Open thread: week in review (10/14/10)

Last week I expressed the hope that the 10:10 video and Cucinelli would by gone by this week, and my wish seems mostly to have been granted.  Michael Mann doesn’t do himself any favors in this op-ed, but does a better job in this interview with Brittanica.

The climate blogosphere’s insatiable appetite for skirmishes in the hockey wars have been fueled by allegations of plagiarism by Edward Wegman. Much tail chasing and head spinning, but I suspect this story will hang around for awhile in the blogosophere: it appeals to blogospheric sleuthing instincts (previously whetted by the CRU emails), plus a host of tangential but interesting issues are being raised.

There is a press release from the IPCC regarding deliberations in Busan on the topic of strengthening processes and procedures in light of the IAC recommendations (BBC story here).  The punchline is that delegates  have agreed to immediately implement some (but not all) of the IAC recommendations, and Pachauri will continue as chair until 2014.

I don’t get the excitement over Hal Lewis’ statement?  The only thing about this that caught my interest was another example of inexplicable and unwise behavior by a professional society (APS).

A few things that caught my eye this past week, that you might have missed:

Re Jim Hansen’s latest projection on the “warmest year”; it is no longer 2010 but 2012.  With the strong La Nina evolving, looks like we’re in for a cold winter.

Although I try to keep Climate Etc. as a “tree ring free zone,” this article caught my interest owing to its relevance to glacier gate and water resource issues in South Asia.

On the topic of water resources, this article finds that groundwater pumping for irrigation contributes substantially to the observed sea level rise.

There is new evidence of an accelerated hydrological cycle found in increased global river runoff.

A senior NATO commander warns that global warming and a race for resources could spark a new ‘cold war’ in the Arctic.

With lots of reasons to keep our eye on what is happening in the Arctic, here is Part I on a new series on the Arctic Oscillation.

Ricky Rood has an excellent post on communicating climate change, advocating open source communities and open innovation techniques.

Nick Barnes has commentary published in Nature about openness and publishing computer code.

MIT/Climate CoLab have launched an effort in tapping the wisdom of crowds for proposals that address this question:What international climate agreements should the world community make?

In this month’s Atlantic, there is a very interesting paper about medical research entitled “Lies, damned lies, and medical science”.

Penner et al. have a new paper in Nature Geosciences that discusses some thorny issues regarding climate sensitivity.

305 responses to “Open thread: week in review (10/14/10)

  1. re: The “Cold” war in the Artic – I suspect, due to the hazards that will remain in that area, AGW or not – that the most influential parties will work out a mutually agreeable solution. Unlike the other one in Europe, the only thing a war will accomplish – cold or hot – in the artic is a waste of money, whereas an agreement will bring all involved what they are looking for. Money.

  2. Dr. Curry, can you be more specific about the “inexplicable and unwise behavior?” I have some idea of what you’re referring to, but I’d rather be sure rather than assume you mean what I think you mean. Thanks.

    • Well, i don’t think any of these “statements” from professional societies are useful or necessary or make sense. And I really don’t know why APS is making a statement about climate change (seems to be outside the scope of their membership expertise/interest). And even if there is some reason for the aforementioned that I can’t see, following a procedure that results in a strong negative response from the membership doesn’t seem wise.

      • “Well, i don’t think any of these “statements” from professional societies are useful or necessary or make sense.”

        What would be the purpose of professional science societies except to advocate scientific issues?

        You can see the list of statements issued here http://www.aps.org/policy/statements/index.cfm

        They include statements on nuclear policy, equal opportunity, national missile defense and education. Does a statement on climate change really stand out in that list?

        “following a procedure that results in a strong negative response from the membership doesn’t seem wise.”

        It seems clear that one member has a very negative reaction. I would note he claimed that your entire field is a scam Dr Curry, is that a viewpoint you find reasonable or acceptable?

        It also seems clear that a very minor percentage (on the order of half a percent) had any problem with the climate change statements whatsoever, where is the “strong negative reaction”?

