Policy, rhetoric and public bewilderment

by Judith Curry

Science is the most formidable intellectual force of our age, perhaps any age. The irony is that, without the insights of the humanities, it may still find itself without words. – Mark Thompson

Bishop Hill points to a remarkable essay by Mark Thompson, the former head of the BBC.   This was a lecture given at Oxford about science and rhetoric, focusing on the climate change debate and  the problems of the Global Warming Policy Foundation.  It is rather lengthy (16 pages), the whole essay is well worth reading. I excerpt here the parts of his argument that I found particularly interesting:

I’m going to explore the present state of the argument from authority through a single prism—namely the way in which science is handled in argumentation about public policy. And I’m going to attempt to tease apart a paradox which genuinely perplexes most of the scientists that I know, which is this:  almost everyone accepts that science gives us our most secure understanding of the physical world – so why doesn’t it always carry the day?

Surely, if anything can, science can pierce what I’ve called the cloud of unknowing and replace public bewilderment with public enlightenment.  So why is it so often questioned and challenged by non-scientists witout anyone accusing them of stupidity or absurdity?  Why, when it comes to public policy formulation or media discussions, is science typically regarded as one of the considerations rather than the card that trumps every other card?

Hume’s sense that science represents an epistemological gold standard almost universal today. Like most non-scientists of my age and background, I accept that fundamental authority completely and whenever it comes to an argument I usually find myself instinctively on the side of mainstream science. I don’t do that because I have personally checked the evidence which underpins The Origin of Species or examined Bohr’s or Schrodinger’s equations: I haven’t the expertise to do either. No, I back science because I find Popper’s account of the scientific method and its falsifiability intellectually compelling and because, at the level of common sense, the explanatory and predictive success of science is so overwhelming.  Moreover, I’ve spent enough time with scientists to be wholly convinced that the culture and practice of science genuinely aim at truth.

 As non-scientists then, our acceptance of the primacy of science is based less on our own scientific training than on a mixture of cultural, social and philosophical factors. This is exactly what is implied by the argumentum ad verecundiam: if you can work out the equation for yourself, after all, you don’t have to take it on trust.

At the same time, many of us know that it’s too simplistic to say that science always and immediately right. Sometimes there’s not enough data, or the puzzle of what the data means has yet to cracked, or the whole thing is still a work in progress: sometimes, in other words, the science is or at least appears unfinished.

On other occasions, scientists disagree and there are rival explanations, or there’s one candidate explanation which some sicntists back but others oppose: in these cases, the science is disputed.

On still other occasions, someone may call into question the good faith of the scientists – they’rein the pay of the government or Big Pharma or they’re committed to some cause and therefore their work may lack impartiality and thus reliability: we might call this corrupted or even perverted science.

We also know that, on a few very rare occasions, there have been dramatic revolutions in the history of science when a consensus view has been overturned in favour of a radical new theory Copernicus, Einstein and that, before such revolutions, scientific group-think is possible; this is what Lee Smolin alleged about contemporary American physics and M-theory and string theory in his 2006 book The Trouble with Physics, though one would need to understand the science rather better than I do to judge whether he’s right or not.

So as we listen to a given scientific debate, in theory any number of doubts can appear. Yes, of course we still believe in the authority of good, finished, honest science but maybe in this case it’s not quite ready; or maybe we’re in the middle of a he-says-she-says wrangle and God only knows who’s right; or maybe there is something fishy about the way that report was paid for; or maybe that lone scientist I heard on the radio is right and it’s the other 99% of physicists who will be proven wrong in the end. In an age of pervasive suspicion and uncertainty, and it doesn’t take much for the weevils to get to work.

Sometimes one comes across a letter about some matter of public concern signed by a long list of notables from many different and unconnected backgrounds: this is authority sliced and diced and repackaged like the Collateralised Debt Obligations which precipitated the financial crisis, the  authority each piece of which may be far from its point of origin and justification, but where it’s still hoped that the whole can be greater than the parts.

We might have hoped that authority might be one sure way of piercing the cloud of unknowing. Instead, we find that even the most clear-cut authority, that derived from science, can find itself in the most opaque, impenetrable regions of the cloud. And if what I’ve said this evening is true of science, it is probably even more true of economics and the other social sciences, indeed of any area of professional expertise which intersects with the world of public debate and policy.

Misrepresentation is undoubtedly often part of the problem, but it’s too easy to blame the public’s lack of knowledge of, or unwillingness to trust science entirely on the dark forces of misrepresentation. When science enters the public arena, it almost always ends up having to play by at least some of the rules of that arena, rules which often confuse the question of authority. It also finds itself in competition with radically asymmetrical rhetorical forces which derive their power from the spheres of morality, culture, superstition, even the mystic.

But to wish we could eliminate those ‘divisive cultural meanings’ is to wish away the freedom and openness on which modern democracies are built –and, short of dictatorship, its impossible to achieve anyway. In my view our task rather is to find practical ways of helping the public to pick their own way through this difficult, cluttered landscape.  I’ve tried this evening to give some examples of how it is possible to parse public statements about science and disentangle them so that one can analyse and understand the different elements: exposition, assertion, opinion and advocacy. It takes time and, in its own way, a little training. Our challenge is how to encourage more people to take the time and acquire the skills to do this for themselves.

493 responses to “Policy, rhetoric and public bewilderment

  1. It’s pretty hard to trust the word and work of scientist when much of it is bupkiss, vis-à-vis the record number of retractions and withdrawls in all areas of science.

    • There are about a million articles a year and just a few hundred retractions so this argument is pretty weak.

      • “a tenfold rise in the previous decade, to more than 300 a year across the scientific literature.”

        Yes, but the 300 were the only ones really checked.

        Do you have any evidence of “a million articles a year”?

        How many of those were checked thoroughly?

      • 1.66 million scholarly articles were published during 2011 and indexed in Scopus, the most comprehensive article-level index of scholarly articles. This includes non-science journals but the majority are in science, technology and medicine (STM). http://www.info.sciverse.com/scopus/about
        There is no reason to believe that the 300 retractions were the only ones really checked, whatever that means. I am sure there are others that should be retracted but it is no reason do doubt the literature as a whole.

    • The entire structure of post-1945 consensus science must be abolished to correct mistakes along the path from scientific integrity and constitutional government in 1945 to public-financed scientific garbage and a one-world tyrannical government in 2012.

      Here’s a 10-point outline of the path to our demise

      http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1802

  2. Then issue is that climate science has clearly been corrupted. It’s been corrupted by government funding, grant selection and influence of governments in directing how money is to be spent and which research proposals should be funded.

    On top f that we’ve had a very large number of the most senior and influential climate scientists, as well as the heads of the heads of United Nations, acting like used car sales men and/or high priests. Their credibility is in tatters and so is the discipline of climate science.

    • “Then issue is that climate science has clearly been corrupted.”

      Skeptical as I am of CAGW theory, I must issue a nuanced challenge to this assertion. I believe the overwhelming majority of climate researchers are earnest seekers after truth with great integrity. Indeed, to the extent climate science is corrupted, most of the corruption originates in non-scientist gate-keepers of funding and publication. My recent reading of several Hansen papers does not convince me that he and his co-authors are corrupt even though I strenuously disagree with their conclusions and Hansen’s extra-curricular methods.

      • +1

        Especially WRT Hansen.

      • thisisnotgoodtogo

        lights out/teapot dome.
        honest as the day is long

      • Seems as though you have quite a different opinion than Steve M. (and me) on this subject. In his Oct 30, 2012 post titled “Karoly and Gergis vs Journal of Climate” Steve stated …

        “On June 10, a few days after the Gergis-Karoly-Neukom error had been identified, I speculated that they would try to re-submit the same results, glossing over the fact that they had changed the methodology from that described in the accepted article. My cynical prediction was that a community unoffended by Gleick or upside-down Mann would not cavil at such conduct.”

        I also believe that many climate scientists are honest and follow the scientific method as a matter of course. People are individuals, and should be treated as such. However, if the past several years has taught us anything, it is that many of them do not follow such high behavioral standards and have serious ethical failings. Hansen is one of them in my opinion.

      • One problem is that over time you can get institutional corruption without any of the current members of the institution being corrupt.

        If it becomes uncomfortable and career-limiting to hold contrary opinions then those with contrary opinions will leave, or not join. If you have to be a bit dim, or ignorant of logic, to believe the orthodox view then few bright people who understand the logic will remain.

        In time you end up with a field filled with dim witted true believers, albeit probably ones with glib and confident tongues.

        This is true whether you’re talking about the clergy, the police, politicians, or scientists.

        Reasoned dissent must be permitted and encouraged and not be career-limiting.

      • Andrew Russell

        “If you aren’t part of the solution, you are part of the problem”.

        Even if Hansen is a clueless, willfully ignorant, obscenely incompetent dolt instead of the lying Lysenkoist he so appears to be, there is no excuse for his silence about the corrupt practices of the Hockey Team.

        Until the anti-science, anti-human bastards of the Team – Mann, Jones, Briffa, Trenberth, Gleick, etc., etc – who DEFINE the term “climate scientist” are fired from their jobs and their phony-baloney “papers’ are retracted, “Climate Science” will continue to stand alongside “Marxist Science”, “Aryan Science”, etc.

        Those who refuse to name names, who are silent in the face of fraud after fraud after fraud are just as guilty as the members of the Team.

      • Mann, Jones, Briffa, Trenberth, Gleick, etc., etc. are mere puppets.

        Those pulling the strings have used deceptive science to hide the force of creation and destruction [1] since the United Nations was established on 24 Oct 1945.

        Deception cannot succeed, but it has caused society great damage.

        With deep regrets,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        PhD Nuclear Chemistry
        Postdoc Space Physics
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

        [1] “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron J. 19, 123-150 (2012)

        http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

      • “Then issue is that climate science has clearly been corrupted.”

        Robert you are conflating “climate science” with climate scientists. The overwhelming majority of Germans were decent hard working people, but Nazi Germany was “corrupted”, same for Soviet Russia. Countries and institutions can be corrupted while the overwhelming majority of people in them are decent and honest, but powerless to change the corruption.

        We are about to have IPCC AR5 published, who knows what’s going to be in it, but judging by previous documents, the SPMs will be full of alarmist nonsense which will get the headlines. The body of the report will be full of good science, as it’s always been, except, of course for those papers kept out by the gatekeepers because they might give the impression that there is uncertainty, and even opposition to the notion that humans, alone, are responsible for the earth warming.

        Climate science is corrupted, you have only to read the Climategate emails to see the corruption for yourself. Or be aware that a scientists, on Michael Man, has a paper extant which uses upside down varves to show that late twentieth century temperatures were unprecedented, and nobody in the climate science community seems bothered. That others, but for a few, brave souls don’t speak out, allows the corruption to continue. Why don’t they speak our, well, fear is probably high on their list of reasons, but also the money flowing in must be a deterrent to saying, “It’s all bollocks”, in a big loud voice.

        As for Hansen, I don’t know, he appears to be the Prophet of Doom, whose prophecies never come true , but is undeterred by an almost spiritual need to tell the world that the “End is nigh”. Not a knew phenomonom, it manifests itself for some people in all the great religions, so it must be some sort of “natural” human charactersistic. Having said that he does seem to have made the 1930s cooler to prove his point. Isn’t that “corrupt”? or is this some sort of Post Normal description of corruption I don’t understand?

    • David L. Hagen

      Rhetoric, Policy or Science?
      Obama Nov. 14, 2012:

      “What we do know is the temperature around the globe is increasing faster than was predicted even 10 years ago. We do know that the Arctic ice cap is melting faster than was predicted even five years ago. We do know that there have been extraordinarily — there have been an extraordinarily large number of severe weather events here in North America, but also around the globe.
      I am a firm believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by human behavior and carbon emissions,” he said. “And as a consequence, I think we’ve got an obligation to future generations to do something about it.”

      EU climate head wants Obama to pull his weight in global warming talks

      Obama policy:

      MR. CARNEY: We would never propose a carbon tax, and have no intention of proposing one.

      World:

      Global warming stopped 16 years ago, reveals Met Office report quietly released… and here is the chart to prove it

      Public on discount
      Blame Wimpy for Slow U.S. Response to Climate Change

      As J. Wellington Wimpy — yup, Popeye’s friend — expresses the problem, “I’d gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.”

      • EU Climate Commissioner

        The European Union’s climate commissioner says she hopes that President Barack Obama’s renewed attention to global warming after the election will translate into greater U.S. involvement in U.N. climate talks. . . .
        China insists that as a developing country it shouldn’t face the same requirements to reduce emissions as Western countries that have polluted the atmosphere for centuries. That remains a major sticking point that is unlikely to be resolved in Doha.

        EU climate head wants Obama to pull his weight in global warming talks

      • “China insists that as a developing country it shouldn’t face the same requirements to reduce emissions as Western countries that have polluted the atmosphere for centuries”

        This statement from China is simply absurd. The start of the industrial revolution was around 260 years ago. Prior to that Western per capita CO2 emissions wouldn’t have been significantly higher than than in any other part of the world. However, even if you believe the most alarmist climate scientists, total human CO2 emissions have only been climatalogically significant since around 1950 a meer 62 years ago.

        Centuries, NOT.

    • If you want to see how government corrupts the process of learning you need go no further than to look at a study in Environmental Research Letters, titled, “Are cold winters in Europe associated with low solar activity?” In one of the great examples of cerebral contortionism I’ve ever seen, the authors of the study concluded, as follows:

      “Lastly, one can invert the title of this paper and ask `Does the occurrence of lower/higher solar activity make a cold/warm winter in Europe more likely (than the climatological mean)?’ Our results strongly suggest that it does, which has implications for seasonal predictions.”

      How do we even begin to cut through this sort of systemic obfuscation and filet the mumbo-jumbo to get to the meat of the matter–to discover the truth?

      What we see above is an example of erstwhile authors being forced to dissemble and dance and essentially proclaim in the most tortured language imaginable–and without the slightest scientific backing whatsoever–that, while the role of the sun on the weather in the UK may have a bearing even on the rest of Europe it most certainly does not effect the rest of the Northern Hemisphere and cannot be said to affect the rest of the globe. Amazing.

      Accordingly, even though the UK and possibly the rest of Europe may freeze over, these twisting and turning authors have tapped out a fiat license that allows global warming alarmists to endlessly continue to propagate groundless fears of runaway global warming. We’re all tap dancing around real truth: humans are not causing the globe to warm.

      Even the most pitiful examples of fiat science do not allow the authors to dismiss or explain away the essential and incontrovertible fact that all climate realists know:

      “Studies of isotopes generated in the atmosphere by galactic cosmic rays show that the Sun has been exceptionally active during recent decades. This grand solar maximum has persisted for longer than most previous examples in the cosmogenic isotope record and is expected to end soon.” (Ibid.)

      The authors are essentially begging you to forget about what the secular, socialist government-funded academic institutional system has forced them to write. Instead they ask you to use common sense. They’re actually telling you to turn the title of their own study on its head if you want to discover the real truth. In other words, you must provide your own answer to the real question, that fascist academia will not allow the authors to print in big block letters, e.g.,

      THE BIG QUESTION: Were the relatively warmer European winters over the last several decades associated with global warming the result of relatively higher–and indeed ‘exceptionally’ higher–solar activity?

      THE ANSWER: If you are a climate realist, your answer will of course be: Yes!

    • + + +
      Thank you, Judith, especially for your choice of excerpts; I will not waste my time on Thompson’s assertions. I assume your excerpts are accurate: two which caught my attention suffice to dismiss this 16-page lecture.

      *. Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. A. Einstein
      * The Cloude of Unknowyng – widely-read work of Christian mysticism
      Common sense has no place in research, especially if the subject is ‘Truth;’ does science seek Truth? Is the goal rather an accurate description of Reality? Has Thompson read Einstein?
      Thompson may have “come to call [xxx] the cloud of unknowing,” without recalling an under-graduate’s brief exposure to a classic. His Soros-like misappropriation of a well-known term [very im-Popper use of 'open society'], may be intentional; however, it could merely be playing to clever Oxonians.

      Thanks, again, Judith, for a great site. John

      • ‘+++:’ Intended reply to
        Peter Lang | November 14, 2012 at 10:31 pm

        Thanks, again, Judith, for a great site. John

  3. After having read any number of scientific theories in any number of fields reversed decades later, one becomes a little jaded about how long the next theory will last before it is discredited. The process is invaluable but now I dont get too excited since I tell myself ” I have seen this movie before.”

    • @Dennis Adams [Nov 14, 10:30am] –

      Hear, hear! I commonly tell people that since science has overthrown most of the firm ‘knowledge’ that existed 100 years ago, should we not expect such to be the case a century from now? Having principles that work within our present construct/concept of reality does not imply that present ideas will hold up as our concepts are widened by new evidence and experience. We know from experience this is the case, so what hubris makes ‘modern’ inquirers believe the present state is so all-fired close the the Final Truth?

      In short, scientific ‘knowledge’ is – till proven otherwise – always in a state of flux, and to pretend that one discipline has reached its end is self-delusional. Many is the forgotten scientist who hitched his nag to the wrong wagon; yet in science’s never-ending flux, all wagons are doomed to some day be ‘the wrong wagon.’

      I have a folder for science news items named “Science Does It Again.” It is for articles wherein some scientist states (in essence), “Well, with this new and unexpected data/evidence we will have to scotch our entire concept in this area [name your poison, but one of my favorites was comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 colliding with Jupiter not so long after 'experts' flatly stated we would never in our lifetimes see an intra-solar-system fender bender], and go back to square one. Wow, we never saw this coming.” While it is heartening when scientists publicly show their humility, it often is not long before they lean on argumentum ad verecundiam again.

      Yes, we’ve seen that movie before.

      Steve Garcia

  4. In my view our task rather is to find practical ways of helping the public to pick their own way through this difficult, cluttered landscape.

    Oh Yea!. The BBC and ABC (Australia) are not engaged in trying to help the population find the truth. They are engaged in a culture war. They are propaganda agents for the ideology they support.

  5. The few loud folks who are climate scientists that perpetuate projectionss that are not certain, as proven, have ruined the whole debate.

    The total ignoring of error bars througout, the idea that 60% certainty is certain, the list is long.

    There is still very valid skeptisism in climate science. That must be recognized.

  6. It’s just BBC, innit?
    Mark Thompson is a graduate in English, which is a fine language. But he wouldn’t know the difference between a prism and a diffraction grating if one knocked him over in the street.

    • simon abingdon

      He couldn’t be expected to know the difference between a prism and a diffraction grating if only one of them knocked him over in the street.

  7. Climate Science makes phrenology look good.

    • ursus augustus

      You question Phrenology?? Climate Scientists must visit their phrenologist regularly and get a clean bill of mental health to maintain their accreditation!

  8. well that was interesting. still no idea what happened, or why the site came back. there seems to be no way to contact wordpress (and they did not contact me at all.) Anthony Watts helped by contacting someone he knew at wordpress, perhaps this did the job.

    And here i was wondering if I have been hacked by the climategate hacker (it is november after all :) )

  9. A failing that is hard to overcome is the arrogance of those in authority to think their opinions outweigh those of the people who work in the real world. By that I mean believing that somehow sitting in an office, running statistical algorithms can make inaccurate, imprecise data into pristine values that have meaning far beyond what is seen in their raw plots. Most of us who are now called skeptics started out believing what is called the “consensus” climate story. It was only after we took the time to learn about the underlying physics that consensus was built on (usually to be able to explain it to others!) that discovered how shaky many of the underlying assumptions are.
    My point is that it is a false trail to try to describe why skeptics of “consensus” do not believe in science. The truth is that most of us have become skeptics by taking time to understand the claims and arguments put forward for that consensus and found them faulty. That is a proper application of the scientific method, not an abrogation of it.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      Gary W: Most of us who are now called skeptics started out believing what is called the “consensus” climate story.

      It would be interesting to know how many actually fit into that description. It applies to me.

      • Not to me. I have been tracking and fighting environmental scares since 1968. We who are old, oh so old…..is anything better? (Yates)

      • Being a well trained applied mathematician, I became skeptical when I understood: 1) models were being averaged (never appropriate) and differed from each other significantly on global and regional predictions; 2) there was not open source effort to validate models and there was unwillingness of “scientists” to share data; 3) there was a promotion of panic (something must be done immediately) by “scientists” which converted them to advocates in my mind; 4) the blame for rising global temperatures was laid on a diffuse gas, but there were widely distributed temperature gauges in wilderness areas showing no temperature rise over 50+ years while temperatures near cities had to heavily corrected in a suspicious way to show the rises claimed.

        I might also mention the arrogance of “climate” scientists about “their” qualification to speak on the science and the lack of qualification of others to do so.

        But this is just me.

      • Well said.

        Steve Garcia

      • + 1 Philip and EXACTLY.

      • No it is not just you! Except that I was trained as a chemist, I became sceptical for exactly the same reasons!

        It all started in the bathroom one morning, listening to the news, and wondering why WikiLeaks would be remotely interested in hosting emails between climate scientists alongside exposés of bankers, and events in Iraq and Afghanistan!

      • Well said Phillip,
        As a programmer I have very similar reservations to yours.
        As a specialist in database applications I suppose that one of my biggest objection goes beyond the way that models are used to the fact that there is such heavy reliance on models in the first place.
        I come from a perspective where the raw data is king.

        In anything I work with I try to keep the following things in mind.

        Even if your data is right, it can be screwed up by poor processing, but if your raw data is wrong, no amount of processing is going to fix it.
        However good you think your process is you still have to go back and manually check it against the raw data to make sure that the output makes sense in reality.
        However good you think your algorithm is, it almost certainly does not take all possibilities into account, even if it is programmed correctly without any inbuilt assumptions or mistakes/compromises.
        If you get an unprecedented result, the most likely reasons are either bad data or incorrect processing.

        I am also very suspicious of any model that purports to model something which has historical positive and negative fluctuations/cycles, but predicts an extreme in one direction without an apparent ability to predict (what I would argue) is an inevitable reversal of direction.

        Stock market models are not very good at predicting slumps either, and I don’t trust them for exactly the same reasons.

        I agree with your assessment of the attitude of some climate scientists, who appear to rubbish the expertise of others, whilst at the same time much of their work is based on statistical and programming work in which they themselves have little expertise.

        I guess what made me a skeptic was growing up from the late 60’s, getting scared by the wild predictions as a child (whilst seeing my Chemist father being skeptical of them) and then seeing every single one of the predictions fail to materialize, and many to be reversed completely ready for the next scare.

      • Philip,

        +1.

        A succinct statement of the bleeding obvious (to most people)

      • It applies to me, too. There was no overt reason to disbelieve it.

        Only when curiosity made me look for the papers proving that natural variation was ruled out did I find out that that basic step in the scientific method had been left out, and I began to think something was crooked in Denmark. Subsequent efforts took me to warmist websites and skeptical ones. The warmist sites continually used argumentum ad vereficundiam, while skeptical ones were filled with science and data. That still would be the case, but I got barfed out at the appeals to authority – by the very people who failed to do the basic science in the first place.

        Steve Garcia

      • We have not overthrown the divine right of kings to fall down for the divine right of experts.
        Macmillan British prime Minister

        Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.
        In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.
        Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.
        The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present – and is gravely to be regarded.
        Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.
        President Eisenhower
        Unless a scientist can afford to go against the majorty view and lose research contracts, then they are not independent. Newton, Darwin, Mendel and Einstein undertook research without being paid for it : they were independent scientists.
        How many scientists can afford to go against AGW theory?

      • I started because I heard that ‘the science was settled’. And being a good one-time chemist, I just assumed that they had done some really clever and conclusive experiments to be able to make such an assertion.

        And when I found that there weren’t any I started to be a bit suspicious of the whole shebang. The more I studied the more I realised just how flimsy the evidence for any of it really is.

      • Yeah, exactly.

        And don’t forget that the consensus also pretends that counter evidence doesn’t exist, putting the lie to science being ‘settled.’ Flimsy is one thing. Ignoring evidence to the contrary is another. Many real scientists of old are rolling over in their graves. Robert Hooke comes to mind.

        Steve Garcia

      • Philip Richens

        Applies to me too. PhD, physics, Bristol. No reason to question until you look closely. Mind you, good to find the reason to explore this area – there is great stuff in there when you dig.

      • I suppose I had no interest in CAGW until around 2003/4 when I read that 2500 scientists had signed up to the theory of CAGW in the South China Morning Post. To be honest, being an engineer I look for a lot more certainty than natural scientists do, so seldom take a new theory on board lock stock and barrel. Then there is the fact that at 60 years of age I had passed through enough crises, from coal running out, to bird flu wiping out the human race to keep a cool, sceptical, head. When I looked into the science I found that it was based onlittle more than a late 20th century correlation between CO2 and warming, and assertions that “hundreds of independent lines of evidence” supported the theory, all of those I subsequently looked at were evidence of warming offered as evidence of anthroprogenic global warming.

        Then I found the Greens were in it up to their necks.

  10. Very happy to see you back.
    You had a lot of people worried

  11. MattStat/MatthewRMarler

    The irony is that, without the insights of the humanities, it may still find itself without words.

    What tested insights from the humanities did he mention, and how has it been shown that they have worked, and how did he show they would work in this instance? This may sound crabby, but you have not provided (imo) any reason to read the whole thing?

    I used the word “tested” because of the author’s respect for the role of testing in scientific research.

    AND, …,

    Welcome Back!

  12. I was speculating there could have been a copyright problem.

  13. If it was a TOS violation one would expect that they would give you a warning notice an a takedown request for the violating content.
    I’ve seen WP bloggers in the past who had to takedown certain comments.

    A social DOS attack perhaps. Not sure how WP would address a barrage of complaints about a particular site. One could of course run an experiment.

    Question: where did folks go.. what what the traffic shift

    did you go to
    1. Gore Tv
    2. Wuwt tv
    3. CA
    4. Lucia?
    5. skeptical science

    • WUWT (not tv), bishop hill, lucia… to check whats-up.

    • blueice2hotsea

      2. Wuwt tv

      thanks for participating last night. much fewer dropouts and internet probs. today.

    • blueice2hotsea

      Listening to Steve McIntyre right now.

    • I went to worship at the seat of His Grace, Bishop Hill.

      • A natural response to the virtual presence of a pre-eminent climatologist, economist, energy expert and philosopher-prelate. Your humility does you great credit.

      • Come now BBD,

        Don’t be a dick.

      • Really tim, there’s no need for that sort of language…
        :-)

      • BBD,

        As we used to say in the service “Sometimes you just have to call a spade a f*cking shovel.”

        Just as there are times you have to point out when someone is acting like a dick. The exception being WEB, who these days always acts like one. With him it is now a given. Don’t be like WEB.

        Besides, shouldn’t you be more like a Richard? I have the general impression of the English acting above the level of dick.

      • BBD was a regular, daily, visitor the the Bishop’s blog but was banned for persistent trolling. It’s understandable s/he’s resentful and will take any opportunity s/he can to denigrate his nemesis. Understandable, but not dignified.

      • geronimo

        Please *try* to stick to the facts. The claim that I was banned from BH for some sort of misconduct or trolling is false. I was banned from BH because:

        – I asked awkward questions about who funds the GWPF and to what purpose

        – The regulars got upset when their various peculiar notions about CC were challenged

        I have no animus against Montford for banning me from his own blog but I do deeply dislike what he is doing and believe that it should be challenged. This holds for all the serial misinformers populating the CC ‘debate'; I do not single out Montford here.

        It is very regrettable indeed that the congregation at BH felt so threatened by someone simply quoting from mainstream climate science and attempting to dispel confusion and misunderstanding.

      • Geronimo

        Now I think about it, I wonder if you are still smarting over that time you made a prat out of yourself about the PETM (amongst other things)?

      • Self-important serial abuser here BBD, wants to believe he was banned from Biship Hill not for similar abuse there, but because

        I asked awkward questions about who funds the GWPF and to what purpose

        What does he imagine is awkward about either?

        And did he ever stop to consider that
        – governments spend many orders of magnitude more money getting their scientists to promote CAGW alarmism (the obvious motive being it justifies more taxation), than all other sources put together
        – being tax money, that money is taken from taxpayers whether agree or not, whereas organisations like GWPF are voluntarily funded

        The regulars got upset when their various peculiar notions about CC were challenged

        Simply precious .. .

      • Quite fitting how one logical thinker such as BBD can wreak havoc on an enclave of delusional sorts play-acting as scientists.

      • How sweet, Webster, wanking in time to your hero.

      • Petra

        Self-important serial abuser here BBD, wants to believe he was banned from Biship Hill not for similar abuse there

        What abuse? You have been asked to provide quotes and linked context. You have not done so. In fact the only link to a BH thread on which I am active was posted by… me.

        You were invited to scour it for evidence of the abusive behaviour you repeatedly allege and you have failed to do so.

