IPCC and traceability

by Judith Curry

I just got the reviews on my reply to the rebuttal submitted regarding my uncertainty monster paper.  They take exception with my criticism of transparency of the IPCC’s attribution argument.

From the review:

Curry and Webster state: “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.” Curry and Webster are entitled to their opinion, but it is inappropriate to “speak for” scientists outside the IPCC process and from other technical fields as a whole without citing support for such claims.  Their views should be represented accurately as the views of two individuals, rather than as the unsubstantiated collective view of diverse scientists and scientific communities.



Curry and Webster state, “Listing a large number of uncertainty locations, and then coming up with a ‘very likely’ likelihood statement using expert judgment in the context of a consensus building approach, is at the heart of our concern regarding the IPCC’s treatment of uncertainty.”  This relates to the statement from the original Curry and Webster paper that was challenged by Hegerl et al., “Since no traceable account is given in the AR4 of how the likelihood assessment in the attribution statement was reached, it is not possible to determine what the qualitative judgments of the lead authors were on the methodological reliability of their claim.”  

On pages 18-19 of the original article, Curry and Webster quote AR4 WG1 Chapter 9 Section 9.4 and refer to this as a description of the reasoning process used in assessing likelihood in the attribution statement.  This, along with discussion in section 9.4.1 and table 9.4, provides a clear traceable account of the multiple lines of evidence supporting the attribution statement and forming the basis for the likelihood assessment.  Ultimately, the synthesis of multiple lines of evidence in the development of an assessment finding and the assignment of likelihood requires the expert judgment of the author team.  Chapter 9 certainly could have provided further details about some aspects, such as the downweighting of the likelihood assessment to take into account remaining uncertainties, but it is incorrect to say that a traceable account was not given.  



The first guidance paper on treatment of uncertainties for IPCC authors, from the Third Assessment Report cycle (2000) encourages authors to “Prepare a ‘traceable account’ of how the estimates were constructed that describes the writing team’s reasons for adopting a particular probability distribution, including important lines of evidence used, standards of evidence applied, approaches to combining/reconciling multiple lines of evidence, explicit explanations of methods for aggregation, and critical uncertainties.” The uncertainties guidance for the Fourth Assessment Report cycle (2004) states, “Be prepared to make expert judgments and explain those by providing a traceable account of the steps used to arrive at estimates of uncertainty or confidence for key findings – e.g. an agreed hierarchy of information, standards of evidence applied, approaches to combining or reconciling multiple lines of evidence, and explanation of critical factors.” As further background (noting that this was not available at the time of the development of the AR4), the latest uncertainties guidance released last year for the Fifth Assessment Report cycle states, “Be prepared to make expert judgments in developing key findings, and to explain those judgments by providing a traceable account: a description in the chapter text of your evaluation of the type, amount, quality, and consistency of evidence and the degree of agreement, which together form the basis for a given key finding. Such a description may include standards of evidence applied, approaches to combining or reconciling multiple lines of evidence, conditional assumptions, and explanation of critical factors. When appropriate, consider using formal elicitation methods to organize and quantify these judgments.”    



So, give me your comments.  How should traceable account” be interpreted?  Did the IPCC give a traceable account?  Has uncertainty been adequately characterized by the IPCC?  My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).

Moderation note:  this thread will be monitored strictly for relevance.

342 responses to “IPCC and traceability

  1. Judith,

    You wrote:

    “My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).”

    referring to

    “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.”

    I would suggest making that explicit. The way it is written now sounds like you are referring to the (in the words of the reviewer) “collective view of diverse scientists and scientific communities”, whereas in reality you are referring to a very select group of individuals who share a deep suspicion of mainstream climate science. It’s no wonder that they are critical of the IPCC; that’s the common factor in this particular group. I.e. it’s a form of begging the question.

    • Bart, I don’t think she means it refers solely to the denizens, just that it includes the denizens.

      • …just that it includes the denizens.

        And as such, it is completely unscientific, unverified, and unqualified.

        And ironic.

      • Not to mention, unquantified.

      • That sounds like the description for the IPCC.

      • oops. Sorry – my pasted didn’t paste what I wanted to paste.

        That sounds like the description for the IPCC.

        If that’s what you think – all the more reason to not accept if from Judith.

        Unless you consider “Mommy, mommy, they did it tooooo.” to be a valid form of scientific analysis.

      • The results of a data analysis are neither “absurd” or not “absurd.”

        If that’s what you think – all the more reason to not accept if from Judith.

        Unless you consider “Mommy, mommy, they did it tooooo.” to be a valid form of scientific analysis.

      • I don’t think they were talking about your contributions Joshua
        Although you’ve covered your attributes pretty well … ironic huh?

    • Bart V,
      this question has been asked before, but perhaps you will answer it:
      If you personal money was being invested by a group of advisors, and you foudn out that they run their advisory service the way the IPCC runs its climate reporting, would you be comfortable with their claimed results?

      • Because people like you can become advisors, I never use advisors.

      • I would be pleased with an investment advisory group whose market projections were as good as the IPCC’s temperature projections.

      • did you leave off the /sarc?

        You’d only be pleased if the investment returns equalled or exceeded the projections … so far actual returns are well behind the projections and being further eroded by hidden and trailing commissions.

      • Not well enough behind to bother me. The IPCC FAR(1990) projected a 1990-2025 global temperature rise of 1 degree C, or about 0.29 per decade The WT index (see link) shows a rise of 0.15 C per decade has occurred so far, or about one-half of what the FAR projected.

        If my investment in an S&P 500 index fund, which I made in the year 2000, had earned one-half of what I expected, I would be pleased. Instead its earned hardly anything.

        http://www.oodfortrees.org/

      • M. carey,

        The statement projecting ‘about’ 1ºC warming by 2025 should be understood to rely heavily on the word ‘about’. There is slightly more clarification elsewhere:

        This will result in a likely increase in global mean temperature of about 1°C above the present value (about 2°C above that in the pre-industrial period) by 2025

        This statement gives more context for the ‘1ºC’ figure. Further down, in the Estimates for Changes by 2030 box, there is more precision: our best estimate of global mean warming [from pre-industrial] of 1.8°C by 2030.

        We can conclude that ‘about 1ºC’ should really be ‘about 0.8ºC [by 2030]’ and therefore ‘about 0.7ºC by 2025′. This corresponds to a projection of 0.2ºC/Decade warming. That’s leaving aside the question of whether or not the Business-as-Usual scenario really happened after 1990.

      • Paul, thanks for your comment. Looks like the IPCC FAR temperature projections are better than I thought.

      • Oh really?
        You do realise that the “advisory group” are also the ones who produce the results don’t you?

      • So you think BEST is a conspiracy too?

      • Conspiracy? I didn’t mention it nor was I thinking of it.
        You opted to ignore my point.

      • Baa, I didn’t ignore your point. Apparently, I don’t understand your point. Will you clarify it?

      • I would certainly feel safer putting my money with them than investing it in the snake oil pushed by Watts, Morano, Monckton, Plimer et al.

      • Latimer Alder

        Did I miss something? Are those luminaries asking us all to spend in excess of 100 trillion dollars because of their theories – with no option to refuse? I’ve seen AW ask for a small tipjar donation occasionally, but not much else.

        So when it comes to due diligence, I think I’d take a much harder look at the guys who want us to spend something like 7 times the GDP of the USA rather than a voluntary twenty quid here or there. Especially when the former have refused to implement a Conflict of Interest policy recommended by an independent review.

      • They choose to get involed in the debate and have a certain amount of influence. Therefore others are entitled to subject them to scrutiny and call them on it when they push misinformation. And inaction on AGW, which these guys are pushing for, has consequences just as action on AGW does.

      • Latimer Alder

        You’ll need to explain what are the consequences of inaction on AGW are and how you demonstrate those consequences to be real rather than hypothetrical/theoretical/phantasmagorical.

        Because I’ve yet to see anything other than unvalidated output from models that have been unable to demonstrate any predictive skill.

        Some observational evidence woud help greatly. And a cost ed model of the cosequences of inaction. Does such a thing exist?

      • There is plenty enough stuff out there which is very easy to find if you are really interested in finding out the likely consequences of AGW if we carry on BAU. Whether you bother to take it seriously or just dismiss it out of hand is entirely up to you. If you are interested in the economics you could start with Stern.

      • Note that only one believer gave an answer that is germane to my question. And that one, by Carey, was still missing the point deliberately.

    • Not to mention attempting to mislead a journal.

  2. As a first impression, the reviews contain some valid points (valid in the sense that they belong in this kind of review) but also other points that would better be part of the debate itself, since they convey what can be described as legitimate disagreements on debatable subjects.

    Among the valid points:
    1. The reference to the broader scientific community in the original paper: contrary to what is implied by the review, you were not attributing your own views (as authors) to a broader community. You were rather stating what (in your opinion) such broader community is entitled to expect. In view of the review, your statement could be easily adjusted to reflect what you actually wanted to say. For instance, qualifying “the broader scientific community” by some brief description of who you meant by that expression (as in “scientifically educated persons not necessarily specialized in climate modelling”), and expanding your assertion about what such community is entitled to expect by explicitly saying that it is your judgment about what the broader scientific community is entitled to expect, based on the IPCC charter and guidelines; some passages of IPCC guidelines and other documents may be cited to support such assessment.
    2. Your comments about the traceable account can be complemented with some examples, to the effect that (in your opinion) what is given in the IPCC report as “traceable account” is often incomplete or inadequate, even allowing for the somewhat subjective nature of expert judgments. In my recollection, many uncertainty statement (such as “very likely”) are given without ANY account of the reasons supporting such judgment. The fact that the guidelines allow for expert judgment is not a blank cheque allowing to pass judgment without much elaboration on such crucial matters. A really “traceable” account is required. A step by step reconstruction of the reasoning leading to such expert judgments should be more adequate as a “traceable account”..

  3. Judith –

    My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).

    When you characterize the broader scientific community via reference to your denizens, do you include the numerous statements with absolute certainty that AGW is a “hoax” perpetrated by frauds with a socialistic agenda?

    How about the claims with absolute certainty that the world isn’t warming? That solar radiation has been proven to invalidate theories of AGW? How about the claims that the BEST team are “media whores?”

    What are the criteria you use to measure the attributes and opinions of the “broader scientific community” as represented by your “denizens?”

    What are the criteria you use to measure the level of certainty among your “denizens,” often, in fact for perspectives that you, yourself, have stated that you are extremely certain are wrong?

    • Joshua, I think you are being contrarian again, and completely missing the point; so as I promised I’m calling you out on it and trying to get your mind back on track. A comment like what Dr. Curry said is simply an invitation to participate and get people commenting here (she is giving us playful flattery). But harping about this is completely -off topic-. She published a paper, which this article is about the reaction to, and in that paper did she cite only posts here? Did she cite any posts here? What did she cite and reference?

      Care to discuss the actual points raised in the post itself? I do not mean that facetiously, it is an interesting topic with many facets of opinion. I’ll throw in my personal view: the whole way the IPCC characterized uncertainty was silly, unscientific, and did not increase clarity of the discussion as I think was their intent. It simply needs to be redone and reframed.

      I also believe her paper is right in that there isn’t a traceable accounting of IPCC decisions, especially when it came to the nebulous assigning of uncertainties. That doesn’t mean they didn’t try to back it up in some form, but the decision making process by the lead authors to support such statements, which was supposed to be transparent from my understanding, was largely a mystery (and why some politicized, and unqualified LEAD authors managed to sneak in and toss up bogus reports that have later been struck down).

      • Nice post, Ged –

        Please do continue to point it out to me if you find something I post to be merely contrarian.

        A comment like what Dr. Curry said is simply an invitation to participate and get people commenting here (she is giving us playful flattery).

        That could be, and if you’re correct in that assertion than my point would simply be contrarian. However, I have seen Judith, on a number of occasions, write about how she values the input of her “denizens” to her scientific analysis. This is not a one-off type of statement from her.

        She published a paper, which this article is about the reaction to, and in that paper did she cite only posts here? Did she cite any posts here? What did she cite and reference?

        But the problem is that in her paper she referred to “the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science)” and stated that they “have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.” In fact, she didn’t cite articles as reference and her descriptor could very well include the those who post here. In fact, in this post she said that ” My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).” Now I’m not a mind-reader, and while your interpretation of her purpose in that statement may be correct – but it would be in direct contrast to the meaning of her actual statement and it would be in conflict with other statements that’s she’s made about how she values the comments of her “denizens.”

        Further, it would be in direct contrast to how many of her “denizens” as well as many members of the “the broader scientific and other technical communities” express expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty.

        Judith’s statement is unqualified, unquantified, and unverified. As such, it was appropriate for the reviewers to ask for qualification, quantification, and verification. I would suggest that if she attempts to include her “denizens” in her attempts to address that reviewer’s criticism, she will have a great deal of trouble.

        I’ll throw in my personal view: the whole way the IPCC characterized uncertainty was silly, unscientific, and did not increase clarity of the discussion as I think was their intent. It simply needs to be redone and reframed.

        I don’t fully agree with your characterization – but I think that the criticisms of the IPCC for not sufficiently qualifying and quantifying and validating the statements of uncertainty are important. We would all benefit from the IPCC taking all such criticism as seriously as possible. The problems arise when partisan and/or ideological interests become an overlay onto the debate. That problem is exacerbated when participants make unqualified, unquantified, and unverified comparisons such as Judith did in her paper.

        I also believe her paper is right in that there isn’t a traceable accounting of IPCC decisions, especially when it came to the nebulous assigning of uncertainties.

        Traceability is important. The more you have, the better.

        and why some politicized, and unqualified LEAD authors managed to sneak in and toss up bogus reports that have later been struck down

        To the extent that happened, it is an important problem. However, that problem should be considered in the full context of what the IPCC has produced. In the full context, it remains a problem – but what doesn’t help is that when we examine the full context we find people seeking to exploit those problems and magnify their import – towards the end of serving partisan and/or ideological agendas.

      • ‘In the full context, it remains a problem – but what doesn’t help is that when we examine the full context we find people seeking to exploit those problems and magnify their import – towards the end of serving partisan and/or ideological agendas’

        I’ve read that several times and whichever way I come at it. it seems to say that drawing attenton to problems is to be discouraged in case it should reflect badly on the IPCC (at least that’s what I assume ‘examine the full context’ is meant to mean).

        I think the whole post suggests that any problems must be swept under the carpet. Or that dirty linen should only be washed behind closed doors.

        Joshua please feel free to correct me if your convoluted way of exrepssion has misled me. But please use direct language when you do. Example:

        The cat sat on the mat

      • I’ve read that several times and whichever way I come at it. it seems to say that drawing attenton to problems is to be discouraged in case it should reflect badly on the IPCC (at least that’s what I assume ‘examine the full context’ is meant to mean).

        That’s an interesting point. It’s true that whether or not someone is agenda-driven, if they highlight what are legitimate problems then they are serving a purpose that can be beneficial.

        The difficulties there are that: (1) when they are agenda-driven, they mix legitimate problems throughout with distortions, exaggerations, etc. As such, it becomes difficult to determine which criticisms are legit and, (2) to the extent that the examination of problems is agenda-driven, it engenders an agenda-driven (tribal, if you will) response. That’s not to defend an agenda-driven response, but a simple observation of reality and human nature. It’s easy to say that the problems with the IPCC are an inherent outgrowth of socialist, communist, Stalinist, eco-Nazi frauds who are attempting to impose a one-world government and destroy capitalism at the expense (with nary a concern) of hundreds of millions of starving children – and indoing so, you might point out legitimate problems with the IPCC (insufficient quantification of uncertainty, insuficcient control for conflict of interest, etc.) – but when you make such broad, conspiratoral accusations, you will not likely get constructive response. That is easily predictable – so it seems odd that people interested in progress would follow such a course of action.

        The same question could be applied to those who refer to all “skepticism” as denial. Nothing beneficial (IMO) will be served by such rhetoric other than a continuation of the jr. high school cafeteria food fight.

      • Thanks Joshua

        But I didn’t see no cats. It is possible to write sentences with fewer than 75 words.

      • Latimer –

        Without taking time to edit, I write the way I think. When I take time to edit, my writing is reduced by at least 2/3. I would take more time to edit, but I know that my legion fans at Climate Etc. are ever-waiting breathlessly for my next post, so I feel a sense of urgency to post as quickly as possible.

        If you think it’s tough to read what I write, just imagine how tough it is to go through life thinking in the way that is reflected in my writing.

      • In which case I fear that your life will be a sad and lonely one. Forever knowing that everybody treats you as a rambling windbag with nothing worthwhile to say. And not enough self-awareness to figure out why.

      • Your concerns are touching, Latimer. However, rest assured – my life is nothing like that you fear.

    • So the IAC review got it wrong? All of Judith’s criticisms of the IPCC have been documented in that report BASED ON INPUT FROM IPCC PARTICIPANTS no less!

      http://reviewipcc.interacademycouncil.net/report.html

      Again, for the record

      lack of transparency
      political interference
      biased treatment of genuinely contentious issues
      failure to respond to critical review comments
      vague statements not supported by evidence
      poor handling of uncertainty
      use of gray literature which had not been critically evaluated, peer-reviewed or flagged as such.

      and on page 39 we find the following statement

      “However, it is unclear whose judgments are reflected in the ratings that appear in the Fourth Assessment Report or how the judgments were determined. ”

      It sound like the gatekeepers of pal-review are on guard once again.
      As a retired health professional I unreservedly cast my vote with Professor Curry.

    • It has about the same certainity as the vague non verifiable, judgement. Arbitary probability distributions etc, the group of people liberally mixed with activists.

  4. Dr. Curry

    How should “traceable account” be interpreted?

    As the inventors of their version of this term, the IPCC ought be the interpreter.

    All reviewers, contributors and critics ought be encouraged to do their best to improve the definition and interpretation to the point such “traceable accounts” are fit to purpose.

    What’s the purpose of an IPCC report again?

    Did the IPCC give a traceable account?

    Looks like.

    Merely not with much formalism or completeness; it’s best to be precise when finding fault with a report, I find. I’m often off-base in my criticisms, and take correction in the spirit of learning and improving my own understanding as well as of cooperatively seeking a better outcome.

    In this case, it appears replacing ‘no’ with ‘inadequate for the following reasons: 1)… 2).. 17)…’ looks more precise.

    Has uncertainty been adequately characterized by the IPCC?

    Uncertainty is hard to get exactly right for all uses. IPCC doesn’t do it perfectly. Curry doesn’t. I most assuredly do not.

    Is the characterization of uncertainty by the IPCC fit to purpose?

    What was the purpose again?

    My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).

    That perhaps is a novel definition, and might be adequately supported with a footnote and a reference describing the sampling technique and linking to the original source in a purpose-fit manner.

    The reviewer’s confusion in that sense may be understandable.

    • Oh, sorry.

      Forgot some people don’t handle literary devices well.

      The IPCC was established in 1988 by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) to provide independent scientific advice on the issue of climate change. The panel was asked to prepare a report which was based on available scientific information on all aspect relevant to climate change. This First Assessment Report, in 1990, was used as the basis to negotiate the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) which was opened for signature at the Rio Summit in 1992 and entered into force in 1994. The
      Second Assessment Report of 1995 provided key input for negotiations of the Kyoto protocol in 1997.

      The IPCC was established “to provide the decision makers and others interested in climate change with an objective source of information about climate change” Where it does not conduct any research itself it role is “to assess on a comprehensive, objective and transparent basis the latest scientific, technical and socio-economic literature produced worldwide relevant to the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change its observed and projected impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation” (http://www.imarest.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=lwOUEDfW5ew%3D&tabid=758&language=en-GB)

      Are the reports fit to the purpose?

      In what ways do the reports fall short?

      a) Independence?
      b) Science advice?
      c) Focus on the issue of climate change?
      d) Preparing reports?
      e) Decision support?
      f) Providing Information to Interested Others?
      g) Objectivity?
      h) Assessment?
      i) Comprehensivess?
      j) Transparency?
      k) Scientific Currency?
      l) Technical Currency?
      m) Socio-economic (gray literature) Currency?
      n) Worldwide production?
      o) Relevance?
      p) Understanding Risk?
      q) Observed Impacts?
      r) Projected Impacts?
      s) Options for Mitigation?
      t) Options for Adaptation?

      There you go.

      20 metrics set out in the IPCC’s own purpose explicitly.

      What specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, timely criticisms on the IPCC in terms of its stated twentyfold purpose can legitimately be set out?

      Because I don’t see in the IPCC’s purpose, “make everybody happy.”

      • Bart
        I believe that the reports are not an objective assessment of the potential future and frequently reach conclusions that are likely to be incorrect, and are definitely premature based on the available data.

      • Rob Starkey

        While I empathize, we should point out:

        1) forecasting is not on the list of criteria;
        2) correct conclusions is not on the list of criteria;
        3) maturity is not on the list of criteria.

        I have no idea why such obvious oversights took place with drafting the charter, but since the 20 criteria are so ill-met in the eyes of critics, it seems to me we have two different issues here.

        Are you critical because IPCC reports do not adequately meet IPCC objectives, or because they don’t meet your objectives?

    • If they invented the term to have a meaning other than the obvious one, then they should have defined it clearly as well.