      • No, I am not seeing the point of a professional society making policy statements. Professional societies such as APS mainly publish journals and organize conferences to support the exchange of scientific ideas.

      • There are two types of statements on this list:
        (1) statements about ethics, education, open enquiry, etc
        (2) statements about scientific findings as they relate to national and international policy

        I question the wisdom of the type (2) statements. Even in this broader list of type (2) statements, the climate change one does stand out, because the APS membership doesn’t have much expertise or speak with much authority on this topic.

      • Would you say the membership has more expertise to speak with authority that “the conjecture relating cancer to power line fields has not been scientifically substantiated?”

      • “I question the wisdom of the type (2) statements.”

        Well clearly however it’s well within the scope of the APS mission statement i.e.

        http://www.aps.org/about/mission/index.cfm

        “Collaborate with national scientific societies for the advancement of science, science education and the science community;”

        I don’t see how its surprising at all that a scientific society issues statements concerning scientific topics.

        “the climate change one does stand out, because the APS membership doesn’t have much expertise or speak with much authority on this topic.”

        Really? So “Against the Call to Boycott Israeli Scientists” and “Protection Against Discrimination” strikes you being closer to physics than climate change?

        Do you disagree with the content of their statement and/or agree with any aspect of Dr Lewis’ letter of resignation?

      • Being involved in a number of professional bodies, the idea that they have no role in issuing statements, including on relevant policy, is totally and utterly bizarre.

      • Hm. Not what I thought. Glad I asked.

        The mission statement of the APS is “the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity” and the society “has a number of statements on education, ethics and values, human rights, internal policy, international affairs, and national policy.”

        This statement seems to fall perfectly in line with what they’ve done before, and hardly less controversial than “Against the Call to Boycott Israeli Scientists” and “Kansas State Board of Education Decision.”

        You’re certainly entitled to your opinion that the statements aren’t useful or necessary or make sense. But I can’t imagine there’s many members who don’t know that an apparently significant percentage of the Society’s output are these kinds of statements.

      • According to its mission statement:

        The American Physical Society strives to:
        • Be the leading voice for physics and an authoritative source of physics information for the advancement of physics and the benefit of humanity;
        • Provide effective programs in support of the physics community and the conduct of physics;
        • Collaborate with national scientific societies for the advancement of science, science education and the science community;
        • Cooperate with international physics societies to promote physics, to support physicists worldwide and to foster international collaboration;
        • Promote an active, engaged and diverse membership, and support the activities of its units and members.

      • I just quoted that. I don’t get your point.

      • If you look at these statements, most were written over 10 years ago, and don’t say much of anything in any event. I suspect that most members of the APS ignore the existence of such statements. They are members because they publish in the APS journals, attend APS conferences, and aspire to become a Fellow of the APS.

      • Well, i don’t think any of these “statements” from professional societies are useful or necessary or make sense.

        I couldn’t agree more! But they are a big part of the problem! In terms of (past) public perceptions of “climate science”, IMHO it is precisely such “statements” – with their inherent appeals to their own and/or the IPCC’s authority -that contributed to the B.C. [Before Climategate] “consensus” myth.

        Until a few weeks “B.C.” I had never even heard of the IPCC (nor CRU, nor Mann and his world, etc). I was just as ill-informed as any who would blithely ascribe “global warming” to any unusual weather event, because … well, because the media mavens told me that “thousands and thousands of scientists all over the world” have found this to be true.

        But, I certainly was familiar with the names of the many organizations (such as the APS) who gave this “consensus” their endorsement. And surely (I obviously wrongly thought to myself) they would have done some due diligence before issuing their respective “statements”.

        And surely the media mavens would have done some fact-checking before making the (increasingly frequent) claims of alarmism, wouldn’t they?

        In short, global warming, aka climate change, aka rebranded buzzphrase of the week didn’t cross my radar (and I had a lot more spare time to pursue my interests … like playing Bridge, dabbling at writing etc. And look at me now! Not only do I have my own blog, there are so many others to keep up with!!)

