our hands.

        In all probability (imo) your suggestion would result in a system that would collecte revenue inefficiently and discourage overall economic growth

        I’m pretty sure economic growth is optimally produced by Capitalism.

        Looking at how your system’s been working out, I’m thinking you might want to give Capitalism a try.

        For a change.

      • Must have been that buggy whip tax that did it.

      • This isn’t Star Trek.. just because the captain says make it so.. doen’t mean it’s going to happen.

        A 130 mpg equivalent battery technology inside 5 years..

        I would love one, but whoever said that is dreaming…
        I wonder, if anyone has asked Nissan, Toyota, Ford, etc, etc. Who must have spent rather a lot by now..

        Lets mark the date, and see what happens…

        Buggy whip makers, only went out of business when the future happened, the the words of a hugle hopeful, partisan energy secretary!

        And of course, what energy source would charge it up?

        Lets make a date in our diaries…

      • Barry Woods

        Excuse, I attributed your views to Rob Starkey when I wrote, “Oh.. you’ve mentioned the names of a couple of my former clients, so I can tell you, your view of the automotive industry is.. skewed.”

        Apologies to Rob and yourself.

      • No, it was all those subsidized government loans and grants that FoMoCo got.

        Yes, that’s sarcasm.

      • First. What exactly does 130 MPGE mean? Specifically. How is it calculated? Show all the work. If you can’t tell me that, you can’t defend it as possible.

        Second, whatever the MPG (real) benchmark is, the MPGE is simply a way of converting a gallon of hydrocarbon to x KWH of electrical energy.

        Now let me explain a couple things. First, there’s the first law of thermodynamics. You can’t get more energy out of a battery than what you put in. Sorry, that’s non-negotiable, and no amount of magical Moore’s law pixy dust can change that.

        Second, the second law of thermodynamics guarantees that some of the energy that you put into the battery will be converted to heat, and can’t be recovered, no matter how much of magical Moore’s law pixy dust you sprinkle on it.

        Third, that same annoying second law guaranteed that there’s a theoretical limit of around 60% and a practical limit lower than that on how much fuel gets converted to usable mechanical or electrical energy. That’s also non-negotiable, and Moore doesn’t have any magic to help you out with there, either. The reason why that matters is that the EPA completely ignores this in their MPGE calculations, and calculates the “equivelent” based on caloric value of fuels, rather than usable energy. They know better. This is nothing short of fraud to calculate things this way.

        So if you think that Moore’s law is going to get you to the flying car that runs on a kWH of energy, think again. The laws of thermodynamics are non-negotiable. This isn’t Star Trek, this is reality.

      • P.E.,

        It just occurred to me, that they get that 130 mpg equivalent by not counting the cost of all the subsidies that they are going to have pay us to drive around in battery-powered Kleenex boxes.

      • I read an article (sorry, no link) that said quite explicitly that they calculate equivalence by equating “energy content”, i.e. comparing the heat value of the fuel to the electrical energy in the battery. I think it’s obvious what’s wrong with that. That’s how they get 99 MPGE for the Nissan Leaf. 130 isn’t that much of a jump from there, but it takes three gallons of real oil to generate that “equivalent” gallon of electricity.

      • “It just occurred to me, that they get that 130 mpg equivalent by not counting the cost of all the subsidies that they are going to have pay us to drive around in battery-powered Kleenex boxes.”

        That’s why I am into hydrogen, if you are going to throw money away subsidizing an alternate fuel vehicle it may as well be a kick butt vehicle! For just 35 grand I can convert my Tahoe into a mean green boat hauling hydrogen machine! With off the rack technology, BTW.

      • To be fair, we ought to include how many gallons of oil it takes to deliver that one gallon of gas to the gas tank. Refining and transporation take a fraction.

        Likewise, when it comes to electricity, there is energy conversion in the burning, generation, and tranmission.

        Take a step back, and include the energy it takes to mine, smelt, roll and fabricate the steel and cement used in oil and gas development. Likewise, do the arithematic for wind turbines, coal mines, or rare earth mining (for solar). Don’t forget to include man-hours included in the creation and delivery of each “Ge” (gallon-equivalent).

        All this might seem a daunting calculation. But there is an easy way to short circut it all. It is called “Price.” Price, non-taxed, non-subsidized, of each delivered fuel unit and get it to MilesPerUS$.
        Admittedly, this would neglect the cost of CO2 induced Global Warming (whatever it’s value!). But I am not convinced MPGe (as used) is properly accounting for coal-mines and wind-turbines, either.

        Who says we are stuck with one metric? An XY scatter plot of (MPGe, MP$XS) would be very enlightening. (MP$XS = Miles Per US$ ex-Tax and ex-Subsidy)

      • I’m into Data Visualization (particulary Spotfire), so I just though of an interesting visualization to try. In addition to MPGe, MP$XS, there is range/ton of each vehicle (15 persons = 1 ton), and Fuel Type, vehicle type.

        So imagine a visulization where:
        X = MPGe
        Y = Range/person or Range/ton
        Size = MP$XS
        Shape = Fuel type.
        Color = vehicle type.

        Scooters, hybrids, 18-wheelers, 747s all fit on the graph.
        Bicycles and sailboats are about the only things that don’t fit.

      • The MPGe is a bit of trickery. Using regenerative braking the in city mileage nearly doubles and because the designs emphasize in city the over the road suffers because battery capacity is on the light side. So if the car can get 130 mile on 33.7 Kw with multiple recharges allowed, it is good to go. The Chevy volt gets 30 miles on average per charge (35 is listed of course) and a rating of 93 MPGe, boost that to 40 miles per charge and you are right there. You still have a small limited range car with expensive batteries that will need to be replaced, but a warm and fuzzy feeling.

      • You say trickery, I say fraud. Regenerative braking is legitimate to account for, as far as I’m concerned. That’s real, tangible energy savings. It’s the other stuff that’s cheating; the ignoring of Carnot efficiency and counting electrical energy in a plug-in in the MPG calculation. That’s out-and-out fraud.

