Trust, and don’t bother to verify

by Judith Curry

There is no cost to getting things wrong. The cost is not getting them published. – Brian Nosek, as quoted by the Economist.

The Economist has an important article entitled Unreliable research: trouble at the lab, with subtitle “Scientists like to think of science as self-correcting.  To an alarming degree, it is not.

There is also an editorial on the paper: How Science Goes Wrong, with subtitle “Problems with scientific research.  Science has changed the world, now it needs to change itself.”

Excerpt from the editorial:

A SIMPLE idea underpins science: “trust, but verify”. Results should always be subject to challenge from experiment. That simple but powerful idea has generated a vast body of knowledge.

Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying—to the detriment of the whole of science, and of humanity.

Even when flawed research does not put people’s lives at risk—and much of it is too far from the market to do so—it squanders money and the efforts of some of the world’s best minds. The opportunity costs of stymied progress are hard to quantify, but they are likely to be vast. And they could be rising.

Excerpts from the main (longer) article:

Understanding insignificance

In 2005 John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist from Stanford University, caused a stir with a paper showing why, as a matter of statistical logic, the idea that only one such paper in 20 gives a false-positive result was hugely optimistic. Instead, he argued, “most published research findings are probably false.”

Dr Ioannidis draws his stark conclusion on the basis that the customary approach to statistical significance ignores three things: the “statistical power” of the study (a measure of its ability to avoid type II errors, false negatives in which a real signal is missed in the noise); the unlikeliness of the hypothesis being tested; and the pervasive bias favouring the publication of claims to have found something new.

Unlikeliness is a measure of how surprising the result might be. By and large, scientists want surprising results, and so they test hypotheses that are normally pretty unlikely and often very unlikely.

Victoria Stodden, a statistician at Stanford, speaks for many in her trade when she says that scientists’ grasp of statistics has not kept pace with the development of complex mathematical techniques for crunching data. Some scientists use inappropriate techniques because those are the ones they feel comfortable with; others latch on to new ones without understanding their subtleties. Some just rely on the methods built into their software, even if they don’t understand them.

Not even wrong

This fits with another line of evidence suggesting that a lot of scientific research is poorly thought through, or executed, or both. The peer-reviewers at a journal like Nature provide editors with opinions on a paper’s novelty and significance as well as its shortcomings. But some new journals—PLoS One, published by the not-for-profit Public Library of Science, was the pioneer—make a point of being less picky. These “minimal-threshold” journals, which are online-only, seek to publish as much science as possible, rather than to pick out the best. They thus ask their peer reviewers only if a paper is methodologically sound. Remarkably, almost half the submissions toPLoS One are rejected for failing to clear that seemingly low bar.

JC comment:  Seems to me that the editors/reviewers at Science, Nature, PNAS rarely seem to address methodology issues, focusing rather on novelty and relevance.

Models which can be “tuned” in many different ways give researchers more scope to perceive a pattern where none exists.

JC comments:  summarizes succinctly my concerns with IPCC’s highly confident attribution argument.

The number of retractions has grown tenfold over the past decade. But they still make up no more than 0.2% of the 1.4m papers published annually in scholarly journals. Papers with fundamental flaws often live on. Some may develop a bad reputation among those in the know, who will warn colleagues. But to outsiders they will appear part of the scientific canon.

Blame the ref

The idea that there are a lot of uncorrected flaws in published studies may seem hard to square with the fact that almost all of them will have been through peer-review. In practice it is poor at detecting many types of error.

Fraud is very likely second to incompetence in generating erroneous results, though it is hard to tell for certain. [Surveys found] that  2% of respondents admitted falsifying or fabricating data, but 28% of respondents claimed to know of colleagues who engaged in questionable research practices.

Peer review’s multiple failings would matter less if science’s self-correction mechanism—replication—was in working order.

Harder to clone than you would wish

[R]eplication is hard and thankless. Journals, thirsty for novelty, show little interest in it; though minimum-threshold journals could change this, they have yet to do so in a big way. Most academic researchers would rather spend time on work that is more likely to enhance their careers. This is especially true of junior researchers, who are aware that overzealous replication can be seen as an implicit challenge to authority. Often, only people with an axe to grind pursue replications with vigour—a state of affairs which makes people wary of having their work replicated.

JC comment:  The most succint description of the Hockeystick saga that I’ve seen.

There are ways, too, to make replication difficult. Reproducing research done by others often requires access to their original methods and data.  Journals’ growing insistence that at least some raw data be made available seems to count for little: a recent review by Dr Ioannidis which showed that only 143 of 351 randomly selected papers published in the world’s 50 leading journals and covered by some data-sharing policy actually complied.

Software can also be a problem for would-be replicators. Some code used to analyse data or run models may be the result of years of work and thus precious intellectual property that gives its possessors an edge in future research. Although most scientists agree in principle that data should be openly available, there is genuine disagreement on software.

Even when the part of the paper devoted to describing the methods used is up to snuff (and often it is not), performing an experiment always entails what sociologists call “tacit knowledge”—craft skills and extemporisations that their possessors take for granted but can pass on only through example. Thus if a replication fails, it could be because the repeaters didn’t quite get these je-ne-sais-quoi bits of the protocol right.

Taken to extremes, this leads to what Dr Collins calls “the experimenter’s regress”—you can say an experiment has truly been replicated only if the replication gets the same result as the original, a conclusion which makes replication pointless. Avoiding this, and agreeing that a replication counts as “the same procedure” even when it gets a different result, requires recognising the role of tacit knowledge and judgment in experiments. Scientists are not comfortable discussing such things at the best of times; in adversarial contexts it gets yet more vexed.

JC comment:  I would certainly be interested in Steve McIntyre’s comments on this subsection, seems like it pretty aptly describes his experiences.

Making the paymasters care

Conscious that it and other journals “fail to exert sufficient scrutiny over the results that they publish” in the life sciences, Nature and its sister publications introduced an 18-point checklist for authors this May. The aim is to ensure that all technical and statistical information that is crucial to an experiment’s reproducibility or that might introduce bias is published. The methods sections of papers are being expanded online to cope with the extra detail; and whereas previously only some classes of data had to be deposited online, now all must be.

People who pay for science, though, do not seem seized by a desire for improvement in this area.

In testimony before Congress on March 5th Bruce Alberts, then the editor of Science, outlined what needs to be done to bolster the credibility of the scientific enterprise. Journals must do more to enforce standards. Checklists such as the one introduced by Nature should be adopted widely, to help guard against the most common research errors. Budding scientists must be taught technical skills, including statistics, and must be imbued with scepticism towards their own results and those of others. Researchers ought to be judged on the basis of the quality, not the quantity, of their work. Funding agencies should encourage replications and lower the barriers to reporting serious efforts which failed to reproduce a published result. Information about such failures ought to be attached to the original publications.

And scientists themselves, Dr Alberts insisted, “need to develop a value system where simply moving on from one’s mistakes without publicly acknowledging them severely damages, rather than protects, a scientific reputation.” This will not be easy. But if science is to stay on its tracks, and be worthy of the trust so widely invested in it, it may be necessary.

Concluding remarks from the editorial:

Science still commands enormous—if sometimes bemused—respect. But its privileged status is founded on the capacity to be right most of the time and to correct its mistakes when it gets things wrong. And it is not as if the universe is short of genuine mysteries to keep generations of scientists hard at work. The false trails laid down by shoddy research are an unforgivable barrier to understanding.

JC comments

There is a huge premium placed on papers published in Science, Nature, PNAS in academic evaluation (promotion, tenure, salary).  Publication in these journals focus on novelty and relevance.  In the geosciences, there seems to be a disproportionately large number of papers from the planetary sciences (mostly discovery based exploration) and also paleoclimate and analysis of climate model projections, particularly the impacts of projected future climate (relevance to the public debate on climate change).  There are many paleoclimate papers published in these papers that include dubious statistical methods and great leaps of  logic.  The papers analyzing climate model projections tell us nothing about how nature works, at best only about how the models work.   If the paleoclimate research involves the geochemical analysis of proxy data, well that is hard work.  However, if the papers are merely statistical analyses of proxy data sets or analyses of of the outputs of climate model production runs, well these papers can be knocked off without much effort.

My point is that ambitious young climate scientists are inadvertently being steered in the direction of analyzing climate model simulations, and particularly projections of future climate change impacts  – lots of funding in this area, in addition to high likelihood of publication in a high impact journal, and a guarantee of media attention.  And the true meaning of this research in terms of our actual understanding of nature rests on the adequacy and fitness for purpose of these climate models.

And why do these scientists think climate models are fit for these purposes?  Why, the IPCC has told them so, with very high confidence.  The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has arguably set our true understanding of the climate system back at least a decade, in my judgment.

The real hard work of fundamental climate dynamics and development and improvement of paleo proxies is being relatively shunned by climate scientists since the rewards (and certainly the funding) are much lower.   The amount of time and funding that has been wasted by using climate models for purposes for which that are unfit, may eventually be judged to be colossal.

And finally, getting back to the ‘verify’ and replication issue, the blogosphere is already playing a hugely important role here, with McIntyre as the original auditor, longstanding contributions from Lucia, and a host of competent new blogospheric auditors that are emerging.

And journals such as PLoS are steering us in the right direction.  I hope that the emergence of such journals will diminish the impact of of Nature, Science, PNAS, or at least will torque those journals into a direction that is more fundamentally useful for the true advancement of science.

317 responses to “Trust, and don’t bother to verify

  1. Reality Checking . . . Really!

    “– lots of funding in this area, in addition to high likelihood of publication in a high impact journal, and a guarantee of media attention. ”

    Let’s call it the “Mikey Mann Syndrome”

    • 1 chance in 20 of being right.

      We are 95% certain that human influence has caused most recent warming.

      Discuss……………….:0)

    • Medical science research lives by a far higher standard than climatological research. And yet, even in medicine, “most current published research findings are false.” And yet, climatology’s patron saint is the hypocrite Al Gore. It’s proven the research of Michael Mann aka, the hockey stick) is false and yet… people like Al Gore and his AGW-alarmist followers don’t care and attack those who try to inject truth and honesty and bring some science to the study of global warming. Climate science is hysterically false and add a government grown too big to fail and a crises-driven mainstream media and that’s how to destroy both science and society. That is not some distant hypothesis: we are seeing it happen.

      • I agree with your comment, Wagathon. Self-deception extends far beyond the field of climatology.

        We humans deceive ourselves into making logical arguments to defend actions that are, in fact, based on FEAR, an instinctive emotion for self-preservation.

        FEAR (Of cancer, global climate change, HIV, solar eruptions, communism, fascism, capitalism, socialism, nuclear annihilation, asteroids, etc.) distorts our ability to reason rationally.

      • Don’t forget the collective guilt of humanity for raping the planet for 100′s of years. Ok, that belief depends on how rational you are :-).

        I spent most of my working life in industry, which takes it for granted that real world problem solving, design, development etc depend on multidiscipliniary skills, knowledge and experience. You wouldn’t expect a software engineer to design the enclosure for the product, nor the paint finish. There is no other way to analyse / design complex systems and to me, climate is one of the most complex systems ever analysed by mankind.

        Current scientific practice does seem to encourage secrecy, where, for example, things like software and data sets are often (?) not released for scrutiny. To me, that’s not real science, which should be open to question and show proof, or at least lack of reasonable doubt, especially where there are major impacts on society. Anything else is just politics…

    • Not only can “Mikey Mann Syndrome” lead to disastrous consequences in the understanding of climate science, but in other fields there can be bad decisions about life and death matters, e.g., with cancer patients (see this fascinating thread at Climate Audit for comparisons):

      “forensic bioinformatics

      Baggerly and Coombes had attempted to replicate a leading paper; their efforts have ultimately led to retraction of the papers. But the decisive step in the retraction did not arise from proper operation of the peer review system or university investigations, but through something entirely fortuitous.

      Their experience has many parallels to Climate Audit versus the Mann hockey stick, even to some small details. (This is not to say that all details are parallel). For example, the Potti et al papers used “meta genes”, which Baggerly explained as being nothing but principal components.

      Like us, Baggerly and Coombes were frustrated by incomplete and/or misleading documentation and the resulting need to resort to what they described as “forensic bioinformatics”- which is exactly equivalent to what has been described at CA as reverse engineering. Like us, they even encountered a one-row-off error (compare to MM03). They described an incident where the Potti authors appear to have reversed labels (resistant-sensitive) on a drug – though the labels were reversed and not Mannian upside-down….

    • Walter Carlson

      This blog seems to me to be a much ado about little. The 2005 study was by an epidemiologist, unrelated to climatology. Second reference was to a 0.2 percent with no mentoon of climatology. JC, if you are going to be critical, shouldn’t everything you quote be totally related to your main subject??

      • The subject was science, only the application was to Climate Research.

      • Reply to Walter Carlson: “if you are going to be critical, shouldn’t everything you quote be totally related to your main subject??”

        Absolutely not! The discussion here is how science, of all types, has gone awry..off kilter…off the tracks….been skewed sideways by funding and publishing pressures, not just in Climate Science but in all fields. Some of Dr. Curry’s best posts have involved cross-over observations about known problems in other fields that are being ignored in Climate Science.

        Wearing blinders is one of the major causes of the problems in CliSci — focusing on one cause instead of viewing the whole system — ignoring other closely related fields — ignoring proper use of statistics in complicated problems (for heavens sake — CliScis are still drawing straight lines through dots on graph paper to “predict the future”!)

        The Arsenic Life Paper scandal brought to the public’s attention (and the the attention of other scientists) that major journals could publish papers that had been “smiled at” by reviewers instead of reviewed! “Nice paper!”, “Very Interesting” (but so seriously flawed it never should have seen the light of day.)

        No — definitely no — wearing blinders doesn’t improve one’s vision.

  2. You need to look at how well the main anthropogenic and natural factors can be decomposed from the global warming signal.

    The factors are
    C – CO2 as the main control knob
    S – SOI describing the subdecadal fluctuations in temperature
    A – Aerosols from volcanic and man-made origin contributing sporadic noise
    L – LOD variations describing multidecadal fluctuations
    T – TSI fluctuations

    I originally called it the SALT model but really CSALT seems like a better acronym
    http://entroplet.com/context_salt_model/navigate

    This is an 8-year lag filter showing how closely we can model the major inflection points
    http://img268.imageshack.us/img268/1825/nw3r.gif

    Turn off the filter and you can see how well it follows the subdecadal fluctuations. Global TCR of 2C for doubling of CO2, and 50% more for Land.

    Cheers !

