Keith Seitter on the ‘uncertainty monster’

by Judith Curry

Keith Seitter is Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society.

Each month, in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS), Keith Seitter writes a column “45 Beacon: Letter from Headquarters.”   The December issue of BAMS arrived in our mailboxes about two weeks ago, and for this issue, Keith Seitter elected to write  his column on our uncertainty monster paper.

The column is not available online, although an image is posted at Pielke Sr’s site.  I think this column deserves a wider audience, so I have reproduced it in entirety here.

Dealing Honestly with Uncertainties in Our Understanding of Climate Change

Earlier this year, I wrote of trying to neutralize the language associated with global warming (BAMS, April 2011, p 497). At that time, I suggested that I would be using the terms “convinced” and “unconvinced” to describe those who had been convinced by the evidence that anthropogenic climate change was occurring and those who had not been convinced.  So far, I have found this terminology pretty easy to incorporate in my writing and speaking, and I find it works pretty well.

Shortly after that column appeared, I received a note from a long-time AMS member who rightly suggested that I had overly simplified the situation.  As he noted, there are scientists who are convinced that humans are affecting climate in significant ways but who feel that anthropogenic influences other than the increase in greenhouse gases, such as aerosols, land use changes, etc., can play a larger role than typically acknowledged.  The scientists studying these other human influences — despite being among those I would refer to as among the “convinced” — sometimes find their work discounted, or even marginalized, since their results complicate the simpler picture of increasing greenhouse gases representing the only major anthropogenic forcing term for a changing climate. 

Scientists generally welcome any avenue of research that is carried out with integrity and scientific rigor — especially when the results of that research challenge our thinking.  It has become harder to maintain that ideal objective stance with respect to the science of climate change because of the politically charged atmosphere that now surrounds the topic.  Results that complicate the picture, or that explore more deeply the uncertainties in our knowledge, are quickly seized by some as evidence that the research results on the role of greenhouse gases in the warming of the planet must be wrong.  In such a confrontational environment, the discomfort we all feel in the face of uncertainty can make it hard to avoid compromising our scientific objectivity.

In this issue, Judith Curry and Peter Webster present a provocative paper on “uncertainty monsters.” Many climate scientists will be angered by this paper, feeling that it undermines the consensus reports and calls their results into question.  Many in the unconvinced crowd will hail this paper as justifying their position, and it will probably be widely quoted on the blogs devoted to arguing that anthropogenic global warming does not exist.  Neither should be the case.  The climate science community should view this as an opportunity to discuss the approaches to uncertainty that have been employed (as also occurs in this issue), but all of us in the scientific community should also appreciate the reminder that our desire to develop a self-consistent and coherent picture sometimes impedes our ability to work toward unraveling the full complexity of the climate system.  The unconvinced crowd should see this paper as promoting a standard of scientific honest that most of ther blogs and opinion pieces simply cannot meet.

I have enormous faith in the scientific process, and feel that the discussions generated through challenges such as that provide in the Curry and Webster paper will lead to increased understanding.  Because of the policy decisions the world faces given the potential for truly disruptive climate change, climate science is playing out in a very public and politicized arena, and that makes it harder for the scientific process to move forward in a natural way.  We can and should be merciless in our condemnation of unscientific noise that seeks to obscure real scientific results, but we must also embrace legitimate science that seeks to increase our understanding even as it complicates the emerging picture of how the climate system works.  We all must continue to work toward insuring that we are operating with the very highest levels of openness and honesty in the presentation of our science.

Keith L. Seitter, CCM                                                                                                        Executive Director

JC comment:  I couldn’t have asked for a more fitting essay on the topic of the ‘uncertainty monster.’  If you have missed the previous threads, see

288 responses to “Keith Seitter on the ‘uncertainty monster’

  1. “The unconvinced crowd should see this paper as promoting a standard of scientific honest that most of ther blogs and opinion pieces simply cannot meet.”

    How about — ‘promoting a standard of scientific honest [sic] that the IPCC and the hockey team have made every effort to avoid.’

    • It is easy, Stan, to see flaws in our opponents, but difficult to see flaws in ourselves or in our opinions.

      That is not to say that reports by the IPCC and the “hockey” team are not seriously flawed. They are, but they were perhaps motivated by a serious concern about man’s influence on Earth’s climate.

      Professors Curry and Seitter display the increasingly rare ability to welcome the results of research carried out with integrity and scientific rigor.

      The stubborn, self-righteous positions of “convinced” and “unconvinced” of anthropogenic climate change would be of little concern, . . .

      If world leaders were not almost entirely “convinced” and are enforcing policies that are scientifically unsound and destroying confidence in their leadership.

      This is the problem: Society is crumbling worldwide from the same stubborn, self-righteous positions of scientists who are “convinced” and “unconvinced” of AGW.

      I am personally convinced that life is a natural part of the dynamic universe, controlled by forces that are far beyond the control of mankind, but I see disaster ahead from the stubborn, self-righteous positions of “convinced” and “unconvinced.”

  2. Judith – I don’t think you’ve read what he’s written. And I am not sure he read what you wrote either.

    Mr Seitter is still entrenched in his CAGW bubble and can’t possibly understand much about the Uncertainty Monster.

    First of all, he acknowledges to have “overly simplified the situation” by separating people in “convinced” and “unconvinced“, then towards the end of his piece he goes back addressing “the unconvinced crowd“.

    He has also no clue about the possibility that, among the “convinced by the evidence that anthropogenic climate change [is] occurring“, there could be people unconvinced it’s anything to be afraid of, or not overall beneficial.

    Third, It is illogical to state “Scientists generally welcome any avenue of research that is carried out with integrity and scientific rigor — especially when the results of that research challenge our thinking” just before writing “Many climate scientists will be angered by this paper“. The two sentences can’t be true in the same universe.

    You should also take note of Mr Seitter’s militant (fundamentalist?) approach to the topic. He can drone on and on about wholly uncalled-for references to “a standard of scientific honest[y] that most of the[i]r blogs and opinion pieces simply cannot meet” and “unscientific noise that seeks to obscure real scientific results“. All one should read is of course “We have the Truth and everybody not perfectly adhering to our Truth is wrong and dishonest“.

    In short, Mr Seitter has not understood what your paper was about, and still lives in-between the “monster hiding” and “monster exorcism” phases. And I wouldn’t trust him with an ice core extracted from a Coca-Cola deposit.

    • Maurizio –

      He has also no clue about the possibility that, among the “convinced by the evidence that anthropogenic climate change [is] occurring“, there could be people unconvinced it’s anything to be afraid of, or not overall beneficial.

      That statement leapt off the page at me too. It is as astonishing as the similar things that tumbled out of Richard Muller’s mouth – that somebody who described themselves as a “skeptic” necessarily believed either that the atmosphere has not warmed at all, or that human activities have nothing to do with it.

      I’m surprised somebody could actually part of the climate debate and believe such things. I know it is a moronic characterisation perpetrated by some of the most partisan alarmists [the idiot comes to mind] but that characterisation doesn’t include the 16 signatories on yesterdays WSJ article. Nor Christy, nor Spencer, nor Michaels.

      Simplistic polarisation doesn’t help at all.

      But I think Seitter’s ignorance [and that is what it is] is much deeper than that. When he describes one side of the debate as ‘unconvinced’ and says this is means that they are all unconvinced that anthropogenic climate change was occurring ie occurring at all I think he’s also gone beyond disingenuous.

      Anybody got any explanation for such tosh?

      • Without any central authority skeptics have no control over their overall image and people will treat the loudest claims as representing the entire group.

        The loudest claims out there are that warming isn’t occuring or that it isn’t due to man at all. “CO2 warming is just a con”, “it’s all about taxes”, etc. Most climate skeptics do not comment here remember. The vast bulk of skeptics aren’t as knowledgeable as people here.

      • I think I got it now….it was those ice-age humans that started making the earth warmer…must have been all that nasty CO2 stuff from the fires they started lighting and it’s only been getting worse and worse ever since….it’s quite obvious, isn’t it, that man has been ruining the earth.

      • “it was those ice-age humans that started making the earth warmer…must have been all that nasty CO2 stuff from the fires they started lighting”

        there was a theory about that, don’t know if it’s still speculative or shot down though

      • lolwot –
        You have a point – perhaps particularly in America. But shouldn’t someone who pretends to have some knowledge of the debate know something of the reality of what is going on?

        I don’t think Seitter is talking about cartoon characterisations amongst extremists on the TV. Is he?

      • The ice age humans suggestion should never have been called a “theory.” We’ve only been around in significant numbers since after the end of the last glacial.. Since that latest glacial shows no differences in behaviour from any of the preceding episodes, the “theory” has an unstated assumption that the “last” ice age would have been different from its predecessors if humans had not come along. The only way that could have been true, and the theorists know it, is if they are aliens engaged re-engineering the planet’s climate, and we have gotten in the way with our SUVs. It is not a theory, just a silly, groundless speculation.

    • “Judith – I don’t think you’ve read what he’s written.”

      wow that’s patronizing. I imagine Judith did read it as she is the one who posted it here

    • omno,

      “Third, It is illogical to state “Scientists generally welcome any avenue of research that is carried out with integrity and scientific rigor — especially when the results of that research challenge our thinking” just before writing “Many climate scientists will be angered by this paper“. The two sentences can’t be true in the same universe.”

      I like it, on point in my opinion, Climate scientists that are angered must be aliens :) I have suspected that for a while.

    • Omno and Capt. Dallas
      The reason the two sentences can be true in the same universe is clearly explained by Seitter this statement.

      “It has become harder to maintain that ideal objective stance with respect to the science of climate change because of the politically charged atmosphere that now surrounds the topic”

      If opponents want to prevail they have to quite demanding proponents have a Road to Damascus moment.

  3. And are you sure that your paper should be considered just a “reminder that our desire to develop a self-consistent and coherent picture sometimes impedes our ability to work toward unraveling the full complexity of the climate system“? Does Mr Seitter understand climate?

  4. Condescension is a weak form of approval but it is much better than disagreement. On with the noise. Climate science will only resume its “natural” way when the Greens let go of it, which may never happen.

  5. Trenberth is certain, Mann not so sure, Schmidt definitely sceptic
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CHshow.htm

  6. When I first read the IPCC assessment report, I was surprised by the corruption of normal standards of statistical certainty/uncertainty and confidence limits. Since when was 90% good enough??

    Calling uncertainty a monster helps people to get away with bad statistical methods without feeling a guilty conscience.

    Statisticians don’t seem to be a publicly vocal lot. May be it’s time they weighed in…..

    • “Since when was 90% good enough??”

      16.7% is good enough for me not to play russian roulette

      • k scott denison

        Actually what I think you are saying is that 83.3% (your chance of surviving) isn’t good enough for you to play. Which was exactly blouis79’s point. Thanks for reinforcing it.

      • Happiness is a warm gun, er, uh, warm earth.
        ===========

      • Scott, wrong way round. 16.7% is the chance of catastrophe. Yet that’s high enough for me not to want to play.

        What I was addressing was the fallacy that catastrophe must be very likely (95%) before we want to reduce CO2 emissions.

  7. “We all must continue to work toward insuring that we are operating with the very highest levels of openness and honesty in the presentation of our science.”

    . . . so that leaves out the vast majority of all the IPCC propaganda produced over the years, neuters The Team and puts all the Hockey sticks away, to say nothing of the majority of the the US government climate hysteria & fear mongering agencies.

  8. “Unconvinced” like “denier” is a loaded and patronizing term. I’m not “unconvinced” that the tooth fairy does not exist….

    • Perhaps un-coerced? Un-fooled?

    • I’m a big fan of ‘dissenter’ ‘cos it seems to have quite a lot of “NO!! to it.

    • Jim S –

      The problem is that all the terms people use are loaded and patronizing.

      I like “skeptical un-convinced,” and “skeptical convinced” (although I think that those terms are not inclusive of “believers” and “deniers” or “rejectionists” if you’re one of those who think that “denier” implies association with holocaust deniers).

      Look below at Simon’s suggestions for a good example of the bilateral nature of the problem.

      • Joshua,
        The problem with the terms “unconvinced” or “denier” is that they presuppose that a solid, testable scientific hypothesis of AGW has been put forth — and that one implicitly accepts the validity of the hypothesis while only being “unconvinced” by the evidence supporting the hypothesis.

        I reject the very notion that we understand the climate enough to be able to construct a valid, meaninful and testable hypothesis at this point.

        And no, Joshua, every term is not loaded — there is such a thing a “spin”. If every term were loaded, we would not notice it as such.

    • I prefer ‘orthodox’ and ‘dissenter’. But I can live with ‘convinced’ and ‘unconvinced’.

  9. “I have enormous faith in the scientific process…”

    Oh the buzzin’ of the bees
    In the cigarette trees
    Near the soda water fountain
    At the lemonade springs
    Where the bluebird sings
    On the big rock candy mountain

    Andrew

    • For those slow on the uptake…this quoted statement isn’t science. It’s poetry. That such a self-contradictory statement comes from a scientist is well, indicative of where the AMS and Climate Science (and Dr. Curry) are.

      Andrew

  10. Norm Kalmanovitch

    There are three certainties that undermine any uncertainty about the role of CO2 emissions from fossil fuels in any observed global warming.
    The first is the fact that there is no possible correlation between CO2 emissions and global warming.
    This is demonstrated by the HadCRUT data which demonstrates slight cooling from 1880 to 1910 with an increase in CO2 emissions of 3gt/year from 0.5gt/year in 1880 to 3.5gt/year by 1910; rapid warming from 1910 to 1942 with just a 0.5gt/year increase reaching 4gt/year by 1942; slight cooling from 1942 to 1975 with an unprecidented rapid increase in CO2 emissions from 4gt/year in 1942 reaching 20gt/year by 1975.
    This was followd by a contemporaneous increase in both CO2 emissions and global temperature from 1975 to 1998 but when global warming ended in 1998 CO2 emissions still continued to increase and have done so for the past decade even as the Earth started cooling in 2002.
    The second certainty is that the 14.77micron band that is affected by CO2 was already so close to saturation when the Earth’s radiative spectrum was measured by the Nimbus 4 satellite in 1970 that a further doubling of CO2 whould be incapable of producing any more than a 0.4°C enhancement of the greenhouse effect and not the 2°C to 5°C predicted by the models for the same doubling of CO2.
    The third certainty is that the increased CO2 is not producing any detectable enhancement of the greenhouse effect as predicted by the climate models. All models show a decrease in OLR which is opposite to ERBE demonstrated by Linzden and Choi
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/Lindzen-and-Choi-GRL-2009.pdf
    This is more simply demonstrated by OLR measurements by the weather satellites launched in late 1978 which show no detectable decrease in OLR in response to rising CO2 levels.
    It is an absolute certainty therefore that CO2 emissions from fossil fuels play no detectable role in changing observed global temperatures so the climate science community can eliminate this conjecture from their list of uncertainties and focus on uncertainties that actually have physical manefestations.

  11. “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”

    Dr. Curry is taking the long view. By even suggesting that other human influences play a large role in Climate Change undermines the current expressed “consensus” of CAGW to a small degree.
    Mr. Seitter opens the door a little farther by his reminder “that our desire to develop a self-consistent and coherent picture sometimes impedes our ability to work toward unraveling the full complexity of the climate system.”

    • Exactly. Even publishing the uncertainty monster paper was a bold move. Singling it out for an opinion piece by the Society Executive Director was another. Seitter has tried to inject civility into the debate, with his use of “convinced” and “unconvinced” (note his previous essay was motivated by trenberth’s presentation at the 2011 AMS meeting on reversing the null hypothesis, with extensive use of the word “deniers.”) He acknowledges that there are other valid perspectives, including land use change. He attempts to be even handed in his warnings to both the convinced and unconvinced in how to interpret and use this paper.