      • I would go as far a fraud, but it is pretty close since the efficiency of the electric generation is not included, but then neither is alcohol or hydrogen. The trickery is more in using the good technology, regenerative braking and the in city design basis to avoid highway considerations like aerodynamics and sustained speeds over 40 MPH to boost mileage. I would think if the car can’t actually travel the 130 miles without charging to make the rating it should be disqualified. On the highway they are just underpowered hybrid golf carts with a trunk.

      • Personally, I don’t much care if the MPGe is based on physics or legerdemain.

        If the for price of getting a gasoline or diesel vehicle the with average, what, 20 miles on a gallon at (in 5 years time, rounding, approximately) $4.00 to go that 20 miles, a hybrid or electric or whatever gets the 130 mile distance only paying $4.00 for off-peak charging or whatever optimal mix of fuel + charge that gets to $4.00, and the vehicle costs otherwise about the same for production and maintenance, then I’m satisfied that a politically true-enough statement has been made.

        I mean, this is a political statement of fact, so it doesn’t have much of a bar to pass.

        Just what its impact is on my wallet.

        Considering there are conventional cars topping 50 mpg on the road today, not hybrid or electric, not kleenex-boxes, with better safety records than any SUV, and that can do the job of comparable cars getting half that mileage, I’m not overly exercised by the 130 mpg battery, so much as I am wondering what sort of idiot buys something that gets sub-40 mpg, with the price of gas what it is, considering how tax subsidized, foreign-government-empowering, unstable and unpatriotic gasoline is.

      • Clean diesel, man. When my current car craps out, I hope to get a TDI.

      • nandhee jothi

        130MPGE is not as hard it looks. but in 5 years? they’ve got to be kidding.

        just to get a Gas-electric car with a stubby turbine that can last (say, 100K miles) is an engineer’s dream & nightmare. think of all the potholes in NY/NJ. But that is what needs to happen to make that leap. gas-electric ( diesel-electric ) drives, with low thermal mass turbines.

        but on the demand side of mechanical energy, we are a bit luckier. there is a lot that are currently feasible. even that will take 10-20 years to market.
        but once the frictional losses are cut ( regenerative braking, low skin friction paints, less thermal loss to the road, some marginal improvement in from friction losses, lower weight strong composite structural and skin components , etc ), a decent set of lithium ion batteries could keep the car going for an hour or so. That also will improve useable mechanical energy output from the turbine. And, all those technologies are waiting for the economic imperative to get on the road.

        and practical O2 concentrating ( zeolite, maybe ) aspirators, hightemp-hightensile turbine components are decades and decades away… unless some lucky break happens, say tomorrow.

        130MPGE is eminently doable…. but not in 5 years.
        the high market penetration is going to take 10-15 years… AFTER we get that dream car.

        and as someone pointed out, even if that is possible in 5 years, why would we not be drilling??

      • “130MPGE is not as hard it looks. but in 5 years? they’ve got to be kidding.”

        What some may be missing is that the moron said “Oil and gas will be important for the next few years. But we need to go on to green and alternative energy. [Energy] Secretary [Steven] Chu has assured me that within five years, we can have a battery developed that will make a car with the equivalent of 130
        miles per gallon.”

        A battery, in five years. That is lunacy. We already have cars that run on rechargeable batteries, and hybrid gas/electric cars that make use of braking energy. They have not made a dent in the demand for oil and gas, and any foreseeable improvements in those technologies will be marginal, and will not make a dent for a long time to come.

      • MPGE is not a property of a battery. It’s a property of a vehicle.

      • There’s been a big mistake. Obama was supposed to get the Science prize and Chu the Peace prize.
        =============

      • shoot the IDJT who started this OT nonsense

      • I’m sure some called the internal combustion engine a fantasy

        http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/223/electric-car-timeline.html

        1899-Believing that electricity will run autos in the future, Thomas Alva Edison begins his mission to create a long-lasting, powerful battery for commercial automobiles. Though his research yields some improvements to the alkaline battery, he ultimately abandons his quest a decade later.
        1900-The electric automobile is in its heyday. Of the 4,192 cars produced in the United States 28 percent are powered by electricity, and electric autos represent about one-third of all cars found on the roads of New York City, Boston, and Chicago
        1908-Henry Ford introduces the mass-produced and gasoline-powered Model T, which will have a profound effect on the U.S. automobile market..
        1920-During the 1920s the electric car ceases to be a viable commercial product. The electric car’s downfall is attributable to a number of factors, including the desire for longer distance vehicles, their lack of horsepower, and the ready availability of gasoline.

    • Re transport oil, for a dose of hard reality:
      US 48 states oil production peaked in 1970, UK about 2000, Norway in 2005.
      Jean Laherrere shows Global LIGHT OIL oil discoveries peaked ~1965. Global peak LIGHT oil production is peaking about now.
      See “westexas” graph of:
      Available Net Oil Exports
      Available net global exports (after China + India imports) DECLINED 12% from 2005 to 2010
      “21 of the top 33 net oil exporters showed net export declines from 2005 to 2010.”
      See Robert L. Hirsch, The Impending World Oil Mess:What It Is and What It Means To YOU! ISBN 978-1926837-11-6
      May 2011 ASPO conf. Presentation PDF or Video
      See solutions in: Edwin Black The PLAN – How to Rescue Society When The Oil Stops – or the Day Before,
      and especially:
      Turning Oil to Salt Gal Luft, Anne Korin

    • 130 mpg? Yes that’s not as far fetched as it may seem. The efficiencies of Electric motors are much higher than either Diesel or Petrol powered engines. That’s why railways will often choose the electric option. The disadvantage is the additional infrastructure involved of course.

      Ideally, the electricity generated should be from cleaner sources than coal. However, much energy generated during the off-peak periods is wasted anyway, and would be much better used for overnight charging of EV batteries.