    • Don’t be daft. Do the real sums and accept that Tyndall’s experiment has been badly misinterpreted (thermalisation is always heterogeneous from the basic statistical thermodynamics of local thermodynamic equilibrium).

      There is virtually zero CO2-AGW because clouds control lower SW in = OLR. I’ll discuss the mechanism externally.

    • Was this meant for a different thread? Seems off topic.

    • “The factors are – CO2 as the main control knob”
      Could someone please explain to me how this works? Since C02 changes have LAGGED temperature changes throughout the Holecene?
      So C02 time travels? Really, exactly how does this work physically?

    • Webby

      Anyone can create a program to rationalize why the models have failed in their projections.

      But the fact is that they failed.

      This is because they are not able to make realistic projections of future climate.

      Max

  3. Those were the days, my friend.
    ==========

  4. And why do these scientists think climate models are fit for these purposes? Why, the IPCC has told them so, with very high confidence.

    Well, you and Anthony Watts and David Rose and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC and Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians and our much beloved “skeptics” tell them otherwise.

    So actually, in contrast to your simplistic and one-sided cause-and-effect, there are at least three possibilities and not just one:

    (1) your theory – they are credulous and completely naive regarding crucial information related to their craft and material they’ve been researching and studying for years, and believe only what the IPCC tells them, (2) They’re evaluating the probabilities and find the IPCC more credible than you, and they find the alternative sources of beliefs less credible than you find them, and (3) the causes of their beliefs are more complicated than either 1 as you described or the 2nd alternative, and there needs to be a consideration of the influence of motivated reasoning – but not w/r/t them only but also for the IPCC, and you, and Anthony Watts, and David Rose and …….

    • “Well, you and Anthony Watts and David Rose and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC and Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians and our much beloved “skeptics” tell them otherwise.”

      Even you ought to be able to see how dishonest this is.

      • > how dishonest this is.

        Spell that out, Poker.

      • “John, what happened?” Obama reportedly asked. “I got overrun, that’s what happened,” Boehner was alleged to respond.

      • Will,

        Drawing a sneering equivalence between Judith Curry and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC with Rush Limbaugh and nameless politicians. Honestly not sure what to do with Watts in this little equation. Rose he can have if he wants.

        Of course the comment is pure snark. In every respect, entirely typical of the almost always gratuitously nasty troll, known as Joshua.

      • > Drawing a sneering equivalence between Judith Curry and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC with Rush Limbaugh. Honestly not sure what to do with Watts in this little equation. Rose he can have if he wants.

        Here you go, Poker:

        All of these models that they constructed over the years predicted calamity by now, and the calamity never happened. [...] Their models have been all wrong. UK Daily Mail: “A leaked copy of the world’s most authoritative climate study reveals scientific forecasts of imminent doom were drastically wrong.”

        http://www.rushlimbaugh.com/daily/2013/09/17/global_warming_scientists_we_were_wrong

        You’ll never guess to whom article Limbaugh refers.

        ***

        What fine line is there between questioning if the models are fit for purpose and shrieking that they’re useless when it ends up with we must KILL THE IPCC?

      • “Well, you and Anthony Watts and David Rose and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC and Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians and our much beloved “skeptics” tell them otherwise.”

        1. the belief in models predates, Watts, David Rose,
        NIPCC and Rush Limbaugh
        2. Youd have to establish that the climate scientists actually listened to
        Limbaugh, read Watts, and the NIPPC.

        The principle reason folks place ” trust” in climate models. my experience, in discussion with folks…

        a) its the only damn tool we have ( hey even watts used a model in his papere)
        b) they watch their peers get published using them
        c) a reviewer suggests it.
        d) its blessed by the IPCC

        when you dont have data you have to make it up

      • “…when you don’t have data you have to make it up”

        Pretty good. I think it says a lot. I assume Steven Mosher is referring to the use of models.

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

        A god game is an artificial life game that casts the player in the position of controlling the game on a large scale (as CO2 may), as an entity with divine/supernatural powers, as a great leader, or with no specified character, and places them in charge of a game setting containing autonomous characters to guard and influence.

      • > Youd have to establish that the climate scientists actually listened to
        Limbaugh, read Watts, and the NIPPC.

        This would be backward, as all there is to observe is how a claim C propagates through a social network SN.

        That each actant convey C via different means shows that they are targeting different niches more than anything else.

        ***

        BTW, model bashing as we know it is at least as old as Pierre Duhem:

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/duhem/

      • “when you dont have data you have to make it up”

        I would have to rethink my nomination for comment of the month, if I thought Mosher was serious.

    • We know from their e-mails and from preliminary drafts what they really think Joshua. But peer pressure (probably related to prestige and funding issues) and politics (IPCC SPM) cause them to waffle and be less than completely honest. This may backfire in the end. Interesting that Bruce Alberts is on to this as well (although not exclusively w.r.t. climate research).

      • Exactly, Bill. The real scandal that was uncovered by the ClimateGate e-mails was not “hide the decline” or even the unsavory peer-review manipulations, but the fact that almost all these guys talked freely in private about how key conclusions of the proxy studies were unsupported or wrong, but sang a much different tune in their public pronouncements. For whatever the sociological reason, they were revealed as professional liars.

      • Tom C,

        Exactly. And the comments that they had treated Steve McIntyre unfairly were also significant.

      • examples?

    • Joshua, “(1) your theory – they are credulous and completely naive regarding crucial information related to their craft and material they’ve been researching and studying for years”

      Yep. There is no “Common Sense” category in IQ testing. What Watts and others are saying is that a large number Climate Scientists, have lived sheltered lives and been allowed to take the short bus to science school. “Common Sense” derived from the school of hard knock implies don’t believe everything you read, no matter the source.

      You and Willard appear to be sheltered short bus types :)

      • David Springer

        Neither Willard or Joshua took either a long or short bus to science school. Or walked or got there in any other manner. They just didn’t go. I doubt whether Willard will try to persuade you that he hasn’t led a sheltered life but I can hear the high pitched whiny screams of protest from Joshua, whoever that is, already…

      • Among Joshua’s many annoying habits is his penchant for lecturing everyone about the need for careful studies with controlled variables, blah, blah,blah, despite the fact that he appears to have never earned a living designing same. There is nothing that produces skepticism about the climate models like actually having done math modelling and being held to account for predictions. The world of blogs that Josh and Willard inhabit is wonderfully free of consequences.

      • You and Willard appear to be sheltered short bus types

        bully

    • Joshua
      It is not just Republicans who believe that the IPCC’s use and reliance on the current set of GCMs to be misguided. My background is as an aerospace systems engineer. I have worked for many years in the field of IR Imaging. This has required extensive use of models. Models provide a valuable function when they are used properly. They can lead to VERY bad decisions if employed improperly.
      In no other field (that I am aware of) have models of such unknown performance quality been used so extensively for making critical decisions. Can you think of any other examples where the outputs of multiple models of unknown quality are averaged and then the average is used for making decisions?
      If there were reliable models that had reasonably closely matched observed conditions and showed that the types of harmful consequences often feared would result from CO2 emissions I would completely change my opinions on the topic? Imo- an important question is why people such as you, who have read about the very poor performance of the models used by the IPCC, continue to support decision making based on their outputs.
      What is your criterion for believing or disbelieving a climate model? Please, please do not write about hindcasts. You know (I believe) that those are development tools and not a means of determining how well a model actually performs. How poorly does a model have to perform before you do not consider its outputs as meaningful on the topic of climate change? If a GCM got average global temperature correct but was wildly inaccurate in its forecasts of conditions for the other characteristics it is designed to predict, is it a valid model? Or should it be sent back for further development prior to using it for writing scientific papers- or forming government policy.
      Models do not need to be perfect- they need to match observed conditions within reasonably small margins of error.
      performance

      • Rob,
        Very good
        +1
        Scott

      • “In no other field (that I am aware of) have models of such unknown performance quality been used so extensively for making critical decisions.”

        try aerospace bro.

        you want the list of models used to build the F-22. Untestable models.
        models so wrong it was a joke.

        lets start with TAC Brawler. have you ever run it. ever looked through the code? ever compared TAC brawler enagements with live engagements? Ever looked through all the busted pilot decision logic in the system.

        http://www.military.com/features/0,15240,186349,00.html

        Let me tell you how TAC brawler was used in the develooment of the F-22 ( and F-23)

        1. we invented out of whole cloth a future soviet threat. This plane did not exist. we guessed ( in 1985) what the soviets might build in 2000. it was a joke. A huge Red Menance that wasnt even physically self consistent.

        2. We programmed pilot decision logic. 95% of it was a joke. If you actually watched the planes fly they did all sorts of irrational things
        ( for grins you will find my improvements to this logic in games like falcon 4 but even with the improvements it was silly)

        3. We assumed probabilities of kill for missiles that hadnt been built
        probability of detection for sensors that didnt exist and counter measures against sensors that didnt exist. For 5 years errors in the phased array radar model went undetected.

        4. We ran simulations of battles that would never take place.

        The output was a decision for the Airforce:

        decisions like:
        “carrying 4 missiles is better than 2″
        vectored thrust is better than no vectored thrust
        broad band all aspect signature suppression is not worth the money,

      • “carrying 4 missiles is better than 2″

        The ability to carry as much throw-weight as feasible is best, especially when it can be converted to whatever different weapon mix is desired, without rebuilding the aircraft itself. I suppose this would qualify as “adaptability”.

      • Steven Mosher | October 18, 2013 at 11:27 am |

        “… 4 missiles are better than 2…”
        “…vectored thrust…”

        Fascinating stuff, Mosh. I get your point re all the “assumed probabilities” and going waaaay off topic, it seems your program in the end pointed you towards some Russian logic:

        ie – carry and fire a lot of air to air – (some might hit)
        Vectored thrust helps in the ‘end game’ – ie when all those missiles reach the target, and you are it.
        (bearing in mind Russian air to air are capable of higher G turns than are US missiles)

        why are Sukhoi Flanker variants equipped to carry between eight and twelve BVR missiles? The answer is a simple one – so they can fire more than one three or four round BVR missile salvo during the opening phases of an engagement….

        …..The only Western fighter which offers a decisive advantage in all cardinal parameters over the Su-35BM/Su-35-1 is the Lockheed-Martin F-22A Raptor. On internal fuel and subsonic profiles the Flanker will outrange the F-22A slightly, and it is likely that in high alpha low speed manoeuvre the Flanker may perform better. However, in the classical high altitude high speed long range missile combat regime the Raptor will beat the Flanker every time due to the generational advantages of all aspect wideband stealth and supersonic cruise.

        http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-2008-04.html
        http://www.ausairpower.net/APA-Rus-BVR-AAM.html

      • “AK | October 18, 2013 at 12:11 pm |
        “carrying 4 missiles is better than 2″

        The ability to carry as much throw-weight as feasible is best, especially when it can be converted to whatever different weapon mix is desired, without rebuilding the aircraft itself. I suppose this would qualify as “adaptability”

        the number of missiles carried had to be traded off against

        1. weight, which is cost
        2. complexity of the weapons bay system
        3. radar cross section
        4. type of threat faced

        I’ll give you and example. you had to develop a ‘bay’ that would remain closed ( for drag and RCS) until you wanted to fire missiles.

        But an IR missile needs to be “in the breeze” for it to get a look at the target

        This means you have to open the bay, there are big differences betweeen a 6 missile and 4 missile bay.. and differences if you want to mix IR radar and ARM missiles.

        how long do you have to open the bay? how do you make it fast and light and survivable opened at mach 2+

        problem. at mach 2.0 you have a big problem. Drag goes through the roof and your weapons envelop calculation changes, increased RCS, you are no longer invisible
        and a nasty nasty nasty acoustical problem that can destroy the plane with harmonics. Of course all of this is modelled, sometimes crudely.

        you’d think that 8 is better than 6 is better than 4.

        haha.

        guess what that answer WILL NEVER BE TESTED EMPIRICALLY TO VERIFY THE MODELS THAT INFORMED THE DECISION WERE RIGHT.

        the models used to make the decision have never been verified 9 against reality) and cannot be verified.

      • F-22s work pretty good.

      • Steve

        Good points and I was very probably over the top in my generalization. I am not sure what you have described is a very good comparison though.
        As you know, in weapons system design one tries to predict the worst case reasonably probable scenario of what your adversary is likely to be able to do at some point in the future and tries to design something to counter or defeat those capabilities. It is well understood that the forecasts of potential adversaries’ capabilities is inexact. (and there are many valid arguments that potential adversaries future capabilities are intentionally overestimated not to protect soldiers, but to protect the industrial base)
        The timeframes of weapons systems design, fielding and obsolescence forces decision making with less than complete information since waiting for better information would mean that your forces would almost always be fielding technologically inferior products than potential adversaries. (Or at least products without the desired technological advantage). There is a reasonably defined timescale that denotes that if we do not start designing/building something with “X” capabilities by a specific point in time, then our forces will be considered to have a disadvantage in battle by a “Y date”.
        That is not the same situation as with climate science is it?

      • Mosher is saying that aerospace engineers are a lot smarter than climate scientists. They actually build things that work.

      • I was going to say, climate science producing something akin to an F-22 would get my attention. Or even akin to a clock radio would be worth an internet comment. How about something besides squiggly line drawings?

        Andrew

      • +100

        Models do not need to be perfect- they need to match observed conditions within reasonably small margins of error.
        performance

        The current “hiatus” despite model predictions of 0.2C per decade warming shows that they are unable to do so.

        Seems pretty straightforward to me.

        Max

      • “… 4 missiles are better than 2…”

        I thought that was legs.

      • > I thought that was legs.

        I hope you’re wrong, featherless biped.

      • Hark. Someone who has never read “Animal Farm”. The illiteracy of this site is disappointing.

      • > Someone who has never read “Animal Farm”.

        I did, Harold, but missed your reference. Sorry.

        I hope you know where the “featherless biped” comes from.

      • David Springer

        Steven Mosher | October 18, 2013 at 11:27 am |

        “try aerospace bro”

        That’s a pretty big umbrella. You think that’s how the space shuttle or airbus was designed?

        I think it’s a good comparison to climate science though especially the parts about inventing things out of whole cloth and modeling battles that would never happen. Sounds exactly like climate science. Inventing water vapor amplification out of whole cloth, modeling ice sheet collapses that will never happen, and so on and so forth. But hey, at least you weren’t pretending to know what weapons systems you’d be up against in the year 2100 so maybe it was more realistic than climate science after all.

      • Steven Mosher | October 18, 2013 at 12:44 pm |
        Re aerospace:

        the models used to make the decision have never been verified against reality) and cannot be verified.