      I can imagine many other fates for the uncertainty monster paper, and none that I can imagine are any better than the way this paper has been treated by Seitter and the AMS.

      • Judith –

        Do you think it is even vaguely reasonable [or true] to divide participants in the debate about climate change into ‘convinced’ and ‘unconvinced’, where the notion subject to one’s degree of persuasion is simply whether anthropogenic climate change is occurring at all.

        Am I in a category of one being convinced that there is some anthropogenic influence on climate [including but not exclusively from GHGs], but that there is precious little evidence that such influence requires panic, UN resolutions and an immediate decarbonisation of the world’s economy? That is what I am unconvinced about, and I was under the impression that the majority of the ‘unconvinced’ were in a similar position.

      • I am pretty sure the convinced/unconvinced as per seitter is relative to the proclamations made by the IPCC, which is more complex than whether AGW is occurring at all. he wrote an entire essay on this, which is not available online, I’ll try to see if i can find it.

      • Judith –

        That would be reasonable. Unfortunately it is very much not what Seitter says in his first paragraph.
        Can I assume it was an unfortunate Muller-esque mischaracterisation of his own thinking?

        …..“convinced” and “unconvinced” to describe those who had been convinced by the evidence that anthropogenic climate change was occurring and those who had not been convinced.

        A Freudian slip-of-the-keyboard?

        Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it seems quite a profound misrepresentation of a large number of people – in an obvious and clumsy way.

      • Anteros –

        Not to say that you don’t have a valid point, in a sense, but:

        Maybe I’m reading too much into it but it seems quite a profound misrepresentation of a large number of people – in an obvious and clumsy way.

        I’m not sure how profound that is. From the evidence I’ve seen, the number of people who think that AGW is happening but only question the degree it is happening is relatively small. That number is disproportionately represented in the climate blogosphere – although even there the evidence I’ve seen suggest that it is far smaller than I find typically claimed by many “skeptics.”

      • Judith –

        Did you add a sentence to your comment while I wasn’t looking? I didn’t notice the last point about his essay..
        I might not have taken him so much to task for his ‘over-simplification’..

      • Joshua –

        I suppose that actual numbers involved is a much lesser concern. But I’d certainly be interested in a poll of the ‘unconvinced’ to see how many believe humanity is having no effect on the climate at all.

        I know, phrasing of the question has a huge bearing of the answers, but that is the impression I get from his dichotomy – and that’s how I’d attempt to expose it in a poll [ ;)]

        Another way to look at it would be to take a dozen of the most sceptical scientists [Lindzen, Spencer, Christy etc] plus the well-known sceptical bloggers and commenters – Watts, Morano, Moncton, and ask them if they believe there is no AGW.

        You may be able to find some people who are ‘unconvinced’ – especially in your country, but in large numbers? Who aren’t rabid? Or mad? Or cwon?

      • Joshua –

        Just for context. The degree of emotion in my initial response to Seitter may correlate with having been up for twelve hours following England’s most humiliating days cricket for a generation. I should have gone for a walk instead :)

      • Anteros –

        The polls are a bit complicated, and can’t be taken at face value without a lot of consideration, but look at this question:

        http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/q50.jpg

        Simply asking people who have a vested stake isn’t sufficient either. Watts claims that no “skeptics” doubt that the Earth is warming – yet I think that quite a bit of the argumentation he has made is contradictory to that statement. I have found that due to the tribal nature of the debate, some “skeptics” seem to find an advantage in downplaying the number of AGW “rejectionists” in their midst.

        Yes – it’s less of a problem with the more prominent “skeptical” scientists such as Lindzen, Spencer, and Christy – but at a site like WAWT I read a lot of disagree with the very foundations of AGW theory.

        None of that detracts from your overall point: Everyone should be more careful in their language. It’s tough – but to not do so is, IMO, not acceptable and a failure to do so is often a reflection of tribalism or partisan biases (only sometimes political, I’ll point out for your benefit).

      • That should read that at WUWT I can read “….a lot from scientists who disagree with the very foundations of AGW theory…..

      • My condolences, Anteros. I hope that you will extend me some courtesy if the Giants should prevail in the Super Bowl.

      • Anteros, Yes, those cricket scores were more like those which we associate with football :-(

      • And Anteros –

        I hope that you realize that even though I may come off as condescending in my responses to you, I have a deep and abiding respect for anyone who has the ability to comprehend the game of cricket and the brute, raw endurance for pain that it takes to watch a match.

      • Anteros-
        Of course it has to be a binary choice of convinced or unconvinced. Otherwise how could the convinced try to convince the public that the unconvinced are a bunch on know nothings and every other pejorative that they like to marginalize the opposition with. If they tried to explain the complexity and nuanced continuum that is involved with the unconvinced views, the public may start to think for themselves and see the light. Define the opposition, I always say, before they can define themselves.

      • “I can imagine many other fates for the uncertainty monster paper, and none that I can imagine are any better than the way this paper has been treated by Seitter and the AMS.”

        I do not envy your lot in your profession and I am reminded once again why I call you “Saint Judith.”

        From a secular perspective, you are a Kantian. One of that rare breed who acts on the basis of a rational understanding of moral duty and on that basis alone.

      • Congratulations, Dr. Curry. Well said.

  12. incandecentbulb

    The Medium is the Message: it’s getting hotter and hotter for the easily-convinced.

  13. The article says
    “. Results that complicate the picture, or that explore more deeply the uncertainties in our knowledge, are quickly seized by some as evidence that the research results on the role of greenhouse gases in the warming of the planet must be wrong.”
    **************
    This misrepresents the beliefs of many skeptics.

    I believe in AGW although the effect is slight and not confined to CO2 effects. In fact the warming since records began has been on balance very beneficial.

    Where the alarmists jump the shark is the issue of multiplying the fairly well known warming of 1 ° C for a doubling of CO2 by a factor because of unknown feedbacks. These feedbacks may even be negative and thus reduce the warming.

    Since almost all of the theoretical warming is because of water vapor and since the amount of water vapor has gone DOWN SINCE 1950 I don’t see how this amplification can possibly happen.

    http://climate4you.com/images/NOAA%20ESRL%20AtmospericRelativeHumidity%20GlobalMonthlyTempSince1948%20With37monthRunningAverage.gif

    • Relative humidity is not the same as absolute humidity. The absolute humudity can be, and as far as I know is, going up while the relative humidity goes down.

      • Steven’s right,
        and since you need near 100% relative humidity to have clouds, which are composed of drops of liquid water or crystals of ice, a decrease in relative humidity means less clouds, which means more short wave radiation reaches the surface.
        But more absolute humidity means there is more gaseous water in the atmosphere enhancing the greenhouse effect.
        So the trends obseved in humidity, both relative and absolute, lead to an increase in warming.

  14. So it’s like reading in the North Korea newspapers that there exists one Good American. A good start…if you’re north Korean :)

    The night at the ams is even darker than I thought.

  15. “The climate science community should view this as an opportunity to discuss the approaches to uncertainty that have been employed (as also occurs in this issue), but all of us in the scientific community should also appreciate the reminder that our desire to develop a self-consistent and coherent picture sometimes impedes our ability to work toward unraveling the full complexity of the climate system.”

    Fine, but your duty is to stop asserting that the science justifies the claim that CAGW exists until you have developed “a self-consistent and coherent picture.” And stop using the good name of science when lobbying for CAGW mitigation.

    “The unconvinced crowd should see this paper as promoting a standard of scientific honest that most of ther blogs and opinion pieces simply cannot meet.”

    The “unconvinced crowd” are criticizing the science, not acting to create a rival science. Are you so ignorant of scientific method that you do not understand the difference? Critics of CAGW see Dr. Curry’s work for what it is, an attempt to identify the uncertainties in existing climate science. Her work belongs is part of critical scientific method. If her work were taken to heart by climate scientists, the public would learn that there is no scientific support for CAGW.

    • There are many in the climate debate who intentionally conflate AGW and CAGW. Poll questions are most commonly worded in a way as to make no distinction – doubting that AGW is “primarily” causing current warming, or that it will have catastrophic results, becomes by implication “denial” that the earth has warmed since the last ice age, or that CO2 (all other things being equal) can cause warming.

      Those who intentionally conflate the two are almost always the CAGW activists. They seek to marginalize their political opponents as anti-science.

      But there are many who conflate AGW and CAGW because that is what they see done all the time. They are for the most part what I call default progressives, who follow the group think, without really analyzing it. I get the impression that Seitter falls in this second category. Everyone he works with believes that AGW is C, everyone he socializes with ditto. And CAGW just happens to call for the kind of political action he favors politically by default. He is likely rarely exposed to dissenting opinion.

      To fully and fairly articulate the variety of opinions among skeptics, he would have to actually read what they write, think about their arguments, and understand them. And for most of his tribe, that is simply asking too much. Skeptical positions are to be ridiculed and dismissed, not considered and debated.

      I think he genuinely sees himself as reaching out to those with whom he disagrees. And for someone in his tribe, he is. Publishing and commenting in a courteous tone on Dr. Curry’s writings is, for a CAGW believer, a major achievement.

      • Very well said.

      • Agreed. Very perceptive.

      • k scott denison

        Bingo.

      • Very perceptive

      • Well we started with skepticism of GW in the 80s

        then in the late 90s we saw a shift to skepticism of AGW

        only recently has the acronym CAGW been coined representing another shift.

        will we see a new acronym in 10 years time? can we stick more letters in front?

        The problem though is that an awful number of folks are still stuck on skepticism of GW and AGW. Probably the bulk of skeptics are on either of these too (I half suspect most are still unfortunately on GW still)

        The blogs hardly help. Many of those who would defend themselves as CAGW skeptics when challenged nevertheless facilitate skepticism of GW and AGW when noone is looking.

      • only recently has the acronym CAGW been coined representing another shift.

        Given that it was coined by the “unconvinced,” what do you see as the shift its coining represents?

      • A weakening of the skeptic position. 10 years ago very few would have accepted AGW. Many were still denying GW.

        I am thinking that in 10 years time a sizable number of skeptics might even accept CAGW, but start arguing it’s better to take the hit/too late to do anything about it.

      • 10 years ago, consensus advocates were not beating the C drum in order to force decarnbonization on the world economy. It was only with Kyoto that conservatives began to see that the CAGW was heading.for the economic abyss. Once the movement progressives behind CAGW got a taste of implementation, they began publicizing what was “scientifically necessary” (ie. global decarbonization effected by centralized planning of the energy economy).

        It was recognition of the political nature of the CAGW movement that resulted in a political response by conservatives (and even some progressives). This is the reason many conservatives (ranging from Margaret Thatcher to Sarah Palin) originally accepted the “scientific consensus.”

        The problem with progressive political movements is that they can only disguise their political motivations for so long. When the progressives/greens moved from “We need to care for the environment and should be concerned about AGW” to “We need to have authority to centrally plan the energy economy and make massive tax changes and transfer payments to third world countries in order to decarbonize the global economy,” somebody was bound to notice.

  16. incandecentbulb

    We should all be convinced that language matters. is there anyone who is unconvinced that there are reasons having nothing to do with science as to why skeptics have been labeled “deniers” and what it means when a society willingly marginalizes a 15-year old child prodigy like Krysten Byrnes because the practice of her talent was deemed politically incorrect?

    • Just to make sure I got this right.

      You are expressing disdain for too much concern about what is “politically correct,” in the same comment where you attach great significance to the use of the term “denier.”

      If that is an accurate description, I must say that comment was spectacular.

      • incandecentbulb

        “too much concern” is “too much” but otherwise political correctness is okay, is that it?

      • incandecentbulb –

        blockquote>“too much concern” is “too much” but otherwise political correctness is okay, is that it?

        I think that concern about what is “politically correct” is valid – because it of it reflects a consideration of accuracy in language and consideration about how others react to our language – both of which I think are valuable considerations.

        What I have a problem with is when people are selectively “concerned” about political correctness – as I believe is illustrated, beautifully, in your comment above.

        I find that kind of selectivity to be instructive – to see the least, none the less when it is evident in the thinking of someone who self-describes as a “skeptic,” but also amongst those who self-describe as “realists.”

      • Joshua –

        If I may jump in here. Are you not getting a tad ahead of yourself with people who ‘self-describe’ as realist? You rarely describe yourself in any specific terms – which is fair enough – and I’m yet to hear anyone else call themselves a climate realist [except me, but I think I mean something different to you :)] so that would leave a sort of ‘empty set’ which doesn’t quite chime with there being self-described realists….

        I accept that a big part of the ideological battleground is to take command of the terms used, but surely the first task is to get significant numbers of others on board with your usage?

        Don’t forget that there are a few people heading in a seemingly opposite direction to you with ‘believer’ and ‘dissenter’ although to me that seems an eminently neutral taxonomy. Particularly because it leaves a lot of room for the genuinely unconvinced in the middle. And it doesn’t allow me to use ‘alarmist’ :(

      • Joshua –

        A more serious observation. Isn’t all this searching for binary terms indicative of how we’re actually trying to be dichotomous? We’re not even making an effort to find more interesting, subtle, or nuanced distinctions between the various understandings on offer.

        This is evident in all the terms. Convinced about what? A believer about what? A sceptic [everyday, common, usual, non-pedantic, accepted use] of what? Dissenting from what?

        We just move the problem from one place to another.

        I feel it particularly strongly because I would say I am very convinced about AGW, very very unconvinced about there being a significant problem and totally unconvinced that anything can or will be done about AGW – I doubt any efforts will ever be measurable.

        Which obviously means I’m going to feel out of place being labelled ‘convinced’ when there is an assumption that this also means I think we’re heading for a super large problemo and should get on with ‘changing’ things.

        Now I’m getting hassled by words, it’s definitely time for a walk..

      • Oh boy, another semantics debate. Oh well, I have a few minutes to waste.

        “Politically correct” language is often deliberately inflammatory.

        “Political correctness,” like “mainstream media” is a term of art on the right, with a distinct meaning. Those on the left who like to Orwell the language to death can pretend otherwise, but we on the right know what we mean, and you can have our language when you pry it from our cold dead mouths.

        In fact, “denier” is a quintessential “politically correct” term when used by a progressive to describe a CAGW skeptic. It is the widespread acceptance of the term by the progressives that makes it so. As are “racist, sexist, and homophobe” when used to describe someone with conservative views. They are also insulting, inaccurate and spiteful. Which is, of course, why they are so popular on the left.

  17. Jeff – the ED of the ams lamenting the politicization of climate science is like Donald Trump complaining about capitalism.

    • Omno

      Do not thwart an enemy retreating home. If you surround the enemy, leave an outlet; do not press an enemy that is cornered. These are the principles of warfare.

      Unless it is personal then I recommend
      The greatest happiness is to scatter your enemy, to drive him before you, to see his cities reduced to ashes, to see those who love him shrouded in tears, and to gather into your bosom his wives and daughters.

      • A two pronged strategy:

        Promote, in a technical sense,
        That your opponent’s silence or scorn
        Amounts much weakness, but also
        That your opponent’s respect and openness
        Reveals even much weakness too.

        In either case, proclaim victory and
        Ask everyone to join the
        Bandwagon.

  18. Shouldn’t we let Seitter say what he wants to say? Is a guest blog about the meaning of “convinced” in the making?

  19. I do not want to distract from Dr. Curry’s work on uncertainty. It is the best we have. However, Willis Eschenbach has posted on WUWT an argument about uncertainty that I would like to see addressed. It can be found here:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/26/decimals-of-precision-trenberths-missing-heat/#more-55467

    In Eschenbach’s words, it is:

    “My argument doesn’t depend on the name of their error. It doesn’t depend on the difference between precision and accuracy. It involves a statement and a couple questions, and I’d be interested in your answers.

