Climate models at their limit?

by Judith Curry

Estimates of climate-change impacts will get less, rather than more, certain. But this should not excuse inaction, say Mark Maslin and Patrick Austin.

A recent article was published in Nature, titled Climate Models at Their Limit? by Mark Maslin and Patrick Austin.  The paper is of course behind paywall, here are some excerpts:

For the fifth major assessment of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to be released next year, climate scientists face a serious public-image problem. The climate models they are now working with, which make use of significant improvements in our understanding of complex climate processes, are likely to produce wider rather than smaller ranges of uncertainty in their predictions. To the public and to policy- makers, this will look as though the scientific understanding of climate change is becom- ing less, rather than more, clear.

Scientists need to decide how to explain this effect. Above all, the public and policy- makers need to be made to understand that climate models may have reached their limit. They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.

The climate models, or ‘climate simulators’ as some groups are now referring to them, being used in the IPCC’s fifth assess- ment make fewer assumptions than those from the last assessment, and can quantify the uncertainty of the complex factors they include more accurately. Many of them contain interactive carbon cycles, better representations of aerosols and atmospheric chemistry and a small improvement in spatial resolution.

Yet embracing more-complex processes means adding in ‘known unknowns’, such as the rate at which ice falls through clouds, or the rate at which different types of land cover and the oceans absorb carbon diox- ide. Preliminary analyses show that the new models produce a larger spread for the pre- dicted average rise in global temperature. Additional uncertainty may come to light as these models continue to be put through their paces. Dan Rowlands of the University of Oxford, UK, and his colleagues have run one complex model through thousands of simulations, rather than the handful of runs that can usually be managed with available computing time. Although their average results matched well with IPCC projections, more extreme results, including warming of up to 4 °C by 2050, seemed just as likely. As computing power becomes more accessible, that ‘hidden’ uncertainty will become even more obvious.

The biggest obstacle is the unwillingness of politicians to act in the long-term interests of society. Politicians use public opin- ion and scientific uncertainty as excuses for inaction. They used to say “we need to wait until scientists prove that mankind is caus- ing climate change”. That hurdle has, argu- ably, passed, so now they have moved on to “we need to wait until scientists can tell us exactly what will happen and what the costs are”, or, “we need to wait for public opinion to be behind action”. The former will never occur, because modelling can never provide that level of certainty. The latter is a sleight of hand. Politicians often take action without public support, from wars to bank bailouts, taxation to health-care reforms.

Greater knowledge and improved models will always be desirable, but they are not a panacea for political and public reticence to action on climate change. Despite the uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is enough to tell us what we need to know. We need governments to go ahead and act, as both the United Kingdom and Mexico have done in making national laws that contain carbon reduction targets of 80% and 50%, respectively, by 2050. We do not need to demand impossible levels of cer- tainty from models to work towards a better, safer future.

JC comments:  I didn’t post on this when it first came out, since Tamsin Edwards did a nice post on it [link; the comments are very good also].   The paper provides a realistic assessment of model capabilities and uncertainties, and the dilemma of growing uncertainties as the models improve and become more complex.  The main point I want to make is in context of my previous post No consensus on consensus.

The ‘speaking consensus to power’ approach can be characterized to a substantial extent as ‘speaking climate model simulations to power.’  In this context, increasing uncertainty in the climate models simulations is bad news for the politics of CO2 mitigation.  I’ve argued in the previous post that that the ‘scientific truth to power’ model just doesn’t make sense for the wicked climate problem.  Using climate models in ‘speaking climate model simulations to power’ isn’t a good use of climate models, given their limitations.

The new climate model simulations for AR5 are substantially improved, with a much better experimental design.  We stand to learn much from this collection of model simulations.  But we need to ask the question of how climate models can best support decision making for a broad range of possible future scenarios and decision making objectives. My next paper will address this issue, here is the tentative title:  Climate Models:  Fit For What Purpose?  The paper will take on my presentation to DOE BERAC.

tamsin’s blog, jvs email

587 responses to “Climate models at their limit?

  1. So we’re back to Pascal’s wager.

    • All science begins and ends inside the bounds of philosophy. Those who ignore that dictum, true since the time the ancient Greeks invented both disciplines, represent their own community of deniers.

    • “Climate scientists face a serious public-image problem” that has now spread to world leaders and leaders of the news media, business and scientific communities that collectively pushed members of society to their very limit, . . . worldwide.

      The question now is whether leaders have the strength of character to back away from this insanity fast enough to prevent social disruption, . . . after sixty-seven years (2012 – 1945 = 67 yrs) of collusion.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      Skeptics can help them if we can eliminate the word “blame” from our dictionary and focus on undoing the damages caused by 6.4 decades of deceit before surfacing in Climategate emails and documents in Nov 2009:

      “They are not at fault, they were born with, or developed, defects of character – just like the rest of us.”

      With kind regards,
      Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      http://www.omatumr.com

    • “They must stop waiting . . . , and simply act.”

      The problem is they started acting before explaining:

      a.) Earlier warnings of another Ice Age in 1974

      http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1663607/posts

      b.) Climategate emails and documents in 2009

      http://tinyurl.com/yhyhn77

      c.) A CSPAN video in 1998 of NASA hiding experimental data from the 1995 Galileo Probe of Jupiter.

    • The Urgency of Moving Beyond Climategate – Now

      Almost three years (2012-2009 = 3 yrs) have lapsed since Climategate emails and documents provided undeniable evidence of corruption in publicly-funded research. Those documents confirmed the misuse of government science in exactly the manner that former President Eisenhower had warned us about on 17 Jan 1961 [1]

      Distrust of climate scientists has now spread to world leaders and leaders of the news media, business and scientific communities that failed to act.

      Society is crumbling; Congress is caught in a bind – unable to:

      a.) Evaluate the merits of new science and technology

      b.) Trust the US NAS to make future funding decisions

      Instead of celebrating the forty-third anniversary of mankind’s first step on an extraterrestrial object tomorrow – Neil Armstrong’s step on the Moon (2012-1969 = 43 yrs) forty-three years ago – society will be dealing with the aftermath of addictions, fears, and insanity induced by distrust:

      A twenty-four old gunman dressed in riot gear in Aurora, CO shot and killed about a dozen people early this morning at a showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises”, . . . . (2012-1988 = 24 yrs)

      http://tinyurl.com/d48f32k

      There are still competent scientists in the US NAS who could review science and technology for Congress, although perhaps not in the Geophysics Division.

      The events leading to Climategate include a surprisingly large number of members of the Geophysics Division of NAS, including Dr. Peter Glick and other NAS scientists who helped obscure evidence of the overwhelming source of energy stored in the cores of atoms, stars, and perhaps some planets !

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      -Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      http://www.omatumr.com

      1. Scientific Genesis: Science versus Propaganda (1961)

  2. “… the public and policy- makers … must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act. … The biggest obstacle is the unwillingness of politicians to act in the long-term interests of society.” That is, “we believe that this is the most critical issue which needs certain urgent actions. Those who disagree with us or have other priorities and constituencies are wrong. So there!”

    Not everyone accepts that, as then Australian PM Kevin Rudd claimed (but seems to have forgotten), “global warming is the great moral challenge of our age,” or even that it is the number one policy priority irrespective of whatever other issues the people of the world face. Those promoting CAGW will not get far if they can’t see this.

    • This is a slur on politicians; Lenin made decisions which effected the long term social make up of Russia, Stalin completely changed the population pyramid of the USSR, Hitler made decisions which effected the long term ethnicity of Europe, Mao forever altered the ethnicity and population dynamics of China, Korea and Tibet and Pol Pot completely change the nature of Cambodia.
      If we just give politicians power they can change the whole world.

    • Albert Stienstra

      The politicians cannot change the world. They can change the human population of it, which is a quite minor aspect of the world.

    • You are both right!

      Lenin, Stalin, de Gaulle, Hitler, Roosevelt, Churchill, Mao and Pol Pot each had great impact on mankind, . . . but ultimately had no power over Nature, God, Reality, Truth !

      Instinctive fear that the “nuclear fires” consuming Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Aug 1945 might spread and destroy world leaders too, . . . frightened winners of the Second World War banded together in Oct 1945 to establish the United Nations.

      The lofty ideals of the 1945 UN Charter – “to save humanity from the scourge of war and to reaffirm rights, dignity and worth of humans” – were almost immediately betrayed by promoting misleading models [1,2] of energy (E) stored as mass (m) in cores of atoms and stars.

      Loss of the integrity of government science and constitutional limits on government continued out-of-sight until exposed by Climategate emails and documents in Oct 2009 and confirmed by the unexpected responses of world leaders and leaders of the scientific community.

      Instinctive fears compelled world leaders to try to save the world from destruction by “nuclear fires” in 1945.

      The world’s social and economic systems are unstable today from justifiable lack of confidence in world leaders and leaders of the news media, business, and scientific organizations.

      For society’s sake we need to forget “blame” and focus on undoing damages caused by decades of misinformation between the end of WWII and the release of Climategate emails and documents in Nov 2009.

      See: http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      - Oliver K. Manuel

      References:

      1. Hideki Yukawa, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (1946); Introduction to the Theory of Elementary Particles (1948) http://www.nndb.com/people/759/000099462/

      2. Fred Hoyle, “The chemical composition of the stars,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 255-59 (1946); “The synthesis of the elements from hydrogen,” Monthly Notices Royal Astronomical Society 106, 343-83 (1946)

    • Scientists need to decide how to explain this effect. Above all, the public and policy- makers need to be made to understand that climate models may have reached their limit. They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.

      What do the authors mean by “act”.

      If they mean we must act to implement high cost mitigation solutions, then I want to know why?

      How bad is AGW? I have no idea how bad it is. I just keep hearing scary adjectives, which I find totally unpersuasive.

      What will the proposed mitigation actions achieve? How do we know they will have deliver benefits (to the climate and sea levels) that the advocates say they will?

      Given the assumptions that underpin the carbon pricing analyses, it is clear the assumptions are totally impracticable and could never be achieved. So the benefits will not be achieved. But the costs will be incurred and will probably be much higher than is being acknowledged so far. For example, Nordhaus p198 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf, points out that if only 50% of global GHG emissions are caught in the carbon pricing scheme the cost for those emitters who are included would be 250% higher than if all emitters are included in an internationally coordinated carbon price scheme (that’s all emitters for all of the twenty four Kyoto gases).

      Furthermore, the ultimate compliance cost of carbon pricing scheme will be far higher than has been estimated so far: http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=13578

      This shows that the Australian CO2 tax and ETS will cost $10 for every $1 of projected benefits. But the benefits will not be achieved because the assumptions used in the modelling cannot be achieved.
      http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

    • Peter Lang,

      You ask “How bad is AGW?” You seem to have decided that no mitigation is necessary even though you say you “have no idea how bad it is”. Actually you aren’t being quite honest there, are you? You do have some idea, even if it’s totally the wrong idea. you think the science in the IPCC reports is all a scam.

      But, if you genuinely want to know just what is likely to happen, I’d recommend David Archer’s book: The Long Thaw.
      http://press.princeton.edu/chapters/s8719.html

    • tempterrain:You ask “How bad is AGW?” You seem to have decided that no mitigation is necessary even though you say you “have no idea how bad it is”. I didn’t read that from Peter, I read that mitigation wasn’t possible, a view I’ve held long before I came to the conclusion that the IPCC reports are a scam. It isn’t practical to reduce CO2 outputs over any timeframe to save the world. If, indeed, the world needs saving. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of the Chinese, Indians, Brazilians, South Africans, Mexicans and a myriad other countries pulling themselves out of endemic poverty into Western affluence, stopping their emissions any time soon.

      “Mitigation” is a luxury only those who’ve achieved lifestyles unimaginable to Kings, Queens and Princes in former times can afford to bandy about as a solution to global warming.

    • tempterrain

      @ geronimo,

      I’ll just ask the question here if you, or Peter Lang, are saying that GH gas mitigation isn’t possible, or if it isn’t necessary, or both?

      There is quite a difference between possibility and necessity. And the one doesn’t have any logical relationship to the other, of course.

    • All you have to do is the math, well arithmatic actually, as that’s as high a level you need to get the answer to your question.

      Let us say that the EU and US were to reduce their CO2 output down to 50% of current levels – or 50% of 1990 levels if you like – by 2025. We will ignore any associated costs. Exactly what do the models tell us the resulting change in global warming will be?

      The fact is you don’t have to bother running the models. Simple arithmatic – adding up the CO2 output of China, India, Brazil and the rest of the world – will tell you that mitigation is akin to trying to drain a swiming pool using a arden hose while it is being filled with a fire hose.

    • tempterrain

      You still aren’t answering the question about possibility and necessity. And if its both, are you making any inferences from one about the other?.

    • “The fact is you don’t have to bother running the models. Simple arithmatic – adding up the CO2 output of China, India, Brazil and the rest of the world – will tell you that mitigation is akin to trying to drain a swiming pool using a arden hose while it is being filled with a fire hose.”

      #1 That’s factually wrong. US and EU emissions remain a huge portion of the global total and cutting them by half would be a significant improvement. Just not enough.

      #2 The assumption/assertion that developing countries won’t have the will to act on global warming is pure projection. There is no reason to believe that getting those countries on board is going to be a challenge of a different order than convincing the US and EU to step up.

      #3 Plenty of things that (unlike emissions cuts) don’t work at all if the vast majority of state cooperate — things like nuclear nonproliferation — have succeeded through a combination of shared interests and values, and arm-twisting. There is no reason to think the same mix of carrots and sticks can’t be used on climate free riders.

    • Rob Starkey

      #1 That’s factually wrong. US and EU emissions remain a huge portion of the global total and cutting them by half would be a significant improvement. Just not enough.
      Fact check- A 50% cut in emissions by the US and the EU would result in an annual reduction of emissions of approximately 5 million tons. The current trend of emissions increases by China will have them increase their emissions by 5 million tons in less than 10 years; India will increase their emissions by over 1 million tons in ten years. A 50% cut by the US and the EU will not result in total emissions being reduced from current levels. It would result in far less funds being available in the US and the EU for other investment however.
      #2 The assumption/assertion that developing countries won’t have the will to act on global warming is pure projection. There is no reason to believe that getting those countries on board is going to be a challenge of a different order than convincing the US and EU to step up.
      My response- since developing countries have not agreed to verifiable reductions in the past there is ZERO reason to believe that they will do so in the future. You can hope and believe that developing countries will reduce emissions all you want but the practical situation is that they need to increase their emissions levels to improve the standard of living for their populations. Developing countries want energy and cement and the most cost effective means to get both is via the release of CO2. The only means to get these developing countries to not increase emissions is to subsidize their economies and the US and the EU do not have the financial capability or desire to do that.
      #3 Plenty of things that (unlike emissions cuts) don’t work at all if the vast majority of state cooperate — things like nuclear nonproliferation — have succeeded through a combination of shared interests and values, and arm-twisting. There is no reason to think the same mix of carrots and sticks can’t be used on climate free riders.
      My response- Countries with nuclear capability worked to prevent nuclear proliferation by preventing or restricting the export of technology that would allow other countries to easily develop these technologies. Countries with nuclear technology used the threat of war and economic sanctions to discourage other countries from developing this technology. As a result of these efforts gaining a nuclear capability in a developing country became very expensive and was considered to have few potential net benefits. It seems there are few valid comparisons to the issue of cutting CO2 emissions. In regards to CO2 emissions, one needs to convince developing countries to either adopt more expensive means of generating energy which translates into delaying access to energy by their countries citizens, or to get them to completely to delay their development which seems to be an unreasonable request since this again harms the citizens of that country.

    • Based on best available empirical data, it is in all likelihood less urgent/necessary than CAGW proponents would have us believe. And in practical terms, it is not possible to the extent we are told would be necessary, without bringing the global economy to a grinding halt. Anyone who still believes that solar and wind are credible “alternatives”, should take a hard look at what is unfolding in Germany.

      Even if it were possible to actually convince key politicians in the OECD countries of the urgency to act – which given the absence of empirical evidence that we are heading for imminent global disaster, is unrealistic- the developing nations, BRICs for short, wouldn’t give a fig. Russia’s economy is utterly dependent on the exports of its hydrocarbon resources and China, India and Brazil each in their own way are dependent for their social and political stability on providing sustained economic growth for their populations -which said in passing represent some 35% of the global total. The developing nations made it abundantly clear at the recent RIO+20 confab that they are not interested in a “green” “sustainable” economic model, which they see being foisted on them by western NGOs.

      The uncertainty associated with ever more sophisticated CGMs discussed here comes at a most untimely moment for CAGW/CACC proponents as they -in their over the top alarmism of the past years- have cried wolf a few times too often already and have badly undermined their credibility with both the body politic and voters.

    • temp,

      I see we are both fans of science fiction.

      I once posed the question on Real Climate about many of the various claims of impacts from AGW, which included the one about 10 foot or greater riase in sea levels.

      Gavin Smichmidt’s response was nobody is claiming that high a rise. (He didn’t bother addressing the half dozen other supposed impacts I listed.) I found it rather an interesting response, seeing as how David Archer is a contributor to RC and his books are prominently advertized there.

    • “How bad is AGW? I have no idea how bad it is.”

      So what is keeping you from educating yourself on this subject?

      And since you are, by your own admission, totally ignorant of the expected consequences of global warming, how on earth can you think your opinion on the various options for mitigation matters?

      When you come back and can say “I have a clear idea, based on science, of what the likely and possible consequences of AGW are” then you will be in a position to have an opinion on mitigation. Until then, you just don’t know enough.

    • Robert

      You write about “expected consequences”. What “expected consequesnces” are you referencing and what is the basis of those feared consequences? If the fears are based upon the outputs of models that have been demonstrated to produce results inconsistant with observed results- why the fear?

    • “expected consequences”

      The colorful line on all of the climate science drawings is going squiggle upwards.

      Andrew

    • I guess some people fear squiggle

    • So, just so I understand you, are you saying you’re totally ignorant of any of the expected consequences of global warming?

      I doubt that. You seem to be returning to your old argument that you know that radically warming the climate is safe.

      As always, I’m delighted to hear you make that case. Please.

    • Robert

      I am saying that what you consider as “expected consequences” are not based upon reasonable expectations. Saying you expect that millions will be harmed by declining farm yields when there is not and evidence to support your fear does not mean your expected consequences are rational

    • I am saying that what you consider as “expected consequences” are not based upon reasonable expectations.

      Then why would you ask me what “expected consequences” are, if you think you already know?

      But please enlighten me: which of the expected consequences of global warming do you consider “not based upon reasonable expectations”?

    • Rob Starkey

      Expected consequences that are based on analysis of the outputs of GCMs that have been show to produce inaccurate results would be an example of unreasonable expectations. Expecting something to happen based on the output of a model that has been shown to produce unreliable results is flawed thinking

    • I am wondering what is the empirical evidence to show that GW or AGW is potentially dangerous or catastrophic? I am not seeing anything convincing to support this contention. It seems to me to boil down to belief. Here is why I am not convinced that GW OR AGW is potentially dangerous.

      It seems warming is not so bad:

      1. James Hansen (2010) (Figure 1) http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2011/20110118_MilankovicPaper.pdf shows the planet is cooling (bad) and has been for the past 50 million years. This figures also shows that the climate (average global temperature) is much more variable when there is ice at the poles than when the poles are ice free.

      2. Schematic diagram http://www.scotese.com/climate.htm showing that the planet’s normal operating temperature is much warmer than now, and showing there have been only three ‘coldhouse’ phase during the time multi-cell life has thrived on the planet (i.e. the past 550 million years). We are currently in the third coldhouse phase.

      3. IPCC AR4, WG1, Chapter 6, Figure 6.1 http://accessipcc.com/AR4-WG1-6.html#6-3-1 shows the periods when there was ice at the poles, and the latitude to which ice sheets extended (for the past 400 million years). The poles have been ice free for 75% of the time multi-cell life has thrived on the planet (past 550 million years).

      4. Chart of temperatures and dust in Antarctic ice cores http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vostok-ice-core-petit.png demonstrates that the planet is much windier (more dust), bleak and dry when the planet is colder; less dust when warmer – i.e. warmer is good

      5. IPCC AR4 WG1, Chapter 6 (buried in the text) states there is more carbon tied up in the biosphere when the planet is warmer and less when colder (i.e. life thrives when the planet is warmer and struggles when colder)

      6. IPCC AR4 WG1, Chapter 6 (buried in the text) states the area of deserts shrinks when warmer and expands when colder (i.e. warmer is better for life than cold)

      7. Nordhaus (2012) http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1467-9779.2011.01544.x/full says “Not so dismal conclusions” and “We conclude that a loaded gun of strong tail dominance has not been discovered to date.” I.e., not so scary after all, and not dangerous or catastrophic.

      So, what is so bad about global warming?

    • “I am wondering what is the empirical evidence to show that GW or AGW is potentially dangerous or catastrophic?”

      So what is that empirical evidence? Don’t just wonder about it; go out and find it.

    • Robert,

      You obviously didn’t read any of the links. Therefore, just arguing from a position of belief, think you know everything and probably haven’t a clue.

    • Peter, I’m just responding to your own statement that you’re ignorant of all empirical evidence that climate change is dangerous.

      That’s what you said. If you want to make a positive argument, for example if you want to argue that climate change is absolutely not dangerous or that there is no evidence that it is dangerous, then we can discuss your links (spoiler alert; you’ve Moncktoned up those sources pretty bad).

      As it is, you would like us to infer from your ignorance that the evidence does not exist, which is not logical or persuasive.

    • RE Robert’s statement “So what is that empirical evidence? Don’t just wonder about it; go out and find it.”

      Looks like he’s familiar with snipe hunting and is hoping you are not.

    • Robert,

      Wow, you read those links fast, digested their content, assimilated the overall message and responded, all in the space of 7 minutes. You must be a very smart man. I’ll pay homage to all you say from now on, accept your word on everything and won’t waste your time with my stupid questions and comments any further.

      Please feel free to ignore whatever I say from now on so you can focus on straightening out others who have strayed from believing what you believe.

    • “Wow, you read those links fast”

      See above. No link can prove or disprove your statement that you’re ignorant of any dangerous consequences of global warming. We have to take your word on that. I personally do not doubt you.

      You haven’t clearly said what you want us to infer from that. Perhaps you want us to infer that there is no evidence of dangerous global warming, which is why you’re unaware of it. But if so, again your links cannot demonstrate this. At most they would show that in those particular papers, the evidence isn’t there. That would do nothing to support your point.

      You could use those links to try and prove that global warming is safe. If that’s what you think they prove, say so. Then I’ll be happy to discuss your misreading of those papers.

    • tempterrain

      Peter Lang,

      Its like I said before. You do have an idea, so to say you hadn’t wasn’t true. Was it?
      You think its all a scam, don’t you?

    • Robert,

      I’m sure you realize your question isn’t so simple. First off, “expected consequences” is dependant on the the individual’s perspective. There is always a fair chance that two people looking at the same data can derive differing expectations.

      “Possible” expectations is a better way to sstate it.

      So what are the possible expectations? Well, that depends on how much it warms. A couple of degrees will probably result in some shifts in the ranges of plant, animal and insect species. For example Montreal may see butterflies previously known to live further south. Farmers may have to shift the crops they raise. Regions may have to adjust to lessor or greater precipitation and whatever impacts that has on water supplies.

      None of this is what any reasonable person would consider scary. Farmers have to make choices and changes often on an annual basis. They are far more experienced and capable of adjusting to changing conditions than anybody here. And all you have to do is look at cities such as LA and Las Vegas to realize that humans are capable of dealing with water issues. Otherwise neither city would exist in its current state.

    • So what is your basis for these assertions?

      Do you have some links?

      Are you a recognized expert on the impacts of climate change?

      What do you have besides an argument from assertion?

    • Exchange between Ackerman and Tol

      For the past few days there has been an interesting exchange between Frank Ackerman and Richard Tol: http://retractionwatch.wordpress.com/2012/07/09/noteworthy-journal-posts-all-the-corrections-it-wanted-in-a-climate-change-paper-after-authors-refuse-most/#comments . Ackerman says:

      This is a case of an intense academic disagreement, with some implications for public policy.

      My thoughts on this exchange:

      1. The exchange was well adjudicated by Professor David Stern
      2. Ackerman’s assertions seem reasonable (but some of his comments suggest an alarmist bias)
      3. I also understand why Tol has reacted as he has.
      4. Excellent questions and summaries by ‘someone_somewhere’. He appears to be unbiased and expert in the subject area of model validation but not in the specific area of science that this model addresses; his summaries are informative and focused on what is important. He states: “ Disclaimer: I am certainly not an expert in ecological economics; merely someone with a general interest in mathematical modeling, who took time to study these materials.

      However, the really important points I take from this debate are:

      1. I get the impression Ackerman is an alarmist and he is looking to find faults that make the FUND model give too high benefits and too low costs.
      2. He is not looking hard to find faults or errors that would cause the model to produce too high costs and too low benefits.
      3. In fact, no one in the Climate Science community is putting much effort into looking at models like this to try to find faults or errors that would cause the model to produce too high costs and too low benefits
      4. So they are being missed or, if identified, not thoroughly investigated with the same enthusiasm to find fault.
      5. That is because of the inbuilt bias caused by the massive government funding and group think which supports “the consensus” view of climate science.

      The focus of a number of the comments on this thread seems to be that the damage costs are being understated; there is nothing to give a sense that researchers are checking as thoroughly to see if the damage costs may be overstated. Examples in this discussion that illustrate my point:
      Pinko Punko @ July 9, 2012 at 8:12 pm

      This is probably a lot more complicated as well. Prof. Tol is well known but also controversial in some circles and some of his analyses are highly favored by climate skeptics. Also, the work of this blog was featured highly in a recent post on What’s Up With That, a noted climate denier (or skeptic, what have you) site. The tone of the post was essentially that all science is corrupt and these retractions are evidence of that.

      Ad hom. comment. Clearly from a man on a mission; an advocate for “The Cause”.

      John Havery Samuel @ July 16, 2012 at 3:13 am

      Wattswrongwiththis maintains all science is corrupt. Science has to be corrupt. It keeps giving the wrong answers. Grab your pitchforks and poke a climate scientist today.

      Ad hom. comment. Clearly biased towards alarmism.

      bigcitylib @ July 12, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      Might be worth noting here that others have taken issue with Mr. Tol’s FUND model, in this case for ranking the value of life/death differently . Sorry for self-linking, the underlying article seems to have disappeared:

      Another ad hom. comment clearly from an Alarmist. Tol addressed this comment.

      Frank Ackerman @ :July 12, 2012 at 4:26 pm [my highlights]:

      I’d like to step back from the intensity of disagreement over this single point to mention again the broader issue that we raise: while there is considerable scientific research suggesting serious threats of irreversible damages from climate change, models such as FUND (among others) suggest that the problem is quite small in economic terms. The dissonance between these two ways of framing the climate problem should give rise to serious inquiry about what’s missing or misstated in the economic analyses.
      Our article did find a risk of division by zero (never a good thing in a quantitative model) in FUND. It also found that FUND’s very low estimate of climate damages, and hence the social cost of carbon, stems from very small damages in many areas, partially offset by sizeable estimated net global benefits of warming in agriculture. In the version of FUND run by the US government’s interagency task force, the projected increase in the cost of air conditioning is the largest cost of climate change; excluding air conditioning costs, the model implies that climate change would be a net benefit to the world.
      We looked in more detail at the agriculture estimates, to understand the source of the estimated global benefit in that area. In addition to the division by zero issue, we found that FUND allows physically implausible variation in its assumed temperature that maximizes crop yields – from well below the temperature of the last ice age, to well above temperatures that human physiology can survive. This seems difficult to believe, as a model of climate and agriculture. It is supported exclusively (according to the FUND documentation) by research done in 1996 or earlier – a long time ago in a fast-moving area of research such as this. Newer research suggests a very different relationship between temperature and crop yields, implying significant losses from the first few degrees of warming.
      We never meant to start a debate exclusively about the merits of dividing by zero, an issue that we assume needs little discussion. Rather, the important issue is how to model the economics of climate change in a manner that is consistent with the increasingly ominous scientific findings on the subject. This is a work in progress – but it is the topic that should be getting attention.
      Thanks again for taking this so seriously and looking at it so carefully – rare qualities in on-line debate!

      This all seems very reasonable at first blush. [Tol responds to some of the key criticisms in several comments] However, my concern is: who is checking from the opposite perspective? Who is checking that the damages are not being overstated in the models? What competent groups are being funded to check that the damage estimates are not being overstated and the costs understated?

      Frank Ackerman @ July 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

      I agree that the effect of climate on agriculture is an empirical question. There are a number of studies finding that FACE experiments show lower CO2 fertilization effects than earlier (indoor) research – and there is virtually no CO2 fertilization effect on maize, sorghum, and sugar cane, and a strongly negative effect on cassava yields. Meanwhile, recent work by Schlenker, Lobell, and others shows sharp declines in yield for many crops above a temperature threshold; numerous articles in Nature Climate Change within the last year have documented this relationship for different crops and regions. I’ll be writing more about this in the near future.

      All these examples point to research that shows some crops will be less productive under high CO2. But is this a balanced comment, or is it a sign of an alarmist bias? What about the main crops that feed the world like wheat and rice? What about our demonstrated ability to improve crop yields to suit conditions? What about the fact that the planet is far more productive when warmer according to the paleoclimate record (IPCC AR4 WG1 Chapter 6). It strains credulity to believe that, while the planet is far better for life when warmer (life thrives when the planet is warmer than now and struggles when colder), that would not be the case if the planet warms due to AGW.

      I don’t get the sense from Ackerman is impartial from his comments. I get the impression he is a man on a mission – an advocate for The Cause.

    • Sorry, the last two paragraphs above should not be included in the quote. They are my comment.

    • I am interested in the estimated cost of damages that a rising sea level might cause.

      It seems to me that the damage function is perhaps the most important parameter for deciding on climate policy, yet has the greatest uncertainty (e.g. Nordhaus (2008) “A Question of Balance” Table 7-2, p130 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf )

      It also seems that the damage estimates that underpin the damage function are sparse; Nordhaus, 2007, p24 http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Accom_Notes_100507.pdf says:

      The major issue at this stage is that the database for impact studies continues to be relatively small.

      and, I suspect, likely to be biased towards a high estimate for the damage costs.

      For example, the report which documents the projected consequences for Australia of sea level rise, and is used as a major part of the justification for the Australian Carbon Tax and ETS (Cap and Trade), is clearly exaggerates th4e costs towards the high side.
      http://www.climatechange.gov.au/publications/coastline/climate-change-risks-to-australias-coasts.aspx

      It contains no proper estimate of the damage costs of a sea level rise over time.

      The report states that the high end of the IPCC’s AR4 estimate of sea level rise is 79 cm by 2100, but does not mention the central estimate. It goes further with:

      There is an increasing recognition that sea-level rise of up to a metre or more this century is plausible,

      And exaggerates further still with:

      Recent research, presented at the Copenhagen climate congress in March 2009, projected sea-level rise from 75 centimetres to 190 centimetres relative to 1990, with 110–120 centimetres the mid-range of the projection.

      Based on this recent science 1.1 metres was selected as a plausible value for sea-level rise for this risk assessment.

      (my bold)

      So the report, and the damage costs used to justify the Australian Carbon tax and ETS legislation, is based on a sea level rise of 1.1 m instead of the IPCC, AR4 ‘Best Estimate’ (for A1B Scenario) of 35 cm (P95 is 47 cm).

      And

      With a mid range sea-level rise of 0.5 metres in the 21st century, events that now happen every10 years would happen about every 10 days in 2100. The current 1-in-100 year event could occur several times a year.

      [I understand these claims have since been refuted and dismissed]

      But, there is no proper estimate of the damages, let alone proper discounting applying over 100 years, and no allowance for the fact that infrastructure is continually renewed, upgraded and adapted for changing conditions.

      Is there any reliable, well documented estimate of the discounted damage costs attributable to increasing sea levels?

      I note that the land below 1 m elevation accounts for just 0.1% of world population and just 0.1% of world output (Figure 7-5, p145, http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf ).

      The above is just some of many examples which persuade me that the damage function that Nordhaus, Stern, Garnaut and others use in their cost benefit analyses is likely to be biased towards high damage costs.

    • This is hands down the most interesting comment I’ve seen from you. I visited the link and read the whole exchange.

      I lose you when you say: “In fact, no one in the Climate Science community is putting much effort into looking at models like this to try to find faults or errors that would cause the model to produce too high costs and too low benefits.”

      How did you determine this? What is your evidence?

      “I don’t get the sense from Ackerman is impartial from his comments. I get the impression he is a man on a mission – an advocate for The Cause.”

      Many people would say that about Richard Tol — or about you, for that matter! Have you considered the possibility that your own ideological baggage makes you see enemies where perhaps they don’t exist? Have you examined your conscience for signs of a mission to downplay or dismiss the severity of the consequences of making the planet hotter than it has been in fifteen million years?

    • Another pissant progressive AGW space cadet with a penchant for illusion, delusion and lies.

      ‘In February 2003, Lomborg filed a complaint with the Ministry, and in December 2003, the Ministry found that the DCSD’s handling of the investigation in the case had been improper, and remitted it for re-examination. In March 2004, the DCSD stated that since its finding had been to acquit Lomborg of the charges of scientific dishonesty (although they had criticized his biased selection of data), there was no basis to re-open the investigation, and dismissed the case.’

  3. “The climate models they are now working with, which make use of significant improvements in our understanding of complex climate processes, are likely to produce wider rather than smaller ranges of uncertainty in their predictions.”

    So the less they can prove they know, the more we should be concerned by what they know or don’t know? It tends to get confusing.

    There is one interesting things about bad models, if they are consistently wrong, they are predictive. Climate models are becoming useful predictive tools :)

  4. Latimer Alder

    Can somebody please remind me – in simple laymans’s terms suitable for the denizens of the Dog and Duck – what on earth the point of all these f…g models is supposed to be?

    Because it seems from the article above that after spending 30 years of effort and enough money to pay off the national debt of a small country, the climatologists now think they know less than they thought at the beginning. They are clearly useless at making usable forecasts of future climates. So what are they good for?

    PS – and if this lack of extractable knowledge is inherent in the modelling effort, why didn’t somebody point this out in 1985 and we could all have saved a lot of wasted time?

    • Lat,

      I’d say they know more – one of which is how much they have a better idea of how much they still don’t know. The most likely result of which is that the models are even less predictive than before.

      I’d go on to say that’s an advancement for climate science. It does nothing for people wanting to take action specific to the results of climate models.

    • Latimer Alder

      How much ‘they know more’, have we got for $100 billion?

      Even back in 1985 I could probably have made a reasonable stab at a case that climate modelling was unlikely to ever come up with robust and reliable predictions.

      Has it really taken 30 years and $100 billion just to confirm that notion?

    • tempterrain

      $100 billion? Why not $1 trillion? I suppose, to answer my own question, if you are just making up nice round numbers you have to come up with a figure that at least not everyone would find ridiculous.

      But, just counting those with any intelligence, the first figure is ridiculous, for them, too.

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      The current budget in the US for climate studies is $2.6 billion p.a. Over 30 years that gets to about $75 billion. Add in $25 billion for all the rest of the world (very conservative) and you get to $100 billion without raising a sweat.

      I really do suggest that taking your medication as prescribed by the nice Doctor will make you a lot happier and also improve your cognitive abilities.

    • temp,

      even if $100 billion is a bit of an exaggeration – though if so, I doubt it is much of one – billions have and are being spent. But then arguing about that is a sideshow when compared to the many billions more being spent on alternatives or being proposed or mandated. The EPA’s mecurary ruling alone is expected to cost US energy consumers $11 billion a year for at least the next decade. And that is according tho the government’s own estimation.

    • Good point, Latimar. The lesson here is that as they develop an ‘understanding’ the immediate science in front of them so it unfolds previous unknowns at an exponential rate … branches upon branches of ‘unknowingness’ spread before them like a rampant virus.

    • Latimer Alder

      Somehow I don’t think that I want to continue funding a field where the amount they don’t know unfolds at an exponential rate.

      No point in throwing good money after bad.

    • I’ll clarify for you my good pommy friend.

      You see, once upon a time, scientists believed -indeed had an overwhelming consensus- that just adding CO2 would lead to a warmer world.
      But it’s been many many years (some say 12, some say 15) since Gaia played ball. All of a sudden, these scientists realised “sheit, there’s more to it than CO2″. But what?
      Maybe it’s the oceans, but we don’t know enough about the oceans, we were too busy hanging it on CO2. Maybe it’s the way the stratosphere is coupled with the troposphere, but we don’t know enough, we were too busy hanging it on CO2. Maybe it’s the sun etc etc you get the picture.

    • Latimer Alder

      Thnaks Baa,

      Interesting theories, and well worth further consideration.

      But I think that its just Mother Gaia having a series of jokes at our expense.

      There She is on Mount Olympus watching us put up more and more f…g windmills in the vain hope that She’ll like them and pouring money down the blackhole that is climatology.

      And she’s having a really good giggle about how puny are our efforts and about our hubris. Then one day, when the joke wears a bit thin…or maybe She’s just having a bad day… She’ll send her acolyte on Earth, James Lovelock to tell us it’s all been complete bollocks – and She’ll set off some really unusual weather like heatwaves in the US and the coldest wettest summer in UK for hundreds of years.

