Habits of a complex mind

by Judith Curry

How to go from reductionist thinking to action based complexity research. 

A blog piece at Stockholm resilience entitled Habits of a complex mind summarizes the paper Fostering Complexity Thinking in Action Research for Change in Socio-Ecological Systems.  Some context is provided in the Introduction to the paper:

As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing fast, fundamentally, and with major consequences for our approaches to addressing present-day problems. Most researchers of social–ecological systems recognize the paradigm shift accompanying the advancing wave of complexity thinking that emphasizes nonlinear, context-, and contingency-specific interactions among emergent entities. Complexity thinkers eschew, to greater or lesser extents, traditional reductive thinking that assumes linearity in causal interactions between independent entities, but to what extent does the complexity “movement” go beyond this narrow frame of reference and what are the implications for embedding complexity thinking in the management of social–ecological systems?

The discourse on complexity can be found in the literature of many academic and professional disciplines. Strong discipline and cross-discipline peer groups now debate, embrace, and advocate complexity thinking as imperative to understanding and dealing with the pressing social–ecological challenges of the day. However, most of the literature, especially the academic literature, is about what the complexity philosopher Edgar Morin (2008) would call “intellectual complexity” and much less about “lived complexity,” which together provide a social ecology of knowledge and being, respectively. Morin goes on to assert that “Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries, do not control the meaning and nature of their research, even on an intellectual level”. In other words, real or full understanding, including that of complexity, can only come from an internalized intersection of understanding (intellectual) and practicing (lived).

Action research is different because researchers and stakeholders design the research cooperatively and face to face. Their aim is to define a desired future and undertake well-informed actions that will expand their knowledge, enhance their competencies, and overcome challenges for moving to that future. Action research is, therefore, very much a process of generating personal and institutional change (Reason and Bradbury 2007) and with it comes the need for deep trust between all parties. That trust will not emerge if the parties themselves do not adopt a common frame of reference for decision making and “walking-the-talk” along the path that takes them forward. The researchers must practice what they preach if they are not to “mutilate knowledge and disfigure reality” as Morin, somewhat belligerently but cogently, phrases it.

How then do action researchers practice the complexity thinking they want to share with the other participants (stakeholders)? Many would brush this off as a simple matter of knowledge transfer (Roux et al. 2006) from researchers to users and stakeholders. Write a guide and give it to them to read! In action research, however, both researchers and stakeholders must actively engage new knowledge and its attendant behaviors if they are to transform their decision-making styles and skills.

The blog piece summarizes the recommendations from the paper:

In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems when he argued that the only sound thinking practice was to isolate phenomena from each other and their environment and apply a process of reduction, simplification and clarification. Well, not anymore. As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing accordingly.

Enter complexity thinking, an attempt to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world where humans and nature are connected on multiple scales.  But what does it mean to apply complexity thinking?

But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.

Key to this is what Biggs and her colleagues call “habits of mind” which is a “pattern of intellectual behaviour that leads to particular actions”.

They recognise three broad frames of mind, each encompassing a set of habits of mind that are critical to participate planning and decision making in complex social-ecological systems. These frames of mind are openness, situational awareness, and a healthy respect for the risks associated with making decisions and taking action.

The first frame, openness, includes the following habits:

  • Hold your strong opinions lightly
  • Embrace surprise, serendipity and epiphany
  • Accept everyone as co-learners, not experts or competitors

The second, situational awareness, includes habits such as:

  • Be aware of contingencies, scale and history
  • Consider the importance of relationships and interactions
  • Reflect often: formally, informally, individually and collectively

The third frame, respect for the restraint and action paradox, includes habits such as:

  • Seize the just-do-it moment
  • Have courage to take action from which you can learn
  • Avoid premature convergence – avoid being too quick to judge

“Most people rarely make it to complexity’s first base because they are trapped in a dominant linear, causal mode of thinking which is typical of the reductive mindset,” Oonsie Biggs warns.

“Intellectual acceptance of the characteristics of complex systems is the foundation on which to start building a new set of thinking patterns and behaviours. The challenge is to be explicit about the types of habits of mind that can help researchers and stakeholders to apply complexity thinking,” Biggs concludes.

JC reflections

This seems very useful for wicked problems, e.g. climate change.  I have long argued that we have oversimplified both the problem and solution, and that the climate model command-and-control strategy for climate policy is dangerous.

The most provocative statement IMO is this one:

“Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries, do not control the meaning and nature of their research, even on an intellectual level”

I’m not exactly sure how to react to that.  But the elephant in the room is that the UNFCCC/IPCC agenda dominates climate research funding, largely in response to the climate model command-and-control strategy for climate policy.  Without that understanding, scientists have little control on the meaning and nature of their research.

There are two main opposing paradigms for climate change:

  1. The linear model, whereby climate change is radiatively forced.
  2. Complex models, such as Tsonis’ climate shift model and the stadium wave, whereby natural variability (if not purely internal variability, then it is non-radiatively forced) is the fundamental climate signal, with radiative forcing projecting onto these modes of natural variability.

Research in the linear model is focused in a reductionist way on adding more and more details of physics and chemistry into the climate models to represent subgridscale processes.   Not that this isn’t interesting and important, but I don’t think that paradigm will take us much further in understanding climate variability and change.

The connection of the research practitioner to action (i.e. decision making) is definitely an interesting one, and I agree that it enriches your intellectual perspective on your research problem.

510 responses to “Habits of a complex mind

  1. thisisnotgoodtogo

    “Research in the linear model is focused in a reductionist way on adding more and more details of physics and chemistry into the climate models to represent subgridscale processes. Not that this isn’t interesting and important, but I don’t think that paradigm will take us much further in understanding climate variability and change.”

    An important observation, Professor Curry.

    • The future of climate science is computer modelling.

      To explain the present climate of our planet and it’s modes, as well as possible future climates of our planet – and also the climates of other planets past and future, will require a single unified model that can be run on powerful machines.

      The development of that model is what climate science is all about IMO. The biggest limitation at the moment is the performance of present day computers.

      • David Springer

        lolwot | March 2, 2014 at 10:19 am |

        “The future of climate science is computer modelling shame and ridicule.”

    • The major problem with Climate Models is that the Theory does not include the Polar Ice Cycles and Albedo so, the models also do not include the Polar Ice Cycles and Albedo. There was more Ice Extent on Earth during the Little Ice Age and less Ice Extent on Earth during the Medieval Warm period. This did cause the temperature difference and was not a result of the temperature difference. This happened because it snowed much more during the warm time and it snowed much less in the cold time.

      Most don’t believe this because it is too simple. They do require Climate to be complex and chaotic. The complex and chaotic is there, but it does not take care of the basic regulation and bounding of temperature that has been simple and perfect for eleven thousand years. It is warm now and the snowfall has started. Temperature is not rising, Earth is not hiding heat. Oceans are not rising. Spin rate of Earth stopped slowing down. It will stay warm and snow enough to bring the next cool cycle. This has always worked in the same bounds for eleven thousand years. It will continue.

    • Or we can use mean-value thermodynamics and use the incredibly large mixing machine known as the earth’s atmosphere and ocean do all the averaging for us. After that, all we have left is to model the thermodynamic forcing factors and out pops the answer.

      The computational effort involved in working out spatiotemporal details may still be worth it for figuring out regional weather, but it really doesn’t help with the climate trends.

      This is what Andrew Lacis said in a Climate Etc guest post:

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

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

      In science, one builds on the foundation set by others.

    • catweazle666

      Lolwot: “The biggest limitation at the moment is the performance of present day computers.”

      STILL believe that computer models will some day be able to prophesy the future state of a practically infinite non-linear open-ended feedback driven (when we don’t – and never will – be able to know all the feedbacks) chaotic system, lolwot? Never mind that damn butterfly, either.

      All you get by throwing more computing power at it is the wrong answer quicker. You would have exactly the same chance of getting it right investigating black cock entrails or patterns in your tea leaves.

      Ironically, it was Edward Lorenz – a climate scientist himself – who told us why that was and ever will be the case.

    • David L. Hagen

      WebHubTelescope
      Re: “For global warming, the GHG forcing is globally uniform”
      au contraire, the greatest greenhouse gas is H2O.
      Latitudinally, we have Tropics then Deserts, then temperate then Icecaps.
      Small shifts in clouds, albedo and monsoons can cause warming/cooling droughts/floods larger than CO2 does.
      How are you quantitatively distinguishing cause and effect?
      Natural vs anthroprogenic?

    • lolwot Mar 2 10:19am says “The future of climate science is computer modelling.”. Agreed. But I don’t quite agree that “The biggest limitation at the moment is the performance of present day computers.”. A much larger problem is the limited thinking of the people in charge of the current models. A one-track collective mind is useless for complex problems, and hence the models created by those people are useless. We need more open thinkers before we need more powerful computers. With better thinking, it isn’t even a given that we need more powerful computers at all.


    • Small shifts in clouds, albedo and monsoons can cause warming/cooling droughts/floods larger than CO2 does.

      Yes, after the CO2 control knob starts getting cranked up, these feedback effects will make their presence known.

      I referenced Lacis already. Lacis [1] is the one who said that CO2 is only 1/4 to 1/5 of the GHG signal.

      [1]A. A. Lacis, J. E. Hansen, G. L. Russell, V. Oinas, and J. Jonas, “The role of long-lived greenhouse gases as principal LW control knob that governs the global surface temperature for past and future climate change,” Tellus B, vol. 65, 2013.

    • Pooh, Dixie

      lolwot, above: The future of climate science is computer modelling.

      That would depend upon the solidarity of the theories of causes, effects and interactions that are modeled.

      24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. 26 But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. 27 The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.” Matthew 7:24-27, New International Version (NIV)

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘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

      Model solutions diverge exponentially – both as a result of feasible values of inputs and parametizations and with the depth and breadth of coupling between components. Sensitive dependence and structural instability. There is no sense in which a small change in inputs and couplings will produce a small change in outputs. This is indeed the origin of modern complexity theory.

      Where the IPCC suggests ensembles of model solutions – this is a matter of varying the inputs to models – producing perturbed physics ensembles – within feasible ranges to produce a probability distribution of feasible solutions. Theoretically at least.

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

      Models are chaotic without a doubt. Climate is a system which has observable behavior similar to the broad class of complex dynamical systems. A system with multiple feedbacks that shifts abruptly and to a degree that depends on emergent properties of the system itself. The NAS defines it thus.

      ‘What defines a climate change as abrupt? Technically, an abrupt climate change occurs when the climate system is forced to cross some threshold, triggering a transition to a new state at a rate determined by the climate system itself and faster than the cause. Chaotic processes in the climate system may allow the cause of such an abrupt climate change to be undetectably small.

      To use this definition in a policy setting or public discussion requires some additional context, as is explored at length in Chapter 5, because while many scientists measure time on geological scales, most people are concerned with changes and their potential impacts on societal and ecological time scales. From this point of view, an abrupt change is one that takes place so rapidly and unexpectedly that human or natural systems have difficulty adapting to it. Abrupt changes in climate are most likely to be significant, from a human perspective, if they persist over years or longer, are larger than typical climate variability, and affect sub-continental or larger regions. Change in any measure of climate or its variability can be abrupt, including change in the intensity, duration, or frequency of extreme events. For example, single floods, hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions are important for humans and ecosystems, but their effects generally would not be considered abrupt climate changes unless the climate system is pushed over a threshold into a new state; however, a rapid, persistent change in the number or strength of floods or hurricanes might be an abrupt climate change.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=14

      At one level things are extraordinarily simple. The change in energy content of the planet depends only on the difference between incoming and outgoing energy.

      d(W&H)/dt = energy in (J/s) – energy out (J/s)

      Both terms on the right hand side change abruptly. Total solar irradiance changes with the solar magnetosphere possibly with the chaotic n-body variability of solar system orbits – and indeed with changing orbitals themselves – changing system control variables and initiating threshold changes in climate. Energy out varies considerably with cloud, dust, ice, snow. convection, atmospheric composition, biology, etc as the system shifts between states. This happens on decadal to millennial and longer timescales. Climate means and variance changes at all these scales which means that keeping up with variability is extraordinarily difficult. But dynamical complexity is inevitably the dominant climate paradigm as it best explains observed behavior.

      As interesting as the paper is – it confuses the theory of dynamical complexity (otherwise known as chaos theory) with the complex intersection of human interests and natural systems. The former requires data – oceans, clouds, winds, ice, etc. – which is only comprehensible within the metatheory of chaos. The latter requires both cross-disciplinary skills and ways of acknowledging and using stakeholder knowledge and experience to create synergistic solutions to environmental problems. Environmental problems have multiple dimensions – social, political, economic, cultural, scientific – that require new ways of approaching solutions. This is the central method of the new science of environmental science – but it is not complexity theory.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at +0.7, -2.1, and +1.4 W/m2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record…’ http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

      Cooling in IR and warming in SW.

      Certainty that data that contradicts the narrative and the silly little metaphors isn’t so seems to be part of the problem

    • Robert I Ellison

      Ah … wrong spot.

    • Robert, good post at 4.10.

    • Faster computers will enable not just higher resolution models, but faster turn around for experiments on lower resolution models as well as faster model development. To be able to run a 20th century experiment in a minute on a laptop would improve research drastically.

      The only way phenomenon like ENSO will ever be fully explained is through computer modelling. Even if the system in non-linear, it can nevertheless be modeled.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change…

      Finally, Lorenz’s theory of the atmosphere (and ocean) as a chaotic system raises fundamental, but unanswered questions about how much the uncertainties in climate-change projections can be reduced. In 1969, Lorenz [30] wrote: ‘Perhaps we can visualize the day when all of the relevant physical principles will be perfectly known. It may then still not be possible to express these principles as mathematical equations which can be solved by digital computers. We may believe, for example, that the motion of the unsaturated portion of the atmosphere is governed by the Navier–Stokes equations, but to use these equations properly we should have to describe each turbulent eddy—a task far beyond the capacity of the largest computer. We must therefore express the pertinent statistical properties of turbulent eddies as functions of the larger-scale motions. We do not yet know how to do this, nor have we proven that the desired functions exist’. Thirty years later, this problem remains unsolved, and may possibly be unsolvable.

      So how much will uncertainties in climate-change predictions of the large-scale reduce if models are run at 20, 2 or even 0.2 km resolution rather than say 100 km resolution? Equally, we may ask whether there is a certain resolution (e.g. 20 km), where it might be feasible to represent small-scale motions using stochastic equations, rather than trying to resolve them? These questions urgently need answering as the pressures grow on the climate science community to estimate, and if possible reduce uncertainties, and provide more reliable and confident predictions of regional climate change, hazardous weather and extremes.

      Nevertheless, however much models improve, there will always be an irreducible level of uncertainty—‘flap of the seagull’s wings’—because of the chaotic nature of the system. Even the climate we have observed over the past century or so is only one realization of what the real system might produce. ‘ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      As a professional modeler of sorts – RIE snip musings above seem somewhat naïve.

    • Climate models don’t currently exhibit chaotic divergence on long time scales. It isn’t the case for example that 10% of 21st century AR4 model runs suddenly dive 1 degree C in 2050 due to some chaotic bent. Nothing like that. Which tells us a lot.

      It tells us that the physics and processes embodied in today’s climate models don’t produce that kind of chaotic divergence. So if there is some chaotic divergence behavior in climate it must be in processes not currently included. This is knowledge, a case example of why models are knowledge producers.

      Without computer climate models we wouldn’t have a clue about how those processes affect trajectories of global temperature.

      Model development will continue in leaps and bounds providing more knowledge about how the climate works. Maybe one day you’ll get your divergence behavior, but maybe not. Computer models are the only way to find out. They are the future of the science.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘AOS models are members of the broader class of deterministic chaotic dynamical systems, which provides several expectations about their properties (Fig. 1). In the context of weather prediction, the generic property of sensitive dependence is well understood (4, 5). For a particular model, small differences in initial state (indistinguishable within the sampling uncertainty for atmospheric measurements) amplify with time at an exponential rate until saturating at a magnitude comparable to the range of intrinsic variability. Model differences are another source of sensitive dependence. Thus, a deterministic weather forecast cannot be accurate after a period of a few weeks, and the time interval for skillful modern forecasts is only somewhat shorter than the estimate for this theoretical limit. In the context of equilibrium climate dynamics, there is another generic property that is also relevant for AOS, namely structural instability (6). Small changes in model formulation, either its equation set or parameter values, induce significant differences in the long-time distribution functions for the dependent variables (i.e., the phase-space attractor). The character of the changes can be either metrical (e.g., different means or variances) or topological (different attractor shapes). Structural instability is the norm for broad classes of chaotic dynamical systems that can be so assessed (e.g., see ref. 7). Obviously, among the options for discrete algorithms and parameterization schemes, and perhaps especially for coupling to nonfluid processes, there are many ways that AOS model equation sets can and will change and hence will be vulnerable to structurally unstable behavior….

      http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709/F1.expansion.html

      Pure fluid dynamics may be at the core of the AOS modeling problem, but nature combines fluid physics with other processes, and we must look to more comprehensive model formulations to be able to assess simulation accuracy against the relevant empirical reality. Thus, we can consider the many comparison studies that show a substantial spread among the results from AOS models created by different groups, as well as in the degree of correspondence with observations. Because each of the models is created independently, such model ensembles are more opportunistically assembled than systematically designed. Furthermore, the compared models are typically being reformulated by their creators faster than they can be compared with each other. So the comparisons are more like snapshots of model differences than careful, enduring assessments.

      An example is large eddy simulations for cloud-topped surface atmospheric boundary layers. In ref. 16, 15 different models are compared for a regime with trade wind cumuli. Vertical profiles for heat, water, and velocity differ among the models by tens of percent in their means and variances and by similar amounts compared with measurements. Within a single participating model, changes in the advection algorithm and subgrid-scale turbulence parameterization scheme show qualitative differences in the simulated cloud patterns. And differences between two of the models increase as the resolution increases. Similar characteristics are found in a regime of nocturnal stratus clouds, in which measurements show quantitative discrepancies with the model ensemble at a level comparable to, but not entirely within, the ensemble spread (17).

      AOS model comparisons have also been made for the oceanic and atmospheric general circulations. Two separate ensemble comparisons are reported in refs. 18 and 19 for the time-average North Atlantic oceanic circulation with commonly specified surface forcing fields. Ref. 20 describes a frequently repeated type of comparison among global atmospheric models by using observationally specified oceanic surface-temperature fields with seasonal and interannual changes. Again, the ensemble spreads are substantial, and measures of their realism have mixed success in matching measurements.

      More famously, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report (21) shows the spread among climate models for global warming predictions. One of its results is an ensemble-mean prediction of ≈3°C increase in global mean surface temperature for doubled atmospheric CO2 concentration with an ensemble spread of ≈50% on either side. The predicted value for the climate sensitivity and its intermodel spread have remained remarkably stable throughout the modern assessment era from the National Research Counsel (NRC) in 1979 (22) to the anticipated results in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report (foreshadowed, e.g., in ref. 3) despite diligent tuning and after great research effort and progress in many aspects of simulation plausibility. An even broader distribution function for the increase in mean surface air temperature is the solution ensemble for a standard atmospheric climate model produced by Internet-shared computations (23), but there is a question about how carefully the former ensemble members were selected for their plausibility.

      In each of these model–ensemble comparison studies, there are important but difficult questions: How well selected are the models for their plausibility? How much of the ensemble spread is reducible by further model improvements? How well can the spread can be explained by analysis of model differences? How much is irreducible imprecision in an AOS?

      Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence…

      Parameterizations are nonfundamental model elements that represent important aspects of AOS system functioning. Examples are cloud and aerosol microphysics, radiative transfer in heterogeneous media, watershed hydrological routing, subgrid-scale boundary form stress by topographic roughness, and spatial transport and down-scale variance cascade in turbulent boundary layers near the air–sea–land interfaces (also known as eddy diffusion). Parameterization schemes are typically formulated by asserting the desired qualitative effects, devising a mathematical representation to achieve them, and parametrically fitting the rate constants either to independent measurements or to some aspect of the AOS results they control. Within this methodology there is room for plausible alternative parameterization schemes, i.e., nonuniqueness. Some useful parameterizations are also nondifferentiable (e.g., in the transition from a convective to a stably stratified boundary layer), and this compounds AOS nonsmoothness in ways unrelated to resolution convergence.

      In a scientific problem as potentially complicated as climate, there is another modeling practice that is increasingly important: AOS models are open-ended in their scope for including and dynamically coupling different physical, chemical, biological, and even societal processes.

      The rationales for coupling are to investigate potentially significant feedbacks (e.g., radiative properties for different airborne crystalline ice structures, changes in air and water inertia due to suspended dust and sediments, and water and other material exchanges with plants and biome evolution) and to achieve ever fuller depictions of Earth’s fluid envelope. Besides adding to the overall complexity of AOS models, coupling increases the number of processes with a nonfundamental representation (i.e., similar to a parameterization), because, for the most part, the governing equations are not well determined for the model components other than fluid dynamics. When adding a new coupling link, there is no a priori guarantee of seeing only modest consequences in the AOS solution behavior.

      Of course, models can be formulated that eschew these practices. They are mathematically safer to use, but they are less plausibly similar to nature, with suppressed intrinsic variability, important missing effects, and excessive mixing and dissipation rates.

      AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior. Plausibility criteria are qualitative and loosely quantitative, because there are many relevant measures of plausibility that cannot all be specified or fit precisely…

      A seminal, atmospherically motivated example of chaos is Lorenz’s low-order, Galerkin truncation of midlatitude jet and weather dynamical equations (8). It exhibits several bifurcations with respect to changes in the steady forcing amplitude F as a control parameter. The chaotic regime is the quasi-periodic “strange attractor” as a paradigm for sensitive dependence and limited predictability. Its attractor has the phase-space portrait of a butterfly. This model is also structurally unstable in several ways. Transitions between the strange attractor regime and periodic limit cycles are densely intermixed for slightly different F values, and the mostly accurate “balance” approximations to Lorenz’s equations have different transitional F values (9). The attractor is even more substantially altered by changing the truncation order of the model (10).

      Although we may expect a chaotic AOS model to be structurally unstable, it is difficult to explicitly make this determination. The attractor cannot be fully visualized or measured because the phase space has such a high dimension (i.e., high order). Probability distribution functions (PDFs) (Fig. 1) give at least a rough view of an AOS attractor. There are many aspects to the equation set for a model, most notably in the choices of discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling scope, and these are usually not systematically explored in AOS practices. To do so requires formulating multiple models for a given problem. Even systematic scans in the parameter values of a complicated AOS model are rarely published, although parameter variations are commonly made while tuning a model to improve its plausibility. †

      Nevertheless, I advocate the hypothesis that plausible, chaotic AOS models have important levels of irreducible imprecision due to structural instability resulting from choices among a set of modeling options that cannot be clearly excluded. The level of irreducible imprecision will depend on the context, and this level is likely to be greater the more chaotic and multiply coupled the targeted flow regime is.’

      Although I doubt that any of the above is at the level of comprehension of RIE snip – the citation from leaders in the field and the IPCC should – but doesn’t – give him pause from arm waving nonsense.

      We have solutions from models mapped that are one solution from amongst many possible solutions in a range that is not explored. The solution chosen is based on ‘a posteriori solution behavior’. I don’t know how this can be more explicitly spelt out. Models are chaotic without a doubt – small changes lead to large divergence over time – the ‘solutions’ are chosen based solely of expectations of what the solution should be – more realistic probability distributions based on perturbed model physics are not yet technically feasible.

      What does ‘a posteriori solution behavior’ mean? It means they pull a solution – amongst many feasible solutions – out of their arses and email it to the IPCC where it is published and can be used as evidence by climate crazies who pull post hoc rationalisations out of their arses.

      ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic.http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

    • Matthew R Marler

      WebHubTelescope: For global warming, the GHG forcing is globally uniform, and the modeling goal emphasis is on global energy balance and global temperature change.

      The GHG forcing is clearly not globally uniform. And the goals of modeling include regional variation in response and drivers.

      lolwot: The future of climate science is computer modelling.

      I hope so, but I think that we are looking to a rather distant future for tested models of adequate accuracy for any human purpose.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Robert I. Ellison: AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones.

      I don’t think we should rule out the possibility that models can be developed that are both plausible (judged against known science of processes) and sufficiently accurate for known times into the future (decades say.) What your posts show is that many problems have to be overcome; and, as you say, all that can be predicted may be distributions (means, variances, quartiles.)

    • Globally uniformly balanced.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      WHUTTY says:

      “Yes, after the CO2 control knob starts getting cranked up”

      Good to know it isn’t cranked up. Let us know when it’s been cranked up.

    • His crank fell off the shaft. He should be glad there wasn’t a backfire to break his arm. That’ll be for the real climatologists, fiddling with the timing of the communications.
      ==================

    • Good to know it isn’t cranked up. Let us know when it’s been cranked up.

      The slow feedbacks haven’t been noticeable yet. So all we are seeing is the ECS of 3C.

    • Webby

      The slow feedbacks haven’t been noticeable yet. So all we are seeing is the ECS of 3C.

      Whodat “we”?

      All those thermometers out there (even the ones next to heated buildings in winter or AC exhausts in summer) aren’t “seeing an ECS of 3C” (it’s not even warming).

      All those many observation-based studies since 2011 aren’t “seeing an ECS of 3C” (more like 1.8C, based on a TCR of around 1.2C).

      “We” must be that handy dandy model of yours.

      Max

    • MAnacker is becoming even less aware of good science since he started to believe that the excess CO2 wasn’t even caused by man.

      No use arguing with someone like that. Own goal scoring at its finest.

  2. “They recognise three broad frames of mind, each encompassing a set of habits of mind that are critical to participate planning and decision making in complex social-ecological systems. These frames of mind are openness, situational awareness, and a healthy respect for the risks associated with making decisions and taking action.”

    Rainbows and moonbeams in this cynical time of repression and intellectual bullying.


    • Rainbows and moonbeams in this cynical time of repression and intellectual bullying.

      I thought the term was “moral bullying”. Intellectual bullying is when a student signs up for a science-based major and finds out that professors are bullies about getting a passing grade. Who gets to decide who has what it takes? You want an intellectual cream-puff?

      “Everyone gets to play” is a fine strategy for a pee-wee soccer team, but for something as wide open as the internet, someone has to act as a gatekeeper. The maintainers of Wikipedia are all intellectual bullies as far as that is concerned. The people that complain about Wikipedia probably all secretly use it.

    • “Everyone gets to play” is a fine strategy for a pee-wee soccer team, but for something as wide open as the internet, someone has to act as a gatekeeper.
      Consensus gatekeepers will maintain the 97%.
      That is just sick.

    • What if you built the system so that repression and intellectual bullying were an integral part of the overall curricula? What if you made this sort of thinking, planning, and decision making standard? It’s happening: http://www.invisibleserfscollar.com/

    • The Early Bird has found the Worm.
      ===========

  3. The “action based complexity research” seems too vague, even self-contradictory, to be useful.

    For example:
    “Seize the just-do-it moment”
    and
    ” Avoid premature convergence – avoid being too quick to judge”
    aren’t compatible.

    The rock I cling to is data. We need to spend money to collect data, and we do, but there are areas where more solid data can be collected and put to good use.

    No matter the research methodology, the results need to be compared to actual data, limited though it may be.

    The danger is that the concepts get divorced from reality. Then policy comes to be guided more by political leanings than reality.

    • While I respect the Stockholm authors, what they call action-based research is nearly impossible to achieve in a community (or higher scale) system: too many players with too many diverging agendas. However, it might work in a community of practice in which researchers and practitioners in tandem hammer out the research agenda to answer pressing practical questions.