      I can decide to call a sheep an elephant, but it won’t grow a trunk just because I call it so.

    • May I suggest my view of ‘trace account’? If we have something in
      ‘a solution’, then reduce it to a ‘substance’ by boiling off the liquid (money). Rinse the test tube thoroughly in distilled room temperature water (grants). Then test the glass tube for a ‘trace’ of the original substance. Good luck.

      Tisn’t much. If at all.
      Really.

  5. Judith –

    I’m sorry – but this is something I need to post on twice. You say:

    “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.”

    And then you say that your concept of the “broader scientific community” is informed by comments from your “denizens.”

    Where do you see some coherent standard of expectation for understanding and characterizing uncertainty exemplified by your “denizens?” Even many of the most sophisticated comments regarding understanding and characterizing uncertainty here by “denizens” of Climate Etc. are fraught with overstatements of certainty. You, yourself have overstated your certainty WRT public impact of “Climategage” (in the very least, you never explained the certainty of your comments with verifiable data). You have overstated your certainty WRT whether or not “skeptics” think that the world is warming. You have overstated your certainty that Gleick never read Donna’s book. Of course, those are non-technical issues – but they are informative WRT to uniformity of your standards, and those of your “denizens” with respect to certainty – and evidence that your notion of their “higher expectations” is clearly contradicted in each and every thread.

    • Stirling English

      &deity. save us from needing to read it twice…………..once is more than enough

    • This is juvenile babble. If you are accusing Hudith of overstating on the basis of that she has not provided verifiable arguments to back her up then
      1) IPCC is doing the same
      2) Yes Hudith is doing the same
      3) And you are doing the same.

      So your beef is that people have opinions and they had better be verifiable. Weel apply that rule to the garbage (IMO) you repeatedly spew out here.

    • And thanks for pointing out that IPCC probability nonsense is not science just opinion.

    • Joshua, will this help you?

      Hbr 11:1 Now 1161 faith 4102 is 2076 the substance 5287 of things hoped for 1679, the evidence 1650 of things 4229 not 3756 seen 991.

  6. Keeping IPCC AR4WG1 9.4.1 in mind, where does AR4 discuss if reliance only and just on models is scientifically good enough to be the basis for expert judgment?

  7. Dr. Curry,
    I believe you are correct in your statements. I also understand that it would have been difficult to provide succinct evidence for your claims. It is bit disturbing that it should have been necessary in the first place.
    I believe that you are describing one of the basic issues of the ‘consensus’ view of climate change in that people outside the immediate climate research field assumed that rigorous error analysis and statement was part of that research and its publication. It is easy to imagine an expert in an area of mathematics might make that assumption based upon his or her experience with accuracy and and review requirements for publication in that field. The same would also likely hold for physics and engineering.
    It is a matter of trust abused by obfuscating the issues of uncertainty with combinatorial formulas for ‘likely’ and ‘very likely’ based upon opinions, expert or otherwise.

  8. Norm Kalmanovitch

    In 2007 all five global temperature datasets showed an overall cooling trend since 2002 and five years of a cooling trend is sufficient to prevent a declaration that the world is warming.
    Over these five years for the interval from 2002 to 2008 there was negative correlation between CO2 concentration and global temperature with R = -0.42 for Hadley and R = -0.31 for MSU UAH.
    Over these five years CO2 emissions increased from 26.301gt CO2 in 2002 to 31.641Gt CO2 in 2007.
    This refutes the possibility of both increased CO2 concentration causing global warming and human contribution to this CO2 concentration increase causing global warming.
    To hide the fact that the Earth was cooling The IPCC changed from the 2001 report which used the temperature spike of the 1998 el Nino to increase the blade of the hockey stick by over a third to give the impression of catastrophic warming already taking place based on just one year to using a decadal average for the 2007 report which still showed minute warming because it was able to include this 1998 temperature spike.
    The HadCRUT3 temperature data presented in the 2001 report showed the global cooling from 1942 to 1975 but this was manually altered in time for the 2007 report to show warming over this period contrary to all other datasets. This was done because CO2 emissions increased from 4gt/y in 1942 to 20gt/y by 1975 as the world cooled and this 500% increase in CO2 emissions as the world cooled completely undermined the case for human caused global warming.
    Making claims that anyone “has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly” when the world is cooling, and stating that ” we are now at least 90% certain that this is mostly due to human activities” when emissions are increasing as the world cools is not exactly what can be percieved as the portrayal of honest science. The following is the Bali Declaration and no further comment is needed:
    2007 Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists

    This consensus document was prepared under the auspices of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia.

    ——————————————————————————–

    The 2007 IPCC report, compiled by several hundred climate scientists, has unequivocally concluded that our climate is warming rapidly, and that we are now at least 90% certain that this is mostly due to human activities. The amount of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere now far exceeds the natural range of the past 650,000 years, and it is rising very quickly due to human activity. If this trend is not halted soon, many millions of people will be at risk from extreme events such as heat waves, drought, floods and storms, our coasts and cities will be threatened by rising sea levels, and many ecosystems, plants and animal species will be in serious danger of extinction.

    The next round of focused negotiations for a new global climate treaty (within the 1992 UNFCCC process) needs to begin in December 2007 and be completed by 2009. The prime goal of this new regime must be to limit global warming to no more than 2 ºC above the pre-industrial temperature, a limit that has already been formally adopted by the European Union and a number of other countries.

    Based on current scientific understanding, this requires that global greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced by at least 50% below their 1990 levels by the year 2050. In the long run, greenhouse gas concentrations need to be stabilised at a level well below 450 ppm (parts per million; measured in CO2-equivalent concentration). In order to stay below 2 ºC, global emissions must peak and decline in the next 10 to 15 years, so there is no time to lose.

    As scientists, we urge the negotiators to reach an agreement that takes these targets as a minimum requirement for a fair and effective global climate agreement.

    ——————————————————————————–

    • The HadCRUT3 temperature data presented in the 2001 report showed the global cooling from 1942 to 1975 but this was manually altered in time for the 2007 report to show warming over this period contrary to all other datasets.

      Norm, could you please clarify whether you’re referring to the unadjusted or variance-adjusted HADCRUT3 global mean? According to this plot the former shows that the period you mentioned, 1942-1975, rose at a rate of 0.15 °C per millennium while the latter fell at a rate of 0.016 °C per millennium. Your claim that the 2007 report is “contrary to all other datasets” is not borne out by the unadjusted HADCRUT3 dataset, which rose ten times faster than the adjusted one fell during 1942-1975. I.e. both are essentially flat for that period, to within a rounding error. And what are these “other datasets” you’re referring to?

      five years of a cooling trend is sufficient to prevent a declaration that the world is warming.

      This is easily disproved by the observation that there have been several five-year cooling trends in the HADCRUT3 record between 1975 and 2000, Short-term climate fluctuates, and five years is well within the limits of “short term.” Fifteen years gives steadier and hence more reliable results.

      To hide the fact that the Earth was cooling The IPCC changed from the 2001 report which used the temperature spike of the 1998 el Nino to increase the blade of the hockey stick by over a third to give the impression of catastrophic warming already taking place based on just one year to using a decadal average for the 2007 report which still showed minute warming because it was able to include this 1998 temperature spike.

      Boy, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. In one breath you insist that five years is enough to prove cooling, then in the next you complain about the IPCC not using a long enough period to iron out random fluctuations like 1998.

      • Boy, talk about the pot calling the kettle black. In one breath you insist that five years is enough to prove cooling, then in the next you complain about the IPCC not using a long enough period to iron out random fluctuations like 1998.

        Norman works for the oil industry. The current timescales are a few years for an individual play. He has been indoctrinated well and cannot see beyond the industry’s event horizon.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        If that is the best you can do to defend global warming as the Earth continues to cool you are not worthy of being educated by four decades of my knowledge about the 4.5billion years of Earth’s history which includes the fact that from the Oligocene back to the Permian there was no ice in either the arctic or the antarctic. For those of little knowledge the Oligocene was 35 million years ago and the Permian was 260 million years ago.
        The antarctic ice cap persisted from the Permian through the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian about 340 million years ago all of which occurred without human intervention. If there is one thing I know about it is time scales which you apparently don’t!

      • Earth is warming: BEST says so!

      • Earth has warmed and cooled without human intervention in the past. But human intervention now is also able to influence global temperatures and the geological record probably has nothing to say about that..

      • The antarctic ice cap persisted from the Permian through the Pennsylvanian and Mississippian about 340 million years ago all of which occurred without human intervention.
        If there is one thing I know about it is time scales which you apparently don’t!

        I really think you have lost all sense of proportion. Otherwise you wouldn’t parade around a 340 million year number in the face of 0.2 degree warming per decade.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        If you look at the 2001 IPCC report diagram that shows both the hockey stick and the HadCRUT3 dataset

        http://www.grida.no/publications/other/ipcc_tar/?src=/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/figspm-1.htm

        You will see that both the hockey stick and the HadCRUT3 dataset show the same cooling from 1942 to 1975.
        If you look at the dataset shown in the 2007 report this 33 year trend has been modified
        Your cvomments show that you are either part of the fraud or just plain brainwashed and blind to such a blatant act of data manipulation
        By the way the resaon that the hockey stick shows this cooling is because theis same thermometer data was added to the proxy data to achieve the fit to the thermometer data. The Climategate emails refer to this as “mike’s Nature trick” and the infamous “hide the decline refers to reversing the cooling from 1942 to 1975 to warming to fit the emissions.
        The problem is that this was only done to HadCRUT3 and GISS and NCDC still show this 33 years of cooling providing further proof of data tampering at Hadley CRU

      • So lets see the amazing difference in trends from 1942 to 1975 that you think exists between HadCRUT3 and the other records:

        Wow. What. A. Difference.

        Explain to me again which of those lines between 1942 and 1975 constitutes fraud and data tampering? Is BEST part of the conspiracy too?

    • Norm Kalmanovitch, 10/24/11, 10:35 am, IPCC and traceability

      Phil Jones and CRU maintain an annual “Global Temperature Record” from HadCRUT3 data, all downloadable, at

      http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/

      A two branch, piecewise linear MMSE fit to Jones’ smoothed curve shows a rate of warming of 0.18ºC/decade between 1975 and 2004.7, switching to a cooling trend of 0.0049ºC/decade between 2004.7 and 2010. A similar fit to the annual data shows a warming of 0.18ºC/decade between 1975 and 2004.4 followed by double the cooling trend, 0.010ºC/decade between 2004.4 and 2010. Jones’ smoothing cut the magnitude of the cooling episode in half, but didn’t eliminate it.

      A global temperature event of unknown cause, and contrary to anything in the AGW model, occurred in 2004.4. A 30-year, major warming trend broke down, to be replaced by a slight cooling trend now lasting six years. The full record reveals similar events in the past, but IPCC is not interested in exploring other causes of warming. Since 1988, its stated revision of its charter has been to assume manmade global warming exists, and then report on its damaging effects for action by PolicyMakers. IPCC Assessment Reports are political works, not science, and that is the only reason that they, and for that matter Dr. Curry’s uncertainty monster, can’t be legitimately criticized for using subjective confidence analyses. Scientific models are purely objective, abiding nothing subjective. All’s fair in politics.

      Whether this HadCRUT3 episode is just an anomaly or is significant as a climate event will depend on its magnitude when that can be reasonably predicted to 2034. Jones backfills the years 2011 to 2015 by 0.475ºC, the 2010 HadCRUT3 value, to keep his smoothed curve from falling off an end-point cliff. He wouldn’t have had that problem had he used a realizable filter, that is, one that doesn’t look into the future. (He uses a 41-point, 21-year Gaussian filter. In 2009, he backfilled seven years, from 2010 to 2016, for unknown reasons.)

      NASA’s climate guru James Hansen proclaimed in 1984 that man had 10 to 20 years to go before he reached a tipping point in climate. He repeated this alarm with regularity, and as recently as 2007. The Met Office renewed it in 2009. We’re at t -10 years – and holding. So far, it’s been 27 years, to which we can now add another 6 years. Alternatively, we’re at t – 16 years and holding. More likely, the climate did tip — into cooling in 2004, while the free world chimneys and exhaust pipes continued to pump out ever more CO2.

      While this event is not yet a climate event, it nonetheless is a severe embarrassment to AGW proponents because the public can’t appreciate the distinction between weather and climate. Either way, global warming has ceased while man continues his frightening large scale geophysical experiment of a kind that could not have happened in the past nor be reproduced in the future. Revelle & Suess, “send money”, 1957. However that experiment might end, recent results have purchased another decade in which the better course of action to panic is simply to relax, to wait and to watch.

      The US Navy used to have a saying: Oscar Bravo Echo’ed, the phonetic telephony alphabet turned verb for Overcome By Events. So it is for Alfa Golf Whisky.

      There’s nothing happening here folks; just move along.

      • What are you doing Jeff? Read above where Norm explains you can’t use HadCRUT3. Apparently it’s been tampered with. So that cooling trend since 2004 you imagine exists, is really just fraud.

        Stick to GISTEMP.

      • Jeff Glassman alludes to a remarkable coincidence:

        “Since 1988, its stated revision of its charter has been to assume manmade global warming exists, and then report on its damaging effects for action by PolicyMakers. ”

        Compare:
        Ravetz, Jerome. 1978. “Scientific knowledge and expert advice in debates about large technological innovations.” Minerva 16 (2): 273-282. doi:10.1007/BF01096017. http://www.springerlink.com/index/10.1007/BF01096017

        Ravetz, J. R. 1987. “Usable Knowledge, Usable Ignorance: Incomplete Science with Policy Implications.” Science Communication 9 (1) (September): 87-116. doi:10.1177/107554708700900104. http://scx.sagepub.com/cgi/doi/10.1177/107554708700900104

        With followup:

        Funtowicz, Silvio O., and Jerome Ravetz, Ph.D. 1991. A New Scientific Methodology for Global Environmental Issues. In Ecological economics: the science and management of sustainability, ed. Robert Costanza. Columbia University Press

        UNFCCC. 1992. United Nations Framework Convention On Climate Change. United Nations. http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/convkp/conveng.pdf

        Funtowicz, Silvio O., and Jerome R. Ravetz. 1993. “Science for the post-normal age.” Futures 25 (7) (September): 739-755. doi:10.1016/0016-3287(93)90022-L http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/B6V65-45K4W0X-98/2/4f111fe604593bde5e78d1f78b25ecfc

      • Pooh, Dixie 11/4/11, 3:54 pm, IPCC and transparency

        To lift the allusion (and correct a typo to boot), IPCC was chartered in 1988 under the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). Its parent says,

        The IPCC was established by UNEP and WMO [World Meteorological Organization] in 1988 to assess the state of existing knowledge about climate change: its science, the environmental, economic and social impacts and possible response strategies.

        http://www.unep.org/Documents.Multilingual/Default.asp?DocumentID=43&ArticleID=206&l=en .

        In 1998, a decade later and not 1988, IPCC revised its own charter to be

        to assess on a comprehensive, objective, open and transparent basis the scientific, technical and socio-economic information relevant to understanding the scientific basis of risk of HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE, its potential impacts and options for adaptation and mitigation.

        Caps added, Principles Governing IPCC Work, 10/1/1998.

        Thus in its first decade, IPCC inserted the assumption that human-induced climate change exists, and used that conjecture to trump any comprehensive, objective, open and transparent investigation.

        Trying to discover what Pooh, Dixie thought might be a coincidence revealed that 4 of her 5 links were redundant and useless: Ravetz (1978) is $34.95, Ravetz (1987) is $25, Funtowicz & Ravetz (1991) is unavailable at any price, and Funtowicz & Ravetz (1993) is $35.95. The last at least has an abstract, and it proclaims that a new type of science–’post normal’–is emerging. Ravetz writes separately to partner himself with Funtowicz in discovering

        that formerly science was considered as having ‘hard facts’ in contrast to the soft, subjective humanities, while now we confront hard policy issues for which the scientific inputs are frequently irremediably soft.

        Out of such insights we developed the scheme of Post-Normal Science [by which] non-scientists are given confidence to join in the debate on matters which until recently had been the exclusive domain of accredited experts [in which] an ‘extended peer community’ … can … deploy ‘extended facts’ … [s]o Post-Normal Science is inevitably political, and involves a new extension of legitimacy and power … .

        This is admittedly political and not science. However, it is not a bad description of the postmodern science widely endorsed by academia in the natural sciences, including climatology. The United States Supreme Court adopted this model of faux science in Daubert v. Merrell Dow (509 US 579, 1993), proscribing five new guidelines for admissibility of scientific evidence by Federal judges: (1) falsifiability (Popper), (2) peer review and publication, (3) rate of error (but not rate of accuracy), (4) consensus among scientists, and (5) consistency with scientific principles and methodology, but not on conclusions. These criteria correspond to academic incentives for professors, a tiny faction among scientists. However, none of these guidelines has any significance outside academia and now the Federal courts, where the vast majority of science is practiced and where rewards rest on model validation.

        Postmodern or post-normal scheme is conspicuous for its omission of Cause and Effect, and with it the companion tenets of causality, prediction, and validation. These tenets had been the core of the method since the dawn of modern science in the 17th Century. Bacon (1605, 1622), Descartes (1637). Conversely, each federal guideline is trumped by model validation. In Popper’s terms, modern science is pragmatic science, which Popper (1966) hoped to supplant with correspondence theory, his philosophical model for truth seeking, featuring definition-less modeling and his misguided falsifiability test.

        Pooh, Dixie’s fourth link is the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) that set the stage for IPCC to adapt climate science into a political movement. It includes this Objective in Article 2:

        The ultimate objective of this Convention and any related legal instruments that the Conference of the Parties may adopt is to achieve, in accordance with the relevant provisions of the Convention, stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Such a level should be achieved within a time frame sufficient to allow ecosystems to adapt naturally to climate change, to ensure that food production is not threatened and to enable economic development to proceed in a sustainable manner.

        IPCC’s work satisfies the Daubert criteria for post-modern science. From the modern science viewpoint, its Cause and Effect, mainly that manmade CO2 caused global warming, was a conjecture. However, what little causality might have existed in that relationship, the climate science community faked. The rise in CO2 measured at MLO is neither manmade nor global, and it lags rather than leads the global surface temperature change. Causality requires Cause to lead Effect. IPCC exaggerated the CO2 effect and ruled out the Sun by not modeling the change in cloud cover, which increases with humidity (slow negative feedback) and decreases with solar activity (fast positive feedback). Since greenhouse gases are not causing measurable climate change, taking no action to regulate their concentrations is consistent with FCCC’s literal Objective, if not its intent.

  9. I would characterize the IPCC as a quasi-scientific organization determined to reach a pre-ordained conclusion, thus the disciples of the IPCC inevitably react poorly to criticism and will never deviate from their dogma.

    “Ultimately, the synthesis of multiple lines of evidence in the development of an assessment finding and the assignment of likelihood requires the expert judgment of the author team.” That strikes me as the kind of argument trotted out by those unable to make a solid case, thus the need to resort to the “I’m an expert” line of defense while excluding those who do not share the organizations tenets.

    I would not lose any sleep over criticism from an arrogant “holy-than-thou” priesthood. For what it is worth, keep up the good work!

  10. Interesting item I read today elsewhere – the US Government Audit Office has come out in support of Anthony Watts claim that the GISS data is flawed as it is reliant on a majority of Ground Stations which do not meet the requirements for the siting of such stations. As these 600 stations are the cornerstone of the “Global Warming” data set, I wonder what excuse will now be offered to say the stations are right and everyone else is wrong about them?

    As I see it, in my discipline, there are two measures – “reasonable doubt” and “beyond reasonable doubt.” For a scientific theory to be “proven” in my view it has to be the latter, whereas the point Dr Curry and others have made is that the IPCC does not make that distinction.

    • Interesting item I read today elsewhere – the US Government Audit Office has come out in support of Anthony Watts claim that the GISS data is flawed as it is reliant on a majority of Ground Stations which do not meet the requirements for the siting of such stations.

      Do you have a link?

      • Joshua,

        Link here:

        http://climatescienceinternational.org/images/stories/pdf/gao-report-2011.pdf

        Thought I saw this a while ago? Might have been a draft…

        It would be interesting to see how the 42% of stations that they found deficient would fare in the BEST-type analysis.

      • Thanks Bill –

        From the report:

        NOAA also stated that it understood that, given the scope of our review, we did not assess the effect of stations not meeting siting standards on the reliability of the agency’s analysis of temperature trends.

        The lack of uniform standards, and the inclusion of data from sub-standard stations certainly justifies questions about the preciseness of the data overall. On the other hand, it seems reasonable to assume some degree of average distribution in the problematic measurements of the data – and that those distributed problems would not negate findings WRT trends. The results of comparisons of data from “good” stations vs. “bad” stations would support that assumption as the data from “good” stations and “bad” stations apparently show similar trends.. In the end, absolute certainty isn’t possible, but it seems reasonable to conclude what is “likely” with accompanying margins for error. An absolute standard would be unrealistic and impossible to achieve. There are no “perfect” measurements. Some degree of imperfection would always remain. That isn’t to say that efforts to improve all stations to meet reasonable standards wouldn’t be beneficial – they would.