      And just when She’s lulled us back into a false sense of security with a few days of ‘normal’ we’ll have the brazen effrontery to try to hold the ‘Olympic’ Games. I doubt very much if She will take this challenge to her authority lying down, so Hang on to your Hats…….and brollies and lightning conductors and anything rigid against a storm………..Even the awesome speed and power of Usain Bolt is impotent against an affronted Mother Gaia with a point to prove

    • It’s nice to see deniers abandoning their pretense of rational thought and becoming explicitly religious. It help to make the choice simple: do you believe in evidence and reason like scientists, or in a magical being on a mountain playing games?

      “we don’t know enough”

      That’s exactly right. You don’t know enough. But to protect your frail ego, you’ve managed to delude yourself that scientists know as little as you do — and it just ain’t so. ;)

    • Latimer Alder

      @robert

      Good to know that there has been no change in the setting of your chuckleometer while you’ve been away. We Brits and Oz and Kiwis (*) can take the piss for ever with absolutely no chance of you even noticing. And self-righteous certainty is such a target-rich environment. :-)

      (*) Apologies to any fine piss-taking nation I have inadvertently omitted.

    • If you want to pretend your various episodes of epic stupidity are a cunning imitation of stupidity to fool others . . . you go with that.

      Unfortunately your lies don’t seem to be getting much traction over here lately. Maybe you should save your clever imitation of a ignorant boob for a time when the public is not quite so immersed in the reality you are trying to deny?

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      You don’t want to continue funding for a field where the results cause you so much political angst you mean. Leaving aside, for a moment, the actual amount spent, it is on a pa basis very small compared with the total budget of many other government ‘projects’ you could choose to get yourself worked up about.

      But, correct me if I’m wrong, you choose almost solely to get worked up about the very small amount of spending on climate research. When the big government contractors like Northrup Grumman, Lockheed Martin, BAE systems etc start to chase climate related contracts you’ll know you are barking up the right big tree. Right now it looks like you are under barking mad under a tiny sapling.

    • Rob Starkey

      Temp

      You sound like a pretty biased person when you generalize the work done by large defense contractors.

      Here is a question- what organization performs better in support of its customers- the US Postal Service or Federal Express?

      Perhaps if private industry were contracted with to develop models for specific purposes, and only paid upon acceptance of the model, a lot of money could be saved.

    • “You sound like a pretty biased person when you generalize the work done by large defense contractors.”

      Rob, I get that you’re trying to change the subject from the argument you’re losing, but you’ve used the “you’re prejudiced” line about a half a dozen times today, and it hasn’t worked yet.

      The problem is that reality has a well-known liberal bias. Confronting reality is unpleasant to you, because you’re a denier, but that’s not the reality-based community’s problem.

    • tempterrain

      Rob Starkey,

      I’m not biased at all. I know many of the big contractors technically do a good job and, yes, the term ‘defence’ contractor is quite accurate as far as most of them are concerned.

      But if the money was in climate change they’d have no problem at all in being ‘climate change’ contractors. That’s the way these big companies operate. The guys running them know where the money is being spent and they chase it very enthusiastically!

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      ‘Leaving aside, for a moment, the actual amount spent, it is on a pa basis very small compared with the total budget of many other government ‘projects’ you could choose to get yourself worked up about’

      This is of course complete bollocks as an argument.

      And I’m sure that you wouldn’t look kindly upon an employee you found stealing 100 bucks a day from your business if his defence was that there was another guy getting away with 200, and so you should concentrate your efforts on him. But that is what you propose I do here.

      As to ‘political angst’, I dunno about that. I don’t reallty get much involved in politics.

      But I do get mighty annoyed about a bunch of arrogant freeeloading mendacious climatologists who – in the rare gaps when they aren’t telling me what an evil bastard I am for not immediately bowing to their ideas and accepting their self-declared superior wisdom – have achieved nothing whatsoever – bar cushy careers and an overweening sense of self-importance – in 30 years of absorbing huge amounts of public funding.

    • too bad that you’re a loser latimer.
      dang kids, get off my lawn!
      story of his life,

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      You say you aren’t political, but here you are equating Government spending, and the tax raised to fund that spending with theft. That’s a very right wing so-called Libertarian argument.

      Look, no-one likes paying taxes.(I’ve got a big tax bill to find by the end of the month :-( ) and no-one entirely likes everything that those taxes get spent on, but that’s called democracy. If you don’t like it you should write to your MP or organise a demo!

      You could chant: “Climatologists. Out! Climatologists. Out! Climatologists Out ! Out! Out! “

    • Latimer Alder

      ”You say you aren’t political, but here you are equating Government spending, and the tax raised to fund that spending with theft.’

      Show me where I said anything like that. You are so enamoured of your theory that anybody who doesn’t fall in line with your fearful terror of immediate global apocalypse is a foaming ideologue that you have lost all rational faculties. And the more you demonstrate such impairment the more convinced I am that your underlying case is weak.

      And your political argument is getting more ridiculous by the hour. Seems to me that in your book anybody who criticises any aspect of government spending must be ‘a very right-Wing so-called Libertarian’.

      Presumably you are entirely comfortable with everything your government spends money on and take care to strictly comply with every rule and regulation they pass. No doubt you pay your tax with big grin knowing that every cent of it will be spent on causes you 100% associate with.

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      “Show me where I said anything like that” ie Comparing Government spending with theft.

      You seem to have a short memory. How about this?

      “you wouldn’t look kindly upon an employee you found stealing 100 bucks a day from your business …….”

    • The point of a model is to predict future events. The test of a model is how well it can retrace the past. Take the standard model of particle physics. It can very accurately retrace the past, therefore it is very likely to be able to predict the future.

      Climate models don’t come close to that. Particle physics is in many ways less complex, and people are able to perform experiments to refine and verify the model. Climate modelling has no such advantage.

      I have no doubt that climate changes and even that human activity plays a part in that change. I’m fully on board that pollution sucks. I start to have a problem when people scream that we absolutely must take some drastic action, because dire things will happen, but their predictions depend on a lot of assumptions and they can’t accurately model the past. That sounds much more like faith than science, to me.

    • Actually climate models can “hindcast” remarkably well.

      Perhaps you should read a little more about the science. Rarely does the science scream at anyone.

    • Robert

      A hindcast is a tool to develop a model with the goal being to accurately forecast future conditions. Getting an accurate hindcast is meaningless except as a part of a model development process. The models demonstrating it has accurately matched observed conditions is what matters

    • “A hindcast is a tool . . .”

      See the comment above: “The test of a model is how well it can retrace the past. . . . Climate models don’t come close to that.”

      Can we agree that that assertion is incorrect? The relative value of hindcasting versus forecasting is another question.

    • I agree that Jayce’s statement would have been more accurate if he/she would have written “A test of a model is how well it can retrace the past.” vs “The”

    • With regard to forecasting, I wish those claiming the models do not do a good job of forecasting would specify by what criteria they are deciding whether a model is good or bad.

      Obviously whether the models are doing well or poorly at the moment depends on your expectations. If you expect them to predict the exact temperature anomaly from year to year, by that standard they are (and always will be) a failure.

      On the other hand, if you look at, say, Hansen 1988, it correctly predicted the ensuing two and a half decades of warming, ice loss, sea level rise, and many other things. So how good the models are depends on what you expect of them.

      As Dr Curry points out frequently, they are not very good at this point at predicting regional climate change. On the other hand, if the real question is something more like: “Will the routine unrestricted burning of fossil fuels lead to >2C of global warming?” the models can answer that question very easily with fairly high confidence.

    • A SLR model that does a good-to-excellent job of hind casting is not prepared much at all to necessarily be better able to forecast the immediate future. To do that would require a scientific breakthrough on crystal ball for ENSO, etc.. What is possible is to say an episode of La Nina dominance will temporarily reduce SLR, and Rob will call the whole thing off. Which is why our Robs should never have authority.

    • Robert
      You asked a question- “I wish those claiming the models do not do a good job of forecasting would specify by what criteria they are deciding whether a model is good or bad.”

      Answer- If a model reasonably accurately matches observed conditions it is doing a good job. If it does not it is not doing a good job.

      Let’s take a couple of simple straightforward examples and be much more specific.
      1. Rainfall- Significant changes in precipitation is very important to the lives of humans. If we were to select a statistically significant number (say 200 locations) around the world and see what a model predicted regarding the expected levels of rainfall per the model at these locations vs. what the actual observed rainfall amounts were at those locations it would be a useful measurement. If rainfall at a specific location had averaged over the previous 5 years 20 inches per year and the model forecasted it would drop by 30% +/- 20% it would be meaningful to see how the model performed. Now from what I read, the models are not expected to produce this type of accuracy and my expectations are too high. My question is why we would want to trust their results for policy if they can’t predict the future accurately enough to matter?

      2. Sea level- We have satellite records tracking sea level rise pretty accurately since 1992. We can observe that sea level is rising at a rate of about 3mm per year +/- 15%. There are models that have forecasted that sea level will rise by over 1000 mm by 2100. This means that the rate will need to jump to over 11 mm per year to achieve that feared rate. In order to believe a model that makes such a prediction, shouldn’t the model be able to accurately predict when the rate of sea level rise should change? Isn’t it silly to believe a sea level rise model that predicts sea level will rise by 7 mm per year +/- 5 mm? A model with a huge margin of error has no value.

    • Rob — I appreciate you addressing the question. When you say “If a model reasonably accurately matches observed conditions it is doing a good job. If it does not it is not doing a good job” what we need is a clear idea of:

      * What you consider reasonable accuracy.
      * Which conditions you are referring to.

      Whether the model is doing a good job or not is going to depend on which conditions you look at and what level of accuracy you need. I don’t agree that precise regional precipitation forecasts are necessary for a model to be useful as an indication of what is going to happen to the climate globally. Why do you think that is a good measure, as opposed to say:

      * Is the atmosphere warming? (Model prediction: yes. Observations: yes.)
      * Are the oceans warming? (Model prediction: yes. Observations: yes.)
      * Do volcanic eruptions have a strong but short-lived cooling effect? (Model prediction: yes. Observations: yes.)
      * Is sea level rise accelerating? (Model prediction: yes. Observations: yes.)
      * Are glaciers melting? (Model prediction: yes. Observations: yes.)

      . . . and so on. I picked rainfall because it is clear what you mean. It’s not so clear what you mean when you come to sea level. You are not complaining that the projections are inaccurate, merely that they project accelerated sea level rise, and you don’t want to believe that that will happen. Not wanting to believe it, however, is not an objective fault in the model.

      Then you say: “Isn’t it silly to believe a sea level rise model that predicts sea level will rise by 7 mm per year +/- 5 mm? A model with a huge margin of error has no value.”

      But that is not, of course, what the models say. They predict sea level rise will gradually accelerate. Exactly how fast is somewhat uncertain. But it is very useful information regardless of whether the sea level rise is 0.9m by 2100 or 1.7m or something in between. It’s certainly better to know that the sea level is likely to rise, rather than to not know that.

      Again, I would be curious what your objective definition is of “a huge margin of error” and how you determine the prediction has no value (I would also be curious how you came up with that specific projection, and to which year it refers). Both claims seem naive.

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert
      The sea level rise issue is the easiest one to explain clearly. The satellite record shows a trend over the last 20 years of a rise of 3.1 mm per year +/- .4 mm. The margin of error for a model of sea level rise should be reasonably consistent with these prior results. Predict the rate of rise with a margin of error of less than 20%. There are no models predicting a 1 meter rise by 2100 that meet this reasonable criterion.

      You and others claim and seem to fear that sea level will rise by 1 to 1.5 meters by 2100. For that to be true the rate of rise must more than triple from the rate for the 1st 10% of the century. The feared rate of over 10 mm per year would need to come about very soon or it would not result in a rise of a meter by 2100. When?

      Robert—the real question is “why should people believe in the forecasts of a model”? If a model has large margins of error in their forecast the results are meaningless since they cannot be used as a basis for decision making. btw- the sea level rise models that predict a rise of 1 meter or more do have margins of error as wide as I stated)

      On another point you ask what models should be designed to be able to accurately forecast? (I have shortened and made your statement more clear)

      I believe that is a very good question that has not been properly considered in the development of the current models. What environmental conditions may change as a result of more CO2 that would impact the lives of humans to the greatest extent? (Positive and negative) Clearly how much it rains annually would be one that is critical. Temperature and sea level rise would be others although they require different models. I suggest other readers think of what else might be critical. That would have been a reasonable function for the IPCC to have performed 10 years ago but they didn’t seem to do it.

    • Rob Starkey

      JCH

      A model that forecasts sea level rise as a function of increasing CO2 may have short term inaccuracies due to el nina or other events, but those events would not impact the overall trendor rate. If they impacted a long term trend in a way that the model did not anticipate, then the model needs to be updated to account for the new variable. That is how models are developed to be meaningful.

    • The satellite record shows a trend over the last 20 years of a rise of 3.1 mm per year +/- .4 mm. The margin of error for a model of sea level rise should be reasonably consistent with these prior results. Predict the rate of rise with a margin of error of less than 20%. There are no models predicting a 1 meter rise by 2100 that meet this reasonable criterion.

      So what you’re arguing, if I understand you, is the margin of error for a prediction of the rate of rise in 2100 should be the same as the margin of error in observations of what has already happened.

      By your logic, then, even if I can predict the outcome of 90% of the games in the NFL, my predictions have no value, since, unlike the games that took place last week, I can’t tell you the final score.

      That’s of course beyond ridiculous, and I wonder how you came to that conclusion. Are you confused by the use of “margin of error” to describe both uncertainty in observation and uncertainty in prediction?

      Obviously they are not at all the same thing, and no reasonable person would expect to be able to predict the future with the same degree of precision that they can measure and then recall the past.

    • Rob, “A model that forecasts sea level rise as a function of increasing CO2..”

      Would be wrong. A very small portion of the sea level rise is due to CO2 forcing. The majority is due to albedo change, land use, and ground water use associated with land use.

      Robert hiself use a perfect example for all factors other than CO2, not long ago when he used http://www.snow-forecast.com/resorts/Cayambe a ski resort as an example of a pristine glacier succumbing to the evils of CO2.

    • Rob Starkey

      Capt

      You may well be correct that a model that only considered sea level rise as a function of CO2 is likely to get poor results.

      Personally, I am not involved in developing a model to forecast sea level rise so I don’t care about the details of what is included in the model. What I do care about is that a model predicting sea level rise seems to make sense if we are going to consider that model as something to base decisions on regarding climate change. That means it should have a pretty tight margin of error in the near term with somewhat expanding margins of error over time. It needs to make forecasts with much higher fidelity than would be made using by looking at historical performance

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert
      Your NFL prediction comparison does not seem to make sense. Let’s examine your point.

      Robert wrote: “if I can predict the outcome of 90% of the games in the NFL, my predictions have no value, since, unlike the games that took place last week, I can’t tell you the final score.”

      My response- If you have demonstrated that you can predict who won 90% of the games outcomes (who won vs. lost) then your forecast of who is likely to win next week is likely to be meaningful. It does not mean that we know anything about your ability to forecast the scores of any past or future games.
      You can forecast sea level rise very simply based on historical results and it will show that sea level will rise by 3.1 mm in 2013 +/- .4 mm. If you were going do use historical results to forecast over a longer period you would simply widen the margin of error over time. The forecast for 50 years from now would not have much value. A model works in a very similar manner whether you like it or not.

    • “A model works in a very similar manner whether you like it or not.”

      Can you prove that? You seem to be describing what passes for science over at WUWT, i.e., curve fitting; mathturbation. That is not how scientists estimate future sea level rise at all.

      You have claimed that estimates for sea level rise need to be within a margin of error of +/-20%. You used observed sea level rise to argue that. But of course the observational margin of error has nothing to do with a margin of error in a prediction. Right?

      Where are you getting 20% from? What’s the rational basis for that? A recent estimate I saw was 0.9m – 1.7m, or 1.3m +/- -0.4m. That’s a 30% margin of error. Seems useful to me. How not?

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert
      There you go again with the prejudicial statements. Is everything posted at WUWT inaccurate science or are there specific articles that you disagree with? I don’t comment there so I really don’t know about those who do. I do look through the articles there as I do at Real Climate, Scientific American, Discovery, and the Blackboard.

      The acceptable margin of error for a model is dependent on the specific attribute being modeled and what the forecast is being used for. In some cases you are trying to determine if course “a” vs. “b” should be followed based upon what the model reports so the margin of error is different for those types of decisions vs. what is under discussion here.

      I really don’t think it is my duty to teach you about how to develop models and what margin of error should apply for specific applications. I hope you can get the general concept that a climate or general circulation model will be expected to perform better (have a lower margin of error) in its initial periods when there is less uncertainty than it will have when forecasting conditions many years into the future. In you example of SLR the margin of error you cited is for a 30% margin of error in the year 2100. Actually, I would not have a problem with that error budget if the model had a much, much tighter margin of error for it’s near term forecasts. For a model to have a greater margin of error over the next 20 years than has been seen in observations over the last 20 years means you do not have a reliable model.

      Robert- to make a simple example I can make a claim without ever having met you or knowing anything about you that you will live to 70 +/- 35 years. Does that demonstrate that I have an effective model to predict life expectancy? Does it show that you should take specific actions regarding your lifestyle?

    • “There you go again with the prejudicial statements.”

      Is there some unprejudiced person being harmed by the straight facts of the matter? Don’t be so sensitive. Curve-fitting is not science, and when you talk about that, the psuedoscience of WUWT is an excellent example. I suggest you accept that you understand exactly to what I’m referring and stick to the actually subject, rather than continuing to try and deflect attention.

      The acceptable margin of error for a model is dependent on the specific attribute being modeled and what the forecast is being used for.

      Perfectly true, but unresponsive: you asserted 20% was objectively the highest margin of error in the specific case of sea level rise. Why? Make your case.

      I really don’t think it is my duty to teach you about how to develop models and what margin of error should apply for specific applications.

      You made an assertion and it is absolutely your responsibility to provide evidence for it. As a non-scientist with no expertise in sea level rise projections, you made a specific claim about what the margin of error in those projections had to be.

      It seems more than likely that you have no idea what you are talking about, are making up numbers and have no idea where they come from. But I always like to give people every opportunity to make their case.

      Actually, I would not have a problem with that error budget if the model had a much, much tighter margin of error for it’s near term forecasts.

      It would seem you’ve made the classic mistake of thinking that forecasting short-term fluctuations is necessary to accurately predict long-term trends. This is a problem of visualization common to chronic mathturbators.

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert

      I am engineer who uses and develops models. What is the difference between an engineer and a scientist? Your slamming WUWT generally is stupid and prejudical and makes communication with you seem less meaningful.

      The 20% figure is a notional figure and generous for near term forecasts of SLR. The point is that it makes no sense to develop a model that has less accuracy that you can get by simply looking at the historical record.

      Regarding SLR you can look at the historical record and make reliable predictions for the next year with a margin of error of less than 15% so a model should have better accuracy than that. A model should always have better performance and lower margins of error in the near term because there are fewer uncertainties. If a models failed to perform as expected in the near term due to a variable it was no designed to take into consideration, the model either needs a fundamental revision or it the unexpected event’s contribution needs to be explained. (If an asteroid hit the planet it would throw off a models ability to make accurate forecasts). ENSO events are just part of the systems performance and shouldn’t be considered like an asteroid. They happen repeatedly. If we can’t model them correctly, it means we do not yet sufficiently understand the system.

    • What is the difference between an engineer and a scientist?

      Well, one’s an engineer, and the other’s a scientist.

      Put another way: I’d rather not have my sewers designed by an astronomer.

      Your slamming WUWT generally is stupid and prejudical and makes communication with you seem less meaningful.

      There’s a difference between prejudice and experience. WUWT has earned their reputation for gross blunders and scientific illiteracy. But again, this seems to be a distraction technique by you. Back to the topic.

      The 20% figure is a notional figure and generous for near term forecasts of SLR.

      Calling it “notional” again doesn’t explain how you picked it or how you justify that choice. Nor does calling it “generous.” Why is it generous? What would a non-generous estimate be?

      You seem to be going for a scienc-y tone, but basic to science is the ability to define your terms and support your assertions. Why 20%? And why would you think a model predicting long-term changes would also predict short-term fluctuations? Again, that’s a really basic mistake — like claiming you can’t estimate economic growth in 2013 if you can’t predict what the stock market is going to do tomorrow.

      ENSO events are just part of the systems performance and shouldn’t be considered like an asteroid. They happen repeatedly. If we can’t model them correctly, it means we do not yet sufficiently understand the system.

      You don’t sufficiently understand the system — we know why that is. You’re not a scientist and you don’t understand the science. Fortunately, your ignorance is not a universal state of affairs.

      You’ve made another assertion: if scientists can’t predict ENSO, then none of their projections can be accurate or useful. Again, I think you’re going to have to show why that might be so, not just assert that, as a engineer, if science doesn’t know what you want it to know, then scientists know nothing.

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert

      I guess I’ll go back to simply ignoring your comments in total vs. occasionally believing you want to have a useful exchange.

      What is the difference between an engineer and a scientist? Answer- nothing if someone is adequately informed on the specific topic. Regarding climate modeling or GCMs, I have little knowledge regarding the details of what needs to be programmed into the model in order for it to be effective. I would claim to know about the process by which the models should be developed and determined suitable for the purposes they were developed.

      Your “experience” at WUWT sounds similar to someone who has had a “bad experience” with someone of a different ethnic background and then generalizes to believe that anyone of that ethnic background must necessarily be inferior.

      I picked the rough 20% figure based on looking at the last 20 years of reliable historical records and then believing that if I were developing a model to predict sea level rise I wouldn’t think it was a very good model if I couldn’t develop one that was better than simply looking at that historical record. A good SL model should be able to forecast when the “rate” of sea level rise will change. It wouldn’t have to be perfect, but it should get reasonably close. A 20% margin of error is excessive in year 1 since the historical record is less than 15%. After 20 years having a 20% margin is probably reasonable and it would grow further the farther out the forecast goes.

      Robert- you are correct that I do not sufficiently understand the earth’s climate system to model it correctly. My point is that neither do the people who are “climate scientists”. If they did fully understand the system, they would be able to model it much more accurately. You may not like the truth, but when we understand a system well we can model it with small margins of error. When we do not understand the system well, models will not match observed results and it is that failure which drives us to learn what we missed in understanding how the system works. The earth’s climate is a system.

      I never wrote what you claimed I wrote “if scientists can’t predict ENSO, then none of their projections can be accurate or useful”. What I wrote is that ENSO is a part of the systems performance and needs to be understood in order to model the system correctly. ENSO is NOT an out of system event like an asteroid, but just a part of the system working in a way we do not yet fully understand.

    • Rob Starkey,

      Next time you feel the urge to try to enter a discussion with Robert, just remember his theme song.

    • Rob Starkey

      Gary M

      Imo, you are correct in your observation about Robert and I won’t reply to him again.

    • What is the difference between an engineer and a scientist? Answer- nothing if someone is adequately informed on the specific topic.

      It seems we have come to a direct statement of your delusions of grandeur. You’re not a scientist, but you think that doesn’t matter. I don’t see any reason I need to add commentary on that, except to say that your comments amply demonstrate that you are not “adequately informed on the specific topic.” So your sad hypothetical does not in any case apply to you, who cannot even tell the difference between predicting the future and recording the past.

      Take your cue from Socrates. Learn the power of acknowledging all you don’t know.

      Your “experience” at WUWT sounds similar to someone who has had a “bad experience” with someone of a different ethnic background and then generalizes to believe that anyone of that ethnic background must necessarily be inferior.

      No matter how many times you play that card, it doesn’t trump reality. Pace 30 Rock, idiots are not a protected category. ;)

      I picked the rough 20% figure based on looking at the last 20 years of reliable historical records and then believing that if I were developing a model to predict sea level rise I wouldn’t think it was a very good model if I couldn’t develop one that was better than simply looking at that historical record.

      Exactly: you think scientist ought to be able to predict the future with the same accuracy as they observe the past. And you still don’t see why that’s nonsensical? Really?

      What I wrote is that ENSO is a part of the systems performance and needs to be understood in order to model the system correctly.

      Except as you point out, you know nothing about climate models so you have no idea if that’s true. You’re guessing. And you have no foundation in the subject to even make an intelligent guess. So you are left claiming that if you can’t predict the weather, you can’t predict the climate. If you were a physicist, or a climatologist, or had any background in science at all, you’d know that what you are describing is a classic mistake of thinking that short-term fluctuations determine long-term trends. But you’re not a scientist, so you don’t know that. That’s fine — I’m sure you build nice sewers. I wouldn’t want Michael Mann to build a rocket. The difference is, Mann doesn’t think that knowing how to do his job means he knows how to do yours.

      Basically I’ve called your bluff. You did everything you could to try and sound like somebody able to critically evaluate climate science, but pressed on the details you totally fell apart, because you have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and hope that phrases like “acceptable margin of error for a model is dependent on the specific attribute being modeled” and “20% figure is a notional figure” will fool people into thinking you have a clue.

      Since I plowed right through that bluff to the big empty space underneath, I can see why you wouldn’t want to talk to me. I will continue to comment as I feel moved to do so, and you should feel absolutely free not to respond. You don’t have much to say in any case.

    • ” Robert
      Actually climate models can “hindcast” remarkably well.”

      That’s because they are ‘fits’, not classical models. The models are more highly trained than circus seals. Any idiot can fit any line shape using reasonable guesses for 5 or more components, this is why they are criticized.

    • Judith
      So far Robert has avoided replying to requests for substantive links, and only asserted, insulted and distracted. He acts like an alarmist troll, who deliberately devalues the blog. I, like you, support fair discussion, presentation of all sides of an argument, etc. He has presented nothing. He is mischievous graffiti in the public space. Please expunge him.

    • Now now ghl, Robert is an alarmist troll that tends to use questionable logic and is quick the intellectual insult, but that is no reason to expunge him. Normally after a Robert invasion Dr. Curry posts on a new psychoanalytical subject that Robert tends to inspire. I suspect a new Italian Flag post is also in the works :)

    • So far Robert has avoided replying to requests for substantive links

      Feel free to show some requests for links which I have ignored. I doubt very much you can. I’m very responsive, although of course it’s easy to miss a comment or two.

      Please expunge him.

      How quickly the fake skeptic quails before the reality of skeptical questioning. How quickly he begs for censorship — anything to protect his beliefs from those who would question them.

      Your intolerance is showing, g.

    • “Normally after a Robert invasion . . .”

      I think it’s interesting how deniers think that any place they squat belongs to them. Dr. Curry and I resemble one another far more in our opinions about global warming than either of us resemble you. So why should you think the space belongs to anti-science zealots?

      This is the internet and not some super-secret denier treehouse. If you want that, try WUWT — Andy censors quite aggressively.

    • Robert, “So why should you think the space belongs to anti-science zealots?”

      Why would you assume I am an anti-science zealot? Because I disagree with you? Are you the embodiment of science, Robert? Inquiring minds would like to know since you type with such authority and possess so much confident in your theories.

    • Question A: To what theories do you refer? I don’t think I’ve expounded any lately.

      Question B: In what sense am I possibly an “invader”? I have been a member of this community for a long time, and provided many hundreds of links and explanations. Calling me an “invader” implies that this space belongs to people of a certain ideological persuasion, i.e., your basic anti-science zealot.

      Now, if you don’t wish to make that implication, which doesn’t really reflect well on you, I would suggest that you stick to criticism of my contributions, rather than terms like “invader.” You are welcome to make the case that I am a poor Denizen, which I probably am.

    • Actually Latimer, the major uncertainties coming out to the improved models are a sign that our understanding is growing. Previously the climate scientists had assumed they could model a coupled non-linear chaotic system, now armed with more information and improved models it is dawning on them that the more you know about a coupled non-linear chaotic system the more uncertain you become.

      I don’t believe the time has been totally wasted, we have Tamsin Edwards blog on modelling and the conversations there appear to be terribly sensible.

    • Rob Starkey

      The proof is in the results. If the models do better in matching observed results then there has been progress. If not, there has not been and the effort was ineffective

    • Latimer Alder

      I would hope that $100 billion buys us more than ‘terribly sensible discussions’ on a blog.

      If you don’t agree, can you lend me twenty quid until I win the Lotto?

    • It is my understanding that the IPCC was created to provide scientific support for the claim that global warming was a looming global disaster caused by burning fossil fuels. The climate models are intended to support the claim. There tends to be an aura about computer models that lends them more credibility than deserved. With the wrong models and/or assumptions, you can get wrong answers. With the complexity of simulations you can have a hard time detecting errors. With faster computers you can get the wrong answers more quickly. Wicked.

  5. It is so ‘scientists’ can have taxable income to report.

    • Latimer Alder

      Way back in Victorian times in UK, workhouses provided some form of food and shelter for people in exchange for indulging in completely – and deliberately – futile activities.

      Nowadays, it seems we do the same via the mechanism of ‘climatology’.

  6. The GCM model-makers would like to indulge the notion that the more components we have the more we will understand the system. Actually the reverse is true: the more components we have, the more we will have to combine, the more interactions there will be that we do not really understand, the more complex the system becomes to undertand and model as it seemingly acts independently of all the rules we developed that it is supposed to follow and refuses to obey.

    In other words, the climate system becomes more not less mysterious.

    • Wagathon | July 18, 2012 at 4:39 pm said: ” the more interactions there will be that we do not really understand”

      WRONG, Wagathon, try again: ”the D/H, DON’T WANT to understand” because the truth exposes the stench, from their skeletons in their closed.

      Talking about climatic changes, but searching for ”phony” global warmings, is: same as researching; ”why planet Jupiter is spinning around the earth, only at night”? Wrrrrrrrrmm wrrrrmmmm!!! Why the stork brings babies, when the postman is sometime guilty? Too many ”uncertainties” for all the bullshine addicts… all the answers are on my blog!

  7. The more we learn about the climate, the more we realize how little we know, therefore the greater need to decarbonize the economy?

    Yawn.

    CAGW activists have been using the precautionary principle for years to claim that the more uncertain we are, the more we need to give them power over the energy economy. The fact that they have decided to switch from denying uncertainty to embracing it as a call to action, isn’t terribly interesting, or even terribly new.

    • “the more we need to give them power over the energy economy”

      There are a number of ways that assertion fails:

      * Climate deniers do not have control over the energy economy. You are a small, heavily right-wing collection of conspiracy theorists, and are not in charge of anything.

      * No climate scientist is asking for control over the energy economy or anything else. That is kind of like saying that Louis Pasteur, by discovering vaccines, demanded control over child rearing. Scientists discover things about the world; that’s their job. These facts “control” us only insofar as the world we live in is what it is and our choices have consequences. And there’s no escape from that.

      * There are a number of ways to deal with global warming — some involve discouraging fossil fuel burning, others carbon capture and storage, still others geoengineering. You are trying to deny reality because one particular option — reducing the burning of fossil fuels — is unappealing to you, and you project your fear of that onto the people telling you the science. But the science has no built-in course of action, so your projected fears are nonsense.

    • Oh good, Robert’s back. Now no one needs to actually go to thinkprogress or skepticalscience to get the latest CAGW propaganda. He’ll regurgitate it all for us here, in great, logic free globs.

      Anybody got a mop?

      “We” refers to we the voters genius, but then you knew that.

      James “Death Trains” Hansen doesn’t want to control the energy economy, including those coal trains?

      There are indeed a number of ways to deal with carbon emissions, but decarbonization is where the CAGWers have put al their chips. Unfortunately for progressives, first the politicians funding the CAGW scientific gravy train have to get get control of the energy economy you claim no one wants.

      The best thing about fire breathing progressive drones like Robert is they are completely unaware of how self contradictory so much of what they say is. Arguing with them is like boxing Pee Wee Herman. You can do it, but it’s not very sporting.

    • “latest CAGW propaganda”

      The term “CAGW” is a straw man with no meaning, except of course the implication that you accept that the battle against the real theory — AGW is over, and you lost.

      ““We” refers to we the voters genius, but then you knew that.”

      A tiny fringe of anti-science conspiracy theorists is in no position to speak for “the voters,” but then you knew that.

      James “Death Trains” Hansen doesn’t want to control the energy economy, including those coal trains?

      Well, let’s see. Does a firefighter installing a free smoke detector do it because he wants to control your home?

      Does the Coast Guard perform rescues because they want to control the seas?

      Your argument makes no sense. Now Hansen, obviously, is an activist as well as doing scientific work. Which is his right as a citizen and a voter, but does not mean you can infer that all scientists are also activists.

      “There are indeed a number of ways to deal with carbon emissions, but decarbonization is where the CAGWers have put al their chips.”

      Again the fantasy of “CAGW,” and the desire to explain your own science denial based upon what you think some people might want to do about those facts.

      Basically you’ve outed yourself as someone who looks to his ideology, not facts, to determine his reality.

      I agree with you about progressives, though. Ever since they fought to get black and women the right to vote, everything’s gone wrong. New slogan:

      From the people who brought you segregation and the rule of thumb — their next great idea — denying basic facts about the physical world.

    • Slavery, Jim Crow, standing in the school house door, fire hoses and attack dogs on demonstrators, and of course the KKK, all brought to you by the Democrat party.

    • Robert

      You got it wrong.

      “AGW” is a hypothesis based on the GH theory and observed increasing atmospheric GHG levels, principally CO2, resulting (at least partially) from human GHG emissions.

      “Catastrophic AGW” is the IPCC version, which postulates catastrophic consequences for humanity and our environment from AGW.

      Many rational skeptics of “CAGW” (including myself) accept the “AGW” hypothesis per se, but reject the notion that this will result in catastrophic consequences, as suggested by IPCC.

      Get the difference?

      It’s really quite simple.

      Max

    • On the internet, you can’t see the gas mask he’s barking through.
      ===========

  8. And please, the IPCC in particular, and “the consensus” in general, aren’t speaking anything to power. They are the well funded mouth pieces of power, created and staffed to do the bidding of the progressive governments of the west.

    They are the establishment, not some revolutionary voice of dissent.

  9. Dave Springer

    Climate models are not at their limit they’re just wrong. There hasn’t been any statistical warming in a dozen years. The whole brouhaha has been based on pencil whipping the pre-satellite record and mistaking (perhaps purposely by those who should know better) the warming side the AMDO with permanent warming. There hasn’t been any statistically significant warming in a dozen years.

    http://woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/every/mean:12/offset:0.13/plot/rss/every/trend/offset:0.13/plot/uah/every/mean:12/offset:0.23/plot/uah/every/trend/offset:0.23/plot/esrl-amo/every

    The graph above shows the 33-year satellite temperature record (both UAH and RSS which are virtually indistinguishable) layed on top of 150 years of Atlantic surface temperature records. When the 60 year AMDO cycle turned down, right on time a dozen years ago, global warming ground to a halt. Now we’re in for a couple decades of the negative side of the AMDO which will erase the warming from the positive side. The satellites don’t lie and neither do ships captains dipping buckets of ocean water and duly recording the temperature.

    The post mortem on this embarrassing chapter of cargo-cult science will surely be interesting.

  10. “They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.”

    I must admit I lost interest in the paper after that. Not that I took much notice of the paper before that. Why our hostess continues to post this sort of garbage for people to comment on, I have no idea. And our hostess did not make it at all clear why she thinks this paper is important. The title of her new paper is “Climate Models: Fit For What Purpose? ” The answer to her question is clear. Climate models dont serve any useful scientific purpose, so far as predicting what is going to happen in the future beyond a few days, but they are terrific are getting funds out of gullible governments; including, unfortunately, the Canadian Government.

    • If only those were the rules of engagement in Afghanistan. Nuke ‘em, and see what we nuked later.

    • John Carpenter

      “The answer to her question is clear. Climate models dont serve any useful scientific purpose”

      This is an incredibly wrong statement. Models are used all the time to help further scientific knowledge. Climate models more specifically have been useful in the understanding of the complex physics dynamics at work. Perhaps one of their greatest achievements so far are not to be harbingers of what the climate might look like in decades to come, but in realizing the problem is a whole lot more complex than initially advertised. The twist to this is… simple models may be a lot more informative than more complex ones. Simple models tell us what to expect from a few important variables. It is evident that as the complexity of models is increased to capture more detail, not everyone captures the same finer details the same way and we end up with more uncertainty than where we started with between models.

      Look, I’m just a wary about model simulations as the next. Especially how they are used to promote a cause such as AGW. But to simply state they are totally useless to scientific advancement of understanding is total BS. They are useful and will continue to be useful.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      If one looks at return on investment, how does the 30 year modelling effort stack up, especially since investment in observations suffered by comparison?

    • John Carpenter

      How has investment in observation suffered? You got something that can back that up? I am not aware that investment in observation has been considered inferior to investment in modeling over the last 30 years. Satellites aren’t cheap.

    • Your right John, satellites aren’t cheap. Neither are supercomputers and the army of programmers and modelers to support them cheap. There are 22 plus models! With that kind of effort I would expect to know much more about the climate than they have provided so far. As a taxpayer, I am thoroughly disappointed.

    • Latimer Alder

      From the point of view of the guys who pay for it, it has been a complete waste of money. 30 years of climatology and north of $100 billion spent to know less than we thought we did to start with.

      From the point of view of the participants, it’s meant careers, status and regular income. See how big the gravy train has become.

    • John Carpenter

      waste of money… not entirely. disappointment we don’t have better knowledge after all that’s been studied….yes. To say we know less today than 30 years ago about climate…. a bit of a stretch IMO.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Most of the money (99%) is spent on satellites and observing programmes which are of course relevant to weather forecasting. But whatever the cost, the cost is what it is and the desire to know as much about our planet is there with or without rising CO2.

      The amount of money spent on the additional task of working out the likely impact of rising CO2 is probably in the tens of millions per year these days which is a tiny amount considering the risks we are taking. Transocean will charge you half a million *a day* to drill an oil well.