        Surely the facts that they build models of these things and test them in wind tunnels, and then build the actual thing and test fly it with a few thousand sensors on it, then actually go ahead and use it for the design, task provides some degree of verification?

    • You really mean if anyone’s new model does not support the IPCC, then you don’t get published and you sure as sh*t don’t get grant money.

    • Joshua

      To this comment:

      And why do these scientists think climate models are fit for these purposes? Why, the IPCC has told them so, with very high confidence.

      you respond with:

      Well, you and Anthony Watts and David Rose and Richard Lindzen and the NIPCC and Rush Limbaugh and Republican politicians and our much beloved “skeptics” tell them otherwise.

      Naw, Joshua.

      It’s not all those folks telling us the models are unfit (for projecting climate).

      It’s all those thermometers out there, even the ones next to heated buildings in winter or AC exhausts in summer.

      Got it?

      Max

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/ipccreports/tar/wg1/505.htm

        Here the IPCC are talking perturbed physics ensembles – where 100′s or 1000′s of runs are undertaken with changes in parameters within feasible limits. This is something still in development and is far different to the opportunistic ensembles collated by the IPCC.

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

        The trouble with Joshua is that he has so little knowledge with which to inform opinion. Nothing but motivated reasoning.

      • Chief, in case you missed it, head over the recent thread on the stadium wave, marcia wyatt’s new paper

      • “It’s all those thermometers out there, even the ones next to heated buildings in winter or AC exhausts in summer.”

        Hmm that’s interesting. If you don’t believe the thermometers why do you believe the thermometers?

      • “Motivated reasoning.” It’s the new “Up your hole with a Mello Roll.” Or has it already jumped the shark?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Hi Judith – still reading or again reading. It is well done – I particularly enjoyed the detailed physical descriptions of the progress of the stadium wave through the climate system.

        Can’t help thinking that most of the denizens have got it arse backwards. The stadium wave is the climate system. The indices are oscillatory nodes that show modes of variability of the underlying, integral system.

        Congrats on publishing a very important paper. This is one of the newest ideas in climate science – and one that has the quality of elegant simplicity and complete obviousness in retrospect that is the hallmark of the most important science.

    • Joshua,

      This is a false dichotomy!

      In Dr Curry’s two sentences she is questioning whether or not the Climate Models are fit as research tools. She implies they rely on them as they are sanctioned by the IPCC. The recent study ‘Mora et al citation: dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature12540 is an example of a study that exclusively used the models.

      In your attempt to demonstrate what protocol would be used as an alternative you lump a group together in a belief system or idea. This is not a research tool. It is comparing apples to oranges.

      If instead you said: And why do these scientists think OBSERVATION is fit for their purposes? Why, Dr. Curry has told them so with 100% confidence

      That would be the true dichotomy you would want to demonstrate.

      Even lumping Dr Curry with those other characters is a form of character assassination. I’m fairly certain (95%) Dr Curry has not dismissed the idea that CO2 (or manmade) global warming AGW is likely. In fact I believe she is part of the consensus even if she is not cast as such. It is simply a matter of degree. On the other hand Rush Limbaugh (as far as I know) believes it’s a complete hoax. I suppose you could lump them together as skeptics as you did but I see it as you casting dispersions in a negative light for your own affect.

      • > I’m fairly certain (95%) Dr Curry has not dismissed the idea that CO2 (or manmade) global warming AGW is likely.

        Nor do the others.

        OK. Perhaps Rush. But he quotes David Rose. Who quotes &c.

        In any case, Joshua’s point relates to the impact of echoes in chambers, not belief systems per se.

      • Willard,
        “Joshua’s point relates to the impact of echoes in chambers”

        Yes I was completely aware of that. That’s why I put in the last sentence:
        “I suppose you could lump them together as skeptics as you did but I see it as you casting dispersions in a negative light for your own affect.’

        I understand the echo chamber bit. I also realize that Dr. Curry appears in media of the right wing persuasion. I suppose she is ‘using’ them to tell her side of the story and they are ‘using’ her for the echo purpose. I still don’t like to lump people that way. For instance I don’t look at Hansen in a myopic lens to be exactly like Mann. I would imagine there is quite a diversity of views within the IPCC. I look at people as being complex enough as to hold various points of view that could go across the spectrum.

        Someone like Rush Limbaugh has a black and white view that is very narrow. He seems to have a readers digest kind of knowledge about anything. He would be an example, to me, of a simpleton. I don’t know much about Rose but he seems to be a master propagandist. If the Left can use a picture of a Polar Bear on an icecap without the understanding that the beast can swim hundreds of miles for days on end then why shouldn’t the right show expanding icecaps even though the trend has been melting and slightly lower trending of NH sea ice anomaly. Watts is his own special case. I would imagine that these people have divergent views nevertheless.

        I am mainly interested in Dr. Curry in this case though since that is who Joshua seems to want to impune. I actually don’t know what her political views are. I like to think it is similar to mine where I have a myriad of views across the spectrum left to right and back again depending of the issue or view of government being looked at. In some cases I’m apolitical. By placing Curry definatively in the ‘camp’ is simply, to me, a means to demean her and devalue her worth. Now I also realize she has placed herself in the position and I guess fair game; but I actually think Joshua is smarter than that and knows exactly what he is doing to have that affect.

      • Thank you for your comment, ordvic. Were Joshua as smart as you say, he might have expressed differently. I suppose he’d say the same of me.

        My surmise is that he mentioned Rush to put some kind of continuum between the communication niches, and perhaps even to use such an extreme example to reverse the lump effect.

        Anyway. He’s a big boy.

  5. This is all pretty horrifying, if unsurprising. Mediocrity seems to be the new ethos, in all spheres. Altruism these days is but a quaint. almost crackpot notion. Its all about self-seeking, self promotion, and self protection.
    I don’t pretend to have any answers. I think there’s something fundamentally wrong with our society.

    • > Mediocrity seems to be the new ethos, in all spheres.

      The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

      • I hate to admit it :-) but I agree 100% with everything you just wrote! As this generation grows up and gradually takes the reins of society, it is hard to be optimistic about our country’s future and place in the world.

      • You can thank Plato, Chuck L.

        A great friend of Popper.

      • Damn, I thought the words were familiar! Plato knew what he was talking about. Very apropros, in any case.

      • Willard,

        The topic, I believe, is trust and verification.

        Whilst trust in your discourse is naturally implicit, a little due diligence suggests Aristophanes “The Clouds” may be your original source, rather than Plato directly?

        As a lowly engineer, I look for your verification and stand ready to be corrected.

        Also on trust, on my last foray here I said I would not return, the bullying style of discourse not being to my taste. In which context the (micro)aggression post was most revealing. I must of course at least try to honour my original undertaking so will not be back.

        Please continue.

      • There’s no doubt that kids ain’t like they used to be, and they haven’t been for at least 10,000 years. i read it in a study.

      • > Aristophanes “The Clouds” may be your original source, rather than Plato directly?

        Perhaps, but it would be tougher to mention Sir Karl, who put it so much good words for the platonician model of society.

        Besides, you’re supposed to trust, but don’t bother to verify, VeryTall.

        ***

        If that subject interests you, there’s a discussion where the misattribution comes from:

        http://quoteinvestigator.com/2010/05/01/misbehaving-children-in-ancient-times/

        I once sent the QI a correction to one of his page. He has not responded, nor corrected his error. I resent him since then.

        Do you think I should start a blog on this?

      • I think it was Socrates?

        However that rather insightful list does not include the thrall in which modern youth (and some adults) are held by their electronic devices which often goes with a degree of self absoprtion which, if not unique, is certainly unusual, as it is expressed better in social media than in any previous historic format that was not anywhere near so public.

        They seem at times disconnected to the real world. Whether that will prove a good or a bad thing time will tell

        tonyb .

      • > However that rather insightful list does not include the thrall in which modern youth (and some adults) are held by their electronic devices which often goes with a degree of self absoprtion which, if not unique, is certainly unusual, as it is expressed better in social media than in any previous historic format that was not anywhere near so public.

        Yes indeed:

        http://xkcd.com/1227/

      • “Do you think I should start a blog on this?”

        well I suppose If he blogged that you were shill and a fraud you’d want to straighten the record out.

        and in a way you have started a blog on this. It’s short, keep working

      • It might not be worth the effort even if QI or his “team QI” were to out me. Let the creepiness be.

        And speaking with less paraboles, our beloved Bishop’s political hit job might have a different blog creation myth. Da blog bender implored everyone to read too.

    • Sneer if you like, Willard. At least you do it with imagination and style. And I’m not unaware of a certain grumpy old man sensibility in my comment. Perhaps it’s always been thus.

      • Z’OK, Poker. You’re just mad, as would say Tony to Zeke.

        I think preserving our ideals through our second youth is worthy. Conservatism has virtues to which I try to abide. As long as we remind ourselves that these voices are within us since the dawn of time, no real harm’s done.

      • pokerguy

        perhaps you’re just tired as SKS said to Peilke.

    • Hank Zentgraf

      I am not surprised after spending years under the tent of tent in academia where most climate science originates. Your comments match my experience. Selfish and unaccountable, yep that is it!

    • Sturgeon’s Law: “90% of science fiction is junk, but then again, 90% of everything is junk.”

      Surprisingly seems to grow in pertinence with experience.

  6. What?! Are they saying there are mistakes that haven’t been properly address in Climate Science? I am truly shocked.

    btw, I just discovered a very interesting correlation, optical depth and sun spot counting number error. Blurred vision is more than just an ideology issue :)

    • Note, “I just discovered” means “I just discovered”, not that the discovery is new or anything. Lief Svalgaard has made it a mission to educate users of “sun spot numbers” of their limitations. That would make the Lean et al. pre-2005 reconstructions approximations of combined Solar, orbital and volcanic influences not just TSI. Then if you take AAM and LOD into consideration you are doing the comedic “here there is magic” routine by removing more volcanic and orbital forcing. After a while it starts to get amusing :)

  7. Perhaps the shoulders that all this knowledge is built on, in fact, have osteoporosis. Judith, with the last post on uncertainty and this one, there may be hope for science after all. Thanks for the continued forensic autopsies,

  8. Judith writes: “And why do these scientists think climate models are fit for these purposes? Why, the IPCC has told them so, with very high confidence. ”

    The scientists should be able to see that the models do not properly simulate climate, yet they ignore the failings…for many reasons.

    • Myopic, hybritic.
      No messes, with glasses.
      =========

    • Actually the impact assessments crowd don’t know better; these are epidemiologists, ecosystem scientists, etc., and not climate dynamicists.

      • Ian Blanchard

        Prof Curry

        Surely at some point in the next few years, especially if average temperatures continue to stay relatively steady, the users of the model outputs will start to recognise the mismatch and start to question the value of building their own work on shaky foundations. Maybe the IPCC change of their Figure 1.4 has bought a little more time, but ‘The Hiatus’ is now in mainstream knowledge as well as being a discussion point amongst climate blog geeks.

      • I like it best when they take the output of the GCM’s and then put it into another model to predict extinctions and plagues.

      • As Willis says: “it’s models all the way down”

  9. Thank you, Judith, for this. What I have been trying to point out for years, is that, because we cannot do controlled experiments on the earth’s atmosphere, we cannot do the normal measurements that are required of the scientific method. This, to me, is so obvious that I cannot understand why climate scientists don’t realise it.

    We are unlikely to ever be able to measure climate sensitivity, so any numbers quoted can NEVER be verified. They will always remain just guesses. Further, while it is impossible to prove that CAGW is wrong, by the same token, it is impossible to prove that it is correct. CAGW is, and will probably always remain, a viable hypothesis, and nothing more.

    • As Temperature and Sea Level continues to move in the same bounds as in the past ten thousand years and CO2 continues to rise, CAGW will easily be proved to be wrong. Water, in all of its states does regulate temperature and sea level and does not depend on a man-made fraction of a trace gas. The earth temperature bounds tightened as the Polar Sea Ice Cycles Matured. Look at the actual data leading up to and during this current Paradise that has lasted for ten thousand years.

    • Jim Cripwell

      …it is impossible to prove that CAGW is wrong, by the same token, it is impossible to prove that it is correct. CAGW is, and will probably always remain, a viable hypothesis, and nothing more.

      This is undoubtedly true.

      However, if we have another couple of decades with slight cooling, despite unabated human GHG emissions and concentrations reaching record levels, we will have had a “de facto” falsification of the CAGW premise (as outlined by IPCC in AR4 and AR5).

      Max

    • sorry max you cant have it both ways.

      bottom line. stuff isnt proved or disproved in science. its built on or forgotten

    • “stuff isnt proved or disproved in science. its built on or forgotten”

      And so scientists lose the perspective needed to avoid overconfidence.

  10. In the midst of another highly controversial policy debate, the US Nuclear Regulatory Commission published guidelines (NUREG-1298) for the use of data for design and licensing of nuclear waste repositories. The NRC staff’s position stated

    “Data related to systems, structures, and components important to safety, to design and characterization of barriers important to waste isolation … should be qualified to meet the quality assurance standards of 10CFR60, Part G.”

    The NRC defined “qualification” as “a formal process to provide a desired level of confidence that data are suitable for their intended use.”

    The NRC recognizes four types of qualification:
    • Peer review.
    • Corroborating data.
    • Confirmatory data.
    • Use of a QA program equivalent to that required for a nuclear facility (probably not relevant to climate science).

    However, very relevant is NUREG 0856 dealing with the use of computer codes. Here the NRC requires that codes used for safety either by benchmarked against validated codes, or validated by confirmatory data (“validation” means that the code accurately represents the phenomena the computer code purports to model within a stated uncertainty level). The NUREG makes clear that the NRC’s position is that peer review should be used only if there is nothing else to go on (or as I like to say – peer review is the last refuge of scoundrels).

    We have spent billions on nuclear waste disposal trying to get it right. We demanded – and achieved – a high degree of rigor from the scientists and engineers engaged in this endeavor. We now have a cacophany of voices – some demanding we spend trillions – debating climate change. We have an IPCC “process” that produces documents in which the public summaries don’t match the science very well while claiming increasing confidence. We have unvalidated models being used in attempts to justify draconian actions. Should not we as citizens – whatever our position in the climate change debate – demand the same level of rigor as we have for a nuclear waste repository?

  11. > lots of funding in this area [models]

    How much?

  12. Judith, you write “And journals such as PLoS are steering us in the right direction. I hope that the emergence of such journals will diminish the impact of Nature, Science, PNAS, or at least will torque those journals into a direction that is more fundamentally useful for the true advancement of science.”