      For example, a practical question of great importance is how to predict storms (tracks, intensity …) better, as well as their impacts. After all, even in a perfect (well, to some!) world in which CO2 is controlled, we will still have storms and droughts and they will still cause damage and death. As a sort of practitioner, I am much more interested in that type of prediction than I am in determining the global mean temperature at some hypothetical time far into some hypothetical future. It is possible (but not likely, I’m afraid) that action-based research could lead to a better prioritization of our limited resources.

    • @John Plodinec | March 2, 2014 at 9:55 am |
      This sounds a bit like a cross-functional team, which isn’t new. For climate science, a team could cover the elements of climate; atmosphere, ocean, other sub-disciplines; but should also include statisticians and other mathematicians, biologists, programmers and computer scientists, and some engineers. But however it’s done, it needs to be based in reality which requires data.

    • Jim2, This is an excellent quote. “The rock I cling to is data. We need to spend money to collect data, and we do, but there are areas where more solid data can be collected and put to good use.”

      My only modification is that “we don’t spend the money to maintain or increase our data collection, QC, and availability of the data.” Everything is done “out of hide.” As an example, the new USDA Climate Hubs are internally funded with mandated contributions from existing USDA agencies.

      Data collection is “totally unglamourous,” and many federal agencies tasked to collect data have experienced shrinking budgets since Clinton and Gore blasted the “Global Warming Trumpet.” I always found it ironic that they cut all the federal budgets and staffs while relying on the data they collect for their “PowerPoint Nobel Prize.”

    • “The rock I cling to is data. We need to spend money to collect data, and we do, but there are areas where more solid data can be collected and put to good use. ”

      Indeed. Alas, in academia, there are no incentives to collect data only the “publish or perish” incentive – and data collection never makes it into the “high impact” journals. This will only change when funding for, and administrative recognition of the value of, data collection is given it’s rightful place as the real basis of all science,

    • “The rock I cling to is data. We need to spend money to collect data, and we do, but there are areas where more solid data can be collected and put to good use. ”

      I agree that more good data will be better.

      We have plenty of good data already. We need to get together and understand the data we already have. Consensus People will not discuss and debate the Theory and how it does or does not match the data. That is because it does not match.
      If Consensus Climate People don’t understand historic data, then they most likely will not understand new data as it comes in.

    • The proliferation of hyphenated buzzwords reveals underlying political motivation, and yet another post-modernist attempted coup of science by social awareness control-knob twiddlers.

  4. What you call the “linear” approach is akin to Ptolemaic epicycles, adding more and more cycles on cycles in order to approach a “right” answer. We see the same thing with climate modeling – however, in this case, adding complexity seems to lead away from an accurate description of what Nature is doing.

    • Climate is complex. The most important things in Climate are simple. Look at the actual data and figure out those most simple basic things. Look at the history of the data. The most important factors are simple.
      The temperature of the past eleven thousand years has been tightly bounded in a narrow bound, always going from cold to warm and always after that going from warm to cold. The only forcing that could do this is the Albedo from cycles of more snowfall during warm times and less snowfall during cold times. This basic forcing is simple and it always works when needed and always in the right direction. Polar Ice Cycles developed and tightened the bounds of temperature. IR from Water Vapor and a little help from CO2 IR does the most of the cooling of Earth. This is a simple basic forcing that is well understood, but it does not have a set point with tight bounding. Compare the data from before Polar Ice Cycles to the modern data with Polar Ice Cycles. The difference is easy to see and understand.

  5. [Action research is different because researchers and stakeholders design the research cooperatively and face to face. Their aim is to define a desired future and undertake well-informed actions that will expand their knowledge, enhance their competencies, and overcome challenges for moving to that future. Action research is, therefore, very much a process of generating personal and institutional change (Reason and Bradbury 2007) and with it comes the need for deep trust between all parties. That trust will not emerge if the parties themselves do not adopt a common frame of reference for decision making and “walking-the-talk” along the path that takes them forward. The researchers must practice what they preach if they are not to “mutilate knowledge and disfigure reality” as Morin, somewhat belligerently but cogently, phrases it.]

    That paragraph sounds an awful lot like a call for keeping everyone inside the same intellectual box. That is how climate science has been handled over the last couple decades. The ‘stakeholders’ (governmental agencies) provided the goals (and funding) and directed researchers as to what rocks they were to look under. Research should be about discovery. Discovery is about finding the unknown. The above paragraph certainly suggests researchers should stay on a path that ‘stakeholders’ agree is useful. A path that refines our understanding of known unknowns is useful. However, discovering the unknown unknowns is where the gold is!

  6. Those who toil at the”bench” to do the research on complex issues come as fledglings with a wide range of habits influenced by family, tribe, school, and acquaitences. “Growing up” in the professional world new habits are shaped by many factors but some important ones include the behavior displayed by recognized leaders and the incentives created by surrounding institutions in support of the work at the “bench”. What do the incentives look like today for young climate scientists? Will a junior scientist who is interested in peering outside the curtain of “settled science” or “consensus conviction” receive funds and friendly support to challenge current thinking? How often is an international award given to a scientist who demonstrates the habits described in the Stockholm blog?
    No, I fear that the junior climate scientist today too often sees science leaders exaggerate, rely on flawed models, and use dodgy statistics to win praise, recognition, and increased funding and support. Look no further than the IPCC publishing the “Hockey Stick” to eliminate the Medieval Warming Period and the Nobel Prize to Al Gore to honor massive exaggeration.
    Dr Curry, you found a young scientist at the University of Colorado who was pushing the consensus to study “the stadium wave”. You and others gave her the kind of support I am talking about. Can every young climate scientist depend on that kind of support? I don’t see the evidence, rather the opposite seems to prevail!

    • Hi Hank, I agree that the professional incentives in climate science have been perverted. FYI, Marcia Wyatt is a nontraditional student (about my age), who is working outside of the ‘establishment’ as an independent scientist.

    • One Climate Scientists, who did present to our NASA Alumni group, made it clear the these old NASA Engineers, would not make it in his basic climate course. One don’t question or disagree and pass his class. The 97% people can pass, but the 3% will not meet his consensus standards. This is why Climate Science is made up of those who do not question consensus.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      ” fear that the junior climate scientist today too often sees science leaders exaggerate, rely on flawed models, and use dodgy statistics to win praise, recognition, and increased funding and support.”
      Cue Shakun and Marcott

    • “Dr Curry, you found a young scientist at the University of Colorado who was pushing the consensus to study “the stadium wave”. ”

      Not that it matters, but she was not exactly “young” in comparison to most graduate students. I am sure that the idea came about from years of pondering the mechanisms behind the observations.

      All that really matters is the idea. Where do we go from here with respect to understanding the Stadium Wave? I would suggest that the first thing to consider with respect to a mechanism is that it is based on a slow process with a significant amount of inertia behind it. What has that but some sort of vsicous mantle property or something to do with inertia in the oceans?

    • Decadal, centennial, and millenial scale pulsings, as yet only dreamt of, from the sun.
      ===========

    • Perhaps a more apt description would be ‘Stolkholm Syndrome’ whereby the consensus captives readily comply and resistors probaby face death.

    • Stockholm Syndrome that is.

  7. My simple mind, using traditional reductive thinking, has looked at the (unreadable) excerpts and deduced that the author is a recent graduate, with majors in gobbledegook and gibberish.

    I predict a long and successful career in Government Grantology.

    • +1

    • +∞

    • David Springer

      Someone had to say it.

      +1

    • Doug Badgero

      Yes, in the real world we combine this into one pithy term….risk management.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Doug Badgero

      “Yes, in the real world we combine this into one pithy term….risk management.”

      And of course in the field of ‘risk management’, page one, rule one, paragraph one, line one, addressed by Climate Science via ex cathedra pronouncements: “Before undertaking to manage a risk, make absolutely certain that you are faced with a risk that demands managing.

    • This kind of “lets all sit in a circle and sing Kumbaya” approach to problem solving leaves me cold too.

      I certainly wouldn’t want my water or power supply dependent on such woolly thinking.

      The other thing I found disturbing was the stuff about changing people’s thinking – presumably to more “correct” modes of thought. Now,changing people’s thinking by marshalling facts and arguments is one thing – it’s open, transparent and (hopefully) logical. But using group therapy to do it is quite another, and I regard it as inherently unethical and dishonest.

    • “You are a slow learner, Winston.”
      “How can I help it? How can I help but see what is in front of my eyes? Two and two are four.”
      “Sometimes, Winston. Sometimes they are five. Sometimes they are three. Sometimes they are all of them at once. You must try harder. It is not easy to become sane.”
      ― George Orwell, 1984

    • Bob Ludwick

      +100

      “Before undertaking to manage a risk, make absolutely certain that you are faced with a risk that demands managing.

      And if there is no risk there, create one (see Mencken on “imaginary hobgoblins”).

      Max

      Max

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Manaker

      Or, apropos of the Climate Change Crisis and how it is being ‘managed’ by our current masters, we have this from Bruce Yandle in ‘The Freeman’:

      “”Rahm’s Rule is a useful accessory to a body of theory that seeks to explain the political economy of regulation. The rule tells us that major crises can provide cover for distributing benefits to targeted special interest groups. The greater the magnitude of a given crisis and the shorter the interval for forming legislation to deal with it, the larger the spread of pork that can be packed into the final legislation. Rahm’s Rule is a guarantee that efforts to resolve a deadline-based crisis will go on to the very last minute.” – See more at: http://perc.org/blog/rahms-rule-never-let-serious-crisis-go-waste#sthash.dHNzt0Iw.dpuf

      So how many ‘Solyndras’ did we really fund anyway, and do you think that we will ever be able to list all the folks who have become or will become millionaires by ‘Stopping Global Warming by Taxing, Regulating, and Permitting Energy Production and Consumption’? One thing for sure, they will predominately be ‘Friends of Bill and Barak’. Also, see the ‘Financial Crisis’ and who got rich from IT.

  8. The first frame, openness, includes the following habits:

    Hold your strong opinions lightly
    Embrace surprise, serendipity and epiphany
    Accept everyone as co-learners, not experts or competitors

    The second, situational awareness, includes habits such as:

    Be aware of contingencies, scale and history
    Consider the importance of relationships and interactions
    Reflect often: formally, informally, individually and collectively

    The third frame, respect for the restraint and action paradox, includes habits such as:

    Seize the just-do-it moment
    Have courage to take action from which you can learn
    Avoid premature convergence – avoid being too quick to judge

    Wow! None of the 97% could or would do any of this.

  9. “Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries, do not control the meaning and nature of their research, even on an intellectual level”

    So he has never visited the IP office or written and reviewed Patent applications.
    Why listen to people with their feet firmly planted in the air, rather than people who actually work at the coal face?
    You do know that the majority of researchers in basic research also dip a toe into applied research. Note also that technological advancement is very often the stepchild of basic research. This is quite clear in biomedicals were virtually everyone has an eye on how their work can be commercialized, and are acutely aware of the need to ‘control’ their intellectual property.

  10. “In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems when he argued that the only sound thinking practice was to…”

    There’s this feature in private eye called pseud’s corner…

    • Rgates

      Re your 12 point list.

      Were the right instruments around all 12 would have been recorded in the period 850 to 1200 AD. We have good evidence of melting ice , increased sea levels and increased storms and rainfall a,pngst other effects

      Tonyb

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Were the right instruments around all 12 would have been recorded in the period 850 to 1200 AD. We have good evidence of melting ice , increased sea levels and increased storms and rainfall a,pngst other effects.
      ——
      I’m am skeptical that all 12 would be, but if that were the case, we have some very good data as to why the MWP was likely so warm as it was. It was warm for precisely the opposite set of reasons the LIA turned cold. Namely:

      MWP saw lower volcanic activity and greater net solar output.

      LIA saw increased volcanic activity and lower net solar output.

      Now it must be remembered that volcanic aerosols (or lack thereof) affect the climate different than solar forcing. Both affect the global climate, but solar disproportionately affects the NH.

    • Rgates

      What typifies the lia was the hugely variable climate from hot to cold and back again. If aerosols depressed temperatures as much as you have previously said then the lia was at times warmer than both the mwp and the modern warm period.

      However, as you know I think the volcanic effect is greatly overstated as I just can’t see any long term effects in the thousands of records I have been looking at over the past two weeks. Btw, the lia exiisted prior to the 1257 volcano and the mwp conditions returned afterwards. I can not see the justification of Mann and miller that volcanos started a 500 year long lia.

      Tonyb

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Btw, the lia exiisted prior to the 1257 volcano and the mwp conditions returned afterwards.”
      ——–
      I know we been down this road a few times and you still seem reluctant to consider the role of both mega volcanoes and the general increase in aerosols from increased volcanic activity that occurred through the LIA. They were not the sole cause, but combined with lower solar output can explain the majority if the LIA. There is no doubt some natural internal variability at play as well, and though on different scales, in this regard the LIA is not dissimilar to the “hiatus” period of our modern temperature record.

    • Rgates

      The reason I am ‘reluctant’ is that I can not see the actual evidence from the records as opposed to the models.

      I am not sure there is an analogy between the lia and the modern hiatus. The lia was a time of huge variability with some mwp like intervals.

      . The post 1850 era bears no relationship to the variability we can observe in the period from around 1300 to around 1820 in as much the warm and cold periods were much more juxtaposed than they are today. The modern period however appears to bear a close relationship to the mwp, if slightly cooler .
      Tonyb

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “The modern period however appears to bear a close relationship to the mwp, if slightly cooler .”
      ——-
      Two different periods with different combinations of forcings leading to similar tropospheric temperatures.

  11. Climate change is not a “wicked problem” as far as the scientific attribution is concerned. In reality, it is as straightforward to solve as a homework problem. All that we have to do is get the various climate forcings quantified and we are good to go. Then we can create models that fit the data with fidelity such as this:

    • WHT – I thought you would have figured out by now that your view is limited by the technology of the telescope you now possess. As telescopes improve, so also will your understanding of the world.

      Write that down.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      WHUTTY,
      Please don’t think that your failure to convince is what convinces of failure.

    • Are the usual suspects all having their usual problems of comprehension ?

      Interesting how I can use a training interval from 1880 to 1960 to capture the last 50 years of climate change:

      The problem doesn’t look too “wicked” to me.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Judith, you ask “Have you projected out to 2040? I would definitely be interested in seeing that.”

      So far as I am aware, WHUT has not done any projections at all.

    • The year 2040 is a long ways off, and I am not in any particular hurry in producing a detailed prediction that far ahead.

      But I will say that it really all depends on the CO2 growth. The average increase in global temperature will be approximately
      dT = 3 * d[CO2]/dt * Years/ 400

      If we keep up with a growth of 2.5 +/- 0.5 PPM per year in CO2 concentration, then we should plan on an additional 0.4C to 0.5C global warming by 2040.

      The farther out we go, the less impact the natural variability has on the trend. The signal will continue to get stronger relative to the noise. That is one thing that we can bank on.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “Have you projected out to 2040?”
      “But I will say that it really all depends on the CO2 growth”
      Three guesses at “projected” means, WHUTTY.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “The signal will continue to get stronger relative to the noise. That is one thing that we can bank on.”

      Right here, WHUTTY?

      http://www.fdic.gov/bank/individual/failed/banklist.html

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Climate change is not a “wicked problem” as far as the scientific attribution is concerned.”
      ________
      Yes and no. It is wicked from the sense that there are natural modes of variability form which the anthropogenic fingerprint has had to be distilled, but as that fingerprint has gotten stronger and stronger against the background noise of that variability, the job of distilling it has gotten easier. It is also wicked in the sense that the anthropogenic forcing may be altering the nature and character of the background natural modes of variability. But as far as bottom line attribution (i.e. are humans altering the energy balance of the climate), that is no longer a “wicked” problem, and the uncertainty “monster” related to attribution is quite a tiny little creature– alway present if you are an honest skeptic, but now could easily fit in teapot– though some might like to create a tempest in that teapot.

    • Cooling for two decades from the concatenation of cooling phases of the oceanic oscillations, cooling for two centuries if the Cheshire Cat Sunspots mean cooling on Earth.

      Carbon Dioxide with little effect other than helping plants a lot and providing us with the thin comfort that our efforts are warming us a little, anyway.
      ==================


    • Jim Cripwell | March 2, 2014 at 11:56 am |

      So far as I am aware, WHUT has not done any projections at all.

      The most crucial projection is that the Earth’s temperature will eventually change by 3C with a doubling of atmospheric CO2.

      The detail in that projection is to model the natural fluctuations that will be observed along that path. I have a proposed SOI model that will be useful to predict whatever peaks and valleys we see along the way here:

      http://contextearth.com/2014/02/21/soim-and-the-paul-trap/

      The remaining piece to the puzzle is to come up with a projection of the Stadium Wave.

    • If RGates could see the signal he could tell us if it is getting stronger and stronger. In my estimation his optimism is laudable, though; hope springs eternal in the human beast.
      ================

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Previously I listed 12 of the “fingerprints” in climate change the are likely associated with increasing GH gas concentrations from human activity:

      1) General accumulation of energy in the climate system
      2) General decline of glacial ice mass
      3) Decline of seasonal Arctic Sea ice (and Antarctic sea ice later in the 21st century)
      4) Decline in Permafrost
      5) Enhances Brewer-Dobson curculation
      6) Expansion of the tropical tropopause
      7) Cooling of the stratosphere
      8) Increased ocean heat content
      9) Rising sea levels
      10) Increasingly acidic ocean
      11) Enhanced hydrological cycle
      12) Increased tropospheric temperatures (remember, over multi-decadal time frames!)

      All 12 of these have been observed. Strong evidence that the general dynamical role of increased anthropogenic GHG’s in altering the energy balance of the climate system is well represented in the models. The uncertainty monster always exists of course in honest scientific inquiry, but it is s very tiny monster (swimming around in a teapot) in regards to anthropogenic forcing of the climate and a high degree of confidence can therefore be given to the role of humans in altering the energy balance of the climate system.

      That tiny uncertainty monster swimming around in a teapot can be made into a huge monster in big storm if put under the proper microscope.

    • David L. Hagen

      WebHubTelescope
      What if your climate sensitivity is only off by a factor of 80% too high?
      See: More evidence for a low climate sensitivity
      How are you quantitatively validating high sensitivity radiative forcing from natural variations?
      Remember:

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

      Attributed to von Neumann by Enrico Fermi, as quoted by Freeman Dyson in “A meeting with Enrico Fermi” in Nature 427 (22 January 2004) p. 297

    • Heh, RGates sees warming and believes he perceives attribution.
      ==========

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “kim | March 2, 2014 at 1:44 pm |
      Heh, RGates sees warming and believes he perceives attribution.
      ==========”

      “Warming”, as in the increase in sensible heat in the troposphere, is actually one of the most difficult proxies to use for trying to measure the overall increase in energy in the climate system. Tropospheric sensible heat is highly dependent on the rate of sensible and latent heat flux from the oceans and this flux is highly dependent on natural internal variability of the system itself. With all this in mind, using “warming” or sensible heat in the troposphere is best a multi-decadal timeframes, with the average decadal global temperature being a good smallest unit of measurement.

    • “Heh, RGates sees warming and believes he perceives attribution.”
      ==========

      But only after a determined application of the most rigorous skepticism imaginable.

      Gates skepticism is like a strainer the holes of which let nothing through but warmist arguments.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      pokerguy,

      Like all honest skeptics with no “dog in the fight”, I fully consider all evidence. If you have some data that show that the net energy of the climate system has not been increasing quite consistently for many decades, I would more than welcome the chance to consider it.

    • “The year 2040 is a long ways off, and I am not in any particular hurry in producing a detailed prediction that far ahead.”

      No, but if you were I’m sure you could whip one up in 5 seconds flat.


    • What if your climate sensitivity is only off by a factor of 80% too high?
      See: More evidence for a low climate sensitivity

      That linked paper is written by Loehle, who makes many mistakes in basic physics. For one, he doesn’t understand the first thing about the logarithmic sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration.

      Get back to me when he corrects his mistakes.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “The year 2040 is a long ways off, and I am not in any particular hurry in producing a detailed prediction that far ahead.”
      _____
      Easy. More net energy in the climate system in 2040 than 2014. Specifically, a continuation of these 12 trends (and probably some new ones) that we’ve been seeing:

      1) General accumulation of energy in the climate system
      2) General decline of glacial ice mass
      3) Decline of seasonal Arctic Sea ice (and Antarctic sea ice later in the 21st century)
      4) Decline in Permafrost
      5) Enhances Brewer-Dobson curculation
      6) Expansion of the tropical tropopause
      7) Cooling of the stratosphere
      8) Increased ocean heat content
      9) Rising sea levels
      10) Increasingly acidic ocean
      11) Enhanced hydrological cycle
      12) Increased tropospheric temperatures (remember, over multi-decadal time frames!)

      Added to these will of course be natural internal variability (increasingly influenced by the external forcing of increased GHG’s). Also, through in a volcano here or there, and you’re looking at 2040. We might even have had our first ice free summer Arctic by then.

    • ceresco kid

      Web-
      “But I will say that it really all depends on the CO2 growth.”

      That’s what they all say. You turn a wicked phrase

    • Steven Mosher

      Web
      “That linked paper is written by Loehle, who makes many mistakes in basic physics. For one, he doesn’t understand the first thing about the logarithmic sensitivity of temperature to CO2 concentration.”

      After reading the paper and making one comment I decided it was just best to leave it alone. On the positive side you do see more skeptics trying to step up to the plate making estimates.. so some progress.

    • Webby

      Blind faith (even in an oversimplified model) is a wonderful thing.

      Blessed are those…

      Max

    • Mosh said:


      After reading the paper and making one comment I decided it was just best to leave it alone. On the positive side you do see more skeptics trying to step up to the plate making estimates.. so some progress.

      Loehle doesn’t seem to grasp that the result of log([CO2]) sensitivity can have a knee in the curve with respect to time. Pekka and I both pointed this out in the past, but he keeps on publishing these junk papers.

      Plot of the sensitivity based on actual data:

      Does Loehle even know how to do this kind of parametric plot? Plot Temperature anomaly versus time and plot CO2 concentration against time. Share the timebase and you have CO2 vs Temperature whereby you can derive the climate sensitivity on a semi-log scale.

      In any case, global TCR is about 2C and the ECS will be about 3C based on estimates of warming on land.

    • curryja calls WebHubTelescope’s bluff. WebHubTelescope folds.

    • What bluff?

      I gave a prediction for 2040. I don’t have a projected time series yet since I have to integrate my SOI prediction model into CSALT.

      I would leave the volcanic predictions flat since it is hopeless to predict those. I also need a prediction for the slow variation of the stadium wave. In the past, that generated at most a +/- 0.1C fluctuation and no indication that it is growing.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘It is hypothesized that persistent and consistent trends among several climate modes act to ‘kick’ the climate state, altering the pattern and magnitude of air-sea interaction between the atmosphere and the underlying ocean. Figure 1 (middle) shows that these climate mode trend phases indeed behaved anomalously three times during the 20th century, immediately following the synchronization events of the 1910s, 1940s, and 1970s. This combination of the synchronization of these dynamical modes in the climate, followed immediately afterward by significant increase in the fraction of strong trends (coupling) without exception marked shifts in the 20th century climate state. These shifts were accompanied by breaks in the global mean temperature trend with respect to time, presumably associated with either discontinuities in the global radiative budget due to the global reorganization of clouds and water vapor or dramatic changes in the uptake of heat by the deep ocean…

      Turning to the most recent decade, Figure 1 (top) shows that another synchronization event has recently taken place, with synchronization peaking in 2001/02 Figure 1.’ http://www.leif.org/EOS/2008GL037022.pdf

      Webby’s not playing with a full deck. The cooling is likely to persist for a decade to three and be followed by a further shift in ocean and atmospheric circulation – and a consequent shift in cloud radiative forcing. The nature of the next shift is unknowable – but there is at least a presumption of further cooling in Bond Event Zero as the Sun cools from a 1000 year high – and the potential for a radical shift.

  12. I forced myself to read the first para of this magnificent document but got dizzy and could not understand anything. Could somebody, kindly explain in plain English what it is about?
    For example: what does this mean: “social ecology of knowledge and being” ??

    • jacobress

      What does this mean: “social ecology of knowledge and being” ??

      Some synonyms:
      Social: communal, sociable, nice, mannerly
      Ecology: preservation, environmentalism, conservation, bionomics
      Knowledge: power, awareness, knowhow, education
      Being: life, essence, vitality, subsistence

      So let’s try
      - Communal preservation of power and life
      - Sociable environmentalism of awareness and essence
      - Nice conservation of knowhow and vitality
      - Mannerly bionomics of education and subsistence

      Hope this helps clear it up. If not, you can scramble those around a bit to see if you find a fit.

      Max

  13. This approach also seems to dictate that scientists get into the policy area and push a certain response based on their knowledge. Some climate scientists do this now, but they have no expertise in policy. On second thought, a good multi-discipline team should also have a libertarian-based economist. ;)

    I don’t really see a role for sociology. That discipline is little more than a joke.

  14. Ah, life in the shadow of the Tower of Babel.

  15. @Prof. Curry…

    I’m not exactly sure how to react to that. But the elephant in the room is that the UNFCCC/IPCC agenda dominates climate research funding, largely in response to the climate mode command-and-control strategy for climate policy.

    Is that supposed to be “response to the climate mode model command-and-control strategy”?

  16. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Judy Curry asserts [without justification] “The elephant in the room is that the UNFCCC/IPCC agenda dominates climate research funding.”

    With respect, that debate is OVER, and a consensus has emerged that:

    The Science Elephant  James Hansen’s 1981 climate-change worldview is scientifically correct, validated and verified: (1) correct its thermodynamic foundations (in energy balance), and (2) validated in physical science (of general circulation models), and (3) verified in observational science (heating oceans, melting ice, rising sees).

    The two remaining “elephants in the room” are familiar:

    The Market Elephant  Short-sighed, cherry-picking, slogan-shouting, morally toxic enclaves of faux-conservative denialist irrationality — like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — deservedly receive little or no respect from the scientific community … their astro-turfing and disinformation campaigns are funded by special interests

    The Commons Elephant  A great many individuals care little for humanity’s ecological commons, and selfishly care little for the welfare of future generations … the cognition of these selfish/shortsighted individuals is immune to rational scientific discourse in regard to Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature, and Our Responsibility

    Right here on Climate Etc, the Market Elephant and the Commons Elephant draw the heaviest concentrations of personal abuse, cherry-picking argumentation, and conspiracy-theoretic cognition … largely from persons whose cognitive spectrum is childishly restricted to short-term faux-libertarian narratives.

    Everybody sees *THAT*, eh Climate Etc readers?

    \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}

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Fanny rejoices as a new smoke appears from his own chimney

    • Abate, at any rate, a common courtesy.
      =====

    • Fan’s baby market elephant is overshadowed by a mammoth cold war victory of market economies over totalitarian states.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Canman praises “a mammoth cold war victory of market economies over totalitarian states.”

      Uhhh … the cold war ended twenty-three years ago, didn’t it canman?

      Since then, by all the CIA factbook rankings (life expectancy, education, democracy, free press, honest government, universal access to healthcare) haven’t the middle-of-the-road hybrid economies (the Baltic-region nations particularly) done best by *EVERY* objective measure?

      Gee, maybe history has proven Alexander Pope correct?

      For forms of government,
         let fools contest.
      What’s best administered,
         is best.
      Gosh, doesn’t history show us plainly that selfish tyrants, selfish ideologies, self-centered religions, and selfish globalized corporations, are *ALL* of them “bad administrators”?

      Think it over, Canman!

      \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}

    • This view that people who disagree with the consensus view, do so because they are morally evil is getting more and more common. As the failure of the Thermogeddonists to ‘project’ this decades temperatures becomes more evident, they will step up their attacks on individuals.
      Accusations of fascism and intimation that those who disagree with you are evil are in effect declarations of the loss of civilized, rational, debate.

