US Climate Variability and Predictability Program Science Plan

by Judith Curry

The US CLIVAR Program has published a Science plan that provides a roadmap for the next 15 years [link].

The US CLIVAR program goalsUS CLIVAR is a US national research program investigating the variability and predictability of the global climate system on seasonal, interannual, decadal and centennial timescales, with a particular emphasis on the role the ocean plays in climate variability. 

From the Executive Summary of the Science Plan:

The solid progress made over the last 15 years calls for a review and an update of the original terms of reference for US CLIVAR. This Science Plan updates the goals and priorities of US CLIVAR in light of the achievements to date. Additionally, the Science Plan articulates important implementation activities to expand upon US CLIVAR’s core research to target specific Research Challenges that emphasize strengthened ties to the broader Earth science community and relevance to societal impacts. As such, the Science Plan provides a guidebook for the maintenance and development of scientific activities during the lifetime of the program.

For a flavor of the topics covered, consider this excerpt from the Table of Contents:

Chapter 3. Fundamental Science Questions

  • 3.1 What processes are critical for climate variability and change in the ocean?
  • 3.2 What are the connections and feedbacks of oceanic climate variability to other components of the Earth’s climate system?
  • 3.3 How predictable is the climate on different time and space scales?
  • 3.4 What determines regional expressions of climate variability and change?

Chapter 4. Goals

  • 4.1 Goal 1: Understand the role of the oceans in observed climate variability on different timescales
  • 4.2 Goal 2: Understand the processes that contribute to climate variability and change in the past, present, and future
  • 4.3 Goal 3: Better quantify uncertainty in the observations, simulations, predictions, and projections of climate variability and change
  • 4.4 Goal 4: Improve the development and evaluation of climate simulations and predictions
  • 4.5 Goal 5: Collaborate with research and operational communities that develop and use climate information

Chapter 5. Research Challenges

  • 5.1 Decadal variability and predictability
  • 5.2 Climate extremes
  • 5.3 Polar climate changes
  • 5.4 Climate and marine carbon/biogeochemistry

Chapter 6. Cross-Cutting Strategies

  • 6.1 Sustained and new observations
  • 6.2 Process studies
  • 6.3 Model development strategies
  • 6.4 Quantifying improvements in predictions and projections
  • 6.5 Communication of climate research

JC comments:  Read the report, its easy reading with some good background info on key climate issues (albeit with a fair amount of programmatic stuff).  Overall a very good job on this report, highlighting what we know and recent accomplishments, targeting the key challenges and uncertainties, and provide a road map for moving forward.

This document gives a very different flavor than the AR5 report, with its high confidence levels.   I find the format of the CLIVAR report to be very useful for a multi-decadal science program, and far more useful and confidence inspiring for decision makers that a series of reports (e.g. IPCC) that essentially say the same thing but with increasing confidence levels. There are some decreased confidence levels in AR5 relative to AR4, but you need to go back to AR4 to identify these differences; doing so then gives the impression that the IPCC tends to be overconfident in their conclusions.

While the target audience for the CLIVAR report is primarily the decision makers that fund science, I think this format for a report (which is really an assessment and strategic planning doc) would be useful for the broader population of policy makers.  Your thoughts on the best way to convey our understanding to policy makers about climate change in context of periodic assessment reports?

119 responses to “US Climate Variability and Predictability Program Science Plan

  1. Will it differentiate between the different hemispheres?

  2. “I find the format of the CLIVAR report to be very useful for a multi-decadal science program, and far more useful and confidence inspiring for decision makers that [than?] a series of reports (e.g. IPCC) that essentially say the same thing but with increasing confidence levels”

    I really can’t see this being at all useful, let alone ‘confidence inspiring’ for decision makers.

    • The IPCC Reports are better for the simple-minded Michael.

      IPCC: “We have 125% confidence the world is warming despite the lack for warming for the last 15 years (which we buried in an obscure appendix).

    • Walter Carlson

      Judith..thank you for providing a link to a most helpful site for learning what real scientists are discovering and establishing.
      WC

    • Of course its useful.

    • I don’t know what you keep on going on about Sunshine, but NOAA, Hadcrut4, UAH, GISS, and BEST all show warming since 1998, only RSS shows a cooling trend.

      The vote is in, still warming.

    • bob, is it warmer than 1998 now?

    • A gentle, unconcerning, probably natural, possibly beneficial warming that could also easily be called flatlining – a situation entirely unexpected by every climate drone and every one of their models.

    • It does not have to be warmer than 1998 today. It was as warm as 1998 in 2002, and warmer than 1998 in 2005 and in 2010. Most of the years in the 200os were much warmer than the years in the 1990s.

    • JCH, it isn’t 2005 or 2010 anymore. And .01 or .02C are pretty trivial anyway. And it is barely warmer than 1944 or 1878 for that matter.

    • Mikey means that it not useful for the cause, Mosher.

    • No honest data shows any significant warming since 1998.

    • John Carpenter

      Uhhh, so what’s ‘honest’ data?

    • warming to 2010.33, and where we are now

      ENSO neutral is warming at .5C per decade, and ENSO neutral is predicted to continue into spring 2014.

    • Natural variation is currently so weak that a calendar year of ENSO neutral could easily produce the hottest year in the instrument record.

      The AMO is losing steam

      The south side of natural variation is not dominating CO2; CO2 is dominating natural variation.

      The 20th century looked like this:

      DOWN/ UP/ sort of down/ UP

      The 21st Century will look like this:

      token FLAT/ way UP/ sort of up/ way way UP

    • 21st Century will be freezing cold. Quiet Sun. AMO going negative.

      Millions will freeze to death.

    • “sunshinehours1 | December 6, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

      21st Century will be freezing cold. Quiet Sun. AMO going negative.

      Millions will freeze to death.”

      Millions froze to death in 20th century.

      I don’t expect much change in global temperature next few decades.
      But I imagine we will get better at measurements of global conditions
      in the 21 century, as compared to 20th century.
      And assuming we get better measurements [and with less unwarranted adjustments] and particularly with more satellite measurements, then global temperature will more or less continue in same range.

      If the 21st Century would be freezing cold, then this suggest glaciers
      will begin to significantly advance within the next decades, but instead I expect that glaciers created in the Little Ice Age will continue to retreat or
      not advance significantly.
      Or I see no reason why we should not continue the century long recovery from LIA period.

      It seems to me that that sun’s activity in 20th century may or not be equal any effect from the rise in global CO2, and any decrease in regard to the sun activity in 21 Century will likewise probably have a fairly small effect.

      But it does seem that lowering sun activity plus simply more of a time period to assess global temperatures will make it easier not to mistake small trends in temperature record as beginning of some imagined longer trend.

  3. There is a lot to learn. Nice to see the repairman examining the channel knob instead of just continuously messing around with the fine tuning. I think a lot will be learned in the upcoming decades should the AMO go negative as recent estimates on poleward heat transport indicate it is in the process of doing.

    • AMO is interesting. If I’m not wrong, even the AGW convinced and the consensus expect AMO to go negative soon (next decade or two). It makes sense, otherwise what kind of an oscillation is that, if it doesn’t oscillate? So, the oscillatory behavior of a regional SST (N. Atlantic) is acknowledged and accepted.