    The scientists say that 3,000 Argo buoys give an error of 0.004°C. Whatever kind of error it is, then other things being at least approximately equal, 30 buoys should give an error of 0.04°C.

    1. Are there logical or math errors in that calculation?

    2. Do you think 30 Argo buoys (1,080 observations per year) can measure the annual temperature rise of the global ocean to within 0.04°C?”

  20. We all must continue to work toward insuring that we are operating with the very highest levels of openness and honesty in the presentation of our science.

    Does the AMS have a working definition of “openness”? Do AMS journals require the archiving of data and code used in preparation of papers that they publish? Have they taken a stand on the FOI suits related to Mann et al at UVA and PennState?

    This looks to me like a step forward.

    For comparison, the American Statistical Association requires that data used in papers published in their journals be made available. But the board of directors wrote an editorial in opposition to the suits. I think that ASA is inconsistent, but I seem to be in the minority.

    • AMS makes all journal articles publicly available after two years. And allows authors to post their own articles on their own web sites.

      • curryja: AMS makes all journal articles publicly available after two years. And allows authors to post their own articles on their own web sites.

        You seem to imply by omission that AMS does not require sharing of data or computer code. Is there lobbying within the AMS, in the name of “openness” to require such sharing? How about for federally funded vs. privately funded research? Personally I think that all data should be shared eventually, but I am not a member of AMS and we statisticians sometimes sound to other scientists like we want to steal their work.

      • I don’t know, but the AMS tends to be at the forefront of journals when it comes to this sort of thing

  21. In “The Karate Kid” Misogi says: “Answer only matter if ask right question”. The issue is NOT whether there is “evidence that anthropogenic climate change was occurring”. It seems highly likely that some of the warming of the past 120 years was due to anthropogenic activity. The issue IS how much of past climate change is due to anthropogenic activity, and what the future will bring from anthropogenic activity. There is major uncertainty on these questions.

  22. Regarding the discussion about convinced and unconvinced, I think Seitter’s definition of convinced is too broad, as mentioned by Anteros, because it does include many skeptical of IPCC’s estimates. Even Lindzen, Spencer, Monckton, etc. would sign onto a 1 degree anthropogenic effect in this century. I would narrow it down by defining convinced as not just of anthropogenic global warming, but of IPCC’s rough estimate of 2-4.5 degrees per doubling, which would imply a warming nearer 3 degrees for this century alone than 1 degree.

    • Jim D

      Surely there is a whole dimension not considered here. To my mind the bigger argument is how to characterise the effect of, say, 1 or 2 degrees warming.

      Some people (Hansen for instance) want to say that 2 degrees will mean ineffable disaster. I’m at the opposite end of the spectrum because I believe 2 degrees will have very little significance at all. Surely this disagreement is much wider than the realistic disagreements about climate sensitivity or feedbacks or whatever. It is the real disagreement and actually has very little to do with climate science (or any kind of science)?

    • Anteros, I agree there is a dimension of harm, and we should plot views along two axes: warming and harm/benefit. Generally those who believe in more warming also believe in more harm, but I would submit that everyone’s error bars on the harm axis are much larger than on the warming axis. This is not an exact science in that direction.

      • Warming versus Harming. Neat in some way.

      • Robert Austin

        So we might change the faction taxonomy to benignists vs. harmists or salubritists vs. malignatists in order really draw a line in the sand for the two contenders.

      • Jim D –
        You put it very well. Everyone’s error bars on the harm axix are much larger than on the warming axis.

        Just one quibble – this sort of automatically assumes that warming =harming which for me is not a given. The way I would describe the effect of the last century of warming would not be along a harm/benefit axis. I think there are other variables that don’t automatically convey a big chunk of worry.

      • My own quibble with warming/harming is that these are regional, and you would have to figure out how to integrate this globally. For warming it is very clear that you can attach one global number, but for harm there is necessarily a spread between benefit in some areas and harm in others, and integration into a single point on the scale is impossible. This is a reason why global political consensus will be difficult or impossible without a socialistic sounding ideal that the winners take care of the losers, which is better expressed as the fortunate taking care of the unfortunate, since it is through no doing of their own that they lose out in a changing climate. And there is no guarantee there will be enough of the fortunate class to achieve this.

    • Norm Kalmanovitch

      No one is claiming 1°C but merely claiming that the anthropogenic effect is no more than 1°C which means that none of these people have made a statement that the antropogenic effect is not actually zero which is less than 1°C.
      I can categorically state that there is no detectable influence from human generated CO2 emissions but I cannot state that the anthropogenic effect is zero because the heat added to the atmosphere fromhuman energy consumption including fossil fuels definitely has some effect as does land use changes which affect the albedo and I am sure the growing urban heat island effect from our growing urban centres is also having an effect.
      We have IPCC HadCRUT3 global temperature data demonstrating that the world has been cooling since 2002 so we are quite certain the net human effect is less than the natural cooling so we are also quite certain that we don’t need to cripple the economy with initiatives to reduce CO2 emissions to stop global warming

      • There are four categories. Some say 1 degree or less, some say 2 degrees or more, some might be in the 1-2 degree range, but these are few from what I have seen, and some say it could be anywhere in a range covering all these possibilities.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        It is not what people say but what data says and climate model projections are not data based so they don’t count.
        My assessment based on MODTRAN model respons to a doubling of CO2 from our current level of 390ppmv is less than 0.4°C because clouds and water vapour represent over 90% of the Earth’s 33°C greenhouse effect leaving only 3.3°C attributable to CO2.
        A doubling of CO2 from 390 only increases the spectral notch centred at 14.77 microns by about 10% and 10% of 3.3°C is just 0.33°C!
        If this was actually the case and CO2 emissions were actually the prime source for the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration (which is also a fallacy) the 57.1% increase in CO2 emissions since 1979 would have had a detectable effect on the 31 years of satellite measurement of OLR.
        This is definitely not the case so even this 0.4°C for a doubling of CO2 is not valid.
        “There are four categories. Some say 1 degree or less, some say 2 degrees or more, some might be in the 1-2 degree range, but these are few from what I have seen, and some say it could be anywhere in a range covering all these possibilities” .
        It is clear that anyone who states 2°C has no idea of what they are talking about and those who say 1°C or less likely know full well just how little the effect is but simply state 1°C or less to avoid nit picky rebuttals

    • k scott denison

      Why not “alarmist” vs. “non-alarmist”?

      • OOh, the alarmists don’t like that one bit.
        It makes their alarmism seem not quite rational, disproportionate, driven by feverish imagination ,and well – to put it frankly – alarmist.

  23. I found Seitter’s essay on convinced/unconvinced:
    http://blog.ametsoc.org/columnists/neutralizing-some-of-the-language-in-global-warming-discussions/

    Excerpts:

    The topic of anthropogenic global warming has become so polarized it is now hard to talk about it without what amounts to name-calling entering into the discussion. In blogs, e-mails, and published opinion pieces, terms like “deniers” and “contrarians” are leveled in one direction while “warmist” and “alarmist” are leveled in the other. Both the scientific community and broader society have much to gain from respectful dialog among those of opposing views on climate change, but a reasonable discussion on the science is unlikely if we cannot find non-offensive terminology for those who have taken positions different than our own.

    This terminology [convinced/unconvinced] helps in a number of ways. First and foremost, it does not carry with it the baggage of value judgment, since for any particular scientific argument there is no intrinsically positive or negative connotation associated with being either convinced or unconvinced. In addition, this terminology highlights that we are talking about a scientific, evidence-based, issue that should be resolved through logical reasoning and not something that should be decided by our inherent belief system. (And for that reason, I work very hard to avoid saying someone does or does not “believe” in global warming, or similar phrases.)

    There may be other neutral terms that can be applied to those engaged in the climate change discussion, but “convinced” and “unconvinced” are the best I have seen so far. I have adopted this terminology in the hope of reducing some of the polarization in the discussion.”

    • I still have a concern that Seitter here is still talking about the simple fact of AGW and whether one is convinced it exists, or not.

      I think he is wrong – in the sense that I don’t think this is what any substantive, interesting or meaningful debate is about. “How much” is a much more important question and one that doesn’t easily lead to a simple dichotomy. There is another question (less addressed by many scientists) of whether a specified amount of warming will have any significant effect, and how we characterise that effect. And of course, the question of whether any attempted mitigation (assuming it is even worth considering) would be worth the cost.

      Dividing the whole range of opinions into ‘convinced’ and ‘unconvinced’ is a poor idea if the question is whether AGW is actually occurring or not.

      As I have mentioned upthread, this is also an attempt to impose a strictly binary division on a complicated debate. It encouragestribalism, not by the provocativeness of its terms, but by its setting up of opposites.

      ***

      FWIW I also disagree with Seitters view that this is fundamentally an issue for science, that we must be ruthlessly scientific about and will be answered by science. He says it is

      a scientific, evidence-based issue that should be resolved through logical reasoning

      Well. The actual existence of AGW may have been – if he remains stuck on that non-controversial scientific question – but the issue itself? Our relationship with the climate, the future, ourselves, our place in the Universe? How we feel about human agency? Our attitude to change? Our feelings about risk?

      If Seitter is referring to anything but the answer to a basic physics question, I think he could benefit from a wider perspective – including some things he objects to, which are our belief systems.

      • There are scores of posters at WUWT who are convinced that AGW doesn’t exist.

        e.g. see http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/22/unified-theory-of-climate-reply-to-comments/

      • Can we not just ignore them? Pretend they don’t exist?
        I mean, equally, there are people that believe the world is going to end on Tuesday evening right after tea…

      • “There are scores of posters at WUWT who are convinced that AGW doesn’t exist.”

        Louise,

        That’s because there’s no direct evidence to present that any GW is caused by A.

        Andrew

      • Anteros – I don’t think they can just be ignored. They are very vocal and can be found on this blog too. I feel that it is these folk that Seitter is politely calling the unconvinced because the rest of us would call them deniers – they deny that AGW exists. To pretend these peole don’t exist implies that all the negative criticism from climate scientists is directed against folk such as yourself when it is this other group who are rightly the target.

        Did you see Mike’s suggestion on the other thread that it was lefty greenshirts who sent the threatening e-mails to Hayhoe just to get the sympathy vote?

      • Louise –

        I didn’t see mike’s suggestion. I assume he’s off his meds again..

        You have a point about the ‘genuine’ disbelievers. Well, I suppose they have a right to be heard.
        Outside of about a dozen individuals at Bishop Hill, do you know of many people like that in positions of influence in Britain? Even the GWPF are all born-again luke warmers.
        Delingpole I suppose. Relevant too, because at Bishop Hill he was very miffed with me that I thought his use of ‘ECO-Nazi’ was unhelpful. I’m not sure he is particularly interested in the climate though – which in fact may be a defining feature of den….disbelievers.

      • Anteros – no I don’t think there are disbelievers in positions of influence in the UK. However, the darling of the disbelievers, Christopher Monckton, would like to be influential (yes I know he acknowledges the green house effect but the disbelievers don’t recognise that fact either).

        I think it is strange that a country such as the US can have presidential candidates that deny such basic science such as the greenhouse effect. I think they’d get the David Ike treatment over here.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        Louise
        All five global temperature datasets including Hansen’s own GISS and the IPCC HadCRUT3 show that global warming ended by 1998.
        The HadCRUT3 datset in fact shows that the world has been cooling since 2002 in spite of the decade long increase in CO2 emissions from fossil fuels.
        The only deniers are those who ignore physical data and place blind faith in the conjecture of AGW based on fabricated climate models and deny reality!

      • Anteros,

        Your, “I didn’t see his suggestion. I assume Mike is off his meds again.”

        You know Anteros, we’re all entitled to our uninformed assumptions and judgements. But if you ever feel inclined at some point to actually read the thread that contains that “suggestion” of mine that has Louise looking for her heart pills (to include the comments of Joshua and Louise that follow) you may, then, have something “informed” to add. If so, I would be interested.

        Otherwise: Yo momma!

      • Anteros

        I would not let myself get pulled into an argument of whether or not AGW exists or whether or not it has warmed over the 20th century.

        These are wholly different questions than the one, which is being debated here, namely whether or not

        a) human GHG emissions have been the principal cause of past (late 20th century) warming and
        b) this represent a serious potential threat for humanity and our environment if they are not curtailed significantly.

        This is the “consensus” premise being promoted by IPCC.

        And it is the premise of which I am “unconvinced”, based on all the data I have seen.

        Is it a “scientific” question?

        There are certainly the political and economic consequences but the basic dispute revolves around the validity of the science supporting the premise.

        I am unconvinced” that the empirical evidence supports the premise of either the past warming or the future threat as stated above.

        And, so far, none of the “convinced” individuals have been able to demonstrate this empirical evidence.

        Until they do, I will remain “unconvinced”.

        Max

      • “All five global temperature datasets including Hansen’s own GISS and the IPCC HadCRUT3 show that global warming ended by 1998.”

        Bollocks
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp-dts/mean:120/from:1960
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/mean:120/from:1960

    • Lousie,

      Scores of deniers congregate at WUWT, and some here. So what? Is that your scientific poll on the number of deniers that exist in the overall population? How many deniers are there on Joe Romm’s blog, or over at RealClimate? Or at the Idiot Tractor’s blog? As usual you lack substance in your yammering. You should shut up now.

      • Don – your childish name-calling gets rather tiresome. Do you get some sort of thrill from imagining it has any impact whatsoever? I can assure you that the rest of the adults that post here can see that it says much more about you than those you are attacking with your immature insults and oafish behaviour.

        The point that you seem to be avoiding is that there are in fact very many people who do not believe that the greenhouse effect is real. I believe that it is these people that Seitter is referring to when he talks of the unconvinced rather than the lukewarmers such as Anteros.

      • Lousie,

        I can see that my childish name calling is having no effect on you whatsoever. I will have to try harder.

        I am not avoiding any point. I know that there are a lot of deniers. More than scores, probably more than a million. But you and Seitter can’t say just how many deniers there are, and you certainly can’t prove that they are keeping you alarmist types from implementing your draconian agenda. Don’t try to blame your impotence and failure on deniers. Look at yourselves. Should you be doing anything differently? Judith is trying to help you clowns, but you hate her for it.

      • Don – you’re projecting again. I don’t hate anyone, certainly not Dr Curry.

        Your own posts seem to overflow with hatred though.

      • I hate haters, Lousie. Especially the hypocritical cowardly little putz type of hater.

      • Louise-
        You can believe that the greenhouse effect is real and still be a skeptic because the effect may only be accounting for 1% of the changes and natural variability can be accounting for the other 99%. I dont see an inconsistency in that view at all

      • Don,
        Louise is working hard to avoid the point of the essay and to hijack the thread. She does not appreciate your interfering in that effort.

    • Robert Austin

      It is impossible to fairly assign people into just two camps on this issue. It is using black and white when there are many gradations of grey in between. Perhaps the closest to fair would be my suggestion of “benignist vs. harmist” as I proposed half in jest above. This distills the controversy down to whether one believes that our greenhouse gas emissions will result in a net detrimental change to the earth’s climate and thus calling for radical changes to our civilization. I once proposed the nomenclature scale of skeptic, luke warmer, warmer, warmist and finally alarmist: again half in jest. I recall that in his book, Tom Mosher even proudly identified himself as a luke warmer without any hint that the warm connotation was a pejorative. Perhaps for the same reason that global warming became climate change, the “realists” seem to have an aversion to being associated with AGW or CAGW even though rising global temperatures are a prime tenet of their belief: hence warmers or warmists for short. The “realist” label that some of the “convinced” would seem to favour assumes a righteousness implying that those in the other camp have views that are necessarily irrational. Perhaps if there are simply no labels for the factions in the English language that can be acceptable to all.