        But it doesn’t seem to me to be rational to dismiss the analysis we do have out of hand on the basis that it isn’t perfect.

        As I said on another thread, it would be like saying that at some point, you could draw a line that would be too small to bisect. Without some measure of compromise, all data could be deemed “imperfect.” At some point you have to accept imperfections. How does one create an “objective” distinction of what level of perfection is required?

        It is particularly perplexing that people would on the one hand say that the data we have aren’t reliable and then on the other hand say that: “skeptics” don’t say that the world isn’t warming. How would they know that’s the case if they really feel that the data are so unreliable as to be meaningless? But it is nice to see that “skeptics” think that the quality -of-data questions warrant further government spending to improve the data.

        That is what you’re saying, right?

      • Please post this one again, Josh-ua. We like it when you reveal your intentions (to muddle, as verbosely as possible).

      • Joshua, please post links to all the non-verifiable assertions you are making — the existance of avergae distributions etc. Otherwise you are just like the other over certain denizens here.

      • This skeptic is no doubt saying that quality-of-data questions warrant further spending to improve the data. In this case, yes there is probably at least some if not majority government component. Personally I’ve never said otherwise, but I only speak for myself. Also speaking for myself I believe that 1) the world has been warming 2) it is likely that some of it is due to ACO2 and that 3) there are still big potential issues with the data and methods. More later, gotta run…

      • the first criticism of the stations started as far back as 1998.
        do your own damn homework.. diligence Joshua.. remember you have to make up for your lack of intelligence with diligence… your words not mine

    • Interesting item I read today elsewhere – the US Government Audit Office has come out in support of Anthony Watts claim that the GISS data is flawed as it is reliant on a majority of Ground Stations which do not meet the requirements for the siting of such stations.

      Here’s the relevant part of what the GAO said on this score. “According to GAO’s survey of weather forecast offices, about 42 percent of the active stations in 2010 did not meet one or more of the siting standards. With regard to management requirements, GAO found that the weather forecast offices had generally but not always met the requirements to conduct annual station inspections and to update station records. NOAA officials told GAO that it is important to annually visit stations and keep records up to date, including siting conditions, so that NOAA and other users of the data know the conditions under which they were recorded. NOAA officials identified a variety of challenges that contribute to some stations not adhering to siting standards and management requirements, including the use of temperature-measuring equipment that is connected by a cable to an indoor readout device—which can require installing equipment closer to buildings than specified in the siting standards.”

      How many siting standards are there, and to what degree is the data compromised by failure to meet any given one of these standards? If there were a requirement that the station’s thermometer not be positioned directly over the station’s oven, failing to meet that requirement would clearly be bad. On the other hand if the standards that aren’t being met are typically just “nice to have” standards that have only a negligible impact on data accuracy, for example positioning a sensor only 50 feet from the building due to the provided cable being only 50 feet long when the standard calls for a minimum of 60 feet from the station, then this would hardly bear out WUWT’s claim of flawed data. How large an error is a 10-foot violation of that standard going to cause?

      • I don’t know about standards being “nice to have”. Hopefully, they would call those “recommendations” or something other than standards.

      • I fully agree. When you have two conflicting requirements that the sensors be connected to the building by cable but that they be 60 feet from the building, if it turns out 50 feet cables are what comes with the sensors it would nice if the extra 10 feet of clearance was merely a recommendation rather than a hard requirement. Some waivers are more reasonable than others.

        The usual UHI argument is that urban heat increases with increasing population and technology, creating the impression of global warming when it’s only the city that is warming. This is a very reasonable worry. But a sensor too close to an isolated building isn’t the same thing as UHI unless the building’s population is increasing over the years, or its coffee machine is getting more powerful every decade (seems to be a trend).

        The other unmet requirements mentioned by the GAO were failure to conduct inspections every year, and failure to keep station records up to date. While I can see failing to meet these requirements could compromise the data, it’s hard to see how it could bias the data to create a false appearance of warming—it could just as well create a false appearance of cooling. All data is noisy to some degree or other, the question is not so much the amount of noise as whether it is biased in a way that gives a misleading impression of the temperature trend.

      • randomengineer

        How many siting standards are there, and to what degree is the data compromised by failure to meet any given one of these standards?

        This is the question Watts was asking that prompted the surfacestations project. As I recall he was castigated by the “believer” community for daring to ask.

        The reaction and behaviours of this “community” to Watts probably created more skeptics in a short timeframe than would have ever been possible otherwise, prompting many to look at the IPCC etc with increasingly wary detail.

        Funny how this stuff works.

    • Now if WUWT could establish that the data from the 58% of ground stations that met 100% of the siting requirements showed no warming trend, and that the data from the 42% that failed some requirement did show a warming trend, then that should cause people to sit up and take notice. This would tend to support Watts claim that the disqualified stations are prone to show warming when there is none.

      But if the qualified stations showed the same trends as the disqualified stations, one might infer that Watts was barking up the wrong tree.

      • Vaughan,
        What is the stations in question are just producing junk data?

      • Good question. I would think any statistical method that is capable of drawing inferences from junk data is a junk method. Garbage in is supposed to produce garbage out, if the method doesn’t do so one would be inclined to say it was hallucinating.

      • Yes that would be something. However I think I see Hunter’s point or paraphrase in that if the same trends are present, it doesn’t prove anything. It’d be a neat exercise though. I like what Steve McI is starting to do w/r/t the BEST results. It could prove a red herring, but it might not.

        My own personal perspective (like any of you care) is that I suspect UHI contributes to a greater degree than currently summarized by BEST, because of some of the microclimate issues. I don’t know by how much – I would put money on “half or less”…but that’s not a prediction, just a wager.

      • The BEST data show no clear difference between U.S. stations judged to meet siting requirements and those that failed in terms of warming rate.

      • Fred,

        I would say that’s the BEST “analysis” rather than “data” but no biggie.

        However the GAO audit found problems at 42% of stations. I would have to look as to how that differs from the 70% of stations in NOAA class 4 and 5 situations as identified by surfacestations.org and translated into BEST’s paper.

        Whether any of these sensitivity type analyses will result in a big effect…perhaps not.

      • A result that confirms the early field experiments done by the scientist who invented the “scale” of CRN1-5

      • Alex Heyworth

        One problem with the BEST analysis, Fred. The metadata on which they relied to classify stations into CRN 1-5 only relates to the last 30 years. The comparison BEST did was for temperatures over 60 years. Nobody knows what stations met or did not meet the siting requirements for the first 30 of those years.

      • I understand your point, but I think it would be more of a problem if the two types of stations showed different warming trends as opposed to similar trends. The same applies to the fact that BEST only looked at U.S. stations rather than those elsewhere.

      • It makes me wonder if BEST ran the analysis for the last 30 years and found it supported Watts, didn’t like the result and went to 60 years. One would not like to think that of Muller because he criticized Mann and that is exactly the kind of thing Mann would do. Still, one has to wonder why did they choose 60 years? That time period was not even in the discussion. Perhaps someone who worked for Muller made the decision and Muller did not even know about it.

      • Its not entirely clear why Anthiny thinks he can pin down the CRN rating to be good until 1979.

        Here is what you have. You have a rating given in the years 2007-2010.

        Lets take a CRN1. that is a well sited site. question. if it was well sited in 2007, does it make sense to say it was well sited in 1979? on what basis?
        If it was well sited in 1979.. would it be well sited in 1950? Again, on what basis.. Are people concerned that Bad sites in 1950 became good sites in 1979?

        Lets take a CRN5 in 2007. The assumption is that it was also CRN5 in 1979. on what basis? and then is the concern that it was somehow good back in 1950?

        here’s the thing.. If station A is always CRN1 and station B is always CRN5.. you’ll see no difference in trend..

        What that means is muller actually did a favor by going back further..
        by increasing the probability of starting the comparison before the stations were contaminated.

    • “the US Government Audit Office has come out in support of Anthony Watts claim that the GISS data is flawed as it is reliant on a majority of Ground Stations which do not meet the requirements for the siting of such stations.”

      No you are wrong. Anthony Watt’s never claimed the GISS data is flawed. He agrees the world has warmed you see. He never claimed otherwise. No skeptic ever did. Ever.

      • Most sceptics do, except the unschooled ones. The latter are your bretheren except on the other side. Oops that too certain. Perhaps your bretheren

  11. Ultimately, the synthesis of multiple lines of evidence in the development of an assessment finding and the assignment of likelihood requires the expert judgment of the author team.

    That may be how policy is done, but they stopped doing science that way 500 years ago. That statement rather directly implies that the document isn’t a science document.

    • Agreed.

    • Indeed, assessment is not a science (although there is a science that studies assessment). On the other hand review articles, which are assessments, routinely appear in scientific journals, so it depends on what you mean by a science document. The IPCC reports are politically motivated reviews. There is a fine ambiguity here which is not accidental. Yet it may be possible to push the IPCC closer to the standards of review articles.

      • To put a finer point on it, the process described is interpretation. It’s inherently subjective. It’s hard to believe that this is the best that can be done.

      • P.E.: I am not sure what you mean by not the best. As pro-AGW interpretations the IPCC reports are superb. I call it Artful Bias–

        http://thewashingtonpest.blogspot.com/2007/02/ipccs-artful-bias.html

        Given that interpretation is subjective, as you say, if you want something different you need to pick a different group to write it.

      • Which brings us back to the “minority report”. Since the AR is compiled with the mission of supporting the SPM, and since the SPM is ultimately a subjective interpretation of the literature chosen for the AR, the only way to follow this process and end up with a fair result is to have two interpretations. This is a direct consequence of the results not being scientifically inevitable. The process inherently invites cherry-picking.

        The fact that the AR is published months after the SPM is evidence of this. In what other context are the conclusions published prior to the evidence?

  12. The Medium is the Message: In what are referred to as the Wall Street protests, every nutball, monocausal, groupthink malcontent and Heaven’s Gate cult across America has shown up to to declare a consensus of opinion and yammer about one special cause after another and notice that alarm over the specter of global warming is totally absent. That is how a hoax dies.

  13. The 90% certainty that the warming is most likely due to human activities is based on unvalidated computer models. In any real field of science or engineering, anybody or bodies who made such a claim based on unvalidated computer models would be laughed out of court or sacked for incompetence. I suggest that statement says all you need to know about the IPCC authors who wrote and agreed those words.

    • The 90% certainty that the warming is most likely due to human activities is based on unvalidated computer models.

      As I understand it, the viewpoint is that more than 50% of recent warming is 90% likely to be caused by anthropogenic CO2 emissions. That’s close to your characterization – but there is some ambiguity in how you phrased it.

      Given that you seem to be a big proponent of quantifying certainty accurately, you might want to be more precise in your language.

      • You are what is known as a nit-picker; you don’t address the real issue.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        We know what models and observations have been used to contribute to the assessment of how much warming is due to man and we can dig into the literature and so forth, or obtain and run some of these models or datasets to find out what they’re about.

        So the IPCC statement is in a sense traceable in that we are in a position to make an independent judgement about the statement and identify which bits we agree or disagree with. The real issue (for traceability) is not the degree to which models are or are not validated, but it is the degree to which the report’s authors consider them to provide useful and valid inputs to their judgements.

      • You make the statement that “we can dig into the literature and so forth, or obtain and run some of the models or datasets…..” How does this stack up against the FOI’s that Steve M. and others have had to file over the years?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Ideal answer: Steve McIntyre was at least able to point to results he had trouble trusting, so knew what FoIs to raise. He could use the perceived non-response in his judgement of the IPCC claim and make a “traceable” argument based on it. Those who don’t have conspiracy theories about scientists running through their brains day and night can take a different view.

        The point is “traceable” doesn’t necessarily mean “correct” or “reasonable”. It means that a rational person should be able to see how a conclusion was reached (even if they disagree with the conclusion because they disagree with the choice of evidence or the analysis of the evidence).

      • He is just stunted in his mental development. Still employing juvenile standards — If I can pick a nit in your words what you said is useless. So unless an opinion is expressed in totally legalistic language, all possibilities addressed, it should not be expressed.

      • Latimer Alder

        Is all this legalese stuff just an American thing? In UK we’re used to thinking of the USA as a litigation heavy, commonsense light society.

        But is this really true? Do you all carry on your normal daily lives trying to nit pick each others sayings and find loopholes in the normal standards of discourse? A coupe elesewhere hav ebene trying to persuade me – at great legal length – that when Pacahuri speaks his meaning is not to be detected by his actul words but by their legal re-interpretation of what they think he meant to say.

        In UK anyone speaking with forked tongue like that would be rapidly dismissed as a charlatan. But maybe in US you are all lawyers manque?

        When I last visited USA (Colorado) about five years ago I didn’t see this tendency..if anything people were realtively naive compared with Europeans. Has it all changed since then?

        Comments?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer,

        You have a fundamentalist interpretation of what Pachauri says which you refuse to discuss further. Others see that the context affects the meaning and try to discuss it. You see this as a legalistic interpretation. Others see your simple approach as fundamentalist, narrow-minded and perhaps more shaped by your political persuasions. You attempt to advance your view only by using moralistic put-downs which others struggle to respond to without either extending their argument (so appearing to be more “legalistic” as compared with your simple British view) or responding more directly to your digs.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        I expect that when a leader of a supposedly important public body speaks in that capacity, then his words should be pretty clear and self-evident. And he should be experienced and wise enough in his choice of words to ensure that any likely misunderstandings are clarified at once. And if he repeats the same lines many times, then these are clearly the things he wants us to hear. If he wanted to say something different, he has a tongue in his head to say it. And he shouldn’t need an army of post-hoc lawyers to explain his true meaning several years after the event when they have been shown to be ‘economical with the truth’.

        Example: Prime Minister Cameron goes to a summit. He speaks on behalf of the UK Government. He makes a public speech because he feels that there is something worth saying to the public in general. Other people hear what he says and expect his words to fairly represent the policy of the UK.

        I honestly cannot see why you rely so much on ‘context’. If you and I agree a deal it is no good you coming back later and saying that actually I shoud have understood the context of our agreement to mean that you had no intention to keep it. We call that ‘acting in bad faith’. Seems to me that your harping about the ‘context’ of Pachauri’s remarks is little other than a convoluted way of trying to persuade us all that we should have realised that he was speaking in bad faith and shouldn’t have expected his words to be true.

        If such an approach – that a man should say what he means in good faith – is ‘fundamentalist’, then I plead guilty to a fundamentalist view. But I’d rather have that than start with the expectation that everyone I meet is a lying shyster. And therefore feel free to act as one myself.

        If that’s a difference between Brits and Yanks, then I’m very happy to be this side of the pond.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer,

        No. You and your debating opponents have a different understanding of the *meaning* of Pachauri’s words. Your opponents use the context to support their interpretation of the meaning. You refuse to engage which makes them look legalistic and you look fundamentalist. Your focus on Pachauri’s presentation of the report is a distraction from the construction of the report, and it doesn’t help when you presume that your opponent’s support of the construction of the report is some sort of reflection of their support for supposed lies by Pachauri (that’s the “umbrage” bit)

        Your latest response on the Laframboise thread where you lop off an important part of the context suggests to me that you *are* more concerned about representing your particular view. Me adding that context back is hardly legalistic.

        Cameron is a master(?) of presentation over substance. So I wouldn’t immediately believe that a word he says represents his party’s or the Government’s views (or even an indication that he has views himself). So he’s a bad example (and hopefully demonstrates which side of the pond *I’m* on).

      • Latimer Alder

        @Steve Milesworthy

        Absolutely 100% right I focus on the presentation of the report. That is what makes Joe Sixpack and the general public buy into the idea that this is a fine piece of reliable stuff from the finest objective minds that we can find on the planet ..and hence should be swallowed wholesale and unchallenged. This is what gets the report its credibility. The idea that it is the Gold Standard.

        And if you are in UK you know also that were he a trader in UK the advertisments for IPCC put about by Pachauri would get him into lots and lots of trouble with the Advertising Standards Authority, the Department for Fair Trading and possibly the criminal courts as well. They take into account the context in which the advertisment is made to the extent of a normal person with no specialist knoweldge would.

        As to your trite remark about Cameron, substitute any head of state and any state you like. The argument is not dependent on a single individual (I did originally write about Pres. Obama, but cahnedg it to avoid political controversies among our US readership). A public person speaking on behalf of the institution he represents has a duty to that institution and to the public to fairly represent the one to the other truthfully and with integrity.

        Fail to do that and you fail the institution. Pachauri’s dishonety has cost the IPCC its reputation as the Gold Standard. With its failure also to implement a CoI policy – which is pretty standard across a lot of public life – what is there left that distinguishes its outpourings from any other bunch of chancers on the make?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        It is very clear to me that you are focussed 100% on Pachauri.

        But that doesn’t mean that you can’t have discussions about separate subjects where whatever Pachauri said to some journalist is irrelevant. Such as: does the citation of a non-peer reviewed source invalidate a report, or is it valid to denigrate young up-and-coming scientists for contributing.

        In a sense we are both the same, I won’t spend my money on Laframboise’s book because the introductory chapters are objectionable, contain a number of stupid statements and blatant lies, and is unfairly insulting to innocent scientists. You don’t like the IPCC report because Pachauri, in your eyes, over-sold it when put under pressure by journos.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        I don’t think you can get Pachauri off the hook by saying that he oversold it ‘when put under pressure by journalists’.

        He ‘oversold’ it on every occasion. In patacake interviews with fawning journalists. In public fora and setpiece speeches. In pre-prepared remarks to a US State parliament. And he didn’t do it on just the odd day..but consistently over a period of years.

        This was not an isolated instance of a tired guy saying one senetence too much under pressure of work..but a multiyear, deliberate and calculated campaign to mislead the public about who does the work of the IPCC and how that work is done. It was successful enough that it is only now that people are beginning to look behind the image to see if it matches the reality. And are finding some inconvenient truths as Donna illustrates.

        I’m sorry of the style of DLaF’s book does not appeal to you. But it is not written primarily to be read by the academic community. It is written for the general public as an eyeopener – more for the Daily Mail or the Mirror than the TES. Whatever its target audience, it raises important issues that will not go away just because you don’t feel they should be raised. Cliamtology has got away with very little external scrutiny for far too long and has fallen into a lot of very bad and very unscientific habits. Whether this book will be the catalyst that finally brings about reform or is just the harbinger of the inevitable reckoning I cannot tell.

        But ignoring it completely would be a very bad strategic move for anyone professionally involved in that area.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve m

        For further examples of Dr Pacahuri ‘overselling’ (I am feeling mildly charitable today), see the following sequence of his statements about peer-review. He started out ‘overselling’, got caught, then changed his tune. This guy is a serial offender.

        And as organisation led by a serial offender – ‘Madoff Enterprises’ for example, is not likely to be one that upholds the highest standards or worries too much about ethics. That he and hos organisation point blank refuse to d anything about Conflict of Interest is anither signal of its corruption. He – and it – stinks.

        http://hro001.wordpress.com/2010/05/20/pachauri-defends-shoddy-shades-of-gray/

      • Steve Milesworthy

        As I said, simply repeating yourself to avoid substantive discussion of another topic appears to end up irritating people.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve

        You’ll have to remind me of which topic you think I am avoiding? Your last post accused me of wrongful ‘cherry picking’. I happily included the full quote as you suggested in my post above

        What do you think I am neglecting

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, I don’t need to remind you as none of the posts have yet been moderated by Judith – so reread. As we’re a bit OT, I’m going to respond only on the Laframboise thread.

      • @ latimer. The situation is not recent:
        “…when I use a word it means exactly what I intend it to mean nothing more or nothing less”. –Humpty Dumpty to Alice, Lewis Carroll in “Through the Looking Glass”

  14. Hi Judy – I have been involved with a number of publications, public comments, etc that raise serious (and I conclude fatal) flaws with the IPCC WG1 report. They have committed a number of major errors of omission. The publications, public comments, testimony and weblogs include (as examples)

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/files/2009/12/r-354.pdf

    Pielke Sr., R.A., R. Wilby, D. Niyogi, F. Hossain, K. Dairuku, J. Adegoke, G. Kallos, T. Seastedt, and K. Suding, 2011: Dealing with complexity and extreme events using a bottom-up, resource-based vulnerability perspective. AGU Monograph on Complexity and Extreme Events in Geosciences, in press. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2011/05/r-365.pdf

    Kabat, P., Claussen, M., Dirmeyer, P.A., J.H.C. Gash, L. Bravo de Guenni, M. Meybeck, R.A. Pielke Sr., C.J. Vorosmarty, R.W.A. Hutjes, and S. Lutkemeier, Editors, 2004: Vegetation, water, humans and the climate: A new perspective on an interactive system. Springer, Berlin, Global Change – The IGBP Series, 566 pp. http://www.springer.com/earth+sciences/meteorology/book/978-3-540-42400-0

    National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp. http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309095069/html/

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/testimony-written.pdf

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2005: Public Comment on CCSP Report “Temperature Trends in the Lower Atmosphere: Steps for Understanding and Reconciling Differences”. 88 pp including appendices. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/nr-143.pdf

    My Comments For The InterAcademy Council Review of the IPCC. http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2010/06/16/my-comments-on-questionnaire-on-ipcc-processes-and-procedures/

    • Roger – Your reference to what you call “fatal flaws” in the WG1 report strikes me as such an egregious overstatement that it is likely to undermine the force of other more credible points you make. This is highlighted by the fact that you have not cited peer-reviewed journal articles in the above list to support your claim.