      However, if this detrended NA SST index is compared to global (or any other such as NH, SH, land…) indices, there’s NO significant difference (instead of hadcrut4 you can take any land or SST, land, hemispheric index).
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/plot/esrl-amo/trend:0.8/plot/hadcrut4gl/detrend:0.765/plot/hadcrut4gl/detrend:0.765/trend

      So why the cognitive dissonance? Why it is not acknowledged that global temperatures oscillate?

    • For the AMO to go negative, the temperature has to go negative. No guarantee that is going to happen.

    • No guarantee, I have to agree, but very likely that the AMO will continue oscillating. Doesn’t it mean global temperature too. They have been going in step so far.

    • “For the AMO to go negative, the temperature has to go negative.”

      The AMO winter months peaked a few years ago. The AMO always has gone negative and always will.

      http://sunshinehours.wordpress.com/?attachment_id=3157

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘It is this low-frequency portion of the record that contains information about an important
      multidecadal mode of variability that extends into the modern, industrial era. Wu et al. (7, 8) pointed out the importance of this
      mode in the modern global temperature record with a period of 65 y: If it is interpreted as natural and related to the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO) (9
      – 12), then the trend attributed to anthropogenic warming should be significantly reduced after ∼ 1980, when the AMO was in a rising phase. However, if it is forced by time-varying aerosol loadings, it should properly be interpreted as part of an accelerating anthropogenic trend. We argue that the former is true, using information from the preindustrial era…

      The anthropogenic warming
      started after the mid-19th century of Industrial Revolution. After
      a slow start, the smoothed version of the warming trend has
      stayed almost constant since 1910 at 0.07

      0.08 °C/decade.
      Superimposed on the secular trend is a natural multidecadal
      oscillation of an average period of 70 y with signi
      fi
      cant amplitude
      of 0.3

      0.4 °C peak to peak, which can explain many historical
      episodes of warming and cooling and accounts for 40% of the oobserved warming since the mid-20th century and for 50% of the previously attributed anthropogenic warming trend (55). Be-
      cause this large multidecadal variability is not random, but likely recurrent based on its past behavior, it has predictive value. Not taking the AMO into account in predictions of future warming under various forcing scenarios may run the risk of over-estimating the warming for the next two to three decades, when the AMO is likely in its down phase’
      http://depts.washington.edu/amath/research/articles/Tung/journals/Tung_and_Zhou_2013_PNAS.pdf

      The modes last 20 to 40 years – so the positive mode seems likely to last a while yet. The last AMO rising phase persisted from about 1980 to late in the century – in the familiar temporal pattern. Followed by what should be a decline for 20 to 40 years.

      This implies that VP’s trendology is just plain wrong and webby’s empirical deconstruction is utter nonsense.

  4. This document gives a very different flavor than the AR5 report, with its high confidence levels.

    There are clearly very different ways of reading AR5 WG1 material. Some see too high confidence levels in it, while others think that such confidence levels are presented only for conclusions that deserve them.

    Another completely different question is, how sufficient the points deserving high confidence levels are for policy conclusions noting that they by themselves prove little on the severity or even sign of the consequences.

    Take the best known example concerning the human contribution to the warming since 1950. It appears, indeed, extremely likely that more than half of that is of anthropogenic origin, but half of that is so little warming that it should not be a cause to worry.

    What is a cause to worry are the not unlikely situations and consequences that go beyond that little warming.

    We seem to have two groups of people who see IPCC WG1 as highly confident: Those who use the conclusion to support strong policies, and those who dislike IPCC from the other side. Those in-between may be more happy with the cautious wording of the report.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Pekka,
      While I do not disagree that POSSIBLY more than half of warming since 1950 MAY be of anthropogenic origin, I do not see any real supporting evidence for that claim. In fact, with the present lack of continued warming, a much stronger case can be made that much lass than half is likely, and that natural trends account for most of the variation. If you can quote any evidence that supports the claim for more than half of the warming, I would like to see it.

    • The required climate sensitivity (or more accurately climate response at the relevant time scale) is at least 0.9 C. In my view there’s really enough evidence for that from multiple sources, enough to justify 95% confidence.

    • ” It appears, indeed, extremely likely that more than half of that is of anthropogenic origin, but half of that is so little warming that it should not be a cause to worry.”

      However, although the majority of people accept that doubling atmospheric CO2 will cause at least a 1 degree rise in temperature, AGW, this ‘consensus’ position is presented as a belief in cAGW, where it is claimed that humanity is on the verge of an extinction level event, and so go as far as to state that many parts of the planet will become uninhabitable for mammals.

    • Pekka, you write ” In my view there’s really enough evidence for that from multiple sources, enough to justify 95% confidence.”

      Fair enough. In my view, until climate sensitivity has actually been measured, no-one has a clue what the value is. Any number anyone states is merely a guess.

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Pekka,
      Please show how 0.9C is derived. I agree that CO2 alone, with no other effects would likely have 1C to 1.2C sensitivity, but I have seen no feedback results that show the actual net value would be far from zero. Since CO2 continues to rise, and the temperature is not, using a cherry picked period (1970 to 2000 or so) as support is not reasonable.

    • Pekka,
      “What is a cause to worry are the not unlikely situations and consequences that go beyond that little warming”. You seem to be taking or describing a moderate position given your context. Is your concern that this is not a sufficiently moderate to find consensus? It seems your pretty close mainstream on this point?

  5. There is hope for progress if the study will encourage scientists to identify natural variability. P

  6. They lost me on page 2 with this:

    The ability
    of the ocean to store tremendous amounts of heat and CO2 has
    mitigated some of the global warming that we may otherwise
    have experienced. However, it seems the oceans do not do
    this uniformly in space or time, and the ability of the ocean to
    continue to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere at present rates is
    not likely to continue.

    Contrary to how this is written there is no compelling evidence the ocean is mitigating anthropogenic global warming and there is no evidence to suggest the ocean is unlikely to continue absorbing CO2.

    This is just more bandwagon science propaganda. It isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

    • It’s a shame. I thought it started well, with the title sounding unusually measured, neutral, and non-alarmist.

    • Walter Carlson

      David…while you are considering the effect of increasing CO2 on the ocean, please note the effect of increasing acidity on coral, worldwide. Some oceanographers report severe decline in coral reefs due to increased acidity.

    • Matthew R Marler

      David Springer, quoting the report: The ability of the ocean to store tremendous amounts of heat and CO2 has mitigated some of the global warming that we may otherwise have experienced.

      I think their use of the word “may” in that sentence comports with your assertion that there is “no compelling evidence” that the ocean has in fact “mitigated” anything. The sentence needs an additional “may”, as in “may have mitigated” in place of “has mitigated”, in order to be completely coherent.

      Clearly the authors believe that there has been some anthropogenic CO2-induced warming. I don’t think that undermines the report very much. The specific points are judiciously expressed, as in (p 19): “It is of great concern that model adjustments to ‘tune’ poorly-known parameters continue to negatively influence our assessment of climate sensitivity.” That’s a point many people here have written, while some others have denied any tuning at all (with and without scare quotes.) The authors go on to list some of the consequences of our lack of a good estimate of climate sensitivity.

      I’d recommend that you read more of the report before giving it a negative evaluation. Same to everyone else.

    • David Springer
      I see this much like you see this.

  7. @David Springer

    Thank you.