        With the benefit of hindsight (and my own exercises in due diligence), I can see that my own BC attitude of “who am I to question the word of thousands and thousands of scientists?” was obviously misguided.

        And, yes, I do place this misguidance at the feet of organizations such as the APS (and at the keyboards of all the media mavens) who’ve peddled what is increasingly turning out to be not “science” (at least not science in my pre-post-modernist understanding of the word) but an environmental advocacy party line.

      • I am planning a post at some point on the “power politics of expertise” , i have been trying to understand this phenomena, a few sociologists have provided me with some pointers that I am pursuing.

      • Dr. Curry: Like others, I have difficulty understanding your apparent naivete here.

        The climate change movement has made a concerted effort to use the “power politics of expertise,” not only to shape the scientific consensus but to restructure the economy and infrastructure of the entire world to their liking.

        This is not a discussion of pure science and of anyone’s expertise. The APS statement and Hal Lewis’s resignation make no sense otherwise.

        Climate scientists, their allies and their advocates have waged a fierce and IMO intellectually dishonest campaign to portray climate change as an indisputable scientific truth on par with evolution that only the superstitious and politically cynical can deny.

        Hal Lewis is not the only one, but his resignation blew the whistle on that. It matters.

      • i don’t disagree with you statement here at all, this is what i am trying to investigate: “The climate change movement has made a concerted effort to use the “power politics of expertise,” not only to shape the scientific consensus but to restructure the economy and infrastructure of the entire world to their liking.” However, I don’t see that Hal Lewis’ statement is of much import in this regard, relative to what others have said and relative to actual analyses of this situation.

      • “The climate change movement” is a troublesome term that I think should best be avoided in this context. “Climate change” (or AGW) is more than a movement, it includes multiple “movements” and lots of individuals who can’t be easily grouped. Yes, there are “social movements” regarding this issue, but climate skeptics are just as much a social movement and they are hardly a homogeneous bloc. Likewise, those on the other side are hardly united by a desire to “restructure the economy and infrastructure of the entire world to their liking.”

      • So far, the entire point of Lewis’ resignation letter remains undiscussed here

        He and 200+ Fellow Members of the APS organised and duly delivered a Petition requesting that the APS re-consider its’ AGW statement. This Petition is exactly in accordance with the APS Constitution and by-laws

        The APS executive deliberately ignored its’ own Constitution and by-laws in stonewalling, even denying, the existence of said Petition. Even now, the APS “rebuttal” letter persists in ignoring its’ existence

        Unwise on the part of the APS, certainly. But an unclear motive ? … how very droll

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        This is just untrue. Lewis was disappointed at the results because the APS reiterated the original statement.

        They did consider the petition, the petitioners did not like the outcome.

      • this is what i am trying to investigate: “The climate change movement has made a concerted effort to use the “power politics of expertise,” not only to shape the scientific consensus but to restructure the economy and infrastructure of the entire world to their liking.”

        That’s a rather stunning statement, Dr. Curry. Just so that I am clear, is that a question that you are seriously investigating?

        This seems to go beyond a matter of merely “rebuilding trust” or “credibility” and moving more towards a suspicion of fraudulent and corrupt behavior.

        You are – of course – welcome to your opinions and perspective, but I’d like to understand more clearly what your viewpoint actually is here.

      • No, its not necessarily fraudulent, but it needs to be recognized for what it is. Note, i am not conducting original research on this topic, but I am looking into what social scientists have had to say on this issue. The politics of expertise is how scientific expertise gets entrained into the policy process; nothing wrong with that. its when the scientists working at the science-policy interface start playing “power politics” that things can get very confusing, and you end up with competing groups of experts. Nothing particularly fraudulent, but this can end up as damaging both to science and to policy.

      • If scientists are in fact trying to “not only shape the scientific consensus but to restructure the economy and infrastructure of the entire world to their liking,” I think that most people on both sides of the fence would feel that there is something “wrong with that.”