    • Fan is remarkably worshipful of Hansen’s diagnosis and prognosis and remarkably dismissive of Hansen’s proposed treatment. There would be no problem if it were not for his exclusive addiction to argument from authority.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      DocMartyn asserts “The view that people who disagree with the consensus view, do so because they are morally evil is getting more and more common.”

      Ignorance per se is no sin at all, DocMartyn; moreover selfishness, short-sightedness, incuriosity, and willful ignorance, are failings so common as to be merely venial.

      Fortunately, vigorous public dialog is helping more-and-more denialists to an appreciation that selfish, incurious, and ignorant is no way for thoughtful conservatives (especially!) to go through life.

      That’s why thoughful science-respecting conservatives are turning away from faux-conservative denialism-embracing operations — like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — deservedly receive little or no respect from the scientific community … is simply that their astro-turfing and disinformation campaigns are subsidized by special interests

      \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}

    • John, you are an evil bastard, no if and no buts. You don’t understand science, morality or people.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      DocMartyn says [of FOMD]  “you are an evil bastard, no if and no buts. You don’t understand science, morality or people.

      Then how much *LESS* understanding of science, morality, or people have this guy and this gal and this guy … among tens of thousands of agents of the (self-organizing!) 21st century Enlightenment?

      As summarized in Wendell Berry’s Jefferson Lecture (2012) and Jonathan Israel’s A Revolution of the Mind: Radical Enlightenment and the Intellectual Origins of Modern Democracy (2010), for example.

      Surely these folks are the epitome of evil, eh DocMartyn? Surely they understand almost *NOTHING* of “science, morality, or people”?

      The world ponders!

      \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}

  17. David Springer

    The earth has a climate. See the climate. The climate has a control knob. Turn the control knob. See climate change. Change climate change.

    That about sums up bandwagon climate science.

    Hey IPCC, Amazon called and they want their Dick and Jane book back.

    • Doug Badgero

      “Hey IPCC, Amazon called and they want their Dick and Jane book back.”

      Lol

    • “The earth has a climate. See the climate. The climate has a control knob. Turn the control knob. See climate change. Change climate change.”

      Very much like watching television. Maybe they’ll develop some sort of gigantic remote control they can stick on the roof of the White House. One more executive branch function.

      Climate Changer-in-Chief

  18. As the world around us becomes more complex …

    Is that true? In what way is the world becoming more complex? Isn’t the underlying complexity just being exposed as we try to exert more and more control over our world?

  19. “In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems when he argued that the only sound thinking practice was to isolate phenomena from each other and their environment and apply a process of reduction, simplification and clarification. Well, not anymore. As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing accordingly.

    Enter complexity thinking, an attempt to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world where humans and nature are connected on multiple scales. ”

    Forgive Descartes ??? Now that’s a good slice of hubris if I ever heard it. The whole (2) paragraph in fact supports the very point that Descartes was making. Indeed, very much in keeping with todays thinking, is the need to reduce things to as simple a level as possible. It’s necessary because people, and of course our collective politicians, can’t grasp the complexities.
    They are just too … complex. The interconnectedness of everything almost defies understanding at all. So no one tries. Certainly not those at decision making level. Simple things like river flows. Can’t grasp the complexities? Try thinking about continental drift and the effects on weather. Never mind the warming/heating/cooling/stabilizing what ever scenarios.
    And then of course you have to add to the mix those who for one reason or another are convinced that I ARE RIGHT – SEE. Sometimes they are paid, sometimes they are just blind idiots that never look out the window.

    I digress – it’s too complex. However – take a care when applying hindsight to great thinkers like Descartes.

    Let me ask anyone to take a moment and “isolate phenomena from each other and their environment and apply a process of reduction” in the arguments for and against global warming. The list will be long, and in multiple columns, but if you don’t attempt it – how will you handle the proposed alternative “complex thinking”. How will your local politician handle the process?
    Why do I keep bringing up Politicians? Well obviously, they are after all the final arbiters.

  20. Scott Scarborough

    If you don’t have a “reductionist” understanding of what you are doing you don’t know if what your doing is helping or hurting, or even what helping or hurting means.

    • The whole field of control theory is based on understanding how systems work and what one can understand about the system when you have limited ability to either interrogate or measure it.

  21. I think it you pay even the slightest bit of attention to the rhythm and the rhyme, then the rest of it all sort of sorts itself out in the wash.
    ==============

    • ‘if you pay’. I’ve found that paying attention to spelling doesn’t matter all that much. It often helps the rhymes, though.
      ============

  22. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    I agree with that bolded sentence in the article. I explained this same thing in last page of my:

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2VHpYemRBV3FQRjA

    “[Anthropogenic Climate Change theory (i.e., that climate changes due to CO2 emissions)] is probably an error due to some kind of oversimplification”.
    But if we do not want to oversimplify, then the only way (we have developed at present) to study such a complex area as climate science is statistics. And the only way for statistics to work properly is to let them compile climatic data for centuries. In this scenario that “action” (i.e. decision making) is a nonsense: I’m sorry for Obama and Kerry (but can seek that “action” in many other areas of politics).

  23. While chasing non-paywalled references in the linked paper I found Re-Thinking Science: Mode 2 in Societal Context by Helga Nowotny, Peter Scott and Michael Gibbons. It starts out:

    Eight years ago the three authors of this contribution, along with three others, published The New Production of Know ledge: The Dynamics of Science and Research in Contemporary Societies (Gibbons et al 1994).

    I’m still reading it, but I wonder (enough to share an unread link) to what extent that and related publications served as a “blueprint for revolution” in the creation of the IPCC/”Global warming” movement in the same way that Kuhn’s Structure of
    Scientific Revolutions
    (and related publications) served as a “blueprint for revolution” in the Plate Tectonics Revolution. (Assuming it did, which I’m pretty sure of.)

  24. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    “There are two main opposing paradigms for climate change:

    1 The linear model, whereby climate change is radiatively forced.

    2. Complex models, such as Tsonis’ climate shift model and the stadium wave, whereby natural variability (if not purely internal variability, then it is non-radiatively forced) is the fundamental climate signal, with radiative forcing projecting onto these modes of natural variability.”
    _________

    These two modes are not “opposing” modes as #1 is actually part of #2. #1 is simply the bare bones, basic external forcing that “projects onto” the modes of internal variabililty. What is lacking in either of these supposed opposing paragidms in the notion of amplifying feedbacks and chaotic behavior such as we might be seeing with Arctic sea ice for example where there is a combination of external forcing and natural variability, but ultimately that external forcing will very likley lead to an ice free summer Arctic Ocean. Certainly the climate system has internal modes of variability and certainly the climate system can have external forcings “projected onto” those modes, but in thinking about the nature of that projection we are talking about the alteration of those modes. The external forcing begins to alter the modes of internal variability. How, for example, does the PDO, AMO, etc. change with CO2, methane, and N2O at levels not seen in millions of years? The longer the external forcing is applied, the more that forcing (and it’s related feedbacks) alters those internal modes– that’s exactly the nature of climate change, and exactly what seems to be happening with the ongoing strong eruption of the Human Carbon Volcano.

    • David Springer

      “Human Carbon Conjob Volcano”

      Fixed that for ya!

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Springer,

      I realize how very jealous you must be that I thought of such a clever and quite illustrative way to speak about the huge transfer of carbon from lithosphere to atmosphere that humans have been responsible for these past several hundred years. In fact, looking back through the geological record, it is hard to find a time when so much carbon was transferred so rapidly. One would certainly have to go back many tens of millions of years to find a comparable period.

      The Human Carbon Volcano is an exceptionally appropriate name for what we have brought to the planet, and I’m flattered you are so jealous so as to feel the need to alter or denigrate that exceptionally creative name.

    • Meh, the Human Carbon Cornucopia.
      =============================

    • Manmade CO2 is about 400 ppm.
      That is one molecule per ten thousand.
      That is a tiny fraction of the CO2 that is exchanged into and out of the atmosphere every year and this took many years.

      This fraction of a trace can have little effect on temperature and sea level rise.

      The improvement in natural and man’s green things growing has been significant and the savings in water because plants now need less water to grow better is a wonderful benefit.

      More CO2 can only do good things for life on Earth. When we do run out of fossil fuel and CO2 does start dropping, that will be a true disaster.

    • oops!! Man-made CO2 is about 100 ppm. That is one molecule per ten thousand. make that correction and read that other post again

    • ice free summer Arctic Ocean will always be followed by massive snowfall.

      This is why there is an upper bound on Earth Temperature and Sea Level.

      Watch the actual data as this unfolds. The snowfall has started and the cooling will follow after a lot of years of this snowfall, such as did happen in the Roman and Medieval Warm Periods to cause the cold periods that always follow as the more ice advances from sheer weight of ice piled up higher.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “kim | March 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm |
      Meh, the Human Carbon Cornucopia.
      =============================
      I would not discount that potential. It may turn out to be a cornucopia, only time will tell. We know for sure that it is a volcano.

      • David Springer

        We already know it’s a cornucopea. That’s what we in the real world call an established fact. Fossil fuel made the industrial revolution possible and for 7 billion humans to enjoy its immense benefits.

        What you and your ilk are trying to do is tarnish the image and deny those benefits to as many possible except of course to yourselves.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “ice free summer Arctic Ocean will always be followed by massive snowfall.

      This is why there is an upper bound on Earth Temperature and Sea Level.
      ___________
      Again, we must begin to see summer snow cover increasing such that the snow sticks around until the next fall. Additionally, in the case of the forcing caused by increasing GH gases, there are natural feedbacks that draw CO2 out of the atmosphere when the hydrological cycle increases. What will draw down the CO2 from the Human Carbon Volcano if it continues to erupt?

    • At whatever sensitivity, the warming effect of AnthroGHGs has been demonstrably beneficial, for instance, compare today’s temperatures with those of the Little Ice Age.

      Even at a low sensitivity we’d be appreciably colder without our effect, and at high sensitivity we’d be significantly colder.

      There is iron in that logic even though there is poor estimation of climate temperature sensitivity. Biomic growth response sensitivity has been easy to measure.

      So, all in all, there is no good rationale for mitigation of AnthroGHGs. Our carbon dioxide production is a boon even if cheap energy isn’t part of the calculus, and it is, honey, it is.
      ===========

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Once more Mr. Springer, you flatter me greatly by your jealous attention to the term Human Carbon Volcano. It is such a creative way of illustrating the anthropogenic transfer of carbon from lithosphere to atmosphere that you wish you’d thought of it.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      We know for sure what that use of “volcano” as metaphor, is.

    • RG, yes, both are true, the question is which is more apt. Your volcano produces a slightly increasing aliquot of fertilizer, warm springs, and mellowed weather, along with nearly limitless energy. It has no explosive potential.

      Meh, it’s a cornucopia. You can fear it irrationally, if that is your unfortunate preference. Forgive my if I don’t join you in your senseless sacrifices.
      =============

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Kim,

      You of course might be right, but also of course you’ve heard the expression: “the dose makes the poison” right?

      Human civilization has thrived nicely during a period when CO2 was around 280 ppm. We might indeed do even better at 560 ppm, or we could move to a new climate range in which things get difficult for us. it is a gamble, but it appears that rolling the dice is what we are destined to do.

      • David Springer

        R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist | March 2, 2014 at 1:28 pm |

        “Human civilization has thrived nicely during a period when CO2 was around 280 ppm.”

        It was well over 280ppm before we had telephone, radio, penicillin, automobiles, airplanes, iron lungs, refrigerators, hot & cold running water, sewers, vaccines, anesthesia, germ theory, and God only knows what all else since the 18th century when coal powered steam engines began the industrial revolution.

        That was an exceedingly ignorant thing to say that humans did quite nicely while CO2 was 280ppm. I guess some people are Human Ignorance Volcanos huh?

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “thisisnotgoodtogo | March 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm |
      We know for sure what that use of “volcano” as metaphor, is.
      ______
      The massive and rapid transfer of mass from lithosphere to atmosphere is most commonly brought about via volcanic activity. The term Human Carbon Volcano is more than a metaphor, but has a specific scientific meaning– the massive and rapid transfer of carbon from lithosphere to atmosphere. More rapid in fact than at any time in tens of million of years and a keystone causal factor in the Anthropocene.

    • Mild warming, great fertilizing. Both dice are greatly loaded in our favor, no matter the chaotic chances of the throw.

      You should be glad we got so lucky. Of course, Gaia dreamed it up years ago, when she first conned the plants into wasting effort storing energy.
      ================

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “The massive and rapid transfer of mass from lithosphere to atmosphere is most commonly brought about via volcanic activity. The term Human Carbon Volcano is more than a metaphor”

      Is not.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      why don’t you tell what it is, apart from metaphor?

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “thisisnotgoodtogo | March 2, 2014 at 1:41 pm |
      why don’t you tell what it is, apart from metaphor?”
      _______
      Human Carbon Volcano is a clean, concise, and rather clever way to quickly summarize the physical process whereby humans have transferred carbon from lithosphere to atmosphere (and oceans). Exactly the same kind of transfer occurs in natural volcanoes, only the composition of the mass is different as humans are rather selective and only want the mass that can be converted to energy through combustion. Rather simple.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “What you and your ilk are trying to do is tarnish the image and deny those benefits to as many possible except of course to yourselves.”
      _____
      First, I don’t own any “ilk”. Never have, never will.

      Second, I fully and thankfully admit that I have enjoyed the fruits of the human carbon volcano. Most of us reading this blog likely would not even exist were it not for the eruption of that volcano. It has allowed for the rapid expansion of the human population and the improvement of living conditions generally. I would never deny these benefits to anyone.

      But as that volcano continues to erupt, I am reminded that the dose determines the poison.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      “Human Carbon Volcano is a clean, concise, and rather clever way to quickly summarize the physical process whereby humans have transferred carbon from lithosphere to atmosphere (and oceans). Exactly the same kind of transfer occurs in natural volcanoes, only the composition of the mass is different as humans are rather selective and only want the mass that can be converted to energy through combustion. Rather simple.”

      Gates, you’re only adding blabber. It’s a metaphor. You failed to say what it is beyond metaphor. You’re trying to show that it’s a fitting metaphor in your opinion.

      There’s nothng wrong with metaphor, Gates, they are useful for comparing g something to what it is not, so you needn’t try so hard to say it’s more than what it is.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “It was well over 280ppm before we had telephone, radio, penicillin, automobiles, airplanes, iron lungs, refrigerators, hot & cold running water, sewers, vaccines, anesthesia, germ theory, and God only knows what all else since the 18th century when coal powered steam engines began the industrial revolution.”
      ____
      Simple material improvements are not necessarily the best metric, nor sheer numbers of humans. Many great and complex civilizations have come and gone during the past 10,000 years- long before our present era of mass consumerism.

      • David Springer

        Ah. So which of the 7 billion do you propose to sacrifice in order to stop the Human Carbon Volcano enough to make a significant difference in the weather?

      • David Springer

        It occurs to me that human sacrifices to keep the volcano God from destroying the world has a long colorful history. I wonder if Gates has any Polynesian in his ancestry? That would make sense.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      ” Of course, Gaia dreamed it up years ago, when she first conned the plants into wasting effort storing energy.”
      ____
      That’s a nice allegory Kim. If you’re not a published author, you should be.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Ah. So which of the 7 billion do you propose to sacrifice in order to stop the Human Carbon Volcano enough to make a significant difference in the weather?”
      _____
      Your classic narrow viewpoint. Fortunately, many broadminded and farsighted men and women are going about the business every day of:

      1) Looking into alternatives to the Human Carbon Volcano to supply energy to all 7+ billion of us whereby no one needs to be “sacrificed”.
      2) Ascertaining exactly how much the HCV will be changing our climate in the future
      3) Figuring out ways to harden our infrastructure against the worst of the effects of future climate change.

      • David Springer

        Funny. An awful lot of call for policy change for not yet having anything figured out including 1) alternative energy that doesn’t cost more; 2) how much the climate will change if any and the consequences both positive and negative; 3) figuring out ways that harden our infrastructure against unknown changes, if any, to regional climates.

    • Gates at last gives in and reveals his anti-consumption, anti-wealth ideology. So what if we revolutionize the standard of living and healthy lifespan? If you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little, everybody was better off being poor, ignorant, sick, and short-lived.

      The implicit eliminationism and hatred for humanity among greens never fails to surprise me. Maybe John Barnes’s speculation in his novels Directive 51 and Daybreak Zero–about an emergent self-aware meme (“Daybreak”) calling for the destruction of our civilization along with the extinction of our specie–isn’t as science fictional as one would hope.

    • Kim, the Indians and Chinese, while increasing their standard of living materially, are literally choking on the effects of the volcano. I don’t think their growth and ever increasing use of fossil fuels is sustainable.


    • That’s a nice allegory Kim. If you’re not a published author, you should be.

      I wish a journal article could be reduced to a quip. It would be quicker to write.

      • David Springer

        Journals have been known to publish things of very low quality. I don’t understand why you don’t submit your CSALT whatever to a journal. What’s the holdup?

    • steve -

      Gates at last gives in and reveals his anti-consumption, anti-wealth ideology.

      Were you referring to this?”

      Simple material improvements are not necessarily the best metric, nor sheer numbers of humans.

      If so, it is quite fascinating that you get to your conclusion from that evidence…

      So what if we revolutionize the standard of living and healthy lifespan? If you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little, everybody was better off being poor, ignorant, sick, and short-lived.

      Clearly not what he said. A straw man through and through. A construction that is limited by the constraints of binary thinking,. That is, of course, if your conclusion was based on the comment I excerpted. If it was based on something else, I wonder what it was.

      The implicit eliminationism and hatred for humanity among greens never fails to surprise me.

      Consider that it never fails to surprise you because it you are making it up? Again, I would suggest that you consider the constraints of binary thinking and the biases of motivated reasoning.

      Maybe John Barnes’s speculation in his novels Directive 51 and Daybreak Zero–about an emergent self-aware meme (“Daybreak”) calling for the destruction of our civilization along with the extinction of our specie–isn’t as science fictional as one would hope.

      Yeah. Maybe. And maybe all Tea Partiers are racists, all conservatives are indifferent to the suffering of the poor, all Christians favor apocalyptic policies because they will bring on the end times.

      You know, maybe. Eh?

    • Pooh, Dixie

      “Human Carbon Volcano”. Not a metaphor. Rather, agitprop.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Gates at last gives in and reveals his anti-consumption, anti-wealth ideology. So what if we revolutionize the standard of living and healthy lifespan? If you squint your eyes and tilt your head a little, everybody was better off being poor, ignorant, sick, and short-lived.”
      ____
      Your fantasy extrapolations are amusing but still fantasy. The improvement of the human condition flows along many paths, with material improvement being just one. Great numbers of humans and even greater numbers that live longer are not in and of themselves, good proxies for “improvement”. How many of those greater numbers still work in horrible conditions making consumer goods– in essence just slaves to multinational corporations? These are not easy and quick discussions. Is sheer increase in numbers for numbers sake our goal? Look at the horrible pollution problems in developing nations? I that the goal? A broader perspective is required than simple rhetoric. Ultimately, we like to create a world in which each human has the opportunity to achieve whatever their maximum potential is a human. This is best achieved with access to clean water, healthy food, excellent education, excellent health care, and freedom from oppressive government or corporate servitude.

      • David Springer

        gates writes: “Great numbers of humans and even greater numbers that live longer are not in and of themselves, good proxies for “improvement”.”

        So back to my original question. Which of the 7 billion humans today do you propose are not improved and therefore expendable in order to slow the Human Carbon Volcano?

    • Sorry, Joshua, but you have a fool for a client, as Gates’s latest comment dots the i and crosses the t on his attitude.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      So stevepostrel,

      Which part of this do you disagree with:

      “…a world in which each human has the opportunity to achieve whatever their maximum potential is a human. This is best achieved with access to clean water, healthy food, excellent education, excellent health care, and freedom from oppressive government or corporate servitude.”

    • steve -

      FWIW.
      I enjoy reading your posts because at times, you present a very sophisticated and informed insight. At time, I find that what you write presents a useful challenge to my own biases and preconceptions.

      At other times, however, your analysis fails the most basic application of logical principles. Your characterization of what Gates wrote can only be explained, IMO, by a willful disregard for basic principles of cause-and-effect. You can only get to how you characterized what he wrote, from what he actually wrote, by as I said, motivated reasoning and/or binary thinking.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Kim, the Indians and Chinese, while increasing their standard of living materially, are literally choking on the effects of the volcano. I don’t think their growth and ever increasing use of fossil fuels is sustainable.”
      _____
      And the health effects brought about by that “choking” on the direct HCV output will impact their societies for years to come. Like natural volcanoes, the HCV is at the very least Janus-faced, in that it both can help and harm the human condition. What is yet to be fully realized is whether or not the long-term and continual eruption of the HCV will be be a net positive, or, at such a large dose, be a poison.

    • R. Gates:

      This is best achieved with access to clean water, healthy food, excellent education, excellent health care, and freedom from oppressive government or corporate servitude.”

      I suppose it might be argued whether access to material wealth is a driver or a condition of those other attainments. IMO, that argument basically boils down to a false dichotomy – as I think it is neither simply a driver of, or a condition of, those other basic achievements. But the notion that you can attain material wealth independent of those other achievements is something that I think is pretty much a non-starter. That is why steve’s characterization of your position is fallacious.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Thanks for mentioning Sen’s book Joshua. It is an excellent read and right on target. Development and freedom do go hand in hand and the issues are complex, deep and intertwined. It is tempting to try and simplify them, but in doing so, they are trivialized to the point of becoming meaningless.

    • R. Gates -

      It is tempting to try and simplify them, but in doing so, they are trivialized to the point of becoming meaningless.

      Ironic give the title of Judith’s post. At Climate Etc. I see what appear to be many complex minds with very inconsistent habits.

    • R. Gates

      The Chinese and Indians are not “choking from the so-called ‘Human Carbon Volcano’”, and they are intelligent enough to know this and not to fall for the rich white man’s guilt-driven “war on carbon”.

      I have spent quite a bit of time in China and have witnessed the horrible air pollution in many of the industrial cities there.

      But this is not “carbon pollution”, Gates (and you should also be intelligent enough to know it).

      It is because flue gases from coal firing are being emitted to the atmosphere untreated, and it is the particulate carbon, sulfur, heavy metals, etc. that are causing the pollution – NOT CO2, a totally harmless gas that is actually beneficial for plant growth.

      The easy solution for this pollution (without impeding economic growth and eventual prosperity for billions of people) is to install flue gas cleanup facilities, as we do in most of the West.

      And even with this “clean coal technology”, coal competes favorably with other energy sources unless you happen to be sitting on top of a natural gas field.

      So it all has absolutely nothing with a postulated HCV and carbon dioxide, Gates.

      Don’t try that trick – it doesn’t fly for anyone with half a brain.

      Max

    • Steven Mosher

      Joshua

      “You can only get to how you characterized what he wrote, from what he actually wrote, by as I said, motivated reasoning and/or binary thinking.”

      Are you sure that this is the only way? evidence please.

      Oh wait, you dont need evidence, every time people do something or say something that appears odd to you or wrong to you, it must be motivated reasoning. It must be binary thinking because… there is no alternative..
      a funny form of binary thinking in itself

    • “The easy solution for this pollution (without impeding economic growth and eventual prosperity for billions of people) is to install flue gas cleanup facilities, as we do in most of the West.”

      If it is so easy and cost effective, why aren’t they doing it? Why are they investing so much in renewable technologies?

    • Gates, there is a simple way to see if you are a hypocrite or not.
      Have you given up anesthetics, hydrocarbons like gasoline and methane, plastics, electricity from the grid and all water, except rain water?

      If you have given up the fruits of fossil fuel, then you are not a sanctimonious hypocrite.

    • Steve Postrel, you wrote that “The implicit eliminationism and hatred for humanity among greens never fails to surprise me.” This is something I have raised several times. Humans are the highest life-form on the planet, we have a capacity for innovation and adaptation which has allowed us to thrive in a vast range of environments and which since the Industrial Revolution, and particularly in the last 60 years or so, has allowed billions to move from a day-to-day struggle to stay alive to a position where they have choices and can better pursue, if they wish, intellectual and spiritual pursuits. This should be a source of rejoicing, not of self-loathing and anti-humanism, which is all too prevalent in some Green circles.

    • RGates it is an interesting original post but nothing in it to say whether it means a Human Carbon Volcano or a bit of windy pops!

    • Faustino -

      This should be a source of rejoicing, not of self-loathing and anti-humanism, which is all too prevalent in some Green circles.

      Sad. Not that these “all too prevalent” feel that way, but that you would be resort to such reductionist and simplistic rhetoric.

    • Oh wait, you dont need evidence, every time people do something or say something that appears odd to you or wrong to you, it must be motivated reasoning.

      No. Read again. Come back w/o the straw, and maybe we can talk.

    • Joseph

      “The easy solution for this pollution (without impeding economic growth and eventual prosperity for billions of people) is to install flue gas cleanup facilities, as we do in most of the West.”

      If it is so easy and cost effective, why aren’t they doing it? Why are they investing so much in renewable technologies?

      You ask two questions. Let me respond.

      They do not install flue gas cleanup facilities because these cost money, without adding any commercial value (except reducing local pollution, which is apparently not a priority for them).

      They are investing in renewable technologies because they believe there is money to be made in these new technologies.

      It’s all about economics, Joseph.

      Max

    • They are both investing in and USING renewable technologies, If it it were a matter of economics then would simply use the scrubbers.

  25. Our courageous host looks for ways to elevate the discussion, which is admirable. The trouble is much of this post, and others like it, have no real world relevance.

    “Hold your strong opinions lightly
    Embrace surprise, serendipity and epiphany
    Accept everyone as co-learners, not experts or competitors”

    This stuff is really rather ludicrous. Pie on the sky dreaming. This is a fierce struggle for power on the one side, and freedom on the other. Others of course see it quite differently. But either way, it’s like asking soldiers n the middle of a battle to try to see things from the enemies point of view. Sadly, it’s laughable.

    • Wave your thermometer at a windmill.
      ===================

    • Pie in the sky? Dang, I thought it was a UFO!

    • I have said this before. Arguing that “both sides” in the CAGW/decarbonization need to be more open, honest, etc., is like telling the wife of a serial abuser that they both need counseling, anger management, and to be more patient with each other.

      When one side has the power, is the aggressor, and openly advocates lying (Schneider, Gleick) and demonizing their opponents (Hansen and just about everybody else), it is nonsense to start singing Kumbaya.

      Let the IPCC, NSF, Royal Society, and Real Climate start engaging in real, open, honest debate. Let them start to fight against the dishonesty and vitriol on their own side. Let them start objecting to the use of shoddy statistics in lieu of actual research.

      Then get back to us about being more open.

  26. son of mulder

    ” As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing accordingly.”

    Is this not just an inverted attempt at saying “The more that you know, the more you know that you don’t know”. It has nothing to do with the world and more to do with your growing knowledge of the non-linear, chaotic system in question.

    And when you can predict the behaviour of the jetstream over Europe over the next 60 years and its impacts on society you will have transcended known mathematics. Or put another way, no amount of solving partial differential equations and applying Bayesian probability theory will solve that real world problem.

    But not building on flood plains or sand dunes and not building houses of straw but from bricks etc will be the practical types of solutions to possible bad climatic impacts.

  27. R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

    “Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries, do not control the meaning and nature of their research, even on an intellectual level”
    _________
    This is an illusion. The best a scientist can ever do is point to a few of the potential consequences of their discoveries– but never will they be a “master” of those consequences. The full meaning and nature of their research may not be fully revealed for many years, and even then, new insights and new meanings are always possible even many decades afterwards. In short, a scientist will be luck to master a few of the consequences and a small portion of the meaning an nature of their research over their lifetime.

  28. Earth Data is now totally outside the bounds of the 97% Climate Model Output.

    That means that proper Climate Theory is outside the bounds of the 97% complexity Consensus Climate Theory. They are missing something important that really does make a difference.