    Another financial rat hole through which the ProgressivePolitician/ClimateScience/Environmental self-licking ice cream cone can launder OPM in support of the Prime Axiom of Climate Science. And themselves, of course.

  8. Type B Uncertainty blindspot
    The Type B error can be comparable to Type A. Yet the report has no mention of “Type B” uncertainty. It has just a passing reference to systematic bias (Ch 5 p 37):

    For example, while models can approximate the large-scale environment associated with heat waves, important properties of the near-surface temperature field are lacking in an absolute sense, if not also
    in a relative sense (accounting for systematic model bias).

    See the BIPM international guidelines:
    GUM: Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement
    Evaluation of measurement data – Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement JCGM 100:2008 PDF (GUM 1995 with minor corrections); or HTML version at JCGM

    JCGM 100 – Evaluation of measurement data – Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement (ISO/IEC Guide 98-3)
    JCGM 101 – Evaluation of measurement data – Supplement 1 to the “Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement” – Propagation of distributions using a Monte Carlo method (ISO/IEC Guide 98-3-1)
    JCGM 104 – Evaluation of measurement data – An introduction to the “Guide to the expression of uncertainty in measurement” (ISO/IEC Guide 98-1)

    E.1 “Safe”, “random”, and “systematic”
    E.1.1 This Guide presents a widely applicable method for evaluating and expressing uncertainty in measurement. It provides a realistic rather than a “safe” value of uncertainty based on the concept that there is no inherent difference between an uncertainty component arising from a random effect and one arising from a correction for a systematic effect (see 3.2.2 and 3.2.3). The method stands, therefore, in contrast to certain older methods that have the following two ideas in common.

    E.1.2 The first idea is that the uncertainty reported should be “safe” or “conservative”, meaning that it must never err on the side of being too small. In fact, because the evaluation of the uncertainty of a measurement result is problematic, it was often made deliberately large.

    E.1.3 The second idea is that the influences that give rise to uncertainty were always recognizable as either “random” or “systematic” with the two being of different natures; the uncertainties associated with each were to be combined in their own way and were to be reported separately (or when a single number was required, combined in some specified way). In fact, the method of combining uncertainties was often designed to satisfy the safety requirement.

    See also: Uncertainty of Measurement Results NIST

    The information on evaluating and expressing measurement uncertainty within this reference is adapted from NIST Technical Note 1297. The publication TN 1297, prepared by B.N. Taylor and C.E. Kuyatt and entitled Guidelines for Evaluating and Expressing the Uncertainty of NIST Measurement Results, is in turn based on the comprehensive International Organization for Standardization (ISO) publication, Guide to the Expression of Uncertainty in Measurement. Users may access TN 1297 online in a pdf version or in an html version, or order it at no charge for postal delivery. They may also purchase the ISO Guide.

    The IPCC’s doubling of uncertainty in AR5 to cover the “pause” is a first step in recognizing the very large Type B uncertainties in current GCM models. See especially figures in Steve McIntyre’s discussion under: Fixing the Facts;
    Fixing the Facts 2; and Cotwan and Way

    Contrast the difference between IPCC’s and Nicola Scafetta’s analyses and models. e.g.
    Scafetta, N. 2013. Discussion on climate oscillations: CMIP5 general circulation models versus a semi-empirical harmonic model based on astronomical cycles. Earth-Science Reviews 126, 321-357.
    DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2013.08.008. PDF

    Astronomical Climate Model vs IPCC’s

    • Teddi | December 5, 2013 at 9:11 am |

      Also from the same author: AIDS is safe, there’s no need to do anything about it (http://nypost.com/2008/07/03/a-myth-that-kills/) because it only affects ‘well-defined groups’.

      How someone gets to be an expert on both climate and disease (and apparently tobacco not causing cancer, manufacturing defects not affecting cars, and a host of other things this lawyer with a BA in political science has written about from his positions with multiple industry-funded mouthpiece organizations is not very difficult to understand. He takes his clients’ money, and *poof* he’s an expert.

    • David Springer

      New York Times and Publisher’s Weekly have high praise for Fumento.

      What exactly does Bart find not factual about the A Myth That Kills article? It’s an established fact there’s only a diminishingly small number of HIV infections outside high risk groups such as intravenous d-rug users who share needles, hom-os-exuals, prostitutes, and regionally in Africa among heterosexuals because of the high prevalence of rape. Again, these are facts no supposition. Since there no other links to anything Fumento was wrong about I will assume they are similarly fictional just as Bart’s objection about Fumento and AIDS was based on a fiction.

  9. Leonard Weinstein

    From the executive summary statement “The solid progress made over the last 15 years “, I get the impression they think solid progress has been made. Please tell me what progress? They surely could not be talking about climate models, or hockey sticks, or truth telling on conferences.

    • An example might be ARGO.

      I was tempted to quote the movie, but we’re supposed to be civil.

      ARGO is progress, and obviously much of what they want to do in the future would not be possible without it.

  10. Don’t forget to note that Dr. Curry’s comment is drivel also.

    Andrew

    • David L. Hagen

      Bad Andrew
      Can you rise to civilized scientific discussion. If not, please go drool somewhere else and stop wasting precious communicative bandwith!

    • David Springer

      It was a single line, David, whereas you expanded it into several more lines in a tedious complaint belaboring the obvious. Does any part of your rational mind really think your admonition will move Andrew one iota in a different direction? Try not feeding the trolls if they bother you.

  11. “Additionally, the Science Plan articulates important implementation activities to expand upon US CLIVAR’s core research to target specific Research Challenges that emphasize strengthened ties to the broader Earth science community and relevance to societal impacts. As such, the Science Plan provides a guidebook for the maintenance and development of scientific activities during the lifetime of the program.”

    Tedious, governmental double-speak.

    Bleh.

  12. Leonard Weinstein

    Since oceans cooled over periods of about 100,000 years during the recent glacial period, it is not surprising that they would warm continually (but slowly), on average, during the present interglacial, possibly except during relatively short cooling periods such as the LIA, or even the cooling between 1942 and 1970. Saying the slowdown or stopping of surface warming is caused by the warming of the ocean eating the excess energy is thus not supportable. It seems reasonable that as long as the (relatively short) interglacial continues, the oceans would slowly continue to warm.

    • Why do you think that oceans warmed during the present interglacial? As far as I know, oceans cooled since the Holocene peak (~8,000 years ago).

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Edam,
      There are only two causes of sea level rise, melting land ice and ocean warming (ignoring uplifting or subsistence of sea floor). As far as I have read, data shows a general trend upwards, with some periods of reversal, over the Holocene. The LIA and other cooler periods likely had significant reversal, and shorter periods also some. However, you need to realize the very long and cold glacial periods made the average ocean colder than likely equilibrium level even for relative cooler portions of the Holocene. Only fairly rapid cooling likely reversed the trend for a while, with both land ice increase and some ocean cooling. While the largest rise rate during the Holocene was likely 8,000 years ago (but not nearly as large as going into the Holocene), the rise continued at mixed speeds (with some reversals) as a continued recovery from the glacial cooling effects in the deep ocean.

  13. “It seems reasonable that as long as the (relatively short) interglacial continues, the oceans would slowly continue to warm.”