    • John, you write “This is an incredibly wrong statement.”

      I agree with you completely. But you have dekiberately truncated what I wrote. Read the whole sentence. “Climate models dont serve any useful scientific purpose, so far as predicting what is going to happen in the future beyond a few days, but they are terrific are getting funds out of gullible governments; including,”

    • John Carpenter

      Jim, weather models and climate models are two different things. Weather models are not short term climate models. Even if climate models don’t predict future warming accurately, something will be learned and knowledge will be advanced. Failure is not a bad thing, if your not failing, then your not really doing anything. Again, your stating they don’t serve any useful purpose other than getting funding, I disagree.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Something will be learnt and knowledge will be advanced’

      A lovely abstract proposition that we can all idealistically support. But when you come down to spending real finite money you have to be a bit more hard-headed.

      What, exactly, have we collectively learnt for our investment of $100 billion in climatological studies? From the discussion above it seems to be a big fat zero. We know no more about future climate than we did in 1985.

      And that’s $100 billion we could have spent on really useful things…clean water, eradication of malaria etc etc.

      Instead we’ve squandered it on careers and toys for academics..

    • John Carpenter

      I won’t argue that the money spent studying the climate via modeling has been as effective as it might have been in helping with other worldly problems. But I am not willing to go so far as to say it has been a total waste. IMO climate modeling helps advance knowledge of our how our environment works… we can learn just as much from failed predictions as from correct ones.

    • WisconsinitesForGlobalWarming

      John, I can tell you are passionate about the idea that the money spend on climate models didn’t go to waste.

      There were many who, early on, thought the space program was a waste as well. However, the space program quickly demonstrated huge ROI from spin offs… which one can find readily by simply using Google.

      That said, what are the useful spin offs of “climate science” that demonstrate its ROI?

    • John Carpenter

      WFGW, well… I’m not sure passionate is the right term for how I feel about how the money was spent, perhaps indifferent. My original point had more to do with Jim Cripwell’s statement that ‘climate models don’t serve any useful scientific purpose’… I disagree with that statement, it is false. whether the money spent on climate modeling has been wise or not is really secondary for me. It appears to be more important to Latimer as he brought it up.

      Up thread Hank Z made an unsupported statement that investment in observational (empirical data collection) methods have suffered in comparison to money spent on climate modeling… I’m asking for some evidence for that because significant amounts of money has been spent on satellite observational equipment and I have never seen such data suggesting modeling gets significantly more. I could be wrong… I’m just asking a question.

      Are there going to be useful ‘spin-offs’ of climate science that will realize a ROI? Dunno, I suggest you ask Judith Curry herself… she’s giving the longer term weather forecasting business a try as a spin off of her climate science knowledge coupled with modeling.

    • “Climate models more specifically have been useful in the understanding of the complex physics dynamics at work”

      Completely untrue. Either the run of a model is an mathematical experiment or it isn’t. If it is an experiment, then when it does not match reality it fails.
      You are stuck in Aristotelian philosophy and believe that if you think ‘really, really hard’, you can understand what is going on; You can’t instead this is what you do:-
      Postulate.
      Hypothesis.
      Experiment to test hypothesis.
      Refine hypothesis
      Experiment to test hypothesis.
      ad infinitum

      .

    • John Carpenter

      Doc, failure is where the learning happens. I don’t see how mathematical model experiments in general don’t or can’t fit your method, even climate ones.

    • I as well. Them was a dead giveaway that the authors had a specific agenda to push.

    • Jim Cripwell | July 18, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      Jim, loaded comments are entertaining. same as ”loaded” asking: why the GLOBAL warming stopped? 2] for last 15y hasn’t being any warming. 3] is it going to be GLOBAL warming by 0,5C, or 2-5C?

      NO! THERE ISN’T, AND IT WASN’T ANY global WARMING. Same as it wasn’t any Nuclear Winter for year 2000, because of CO2 dimming effect (that they were ”predicting”).

      GLOBAL warming bull-manure is fodder for the ”Climate from Changing Stoppers” (demand = supply) All the Bullshine Addicts, better be on the computer; than to go mugging people in dark alleys… let the governments doo the muggings
      .
      How to minimize global warming impact? Expose the IPCC’s con. The ”CON” is the negative impact. If you don’t want global warming – don’t do a thing about it; because is NOT going to happen. 2] Nobody has ever stopped climate from changing, and nobody ever will. If they can; should demonstrate by preventing from summer going into winter climate. That should make the Canadians happy. You better get involved into ”STOPPING” the moon of going to another planet, but for less money; have a heart for the suffering taxpayer

  11. The world was so much simpler when we had just the most basic of models and we weren’t trying to figure out how much we didn’t know. Don’t like the weather? Just sacrifice a virgin a day until you do. Coal plants may be used in lieu of virgins should you have trouble finding sufficient virgins in your area.

    • Latimer Alder

      If you find a limited supply of coal plants and/or virgins, you can always erect a completely useless temple to Mother Gaia. The bigger and more useless it is, the more She will bless you.

      In most latinate/germanic languages these are called ‘wind turbines’ or the like.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Now the consensus climate cult is seeking to sacrifice whole nations instead of one poor virgin. Who says we have not made great strides?

  12. The AMO is not going to erase a darn thing.

    • So ENSO either did not happen or does nothing. So the napping sun either did not happen or does nothing. So the PDO was actually a bunch of lost speedos sloshing around on the bottom of the pacific.

      You’re right, it’s all the AMO bitatch slappin ‘ around the satellite SAT like like some rag doll.

      Maybe you’re on to how UAH does their series.

    • AMO is just a temperature index (NA SST), nothing more. You can also take a global temperature index (whichever), detrend it if you want, and call it global multidecadal oscillation.

    • Edim: You are partly correct. The AMO data presented by ESRL is detrended North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies. That dataset is an index as you say. However, it is intended to highlight the multidecadal variations in the sea surface temperature anomalies of the North Atlantic, which are greater than the global average. Ideally, the AMO would be represented by the sea surface temperature anomalies of the rest of the world subtracted from the North Atlantic sea surface temperature anomalies to illustrate its additional multidecadal variations. It has contributed to the rise in global sea surface temperature anomalies in recent decades and it will impede them in the not too distant future, if it has not started to do so already.

    • Bob, I agree. My impression is that many forget what AMO is and think it’s some kind of a special (internal) oscillation. It’s a (detrended) temperature index. There’s no fundamental diference between AMO and any other regional temperature index. Some are more stable, some oscillate more. Global climate oscillates and so does any regional climate. I agree that NA SST is very important for global climate.

    • Dave Springer

      I’m sorry. Did I somehow give the impression that the AMO was more than a temperature index?

      HADCRUT and GISS are just temperature indexes too. Does that mean we can dismiss them as well? Given land, unlike oceans, doesn’t hold much heat and is a minor fraction of the surface I’m certainly all in favor of dismissing land records and just focus on the ocean.

    • Dave Springer

      The whole point is there is a global multidecadal oscillation and we’ve had the ability for precision measurement of it for 33 years. It’s a sine wave and it’s most visible in the north Atlantic. That may or may not be the origin but I’d bet it is. It happens that we began measuring in 1979 about a decade into the rising side of the sine. The chicken littles composing climate boffinry pretended that the positive slope being observed would never end i.e. the 0.3C/decade global temperature increase would continue for the next 100 years. It didn’t. It followed the sine wave with the 60-year period best observed in NA SST. Global average temperature trend went flat and as the years pile on that drags the decadal trend down which, barely onto the declining side of the sine wave, is already down to 0.14C/decade. My thesis is that in 20 more years the 0.14C/decade we currently have in the satellite record will be 0.0C/decade.

      Computer models can be illuminating but they can also be wrong. Reality is disagreeing the models in this case. Reality trumps imagination.

    • Dave Springer

      JCH | July 18, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Reply

      “Maybe you’re on to how UAH does their series.”

      You didn’t pay very close attention. I used both UAH and RSS which differ so little you can overlay them on top of each other and they become one. Maybe you’re an ass clown.

  13. Another excellent example of “This is hard – let’s do it wrong” thinking. Before we didn’t know we didn’t know what we were doing we could have chosen a major mediation program, but we’ve waited until we are sure we don’t know what we’re doing to make that decision. That’s progress.

  14. The idea that adding more information to a model “increases uncertainty” doesn’t pass the laugh test in my opinion. It just means that the uncertainty was previously underestimated or ignored.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      Jeff: the uncertainty was previously underestimated or ignored.

      I second that.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      It just means that the uncertainty was previously underestimated or ignored.

      As far as I recall, it has always been stated that slow feedbacks could add or take away from the impacts of rising temperature. Researching and then modelling these feedbacks is hard.

      A related example would be the way that the sea level rise projection has been given. In AR3 a central estimate was given including all contributions (expansion due to warmer water, melting of land ice, break-up of large glaciers/ice-sheets). In AR4 the central estimate excluded the third of these options because it was argued that it was so uncertain you would not be right to give a consensus viewpoint. While this was explained, because the headline number was lower there were erroneous claims that AR4 had reduced its estimates on sea level rise.

      So there is a no-win situation. Either you say “It could be worse than we thought” and get criticised for being alarmist without good evidence. Or you side-line the high risk/high uncertainty possibilities and then get criticised for previously ignoring them when you finally have the information to deal with them.

    • Steve Milesworthy,

      Your last paragraph is really curious. If there is a “no win situation,” surely it was due to the IPCC’s inclusion of serial inflation of certainty in the previous ARs. Perhaps the AR4 made a minor change toward acknowledging uncertain in the one example you mention. But it was the AR4 that included the disappearing Himalayan Glacier claims and other baseless predictions of catastrophe, not to mention the inflated claim of certainty regarding attribution that is at the heart of the matter.

      The IPCC is in a no win situation because it has been a political organization, pursuing a political agenda, depressed up as science. It has consistently inflated claims of certainty because that was what was needed by its political sponsors to enact the policies they so desperately wanted.

      But don’t worry, if the U.S. election this November goes as seems likely now, we won’t have to worry about the IPCC for a long while.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      GaryM

      Your last paragraph is really curious. If there is a “no win situation,” surely it was due to the IPCC’s inclusion of serial inflation of certainty in the previous ARs.

      People keep forgetting what the IPCC report is. The report is supposed to provide advice to policy makers. No matter how much people bang on about whether consensus in science is a right and proper thing, the consensus in the IPCC report is what a bunch of scientists collectively think is the best way of explaining things to policy makers.

      If a bunch of policy makers ask you for advice, then there is only so much uncertainty they are prepared to cope with at any one time. That means that (consensus) judgement calls are continuously made with respect to how scientific understanding is summarised. The judgements on any particular bit of information could go different ways as understanding increases.

    • “The report is supposed to provide advice to policy makers.”

      No. The report is supposed to provide rationalizations to policy makers – so they can implement the policies they have wanted since the IPCC’s inception. It has always been – policy first, science second.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Gary,

      It would not surprise me if there was a strong element of self-interest input by individual contributers to WG2, and I will happily agree with anyone who suggests that most of the likelihood values for local impacts described in WG2 are highly uncertain, but this discussion is about WG1 which is where the discussion about the basic physics is.

    • “This discussion” is about climate models. And climate models form the very basis for the catastrophic predictions in WG2. Which is the only reason 98.5% of the population cares about them.

      “In an ideal world, Working Group I would have had the time to produce scenarios for emission-induced climate change which could have been used as a basis for the analyses of this Working Group. However, this was precluded because work proceeded in parallel. As a result, and in order to complete its work in time, Working Group II has used a number of scenarios based on existing models in the literature”

      This is why CAGWers always use the bait an switch of claiming there is no such thing as CAGW (except for when they are arguing the precautionary principle or how it is essential that decarbonization begin NOW.) This whole debate vanishes from the public consciousness if you take away the disaster scenarios of droughts, disappearing glaciers, deserts and plagues of locusts predicted in WG2 based on the climate models.

      You all pretend to be talking about “the basic physics,” all the while claiming there is a looming disaster that requires your destruction of the energy economy.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      You all pretend to be talking about “the basic physics,” all the while claiming there is a looming disaster that requires your destruction of the energy economy.

      No I think we all talk about the basic physics to prove that there is a real reason for being extremely concerned about the high risks we are taking. Those who bang on about CAGW seem happy to dispute the clear evidence of the risk while pretending they know for sure that measured programmes to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels will have Catastrophic impacts on the economy.

    • Steve Milesworthy, ice sheet dynamics were not excluded in estimates of SLR in AR4. You can argue the estimates should have been higher and some did. The fact that the higher estimates were only included in the general paper and not in the summary for policy makers indicates others found their argument unconvincing.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      I said “…the central estimate excluded…” ice sheet dynamics – more correctly, what was excluded was any estimates about *changes* in ice sheet dynamics.

      The fact that the higher estimates were only included in the general paper and not in the summary for policy makers indicates others found their argument unconvincing.

      I was giving an example where accounting for uncertainty can better express the state of scientific knowledge while taking away from the ability to provide a concise consensual summary.

      As it happens, the Summary for Policy Makers did include a discussion of the higher estimates. But my understanding is that there was a big row about the choice of words – so technically it wasn’t a consensus viewpoint even at the time it was written…:

      For example, if this contribution were to
      grow linearly with global average temperature change,
      the upper ranges of sea level rise for SRES scenarios
      shown in Table SPM.3 would increase by 0.1 to 0.2 m.

    • So you would agree that if there was a reduction is SLR estimates it was not due to ice sheet dynamics being excluded but rather that the ice sheet dynamics included a smaller contribution than you would have argued for?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      steven,

      You seem to think I’m arguing for a point about sea level rise and how uncertainty in projections about sea level rise should have been handled. I’m not. I’m saying that the change of judgement about how to express information when uncertainties change is normal, and using the ice sheet dynamics case as an example.

      I do think that pretending that because there is no “consensus” about the point it can therefore be ignored is a highly suspect tactic that some sceptics used. In the same way, the fact that the model scenarios are more complex and therefore apparently providing less consensus in the scenario runs is a) normal so shouldn’t be laughed at, b) not an additional reason to ignore them, and c) not an indication that the uncertainties were previously hidden or ignored by the scientists.

    • Steve, actually the only reason I am making a point about this at all is because I have seen the comment that ice sheet dynamics were not included in estimates many times over the years. I consider it an important distinction between not being included and having difficulty getting everyone to agree upon a higher level of ice loss.

      As far as the uncertainties being greater as knowledge increases, I am not suprised. At some point these will begin to decrease with knowledge and I would consider that point when we can say climate science is reaching maturity.

    • Trusting my memory, which is a mistake, the AR that came out ~2007 left out contributions from changes, expected changes, in the Greenland and Antarctica ice sheets (I think they did include a minor change from a prior period). Because there is no way to model it. It’s going to go nonlinear and kick butt. And then everybody is going to scream, “Why didn’t you tell us?” And the answer is going to be, “We were shamed into not alarming you because we did not know when something we all sort of knew was going to happen in this century was going to happen in this century.”

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Steve, actually the only reason I am making a point about this at all is because I have seen the comment that ice sheet dynamics were not included in estimates many times over the years. I consider it an important distinction between not being included and having difficulty getting everyone to agree upon a higher level of ice loss.

      In which case I will reiterate that I didn’t make such a comment.

      …I would consider that point when we can say climate science is reaching maturity.

      In a number of decades from now we will perhaps also hope that medical science will reach maturity.

    • JCH, that was the argument of those that wanted to increase the loss due to ice dynamics. They left out these contributions because they could not get the experts involved to agree on this. It wasn’t left out per say. It was decided by at least some of those involved to be poorly supported. This is an important distinction.

    • Steve, you corrected your statement already. I have no problem with the way you worded it the second time. I might take issue with the idea that large scale changes in dynamics were excluded. Obviously they were thought about and decided that an agreement couldn’t be reached that the larger estimates were supported. One could say that about almost anything that isn’t included in estimates. I don’t see anything about ice sheet dynamics slowing because of a change in the AMO either. Certainly that idea must have occurred to someone.

  15. They say fewer assumptions are now being made. Evidently that is due to some assumptions being replaced with physics formulas. As a result, confidence in the output has been reduced. That sounds like what would happen attempting to emulate a poorly understood system or one which may actually be chaotic.

    They might be worth paying attention to when they have replaced their other assumptions with physics and get consistent output.

  16. David L. Hagen

    The Professor (CS Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.)

    “Keep your eyes open. Bless me, what do they teach them at these schools.”

    Contrast Maslin & Austin:

    We need governments to go ahead and act, as both the United Kingdom and Mexico have done in making national laws that contain carbon reduction targets of 80% and 50%, respectively, by 2050.

    Maslin and Austin begin by committing the logical fallacy of the False Dilemma or the Excluded Middle.
    They presume only two options of anthropogenic warming or mitigation. They ignore the far more cost effective option of adaptation. They further presume that their models are sufficiently “accurate” for policy – yet without validation!

    Christopher Monckton summarizes how adaptation is much more cost effective than mitigation.
    “As they say on the London insurance market, ‘When the premium exceeds the cost of the risk, don’t insure.’”

    At FixTheClimate.com, the Copenhagen Consensus shows that even if we chose mitigation, it is far more cost effective to focus on RD&D now and NOT actual sequestration, since improved energy efficiency and/or fuels etc. would be much more cost effective in the future, resulting in massive savings.

    Roy Spencer (July 18, 2012) observes that at least 3 IPCC models predict global ocean cooling given positive radiative forcing! Why should we rely on climate models if the cannot even achieve basic conservation of energy to satisfy the first law of thermodynamics?

    Maslin and Austin further appear ignorant of the foundational requirements for scientific forecasting. e.g.,
    Validity of Climate Change Forecasting for Public Policy Decision Making Green, Armstrong & Soon (2009)

    Inspection of global temperature data suggests that it is subject to irregular variations on all relevant time scales and that variations during the late 1900s were not unusual. In such a situation, a “no change” extrapolation is an appropriate benchmark forecasting method. . . .Again using the IPCC warming rate . . .1851 to 1975. The errors from the projections were more than seven times greater than the errors from the benchmark method.

    See: Forecasting Guru Announces: “no scientific basis for forecasting climate”
    and the Public Policy group at ForecastingPrinciples.com

    Remember Einstein’s razor:

    Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler.

    John von Neumann

    With four parameters I can fit an elephant, and with five I can make him wiggle his trunk.

    Consider that modern climate models have more than 100 parameters! Can they even be verified, let alone validated? How can they be distinguished from curve fitting?
    When AR5 models can forecast/hindcast equally well to predict one half of the data given the other half the data, then they might begin to be believable compared to simpler models. Compare Scafetta (2012).
    When models do not address foundational principles of scientific forecasting to avoid systemic bias, then arguments by Maslin & Austin are just illogical/emotive rhetorical appeals to be avoided, not scientific foundations on which to build policy.

    • David,

      The sentence about UK and Mexico caught my attention as well. The level of math one requires to recognize how unrealistic these numbers are is not too far past that of a primary school (6th grade) graduate.

    • Maslin & Austin’s presupposition underlying “mitigation” appears to be “we must keep nature pristine at all costs.” This directly contradicts the foundational premise of the Judeo-Christian world view of Western Civilization, that we have the duty to tend and care for the earth. Gen 1:28-30. See the Cornwallis Alliance.
      Maslin & Austin further underestimate nature’s major variations, and likely underestimate natural persistence by at least a factor of two. See D. Koutsoyiannis et al. Hurst-Kolmogorov persisance.

    • Steven Mosher

      1.. the models I’ve looked at might have 32 parameters they can set. some of them very simple on off switches like slab ocean: on off.
      2. Scafetta’s toy is not a model of the climate.

    • Dave Springer

      Is one of those 32 parameters in the non-toy models solar magnetic field influence on cloud formation?

      Maybe the models are missing a critical parameter or two. One thing we know they are missing is skill because they completely botched the past 15 years…

    • David L. Hagen

      Mosher
      It is worth reviewing Freeman Dyson’s meeting with Enrico Fermi. where Fermi quoted Von Neuman.

      At Climate Prediction I count 77 parameters. I recall another discussion at Climate Etc. mentioning about 105 parameters.

      Nigel Fox cites the IPCC as clouds having the greatest uncertainty. e.g., 0.24 out of 0.26. Different climate model predictions only vary by a factor of 500% by 2100.

      Uncertainty in data/feedbacks limits
      ability to discriminate to ~ 30 yrs!!

      You might enjoy examining the review discussion on Mapping the uncertainty in global CCN
      using emulation>Lee et al. Mapping the uncertainty in global CCN
      using emulation:

      Referee: Interactive comment on “Mapping the uncertainty in global CCN using emulation” by L. A. Lee et al. (re cloud condensation nuclei (CCN))

      how many parameters does the model have besides the 8 selected for sensitivity analysis? And which processes are included in the model that are not controlled by any of those 8 parameters? . . .the authors build separate emulators for each of the 2ˆ14 grid cells. Those emulators are independent from each other so the collection of emulators is in no way constrained by considerations of, for example, keeping the same global or regional totals of CCN as the original model.

      Scafetta’s model is able to hindcast/forecast remarkably accurately and predict global temperatures for the last decade better than the IPCC mean. That gives me something better to rely on than models that predict temperature trends warmer than 98% of reality for the last 32 years!

  17. The points raised in the article are unsupportable to the point of being laughable.

    The authors are worried about a public relations problem when what they should be worried about are developing climate or weather models that are acceptable for the stated purpose. The models need to be able to reasonably accurately forecast the conditions that are important to government policy makers as a function of rising CO2 levels. If they can’t perform that function why would a government policy maker implement support implementing expensive policies based on anything the model reports? Models that do not reasonable closely match observed conditions are unfit for use in making government policy.

    To state that climate models have reached their limit in terms of accuracy seems a foolish statement. If the current approach(s) to modeling the climate have turned out to be unacceptably inaccurate for the intended purpose it does NOT mean that alternate approaches to modeling the system might not be much more successful in the future.

    Decisions need to be based upon good data and not made in haste based upon poor data. The authors want a rush to judgment in spite of the fact that there is no reliable data to support their judgment. If the models predicted that the world would be harmed because rainfall in an area would decline by say 20% after “x years”, but in fact observations showed that rainfall did not decline, why should polices be implemented based on the model’s faulty results?

    What are needed are reliably accurate models and not a rush to implement actions that may well be completely wasteful. Rushing to spend trillions to reduce CO2 emissions to make someone feel good about “doing something” is not productive. Even if the UK and Mexico met their stated targets, worldwide CO2 would continue to rise and the climate would continue to change, but the UK and Mexico would have fewer funds available to invest in things like better infrastructure. That failure would result in more harms coming to UK and Mexican citizens than would have resulted if the funds had not been wasted.

    • Makes good sense to me.

    • tempterrain

      Probably why its all wrong then :-)

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Petty snark aside, this doesn’t make any sense. Even if Peter Lang’s understanding of a comment damned it, his understanding of it couldn’t explain why it was wrong. It might be able to indicate the comment is wrong, but that’s it.

      If you’re going to rely on petty ad hominem tempterrain, you should try to do a better job of it. Otherwise, people might just start concluding anything you sarcastically respond to is right.

      :P

    • I particularly agree with these statements:

      The models need to be able to reasonably accurately forecast the conditions that are important to government policy makers as a function of rising CO2 levels. If they can’t perform that function why would a government policy maker implement support implementing expensive policies based on anything the model reports? Models that do not reasonable closely match observed conditions are unfit for use in making government policy.

      Decisions need to be based upon good data and not made in haste based upon poor data. The authors want a rush to judgment in spite of the fact that there is no reliable data to support their judgment.

      What are needed are reliably accurate models and not a rush to implement actions that may well be completely wasteful. Rushing to spend trillions to reduce CO2 emissions to make someone feel good about “doing something” is not productive.

      Even if the UK and Mexico met their stated targets, worldwide CO2 would continue to rise and the climate would continue to change, but the UK and Mexico would have fewer funds available to invest in things like better infrastructure. That failure would result in more harms coming to UK and Mexican citizens than would have resulted if the funds had not been wasted.

    • Couldn’t agree more … the point they are making is laughable and utterly bizarre. The models aren’t getting more accurate, the observations don’t match the models and they don;t demonstrate any catastrophic warming ….. but we all need to panic and act anyway. Utterly bizarre.

    • Please define “catastrophic warming” in the sense in which you are using the term.

    • Robert

      Pardon me for chiming in, but

      “Catastrophic” AGW has been well described by IPCC in its latest AR4 report.

      - One aspect is up to 6.4 degC warming by the end of this century.

      - Another is increased incidence and severity of extreme weather events, such as droughts, tropical storms, etc.

      - Yet others are major crop yield losses in Africa, increased incidence of vector-caused diseases, disappearance of Himalayan mountain glaciers upon which millions rely for fresh water supply, etc.

      There are even more extreme descriptions, notably those conjured up by Dr, James E. Hansen:

      - Sea level rises this century that can be measured in meters.

      - Extinction of species.

      - Droughts and crop failures across much of US Midwest.

      Etc.. etc.

      Problem is, none of these conjured up visions of catastrophe are backed by empirical scientific evidence – it’s all just model projections and hype.

      Max

  18. Robust model code with proper physics should be able to answer all the basic questions about the solar system we know, because robust code will correctly handle the boundary conditions at the limits of knowledge.

    So show me a model that can predict the temperatures of the planets and moons from other known data and I will be happier. Show me a model that can predict the expected warming of an isothermal earth with no atmosphere. (That climate scientists fantasise that perpetually positive forcings have no impact where oscillations are always positive beggars belief.)

    In the meantime, modelling a physical fantasy of IR absorbing/emitting gases being able to retain heat (thermalize seems to be the jargon) will continue to generate nonscience.

  19. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.

    Drill, Baby, Drill?

  20. Judith,

    Can we get a post sometime on how, as the author claims, greater uncertainty in this improved models does not make climate science less clear.

    I, a mathematician, who knows little about models and really does not understand the trust in then (serious can I get some links to why climate scientists trust models? I read all I could find on this subject and have more questions than ever) don’t understand why uncertainty isn’t the intersection of all other uncertainty. That is, is one study says that the impacts of climate change is between A and B then another study can only narrow this range without invalidating the first study.

    Thanks.

    • “That is, is one study says that the impacts of climate change is between A and B then another study can only narrow this range without invalidating the first study.” That is only in medal play science. Climate Science is a team effort and each team member gets two mulligans per nine. Then you average low and high stroke per hole, adjust for handicap and divide by the cube root of the average age of the foursome. That gives you an average stroke er. sensitivity per hole of 1.5 to 6.5. You cannot have less than one stroke per hole but you can improve your lie :)

    • David L. Hagen

      What if they started to actually address reality instead of boasting rights to the most expensive model?
      If they could just accurately evaluate the real cross wind as 10 mph +/-5 instead of 30 mph +/-15 (aka “climate sensitivity”), they might halve their “stroke” (“uncertainty”). I fear the political indoctrination and financial feedbacks are currently too great!

    • David L. Hagen

      Adam
      Excellent question. For starters, see posts: judithcurry.com uncertainty
      Conceptually, the major challenge is not just “known unknowns” but seriously underestimated “unknown unknowns”. See systematic “Type B” uncertainties. NIST TN 1297
      Previously each climate model teach could variously fit their 100+ parameters to the historical record, artificially improving the apparent fit. In AR5, they all have to start using the same data and starting points etc.

      S. Fred Singer points out that most models conduct insufficient runs to fully evaluate chaotic uncertainty. See: Overcoming Chaotic Behavior of Climate Models

      Nigel Fox of NPL observed that clouds form 97% of the uncertainty. See his excellent discussion TRUTHS project talk. See TRUTHS: -Traceable Radiometry Underpinning Terrestrial-and Helio-Studies: A benchmark mission for Climate and GMES Dr Nigel Fox 9 Dec 2010 Presentation.
      As I understand it, the cloud uncertainty is so great that even the sign of cloud feedback is not known despite confident assertions of “climate change” (an equivocation for catastrophic anthropogenic global warming).
      Incorporating these and other uncertainties will substantially increase overall uncertainties, but will give us a more accurate understanding of climate variations and trends.
      Numerous papers are being pubished showing that global climate models over estimate natural climate sensitivity, especially water vapor amplification, and underestimate negative feedbacks, especially clouds. Getting these right would actually reduce overall uncertainty.

    • Thanks David,

      “Incorporating these and other uncertainties will substantially increase overall uncertainties, but will give us a more accurate understanding of climate variations and trends.”

      Huh?

      Are we using different definitions of ‘uncertainty here’? I’m not quite sure this is what you’re saying, but it seems that what you’re saying is scientists say to themselves, “I am modelling these 5 parameters and therefore have 5 parameters of uncertainty. Oh look, now I have a better computer I am going to model these 7 parameters, and therefore have seven parameters of uncertainty. My uncertainty has increased.” I of course would instead say, “I am modelling these 5 parameters and have millions (perhaps more) parameters of uncertainty.”

      Also I was looking for links on why to TRUST models – not DISTRUST.

    • David L. Hagen

      Adam
      Adding uncertainties that were not previously included increases the overall uncertainty than previously. e.g., Singer showing that more runs were needed to quantify chaotic variation. Including systematic uncertainty that was previously ignored further increases uncertainty. Doing so improves our understanding and thus is “more accurate”.

      If increasing the number of parameters improves the fit, then that could reduce the overall uncertainty – if the relate to physical causes and are not overfitting. The latter would give the appearance of improvement but give worse results later on. e.g., there are numerous papers indicating that the IPCC GCMs currently have too great a sensitivity to CO2 and too low a sensitivity to clouds, etc.

      Scientists can only “trust” model after thoroughly “kicking the tires” to find and quantify all the reasons to “distrust” the models – especially when the models are not adequately predicting the current temperature trends. For science ignored by the IPCC, see the NIPCC.

      See Lucia at The Blackboard for quantitative explanation / exploration of the statistics
      For stats see also William Briggs.

      See Don Easterbrook and Nicola Scafetta for simple models that include natural oscillations/cycles that all the IPCC’s GCMs have ignored up till now. AR5 promises some improvement!?

      See Armstrong’s principles of “scientific forecasting”, and Green & Armstrong on Global Warming. Ignoring these principles suggests higher bias or systematic error than otherwise possible. (Contrast medical claims with/without the FDA, or stock broker claims with/without the SEC. Where is the watchdog challenging/correcting the IPCC?)

      Re the lead story – “Despite the uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is enough to tell us what we need to know.”

      Climate science will only be “robust” and “trustworthy” when it thoroughly addresses all of these issues and the FULL range of uncertainty – rather than pressuring politicians to “mitigate” when the underlying predictions are weak to say the least, and then trying to hide that weakness.

    • See Armstrong’s principles of “scientific forecasting”,

      Armstrong is one of my all-time favorite denier crackpots — I haven’t heard anybody mention him in years! He’s hilarious! He’s a guy with a PhD in Marketing whose big thing is pretending to be a “forecasting expert” (with no qualifications and no accomplishments) and to have made up “scientific forecasting” — basically a list of stuff that he, as an expert in Marketing, thinks scientists should do.

      Of course, scientists have taken no notice of this loon whatsoever, so naturally he decided that science fails the “test” of his invented “scientific forecasting.”

      He’s also renowned for making up a fictional bet with Al Gore, which he then lost.

      Hell of a guy. A priceless idiot,

    • David L. Hagen

      Then maybe you should get out, search and find. e.g., “J. Scott Armstrong” forecasting He provides a lot more facts with scientific evaluation than you have.

    • David L. Hagen

      That’s what happens when a very big country in east Asia decides to back its own solar companies with $35 billion.

      Thomas Tiller, Abound’s former chairman, told Congress the Chinese government provided about $35 billion in subsidies to Chinese solar companies. That, he said, resulted in a production growth that outpaced demand and pushed down the price for panels by more than 50 percent over the course of one year.

      Local solar company blames China, Obama administration for bankruptcy

    • Nothing Armstrong does is “scientific.” He appeals to people with no idea what science is. The only principle on which he relies is “There’s one born every minute.”

    • David L. Hagen

      Don’t feed the troll

    • David L. Hagen

      Adam
      Before we can ‘trust’ models, I encourage you to further explore work by Demetris Koutsoyannis and Hurst-Kolgomorov dynamics (persistence) to understand why conventional statistics may underestimate actual uncertainty of natural processes by a factor of two or more!

  21. “To the public and to policy- makers, this will look as though the scientific understanding of climate change is becom- ing less, rather than more, clear.”

    There is a glaring paradox in climate science that no one has bothered to explain: How come that a rare gas like carbon dioxide (less than 1% of atmosphere) can have such a profound effect on climate when nitrogen (70%), oxygen (20%) and water vapour have no effect? What is the difference between carbon dioxide and say, nitrogen that explains this paradox? There are other questions: why does the UN’s IPCC support 20 (different?) models when all they need is one good one? Surely it is better when tackling an intractable problem to concentrate your resources. Surely some one can decide whether the NASA model or the one from Oxford/Hadley is better than the one from Nigeria? Why did the IPCC ignore the the 0.5C temperature rise before 1940 and the subsequent reversal after 1940? Does the IPCC really believe that weight of numbers is better than good science?

    • Dave Springer

      The difference between a black car and a white car is a few grams of pigment in the paint. Yet those few grams of pigment will make a huge difference in how hot that car gets sitting out in the sun. CO2 is like that pigment – a little goes a long way.

    • Thank you, Dave, for your comment on mine. We know exactly why a few grams of pigment make your car white and cooler. My point is that the IPCC failed to tell us exactly why carbon dioxide had such a powerful effect, betraying a certain arrogance on the part of the IPCC. Or perhaps they did not bother to investigate the IR absorption spectra of CO2. Either way, it invited scepticism of their results. See my web site.

    • k scott denison

      Sure, Dave. Add ~400 ppm of black pigment to a gallon of paint and see just how black it is.

    • There is a glaring paradox in climate science that no one has bothered to explain: How come that a rare gas like carbon dioxide (less than 1% of atmosphere) can have such a profound effect on climate when nitrogen (70%), oxygen (20%) and water vapour have no effect? What is the difference between carbon dioxide and say, nitrogen that explains this paradox?

      So you’re completely ignorant of basic atmospheric physics. What does that has to do with climate science? They don’t share your ignorance.

      If you would like them to teach you, there are many resources online, there are courses at your local community college and books in the library.

      Why would you think that your ignorance is a global state of affairs?

    • Robert, Estimates of climate-change impacts will get less, rather than more, certain. But this should not excuse inaction, say Mark Maslin and Patrick Austin.

      It kinda looks like there is plenty of ignorance in atmospheric physics to spare.

    • Sorry, capt, it would seem you’re too ignorant to know what ignorance looks like.

      Not knowing the basics of the greenhouse effect = ignorance.

      Realistic accounting for uncertainty = not ignorance.

      . . . not that it isn’t very funny to watch people stone ignorant of science trying to point fingers at scientists for not having perfect knowledge of the future — your blatant hypocrisy is highly amusing.

    • I am glad you find me humorous Robert, I find you amusing as well.

      Not properly accounting for uncertainty is ignorance. Demanding action because of your ignorance is climate science.

      Knowing the basic of the greenhouse effect, like since 1950 the impact of that GHE overwhelmed natural variability, it is amusing that once again natural variability appears to be not so over whelmed :)

      There is more to the atmospheric effect than CO2 Robert.

    • Not properly accounting for uncertainty is ignorance. Demanding action because of your ignorance is climate science.

      Projecting your ignorance onto better informed people — that’s climate denial.

      Knowing the basic of the greenhouse effect, like since 1950 the impact of that GHE overwhelmed natural variability, it is amusing that once again natural variability appears to be not so over whelmed :)

      There is more to the atmospheric effect than CO2 Robert.

      You still should try and find some time to learn the basics of the greenhouse effect — not knowing why CO2 traps heat and nitrogen does not, that’s just sad. You’re trying to be “skeptical” of science you don’t remotely understand. ;)

    • “So you’re completely ignorant of basic atmospheric physics.”

      Thank you for your comment, Robert. But you have misread my comment. We are dealing with a global problem and it is the job of the IPCC to get their message across to people who have not even completed primary school as well as research scientists like you and I. So they need to explain how CO2 (or any other gas) has resonant frequencies, sometimes in the infra-red, and at those frequencies (or wavelengths) absorb power. But this is narrow band power and as you move along the beam from the source the power is absorbed in molecular movement heating the gas. Now as a radiator the earth tends to look like a ‘black-body’ and spreads its radiation over a wide spectrum centred on about 288 degrees Kelvin (about 12C) on the average. Some of that radiation gets absorbed in CO2 in a narrow band of resonance but most escapes almost scot free into space. To be credible the IPCC needs to tell us how much is absorbed in heat and how much escapes into space. By the way some of the absorbed power is reradiated but is monochromatic so gets absorbed again but the total cannot exceed what the atmosphere can absorb.All the indications are that this limit was first hit in 1940. A conclusion ignored by the IPCC.

    • We are dealing with a global problem and it is the job of the IPCC to get their message across to people who have not even completed primary school as well as research scientists like you and I.

      That’s not a task given to IPCC. IPCC produces reports for governments and for specialists. Educating the whole population is not a task given to it. Educational institutions and textbook authors may develop their own material taking advantage of what IPCC has produced.

    • “We are dealing with a global problem and it is the job of the IPCC to get their message across to people who have not even completed primary school”

      But it’s really not their job. They are a tiny international body that collects and summarizes climate science for policymakers. They don’t have the resources, or the mandate, to be a global education agency. Teaching at a sixth-grade level is what primary schools are for.