      • Robert, I think you do a diservice to genuine skeptics by lumping those who disbelieve in the greenhouse effect in with them. You seem to be content to have a pretty pejoritive label at one end of your scale (alarmist) yet use the word skeptic for the opposite extreme. Is that balanced?

      • Robert Austin

        Louise,
        That is why categorization of the factions into just two camps will never satisfy everybody. The alarmist label clearly applies to the immanent doomsayers as they are doing exactly what the label says, raising the alarm. There are many so called convinced that adhere to a moderate warming, say 2C to 3C for CO2 doubling whom one would not label as alarmist. You know an alarmist when you hear one, a perfect example being Jim (coal trains of death) Hansen. The real reason you don’t approve of the alarmist label is because you feel the actual connotation is “false alarmist”. I grant you that not all “skeptics” are on the same page. One can be a skeptic and a crackpot at the same time. So if you want to float some new taxonomy for the various flavours of skepticism, be my guest.

      • Robert – Alarmism is excessive or exaggerated alarm about a real or imagined threat, it’s not a phrase that refers to people who are just raising the alarm. It implies exageration, hence it is in fact a perjorative term.

        That you don’t see this either indicates a lack of knowledge (now corrected perhaps) or your own bias.

  24. Blouis79 comments “When I first read the IPCC assessment report, I was surprised by the corruption of normal standards of statistical certainty/uncertainty and confidence limits. Since when was 90% good enough??”

    The answer to his question is “it depends” – There is nothing magical or sacred about the alpha = 0.05 level of significance for the rejection of a Null Hypothesis. Roughly speaking, alpha = 0.05 tells you that you have a 1 in 20 chance of rejecting the Null hypothesis when it is in fact true. But the 0.05 level is simply a convention. Provided it is justified there is no reason why one could not accept a 0.1 alpha level. And here is the devil in the details. There is also type II error – the chance of accepting a Null hypothesis when it is in fact false, and Type II is inversely proportional to Type I.

    So the decision to accept a 0.05 or 0.1 Type I error should be weighed against the consequences of making a Type II error. In blunt terms, are the potential consequences of making a Type I error and instituting policies to reduce greenhouse gases greater or less than the consequences of deciding that it AGW is not in fact happening, and therefore failing to do anythng at all (what the world is doing now), when in fact it is.

    This surely is the core of the policy conundrum, and the problem of uncertainty. I understand that hte IPCC process of determining its level of confidence in AGW of a cerain magnitude is not the same as the determination of Type I and II errrors in frequentist schools of statistics. But the character of the problem is the same. The question is – is 90 percent confidence enough confidence to act? Now the “unconvinced could opt to make the Type I error bar higher for policy to jump over, but they can only make Type I more conservative at the expense of making the probability of Type II error larger…..

  25. Political commentatory (eek – i almost said ‘political science’ – what a maroon!) long ago gave up the idea that there was a 1-dimensional spectrum of beliefs from right to left, and tried more complicated schemes to place people in . Try the political compass, the Nolan Chart and the Pournelle Axis.

    Even on this blog we have represented many different points of view:

    (C1) Those who do not believe humans have any effect on climate

    (C2) Those who believe we do, but
    a) the effect is insignificant and can be ignored, and / or…
    b) the effect is dwarfed by natural variability, and / or…
    c) the effect is not harmful, and may be beneficial

    (C3) Those who believe we do (via C02 or farming,etc) and
    a) the effect will be disastrous and human civilisation must change now
    b) the effect will be deleterious and must be mitigated by action now
    c) the effect will be negative, but there is time for more research
    d) the effect will be negative, but we are powerless and should adapt

    (C4) Agnostics; Scotch Verdict on all beliefs at this stage

    Meanwhile there are questions of policy:

    (P1) energy policy should be determined by energy factors, not climate.
    (P2) we have time to research better technology
    (P3) urgent action needed, but
    a) the policy prescriptions are nonsense. We need nuclear now.
    b) the policy prescriptions (wind, solar) are right and needed now
    c) Throw everything we’ve got at the problem

    Try this:
    On one axis: belief in human effect on climate – none to small to large
    On the other – policy, from none, through ‘wait’, to ‘hard’ or ‘soft’ tech now.

    I’d put myself at C2b and P1.
    Hansen seems to be C3a and P3c (?)
    Bjorn Lomborg – C3d and P2.
    Dr. Curry – I wouldn’t presume!

    This seems much better than ‘convinced’ and ‘unconvinced’ (of what, *exactly*)?

    Feel free to pick this all apart…

    • Good summary of all possible positions Cui Bono. There definitely seems to be optimistic vs pessimistic schools of thought running through all of this.

      I amm inclined to think that a series of simple multiple choice questions can identify whether a person stands in relation to climate change.

  26. Political commentators long gave up on the 1-dimensional ‘left-right’ dichotomy and moved on (cf: the Nolan chart; Politcial Compass; the Pournelle Axes). We should do the same with climate ‘convinced’ / ‘unconvinced’, etc.

    Try this. On climate:

    (C1) Man has, or can have, no effect on global climate

    (C2) Man does have an effect on global climate, but
    (a) any effects may be beneficial on a timescale of a century, and/or
    (b) the effects are insignificant and can be ignored, and/or
    (c) natural variability totally trumps any human effects

    (C3) Man does have an effect on global climate, and
    (a) the result will be harmful but slow – we have time to research
    (b) the result will be harmful, but we are powerless so must adapt
    (c) the result will be deleterious, we need to take action to mitigate now
    (d) the result is going to be disaster on a timescale of a century

    (C4) Agnosticism, ‘Scotch Verdict’ for the moment.

    Meanwhile, on policy:

    (P1) No climate-specific policy is needed. Energy needs determine energy policy

    (P2) We do further research on improved energy solutions

    (P3) We need to take urgent action now..
    (a) throw everything we have at the problem
    (b) current policies (wind, solar) are nuts. We need nuclear now
    (c) current policies are correct

    On one axis: AGW belief, from none to weak to strong.
    On 2nd axis: policy, from none to ‘wait’ to ‘urgent’

    Top left: ultra-sceptics; bottom right: Green purist CAGWites.

    I’m C2c and P1.
    Hansen seems C3d and P3a.
    Bjorn Lomborg: C3b and P2.

    Or something like this……….

    • cui bono –

      Not bad – but not comprehensive. For example, you leave off a category for those who think it is “likely” that ACO2 is affecting the environment in ways that may be harmful and, so it makes sense to consider the costs and benefits of different policies aimed at mitigation – which would apply to the vast majority of the “convinced.” There are other, nuanced, perspectives that I think you missed as well, although they may not be as commonly found in the debate.

      • Lets also bear in mind, in the US anyway, the difference between “Democrats” and “Republicans” and then characterize the % of each that fully accept each plank in the party platform.

    • Excellent attempt at classification. It’s good, funny, and I like it.

    • Unlike Don Aitken’s categories, this one does capture my view as C3b, but on policy, and following from C3b, the policy priorities should be for adaptation, because mitigation is not going to be effective given how far we are along the fossil fuel road now. But that is not to say that we should not start to reduce fossil fuel consumption and move towards clean energy. Adaptation and non-fossil energy policies in some nations may use carbon taxes to help set up a fund rather than take it from general tax revenues.

  27. Answer to Prof. Keith Seitter CCM,
    your quote: “” ……..
    …….we must also embrace legitimate science that seeks to increase our understanding even as it complicates the emerging picture of how the climate system works. We all must continue to work toward insuring that we are operating with the very highest levels of openness and honesty in the presentation of our science………””

    What means: We must, we must, we must……fact is, the “AGW-convinced”
    side is not inclined to do this, they have the colluding policy of ignoring, not answering, not studying skeptics arguments and proposals….. as soon
    as they detect a skeptics point, they do not answer, or give an acknowledgement of having received the Email:
    For example, I wrote very friendly Emails with a skeptical analysis to the German Max-Planck Society and to the German Physicists Society
    ( to more than 10 sections) and just asking for a returm-mail that
    they have been informed……..
    ……no reply from not one single section, total ignorance…..

    This is how the Warmist side evaluates your: “must embrace…..highest level of openness, honesty….. increase understanding……””
    You left out “ignoring, not answering, acting arrogantly….”
    JS

  28. When an evangelical Christian uses the words “believer” and “non-believer” there is no suggestion that they are equivalent; the former will go to heaven and the latter will rot in hell. The words “convinced” and “unconvinced” carry similar connotations. Were it not such a mouthful I would favour “anthropogenic warmist” and “natural warmist”.

    The essential problem in the debate is that the “anthropogenic warmists” have tried to present an inviolable, shining carapace of “consensus”. As a result they are unable to countenance that any of the “natural warmists” have a point or that any of their colleagues is less than perfect for fear that the carapace is shattered.

  29. At the end of March last year I posted an essay here which, among other things, proposed a way of picturing the various positions in the AGW debate/ Given that we are going over some of the same ground now, I thought it might be useful to present this analysis again.

    ‘I think that there are six more or less distinguishable positions in the AGW debate, with some religious outriders, and I list them each with a short explanation. I do my best to avoid labels, other than ‘supporters’ and ‘dissenters’ of what I call the AGW, or IPCC, ‘orthodoxy’.

    Supporters of the AGW orthodoxy

    1 Strongest The IPCC has raised the alarm. We must do something now, and that something is to get global agreement to curtail greenhouse gas emissions. The science is clear, and now is the time to act. This is in fact the orthodox or IPCC position.

    2 Partial Support There is no doubt that adding more and more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere must increase the world’s temperature. But we don’t know yet how much extra warming there is likely to be.

    3 Lukewarm support Adding more carbon dioxide will very likely increase the temperature, but there are other factors at work too, and the effect may well be pretty small, or even positive for some parts of the world. We need to know much more before we do anything.

    Dissenters

    4 Agnostic dissenters The orthodox arguments rely heavily on models and conjectures. AGW is plausible and possible, but we need real evidence before we do anything. In particular, we need to be able to distinguish AGW from natural variability. A little warming may be good for humanity, as it seems to have been over the past thirty years.

    5 Sceptical dissenters Many sceptics are well informed about one or other aspect of the central AGW proposition, and can show difficulties with it; they tend to argue that the failure of the orthodox to satisfy them in these domains means that the whole AGW proposition is void.

    6 Opponents AGW theory is just a scam, a sign that the Marxists have taken over the green movement, an attempt by some to construct world government, a conspiracy, a sign of lazy journalists, the effort of bankrupt governments to stay in power, etc. There is nothing to it.

    The religious

    Both sides have what I would call religious outriders, whose intervention in the debate seems to come from a religious or spiritual basis. There are many versions of both, and what follows is certainly simplistic.

    7 Gaians The earth itself and everything in it contains a life-force, of which humans are only a part. It is morally wrong for human beings to attack that which gives them life and meaning. Gaians are supporters of the orthodoxy, and there are a few of them in Australia, as Dr Flannery appears to be, from his new book. A more familiar viewpoint says that God has given us the earth to serve as stewards rather than as owners. And try Revelations 11:18 for what happens to destroyers of the earth.

    8 Fundamentalists Taking their cue from Genesis, fundamentalists believe that the earth was constructed for humans to ‘subdue’ and ‘have dominion over every living thing’. In any case, God would not allow his own construction (the earth) to be despoiled. Fundamentalists are dissenters. This is a common position in the USA, but rare in Australia, at least in my experience

    It needs to be said that Strong Supporters and Opponents can come to see all other positions as equally hostile to their own. It is common for a Strong Supporter to react to a simple question with a remark like ‘Hah! The usual tactic of a denier — ask a question that has been answered a hundred times!’ Opponents have appropriately scornful responses too. None of that helps understanding positions in the AGW debate.’

  30. Judith Curry

    It was a very good suggestion by Keith Seitter to cut the polemic BS out of the climate debate.

    “Warmers, alarmists, believers”, etc. should be called “convinced”.

    “Skeptics, deniers, obstructionists, flat-earthers”, etc. should be called “unconvinced”.

    Now, as to the quibbling about the “degree” of either category, the political considerations or possible other human influences on climate or what-have-you, I think that this is simply smoke blowing that confuses the basic issue.

    Yes. There is a GHE.
    Yes. CO2 is a GHG.
    Yes. Humans emit CO2.

    But these are NOT the key points in question.

    Rather, it is the IPCC “consensus” premise that:

    the late 20th century warming has been caused principally by human GHG emissions (primarily from CO2) and this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment if these emissions are not curtailed dramatically in the future

    Either one is ”convinced” that this premise is valid, or one is ”unconvinced” that this is so.

    There is no ”yes, but…” or ”no, but…” answer to whether or not one accepts or rejects the above-stated premise. Either one accepts it in its entirety or one rejects it.

    The Curry/Webster challenge to the “consensus” premise resulted in an almost instantaneous defensive backlash of the “convinced” to defend their paradigm.

    At the same time, others among the ”unconvinced” have erroneously cited the paper as proof that there is no GHE at all or that CO2 is not a GHG. But that is obviously not the issue.

    The issue is very straightforward. Either one is ”convinced” that the IPCC “consensus” premise as stated above is valid in its entirety, or one is ”unconvinced” that this is the case.

    Quite simple, actually.

    Max

    PS Count me among the ”unconvinced”

    • Max – You claim that a key issue is “,the IPCC “consensus” premise that:
      the late 20th century warming has been caused principally by human GHG emissions (primarily from CO2) and this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment if these emissions are not curtailed dramatically in the future”

      Can you quote from an IPCC source to substantiate your claim? I’m fairly familiar with the IPCC Reports and I haven’t seen a claim attributing most late 20th century warming to GHG emissions. I don’t think most climate scientists, including those associated with the IPCC, are convinced that it’s necessarily true – in fact, “global brightening” from a reduction in anthropogenic aerosols is thought by many to play an important role in late 20th century warming, and so the relative contribution of the GHGs ,while substantial, remains somewhat uncertain for that particular interval.

      Regarding the “threat to humanity”, those are individual judgments and so it’s hard to judge the position of the IPCC or anyone else when you refer to a “potential” threat as opposed to certain or near-certain serious harm, which I don’t think the IPCC has claimed.

      • How amusing.
        ==========

      • in fact, “global brightening” from a reduction in anthropogenic aerosols is thought by many to play an important role in late 20th century warming, and so the relative contribution of the GHGs ,while substantial, remains somewhat uncertain for that particular interval.

        In fact the global brightening is irrelevent to anthropogenic aerosols in the SH as well known eg Wild

        Evidence for a decrease of SD from the 1950s to
        1990 and a recovery thereafter was also found on the
        Southern Hemisphere at the majority of 207 sites in
        New Zealand and on South Pacific Islands [Liley, 2009].

        Liley [2009] pointed out that the dimming and brightening
        observed in New Zealand is unlikely related to the direct
        aerosol effect, since aerosol optical depth measurements
        showed too little aerosol to explain the changes. On the
        basis of sunshine duration measurements he argued that
        increasing and decreasing cloudiness could have caused
        dimming and brightening at the New Zealand sites.

        Further the trend in SH dimming in the 21st century is around -0.64 W m-2/yr and is consistent with independent surface radiation from actinometric stations as well as satellite data. eg Hatzianastassiou 2011

        The Southern Hemisphere has undergone significant dimming due to a larger increase in cloud cover than in NH, which has dominated the slight dimming from increased aerosols. The indicated SSR dimming of the Southern Hemisphere at the beginning of this century demonstrates that much remains to be learned about the responsible physical processes and climatic role of cloud and aerosol feedbacks

      • Maksimovich – I don’t disagree about the Southern Hemisphere, but most of the suppression of warming occurred in the Northern Hemisphere, where anthropogenic aerosols were more abundant. If you look at the temperature trajectories post-1950 (e.g., via Hadcrut), it is apparent that the NH flattened out completely or even declined slightly until the late 1970’s, and then turned sharply upward. In contrast, the SH continued to show a shallow warming slope that changed rather little after the dimming receded in the late 1970’s. This is consistent with a predominant NH effect.