      • So, when non-climate scientists are;

        against the consensus, their expertise should not be dismissed

        “Signals of the [bad] “power” play include […] discrediting scientists holding other view points by dismissing them as cranks, trivializing their credentials and say that they are not qualified to hold an opinion”

        but when they for the consensus…

        “I really don’t know why APS is making a statement about climate change (seems to be outside the scope of their membership expertise/interest). […] the APS membership doesn’t have much expertise or speak with much authority on this topic”

        For the expertise before you were against it?

        “a strong negative response”

        ah… 0.46% signed a silly statement…
        and… what’s the implication… that the APS shouldn’t have the guts to make statements which may elicit a ‘negative’ response… even when the statement is true and relevant…
        … what about the positive response… is it all negative?
        … should a society issue statements too bland and irrelevant to offend even 0.46% of its membership… how about 0.01%?
        … ‘apple pie and motherhood is good’.. the APS

  3. Much of the fuss about Hal Lewis has to do with an appeal to authority that the skeptics will frequently warn you against. Meanwhile, Hal Lewis’ former colleague Freeman Dyson’s lament remains.

    “Yes, it is definitely a tactical mistake to use somebody like me for that job, because I am so easily shot down. I’d much rather the job would be done by somebody who is young and a real expert. But unfortunately, those people don’t come forward. … I have a lot of friends who think the same way I do. But I am sorry to say that most of them are old, and most of them are not experts.”

    • Yep. A skeptical scientist. Move along. Nothing to see here.

    • The statement of a consensus in climatology, is an appeal to authority argument. To have authorities bow out, does not a consensus make.

      To discuss this non-consensus is also, for the same reason, an appeal to authority argument.

      This quickly leads us to an understanding of why appeal to authority is a fallacy.

  4. As far as the attack on Wegman is concerned, I would suggest that the whole librarires of AGW literature will be a rich, rich source of unattributed quotes.

  5. The Penner paper reiterates what people have been saying for years: That controlling soot (and other cliamte influences) could very likely be an effective effort. So again the CO2 obsession looks more and more extreme.

  6. Leonard Weinstein

    Penner, et.al., paper started with: “Earth’s climate can only be stabilized by bringing carbon dioxide emissions under control in the twenty-first century”, and then went on to effectively contradict that by implying that we really don’t know the sensitivity due to carbon dioxide. I truly hate such initial positions with no justification in the body of the paper. It clearly shows a bias, and makes the otherwise reasonable paper suspect.

    • In the age of CO2, failing to genuflect at the alter of AGW will get your paper bounced.

    • Did you look at Fig. 1 of Penner, et al.? It shows projections from a low-end CO2 sensitivity estimate and a high-end CO2 sensitivity estimate. Both literally take global temperatures off the chart. Their figure also shows that reducing other forcings only helps by a small amount.

      On the other hand, did Penner, et al. look at Fig. 1 of Penner, et al.? They describe the warming projections as “vary[ing] dramatically”, when the projections range only between +1.6C and +2.6C by 2050, and they describe eliminating CH4, O3, and black C as producing “significant near-term climate mitigation”, though the projections are only altered slightly to become +1.2C to +1.9C.

      On the whole, I agree they seem to want it both ways, but I think the evidence they present points the “other way”.

      • Good to see you, Dr. N-G.
        I think that as the weather- the manifestation of climate- continues to drone on rather boringly, the people who at least take into significant account non-CO2 forcings will look less bad than the the CO2 obsessed.
        Since Penner & friends are still simply making projections based on models, I think the best way to look at any of this sort of work as if it were more of a movie story board treatment for a big budget movie, or a fundamentalist interpretation of the book of Revelation.