        You are a liar, Petra.

      • Petra > Self-important serial abuser here BBD, wants to believe he was banned from Bishop Hill not for similar abuse there.

        BBD > What abuse? You have been asked to provide quotes and linked context. You have not done so. In fact the only link to a BH thread on which I am active was posted by… me. You were invited to scour it for evidence of the abusive behaviour you repeatedly allege and you have failed to do so. You are a liar, Petra.

        No BBD, you are the only liar and slippery spin doctor here, expertly exhibiting the same bad faith that characterises the climate ‘scientists’ you so admire.

        I merely said you were asking us to believe you weren’t abusive (as you routinely are here), I never claimed to have quotes. So am not biting on your hilarious little attempt to muddy the waters by giving me a laborious search task. Instead, why don’t you produce the messages that finally got you the boot? (Oh silly me, that would need you to be embrace good faith for a while).

      • Petra

        Claiming that I was banned from BH for transgressive/abusive behaviour then refusing to back it up with examples proves that the claim was a lie. We both know you were lying, so why bother contesting it?

        Don’t lie about me again or I will stuff it right back in your face again. And don’t presume to lecture me on good and bad faith. Just look at you, FFS.

      • BBD

        Since you persist with your characteristic slippery evasions, I must once again point out my original comment that you labour so hard to misrepresent :
        it merely said that you asked us to believe you were NOT thrown off Bishop Hill for the type of abuse you are well-known here for.

        We both know this is true, why do you persist in trying to lie about it ?

        And I duly note your ongoing failure to show us the comments you would have us believe finally got you the boot. Probably a wise tactical decision to hide that data; fits with the whole Consensus approach too.

      • Probably a wise tactical decision to hide that data; fits with the whole Consensus approach too.

        Not just a liar, a conspiracy theorist too. It’s astonishing how many of those self-identify as ‘sceptics’ ;-)

      • Me : And I duly note your ongoing failure to show us the comments you would have us believe finally got you the boot (off the Bishop site). Probably a wise tactical decision to hide that data; fits with the whole Consensus approach too.

        BBD : Not just a liar, a conspiracy theorist too. It’s astonishing how many of those self-identify as ‘sceptics’ ;-)

        Fact : BBD has kept indeed failed to produce these comments that could clear his name.

        Calling this obvious truth a lie, it itself a lie (one of his favourite ‘tricks’). So far from clearing his name, he thereby blackens it even further. Astonishing how many of these serial liars self-identify as Consensus truebelievers.

        And the incontrovertible observation of his decision to keep that information hidden, is a “conspiracy” theory now ? Well, why is be being less than forthcoming about producing the said information then? Seems a reasonable guess, that it will do anything but clear his name. But to someone with no answers and no scruples, reasonable guesses are called “conspiracy theories”, since that term has knee-jerk appeal, however inappropriately applied, and deftly changes the subject.

      • Goodness me, have you nothing better to do than keep trying to smear me? Sustaining this pitch of malice is surely bad for your spiritual and indeed mental health.

        Fact : BBD has kept indeed failed to produce these comments that could clear his name.

        You are the one making the accusation – the onus is on you to provide some evidence. Imagine if you went to court making accusations but refused to provide any supporting evidence and instead insisted that the person you accused simply defended themselves against an unsupported allegation.

        This is so unbearably stupid it hurts even to think about it.

        But it does serve a useful purpose: it demonstrates the mixture of hopeless illogicality, absolute lack of a case and the fundamentally malevolent nature of your commentary here.

        Calling this obvious truth a lie, it itself a lie (one of his favourite ‘tricks’).

        The obvious truth is that you are in a bit of a pickle. False accusations have a nasty habit of recoiling on the accuser.

        And the incontrovertible observation of his decision to keep that information hidden, is a “conspiracy” theory now ? Well, why is be being less than forthcoming about producing the said information then?

        ‘Keep the truth hidden’? Oh dear. See above.

        Links provided to BH by BBD: 1
        Links provided to BH by Petra: 0

        Petra has nothing. QED.

      • Whoops. There’s so much crap in your comment that it takes two passes to cover it properly.

        Here’s you, lying:

        Fact : BBD has kept indeed failed to produce these comments that could clear his name.

        Here’s the proof that you are a liar:

        What abuse? You have been asked to provide quotes and linked context. You have not done so. In fact the only link to a BH thread on which I am active was posted by… me.

        You were invited to scour it for evidence of the abusive behaviour you repeatedly allege and you have failed to do so.

        You are a liar, Petra.

        It just gets worse the longer you keep going. I’d stop if I were you.

      • Goodness me, have you nothing better to do than keep trying to smear me?

        Note : “smear” in bbdese means “report adverse facts on”.

        Fact : BBD has kept indeed failed to produce these comments that could clear his name. (He claims it was the powerful questions he asked; whereas bloggers here familiar with your work, speculate it may have been for serial abusiveness).

        You are the one making the accusation

        A deliberate lie you keep repeating as if that will somehow get it believed. I merely ask you for evidence to produce the comments that got you banned, so we can see if it was the same incessant abuse you practice here, or something else..

        – the onus is on you to provide some evidence.

        No, it is the evidence for your claims that we wait for.

        And as long as BBD continues to refuse to provide this alleged exoneratory evidence, rational folk will continue to conclude he has none. And that the reason he was banned from Bishop Hill, was for using the same consistently sky-high level of insults and abuse.

      • Petra: BBD is a witch! Burn him!

        BBD: Prove it.

        Petra: You’re a witch! Prove you aren’t!

        BBD: You’re an idiot. QED.

        Petra: BBD’s a witch! Burn him!

        BBD: Yawn.

    • Hi Steven
      Got busy searching the NOAAs data, and hey presto found it:

      http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/NoaaD.htm

    • I made the mistake of visiting Scientific American and got frustrated at the lack of science and being called a denier

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Outside.

      • Once again showing your superior intellegence Brandon.

        It has been a gorgeous day up here in Seattle. Of course tomorrow the rain returns.

    • Where else but WUWT TV to see Mosher talk !! Was there anywhy

  14. My tech got an email from wordpress: “it was a mistake. the site is now back up.”

  15. “On still other occasions, someone may call into question the good faith of the scientists”

    “Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless (well there is a potential point but it is to mislead).”

    Shame, this morning climatedialog seemed like a good idea.

    • Well then why else would a smart guy like annan butcher judith’s position the way he did? seriously Dik. When you have a smart person like james misinterpret a simple sentence it makes you wonder.
      is he dumb? hung over? trying to mislead? having a senior moment?
      well we know hes not dumb. whats your hypothesis

  16. Welcome back, Judith!

  17. curryja:

    Fine essay; full of quasi intellectual smoke and mirrors to hide the underlying message -our authority is good, the other side has none to appeal to. Anyone surprised that it comes from the very man on whose watch the BBC drifted ever more into the world of above-the-law, institutionalized, “bien pensant” [left wing] biases, of which the 28Gate ["the science is settled, forget even-handed coverage"] scandal is one of the nastier manifestations given its overarching editorial impact.

    No wonder that a number of heavy weight writers at the NYT are not pleased at all having him as their new CEO.

  18. In the full article Mark Thompson cites Doran to make the claim from authority of ‘97% of atmospheric physicists’ – which is utter rubbish..

    “By contrast, one surveyxv suggested that no fewer than 97% of atmospheric scientists believed that man-made climate change is happening. So: a perceived threat to the planet, a widening gap between experts and public, a live policy debateone can easily see how advocacy can seem like a duty.” – Mark Thompson

    And nobody I know doubst climate change is happening, the issue is how much, is due to man(vs natural), and how much more can we expect due to man (vs natural).

    Which only shows Mark has never read Doran, let alone the Consensus of the Consensus, cited by Doran. I imagine he knows less than nothing himself about climate change, just repeating what he has heard and embelleshing it. and no nothing about the debate at all, just parrots what he thinks ‘deniers’ think

    maybe he could read this.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/07/18/what-else-did-the-97-of-scientists-say/

  19. I find the arguments by Mark Thompson to be very compelling. If the science is based on empirical data, then it is irrefutable. If it is based on hypothetical estimations, and the output of non-validated models, with no empirical data to support such estimations, then it is worthless. This is why it is clear to me that CAGW is a hoax. I was taught just about everything Mark talks about in Physics 101.

  20. Nice to see the arguments written so clearly. Having argued along similar lines both on this site and elsewhere I might hope that this helps the counterparts understand the issues better but I’m afraid they don’t read the essay. How they could something linked to by Bishop Hill and Climate Etc.

  21. Please request Mark Thompson to address how the CO2 taxes in Australia and the UK with have any affect whatsoever on climate, temperature, or weather? And how and when will we know? The only affect will be the lightening of their wallets, with absolutely no closed loop mechanism to assess effectiveness or anything else for that matter.
    And now it will be coming to the USA, as “The One” can be “more flexible” after the election.

  22. Dr. Curry,

    Mark Thompson errors badly, I believe, in his agreement with the view that Science should be ascendent over all.

    I would hate to see the US House of Representatives, for instance, debating something as basic as the Laws of Gravity — as a general principal. But they have every right to debate whether or not to send astronauts to Mars, propelled, first against the forces of gravity, then accelerated onward and downward by the same forces.

    Likewise, to have the US Academies of Science issue demand that men be sent to Mars because “Science Demands It”, would appall me. They may offer their opinions on why they think it would be a good idea for society.

    When we take away the advocacy from the current state of CliSci, we find we are left with a lot of uncertainty about what has happened, why it has happened, and what will happen, regarding the planetary climate. We know that the planet is in a bit of a warmish period, compared to the recently finished coolish period (and this is about the extent of the actual broad consensus) and we feel, rather than know, that mankind’s activities, particularly production of CO2, may have something to do with the recent (150 years) uptick. We know that the approved political ‘scientific consensus’ opinion varies from this simple statement.

    It is very wrong for Consensus Science to claim the right to dictate policy solutions. It is just as wrong for administrators and policy makers to attempt to dictate the science. I agree with Thompson on this one point.

    The rest of us have every right to demand that any science that calls for broad public policies affecting our lives and lifestyles be thoroughly, repeatedly replicated and rigorously and vigorously scientifically challenged before broad-reaching life-style altering policies are enacted.

    • Good point. The science has nothing to do with the advocacy for particular ‘solutions.’ We could accept the most apocalyptic claims of climate change, and decide to wait until it happens to do something about it. Physics tells us nothing whatsoever about public policy. We can also reasonably challenge the claims of certainty before we decide to act.

    • “When we take away the advocacy from the current state of CliSci, we find we are left with a lot of uncertainty about what has happened, why it has happened, and what will happen, regarding the planetary climate. We know that the planet is in a bit of a warmish period, compared to the recently finished coolish period (and this is about the extent of the actual broad consensus) and we feel, rather than know, that mankind’s activities, particularly production of CO2, may have something to do with the recent (150 years) uptick. We know that the approved political ‘scientific consensus’ opinion varies from this simple statement.”

      I would add that the recent coolish period is the coolest period in thousands of years.

      It’s also unlikely the 150 year uptick has anything to do with global CO2 levels.
      If looking for one factor, it seems volcanic activity was a factor involved.
      Of course, if we were to start getting eruption throwing 100 cubic km of rock in the air, how many nanoseconds will take, before it becomes the government’s task to control volcanoes?

      “It is very wrong for Consensus Science to claim the right to dictate policy solutions. It is just as wrong for administrators and policy makers to attempt to dictate the science. I agree with Thompson on this one point.

      The rest of us have every right to demand that any science that calls for broad public policies affecting our lives and lifestyles be thoroughly, repeatedly replicated and rigorously and vigorously scientifically challenged before broad-reaching life-style altering policies are enacted.”

      Government is inherently evil.
      Too many people are brainwashed with the idea that citizens are inherently evil and that only the government can be inherently good- with the follow on fantasy, that government can be the source making better people good and better world.

      One will get many things VERY wrong whenever too many people hold the idea that any totalitarian government can be a good government.

  23. Several of Thompson’s suggestions need analysis and response, but let me mention just one of them. He suggests that the BBC covered a couple of questionable scientific claims that turned out to be wrong. But in the interests of impartiality they were forced to give some airtime to the mistaken advocates. This wass a shame and should not be repeated.

    My response is that you can’t always know at the beginning which side is going to be correct. If the area is not perfectly clear, you will sometimes be mistaken, no matter which side you take. So don’t take sides. Let your listeners know that the area is controversial and uncertain, and one of the sides will turn out to be wrong. That’s the best you can do in such a situation, unless you have a bigger crystal ball than I thought.

  24. Having read recent comments here I just wonder how many commenters have read the whole essay as they appear to fault Mark Thompson for something he has not written – and in some cases using arguments that he has agreed on explicitly.

    • I, for one, read all sixteen pages. :-)

      • Kim,

        Why do you present as your first finding:

        Mark Thompson errors badly, I believe, in his agreement with the view that Science should be ascendent over all.

        I don’t get that message from the essay.

        He does believe that science is ultimately the best source of knowledge on issues of science, but even that only ultimately as he presents and emphasizes examples of serious errors in early results in a new field.

        He does not claim that decisions could be based only on issues of science. He might have stated his view on that more clearly without too much additional text but it’s never possible to cover everything important.

      • Pekka,

        Thompson clearly states:

        “Hume’s sense that science represents an epistemological gold standard is almost universal today. Like most non-scientists of my age and background, I accept that fundamental authority completely and whenever it comes to an argument I usually find myself instinctively on the side of mainstream science. I don’t do that because I have personally checked the evidence which underpins The Origin of Species or examined Bohr’s or Schrödinger’s equations: I haven’t the expertise to do either. No, I back science because I find Popper’s account of the scientific method and its falsifiability intellectually compelling and because, at the level of common sense, the explanatory and predictive success of science is so overwhelming. Moreover, I’ve spent enough time with scientists to be wholly convinced that the culture and practice of science genuinely aim at truth.”

        Perhaps my use of the term ascendancy is not quite accurate though Thompson certainly thinks that Science has unassailable answers when it is “mainstream” –> and accepts it as correct and feels we should too. Despite, and contrary to, his eloquent arguments as to why we should not do so.

        He makes the common mistake of sensibly having accepted the correctness of repeatably and thoroughly replicated scientific findings establishing fundamental understandings of physical principals, goes on to blindly accept any and all scientific opinions that have currently managed to become “mainstream”….the very thing he supplies warning examples against.

        Even after his long discussion about how cultural, social, and political views must inform policy-making, in the end, he gives the feeling that it is shame that it must be that way.

        [He says many other interesting things, and presents other views whikch I generally agree with...my comment is fairly narrowly intended.]

  25. A very eloquent lecture thanks for posting it J.C. I too agree that I tend to accept what I regard as mainstream science. It is not the scientists responsibility to advise action or consequences, it is up to the lay to decide on the unbiased scientific conclusions. It seems to me that humanity is involved in a gigantic experiment that is escalating. And scientists are warning us, but is is falling on deaf ears. I see that U.S.A has improved oil extraction methods and now running at record rates to be the world’s largest producer, Russia is poised to start exploiting the considerable Arctic oil reserves, the vast natural photosynthesis CO2 sinks have been greatly reduced (rain forest clearing etc.). NOAA show us steadily climbing on CO2 levels up to a fairly well agreed red line (around 450 ppm I seem to recall) , major countries (USA, Russia, China) have failed to abide to sensible reduction policies. We might be getting close to where we will need to take fire fighting actions (seeding the ocean and some of the other schemes proposed). It is a giant experiment that I do not wish to risk the quality of life of my descendants on. Maybe we can adapt and carry on (as the denial camp says), or maybe some of those scientist’s who are warning us are correct, Either way I don’t want to take the risk. Lay people who just deny anything that some scientists are warning about are not contributing anything by repeatedly saying there is no risk and it is all a fund raising scam (they appear self-destructive to me), why do they want to risk the lives of future generations in this vast and grim experiment with our beloved climate.

  26. Brandon Shollenberger

    Gavin Schmidt laughs at Judith Curry’s statement:

    So . . . what is the bottom line on the attribution of the recent sea ice melt? My assessment is that it is likely (>66% likelihood) that there is 50-50 split between natural variability and anthropogenic forcing, with +/-20% range. Why such a ‘wishy washy’ statement with large error bars? Well, observations are ambiguous, models are inadequate, and our understanding of the complex interactions of the climate system is incomplete.

    Saying:

    Actually this statement is meaningless. The number you are trying to estimate is uncertain and so has to be characterised by some kind of distribution (which is to be estimated). A statement of likelihood is a quantification of the area under that curve between some limits (see this post for some graphical examples). This means that the the likelihood of any single value (i.e. 50% or whatever) is actually zero. Rather, statements need to be couched as follows: the probability of the number being greater than 50% is XXX, or of lying between this range is YYY etc. Curry’s statement even if generously interpreted makes very little sense

    Curry says the range is from 30-70 to 70-30 at a >66% probability, and Gavin says it’s meaningless because she gave a single value. Apparently he needs to learn to read.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      William M. Connolley gets involved too. When someone asked Curry what she meant, she explains her “50/50 split… with +/-20% range” as meaning 30-70%. Connolley says:

      Her answer seems, to me, to shift meaning, by rephrasing it as “I think it [sic] a simpler way to look at this would be to attempt to put bounds on the AGW contribution to the recent sea ice melt. I propose a range of 30-70%”. So now I think she is 100% confident that the recent melt is at least 30% anthro, and not more than 70%.

      Apparently Connolley believes Curry changed the probability she assign to the range because… she didn’t make another comment stating the probability.

      Apparently their strategy is to mock people by intentionally misreading simple sentences. That, or they are just really bad at reading simple sentences. I’m not sure which is worse.

      • > Apparently their strategy is to mock people by intentionally misreading simple sentences.

        Indeed.

        They should simply say that what they read makes no sense whatsoever.

        Look at the silly monkey!

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard, I know you love attention, but it’s poor form to yell at people, “Look at me!”

      • Indeed that is James annan did.

        http://www.climatedialogue.org/melting-of-the-arctic-sea-ice/#comment-78

        Of course you knew that, and went there to point out that he was wrong to call her statement “nonsensical” rather than reading it with charity.
        or asking for a clarification or picture

      • Under the reasonable assumption that the forced trend will stay roughly constant, and that natural contribution can be either sign, she is expecting the future observed trend to be half the historical one, albeit with substantial uncertainty.”
        Is that really a reasonable assumption?

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Steven Mosher: http://www.climatedialogue.org/melting-of-the-arctic-sea-ice/#comment-78

        Thank you for the link. That looks like a good addition to my bookmarks.

      • Watch willard run there an correct annan.

        not.

        girly man

      • Perhaps the same point could be formulated in a way that would promote a reasoned dialogue:

        I find Brandon Shollenberger’s comment and inferences to be incomprehensible.

        There. A reasoned dialogue can now begin.

        Cf. http://www.climatedialogue.org/melting-of-the-arctic-sea-ice/#comment-83

      • > [Annan] was wrong to call her statement “nonsensical” [...]

        He did no such thing. He stated his interpretation of Judy’s claim, said he considered it nonsensical, and asked either for a clarification, or a retraction.

        But he was rude nonetheless. And Judy is not showing more magnanimity by tone trolling her way out of her commitment over there. Non nova, sed nove.

        As a way to promote dialogue, I would be tempted to say: yawn.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard:

        I find Brandon Shollenberger’s comment and inferences to be incomprehensible.

        Gavin Schmidt and William M. Connolley fail at basic reading comprehension. I point this out, and willard responds by saying… he can’t comprehend what I wrote.

        Irony. And not Morissette irony like how Gavin uses the word. This is actual irony.

      • > I point this [that Gavin and William fails some basic comprehension test] out, and willard responds by saying… he can’t comprehend what I wrote.

        That’s not what I said.

        And “pointing this out” is quite thin, since “50/50″ might very well denote one point only.

        Perhaps BBD should recall Nullius and kdk33’s lesson at Keith’s.

        All this makes no sense.

      • Really willard.

        Annan called a strawman to testify ( his interpretation)
        and then played Chewbacca.

        Seriously, dude

      • Moshpit,

        You’re using James’ rude comment to blockade the position.
        This is not speed chess. The Internet is there forever.

        A the end of the day, Judy still made a claim that deserves due diligence. However unfairly it was understood, she still has to support it. Dignified handwaving only offers a temporary strong point.

      • Steve

        Thank you for the link to an excellent exchange

    • Sometimes Gavin prefers drama to science.

    • Too bad RC/Gavin has such a bad reputation for editing posts to suite their opinions.

    • The “sea ice melt” is only the Arctic; the Antarctic set a new record high. The net planetary sea ice “extent” is positive. Also, even just considering only the Arctic, so what if for one moment the data shows less than in the recording era? That A.) doesn’t make it a real record; it is only the lowest measured in the short history of readings (which is essentially since the satellite era). The proper terminology is “lowest in the brief satellite history of readings.”

      And B.) if the Arctic sea ice extent reaches such a low and then recovers back into the “normal range” in subsequent months, of what import was the low? And if I read the graph correctly, the extent is now within ‘norms’. If so, the low didn’t mean jack, because it had no longevity.

      Steve Garcia

    • dikranmarsupial

      I note you left off the key point here, which was that Prof. Curry was using exactly the sort of statement of uncertainty that is used by the IPCC (a bound on the probability that some quantity lies in an interval) that Prof. Curry was highly critical of when used by the IPCC. Thus her statement is rather ironic.

      Yes, Gavin is wrong on this one, as it is possible to interpret Prof. Curry’s statement in a meaningfull manner. However that doesn’t change the fact that she was stating her uncertainty in a form that she has publicly criticised.

      • You are incorrect in your intepretation. I criticized the IPCC for the ambiguous use of the word ‘most’, and failing to focus more quantitatively on the split (anthro vs natural). I also criticized the IPCC for overconfidence. I have recommended that we try to bound the range of the split, and put a realistic confidence assessment on this that includes suspected levels of ignorance.

      • dikranmarsupial

        “most” is not at all ambiguous, the concept is perfectly well defined in the context in which it was used (as many have pointed out, in this case it clearly means >50%). AFAICS the IPCC does focus quantatively on the split in more detail, but this tends not to be done in the summary statements of the form mentioned, but in the text itself (which is pefectly reasonable in my opinion). I find it odd that the IPCC is criticised for overconfidence given that most of the statements are actually pretty bland and convey considerable levels of uncertainty.

        It appears that your broad range of uncertainty is based on your personal assessment of suspected levels of ignorance on the development of sea ice (I have no problem with that). The statement from the IPCC that is mentioned in your paper does not state the reasons for the uncertainty, but equally there is no evidence that this does not already include an assessment of levels of ignorance on relevant issues.

        Your statement “Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless (well there is a potential point but it is to mislead).” is likely to cause offense to many who have worked on prediction of sea ice extent, both through statistical means and via modelling, who are doing their best in good faith to make useful projections. I took part in the SEARCH sea ice extent exercise, which attempts to compare the accuracy of prediction methods. You will find that most that took part took great pains to express the assumptions and uncertainties involved, and to suggest that the point was to mislead is inflamatory, and I would suggest that you ammend it. I would like to see climatedialog succeed, and this sort of insinuation is at best unhelpful.

      • My gripe here is as with much of the arguments about ‘degree of this’ and ‘possibility of that’, when are we going to be presented with proven empirical and logical explanations of the basic physics?

        http://carbon-budget.geologist-1011.net/

        There is no way to tell anthropogenic from volcanic.

        The volcanic output is consistently and deliberately downplayed.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Myrrh The reason that volcanic CO2 is downplayed is because it is very small compared to anthropogenic emissions, and as a consequence its effect is comparably small.

        However the more important point is that science can prove nothing empirically about the real world with certainty, only disprove. Stating “degrees” and “possibilities” (probabilities) is entirely the correct scientific approach. Where I certainly agree with Prof. Curry is that acknowledgement and communication of the uncertainties is extremely important, as is the ability to correctly take the uncertainties into account in addressing the problems.

      • On the contrary, “most” is certainly ambiguous.

        “Most” Americans recently voted for Barack Obama for President. Perfectly true, but ambiguous….the commonly accepted understanding would be ‘nearly everyone’ and thus it does not clearly reflect the actual 52% to 48% split –> a 4% margin. In recent history, LBJ won by a 22.5% margin, Richard Nixon by a 23% margin, and George Bush won despite a negative margin of 0.51%.

        Most is the superlative of more….thus to the average reader implies ‘the greatest amount or extent” and not necessarily just a simple >50% majority, although that too is an accepted definition, thus the ambiguity.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Kip, the IPCC were making a statement about uncertainty, so common sense says that the interpretation of “most” ought to be the most uncertain (i.e. >50%). If the actual attribution had been more certain, they would have used a more emphatic term (“a substantial majority”, the “great majority”, “almost all” etc.).

        I rather doubt anybody would interpret “most” to mean “almost everybody” in the context of the American election. As in the case of the IPCC statement, while there is more than one possible interpretation, common sense can be used to work out which is most likely to be correct.

        Note if Prof. Curry asserts that the IPCC is overconfident, then it is obviously an unfair criticism if it is based on anything other than the least certain plausible interpretation of the statement, which in this case is >50%, or the argument is essentially a straw man.

      • Dik,

        Must say you exhibit big ones in trying to argue that the term “most” is perfectly unambiguous. In any context.

        I believe “most” people understand that “most” can mean anything from 51% to 99% and that the percentage at which “most” applies can be very subjective.

      • dikranmarsupial

        timg56 I didn’t say it was unambiguous in any context, I said it was unambiguous in the context in whcih it was used by the IPCC (and also with reference to the presidential election).

      • dik,

        The “in any context” statement was not meant to indicate that’s what you were saying. I am stating that the term “most” can be ambiguous “in any context”.

        For some reason you seem to think Dr Curry is accusing researchers working on Arctic ice forecasting at being dishonest or having some “agenda”. I don’t see that at all. If we were to apply the “reasonable person” standard used in law, most (using whatever context you choose) would understand that Dr Curry is simply saying there is a lot of uncertainty, there is more we don’t know than what we do and anyone making claims and predictions (or projections – which “most” people make little to no distinction between) with any sense of certainty are over reaching.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Tim56, Sorry you are just engaging in pedantry, while there is always some ambiguity in almost any statement made in English (a notoriously subtle language), common sense ought to be more than sufficient to see what was meant by “most” in both of the specific contexts that were discussed.

        as for “For some reason you seem to think Dr Curry is accusing researchers working on Arctic ice forecasting at being dishonest ”

        Prof Curry wrote:

        “Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless (well there is a potential point but it is to mislead).”

        That is a clear insinuation that those working on, or making decadal scale projections of sea ice extents are doing so to mislead.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Dikran Marsupial claims Judith Curry made “a clear insinuation that those working on, or making decadal scale projections of sea ice extents are doing so to mislead” because she said:

        Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless (well there is a potential point but it is to mislead).

        It’s fascinating how people can find ways to misread simple sentences if they disagree with them. In this case, Dikran’s claim rests entirely upon a parenthetical aside, not anything within the sentence itself. Since parentheticals are extra, existing to clarify a sentence rather than alter it, that’s peculiar. To see this, imagine if the parenthetical didn’t exist:

        Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless

        Is there any accusation of dishonesty? Of course not. Curry says something is pointless. That’s all. Some people might disagree with her statement, but there is clearly no insinuation of anything in it.

        Dikran’s claim can only be made by ignoring the sentence’s body and focusing entirely upon a parenthetical aside. And he has the audacity to say it is “clear” his claim is true.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Brandon, I should have read your earlier post first. Yes, if you delete the implication of intent to mislead (the stuff in the parentheses), there is no implication of intent to mislead. Had Prof. Curry also left out the material in the parentheses I would have no problem with what she wrote.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Dikran Marsupial:

        Brandon, I should have read your earlier post first. Yes, if you delete the implication of intent to mislead (the stuff in the parentheses), there is no implication of intent to mislead. Had Prof. Curry also left out the material in the parentheses I would have no problem with what she wrote.

        You’ve failed to address the point I made. Parenthetical comments are aside offered to clarify things. They are separated from the body of a sentence in order to show they are not part of the main point. A sentence’s meaning should never change based upon a parenthetical comment. That means when interpreting a sentence, you should be able to ignore anything in parentheses.

        Does Curry’s comment make complete sense without the parenthetical comment? Yes. As such, the meaning of the sentence is not defined by the parenthetical comment. That means her “insinuation” is one of pointlessness, not deception.

        At most, you can say Curry insinuated some people working on those models do so to deceive (and that’s a stretch). But to say she insinuated everyone working on those models intends to deceive is absurd.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Sorry Brandon, you are just being absurd, an insinuation of intent to mislead made in parentheses is still an insinuation of intent to mislead.

      • dikranmarsupial | November 16, 2012 at 7:13 am | Myrrh The reason that volcanic CO2 is downplayed is because it is very small compared to anthropogenic emissions, and as a consequence its effect is comparably small.