      • Fred, I disagree with the eyeball analysis and the standard interpretation of the hadcrut time series between 1940 and 1980. in the SH there was a massively large drop during the 1940’s. And it stayed colder in the SH longer. There was (unsynchronized) natural variability in both the NH and SH. given the natural variability, i think it is misleading to say there is a positive trend in the SH (which started from a much colder value) whereas the NH was staying flat.

      • Fred, taking the CO2 rise of nearly 20% between 1950 and 2000 and applying an even conservative 2 degrees per doubling gives a half degree rise due to CO2 alone. Their attribution statement in the SPM is a cautious very likely (90%) that most (more than 50%) warming has been from anthropogenically produced GHGs.

      • No controversy there,however “early global brightening” is not consistent with climate model simulations of the IPCC 4AR (Romanou et al., 2007) The actinometric stations although scarce do have early brightening (e.g. Ohmura 2006, 2009), this is an interesting constraint for both theory and cyclists.

        More information is here http://www.iac.ethz.ch/people/arturos/suncloud

      • Judy – I don’t think anyone believes the abrupt changes in the 1940s were due mainly to forcings, but rather to a combination of methodological issues and internal ocean dynamics (which may be why the SH hemisphere drop was larger – the SH has more ocean).

        Once those temporary fluctuations abated, it seems to me that the Hadcrut 3 data, at least to my eyeballs, demonstrate a clear difference in NH and SH trends, with the former showing a large disparity between the flat portion from 1950 into the 1970s and a sharp upturn later, while the SH showed little difference between those “global dimming” and “global brightening” intervals. Others should probably look at curves to make their own judgments.

      • Fred, this is the problem with that argument. It says that one time large amplitude fluctuation occurred in 1940 to ~1945, then everything since then is due to radiative forcing. The statistical significance of the difference in trend between the NH and SH is is unlikely given the magnitude of the overall variability in the 20th century

        further, those same patterns with the 1940 bump are seen on land in both hemispheres, so you can’t blame it on ocean temp measurement errors.

      • Jim D – Yes, i agree with the IPCC statement, but it’s important to realize it wasn’t a statement about “late 20th century warming” but warming since the middle of the century. The distinction is critical, because the evidence supports the IPCC conclusion but not necessarily a conclusion about late century warming.

      • Thanks for making the distinction in time period, Fred. I tend to read late 20th century warming as a more extended period. There is ambiguity, and I believe Max’s statement was referring to this period.

      • asynchronous behaviour is apparent in the T record.The abrupt change in the SH record around 46 is anomalistic and one wonders if there is a TOD change in the post war timing with daylight saving?

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vsh/from:1930/to:1950/mean:12/plot/hadcrut3vnh/from:1930/to:1950/mean:12

      • Responding to Judy above, I believe the land changes in the 1940s were less dramatic than the ocean changes. More important, I think, is that ocean dynamics can significantly affect land temperature. There are a number of papers on this as a general phenomenon, not at my fingertips, but the quintessential example would be ENSO.

        Regarding “late 20th century”, I agree the term could be interpreted in more than one way, but it is often used to distinguish the trends after the late 1970’s from those that started around 1950. Regardless of semantics, that distinction needs to be made, because the relative contribution of GHGs was not the same for those different intervals, and the IPCC atltribution referred to the warming since mid-century..

      • Aren’t you curious Fred?

        http://data.giss.nasa.gov/work/gistemp/STATIONS//tmp.222206740000.13.1/station.gif

        With HADCRU4 up to bat, I am looking more at the Siberian data, That is just one that 40s rise was not abnormal.

      • While I would agree with Fred that the dip in the 40’s was not likely aerosols because of the strong signal in the SH, I would also note that the BEST land record shows it clearly, which indicates to me that it is a global forcing change, such as solar, and not the oceans.

      • Jim D – see my <a href="http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/28/keith-seitter-on-the-uncertainty-monster/#comment-163515&quot;.comment above regarding the genesis of land temperature changes as a result of internal ocean dynamic changes. If you look at the 1940s in both hemispheres, but particularly the SH, I’m unaware of any plausible forcing that could come close to creating a spike and dip of that magnitude and brevity in that short duration (a massive volcanic eruption might have caused a dip, but I don’t think that’s in the record, and wouldn’t have explained the spike). Conversely, ocean changes could probably do it, and I expect they were the most important factor even if not the only one.

        Regardless of whether there was an unsuspected but brief forced contribution to the total up and down fluctuations in the 1940s, I see this as somewhat tangential to the original point that reduction in aerosols contributed to late 20th century warming (after the 1970s). However, aerosol temperature effects averaged since 1950 were net negative and could not have been a component of the warming influences for that entire interval..

      • Fred Moolten

        You ask me:

        Can you quote from an IPCC source to substantiate your claim? I’m fairly familiar with the IPCC Reports and I haven’t seen a claim attributing most late 20th century warming to GHG emissions.

        Check IPCC AR4 WG1 SPM report, p.10, which states:

        Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.

        It is precisely this claim, which Curry/Sherwood have challenged.

        Then there is on p.2 of the same report:

        The primary source of increased atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide since the pre-industrial period results from fossil fuel use, with land-use change providing another significant but smaller contribution.

        This ties the increased concentrations to human emissions.

        Max

      • Fred Moolten

        PS To your query, I purposely used the wording “serious potential threat”, as this is the basic conclusion of IPCC projections for year 2100 or later, as I have read them.

        No one in his right mind (maybe except James E. Hansen) talks of “certain serious harm” – that would be carrying it too far.

        Max

      • “….and I haven’t seen a claim attributing most late 20th century warming to GHG emissions.”

        From AR4 WG1

        Most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations.[12] This is an advance since the TAR’s conclusion that “most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations”. Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes and wind patterns (see Figure SPM.4 and Table SPM.2). {9.4, 9.5}

      • Fred-

        “i agree with the IPCC statement, but it’s important to realize it wasn’t a statement about “late 20th century warming” but warming since the middle of the century. The distinction is critical, because the evidence supports the IPCC conclusion but not necessarily a conclusion about late century warming.”

        What is the exact meaning of this? If the evidence is strong that most of the warming since mid-century is due to anthropogenic GHGs, but not strong that most of the late-century warming is due to anthropogenic GHGs, is the take-home that anthropogenic GHGs are responsible for a large or very large majority of the mid-20th century warming?

      • You aren’t amused yet, billc.
        ============

      • Also, Fred you say “Judy – I don’t think anyone believes the abrupt changes in the 1940s were due mainly to forcings, but rather to a combination of methodological issues and internal ocean dynamics (which may be why the SH hemisphere drop was larger – the SH has more ocean).”

        I think elsewhere you have stated that there was a long slow increase in solar activity which peaked in the 1940s and has dropped since. Given that, should you amend your statement to include that in combination with true ocean dynamics and measurement issues?

      • I realize this is Saturday night, and that may cloud the reading skills of Max Manacker and Jiim S, but I asked for a documentation of a claimed IPCC statement attributing most “late 20th century warming” to GHGs because I knew the IPCC had not made that claim about late 20th century warming but about warming since mid-century. It was later suggested that “late” may have been an ambiguous term, and that’s probably fair. However, I responded not by completely disagreeing, but by stating that in any case, the distinction between a mid-century start and a start after the 1970s was critical, because the IPCC claim was valid for the former but not necessarily for the latter. Since all this was already in the comments, I’m not sure why it was ignored by Max and Jim S, who simply quoted the IPCC statement we’re all familiar with.

        Regarding questions from BillC, solar forcing was much too small to account for any significant contribution to a 1940’s spike, nor could it explain the equally dramatic dip that followed immediately. The reason most post-1950 warming can confidently be attributed to GHGs, but “late 20th century warming” can’t be is that there was a significant warming influence during the latter from aerosol reduction, but no net aerosol warming from the entire post-1950 interval because the mid-century aerosol cooling outweighed the subsequent warming.

      • No Kim, I’m actually getting pissed, though not at you or Fred or any one individual in particular.

        First of all, all the banter about “convinced” and “not convinced” on this post is utterly banal. It’s the best two-party nomenclature I’ve heard. It gets to the heart of the matter on a lot of levels. Anyone who disagrees, leave a message – I’ll call you back when a third party candidate wins the POTUS election.

        FWIW, call me unconvinced, even if w/r/t my general party affiliation, it requires some suspension of disbelief.

        I wholeheartedly concur with Judith at 10:45 and again at 11:30.

        Second of all- ah crap WTFAIK?

      • Fred – stay tuned, I’m trying to pull together a response. Or, catch up tomorrow ;). It’s late.

      • Bill – that’s fine. Figure 5 from Gregory and Forster 2008 will give you some idea of 20th century forcing magnitudes.

      • im still leaning towards the classic alarmist/denialist names myself. call me traditional.

      • Fred – if you look at the recent Gillette et al paper, in Figure 1d the modeled temperature response to aerosol forcing doesn’t increase after 1980, it only flatlines. Thoughts?

      • Having looked further at the 1940’s anomaly, it seems to have been primarily in the Arctic area. It is not clear what could have caused a long-term anomaly there, but I guess sea-ice feedback helped it to persist longer than unforced anomalies normally do, so I might be inclined to accept that it was a natural variation and not entirely solar, but perhaps triggered by a solar increase of the thirty years prior to it.

      • Yes the anomaly was huge in the Arctic

      • OK the Forster and Gregory aerosol forcing line agrees with Gillette unsurprisingly. If the aerosol forcing is only flat, not positive, is it fair to attribute warming to it? Or, is it better to view it as having taken the lid off the GHG warming? So, the IPCC attribution statement would be, >100% since mid-century, but only ~100% late 20th century? I note that none of the above goes to internal (ocean-atmosphere) variability.

      • BillC – The changes in late 20th century aerosol effects are less clear than the strong cooling in the 1950-1980 interval. The papers you note depict a flattening rather than a reversal of negative aerosol forcing. On the other hand studies reviewed by Martin Wild suggest a late century increase in solar intensity reaching the surface greater than attributable to changes in solar forcing, and present under clear sky conditions (i.e., unrelated to clouds), implying a contribution of aerosol changes to warming. I find these data more ambiguous than the strong aerosol cooling effect that dominated the 1950-1980 interval and which is therefore responsible for net cooling when averaged over the entire post-1950 interval.

        My interpretation is that the evidence supports a dominant role for GHGs both since mid-century and in late century, but the former is less susceptible to challenge on the basis of observational uncertainty.

      • Fred Moolten and Bill C

        I have no interest in getting into a word-smithing contest with either of you on whether the late 20h century is the same as the second half of the 20th century or whether or not a theoretical calculation can show that CO2 might hypothetically have caused a major part of the observed warming over that period.

        Curry and Webster has already challenged the second premise and the first is simply a matter of how one defines the term – it is clear how I defined it (same as IPCC).

        Hope this clears it up for both of you.

        Max

      • Max, I don’t disagree with your last comment. however these changes in trends however hypothetically related to forcings are important to understand if they are to be challenged.

  31. Seems to me that Keith Seitter simply misses the point. Science isn’t about who is convinced or unconvinced, and it isn’t even about “openness and honesty in the presentation of our science” although that obviously does matter. In the end, there is only one way to deal with uncertainty –

    Science is about evidence.

    • Well said, Mike.

    • Mike Jonas

      You are 100% correct that “it’s about the evidence, stupid”.

      This is where the “consensus” premise is weak IMO.

      It is NOT based on empirical evidence based on real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation, but rather on computer model simulations backed principally by theoretical deliberations, rather than by empirical evidence.

      But Keith Seitter is correct in separating the sides in the ongoing scientific and political debate surrounding AGW into two groups: those who are “convinced” that the IPCC “consensus” position is correct and supported by the necessary empirical scientific evidence and those who are “unconvinced” that this is the case.

      Max

  32. “The late 20th century warming has been caused principally by human GHG emissions (primarily from CO2) and this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment if these emissions are not curtailed dramatically in the future.

    Max, Count me among the sick to my stomach that they would make such a fantastical leap. Bottom line, they’re guessing. If it turns out they’re right, it will be purely by accident

  33. The creed of the CAGW movement:

    I Believe:

    That the large majority of the average warming in the last century is due to Anthropogenic CO2

    That the primary reason for that CO2 is industrial emissions from burning fossil fuels

    That without immediate drastic action to reduce those emission the climate will alter catastrophically and disastrously

    That the drastic action to reduce industial CO2 emissions requires a world-wide bureaucracy with effective enforcement powers

    That the drastic action to reduce industial CO2 emissions requires stabilizing per capita energy usage at a level far lower than in North America and Europe

    That the drastic action to reduce industial CO2 emissions requires substantially reducing per capita energy usage in North America and Europe

    That the drastic action to reduce industial CO2 emissions requires replacing capitalism with a command-style economy to be managed by the beaurocracy mentioned above

    That anybody who doesn’t believe as I do is a climate racist, a baby-killer, and a heretic denier.

    I suspect the “believer/non-believer” dicotomy probably best describes this difference of opinion. Somehow “convinced” just doesn’t carry the right connotation.

    BTW, I started this comment, then cancelled it, then decided to submit it afterall after seeing this blog post: Taking the sacred path to decision making regarding this peer-reviewed report: The price of your soul: neural evidence for the non-utilitarian representation of sacred values. Real food for thought.

    • Naw,
      I believe in Capitalism.
      I believe in free markets.
      I believe in property rights.I don’t believe we need any world government to solve the problems caused by greenhouse gas emissions.
      I do believe that we can reduce per capita energy use without reducing living standards or quality of life.
      The actions need not be immediate nor drastic, but there are things we should start doing.
      I try not to engage in name calling, but sometimes I can’t resist.

      And I am a card carrying Hansenite.

  34. Where is a good cladist

    Answer these questions;
    1. Is it warmer now than in the LIA
    2. If, warmer, does mankind kind have something or nothing to do with this
    3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
    4. if substantial will the future change be harmful or benign
    5. if harmful, catastrophic or managable

    Answers to those questions will give you a pretty good stab at the various species of belief

    • 1. Y
      2. Maybe, but very unlikely. If I have to vote, no.
      3. Minor

    • There are, in fact, two geniuses involved;

      1st clade: Arrheinoushansenous.
      2nd clade: Reason.

    • 1. Who knows?
      2. Something.
      3. Minor.
      4. Both, but on balance, beneficial.
      5. Managable.
      ========

    • 1 yes
      2.yes
      3 substantial
      4.benign
      5. :)

    • steven mosher

      I’d agree with you about the “various species [or degrees] of belief”

      I’d also agree generally with your “questions”, but would add:

      – Did mankind have anything to do with the LIA?.

      But rather than looking at these nuances, I think there is a more basic “black/white” separation between those who are either “convinced” that the IPCC “mainstream consensus” premise is valid, based on the evidence presented, and those, who are “unconvinced”.

      The “premise” is clear.

      It is a) that human GHGs have been responsible for most of the warming since 1950 [the premise challenged by Curry/Webster], and b) that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment unless human CO2 emissions are cut back significantly from today’s level

      It is NOT:
      – CO2 is a GHG
      – GHGs can cause warming
      – Humans emit GHGs
      – atmospheric CO2 has increased over the past 160 years
      – the globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature construct has increased over the past 160 years
      – so has the global tropospheric satellite temperature record since 1979

      These can be considered as “givens”.

      It is also NOT:
      – glaciers have melted
      – Arctic sea ice is shrinking
      – sea level is rising
      – etc., etc.