      You seem to be walking back your claim: “There is a glaring paradox in climate science that no one has bothered to explain.” Now you would seem to be saying that there is of course no paradox, and scientists have explained the phenomenon, but you want more outreach to sixth graders by a tiny UN agency. Both arguments are bunk in different ways.

      You then slip back into the original nonsense, expect rather than just claim that scientists haven’t explained why CO2 and nitrogen behave differently, you blame them for not accepting your own crackpot theory:

      By the way some of the absorbed power is reradiated but is monochromatic so gets absorbed again but the total cannot exceed what the atmosphere can absorb.All the indications are that this limit was first hit in 1940. A conclusion ignored by the IPCC.

      Your conclusion is ignored by science and the IPCC because it is utter nonsense.

  22. RE this sentence:

    The new climate model simulations for AR5 are substantially improved, with a much better experimental design. We stand to learn much from this collection of model simulations.

    I think this sums up what models are good for – improving our understanding of how things work. What I believe they are not so good at is as a predictive tool, which is how they have been presented to date. One of the reasons I like Dr Pielkie’s (sr’s) site is he does a good job of showing how regional modeling as a potential tool to policy and decision makers just don’t work.

    I would also think that as models get better – perhaps a better phrasing is as they are able to add factors previously lacking – they would generate greater uncertainties. The more you learn about something one of the first things you notice is just how much greater the amount you don’t know becomes. At least when we are at the stage we are with climate science.

    My takeaway from this – the increasing levels of uncertainty as our knowledge increases is reason for continued (and even increased) spending on the research. It doesn’t justify continued spending to “lower our carbon footprint”.

    • Re: “The new climate model simulations for AR5 are substantially improved, with a much better experimental design.”

      As it happens I know what experimental design actually is and I know what is better (more internal and external controls) and worse (less internal and external controls) experimental design means.
      However, it is clear that the author of this piece not only doesn’t know what experimental design is, but does not know what an actual experiment is.
      An experiment is a test of a hypothesis; no where do the modellers reject a model if it fails on any level. An hypothesis must be robust on all levels and fail no experimental tests.

    • John Carpenter

      “An experiment is a test of a hypothesis; no where do the modellers reject a model if it fails on any level. An hypothesis must be robust on all levels and fail no experimental tests.”

      As for the first part, how do you know modelers don’t reject parts of the models they test? You say they don’t on any level.

      As for the second part, you expect a hypothesis to be perfect on the first try? Hypotheses, even robust ones, eventually fail an experimental test. Quantum mechanics is filled with examples of hypotheses that fail observation. Is light a particle or a wave? The hypothesis of light as a particle fails the twin slit experiment. The hypothesis of light as a wave fails to explain the photoelectric effect. Both hypothesis, robust as each are in explaining how light behaves, fail experimental observations and yet we still use both wave and particle hypotheses to explain how light behaves.

      We use experimental design, DOE, to optimize and understand processes. We use it as a tool. We may have a hypothesis of how a process might behave, and the DOE can either help support or refute the hypothesis and ultimately it leads us to a better hypothesis. We are wrong a lot. We make mistakes in our hypotheses, we revise and try again. We gain a better idea of what is going on. We never know the process perfectly. There are always aspects of the process we have difficulty really nailing down. But we can often learn the process with enough certainty to control it for useful purposes by using DOE. You know this.

      Climate model experimental designs are not the same as the DOE process you and I might use to understand simpler processes. Climate model experimental designs are more used to see how different models simulate the same set of conditions to see how well they agree with one another. They are more for comparison of models, not necessarily for the improvement of a specific model. At least, that’s how I understand them from what I have read of them.

    • John you have highlighted a common feature of climate science; the Humpty-Dumpty approach to using words.
      When a climate scientist uses a word, it means what climate scientists want it to mean, which is normally quite different from what mainstream scientists understand a word to mean.
      The whole field is packed with sympathetic magic, thus a pseudo-steady state is declared and ‘equilibrium’, a fit to pre-existing data is called a ‘model’ and running the fit beyond ones data points is called an ‘experiment’ that the words ‘.
      The problem is that the words ‘equilibrium’, ‘model’ and ‘experiment’ have real meaning is mainstream science and after first misusing these meanings the climate scientists use their state they call an ‘equilibrium’ a an ‘equilibrium’ in standard thermodynamic calculations.
      Now calling a lavatory cleaner a ‘sanitation engineer’ may improve their feeling of self worth, but it does not allow their ability to design a bridge.

    • Steven Mosher

      doc, DOE in simulation is a bit different. you cant even do fractional factorials because of the run time. hmmm seen some interesting work in running corner cases and then doing statistical emulation of the entire parameter space.. links around here somewhere

    • Dave Springer

      DocMartyn | July 18, 2012 at 8:49 pm | Reply

      “Re: “The new climate model simulations for AR5 are substantially improved, with a much better experimental design.”

      Tea leaves would be a substantial improvement. Color me unimpressed.

  23. This says: Politicians use public opinion and scientific uncertainty as excuses for inaction.

    In actual fact, Politicians use public opinion and scientific uncertainty as extremely valid reasons for inaction.

  24. stevefitzpatrick

    I think a reasonable paraphrase of the article is: “No we can’t really tell if global warming will be bad, so just do what we say… or we will hold our breath until we turn purple and die.”
    .
    These folks are a long way from dealing with reality effectively. Get over it.

  25. They used to say “we need to wait until scientists prove that mankind is causing climate change”. That hurdle has, arguably, passed.

    That hurdle has not passed. I do believe mankind has caused climate change. Consensus Climate Scientists do not have a clue as to this caused warming or cooling. I don’t know either. I do know that CO2 is a trace gas and can only cause a trace change.

    • John Carpenter

      “I do know that CO2 is a trace gas and can only cause a trace change.”

      Like a trace amount of cyanide can only cause a trace change to the way oxygen is absorbed by my cells?

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Yeah, typical consensus reasoning to confuse CO2 with a deadly poison.
      You maroons are better than the Daily Onion.

    • And dudes such as Herman Alexander Pope are members of the climate clown circus.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Thanks for the laugh. And I am not laughing with you, if you get my drift.

    • Web, that is just awesome.

    • Robert,
      and The IdiotTracker likewise. Necessary documents to keep track of these crackpots.

    • Latimer Alder

      But CO2 is a pretty unreactive molecule. All three of its component atoms are fully bonded. It doesn’t really want to do very much with anything else (*). That is why it hangs around for a long time in the atmosphere..there isn’t much to perturb it.

      Compare and contrast with the cyanide group. -CN. The carbon here has a spare bond and is very keen to react – and tightly bond – with anything that comes its way. That’s why it will very quickly saturate the surface of the haemoglobin and so prevent any oxygen transport…leading to death. If you stick cyanide in the atmosphere it will very soon find something to react with …unlike CO2.

      The effects of carbon dioxide in general are those of its physical, not its chemical properties.

      So your analogy is incorrect.

      (*) Yes – I know I am using very simplistic chemistry here. But it’s good enough to communicate the general idea to a wide audience.

    • andrew adams

      The point of the analogy is that a small amount of something can have a large effect. So your point is technically correct but irrelevent.

    • Latimer Alder

      Ummm

      That a small amount of cyanide can have a large effect is not dispute. But the correspondent attempts to equate cyanide – a known poison – with CO2, which is not a poison. The intent is to suggest to the unwary that CO2 is also poisonous.

      Now where have we heard usage like this before?

      Let’s try ‘ocean acidification’. Much more scary than ‘ocean neutralisation’. Conjures up all sorts of unpleasant images.

      But both are typical of climatological alarmists. Why let the facts get in the way of a good scare story?

      Houghton said

      ‘If we want good environmental policy in future, we’ll have to have a disaster’

      And stuff like this is just a blatant attempt to help things along. Pathetic.

    • andrew adams

      The above says more about your determination to misinterpret anything said by the “alarmists” than anything else.
      John’s analogy was perfectly valid and unless you have amazing telepathic powers you have no right to claim what his true “intention” was. The point Houghton was making is perfectly clear if you read it in full and the fact that the fake skeptics have been wilfully misinterpreting it only proves their dishonesty.
      Ocean acidification is the standard term which has been used in the scientific literature for years.

    • andrew adams

      Houghton’s quote in full.

      “If we want good environmental policy in future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.”

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew adams

      Thanks for reinforcing both my points with your further exposition.

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew

      I read it again, The correspondent uses the word ‘like’ to equate the two.

      If I say ‘A is like B’ I draw a parallel.

      How much more proof of his intention do you need?

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew adams

      I may regret asking this, but how can one be a ‘fake sceptic’? Does such a being really believe in their heart of hearts but for unfathomable reasons pretend that they don’t? And how do you identify one?

    • John Carpenter

      “That a small amount of cyanide can have a large effect is not dispute. But the correspondent attempts to equate cyanide – a known poison – with CO2, which is not a poison. The intent is to suggest to the unwary that CO2 is also poisonous.”

      In no way was I trying to suggest CO2 is a poison with the effecacy of CN, obviously it is not. Though in a room with 100% CO2 you would be poisoned, remember its the dose that counts rather than the material. The argument that a trace material can only have a trace effect is incorrect whether you like the analogy to CN or not. The anaology had nothing to do with scare mongering… you should know by now I am the furthest thing from an alarmist Latimer.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      I have used the cyanide example myself without any thought that the example might be “alarmist”. It’s a matter of fact.

      Dave Springer’s pigment argument is useful and apt.

      I think I would have been equally happy to use a neutral or positive aspirin analogy (250mg of aspirin can reduce the temperature of an ill person by a few degrees) but I’ve never conducted a controlled experiment with aspirin, whereas there was that unfortunate incident with my rich, elderly and childless aunt…

      Talking of neutral language, “acidification” is a matter of fact word too. If you are adding something that increases the concentration of H+ ions, you are acidifying it. If you keep acidifying an alkali solution it becomes an acid (barring bizarre experiments Latimer no doubt has conducted). It only becomes neutral on the way to being an acid. “Neutralising” a solution would be a) to dilute it with a “neutral” solution or b) to *intentionally* add only as much acid required to reduce pH to 7.

    • John Carpenter

      Steve, from a chemistry point of view, you are neutralizing and alkali when you add acid and you are still on the > 7 side of the pH scale. Chemistry terminology dictates that you have to get to ‘neutral’ before you get to ‘acid’, so you can’t acidify anything until it has been fully neutralized first. regardless of the chemical interpretation of the word ‘acidify’, the term has gained acceptance with the meaning used as you describe, however wrong it may be as some of us have learned from a strictly chemical definition.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      Sorry – you are wrong and hae misunderstood the chemistry.

      The best way I can describe it is that you start off owing the bank $100,000. You are a net debtor.

      Being a virtuous sort of guy you try to pay off $10,000 a month. So after month one you owe only $90,000. Despite the fact that you have credited your account with $10,00 you are still a debtor, only a bit less so. You are not some sort of part creditor.

      And so it goes until the end of month nine. Despite now paying off $90,000 you are still a debtor. You are still not a creditor.

      At the much-awaited end of month 10, you finally arrive at the point where you are neither a debtor or a creditor. You have a zero balance.
      If you now add your regular monthly $10,000 you will have changed status into a creditor.

      If we think of the debt as alkaline, the credits as acid and the zero balance as neutral, you are pretty much there.

      Adding a small amount of acid to a large alkaline solution does not
      acidify the solution, it neutralises it. Only when you get beyond neutral does it start to acidify. And even if we burnt all the fossil fuels in the world there wouldn’t be enough of the very weak carbonic acid ever to get even to neutral.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Sorry, you are wrong, Latimer. You cannot argue that a different term should be used just because it is a small amount of acid and a large amount of alkali.

      That aside, your analogy is poor. A better analogy is with monthly fixed payments for your heating bill where sometimes you are in credit (towards the end of summer) and sometimes in debt (towards the end of winter).

      The most likely word you use when you pay money into the account is that you “credit” your account. This happens whether or not you are in credit or in debt. When they provide you with a bill, they “debit” your account whether you are in credit or in debt.

      So the relevant word is the word that describes the direction of travel, not an arbitrary (or not so arbitrary) position in the middle.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      If you wish to use a term that discusses the direction of travel, rather than the effect, then ‘carbonation’ covers it extremely well. What possible objections can there be to a term that closely describes what is being added?

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      ‘You cannot argue that a different term should be used just because it is a small amount of acid and a large amount of alkali’

      I wasn’t making that case at all. It is not a good argument.

      What I was, perhaps clumsily, pointing out is that the ocean today is mildly alkaline (pH~8). Hydroxyl (alkaline) ions outnumber hydrogen (acid) ions by 100 to 1. Even if all the fossil fuels that we know of have been burnt and the resulting CO2 absorbed into the oceans as carbonic acid the ratio will still be 20:1 or so (pH 7.3 ish). The oceans will still be alkaline. Litmus paper will still turn blue. This point is independent of how the process is described, but is germane to the public’s impression.

      To use the term ‘ocean acidification’ with the idea that somehow they will become acid overall is technically wrong and misleading to the layman.

      ‘Neutralisation’ is the correct term, or if you want to correctly show not only that the alkali is being neutralised, but what is doing the neutralising, then ‘carbonation’ is also available to you.

      Your discussion about annual heating plans is irrelevant since at no stage in this process will you ever get to a credit (acid) balance.

    • andrew adams

      Latimer,

      A “fake skeptic” is someone who labels themselves a “skeptic” but displays absolutely no skepticism towards their own viewpoint.

    • andrew adams

      Latimer,

      So how are you interpreting Houghton’s comment? It has been portrayed by “skeptics” that he is saying he wants a disaster to happen. Do you agree?

    • andrew adams

      On the subject of OA the point is not so much whether it is the most technically correct term. It may not be, but it is certainly meaningful enough for the reasons Steve gives above, and more so than “neutralisation”. The point is that it is the standard term which has been in use in the literature for years, there is no evidence whatsoever, not a single shred, to suggest that it was coined in order to make people think they would lose their toes if they went for a paddle in the sea.
      And I can’t help thinking that some people’s preferred term “neutralisation” is chosen in order to make it sound harmless.

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew adams

      Thank you for your admission that ‘ocean acdification…may not be the most technically correct term’.

      But you attempt to justify it by saying that it has been in common usage ‘for years’.

      I’ve done a bit of digging and I can find few references to this term before about 2002. And that it only really gained currency after a Royal Society report in 2005 which used the term in its title and which (coincidentally?) unlocked the floodgates of research money (*)

      So, you’ll forgive me if I take leave to doubt that it wasn’t carefully chosen exactly ‘in order to make people think they would lose their toes if they went for a paddle in the sea’.

      And now we have all agreed that it does have that unfortunate and entirely false connotation as well as that it is technically incorrect, we can surely all agree that the time to change it is now.

      (*) The RS report is here.www.royalsoc.ac.uk. It is little more than a blatant plea for more research money to go to the favoured topics of the authors. Apart from the usual guff about reducing CO2 emissions, the ‘money’ quote is

      ‘Research into the impacts of high concentrations of CO2 in
      the oceans is in its infancy and needs to be developed rapidly. We recommend that a major, internationally coordinated effort be launched to
      include global monitoring, experimental, mesocosm and field studies. Models that include the effects of pH at the scale of the organism and
      the ecosystem are also necessary. The impacts of ocean acidification are additional to, and may exacerbate, the effects of climate change. For this reason, the necessary funding should be additional and must not be diverted from research into climate change’

      The paragraph above was highlighted in the Summary section of the original paper.

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew adams

      ‘So how are you interpreting Houghton’s comment? It has been portrayed by “skeptics” that he is saying he wants a disaster to happen. Do you agree?’

      I can’t read his mind and he is not explicit about whether he wants it or not.

      But having had some familiarity with evangelical Welsh preachers such as Sir John, I have no doubt that if such a disaster were to occur he would find it as productive territory for a sermon on the wrath of God brought upon us by doing something he (Houghton) disapproved of.

      Would he wish a disaster upon anybody?…probably not. Would he capitalise on one if it occurred? You betcha.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      And now we have all agreed that it does have that unfortunate and entirely false connotation as well as that it is technically incorrect, we can surely all agree that the time to change it is now.

      Latimer, they should get you to help form the next NIPCC “consensus”. I’ve most certainly not agreed that the connotation is false and nor has Andrew. And the term is technically correct. I suspect if they’d chosen “carbonation” you or others would have accused them of jumping on the “CO2 gravy train”.

      Clearly you are less likely to use your toes under ocean acidification due to the reduction in crab population.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      ‘Carbonation’ is fine with me. It describes the process going on..dissolution of carbon dioxide in the solution.

      Like carbonated drinks (cola, lemonade, sparkling spring water, champagne).

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      ‘Clearly you are less likely to use your toes under ocean acidification due to the reduction in crab population.’

      Any actual evidence of a reduction in the crab population because of increased atmospheric CO2?

      Or is this just another urban myth like ‘snowfalls will be things of the past’, ‘there isn’t going to be a hurricane’ or truly the Met Office’s finest hour:

      ‘The recent f…g cold weather is because of rampant global warming. But don’t worry – a barbecue summer is on the way’?

    • Steve Milesworthy

      Latimer,

      It is indeed worse than I thought – in the following paper three out of 18 species tested seemed to cope very nicely with highly “carbonated” oceans, and one of them is the crab – so watch out for those toes under global warming.

      In three species (crabs, lobsters, and shrimps; Figs. 1A–1C), net calcification was greatest under the highest level of pCO2 (2856 ppm).

      Geology 2009
      Marine calcifiers exhibit mixed responses to CO2-induced ocean acidification
      Justin B. Ries et al

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      So a sensible headline for the Sport in Sunday would be

      ‘Boffins say that Global Warming gives you the Crabs?’

      Since it has been blamed for every other ill/inconvenience/pain in the ass that humanity already suffer, surely another one won’t matter :-)

    • Latimer Alder

      @andrew adams

      ….Further to our earlier discussion I also take leave to doubt whether the similarity between ‘ocean acidification’ and the previous failed .enviroscare story ‘acid rain’ is purely coincidental.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      Thank you for your remark about the aspirin and reminding me about my elderly, rich and childless aunt – for whom I am her only living relative…..I hear that she is taking steroids for an unfortunate complaint.

      And since my paycheque from Big Oil Shill Denier Fry The Babies Roast The Planet Conspiracy Evil Cackle (London and Home Counties South West Division) has yet again gone astray, it might be time to pay her a materteral visit……..

    • Dave Springer

      I’ve used the poison analogy myself but you can hit a lot closer to home by using pigment in the paint covering a car. A black pigment that represents a vanishingly small fraction of the mass of the vehicle will have a dramatic effect on the temperature of the interior parked out in the sun with the windows rolled up.

    • John Carpenter

      Yes, there are many analogies that can be applied. The argument he uses has no merit.

    • k scott denison

      Yes Dave, at 0.0004 (400 ppm) that means one is adding 0.0512 ounces of black pigment to a gallon of paint. Try it out and let me know how it goes. I find it amazing that my Home Depot can measure out that 0.0512 oz of pigment, don’t you?

    • k scott denison

      ps, does the term “surface area” mean anything to you in conjunction with your analogy. That paint layer is not very thick… seems to me the atmosphere is.

    • Latimer Alder

      @dave springer

      ‘A black pigment that represents a vanishingly small fraction of the mass of the vehicle will have a dramatic effect on the temperature of the interior parked out in the sun with the windows rolled up’

      Unless you can provide something better than the study below, this ‘dramatic effect’ looks to be an urban myth. There is a small effect, but it is not ‘dramatic’

      http://www.tom-morrow-land.com/tests/cartemp/index.htm

    • Steve Milesworthy

      “…difference of only 7.6 degrees” Farhenheit

      Which is 4C – about the same order as AGW, then. Even better.

      Of course the guy was using the window temperature as a proxy for interior temperature. And I wonder if he adjusted appropriately for TOBS.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      Please read the work again.

      You have quoted the maximum observed difference from just one sample. The average was considerably less

    • Steve Milesworthy

      You should have guessed from my careless misspelling of Fahrenheit that I wasn’t being too serious. I’m sure Stirling or Joe would understand that analogies do not have to completely follow reality to be useful.

  26. They used to say “we need to wait until scientists prove that mankind is caus- ing climate change”. That hurdle has, argu- ably, passed, so now they have moved on to “we need to wait until scientists can tell us exactly what will happen and what the costs are”, or, “we need to wait for public opinion to be behind action”. The former will never occur, because modelling can never provide that level of certainty.
    I repeat:
    The former will never occur, because modelling can never provide that level of certainty.
    The alarmist path is totally based on the modeling. If it is useless we need to totally throw it away.

  27. “he climate models they are now working with, which make use of significant improvements in our understanding of complex climate processes, are likely to produce wider rather than smaller ranges of uncertainty in their predictions. To the public and to policy- makers, this will look as though the scientific understanding of climate change is becom- ing less, rather than more, clear”

    No. Be assured that the public will think that the modellers deliberately lied to them about the usefulness of the models and about your error estimates.
    As the same modellers are coming up with new predictions, using far more expensive computers, with more staff and bigger salaries, following a flat temperature decade, I suspect some sort of lynch mob to mobilize.

  28. Supposedly, the UK has the best climate models in the world. The author is asking people to take seriously a prediction for global temperature when the same climate models fail miserably in predicting the weather 3 months out. The same models do a very poor job of predicting PDO and AMO for decadal cycles and can’t even get the ENSO magnetude close. These people should not be asking that their greater range of possible outcomes be taken seriously when they can’t make predictions in the short term. It’s like a 4 year old learning to ride a bike with training wheels on it telling a parent he has sufficient skills to ride high performance motor cycle because he’s just made it up and down the street and only fell twice.

  29. “….and can quantify the uncertainty of the complex factors they include more accurately.”

    Dear God….

  30. The authors consensus conclusions are a sad testimony to bias. Models become more uncertain with better science, but we should act anyway?
    Climate change is marginal science.
    Worse, it is probably advocating correct solutions while barking up the wrong scientific tree. That is not good.
    Check out Hubbert’s fossil fuel mathematics. Summary in Gaia’s Limits.
    Rud Istvan

    • The odd thing is that the uncertainty increasing because of the improved quality of the models doesn’t tend to impact the hypothesis. While the models consider so many variables, no matter how much the evidence builds that many other factors have more than enough potential to overwhelm CO2 forcing, the more common definition, “temperature change due to CO2″ instead of the real “temperature change due to any,” forcing definition of sensitivity drives the required actions in the fact of uncertainty.

      The Arctic ice melt is larger than normal this year and the Greenland glacier is melting faster than normal this year. Reduced albedo due to dust, ash and/or black carbon are the main causes for the Greenland melt and likely contribute to the sea ice melt rate, but CO2 forcing must have enhanced the melt because that is the main variable in the models.

      If you are not a CO2 devotee, you can model the same impacts with only regional land use, wind erosion, ash from natural and controlled burn plus air general pollution and get a better correlation with both global and regional warming. You have to dig deep to explain why CO2 works here and not there, but that just increases the fat tail of climate “sensitivity”.

      These are not dumb people, but they are so wrapped in being right that they have lost all of the curiosity that is required to learn from the models they built. It is the strangest thing I have ever seen.

    • capt, you write “The Arctic ice melt is larger than normal this year”

      What is “normal”? We have barely 40 years of good data. Yes, it is true that the Arctic ice melt is well below the average we have from early satellite data; but then again Antarctic sea ice is well above this same sort of average. And interestingly, the forecast for minimum sea ice extent in September is much the same as last year.

      Sorry, capt, these scare stories of disappearing Arctic sea ice will not survive much longer, IMHO.

    • Jim, “normal’ would be whatever produced a “normal” range of ice melt for the period of time required to produce “normal” For the past 100K years, the ice melt is greater than normal, for the past 12K years the ice melt is likely at the limit of high normal. The Greenland glacier has been around about 100 to 400K years, so that melt is likely greater than normal or the glacier would not be there.

      I don’t consider Arctic Ice melt scary, it appears to have been a part of the on going climate of the past 100K years. Since the Greenland glacier ice cores show some evidence of previous melts, that is not abnormal. What would be abnormal or scary is if it continued.

      If we keep spreading enough ash on the snow and glacial ice, we could see abnormal and scary. So far, the temperature range on the top of the glacier is not enough to produce scary, but if the glacier disappears, that could change.

      The most likely cause of scary is ash and black carbon, so I, a dumb redneck, would start with the most likely cause, You have to be a true genius to over look the obvious.

  31. David L. Hagen

    Climate models may have passed their limit of political impact – because of pragmatic realization of the impact of developing countries who must grow their economies and provide jobs for their people:

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that even if industrialized nations reduce greenhouse gas emissions to zero, it would not effectively slow global warming”

    See graphs by Gail “the Actuary” Tverberg on The Growing Part of the World and
    Robert Rapier (R3) World Energy Consumption Facts Figures and Shockers
    Note that Asia Pacific Coal Consumption increased >1000% from 250 million tons in 1965 to > 2,500 million tons in 2010! For numerous reasons, Rapier holds:

    I view the growth of carbon emissions as an unstoppable hurricane

    Eliminating ALL CO2 from OECD will make little difference to CO2 growth and future temperatures. Consequently, the prudent pragmatic policy must be to adapt and focus on the most cost effective route to sustainable economies. Top priority must be to manage the impending transition forced by depleting oil fields to alternative fuels.

    • Dave Springer

      Don’t sweat it. We’ll soon be using synthetic micro-organisms to manufacture things for us and those things we’ll direct them to produce will have carbon as a main ingredient. CO2 in the air is the carbon source. Sunlight is the motive force. Liquid hydrocarbon fuels will be the very first products because they are very simple products. Growing things like automobiles and aircraft will come later but it will come. It’s the inevitable next step in the progression of technology. The human race might destroy itself first or Jesus may return but barring that it’s the next logical step and the technology is demonstrated in everything from trees to coral reefs it’s just a matter of learning how to manipulate it for our own purposes.

    • David L. Hagen

      Dave Springer
      You may delight in economic roller-coasters. However, increases in oil prices cause increases in unemployment (recessions) which hurt the poor the most. Economics Prof. James Hamilton documents how increases in oil prices led 10 of 11 recessions.

      All but one of the 11 postwar recessions were associated with an increase in the price of oil, the single exception being the recession of 1960. Likewise, all but one of the 12 oil price episodes listed in Table 1 were accompanied by U.S. recessions, the single exception being the 2003 oil price increase associated with the Venezuelan unrest and second Persian Gulf War.

      Note particularly: Oil Prices, Exhaustible Resources, and Economic Growth.

      This paper explores details behind the phenomenal increase in global crude oil production over the last century and a half and the implications if that trend should be reversed. I document that a key feature of the growth in production has been exploitation of new geographic areas rather than application of better technology to existing sources, and suggest that the end of that era could come soon. The economic dislocations that historically followed temporary oil supply disruptions are reviewed, and the possible implications of that experience for what the transition era could look like are explored.

      OPEC is now taking “rent” of $1,000,000,000,000/year from the rest of the world. That fact underlies the recent economic crises in the US and EU. OPEC is now throttling the West economically. Economies will get progressively worse until we provide major alternative fuel sources faster than depletion rates of crude oil plus economic growth, and cheaper than crude oil. (Note: Fuels from algae are the most expensive of alternatives. We cannot rely on wishful thinking that goes contrary to the underlying economics of material costs.)
      This is the greatest impending threat to the global economy, and will make “climate change” look insignificant by comparison. Climate models are “at their limit” in terms of significance on future important economic trends!

  32. Any half competent engineer or scientist who has experience in complex simulations knew this result was coming.

    It.Was.Totally.Blatantly.Obvious.

    The story that climate science had a good handle on the climate system through a simulation (or whatever the latest euphemism for their models, projections, scenarios, is now) was intuitively dubious to all clear thinking mathletes out there.

    Curiously the people who are most distrustful of these type of models are those who have the most experience with them.

    No-one has ever explained to me how these models were going to overcome the code-measure-improve iteration cycle that all complex simulations require to home in on a usable solution. Hurricane tracking for example. The iteration cycle here is decades, and we were led to believe the models got it right on their first iteration cycle, simply not credible to any honest scientist.

    You can count me in to the “I’ll believe it when I see it actually work” club. It was fortunate for everyone that the recent leveling out of global temperatures made this “they work great” proposition show its true colors early.

    I am only a bit surprised, pleasantly, that they had the honesty to admit it considering the political headwinds they face. They are trying to defuse the blow back early here. The “simply act” sentence is reckless, overtly political, and fails to even define what “act” entails.

    My personal IPCC AR5 policy simulation / model / projection shows me that they will bury this increased uncertainty “detail” deep in the bowels of AR5, and it will miraculously not make it into the summary for policymakers section.

    • Dave Springer

      Tom Scharf | July 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply

      “It was fortunate for everyone that the recent leveling out of global temperatures made this “they work great” proposition show its true colors early.”

      No fortune involved. Progression of the cycle to the downside was predictable and arrived right on time. There’s a 60 year-long sine wave with an approximate 1C peak-to-peak amplitude. The last cyclic minimum was circa 1975 which was right when a global cooling scare was reaching its zenith. That then morphed into a global warming scare after 15 years of rising temperatures which was opportunistically employed by nattering nabobs of misanthropic negativity collectively operating under the auspice of the UN and formerly introduced in IPCC AR1 in 1990. They knew, or at least must have strongly suspected, they had a limited window of time to push the idea that the upside of the global temperature sine wave would keep rising forever causing a world of hurt by 2050 or so.

      Fortunately they were unsuccessful. Skeptics (with the great help of whoever it was that exposed the Climategate emails) managed to cast enough doubt on the bandwagon climate science to delay its acceptance long enough for the rising side of the sine to reach its zenith and start to noticeably decline. The zenith occured about 2005 but the curve began to flatten 5 years before that. So now the satellite record, which is the only global measure I trust, is roughly 18 years of alarming temperature rise followed by 15 years of reversal. It’s now impossible to push the forever-rising charade so the misanthropes have a tough row to hoe ahead of them as the globe continues to cool for the next 20 years before it reverses direction again.

  33. It doesn’t matter what we don’t know about climate. Because we KNOW the only thing that does matter — the politics. We know what political ‘solutions’ we want. We’ll get something scientific sounding to throw together, if that’s what it takes to get the policies we want. The important thing is the policies. We should never take our eyes off that target.

  34. “[...] wicked climate problem.”

    It’s not the climate but rather the commentary on it that’s wicked & problematic.

    “Climate Models: Fit For What Purpose?”

    None at present.


    Dr. Curry & Others:

    I need a source of reliable long-term funding to increase by orders of magnitude the time & resources I have to deepen & sharpen the following:

    Solar-Coronal-Holes-Ozone-Wind-Neutrons
    http://i48.tinypic.com/349fbs2.png

    Total-Ozone-Solar-QBO
    http://i45.tinypic.com/bfxn4.png

    Solar-Terrestrial-Climate-Weave
    http://i49.tinypic.com/2jg5tvr.png (from LOD via Law of Conservation of Angular Momentum, Central Limit Theorem, & Thermal Wind Relation)

    Heliospheric-Current-Sheet-Earth-Crossings
    http://i48.tinypic.com/2yydr92.png

    Heliospheric-Current-Sheet-Earth-Crossings-Integral
    http://i45.tinypic.com/2nbc3dw.png
    Note the changepoints in the 1940s & 1970s and note also the bright spots every ~22 years that match the Tsonis synchronization framework.

    Recently I made another substantial advance along this line of exploration. (During a single sitting in a first attempt I cracked a problem that had previously looked like it might consume decades or a lifetime. When “problems” fall so easily & effortlessly, it’s difficult to support labeling of them as “wicked”.)

    The code of ENSO can and will be cracked.

    Sincerely.

    • Vaughan, If you have something, then put it on a blog or something. Don’t sit there like an asshat and whine that no one will fund your work. Blogs are freely available.

    • Paul Vaughan

      Blogs may be freely available, but time & resources are not. Climate & solar mainstreamers appear limited by ability. I have the ability to go much further, but not the time & resources. I have not applied for any funding because the political climate is all wrong. It looks to me like Dr. Curry is gunning to change the political climate. If she (in concert with many others) succeeds and the tide turns, then I will apply for funding. I wish the forces of political climate change infinite expedience. As the French say: Bon Courage.

  35. Has anyone modeled human CO2 emission?

    Btw I don’t know planet these guys are on, but governments have already acted.
    Can anyone say that Japanese has not acted, maybe they are done acting on [maybe]. Same can said for Europe and US.
    Now, there no argument that government hasn’t acted efficiently, they never do. They have spent hundreds billions of dollars related to trying to do something about “global warming”.
    It’s true they haven’t spent trillions on the issue, but they doing things which cause citizens to spend these types of sums of money.

    There other explanation other trying to do something about “global warming” for the extraordinary high energy bills European citizens are required to pay. And it not just European governments which engaged
    in such efforts.

    It seems the question isn’t when we start, but rather when we have end to this unnecessary government polices.
    And be nice if done sending Global Warming believers on those conferences on vacation spots.

  36. Presumably if the scientific findings are indicating that the range of possible climate sensitivities needs to be increased then it’s likely that Judith figures of 1-6 degC may be not too far off after all.

    When Judith was in her previous personality she knew very well just how to handle this level of uncertainty.

    “Think of risk as the product of consequences and likelihood: what can happen and the odds of it happening. A 10-degree rise in global temperatures by 2100 is not likely; the panel gives it a 3 percent probability. Such low-probability, high-impact risks are routinely factored into any analysis and management strategy, whether on Wall Street or at the Pentagon. The rationale for reducing emissions of carbon dioxide is to reduce the risk of the possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Making the transition to cleaner fuels has the added benefit of reducing the impact on public health and ecosystems and improving energy security — providing benefits even if the risk is eventually reduced.”

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/10/10/AR2007101002157.html

    • Dave Springer

      Mark my words, as soon as sythetic biology matures into practical applications we’re going to need laws about how much carbon can be removed from the atmosphere rather than laws about how much can be added. Imagine self-reproducing factories that can build anything you want out of the basic materials that living things emply now like wood and calcium carbonante. Sunlight powers it all. The technology is already established in nature we just need to reverse engineer the control programs and rewrite them for our own purposes. This is imminent. Long before a next generation nuclear power could be made available it will be obsoleted by what we can do with synthetic biology and sunlight.

    • David L. Hagen

      See NREL’s Transparent Cost Database (TCDB) at
      http://en.openei.org/wiki/Transparent_Cost_Database
      Davis et al. (2007) Techno-economic analysis of autotrophic microalgae for fuel production http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.apenergy.2011.04.018
      Cost of algae oil $20.53/gal using photobioreactors or $9.53/gal for open ponds. How do you propose to reduce that to $1/gallon?

    • That’s not what the DOD thinks.

    • David L. Hagen

      timg56 Clarify. Reference?

  37. A lot of skeptics are not aware that GCMs can simulate daily and seasonal cycles globally really well already. The climate change signal of a few degrees is smaller than these cycles, so it is within their normal operating temperature range. However, sea-ice areas are now getting a little outside that normal range, and those feedbacks are possibly the least certain part of the prediction, together with Arctic methane releases or other potential new things that could occur, none of them good as far as I know.

    • In terms of the title, climate models are within their limits, not at their limit, except to the extent that the earth is at its limit in some respects, like an unprecedented lack of sea ice in the near future.

    • lack of sea ice is unprecedented since we have had the ability to look at it closely. it is well inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years. The temperature data shows that we are well inside the range of the past ten thousand years. That only can only be possible if the sea ice is inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years. Look at the actual data and think a little bit.

    • Jim,

      If you include “could be” in your “the earth is at its limit” statement, you are within the bounds of reasonable argument. As you wrote it, you place yourself into the category of praying to Mother Earth under a full moon and inside a circle of rocks. (Cape is optional.)

    • A curve fit is not a simulation. Models have said warmer, warmer, warmist . A lot of skeptics are well aware that 2011 was not warmer than 1998. That is not close to anything that is really well already.

    • Dave Springer

      All CO2 emission right now is good. We’re going to want all the carbon in the atmosphere and more to use in the construction of durable goods once we complete the reverse engineering of a basic prokaryote and can build them to specification and programming to perform complex tasks. That level of mastery of is almost here. A completely synthetic functional (tested by growing them) genome was constructed a few years ago by a gene splicing machine using mail-order DNA fragments. Exxon invested $600 million a few years ago to work specifically on a synthetic algae in partnership with the same company that made the first synthetic genome. It’s only a matter of time for the technology to mature. The first thing you get is practically cost-free liquid hydrocarbon fuels as sunlight is captured and stored as chemical energy with low-cost low-maintenance production almost anywhere. These however recycle carbon right back to the atmosphere. The thing is that durable goods made out of carbon compounds can be grown like plants or trees or coral reefs or clamshells using synthetic biology. Imagine the weight of durable goods that will be manufactured using atmospheric carbon when the manufacture and materials are basically free of cost. This will deplete the atmospheric carbon store if not controlled somehow. Not every person the planet can have all the carbon they might want. Ultimately this is the biggest problem with CO2 in the atmosphere. We’re going to want much more of it not much less. Few people seem to realize exactly what mastery of synthetic biology entails in production cost. Synthetic carbon-neutral replacement fuel for the transportation fleet and for the boilers of steam turbine electrical generators is just the tip of the iceberg.

    • David L. Hagen

      Jim D
      A lot of climate alarmists are not aware that the 0.2C/decade mean trend of IPCC’s GCMs is already too hot and outside of more than 98% of the trends in lower tropospheric temperatures for the last 32 years. ie The mean 0.2 C/decade trend of IPCC models is now at the upper 2 sigma trend boundary for the last 32 years data, Red Corrected 0.138C/dec [0.083, 0.194].
      See Lucia Liljegren, The Blackboard, UAH TLT Anomaly Trend from Jan 1980 through 6, 2012.

