Academic versus professional perspectives

by Judith Curry

In pondering the challenges of climate change (both science and policy), it seems that academics have different perspectives from many other people, with a discriminator being professional decision making experience.

Latimer Alder raised this issue on a recent post:

Latimer Alder | September 2, 2012 at 10:22 am |

I was prompted in this thought by two recent conversations with very distinguished academics. One is active in climate matters, the other is an FRS in an unrelated field.

Both of them are ‘fifty-somethings’, yet neither have ever held a job other than in academia, and while one has had the occasional sabbatical year abroad they are both proud that they have never really left the institution that they arrived at as 17/18 year old undergraduates.

In the commercial world it would be extremely rare for anybody approaching ‘elder statesman’ status to have had such a limited breadth of experience. It would be seen as far too narrow to give the wide perspective that is needed in such a role. And in many other spheres of public life, appointments to leadership positions are made taking due account of breadth as well as depth of experience.

So it seems to be a bit of a paradox how ‘climate scientists’ have somehow abrogated to themselves the conceit that they are and should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue. And even odder that ‘we’ have let them get away with it for so long.

What has been a real eye opener for me has been my forays into the private sector, where real decisions and big $$ hinge on my predictions. Being spectacularly wrong on a regular basis is a sure recipe for having no contracts. Hence probabilities and scenarios and assessment of confidence level in individual forecasts is the name of the game. I wish more academics had this kind of experience. In universities such interactions are very cumbersome owing to ever changing conflict of interest guidelines.

The reward system for academics is to have a provocative idea get published in a high impact journal, and increasingly to garner some media attention for the research.  Whether or not the idea turns out to be correct is not of particular importance in the reward system for academics.

For professionals in engineering, finance, the world of regulations, etc., there are typically serious penalties for getting it wrong, i.e. if the bridge collapses.  As a result, due diligence, verification and validation, uncertainty analysis, auditing etc. are essential elements of the profession.

Now if the principal activity of a field of science is to push the knowledge frontier, then being right in a long term sense isn’t all that important.  However, when a field of science is operating at the policy interface, e.g. climate science, then that field could learn some valuable lessons from the professions.

Over the past 5 years or so, I have been increasingly becoming engaged with  the private sector, where being ‘right’ in terms of a forecast matters in a very concrete and immediate way.  This has almost certainly influenced my thinking on uncertainty and confidence assessments regarding climate change.  I am not a ‘contrarian’ in the sense of being uncertain for the sake of being uncertain.  Rather, I have a different perspective from most of my fellow academics as a result of operating in an environment where significant decisions are made based on my forecasts.  For example, for our main client in the energy sector, decisions are made every day regarding energy sales and trading, and when a hurricane is coming decisions are made on evacuation and business continuity.  Being wrong will cost our client a lot of money; being wrong too often will result in losing the customer.   If you are wrong in such an environment, you better make sure you learn from your mistake or readjust how you assess the forecast uncertainty.

Broadly in the field of environmental modeling and prediction, I think that academics and university students would benefit enormously from engaging in the private sector.  Such engagement is made very difficult by conflict of interest issues, imposted by the federal government, state governments, and universities.  Private universities have much more flexibility in this regard, and I suspect that it is not an accident that ‘silicon valley’ developed in the environment of Stanford University.  Management of the conflict of interest issues at Georgia Tech surrounding my engagement with the private sector is quite cumbersome, and my graduate students cannot benefit from this experience.

With the growing relevance of climate science to decision making and regulations, it is incumbent upon the institutions that support science to bring professional perspectives to the climate science-policy interface.  However, I don’t even see this issue being raised; these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable.  There is a fundamental disconnect here, this is probably obvious to most of the Denizens, but that doesn’t register on the academic radar.

Your ideas on this?

600 responses to “Academic versus professional perspectives

  1. Attenurated precious,
    And burstin’ buttons at the esteems.
    =========================

  2. The idea has been expressed in blogland time and again. But your way to put it down is excellent.

    • I agree. Government influence flows into academic institutions with government research grant funds.

    • I agree.

      Judith, thank you for posting this excellent post. I saw Latimer Alder’s comment when he posted it and have been reading everything he says since then. The point he makes is very important. I hope the many climate scientists who read ‘Climate Etc.’ will take note of his comment. There is lots of knowledge and experience outside academia that it is essential to understand for making a useful contribution to policy decisions.

      Judith says:

      Whether or not the idea turns out to be correct is not of particular importance in the reward system for academics.

      Wow! Wasn’t that demonstrated by this paper http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/ which has been submitted to a journal by Professor Ernest Agee, et al. Agee, et al. suggest sequestering CO2 snow in the Antarctic. The authors made no attempt to get any engineering review of their idea before submitting the paper. The cost would be thousands of times more than other ways to sequester CO2 and probably wouldn’t work anyway (it would leak). All this was pointed out to him yet he defended his paper (with a few minor changes) and still advocates taxpayers should pay for a prototype in Antarctica. How ludicrous is that?

      Those are the sorts of people who have driven CAGW alarmism and still are.

      • spartacusisfree

        The issue academics must face is that no professional scientist or engineer with advanced heat transfer training can accept the childish heat transfer in the climate models, for example to assume IR emitted from the Earth’s surface through the ‘atmospheric window’ magically returns from Top of Atmosphere when there is no physical mechanism for it to occur.

        These models get the positive feedback from a ‘perpetual motion machine of the 2nd kind’, 40% increase in energy hidden by exaggerated cloud cooling. The mistakes are compounded by believing pyrometers measure a real energy flux when it’s really the Poynting vector, a measure of temperature.

      • David Springer

        spartacusisfree | October 1, 2012 at 11:10 am | Reply

        “to assume IR emitted from the Earth’s surface through the ‘atmospheric window’ magically returns from Top of Atmosphere when there is no physical mechanism for it to occur”

        Strawman. The IR window is just what it means. Radiation emitted from the surface goes straight through the IR window to space. This is what is assumed not what you wrote.

        “These models get”

        You obviously have no idea what the model is doing or you wouldn’t have written what you did above so the rest of your comment talking about them is worthless.

      • It is good when even the skeptics call out the most egregious erroneous posts as just happened here. More of this, please.

      • Bizarre that Spartacus calls the Poynting vector a measure of temperature. The definition of the Poynting vector is presented in every undergrad fields course. It is a power density defined by the cross product of the transverse electric and magnetic fields. It is a nice mnemonic in that the cross product actually points in the direction of the propagating wave.

        Can’t figure what Spartacus is trying to do, but as they say, document the atrocities and sort it out later.

      • David Springer is just another climate model jester. He has no sense of heat transfer and has very poor IR radiation concept. Real denier of heat transfer and radiation sciences.

      • Spartacusisfree

        To all; the most basic of radiation physics is that for a plane wave, the average Poynting Vector is epsilon0.c.E0^2/2 W.m^2 [usual symbols]. Poynting’s theorem is that at any point in space the real energy flux is the vector sum of all the PVs arriving at it.

        A pyrgeometer’s shield stops the PVs from the back being detected so it measures the vector sum of the PVs arriving from the viewing angle. To add the DOWN PVs to the net UP IR [UP PVs -DOWN PVs] recreates the UP PVs, most of which can do no thermodynamic work. This plus the TOA error gives the perpetual motion machine.

        As for the claim I have somehow misinterpreted the 2/3rds real UP IR as being incapable of ‘reflection’ from TOA, do you really imagine it can be?

        Sorry, but to imagine the earth emits real IR as if an isolated black body in a vacuum is an elementary failure of physics and it’s about time someone persisted in saying so.

      • spartacusisfree

        I’ll add here a Met. Office document explaining the origin of the UHI: http://www.trust.org/alertnet/blogs/climate-conversations/urban-heat-islands/

        ‘Heat islands exist because the land surface in towns and cities, which is made of materials like tarmac and stone, absorbs and stores heat. That, coupled with concentrated energy use and less ventilation than in rural areas, creates a heating effect.’

        This is very wrong: radiation and convection are coupled. Reduce convection by erecting walls and to maintain constant convection + radiation, temperature has to rise. The beach windbreak is a good example.

        These people haven’t looked at basic heat transfer theory. Because they haven’t got the basics right, no Met. Office climate model can predict climate.

        They dare not admit that the Earth cannot emit IR as an isolated black body in a vacuum, without which the Aarhenius ‘GHG blanket’ idea cannot work. Think about it…….’

      • Peter lang

        Y|ou are exactly right with your example, how this got to see the light of day is mystifying as it only required a small amount of research to demonstrate it wasnt worth putting in writing.

        The phrase ‘ivory tower’ comes to mind. I suppose grand theory is often more interesting than dull reality, but surely funding cuts will ensure academics have to look more closely at their projects.
        tonyb

  3. Thomas Sowell. Intellectuals and Society.

  4. The criteria of excellence are certainly different in science and in fields that use results of science in practical applications. It’s certainly common that the best scientists are not the best users of science even in fields where the gap from new scientific discoveries to practice is uncommonly narrow.

    It’s not optimal for the progress of science to use very much time and effort in quality control of each step. The scientists must certainly aim at high quality at all steps but they should not emphasize quality over other important criteria. Creativity is often one of the most important virtues but great creativity does not always join smoothly with maximal quality control.

    When issues are as complex and when the stakes are as high as they are presently in climate science it could well be better to have separately pure scientists and climate science professionals. The former would concentrate in pushing the field forward while the latter would audit and analyze the results aiming at an outcome optimized to fit the needs of decision makers including the appropriate quality controls. They would also expand a lot of effort in estimating the reliability of the results and also in determining the range of uncertainties.

    The climate science professionals should also form working relationships with corresponding specialists of other issues equally important for climate change related decision making. These other specialties include damage and risk assessments, engineering in fields relevant for mitigation and adaptation, economists etc. etc.

    • good suggestions. however, I suspect that climate scientists would not be happy with this arrangement, since this would mean that they give up alot of their turf (the most influential piece). That however should provide all the more reason for an arrangement such as you suggest.

      • Yes. Climate science is in the “wizard” phase. IT/software engineering went through this a 2/3 decades ago when comp sci was still black magic. It was common practice to obfuscate the simple in order to preserve job security and/or obtain advancement. This was fixed by a couple of peer review design practices and by requiring documentation (the rough equivalent of publishing internally).

        CS pays this lip service when papers are published and reviewed. However, I am amazed at what is allowed to be submitted in this context. Quite often software used to reach the paper’s conclusions and attendant data sets aren’t available. (I read of one scientist referenced on this blog complaining that the data set was too large to make available…Really? (with eye roll as I remember that I have 5 terabytes available on my home machine)…How about allowing remote access/browsing?

        One solution: Round up the editors of the major publications and have them agree to complete transparency in all submissions. That is, all submissions MUST be made with complete data sets and if applicable, software source (including spreadsheets) in order to be considered for publication.

      • David Springer

        jbmckim | September 30, 2012 at 5:51 pm | Reply

        “IT/software engineering went through this a 2/3 decades ago when comp sci was still black magic. It was common practice to obfuscate the simple in order to preserve job security and/or obtain advancement.”

        Utter dreck. I threw up in my mouth a little bit reading that.

        I’ve been in software engineering for over 30 years. No one purposely made anything difficult or hard to understand for job security. That’s simply a lie people tell themselves and others in order to avoid the conclusion that they themselves are too lazy or stupid to understand.

      • I agree with David Springer’s comment. The complexity 2/3 decades ago in software came from two sources- the first was the fact that, before 3G/4G tools, every bit of the interface had to be explicitly coded rather than having a GUI to do the mundane stuff.
        The other was often a lack programmer skill. It is actually much harder to write good clear simple code than messy, hard to read stuff.
        There are plenty of other myths surrounding programming and programmers. There was one on a thread a few weeks ago where someone with a superiority complex described programmers as little more than technicians that code the designs of other (obviously more intelligent) people.
        From my experience, most of the programmers I have worked with have to do the whole job, from requirements right through to support, and end up being the real experts in the field in which they are working.

        I do agree with the main point you are making, and with the thrust of Dr. Curry’s post.
        I think we have a real problem with balance in academic circles, where there is a lack of practical experience. Long term I think that Universities would be better served by kicking out professors at regular intervals and not hiring them back until they had some commercial experience under their belts, or maybe just not allowing people to go straight from study to tenure without a real world work experience break.

        If it is any consolation, I feel the same way about programmers. Most are of little use until they have had practiacal work experience (better still if it is non programming work).

    • Pekka: Insightful comment (meaning I agree and most people don’t notice this). I’ve discovered much the same thing in studies of the product development process. Scientific norms evolved to essentially maximize the rate of discoveries, with individual incentives focused on getting cited and getting one’s work incorporated by others. Quality control and engineering issues are distinctly secondary in such an environment, and in fact many experimentalists pride themselves on their ability to improvise and hack together apparatus and experiments that can quickly answer questions and “scoop” rivals.

      One pair of European physicists argued in a book chapter on Big Science (reference on request–I don’t have it at the moment) that U.S. particle physicists after WWII made most of the discoveries because in Europe accelerator design and construction were dominated by engineers, whose priorities for careful implementation of technology led to slower rates of discovery. U.S. physicists, who had gotten used to running big projects during the war and were left in charge of overall project management postwar, could optimize the process for rapid discovery.

      The “cowboy” approach endemic in successful pure science is simply inappropriate for important applications. In the biomedical field, we have a complex set of institutions for rectifying the different norms. These are far from perfect, but they help close the gap between the data standards appropriate for exploratory research and those necessary for medical practice. In the area of economic policy things are less formalized, but there is still a set of dedicated organizations separate from academia that gather statistics and publish series with well-specified methods. Exploratory research papers from government economists are clearly differentiated from the models and data used for policy making. New academic ideas on how to deal with things like price indices are thoroughly vetted before implementation.

      Your “climate professionals” would be a tricky group to recruit and train. One of my concerns is that the people aspiring to such jobs are likely to be policy zealots of one stripe or another because environmentalism shares many characteristics with religion. In my opinion, we already have a problem in agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service with partisanship on the part of the biologists employed there.

      • “Science professionals” must be highly competent, at par with good scientists, but they need not be as creative. Thus scientists who may excel in scientific argumentation but feel that they don’t succeed in original research as well as their technical capabilities would allow might be perfect for the task. (Presently they may end up as professors in second tier institutes and get frustrated there.)

      • Pekka,

        Thus scientists who may excel in scientific argumentation but feel that they don’t succeed in original research as well as their technical capabilities would allow might be perfect for the task.

        So you advocate Green zealots would be ideal for the role?

      • David L. Hagen

        Judith and Pekka
        As an research scientist/engineer I strongly endorse your distinction of the critical difference in cultures and performance between “climate scientists” and “engineers” and other science professionals who have to perform to real world commercial realities.

        For example, scientists at the National Labs have both the challenge to push the capabilities of metrology AND to do it reproducibly. Round robin evaluations make errors very embarrassing.

        A classic example is Nigel Fox at NPL who is is pushing to improve the quality of climate measurements by an order of magnitude over traditional climate measurement, in his TRUTHS project. That enormous improvement demonstrates how much “climate science” can be improved with a professional/metrology/engineering approach.

        Steve McIntyre at ClimateAudit demonstrates the level of professional independent commercial auditing expected for mining projects with objective reproducible results. Lucia Liljegren at the Blackboard demonstrates the attention to detail needed to evaluate temperature trends in quantitative climate statistics.

        Why should we allow any less from “climate science” and the IPCC?

        NASA led the way to the moon with great engineering and science. Their methods and models demonstrated what could be done.

        Now Hansen’s (“NASA’s”???) climate models perform on the equivalent of heading for Mars and ending up on Venus. For Hansen to publicize alarms based on greater than 2 sigma errors over 32 year climate duration is absolutely amazing. e.g., see James Hansen’s climate forecast of 1988: a whopping 150% wrong. It appears NASA has succumbed to political correctness and fallen far from its zenith of requiring world class performance of its employees.

        This is a national embarrassment. It is time to put “Death Trains” Hansen out to pasture to ruminate and leave us in peace and bring in NASA’s Independent Verification and Validation (IV&V) Facility to clean up the mess.

        There are NASA groups that thoroughly understand fluid dynamics as well as rocketry and interplanetary guidance. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Verification and Validation Web Site of the NPARC Alliance!

        Let “climate scientists” pursue leading edge science and trying to get the physics right on precipitation including all the negative feedbacks etc. However, lets have independent “professional” groups of scientists and engineers tasked with developing robust engineering quality climate measurement and modeling groups to provide policy level guidance. Preferably two or three major groups with fully transparent data and models, and with a similar number of well funded independent “red” teams aggressively testing, verifying and validating their performance.

        Just as we have scorecards for professional sports, I wonder if some foundation could develop a “scoreboard” with the validated performance of climate models on round robin tests against the SAME data, including exposing groups and how poorly they perform. Then provide an accuracy based feedback on further funding!

      • NASA 1961 to 1972 is an interesting case study that might argue against your conjecture.

        In that organization, engineers were very much in charge, not the scientists. While “Failure is not an Option” was a good engineering mindset, they were working in an environment where failure was a distinct possibility and recognized as such:

        “OK guys, it’s now time to get down to business, we’re about ready to land a man on the Moon. From the day of our birth, we were meant for this time and place, and today, we will land an American on the Moon. Whatever happens here today, it will stand behind every decision you will make. We came into this room as a team and we will leave as a team. Lock the doors. And from now on, no person will leave or enter this room until we have either landed, we have crashed, or we have aborted. Those are the only three outcomes from this time on.” – Gene Kranz, Flight Director, Apollo 11 White Team, July 20, 1969.

        What they accomplished in eight years is difficult to believe unless you live it. Were they cowboys? They were test pilots, even the controllers, always on the ragged edge of the envelope between safety and crisis.

        That may be the crucial element in progress: to risk failure in a controlled fashion; to not be afraid of small failures and thereby avoid analysis paralysis.

      • David L. Hagen

        Stephen
        Any engineer/scientist familiar with uncertainty will address managing according to the consequences of the uncertainties involved – as did NASA. Nigel Fox is showing how to reduce measurement uncertainties by an order of magnitude. NASA’s IV&V team is tasked to reduce uncertainties by systematic independent verification and validation.
        Its the politicians who really mess up big time as in Mao’s Great Leap Forward.
        Climate academics are not far behind – currently with few consequences as Curry points out.

      • Dr. Racey,

        Thank you for reminding us of NASA’s great engineering achievements.

        NASA’s engineering was superb. NASA’s science was corrupt from the start to preserve false illusions published after WWII:

        1. The Sun – Earth’s heat source – is a giant ball of hydrogen [1]
        . _Hydrogen is a solar waste product, not solar fuel

        2. Neutron-neutron interactions in stars and atoms are attractive [2]
        . _Neutron-neutron repulsion explodes atoms & stars

        For more information on NASA’s corrupt science, see the new e-book by Dr. J. Marvin Herndon [3]

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        1. 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)

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

        3. J. Marvin Herndon, “NASA’s Science: A Betrayal of Trust” (e-book, 2012) http://tinyurl.com/8rgskdl

      • To: David L. Hagen (1 Oct 2012 at 3:04 pm)

        Chairman Mao’s Greatest Leap was across the ocean.

      • Gene Kranz is one of my heros. A bigger hero is Kelly Johnson, aeronautics engineer who formed and ran Lockheed “Skunk Works”. He and his team of engineers and scientists, after building the U-2, turned around and built the A-12 / SR-71. They had to invent almost everything: Take an experimental turbo-ramjet, invent a new fuel (JP-7), invent ways to manufacture with titanium alloys, make hydraulics work at 600 deg F, and make it stealthy to radar. They did it in secret. And did it in under 4 years. Kelly’s great leap forward was to Mach 3 at 80,000 feet.

        In once sense I can lament, “What has happened to this country?” Government projects now seem to take forever. NASA is working on its third try for a vehicle to replace Shuttle just to get back into orbit, much less the moon.

        Taking a step back, however, I recognize that I am writing this on a lap-top computer with 9 hour battery life, connected wire-less to a router in a Chick-fil-a cafe (for free), that is connected to an optical fiber internet that has grown so big that IPv6 is urgently needed to replace IPv4 which is limited to *only* 4 billion address. I am writing this onto a publishing methodology that I think of in the evolution of communication as “Guttenberg version 4″ ( version 2 was the rotory press, version 3 was phototypesetting.) A lot of engineers made that possible in a remarkably short time.

    • Pekka, I like your idea.

  5. The publication system for academia is broken. Forget the (relatively minor) problems of peer review: a closed model of ill-managed information collection, ill-developed method management, ill-supported organizational learning where silos and islands of expertise bury data like gold because the rewards are for publishing new work, no matter how long the data of the ‘new’ work has been closetted and denied to the wider world, while not fully documenting or sharing the best of cutting edge methodology except through idiosyncratic and ill-assorted channels whence any hard won advances appear to be made by chance against all odds and often only after the old guard have had their quiet and ill-attended funerals is just plain too stupid a way to go about research.

    Cradle-to-grave open data is a must, if Science is to prosper. Ruthless irradiation of the cancer of nostalgia, wholesale surgical removal of vestigial organs sucking away the life from progress, and amputation of the withered limbs that just no longer serve any purpose are called for in Universities.

    With Khan Academy, edX, Udacity, and so forth setting a pace no old school University can hope to sustain in physical classroom spaces, with tools and techniques for storing all the data any researcher could hope to collect and making it all available to the world as it is collected, with more and better understanding of learning and the need for it, why would any academic not blush to say, “yes, my research will be out in paper form in only three years, at which time I’ll release some of the supporting data I collected to people who ask me, by email.” or similar nonsense?

    • Bart, what you say would make sense if everyone signing up for a MOOC (Massive Online Open Course) were equally capable of advancing the state of the art. Do you believe this to be the case?

      • Vaughan Pratt | October 1, 2012 at 6:13 am |

        Ought we not hope at least one of them will?

        It’s a vain belief to expect the arbitrary and questionably founded filtering out system of overpriced, geographically-limited, based-on-known-flawed-grading-schemes provides the best candidates to advance the body of knowledge or state of the art to the best teachers to bestow on them those treasuries of hidden clues and secret data.

  6. Our hostess writes “With the growing relevance of climate science to decision making and regulations, it is incumbent upon the institutions that support science to bring professional perspectives to the climate science-policy interface. However, I don’t even see this issue being raised; these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable. There is a fundamental disconnect here, this is probably obvious to most of the Denizens, but that doesn’t register on the academic radar.
    Your ideas on this?”

    I thoroughly agree with the sentiments expressed. I am not sure whether our hostess includes just about all the learned scientific societies in the world, led by the Royal Society, the American Physical Society, and the American Meteorological Society. But if she does, I wonder if she, or anyone else, knows how we can get the message across to these eminent organizations.

    • The American Meteorological Society would seem most ripe for something like this, since it has a large private sector membership.

      Unfortunately, the idea generated by the recent NRC report was:

      4. Develop training, accreditation, and continuing education for “climate interpreters” who will act as a two-way interface between modeling advances and diverse user needs.

      IMO this would make matters worse, in terms of unquestioningly applying climate model output to user needs.

  7. Pingback: Perspectivas académicas contra profesionales. « PlazaMoyua.com

  8. David Springer

    I would guess commercial customers of client science buy whatever narrative suits their agenda. A lot of cover-your-ass kind of stuff. We used to call it “the designated scapegoat”. Never begin an expensive project without one for every contingency. ;-)

    • David Springer

      Politicians in the US got real skittish about climate science I think in large part because of the scandal in Climategate. A good scapegoat can’t have a bad history. This is pretty ancient wisdom that goes back to sacrificing virgins. You simply can’t offer up damaged goods in situations like these. A 97% consensus among scientists with no bad press is scapegoat gold for a politician. Now, not so much. :-)

  9. I’ll make a point in jest here. Let’s apply this phrase to the problem at hand.
    “For professionals in engineering, finance, the world of regulations, etc., there are typically serious penalties for getting it wrong,”
    Let’s say a few decades from now we find who is wrong (e.g. some dufus on a city council might have said it will be cooler and rainier then and a preventive action was not taken based on that). Assuming this person is still alive, and they can dig up enough archives of what he said to prove it was his fault, what kind of penalty would be effective? Or do we persecute scientists in their retirement homes that might have misled Congress decades earlier?
    This points out the problem. The people making predictions in climate will not be around when those are proven either way, and archives will disappear into the dust or their digital equivalent. This is a very different problem from that faced in the professional world.
    A pertinent case might be if you build a dam or levee to stand a 100-year flood, and it fails several times in 20 years. Can you blame and sue the person(s) who thought it was going to be safe, or just put it down to ignorance and continue on. The telling thing would be whether others around him had warned that it was not safe at the time, and he ignored them, and not only that, but it was not just a local fluke, but something repeating over nationally. But, as I said, even with the fault obvious, the person may not be around to pay for it with their reputation.

    • David Springer

      Jim D | September 30, 2012 at 5:11 pm | Reply

      “A pertinent case might be if you build a dam or levee to stand a 100-year flood, and it fails several times in 20 years. Can you blame and sue the person(s) who thought it was going to be safe, or just put it down to ignorance and continue on.”

      Ask Curry for her opinion in the Cliff Notes version. If you like what it says commission the novel. If she’s wrong well, you sought the advice of the world’s foremost expert so you did nothing wrong. She won’t get fired from her day job and as long as she doesn’t screw up she remains grade A scapegoat suitable for slaughter.

      • The problem is that some policymaker will prefer a minority scientific view to support a cheap decision on future adaptability over a more expensive majority view. Who is accountable, the policymaker or the scientists with the minority view when it turns out to be wrong? Is that policymaker being a good professional when making such a call, or is it just irresponsible not to even hedge on a majority view being possibly right?

      • David Springer

        That’s not a problem it’s how it works. Curry’s view is in a minority which is why I used her for an example. If your agenda is better suited by the alarmist view commission Gleick to write it.

        No wait, Gleick is damaged goods. No scapegoat there.

        Hire Michael Mann.

        No wait, Mann is damaged goods. No scapegoat there.

        Now we have a problem. The entire consensus bandwagon is composed of damaged goods. This is why politicians won’t touch it anymore. Lisa Jackson isn’t a politician unfortunately and her job depends on who is president not whether she’s right or wrong about CO2 regs.

      • @DS: Gleick … Mann … The entire consensus bandwagon is composed of damaged goods.

        Do they even make two-seater bandwagons?

        Attendance at last year’s AGU Fall Meeting was 20,000. I didn’t get the impression they were just a bunch of climate skeptics.

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | October 1, 2012 at 10:44 pm |

        “Do they even make two-seater bandwagons?”

        Yes. http://www.leisurepro.com/1/2/15419-sports-stuff-bandwagon-1-1-2-rider-towable.html

        “Attendance at last year’s AGU Fall Meeting was 20,000. I didn’t get the impression they were just a bunch of climate skeptics.”

        Very astute. I didn’t know they made 20,000 seater bandwagons.

        http://www.agu.org/sci_pol/pdf/position_statements/AGU_Climate_Statement.pdf

      • @DS: I didn’t know they made 20,000 seater bandwagons.

        Excellent, it sounds like we’re getting closer to how big climate skeptics thinks the consensus bandwagon is. At least two but well under 20,000, right?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      We design dams for 10,000 year floods if there is a major risk to life. Levees are designed as systems. That is – there are safe evacuation routes, warming systems, emergency services are located above floods, etc.

      Things may not work all the time – but an ultimate failure involving deaths are and should subject to severe sanction in law.

      The test is what should have been reasonably foreseeable.

      • We design dams for 10,000 year floods

        WE DO WHAT!
        WE KNOW ABOUT THE FLOODS FOR TEN THOUSAND YEARS!
        WOW!
        I DID NOT KNOW WE THAT WE DO KNOW THAT MUCH.

      • Well, that shows you don’t know much and you didn’t even bother to check before shouting your arrogance and ignorance, did you?

        What CH means is that certain parts of a dam – e.g. dam height and spillway capacity – are designed to handle the 1 in 10,000 year flood event. It is one of the hydrologists’ roles to define the size of the 1 in 10,000 year flood. Every so often the calculations are revised. The International Commission for Large Dams (ICOLD) agrees the methods and everyone around the world agrees to them and then implements them. Then we have to go back and raise dams and improve spillway capacity. In Australia many dams had to be raised and their spillway capacity increased in the 1980s and 1990s. I was involved in some of that work (Corin Dam, Bendora Dam, Googong Dam).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        We take what data we have – assume a stochastic distribution – fit a curve and then extrapolate. It gives us a big number to design to for safety. Would you prefer we threw darts?

      • Herman Alexander Pope,

        The case of dam designs and the maximum probable flood (the 1 in 10,000 year event) is relevant to Judith’s post. In December 2010, the Wivenhoe Dam, upstream from Brisbane (Australia’s third larges city), received an enormous flood event in 24 hours. The dam operators had to release a very high flow to prevent the dam from over-topping its emergency spillway which could then have cause even greater floods as it eroded away (it is designed to do that to protect the dam).

        Much of Brisbane’ downtown and residential areas were flooded. Many people lost their homes. Many were not insured and some didn’t have flood insurance. The damage costs are very high. People want to lay blame and want to get compensation. Fingers are pointing every whichway. This is the real world outside academia. Some argue that the information was available to predict the potential for this disaster and the water level in the dam should have been lowered earlier so the flood peak would have been lower and less damaging. All this translates into management of uncertainties and politics. There was pressure on the dam operators not to release water earlier because it would flood some low level crossings and inconvenience a small number of people. This is the real world. Many peoples lives have been seriously damaged, including the engineers who operated the dam. But no academics face any of these sorts of risks to their careers from making mistakes or bad judgements.

        I’d suggest the advocacy of hugely expensive but ineffective AGW mitigation policies – such as carbon pricing and mandated renewable energy – is criminally negligent policy advice. Those who promote such schemes and influence our politicians to implement such schemes should be held to account.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The real meaning is that there is a 1 in 10,000 chance of the storm occuring in any year. Which is an acceptable risk because the sh_t has hit the fan and we are all running (or swimming) for dear life anyway.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        “The American report was definitive in its findings that the men performed well in the critical early days of January 2011 when Wivenhoe filled to capacity and was in danger of collapse.’

        It is a risk having such a large dam above a major popualtion centre – but the risk of collapse is probably overstated.

        “Their decisions were prudent and showed considerable insight into the precision and accuracy of available hydrometeorological information,” the report said. Alternative operation could have been used, however. “Without the benefit of perfect foresight, there still would have been a risk that the outcome could have been worse as well as better.

        “It is unlikely that reasonable alternative operations would have made a significant difference in peak flows for an event of this magnitude,” the report said.’

        Here is the report by the US Corp of Engineers

        I don’t think these guys will suffer any permanent damage – lots of stress though. The public will continue to think what they like – who cares. But it is a problem if the public and journalists are willing to throw good people under a bus for their own failures to adequately insure. The relevant information on flood inundation was always on the Brisbane Council website. Scapegoating at it’s very ugliest.

      • I was mocked here when I defended the operators at the Wivenhoe.

      • I think Pope had a point. We design dams for what we think are 10,000 year flood events, only to re-evaluate that event a decade or two later. 200 years of weather records is a poor baseline for 10,000 year outliers.

        This get’s back to the “Black Swan” discussions Black Swans are not highly improbable events that happen. Black Swans are events where our probabilistic models misled us to think that event was sufficiently improbable not to encounter. Black swans aren’t caused by rain. Black Swan are caused by tails of probability distribution that are way too thin.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        100 years of data Steven. I wonder what you think we should substitute for data? Engineering is about acting with imperfect knowledge, rules of thumb, past experience, factors of safety, etc.

      • @Chief H: I wonder what you think we should substitute for data?

        It is not what you would substitute for data, but what what data you use and how you use it.

        It is one thing to have 100 years of rain-fall data, graph them up, fit a probabilistic distribution (which of many to choose from?) and extrapolate out 2 orders of magnitude in probability to get a design limit that has a 0.0001 chance of being exceeded. It is quite another thing to say a 0.0001 probability based upon 100 years of control is the same thing as a 10,000 year event. Implicit in that analysis is that the rain-fall data is representative of what the structure will experience in it’s design lifetime. Pope’s point was that we don’t know what the rain-fall patterns will be in 1,000 years much less than 10,000. Our 100 year sampling is too clustered in the time dimension. Pope’s and my point is that the term “10,000 year event”, is a statistical shorthand that implies more knowledge and confidence than we really have.

        Yes, you must use data. But what data do you use? What additional data you use besides recorded rainfall and maybe recorded flood levels? For instance, what does the surface geology tell you about flood events since the last ice age? That’s about 10,000 years. Could you possibly afford to design for those cataclysms resulting from a change in climate?

      • David Springer

        Case in point. Who’s reponsible for Fukishima?

      • Kappa’s gone wild.
        ==========

      • Dang, no possessive.
        ============

      • David Springer

        That’s nice that you design dams for 10,000 year floods. Who determines the elevation of a 10,000 year flood? I live on the shore of 20,000 acre man-made lake. We can build above the 100-year flood plain. The 100-year flood plain began in 1940 at 691msl. That elevation has changed over time and currently stands at 722msl. When I bought my property 13 years ago the 100-year flood plain was 715msl. In that 13 years, going by the original 100-year flood plain, there have been four 100-year floods. What’re the odds? Twice in the past 50 years lake level made it a bit over 710msl. The last time was in 2007 which is probably what prompted the Army Corps of Engineers to raise the 100-year flood plain yet again from 715msl to 722msl. I did most of my construction at around >780msl so the City of Austin will be headed towards the Gulf of Mexico first as the top of the spillway for the dam that protects it, the same dam that impounds the lake, is at 715msl.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It depends on the risk Jack – 10,000 years is for ‘significant risk’ where I come from. Don’t confuse the punters.

      • You are doing the confusing, Chief. I have designed dams in every continent except Antarctica and probabilistic analysis is no longer used anywhere for important structures.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘In theory, the PMP concept, as defined in section 2, implies zero probability of exceedance. However, the estimates made by the various PMP methods have a non-zero probability of exceedance. For example, the ‘in situ maximisation’ method PMP estimates for the Fortescue River catchment in Western Australia were exceeded by rainfall from Tropical
        Cyclone Joan in 1975 (Kennedy, 1982). The maximised storm depths from the Dapto 1984 storm (Shepherd and Colquhoun, 1985) near Wollongong in NSW exceeded the ‘method of adjusted United States data’ PMP estimates used at the time. Notional probabilities of
        exceedance can therefore be associated with the application of the method (i.e. the methodology plus the limitations of available data) used to estimate the PMP, but not withthe concept of PMP itself.

        Using deterministic methods of estimating PMP rather than statistical methods, means that the assignment of Annual Exceedance Probabilities (AEPs) to the PMP estimates is not straightforward. The uncertainties associated with any estimate of the exceedance probability of a PMP depth are very large. However, by using the same assumptions to
        estimate AEPs for each of the PMP methods, the results can provide useful guidance in a comparative sense (Pearce, 1994).’

        http://www.bom.gov.au/water/designRainfalls/pmp/gsdm_document.shtml

        Even with PMP’s – some idea of AEP’s is useful. ‘Major dams’ implies some a priori assesment of extreme risk. And of course I am aware of PMF’s – but the use of AEP’s in communicating relative risk is valid.

      • Brian G Valentine

        I think the Bureau of Reclamation would probably modify this definition for dams constructed as hydroelectric dams or dams the creation of recreational waterways (actually most of the dams constructed in the US). Many of the dams constructed along river courses as diversion dams are designed for a low hydrodynamic head, under 50′ height, yet supply more than 100 MW and are thus “major dams”

      • No – we design major dams to safely pass the PMF (probable maximum flood)..

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And I’m sure we haven’t built a major dam in Australia for more than 20 years. Showing your age Jack?

      • Chief – I am B. Eng. (Civil) Melbourne 1964, living in Cabaa since 1976. I designed Paradise (Burnett River) dam in Queensland in the first few years of this century. Don’t try arguing about dams with me, mate. You’ll lose.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Jack – I have degrees in civil engineering specialising in hydrology – and environmental science just for the hell of it. Paradise Dam is not close to being a major dam – for which definitions exist.

        You are being irrelevant, wrong and progressing to obnoxious.

      • At 60 m max ht and half a million cubic metres of RCC in volume, it is the biggest dam constructed in Australia in the last 50 years. I may be irrelevant and obnoxious, but I am not wrong. If you had simply accepted a courteous pointing out of an error in one of your comments, there would have been no need for escalation. Despite your alleged qualifications, you do not seem to understand the difference between probabilistic and deterministic analysis and your reference to AEP suggests that you have little or no experience outside of Australia.

      • That should have been living in Canada ….

      • Jack Linard,

        Despite your alleged qualifications, you do not seem to understand [many thinks he pontificates and BSs about]

        Chief Hydrologist (Captain Kangaroo or any off the other names he uses), has a propensity to be rude, arrogant and talk BS. I don’t bother reading his posts any more because I don’t know what if anything he says can be trusted.

        By the way, I also moved from Australia to Canada in 1976 to work on the BC Hydro Revelstoke project, a 600 my high concrete gravity dam and 2600 MW generating capacity – nearly as much as the Australian Snowy Mountains scheme in one dam and power station. Before that I worked on Corin dam (1966) and Googong dam (1974-5).

        Revelstoke dam in flood: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6mGU0W_2tU&sns=em

      • Jack Linard,

        Tongue in cheek question – what do you think of my 8 GW pumped hydro scheme linking Tantangara Reservoir and Blowering Reservoir in the Snowy Mountains Scheme:

        http://bravenewclimate.com/2010/04/05/pumped-hydro-system-cost/

        [But don't take my question too seriously - the exercise had a purpose and served it.]

        Do see the reviewers comments at the end of the article, they are well worth reading.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The Paradise Dam spillway level is at 67m AHD – but the height from bed level is some 37 to 42 m – according to different sources.

        ‘The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), an industry association, defines large dams as being “15 m high from foundation to crest (Fig. 1). Major dams are defined as those meeting at least one of the following criteria: height >150 m, volume >15,000,000 m³, reservoir storage >25 km³, electrical generation capacity >1000 MW.’

        The storage at Paradise Dam is 300,000,000 m³. My apologies it is a major dam. I neglected the volume criteria. My original point did not – however – relate to major dams. ‘We design dams for 10,000 year floods if there is a major risk to life. Levees are designed as systems. That is – there are safe evacuation routes, warming systems, emergency services are located above floods, etc.’ Although it might seem to be pedantic – the terminology I am used to is in terms of minor, major or extreme risk.

        I did quote the BOM above on probabilistic and deterministic methods – and I assure you I do understand. Even with major dams – AEP are relevant for understanding and communicating risk. I do quite often use the BOM Bulletin 53 methods for PMP – but assigned an arbitrary AEP in a blog for discussion of risk. Sue me.