      • Don’t confuse “generating capacity” with “…generated”. Hydro, for example, usually slows water flow rather than bypassing turbines, ditto with thermal plants being somewhat slowed. Not a simple equation.

  22. Judith: Getting invited to a named lecture at MIT is certainly a step in the right direction and I’m excited by your description of your reception. However, the politicized establishment still seems to be in control of the IPCC, the scientific journals and most of the MSM. Far too much of public opposition to AGW is rooted in right-wing ignorance and ideology. It took us more than a decade to get into this mess. I see little prospect that the situation will change in the next decade – unless there is some watershed event: unambiguous public disgrace of a Mann- or Jones-like figure or a major scientific society withdrawing full support for the IPCC position. Since you abhor the former possibility, you may want to promote your talks to the wider scientific community.

    • Frank,

      “Far too much of public opposition to AGW is rooted in right-wing ignorance and ideology.”

      Blimey! But you said it!

      And how much is “too much”? What would be your ideal ratio of right wing ingorance etc to rational thought?

      • Temp: Although I skeptical about limitations of human knowledge and reasoning, I’d prefer to have no decisions made on the basis of ignorance or ideology (right-wing or left-wing) and all decisions made on the basis of rational thought. What about you?

        Given the that “left-wing ignorance and ideology” seems to be dominating most public discourse on AGW, I have been looking with disappointment to the opposition and expressed my disappointment poorly.

  23. Slightly OT, but here is a really interesting article on the so called IPCC scientific consensus

    Shocking information on how a minority seem to control the message.

  24. Judith: Your research on the uncertainty monster is a praiseworthy example of academic “search for the truth” that justifies the tenure system. Suppose your efforts resulted in climate scientists recognizing that climate sensitivity could lie anywhere between 1 and 5 degK (pick whatever numbers you prefer) for 2X CO2. Where would we go from there? How long is it going to take for observations to clarify the situation? Are we getting closer to an answer with: the apparent absence of amplified warming in the upper tropical troposphere, the “pause” in rapid warming since 2000, and the surprising data from the Argo network (or are there just as many things happening that support the opposite position that my prejudices refuse to assimilate?)

  25. Dr. Curry:
    Whenever I have attended a lecture on a topic that is hot, figuratively although literally according to IPCC, the implications of said content tends to drive discussion and questions. I will walk away and the topic lingers in my consciousness. I will explore the topic further over the next several weeks, or, until the topic comes up again. It appears that your experience at MIT was a catalyst to further thinking for your audience. Giving the audience a place to go for further information like some of the skeptical sites: your own, Climate Audit, Roy Spencers’s, WUWT is a way to rekindle interest in climate science. It is a worrying observation that there may be less interest in climate science now suggested by the students you met. My experience has been students are interested and energized when the “science is NOT settled” and there is room for uncertainty and further inquiry. The challenge for the student is to find a niche in climate science which one can have a say/impact; much as your blog does for your Denizens. So I say congratulations and I really like your second to the last slide: “Enjoy Uncertainty.” Lots of energy needed to unravel a mystery; kids seem to have energy “in spades.”

  26. Dr. Curry; It does not surprise me in the slightest that the grad students were interested primary in job market issues and worried about the politicization of climate science, as a deterrent to entering the field professionally. Who in their right mind would willingly enter a scientific profession in which there exists a litmus test of pre-established ‘correct findings’ to be successful? In which those with errant opinions like yours and those finding ‘unacceptable results’ in their experiments are attacked, ostracized and threatened with professional black-balling. Especially if these young scientists are already having serious doubts about the current state of the science in the field.

    Think of their dilemma — they can torture their findings until the agree with the ‘consensus’ and be ‘successful’ until the inevitable happens and the scientific truth outs — in which case they are left holding the dirty end of the stick and have wasted their early career OR they can do honest science and have their submitted papers rejected by CAGW Team reviewers or, even if they manage to get a paper published in a minor, more honest journal, have their work mocked, ‘rebutted’, and themselves vilified by the CAGW Rapid Response on the web.

    I’ve done some brave and crazy things in my 60-some years but even I would never try to get into the Climate Science field of today — just too unlikely to have any conceivable good result.

    I suspect that your presentation may have represented a small glimmer of hope for some of them.

  27. OK, I’ll look into it.

    I haven’t heard about leapfrog schemes since graduate school, I.e., 1970’s. So perhaps its the best methods from the 1970’s even though leapfrog originated much earlier. The modern methods I’m talking about are things like backward differentiation schemes and even things like Adams Bashforth which are explicit but have real adaptive error control. These things were well known in the 1970’s and there is lot of documentation from Livermore on their implementation of these methods in an ODE solver.

    As soon as you go implicit, you need to solve a linearized problem of the spacial operator. My favorite way to do it is Newton Krylov methods which are quite common in CFD and are even starting to be used at the government labs. There is a great review paper by Keyes and Knoll in Journal of Computational Physics about 6-8 years ago. It has tons of references.

    I stand by my point that in these legacy codes, numerical difficulties will cause huge computer turn around times and can also affect the accuracy of the results.

    Another thing is the use of finite element methods for the spacial operator. There is some really breakthrough stuff from the 1970’s and 1980’s called the finite element method. Most people think of this as a method for elliptic problems, but Tom Hughes has extended it to the Navier-Stokes equations. There is a huge benefit in terms of stability of the calculations and a big reduction in CPU time if you are using implicit methods.

    But I do take your point, that the methods are the best methods from the 1950’s (when I think leapfrog was invented), not the 1960’s as I said.

    Another point that Gavin didn’t address that I think is an issue is the subgrid models. There is an inconsistency between the standard Reynolds’ averaging doctrine and the use of the turbulence models (or other subgrid models) in a time accurate calculation. There are a lot of unknown things here that people need to look at carefully in simpler contexts first before concluding that time accurate calculations are a good way to go if you have a subgrid model based on Reynolds averaging. I don’t know the references off the top of my head, but you can look for some work by Spalart on something he calls DDES.