        Who says?
        From 1.1 in the link I gave to Timothy Casey’s look at it:

        If volcanoes produce more CO2 than industry when they are not erupting, then variations in volcanic activity may go a long way towards explaining the present rise in CO2.”

        Where are the actual measurements behind this AGWGreenhouseEffect claim that volcanic sources are insignificant?

        Casey says:
        “2.0 Calculated Estimates: Glorified Guesswork
        The estimation of worldwide volcanic CO2 emission is undermined by a severe shortage of data. To make matters worse, the reported output of any individual volcano is itself an estimate based on limited rather than complete measurement. One may reasonably assume that in each case, such estimates are based on a representative and statistically significant quantity of empirical measurements. Then we read statements, such as this one courtesy of the USGS (2010):

        Scientists have calculated that volcanoes emit between about 130-230 million tonnes (145-255 million tons) of CO2 into the atmosphere every year (Gerlach, 1991). This estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes, about in equal amounts.

        In point of fact, the total worldwide estimate of roughly 55 MtCpa is by one researcher, rather than “scientists” in general. More importantly, this estimate by Gerlach (1991) is based on emission measurements taken from only seven subaerial volcanoes and three hydrothermal vent sites. Yet the USGS glibly claims that Gerlach’s estimate includes both subaerial and submarine volcanoes in roughly equal amounts. Given the more than 3 million volcanoes worldwide indicated by the work of Hillier & Watts (2007), one might be prone to wonder about the statistical significance of Gerlach’s seven subaerial volcanoes and three hydrothermal vent sites. If the statement of the USGS concerning volcanic CO2 is any indication of the reliability of expert consensus, it would seem that verifiable facts are eminently more trustworthy than professional opinion.

        This is not an isolated case. Kerrick (2001) takes a grand total of 19 subaerial volcanoes, which on p. 568 is described as only 10% of “more than 100 subaerial volcanoes”. It is interesting to observe that Kerrick (2001) leaves out some of the more notable volcanoes (eg. Tambora, Krakatoa, Mauna Loa, Pinatubo, El Chichon, Katmai, Vesuvius, Agung, Toba, etc.). Nevertheless, despite these omissions Kerrick calculates 2.0-2.5 x 1012 mol of annual CO2 emissions from all subaerial volcanoes, which is understated on the assumption that the sample is from the most active volcanic demographic. This is in spite of the fact that eight of the world’s ten most active volcanoes are omitted from Kerrick’s study (Klyuchevskoy Karymsky, Shishaldin, Colima, Soufriere Hills, Pacaya, Santa Maria, Guagua Pichincha, & Mount Mayon).” Etc. Etc.

        So what’s going on here? There is gross, and deliberately misleading, under-reporting of Carbon Dioxide emissions from volcanic activity, and, there is no way to tell anthropogenic apart from this anyway.

        However the more important point is that science can prove nothing empirically about the real world with certainty, only disprove. Stating “degrees” and “possibilities” (probabilities) is entirely the correct scientific approach.

        The correct scientific approach can only use such when proper error bars are in place – in other words premised on there being a proper data base, there isn’t such a thing in this claim, and, more to the point, there has been a constant theme of fudging to hide this from Keeling onward who prefer imaginative model making fictions to the hard collection and analysis of data.

        Which is my gripe, that when every claim is looked at the basic premise is found to not exist.

        How do 7 and 19 estimated stand in for millions uncounted? These people are not scientists, one tree in Yamal does not prove anything about the history of global temperatures over centuries..

        One can’t make uncertainty disappear by creating certainty out of nothing.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Dikran Marsupial, I gave an explanation for my position. You mispresented it. I repeated my explanation with greater clarity and specificity. You ignored it while again misrepresenting what I said. Instead of addressing my points, you dismissed it as me “being absurd.” I think we should alert willard!

      • Well, well, well.

        It seems that Chebacca’s (i.e. our beloved Brandon) favorite “you make no sense”, is evolving. We now have (paraphrasing), in this subthread alone:

        > That… makes no sense.

        > You are absurd.

        > Sorry you are just engaging in pedantry.

        > It’s fascinating how people can find ways to misread simple sentences if they disagree with them.

        > This [e.g., pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice] is pointless, or misleading at best.

        All this instead of addressing dirk’s point. Something was being said about “addressing points”.

        And I thought this was just a specialty we could taste at Lucia’s.

        Perhaps Chewbacca could indulge by telling us about your dream of being a terminologist.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I called for willard, and he came! Unsurprisingly, rather than criticize Dikran Marsupial, he decided to criticize me. Surprisingly, he decided to criticize me for… things Dikran said:

        You are absurd.

        Sorry you are just engaging in pedantry.

        Apparently this sort of behavior is so horrible, it has to be attributed to me rather than the person who actually did it. Not only is it horrible, but it is:

        All… instead of addressing dirk’s point.

        I’ll admit. Dikran Marsupial choose to say those things “instead of addressing dirk’s point.”

        This [e.g., pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice] is pointless, or misleading at best.

        willard even attributes something Judith Curry said on another page to me! It’s flattering, in a crazy sort of way. Anyway, of the five quotes attributed to me, only two were actually from me. Two were from the person I criticized, and a third was from a page I haven’t even posted on.

        It’s kind of creepy. It seems willard is so obsessed with me, he’s seeing me even where I’m not.

      • dik,

        RE insinuation – you need to develop thicker skin.

        One stop at Real Climate shows us what “whiney little bitches” some of the regular commentors over there are. In addition to trashing Dr Curry, they have the usual checklist of whines – unfair sense of balance, another ploy by fossil fuel, no alarmists, wah, wah, wah.

        btw – I noticed you haven’t dipped into the “whiney” category over there, even with your criticisms.

      • willard,

        feel free to jump to dikran’s defense. But that doesn’t alter the fact he is over reacting. He thinks I’m engaging in pedantry. I’m a former torpedoman, knuckle dragging type. Not sure I know what pedantry means, let along how to engage in it.

        Would it have been better for Dr Curry to have left off the portion in paranthesis? Maybe. Should have refrained from picking on dikran’s point about “most”? In hindsight yes. Was dik being nitpickey with Dr Curry’s comments? Looks that way to me. Was Brandon being too pickey over dik’s replies? In this case I don’t think so. Dikran’s point of Curry accussing all arctic ice reseachers being dishonest was overblown. By a wide margin. Changing it to being an insinuation instead may move it a little bit back towards the bullseye, but it still is off target.

        So I’ll repeat – chime in on dik’s defense. Just recognize it’s a forlorn hope.

      • > Surprisingly, he decided to criticize me for… things Dikran said: [...]

        I did no such thing, but simply pointed out how the Chewbaccattack has evolved. And if his reading would make any sense, Chewbacca forgot to add that I decided to criticize him for … things Judy said too. But this reading would make sense if Chewbacca were the only one to use his favorite preemptive strike, which is false.

        An awesome reader we do have here.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        willard, you specifically said:

        It seems that Chebacca’s (i.e. our beloved Brandon) favorite “you make no sense”, is evolving.

        You specifically called me “Chebacca” then listed quotes supposedly from Chewbacca. How could anyone possibly interpret that as a general comment about a strategy used by many people? Heck, you now say:

        Chewbacca forgot to add that I decided to criticize him for … things Judy said too.

        You’re still calling me Chewbacca! You’re calling me Chewbacca while saying quotes attributed to Chewbacca were not attributed to me. Are you insane?

        (And as anyone can see, I clearly pointed out you attributed to me Curry’s quote as well.)

      • Here’s what I claim:

        (P1) The Chewbaccattack is a favorite trick of Chewbacca.
        (P2) This favorite trick of Chewbacca has evolved.

        Chewbacca wants to conclude:

        (C) I am accusing Chewbacca of the many flavors into which his favorite trick has evolved.

        This conclusion does not follow from the premise, nor is it presupposed by them, beside being relevant to little else than some kind of mindbending game.

        So not only is our furry-ous Chewbacca a wonderful reader, we can witness how adamant is it as an inference machine.

        No wonder he found his home on the Internet at Lucia’s.

      • timg56,

        I’m not jumping to anyone’s defense. Not here to bring the peace at all.

        Please do continue to chastize dikran the way you do. You seem to need it.

      • Let us note the nec plus ultra:

        > Are you insane?

        Even better than “you make no sense”.

        Let us hope Chewbacca will someday realize that other commenters can use the tricks he favors, hopefully against him.

      • willard,

        RE what I need.

        Junior Achievement has a nice lesson plan on Needs and Wants. It’s geared to 1st graders but adults can learn a thing or two from it as well.

        About the only “need” I currently have is to exert a little self discipline and get back to using my C-PAP machine. (I consider myself to be a very fortunate individual. One who doesn’t believe the world is about to end.)

      • willard –

        Personally, I prefer “you make no sense” or “that makes no sense.” They are both more arrogant and disrespectful of uncertainty than “are you insane,” which no matter how rhetorical, is still a question.

        As such, I think the first two are more representative of “skepticism.”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua:

        willard –
        As such, I think the first two are more representative of “skepticism.”

        Interestingly, they’re also more representative of your comments.

        willard:

        No wonder he found his home on the Internet at Lucia’s.

        I think this is about the weakest criticism you could possibly hope to muster. Seeing as your P1 and P2 aren’t even remotely plausible descriptions of what you actually said,* I guess we can leave it at this. You can keep doing your pseudo-stalking nonsense, and pretty much everyone else will just agree The Blackboard is a reasonable place.

        *After offering the five quotes, including two from Dikran Marsupial, you said those quotes were posted “instead of addressing dirk’s point.” You said two quotes he made, plus a quote made before he said anything, were made “instead of addressing” his point. That isn’t remotely compatible with your current description.

      • Brandon –

        Interestingly, they’re also more representative of your comments.

        How so? As I have pointed out to you in the past, such comments are illogical. That is why I avoid them. You are not the judge of what does or does not “make sense,” brandon, and when you say that you are, your comments are arrogant.

        You will never find me making those comments to anyone. You have done so many times. Thus, they are very representative of your posts and not at all representative of mine.

      • > Seeing as your P1 and P2 aren’t even remotely plausible descriptions of what you actually said [...]

        Here are the propositions:

        (P1) The Chewbaccattack is a favorite trick of Chewbacca.
        (P2) This favorite trick of Chewbacca has evolved.

        Here’s the first sentence from my first comment in this subthread:

        > It seems that Che[w]bacca’s (i.e. our beloved Brandon) favorite “you make no sense”, is evolving.

        We clearly see that both propositions are contained in the first sentence I wrote in this subthread.

        Chewbacca’s reading skillz are a marvel to contemplate.

        ***

        > I think this is about the weakest criticism you could possibly hope to muster.

        It makes little sense to evaluate that way a general remark pertaining to Chewbacca’s debating style, a style best appreciated at the parsomatics’ mecca.

        What a pompous prick.

      • > You said two quotes he made, plus a quote made before he said anything, were made “instead of addressing” his point.

        No. I observed that people were using Chewbaccattacks instead of sticking to Dikran’s point, a point which might need to be restated, considering all of Chewbacca’s obfuscation:

        > However that doesn’t change the fact that [Judy] was stating her uncertainty in a form that she has publicly criticised.

        Picking one sentence and misreading it does seem to be a popular sport.

        Please consider the picking on the “most” that follows.

        As if readers won’t notice that these Chewbaccattacks only serve to obfuscate the issues under a torrent of verbal abuses.

      • The Little Ice Age is the coldest it has been during the last 10,000 years of our current interglacial, the Holocene:

        “Overview on glacier changes since the end of the Little Ice Age
        Year: 2007
        From collection: Global Outlook for Ice and Snow
        Author: Hugo Ahlenius, UNEP/GRID-Arendal

        Glaciers and ice caps reached their Holocene (the past 10 000 years) maximum extent in most mountain ranges throughout the world towards the end of the Little Ice Age, between the 17th and mid-19th century. Over the past hundred years a trend of dramatic shrinking is apparent over the entire globe, especially at lower elevations and latitudes. Within this general trend, strong glacier retreat is observed in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by static conditions around the 1970s and by increasing rates of glacier wasting after the mid 1980s. There are short-term regional deviations from this general trend and intermittent re-advances of glaciers in various mountain ranges occurred at different times. The trend of worldwide glacier shrinking since the end of the Little Ice Age is consistent with the increase in global mean air temperature.”

        http://www.grida.no/graphicslib/detail/overview-on-glacier-changes-since-the-end-of-the-little-ice-age_cc01

        Our current warming is in the process of warming from this coldest of the cold periods of our Holocene and the retreat of ice is beginning to uncover settlements and vegetation in places like Greenland which have been snow and ice covered for centuries:

        “Detailed Chronology of Late
        Holocene Climatic Change
        James S. Aber
        1450: Further expansion of perennial snow and ice cover on Baffin Island that killed and buried vegetation, which is just now beginning to emerge (Morton 2012).”

        http://academic.emporia.edu/aberjame/ice/lec19/holocene.htm

        I only became interested in this subject when I found there were arguments about it as, I imagine, the majority of the general public, I was involved with other aspects of living and took no interest in the subject beyond assuming that “consensus of scientists” meant that the subject had been fully explored.

        When I requested details of the AGW claim this 1850 date jumped out as being nonsensical – I’d plotted enough graphs in my time to understand that cherry picking the start date was in play. From that moment I was wary of any of the premises being given and checked out what I could for myself and by reading rather a lot of discussions, such as these. It didn’t take long to become convinced that hiding the cherry picked start date by the HockeyStick, then in the process of being deconstructed by M&M, was symptomatic of the ethos among those pushing this AGW narrative as “climate scientists” and those of its supporters who would go to quite convoluted lengths to avoid confronting the logical disjunct of these small, specific points.

        Even as they continue to mount up. Some amuse me more than others, like the claim that ‘carbon dioxide levels have stayed constant for xhundred thousand years until AGW’, which of course means that it played no part in any of the great changes in and out of our Ice Age in the 100,000 year cycle of sudden great warming into interglacials which causes gazillions tons of ice to melt and raises sea level 350 ft plus. Clearly something else is driving temperature changes and it never was carbon dioxide. This is the null hypothesis. Since AGWSF doesn’t know what it is that did drive these dramatic climate changes it can’t show that this isn’t the same cause now so it has no way of showing that the present is abnormal.

        What I find bewildering, is how can those supporting AGW/CAGW continual ignore that there is no AGW problem as the basic logic to the claim isn’t there in the now countless examples of debunking? As the in the link above to the WUWT discussion showing the “consensus” was manufactured, when every part of this AGW Greenhouse Effect is shown to be a combination of junk science and skullduggery to cover up the junk science?

        “The climate change debate is much more than just a battle over scientific theories and environmental statistics.” No it isn’t, it is a battle for precisely this, because it is undeniably obvious to all who examine it in any depth that AGW is a science fraud and that this isn’t general knowledge is because debate on the science has been stifled..

        Pushing for economic/social/political solutions for a non-existant problem is part and parcel of the science fraud. We deserve better than that.

      • Dik.
        perhaps you can explain. You have no issue with judith saying decadal forecasts are pointless. I assume you agree or have decadal forecasts to present

        if you agree they are pointless how would you explain the behavior of someone who made one. are they..
        lying. stupid. forgetful. trying to mislead.

        if a skeptic did a decadal forecast and said sea ice was going to increase what would you make of his behavior?

      • dikranmarsupial,

        I read Dr. Curry’s comment you quoted as having two parts:

        “Pretending that extrapolating…is pointless” and “(well there is a potential point and that is to mislead)”

        You, dikranmarsupial, then put words in Dr. Curry’s mouth by paraphrasing the last part of her comment with your remark: “That is a clear insinuation that those working on, or making decadal sea projections are doing so to mislead” .Once you’ve then put words into Dr. Curry’s mouth that she did not utter you launch a typical hive-slicko, “high-dudgeon”, hyped bunch of “I’m offended” outrage. What a transparent, low-life cheap-shot, dikranmarsupial.

        But this isn’t SkS, dirkranmarsupial, ol’ sport. You don’t get to run to a moderator for protection on this blog when someone (moi, in this instance) calls you out, guy. Dr. Curry’s specific qualifying adjective was the word “potential”–as in “potential point.” And, indeed, if the projections she was referring to are pointless, in terms of providing useful insight to ice extent issues, then some or all of those who persist in making such projections might (as in “potentially” so) be engaged in a misleading “pointlessness.” And to reject such a possibility out-of-hand would be like rejecting out-of-hand the possibility that the Koch Brothers and other “Merchants of Doubt” fund some or maybe even all “skeptics”–though I, alas, receive nothing for my valiant efforts to keep you hive-bozos’ pickpocket hands off my taxpayer wallet.

        Of course, other “potential” points or motivations for a “pointless” climate science activity might POTENTIALLY be: make-work for otherwise unemployable greenshirt parasite boy and girl friends; givin’ the customer what the customer pays for an’ it’s up to the customer what the customer does with the results–the I-know-nothing!, good-scientist approach to scholarship; a mulish, inertial stupidity on the part of certain climate scientist researchers; and other reasons that you are surely better qualified than me to spout, dikranmarsupial.

        Curiously, dikranmarsuial, you didn’t challenge Dr. Curry’s expert opinion that the relevant sea-ice extent projections were “pointless.” Your silence in that regard would seem to be a corroboration of Dr. Curry’s claim. And under such circumstances, whatever the “potential” reasons researchers use to justify their little projection-making, gravy-train cottage-industry, they they can’t be too creditable.

      • mike, mike,

        Judy’s claim sounds easy to analyze. There is the Chewbaccattack: X makes no sense. Then there is the sideswipe: Oh, maybe it would make sense, for instance if was meant as really evil products. At very least from the top of her diplomatic hat.

        Paraphrasing, of course, just to lift your spirit a bit.

        Yes, the last part was in parenthesis. Yes, there was the word “potential”. Do you really think these details erase what has been conveyed in Judy’s comment?

        That kind of comment looks a bit odd expressed by someone who just took offense in some harsh judgements by a peer, don’t you think?

        Bridges, mike. Think about the bridges!

        Bridges and dialogues.

      • willard,

        Yr: “mike, mike”

        willard, I understand that you’re comin’ to the defense of a pal that’s in a bit of jam, and all. It’s a comradely thing to do and what I’d expect from a good-guy like you. And given that ol’ dikranmarsupial really led with his chin on this one, you’re providing “covering fire” about as well as anyone could expect.

        But, may I respectfully suggest, willard, that dikranmarsupial–“The Philsopher King Wannbe!–needs to learn to take a punch and stay in the ring (and throw a punch too for that matter). I mean even a dummy like me can clip the guy and get him on the run given his current lack of ring-skills. .

        Look, willard, I know you’re doin’ your best to work up a team to defend “the cause” and all. And what would a blog like “Climate etc.” be without some good solid, hard-hitting champions on either side sorting matters out through the best method there is for truth-seeking–a rough-and-tumble dialectical exchange? So I’m on your side on this.

        And, in that regard, dikran “The Crusher” marsupial needs to get tougher, smarter, and sharper. This blog is not for softies. I mean, like, the guy, in his current condition, is a pudge-bucket doofus completely in-over-his-head without his accustomed biased-moderator protections, an admiring audience consisting solely of fellow group-thinkers, and an uncritical acclaim for and “poor baby” solidarity with his every “I’m offended”, play-the-victim, selective-outrage sucker-punch.

        In other words, willard, dikran “The Pouch with the Ouch” marsupial needs to respond to my comment, himself, mano-a-mano and not let you do his fighting for him. And if he gets his down-under heinie handed to him–and it does look like, at this point, he has a beat-down comin’ his way, given the inept “high dudgeon” haymaker he wildly threw above that failed to connect–then he needs to do a “lessons learned” self-analysis, bounce-back, and do better when he steps into the ring the next time.

        I’m sure you agree, willard. I mean like you, Josh, even Max_Ok (in his way) and a few others in the “crusher” line-up can take it and dish it out too–and that’s the model for dikranmarsupial.

      • willard,

        In my brief list of examples of “stand-up” greenshirts in my last comment, above, I left out WebHub. Let me make amends–he’s a hard-bitten brawler if ever there was one and that he’s also a “crazy ol’ coot” to boot inclines me to a fellow-feeling for the guy, for obvious, “crazy ol’ coot” reasons of my own.

        One other, tempterrain–though he and I don’t get along so well, I can respect a good opponent.

        dikranmarsupial, ol’ buddy, you listening to all this?

      • mike,

        I believe you left a bit more than WebHub’s name. In fact, you left the most important part of my comment, which was this question:

        > That kind of comment looks a bit odd expressed by someone who just took offense in some harsh judgements by a peer, don’t you think?

        I suppose that since you have not commented on it, you agree with me,
        Right?

        I mean, you’re serving dirkan this silly old trick. And now you’re trying this tribal trick on me just after piling on on dirkan.

        Most of the times, you are amazing, mike, but when you’re so oblivious to what you’re doing, you’re getting numinous.

        Please be assured that I am certainly not teaming up with dikran. I already criticized him for escalating Chewbacca’s favorite line (“you make no sense”) and I could also criticize him for being such an easy pick for the Denizen’s baits.

        But really, mike, I am here responding to you first and foremost because I want to see how you react to your own trick. (You know, that one about agreeing with everything you have not explicitely rejected. ) And I trust your honor to play along, while we’re slowly but surely getting to what Judy conveys with her dismissive comment.

        Which is, come to think of it, related to the object of my question.

        Not that I don’t expect any superlative flamboyance, mind you. Au contraire.

      • willard,

        Yr: “Au contraire” and whatever it was you said that preceded it.

        willard, I’d be a good sport and give you a better answer if I could–but I don’t know what the “Krell” you’re talkin’ about.

      • mike,

        The “you make no sense” is still evolving:

        > I don’t know what the “Krell” you’re talkin’ about.

        Yet another brilliant répartie.

        Have you read the discussion on which our discussion is based?

        Here it is:

        http://www.climatedialogue.org/melting-of-the-arctic-sea-ice/

        Please note this gem:

        > I find this comment and inferences to be incomprehensible. As a challenge from a climate researcher (rather than an anonymous commenter), I find it to be very poorly argued and of a tone that does not promote reasoned dialogue. But since I have been asked by the moderator to respond, I will.

        http://www.climatedialogue.org/melting-of-the-arctic-sea-ice/#comment-83

        Now, please consider this other gem:

        > Pretending that extrapolating an observed trend or that CMIP5 simulations will produce a useful decadal prediction of sea ice is pointless (well there is a potential point but it is to mislead).

        The question I asked you two times now relate to these two quotes. Do you think that the first author is justified to feel victimized by the Chewbaccattack (i.e. “you make no sense”) when we clearly see herself using the same trick?

        Many thanks!

      • willard,

        Yr: “The question I asked you two times…”

        O. K., willard, I’ll offer this one last comment and then concede the laurels to you in this present exchange.

        I count six tries at pushing my buttons between your last two comments. The appeal to my “honor” was your best shot (or jab, should I say). And the dig at my “trick” the least effective.

        But, willard, the quirky, undeniable strength of your two comments–their “numinous” quality, one might say–lies, as always with your comments, in the ingenuity of your calculated, bewildering gibberish and the outta-nowhere, commanding impatience and/or insinuating tone of its delivery. Sure you don’t do this kinda thing–might we even call it a “trick”, willard?– for a living?

        Otherwise, willard, I am hard put to provide a further response since:

        –I don’t have any real opinion on the matters you’ve raised in your questions (to the extent I can even figure out what you’re talkin’ about) and even wonder at the urgency of your inquiries–but, then, I’m just an ordinary, clueless “Joe” whom the “big thoughts” tend to elude.

        –I don’t give battle to Krell Ascended Masters on terrain of their choosing and with weapons of their choice.

      • mike –

        Pardon my interruption….

        But, willard, the quirky, undeniable strength of your two comments–their “numinous” quality, one might say–lies, as always with your comments, in the ingenuity of your calculated, bewildering gibberish and the outta-nowhere, commanding impatience and/or insinuating tone of its delivery.

        Given that you didn’t answer willard’s direct questions, maybe I should assume that you’re just not in a question-answering mood – but I am curious to read a few more of your thoughts about comments of the sort you described. Do you think comments of that sort serve any real purpose?

      • mike,

        Thank you for your comment. It means a lot to me.

        I believe that this quote:

        > I don’t have any real opinion on the matters you’ve raised in your questions [...]

        sharply contrasts with this other one:

        > Curiously [...] you didn’t challenge Dr. Curry’s expert opinion that the relevant sea-ice extent projections were “pointless.” Your silence in that regard would seem to be a corroboration of Dr. Curry’s claim.

        In fact, the first quote shows what is wrong with the second quote.

        This is the trick to which I was alluding, mike. This trick is quite important in the auditor’s bag of tricks. For instance, I could ask you: more Omertà, mike [1]?

        I believe that all you have left is “you make no sense”. This Chewbaccattack is important for moments like this.

        Finally, I don’t think you are in a position to complain about the numbers of digs in one’s comments. You have to admit that if we remove the digs in yours, what’s left is quite thin. To stay with the current themes, I would say that your comments would be quite pointless without the digs.

        By chance, you will always have some of the most fantastic digs for all of us,

        Due diligence,

        w

        [1] http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/8195679480

      • Josh,

        Yr: “Do you think comments of that sort serve any purpose”

        Jeez, I don’t know, Josh. Probably a “sometimes yes” and “sometimes no” response would best capture my thoughts in the matter. When a “yes” and when a “no”? I know it when I see it, Josh. I mean, like, the whole, blog comment business is far more “art” than “science”, anyway, so I’m pretty much open to anything that “works.” I mean, like, willard’s comments of that sort are usually pretty good stuff.

        Why do you ask, Josh?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua:

        How so? As I have pointed out to you in the past, such comments are illogical. That is why I avoid them. You are not the judge of what does or does not “make sense,” brandon, and when you say that you are, your comments are arrogant.

        Such comments are not illogical, and whether or not I am the judge of what makes sense, I have perfectly entitled to draw conclusions about what does and does not make sense. The fact I state my opinions with certainty is hardly notable. A person with a strong logical basis for a belief should be confident of that belief.

        Amusingly, your own argument can be reversed: You arrogantly assume your view is correct, thus you conclude my behavior is that of arrogance. There are alternative views to yours, and it is only arrogance that allows you to ignore them.

        You will never find me making those comments to anyone. You have done so many times. Thus, they are very representative of your posts and not at all representative of mine.

        You frequently draw faulty conclusions based upon incorrect assumptions. You often state these conclusions as true rather than merely suggest them as possibilities or ask if they’re true. As such, those comments are representative of things you say. The words are not, but the process behind them is. Or, to put it simply, you’re a hypocrite.

        For example, just a month and a half ago, you insulted me based entirely upon incorrect assumptions and faulty reasoning. In fact, you sarcastically said:

        Makes total sense.

        Apparently the reason I am not “the judge of what does or does not ‘make sense,'” is you are.

      • Brandon –

        I thought I’d take the opportunity to help you gain some insight into what I see as a habit of writing arrogant comments. If you choose not to take the opportunity, it is fine with me. The fact that you rather often say that what smart people say “makes no sense” (or similar remarks) rather than “I don’t understand the logic of what you just said” (or similar remarks) might be illustrative for you. Or maybe not!

        Whether or or not I may or may not be arrogant is completely unrelated to the question of whether or not your comments display arrogance – but thank you for your interest, as always. (I might also remind you that you seem to be contradicting what you’ve said, or more than one occasion, about reading and responding to my posts. You may want to either correct your previous statements or start making your behavior consistent with your descriptions of your behavior).

        Anyway – it’s a beautiful day, I’m heading out – catch you on another thread sometime.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua:

        I thought I’d take the opportunity to help you gain some insight into what I see as a habit of writing arrogant comments.

        And yet, you didn’t say my comments seem to be arrogant. You said they are arrogant. You’re changing your story. You made a strong accusation, and when confronted on it, you pretended to have made a weaker accusation. That means you’re a hypocrite who can’t even keep his story straight.

        The fact that you rather often say that what smart people say “makes no sense” (or similar remarks) rather than “I don’t understand the logic of what you just said” (or similar remarks) might be illustrative for you.

        You may suck at basic reading comprehension. I don’t. Because of that, I find it quite easy to tell when simple things people say don’t make sense. Interestingly, you suggest I should refrain from stating conclusions about what people say, yet you apparently feel it is appropriate to draw conclusions about those people. Namely, you called people I address with these comments “smart people.”

        I will be wrong at times. I’ll criticize people because of a failure on my part at times. That happens. But I’ll also admit when I’m wrong. I’ll apologize for it. And most importantly, I won’t promote hypocritical standards. Because of that, my behavior is reasonable. You can’t say the same.