    • Not a problem, Gavin and the boys are retweeking both the models and reality. They will get rid of the pause one way or another, even if they have to stick thermometers up Polar Bears butts.

    • The Flatulent Earth Society.
      ===========

    • @kim

      “The Flatulent Earth Society.”

      :) +1

  29. Sensible folks everywhere will be happy to see that someone is giving some serious attention to complex thinking.

    • Serious people everywhere will be happy to see that someone is giving some complex attention to sensible thinking.
      ====================

    • ‘folks’, not ‘people’. What happened to the patina of populism?
      ==========

    • I stopped using “folks” once Obama got into office. Now I’m back to using people. Just plain “people.” Like just plain “folks”, only without the folksiness.

      Folks who need other folks are the luckiest folks in the world.


  30. lolwot | March 2, 2014 at 10:19 am |

    To explain the present climate of our planet and it’s modes, as well as possible future climates of our planet – and also the climates of other planets past and future, will require a single unified model that can be run on powerful machines.

    The development of that model is what climate science is all about IMO. The biggest limitation at the moment is the performance of present day computers.

    This is incredibly naive; it’s child-like. Climate science – all science – is about gaining knowledge and understanding of the world. Computer models loaded with guesses and assumptions are no substitute for knowledge, as much as many like to conflate model-output with actual knowledge. To suggest that the “biggest limitation at the moment” is current computer performance, as opposed to actual knowledge of how things actually work, is utterly self-deceiving. Ask yourself this: How much better are the models at predicting anything now than they were 25 years ago?

    • They’ve gotten way better at predicting the course of future grant money.
      ===================

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Whoops! Sorry for the extended post.

      Yes, I keep an archive of my comments … which in essence are the outline of a (short) book on climate-change science, and the denialist enclaves that seek to suppress that science.

      That will be a *FUN* book, eh Climate Etc lassies and laddies?

      \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}

    • David, UK Mar 2 1:19pm – your “To suggest that the “biggest limitation at the moment” is current computer performance, as opposed to actual knowledge of how things actually work, is utterly self-deceiving” expresses succinctly much of what I was trying to say in my Mar 2 2:36pm comment. Nicely put.

    • “..which in essence are the outline of a (short) book on climate-change science, and the denialist enclaves that seek to suppress that science.”

      File under “adolescent fiction.”

      No one but the most rabid loons will take anything you say seriously Fan. Your belief in “denialist enclaves that seek to suppress…science,” is honestly pitiable

    • “This is incredibly naive; it’s child-like. Climate science – all science – is about gaining knowledge and understanding of the world. Computer models loaded with guesses and assumptions are no substitute for knowledge”

      Science is all about describing and then building explanations for phenomenon in the world. Those explanations are models. For a phenomenon as complex as climate computers are a necessity – to not only develop those models but also to test and refine them.

      “To suggest that the “biggest limitation at the moment” is current computer performance, as opposed to actual knowledge of how things actually work, is utterly self-deceiving”

      Not at all because the two go hand in hand. With a phenomenon as complex as climate the explanations will always come down to a complex chain of cause and effect (and feedbacks). You need a computer to explore these complex interactions and in the process glean knowledge.

      Taking observations of the world is all very well, but it leaves you only with a set of descriptions of the world. It doesn’t hand you explanations. Now clever people might look through these descriptions and try to pieces together a coherent theory that explains them, but human ability to do so is limited. Computer models allow scientists to throw together, test and refine explanations for natural phenomenon.

      Computer models are the work engine of a science like this. You can only get so far without them.

      I see current computer speeds as an impediment because of the long turn around time for testing changes to the model. GCMs runs take a long time to run on supercomputers, clearly this impedes the ability of researchers to use those models to refine and test different explanations. I suspect it is a bigger impediment than many people think.

      “Ask yourself this: How much better are the models at predicting anything now than they were 25 years ago?”

      I don’t see the relevance of the question unless you are declaring it’s impossible to computer model climate, in which case you are essentially making an argument that humans can never understand how the climate works.

      But the answer is they have improved.

    • maksimovich

      “Ask yourself this: How much better are the models at predicting anything now than they were 25 years ago?”

      The error rate for meteorological forecasts has doubled since Lorenz seminal paper in 1982.eg Nicolis and Nicolis.

      http://www.scholarpedia.org/article/Butterfly_effect

      the temporal horizon for forecasts is less the 0.2 time units ie the region where we see the increase in the positive Lyapunov exponents hence we can predict when the models become unpredictable.

    • David, UK – if you’re still around on this thread, here’s a hypothesis for you (or anyone else of course):

      There are no climate models.

      Explanation: All the models that are currently called climate models aren’t climate models at all. They are just very bad weather models being run too far ahead, ie. more than a few days ahead. A climate model wouldn’t have in it all the micro stuff, trying to work out what tiny changes are happening by the hour in bits of global grid. A climate model would have all known macro characteristics of solar cycles, the hydrological cycle, ocean oscillations, major ocean and atmosphere layers and currents, etc, etc, and yes it would also have all known major characteristics of greenhouse gases. It would not have imaginary feedbacks whose only purpose is to try to cover up its deficiencies. And, of course, until we know a lot more about all of the things in it, it wouldn’t be very good. But, it wouldn’t take very long at all for it to be a much better climate model than the weather models.

    • The development of that model is what climate science is all about IMO. The biggest limitation at the moment is the performance of present day computers.

      The biggest problem at the moment is the Flawed Theory that the models are based on. The models handle IR cooling fairly well, Ithink. They don’t know or even suspect that when the oceans get warm, it snows more and albedo stops decreasing and it snows even more and albedo starts increasing and the next little ice age happens.

    • Computers have been around a very short time. The give computers to engineers and scientists and economists and just about everyone. It is a disaster in many cases. People believe the output of the computers and they totally stop thinking.

      Learn to use the computer that is in your skull and look at actual data and figure out things for yourself. Use the super computers to do your calculations, but use your brain for actual thinking and figuring out stuff.

      Climate Models have been based on flawed theory and the 97% clique believes the output, and it does not matter how much it does disagree with actual data. This is really, really, really sick and not any kind of science.

    • Lolwot,
      “Climate models are the future of climate science”.
      Do you mean those models that have not been validated yet?

  31. Stephen Segrest

    Dr. Curry’s article from JoNova provides a great perspective. As also discussed by Dr. Kim Cobb (of Georgia Tech), we need to clearly establish some “common ground”. Anyone who’s opinions are outside some basic “common ground” should not be considered serious players in the GW/CC debate.

    http://joannenova.com.au/2014/02/almost-everything-the-media-tells-you-about-skeptics-is-wrong-theyre-mostly-engineers-and-hard-scientists-they-like-physics-too/

  32. Judith -

    The connection of the research practitioner to action (i.e. decision making) is definitely an interesting one,…

    I hope that this post is an indication that you might begin giving greater consideration to the principles that make stakeholder dialog effective.

    A while back you put up a post that looked at framing points of agreement and points of disagreement. Such an approach is in keeping with the stakeholder dialog principle of distinguishing between interests and positions. Such an approach fosters working towards establishing policy on the basis of synergy rather than the zero sum game Jell-O flinging that characterizes the climate ward. Such an approach encourages common ownership in stark contrast to wails of victimization.

    I hope that in your future advocacy related to climate change, you take the principles outlined in this post to heart, and integrate them into your methodology. I hope that what you don’t do is look at these principles in a selective fashion, so as to exploit them in more same ol’ same ol partisanship and tribalism.

    • Steven Mosher

      “wails of victimization”

      Its weird but predictable that you cannot help but see potentially valid complaints of the abuse of power as a “wail” of victimhood. Very interesting how you respond in a categorical way to that type of stimulus. I propose that it lessons your cognitive dissonance

    • Heh. He wrote “lessons.”

    • Yeah, I was working up to J having to lessen his critique in order to learn a lesson.
      ============

    • Climate war lesions.

    • From Dr Curry’s commentary;
      _______________________
      “In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems when he argued that the only sound thinking practice was to isolate phenomena from each other and their environment and apply a process of reduction, simplification and clarification. Well, not anymore. As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing accordingly.

      Enter complexity thinking, an attempt to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world where humans and nature are connected on multiple scales. But what does it mean to apply complexity thinking?

      But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.

      Key to this is what Biggs and her colleagues call “habits of mind” which is a “pattern of intellectual behaviour that leads to particular actions”.
      ____________________
      “But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.”
      Key to this is what Biggs and her colleagues call “habits of mind” which is a “pattern of intellectual behaviour that leads to particular actions”.
      __

      About every cult that has ever existed has tried a version of this plus all the nastiest “isms” of the last couple hundred years along with a couple of the most murderous “isms” of today.
      It even works for a while and then as people get to thinking about what they see and experience and when something starts to become personally unpleasant, they start to walk away the “ism’ and thats when the “ism’s” coercion begins in earnest.

      Then begins the backlash and the open and then increasingly organised and often underground anti “ism” forces which history teaches us from innumerable and repeated examples that the opposition to the reigning “ism”, usually after much unneeded suffering, blood and tears and the passage of time have always eventually won out of the harshest and most murderous of “isms”.
      The “ism” then fades into history leaving a small and increasingly irrelevant coterie of die hard believers in it’s wake.

      The current trend to an increasingly nasty, increasingly vicious form of Climatism is such an example as exemplified by the not so subtle suggestion that the ultimate aim is “changing their mind set and behaviour”. and by implication doing whatever, regardless of morality or ethics, it takes to achieve that.

      “Scientific Climatism” now beginning to fit this highly self destructive profile to a T.

    • ROM | March 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

      Your comment (below) is well put: the backlash brings out the ism’s lash.

      “Then begins the backlash and the open and then increasingly organised and often underground anti ‘ism’ forces which history teaches us from innumerable and repeated examples that the opposition to the reigning ‘ism’, usually after much unneeded suffering, blood and tears and the passage of time have always eventually won out of the harshest and most murderous of ‘isms’.”

    • Ooops! s/b (above)

  33. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    lolwot claims [in defiance of history] “To explain the present climate of our planet … will require a single unified model that can be run on powerful machines.”

    Lolwot, please reflect that the history of science, in regard to complex systems, shows plainly:

    (1)  large-scale computational models are important, and

    (2)  large-scale verifying observations are important, and yet

    (3)  simple explanatory models are *MOST* important.

    Very fortunately (given the stakes for future generations) climate science *ALREADY* has achieved all three objectives.

    The majority of denialist kerfuffle is being artificially sustained by toxic enclaves of faux-conservative denialist irrationality — like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — that deservedly receive little or no respect from the scientific community.

    Conclusion  It’s over. James Hansen’s climate-change worldview has prevailed on all scientific fronts … and this scientific victory is irreversible … and so the political discourse now is beginning.

    Conclusion  Denying the science is futile in the long-run … and in the short run, the faux-conservative denialism is proving to be toxic (morally, economically, and organizationally) to the admirable cause of rational conservatism.

    Faux-conservative dinosaur-enclaves are [slowly] grasping the Faustian reality of their toxic embrace of denialism, eh Climate Etc lassies and laddies?

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    • fan – your absurd comment is wrong on so many fronts it is one of the most ridiculous comments I have ever seen. To refute it, it is sufficient to point out that no ‘scientific victory’ is ever irreversible.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “…faux-conservative denialism is proving to be toxic (morally, economically, and organizationally) to the admirable cause of rational conservatism.”
      ____
      Very likely, yes.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mike Jonas asserts “No ‘scientific victory’ is ever irreversible.”

      Formally, you are right.

      Yet in practice, the following abandoned paradigms will *not* return: flat earth, phlogiston, vitalism, the Philosopher’s Stone, the Elixer of life, geocentrism.

      Neither will the following past-paradigms ever again become mainstream climate-science: sunspot cycles as climate drivers, climate-models indifferent to forcings, purely empirical climate models (including modern empirical variants such as “Stadium Waves”, etc).

      That’s because modern climate-science rests upon a triad of understanding:

      (1) large-scale computational models, and

      (2) large-scale verifying observations, and most of all

      (3) simple explanations and predictions.

      Having prevailed on (1) and (2), James Hansen is now [prudently and foresightedly] focussing upon simple thermodynamic explanations of climate-change.

      Our evaluation of a fossil fuel emissions limit is not based on climate models but rather on observational evidence of global climate change as a function of global temperature and on the fact that climate stabilization requires long-term planetary energy balance.

      We use measured global temperature and Earth’s measured energy imbalance to determine the atmospheric CO2 level required to stabilize climate at today’s global temperature, which is near the upper end of the global temperature range in the current interglacial period (the Holocene).

      We then examine climate impacts during the past few decades of global warming and in paleoclimate records including the Eemian period, concluding that there are already clear indications of undesirable impacts at the current level of warming and that 2°C warming would have major deleterious consequences.

      Hansen’s methods are sound, references comprehensive, presentation lucid, civility impeccable, morality commendable, eh Climate Etc lassies and laddies?

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    • Pooh, Dixie

      “Resistance is futile.”

    • fan – you may be right about some of the ‘scientific paradigms’ of the past, but you are on very very dangerous ground when you try to predict the future. And you might not even be right about all those past paradigms : see http://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/abs/2012/12/aa19997-12/aa19997-12.html

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Medical schools rightly teach “Whenever you hear hoofbeats, think ‘horses’ not ‘zebras’”.

      Climate-Change ‘Horses’  CO2-driven energy imbalance.

      Climate-Change ‘Zebras’  Sunspots, cosmic rays, Stadium Waves (etc.)

      Overwhelmingly, the better wager is climate-change ‘Horses”, eh Mike Jonas?

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    • ‘• Climate-Change ‘Horses’ CO2-driven energy imbalance.

      • Climate-Change ‘Zebras’ Sunspots, cosmic rays, Stadium Waves (etc.)’

      We it is quite clear that climate varies over time and that this is linked to more than a single ‘control knob’.
      The fact is that the vast majority of people you pis son actually believe that atmospheric CO2 will raise the Earths temperature. However, it is also quite clear that atmospheric dust has an effect, that there rhythmic processes that move heat around the planet, that the suns spectral output is variable and somewhat cyclical and jerks like you have over-egged the pudding.

      The fact is that we have very few ‘facts’ to work with as we no longer have much faith in any temperature series, reconstruction or measured value as we are aware that the majority of people in the field are so biased that they produce biased work.
      Climate scientists make the accountants of big-pharma look like living saints.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      DocMartyn claims [dubiously] “The fact is that we have very few ‘facts’ to work with.”

      Facts We Have To Work With

      •  the seas are steadily rising, and

      •  the ice-caps are steadily melting, and

      •  the oceans are steadily heating, all while

      •  CO2 is doubling, and

      •  CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and

      •  in aggregate, the greenhouse effects of CO2 provide a simple, unified, scientific account of all these facts.

      Gee, perhaps we *HAVE* got some facts to work with, eh DocMartyn?

      \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}

    • “Yet in practice, the following abandoned paradigms will *not* return: flat earth”

      But the Flat Temperature Society or more accurately the Flat Heat Society has taken the Flat Earther’s place. They can’t acknowledge the growing temperature and heat anomaly, preferring to tilt their head and calling it a hiatus.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘Comparisons of global steric height 10 trends based on different gridded fields of Argo in situ measurements show a range of 0–1mmyr−1 which can be lead back to data handling and climatology uncertainties. Our results show that GOIs derived from the Argo measurements are ideally suitable to monitor the state of the global ocean, especially after November 2007, i.e. when Argo sampling was 100% complete. They also show that there is significant interannual global variability at global scale, especially for global OFC. Before the end of 2007, error bars are too large to deliver robust short-term trends of GOIs and thus an interpretation in terms of long-term climate signals are still questionable, especially since
      uncertainties due to interannual fluctuations are not included in our error estimation.’ http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/8/999/2011/osd-8-999-2011.pdf

      I have my doubts that climate crazies can even recognize anomalous information.

      The multi-decadal pause is just the start.

    • Facts We Have To Work With

      • the seas are steadily rising

      As they have since the ice age.

      • the ice-caps are steadily melting

      Only in the Northern Hemisphere, in the Antarctic they are increasing

      • the oceans are steadily heating

      I have no faith in data that shows the oceans are warming that comes from people who state they are looking for warming. The published data shows non-physical heat transference and even a moron like you should be worried by this perversion.

      • CO2 is doubling

      Big deal.

      • CO2 is a greenhouse gas

      and?

      • in aggregate, the greenhouse effects of CO2 provide a simple, unified, scientific account of all these facts.

      The temperature profile 1976-2014 is essentially identical to that from 1911 to 1948

      yet the atmospheric CO2 profiles are quite different.

    • I agree that simple models are sufficient to show the key driver of ongoing warming.

      What I was talking about was more about the details of climate, such as explaining exactly how ENSO works. The future of climate science to be able to explain things like that is surely in computer modelling, even more so than present. I think computers will become increasingly important, and are currently a bottleneck not only because of the resolution issue, but because of the time it takes to run experiments using the models.

      I envision a time when a researcher on a home PC will have enough processing power to run dozens of GCM experiments an hour. Perhaps even code some AI algorithm to run millions of parallel GCM experiments overnight looking for a best fit to ENSO for example.

      The current situation where it take months to run the IPCC model experiments seems to be a glaring bottleneck. How can researchers actually use the GCMs as experimental tools to refine and develop knowledge when it takes so long to perform a single test?

      It reminds me of software development using punch cards.

    • DocMartyn,
      You agree the seas are rising but you say “I have no faith in data that shows the oceans are warming”

      Yet surely you must accept they are warming given the sea levels are rising. Unless you think the ice caps are melting a lot faster than thought?

    • Lolwot, I know that sea levels are rising and were rising before the 1960′s. I don’t know if we can attribute this rise to thermal expansion.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      DocMartyn confesses “I know that sea levels are rising and were rising before the 1960′s. I don’t know if we can attribute this rise to thermal expansion.”

      Thoughtful reading of the literature can considerably diminish ignorance and uncertainty …

      Balancing the Sea Level Budget

      Revisiting the Earth’s sea-level and energy budgets from 1961 to 2008

      Conclusion>  sea-level rise, ice-mass loss, ocean heating … from any two, the third can be deduced. And yes, the observations are entirely consonant with James Hansen’s energy-balance worldview.

      These scientific articles are brought to you by Climate Etc’s axis-of-(evil?)-scientific-Enlightenment!

      \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}

    • When someone states that the “seas are rising” I look for acknowledgement that the effect of subsidence has been factored in, and the effects of uplift have been included.
      Here, I look in vain.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Pooh, Dixie “I look in vain [for effects of subsidence]“

      Acknowledging ignorance is commendable, Pooh Dixie!

      Remediating ignorance is yet *MORE commendable!

      The poster Sea Level Science and Geodetic Techniques is a good introduction to Modeling Sea Level Changes and Geodetic Variations by Glacial Isostasy and Balancing the Sea Level Budget

      The math is elegant, eh Pooh Dixie?

      \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}

    • ceresco kid

      Fan

      I am partial to this study by Houston and Dean 2011

      http://www.jcronline.org/doi/pdf/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

      Why? Because in its conclusion it has this statement
      “It is essential that investigations continue to address why this worldwide-temperature increase has not produced acceleration of global sea level over the past 100 years, and indeed why global sea level has possibly decelerated for at least the last 80 years.”

      The study also references other studies finding fault with the new altimetry system. I do love real science.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      ceresco kid “I am partial to this [refuted] study by Houston and Dean 2011″

      Cherry-pick by CK, science by FOMD.

      Nature, ten satellites, and dozens of independent scholars *ALL* stand against denialism, eh CK?

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    • Fan

      One thing I have found from research for my own articles on sea level change is that there appears to be no love lost between various cliques of sea level researchers.

      In the refutation you cite we have two arch warmists who have laid their reputations on the line with a belief in a greatly accelerated rise in sea levels.

      That it still does not appear to be happening, and that ‘global’ sea level rise is a misnomer anyway, as there are rises and falls in the various ocean basins greatly complicated by the relative rise or fall of land , makes it impossible to refute cerEsco kids link, especially as he is dealing with apples~the US~with your oranges, mostly global.
      Tonyb

    • Dear Fan,
      Thank you for links to the poster and the papers. I particularly appreciate the fact that none are paywalled.
      Thanks to you, I will be able to review the extent to which changes to sea level have incorporated the effect of subsidence (or uplift).
      “Subsidence”/”uplift” were not found in this post.

  34. Judith – I don’t agree with your Stockholm blog piece, and I don’t agree with your analysis. To my mind, the blog piece is dangerous post-modernist ‘thinking’, probably designed to justify repressive control of people and systems. As a method of understanding complexity, it is extraordinarily counter-productive, because it moves away from actual understanding and towards manipulation, as in “But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.”. What this is effectively saying is that instead of adapting one’s own view by pursuing proper knowledge, it is sufficient to bend the views of others (ie, brainwash) towards ones own. Communism or fascism, anyone?

    Descartes was right then, and he is still right now. Techniques and skills may develop further over time, but those basic principles still apply. As always, if people go off track – as is the case in climate science now – an excellent way of correcting the situation is to return to basic principles.

    The reason I don’t agree with your analysis is that I think you have some of it backwards. When you see “climate model command-and-control strategy for climate policy”, you aren’t seeing the results of Descartian science, you are seeing the results of post-modern Stockholm blog brainwashing – it is precisely the flawed approach of the Stockholm blog that has been applied in today’s climate science/policy. ie, instead of pursuing proper science, they have sought to brainwash people to their own flawed view of things.

    (I have not read everyone else’s comments – there are as always a lot of them – and I apologise if someone else has already commented along these lines.)

    • + 1.

      I found the condescending references to Descartes by this bunch of nobodies particularly irritating.

      Agree that this is just a cover for activism, and has no contribution whatever to make to sound decision-making.

    • Danger Will Robinson!

      Could yer call this a degenerating problem shift fer scientists?
      Postulating modifying their psychological states to get ‘better’
      results? Long live pluralism in science,,the clash of conjectures
      about phenomena. Let nature decide, not mind change experts
      and the Humanities Departments. (
      ..

  35. “Seize the just-do-it moment
    . . .
    Avoid premature convergence – avoid being too quick to judge”

    When should one seize the moment to avoid premature convergence?

  36. What is so wicked about the problem?

    It’s not the Gordian Knot. It’s failure to apply the fiscally conservative principles of Capitalism evenhandedly.

    It reduces to a bunch of people peeing in the village well and getting away with it.

    Bar their future trespass, make them pay to clean up the mess their past trespass made, enforce payment from those who use up a scarce resource to those who own the resource.

    There’s nothing wicked there. Just theft by trespassers, and failure to enforce the principles upon which the economy of the nation is founded by inept, corrupt, or stupid politicians. That’s simple evil, not wicked complexity.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      Bart, you neither invest in, nor use the product, nor are enriched by the whole effort. Commendable. How are you still alive?

    • I would say it isn’t so much the problem that is wicked, but the solution.

    • Bart – Government coercion = socialism. The greater the coercion, the more socialistic, and more moribund, becomes a country.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo | March 2, 2014 at 3:06 pm |

      Genesis 1:26 & 1:28

      Tell farmers they don’t invest, tell hunters they don’t use, tell ranchers they don’t enrich, or fishermen, or timbermen, tour guides, realtors and realty developers, and everyone else who relies on climate and thereby owns a stake in the air. Or, y’know, who breaths. Go ahead, stop breathing, if you think otherwise.

      jim2 | March 2, 2014 at 3:16 pm |

      Government subsidy is coercion. Government greasing the wheels for the tar industry is coercion. Senator Sessions and his colleagues representing ignorance and corruption making crap up, that’s coercion.

      You can’t have a free country if your government doesn’t enforce a level playing field in the Market.

      You’re confusing law and coercion, the soft-on-crime dictatorial mentality that truly makes a nation moribund.

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      So, Bart, you do admit that you are one of the trespassers, one of the thieves, one of the despoilers?

      A preaching one at that?

    • thisisnotgoodtogo

      And Bart, aren’t you one of those who expects a cheque in the mail for doing less despoiling, thieving, trespassing, than others ?

    • It’s tragic what he does with the Peoples’ Commons, Park Place and Boardwalk, simply from the historical accident of his possession of title.
      =================

    • thisisnotgoodtogo | March 3, 2014 at 8:49 am |

      Typical soft-on-crime deflection. Try to blame anyone but the wrongdoer.

  37. I’m afraid that the excerpts linked above are the scholarly equivalent of management gobbledygook. In her neglected classic Fad Surfing in the Boardroom (1995), Eileen Shapiro defined “bizbuz” as “Business words that once had meaning and that still have a kernel of importance for those who think to take the time before using.” Current bizbuz includes “disruptive innovation” and “Big Data;” yesterday’s included “globalization” and “reengineering;” the day before yesterday’s included “core competence” and “Japan, Inc.”

    Here we have “complexity” and “action research.” The latter is actually a small sub-field in management research, with a session or two of papers usually to be found at the annual Academy of Management meetings. In its original meaning, “action research” referred to scholars going into business organizations in a hybrid research/consulting role, fomenting experiments and generating new data, aiming both to generate new knowledge and to improve organizational performance. (Interestingly, the economics profession, completely independently and using very different nomenclature, has taken up the banner of controlled social experiments to see the effects of particular policies.)

    The problem with “action research” as a response to the complexity of climate issues is that such experimentation with the climate is not practical. It might be possible to experiment with the social and economic consequences of different policies (and the state of California has signed itself up for a doozy of a trial of crazed energy policies), but there is no possibility of getting useful data on the effectiveness of such policies to “improve” the climate over what it otherwise would have been.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Apple CEO Tim Cook says it better, eh stevepostrel?

      Apple CEO to Global Warming Deniers: We Don’t Want Your Money

      Aye, Climate Etc lassies and laddies, now *THAT’S* the difference between far-sighted corporation (or nation, or ideology), versus a willfully ignorant short-sighted corporation, nation, or ideology.

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    • fan Mar 2 3:31pm – Apple CEO Tim Cook might not have been a good choice. Under Tim Cook, Apple has become moribund, innovation has dried up, and consequently the share price has seriously underperformed the market for two years. None of that is relevant to climate scepticism of course, and nor is any CEO’s opinion, especially of a corporation that has ceased to be “far-sighted”.

      IMHO It would have been more sensible for you to have addressed stevepostrel’s comment directly on its (considerable) merits.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Folks who ain’t Apple fanboys, mebbe are MicroSoft fanboys?

      Or maybe an Open Source fanboy?

      `Cuz these industry-leaders ain’t *ALL* dummies, eh stevepostrel?

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    • “We don’t want your money.”

      Spoken like a very bad businessman.

      “A Pew Research survey of 39 nations conducted between March and May (2013) found that 40% of Americans say climate change as a major threat to the U.S.,.. compared to a median of 54% in the global survey.

      http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/27/most-americans-believe-climate-change-is-real-but-fewer-see-it-as-a-threat/

      I know very few skeptics who don’’t believe Co2 has some effect on climate, so I guess all those deniers you’re talking about are those who don’t believe we should light ourselves on fire just yet, over “climate change.”

      On that basis, in the U.S. going on two thirds of us could well be considered “deniers.” Globallly, close to half.

      That’s a lot of iPhones.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      pokerguy (aka al neipris) delusionally imagines “In the U.S. going on two thirds of us could well be considered ‘deniers.’”

      Faith by pokerguy, facts by FOMD.

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    • “Faith by pokerguy, facts by FOMD.z’

      OK Fan, made me laugh, so that’s a plus. But help me out define “denier” for me. Because if you’re talking about skydragon types, you’re talking about a very small population. Whose money exactly, is Cook declaring that he does not want?

      Important question Fan it seems to me.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      pokerguy (aka al neipris) asks “Whose money exactly, is [Apple CEO] Cook declaring that he does not want?”