      I believe the WG1 report has been of great value and has to a very large extent accurately represented the state of the science. It is not perfect, and having read some of your previous comments, I believe you’ve made valid points about the need to focus beyond global effects on temperature from anthropogenic ghg emissions. To some extent, that is a matter of judgment,but your views deserve serious attention.

      Drs. Curry and Webster have criticized other aspects of the WG1 report, as listed above in reference to Chapter 9. However, I agree with the rebuttal to their paper cited above in its assertion that they gave the impression of speaking for the broader scientific community. They can fix this by rephrasing the statement to indicate that they are speaking for themselves, but harbor a view that appears to be shared by some other members of the scientific community. That should shift the focus to the traceability issue, where it is more appropriately directed.

      • Fred, how can you say the National Research Council report of 2005 is not peer reviewed?

      • It’s a small point, Ron, but Roger says he was “involved” with that Report, however much or little peer review it received, but I didn’t encounter evidence in the Report itself suggesting fatal flaws in AR4 WG1, and Roger’s comment above didn’t direct me to such evidence. The Report is huge, and if there is damning evidence in it, it would be a good idea to say where.

      • To be fair, journal references are listed within the articles you link to, but your articles are primarily editorials citing your view that more attention should be devoted to phenomena beyond ghg forcing of global temperature. Most of the referenced journal articles are from sources available to WG1 authors, and I expect were familiar to some of them. Your claim that they should have paid more attention to those other phenomena can be evaluated by readers, but I think you will find that the required attention is a matter of judgment, because regional and non-ghg phenomena have not been entirely neglected. Ignoring your opinion may have been a flaw, but I don’t think it’s a fatal one.

      • It’s also been pointed out that Dr.Curry referred to the “broader scientific community” as meaning the denizens of this blog. That would be a serious error. There are a heterogeneity of views here, but more importantly, the denizens are self-selected and can’t be cited as a representative sample.

      • I took “broader” to mean the “applied” sciences.

      • I don’t think the self selection matters; I believe Dr. Curry was simply looking for responses, not necessarily a poll. I think she understands one of the cardinal rules of blogging which is that the majority of comments are junk. Even on a good blog like this.

      • The WORKING GROUP ON GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE has as it stated goal “an opportunity to further discuss climate change and water linkages in their widest sense and to ensure that the UN-System in general, and UN-Water in particular, is better prepared to meet further challenges and play an essential role in this area’.

        This group as a matter of course; tends to accept potential harms that may be caused by a change to the climate as highly likely or an undisputed outcome, while disbelieving potential outcomes that may be favorable.

        The support by some of what is written in AR4 has seemed unwavering in spite of acknowledging the models upon which many of the conclusions were reached have been found to be very flawed.
        The models are certainly not good enough for the purpose of reaching the fidelity of the written conclusions.

        If we are unsure of the rate of warming, and do not have GCM’s that can accurately predict future temperatures or precipitation at regional locations as a function of future CO2 levels, how can the conclusions be accepted as highly probable?
        Even if the suggested rate of warming was known, and even if the models could predict future temperature and rainfall amounts accurately as a function of CO2 levels, if mitigation actions are not cost effective for individual nations to address the issue, it is reasonable to expect the actions will, or should they be taken?

  15. Judith, I think you made a basic mistake in thinking that the IPCC AR4 is a scientific document. It is not. It is more like a political manifesto. IMHO, there is no science whatsoever in the AR4. So any attempt on your part to try and make it more scientific is doomed to failure. Anyone who is in any way related to the “Team”, is going to do their damnest to see that what you write is given as little publicity as possible.

  16. “Their views should be represented accurately as the views of two individuals, rather than as the unsubstantiated collective view of diverse scientists and scientific communities.

”

    So if they get many people to agree, then it would be okay for the writer? I don’t think so. A paradox of the heap is not the problem for the writer.

  17. Judith –

    It is not. It is more like a political manifesto.

    Is Jim one of your “denizens” that has “higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty?”

    • Joshua, ‘they’ set OUT with a priori assumption, so i’d say yes. It qualifies as such.

    • Joshua, I am not sure how to interpret your interjection. My major concern is observed, measured data. What I do understand is the +/- which goes with every measured number in physics. Apart from that, I am not too much interested.

      • AMEN.
        Joshua’s tack on all this is to beat up anyone who expresses an opinions with the canard “you are to certain”. It is so as far as it goes. When pointed out that the IPCC studd also is following the same template, he starts talking about someone’s Mommy. And round and round we go.

    • she’s probably talking about me and others who have lifetimes of experience in uncertainty and traceability, especially the unknown unkowns variety..

      • Unknown unknowns, i love it when a scientist (?) mentions that. My respect for them always goes up a notch.

        Show’s they’re actually trying to think the ‘problem’ through properly.

  18. It might be worth stating that the wider scientific community includes related experts, engineers, industry scientists and other fields (such as statistics).

    For my two pence, as an industry scientist traceability is king. No traceability, no verification. No verification, no point even submitting your work. I don’t accept the explanation they gave you if they want to suggest that this as a scientific document. Climate science (and wider academia) do ‘enjoy’ some very lax controls. The minute they use this work to inform policy or taxation, those controls must be implemented.

    • Labmunkey,
      Don’t you realise that the rules and standards which apply to other disciplines do NOT apply to government sponsored climate science? It’s really that simple.

      • Yeah, i’m getting that impression.

        I DO tend to get hung up on the whole industry vs academia way of performing science, but i agree- the IPCC seems to be lax by even academic standards*

        *disclaimer; there ARE some exceptionally thorough academics, they’re just, in my humble experience, rare as rocking horse….

  19. Judith,
    One of the best insights on uncertainty and the IPCC is the paper written by Pat Frank for Skeptic magazine. Uncertainty on the computer models aggregates with time, but the computer models don’t show aggregate it.

    See http://www.skeptic.com/reading_room/a-climate-of-belief/

    • I should mention that Pat Frank works in an academic setting as a researcher at Stanford University but is not a climate scientist. He is definitely part of the broader scientific community.

    • Just to be clear, I provided this link because of this statement:

      Curry and Webster state: “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.” Curry and Webster are entitled to their opinion, but it is inappropriate to “speak for” scientists outside the IPCC process and from other technical fields as a whole without citing support for such claims.

    • Ron

      A pretty good simple explanation of GCMs, but certainly nothing Judith is not aware of fully. She generally is not as willing to point of the fundamental flaws in todays GCM as many engineers would wish her to be, but she is far more so than she was a year ago. The whole idea of averaging models results vs. vaildating and using the best model is simply so WRONG, only “climate scientists” would seem to consider it

    • Pat gets this and other issues wildly wrong, especially when it comes to uncertainties

      • steven, how so? It certainly makes sense to me!

      • steven,
        When you say Pat gets this wildly wrong, are you saying that uncertainty does not grow over time? If so, does that mean a prediction 100 years into the future can be expected to have the same precision as a prediction 5 days into the future?

        I am really quite to hear you explain how Pat has this wildly wrong.

      • Crickets

      • start reading Pats last attempt to be clear in JeffIds and Lucias. If you don’t get it after that, I’m not doing your homework for you.

      • Netiquette foul. You don’t get to make a claim, and then demand the other party disprove your claim.

      • Steve

        Wildly wrong?

        I assume you mean the part about the CO2 impact on warming and not on how models results are averaged or in their ability to accurately predict future conditions, but I hate to “assume” what someone is thinking

    • Thanks for the link.

  20. Dr Curry,

    When you say “My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).” I feel that you have misrepresented my views.

  21. Joshua writes in a tone dripping with his usual arrogance, “Judith
    Is Jim one of your “denizens” that has “higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty?”

    Joshua, you’re not the smartest one in the room by a long shot despite your high opinion of yourself, but you most definitely are among the most obnoxious. If you put denizens in belittling quotation marks just one more time I really might puke. Don’t you ever take a vacation?

    • Joshua, you’re not the smartest one in the room by a long shot despite your high opinion of yourself,

      Actually, pokerguy – I don’t doubt that most of the folks here are much smarter than I. What I lack in intelligence I make up for in diligence. And my diligence is directed towards pointing out the hypocrisy among some “skeptics” WRT “uncertainty.”

      Oh. Sorry about those quotation marks, it’s just a bad habit.

      I would suggest some Milk of Magnesia.

      • To make up for your lack of intelligence would require more diligence than humanly possible.

      • “And my diligence is directed towards pointing out the hypocrisy among some “skeptics” WRT “uncertainty.”

        Joshua, I think many people here would find your comments less tedious/obnoxious if you just once-in-a-while applied some diligence towards pointing out the hypocrisy among some “alarmists” WRT “uncertainty”.

        I also wonder if you notice that your strategy is wholly and completely unproductive. You don’t add anything meaningful or helpful.
        The ‘Changing minds’ thread was a perfect opportunity to contribute something – to take the tiniest risk of exposing any thoughts you have regarding the climate change issue, and how perhaps you have learned something.
        I believe the reason you didn’t (and won’t) is because you might possibly be criticised – at least you would open yourself to such a possibility. It is much easier and safer just to carp, criticise and sneer.
        I say that because whenever I find myself avoiding exposing an opinion and resorting to cheap unpleasant points-scoring it is because it requires less courage, and I can be very fearful.
        Go on. Tell us what you really believe. We might even be compassionate towards you. Take a risk.

      • I believe the reason you didn’t (and won’t) is because you might possibly be criticised – at least you would open yourself to such a possibility.

        Indeed. Obviously, my posts at Climate Etc. are motivated by a wish to avoid criticism.

      • Fair point. Except that the abuse you receive – and I’ll agree it is plenty – is not substantive to you. Perhaps I could have said more clearly that your strategy (and that I see in myself on occasion) is to avoid the possibility of being shown to be WRONG. Outward negative procedural analysis is not subject to the same possibility and is therefore completely risk-free. Perhaps you get some satisfaction from winding people up.
        The sad thing is neither you nor anyone else learns anything about climate science or how they think about the climate.
        It is merely unpleasant.

      • > Outward negative procedural analysis is not subject to the same possibility and is therefore completely risk-free.

        I’m not sure I agree with this. Let’s suppose there are questions of fact and there are questions of logic, and that Joshua only deal with questions of logic. Joshua can certainly be wrong. It is a possibility. This is a risk.

        Perhaps Joshua is simply tough to get on logic. But if you do get him, I’m sure he’ll acknowledge it, which is not something one can say of many goblins here. I see him conceding points every day.

        Tasking him of taking position on facts does not matter much to evaluate the validity of the questions of logic he raises. In fact, thinking otherwise would be a logical mistake. I’m sure Anteros does not fall into that one.

        I believe Anteros is simply appealing to pride.

        No one ever witnessed this kind of appeal here?

      • Fair point. Except that the abuse you receive – and I’ll agree it is plenty – is not substantive to you.

        That is, precisely, true. What I find interesting is that many of my critics seem to be mistaken about that. As a recent case in point, see this comment from Latimer:

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/24/ipcc-and-transparency/#comment-127590

        In fact, you yourself seem to think that your criticisms are substantive to me (thus contradicting your most recent post):by implying my posts reflect a lack of courage.

        In point of fact, I don’t care whether you or any other readers think my posts are “obnoxious” or “tedious” or whatever. If somehow people were forced to read them then I might care. But since that isn’t the case, I don’t feel in the slightest bit responsible if people find reading my posts to be “unpleasant” — as they have every choice to simply not read my posts. I have no idea why anyone should think I would feel responsible for the decisions that others quite willingly decide to make fully on their own.

        Perhaps I could have said more clearly that your strategy (and that I see in myself on occasion) is to avoid the possibility of being shown to be WRONG.

        I’m not terribly concerned about being wrong. We all share a general dislike for being wrong – but honestly I think it bothers me less than it does many other commenters I see here.

        My reason for not posting directly on technical matters is that I don’t have a technical background. If I posted comments on technical matters they would be, as a matter of fact, uninformed. It isn’t that I’m afraid of being wrong on those matters, it’s that I have nothing informative to add to the those debates.

        But on the matters that I do post on, I am certainly not avoiding the possibility of being wrong. When I write that Judith has not quantified, qualified, nor verified the expectation levels of her “denizens” WRT uncertainty – I could certainly be wrong. All anyone would need to do to prove me wrong is provide evidence. I more than welcome you to take that on.

        The sad thing is neither you nor anyone else learns anything about climate science or how they think about the climate.

        I will hold out hope that Judith, among others, will see the selective reasoning, confirmation bias, etc., in their reasoning relative to the political, ideological, and cultural overly on the climate debate. My hope is slim, but it remains. In point of fact, I think that my comments are no more or less likely than the vast majority of comments here at Climate Etc. to change opinions or inform people that are in disagreement. I derive some level of enjoyment from pointing out the logical fallacies in the reasoning of people that I disagree with – but no more so than many other commenters here. The comments that derisively focus on the reasoning of others are ubiquitous – I would say that is a characteristic of a majority of comments at this site, and often far more personally focused and vitriolic than my comments. Yet my comments get a rather singular focus in that regard. I’m sure that to a large extent, that’s because of the volume of my comments – but IMO, it is likely more than that.

        I post my comments primarily to explore my own thinking and to see whether or not the comments of others in response can help me to find the flaws in my reasoning (such as confirmation bias). Comments that focus on vitriolic criticism are completely useless in that regard, but I think they are kind of fun, and it isn’t completely rare that a commenter such as John Carpenter, or BIllC, or Gene, or a number of others post responses that help me to further my primary aim. Secondarily, as I mentioned, I do think it’s fun to poke holes in the reasoning of others – but there again I have no particular expectation that anyone will learn from that. It has been shown over and over that people who are so overt in their biases are not particularly interested in learning even if I did have something to teach them.

        I’m flattered that you seem interested in my opinions with regard to the science of climate change. In fact, I do sometimes voice opinion on how the science is interpreted, and my perspective on various people interpret the science and why – but if you’ve missed those comments, please feel free to ask me any questions you might like to hear my perspective on.

      • And Anteros –

        In the sense that I think that some part of your “constructive criticism” was rooted in a good-faith attempt at dialog, I will note that in the “Changing minds” thread, I didn’t interact with Robert WRT learning from Pielke Jr., Tol, and the Hartwell Paper (in fact, I had previously left a post on Robert’s blog with a link to a video of a Pielke lecture). While I don’t necessarily agree with any of those sources in all ways, I have found each of them to be a valuable source of information for consideration. I mentioned that to Robert because I think that there could be some benefit in sharing that information with him. I’d be curious in hearing his reaction (as someone on an extreme end of the debate) to Pielke Jr., for example, and in fact I asked for his response to that video weeks ago.

        Further, I have acknowledged more than once that I find Judith’s focus on quantifying “certainty” to be a valuable effort – and I have learned more about the uncertainty WRT climate change (to the degree that I can understand it – as much of it is very technical) as a result of frequenting Climate Etc.

        I have also learned that the entrenched tribalism and ideological/partisan bias among some in the climate debate is deeper than I had realized prior to coming to Climate Etc. Of course, I realized that it was out there on both sides of the debate, but I have to admit that I was surprised when I first came here and found the ubiquitous conspiracy-mongering about eugenicists, socialistic cabals to destroy capitalism with nary a concern about the millions who will die from starvation as a result, etc. I’ve also learned that, to my surprise, that (IMO) someone like Judith seems to be willing to avert her gaze from such rhetoric for the purpose of furthering her agenda in the climate debate.

      • Joshua – thank you for such a measured and cogent response.
        I must say I was very surprised that you say

        “I post my comments primarily to explore my own thinking…” but I will endeavour to interpret them anew.

        I wonder why you restrict yourself to pointing out the (obvious and prevalent) biases and hypocrisy in “sceptics” thinking and not in “alarmist/consensus” positions especially because, for me at least, what is most interesting about what you have to say concerns asymmetry and tribal perceptions of it. You may naturally gravitate toward criticising Jim Cripwell’s extreme utterances, but there must surely be more mileage in the persistently blinkered fundamentalism of Robert’s orthodoxy.
        What happens when right before your eyes you see Robert claiming CAGW is a “straw man denier” argument here while at the same time talking about “Staving off disaster” on his blog? With your keen eye for non sequiters, self delusion and idealogical biases you could have an absolute field day. More seriously, you are perhaps the one person who comments on this blog who could gently bring the tiniest morsel of self-awareness into Roberts intellectual and emotional life. Perhaps you are just waiting for the right moment?

        I understand well your reticence to comment on technical matters although it clearly doesn’t stop anyone else. However, I disagree with the likes of tempterrain in his insistence that it is “All about the science”. For most people it is about everything except the science, and even people who have close agreement about the physics can have profound disagreements about how they create meaning around visions of the future. Perhaps because that’s where my personal interest lies I’m keen to hear at least something of your beliefs, and expectations. But if that isn’t something you’re keen on, I think now I better understand your reasoning.

      • Joshua, I must say that i have only this day first visited this excellent blog, and after reading three threads i am already of the opinion that you provide just a distraction from the real issues at hand and is obviously plain unable to add anything at all to the discussion. Most discussions with you seems to end when you choose to simply ignore the other person whenever he has a point, or more typically, when a clear question is asked of you.

        So you know what i do?

        I no longer read your posts. And never will. Cheers!

  22. Fred Moolten – Thank you for comment, but you are in error

    Regarding

    “Your reference to what you call “fatal flaws” in the WG1 report strikes me as such an egregious overstatement that it is likely to undermine the force of other more credible points you make. This is highlighted by the fact that you have not cited peer-reviewed journal articles in the above list to support your claim.”

    I do cite specific peer reviewed papers that were excluded in the 2007 IPCC WG1 report in the appendix in the testimony

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/testimony-written.pdf

    Please read what I listed before rejecting my “fatal” flaw conclusion. I have written quite a bit on my weblog also documenting the failure of the IPCC WG1 report to accurately assess the current understanding of the climate system including the role of humans in altering the system.

    • Roger – Please see my set of comments above regarding your writings on the subject. My point is that most of those are of an editorial nature in support of your judgment about what you perceive to be WG1 omissions, and others may disagree about the significance of those omissions. To call WG1 fatally flawed on that basis is, I think, likely to invite readers to see your judgment as very biased. The WG1 report in its entirely is a valuable contribution to an overall scientific understanding, and whether or not it should have included the sources you refer to is not in my view something that should change that in the minds of objective reviewers.

      • Explain how a synthesis report, that by the IPCC’s charter can’t contain any original science can be “a valuable contribution to an overall scientific understanding” even under the best of circumstances. There’s nothing in there that isn’t in ‘the literature’ somewhere else. Well, except for the gray literature.

      • P.E. – It depends on what level of understanding you start with. If you are intimately familiar with all the literature, the WG1 report might not help much, but even within climate science, few professionals are that knowledgeable outside of their particular area of interest. The value of the report, therefore, includes an overview of areas of interest to almost everyone, along with references. It shouldn’t be the sole source of understanding, but it is a useful resource for enlarging one’s understanding if not depended on as infallible (no source is).

      • I see. The phrase “a valuable contribution to an overall scientific understanding” to me means advancing the science. It appears that what you meant by it is more along the lines of advancing understanding of science among the policy making class, which something else completely. That’s a different argument from whether WG1 actually does that, or in fact muddies the water. I’ll let Dr. Pielke address that issue.

      • That is not what I meant, P.E. – I meant advancing understanding among scientists as well, including climate scientists. The SPM may (or may not) advance the understanding of policy makers, but they don’t read the main report.

      • So the value added is in the cross-fertilization of ideas among the different scientific specialists? It’s interesting that the precise meaning of that phrase is this hard to pin down.

      • But Fred, the report is created using formalized confirmation bias, as the basic method of determining what goes into the report.

      • Fred, I think there is a semantic problem with ‘Fatally Flawed” you and Roger are stumbling over. I suggest familiarizing yourself with the papers Dr Pielke is pointing you to to decide whether his conclusion is justified in that context and agreeing a definition of ‘Fatally Flawed’ within the context WG1.

        By this I mean, I suspect that Dr Pielke may mean that based on the science WG1 put forward, the conclusions they drew from it was unjustified, or ‘Fatally Flawed’. Maybe not the entirety of the science on it’s own, but it’s assessment.

        It’s the IPCC ‘egregious overstatement’ as you put it that may cause Dr Pielke to feel that the their conclusions were ‘Fatally Flawed’.

      • I’ve read Roger’s views on this subject and found them informative. He makes some good points on the need for more focus outside anthropogenic ghgs and global temperature change. I have also read the WG1 report and based on my knowledge gleaned outside of that report, judged it to be a valuable and largely accurate document, whose conclusions are generally well supported with some room for uncertainty or disagreement in a few areas. I can’t find any justification for the claim that it is fatally flawed. That is not a reasonable assessment in my opinion, and does a disservice to the large number of individuals who participated in the effort.

      • Ok Fred, having thought about it I will run with you on this one. My personal assessment is closer to Dr Pielkes view, but the term ‘Fatally Flawed’ has emotive connotations that aren’t really appropriate. I think he is justified in being strongly critical but describing it as “Fatally Flawed” seems more emotive than informative.