        Whether or or not I may or may not be arrogant is completely unrelated to the question of whether or not your comments display arrogance

        But it isn’t irrelevant to your accusations that my comments display arrogance. The credibility of a person raising an accusation is very much relevant to the accusation. That you are hypocricial and intellectually dishonest certainly is relevant to whether or not people should believe what you say about me.

        – but thank you for your interest, as always. (I might also remind you that you seem to be contradicting what you’ve said, or more than one occasion, about reading and responding to my posts. You may want to either correct your previous statements or start making your behavior consistent with your descriptions of your behavior).

        By “seem to be contradicting” what I’ve said, you mean, “are contradicting what I think you said even though I can’t actually point to you saying it.” You’ve accused me of contradicting myself on this point multiple times, and each time, you were wrong. In fact, I’ve pointed out such accusations were wrong on multiple occasions, and you’ve never acknowledged or rebutted me.

        But hey, accusations based upon your inability to read simple sentences seem to be a thing for you. Or maybe they’re based upon fantastical delusions you have.

      • Brandon – haven’t left yet, but am about to, so I’ll just add this one more response and leave it at that:

        And yet, you didn’t say my comments seem to be arrogant. You said they are arrogant. You’re changing your story.

        There is no doubt that your comments were arrogant. As to whether or not it is a habit of yours is, (or whether or not you as a person are arrogant) I would say, is somewhat more subjective. Thus the need tobe more conditional. No change!

        Catch you later.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Joshua:

        As to whether or not it is a habit of yours is, (or whether or not you as a person are arrogant) I would say, is somewhat more subjective. Thus the need tobe more conditional. No change!

        Fair enough. You are actually keeping your story straight:

        There is no doubt that your comments were arrogant.

        Again, we can say this is based entirely upon your own arrogance. There are plenty of alternative views, but you say there “is no doubt” that your view is right.

        You are doing what you accuse me of in order to accuse me of doing it. Is that meta or just confusing?

      • Steven Mosher,

        I can’t speak for Dikran but it seems to me he is saying that Judith’s claim that multi-decadal forcasts are pointless is a view she is entitled to express and probably one that an informed person could reasonably hold. That doesn’t mean he necessarily agrees with it, or that those working in the field are obliged to do so. And if they think it worthwhile to attempt such forecasts it doesn’t follow that they are “lying, stupid, forgetful or trying to mislead”, even if Judith is correct – they may be honestly trying to schieve something which just happens to be beyond our current abilities. Alternatively Judith could be wrong and such efforts are not actually futile.

        Either way, Judith’s claim that the only point of trying to make such forcasts would be to mislead is factually incorrect and is a totally unnecessary insinuation which needlessly lowers the tone of the debate.

      • Gentlemen, Ladies,

        I believe that Andrew Adams sums up quite well this discussion at William’s:

        > I think [Chewbacca] is applying a very charitable reading to Judith’s comment (or maybe he is an idiot).

        http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2012/11/14/climatedialogue-org/#comment-23472

        Thanks everyone for playing,

        w

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Dikran Marsupial, I could not leave off a “key point” when it has no relevance to what I was discussing. My comments were highlighting the fact Gavin Schmidt and William M. Connolley criticized Judith Curry based entirely upon their inability to read simple sentences. Whether or not other things they said were reasonable has no bearing on that.

        If you’d like me to discuss that separate point, I will. I just need you to do one thing: Show me what Curry actually said. Gavin didn’t give any sort of link or reference so I have no way of knowing what he’s talking about. I’m not going to spend time on Google hoping to find what he may be talking about just so I can address a point which has no bearing on what I said. I’ll discuss the accusation, but only if the people making it will make doing so practical. If they don’t, I have no reason to believe what they say.

        In the meantime, I hope you realize how silly your response to me is. Not only did you accuse me of disregarding a point that is actually irrelevant, you massively downplayed the fault of those I criticized. You say “it is possible to interpret Prof. Curry’s statement in a meaningfull [sic] manner,” implying her statement could reasonably be interpreted the way Gavin did. In reality, Gavin’s interpretation requires us simply ignore a portion of Curry’s sentence. There is no sensible way to interpret her comment other than the way she intended.

        This is a case of actual irony (not the Morissette irony you refer to). By being biased in your attempt to defend Gavin and criticize Curry, you’ve made your side look (a little) worse.

      • dikranmarsupial

        Brandon, did you notice I said Gavin was wrong? I wasn’t defending Gavin at all (in fact I pointed out the error at RC). Given that I explicitly said that Gavin was wrong, it seems strange that you should claim that I had downplayed the error. Note that I didn’t say that Prof. Curry had made a mistake, quite the contrary I think the IPCCs method of communicating uncertainty is pretty good, just that it was ironic (in the sense of “poignantly contrary to what was expected or intended”).

        If you want to know what Prof. Curry said, then read her paper on the topic, it is too diffuse to give brief quotes that would be an adequate summary of the paper, and it is well worth reading for anyone interested in communication of science (whether you agree with what she wrote or not).

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Dikran Marsupial:

        Brandon, did you notice I said Gavin was wrong? I wasn’t defending Gavin at all (in fact I pointed out the error at RC). Given that I explicitly said that Gavin was wrong, it seems strange that you should claim that I had downplayed the error.

        That… makes no sense. Downplaying an error necessarily requires you admit the error exists. You’re saying you find it strange I accuse you of downplaying the error because you did something you would have to do to downplay the error…

        To explain, downplaying an error is when you acknowledge an error exists but make it appear less important than it actually is.

        If you want to know what Prof. Curry said, then read her paper on the topic, it is too diffuse to give brief quotes that would be an adequate summary of the paper, and it is well worth reading for anyone interested in communication of science (whether you agree with what she wrote or not).

        You claimed she said something. I asked you to show me the basis for your claim. Your response is to say you can’t or won’t do so. I hope you understand how silly and rude that sounds. You’ve effectively responded to a request for evidence of your claim with, “Look it up.”

        You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t go read an unspecified paper to try to find the basis for your claim that may not even exist.

      • DIK,
        As Dr Curry points out she criticized them for using the word “most”
        you are wrong.
        In Ar5 they have the common sense to accept her suggestion.
        When you show good faith and admit your meaningless mistake, perhaps we can move on and have a dialog. until then you are no better than a skydragon who cant admit that C02 warms the planet. In fact you are worse, because you are smart enough to see your error and nobody is dumb enough to miss it.

        We will get to your other misreadings in due course.

  27. …almost everyone accepts that science gives us our most secure understanding of the physical world – so why doesn’t it always carry the day?

    Because the flaw in man made global warming.

    Here is the flaw in assuming the observed increase in CO2 concentration is man made.

    Here is the empirical data that show the relationship between annual global mean temperature and change in the annual CO2 concentration in the atmosphere:

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/derivative/compress:12/normalise/plot/uah/compress:12/normalise

    This data shows, global warming occurs during the 30-years warm PDO phase when the warming due to El Nino is GREATER than the cooling due to El Nina. This results in an overall warming trend and increases the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

    Global cooling occurs during the 30-years cool PDO phase when the warming due to El Nino is LESS than the cooling due to El Nina. This results in an overall cooling trend and should decrease the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

    Here is another empirical data that shows the flow in man made global warming theory.

    http://bit.ly/Aei4Nd

    This empirical data shows a uniform warming since 1850 of about 0.06 deg C per decade. This pattern is established because of the enormous heat capacity and inertia of the oceans. This pattern that has existed for 140 years and is not going to change in the next twenty years. This pattern shows no warming until about 2030, which shows IPCC’s global warming projection of 0.2 deg C per decade warming is wrong and as a result its climate sensitivity estimate of 3 deg C for doubling of CO2 is also wrong. The true climate sensitivity should be 3 *(0.06/0.2) = 0.9 deg C.

    Man made global warming does not pass the simple logic tests described above.

    (JC, the website was down. What happened? All the very best to Climate Etc and you.)

    • Girma

      But you have to admit that you were incorrect about it cooling in 2012 weren’t you?

    • This data shows, global warming occurs during the 30-years warm PDO phase when the warming due to El Nino is GREATER than the cooling due to El Nina.

      Yes, but…

      • BBD

        I agree with your graph.

        I agree with the warming.

        But what I say is that the warming causes increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.

        In addition, in the 20th century, we had TWO warming phases but only ONE cooling phase, which result in the exaggerated warming of the 20th century.

      • Global warming caused by increases in atmospheric GHG leads to further outgassing of GHGs from the ocean’s water. The excess outgassed molecules further contribute to a green-house effect, thus leading to even more warming and then even more outgassing. This is a positive feedback effect that will likely not lead to complete runaway , but is an important factor in establishing both transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity. It is likely one of the factors that contributes to enhanced climate sensitivity during interglacials (along with positive feedback albedo changes)

        Girma Gobbles is so relentlessly clueless that he does not even understand that what he is arguing about is hurting his own inane case.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The equatorial Pacific is a strong source of CO2 to the atmosphere throughout the year as a result of upwelling that brings deep, high CO2 waters to the surface in the central and eastern regions. This upwelling, and thus the CO2 flux to the atmosphere, is heavily modulated by the El Niño–southern oscillation (ENSO) cycle. During strong El Niño years the equatorial Pacific CO2 source can drop to zero. During La Niña the CO2 source to the atmosphere is enhanced. High CO2 outgassing fluxes are also observed in the tropical Atlantic and Indian oceans throughout the year. The Arabian Sea becomes a significant source of CO2 to the atmosphere in the late summer and early fall months as the south-east monsoon generates intense upwelling off the Arabian peninsula.’ http://www.pmel.noaa.gov/pubs/outstand/sabi2854/sabi2854.shtml

        There are a few places where CO2 outgasses – as a result of upwelling but the oceans are a sink for CO2. Solubility is dependent on partial pressure and temperature – but there are other factors as well in terms of ocean uptake.

        It is seriously idiotic to ignore the wealth of information available to argue nonsense.

        It is seriously idiotic as well to compare to insist that the PDO has no influence on temperature trends. http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

      • CH

        Look at the graph I link above. The correlation between PDO phase and GAT has broken down since around 1980. Something else is going on.

      • “Something else is going on.” Imagine that? Did you know there are two hemisphere pairs, North – South and East – West?

        That is the difference between the North – South land surface area Tmax and Tmin temperatures. Oddly, there was a shift in the diurnal temperature range globally around 1985. Not every place shifted at the same time. I believe that causes pseudo oscillations. The PDO is just one.

      • Oscillations cannot warm up the whole planet Capn. They just move energy around it. For example, the global increase in OHC (Levitus et al. 2012) requires a global-scale forcing. The *real scientists* are agreed that this is GHG forcing. The fringe has its own fringe ideas, which being fringe do not need to be given serious consideration.

        It’s a tough world.

      • BBD, ” For example, the global increase in OHC (Levitus et al. 2012) requires a global-scale forcing.” It would require less energy loss than energy gain in the oceans. If the globe had a uniform resistant to energy loss, then redistribution of energy would not impact that rate of energy gain or loss.

        The NH versus SH comparison of Tmax and Tmin would indicated to most, that there is a substantial difference in the resistance to energy loss between those two hemispheres. The change in the trend of global land DTR would indicate to most that something different is happening. Increased CO2 forcing and increased atmospheric water vapor would not cause an increase in global DTR. Increased DTR is more an indication of a reduction in surface heat capacity as in reduced rate of heat uptake.

        Your arms must be getting tired by now.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘The cool water anomaly in the center of the image shows the lingering effect of the year-old La Niña. However, the much broader area of cooler-than-average water off the coast of North America from Alaska (top center) to the equator is a classic feature of the cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO). The cool waters wrap in a horseshoe shape around a core of warmer-than-average water. (In the warm phase, the pattern is reversed).

        Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. #8220;This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

        Nothing has broken down at all.

        We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s. We also find the evidence for such type of behavior in two climate simulations using a state-of-the-art model. This is the first time that this mechanism, which appears consistent with the theory of synchronized chaos, is discovered in a physical system of the size and complexity of the climate system. Tsonis et al 2007

        The latest event is the 1998/2001 climate shift. These shifts contributed to the warming between 1977 and 1998 and now it isn’t. You eyeball in a wft graph on the basis of ignorance of the underlying factors and imagine that means something. It doesn’t. You seem incapable of processing anomalous infornmation. This is a symtom of groupthink.

        What does it mean for the future?

        Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.
        Slingo and Palmer 2011

        Chaotic is a term with specific meaning in theoretical physics.

      • CH

        It’s bordering on farcical watching you deny the explicit statements in S&T09, a paper which the authors *begin* by stating that it *updates* the 2007 study.

        Again:

        Finally, it is vital to note that there is no comfort to be gained by having a climate with a significant degree of internal variability, even if it results in a near-term cessation of global warming. It is straightforward to argue that a climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies (c.f. Roe [2009]). If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are dishonest or a fool. You give a wft graph that has no meaning or relevance decadal warming and cooling and then change the topic to sensitivity from a paper on climate shifts on multidecadal time scales.

        You may have belatedly read the S&T – but the paper is about chaotic bifurcation at multidecadal scales. Contrary to your idiotic presumptions about what I think – and what I actually think I have made clear – this does indeed imply extreme sensitivity in regions of chaotic bifurcation. But these spontaneous reorganisations of the climate are unpredictable – they may result in less warming, more warming, cooling, or negligible change. It is the nature of the dragon-king. It is not sensitivity as you understand it.

        Now that you have read one paper – try another.

        ‘Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce.

        Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

        I can’t really stress that to understand any of this you need to understand complex systems theory.

      • I can’t really stress that to understand any of this you need to understand complex systems theory.

        I can’t really stress enough that you are misrepresenting S&T09, or you don’t understand that the same sensitivity to RF that makes climate shifts possible will be the ultimate determinant of the centennial response to increased GHG forcing. Exactly as stated in S&T09. ENSO wibbles along the way are *irrelevancies and distractions* upon which you seem bizarrely fixated.

        There’s no need to be abusive. If you don’t want to be classified as an unpleasant blog crank then don’t act like one.

      • Yeah, Chief is fixated on wiggles.

        Isn’t that the name of a cheap Aussie kiddie’s show, The Wiggles?

        About his level of expertise, AFAICT.

      • CH

        Looking back, this sort of thing is also irritating:

        You are dishonest or a fool. You give a wft graph that has no meaning or relevance decadal warming and cooling and then change the topic to sensitivity from a paper on climate shifts on multidecadal time scales.

        First, the graph shows the post-1980 breakdown in the apparent C20th correlation between PDO phase and GAT. Nothing more; nothing less. Claiming otherwise is counterfactual. There are stronger terms I could use.

        Second, you re-introduced Tsonis. You quote from Tsonis et al. (2007) in the comment above to which my response was directed.

        Lambasting me for responding to what you quote is perverse, to put it politely. This needs to stop, as does the random abuse. I repeat, if you don’t want to be written off as an unpleasant blog crank then don’t act like one.

        Let’s reset and start again.

      • CH

        Back to the substantive discussion.

        Contrary to your idiotic presumptions about what I think – and what I actually think I have made clear – this does indeed imply extreme sensitivity in regions of chaotic bifurcation. But these spontaneous reorganisations of the climate are unpredictable – they may result in less warming, more warming, cooling, or negligible change. It is the nature of the dragon-king. It is not sensitivity as you understand it.

        Unfortunately, you are doing exactly what you mistakenly attribute to me. I *do* understand this. I also understand that, given the acknowledged sensitivity of the climate system, the steady increase in forcing from GHGs makes any prolonged period of cooling increasingly unlikely as the century progresses. Moreover, the likelihood of abrupt climate shifts into warmer regimes will increase over time. This is explicit in S&T09:

        If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

        Again, I repeat, the same sensitivity to RF that makes climate shifts possible will be the ultimate determinant of the centennial response to increased GHG forcing.

        I think the most we can say here is that another decade of relatively flat GAT will foster considerable and misplaced confidence in the ‘sceptical’ position that GHG forcing has a weak or negligible effect on climate.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Tsonis said.

        ‘We construct a network of observed climate indices in the period 1900–2000 and investigate their collective behavior. The results indicate that this network synchronized several times in this period. We find that in those cases where the synchronous state was followed by a steady increase in the coupling strength between the indices, the synchronous state was destroyed, after which a new climate state emerged. These shifts are associated with significant changes in global temperature trend and in ENSO variability. The latest such event is known as the great climate shift of the 1970s.’
        Tsonis et al 2007 – A new dynamical mechanism for major climate shifts

        These are chaotic shifts and the underlying theory of dynamcial complexity is what you don’t understand.

        And there are other things you don’t seem to understand either – and have a mind set seems to reject anomalous informaton.

        ‘Unlike El Niño and La Niña, which may occur every 3 to 7 years and last from 6 to 18 months, the PDO can remain in the same phase for 20 to 30 years. The shift in the PDO can have significant implications for global climate, affecting Pacific and Atlantic hurricane activity, droughts and flooding around the Pacific basin, the productivity of marine ecosystems, and global land temperature patterns. This multi-year Pacific Decadal Oscillation ‘cool’ trend can intensify La Niña or diminish El Niño impacts around the Pacific basin,” said Bill Patzert, an oceanographer and climatologist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “The persistence of this large-scale pattern [in 2008] tells us there is much more than an isolated La Niña occurring in the Pacific Ocean.”

        Natural, large-scale climate patterns like the PDO and El Niño-La Niña are superimposed on global warming caused by increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases and landscape changes like deforestation. According to Josh Willis, JPL oceanographer and climate scientist, “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.” http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        As as for your protestations of sleighted innocence go – it is nothing but hypocrisy as far as I am concerned. You are an unpleasant and ignorant troll. The webster is a stupid little attack smurf. If either of you want a more pleasant envionment – it will take a great deal of back pedalling.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].’

        It is control variables and multiple negative and positive feedbacks that cause climate shifts. A dynamic system.

        There is no substantive discussion here – you just wave your arms around and repeat things that you put in an incorrect context.

        You might try this one – http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-260.pdf – although I have very little confidence in your abilities.

        ‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

        The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=1

      • CH

        There’s much we agree on. For example, Willis:

        “These natural climate phenomena can sometimes hide global warming caused by human activities. Or they can have the opposite effect of accentuating it.”

        The problem arises when the increasing background forcing from GHGs is simply ignored. If it is included in our thinking, the same sensitivity to RF that makes climate shifts possible will be the ultimate determinant of the centennial response to increased GHG forcing. Exactly as stated in S&T09:

        Finally, it is vital to note that there is no comfort to be gained by having a climate with a significant degree of internal variability, even if it results in a near-term cessation of global warming. It is straightforward to argue that a climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies (c.f. Roe [2009]). If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

        You repeatedly say this:

        These are chaotic shifts and the underlying theory of dynamcial complexity is what you don’t understand.

        But it does not matter what I understand. Presumably you accept that Swanson and Tsonis are qualified to speak on this topic? If you do, then why do you blank out what they say about warming over the C21st above? Repeatedly.

        As as for your protestations of sleighted innocence go – it is nothing but hypocrisy as far as I am concerned. You are an unpleasant and ignorant troll. The webster is a stupid little attack smurf. If either of you want a more pleasant envionment – it will take a great deal of back pedalling.

        What protests of ‘sleighted [sic] innocence’? Are we reading the same comment? As for ‘unpleasant and ignorant troll’… Come on.

        Just delete this stuff before posting and save some face.

      • This:

        ‘Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

        The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’

        Agrees with this:

        Finally, it is vital to note that there is no comfort to be gained by having a climate with a significant degree of internal variability, even if it results in a near-term cessation of global warming. It is straightforward to argue that a climate with significant internal variability is a climate that is very sensitive to applied anthropogenic radiative anomalies (c.f. Roe [2009]). If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

        How does a sensitive climate system under steadily increased forcing from GHGs enter a prolonged cool state later this century? Or is this not what you suggest? Do you agree with S&T that the the hypothesised climate shifts are superimposed on a long term anthropogenic warming trend and the surprises will be hot ones? What are you arguing for? Do you think that ~2C increase in GAT by later this century is conservative?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You are a persistent little hamster. Passive agressive when not actually being agressive and insulting. Shifting ground when it suits. Lacking the honesty to admit that the interpetion of your original wft graph was nonsensical. Ignoring what doesn’t suit your interpretation.

        S&T are not actually predicting warmer – the reality as the NAS and other references I provided (and which you don’t read before replying with pretentious nonsense and supercilious word games) – stress the unpredictabilty of the internal variability. Indeed – that was the meaning of the passage you quote repeatedly. That these cooling and warming multi-decadal episodes had ben underpredicted. This is of course a truism. They had not been predicted at all.

        CO2 is one factor in many – and if the ERBE and ISCCP-FD can be believed a very minor factor in recent warming.

        ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system.’ IPCC 3.4.4.1

        The ability of space cadets to ignore evidence is constantly astonishing.

      • The ability of space cadets to ignore evidence is constantly astonishing.

        So it would seem.

      • S&T are not actually predicting warmer

        Let’s nail this once and for all. S&T09:

        If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

        You are mistaken.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Given the nature and non-predictability of natural climate variation it may well be cooler.

        ‘Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain. ‘ Slingo and Palmer (2011) – http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

        Indeed there is every reason to expect intensification of La Nina over the next 100 or so years.

      • You were mistaken to claim that S&T09 does not predict warming. Much of what you have said on several threads depends on this mistaken assertion. Do you accept, given unequivocal evidence, that you were mistaken?

        Yes, or no?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘…warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models.’

        Unequivocal evidence of S&T predicting warming is ‘may well be’? A phase in a paper about dynamical shifts in climate on multi-decadal scales?

        It may well not be. We may well see a plunge in temperature of as much as 10’s of degrees in places in as little as a decade in the nature of dynamical complexity in the Earth system. Nothing is certain as S&P11 say.

        How certain are you – yes or no.

      • You have been wrong about S&T across several threads:

        S&T are not actually predicting warmer

        Here is the evidence from S&T09:

        If the role of internal variability in the climate system is as large as this analysis would seem to suggest, warming over the 21st century may well be larger than that predicted by the current generation of models, given the propensity of those models to underestimate climate internal variability [Kravtsov and Spannagle 2008].

        You are mistaken. Much of your argument collapses as a result.

        Whether you admit this or not, it is true.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You continue to be wrong about S&T09 because you do not understand the underlying dynamical mechanism – or at least as much as anyone does the underlying principle that climate is a chaotic system in the sense of complex systems theory. You keep applying linear thinking to a chaotic system.

        You keep going around in circles like a hamster in a treadmill.

        These systems are in principle deterministic but practically incalculable. I introduce S&T, NASA, Tim Palmer, the NAS, etc – but all you do is repeat a statement that warming may well be greater. It may well be as i have said – it may well be cooler as well. Nothing is certain – as Slingo and Palmer say.

        ‘Sensitive dependence and structural instability are humbling twin properties for chaotic dynamical systems, indicating limits about which kinds of questions are theoretically answerable. They echo other famous limitations on scientist’s expectations, namely the undecidability of some propositions within axiomatic mathematical systems (Gödel’s theorem) and the uncomputability of some algorithms due to excessive size of the calculation.’ James McWilliams 2007 – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        “Uncertainty is an uncomfortable position. But certainty is an absurd one.” Voltaire. You have not answered the question – just how absurd are you?

      • just how absurd are you?

        We have a problem here which needs clearing up.

        You were mistaken to claim that S&T09 does not predict warming. Much of what you have said on several threads depends on this mistaken assertion. Do you accept, given unequivocal evidence, that you were mistaken?

        Yes, or no?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        My question on how absurd you are was obviously a play on the Voltaire quote – certainty is absurd. The question I was obviously asking was how certain you are. It is of course rhetorical as the answer is quite evident. You are very absurd.

        I have answered you several times but you don’t like my answer.

        S&T09 says that warming may well be greater in the context of a paper that deals with dynamic climate shifts on multi-decdal timescales. Dynamically complex systems are unpredictable – as the quote from James McWilliams suggested. It may well be warmer or it may not be after the next climate shift. Did they make a prediction based on quantitative science. No – they made a quite obvious suggestion that chaotic systems are exquisitely sensitive near the regions of chaotic bifurcation.

        For God’s sake – at least google the term complex systems theory, network theory, deterministic chaos, etc.

      • Okay CH, I will say it for you:

        You were completely wrong about what S&T says about the implications for C21st warming. This statement is incorrect and misleading:

        S&T are not actually predicting warmer

        Wrong and misleading.

        You misrepresented S&T over the course of several threads in the promotion of a specious argument about the likely frequency, duration and significance of cooling episodes during this century.

        The very scientists you quote ad nauseam do not agree with your conclusions. And although I showed you the relevant quote from S&T more times that I can count, you were utterly incapable of reading/understanding the words in front of your nose. You have completely discredited yourself. All you had to do was *listen*, but no.

        What is actually worse is that despite being exposed as being entirely wrong, you haven’t got the decency to admit it and accept that this largely demolishes your position. You literally *cannot* say ‘sorry, I was wrong’. It’s *pitiful*.

        Which brings us to the appropriate and final absurdity. Here’s you, being your usual unpleasant blog crank self earlier:

        The ability of space cadets to ignore evidence is constantly astonishing.

        You have proved yourself to be a perfect space cadet and more besides, haven’t you? Nice work, CH.

  28. I give Mark Thomson high grades on the elegant clarity he has presented, especially in delineating the ways we, the lay citizenry, can be wrong in accepting argumentum ad verificundiam. His list is almost brief enough to be posted over the doors of science departments and research facilities everywhere – and especially over news agencies’ scientific editors desks.

    Steve Garcia

  29. Read Robert Frost’s very familiar “The Road Not Taken” but this time with your scientist hat on. Choices in the rational, objective sphere of life have as much finality as those in the poetic, artistic side. It’s very hard to “unlearn” (ie, modify or even abandon) the ideas and conclusions that have shaped your life so deeply. Even scientists steeped in the dialectical nature of research, have difficulty challenging their pet hypotheses. They become locked in, often on opposite sides, and become staunch defenders of their turf. Is it any wonder the public is divided as well? Science does not “carry the day” because it does not have Supreme Court finality. It is only part of a dynamic system of custom, policy, and economics.

  30. At least in the quoted section, I see no mention of errors in science. There is mention of disputes, but not of error of ‘consensus’ positions. Next time he’s diagnosed with an ulcer, I assume he’ll ask to be treated for stress, and not ask for the antibiotic NOW known to cure the problem.

  31. Very good.

  32. JC Just curious would you be considering passing from lukewarmer to skeptical at this stage of the game?

  33. Mark Thompson is quoted as saying, “The irony is that, without the insights of the humanities, it [science] may still find itself without words,” and then… the blog goes quietus. Very eerie.

  34. When common sense informs us that all global warming can be explained by natural causes and after Thompson agrees with the utility of the scientific method — noting its falsifiability [is] intellectually compelling — I do not understand why Thompson feels the need to grant open-minded toleration on democratic grounds the idea that magic or mysticism plays a legitimate role in being an underlying motivator of skepticism of the global warming alarmist credo. But, Thompson suggests that when he writes:

    But to wish we could eliminate those ‘divisive cultural meanings’ [i.e., from those who question authority who 'derive their power from the spheres of morality, culture, superstition, even the mystic’] is to wish away the freedom and openness on which modern democracies are built –and, short of dictatorship, its impossible to achieve anyway.

  35. Chief Hydrologist

    Although it has failed to produce its intended impact nevertheless the Kyoto Protocol has performed an important role. That role has been allegorical. Kyoto has permitted different groups to tell different stories about themselves to themselves and to others, often in superficially scientific language. But, as we are increasingly coming to understand, it is often not questions about science that are at stake in these discussions. The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values. Nor is that to be seen as a defect. Of course choices between competing values are not made by relying upon scientific knowledge alone. What is wrong is to pretend that they are. The Wrong Trousers: radically rethinking climate policy – http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/mackinderCentre/

    I have asked recently what the consensus is on dynamic complexity, TOA radiative flux, clouds or low frequency climate variation. The Royal Society climate summary is for the most part not all that interesting. It does contain one sentence to the effect that climate is in principle a deterministically chaotic system that can spontaneously reorganise. They call it internal variability. This characteristic of climate bears on these other open questions of cloud radiative forcing and low frequency variability. However – it is just this complexity that is passed over in silence or ill-informed dispute by self identified champions of the climate war.

    Dynamical complexity in climate is the consensus – as shown by the Royal Society for one. One consequence of dynamical complexity in climate is sensitivity that is variable, potentially negative and potentially large near tipping points. But we are most certainly in a cool planetary mode for a decade or three more at least – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703 – in mechanisms that are evident and that involve all of these questioned processes but the how, why, how much and to what future effect is somewhat more mysterious. This is in the category of unresolved science rather than otherwise.

    The unresolved policy question is how far the deviation from simple climate narratives has and will derail the development of rational public policy. Another 20 years of no progress?