    These are very gratifying sentiments, but IMHO, they do not go far enough. It is one thing to point out that changes ought to be made. It is an entirely different matter to take such actions as are necessary to ensure that changes are, in fact, made.

    Who is going to bell the cat?

  13. This paper by Kyoji Kimoto was an attempt to show how errors in peer reviewed litchur can snowball.

    http://www.ilovemycarbondioxide.com/archives/Kimoto%20paper01.pdf

    Dr. Kimoto uses a simple “gut” check method to estimate Planck Feedback Parameters which somehow was used to divert the intent of the paper to a critique of his simplifications, which BTW are pretty sweet, instead of the critical introspection it was originally intended.

    Kinda like “strawman” city in the old Climate Science realm doncha know.

  14. I always find it odd how everyone publishing in Nature et al., have such lovely tight error bars; it is almost as if they repeat runs until they get them tight or throw away outliners.

  15. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Regarding the error rate of scientific and even mathematical claims, it will surprise no practicing scientist/mathematician that this number is high. In mathematics (where statistical errors do not enter) we have:

    Widely accepted mathematical results that were later shown wrong

    Examples of common false beliefs in mathematics

    When the foundations are statistical, the error rate increases greatly. Two celebrated examples of purely statistical climate-change science are:

    • Mann, Bradley and Hughes, Global-scale temperature patterns and climate forcing over the past six centuries (1998, the “Hockey Stick”)

    • Wyatt and Curry, Role for Eurasian Arctic shelf sea ice in a secularly varying hemispheric climate signal during the 20th century (2013, the “Stadium Wave”)

    QUESTION  What is the probability that, in the decade to come, Stadium Wave climate-change descriptions will gain acceptance comparable to Hockey Stick climate-change descriptions?

    ANSWER  No-one knows, but objectively speaking the likelihood that Stadium Wave models are correct is far less than one-in-ten. The reason is that a great many purely statistical climate models are published, and they can’t *all* be right! The great majority of purely statistics-based models will prove to be (in Pauli’s phrase) “not even wrong.”

    A POINT TO PONDER  Should editors reject statistics-based climate-models out-of-hand? Few would advocate this extreme position … and yet the climate-change literature might suffer surprisingly little loss in quality if such a policy were imposed.

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Matthew R Marler

      a fan of *MORE* discourse: ANSWER No-one knows, but objectively speaking the likelihood that Stadium Wave models are correct is far less than one-in-ten. The reason is that a great many purely statistical climate models are published, and they can’t *all* be right!

      Why particularly do you think the stadium wave hypothesis has such a low probability of survival? Do you think the 1/10 standard applies to all empirical findings in climate science, physical oceanography?

      What is far less than one-in-ten? 1 in-a-hundred?

      Comparison to the Hockey Stick misses the important details that the Hockey Stick was an extrapolation to the long past based on recent data, and it was based on an estimated relationship that was known to be inaccurate in the second half of the 20th century. At least one of the relationships used in the backward extrapolation was known to be a 20th century change unrelated to climate, but related to land use change. Also, the statistical technique used was much less unstable than the eigenvector/eigenvalue decomposition used by Mann et al.

      Although there is no certainty, because of the fact that Mann et al published in defiance of known problems, the Wyatt and Curry result has a more solid empirical base than the MBH hockey stick. Will it ever be as popular? Not likely, because it is nothing alarming(!). There is no reason think that it’s life span has “far less than one-in-ten” chance to be more than 50 years.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Matthew R Marler asks “Why particularly do you think the stadium wave hypothesis has such a low probability of survival?”

      It is a pleasure to answer your question Matthew R Marler!

      There are concrete next-steps that Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry can take to establish Stadium Waves as a crucial self-organizing climate mechanism.

      It is sobering aspect of science, however, that only a small fraction of published statistical analyses (in any field, including climate science) are able to advance through these next steps. Needless to say, those models that survive this gantlet deserve their fame.

      Best wishes, and sincere good hopes, are therefore extended to Marcia Wyatt and Judith Curry for sustained (and enjoyable) progress toward full acceptance of Stadium Wave climate-science.

      Thank you for a terrific question, Matthew R Marler!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • barn E. rubble

      Maybe you should try yelling LOUDER . . . or take a breath and just stop.

  16. David Springer

    “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” ~ Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize Winning Chemist

    Climate science is a soft science with soft answers to the most important questions that engineers and policy makers require before committing blood and treasure in pursuit of more desirable outcomes.

    It’s like psychology and evolution where soft answers promulgated as reliable, settled science result in horrific mistakes with unintended consequences in law and social engineering.

    • “Climate science is a soft science”

      Hardly. When skeptics cite economists like Beenstock to try to prove something, they have just entered the soft science of denialism.
      aka Voodoo Science

      • WHUT, you write “Hardly. When skeptics cite economists like Beenstock to try to prove something, they have just entered the soft science of denialism.”

        The statistical techniques used by Beenstock et al were shown , in
        their paper, to be applicable to global temperature data.

      • An annoying hypocrite. Cripwell requires experimental evidence to verify a positive conclusion, but can promote statistical evidence, by economists no less, to support a negative conclusion.

        Cripwell is clearly driven by motivated reasoning.

      • One of these days, someone might like to take the time to tell me what WHUT is complaining about. Yes, I require empirical data before I believe things in physics. So, yes, when someone takes some empirical data; analyses it with new statistical techniques; gets the study peer reviewed and published on a reputable journal; it is extensively read by qualified scientists who find nothing wrong with it; I find it convincing. Where is the problem?

      • The statistical techniques used by Beenstock et al were shown , in
        their paper, to be applicable to global temperature data.

        wrong their data generating model is aphysical.

      • Beenstock forgot to look around for other possible mechanisms for subdecadal and decadal variability. Since they are economists and not phycisists that is understandable.

        They could have used a measure like SOI and LOD to defluctuate the data and isolated the CO2 signal quite easily.
        http://entroplet.com/context_salt_model/navigate

      • Matthew R Marler

        Steve Mosher: wrong their data generating model is aphysical.

        Please elaborate. they used a non-linear vector autoregressive model that fit the data reasonably well. What in that model was unphysical? Especially given the gaps in the “physical” science.

      • WHUT, you write “isolated the CO2 signal quite easily.”. What is the value of the measured CO2 signal?

      • Web

        Naw. Beenstock simply made a statistical analysis to show that there is no robust statistical correlation between the observed CO2 and temperature records, without torturing the data, as you suggest, in order to try to find one.

        Where there is no robust statistical correlation, the case for causation is weak (or non-existent).

        Max

    • Matthew R Marler

      David Springer: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” ~ Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize Winning Chemist

      Ernest Rutherford was known for baseless insulting comments, and that is among the worst. You use the statistical result of the last experiment in designing the next experiment, and you continue in a long series until in the end it looks like statistics were not necessary.

      • +1000. In a similar spirit, I tell students that 95% of their econometrics should be finished before they run their first subjects.

      • Well quoted Mathew. This is the case with our climate models, they wrote wrong equations. And now they are throwing the climate “dice.”

      • David Springer

        Matthew R Marler | October 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Reply

        David Springer: “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” ~ Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize Winning Chemist

        “Ernest Rutherford was known for baseless insulting comments, and that is among the worst.”

        Really? That seems like a baseless insult of Rutherford.

        “You use the statistical result of the last experiment in designing the next experiment, and you continue in a long series until in the end it looks like statistics were not necessary.”

        That’s probably a misquote. I found no source for it. A variant, which sounds better is, “If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better experiment”.

      • David, I think MattStat was coining his own phrase.

        WHUT, when both you and the Chief are throwing around “motivated reasoning” I can only conclude that it is akin to “I know you are but what am I.” I suggest we all foreswear the accusation of motivated reasoning, since it doesn’t so much add anything to rational discussions as replace them with name-calling.

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Springer: That’s probably a misquote.

        Indeed it is a slight misquote of something posted on a statistics professor’s office door. The principle is elaborated in books on statistical experiment design. An admirable example is the progressive increase of rice yields in the 20 year long green revolution.

    • “If your experiment needs statistics, you ought to have done a better experiment.” ~ Ernest Rutherford, Nobel Prize Winning Chemist

      ah yes the guy who used stats in his most famous work

      • Matthew R Marler

        Steven Mosher: ah yes the guy who used stats in his most famous work

        Exactly.

      • David Springer

        I was thinking statistical mechanics in general. Point taken. On looking into the quote further I couldn’t find a source for it but I found one that’s more likely to be correct as is doesn’t discount results that require statistics but rather results that require a statistician. A barmaid can understand simple statistics but if you start talking about PDFs and fat tails she’ll probably slap you. :-)

        “If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better experiment” ~Ernest Rutherford, Father of Nuclear Physics

      • Matthew R Marler

        David Springer: “If your result needs a statistician then you should design a better experiment” ~Ernest Rutherford, Father of Nuclear Physics

        That one I can agree with.

        As I used to like to say, a statistician with a clever statistical method can not rescue an experiment from a bad design. If you think that you might eventually need the expertise of a statistician, you should contact the statistician before you start to collect the data.

  17. “This is especially true of junior researchers, who are aware that overzealous replication can be seen as an implicit challenge to authority. Often, only people with an axe to grind pursue replications with vigour—a state of affairs which makes people wary of having their work replicated.

    JC comment: The most succinct description of the Hockeystick saga that I’ve seen.”

    I don’t think that quite accurate. I don’t think that M&M had any kind of ax to grind; it was more of a situation where sometimes something is so bad that it jumps out at people who were otherwise minding their own business. Sometimes something just smells bad and people in the vicinity can’t ignore it.

    If the IPCC hadn’t decided to make the MBH curve into an icon, M&M most likely wouldn’t have even been aware of its existence. The real moral of the story is that if you’re going to do sketchy math, you’d better not hope for fame, because along with fame comes scrutiny.

    • I agree that M&M had no axe to grind, but the perception was that they had

      • In which mailing list or forum or BBS or whatever M met the other M, again?

      • Was that actually perception or simply an attempt to poison the well?

      • axe to grind is ambiguous. Steve’s particular axe was the axe of curiousity. He wanted to see how Mann had done it.

        the early refusals sharpened another axe of steve’s
        in his paranoia Mann mistook steve’s curiosity for nefarious intent
        ( cf lewandowsky) mann reacted with shiftiness.
        That shiftiness was red meat to a watchdog.

        If only Mann had followed willards advice to Tobis.

      • But, but … Mike’s trick is proprietary. Magicians never reveal their secrets.

      • I only recently read the Hockey Stick Illusion, and from the description of Mann’s behavior I am now wondering if labeling and denigrating opponents, and dismissing their views as totally worthless, is actually an advantage in the scientific world for a scientist in that kind of position.

      • Speaking of our beloved Bishop’s political hit job:

        At the start of 2003 a short comment was posted to an Internet forum for global warming sceptics by a Dutchman called Hans Erren.

        [.......................]

        It’s perhaps surprising then that Erren’s posting received just a single response.

        That’s on p. 55-57.

        The other M appears at the beginning of the next chapter, on page 88.

        It speaks of a contact between M & M in July 2003.

        ***

        Since that “forum” is for private members only, I must ask: when exactly was Erren’s short comment posted?

        Many thanks!

      • “If only Mann had followed willards advice to Tobis.” A little too cryptic, I’m afraid.

      • You may prefer the Xtranormal version:

        http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2013/02/mt-and-willard-discuss-jc.html

        ***

        Recently, BartR expressed some impatience regarding the formalization of the Italian flag.

        His comment was meant by a chorus of crickets.

      • met, not meant.

        Hell is a virtual world controlled by auto-correctors.

      • Steven Mosher

        have bart phone me. my numbers public.

      • On page 89 of our beloved Bishop’s political hit job, another actant makes her appearance:

        At around the same time, Sonia Boehmer-Christiansen, a geographer at the University of Hull, also got in touch.

        This other bit about times and lines:

        In the middle of 2003, Boehmer-Christiansen was planning a special issue of the journal dealing with climate issues and, aware from the Climate Skeptics forum that McIntyre [...], invited him to submit an article.

        There may have been something in the sky around July 2003.

      • Perception is reality (?)

  18. Am I the only one who can not see “Recent Comments” any longer??? I liked that feature.

  19. “Software can also be a problem for would-be replicators. Some code used to analyse data or run models may be the result of years of work and thus precious intellectual property that gives its possessors an edge in future research. Although most scientists agree in principle that data should be openly available, there is genuine disagreement on software.”

    There’s a simple solution to this one. The grant agencies should require that all software should be under one of the open source license agreements. The researchers can only use open source software as a foundation, and anything they add is also put under GNU or BSD or one of the other standard agreements.

    There’s more than plenty of high-quality open source software on the internet, and no need for proprietary software, especially when you’re talking about stats.

    If somebody wants to develop proprietary software for their own private forecasting business, fine, but output from that can’t be allowed as evidence in a paper.

  20. Great work by Judith Curry, pointing out what should be obvious. Ike warned us about the massive danger posed by mixing politics and science more than 60 years but our country was too stupid/oblivious to listen. Like nearly everybody else, scientists play the “game”, that is they make their professional decisions according to the actual rules that govern their craft, not the idealized rules that we like to pretend govern science.

    “Scientists need to develop a value system where simply moving on from one’s mistakes without publicly acknowledging them severely damages, rather than protects, a scientific reputation.”

    Think how much more respect Mike Mann would have earned had he simply acknowledged his hockey stick statistical errors rather than try to sweep them under the rug. Sigh.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steve Koch, please allow me to provide concrete citations in opposition to *all* of your (wholly unsupported) claims.

      Here are the citations.

      Thank you for this opportunity Steve Koch!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Fail on your part but thank you for not pasting your mostly irrelevant text. Btw are you a warmbot ap or person who is paid (not much) to respond to skeptic posts? That is your vibe.

        I made a claim that Ike warned us about mixing politics and science. Here is a quote from a very famous speech he delivered in 1961:
        “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.”

        Regarding Mann’s hockey stick foibles, hoist yourself over to Climate Audit and educate yourself.

        Regarding the behavior of scientists, I base it on personal experience, having spent my career in scientific academia (for a few years) and working with scientists professionally for my whole career. Scientists are no better, no more honorable, no more trustworthy than the rest of us. Like the rest of us, they play the game.

        Regarding the praise I lavished on Judith Curry, she is a hero. What is sad is that her simple honesty, common sense, and courage to speak out is so rare among climate scientists.