  7. Leonard Weinstein

    Judy,
    One major problem I keep having is that there are no real “climate experts” or “climatologists”. There are reef experts, storm experts, historians, geologists, meteorologists, atmospheric chemists, tree ring experts, ice core and sea bed core experts, computer modelers, fluid mechanics experts, planetary atmosphere experts, etc. all of whom have moved into the broader field of “climatology”. None are expert across the entire field. Each has moved into a well funded field because that is where the funding and support are maximized. There is all to lose and very little to be gained by being a skeptic (except to be an honest but unfunded scientist). I am afraid the corruption due to this unbalanced support has made the problem. The physicist like Hal Lewis and Freeman Dyson, and many other scientists are as qualified or more so than almost all of the so called climatologists, to read the literature on the subject and conclude the “experts” are wrong. You do not have to be in a field and publish in that field to become as expert or more so than the people that do publish in that field, as long as the material and math are within the capability of the readers to understand. In fact people outside a specialty often find mistakes in papers written by experts in that specialty. It is a case of not seeing the forest due to the many trees. It is true that reading too few of the papers, or listening to limited summaries is NOT sufficient to be a good skeptic, but I think that is not what many of the scientists that are skeptics did. I personally have spent as much time the last decade reading papers and blogs on both sides of the issue as on any technical work I did and published on.

    • The issue of expertise across the entire field of climate science is a daunting one. People publishing in several of the subfields of climate science and participate in formal assessments of climate science are more likely to develop this breadth of expertise than people who are not. Freeman Dyson, while he hasn’t published in climate science, has apparently been involved in the assessment of climate science. So I buy the argument that Dyson can see the “forest” as defined by the overall subject of climate change, and also brings a strong sense of the history and practice of science. I would score Hal Lewis lower than Dyson in this regard since there is no apparent evidence that he has spent much time or effort investigating the subject of climate change (i simply don’t know, he may be very active in reading the literature, but only reading the Hockey Stick Illusion doesn’t qualify here.) I personally give much credence to the expertise on this subject that individuals reading the literature and blogs have developed.

      One of my motivations for starting this blog is to try to wrap my head around the entire subject, beyond the subfields where I actively conduct research. My head is spinning . . .

      • Dr. Curry: Again, if this were only a technical matter like hive collapse that various groups of experts were working through different theories to arrive at a proper solution, that would be one thing.

        But climate change is presented to us as a fait accompli that only amateur bloggers or manipulative oil company flacks can deny, while the heavenly choir of virtually all sensible scientists sings for the climate change cause. Losing a Lewis or Dyson is a blow for that point of view.

        If climate change can’t hold a Lewis or a Dyson, much less a Lindzen, then we are left with an interesting scientific controversy. By all means, please keep studying and get back to us when it shakes out.

        In the meantime, please tell your colleagues to knock off the worldwide propaganda campaign complete with exploding schoolchildren and famous politicians proclaiming that the science is settled.

      • thomaswfuller

        I know I’ve mentioned this before, but what climate science is going through is just repeating the experience of anthropology over much of the past century. It ended up with pottery experts arguing with primatologists arguing about DNA, and anthropology has been kind of a quiet field for much of the past two decades. They all decided that rather than theorize they should just go get more data…

      • Freeman Dyson talks about “five equal reservoirs” that are equal in size and people dispute that in the comments. I don’t know if the commenter’s figures are correct, but it’s possible that Dyson’s knowledge of the field is dated.

      • One of the issues with the emeritus professors in particular is whether or not they have kept up with the current literature and assessments. If not, their statements become an appeal to a false or outdated authority. Lewis certainly gets credit for keeping up with current events, I have no idea to what extent he has been keeping up with the science. But it is not surprising for an eminent scientist to be turned off (too put it mildly) by the CRU emails and the story told in the Hockey Stick Illusion.

      • Phillip Bratby

        I’m sure eminent and distinguished physicists like Dyson and Lewis, with their long experience of the scientific methodology can smell BS “science”, which is what a lot of current climate research consists of, a mile off.

      • Re: Hal Lewis’s climate-science bacground

        Lewis actually has been involved in climate science — see
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harold_Lewis
        He chaired a 1985 Defense Science Board study (with Stephen Schneider) on nuclear winter. And he’s had an interestingly-varied career.

        And he has a good point re the “appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change”, I think. Though his language could have been more temperate. And he’s certainly no Freeman Dyson.