  23. “How should “traceable account” be interpreted?”

    “Traceable account” should be interpreted exactly the same as other climate “science” terminology, like “climate change.” It is a political term dressed up to appear scientific. It can mean whatever the author wants it to mean. That is why Dr. Curry can complain about the lack of such accounts in AR4, and the “reviewers” can say – no, it’s right there.

    You aren’t supposed to be able to actually test the publication against the standard. The IPCC is a political organization, and the ARs are political documents. If you attempt to read them as scientific treatises, you will miss the point.

    Progressive politics is replete with such vague terminology, think of “fairness” as a political goal, or “for the children.” Those too are terms with no meaningful definition, that depend entirely on the intent of the speaker, It’s kind of like abstract art. How can you tell an artist he has failed when you can’t define what he set out to do? (Which is also the reason CAGW activists hate the term “CAGW.”)

    The more obscure the terminology, the more difficult to hold the CAGW activists to any standard, and that’s the point. You are no more going to get a hard and fast, intelligible definition of “traceable account” from the IPCC than you will of “climate change,” because intelligibility is not their goal. You are no more going to get the IPCC to adhere to rigorous standards of science in general, than you will get them to adopt and actually implement genuine conflict of interest rules. Once one accepts the purely political nature of the process, it becomes much easier to understand their behavior.

    Quixotic quests are fun to watch, you keep waiting for the moment that Don will wake up and realize that the scientific dragon he keeps tilting at is just a political windmill.

    • Phillip Bratby

      Gary:
      You have produced an excellent summary here

      • Gosh, I hope Judith quotes some of these comments to the reviewers to show them what the “broader scientific community” thinks. That could be fun.

  24. These are very run of the mill types of reviewer comments, and each has something good to offer. Responding well to them will result in a better paper. As far as the denizens of this blog constituting a scientific community goes I’m afraid I have to defer to the objections raised by those who most clearly prove that it is not. You’ve attracted an eclectic mix of experts, cacophones, and blog junkies, although weighted more heavily on the first than most of the other climate blogs I’ve seen.

  25. doskonaleszare

    Dr. Curry,

    Since you brought this subject, what about the traceability of your statements concerning the tuning of AR4 models?

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/09/10/uncertainty-monster-paper-in-press/#comment-124677

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/17/self-organizing-model-of-the-atmosphere/#comment-125240

    When are you going to provide evidence to back up your claims?

    • Here is everything I would ever want to know about aerosols and models, I’m not sure if it has everything you might want to know. Perhaps you are thinking the only way to tune aerosol forcings is by quantity?

      http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/sap/sap2-3/public-review-draft/sap2-3-prd-ch3.pdf

      • doskonaleszare

        > Here is everything I would ever want to know about aerosols and models, I’m not sure if it has everything you might want to know.

        It doesn’t answer my questions, and it confirms that Judith is wrong.

        “In the prescribed climate modeling simulations conducted for the IPCC (2007) AR4 report, a scenario of aerosol sulfur concentrations in the atmosphere was made available to the different modeling groups. It used the historical reconstruction of sulfur emissions by Lefohn et al. (1999) rescaled to the SRES (1990) [Special Report on Emission Scenarios, prepared for IPCC, 1990] values to avoid discontinuities with future climate projections. Thee sources were then run in the French LMD chemical transport and transformation model to produce column average aerosol distributions over the globe
        (Boucher and Pham, 2002). At least four GCMs employed this distribution, although it was not mandatory, and many did not, preferring their own approaches. Thee global sulfur emission estimates from different studies are well constrained, with seven different reconstructions of sulfur emissions having a standard deviation of less than 20% among them for the time period between 1890 and 1990 (IPCC, 2007). However, the modeling groups which didn’t use the Boucher and Pham distribution had to convert time-dependent sulfur emissions to regionally dependent sulfate concentrations and optical depth, and the techniques used were model-dependent. For example, NCAR incorporated historical
        SO2 emissions from the data set of Smith et al. (2001) into the MOZART global chemical transport model to produce its sulfate distribution. GFDL also used MOZART with time-varying aerosols.
        GISS used time-varying aerosols in a version of the full GCM that included additional aerosol-related processes, with the distributions saved for use in the climate-change simulations. As will be shown,
        the varying procedures resulted in varying sulfate concentrations. And as the models also use different aerosol radiative characteristics along with differing atmospheric radiation schemes, the subsequent
        radiative forcing is even more model-dependent.”

        Not a single word about the inverse approach dr. Curry was writing about.

        > Perhaps you are thinking the only way to tune aerosol forcings is by quantity?

        No, I am not. I am aware that you can possibly do it in many ways, but since I’m not interested in hypotheticals, I am waiting for dr. Curry to enlighten me and explain how, in her opinion, the AR4 models DID do the aerosol tuning, and in which way, in her opinion, the CCSM3 was tuned to 20th century observations.

        So far it seems that her statements were, to borrow Doug Keenan’s expression, “fabricated”, and she doesn’t want to admit she was wrong. That’s why she’s suddenly silent about it.

      • Not one word? I was going to copy some samples but I decided it would take up entirely too much blog space so I will just end my portion of this conversation by saying you need to look again.

      • doskonaleszare

        > Not one word?

        Not in the section I quoted, which describes the IPCC 20CEN runs. But feel free to prove me wrong.

        > I was going to copy some samples but I decided it would take up entirely too much blog space so I will just end my portion of this conversation by saying you need to look again.

        Oh, please, no more cheap excuses. A section number won’t take up “too much blog space”.

      • “This is not the only example of inverse-reasoning (Anderson et al., 2003), in which model simulations
        incorporate aerosols calibrated to bring the temperature change results closer to observations. “e
        magnitude of the indirect effect, as discussed by Hansen et al. (2005) is roughly tuned to produce the
        required response”

        “The aerosol forcing produces a cooling on the order of
        50% that of greenhouse warming (generally similar to that calculated by the GISS model, Table 3.5).
        Similar reasoning concerning the somewhat arbitrary nature of the aerosol forcing applies to this
        model conclusion, in particular concerning the indirect aerosol cooling.”

        “The other method of calculating aerosol forcing is called the ‘inverse approach’ – it is assumed that the
        observed climate change is primarily the result of the known climate forcing contributions. If one assumes
        a climate sensitivity (or a range of sensitivities), one can determine what the total forcing had to
        be to produce the observed temperature change. “e aerosol forcing is then deduced as a residual after
        subtraction of the GHG forcing along with other known forcings from the total value. Studies of this
        nature come up with aerosol forcing ranges of –0.6 to –1.7 Wm-2 (Knutti et al., 2002, 2003; IPCC
        Chap.9); -0.4 to –1.6 Wm-2 (Gregory et al., 2002); and -0.4 to –1.4 Wm-2 (Stott et al., 2006).”

        “Behind this relative unanimity, however, is an inconvenient truth: in order to produce the observed
        temperature increase trend, models must use very uncertain aerosol forcing. “e greenhouse gas change
        by itself produces warming in models that exceeds that observed on average by some 40% (IPCC,
        2007). Cooling associated with aerosols reduces this warming to the correct level. However, to achieve
        this response, different climate models use differing aerosol forcings, both direct (aerosol scattering
        and absorption of short and longwave radiation) and indirect (aerosol effect on cloud cover reflectivity
        and lifetime), whose magnitudes differ markedly. Kiehl (2007) using nine of the IPCC (2007) AR4
        climate models found that they had a factor of three forcing difference in the aerosol contribution for
        the 20th century. “e differing aerosol forcing is the prime reason why models whose climate sensitivity
        varies by almost a factor of three can produce the ‘right’ answer.”

      • doskonaleszare

        > This is not the only example of inverse-reasoning (Anderson et al., 2003), in which model simulations incorporate aerosols calibrated to bring the temperature change results closer to observations.

        Wrong.
        Anderson et al., 2003 didn’t describe AR4 CEN20 experiments.

        > The magnitude of the indirect effect, as discussed by Hansen et al. (2005) is roughly tuned to produce the required response”

        Wrong again.
        The indirect effect was calibrated to the required response in DIURNAL temperature change (see the final version of SAP2.3), not 20th century temperature change.

        And by the way, dr. Curry has already acknowledged that she didn’t mean the modelE, which in her own words “uses published forward calculations (the right thing to do, but still fraught with great uncertainty), whereas many climate models use an inverse method to get aerosol forcing that matches.”

        > The aerosol forcing produces a cooling on the order of 50% that of greenhouse warming (generally similar to that calculated by the GISS model, Table 3.5). Similar reasoning concerning the somewhat arbitrary nature of the aerosol forcing applies to this model conclusion, in particular concerning the indirect aerosol cooling.

        Wrong.
        That still doesn’t mean the GFDL models tuned the forcings using inverse approach. In fact, they used forward calculations from Mozart-2, as described in section 3.2.1 of the SAP report.

        > The other method of calculating aerosol forcing is called the ‘inverse approach’ – it is assumed that the observed climate change is primarily the result of the known climate forcing contributions. If one assumes a climate sensitivity (or a range of sensitivities), one can determine what the total forcing had to be to produce the observed temperature change. The aerosol forcing is then deduced as a residual after subtraction of the GHG forcing along with other known forcings from the total value. Studies of this nature come up with aerosol forcing ranges of –0.6 to –1.7 Wm-2 (Knutti et al., 2002, 2003; IPCC Chap.9); -0.4 to –1.6 Wm-2 (Gregory et al., 2002); and -0.4 to –1.4 Wm-2 (Stott et al., 2006).”

        Wrong.
        They don’t describe 20CEN runs here.

        > Behind this relative unanimity, however, is an inconvenient truth: in order to produce the observed temperature increase trend, models must use very uncertain aerosol forcing. The greenhouse gas change
        by itself produces warming in models that exceeds that observed on average by some 40% (IPCC, 2007). Cooling associated with aerosols reduces this warming to the correct level. However, to achieve this response, different climate models use differing aerosol forcings, both direct (aerosol scattering and absorption of short and longwave radiation) and indirect (aerosol effect on cloud cover reflectivity
        and lifetime), whose magnitudes differ markedly. Kiehl (2007) using nine of the IPCC (2007) AR4 climate models found that they had a factor of three forcing difference in the aerosol contribution for the 20th century. The differing aerosol forcing is the prime reason why models whose climate sensitivity varies by almost a factor of three can produce the ‘right’ answer.”

        Wrong again.
        This fragment, and the paper of Kiehl they refer to, doesn’t say a word about inverse calculations of aerosol forcing. On the contrary, Kiehl observes that “many current models predict aerosol concentrations interactively within the climate model and this concentration is then used to predict the direct and indirect forcing effects on the climate system” (and that’s why it’s so hard to do meaningful intercomparisons).

        I’ll give you a hint: I’m asking about models from a supplement to the AR4 chapter 9, table S9.1, that is:

        CCSM3
        ECHO-G
        GFDL-CM2.0
        GFDL-CM2.1
        GISS-EH
        GISS-ER
        INM-CM3.0
        MIROC3.2
        MRI-CGCM2.3.2
        PCM
        UKMO-HadCM3
        UKMO-HadGEM1
        ECHAM4-OPYC3
        GFDL-R30

        Now you can try again.

      • Typically aerosols would have their primary influence during the day so I see no sense behind that comment at all. As far as the rest of it, you seem to have some sort of belief that the models were reconstructed from scratch for one particular run. Seems like a lot of work to me. I’ll pass on further discussion until you provide evidence other than your opinion that the reference I provided is wrong. And no, showing that they used historic values for aerosol production is not evidence.

      • doskonaleszare

        > Typically aerosols would have their primary influence during the day so I see no sense behind that comment at all.

        How about “they didn’t fit the 20th century aerosol forcing to the 20th century time series of global surface temperature anomalies”?

        > As far as the rest of it, you seem to have some sort of belief that the models were reconstructed from scratch for one particular run.

        You don’t any other arguments, so you set up a strawman?

        No, I don’t believe the models were reconstructed from scratch for one particular run. But I believe that dr. Curry a) misunderstood Gent et al paper and the purpose of the CCSM3 tuning; b) misunderstood the contents of section 9.2.1.2 of the AR4 and somehow convinced herself it describes 20CEN experiments; c) didn’t read “13 different journal articles cited in Table S9.1″ and instead made some stuff up about aerosol forcings; fortunately, in the last case, it was obviously the IPCC’s fault, because they “made the evidence difficult to find and sort out”.

        > I’ll pass on further discussion until you provide evidence other than your opinion that the reference I provided is wrong.

        Okay then, let’s start with Anderson et al., 2003. It didn’t describe AR4 CEN20 experiments because the paper predates these experiments.

        See? That was easy.

        > And no, showing that they used historic values for aerosol production is not evidence.

        I’ve already provided documentation describing the treatment of aerosol stuff in several models used for the AR4 20th century runs, along with statements from two modeling groups that plainly contradicted dr. Curry’s claims.

      • If I tune the modeled response to historical aerosol data in 2002 in such a way as to make my output not look like garbage and I run the historical aerosol data again in 2007, what has changed? The date?

      • doskonaleszare

        > If I tune the modeled response to historical aerosol data in 2002 in such a way as to make my output not look like garbage and I run the historical aerosol data again in 2007, what has changed? The date?

        And the models. Anderson et al. 2003 is a review paper, so it describes experiments done before that date, mostly for the IPCC TAR (their reference #1 and #3), using the previous generation of the GCMs.

  26. Steven Mosher

    Judith,

    Ignoring all the fluff above let’s get to your core questions: I will focus on the first two

    “How should traceable account” be interpreted? Did the IPCC give a traceable account? ”

    Traceability is probably more familiar to those of us who are used to creating, reviewing and specifying traceable processes. I suspect that when the Author’s were given this directive they did not understand traceability the way “we” ( some of us) do. I would not call their account traceable.

    For those of us with engineering backgrounds traceability is a bi directional process. It involves a customer and a producer. I will take a design like the YF-23, a system I worked on as a systems engineer. The design starts with requirements. It ends with a specification and a design. Every requirement in that design has to be shown to be satisfied. Every element in the design has to be traceable BACK to a requirement. What that entails is an entire management process or management tool to track every decision, every study, all of it. There are no verbal agreements, no meetings where notes are not taken. If you try to give a verbal order you get a AVO form in your mailbox> ( Avoid Verbal Orders). Phone calls require minutes with signatures. But hey, lives are at stake so every decision taken, every meeting, every phone call, is all made a part of the record.

    Other disciplines do not require that and often traceability can be shown using a traceability matrix

    http://www.guru99.com/traceability-matrix.html

    or document control

    http://www.slideshare.net/alflament/bsc-our-vision-for-document-traceability

    What are these processes trying to get to? Well for the producer of the document or product traceability gives a complete record of everything that was done and who did it. This ensures that you do what was expected ( meet the customer demands) AND that you can correct and improve your process going forward. Its also protection if a customer is unhappy or if your being sused for failure to excerice due diligence or best practices.
    For the consumer traceability allows them to do two things.

    A. starting at the result walk back or trace back how the result came to be.
    B. starting at the begining walk THROUGH the decision process and achieve the same result.

    Traceability of tied to repeatability. For the producer that means he can repeat the same process with the next customer and get good results. For the consumer he can walk through the process and understand how the thing he now owns was produced.

    A traceable account for the IPCC would not be as onerous as a nasa type traceability ( although lives are at stake ) nor would it be satisfied by a bibiliography and a mere description of the process. Given the deliverable ( the report) one should be able to give the same material to an independent team and have them produce the same result. If the documents provided leave an outsider with the question
    ” how’d you do that?” or “where’s the detail for that step or decision” then you have an untraceable process.

    • John Carpenter

      Steve, your comment is longer than mine but we touch on many of the same themes of ‘traceability’ wrt engineering and manufacturing. I included ‘right of entry’ as an important part of traceability to allow investigation of the data. You should understand where I am going with that.

    • Steven Mosher

      Thanks for a good post.

      So we sometimes agree!

    • K Scott Denison

      Thank you Steven, well said. That our should have to go to such great effort to define traceability is the prime indication of the problem with groups such as the IPCC.

  27. Prof. Curry, it’s a red herring…

    Forgive me if this duplicates somebody else’s contribution. I haven’t had time to even scan through all the comments, and thought my time would be better expended reviewing the actual meat of the traceability argument.

    The key to their argument is table 9.4 in Section 9.7: Combining Evidence of Anthropogenic Climate Change, in which references to the preceding chapters are used to justify probability estimates.

    As far as I can tell, most of the bases of the estimates of uncertainty can be traced to various uses of the word “robust” which appears to be used in proper fashion. (At least, similarly to what I’ve seen in more biological systems.) It would take experts to determine whether the alternatives to which the conclusions are “robust” constitute a realistic total of the possible sources of uncertainty.

    IMO this certainly backs up the reviewer(s) contention that:

    On pages 18-19 of the original article, Curry and Webster quote AR4 WG1 Chapter 9 Section 9.4 and refer to this as a description of the reasoning process used in assessing likelihood in the attribution statement. This, along with discussion in section 9.4.1 and table 9.4, provides a clear traceable account of the multiple lines of evidence supporting the attribution statement and forming the basis for the likelihood assessment.

    Notice how they discuss the lines of evidence, but not “how the likelihood assessment in the attribution statement was reached” from their statement of what they object to:

    This relates to the statement from the original Curry and Webster paper that was challenged by Hegerl et al., “Since no traceable account is given in the AR4 of how the likelihood assessment in the attribution statement was reached, it is not possible to determine what the qualitative judgments of the lead authors were on the methodological reliability of their claim.”

    Reading this, I might guess that somebody counted how many times the word “robust” was used in the sections supporting their thesis and matched it against some lookup table to get the appropriate (un)certainty level. Not? Then what? The reviewer is simply distracting attention from the fact that we don’t know who reviewed the sections involved, how expert they were, and HOW THEIR QUALITATIVE OPINIONS WERE INTEGRATED to produce the final result. The reviewer’s (or reviewers’) objection is overruled, it’s not relevant to the question at hand (that they just raised).

    I see nothing in the referenced sections of AR4 (including section 9.1.2 What are Climate Change Detection and Attribution? which was quoted but not AFAIK referenced in the reviewer comments) to falsify my hypothesis that some clerk decided to count the number of times the word “robust” was used in all the referenced sections (for each bullet in table 9.4) and use a lookup table to determine the (un)certainty.

    The reviewer(s) don’t appear (in the quotes above) to have actually adressed the point in your response. Instead, they’ve dragged a red herring across the trail.

    • Nicely put AK. In short, mere citations do not provide traceability of method.

      • Thanks, David. But let’s wait and see if somebody can break it, by, say, providing citations that actually falsify my (tongue-in-cheek, obviously) hypothesis. There must be a few lurkers here much more familiar with the report than I am.

      • Your version is probably more rigorous than what actually happened.

      • Well, either there’s nothing better in AR4, or it’s taking a long time, or nobody’s looking because (almost) nobody bothered to read my post. I guess that’s what I get for bringing up Marxist agendas so often.

        Still, something like this probably should be allowed to sit overnight before drawing any conclusions.

  28. Dr. Curry, the solution is really simple. They want you to support your opinion with documentation.

    Give it to them. Start off with the letters of resignation from Am Physical Soc, UCS and AGU and the like. Include some published comments from F. Dysen. Heck, even include Dr. Muller’s “You are not allowed to do this in science!”

    You own a blog. Start a post requesting “amicus ‘Curry'” citations.

    Seems to me there was a on-line petition of thousands, too.
    The reviewers want support? Drown them with it.

    • Forgot to mention to give promenence to Nobel winners who resigned as Ivar Giaever, Hal Lewis.

      • But here’s a thing. Giaever and Lewis complained about the APS statement declaring that warming was incontrovertible. Yet, David Whitehouse of GWPF says you have to be ‘barking mad’ not to accept it is warming, and Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre have recently declared that they have never questioned that it has been warming.

        So parse this out for me, how should Judith use the Giaever/Lewis letters given that they are predicated on the wrongness of the study that Judith just co-authored?

      • randomengineer

        Understanding that the Hudson regularly froze in the 1780’s and no longer does is evidence of warming. Claiming unprecedented warming in the past 50 years due solely to mankind is something else entirely.

        Why it’s necessary to buy totally into the notion that since it is warming then all warming must be somehow anthropogenic is a mystery.

        Surely you are able to distinguish these positions? It would appear that Dr Lewis was concerned that any/all natural warming was being ignored or worse, downright rejected.

      • Some people in the press, have said things like the antarctic will the only refuge of humankind. Then you got Al Gore and concerns of coastal flooding, Hansen doing street protesting and getting arrested, due to deep concerns. And Ted Turner and his 30 years and we are cannibals.
        All of them deeply connected to UN climate changy thing.
        So barking mad could mean are you one of “them”- meaning apparently somewhat calm, but actually crazy.

    • Is it worth quoting the IAC review? See my previous comment above.

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/24/ipcc-and-transparency/#comment-127191

    • Best pun I’ve read in awhile. Maybe you could get something screen printed.

      I would wear an amicus curry brief.

    • I think this is a very good idea. I remember reading Hal Lewis’s letter and he talked about uncertainty. I don’t remember seeing Ivar Giaever’s letter but he probably did too.