      These are side issues.

      Those who are “convinced” that the above-stated premise is correct in its entirety are on one side of the debate. This is a monolithic bloc. They may have a different level of personal “angst” about global warming and may have a greater or lesser sense of urgency about the remedial action , but they all support the stated premise.

      All those who (for whatever reason) are “unconvinced” that the premise is correct in its entirety are on the other side. This is a “mixed bag”. Some have no notion (or even interest) in the science, others are rationally skeptical of the validity of the science

      This gives a clear “black and white”, rather than a “shades of gray” distinction.

      All of the “convinced” would automatically support some sort of immediate mitigation action, while all of the “unconvinced” would vote against this.

      And that is the key distinction here IMO, steven.

      Max

      • I think the key distinction is are we guilty enough of sin to be punished or not, and since it seems to me what we are doing is not sinful, why pose the question.
        ==================

      • kim

        I agree with your distinction, if the debate is seen on a moral/ethical plane.

        Guilt is a strong motivator in our society (almost as strong as fear).

        It can be twisted to make people feel remorseful simply for their affluence – while others are not so fortunate.

        Living well can be distorted into unnecessarily wasting precious God-given resources for personal enjoyment.

        And this can be escalated into not taking good care of our planet – or even into selfishly and sinfully destroying it.

        That’s where the self-flagellation starts: we are guilty and we must be punished.

        Add to that the element of fear of retribution.

        Count me out on that guilt trip – life’s too short.

        Max

    • steven

      To your questions (plus the one I added).

      1. Is it warmer than in the LIA.
      {Yes. That’s what all the evidence shows.]

      2.a. – Did mankind have anything to do with the LIA?.
      [This is extremely unlikely.]

      2. If, [it is now warmer than in the LIA], does mankind have something or nothing to do with this.
      {Possibly something.]

      3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
      [Most likely minor.]

      4. and 5. are not applicable, based on response to 3

      Max

    • steven mosher

      Answer these questions;
      1. Is it warmer now than in the LIA
      2. If, warmer, does mankind kind have something or nothing to do with this
      3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
      4. if substantial will the future change be harmful or benign
      5. if harmful, catastrophic or managable

      Looking at those questions.. you can construct 6 different species

      1 LIA Warmer:
      2 LIA cooler and man has nothing to do with post LIA warming:
      3 LIA cooler and man has something to do with it being warmer, but its minor
      4 LIA cooler, man has something to do with it being warmer, and his role
      is substantial, but the future effect will be benign
      5 LIA cooler, man has something to do with the warming, his role is
      substantial and the future effect will be harmful but manageable
      6 LIA cooler, man has something to do with the warming, his role is
      substantial and the future effect will be harmful and catastrophic

      then of course there is kim. his kind dont reproduce.
      #1 is rare beast. I’ve yet to meet one. #2 is seen around various blogs. Typically they argue against a GHG effect. They are not skeptics since they tend to have unproven theories to explain the warming since the LIA. Lets call them Naturalists. #3, prototypical examples would be Monkton, Watts, Willis, Lindzen. #4, we see people who believe in the science but who doubt
      the conclusions of future projections. You find some lukewarmers here.
      #5 we are into the consensus luke warmers and people who believe the problem is manageable. #6. People who by the science and who accept worse case scenarios.

      people in 1,2 and 3 tend to paint all opposition as belonging to 6.
      people in 6 tend to 5s as offering aid and comfort to 4, 3,2 and1
      They may not even see any functional difference between 4-1.

      arrg already too complicated.

      • Here you demonstrate that there is little difference between the Mosherianism and mancinism (you both open your eggs at the wrong end) due to left lobe asymmetry.

        The problem is what caused the LIA.ie what are the mechanisms.Solar is out by factor of 10 and is out of phase with excursions (svaalgard 2010)

        Volcanics are prevelant but the distributionis sparse unless one invokes centennial forcing to OHC eg Hanson 2011.

        However solar activity was minimal,and the frequency of el nino would be expected to be higher which it seems to be eg Groves 1998.So it is difficult to assign specific causes to a global metric.

        The troublesome property is that the inverse excursion ie the boundary between the MCA and LIA is focused around a decade or two (centered on 1375) why is the problem?

      • “#2 is seen around various blogs. Typically they argue against a GHG effect. They are not skeptics since they tend to have unproven theories to explain the warming since the LIA. Lets call them Naturalists.”

        Subjective analysis.
        Unproven universally or
        Unproven particularly.

      • Mosher I’m not convinced that the answers to all the questions raised by the global warming issue either spring from the science or can be answered by the science.

        For example I have a strong belief in the capacities of humanity which would shape my answers to your later questions, hopefully this is not blind faith on my part, The evidence (the whole of human history) is just too strong to suggest anything other than we will more than manage .I’m not sure that could ever be trumped by what we might learn from a better cloud data set or whatnot.

      • SM –
        I agree with HR.
        I think all this speculation about ‘harm’, manageability’, and ‘catastrophe’ is just imagination running wild.

        How have you managed to ‘adapt’ to the dramatically different life you lead from your grandparents? Have you ‘managed’? Has it been a catastrophe? harmful?

        As Rcichard Tol says [for us GB types] 2 degrees is moving from Dublin to Brighton. But here’s the thing. You’ve got a hundred years to do it – and you won’t be alive at the beginning or the end. Cities are built in less than hundred years. Technologies come and go in less than that time. The average life expectancy of a dwelling is barely 30 years.

        The only significant factor in susceptibility to climate [note - not climate change] is poverty. Prosperity makes climate a matter for, at mist, polite conversation.

        Harm/benefit and cope/disaster are false dichotomies. The real question – Will change ever be significant enough [fast enough] for people to notice?

      • Let’s see,

        #1 The dyslexic
        #2 The Party guys
        #3 The Farmers
        #4 The Chaos and Network mathematicians
        #5 The Bayesian Statisticians
        #6 The Novel statisticians and other math impaired

        :)

    • 1. Is it warmer now than in the LIA
      Yes

      2. If, warmer, does mankind kind have something or nothing to do with this
      Something

      3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
      Substantial

      4. if substantial will the future change be harmful or benign
      There will be a lot of impacts. Just about everything will be impacted. Tens of thousands of impacts at varying scales. Reports like the IPCC don’t even scratch the surface of describing them all. Some of those might be benign, I seriously doubt that all of them can be (what’s the chance?). So yeah a sizable number of harmful changes.

      5. if harmful, catastrophic or managable
      Unmanagable due to the sheer number of harmful changes. There might just be one or two catastrophic ones in the mix too, wouldn’t surprise me given the total number of impacts. I would expect the catastrophic ones to likely come from left of field from areas no-one saw coming. I expect those kind of changes will be by definition unmanageable.

    • 1. Yes, on all the evidence.
      2. Human activities may have had something to do with the increase.
      3. Likely to be minor, on the evidence.
      4. On the evidence of the last fifty years, an equivalent increase is likely to be beneficial.
      5. Climate catastrophes seem to me largely conjectural.

      • That seems to make me a #3, according to Mosher’s characterisation, but do I paint all opposition as belong to #6? I don’t think so.

        I’m not sure this is really helpful.

      • Mosh’s questions

        1. Is it warmer now than in the LIA.
        There were some very warm periods during the LIA and one third of the globe today is currently cooling, so this is a more complex question and answer than it appears as global ‘averaging’ disguises the nuances. Mostly warmer though, thank goodness

        2. If, warmer, does mankind have something or nothing to do with this
        A little, but changes in agricultural patterns, deforestation etc and localised climate change through large urban areas are likely a bigger factor than increased co2.

        3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
        Minor when averaged out, but substantial in localised areas through uhi and deforestation etc

        4. if substantial will the future change be harmful or benign
        Largely benign but with localised impacts. I don’t believe co2 will have a big impact but uhi certainly will, as the Romans recognised several thousand years ago when after the great fire Nero was entreated to ‘create narrow streets and tall buildings’ to provide shade.
        5. if harmful, catastrophic or managable
        Manageable. The world is likely to be a better place in 100 years than it is now. Population growth in areas that can’t handle it is one of the possible flies in the ointment, as that will continue to cause shortages in food and drink and inadequate infrastructure is also likely to mean they will be wider open to natural processes such as flooding, as increasingly people will be forced to live in unsuitable areas. We have seen this in the West whereby people will insist on living in flood plains or in the desert.

        tonyb

    • 1. Is it warmer now than in the LIA.
      Nobody knows.
      2. If, warmer, does mankind kind have something or nothing to do with this.
      Yes.
      3. If something, is mans role, minor or substantial.
      Substantial.
      4. if substantial will the future change be harmful or benign.
      Both.
      5. if harmful, catastrophic or manageable
      Both.

    • 1. Yes
      2. Something
      3. Substantial
      4. Could go either way, depends on how well we manage it.
      5. Manageable, but catastrophic is still in the race.

    • I am wondering if another way of questioning might be:

      1. Is it warmer now than in the MWP?
      2. Is it possible to have had a late 20th century increase in temperature through “natural” non-linear climatic shifts?
      3. Is the effect o humanity discernible through these chaotic climatic variabilities?
      4. What is humanities role as it is superimposed over the natural climatic variability?
      5. What is the significance of AGHG emissions vs other anthropogenic influences?

  35. Keith Seitter : “Many climate scientists will be angered by this paper..” [on uncertainty].

    Yeesh! if they need certainty that much maybe they need some gentle help:

    http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/docs/ACF109B.pdf

  36. George Taylor, former state of Oregon climatologist, is often labeled a “skeptic,” but he embraces the position(s) of Roger Pielke, Sr. that GHGs are first order forcings, and that mankind impacts the climate in other ways. Labels are unsatisfactory.

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2012/01/27/response-from-george-taylor-on-the-oregon-debate-on-climate-science/

  37. incandescentbulb

    I am convinced anyone who is still an AGW Believer will never admit any fact that challenges their beliefs–even their use of connotative language as a substitute for science.

  38. “the emerging picture of how the climate system works.”

    Telling.

  39. incandecentbulb

    It’s an evolution of sorts–i am convinced it is evidence of the fall of Western civilization: what was once praised is now condemned, and what was a source of pride is now the greatest evil, and where once an open mind was a sign of intelligence, we now divert capital to pay dogmatic, close-minded ideologues to fill filing cabinets with self-defeating pseudo-science.

    • litebulb

      The lemmings do it by jumping into the sea.

      Max

      • Chief Hydrologist

        G’day Max,

        The CERES record shows some warming over the ARGO period. The warming was dominated by changes in SW – cloud cover changes and this is mediated by ENSO. I am inclined to accept that ocean warming to 1500m and beyond is more reliable – for whatever reason – than the data to 700m.

        Cheers

  40. incandecentbulb

    Global warming is not a crime.

  41. What, no updates on Channel 5 in a few days. What gives?

  42. “lolwot | January 28, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
    im still leaning towards the classic alarmist/denialist names myself. call me traditional.”

    There are repercussions when you insult somebody, lolwot.

    “names myself an alarmist denialist. call me traditional.”

  43. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘Numbnut is a total drongo – to characterise the disorderly – and he doesn’t really expect a serious discussion of the ‘science’. It is about close mindedness after all – closing ranks – taking pot shots at the enemy – repeating ad nauseum a litany of nonsensical conceits in narrative form. Models are a prime example. Every modeller knows that if the input is changed ever so little – a totally different answer is arrived at. It is not a topic that is raised, however, in polite numbnut company and numbnut is too dumb to find out for himself. The former is what I call emergent behaviour –but let’s call it instead non-linearity. Just like the broad range of natural variability of climate emerges from small initial changes propagating through the complex system – emergent behaviour.’

    Quoting oneself is very poor form but for the whole coruscatingly insightful comment see – http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/25/nature-physics-insight-complexity/#comment-162929

    I note that some people have taken to calling me colourful and I wish they would cut it out. If I wanted to be colourful I would join the circus and then feel right at home with the inane drivel that overwhelmingly infests this thread. “ENSO doesn’t correlate with OHC”. I swear his mother has that embroidered on his underwear. At the very least the ocean gains energy in a La Niña and loses it in an El Niño as vast amounts of energy move between the vast pools of cool water in a La Niña and warm water in an El Niño. This by far is the largest source of inter-annular temperature variation. It is also – in the Pacific Decadal Variation – the largest source of global decadal hydrological variation. How can that not involve cloud cover changes? Where in God’s blue-green Earth is it possible to have such vast changes in ocean surface temperature – and in winds and convection – without influencing cloud dynamics? It is not and if we choose to ignore what satellites say about cloud (or indeed Pacific observations) – well there is no other data and Fred’s attribution is a feeble joke.

    Max – always an honourable exception to the slack jawed, snivelling, warmist propangandists infesting the blog – speculates about ENSO in the LIA. No need to speculate – we have the data. Data that is a damn sight more reliable than converting sunspot numbers – interesting as they are – to TSI. Here is an 11,000 year ENSO proxy based on red sediment in a South American lake – Laguna Pellacacocha. /a> It shows the shift to El Niño and the consequent drying of the Sahel starting 500 years ago, intense El Niño starting around 3,500 years ago implicated in the demise of the Minoan civilisation, intense El Niño around the time of the medieval optimum and decreasing in intensity around the middle of the last millennium. Where will ENSO go next? Many scientists have been suggesting for a few years now that we are in a multi-decadal period of intense and frequent La Niña. After that – who knows.

    What was that about uncertainty? They are a bunch salivating looney tunes with an idée fixe and they complain when I insult them? Say something that has any merit at all – something that isn’t the worst kind of drivel – and I will stop raising the tone of the blog. Promise.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • These people aren’t interested in science, Chief. Bet I could count on one hand those that are aware about the discoveries made yesterday, about the extinction of dinosaurs.

      Here, is the dog fight of politics, it has made them blind.

      • Plagiarized from davidmhoffer

        DISCUSSION

        The problem with a single large meteor strike, or even a few smaller ones, is that we should have physical evidence of same, and we do not. Yes there are large meteor craters on earth of the right age, but not big enough. Yes, the impact could have been in the ocean, but that raises a different problem. A meteor big enough to have world wide climate effects would have vapourised a lot of ocean, and the resulting rainfall would have caused catastrophic flooding across the globe at a single instance in time. We have no record of such an event as that either. Further, that much water vapour in the atmosphere would have RAISED temperatures (by GHG theory OR by N&Z, pick your poison!) Plus… here’s the big one… we know from Stephen Wilde’s explanation that the temperate zones would most certainly have retreated from the poles in a cooling scenario, or rushed toward the in a warming scenario, but the tropics would have easily maintained the temperature range the normally have, exactly as they did through several ice ages, that should have allowed the dinosaurs to survive there, if not everywhere else. But they didn’t.

        THEORY

        The earth loses atmopshere to space as an on going process. The ultimate fate of the earth, millions of years from now, is to be a barren rock, just like the moon. What if we postulate, instead of a few large meteors, many small ones?

        Many small meteors would leave no mark on earth surface because they would burn up before getting there. But throw enough of them at the atmosphere at once, over a period of years or even decades, and that is one hot upper and perturbed upper atmosphere with loss of atmospheric mass (I would think) to space heavily accelerated. Consider the chain of events that would follow:

        o No more flying creatures. Not just Pterodactyls, but anything, even insects, that had evolved the ability to fly based on a denser atmosphere. All gone in short order.

        o Predators dependent upon those species…gone.

        o Plants dependent upon those species for pollination…gone.

        o Plants dependent upon those species to control pests that would otherwise run rampant… gone.