        ‘Using deterministic methods of estimating PMP rather than statistical methods, means that the assignment of Annual Exceedance Probabilities (AEPs) to the PMP estimates is not straightforward. The uncertainties associated with any estimate of the exceedance probability of a PMP depth are very large. However, by using the same assumptions to estimate AEPs for each of the PMP methods, the results can provide useful guidance in a comparative sense (Pearce, 1994).’

        AEP’s are entirely valid for communicating relevant risk – as I have said – in a way that PMP’s (and derived PMF) are not. And the annual exceedance probability (AEP) is the same as the average recurrence interval (ARI) – simply expressed as a percentage. Do you have a point?

        My alleged qualifications? Were cited in response to your alleged qualifications.

        You make a silly off the cuff comment and defend it with pompous nonsense.

        Did you say you were a hydrologist?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Peter of course is a pompous twit who abuses anyone who has the temerity to disagree. When I pointed out that there were no operational deep geologic repostories for nuclear waste – he referred me to wikipedia.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository

        Here’s one that is operational – USA Waste Isolation Pilot Plant – New Mexico – transuranic waste – salt bed – 655 m – in operation 1999.

        It is a pilot repository for weapons materials – not anywhere near a solution for 270,000 tonnes of high level waste.

        I of course never read anything because it is so tedious, repetitive and nonsensical. That he feels the need to be a gratuitous dweeb is par for the course.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jack Linard & Peter Lang
        Re “and probabilistic analysis is no longer used anywhere for important structures.” – . . .”the difference between probabilistic and deterministic analysis ”

        Speaking of academic vs professional evaluations of hydrology, I would welcome your evaluation of using persistence in precipitation and runoff (aka Hurst Kolmogorov dynamics) in designing city water supplies and hydropower systems. See Koutsoyiannis, D., Hurst-Kolmogorov dynamics and uncertainty, Journal of the American Water Resources Association, 47 (3), 481–495, 2011. etc.
        Similarly, I would welcome your evaluation of the observations of WJR Alexander et al. that runoff has major variations synchronous with the 21 year solar Hale cycle and the importance of incorporating those in designing hydro projects and preparing for major droughts.
        WJR Alexander Causal linkages between solar activity and climatic responses, Water Resources & Flood Studies, U. Pretoria, 1 March 2006
        WJR Alexander et al. Linkages between solar activity, climate predictability and water resource development 2007

        See WJR Alexander’s publications

        (PS Alexander is making available his very extensive > 100 year compilation of Southern African records on CD>

      • Jack Linard re Paradise Dam, FYI: I was asked to look at the economic evaluation of the various dam options about three hours before a critical meeting, my first look at the project. After a vast amount of time and expenditure, the various studies and assessments done were appalling, and not fit for purpose. However, on the material provided, it was clear that there was no case for the two larger options, one of which was built. The third option, for a much smaller dam (I think about one-third of the capacity of the eventually-built dam), might have been economically viable, but further work would have been needed to make a proper assessment.

        I’d been asked to look at the material at such short notice because an incompetent and lazy but senior to me Treasury officer had failed to do so. I had no standing at the meeting, but most departments represented welcomed my analysis, which crystallised their misgivings. The sponsor department decided not to regard my material as a formal Treasury submission until the senior officer, who was working on another aspect of the analysis, submitted it. He never did, a non-viable “big-bucks announcement” option was built.

        Somehow (not through me), my quick analysis got to the environmentalists and the media. In 13 years in the QPS, my assessments were never refuted; in this case, Premier Beattie’s response was (as usual) “I don’t give a stuff about the Treasury analysis showing the dam’s not viable, we’re building it anyway.” Government in Queensland …

      • Chief Hydrologist

        David,

        Deterministic –
        PMP Value = (S x DS + R x DR) x MAF x EAF
        ‘Kennedy and Hart (1984) used notional AEPs for various PMP methods as a means of
        indicating the different security levels provided by the different methods. Laurenson and Kuczera (1999) issued interim estimates of the AEP which included a modification of Kennedy and Hart’s (1984) figures. They recommended an AEP of 10^-7 for areas of 100
        km2 and below, rising to 10^-6 for an area of 1000 km2. On the subject of confidence limits, they added:

        - Recommended AEP values plus or minus two orders of magnitude of AEP be regarded as notional upper and lower limits for true AEPs;
        - Recommended AEP values plus or minus one order of magnitude of AEP be regarded as confidence limits with about 75% subjective probability that the true AEP lies within the limits; and
        - The recommended AEP values be regarded as the current best estimates of the AEPs.’

        The method is given here – no great mystery.

        http://www.bom.gov.au/water/designRainfalls/pmp/gsdm_document.shtml

        Stochastic statistical methods involve ranking flows, developing a probability distribution and fitting a curve to extrapolate. The HK model is a different curve.

        Here is quick set of slides from the USBR.

        It includes this – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=riskanextrapolation.png – which at one end defines the notional AEP for PMP – but is more about the improbability of being accurate when extrapolating from a limited database. Isn’t that where we started?

        African rainfall is in part dependent on ENSO – and there is a great deal of literature linking ENSO and solar variability. The possible mechanisms are a lot more interesting.

        Many people are sure that Peter Lang pontificates and talks BS. Jack is making a great start.

        Robert I Ellison

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Michael,

        I did a lungfish population STELLA model for the dam – they tend to go over the stepped spillway in a flood and get shredded on the way down. It was an inadequate design in other ways.

        Cheers

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Well here we are Jack –

        http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?

        action=view&current=riskanextrapolation.png

        This is from a US Bureau of Reclamation person – and clearly shows that the AEP of PMP (or PMF if you prefer) is between 1 in 10^4 and 1 in 10^7.

        Anytime you want to apologise and admit that you were wrong – well see if I give a rat’s arse.

      • David Springer

        A major dam according to US National Inventory of Dams is minimum height of 50 feet and an impoundment of >5,000 acre feet or any height with an impoundment over >25,000 acre feet.

        The Paradise Dam in Queensland impounds over 250,000 acre feet so it very easily meets the definition of a major dam.

        Chief Hydrologist is certainly right that a definition exists for “major dam”. It appears though that he doesn’t actually know what that definition is.

      • David Springer

        Pardon me. After writing the note below Chief Hydrologist discovered his own error and corrected it. What’s noteworthy is I’m far from expert in dams yet I easily spotted and corrected an error from an expert. Experts are WAY overrated in my experience which is why a consensus of climate experts who have a vested interest in climate science being of monumental importance to human race, vested interest is a red flag in and of itself, fails to impress me.

        —————————————————————————————

        A major dam according to US National Inventory of Dams is minimum height of 50 feet and an impoundment of >5,000 acre feet or any height with an impoundment over >25,000 acre feet.

        The Paradise Dam in Queensland impounds over 250,000 acre feet so it very easily meets the definition of a major dam.

        Chief Hydrologist is certainly right that a definition exists for “major dam”. It appears though that he doesn’t actually know what that definition is.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Springer,

        From my comment above.

        ‘The International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), an industry association, defines large dams as being “15 m high from foundation to crest (Fig. 1). Major dams are defined as those meeting at least one of the following criteria: height >150 m, volume >15,000,000 m³, reservoir storage >25 km³, electrical generation capacity >1000 MW.’

        The storage at Paradise Dam is 300,000,000 m³. My apologies it is a major dam. I neglected the volume criteria.

        Which part didn’t you understand? Don’t worry – assume the question is rhetorical. I will assume you understood nothing.

        My original point did not – however – relate to major dams at all and is in fact quite irrelevant.

        ‘We design dams for 10,000 year floods if there is a major risk to life. Levees are designed as systems. That is – there are safe evacuation routes, warming systems, emergency services are located above floods, etc.’

        The AEP of a PMP is still at least 1 in 10,000 – ironic isn’t it. While the methods say that the PMP theoretically ‘implies zero probability of exceedance. However, the estimates made by the various PMP methods have a non-zero probability of exceedance.’

        Just because Jack can’t get his head around the idea of a PMP having an AEP – is not my problem. I do expect you – however – to not understand and to be gratuitiously obnoxious.

        All modern rainfall/runoff methods are explicitly deterministic – yet we routinely assign AEP.

        It is like amateur minnows circling for the kill – pathetic really.

        Robert I Ellison
        Cjief Hydrologist

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Pardon me – I forgot.

  10. Michael Larkin

    The way I see it, Judith, you are getting feedback from the effects of your deliberations, and your livelihood depends on that, so naturally you *have* to work hard at being as accurate and objective as you can be.

    I’ll venture that all successful and effective human systems benefit from feedback mechanisms through linkage with some independent “customer”, however loosely one defines that term.

    The problem with academia, is that such feedback as there is, is so often from “internal customers” who are all part of the same system, frequently with revolving doors between the various subsystems. It’s in no one’s interests to be prepared to utter much more than a whisper if and when things go pear-shaped.

    As things currently are in climate science, “Academia” has subsystems that include governments, environmental groups and the media. They’re all internal to the one system, and rarely if ever does something manage to impinge on it from outside.

    That won’t last forever–indeed, there are encouraging signs of reality breakthrough even as we speak.

  11. Science and technology are my avocation and religion. I’ve worked on flight-critical avionics systems where there is no luxury of assuming the physical universe will conform to the way I want it to work. In engineering, there are consequences to getting things wrong—ideas must be tested and validated. I take this seriously and it offends me when my religion is trampled on by the muddy boots of catastrophic alarmists.
    –Ken Coffman, Buffoon, One Man’s Playful Interaction with the Harbingers of Global Warming Doom

  12. To academics, the world that matters is the one that exists in their minds. That is why to climate scientists, their models are equivalent to the real world. The “experiments” and “data” from models are no different to them from real world phenomena. Thus the absence of a need for validation.

    This is also why “we can’t think of any other explanation for warming” is such a strong argument to them. Reality is…relative. So Mann’s inverting data, and Steig’s manufacturing of temperature data by inference, are no different from the real thing. They know CAGW is a fact, and decarbonization is the only answer. All the rest is just logistics.

  13. After years studying and working in academic sciences (biology, chemistry and physics) I spent some time in the business school and was surprised to learn that most of the faculty spent time (lots of time) consulting or working in the real for-profit world. Their teaching was much better for the experience.

    Judith Curry, what are some of the conflict-of-interest issues and challenges you experience with respect to your “outside” work?

    • No state resources sent to the university should be seen to be used for the private benefit of an employee of the university. Students involved in a professor’s company could be exploited by the professor. Those are the two big issues, for state universities anyways

      • Latimer Adler said, “I mean no personal disrespect, but your post seems to encapsulate the huge gulf between the academic mindset and the rest of the world.”
        That was and is my point. More interesting perhaps are clinical researchers who are developing and testing new drugs and techniques on real live sick people. They are totally immersed in the results, both immediate and long term and if they screw up they lose their customers in ways more dire than does Judith.

    • Latimer Alder

      @speed

      I had to read your comment three times to make sure I had grasped it correctly first time.

      And I had.

      You went to *business school* and you were *surprised* to find that the faculty spent time in the real world!?!?!?

      How on earth else would you expect them to have anything useful to teach?

      Business and commerce is fundamentally a *doing* activity, not a *thinking about* or *studying* activity. The goal is to get it right – to build the bridge or the dam, to implement the new IT system, to make the transport system work, to forecast the hurricane strengths and trajectory. That is the test of ‘success’. And getting it wrong can be a very public disaster and affect real people’s lives in very fundamental ways. One’s actions have consequences. It is not a game.

      I mean no personal disrespect, but your post seems to encapsulate the huge gulf between the academic mindset and the rest of the world. And goes a long way to show why many of the harder-nosed denizens here are not persuaded that the best way to tackle the AGW problem (if indeed there is one) is to rely on academics and the academic approach. It simply doesn’t have enough real-world rigour.

  14. “Words! Words! I’m so sick of words!
    I get words all day through;
    First from him, now from you! Is that all you blighters can do? ”

    Climate scientists believe they need better words to communicate; better systems to influence; more emphatic orators.

    When all it takes: “Show me now!”

  15. Brian G Valentine

    The characteristic that annoys me most about many of the academics (the soi-disant Authentic Climate Scientists) is the UNBEARABLE haughtiness they demonstrate toward inferior “entities”

    • Alder says:

      “So it seems to be a bit of a paradox how ‘climate scientists’ have somehow abrogated to themselves the conceit that they are and should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue.”

      Is there any corresponding evidence for this claim? Like a quote or something by a climate scientist saying they should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue?

      This might also clarify what “the issue” is meant to be. Science? Policy?

      • Brian G Valentine

        Pal, ten minutes worth of discourse(and I have done so) with an individual like Kevin (fill in the blank) would make yer teeth ache

        nuff said

      • Chief Hydrologist

        High priests of the cult of AGW groupthink space cadets. Most of them totally missable.

      • lolwot,

        If I had a dollar for every time I’ve heard the phrase “peer reviewed,” and “real climate scientist”, I’d much further along towards my retirement.

        If you had to pay a dollar for each time you’ve used either, it be a sure bet you’d have to work until the day you died.

      • Brian G Valentine

        The nice thing is, the “real” climate scientists have the (presumably) unpaid LOWOTs out there defending them to (dumb-ass) “public.”

        Sometimes the defenders stumble a little bit, but is is such a grimy job that saves the “real scientists” time to do more important things

      • Climate scientists carry more authority on the subject of climate science. That’s just fact. But that doesn’t justify the claim that they are “are and should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue”.

        It just means fair balance must be applied. Ie don’t pretend your yokal climate skeptic neighbour’s claims have the same weight as an actual publishing climate scientist.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        You ask

        ”Is there any corresponding evidence for this claim? Like a quote or something by a climate scientist saying they should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue?’

        I think we need only look at the sneering disdain with which many academics view outsiders to see this. The most obvious are the regular characterisation of Steve McIntyre as ‘only a retired mining engineer’ and
        Anthony Watts as ‘just a TV weatherman’ or of anybody with any commercial connections or history as somehow being in the pay of Big Oil. The difference between a successful career as a weatherman or a mining consultant and being an academic is that the former two only prosper if they are right considerably more often than not. STM that the academic just has to publish the papers with little worry about their correctness.

        Confession time. Over the years I have done paid IT consultancy work for clients in the Casino and Gaming business, High Street Retailers, the National Health Service, Insurance Companies, Defence Contractors, Financial Services, Aeroengine builders, general Manufacturing. Media and Communications, big Pharma and the Ministry of Defence. I’ve bought equipment and services on their behalf and I’ve sold equipment and services to them. Doesn’t mean that I am forever in their pockets nor that I necessarily agree with everything they do. But I did learn a lot from each of them. And I hope that I bring a little bit of that wider knowledge to other things I do .

        If I’d spent my entire professional career in just one aspect of IT – systems programming for example – then by now I’d probably know everything there is to know about systems programming. I’d be a respected guru in that topic. But I’d know bugger all about how It is applied in the real world or about how what one does back in the glasshouse affects the external users. And very few commercial clinets would hire me for that specialised knowledge alone.

        Seems to me that the academic system – by design – encourages people to become more and more specialised in a narrower and narrower field. No harm in that per se. We need a few gurus.

        But it’s a big mistake to assume that these gurus are then best qualified to judge the work of all the other gurus and hand down their decisions in the ponderings of the IPCC. To be truly ‘thought leaders’ a wider perspective than simply having published papers is needed.

      • Latimer Alder,

        Well said

      • Everybody has the right to build credibility and the opportunity of losing credibility. The readers and users of the information are the judges. They are not impartial judges but consider those more credible that agree better on their own views or whose writings are more useful in promoting their preferred policies.

        The IPCC reports don’t have their influence based only (or even mainly) on their own virtues, they have the influence because many governments and interest groups want to use them to guide and support their policy decisions and activities. Without this willingness to use them their influence would be much smaller. Reading the IPCC WG reports objectively should tell every reader that uncertainties are emphasized enough to allow for disregarding the worries it the reader wishes to disregard them (as skeptics wish to do). The Synthesis Report may be formulated somewhat more strongly but then that’s done by the government representatives who have the final say on the thest rather than the scientists responsible for the WG reports. (Also the SPM’s of the WG reports are significantly influenced by the government representatives, but there the effect is less.)

        Problems are created when scientists are public activists but those problems affect more the credibility of science than the decision making. The activist scientists are used by the decision makers rather than decision makers by the activist scientists.

      • Pekka Pirila,

        The government representatives that attend these sessions are part of CAGW group think. They are worse than the scientists.

        Let me give you an example to demonstrate their group think of the sorts of bureaucrats the governments send to these sessions. They are the same sorts of people as the Australian delegates that attended the Copenhagen Conference.

        Australia’s Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, took 114 delegates to Copenhagen. At the opening session an extreme alarmist video was shown with a child hanging from the branch of a tree, over the sea, in storm and with sea level rising. The child was desparately crying out for its parents to save it – meaning us!. The delegates rose at the end and gave a standing ovation.

        That’s the sort of person government’s send to make the language and adjectives in the IPCC SPM as alarmist as possible.

      • The basic problem here is very simple. Climate skeptics have so far been unable to persuade peer reviewers of the soundness of their arguments, yet are unwilling to listen to the explanations of why their arguments are unsound.

        The situation is no different from an insane asylum whose inmates insist that their arguments are on solid ground. This would be the case only if one accepts their rules of reasoning, which to outsiders make no sense.

  16. Hi Judy,

    “Broadly in the field of environmental modeling and prediction, I think that academics and university students would benefit enormously from engaging in the private sector. … Private universities have much more flexibility in this regard, and I suspect that it is not an accident that ‘silicon valley’ developed in the environment of Stanford University.”

    I think you are on the right track. It is really the Stanford University engineering school, starting with the space Dean Terman gave William Hewlett and David Packard to develop an audio oscillator. Many other engineering schools in private universities followed Stanford’s lead.

    Unlike science professors, engineering academics are judged on whether we and our students start successful companies with real products. You really do have to get the details right, and the client is the boss.

    Climate science does feel different. In the University of East Anglia emails, it is more like a game of King of the Mountain.

    • Hi Dave, well said.

    • David Springer

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/J._J._Pickle_Research_Campus

      The J. J. Pickle Research Campus (PRC) in Austin, Texas, United States is owned and operated by the University of Texas at Austin.

      The Pickle Research Campus is not a full college campus: there are no dormitories, and most classes held there are for working professional programs (such as the Executive Masters program). Other than normal campus operations and a cafeteria / conference center, it is strictly a research facility.

      Due to the sensitive nature of some of the research being done at the PRC, it is also a closed campus. On a normal weekday, access to the campus is restricted to University students, faculty, and staff with parking permits, as well as expected guests.

      Dell Computer R&D was a stone’s throw away and we had a monthly event there in one of the lecture halls arranged by our advanced technology officer. We’d invite a speaker from one of usual suspects (Intel, Microsoft, AMD, etc.) to talk about their latest technology gimcrack and how it might help us. It was popular as there’d be free beer and food in the lobby afterward. :-)

      We were peripherally involved with this consortium:

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

      I read just now that the consortium dissolved in June 2000. I cashed in my chips and left Dell in January 2000 and the high tech rat race in general until recently. This is the first I heard of MCC’s demise. I’m not really surprised.

  17. In principle I am fine with this.

    Push a load of more funding into climate science so we can hire vast bureaucratic chains of auditors, validations, etc.

    But I doubt it will make die hard climate skeptics accept the results. They’ll always fight against result that conflicts with their political ideology no matter how well backed up they are. Look at the skydragons for an example. No amount of auditing or verification would ever change their minds.

    • True, independent professional scientific societies and industries have made statements in agreement with AGW, and they are not stakeholders giving them no cause for bias. They are just considered part of the conspiracy, and that is always how it will go, whomever is brought in.

      • Brian G Valentine

        The statements from the societies are composed by the management of them, to make themselves fit in

        Industries play along with the greenies for a very good reason: They have no interest in GETTING SLIMED by outrageous campaigns and boycotts etc, organized by the all too familiar groups with no other talent (or agenda) than sliming.

        Cowardice makes the policy

      • All part of the conspiracy. Apple, Microsoft and Google didn’t have to make climate statements for their products to sell, but chose to as a public statement of concern.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Yeah. Look what happens when the former GM CEO calls AGW a pile of sh-

      • Yes, outside the politically motivated blogosphere bubble, denialism has the look of unprofessionalism these days. Skepticism by its real definition is OK, but denialism, no.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Jim, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing to deny, because there is no definition of AGW that does not involve a contradiction.

        So I guess I’m called a “denialist” in a misunderstood manner. That’s not my problem.

      • The simplest expression of AGW is that doubling CO2 causes 2-4.5 C of global averaged surface warming. Skeptics would add more uncertainty to this range, but still say it is possible, while denialists would say this whole range is impossible.

      • Brian G Valentine

        The difficulty comes in, when you start from a “radiation equilibrium temperature” (usually taken to be 255 K for Earth) as the basis for your 2.5 K or whatever it is increase.

        There is no consistent method to get at this, and the difficulties are just ignored.

        Or easier still, just call anybody who brings it up a “denier,” and let it go at that.

        I’m not going to fill the blog with the details, Judith sees her pages fill up with discussion ad infinitum, write to me any time bgvalentine AT verizon DOT net

      • “Jim D | September 30, 2012 at 8:21 pm |

        The simplest expression of AGW is that doubling CO2 causes 2-4.5 C of global averaged surface warming. Skeptics would add more uncertainty to this range, but still say it is possible, while denialists would say this whole range is impossible.”

        I think that by the time CO2 increases 100% from current amount of just under 400 ppm, that it is possible global temperature could rise by 2 C.
        But I don’t think a doubling of pre-industrial 290 ppm, so rise in global CO2 level to 580 ppm will have increase of 2 C to current global temperature, instead might rise another 1 C.
        I don’t think it’s likely to rise 1 C before 2100, nor do I think it’s likely global CO2 will be over 580 ppm by 2100.

        I also think goes without saying that all government action has not had any significant affect upon global CO2, nor I have seen any governmental proposals which would any significant affect upon global CO2.

        And it seems that if IPCC had any desire of lowering global CO2, they failed miserably- it’s hard imagine how they could done worse job of this.
        And if the greens or environmentalist had wanted lower global CO2, I think they done quite the opposite- they increased global CO2 by a very small and insignificant amount- rather than decreased it by very small and insignificant amount.
        Though I don’t imagine they managed this by hyperventilating but rather by political activity and their consumer choices.
        And since most of them have heritage of being against nuclear power, this past choice has actually had a *more* than insignificant effect in increasing global CO2. Though this increase in CO2 emission, has had the benefit of slightly increase global vegetation, and crop yields- so the greens have actually played a small role in making the world greener.
        Hooray!

        Because I am skeptical I think it’s possible that global temperatures can rise by 2 C, and given enough time I even think 3 C rise is possible, particular possible if we were to want it to be 3 C warmer- who knows what people 100 to 200 years from now may or may not want {the 20th Century might regarded something like the Dark Ages].
        It should be pointed out that no one actually believes that doubling of CO2 could cause 2+ C rise in global temperature, but rather most warming would be caused what some call, feedback effects. And that any factor which forces a slight temperature increase [or decrease] results some kinds of amplification. Not that I am true believer is this as such, but I mainly think it possible to return to such conditions which were the warmest of our current interglacial period, especially when one considers that CO2 may add a bit of warming, as it seems possible that CO2 may have already added a part of warming of last 100 years. Though as said before a eruption which put 100 cubic km
        in the sky or somewhat unexpected low solar activity, may cause me drop whatever faith I have in warming possibilities of CO2. I am bit fickle.

        It’s hard to say anything is certain, but it seem quite obvious that climate science in general have done a very poor job in terms of engaging in the pursuit of science [assuming they were trying]. And very shoddy in their political effort- though perhaps if the focus was on science they could have had a chance at being more successful.

        In related areas, it seems Al Gore has become more wealthy selling his song and dance to large number of dupes. And there are many others who managed to make a chunk of money on such things as ethanol, wind mills, solar power, and host of other fairy dust products. Such commerce has probably been the best thing the environmental movement has ever actually done- the loss one could chalk up to educational and entertainment expense. For idiots, because who knows whatever other mischief they could have discovered if not so distracted, and for the general public: thorough lesson of how stupid government actually is [it may seem very obvious, but some need to be beaten repetitively over the head before they gain a clue].

      • I have somehow managed to avoid putting gbaikie on the Climate Clown report, but his unrelenting stream-of-consciousness spew has finally generated a category of its own .
        The climate will change long before gbaikie ever gets to making a point.

      • WHT

        You wrote

        The climate will change long before gbaikie ever gets to making a point.

        You have a brilliant mind in some respects, Webby, but apparently have difficulty absorbing the key information in a written message that may ramble a bit.

        So let me help you understand the “points” in gbaikie’s last message, which I understood as follows.

        A doubling of todays atmospheric CO2 level of ~400 ppmv within this century is highly unlikely.

        [I agree fully, as this would mean we would have to “use up” around two-thirds of all the optimistically inferred fossil fuel reserves still remaining on our planet (WEC 2010) over the next 88 years.]

        A doubling of the estimated pre-industrial level of 280 ppmv by 2100 seems more likely.

        [I agree, as does IPCC for Cases B1 and A1T, which assume that today's exponential rate of CO2 increase of around 0.5% per year will continue to 2100, despite the estimated slowdown in human population growth rates]

        This would represent no problem.

        [I agree. Even using the IPCC climate sensitivity estimate of 3 deg C, one ends up with only around 1.5 to 2 deg C warming above today's level by 2100, since around half of the calculated warming has already occurred with no adverse effects, (thank you)]

        I also think goes without saying that all government action has not had any significant affect upon global CO2, nor I have seen any governmental proposals which would any significant affect upon global CO2.

        [The meaning here is obvious, and I agree fully.]

        The next salient point is that “green” opposition to nuclear power generation [by some of the same environmental lobby groups that oppose CO2 emissions] has resulted in added CO2 emissions.

        [There is no doubt that this sad fact is true.]

        Though this increase in CO2 emission, has had the benefit of slightly increase global vegetation, and crop yields- so the greens have actually played a small role in making the world greener.
        Hooray!

        [No doubt true – no comment needed.]

        gbaikie then gives the opinion that a 2C or even 3C warmer world than today might actually be a better world for humanity and our environment than today’s world – especially as seen from the standpoint of those living in that future world.

        [This, too, is a hard point to argue.]

        He then questions the validity of IPCC’s model-derived net feedbacks which amplify the CO2 temperature response by 2 to 3 times.

        [Which rational skeptic of the CAGW premise does not question this? It is the very cornerstone of the CAGW premise!]

        It’s hard to say anything is certain, but it seem quite obvious that climate science in general have done a very poor job in terms of engaging in the pursuit of science [assuming they were trying]. And very shoddy in their political effort- though perhaps if the focus was on science they could have had a chance at being more successful.

        [Can any rational skeptic of the IPCC CAGW premise who sees what happened at Copenhagen, Cancun, etc. disagree with this evaluation (i.e. sloppy “consensus” driven science compounded with bumbling politics)?]

        gbaikie then switches the topic to how Al Gore has become wealthy ”selling his song and dance to large number of dupes”

        [No doubt Gore has become wealthy selling his message – right? And even the courts in the UK established that the message was “scientifically flawed”. Whether those “buying” his scientifically flawed message were “dupes” is a moot point, as far as I am concerned.]

        He points out that others have also cashed in ”on such things as ethanol, wind mills, solar power, and host of other fairy dust products”, adding that this added commerce ” has probably been the best thing the environmental movement has ever actually done”

        [One could argue about this being “the best thing, etc”, but can anyone deny that there have been some financial winners?]

        His closing argument is that governments have generally acted stupidly and the general public, who has paid for the entire circus, has been oblivious of what is really going on.

        [No comment from me on this.]

        Hope you can now grasp the message.

        If you have a specific issue with any of the points, speak up.

        If you don’t, “hold your peace” (as they say).

        Max

      • Jim D

        Let me correct your statement.

        Rational skeptics of the CAGW premise question the validity of the underlying IPCC posit that total net feedbacks are strongly positive, effectively doubling, tripling or quadrupling the theoretical GH CO2/temperature response.

        IOW anything over around 1C is questioned.

        Two such rational skeptics are Richard Lindzen and Roy Spencer. They have both come to the conclusion, based on satellite observations, that the 2xCO2 equilibrium temperature response is below 1C, IOW that the net overall impact from all feedbacks is slightly negative rather than strongly positive.

        I think their reasoning makes sense, based on the empirical data they have cited.

        I don’t know what “deniers” believe, but that is immaterial to me.

        Hope this clears it up for you.

        Max

      • Max, you write “I don’t know what “deniers” believe, but that is immaterial to me..”

        Fair enough. Let me tell you what I believe, I believe that the empirical data gives a strong indication theat the total climate sensitivity of CO2 is indistinguishable from zero.

      • manacker, your so-called “rational skeptics” express great certainty that the sensitivity is near 1 C per doubling to the exclusion of any possibility of 2 C per doubling. Other skeptics think any kind of certainty is wrong, even expressed as a range like 2-4.5 C. My point is to distinguish the first kind as denialists as in, they deny even the faint possibility that the IPCC is right.

      • gbaikie expresses a hope for low sensitivity, such as less than 2 C for 800 ppm, and less than 1 C for 580 ppm. Without aerosol effects, we would already have had about 1 C of warming only half way towards the first doubling, which is why the IPCC can seem quite confident in their range.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Jimmie, if “aerosols” had anything to do with the temperature record, then why are they never a correction between satellite temperature measurements made in the IR and ground measurements?

        [Space reserved for long winded non answer]

        I can’t take the Jims out there. I just can’t take it.

      • Why would you think aerosols don’t affect satellite estimates of surface temperatures?

      • Brian G Valentine

        Because, the satellites are calibrated by the temperature at the receiving station. The measurement can be corrected for a drift of the satellite, but not an “aerosol.”

        The Politboro of the IPCC has converted Jim and a lot of other Jims to the cult.

        If I only had that power of persuasion, I would …

      • Brian G Valentine

        “Cult” = not rational going along with it, no matter what kind of evidence or reason is attempted to make someone think otherwise. Cultists will find an answer to EVERYTHING in their system, no amount of argument will change their minds

      • Brian, to the extent that the ground temperature is affected by aerosols, so is the satellite measurement of it.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Jim, you’re not thinking.

        Anyway, some days I feel like there are ten thousand Jims to one like me, why don’t I just give up

        I can’t it’s not in my heart to do so

      • True, independent professional scientific societies and industries have made statements in agreement with AGW, and they are not stakeholders giving them no cause for bias. They are just considered part of the conspiracy, and that is always how it will go, whomever is brought in.

        Jim, do you really think these professional societies and industries have made their own independent, thorough analysis, research, or audit of AGW and the case for mitigation? If they have, do you have any evidence they have?

        My suspicion is that statements in support of AGW from them is simply a somewhat simplistic recount of general articles they encounter in the media and faith that the IPCC has done their job properly, which speaks more to political correctness than it does to scientific integrity.

        I don’t think there is an appreciation for the detail with which critics of the orthodoxy have gone into the matter.

        I am not tying to be inflammatory here – do you really think the statements reflect a deep understanding of the complexities in the science, and an acknowledgment of the problems identified by skeptics?

        In fact, I would really like to hear from the likes of Dr Curry and other academics just how these support statements are made and by whom.

      • David Springer

        The governing boards of those bodies have made statements that where those statements are not condoned by the rank and file. The board members have a vested interest in not being blackballed so working under the theory of “You have to go along to get along” they put their banner on the bandwagon along with all the other usual suspects.

      • Roger Caiazza

        Arguments that skeptics have to accept the results because “everyone” agrees with the consensus need to examine the motives of “everyone” For example, I think that statements in agreement with AGW from professional scientific societies and industries are driven more by public relations concerns than a desire to further best scientific judgment.

        I believe that there is no value to any industry or scientific society in the United States (and probably any other English speaking country too) to make any statement that even hints at any disagreement with the “consensus”. The perfect example why is the storm of negative reaction in response to the PBS story that included outside the consensus comments from Anthony Watts. Any negative comment by a corporation would be met with even more vehement negative press comparing the company to Big Tobacco etc. and any professional society would be accused of being on the dole of Big Oil. Moreover, pressure from advocacy groups has resulted in many corporate mission statements that include statements in agreement with AGW, sustainability, and anything green.

        Therefore I believe that thinking that lack of disagreement means that professional scientific societies and industries completely support the CAGW position is naïve.

    • Lokwot,

      Your comments make it clear your brain is locked shut. You are not hearing any of what is being said. It’s just blowing right over your head.

    • They’ll always fight against result that conflicts with their political ideology no matter how well backed up they are.

      Many of us Skeptics just fight against results that conflict with plain common sense. The actual data shows that CO2 is still rising, most likely because of humans. Temperature has risen since the Little Ice Age, naturally, with no help from CO2 because Temperature always goes up after a cool period. CO2 has risen since the Little Ice Age because warmer oceans do cause higher vapor pressure for all gases that dissolve in the oceans. That is basic common sense. The actual data shows that Temperature is not rising since 1998. Just plain common sense says CO2 is not driving Temperature up. Temperature is not going up since 198.
      Many go along with the consensus just because they the trust consensus and peer review. They don’t realize that consensus and peer review is not working for Climate Science. It is broken. When a peer does disagree, they get disowned by the review group. The keep the 98% by kicking everyone out that speaks out against them. They include a huge majority who are silent just because they may lose money or jobs if they go against the consensus.
      The consensus, peer reviewed, climate farce is headed for a fall.
      You cannot defy common sense and survive much longer.

      • 198 is 1998 This little mistake will help you remember that 1998 has been our warmest year. CO2 keeps going up and because the Arctic ocean has a lot of liquid water, it snows and prevents Temperature from rising. Pay close attention the the huge snowfalls in the Northern Hemisphere in the coming cold season.

        Low Arctic Sea Ice = Huge Cold Season Snow

      • David Springer

        Good for you, Herman Alexander Pope. A hypothesis with a prediction that can be tested in five months instead of in five decades. How refreshing. I did the same thing in 2007 with a prediction that global average temperature would stop rising for a few decades as the AMDO cycled over to the cold side. Five years later and I’m batting a thousand.

  18. tirra lirra

    enclosed in
    cloud towers..
    climate modelling,
    they pass
    the tenured hours …

  19. My teachers at LSE included leading theorists in their fields, e.g. Lionel (Lord) Robbins and Dick (R G) Lipsey. But they were all also involved at the coal-face, in real-world application, advising government and/or business. I worked for the UK National Economic Development Council and Australia’s Economic Planning and Advisory Council, both bodies chaired by the Prime Minister and involving political, business, union, social work and academic leaders, the latter including, as at LSE, those combining theoretical development with application to policy, mainly in economics but also in other fields. These were highly effective arrangements, particularly during the Hawke years in Australia. I benefitted greatly from reading academic work, e.g. the endogenous growth theory kicked off by Paul Romer in 1986, so as to remain at the forefront of knowledge in my profession, and could make use of it in developing policy because of my experience in that field. Germane to this discussion, my contribution as a policy adviser came in part because I was a generalist, a synthesiser, and I also had a lot of broader experience, e.g. in journalism, building, not-for-profits and bumming around the world.

    Conversely, working in Queensland I found that the academic economists had little engagement with or relevance to policy issues, and when they were involved could make little effective contribution.

    It seems to me that in every field of life, being effective involves combining theoretical understanding, however gathered, with real experience and engagement. This is particularly true when academic work, such as climate modelling, might demand a major real-world policy response. We’re getting some good suggestions in this blog in part because of the rich and varied background of many posters; and because of the willingness of the host to engage with the non-academic world.

    • Faustino,

      Excellent comment. Thank you for explaining your background and how its relevance to this discussion. Clearly, climate science needs more of this sort of input.

      This is worth repeating:

      We’re getting some good suggestions in this blog in part because of the rich and varied background of many posters; and because of the willingness of the host to engage with the non-academic world.

      • Peter, here’s a link to an article on Climate Realism by an academic who appears to connect with the real world, Fred Singer. If there’s any “versus” here, it’s between detached and connected academics.

        http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/09/climate_realism.html

      • Faustino,

        Thank you for the link to Fred Singer.

        Even with the Kyoto Protocol due to expire at the end of this year, Obama persists in giving highest priority to climate change policy if re-elected. Does the U.S. really want to lead the world in committing economic suicide?

        I’ll return the favour with another interesting link. Evidence to support Fred Singer’s opening sentence is shown in this interesting web site. http://www.carboncapturereport.org/

        Obama comes out top of the world in being reported on climate change, solar, wind, biofuels, oil and gas. Juliar Gillard and Tony Abbott are top of the world on Carbon Credits.

        Lots more on this. Look at the activity chart showing how media activity on climate change has been waning since Copenhagen.

      • Giving a reference to Fred Singer is a sure way of losing credibility on one side of the debate and even among non-committed. He has been so vocal on one side that whatever he writes it’s not taken seriously – or even read – by those who are not on the same side as he is.

      • Pekka Pirila,

        Giving a reference to Fred Singer is a sure way of losing credibility on one side of the debate and even among non-committed. He has been so vocal on one side that whatever he writes it’s not taken seriously – or even read – by those who are not on the same side as he is.

        That seems like a very biased comment. If we apply that equally then would you agree we should take no notice of any of the CAGW fanatics like: James Hansen, Michael Mann, Phil Jones or yourself?

      • Peter,
        I made a comment on how Singer is perceived – and how people who refer to Singer get perceived.

        I believe may statements be correct on perception. What I personally think of Singer is another matter and I don’t go into that.

      • Pekka Pirila,

        Yes. I recognise that. But the point is that you that you chose to make your point about how singer is perceived by the CAGW Alarmists crowd, whereas you do not make such statements about how the CAGW Alarmist scientists a re perceived by the skeptics. Your choice demonstrates your bias.

      • Pekka does a jig to the rhythm ad hominem,
        Chock a lot in both ears, love them M&Ms.
        ==================

      • When the consensus, peer review, group slams Fred Singer, it does become much more clear that Fred’s plain common sense does pose a serious threat to their Climate Alarmism that they need to tax and control us.

      • The reason Singer is widely regarded as a joke is because he continually repeats tripe like this (from American Thinker link):

        We note, however, that the atmosphere, both over land and ocean, did not warm during this same post-1978 period — even though atmospheric theory and every climate model predicts that the tropical atmosphere should warm nearly twice as rapidly as the surface. This atmospheric evidence comes from instruments in weather satellites, producing the only truly global data — and, independently, from thermometers in balloon-borne radiosondes.

        You what??