  29. John Carpenter

    Traceability is used in manufacturing to record how a product was manufactured in accordance with specification. It also allows someone to ‘trace’ back the specific manufacturing path of a particular piece of hardware in the case of failure investigations. With no or poor taceability of the hardware processing, root cause of the failure becomes harder to accomplish or may even prevent one from determining root cause definitively. An important and vital component of traceability is for the investigators (whether this is a customer or a government agency) to have ‘right of entry’ to the facility enabling them to examine the processing records. Basically, to ‘audit’ the process. To determine if anything occurred during the processing which could have contributed to the failure. Right of entry, or examination of the data, is critical to real traceability.

    To put this in context with what the reviewers are saying, just saying multiple lines of evidence are ‘traceable’ to papers supporting the conclusions is not adequate enough for the assignment of the uncertainty statement. One must be able to get in and examine the data to verify the ‘traceability’.

  30. Agnostic – Thank you for your comment.

    Your statement

    “It’s the IPCC ‘egregious overstatement’ as you put it that may cause Dr Pielke to feel that the their conclusions were ‘Fatally Flawed’”

    is one way to express that the 2007 WG1 IPCC report is fatally flawed. I prefer the view that they made very major “sins of omission”. For example, in our 2009 EOS article (of which all of the authors are AGU Fellows)

    Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) AGU

    we wrote “the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
    assessment did not sufficiently acknowledge the importance of these other human climate forcings in altering regional and global climate and their effects on predictability at the regional scale. It also placed too much
    emphasis on average global forcing from a limited set of human climate forcings. Further, it devised a mitigation strategy based on global model predictions.”

    In my view, these are fatal flaws in the 2007 IPCC WG1 assessment of the climate science.

    • Dr. Pielke,

      I have seen a lot of fatal flaws, and you are correctly applying the term.

    • Roger – Because you reemphasized the EOS article, I went back to reread it (I had read it a few months ago). Doing so convinced me that your claim the article demonstrates fatal flaws in WG1 is unsupported by what you wrote. Of your two hypotheses, 2a and 2b, I believe a strong case can be made for 2b, with its emphasis (but not an exclusive focus) on CO2 emissions, whereas you favor 2a, but these are matters of judgment and the two hypotheses are not separated by a strong boundary. The article emphasizes regional climate changes and the need to address resource problems, among other concerns, and it is hard to argue with that proposition. However, even if you are correct in faulting the IPCC for insufficiently addressing these particular concerns, and this is something you assert without documentation in the EOS article, this is only a small part of the subject matter of the 11 WG1 chapters, including Chapter 11 – Regional Climate Projections. Even more to the point, the mitigation aspects you emphasize are not part of the WG1 purview and should not be used to condemn the WG1 effort.

      Having read all 11 chapters, I continue to find the WG1 report a valuable asset in synthesizing current evidence on the science of climate change. Based on what I have gleaned from independent sources in the literature, I judge it to highly accurate and comprehensive in most regards, with allowance for the fact that there are areas that can legitimately be questioned. I believe your emphasis on the need for more regional and more resource-based assessments should be taken seriously in future IPCC content. Nevertheless, I consider your conclusion that the WG1 report is fatally flawed to be seriously off the mark, but I would leave it to other readers familiar with both the 11 chapters and your writings to make their own judgments.

      • Fred, Interestingly, Lindzen agrees with you. However, he points out that the condensation of this report into the summary for policy makers and the press release is where the problems are. He reports what happened with regard to Trenberth. If you haven’t heard it, you need to hear it (Lindzen’s Fermilab seminar on YouTube). It shakes my confidence in the whole IPCC process. I agree with Muller, I don’t trust anything coming out of the team based on the Climategate scandal. They are the ones who need to address this problem, not the skeptics.

  31. I’m just wondering… what evidence would be necessary for Dr Curry and others here to agree with the thesis concerning AGW? I’m not a troll, I’m in another scientific field and I can appreciate the inherent uncertainty of climate analysis versus other systems. If the system is so complex and so dynamic then there may actually be no way to slay the uncertainty monster when it comes to climate. In medicine we can do large controlled studies since the human system is smaller and multiple, but often we cannot and we will change therapeutic recommendations based on a cohort trial or other inferior studies depending on the risk/benefit ratio.

    I know Dr Curry always says that she is a scientist and not a politician– granted– but, hypothetically, if you were, say, a physician (ie, part scientist, part advocate, part practitioner) and the earth were your patient, how much and what kind of evidence would you need in order to alter the current treatment regimen?

    It seems to me that the climate system might be too complex to come to any conclusion about causation and trends to satisfy a pure scientist until it’s very late in the game.

    For the record, I have no strong opinion about climate, I can see how both sides of the debate might have vested interests and I certainly don’t have the expertise to decipher the literature, but I’m just wondering what types of evidence are needed and how much? I enjoy this site very much and follow other pro-AGW sites as well.

    • And “medical science” is subject to all of the ills that Climate Science suffers, with an equally strong “follow the money” causality.
      See: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/8269/

    • Well, I would like to see some kind of evidence, beyond armwaving, that whatever warming we have seen is unusual and outside the bounds of natural variability. I would like to know why climate scientists have been so unwilling to share their data and methods. I would like to find out who the reviewers were for the key papers that the warmists use to support their case, and have the core papers re-examined in great detail by paid professional non-pal reviewers. How about spending a few hundred million on that, to validate the core research? Also spend a couple of hundred million on developing a GCM that doesn’t start out with the assumption that CO2 is the control knob. An independent inquiry into Climategate might clear up some suspicions, or heighten them. That is a start.

      • I will add, that a series of debates between prominent consensus climate scientists and skeptic scientists, whether they are considered to be prominent or not, would be interesting. But I forgot, the debate is over.

    • To use your analogy, suppose at your next physical the Dr takes your temperature as 99.3, then urges immediate surgury and a treatment program so expensive your childern will be destined for the poor house.

      What would it take for you to stay with that quack?

      You do not need to question the measurement to question the diagnosis or the prognosis.

      • Or, if you went to your doctor, who upon finding your temperature to be 99.3, told you that you would burn up, unless you gave up fossil fuels.

      • What about a fever of 103? Would you see the need for action then? How high do your food prices have to go?

        “…But scientists now wonder if a more immediate issue is an unusual rise in day-time and, especially, night-time summer temperatures being seen in crop belts around the world.

        Interviews with crop researchers at American universities paint the same picture: high temperatures have already shrunken output of many crops and vegetables…”

        http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/24/us-climate-crops-idUSTRE79N07420111024

      • Well, if the good doc predicted that I am going to have a dangerous fever of 103, in a few decades from now, I would get another doc.

        Somehow a story in reuters about global warming doesn’t really scare me. All the coal that we have in the ground seems to be sufficient evidence that warmth does not retard plant growth. I don’t think much of that stuff was laid down during Ice Ages. I do know that the tomatoes I have grown in various climates like their heat. No luck here for the last two summers. Too cool. Had to resort to store bought, from Mexico, where it is warmer.

      • If you had bothered to read the article you would have seen:

        “…”We don’t grow tomatoes in the deep South in the summer. Pollination fails,” said Ken Boote, a crop scientist with the University of Florida.

        The same goes for snap beans which can no longer be grown in Florida during the summer, he added…”

      • So agricultural scientists are finally figuring out a way to get on the global warming government funded research gravy train. Somebody alert the media. Oh wait….

      • holly,

        I am really sorry that they can’t grow tomatoes in S. Fla, in the summertime. That is really good anecdotal evidence to support your hysteria. They grow a lot of tomatoes in the summer, in the California central valley. Seems damn hot there to me, except when we are having those La Nina things.

      • To beat the medical anaolgy to death, what if you brought your 2 year- old in with a 105 temp and the doc told you to go home and not worry about it because he a) does not know the cause, b) does not know which body cavity to culture and c) isn’t even sure his thermometer is accurate. The doc insists that the makers of thermometers and antibiotics are conspiring so why waste the parents time and money by admitting the child into the hospital for relatively easy workup and treatment? There is nothing that could convince the doctor otherwise. How long would stay with that doctor? But, who knows, he might be right.

        From the comments I infer that there is nothing the scientific community could find that would convince Monfort of AGW. Fair enough, it may indeed be too complex and corrupt for you to ever come to any conclusion. Your nonanswer speaks volumes…and I’m not saying your wrong, I honestly don’t know.

      • Another one from Tony 61. I am not here to educate you. Do some reading on your own, and come back when you can at least ask a relevant question.

      • Latimer Alder

        @holly stick

        Re snap beans

        Interesting that back in 2001, the University of Florida reported (inter alia)

        ‘Florida is ranked first nationally in the production, acreage and total value of fresh market snap beans’ and

        ‘No snap bean production occurs during the summer months in Florida’

        So whatever the distinguished researcher was trying to say, it wasn’t new news that they didn’t grow them in summer in Florida. I wonder if they ever grew them during that time? Even 50 years ago?

        Here’s the article, easily found via Google. Search on ‘Florida snap beans’ and it was the first in my hitlist

        http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/pi032

      • Latimer Alder

        Meant to add that various sites agree that tomatoes don’t grow well in Florida in summer. But, again, there is no suggestion that this is new news. I can find no historical reference to them ever being successful during that season.

        On the oppoiste tack, archaeology tells us that the Romans once grew vines for wine making along Hadrian’s Wall – 300 miles north of London. Nowadays it is difficult to grow them more than about 100 miles north. What conclusions do you draw from these horticultural facts about previous climates compared with today?

    • Tony, Speaking for myself, I would need to see a rigorous analysis of the uncertainty and a restoration of credibility in the field. I agree with Muller, I don’t trust anything Hansen, Trenberth, or Jones says. So for starters, they need to admit error and stop stonewalling. I want to see an independent commission of top scientists from outside the field do an evaluation. I want to see a change in leadership for the major modeling groups. Rigor is not hard, it just requires that climate scientists be humble.

      You know the prima facia evidence is for a lower climate sensitivity. Lindzen points out that if you count all greenhouse gases, we are already at 87% of the forcing of a doubling of CO2. Yet temperatures have risen less than 1K over the last 110 years. Even if we attribute ALL the warming to greenhouse gases, which even the IPCC does not claim, the implied sensitivity is OUTSIDE the IPCC range for the models.

      • Forgot to mention that the team’s dodges on this one are particularly nebulous. They point to aerosols which even the IPCC says are an area of LOW scientific understanding or to heat in the deep oceans, which latest data seems to say is not there.

      • Can you provide a link to the latest data on heat in the deep oceans?

      • Judith gave the reference in an earlier post on the missing heat.

      • The direct aerosol effect is listed as Medium-Low. The indirect effect is listed as Low. This isn’t a question of whether or not they’re having an effect, but how much exactly, and current uncertainties are skewed towards them having a larger rather than smaller effect.

        Dismissing evidence out of hand because it’s inconvenient to your current argument or simply because ‘The Team’ have proposed it isn’t credible . By the way, can we get a rundown on who exactly ‘The Team’ are at this point?

      • Lindzen points out that if you count all greenhouse gases, we are already at 87% of the forcing of a doubling of CO2.

        This is highly disingenuous (of Lindzen, assuming you’ve quoted him accurately). The current net forcing estimate from pre-industrial, incorporating all major factors known to affect climate, the total was about 1.6 W/m^2 in mid-2000s (see AR4), which is less than half the forcing of doubled CO2. What Lindzen likes to skip is that some land-based and atmospheric changes due to human activity exert ‘negative forcing’. It’s the net amount which is ‘positive’.

      • Paul, You know my source is the National Academies report on “Understanding and Responding to Climate Change — 2008 edition.”
        I am looking at figure 5 summarizing the various forcings. I see the following:
        Total Greenhouse gases (first 3 bars) total 3 W/m2
        Aerosol total effect -1.25 W/m2 with an error bar of 2.25 W/m2
        Lindzen’s point is obvious from these figures. Judith makes the same point regarding the aerosols. Lindzen is correct that the models require aerosols to cancel about half their forcing and that the aerosol effect is very uncertain. Doubling CO2 alone, I think is something like 3.5 W/m2 roughly.

        You know, the problem is with the high uncertainty. Given the CERN experiment, the uncertainty surrounding aerosols should be larger still. Anyway Lindzen isn’t saying anything that is controversial, its just that people have a response which is curious, namely that the greenhouse forcing is not really as important as one might think based on simple energy balance models. If all we need is aerosols to balance greenhouse forcing, there are plenty of inexpensive geoengineering solutions.

        As for the “team.” I would concur with Muller, it includes Hansen, Jones, Trenberth, and Mann who I think are all deeply involved in the politicization of the science. I would be equally suspicious of a doctor who had a very strong political agenda or of a corporation that had a vested interest in an issue. This doesn’t mean I won’t listen to what they say, its just hard to take it really seriously after “hide the decline.”

        You know what I find more convincing is the declining sensitivity from GISS. I have misstated it in the past as 4.0K in 1988. Skeptical Science says 4.2 or 4.3. In any case, the new number is 2.6K. That’s a huge difference from a policy perspective. If its 2.6K for a doubling of CO2, then what we have seen so far is at least 50% of the effect of a doubling, roughly. Arguing about aerosols is important but I think very uncertain. Judith quoted one expert who said the uncertainty could be 7 W/m2.
        The question for you is why you believe in high sensitivity based on the very high level of uncertainty in all our estimation methods.

      • Lindzen is correct that the models require aerosols to cancel about half their forcing and that the aerosol effect is very uncertain.

        This implies the models are homogenous in their treatment of aerosols but that is far from the truth. The large uncertainty in magnitude is mostly a consequence of the range of model responses. Indeed, most of the GCMs in the AR4 ensemble don’t even facilitate the potential for emergent indirect aerosol effects. If you look back at the 1990 First Assessment Report I think most (all?) of the models didn’t include any aerosol effect yet the projections have been pretty good based on a best estimate equilibrium sensitivity of about 2.5ºC. As far as I can see they don’t specify a transient response but, checking their projections against their forcing assumptions I would estimate it is ~1.1-1.2ºC.

        Undoubtedly the higher sensitivity models ‘require’ aerosol forcing in order to hindcast well with observations but then the notion that there is at least some negative forcing associated with increasing aerosol emissions isn’t really in question. The question is “How much exactly?”, and that’s where considerable uncertainty is found.

        If all we need is aerosols to balance greenhouse forcing, there are plenty of inexpensive geoengineering solutions.

        Yes, and this has been considered as a potential solution (or at least a ‘wedge’) but there are a couple of important issues: Aerosols have their own environmental problems, mostly related to direct health consequences – there was a reason for ‘Clean Air’ legislation; Aerosols drop out of the sky very quickly so they would need to be continuously pumped into the atmosphere in increasing amounts for hundreds of years.

        Hansen, Jones, Trenberth, and Mann

        These four aren’t exactly prominent in quantifying aerosol effects. Looking at references for AR4’s radiative forcing chapter there are no citations for Trenberth while Mann & Jones are only referenced for work on solar & volcanic forcing Hansen has certainly had some involvement but is nowhere near a dominant figure in the literature. None of them were authors on this chapter.

        You know what I find more convincing is the declining sensitivity from GISS.

        What’s the particular significance of the GISS model? The general trend in the IPCC best estimates is for increasing sensitivity, from 2.5 in FAR to 3.2 in AR4.

        The question for you is why you believe in high sensitivity based on the very high level of uncertainty in all our estimation methods.

        I haven’t actually stated a belief and ‘high sensitivity’ is a subjective phrase. I’ll try to explain my perspective by going back to the FAR projections. As stated above the best estimates are based on 2.5ºC climate sensitivity with zero consideration for aerosols. The forcings projection chart shows the closest match to 2010 estimates is found in Scenario B (about 3 W/m^2), which projected ~0.35ºC increase by 2010 – this is remarkably close to observations.

        I have literally just recalled this skeptical science post about SAR projections, which states that CO2 doubling estimates for that report assumed an RF value of ~4.4W/m^2 rather than the more accepted ~3.7W/m^2 value used today. Assuming this also holds for the FAR, which I think is likely, the 2.5ºC is closer to 2.0ºC climate sensitivity in comparison to current estimates. (This also affects some things I wrote above, but I’ll leave that unedited). With this in mind, and taking into account the potential for natural variability to have affected the observed trend I would suggest this sets a lower boundary of ~1.4ºC for equilibrium sensitivity, under the shaky assumption that aerosol emissions are having no net effect whatsoever. More likely they are having some effect but, given the uncertainties you’ve highlighted, it’s very difficult to place tight constraints. I didn’t really intend to but I think I agree with the IPCC – 2-4.5ºC seems a reasonable range given the uncertainties.

        (From the post below)
        I think Lindzen is really making this point and criticizing people for not using error bars and showing the uncertainty

        But, as you’ve quoted Lindzen’s statement, he has precisely neglected to show the uncertainty in his workings by refusing to acknowledge possible impacts from factors other than GHGs.

      • I agree that Lindzen’s statement needs elaboration and is not useful by itself except to point out the aerosol issue. Can you comment on Lindzen’s statement that each model needs a different aerosol forcing to match historical data?

        For me the bottom line is that there is a high level of uncertainty in both sensitivity estimates and feedback estimates for clouds. Not to mention solar influences which have been assumed to be very small until the CERN experiments. But Judith points out that even the direct solar irradiance is a matter of controversy.

        What is your take on the difference between the NCAR model results between AR4 and AR5. It looks to me like the agreement in AR4 must have been the result of manipulating forcings given the AR5 result. I believe the AR5 method of using the best estimate of forcings is a better way to test the models.

        I don’t understand your assertion about Mann, Trenberth, Jones not being involved in the aerosols issue. They are intimately involved in the IPCC and their credibility for me is low. Their stonewalling is very strange to me and I think can only be explained by either extreme arrogance or a political agenda. You know that when he was suspended, Jones made some much more balanced statements so perhaps he is not a lost cause. Mann, whose work plays a huge role in the paleoclimate estimates is to me totally unreliable and I don’t even pay any attention to his work. It seems to me that most proxy reconstructions actually do show a Mideval warm period and a little ice age and require “Mike’s trick” to make them show alarming recent trends. Trenberth is a lost cause for me. He clearly tries to manipulate the literature to make it conform to his conclusions. It’s not my job to change my view on scientific ethics, its their problem.

        The problem here is as I mentioned on a previous thread. If you say the models are unreliable, they point to paleoclimate. If you point out that its hard to believe we can estimate things like aerosols at the LGM given our uncertainty about them at present, they say that simple energy balance methods can be used. If you point the uncertainties in the feedbacks, they say that there are so many methods that all give roughly the same result, it must be right. I don’t know about you, but I’m not buying it.

      • Can you comment on Lindzen’s statement that each model needs a different aerosol forcing to match historical data?

        Yes, this is undoubtedly true for models with differing sensitivity. The largest uncertainties are in sensitivity and aerosol forcings so any attempt to fit a simple model directly to just the historical surface temperature data would be highly dependent on these two variables. This is commonly used to infer that GCMs are simply curve-fitting exercises, which is wrong because both the sensitivity and forcings from aerosol emissions are emergent properties. In fact some of the individual models warm too quickly (compared to late 20th Century obs., that is), some warm too slowly and some are a good match.

        high level of uncertainty in both sensitivity estimates and feedback estimates for clouds.

        These aren’t really separate issues. Cloud feedback is the largest single uncertainty for sensitivity.

        What is your take on the difference between the NCAR model results between AR4 and AR5. It looks to me like the agreement in AR4 must have been the result of manipulating forcings given the AR5 result. I believe the AR5 method of using the best estimate of forcings is a better way to test the models.

        Firstly, I disagree with Judith that CCSM3 produced a good match with surface temperature data. I think the apparent agreement is largely spurious, caused by both an over-sized model response to the 1991 ‘Pinatubo’ eruption and the large ‘1998’ spike in obs. right at the end of the record. I’ve shown that simply rolling the model on for a few years reveals the large discrepancy, but Judith insisted this supports her point because it occurs as soon as the model run is in the ‘untuned period’ (post-1999). The fact that this behaviour doesn’t occur in the AR4 ensemble mean (and therefore in the majority of other GCMs) suggests that, if this does support her point, her point only applies to CCSM3 and not GCMs in general.

        In any case CCSM4 is certainly a worse match.

        Judith has been slightly vague about exactly what she means by ‘tuning’ and I really have no idea what her ‘best estimate of forcings’ comment means in this regard – as far as I can tell CCSM3 was also fed with best estimates of forcings for the AR4 20th Century runs – described here. Reading between the lines I think her ‘tuning’ conjecture derives from this passage in Gent et al. 2011:

        The CCSM3 1870 preindustrial control run kept the same parameter values as the present-day control, but changed the forcings, which meant that the system lost heat at a rate of nearly 0.6 W m^2. Thus, the entire ocean cooled in the CCSM3 1870 control run so that the total ocean heat content decreased very significantly. The CCSM3 twentieth-century runs were branched from this 1870 control, and the ocean heat content changes over the twentieth century had to be calculated with respect to the large drift in the 1870 control run (Gent et al. 2006). This strategy was less than optimal, and a different strategy was chosen for CCSM4.