    I continue to wonder why people aren’t more worried about the end of the interglacial. Aren’t we just about due? I mean, if people want something to worry about, that is if they’re bound and determined to feel frightened, wouldn’t this be a better candidate? My house in Massachusetts would be buried under a mile of ice. How does that stack up, on a scale of 1-10 on the fear-o-meter…. vs. a couple of degrees warmer weather?

    • Because this happens over thousands of years? However, we will see people change their tune if it starts cooling a bit over the next ten years.
      IF the time over which the climate models suck ass (is that the scientifically correct way of saying that?) stretches out to 25-30 years and the Arctic cools a bit so that the scare stories aren’t so scary, a lot of people will become very skeptical and most of the climate scientists will change their tune as well at least for the short term and this will change predictions out to 2100 as well. Cyclical models will become more popular for sure.

    • Walt Allensworth

      pokerguy – absolutely right. Warmer wetter weather and longer growing season with higher C02 content in the air (fertilizer) is a far more palatable alternative for humanity than a plunge back into an extended glacial period, for which we are about due.

      see: http://muller.lbl.gov/pages/IceAgeBook/history_of_climate.html

      Talk about a world-wide crisis! What if global temperatures went back to ‘normal’ which appears to be about 5C cooler than now? (Figure 1-5 of above reference).

      A quote from the reference… “These data should frighten you. All of civilization developed during the last interglacial, and the data show that such interglacials are very brief. Our time looks about up. ”

      Of course, this is precisely what the Global Cooling scare in the 1970′s was all about. AND – based on the past history of this planet probably a whole lot more likely a scenario than runaway warming from this point forward.

      I’ll take an ice-free arctic vs. a mile of ice burying NYC every single time.

    • David Springer

      I don’t suppose there’s any way to have an ice free arctic AND have NYC buried under a mile of ice at the same time is there? Alas, there’s no such thing as a free lunch…

    • I don’t suppose there’s any way to have an ice free arctic AND have NYC buried under a mile of ice at the same time is there?

      Yes there is. We would need warmer and higher oceans but That is EXACTLY how The Polar Ice Cycles Work!

      The major ice sheets that did cover NYC under a mile of ice did form from snowfall that came from and was triggered by an ice free arctic when there was much more water in the oceans.

      It snows more when oceans are warm and wet and it snows less when oceans are cold and frozen!

    • Leonard Weinstein

      Herman Alexander Pope,
      NO!! When large glaciers formed during the glacial periods, the sea level dropped to about 300 feet lower than present (much less water in oceans, more on land glaciers). Large areas of land were exposed on what is now continental shelves off shore. It is true that snow formed the glaciers, but it was the lower temperature during summers, that failed to melt the previous snows, that allowed accumulations to build. The poles were frozen and the added snow and glaciers reflected sunlight so the absorbed solar energy decreased. Due to lower temperature, less water vapor was in the air, and this decreased the greenhouse absorption effect. The trigger for the process is not fully understood, but planetary tilt and orbit were likely factors, and accumulating ice a feedback.

    • I continue to wonder why people aren’t more worried about the end of the interglacial.
      This does seem to a strange phenomena given the history. Good point.

  14. Compared to the IPCC, CLIVAR comes across as a balanced approach to understanding the climate. Sure they have some statements that skeptics would not agree to but I didn’t see anything that I considered alarmist or blatant advocacy. To answer Judith’s question: Stick to observable facts, be clear about uncertainties, stay away from emotional appeals (ie children, grand children), check your politics at the door, use caution and objectivity when providing future climate scenarios, and don’t dumb down or over-simplify the material. I am not a policy maker but my job requires me to make decisions everyday. Good objective data is my best friend.

  15. Reading through this document is an interesting experience. There is a lot of information useful to anyone interested in climate factors. On the other hand, the authors assume up front Global warming driven by rising CO2 emissions. Only buried in the text are the numerous unknowns and uncertainties requiring research and analysis. Not a surprising stance for people seeking support and funding for such research: affirm the reigning paradigm and get support to bolster it.

    1) Various alarms are sounded to indicate the urgency of doing the research. For example (among many others):

    “Earth has warmed over the last century owing to increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. Further warming is likely to continue over the next decades and centuries even with attempts to mitigate anthropogenic impacts.” Page 19

    “The ability of the ocean to store tremendous amounts of heat and CO2 has
    mitigated some of the global warming that we may otherwise have experienced. However, it seems the oceans do not do this uniformly in space or time, and the ability of the ocean to continue to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere at present rates is not likely to continue.” page 2

    “The absorption of heat at high latitudes is considered to be a primary cause of dramatic losses in sea ice, which may be partly responsible for recent increases in midlatitude extreme weather and climate events. The absence of reflective ice will certainly be responsible for enhanced global warming in the future. At the same time, heating of the ocean leads to thermal expansion and a significant contribution to sea level rise.” page 2

    “The partitioning of anthropogenic CO 2 between the atmosphere and the ocean has profound implications for future warming and for ocean Acidification.” Page 21

    “The societal importance of understanding the response of the ice sheets to polar climate change is difficult to overestimate: melting of all present-day ice sheets have a potential to raise sea level by ~65 m (Lemke et al., 2007), and globally ~150 million people live in coastal areas within 1 m of present-day sea level (Rowley et al., 2007).” Page 39

    2) In the details one finds the unknowns and uncertainties, For example:

    “The current generation of climate models does not consistently
    replicate the frequency spectrum associated with different modes of decadal variability (Furtado et al. 2011)…It is suspected that inaccurate variability stems from the difficulty in accurately modeling many processes in models. Particularly troublesome are the representation of mixing in the upper ocean, clouds and aerosols, future ozone concentrations, modeling regions of weak vertical stratification in the ocean, and ocean-sea ice interactions (e.g., Booth et al. 2012).” page 19

    “However, uncertainty remains about the magnitude and rapidity of the warming in response to a given increase in greenhouse gases, and what types of changes in climate variability will accompany such warming.” page 19

    “It is of great concern that model adjustments to “tune” poorly-known parameters continue to negatively influence our assessment of climate sensitivity (e.g., Kiehl 2007). The uncertainty in climate sensitivity also limits prediction of many aspects of climate change, such as the occurrence of heat
    waves, droughts, and floods.” page 19

    “An overall assessment of the key causes of, and large-scale influences on, extreme short-term precipitation for the United States, however, has not yet been made. . .
    The causes of temperature extremes (heat waves and cold outbreaks) are not fully understood. . .
    The significant gaps in our basic understanding of the causes
    of climate extremes are limiting our ability to make physically based predictions and projections.” page 37

    “Despite their importance, polar regions are inadequately observed, a consequence of the logistical challenges of data collection there. This scarcity has hampered our ability to understand, model, and predict the influence of polar climate change on the overall Earth system.” Page 38

    “The differing evolution of ice extent in the two hemispheres is undoubtedly related to the different geographical configurations at the two poles. However, determining the specific mechanisms driving the trends in each hemisphere
    is still an open research question.” Page 40

    “Uncertainty in the fate of the oceanic carbon sink
    is a major source of uncertainty in understanding future climate,
    due to the number of processes and the time and spatial scales
    involved (Orr et al. 2001).” Page 42

    My takeaway is that the science is far from settled, and the CO2 Global Warming belief has yet to be proven scientifically.