      Answer  Apple does not want investors represented by the far-right The National Center For Public Policy Research

      Reason  Sacrificing long-term sustainability for short-term profits is bad business.

      That’s good commonsense principled business policy, eh pokerguy?

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    • Hahaha, funny that the CEO has the audacity to talk the talk without walking the walk, what with ALL those apple products made in Chinese factories powered by coal.

    • Well, that’s just business; we keep it strictly segregated from the religion.
      ===================

    • The wonderful thing about “scholarly research” by implementing theory is this:
      once free citizens understand the game, they game it.

  38. Morley Sutter

    In spite of dressing their thoughts in sociological language that includes new usage for standard words plus some apparently new words, the intent of the authors is to make predictions about the future that involve solving problems dealing with the present. Such an activity always involves making models, whether they be mathematical equations, computer programs, electrical circuits or model airplanes which fly.
    Any model must be tested for accuracy. If the model involves the future then it cannot be adequately tested until the future has arrived – i.e., time has passed.
    No amount of attempts to develop and elaborate new methods of thinking can get around the need for actual testing of models in the appropriate time frame. These Swedish authors do not seem to recognise this fact.

  39. Having not read all the comments, I would just say this. The bottom line is a simple one. The path of easy energy is also the path of difficult climate change. The complexities being thrown around this more linear view are distracting. It is very similar to ideas such as the path of producing sulphates or reducing ozone have negative consequences with acid rain and the ozone hole respectively. Very easy action items have come out of linear thinking in the past and can also from this problem. Basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce CO2 emission. This is not so complex.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce CO2 emission. This is not so complex.”
      ——-
      Not complex in theory, but, since it involves humans, complex in practice.

    • Robert I Ellison

      CO2 is a relatively small part of the emissions spectrum – and none of these – including CO2 – are amenable to simple solutions.

      ‘The old climate framework failed because it would have imposed substantial costs associated with climate mitigation policies on developed nations today in exchange for climate benefits far off in the future — benefits whose attributes, magnitude, timing, and distribution are not knowable with certainty. Since they risked slowing economic growth in many emerging economies, efforts to extend the Kyoto-style UNFCCC framework to developing nations predictably deadlocked as well.

      The new framework now emerging will succeed to the degree to which it prioritizes agreements that promise near-term economic, geopolitical, and environmental benefits to political economies around the world, while simultaneously reducing climate forcings, developing clean and affordable energy technologies, and improving societal resilience to climate impacts. This new approach recognizes that continually deadlocked international negotiations and failed domestic policy proposals bring no climate benefit at all. It accepts that only sustained effort to build momentum through politically feasible forms of action will lead to accelerated decarbonization.’

      http://thebreakthrough.org/archive/climate_pragmatism_innovation

      Climate crazies are part of the complex problem and not part of the solution.

    • Jim D

      Everything you wrote made sense up to:

      Basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce CO2 emission. This is not so complex.

      You have fallen into exactly the same trap of ignoring unintended negative consequences, which you mention in your earlier sentences.

      Access to a reliable source of energy based on the availability of low cost fossil fuels has arguably been the single most important factor that sparked the Industrial Revolution, which in turn helped the industrial world improve its affluence, quality of life and average life expectancy immensely. This same development is now taking place in China, India, etc., and will hopefully spill over to poverty-stricken regions of Africa, Asia and Latin America, as well.

      Cutting off this lifeline in order to “reduce CO2 emission” (until such time that an economically competitive and environmentally viable alternate is there to take its place) would be catastrophic (and silly).

      Max

    • Basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce CO2 emission. This is not so complex.

      No, basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce or reverse CO2 emission without killing the goose that lay the golden egg: the Industrial Revolution.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “Climate crazies are part of the complex problem and not part of the solution.”
      —-
      As are denialist crazies, who would take the tiny uncertainty monster swimming around in a teacup and make it appear as though that tiny uncertainty were large and great serious doubt exists that humans are affecting the climate.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D.

      “Basically action items revolve around finding ways to reduce CO2 emission. This is not so complex.”

      The ostensible reason for reducing ACO2 is to reduce or eliminate the ongoing precipitous rate of increase in the Temperature of the Earth (TOE). If not, why bother?

      The first problem is to establish that it is in fact desirable to reduce ACO2 emissions.

      Lets postulate two scenarios:

      a. Ignore ACO2 completely and derive our energy from whatever sources are most convenient and economic.

      b. On your personal authority, establish dictatorial control over energy production and consumption worldwide and decree any ACO2 reduction measures that you deemed necessary, with the guarantee that they would remain in force for the next century.

      Question 1: What evidence do you have that any measure that you would dictate would have measurable efficacy in controlling the TOE?

      Question 2: At the end of 50 and 100 years, how much difference would there be in the Temperature of the Earth (TOE) between scenarios a. and b.?

      Question 3: Why would the temperature of scenario b. be ‘better’ than the temperature of scenario a.?

      Question 4: Would the ‘betterness’ of scenario b. justify the increased cost and decreased supply of energy, the increased size, cost, and authority of government, and the loss of individual freedom and autonomy that ALWAYS accompanies the expansion of government that would inevitably be required to implement scenario b.?

    • The main response has been to my action item to find ways to reduce carbon emissions. I say it is an action item because it is not solved, but it is a clear path that is to be aimed at. Solving the problem has a variety of approaches and reduction goals should be kept in mind so as not to be distracted from this ultimate need. Emission reduction targets are the most direct way of evaluating our progress with this whole problem.

    • It is also true that some don’t believe in the emission rate reduction being an action item in the first place, and they would not mind CO2 levels approaching and exceeding 700 ppm as the existing fossil fuels are all burned off. The burden would be on them to show how unprecedented changes in CO2 levels would not be harmful to climate or sea levels, but those people don’t have any scientific support, and need to scramble to get some, because they are being left behind in this whole debate as the world sets emission targets.

    • We have reachable goals of 500 ppm versus business as usual of 700-900 ppm. This makes an enormous difference, and those saying that doing anything is futile have missed this difference which is achievable. It is a simple choice of which number to aim at, and we know very well how much fossil fuel burning gets us to these numbers.

    • Robert I Ellison

      With CO2 the reduction path is via accelerated technological innovation – i.e cost competitive low carbon energy. We might then be able to consider targets – but this would still seem unnecessary. .

    • Jim D

      You confuse setting targets for emissions with action items.

      There is nothing actionable about a target. It is simply hollow political posturing, as we have seen with the Kyoto goals that no one met.

      Even sillier than political bluster to “reduce CO2 emissions by X to Y% of what they were in year Z” are vows to “hold global warming to no more than 2 degrees C”.. These statements (or pledges) are totally meaningless.

      And the silliest proposal of all is to levy a direct or indirect tax on fossil fuels. No tax ever affected our planet’s climate.

      An actionable proposal would be to replace future coal fired power plants in location X with nuclear plants (where there are no proliferation concerns) and/or gas-fired plants (where natural gas is readily available and inexpensive).

      Another would be to replace Diesel driven heavy transportation (buses, trucks, etc.) with natural gas driven engines and to maximize the use of hybrid car engines by making them more efficient and less expensive.

      The ASME put together a list of these types of proposals, listing those that make economic sense as well (i.e. “no regrets” proposals). These included energy saving initiatives (added building insulation, recycling, etc.) as well.

      If these were all implemented across the entire world, they could theoretically reduce the atmospheric CO2 by year 2100 by 80 to 100 ppmv (from, let’s say 650 to 560 ppmv), and (using IPCC’s estimated CO2 temperature response of 2C), reduce global warming by a theoretical 0.4C (from 1.4C to 1.0C above today’s level).

      These actionable proposals could be worthwhile, if they were implemented over the entire world. If only the USA/Canada, Japan, Australia/NZ and Europe implement them, they would have a much smaller impact of arguably less than 0.1C by 2100.

      Hope this helps clear up the difference between political bluster and actionable initiatives.

      Max

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at +0.7, -2.1, and +1.4 W/m2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record…’ http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

      Cooling in IR and warming in SW.

      Certainty that data that contradicts the narrative and the silly little metaphors isn’t so seems to be part of the problem

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D

      Subsequent to my post you had three posts. Since none of them addressed any of my four questions, I don’t know if you were responding to me or to another poster.

      All three of your posts were variations on ‘ACO2 is really bad and it is necessary that we take immediate action to reduce or eliminate it.’ Nothing other than ex cathedra pronouncements to support the existence of an actual problem or the necessity to take remedial action, no convincing evidence that ACO2 control measures would have measurable efficacy in controlling the TOE, not even an estimate of the difference in the TOE between ignoring ACO2 and stringent control of ACO2, and no explanation of why the results of controlling ACO2 is in fact desirable. It appears that the only measurable objective in implementing ACO2 control measures is to control ACO2 for its own sake. If anyone has any idea as to what the measurable, desirable changes in climate that are achievable by controlling ACO2 they are certainly reticent in revealing them.

    • R. Gates

      “Climate crazies are part of the complex problem and not part of the solution.”
      —-
      As are denialist crazies, who would take the tiny uncertainty monster swimming around in a teacup and make it appear as though that tiny uncertainty were large and great serious doubt exists that humans are affecting the climate.

      Let’s not oversimplify (as IPCC does with its myopic fixation on human GHGs).

      Instead, let’s look at this statement in a bit more nuanced manner:

      - I would agree with you that the uncertainty is small that humans have had some sort of impact on our climate, locally, regionally and possibly even globally.

      - On the other hand, the uncertainty is great as to whether this impact has been significant on a global basis.

      - And the uncertainty is even greater that this represents a potential future threat to humanity and our environment, as IPCC claims.

      That latter premise is what the debate is all about, Gates, and anyone with a rationally skeptical mind would have to agree that the uncertainty is extremely large regarding the validity of this premise.

      Wouldn’t you agree, as a self-proclaimed skeptic?

      Max

    • Jim D

      It is apparent from your recent comments that you do not understand the difference between a target or goal and an actionable proposal to reach that target.

      I have shown you specific examples of actionable “no regrets” proposals with estimates of how much added atmospheric CO2 these could possibly avert if implemented globally.

      These are not insignificant as far as CO2 is concerned (a reduction of 80 to 100 ppmv by 2100), but fairly insignificant as far as temperature is concerned (a reduction of warming by a theoretical 0.4C, from 1.4C to 1.0C above today’s level).

      You have, so far, been unable to list any other actionable proposals.

      (I do not consider enforcing a direct or indirect global carbon tax a CO2 reduction proposal, because, while it may theoretically be “actionable”, it will have no impact on our climate – no tax ever did.)

      So, rather than simply repeating your statements regarding the need to reduce CO2 emissions (a goal or target), try getting more specific as to how you propose to achieve this goal or target.

      Otherwise all your talk is pretty much just empty posturing.

      Max

    • The common question from skeptics to me now is to detail actions rather than targets. They know that each country would need different actions to reach targets based on their fossil fuel usage and energy circumstances, and the question is unanswerable in any specific way because of this, and I don’t know all the national circumstances. Meanwhile we note that skeptics with their head-in-the-sand attitude haven’t even thought about possible actions if/when they realize they were wrong, possibly because they are so sure and have no uncertainty monster for their view. I would be very interested to know what skeptics think the actions should be in the off-chance that they were proved wrong by near-future temperature rises and ice meltage. How would they keep CO2 below 600 ppm, for example? What specific policies or general targets would they use?

    • Keep in mind, the USA is the only country to meet its Kyoto limits, and it did not sign the treaty or take any governmental action to reduce CO2 emissions. It was done by private companies, fighting government regulations, developing horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing. HF was primarily developed by just a couple of companies.

    • The US is a good example of where reducing emissions doesn’t have to come at a cost, and in fact offers new technologies an opportunity to expand, and some of this can be encouraged with government incentives.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Jim D.

      “The common question from skeptics to me now is to detail actions rather than targets.”

      As I understand, the problem is that ACO2 is causing the TOE to rise precipitously and it is imperative that we take action immediately to control it.

      Never mind the detail actions, your target seems to be controlling ACO2 rather than controlling the TOE. I see proposal after proposal: tax carbon, sell carbon credits, build windmills, build hundreds to thousands of km^2 of solar farms, mandate vehicle milage standards, change from cheap light bulbs to expensive light bulbs, mandate showers heads whose output is a high end drip, mandate toilets that won’t wet a double sheet of TP with one flush, funnel billions of dollars to political insiders, ad infinitum. I see estimates of how much ‘carbon’ a given policy will save. What I don’t see is how much each policy or all the policies will reduce the TOE compared to ignoring ACO2 completely and why the TOE resulting from strict control of ACO2 is so much ‘better’ that it is worth all the fuss and bother that is an inevitable ‘side effect’ of the necessary ACO2 control overhead.

      Again, the presumption seems to be that any ACO2 is ‘bad’, regardless of the benefits realized by producing it, and any policy enacted to restrict ACO2 is ‘good’, regardless of the associated inconvenience, bureaucratic overhead, expense, and loss of freedom that come with the policy, no matter if the actual impact on the TOE is unmeasurable.

    • Bob L, I don’t know about “immediately”. Most effective actions would take 50-100 years to get to near-zero emission. It is about embarking on a path with targets that can be met by technology, some of which haven’t been invented yet. If you see how far technology came from 1900 to 2000, or even 1950-2000, you get some idea that we, as mankind, are no slouches when the need arises, but it takes time and an incentive. Leaving fossil fuels in the ground, as much as possible, is a vital part of this strategy.

  40. There is no rule saying radiative forcing over the long term is driven primarily by non condensing greenhouse gases, rather it is the only explanation warmists can think of. Conversely, there is no rule that says internally generated change cannot cause radiative forcing over the long term, and any attempt to argue the opposite, such as suggesting that such a system would violate the laws of thermodynamics, is a SkS (TM) fallacy.

    The idea that internally generated change must be complex is also a fallacious argument. Negative feedback systems are extremely simple (and therefore stable), positive feedback systems are by necessity complex, not the other way round.

    It’s the humans (and their theories and models) which are complex, not the climate.

    • X says


      … rather it is the only explanation warmists can think of.

      Which is in stark contrast to the complete lack of an explanation for anything by the skeptical crowd.

      And besides, what exactly is wrong with a single explanation — that the CO2 control knob is responsible for all the warming since the start of the oil age.

    • Robert I Ellison

      With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal With this final correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at +0.7, -2.1, and +1.4 W/m2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record…’ http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

      Cooling in IR and warming in SW.

      Because a single causal factor is utter nonsense.

      Even in the past few decades it is contradicted by the available data. The feedback theory seems fairly far fetched as well. It is in fact bigger than greenhouse gas forcing – indeed offsets it entirely and then some in IR – and reverses direction with shifts in ocean states – i.e the one that gave us changing trade winds after the late 1990′s.

    • Climate change doesn’t need a cause. It’s simply foolish to say that because man could have cause some warming, then he must be the cause of most of it.

      Wise men speak because they have something to say, a fool because he has to say something
      -Plato

      See?, even Plato thinks you’re wrong. Ironic since Aristotle also believed the fallacy that for something to move it must be forced.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      Despite what you may hear from the fake-skeptics, the largest single pool of climate energy on the planet, the IPWP has been gaining energy on a decadal basis since the 1950′s– that’s some 60+ years. See the graph at the top of page 540 of this excellent paper:

      http://www.lasg.ac.cn/UpLoadFiles/File/papers/2013/2013_JCLI_Feng_Li_Xie_MAM-HC.pdf

      The fluctuations in the IPWP are seasonal and also timed to the release of bits of this pool of energy in ENSO fluctuations. If the ocean is the dog that wags the tropospheric tail, the IPWP is the heart of that dog in terms of energy.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “It’s simply foolish to say that because man could have cause some warming, then he must be the cause of most of it.”
      ____
      That would be foolish to say, but fortunately, that’s not what climate science is saying. Climate is always the sum of all forcings + feedbacks. But the system has internal variability as well, and is even more complicated when that internal variability can be influenced by external forcing. Far more complex than your simpleton statement.

    • R. Gates, a Skeptical Warmist

      “See?, even Plato thinks you’re wrong.”
      ____

      Uh, Plato is dead and no longer thinks anything at all.

    • Most of the smart and clever ones are (dead).

      Let me know how your over complicated theory of not really anything turns out. At this point the kindergarten kids are winning on both predictive skill and simplest explanation. Truth and beauty always wins over complicated ugliness..


    • At this point the kindergarten kids are winning on both predictive skill and simplest explanation.

      Who exactly is winning? Do you have citations or any kind scientific explanation you would like to offer?

      The simplest explanation is that “nothing has changed” in terms of climate. See if you can substantiate that claim

    • R. Gates

      To refresh your memory, The IPCC has made exactly that statement, which you refer to as a “simpleton statement:, namely that humans have been the cause of most of the observed warming since 1950.

      Did you somehow miss this in both AR4 and AR5?

      Max

    • X Anonymous

      Yes, Webby
      It must be frustrating to know, that even with complex computer models, feedback loops, over 5 million years of high quality proxy data, and thousands of scientists fawning over an imaginary giant sphere resting on a precipice, that you can’t predict anything, yet a human being that is less than 36 months old is able to predict Earth’s climatic states with remarkable simplicity and accuracy. A don’t need a reference to say the sky is blue. It’s quite obvious that trying to include carbon dioxide as major climatic driver has been the biggest pseudo science catastrophe since eugenics.

    • that’s less than useful X actor, you and your crayons.

    • X Anonymous

      This Kindergarten model (drawn on butchers paper with crayons) predicts the climate will cool over the next 20,500 years based on past data and a simple negative feedback. I understand that you may have your own simple model that has similar accuracy. Problem is the kindergarten kids’ model wins because it it far simpler and therefore more likely to explain reality (it’s called science). If such a revelation is not useful to yourself then that is your look out.
      It is the sum of the model inefficiencies that determine model usefulness. Thats why the ignorant kindergarten model wins, its lack of resolution is countered by its lack of errors and assumptions. (Hint: your standard model is full of errors, multiple assumptions and is for the most part useless).

    • blueice2hotsea

      WHT-
      what exactly is wrong with a single explanation — that the CO2 control knob is responsible for all the warming since the start of the oil age[?]

      Nothing, assuming ECS is 3C. And 3C is not crazy even if incorrect.

      However it is yet another cherry pick(!) which avoids commenting on attribution post 1975 (there used to be alot of BS -and now silence- from alarmists on this).

      Please apportion the relative contributions to warming post 1975, anthro vs natural. Are you da man, or da punk?

    • You all seem to think I represent the complexity in climate science. That’s really not the case. I apply first-order physics to demonstrate how the complex models can be intuited.

      On top of that, I will apply ideas from skeptics, as there may be grains of truth in those ideas, even if the grains are small. Too small to supplant the AGW GHG model, but not too small to help color in features.

      The fact is that all non-cyclic warming is attributable to the CO2 control knob while all the cyclic factors revert to the mean over the course of time and so contribute nothing.

    • Robert I Ellison

      How much of the 1996 to 1998 warming was natural is the core question – and one which webby is unable to contemplate let alone answer.

    • Robert I Ellison

      That’s 1976 to 1998 of course.

    • blueice2hotsea

      WHT-
      The fact is that all non-cyclic warming is attributable to the CO2 control knob while all the cyclic factors revert to the mean over the course of time and so contribute nothing.

      Well, of course that is basically true, but not entirely true. It really depends on the time scale. Further, there are many anthropogenic influences that while correlated to CO2 are not CO2. So call it the CO2 anthro proxy, like BEST.

      Finally, I am asking you to not identify so strongly with alarmists that you are unable to quantitatively comment on attribution post 1975. C’mon be da’ man.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘The global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems | atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere | each
      of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another.
      The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales. ‘ http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/tcd/PREPRINTS/Math_clim-Taipei-M_Ghil_vf.pdf

      It is not cyclic – it is chaotic.

    • blueice2hotsea

      @Robert I Ellison

      If WHT is still in Switzerland, he may have gone to bed – it’s 1:00 am. Nevertheless, I will press WHT for awhile hoping he will rise to the occasion and reveal his estimate for anthropic vs natural post 1975 warming. Thanks.

  41. ““Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries…”

    Policy advocacy is like…duh!

    • Scientists should stick to what they know how to do best: objective scientific discovery following the scientific method.

      When they stray into becoming “advisors for policymakers” or, worse yet, advocates or salesmen for a political cause, they lose their scientific objectivity. As a result, they are no longer scientists and, hence, are out of their depth.

      As an example, James E. Hansen was arguably once a brilliant scientist with a high level of credibility It is sad to see his shift to a run-of-the-mill advocate with very little scientific credibility left.

      Sic transit gloria.

      Max

    • I think your notion of what sientists are is… quaint.

      Might you consider a version with greater complexity?

    • Michael

      Greater complexity is wonderful, but you have to start with the basics or you will get wrapped around the axle of complexity.

      Just a thought.

      Max

    • When they stray into becoming “advisors for policymakers” or, worse yet, advocates or salesmen for a political cause, they lose their scientific objectivity. As a result, they are no longer scientists and, hence, are out of their depth.

      But scientific issues often have policy implications and surely we want our policymakers to make properly informed evidence-based decisions. To do this they need to get proper advice from people who have relevant expertise, and on the specific scientific questions who should they get this from if not from scientists themselves?

      We don’t fund scientific research just for the purpose of increasing the sum of human knowledge (although that is indeed a worthwhile endeavour). We do it because it often has practical implications for human societies and civilisation. So it is unrealistic to think that science can be somehow separated from political concerns.

    • Back at “What scientific ideas are ready for retirement?”, I suggested that a couple of ideas should be retired:
      1) Precautionary Principle
      2) Post Normal Science
      These concepts, however appealing to social scientists, elevate political power and money as scientific objectives. It has been tried; Lysenko comes to mind.

    • The precautionary principle isn’t a “scientific idea”, it’s an approach to managing risk which, depending on the issue at hand, may be informed by scientific evidence. I don’t particularly like the term “post normal science” but we can’t avoid the fact that we have to make decisions on complex issues which have a scientific basis but also big political implications and where there are big uncertainties. That’s just the nature of the society we have built for ourselves. Maybe there are better ways of approaching the problem with respect to climate change than our current approach but the basic problem isn’t going away and it can’t be solved by pretending that science can somehow exist in some kind of ivory tower untainted by its implications for the wider world.

  42. Curious George

    “A primary NCAR (National Center for Atmospheric Research) activity is creating models that enhance human understanding of the atmosphere, the Earth system, and the Sun.”

    I am not sure if their CAM5.3 (Common Atmosphere Model) is a linear model or a complex model; I would consider it rather complex. With a growing complexity a chance for inaccuracies also grows. There are phenomena like convection which are very difficult to model, and some approximations must be used. But I was shocked to find that even a water evaporation and condensation is modeled inaccurately – the transfer of heat from a 30 degrees C ocean surface by evaporation is exaggerated by 3%. The impact of this approximation on the accuracy of results is unknown – or, at least, it was unknown in June 2012.

    NCAR spends 1 million dollars a year just on a power bill for their Yellowstone supercomputer. I wonder what we get in return. I hope it is not a Garbage In – Garbage Out.

  43. I’m sorry I couldn’t resist:

    http://xanonymousblog.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/primary-school-science/

    As Anthony would say, “The stupidity, it burns”

  44. Robert I Ellison

    ‘Complexity is not the same as chaos.’ Elinor Ostrom

    There have been a few uniformed comments about this. It is about listening and broadening control within a common framework of institutional analysis. It asked the question of what is the most efficient way of organizing between interests and managing resources. It contrasts with the top down technocratic approach where that relies on so-called objective analysis of a problem and a so-called rational solution that is then handed to politicians to implement. The latter approach consistently meets an immovable force if it fails to meet competing community objectives – it fails at least one segment of the community inevitably – and tends to be comprised to death. Failing both the community and the environmental resource.

    There are better approaches. It is all about decentralized management and informed communication.

    http://www.nobelprize.org/mediaplayer/index.php?id=1223

  45. I like most of Biggs et al’s advice:

    “The first frame, openness, includes the following habits:
    • Hold your strong opinions lightly
    • Embrace surprise, serendipity and epiphany
    • Accept everyone as co-learners, not experts or competitors

    “The second, situational awareness, includes habits such as:
    • Be aware of contingencies, scale and history
    • Consider the importance of relationships and interactions
    • Reflect often: formally, informally, individually and collectively

    “The third frame, respect for the restraint and action paradox, includes habits such as:
    • Seize the just-do-it moment
    • Have courage to take action from which you can learn
    • Avoid premature convergence – avoid being too quick to judge.”

    However, while I hope I’m not being “too quick to judge,” their advice is in the elitist context of : “But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.” That is, the mindset and behaviour of the masses are not acceptable in our view, and must be changed to conform with the view of the elite.

    I’m not aware of any successful attempt to change the mindset and behaviour of the masses and, while the intentions of Biggs et al might be pure, most of those who seek to alter others’ behaviour are tyrannical and misguided.

    • Robert I Ellison

      I understood it more in the way of a threshold concept.

      ‘Transformative: Once understood, a threshold concept changes the way in which the student views the discipline.

      Troublesome: Threshold concepts are likely to be troublesome for the student. Perkins has suggested that knowledge can be troublesome e.g. when it is counter-intuitive, alien or seemingly incoherent.

      Irreversible: Given their transformative potential, threshold concepts are also likely to be irreversible, i.e. they are difficult to unlearn.

      Integrative: Threshold concepts, once learned, are likely to bring together different aspects of the subject that previously did not appear, to the student, to be related.

      Bounded: A threshold concept will probably delineate a particular conceptual space, serving a specific and limited purpose.

      Discursive: Meyer and Land [10] suggest that the crossing of a threshold will incorporate an enhanced and extended use of language.

      Reconstitutive: “Understanding a threshold concept may entail a shift in learner subjectivity, which is implied through the transformative and discursive aspects already noted. Such reconstitution is, perhaps, more likely to be recognised initially by others, and also to take place over time (Smith)”.

      Liminality: Meyer and Land [13] have likened the crossing of the pedagogic threshold to a ‘rite of passage’ (drawing on the ethnographical studies of Gennep and Turner in which a transitional or liminal space has to be traversed; “in short, there is no simple passage in learning from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’; mastery of a threshold concept often involves messy journeys back, forth and across conceptual terrain. (Cousin [7])”. ‘

      http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

      Deterministic chaos is one of these threshold concepts – after which the world is transformed. I am not sure it can be usefully applied to social/ecological interfaces in the way these people want to however.

      ‘Complexity is not chaos’ as Elinor Ostrom rightly said. In essence I would give it a fail – for falsely conflating the ideas – but one that has some truth to both disparate aspects.

    • Faustino – In terms of mass mindset shifts – Godwin.
      Robert – enjoyed your comments on this thread. This last one best.

    • Robert, I echo Mark, some good comments here, your breadth of knowledge and reading are often helpful.

    • Robert, that material at University College is very interesting, and very well presented. I was once en route to a dance at UC, but ended up close to death in UC Hospital instead. It was a long time before I got to dance again, but the experience was very formative. I would say I crossed several thresholds, all, at least in the longer term, valuable.

      Totally OT, but some years later I danced in the opening program of the London School of Contemporary Dance, where some of the choreography had to be reworked to accommodate the reworking of my leg en route to UCL.

  46. Judith, I guess I’m going to have to really disagree on one of your major comments here, which you have made elsewhere repeatedly and for which you have a lot of support in the community. Somehow I don’t think it will ruin your day or change any paradigms… ;)

    I cannot class climate change as a wicked problem. Narrowing the bands of estimates of sensitivity is an intriguing scientific conundrum that may take decades to solve, true. But the issue of human-caused climate change just doesn’t rise to the level of ‘wicked’. Not in my book.

    I believe calling it wicked lets too many of us off the hook. We know how to reduce emissions, but it’s expensive. Likewise future-proofing classes of infrastructure, such as roads and flood plains.