    • ya, watch the presentation.. he discusses Adams bashforth.
      The amazing thing was seeing how the errors introduced by the time stepping method used by most models in certain cases equalled the physical effect being modelled. the presenter came up with a simple approach that provided some measure of improvement. Neat work.

      When you start to talk about the sub grid processes have a look at the videos in the seminar. They are a better than an exchange at RC..

      • Ok, thanks for the link

      • steven mosher

        Another good one. Examples of doing sensitivity analysis.
        The sensitivity analysis is used to create a statistical emulator, that can then be used to examine parameter space.
        103 runs: 18 continuous parameters, 11 switches..

        http://www.newton.ac.uk/programmes/CLP/seminars/120711001.html

      • Pekka, What you are saying is the standard doctrine, namely that numerical errors don’t matter if in the end there is an attractor. But, that’s simply oversimplified. For example, if your scheme is dissipative (as the filter used with leapfrog is) then your numerical simulation can appear stable when actually there is a growing mode, or you can completely miss a bifurcation.

        In short, it’s not up to me to prove (even though I can) that numerical error is a big problem for the models, its the job of the modelers to seek out these issues and implement better methods that satisfy simple consistency and convergence checks.

        Saying that a complex model always does something in the long run is of no scientific value if it does something else when you change the time step. Please see the Cambridge University link Steve gave me on leapfrog Until you see it, I can’t help you any further.

      • I’m in the process of viewing the time stepping talk. I will finish it, but can comment now on 2 things:

        1. The methods considered are ALL explicit. He is only considering basically 3 methods but with different numerical orders of accuracy in delta t. Implicit methods are much better and have much better numerical stability properties as shown by Skeel.

        2. What he says decreases my confidence in model results. He says all models currently use 1st order methods. Time step selection can be complicated with explicit methods because you must consider both accuracy and stability. If the time step makes a big difference in the simulation, you have a serious problem!!

        Anyway, nothing surprising here, just what all scientists discover when they start looking at basic numerical analysis.

      • Steve, I’m now getting really annoyed at these guys. I would never present results without doing discretization studies and time step studies on simple cases. What do the modelers think they are doing? For 30 years, their results have had large numerical errors. Why are the taxpayers paying them to make more and more runs with large errors?

        As he points out, I now recall what is wrong with leapfrog. Why take a method subject to odd/even decoupling and modify it with a filter? Backward differentiation schemes are stable, can be derived with arbitrary order of accuracy.

        Steve, my original scathing statement is not scathing enough! These guys are guilty of not even taking standard numerical consistency and convergence studies that any mathematician would have insisted on!

        I would make them stop ALL their simulations until they could convincingly show that numerical errors were small enough that the results were meaningful.

      • steven mosher

        haha.

        well david you will hear me often say to critics of GCMs that they are missing all the good criticisms.! Glad you enjoyed that. Watch some of the others I pointed you at… and try not to blow a gasket

      • Someone needs to write a post on this issue of numerical errors and inform the “team” that they need some interdisciplinary teams with more integrity.

        And I thought CFD was bad. This is much much worse. Bob Rictmyer and John Gary (my instructor in graduate school) would be ashamed. They used to have mathematicians working at NCAR like Schwarztrauber but perhaps the politization of the field has resulted in bypassing the uncomfortable challenges of having mathematicians on the team.

      • David,

        I don’t think that the modelers are as ignorant on best techniques as you have concluded. Neither do I believe that they lack good arguments to support their methodological choices, but it’s certainly true that it’s difficult to find comprehensive discussion on these issues, and even more difficult to find good discussion on the uncertainties in the results obtained from the models.

        All discussions on the methods used in models as well as in validating the models have made me convinced that no clear formally derived evidence can be provided, the models are too complex for that (in this I side with Steve Easterbrook rather than Dan Hughes). That could be interpreted to imply that models are worthless, but I don’t believe that either (and neither does Easterbrook). There’s a lot of fragmentary evidence on the ability of the models to describe many things reasonably well. From that we may conclude that models are likely to be much better than what they can be proven to be. In other words the models are likely to be at a level that can produce useful results, while it remains extremely difficult to judge, how accurate these results really are.

        There are good presentations related to some aspects of climate modeling, but it remains extremely difficult for outsiders to find out, what to believe and what not. I suspect that it remains extremely difficult also for the modelers themselves. These issues cannot, however, be solved by another time marching scheme.

      • Pekka wrote this to David: There’s a lot of fragmentary evidence on the ability of the models to describe many things reasonably well. From that we may conclude that models are likely to be much better than what they can be proven to be.

        That’s contrary to the usual skeptical attitude in science. Unless extremely well-tested, these complex computational models are likely to do more poorly than they have been tested to be — if there is a thread devoted to this topic, perhaps we can all provide examples. In submissions to the FDA by pharmaceutical companies, all programs are required to have been validated by outside auditors.

        About your phrase “reasonably well” — the anticipated climate sensitivity of 2K-4.5K is only about 1% of the baseline temperature; and most parameters are known with errors of at least 1%; the steady-state approximations frequently employed in deriving important relations like the Clausius-Clapayron equation are inaccurate by 3% – 15%. With these built-in inaccuracies, it is unlikely that “reasonably well” provides the accuracy necessary to estimate the climate sensitivity. Extra attention to the accuracy of model results is necessary, not less attention.

      • Alexander Harvey

        MattStat,

        Pekka said “proven to be”. If he meant that the models perform better than we have any right or logical reason to expect, that seems to be the case.

        Why this is the case is a mystery to me. Perhaps there is an embodied simplification that we are unaware of, e.g. a theory of climate. Perhaps it is due to the constraints dominating the outcome, e.g. the modelling process results in learning machines.

        It is legitimate to question why the models should work at all.

        It is also legitimate to question why they do work at all.

        I do not think it is legitimate to ignore both these issues but the emphasis on which is primarily of interest is something that can be debated but hopefully with respect to the limitation of what can be undertaken in practice.

        David’s is a very useful contribution at least so far as it highlights a real conundrum that I believe is understood by those in the modelling community that think about it.