    • David Springer

      Translation (nutshell version):

      Scary climate change is happening. Humans are likely responsible. We don’t know quite how scary and how responsible. Please send more money so we can learn more. Thanks in advance.

    • The absence of reflective ice will certainly be responsible for enhanced global warming in the future.

      The absence of polar sea ice is what lets the oceans provide moisture for snow that halts the warming and sea level rise.
      EVERY time that earth has warmed a little bit in the past ten thousand years, it snowed more and then got colder.
      The temperature that Polar Sea Ice Melts and Freezes is the Set Point that controls if snow falls or if snow does not fall. Ice Extent and Albedo always increase after the snows that fall in warm wet times and Ice Extent and Albedo always decrease after the snowfall stops in the cold frozen times.

      LOOK AT ACTUAL DATA! Climate People do not understand the Polar Ice Cycles. Temperature and Sea Level are more tightly bounded in the most recent ten thousand years because the Polar Ice Cycle is perfected now and it was not before.

  16. What I likely most was that they clearly laid out their goals and that those goals seems reasonable.

  17. Say, speaking of balance and the IPCC AR5 WG1, http://mediamatters.org/research/2013/10/10/study-media-sowed-doubt-in-coverage-of-un-clima/196387 claims there’s a problem.

    Do you see a problem?

    • It’s easy to see all kind of problems in the media coverage. Some may see them as in that article. I dislike the most common expression from the other side as the report does not support the statement given in that article as the real message:

      the climate science community is more certain than ever that humans are the major driver of climate change

      In have discussed with many supporters of main stream view and they have been essentially unanimous on the observation that nothing changed in that respect with the new report. The confidence on more than 50% human contribution was raised from 90% to 95% by making the statement weaker (the longer period increases the expected contribution from anthropogenic sources, while the plateau kept the total temperature rise unmodified).

      The overall evidence is more extensive and I would personally consider it stronger than before. The report itself or the more general public discussion does, however, not support, in my view, the claim that the science community is more certain than before. The contrary is more likely to be true.

      As the report produced very little substantially new, there’s nothing strange or wrong in the fact that the controversies got more attention in the media. The task of the media is not to simply distribute, what IPCC tells.

    • Part of the linked articles argument is that since doubters are only 3% of Scientists, they should only get 3% of the news coverage. Words to that effect.

    • Part of the linked articles argument is that since doubters are only 3% of Scientists, they should only get 3% of the news coverage.

      The reason there are only 3% of Consensus Climate Scientists who are doubters is that they kick them out of the clique as soon as they detect doubt. The reason there remains 3% is that they can’t locate and kick them out fast enough. As their numbers continue to get smaller, this will become easier and they will approach or achieve 100%.

      This peer reviewed consensus science is not science. It is a Climate Religion. You must remain Skeptical to be a Scientist.

    • the claim that the science community is more certain than before. The contrary is more likely to be true.

      The Consensus Climate Community kicks people who doubt, out. They are more certain because the people who doubt don’t count anymore.

      their community is growing smaller and more certain.

  18. I agree with Dr. Curry that the report is much better than the IPCC AR5. While it does have some bias, it at least is talking about studying the factors instead of concluding what they already are.

  19. Matthew R Marler

    So far I have only been able to read 16 pp, and skim some more, but the document looks really good, a useful summary of what is unknown and what should be studied next.

    Thanks again to Prof Curry.

  20. But first we need an admission that they wasted much of our money in the last 15 years by pretending certain untested notions were actually “facts” based on nothing more than unverified, pessimistic models while simultaneously dismissing skeptics who were continually reminding them of all these huge uncertainties that they now seem to acknowledge. Afaik the pdo effect was first raised by skeptics and immediately dismissed as unimportant by climateers whose primary and overriding directive is to foment an anti fossil fuel policy.

    They may well see themselves as having made progress but they set their bar very low. If private money were involved rather than public money, they would all be out on their ear.

    • True, true with what we know about the process and the results we can expect and what could possibly hope to gain, it is a lot like funding a government program to land a man on the moon… again.

  21. The word “albedo” cannot be found but there are many references to clouds and a tacit admission, as follows: “The details of the atmospheric and oceanic boundary layers and convection, the sources and fate of aerosols, and the cloud microphysical processes that control the clouds, aerosols, and water vapor concentration are not well-represented in climate models.”

  22. Mission Statement

    To foster understanding and prediction of climate variability and change on intraseasonal-to-centennial timescales, through observations and modeling with emphasis on the role of the ocean and its interaction with other elements of the Earth system, and to serve to climate community and society through the coordination and facilitation of research on outstanding climate questions so as to save the people of the world from making all of the mistakes that have been made in America and punish America for rising seas, extermination of the polar bears, a disappearing ice cap, increasing the severity of storms and depriving our young of ever knowing what snow is.

    • Post-modern logic (ie. politics disguised as logic) at its finest.

      “In actuality, unreliable research and irreproducible data have been the status quo since the inception of modern science. Far from being ruinous, this unique feature of research is integral to the evolution of science.

      Other scientific luminaries have similar stories, including Mendel, Darwin and Einstein. Irreproducibility is not a novel scientific reality. As noted by contemporary journalists William Broad and Nicholas Wade, “If even history’s most successful scientists resort to misrepresenting their findings in various ways, how extensive may have been the deceits of those whose work is now rightly forgotten?”

      Notice the bait and switch?

      “Unreliable and irreproducible data” becomes “resorting to misrepresenting their findings”.

      So all the dishonesty in climate science is a good thing. Not to mention all the other post modern garbage that passes for science in other areas.

      All those “misrepresentations” Mendel, Darwin, Einstein and Galileo “resorted” to, were for the better. So Mann and Gleick and Schneider are just following in the footsteps of giants.. Misrepresenting results is now “useful” (the new “fairness” and “for the children” of progressive warmists).

      Horse feces.

      If you do an experiment, but make an error, and report your erroneous results, you are not misrepresenting your results. You are honestly reporting your results that are wrong for another reason.

      This obscurantist attempt to blur the difference between dishonesty and error (I guess they are not “practically” different?) is insidious. No surprise that it comes from Scientific American, or is linked to by Climate Etc.’s obscurantist in chief.

    • Steven Mosher

      “Notice the bait and switch?”

      no that’s your fevered imagination working to deny the obvious facts.

      next comes the strawman

      ‘So all the dishonesty in climate science is a good thing. Not to mention all the other post modern garbage that passes for science in other areas.”

      and what a strawman it is, bravo..

      1. Assert facts not in evidence “dishonesty in climate science”
      2. Assert a conclusion the article never made.

      The argument of the article is simple: if you look at science scientifically,
      that is, actually look at what scientists have done, you’ll find that the
      ideal you hold of science is not based in fact. It’s mythical.

      The argument being addressed was the argument that we are seeing a
      new kind of behavior in science. The argument being addressed was the silly notion that there once was an ideal science, but now results cant be reproduced. The historical truth is that science has always been crappy,
      but the real obscurantists put lipstick on the pig. And next, even though its crappy then and now, we dont actually factually measure science by
      looking at epistemic scores, we measure science by what it lets us do.