        I have to say I don’t fully understand the implications here, but I can tell that it doesn’t refer to ‘tuning’ to match 20th Century observations. Again though, without showing that other models do the same thing it’s hard to see this as a general comment on GCMs rather than a directed critique of the CCSM3 modelling effort.

      • Paul S., Are Paul Schwartztrauber? You seem very much like him, very careful and very polite. If you are, you may remember me!:-)

      • Does the BEST study qualify as an outside commission? If climate scientists are anything like other top scientists, asking them to be humble and admit error might be a fool’s errand. My hunch is that the uncertainty monster cannot be slayed in such a complex system as climate and poor leadership, while it contributes to the uncertainty, may be irremediable.

        I guess I’m not up on the terminology, but are you saying that Lindzen calculates that the GHG’s currently extant in the atmosphere are at 87% of effect and that any further increase in CO2 would have minimal effect?

      • Tony61,

        Sorry to butt in on this but regarding ‘are you saying that Lindzen calculates that the GHG’s currently extant in the atmosphere are at 87% of effect and that any further increase in CO2 would have minimal effect?’

        Assuming David is getting Lindzen right, he is talking about the total top-of-atmosphere forcing associated with a doubling of CO2, which is ~3.7W/m^2. He is asserting that the increase from pre-industrial of all GHGs (CO2, methane, ozone, N2O, CFCs etc.) should now be exerting a forcing amounting to 87% of 3.7W/m^2 (3.7 * 0.87 = about 3.2W/m^2). This may well be about right – it’s certainly in the right ballpark – but it badly misses the point because GHGs are not the only climate-affecting factor which has been increasing during the industrial age, as I note in my post above. For Lindzen’s arithmetic to have any real meaning he would need to factor in these other elements.

      • No, none of the carbon policies that have been proffered address other factors, so Lindzen is comparing apples to apples. That’s one of Pielke Sr.’s criticisms of climate policy – it doesn’t address all of the forcings.

      • P.E.

        I don’t know much about specific climate policy routes that are being pursued, but I would presume that Lindzen was making a point about the science rather than policy, so that is irrelevant. It seems to me that climate scientists are quite clear that any calculation of current net forcing should include all known significant factors, not just GHGs (see http://data.giss.nasa.gov/modelforce/).

        It should be noted though that there are links between the sources of different anthropogenic emissions. For example the primary source of the sulfate aerosol increase is coal burning. Methane and N2O increases have strong links to fossil fuel production and burning. One of the ‘alternative’ net warming elements which Dr Pielke Snr. is keen on is Black Carbon, which is also produced by fossil fuel burning. Focusing on carbon – the biggest bird – would kill several birds along the way (cue wind turbine comment).

      • The real point is the uncertainty. Lindzen believes the uncertainty in cloud feedbacks is also large. You will note that this is not included as a forcing, but if indeed it is negative it could also cancel a lot of the GHG forcings. I think Lindzen is really making this point and criticizing people for not using error bars and showing the uncertainty, pretty much the same point Judith is making. In short, if there are lots of things can easily cancel GHG forcings, that makes it easier for us to address this problem in 50 years, if indeed there is a problem.

      • BEST specifically did not address the more important and immensely more complex issues of climate sensitivity. For the land surface temperature record, it qualifies for what I have in mind. We need scientists outside the field to review the science.

        It’s hard to discuss the issue of accountability in climate science. I guess I regard it as an ethical issue. People admit they are wrong all the time and go on to do great science. If you are wrong, you suffer more by stonewalling than by fessing up. You see, I’m afraid this reluctance isn’t tied to the science but to a near religious view that the end is at hand. Crusading is an addictive behaviour and can become part of one’s personality.

    • Tony61

      I’m just wondering what types of evidence are needed and how much?

      If the global mean temperature in the next couple of decades agrees with IPCC’s projection of a warming rate of about 0.2 deg C per decade as shown in the region coloured red in the following graph

      http://bit.ly/oI8dws

      then AGW would be accepted and IPCC would be correct.

      On the other hand, if we have slight cooling until about 2030s, then AGW is falsified because this cooling follows the natural previous cooling patterns after the 1880s and 1940s peaks.

      Early indication indeed shows the start of the this cooling trend

      http://bit.ly/nz6PFx

      • Girma,
        Thank you for parameters, and I realize that this is YOUR set of criteria, but it does give concrete numbers, fwiw, but I assume it is based on some statistical measure. My observation is that some– monfort and others– would never agree with the hypothesis of AGW no matter what. Fair enough, it may be unproveable as a scientific hypothesis. Even dr curry made a remark about wanting to see the sea temperature data…and what else?

      • Tony61,

        What hypothesis are you talking about.? The one where a doubling of CO2 results in a no-feedback warming of 1-1.5C, or the one where the freaking earth burns up, if we don’t go back to stone-age living standards? You should get your doo-doo straight, before you come around here talking. Do you understand what I am saying, Tony?

      • Monfort,
        You ask, What hypothesis are you talking about.?

        Dude, that’s what I’m asking you. What evidence would convince you that a) AGW exists and b) that it is a problem? You seem overly caustic and defensive about the question, which makes me pause, but whatever.

      • I see that Judith removed my response to your most recent foolishness. I will leave it at that. Bye, bye tony.

      • Yea, some will never be convinced. For me its really simple, open and honest discussion of uncertainty and rigorous methods for quantifying it.

  32. Actually, this is all good. JC has managed to get them to “engage” on the issue. Since the circular logic of using in-house expert opinion to validate expert opinion will inevitably be exposed, it’s a significant step in deconstruction of the IPCC house of cards.

  33. Slightly off topic but this video shows a professor willing to kill research which runs counter to intended policy. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nJDCWHxe4-M

  34. The reviewer response to Judith is that IPCC “encourages” traceability–but where is the actual traceability in the report? That is like saying your company encourages proper accounting, but then doesn’t do so. Saying that the experts got together and talked is not traceability. It is a committee, and group-think at that.

  35. Judith, The criticism of you regarding speaking for a community of scientists outside the IPCC process is not really justified. I know and interact with scores of Ph. D.’s in science, engineering, and have family members who are M. D.’s. I have not found one who when confronted with the evidence of deep uncertainty in the models doesn’t concede the point. In any case, my circle is used to higher standards than are current in climate science. They know that in important matters of public policy such as medicine or engineering, the standards are far higher. Failure has much more severe consequences for both companies and individuals than for the IPCC.

    I haven’t followed the tracibility issue in detail. However, let me offer a few prima facia observations.

    1. The broad range in the model sensitivities as well as their dramatic failure to predict decadal climate changes seems to me to require a much more careful analysis of errors and implications. Just to say that “expert judgment” is required is vacuous at best and deceptive at worst since the models seem to be the scientific basis for the attribution. To say that natural internal variability will be very uncertain for the foreseeable future as Andy Lacis say on this blog implies to me that the uncertainty of the response to forcings must be very uncertain as well.

    2. The fact that things seem to have changed so much from Hansen’s 1988 testimony would seem to require a more careful analysis of why this is so and what could be done to further refine the conclusions. Just to say the the range of sensitivity for all models has changed little masks a great deal of changes in individual models.

    3. If you look at a certification document for a commercial aircraft you will see a much more careful and detailed analysis and one that relies much less on expert judgment and much more on facts and data. It is assumed that models are only evidentiary if they are confirmed with actual testing and are able to replicate historical data WITHOUT adjustment of parameters.

    Anyway, for what its worth.

    • randomengineer

      It is assumed that models are only evidentiary if they are confirmed with actual testing and are able to replicate historical data WITHOUT adjustment of parameters.

      Model boffins maintain that models are good at long timescales (thus excusing short term cooling trends, flat trends, etc) therefore the ability to predict is in the longer term (100 years?) timeframe. This is how short term trends are discounted out of hand.

      So given that models are long term only, the simple test many of us ask for is to plug in the conditions of the 40 years prior to the LIA and let the model rip. No adjustments, no tweaking. Plug in the initial conditions and hit “start.” If it can reproduce the LIA then it works. If it continues and produces the LIA recovery then it works. That’s about as simple as it gets.

      Ask the model boffins how models do at replicating the past and they’re claimed to work, but when you look at the claim…. no, they didn’t work, not without a lot of tweaking during the run duration.

      So many of us then observe that in reality the model seems to be a mass of code looking to see the effects of increased CO2 rather than an actual model as one understands models, and this too is handwaved: “you just don’t understand what models are supposed to do.” I suppose this is true; they aren’t for short term and can’t reproduce a long term record and somehow the answer is always CO2, so I’m perplexed despite lurking climate sites etc like this one hoping to one day see something definitive..

      It seems to me that the inability to replicate the LIA and subsequent recovery coupled with the claim that no, this isn’t a mass of code designed to impugn CO2, what I seem to be hearing is quacking. It sure looks like a duck.

    • I think there are two expectations of the climate models that are diametrically opposed.

      To expect the models to replicate historical data as well as exhibit natural variability is not possible without an incedible increase in the precision of the initial conditions. This is one reason why ensembles are used as far as I can tell.

  36. David Young,

    “1. The broad range in the model sensitivities as well as their dramatic failure to predict decadal climate changes seems to me to require a much more careful analysis of errors and implications.”

    But don’t they point out that if you average all those models, they ain’t doing so bad? Applying the doctor analogy again, it would be like a surgeon up before the Medical Board, because bereaved relatives are complaining that a large percentage of his patients aren’t making it out of the operating room. He says, “Well, half of them are surviving. So on average, I ain’t doing so bad.”

  37. Proving IPCC wrong using a paper Mann was a co-author.

    IPCC Claim:
    For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios. Even if the concentrations of all greenhouse gases and aerosols had been kept constant at year 2000 levels, a further warming of about 0.1°C per decade would be expected.

    http://bit.ly/9pwVyH

    Paper Mann was a co-author:

    http://bit.ly/nfQr92

    Using a 1400 year climate model calculation, we are able to simulate the observed pattern and amplitude of the AMO. The results imply the AMO is a genuine quasi-periodic cycle of internal climate variability persisting for many centuries, and is related to variability in the oceanic thermohaline circulation (THC). This relationship suggests we can attempt to reconstruct past THC changes, and we infer an increase in THC strength [global warming due to THC] over the last 25 years. Potential predictability associated with the mode implies natural THC and AMO decreases [global cooling due to THC] over the next few decades independent of anthropogenic climate change.

    • You forgot to note that the bolding in the following quote was added by

      “Using a 1400 year climate model calculation, we are able to simulate the observed pattern and amplitude of the AMO. The results imply the AMO is a genuine quasi-periodic cycle of internal climate variability persisting for many centuries, and is related to variability in the oceanic thermohaline circulation (THC). This relationship suggests we can attempt to reconstruct past THC changes, and we infer an increase in THC strength [global warming due to THC] over the last 25 years. Potential predictability associated with the mode implies natural THC and AMO decreases [global cooling due to THC] over the next few decades independent of anthropogenic climate change.”

      were added by GIrma.

      The global warming due to THC and global cooling due to THC bits.

      Only proves that Girma has no honor and no scientific standing.

      • Latimer Alder

        It is dishonourable to emphasise a couple of phrases while leaving the actual words unchanged? They are in the original paper and all she has done is embolden them to aid in getting the meaning across. Perhaps a very minor misdemeanour, but do you really mean that she has no honour at all just for this transgression?

      • Nope, not in the original paper

      • I agree that it was irresponsible of Girma to do that. Sometimes you can get away with bolding or italicizing, but then you usually make a note that you added the font markup. In this case, Girma actually added subliminal messages that people may not pick up as something the original author did not write.

        Cherry picking data, modifying text, etc., these people will stoop to anything to cause a misdirect. The thing I don’t understand is why-oh-why they don’t get a hold of some larger data sets and do something interesting with it. Who knows, perhaps they could find something that makes their case. Oh, wait, I forgot, they don’t quite have the talent for it. Never mind :)

  38. Dear Dr Curry,

    It may be presumptuous of me, but I would suggest that the first reviewer comment about speaking for anyone apart from yourselves is fair. Maybe you should be prepared to accede on this point.

    The other points about assessing likelihoods of events are red herrings, as someone has already pointed out. Since by definition there is no certainty about uncertainty (except that it is uncertain), it is probably unproductive to argue degrees of uncertainty, and how they were arrived at. It probably boils down to a question of opinion, or judgement.

    If you wish to back the reviewers into a corner where they have to admit that they are either wrong, or uncertain whether they are certain or not, this is a very different kettle of fish.

    What you can do is humbly beseech your reviewers to clarify their objections a little more objectively. They are probably possessed of more than their fair share of hubris, and will take the opportunity to demonstrate their power after you have come to them for “education” and “guidance”.

    After they provide you with their largesse, you will no doubt have even further opportunities to seek “elucidation.”

    This back and forth procedure may take some considerable time, as the reviewers may eventually show themselves as foolish or vindictive.

    If not, their comments are valid, in which case you do what they ask, or withdraw the paper, I guess. I have no expertise in scientific paper writing or reviewing, so I do not know how determined you are to battle the reviewers’ comments.

    It is obviously not appropriate for me to supply forms of questions you might care to put to the reviewers, but asking to explain the precise meaning of various terms and constructions they use should be valid. Even simple terms such as “forcing” and “feedback” seem to be interpreted differently even within the “climatological” tribe.

    Personally, the whole idea of arguing about the “degree” of uncertainty strikes me a bizarre. The future is unknowable.

    Thanks.

    • ozzie,
      The reviewers said it was “inappropriate to “speak for” scientists outside the IPCC process and from other technical fields as a whole without citing support for such claims.” They are asking for citations. Judith then requested comments from us, the denizens, that she could cite. A number of good quality comments have been made here. In addition, we have provided her with links to published criticisms by scientists outside the IPCC process. See especially my links to Pat Franks and William Briggs.

      Quantifying uncertainty, while never perfect, is a valid scientific endeavor. Judith’s argument, and that of the denizens, is that the IPCC process is not calculating it properly.

  39. Judith,

    You wrote “Judith,

    You wrote:

    “My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).”

    referring to “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.”

    You need to make that some of the climate etc denizens.

    I, for one, wouldn’t wish to be included in this kind of criticism, and there are certainly others who at least should be consulted on the question.

  40. “The heart of our argument is that the broader scientific and other technical communities (beyond the field of climate science) have higher expectations for understanding and characterizing uncertainty than has been portrayed thus far by the IPCC.”
    High energy particle physics for example insist on their uncertainties having a different significance. This is the way they have recently refused the six-sigma confirmation of faster than light neutrinos. This and the problematic with having different ways to establish significance (though statistical significance makes only sense cross disciplinary in the first place) is discussed in the following science column and the comments there as well as linked articles:

    http://www.science20.com/alpha_meme/refusal_neutrino_results_supports_global_warming_denial_predicted-83583

    You will find physicists proud to have “higher standards” for significance than other sciences, until the point when you mention global warming.

  41. Well they would say that wouldn’t they.
    They respond to your comments by parroting back to you their rules/guidance notes to authors but of course these are meaningless if un-enforced. Also they do not properly address your concerns, but why would they, as any corrupt organisation ever acted with integrity. It does not matter how much face paint the haggard whore uses she will always be a haggard whore.
    So what is certain? The Intergovernmental Panel for Crippling Counties is corrupt and intellectually bankrupt to the core. Why am I so clever to know this, well I’m only so clever as to be able to read the Climategate emails. QED

  42. Oops
    Not happy with crippling countries they now wish to cripple counties:-)

  43. Pachauri’s Flat Earth Society Interview (text and video)

    http://bit.ly/s1wdyW

  44. Fred Moolten – Thank you for your follow up. We clearly disagree on the level of separation between the two hypotheses in our EOS paper, but seem to agree on several other issues.

    To further document the “sins of omission” of the 2007 IPCC WG1 report (including why the focus on primarily CO2 is a distinct perspective from what we concluded in our EOS article), another example is the report

    National Research Council, 2005: Radiative forcing of climate change: Expanding the concept and addressing uncertainties. Committee on Radiative Forcing Effects on Climate Change, Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, Division on Earth and Life Studies, The National Academies Press, Washington, D.C., 208 pp. http://www.nap.edu/openbook/0309095069/html/

    wrote in its Executive Summary

    “Despite all these advantages, the traditional global mean TOA radiative forcing concept has some important limitations, which have come increasingly to light over the past decade. The concept is inadequate for some forcing agents, such as absorbing aerosols and land-use changes, that may have regional climate impacts much greater than would be predicted from TOA radiative forcing. Also, it diagnoses only one measure of climate change—global mean surface temperature response—while offering little information on regional climate change or precipitation. These limitations can be addressed by expanding the radiative forcing concept and through the introduction of additional forcing metrics. In particular, the concept needs to be extended to account for (1) the vertical structure of radiative forcing, (2) regional variability in radiative forcing, and (3) nonradiative forcing. A new metric to account for the vertical structure of radiative forcing is recommended below. Understanding of regional and nonradiative forcings is too premature to recommend specific metrics at this time. Instead, the committee identifies specific research needs to improve quantification and understanding of these forcings.”

    These recommendations were available for the 2007 IPCC report. They not discussed at all in the SPM with only bits and pieces elsewhere in the individual chapters, as I documented in my testimony to Congress

    Pielke Sr., Roger A., 2008: A Broader View of the Role of Humans in the Climate System is Required In the Assessment of Costs and Benefits of Effective Climate Policy. Written Testimony for the Subcommittee on Energy and Air Quality of the Committee on Energy and Commerce Hearing “Climate Change: Costs of Inaction” – Honorable Rick Boucher, Chairman. June 26, 2008, Washington, DC., 52 pp. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2010/01/testimony-written.pdf

    • Roger,
      Good comment. It irritates me to no end every time I read some climate scientist make the inane comment “We know all the forcings” or “We understand the basic physics.” It simply is not true or Trenberth would not be complaining about the missing heat. Climate science has not shown it really understands natural climate variability, which should be the starting point.

      In addition to aerosols and land use changes are the issues with clouds, cloud condensation nuclei (dimethyl sulfide), cosmic rays, infrared iris hypothesized by Lindzen and observed by Spencer and the possible unknown unknowns.

      Keep up the good work. We all have a lot of learning to do.

  45. Judith,

    I give it another couple years, before, scientists totally dishonor the field with their closed minded approach and antics of “listen to me I’m the expert” attitude. The snowball effect of economic collapses generated by buying and subsidizing inferior energy technology by way of scaring the public and propping up grants for studying bad science. It will catch up with massive slashes of research funding which cannot be afforded anymore due to the public not being able to keep up with the massive increases in survival.

  46. Ron Cram,

    It seemed to me that the reviewers intentionally chose to set an impossible condition, by asking for citations covering disparate groups “as a whole”.

    If the reviewers are being disingenuous, they should not object to being hoist on their own petard It’s just bad form, and should be treated as such.

    I think Prof Curry is being treated unfairly by the reviewers – but I have no experience in this particular field.

    As far as I am concerned, I think that the IPCC is a complete waste of oxygen.

    Thanks.

  47. In the interests of transparency and tracability, Judith could amend her “broader scientific community” to “mostly anonymous commentors at my personal blog” and then submit data in the form of a highly represetative sample of the comments here, published with paper or made available on-line. Such a sample would include contributions from Oliver Manual and other cranks.

    The reviewers comments would be worth paying admission to see!!

    • Steven Mosher

      or she could solicit comments from professionals in medical science, computer science, QA, any number of disciplines that have an understanding of traceability. It’s a pretty basic concept. The IPCC doesnt have a traceable process. Or she could site literature about traceability. The concept is not foreign and its not rocket science– which is actually WHERE the discipline originated when nasa demanded that every element of a design be traceable to a requirement. its done to insure that a design meets the requirement and that its also not gold plated. its a bi directional process. but then you knew that. right?

      • John Carpenter

        “every element of a design be traceable to a requirement”

        Not only traceable to a requirement, but traceable to evidence that shows the requirement has been met. Saying its traceable is not enough, you need the actual proof. You need to have available the actual measurements made, the results of tests run, that the results meet the requirments. You need to demonstrate the equipment used to make the measurements are themselves traceable to a nationally/globally recognized standard or to show any outside lab or service are themselves traceable to the process and have properly certified their work to the requirements. Traceablity drills down into the smallest detail and minutia of the process, whatever the process is and to what ever level it takes you. It is supposed to be an act of making things completely transparent and accountable.

        I know you understand that…. but not so much others commenting here and certainly not the IPCC.

      • Steven Mosher

        ya im trying to keep it simple for people who have never done design traceability.

      • Small point: The “broader scientific community” statement was made in relation to ‘understanding and characterization of uncertainty’, not traceability.

        But on your points, it seems to me such a process would be highly bureaucratic, and vastly increase the amount of time which scientists would need to spend on it… time they are currently giving up for free. If this is to be a serious proposal then it would surely need to go hand in hand with more serious funding of the IPCC.

      • Just a matter of transparency – if you mean one thing, say that thing and not another that you expect/hope people will assume means something else.

      • @ Mosher
        the discipline originated when nasa demanded that every element of a design be traceable to a requirement.

        You did your argument little good by citing an organization that lost the capability to put humans Earth orbit much less on the Moon. Traceability is fine in concept, but it easily leads to “analysis paralysis.” Its burdens imposed upon outsiders will make It become the last refuge of the scoundrel.