        Why should they work.

        That there are obvious difficulties that give rise to obvious better practices and why are they not all adopted. This is a level of the challenge that is hugely under-represented in the public debate. The answer may be, (which is my opinion) that there are significant obstacles and that changes for the better are marginalised by the resultant balloon squeezing and hence better practice does not always lead to more physical results.

        This is not an ideal state of affairs but neither would be the discarding of all information that has serious logical deficit, which equates to almost the totality of it, again my opinion.

        Steven is right about people missing all the best criticisms, if you want them you must listen to what the modellers have to say about the models. The web presentations he refers to contain many crticisms. It is refreshing to hear people being somewhat candid or even rude about the models.

        How one reacts to this is a matter of personal taste. David’s seems to be one of outraged despair, mine tends to seeing some hope through a glass darkly.

        Alex

      • Alex and MattStat,

        Pekka said “proven to be”. If he meant that the models perform better than we have any right or logical reason to expect, that seems to be the case.

        That is my point. Informal processes in improving models lead often to very useful results, but leave it very difficult to assess, how reliable and accurate those results really are.

        People react like David Young, when they pick the requirements from another field, where these requirements are both essential and practical, and transfer them to scientific research of very complex issues. Doing that leads almost always to the conclusion that the research must be worthless, although that’s often a totally wrong conclusion. We have certainly seen thousands of comments on this site, where people tell, how science must be done to be valuable, and do it in a way that’s violated by a very large fraction of best and most valuable scientific work.

        Because the goal of science is to find truly new knowledge, the science must also be free to violate all formal rules. The only things that the science is not allowed to violate are very general principles of honesty, openness and self-criticism on the level on both individuals and scientific communities.

        I agree fully with Steven’s comment. The blogosphere is full of criticism, but 99.9 percent of that is not essential. The really interesting and important 0.1 percent may often be too difficult for the blogosphere to handle. There’s still a difference between the blogosphere and good scientific publications, and there’s still a high barrier that makes it difficult for an interested layman to understand properly many of the most relevant issues of science. It’s difficult to understand something like string theory with all it’s unfamiliar mathematical concepts, but it’s also difficult to understand, what is the relevance of all inputs that have been taken into account in developing large Earth system models. The difficulty may in one case be in deep details, and in the other in reaching an overall view of a very wide collection of disperse knowledge.

        My own rough view is that anybody must work actively a couple of years with any complex models before things may start to get clear. Unfortunately that brings with it also a risk of myopia – concentrating on details and missing something essential. Thus no amount of experience guarantees valid understanding, but a lack of practical experience makes it essentially impossible to understand, what the complex models really do. Experience is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for valid understanding.

        What we would need is that some of the genuinely best modelers (preferably more than one and also scientists with somewhat differing views) would come out and spend a major effort in explaining openly what they see as strengths and weaknesses in the models, what they think about the uncertainties in various results, and why. They should also be willing to take a major effort in answering questions of the type David presented continuing to the important related issues that he didn’t present. Gavin’s answers were in the right direction, but only a tiny step in that. Doing that properly is really a major effort. We know also that most of the questions will be repetitions of questions answered already innumerable times. Thus proceeding to deeper issues is very difficult. It would result to something like a full textbook, but written for a diverse audience.

      • Pekka wrote: People react like David Young, when they pick the requirements from another field, where these requirements are both essential and practical, and transfer them to scientific research of very complex issues.

        What accuracy is needed in climate science in order to direct the investments of possibly hundreds of billions of dollars to possibly reduce CO2 to non-dangerous levels before 2100? Where has it been demonstrated that any of their models have that required accuracy?

        I believe that we have stated a very reasonable standard that climate science should meet, and climate science hasn’t been demonstrated to meet it.

      • Just felt the need to argue with Pekka RE climate modelers numerical sophistication.

        I’ve seen this in many fields, even at Los Alamos. Legacy codes typically were started in the 1960’s or 70’s and tend to grow by accretion.

        I urge you to see the link steve mosher gave me earlier to a talk at Cambridge on time stepping methods for GCM. It shows some shocking things like tremendously dissipative methods, large time step errors, etc.

        I claim that numerical stability and accuracy and sensitivity to numerical grid and time steps are part of due diligence for any computational scientist regardless of field. Unfortunately some fields are better than others in this regard.

        I do have one other question I need to investigate. Leapfrog, the method used in GCM’s, is UNSTABLE for any solution except a purely oscillatory one. I wonder if this filtering refered to by the Cambridge talk is really a too powerful stabilization method that impacts accuracy. If so, it would explain why the climate models seem to be more stable than theory would predict,

      • Just to summarize — I have no evidence of due diligence by climate modelers on standard numerical checks of consistency and accuracy. The prima facia evidence (from the Cambridge talk and my information from Gavin) is of remarkably poor understanding of the methods used at least one of which has SERIOUS issues of stability and is as I said before one of the best methods from the 1950’s.

        I should write a guest post sometime on this subject and show you some simple examples of how numerical error builds up in any time accurate calculation. It’s simple mathematics that is usually taught to scientists in a senior level numerical analysis class.

      • Leapfrog, the method used in GCM’s, is UNSTABLE for any solution except a purely oscillatory one.

        The idea is not to follow any specific solution for long, but to get an estimate of the range of possible states. The models are to an significant part weather forecasting models, but nobody thinks that they provide sensible forecasts even for next year. That’s where the instability makes the model certain to fail, but that’s really almost irrelevant. What’s of interest is, how the nonlinear nature of the full model keeps the solutions in some range well enough to allow for calculation of averages and other statistical properties of the range of results.

        It’s possible that also climate relevant results are wrong, but you cannot conclude that from the instability of the method in some other applications.