    If we manage to ignore the hysteria from alarmists about the C in CAGW, we are faced with some common-sense engineering issues and actuarial situations involving demographics. And if we manage to ignore the sky dragons and ironic sunnis we can bound sensitivity estimates narrowly enough to identify positive actions.

    I hope I can convince you of this. Language is important in this issue, hence the debate about ‘deniers’, etc. Using the term wicked is letting us off the hook too easily.

    My two cents’ worth, anyhoo. Hello from Shanghai.

  47. Yes, Tom, I wrote recently that I rarely get involved in many of the arcanr climate discussions here, in part because, as a former economic policy adviser, I’m not sure how useful it is. There are many uncertainties as to how climate changes, what the drivers are, the importance of various drivers, the timing of cycles of various types, etc, etc. All of which means we have no clear idea of what will fall out in the medium to longer term, and can make no sensible assessment of the very long term, say a century plus.

    We do know that policies adopted in the last 20 years in response to potential CAGW have been very costly, both in economic terms and in terms of cost per unit of emissions reduced, and that, whatever truly drives climate change, our costly efforts have made very little difference to it. Continuation along the same lines seems worse than pointless.

    So I come back to a point I’ve made many times before, that our best approach is to pursue policies which give us the greatest opportunity of dealing well with whatever befalls. All we know of the future is that it will surprise us, there will be major developments which we did not foresee and therefore can not have a planned response too.

    From a policy perspective, much of the climate science debate seems to be somewhat futile.

    • “From a policy perspective, much of the climate science debate seems to be somewhat futile”

      Yes, it is

      I’m a case-hardened applied geoscientist. I look for empirical results from applying hypotheses and theories. In effect, this means that I am continually testing “consensus” with scepticism [so far, gravitational theory hasn't failed yet :)]

      If I’m reading the current drift in UK energy policy correctly, we should see the empirical results of “decarbonising” an advanced economy within less than 5 years from now. Such results, be what they may, I will tend to believe

      I wonder if the CAGW advocates will, though. Much post-hoc rationalisation may well be seen

    • I happen to disagree with Peter Lang on many issues, but I do have to give him credit for being such an agreeable fella’.

  48. Come what may, helps if yer’ve got …
    food in the larder, check, )
    fuel in the car, check, )
    funds in yer money box, (
    A serf.

  49. I’ve been researching the use of decision trees and scenario planning in military planning, as an analogy to their use in dealing with the problem of fossil carbon.

    What stands out to me is how little real use of scenario planning there is for actually addressing the problem.

    As I see it, the key analogy here involves more complex modelling of the behavior of allies, as well as blurring the distinction between allies and enemies. The presumed enemy is the complex external system (climate, ecosystem, etc.). Other nation-states, corporations, NGO’s, and other polities may be considered “semi-allies” or “neutrals with large stakes”.

    The most important defect of scenario planning as currently used WRT fossil carbon involves the lack of “conceivability” of various scenarios, the tendency for planners and other stake-holders to resist expanding their space of scenarios (i.e. think out of the box).

    Given that the problem is potentially very serious, such laziness is, IMO, reprehensible.

    • For instance, a 2009 document, WORLD ENERGY SCENARIOS TO 2050: ISSUES AND OPTIONS, which references an earlier document, Energy Technology Perspectives — Scenarios and Strategies to 2050 makes the invalid assumption that only mitigation will take place; that no process of remediation will be present to influence the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere. This appears to also be true of a slightly later document, Energy Technology Perspectives 2010.

    • AK,

      What stands out to me is how little real use of scenario planning there is for actually addressing the problem.

      I agree. Decision tree analysis (as well as robust analysis) is what we should be doing, IMO. But I don’t agree with what you see this issues are. I’d suggest start at the top as I tried to layout in this comment:

      http://judithcurry.com/2013/04/19/open-thread-weekend-14/#comment-313514

      To understand why one of the main proposed mitigation policies is very unlikely to succeed, IMO, my submission to the Australian Senate committee investigating the repeal of the carbon tax legislation explains my position. See submission #2 here:

      http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Clean_Energy_Legislation/Submissions

    • @Peter Lang…

      Would you call the military (funded) R&D that led to the Internet (ARPAnet) a “market distortion”? What about the R&D leading to nuclear power, especially “breeder” reactors? What about the military interventions to assure supplies of oil (e.g. Iran ’53)? What about England’s decision to focus on oil rather than coal for fueling warships?

      IMO you’re making a false dichotomy in pushing “market freedom” for nuclear power while decrying state-sponsored R&D into other energy technology. You’re also using straw-man arguments WRT action to support “renewable” technology: solar power doesn’t necessarily mean solar panel on people’s rooftops and expensive feed-in regulations. It also includes major installations designed to feed the grid, whose prices are falling exponentially and have been for decades. It also includes the oil-from-algae option which may well be only a few years from being cost-competitive without subsidies.

    • AK

      Personally I would like to see all the Western Govts sponsor a renewable energy research centre along the lines of CERN-and with similar levels of funding.

      The State has a place in certain enterprises and finding new sources of affordable energy- or helping to refine existing ones -should be a key priority.

      You said; “You’re also using straw-man arguments WRT action to support “renewable” technology: solar power doesn’t necessarily mean solar panel on people’s rooftops and expensive feed-in regulations. ”

      Your comment about solar enables me to mention my favourite renewable energy maxim which is ‘horses for courses. Britain is very poorly suited to generating reliable solar energy-especially in winter when it is most needed.

      Being an island however-with nowhere more than 70 miles from that enormous energy resources-the ocean- that is probably our particular horse, but one alas that hasn’t even been saddled up let alone entered for a race.

      tonyb

    • @AK

      “What stands out to me is how little real use of scenario planning there is for actually addressing the problem.”

      The first step in ‘addressing the problem’ is to make absolutely certain that there is in fact a problem that demands addressing. This step is especially important when the putative problem is gigantic, its existence is supported only by models with a history of having no predictive skill, and the measures proposed to address the problem require that the entire foundation of our technical civilization, the availability of cheap, plentiful energy, be abandoned.

      In the instance of ‘Climate Change’, the empirical climate has behaved and continues to behave well within its range during periods when there was no arguable ACO2 signature. Meanwhile, the existence of an ACO2 problem which poses an existential threat to the biosphere at large unless we establish worldwide control of ACO2 to address it is, without supporting data, treated as axiomatic. Postulated and beyond discussion. The fact that Climate Science is based on an axiom rather than observations and that Climate Science has a history of adjusting observations to confirm the axiom is the problem that needs to be addressed before we tackle the ‘What must we do about ACO2?’ problem, the existence of which for now remains speculative.

    • Sorry AK, but your comment is a pile of nonsense. You clearly haven’t bothered to try to follow. And you are making wrong assumptions or being intentionally disingenuous.

      You’re also using straw-man arguments WRT action to support “renewable” technology: solar power doesn’t necessarily mean solar panel on people’s rooftops and expensive feed-in regulations. It also includes major installations designed to feed the grid, whose prices are falling exponentially and have been for decades.

      I know you don’t like dealing with the inconvenient facts about economic viability, but in case you care to get some perspective on this, try looking at this: http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf

      And I can provide you plenty more about the costs of solar thermal if you want me to. But I suspect you would rather not know (as we’ve discovered before). You’d rather run with your beliefs, no matter how ridiculous, right?

      The fact that solar prices are reducing from a very high cost is irrelevant. The question is can solar be economically viable to provide a large proportion for the worlds electricity supply. The answer is almost certainly not! Solar thermal provides 0% of world electricity. You’re dreaming if you thinks that could change to being a substantial proportion of global electricity generation in any relevant time frame, if ever.

    • @Peter Lang…

      Sorry AK, but your comment is a pile of nonsense. You clearly haven’t bothered to try to follow. And you are making wrong assumptions or being intentionally disingenuous.

      Sorry Peter, but you entire position demonstrates ostrich-like denial of reality, either through ignorance or a deliberate attempt to deceive. As you ought to know if you reference the use of decision trees, one of their major advantages is the ability to deal with uncertain assumptions without burying your head in the sand and refusing to admit to possibilities obvious to anybody who isn’t “so blind as those who will not see”.

      I know you don’t like dealing with the inconvenient facts about economic viability, but in case you care to get some perspective on this, try looking at this: [...]

      The linked document is (IMO) a waste of time because it’s chock full of unwarranted assumptions (not facts) about costs more than 5 years in the future. At most it represents an estimate for one tiny branch of a large, bushy, decision tree.. We can only speculate whether your pushing of such nonsense without explicitly acknowledging the obvious caveats represents ignorance or an effort to deceive.

      The fact that solar prices are reducing from a very high cost is irrelevant. The question is can solar be economically viable to provide a large proportion for the worlds electricity supply.

      LOL! I just can’t understand how anybody can go on record with such nonsense! If solar prices continue reducing exponentially at the same rate they have for decades, that fact, if true, will most certainly be relevant to whether “solar [can] be economically viable to provide a large proportion for the worlds electricity supply.” I can’t understand how you think you can pull the wool over anybody’s eyes except others as willfully ignorant as yourself.

      The answer is almost certainly not!

      That statement shows total ignorance of what decision tree analysis is all about. Using decision tree analysis, you don’t say “certainly not!”

      You say “alright, assume it will, build a branch of the decision tree based on that assumption, then assume it won’t and build another branch. What actions can we take now that will prepare us to take advantage of the situation if it does, while not leading to significant regrets if it doesn’t? What actions do we take, and when, to respond to the situation in each case, to achieve maximum advantage from actions we take in anticipation of the actual outcome while minimizing the downside effect of actions taken to prepare for outcomes not realized?”

      Solar thermal provides 0% of world electricity. You’re dreaming if you thinks that could change to being a substantial proportion of global electricity generation in any relevant time frame, if ever.

      Argument by assertion. Solar thermal provides more than “0% of world electricity.” The amount may be small today, but so is the relative amount of yeast in bread dough or unfermented wine or beer. It may start small, but exponential growth can allow it to become dominant. I can imagine many electrical engineers said the same thing about transistors when they were getting ready to replace vacuum tube. And the price of transisters has been decreasing roughly exponentially ever since.

      • Oh, and another thing Peter Lang…

        Solar thermal provides 0% of world electricity.

        Another straw-man argument. Solar thermal is certainly one option, but not the only one. Concentrated solar PV may well turn out to be the best one. It could well contribute to a 100,000% decrease in the cost of solar power, equivalent to over 16 generations of any equivalent of Moore’s Law applying to PV.

        AFAIK current estimates of the “growth rate” (note the “scare quotes”, I’m speaking metaphorically here) for the solar PV version of “Moore’s Law” are around 4 years per halving of price (compared to 18 months for logic prices). 16 generations would work out to about 6-7 decades, a good time-frame to shoot for full remediation if necessary. Something, with proper decision tree planning we wouldn’t need to know for another 2-3 decades.

      • Sorry, that should be 10 generations, equivalent to perhaps 4 decades. I guess that’s what I get for using percentages to inflate the appearance of my numbers.

        Of course, another 6 rounds of halving the price of solar energy, to 100,000 times as cheap as today, isn’t implausible. But, as of today, we can only speculate what technology would be involved in that. The technology for 100,000%, 1000 times as cheap, is already on the lab bench.

    • @Bob Ludwick…

      The first step in ‘addressing the problem’ is to make absolutely certain that there is in fact a problem that demands addressing.

      An exercise in binary reasoning. The point is that digging up fossil carbon and dumping it into the biosphere represents a risk. A risk we can’t quantify. The actual first step in “addressing the problem” is defining it. I’m proposing a definition roughly as follows: “What can we do to minimize the risk from fossil carbon while also minimizing the impact to our energy-hungry industrial culture?”

      Meanwhile, the existence of an ACO2 problem which poses an existential threat to the biosphere at large unless we establish worldwide control of ACO2 to address it is, without supporting data, treated as axiomatic. Postulated and beyond discussion.

      That’s totally contrary to the principles of decision tree analysis. To the extent that your binary logic is applicable, it can be built into two separate branches of the decision tree. Thus, we can redefine the problem, for now, as asking “what can we do now to prepare to deal with the problem if it emerges as a probable threat, while minimizing the downside if it doesn’t? How can we prepare to respond more rapidly in the future if we discover we need to, while still supporting maximum industrial growth in the present?”

    • AK, please dont forget to invent a way to store enormous amounts of energy before dreaming about solar (or wind or any other intermittent energy source) powering the modern economies of the world, ok?

      • I already have. Of course, it’ll still take some work to implement, I’m not ready to file a patent. But it represents a valid (and, IMO) very important branch of the decision tree.

        Along with fluid batteries, fuel cell/electrolytic technology based on hydrogen, sodium, or other materials, and a host of other options.

        I like bio-methane because it could be fed into an already mature system for storage, transport, and power generation. But there are many other options.

    • AK, interesting blog post! Thanks!
      I assume that you then agree with me that we should first roll out these new technologies to store the massive amounts of energy before littering the planet with windmills and solar panels?

    • @Wijnand…

      I assume that you then agree with me that we should first roll out these new technologies to store the massive amounts of energy before littering the planet with windmills and solar panels?

      I certainly think the emphasis on (and subsidies for) solar panels at the homeowner level are a mistake. Windmills should have to pay for themselves, and, frankly, the prospect of windfarms covering large areas of the landscape represents, IMO, a greater risk to the climate than CO2.

      There’s a great deal of R&D going on towards energy storage, and I would suggest that a strong societal investment in such R&D would be highly valuable if it pans out, and if solar continues its exponential price decrease, while still (probably) paying for itself in spin-off technology even if one of those options doesn’t happen. And at worst, the amount expended on research is a tiny fraction of what massive “carbon taxes” would represent, as well as not having the depressive effect raising the cost/price of energy would.

      You can hopefully see where I’m going with this decision tree business.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ AK

      “An exercise in binary reasoning. The point is that digging up fossil carbon and dumping it into the biosphere represents a risk. A risk we can’t quantify. The actual first step in “addressing the problem” is defining it.”

      If we can’t quantify it, how do you know that the risk of NOT using fossil fuels is not GREATER than the risk of using them? As you (and I) say, the first step is to determine that you have a problem before you embark on the ‘decision tree’ of solving it. The ‘Where is the data confirming that we have a problem that needs solving?’ contingent says that so far there is no data that can unambiguously associate ACO2 with a ‘problem’. The ‘ACO2 poses a horrible threat and we gotta start solving it right now or else!’ contingent says ‘Whaddaya mean, no data? EVERY undesirable climate event is proof positive that ACO2 is a problem! Too hot, too cold, too wet, too dry, too much snow, too little snow, floods, drouth, brush fires, hurricanes, no hurricanes, whatever. Its ALL proof that we have an ACO2 problem and the threat is dire.’

      THAT is what ‘Climate Science’ has done: Decreed, ex cathedra, that ACO2 poses an existential threat that requires that we initiate all out, worldwide, coordinated ‘energy policies’ to control it if catastrophe is to be avoided.

      “Given that the problem is potentially very serious, such laziness is, IMO, reprehensible.”

      The unproven (and undebatable) Climate Science corollary to the ‘ACO2 is an existential threat.’ axiom is that ‘There is no RISK associated with any policy that is proposed by the Progressive_politician/Climate_science/Green complex if the advertised purpose is to control ACO2. ACO2 is bad; any policy implemented in the name of reducing it is good. ALL good.’ If questioning the efficacy of ACO2 reduction policies in controlling the TOE is reprehensible, why is it NOT reprehensible to demand global increases in the cost of energy and reductions in its supply without supplying any evidence that the price increases and supply reductions will have any measurable effect on the TOE, which is the ostensible reason for the ACO2 policies in the first place, or that the ‘cure for ACO2 will not be worse than the disease’?

    • @Bob Ludwick…

      If we can’t quantify it, how do you know that the risk of NOT using fossil fuels is not GREATER than the risk of using them?

      Our best evidence says that the massive transfer of carbon from the lithosphere is unprecented, and the current levels of atmospheric CO2 higher than any time in the last 5-10 million years. In the intervening years, there have been many changes to the continents and sea-floors, meaning that earlier times cannot be used as models for today.

      In the intervening years, the world’s major ecosystems have adapted to current conditions, adaptations that include widespread introduction of C4 grasses (and other plants) as major players in dryland ecosystems. Best evidence suggests the ecosystem reorganizations involved in re-adapting to much higher levels of CO2 would include many sudden changes, the appearance of some (unknown but possibly very large) number of highly competitive generalists (weeds and pests) currently unknown to agriculture.

      Whatever the uncertainty involved in such ecosystem changes, there is certainly less risk with the status quo. How much? Who knows? But there’s certainly a great distinction between low-cost, low-regrets measures to reduce that risk, vs. massive interventions that substantially raise the cost/price of energy. Treating them as indistinguishable is tantamount to making a straw-man argument.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ AK

      “Our best evidence says that the massive transfer of carbon from the lithosphere is unprecented, and the current levels of atmospheric CO2 higher than any time in the last 5-10 million years.”

      Postulating that we actually know with precision the CO2 content of the atmosphere for the last 10e6 years (with what temporal resolution), so what? You have presented a datum. How does that become a problem that demands a solution? All that we know, with absolute certainty, is that if you add CO2 to the atmosphere, to levels beyond what we are likely to achieve by burning stuff, plants grow better. If they did not, greenhouse operators would not go to the expense to raise the levels in their greenhouses to 1000ppm levels. Unless we accept the current position of Climate Science, that EVERY undesirable climate event is the direct result of ACO2, which seems a bit implausible on its face, the existence of an ACO2 problem has been revealed by proclamation rather than by observation.

      ““What can we do to minimize the risk from fossil carbon while also minimizing the impact to our energy-hungry industrial culture?””

      The first thing to do is to determine, using other than ex cathedra proclamations, that the (ACO2) risk from fossil fuels is other than zero. And, if other than zero, is large enough to demand that ‘measures be taken’. So far, we have no unambiguous evidence of either condition. Therefore, until data indicates otherwise, ignoring ACO2 would seem to be the ‘minimal risk’ approach.

    • @Bob Ludwick…

      All that we know, with absolute certainty, is that if you add CO2 to the atmosphere, to levels beyond what we are likely to achieve by burning stuff, plants grow better.

      Weeds are plants.

      If they did not, greenhouse operators would not go to the expense to raise the levels in their greenhouses to 1000ppm levels.

      So you’re willing to risk all agriculture that doesn’t have the same control over weeds that greenhouse operators have? How much would it cost to do all the world’s agriculture in greenhouses, or with the same sort of weed control?

    • AK,

      Sorry Peter, but you entire position demonstrates ostrich-like denial of reality, either through ignorance or a deliberate attempt to deceive.

      Projection!

      Gullible people like your self with great ideas but no sense of reality or proportion ore economic viability have been holding beliefs and making silly claims like yours for centuries. And as for strawman arguments, you use them incessantly. Every comment you introduce another. I refute one, you don’t deal with it but instead introduce another. You demonstrate the signs of intellectual dishonesty. So, as far as I am concerned, you are just an oxygen thief.

      • More baseless silliness.

        Speaking of gullible, how about anybody who takes your maunderings as “fact” without looking closely at your assumptions

        Examples please. I referred you to these two links:

        http://oznucforum.customer.netspace.net.au/TP4PLang.pdf

        Submission #2 here: http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Committees/Senate/Environment_and_Communications/Clean_Energy_Legislation/Submissions

        What assumptions are you contesting in these two posts and please provide your suggested correction(s), justify your preferred assumption and quantify the amount of difference it woulds make to the results and the conclusions. [note, as always, if the assumption is sourced to another document, you'll have to go back to the source and argue why you suggest a change to that].

        Do this properly if you want me to take you seriously. Because at the moment I don’t.

      • What assumptions are you contesting in these two posts and please provide your suggested correction(s), justify your preferred assumption and quantify the amount of difference it woulds make to the results and the conclusions.

        As I said above, “At most it represents an estimate for one tiny branch of a large, bushy, decision tree. All your talk of “your preferred assumption” demonstrates your ignorance of how decision trees ought to be used.

        I’m not going to waste time dealing with your efforts to set numbers, any numbers, in stone when not only do we not know what various costs will be in the future, but a variety of (unknown) actions we take now could impact those numbers in unknown ways. Try using an exponentially decreasing cost for solar power (without specifying which technology will become that cheap), at a “growth rate” of cutting in half every 4 years. Compare the general outcome with those you’re pushing.

        What I’m trying to say is that your whole framework is wrong, your paradigm. All it’s really good for is justifying rationalizing spending money on long-term projects, without any real knowledge whether they’ll pay for themselves. You want to turn the debate to which cost/benefit analysis is “right” (AFAIK), I’m trying to challenge the whole idea of “right” cost/benefit analyses.

      • AK,

        Your are talking complete gobbledygook. MAny baseless assertions. Just assertions, no sunbstantiation.

        And of course I couldn’t go down into the depths of decision tree analysis in a comment that was intended to be at the top level of global options for policy analysis. So you’ve employed another strawman. As I said, you are intellectually dishonest.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Lang is at his usual game. Handing down simplistic diktat from on high and accusing anyone who dares to disagree of – inter alia – intellectual dishonesty.

      It is an utter bore really.

  50. ”complexity” is necessary, to create more zombies in the blogosphere.

    ”Simplicity” is to inform the public; therefore: cut the BS, cross the zeroes and cut the dead wood, for positive result!

  51. Are people with complex minds still using toilet paper?

    • Wagathon,

      Indeed they are. They have use computer modelling to calculate that the overwhelming cause of wasted resources in the manufacture and disposal of toilet paper is due to the stupidity of the general public – deniers if you like – in failing to accept the benefits accruing to using the toilet paper on both sides, rather than wastefully using just one.

      We must all expect an imminent visit by the Department of Correct and Scientific thinking. Have your used paper available for inspection!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Not in Venezuela or other enlightened progressive nations.
      Socialism and soft bathroom tissue are natural enemies.

    • If you must use just one side, make a mobius strip of it first.
      ========

    • Kim,

      Thank you for your suggestion. I tried that.

      Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure which side to use first.

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • David Springer

      You’re lucky you couldn’t get started. I heard about a guy who made a Mobius strip of toilet paper. He started wiping and was never able to stop.

    • A great aid to efficiency; it forces you to waste less time on acts of lower priority.
      ========

  52. William McClenney

    PHYSICAL REVIEW E 84, 011130 (2011)
    Social consensus through the influence of committed minorities

    “We show how the prevailing majority opinion in a population can be rapidly reversed by a small fraction p of randomly distributed committed agents who consistently proselytize the opposing opinion and are immune to influence. Specifically, we show that when the committed fraction grows beyond a critical value pc ≈ 10%, there is a dramatic decrease in the time Tc taken for the entire population to adopt the committed opinion.

    “Human behavior is profoundly affected by the influenceability of individuals and the social networks that link them together. Well before the proliferation of online social networking, offline or interpersonal social networks have been acknowledged as a major factor in determining how societies move toward consensus in the adoption of ideologies, traditions, and attitudes [1,2]. As a result, the dynamics of social influence has been heavily studied in sociological, physics, and computer science literature [3–7]. In the sociological context, work on diffusion of innovations has emphasized how individuals adopt new states in behavior, opinion, or consumption through the influence of their neighbors. Commonly used models for this process include the thresholdmodel [8] and the Bass model [9]. A key feature in both thesemodels is that once an individual adopts the newstate, his state remains unchanged at all subsequent times.”

    http://journals.aps.org/pre/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevE.84.011130

    (paywalled)

  53. WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Navy is mapping out how to expand its presence in the Arctic beginning about 2020, given signs that the region’s once permanent ice cover is melting faster than expected, which is likely to trigger more traffic, fishing and resource mining.

    “The Arctic is all about operating forward and being ready. We don’t think we’re going to have to do war-fighting up there, but we have to be ready,” said Rear Admiral Jonathan White, the Navy’s top oceanographer and navigator, and director of the Navy’s climate change task force.

    “We don’t want to have a demand for the Navy to operate up there, and have to say, ‘Sorry, we can’t go,’” he said.

    The Navy this week released an “aggressive” update to its 2009 Arctic plan after a detailed analysis of data from a variety of sources showed that seasonal ice is disappearing faster than had been expected even three years ago. The document said the Bering Strait was expected to see open water conditions about 160 days a year by 2020, with the deep ocean routes of the Transpolar transit route forecast to be open for up to 45 days annually by 2025.

  54. There have been a few commentators who have suggested a simple relation between forcings and temperature is at the heart of understanding the future direction of climate.

    Here’s a new paper that’s telling me that it’s plausible to think that the above is too simplistic.

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/2013GL058955/abstract

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/~david/Rose_etal_submitted_2013.pdf

  55. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS
    Apple’s Tim Cook
    picks a fight
    with climate change deniers

    The [right-wing think tank] NCPPR representative asked Mr. Cook to commit right then and there to doing only those things that were profitable.

    What ensued was the only time I can recall seeing Tim Cook angry, and he categorically rejected the worldview behind the NCPPR’s advocacy.

    He said that there are many things Apple does because they are right and just, and that a return on investment (ROI) was not the primary consideration on such issues.

    Lassies and laddies, by the faux-conservative standards of denialist enclaves — like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — there can be only one explanation for Tim Cook’s actions: Tim Cook is evil.

    Possibly Tim Cook even disrespects Ayn Rand … oh, the horror!

    That “Tim Cook is evil” — and so are the [many!] conservative-minded / conservation-minded / complex-minded citizens who agree with Tim Cook’s way of thinking — is a self-evident truth … to *SOME* Climate Etc folks!

    The world ponders … soberly.

    \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}

    • “If you want me to do things only for ROI reasons, you should get out of this stock.”

      Said no corporate officer ever – who didn’t want to be sued in a shareholder derivative law suit.

    • ceresco kid

      Round off the sharp elbows at your economic peril.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Insurance industry pricing climate risk as a dead certainty

      Hmmm … so it’s Game over, man! GAME OVER!” for climate-change denialism, eh GaryM and ceresco kid?

      `Cuz the dispassionate market has delivered its verdict, eh?

      \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}

    • “That’s why climate change insurance costs big bucks — insurers know that it’s real, it’s coming, and it’s really, really bad news.”

      Of course, why on earth would insurers charge big bucks for insurance for something that was not a dead certainty. What could they possibly gain by over estimating risk in their pricing?

      Anybody? Anybody?

      Bueller? Bueller?

      (By the way, this is the same industry that is run by such geniuses that they signed on to Obamacare, whose originator stated right out that he wants to do away with them.)

  56. I swear some academics must get paid by the syllable, with a bonus based on the turgidity of their prose.

    “In this paper, we describe why, in social–ecological systems dialog, it is crucial to be conscious of the realities of complexity and to adapt thinking and decision-making styles accordingly.”

    Translation: In the debate on ecological policy, it is crucial to be aware that it is a complex political and scientific issue, and to adapt thinking and decision making accordingly. (Duh)

    “We have explained that they must guard against ‘pseudo complexity’ thinking….”

    Written without the slightest hint of irony.

    “In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems….”

    One can only guess how desperately Descartes waited in his grave for the forgiveness of obscure 21st century academics.

    • The priestly classes have always used arcane and obfuscatory language to keep the hoi polloi in ignorance, maintain their status and conceal their lack of clothes.

    • Can one forgive Descartes for observing “I think therefore I am,” rather than “I think, therefore thinking is?” He observed a process and took it to be an entity.

    • Faustino,

      I suspect his point was that thinking proves the existence of a thinker. A process cannot exist independent of a medium/mechanism in which it can occur.

    • Can one forgive Descartes for observing “I think therefore I am,” rather than “I think, therefore thinking is?”

      It depends on what the meaning of “is” is.

    • I bristle at pineal, the ring of silence encones.
      =============

    • Cerulean blue the sky, the locus of the clouds.
      ================

  57. Meeting problematic stuff head-on with unending strings of academese? Untangling real complexity with great lumps of needless abstraction? Because, you know, everything is so much more complex than when people only needed to go to the telegraph office and dance the Charleston.