  36. Instead of sticking with: the (climate) science is unfinished, disputed, and even perverted, Mark Thompson accedes to the most strident Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming proponent’s position with:

    “In the BBC’s coverage of climate change  that ‘triple betrayal’ according to Christopher Booker  we have tried progressively to adjust the balance of the debate to reflect shifts in the underlying science and the developing findings of the IPCC and other scientific bodies over time.”

    Essentially, the gang of 28, the moral guiders, the compass to which BBC will now be guided, have been substituted for investigative journalism. Deliberately and progressively one view, one notion, one voice will be heard. There is no uncertainty. There is no reason to look elsewhere. NGO’s, advocacy groups, lobbyists, have carried the day. The BBC has made it so.

    Congratulations New York Times, the monolithic, monotonic wave from the British Isles has washed ashore. It will cast its pall over the news that leaks out from contrary sources. It will hide the decline.

  37. Skepticism of AGW first and foremost is grounded in science–there should be no mistake about that. It’s the credo of AGW Believers that demands we question authority–not the science–and, that is where morality, ethics, love of truth and liberty and our humanity are truer guides than the impulse of government will ever be.

  38. “In my view our task rather is to find practical ways of helping the public to pick their own way through this difficult, cluttered landscape.”

    I take it that that was a subtle reference to climate change with the implication being that us poor confused sceptics need to be helped to return to the true path.

  39. Mark Thompson who used to run BBC
    :So why is it so often questioned and challenged by non-scientists without anyone accusing them of stupidity or absurdity?

    Because even absurdly stupid non-scientists don’t buy a pig in a poke.

  40. Can somebody help me out…

    I’m trying to think of examples of policy – outside of the environment – where science doesn’t immediately ‘trump’.

    Thanks.

  41. Our ABC, the one in Oz, runs a regular science type 30 min TV program Catalyst. last night Nov.15 we had our BOM telling us how our climate had changed. Very suss. Some cherry picking. Maybe raw data rearrangement. Certainly nothing challenged. I hope someone, maybe Pielke Jr. can look at it critically. Cheers from chilly Sydney.

  42. Berényi Péter

    I back science because I find Popper’s account of the scientific method and its falsifiability intellectually compelling”

    That’s a key point. And easy to understand, even for lay people. Therefore it should be made part of the regular curriculum everywhere.

    It is also a benchmark a field can be checked against without having a full grasp of all the details. Computational climate models, for example, do not pass this test.

    Okay, any particular computational model becomes falsifiable on long enough timescales, in a hundred or thousand years. The trouble with this is twofold.
    1. Code of models is seldom published, documented & archived properly, so in a century or millennium from now folks will not even be able to identify the model to be checked.
    2. On timescales relevant to practical policy decisions, they are unfalsifiable anyway, therefore they are still utterly outside the domain of science when an attempt is made to use them for that purpose.

    There is a clear cut way to circumvent this obstacle: do actual physical experiments in the lab (not the worn out in silico ones). But that path is not taken in climate science, for reason unknown and incomprehensible, even for laypersons.

  43. Judith, welcome back!!!!!

  44. Much of the chatter here seems to have little bearing on the essay, and is mostly just a rehash of discredited “skeptic” lies: scientists are corrupt, warming isn’t happening, you can’t believe the models, climate scientists never do experiments (those pictures of them scrambling over glaciers and sampling methane from Siberian lakes are faked, obviously) and so forth and so on. Really just sour grapes by people who have lost the argument.

    The essay itself is very interesting. Science is the best basis for understanding the world, but how do you introduce it into political discussions dominated by ideology? It’s a problem.

    • Robert,

      Yr: “Much of the chatter [beginning]…It’s a problem [ending]”

      Jeez, Robert, that’s a really choice pontification-booger you’ve got hanging off the end of your fore-finger, there–thanks for sharing it with us, guy!

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce.

      Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      Warming isn’t happening for a decade or three more for this reason – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

      It is not science it is just the space cadets with narratives superficially in the objective idiom of science. Delusional groupthink BS with not a modicom of breadth and depth required.

    • Berényi Péter

      @Robert – “rehash of discredited “skeptic” lies: [...] you can’t believe the models, climate scientists never do experiments (those pictures of them scrambling over glaciers and sampling methane from Siberian lakes are faked, obviously)”

      1. You can believe in models, if you wish. But that’s just that, belief. Computatitional climate models of high Kolmogorov complexity are utterly unfalsifiable on timescales substantially shorter than the one covered by their projections. Even then it can be legitimately claimed in case of a huge discrepancy, that the actual trajectory followed by the climate system happened to be an unlikely but not impossible one according to said model. Therefore using this kind of model as anything else but a heuristic tool is not science. But you are not bound by science of course, you are free to maintain any belief system, even act on it, as long as it does not do harm to others in a way readily tracable back to your actions.

      2. Those pictures of scrambling are seldom faked, but they are not pictures of experiments either. They are observations performed on a single run of a unique physical instance, which is an entirely different beast. Experimentation, on the other hand, involves control over the initial / boundary conditions of the system and is always performed on multiple runs of several instances. The climate system, being huge, can never be replicated in the lab, of course, but instances belonging to the wider class it also belongs to, namely to that of non-equilibrium closed systems, radiatively coupled to their environment, could be. But it is never done by contemporary climate scientists, they keep sticking to the flawed paradigm of experimentation in silico.

  45. I had written this comment last night, and when I tried to post it…poof…ClimateEtc had disappeared. So – correlation not eqaulling causation – hopefully my attempt to post it again will not enrage the internet gremlins.

    “Surely, if anything can, science can pierce what I’ve called the cloud of unknowing and replace public bewilderment with public enlightenment. So why is it so often questioned and challenged by non-scientists witout anyone accusing them of stupidity or absurdity?”

    It is not science that is questioned, but scientists. And in particular their attempts to claim authority in areas in which they have no expertise. Which leads us to…

    “Why, when it comes to public policy formulation or media discussions, is science typically regarded as one of the considerations rather than the card that trumps every other card?”

    Because policy involves more than science. Scientists can predict and prognosticate, and infer, and interpolate to their hearts desire. But no astrophysicist, paleo-climatologist, or rail road engineer for that matter, knows enough to be able to dictate global economic policy. Science is just one facet, one card, in the decision of whether to decarbonize the global economy. What is truly amazing to me is that that little fact is so difficult for so many to grasp.

    “Climate science” is a misnomer to me anyway. Climate covers a huge range of disciplines. So to me, when someone calls themselves a climate scientist, they are not telling you so much what they study, but rather their political position on CAGW.

  46. Judith –

    I look forward to reading a post from you about your experiences with Climate Dialog (.org).

  47. That was an exercise in sensory deprivation.

  48. Judith,

    I hope you can find out why Climate Etc. was pulled down. I am very interested to know if it was as a result of my comment (reposted below).

    It may be confidence, but the site was taken down soon after I posted the comment and when I regained access to the thread, my comment had been deleted.

    Other things that happened to my access to Climate Etc. that may or may not have happened to others, were:

    1. I posted the comment (see below)
    2. Climate Etc. was taken down
    4. 12 or more hours later I emails WordPress to ask why I had no access to the site; was it me or everyone?
    5. When I tried Climate Etc. this morning, I could get onto all threads except “Policy, rhetoric and public bewilderment”.
    6. I wrote to WordPress again.
    7 A while later I got access to this thread.
    8. I checked to see if my comments were still there. My comment reposted below had been deleted.
    What should we make of that?

    Comment apparently deleted by WordPress:

    The thirteen part Clearing up the climate debate written by Australia’s top climate scientists, demonstrates they are up to their necks in activism.

    ‘Part One’ provides links to the thirteen Parts (scroll to the end of the article). And a list of the signatories that endorsed this compendium. It’s a list of who’s who of Australia’s top climate scientists.

    https://theconversation.edu.au/climate-change-is-real-an-open-letter-from-the-scientific-community-1808

    It is clear from the contributions written by these top climate scientists they are activists and extremists.

    I went first to ‘Part Four’ (written by Mike Sandiford) to try to find out what they say about the consequences of AGW. Why are the scientists saying it is catastrophic?

    https://theconversation.edu.au/our-effect-on-the-earth-is-real-how-were-geo-engineering-the-planet-1544

    It’s about the evilness of humans, the damage plastic bags are doing and the like.

    Nowhere in the thirteen Parts, written by Australia’s top climate scientists, could I find any persuasive case for dangerous or catastrophic climate change.

    Don’t miss ‘Part 13’ the wrap up by a well known climate activist!

    https://theconversation.edu.au/the-false-the-confused-and-the-mendacious-how-the-media-gets-it-wrong-on-climate-change-1558

  49. Just wanted to draw people’s attention to an old post on Climate Audit by Gerry Browning, a mathematician who I met at NCAR 35 years ago during his forays into eliminating sound wave contamination in weather models. Browning collaborates with H.O. Kreiss, one of the deservedly famous numerical analysts of the last 60 years. I know these two to be rigorous and honest. It is well worth rereading this post. He confirms my worst suspicions about the models. Browning also has some CA comments on a later thread concerning his rebuff by the infamous Schmidt and his doctrine of the attractor, which has of course no rigorous or scientific basis whatsoever. This is also discussed at a recent thread at Lucia’s. Anyway,
    Browning is not only a good mathematician, he has been involved with atmospheric modeling for 35 years and so I would give him very high credence.

    Webby and all other conservation of energy fundamentalists take heart, the coupled ocean and atmosphere models need not conserve energy.

    • Easy refutation of your premise. All continuity equations used in any finite element software assume continuity of matter, energy and momentum (and perhaps other pieces for chemical reactions). That is the way that the partial differential equations are derived, and if they aren’t used in that context, one will get nonsense results. Same thing with accuracy of the computational models — if precision or accuracy is lost, this is equivalent to not conserving energy.

      So your job, David Young, is to present an equation that violates conservation of energy and to illustrate what piece of software that equation is being used in.

      We can then alert climate scientists to start using this equation so they can refute the consensus science.

      • Webby, I knew you would not read the post at Lucia’s. She found a paper by some modelers that discusses lack of conservation of energy at the ocean / atmosphere interface as well as how the models are tuned.

        Of course finite element methods are discretely conservative, but climate models don’t use these methods so far as I can determine. And you must do the boundary conditions in a conservative way too.

        Browning’s papers are published and rigorous. You might want to try to read them if you have the intellectual honesty to do so and the time to learn the rigorous math behind them. Report back when you can offer more than superficial glosses.

      • I knew that you would come back with the weak strawman of suggesting that climate modelers do not use conserving models.

        Remember what Andrew Lacis has said when he has posted here. The number one consideration is to work the global energy balance using radiative physics. Only secondarily do AGW modelers rely on GCM’s, and that is done mainly to give them confidence in other aspects of climate predictions, and not of the main concern of global temperature increase.

        http://judithcurry.com/2011/10/09/atmospheric-co2-the-greenhouse-thermostat/

        “these advective transports must globally add to zero, and the unforced fluctuations are necessarily fluctuations about the global equilibrium reference point. Nature conserves energy very carefully. Hence, large deviations from the global equilibrium cannot be sustained. So, this unforced climate variability cannot significantly impact the long-term global temperature trend, but its effects on local and regional climate will remain the main source of uncertainty for the foreseeable future.”

        That is no different from what any engineer or scientist will do when modeling anything from the microscopic to the macroscopic. First thing you do is first-order physics such as energy balance and the conservation laws, and then you can do the detailed behavior.

        Lacis also said this, when you, David Young, pestered him with question after question:

        “One reason to separate the global climate change problem into the two components of (1) global warming, and (2) natural variability is to recognize that the model analysis of these two components has different modeling requirements. For global warming, the GHG forcing is globally uniform, and the modeling goal emphasis is on global energy balance and global temperature change. For this purpose, coarser model resolution is adequate since the advective transports of energy (latent and sensible heat, geopotential energy), which are an order of magnitude larger than the radiative terms, must by definition globally add to zero. Since the global energy balance and the greenhouse effect are all radiative quantities, the emphasis then is on assuring the accuracy of the radiation modeling.

        The natural variability component, which includes the unforced local, regional, and interannual climate changes is a more difficult problem to address, and requires higher model spatial resolution and greater care in dealing with horizontal enrgy transports and conversions.”

        Later, he also said this:

        “The job of the radiation module is to calculate the solar heating rate profiles and the thermal cooling rate profiles, including the energy deposition at the ground surface, as well as the energy balance at the top of the atmosphere for the specified climate variable distribution at each grid box. The atmospheric heating and cooling rates are then passed back to the atmosphere structure module that calculates how much the surface and atmospheric temperatures would change during the 30-minute times step given the radiative heating and cooling rates. And so an updated atmospheric structure is sent back again to all of the different modules to repeat the cycle all over again.

        David Young | October 14, 2011 at 2:51 am | Reply

        Andy, This looks like a good summary but it raises more questions for me than it answers. “

        There you go, Lacis gave you the summary answer and you seemed to agree with him. But then you go back to your ridiculous and misguided emphasis on modeling of turbulent flow. Can you get it through your thick skull that stuff like that is irrelevant, and that global energy balance is the key?

      • That’s BS Webby and I’m surprised you are so dishonest. The models are the basis of the IPCC predictions for the next century. I sense in you the total lack of honesty one is used to seeing in politicians or lawyers. I agree with your Mom’s postings here on your “issues.” She after all knows you best.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        It is impossible to derive TOA radiative flux from radiative transfer functions. There are simply too many other factors involved – and this includes natural variability.

        What does the data say?

        ‘This paper gives an update on the observed decadal variability of the earth radiation budget (ERB) using the latest altitude-corrected Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE)/Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
        (ERBS) Nonscanner Wide Field of View (WFOV) instrument Edition3 dataset. The effects of the altitude correction are to modify the original reported decadal changes in tropical mean (20°N to 20°S) longwave
        (LW), shortwave (SW), and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s from 3.1, -2.4, and -0.7 to 1.6, -3.0, and 1.4 W m2, respectively. In addition, a small SW instrument drift over the 15-yr period was discovered during the validation of the WFOV Edition3 dataset. A correction was developed and applied to the Edition3 dataset at the data user level to produce the WFOV Edition3_Rev1 dataset. With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at 0.7, -2.1, and 1.4 W/m2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record but disagree with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Pathfinder ERB record. Furthermore, the observed interannual variability of near-global ERBS WFOV edition3_Rev1 net radiation is found to be remarkably consistent with the latest ocean heat storage record for the overlapping time period of 1993 to 1999. Both datasets show variations of roughly 1.5W/m2 in planetary net heat balance during the 1990s.’
        http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

        It is the difference between idiot narrative and actual data as hard won as that is.

      • You realize that long ago i staged a cage match between Browning, curry and Lucia.

        Girls won..

      • The basic model equations used in climate models conserve energy but the discretized equations do not in most cases do it precisely. The two most common approaches for discretization are finite difference methods (based on values of variables at discrete grid points) and finite element methods based in integrated values of finite volumes. Climate models are usually based on finite difference methods where energy is not conserved exactly while it is conserved in typical finite element methods. Discretization does always involve approximations. Some equations can be presented exactly in each method while other equations can only be approximated.

        The book of Washington and Parkinson on Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling (2005) introduces the Appendix C, Derivation of Energy Equations:

        The total energy of any closed physical system should be at least approximately conserved over time, and the changes in total energy of any physical system, whether closed or open, should be balanced by the net inputs and outputs to the system. The reason that total energy may not be conserved exactly in a climate model, even though the original differential equation for energy conservation may be exact, is that by necessity various numerical approximations in space and time are made to the original equations, which may prevent exact conservation. Experimental tests indicate that simulated conversions from one form of energy to another are performed reasonably well by most major climate models, so that energy is approximately conserved.

        When conservation equations are not followed exactly by the chosen method, corrections are often applied in some way. That may allow enforcing precise energy conservation over large volumes but not in a way that would be correct more locally.

      • Steve, do you have a link for this exchange?

      • Thanks Pekka.
        I find it bizarre how much gyrations some of these pseudos will go through to weasel around basic science. Energy is conserved, with the only question as to how well the numerical codes handle this.

        David Young and the Chief can’t seem to comprehend that those simulations of Hansen’s which show the general upward trend with the wiggle are essentially the radiative forcing energy imbalance with the natural variations riding on top. Big deal if they don’t get the natural variations right … they are just for show anyways.

        Cripes, I can do analytical modeling up the wazoo, but unless I occasionally show a simulation with some Monte Carlo noise, many people think the results are cooked. The little bit of noise and erratic behavior is enough to convince the naive user that it is somehow more realistic. What can you do but play along. Other than that, the Monte Carlo acts as a good sanity check for a complicated analytical reduction, that’s the beauty of stochastic equations in that you can work it both ways.

      • Pekka is correct in his exposition. However, the rationalizations as to why energy is not conserved exactly are just that, rationalizations. Why haven’t they switched to finite element methods? Browning goes a step further and points out a very serious problem. The continuous equations being solved will blow up with a disretization that is consistent. The Navier-Stokes of course do not do that. Climate modelers get around this by adding nonphysical dissipation, apparently in several forms and several parts of the atmosphere. There are literally tens of thousands of papers in fluid dynamics that show why this is a very poor idea and basically destroys any hope of actually getting accurate simulations, or doing rigorous studies of accuracy. You can see for example Venkatakrishnan et al AIAA paper 2003 for an example of how good control of dissipation can make a very big difference in accuracy. You can even read our paper in Journal of Computational Physics about 2001 I think. You will see there the very large differences between 1st order and 2nd order dissipation (necessary in any inviscid simulation). Minimizing numerical disspation is always a very good idea and using enough dissipation to turn a system that blows up into one with bounded solutions is to my mind virtual malpractice unless there is a careful study of its effects on accuracy. According to Browning, who has worked in this area for 35 years, that has not been done.

        I continue to be amazed by the Webby and his name calling. It is a sign that he is out of his depth or else has some personal “issues”. Not surprising since numerical analysis is a difficult field that requires actual proofs and rigorous thinking.

        Browning and Kreiss (who is very famous in numerical methods) have very high credibility on this. The paper is published in a refereed math journal and is correct. Webby can try to find an error if he has about a decade to learn rigorous mathematics.

        Pekka could probably at least read the paper and understand the main points. I would be interested in his opinion.

      • And of course, the models are critical to the IPCC forcasts and Hanson’s whole political agenda. I don’t get this Webby myth that “they are just for show anyway.” Absolute rubbish. If that’s true, why have we spent hundreds of billions on them?

      • Research dollars are spent on a lot of different things. Obviously research dollars are spent on climate science because it can pay off for forecasting.

        What David Young doesn’t seem to understand is that the perturbations of turbulent and chaotic flow are all second order in comparison to the forcing function caused by the external energy imbalance.

        He and Chief and others like them continue to think that the fluids surrounding us will completely obscure the energy balance. No they won’t. We all know that every time the sun goes down at night. It gets cold because we lack the radiative warmth of the sun’s direct rays … and whatever warmth is retained at night is modulated by the average humidity of the air, which will reduce the mean path of the outward radiating infrared. This essentially traps the warmth temporarily.

        Chief hates hypothetical thought experiments as well so I will bring this up again. What would happen if the sun’s average solar radiation increased by 1%? Would we need detailed meshed models of the atmosphere and ocean to figure out what the first-order response to this stimulus would be?

        A professor could place that as a question on a final exam and if you didn’t answer it with some good physical or engineering judgment you might actually flunk the course. I bet that David Young would write in the margin refusing to answer the question, blaming numerical limitations of climate algorithms, and Chief would just quote Tsonis and tell the professor that he was a Space Cadet.

      • Web, feedbacks are critical for predicting future climate and they depend on dynamics, which cannot be predicted by simple models. We’ve been over this many times

      • Forgot to mention that clouds for example involve all those little “second order effects” Webby seems to wants to ignore. That’s just one example of why the models are relied on so much in this field, smart people realize the effects are very impotant. Webby, where does this leave you? However, this reliance doesn’t mean the models are fit for their intended purpose.

      • First you have humidity. As the atmosphere gets warmer, the volume can hold more water vapor. That is a first-order effect, no matter what you say.

        Second-order effects are the formation of clouds from the water vapor. These do add uncertainty to the estimates but it can’t reverse the effect since the first-order GHG outgassing keeps the feedback at least weakly positive.. that’s why the interglacials show so much sensitivity.

        Lots more research dollars for cloud studies, please.

      • Yea, its all that convection, turbulence, etc. Wake up Webby, if the models are fundamentally flawed it is a critical point to pursue and throws all your simple algebra into doubt. It’s the old standard dodge. First they say the models are the basis for the alarm. When you point out that the models are pretty bad and could be totally wrong, they say its really paleoestimates of sensitivity. When its pointed out that we can’t even agree about how warm it was 1000 years ago, they say its WEBBY’S high school algebra on energy conservation. So then why are you working on the models and paleoclimate if they aren’t important? The bottom line here Webby is that climate science is a pretty immature field.

      • A simple description of Earth history by a physcist for webbie:

        http://theamericanscholar.org/what-the-earth-knows/

      • Web > the perturbations of turbulent and chaotic flow are all second order in comparison to the forcing function caused by the external energy imbalance … the fluids surrounding us [will not] will completely obscure the energy balance.

        Sounds right in principle, but the problem seems to be we have no empirical fix on any imbalance. Only if and when we do, and can relate flux imbalance to CO2 levels, will AGW start to look ‘settled’.

      • http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-2-1.html

        “In the TAR, more than half of the participating atmospheric models used spectral advection. Since the TAR, semi-Lagrangian advection schemes have been adopted in several atmospheric models. These schemes allow long time steps and maintain positive values of advected tracers such as water vapour, but they are diffusive, and some versions do not formally conserve mass. In this report, various models use spectral, semi-Lagrangian, and Eulerian finite-volume and finite-difference advection schemes, although there is still no consensus on which type of scheme is best. ”

        http://www.agu.org/journals/jb/jb1202/2011JB008788/body.shtml

        “One outstanding reason is traced back to the fact that the geophysical fluids models usually do not properly enforce the conservation of mass. It is, of course, recognized that in reality the fluid mass, primarily that of the water component, does not conserve within each geophysical fluid. Rather, the water mass is constantly exchanged among the geophysical fluids via various physical processes. Such mass exchanges, unfortunately, are not duly considered in the GCMs aimed at modeling individual geophysical fluid, as no consistent constraints are imposed among the GCMs to ensure the conservation of total mass (for example, the artificial Boussinesq approximation in GCM only conserves volume, see the following).”

        http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/2/S632/2002/acpd-2-S632-2002.pdf

        “This paper addresses an important issue for chemical transport models – the conser-
        vation of mass. If chemical transport models are to be used for seasonal or longer
        integrations it is essential that the mass fluxes used by the advection scheme are con-
        sistent with changes in surface pressure so that atmospheric mass is conserved and
        spurious sources or sinks of tracer amount do not arise.”

        It’s not like this is a particularly obscure issue with climate models.

  50. I am glad that you believe conservation of energy doesn’t work. Less competition, and so more work will come my way.

  51. Michael Larkin

    Well, I’ve read Thompsons’ whole piece, and concluded it makes sense if you are someone like him. If not, not so much.

    For a start, he does not define what AGW scepticism entails. My bet is that he thinks sceptics deny basic GHG theory. This is allied to what Richard Lindzen called “bait and switch” in his recent WUWT video presentation.

    If the majority of sceptics (not just the Skydragons), were deniers in this sense, then Thompson might have a point. But as we all know, there is very largely no disagreement on the fact of global warming or on GHG theory. It’s all about sensitivity and feedbacks.

    So, having baited his readers with a false assumption about what sceptics believe, he can easily switch into patronising dismissal of sceptic scientific views and give weight mainly to their political influence. He thinks they’re wankers, but he’ll fight to the death for their right to be wankers and to seek to influence the larger political debate. He presumably wants to be congratulated. Well, actually, no: no congratulations for making me want to vomit.

    I’m sick to death of arrogant and oleaginous writing like this. It seeks to disguise its own patronising elitism beneath a veneer of toleration and reasonableness. A small but rather telling point is the failure to include English transliterations of “epistimi” and “doxa” so that one would more easily be able to check out the dictionary for likely cognates – “epistemology” and “doxology”. But hey-ho, we’re all Oxbridge folk and destined for a BBC sinecure, so we’re all on the same wavelength, right?

    • “My bet is that he thinks sceptics deny basic GHG theory. This is allied to what Richard Lindzen called “bait and switch” in his recent WUWT video presentation.

      If the majority of sceptics (not just the Skydragons), were deniers in this sense, then Thompson might have a point.

      But they do. In the climate clown report of skeptics who post here with alternate theories, about 44 out of the 45 are not clearly aligned with the SkyDragons. So Doug Cotton, Claes Johnson and their associates only count as one entry.

      So what to make of the other 44?

      You seem to want to sweep them under the rug and suggest that it is all about sensitivity and feedbacks. In fact, many of these have their own pet theories on the origin of excess CO2 and they don’t even believe that is of anthropogenic origin!

      You really ought to clean up your own house.

      But guess what? You won’t, because you know the outcome.

      The pre-condition for cleaning up your own house is that you need your own semi-consensus theory to work from. Yet the minute you come up with one, all of the world’s smart climate scientist will come down on you like a ton of hurt and demolish your theory. It’s actually like child’s play, just basic considerations of conservation of energy and other laws of thermodynamics, plus knowledge of statistical mechanics — and unless your theory and/or model has any substance, it’s toast.

      Good luck with that. Guess who will be waiting for your model.

      • Michael Larkin

        Tell you what, WHT. Go away and rewrite this in English and I might have a chance of replying.

      • All rhetorical blowhards, 24/7. When not blowing hard, they are crackpots with wacko theories. That is Climate Etc in a nutshell.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce.

        Figure 12 shows 2000 years of El Nino behaviour simulated by a state-of-the-art climate model forced with present day solar irradiance and greenhouse gas concentrations. The richness of the El Nino behaviour, decade by decade and century by century, testifies to the fundamentally chaotic nature of the system that we are attempting to predict. It challenges the way in which we evaluate models and emphasizes the importance of continuing to focus on observing and understanding processes and phenomena in the climate system. It is also a classic demonstration of the need for ensemble prediction systems on all time scales in order to sample the range of possible outcomes that even the real world could produce. Nothing is certain.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

        http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        I have a consensus theory. Webster is an idiot.

      • Web >> Really, I don’t mind getting attacked on these grounds because all it does is help my understanding of the concensus science. <<

        Until now I was unsure about Web's commitment open-mindedness.
        But no longer.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        Webbie,
        How’s that “oil running out” obsession going? Is your therapy to deal with it making any progress yet?

      • Easy lurker,

        WEB is is in a highly irritable mood. I think it’s from the self induced wedgie after hearing the news the US will shortly overtake Saudia Arabia as the world’s leading oil producer.

      • It’s called systems thinking. The earth’s climate and it’s resources are part of the overall system and man obviously has a role in the system’s overall evolution. Forrester started down this path some 40 years ago and I am trying to make a contribution. Shoot me.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        And yet nothing makes any sense at all. It is al bits of a complex system in isolation and a rejection of complex systems theory. Why is it all such empty rhetoric?

      • I have no worries about my work. It’s built on the work of others before me, and peers have continued on with it. Lots of it amounts to basic bean counting. Fake skeptics want to say that it is complicated because that adds to the FUD.

        It’s quite interesting watching the individual Bakken wells sputter out so quickly. Hydraulic fracturing is a “mop-up” operation, aimed at getting the bottom-of-the-barrel tertiary residue, and paying the price for doing just that.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your peers – you mean ‘the professor’ on your loser blog? Far from complex – it is simplistic to the point of crudity.

      • Lack of skills. What can I say.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Your fake claims to mathematical profundity do not impress me. I do math every day of the week. You’re a sham and a fraud.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        Webbie,
        No shooting, just laughter. And not laughing with you, if you know what I mean.

      • Cool. Critics that don’t add up to squat.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You really have to look at the detail. Diffusion of heat from the atmosphere to the oceans for instance. It is just like a CPU and a heat sink. Nothing else makes any sense either.

        ‘TOC essentially draws a line in the sand and a virtual stake in the ground. Everything I have written about and all the original analyses I have worked out on the blog has not fundamentally changed as I aggregated the information. As far as I can tell, no one else has picked up on the direction that I have taken, and nothing has come out of the research literature that comes close to unifying the set of topics as well as this does.

        A couple of commenters have said I should publish the research work through peer-reviewed channels. That won’t happen because the project covers too much territory and compiling a massive tome such as this represented the best option I could think of. I invite all with an interest in the natural world to take a whack at digesting it.’ etc etc

        Do you see the pattern emeging here? The guy is a tatal wack job as much as onyone on the web.