        [Traceability report: These thoughts are of my own invention, but have been influenced by growing up in a home of a “missle-man” in the 1960s and early ’70s. All the words used are derived from the English language and arranged by rules taught to me in the public school system of Colorado. The phrase “analysis paralysis” is not my own invention, and I have lost its parentage.]

  48. Trace-able means show us the math. No hand waving, no expert judgment, the math. If its a number expressed as a percent then there must be some actual math involved. In my opinion, they ginned up the number they were looking for and called it a night.

  49. “Curry and Webster are entitled to their opinion, but it is inappropriate to “speak for” scientists outside the IPCC process and from other technical fields as a whole without citing support for such claims.”

    It would appear the reviewer is “likely” ivy league, not ACC, Big Ten or SEC, where speaking from a position of aurhority still means something. Like when a Yellow Jacket Scientist mentions that Artic flux values are seriously off, which is confirmed by a Badger and the solution to the discrepancy offered by a Gator. :)

  50. Dr. Curry-

    The United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), which is holding its conference this week, has some 310 NGOs (civil societies) associated with it. Perhaps some of these NGOs are sufficiently technical to be a useful reference. Traceability accounts are to the uncertainty of qualitative assessments as transparency is to corruption. The nested levels of uncertainty are ultimately encompassed by the reasonableness of trust. Obviously, this issue is a stumbling block for increased acceptance of IPCC conclusions.

    • blueice2hotsea

      You mention the

      United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC)

      This sounds like a bit of an oxymoron to me.

      Sort of like the “Mafia Convention Against Crime”.

      Max

      • BlueIce2HotSea

        Max –

        Ha ha ha. That was my reaction, too! The image is as comical as the notion of Libya chairing the U.N. Human Rights Council. But, in 2003, it happened. Much less funny when true.

        Still, I think the good guys have a foot in the door (barely). There are numerous NGOs associated with UNAC, such Transparency International (TI). Unfortunately, TI’s Global Corruption Report: Climate Change is hugely disappointing. TI scrutinizes all links in the chain for corruption, except the very first one! Yes, it’s nice to know the problem areas of transparency and openness in Climate Policy deliberations. But what about IPCC machinations? Most certainly, TI does not ‘get’ that replication is a fundamental and minimal policing exercise in science. Further it gives a means to improve qualitative assessments by providing a starting point for adustments.

        BlueIce

  51. Laframboise: The World Wild Life Fund has infiltrated the Intergovernmental Panel On Climate Change.

    So the Climate Bible is partly written by WWF

    That is why the Indian Minister called the IPCC alarmist!

  52. Judith asked, “How should traceable account” be interpreted? Did the IPCC give a traceable account? Has uncertainty been adequately characterized by the IPCC? My statement about the broader scientific community refers to YOU (the climate etc denizens).”

    Judith,

    QA, in the strict formal sense, is very sophisticated and highly developed programmatically in the modern businesses that depend on exact application of advanced science and complicated technology. I see evidence of none of this in the IPCC or in key pieces of some of the key research the IPCC assesses.

    First, I find irrelevant the reviewer comment that ends with the words, “Their [Curry and Webster] views should be represented accurately as the views of two individuals, rather than as the unsubstantiated collective view of diverse scientists and scientific communities.” In the sense of QA, the IPCC has no QA program at all, yet the reviewer suggests nobody else does in the scientific/technical world. That is not a responsive review, appears just a deflect of the Curry and Webster paper.

    Traceability (in formal strict QA sense) in the general IPCC’s scientific assessment process and IPCC traceability (in formal strict QA sense) of the uncertainties involved in their assessment process is not differentiable from the issues of traceability (in the formal strict QA sense) of the uncertainty in the peer reviewed scientific research that the IPCC is assessing. They build on each other. There is no evidence of QA by the IPCC of the scientific research they include in their assessment. And once papers are included in the IPCC’s purview we see (in a strict QA sense) non-traceability because we do not get to see their actual processes (the predecisional stuff).

    Good luck.

    John

  53. Steven Mosher

    Judith you might just cite lieratuer to define traceability

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

    FDA has good stuff..

    The key is finding something that fits the production of a document as opposed to the production of a device. but similar principles are involved

    • interesting, this gives me an interesting avenue to pursue

      • Steven Mosher

        your welcome. Given that people always ask the question about AGW by using a doctor metaphor ( if your doctor told you cigarettes cause cancer, would you consult a blog for a second opinion) I think it is instructive to ask.. why do people TRUST their doctor and medical devices? Simple.

        People want to have it two ways. They want to argue that the decision we make is life threatening. Fine. ok, they how do we treat other cures for life threatening condistions. listen to the part about complexity and the increasing demands for traceability.

        The action proposed for stop AGW is not a tongue depressor.
        Its not a band aid
        Its an amputation
        The issue is not getting a second opinion from a group of different scientists. the issue is did these doctors follow best practices. Why? because we HAVE TO trust them. we have to. we cannot rerun the science, a minority report will never happen. the only thing we can do is put checks and balances into place. Just like we do for other experts. In defense we were experts in the threat. experts in making stuff to blow shit up. but we are also human. that means we submitted to proceedures to put our human nature into check. and we did this gladly because we thought we were savings lives.

      • Keep in mind that this kind of traceability is laborious and expensive. It is only used in critical situations, which the IPCC reports arguably are not.

      • Steven Mosher

        Nonsense. Insofar as goverments rely on the IPCC to make policy the reports are critical. The EPA tried this same approach.. not a winning strategy.

      • Governments do not rely on IPCC reports the way people rely on medical devices. In fact they do not rely on IPCC reports at all, except to justify policies they already want to undertake. You folks are taking this idea to absurd lengths. I have designed QA sub-systems like this for three systems — medical devices, nuclear power plants and ballistic missiles. The costs are exorbitant. They are only justified when failure is mission critical. Calling for this kind of system just makes skeptics look foolish.

      • Steven Mosher

        David,
        no one is calling for this kind of system. Rather we are explaining what is meant in other fields by traceability, basically to get at principles and practices. It was the IPCC that promised traceability and openness and by comparing with other fields we can gather an idea of what is expected when you use those words. Skeptics already look foolish, but this really isnt about skepticism. Its rather about accountability and openness. The right of entry for example. As for governments not relying on the IPCC, when people stop referring to it to settle arguments, I’ll accept your position. What conditions have to obtain for you to change your mind?
        none I guess. because you are over certain.

      • Let’s look at traceability in a different context. Chain of custody in a criminal prosecution. Police do it routinely. Is it prohibitive? There are no end of acquittals due to contaminated evidence, when the police and/or prosecutors blow it, but there are plenty of successful prosecutions, too.

        It’s all a matter everybody understanding what the rules are, and zero tolerance for screw-ups.

        Quality is free.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes PE.

      • John Carpenter

        David, you say…

        “Calling for this kind of system just makes skeptics look foolish.”

        How is this a skeptical argument?

      • John Carpenter

        David, I’m having a hard time squaring this statement…

        “Keep in mind that this kind of traceability is laborious and expensive.”

        with the idea that the IPCC is summarizing the science for policymakers to use as the reason to re-tool the global economy in order to mitigate fossil fuel use. Which one is more expensive? Which one would impact the economy more?

        “It is only used in critical situations, which the IPCC reports arguably are not.”

        You may argue they are not, however many argue the situation we find ourselves in is ‘critical’. You know this is the language used…. suggesting this kind of traceability should be considered seems completely plausible to me.

      • I have to agree with the direction of David Wojick’s initial comments.. and with some of Steven Mosher’s, too.

        (Namely, “..no one is calling for this kind of system. Rather we are explaining what is meant in other fields by traceability, basically to get at principles and practices. It was the IPCC that promised traceability and openness and by comparing with other fields we can gather an idea of what is expected when you use those words. Skeptics already look foolish, but this really isnt about skepticism. Its rather about accountability and openness.”)

        Traceability experts would laugh the idea of FDA-type traceability standards for something like an IPCC report, and should.

        It doesn’t mean there’s nothing that can be learned from such tools and applied to improve the IPCC’s performance.. but in appropriate ways and to appropriate measure and degree.

      • Steven Mosher

        yep. thank Joshua, when ever he gives you grief, I get motivated. There are any number of experts in traceability from different industries/sciences you can contact.

    • One thing I learned a long time ago is that all of this is under the umbrella of quality. Look to the QA/QC people for the theoretical framework. I worked in an industry that was fanatical about safety, less so about (product) quality. When I blasphemed and noted that safety was a form of quality, the quality guy loved it, and the safety guy didn’t. But everything fits the TQC paradigm, including the production of documents.

      Quality only works when you can instill a culture of fanaticism. The Japanese manufacturers and construction firms are pretty good at that. They really do sing the company song and all that. I was a bit shocked to see how different the culture at TEPCO was after the tsunami. Fukushima was not one of their finer examples of organization.

      So how do you get that kind of fanatical dedication to quality institutionalized? If you can figure that out, tell me. In this climate field, all the motivations go the other way.

    • What the FDA and like bodies deal with are single discreet items and looking at the evidence available for them. The ipcc has a much more complex task and they aren’t likely to be well served by them.

      Applying the general principles of a systematic review are likely to be closer to the mark.

  54. John Carpenter

    Judith,

    As Steven Mosher points out, the way to think of the traceability issue is to look at a journal article as the ‘production of a scientific paper’ in the same way one would look at producing a piece of hardware used on an airplane for example. As each step of the manufacturing process for making the airplane hardware needs to be documented and shown to be in compliance with the blue print and relevant specifications, so should the parts that go into researching and writing a scientific paper.

    In the case of a scientific paper, there may be no ‘blue prints’ or ‘specifications’ per se…. but, there does need to be traceability of experimental method useds to generate the data. There does need to be traceability of the experimental design, traceability of any non conventional measuring equipment used to generate data as well as traceability to the method used to standardize/calibrate the equipment. There needs to be traceability of ALL the results generated and traceability to how ‘non-conforming’ or ‘bad’ results were culled from the data set. There needs to be traceability of the methods used to analyse the data and why those methods are preferred over other methods that could have been considered. All of this type of information is used in making the end conclusion… the end ‘product’. All of this information does not necessarily need to be presented in the paper itself, but it needs to be made available upon inquiry. If someone wants to repeat the experiment, they should be able to gain a ‘right of entry’ of sorts to allow them to see the original data and methods used beyond what it presented in the paper.

    If traceability as engineers know it were applied to the ‘production of a scientific paper’, this is a bit of what would be expected of the group writing the paper. This is what traceability means. The IPCC has not a clue about this sort of thing.

    • Writing a scientific paper is not like building an airplane, as no lives are at stake.

      • Latimer Alder

        But is it not just as important to do it right – especially if it is going to be used to attempt to justify huge changes in the economic and social structures we have/ Though it may not directly affect a few hundred people’s lives in the same way as a failed aircraft would, it might indirectly affect the lives of millions.

        If climate change is indeed the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced – as some have claimed – does it not make sense that we investigate it with the best tools at our disposal…not the simple techniques appropriate for reporting on largely unimportant and largely uncontroversial bits of science? Surely skimping on the best methods is missing the point.

      • Steven Mosher

        you obviously do not get that the elements of traceability you require are related to the complexity of the subject matter and the criticality of the final product. I am talking people at their word when they say climate change will cost lives. I accept their premise. When they also use the IPCC reports to prove a point I accept that they see it as a governing document. I stipulate what they say is true. Stipulating that they find the situation life threatening, stipulating that they find the documents critical ( they would not allow it to be disbanded), and stipulating that they promised traceability, I am merely showing them how other people who work in life threatening situations work.

        Sometimes the best way to counter an argument is to accept the premises.Its a less pig headed approach.

      • And they are not building toasters.

        The plea’s to adopt some kind of production line process is wide of the mark.

      • John Carpenter

        Evidently you missed the point.

      • John Carpenter

        “Evidently you missed the point”… David

      • no lives are at stake.

        That all depends on who you talk to.

  55. Traceability may be viewed as a continuum: from a risk assessment prior to design approval to ongoing verification and validation to support changes via explicitly lines of evidence. Likelihood assessments and attribution statements require traceability as we all need to arrive at the same place, although not necessarily at the same time. The key in my view is, we don’t need to be climate scientists to arrive at similar conclusions, provided those of us not climate scientists can follow (trace) the steps leading to the conclusion.

  56. Stephen Pruett

    Other fields address uncertainty in a manner that seems to me to be different from the IPCC approach. Risk assessment is all about uncertainty and approval of drugs by the FDA and approval of pesticides by the EPA is based on risk assessment. The FDA gets quite specific with regard the type of information it requires to reach a decision about a drug, and that always includes statistical analysis and some formal and objective measure of uncertainty (e.g,. odd ratio and 95% confidence interval). Similar information is almost always used by the EPA, but other published sources are also considered, even if they do not have a formal determination of uncertainty. Therefore, decisions are made with objective assessment of uncertainty as part of the package. I do not know if IPCC panelists always have such information or how they use it if they have it. I am not sure that a mission critical type of traceability is needed, but something objective and formal would increase confidence; something more than expert opinion that an outcome is highly likely or likely or not likely.

    The pesticide registration packages are all publicly available online, so you can take a look at this information if you want (e.g., http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=EPA-HQ-OPP-2005-0125-0519;oldLink=false). I expect this is also true with FDA packages.

  57. Judith Curry

    Regarding the critique to Curry and Webster, you ask (the denizens here and “broader scientific community”):

    How should “traceable account” be interpreted? Did the IPCC give a traceable account? Has uncertainty been adequately characterized by the IPCC?

    As I understand it, this relates specifically to “the IPCC 4th Assessment Report conclusion regarding the attribution of climate change in the latter half of the 20th century” where “uncertainty of climate models is interpreted in the context of model inadequacy, uncertainty in model parameter values, and initial condition uncertainty.”

    I do not want to represent myself as part of the “broader scientific community”, but I am a denizen here, so here goes.

    The first comment “it is inappropriate to speak for scientists outside the IPCC process… without citing support” appears weak to me. The views of “two individuals” were not characterized as anything else than that. The criticism is a fabrication intended (I believe) to distract from the main issue at hand, i.e. the IPCC’s unclear handling of “uncertainty”.

    The second criticism sounds to me like a rather convoluted legal brief. Was a “traceable account given of how the likelihood assessment of the ‘very likely’ attribution statement was reached” or not? I do not see such an account in the critique statement – only an assertion that it was given. I have also not found such a “traceable account” based on empirical data in Chapter 9 of the AR4 WG1 report, only some model simulation results, which have not addressed the specific points raised of “model inadequacy, uncertainty in model parameter values, and initial condition uncertainty.”

    Moreover, the text concludes that “climate simulations are consistent in showing that the global mean warming observed since 1970 can only be reproduced when models are forced with combinations of external forcings that include anthropogenic forcings”.

    The critique then introduces the concept of “expert judgment of the author team”.

    Is this an “our models can only explain it if we assume…” argument from ignorance or a “trust me, baby, I’m an expert” statement?

    Then comes a lot of discussion of the TAR and “uncertainty guidelines” established for AR4 as well as future guidelines suggested for AR5. These all sound very good, but on closer examination appear to be a lot of “double talk”.

    Others may give you a more erudite analysis, Judith, but that is my take on it.

    The critique of the “uncertainty” paper by yourself and Webster is a bunch of “blah-blah”.

    IPCC has not produced a clear “traceable account” supporting its attribution statement and the critique of Curry and Webster has been unable to refute this.

    Max

  58. Dr Curry

    Richelieu reputedly said

    “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

    Whether the reviewers are “the most honest of men” or not, I cannot say.

    They have assuredly written more than six lines. Easy enough to find hanging material in their own words. You don’t need anything new.

    That’s my opinion – which may be worth precisely what you paid for it!

    Live well and long.

  59. “If you give me six lines written by the hand of the most honest of men, I will find something in them which will hang him.”

    Isn’t this related to a good salesman can sell ice cubes to eskimos.
    It’s this Richelieu fellow ability to spin and twist whatever truth is available, coupled with people foolishness to believe the nonsense.
    Or the 6 lines are beginning of some story- a story which generally starts with a suggestion that salesman [Richelieu] is trustworthy and respectable, then proceeds to confuse the audience and associate the writer of the 6 lines with something they fear and/or dislike.
    And this is why we have two lawyers- and if you represent yourself, it creates only one lawyer.

  60. Scientific work is too varied to fit one model of traceability. For science itself the only ultimate criterion is, what makes the long term progress in knowledge most efficient. Immediate application of science present different criteria and most of the formalized procedures discussed above in this thread are taken from some immediate application, be it an airplane or a medicine.

    Good traceable practices are valuable also on pure science, but breaking them every now and then is really essential for fast and efficient progress. Most productive pure science needs to be free to break also rules that are usually very valuable.

    Many fields of science that study complex systems, and climate science is certainly one of them, are for a major part exploratory. It’s not possible to proceed systematically building every step on solid earlier knowledge, which would make full traceability easy. Rather it’s important that scientists make all kind of trials to see, where they lead. Such a trial may lead on a path that is partly justified at every step, but not so that full traceability would be possible. When similar paths have been followed by many scientists, the knowledge gained forms a network of paths that covers sparsely some field of study. If the results agree whenever the paths meet, that creates trust that the results may indeed be valid, but that’s not fully traceable. It’s not fully traceable even when the agreement has been reached from so many directions that scientists start to consider the result rather firm knowledge.

    I happened to have a chat yesterday with a Finnish scientist, who is presently writing text to one chapter of AR5/WG1. We discussed the problems in handling of uncertainties. He mentioned the uncertainty guidelines that should be followed in the AR5 telling that applying them in practice is difficult. He didn’t directly confirm or deny my suggestion that giving quantitative estimates for the uncertainties is often not only difficult, but actually impossible to do in an objective fashion. Unfortunately we didn’t have the opportunity for a longer discussion or for a discussion with a larger group of people, who have met these problems in practice. I might add that he told that in most ways he was positively surprised on, how the work on the report was done in practice, but brought up the handling of uncertainties as the single most problematic issue. He hadn’t participated in writing earlier IPCC reports.

    • Latimer Alder

      As I understandd it nobody is suggesting that every step along the path of knowledge must be traceable at every moment.

      But when the time comes to collate an publish your results – and thereby gain the credit – you have to tidy up your work and ensure that it is traceable step by step.

      Surely most scientists do this automatically as part of the publication process…all that is being requried is that these common steps are formalised and available to outside scrutiny. Way back when it was called ‘show your working’ in school examinations.

      But when we come to climatology, the problem appears to be the ‘available to outside scrutiny’. For some incomprehensible reason (possibly a mixture of maximum egotism and minimum professional competence), climatologists don’t like this idea at all. They love to assert their findings but have a visceral hatred of showing their working. Which means that the only credibility their findongs have is based on ‘Trust Me, I’m a Climate Scientist’. And when the trust just isn’t there, then the results have no credibility either.

      This is a truly bizarre way to organise a ‘scientific’ field supposedly dealing with the most important problem humanity has ever faced. Viewed from outside academe it is difficult not to conclude that you guys just can’t see the wood for the trees, however lengthy your qualification list.

      • One of my essential points is that publishing also results for which full traceability cannot be achieved is often extremely valuable for the progress of science. A major part of most important progress in science has been accelerated by such publications.

        Such a paper should, of course, not claim that the argument is without weaknesses, but it’s perfectly fine to publish papers that do have such weaknesses, when their presence is acknowledged in some way (the way may vary depending on the case). Whether such a paper is worth publishing depends on the balance of it’s valuable content and it’s weaknesses.

        There are certainly problems in climate science and some of the problems are a certainly bit worse than in most other fields. The gloomy picture that a majority of related comments present in these discussions is, however, more due to mutual reinforcement of negative prejudices than to a real knowledge of the state of climate science. Those prejudices are reinforced also by direct untruths, which are presented as factual evidence of wrongdoings. (No, I’m not going to list examples. I might err on some point, but certainly not on the whole.)

      • Latimer Alder

        And when was the last time a climatology paper was published that acknowledged its weaknesses? Somewhere round about the peak of the Medieaval Warm Period I’d wager……

      • Most of them do that, just look at them.

      • Pekka and Latimer

        Pekka may be right is saying that some climate papers (with some very notable exceptions) “acknowledge their weaknesses”, but IPCC does not. Instead, it does a lousy job of handling uncertainty, as our host here has pointed out.

        Max

  61. Every year CO2 concentration increases by 6 ppm, but decreases by only 4ppm, making the annual increase 2 ppm.

    http://bit.ly/vRE4PN

    Why is the annual decrease in CO2 concentration less than the annual increase?

  62. Latimer Alder

    Wow

    I’d never seen that graph beore.. Can anyone explain its general shape based on the physical processes involved? Seems to show that there is a net CO2 steady increase for part of each and every year, then a very rapid sudden decrease. But not enough to cancel out that year’s increase, Hence the general rising trend that has been widely reported.

    But I don’t have an easy explanation for the annual sudden decrease..which is just as reliably there as the steady increase.

    Any ideas?

  63. Sometimes we just have to admit that we just don’t know!

    If the IPCC would do that a little more often, we would have much better reports.

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