        Here is the radiosonde reconstruction (surface vs mid-trop).

        Here is the TLT reconstruction (TLT; UAH vs RSS)

        The man is either completely incompetent or he is blatantly and astonishingly dishonest.

        Either way, you ‘sceptics’ need to stop following him around like sheep while defending his public reputation. It is beyond salvation.

      • BBD, “ even though atmospheric theory and every climate model predicts that the tropical atmosphere should warm nearly twice as rapidly as the surface.” The troposphere hot spot. GHG forcing should be top down. A doubling of CO2 should restrict OLR raising the ERL cause the upper troposphere which has less thermal mass to warm by a greater percentage than the surface, not twice as in the quote, but by 1.2 to 1.3 times. That has been revised to a range of ~0.7 to ~1.2 since there is some uncertainty involved in the “all things remaining equal” part of the theory.

        Having uniform surface and troposphere warming, or the lack of atmospheric warming greater than surface warming, indicates more natural variability is involved, like clouds, SST and OHC recovery from past cooler periods and such.

        If you take the UAH data, just because is has oceans already separated, you can compare troposphere temperatures, LTL and LMT to Thermosteric sea level rise and see that they track quite well. If you really want to trick out things, you can use the AQUA data and build a Wattmeter to estimate changes in the rate of OHC. Technology is marvelous.

        Since there appears to be a large natural variability factor, some folks are spending time with ocean temperature reconstructions to find out how much is likely natural, longer term, variability.

      • As sophisticated as BBD is, you would think he would get that point. Well, so does he or doesn’t he?
        =====================

      • The truth is a little less tidy: measuring the tropical upper tropospheric hot spot is proving difficult not because it isn’t there but because the radiosonde data aren’t up to the job.

        Singer, like the crafty liar he is, knows this, and jabs his thumbs in.

        It’s exactly what I would do if I were a professional climate disinformer.

        You are making excuses for the people who are deceiving you.

      • Ah. Looks like BBD did get the point, and then got sophistical with it. Naughty, naughty.
        =============

      • BBD, “You are making excuses for the people who are deceiving you.” Not really. With as much BS that is being spread with this debate I have spent more time than should be required to find out who is deceiving who, who are deceiving themselves and who are just plain idiots :)

        The AQUA data is online. It only has a few years of reliable data, but that data is useful. When you put real numbers to all those anomalies you can estimate real limits to responses to different forcings. 0.8 +0.2 – 0.4, the sensitivity of the oceans to a doubling of CO2.

        Then when you mention that conductivity is not negligible at the “high normal bi-stable point” they think yer nutz :)

        http://www.radiantbarrier.com/physics-of-foil.htm

        Such is life. Moist air has to be considered separate from the radiant forcings or the numbers are a little wonky.

      • Heh, if it is ‘crafty lying’ to point out the absence of the supposedly pathognomonic tropospheric hotspot, then what is it that BBD is doing?

        Is this why you are no longer @ See?
        ====================

      • captndallas

        You cannot calculate the how much energy is accumulating in the global ocean as a consequence of CO2 forcing using SSTs. All SSTs tell us is how much energy is being lost from the surface to the atmosphere. You need OHC data and mixing rates.

        As for the physics of the surface skin layer and the way conductivity across same requires a thermal gradient which is of course sensitive to increased atmospheric temperatures… agreed, it’s all very interesting indeed.

      • BBD, “All SSTs tell us is how much energy is being lost from the surface to the atmosphere. You need OHC data and mixing rates.” Sounds like a good reason to do some paleo snooping :) The “high normal Bi-stable condition” is part of a bi-stable situation. There is ~+/-1 C variation is global average SST that rides a longer oscilation, that just might be due to the opening and widening of the Darke Passage which thermally isolated the Antarctic and varies the primary ocean heat regulator the ACC :)

      • More hot air from the captn. Which I won’t bother responding to as the captn doesn’t really seem to understand that he’s just waffling as opposed to conducting any recognisable form of rigorous investigation of the evidence.

        Incidentally, every time you misrepresent or misinterpret or ignore the substance of a study whose data you have appropriated, you are insulting the integrity and efforts of the scientists who laboured to gather and analyse that data. I don’t think you get this, which is why I am taking the unusual step of editorialising.

      • BBD, “Incidentally, every time you misrepresent or misinterpret or ignore the substance of a study whose data you have appropriated, you are insulting the integrity and efforts of the scientists who laboured to gather and analyse that data. I don’t think you get this, which is why I am taking the unusual step of editorialising.”

        Oh Really :)

        The simplest inference consistent with the test results is that the ice sheets terminated every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity, similar to the original proposal by Milankovitch.

        I could give a rats butt what they think is the “simplest Inference” with their test that I did not conduct nor review. “every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity”, Dude, glacial mass loading can change the precession cycle and all the wobbles. The range of tropical SST are very stable but have gradually decreased over the past 1.5 Million years. Why? The shift from ~41K to “every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity”? Or the thermal isolation of Antarctic due to the opening of the Drake Passage impacting precession?
        So I say that “every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity” is a little “Wonky” and you accuse me of misrepresenting their work?

      • Dude, glacial mass loading can change the precession cycle and all the wobbles. The range of tropical SST are very stable but have gradually decreased over the past 1.5 Million years. Why? The shift from ~41K to “every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity”? Or the thermal isolation of Antarctic due to the opening of the Drake Passage impacting precession?

        What a load of cobblers ;-)

        The effects of glacial mass loading on the precessional constant are *tiny* – something in the order 0.15% I think. No way do we get global climatic change out of this. Dispute this by all means, but only with references.

        The thermal isolation of Antarctica occurred at Oi-1 (~34Ma) with the opening of the Tasmanian Gap and the Drake Passage, *not* 1.4Ma. Ol-1 was a big moment in Cenozoic climate change and is a distinctive feature the Zachos curve.

        So I say that “every second or third obliquity cycle at times of high obliquity” is a little “Wonky” and you accuse me of misrepresenting their work?

        I certainly do. Although I now suspect you just haven’t read it, so perhaps you are simply *ignoring* evidence that counters your crackpottery. Luckily, I specifically mentioned *ignoring* as well as misinterpreting and misrepresenting in my comment above ;-)

      • BBD,
        Crackpot I can deal with, misrepresentation is another subject.

        The drake passage opened up ~45ma ago. The flow was not 100 Sv from the git go. There was no permanent Ice in the Antarctic until ~800ka ago. The Antarctic became thermally isolated between 1.5ma and 4.5ma ago. Around 400ka ago there was a shift in the correlation of the glaciation and solar cycle. the Eastern Tropical Pacific which had been cooling for a few million years decided to start warming and the synchronization with the rest of the tropical oceans changed.

        How the Tropical Eastern Pacific temperatures synchronize with the global tropical temperature appears to make a difference as well as the solar cycle.

        Now you are perfectly happy with “second or third”, I am not. Synchronization makes a big difference in a complex system. Even a small change in the precession, a little hitch in the giddyup, can make a big difference, with different initial conditions.

      • The drake passage opened up ~45ma ago. The flow was not 100 Sv from the git go. There was no permanent Ice in the Antarctic until ~800ka ago. The Antarctic became thermally isolated between 1.5ma and 4.5ma ago. Around 400ka ago there was a shift in the correlation of the glaciation and solar cycle. the Eastern Tropical Pacific which had been cooling for a few million years decided to start warming and the synchronization with the rest of the tropical oceans changed.

        This is completely wrong.

        Yes, there is debate about the date that the DP and TG opened. Proposed dating ranges for the DP include 17Ma – 22Ma (Barker 2001), 29 – 33Ma ( Lawver & Gahagen 2003) and 34Ma – 48Ma (Livermore et al. 2005; presumably your reference). The establishment of a deep water passage through the TG seems to have occurred between 34Ma and 33Ma (Stickley et al. 2004; Lyle et al. 2007).

        There is a widely-held view that the pronounced cooling at Oi-1 can be interpreted as evidence that the DP and the TG opened at (geologically) about the same time: between 33Ma – 34Ma.

        The consequent establishment of the ACC, thermal isolation of Antarctica and a large, permanent Antarctic ice sheet date from ~34Ma (Kennett & Shacketon 1975; Kennett 1997; Kennet & Exon 2004).

        The primacy of the role of the ACC in the establishment of a permanent AIS has been questioned (Barker & Thomas 2004) but the formation of a permanent Antarctic ice sheet 33Ma – 34Ma is considered robust.

        Look again at the Zachos curve. Look at the black bar indicating the formation of a permanent AIS and read the caption. I linked to this seminal temperature reconstruction in my previous comment to bring clarity. But once again, you are *ignoring* anything you don’t want to hear.

        But some things cannot be ignored. An error this big is fatal. You really have scuppered yourself. Everything you propose that is predicated on this huge mistake must be scrapped.

        And captn, I have stopped taking you even a little seriously.

        [I have bookmarked this comment for future reference.]

      • Hi Faustino,

        Thank you for that. The CAGW Alarmist sites are vitriolic about Fred Singer. Here’s what SkepticalScience has to say:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/fred-singer-debunks-and-denies.html

      • ” Here’s what SkepticalScience has to say:
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/fred-singer-debunks-and-denies.html

        It reminds me, sports commentaries or political pundits, they babble on and giving there inane “advise”. No skill, just babbling.

      • BBD, I believe 23ka is closer to precession than obliquity.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/milankovic-changes.html

        “Establishing what caused Earth’s largest climatic changes in the past
        requires a precise knowledge of both the forcing and the regional responses.
        We determined the chronology of high- and low-latitude climate change at
        the last glacial termination by radiocarbon dating benthic and planktonic
        foraminiferal stable isotope and magnesium/calcium records from a marine
        core collected in the western tropical Pacific. Deep-sea temperatures
        warmed by ~2ºC between 19 and 17 thousand years before the present (ky B.P.),
        leading the rise in atmospheric CO2 and tropical-surface-ocean warming by
        ~1000 years. The cause of this deglacial deep-water warming does not lie
        within the tropics, nor can its early onset between 19 and 17 ky B.P.
        be attributed to CO2 forcing. Increasing austral-spring insolation
        combined with sea-ice albedo feedbacks appear to be the key factors
        responsible for this warming.” Stott 2007

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/

        I wonder what else you have bassackwards

    • Faustino,

      Thank you again for the link. It’s interesting. The last paragraph is worth highlighting:

      Finally, it should be obvious, perhaps, but needs to be stated explicitly that if a warmer climate produces positive net benefits rather than damages, then, in principle, one cannot even conduct a cost-benefit analysis. Nor should one try to mitigate emissions of CO2 in any way; our current policies are simply misguided.

      Good point.

  20. BezorgdeBurger

    When did common sense (academia) get derailed?

    Just by not standing on the shoulders of giants, but caving in to irrational ideas. It doesn’t take a lot of effort for rationality to get brushed aside:

    - discrimination (we are all scientists, all knowledge is relative)
    - the erosion of fact based science into opinionated science (sociology)
    - homeopathy etc. etc.

    But we were warned:

    Addressed to the chiefs of state and governments

    Heidelberg, April 14, 1992

    “We want to make our full contribution to the preservation of our common heritage, the Earth.

    “We are, however, worried at the dawn of the twenty-first century, at the emergence of an irrational ideology which is opposed to scientific and industrial progress and impedes economic and social development.

    “We contend that a Natural State, sometimes idealized by movements with a tendency to look towards the past, does not exist and has probably never existed since man’s first appearance in the biosphere, insofar as humanity has always progressed by increasingly harnessing Nature to its needs and not the reverse.

    “We fully subscribe to the objectives of a scientific ecology for a universe whose resources must be taken stock of, monitored and preserved. But we herewith demand that this stock-taking, monitoring and preservation be founded on scientific criteria and not on irrational pre-conceptions.

    “We stress that many essential human activities are carried out either by manipulating hazardous substances or in their proximity, and that progress and development have always involved increasing control over hostile forces, to the benefit of mankind. We therefore consider that scientific ecology is no more than an extension of this continual progress toward the improved life of future generations. We intend to assert science’s responsibility and duty towards society as a whole. We do however forewarn the authorities in charge of our planet’s destiny against decisions which are supported by pseudo-scientific arguments or false and non-relevant data.

    “We draw everybody’s attention to the absolute necessity of helping poor countries attain a level of sustainable development which matches that of the rest of the planet, protecting them from troubles and dangers stemming from developed nations, and avoiding their entanglement in a web of unrealistic obligations which would compromise both their independence and their dignity.

    “The greatest evils which stalk our Earth are ignorance and oppression, and not Science, Technology and Industry whose instruments, when adequately managed, are indispensable tools of a future shaped by Humanity, by itself and for itself, overcoming major problems like overpopulation, starvation and worldwide diseases.”[4]

  21. JC

    Thanks for an excellent post.

    For professionals in engineering, finance, the world of regulations, etc., there are typically serious penalties for getting it wrong, i.e. if the bridge collapses. As a result, due diligence, verification and validation, uncertainty analysis, auditing etc. are essential elements of the profession.

    Look at IPCC’s climate models change in GMST trend (bend of a hokey stick) at the beginning of the 1970′s.

    http://bit.ly/OaemsT

    That was not a change in GMST trend but only the warming phase of a Cyclic GMST.

  22. ‘communicating climate science’

    If there are difficulties in communication between academics and other professionals, try working in defence science. Here you are surrounded by a wall of secrecy that is, or should be, impenetrable. The element of surprise is all important in warfare. Once a countermeasure is known it is no longer a surprise. Look at the way the Japanese exploited surprise at Pearl Harbour.

    Phasing of your ideas is all important in science generally. Put new ideas forward too early and you might even lose your job, too late and others will claim the credit. Competitiveness is very sharp in science, but we console ourselves with ‘group think’: we are all working to the same goal. Well, what does it matter: the excitment is in the chase, not the goal. There are times when you have to write off personal losses in science: brooding over them can be very corrosive.

    So to return to the theme. Climate science is a work in progress. Even politicians and economists have stopped saying it’s solid.

  23. Want to see a perfect example of academic handwaving? Show me any engineer that would try to sell something like this…and I’l show you a bad engineer.

    With respect to water vapour, you are repeating a common misconception. Water vapour is indeed the most important greenhouse gas (and no climatologist has ever disagreed). However, the amount of time that any individual water molecule is in the atmosphere (the lower part at least) is around 10 days. Thus water vapour can be considered to be in a dynamic equilibirum with the surface conditions, trace gas amounts and aerosols on time scales longer than a month. Therefore water vapour levels in the atmosphere are a feedback and not a forcing, and are always modelled as such. The reason why CO2 (and CH4 and CFCs and N2O and O3) are important is because they absorb in parts of the spectrum where water doesn’t have much impact. There is a small potential for the direct forcing of water vapour by changes in irrigation patterns, but this appears to be small on the global scale.
    – Gavin Schmidt

    • How would your idea of a “good” engineer explain this, Ken?

      • David Springer

        I should think a good engineer would notice that half of anthropogenic CO2 is taken up by natural carbon sinks. He should also notice that as the absolute amount of anthropogenic CO2 has steadily increased so has the absolute amount that is taken up by natural carbon sinks so that half is still sunk each year. A good engineer would note that this is typical of equilibrium systems where the farther the system is driven from equilibrium the greater the force to restore it. Ergo what is almost certainly the case is that if human production of CO2 were to cease the natural sinks would continue to exert a force to restore equilibrium in direct proportion to the distance from equilibrium.

        Are you still a good engineer, Vaughn? Evidently you were at one time but these days I don’t think you could engineer your way out of a cardboard box with a double-walled Saran Wrap window on it, if you get my drift, and I’m sure you do.

      • The CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years because once it is added to the atmosphere and surface ocean it has nowhere to go until the slow ocean circulation and other slow sinks remove it. Paleoclimate shows that a stable high-CO2 state is entirely possible and is more typical of the last billion years than what we have now.

      • JimD,
        Right, this is essentially modeled by a random walk to sequestering sites. For anybody that is familiar with random walk models of diffusion, these lead to long tails that only decay as 1/sqrt(time). This is as slow as it gets.

        The other interesting behavior of a traditional random walk diffusion is that about half of the particles looks like they are being incorporated at any one time. This of course comes out in the math, but it also comes out somewhat intuitively as a random walk has a 50% probability of going deeper and 50% probability of popping back out.

        None of this is revolutionary, as it is standard diffusion mathematics. It only seems counter to polymaths such as Springer, who can entertain any explanation that suits them. That is a remarkable talent to have, I suppose.

      • As noted below I agree in this rare instance with DS instead of Jim D and WebHT. The fallacies in the latter’s argument are (a) that modern climate works like paleoclimate, and (b) homeostasis (Le Chatelier’s principle etc.) doesn’t apply. CO2 is changing orders of magnitude faster today than in the previous million years, and why shouldn’t homeostasis apply here? This (IMHO) is why Archer (and Jim D and WebHT) is wrong and Jacobson is right.

      • Goodness, six sentences from David Springer every one of which I fully agree with. Must … note … new … record.

        But does DS himself agree with his first paragraph? I’d be thrilled if he did.

        Re the 2nd par, good engineers have more important things to do than comment on CE. :)

      • David Springer

        Vaughan Pratt | October 1, 2012 at 11:01 pm | Reply

        “Goodness, six sentences from David Springer every one of which I fully agree with. Must … note … new … record.”

        Don’t exert yourself.

        “But does DS himself agree with his first paragraph?”

        Of course I agree with me. I’ve made that point many times in response to the anthropogenic CO2 will stay in the atmosphere for thousands of years even if we stop now. Some Stanford dipschidt named Ken Caldeira
        wrote in Scientific American this months it would be “many tens of thousands of years”. Maybe you know Ken. Birds of a feather flock together.

        “I’d be thrilled if he did.”

        Imagining me giving you a thrill is, frankly, kind of creepy.

        “Re the 2nd par, good engineers have more important things to do than comment on CE.”

        Obviously not in all cases.

      • Obviously not in all cases.

        Most likely you misunderstood my line of reasoning, but if not then thank you for the compliment.

      • @DS: Some Stanford dipschidt named Ken Caldeira wrote in Scientific American this months it would be “many tens of thousands of years”.

        That’s also David Archer’s position. Caldeira is at the Carnegie Institution for Science and does not have a regular faculty position here, though he does have a courtesy appointment. Mark Jacobson, director of our Atmosphere/Energy Program, takes your view on this, as do I for the same reason as you, with the range being on the order of one to two hundred years.

      • Vaughan, If it wasn’t for this characteristic, I would not consider CO2 a long term issue.
        Contrast this with the Gulf oil spill. It was clear that the crude would flush out of the system quickly.

  24. Political Junkie

    In the private sector getting things wrong is career threatening. You may get a “golden parachute” but you won’t be around to screw up again. Shareholders don’t give you “tenure.”

    On the other hand, in “climate science” and the academia screwups seem to be honored!

    A good example is Paul Ehrlich who has been shown to be demonstrably wrong on more issues than nearly any other human being. He continues to be the darling of the AGW folks because of his ability to spout apocalyptic nonsense. He is an honorary member of Suzuki’s board and a hot ticket as a speaker.

  25. So, it is about the money.
    On one side, you must make accurate forecasts with reasonable uncertainties or you will not have any contracts next year.
    On the other side, you must show that CO2 is causing dangerous warming with little or no uncertainty or you will not have any grant money next year.
    What is a climate scientist supposed to do? I do like the choice that Dr Judith Curry has made.

  26. Chief Hydrologist

    In Australia the linkage between academia and commerce and industry has been encouraged for decades. All universities I know of have an internal commercialisation arm. For instance, I am working at the moment with Central Queensland University on direct toxicity assessment for environmental impact assessment. There are lives of innocent shrimp at stake here people.

    It works in by taking away some of the risk, cost and uncertainty of initial development and by providing links between technologists and investors. For super complex technology the path to commercialisation can take 60 years – as shown by General Atomics EM2 (http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/may/21/better-nuclear-power-plant/ ) nuclear plants. These sort of plants have been under development since the 1960’s – although materials and fuels technology have advanced sufficiently to make them an obvious solution to both the energy and high level nuclear waste problem. It will use nuclear waste for fuel and the much smaller amount of waste produced from these plants is toxic for hundreds of years rather than hundreds of thousands.

    Getting ideas out to a broader audience – such as farmers – is an exercise in social organisation. It works like the paradigm model of science – an idea whose time has come achieves critical mass and becomes the norm across society. This in itself is a field of study – and one that will hopefully bring science, scholarship and statistical methods to the problems of human societies.

    ‘It seemed to Elinor Ostrom that the world contained a large body of common sense. People, left to themselves, would sort out rational ways of surviving and getting along. Although the world’s arable land, forests, fresh water and fisheries were all finite, it was possible to share them without depleting them and to care for them without fighting. While others wrote gloomily of the tragedy of the commons, seeing only overfishing and overfarming in a free-for-all of greed, Mrs Ostrom, with her loud laugh and louder tops, cut a cheery and contrarian figure.’ http://www.economist.com/node/21557717

    Although I note that it should Distinguished Professor rather than Mrs Ostrom.

    Human co-operation is the rule rather than the exception – pragmatically between researchers, philanthropists, farmers and government in a ‘polycentric governance’ of common pool resources. As shown in the video below. The farming lands are in a sense common pool resources because practices on farms affect water quality downstream, flooding, biodiversity and even that dragon in the sky – CO2. I come back to the simple calculation that if soil organic content in 1 hectare of agricultural land is increased by 1% then there is 100 tonnes of carbon dioxide sequestered for however long that carbon remains in the soil. The latter would depend I suppose on however long humans are dependent on our agricultural systems.

    The way forward is certainly not to reorder our societies. We have rules developed at great cost to many thousands of heroes of the Scientific Enlightenment. The pragmatic essence of capitalism is that government is about 25% of GDP, we have safety nets for people and nature of whatever kind succeeds in political negotiation and compromise, business is regulated to promote a level playing field, budgets are balanced, interest rates are managed to prevent asset bubbles, laws are enforced and the nation is defended. A failure in any of these has dire consequences – and we have failed badly in recent times. Well – some of us have.

    The spiritual essence of enlightenment liberalism is a belief in the virtue of democracy, the right of the individual to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness and in the rule of law. Although you may like Thoreau march to the beat of a different drum – you should be prepared to take the consequences of transgressing law. These are the guiding principles for America which must be reinterpreted for every generation – and they are at threat in this generation.

    The links between science and society are more critical than ever. The links have brought great wealth and increased security for many – but there is a great deal more to be achieved in this century. It is not human selfishness that is at the core of western civilization – or of human societies more generally. So the great hope is that we can build wealth and health, conserve environments, increase the resilience of human societies, succor the poor and feed the hungry if we bring enough energy, knowledge and love to human development.

  27. BezorgdeBurger

    Academia,
    Intelligence and predisposition is a roll of the dice you get from physical interaction, lets hope it was the result of loving and caring minds. Knowledge is no free beer, it has to be paid for by members of your community. There is no slave contract, you are paid to be a free mind, not bound to the labor to sustain life, you are called only to enhance the welfare of the human kind. Take responsibility, remember an honor all the people who labored to give you the chance to use and develop your mind,

    Let me repost it here again. Blog’s are magic places to theorize, debate and complain about taxes and other trivial inconvenience’s.

    Well I don’t mind paying taxes for good things, Holland has almost the highest in the world. My problem is with starving people in 3d world countries because we are using food as bio-fuels. It isn’t about the hoax but the murder of the poorest people on the planet. We throw away vast sums of money on irrational energy schemes while millions have barely any energy to sustain their lives. There is a direct relation between energy use longevity and health, no one can deny that. The problem with these safe the planet people is that the don’t give a damn, may be they are thinking that they are exterminating vermin and that Gaia loves them for it. When all is done and over with this madness we will hear familiar excuses made some 65 years ago in Germany: Wir haben es nicht gewusst.

    Concerning the Godwin: my mother in law was the only survivor out a family of ten, all killed by allied bombs. War is madness but has the side effect of driving technology forward and ultimately left a better world. The radical environmentalist, people like Gore and the Hollywood gang hate humanity and you can tell by looking at the consequences of their behavior. Their ideology doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s the consequences stupid.

  28. I was fortunate enough to spend more than a decade in the private sector (mainly advertising and marketing, but also theatre, retail and journalism) before launching into public policy. It gave me a tremendous advantage over my colleagues who had never been anything but public servants – including those who came from areas like teaching and academia.

    There is nothing like the cold blast of reality that comes from looking at the numbers in a business to force you to re-examine what you are doing root and branch. There is no room for sentiment, self-pity or self-delusion when the bank manager is knocking on the door. This kind of objectivity and detachment in evaluating options is difficult to attain in an environment where you have never had anything to lose personally, except perhaps for hurt feelings or reduced promotion prospects.

    The one thing I never got used to was the amount of waste. Quite simply, no-one spends an anonymous benefactor’s money as carefully as they spend their own, or that of a watchful boss. Plus, if private money is wasted, the loss is also private. Wasting public money is theft from all of us.

    In terms of private/public collaboration, as someone said above it is quite common in Australian universities, but is carefully structured in terms of intellectual property and distribution of profits, if any. Not many academics go into business, though. The mindset, by the time they have spent most of their waking lives in the education system, is too far removed. Even as bureaucrats, many of the ex-academics I worked with tended to be slow, indecisive and impractical, although undoubtedly experts in their field. The ones with bureaucratic skills tended to go into university administration, not the wider public sector. And I’m sorry to say most of them would be unemployable in the private sector.

  29. The premise of this post is false in several senses. If talking about the consequences of getting it wrong, well, do that before tenure and academics are road kill. Do it after tenure and a lot of opportunities disappear as well as the respect of your colleagues. Do it as a research track person and again you are road kill. The basic difference is that academics pretty much are not subject to workplace coercion. As Crooked Timber put it
    ——————-
    On pain of being fired, workers in most parts of the United States can be commanded to pee or forbidden to pee. They can be watched on camera by their boss while they pee. They can be forbidden to wear what they want, say what they want (and at what decibel), and associate with whom they want. They can be punished for doing or not doing any of these things—punished legally or illegally (as many as 1 in 17 workers who try to join a union is illegally fired or suspended). But what’s remarkable is just how many of these punishments are legal, and even when they’re illegal, how toothless the law can be. Outside the usual protections (against race and gender discrimination, for example), employees can be fired for good reasons, bad reasons, or no reason at all. They can be fired for donating a kidney to their boss (fired by the same boss, that is), refusing to have their person and effects searched, calling the boss a “cheapskate” in a personal letter, and more. They have few rights on the job—certainly none of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, and Seventh Amendment liberties that constitute the bare minimum of a free society; thus, no free speech or assembly, no due process, no right to a fair hearing before a panel of their peers—and what rights they do have employers will fight tooth and nail to make sure aren’t made known to them or will simply require them to waive as a condition of employment. Outside the prison or the military—which actually provide, at least on paper, some guarantee of due process—it’s difficult to conceive of a less free institution for adults than the average workplace.
    ——————————-

    • I hate the activist judiciary we have too.

    • Eli Rabbett,

      Can you tell us how much experience you have working in the privates sector?

      • @PL: Eli Rabbett, Can you tell us how much experience you have working in the privates sector?

        What are the odds Romney will lob that one at Obama during the debates?

        Obama could reasonably return that shot with “what experience do you have working in academia?” (Unlike PL, Eli is an academic bunny.)

        But smarter might be to substitute “the military” for “academia.” Even though not one of the four people on the two main tickets have seen military service (a first?), Obama’s four years as commander in chief did manage to bag Bin Laden.

        Better than I ever managed in Sydney University’s rifle club.

      • Perhaps President Obama will be willing to emulate Governor Romney and not take a paycheck from the government.

        Reminds me of all the people who ridiculed Governor Palin over her lack of experience, yet conviently overlooked the fact that the man running for the top position on the Democratic ticket had even less.

        Personally I think the entire “experience” issue is overblown. There are few, if any jobs that prepare you for the burden of being POTUS.

      • “There are few, if any jobs that prepare you for the burden of being POTUS.”

        mostly circus jobs. tightrope walker, clown, lion tamer. that’s the kind of experience I want to see in a leader.

      • @timg56: Perhaps President Obama will be willing to emulate Governor Romney and not take a paycheck from the government.

        This is the second election in a row in which Democrats who can’t afford to volunteer to run the country without pay are competing with Republicans who very clearly can. (I believe the McCain household was better equipped to do so (the Hensley & Co Anheuser-Busch distributor, of which Cindy McCain was chair), though without MR’s tax returns one can’t be entirely sure. But does that matter?)

        A lot (most?) of us here are retired and presumably subsisting on pensions/superannuation, or in some lucky cases dividends from investments and sales of stocks and bonds (REITs are stocks in the real estate sector). So I ask you, what proportion would have been willing and/or able to forego their paycheck back when they were in their forties?

      • Vaughan,

        Have you recently checked on how much former Presidents get for speaking engagements? Have any idea how many offers they get to sit on boards or consult.

        Bill Clinton wasn’t worth all that much when he entered office. He’s certainly not hurting financially now.

        How about concerntration on the state of Massachuesetts (sp?) . Romney, a millionaire, took no salary. Does John Kerry, also a millionaire, follow suit and refuse his Senate salary?

        PS – I’m curious who is doing the better job of earning income – Clinton or his VP? I used to consider Al Gore as someone with barely at average intelligence. Silly me. Al’s been laughing all the way to the bank these past several years.

      • @timg56: Have you recently checked on how much former Presidents get for speaking engagements?

        Yes. I take it your point is that Obama will shortly become a former President and therefore will not longer need a government paycheck.

        Or did you mean something else?

      • Ms Rabett would rather you not go there, Eli’s privates sector is, well, private except for the TSA scanners and the quacks.

    • This post posits a world so at odds with my everyday life and experience I find it almost impossible to process. The vast majority of the people I know, from all walks and economic levels of life, leave jobs they don’t like and take jobs they prefer. Those who are successful in private employment are successful precisely because they take initiative and expect accountability for their decisions. In the legal industry, there is active raiding of your competitors for such employees, relentlessly and ruthlessly.

      Unemployed teenagers hanging out after school in a park are free of workplace standards of performance and have little, if any, accountability. If we don’t have accountability in academia, we have a bunch of teenagers doing what they want, at their own pace and without consequences. Sounds completely insane to me. Levels of service in the US are probably as good as they are, particularly in the private sector, precisely because employees cannot force the employer to keep them on when they stop serving the customer. Academics could use a bit of accountability if they prove wrong. Otherwise, universities and colleges may approximate the Department of Motor Vehicles.

      As an aside, commenting on Crooked Timber’s observations, there are so many false assertions compared to my experience I hardly know where to start, but I can say that when an employee performs functions accountably and predictably, there’s very little that would ever result in termination of that employee; there simply aren’t enough of those employees. And, state laws prevent observation of employees in locker rooms and restrooms.

    • Steven Mosher

      Look everbody look. Eli reads blogs about business. Impressive Eli do you put that on ur cv.

      • Crooked Timber, whatever it is, is not a business blog.

      • Steven Mosher

        Brilliant. So, its even worse than we thought. Instead of learning about business from a business blog, you cite a blog article written by a british philospher who has some stupid ideas about business that are not based in experience.

        That is dumber than a skeptic who think that he can learn climate science from WUWT. Do you realize how pathetic your argument is here. The proposition on the table is that having experience with business can change the way you view things. Your response is to cite an article by a person who has no experience with business ( wow, appealing to the wrong authority is doubly stupid, only an acedemic would do this ) .

        Keep them coming Eli.

        No wonder your students gave you poor ratings

      • Dear Eli,

        Imagine for a second that Crooked Timber was written by a philosopher who happened to know something about business, e.g. he started a company that now belongs to the Fortune 500.

        Nothing prevents Moshpit to reply:

        > Crooked Timber has experience in business which is what makes his comments really foolish. He knows better and I suspect he was just caught up by the internet disease of ‘having to say something contrary.

        See for instance:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/30/academic-versus-professional-perspectives/#comment-247428

    • Eli, in your dreams. Go read the posts at CE with the tags sociology of science. Since I’ve been in academia, I’ve been involved in several hundred tenure and promotion cases (as Chair and as member of Dean and Provost review committees). Whether a scientist is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ rarely comes up, and if an external letter writer says such a thing, it is inferred that this topic is an active area of debate. Being ‘wrong’ in science can sometimes be more important than being right in terms of opening up a new line of investigation and thought, and often garners alot of citations (which typically score well in such evaluations). Making really stupid mistakes that get caught in peer review, that is another story.

    • I thought Eli’s point was that academic liberty and corporate liberty were not the same.

      Judy’s framing won’t fall apart if that’s conceded, just sayin’.

      • Steven Mosher

        personally I had much less freedom in the academy than in business.
        Eli is talking through somebody elses hat.

      • Moshpit,

        Here’s what I said:

        > I thought Eli’s point was that academic liberty and corporate liberty were not the same.

        I’ve said nothing about more or less.

        ***

        Instead of re-litigating even the smallest point, which we all know is the cardinal sin of the auditing sciences, here’s someone who’s a bit lukewarm about conflating personal freedom and corporate liberty:

        > [A] logically coherent theory of personal freedom as a condition of
        order in human relations also must be a coherent theory of personal responsibility and liability. Otherwise, it would degenerate quickly into a ‘freedom to’ theory of do-what-you-want-and-let-the-chips-fall-where-they-may or a ‘freedom from’ theory of stop-everybody-else-fromdoing-
        what-you-do-not-want-them-to-do.

        http://www.libertarian.co.uk/lapubs/philn/philn076.pdf

      • I take that to mean that you are a “producer,” mosh. If you take the money but don’t produce, see what happens to you in the free market.

      • Depends where you are in the food chain. If you are high enough you get a better payout if you screw everyone else. The majic of the market and the buziness blogs.

      • Well, E., you can’t really screw everyone else. Otherwise real estate agents and stock brokers would be making a subsistence living. But I understand your interpretation is aligned with the socialist party line.

      • Like the peace of God Jim2, in that it defies understanding. OTOH, you can do a serial Willard Mitt and screw most of everyone else and get really rich.

      • Mitt had a thankless job, as we can see, that he executed extraordinarily well.

    • Wee timorous bunny quivers in his burrow;
      How could life be lived, sans tenure?
      =====================

      • Kim,

        Maybe he feels your catastrophic cooling coming on?

      • Could be. Each and every sentient and non-sentient being on earth will feel it in its own way. But we were promised warmth; we even caused it.

        So what’s with this cooling?
        ===================

      • kim

        For pity’s sake, do us all a favour. Stop the incessant witless wittering and read.

        Full pdf herer.

      • BBD,

        Between Kim’s “wittering” and your lecturing, it’s an easy choice which is more enjoyable to read.

      • timg56

        It’s not about whether you enjoy it or not. It’s about getting the bloody facts straight. You idiot.

      • “You idiot.”

        Patience wearing thin again, BBD?

        Andrew

      • Heh. It is just as the demonologists said: naming calls

      • BBD

        Archer and Ganopolski tell us

        We predict that a carbon release from fossil fuels or methane hydrate deposits of 5000 Gton C could prevent glaciation for the next 500,000 years, until after not one but two 400 kyr cycle eccentricity minima.

        Whether or not the A+P prediction is correct is immaterial for now, but if it is this is good news indeed!

        [Of course, there isn't anywhere near 5000 GtonC in all the fossil fuels on Earth, so we won't be that lucky.]

        Kim’s right (as usual): Break out the fur coats!

        Max

      • manacker

        You should read beyond the abstract. Reading brings clarity:

        1/ Even with no artificial increase in atmospheric CO2, the onset of the next glacial *might* occur in about 3ka when falling NH insolation *might* reach the trigger value.

        2/ But then again, eccentricity is low for the next ~100ka, so the effects of obliquity and precession on NH summer insolation are dampened. Last time this happened was ~400ka and the MIS-11 interglacial lasted for *50ka*. Even with no artificial increase in atmospheric CO2.

        3/ kim’s idiot mantra contains only the barest shadow of the truth. See (1) and (2).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘On balance, what emerges is that projections on the natural
        duration of the current interglacial depend on the choice
        of analogue, while corroboration or refutation of the “early
        anthropogenic hypothesis” on the basis of comparisons with
        earlier interglacials remains irritatingly inconclusive.’

        http://www.clim-past.net/6/131/2010/cp-6-131-2010.pdf

      • CH

        No idea what your point is. I repeat (as you oblige me to):

        It’s either 3ka – 50ka before a non-fossil fuel burning humanity would need to worry about the onset of the next glacial.

        The early anthropogenic (Ruddiman) hypothesis is irrelevant here unless you subscribe to it, which I don’t.

      • “BBD | October 2, 2012 at 6:19 pm |

        timg56

        It’s not about whether you enjoy it or not. It’s about getting the bloody facts straight. You idiot.”

        This is so true. The rationalizations are endless and on the level of a 5-year-old saying that he doesn’t want to do something, just because

        If it’s warming, that’s a good thing, because it’s good for plants!

        If it’s warming, even better, because it will protect us from an ice age!

        If the arctic sea ice is decreasing, lucky us, because now we can travel from Canada to Russia by a shortcut!

        If the arctic sea ice is decreasing, even better, because now we can start drilling for oil way up north!

        If CO2 is increasing, that’s OK because there is an upper limit to how much hydrocarbons that humans can burn! (but natural variability in temperature has no upper bound, apparently).

        OK, so fossil fuel resources are limited, but renewable energy sources such as wind turbines do not work, and will never work because the people that are interested in it are greens, but they are hypocrites, as wind turbines kill birds, make noise, shed ice, blot the landscape, and parts can fall off and land on somebody’s head!

        The climate scientists are wrong, and if they were right, it wouldn’t matter, because they write nasty emails!

        If the climate does change, that’s OK, because I will be long gone by then!

        These guys are essentially impedimentologists, trying to squash innovation at every turn.

      • BBD, “It’s either 3ka – 50ka before a non-fossil fuel burning humanity would need to worry about the onset of the next glacial.”

        Nonsense. There is no way to accurately determine when we may slide into a new glacial period. For all we know we are sliding into one now. Had man not been able to clear and use large expanses of high latitude land area would likely be in a glacial now.

      • captndallas

        Two points:

        There is no way to accurately determine when we may slide into a new glacial period. For all we know we are sliding into one now.

        - You haven’t read A&G05 (links upthread). Please do, then you can avoid further baseless speculation on the timing of the next glacial.

        Had man not been able to clear and use large expanses of high latitude land area would likely be in a glacial now.

        - What ‘large expanses of high latitude land? It’s tundra or boreal forest.

        You have very recently demonstrated just how abysmally poor your understanding of paleoclimate actually is. If I were you, I’d leave it at that.

      • captndallas

        Let me try that again.