      • Yes, Chief, notice how that works. You can sign up for a blog, at no cost, and write whatever you want, to your heart’s content. You can even write self-motivational prose, in a diary fashion , if you think that helps.

        Btw, TOC stands for The Oil Conundrum, cool stuff, lots of basic analysis put together in original ways.

        Chief is really digging deep trying to find some dirt. Keep going, I don’t mind.

      • Webbie,
        How’s that “oil running out” obsession going? Is your therapy to deal with it making any progress yet?

        In about 1962 I learnt the world had only 15 years of oil supply left. Half a century later how many years do we have left now?

        Webbie, applying your ‘best-in-the-world’ maths, stats and BS skills you keep telling us about, to those two points, can you give us an update on when oil will run out?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The webster imagines that ocean heat content can be calcalred based on diffusion from the atmosphere to the oceans at a constant rate of ‘effective diffusion’. In reality – the oceans are heated by the sun and ‘effective diffusion’ is physically unealistic.

        He uses power rules to ‘model’ an astonishing range of phenomenon – from economics to ecology – without knowing anything about any of them. But the fundamental rule of modelling applies – you need to understand the system before a plausible model can be formulated.

        webnutcolonoscope tends to test the limits of implausibility.

      • Who would of guessed, a couple of Aussie larrikins talking trash.
        Here you have Lang incessantly pushing nuclear while now claiming that oil is not a finite resource.
        Why else does he argue but for the sake of arguing?
        Oil does not run out like sugar in a sugar bowl. It starts to deplete and as it depletes, the cost of extraction increases. As the cost increases, the residue slop starts to look more promising. Nuclear also looks more promising.

        The proof of concept is that the USA is starting to rely on the marginal slop known as the Bakken. This would not have been accessed were it not for depletion of wells through the rest if the USA.

        That brings us to the Chief, who evidently despises anyone that embraces nature’s entropy generator, good old fashioned diffusion. The power laws of diffusion are easily seen in the depletion profiles of the Bakken wells. Hydraulic fracturing essentially opens up diffusional pathways for oil to flow, and without exception these depletion profiles show immediate decline, quite unlike the conventional oil well that the industry had been used to the last 100+ years. Bottom-of-the-barrel diffusional flow from cracks in the shale … who thought it would be anything more than marginal returns.

        We ought to use the oil while it is still cheap to explore different sources … such as nuclear.

        Keep it coming. I have the analysis, while all you have is attitude.

      • Webbie says:

        Here you have Lang … claiming that oil is not a finite resource.

        Here we have Webbie making up stuff (i.e. lying) again. Nothing new about that. But more evidence he has no integrity. Nothing he says can be trusted.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The oil obsession is a good example and no amount of therapy is going to solve the problem. As everyone keeps saying – the proper measure is liquid fuels supplies and there are orders of magnitude more rigorous analyses available.

        http://www.eia.gov/forecasts/aeo/MT_liquidfuels.cfm

        Diffusion is nature’s entropy generator? There are in fact many ways that energy transforms. The particular problem is that energy does not diffuse from the atmosphere to the oceans. The oceans receive energy form the sun and energy moves from the oceans by radiance, conduction or convection. Diffusion from the atmosphere to the oceans is precisely the wrong conceptual model of the physical processes. It is all just so much nonsense.

        Notice he doesn’t defend anything – simply evokes pretentious generalities.

      • Amazing that the Chief cannot understand that heat can flow from regions of high thermal concentrations to regions of low thermal concentration. This is essentially a flow from “hot” to “cold”, and is described in oceanography textbooks by vertical diffusion coefficients. The basic concept of entropy states that the distribution of heat will tend to a uniform state constrained by energy bounds.

        I never invoke anything particularly sophisticated when it comes to the physics and neither does James Hansen, who applied this model over 30 years ago to describe how the thermal heat sinking by the ocean alters the transient climate response.

        Really, I don’t mind getting attacked on these grounds because all it does is help my understanding of the concensus science.

        Keep it coming.

      • Ok, larrikin Lang believes in the finite nature of oil reserves. Thanks for straightening that out.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        The concept everyone has a problem with is heat diffusing from the atmosphere to the oceans. Heat moving in the oceans is a different thing entirely.

        ‘Eddy diffusion, eddy dispersion, or turbulent diffusion is any diffusion process by which substances are mixed in the atmosphere or in any fluid system due to eddy motion.[1][2] In another definition[3] it is mixing that is caused by eddies that can vary in size from the small Kolmogorov microscales to subtropical gyres.’ wikipedia

        So while in one sense you can conceive of an eddy coefficient it is not a measurable quantity, it is not thermal conductivity and the source of heat is not the atmosphere.

        In the oceans – warm water is found at the surface because of buoyant forces. Warmer water will always be found at the surface rather than distributing evenly throughout the volume.

        So the maths of simple diffusion from the atmosphere to the oceans is meaningless because of the lack of physical verisimilitude. Now surely you can have a black box model that is physically unrealistic – but in this case the mechanics of calculating an ‘effective diffusion rate’ is overwhelmingly complex. It is for a start nowhere near constant.

        We have yet another example of the simplistic thinking of this person. The conceptual model lacks an appreciation of essential physical processes without which no depth of understanding is possible. I am sure he doesn’t even try – simply repeats the same curve over and over again in wildly divergent fields. That this represents ‘the consensus’ is yet more delusional thinking.

      • Well the model works much better than the swill you promote Chief.

        The physics that statistical mechanics models would also be “overwhelmingly complex” if it weren’t for the discipline known as statistical mechanics.

        That one probably sailed right over your head. :)

      • Nice try Webby, There is no contraditcion if you understood the math you would see that.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘Statistical mechanics or statistical thermodynamics is a branch of physics that applies probability theory, which contains mathematical tools for dealing with large populations, to the study of the thermodynamic behavior of systems composed of a large number of particles. Statistical mechanics provides a framework for relating the microscopic properties of individual atoms and molecules to the macroscopic bulk properties of materials that can be observed in everyday life, thereby explaining thermodynamics as a result of the classical and quantum-mechanical descriptions of statistics and mechanics at the microscopic level.’

        ‘Non-equilibrium systems are much more complex and they may undergo fluctuations of more extensive quantities. The boundary conditions impose on them particular intensive variables, like temperature gradients or distorted collective motions (shear motions, vortices, etc.), often called thermodynamic forces. If free energies are very useful in equilibrium thermodynamics, it must be stressed that there is no general law defining stationary non-equilibrium properties of the energy as is the second law of thermodynamics for the entropy in equilibrium thermodynamics.’ Wikipedia

        ‘Atmospheric and oceanic forcings are strongest at global equilibrium scales of 10^7m and seasons to millennia. Fluid mixing and dissipation occur at microscales of 10^−3m and 10^−3s, and cloud particulate transformations happen at 10^−6m or smaller. Observed intrinsic variability is spectrally broad band across all intermediate scales. A full representation for all dynamical degrees of freedom in different quantities and scales is uncomputable even with optimistically foreseeable computer technology. No fundamentally reliable reduction of the size of the AOS dynamical system (i.e., a statistical mechanics analogous to the transition between molecular kinetics and fluid dynamics) is yet envisioned.’ McWilliams PNAS 2007

        Yeah right – statistical mechanics – adding a smiley doesn’t help. Webster imagines he can pull a statistical mechanics of ocean circulation out of his arse. It is not true – it is just an unphysical concept with a made up coefficient. Utterly worthless.

      • Webbie, How’s that “oil running out” obsession going?

        No real answer/estimate forthcoming from Web…. 10 years? 50? 100? ….?

      • I think we can easily get to 1000 ppm out of fossil fuels, don’t you think so too now?

      • JimD,
        I do not see us getting to the 1000 PPM mark by burning crude oil alone.

        If it happens it will be caused by combusting all sorts of secondary and tertiary sources of marginal hydrocarbons to get at what is left of the good stuff. Or in processing to turn marginal into useful.

        That is the whole EROEI predicament we face as the most incredibly dense and practical fuels continue to deplete.

      • Joshua says skeptics are monolithic, Web says not …

    • Webby, can you actually understand anything besides the argumentum ad hominum. It totally baffles me as to why you don’t find a more congenial home that this blog. Surely, SkepticalScience would offer a more congenial forum for your name calling.

      • Surely, SkepticalScience would offer a more congenial forum for your name calling.

        Right. Because name-calling is not a common occurrence here at Climate Etc? And on those occasions that it does happen, it is disproportionately among “realists,” so obviously they’d be more in their element over at Skeptical Science.

        Just to check, David – was my characterization of your view accurate? If so, and you stop to re-think it, will you really stand behind such a view?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I take it you are referring to space cadets as realists? Not especially realistic. The webster has had every opportunity to revise his ways but he is inevitably abusive, intolerant and obnoxious. He is also eggregiously stupid and scientifically illiterate as I demonstate yet again above.

        Why is he here? To make a claim a 1000 times about climate clowns? What is the virtue or profit in that?

        And you are a pointless troll. Just what do you think this means? Why indeed are you here? You are incapable of discussing science and simply make stupid arguments about an obnoxious and worthless fool.

      • Josh, All I can say is read the references and the thread at Lucia’s. I know it will tax your mathematical background. Strangely, those at Lucia’s with actual knowledge seem to agree.

      • And you are a pointless troll. Just what do you think this means? Why indeed are you here? You are incapable of discussing science and simply make stupid arguments about an obnoxious and worthless fool.

        I am here to point out the way that tribalism corrupts the debate about climate science.

        I have much evidence at my disposal. One often found chain of evidence is when some “skeptics” correlated tribalistic behaviors to the “realist” side of the debate, and ignore the abundant evidence that their identification of correlations is highly selective.

        This little-mini thread is a perfect example of that chain of evidence that proves my point:

        (1) David notes a correlation.

        (2) I point out the selectivity of David’s observation.

        (3) You fall right in line to underscore my point.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No because the guy is a noxious troll – as you are. Nothing to do with cult of AGW grouptink space cadets. There is no equivalance – on on side there is a psychopathology. An inability to process anomalous information and all that goes with it. The smug moral certainty and faux superiority for one.

        I don’t have any ideological bias in this. This is the core of what I have been discussing for many years – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703 – What it means is that the world is not warming for a decade or three more at least. Yet even when it is in blue and red – it continues to be denied along with other related and quite obvious science. It creates the worst of all possible policyenvironments. And yet all you can think is that my contempt for a stupid and vulgar person is based on something other than the persistent insults and abuse he – and you – indulge in. Forgive me if I am unimpressed.

      • Name calling is a common rhetorical device to cover lack of knowledge. There are a lot of sky dragons here. But there are also serious scientists who need to be paid attention to. Judith runs an open blog where noone is censored. So there is a price for that. You actually have to take seriously only those who deserve it. Webby has no basis for making that determination in areas that go beyond simple algebra and repetition of simple radiative balance arguments or flawed ideas about peak oil and the evils of the oil companies. In my book he is not to be taken seriously. But I can’t let him get away with smearing people who know what they are talking about. Pekka by contrast should be taken seriously because he actually knows the difference between finite element and finite difference methods at least and is worth reading. Browning is not a sky dragon and deserves a great deal of respect.

      • Joshua said:

        I am here to point out the way that tribalism corrupts the debate about climate science.

        How hypocritical. Joshua is the classic example of tribalism – Leftie tribalism. What a joke he is.

      • I noticed a comment at Lucia’s where Young points to the importance of conservation laws.

        How convenient of him to cherry pick the response to forcing functions. You see, to Young, we can have a radiative forcing excess and the turbulent response will swallow it up. That is operational here on Climate Etc. But on Lucia’s, energy is apparently conserved.

        The plea to complexity is all so phony as well. Any good physics instructor can demonstrate how well first-order laws can explain the distance a projectile can fly through the air based on energy imparted to it. One doesn’t have to actually work out the ballistics path to get a rough estimate, just considerations of potential and kinetic energy. The same principles hold for many types of energy balance.

        Cripes, what Young proposes when he decides to cherry pick his laws of physics, is no different than a perpetual energy scam artist, trying to hide where the energy is going, in this case swallowed up in the turbulent flow, forever increasing in kinetic energy and never turning this into a thermal increase. Please help me comprehend the delusional thought process that Young engages in.

      • Its so simple, even you can understand, Webby. Energy is conserved, The issue here and at Lucia’s is the accuracy of the models. Some don’t conserve energy and all are based on a simplified set of equations that are unstable but stabilized with excess dissipation. It is not about radiative physics or whether the world is warming. It’s about the math of GCM’s.

      • We seem to have identified an underlying point of difference here.
        Web and BBD think climate is in principle no more complex and unpredictable than the trajectory of a projectile. (But why then would one need models?) Dallas says it’s much harder.

      • > Because name-calling is not a common occurrence here at Climate Etc?

        True, we here boast grandmaster WebHubbub

      • I don’t have any ideological bias in this.

        Lol!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        My essential postion remains in that economic growth will produce emmissions of 4%, 8%, 16%, 32%, etc in short order. This is not sustainable. So I have no incentive to interpret 30 years of reading in natural philosophy one way or the other. I follow my curiosity.

        But the world is not warming – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703 – this creates a policy environment in which skeptics win.

        Is that what you want? You are an idiot.

      • David Young,

        Webby, can you actually understand anything besides the argumentum ad hominum. It totally baffles me as to why you don’t find a more congenial home that this blog. Surely, SkepticalScience would offer a more congenial forum for your name calling.

        Good suggestion. He could join the group think there and particpate in their plans to deceive people so they can get their views accepted and the policies they advocate implemented. He could work with John Cook, Glen Tamblyn, dana1981 and other like-minded zealots.

  52. Ode ter Judith.

    Some there are who ask
    Whether Judith should
    ‘Stand and be counted,’
    Take on advocacy in
    The global warming debate.

    Judith stands firm, however,
    Argues only on process and
    Evidence, nothing more
    … Nothing less.

    Posting threads on uncertainty,
    Questionning consensus …
    ‘Should scientists promote
    Results over process?’

    Judith, a lone pilot, steers her craft
    Between Skylla and Kharybdis,
    Negotiating wild waves
    And wild, wild weather,
    She heads fer the open sea.

  53. Policy, rhetoric and public bewilderment

    Let’s have a discussion about the topic of the thread.

    I assert that if policy was rational, the rhetoric and public bewilderment would go away.

    The problem is caused because the policies being advocated by the climate alarmists are irrational. They’re worse than that, they’re ridiculous.

    The policies being advocated are based on ideology. Given this, is it any wonder that there is strident opposition?

    Let’s focus is on what is relevant for informing rational policy development. My view, for what its worth, is as follows:

    1. There are many parameters, but four key parameters, in estimating the costs and benefits of ACO2 emissions and of CO2 mitigation policies to reduce emissions:

    a. Climate sensitivity (T2xCO2)
    b. Damage function
    c. Decarbonisation rate (the rate the world could decarbonise)
    d. The probability that the proposed mitigation policies will provide the hoped for net benefits

    2. The orthodoxy’s view of climate sensitivity (T2xCO2) is that the central estimate is about 3C. However, the uncertainty is huge. Furthermore, the uncertainty has changed little in over 20 years.

    3. It is unlikely that the uncertainty in climate sensitivity estimates will be reduced quickly.

    4. Since uncertainty in climate sensitivity is large and unlikely to be reduced by much in the foreseeable future, the research effort should be refocused on reducing the uncertainty in the ‘damage function’ and the ‘rate of decarbonisation’ function. Because, even if climate sensitivity is high, if the damage function is small, the net cost of global warming would be small. So we should not risk implementing policies that will do significant economic damage to the world for little or no benefit.

    5. If the damage function turns out to be high (that is not what current information suggests), then global decarbonisation of energy will be important. Then the decarbonisation rate that could be achieved, realistically, is important.

    6. Therefore, research should also be focused on the rate of decarbonisation that could be achieved and how to achieve it.

    7. Real progress in that area is currently blocked by the very people who are the CAGW alarmists. They advocate impracticable, unrealistic policies like: world government, (and all that would be required to make it work: police, army, taxation, bureaucracy); carbon taxes and/or ETS, renewable energy and they oppose the least cost way to reduce global emissions: nuclear power. So no real progress is possible. Progress is prevented by ideological beliefs.

    8. As JC has pointed out, we need to apply robust decision analysis methods to advise policy, not just mandate policies – especially ones that will do huge harm with virtually no evidence they will do any good (such as carbon pricing and renewable energy).

  54. He admits to knowing little about physics.it would appear that his understanding of Popper is also wanting especially in relation to falsifiability.
    There also seems to be an assumption that everyone who disagrees with a theory has the same lack of knowledge of physics as he has.

  55. lurker passing through, laughing

    Science is no immaculate word. It is a work procedure that requires its workers to adhere to it very carefully or it becomes something other than science. It assures no specific result. In a sense science is a journey, not a destination. Scientists are people, not immune to any and all of the foibles hubris and folly that non-scientists are vulnerable to.

  56. From the Washington Post, Nov.14, 2012

    President Barack Obama said Wednesday that his administration has not done enough to combat global warming but said he hopes to begin his second term by opening a national “conversation” on climate change.

    Obama said at a news conference that he took some steps in his first term to slow global warming, such as sharply increasing fuel efficiency standards for cars and trucks.

    “But we haven’t done as much as we need to,” Obama said in his second comments on global warming since winning re-election last week.
    _________________

    The President is right. We haven’t done as much as we need to do.

    Fortunately, those who oppose combating warming are largely part of a shrinking demographic. As they age and die off, we should be able to do more.

    • Max, you won’t have any money. The western economies are dying precisely because they tried to combat global warming. They are on track to squander trillions.

      • I got more money than I know what to do with, and I keep making even more. On top of all that, I will be getting some free stuff because I voted for Obama.

        I’m not worried about the cost of combating global warming. It’s just a cost of doing business. People who worry about it are alarmists.

    • Max_OK

      There is nothing you or I or President Obama, for that matter, can “do about global warming”.

      It’s going to happen if it’s going to happen and rather than futile attempts to “combat it”, we should figure out how to adapt to it if and when it should occur.

      It’s that simple.

      Max (not from OK)

      • You aren’t part of America’s shrinking demographic because you live in Switzerland. However, old “do-nothings” like yourself are part of a global shrinking demographic. Older people in general try to stand in the way of progress. I’m not sure why, but I suspect it’s because they associate progress with the elapse of time, and they know their time is slowly slipping away.

        BTW, Switzerland is the most boring country I have ever visited.

      • Max_OK

        OK is a great place to visit. I especially liked Oklahoma City and Tulsa (exciting and vibrant cities). The University of Oklahoma used to have a powerhouse football team (believe they hold the record for consecutive wins) but this year’s 7/2 record doesn’t sound too hot.

        Too bad you couldn’t find any “action” when you visited.Switzerland (it’s there, but you’ve got to look for it – and it helps if you speak the language).

        But back to our topic.

        There is absolutely nothing you or I or President Obama can do to change our planet’s climate one iota (so he needn’t feel bad that he “hasn’t done enough”). Anything he “does” is “too much” and it won’t achieve any result, anyway.

        Max

      • Max,

        OU football has disappointed me so frequently that I no longer have much interest in watching the games. The team is rarely as good as it is supposed to be.

        Smart people know we can combat global warming. Try to find a scientific society of standing that says we can’t. The public will rightly believe what mainstream science says, not what anti-science anti-government ideologues say.

        Global warming deniers and skeptics are shrinking. I don’t mean you personally, although you may be getting a little shorter with age. But deniers and skeptics are found mostly in a demographic that’s shrinking ( conservative old white guys), and whose influence is fading.

        Switzerland has nice scenery.

        No one but people like yourself pay attention to your “

      • ” because you live in Switzerland. ” ??

        The time stamps of Max’s postings would indicate he lives in the USA.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        manacker:

        OK is a great place to visit. I especially liked Oklahoma City and Tulsa (exciting and vibrant cities). The University of Oklahoma used to have a powerhouse football team (believe they hold the record for consecutive wins) but this year’s 7/2 record doesn’t sound too hot.

        Maybe it’s just because I lived there, but I can’t see how Tulsa is vibrant. I guess it’s nice for visiting, but after a day, you’ll have seen everything worth seeing.

        tempterrain:

        The time stamps of Max’s postings would indicate he lives in the USA.

        Yes, manacker clearly lied about where he lives. Because his timestamps tell us so.

      • As far as I have noticed the only time Max (manacker) never comments is from 2 to 8 nighttime and early morning Central European Time. That matches with living in Switzerland. He’s most active in the afternoon hours CET and then again around midnight.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I don’t pay attention to the times people post. I figure people have different schedules so there’s no way to know why they post at the times they post. They may live in a particular country, or they may just work nights. Or any number of other things.

        I just thought it was funny manacker said he lives in Switzerland yet tempterrain suggests he doesn’t.

      • tempterrain

        There you go again with your overblown fantasy – trying to put me in the USA (one Foster’s too much?)..

        Right now it’s 1:30 AM and I’m in Switzerland.

        My blogging hours are usually late at night, but sometimes also during the day here.

        Cheers!

        Max

      • Brandon

        That remark to “Okie Max” about Tulsa was just to make him feel good (tongue in cheek, as it were), since he wrote that he had trouble finding any “action” in Switzerland when he visited here. I also suggested that he might have had more success if he learned the local language first.

        I did have occasion to spend some time (on business) in Tulsa several years ago. Didn’t see much of the town, but the local people I worked with were very friendly and I was invited to at least three BBQs, so my memories are pleasant.

        Max

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        manacker, that is one thing Oklahoma definitely has going for it: people there are generally polite and friendly. It’s much more congenial than many places I’ve been.

      • “I just thought it was funny manacker said he lives in Switzerland yet tempterrain suggests he doesn’t.”

        Its possible to ‘live’ in both places of course. Yes I’m suggesting that Max is not quite as Swiss as he likes to make out. He may be of Swiss origin and may even be spending more time back in Switzerland during his retirement, but I’d say he’s lived a large part of his life in the USA.

        Not that it really matters whether he’s Swiss or American, though.

      • Anyone who is taken in by Max’s claim that he first accepted the IPCC report in 2007 before later rejecting it might want to take a look at this comment:

        http://itsgettinghotinhere.org/2007/03/29/heres-the-plan

        Note it’s ‘automobile’ rather than ‘car’, and dollars rather than (swiss) francs.

      • Please disregard the sentence fragment in my previous post.

      • @mac_ok You and other aging denier/skeptics are becoming irrelevant.

        Yes the world does seem to be dumbing down.

      • Hey, Max_OK

        You are so sure that government can do something to stop global warming disaster.

        So tell me specifically what government can do and how much global warming this will avert by the year 2100, if you can.

        Don’t feed me the usual empty political promises of “reducing CO2 to X% of what it was in year Y by year Z” or (dumber yet) pledges to “hold global warming to no more than 2C”. Also don’t come with any direct or indirect carbon tax – these will not change our planet’s climate (no tax ever did).

        Come with some specific actionable proposals with quantifiable results.

        I’m telling you that there is nothing we can do to change our planet’s global climate, no matter how much money we throw at it.

        Prove me wrong.

        Max (from CH)

      • Max, you belong to a demographic ( old conservatives) that’s shrinking and will disappear altogether before long, so there’s no need to “prove” anything to you. You and other aging denier/skeptics are becoming irrelevant. Don’t count on a youthful lunatic fringe ( e.g., Ayn Randys) to carry on your cause.

        Max, I’m surprised you even would ask for proof. You should know no one can actually prove future developments. Anyone who believes otherwise is a sap, and can be easily mislead by a fortune teller or a holy man.

    • Being filthy rich, he says, MaxOK is unconcerned that his standard of living will get slashed by having to pay for putative attempts to ‘combat’ global warming.

      Well there’s our long-awaited answer, folks. All of you – yes, that means YOU too – simply pull your socks up and become millionaires right way, and then we can all stop worrying and blogging.

      • B.C.’s revenue-nuetral carbon tax has reduced its citizens’ standard of living. NOT !

        Pollution advocates try to convince the public that combating global warming will make them poor. But the public will not be mislead by fear mongers.

      • Max_OK,

        Yr: “But the public will not be mislead by fear mongers”

        Well, Max_OK, your little flim-flam pretense that eco-flake zealotry has no consequences has just been unmasked for the infamous canard that it is–yes, indeed, the “public” has just gotten its first real taste of environmental extremism as cap-and-trade, euthanasia enthusiasts register their first big cull–the “Hostess Company”!

        And when the “public” finds the shelves of its local markets cleared of “Ding-Dong’s”, “Ho-Ho’s”, and Twinkies, the “chickens will be comin’ home to roost!” And I wouldn’t want to be some trans-fat phobic, foodie-prig beatin’ the carbon austerity diet-drum when the angry mobs, driven mad by their twinkie withdrawal pains, come lookin’ to catch you greenshirt ding-dong’s up by your hive-bozo ho-ho’s!

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Australia’s revenue neutral carbon tax has reduced my standard of living. I am too well of to be compecsated. I think it is probably costing me a thousand bucks a year. My biggest objection however is the utter futility of it all. It may be argued that there are effects at the margin in both Australia and BC – but it achieves very little. To actually achieve substitution it would need to be 3 times as much. At which stage the revenue would dry up and everyone would be out of pocket. Yeah like that’s going to happen. In the meantime we are ramping up gas and coal exports – 5 times and 3 times respectively in the next decade.

        Australia has signalled a willingness to sign up to Kyoto 2 – but only if India, China, etc sign up. They can’t. They can’t reduce emissions if it means reduced economic growth. It is only by the development of cost competitive energy alternatives the world can progress at all. And it isn’t warming for another decade or three at least. Quite obviously – http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=8703

        The real progress to be made in the meantime is with black carbon and tropospheric ozone, conservation and rehabilitation of landscapes, education and health and soli sequestration through conservation farming.

        No one is advocating burning coal and oil for the hell of it. We are advocating rational ways forward.

        http://www.abc.net.au/religion/articles/2012/09/14/3590260.htm

        http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

        The global climate change debate has gone badly wrong. Many mainstream environmentalists are arguing for the wrong actions and for the wrong reasons, and as long as they continue to do so they put all our futures in jeopardy.

        My diagnosis is a twofold ethical failure: of pragmatism and perspective (or, more eloquently, of “sense and sensibility”). Many environmentalists argue that climate change is fundamentally a values problem. And yet their interpretation of this has taken a narrow moralising form that systematically excludes consideration of such important ethical values as improving the lives of the one billion people presently living in unacceptable poverty, or even protecting other aspects of the environment.

      • Mike, you can blame American moms for the Hostess bankruptcy. Today’s mothers are well-informed about the importance of a healthy diet, so they don’t want their children pigging out on Twinkies, Ho- Hos, and other sugar-saturated junk food. The fact kids are spending more time sitting on their butts with video games makes diet even more important.

        Hostess also was hurt by the baker’s strike.

        So there you have it. Hostess was done in by moms, obesity, and unions.

        Perhaps the Chinese will buy some of the Hostess brands and get their kids fat.

      • Max_OK,

        Yr: “Perhaps the Chinese…”

        Good Lord! Here I lob you, Max_OK, a playful, just-for-laffs “goof”-zinger, expecting you to hit it out of the park with a witty, hive-quip come-back , but what do I get? Well, what I get from you, Max_OK is a relentlessly humorless, conditioned-reflex, hive-drudge foodie-lecture in which you even manage to raise the geo-political, scare-booger specter of a future “Twinkie-War” with China.

        Hey Max! You really don’t have to spend your every waking moment as a mono-maniac, up-tight, greenshirt worry-wart, you know. You have choices, you know. So lighten up, guy! You’ll live longer, if you do.

      • B.C.’s revenue-neutral carbon tax [NOT!] has reduced global ACO2 emissions. NOT !

      • Chief Hydrologist,

        Australia’s revenue neutral carbon tax has reduced my standard of living.

        Yes. And we haven’t seen anything yet. Treasuries own figures (which are based on ridiculously optimistic assumptions about what the world will do) show that Australia’s GDP will suffer a cumulative loss of GDP to 2050 is $1,345 billion* (undiscounted) (http://archive.treasury.gov.au/carbonpricemodelling/content/chart_table_data/chapter5.asp , Chart 5.13), or $390 billion (discounted at 4.34% pa). But this is nowhere near what the real cost will be. For more on this see: http://jennifermarohasy.com/2012/06/what-the-carbon-tax-and-ets-will-really-cost-peter-lang/

      • Max_OK

        the public will not be mislead by fear mongers.

        That’s correct.

        The UK government found that out, when their “global warming fairy tale” and “zap the climate denier” TV campaigns flopped.

        Abraham Lincoln said it best of all.

        Max

      • Mike, I’m sorry to disappoint you but I am struggling with my new diet, trying to eat right and resist junk food, so I didn’t like being reminded that I filled the freezer with hundreds of Ho-hos and Twinkies when I heard Hostess was about to go belly-up.