        Consider yourself refuted and please don’t waste my time anymore by responding to my posts.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Steve Koch, it is remarkable how many folks quote Eisenhower’s speech, with zero technical or historical knowledge of the context in which Eisenhower gave it … namely, that Eisenhower’s administration launched *all* of the large-scale military/scientific/industrial programs of US history.

      In regard to specifically Eisenhower-era “Big Science” science, please allow me to commend to your attention the following in-depth accounts:


      @book{James-R.-Killian:1977fk,
      Author = {James R. Killian, Jr.},
      Publisher = {{M}{I}{T} Press},
      Title = {Sputnik, Scientists, and Eisenhower:
      a Memoir of the First Special Assistant to the President
      [Eisenhower!] for Science and Technology},
      Year = {1977}}

      @book{Neil-Sheehan:2009hc,
      Author = {Neil Sheehan},
      Publisher = {Random House},
      Title = {A Fiery Peace in a Cold War:
      Bernard Schriever and the Ultimate Weapon},
      Year = {2009}}

      @book{Johnson:2002ph,
      Author = {Stephen B. Johnson},
      Publisher = {JHU Press},
      Title = {The Secret of Apollo:
      Systems Management in American and European Space Programs},
      Year = {2002}}

      @book{Barber:75,
      Author = {R. J. Barber},
      Publisher = {Richard J. Barber Associates},
      Title = {The Advanced Research Projects Agency, 1958--1974},
      Year = 1975}

      Question  During the Eisenhower era, what percentage of America's semiconductor physics graduate students were funded by Defense Department research contracts?

      Answer  All of them.

      Fortunately! `Cuz otherwise America's computer industry would have been still-born.

      So it's *good* that Eisenhower's pragmatic actions did not match his political rhetoric! As Eisenhower's Secretary of Defense Charles Erwin "Engine Charlie" Wilson said of that era: "The price of progress is trouble, and I must be making lots of progress."

      Steve Koch, it has been a pleasure to help you to a better appreciation that modern-day climate scientists like Hansen and Mann are making "lots of progress"!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Steven Mosher

        the invention of the transistor was driven by a marketing problem.

        and go read about Lilienfeld

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher claims [wrongly] “The invention of the transistor was driven by a marketing problem. Go read about Lilienfeld.”

        Steven Mosher, do you conceive that the semiconductor industry was conceived by just one person, in response to just one opportunity, to solve just one problem? Do you even imagine even that there is just *one* kind of transistor, or that they are manufactured by just *one* process, for just *one* purpose?

        These assumptions all are crippling oversimplifications, eh Steven Mosher?

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Steven Mosher

        fan,

        one could look very far back early at rectifiers. one could do all manner of things to obscure in a denialist fashion what happened with the invention of the transistor. I’ll stick with what the Nobel committe found.

        of course there is the issue of prior art which is why I suggested you look at the man I suggested.

        The marketing problem was that ATT needed to roll out expansions. that marketing drive was thwarted by vaccum tube limitations. so bell labs got the task. the transistor is the result after a couple brutal months in the lab
        and one guy accidentially getting water on a prototype. That accident was very important.

        when you have actually spent time talking to more people and reading less, then you will be ready to read more.

      • A fan of *MORE* discourse

        Steven Mosher suggests [pointlessly] “When you have actually spent time talking to more people and reading less, then you will be ready to read more.”

        Steven Mosher, since my mom worked for John Atasanoff in his early days (and told am using tales of it) your ill-informed suggestion is nugatory. None-the-less, the spirit of your post is appreciated, Steven Mosher!

        \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Matthew R Marler

        a fan of *MORE* discourse: it has been a pleasure to help you to a better appreciation that modern-day climate scientists like Hansen and Mann are making “lots of progress”!

        Someone wrote the other day, and others have previously, that you are a “troll”. I disagree. I think that you are more of a clown, or court jester. That quote is worth a guffaw. There are climate scientists making progress, but Hansen and Mann are the least among them, if in fact they are still making progress. But you put “lots of progress” in quotes, suggesting that it isn’t really progress. Indeed, as with Wilson, most of their actual trouble is not a result of their progress.

      • Anyone here heard of “constructing an appropriate counterfactual?”

      • > Anyone here heard of “constructing an appropriate counterfactual?”

        If only.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Matthew R Marler asserts (without reason or reference) “There are climate scientists making progress, but Hansen and Mann are the least among them, if in fact they are still making progress.”

      Words by Marler, links by FOMD.

      By the 1950s criteria of “Engine Charlie” and “Electric Charlie” — namely, that transformational scientific progress is closely associated to transformational political upheaval — it’s evident that Hansen and Mann both are still making “lots of progress.”

      Thank you for your provocative claims, Matthew R Marler!

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

      • Matthew R Marler

        a fan of *MORE* discourse: By the 1950s criteria of “Engine Charlie” and “Electric Charlie” — namely, that transformational scientific progress is closely associated to transformational political upheaval — it’s evident that Hansen and Mann both are still making “lots of progress.”

        Right. Progress causes trouble. I am causing trouble. Therefore I am making progress. Even you can tell that is fallacious.

  21. David L. Hagen

    Re: ” Some scientists use inappropriate techniques because those are the ones they feel comfortable with;”
    At ClimateAudit, RGBatDuke shreds the IPCC AR5, detailing a few of the irredeemable statistical errors. A small sampling:
    RGBatDuke

    . . .The variations between GCMs are not random variations. They share a common structure, coordinatization, and in many cases similar physics similarly implemented. The mean of many runs of INDEPENDENT GCMS is not a statistically meaningful quantity in any sense defensible by the laws of statistics. The standard deviation of that mean is not a meaningful predictor of the actual climate. One can average HUNDREDS of failed models and get nothing but a very precise failed model, or “average” a single successful model and have a successful model. So to present such a figure in the first place is utterly misleading. To Hell with it. . . .
    To CORRECT their errors, though, is simple. Just draw each jelly bean (colored strand of spaghetti) against the data ALONE. For EACH model ask — is this a successful model? Not when it spends well over 95% of the time too warm. Repeat for the next one. Ooo, reject it too! Then the next one. Outta here!

    In the end, you might end up with ONE OR TWO models from the entire collection that only spend >>80%<< of their time too warm, that aren't rejected by a one at a time hypothesis test per independent GCM. Those models are merely probably wrong, not almost certainly wrong. . . .

    RGBatDuke

    In the crudest of terms, many of the models above exhibit:

    * Too much positive feedback (they shoot up too fast).

    * Too much negative feedback (they fall down too fast).

    * Too much sensitivity to perturbations (presuming that they aren’t whacking the system with ENSO-scale perturbations every other year, small perturbations within the model are growing even faster and with greater impact than the 1997-1998 ENSO, which involved a huge bolus of heat rising up in the pacific).

    * Too much gain (they go up more on the upswings than the go down on the downswings, which means that the effects of overlarge positive and negative oscillations biases the trend in the positive direction . . .

    • Matthew R Marler

      David L Hagen: .The variations between GCMs are not random variations. They share a common structure, coordinatization, and in many cases similar physics similarly implemented. The mean of many runs of INDEPENDENT GCMS is not a statistically meaningful quantity in any sense defensible by the laws of statistics.

      That is saying too much. The models share many common structures, but the variations between model runs entail a lot of random variation, so the model runs are random samples. The mean of independent realizations is an estimate of the “true model mean”, if the models have enough in common. That they are not independent makes the calculation of the s.e.m. a problem, but it is surely much smaller than the s.d. of the sample.

      Intended as a model of the global mean temperature, the models are seriously biased upwards. The more such random samples we have, the more narrow the confidence interval on the “mean of the models”, and it is now clear that the climate is way outside the confidence interval of the “true model mean.” That is what justifies the claim that the model is seriously biased.

      Assumptions for statistical inferential procedures are never exactly met, but they are close enough in this instance that we can confidently say that the model mean overpredicts the global mean temperature. It’s too soon to say for sure, but certainly worth considering, that the disparity between model mean and global mean temperature will continue to increase.

      • David L. Hagen

        Mathew
        Re: “the mean of many runs of INDEPENDENT GCMS is not a statistically meaningful quantity”

        I agree on the warm bias. Dr. Roy Spencer shows projections since 1979 of 87 of 90 models exceed subsequent global temperatures.

        So, about 95% (actually, 96.7%) of the climate models warm faster than the observations.

        May I suggest your carefully review your first paragraph after thoroughly examining each sentence of RGBatDuke’s statements. Prof. Robert G. Brown “is interested in using algebraic and statistical methods to study a wide range of equilibrium and nonequilibrium problems.” He knows whereof he speaks far more than most “climate scientists”.

      • Matthew R Marler

        David L. Hagen: I agree on the warm bias.

        On what ground to you conclude that it is a “model” bias? Whatever that ground is, it justifies thinking that the data mean reasonably represents the model mean. Otherwise you are left with something vague like “It’s merely a coincidence that most of the model runs are too high so far.”

  22. Quite apart from the prevalent herd instinct , the scientific incompetence of the establishment climate community stems from a simple lack of commonsense and an amazing willingness to avoid the obvious at all costs.
    When, about ten years ago ,I began to look into the CAGW – CO2 based scare, some simple observations immediately presented themselves.
    a) Night is colder than day.
    b) Winter is colder than summer.
    c) It is cooler in the shade and under clouds than in the sun
    d) Temperatures vary more widely in deserts and hot humid days are more uncomfortable than dry hot days – humidity (enthalpy) might be an important factor. We use Sun Screen against UV rays – can this be a clue?
    e) Being a Geologist I knew that the various Milankovitch cycles were seen repeatedly in the Geologic record and were the main climate drivers controlling the Quaternary Ice Ages.
    f) I also considered whether the current climate was unusually hot or cold. Some modest knowledge of history brought to mind frost fairs on the Thames and the Little Ice Age and the Maunder Minimum without sunspots during the 17th century . The 300 years of Viking settlements in Greenland during the Medieval Warm Period and viniculture in Britain suggested a warmer world in earlier times than at present while the colder Dark Ages separate the MWP from the Roman Climate optimum.
    g) I noted that CO2 was about 0.0375% of the Atmosphere and thought ,correctly as it turns out, that it was highly unlikely that such a little tail should wag such a big dog.
    I concluded ,as might any person of reasonable common sense and average intelligence given these simple observations that solar activity and our orbital relations to the sun were the main climate drivers. More specific temperature drivers were the number of hours of sunshine, the amount of cloud cover, the humidity and the height of the sun in the sky at midday and at Midsummer . It seemed that the present day was likely not much or very little outside the range of climate variability for the last 2000 years and that no government action or policy was required or would be useful with regard to postulated anthropogenic CO2 driven climate change.
    It is necessary ,of course, to go beyond this level of understanding to justify support for the vast government financed climate modeling industry and UN conference juggernaut.
    It has been clear for several years that the modeling approach is unfit for the purpose of climate forecasting. Even the IPCC admits this.
    The key factor in making CO2 emission control policy is the climate sensitivity to CO2 . By AR5 – WG1 the IPCC is saying: (Section 9.7.3.3)
    “The assessed literature suggests that the range of climate sensitivities and transient responses covered by CMIP3/5 cannot be narrowed significantly by constraining the models with observations of the mean climate and variability, consistent with the difficulty of constraining the cloud feedbacks from observations ”
    In plain English this means that they have no idea what the climate sensitivity is and that therefore that the politicians have no empirical scientific basis for their economically destructive climate and energy policies.
    In summary the projections of the IPCC – Met office models and all the impact studies which derive from them are based on specifically structurally flawed and inherently useless models. They deserve no place in any serious discussion of future climate trends and represent an enormous waste of time and money. As a basis for public policy their forecasts are grossly in error and therefore worse than useless.
    For an empirical forecast of the timing and extent of the coming cooling
    based on the projection forward of quasi-repetitive , quasi- cyclic patterns in the temperature and driver data see
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

    • “Quite apart from the prevalent herd instinct , the scientific incompetence of the establishment climate community stems from a simple lack of commonsense and an amazing willingness to avoid the obvious at all costs.”

      Which directly relates to the premium placed on novelty. Shocking and absurd results are more welcome than intuitive results. The reason why common sense and the obvious are avoided is that the journals are specifically selecting for the opposite.

      Postmodern science is kind of like atonal music. Everybody praises it, but nobody listens to it. Except the IPCC.

  23. This seems to me to be the sentence most relevant to the climate problem:

    “The most striking findings have the greatest chance of making it onto the page.”

    If one climate scientist says we are going to have 1 degree of warming, another says 3 and another 5, who’s going to get on the cover of Nature?

    Ironically though, the Economist article itself is an example of this phenomenon.

  24. By the time I got to the bottom of the article it was obvious that the problem is corruption of the journals themselves and secondarily the unchallenged acceptance of the publish at all costs urgency that drives scientists to fraud and shoddy work. One only has to look at the divergence problem in models to implicate several branches of science and journalism in a conspiracy of grand proportions. Root cause: Too much targeted easy money from agenda driven sources with deep pockets in search of compliant researchers, tortured data, and reports that affirm the agenda. This creates ever more compliant researchers and enabling journals – how can it not?

    The system is rotting at every level because the self-correcting mechanism has been corrupted and this is no more correctable than teen pregnancy. The system insiders prefer wealth over knowledge.

  25. If a molecular geneticist wrote in his/her Methods section “The protocol used to purify the protein is my private intellectual property, and thus will not be described,’ They’d be laughed out of the profession. That’s the difference between climate science and real science.

    • You sure?
      In many cases we have no idea what supplements are in cell growth media as these are commercial secrets.
      Do you know the steroid hormone levels of a particular batch of fetal calf serum?
      Tissue culture is pretty close to witch craft.

  26. “Victoria Stodden, a statistician at Stanford, speaks for many in her trade when she says that scientists’ grasp of statistics has not kept pace with the development of complex mathematical techniques for crunching data. Some scientists use inappropriate techniques because those are the ones they feel comfortable with; others latch on to new ones without understanding their subtleties. Some just rely on the methods built into their software, even if they don’t understand them.”

    Victoria is a rock star. Girl power

    • I have a draft post on victoria stoddard in my files, i’ll get to it eventually

    • I am currently trying to convince some authors that Fisher’s exact test is completely inappropriate for their hypothesis-testing situation. It is routinely misused in the fields I referee. Stodden is mostly right, I think.

    • Steven, what a great quote.

      One of the things I run into all of the time is the reliance on “old school” statistical methods, developed before the modern computer, and on new school statistical methods obtained by rote using canned software.