        Two points:

        There is no way to accurately determine when we may slide into a new glacial period. For all we know we are sliding into one now.

        - You haven’t read A&G05 (links upthread). Please do, then you can avoid further baseless speculation on the timing of the next glacial.

        Had man not been able to clear and use large expanses of high latitude land area would likely be in a glacial now.

        - What ‘large expanses of high latitude land? It’s tundra or boreal forest.

        You have very recently demonstrated just how poor your understanding of paleoclimate actually is. If I were you, I’d leave it at that.

      • WHT

        There is clearly a common pathology at work. And it isn’t pretty.

      • BBD, High latitude land is any land higher than the median latitude. Unlike the neat little globes that stand in the corner, the “average” thermal mass of the globe is below the equator. Standard use of “high” latitudes is as meaningless as most of the Climate “jargon” since the thermodynamic not geographical values are what matter.. Mid-latitudes with respect to solar forcing would be where the mean solar forcing is realized.

        As far as understanding paleo, if you want a glaciation index, subtract the western Pacific SST from the Eastern Pacific SST and you have the single largest impact on global climate, a Glaciation Index kinda like ENSO on steroids.

        Precession is more important than obliquity because the annual “average” solar is bias currently to Austral spring. When more energy is available to be absorbed by the oceans, climate is warmer. Using 65N solar insolation to predict glacials is kinda like weighing a battleship to figure out how much the anchor weighs, since ~1.5 degrees of tilt means squat next to +/- 40Wm-2 in the oceans or not.

      • Are you deliberately trying to make yourself look ridiculous now captn?

        I meant what I said above: you should stop. It’s embarrassing.

        Although only minor compared to this, eh?

      • BBD, on the Antarctic I used ~ for approximately. As in ~1.5 to ~4.5 million years ago the Antarctic would be considered thermally isolated by the ACC. The reason I say that is the approximate time it because thermally isolated is because the tropical Eastern Pacific SST reconstruction by Herbert et al peak at a temperature of ~27.5C ~4.5 ma then declined until there was a rise to 26C from 24 C @ ~1.5ma. After that it dropped to ~22.5C ~800ka and has been slow rising since. This happens to be approximately the age of the oldest Ice found on Antarctic to my knowledge. I am sure there were numerous period that had great deals of ice since it is a pole, but the 2 to 4 C rise in temperatures 1.5ma ago may not have agreed with permanent ice from coast to coast, a kilometer or three deep on Antarctica.

        If you have a reference to an ice core from Antarctica dating back to greater than 4.5ma ago, please point me to it.

        “The consequent establishment of the ACC, thermal isolation of Antarctica and a large, permanent Antarctic ice sheet date from ~34Ma (Kennett & Shacketon 1975; Kennett 1997; Kennet & Exon 2004).” Since the “reglaciation” of the Antarctic is estimated to have started ~12ma it seems unlikely it was thermally isolated 34ma ago.

        ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/herbert2010/herbert2010.txt

        “Alkenone-based tropical SST records from the major ocean basins show coherent glacial-interglacial temperature changes of 1° to 3°C that align with (but slightly lead) global changes in ice volume and deep ocean temperature over the past 3.5 million years. Tropical temperatures became tightly coupled with benthic d18O and orbital forcing after 2.7 million years. We interpret the similarity of tropical SST changes, in dynamically dissimilar regions, to reflect “top-down” forcing through the atmosphere.” Top Down? Like Solar?

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/stott2007/stott2007.html

        ” The cause of this deglacial deep-water warming does not lie within the tropics, nor can its early onset between 19 and 17 ky B.P. be attributed to CO2 forcing. Increasing austral-spring insolation combined with sea-ice albedo feedbacks appear to be the key factors responsible for this warming.”

        Austral Spring?

        Lots of responses that happens to match precession rather well.

        As I said before, the Drake Passage is not a fixed opening. It erodes. The flow rate and direction of flow changes with conditions. Solar precession appears to impact those conditions.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Now imagine that you have never seen the device and that it is hidden in a box in a dark room. You have no knowledge of the hand that occasionally sets things in motion, and you are trying to figure out the system’s behavior on the basis of some old 78-rpm recordings of the muffled sounds made by the device. Plus, the recordings are badly scratched, so some of what was recorded is lost or garbled beyond recognition. If you can imagine this, you have some appreciation of the difficulties of paleoclimate research and of predicting the results of abrupt changes in the climate system.’

        http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=13

        The point is that there are various interpretations possible given the error bounds. Webby is a well known idiot can contributes nothing of any consequence. You are an idiot who has at least read a few papers but with no understanding at all of the intrinsic limits and uncertainties of the science.

      • capn, are you now arguing that SH precessional forcing, not internal variability, is the trigger for deglaciation?

        Looking back over our discussion on various threads I’d say you were arguing for the primacy of internal variability.

        Has your position changed?

      • CH

        You are an idiot who has at least read a few papers but with no understanding at all of the intrinsic limits and uncertainties of the science.

        If your last was intended for me, I think the ‘we can’t know everything so we don’t know nothing’ argument is balls.

        Let me rephrase that. It is a logical fallacy.

      • BBD, what I have been saying all along is that there are several triggers for glacial/interglacials. The most important thing to watch though is total energy in the oceans.

        The LGM exit was a seesaw, but the first hint of an exit in the data was the tropical oceans. Just as Stott noticed, Austral spring insolation and southern hemisphere sea ice are major factors. The impact of precession is pretty obvious in the Sikes southern ocean reconstructions and precession would have a huge impact since there is a +/-40Wm-2 spring/fall variation.

        The reason I started this is because entering a glacial should be a long process a glacial mass builds in the northern hemisphere high latitudes, my definition, then Albedo would slowly increase with expansion of ice and snow cover. There is no way that farmers in Canada, Russia and the US mid-west would allow that gradual expansion in the future, Man can clear snow rather efficiently now. That would be a huge Anthropogenic impact would it not?

        So like all good chaotic systems, the past is not much help predicting the future.

      • capn

        BBD, what I have been saying all along is that there are several triggers for glacial/interglacials. The most important thing to watch though is total energy in the oceans.

        Why did global OHC increase? External forcing (NH/SH or both; doesn’t matter) vs fairy dust? ;-)

        So like all good chaotic systems, the past is not much help predicting the future.

        If not fairy dust, there is a contradiction here :-)

      • If you have a reference to an ice core from Antarctica dating back to greater than 4.5ma ago, please point me to it.

        I nearly forgot about this. Do you think that the age of the deepest ice from the Vostok/EPICA/Dome C cores constrains the age of the EAIS itself? To be clear, do you think that there was no ice sheet at these locations prior to ~1.2 – 1.4Ma?

        Have you ever wondered why there is a Lake Vostok?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        As Voltaire said – ‘Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.’

        The idea that we know something therefore we know everything is absurd. One really does need to evaluate and discriminate.

        And did I not mention clouds? How remiss of me.

        http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

      • BBD, “If not fairy dust, there is a contradiction here ” You really do get it do you?

        You can increase the heat content of the oceans by adding more heat or by reducing the loss of heat. There are more ways to reduce the loss of heat than CO2. Changes in the internal ocean/atmosphere oscillations impact the rate of heat loss and heat gain. The Drake Passage is a prime location to watch for those changes. There is no magic, just fluid dynamics. The tropical eastern pacific temperatures provides information on the changes in the TOTAL efficiency or heat loss of the ACC. The difference in temperature between the tropical Eastern Pacific and the South China Sea, indo-pacific warm pool and the Atlantic provide an indication of past and current changes.

        There are settling oscillations in such a huge fluid dynamic system. By comparing the available data you can estimate the timing and impact of those settling oscillations. One is approximately 4300 years in duration with ~1400 year recurrent oscillations which can vary global temperature by ~1.0C, no energy added, just past energy catching up. The ~1400 year cycles are called Bond Events, BTW.

        Now if you really wanted to get fancy, you could use a detrended fluctuation analysis to isolate the settling recurrences, compare regional evaluations to locate the source of the perturbation that initiated the settling recurrences and follow the propagation of the settling recurrences through the system. It is called non-linear dynamics. Then you would know that “average” is meaningless, UNLESS you have a through understanding of the bounds of the system. It is like knowing where to hit something with the hammer to make the big bucks.

      • BBD, yes there is a Lake Vostok, Yes Glacier travel on that lubrication and at time those glaciers break off in the oceans. So there would be uncertainty about the age of the glacial conditions in the Antarctic over the past few million years. In the Eastern Pacific reconstruction, about 2.2ma ago there was a rather large blip in the temperatures. 4.5 ma ago the temperatures were 6C degrees warmer. There is indications that there was a “reglaciation” between 6 and 12ma ago. And the scour pattern of the Drake Passages indicates there has been a crapload of water through that pass. So what’s your point?

      • And the scour pattern of the Drake Passages indicates there has been a crapload of water through that pass. So what’s your point?

        It opened ~34Ma. Of course there’s been a ‘crapload’ of water through it. If you look at the Zachos curve you can see the huge effect on global temperature of the *thermal isolation* of Antarctica ~34Ma. You were wrong about this the day before yesterday and you are still wrong about it now. See my previous comments and multiple references therein :-)

        Stott appears to be wrong too*. Instead of trying to invent your own private paleooceanography, why not read the latest work by real scientists? I particularly recommend Shakun et al. (2012) On the influence of the AMOC on on SH OHC – which is why I keep on linking to it:

        Calculating the temperature difference, DT, between the two hemispheric stacks yields an estimate of the heat distribution between the hemispheres, and reveals two large millennial-scale oscillations that are one-quarter to one-third of the glacial–interglacial range in global temperature (Fig. 4d). We attribute the variability in DT to variations in the strength of the AMOC and its attendant effects on crossequatorial heat transport22,23.A strong correlation ofDTwith a kinematic proxy (Pa/Th, the protactinium/thorium ratio) for the strength of the AMOC24 (r250.79, P50.03) supports this interpretation (Fig. 4g). We find thatDT decreases during the Oldest Dryas and Younger Dryas intervals, when the Pa/Th record suggests that the AMOC is weak and heat transfer between the hemispheres is reduced, and that DT increases during the LGM, the Bølling–Allerød and the Holocene, when the AMOC is stronger and transports heat from the south to the north. Recalculating DT for Atlantic-only records yields the same relations, but they are more pronounced and better correlated with Pa/Th(r250.86, P50.01), as would be expected given the importance of the AMOC in this ocean (Fig. 4d). We note that this seesawing of heat between the hemispheres explains the contrast between the lead of Antarctic temperature over CO2 and the lag of global (and Northern Hemisphere) temperature behind CO2.

        And:

        The proxy database provides an opportunity to explore what triggers deglacial warming. Substantial temperature change at all latitudes (Fig. 5b), as well as a net global warming of about 0.3 uC (Fig. 2a), precedes the initial increase in CO2 concentration at 17.5 kyr ago, suggesting that CO2 did not initiate deglacial warming. This early global warming occurs in two phases: a gradual increase between 21.5 and 19 kyr ago followed by a somewhat steeper increase between 19 and 17.5 kyr ago (Fig. 2a). The first increase is associated with mean warming of the northern mid to high latitudes, most prominently in Greenland, as there is little change occurring elsewhere at this time (Fig. 5 and Supplementary Fig. 20). The second increase occurs during a pronounced interhemispheric seesaw event (Fig. 5), presumably related to a reduction in AMOC strength, as seen in the Pa/Th record and our modelling (Fig. 4f, g). Tropical and Southern Hemisphere warming seem to have more than offset northern extratropical cooling, however, perhaps as a result of an asymmetry in the response of feedbacks such as Southern Ocean sea ice or tropical water vapour, leading to the global mean response. Alternatively, this non-zero-sum response may reflect proxy biases, as tropical warming is not equally evident in all proxies (Supplementary Fig. 20). In any event, we suggest that these spatiotemporal patterns of temperature change are consistent with warming at northern mid to high latitudes, leading to a reduction in the AMOC at ,19 kyr ago, being the trigger for the latitudes over the entire deglaciation (Fig. 5b) is difficult to reconcile with hypotheses invoking a southern high-latitude trigger for deglaciation39,40.

        *References (39) and (40) are:

        39. Stott, L., Timmermann, A. & Thunell, R. Southern hemisphere and deep-sea warming led deglacial atmospheric CO2 rise and tropical warming. Science 318,
        435–438 (2007).
        40. Huybers, P. & Denton, G. Antarctic temperature at orbital timescales controlled by local summer duration. Nature Geosci. 1, 787–792 (2008).

        You also need to think about the relationship between polar ice sheets, albedo and OHC. Your toy planet only works one way: polar ice reduces ability of global ocean to cool. But when were the polar ice sheets at their largest extent? Glacials. And did global paleoocean OHC *rise* during glacials? Well no, it did not.

        And so, on, and on. Doubtless you will come up with yet more charmingly unorthodox justifications of why this or that is so or not so. While fun, it isn’t exactly science.

      • “While fun, it isn’t exactly science.”

        Well-said BBD, What Cappy does is not even close to science. The more you look at his attitude, largely in his casual sloppiness and elaborate scientific-sounding mumbo-gumbo word salad, that it really functions closer to performance art.

      • WHT

        Performance art:

        The Solar data is not my forte so I am not vouching for the accuracy but it appears fairly close. The plots use 40S orientation instead of 65N with both precession and obliquity not to any particular scale relative to the temperatures. You be the judge.

        Applause!

      • BBD said “Stott appears to be wrong too*.” There seems to be a growing list of people that are wrong :) Mainly the ones attempting to use CO2 forcing to explain significant temperature variations.

        The AMOC is part of the puzzle. There is also a fairly large body of water call the Pacific. The Pacific Ocean appears to be much more sensitive to Precessional changes than changes in Obliquity. The paper you reference mentions the ~19ka portion of the seesaw and leaps to wonderful conclusions.

        In the Southern Hemisphere at 45S near New Zealand, starting around 50ka, the temperatures bottomed out. Not only did they bottom out, they did not have much response to solar variation. In the Northern Pacific, which does appear to respond more to obliquity, temperatures bottomed out at started warming around 29ka which is 10ka before the magic date in the paper your reference. The Arabian Sea bottomed out around 45ka ago and started warming, that is a touch before the magic 19ka.

        I am more concerned with when and why the warming started and how various internal oscillations, see saws, propagate through the system. Stott seems to agree.

      • BBD said “Stott appears to be wrong too*.” There seems to be a growing list of people that are wrong :) Mainly the ones attempting to use CO2 forcing to explain significant temperature variations.

        Renewed applause!

    • Silly Rabbit,

      Are you speaking from experience, either from the working world, the military or god forbid, prison life? Or just repeating something you read?

    • Having spent my working life mainly in the private sector, I can say Eli is mostly right. It really is quite necessary to not engage in too much free speech, to not get sick too often, to put in that extra bit of unpaid overtime in, not to be the last in and the first out in the afternoon etc, and for many ‘professional’ jobs to not wear jeans and and a tee shirt , even if they may be the practical clothing for the job in hand. There’s usually very democracy in the workplace even though the more enlightened companies like to pretend there is. What they really mean is that they like to have those 99% yes votes that are common in the world’s less democratic countries.

      Of course, it’s not usually too bad if the company finances are good. It’s when times are difficult that strange and unjust things start to happen. Then, usually, most people are too scared to risk their own job in defence of someone else’s. It doesn’t pay to be taken in by the usual company progaganda of our “workforce is our greatest asset”. Us lefty types know they don’t really mean that!

      • temp,

        I’ve worked is a wide range of sectors and sometimes what you say is true and other times not so much. It can differ widely from sector to sector and company to company.

        And regarding not being seen as last in and first out – that sounds like common sense advice. Granted, the better method for evaluating performance is amount and quality of work produced and objectives met, rather than simply how many hours spent on the job. Some companies get this, but not all.

      • I might just add, in case anyone wonders why I chose to work in the private sector, it is because that generally the pay there is better. If I’d not had family responsibilities in my younger days, I may well have done a PhD and ended up in a Uni. Maybe even to do climate science if I’d known how important it all was going to become.

        I certainly wouldn’t have earned more than I did though, and its just a joke for anyone to suggest that the quest for research grant money can possibly be a climate scientist’s motivation.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Hayek served in World War I and said that his experience in the war and his desire to help avoid the mistakes that had led to the war led him to his career. ‘ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

        It is odd to describe Heyak as libertarian – he describes himself as a whig perhaps lightheartedly but with reference to early American whigs and to the Scottish enlightenment – those liberal enlightenment principles that guided the founding of America and the insousiance of the Australian national character. Although the term liberal has been corrupted in America – it survives in its original meaning elsewhere. Free peoples, free markets, democracy and the rule of law.

        http://www.cato.org/pubs/articles/hayek-why-i-am-not-conservative.pdf

        Heyak recognised the role of government to enact laws to protect the weak against the strong, to funds police, courts and armies and to provide services that the market can’t or won’t provide. Simple but profoundly inspirational. The language is sublime. The efficacy of the principles evident.

      • temp,

        RE “its just a joke for anyone to suggest that the quest for research grant money can possibly be a climate scientist’s motivation.”

        Your point stands if you are referring to personal wealth. I don’t believe anyone in academia is in it to get rich. However you ignore other aspects. From my experience while in grad school, there was great pressure on Professors to bring in grant money. I can’t say if this is the case in every or even most universities, but I would be surprised if it plays no role at all. Then there is the recognition and fame aspect. Most folks like to get at least some recognition for the work they do, whatever the endevor. Some like it more than others. And sometimes there is financial benefits that accrue from it. I believe Dr Hansen has earned extra income outside that of his job in the six digit range per year more than once. While I don’t believe that extra income is his motivation, I’m sure he likes getting it. Then there is Dr Mann is off pushing his book. Dr Archer has written more than one book on the subject. Between bringing in grant funds and increasing your public exposure and reaping the financial benefits that can come with that higher profile, there is most definately a financial aspect to what at least some “climate scientists” are doing. I would not paint every one with a broad brush, just some of the more prominent names.

      • To say nothing of consulting. In 1972 I had job offers from MIT, CMU, Cornell, and IBM. IBM was offering 50% more than the universities, but MIT pointed out that their salary was only for 9 months leaving me free to consult in summer plus one day a week the rest of the year, which MIT encouraged to broaden one’s experience. In those days consultants from MIT could earn as much again in consulting as from their 9 month salary, making it a better deal than working for IBM.

      • John Carpenter

        I find it funny how the left leaning types seem to completely forget about Darwin and the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ when it comes to a topic like this. Somehow that well embraced idea just doesn’t seem like it should apply to any of them. You know a lot of us in the private sector really love going to work everyday and giving it our all…. cause we know it will benefit us in the long run…. that and the challenge of making a living by using our brain. No one is forcing a gun to your head to work at any particular place of employment, if you don’t like the rules… if you don’t like the people… if you don’t like the politics…. go somewhere else, otherwise deal until you can. Have some confidence in your ability to be the employee your employer would do anything to keep. If your just an average Joe or less, don’t be surprised when your no longer needed.

      • survival of the fittest isn’t an observation of nature, not a law to live by, anymore than gravity should be taken to mean we should all jump off bridges.

      • John Carpenter,

        There is a sort of parallel between Marx and Darwin with their respective theories. In Marx the conflict is between classes, rather than the individuals of a species, with the most dominant being the ruling class.

        That used to be the aristocracy in Europe. They were replaced by the capitalists. Marx said they would in turn be replaced by the workers. That’s not quite happened but the conflict is still there.

        I’m not sure if I like either the idea of class conflict, or conflict for dominance by males who wish to achieve the status of alpha male, have lots of wives and mistresses and pass down their genes to the next generation, (or am I just jealous?) but science is the description of the world as it is, not as we would argue it should be.

      • John Carpenter

        lolwot and TT, perhaps I took a little license in using that phrase, however my idea is valid notwithstanding. There is no guarantee you will be gainfully employed at any given time, but loving what you do and becoming valuable to your employer certainly helps reduce the odds of being unemployed or being on the cusp of unemployment if the situation arises. We don’t live in an equal world wrt individual abilities. Those who are better at what they do will tend to get the better opportunities. Strive to be one of those types. Eli quoted from a blog article written by intellectuals who never learned how to use there intelligence to get ahead in the private sector. They take extreme and unusually rare examples of poor employer behavior and pass them off as commonplace then make intellectual arguments based on those examples suggesting libertarians are hypocritical in their beliefs. The idea that the same individual freedoms one expects to have within a democratically governed country should also apply to how private institutions employ people is laughable. The civil rights of people within a society should not be conflated with the conditions of being paid to do work under the terms of how your employer expects you to do so. In all the cases provided as examples, the ex-employee enjoys every right to sue the former employee for wrongful discharge. In many such cases, the wrongfully dismissed employee wins back employment or gains a settlement. The rights of the individual to due process are not lost within the greater rights of society. Being paid to do a job comes with terms and conditions…. You don’t get the choice of unalienable employment rights.

      • John -

        I find the juxtaposition of the following two sentences to be interesting:

        Eli quoted from a blog article written by intellectuals who never learned how to use there intelligence to get ahead in the private sector. They take extreme and unusually rare examples of poor employer behavior and pass them off as commonplace then make intellectual arguments based on those examples suggesting libertarians are hypocritical in their beliefs.

        How many libertarian thought leaders worked a single day in the private sector over the course of their lifetime? Fredrich Hayek, for example? Should we assume that Hakek’s ideas were wrong because he was just hiding behind the ivory towers academia builds to hide the incompetence of its inhabitants?

        Have you never met anyone in the private sector that you found to be a walking embodiment of the Peter Principle? Have you not see that politics, back-stabbing, nepotism, tribalism, fraud, brown-nosing, etc., regularly corrupt the putative “meritocracy” of the private sector?

      • Another ideological rant from Joshua.

      • Speak of the Peter Principle, and look which appropriately named individual shows up!

      • John -

        I find it funny how the left leaning types seem to completely forget about Darwin and the idea of ‘survival of the fittest’ when it comes to a topic like this.

        This comment of mine: http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/30/academic-versus-professional-perspectives/#comment-247477

        was with specific reference to the above statement.

        “Survival of the fittest” can certainly mean many things. For example, it can mean the beast that is most aggressive survives short term even as it detrimentally affects affects the larger ecological community long-term (thus leading to extinction). In the business world, it might mean that the most corrupt and monomaniacal wins the competition. It doesn’t necessarily mean that the most “deserving” in the sense of smartest, or most ethical, or most efficient, or accountable, is the one who survives. Indeed, we would probably agree that those kinds of attributes correlate with being “fit” survivors – but certainly we can’t assume that someone who survives, or who wins, does so because they embody those characteristics.

      • John Carpenter,

        ” There is no guarantee you will be gainfully employed at any given time, but loving what you do and becoming valuable to your employer ……..”

        Yes I’m sure all employees know that. Mind you, I solved my own problem of having to work for the evil capitalists, even though I largely did enjoy the work I did for them, which I like to think I’m quite good at it and which probably kept me from being fired on more than one or two occasions, by stating up my own company. So, I can now probably be accused of being one myself. If you can’t beat ‘em join ‘em, eh?

        That’s why I can’t be fired for spending too much time on this blog when I really should be working.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, I will be the first to admit I know squat about libertarians beliefs. I read the link and part of what I took away was it’s a critique on libertarian beliefs. Specifically the difference between thier beliefs in personal individual freedoms compared to lack of freedom in the private sector workplace. To be honest, I couldn’t finish the whole thing.

        Yes, sure I have met people who fit the definition of the Peter Principle, heck… I’ve had to dismiss a couple myself. But I personally have not seen politics, back stabbing, etc.. in the workplace you mention, however I know it happens in many workplaces…. I mean there’s lots of movies based on that backdrop, so it’s gotta be true. Seriously, I work for a small family owned business (100 employee size) where that kind of behavior among management is really non existent.

        As for your second comment, yes there is more than one way to look at the meaning of ‘survival of the fittest’, but your more ominous version was not at the heart of what I meant. Again I agree that version can be found in the workplace of any type but is probably more prevalent in larger sized companies. It has never been my experience personally. I happen to believe you will end up getting what is coming to you based on how you live your life or manage people. If you think bludgeoning/bullying your way to success is a winning strategy (rhetorically speaking, not you personally) you may think you have won, but it will likely be fleeting. No one likes an a-hole, so they typically don’t really end up surviving in the long run and they typically aren’t satisfied or happy with thier life anyway. They want success for all the wrong reasons, so it catches up to them eventually. Just have to read the papers to see those stories.

      • John Carpenter

        Joshua, TT comment above about starting his own business is another way around bad workplace situations. I have a colleague who is not directly employed by our company but is a consultant for us who did the same. He fell victim to corporate politics and reorgs within a large company and found himself on the outside, despite being a brilliant inventor with many many patents to his name. He cannot enjoy the benefits of his inventions at that company and vowed to himself that would not happen again, so he started his own one person consulting firm. With respect to what he has brought to our company, we are both enjoying a mutually beneficial and successful work relationship.

      • temp,

        Can you explain the purpose of bringing Marx into the discussion? For that matter, why bring him into any discussion outside one about the dustpan of history?

        History has shown that Karl Marx didn’t know sh*t from shinola. His ideas are as bankrupt of value as one can get.

      • “Can you explain the purpose of bringing Marx into the discussion?”

        I think the suggestion was that left leaning types shy away from conflict and the term “survival of the fittest” was used. ‘Natural Selection’ is a better term in the way you were meaning and the biological sense too.

        Natural selection doesn’t just apply to individuals and companies it also applies to whole societies too. If you apply that to the development of successful countries , natural selection would seem to be heading towards a European “social democratic” style model, essentially a mixture of socialism and capitalism, which itself has been the result of class conflict (which is where Marx comes in) . Those countries which adopt this model seem to do better, and are more stable, than those which don’t.

        Incidentally, no doubt because you are American, you’re brainwashed into thinking the way you do about Marx. Its not quite the same in other countries. For example in the Uk he was voted “thinker of the millenium”:

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/static/events/millennium/sep/winner.stm

        Everyone who voted for him probably wouldn’t agree with him unconditionally. I would argue that he was too dismissive of parliamentary democracy. Maybe at the time, with no votes for women, and limitation of the franchise, he had a point, but significant progress has been made since and that’s only been possible through the workings of the democratic process.

      • “If you apply that to the development of successful countries , natural selection would seem to be heading towards a European “social democratic” style model, essentially a mixture of socialism and capitalism, which itself has been the result of class conflict (which is where Marx comes in) . ”

        Why is ” European “social democratic” style model” considered successful. And what you talking about? The EU or the European countries. Does involve countries having monarchies?
        Does involve countries being dependent on global US military power?
        What is the characteristics that define what you talking about, is Saudi Arabia a ” European “social democratic” style model”?
        Would Brazil, Indonesian, or Canada be examples? And if Canada is why since Canada basically older and basically hasn’t changed, why isn’t it called the “Canadian social democratic” style model?

      • Science, arts and sports are professions people go into primarily to follow their own interests and get paid for it. Somewhat contrarily to the left-leaning nature of these people (maybe not sport stars), these professions work on individual success rather than corporate success. Maybe the concern for the greater good is a compensation for this aspect of their own careers. Just some amateur psychology from me here. Perhaps someone can do a thesis on it.

      • Almost certainly been done, but true enough.

      • Yet another bunch of psychologists studied the obvious:

        > [P]eople are most motivated to advance to a new level of the goal hierarchy when they are least satisfied with their current position. This finding suggests why it is so difficult both to enjoy the journey in life and also to achieve your broader aims. When you are happy with what you have achieved, you are just not as interested in moving forward. Our motivational system requires some dissatisfaction to help us to provide the energy to advance.

        http://www.smartthinkingbook.com/2012/01/moving-on-up-goal-of-advancement.html

      • @willard: When you are happy with what you have achieved, you are just not as interested in moving forward.

        Wouldn’t that depend on whether you see life as a journey or a goal? For the former, the next step is just as enjoyable as the previous one and there is no decrease in motivation.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Indeed, but the result might explain why the feeling of happiness peeks when you win 60k per year:

        and why so few wastes their energy trying to get more.

        In fact, we almost could explain the elite by a malfunction of this phenomenon.

        Almost.

      • temp and timg56

        Experiences vary. tt is right in saying that organizations want individuals to conform to certain “company rules”, which are not all “performance driven”, so can be seen by some to be “unjust”.

        These also vary not only from company to company, but also from culture to culture, as some companies learn the hard way when they expand to new locations. Move a German to France, or an American to Japan, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. That’s why there are consultancy firms in “cross cultural training”.

        “Our people are our biggest asset” is a commonly used phrase. Although corporate officers or HR directors very rarely really do believe it across the board, they are aware of the importance of key “people” in the organization.

        The company “know-how” rests in the heads of its “people” – especially its key people (i.e. it “walks out the door each evening”), so there may actually be some truth in the statement.

        Then there are always the malcontents, the misfits and the disgruntled.(with or without a real cause). These need to move on to another organization where they can feel and perform better and develop more successfully.

        In large corporations this can sometimes be accomplished by internal company transfer. Others may really not be fit to work under someone else in a corporation – these do better running their own business or enterprise.

        I once had a boss who told me it was my job to make sure my subordinates succeeded in their jobs. If they failed, I failed too. Not a bad starting point for managing people.

        Max

    • David Springer

      Employers doing illegal things is a good way to have illegal things done to them in return. Like they say “Payback is a real bitch.”

      You want to find out what a real lack of workplace rights is all about try working for an employer who can jail you for not showing up at work on a easy day and summarily execute you for not showing up for work on a bad day. The UCMJ is a harsh mistress. It ought to be a law everyone does some time in the military so they have a bit more appreciation for a workplace you’re free to walk away from if you decide you don’t like it.

    • Brian G Valentine

      I agree with you, Eli.

      It probably explains why many people visit blogs with pseudonyms – just out of fear of retribution for their opinions.

      • David Springer

        Brian G Valentine | October 2, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply

        “It probably explains why many people visit blogs with pseudonyms – just out of fear of retribution for their opinions.”

        Fear of being punished for your political opinions. Isn’t that just precious. We protect our individual freedoms by exercising them not by avoiding them.

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

        Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override what is socially-deemed as right and courageous action —it is the opposite of courage. As a label, “cowardice” indicates a perceived failure to demonstrate sufficient mental robustness and courage in the face of a challenge.

        Here’s my take on it. If you don’t respect yourself enough to put your name behind your opinions it seems unreasonable to expect others to show you any respect. Who respects a coward?

      • Brian G Valentine

        Well, I don’t know if “cowardice” is the problem, David.

        For me, it’s just a matter of pride. I wouldn’t think of putting something out there without a possible audience knowing where it came from – if somebody likes what I put out there or they don’t or in most cases couldn’t care less, at least they know the identity of the author. I’m not much, but proud of what little there is

      • David Springer

        Brian G Valentine | October 3, 2012 at 11:25 pm |

        “Well, I don’t know if “cowardice” is the problem, David.”

        Well then you either don’t agree with this definition of cowardice found on wickedpedia:

        Cowardice is a trait wherein fear and excess self-concern override what is socially-deemed as right and courageous action —it is the opposite of courage.

        or you don’t believe what you wrote about fear of retribution being the motivation for anonymity in a blog like this. While I’m not going to equate anonymous CE posters to KKK members wearing hoods the principle is the same.

      • David Springer | October 3, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Reply While I’m not going to equate anonymous CE posters to KKK members wearing hoods the principle is the same.

        This is cowardice. You complain about what you hate most in yourself.

      • Brian G Valentine

        OK then, I’ll agree with you that if people take swipes at other people without identifying themselves so that everyone knows who the person is, this is “cowardice.”

        I put the G in my name so that people know the exact Brian Valentine behind what I write. There are a lot more (reputable!) Brian Valentine’s out there, for sure

  30. Think of the staggering number of government institutions that are equally incompetent. We all just more aware of academia’s shortcomings because they brought the spotlight on themselves.

    The industrial military complex was dismantled and no one on the Left shed a tear when tens of thousands of professionals were cashiered out. And now what do we see that it is Leftist schoolteachers are paid for actually deliverying goods and services that people want and not just because they deliver the vote for the Democrat party.

  31. I think this should have been called ‘academic versus commercial perspectives’. The former emphasizes learning and teaching and the latter emphasizes buying and selling. The best of the commercial entities have a research branch to keep them ahead, just as any kind of planning for the future needs research. Success is not either/or but a combination of both.

    • It’s really government versus free enterprise and unaccountability versus providing value.

      • How do the lessons of short-term profitability for the few translate to long-term (decades) planning for the many? Do they have anything in common at all? I don’t see it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is long term wealth generation for the many versus a discredited model of socialist planning. Seriously Jim – it is just hopeless silliness. The fact that you don’t see it doesn’t mean much at all. A 2%er smugly superior, green, neo-socialist with simplistic notions of science and plans to save the world from itself. Thanks but no thanks. You should at least put some effort into your propaganda or migrate to the twitterverse.

      • It is all very well to have accountability, but 50 years later when you want to hold Exxon Mobil, Inhofe, Lindzen or Monckton accountable, where are they? Climate changes slowly. It is not like weather forecasting or something. It is not suited to that model. It is like building a bridge in some ways in that resilience has to be planned for, but if the bridge falls down in 50 years, the architect isn’t going to learn from it. Instead you learn from past mistakes by others, which is difficult in a changing climate because the past has no analogy for the future.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. Rather the focus must be upon the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive and requires the application of new methods of model diagnosis, but such statistical information is essential.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/501.htm

        What are we going to plan for Jim? Don’t you believe the IPCC?

        ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

        A different way of saying the same thing. Don’t believe the head of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts?

        ‘The fruits of AOS are the many forms of intrinsic variability that spontaneously arise through instability of directly forced circulations and have important feedbacks on large-scale, low-frequency fields. Their varieties include coherent atmospheric storms and oceanic eddies, gravitational and rotational waves emitted in internal adjustments, turbulent transports between different locations, and cascades of variance and energy across the space–time spectrum that effect the mixing and dissipation essential for evolution toward balance with the forcing. An AOS can provide reliable realizations for idealized processes. AOS solutions expose structural and dynamical relations among different measurable quantities. They yield space–time patterns reminiscent of nature (e.g., visible in semiquantitative, high-resolution satellite images), thus passing a meaningful kind of Turing test between the artificial and the actual. They exhibit emergent behaviors that are not (yet) mathematically deducible from known dynamical equations for fluids, such as a tornado, a Gulf Stream path, or a decadal “teleconnection” relation between western tropical Pacific cumulus convection and a nearly hemispheric standing-eddy pattern in surface air pressure.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        The latter is quite poetical in describing the dissipative, non-equilibrium, non-linear, chaotical system that is the Earth’s climate. But still – ‘Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’ Which again is a way of describing probabalisitc climate forecasts or the statistical properties of the system – something completely lacking thus far.

        So Jim – you might think the planet is warming by some set amount that we can easily determine but – demonstrably – science doesn’t agree.

      • Jim, where all all the failed green energy companies that Obama poured hundreds of millions of taxpayer funds into now, so that we can hold them accountable? Are you personally after the scalps of the politicians and bureaucrats who approved those programs and loans?

        The best investments for the future are building decent infrastructure – including dams and power stations; educating children; and promoting prosperity so that we can deal with whatever the future brings.

      • johanna, imagine a situation 50 years in the future when the US is buying all their wind turbines from Europe, and solar panels from China and electric cars from Japan. How do we avoid getting into that state, or is it something that could not possibly happen? Thankfully the present administration has been looking ahead at trying to be competitive in new technologies, e.g. electric car batteries, solar panel technologies, etc.

      • CH, I assume you have also come around to the IPCC view that 3 degrees of warming by 2100 would be inevitable despite uncertainties in the sensitivity range and emissions scenarios.

      • Brian G Valentine

        I WORK in that field, Jim yes indeed, little old denialist me, works for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy at the US DOE.

        My 26 years have shown me, how much R&D is still needed to bring these to a marketable state. The Government needs to support the R&D, and NOT the attempted commercialization of products that cannot meet customer requirements in the long term. I have seen this “throw enough money at it and it will work trust me” approach happen repeatedly

      • Brian, it is very easy to be a Monday morning quarterback. They should have done this, and not done that. If they had listened to the complainers at the time they may not have even saved the car industry. Their job is to call the plays based on what they think will work given their information at the time. If China is willing to incur even greater losses to enable their green industries to flood the market with cheaper products, that’s what will happen. It is a tough playing field.

      • Brian G Valentine

        The purpose of the Federal government is to serve the public, NOT take tax money and bet on horse races with the hope that “if you put enough money on your favorite horse that means a guaranteed win.”

        I’m not a Monday morning QB Jim, just a technical type, who has learned to see problems before they happen. People can choose to listen to me, or they can choose otherwise.

      • Sometimes the failures are not due to the technology itself, but to the actions of other governments that change the playing field. I wish it was as simple as picking winners based on technology alone, but it is not.

      • Jim D,

        Have you ever heard something that goes like this:

        > I guess I am way outside of “Scouts” average. Fifty years old, 22 years experience as a faculty at a MRU, administrative experience, extensive experience reviewing grants at NIH and NSF, more than 100 publications in peer reviewed journals, more than $5M in funding over my career. Anyone else here who is older than 19? How about you, little Scout boy? Tell us about the real world of academics and the financial aspects of research at a MRU. What are your qualifications to comment on the scientific literature?

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/318601185

        I hope you’re not a 19 year old.

      • Not sure what you are saying, neverending, but some problems are suited for scientists to evaluate their extent before the policymakers and their engineers jump in to find solutions. One example would be a potential asteroid hit, and another would be climate change. As you see, the first step has nothing to do with policy and engineering, and can be done in the academic world.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘CH, I assume you have also come around to the IPCC view that 3 degrees of warming by 2100 would be inevitable despite uncertainties in the sensitivity range and emissions scenarios.’

        Gee whiz Jim – I thought they were saying it wasn’t predictable except as a PDF?

      • Yes, a joint PDF of CO2 amount in 2100 and sensitivity might put 3 degrees near the lower limit.

      • Jim D | October 1, 2012 at 1:18 pm |

        johanna, imagine a situation 50 years in the future when the US is buying all their wind turbines from Europe, and solar panels from China and electric cars from Japan. How do we avoid getting into that state, or is it something that could not possibly happen? Thankfully the present administration has been looking ahead at trying to be competitive in new technologies, e.g. electric car batteries, solar panel technologies, etc.
        ———————————————————-
        Jim, I congratulate you your soothsaying ability. If I had to bet, it wouldn’t be on any of the technologies you mention being very important in 50 years. But, making bets with one’s own money is perfectly legitimate – in fact, it’s the driving force of scientific and technological development.