      See also: Global climate trend since Nov. 16, 1978: +0.14 C per decade
      Global Temperature Report: June 2012 From The University Of Alabama At Huntsville c/o Pielke, Sr.

      Since that is “really well”, on what basis could IPCC models possibly be validated or rejected and thus be considered scientific?
      I find majority anthropogenic global warming to be “not proven” and probably invalidated, not “>90%” highly probable!

    • 0.15 degrees per decade is within the IPCC range at the start of the 21st century. The CO2 addition in the 21st century will be five times greater than in the 20th, so this will only accelerate and at least double its rate, like the land temperature already has.

    • David L. Hagen

      Jim D
      IPCC’s LOWER bound was 0.2 C/decade with a higher bound of 0.6 C/decade.
      See also Dr. Syun Akasofu on IPCC’s forecast accuracy

      See also Girma Predictions Of Global Mean Temperatures & IPCC Projections

    • IPCC’s LOWER bound was 0.2 C/decade with a higher bound of 0.6 C/decade.

      That’s wrong, of course. Do you have any sources (real ones, not crackpots).

    • You refer, of course, to the average over the 21st century, not the first decade of it.

    • David L. Hagen

      Good reminder not to rely on memory.

      TAR (2001) “For the periods 1990 to 2025 and 1990 to 2050, the projected increases are 0.4 to 1.1°C and 0.8 to 2.6°C, respectively.”

      AR4 2007
      “For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios.”

    • ” Jim D
      A lot of skeptics are not aware that GCMs can simulate daily and seasonal cycles globally really well already.”

      When you use the words ‘really well’, you mean them in the manner of usage amongst climate scientists, and not as used by the general population. Essentially, when a climate scientist uses the term ‘really well’ it translates into the normal usage of ‘really crap’.

      http://www.hydrol-earth-syst-sci-discuss.net/9/5515/2012/hessd-9-5515-2012-print.pdf

    • OK, you are asserting that GCMs can’t even simulate a reasonable diurnal and seasonal cycle at locations. Do you think this in reality, or is this just a debating hypothesis? The physics of diurnal and annual cycles for land and ocean points is quite well known, or do you think something is missing? The skeptics are constantly assigning mysteries to things that are well understood and simulated. Of course there is no mystery about the seasonal and diurnal range of temperature at a location. It obeys physics as we know it, and GCMs account for all the major effects on it. This includes needing the correct CO2 amount and GHG effect in order to have reasonable temperature ranges to start with.

    • JimD, there was an interesting point in there about the model error over snow, “While causes are not thoroughly explored, there is a strong relationship between GCM biases in snow albedo feedback during snowmelt and bias correction resulting in unrealistic DTR values.”

      That gets back to the discussion we had the other day where I said that the impact of sea melt albedo appeared to be over estimated.

    • The point I was making is that skeptics expect weird and wonderful cloud feedbacks to take place before we reach 3 degrees warmer, when the diurnal and seasonal cycles are much larger, and these effects are not seen in them.

    • JimD, ” It obeys physics as we know it, and GCMs account for all the major effects on it.” Skeptics are skeptical of that statement and other similar statements when models diverge from reality.

      Best I can tell JimD, is that the system is non-linear with bi-stability. That means that forcing impacts would vary with the system location relative to either of the regions of bi-stability. That is not some crazy pseudo-scientific nonsense, that is the nature of the beast. So model results depend upon the initial conditions. If the models do not consider the bi-stability, their uncertainty would increase as they drift further from their initial conditions. Kinda like what is happening.

    • https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-qlGHHuI7Ld4/UAjA3LZgsjI/AAAAAAAACj0/XlATusLeoiE/s512/fan%2520curve.png

      There is a very simple example of a potentially bi-stable system. In the red circle the Volume can change significantly for a small change in pressure. That is actually a pretty tame fan curve, some can get pretty exciting.

      Engineers deal with this type of situation all the time. We are a little skeptical of over confidence when dealing with systems that have regions of instability. Every bit of the physics in the models could be perfect, but if that one feature is neglected, nothing works.

    • more like tri-stable, because there is a significantly warmer, high-CO2, iceless, Cretaceous mode too. No relevance to this debate, of course.

    • JimD,

      Okay if you would like to consider a third state,
      http://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.scotese.com/images/094.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.scotese.com/cretaceo.htm&h=455&w=720&sz=120&tbnid=sL3VJPH9ViLDRM:&tbnh=80&tbnw=126&zoom=1&usg=__dI89Dxnh_OGS1EOhRnRcj1ES1BQ=&docid=-oeFvjei7O6ldM&sa=X&ei=oFoJUKX1EcLs2gWGm-HSBw&ved=0CGQQ9QEwAw&dur=935

      We could consider the land ocean distribution and how that impact would be different than today. Today, with more land area in the northern and more ocean in the southern, the southern is cooler despite the southern hemisphere winter solar insolation being nearly 80Wm-2 greater than the northern. There is less land mass at the poles so there would be less potential long term ice storage. That configuration is less likely to have a natural bi-stable response because there is less long term energy storage, ice mass, to oscillate.

      In that case, the oscillation was longer term biological until some external force, changed the conditions, like possibly a large meteor, mega volcano etc.

      In the current configuration, there are explanations for the oscillations and about 500 K years of evidence of oscillations. So would you rather consider the differences in total or cling religiously to a single variable?

    • Did you actually read the paper and the authors review of GCM calculations of modeling the diurnal cycle?

      ” The physics of diurnal and annual cycles for land and ocean points is quite well known, or do you think something is missing?”

      No it isn’t. The line shape of the curve is dependent on water availability on land and both wind velocity and surface salinity at at sea.
      1) Sea. Relatively small changes in salinity of the surface layer can drastically alter the ratio of latent heat/sensible heat at the same energy influx. When the sea surface is still, a thin layer of high salinity forms and more heat is converted to temperature and less into evaporation.
      The physics of this phenomena are well know but modeling is almost impossible.
      2). You need to know the amount of water that can evaporated in a given local, for a known light flux. The amount of water transpired by the amount and type of plants alters this. The soil type and the amount of surface water also give quite different line shapes during the diurnal cycle.
      There is no set of equations, based in physics, to describe the lone shape of temperature vs time during the diurnal cycle. Instead there are phenomenological rate equations that use abstract (water dependent) constants for amplitude.

      If you truly think believe that the physics of the diurnal cycle, on land and at sea, is described in classical thermodynamic and kinetic terms then please do provide us with you citations.

  38. lurker passing through, laughing

    When I think of the anger of the Joe Romms, and the rent seeking of the Gore gang, and the authoritative pretense of the GISS/RC team and the religious mania of the crowds clamoring in support of the consensus, and then read this report, it just leaves room for laughter at the prideful folly of man.

    • Latimer Alder

      @lurker

      You missed the

      ‘rapidly diminishing crowds clamouring in support of the consensus’…

      which is a better description.

  39. Let me see if I’ve gotten this straight?

    Climate models are just beginning to be used for sufficient volume and degree of simulation runs to demonstrate exactly why they can’t be grabbed as ensembles and averaged to produce meaningless predictions, why the future of climate not just globally but in every basin is questionable and _more_ questionable under higher levels of CO2 and other anthropogenic causes, why and how there may be costs and risks.. and this is being called the _Limit_?!

    This is what they’re supposed to be doing.

    A few thousand runs each under different parameters, some analyses of whether the simulations have any particular information to impart about choices and decisions — or none — or uncertainty levels (or not) and we’re on our way out of the Dark Ages of trendology and prediction, oversimplification and superstition.

    Wouldn’t it be great if it turned out the model runs told us interesting things?

    • Let me see if I got this right. The models to date been based on false premises – the utility (or futility) of ensemble forecasting where it has been evident for some time (what must have been obvious from the beginning) that the models provide us with divergent solutions within the bounds of feasible inputs – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full – Indeed some of us have insisted on this at the cost of abuse from Bart and friends.

      So we now have a model that has been run 10 thousand times. Can anyone say from this what the level of ‘irreducible imprecision’ is? I certainly have not been able to find this. What we have instead is 400 out of 10,000 model runs good enough to reproduce – for all the wrong reasons – recent warming. Observationally constrained as they say – but only if they have the all the right factors in reasonably posed couplings. It seems quite unlikely. If we listen to Hurrell and others the need in initialised models is for at least a thousand times more computing power. The probability of models saying anything reasonable any time soon seems slight.

      In true AGW space cadet style – the space cadets rush to tell themselves stories to reconcile this with pre-conceived notions. Jim D suggests that the models are within limits rather than at limits. Bart invents a good news story about breakthrough in methods that might yet save the mighty climate model. It is all a bit sad.

    • Rob Starkey

      Bart

      You write- “Wouldn’t it be great if it turned out the model runs told us interesting things?”

      My response- yes it would be interesting if the models produced results that matched observed conditions so that we could have some confidence in their forecasts.

      Wouldn’t it also be great if scientists would stop even discussion the notion of two or models matching the result of some other model? That is meaningless unless one of the models has demonstrated it matched observed conditions.

      Wouldn’t it be great is scientists stopped telling people what they should be doing based on the outputs of models that DO NOT adequated match observed conditions?

  40. “increasing uncertainty in the climate models simulations is bad news for the politics of CO2 mitigation”

    Not necessarily.

    ClimateEtc’s singlemindedness in regard to how to deal with uncertainties continues to be admirable but limited, for all those who read widely in the related literature regarding science recommendations and climate policy i.e., policy in the context of uncertainty.

    The context is not ‘increasing uncertainty’, but increasing realism about uncertainty’. Increasing realism is neither new news, or bad news; and it is only ‘ bad news for the politics of CO2 mitigation’ if you assume that this increasing realism does not increase the clarity of options (a wrong or at least a very weak assumption) and that increased ambiguity decreases rather than increases support for both adaptation and mitigation policy action (a questionable assumption that some analyses suggest may simply be false).

    Consider the following (both the analysis and the method of analysis):

    http://realoptions.org/openconf2012/data/papers/66.pdf

    I am confident that the brightest ClimateEtc denizens can do the math i.e., quantitative macroeconomics. Well… Steven Mosher, at least.

    IMO, Ms. Curry and denizens seem much too limited by their assumptions, and there is a lack of economic research knowledge. Result? Poor assessment of optimal/reasonable climate policy under uncertainty.

    • Yoo hoo Martha. Read my paper on consensus. These are not my assumptions, but rather the assumptions of the authors of the paper. It is the consensus gang that are tearing their hair out over uncertainty, not me.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Martha’s job seems to be to stalk the hostess, misunderstand the articles and infer motives of the hostess.
      How strange.
      But entertaining, in a creepy sort of way.

    • Definitely entertaining :)

    • Even if we were to accept Martha’s judgement that your efforts are “admirable but limited”, you would still have the advantage, as the only part of that applying to Martha’s efforts is the “limited” part.

    • the major challenge of this extension is the need to incorporate thresholds, discontinuities and sudden switches which remain poorly understood on a theoretical level

      “poorly understood” says all that needs to be said. Do not mess with energy production and the economy with junk that is “poorly understood”

    • ‘The results indicate that increasing Knightian uncertainty accelerates
      climate policy, i.e. an ambiguity-averse policy maker become more reluctant to postpone the timing of climate policies into the future. However, we find that the size of this effect is rather small, which indicates that Knightian uncertainty is no “carte blanche” for extreme policy activism.’ op. cit. (by Martha) I don’t think she read it or understood the math.

      Reasonable people worldwide have for some time been grappling with the complexities of climate over what seem to be unrealistic and simplistic formulations. Now it is evident that what mathematicians and climate modellers have said for years about models is true. There is an irreducible imprecison that makes the current generation of models unsuited for reliable climate forecasting – if indeed AOS models could ever be relied on.

      Where were you Martha when people were insisting that models were in fact chaotic – neccessarily – didn’t include enough of the physical processes or couplings and could not in any way be considered an ‘experiment’? Oh well – you couldn’t know could you dear Martha.

      What is really going to play hell with the politics of carbon taxes is a planet that refuses to warm for another decade or three at least. Has that been modelled. Hell yes – initialised models are the new black.

      It seems to me that very many people – like yourself – are fixated on one or two aspects of the issue. A very much broader perspective is required to understand much of the complexity at all – physics, hydrology, biology and oceanography touches the surface of the climate system. Answers are not simple as I am sure the denizens would attest – but most of the objections are to caps and taxes. Objecting to failed and dismal policies is sufficient in itself to get labelled but be sure we will prevail – history and climate is on our side.

      You have nothing but dismal failure to look forward to – we have practical and pragmatic ways of reducing carbon in the atmosphere as well as achieving that much more important objective of increasing food supply by 70% by 2050. There are many others ways to reduce emissions – especially black carbon reduction in the shorter term. I am confident that the energy mix in 2050 will be very different to today’s. Indeed it is quite simple to strip carbon directly from the atmosphere and catalyse it with hydrogen to form a liquid fuel. :cool:

    • Steven Mosher

      Things I like

      ‘the decision maker maximises welfare of the minimum/worst scenario.”

      “The model assumes that a forward looking social planner strives to find the optimal timing
      of a climate policy by maximizing the flow of consumption over time”

      I really like:

      “On the one
      hand, investing too early in mitigation technologies could trigger enormous sunk costs that
      are not recouped before long. On the other hand, waiting too long may cause irreversible
      damages to ecological systems that are valuable to human health or the economy.”

      Hmm. I dont like their damage function. neither do they.

      I spot a possibe error in not including a feedback term from the damage. basically, emissions is a function of population and economic activity. If warming causes a damage, then you have to feedback the damage function into the economic activity and into emmissions and thus into delta T. That’s a problem Ive had with all this modelling from day 1.
      They really need to tie the economic simulator to the climate simulator.
      Held was better.

      “Figure 6 clearly indicates that the tactic to
      keep options open and await new information about the temperature increase rather than
      undertake climate policy today becomes less attractive.”

      Hmm doesnt look like they did a very robust exploration of the sensitivity parameter space.

      And more importantly they didn’t look at polices options . held’s work did. For example, Most luke warmers would agree to policy change now. We’d gladly spend 1% of GDP on nuclear and pushing natural gas, and working on black carbon. few worries about sunk cost there.

      They agree with moshpit

      “Figure 4 also reveals that the problematic
      choice of the discount rate is of more importance to the simulation results than Knightian
      uncertainty, as the effects caused by a marginal increase of r counteracts the outcome induced
      by a marginal increase of . This highlights the importance of attaining a consensus
      on the discount rate before an appraisal on the optimal timing of policy implementation can
      be achieved.”

      basically, its a moral problem. I care more about my children than your grandchildren. and I should. And they dont even approach the problem of trans national trans generational ethics ( or discount rate ). Put another way, it may be more optimal for rich countries to spend their money helping poor countries adapt, rather than mitigating themselves.
      As their damage function takes no notice of regional winners and losers and treats future damage and future consumption without regard to the economic status of those being effected, it really doesnt answer the question. who pays and who gets paid and how much.

      Best of all, they talk to Herman Held.! good thing there.

      But overall a nice paper. Thanks for pointing it out Martha.

    • The paper of Chen, Funke and Glaneman is very interesting. I have argued for the usefulness of the concept of real options here:

      http://pirila.fi/energy/2011/03/14/climate-policies-sustainable-development-and-real-options/

      My hope is that the concept of real options might help in transferring almost intractable issues that relate to very far future to a comparison of alternative states in foreseeable future. The decision maker would not attempt directly a cost-benefit analysis extending very far to the future and impossible to do in a way that would give meaningful results. He would rather try to estimate the outcome of the policy decision for the state of the world at a more tractable distance in the future like 10 years. To include the long term perspective in such an approach it’s essential to include the real option values of alternative states in the comparison.

      The real option based approach has also the essential benefit that the theory is based on including adaptability in the analysis.

      A very common problem in the use of real option theory is that people try to borrow too much from the theories of Merton, Black and Scholes. The paper of Chen et al refers to the fact that many people apply a model of Brownian motion with trend as this leads to the possibility of using the Black-Scholes formula or some closely related formula. This approach is bound to fail as the model doesn’t agree with what one may expect for most real world real options.

      I’m not convinced that introducing Knightian uncertainty is of real help in comparison with simpler views of uncertainty as long as the stochastic model is chosen to be more reasonable than Brownian motion with trend. In practice the Knigthian uncertainty may also lead to the same calculation as this alternative approach.

      While I continue to consider the real options approach very interesting and potentially valuable, it’s unrealistic to expect that it can remove the fundamental difficulties relates to the lack of knowledge of many essential inputs. The uncertainties related to climate science are only a minor factor in that. Larger uncertainties arise from the economic modeling part of the approach, where one crucial issue is the modeling of the adaptability. Including just one number the intertemporal elasticity of substitution in the formula (1) of the paper does not solve the problem. The whole formula may fail in an essential way for all values of this parameter.

      Unfortunately the economic models for the most important issues related to the present problems are very rudimentary. They are very often formulated having in mind almost only the solvability rather than validity. This has survived as testing the equations is also extremely difficult. Thus there’s far too little knowledge to judge whether their analytic forms are applicable at all to problems that we meet in practice in studying the effects of uncertainties, risks intergenerational justice and so many other difficult issues that we should understand to draw and justify our conclusions. (One good example of the problems relates to the theory of risk aversion. I discuss some models used in that in the posting referred to above. These models are used all the time, but they lead to strongly contradicting results and are obviously wrong, but they are the best that we have.) The climate models are hugely better understood than the economic models.

    • Pekka Pirila,

      I’d suspect you mean “should” rather than “would” in this sentence.

      The decision maker would not attempt directly a cost-benefit analysis extending very far to the future and impossible to do in a way that would give meaningful results. He would rather try to estimate the outcome of the policy decision for the state of the world at a more tractable distance in the future like 10 years.

      Clearly, “would” is not the correct word because, if it was, we would not have had the EU ETS, the Australian CO2 tax and ETS, the Stern Review, the Garnaut Review, and the Nordhaus DICE and RICE models (which project costs and benefits out to the year 2495). Nor would we have had aims of carbon pricing, World Government and UN taxation at the Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and Rio+20 conferences.

    • Peter,

      I don’t think I made an error in that as I refer to what the decision maker would be lead to do by own choice having new tools available.

    • Pekka,

      I don’t understand what you mean. Are you suggesting that all of a sudden we have new tools that allow us to make the correct decision?

      That really strains credulity. After, 40,000 years or so of man making decisions, all of a sudden, now, in 2012, we have the tools to allow us to make the correct decision. Is that what you are saying?

    • Reading my lengthy comment it should be clear that I don’t expect anything sudden to happen. Rather I am discussing a goal for development towards better understanding and better tools for making judgments on issues of long term significance.

      I cannot say that those tools or even that approach should have been used in past decision making or even for next decisions because that cannot be done. My hope is that development of these ideas will continue and ultimately lead also to tools that then would be used.

    • Is the decision maker an elected representative in a democracy? Just wondering who this super-rational creature is? Perhaps an economist! Just what we need.

      There is a reason why models of rationality are much less plausible than even the goofy models of climate. Because we understand rationality that much less. Where do thoughts come from? How do we know what sentence to say next? No one knows. I love that.

    • David L. Hagen

      Martha
      Albert Einstein

      “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.”

      “Confidence” cannot make something scientific. An hypothesis must be validated or falsified.

      Given your “confidence”, please see See above
      Consider that most of the last 32 years were in the warm phase of the PDO. We are now in the cold phase so the temperature trends will likely decline, making the IPCC’s 0.2C/decade even further outside the range of reality.

      Will increasing the uncertainty save current GCMs? ie improve the probability of IPCC’s models not being rejected (as they currently are)?

    • “Consider that most of the last 32 years were in the warm phase of the PDO. We are now in the cold phase so the temperature trends will likely decline, making the IPCC’s 0.2C/decade even further outside the range of reality.”

      When you prove that, drop us a line.

      Delusional assertions are not science.

    • It’s hilarious. The PDO doesn’t decline anything; not even bad credit cards.

    • Most amusing – but you clearly haven’t got the memo – http://www.pnas.org/content/107/5/1833.full

    • Already read it. Read Tsonis and Swanson when you were RE. Quoted it back to you without opening a link.

    • David L. Hagen

      Thanks Chief for that link to:
      Pacific decadal oscillation hindcasts relevant to near-term climate prediction, Takashi Mochizukia et al., PNAS 2009

      A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature
      (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise. . . .
      The global-mean SAT rising rate (see Fig. 1) and changes in the PDO tendency (see Fig. 3B) exhibit a significant relationship in the averages during 1979–1986 minus those during 1971–1978; the correlation coefficient is 0.791.

      Emphasis added.

    • David L. Hagen

      Robert
      By “the temperature trends will likely decline” I mean that the trends will likely be lower than mean +0.138C/decade of UAH’s lower tropospheric temperature of the last 32 years. They may even turn to actual cooling.

      For evidence see Don Easterbrook‘s publications on global climate change,,
      D’Aleo, J. and Easterbrook, D.J., 2011, Relationship of multidecadal global temperatures to multidecadal oceanic oscillations: in Easterbrook, D.J., ed., Evidence-Based Climate Science, Elsevier Inc., p. 161-184.

      FIGURE 17 With 22 point smoothing, the correlation of U.S. temperatures and the ocean multidecadal oscillations is clear with an r2 of 0.85.

      Three possible projections are shown in Fig. 24: (1) moderate cooling (similar to the 1945-1977 cooling); (2) deeper cooling (similar to the 1945-1977 cooling); or (3) severe cooling (similar to the 1790-1830 cooling).

      Similarly, see:
      Scafetta N., 2012. Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models. (Science and Public Policy Institute).
      Web: PDF 73 pp

      We show that the IPCC GCM’s claim that all warming observed from 1970 to 2000 has been anthropogenically induced is erroneous because of the GCM failure in reconstructing the quasi 20-year and 60-year climatic cycles. Finally, we show how the presence of these large natural cycles can be used to correct the IPCC projected anthropogenic warming trend for the 21st century. By combining this corrected trend with the natural cycles, we show that the temperature may not significantly increase during the next 30 years mostly because of the negative phase of the 60-year cycle. If multisecular natural cycles (which according to some authors have significantly contributed to the observed 1700–2010 warming and may contribute to an additional natural cooling by 2100) are ignored, the same IPCC projected anthropogenic emissions would imply a global warming by about 0.3–1.2 C by 2100, contrary to the IPCC 1.0–3.6 C projected warming.

      Both of these models are in published peer reviewed articles and appear to have better historic statistical support than the IPCC’s 0.2C/decade global warming projections. Scafetta particularly showed the remarkable ability to forecast/hindcast from both halves of the data.

      Science is based on quantifiable models that can be objectively validated or rejected. Can you show any published models with comparable or better performance? Per this post topic, IPCC’s models appear at their limits with uncertainty increasing. If not, why should your statements not be be taken as emotive assertions rather than based on scientific observations?

    • By “the temperature trends will likely decline” I mean that the trends will likely be lower than mean +0.138C/decade of UAH’s lower tropospheric temperature of the last 32 years. They may even turn to actual cooling.

      Repeating the assertion does not get you any closer to proving it. In fact, give the UAH’s poor coverage of the poles, their trend already understates the reality: GISTEMP, RSS, and the Hadley Center all show substantially higher trends. Try not to cherry pick!

      “For evidence see Don Easterbrook‘s publications on global climate change,”

      To avoid wasting my time, I stick to peer-reviewed science. Has Easterbrook published any of his arguments in peer-reviewed journals? How about a link to that. The blurb of the book “Data opposing CO2 emissions as the primary source of global warming” suggests he’s a crackpot, but bring on the peer-reviewed evidence to the contrary.

      While you assert that “Both of these models are in published peer reviewed articles” neither citation is to the peer-reviewed literature; one is to a book, the other to a climate denial talk shop whose chief policy adviser is Christopher Monckton and chief science adviser is Willie Soon, the guy that got a cool million from the Heartland Institute to write “skeptic” papers.

      Both of these sources are pretty hilariously bad; if you want to prove your revised assertion that “temperature trends will likely decline” I suggest you start with some credible peer-reviewed science, preferably from someone thought to have some shred of integrity.

    • Also note Don Easterbrook’s history of faking temperature graphs to hide the incline: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2010/05/21/don-easterbrook-hides-the-incl/.

      Long before 2009, Easterbrook predicted global cooling — in fact, he predicted global cooling far enough in the past that the instrumental record refutes him: http://skepticalscience.com/don-easterbrook-heartland-distortion-of-reality.html.

      Willie Soon has admitted taking a cool million from fossil fuel companies: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jun/28/climate-change-sceptic-willie-soon.

      So as I said, they have very little credibility, but we need not focus on people if there’s data. Bring on the data.

    • ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-1.html

      Unless it is data that doesn’t fit the cult of AGW space cadets playbook.

    • Chief, on Tsonis and the synchronization, I was playing around linear regressions and plotted this,

      https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-eGZneJ_YkjA/UAg1pE4owbI/AAAAAAAACjE/DPoHmGS0If0/s912/oceans%2520lr%252060%2520month.png

      The 1998 El Nino pulse in the tropics appears to have brought the oceans into synchronous oscillation. Note that 1995 there was minor synchronization.

      These linear estimate comparisons are pretty interesting.

      http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/07/analyse-this.html

    • David L. Hagen

      Robert

      Re: “Repeating the assertion”
      You only give an ad hominem attack, ignoring the evidence I presented.

      If you actually read the Scafetta document, you would see it includes his full published paper (pp 17-31) so you can read the original:
      Testing an astronomically-based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models
      Nicola Scafetta, ACRIM (Active Cavity Radiometer Solar Irradiance Monitor Lab) & Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA.
      Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, (2011)
      doi:10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005
      http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1364682611003385

      Don Easterbrook regularly presented papers at the Geological Society of America. etc. See Joseph D’Aleo and Dr. Don Easterbrook, Multidecadal Tendencies in ENSO and Global Temperatures related to Multidecadal Oscillations, Energy & Environment, Volume 21, Number 5, pp. 437-460, September 2010

      Instead of rhetorical ad hominem attacks, lets see if you can rise to the level of science and address the substance of the evidence and predictions by D’Aleo and Easterbrook etc.

  41. …now they have moved on to “we need to wait until scientists can tell us exactly what will happen and what the costs are” …. [That] will never occur, because modelling can never provide that level of certainty.

    So the authors argue that politicians should “act” but the scientists don’t define what “act” means and don’t say how much we should be prepared to spend on acting and what would be the benefit of acting.

    The scientists argue that their models are accurate enough to make predictions out to hundreds of years in the future and can predict dire consequences, but don’t believe the dire consequences can or should have cost estimates put on them.

    This seems inconsistent.

    • Scientists aren’t in the main economists. They are generally clueless about, economics of resource allocation, discount rates, risk adjustment of disocunt rates. Paltridge seems to know a bit about this, hence is on the outer. Scientists should “but out” of economic policy decisions.

      The politicians and economists should be able to tell us how much we should spend to mitigate the uncertain future, but the scientists aren’t *really* interested in solutions. Solutions would mean the end of the research question and the gravy train that goes with it.

      Modelling as a proxy for science has been overinvested in inbred climate models. That’s the impression I got from reading Paltridge’s “The Climate Caper”, and that’s an insider’s view.

    • Scientists aren’t in the main economists. They are generally clueless about, economics of resource allocation, discount rates, risk adjustment of disocunt rates.

      Much like deniers are clueless about climate science. Perhaps we should all agree to listen carefully to the experts in a given field?

      Actually many economists have studied this question, and hundreds of papers have concluded that some degree of mitigation is better than business as usual. When I looked at the literature in late 2011, I found three authors who had written a total of eight papers out of 211 papers in a meta-analysis who argued against any mitigation. One was Richard Tol, and he later changed his mind: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2011/12/minor-myths-do-some-economists-think.html.

    • Rob Starkey

      Robert

      It comes downs to whether the specific idea or suggestion makes sense.

      What makes zero sense is your use of the prejudiced term “denier”. It seems Similar to to saying “nigger” in order to get a reaction. Is that your goal in using the term?

    • It seems like you’re trying to change the subject, Rob. Let’s stay on point.

      Peter wants to abuse climate scientists for not including policy recommendations and an economic analysis free with every paper on droughts and Arctic sea ice. That’s obviously irrational. Whether you like any specific policy recommendation is of course a function of what it is — it’s not the scientists’ responsibility.

      The term “denier” very accurately describes people exhibiting the psychological defense mechanism of denial. You are welcome to take offense at it, but I have no intention of letting your sensitivities guide my word choices.

      Climate denier is a particular case of science denial. Moon landing “skeptics,” anti-vaccine crusaders, and anti-evolution Creationists are all science deniers and are referred to as such by me (http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2011/08/meanwhile-in-other-anti-science-denier.html).

      I took the time recently to explore how anti-breastfeeding activists partake of some of the same science denial tactics and tropes: http://theidiottracker.blogspot.com/2012/07/breatfeeding-denial.html.

      So while your feedback is welcome, the use of the descriptive term “climate denial” a considered choice, and will continue. :)

    • So the authors argue that politicians should “act” but the scientists don’t define what “act” means and don’t say how much we should be prepared to spend on acting and what would be the benefit of acting.

      In other words, you demand that the scientists hold your hand and spoon-feed you policy.

      That’s not their job. All of these questions (what can be done to mitigate/adapt, how much it will cost, the overall cost/benefit and risk vs benefit) have been extensively studied both in the climate literature, by economists and by others.

      So are you saying:

      a) You’re totally ignorant of that vast amount of research including literally thousands of papers.

      b) You demand every scientist who writes about global warming reiterate all of the options for mitigation, adaptation, and the economic analyses that have been done.

      Either way, the claim makes you look like a petulant child.

  42. Earth temperature data is and has been well bounded for ten thousand years. There is no indication of unstable temperatures in actual data. The unstable forecasts, that keep not coming to happen, are only in Model Output that is based on Flawed Climate Theory.

  43. I was listening video interview with George Bush and reminds of this topic
    of thread.
    Q: What is wrong with public schools?
    Bush: They won’t change.

    Regarding bush policy: No Child Left Behind.

    Bush: Accountability is essential. Accountability is gateway to reform.

    So in this context Bush talking measuring results, that I one has to measure results to get accountability. Also he about having short term goals and measurable results [regarding aid to Africa]. Time specific goal- 2-3 years.
    Short term goal, a definite goal, so it could be measured.

    So in terms climate models and climate science in general it seems there is same problem: They won’t change. And it seems the process has have short term goals [which are measurable] .
    So we don’t continue basically decades of going nowhere.

  44. Climate models at their limit? No way, Climate Models have been outside of reasonable limits every since Al Gore’s Movie came out.

  45. The biggest obstacle is the unwillingness of politicians to act in the long-term interests of society.

    I suspect that statement is not correct. I suspect, in reality, they are not convinced that the policies being proposed by alarmists, are in fact, in the long-term interests of society.

    I suspect the vast majority of Australian politicians far from convinced that the recently legislated carbon tax and ETS will have the slightest effect on climate or sea levels. But it will seriously damage Australia’s international competitiveness and, therefore, our standard of living and well being over the long term.
    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1325#82373

    There seems no persuasive evidence to support the belief that this “act is in the long term interests of society

  46. Despite the uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is enough to tell us what we need to know. We need governments to go ahead and act, as both the United Kingdom and Mexico have done in making national laws that contain carbon reduction targets of 80% and 50%, respectively, by 2050.

    That is a ridiculous statement, IMO. It displays ignorance. It shows a lack of understanding of what is in society’s long term interest. It shows a disregard for people’s well being, both in the short term and the long term.

    Statements like this are what make people question and doubt the whole IPCC agenda, the belief and CAGW advocacy. It’s why many people see CAGW as more like religion than science.

    What are the cost estimates for these policies?

    (Here are some estimates from Nordhaus (2008) http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf ):

    To cut emissions by 80% globally by 2050 would require implementing the Nordhaus ‘Limit concentration to 1.5xCO2’ policy. The estimated carbon price would be $695/t C in 2055 (Table 5-4). Estimated cost = $27 trillion (Table 5-3). Estimated cost = 1.4% of GDP. Estimated benefit* = 0.6% of GDP (Figure 5-3).

    To cut emissions by 50% globally by 2050 would require implementing the Nordhaus ‘Limit Temp rise to 2C’ policy. The estimated carbon price would be $303/t C in 2055 (Table 5-4). Estimated cost = $11 trillion (Table 5-3). Projected cost = 0.6% of GDP. Projected benefit* = 0.5% of GDP (Figure 5-3).

    Is the projected benefit realistic? What would these policies actually achieve? Not much because the assumptions that underpin the modelling are totally impracticable and, therefore, would not be met.

    This quote provides a good example of why the climate scientists and CAGW alarmists cannot be trusted with their policy advice. Their advocacy amounts to “whatever it takes and damn the consequences of our policy prescriptions”. Their advice is irrational.

  47. Latimer Alder

    I found this amusing

    ‘For the fifth major assessment of climate science by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), due to be released next year, climate scientists face a serious public-image problem’

    In UK you have only to look out of the window to see how much of an image problem they already have.

    Our beloved climatologists have forecast

    ‘By 2010 snow will be a thing of the past’ – 2 very cold and very snowy winters in the last 3.

    ‘Prepare for a barbecue summer’ – Washout

    ‘The heavy snow and very cold weather has been due to global warming’ – Met Office lady on Breakfast TV

    ‘The f….g awful summer…coldest and wettest on record is due to global warming’ – Met Office

    ‘We have stopped publishing three month forecasts because they are too hard and we always get them wrong. But the same models tell us that we are all going to fry in 100 years’ – Met Office (paraphrase).

    Maybe five years ago there was a lot of trust in ‘climate scientists’. But ever since our climate stopped obeying their models, we have relearnt the folk wisdom of relying on what the weather is actually doing, not on what a man from Bracknell/Exeter tells us he’d like it to.

    ‘Serious image problem?’….you bet your sweet ass they’ve got one!

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      You say that climatologists have forecast such things as “By 2010 snow will be a thing of the past”

      Where did they say that? I’m no climatologist but, just by simple arithmetic, anyone can work out that should temperatures rise by 3 deg C by the end of the century, never mind the year 2010, to match IPCC predictions, snow will only be a “thing of the past” in those countries which never experienced temperatures below -3degC in the 20th century.

      If you are just going to make things up, you’ll have to do better than that!

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      You ask ‘Where did they say that?’

      Here – in year 2000.

      http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

      It was taken very seriously at the time. Back in the day when we very foolish enough to believe that we should treat climatologists with some respect and that their pronouncements were based on something other than wishful thinking. Remember too that The Hockey Stick still had credibility in those days.

      He also said

      ‘Children just aren’t going to know what snow is’.

      Please check Google before accusing me of making things up. I leave that sort of nonsense to the alarmists.

    • This is where they said it ‘tempterrain’:

      From The Independent on 20 March 2000 we got the headline: “Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past”. According to Dr David Viner, a senior research scientist at the climatic research unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia, within a few years winter snowfall will become “a very rare and exciting event”.

      You could have looked it up yourself. Now how about an apology to Latimer for implying he “just made it up”.

    • tempterrain

      The words you quote were written by the journalist and not said by David Viner. Also the year 2010 doesn’t seem to be mentioned in your reference. It looks like you added that for good measure.The idea of using quotes is to, well, er quote. You shouldn’t change anything inside the quote , not even a comma.

      I did happen to be in the UK when there was heavy snowfall in 2009-2010 and the temperatures were well below freezing. No-one is, or was, saying that global warming was any higher than 1 degC at the time. So, it didn’t matter if the temperature was -10degC or -9 degC, you’d still get snow. Sure, it would probably have lasted longer than it did, when temperatures did start to rise, without any global warming and that’s all you can say about that cold snap.

      It’s obvious and I’m sure David Viner wouldn’t disagree. It doesn’t mean the IPCC got it wrong at all.

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      Perhaps failing to take your medication has impaired your reading ability as well?

      The subject under discussion is not whether the IPCC got it wrong or not (though there is plenty of meat and drink for the sceptics there…voodooism, Himalayagate, the drowning of The Netherlands are all fruitful topics for renewed ridicule and debunking) but the public image problem of climate scientists.

      And boy, have they got one! Even if the quotations aren’t exactly verbatim, it is what people remember that matters in the image stakes. And Joe Public doesn’t make the distinction between climate and weather that you do. If some geezer comes on the telly and it says ‘Met Office’ by their name, that’s good enough.He/she is a pointy head and witters on about the weather….whether now or in 100 years is immaterial.

      I see no way back for their public image in UK inside ten years. The last three years (ever since Copenhagen/Climategate :-) ), they have covered themselves with so much ordure as to be just about irretrievable.
      It would take a decade of spot-on forecasts, a lot of humility (since when do we ever get that from climatologists??) and a lot of luck for them to be taken as seriously as they were even when I was a kid.

      But on reflection, it all started to go downhill in 1987 when Michael Fish stated that there wasn’t a hurricane on the way.. That night we had the worst storm in 300 years.

      ‘http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uqs1YXfdtGE

      Trees down all over the place, eggs down all over the hapless Fish.

      We stopped believing the metmen then.

    • tempterrain

      “The subject under discussion is not whether the IPCC got it wrong or not”

      Yes it is. If you want to quote what “they” say then quote the IPCC. The IPCC are the only “they” who can really be relied upon to speak for the scientific community.

      And no , I’m not saying “they” are perfect. “They” make mistakes like everyone else but when it is clear that’s what happened they are corrected. “They” correct them themselves. That’s what scientists do.