      A common feature of old-school statistics is the oversimplification of the error model required to obtain analytic expressions. In many case, this should be replaced with (or at least verified by) Monte Carlo based studies, where some care is applied to the understanding of the statistical model for noise.

      A common feature of the new-school abuses is to report results that virtually meaningless, but included nonetheless in the output of the canned software. [An issue where this occurred came up just the other day in a Bishop Hill post involving Cohen's kappa.]

      • Steven Mosher

        Cohens kappa.. i missed that. was it related to Cook’s debacle?

      • Yep. Shub was looking at the level of agreement between the rankings of Cook group and the authors.

      • Steven Mosher

        carrick

        the funny thing is I thought Cook was going to compare skeptics readings with authors readings.

        I was also wonder why he didt use Cohens or some other metric for norming his raters.

        oh well, willard must have advised them

      • You will note that I did not endorse Cohen’s Kappa.

      • Steven, perhaps I’m overly cynical but I expect he did. Probably didn’t think he needed to include adverse results in his write up (the model is there already in climate science for that).

      • You got that right. Most of the people don’t know the difference between white and red noise, or that uncertainty of many physical processes is inherently fat tail.

        Statisticians such as Null of Kintyre are severely limited in what they can do because they never studied statistical mechanics or the physics of noise. And their shoddy work is a great demonstration of their limits.

        They might be able to do the systemic uncertainty but they are stumped over the aleatory uncertainty. And that is the whole ball game when it comes to AGW uncertainty — subdecadal fluctuations, fossil fuel reserves, etc.

      • Steven Mosher

        yes willard we are well aware of your extensive work on statistics. no need to brag around us.

        carry on.

      • WHT:

        You got that right. Most of the people don’t know the difference between white and red noise, or that uncertainty of many physical processes is inherently fat tail.

        MBH98 is a classic example of that for me. The problem I had with the “handle” was it looks just like high-passed red noise to me (e.g., where’s the signal supposed to be???).

        I appreciate McIntyre’s statistical acumen. I don’t agree with the tone he adopts at times and have said as much, but it’s his house, his rules. He’s certainly a lot less bombastic for sure than his arch-nemesis, Michael E. Mann.

        And better mannered than you are, for that matter.

      • Not a villager that’s for sure.

  27. Willard, ” we must KILL THE IPCC?”

    Why yes, of course, Willard. Is it not the rational thing to do?

  28. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    • Anthony Watts/WUWT today is headlining Bob “Perennially Puzzled” Tisdale’s latest claim The hypothesis of human-induced global warming is dead

    • Meanwhile, the seas keep rising and the polar ice-mass loss is accelerating.

    How is this mismatch possible? Easy:

    \rule{0.001pt}{0.001pt}\,\begin{array}{c} \rule{0.0001pt}{2.5ex} \text{\sffamily statistical}\\ \rule[-1.5ex]{0.0001pt}{0.001pt} \text{\sffamily cycle-seeking} \end{array} + \begin{array}{c} \text{\sffamily ideology-guided}\\ \text{\sffamily cherry-picking} \end{array} = \begin{array}{c} \text{\sffamily content-free}\\ \text{\sffamily denialism} \end{array}\,\rule{0.001pt}{0.001pt}

    Conclusion  Statistical “cycle-seeking” is the weakest variety of climate science.

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Which cycles do you have a problem with statistical verifiability?
      The day/night cycle?
      The winter/summer cycle?
      The tidal cycle?
      The AMO cycle?
      The PDO cycle?
      The axial precession cycle?
      The great circuit of the Milky Way?

  29. More discourse I agree – statistical cycle seeking is an inefficient substitute for quasi cyclic pattern recognition in the actual data which is simple ,transparent and reasonable. see
    http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

  30. Bombardier knows a lot about designing, building and operating aircraft. But … sometimes they have to park one in the hangar and shake it a little to see exactly what happens.

    “Some adjustments may be necessary on our finite element models,” Rathé says. “These [vibration] modes are very important from a dynamic point of view and they will predict the aircraft’s flight stability, so it’s very important to measure and model them properly.”
    http://www.flightglobal.com/news/articles/first-cseries-test-aircraft-re-enters-ground-vibration-testing-391806/

    Bombardier certainly knows more about vibration than climatologists know about climate.

  31. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    JC asked: Why, the IPCC has told scientists to think that climate models are fit for setting those climate projections with very high confidence.
    Answer: please read my “Refuting IPCC’s claims …” doc.:
    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2VHpYemRBV3FQRjA
    over there you can check that those confidence levels are based: in the CMIP5 linear relation from N with T, and in the appropriately tuned input RCP scenarios. Then, using complex stochastic analysis, anyone can get those confidence levels.
    But the key questions are:
    (1)- Is climate sensitivity value (used in the relation of N with T) an appropriately derived value?.
    (2)- Is anthropogenic attribution scientifically consistent?.
    (3)- Are climate modeIs based on observations or on scientificaly wrong answers after (1) and (2)?

    The answers to these 3 questions are given in my document.
    And from there you can address any of these IPCC’s WGI coordinating lead authors:
    - Gumar Myhre (CICERO) & Drew Shindell (NASA), CLAs of the Chapter 8: Anthropogenic and natural radiative forcings.
    - Gregory Flato (Env. Can.) & Jochem Marotzke (MPI Met.), CLAs of the Chapter 9: Evaluation of climate models.
    - Matthew Collins (U. Exeter) & Reto Knutti (ETH Zurich), CLAs of the Chapter 12: Long term climate change projections.
    and challenge them with these same 3 questions. Let’s see what happens then.

    • Good paper Antonio. Downloaded it, read twice and I may have further comment on it later once I get my thoughts together on what to also consider.

      • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

        I think that you are the fifth person worldwide that has read it. I am going to keep advertising it in this blog, so you can comment it later.

      • Antonio, keep you eye here for a few months, takes a while to give it a serious look. The only thing I see is you also seem to follow the concept (in the equations) that thermalization does not play a role in the atmosphere. Any absorption of a ghg molecule that is then expressed in kinetic energy (local temperature) can and will, upon further emission, be spread though *all* possible lines of all of the ghg molecules degrees of freedom present. At the surface this is spread as nearly a bb curve in all frequencies. I see these equations dealing specifically as applied only to co2 in isolation and I have my reserves whether this is even possible in a real atmosphere mix of ghgs simultaneously. Of course this excludes the window frequencies at each having it’s own radiance that never interacts with the atmosphere. More on that later.

        Right now I am delving backwards into the homogenization adjustments, removal of a massive number of igher altitude temperature stations and the time-of-observation adjustments to see exactly what was assumed to create the ≈+0.75°C/century additional positive slope that is imprinted over all major datasets so it may take a while addressing yours completely.

  32. What if Einstein decided that he would keep his work on relativity to himself because he had poured so much time and energy into it and it would just help his peers further their research and he wanted to keep the edge. What a bunch of hogwash. The real capital of a scientist is its high intelligence, hard work, long hours, and general ingenuity. Furthermore, science today is a team sport, publishing code just might advance the field faster as people are then able to build on it, just as real science in the past has been done. Finally, if taxpayers paid even for part of it, they own it. It shouldn’t merely be published, it should be posted on a government site and everyone gets it for free.

    • Theodor Svedberg was one of Einstein’s friends and collaborators, with Einstein helping Svedberg, a great chemist/biochemist/experimentalist, with maths. Svedberg worked on colloids and then biomolecules, and this paragraph is what pre-modern science was all about:-

      “In the early days of modern biochemical studies, the overall structure of proteins was not well understood. There were two major schools of thought. One theory posited that proteins are agglomerations of small molecules (Svedberg’s theory, consistent with his colloid studies), and the second theory was that proteins are very large molecules. In 1921 Edwin Cohn of Harvard University, who subscribed to the large molecule theory, challenged Svedberg to subject a purified protein to the ultracentrifuge. If the protein were made up of smaller molecules, it would separate into a number of fractions with small molecular weights. If the protein was composed of only one type of very large molecule, the ultracentrifuge would show only one fraction of very high molecular weight. To Svedberg’s surprise, the experiment showed that there was only one type of molecule and that proteins are, in fact, made up of a single sort of large molecule. This was a very important result in the understanding of proteins and other large molecules.

      Although Svedberg is remembered for his very important work in colloids and artificial rubber, he must also be remembered as a scientist who was willing to test his own theory rigorously and change his point of view when experiment indicated a theory to the contrary”

      Read more: http://www.chemistryexplained.com/St-Te/Svedberg-Theodor.html#ixzz2i84dDpWZ

  33. Brandon Shollenberger

    Judith Curry writes:

    And journals such as PLoS are steering us in the right direction. I hope that the emergence of such journals will diminish the impact of of Nature, Science, PNAS, or at least will torque those journals into a direction that is more fundamentally useful for the true advancement of science.

    I keep hearing praise for PLoS, and I’d like to believe it deserves it. Unfortunately, the first paper I’ve seen published in it was Lewandwosky et al’s recent hit piece which is perfectly described by this post’s title (and much of its body). The paper has glaring problems even the most casual review should have caught, but there’s no indication anyone noticed them. I contacted the authors about some of the simplest of these issues, and Stephan Lewandowsky seemed surprised to hear of them.

    I had hoped to resolve at least some of the issues via direct communication with the authors, but when Lewandowsky couldn’t find an answer for any issue I raised, he basically told me to get lost – he said I should publish them in peer reviewed literature. Of course, we all (should) know that’s a bogus requirement. I doubt I could even get my criticisms published in peer reviewed literature, despite them directly showing Lewandowsky et al’s findings aren’t supported by their data.

    It’s possible this paper is just an exception, but after how many problems I’ve identified with it, it’s difficult for me to have any faith in PLoS.

    • Maybe POS would be better.

      Andrew

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        In most places I’ve participated, it is considered rude to post comments with nothing but a link. The thought process is something like, “If you want people to look at something, you should tell them what it is. It’s rude to place the burden of getting a description of it on them. It’s also rude to make them guess what point you have in mind or what relevance you think your response has.”

      • Steven Mosher

        how to join their conversation

        Open journals have different rules for how you respond to problems with a paper.

        unlike closed journals you dont have to get permissions to publish a comment

        you are invited to comment openly so that everyone may benefit from your comment

        in short. if you like the benefits of open science you are expected to act in a similar way.

        http://www.plosone.org/static/commentGuidelines

        PLOS journal Web sites provide the ability for users to comment on articles to facilitate community evaluation and discourse around published articles.

        Comments: Comments should be used to make additions or clarifications, identify and link to material, and are designed to lead to threaded discussions concerning the content, conclusions, and consequences of a specific article.
        Authors of all Comments will be identified by their PLOS ‘user name’.

        All contributions must conform to the norms of civilized scientific discussion. Any contributions that do not meet these standards will be removed. Any users who consistently transgress these conventions will have their user privileges removed.

        A partial list of discussion standards includes the following:

        Language that is insulting, inflammatory, or obscene will not be tolerated.
        Unsupported assertions or statements should be avoided. Comments must be evidence-based, not authority-based.
        When previously published studies are cited, they must be accurately referenced and, where possible, a DOI and link to a publicly accessible version supplied.
        Unpublished data should be provided with sufficient methodological detail for those data to be assessed. Alternatively, a permanent Web link to such information should be provided.
        Arguments based on belief are to be avoided. For example the assertion, “I don’t believe the results in Figure 2.” must be supported.
        Discussions should be confined to the demonstrable content of articles and should avoid speculation about the motivations or prejudices of authors.
        Questions about experimental data are appropriate, but need to be phrased in a way that does not imply any misconduct on the part of the authors. If a reader is concerned about potential misconduct, such concerns must always be raised with senior editorial staff at PLOS (see Journal Contact Information).
        PLOS is the final arbiter of the suitability of content for inclusion in PLOS Web sites.

    • > It’s possible this paper is just an exception, but after how many problems I’ve identified with it’s difficult for me to have any faith in PLoS.

      At least it made some sense. Progress.

      But this op-ed advised against trust. Standstill.

  34. As an engineer, I’ve been at odds with climate scientists in general. When I read your title “trust, and don’t bother to verify” I realized that our mantra is the exact opposite: “verify first, then trust”.

    Oh, and we are held accountable for failure. I no time for people who spout proclamations and demand action and throw in words like moral but aren’t accountable to those who are (or would be) affected.

    Some might ask me wouldn’t it be great if you weren’t accountable for your work? I’d have to answer, no, it would be immoral.

    • Michael Craig

      Very good.

      As an engineer, I’ve been at odds with climate scientists in general.

      The problem you cite is one that many engineers (including me) have with the IPCC approach to certainty and the loose manner in which climate science goes about with the truth by blatantly using fear mongering to promote a political agenda, without taking any accountability for its claims.

      The “trust me, baby…” approach does not work with engineers.

      Max

    • It’s easier for engineers because they don’t have to figure out how our planet works. Putting together components under controlled conditions is a hell of a lot simpler than figuring out how a complex systems such as evolution, the climate or the formation of galaxies works!

      • Lolwot,

        I believe that climate is defined as the average of weather over a period of time – whatever that means.

        Thinking that ” . . . figuring out how a complex systems such as . . . the climate . . . works!” is in any way a science, demonstrates a lack of understanding about the scientific method.

        Climate is an average. A number, or a collection of numbers. They do not “work”. They are calculated from observed data – hopefully.

        Climate science is an oxymoron. Would you really classify Gavin Schmidt as a scientist? I understand he has a PhD in mathematics, but I do not understand why one would need a PhD to compute averages.

        You might be using different definitions that mine. I know that Warmistas ascribe special and mysterious meanings to common words, rather than using appropriate and accepted scientific terms. I can provide examples if you desire.

        Live well and prosper,

        Mike Flynn.

  35. When I read these two articles in the Economist this AM, the first thing I thought of was climate change articles. The more that is at stake, perhaps, the more we have to be sceptical. The first casualty in love and war is the truth, and climate change is very much a war.

  36. “Trust and don’t bother to verify” has its basis in Scripture (John 20-29)

    It is a tenet of religious faith – a noble thing.

    Jesus tells Thomas, who doubted he had risen
    “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

    Max

    • “Who are you going to believe, me or your own eyes?”

      Chico Marx in Duck Soup and various Climate Scientists.

  37. Do you trust the EPA?

    The Supreme Court decided three days ago to take up global warming. In Coalition for Responsible Regulators v. EPA, the SC will review the matter of, “Whether EPA permissibly determined that its regulation of greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles triggered permitting requirements under the Clean Air Act for stationary sources that emit greenhouse gases.”