        But here is the doozy. We know that plants thrive in conditions of much higher CO2 than we have today, that’s why greenghouse operators pump it into their greenhouses raising levels to many times “normal”. The plants respond with better growth and need less water and humidity to remain healthy, suggesting they evolved at a time when CO2 levels were much higher than they are now. And, based on the faint sun hypothesis…when PRESSURE was also much higher than it is now. We haven’t tested plant growth at elevated pressures to my knowledge, but it makes sense that in reduced pressure, the ability of plants to capture CO2 from the atmosphere would also be reduced, and likely other effects would occurr as well.

        o The entire plant kingdom that had evolved to a given atmospheric pressure range, would have also died.

        Let’s keep going!

        o A sudden drop in pressure would in turn result in a sudden drop in temperature. The temperate zones would have retreated, and retreated big time, from the poles toward the tropics, triggering… if not a full blown ice age, then something like the Little Ice Age. Mass extinctions world wide even in the tropics where temperatures would have held steady. And that would be followed by….

        o!o!o!o!

        An earth steadily increasing in temperature commensurate with the steadily increasing insolation of the Sun for thousands of years.

        Exactly as the geological record since the last ice age shows.

    • Opps! lolwot, Chief broke out the drongo!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘This success is accomplished through necessary but nonunique choices for discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupled contributing processes that introduce structural instability into the model. Therefore, we should expect a degree of irreducible imprecision in quantitative correspondences with nature, even with plausibly formulated models and careful calibration (tuning) to several empirical measures. Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’

        As there are no simulation ensembles across ‘systematically designed model families’ and the models are validated based on the ‘plausibility’ of the model solution – well I have said it before – the models are a scam of Madoff proportions. These are tools that are used in the wrong way for political ends.

        You’re a clown as well Jim and quite as unfunny. What sort of game are you playing? Did you think I had not read to the end of the paragraph?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’

        There are no systematically designed model families.

        ‘Extensive experience over several decades shows that computational atmospheric and oceanic simulation (AOS) models can be devised to plausibly mimic the space–time patterns and system functioning in nature. Such simulations provide fuller depictions than those provided by deductive mathematical analysis and measurement (because of limitations in technique and instrumental-sampling capability, respectively), albeit with less certainty about their truth…

        For a particular model, small differences in initial state (indistinguishable within the sampling uncertainty for atmospheric measurements) amplify with time at an exponential rate until saturating at a magnitude comparable to the range of intrinsic variability…’
        This relates to weather models – but applies equally to climate models. What is the range of ‘intrinsic variability’ in climate and how do we know what the range of possible model phase space is without systematically…‘
        Atmospheric and oceanic forcings are strongest at global equilibrium scales of 107 m and seasons to millennia. Fluid mixing and dissipation occur at microscales of 10−3 m and 10−3 s, and cloud particulate transformations happen at 10−6 m or smaller. Observed intrinsic variability is spectrally broad band across all intermediate scales. A full representation for all dynamical degrees of freedom in different quantities and scales is uncomputable even with optimistically foreseeable computer technology. No fundamentally reliable reduction of the size of the AOS dynamical system (i.e., a statistical mechanics analogous to the transition between molecular kinetics and fluid dynamics) is yet envisioned… (this is for Webby)

        Weather forecasts have both demonstrable skill and appreciable error (1). Climate predictions for anthropogenic global warming are both broadly credible yet mutually inconsistent at a level of tens of percent in such primary quantities as the expected centennial change in large-scale, surface air temperature or precipitation (2, 3). Slow, steady progress in model formulations continues to expand the range of plausibly simulated behaviors and thus provides an extremely important means for scientific understanding and discovery. Nevertheless, there is a persistent degree of irreproducibility in results among plausibly formulated AOS models. I believe this is best understood as an intrinsic, irreducible level of imprecision in their ability to simulate nature.’

        Irreducible imprecision is understood in terms of sensitive dependence and structural instability in deterministically chaotic systems.

        ‘AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior.’

        http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        ‘The global coupled atmosphere–ocean–land–cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamical phenomena with associated physical, biological, and chemical feedbacks that collectively result in a continuum of temporal and spatial variability. The traditional boundaries between weather and climate are, therefore, somewhat artificial.’

        A UNIFIED MODELING APPROACH TO CLIMATE SYSTEM PREDICTION (2009) by James Hurrell, Gerald A. Meehl, Davi d Bader, Thomas L. Delworth , Ben Kirtman, and Bruce Wielicki

        Plausibility of model formulation is limited – requiring billions of dollars and thousands of times more computing power. The other criteria of plausibility – solution behaviour after the fact – is indistinguishable from guesswork.

        Numbnut and cohorts give us cartoon versions of science and expect to prevail. I say for instance that it is physically impossible for the coupled ocean/atmosphere system that is ENSO not to influence ocean temperature – and he persists in insisting that eyeballing the NODC ocean heat graph is valid methodologically. Cartoon science as I say – these people are as wrong as they can be and serve only to divert – and arrogantly and obnoxiously rudely at that – from rational discussion.

    • I have nothing against Chief but I sometimes feel* he bloviates.

      Chief writes:

      “Every modeller knows that if the input is changed ever so little – a totally different answer is arrived at. It is not a topic that is raised, however, in polite numbnut company and numbnut is too dumb to find out for himself. The former is what I call emergent behaviour –but let’s call it instead non-linearity.” (for reference “numbnut” refers to me)

      How is this paragraph remotely right? It sounds* very acedemic but on actual reading it doesn’t seem* to make any sense.

      “Every modeller knows that if the input is changed ever so little – a totally different answer is arrived at.”. That’s describing chaos right? But Chief calls it “emergent behavior” instead. Maybe I am completely wrong but in my mind emergent behavior isn’t anything like chaos. It’s a different term for a different phenomenon. And calling it “non-linearity” doesn’t seem right either.

      Even the use of the word “former” in the above paragraph seems* to be used incorrectly.

      Then above and beyond what I consider to be an invalid use of terminology, the actual paragraph’s premise seems* incorrect:

      “Every modeller knows that if the input is changed ever so little – a totally different answer is arrived at.”

      Not totally different. For example the model means still head upwards at about 3C/doubling of CO2 even if you change the starting conditions slightly.

      And then furthermore I suspect* the paragraph’s point is a strawman. Apparently “It [chaos] is not a topic that is raised, however, in polite numbnut company and numbnut is too dumb to find out for himself.”

      Is chaos is some big problem for me that I dare mention? Well no. But I am mainly baffled at where this idea came from. It’s completely out of the blue.

      *I put asterisk near the words I used to express my uncertainty at what I am suspecting. Because frankly what I am suspecting is quite unbelievable. I am questioning whether Chief is regularly pushing out stuff that sounds legit, but it’s really just dressed up techno-babble to try and make it sound like serious argument has been made.

      That conclusions seems so unreasonable that I always start wondering if I am the problem. Maybe I’ve missed the point or got something wrong or most likely I am actually completely clueless about the subject matter. That’s what I usually assume when I encounter an anomaly like this. But try as I might that paragraph just looks plain simple enough for me to understand and yet it makes no sense.

      Chief writes: ” “ENSO doesn’t correlate with OHC”. I swear his mother has that embroidered on his underwear. At the very least the ocean gains energy in a La Niña and loses it in an El Niño as vast amounts of energy move between the vast pools of cool water in a La Niña and warm water in an El Niño. This by far is the largest source of inter-annular temperature variation.”

      My basis for making the claim that “ENSO doesn’t correlate with OHC” is by looking at OHC records like this:
      http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      I don’t see the La Ninas and El Ninos in that data. Sure if we focused on only on parts of the tropical pacific there would be a correlation, but at a global scale there isn’t one.

      • “..yet it makes no sense.” Welcome to the wonderful world of nonlinear dymanics. There are plenty of examples of chaotic systems that show that initial conditions change results. Very small changes over time can produce huge variations in the outcome. Funny thing though, the more nonlinear factors involved, the more likely a system is somewhat stable. It is pretty counter intuitive.

        “I don’t see la ninas and El Ninos in that data.” Harmonic amplification/deamplification or synchronization/desynchoronization. Makes interpretation a little more challenging. A two times average peak or shift in frequency is typical of a synchronization, quarter, eight, sixteenth etc. of desynchronization. You can determine probable frequencies, but the relative amplitudes are the tricky part. Selvam has a lot of literature on frequencies, I am crazy enough to play with the amplitudes.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yes – numbnut – you are the problem. We get back to the McWilliams quotes – you know – Professor McWilliams – UCLA Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and Institute of Geophysics and Planetary…?

        I keep trying to put it in simpler terms but there comes a point where – to put it more simply becomes a caricature. The salutation space – the topology – of Lorenz’s simple convection model – is a butterfly. Not a real butterfly but just something that looks like one. It is a bifurcated phase space. The butterfly wings are called ‘strange attractors’. Not quite in the same ballpark as quantum weirdness – but pretty out there. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

        This is one of those things where you can look at the words and they don’t mean anything. Deterministic chaos, complexity theory, whatever we like to call it – is something we can call a threshold concept. Once grasped vast new vistas of meaning open up. But the essential idea is simple. Lorenz commenced his convection calculations in the middle of a run with truncated input. Instead of 6 decimal places – he manually inputted the data to 3 decimal places thinking it would not make much difference at all. The difference instead was profound. The solution shifted to a new ‘strange attractor’. A new solution in a different phase space emerged.

        And you can’t really eyeball in a correlation of ENSO with the NODC. Apart from the fact that the NODC data – which integrates temperature to 700m – doesn’t seem consistent with CERES or with ocean data to 1500m and below. I say this with sorrow and affection – numbnut – but you are not doing your credibility any good at all. I suggest dropping your daks and rereading the messages your mother left in needlework on your underpants.

      • yea yea yea initial conditions and all that. But I forgot how this all started and I am unsure of what point you are trying to make. Evidentially chaos isn’t preventing climate models from providing consistent climate sensitivity output so…?

        “And you can’t really eyeball in a correlation of ENSO with the NODC. Apart from the fact that the NODC data – which integrates temperature to 700m – doesn’t seem consistent with CERES or with ocean data to 1500m and below.”

        If the data’s all wrong and we can’t spot it visually (1998 should stick out like a sore thumb if it mattered) then the claim that the recent La Nina has failed to recharge OHC is without foundation.

        Unless the claim isn’t about *global* OHC, in which case we sharply downgrade the significance of the claim.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It started with you being a ‘total drongo’ and it is obviously finishing that way as well. Australian slang: A “no-hoper” or fool. Derives from a racehorse of that name in the 1920’s that never won a race out of 37 starts.’

        The solution to a numerical climate calculation is determined on the basis of the ‘plausibility’ of the answer after the fact. – Professor James McWilliams – UCLA etc – I quoted in full and you complained that you couldn’t understand. It is very difficult to understand and you are very ill equipped for the task.

        In reply you make up nonsense about ENSO and ocean heat content by eyeballing a graph that itself – while not wrong – is yet complicated – to paraphrase Albert on time dilation.

        It just reinforces my conclusion that it is impossible to rationally engage with those burdened with your particular brand of idée fixe – and the best and simplest recourse is to ridicule.

      • Of these two skirmishers, with which one would this McWilliams disagree. I have no idea, but he signed on with James Hansen in a court filing.

      • lolwot, The problem is as follows: We know that the details of the GCM’s are VERY sensitive to initial conditions, this is why GCM’s are terrible at weather forcasting outside of 48 hours. So, then why in the world would you expect to get good results when the models are integrated for 100 years? The only dogma I’ve heard is as follows: “Yes I know the errors are large, but when I run the model, it always seems to settle down to roughly the same climate.” This relies on a speculative idea that the attractor is both simple and pretty attractive, neither of which has any justification whatsoever. The latest mathematical results suggest a very complex attractor. Ask yourself the following: If in fact the dogma of the attractor is right, why is the model range of sensitivity 1.5K – 5.0K? And I suspect that by tuning parameters, one could get just about any sensitivity one wanted. And then there is the little problem that the models seem to have overestimated warming in some cases by a lot. In any case, this empirical science of verifying models by doing model simulations and comparing them to each other is circular reasoning. The only way to really test these things is to do 2 things:

        1. Get your numerical errors under control, something that modelers have not done.

        2. Do sensitivity analysis of your model runs to look at this scientifically. I’ve seen no work on this of any rigorous value. We know for example that changing cloud feedbacks has a pretty big effect.

        This is all rigorously understood at least so far as the numerical issues are concerned.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        So what McWilliams said about models is irrelevant because he provided expert opinion in 2006 – in support of the US EPA being able to rule on greenhouse gases un the Clean Air Act? He might really have said something else? He is in bed with Jim Hansen so it must mean something else?

        The discussion is so far from a nuanced understanding that it is contemptably stupid – JCH. You think that a smarmy comment is some substitute for integrity, curiosity , open mindedness and a struggle to understand. You misrepresent, ignore and scorn science. You are a quagmire of iniquity and lies – or else you are sincerely deluded. It matters little.

        ‘Atmospheric and oceanic computational simulation models often successfully depict chaotic space–time patterns, flow phenomena, dynamical balances, and equilibrium distributions that mimic nature. This success is accomplished through necessary but nonunique choices for discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupled contributing processes that introduce structural instability into the model. Therefore, we should expect a degree of irreducible imprecision in quantitative correspondences with nature, even with plausibly formulated models and careful calibration (tuning) to several empirical measures. Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        This is what I quoted to numbnut. Either read the bloody paper – and much esle besides. It is in English and there is no maths as such. It is accesible and doesn’t rely on me to intepret it. In fact – I simply quoted a few lines and was pilloried for merely quoting.

        Which side would McWiliams come down on? That is such a revealing question. He would come down on his own side as expressed in his own words.

        I too would agree that carbon emissions should be curtailed – through Breakthrough Institute type proposals rather in some idiot liberal agenda – a failed one at that. You are incomparable nonces – no one with any sense is in your club because it is demonstably not science but a deluded belief system of liberal tribalism.

        Can I say it any clearer – you are unfunny clowns and the only rational response is ridicule.

      • It’s worse than we thought. It’s 10 degrees of ‘irreducible imprecision in quantitative correspondence with nature’.
        ======================

      • CH, if you are agreeing with McWilliams that coupled ocean/atmosphere models “successfully… mimic nature” with their chaotic behavior, I think you would be agreeing with everyone that the models are therefore useful for simulating natural variability. Or is that the part of the quote you are disagreeing with? It is very unclear why you quoted this.

      • CH just seems highly opposed to simple statements and summaries. He wants everything to be a blur of details and an unsolved question.

        So when I make a simple statement that there’s no correlation between ENSO and OHC, he blows a gasket. He really doesn’t like the way I cut to the chase or provided an actual answer so readily.

        Even though he admits what I said about OHC is not wrong he nethertheless says I’ve “made up nonsense” with the excuse that it’s “complicated”.

        And then with regard to models CH writes: “Every modeller knows that if the input is changed ever so little – a totally different answer is arrived at.”

        Sure, but a “totally different” answer for climate sensitivity is not obtained by changing the input ever so little.

        David Young says on the matter:

        “We know that the details of the GCM’s are VERY sensitive to initial conditions, this is why GCM’s are terrible at weather forcasting outside of 48 hours. So, then why in the world would you expect to get good results when the models are integrated for 100 years?”

        That’s true about the details of GCM output, but not the climate sensitivity output itself. So while chaos would prevent them being used in weather forecasting it doesn’t prevent them being used to estimate of the amount of warming for a doubling of CO2.

        See I am cutting to the chase. I am interested in how much warming there will be from CO2. People can talk on about chaos but I for one am going to make sure the point is made that chaos does not prevent projections of future global temperature.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Jim – I know it is a stretch – but you should really try to read past the first sentence.