    • To be really good at a technique takes up to a couple of years. So people tend to have a limited number of techniques that they are really good at, then a larger set of common things that they get right, and then there are all the things you do once or twice in your professional life.
      For you to obtain a control for an experiment you tend to have to do about 6,000 operations correctly; including things like calculating amount, weighing amount, pH’ing, diluting, adding correct amount, e.t.c. The more you do something, the better you get.
      Using one technique to get a result gives you one measure of ‘X’, the first person to do it might have been great at the technique, though typically not. The most proficient practitioner of the technique has a go and gets the best estimate. Then, large numbers of people use a wide range of techniques to examine ‘X’, and as they are interrogating using different methods, they capture different views of ‘X’. Using a variety of techniques to examine ‘X’ is the actual ‘replication’ that typically occurs.

      Take a grape, dehydrate it, and you have a raisin. Take a cell, dehydrate it, and you have the starting point of almost every cell image. We work with artifacts all the time, and as long as well all know we are working in a semi-fictional universe all is fine, it is only when you look at an EM and believe that it is an exact representation of something do you run into trouble. Accept that everything is a little fuzzy and all is well.

      The nitric oxide and oxygen example is a good one. I actually know how to make very pure NO, but most people make and use a mixture of NO and NO2. Even small faults in you seals is going to allow your NO gas to meet some oxygen and you will get some NO2. It took me over a year to get over 95% NO. Most people are not interested in making pure NO, and will make NO/NO2 and report effects due to NO. Such is life. In a particular field or in a paper you tend to end up believing about 70% of the data and about 30% of the interpretation.

    • Pretty funny–e.g., we can celebrate the work of Michael Mann. He was spectacularly wrong about global warming but now that we are sensitized to the fact that the climate changes, humanity can be more accepting of the coming ice age and 200 – 300 years of privation and pestilence.

    • Keep in mind that there wasn’t even a formal language of error and its probability distribution until about 1800. Therefore, all troubles with replicability prior to that time didn’t even have a probability-based method for evaluating whether two measurements were significantly different.

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

      On the snarkier side, I note that the author is in neuroscience, where they surely need some great science studies apologia for lack of replicability.

    • Worrying that funding for science may dry up.

      “Many of my colleagues worry that honesty and full disclosure will tarnish the reputation of science. I fear, however, that dishonesty will accomplish this much faster.”

      Horvath does not make the case where dishonesty imperils science funding. Indeed, when the dishonesty is in the cause of the mainstream paradigm, funding escalates. Post Climategate, climate science funding has not diminished as far as I can see. Rather, articles appear in all sorts of journals adding to the “body of knowledge” that CAGW is not only true, but true at a high level of confidence.

      The Scientific American article is informative as far as it goes, that science progress is both circuitous and messy. Science progress depends upon the recognition by someone that the mainstream paradigm is not exactly correct, seems to take undue time and at times, personal ridicule.
      Hence the saying: ” science progresses one funeral at a time.”

      The current pause in surface temperature progression in the face of escalation of atmospheric carbon dioxide, is more likely than not to diminish the relevance of radiative physics as it applies to atmospheric temperatures. The decrease in science funding, would be expected in the area of radiative physics and be directed more into the understanding of oceanic influences, at least for the near future. The amount of money the same, just redirected.

      My onion.

    • “Hence the saying: ” science progresses one funeral at a time.”
      However, that is not true. People accept evidence and accept it quite quickly. There is no massive backlash about the number of genes in the human genome, no backlash that modern humans have genes from interbreeding with neanderthals and denisovans and even generational ‘Lysenko’-type changes in epigenetics.
      When NO was shown to be endothelium-derived relaxing factor most people in the field thought, ‘thats nuts’; yet the evidence was solid and the more people thought about it the more they saw it as a cunning mechanism.
      If the Polywell or General Fusion’s machines actually deliver, all the physicists and engineers will accept the outcome without blinking.
      http://www.generalfusion.com/

      It is in fact very unusual for scientists not to accept new evidence.

    • Steven Mosher,

      “1. Assert facts not in evidence “dishonesty in climate science”

      As you like to say, read harder.

      From your cited article:

      “If even history’s most successful scientists resort to misrepresenting their findings….”

      Resort – verb
      1. turn to and adopt (a strategy or course of action, esp. a disagreeable or undesirable one) so as to resolve a difficult situation.

      One who “turns to” or “adopts” is making a conscious choice.

      One who makes a conscious choice intends the consequences of that choice.

      One who chooses to make an intentional misrepresentation is telling a lie, ie. is a liar.

      The fact that you claim there is no practical difference between lying and telling the truth may make you blind to what the article actually said, because to you it is apparently irrelevant. The rest of us have no such affliction.

      Yet your attempt to defend the article as saying something different suggests you.are not as sanguine on the issue of integrity as you pretend. Or at least that you are aware of the “marketing” disadvantage in out right claiming that lying about your results can be “useful” in climate science, as the article clearly does.

    • Nice to see someone who can get beyond a binary mentality.

  23. Having read the Intro and Chapter 1, I was pleased to see that there is (so far….) zero climate alarmism. That’s gotta be a step up to reality.

    My major observation though is the focus on the “What do we know? What don’t we know?” approach….extremely important and valid.

    Let’s hope this program eclipses the other now-misguided efforts.

  24. “An axiom, or postulate, is a premise or starting point of reasoning. As classically conceived, an axiom is a premise so evident as to be accepted as true without controversy.”

    Climate Science: The only ‘Axiomatic Science’

    The Prime Axiom of Climate Science: ‘Anthropogenic CO2 is causing the Temperature of the Earth to rise (alternatively, the Climate to change) at a historically unprecedented rate. This rise (change) will be catastrophic unless governments world wide take immediate steps to reduce anthropogenic CO2, ideally by 90% or more.”

    Today’s topic: Accepts without question.

    Impact(?) of natural variability on Nebraska drought: Accepted, with extreme prejudice by the climate science department at the University of Nebraska.

    Social cost of carbon: Part II: Accepted without question.

    Reflection on reliability of climate models: Money quote; you decide: “We have a deep ignorance of what detailed weather the future will hold, even as we have a strong scientific basis for the belief that anthropogenic gases will warm the surface of the planet significantly. It seems rational to hold the probability that this is the case far in excess of the ‘1 in 200’ threshold which the financial sector is regulated to consider. Yet there is also an anti-science lobby which uses very scientific sounding words and graphs to bash well-meaning science and state-of-the-art modeling.” Questioning the Prime Axoim makes one a member in good standing of the ‘anti-science lobby’.

    Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage: Is predicated on the axiomatic nature of Climate Science.

    Story in my local paper describing a visit from the Climatologists of George Mason University to a local school, teaching them about Climate Change and how they, as future leaders, can lead the fight against it: http://issuu.com/frederickcova/docs/20131121wfcr/33?e=7281623/5727467
    In this case, calling the threat of ACO2 ‘axiomatic’ from the perspectives of the GMU Climatologists, the local students, and the reporter covering the event would be putting it mildly. From their POV, Relativity is a Theory; Catastrophic ACO2 is a Fact, on the level of ‘The sun rises in the east.’

    Ad infinitum. Even on this blog, 80% of the topics address how observational climate data, when processed and adjusted properly, supports the Prime Axiom, what to do about (axiomatic) CAGW, or what to do about people who doubt, even slightly, the Prime Axiom.

    As far as the government is concerned, the science is well and truly settled. At this point the climate implications of actual data are irrelevant; amelioration policies WILL be established. They WILL be obeyed. And there will be NO official debate as to their likely efficacy in adjusting the TOE.