    This is good news considering the petition for certiorari was denied on October 15, 2013 in the matter of Southeastern Legal Foundation, Inc., et al., Petitioners, v. Environmental Protection Agency, et al.,. This case would have decided the matter based on a close look at the admissibility of purportedly scientific evidence, according to standards set out in Rule 702, ensuring that an expert’s testimony rests on a reliable foundation.

  38. Seems to me that from the results of the XIe paper, models can do a good job of modeling the climate, if ENSO is taken into consideration. But we can’t yet predict ENSO with any reliability on short term scales.

    • One study found that, “The null hypothesis of no correlation between the studied variables [solar activity and ENSO events] can be rejected at a high level of significance: P = 0.0001″

  39. Your brief comment is the best that I have read on this topic. I would like to emphasize just three points:

    “The papers analyzing climate model projections tell us nothing about how nature works, at best only about how the models work.”

    Spot on. In climate science, there is no one who made his/her reputation as a modeler who has also published serious criticisms of models or how they are used in climate science. This circumstance is not just odd; rather, it is unique to climate science.

    “If the paleoclimate research involves the geochemical analysis of proxy data, well that is hard work. However, if the papers are merely statistical analyses of proxy data sets or analyses of of the outputs of climate model production runs, well these papers can be knocked off without much effort.”

    Climate scientists are the only people who believe that one can select any existing proxy data set and take for granted that it is a valid basis for scientific work. If the data set has been used before then climate scientists take it as validated regardless of any bad work that was done with it. But things are worse. Climate scientists are the only people who believe that you can select any number of data sets and take for granted that they are comparable. When it comes to data sets, the word ‘calibration’ does not belong to climate scientists’ vocabulary.

    Finally, the worst offense committed by climate scientists, as measured in terms of how often the offense occurs and how much damage is caused by the offense, is taking the output of models as data. Confusing one’s model with one’s data can be explained only by some extreme hypothesis such as “rapture of the supercomputer.” No climate scientist, or programmer employed by climate scientists, has put forth some reasonable account of a relationship between a model and genuine data. No amount of honey can draw a climate scientist to the pot of scientific methodology.

    • +1000

    • “Climate scientists are the only people who believe that one can select any existing proxy data set and take for granted that it is a valid basis for scientific work”

      What about CO2Science’s “Medieval Warming Project” and those who have cited it? (WUWT, Jo Nova, the list is long…)

      • More like a “cartoonish” SWAG.

      • Cartoonish SWAG steeped in the kind of statistical vigor skeptics demand no doubt

      • Clever. But that would be “Scientific Wild-Ass Guess.” ;-)

        This terribly important question is recounted in one of McIntyre’s posts.

        One might equally ask why MBH98, which has since been demonstrated to be an invalid reconstruction(even by Mann’s 2008 paper), which seemed to suggest a much more “quiescent climate”, was so readily glommed onto by “true” skeptics. And why the spaghetti graphs that followed, which factually showed no agreement between reconstructions, were viewed almost universally as “confirmations” of MBH98.

        It seems people on both sides are very selective in which science they decry. The teaching of the mote and the beam comes to mind here.

      • We are simply using this as an example.

      • Steven Mosher

        whats even odder Carrick is that the wigglier blades would be evidence FOR rather than evidence AGAINST higher sensitivity.

        while a flatter blade would be evidence for “unprecidented”

        In the time frame of its development attribution (unprecidentedness) was not a firm ground from modelling studies.. so the stick worked for that.

      • willard you know the dangers of introducing examples don’t you? It’s a bit like adopting a female kitten.

        Steven Mosher:

        while a flatter blade would be evidence for “unprecidented”

        Yes that’s the kicker. Even today people make claims of unprecedented warming, without any real understanding of the consequences of comparing series with very different frequency content: Proxy reconstructions have high-frequency attenuation, and for any period less than about 50-years, the fluctuations you are seeing should probably be viewed as noise.

      • That observation relates to the so-called divergence problem too. (Individual series align well with post 1960 temperature.)

      • One of the biggest ironies of the FAR “cartoon” is the figure it was baed on stops in 1850, and the temperature is “flatlined” from 1850 to now.

        If you “properly” superimpose modern temperature records with this curve, you see something like this

        It shows, just like more modern reconstructions, that current temperatures are warmer than those during the MWP. That figure makes me chuckle about people and their foibles every time I look at it…

      • The interchange between Rep. Stupak and Wegman in the Congressional Hearing on this point is one for the ages. It’s a bit long, but Eli promises that it will entertain. Under questioning Wegman admits that he did not read the 1990 IPCC report

        MR. STUPAK. I think you have it in front of you, your 52-page summary there, you have a figure that you say is a digitized version of the temperature profile in the IPCC assessment report of 1990. I take it you read the 1990 IPCC report?

        Some byplay about what page of the Wegman Report this was on followed by

        MR. STUPAK. Well, then you must have at least discussed this temperature profile.

        DR. WEGMAN. The temperature profile that was published in 1990 I believe was related to the European temperatures and was a cartoon–essentially a cartoon. The point of our discussion here was not that we were trying to say that this was what happened in 1990. The point of our discussion was that you could reproduce this shape from the CPF, CFP and the climate plus–whatever–CPS methodology so we are not endorsing that this was the temperature that was thought of in 1990. We are simply using this as an example.

        http://rabett.blogspot.ca/2010/10/dummys-guide-to-strange-scholarship-in_17.html

        My example was not the same as Wegman’s.

        ***

        Please tell us what happens to climate sensitivity with a higher MWP, Carrick.

      • Here is (hopefully an invisible) “blockquote” end tag =>

      • willard: Please tell us what happens to climate sensitivity with a higher MWP, Carrick.

        Depends on whether it’s from internal variation or external forcings. If it’s from internal variations, it would suggest a smaller value for climate sensitivity.

      • It is likely the case that all proxy studies used in climate science are not suitable for scientific work. I do not know of proxy studies by skeptics that I could support. All proxy work in climate science most likely needs to be reworked by scientists who use empirical methods, who perform experiments on their proxies, and who will use rigorous standards of criticism for their own work. On WUWT, I have criticized proxy work that some skeptics have supported.

      • lolwot | October 18, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Reply

        You need to stop playing your tit-for-tat game. It is a fast way to find yourself with no responses.

      • If scientists had somehow underestimated the climate change between Medieval times and the Little Ice Age, or other natural climate changes, without corresponding errors in the estimated size of the causes of the changes, that would suggest stronger amplifying feedbacks and larger future warming from rising greenhouse gases than originally estimated. Any increase in our estimate of the natural climate responses to past forcings points to a more variable future path with larger average changes.

      • Willard, first–the more of the variability that we observe in the last century that can be attributed to unforced variability, the less of the recent warming that needs to be attributed to anthropogenic forcings.

        Secondly, and more technically, larger amplitude very-low-frequency oscillations don’t necessarily require larger forcings or feedbacks to explain, this arises from conservation of energy.

        For the same total stored energy in an oscillation, the amplitude of the oscillation increased by 1/f^{1/2} where f is frequency. In a power spectrum (which involves the square of the amplitude) this produces the ubiquitous 1/f spectrum seen in many low-frequency noise spectra, including climate systems.

        So lower frequency, longer period, same net energy available means larger amplitude.

        Also, you can’t just amp up the sensitivity of the system in a model to explain multi-century oscillations. Because of the way physics works, you’ll also end up “over-heating” short-period oscillations like those associated with the ENSO. (The oscillations observed in the model don’t get their own separate “tuning knob”.)

        The other thing is physical systems have a low-frequency cut-off for the 1/f spectrum, otherwise the amplitude diverges to infinity as f\rightarrow 0. So the big question here, and this is one that proxies can examine without having to get temperature reconstructions accurate, is “what is the cut-off frequency for 1/f noise?”

        The most important consequence of observing a MWP in the proxies, assuming it’s real and associated with natural variability, is that it pushes the cut-off frequency to a lower frequency. As long as what you are seeing is a 1/f spectrum (so far we are), nothing special needs to be done with the model to get this, other than understand and model processes into it that can accommodate these sorts of multi-century variations.

        While that may have profound effects on the models (e.g., including biosphere-climate interactions), one thing it doesn’t automatically require, at least, is larger climate sensitivity.

      • So from here:

        > Depends on whether it’s from internal variation or external forcings. If it’s from internal variations, it would suggest a smaller value for climate sensitivity.

        We get there:

        > The most important consequence of observing a MWP in the proxies, assuming it’s real and associated with natural variability, is that it pushes the cut-off frequency to a lower frequency.

        Not necessarily or automatically so, of course:

        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/scientists-find-an-abrupt-warm-jog-after-a-very-long-cooling

      • From the article that willard links to::

        http://www.globalwarmingart.com/wiki/File:Holocene_Temperature_Variations_Rev_png

        A roughly 8000 year hockey stick.

        Then we have this:

        http://www.skepticalscience.com/graphics/Escalator_2012_500.gif

        Roughly 8 year hockey sticks. They draw 5 nearly horizontal lines that may show as the headline says are, an Abrupt Warm Jog After a Very Long Cooling.

        What if we think we see the same thing over 8 years as we see over 8000 years?

        h/t to SkS

    • “Using a ruler, measure several of the rings. Be as accurate as possible, and measure using millimeters as your unit. Are all the growth rings the same width? List and describe at least two or more environmental factors that might have caused this…”

  40. Science vs. Scare Tactics

    In 1990, the federal government completed a 10-year, $537 million study to determine whether or not acid rain posed a threat to the environment and human health. This study, called the National Acid Precipitation Assessment Program (NAPAP), involved 700 top scientists, and was one of the largest studies ever undertaken. This study found that special interest scare-mongering over “acid rain” was not based on facts, that acid rain caused very little damage to the environment, and that it posed virtually no risk to human health…

    CSEF Booklet (Aug., 1999)

    • Wag,
      Thanks, that is interesting report. The 2005 update showed impacts in those lakes and water resources.
      Scott

      • “More generally, when turning to acidification as a textbook example for how environmental science can support policy, it should be remembered that the handling of natural organic acidity was a poor example of how to treat dissenting scientific views. The failure to account for organic acidity contributed to a false dichotomy between natural and anthropogenic acidification, when in fact they coexisted. The difficulty of resolving opposing viewpoints is a challenge for all policy relevant science. Although science can indeed support the policy process, there is a peril in not seriously and respectfully considering dissenting viewpoints and alternative hypotheses with controversial policy implications. With respect to acid rain, such dissenting voices contributed to advancing the clarity of the understanding of a complex environmental issue, despite these alternative viewpoints’ being eschewed by some at the time. This shortcoming in the handling of organic acidity has contributed to mistakes in Swedish remediation measures (Bishop 1997) but might be a salutary example that will help avoid mistakes with other environmental issues.”

        ~Erlandsson M, et al. Increasing dissolved organic carbon redefines the extent of surface water acidification and helps resolve a classic controversy. BioScience. V6;N8 (2011)

  41. “The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has arguably set our true understanding of the climate system back at least a decade, in my judgment.”

    I nominate this for best comment of the month (even though it was in the primary post).

    Valid new research can reveal more complexity, thus increasing uncertainty as discussed on the last thread. Whereas a false sense of certainty, as pushed by the IPCC, can lead to invalid research that crowds out the valid.

    garbage out – more garbage in – worse garbage out – even worse garbage in – ….

    Now THERE is a death spiral, for “post-modern” science. Each AR takes us further from the truth by increasingly sacrificing validity of results for perceived political advantage.

  42. When weighing benefits against costs, it is not sufficient to have the benefits large enough to be commensurate with the costs, i.e., to have the benefits approximately equal to the costs. All this means is that the net benefits, that is, the difference between benefits and costs, are zero. But that same result can always be obtained by doing nothing, in which case assuredly the benefits as well as the costs would be zero; hence, the net benefits would also be zero.

  43. This is the never ending topic which I like to characterize as:
    —regarding conflicts of interest in science research.—

    Three years ago on this blog I wrote:
    “Upon completion of the original work, publicly funded scientists must perform the following two tasks before receiving further funding for new research:
    1) replicate another scientific study that they are not affiliated with
    2) have their own research replicated by interested, but unaffiliated scientists”

    Additionally, I also said:
    “I agree that scientists would be uninterested in doing what I’m suggesting, but I don’t believe that publicly funded scientists should necessarily have that much say in how our grant money is spent. :-)”

    Well………..In the last three years I haven’t seen any better suggestions.

    Old comment link:
    http://judithcurry.com/2010/11/04/reversing-the-direction-of-the-positive-feedback-loop-part-ii/#comment-8270

    • > This is the never ending topic [...]

      +1

      PS: I might be biased.

    • It’s a never ending topic because the parameters are embedded in the system.

      a. researchers have to get published to get more money
      b. repeating something that someone else has done already can be considered wasteful of resources
      c. editors are more likely to publish something consistent with existing knowledge, since they think it is more likely to be correct
      d. disagreeing with the “accepted wisdom” on the face of it is considered mistaken
      e. fudging research results has its benefits

      So how does science find mistakes????? Whistleblowers about 20 years later? The only prominent exception I can think of at the moment is cold fusion, where loads of people did the experimental replication to prove it was wrong.

      Wish anyone woudl properly repeat Tyndall…..

  44. The Members of the Constitutional convention did, with the benefit of 2 centuries hindsight excepting some very recent anomalous results, a pretty good job. Perhaps a similar process could rectify science. But first we have to get past Eisenhower’s prescient warning about analogous military/ industrial complexes. That would seem to be the hard funding part, to which as of now I know of no feasible solutions.

  45. Curious George

    How do the models work? Even modelers themselves don’t know – I wrote about my experience with the CAM 5 model here: http://judithcurry.com/2013/06/28/open-thread-weekend-23/
    They disregard a temperature dependence of a latent heat of vaporization of water. They don’t know how it affects the accuracy of their results. But they “scientifically validate” their model anyway. They don’t attempt to correct the model. A bunch of people I just love to spend my tax dollars on.

  46. When I think of Nature Journal, I’m always reminded of Harrison Ford in the Fugitive.

    The big pharma company falsified data to protect profits. Journals like Nature depend on perception of prestige. The journal has clearly taken a position on global warming, has published hundreds of papers which rely on models. Therefore, the Journals reputation is based on the validity of those papers. Publishing a paper which showed that hundreds of other papers were wrong would be very difficult, not because the science is robust (it isn’t), but because the Journal reputation would be eternally damaged.
    If I was selling apples, and I cut the price in half, would you be happy? It would depend on how many overpriced apples you had previously purchased the day before. It would be like you just discovered that big diamond you bought at a very expensive jewelry store was actually made of plastic.