        As for where the technologies of the future will come from, or be manufactured, it’s a complete crapshoot. You really need to read a bit of economic history before you start assuming that throwing public money at your version of the future is a sensible use of resources. In 1902, you would have wanted taxpayers to fund a super horse-pooper-scooper. Billions have been spent on electric cars (for 100 years) without success. The solar revolution has been ‘just around the corner’ for at least 40 years and billions of dollars.

        It is quite likely that our energy sources in 50 years will include things we haven’t even conceived of yet. By all means throw your own money around on your personal predictions – but leave taxpayers, already groaning under spiralling public debt, out of it.

      • Brian G Valentine

        People don’t realize that it is the technology that MAKES MONEY that enables R&D for technology that does not now make money.

        No tax dollars from things that sell without artificial respiration = no R&D for new things

      • Jim D,

        Re a future 50 years from now when the US is buying all of it’s wind turbines and solar panels…

        If we are doing so from Europe or China it will be for reasons besides a lack of government subsidies.

        Besides, if one follows the news, one will have seen how European wind turbine manufacturers and Chinese solar panel producers are laying off workers and shutting down plants.

      • JimD,

        My main point was that Brian G Valentine appealed to his own authority in a way that could be read as an ad hominem against your own person. The case I cited was more obvious than here, but the ringtone is more or less the same.

        Keep the chin up,

        w

      • Chief,

        “. The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

        Its good you are reading the IPCC. You might just ask yourself if you believe the IPCC. Not just cherry picked quotes but their whole reports.

        Your quote is true in the sense that we won’t know what the temperature will be in New York on, say, 1 January 2050. The oft quoted Amazonian butterfly only has to flap its wings and it completely changes the course of world history.

        But can the butterfly actually change the climate? I don’t think so. No matter how many times its flaps, it just can’t do it. Do you disagree?

        What you’ve failed to appreciate is the difference between “future climate states”, essentially the weather, which can’t be predicted, and overall climate which can. Not perfectly, as Judith never tires of telling us, there are uncertainties. It’s odd, if you’re right and the IPCC do believe that no predictions are possible, that they spend such a lot of time trying to get their predictions right and do receive such criticism when they do get it wrong.

        If you’re right they’d just say “sorry can’t be done”. That would make for very short reports indeed!

      • Chief,

        I’m not sure you appreciate just what Chaos theory actually means even though you do waffle on about Lorenz attractors etc.

        It means that the slightest change in the initial starting point can change everything from then on. I’ve often wondered when I’ve been to a football match and my team lost, if they would still have lost if I’d chosen not to go. It seems crazy but they might not have.

        World history will be different from now on because I’ve written this comment. I’ll even have changed the weather in a month’s time. Some people who may otherwise have lived longer will die sooner and vice versa.

        But can I, or anyone else, change the future climate? Yes by burning fossil fuels of course we can. But, only if we succeed in getting our message across that CO2 emissions need to be controlled can we minimise the extent of that. Its nothing to do with chaos theory.

      • True TT,
        It’s not only that, but the future trajectories are dependent on the exogenous energy introduced. You may in fact effect the outcome of the football game simply by being there, but you could also impact it with a much higher probability if you drove a dumptruck into the middle of the field and unloaded a pile of rocks. That’s a forcing function.

        Everything else that Chief throws up is a smokescreen.

      • Webster, Not really. http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1962/1185.full

        I have been playing with some of the basics. You might want to read up on some of the methods.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The Lorenz strange attractors are merely a simple example of a chaotic system. Earth’s climate has many degrees of freedom and perhaps an infinite number of attractors. As a strongly dissipative system – it is unlikely in the extreme that a butterfly can influence much at all. It was the title of the paper by Lorenz that rekindled the interest in chaos – but was answered in the negativeby Lorenz. But the butterfly is suggested by the topology of the strange attractors.

        We have discussed the nature of abrupt change before. Your beach holiday that you plan for summer in the NH – because on average you can predict that it will be much warmer than December. 10 years later – you decide to go back in July to the same beach and it is 20 degrees C cooler and glaciated. That is abrupt change and it has happened. Archer argues that we have put this scenario off by 500,000 years by emitting CO2. Good – but I wouldn’t count on it. Archer’s is an argument from considerable ignorance – much like yours and webbies but with somewhat greater sophistication.

        So we were thinking about the planetary ‘forcing function’ – discourtesy of webnutcolonoscope. You will have to forgive him – he is a bit slow.

        (1-alpha)H/4 = sigmaT^4

        Alpha is the planetary albedo, H is the total solar irradiance, sigma is the Steffan-Boltzmann constant.

        So how would this mooted planetary climate shift work? H changes a litle bit – although much more in UV with interesting shifts in polar vortices, stratospheric sudden warmings, changes in polar and sub-polar sea level pressure. Alpha changes with cloud, evaporation and convection, dust, volcanoes, snow and ice, rainfall and vegetation, ocean wide phytoplankton blooms, wind patterns – well I think you should be getting the idea. Change in albedo is in fact observed to have had by far the greatest impact on the global energy budget in the satellite era.

      • “It’s really government versus free enterprise and unaccountability versus providing value.”
        Government of course do provide value.
        One could say it’s insulated from market value- as they are intended to be.
        But there are problems with being insulated from market value- serious problems. Whereas some people imagine there is only good associated with insulated from market value.
        One might understand the problems if one realizes that insulated from market value, is insulated from people [though again, others can see this as only very good thing] perhaps if use term insulated from a more natural reciprocity and interaction of people.
        Or living in a cocoon. Of course all large institutions, whether private or public tend to isolate people- the inside from those on the outside. Tends to be tribal in nature.
        Another important aspect of government is it power to enforce- again, as design- but it’s important aspect, gets into the unaccountability part of government. Government has been given an monopoly on the use of force. They can make rules that fine or imprison people and they can make rules that they don’t have follow the rules.
        With free enterprise, people can choose, they must volunteer to give money, and are not forced to give money. No one goes to jail if they don’t wish buy something. Whereas with government there is just one government, one could choose different government by moving to different region, but assuming you don’t wish to forced to move, there only one building dept if you want to legally build something.
        There is the excuse that you voted for the government, so shut up.
        But if that is true, at best it’s still a tyranny of the majority.
        Let’s look at school, one institution, one has teachers and one has administrator. Teachers are more similar to private sector- they have task teach a bunch of kids. Administrators are really there assist the teachers, so teachers can teach. Not there to tell teachers how to teach and other things they find to do. Yes the administrator are there to hire and fire teachers- though it seem they are lacking this ability- with no good results from this ever increasing inability.
        In same sense government is there to administrate matters given to them to manage, and not there to tell the public what size soda they can buy.

      • The liberal fascists have more than their noses under the tent–they’ve seen our milkshakes and are telling us, “I drink it up!”

      • Wagathon,

        You can do better than that. One of mike’s finest can be invoked here:

        > CAGW hustle mixing phoney-baloney models and scare-mongering to enrich and further empower make-a-buck/make-a-gulag big-shots and their toady, ivory-tower enablers.

        http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/23071871194

        Perhaps mike will come down here and provide more nifty ways to solve Wagathon’s rhetorical problems?

      • Before Experts They Were Just Liars.

        Some jobs are so essential that an employer deems it essential if you just predictably and reliably show up for work on a daily basis and if you cannot do at least that, you’re fired. When it comes to the fearmongers of global warming alarmism is there anything they contributed to society since 1995 that has been essential? No, and the tenured professors in with their lifetime employment in the ivory towers of government-funded education know it!

      • Not bad.

        Once more, but this time with more feelings.

      • It is sad but true and even if it hurts your feelings you seem to yearn for the truth and the simple fact is, schoolteachers in the modern era have not the slightest impulse to uplifting.

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      Your characterisation of commercial as ‘emphasising buying and selling’ is only very partially right.

      The true characterisation is ‘doing’. Making things happen. Building the bridge, making the new IT system work, designing and building the new medical instrument…whatever it may be, commerce is a *doing* activity. Buying and selling are a part – but only a small part of it.

      It’s a common misconception that commerce is all about Wall Street type activities. Not so.

      • I also wanted to say academic versus professional is a false choice since academic is also professional. Perhaps she meant not-for-profit versus for-profit, I don’t know. Anyway I was trying to make sense of the title.

      • Latimer,

        I wouldn’t disagree with that. Capitalism isn’t all bad – but some of it can be when corporations become too large and monopolistic, or when financial organisations become too large to be allowed to fail with the consequence that when they gamble heavily they are allowed to keep their winnings but their losses are covered by the taxpayer.
        Providing capitalism is subject to democratic control I would say most people are providing to go along with it though.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Markets are subject to rules against monopolies and prudential oversight that was lacking in many jurisdictions. There are other things – pollution controls the nature of which should be effective and efficient, child labour laws, the rights to free association, food standards, … We should not assume that any law is justified but is to be argued in the political – and perhaps legal – sphere.

      • Should be “…most people are prepared to go along with it though.”

    • Jim D

      I think the key difference between commercial enterprises and government employees (or academics) lies in the “performance criteria”.

      In commercial enterprises, which “add value”, these are clear: sales managers need to achieve agreed-upon sales goals, production managers need to respond to and keep up with the demands of sales and reduce manufacturing costs, R+D managers need to get new products developed on time and within budget, etc.

      For government employees, there is no measurable “added value”, so these “performance criteria” are more difficult to establish.

      (“Adding value” for the taxpayer by “reducing costs” and thereby reducing the tax burden could be an exception, but this is not an ongoing effort. “Adding value” by ensuring that infrastructure projects are realized or government services are provided to individuals may apply for a small percentage of government employees at one time or another, but again these are the exceptions, not the rule.)

      For academics, I see a similar problem.(although I cannot speak from first-hand experience) The primary output that can be measured is the number of scientific papers published, but it is difficult to see how the quality or scientific importance of the papers can be measured in any quantitative way.

      So I do not see the primary difference one of altruism (thinking of the common good) versus selfishness (thinking of the profit motive alone), as you seem to do – IMO that seems a bit too wishful and dreamy to me.

      The difference appears to me to be more one of “adding measurable value” or not.

      Max

      • There is a lot more similarity here. Just as in business the key is finding a niche where you can sell something, so in the academic world it is finding a niche where you are the expert. You may add to your company by having a certain type of expertise, just as an academic may add to a department by having a certain type of expertise. Values differ. For some it is personal and corporate money, while for others it is benefit to society, and the latter also motivates many government workers, doctors, teachers, military, etc.

  32. So…

    (FE+PV)=1

    Right?:o)

  33. The sad fact is that many academic and professional perspectives are converging on one simple fact:

    Society is in serious trouble; world leaders cannot solve the problems.

    Here’s my perspective of the problem:

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1127

  34. I think Latimer might have meant ‘arrogate’, not ‘abrogate’ – and no, ‘arrogate’s not a snotty town in Yorkshire…

    • Latimer Alder

      Oops. my bad.

      Nice theatre in Harrogate…gave a not very good presentation there once.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I saw a very dull presentation in a theatre in Harrogate once. Perhaps it was you ;)

      • Latimer Alder

        Might have been.. Graveyard shift after lunch..delegates still sleeping off the food and copious drink. Not a very interesting subject either….was covering it for the sake of ‘completeness’…, and a poor AV setup (not the theatre management’s fault – conference organisers weren’t up to much). Difficult to sparkle in such conditions.

        Overall – an afternoon with few highlights – whichever side of the projector you were located. :-(

  35. Steve Milesworthy

    With the growing relevance of climate science to decision making and regulations, it is incumbent upon the institutions that support science to bring professional perspectives to the climate science-policy interface. However, I don’t even see this issue being raised

    Erm…don’t think you’ve looked hard enough. Not sure that “academics” necessarily are best placed to have this role, but the role exists and is filled by at least one policy-oriented organisation that I can think of, that has rather more than your 5 years’ engagement in forecasting weather and climate for real paying customers.

    these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable.

    If a government is implementing policy based on an institute’s science, and the science/institute is being criticised, what does the institute do? Publish and defend the science, surely. Unless it’s a Canadian institute that is muzzled by a government intent perhaps on policies that *aren’t* supported by the science?

    Pretending that climate science is only done by ivory-tower dwelling academics is a favourite topic of Latimer’s.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘With the growing irrelevance of climate science cult of AGW groupthink space cadets to decision making and regulations…’

      You’re quite welcome Steve.

      When a snark goes wrong. They should be used to it – all of theirs are wrong.

    • On institutional level NOAA and corresponding organizations in other countries are basically professional organizations based on applying methods developed both by scientists and by professionals.

      It may vary from case to case whether the practical approach to climate issues is closer to that of basic science or that of professionally done application of scientific methods.

      The relative weight of those science based professionals in policy oriented public discussion may also vary in comparison to academic scientists. Where improvement is needed it could best be obtained by enhancing the quality and extent of the contribution of the professionals, not by limiting the freedom of expression of academia.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        They shall be known by their fruits.

        For instance – http://www.osdpd.noaa.gov/ml/ocean/sst/anomaly.html
        - and – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/ – and many others.

        They are the humble toilers in the vineyards of knowledge adding data bit by bit to collective wisdom over the centuries of the scientific enlightenment. 400 years of sunspot counts for instance – astonsihing.

        But I am afraid that academia is subject to the same rude push and shove as anyone else in the public realm. Post normal science has sacrified the objective authority of science for a mess of pottage. It is a shame – but it is the case. Insted of a priesthood of knowledge – we have a high preisthood of cult of AGW groupthink space cadets.

    • Latimer Alder

      @steve milesworthy

      ‘Pretending that climate science is only done by ivory-tower dwelling academics is a favourite topic of Latimer’s’

      Sure is. And 387 comments in about 36 hours suggests that I am not alone if finding this to be a real concern.

      And I don’t think it is a pretence. Can you name half a dozen ‘authentic climate scientists’ with substantial (10 years+ in senior roles) experience outside ‘the climate scientist community’?

      You could start with the current members of the IPCC. See how you get on.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        The question is about scientists who are “ivory-tower dwelling academics”, not “‘the climate scientist community”, many of which are not in universities but, rather, work in organisations that deliver hard-nosed advice to hard-nosed businesses.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        Many of which deliver hard-nosed advice to hard-nosed business? Really?

        I know that the UK Met Office advertises a ‘climate consultancy’ arm though have seen little about how widely used and/or successful that is.

        But are there truly ‘many others’?.

        BTW. I followed up my remark about the IPCC constituents by looking at the contributors to AR5.

        First I chose the Introduction chapter to WG1. There are 11 authors, lead authors and/or editors cited. They are (11/11) attached to a university or similar academic institute. There is no non-academic input.

        Thinking that I might get richer pickings elsewhere I looked at WG1 Chapter 9 ‘Evaluation of Climate Models’. Surely a subject where external input would be highly valuable! Here there are 21 authors and/or editors of cited. Of these 19 are definitely academically affiliated, and two (Sin Chan CHOU and Zong-Ci ZHAO) I could not uniquely identify their affiliation. My bad.

        But the results of this little exercise show that of a total of 32 (21+11) authors of important bits of the IPCC work, at least 30 are academics.

        You may be right in your assertion that there is a much wider ‘climate science’ community than academics only, but this research has not provided support for that view.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        “Consultancy” is one aspect, but really I was talking about delivery of established products such as your day to day weather and climate advice – is the Met Office *really* under threat from legal action by “The Big Sheep”? These areas are not specifically relevant to climate advice, but similar principles underlie the requirements of presenting uncertain and probabilistic advice.

        The proportion of the authors of reports is not necessarily the best metric as they are simply the ones presenting the work of others that is or may be grounded in the real world. Also, probably I’d look more at WG2 than WG1, as WG2 is where the interface between the science and policy lies.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        I’m sure you’d be among the first to tell me that ‘weather is not climate’, especially when we get a cold spell and wonder where ‘global warming went’. You’d be very keen that we knew the difference…until we had a hot spell or a drought when it would miraculously become another proof of imminent Thermageddon. And I think it is true that the Met Office is the only institution anywhere that deals with both weather and climate.

        So, sadly I can’t accept your plea that doing a weather forecast has much to do with ‘the climate scientist community’.

        Your remark about ‘Big Sheep’ has passed me by completely. My baffled expression is there for a reason.

        If you want to come up with the relevant numbers for other bits of the IPCC feel free. I’d be pleased to see the results.

        But that there does not seem to be anybody from outside the academic climate science community involved in ‘Evaluating Climate Models’ – surely an absolutely essential part of the whole argument about climate – has already demonstrated my case to my satisfaction.

        Self-assertion that one’s work is brilliant and one’s close colleagues are wonderful is rarely a reliable guide to the truth.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer,
        Judith is using the example of her doing near term forecasts (weather) for people as something that has been “a real eye opener” for her and that she wishes other academics should do. I don’t have a problem with that. That she thinks it is endemic enough in climate science that she thinks her experience is constructive is an eye opener to me. That you claim it is universal is not a surprise to me but it is worth rebutting your claim.

        Sorry, my Big Sheep comment got mangled because I had to dash off. It’s in the news that the hard-nosed business called “the Big Sheep” is hoping to sue the Met Office for issuing pessimistic forecasts.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        I got a rather different flavour from Judith’s remarks. For me, there was a slight hint of astonishment that the outside world places a high value on *being right* about something, and very little on just publishing a paper about it.

        And that her experience with real money-paying clients was sufficiently unusual for her to wish others could do it too…..coupled with regret that the bureaucratic (self-imposed) rules of her institution made it very hard for this to happen.

        And that, surely, is the nub of the problem.

        Outside academia, you get paid for being right. Your focus is on getting the right answer. Your whole effort is devoted to getting there. If you get it wrong consistently you never build a good reputation ..and so your job opportunities diminish. The top people are those who have a great track record of success. Being right counts.

        But inside academia, ‘being right’ barely features as a criterion. Just so long as you publish a paper that gets cited often enough – however daft the content – you have achieved your goal. Being first is the aim, not being right…the quality of the content is almost immaterial.

        You can observe this with the absolute horror that comes over climate modellers if anyone dares to ask them to prove that their model has any connection with reality……such a concept is totally alien to them and spending time to do so would interrupt their flow of publications. And yet to the outside world, the model being right is the only thing that matters….however beautifully constructed if it isn’t right it’s just a big pile of s*it.

        So when the IPCC manage to have at least 19 of the 21 authors writing ‘Evaluating Climate Models’ from the ‘insider’ community it does lead to the strong possibility that this chapter is unlikely to be a rigorous and clear-eyed look at the utility of such things…but more a climate modellers love-in…with perhaps some space for a little bit of personal feuding.

      • Latimer Alder

        @steve milesworthy

        Perhaps, at least, we can both agree that ‘being right’ is a very important criterion when ‘climate science’ is used as a major input to policies and strategies?

        But it has always seemed to me to be a very neglected part of climatology. ‘Proving’ one’s stuff does not get you on the front page of Nature or invited to all the sexy conferences as keynote speaker. You need to stir up the controversy by publishing a new paper that has a ‘consistent with’ or ‘worse than we thought’ take on the alarmist mantra.

        Saying ‘calm down there’s not much to worry about’ or ‘I spent two years trying to validate Prof. X’s paper from 2009 and failed’ does not bring you citations and/or glory…however much people like to delude themselves that once a paper has been published it gets rigorous scrutiny within the field.

        Perhaps this explains the huge reluctance of practitioners to undergo any sort of outside scrutiny….their paranoia about releasing ‘their’ data, their terror of FoI requests and their demonisation of anybody who dares to ask.

        But whatever drives them, their behaviour does not build my confidence that they are confident in their work and happy – nay delighted – to defend it against all comers and so demonstrate its correctness to all. Instead they give the strong indications that their case is so shaky that they would rather conceal it than support it.

        I’m reminded of another old college Prof who reputedly said after all his all his undergraduate and graduate examinations

        ‘I think I managed to hoodwink the examiners yet again’

        Substitute ‘pal reviewers and editors’ for ‘examiners’ and I think you have climatological practice in a nutshell.

        It simply is not good enough for grown adults to behave in such a childish way.

  36. Chief Hydrologist

    So we were thinking about the planetary ‘forcing function’ – discourtesy of webnutcolonoscope. You will have to forgive him – he is a bit slow.

    Delta S = (1-alpha)H – sigmaT4

    Where S is the planetary energy storage, alpha is the planetary albedo, H is the total solar irradiance, sigma is the Steffan-Boltzmann constant. Delta S is zero over some period – as energy in must equal energy out over the longer term – and it reduces to the usual form.

    So how would this mooted planetary climate shift work? H changes a litle bit – although much more in UV with interesting shifts in polar vortices, stratospheric sudden warmings, changes in polar and sub-polar sea level pressure. Alpha changes with cloud, evaporation and convection, dust, volcanoes, snow and ice, rainfall and vegetation, ocean wide phytoplankton blooms, wind patterns – well I think you should be getting the idea. It is in fact observed to have had by far the greatest impact on the global energy budget in the satellite era (IPCC, AR4, s 3.4.4.1).

    What can one conclude from this? I have concluded that climate science is driven by high priests of the cult of AGW groupthink space cadets. But hey – that’s just my opinion. And they are all green, neo-socialist pissant progressives. Why do you think that is?

    • Chief Hydrologist

      …sigmaT^4… the superscript html code doesn’t work? but you have seen SB before.

  37. @JC: Your ideas on this?

    Q. Which private enterprises have customers that will be inconvenienced in the event that AGW makes 2062 the expensive proposition that Hansen et al project?

    A. None. Private enterprise today worries only about next quarter. That’s a mere 0.5% of the way towards 2062. No one in private enterprise gives a flying kerfuffle about even 2022. What happens in 2062 is purely academic, and should be left to academics to worry about since the private sector could care less.

    • “Q. Which private enterprises have customers that will be inconvenienced in the event that AGW makes 2062 the expensive proposition that Hansen et al project?”
      Hansen was wrong.

      “A. None. Private enterprise today worries only about next quarter. That’s a mere 0.5% of the way towards 2062. No one in private enterprise gives a flying kerfuffle about even 2022. What happens in 2062 is purely academic, and should be left to academics to worry about since the private sector could care less.”

      Doesn’t seem like academics have done much over last 40 years, what going to change in next 50 years?
      When has academics ever anything about addressing any problem in the future. Sure they worry about all kinds of things. Worrying doesn’t do anything.
      But what is the single biggest specific thing which will occur by 2062, which also has more than 25% of academics can agree on? Bigger hurricanes, rising sea level, a drought somewhere, Etc. What is most important, and how much of problem will it be?

      I think you haven’t allow the private sector to do anything. Why lessen government burden on making nuclear reactors?
      Or government could offer a prize for some kind of portable nuclear reactor to built by private sector

      • @gbaikie: I think you haven’t allow the private sector to do anything.

        On the contrary, I’d love the private sector to do something. It’s their stockholders that are holding them back, by focusing their attention on next quarter’s bottom line. The board will fire any CEO that can’t perform in a timely fashion.

      • “On the contrary, I’d love the private sector to do something. It’s their stockholders that are holding them back, by focusing their attention on next quarter’s bottom line. The board will fire any CEO that can’t perform in a timely fashion.”

        Oh, I wouldn’t expect much from a large corporation. But since on the topic one could make easier to create corporations. So with a newly created corporation it could be more likely. Corporations generally focus on what they are good at, and anything new or radical doesn’t fit that description.

      • VP

        Spot on.

        There is pretty much nothing to learn from the ‘professionals’ in the sense that Judith seems to mean……..unless she is advocating that we consider only the very immediate future.

      • David Springer

        In that case plenty of heads should be rolling at private companies building windmills, huh? You don’t spend much time thinking individual thoughts through to logical conclusions do you, Vaughn. You responded to a thread about portable factory-built & fueld nuclear reactors suitable for small communities. And you wish private companies would do something because they’re cost constrained by next quarter’s profitibility. What a load of BS. Existing nukes take a decade to commission and build and they won’t put one thin dime on the bottom before then. Yet they are built. Burt Rutan’s aerospace company spent years designing and testing a spaceplane to win the Ansari X prize. Not a dime in profit came from it. Like most academics, Vaughn, you are disconnected from the real world and just spill platitudes that you and your ilk trade at cocktail parties so often you come to believe they’re actually true.

      • Dave,

        Do you have something to reply to Vaughan’s comment?

        Arguing from post hoc success is not risky enough for business mavericks like you.

      • Michael,

        Speaker solely for yourself, as a profesional whatever, I can honestly say I agree with you.

      • @DS: In that case plenty of heads should be rolling at private companies building windmills, huh?

        Since there is no shortage of analyses online that will support either side of that debate, I presume you’re basing this on those analyses that show that wind power must be unprofitable, such as this one by Christopher Booker.

        For such authors there seems to be a strong correlation between the outcome of their analyses and how serious a problem they think global warming is. In this case one can read about Booker’s opinions on climate change here.

        Not all authors stick to one side. Ariel Schwartz reported on a new study from the John Muir trust (“not the sorts who would attack wind farms just for the fun of it”) which debunks five important industry claims.

        Naturally the wind industry, AWEA, disputed this and contacted Schwartz with its rebuttal, which she duly reported here the following week. On the basis of the two sides’ arguments she scored wins for the John Muir trust for their debunking of “Wind turbines will generate on average 30% of their rated capacity over a year” and “The probability of very low wind output coinciding with peak electricity demand is slight” (but only for the UK, for the US AWEA wins that proposition). She awarded a draw for “The wind is always blowing somewhere” as it depended on the scale of the grid (much larger for the US than the UK). And she gave wins to the AWEA for their arguments for “Periods of widespread low wind are infrequent” and “Pumped storage hydro can fill the generation gap during prolonged low wind periods.” (I’m just the messenger, shoot her if you disagree with her calls.)

        Her conclusion: “The final verdict won’t come until wind power provides much more of our energy. In 2008, the DOE estimated that wind power could provide 20% of all power in the U.S. by 2030. If that happens, it still will leave us screwed climate change-wise (assuming coal-fired plants make up much of the rest of that 80%). But it will at least settle, once and for all, the argument over wind power’s usefulness”

        Another relatively even-handed analysis can be found
        here, and a very detailed projection from as long ago as 1999 here.

        Reading between the lines of these analyses, it would appear that wind power may not be economically viable today but that it will become so in due course as its cost decreases with maturing technology while nonrenewable prices increase (US natural gas for example is not an inexhaustible supply).

        Unfortunately “due course” is too long for the private sector to take seriously, creating a chicken-and-egg problem: how can a technology mature if it can’t even start?

        Subsidies are intended to address that problem, by bootstrapping the technology until it becomes profitable. However these create a new problem, nicely illustrated by this Forbes article, which makes the important point that subsidies can become the end itself rather than the means to sustainable wind power. As long as a company can maintain a healthy bottom line from quarter to quarter with subsidies, where is the incentive to develop the technology? Eventually the subsidies will run out, but so what? If corporate HQ leaves the company before the red ink appears it will be well credentialed to move on to some other line of work, leaving new management to cope with the end of the subsidy.

        Presumably proponents of subsidies have an answer to this, which I’d be interested in learning about.

        Meanwhile wind subsidies could end by 2014 if Republicans have their say. The article notes the irony that more than 81 percent of the installed wind capacity in the United States is in Congressional districts represented by Republicans, according to the AWEA.

    • Steven Mosher

      Well, a couple things. There are business that do plan for 2022. Typically, that happens in the strategic part of the business. In designing an aircraft for example there is nice little thing called Pcubed “I” or pre planned product improvement. Basically you design for the entire life cycle of the product. Building anything that lasts requires people who can think beyond ten years. So, sitting there in 1985 at the drawing board of course we had to project technologies.. like graphics chips that would drive displays in a aircraft that wasnt going to be fielded until after 2000 and have to last 20 years beyond that.. or predict where GaS chip design would be 20 years from now. Who knew that the conceptual designs done in the 80s of swarms of unmanned air vehicles would come true. basically the guys in advanced design. Anybody who builds a dam or bridge or a nuclear reactor is concerned with more than the next quarter. Your problem, like others here, is that you think “business” is a noun that points to a single thing. It’s not.

      If people want to look for lessons from business to apply to science that is probably going to be more fruitful than simply saying that scientists should get some business experience. The right question to ask is how do the businesses who DO look beyond 10 years do it successfully and what can be learned from them. Instead, you repeat some stupidity that you know isnt true just to try to score points against the host.

      • Crystalballs are interesting things.

        “Who knew that the conceptual designs done in the 80s of swarms of unmanned air vehicles would come true. basically the guys in advanced design.”

        Had faith, yes. Knew, no. Sometimes you get lucky. Las Vegas has plenty of room for people who ‘know’.

        “Anybody who builds a dam or bridge or a nuclear reactor is concerned with more than the next quarter.”

        It may be questionable how well those predictions have been born out. It is significant also that predictions about a technology often (should) entail the larger context in which the technology is applied.

        1.) Conflicts of interests are a problem. You can hope that the responsible parties are cognizant of and act on legitimate concerns. I have real reservations about a public utility answering to stockholders on the one hand and looking to the interests of the public on the other. It defies rationality. I think that Vaughn’s comment is spot on in this regard. However, he does miss a similar conflict for the career public official who serves at the whim of the public–a public that wants services but is reluctant to pay for the same.

        2.) Context is important. If one was only predicting technology, successful prediction might be more likely. People who built or initiated nuclear facilities in the 60′s and 70′s did not anticipate conditions that overtook and radically modified the industry in the 70′s and 80′s. Think commercial spent fuel reprocessing at Barnwell SC, Morris IL, and West Valley NY; reactors at Shoreham NY, Watt Bar (lake),TN, Bellefonte ALA. Then there are interesting little programmatic sidebars such as the tritium production (now to use a commercial reactor for irradiating target materials?)–essential to maintaining our nuclear weapons—that have popped up. Things are just complicated and qualitatively in a very different place than originally anticipated when the whole context is considered. Prediction entails much more than how a structure/facikity or even a technology is going to age/mature/evolve. However, just as some insiders did have an informed guess regarding unmanned vehicles, I suspect there were some insiders in the nuclear industry who made some good informed guesses as to what might unfold–guess they weren’t at the board meetings.
        3.) The parties responsible for maintaining and operating a 40 year old reactor most likely are not channeling the designer and builder. Same for their CFOs. A similar limitation exists for bridges. Think crumbling infrastructure. (See http://saveourbridges.com/).

        “The right question to ask is how do the businesses who DO look beyond 10 years do it successfully and what can be learned from them.”

        Perhaps before going too far down the road one might also want to consider the prediction success rate of those companies/organizations that do plan multiple decades into the future. One might want to characterize what, if any, traits are there for those situations where such prediction was successful, wasn’t successful, etc. How good does a prediction have to be to be useful in the given (present) situation? What are the payoffs/costs associated with the prediction? That is, perform a risk assessment. And after all of that one might really want sit in the quiet for a while and ponder the concept of regression of the mean ;O)

      • Steven, there’s a very good paper that explains why businesses that look 20years ahead don’t produce good windmills. I’m not saying its “wrong”, just that it was proven to be ineffective in renewable energy development. It is also noteworthy, that the two countries that have most climate “scientists” (UK & US) were the two who failed to develop their own commercial windmills. You’ll probably correct me, but I suspect based on technology culture, that the US and UK were the leading aircraft designers (the period would be 1970-1990)

    • Dr. Pratt
      Have you ever been employed by a successful business, or you only know about it from media?

      • Only if you count Sun Microsystems. Have you Googled his name? Maybe you were joking.

      • Just intrigued by the comment:
        Private enterprise today worries only about next quarter.

      • Have you Googled his name?
        No need to. We are working on the same climate project. :)

      • @vukcevic: Just intrigued by the comment: Private enterprise today worries only about next quarter.

        It’s been getting worse lately. Shareholders were a lot more patient a couple of decades ago. Fortunately they’re not executing their management as quickly as their trades! But if robots ever take over HQ it may come to that.

        @vukcevic: We are working on the same climate project.

        I think Milivoje means that we have a common interest in the influence of the Earth’s core (everything below the crust) on the surface temperature, and have had a few email exchanges on related topics. I’m not sure whether a “common interest” amounts to a “project.”

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Just imagine that you had never participated in a business venture and kept at being a LaTeX scientist all your life.

        Nothing could have prevented Moshpit to say:

        > Brilliant. So, its even worse than we thought. Instead of learning about business from a business blog, we have a comment written by an Aussie logician who has some stupid ideas about business that are not based in experience.

        See for instance:

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/30/academic-versus-professional-perspectives/#comment-247425

      • V.P. I’m not sure whether a “common interest” amounts to a “project.”
        It definitely does not, I am far ahead :)
        I am promoter of natural oscillations with aspirations of a ‘Tacoma’ bridge building style with the AGWs, such as Dr. Pratt the prominent CO2 theorist.
        While I am here sailing close to the wind, if Dr. Pratt could fish out numerical data for the graph on page 10 from ftp://ftp.flaterco.com/xtide/tidal_datums_and_their_applications.pdf
        for tides at Puget Sound, then this ‘new underground’ theory could really ‘take off’ the ground.

      • Sun was easily the most successful startup I’ve been involved with. But I’ve been CEO of three other startups:

        * Research & Consulting Inc, a consortium of MIT faculty, during 1973-1975 before handing it over to Michael Hammer who proved to be a much better businessman than me (I’m more the scientist type);

        * Triangle Concepts Inc, to develop manufacturing specification technology, during 1988-1990 but that effort was essentially DOA; and

        * Tiqit Computers Inc during 2000 and 2003-2010 (Ian Blasch and Henry Berg ran it during 2001-2002, google blasch tiqit), which made handheld computers running XP and Linux, including a model designed in 2005-2006 to specifications by DEVGRU at Dam Neck using EWA as the prime.

      • Steven Mosher

        Dr. Pratt has experience in business which is what makes his comments really foolish. he knows better and I suspect he was just caught up by the internet disease of ‘having to say something contrary”

      • @SM: I suspect he was just caught up by the internet disease of ‘having to say something contrary”

        What started this was my claim that “Private enterprise today worries only about next quarter.” Admittedly that’s a caricature of the situation being brought about today by growing shareholder activism. However I wouldn’t call it a contrarian position by any means, see for example the introduction to this article by Stephen Taub, who writes “A number of recent corporate governance developments suggest that activists are starting to gain the upper hand, and companies are reacting by changing policies or proposing alternatives even when they are not required to.”

        Second, the context is (or should be on this thread) green energy companies, some of whom are heavily dependent on government subsidies precisely because of shareholder impatience. (gbaikie’s candidate here was nuclear energy which also depends on subsidies which however are not the main complaint people have about that energy source.) Stably profitable companies of the kind you seem to have in mind are less vulnerable to shareholder pressure, though even there one can find shareholder activism—try googling
        x shareholder pressure
        for various x such as Apple, Wal-Mart, Exxon, HP, J.P.Morgan, etc (not that any Apple shareholder wants Cook’s head).

        Boeing by contrast would appear to experience relatively little shareholder pressure. Your point about product life cycles is particularly apropos of Boeing, being much longer than those of say Detroit or Silicon Valley. Likewise for Berkshire Hathaway, albeit with a rather different notion of long “product life cycle” which appeals greatly to its institutional investors.

        @SM: The right question to ask is how do the businesses who DO look beyond 10 years do it successfully and what can be learned from them.

        That’s a good question, along with the question of the rate at which their horizons are shortening today. Every company that pulls their horizon in closer than 10 years is one less company you can ask your question of.

      • “Second, the context is (or should be on this thread) green energy companies, some of whom are heavily dependent on government subsidies precisely because of shareholder impatience.”

        I don’t agree with this idea. I know it’s common meme.
        The problem with green technology is it doesn’t work.
        Ethanol doesn’t work- it profitable because of gov subsidies,
        but the subsidies are not only to make it work. If you stopped
        the subsidies it has more of chance of working- because there
        *might* be some effort to make work.
        An example, the Space Shuttle, it wasn’t viable- though of course
        it flew. If pour enough money anything you make almost anything work.
        But the Shuttle purpose was to lower cost. That is why the Shuttle was
        built- and it raised costs. Same with ethanol, and same with green technology.
        Shuttle reason it was to lower cost, is same reason all green technology
        is suppose to “get to point” of working. Which can summarized briefly
        in the concept, if you throw enough money into it one can lower costs.
        Which is beyond crazy idea. But many people believe it- and based on misunderstanding of the concept of the economy of scale.

      • @gbaikie: The problem with green technology is it doesn’t work.

        On what do you base that claim?

        In particular how do you account for the fact that my electricity bill dropped by 90% after installing 7.5 kW of solar panels four years ago? (Theoretically it should have been 100% but I’ve been sloppy.)

        While it was bloody expensive back then, $50K after the 2008 subsidies, it will have paid for itself by 2015. After that I’ll be ahead of the game. (Full disclosure: my next door neighbor founded Clean Power Finance along with Adam Marsh, though this had nothing to do with my purchase of the system, which was before he became my neighbor.)

        In the intervening four years the prices have plummeted. Today I could add another 1.9 kW of panels from 15 miles away for $2000 not counting the installation and inverter.

      • His fabrication of silly analogies I hope is a hobby. I hate to think tax dollars are paying for it.

  38. “The reward system for academics is to have a provocative idea get published in a high impact journal, and increasingly to garner some media attention for the research. Whether or not the idea turns out to be correct is not of particular importance in the reward system for academics.” – JC

    Cold fusion.

  39. Hi Judy – This article might be useful as part of this weblog discussion.

    Pielke Jr., R.A., J. Abraham, E. Abrams, J. Block, R. Carbone, D. Chang, K. Droegemeier, K. Emanuel, E.W. Friday Jr., R. Gall, J. Gaynor, R. Getz, T. Glickman, B. Hoggatt, W.H. Hooke, E.R. Johnson, E. Kalnay, J. Kimpel, P. Kocin, B. Marler, R. Morss, R. Nathan, S. Nelson, R.A. Pielke Sr., M. Pirone, E. Prater, W. Qualley, K. Simmons, M. Smith, J. Thomson, and G. Wilson, 2003: The USWRP Workshop on the weather research needs of the private sector. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 84, ES53-ES67. http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-264.pdf

    My experience in the Atmospheric Science Department at Colorado State University, at least until I retired from the Department, can be summarized from that article; i.e.

    At Colorado State University, the “University encourages engagement in professional activities such as … appropriate consulting activities.” Consulting is “one means to facilitate the flow of information and development of technologies.” Each university requires disclosure of these outside activities, although the amount of financial remuneration is not required to be reported….At the department level, however, there can be discouragements to participating in technology transfer. Faculty in the atmospheric sciences often feel that this activity is not appropriate for them or their colleagues, nor should it be included in their professional evaluations. For example, at the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University (CSU), a guideline limits outside consulting to 20 days per year with only rare exceptions, and the faculty “may not serve as named investigators on research proposals from public or private organizations other than CSU; exceptions to this include serving as a member of a science experiment team or a Small Business Innovative Research (SBIR) arrangement in which forthcoming contractual or grant relationships with CSU would normally accompany such designation.” Policies that limit faculty interactions with business have the potential to violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the Bayh–Dole Act. Finding an appropriate middle ground should be a high priority for academic institutions across the atmospheric sciences.