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      I repeat. The subject is the ‘climate scientists public image problem’.

      Like it or not, the public do not spend their evenings reading the latest IPCC report and going through it line by line. I’d guess that 95% in UK think it refers to the Inedependent Police Complaints Commission, which we hear about almost daily.

      They do not open their evening’s entertainment in the Dog and Duck with a merry ‘I see there’s an interesting rebuttal of McIntrye and Mann at Real Climate today’. They say ‘typical British simmer…cold and wet. What we need is a lot more global warming’

      In the very little time (if any) that they devote to thinking about ‘climate change’ they get their ideas from looking out of the window, watching the telly and talking to their friends. Fairly or unfairly, that is where they get their information and make their judgements.

      So appearances on the telly are very important. And – perhaps it is part of the national character – we really really like it when some authority figure (eg a met office guy) makes a public arse of themselves. And that is what we remember over and above everything else.

      You, for example, seem devoted to the theories of Greg Craven. But until you reminded me, the only thing I remembered about him was that he was called Greg and had to be carried off stage weeping and crying having ballsed up at a major public event.

      Public image isn’t fair or even logical. But it is a very strong motivator/demotivator for those with only a peripheral interest. Climate scientists have a very poor one already.

      You do not fix that by accusing everybody unconvinced of your argument of being a political ideologue and yourself running around screaming that The Sky is Falling.

    • andrew adams

      To be fair to Latimer I have never seen David Viner claim he was misquoted, and it was a rather premature claim. Having said that I should point out that if you asked the British public for their views on the matter I doubt that more than 1% would know who David Viner was or have any knowlege of what he said. Latimer is again confusing “what the British public think” with “what me and my mates think”.

    • andrew adams

      Latimer,

      In the very little time (if any) that they devote to thinking about ‘climate change’ they get their ideas from looking out of the window, watching the telly and talking to their friends. Fairly or unfairly, that is where they get their information and make their judgements.

      I certainly agree that this has an influence on people’s perceptions. Of course by the same token that means that large numbers of people in the US are currently becoming much more persuaded of the threat posed by AGW.
      But I also think that most of the public are intelligent and open minded enough not to dismiss out of hand claims by “experts” that appear to be counter-intuitive. So when someone from the Met office appears on TV and says there is reason to believe that our recent harsh winters could be connected to global warming some might dismiss it out of hand, others might be more open minded, especially if the expert in question was to point out that other parts of the NH were experiencing anomanously warm conditions at the same time, and explained that there was a growing body of research suggesting that that this could be due to changes in ocean circulation caused my melting arctic sea ice.
      And of course ultimately the question on whether the public accepts such explanations has zero relevance to whether they are true.

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      If it were indeed true that climate scientists were concerned about their image I doubt you’d call it a “problem”. Just the opposite in fact.

      I haven’t actually heard anyone “running around screaming that The Sky is Falling” as you claim. Personally I’m pretty sure that AGW isn’t going to inconvenience me very much , if at all, during my lifetime. All you deniers too. We’ll all be dead well before there is any real problem.

      So, why bother about it? That’s a pretty good argument for your side. You seem to use anything else you can get your hands on, so why not that one too?

    • tempterrain

      Latimer,

      Furthermore your other examples are confusing weather, which is extremely hard to forecast, with climate which is much easier.

      Its a bit like forecasting the outcome of the English Premier Football League. It’s quite easy to say that the two Manchester clubs, United and City, will occupy leading positions next season. Its also easy to say that each will lose about 5 or 6 games in the course of the season. That’s like predicting climate. Its much harder, impossible even, to say which games they will lose though. That’s like predicting the weather.

    • That would be true if climate science where predicting climate. If you assume average is an empty set you have warmer or colder, the majority of the impact would tend to lead to warmer, you have predicted climate.

      But what if average is not an empty set but a range? You have warmer, colder or no significant change. Now you have a little more of a problem, the majority of the impacts would lead to greater than average, but are they greater than the impacts that lead to the range of average?

      So like I have been saying all along, if you don’t know “average”, you don’t know what you are attempting to predict. If the range of climate predicted is 1.5 to 4.5 and the range of average, natural variability, is -1.25 to +1.25, you either have a larger range or a smaller range. Your uncertainty increased, so now predicting climate is not so easy.

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rRs69Ekl9Zc/T_7kMjPiejI/AAAAAAAAChY/baz0GHWEGbI/s917/60000%2520years%2520of%2520climate%2520change%2520plus%2520or%2520minus%25201.25%2520degrees.png

      So what is the cause of the extra uncertainty? That’s right sports fans, the lack of a understanding of natural variability.

    • Disclaimer: While similar to our host’s Italian Flag, the logic of the forgotten middle is more closed related to the Monty Hall game show, where the middle most likely gets stuck with the goats :)

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      Mr. tempterrain,
      “Furthermore your other examples are confusing weather, which is extremely hard to forecast, with climate which is much easier.”
      Is one of the funniest claims of all time.
      Thanks etc.,

    • tempterrain

      Ask any teacher. Its always the less intelligent kids who want to sit at the back of the class, finding everything amusing and giggling about anything that comes into their heads.

    • Skeptics sat in the back row laughing at some of the nonsense the teacher union representative in front of the class was spouting.

      “Consensus” sheep were the apple polishers in class, sitting in the front row, raising their hands for every question, even when they had no clue what the answer was, putting a nice shiny apple on the progressive demagogue’s desk each morning, regurgitating everything they were told in hopes of impressing the teacher, hoping desperately for a gold star….

      You know, the kind who regularly read skepticalscience and thinkprogress.

    • Temp,

      You really need to be more careful what you say. Unless you are auditioning for a job in standup comedy.

      Your analogy is pretty poor as well.

      Try this: Predicting weather is like trying to predict the winners of next Sunday’s footbal games (NFL – I don’t do soccer.) You won’t usually get every one correct, but if you get a bit more than half, you’ll be considered successful.

      Predicting climate is akin to predicting which team will win the Super Bowl 20 years from now. If you want to account for error bars, then you get to name three teams as possible winners.

      If you want to keep to soccer, ok, substitute World Cup for Super Bowl.

    • I think a better sports analogy is archery, as it has a fairly high physics quotient, and a guy who sort of programs a model with each shot.

      Predicting weather a day or so out is an archer a fairly short distance from the broad side of a barn. He can hit it the vast majority of the time.

      The further away he gets, the less accuracy of his forecast: few days, week, weeks, month, months, year, years, decade, decades.

      Predicting 2100 is an archer fairly close to the barn. Because he’s predicting global averages. When asked for regional averages, he’s moving farther away quickly. The annual rainfall in New York City in 2100, he’s pretty far away and he has a very hard shot.

    • tempterrain

      “Predicting climate is akin to predicting which team will win the Super Bowl 20 years from now.”

      With the Super Bowl you’d have to say which city the team came from . Right? The correct analogy there would be to say which city would be worst affected by a hurricane in 20 years time. That’s weather. Not climate.

  48. How are we supposed to act? Why silly, act as though the sky were falling.
    ======================

  49. Latimer Alder

    If, as a hypothetical exercise, we placed a complete moratorium on all public funding for climatological studies tomorrow, how much worse off would we collectively be in 5 years time? In 20 years? In 100 years?

    What, in general terms, would we not learn that we expect to achieve in those timescales?

    As a simple answer we could look back five years to 2007. Have we actually learnt anything new about climate since then? Or since 1992?

    • Latimer, I think we’ve learned a lot. I read new and interesting studies all the time which could never have occurred without the sort of financial support only governments can provide for raw data collection. You might argue that the money could have been better spent elsewhere, but would it have been? Given a choice between the change in composition of the stratosphere due to tropospheric overshooting and yet another study on the effects of cocaine on chimps (and possibly some researchers), I would prefer my money be spent on the climate.

    • Latimer Alder

      I’d prefer to spend it on neither. There are plenty of more pressing problems than producing ‘research’ to publishing papers that nobody reads but advance one’s career…

      The choice is not simply between one form of pointless academic research and another.

  50. Judith,

    The biggest problem with our current scientists is that (through data), they are seeking patterns to replicate. What is NOT understood or studied then become chaotic theory as many areas have been ignored or NEVER studied.
    The system trying to be replicated in models NEVER EXACTLY duplicates due to many, many changes in the system every single second.
    All these systems are totally interactive to give us the current temperatures.
    Some areas of science have totally blended in water and our atmosphere. Not realizing that anything above sea level is in our atmospheric gases and have different parameters compared to water. Water vapor has density and DOES NOT CROSS the equator due to the atmospheric density is less than the density of the water vapor which is controlled by the greater velocity and centrifugal force.

    Time differences is another area that has NOT been dissected and studied to the different velocities.

  51. Some credit where it’s due: Trenberth recognised this problem in 2010:

    http://www.nature.com/climate/2010/1002/full/climate.2010.06.html

    “So here is my prediction: the uncertainty in AR5′s climate predictions and projections will be much greater than in previous IPCC reports, primarily because of the factors noted above. This could present a major problem for public understanding of climate change. Is it not a reasonable expectation that as knowledge and understanding increase over time, uncertainty should decrease? But while our knowledge of certain factors does increase, so does our understanding of factors we previously did not account for or even recognize.”

    But, as he goes on to say, it’s ok, ‘cos every day in every way climate models are getting better and better. /sarc

  52. So we begin with simplisti models, with few dials and knobs, beat our chests about our certainity. Convince a few politicians along the way, filter and mine a little bit of data. Then realize that our simplistic models are worthless or near that. Se add more dials and knobs which lead to a realization that we were too certain, but since we almost acted we should continue to act. Are these guys MAROONS?

    • Joe's World

      Yes!
      They are following in the footsteps of physics in averaging for that single calculation to apply to an orb that has many different parameters and ignoring all the parameters which make up temperatures for the data alone.

    • Kent Draper

      They are either “MAROONS” or they are doing it with purpose. It matters not which is true. Again, the term snake oil comes to mind as does “tar and feathers”…….. It used to work in the past or was at least a deterrent :)

  53. “The biggest obstacle is the unwillingness of politicians to act in the long-term interests of society.”

    Well, I’m sure this is true, but not in the way it was meant. As it was meant, this is another example of assuming the answer to the question being debated. But for politicians, the appeal of the issue–the appeal of every issue politicians care about–is the opportunity to buy votes using public money (or government coersion). Solyndra is a text-book illustration. Unfortunately, both sides tolerate the behavior because they both interpret the actions of the “good guy” politicians as advancing their policy preferences, rather than as the cynical actions they generally are.

  54. The biggest obstacle is the unwillingness of politicians to act in the long-term interests of society. Politicians use public opinion and scientific uncertainty as excuses for inaction.,

    What nonsensical drivel.

    Politician’s weigh the diverse needs of society and rarely act on ‘single issues’. Poverty is by far the #1 killer in the world. Hence, politicians are naturally skeptical of those who insist that inducing poverty is the only way to ‘save the future’.

    I think we should cap the salary’s of ‘climate scientists’ who write such drivel at the global average income.

    • It is more than nonsense, it is arrogant in the extreme.

      It presumes that there is a clear and non-controversial path for action. What is that path?

    • Yes. Excellent point. Poverty is by far the most important issue.

    • It’s a non sequitur of an argument as far as climate change is concerned, because virtually all the economic analyses find that unchecked global warming is far more expensive than mitigation, and that the costs will fall disproportionally on the very poor. So if you oppose mitigation of climate change you are arguing that we should destroy trillions of dollars in wealth and push tens to hundreds of millions of people into poverty — anti-mitigation is pro-poverty, that is the simple fact of the matter.

      It presumes that there is a clear and non-controversial path for action.

      How does it presume that? Are you saying that scientist should lie about the need for action as long as there is controversy?

    • No scientist should call for anything outside his area of expertise (some area of science at most), otherwise he commits a professional boundary violation. He should serve by describing what science tells him.

      Otherwise, he is not a scientist, but an advocate and influence peddler. No decision maker should commit to action without knowing the alternatives. In a democratic society, no decision maker should undertake expensive and dramatic actions without being able to explain and gain the support of the society.

      The people calling for action are so far removed from being convincing that one must suspect that they are political incompetents as well as scientific incompetents.

    • Harrywr2 and Peter Lang,

      “Inducing poverty and moving to a low carbon economy are not the same thing at all.”

      But in any case, its not that you yourselves are objecting to a slight reduction in your living standards. You’d quite happily switch to a slightly more fuel efficient car. You’d be happy to walk to the shops etc. No, it’s all those poor people in Africa which really causes you to worry. I must say I’m touched by how the issue of climate change has caused all these previously hard hearted, and hard headed, right wing types to suddenly find their social conscience! It brings a tear to my eye!

  55. Let’s stop for a moment to put everything into perspective. Irrespective of all the possible sources of error endemic in the academic study of global warming – from posing the problem to be solved to the gathering and processing of information about it – there really is no crisis involved but one. The ONLY real danger is the damage to society that has and will result from the government’s use of such studies to manage a non-existent crisis.

  56. Sorry to jump in with random comments:

    Alarmist NYt’s column today about global warming and hot summer. I couldn’t read it. Too stomach churning. Anyone here read it?

    There’s a thread over at WUWT on the infamous survey that in the minds of those who don’t know any better, has established once and forever that 98 percent of “all scientists” are in accord with the alarmist camp. Which of course is so much twaddle, based on a grand total of 2 questions which even many skeptics would answer “yes” to.

    My question is, why doesn’t somebody undertake a more valid survey? What about Heartland? If doesn’t seem like it would be all that hard to do, and it would surely be useful. Be nice to be able to counter that ridiculous 98 percent number with something that actually reflects reality.

    • “Alarmist NYt’s column today about global warming and hot summer. I couldn’t read it. Too stomach churning.”

      Man up and face reality. You’re not going to get any smarter hiding from unpleasant facts.

      “My question is, why doesn’t somebody undertake a more valid survey? What about Heartland?”

      Heartland is a little busy right now to run a fake survey. Why don’t you take it on?

    • I have to say, asking for Heartland to conduct a survey because of a lack of trust in the validity of other surveys sums up the climate debate perfectly.

    • Here are a couple of polls. The one conducted by Bray and von Storch is very detailed.

      http://stats.org/stories/2008/global_warming_survey_apr23_08.html

      http://coast.gkss.de/staff/storch/pdf/CliSci2008.pdf

    • Rob Starkey

      A 2008 poll is not very meaningful regarding how people are thinking in 2012

    • Probably true. Have any good ones that are more recent?

    • Rob Starkey

      Yale 2012 but I don’t have it summerized on this computer

    • A 2011 paper from George Mason University published in the International Journal of Public Opinion Research, “The Structure of Scientific Opinion on Climate Change,” collected the opinions of scientists in the earth, space, atmospheric, oceanic or hydrological sciences. The 489 survey respondents — representing nearly half of all those eligible according to the survey’s specific standards — work in academia, government, and industry, and are members of prominent professional organizations.

      The study’s key findings include:

      97% of the 489 scientists surveyed agreed that that global temperatures have risen over the past century. Moreover, 84% agreed that “human-induced greenhouse warming” is now occurring.” Only 5% disagreed with the idea that human activity is a significant cause of global warming.
      “There was greater debate over the likelihood of substantial warming in the near future, with 56% seeing at least a 50–50 chance that temperatures will rise” 2 degrees Celsius over the next 50–100 years.
      “When [survey participants were] asked to rate the effects on a ten-point scale from trivial (1) to catastrophic (10), the mean response was 6.6, with 41% seeing great danger (ratings of 8–10), 44% moderate danger (4–7), and 13% little danger.”
      Though the expectation might be that scientists involved in industry would be more likely to have doubts about the validity of climate change, a statistical breakdown of the survey results showed that there was “no independent effect of industry employment on scientific attitudes toward climate change.”
      However, “scientists in academia were more likely than those in government or business to believe that global temperatures are likely to rise substantially in the future, and that the consequences will be particularly severe.”
      (http://journalistsresource.org/studies/environment/climate-change/structure-scientific-opinion-climate-change/)

    • Looks to me like they surveyed earth scientists, not climate scientists specifically, and not the general public. The results are comparable to this survey from 2009:

      Two questions were key: have mean global temperatures risen compared to pre-1800s levels, and has human activity been a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.

      About 90 percent of the scientists agreed with the first question and 82 percent the second.

      In analyzing responses by sub-groups, Doran found that climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming, with 97 percent agreeing humans play a role. . . .

      He was not surprised, however, by the near-unanimous agreement by climatologists.

      “They’re the ones who study and publish on climate science. So I guess the take-home message is, the more you know about the field of climate science, the more you’re likely to believe in global warming and humankind’s contribution to it.”

      http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2009-01/uoia-ssa011609.php

      Most studies seem to find that generic scientists overwhelmingly agree the world is warming, and agree on human-caused global warming by majorities of 80-90%, much more than the general public. Actively publishing climate scientists all know the world is warming, and about 97% agree humans are the primary reason why.

      Several studies have found this, and the debate over interpretation seems to be mostly over which scientists get the “headline” — all scientists (80-90%) or just the people who study the climate (>95%).

      Seems to be a case of the more you know, the more you know.

    • Robert, I’d very much like to see a poll where 97% of the climate scientists responding state that man is the primary reason for the temperature increase. Have one?

    • Is that a public opinion poll or a poll of climate scientists?

    • Thanks Robert, I could be wrong but it looks like the 2011 paper was based off the results of the 2008 poll. I am just too cheap to pay to find out for sure :)

    • “Robert, I’d very much like to see a poll where 97% of the climate scientists responding state that man is the primary reason for the temperature increase. Have one?”

      You’re right that the study above said “significant cause” and not “primary.” Most seem to use that wording. This one’s not a poll, but a review of publication records:

      http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2010/06/04/1003187107.full.pdf+html

      The standard here is: “Report that it is “very likely” that anthropogenic greenhouse gases have been responsible for “most” of the “unequivocal” warming of the Earth’s average global temperature in the second half of the 20th century (3).”

      Results:
      The UE group comprises only 2% of the top 50 climate researchers as ranked by expertise (number of climate publications), 3% of researchers of the top 100, and 2.5% of the top 200, excluding researchers present in both groups (Materials and Methods). This result closely agrees with expert surveys, indicating that ≈97% of self-identified actively publishing climate scientists agree with the tenets of ACC (2).

    • Yes, I am only vaguely familiar with the Anderegg paper. You are right it isn’t a poll. The word significant really doesn’t tell you much other than they feel the human contribution is measureable.

    • Robert: Gleick admitted to committing identity fraud via email to get documents, and you fully well know it. You no doubt think he did it in a valiant crusade, but it was a crime — for which he will never be tried because he has other people paying his legal bills and allies in high places.

      The “death threats” that were allegedly received by (Australian) climate scientists turned out to be not death threats, though it took freedom of information requests forcing their hand before the allegations were qualified and withdrawn.

      The fact that you use “deniers” repeatedly shows you’re unable to differentiate various shades of skepticism, lumping everyone who disagrees with your extremist view into the same camp. Specific instances of professors being fired, and an editor (or was it two) resigning after pressure have been all over the blogosphere, and various emails to try to get other professors fired came out in the climategate emails.

    • Robert: Gleick admitted to committing identity fraud via email to get documents, and you fully well know it.

      So you admit you lied about deniers being victimized by “mail fraud”? You now want to invent this new pretend crime, which neither Gleick now anyone else has been charged with, of “identity fraud via email.”

      Sounds like you’re not much of a pretend lawyer.

      it was a crime — for which he will never be tried because he has other people paying his legal bills

      Here’s a little legal tip for you: having a lawyer doesn’t keep you from being charged with a crime. You supposed “crime” being pure denier fantasy, however, likely will.

      Specific instances of professors being fired, and an editor (or was it two) resigning after pressure have been all over the blogosphere,

      So you admit you’re unable to cite a single example that supports your claims? You’re going to just give up and claim the evidence is out there, somewhere? OK, champ. I guess we’ve seen the best you have. ;)

    • Considering that scientists who disagree with the majority have been fired, have resigned, have had important people in the field ask that they be fired, have had important people in the field oppose publication of their papers (which is essentially cutting off their water supply), have been unable to get funding (their oxygen, as it were), have been slandered as Big-Oil Shills, have had mail fraud committed against them, or have been called (Neo-Holocaust) Deniers, I would think that there’s an opposite explanation for the larger lockstep of opinion the closer you get to the center of climate power.

    • Lots of assertions there, but a dearth of evidence, sad to say.

      Any evidence for these allegations? For example, who has been convicted of mail fraud? Just the case number would be lovely.

      You claim that “have had important people in the field oppose publication of their papers (which is essentially cutting off their water supply).” The low quality of “skeptic” papers has been a recurring problem. Do you have any evidence that climate deniers have any more problems publishing than any other group of incompetents trying to promote an ideological agenda?

      Here’s a simple test: climate scientists who report the facts have received death threats. Have any deniers? I’m curious.

      Also: re your misuse of the word “slander.” It’s not slander if it’s true. :)

    • Robert: Oh, let’s see. Perhaps that Gleick admitted to committing identity fraud via email to steal proprietary documents? Oh, that’s right, in your world that wasn’t actually fraud at all, since he found out that Big Oil was financing… oh, except he actually found… nothing. So he made up a “secret” document and included that with the boring, real documents he obtained by fraud.

      And it was that forgery that outed him. BEFORE he admitted that he’d done these things, several people on the internet identified him from characteristics in his forgery. A couple of days later — after consulting lawyers to draft a very-finely-crafted admission — he admitted to everything except the forgery. (And he seemed to deny the forgery, but if you follow the pea under the shells, it turns out he doesn’t deny it.)

      You know full-well who the editor that was forced to resign by Trenberth, et al — he even apologized to them in his resignation, prostrating himself before the Godfather, as I remember. I can’t remember his name and don’t intend to waste time googling for something that was big news when it happened.

      Your repeated use of the word (holocaust) “denier” shows you can’t distinguish a wide variety of positions on a continuum from total disbelief to your hardcore, rabid beliefs.

    • Steven Mosher

      Robert:

      “Do you have any evidence that climate deniers have any more problems publishing than any other group of incompetents trying to promote an ideological agenda?”

      I would say that climate outsiders definitely have more problems publishing than climate insiders, regardless of the quality of their work.

      That’s slightly different and you might want to think about that.

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      pokerguy,
      Asking about how to wade through consensus bs in a forum where consensus trolls act out so often will not be productive. But it will be fun.

  57. Leonard Weinstein

    Judith,
    Admitting that the more they know, the broader the bounds of uncertainty of long term results seem, is really an admission that earlier models were even less meaningful than claimed (as skeptics kept saying). The results now show that complex chaoetic processes that are involved in climate are truly not realistically able to be projected very far out with any degree of validity. That is all there is too it. Trying to pick the higher end boundary of uncertainty, and warning it could be worse that expected is absolutely crazy. It is likely that cooling is more likely than warming in the longer term, and would have a bigger negative effect. A call to do something to slow warming, just in case the warming threat is possible, and even though all proposed solution are either not going to be effective, or may have unintended results, is the height of folly.

    • Not only is the “problem” less certain than some have previously claimed, but our history of engineering major projects shows any suggested remedy is likely to be more expensive than planned, less effected than projected, and ultimately harmful to the environment.

      I’m amazed that discussions have not included more about our dismal record of controlling nature.

    • Perhaps because what is under discussion is not controlling nature, but controlling ourselves.

      The massive geoengineering of our climate is indeed likely to prove “more expensive than planned, less effected than projected, and ultimately harmful to the environment.” Humility and respect for unintended consequences would suggest limiting our engineering of the climate via greenhouse gas emissions. That’s the true conservative position.

    • Why restrict yourself to CO2?
      We have completely altered the biosphere and aquasphere by farming and fishing.
      The ‘natural’ balance of large avians and large mammals is completely distorted to animals we like to eat and the number of predators is far lower than these populations can support. Tilling the soil, adding phosphate and nitrate has completely altered the macrobiotic flora and fauna. We have transplanted species across continents and permanently altered the ecology of the whole planet.
      If you want a natural environment, kill everyone. That is the only solution to solve the problems that you fear.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Robert,
      Your in-depth ignorance is a great entertainment.
      Do you practice or is it an extemporaneous act?
      Just wondering.

    • lurker passing through, laughing

      Leonard,
      Very well stated.
      Extremist consensus promoters seem to be doing a lot of admissions against their interest.
      It is hilarious to consider the AGW consensus promoters who spend so much time and effort on managing their message. At the end of the day they admit that they were wrong to claim they knew fer sure what was happening. And they admit we are not going to grow more certain. Yet they continue to assert we should act as they demand anyway.
      This is a breath taking display, on the part of the consensus promoters, of a less than sane world view.
      And the consensus trolls trip over themselves defending the promoters and blaming the skeptics.
      Hilarious.
      A nice laugh to end the day on.

  58. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Above all, the public and policy- makers need to be made to understand that climate models may have reached their limit. They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.

    A number of people posting here have raised the possibility of global cooling. That was a fad of sorts in the 1970s. Right now the evidence in support of future cooling is uncertain. According to the logic of this author, we must stop waiting for further certainty and simply act to prevent cooling.

  59. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    Robert: Perhaps because what is under discussion is not controlling nature, but controlling ourselves.

    What a curious thing to write. the proposals under discussion are to control “ourselves” in order to control nature .

    The “true conservative” position is to resist the increase of government power.

    • No Matt, not doing something is not the same as doing something.

      By your logic, if you could shoot someone, but choose not to, you are “controlling” them by keeping them un-shot.

      Your reasoning is nonsense, sorry.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      Robert, If I understand you correctly, you have asserted that passing laws to control someone’s energy use is the same as not shooting that person.

    • You don’t understand me correctly.

      You are arguing that by not taking action to change something, that we control it.

      Please support that argument — that by not something, you are taking control — with facts.

      You may also want to examine to further fallacies in your argument:

      1. Your assertion that conservatism is associated with restricting the power of government. That’s historically wrong. Conservatism has always fought for a strong central government and against the liberal argument for individual rights in opposition to government power. Hated our democratically elected government and wanting to reduce its influence may or may not be philosophically correct, but in no possible way can it be considered “conservative.”

      2. Your assumption that mitigating global warming can only be done by increasing the power of government. In reality, there are many things that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the scope of government power — eliminating fossil fuel subsidies, for example, or replacing free-to-travel public highways with private toll roads.

      You have allowed your hatred of government to push you into denial of reality, but both the science denial and the fear of the solutions is based in fantasy.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      I’ll have to let you have the last word on that.

  60. Berényi Péter

    They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.”

    Under the circumstances that’s the worst advice I can think of.

    In case of great uncertainty the best course of action is not to commit yourself to any specific action. Increase your flexibility instead, strengthen your weak points, build reserves and be ready to move vigorously as soon as a clear opening shows up. Any sane chess or go player knows that.

    In this specific case it means increasing institutional flexibility, that is, we should get rid of centralized bureaucratic power structures as much as possible in the unknown time span given, because they are rigid and brittle, hinder any reasonable action effectively.

    The world system should be rebuilt in a recursively modular fashion, with standard interfaces at module boundaries controlling (and facilitating) traffic according to standard protocols.

    The foolish practice of removing module boundaries as obstacles should be halted. We have to improve permeability and local control over interfaces at the same time instead.

    Internal workings of a module is no business of anyone outside, save for its interfaces to other modules.

    By “traffic” I mean exchange and flow of persons, information, knowledge, expertise, ideas, services, goods, capital, finances, etc. (but never coercion, intimidation or raw power)

    That’s how a free system looks like.

    It is a system which is durable, can accommodate to anything the future, always shrouded in dense fog, might or might not bring about.

    • Any sane chess or go player knows that.

      Actually, that’s not how you play chess at all. Couldn’t say for Go.

      If you want to preserve “flexibility” the obvious move is to rapidly cut greenhouse gas emissions. If you do you have more options — you can always chose to burn them later, while if you burn them, you do not really have the choice to unburn them later.

      The world system should be rebuilt in a recursively modular fashion, with standard interfaces at module boundaries controlling (and facilitating) traffic according to standard protocols.

      What do you mean by that?

  61. OK, so we’re really down to where the rubber (money) meets the road. And the grabber is this: when the cost of the premium exceeds the possible loss, don’t insure.

    In reality, of course, the likelihood of the possible loss is vanishingly small anyway. It’s a gaunt, skinny tail, not a fat one.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      Your assumption of the “gaunt, skinny tail” is just that…Your assumption. The evidence that seems to be presenting itself in the cryosphere would seem to paint a rather different viewpoint. We’ve not even seen the full amount of Earth system warming from 390 ppm of CO2. and won’t for many decades. In the meantime…higher we go!

  62. Climate modeling is not at its limit. What is at its limit is AGW modeling. They have wrung as much as they can out of that hypothesis. Modeling actual climate has hardly begun.

  63. Martha July 19 @ 12.50 am, on climate science and policy as the content of uncertainty says … the the context is not ‘increasing uncertainty but increasing realism about uncertainty.’

    Here’s an irresistible conjunction, Martha, “climate science’ and ‘realism!’
    Models that reduce irreducible complexity to simplicity., yer call that realism? Modelling the radiative properties of low level clouds ? Fergit optical depth and rain and drizzle. Realism …hmmm …

    It’s a magic act Git yer tickets fer the show!
    Data adjusted and tweaked before yer very eyes …Here’s an acrobatic act, watch us turn the data upside down! Hoopla, we can even make the data disappear. It’s magical. :-)

  64. Brandon Shollenberger

    I find this paper interesting. In effect, it admits past and current GCMs have overstated their certainty, something everyone should have already known. More importantly, they acknowledge future GCM runs will likely have expanded uncertainties. Perhaps some time after that the uncertainties will shrink again, and we’ll reach the “confidence levels” we have now, but there’s no way to guess when that would happen.

    This means policy makers shouldn’t expect anything from GCMs to make global warming a more pressing problem than it already is to them. This leads the authors to conclude:

    Above all, the public and policy- makers need to be made to understand that climate models may have reached their limit. They must stop waiting for further certainty or persuasion, and simply act.

    This is a perfectly sensible conclusion. If we won’t get any better information in the foreseeable future, there is no benefit in waiting. Whatever action we’re going to take, we should take now. I agree with that completely.

    The problem for the authors is, what action does it look like we’re going to take? Few people seem convinced global warming poses a serious threat. Why else would there be so little action taken because of it? Given the current levels of information, people seem content to do very little about global warming. And if those levels of information aren’t going to change in the foreseeable future, that suggests we should continue to do very little. And if we’re not going to change our current course of action, there’s little reason to keep discussing the matter.

    Ironically, these authors have made an effective argument for us to stop paying so much attention to global warming.

    • Brandon,
      This is a fully logical comment where you also show understanding on what the authors probably wanted to say by their somewhat questionable sentence. They tell that waiting for better projections for the future climate may not pay as the accuracy of the projections is not expected to improve rapidly. Another way of expressing this is to say that the values of real options linked to the uncertainties of climate projections are presently low.

      This is, however, not the only type of uncertainty or the only type of real options that’s influencing rational decision making. Other uncertainties and real options are due to the technological development that will provide alternatives for low-carbon energy production and for improved energy economy. Related to these real options we have at least two issues:

      - the present value of waiting is increased by the fact that immediate action destroys some real options

      - we have the possibility of actions that aim specifically in increasing the value of these real options. That’s done by research and possibly also by other acts that make it easier and faster to make future investments on a scale that has significant effect on mitigation.

      The second point could be widened to include preparation for adaptation as well as preparation for mitigation.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Brandon,
      This is a fully logical comment where you also show understanding on what the authors probably wanted to say by their somewhat questionable sentence.

      Thanks Pekka Pirilä!

      This is, however, not the only type of uncertainty or the only type of real options that’s influencing rational decision making. Other uncertainties and real options are due to the technological development that will provide alternatives for low-carbon energy production and for improved energy economy.

      I agree. The reason I didn’t discuss what you describe is I was trying to keep things concise. There is a lot more I could have said, but I wanted to focus on the fact the authors are making a good case for not taking any drastic actions.

      Personally, I would much rather people focus on figuring out just what we know and can do. I think it’d be much better if we had a solid plan/understanding for things before we made any policy decisions.

  65. “Few people seem convinced global warming poses a serious threat. Why else would there be so little action taken because of it? ”

    That would have been said about smoking in the late sixties in the Western countries. In fact it still can be said in most countries of the world where cigarettes are freely available to anyone regardless of age, where tobacco is still openly advertised and tobacco companies still put out misleading information on their products.

    You need to think about alternative possible explanations.

    • People aren’t taking it seriously enough – let’s suspend democracy? We have to make them give up carbon for their own good?

      You need to persuade people and thankfully you are not even close. It is getting worse for you as the planet continues not to notably warm. I think you need a new game plan. The old one is dead and stinky.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      Chief, I actually made the mistake of considering you to be an honest skeptic…but with such statements as “it is getting worse for you as the planet continues to not notably warm”, I realize my assumption was wrong.

      10 x 10^22 Joules of energy accumulation in the oceans down to 2000 meters in just the past ten years alone is not “notable” warming? Oh, I guess you are confusing the relatively puny energy reservoir of the troposphere for “the planet”.

      Look to the oceans for the direction of heating and energy imbalance. The atmosphere can only follow the long-term trend of the ocean…and guess what Chief…it’s warming…notably.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Wow. You’re accusing a person of dishonesty (even if just of the intellectual sort) because when they talk about the planet warming, they refer to surface temperatures. That’s the exact same thing almost everybody has been referring to for a couple decades.

      If you ask me, you have the situation reversed. You’re trying to change the discussion from what it’s always been without informing people of the change. This can only create confusion and deception. Perhaps what you’re talking about is what ought</b to be discussed, but that doesn't mean it is what has been discussed.

      If there is a problem here, it’s one created by people on the “warmist” side. You shouldn’t blame people, much less accuse them of dishonesty, because of a problem they had no part in creating.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      My life for a preview/edit feature. I’d never mess up an HTML tag if I had one.

    • Hi Brandon,

      No I was talking about the entire planet – ocean and everything. The modest ocean warming to 2000m metres seen in the ARGO record since 2003 correlates nicely with cloud radiative forcing – although with a trend that short it is the variability that is the killer of meaning. The atmosphere hasn’t warmed but we have had that discussion with Gatesy.

      When I say the world isn’t warming it is over 20 to 40 of the cool Pacific mode and not an arbitrary short period. It comes back to his dishonesty or inability to process information that is not in accordance with the AGW space cadet group think.

      Cheers

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Chief Hydrologist, even if that’s what you were talking about, that doesn’t justify what R. Gates said (and there was nothing in your comment to indicate that was what you were talking about). I don’t care to get involved in that particular issue, but what you said is the same thing plenty of other people have said (including me). Accusing someone of any sort of dishonesty for a comment like that is unacceptable..

    • Brandon,

      When I say the planet I mean the planet. The oceans warmed a little last decade but the atmosphere didn’t. What can we make of that? The oceans can warm if the atmosphere warms and net loss of heat from the surface decreases or it can warm because there is more incident short wave. Ergo a slight and temporary warming of the ocean did not arise from a warming atmosphere – it arose quite clearly in the CERES record from less reflected SW – cloud radiative forcing.

      In the 20 to 40 year cool Pacific mode cloud radiative forcing seems quite likely to lead to subdued warming over another 10 to 30 years. There is quite a wealth of science on this and my primary objection is that these twits keep insisting that their simplistic narrative is utterly and unfailingly correct. We still need to moderate emissions but these space cadets are politically naive, inutterably over confident, economically illiterate, smarmy and not helping the cause at all.

      Cheers

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Cheif Hydrologist:

      When I say the planet I mean the planet.

      Fair enough. It’s just that for as long as I can remember, when people talked about global warming, they talked about surface temperatures. I can think of hundreds of statements by people like Phil Jones and James Hansen where they discussed “global warming” without taking into consideration ocean temperatures. It seems ridiculous for people like R. Gates to try to pretend like that isn’t the case just because surface temperatures currently don’t support the “cause.”

      If talking about global warming requires talking about ocean temperatures, people like Phil Jones deserve criticism for failing to do so. People like me, who are just responding to what climate scientists have said, don’t deserve to be called dishonest simply because we discuss what climate scientists have been discussing. If there is any dishonesty, it is on the part of people who are trying to change the subject while pretending like they aren’t.

      The oceans warmed a little last decade but the atmosphere didn’t. What can we make of that? The oceans can warm if the atmosphere warms and net loss of heat from the surface decreases or it can warm because there is more incident short wave. Ergo a slight and temporary warming of the ocean did not arise from a warming atmosphere – it arose quite clearly in the CERES record from less reflected SW – cloud radiative forcing.

      I don’t think your conclusion follows from what you say. I think instead of “did not arise,” you should have said, “may not have arisen.” I agree there is more than one way for the oceans to have warmed, but you haven’t given any reason for us to believe one particular way is responsible. I see the reason for uncertainty, but I don’t see a reason for being sure of your position.

      There is quite a wealth of science on this and my primary objection is that these twits keep insisting that their simplistic narrative is utterly and unfailingly correct. We still need to moderate emissions but these space cadets are politically naive, inutterably over confident, economically illiterate, smarmy and not helping the cause at all.

      I won’t give an opinion on any individuals in this comment, but I agree there are plenty of people who fit your description. For what it’s worth, I also agree taking action to reduce GHG emissions is a good idea.

      Cheers to you as well!

    • ‘I don’t think your conclusion follows from what you say. I think instead of “did not arise,” you should have said, “may not have arisen.”’