      • David – You raise specific points in an area that I (and I expect others) would be interested in understanding in more detail. We may be familiar with how GCM models are used as one element among the components of climate science, as well as evidence for their skills and deficiencies and for the utility of some simpler models and observational data to comprise a complementary package in advancing our climate understanding (I mentioned this recently regarding the simple energy balance models for estimating transient climate sensitivity). However, if I understand you correctly, you appear to be claiming that the GCM modelers are neglectful in failing to address deficiencies in areas such as time stepping and other processes involving the accuracy of numerical solutions to differential equations for various aspects of fluid dynamics.

        I don’t feel qualified to make judgments about this claim, and probably none who participate here would be as well suited to comment as would be individuals who develop these climate models for a living. The recent exchange on RC was informative because your points were responded to by Gavin, a modeler, and the Isaac Held blog I cited would be another venue where this might possible. I think it could be useful for you to use those venues for detailed discussion of some of these technical points and then to come here to link to those discussions, in preference to making the arguments here where GCM modelers are unlikely to respond. At the moment, the most recent RC post is entitled “unforced variations”, meaning an invitation to comment on any topic relevant to climate science. This might be a good time to revisit RC to continue the dialog there, particularly since the previous visit seemed worthwhile.

      • Thanks for the suggestion.

        1. Steve Mosher has some great links in previous posts in this thread that were more informative than RC and one of these links confirmed that results can be VERY sensitive to the time step and the time stepping scheme.

        2. Last week on RC, I left a very detailed post about more modern and better numerical methods (not just for time stepping) including a lot of excellent references. There was no response.

        3. I know from experience that people who use “legacy” codes and run them for a living are in a difficult position. Upgrading their methods is often difficult and time consuming and introduces the need for “validation” of the new methods and code.

        4. It is shocking how outdated the methods in many simulation codes (not just climate and weather) are. What the communities need is an impetus from outside their community, e. g., some healthy competition. Maybe a new modeling group started from scratch that built a model from scratch.

      • David – Regarding this exchange of comments, I’ve addressed some of these points in a response in the earlier thread on this topic. I hope you’ll take a look. I believe there is value in a continued exchange with modelers, from which they can learn something about the issues of numerical accuracy, you can learn from them about applications to climate change, and we can learn from both sides of the dialog.

      • OK Fred, I went to RC and said what I said here about the numerical methods, viz., that they were totally unreliable and that the results could be very wrong.

        Guess what. No response from the team. I wonder why. At least they did not moderate out my post.

      • David – I’m pleased that you went back to RC. You had no response from Gavin, but two responses from other participants (perhaps not particularly helpful but responses nonetheless). Since that thread was no longer the latest one, your comment was #90, and the large majority of comments don’t elicit a response from “the team” (just as most comments here don’t get a response from Dr. Curry), the result was not too surprising. If another opportunity comes up, I hope you’ll try again. I don’t follow every comment on RC, so if that happens, maybe you can alert us here.

      • Fred, See Gavin’s latest reply, snide and political and personal. This is not a scientist, but a politician defending his field when there is a problem. What odds will you give me that he will allow my response to go on the site?

      • David – I saw a response from Gavin to a comment from you in which you used the word “shocking” to describe the inadequacies you saw in the kind of work he does. If you try again, be more diplomatic. That won’t guarantee a more diplomatic response from him, but it might help.

      • You know, I will not approach Schmidt more diplomatically than I would approach an executive at a large high tech company or any other government scientist, and I’ve dealt with many even though few as small minded as Schmidt. Schmidt is not very high on my list of scientists. In any case, if he doesn’t care to check his own model for errors, then he will be shown by people like Paul Williams to be negligent. I don’t have any interest in Schmidt except to improve science. If he proves a waste of time, then he can continue to envy those of us who actually have developed models that have real world impact and that do not have serious numerical errors. In short, I have better things to do with my time, like produce a breakthrough in a field where there is more scientific integrity, which by the way I’m working on with my team now.

      • Perhaps a ‘sabbatical’ for Gavin to learn more about climate communications?
        =========

      • Schmidt needs to go back to graduate school and study a few textbooks written in the 1970’s like Skeel’s book on ordinary differential equations or Ivo Babuska’s work on the theory of the finite element method and quit pretending to be a top flight scientist. I’m reminded of Samuel Elliott Morrison’s comment on scientists in the 1930’s: “Scientists whose political education was neglected turned to the popular ideologies of the day: Marxist or Fascism.” Schmidt’s problem is that his mathematical education was neglected.

      • Heh, Brune, Mann’s recruiter to the Nittany Lions, has revealed that the Piltdown Mann is on sabbatical to learn more about climate communications.

        A life-saving, er palliative, prescription for the whole ‘team’.
        =============

      • David,
        I have noted before that you are discussing an important issue, and I don’t want claim that there are no important issues of stability in the methods used by the climate modelers.

        What I protest in your statements is the certainty that you present on the incompetence of the climate modelers. I don’t think that you are right on that. There are certainly enough people among the modeling community, who know very well the present state of development concerning time stepping and other similar issues.

        The other thing that I protest in your statements is the certainty that the more stable choices would be better for these models. If the models are even before discretization dissipative enough, there are no stability problems of the type you discuss. Then the problem is rather that the numerical methods may make the models even more dissipative leading to too stable results.

        All the above is related to the ability of the models to produce time-accurate results as well as the ill-posed or nearly ill-posed problem allows (to me the issue of well-posedness is familiar, but then I have my copy of Richtmyer’s textbook on mathematical methods in physics in my bookshelf). What I commented on the nonlinearity is related to the fact that the time-accuracy of the fast processes is not critical for the climate models, if the nonlinearities kick in as they should to make the results meaningful with any time stepping method. Here we do have critical problems, not necessarily or probably in the areas you emphasized.

        The other critical dynamical issue in climate models concerns very slow processes dominated by oceans. For those problems the issues related to time stepping are very different. To get right results in that part of the models the correct level of dissipation of the large scale circulation is critical, and that’s really complicated, because that must be influenced also by details of boundary conditions, as we are studying circulation in very complex pools of water, and because of the combined effects of temperature and salinity variations on density of sea water.