    Faculty developed businesses, including the one we developed (Aster Inc.) were actively discouraged by the Department.

  40. Once again, people draw self-serving conclusions that create false dichotomies.

    What motivates people in their work? Autonomy. The power to affect their own outcomes. Control over their time. Recognition. Doing a job well. Being creative. Expression. Solving problems. Working cooperatively with colleagues – and many other factors along with the limited set people often focus on to confirm their biases.

    Many studies have shown that simple concepts about motivation in people’s work – such as people are motivated primarily by how much money they make – are facile.

    So here we have Judith drawing some before and after conclusion based on her own experiences – one that creates some clear distinction between academics and professionals, one that is self-serving in that she can explain how her insight from elevates her above her fellow academics – and surprise, surprise, her “denizens” fall in line to just coincidentally agree that being who they are elevates them above people who fail to be like them in that they fall a test for a basically arbitrary criterion.

    Like always, it’s confirmation-bias-a-palooza time at Climate Etc.

    • Nailed it. If only they could all be like Judy. They would never be like their nasty selves again.

    • Though as someone else has pointed out, I think she really means academic vs commercial. Academic vs professional deosn’t make much sense to me…at least not how Judith has framed it.

      • Definition of profession from the Wikipedia:

        A profession is a vocation founded upon specialized educational training, the purpose of which is to supply objective counsel and service to others, for a direct and definite compensation, wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.

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

      • ….which distuingishes them little from most scientists.

        And in the wake of the GFC, it might be best not to hold up the financial sector as anything but an example to avoid.

      • Let’s emphasize:

        > Wholly apart from expectation of other business gain.

        Let’s return to what was said in the blog post:

        > What has been a real eye opener for me has been my forays into the private sector, where real decisions and big $$ hinge on my predictions.

        Since we’re into definition games, here’s some breadcrumb:

        There is a much larger literature on professions in sociology,
        which focuses mainly on professions as social groups and on the roles
        that professionals and professional associations play in society. Each of
        the competing sociological theories of professions reflects a particular
        view of the relationship between social groups and economic systems
        [Abbott, 1988]. However, sociology also tends to view professions
        simply as some higher-order subset of occupations. As in economics,
        this approach creates a tension in the literature. First, the approach blurs
        the distinction between individual practitioners and the profession as a
        whole. Second, it fails to explain how professional associations differ
        fundamentally from trade unions.

        http://sp.uconn.edu/~langlois/pharmacy.PDF

        Definition games are good predictors for parsomatics.

      • Judith might also consider why she hasn’t made a move 10 or 20 yrs ago?

        Surely tenure has nothing to do with it??

      • the ivory tower is very comfortable and safe. thank the brouhaha circa 2005 surrounding hurricanes and global warming for introducing me to the real world. And being able to afford to retire from academia gives you a different perspective.

      • Your belated discovery of the real world explains the wide-eyed wonder of many of the posts, which, for many of us I suspect, are just routine issues; decision making under uncertainty and major consequences stemming from our predictions/diagnoses.

      • well tell that to the academics, including those involved in the IPCC that are seeking to influence global energy policy

      • David L. Hagen

        curryja
        You are most welcome to the real world and we very warmly appreciate your efforts to provide a bridge to the “ivory tower.”

      • @JC: And being able to afford to retire from academia gives you a different perspective.

        Perhaps that effect is more pronounced in Georgia than California…? ;)

      • “Though as someone else has pointed out, I think she really means academic vs commercial. Academic vs professional doesn’t make much sense to me…at least not how Judith has framed it.”

        County or state authorities have interest in where a hurricane will track, as would oil operators or anyone managing people and assets could be in path.
        Who Judith is talking about are people who generally been educated by academics, and have been hired because they have this background that qualifies them to work in the field. These people are constantly keeping up with information related to what they do as professionals.

      • Judith,

        “well tell that to the academics, including those involved in the IPCC that are seeking to influence global energy policy”

        Academics might also seek to influence economic policy, or world health policies. Why shouldn’t they?

        The alternative to medical academics , and I’d include all those who work for organisations like the WHO as academics, is to leave it up to politicians and the pharmaceutical companies. That would be a disaster, The companies are in it for the profit, and they’d even more lobby the politicians, who aren’t medically qualified, in their own interests. It’s only the academics who can be relied on to offer impartial advice.

        Its essentially the same situation in the so-called ” climate debate” except that the impartial advice of climate scientists is politically unacceptable to those with ultra right wing opinions.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Not true tt – there are diseases like malaria, AIDS and dysentary for which we have different but simple and effecctive approaches. We need to put the solutions into the hands of local people. They need energy, refrigeration for vaccines, communications, roads, safe water and sanititation, educational resources. They need engineers and agronomists, nurses, doctors, truck drivers…. Don’t you agree tt?

        With climate I believe those scientists who aren’t high priests of the cult of AGW space cadets. Do you see the difference? With responses I prefer those that are likely to actually work in the real world rather than ‘magic solutions’ passed down from on high.

      • Chief,

        Health issues, depending on their nature, need to be addressed the local and/or global level depending on their nature.

        Globally, international co-ordination was needed to eradicate smallpox and, currently is needed to eradicate polio in a similar manner.

        Polio won’t be eradicated by “put(ting) the solutions into the hands of local people”. It needs involvement of the WHO to co-ordinate the global strategy with of course local involvement where needed.

        Neither will it be eradicated by pharmaceutical companies. What is their incentive?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You need to put the vaccines – refrigerated – into the hands of local health clinics. It implies an entire infrastructure that WHO is not constituted to supply. And it is only one disease of many.

    • Is there something you’d like to say about Joshua’s comment?

      Please try to think about something useful to say while your dogs take you to walk.

      • Nail that jelly to the wall,
        Ignore the mess upon the flaw.
        =============

      • “The climate that we experience results both from ordered forcing [nominally, it's the Sun, stupid] and chaotic behaviour [crap happens—e.g., if Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull blows its top or when the phenomenon of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators as described by Nikola Scafetta drops Maxwell's Silver Hammer down on our collective heads], the result of a system with characteristics of each [Bang! Bang!]. In forecasting prospective climate changes for the next century, the focus has been on the ordered system’s responses to anthropogenic forcing. The chaotic component may be much harder to predict, but at this point it is not known how important it will be.” (Rind, D. 1999 “Complexity and Climate”. Science, 284, 105-107)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Among likely voters, 78 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents believe humans are warming the earth, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.
        [...]
        Overall, 55 percent of likely voters polled by Bloomberg said warming is happening because of human activity. Thirty-six percent disagreed with that statement. Among Republicans only 26 percent agreed, while 64 percent disagreed.

        Climate is of course so complex that neither Democrats or Republicans understand it. In reality we may read, think and write for decades and still be on the foothills of discovery – and those who believe it is simple I accuse of ignorance, self delusion and utter nonsense. For me – one of the wonders of natural philosophy is that there is always another step to be taken into unknown. We may be someone ‘who struts and frets his hour upon the stage. And then is heard no more. It is a tale. Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury. Signifying nothing.’ Or we may be a toiler in the vineyard of knowledge hoping to comprehend something of the universe. Seldom are both possible at the same time in the one person.
        But there are a noisy few percent – including climate scientists, socialists and greens – whose have captured a good proportion of the stage and whose beliefs stem I believe from the ideas of limits – from which they seize on a simplified narrative of global warming as a morality tale. The great moral challenge of our time that mandates the destruction of capitalism and the reordering of society. Along the way they countenance the suspension of democracy, personal freedom and the rule of law. Anything less than ‘economic degrowth’ transgresses against limits to growth – and so it goes around in an ever diminishing spiral. By now it has the inviolable power of a cult – the cult of AGW groupthink space cadets. It is a psychopathology that narrows the focus of the sufferer to a single strand and a common pool of ideas.
        The fact remains that climate is complex, unpredictable with the tools we have at hand, radically and abruptly variable, resistant to simple analysis and unknown to a substantive degree. James Hurrell is someone I have quoted before from an article in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society. He makes an important point and makes it well. ‘The ‘global coupled atmosphere–ocean–land–cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamical phenomena with associated physical, biological, and chemical feedbacks that collectively result in a continuum of temporal and spatial variability. The traditional boundaries between weather and climate are, therefore, somewhat artificial.’ Acording to Hurrell – the tools for ‘solving’ that system involve 2000 times more computing power and $5 billion. This might take some time. Of course – with the climate system in its current mode – warming is unlikely for another decade or three and so we may have a little more time than some have suggested. This will – as well – likely change the complexion of future polls somewhat.
        Of course we look at the extent of hunger, disease and privation in the world and wonder why that is not the great moral challenge of our times. It is a challenge not of morality but of technological innovation and social organisation. Serendipity gives us a means to reduce immensely carbon dioxide in the atmosphere in doing things that meet the need for increased food production by 70% by 2050 – it is happening through the mechanisms identified by Elinor Ostrom amongst others. But there are many other paths to effective action on social progress that reduce carbon pressures at the same time. Technology and knowledge are expanding exponentially. There are so many technologies for intervening in the carbon cycle at so many points – one or more is bound to be cost effective sometime. Are we to think that our technological progress stopped in the 18th century? As we keep saying it is certainly more than time to broadly understand the global social dynamic and to find ways to move forward on multiple fronts.

      • There is a lot here to agree with except that I think it is a moral issue. However, the Church of Liberalism embraces an irrational dogma. Judeo- Christian values subscribe to the Ten Commandments, which provide a basis for civilization and rule of law. One need not worship or tithe to recognize the morality of these Commandments. As you pointed out, liberal dogma, first and foremost, subscribes to rule #1: “Any Leftist is a good Leftist.” They do have a second rule: “If you think a Leftist is wrong or bad, refer to rule #1.”

      • What is your position on 1-5?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        6 of one and half a dozen of the other.

      • Chief

        Good summary of CAGW opinion polls across US political parties, future computer power, the prospect of multi-decadal future cooling and global food production to feed a growing population by 2050.

        The ball is bouncing – and not in the direction foreseen or hoped for by IPCC, it seems.

        Max

      • Max

        Long term warming rate from year 1850 = 0.06 deg C per decade

        IPCC warming rate = 0.2 deg C per decade

        IPCC’s Magnification Factor = 0.2/0.06 = 3.3

        IPCC’s Climate Sensitivity for doubling of CO2 concentration = 3.2 deg C

        True Climate Sensitivity = IPCC’s Climate Sensitivity/ IPCC’s Magnification Factor = 3.2/3.3 = about 1 deg C.

      • Girma

        Your calculation makes sense.

        Another way to approach this (also with empirical evidence from actual observations) is to compare HadCRUT3 with atmospheric CO2 levels (estimated from ice cores for 1850 and measured at Mauna Loa today).

        To use these data, one has to make some assumptions.

        First: How much of the past warming was caused by natural forcing?

        IPCC models assume this is 7% of the total, conceding that its ”level of scientific understanding of natural (solar) forcing is low”.

        Several independent solar studies estimate that around 50% of the total warming can be attributed to the unusually high level of 20th century solar activity (highest in several thousand years).

        So we have a range, using the two estimates.

        Second: What was the impact of other anthropogenic forcings over the period?

        Here we can probably rely on IPCC (who has done a more thorough job studying anthropogenic rather than natural forcing factors): IPCC estimates that all other anthropogenic forcing beside CO2 (other GHGs, aerosols, etc.) have essentially cancelled one another out, so that the forcing from CO2 = the total anthropogenic forcing.

        This makes the calculation simple.

        Using the logarithmic relation, we end up with a 2xCO2 temperature response ranging between 0.8° and 1.4°C, or 1.1°C±0.3°C, very close to your estimate.

        Max

      • Max said

        “Using the logarithmic relation, we end up with a 2xCO2 temperature response ranging between 0.8° and 1.4°C, or 1.1°C±0.3°C, very close to your estimate.”

        So is that estimate from pre-industrial times? In other words around 290ppm and around 0.7C cooler than today? (for the sake of conveniemce we’ll ignore that this is comimg out of the LIA)

        If so, we are just about there it seems as regards the temperature. Anyone else-such as Iolwot-like to give us an estimate for doubling using the logarithmic relationship?

        tonyb

      • tony b

        [Somehow my response to your question ended up up-thread, so let me repeat it.]

        Yes.

        That was the basis I used.

        Let’s see if lolwot (or anyone else) wants to challenge it.

        Max

      • Max

        So that really assumes that the LIA temperature was ‘normal.’

        I’d sooner be warm than in the LIA

        Tonyb

      • That is the question: Sooner be or not.
        ================

      • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

        Of course the simple logarithmic response to a given increase in CO2 is meaningless to find the more important equilibrium response to a given warming, and even more than the equilibrium response, what we’d really like to know is what is the full earth-system response will be with all fast and slow feedbacks included, and beyond this, in what ways might the full earth-system response response be based on the rate of CO2 atmospheric increase, and then of course we also must add to this the additional forcing (and related feedbacks) caused by N20 and methane.

        In short, the logarithmic response is interesting, but only a very small piece of the overall bigger picture of the full earth-system response. Here models might be somewhat useful and the paleoclimate data also be somewhat useful, with the two sources combined beginning to shed light on the situation we might be headed for. First glance says look to the early Pliocene or even Miocene.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No I think I will just emulate my betters – (tug forelock) – by being inconsequential. I have tried for cryptic and mysterious but I just don’t have it in me to be willard.

      • David Springer

        Thanks for asking about Joshua. Yes, I wanted to say (actually I did say and it was deleted) that Joshua is a cowardly anonymous misogynist who may (we’re negotiating) be bribed into mustering up enough courage to harass Curry with his full name. Kind of seems unfair and one sided that she’s not anonymous and he is, don’t you think?

        By the way I don’t walk my dogs. They have free run of 2 fenced wooded acres.

        Anything other misconceptions about my life I can correct for you or will that be about all for today?

    • Joshua, “What motivates people in their work? Autonomy. The power to affect their own outcomes. Control over their time. Recognition. Doing a job well. Being creative. Expression. Solving problems. Working cooperatively with colleagues – and many other factors along with the limited set people often focus on to confirm their biases.” Forgot need. Unless there is a need or demand for the work, it is a hobby. Which is likely the point of the post, need for services versus wanting to get paid for something nobody wants or needs.

      If your personal financial situation changes what do you cut first, the wants or the needs?

      BTW, societies, financial markets, life in general is chaotic in the mathematical sense, there are no guarantees.

      • Cap’n -

        I don’t completely understand your point, but here’s a riff anyway.

        Which is likely the point of the post, need for services versus wanting to get paid for something nobody wants or needs.</blockquote

        Here you run up against the libertarians in our midst – who argue that someone's value, or in other words the "need" for their work, is defined by how much they can earn. Last I checked, most academics do OK in that regard.

        This distinction that Judith creates is a false one, and like many of the other distinctions she creates to confirm her take on the good guys and bad guys in the climate debate

        My nephew is about to graduate with a Ph. D. in physics from Berkeley. With zero experience in the commercial world, he will be able to walk into highly paid and much sought-after work in any variety of contexts in the private sector.

        My brother is a professor of electrical engineering (signal processing). At any time over those years he might have switched over to the private sector if he had so desired. The work he does (mostly related to bioengineering) has much cross-over with the private sector.

        People in academia leave to go to the private sector all the time. People move back from the private sector into academia. The private sector relies to a great degree on research conducted in academia.

        This notion that there is one set of descriptors that work for the private sector and another for academia is a manifestation of confirmation bias. Of course, there are some general differences that perhaps apply to some degree at the level of the individual – but even more obviously the variability within each sector is far greater than some general distinction that could be drawn to compare one sector to the other. It always cracks me up when people from the private sector try to praise the efficiency or accountability in that sector relative to academia or the public sector. – as if there is some vast difference. IMO, it takes some pretty opaque lenses to view the private sector with that level of fetishism.

      • Joshua, when I was in college there was a rather dramatic number of my peers that either did not graduate or stopped at a BS because there was a demand for their talents. It was the computer revolution and most universities where not even close to the cutting edge. I was strapped for cash and took a job in HVAC, not installing them, but making them work with new digital controls, hybrid digital/analog pneumatic which created quite a few interesting challenges with the unstable nature of many of the system components. Fun times, especially with adaptive feed forward, PID systems that tended develop antisocial behaviors. I filled a need.

        Dr. Yet-Ming Chiang, thought he filled a need with a new battery design. He founded A123 to realize his dream. Google them.

        Being able to freshout get a job is not the same as keeping a job.

      • Cap’n -

        Still now sure where you’re going with this:

        Joshua, when I was in college there was a rather dramatic number of my peers that either did not graduate or stopped at a BS because there was a demand for their talents. It was the computer revolution and most universities where not even close to the cutting edge.

        Same trend was true a while back with MBA students. I worked with quite a few at a top business school who dropped out after one year because they calculated that there would be a huge marginal gain from getting back into the private sector just one year earlier as compared to adding an MBA to their resume. (Of course, they also realized that there wasn’t much of intrinsic value to what they were learning in their program – the real value was in the networking opportunities presented).

        Anyway, that was a product of the economy of the time – not some generic reflection of the superiority of the private sector versus academia. Top-tier consulting companies regularly differentially hire people who have doctorates in fields completely unrelated to business because they find their academic training to be far superior, as compared to people with years of private-sector experience, to improving the consulting firm’s bottom line. In the end, you have businesses who decide (much to my amazement) to spend gobs of money to hire, at great expense, people who have no field-specific expertise but only the advantages of academic training. These are top-level execs who decide to spend that money – people who have been highly successful in the private sector.

        The private sector vs. public sector animosity is nothing new. It is just another brand of tribalism. In the field where I have spent most of my working life – education – I see it all the time in the wars between the practitioners and the theoreticians. Both groups, in general, fail to realize that the trick is to straddle the line between theory and practice, and to learn from each. The same was true when I was a carpenter. Nothing was quite as funny as when we found architects making obvious errors, designing something that couldn’t be built because they lacked hands-on experience. I remember one time when an architect working on a complicated multi-level project designed something where there was about 5′ of clearance between a floor and a ceiling. We went ahead and built it anyway and then charged the architecture firm to pay us time and materials to tear it out and rebuild something that was more practical (that firm had been a pain and we wanted to recoup some of our losses due to their incompetence). But the invaluable insight we gained from years of experience in making conceptual models become a reality, there was a inherent defensiveness in how carpenters carped about the tutti-frutti, ivory tower, weenie architects. I see exactly the same kind of defensiveness when engineers go on and on about how they’re so much more practical and realistic and trustworthy and efficient and ethical and productive and accountable (and no doubt good looking) than those tutti-frutti, ivory tower, weenie academics.

        I’m sure that given your experiences strattling both sides of the battle lines in the HVAC world, you know exactly what I’m talking about here.

      • Joshua, there will always be carping between the trades and the designers. I have plenty of horror stories. I had one sheet metal foreman on a huge project that only had two minor punch items for the whole frigging project. I thought I had broke his heart when I showed him two missing feet of 6″ round pipe and a CV box mounted upside down. Shame he retired, made my like easy.

        Judith’s point though is that there are different standards. Most of the climate science doesn’t meet anyone’s minimum standards other than climate scientist’s. So pointing out a difference or a mistake is a good thing, that how folks learn. You seem to think she is on some vendetta when she is just doing her job.

      • Cap’n -

        You seem to think she is on some vendetta when she is just doing her job.

        Nah. No vendetta. She’s just go her biases – like everyone else. And like most folks in the debate, although not all, she doesn’t try very hard to control for her biases. That’s why she draws these facile, self-serving distinctions where she reverse engineers from people’s opinions to draw these broad, inaccurate, and unquantified (ironically, given her stress on scientific quantification of certainty) characterizations.

      • @cd: Fun times, especially with adaptive feed forward, PID systems that tended develop antisocial behaviors.

        Dern tootin. Tuning a PID controller is for the birds, every time your envelope changes you have to retune. The supposed advantage of PID is that it’s much simpler than optimal control, but that’s not true, there are feed-forward systems that do much better than PID while being just as simple.

      • Perhaps I should invite Josh to sit in on the Wants verse Needs module from Junior Achievement’s curriculum. It’s the one taught to 1st graders.

      • I know it’s a cheap shot, tim, but other than that I don’t know what that is supposed to mean. Perhaps you could elaborate. What is it that I fail to understand at a 2nd grade level?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is from the each according to their capacity curriculum.

      • Josh,

        Not a shot at your understanding level.

        Only a suggestion that the material might prove educational to you.

      • tim -

        Not a shot at your understanding level.

        Only a suggestion that the material might prove educational to you.

        Huh? So saying that 2nd grade level material might “prove educational” to me isn’t a shot at my understanding level?

        Could you explain in a bit more detail, tim?

  41. David Springer

    Pekka Pirilä | October 1, 2012 at 3:17 am |

    Giving a reference to Fred Singer is a sure way of losing credibility on one side of the debate and even among non-committed. He has been so vocal on one side that whatever he writes it’s not taken seriously – or even read – by those who are not on the same side as he is.

    You can’t lose what you don’t first have. No skeptic has an credibility with the usual suspects. Just as Richard Lindzen. The fact is Singer is a distinguished emeritus scientist with a PhD in atmospheric physics earned at Princeton. Criticism of Singer coming from no-name foreign asshats like Pekka Pirila whose whole damn country has no credibility is risible.

    • This blog’s stated goal was to attract a diverse set of opinions. All that is required to participate is an email address, which is not revealed to the public (an implied endorsement of commenter privacy). There is not a whisper indicating one should use real names. Her invitation to participate did not have have any caveats except a promised intolerance of misbehavior.

      You are in habitual violation of the blog rules: a serial offender.

      Like all natural bullies, you have no honor. The rules here are easily understood, and it’s easy to maintain a blog demeanor that remains mostly in full compliance.

      So Judy needs to decide here. She can bow to your bullying and require commenters use their real names, which would cut traffic here to drips and drabs, or she can stand behind her original intent by defending it, which would mean the end of you.

      • I fully support people’s right to remain anonymous. Where I see challenges to reveal identity, I delete the post (I don’t catch all of them).

      • Brian G Valentine

        If I had a blog I would make people use their real names. Somehow, like no blog comments unless confirmation email is sent from a legitimate work email or something

        I don’t know why people would remain covered by an alias, I don’t know why people wouldn’t be proud of who they are and the name their family gave to them

      • David Springer

        I’m kind of hoping shame will work in some cases. Obviously you have none.

      • I’d suggest commenters should be catagorised: L, LL, FLL, R

        i.e. Left, Loony Left, Far Loony Left, Rational.

    • Dave,

      Civility is a virtue for its own sake. And as for the Finns, head back to history class. Who do you think were Gustavus Adolphus’ shock troops? Who do Russian mommy’s threaten their children with when they misbehave? Who makes the cell phone you may be using?

      Note: I’ll admit to some bias here. One of the Program Managers the non-profit education org I am involved with was from Finland. He is also an engineer by training and the impact he had to our science education programs was considerable. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I liked him so much.

      • David Springer

        Give me a break. Finland has less than 2% the population of the US. It’s smaller than Arizona in area, population, and economy. Plus Arizona has more desirable weather which is reflected by the fact that Finland’s population has grown less than 10% since 1990 while Arizona’s population almost doubled during that time. Finland, in other words, is a little less important in the grand scheme of things than the state of Arizona. These are the facts. You may interpret them as you like.

      • Brian G Valentine

        David, that sounds awful. I agree with a lot of what you have to say, but now you’re off the deep end.

        Too far.

      • Yet their school education system is one of the best in the world, because school teaching is a highly qualified, well paid and competitive job in that country. CNN had a program comparing education systems, and the US doesn’t come out so well compared to Finland.

      • So Mr. Springer, in other words, just because Finland is such a small country and unimportant place, you can safely ignore what Pekka Pirilä has to say? How does he dare, coming from such a small and unimportant place to question the authority of somebody from a Greater Nation?

      • Dave Spriger’s behavior is not my problem, it’s his.

      • There are times Dave that you do an outstanding job of demonstrating what the “jar” in jarhead means.

        Let me put it this way – do you want to be another WEB, ie a mean spirited, nasty dick?

      • Pekka

        Guess you and I are irrelevant, since our countries (Finland and Switzerland) are so small.

        At least we’re not going broke (at this point).

        And (as Jim D has pointed out) Finland scored better than the USA on quality of secondary education (so did Switzerland BTW).

        But, when it comes to the quality of universities, the USA came out #1.

        [There was no poll on the relative COST of a university diploma, but I suspect the USA is also #1 in this category.]

        “Horses for courses”, as the Brits say.

        Max

  42. We now know global warming is all political. Hugo Chavez approves of the Administration’s energy policy. He essentially endorsed the Democrat party today. This after being invited to the US not long ago to condemn Bush.

    • The Future shall not belong……

      in coming.
      =======

      • It is perfectly clear that Chavez sees political advantage in being overt in his anti-Americanism. The UN is a forum for that. And, it is for that reason the US should be a revolutionary, kick the UN out of NY and found a global institituion whose members have respect for individual liberty.

      • The Future shall not belong

        to those who express themselves freely.
        =============================

      • “A modern civilization is only possible when it is accepted that singular beings exist and express themselves freely.”

        ~Tahar Ben Jelloun

  43. Historically there is a difference in approach between climate science and weather forecasting. Here is my impression of the difference.

    Commercial weather forecasting looks at the short term – ie. what is the weather going to be in the next few days or weeks. This is the main commercial application of the science of the atmosphere. My impression is the approach is highly empirical, rather than theoretical. It relies on looking at weather patterns in the past, which have been similar to the present, and determining on the basis of past experience, on a the basis of probabilities, what the weather will be in the future. Basic physical principles like the effects of GHG’s on radiation are less important to short term forecasting. The rewards / punishment of good / bad forecasts are immediate, and the experience of success or failure provides the discipline which impels a forecaster to hedge her bets . This is what Dr. Curry feels is useful chastening experience.

    On the other hand, what climatologists do in the way of forecasting the far future of climate, does not and cannot by have the same reward and punishment system. They are forced to refine their models almost exclusively by hindcasting. The nature of their work makes them consider more basic physical models, than weather forecasters, but certainly a lot of empiricism is also involved and this that the chaotic nature of climate makes gives them their uncertainty. Climate long term forecasts are not actually tested in with the same daily frequency as weather forecasts. So, unless Climatologists change fields and become weather forecasters, it seems to me that they can’t take Dr. Curry’s advice, and get private sector experience similar to what weather forecasters get.

    Looking at the IPCC’s reports and forecasts, one sees that they are full of the language of uncertainty. The language does not seem calculated to inspire overconfidence in their projections. I see humility in this, not the hubris that Curry and others on this blog are ascribing to academics.

    Given the nature and projections made by the scientists, the question is what policies make sense? The results of the policies need to be input into the models and projections need to be made of the outcome, and the advantages and disadvantages need to be evaluated on an economic basis.

    I don’t see a commercial analogue of this procedure, that would inform climate scientists about how to do what they are doing better. The Silicon Valley engineer entrepreneurs don’t seem like a relevant analogy to me. They are using their engineering experience and imagination to design a product that a lot of people will buy.

    • Yah, yah, Eric, the IPCC is so humble they congregate in rags in Rio and Kobenhaven and have pity on the poor people.

      Uncertainty has made them humble, what a laff-riot. Don’t you know, ‘IT’S WORSE THAN WE THOUGHT!!!!
      ====================

    • Eric, there is a burgeoning cottage industry in ‘climate services,’ there is some private sector action but a strong push by government agencies such as NOAA. If you would like to imaging what this would look like without ‘professionalism,’ read my recent post A national strategy for climate modeling. http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/14/national-strategy-for-advancing-climate-models/

      See p 182-185 in the NRC report

      Recommendation 12.1: To promote the effective application of climate models, the United
      States should develop climate interpretation certification and continuing education
      programs to train a cadre of climate interpreters who can facilitate the interpretation of
      climate model output into usable information for a variety of decision makers and
      communicate user needs to climate modelers.

      • Is there a market for climate risk assessment for the insurance industry?

      • Howard, you’ve got a great nose; can’t you smell the bubbling?
        ==============

      • There would be if there were a risk from the climate. You might ask a similar financial question: why are wind turbine manufacturing shares heading toward zero toward what appears to be 3pm GMT on the 31st December (hint that is 12pm Kyoto time)

      • “Is there a market for climate risk assessment for the insurance industry?”

        Judith, I’ve said this before – is it not possible to find a risk assessor with no axe to grind (eg recently retired) to tell us in a post what the ‘actuarialist’s’ view is of CAGW? They, after all, occupy the far, sharp end of the academic/professional continuum.

        My guess is that those, like Zurich, who have been offering protection against CAGW-related losses have been sniggering all the way to the bank for a decade or so. We are now well into, and in some cases past, the many of the dire predictions generated by the CAGW industry – and of course none have come to pass. Nice work if you can get it.

        But it would be fascinating to hear from those who have actually borne the risks of the space cadets (h/t CH) being right.

    • Eric said:

      I don’t see a commercial analogue of this procedure, that would inform climate scientists about how to do what they are doing better. The Silicon Valley engineer entrepreneurs don’t seem like a relevant analogy to me. They are using their engineering experience and imagination to design a product that a lot of people will buy.
      ——————————–
      Eric, I think you are seriously underestimating the work, and the impact, of the people who created the digital age. They were not just a bunch of nerds and marketing gurus chasing a buck by designing cute fashion accessories.. They actually invented stuff, improved stuff to the point where it is almost unrecognisable from the original, transformed economic and social relations, vastly improved people’s standard of living and quality of life, etc.

      And, they did all this under the discipline of the market. It was messy, unco-ordinated and sometimes bloody. But the results are extraordinary, as anyone who was around more than 25 years ago can attest.

      What the academic and advocacy groups want to do is all of the above, but with a top down, publicly funded model, backed up with coercion (eg through regulation and taxes). This has never worked in the past, and coincidentally secures a comfortable living at public expense for those on the bandwagon or, as some say, gravy train.

      I support pure research at public expense. But, as soon as researchers start asking for money to tell us how they think we should live, the drawbridge goes up, as far as I am concerned. That includes the vast sums of money spent on Playstation style models and their many offshoots, which are explicitly aimed at scaring policymakers into doing things they would otherwise never do.

      • Johanna,

        Excellent comment. I agree with all that.

        If I can go off topic a little, I’ve been advocating for a long time that we could reduce global CO2 emissions AND do it in such a way that it is economically rational. We don’t need to direct it to happen by regulation. We need to allow it to happen by removing the regulations that are blocking it from happening – for example, by removing the regulatory impediments that prevent us having low-cost nuclear power.

        These two paragraphs in your comment are relevant.

        Eric, I think you are seriously underestimating the work, and the impact, of the people who created the digital age. They were not just a bunch of nerds and marketing gurus chasing a buck by designing cute fashion accessories.. They actually invented stuff, improved stuff to the point where it is almost unrecognisable from the original, transformed economic and social relations, vastly improved people’s standard of living and quality of life, etc.

        And, they did all this under the discipline of the market. It was messy, unco-ordinated and sometimes bloody. But the results are extraordinary, as anyone who was around more than 25 years ago can attest.

        Imagine if a similar thing was allowed to happen with nuclear power. What would be the cost of nuclear power in a decade or two from now if the shackles were removed (as appropriate, of course).

  44. Judith Curry

    “With the growing relevance of climate science to decision making and regulations, it is incumbent upon the institutions that support science to bring professional perspectives to the climate science-policy interface. However, I don’t even see this issue being raised; these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable. There is a fundamental disconnect here, this is probably obvious to most of the Denizens, but that doesn’t register on the academic radar.
    Your ideas on this?”

    You touch upon a real dilemma. First of all, there is the problem of “bias” among the “academics” and an attempt to cover up “uncertainty” in their knowledge.

    Nassim Taleb points out that “experts” are often worse at making predictions (especially over the longer term) in their field of expertise than non-experts. This is not because of what they know. It is because of “what they do not know”.

    Donald Rumsfeld mused about the “unknown unknowns”.

    Thomas Kuhn referred to the “paradigm” in scientific research. Thinking within the “paradigm” is normal and easy. Thinking “outside the box of the paradigm” is difficult, unpleasant and sometimes even physically impossible. Data points that lie outside the “paradigm” are ignored or discarded as “outliers”.

    Add to this the pressure on “academics” of having to “publish” and the politically established “consensus process”, which pervades climate science today and which (I presume) every academic in this field feels.

    And, of course, there were the shenanigans of a handful of misguided zealots as revealed by Climategate.

    And you are right that “normally” (outside climate science today) it doesn’t really matter that much if an academic “got it wrong”. The important thing is that he/she “published”.

    And “publishing” in climate science almost demanded that the importance of AGW had to be mentioned in order to get published in the first place.

    If an engineer “gets it wrong” bad things can happen. Structures can collapse, chemical plants can explode, people can die.

    So, as a result, most engineers are rational skeptics by nature (or by profession). Empirical data based on actual observations are the most important criteria. If there is no such hard evidence that “it will work”, the engineer will be skeptical. [You see it here with many of your denizens, who are engineers or “applied scientists”, rather than "academics".]

    Model simulations based on theory and subjective interpretation of dicey reconstructed data from cherry-picked periods of our planet’s distant geological past do not constitute hard evidence. These are much too loosy-goosy (like reading tea leaves).

    An auditor is even more skeptical. If there are any flaws in the logic or methods used, the red flag of caution goes up.

    This skeptical mentality is an annoyance to academics, as it complicates their freedom and ability to publish. And when it begins to challenge their established “paradigm”, they often become defensive, as was seen by the reaction to the McIntyre + McKitrick challenge to the Mann hockey-stick.

    Bringing a “professional perspective” to climate science today, especially as it interfaces with policy, would require the abolishment of the IPCC “consensus process” as it exists today.

    The panicky “even though we cannot be sure, it could be so bad that we must act now” mentality would have to disappear completely.

    No doubt this would require a basic change in mindset: no more “post-normal” stuff; projections from model simulations based on theory may be academically interesting as hypothetical “what if?” deliberations, but only those forecasts which can be backed by hard empirical data are considered relevant for policymakers.

    The scientific “institutions” have simply become political mouthpieces for the “consensus” position – this must end, as Jim Cripwell has also commented above.

    That’s “what” would be required IMO.

    Now we get to the question of “how” this could be achieved.

    How could “professionalism” be brought into the climate debate today and the “academics” be put back into their box?

    How could the dissenting views of “rational skeptics” be included rather than excluded?

    IMO this would mean abolishing or drastically changing IPCC itself and its relation with UNEP.

    The political leadership of institutions, such as RS or NAS, would need to be replaced with individuals who think like “professionals” rather than “academics” (or, worse yet, politicians).

    It would also have to include a complete revamp of any future IPCC report (AR5?) to include all dissenting scientific views and areas of uncertainty and to stress where there are no empirical data supporting the conclusions or projections.

    In particular, the report should state clearly that the premise of a “climate sensitivity” of more than 1C is not based on any empirical evidence but on model simulations alone and, as such, is no more than an educated guess that could be completely wrong, inasmuch as there is still great unresolved uncertainty regarding natural versus anthropogenic impacts on our climate.

    The report should remove all projections that extend more than one decade into the future as these are far too speculative based on the limited empirical knowledge we have today.

    Policymakers should be told that – contrary to the conclusions as stated in earlier reports – there is, as yet, no conclusive empirical scientific evidence neither that human activity is causing any measurable detrimental changes in our climate, nor that it will do so in the future.

    Then we come to the “who”.

    “He who pays the piper calls the tune”, and the “piper” in this case is the politicians – who are spending taxpayer money to pay for “the tune”.

    The “politicians” may want ulterior reasons to “act now” but, in effect, the “payer” (in a democratic society) is the taxpaying general public.

    The more this general public is informed (rather than indoctrinated) the better will be the result.

    Blogs, such as Climate Etc., can help the “information process”. Then it’s up to each individual to inform his/her representative to make sure the policy makers are listening to the “payers”

    So keep up the good work.

    People are listening.

    Max

    • Blogs, such as Climate Etc., can help the “information process”. Then it’s up to each individual to inform his/her representative to make sure the policy makers are listening to the “payers”

      I agree Max.

    • “In particular, the report should state clearly that the premise of a “climate sensitivity” of more than 1C is not based on any empirical evidence but on model simulations alone and, as such, is no more than an educated guess that could be completely wrong”

      Interesting that you only mention a lower end, you don’t for example say the report should clearly state that climate sensitivity of less than 5C is not based on any empirical evidence.

      • lolwot

        A “climate sensitivity” of 5C is falsified by “empirical evidence” of the CO2/temperature response from 1850 to today.

        Even if one assumes (as IPCC does) that 93% of this observed forcing was from added CO2 (an assumption that is refuted by several independent solar studies, which suggest that half of the observed warming was caused by the sun), one arrives at a 2xCO2 temperature response of around 1.4 degC.

        If one accepts the conclusions of the solar studies, it is 0.8C.

        So we are somewhere between one-sixth and one-third of your 5C figure.

        Tilt!

        Max

  45. There is another aspect of academics trying to make policy: they are not only isolated from decision-making, they are increasingly isolated from the rest of the real world. Charles Murray’s “Coming Apart” effectively points out that our society is splitting into enclaves that are largely (self-)isolated from each other. The more affluent 30% almost never sees the lower 40%. As Murray points out, academics reside in the more affluent enclaves. For example, seen any Starbucks on Skid Row? In an interdependent world, they have little ability to conceive what unintended consequences might result. So – not only do they have little experience in decision-making, they also have no idea of what the impacts of the policies they push on the “Lower 40″ might be.

    • John, as it happens, I live in a very mixed area where there are quite a lot of dossers, some of whom I’m friendly with; and some of whom have taken me as one of themselves, telling me where I can get a cheap feed or asking where the (charity) food van is. No enclaves, round here, mate. But I take your point.

    • Agree that is the cast for most. There are exceptions of course.

  46. Since we’re into anecdotes, here’s one I just found back again:

    Anyone who has done both academic research and industrial research (like I did) will understand this readily. If you work in industry and have to develop a product that actually works, academic research is just hopeless. You might find useful clues in journal papers, but normally you have to do the work all over again to make sure what’s in there is actually true. “Peer review” is just not good enough.