      It is simply power flux. The oceans gain energy and therefore warmth from the sun. Oceans loose energy in IR from the surface microns – net IR up – and as convection and latent heat. Let’s say that atmopheric temperature doesn’t increase – then there is no mechanism for a change in net IR and the oceans don’t warm. Simple but convincing – other than to certain space cadets.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Chief Hydrologist:

      It is simply power flux. The oceans gain energy and therefore warmth from the sun. Oceans loose energy in IR from the surface microns – net IR up – and as convection and latent heat. Let’s say that atmopheric temperature doesn’t increase – then there is no mechanism for a change in net IR and the oceans don’t warm. Simple but convincing – other than to certain space cadets.

      Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me oceans could warm up because of atmospheric temperatures increasing, even if atmospheric temperatures weren’t currently increasing. The reason is if atmospheric temperature increase, it may take a while for ocean temperatures to “catch up.” The oceans might still be responding to the atmospheric temperature changes from ~10-15 years ago.

      Does that offer a possible explanation for the increase in ocean temperatures you’ve referred to, or am I just missing something? If it’s the latter, I offer as an excuse the vodka people have been adding to my fruit punch.

      Because it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s never mine. :p

    • Brandon – the oceans have never not been part of the discussion. The SAT may have appeared to you to be the focus, but since ARGO OHC has been prominent in the discussion. For a period of time people were all excited because there was no warming 0 to ~750 meters. Because no warming in both the ocean and the atmosphere would be curtains. This is why they spittle all over the ocean warming found below 700 meters – snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    • Dave Springer

      @Chief Hydrologist

      You wrote the oceans lose heat from IR and from convection of latent heat.

      That is misleading. You’ve got the cart leading the horse. Energy loss by convection of latent heat is far greater than loss by IR. Thus you should write oceans lose heat by convection of latent heat and by IR.

    • David, how about the oceans transfer heat internally and lose heat to the atmosphere by latent, conductive and Ir means which stimulate convection. Variations in surface wind velocities, vary the rates of all energy transfer internally and to the atmosphere.

    • Dave Springer

      @Brandon

      re; surface temperature

      You are absolutely correct. It’s always been about surface temperature. Stephenson Screens 4 feet above the ground to read air temperature and sea surface temperature taken by ships at sea. Ocean temperature at great depth is interesting in how little it changes. Despite the talk of change measured in enormous numbers of joules a joule is such a tiny amount of energy it means virtually nothing in practicality. If heat continues accumulating in the ocean at the current rate it won’t rise a half a degree in the next 100 years. BFD. The average temperature of the global ocean is 4C. If anyone tries to tell me that raising it to 4.5C is going to cause a problem I’ll question their sanity.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Dave Springer, I’m not even looking at how much the ocean may or may not have warmed yet. That’s a useful topic to cover, but first, we have to get past something else. Namely, climate science focused on surface temperatures for years and years. It didn’t bother to discuss (or at least, rarely discussed) ocean temperatures when making a case. If we’re going to change the topic, that’s fine, but people on the “warmist” side need to admit what they’re doing and explain why. Otherwise they’re being extremely deceptive.

      If ocean temperatures are something we should care about, we need an explanation as to why they’re only coming up now. If we don’t have such an explanation, it doesn’t matter what ocean data shows. Climate scientists apparently didn’t think it mattered before, so why should we think it matters now?

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      JCH:

      Brandon – the oceans have never not been part of the discussion. The SAT may have appeared to you to be the focus, but since ARGO OHC has been prominent in the discussion.

      Do you need me to quote Phil Jones, James Hansen, and dozens of other climate scientists, all talking about global warming without referring to OHC? If so, I can. I can pull up quote after quote where people were told about trends in global warming which only covered surface temperatures. There was no call to arms over it. Nobody protested that OHC mattered. Everybody was content to just discuss surface temperatures.

      OHC has only started to become a major focus now that people are latching onto it as a way to say global warming hasn’t stopped. And that’s fine. OHC should be discussed. It is a major issue. But people on one side of an argument cannot just change their argument while pretending to be saying the same thing as before.

      For example, it wasn’t long ago Phil Jones claimed he had found a significant global warming trend since 1995 (reversing his previous of their being none). There are issues with his claim, and what he said was probably unjustified, but that doesn’t matter for this discussion. What matters is he didn’t tell people to look at the OHC. He didn’t say, “Surface temperatures are only part of the story; look at ocean temperatures.” No, he made his case based upon surface temperatures, and that’s what his case ought to be judged by.

      If OHC is going to be the new major point for the “consensus” side, you need to do one of two things. One, show OHC has always received the same amount of attention you want it to receive now. Two, say OHC received less attention than it deserved and explain that shortcoming. Anything else is dishonest.

    • Dave Springer

      Capt Dallas

      “Latent” and “convection” refer to the same mechanism in this context. You might be confusing thermal updraft with convection. Thermals fall under conduction not convection.

      Please refer to Houghton 1996 which appears at the top of the chapter on oceanic heat budget here:

      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/ocng_textbook/chapter05/chapter05_06.htm

      Global energy loss from the surface is 24W/m2 thermal, 78W/m2 latent, and 40W/m2 radiative.

      In the troposphere, and especially over the tropical and subtropical ocean where all the heavy fluxes occur, it’s all about the water cycle. Energy arrives in the tropical ocean via radiation, it leaves primarily via evaporation, and becomes sensible in the intertropical convergence zone where it condenses into clouds and rains like a mofo.

      See global precipitation map here:

      http://oceanworld.tamu.edu/resources/oceanography-book/oceansandclimate.htm

      This is first year Physical Oceanography. There’s not much excuse for not knowing it.

      Latent loss is a greater percentage of the total over water and less over land as a general rule.

    • David, nope, not confusing them. Convection and diffusion occur inside a thermal volume. The liquid ocean and the gas atmosphere are different thermal volumes, they have different physics and different time constants, the skin layer is that thermal boundary. There is a huge difference.

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

    • Dave Springer

      SST has always been important but we live on land and most of live in the northern hemisphere (which is where most of the land is located) so northern hemisphere land temperature has always gotten more attention.

      That said if the context is global warming then NH land temperature becomes regional and must be taken as one piece of a much greater whole.

      Obviously with global average temperature not rising in the past 13 years despite the accelerating emission of anthropogenic CO2 the warmists can’t very well talk about global average temperature anymore. Now in order to support their hypothesis they attempt to calculate the total joules of energy in the global ocean and show that to be increasing. Well it probably is increasing but the rate is so slow it has no measurable effect on the atmosphere. In other ocean heat content is academic at this point. It’s still about surface temperature to those who care about practical matters. For those pushing an ideology surface temperature betrayed them by halting its rise for going on a generation now and so they must buttress their ideology on different metrics. This was evident in tthe rebranding of the ideology from “global warming” to “climate change” tto (although it didn’t stick) “global climate disruption”. Now they’ll use smoke and mirrors accounting to say ocean heat is changing and severe weather (both cold and hot, wet and dry) are increasing without any change in global average surface temperature.

    • Dave Springer

      @Capt Dallas

      After getting caught in an amateur mistake you’re now reduced to babbling in trying to cover it up.

      Take a hike.

    • David, if you stop and think about it is not babbling, it is heat transfer.
      The Trenberth cartoon, which has several errors by the way, uses thermals for convection/conductive flux. There is also a sensible portion to the latent flux. In the atmosphere he should have used sensible and latent, both of which depend on the rate of energy transfer at the surface boundary. If you compare the 2009 to the earlier “cartoons” you will see they have “thermals” lower with a higher surface temperature, which is babbling. The latent they have is also low and they miss 20Wm-2 radiant transfer. Other than being a complete joke, the K&T cartoons are perfect :)

      You have to consider the heat transfer coefficients from start to end to get a realistic picture.

    • David, there is another way to look at the problem, use a psychrometic chart. With 80 Joules per gram latent and 50% relative what is the sensible heat ratio? That sensible heat will be conductive and radiant.

      http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/staff/stevensbjorn/Documents/StevensSchwartz2012.pdf

      That is a lot better than the K&T cartoon.

    • Go to scholar and search it. It goes all the way back. Selectively quoting Jones, etc. is just adding to your mountain of helical chip accumulated while drilling down one of your holes to nowhere, but why let that stop you now. Until ARGO, they did not really have an observation system up to the task. They did have a surface system.

    • JCH said, “Until ARGO, they did not really have an observation system up to the task. They did have a surface system.” Yes, and now with ARGO, CERES etc. it is time to do reanalysis on the surface to try and remove the glitches.

      People bring up K&T who didn’t believe the satellites and used modeled data instead. Other people bring up papers where the data for those papers ended in 1995. There is some piss poor data collection and validation going on when a current paper neglects current data.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      JCH, your response is pathetic. You just accused me of dishonesty by implicitly accusing me of “selectively quoting” people. You offer no basis for this accusation. It is merely a hand-waving insult designed to smear me while allowing you to avoid addressing anything I said.

      The most pathetic part is your response contains the material necessary to offer a potentially valid response to me. Had you simply responded to me with it in a reasonable manner, there’d have been an opportunity for a meaningful discussion. Instead, you’ve chosen to waste both of our times, demean yourself and impugn my integrity.

      You have actively sought out to sabotage a discussion, and that is pathetic.

    • Dave Springer

      captdallas

      So-called Trenberth cartoon is accurate. The only criticism anyone who knows f*ck all had about it was the attempt to make upwelling and downwelling look important with huge numbers of equal and opposite polarity that cancel out leaving just small amount of net power leaving the surface as radiation. NASA actually trashed that version of the cartoon on the web and only show the net radiation leaving the surface. The older version of course persists in textbooks and online in many places.

      If you wish to dispute the Trenberth cartoon do it with someone else because as far as I’m concerned that puts your address in Crankville.

    • Dave Springer

      @captdallas

      The link you gave as being “better” than Trenberth cartoon

      http://www.mpimet.mpg.de/fileadmin/staff/stevensbjorn/Documents/StevensSchwartz2012.pdf

      is different only that it includes some uncertainty ranges that don’t significantly alter the numbers in the Trenberth cartoon. Nice own goal, there. I’ll stick with the Trenberth cartoon but thanks for backing it up with another paper.

    • Trenberth and Fasullo (2010b) have given what turns out to be a false
      impression of irreconcilable trends in the relation between ocean-enthalpy increases and the TOA energy imbalance3.

      As pointed out by Trenberth et al (2009), if each of the terms in the surface energy budget is estimated individually, in isolation of the others, an imbalance can arise in the net surface flux that is as much as 20 W m2.

      That imbalance appears to be due to Arctic mixed phase clouds. The NASA budget at the time did not miss the 20Wm-2. Note that the K&T budgets consistently use, 40Wm-2 through the atmospheric window and paper I referenced has 22Wm-2. Since broadening will possibly close some portion of that atmospheric window, why is that potential error significant?

    • An important new paper on this topic is in press, hope to be able to post on this within the month.

    • I never mistake a space cadet for anything else. I never mistake the cause of modest warming in the oceans over a few years this century – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=CERES_MODIS.gif – but space cadets can’t do data that conflicts with the group think. I always think big picture and not pissant narratives that are numerically incorrect.

      You need to think bigger Gatesy – here’s an 800 year ENSO proxy from Australia – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=800yearENSOproxy.gif

      I am a little bored with pissant progressive space cadets. I say lump them all together in one particualry noxious lump and let history sort them out.

    • Happy to help out – any other questions just ask

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I can’t help it. Every time I see you say “space cadet,” my mind goes to this video.

    • OK, R Gates – calculate the temperature rise for those joules. It won’t be squat.

    • R. Gates

      You write:

      10 x 10^22 Joules of energy accumulation in the oceans down to 2000 meters in just the past ten years alone is not “notable” warming?

      It may be “notable”, but it certainly is not “noticeable”:

      10^23 J / (1.4 x 10^21 kg x 3850 J/kg C) = 0.02C

      Who measured it and how?

      Max

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      This argument says we have enough information to justify doing things, but we don’t do them because people are being deceived by disinformation (or, if we’re being generous, misinformation). it’s a nice hand-waving exercise, but there’s never been anything to support it. To show it is true, we’d have to show the truly educated people would support whatever actions we’re talking about. The problem with that is the “truly educated” people are always defined as the ones who agree with certain positions, irregardless of the validity of those positions.

      Ironically, if we’re to believe the authors of this article, people who were truly educated in regards to the state of climate science would have been mislead by climate models. Because climate scientists are guilty of spreading misinformation, they’ve made your proposed position untenable.

      Now then, if climate science took the time to sort things out and put an end to its spread of misinformation, you’d have a chance to argue the point. But until then, it’ll be impossible to show what the effects of misinformation from various sources has been.

    • Latimer Alder

      @tempterrain

      Has it yet occurred to you that just running around shouting that

      ‘I’m frightened of a catastrophe, so you must all do what I want. And you’re only not doing so because of politics’

      isn’t getting you very far? You seem to have nobody (bar Greg Craven) agreeing with you,.

      You need to think about alternative possible approaches.

    • tempterrain

      See earlier comment. “http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/18/climate-models-at-their-limit/#comment-220545″

      Nobody? I have the UK’s Royal Society and the American National Academy of Sciences agreeing with me :-)

      Who’ve you got ? Anthony Watts?

    • Latimer Alder

      They’ve signed up to Craven’s ‘Vision of the Apocalypse’?

      Really? Did I miss the memo?

    • tempterrain

      You’ve probably missed most of them.
      But, if the RS or NAS are saying anything fundamentally different, maybe you could explain what that may be?

    • tempterrain

      re your argument concerning stand of RS or NAS versus that of Anthony Watts (or Richard Lindzen, for that matter):

      check out “argument from authority”

      Max

    • tempterrain

      You’re just saying that because you’ve got Latimer on your side.

    • Whatever Brandon.

      Pielke Sr. has been hawking Joules like a Vegas pawnbroker. He says Hansen agrees with him. They deployed ~3000 buoys for the H of it. You did not notice. Fine.
      I

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      JCH, when accused of doing something bad, most people don’t just say “whatever” and double down on wrong:

      Pielke Sr. has been hawking Joules like a Vegas pawnbroker. He says Hansen agrees with him. They deployed ~3000 buoys for the H of it. You did not notice. Fine.

      You’re just making this up. Nothing I said indicates I “did not notice” this. I have been perfectly aware of the issue of OHC for quite some time. That doesn’t have anything to do with what I’ve been discussing, the public case being made for global warming.

  66. Climate models are deterministically chaotic. This is clear from mathematical first principles and leads inevitably to a range of feasible solutions for any specific model. Climate itself seems deterministically chaotic based on a similarity in behaviour to other members of the broad class of chaotic systems. It is in principle chaotic – a system with control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks. Immense energies cascading through powerful mechanism. This conception of climate provides other approaches to prediction based on the mathematics of complex dynamic systems – ‘slowing down’ and ‘noisy bifurcation’ especially.

    In principle – small changes in control variables push the system past tipping points, climate shifts, bifurcation or catastrophe in the sense of Rene Thom. The system fluctuates madly before settling into a new state. If you don’t understand that climate works in this way – then I humbly suggest that you don’t know a damn thing.

    Climate shifted several times last century – and it can be seen most clearly in the oceanographic and hydrological records. It shifted repeatedly over the Holocene as can be seen in the ENSO proxy. It shifts dramatically and in as little as a decade from warm to cold or cold to warm. Climate will likely shift several times again this century – and the imponderable is to what state space it will shift next.

    The key to understanding climate bifurcation is in realising that climate doesn’t evolve slowly – that thinking is flawed – but jumps abruptly from one state to another when pushed past a threshold. So a small push and a large response imply that climate is exquisitely sensitive in the region of a bifurcation. It is apparent also that greenhouse gas emissions may indeed be a control variable such that we may be destabilising an already unstable situation.

    So we have an unstable climate which we may be destabilising further and a climate that is not warming notably for another decade or three because of the 1998/2001 climate shift. Seems the worst of all possible worlds for those – such as I – who advocate greenhouse gas reductions.

    I am sure that most here would agree with greenhouse gas reductions that had a positive economic result – no reason even to mention greenhouse gases. There are many of these. Reductions in tropospheric ozone (10% of equivalent emissions) and black carbon (40% of equivalent emissions), Sequestering carbon in soils which has the potential to increase food production to the extent needed as well as removing immense amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Social, cultural and economic development is the best path to managing population – it is managed by individuals themselves. It is technically very simple to remove carbon directly from the atmosphere. This carbon can they be reacted with hydrogen (produced by hydrolysis with cheap and abundant energy produced as a result of technological innovation) in the presence of a catalyst to produce liquid fuels.
    Yet what we get is tired old taxes. They not only get all of the science wrong – but want on the basis of their groupthink nonsense to suspend democracy, centralise power, reduce the size of economies and ship deniers off to the gulag.

    Let’s look very briefly at the most benign taxing proposal – a so called tax and fee. This is where energy is taxed and the consumer gets a cheque in the mail. The dynamic is very simple. The tax is pushed ever until at possibly $100/tonne the carbon based energy source is no longer competitive and ceases to trade. The cheques dry up and the consumer is left with no cash and expensive energy – with implications for the economically marginal in accordance with the economic theory of production. Fortunately, this is a hypothetical as no tax in the world is anywhere near high enough to effect a transition and the effects of the taxes on emissions are marginal enough not to be noticeable. A bit like the effect of CO2 on temperature. We will call this the Minnesota Manifesto.

    They are arguing from wrong science to wrong policy and blocking approaches that might achieve a great deal with no cost and great benefit to people for ideological reason I can only presume. It is utterly bizarre behaviour.

    • tempterrain

      Chief,

      ” Climate itself seems deterministically chaotic based on a similarity in behaviour to other members of the broad class of chaotic systems…” etc etc etc

      Did you write this all by yourself or did you use one of those scientific gobbledygook generators?

    • ‘AOS models are members of the broader class of deterministic chaotic dynamical systems, which provides several expectations about their properties (Fig. 1). In the context of weather prediction, the generic property of sensitive dependence is well understood (4, 5). 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. Model differences are another source of sensitive dependence. Thus, a deterministic weather forecast cannot be accurate after a period of a few weeks, and the time interval for skillful modern forecasts is only somewhat shorter than the estimate for this theoretical limit. In the context of equilibrium climate dynamics, there is another generic property that is also relevant for AOS, namely structural instability (6). Small changes in model formulation, either its equation set or parameter values, induce significant differences in the long-time distribution functions for the dependent variables (i.e., the phase-space attractor). The character of the changes can be either metrical (e.g., different means or variances) or topological (different attractor shapes). Structural instability is the norm for broad classes of chaotic dynamical systems that can be so assessed (e.g., see ref. 7).’ James McWilliams

      http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=sensitivedependence.gif

      TT – the usual advice for such as you is that it is better not to speak and be thought an idiot than to speak and remove all doubt.

    • TT, I call it scientific word salad. The Chief is pretty good at it, alternately copy & pasting and then falling asleep at the keyboard, creating non-sequitors aplenty.

    • The McWilliams paper – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full – I have linked to many times. The paper is about models rather than weather. Are you complaining that the ideas are not original but the esult of reading science from? Well DUH. But on weather and climate.

      ‘The global coupled atmosphere–ocean–land–cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamicalphenomena 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.’ (Hurrell et al 2009 – A UNIFIED MODELING
      APPROACH TO CLIMATESYSTEM PREDICTION)

      The Royal Society quote was from their 2010 climate summary. It is quite clear in what it says. There is a lot of science in this area but it is a set of concepts you are unable to process past the groupthink filter.

      I can’t really do anything about the depth of your ignorance. I can only suggest to others that the reality of climate is what it is – a chaotic deterministic system – and your whune that this is a problem too dificult to solve makes no difference at all to the functioning of the system.

    • ‘In principle, changes in climate on a wide range of timescales can also arise from variations within the climate system due to, for example, interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere; in this document, this is referred to as “internal climate variability”. Such internal variability can occur because the climate is an example of a chaotic system: one that can exhibit complex unpredictable internal variations even in
      the absence of the climate forcings discussed in the previous paragraph.’ Royal Society

      You are really very tedious and ignorant TT. If you were a serious person and not an AGW space cadet I might want to treat you as a fully functioning human being. As it is there are too many roos loose in your top paddock to take anything you say seriously.

    • Joe's World

      Chief,

      Density difference of water vapor to planetary gases is the real point not being understood by scientists. The suns energy is given off by gases which too has to go through the different density of water vapor.
      Where is water found in space?
      It is found in ice which is on the cold scale compared to warm gases that can change density with heat and cold.
      The time scale with planbetary rotation and the complexity of the different interacts to the planetary mechanics has very different time frames.
      In planetary tilting, gases cross the equator and can go from pole to pole in an unknown time frame.
      Water vapor, NEVER crosses the equator which is the maximum velocity in rotational speed.

    • tempterrain

      So you didn’t write it all by yourself but it looks like you’ve paraphrased arguments about the nature of weather and applied them to climate?

      The “Royal Society” document you quote was in fact this one? At least it looks the most likely candidate according to a Google text search.

      http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/pdf/TAR-01.PDF

      There’s quite a lot else you could have quoted, or paraphrased, but didn’t , presumably because it didn’t quite fit in with the thrust of the argument that the climate is so complicated that we just don’t have any hope of coming to any meaningful conclusions. Like this for example:

      “There are many factors that are known to influence climate,
      both natural and human-induced. The increase in concentrations
      of greenhouse gases and aerosols through human activity is of
      particular concern. Chapters 3 to 5 examine how well the three
      most important human contributions to the changing composition
      of the atmosphere; carbon dioxide, other greenhouse gases and
      aerosols, are understood, including the physical, chemical and
      biological processes which determine the atmospheric concentrations of these components.”

    • Temp, the point is that Chief’s original piece, which you mocked, is correct. It is all about nonlinear dynamics, or chaos theory, not complexity. You apparently know nothing about this new science, and it shows.

      A chaotic system will oscillate under a constant forcing, such as constant solar input in the case of climate. The climate models exhibit chaos at a relatively small scale. The scientific question is whether the larger oscillations, such as the recent warming, PDO, LIA, etc., might also be merely chaotic oscillations, not forced changes. Its a great question.

    • Meant to put this here rather than in reply to the idiot savant. So let’s do that and correct some typos at the same time.

      The McWilliams paper – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full – I have linked to many times. The paper is about models rather than weather. Are you complaining that the ideas are not original but the result of reading science? Well DUH. But on weather and climate.

      ‘The global coupled atmosphere–ocean–land–cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamicalphenomena 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.’ (Hurrell et al 2009 – A UNIFIED MODELING
      APPROACH TO CLIMATESYSTEM PREDICTION)

      The Royal Society quote was from their 2010 climate summary. It is quite clear in what it says. There is a lot of science in this area but it is a set of concepts you are unable to process past the groupthink filter.

      I can’t really do anything about the depth of your ignorance. I can only suggest to others that the reality of climate is what it is – a complex dynamical system – and your whine that this is a problem too dificult to solve makes no difference at all to the functioning of the system. David W is correct – the problem is not one of complexity in the dictionary sense of the word but of dynamical complexity in the sense of theoretical physics. That you don’t understand this set of concepts is not my problem.

    • tempterrain

      David Wojick,

      So Chief is right even though he’s only asking a question? If you look at at Chief’s comments there are two obvious separate and distinct styles. The first style, which I did mock, sounds like its copied and pasted from elsewhere with a few words changed here and there. WHT calls it scientific salad. Its quite indigestable, whatever is in it. You’re right that I don’t understand it, but does Chief?

      The second style is more more straightforward and this is, I suspect, the real chief talking. Like when he says “It is technically very simple to remove carbon directly from the atmosphere.” Is it? In the very large quantities that would be necessary? And ” what we get is tired old taxes”. So, even if it is technically feasible, how is it going to be funded? Is he also right in saying its all just going to happen, or should all just happen? If so where are his references? And how does all this follow from his telling us all just complicated climate, or should that be weather, is? It obviously doesn’t.

    • The logistic equation is one of the simplest nonlinear equations known, and it plays a major role in climate modeling. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function for the basics on this equation, which generates the familiar S curve.

      Yet it has a chaotic side, which is largely ignored. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_map

      The simplest chaos can create complex, unpredictable behavior. Climate has a lot of chaos. The question is how much? We do not know.

    • tempterrain

      indigestible.

    • tempterrain

      David,

      OK but you’ve still not explained just how this can be used as an argument against a carbon tax, especially as Chief is supposed to be an advocate of GH gas controls.

      And who are the “They” who not only “get all of the science wrong” – “but want on the basis of their groupthink nonsense to suspend democracy, centralise power, reduce the size of economies and ship deniers off to the gulag.”

      And how does this follow from a discussion of, even the very simplest of, non-linear equations?

    • ‘So Chief is right even though he’s only asking a question?’

      Huh?

      ‘If you look at at Chief’s comments there are two obvious separate and distinct styles. The first style, which I did mock, sounds like its copied and pasted from elsewhere with a few words changed here and there. WHT calls it scientific salad. Its quite indigestable, whatever is in it. You’re right that I don’t understand it, but does Chief?’

      It is all in my words and the fruits such as they are of many years of dedicated cogitation on these issues. Although the concepts are very difficult and of course emerge mostly from other people’s ideas. Is this not the nature of scientific progress? If you are incapable or unwilling to understand the ideas – again this is not my problem – try this one if you will – http://www.unige.ch/climate/Publications/Beniston/CC2004.pdf -but simply repeating your idiocy is not terribly impressive. You listen to webby? Nough said.

      ‘The second style is more more straightforward and this is, I suspect, the real chief talking. Like when he says “It is technically very simple to remove carbon directly from the atmosphere.” Is it? In the very large quantities that would be necessary? And ” what we get is tired old taxes”. So, even if it is technically feasible, how is it going to be funded? Is he also right in saying its all just going to happen, or should all just happen? If so where are his references? And how does all this follow from his telling us all just complicated climate, or should that be weather, is? It obviously doesn’t.’

      It is technically very simple to remove carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere. This can then be reacted with hydrogen (produced from abundant and cheap energy) in the presence of a catalyst to produce a liquid fuel. It will happen when it is economically viable. There are other ways to reduce carbon in the atmosphere very effectively at a huge gains to agricultural productivity and human health. Carbon farming you asked about before – when I gave figures you ignored them. Why should I play your silly game.

      ‘OK but you’ve still not explained just how this can be used as an argument against a carbon tax, especially as Chief is supposed to be an advocate of GH gas controls.’

      The tax is impractical and ineffective. That should in itself end it. It is just nonsense on all levels. The most important thing this century is maximised global economic growth. Then we have people like Bart who whine like a petulant child that we don’t have his consent. Tough.

      ‘And who are the “They” who not only “get all of the science wrong” – “but want on the basis of their groupthink nonsense to suspend democracy, centralise power, reduce the size of economies and ship deniers off to the gulag.”
      And how does this follow from a discussion of, even the very simplest of, non-linear equations?’

      You get all the science wrong – and I suspect it is the result of AGW space cadet groupthink.

      If we are talking models then the core Navier-Stokes partial differential equations are the culprits. Oh dear – lost you and weeby yet again.

    • I guess I will just have to quote science.

      ‘The Earth’s climate system is highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional, change is often episodic and abrupt, rather than slow and gradual, and multiple equilibria are the norm. While this is widely accepted, there is a relatively poor understanding of the different types of
      nonlinearities, how they manifest under various conditions, and whether they reflect a climate system driven by astronomical forcings, by internal feedbacks, or by a combination of both. In this paper, after a brief tutorial on the basics of climate nonlinearity, we provide a number of illustrative examples and highlight key mechanisms that give rise to nonlinear behavior, address scale and methodological issues, suggest a robust alternative to prediction that is based on using integrated assessments within the framework of vulnerability studies and, lastly, recommend a number of research priorities and the establishment of education programs in Earth Systems Science. It is imperative that the Earth’s
      climate system research community embraces this nonlinear paradigm if we are to move forward in the assessment of the human influence on climate.’ http://www.unige.ch/climate/Publications/Beniston/CC2004.pdf

      Of course that presumes that you want to or are capable of mving forward. Somehow I think not.

    • ‘Large, abrupt climate changes have affected hemispheric to global regions repeatedly, as shown by numerous paleoclimate records (Broecker, 1995, 1997). Changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in precipitation have occurred in some places in periods as short as decades to years (Alley and Clark, 1999; Lang et al., 1999). However, before the 1990s, the dominant view of past climate change emphasized the slow, gradual swings of the ice ages tied to features of the earth’s orbit over tens of millennia or the 100-million-year changes occurring with continental drift. But unequivocal geologic evidence pieced together over the last few decades shows that climate can change abruptly, and this has forced a reexamination of climate instability and feedback processes (NRC, 1998). Just as occasional floods punctuate the peace of river towns and occasional earthquakes shake usually quiet regions near active faults, abrupt changes punctuate the sweep of climate history.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=10

      Shall we just ignore whole swathes of science because TT and Webby don’t understand or approve? What a poor sad joke.

    • ‘We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in
      those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the
      great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of
      the size and complexity of the climate system.’ https://pantherfile.uwm.edu/aatsonis/www/2007GL030288.pdf

      Let’s see – do I believe Anastasios Tsonis or webby and TT? What a terrible joke this is. They complain when I quote science and they complain when I make it up as I go. I call the process of making it up the synthesis part of analysis and synthesis. It is how we scientifically understand the world – but we should not get too carried away with our own perspicacity. Webby and TT are especially limited in regard to perspicacity.

    • Chief,

      If you have anything to contribute scientifically, the right place isn’t on blogs, it is in peer reviewed scientific journals.

      The game you are playing is painfully obvious. You are trying to make yourself look cleverer than you are, by coming out with all this stuff about “noisy bifurcation”, “complex dynamical systems” , “highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional..” etc etc which may or may not be correct, in an attempt to establish some credibility for later nonsense about removing democracy and introducing gulag type concentration camps.

      Words don’t make for good mathematical models anyway, so you need to do a lot more than spout jargon to achieve anything scientifically useful. On the others hand, words may make for good arguments but the conclusion has to follow from those arguments and yours don’t. There is just no intelligible link between ” control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks” with all the right wing political guff that follows.

      The problem isn’t too much democracy in the western countries, it’s a lack of it. The media in Australia is largely in the hands of unaccountable media barons and heavily influenced by commercial interests. There is one exception in radio and TV: the ABC who are the only organisation subject to some direct democratic accountability. And, curiously enough, they also the ones your side of the political spectrum regularly attack with a vengeance! Its pretty much the same story in the UK with the BBC.

      It’s even worse in the USA. Hardly any of the media there are subject to any sort of democratic accountability. It’s more than just a bad joke that they have the best democracy that money can buy. It’s absolutely true. For every congress person there are 4 or 5 paid lobbyists. It’s not sensible people with moderate political opinions who are a threat to democracy in the USA. It’s the extreme right. Since the fall of the USSR they’ve gone off the idea of democracy very rapidly. Just Google the phrase “America is not a Democracy”. Those who are saying this equate the idea of democracy to mob rule. Taxation to them is no more than legalised theft.

      So I’m happy to side with anyone who is genuinely concerned that democracy is under threat. But they’d have to be living in the real world to understand what’s happening, not some sort of fantasy land of their own creation.

    • Is this the right spot? http://judithcurry.com/2012/07/18/climate-models-at-their-limit/#comment-220707

      By the way – did you enjoy how simple it is to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Let’s try to imagine what this carbon dissolving liquid looks like. I know – let’s try water. Or perhaps we could beef it up as sodium hydroxide.

    • “David Wojick | July 20, 2012 at 6:33 pm |

      The logistic equation is one of the simplest nonlinear equations known, and it plays a major role in climate modeling. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_function for the basics on this equation, which generates the familiar S curve.

      Yet it has a chaotic side, which is largely ignored. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Logistic_map

      The simplest chaos can create complex, unpredictable behavior. Climate has a lot of chaos. The question is how much? We do not know.”

      The logistic equation solution depends on the forcing function. The forcing function is the external stimulus that will shift a measurable behavior (i.e. average temperature) one way or another. That’s what these scientific poseurs such as Wojick and Hydrologist don’t seem to understand. They simply mix up this scientific word salad and hope that no one notices that what they are saying is gibberish.

      TT also notes the schizophrenia in Hydrologist’s comments, as in the last bit where he veers from copy-and-paste and suggests that perhaps sodium hydroxide could neutralize excess CO2. Vast quantities of NaOH I presume, along with the vast quantities of alcohol being consumed by the Chief Hydrologist.

    • Latimer Alder

      @web hub telescope

      ‘suggests that perhaps sodium hydroxide could neutralize excess CO2′

      Good on you Webbie. At least you got the chemical terms right.

      Just as CO2 does not ‘acidify’ an alkaline solution, nor does NaOH ‘alkalinify’ an acidic one.

      In both cases the correct term is ‘neutralise’.

      And hence it is ‘ocean neutralisation’, not ‘ocean acidification’ nor ‘ocean alkalinification’

      Thanks for confirming my earlier point

    • The dweeb strikes again. He seems incapable of comprehending the simplest things.

    • You wrote: Climate models are deterministically chaotic.

      Climate temperature has been very well bounded in a narrow range for ten thousand years. A manmade fraction of a trace gas will not change this well bounded range. The only thing that could come from removing carbon from the atmosphere is harm to the green things that grow better with more CO2. There is no warming problem. Temperature is less than one degree above the ten thousand year average. In some warming in the past ten thousand years it did get two nearly two degrees above the average but never more than two. To believe it could get more than two really goes against any real analysis of the actual data. Climate Models are the only thing that says it could go more than two. Climate Model performance has been too poor to trust them.
      There are no greenhouse gas reductions that could have a positive economic result. Any CO2 reduction would make green things grow less while requiring more water and that would kill many people worldwide.

    • HAP, trivializing CO2s potential impact is no different than over estimating its impact. Depending on the strength of the variables that control that narrow range of temperatures, the impact of CO2 would be limited.

      If the Earth was a billiard ball, doubling CO2 would produce a 1.477C increase in temperature. That is likely an upper limit for CO2 since in a system limited to a rather tight range by other factors, all things will not remain equal. With the range limited, CO2 would tend to offset the average, but it would not likely have a linear impact. At the lower set point, the CO2 should have a greater impact and at the higher set point CO2 should have a lower impact.

      The impact of CO2 actually is would appear to be greater starting at a lower temperature which is the issues with the models right now. If the range of natural variability is 3C, then the range of CO2 would appear to be 1.477 to 4.477C. Until the modelers consider a realistic range of natural variability, they got nothing but confusion.

    • “If the Earth was a billiard ball, doubling CO2 would produce a 1.477C increase in temperature.” ??

      Wouldn’t the subsequent reduction in the gravitational field remove the atmosphere completely? :-)

    • Actually, doubling 6 inches has less impact than double 1 inch. That is the problem with the ln(Cf/Ci) simplification. With that any doubling would be 0.69 times the initial value, but each additional doubling has less impact depending on the initial doubling. Since CO2 is not the only insulation, it be more like {[n(WVf/WVi)+ln(Cf/Ci)+ln(CH4f/CH4i + ln(Zf/Zi)]*Qf/Qi That is not an exact relationship, just an illustration BTW. Since there are different layers with different heat capacities, each layer would need to be considered independently and cumulatively to determine the final impact.

    • BTW, Qf/Qi was not a mistake. With a non-linear non- equilibrium system you don’t know where you are going until you get there. There are some clues along the trip though.

      https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/-rRs69Ekl9Zc/T_7kMjPiejI/AAAAAAAAChY/baz0GHWEGbI/s917/60000%2520years%2520of%2520climate%2520change%2520plus%2520or%2520minus%25201.25%2520degrees.png

      Since the tropics have most of the heat capacity, that 60,000 years of climate in East Africa is a clue.

    • “If the Earth was a billiard ball, doubling CO2 would produce a 1.477C increase in temperature. That is likely an upper limit for CO2 since in a system limited to a rather tight range by other factors, all things will not remain equal. With the range limited, CO2 would tend to offset the average, but it would not likely have a linear impact. At the lower set point, the CO2 should have a greater impact and at the higher set point CO2 should have a lower impact.

      The impact of CO2 actually is would appear to be greater starting at a lower temperature which is the issues with the models right now. If the range of natural variability is 3C, then the range of CO2 would appear to be 1.477 to 4.477C. Until the modelers consider a realistic range of natural variability, they got nothing but confusion.”

      What lowers earth’s temperature from it’s equilibrium [assuming earth has one].
      It seems if CO2 warms more when cool, and warms less when warm, CO2 moderate earth temperature.

      Does other greenhouse also moderate temperature, or is H2O the opposite of CO2. Obviously if it warms one can have more water vapor,
      but other than that, does water vapor do anything thing else.
      Or if CO2 balances does water vapor unbalance.

      Or maybe not water vapor, but water droplets in clouds, like stampeding
      bulls charging around world. Bringing cold punch from the north, and bringing warmth from the south. Or in other words, not moderating temperatures.

    • Earth does not appear to have “an” equilibrium but a range which is what Chief has been trying to get people to realize. So CO2 and all other feed backs would have different impacts depending on which “normal” the system is closest to.

      It is like this:

      If you add an inch of insulation to a house with no insulation you get a large impact. If you add an inch of insulation to a house with 6 inches of insulation you get little impact. That is all there is to it. GHE theory basically assumes that CO2 is the only insulation and that the house has one inch and we are adding a second inch. GHE theory does not consider that there is other insulation and thermal mass.

    • tempterrain

      Captdallas,

      What you say about the six inches plus one inch of insulation is true. Or you could have said 280mm plus 47mm of insulation which adds up to 327mm.