      • Australia’s revenue neutral carbon tax has reduced my standard of living. I am too well off to be compensated

        IOW, that revenue-neutral carbon tax is a complete scam – it’s not neutral at all, it’s just a ruse to peddle bigger government and forced socialism. Exactly as predicted.

        The intent is not to transfer wealth from high-carbon users to low-carbon users, but rather to buy votes from the many poor by plundering the few rich. Text-book leftist ideology, making the world more totalitarian.

      • lurker passing through, laughing

        Max,
        Extra points on deceptive bigotry by fabricating the lie that people who question carbon taxes and AGW mythology are “pollution advocates”.
        It tales a really accomplished liar to match your ability to lie so much in so few words.

      • rather to buy votes from the many poor by plundering the few rich. Text-book leftist ideology, making the world more totalitarian.

        More totalitarian? We are talking about voting aren’t we? We wouldn’t the majority of poorer people vote to even things out a bit? Isn’t that called democracy?

      • Should be “Why wouldn’t….”

      • tempterrain

        You ask:

        wouldn’t the majority of poorer people vote to even things out a bit?

        Sure they would.

        Everybody would vote to get a larger slice of the pie for themselves – rich, poor or “middle class”.

        The politician’s trick is to make the majority of the voters believe that they are going to get a larger slice of the pie by voting for him – and to get them sufficiently motivated and mobilized to do so. In the US presidential election it also involves strategically targeting the electoral votes (as we’ve discussed previously).

        The Obama campaign were masters at this – Romney’s were obviously not.

        Obama got 62% of the electoral votes (332 out of 538), but only won the popular vote by around 2%.

        In three key states (OH, FL, VA) Obama won by razor-thin margins. Had he lost these three states he would have lost the election.

        This will undoubtedly go down in history as one of the slickest and best-run US presidential election campaigns in history.

        Hats off to the Obama campaign team.

        Now let’s see what President Obama does with his mandate.

        Max

      • BFJ Cricklewood

        > rather to buy votes from the many poor by plundering the few rich. Text-book leftist ideology, making the world more totalitarian.

        >> More totalitarian? We are talking about voting aren’t we? We wouldn’t the majority of poorer people vote to even things out a bit? [Wouldn't] that called democracy?

        Totalitarian democracy, the tyranny of the majority. ‘Evening things out’ by the procative force of the state.

        Totalitarian is to do with total state control – ie a predominately coercion-based society, with decisions and property rights taken from citizens by the state – not with issues of voting.

        It’s the polar opposite of libertarian – ie a predominately consent-based society, where citizens own property and decide things for themselves by mutual agreement rather than being coerced.

        One could thus have any combination of democratic/dictatorial and libertarian/totalitarian.

      • The only way CO2 output can be reduced(1), is by switching to more expensive forms of energy. This must of necessity make everyone poorer. But the public must not be mislead by complacency-mongers.

        The polluter-pays principle certainly has merit, but can never circumvent the the logical necessity of more expensive energy meaning less of all other forms of wealth available. This extra cost is very clear, but the claimed benefits are anything but clear; they may well be zero or thereabouts.

        (1) And whether this will actually make much difference to global climate remains to be seen.

      • Tomcat, CO2 output can be reduced by using fossil fuels more efficiently and less wastefully, as well as switching to alternative sources of energy.

      • Reducing consumption of fossil fuels by reducing the quality of life or standard of living cannot be a reasonable goal – because there is no way that humans will agree to this approach, no matter how much one would try to frighten them to do so.

        What makes sense is for industrialized nations to maintain or slightly increase life quality at the same time improving their “carbon efficiency” (the GDP per ton of CO2 generated), while developing nations grow GDP at a faster rate than CO2 emissions.

        At present, the industrialized nations have a fairly high “carbon efficiency”, while the developing nations are still a bit lower.

        As tempterrain writes, Switzerland and France rank at the top (neither has much coal-fired power, France relies heavily on nuclear, Switzerland on hydroelectric with some nuclear). Norway and Sweden also have a lot of hydroelectric power and a high carbon efficiency.

        The EU and Japan rank fairly high at around $3,000 per metric ton CO2. Industrialized nations with a lower population density, such as USA, Australia and Canada rank next at around $2,000 per mtCO2. The “Asian Tigers” are next at $1,300 per mt. Then come the developing “BRIC” nations, OPEC nations plus the rest of the world at $500-800 per mt. Brazil has a high percentage of hydroelectric power, but emits large amounts of CO2 from deforestation.

        This indicator has improved year by year, as GDP growth outpaced the use of fossil fuels, partly as a result of energy efficiency initiatives, less waste, better car mileage, etc.

        IMO it will continue to increase naturally, especially for the developing nations as they develop their economies.

        No “carbon tax” or top-down mandated CO2 cutbacks will be required to achieve this.

        Max

      • max_ok “CO2 output can be reduced by using fossil fuels more efficiently and less wastefully, as well as switching to alternative sources of energy”

        If it was efficient to use fossil fuels so as to produce less CO2, or use alternative sources of energy, we would already be doing it. The reason we are not doing it, is precisely because it is not efficient – ie it would cost more and so make us poorer – because we’d either have to make do with less energy, or have less to spend on everything else.

        You are confusing technical and economic efficiency.

      • simon abingdon

        Not “mislead”, “misled”.

      • I’m not claiming to be “filthy rich” and am concerned about general living standards. But, these don’t have to equate to the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere as countries like France and Switzerland have already shown.

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

      • temp,

        interesting list. The first thing that stands out is that the nations with the lowest per capita CO2 output are all among the poorest in the world.

        As far as France’s ranking – think that might have something to do with nuclear generation providing 70% of their electrical power? Care to discuss how the people who so loudly proclaim we need to reduce CO2 output to “stop” climate change are very often just as loud in opposing nuclear power?

      • tempterrain and timg56

        Per capita CO2 emissions is a poor indicator, because it shows impoverished countries, such as Burkina Fasso and Uganda, as very low “per capita emitters”, but nobody in his right mind would want to live like the inhabitants of these poor countries.

        A much better indicator is “carbon efficiency” (the amount of GDP in US$ that an economy can generate per ton of CO2 emitted).

        See my post above.

        Max

      • “Care to discuss how the people who so loudly proclaim we need to reduce CO2 output to “stop” climate change are very often just as loud in opposing nuclear power?”

        Yes OK. ‘very often’ isn’t the same as ‘always’ or even ‘usually’. There are a significant number of us, including people like James Hansen, who do both argue that CO2 emissions need to be reduced and support the increased use of nuclear power.

        It should make for some common ground with more right wing types but it doesn’t. Jim Hansen is vilified for his scientific work regardless. It would be good to see him get some support on the nuclear power question.

      • “A much better indicator is “carbon efficiency” ”

        I’m surprised you’d say that and I wouldn’t disagree.

    • Gotta give you credit Max,

      You certainly have no problem with exhibiting your hate for human beings. Once again you show your glee over the prospect of people dying.

      One question. What’s with this “we” stuff? Exactly what are you doing?

      • Gleeful over people dying? Nah ! I wish everyone a long healthy happy life. That’s why I’m for Obamacare, altough I think single-payer would be better. I would like to see Americans live as long as Canadians and pay as little as they do for health care.

      • Yep, it looks like you Americans look like you are being ripped-off by the ‘health care’ industry. You die two years younger than Canadians and pay almost twice as much in health costs.

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

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_total_health_expenditure_(PPP)_per_capita

        You’re not far behind Cuba though, you could at least aim to overtake them if nothing else.

      • Should be “Yep, it looks like you Americans are being ripped-off …..”

      • The American system is that no good deed goes without someone making a healthy profit out of it. At least the new system will limit profit-making by insurance companies even as it gives them more customers.

      • BFJ Cricklewood

        To show that a government-run system (eg health care) was more efficient, it needs to be run on a level playing field, ie without using the privileged position of the state, which inherently hides and transfers many costs. No government healthcare system has ever done this, they always use the power of the state to coerce results and transfer costs.

        And of course even if it did ever happen that a government system run without state privileges was efficient, it would illustrate than you don’t need state-run system at all, since anyone could do it.

      • tempterrain | November 18, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
        Yep, it looks like you Americans look like you are being ripped-off by the ‘health care’ industry.

        No surprise why those who want and believe in socialism want taxes on carbon too – to help finance social programs.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Max_OK, paraphrased:

      People who disagree with me are dying. It’s a good thing.

      • Brandon, people who disagree with me are dying, and people who agree with me are dying. I have no control over their numbers, but I would prefer the former to outnumber the latter. Perhaps you are different, and would prefer the deaths to be mostly people who agree with you.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I don’t have a preference on which of the two groups dies in larger amounts. In fact, I find the idea of having such a preference rather morbid.

      • I’ll second Brandon’s sense of this dipping into the morbid, even sick category.

        I disagree with a lot of people on a lot of different issues. Just as I agree with a lot of people on different issues. They are often one and the same. Depending on the topic, some of the people I am furthest from in terms of agreement are also some of the people I care most about in the world.

        Max, at best you have a small mind to look forward to (or prefer) the death of people who don’t agree with you.

      • I get it. You think you and Brandon are gooder than me.

      • Naw, Max_OK.

        You’re just badder than they are (but maybe you’re really just a pussy cat that talks that way).

        Max_not from OK

      • I don’t understand those two. They don’t seem to care who the dying are. Mother Teresa, Ted Bundy, both the same to them.

      • Max_OK

        Don’t know what they taught you in school in OK, but a human life is a human life.

        Max (from CH)

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Max_OK, you’ve just equated disagreeing with you to being a serial killer.

        I say I don’t prefer people who disagree with me die rather than people who agree with me. You equate disagreement with the (im)morality of murdering people. I think we’ve leaped past “morbid” and have reached “sick.”

      • Max_OK,

        I normally agree with you but I’d just question your implication that Mother Teresa and Ted Bundy are on the opposite ends of the worthiness scale.

        So-called “Mother” Teresa was a nasty piece of work. She believed that suffering was good for the soul and therefore good for the sufferer too. She would not prescribe pain killers in her clinics, choosing instead to allow her patients to experience the suffering that she believed would bring them closer to Christ. Except when it was her suffering at the end of her life. That was different.

  57. Yes, everyone looks up to the ideal of proper science.

    But they also know that, since science doesn’t grow on trees, it must therefore be bought. And since it is bought, and where vested interest exists (massively in the climate case), it will almost inevitably get used to dress up that vested interest.

    That is why it doesn’t always carry the day.

  58. Climate used to mean that past patterns of weather were the best predictors of future weather. Climate change theory asserts that this is no longer true–hence the many claims of “unprecedented”, and the dismissal of natural (meaning historical) variability. Skeptics are just kicking the tires on this new idea that the climate has changed and therefore the past is irrelevant.

  59. Here after, I will use CAGW instead of AGW as without the catastrophe the last decade’s hysteria of man made global warming would not have happened.

  60. Judith Curry

    The essay by Mark Thompson is thought-provoking in a general sense.

    It posits that non-scientists are often not in a position to “verify” whether or not a scientific premise is valid, so they are forced to accept it on “trust” (I recall Reagan’s famous “trust but verify” advice).

    Thompson states:

    God only knows who’s right; or maybe there is something fishy about the way that report was paid for; or maybe that lone scientist I heard on the radio is right and it’s the other 99% of physicists who will be proven wrong in the end. In an age of pervasive suspicion and uncertainty, and it doesn’t take much for the weevils to get to work.

    I do not like the sound of this statement. This sounds like he is referring to the ongoing scientific and policy debate surrounding the IPCC CAGW claim, which is allegedly “supported by 2,500 scientists”, (i.e. the “99% of physicists”). A bad analogy, which taints his entire essay IMO.

    A rational skeptic will follow Reagan’s advice.

    And you do not have to be a specialist in “climate science” to do so.

    Max

  61. Judith Curry

    I think Mark Thompson makes a basic mistake (as do many, who are stuck in ivory towers): he underestimates the intelligence of the general public.

    Sure, there is a great majority who do not really care one way or the other about climate science, global warming, etc., but there are also those who do take an interest in the ongoing scientific and policy debate regarding IPCC’s CAGW claim.

    And many of these are not prepared to take the word of “99% of physicists” on “trust”, especially if the “science” is coupled with “policy” steps, that will have a direct impact on the general public.

    “Trust but verify”.

    Max

  62. Trust but verify, Max and Bad Andrew, ‘nullius in verba’
    I’ll drink ter that. )

  63. After reading the entire 16-page essay by Mark Thompson, I am left with the quotation from Dr. Benny Peiser, which he uses as a lead-in (and then attempts to deconstruct):

    The climate change debate is much more
    than just a battle over scientific theories and environmental
    statistics. At its core is the question of which approach our societies
    should take in view of a serious concern that could possibly turn out
    to be a real problem some time in [the] future. What rational
    societies and policy makers need to ask is: what are the most
    reasonable and the most cost-effective policies that neither ignore a
    potential problem that may possibly materialise in the distant future
    nor the actual economic costs of such policies here and now.
    Fundamentally these are social, ethical and economic questions
    that cannot be answered by science alone but require careful
    consideration by economists and social commentators.

    Peiser makes a lot more sense in one short paragraph than Thompson does in 16 pages.

    Max

    • Judith termed it a ‘lecture,’ as I think The Bish did, also.
      Thank you for reading the entire work: I doubt I could have stayed awake through either lecture or essay, after my initial, exhausting, aggravation at Thompson’s ignorance and his insulting mis-appropriation.
      He was addressing a group’s problems? His problems with that group?
      ditto re Peiser vs M T.

    • Thanks for that quote. Its spot on.

  64. What is the range for normal global mean surface temperature?

    Wiki:

    The range for normal human body temperatures, taken orally, is 37.0±0.5 °C. This means that any oral temperature between 36.5 and 37.5 °C is likely to be normal.

    Here is the annual change in global mean temperature.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/derivative

    This data shows the range for normal global mean temperatures is 14.0±0.25 °C. This means that any global mean temperature between 13.75 and 14.25 °C is likely to be normal.

  65. dikranmarsupial

    Girma, if you just plot the data

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl

    you will find that temperatures have risen since 1850 by about 0.8-0.9 °C, which means if temperatures were normal in 1850, then by your argument they certainly can’t be normal now as the rise is greater than your range of ±0.25 °C.

    This is because your analysis is faulty, the derivative you plot has a non-zero mean, and it is the mean that causes the long term rise in temperatures, not the variability of the year to year change in temperature.

    There isn’t a “normal” temperature for the earth. The point is that any change requires adaption, which is costly. It is the change that is the problem, not the absolute temperature (IMHO).

    • dikran

      If in a single year the annual global mean temperatue changes by about 0.3 deg C (http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/compress:12/derivative), is it not possible for it to randomly change by 0.6 deg C in 100 years?

      • dikranmarsupial

        Girma, I will answer your question, provided you first address the point I raised. You said that the range for “normal” Earth temperatures is ±0.25 °C (i.e. the range is 0.5 °C wide). Global temperatures have changed by more than that since 1850, so either your assertion was incorrect, or temperatures are not in the normal range now according to your assertion (assuming that they were within the normal range in the 1950s)?

        Which is it? Scientific discussion requires that objections to assertions are answered directly, so there isn’t much incentive for me to carry on if such objections are going to be ignored.

      • dikranmarsupial

        That should be 1850s obviously, sorry for the typo.

      • dikran

        I have to agree with you.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/compress:12/derivative/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale:0.00001/offset:0.25/from:1880/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale/offset:-0.25/from:1880/plot/hadcrut3vgl/scale/offset:1

        From 1880 to 2012, the globe warmed by 0.8 deg C from -0.52 deg C to 0.28 deg C. This is greater than the maximum annual range for the global mean temperature of 0.5 deg C, but by only 0.3 deg C.

      • dikran

        How do you explain the following observed correlation between the annual global mean temperature and the annual change in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere?

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/rss/compress:12/normalise/plot/esrl-co2/from:1979/derivative:12/compress:12/normalise

      • dikranmarsupial

        Girma, thank you for giving a direct answer to the question, much appreciated.

        this correllation was essentially what Prof Salby talked about in his Sydney institute presentation. There is indeed a correlation there, which was first noticed by Barcastow in the 70s. However, the long term rise in CO2 is caused by the mean value of the annual increase, and the correlation cannot mathematically explain the mean value, just the variation about the mean. So the amount of the increase in CO2 that is explained by the correlation is precisely zero. I wrote a blog article for SkS about this topic here:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1491

        A simple sanity check on the idea that the rise in CO2 is manmade is that if the natural environment were a net source of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (i.e. total natural emissions were greated than total natural uptake) then the observed annual increase in atmospheric CO2 would be greater than anthropogenic emissions as both anthropogenic emissions and the net environmental source would both contribute to the rise. The fact that atmospheric levels are rising more slowly than anthropogenic emissions establishes that the natural environment is a net carbon sink, and has been for at least the last fifty years. There are many other lines of evidence that corroborate this argument, but that is the most straight forward.

    • dikranmarsupial | November 16, 2012 at 11:48 am | Girma, if you just plot the data

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl

      you will find that temperatures have risen since 1850 by about 0.8-0.9 °C, which means if temperatures were normal in 1850, then by your argument they certainly can’t be normal now as the rise is greater than your range of ±0.25 °C.

      But the temperatures were not “normal” in 1850, that time period was in the Little Ice Age between 1300 and 1870, towards the end of it after which temperatures began to rise, but in no way can 1850 be called “normal”. It wasn’t called the Little Ice Age because it was normal..

      • dikranmarsupial

        It depends what you mean by “normal”. If you mean the range of temperatures that can occur due to natural variation, then they have to include the MWP as well as the LIA, as both were arguably the results of natural variability.

        However, that is beside the point. Girma’s analysis was flawed because if you look at the annual differences, the long term trends appear only as the mean value of the annual differences. This means that the variation in that plot doesn’t tell you much about the variation that is caused by the accumulation of the mean value (i.e. the long term trend).

    • dirkanmarsupial

      The line of reasoning you are taking with Girma could put you on the “slippery slope” of having to pick the temperature that is “just right” (like “Goldilocks” did).

      Would that be today’s temperature, that of 1960 (a bit cooler) or that of 1850 (a bit cooler yet)?

      The long-term “rate of change” seems to be pretty constant at 0.6C per century since we have come out of the Little Ice Age, so this has presented no problem, and there is no real reason to believe that it will in the future.

      Right now it has remained flat for 15 years or so, but it is reasonable to assume that it will probably start gradually warming again.

      I’d say the bigger threat to humanity would be a shift to significantly colder weather (less arable crop land, shorter growing seasons, lower agricultural yields, risk of more famines and starvation with a growing population, etc.).

      But there really isn’t anything we can do about it but be ready to adapt to whatever happens.

      Max

      Max

      • dikranmarsupial

        Max, I explicitly said that the Earth doesn’t have a “normal” temperature. It is the change that is the issue as change requires adaption and that has a cost.

  66. Thompson’s speech is less interesting than the quoted passages indicate. He basically says that (1) climate skepticism has low scientific support but (2) public opinion is complex so we have to accept their erroneous support for skepticism as an unfortunate feature of democracy but (3) the BBC does not have to give coverage to skepticism. This is just another case of a false assumption producing a false conclusion. The scientific debate is real and the public sees that.

  67. sunshinehours1 wrote:
    “Max, you won’t have any money. The western economies are dying precisely because they tried to combat global warming. They are on track to squander trillions”.

    Sunshine,
    My USA squanders about $1 trillion per year on ‘defense’ including Patriot act, Veterans care and interest on that debt, but only 1 or 2 percent of that ‘combatting global warming. If we spent 10% of our military spending on energy efficiency instead, we would be saving $100 billion every year, after 6 or 8 years, and a sum of maybe $200 billion per year after 15 years.

    That doesn’t even count the yearly increasing cost of a diminishing non renewable fossil fuel. We are spending our ‘natural capital,’ just like someone who inherirts a fortune and spends it, rather than investing and living on the annual earnings. I agree, Sunshine, that the economy is at risk, but it has nothing to do with carbon emissions reductions, which haven’t been happening much in my United Startes, maybe 2% of our total energy budget.

  68. Interesting. When I click on a recent comment re. the no consensus thread, I get the jacurry not available page from word press

    • Ron C

      I had the same problem. It was something that came in with a cookie.

      Clear all cookies and it should go away.

      Max

  69. Stockton Gaines

    I want to suggest a fundamental problem affecting the understanding of science. The problem is that much of science does not fit the Popper model of testablility. Even physics is now infected with this disease as it struggles with string theory.

    Where we can run experiments whose outcome we cannot predict with certainty, we have science that can and should be relied upon without question. But major categories such as psychology do not permit well defined unpredictable but repeatable tests of many of its hypotheses.

    Unfortunate, much of the real world is in the untestable category. Here, we only make “educated” guesses. Many of the questions of interest, such as how continental drift occurs, have scientific (i.e. Popperian) components, meaning, we can test some of the ideas that are a part of a proposed hypothesis. But we cannot test the whole of many propositions.

    Two important and controversial areas are, in Popper’s term, metaphysical – his term for the concept that we cannot conceive of a test we could carry out that has unpredictable results. These are evolution and climate change. (I may have shocked many by naming evolution here, but in point of fact almost all ideas about evolution as whole (origin of species) are indeed untestable. I leave the consequences of this observation for a separate discussion.)

    I suggest that a reason for controversy around what many believe to be scientific questions is precisely the untestability of the hypotheses in specific domains. The questions and observations are still what we think of as scientific, but there lack of definitive experiments that can silence the doubters.

    • Stockholm Gaines,

      I suggest that a reason for controversy around what many believe to be scientific questions is precisely the untestability of the hypotheses in specific domains. The questions and observations are still what we think of as scientific, but there lack of definitive experiments that can silence the doubters.

      But, in cases where there is a practical solution that addresses the projected but unprovable problem, does it really matter?

      In the case of ACO2 emissions, there is a practical solution. It is a potentially no-cost or negative-cost solution [1] – i.e. it would create net benefits whether or not ACO2 is a major problem.

      The solution I am suggesting is decarbonising a major component of energy supply. This is clearly shown by Nordhaus and others to be the least cost way to reduce ACO2 emissions, and could be a negative cost solution if we removed the impediments to it.

      But it is blocked by widely held, irrational fears, which are fanned by the very same people (mostly) who are the greatest ACO2 alarmists.

      The solution is obvious. Get rational! Get over the phobia and paranoia.

      Governments of the democratic countries can lead the world out of this. They can educate the population instead of continuing the fear mongering.

      The US President could lead the world to begin the transition to rid us of radiation phobia and nuclear paranoia.

      [1] http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-234611
      – Estimated abatement cost with nuclear energy in Australia = $65/t CO2
      – CO2 Abatement cost if/when we allow low-cost nuclear = <$0/t CO2

      • The US President could lead the world to begin the transition to rid us of radiation phobia and nuclear paranoia.

        The fundamental problem is that China and India(the worlds largest potential markets) are fairly ‘import phobic’ when it comes to nuclear power. China will buy enough foriegn reactors to figure out how to copy them.

        So we are left with the only real justification being domestic deployment. 60% of US coal fired capacity was built between 1960 and 1980, those retirements won’t start until 2020.

        I don’t expect to see any substantial political chatter related to nuclear in the US until either the price of natural gas reaches $5/MMBtu or the Vogtle and VC Summer demonstration projects are close to completion.
        Neither will probably happen prior to 2016.

      • Harrywr2,

        Thank you for your comment.

        The fundamental problem is that China and India(the worlds largest potential markets) are fairly ‘import phobic’ when it comes to nuclear power. China will buy enough foriegn reactors to figure out how to copy them.

        That’s OK if you follow what I am advocating. I’ll expand on that below. The reason it is OK is that China and India can only copy, but only a few generations behind the leaders if development is rapid, (as it is with gas turbines for example). The Chinese and Indians cannot keep up with the rate of development in gas turbines – or passenger aircraft etc. Therefore the key to maintaining the commercial advantage is to develop rapidly and keep rolling out new models. This can be done if we focus on development of small modular, factory-built nuclear power plants (roughly the equivalent of gas turbines). It is also necessary if the world is going to choose nuclear power plants instead of fossil fuel power plants when they have to replace existinbg or build new capacity from now on (actually, from when the cheap, small, modular nuclear power plants are commercially available).

        The USA is by far the best placed country and culture to lead this. It has the expertise, the advanced knowledge, the culture to innovate faster than anyone else, the ability to manufacture and ramp up production (as demonstrated in 1943-44 by its capacity to ramp up in 18 months to producing aircraft carriers in just 100 days from first laying of the keel to complete and fully loaded with aircraft and weapons). The USA also has the position of President, who has more influence and capacity to deliver such policies than any other single person in the world. There is no doubt in my mind this could be done.

        This is what I am advocating:

        We need as much competition as possible. Competition improves the technology and reduces costs. Wee need competition from companies in the manufacturing countries – USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, China. Korea, Japan – building small modular nuclear power plants on production lines like aircraft. Small is essential for several reasons:
        a. only small power plants can fit easily into most electricity grids around the world
        b. small units can be ordered ‘just in time’, once demand is assured
        c. small can be constructed and installed quickly, thus reducing investor risks
        d. small can be built in factories, shipped to site, returned to factory for refuelling
        e. small can be manufactured on production lines like aircraft, turned out rapidly and with good quality control
        f. small leads to faster rate of improvement because more are manufactured and lessons learned are built into the next model more quickly.
        g. More competition between more manufacturers leads to faster rate of improvement

        Examples of small modular nuclear reactors here (see also the ones accessible from the left margin):http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

      • Peter Lang,

        The SMR’s are going thru the process in the US. At some point the US DOE will chose two designs to ‘cost share’ the US NRC certification costs. (There are 3 competing) I think that FY’13 will be the decision on that. Then plan on 3 years for the US NRC review process(Romney campaigned on an accelerated 2 year process but didn’t get elected).

        So the 2015-2016 timeframe will be the time when there is something to do besides wait for the US NRC approval process. We should have two SMR’s ‘design licensed’ by then.

        Politically, being seen to be ‘rushing’ a US NRC design review would have disastrous consequences in US politics…so the process is very slow and methodical with lots of public comment and re-review.

      • Peter Lang

        Agree with you that building nuclear capacity for growing demand and to replace old coal plants that are ready for shutdown makes sense as a method to reuce CO2 emissions.

        But, as I showed you earlier, even if ALL coal plants were immediately replaced with nuclear and all new capacity were nuclear, this would have a theoretical impact of 0.8 degC on temperature of 2100, using IPCC’s arguably exaggerated mean 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3 degC, a projected population increase to 10.5 billion and an increase in average per capita energy consumption of 250% above today

        If only half of all plants were nuclear, it would be 0.4 degC

        And if IPCC’s CS is exaggerated by a factor of 2, it would only be 0.2C.

        So, yes, it could be a nice “feel good” move, but it would not have a perceptible impact on our climate.

        Max

      • Peter Lang

        In most locations (unless you’re sitting on top of a coal mine) today’s nuclear competes economically with today’s coal (without any carbon tax).

        So your proposal makes economic sense as well.

        Max

      • Harrywr2,

        Thank you for your further response.

        So the 2015-2016 timeframe will be the time when there is something to do besides wait for the US NRC approval process. We should have two SMR’s ‘design licensed’ by then.

        Politically, being seen to be ‘rushing’ a US NRC design review would have disastrous consequences in US politics…so the process is very slow and methodical with lots of public comment and re-review.

        I agree with all this.

        However, I think perhaps you may not have recognised what I am advocating. I’m trying to think beyond the current constraints and short time scales.

        First, my focus is on what would need to be done to reduce global ACO2 emissions (assuming it is necessary), not just what can be done in one country.

        Second, I recognise the political, cultural and regulatory constraints that exist now, especially in the democratic countries. However, I believe the constraints can be changed/removed if necessary. The constraints are due largely to ignorance and ideology, not to rational considerations. Therefore they are not physical constraints. So they can be removed.

        Third, the time scale I am considering is the time required to replace coal and baseload gas with nuclear power across the world and for nuclear to be the choice for most new electricity generation across the world. Another way to put it is the time it could take until nuclear power is cheaper than coal and gas for electricity generation.

        I suspect nuclear could be cheaper than coal and gas within 20 years if people (USA especially) really want to make it happen.

        What could be the incentive to make it happen?

        Here’s one possibility: The US President explains to the people of the USA that if the world is going to cut ACO2 emissions rapidly over the next 50 years or so, we must choose between these two options:

        1. global carbon pricing scheme, or

        2. cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels that will be available and suitable for all peoples of the world (and all sizes of electricity grids).

        Option 1 (global carbon tax or ETS) would mean:

        • a world administration, a governing bureaucracy, a world police force to enforce the rules, a world army to make recalcitrant countries abide by the rules, and global taxation to pay for all this. It means handing over some control of sovereignty to world government.