    Just one example from my personal life. There are probably hundreds of academic scientists across the world that work on high bandwidth, long distance fiber optic systems. End of the 90′s, I became part of a company that was actually developing, selling, and installing such a system. What we had then was the best system in the world, in terms of performance. How did we achieve that? We could have done it “climate science” way: form an international group of academic scientists, and ask them to produce a report based on all peer reviewed science, and based on their conclusions, build the system. Would that have worked? Well, good luck if you think it would.

    Instead, our CEO hired six of the best fiber optics scientists in the world, only six, with a great team of supporting engineers and technicians, and plenty of money to buy the best equipment. Within about a year and a half, we had resolved all the main issues and built the best system in the world, with performance better than anything published in scientific journals of the time. None of that was ever published, nor was it ever the point. But you bet it was fully documented.

    So the work of six scientist actually beat that of hundreds of academic scientists.

    Could that work for climate science? Absolutely. The fallacy here is to believe that we NEED hundreds of climate scientists in all sorts of sub-fields to get the answer we need. Not true. But the reason we are made to believe that is that those academic scientists tell us so. And they tell us so because they see in AGW a great occasion to get more funding.
    But when you look at it from the point of view of, say, a V.P. of R&D, you can simplify the problem, and focus on a couple of main issues that need to be resolved. You then go out and hire the best scientists, give them full support, make sure the work is fully documented. And do NOT ask them to publish. Do, however, pay them handsomely, and free them from the burden of asking for grants all the time, and relying on those grants for their professional future.

    Some more testimonies along these lines could be found, but let’s get real: this is mainly mind framing. What does the target lack? Business experience. So let’s shoot from the hip there, and let the audience draw circles.

    In any case we have at least 20 millions reasons to think this is more than mind framing.

      • Heh, Willard, I like my contribution upthread at your link:

        There is an easy solution. Establish a Secretariat of Science, and people it with clones of Steve McIntyre. Give it utter authority over Truth. Then stand back and admire the Circumlocution.
        ===================

      • We already can, dear kim, just watch this:

        > As a mild break from Lewandowsky’s fake data and false results, I am going to revisit IPCC 1990 Figure 7, which I discussed in several Climate Audit posts from 2005-2008 – a topic that was raised at Lewandowsky’s blog by conspiracy theorist John Mashey, who, rather than confronting the problems of Lewandowsky’s use of fake data, recently went into paroxysms of ecstasy at the discovery of an incorrect citation in an early Climate Audit post. An incorrect citation in a Climate Audit post – it doesn’t get much better than that for Mashey. Mashey feverishly extrapolated a simple incorrect reference to belief in a flat world.

        The circumlocutions just keeps going:

        > Normally, I’d just ignore this sort of deranged commentary, but the Climategate emails contained interesting context on IPCC 1990 Figure 7.1 that I’d noticed but not previously commented on.

        Please bow to the master:

        http://climateaudit.org/2012/09/30/more-on-the-iconography-of-ipcc-1990-figure-7/

      • Heh, you miss his subtle point. Observe the machinations of the Masheys and Manns and the Jones. What was in their minds to be so monomaniacal about sustaining the narrative? One that Nature thumbs her nose at, too, my good man.
        ============================

      • kim, kim, kim,

        The ball is the set of circumlocutions, not the players.
        Look what’s been fumbled from that paragraph.

        Have you ever heard Bishop’s karaoke of the Deming Affair?
        If not, please stick to rap battles.

        You might be playing with a business which is not yours, right now.

      • The globe is cooling, willard; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
        ======================

      • Please stick to the prophecy business, kim.
        You’re really good at repeating yourself.

      • The globe can’t cool. It is gaining energy, and short of a major change in the sun, beyond these minis often discussed, there is no end to it in sight.

      • ‘Can’t cool’ are strong words, JCH, historically, paleologically, unsupported. Willard, it bears repeating.

        We are cooling, folks; for how long even kim doesn’t know.
        =========================================

      • “Look, squirrel” bears repeating too.

      • Let’s add ‘look – denial!’ to the list of things that needs repeating when kim pops up with his idiot mantra.

        A temporary reduction in the rate of warming isn’t the same as *cooling*.

      • BBD

        Get serious.

        A “negative rate of warming” as we have seen since this millennium started is the same as a “rate of cooling” (in this case, slight, but there).

        Whether it continues for another one, two or three decades is anyone’s guess.

        It appears likely to me (based on the historical record) that the slow underlying rate of warming of around 0.06C per decade, which we have seen since the modern record started in 1850, will again resume some time in the future, even if the current COOLING cycle continues for another few decades.

        But who knows?

        Certainly NOT IPCC, who predicted warming of 0.2C per decade.

        Max

      • manacker

        A “negative rate of warming” as we have seen since this millennium started is the same as a “rate of cooling” (in this case, slight, but there).

        Cooling?

        - The reduced slope of the *warming* trend is evident only in the global average temperature reconstructions which include estimates of SSTs

        - SSTs may be modulated by the rate of energy transfer into the deep ocean (mixing rate)

        - The low heat capacity of the land surface allows for no such masking of the effects of AGW

        - But the effects of anthropogenic and natural aerosols and predominantly La Nina conditions are likely to have reduced the land surface warming trend over the last decade

        So what do we see if we look at the land surface temperature?

        Decadal trend 1975 – present (C)
        CRUTEM3 : 0.22
        NOAA land: 0.28
        GISS Ts: 0.21

        - We see that CRUTEM3 is a cool outlier

        - We see that the trend since 1975 was over 0.2C/decade

        - We see that the trend since 2000 is a *warming* trend and much higher that 0.06C/decade:

        Decadal trend 2000 – present (C)
        CRUTEM3 : 0.10
        NOAA land: 0.18
        GISS Ts: 0.16

        In summary, we see that the following statement is both incorrect and misleading:

        It appears likely to me (based on the historical record) that the slow underlying rate of warming of around 0.06C per decade, which we have seen since the modern record started in 1850, will again resume some time in the future, even if the current COOLING cycle continues for another few decades.

  47. Here’s everything you need to know…

    Personally, I liked the University; they gave us money and facilities, we didn’t have to produce anything. You’ve never been out of college. You don’t know what it’s like out there. I’ve worked in the private sector–they expect results.
    – Dr. Raymond Stantz (Dan Ackroyd), Ghostbusters

  48. Brian G Valentine

    The chaotic component may be much harder to predict, but at this point it is not known how important it will be.

    My goodness. An “unpredictable” chaotic component. How awful. What can be done to remedy the situation?

    Will carbon taxes help?

  49. Developing better or more accurate climate models may or may not be one of the side effects or benefits of bringing climate research out academia and into the practical “real world”. The mistake would be in trying to equate climate models with such “products” such as short-term and regional weather forecasting. It is a compoletely false comparison. Models are always taken to be wrong even when they are first created, but no weather forecaster would ever say that about a forecast.

    A more likely real-world beneft of bringing climate science into the practical world will be for geoengineering efforts, as it will take a perfiect blend of theory and engineering to accomplish successfully- not unlike, for example, the Manhattan Project.

    Overall, the general tone and direction of Judith’s post reminds of the ages-old tug of war between the theoretical physicists and those on the applied physics side. In truth, the tug of war between the these two general sides is necessary for development of the science and advancement of knowledge, not unlike the tug of war between true skeptics and those who think they have all the answers.

    • Gates

      You wrote- “The mistake would be in trying to equate climate models with such “products” such as short-term and regional weather forecasting.”

      Isn’t it just a question of the relative accuracy of the forecast over what timescale for the model’s output to be of value? I do not see that climate models and weather models being much different at all if/when the model is being used for considering government policy.

      The issue/problem with “climate models” is that some people believe that government policy should be implemented based on the output of climate models that have not been demonstrated to be able to make acceptably accurate predictions. Climte models inherently are long term and it is difficult to verify their accuracy.

      • I agree Rob. Policy should not be based on climate model output, but on real world observations. But the real world data and observations are something that can cut both ways, such that things can be both better or worse than we thought. Of course, “alarmists” will always look for the “worse” and “skeptics” will always look for the “better”, so they cherry-pick the real world and even the model output to make their case.

        The general point is that weather forecasts and climate model scenario runs are such very different things and even comparing them is misleading, and even doubly so when you do this to policymakers. In the near future, policymakers may have to begin to make choices about geogengineering technologies and uncertainty and even dangers involved there. At this juncture, academics and “real world” climate experts will need to work together to present the science and define the uncertainty for policymakers. This is not unlike the Manhattan project, where the two groups (academics and applied scientists) had to work as a team to do something that neither could do on their own. Fortunately (for the U.S. war effort) Oppenheimer was a unique blend of both and made a natural bridge between the two. For geoengineering efforts to be successful, and not frivolous, wasteful, or even dangerous, we need a climate scientist of the style and temperament of Oppenheimer.

  50. Chief Hydrologist quotes at | October 1, 2012 at 1:49 am |:
    ‘The climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.

    This statement contains a misconception about “non-linear chaotic systems” or just “chaotic systems”. “chaotic systems” can be predictable in various senses and the study of that subject is of great mathematical research interest. For example the Newtonian N-body problem is researched to see if the motions of the bodies are bounded. Other “chaotic systems” are studied to determine if there are points of attractions for trajectories of the system or periodic trajectories that serve as attractors for other trajectories. All these notions of trajectory motion deal with the concept of stability for a “chaotic system”.

    The problem isn’t that the “climate system is a coupled non-linear chaotic system”, instead, it is that there is no mathematical model of the climate system. (Don’t point to all the computer models — they don’t qualify and if you don’t understand why you should discuss it with a mathematician working in chaos theory). Without a model, climate research cannot answer the stability question or determine whether any long term prediction is possible.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      It is in fact a quote from WG1 TAR.

      Let me quote from Tim Palmer – the head of the European Centre for Mid Range Weather Forecasting – who says essentially the same thing as the IPCC.

      ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

      Essentially – systematically designed model families and new statisitical techniques to derive some meaningfull pdf. Not currently possible.

      There are other approaches looking at ‘slowing down’ and ‘noisy bifurcation’ even more in their infancies.

      • The “noisy Bifurcation” looks very promising. The reduction in variance as the system approaches a heteroclinic cycle appears to be pretty consistent as is the increase in variance with the increased distance to attractors. At least that is what I have noticed. In a complex system, the noise is often the signal. The slow passage through saddle nodes is also pretty consistent.

        Pretty neat stuff. Still trying to wrap my head around most of it.

        http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/370/1962/1185.full

      • Chief Hydrologist

        http://arxiv.org/abs/1007.1376

        Yes- an increase in auto-correlation as the system approaches bifurcation and dragon-kings at the tipping point.

      • Thanks for the link. BTW, Stott has a western pacific reconstruction with some interesting comments.

        http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/pubs/stott2007/stott2007.html

        I have been trying to tease out a better solar correlation to pair with the recurrent patterns.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/milankovic-changes.html

        Looks like it is Southern Hemisphere all the way.

      • The idea of shifting from a model of the state to a model of the probability of the state also isn’t because the system chaotic. Probability is use in modelling theory of gas particles no by reason of chaotic behavior, but because of the impossibility of knowing the state of a large collection of gas particles in any but a statistical sense — so statistical mechanics.

        The basic problem with climate modelling is still no agreed mathematical model which various organizations are approximating in computers. If we were dealing with one model with a number of different computational approximations, we would be trying to resolve differences by determining which computer approximations best approximated the math model — nobody seems to be doing this. In fact we have a number of computer programs which “climate scientists” think are the models of the climate.

        Well, this thought is wrong for many reasons, but the simplest to understand is a computer program uses only rational numbers — irrational numbers like pi can only be approximated and those approximations cause deviations between a computation and the math model it approximates and in a chaotic system these deviations can grow quickly (or slowly in a stable system).

        I don’t detect even the most basic appreciation for the modelling difficulties at issue.

      • Chief Hydrologist

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

        Do you understand that first of all – the motion of gas particles it not the same as complexity theory. Second – the climate system is non-equilbrium and that therefore the 2nd law of thermdynamics – while not entirely incorrect is yet complicated and therefore no reduction of the system comparable to statistical mechanics is yet envisaged.

        I have quoted the IPCC WWG!, James McWilliams and Tim Palmer. I’m sure that they have ‘not the most basic appreciation for the modelling difficulties involved.’

  51. I don’t think it is an accident that academics tend to be left-leaning politically, while more commercially minded people are right-leaning. The academics use their knowledge for the greater good via teaching it as widely as possible, and researching on scientific problems of general interest to publish it and advance science as a whole. The commercially minded want to use their knowledge for the good of their own circle and for profit-making, and would have a tendency to hide their knowledge from possible competitors. It is interesting that Judith is somewhere between these, and this explains much about her lukewarmer attitude. I think only a small minority occupy this middle ground.

    • It is often seen that the restrictions on knowledge transfer imposed by the commercial and military sectors don’t sit well with the academic mindset, which is why they tend to avoid those areas despite how lucrative they could be.

    • John Carpenter

      Jim D, I don’t disagree with your evaluation, however I find that many science based academic departments (engineering and chemistry for example) have been moving more and more toward working with commercial ventures in R&D in order to get funding rather than government grants. Many academics work in concert with commercial entities, co-owning IP and benefiting from the spoils of new invention. So this line between academia and industry is becoming more blurry than what you paint IMO. Regardless of being right, left or center… most people will not give away knowledge that gives them a competitive advantage… heck, haven’t we even seen shades of that in climate science? That is pure human nature.

      • I don’t disagree with this either. The new green industries are very proprietary about their own research and measurements, but meanwhile entrain academics to help them with the new science and engineering challenges. They have the money to support the science, but restrict the amount that gets out. The tension between academic and commercial priorities is there.

    • Latimer Alder

      @jim d

      ‘The academics use their knowledge for the greater good via teaching it as widely as possible, and researching on scientific problems of general interest to publish it and advance science as a whole’

      H’mmmm

      Seems a very rose-tinted view of academia. Humble and objective pure scientists toiling mightily after ‘the greater good’ and interested in nothing else than the future of humanity. To be compared and contrasted favourably with the ‘commercially minded’ whose only thoughts are to feather their own nests and bugger the rest.

      A very seductive illusion – all we need are white hats for the academics (hurrah!) and black ones for the ‘commercial’ (booo!! hiss!!) and we have the dramatis personae for a great western or pantomime.

      But we know that at least the academic part ain’t true. Our old friends – the gift that keeps on giving – the Climategate e-mails show us the inner thoughts and workings of an important circle of climateers.

      And if ‘the greater good by teaching it as widely as possible’ was indeed part of their motivations, they all kept very quiet about it over a period of a decade. Instead concealment, gaming the system, threats and bucketloads of Groupthink were the tactics they employed to help them win their own particular game of ‘King of the Castle’. The greater good of the Team Members was their primary concern and bugger ‘the advancement of science’.

      Maybe other branches of academia are indeed composed of white hatted saints…we do not have access to Biologygate or Physicsgate to tell. But somehow I doubt it. I remember well a senior academic in my own original field of Chemistry who had his grad students conduct his research primarily as a weapon in a 30 year feud with another professor. In many ways he was a splendid research leader and a great guy. But to claim these high-falutin’ motivations for him would be very much special pleading. He was just as motivated by normal human behaviours as you or me. He did not somehow become the intellectual equivalent of Mother Teresa just because he once wrote a DPhil thesis. And I doubt anybody else did either.

      So cut the pretence that the academics have some form of moral superiority over the rest of us mere flawed mortals. It is demonstrably untrue and sanctimonious lecturing on the topic does your cause no good.

      • Lati,

        You seem to be confusing an ancedotal example of motivation with the overall intent and effect of academia…….some might be unkind as to suggest this is not by accident.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        Absolutely no confusion at all in my mind.

        I can read the writings of the Climategate perps and be pretty confident that what they wrote was pretty much what they meant. They had no need to dissemble. I can think back to the old professor who made no secret of his hatred of another practitioner and of his determination to undermine him. And I can be reasonably confident that he represented his motivations fairly to us…he had no need to dissemble.

        Or I can listen to high-falutin’ evidence-light stuff about ‘the overall intent and effect of acdemia’ or ‘ the greater good via teaching it as widely as possible, and researching on scientific problems of general interest to publish it and advance science as a whole’

        all of which are extremely laudable objectives. But paying lip service to these noble aims is not the same as carrying them out in practice. Any more than a corporation’s ‘mission statement’ for public consumption necessarily reflects what its management and employees actually do.

        And there seems to be plenty of evidence that climatology in particular is rife with sharp practice, career orientation, backstabbing and general intellectual unpleasantness. This all helps to give the lie to the white coated myth of ‘Trust Us, We’re Climate Scientists’ which alarmists so assiduously peddle.

      • Yep – just a deliberate tatctic to conflate normal human foibles and academia.

        Lame.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        Care to explain to us what you use the term ‘conflate’ to mean here?

        Because if its pointing out that academics get no special moral brownie points nor their work any special significance simply by virtue of them being academics. than I plead guilty as charged.

        But perhaps you had something else in mind?

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        My case rests.

  52. David Springer said

    I’ve been in software engineering for over 30 years. No one purposely made anything difficult or hard to understand for job security. That’s simply a lie people tell themselves and others in order to avoid the conclusion that they themselves are too lazy or stupid to understand.

    I am afraid that you may have led a sheltered life. :-)

    I have seen job security through obscurity many a time. It is a lot harder to do today, with modern tools and practices, and a good manager generally won’t permit it. In the ’80s and even the early ’90s it was widespread. Many managers had no idea what their IT staff did and some got away with murder. I never did it myself (truly :-) ), but several times I have had to mop up after somebody retired or got fired.

    • David Springer

      Yeah, Australia’s a real hotbed of programming. Many’s the time at Intel, Microsoft, and Dell we wished we were located there so we could take advantage of all the talent. I’m just SO sheltered.

      • Well, that was a thoughtful contribution to a discussion.

        For what it’s worth, Intel, Microsoft and Dell are in Australia. They have large centres here and employ many Australian engineers.

        It may be that, since you are a non-Australian and thus such a superior person, the fact that you have not observed a practice is concrete proof that it does not occur. But in this particular backwater, our primitive logic does not support that assertion.

        Eiher way, I guess it is much easier to cast slurs on a whole country, of which you appear to know very little, rather than actually discussing the topic.

        Have a nice day.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Springer aims to shoot first and let’s God sort them out. He usually manages to shoot himself in the foot.

        And I was already pissed Capt. There is nothing Americans can do better than Australians other than bragging and bluster.

      • David Springer

        Michael J | October 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm | Reply

        “For what it’s worth, Intel, Microsoft and Dell are in Australia. They have large centres here and employ many Australian engineers.”

        McDonald’s has a presence in Australia too. Global presence of multinational corporations is the new colonialism. What’s your point?

      • Now you’ve done it David, pissed off the whole southern hemisphere.

      • It’s OK, cap – we don’t rely on his approval for … well, anything, really!

      • David Springer

        No big deal. Only 10% of the human population lives in the southern hemisphere. Be that as it may let me then extend a compliment to Australia’s software engineering. If your goal was to keep it a secret what you do in order to protect your jobs you’ve succeeded admirably because whatever they do there in software development remains a secret to this day. Congratulations, mates. Mission accomplished! :-)

  53. David Springer

    A poster upthread related a story about a commercial developer of the fastest (at the time) fiber optic transmission system who did it by hiring six of the world’s top scientists in the subject along with an army of engineers and technicians and all the money they needed to produce the product.

    Now imagine what commericial concern would do the same for the business of climate models. I mean the first thing that’s going to happen is someone is going to ask how much revenue a better climate model will generate. Are you laughing yet?

  54. Schrodinger's Cat

    The academic world and the private sector are different in so many ways.

    Scientists in industry are required to be speculative, creative and innovative, but also they need to deliver. Some failures may be tolerated, but not many. The output is normally tangible, like a process or a product, or enabling steps. Commercial scientists are rarely allowed to publish anything, with the exception of patent specifications.

    Funding is ultimately sanctioned by the board of directors. There is usually a continual and relentless obsession with value for money and cost reduction in any private company so funding of research and development is not a blank cheque or act of faith. It is rare for scientists to be left to do what they like, though a degree of freedom may be tolerated.

    R&D can be regarded as an investment and a cost. It is usually regarded as essential to underpin future competitiveness but it will be monitored closely to make sure that it delivers results.

    Most reputable companies want to develop professional managers and scientists and will invest in technical and managerial training for their staff. This will include finance, project management, communications, delegation, decision making and all the tools required to lead projects and supervise a team. Annual appraisals will identify training needs and review performance and may even contribute to salary grading.

    I suspect that in the academic world the source of funding is more remote and the monitoring less demanding. Pehaps the papers being published have been dressed up a little to justify the funds. Papers are not usually tested to destruction by the customer.

    Maybe the culture of training is less robust. Perhaps the quality of project management, professional supervision and performance measurement is less developed.

    When I look at the output of some climate scientists I know that they would not survive in industry beyond the interview and I wonder about why anyone should fund them at all. But then, it is only tax payers’ money.

  55. In the main article Dr Curry posted Latimer Alder says:

    ““So it seems to be a bit of a paradox how ‘climate scientists’ have somehow abrogated to themselves the conceit that they are and should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue.””

    Earlier in the thread I asked for a citation for this this, some sort of evidence to back up the statement. Who is saying climate scientists should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue?

    Several people replied, but there was no justification provided. So this is another call for evidence.

    Me suspects the complaint is much like a complaint that “‘doctors’ have somehow abrogated to themselves the conceit that they are and should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue (of medicine).”

    Not true, but many responsible people (including doctors probably) would correctly caution that their views on the issue should carry more weight. And so it is for Climate Scientists too.

    • We wouldn’t anyone practicing climatology without a license.

    • rogercaiazza

      In response to your question “Who is saying climate scientists should be the only parties allowed to speak on the issue?” I have a generic response. In my opinion anyone who invokes the statement that the 97% of scientists believe in anthropogenic global warming is implying that anyone who disagrees has no standing and should not be allowed to speak on the issue. It is a crude point but those who use that as justification are not interested in nuance and caveats. Therefore, in general, I would say it is not most climate scientists who make that argument.

    • Latimer Alder

      Sorry guv…unfortunate timing for this thread, I am mostly away from the internet until Thursday. But I just posted a quick response upthread.

  56. Speculation they are preparing a change in narrative if this delivery at the Royal Society a few months back a foretaste:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2012/06/globalists-switching-gears-royal-society-lecturer-says-co2-not-effecting-earths-temperature-2286412.html

    Fritz Vahrenholt, a German green energy investor, says he has reassessed his position on man-made climate change.

    Speaking at the 3rd Global Warming Policy Foundation Annual Lecture at the Royal Society in London, Vahrenholt was representing RWE Innogy , one of Europe’s largest renewable energy corporations.

    Vahrenholt, who reviewed the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) most recent report on renewable energy, noticed that there was an obvious lack of scientific data to support their assertions. A prominent member of Greenpeace, a UN propaganda arm disguised as a proponent of environmental concern, edited the final version of the IPCC’s report.

    The IPCC’s report, according to Vahrenholt, is littered with falsities and a complete disregard for natural factors that would be considered in fluctuating climate such as Earth’s.

    The sun determines the Earth’s temperature, as proven from real-world observations over the past 10,000 years.

    With the introduction of man-made carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere beginning in the 1850’s, the CO2 level has only risen 11 percent; which is nearly negligible.

    Empirical data has shown that pre-industrial carbon emissions were dependent on solar activity. This global warming was estimated by scientists as 1 degree Celsius. As far as the IPCC is concerned, this statistic could, and has, been manipulated to justify their agenda. However the account of the solar magnetic fields doubling over the last 100 years was completely ignored because it disavowed their scheme to blame carbon dioxide levels on human influences.

    Solar activity, CO2 levels and Earth’s surface temperature are interlaced factors defining climate parameters. As modern man has been using fossil fuels which disburse carbon dioxide, it made perfect sense for the IPCC to turn this obvious fact into an attack on man through fear-mongering and propaganda while suppressing natural processes.

    The infamous computer models used by the IPCC to justify their claims that CO2 levels are a direct causation of anthropogenic impact and regard solar influence as negligible. The IPCC inserts an “unknown amplifying mechanism” to explain away observed solar activity and its effect on the Earth’s overall temperature.

    Vanrenholt asks: “The IPCC’s current climate models cannot explain the climate history of the past 10,000 years. But if these models fail so dramatically in the past, how can they help to predict the future?”

    He then plugs Germany’s solar power replacing nuclear, but, this was before Germany making it obvious it was replacing nuclear with coal..

    There is another interview he gave to Der Spiegel:

    http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/breaking-global-warming-taboos-i-feel-duped-on-climate-change-a-813814-2.html

    ‘I Feel Duped on Climate Change’
    Part 2: ‘Dozens of Solar Researchers Agree with Me’

    Vahrenholt: I don’t claim that I know precisely whether the sun is responsible for a 40, 50 or 60 percent share of global warming. But it’s nonsense for the IPCC to claim that the sun has nothing to do with it.

    • The IPCC doesn’t claim the sun has nothing to do with it.

      Vahrenholt’s claims are bogus. Do you really stand by this guy Myrrh?

      he claims: “With the introduction of man-made carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere beginning in the 1850’s, the CO2 level has only risen 11 percent; which is nearly negligible.”

      How is an increase from 280pp to 390ppm 11%?

      “The sun determines the Earth’s temperature, as proven from real-world observations over the past 10,000 years.”

      This is BS too.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Sorry to get the middle of these snowball fights, but that 280 ppm figure carries a lot of uncertainty,

        but more importantly, it isn’t evident how much of the apparent CO2 increase since that time is the result of ocean degassing as a result of the emergence from the LIA.

        Observations of periodic climate over 100,000 year intervals indicate climate has never been anything more than a property of the Earth’s orbit

      • The oceans have absorbed more CO2 than they have emitted

    • You might want to look at Bart’s take on this. Suffice it to say, the Royal Academy ain’t gonna change its mind because of some guy from RWE, one of the biggest coal power producers in the world. Much more at the link, but the take home is

      —————
      The dominant influence of greenhouse gases follows not only from their basic physical properties, but also from their “fingerprint” in the observed warming. The sun, in contrast, has not exhibited any warming trend over the past 50 years. The sun is thus not responsible for the warming seen during this period. Greenhouse gases in all likelihood are.

      • Eli, that is an appalling attitude and no doubt that attitude is the reason why Kyoto ends in December.

        Tomorrow (3rd October) is the last possible day for 143 states to have ratified an amendment to save it … there is not even an amendment for them to agree, let alone ratify — which then takes 4-4 years.

        In other words, you are living in cloud cuckoo land.

        For 10 years climate “scientists” and other alarmists have been making such assertions that “the sun cannot be responsible” and that the climategate “scientists” were “vindicated” and that human influence is “certain”. And what has been the result?

        On the 31st of December there will be no Kyoto Commitment, and the markets are already well aware of this as wind manufacturing shares nose dive toward zero by year end.

        You might be able to convince yourself that you are right, but the evidence is that you haven’t convinced world leaders …. and at the end of the day, they are who counted.

      • Mike

        Eli’s in “cuckoo land” indeed.

        Or how about “Looney Tunes”?

        Where’s Elmer Fudd when we need him to stop that Cwazy Wabbit?

        Max

  57. The critical dichotomy lies not so much in the different ethos of academic and private sectors, but more in the stark distinction between the world of ideas and that of palpable reality. In either sector one can find scientists who live largely in one or the other world, with little ken of how the theoretical rubber meets the actual road. This is particularly apparent In the infant science of climate, wherein unvalidated computational model runs are touted as “experiments” and what real-world measurements are available prove inadedequate for unequivocal empirical determinations. Thus the frequent recourse to self-serving notions of consensus and to petty ad hominem attacks. It is not at all an appealing arena of scientific inquiry and critical thought.

  58. “With the growing relevance of climate science to decision making and regulations, it is incumbent upon the institutions that support science to bring professional perspectives to the climate science-policy interface. However, I don’t even see this issue being raised; these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable. There is a fundamental disconnect here, this is probably obvious to most of the Denizens, but that doesn’t register on the academic radar.”

    There is no disconnect for the majority of ‘climate scientists’ because the academic field was vastly expanded on the premise that global warming was a man made catastrophe in the making and the role of those entering the field was to not only to find confirmation of this, but to be actively involved in promoting political solutions. Lots of anecdotal reports a few years ago of entry at university level barred to any not positively agreeing with that agenda.

    And those not finding confirmation or confirmation not relevant to their work usually keep a low profile, often by adding a few lines of pc mutterings about their work showing link to some aspect of global climate change.

    So, “..these institutions seem focused on ‘communicating climate science’ as a way of making the proposed policies more palatable” is the reason for their existence in the first place, to change from this would mean changing their belief paradigm back to objective science, and that’s perhaps a shift too far to contemplate even if they could grasp the difference.

    This manifestation ‘climate science’ was organised to be a religion, it was never real science, but ‘science’ as a concept to give the policy changers legitimacy in establishing the belief system as a means to their end by using the fuel of emotional energy generated by the ‘useful idiots’. Maggie Thatcher an example here, who turned the greenies attention away from protesting nuclear power, and being anti Maggie, by harnessing their emotional energy against coal while she completely destroyed the great coal industry in Britain. Destruction of the other industries followed, steel, car, and much more besides.

    • This would be “the great coal industry” which produced coal at five times the cost of imported Polish coal, putting up the costs of all those energy-using industries you mention?

      • Dead right, Faustino. Why do so many people ignore that I wonder?

      • To whose profit was the cheap coal from Poland produced by cheap labour?

        A foray into the politics of coal production in Britain and its destruction by Maggie is a walk in a mine field.., from government exploiting a nationalised industry for its crony private interests to Scargill contributing to the destruction of polish mine workers independent Solidarity union movement by insisting they should remain with their government’s slave wage union; neither the Marxists nor the Capitalists gave a damn about the workers or the population of Britain who are still being screwed by ever rising costs of heating energy and ever greater control over them as slave labour.

        The ‘unions’ in Britain sitting on the board of the private company the Bank of England owned by the Banking Cartel, as they own the City of London which is outside of the UK as Washington is outside of the US, should flag that there is more to this saga than the mindless repetition of the ‘cheap coal from Poland’ meme would have us think. It was this banking cartel which financed the Communist takeover of the grass roots movement against serfdom. The number of serfs expanded..

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/551544.stm

        http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/wales/7200432.stm

        http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2125005/report-warns-carbon-floor-price-destroy-uk-coal-industry

  59. And now, for the flip side of the question.

    Do the natural advantages of being professional make up for lacking academic standing?

    http://sci.rutgers.edu/forum/showthread.php?t=92074 argues strongly that no, people who claim such credentials as climatologist or meteorologist without academic standing are prone to make themselves ridiculous spectacles.. even moreso than those with academic standing who claim to be climatologists or meteorologists.

    I mean, let’s face it, an apocalyptician who has been predicting gloom and doom since 1966 because of his particularly weather-oriented interpretation of scripture and who holds this gives him an astounding 75% accuracy rate in his predictions, is simply an absurdity that argues against allowing anyone who has ever touched a Bible from holding a position of responsibility in anything remotely climate-related. (UAH, I hope you’re paying attention.)

    And it’s not just my anti-rent-seeker bias talking when I make a case against academic foibles and follies. There are just as many business and corporate rent-seekers as there are educational higher-learning ones (many times more, in point of fact, and to a much higher level of funding from the public purse). There are just as many productive and value-adding academicians as a proportion of the population of the ivory tower as of the glass tower or blue collar world (many times more, in point of fact, and to a much higher level of return on investment).

    I’ve walked the academic path, both internally and as a professional consultant brought in from the outside, and I’ve walked the professional path at the US headquarters of some of the world’s largest corporations. I can tell you there are wingnuts and crackpots and people who talk through their hat in either. Each form of institution is made stronger by the light shone on its shortcomings from outside.

    Taken together, all-in-all, we’re richer for academic perspective in the mix, and poorer that there is so little of it. Our problem isn’t too much academic knowledge. It’s too little extension from centers of higher teaching to the larger community that so sorely needs the lessons sequestered inside the ivy covered halls.

    I don’t propose http://prezi.com/_fdaogoswjn1/climate-literacy-online-university-degree-certification/ is the end-all of solutions to understanding climate issues. I do, however, propose that if we can’t raise the ceiling we ought at least stop the floor lowering at such a headspinning rate.

    • <blockquoteI can tell you there are wingnuts and crackpots and people who talk through their hat in either.

      It is rather amusing that some folks who call themselves skeptics would not realize that.

      What’s amusing is that anyone with significant experience in the private sector would not realize that.

      What’s amusing is that anyone would think credible a long list of self-serving arguments (from people in the private sector) explaining how there is some “vast asymmetry” in the characteristics you describe. as you move across the academia/private sector divide.

    • Among likely voters, 78 percent of Democrats and 56 percent of independents believe humans are warming the earth, according to a Bloomberg National Poll.

      [...]

      Overall, 55 percent of likely voters polled by Bloomberg said warming is happening because of human activity. Thirty-six percent disagreed with that statement. Among Republicans only 26 percent agreed, while 64 percent disagreed.

      Must be all be one big coincidence, I’m sure. I mean it’s not like there’s some connection between political orientation and views on climate change (well, there might be among “realists” but obviously not among “skeptics.” The views of “skeptics” on climate change are based solely on objective analysis of the science – analysis that is free from the ideological biases we see in academia but not in the private sector).

    • “I do, however, propose that if we can’t raise the ceiling we ought at least stop the floor lowering at such a headspinning rate.”

      Well said.

      And it might be the answer to the question Judith posed in the previous thread.

    • Bart,

      Taking a single example and using it to support the idea that anyone who has ever touched a Bible should not be allowed to hold any position of authority – in any field – clearly places you in the jackoff category. People can be bigots over a wide raange of topics and you apparently want to show which ones bring out the bigot in you. Nice work.

      • timg56 | October 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm |

        I have a bias, but not the bigotry you and David Springer have jumped to. Why is it that you look at what I said, and saw instead what you feared?

        http://judithcurry.com/2012/09/30/academic-versus-professional-perspectives/#comment-247549

        People who practice divination using a Bible are no better than those who cast bones or read tea leaves. It’s all superstition, it’s all a form of what the Old Testament calls witchcraft (Exodus 22:18), it’s all irrational in the eyes of Science and obscene in the eyes of religion.

        So, yes, climatology appears to provide too much temptation to err grievously for the weak-minded to resist. Mark 9:47 tells us what the appropriate measure to take is.

      • Bart,

        I can only go by what you post, not what is in your head or your heart. And based only on what you wrote, the label of bigot is not a misapplication.

      • timg56 | October 3, 2012 at 3:28 pm |

        “I can only go by what you post,..”

        Fine. That’s great. Or would be, if that were what you had done.

        But it isn’t what you did.

        You went by LESS THAN HALF A SENTENCE out of EIGHT PARAGRAPHS and twisted it to mean something that it clearly wasn’t.

        You and David L. Hagen should chat with one another about the topic of false witness.

  60. David Springer

    Rantings of an honest-to-God bigot (Bart R). Maybe creepy willard has a category tag for that.

    Bart R | October 1, 2012 at 9:50 pm | Reply

    an absurdity that argues against allowing anyone who has ever touched a Bible from holding a position of responsibility in anything remotely climate-related. (UAH, I hope you’re paying attention.)

    • David Springer | October 1, 2012 at 10:05 pm |

      Divination by numerology is a form of witchcraft, which subject I am very Old Testament about.

      If Cliff Harris is practicing superstitious prognostication that defiles Holy Writ, then it behooves our responsible institutions of higher learning to remove the temptation to imitate these foul and godless practices.

      I believe Islam has similar attitudes toward the practice of witchery.

      Why don’t you?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?’

        There shall be drought in the land of the US. Fire shall consume the trees and the grass. The dust will be blown from sea to sea.

        Australia for its virtues will have plenty of rain and steal thine markets for grain and fatted calf.

        It is actually not difficult to make rainfall forecasts over seasons to decades based on persistent patterns of sea surface temperature.

      • Chief Hydrologist | October 2, 2012 at 3:13 am |

        ..based on persistent patterns of sea surface temperature, is the part no Christian has a particular Old Testament argument with; that’s all well and good, and if it makes you happy to believe your predictions reliable more power to you.. moreso if you have a solid scientific grounding for your opinions.

        But Cliff Harris apparently (we don’t know, he doesn’t say, he only hints at it) instead counts the letters and sentences in the Bible, and uses arcane superstitious doctrine to divine the weather from this superstition. If so, then he’s run afoul of one of the most serious religious taboos in Judaeo-Christian dogma: thou shall not suffer a witch to live. Besides making no rational sense, it’s also a profound violation of the tenets of the faith of the world’s largest religion (Islam) and of the literal interpretation of the Bible.

        You can have all the witch friends you want in this life, but if you do you are in violation of these faiths. David Hagen may make references to paying for this error in the flames of Eternity in the next life; I really don’t know as I can’t quite pin him down on his justification for bearing false witness, so shouldn’t guess on witch-embracing.

        I know you hold in high esteem, Mr. Ellison, some dusty old astrologer from the Outback for his dowsing prowess, or some such. However, we do argue with success where the basis of that success is suspect, deluded, founded in mystery and superstition: Science is the instrument whereby any true religion interrogates the deviltry of superstition and Error, and separates the seed of Truth from the chaff of deception. It’s a profoundly religious act to put aside every religious or magickal precept and do pure Science by logic and observation and rational process alone. It’s a profound sin to interfere in this interrogation by unreason.

        Amazing how many people who claim to be of the faith are unschooled in this fundamental lesson, or are so enamored of their witches they elect to ignore it.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Bart – you are an idolotrous unbeliever – but have you forgotten that I believe in the eternal now?

        ‘…for us physicists believe the separation between past, present, and future is only an illusion, although a convincing one.’ Albert Einstein

        ‘Most physicists do not believe time flows from future into past. Instead they accept the idea that events merely exist in spacetime. This idea is called the ‘block universe’ idea; the term was coined by William James. Advocates of the block universe commonly that the notion of time’s flow is simply a mistake or else that it is a subjective feature of psychological time to be explained, say, by a person’s having more memories and more information at later times.

        In 1952, in his book Relativity, Einstein writes:

        Since there exist in this four dimensional structure [space-time] no longer any sections which represent “now” objectively, the concepts of happening and becoming are indeed not completely suspended, but yet complicated. It appears therefore more natural to think of physical reality as a four dimensional existence, instead of, as hitherto, the evolution of a three dimensional existence.’

        So there is only the now and a man – or woman – of light. ‘There is light within a man of light, and he lights the whole world. If he does not shine, there is darkness.’