    But it’s not all just workshops with Uruguayan artists and live theatre on the state of the Baltic. If you check out the “nine planetary boundaries” of the Stockholm Resilience Centre you’ll find that most of the bad guys of climate alarmism are named and shamed.

    Yep, that’s right. You just swallowed yet another warmie pill in yet another fancy new wrapper.

  58. “In hindsight, one could forgive Descartes for not thinking about complex social-ecological systems when he argued that the only sound thinking practice was to isolate phenomena from each other and their environment and apply a process of reduction, simplification and clarification. Well, not anymore. As the world around us becomes more complex, our understanding of how to behave in it is changing accordingly.

    Enter complexity thinking, an attempt to meet the challenges of an increasingly complex world where humans and nature are connected on multiple scales. But what does it mean to apply complexity thinking?”

    The world and the systems that interact within it and without have always been complex. We just have the knowledge to more fully understand just how complex everything really is but not, as yet, the wisdom to apply this knowledge through intuitive and lateral processes as described by Kant in preference to the Cartesian rational and logical thinking that is only good for testing of other people’s hypotheses.

    • Peter, speak for yourself! I’ve always tended to the intuitive and lateral, both as an economist and more broadly. Re the “threshold learning” linked to by Robert IE, I’ve tended (at least when of a less advanced age) to immediately grasp things then get bored while they were explained in several different ways to my classmates – even at LSE.

      (signed) The Sage of West End. :-)

    • Hi Faustino. I would agree with your assessment and this is why your letters to The Australian as so refreshing.

  59. Matthew R Marler

    I did not find the main post useful at all.

    About this quote: “Scientists who do not practically master the consequences of their discoveries, do not control the meaning and nature of their research, even on an intellectual level”

    Useful knowledge will be taken over by those who know how to put it to use. Scientists do not in any case control the futures of the knowledge that they develop, except in the short term through patents and students. Indeed, one of the goals of the patent process is to ensure that the knowledge embodied in the patent becomes public so that others can, eventually, use it.

  60. The phrase that troubles me is “as the world around us becomes more complex”. Becomes?? It has always been complex, but we have suffered at the hands of those who pretend it’s not, principally via the conjecture of ‘radiative forcing’ by man’s CO2 emissions.

    What we’ve seen since AR5 started coming out (& even before) is the continued struggle by those same ‘pretenders’ that their simplistic belief in the CO2 driver is still valid, despite the continued growing evidence that most likely the climate has zero sensitivity to sensitivity to CO2.

  61. It was been perfectly clear ab -initio that the IPCC reductionist modeling approach is inherently useless for the purpose of climate forecasting.Systems with the number of variables involved in the climate system cannot specify the initial conditions with a data grid in time and space fine enough to be accurate and still be computable in any conceivable time frame. In addition to this inherent problem the IPCC models are structurally flawed also so that the range of almost their model outputs may be outside the likely real world range.
    There hasnow been no net warming for 16 years and the earth entered a cooling trend in about 2003 which will last for another 20 years and perhaps for hundreds of years beyond that.
    The current weather patterns in the UK and USA are typical of those developed by the more meridional path of the jet stream on a cooling earth. The Fagan book “The Little Ice Age ” is a useful guide from the past to the future. The frequency of these weather patterns, e.g. for the USA the PDO related drought in California and the Polar Vortex excursions to the South will increase as cooling continues
    The views of the establishment scientists in the USA and the UK Met office’s publicity in this matter reveals their continued refusal to recognize and admit the total failure of the climate models in the face of the empirical data of the last 15 years. It is time for the climate community to move to another approach based on pattern recognition in the temperature and driver data and also on the recognition of the different frequencies of different regional weather patterns on a cooling ( more meridional jet stream ) and warming (more latitudinal jet stream ) world.
    For forecasts of the coming cooling based on the 60 year (PDO) and the 1000 year quasi-periodicities seen in the temperature data and the neutron count as a proxy for solar activity in general see several posts at
    climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com
    For a review of a 3 year update of a 30 year forecast see
    climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/07/skillful-so-far-thirty-year-climate.html
    For an estimate of future NH temperature trends see the latest post at
    climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

    • Agreed –i.e., nominally, it’s the Sun, stupid.

    • We are cooling, folks; for how long, even kim doesn’t know.
      ================

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      kim says “We are  cooling  heating, folks; for how long, even kim doesn’t know.

      Claim by kim, science by FOMD.

      Climate-change ignorance *CAN* be remediated … by study and thoughtful reflection, kim!

      That’s why these problems *AREN’T* “wicked” … contrary to the selfish, short-sighted, willfully ignorant claims of faux-conservative enclaves — like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — as promulgated by astro-turfing operatives!

      \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}

    • Curious George

      I agree with a criticism of IPCC models. However, a pattern recognition only works if the climate is inherently cyclical. That assumption is poorly supported; for example, glacial periods do not show much periodicity – and it takes one Milankovich to recognize a pattern. I don’t believe that it can be done automatically (today).

    • Exactly. The climate is inherently (quasi)cyclical – this is well supported, much better than the CO2 knob, for example..

    • For so long as Western climatologists stick to the meme that humanity’s contribution to increasing atmospheric CO2 levels is solely responsible for causing global warming over the last 50 years, it’s only logical they will continue to say that solar variability is unrelated to climate change over that period, irrespective of how such logic fails to square with observations during the Maunder minimum.

    • For those who think that modeling a system as complex as the climate have is a useful exercise please take the time to watch

      The biggest uncertainty in my coolimg forecasts is where we are relative to the 1000 year cycle see Figs 3 and 4 at

      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/

    • Dr page

      I don’t know if you caught my article about reconstructing cet further back from its current instrumental full stop of 1659?

      http://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

      I am currently back to 1538 and am currently working on the period 1200 to 1450 , leaving a 100 year gap at present.

      The reason for choosing this period is that in Britain we have good records that cover it pretty corehensively.

      What is obvious is that it covers the transition from the tranquility of the mwp to the turbulence of the lia.

      As such there is enormous juxtaposition of climate states from hot to cold and back again. These are accompanied by extremes of weather.

      There appear to be similarities today to the transition period approx 1230 onwards. The climate then appears to have recovered a number of times before the extended period of the second phase of the lia commenced.

      Not sure I fully agree with your figures 3 and 4 but it will be some weeks before I am ready to commit any figures to a graph and article.
      Tonyb

    • Tony B There will be much to interest you in comparing Fig 3 with Fig 8 in the last post at

      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

      and with your CET investigations . Look especially at the annual variability in Fig 3 against what you are finding.
      I find, as probably you do ,that the range of very short term variability that we might be faced with is quite disturbing.

    • Dr page

      Yes, the short term variability is of concern.

      The current age has a distinct whiff of ‘transition’ about it. I guess we won’t know for certain for another 30 years but the implications of a transitional world are considerable and it would be good to think that the plan A for warming could be augmented by a plan B to cover other climate eventualities.

      Tonyb

    • Remember too, there seem to be greater extremes during the beginnings and the endings of interglacials. So if climate is truly tending toward weather extremes, we ought to be aware of contingencies other than warming.
      =====================

    • kim | March 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm |

      Tail-wagging-the-dog nonsense.

      You do understand that the shifting tilt of the Earth on its axis is the well-understood and well-established mechanism driving the principle forcing of glaciation on a 100,000 year timescale, right?

      That just because there’s weather extremes at the cusp of glaciation no more means that extremes of weather cause glaciers to advance than a rooster’s crowing makes the Sun rise?

      Please, if you don’t grasp these things, let us know.

    • Thanks for the clue, Bart, to which of your screws are loose. It’s the one that nails down causation.
      ========

    • kim | March 4, 2014 at 8:38 am |

      Causation.

      You keep hammering on that theme.

      Do you even know what the word means?

      Do you understand the conditions necessary to prove causation?

      Let’s help you with those questions, since you’re admitting you don’t quite grasp how it works.

      http://www.thefreedictionary.com/causation tells us:

      1. the act or fact of causing.
      2. the relation of cause to effect; causality.
      3. anything that produces an effect; cause.

      So we are looking for proof of causality, as opposed to mere evidence for causality. Evidence for causality is clear: there’s the correlation of CO2 levels with some fifty distinct essential climate variables at climate timescales (which Warren Buffet explained recently is longer than five to ten years); if you think about it, fifty different climate metrics with nothing else in common but correlation with CO2 level on climate timescale is in and of itself evidence enough of causation. Would a jury fail to convict a man if DNA proved he was at the scene of the shootings of fifty different people over a course of decades with nothing else in common but him?

      But Science would not convict the accused on this ample evidence, even fifty distinct correlations, alone. Science uses induction to infer from the smoking gun of radiative transfer physics as proven in the lab, the caliber and distinct markings of the greenhouse effect, and uses models like a crime scene technician uses ballistic measurements, to eliminate other suspects along the way to showing that the gun was present, the gun was loaded, the gun was fired, and the bullets in the corpses came from the gun.

      That is how much proof of causation we have in the case of CO2 murdering the global climate.

      We even have evidence of the state of mind of the culprits, from their burgeoning bank accounts and the premeditation required in influencing government regulators to look the other way.

      So, you can remain in denial, like a girl whose boyfriend tells her he didn’t kill any of those people, and can she help him hide the bodies just one more time.. or you can face facts.

      • Cause and effect are a myth, an artifact of our nervous systems. The real universe is much more complex…

    • You have to ‘read harder’, Bart. Nowhere did I suggest that increased extremes of weather or climate would cause glaciation. Yet you wander off, and maunder on.

      Now about that lack of data for weather or climate extremes. Aren’t you glad?
      ===========

    • kim | March 4, 2014 at 10:07 am |

      Nowhere?

      Not kim | March 3, 2014 at 6:22 pm |

      Remember too, there seem to be greater extremes during the beginnings and the endings of interglacials. So if climate is truly tending toward weather extremes, we ought to be aware of contingencies other than warming.

      And.. “about that lack of data for weather or climate extremes..”:

      http://www.skepticalscience.com/extreme-weather-global-warming-intermediate.htm furnishes a dozen examples of peer-reviewed studies chock full of data.

      If McIntyre or McKitrick complain there’s a lack of data, he need look no further than his own government to find http://www.geology.iastate.edu/gccourse/history/trends/ExtremeWxClim.pdf for ample data.

      You can go to government after government, including the US, and find the data.

      Saying it’s lacking is just plain lying, kim.

      Why do you lie?

    • Meh, you still have a screw loose about causation, there honey, and I trust Pielke Fils about extremes far more than I do you or your sources.
      =============

    • Now, back to the point. If we were truly experiencing greater climate and weather extremes, which is the popular meme of the moment please notice, then it would be a sign of impending glaciation, not causally, but correlatively.

      This is simple logic, Bart R; it’s revelatory your resistance to it.
      ==============

    • kim | March 4, 2014 at 10:47 am |

      When you say, “correlatively”, it appears you mean the same sort of correlation as applies to an itchy palm coming into money, burning ears being talked about, broken mirrors and seven years of bad luck, throwing spilled salt over your shoulder and black cats crossing your path.

      If you mean “superstition” when you say “correlatively”, just say superstition.

      And if your life is ruled by superstitions, you can’t really freaking call that “simple logic”, as it’s simple illogic. Unless you lie.

    • I hope you amuse yourself, because you certainly amuse me; when I bother to read your zany stuff.
      ==============

  62. Judith Curry writes:
    “Complex models, such as Tsonis’ climate shift model and the stadium wave, whereby natural variability (if not purely internal variability, then it is non-radiatively forced) is the fundamental climate signal, with radiative forcing projecting onto these modes of natural variability.”

    It could well be that short term solar plasma forcing on the Arctic Oscillation runs fairly independently of any radiative forcing increases. Global warming does not seemed to have mitigated the negative values that the AO has reached during this weak solar cycle.

  63. Their aim is to define a desired future and undertake well-informed actions that will expand their knowledge, enhance their competencies, and overcome challenges for moving to that future.

    How is this different than say, Nazis wanting to live in a pure Aryan race, and going about expanding their knowledge that “proves” it.

    Then there is this:
    But fostering a change in people’s frame of reference is much more than just adding to their knowledge base, it implies changing their mindset and behaviour.

    That’s the goal. It seems to me this set of rules is more like “Hey, we the scientists know the right place to be,” which for many seems to be living an 1800s energy consumption lifestyle. Now, we will tell you how you ought to live and think.

    This kind of thinking is dangerous. It also seems to be mixing up many different goals.

    Moreover, if the scientific question of what the chances are that adding CO2 to the atmosphere will change the temperature by “X” degrees within these bounds, on which the important question “how dangerous/costly will it be” will be answered, then there isn’t much point in forcing people to adopt your viewpoint.

    That’s different than understanding interacting non-linear systems.

  64. Mike Edwards

    Judith Curry writes:
    “There are two main opposing paradigms for climate change:
    - The linear model…
    - Complex models…”

    But there are cautionary tales from other areas of science that should warn us concerning any models of physical systems. Quantum Electrodynamics is one of the best physical theories in the whole of science and gives superb results when modelling the Hydrogen atom. Make the system being studied even moderately more complex – the Helium atom, say – and the model struggles to reproduce reality. Our tools are inadequate.

    Then consider that for models of the climate system, there are many more interacting parts – and for some of the parts there is no solid theory to describe how they operate, but only a set of heuristics. It may well be that no model will get particularly close to reality – but the imprecise measurements relating to the climate system (as compared with measurements of atomic systems) may well allow us to fool ourselves that the models are “getting closer”.

    • Robert I Ellison

      The distinction is conceptual rather than numerical – ways of understanding the system.

      The interacting parts suggest complexity theory is the ruling paradigm.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Mike Edwards claims [wrongly] “Make the system being studied even moderately more complex – the Helium atom, say – and the model struggles to reproduce reality.”

      Mike Edwards, all that you claim was true in the 1950s … but no longer.

      •  Helium-atom quantum ground-states nowadays have been computed to 24 decimal places

      •  Commercial aircraft lift-to-drag ratios nowadays are computed to within fractions of a percent

      •  Global circulation models nowadays affirm Hansen’s thermodynamical climate-change worldview.

      Conclusion  Scientific challenge that once were “wicked” — including climate-change — nowadays are broadly accessible to *BOTH* simulation and understanding. And this process toward simulation-and-understanding is accelerating decade-by-decade.

      It is a pleasure to help bring your scientific appreciation into the 21st century, Mike Edwards!

      \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}

    • Curry is wrong if she things the choice is between linear models and complex models. Climate models are inherently useless see the video linked at the reply at 4:22 pm above.
      Forecasting is possible by recognizing and projecting ahead the quasi cyclic quasi repetitive periodicities seen in the temperature data itself. ( Mainly the 60 year and 1000 year quasi cycles )See Figs 3,4,5 and 6 at

      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com

      The main uncertainty in my cooling forecasts is where we are currently relative to the 1000 year temperature peak. Nature is fuzzy – patterns are best recognized by eye rather than by equations or curve fitting.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.’

      http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751.full

      Learn what dynamical complexity means Norman.

    • Steven Mosher

      Dr. page, what does you climate model say about sea level rise?
      or hurricane frequency, or floods and droughts.
      I’ll make it simpler. what does you model predict for the stratosphere?

      If it cant do these its not much of a model.

    • Matthew R Marler

      Dr Norman Page: Forecasting is possible by recognizing and projecting ahead the quasi cyclic quasi repetitive periodicities seen in the temperature data itself. ( Mainly the 60 year and 1000 year quasi cycles )See Figs 3,4,5 and 6 at

      Maybe, but no such models have yet been tested against out of sample data, and other quantities of interest such as rainfall and regional variation have not been modeled.

    • Mosher You can use the same notion of pattern recognition to forecast which weather patterns will be more frequent on a cooling as opposed to a warming world Hence e.g the recent weather patterns in the USA and the UK are certainly likely to be more frequent as the world cools as I forecast some years ago see

      http://climatesense-norpag.blogspot.com/2013/07/skillful-so-far-thirty-year-climate.html

      Robert Ellison
      The non linear systems you refer to you really mathematically simple compared with the climate system which consists of multiple interacting oscillators whose interactions depend on the state of the system as a whole and are beyond our computing capacity.. That is why numerical modeling is useless . See the video I linked to in an earlier reply. 4.22 pm ( I think)

    • Robert I Ellison

      The oscillators are not multiple or oscillators.

      What you are talking about is nodes on a network – and network math is the new black.

      Time to catch up do you think Norman?

    • Robert I think we are on the same page really. You would enjoy reading the book ” Disrupted Networks – From physics to Climate Change ” West and Scafetta World Scientific 2010
      I start much of my thinking about science in general from Fig 1- 10 p 25
      I hope you can find a copy.

    • Mike Edwards

      Even in 2014, the Helium atom consists of more than the ground state.

      And it is interesting to note a very recent paper, including some physicists from my alma mater, where they are still trying to improve the models for the excited states:

      “Excitations and benchmark ensemble density functional theory for two electrons” http://arxiv.org/pdf/1402.5444.pdf

  65. “Captain’s log, stardate 3025.6. Spock seems to be out of his complex mind and has started playing with himself.”

  66. It’s way simpler than Dr. Curry can admit;

    http://www.foxnews.com/on-air/hannity/2014/02/28/exclusive-former-greenpeace-founders-reality-check-liberals

    It really has little do with the “science”.

    • DropAndRoll

      The Nuclear Information and Resource Service criticized Moore saying that his comment in 1976 that “it should be remembered that there are employed in the nuclear industry some very high-powered public relations organizations. One can no more trust them to tell the truth about nuclear power than about which brand of toothpaste will result in this apparently insoluble problem” was forecasting his own future.[48] The Columbia Journalism Review points out that Moore’s position at the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition was paid for by the nuclear industry and he is in fact essentially a paid spokesperson

  67. michael hart

    “The discourse on complexity can be found in the literature of many academic and professional disciplines.”

    And then they crawl back under a rock, because to admit the unknowables too obviously is worse than a single case of the professional suicide of an individual. It could destroy an entire academic discipline. Gödel’s “gotcha”.

  68. lolwot predicts record sea surface temperatures in a month near you.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst3gl/mean:12

    With ENSO metrics in borderline La Nina mode for the last year it’s a wonder the world’s oceans are so warm. Only 0.1C difference between current sea surface temperature levels and the peak of the 1998 El Nino it seems inevitable that the incoming El Nino will make a new record.

    The Sun’s influence grows ever more conspicuous in it’s absence.

    • Iolwot

      The English channel with its gulf stream influence lies 100 yards from my house.

      It is currently Reading a chilly 8 degrees c. The air temperature here is predicted to be around 11 degrees c tomorrow

      Please clarify what difference a fractional increase in averaged ocean temperature will actually make to me, or anyone?

      Tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tonyb asks [disingenuously] “Please clarify what difference a fractional increase in averaged ocean temperature will actually make to me, or anyone?”

      Short-sighted denialist cognition by TonyB, fore-sighted climate-science by FOMD

      Shortsighted denialism finds ardent supporters at faux-conservative anti-science enclaves like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks (etc.), eh TonyB?

      At foresighted science-respecting conservative venues, not so much!

      Everyone appreciates *THAT* distinction, eh Climate Etc readers?

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    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      LOL … worky linky!

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    • Fan

      How does that constitute a reply to my question to Iolwot?

      As for your link, once again the well authenticated mwp and lia seem to have been largely erased. As has been patiently explained to you before, taking a thirty year average thereby smooths out the annual and decadal climate which is far more variable than is shown. When you add in an actual thermometer reading,which shows the annual variability, onto a 30 year paleo record, which doesn’t, you will get a hockey stick.

      The biggest hockey stick by a long margin is that from 1690 to 1730 .

      Now, how about a reply to my original question?

      Tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tonyb asks [again] “Please clarify what difference a fractional increase in averaged ocean temperature will actually make to me, or anyone?”

      Clarification  TonyB persists in asking wrong questions.

      Shortsighted cognition (like TonyB’s) finds ardent supporters at faux-conservative anti-science denialist enclaves like WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks (etc.) … needless to say.

      At foresighted science-respecting venues, not so much!

      Common Sense  There’s small point analyzing wrong answers with folks who persist in asking wrong questions.

      It’s past-time for Climate Etc denialists to extend their moral, economic, *AND* scientific horizons!

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    • Fan

      P.S.

      I have never even heard of most of those organisations you mention and would suspect I would have little in common with them, as they would have little in common with me.

      Now, how about an answer?
      Tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tonyb asks [again] “Please clarify what difference a fractional increase in averaged ocean temperature will actually make to me, or anyone?”

      The Consensus Scientific Answer
      to TonyB’s Question

      Earth’s paleoclimate record makes it clear that the CO2 produced by burning all or most of these fossil fuels would lead to a very different planet than the one that humanity knows.

      Growing climate impacts, many more rapid than anticipated and occurring while global warming is less than 1°C, imply that society should reassess what constitutes a “dangerous level” of global warming.

      Earth’s paleoclimate history provides a valuable tool for that purpose. Large Eemian sea level excursions imply that substantial ice sheet melting occurred when the world was little warmer than today. During the early Pliocene, which was only ~3°C warmer than the Holocene, sea level attained heights as much as 15–25 meters higher than today.

      That order of sea level rise would result in the loss of hundreds of historical coastal cities worldwide with incalculable economic consequences, create hundreds of millions of global warming refugees from highly-populated low-lying areas, and thus likely cause major international conflicts.

      Inertia of the climate system reduces the near-term impact of human-made climate forcings, but that inertia is not necessarily our friend.

      One implication of the inertia is that climate impacts “in the pipeline” may be much greater than the impacts that we presently observe. Slow climate feedbacks add further danger of climate change running out of humanity’s control. The response time of these slow feedbacks is uncertain, but there is evidence that some of these feedbacks already are underway, at least to a minor degree.

      Paleoclimate data show that on century and millennial time scales the slow feedbacks are predominately amplifying feedbacks.

      One implication is the likelihood of intergenerational effects, with young people and future generations inheriting a situation in which grave consequences are assured, practically out of their control, but not of their doing. The possibility of such intergenerational injustice is not remote – it is at our doorstep now.

      Conclusion  The world must move rapidly to carbon-free energies and energy efficiency, leaving most remaining fossil fuels in the ground, if climate is to be kept close to the Holocene range and climate disasters averted.

      TonyB, it is a continuing pleasure to help extend your temporal, moral, economic, *AND* scientific horizons!

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    • lolwot has made a clear prediction:

      “record SST in a month”

      Let’s check out the March HadSST2 to see if lolwot is right.

      Then let’s think about whether or not this makes a whit of difference to the current short-term HadSST2 cooling trend of -0.037C per decade (since 2001) or the longer-term warming trend of +0.034C per decade (1850-2001)

      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadsst2gl/from:1850/to:2001/trend/detrend:0.5081/plot/hadsst2gl/from:2001/to/trend/detrend:-.0482

      Certainly won’t change the long-term warming trend and very likely won’t change the current short-term cooling trend either

      Max

    • Fan

      It would be an even greater pleasure if you actually answered my question

      .the eemian was a substantially different world to that of today and you can’t extrapolate the conditions of one as the predictor for another.
      Tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Tonyb embraces denialism We can’t extrapolate [paleoclimate] as a predictor for [future climate].”

      Denialist cognition by TonyB, link by FOMD!

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    • Fan

      No, that’s not what I said is it? As you are unwilling to answer my original question perhaps you will answer poker guys as I’m off to bed soon. He asked for your definition of ‘denialist’

      Tonyb

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Combined answer below!

      Thanks for the excellent question, TonyB and Pokerguy!

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    • maksimovich

      the eemian was a substantially different world to that of today and you can’t extrapolate the conditions of one as the predictor for another

      That is a correct assumption,in accordance with the both experiments and the literature ie no gcm can get into and out of an iceage.

      The current thinking is this is due to initial conditions (sensitive to parameters) where the errors in a single parameter (which are not really well understood) can produce either an interglalcial or an iceage eg Crucifix 2013.

      However, experiments with numerical models have also
      suggested that the precise timing of the glaciation or
      deglaciation could sensitively depend on parameters that are
      not well known. Weertman (1976), for example, showed that
      the natural course of the ice volume from the present-day (ignoring
      anthropogenic forcing) could either be glacial inception
      or a long interglacial, depending on whether a certain parameter
      is set to 2.75 or 2.745. Paillard (2001) observed similar
      phenomena using a model published in Paillard (1998).

      http://www.clim-past.net/9/2253/2013/

      Averaging is a significant constraint,as is the unreal use of so called physical constants.

    • Tony, if Lolwot is right, you might find the now 100-yeards-away Gulf Stream directly warming your house. Perhaps that’s what you meant in your reference above to the ocean being a source of energy for the British Isles. ;-)

    • It’s a wonder only to the clueless.

  69. “Short-sighted denialist cognition by TonyB,”

    Hey Fan, I asked you to define “denialist” yesterday, something you did not see fit to do. TonyB seems an open, intelligent, highly informed person. What exactly is he “denying?”

    • Fernando Leanme

      I don’t know for sure…this is purely theoretical, but has anybody estimated how much sea level will rise if the worldwide ocean temperature rises 0.1 degree C?

    • Fernando Leanme

      You ask how much sea level would rise from a 0.1C warming of the entire ocean.

      The density change from a 0.1C increase in temperature is around 0.000002 grams per milliliter, let’s say from an average density of 1.030000 to 1.029998 g/ml.

      The total mass of the oceans is estimated to be around 1350 million Gigatons

      So the volume of the ocean before this warming is
      1,350,000,000 / 1.030000 = 1,310,679,612 cubic kilometers

      And after the warming is
      1,350,000,000 / 1.029998 = 1,310,682,157 cubic km

      And the 0.1C warming caused an increase in volume of
      1310.682,157 – 11,310,679,612 = 2,545 cubic km

      The total surface area of the ocean is estimated to be 361,000,000 square km

      So the 0.1C warming would cause a SL rise of
      2,545 * 1,000,000 / 361,000,000 = 7 millimeters

      Batten down the hatches and break out the lifeboats!

      Max.

    • manacker | March 3, 2014 at 6:27 pm |

      Alternatively, the last time the CO2 level was the same as it is now, under roughly similar conditions of orbit and solar output, the oceans were approximately 70m higher.

      So, you can go with 7 mm, or 70 m, or somewhere in between, or some other value, if all you’re doing is pulling numbers out of thin air.

    • Fernando Leanme

      TYPO

      1310.682,157 1,310,682,15711,310,679,612 1,310,679,612 = 2,545 cubic km

    • Bart R

      I am not “pulling numbers out of thin air” at all.

      I simply answered Fernando Leanme’s question about how much sea level rise would result from a 0.1C warmer total ocean.

      The answer is 7 millimeters.

      It’s pretty easy to figure this out (see calculation).

      If you see anything wrong in the calculation, please correct it for me.

      Even a 1 degree warmer ocean would only cause SL to rise by 7 cm, so it becomes very apparent that there is no threat from SL rise resulting from a slightly warmer ocean.

      To get 7 meters SL rise from a warmer ocean alone is not even possible.

      Do the arithmetic, Bart – don’t just bloviate.

      Max

    • Bart R

      the last time the CO2 level was the same as it is now, under roughly similar conditions of orbit and solar output, the oceans were approximately 70m higher.

      If we ASS-U-ME that your statement is correct (CO2 same as today while SL 70m higher than today), it provides vivid proof that CO2 does not control sea level..

      Right?

      Max

    • Max, do you include melting from the Antarctic and Arctic in your figures?

    • Joseph

      You ask:

      do you include melting from the Antarctic and Arctic in your figures?

      Of course not.

      Fernando Leanme asked me how much SL would rise as the result of a 0.1C warming of the entire ocean, not from other causes.