        Numbnut – you are nonsense personified – not only didn’t I admit that anything you say makes a smidgeon of sense – it all relies on eyeballing a graph that is problematical. It is claimed that warming is evidenced by ocean warming to 1500m and below – but the 700m NODC doesn’t show that. I have been suggesting since the von Schuckman 2009 paper that the missing energy was found – but the missing energy is all in the SW in CERES. As Roy Spencer told Kevin Trenberth some time ago. And is quite obvious – you seem to be able the divine the entrails of the NODC graph pretty well. Have a go at CERES.

        ‘That’s true about the details of GCM output, but not the climate sensitivity output itself. So while chaos would prevent them being used in weather forecasting it doesn’t prevent them being used to estimate of the amount of warming for a doubling of CO2.’

        Clueless – obviously

      • lolwot,

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/28/keith-seitter-on-the-uncertainty-monster/#comment-163923

        You said, ” See I am cutting to the chase. I am interested in how much warming there will be from CO2″ Then look at the data without smoothing.

        The only data that is showing major warming is the Northern Hemisphere land. Why is that? Land use, black carbon and albedo are also factors in climate, CO2 is well mixed, why is the warming not so global?

        CO2 estimates require, “things to remain equal” that doesn’t happen in a non-linear dynamic system.

      • gish gallop

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Let’s see if this finds the right place in this absurd nest – http://judithcurry.com/2012/01/28/keith-seitter-on-the-uncertainty-monster/#comment-164070

        gish gallop? well obviously you would recognise the technique – because it is all you have

      • lolwot, The punch line in my comment was not the one you quoted. It was that the only way to justify the models is to make some unjustified and probably false assumptions. And further, the range of the supposed stable attractor is very large and almost certainly larger than usually shown. There are after all the parameters.

      • CH, you dismiss the first sentence when it talks about the success. It goes on to explain why that success is hard to come by in a complex coupled model that mimics the atmosphere-ocean system. So if the model mimics the real chaotic system, which they have apparently checked, why not use it?

      • Of me:

        You misrepresent, ignore and scorn science. You are a quagmire of iniquity and lies – or else you are sincerely deluded. It matters little. …

        Lies? Where?

        And yes, it matters little. But it will be hilarious when my guess is right in 2015 and a F’n genius like you figured it wrong.

      • JCH,
        Don’t let chief get on your nerves. I actually get some insight from your ideas.

        That’s the way it works; a few advance the yardstick, while the rest create an obstacle course.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘A full representation for all dynamical degrees of freedom in different quantities and scales is uncomputable even with optimistically foreseeable computer technology. No fundamentally reliable reduction of the size of the AOS dynamical system (i.e., a statistical mechanics analogous to the transition between molecular kinetics and fluid dynamics) is yet envisioned.’ Profesor James McWilliams

        psst – someone tell Webby he is on the wrong planet.

      • Master of the fallacious argument. This time chief uses argument by authority.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Weby,

        By definition an argument from authority refers to a biased expert – and not quoting a leader in the field over decades from PNAS.

        An argumentum ad ignorantum is however your specialty. Try to get something right.

      • Lots of original research on my end. I don’t see anything but talk by you. But then again, you have a built-in excuse of complexity and chaos, with the confidence that any effort is hopeless. Just sit back in your easy chair and complain about everyone else. Your kind is a dime a dozen.

    • Chief

      Thanks for info on long-term El Nino proxy reconstructions.

      Very interesting indeed.

      Max

  44. How about “convinced” versus “absolutely refuse to be convinced”?

  45. Iit is the kind of comment that is expected from someone in a leadership position who is responsible for supporting and facilitating scientific committees, many partnerships, constructive relations between AMS members, and dialogue on policy.

    He is highly accountable– which is why his comments should only be read in the context of the AMS policy position that human responsibility for driving the current warming trend is well-documented in the science, along with AMS ongoing discussion of the role of proactive adaptation (immediate), improving energy efficience (immediate), aggressive mitigation (long range) and other options like geoengineering. :-)

    • Martha raises a smile again. Martha shows us the frame, Martha shows us the interpretation.

      And for those who follow the “fried food will kill you” advice:
      “Eating foods fried in healthier oils such as olive or sunflower is not linked to heart disease or premature death, Spanish researchers have found.

      They followed more than 40,000 adults for 11 years, tracking fried food intake and heart disease.”
      http://www.webmd.com/diet/news/20120124/fried-food-no-heart-disease

  46. I’m so sorry, Martha, to have to regard you statement as mere rhetoric, given the Executive Director of the American Meteorological Society, has real doubts and explains the consensus of certainty in this manner.

    “the emerging picture of how the climate system works.”

    So conflicting they have become. Solid Science it is not.

  47. “all of us in the scientific community should also appreciate the reminder that our desire to develop a self-consistent and coherent picture sometimes impedes our ability to work toward unraveling the full complexity of the climate system”

    And even non-scientists, like Martha. Although, given her position, you’d have to expect her to toe her party line.

  48. I prefer to see the problem in terms of alphabet soup.

    There is W, GW, AGW and CAGW.

    The more the letters, the flimsier the evidence and the scientific basis.

    Unfortunately thanks to the likes of Mr Seitter the first step has been to start from CAGW and dump everybody else in the “denier” category.

    As long as that continues the existence of actual “deniers” is irrelevant to the overall problem of CAGW fundamentalism.

    • Maurizio

      I can accept the logic of your point about polarization between those that are “convinced” of CAGW (as presented by IPCC) and those who (for whatever reason) are “unconvinced”.

      But that is what the whole debate is all about IMO.

      Either one accepts the IPCC premise of CAGW – or one does not.

      The “lukewarmer” who accepts AGW, but is “unconvinced” that the science supports the notion that this is a potential serious threat to humanity and our environment (the “C: in CAGW) falls into the “unconvinced” category. These individuals are opposed to implementing any costly mitigation steps to avert what they consider to be a non-serious potential risk.

      The individual who simply thinks it’s all a hoax also falls into the “unconvinced” category. These individuals would also oppose any mitigation steps.

      So it is basically a debate between those who are “convinced” that we need to start implementing some sort of mitigation steps to dramatically decrease human CO2 emissions in order to avert a climate catastrophe and those who are “unconvinced”: that this is the case.

      Max

  49. There is the hard ethical question in this bit:
    ‘We can and should be merciless in our condemnation of unscientific noise that seeks to obscure real scientific results’
    The trick is always to be able to discern where that line may lay. The Joe-Romms, many of the RealClimate-istas, the oxymoronic ‘Skeptical-Science-ists’, and truthfully, many of the wondering WattsUp crowd, are all to quick to auto-respond ‘unscientific noise’ to anything that does not align with or support their entrenched points of view.
    Withholding judgement until one has properly and diligently read and digested a new theory or finding is essential to the functioning of the science (and is an important part of civil discourse).
    How many times do we see the equivalent of ‘I haven’t had time to read more than the abstract of the paper, but I can tell you right now that it is …. [fill in whatever version of 'unscientific noise' you wish].’?
    Few climate scientists or advocates seem to have the ability to say ‘I really can’t comment on that paper, I haven’t had an opportunity to read it’.
    Personal ethics and professional courtesy seem to suffer in the polarized politicized climate of climate science.

  50. Considerate thinker

    Good point Kip, I am always asked to provide a link or some authority to back up my conversational point of view and I am pleased to do so. However its odds on that the person who stridently demanded “proof” [whatever that means] wont even bother to read the material provided. “I can’t be bothered… don’t have time to read… but I can tell you now its wrong. The world of climate seems full of these magnificent thinkers.

    Thank you to CH too, you have a unique very Australian way of exposing Drongo’s. rough and to the point!

  51. I’m glad the author has an “enormous faith in the scientific process.”

    Such a process requires that any new hypothesis (for example, that backradiation warms the surface) should be tested by empirical measurement. So far the IPCC has not managed to do such, nor considered it critical to test.

    That is why I am arranging for 10 companies affected by Australia’s Carbon Tax to contribute to a $50,000 reward for anyone who can prove that backradiation from a cold atmosphere can either warm a warmer surface, or slow its rate of cooling. (For example, test with two metal plates – one shielded from backradiation at night, the other not.)

    So take this seriously because the whole hypothesis that there is an atmospheric greenhouse effect rest there upon. I hope to have the reward advertised by about May or June this year following publication of my book.

  52. Peter Davis? Calling Peter Davis.

    I haven’t messed with Peter in a while. I mentioned a model design some time ago to make better use of the data available to improve somewhat the predictability of a non-linear system, Earth climate. He doubted me!

    http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/01/data-leap-frogging.html

    So since the wind is blowing, I thought about writing up a little about basic model design. Just curious how crazy he may think it is?

  53. Hi Cap’n. Didn’t see your call before. You are free to email me directly on peterdavies@oceanbroadband.net to get a quicker response in future.

    I mentioned previously that if a system is non-ergodic the data will have no predictive capacity whatsoever. Previous observations have no connection to current observations.

    You then seemed to imply that we can have varying degrees of predictability from non-ergodic systems that have been massaged in some way and I rather doubted that this could happen.

    Your boundary forcings (that certainly appeared to yield correlations in the data in different locations) are themselves the subject of non-ergodic influences and hence not predictable.

    As for your latest redneckscience blog contribution I agree with your approach to reduce as much as possible any noise from co-linearities between your time series datasets by taking all possible permutations of them but I am not clear exactly what you expect to achieve by doing this.

    Cheers and beers

  54. Many climate scientists will be angered by this paper, feeling that it undermines the consensus reports and calls their results into question.

    Noone who is “angered” by results or being questioned can call themselves a scientist. They are advocates of some ulterior motive, and hence the work they perform cannot be called science.
    (Just as Phil
    Why-Should-I-Show-You-My-Data-When-You’ll-Only-Try-and-Find-Something-Wrong-With-It
    Jones
    cannot be thought of as a scientist).

    I have enormous faith in the scientific process

    Are his comments on Climategate recorded?

  55. ” … I have nothing against xxx but I sometimes feel* he bloviates… ”

    ‘Blogiates’ perhaps ?

  56. I came across this thread after having my attention drawn to an article “In Which Climate ‘Skeptics’ Drop the Lysenko Bomb. No, I’m Not Kidding….” (http://www.desmogblog.com/which-climate-skeptics-drop-lysenko-bomb-no-i-m-not-kidding). The articles author, journalist Chris Mooney, is a frequent contributor on Desmogblog, that fount of Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Change (CACC) propaganda, where CACC science uncertainty is kept hidden whenever possible. Professor Stephen Schneider must have been delighted when public relations specialist James Hoggan founded it in 2006 and brought together his team of journalists in order to “ .. clear the PR pollution that is clouding the science on climate change. .. ”.

    My understanding of Schneider’s “ .. we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have .. ” was that scientists are at liberty to make a choice between telling the truth and distorting it for propaganda purposes.

    Professor Curry provided an interesting article on this last July (http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/21/stephen-schneider-and-the-%E2%80%9Cdouble-ethical-bind%E2%80%9D-of-climate-change-communication/) I don’t swallow his subsequent attempt to claim that what he had said had been misrepresented (http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/DetroitNews.pdf) but I’m a “denier” of the CACC hypothesis. I’m inclined to agree with MarkB’s comment on 21st July at 12:54 pm “ .. There is no ‘double ethical bind.’ The only ethical duty is the one your mother gave you: tell the truth! Schneider’s position is the equivalent of prosecutors withholding exculpatory evidence to make sure ‘the bad guys’ are convicted .. ”, echoed by Willis Eschenbach on 22nd at 12:48 am.

    Getting back to Keith Seitter and Desmogblog, the discussion about the Wall Street Journal’s op-ed “No Need to Panic About Global Warming” (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204301404577171531838421366.html) involving 16 scepetical scientists/engineers took me to a Union of Concerned Scientists article “Dismal Science at the Wall Street Journal” (http://blog.ucsusa.org/dismal-science-at-the-wall-street-journal). That article recommended that those sceptics get advice from the 18 American science associations who on 21st October 2009 sent a letter to the Senate pushing the merits “ .. the consensus scientific view .. ” of CACC. That sure is a very impressive list of scientific associations, all supporting the “consensus” so it must be sound science – or is it?

    Well, I wondered about the areas of expertise and agenda of those who had composed the letter, of the signatories to it and how representative the letter was of the thousands of scientists (and non-scientists) who are members those august bodies. So far I have been unable to find out anything about the authors (can anyone help on that?) but have started looking at each of the signatories.

    Alan I. Leshner, PhD, Chief Executive Officer, American Association for the Advancement of Science – Psychiatrist!! (http://www.aaas.org/ScienceTalk/leshner.shtml). On 1st June 2011 psychiatrist Dr. Leshner said “ .. climate change is not a scientifically-controversial topic .. ” (http://www.aaas.org/gr/docs/11-6-01_los_alamitos_usd_climate_science.pdf) so I’ll waste no more time on him.

    Thomas H. Lane, PhD, President, American Chemical Society, – Chemist (http://www.spoke.com/info/pWn2iq3/ThomasLane) looked worth checking out but I could find nothing of substance from him regarding his research into the processes and drivers of the different global climates. However, I did find an indication of why the ACS would support the CACC hypothesis. Buried amongst the propaganda about “ .. Robust Climate Science .. ” (http://democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/Press_111/20090610/hr2454_supportpassage.pdf) was “ .. June 5, 2009 .. funding for these activities has dropped dramatically .. we must invest heavily in all aspects of climate science .. ”. That’s enough for me.

    Timothy L Grove, PhD, President, American Geophysical Union – geologist (http://web.mit.edu/tlgrove/www/CV.shtml) also has expertise in a relevant discipline but I could only find one paper on climate change which he co-authored (http://www-geodyn.mit.edu/johnson_sulfur_jgr08.pdf ) but it concerns Mars. It seems that his area of expertise is sulphur and its compounds and that he simply toes the “party line” about climate change. There’s an interesting comment about the AGU’s journal JGR “Censorship at AGU: scientists denied the right of reply” (http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/agu_censorship.pdf)

    May R Berenbaum, PhD, President, American Institute of Biological Sciences – Ecoloist and Evolutionary Biologist (http://www.life.illinois.edu/entomology/faculty/Berenbaum_vita.pdf) appears to have expertise in insects and plants but not in the processes and drivers of global climates.

    Of the first 5 of those signatories only Keith Seitter, PhD. Executive Director, American Meteorological Society – Geophysicist (http://www.ametsoc.org/amsnews/bios/seitter.html) impresses me as someone worth heeding about climate change. Considering what he said in his article discussed here I am surprised that he was prepared to put his signature on that blatant piece of CACC propaganda presented to the US Senate in 2009. I wonder if he actually read it. Then again, it is claimed that he recently said “ .. Research since 2007 has only solidified climate science findings ..” (http://uk.reuters.com/article/2012/02/02/us-climate-weather-idUKTRE81120K20120202) but maybe he is simply hedging his bets.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley.

  57. Markus Fitzhenry

    SNIP

    Markus, please post this on another thread that is not the current one. It is far too long and off topic. Thanks. JC

  58. Hi Marcus (Fitzhenry), as editor of the UK’s Sunday paper The People, Hannon Swaffwer (http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/FWWswaffer.htm) said back in 1948 to my dad when he ranted about co-operative farming “The time is not yet”. May I suggest that you have a hot bath then have a read of Greg’s reaction to your rant in his article “Ruh Roh. A crazy nutbag is saying scary things to me. Again.” (http://scienceblogs.com/gregladen/2012/02/ruh_roh_a_crazy_nutbag_is_sayi.php).

    Can’t argue with that.

    Best regards, Pete Ridley

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  60. Somebody essentially lend a hand to make severely articles I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I surprised with the analysis you made to make this particular put up extraordinary. Wonderful process!

  61. i am also agree with don I prefer ‘orthodox’ and ‘dissenter’. But I can live with ‘convinced’ and ‘unconvinced’.