        When I agreed with Steven Mosher on the nature of critique seen on the net, I had in mind that there are indeed very important extremely difficult issues in building climate models, but that the particular problem of time stepping that you emphasized is not among those, as it’s severity can be estimated from the practical experience on weather forecasting models and from the known dissipative features of the models.

      • David,

        I had looked earlier at several of the Isaac Newton Institute web seminars, but not at the Williams lecture. When I checked that, I realize that it’s precisely on those issues that I have been mentioning as more problematic than the basic time stepping choice is, when the rest is done properly.

        I have been worrying about too much dissipation, not too little. Using leap frog stepping requires dissipation for numerical stability. The implicit methods may work, when leap frog doesn’t without artificial stabilization, but using inherently more stable methods is in no way a guarantee of better model behavior or the right level of dissipation. If there’s too much dissipation from other sources, the leapfrog method may turn out to give better results.

        Williams is promoting his own method. Thus it would certainly be necessary to have other views. That’s exactly the type of discussion that I would like to see, but it cannot be initiated by implying that the modelers are idiots, who don’t know the basics of their own field of specialty, as you did in some of your messages at RC. Furthermore a thread on Greenland is not the right place for that.

      • David,

        I find your experience with RC interesting.

        There have been allogations that RC edits many of the comments it posts. Have you gone back to see if RC has edited your comments as they now read?

  28. Were there any questions or post seminar discussions with you that involved post-normal or precautionary philosophies?

  29. (Perhaps my comment was a little too buried and short to be noticed)

    Judy noted:
    > And stay tuned for my keynote address at a forthcoming conference on climate change conference.

    Are you speaking at the WCRP OSC? What session?

    Thanks!

  30. The International Council of Science declares:

    The Principle of the Universality of Science embodies freedom of movement, association, expression and communication for scientists as well as equitable access to data, information and research materials. Important responsibilities at all levels for scientists are inherent in these freedoms, namely to carry out and communicate scientific work with integrity, respect, fairness, trustworthiness, and transparency. By actively upholding this principle, ICSU opposes any discrimination on the basis of such factors as ethnic origin, religion, citizenship, language, political stance, gender, sexual orientation or age.

    Can “climate science” be returned to integrity, trustworthiness, and transparency?

    The evidence appears to be that AGW IPCC “gatekeepers” systemically exclude any evidence that is outside of or exposes their perceived political agenda. e.g. whether very high uncertainties for aerosols, or low evaluations of climate sensitivity.

    See the NIPCC’s reports Climate Change Reconsidered , and Icecap.us for further evidence of such excluded evidence.

  31. Vaughan

    I should proof read better

    How have you accounted for changes in natural CO2 emissions and absorption rates as they vary over time in response to conditions in your model?

    Doesn’t this seem critical?

  32. Judith,

    Did you notice my comment in the other thread that the IPCC Appendix 9.C is freely available on the IPCC site. One has just to look at the pdf-version of the WG1 report and there at the supplementary material to Chapter 9.

    • Pekka Pirilä

      The pdf version I have of IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 9 has an Appendix 9A (relating to the statistical methods used to “detect externally forced signals”), but no Appendix 9C

      http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter9.pdf

      Can you provide the link to the Appendix 9C?

      Thanks,

      Max

    • Pekka, I did look at the pdf version and only appendix 9A was there?? can you provide me with the specific link you pulled this from?

      • Louise gave already the link (as I did in the other thread earlier). I left it out here as I wanted to explain, how it can be found through a route that’s not totally impossible to figure out.

        By that I don’t want to deny that it’s a bit difficult to find.

        (I found it checking first, what I have on my hard disk, and after finding it in the pdf, I went to search it from the IPCC site.)

      • Thx, assuming this is the previous MIT thread, i will try to find it

      • Ok, now I found it thx. here is what it says about fig 9.7:

        Figure 9.7
        Data processing for this figure was performed as for Figure 9.6. The power spectra were estimated using the method described in Mitchell et al. (2001), Figure 12.2.

        Here is what is said about Fig 9.6:

        Figure 9.6
        This figure was plotted using annual means from Step 1-8 of the data processing procedure described for FAQ 9.2, Figure 1, which were then further processed by re-centering relative to 1901-1997 (left panels) and 1979-1997 (right panels). Grid points with missing annual means for a period of 6 consecutive years or longer are excluded. Red and blue shading in the bottom panels indicate the “middle” 90% of simulated trends determined as in step 12 of the procedure for FAQ 9.2, Figure 1.

        Now heading over to Mitchell et al. 2001:

        Mitchell et al. is the TAR chapter. Here is what the figure caption for Fig 12.2 says:

        Figure 12.2: Coloured lines: power spectra of global mean temperatures in the unforced control integrations that are used to provide estimates of internal climate variability in Figure 12.12. All series were linearly detrended prior to analysis, and spectra computed using a standard Tukey window with the window width (maximum lag used in the estimate) set to one-fifth of the series length, giving each spectral estimate the same uncertainty range, as shown (see, e.g., Priestley, 1981). The first 300 years were omitted from ECHAM3-LSG, CGCM1 and CGCM2 models as potentially trend-contaminated. Solid black line: spectrum of observed global mean temperatures (Jones et al., 2001) over the period 1861 to 1998 after removing a best-fit linear trend. This estimate is unreliable on inter-decadal time-scales because of the likely impact of external forcing on the observed series and the negative bias introduced by the detrending. Dotted black line: spectrum of observed global mean temperatures after removing an independent estimate of the externally forced response provided by the ensemble mean of a coupled model simulation (Stott et al., 2000b, and Figure 12.7c). This estimate will be contaminated by uncertainty in the model-simulated forced response, together with observation noise and sampling error. However, unlike the detrending procedure, all of these introduce a positive (upward) bias in the resulting estimate of the observed spectrum. The dotted line therefore provides a conservative (high) estimate of observed internal variability at all frequencies. Asterisks indicate models whose variability is significantly less than observed variability on 10 to 60 year time-scales after removing either a best-fit linear trend or an independent estimate of the forced response from the observed series. Significance is based on an F-test on the ratio observed/model mean power over this frequency interval and quoted at the 5% level. Power spectral density (PSD) is defined such that unit-variance uncorrelated noise would have an expected PSD of unity (see Allen et al., 2000a, for details). Note that different normalisation conventions can lead to different values, which appear as a constant offset up or down on the logarithmic vertical scale used here. Differences between the spectra shown here and the corresponding figure in Stouffer et al. (2000) shown in Chapter 8, Figure 8.18 are due to the use here of a longer (1861 to 2000) observational record, as opposed to 1881 to 1991 in Figure 8.18. That figure also shows 2.5 to 97.5% uncertainty ranges, while for consistency with other figures in this chapter, the 5 to 95% range is displayed here.