      Max

    • manacker | March 3, 2014 at 7:16 pm |

      Yes, yes, yes, we all get it.

      Your parsomatic is working overtime to construe a minimized answer to address what is the effect of warming water on the level of the water; mine is what is the expected equilibrium level.

      You’re excluding lagged century response, and I’m excluding transitory nonequilibrium states.

      Your out-of-thin-air numbers are a smoke-and-mirrors facile misdirection; mine is a stodgy in the fullness of time stick in the mud. Both answers have their flaws, and only Fernando Leanme | March 3, 2014 at 4:55 pm | can say which comes closer to answering the intention of his question.

    • Robert I Ellison

      Hard to imagine a bigger load of BS. Expansion is a function of temperature – and the temperature is defined in the question.

    • Bart R

      Whatever you are tossing into the equation about “equilibrium level” is totally irrelevant to the question asked by Fernando Leanme (i.e. how much SL rise would we expect from a 0.1C increase in temperature of the entire ocean?)
      That is (assuming constant salinity and pressure) around 7 mm.

      Bob Ludwick got an estimated figure of 3 times this much, but I do not know how he calculated it.

      Now you might want to know how many Joules it would take to warm the entire ocean by 0.1C.

      4,186,000 Joules heat 1 ton of water 1C
      418,600 Joules heat 1 ton of water 0.1C

      The ocean has a mass of around 1,350,000,000 Gt

      So to heat the ocean by1C would take 5.7E+24 Joules, to heat it by 0.1C would take 5.7E+23 Joules

      Since ARGO measurements started in 2003 the ocean has warmed by 1.4E+22 Joules per decade.

      So if this rate of warming continued, it would take:

      5.7E+23 / 1.4E+22 = 40.7 decades or 407 years to warm the entire ocean by 0.1C

      Yawn!

      Max

    • Bart R’s tactic: when you haven’t got a good argument, obfuscate.
      Great for stifling debate – not so great for solving problems

    • phatboy | March 4, 2014 at 2:40 am |

      What the heck, obfuscate?!

      Look, just because something confuses you when you read it doesn’t mean it’s obfuscation. It could mean you’re just not able to READ HARDER.

      Up your game. Take a course in strategies for reading comprehension. Use a dictionary for the words you don’t get. Obfuscate is what manacker | March 4, 2014 at 2:29 am | is doing with parsomatic tricks and assumptions like equipartition and constant rate of warming into the future, and needless references to Bob Ludwick.

      Do we need these calculations, when we have an actual well-established paleo record telling us when the last time CO2 was 400 ppmv and what the approximate sea level was at equilibrium at that time?

      Was the intent of the original question only what is the effect of temperature on water level, or “how much sea level will rise if the worldwide ocean temperature rises 0.1 degree“?

      When I look at the exact wording of the question, as the worldwide ocean is involved, I take a worldwide view including, y’know, the real world. When raising the whole ocean temperature by 0.1 degree, I take the view that reflects changes to the world of such a warming that would happen on the sort of timescale (which is at most 407 years, and far less if we understand the sigmoid profile of changes in natural systems likely applies here) it would take to warm the whole ocean mass by that amount on average, which is long enough to certainly have an impact on continental ice.

      You want clarity? You can’t handle clarity.

      Or, apparently, recognize the irony of complaining about obfuscation in a topic on the habits of a complex mind.

    • Bart R, I understand you perfectly, and it seems you’re just being argumentative for the sake of it.
      For the record, the original question began with, “…this is purely theoretical”. Secondly, he specifically asked what would happen if the worldwide ocean temperature rises by 0.1C, and NOT what would happen if all the effects of CO2 rising enough to increase the average ocean temperature by 0.1C over 4 centuries, together with the assumption that that would be nearly enough to melt the ice caps enough to increase the sea level by up to 70 metres.
      The question was simple, straightforward and unambiguous.
      Your reply was anything but.

    • phatboy | March 4, 2014 at 12:46 pm |

      So in your world starting a question by saying it’s theoretical means you want an inaccurate answer?

      Good to know, theoretically.

  70. Fernando Leanme

    Quoting “This seems very useful for wicked problems, e.g. climate change. I have long argued that we have oversimplified both the problem and solution”

    Finding anything close to an optimum solution to global warming and sea level rise is incredibly hard. I’m glad somebody is starting to understand what it may require.

  71. Who among us — other than those who eschew a complex mind — can look at the forces that effect Earth’s climate – forces that include the sun, the moon and planets and all the stars – and see only the fingerprint of humanity?

    • Say,

      ‘I saw eternity the other night
      Like a great ring of pure and endless light
      All calm as it was bright.;’

      Henry Vaughan.

      • Everyone knows global warming is Left versus right political issue but, it also pits those who care about what happens today — comprised of those who actually must work for a living– with those who make a living simply pretending to care about tomorrow.

    • Wagathon @ 7.40, snappy summary.

  72. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    pokerguy (aka al neipris) and TonyB both request “help me out, define denier for me”

    Question by pokerguy and TonyB, literature-links by FOMD.

    Denialism [of tobacco-cancer links, HIV-AIDS links, CO2-climate links, etc]  A cognitive spectrum disorder, characterized in the case of climate-change by sustained willful ignorance in regard to:

    (1)  the thermodynamical basis of climate-change science (in energy balance), and/or

    (2)  the computational basis of climate-change science (in circulation and transport models), and/or

    (3)  the paleo basis of climate-change science (in earth’s climate history), and/or

    (4)  the observational basis of climate-change science (in melting ice-caps, rising sea-level, and heating oceans), and/or

    (5)  the moral motivation of climate-change science (in concern for future generations), and/or

    (6)  the economic motivation of climate-change science (in opportunities associated to carbon-neutral energy economies), and/or

    (7)  compensation for deficiencies in (1-6) by simplistic faith in ideologies promoted by short-sighted, anti-scientific, anti-Enlightenment, morally toxic, denialist enclaves of faux-conservative denialist irrationality — such as WUWT / Heartland / National Review / PJMedia / Competitive Enterprise Institute / RedState / FreedomWorks, etc. — that [deservedly!] receive little or no respect from the math-science-and-engineering community.

    It is a pleasure to answer your questions concretely, pokerguy and TonyB!

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    • Fanny

      The way you just described “denier” (as it relates to the ongoing scientific, economic and policy debate surrounding anthropogenic global warming), it does not apply to me at all.

      I do not have “sustained willful ignorance in regard to”

      1. the thermodynamical basis of climate-change science (in energy balance), including its limitations based on the many uncertainties regarding natural factors affecting our climate and/or

      (2) the computational basis of climate-change science (in circulation and transport models) including their demonstrated inability to make correct climate predictions as they are presently programmed and/or

      (3) the paleo basis of climate-change science (in earth’s climate history) including the great uncertainties related to the subjective interpretation of dicey paleo proxy data, using the “argument from ignorance” to establish attribution), and/or

      (4) the observational basis of climate-change science (in melting ice-caps, rising sea-level, and heating oceans),including rational skepticism of the validity of much of the raw data being cited, in particular WRT heating oceans and satellite altimetry versus tide gauges for measuring SL, and/or

      (5) the moral motivation of climate-change science (in concern for future generations), this one is pure BS, Fannyand/or

      (6) the economic motivation of climate-change science (in opportunities associated to carbon-neutral energy economies), including the economic studies made by Richard Tol, which point out that the next 2C warming (expected by 2080 or later, if energy prices can be kept low) will be beneficial for mankind and/or

      (7) compensation for deficiencies in (1-6) by simplistic faith in ideologies promoted by short-sighted, anti-scientific, anti-Enlightenment, morally toxic, denialist enclaves of faux-conservative denialist irrationality this one’s BS, too, Fanny

      Thanks a lot for providing a description of “denier” that does not apply to me.

      Max

    • Fan – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – - – – - – - – - -
      manacker + + + + + + + + + + + + + +

  73. I love the fact that Judith appears to take this article seriously. the author can certainly put words together, quite a lot of words in fact, that sound both scientific and intelligent, it could almost give the impression it actually makes some sense. While I’m sure that people recognize that climate science deals with a complex problem I’m not sure that that justifies this sort of impenetrable verbiage.
    I like the fact that there are so many comments and virtually all of them totally ignore the presence of the article,

  74. Bob Ludwick

    @ Fernano Leanme

    “I don’t know for sure…this is purely theoretical, but has anybody estimated how much sea level will rise if the worldwide ocean temperature rises 0.1 degree C?”

    Allowing for the very real possibility that I hosed up the arithmetic, using the published values for the surface area of the ocean, 1 mm of sea level represents around 360 km^3.

    The published volume of the oceans is 1.347e^9 km^3.

    Where it gets a bit tricky is that the coefficient of thermal expansion varies wildly with temperature, salinity, and pressure. Using what seems to be a common number for salinity, if the oceans were cold and at low pressure .1C temperature change would result in around 20 mm change in sea level. If they were warm and at high pressure .1C would cause around 125 mm change. Since they seem to be mostly cold and at high pressure, my best guesstimate would be around 90 mm/0.1C.

    Of course we have the other ‘feature’ of ocean expansion being if the temperature, salinity, and pressure are ALL low, a 0.1C temperature rise could result in a FALL in sea level of around 25 mm.

    Naturally, there are pieces of our real live oceans where pretty much all combinations of temperature, pressure, and salinity occur, so if there is a firm, fixed answer to your question, +/- 1 mm, good luck on finding it.

    • Bob Ludwick

      Believe your number is too high (see my earlier calculation).

      Max

    • Bob Ludwick

      I used the following published info:

      (At constant salinity and pressure) the density change from a 0.1C increase in temperature is around 0.000002 grams per milliliter, let’s say from an average density of 1.030000 to 1.029998 g/ml.

      Is this wrong?

      Thanks.

      Max

    • Bob Ludwick,

      Given that Mt. Everest is getting higher each year, presumably other parts of the Indian plate are rising as well. What impact does this have on sea levels?

      The same question arises in relation to isostatic rebound, given that melting ice from Greenland would cause a rise in the Greenland land mass, and presumably a corresponding fall in sea level.

      Tectonic plates seem to do as they wish. Sea levels rise and fall accordingly. Like you, I wish anybody confident enough to predict sea level the very best of luck – they will need it!

      Live well and prosper,

      Mike Flynn.

    • Bob Ludwick

      @ Mike Flynn @ Manaker

      My answer to Fernano was calculated by taking the published area of the oceans and figuring how many km^3 were in a 1 mm layer. I had done this previously for a post on another thread and got 360 km^3. I didn’t repeat my math and as I pointed out, I could have hosed it. Then I used the published volume of the oceans in km^3 and the thermal expansion of seawater to determine how many km^3 it would expand if heated by 0.1C and divided by 360. As I said, the thermal expansion table I used had wildly varying values so I used high, low, and best guess. I also pointed out that under certain conditions the sea level could actually go down if the ocean heated.

      Mike, you make part of the point that I have made in several posts, with no response to the ‘sea level rising=CAGW’ crowd.

      I am not a ‘scientist’ but even I can list a whole bunch of things that affect sea level, including a change in temperature, but even that cannot be unambiguously attributed to ACO2.

      The list includes, but is not limited to:

      Plate tectonics. When you shove the continents around and raise the sea floor up and down, the volume of the ocean basins changes. Does anyone know how much? Or the sign of the change?

      Undersea eruptions of magma, hot water, and other stuff. All hot. Anything you squirt out of the mantle onto the ocean floor tends to fill it up. Does anyone know how much? Whatever is squirted out is also hot. Does anyone know how many joules are dumped on to the sea floor annually, world wide?

      Heat from the earth’s innards leaks out all over, at a rate dependent on the thickness of the crust and other factors, which I don’t know anything about. How much?

      There is a constant rain of dead plankton (limestone) and other dead stuff falling from the surface region onto the ocean floor. Does anyone know how thick the layer is each year?

      Aquifers are pumped and the water ultimately returned to the oceans. How much/year?

      Rivers and streams constantly deposit silt into the oceans? How many km^3/yr?

      Wave action constantly erodes shorelines and drags material back into the oceans. How many km^3/year?

      The Climate Scientists tell me that the oceans are warming. According to my figures, the current rise rate of 0-3 mm/yr, depending on who you believe, would require a temperature rise of around 0-0.003C/year. Max figures a little more. Can Climate Science measure the temperature of the oceans with this precision and if so, can the temperature rise be unambiguously attributed to ACO2? How?

      The above is certainly not an exhaustive list of factors affecting sea level, but I am CONSTANTLY seeing posts from the CAGW aficionados of the form: ‘The sea level is rising x mm/year. The rise is due to the rising TOE, and THAT is due to ACO2. We gotta control ACO2 right now! Or else!’

      My first response is ‘Or else what?’. If the worst problem that humans face is a sea level rise of 0-3 mm/year, they should double up on Sundays and give thanks–profusely–on both of them.

      After that I ask the obvious science questions and get ex cathedra pronouncements that boil down to ‘Because we said so and we are the experts. If you don’t believe us, just ask us.’

      Than I go back to reading Dr. Curry’s blog.

    • Bob
      Excellent summary of the sea level problem. As stated, the current rates minus speculative acceleration, will last 24,000 years or so before we face a real problem. . National GEographic science misconduct dispalyed that rise up to the middle of statue of liberty. By 5,500 years, we may be in the next ice age according to orbital drivers. At that point 1000 meters of ice will cover the statue. In the long run we will be dead anyway.
      Scott

    • Bob Ludwick

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      I agree with you that on average and with constant salinity and pressure a 0.1C increase in total ocean temperature would theoretically result in a higher SL rise than I calculated – arguably around 3 times as high or 20 mm (rather than 7 mm).

      Max

      The key is that

    • Oceans rise when oceans are cold because it don’t snow enough.
      Oceans drop when oceans are warm because it does snow enough.
      We are at the warm enough state and oceans have stopped rising and temperature has stopped rising.
      Look at actual honest real data.

  75. Reblogged this on The Global 'Climate' and commented:
    Something to think about

  76. Starting from 1910 when Australia’s records start, it took 31 years for the country to rack up 28 days hot enough to fall into that top one per cent. 2013, however, managed to deliver this same number of extremely hot days in a single year.

    The report says that seven of Australia’s ten warmest recorded years have all happened since 1998. In the last 15 years, “very warm” months are happening five times more often than they were between 1951 and 1980. There are now one third less cool months than before.

    Even though cool records can still be set in a warming climate, the report says that since 2001 there are three daytime heat records being broken for every one cold record. Nights are also warming faster than days. For every lowest minimum nighttime temperature record being set, there are now five highest minimum temperature records falling.

    The risk of bushfires is increasing too. Across 38 reference stations, the report finds that between 1973 and 2010 there was a statistically significant increase in the number of fire danger days at 16 locations.

    • Oh, hey, about that attribution bit.
      =======

    • so, when you move from a little ice age into an normal natural warm period, just like always happens, the warm period is warmer than the cold period was.

      Now, that we are in a warm period, it will stay warm for some time and then we will move into a cold period and it will be colder than this warm period.

      Did you expect a cycle that has repeated in the same bounds for eleven thousand years to change? The Consensus Alarmist People did expect this cycle to change. They believe it stopped working and we have only warmed because of man-made CO2. The have not data. They have no computer models that can match what has happened. They have no theory that is supported by natural data that follows what they told us would happen for 97% sure. We should give them 5 or 10 or 12 years to prove their Models have some validity. OOPS! We gave them 17 or 18 and they have failed.

  77. Climatology is the science of putting the cart before the horse.

    • Well, the politicians certainly put the cart before the horses, but the climatologist coachmen were calling out the all clear. We need a dash cam to apportion blame, and black and white police photos for the crime scene.
      ==================

    • O blissful God, thou art so just and true,
      Lo, how that thou bewrayest murder alway!
      Murder will out, that see us day by day,’

      Chaucer, ‘Nun’s Priest’s Tale.’

  78. This article has little to do with the nuts and bolts of any kind of hard science. It focuses squarely on group dynamics in any kind of situation- from a pick-up soccer game to national elections. Whenever you have more 1 person trying to do something more complex than decide where to eat lunch you have a situation where “…habits of mind that are critical to participate planning and decision making in complex social-ecological systems. These frames of mind are openness, situational awareness, and a healthy respect for the risks associated with making decisions and taking action….”. This is the realm where politicians, community organizers, group leaders, Commanding Generals, and more than three people trying to get a job done operate.

    Actually getting work done and making progress on a problem or issue requires a lot more than the human relations/group dynamics right. It requires a correct understanding of the underlying processes at issue. The authors use the term “complex social-ecological systems”. No one or no group understands a “complex social-ecological system” whether it is large scale economics, Monarch butterfly migrations, the oil industry, or the health care system. There can be no “best” solution if a problem arises, nor even any certainty that a problem can be “solved” because there can be no understanding of complex, interacting, multi-derivative problems.

    A recent classic case study is smoking, particularly cigarettes. They fulfilled a lot of innate drives for many people- social interaction “got a light, got a cig?, cigarette?”, habits- something to fiddle with when tense, an easy way to force a break in a tense conversation, something to fill time, etc. Plus nicotine is highly addicting and so are its nervous habits. For the producers they were highly profitable. They created a lot of jobs. Advertising easily fostered a broad appeal. It took 50-60 years for society to come to term with the fact that smoking caused or heightened many, many medical problems. It took another 40 years to really make a dent in those problems. But all along, the basic solution was simply don’t start smoking and if you do smoke quit. Unfortunately that is a solution that can’t be implemented, it has to be learned. And since cigarettes are still widely available the problem will never go away until people learn that certain habits are bad for your health. An even then the problem will continue just because a large number of people like things such as cigarettes, marijuana, alcohol

    The problem with global warming, or more basically the effects of rising CO2 in the atmosphere, is that we haven’t gotten to first base- what is the problem? Despite 100 years of sporadic scientifc study we still haven’t proved, in any sense of the word, that the climate system has warmed “significantly” either in actual temperature or to a temperature that causes bad effects. The commonly used measure of local air temperature has gone up many places perhaps a degree C but we can’t honestly ascribe it to burning coal and oil. We don’t know as certainly either how all the processes in the climate affect air temperature. We do know quite certainly from the ice core data that the climate for the last 2 million years has fluctuated between long periods with large glaciers and shorter, warmer but highly variable interglacials. The indications are that during interglacial periods the temperatures have varied as much as 2-6 degC up and down for decades to centuries. The data show that barring proof that the glacial cycle has changed we can confidently forecast that anytime from now until about the year 5000 a large drop in global temperature will occur and glaciers will form. Keep a close eye on Labraa dor and central Canada.

    • @ logicalchemist

      Pretty much sums it up; thank you.

    • Good point. The research says nothing that would allow anyone to program a computer to make better decisions. Nothing is being objectified. The research is only acknowledging the subjectivity involved in decision making. The weights that are given to various facts, beliefs and assumptions will vary from person to person and group to group. When you increase the complexity by adding the social and psychological dynamics of accountability, personal responsibility, it is impossible to arrive at sensible solutions except with a market-based approach to decision-making where people vote with their own dollars, which in a sense means people vote with your own life’s blood. The problem we face in the West now is too many people are voting with the life’s blood of others, turning the productive into victims of a ritual blood-letting that is beginning to buckle society at the knees.

    • Good analysis. Smoking is one of those problems that would have been dealt with more severely if governments had not been so dependent on it for revenue, a phenomenon still prevalent today where government is trying to tax it out of existence in many states. In other words, they are going to make their money off it even as they eliminate it. In New York, cigarettes now cost over $10 a pack, and $4.35 of that is state excise tax.

  79. What they are describing is generalist thinking, also known as cross-disciplinary thinking and the solutions they inspire. It seems to me that academia keeps re-cycling old theories by dressing them up in increasingly impenetrable and vague language.

    But yes, generalist thinking has always been of great value. I’ve been reading about the Battle of the Crater lately. That was a battle in which the Union Generals, taking advantage of the mining expertise of Pennsylvania officers who were anthracite miners in their civilian lives, broke a trench warfare impasse by tunneling under Confederate lines 200 yard away and then, tunneling left and right in parallel with the Confderate line, filled the thing with high explosives and blew it up. They instantly killed hundreds of Confederates, even though they later lost the battle due to bad generalship. The crater is still there today.

    A prime example of “complexity thinking.” I would say that “complexity thinking” was prevalent in the Age of Invention, i.e. the 19th century. The most famous generalist of all was Edison.

  80. This research at best sensitizes readers to the challenges of instantiate thinking–i.e., where our understanding of the whole of something is a creation of snapshots of some of its parts. With respect to climate change, we looking at the, Multiple Interacting Instantiations of Global Atmospheric Warming Dynamics (MIIGAWD).

    Let me give you an insight as to how I know that Michael Mann, for example, could care less about MIIGAWD. If Mann really yearned for an accurate mathematical representation of a complex world — a world that he has nothing but a bare glimpse and upon that series of moments something of substance is to be built-up and held up as reality — he would have made his source code available to be built-upon and expanded by others.

  81. Robert I Ellison

    ‘Finally, there is the question of money. Our proposals in Part III (C) for
    innovation to achieve accelerated decarbonisation require additional funding
    from somewhere, by someone. We agree with others that the huge efforts
    that have been invested in elaborating complex top-down regulatory regimes,
    and in particular the ambitions for regional – let alone global – “Cap & Trade”
    regimes to regulate carbon by price, can be now seen to have been barren in
    their stated aims although profitable for some in unexpected and unwelcome
    ways.

    If one seeks long-lasting impact, the best line of approach may not be headon. “Lose the object and draw nigh obliquely” is a dictum attributed to the famous eighteenth century English landscape gardener Lancelot “Capability” Brown.12 Brown’s designs framed the stately home at the entrance, but only briefly. After allowing the visitor a glimpse of his destination, the driveway would veer away to pass circuitously and delightfully through woodland vistas, through broad meadows with carefully staged aperçus of waterfalls and temples, across imposing bridges spanning dammed streams and lakes, before delivering the visitor in a relaxed and amused frame of mind, unexpectedly, right in front of the house. That displays a subtle skill which has manifest political value: the capacity to deliver an ambitious objective harmoniously. “Capability” Brown might be a useful tutor for designers of climate policies.13 His advice would be to approach the object of emissions reduction via other goals, riding with other constituencies and gathering other benefits.

    Throughout this paper we are critical of the way in which the carbon issue has been overloaded with the baggage of other framings and agendas. The oblique approach which we advocate may appear at first glance to be no different because it adopts multiple framings and agendas as well. But that would be a mistake. Currently, all the framings and agendas are mobilised to advance the one core goal of decarbonising the energy system via the UNFCCC/Kyoto process. Our approach is actually the opposite: multiple framings and agendas are pursued in their own right, and according to their own logics and along their own appropriate paths. Decarbonisation is a contingent benefit, not an encompassing one. This is a radical difference: indeed, an inversion.’

    http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/27939/1/HartwellPaper_English_version.pdf

    There are many ways in which humanity is changing the energy budget of the Earth in ever expanding ways and with unknowable consequences. It is the quintessential engineering problem – many unknowns but with the need or desire to act. Engineering as well brings with it ineluctable economic, cultural and ecological dimensions.

    Perhaps it is no more complex than the problems the ancestors faced – but it becomes ever more fraught as the power of our technologies increase exponentially. With these and with our biological issue we project our hopes and dreams for a bright far flung future for humanity. We are all full of visions of eternity – or can be – but perhaps only if we learn to tame the fire breathing technological dragon.

    ‘“I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, and I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, and in short, I was afraid.”
    T.S. Eliot

    Taming the dragon is not something to be done lightly and duking it out face to face with the dragon is a losing strategy for obvious reasons – and perhaps in the long term not conducive to the continuation of our moment of greatness. At this particular juncture the evident encompassing need is for social and economic development to continue apace providing resources and the impetus to restrain population, restore ecologies and farmlands, accelerate technological innovation and reduce waste, want and warfare. Multiple objectives that at the same time reduce the multiple impacts on the energy budget. This is a future of free and happy peoples – one that can only be achieved in the context of classic liberal principles of free and democratic societies and entrepreneurial economies

    The future is within our grasp this century – but only if we can wisely find ways to ride the dragon to a new and bright dawn for humanity.

    • My wife and I visited Burghley House at Stamford in 2010 and the gardens were wonderful as well as the painting and decorating in the heaven and hell rooms in particular.

    • Robert I Ellison

      ‘In China the rise of landscape painting to the rank of a major art form took place about a thousand, in Japan about six hundred and in Europe about three hundred, years ago. The equation of Dharma-Body with hedge was made by those Zen Masters, who wedded Taoist naturalism with Buddhist transcendentalism. It was, therefore, only in the Far East that landscape painters consciously regarded their art as religious. In the West religious painting was a matter of portraying sacred personages, of illustrating hallowed texts. Landscape painters regarded themselves as secularists. Today we recognize in Seurat one of the supreme masters of what may be called mystical landscape painting. And yet this man who was able, more effectively than any other, to render the One in the many, became quite indignant when somebody praised him for the “poetry” of his work. ’1 merely apply the System,” he protested. In other words he was merely a pointilliste and, in his own eyes, nothing else. A similar anecdote is told of John Constable. One day towards the end of his life, Blake met Constable at Hampstead and was shown one of the younger artist’s sketches. In spite of his contempt for naturalistic art, the old visionary knew a good thing when be saw it-except of course, when it was by Rubens. ‘This is not drawing,” he cried, “this is inspiration!” “I had meant it to be drawing,” was Constable’s characteristic answer.’

      Aldous Huxley – The Doors of Perception

      Once the doors of perception of heaven and hell are open there is no turning back.

  82. D o u g   C o t t o n   

    Of course the “command-and-control” strategy is dangerous. It’s controlling funds that could be used to saves lives.

    We don’t need the excuse of assumed carbon dioxide pollution to justify spending some of the humanitarian aid money we give the third world on “inexpensive” energy production. Cheaper than coal?

    I have shown with valid physics and an empirical study being published in April that all the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere actually cools by perhaps less than 0.1 degree and certainly has no warming effect what-so-ever.

    If you wish to debate me, please first read all my comments from this one on that thread ..

    • Robert I Ellison

      Surely no one is interested in this spew. A term that is evidently the height of rational critique and civil discourse here at CE.

      Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are most obviously active in certain frequencies and this most obviously increases IR scattering – including downward – reducing IR losses from the surface. Any ‘new physics’ that purports to disprove this is the equivalent of blog sites disproving relativity. Sure it will happen – but we don’t need to take it seriously.

  83. Judith,

    How about combining interdependant models of a linear functions, and complex functions. These can give most interesting projections, sometimes jumping between states wildly, sometimes tending towards one final state, and sometimes oscillating between 2 or more possible states. I’ve always had a sneaking suspicion that the climate is somewhat like this such that data of past averages doesn’t tell you a thing about the future.

  84. Several times in this comment thread, starting with the second comment, it has been asserted that climate modeling only needs sufficient computer power to be successful. This argument was plausible back in the 1970s, but is no longer the case. The first global models were developed on computers that performed fewer than 10 million floating point operations per second, and everybody who worked on them in those years (myself included) was always responding to criticism regarding the coarse model grids and poor fidelity by stating that with faster computers with larger memories the models would overcome all those early limitations. The first step toward that future occurred in 1977 when Cray-1, serial number 3 (125 million operations/second) was installed at NCAR. Today the fastest computer at NCAR sustains 1.257 quadrillion operations/second. The Titan machine at Oak Ridge (used by GFDL) sustains over 17.59 quadrillion operations/second. In short, today’s climate models run on computers that provide between 10 MILLION TIMES (~23 doublings) and 140 MILLION TIMES (~27 doublings) MORE COMPUTING POWER than NCAR’s Cray-1 in 1977. If this is not a sufficient boost in computing power to achieve adequate accuracy and completeness, there is NO REASON to believe that the far smaller number of additional doublings achievable before Moore’s Law ultimately hits physical limits will make any difference.