  25. Modeling the next Glaciation
    How well will this climate science variability address the prospects of the next glaciation aka Little Ice Age? There is no mention of “glaciation” or “ice age” in the US Climate Variability & Predictability (CLIVAR) Program.

    Contrast those who are more familiar with the climate of Siberia. e.g. see:
    GRAND MINIMUM OF THE TOTAL SOLAR IRRADIANCE LEADS TO THE LITTLE ICE AGE
    by Habibullo Abdussamatov | November 25, 2013
    Source: Published Nestor-Istoriya, St. Petersburg, October 2013, ISBN 978-5-44690-122-7, –246 p., in Russian.
    Will we be able to generate enough “anthropogenic global warming” to avoid this natural variation? Previously, glaciation (“interglaciation”) has previously had a very high probability of reoccuring?

    Who should we rely on/trust? Those raising funds to study “global warming”, or those with harsh memories of Siberian cold?

  26. Pekka Pirilä December 5, 2013 at 9:57 am – you say “The required climate sensitivity [..] is at least 0.9 C [for more than half the warming to be of anthropogenic origin]. In my view there’s really enough evidence for that from multiple sources, enough to justify 95% confidence”.

    At climate sensitivity 0.9C, atmospheric CO2 has to rise above 1800 ppm to get a 2 deg C temperature rise. It has taken over 50 years for atmospheric CO2 to get from 300 ppm to 400 ppm, and the increase has been very close to linear over that period. At this rate, at climate sensitivity 0.9C, it will take another 700 years for man-made CO2 to cause a 2 deg C temperature increase. Temperature rises of up to 2 deg C are generally regarded as net beneficial. We don’t have 700 years’ supply of fossil fuel. Ergo, it can be stated with 95% confidence that continuing to use fossil fuels is net beneficial for the climate.

  27. Bob Ludwick December 5, 2013 at 2:57 pm – re perceptions that “Catastrophic ACO2 is a Fact” and “the science is well and truly settled” :- as Thomas Kuhn pointed out, science progresses through paradigm shifts. As evidence builds up against the current paradigm, the science doesn’t budge, all that happens is that mainstream scientists work harder and harder to defend the current paradigm. Only when the evidence becomes overwhelming does the paradigm collapse. ACO2 is the current paradigm.

    • Mike Jonas

      +100

      It’s almost a classical case.

      But the “black sawn” is waiting in the wings and the paradigm shift will be swift (if not painless) when it occurs.

      Max

    • ” As evidence builds up against the current paradigm, the science doesn’t budge, all that happens is that mainstream scientists work harder and harder to defend the current paradigm. ”

      Exactly. As I pointed out, Climate Science is based on a ‘self evident (apparently) proposition’ (axiom) rather than actual, empirical evidence, which is the driver of all other sciences. And Climate Science will ‘go to the mats’ to defend it against any challenge.

  28. Last time I checked, US Clivar tends to be associated with people who hold alarmist (and therefore unscientific) views on climate. Really not something that one associates with credibility. I think the kid in the middle of this photo sums it up nicely…

    http://www.clivar.org/sites/default/files/imported/organization/pages/Trieste.gif

  29. Apostles of the Order of the Yamal. Through the power of the Spirit Gum of the Ten Yamal, there is no Medieval Warm Period and no Little Ice Age and all Twentieth Century Warming is vanquished before the time of the magic blade of the sacred ‘hockey stick’ that shall inexorably point toward Heaven’s Gate and the path to salvation for all believers of AGW on the dark side of Comet Hale-Bopp, after the global warming Armageddon.

  30. Quoted from Judith’s last comment above;
    “While the target audience for the CLIVAR report is primarily the decision makers that fund science, I think this format for a report (which is really an assessment and strategic planning doc) would be useful for the broader population of policy makers. Your thoughts on the best way to convey our understanding to policy makers about climate change in context of periodic assessment reports?

    Influencing the “Policy Makers;” a very common theme that abounds today in every form of political discussion.

    Who are the “Policy Makers?”

    At what level does “policy making” start in a society?
    Is at the Government cabinet level, the party room level, the bureaucratic level, the political party junkee; ie. party committees and etc level, the political party membership level or at the man on the street level?

    Or all of the above?

    Which sector of the societal and political process is the most likely to get it’s advocated policies implemented?
    Which group in the society and on up through the groups in the political process should be targeted to maximise the chances of getting a particular policy implemented?

    Answer the above and then there is a chance one will know where to actually start in advocating a specific policy and getting it up and running as the type of policy being advocated will have it’s best chances of being implemented if it begins it’s path through the political process in that part of society where it will have the most support.

  31. “The oceans also play a critical, though not entirely understood, role
    in Earth’s response to anthropogenic climate change. The ability
    of the ocean to store tremendous amounts of heat and CO2 has
    mitigated some of the global warming that we may otherwise
    have experienced.
    However, it seems the oceans do not do this uniformly in space or time, and the ability of the ocean to continue to absorb CO2 from the atmosphere at present rates is not likely to continue.”
    http://usclivar.org/sites/default/files/US_CLIVAR_Science_Plan.pdf

    I see no reason to assume the present rates is not likely to continue.
    I will grant that this talking point has been repeated a lot.
    But it has continued and it’s been commonly projected to be less
    in the future and the rate continues.

    That oceans are not entirely understood, seems obvious, and mechanisms
    of absorbing CO2 seems less understood.
    One can attempt to model, say heat flows regarding the ocean, but such attempt would tend to be far more complete, than any attempt at modeling
    where and how CO2 is absorbed by the ocean. Or what kind mechanism
    is involved- is mostly a life process which is involved, is simply mixing or mechanical [overcoming a paradox an apparent warming ocean absorbing more CO2. Is CO2 being sequestered by natural process, which resembles human schemes of sequestrating CO2 in deep ocean?
    Or is mostly regarding life process involved in Ocean Methane Hydrate
    or things like ocean algae.

    • Another quote:
      “The absence of reflective ice will certainly be responsible for enhanced global warming in the future.”

      Will it?
      Will the increase of antarctic sea ice, as certainly reduce enhanced global warming in the future?

      So Is it there much of causal relationship or this largely an effect of warming.

      I think one could say with some degree of certainty that the lessening of polar ice in the summer could lead to more water vapor in this northern
      region or in the northern hemisphere, which one might using as synonymous with “enhanced global warming”. But even if you mean this
      it seems more regional than global.

    • gbaikie “Will the increase of antarctic sea ice, as certainly reduce enhanced global warming in the future?”

      I don’t think you are supposed to notice that or point out the difference in solar insolation between poles. You are supposed to use simple averages and simple analogies, not get into confusing little details.

  32. “the impression that the IPCC tends to be overconfident in their conclusions.”

    Probably an understatement. We don’t know who is running CLIVAR, but it is certainly putting on a brave face, both temporally and spatially,.if you can make sense of those mixed metaphors.I hope it succeeds it certainly does not lack ambition.

  33. Those of us who grow stuff would know that the climate indicators are interesting in their sloppy way. (After all, they are nothing more than very rough and hopelessly incomplete observation sets given ponderous names – they are NOT mechanisms.)

    Sats and radar are handy; weekly outlooks can come in near the money more often than not.