        • The carbon tax or ETS would have to apply to all emissions of all greenhouse gasses from all sources in all countries. The ‘honeymoon’ system, which applies to only the biggest emitters, that we are seeing advocated and started now in EU and Australia cannot last – for the reasons pointed out by Nordhaus (summarised here: http://skepticalscience.com//news.php?f=nordhaus-sets-the-record-straight-climate-mitigation-saves-money#82373

        • The carbon tax and/or ETS will always be subject to manipulation for political reasons – as is being done in Europe and Australia

        • A penalty scheme – like pricing carbon, or mandating emissions reductions by regulation – will reduce economic growth. That is, people will be poorer. Most people across the world will be poorer as a result of such policies than they would be without them.

        Option 2 (cost competitive alternative to fossil fuels) would mean:

        • No carbon tax or ETS and, therefore, no world government and all that entails

        • Competition brings prices and costs down, improves the breed, improves safety etc. (Safety is a cost, just as it is for aircraft manufactures and all other industries)

        • Appropriate, light regulation, with appropriate balance between cost and safety (as is applied to the passenger airline industry).

        • Competition between designers and manufacturers in many countries brings prices down and improves the breed.

        • As always, the most innovative and capable people will do best.

        • This is an incentive approach as distinct from the penalty approach of carbon pricing and emissions limits.

        • The world will be better off.

      • Peter Lang, “First, my focus is on what would need to be done to reduce global ACO2 emissions (assuming it is necessary), not just what can be done in one country.”

        Why? Reducing emissions would be a good thing, but could very likely not be effective and has a chance of causing more problems. Improving efficiency in general is a more realistic focus. That is a natural focus for advanced economies which would filter to other economies if the performance proves to be cost effective.

        You had a question about conservation farming and biochar a while back. The impact of land use on the carbon cycle is in the same order of magnitude as CO2 emissions and has a larger uncertainty. Focusing on just conservation farming, no biochar, can reduce the impact of emissions by 10% to 50% roughly. For conservation farming to have that much positive impact, it would have had to have had that much negative impact previously. More efficient farming/land use practices would have a significant impact on the effect of emissions while providing other long term benefits. In addition to improving carbon cycle issues, it would also improve water conservation and reduce the advance of desertification and reduce global temperatures somewhat. Adding biochar would just increase the positive impact. That is something where Australian could be a leader and with the Australian climate, water shed restoration or creation associated with conservation farming would pay much larger dividends.

        Different countries have different strengths. One size fits all specific focuses typically would not be globally effective.

      • Manacker,

        Thank you for your response. I think these issues are well worth pursuing because this is “where the rubber hits the road”. These are the issues that are important for informing the policy makers.

        But, as I showed you earlier, even if ALL coal plants were immediately replaced with nuclear and all new capacity were nuclear, this would have a theoretical impact of 0.8 degC on temperature of 2100, using IPCC’s arguably exaggerated mean 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3 degC, a projected population increase to 10.5 billion and an increase in average per capita energy consumption of 250% above today.

        So, yes, it could be a nice “feel good” move, but it would not have a perceptible impact on our climate.

        Max, I understand what you are getting at. However, I don’t think we can make much headway with policy makers by pushing this approach.

        As I mentioned previously I haven’t checked your figures. I suggest we need to use the figures quoted from authoritative sources if we want to influence policy. If we don’t we can’t even get off first base. Therefore, I am using Nordhaus’s figures. They are easily accessible. His estimates of the temperature change that would result from the various policies he considered and the costs are provided in Chapter 5 here: http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/Balance_2nd_proofs.pdf
        I have summarised the global average temperature change and the abatement cost per degree avoided ($/C) in this comment: http://judithcurry.com/2012/08/24/a-modest-proposal-for-sequestration-of-co2-in-the-antarctic/#comment-234611

        I recognise that Nordhaus is dealing with all GHG emissions but I am talking about emissions from electricity generation only. I reiterate points I’ve made on previous threads that if electricity is cheap it will displace some gas used for heating, some oil used in land transport, and the fugitive emissions related to all the fossil fuels used. On this basis, using Australia for example, nuclear generated electricity if cheap enough, could displace about 50% of Australia’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuel use by about 2050. But nuclear has to be cheaper than coal to achieve that. That is not the case now.

        I’d also argue that there are good reasons to remove the impediments that are blocking us from having low cost nuclear. Some of them are:

        • Nuclear fuel is 20,000 to 2 million times more energy dense than coal. This offers huge potential advantages.

        • Virtually unlimited energy supply for the world

        • Easy to store and requires small area and volume to store years of a whole country’s energy needs – this provides much greater energy security than with fossil fuels

        • 20,000 to 2 million times less mass to be shipped.

        • Reduced fatalities per TWh of electricity provided

        • Provides a reliable power supply. Can be load following if necessary.

        • Each time man has moved to higher energy density fuels in the past, it has made possible huge improvements in human wellbeing. This is potential is probably the greatest advantage of nuclear power.

        The US president could make this happen. He needs to be surrounded by the right people. He was not in his last term.

      • captdallas2 0.8 +0.2 or -0.4

        Thank you for your comment. I may not have understood some of what you are getting at, but I’ll make a few comments.

        Efficiency improvements can make only a small contribution to cutting global emissions. And government run schemes to try to improve efficiency are usually very wasteful. They often cost a great deal for little impact. As Roger Pielke Jr. pointed out in this post http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2010/07/decelerating-decarbonization-of-global.html the world need to reduce emissions at about 5% to 6% pa to achieve the targets being advocated. The decarbonisation rate required is relatively insensitive to the target. The current rate of decarbonisation has slowed from about 2% pa in 1990 to about 0.7% pa in 2007. So the gap that need to be closed is huge. Energy efficiency can make negligible difference. Only replacing fossil fuels with a non CO2 energy source can achieve the decarbonisation rates required.

        This post by Roger Pielke Jr. http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com.au/2011/02/reality-check.html (click on pdf to go to the full article and the Kaya Identity) shows how unrealistic are all the targets, what Japan achieved over a couple of decades and what would be required to decarbonise the world at the rate required. The short answer is that nuclear power will have to do the heavy lifting. Decarbonising electricity generation is where the most of the early gains will have to be made.

        I agree that decarbonising electricity generation is only part of what would have to be done. But is where the early gains will come from. It will be harder to find substitutes for transport fuels.

        Land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) comprises about 30% of global emissions (from memory). So although it is important too, it cannot do all the heavy lifting. Even if the world could cut emissions from LULUCF by 50%, that would only cut global emissions by 15%.

      • ‘Nuclear Cheaper then fossil’

        As a ‘baseload’ nuclear is already cheaper then fossil in most of the world. The US Midwest and Australia being notable exceptions.

        The Chinese will most likely settle on the CAP 1400 for coastal installations. The Chinese approval process on that should occur in 2013. Of course the time lag between design approval and operation is quite lengthy so the Chinese 2020 nuclear targets look small.

        Somewhere around 2015 if I’ve read the Chinese Tea leaves correctly the Chinese hope to approve an ‘air cooled’ variant of the CAP 1400 for inland installation. My brother in law built a primarily air cooled CCGT somewhere in Australia a couple of years ago he likes to blather on about at holiday gatherings. The Chinese are quite interested in air cooling as much of it’s inland territory is water challenged.

        The US still participates in the Gen IV nuclear initiative but the NGNP has been back burnered due to budget constraints and a lack of FOAK customer. The very high outlet temperature of the NGNP had some interesting applications related to SynFuel but our good fortune finding lot’s of oil in North Dakota combined with an almost blind belief among the climate concerned that battery powered cars are going to ‘sell like hotcakes’ has taken quite a bit of the sense of urgency out of the SynFuel discussion.

        Maybe once the ‘climate concerned’ come to the same conclusion as to the viability of battery powered cars that Edison did more then 100 years ago President Obama can have a discussion about the need for at least a full scale demonstration of a NGNP plant for combined electricity and SynFuel production. Possibly that is what he was hinting at.

      • Harrywr2,

        Thank you for another really informative comment. Your comments are always informative because of your lifetime at the ‘coal front’ in the electricity generation industry and your in-depth, hands-on knowledge of implementing and operating the technologies, especially gas turbines. And now I understand your brother in law is building them too.

        I think in the comments here we may be talking at slightly cross purposes. You are talking about the current and near term (say next 10 years) state of the technologies, regulations, regulatory regimes, political and public acceptance and financial arrangements.

        I am seeking to expand the discussion to look forward to what could be and how we could get there.

        Given the stalemate between the proponents of ‘CO2 mitigation no mater what it costs’ and the economic rationalists, is there a way both could get what they want?

        Given the many advantages of nuclear power over fossil fuels for electricity generation, the enormous benefit of low cost electricity for humanity across the world, and the factor of 20,000 to 2 million increase in energy density (and what has happened in the past when mankind has moved to higher energy density energy sources), I suggest the benefits of adopting nuclear could be enormous. But how can it be achieved (practicably)? Clearly, it is not happening now, or is happening only very slowly.

        That is why I’ve been urging that the focus needs to be on:

        • revamping the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) completely for future generations of nuclear power plants

        • changing NRC’s focus from ‘nuclear rejection commission’ to a ‘can-do’ nuclear regulatory agency – i.e. change the focus from being almost exclusively on safety to, instead, encouraging ever improving financial viability for the long term (which of course includes the necessary focus on safety just as it does for all other regulatory agencies)

        • Of course, such changes in focus can only be made with the public’s support. Therefore, they can only be achieved with political leadership to get the US citizens to be increasingly supportive

        • I suggested the US President is the best person in the world to lead this

        • IMO, the practicalities are that the focus needs to be on making nuclear power cheap and suitable for all grids and all countries. That means the focus should be on small, modular, factory built and refuelled nuclear power plants, not the enormous Gen 3+ plants that USA, Europe and China are building. I suggest we need nuclear power plants that can be bought off the shelf in sizes roughly equivalent to gas turbines – e.g. 10 MWe to 300 MWe or larger.

        For readers who may not have read the previous comment, I’ll repeat the following important bit:

        We need as much competition as possible. Competition improves the technology and reduces costs. Wee need competition from companies in the manufacturing countries – USA, Canada, UK, France, Germany, Sweden, Russia, China. Korea, Japan – building small modular nuclear power plants on production lines like aircraft. Small is essential for several reasons:

        a. only small power plants can fit easily into most electricity grids around the world

        b. small units can be ordered ‘just in time’, once demand is assured

        c. small can be constructed and installed quickly, thus reducing investor risks

        d. small can be built in factories, shipped to site, returned to factory for refuelling

        e. small can be manufactured on production lines like aircraft, turned out rapidly and with good quality control

        f. small leads to faster rate of improvement because more are manufactured and lessons learned are built into the next model more quickly.

        g. More competition between more manufacturers leads to faster rate of improvement

        Examples of small modular nuclear reactors here (see also the ones accessible from the left margin):http://www.nrc.gov/reactors/advanced/hyperion.html

      • harrywr2,

        Regarding the “NGNP plant for combined electricity and SynFuel production”, I’d add that this is one of a very large number of potential Gen IV plants. The possibilities are almost endless. Which will go through to be commercially mature technologies cannot be predicted.

        What can be predicted is that it will happen faster if we unshackle the constraints. Allow competition to flourish. The sooner we do so the sooner mankind can reap the benefits.

        The next leap up in energy density will be by a factor of 20,000 to 2 million. The benefits could be enormous. We can'[t envisage them. But to get some perspective compare this leap by a factor of 20,000 to 2 million with the previous increases:

        1. hunter-gatherer – energy obtained for collected food and firewood

        2. early farmer – hitched cow to a log and tilled the ground

        3. began burning wood and charcoal to smelt metals

        4. wood used to make steam > steam engine (wood = 20 MJ/kg)

        5. industrial industrial revolution – coal (coal = 30 MJ/kg)

        6. oil = (46 MJ/kg)

        7. uranium in a Gen III reactor = 80,000 MJ/kg

        8. uranium in a breeder reactor = potentially up to …

        William Tucker says:

        Now let’s look at nuclear. Remember, when we talked about the energy density of fossil fuels and renewables we talked in factors of 2 thru 50. Do you know what the density factor is for uranium? It’s 2 million. A pound of uranium gives you 2 million times as much energy as a pound of coal. That means you can run a whole city for a week with a lump of uranium you can hold in one hand. In fact a 110-car “unit train” of coal has more energy in the uranium traces in the coal than in the coal itself.

        Let’s see what this means in practice. The average 1,000-megawatt coal plant must be fed by a unit train arriving at the plant every day. Such trains now leave Cheyenne, Wyoming every 12 minutes carrying coal from the Powder River Basin to power plants from Nevada to Arkansas. More than half the nation’s rail freight is now coal. In fact, it’s straining the whole infrastructure and we may have to build new rail lines before long.

        http://www.nationalreview.com/articles/225996/going-nuclear/william-tucker#

    • The central hypothesis of AGW, that adding C02 warms the planet rather than cools the planet, is quite testable. In fact, we know this to be true. If it wasnt true, devices you use daily would not work.
      The hypothesis that doubling c02 will lead to a warming of between 1 and 6C is also testable. We are testing it now.

      Finally Popper was wrong.

      • Steven Mosher

        The hypothesis that doubling c02 will lead to a warming of between 1 and 6C is also testable. We are testing it now.

        Indeed.

        Over the past 15 years CO2 went up from 366 to 392 ppmv, while temperature stayed flat. So the 2xCO2 temperature response was 0 degC.

        Over the past 75 years CO2 went up from 306 to 392 ppmv, while the linear temperature increase was 0.61 degC. So, assuming that 70% of the change came from CO2, the 2xCO2 temperature response was 1.7 degC.

        Over the past 153 years CO2 went up from 290 to 392 ppmv, while the linear temperature increase was 0.74 degC. So, assuming that 70% of the change came from CO2, the 2xCO2 temperature response was 1.7 degC.

        But nobody believes that as much as 70% of the warming since 1850 (or even since 1937) was “caused by CO2″. [IPCC says "most" since 1950 was caused by all human GHGs.]

        If the CO2 portion was only half that amount (=35%), then the 2xCO2 temperature response is only 0.85 deg C.

        So we probably have an experimental fange of 0.85 to 1.7 deg C for 2xCO2 temperature response.

        Agree?

        Max

      • Steven Mosher

        Using the longer-range observed data and a range of assumptions on the % change caused by CO2, I came up with 2xCO2 = 1.22+/-0.47 degC (previous post)

        But over the past 15 years it was 0 degC.

        So of this “pause” in the warming continues for another 15 years or so, it will be statistically significant and we will have new experimental data that will falsify the old estimates (Popper) and the 2xCO2 response will be negligible (~0 degC).

        Max

        PS I do not expect this to happen, but who knows?

      • Stockton Gaines

        Wow, what an absurd, shallow and off base interpretation of Popper and testability.

        A proper Popperian test is conducted under controlled conditions (meaning that all potentially relevant factors are both understood and managed), and is repeatable. While laboratory tests show the effect of CO2 in a laboratory setting, extrapolating those lab measurements to a statement that CO2 warms the planet is a classic non-sequitur. As for your statement that we are testing the degree of warming now, I can only say that either you are joking, or that you have no real appreciation or understanding of Sir Karl Popper and his work.

      • Mosher,

        The central hypothesis of AGW, that adding C02 warms the planet rather than cools the planet, is quite testable.
        How?

        In fact, we know this to be true. If it wasnt true, devices you use daily would not work.
        What are these devices and do they experience feedbacks such as are thought may impact global temperatures?

        The hypothesis that doubling c02 will lead to a warming of between 1 and 6C is also testable. We are testing it now.</i?
        How? Something clear like relating measured TOA radiation imbalance to CO2 levels? Or something more ambiguous?

  70. Very interesting story on the the Royal Society’s change of its climate change statements.

  71. There remain a few serious sceptics within science and I believe that it would be wrong to do what some scientists call for, which is effectively to ban them from the airwaves: censorship is a way of undermining, rather than building, public trust. I do however believe that their arguments and the amount of time they have to expound upon them should broadly reflect the support they enjoy within science and that is low.

    What do you when the science has been distorted by the IPCC?

    IPCC claimed “accelerated warming” by comparing the global mean temperature trends for the past 150, 100, 50 and 25 years period and nothing the trend for the shortest period is much greater than that for the last 150 years as shown below:

    http://bit.ly/b9eKXz

    This is distortion of science. A trend for a longer period ALWAYS gives you the smaller value because the denominator in the ratio is larger.

    In addition, we cannot compare trends with the same end points. We can compare trends only for the same middle points. Comparing trends of different periods with the same end points is comparing apples to oranges.

    What do you do when the IPCC distorts the interpretation of the data?

  72. OT It seems that Judith needs to check problem with Climate Etc’s home page. The link has been cut off by WordPress.

    • Peter Davies

      There must be some sort of problem that has come in with a cookie.

      Clear all cookies and it will go away.

      Max

      • Thanks Max, cleared the cookies and the home page has come up fine.
        My technical proficiency with these things is indeed limited.:(

      • Peter

        Don’t feel bad. So’s mine.

        I just saw on the WorldPress site that a blogger named Tom Fuller (the famous one that wrote the “Climategate” book with Steven Mosher?) had the same problem and WordPress told him how to fix it.

        Cheers!

        Max

  73. The 20th century no doubt will be known in history as the age of science. Thanks to dumbed-down soft-science curricula that appeared in recent decades, the present century seems destined to become the age of rhetoric.

  74. Stockton Gaines

    Agreed, nuclear power is the best answer for fixed point energy for, potentially, many centuries. Especially the traveling wave reactor. Burning coal is one of the most terrible things we humans do, because of the mercury and other really bad things that are the result, not counting for the moment any global warming effects. Also, why waste any hydrocarbon material by burning it?

    However, I perhaps did not make my main point clear enough. It is: Because testable proof of things like global warming doesn’t seem to be possible, we as scientists/engineers/medical people who are used to dealing with science and numbers can make guesses about such matters with better grounds, but not perfect grounds, for the opinions we espouse.

    The key word is “opinions”. That is all they really are until tests of the complete theory are performed. Which they never can be in some areas. So those less grounded in science and math have an opening to argue that their (to us, non-scientific) views should be considered on an equal basis with ours, since none can be disproved by good experiments. And even within the science community, we differ for the same reason. Those who believe an adequate case has been made for CAGW, and those who do not, are equally without a convincing experiment on which to base their opinions.

    This a view about science which confounds the lay person, who expects “scientific” answers, and perhaps many within science as well. The mistaken view that scientists can always provide true answers is, to me, a significant but mostly unrecognized aspect of the dialog about science and society.

  75. I guess Mark Thompson doesn’t know that “The Cloud of Unknowing” isn’t a turn of phrase original to him? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cloud_of_Unknowing

  76. Mark Thompson, the former head of the BBC is wrong: Science is NOT the most formidable intellectual force.

    Truth, the world’s most formidable force of all ages, can be and has been arrived at throughout the ages by observation, experimentation, meditation, contemplation, prayer, etc.

    “Truth is victorious, never untruth.”

    http://www.omatumr.com/three_truths.pdf

    Violating ancient scriptures, the UN’s IPCC destroyed the credibility of the UN; Mark Thompson destroyed the credibility of the BBC; and the Nobel Prize Committee destroyed its own credibility by endorsing fraudulent global temperature data as “settled, Nobel-prize winning science”. http://tinyurl.com/8v3csed

    Now Mark Thompson brings his talents to the New York Times:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/9671450/Former-BBC-director-general-Mark-Thompson-set-to-take-over-at-New-York-Times.html

    More deception will not repair the foundation of the 1945 decision to establish a tyrannical one-world government under the United Nations.

    The first step to restore scientific integrity and constitutional government is just this and nothing less: Rigorous honesty !

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1802

    With kind regards,
    - Oliver K. Manuel
    PhD Nuclear Chemistry
    Postdoc Space Physics
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  77. Climate science by my definition that that cherry picked path between a preconceived outcome and the political policy to fund that outcome. In other words it isn’t science at all. It is a rationale of partisan advocates not for seeking understanding our world but for imposing regulation against how we use our world for our comfort, convenience, health, and pursuit of happiness. Especially happiness.

  78. dp 16/11 11.53pm: couldn’t agree more. Preconceived
    outcomes,eg IPCC mission statement, leading to more
    regulation by government and decisions byphilosopher
    kings, fer our own good…except it ain’t. Look back, pre
    Industrial Revolution, short life expectancy, high child mortality,
    poverty, famine in the western world, and misery. Viivre the
    pursuit of happiness. We are on this earth fer such a short time!

  79. What the hell. Linear trends and models both have the Arctic ice declining. Actually the decline is SLOWER in the models and linear trends than observed.

    Contrary to what Prof. Curry states, this does NOT make them worthless, but rather indicates that one should expect the trend to continue to be negative based on observation and the known physics/chemistry included in the model(s).

    Lacks in the model and linear trends (why they are not more accurate) are such that they are most likely (in the IPCC sense, see foo fight above) if identified, to predict an even faster loss of ice in the Arctic following some faster than linear form.

    It’s arithmetic.

    • Eli and Beth

      And, if the Arctic sea ice suddenly recovers from its most recent rapid losses, then that is not “arithmetic” – that’s an “anomaly”.

      When the ARGO devices suddenly showed that OHC was not rising (as the models had predicted), team leader Josh Willis called it a “speed bump”.

      Ya gotta give it a zippy handle.

      Max

    • @eli rabett
      ” Linear trends and models both have the Arctic ice declining. ”

      Do the models have Arctic ice declining even when, as for the last 16 years, temperatures are stable? If so, to what do they attribute this?

  80. Glad ter hear yer good at arithmetic, Eli.

  81. @Web those simulations of Hansen’s which show the general upward trend with the wiggle are essentially the radiative forcing energy imbalance with the natural variations riding on top. Big deal if they don’t get the natural variations right … they are just for show anyways.

    How can it possibly be known there is a general trend upwards if you don’t have a grip on natural variations ?

  82. BBD | November 17, 2012 at 12:13 pm |
    There’s no need to be abusive. If you don’t want to be classified as an unpleasant blog crank then don’t act like one.

    Anyone know of a word meaning a combination of chutzpah, double-standards, and delusional, indulgent conceit ?

    If not, let’s just call it ‘beebeedee’.

  83. @Joshua
    “… I thought I’d take the opportunity to help you gain some insight into what I see as a habit of writing arrogant comments.”

    Admirable self-examination.

    +1

  84. Some books y yer read seem ter speak to
    yer own experience, seem ter illuminate and
    amplify ) yer responses to real world problems.
    There’s a great scene in the film, ‘Name of the
    Rose,’ where Brother William emerges from the
    burning library, repository of ancient knowledge,
    with an armful of books he manages to save from
    the flames, Tragic choice!

    What books would I try ter rescue from me burning
    house? ( Yeah, fergit Amazon, this is a survival scenario.)

    So … excluding classic literature with a capital ‘L’
    non-fiction.I’d rescue …
    E Gombrich ‘Art and Illusion’
    K Popper, ‘The Open Society and its Enemies,’
    and Popper’s ‘Objective Knowledge’ series of lectures.
    F Hayek ‘The Road to Serfdom’
    (Tony Brown’s Internet chronicle on climate long slow thaw)
    J Spence ‘The Search for Modern China’
    N Taleb ‘The Black Swan,’

    Coupla ‘Thoughts fer today’s from NassimTaleb:
    ‘ Most of what students of mathematical statistics do is assume
    a structure similar to the closed structure of games typically with
    a priori known probability.’
    ‘Fat tails = a lack of knowledge about lack of knowledge.’

    ( N T P355, P353)

  85. BBD ……… Whether you admit this or not, it is true.

    Whether BBD admits it not, that is self-important twaddle, not rational argument.

  86. Lying to the effect that others are lying, is perhaps BBD’s hallmark manoeuvre :

    Here is what he dishonestly describes as me lying :

    http://judithcurry.com/2012/11/14/policy-rhetoric-and-public-bewilderment/#comment-269435

    “Self-important serial abuser here BBD, wants us to believe he was banned from Bishop Hill not for similar abuse there”

    So now it’s a lie that he wants us to believe that ?? Truly amazing.

    • Petra, don’t waste your time on him.

      • Remember when I caught you lying about sea level projections on CaS? You really didn’t come out of that smelling of roses at all. Surely you haven’t forgotten wishing me dead in a ditch? I haven’t forgotten it.

        See you around.

      • No BBD,

        I don’t remember you having ever caught me out on lying. But you are continually caught out lying. You are total trash. Dishonest, and typical of ignorant zealots.

      • This comment is, no doubt, another example of a misleading statement. Another BBD lie.

  87. “Haven’t we learned anything from the past?”

    At ~ 8:15 a.m. (local time) on Monday 6 Aug 1945, one neutron captured by one U-235 atom about 1,900 feet above Hiroshima provided mankind’s first brief glimpse of the powerful force of destruction and creation [1].

    Sixty-four years later, in late Nov 2009, Climategate emails and documents surfaced with the first clear evidence of world leaders’ irrational, fear-driven response to the powerful force of destruction and creation [1]:

    Today, on Thursday 22 Nov 2012 we can be grateful that sanity will be restored and government policies will be changed, or world leaders will be removed from office because ultimately, “Truth is victorious, never untruth !”

    http://omanuel.wordpress.com/about/#comment-1807

    [1] “Neutron repulsion,” The Apeiron J. 19, 123-150 (2012)

    http://redshift.vif.com/JournalFiles/V19NO2pdf/V19N2MAN.pdf

  88. As usual, such alarmist meta-analyses don’t even faintly or marginally allow for the possibility that the “science” is in error. Nor that the solution is to “go Feynman”, and try as hard as possible to refute the reigning paradigm.

    Which reveals the true purpose of such “analyses”: propagandizing, and justifying same.

  89. Dokladnie, gdzie jestes zdolny do kupic PLPD Ubezpieczenie Samochodu ?
    Poniewaz z technologie i podnies sie od siec kupujac niedrogi PLPD pokrycie ubezpieczenia nigdy
    nie bylo latwiejszy . Oceniajac tempa i po sklepach byly poprzednio problem .
    To wszystko zawarty dajac plony liczny rozmowy telefoniczne plus mwiac do piecdziesiat procentu tuzin sprzedaze powtrzenia plus dostarczyciele ubezpieczenia .
    Oczywiscie dodatkowo ty musiany zwrcic uwage do kazdy osoba sprzedazy miejsce w ich
    szczeglny dwa pensy i zrobic szum sprzedazy .
    Z wdziecznoscia , przyklady maja zmieniony tak ty wiedziec bardziej przydlugi potrzebowac zrobic
    rzeczy szczeglny staromodny metoda . Mozesz teraz ocenic oceny i nawet nabyc PLPD ubezpieczenie samochodu od wygoda twojego
    dom . Jezeli to jest twj wlasny cel dostac sie malo drogi koszt mozliwy, poniewaz PLPD plan
    ubezpieczenia zasugeruje idac online i przyjezdny internet pokrycie ubezpieczenia
    oszacowanie witryna . Te strony internetowe zrobia twoje codzienne zycie latwy .
    Oni ida do prosba ty kilka prosty pytania pjsc kod jak rwniez rodzaj z pojazd ty jechac .
    Kiedy bedziesz mial zaoferowany te szczegly ocena miejsce dostarcza ciebie z lista z szczeglny przedsiebiorstwa w twoim
    pjsc kod uzywajac malo drogi ceny . Gdy masz skoncentrowany prosty na dl twj selekcja jestes zdolny
    do koniec twj cytat z all dostarczyciel twojego selekcja plus kompletny twj kupic online albo rwny uzywajac zyc reprezentant .

    Osobisty polityka ubezpieczenia o tym nard dostarcza pewny ograniczenia
    . Duzo modyfikacje staja sie dyskutowany .
    wiedziec co bedzie nastapic wewnatrz skonczyc
    .
    Badania online daje dalej informacje rzny
    elementy , przyklad na , 2 , don’ts, ktry podobnie ciebie na pasowac
    dobrze bardzo , zrobic jak stan kiedy polityka dojrzewa podobne i
    . wszystkie do mglby bioracym w ty przewodnik rozsadny decyzja
    , posrednictwo przez jak twj dlugotrwaly ekonomiczny wymagania
    przyklad na samopoczucie dobre wydatek , emerytura
    korpus, wypadek nagly koniecznie like samochodu wypadek ,
    umierac rwny albo praca warstwy jaki dokladnie i nie .
    Przypatrujac tych z jeden kazdy czynniki , do pomoze ty ekonomicznie zrobic praktyczny wybr .

  90. najprostsza droga Zdarza sie, by byc twoja droga polaczony z B2B Przedsiebiorstwo Mysl dalej indyjski ?

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