        ———–

        Well that clarifies things somewhat in terms of how the figure was created and how to interpret their confidence intervals. My main concern remains as to how the IPCC actually drew conclusions from this, and how this kind of analysis is actually used in their conclusions regarding detection and attribution.

      • My immediate (non-technical) reaction to the difficulty of finding this appendix is that it was hidden because there was something to hide. Thus IMO it would warrant an immediate close inspection by auditors. Is there a circularity hidden in the process?

      • AK,
        As far as I remember, the document was originally very easy to find, because the pdf’s were the only form, in which the report was available on net. The alternative way of looking at the report was added much later, but they have obviously not brought all supporting material to this new structure.

  33. I suppose the cooling between appx 1300 AD to the mid 1850’s was due to a decrease in man made Co2 ? As a layman It always amazes me how climate scientists disregard historically documented warming and cooling periods that occurred before the industrial age and flat out refuse to consider that a significant amount of the current warming is simply natural variation.

    • Jim, you might think this is a joke, but it has been claimed that this cooling was caused by a reduction in human activity following the Black Death in the 14th century! Look up a paper by Ruddiman (2003) “The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago”.

      • that’s kind of funny, but I am not surprised. The CAGW crowd has long lost any credibility in my mind, they seem to have a long habit of attempting to fit the facts to their pet hypothesis.

        Seriously though until climate science advances to the point where they can identify the dozens if not hundreds of factors involved with previous natural climate changes how can they begin to assess the contributions of mankind?

      • Edit – looked up the Ruddiman paper and chuckled a bit. I suppose he should do a follow up paper on how a sudden population decrease initiated th Younger Dryas

  34. Dr. Curry,

    When you are trying to account for all uncertainties, how do you account for the possibility that most studies in climate science may be seriously in error? I’m trying to ask a serious question here.

    Venture capitalists and private labs have found that they are unable to replicate most academic studies. Estimates of the error range go as high as 2/3. Note, these are studies that the researchers KNOW will be likely to be replicated. Yet, the researchers still fool themselves into publishing the work (this shows just how powerful are the motivations to get published).

    What is the likelihood that there is a similarly significant error rate in climate science? Given the absence of transparency, audit or replication, it is easy to imagine that it might be even worse. Given the egregious errors that have been found in some of the studies produced by the biggest names in the field and given that statistics experts and software experts have bemoaned the lack of quality of such work in climate, can anyone assume that there aren’t significant problems?

  35. Dr. Curry,

    You have my admiration, respect and thanks for speaking out and making the truth, as you see it, known to both the academy and the public. You have done a great service to your profession and the populace.

    • “One faculty member thought I wimped out a bit on my answer regarding the IPCC, and thought that the IPCC should just be disbanded. This started a discussion on the IPCC. Ron Prinn related a very interesting story. Ron was a lead author on AR4 Chapter 2. He is a big fan of the Morgan et al. (2006) expert elicitation study on aerosol radiative forcing (mentioned on slide 30 of my talk), and in fact recommended to Morgan that he conduct this study. Prinn tried to get the Ch 2 group to include this paper in their chapter but they refused to. The argument was that they decided on their consensus approach, and didn’t want to confuse things with a different methodology (that happened to include a result whereby aerosol indirect effects in the 20th century might be -2.1 W m-2 or more, which is a value that is larger than the direct CO2 forcing in the 20th century (1.7 Wm-2). He was unable to get this study even included in the references, although he was a lead author.”

      He’s right in one sense but he’s still a consensus player (see below), Dr. Curry is largely half measures and an equivocator when we get to essential structures of the consensus cartel and its related parties and topics (like political affiliation). If she were honest she would likely not have been invited to such a climate orthodox setting.

      http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/environment/2008-10-24-greenhouse-gases_N.htm

  36. The unawareness of the #1 Science Blog, and reliance on RC, is gobsmacking, yet predicable.

    Thanks, btw, for the detail on the Ron Prinn’s experience. It matches others which have been “blown off” by IPCC Believers. Martha and Joshua are fair samples of the breed.

  37. Attended Michael Mann’s talk, not a hockey stick talk, so I dropped my questions. Glad I did, because in response to someone’s question he ended up agreeing that models maybe overstate warming. The issue with the Medieval Warm Period being geographically limited, and the rest of the world saw La Nina conditions, and this would happen in response to greenhouse gases as well. And this was during a talk when he said that models understate warming was a paper he was working on, because treerings missed the biggest volcanic eruption of the millennium.
    The most fascinating part to me was when he said that half the volcanoes in their record are unknown historically, including the biggest one around 1260.

    • Mann is doing a Sir Robin, seeking to cover his well paid rear.
      That he would state that, when he and his team suppressed and bs’ed so much about how perfect their work was, years after the fact is pretty arrogant on his part.
      Did he at least try to sound sincere, or was it just another of his shams?

    • Interesting. I happen to agree with Mann for a change. Maybe he and Gavin should consider a job swap?

  38. Venture capitalists and private labs have found that they are unable to replicate most academic studies. Estimates of the error range go as high as 2/3.

    How can we replicate and verify that assertion?
    No doubt that the majority of academic studies can’t be commercialized