    Three month outlooks, on the other hand, are a total joke. There is something about “climate science” that seems to actually reduce the accuracy of long term outlooks below casino standards.

    So before people aspire to become “decision makers” on climate don’t they need to know more stuff, presently not known by anybody? And I did say “know”, not “publish”.

    • “Those of us who grow stuff”, etc.
      +10

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘More than half (52%) of the space and time variance in multidecadal drought frequency over the conterminous United States is attributable to the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation (AMO). An additional 22% of the variance in drought frequency is related to a complex spatial pattern of positive and negative trends in drought occurrence possibly related to increasing Northern Hemisphere temperatures or some other unidirectional climate trend. Recent droughts with broad impacts over the conterminous U.S. (1996, 1999-2002) were associated with North Atlantic warming (positive AMO) and northeastern and tropical Pacific cooling (negative PDO). Much of the long-term predictability of drought frequency may reside in the multidecadal behavior of the North Atlantic Ocean. Should the current positive AMO (warm North Atlantic) conditions persist into the upcoming decade, we suggest two possible drought scenarios that resemble the continental-scale patterns of the 1930s (positive PDO) and 1950s (negative PDO) drought.
      —McCabe (2004)

      The entire planet is a mechanism – a wild and woolly one. The indices reflect changes in ocean and atmospheric circulation. They provide quite useful seasonal – and decadal – indicators.

      e.g. http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/ahead/rain_ahead.shtml?link=1

      They provide the only real potential for climate prediction.

      e.g. – a lack of surface warming at least over the next decade to three.

  34. IPCC should close shop and go fishing

  35. Summarizing the science for policymakers is going to mention confidence levels because that is needed, otherwise the science cannot be balanced against other factors in decisionmaking. Emphasis would be given to what is known with more certainty
    On the other hand, going to funders, you emphasize what is not known well enough. If everything was certain there goes your funding.
    Now, if it is found that something that was expressed with a high degree of certainty in AR5 was also mentioned not having much certainty at all in the CLIVAR plan, that would be a problem, but I don’t think that happened, because it is basically the same community doing both documents.

  36. Dr. Strangelove

    “Your thoughts on the best way to convey our understanding to policy makers about climate change in context of periodic assessment reports?”

    Honesty is the best policy. Our climate models are useless. They should be totally ignored by policy makers. We don’t know enough to make a 30-year climate forecast, much less a 100-year forecast. We can only extrapolate from past data and infer that certain observed cycles will repeat in the near future. This is basically guesswork. Don’t bet billions of dollars on our educated guesses. We could be wrong. Bet at your own risk.

    We don’t know how much CO2 will warm the planet. Based on historical and geological records, catastrophic warming is very unlikely. The climate is always changing. Natural causes are obvious. Less certain is how much man has influenced recent climate change. Trying to control the climate is doubtful. It may or may not work. Adaptation is more prudent given all the uncertainties in climate science.

    • Thank you!

    • “We don’t know how much CO2 will warm the planet. Based on historical and geological records, catastrophic warming is very unlikely.”

      I think you need to sit down and have an eye opening better look at that historical and geological data….

  37. AGW theory says what’s happening now can’t happen: it’s too cold. The odds-on bet is that it’ll get colder as time goes by. Climate change is real but global warming may be a thing of the past.

  38. “The [IPCC's "Climate Doom"] conference [recently held in Warsaw, Poland] claimed to have some significant achievements such as the $280 million dollars pledged by the combined United States, United Kingdom and Norway to help stop deforestation. Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) is the UN’s program to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation. I kid you not, the program is actually called REDD, remember? like hammer and sickle? You can’t make this stuff up!” ~Art Horn

  39. Probably off topic, but since it is a topic addressed here often, I’ll go ahead.

    Some of the reasons that I am ‘skeptical’ of CAGW:

    While looking for a NASA press release breathlessly announcing some year or another as the hottest year ever, with the TOE reported with 1 millidegree precision (that I had previously quoted on Dr. Curry’s blog) I couldn’t find it again, but I came across this, which will work just fine:

    “Record heat: Top ten warmest years by degrees above average temperatures since 1880. Temperatures are combined global land and ocean surface measurements.

    Rank Year Degrees above average
    F. C.
    1 2010 1.17 .66
    2 2005 1.17 .65
    3 1998 1.13 .63
    4 2003 1.11 .63
    5 2002 1.10 .61
    6 2006 1.07 .59
    7 2009 1.07 .59
    8 2007 1.06 .59
    9 2004 1.04 .58
    10 2012 1.03 .57

    Note: Chart based on temperature anomaly in degrees Celsius .
    2013 MCT
    Source: NOAA Climate Data Center
    Graphic: Chicago Tribune”

    It was printed as proof of ‘Anthropogenic Global Warming’.

    Taking the chart as written and noting that the actual temperature was reported in C, with F calculated, I note the following:

    The spread between the warmest and the tenth warmest is .09 C.
    2012 was #10, with 2011 not making the list.
    2010 was warmest. By .01 C over 2005
    If there IS a recent trend, it is down rather than up.

    To NOT be skeptical of CAGW, I must believe the following:
    A. We have had a system in place since 1880 that is capable of measuring the TOE, land and sea, with .01 C precision.
    B. The system has been regularly calibrated and the instrumentation has been stable within +/-0.1 C since 1880.
    C. Instrument siting has not changed and/or there have been no changes in the environment of the sites that could account for changes at the hundredths of a degree range.
    D. If the instruments have been relocated, that the relocation had no effect at the .01 C level,
    E. That, assuming that the reported temperatures are accurate, the observed TOE fluctuations of +/- .75 C over the previous century are extraordinary.
    F. That while proxy data, if accurate, indicate that over millennium
    time scales the TOE has seen extremes both appreciably lower AND appreciably higher than the extremes of the last century, the late 20th century warming of a half of a degree or so represents a realistic threat hat must be countered.
    G. That the climate system and all external inputs to it are well enough understood that the recent, otherwise unremarkable variations can be traced to ACO2 and have already caused damage to primitive (low energy consumption) societies so severe that reparations from the modern (high energy consumption) societies are justified.
    H. That the effect of ACO2 on the climate is so well understood and represents such an existential threat that it justifies the forced reduction of ACO2 by 90+%, immediately.
    I. That the regulations and taxes that are being demanded to counter CAGW will have any MEASURABLE impact on the TOW and that the benefits of such impact will far exceed the ‘downsides’ of increased taxes, reduced energy supply, and the massive growth in government bureaucracy, with the concomitant loss of personal autonomy that inevitably accompanies government expansion.

    Sorry.

  40. CLIVAR: “The Science Plan represents the interests of scientists and stakeholders throughout the climate community.”

    Fail. What about the rest of us? Their interests seem not to be aligned with the interests of the majority of the electorate.

    • CLIVAR: “The Science Plan represents the interests of scientists and stakeholders throughout the climate community.”

      I am astounded! Who would ever have thought that they would EVER state the truth in such a blatant, in-your-face, ‘Whaddaya gonna do about it, suckah?’ fashion?

      Could it be that with the current ‘rule by executive order/regulatory fiat’ thugocracy that we are now subject to that the rulers will no longer bother to conceal their true objectives or care what us ‘rulees’ think about the subject?

  41. The energy-users must suffer in the name of the Leftist’s new God.

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