      In ppmv terms 280ppmv was the base level of atmospheric CO2 up to the middle of the 19th century.
      The 327ppmv of CO2 level was reached in the early 1970s.
      We currently are around 390ppmv of CO2.
      On present trends this wlll double to 580ppmv by the end of this century.

      So, to go back to your imperial units of measurement, it’s not about just adding another inch of insulation its about doubling it with another six inches.

    • tempterrain

      Just a quick correction to your arithmetic:

      We currently are around 390ppmv of CO2.
      On present trends this wlll double to 580ppmv by the end of this century.

      Doubling 390 ppmv would mean reaching 780 ppmv NOT 580 ppmv.

      Max

    • 2XCO2 usually means 2X preindustrial, 280 ppm, so I think he meant 560. BAU, anthropogenic component doubling every ~30 years, it will double well before the end of the century.

      And no Max, it’s not like money in a bank account. Anthropogenic CO2 does not grow itself. Actual human beings have to get off their butts and burn it. It’s work, but we’re up to it.

    • tempterrain

      Thank you Max for pointing out that my comment on doubling was ambiguous and that I should have made it clear that it was 2 x 280ppmv I was referring to. Which is in fact 560ppmv

      Also thanks to JCH for correcting my dodgy arithmetic.

      When I’m wrong I’ll admit it. That’s the sign of a rational mind :-)

      I seem to remember you making a big mistake once when you used the Earths surface area, instead of the cross sectional area as seen by the sun and therefore overestimated the sun’s contribution to climate forcing by a factor of 4.

      You weren’t so rational about that, after I’d pointed it out to you, as I remember!

    • tempterrain

      But a billiard ball has a diameter of only 52.5mm !

    • You obviously have never seen my table :)

    • ‘If you have anything to contribute scientifically, the right place isn’t on blogs, it is in peer reviewed scientific journals.’

      Gone off science TT? Not enough to quote peer reviewed science – I have to write it first? I should give back my degrees in engineering and environmental science and stop reading, quoting and commenting on science? You are an idiot.

      ‘The game you are playing is painfully obvious. You are trying to make yourself look cleverer than you are, by coming out with all this stuff about “noisy bifurcation”, “complex dynamical systems” , “highly nonlinear: inputs and outputs are not proportional..” etc etc which may or may not be correct, in an attempt to establish some credibility for later nonsense about removing democracy and introducing gulag type concentration camps.’

      I think the space cadet groupthink goes the other way. You need dire emergencies to justify suspension of democracy, economic ‘degrowth’, centralisation of controls and trials of heretics for crimes against humanity. It is all there in the blogosphere. No need to deny it.

      Climate tipping as a noisy bifurcation: a predictive technique

      ‘It is often known, from modelling studies, that a certain mode of climate tipping (of the oceanic thermohaline circulation, for example) is governed by an underlying fold bifurcation. For such a case we present a scheme of analysis that determines the best stochastic fit to the existing data. This provides the evolution rate of the effective control parameter, the variation of the stability coefficient, the path itself and its tipping point. By assessing the actual effective level of noise in the available time series, we are then able to make probability estimates of the time of tipping. This new technique is applied, first, to the output of a computer simulation for the end of greenhouse Earth about 34 million years ago when the climate tipped from a tropical state into an icehouse state with ice caps. Second, we use the algorithms to give probabilistic tipping estimates for the end of the most recent glaciation of the Earth using actual archaeological ice-core data.’ http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.1376

      It is not difficult to sound cleverer than you.

      ‘Words don’t make for good mathematical models anyway, so you need to do a lot more than spout jargon to achieve anything scientifically useful. On the others hand, words may make for good arguments but the conclusion has to follow from those arguments and yours don’t. There is just no intelligible link between ” control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks” with all the right wing political guff that follows.’

      Let’s go back to my original comment.

      “Climate models are deterministically chaotic. This is clear from mathematical first principles and leads inevitably to a range of feasible solutions for any specific model. Climate itself seems deterministically chaotic based on a similarity in behaviour to other members of the broad class of chaotic systems. It is in principle chaotic – a system with control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks. Immense energies cascading through powerful mechanism. This conception of climate provides other approaches to prediction based on the mathematics of complex dynamic systems – ‘slowing down’ and ‘noisy bifurcation’ especially.

      In principle – small changes in control variables push the system past tipping points, climate shifts, bifurcation or catastrophe in the sense of Rene Thom. The system fluctuates madly before settling into a new state. If you don’t understand that climate works in this way – then I humbly suggest that you don’t know a damn thing.

      Climate shifted several times last century – and it can be seen most clearly in the oceanographic and hydrological records. It shifted repeatedly over the Holocene as can be seen in the ENSO proxy. It shifts dramatically and in as little as a decade from warm to cold or cold to warm. Climate will likely shift several times again this century – and the imponderable is to what state space it will shift next.

      The key to understanding climate bifurcation is in realising that climate doesn’t evolve slowly – that thinking is flawed – but jumps abruptly from one state to another when pushed past a threshold. So a small push and a large response imply that climate is exquisitely sensitive in the region of a bifurcation. It is apparent also that greenhouse gas emissions may indeed be a control variable such that we may be destabilising an already unstable situation.

      So we have an unstable climate which we may be destabilising further and a climate that is not warming notably for another decade or three because of the 1998/2001 climate shift. Seems the worst of all possible worlds for those – such as I – who advocate greenhouse gas reductions.

      I am sure that most here would agree with greenhouse gas reductions that had a positive economic result – no reason even to mention greenhouse gases. There are many of these. Reductions in tropospheric ozone (10% of equivalent emissions) and black carbon (40% of equivalent emissions), Sequestering carbon in soils which has the potential to increase food production to the extent needed as well as removing immense amounts of carbon from the atmosphere. Social, cultural and economic development is the best path to managing population – it is managed by individuals themselves. It is technically very simple to remove carbon directly from the atmosphere. This carbon can they be reacted with hydrogen (produced by hydrolysis with cheap and abundant energy produced as a result of technological innovation) in the presence of a catalyst to produce liquid fuels.
      Yet what we get is tired old taxes. They not only get all of the science wrong – but want on the basis of their groupthink nonsense to suspend democracy, centralise power, reduce the size of economies and ship deniers off to the gulag.

      Let’s look very briefly at the most benign taxing proposal – a so called tax and fee. This is where energy is taxed and the consumer gets a cheque in the mail. The dynamic is very simple. The tax is pushed ever until at possibly $100/tonne the carbon based energy source is no longer competitive and ceases to trade. The cheques dry up and the consumer is left with no cash and expensive energy – with implications for the economically marginal in accordance with the economic theory of production. Fortunately, this is a hypothetical as no tax in the world is anywhere near high enough to effect a transition and the effects of the taxes on emissions are marginal enough not to be noticeable. A bit like the effect of CO2 on temperature. We will call this the Minnesota Manifesto.
      They are arguing from wrong science to wrong policy and blocking approaches that might achieve a great deal with no cost and great benefit to people for ideological reason I can only presume. It is utterly bizarre behaviour.”

      So – right wing is about technological innovation, food for humanity and resilient societies? Guilty. Do any of these creeps want to look at the right issues?

      ‘The problem isn’t too much democracy in the western countries, it’s a lack of it. The media in Australia is largely in the hands of unaccountable media barons and heavily influenced by commercial interests. There is one exception in radio and TV: the ABC who are the only organisation subject to some direct democratic accountability. And, curiously enough, they also the ones your side of the political spectrum regularly attack with a vengeance! Its pretty much the same story in the UK with the BBC.’

      Blah, blah , blah.

      ‘It’s even worse in the USA. Hardly any of the media there are subject to an sort of democratic accountability. It’s more than just a bad joke that they have the best democracy that money can buy. It’s absolutely true. For every congress person there are 4 or 5 paid lobbyists. It’s not sensible people with moderate political opinions who are a threat to democracy in the USA. It’s the extreme right. Since the fall of the USSR they’ve gone off the idea of democracy very rapidly. Just Google the phrase “America is not a Democracy”. Those who are saying this equate the idea of democracy to mob rule. Taxation to them is no more than legalised theft. ‘

      Blah, blah, blah, blah.

      So I’m happy to side with anyone who is genuinely concerned that democracy is under threat. But they’d have to be living in the real world to understand what’s happening, not some sort of fantasy land of their own creation.’

      Speaks for itself really – you are a pissant progressive with nothing of any interest to contribute.

      You go from this – ‘Did you write this all by yourself or did you use one of those scientific gobbledygook generators?’ – nto it may or may not be correct. You are a total moron.

    • Hydrologist goes off the deep-end when he copies and pastes stuff from his previous comment and starts arguing with himself.

    • Don’t you see the quotation marks twerp? What the hell makes you think you can drop in with an inane remark and make friends and influence people? I am pretty over the lying scum bag argument from ignorance you personify. I repeated my comment simp;ly because it was so dishonestly represented. That you wish to buy into such a dishonest sham is par the course for you. You are a liar and a fool as well.

      Neither of you have any clue on climate science and the technology and socially progressive means to make serious policy choices for humanity in this century. TT has another agenda he dare not name. You are a total waste of clueless bandwidth. A monomaniac with a disturbing taste in metaphor, delusions of science, negligible abilities to read and comprehend and inadequate manners. I thought for the longest time that you were a child with autism. My mistake – you are actually a dishonest and pathetic baby boomer twerp with low intelligence and self esteem and with sychophantic and self aggrandising tendencies. Should I stop here? Should I have stopped long ago because really wasting breath on idiots is a sure sign of being an idiot? But I am having such fun.

    • Hey, just pointing out pseudo-scientific poseurs such as yourself. It’s very easy to tell the difference between those that can do, and those that serve merely to obfuscate.

      Notice that we have all these self-identified Captains (Dallas, Kangaroo), Chiefs (Hydrologist), Drill Sergeants (Springer) barking orders and using arguments from authority to try to sway the gullible skeptics?

      May work on some fake skeptics, but not on the real skeptics.

    • Webby you are a sad joke. You make no substantive contribution ever but simply snark from the sidelines and point to your loser blog and loser book which just contains curve fitting – using no data at all sometimes – based on physically incorrect concepts which you self laud as scientific breakthroughs of the highest order. Say – I know – why don’t you publish something – anything. I’ll be there to laugh. Seriously it is because you are a tool of gargantuan proportions that you can’t get anything right at all. Gee it is rewarding talking science to you.

      I don’t argue from authority – which is an argument from biased authority. I argue from a boad grounding in science that you are incapable of understanding let alone emulating. You are a clueless and humourless orangutan which nothing but cult AGW space cadet nonsense in your head. You are a madman with so little knowledge, wit, and wisdom that it is a wonder to me that you can do your shoes up let alone fit a curve as delusional as that particular exercise is in your hands. You can do your shoes up can’t you?

      It is very easy to tell those with knowledge and sense from those such as yourself with little grammer, no grace, appalling sensibilities, no self awareness and with such a deficit of self worth that they need to indulge in lies and sham.

      I am happy to assist in trying to bring you back to a sense of reality. No I’m not – a futile exercise if ever here was one. But I am having fun insulting you with a clear conscience knowing that you are not an autistic teenager but a just some middle aged nonentity with an identity crisis.

      Robert I Ellison
      Chief Hydrologist

    • Someone quoting science to you is arguing from authority? God you are a twerp.

    • There is the Chief again, barking orders and expecting everyone to fall in line.

      The real delusion of these poseurs is that they believe that their chaotic systems have internal behavior that overrides any external forcing function.

      Let them ponder the quandary that if the sun is also a chaotic system, then explain the huge climate shifts on the sun with this effect. If it has happened, then this would effect the earth as well, as that is the narure of an external forcing function.

      Mankind has unearthed a huge amount of stored energy that once combusted into GHG has altered the physical characteristics of the atmosphere. They are anti-agreeers (AA) when it comes to this point.

    • tempterrain

      Chief,

      You have the effrontery to call me a total moron and yet , not once, but twice you are reduced to arguing as “blah, blah, blah”

      So what would that make make you?

    • Blah, blah, blah – what else would I be but an idiot to waste my time on an idiot like you. Other than I am just in a mood not to suffer fools.

      Frankly blah blah blah is a reasonable analysis of the tribal loony left comment it related to. To actually address your febrile delusions as serious social and economic analysis would make me mad as well as an idiot.

    • Chief,

      I do get a fair bit of criticism on this blog for harping on about the ultra-right politics of those who take the same anti-interventionist line as yourself on CO2 emissions. The next time I hear this I’ll just quote your “tribal loony left” description of my argument that we should be more democratic than we are. If I were to argue that we should be less democratic, that would be an indication of a greater level of sanity, would it?

      It was quite an irrational comment. If you’re going to be irrational about that, how on earth can we trust you, and others like you, to be rational about the science on AGW too, given the politicisation that this subject inevitably involves?

    • You were arguing for ‘democratic accountability of the press’. Your definition of democracy is to control information and then you call it an increase in democracy. It is much like Bart advocating taxes and calling it an increase in markey freedoms. Orwelian double speak at it’s nauseating best.

    • tempterrain

      ‘‘democratic accountability of the press” You shouldn’t put that in quote marks. That’s your phrase not mine.

      I was pointing out that organisations like the ABC and BBC, who aren’t the press, are democratically accountable and that is a good thing. Why wouldn’t it be? We all pay our taxes to support them so its only right that we all have a say, whether we agree with their editorial line or not.

      I was also arguing that the influence of paid lobbyists should be reduced. Its a corruption of democracy when money can be used to sway votes. Again it’s worst in America, where any Presidential candidate has to attract campaign money, in huge amounts, to stand any chance of winning. If he then does win, he has to repay the debt with political favours. The system itself is corrupt in that it forces every candidate to either accept defeat or become indentured to financial interests

      But more generally, I would argue that democracy should be more than just putting a cross next to a candidate’s name every four or five years. It could be extended into the workplace for example. People feel disconnected from the system, not without good reason do they feel that politicians are all the same and can’t be relied upon.

    • ‘It’s even worse in the USA. Hardly any of the media there are subject to an sort of democratic accountability.’ Apologies for paraphasing the moron.

      A press free of government control is a mainstay of democratic freedoms. http://spectator.org/archives/2010/10/04/a-free-press-means-free-from-g

      It just goes to the depth of your dangerous lunacy tat you can’t see this.

    • tempterrain

      Chief,

      You’ll like what Christopher Monckton is suggesting in this video clip then.

      The “super-rich”, he has said, should invest in the media, install like-minded commentators and give the country “a proper dose of free-market thinking”. Monckton’s visit was funded by one of his biggest Australian fans, Gina Rinehart, the multi-billionaire iron ore magnate. Ms Rinehart – the Australia’s wealthiest individual seems to have taken this message to heart!

      This is your idea of democracy?

    • “Chief,
      You’ll like what Christopher Monckton is suggesting in this video clip then.

      The “super-rich”, he has said, should invest in the media, install like-minded commentators and give the country “a proper dose of free-market thinking”. Monckton’s visit was funded by one of his biggest Australian fans, Gina Rinehart, the multi-billionaire iron ore magnate. Ms Rinehart – the Australia’s wealthiest individual seems to have taken this message to heart!

      This is your idea of democracy?”

      Of course. Better than government starting something like PBS with tax dollars. Monckton, mentioned angel investors. Which how SpaceShipOne was funded. In the case with SpaceShipOne, the angel investors actually got a return on a risky investment [building a spaceship]. An angel investor isn’t just invest in potential return on investment, but rather is willing to take more risks than a traditional bank or venture capitists. So Angel investor isn’t just looking a profits- it seem socialist such as yourself would all gung-ho about such things.

      So starting news network is course a risk in terms return on investment, one needs a lot capital [or a government handing out money] to get to started. If wasn’t such a risk, there would as many news networks as blogs.

    • tempterrain

      gbaike and stefanthedenier,

      You seem to be equating democracy with the notion than the Super rich, like Gina Rinehart, are free to do as they please.

      That’s only the case if the majority vote goes their way, which is of course why they are seeking to control the media as Monckton suggests they should.

      But what if it doesn’t?

    • tempterrain | July 22, 2012 at 1:47 am said: ”You’ll like what Christopher Monckton is suggesting in this video clip then. The “super-rich”, he has said, should invest in the media, install like-minded commentators
      This is your idea of democracy?

      tempterrain did you ever complained about ABC & SBS – Botanical name (the Lefty’s Trumpets) ” Is this your idea of democracy?”

      Gina is intending to save some of the democracy in Australia; by getting few reporters with different opinion; than the extremist Lefty propaganda machine. Why are you against democracy? the Arabs are losing lives, properties – to get some democracy – in USA, Australia the D/H are surrendering democracy; for just to be trendy – if that’s not stupid – the word ”stupid” shouldn’t take space in the dictionary.

    • Stefanthe denier,
      See my earlier comment above. Many who share your views wouldn’t be asking me why I was against democracy. In fact they’d know I was in favour of it. They’d be asking you, though, why you equated freedom for the Super Rich with the concept of democracy.
      They view democracy as mob-rule. Just Google these two words and you’ll see what I mean.

  67. Despite the uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is enough to tell us what we need to know.

    Killer statement, rates right up there with “damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!”

    • The problem is that the statement is false.

    • DW,

      Saying the statement is false isn’t saying why it is false.

      Though, I’m not entirely happy with it either. I’d prefer something like:

      Because of the potential climatic uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is sufficient to warrant a higher level of caution in our approach to the the problem of ever increasing atmospheric GH gas concentrations. That might not turn out to be as minor as we might wish. We need governments to go ahead and act ……….

      .

    • tempterrain

      You write:

      “Because of the potential climatic uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is sufficient to warrant a higher level of caution in our approach to the the problem of ever increasing atmospheric GH gas concentrations. That might not turn out to be as minor as we might wish. We need governments to go ahead and act ……….”

      How about reframing this to :

      Because of the potential climatic uncertainty, the weight of scientific evidence is insufficient to warrant a higher level of caution in our approach to the the problem of ever increasing atmospheric GH gas concentrations. That might not turn out to be as minor as we might wish. We also do not have any actionable proposals, which would result in significant changes in our planet’s climate. Nor do we know the unintended negative consequences, which might result from any such actions. As a resultwedo notneed governments to spend additional taxpayer funds in order togo ahead and act but rather, to divert any public funding to gaining more information on our climate and thus resolving some of the many scientific uncertainties, which currently exist.

      Sound better to you?

      Max

  68. Under the Big Top news. posted in front window, office of the Climatic Research Unit, University East Anglia.
    Jugglers Wanted.
    Must have experience.
    Inquire within.

    • Beth

      Sleight-of-hand artists also wanted

      Max

    • And what would the Heartland Institute be saying if advertising for a climate ‘skeptic’ activist?

      The successful candidate will have a proven ability to work backwards from a political conclusion towards a scientific justification? The successful candidate will be adept at the promulgation of logical fallacies?

    • “And what would the Heartland Institute be saying if advertising for a climate ‘skeptic’ activist?”

      Must work for free.

  69. spartacusisfree

    According to the 2009 Trenberth et. al. ‘Energy Budget’, the models exaggerate IR absorption in the lower atmosphere by a factor of 5. The error arises because imaginary ‘back radiation’ leads to a Perpetual Motion Machine of the 2nd Kind, with 40% more energy than real.

    This is offset mainly by exaggerated low level cloud albedo: http://www.gewex.org/images/feb2010.pdf [seee page 5, article by Stephens].

    Evaporation from the oceans is exaggerated yet the models can hind-cast reasonably well. So, the positive feedback via the water cycle is artificial and because by 200 ppmV CO2 is well into IR self-absorption, data ignored by climate science, there can be no CO2-AGW.

    The models are useless and will remain so until the errors are corrected.

  70. Max, jest came across another Under the Big Top Bulletin posted in IPCC ante room of hopelessness.

    Conjurers Wanted.
    Experienced in catastrophist fortune telling.
    Apply within.

    (Abandon all hope
    Ye who enter here.) :-(

  71. On the limits of Cost/Benefit Analysis (C/BA).

    We all know C/BA. It’s referred to frequently in the debate in one form or another. Indeed, S. Fred Singer helped pioneer the use of C/BA in environmental topics while part of the EPA in the 1960′s.

    You practically can’t go through a thread about mitigation without bumping your shins into some short sort of C/BA mocked up one way or the other on the issue. It’s so engrained into the subject matter as to be natural to expect and to be tossed around with little consideration of its implications. And you certainly can’t go very far into discussing CO2E emission and rise without someone saying there’s some sort of benefit.

    Well, that’s all crap.

    Shelter is an undoubted benefit. Medication is an undoubted benefit. Dating is a benefit. Continuation of the species is a benefit. Working for pay is, in addition to receiving an explicit benefit, implicitly a benefit. Military service is a benefit.

    But if you shelter, medicate, date, procreate — especially for money or on military orders — someone without their consent and against their vociferous objections, it’s not called a benefit. It’s called a terrible criminal offense, slavery, war crime, torture and tyranny.

    Which way too many people just don’t seem to recognize.

    Before you do a C/BA, you must obtain consent, or be acting in lawful redress with due authority — and that second option must always be undertaken with deep concern to do so minimally as necessity permits.

    “Benefit?”

    Seriously, who raised you?

    • Bart R

      Cost benefit analyses are definitely NOT “crap” (as you write).

      Asking the citizens of the industrially developed world to “invest” in reducing GHG emissions without even explaining to them the “benefits” they will realize from these investments is an absolutely absurd proposal.

      The few actionable proposals, which have been made to date to reduce GHG emissions, all show very poor “benefit” for a lot of “cost”.

      So, in a democratic society an informed public will say: “NO SALE”

      [And that is why Copenhagen, Cancun and the other climate boondoggles have all failed.].

      Max

    • ‘Reared’, honey, reared.
      ======

    • Don’t Get Above Your “Rearin’”?

    • lurker, passing through laughing

      This is great: the consensus extremists simply decide by means of assertion that measuring cost and benefits of their ideas is so wicked it must be disregarded.
      That is the sort of argument one would expect from a religious fanatic unhappy about the age of fossils, not a person who claims to be informed by rational thought processes.
      Thanks for the laughs,

    • lurker, passing through laughing | July 20, 2012 at 2:32 pm |

      http://yourlogicalfallacyis.com/genetic

      Thanks for playing.

    • No one is playing with you just laughing at you. It is really not just that you say it – it is that you are so full of it.

    • Yes. Isn’t it amazing how fickle these guys are? Just a day ago Bart R was saying about the cost benefit analysis discussion:

      Wow.

      I little imagined the depth of analyses and interest in the topic. Good discussion, folks.</blockquote

      When these guys realise that the modellers have to accumulate benefits out to year 2495 in order to get the benefits to exceed the costs, they don’t want to talk about cont-benefit analysis any more.

      When they realise the mitigation strategies they propose have huge costs and will not deliver the benefits they imagine, they deny it and don’t want to talk about it any more.

      When they are confronted by the fact that their previous attempts at irrational mitigation policies failed (e.g. Kyoto protocol, EU ETS), they don’t want to talk about it any more.

      When it’s pointed out that the failures of the Copenhagen, Cancun, Durban and Rio+20 conferences demonstrate that the irrational schemes they propose cannot work in reality, they don’t want to talk about it anymore.

    • Peter Lang | July 21, 2012 at 1:38 am |

      A guy tries to be nice to people for showing signs of progress in their social skills, and sure enough, one of them turns on him and bites the hand that pats them on the head.

    • Latimer Alder

      @bart r

      ‘Before you do a C/BA, you must obtain consent, or be acting in lawful redress with due authority — and that second option must always be undertaken with deep concern to do so minimally as necessity permits.’

      Are you planning to sponsor an English language version? Or should I just wait for the movie?

      Because that paragraph seems to be pretty much incomprehensible to me.

    • Latimer Alder | July 21, 2012 at 2:07 am |

      To do a cost/benefit analysis on someone else’s behalf, you had best be sure they regard as a benefit the same things as you regard as a benefit.

      If you think you’re providing shelter, and they and everyone else think you’re imprisoning them against their will and without lawful authority then it’s not a benefit, now, is it?

      If you think you’re medicating them, and they don’t know you’re doing it and it isn’t to save their life long enough to inform them and obtain their consent to treatment, then it’s not really a benefit for them, now, is it?

      If you think you’re dating them, and they’re loudly protesting and resisting you in the manner of Hansen, Gore, Mann et al.. then regardless of how much cheaper it is than buying them flowers and candy, your cost/benefit analysis is a terrible malicious act.

      No surprise that some denizens find that incomprehensible.

  72. Alas, when in 1988 the climate science community began to run to the congressional hearings and the TV cameras to influence public policy, they were seriously premature.There are still so many unanswered questions about how our climate system works today (20 some odd years and billions of dollars later). Are there any climate scientists out there today who regret this behavior? Surely, despite the corrupting influence of continuous funding, there must be someone who would agree that we need to place a pause on CAGW until climate science (and scientists) become mature.

  73. Re the lengthy discussion above about polls and surveys that attempt to quantify the beliefs of scientists with respect to “climate change:

    It seems to me there would be more skeptical scientists (imprecise word, granted) in 2012 given 1 climategate

    2 the continued stall in additional warming
    .
    3: the way natural drivers are currently lining up (sleepy sun, cold PDO. AMO soon to flip)

    4: the increasing popularity if climate blogs such as this one

    I agree that such a poll is of limited usefulness for those who are naturally disposed toward a healthy skepticism of “consensus thiking,” but I can’t help being curious. I should think someone with the means and ability would be interested in doing this.

  74. JUst to be explicit, I do believe a significant increase in skepticism among scientists would be meaningful.

    • pokeryguy:

      Thanks for being explicit about what you believe would be menaingful.
      Let us know if you hear back from the scientists on that ‘increase in skepticism’ thing. I’m sure they have your number.

      Re. your previous comment:

      Don’t forget the double-recovery of the arctic ice!

      http://denialdepot.blogspot.ca/2012/06/double-recovery-of-arctic-sea-ice.html

      But I think your point 4 is the real clincher.

      You know that a scientific discipline is dead, dead, dead, when criticism of it on blogs increases in popularity.
      Just look at how the science of epidemiolgy has completely changed course because of the on-line intervention of the anti-vaxers!
      Or the way that biologists have completely rejected evolution because of web-posts!

      I can hardly wait for the ‘blogosphere’ to get to work on the Higgs boson results from CERN. Fun times ahead.

    • Higgs boson, Yukawa’s model of nuclear forces, the Standard Solar Model of H-filled stars, Oscillating solar neutrinos, etc., etc. are all part of the same, post-WWII corruption of science, Ken.

      [Sometimes called post-modern science.]

      1. Prior to 1945, very little government funds went to universities. Limited research funds were used for unbiased new measurements to advance our understanding of reality.

      2. After 1945, government research funds were directed via anonymous reviews and public research funds to confirm government-favored model of reality.

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-284

      Today society is collapsing because ordinary citizens realize that their government has been promoting misinformation.

      Leaders of nations, financial, educational and scientific organizations will either address the overwhelming evidence of deception noted above, or

      a.) Depression, addiction, mental illness and violence* will increase
      b.) Social and economic systems will collapse, and
      c.) Former leaders will go “down with the ship”.

      About a year ago I posted six (6) areas of agreement that proponents and skeptics of AGW might agree on to avoid this disaster:

      1. We all want world peace.
      2. An end to nationalistic warfare.
      3. An end to the threat of mutual nuclear annihilation.
      4. Cooperative efforts to protect Earth’s environment and bounty.
      5. Governments controlled by the people being governed, including
      6. Transparency and veracity (truth) of information provided to the public.

      – Oliver K. Manuel
      Former NASA Principal
      Investigator for Apollo
      http://www.omatumr.com

      *The unfolding story of random shooting of innocent moviegoers this morning has been updated: http://tinyurl.com/d48f32k

    • “Lets ignore what the so-called “scientists” say and look instead to the wealth of knowledge Blog Science has built up about Arctic sea ice over the years:” – denialdepot.blogspot

      Higgs boson? Isn’t that part of quantum something? Theory of uncertaintity or something? Where is their blog? I want to go there and be counted as part of consensus thinking thingy.
      I’ve got to tell you I like this consensus thinking thing though. I can be counted though I didn’t go to college to study it. I gues I only have to stay at Holiday Inn.

    • “Higgs boson? Isn’t that part of quantum something? Theory of uncertaintity or something? Where is their blog? I want to go there and be counted as part of consensus thinking thingy.”

      You probably need proper authorization and access their internet.
      The idea that scientists aren’t using the internet is silly. That they use it is why it exists.
      This part is public part of internet.

    • What do you mean I need a proper authorization? I am a US citizen. Why can’t I be part of their scientific consensus?
      Do you mean “no consensus on consensus” means the general public’s consensus on scientific consensus???

    • Oh wait. How can they get their consensus on the theory of uncertainty anyway?

    • Steven Mosher

      I see you’ve given up on the faux spelling errors and grammatical errors.
      I rike this version of CRV9 betters.

    • I’m trying. I sure hope I’m getting better. Some good days and some bad days. Thing is I don’t even have to try to make mtakes it just happens. As I said before I need more practices. I didn’t go to school here so I haven’t done any writtings. I’m glad you liked it, though. Thank you, Steven, I mean Mr. Mosher.

    • joywot not?

    • Steven Mosher

      CRV you forgot to mix up your ‘r’ and ‘l’ as you did before. Also, throw in some misuse of prepositions. I actually liked the character you created before. it fooled willard, that was fun.

  75. “You know that a scientific discipline is dead, dead, dead, when criticism of it on blogs increases in popularity.”

    Yup, once the great unwashed get their grubby hands on things, you know we’re all in big trouble.

    Not for nothing, but given that blogs like this barely existed a decade ago, your sample size must be pretty darn small. How many “scientific disciplines” would you say have died an ugly, blogosphere induced death in that time. Couple dozen or so?

    I’m sorry to deliver the bad news, but you’d better got used to it. Blogs aren’t going anywhere. They’re only going to increase in popularity. Which explains your deeply arrogant tone. If I were you, I’d be worried too.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Ken’ is just whistling to keep his spirits up. Note that he bothers to come over here to post that we are all irrelevant.

      Ken. mon brave, the internet/blogosphere gives the opportunity to put into practice many of the thjngs that scientists pay lipservice to…replicability, instant review, wide currency. a diversity of experience and expertise. The essence is that it facilitates many to many discussions.

      This has come as a nasty shock to climatologists who until recently have viewed it as their private Expert –> Unwashed one-way propaganda machine. What a misunderstanding!

      Pal-review by a mate taking six months is as nothing compared with the power of hundreds of minds picking a bad paper to bits….as we saw in the destruction of Gergis et al.

      However much Ken may wish that the clock could be turned back ten years to those happy days where the climatologists pronounced and the grateful public listened to their wisdom with reverent awe, those days have gone and they ain’t coming back.

    • I agree, pokerguy.

      There is no turning back now.

      a.) We will have the tyrannical government George Orwell predicted in the futuristic novel he wrote in 1948 and entitled “1984″, or

      http://www.online-literature.com/orwell/1984/

      b.) We will have integrity restored to government science, and
      Constitutional limits restored on government officials !

  76. pokerguy completely pranked by deadpan sarcasm. not much of a poker player after all.

  77. OK, so you were being “ironic.’ Sorry I missed it. WHat I don’t get is what you’re so worked up about given your low opinion of blogs.

  78. TRuthfully, Web, I have a tendency to rush through arrogant posts from the “other side.” It’s not the first time I’ve made a mistake like that, probably won’t be the last.

  79. Tempterrain , 20 july @ 6.36 pm:
    re yer ‘indigestible’ comment. Well some things yer jest can’t solve with yer four box methodology or simple climate models, I guess, Tempterrain. Ah me, the irreducible compiexities of life … and climate science, here, under the Big Top.

  80. Yer sound like a very nice person, CRV9, and keep practisin’ – it’s the only way to forge ahead. A double :-) to yer.

  81. Might say, Tempt, reversing climatology barriers to entry, that ‘pissant progressives need not apply.’ )

    • tempterrain

      “Pissant progressive” is Chief’s endearing nickname for me. I quite like it. Maybe I should change to that from TT ?

    • Latimer Alder

      Yep.

      It would have a very pleasing (and apt) shortened form.

    • I don’t really think you get pissant progressive more than any other run of the mill pissant progressive. I think of you all as space cadets. A cult of AGW groupthink. Smarmy, nauseatingly unctuous, supercilious, with little self awareness or tolerance for doubt.

      ‘A CULT is most commonly thought of as a religious or utopian group with a charismatic leader, though not all cult leaders are charismatic. Such groups can do a lot of damage causing anything from the breaking up of families to horrific acts of ritual murder, mass suicide and terrorist acts (Jonestown … Waco … 9/11). Some cult members exhibit obviously bizarre behaviour and wear strange clothes. Yet most cult behaviour is only a slightly more extreme form of the normal cultural behaviour that we are steeped in from childhood — for example, peer group pressure to conform.

      Deikman noted that the desires that bring people to cults — including the need to feel secure and protected — are universal human longings (as we would say, human givens). Their effect in our daily lives can be shockingly similar to the effect they have within the most bizarre cults, propelling people to take self destructive paths toward the security they seek, to fail to think realistically, suppress healthy dissent and autonomy, devalue outsiders and accept authoritarianism.’ http://www.hgi.org.uk/archive/cults.htm

      I think the Kool-Aid will be coming out any time now.

  82. Uh oh, somebody’s using the “C” word…as in CAGW.

    http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

    Bill McKibben, vying to be the Larry Flynt of climate porn.

    Ya gotta love the scary red picture. What is it about CAGWers and red?

    • Uh oh, somebody’s using the “C” word…as in CAGW.

      http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/global-warmings-terrifying-new-math-20120719

      “Scientists estimate that humans can pour roughly 565 more gigatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere by midcentury and still have some reasonable hope of staying below two degrees.”

      So that adding 70 ppm by 2150. 395 + 70 = 465 ppm.
      It seems fairly reasonable guess. Probably on high side, but close enough.
      But they like it:
      “The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists around the world over the past few decades. And the number is being further confirmed by the latest climate-simulation models currently being finalized in advance of the next report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

      It seems to me, China will run out coal before 2050. Though if it’s true that china paying $120 per tonnes coal, running out coal might not be the problem. It may be the inefficiency of their economy might cause coal to leap to even higher numbers. If coal is say $200 per ton, wind mills might look good:). [In US coal is about $15 per ton, though it has been higher, I think perhaps $30-50 per ton].

      Anyhow, since CO2 started being accurating measure back in 1959, global CO2 has gone from 316 to 395, or around 80 ppm. And since such time Global temperatures have not risen .8 C, nor do many assume that rise in CO2 has caused .08 C rise in temperature. This exclude those who think CO2 has stopped a cooling trend that was suppose to have occurred. Or in other words, CO2 emission has saved us from much cooler conditions
      Humans are heroes, humans take a bow!
      So continuing the quotes from article:
      “This idea of a global “carbon budget” emerged about a decade ago, as scientists began to calculate how much oil, coal and gas could still safely be burned. Since we’ve increased the Earth’s temperature by 0.8 degrees so far, we’re currently less than halfway to the target. But, in fact, computer models calculate that even if we stopped increasing CO2 now, the temperature would likely still rise another 0.8 degrees, as previously released carbon continues to overheat the atmosphere. That means we’re already three-quarters of the way to the two-degree target.”

      So it’s been 15 years now, how long does it take for the another half of warming from the CO2 to kick in?
      I want to know if the plan as it kicking in before 2050.
      Now if you actually know the CO2 has only warmed at most .4 C at best, and .4 gets added before 2050, and we get .4 C from the current rise in CO2, the other .4 C get added after 2050. Then we have .4 + .4 + .4 and so, 1.2 C rise the politician we have exceeded public expectations.
      An extraordinary event in the annals of politicians.
      And assuming warmers are correct about their predictions, which they failed so far.

    • Albert Stienstra

      “If coal is say $200 per ton, wind mills might look good:).” Windmills still would not look good; too often there is not enough wind to comply woith demand. Backup will always be needed to the full installed windmill generating capacity, so you might as well do away with the windmills; much cheaper.

    • Curiuos George

      “The 565-gigaton figure was derived from one of the most sophisticated computer-simulation models that have been built by climate scientists ..”

      They know everything. They are taking over the World Bank and IMF !

  83. Tempt. yer know what ‘they’, the consensus ‘they,’ say … ” A rose by any other name ..”

    We Australians, as you are aware,T, are a blend of the rough with a measure of poetic sensibility. Comes from the cultural heritage yer know, .so yeah, go fer ‘pissant progressive,’ lol.

    Here’s a little poem fer yer on ‘rose by any ..:’

    Rose, do not be destroyed in your heart by the worm
    that flies in the night, in the howling storm. For rose
    you are the symbol of hope eternal., more compelling
    than a fallen monument buried in sand. You
    speak to us more compellingly of passion deferred,
    than a grecian urn.Your
    soft, unfolding, cusped perfume
    speaks to us of human joy, promise of
    the one, the true, the everlasting love,
    the guitar’s plucked song, the broken glass
    of our dreams.

    May the force be with yer, tempterrain, take the risk and change yer name… or not. )

    • Beth, “tempterrain” is just a jumble from “Peter Martin”. You might as well address him as Petey; his tag is clumsy and stupid-sounding. Hmm, come to think of it, maybe that suits his posts better …

  84. manacker, 21/07 @ 7.03 am:
    a pertinent reframing to reveal the logic of the situation, +1.

    • True, true, otherwise we’re permitting liberal fascists to bomb the economy and destroy lives like a Ted Kaczynski or a Jerry Sandusky and turning our backs on fraud and corruption like Penn State.

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