    Thus, Journals such as Nature have played a key role in scientific intimidation, and should be avoided.

    • And here is the AMS statement:

      http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/2012climatechange.html

      More intimidation. Submitting a paper that questioned any of the highly uncertain assumptions made in the AMS statement (and there is quite a few), to a Journal under the AMS umbrella, would be akin to a Greens party candidate trying to join the tea party. Call me a birth-er, but why do these so called “scientific” societies need to put their hand in the policy cookie jar?

      The whole idea of “an inconvenient truth” is that policy should not get in the way of science. I guess activists never let the truth get in the way of their ideology.

  47. Steve Fitzpatrick

    Judith,
    Wow, it almost seems like you get up in the morning to tweak the nose of consensus climate science. Nothing wrong with that, but I suspect you are not making a lot of friends among your peers. What do you think are the strengths of consensus climate science?

    • “What do you think are the strengths of consensus climate science?”

      Less agitated scientists [or at least in regards to the scientists which involved with trying to control "public policy"].

  48. Climate “scientist” : “Wrapping the Earth with an atmosphere containing CO2 will raise its temperature by 33 K. Trust me! I’m wearing a white coat! I have a PhD! I have papers published in prestigious journals! I am paid by the taxpayer!”

    Me : “May I see the results of your experiments. Trust is earned, not commanded, where I come from.”

    Climate “scientist” : “Look at the results of these computer model outputs. I wrote the programs myself, you know. I’m a mathematician.”

    Me: “It seems that all your models produce different outputs. At most, only one can be correct, and you can’t tell me which one it is! May I see the results of an actual experiment?”

    Climate “scientist”: “My colleague Mickey cuts trees into pieces. Would you like to see a piece? They have been nicely polished, you know!”

    Me: “Not really. An experiment demonstrating that surrounding anything at all with CO2 will cause an increase in temperature. How hard can it be? After all, you have a PhD – and a white coat!”

    Climate “scientist”: “You are obviously a sceptic. I don’t have to show you anything. The politicians that fund me don’t require proof. Go away, you obnoxious little man! I have to write another funding submission. I think I’ll propose a paper titled “Its worse than we thought. Really. I know I was wrong last time, but I’m sure I’ll get it right this time. Trust me.””

    Live well and prosper,

    Mike Flynn.

    • “Climate “scientist” : “Wrapping the Earth with an atmosphere containing CO2 will raise its temperature by 33 K. Trust me! I’m wearing a white coat! I have a PhD! I have papers published in prestigious journals! I am paid by the taxpayer!””

      Climate Scientists, on the whole, don’t wear white lab coats because they don’t do wet work. The lab coat protects you from your work and your work from you; it is not a symbol of authority, even though it is used as one.

  49. “The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has arguably set our true understanding of the climate system back at least a decade, in my judgment.”

    Yes. the failure of the IPCC to recognise the om/off nature of climate change has dogged their efforts from the beginning. Their failure to recognise the 1910 to 1940 global temperature rise and the subsequent dramatic fall in temperature from the 1940 peak until 1970, means they missed explaining the climate of a younger, less complex world. They never recovered or acknowledged this mistake. If they had, the present ‘pause’ from 1997 on would have been no surprise and they would have long ago ditched those unvalidated models which failed the replication test.

  50. Dr. Curry writes:

    “And why do these scientists think climate models are fit for these purposes? Why, the IPCC has told them so, with very high confidence. The manufactured consensus of the IPCC has arguably set our true understanding of the climate system back at least a decade, in my judgment.

    The real hard work of fundamental climate dynamics and development and improvement of paleo proxies is being relatively shunned by climate scientists since the rewards (and certainly the funding) are much lower. The amount of time and funding that has been wasted by using climate models for purposes for which that are unfit, may eventually be judged to be colossal.”

    This assessment of the damage done to climate science, to the institution itself and not just its reputation, by the “manufactured consensus of the IPCC” is the best that I have seen. However, I believe that the setback is more likely thirty years. Dr. Curry uses an excellent example: The real hard work of …development and improvement of paleo proxies is being relatively shunned by climate scientists since the rewards (and certainly the funding) are much lower.” It seems clear to me that there are no young scientists today who are researching paleo proxies and who are capable of doing empirical work to validate an individual proxy series or to validate comparisons across proxy series. In fact, if shown the amount of empirical work necessary, they would most likely walk away from it.

    The great need in climate science today is a system of accurate measurement whose techniques are approved by all parties to the debate. Proxies are our only avenue to the past but they are unsuitable in their present state. As for other technologies, the satellites have been up since 1979 and Argo has been underway for about a half dozen years. These areas need serious engagement by empirical scientists.

  51. Climate science is not models in isolation, it includes measured climate change, paleo data, physical theoretical reasoning around energy balances. These have supported each other. If skeptics want to attack paleoscience they should start by explaining things like how it looks like the CO2 feedback amplifies the temperature response in the Ice Ages, why the Eocene was so much warmer than now, how the Triassic got to be so much warmer than the Permian. Normally this has been explained with CO2 levels that correlate well with these changes, rising with injection by volcanoes (or man), and falling slowly with natural sequestration processes (weathering, soil burial, ocean sedimentation). There is a lot in climate science apart from models, but skeptics only want to attack the models, probably because these other branches are harder to slur, but they give sensitivities consistent with the models, and it would be somewhat more a problem for the models, not these areas of science, if they were not consistent.

    • “Climate science is not models in isolation, it includes measured climate change, paleo data, physical theoretical reasoning around energy balances. These have supported each other.”

      Models have proved worthless on their own merits. Paleo data has proved worthless on its own merits. Things that have proved worthless on their own cannot be supported by anything no matter how good. Things that have proved worthless on their own cannot support one another.

      You are on my troll list. No more replies to you.

      • You are free to deny all knowledge of paleoclimate as a defense mechanism. I can’t stop you doing that. My point, that you have just shown, is that there is no substance in this denial.

      • Nice job JimD, now you have gone and done it — you caused a master rhetorician to become flustered.

      • If I have shown what you say then set forth the steps of reasoning. Your brattish and irrelevant reply is proof positive that no one calls you on your assertions. So, your assertions get progressively more outrageous. Heaven help us.

    • “If skeptics want to attack paleoscience they should start by explaining things like how it looks like the CO2 feedback amplifies the temperature response in the Ice Ages”

      Sure, temperatures correlate better with -Log(dust) than for CO2. The changes in atmospheric dust span three orders of magnitude in the ice core record, about 2 orders of magnitude greater than aerosols observed over the last century.
      If the models are correct, and the 91 explosion caused a 0.6 drop in temperature, then dust levels 100 times this would cool the globe by how much?

      • Since the Ice Ages were not caused by volcanoes, you have a chicken and egg problem. The colder earth is more dusty, but that is not the cause of it being colder in the first place. Same with how it gets to warm up by 6-8 C despite the dust at the beginning. That is not the forcing factor, but a response. I haven’t heard the dust theory of how the Ice Ages were so cold before. That is entertaining. Were there any papers on it? I always thought it was more albedo and lack of CO2.

    • Climate sensitivity determined by the Last glacial maximum, let’s say its 3 deg C per doubling of CO2. That allows for a sufficient explanation of the warming that has occurred since LGM, say a total of 5.3 deg C.
      What does that tell you? Can you now explain the ice ages, or can you only explain the segments of warming and cooling?

  52. barn E. rubble

    RE: “Software can also be a problem for would-be replicators. Some code used to analyse data or run models may be the result of years of work and thus precious intellectual property that gives its possessors an edge in future research. Although most scientists agree in principle that data should be openly available, there is genuine disagreement on software.”

    “JC comment: I would certainly be interested in Steve McIntyre’s comments on this subsection, seems like it pretty aptly describes his experiences.”

    I would think the process was predetermined before the data was collected let alone analysed. The code would simply be a ‘better’ (read : faster) way of analyzing the data. How it is that only climatology allows ‘proprietary’ analysis for what should be ‘best practices’; or at least ‘this is how we do it now’ based on what should be common &/or acknowledged data is beyond me. This is something ClimateAudit brought to the forefront of what was really going on within the climatology community. And yet it continues. Tamino apparently has been able to show how 100′s or 1000′s of IPCC contributing authors were wrong (based on one graph they all had agreed to) with a simple adjustment – after the fact. I’m certain Tamino (and NobelNOT Michael Mann) could find an up-tick from the data we have from the start of the last ice age to it’s peak. But again, that would be after the fact.

    To be clear: there is proprietary code/software for analyzing any commodity (like, mining) or for any financial/stock investment. However, the process and rules are in place. Replicating results is not a software issue. Replicating results is not a data issue.And when results can’t be replicated it isn’t often a software or data issue.

  53. Retrograde Orbit

    Hmm, an editorial?
    Not even the paper itself, eh?
    So we are saying scientific research is mostly false, but editorials in the Economist are always, 100% the sacrosanct truth?
    Did I hear anybody say gullible???

  54. Retrograde Orbit

    The interesting part though is that there is actually a paper.
    I am wondering: A scientific research paper claims that scientific research has generally poor quality. Let us assume that is true but – does that apply the that research paper itself? If so, then the claim of that paper is probably false as well. Thus we must conclude that scientific research papers aren’t all that bad.
    But wait that is a contradiction with our initial assumption.
    And so the universe disappears with a puff and we are all sent to Nirvana …

  55. Retrograde Orbit

    Also, if it is true that scientific research is often false, doesn’t that apply to Judith Curry’s research as well? And McIntyre’s? And Roy Spencer’s? And the Stadium Wave paper?
    The article says somewhere that researchers should be more skeptical towards their own conclusions. I could not agree more. But that doesn’t just apply to proponents of AGW, it applies to skeptics just as well.

  56. I wager it would be hard work to come up with a short list of adequately replicated CS findings in the last few decades. Yet we’re assured that extinction-level choices depend on them. Yikes!

  57. Judith, instead of changing everything about the way scientific papers are generated, published and consumed, perhaps it would be easier to change “academic evaluation (promotion, tenure, salary). This is something you could champion, given your permission. If orgainzations quite being blind to or rewarding this type of behavior, it is likely to change.

    • I’d suggest we need to replace IPCC with an organisation who has the skills to organise the science in a way that can support due diligence. Relevant science will have to be presented in a way that can be accessed and all the data must be able to be readily accessed. I suggested on another thread that the way the information to support the Canadian Nuclear Fuel Waste Management Program http://www.nwmo.ca/home?language=en_CA has been structured may provide a useful example to follow. The data is accessible, and structured in a way that is appropriate for access in adversarial proceedings. That is what is needed, IMO.

  58. IPCC lost every credibility, including the ones that take what comes from IPCC as a gospel

  59. “Peer review’s multiple failings would matter less if science’s self-correction mechanism—replication—was in working order.”

    I think it depends on which particular field you are working in.
    Example 1
    PCR, the polymerase chain reaction, is performed every day by machines in a huge number of laboratories all round the world. The first replications of the original experiment could probably be done in hours or days. It was too useful to not be checked, either explicitly, or implicitly as it is every day.

    Example 2
    The alleged experiment, for want of a better phrase, of AGW is only being performed once, if that. And performed over a time period of decades to centuries. It cannot be replicated (and I doubt some of the practitioners would want it to be). No control experiments.
    The necessary reliance on computer modeling is an obvious corollary, as is (or should be) the importance and quality of the predictions they make. Looking at the evasive way the IPCC SPM disguises the failure to make meaningfully ‘correct’ predictions suggests that the authors actually have either close to zero knowledge of, or close to zero interest interest in, science. When the data falsifies the predictions, there is already a new set of predictions ready to roll off the production line. And on it goes. Perhaps programs will soon be able to write the paper too. Usefulness? Certainly useful for the authors, but who else? IPCC models can’t replicate each other.

    Another issue: Many will be aware of the lower cost of purely modeling as compared to real science. What I rarely see pointed out is that this can also allow researchers to effectively generate results, and hence potential “science” publications, almost at will once a program exists. The apparent productivity of the researcher is thus enhanced by use of computer models because there are no time and cost limitations imposed by physical experimentation. (It doesn’t cost Microsoft much to generate one more copy of Windows for sale either.)

  60. Ironically enough, had any bona fide verification been applied to Marcia Wyatt’s thesis, there would have been no cheers accompanying the conjectured “stadium wave.” The following table shows the squared coherence in the two lowest-frequency (multidecadal) frequency bands and the relative lag (in years) indicated by the cross-spectral phase for available high-latitude NH stations wrt to the aggregate-average yearly temperature variations along the Siberian littoral:
    Murmansk .96 .56 2.3
    Vardo .25 .19 3.1
    Akureyri .51 .43 4.3
    Jan Mayen .81 .57 3.0
    Godthab .24 .33 10.8
    Clyde .15 .11 12.8
    Pr. Albert .49 .31 -2.5
    Dawson .38 .17 -2.9
    Fairbanks .09 .09 -8.9
    Barrow .87 .73 -1.2
    St. Paul .28 .16 -4.8
    Nikolskoe .36 .36 -13.4
    Anadyr .52 .31 1.5

  61. With apologies for the table compression imposed by WordPress, I ask what sort of “wave” can account for the spotty coherence and inconsistent lags, which turn into leads (negative lags) mid-way through Canada, clearly evident here?

  62. A little comic relief. In the black pots and kettles department, I noticed this hilarious blog post in the Economist while I was there looking at those articles. Look at Figure 2 in particular:

    http://www.economist.com/blogs/freeexchange/2013/09/working-hours

    Gosh. L is negatively related to Y/L? Who would’ve guessed.

  63. Modern scientists are doing too much trusting and not enough verifying.

    And not looking closely enough at who is PAYING for the research being trusted.

  64. No.
    Verify, and don’t bother to trust.
    (Except maybe for undergraduates).

    And there should be equal kudos for those who disprove.

  65. Making the paymasters care

    Where a paymaster has a vested interest in what the science says, there is obviously an inherent problem in getting that paymaster to care about objectivity.

    And where only one paymaster exists in a given field, and who has a huge vested interest, this problem multiplies, perhaps even becoming insurmountable.

    Now close to 100% of climate science is state-funded – the scientists, the academics, the projects, the funding agencies, the journals and their editors and peer-reviewers. And of course the state stands to reap untold gains from an acceptance of the Dangerous/Catastrophic AGW doctrines it now produces. This is the widely ignored elephant in the room here, in the light of which Climategate is far from surprising.

    So – how can government climate science ever be made to prioritise honesty and objectivity? So far, only the blogosphere seems to offer any hope.

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