        And although you wish it were not so because you are so besotted with the cult of AGW groupthink space cadets – the ‘top down’ mechanism driving polar variability – and feeding intro the global dynamical system – is respectable science. My interest in Inigo Jones springs from a conicidence of interest. What causes the variation in UV that drives top down climate forcing? Could it be the complex evolution of the solar magneto as influenced especially by the large outer planets? I don’t know doubting Bart and nor do you. I believe in open ended enquiry – you believe in shutting down discourse and will use any idiocy to do so.

        Perhaps you are aware of one further article of faith – beware the devil quoting scripture.

        BTW – here is my forecast for the months ahead.

      • Chief Hydrologist | October 2, 2012 at 3:13 am |

        I really don’t think the guy who oversaw the depletion of the Great Barrier Reef by 3/5′s in under three decades really ought be smugly and callously mocking the hardship and suffering of Americans while boasting — after seven successive months of failed predictions on Climate Etc. — of his prognosticatory fingoism.

      • David Springer

        re; Why?

        1. Some of my best friends are witches.
        2. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
        3. Never argue with success.

      • Success stories are the best to argue against cherry picking.

      • 4. Don’t mess with Murphy.

      • 5. Never bet on the weather.

      • 6. If you’re gonna make a strawman, always use fresh straw.

      • 7. If you’re pickin’ cherries, don’t forget the pits.

  61. Chief Hydrologist

    So you say Jim D – but the pdf for increases in CO2 in the atmosphere must have a very wide range – and sensitivity emerges from the chaotic response in both climate and models. It is an unknown range of ‘irreducible imprecision’ and so not ultimately predictable except as a pdf – and with statisitical and modelling tools that are not yet available.

    Let me quote from Tim Palmer – the head of the European Centre for Mid Range Weather Forecasting – who says essentially the same thing as the IPCC above.

    ‘Prediction of weather and climate are necessarily uncertain: our observations of weather and climate are uncertain, the models into which we assimilate this data and predict the future are uncertain, and external effects such as volcanoes and anthropogenic greenhouse emissions are also uncertain. Fundamentally, therefore, therefore we should think of weather and climate predictions in terms of equations whose basic prognostic variables are probability densities ρ(X,t) where X denotes some climatic variable and t denoted time. In this way, ρ(X,t)dV represents the probability that, at time t, the true value of X lies in some small volume dV of state space.’ (Predicting Weather and Climate – Palmer and Hagedorn eds – 2006)

    So you know better than the IPCC, Tim Palmer and James McWilliams. Forgive me for being sceptical.

    • CH says “but the pdf for increases in CO2 in the atmosphere must have a very wide range “. I would put 600 ppm at the 5% lower extreme and 1000 ppm at the 95% upper extreme for 2100. Taking the low-growth extreme and the mid sensitivity, you get 3 degrees, and taking the mid-growth and low sensitivity you get 3 degrees, so a low estimate would be 3 degrees.

      • JimD, If you project the current trend which includes more rapid than likely CO2 production you get 0.8C in 2100, plus or minus a touch. To get over 1.2C there has to be something that has not shown it ugly head, like water vapor feedback without increase convection, in the pipeline ocean warming which is not apparent in the southern oceans which happens to the the majority of the oceans, or magic.

        Over half of the warming from 1900 has be natural and/or “other” anthropgenic causes. Climate happens to be controlled by the southern hemisphere, the sun and the oceans. The roaring forties, the furious fifties with a little solar variability, imagine that.

      • You are assuming a severe mitigation policy if you think the global average consumption has peaked already, and anyway 0.8 added to what? We have already had about that much.

      • JimD, 0.8 added to the 1995 to present “average”. Note, 0.8 is less than the natural variability of the oceans SST +/- ~1. Once again, you cannot simply “average” forcing on an asymmetrical body. Astral spring forcing is greater than astral fall and the forcing impacts the main heat capacity of the globe.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/milankovic-changes.html

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Not so Jim – I would put it at a very high probability that we will have sequestered all and more CO2 ever emitted and have moved to lower cost low carbon energy by 2050.

        And really – the models are not believable.

        I have shown this to you before – you either don’t undertand or don’t believe it. – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full – nor the Tim Palmer or IPCC quote. Mind you – obviously much of the IPCC doesn’t appear to understand it either. However, you are wrong and keep circling the wagons. There is more than a hint of cognitive dissonance here I am afraid.

      • ” I would put 600 ppm at the 5% lower extreme and 1000 ppm at the 95% upper extreme for 2100. ”
        “2000 1.62
        2001 1.58
        2002 2.53
        2003 2.29
        2004 1.56
        2005 2.52
        2006 1.76
        2007 2.22
        2008 1.60
        2009 1.89
        2010 2.42
        2011 1.86″

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/

        A little tiny less than 2 ppm.
        2021: 20 ppm
        2031: 25 ppm
        2041: 25 ppm
        China will have run out of coal by 2041. Assume 50% drop in global use of coal.
        2051: 25
        2061: 25
        2071: 30
        2081: 30
        2091: 30
        So 2012 to 2091: 210 ppm plus 400 equal 610 ppm.
        Don’t see how it could more. And could be less. I don’t believe China can continue it’s increasing use of coal. I think it’s reasonable that “something will break” within next 5 to 10 years. As there signs that things are already breaking down- I not predicting revolution, I just mean coal production will hit a wall. And Chinese people will be wealthy enough that throwing all effort in trying to continue past the wall won’t be tolerated. Or the technical challenges will exceed the political will- government will be forced to compromise with “reality”. It’s possible they continue for 20 years- but seems many things would have to go “right”.
        But I am counting them continuing until they get to point of have no coal to mine- which seems would require extraordinary “talent”.
        It possible some other country could significantly increase coal use- Russia, Canada, and US has vast amounts. I think the US has infrastructure that would allow it to increase it’s coal use, but it seems fracking for natural gas is currently driving down coal use. Russia could export coal to Europe, it would require a lot work to do this in any significant scale, and I don’t Russia think wants to do this much work. Russia has a glut of natural resources which are far easier to make more money. Canada has abundant hydropower. And low total population [as does Russia].
        India:
        By Asia Sentinel May 28, 2010 8:09AM UTC:
        “Despite having 14 percent of the world’s recoverable reserves of hard coal, India has been unable to meet its domestic requirements and is having to resort to large imports, which were near zero five years back.

        However, consumers in the country’s fast-growing power, steel, cement and fertilizer industries are becoming increasingly frustrated because of the insufficient supplies from the government-owned Coal India Ltd, which produces 80 percent of the country’s output. CIL estimates it will end 2010-11 with a shortfall of 110 million metric tons. Demand is expected to touch 730 million tons by 2011-12 with domestic supply at 520 million tons, leaving a shortfall of over 200 million tons.

        As much as 70 percent of the country’s electricity is derived from coal”

        http://asiancorrespondent.com/33035/indias-coal-consumption-skyrockets/

        Posted June 19, 2012:
        “Coal consumption in the United States is contracting rapidly while in the global economy, it is growing as a fuel of choice. President Obama presaged this development when he said that under his plans, building a coal plant would not be economically viable. Coal’s share of U.S. electricity is expected to fall to below 40 percent this year from 42 percent last year and produce the lowest share since data was collected in 1949. Just five or six years ago, its share of electricity generation was 50 percent.

        The decline in U.S. coal consumption was offset by a large increase in Asia’s coal consumption, which accounted for all the net growth in 2011. China’s coal consumption grew 9.7 percent between 2010 and 2011, and India’s coal consumption increased 9.2 percent. China consumed 49 percent of the world’s coal supply in 2011″

        http://www.instituteforenergyresearch.org/2012/06/19/the-u-s-war-on-coal-but-global-consumption-increases/

        I am not sure, but I don’t india can import much coal- maybe somewhere around 200 million tons, it compared to China’s .
        Oh from above article:
        “To keep mines active, coal producers are exporting coal. U.S. coal exports hit a record 107 million short tons last year. The United States has high grade coal used to make steel that is in demand in China, India and Brazil.”
        So China produces:
        Wed Aug 15, 2012 5:39am EDT
        “The National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), a top government economic planning agency, set China’s total coal output for 2012 at 3.65 billion tonnes, an increase of just 3.7 percent from year ago and a deceleration from the 8.6 percent growth of last year and 9 percent the year before, according to a statement seen by Reuters on Wednesday.”
        And plus imports a relatively small amounts of coal- a couple hundred million tonnes.
        As I recall from some other story they have contract to import natural gas, which they paid for even if China doesn’t use it, so they scrambling to to increase natural gas, but are having some problems.
        Also as I recall the Chinese spending something like $120 per ton of coal, which very expense. I guess some Chinese want to import cheaper coal, it not easy handling the bulk of all this coal in terms importing it- port facility and train/rail congestion. Though they probably building rail at mad rate. The other problem is though they can cheaper coal importing it, it’s trade deficit- which probably will have political problems.
        I trying to find price per ton per hundred miles or something, but:
        “Heavy-duty ore traffic
        Main article: Heaviest trains

        “The heaviest trains in the world carry bulk traffic such as iron ore and coal. Loads can be 130 tonnes per wagon and tens of thousands of tonnes per train. Daqin Railway transports more than 1 million tonnes of coal to the east sea shore of China every day and in 2009 is the busiest freight line in the world. Such economies of scale drive down operating costs. Some freight trains can be over 7 km long”

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

        US:
        “In 2000, unit trains carried 1.027 billion tons over 582 billion ton-miles. This is the equivalent of 25.1 billion truck miles. Within the commodity groups served by unit train, rail handles a dominant
        70 percent of the tonnage, compared to 30 percent for water and truck, indicating that rail is the preferred mode for these commodities.”
        ..
        For such shippers, rail is usually the low-cost option, and rail rates have been dropping. On average, it costs 29 percent less to move freight by rail today than in 1981.—-
        Table 3 shows the hypothetical impact of shifting to truck the 1,239 billion tons of freight now carried by rail at $0.024 per ton for
        a total cost of $25 billion. If this same 1,239 billion tons of freight were carried by truck at the prevailing average cost of $0.080, the total cost to shippers would be $99 billion, an increase of $69 billion.”

        http://rail.transportation.org/Documents/FreightRailReport.pdf

        So 2 cents per ton per mile, so that $2 per hundred mile. I imagine the US is more efficient than China, so they paying as much or more.

      • Half the world’s coal and Darth Trains four miles long. GollyZilla.
        =========================

      • China is uncertain. Edward Luttvak, who I knew at LSE 50 years ago, has a forthcoming book on “The Rise of China vs the Logic of Grand Strategy.” He remarked in a recent interview that China is an “autistic”nation which has always been bad at strategy, and that its recent assertiveness might be due more to incoherence than to a hegemonic design. An Australian commentator notes that “China has never broken the centralist, authoritarian, repressive mould of politics dating back to the Shang dynasty and apotheosised under the “first august emperor”, Qin Shi Huangdi, in the 3rd century BC.” It’s hard to predict China’s political, social and economic future, which will impact on its energy use and sources. (This is an “I’ve just woken from an afternoon sleep and am feeling scattered” post, exacerbated by a key-boarding cat.)

      • Here be hippogryphs and dragon kings.
        ==============================

      • If it gets colder in the next decades, and if the annual change in atmospheric CO2 continues its correlation with the global temperature level, it will be significantly lower than ~2 ppm/year. I predict ~1.5 ppm/year in the 2010s and lower than ~1 ppm/year in the 2020s. Global temperature levels determine the the CO2 accumulation.

      • “Edim | October 2, 2012 at 2:18 am |

        If it gets colder in the next decades, and if the annual change in atmospheric CO2 continues its correlation with the global temperature level, it will be significantly lower than ~2 ppm/year. I predict ~1.5 ppm/year in the 2010s and lower than ~1 ppm/year in the 2020s. Global temperature levels determine the the CO2 accumulation.”

        Yes I think there significant a possibility of lower rates of increase.
        I simply trying to put it on the high side- without unexpected wild increases which require convoluted speculation. It seems if you include all speculative type stuff it seems possible to me, we have somewhat of a shortage of global CO2 by time the year 2100 comes- a shortage which will create a demand to mine CO2 [probably from oceans]. And such shortage is not including the idea that carbon may be a much used material in nanotechnology.
        Now, there is the idea that a warmer world could out gas CO2 from the ocean, but it seems if one accept that concept, and you accept that over last century or so the world has warmed, then it seems you have accept that ocean is currently out gassing CO2- that out gassing is part of the explanation for current rising global CO2 levels.
        So if you “want” the possibility of out gassing of CO2 from ocean [a model belonging to *we are going to die, and Earth becomes Venus"]
        it seems you have to be willing to consider that ocean have already out gassed CO2. Which is throwing spanner in the whole idea that humans are to sole cause of rising global CO2 level [which is rather sacred idea to the CAGWer crowd].

      • gbaikie

        Your analysis with backup makes sense.

        610 ppmv CO2 by 2100 seems like a reasonable “upper limit” estimate (I come to the same conclusion using a different approach).

        Even IPCC comes to this conclusion for their cases B1 and A1T.

        And 1000 ppmv is the asymptotic absolute-maximum-ever-possible level as constrained by fossil fuel availability (WEC 2010), so we have a looooong term maximum, as well.

        And, as you point out, fossil fuels will begin to get replaced long before they run out anyway.

        Max

      • Jim D

        I would put 600 ppm at the 5% lower extreme and 1000 ppm at the 95% upper extreme for 2100.

        Your forecasting seems a bit skewed (to the high side).

        First of all, WEC estimates (2010) that we have “used up” around 15% of all the fossil fuels that were ever on our planet, leaving 85% still to go. (Other estimates, such as Hubbert, put the remaining fossil fuels much lower.)

        We believe that 15% of the total fossil fuels got us from an estimated pre-industrial 280 ppmv to a measured 390 ppmv today, an increase of 110 ppmv.

        This means that the remaining 85% will get us to an added 0.85*110/0.15 = 623 ppmv, or to an absolute never-to-be-exceeded level of 390+623=1013 ppmv.

        That’s all there is JimD. And you think we will likely reach essentially this level by year 2100?

        Get serious, man. Nobody is dumb enough to fall for that.

        600 ppm is about half-way between IPCC “scenario and storyline” B1 and A1T.

        Both scenarios assume a “global population that peaks in mid-century”, a business-as-usual world “without additional climate initiatives”, but A1 assumes “a future world of very rapid economic growth”

        To arrive at 600 ppmv CO2 by 2100 assumes a continuation of the exponential growth rate of atmospheric CO2 that we have seen over the past decade or so of around 0.5% per year.

        If we believe the UN estimates, population growth is expected to slow down from the 1.7% exponential rate of the last half century to a rate of :

        2011 to 2050 from 7.0 billion to 9.0 billion = an EGR of around 0.63%/year
        2050 to 2100 from 9.0 billion to 10.5 billion = an EGR of around 0.31%/year

        To project that the exponential CO2 growth rate will stay the same while the population growth rate decreases to one-third and then one-sixth of the current rate is already a stretch.

        Let’s say 600 ppmv is the upper limit for year 2100, with 1000 ppmv the asymptotical never-to-be-reached-in-real-life level when all fossil fuels are gone, some day in the far distant future.

        You then add:

        Taking the low-growth extreme and the mid sensitivity, you get 3 degrees, and taking the mid-growth and low sensitivity you get 3 degrees, so a low estimate would be 3 degrees.

        Let’s do a sanity check on your arithmetic, Jim.

        We’ve established that what you call the “low-growth extreme” (600 ppmv) is in reality a high estimate in itself.

        IPCC’s model-derived mid sensitivity is 3 degrees C (for 2xCO2).

        So, using the logarithmic relation, we have a warming of:
        ln(600/390)*3/ln(2) = 1.9 deg C

        This is the warming to be expected from today to year 2100 based on a relatively high estimate of CO2 growth and IPCC’s arguably exaggerated model-derived 2xCO2 climate sensitivity.

        What about the “asymptotical never-to-be-reached-in-real-life level when all fossil fuels are gone, some day in the far distant future”?

        Using the same calculation, we come to a warming of 4 degrees C above today’s level. That’s all there is, Jim.

        And if IPCC’s model-derived mean climate sensitivity estimate is exaggerated by a factor of 2:1 (as it appears from past observed CO2 temperature response), we come to only 2 degrees C above today’s temperature.

        I’m afraid you can’t frighten the schoolchildren with that, Jim

        Get your numbers straight if you are going to make predictions.

        Max

  62. I don’t think it is correct to ascribe policies to the climate scientists in general. What they say as a community is that you pay for burning fossil fuels with a warmer world, and they have a good idea how much warmer per amount burned. To some skeptics, this is not distinguishable from a policy, because they connect the dots between warming and mitigation, and they are very prone to connecting dots, drawing arrows and annotating lines, according to their own suspicions about the climate scientists.

    • Climate scientists (whoever they are) as a community are telling us? So what are we, chopped liver?

      Your first two sentences remind me of author Mary McCarthy’s comment on a literary rival:

      every word [Hellman] writes is a lie, including ‘and’ and ‘the’.

      Leaping from unverified assumption to unverified assumption like a unicorn on crack is no substitute for reasoned discussion.

      I do not see ‘climate scientists’ as a sort of pantheon of the gods, and I doubt that many people outside the charmed circle do either. In the same vein, Scott Mandia dressing up in tights to evoke a superhero was creepily unconvincing.

  63. I’m reading this while surfing tv news in the background. Interesting that nobody has mentioned the controversy about the accuracy of the political polls. Are the pollsters biased, devious and wrong? We’ll find out in 35 days. But how can folks believe that someone whose livelihood depends on producing reasonably accurate results is going to play games?
    See, putting this in terms of academia vs business/commercialism subverts the discussion. Anyone who has to take direct responsibility for his results has a crucially different perspective. Lawyers can’t shrug off losing cases in terms of overarching theory, physicians (even academic ones, like myself) can’t rely on elegant theories to explain poor outcomes. In business, on the other hand, there is a degree of b.s. to protect ceo’s from taking accountability for bottom lines.
    But academicians– to be academicians– need to have a degree of insulation from accountability. They have to be paid to think. That academic freedom is sometimes abused doesn’t make academicians all that unlike anyone else.
    Rick

    • Rick, ask yourself who is paying them. For example, it is well known that partisan polls are substantially different that polls for news organizations. What you can watch tho are the trends. As to physicians, ask yourself why there is such opposition to outcomes based evaluation.

      It is not that academicians need to be insulated from accountability, it is that you have to think about the metrics (publications, successful placement of students, grants those are the countable ones. How the ideas affect understanding, give rise to new technologies, etc, that’s tougher, esp on a short time frame.

      • Brian G Valentine

        Yes indeed, research is a long term activity, esp. at the frontiers.

        Which (regrettably) brings an opportunity for me to get on a soap box: If AGW has been a research topic in earnest for thirty years maybe, and another 20-25 years say in a whooped up frenzy, then how could anybody put stock in prognostications made 50, 100 years out about it?

        It’s a lot more complicated than “CO2 is a greenhouse gas and it acts like a blanket QED” – which is really the summary of arguments against the naysayers. Thus far, empirical observations in support of it are lacking, which compels some folks to apply casuistry to connect it with any weather observation that happens to displease them that morning

  64. A very thought provoking post Judith. I came into academia from an engineering background followed by a number of years teaching. Academics seem to suffer from two things. The first is that the Climate Science ‘Community of Practice’ (CoP, see Lave and Wenger) has thrown up barriers whether accidental or intended to many peripheral participants. Indeed the cosy structures of univerities and the metods of dissemination of knowledge have been challenged by many who look ‘Beyond CoP’ (Barton and Tusting 2005) and who do not accept that “tans-local networks are socially thin and technologically driven.” (Amin and Roberts 2008). Secondly, but concurrent with this, is what Hyland (2005) calls ” academic discourse” and how as part of a CoP it is used not only as way to validate academic accreditation but in doing so, in my view, act as a barrier to those who do not play the academic language game. That is not to say a concise technical language is not necessary, just that the majority of academics appear to be verbose unnecessarily.

  65. There is a need for a word to describe the accidental omission/addition of letters in words due to typing with ones fingers on small touch sensitive screens. I believe folk are already referring to as ‘Fat-Finger syndrome’. Trouble is I tend to make things worse by omitting my reading glasses from the process and completing messages while on the park and ride shuttle bus. Of course if I ever get tenure I’ll luxuriate in my office and post from there…

  66. Quality is a foreign concept for the hockey team.

  67. Judith, I wish I could respond, quickly, but this is a very complex area. Yes a commercial environment puts a higher priority on “being right” and far less on “being the first to propose a new idea”. So, yes it creates a conservative careful approach which doesn’t tolerate reckless predictions.

    But these very different cultures breed very different developmental cycles and with them comes different philosophies of problem solving.

    What I can tell you is that when I went as a science graduate to an engineering company, it was quite a shock. You think you are the bee’s knee’s when you do science, but that doesn’t impress time-served engineers, and quite rightly, because science on its own without experience is pretty useless.

    So, I suspect one of the benefits of working with private companies is that you do get experience and you get very strong feedback about the competency of your models. From that comes a more humble, less arrogant regard for the ability of the models.

    But then there is the whole raft of ways real life situations are far more complex than academics are led to believe. Far from being an “extraneous variable” as one might suppose, the attitude of the management is really part of the environmental considerations of the model. In other words, the human factor is part of the model in real life, whereas it is often ignored in theory. So, e.g. real life models have to take account of people who are too lazy to take proper measurements, or academics who are too proud to admit they are wrong. The models of “how things operate” are not simple linear equations, but full of judgement and assessments of the validity and functioning of systems and people.

    But in the end, it all comes down to one conclusion: the people who are currently advising government are not suited to the job. Academics are not trained in real life judgements. They are trained in theoretical judgements. That is the fundamental mistake. Academics should never have advised government on climate … and perhaps that is why so many “real-life” people have joined the sceptics in order to try to bring some realism back into this area.

  68. Curiuos George

    “if the principal activity of a field of science is to push the knowledge frontier, then being right in a long term sense isn’t all that important.” I disagree totally. 95% of scientist’s time should not be spent on disproving crap. Crapmakers are very prolific. Read Kingsley Amis’s Lucky Jim for reference.

  69. One concept related to the issue of this thread is Design Science introduced by Herbert A. Simon. By that Simon referred to the study of what can be created by humans rather than what exists without intentional attempt to make a planned change.

    Engineering is the first example of Simon and research related to what can be created by engineering is typical design science. Similarly it’s possible to study the climate as it exists without intentional attempts to influence it and what can be done to change the “natural” development. The natural is here in parentheses because it includes the anthropogenic influence as long as it’s not designed to intentionally influence the change, whereas all research on mitigation and it’s effectiveness has the nature of design science.

    In climate science the line between the “curiosity science” and design science is somewhat blurred as scientists doing principally the former contribute also to the latter and as fair part of the former is also based on the perceived need for the latter.

    The criteria of excellence are different in curiosity science and in design science. Design science is, however, not exactly the same thing as design itself, it’s more about the limits and methods of design (or engineering).

    (I have not read writings of Simon, I learned about the concept from a book (in Finnish) by a Finnish philosopher Ilkka Niiniluoto on the philosophy of science).

  70. tony b

    Yes.

    That was the basis I used.

    Let’s see if lolwot (or anyone else) wants to challenge it.

    Max

  71. Hmm …re the discussion on private sector versus private sector, Eli sees academics pretty much not subjected ter the workplace coercion that he and tempterain see operating in the private industry, tho’ tempt says its usually not too bad if the company’s finances are good…

    While I had the comfort of paid employment in public education, I do come from a background of engineering small business where invention, dynamism and risk taking created enterprises which provided employment where previously there was none. Seeing how family members worked, strove even, inventing technology, taking out costly patents, putting together a business, I would say that private enterprise can be like living on the llttoral, tide goes in, tide goes out, and you still have ter keep cash flow and cover costs. Whereas … life in academia. ahem, can *sometimes* be a life of limited challenge, of privilege and tenure as revealed in the CRU emails expose of a crony culture…. Seems their biggest challenge came from outside the Academy, via Steve McIntyre.

    Re employment in private enterprise In a democratic country of rule of law and contract, Eli amd temp, say, if yer don’t like yer paid workplace, yer have the democratic right ter remove yer labour.

    • Beth

      Good reality check on how private business works as compared to “academe”.

      But even tempterrain and the Cwazy Wabbit have to admit that “workplace coercion” operates in the academic world, as well as in the business world (i.e. who gets tenure, who gets promoted, who gets grants, etc.).

      [At least that seems to be the case here in Switzerland, where the brouhaha surrounding the mobbing against and eventual firing of a politically incorrect academic is making the headlines.]

      Max

  72. The academe closed shop.. hmm .. but yer could say, Max, couldn’t yer, that a publically funded university isn’t ‘their’ shop to close? Clashes, critical argument, free exchange is what yer expect but not gate keeping. Colour me simple, l keep fergettin’ we luv ter be tribal.

    • Beth

      I would never “color you simple”.

      “Realistic”?

      And, yep, it “isn’t their shop to close”.

      But that’s what they’re trying to do.

      “Tribal”?

      Max

  73. According to the CO2 hypothesis the CO2 effect hibernates in the summer and wakes up in the winter.
    We have records which show that summer temperatures are more or less constant, it was the winters that got warmer.
    1. the 350 years long record of the CET ‘s mid-summer temperatures has no rising trend, but one would be expected, at least since 1950s if ‘the GHG factor’ was active. (see graph in the link above)
    2. the 350 years long record of the CET ‘s mid-winter temperatures has an even rising trend, going back to 1660s, but that would not be expected, at least not before say 1860s, some 200 years later, and continue at same rate post 1860 if ‘the GHG factor’ was active.(see graph in the link above)

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm

  74. According to the CO2 hypothesis the CO2 effect hibernates in the summer and wakes up in the winter.
    We have records which show that summer temperatures are more or less constant, it was winters that got warmer.
    1. the 350 years long record of the CET the mid-summer temperatures has no rising trend, but one would be expected, at least since 1950s if ‘the GHG factor’ was active. (see graph in the link above)
    2. the 350 years long record of the CET the mid-winter temperatures has an even rising trend, going back to 1660s, but that would not be expected, at least not before say 1860s, some 200 years later, and continue at same rate post 1860 if ‘the GHG factor’ was active.(see graph in the link above)

    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/MidSummer-MidWinter.htm

  75. BBD,

    http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/do-over-on-tropical-oceans.html

    Finding reasonable bounds for a non-linear system is half the battle in my opinion. Snowball Earth and OMG we are all going to die, are not reasonable bounds, since it would be time reconsider all the vices I may have unwisely given up. Since the vast majority of the thermal mass is in the oceans and the tropical oceans to boot, they would be a reasonable starting point.

    A single “forcing” consideration for solar is, in my humble opinion, total bullsh$t. Tomas has sagely mentioned that global “average” is bullsh$t. That little blog post of mine seems to confirm, the bullsh$t. There is no reasonable “linear” approximation short enough to be valid in a complex , non-linear, non-equilibrium, dissipative, dynamic system like Earth.

  76. JimD, BBD WHT and a few other “beleivers” may find this interesting.

    “Significant centennial-length trends in the zonal SST and SLP gradients rivaling those estimated from observations and model simulations forced with increasing CO2 appear to be inherent features of the internal climate dynamics simulated by all three models. Unforced variability and trends on the centennial time scale therefore need to be addressed in estimated uncertainties, beyond more traditional signal-to-noise estimates that do not account for natural variability on the centennial time scale.”

    http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2012_jclim_karnauskasetal.pdf

    h/t Bob Tisdale

    Unforced Variability? Imagine that?

    • Brian G Valentine

      Ha – remember the days not so long ago, when people opened their mouths all too frequently without pausing to think, promoted statements like “CO2 now controls the climate, unlike before, when we had natural variability.”

      I don’t see too much similar bone headed metaphysics any more – a shame – because it had a lot of entertainment value

      • I have thought it was hilarious. Especially the detailed explanations by highly qualified academics that have no clue WTF they are talking about :) There will be a rather interesting presentation at the fall AGU meeting I hear :)

      • Brian G Valentine

        I don’t know if some of it will be as outrageous at the meetings as it was – and impossible to sit through without getting up to go to the bathroom to throw up

      • JimD, it is showing that the modelers have not been feeding their model correctly, not the models have turned on them!

        Actually, the paper shows that the models can indicate century scale unforced variability. The supposedly neutral ENSO, rides on a longer term natural oscillation. Have I shown you this link :)

      • “I want a report abuse button for reporting moronic scumbags like webby – actually even springer doesn’t take it seriously – only webby is an olympic standard moronic scumbag – he is like a smurf with steroid rage.”

        Hey, I’m simply serving as a naturalist, deconstructing the flora and fauna of the Climate Etc ecosystem. I suppose you can classify this as just piling on by me, but we have to remember that somebody had the initial bright idea to call crackpots such as Chiefy the “denizens” of C.E.
        What an opening, big enough to drive a tar sands truck through it.

      • Webbie, Imagination works though I prefer vision. The paper mentions the tropical oceans and how the thermal imbalances impact Rosby Waves which in turn impact heat transfer between the tropics and the higher latitudes.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/do-over-on-tropical-oceans.html

        Those imbalances exist because of different rates of heat transfer, so there is a feed back from their impact, internal oscillations of widely varying periods.

        Sea ice formation rates and extents influence the more interesting feed back, the distribution of the THC.

        I can’t find the link, but there is a British fluid dynamics expert that has a number of papers on near laminar flow interactions, like sinking sea water. Remarkable small changes in the rate of sinking can have amazingly large long term impacts on the distribution of energy.

      • Webster, Here ya go.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/10/there-core-of-problem-abysmal-depths.html

        Since you used your Fickian analysis to determine the rate of warming in the abysmal depths assuming a “CPU” style infinite heat sink, you might noticed that nature has installed a CPU fan that may complicate you calculations.

        There does appear to be an ~4300 year internal oscillation due to the difference in the settling rates of the SST and the Abysmal depths temperature. The Abysmal depths appear to have a rather limited temperature range. Could that range be limited the freezing by point of water with differing salinity?

    • This is not showing anything skeptics would like.
      1. It shows models do capture natural variability, which has often been denied. Maybe it will put that one to rest finally.
      2. It says something about a zonal SST gradient of a tenth of a degree, and since there are no direct impacts of CO2 on this gradient, it is not disproving anything, just saying if CO2 were to have an impact it would be hard to find looking at this parameter.

      • Brian G Valentine

        It shows models capture natural variability, although in the past, natural variability has been taken to be simple periodicity (decade) of known phenomena such as the ENSO. In such cases it has been pretty easy to drown this out with forced variability if the modeler had a proclivity to do so (all too often)

        Periodic variability on century scale, such as turnover of the deep ocean, augmented or not with geothermal sources, has not been accounted for adequately. I really think that most of the warming “of the 20th century that can’t be accounted for by anything but CO2 in the air blah blah blah …” will turn out to have been geothermal of origin, actually.

      • Brian G Valentine

        “Deniers suck. They have no business in academia any more than creationists. Bounce em out and good riddance.”

        - Comment from a cultist on a blog about Nick Drapela

  77. Latimer 4.10 5.29am, plus one on yer critique of ‘the seductive illusion’ of born – ter- lead – by – virtue – of – “perceived” – natural – fitness – academia, (particularly climate scientists.) i call it the Plato Syndrome. it can be fatal.

    • Latimer Alder

      I’m always deeply suspicious of any individual or group whose claim to ‘power’ is based on their own assessments of their own moral superiority.

      Religious types are great at this…but the ain’t alone.

      ‘Scientists’ could well make a case that their work should be given high regard because it is done by rigorously and demonstrably done by following the scientific method. And (as an ex-scientist myself) I’d have a lot of sympathy with that view.

      But to rely instead on ‘because our hearts are purer than those nasty grubby ‘commercial’ people over there’ is risible. Even if it were true its a pretty specious argument. When it is demonstrably false it is just pathetic.

  78. Yeah, the USA needs to hire 100,000 more math and science teachers to counteract the dozens of crackpots that populate this comments section.(Mosh has got it about right, he counts 30+ of them, I get 40+)

    Some academic needs to start a course on how to identify the cranks, ha ha.
    At least we have a Field Guide serving as introductory course material

    http://tinyurl.com/ClimateClowns

    • Interestingly, I do not disagree with you that there are an abundance of “skeptical theories” that seem unsupportable or even laughable based on looking at the science, but is that all that different than the “warmist theories” of additional forcings leading to a dire future that seem unsupportable based upon observations?

      Bottom line- there are a bunch of people who want to think that they fully understand how a very complex system works before they actually do and as a result we get a large number of failed forecasts.

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      The USA needs to find 100,000 qualified math and science teachers first. Trust me, with the kinds of salaries being offered and the general attack being launched on teachers these days, finding qualified math and science teachers (or even math and science college students willing to be trained as teachers) and willing to step into that kind of environment is not an easy proposition.

      • David Springer

        What we need to do is stop borrowing money from China to pay for things we don’t need. The US leads the world (by a wide margin) in number of research papers published in top journals, number of patents issued, gross domestic expenditure on R&D, and number of science and engineering doctoral degrees.

        Source: Best Countries in Science: SA‘s Global Science Scorecard

        http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=global-science-best-countries-science-scorecard&WT.mc_id=SA_printmag_2012-10

        The October 2012 dead-tree edition of SciAm has charts and data with details. The gulf is huge between the U.S. its closest competitors and science and technology. Even better, the US is the only nation that’s a category killer in each and every metric which was examined. Germany is a far second in research papers in top journals. Japan is far second in number of patents. China is a far second in gross domestic expenditure on R&D. Germany is a far second on number of science and engineering doctorates awarded.

        We don’t need more science teachers with such a huge lead already in all the metrics. What we need is less spending on social programs and cutbacks in entitlemente spending before we go so far into debt that we end up like Greece with a country full of lazy non-producers living off a government cheese paid for by a declining number of productive citizens.

        Got it? Write that down!

  79. Ah lahk aki-de-mics a lot.

    Ah wudn’t be here if it wuzn’t fer them aki-de-mics.

    They done taut me everthang ah know.

    Fact is, ‘fore ah met ‘em, ah cudn’t even spell “aki-de-mic”.

    An’ now ah ARE one!

  80. David Springer

    Weather is chaotic. Climate is not. Individual molecules in a pot of boiling water are chaotic. Individual molecules in the flame beneath it are chaotic. But the pot will still boil under the flame. This is the basis of statistical mechanics. Predictable behaviors emerge from chaotic ensembles. Butterflies control the weather not the climate. Prigogine made this point with drainage patterns. Butterflies control the pattern but the flow is downhill and that cannot be altered by butterflies.

    • David Springer

      I hereby call first dibs on “Butterfly Slayer” in association with “climate change” or “global warming”. I know because I googled them and found no associations. In the modern world if Google has no association then no association exists. ;-)

      Speaking of Google, Curry might find some interesting associations between the ascent of the global network, the search engine, and the nature of the interface between academia and the general public.

      “Information At Your Fingertips”

      I got that pitch from Bill Gates personally back in the late 1980′s before he famously pitched it at Comdex in 1990. It was in a meeting room at MS headquarters with no more than a dozen people. I don’t recall which new technology at the time Microsoft was getting all the hardware manufacturers on board with. Probably Windows 3.0 given the timeframe. The only thing I really recall from that trip is “information at your fingertips”. I think it’s come along nicely since then. The new scholar is the search engine. That has to make life difficult for traditional scholars. It’s not just the proverbial auto assembly workers who have to compete with machines in the 21st century, eh?

      • Heinrich the Norwegian Elkhound


        The new scholar is the search engine.

        I got my MD from the Jenny McCarthy School of Medicine, and my MSc in epidemiology from Andrew Wakefield College. Working on my PhD in applied physics from Tony Watts University, with a specialization in Antarctic Urban Heat Island studies.

        Go ahead – ask me anything.

        http://lmgtfy.com/?q=truth

      • David Springer

        When electronic message boards first began the number of black belts and Ninjas in the world increased by several orders of magnitude. Now the same thing has happened with the number of geniuses. I’m feeling crowded… ;-)

    • The Skeptical Warmist (aka R. Gates)

      David Springer said:

      “David Springer | October 4, 2012 at 9:03 am | Reply
      Weather is chaotic. Climate is not.”

      _____
      Major fail here David. Really, you can do better than such drivel.

      • David Springer

        Major fail there, Gates. Surely you can do better than a dismissal by hand waving.

        No wait. Actually you cannot do better. Carry on.

  81. “Accountable” and “academic” are rightly used as antonyms in common speech. The academic treasures non-accountability, so that his output will be “pure”. Unfortunately, he/she is generally wrong about what it is that is “pure”.

  82. I think this is mostly garbage and I’m surprised that somebody in the background of academics would make it.

    An an academic, I make all sort of decisions on a regular basis that have real implications in terms of my career.

    What topics of research to follow and which projects to allow fall away, what students to take and to fund, which ones aren’t going to be worth the while, what grant to write and where to send them, how to spend grant money (.e.g what pieces of instrumentation to buy).

    Making it sound like all science required was hanging out on a couch and coming up with an idea, as if getting good scientific ideas itself was not difficult work, completely misrepresents what science is and how one goes about getting an idea to publish.

    • Have you ever worked in the private sector? At what level of responsibility? For how long?

      If you haven’t, I’d suggest you really do not know what you are talking about.

  83. “ Rather, I have a different perspective from most of my fellow academics as a result of operating in an environment where significant decisions are made based on my forecasts”

    True, such traditional, narrow and elitist experience prior to expanding into a professional role in business late in academic life, is not unheard of. Combined with the likelihood that how you are extracting data is already somewhat obsolete, I am not surprised by your perceptions.

    However, academic vs. professional is now often a false dichotomy. Information has been and continues to be developed by your fellow academics and professional colleagues in climate science, for other stakeholders. Many business, public groups, nonprofits and nonpartisan groups, all need climate change information; and they are increasingly being provided with it, by your colleagues.

    Contrary to your focus and claims, we need resource dollars allotted to short, mid and longterm information; and these forms of information are mutually beneficial, rather than competing.

    (And by the way, knowing the weather several weeks in advance as a result of prediction services is not, as you claim in a previous post, of any practical assistance at all in informing farmers about ‘what to plant’: at that stage, the planning is obviously done and that very short-term information is only helpful in regard to things like anticipating crop yield. You far too frequently make claims that demonstrate just how disconnected you are from colleagues in other environments ‘where significant decisions are based on information’. That is not good work. )

    • > And by the way, knowing the weather several weeks in advance as a result of prediction services is not, as you claim in a previous post, of any practical assistance at all in informing farmers about ‘what to plant’: at that stage, the planning is obviously done and that very short-term information is only helpful in regard to things like anticipating crop yield.

      I’d like to know more about this.

  84. The private sector remains the best option for me

    http://www.vickywebworld.org/