        Best, Pete Tillman

      • With regards to the 1985 Defense Science Board study on nuclear winter, I assume that he was on that committee because of his expertise Lewis in the field of safety of nuclear power plants. For participating on this committee, he almost certainly developed an awareness of some of the relevant atmospheric science issues surrounding nuclear winter. But this on its own doesn’t reflect much expertise or experience with climate science, although it does reflect some involvement.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Ah yes, by this time Schneider had released his work which termed it “nuclear fall”. This lead to quite a falling out with Sagan which lasted well into the 1990’s.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        What non think tank associated assements of climate science has Dyson been involved in during that last, let’s say, 20 years. I’m not aware of any.

    • Tomas Milanovic

      Leonard Weinstein

      You do not have to be in a field and publish in that field to become as expert or more so than the people that do publish in that field, as long as the material and math are within the capability of the readers to understand. In fact people outside a specialty often find mistakes in papers written by experts in that specialty.

      This is a very true and important insight.
      It has also been my point for the last 12 years or so that there are no climate “experts”.
      To illustrate this by an example of people who are well known.

      If you read a text by Lubos Motl arguing why the Higgs field exists with a high probability, you feel immediately overwhelmed by your own inadequacy to understand the arguments. L.Motl simply masters highly specifical knowledge like differential topology which is for us simple mortals just a very vague concept if that.
      He is clearly one of the experts in hep.

      A step lower I would mention Leif Svalgard.
      His domain is more classical, the theoretical tools are easier and more common. But in his domain there is such an amount of empirical data that without long years of experience it is impossible to tie all of them in a consistent picture. He is clearly an expert in solar dynamics.

      And in the climate science? Let’s take Hansen or Trenberth. Anybody can read and understand their papers and arguments. Without going sofar as calling them technically trivial, it takes rather little physics and mathematics to have a substantified opinion. They are certainly no “experts” in climate in any usually accepted sense of the word expert.

      My own origins were quantum mechanics, field theory and non linear dynamics.
      I began to be interested by the dynamics of the Earth’s system some 12 years ago.
      During this time I have read many papers about ENSO, climate models, radiative transfer, atmosphere – ocean coupling etc.
      I had no special difficulty to understand and appreciate each of them.
      I am certainly no climate “expert” because I don’t think that it exists.
      I also don’t intend to publish anything in this domain.
      But I consider that my knowledge level is quite adequate to have an opinion about most opinions professed by people who think that they are climate “experts”.

      And a personnal opinion.
      I find the lack of understanding of the ergodic theory among the “climate” scientists quite disturbing.

      • But then you also have the problem of someone, due to the fact that they have a PhD, believing they can do it all on an expert level. Witness Mann and his hacked statistics. Some of the more public climate scientists seem to have created an incestuous branch of science. It needs to be more open. If only one goal could be achieved, complete openness for publicly funded science would be the most beneficial, IMO.

  8. About the Wegman teapot-tempest, I like Thomas Fuller’s analytical synopsis:

    ” there are two possibilities in play:

    Wegman et al are guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise

    Wegman et al are not guilty of plagiarism; short-centred principal components analysis is biased and can produce hockey sticks from red noise.”

    • thomaswfuller

      That’s the good Bishop writing… I just grabbed it.

    • Yes, and I’m sure that your attitude towards plagiarism would be exactly the same if the report was supportive of the hockey stick.

      (And whilst I am aware of the analysis, I’d have to point out that the ‘red noise’ effect is extremely small compared with the signal in the data, and that plotting the data with no PCA at all still gives a hockey stick shape. Reality has a HS bias, it appears)

      • And the hockey stick shape comes from the bristlecone pines and a very few other proxies. The substantive point that came out of all this was that the supposed Northern Hemisphere wide hockey stick pattern is in fact carried by a small number of dubious proxies. Essentially the various methods used in most of the multi-proxy reconstructions amount to giving weights to different proxies (sometimes zero, as in the correlation-screened versions in Mann 2008). The weights always seem largest on a small subset of dubious proxies like the bristlecones. And when the methods are used on red-noise series they give large weights to the subset of red-noise series which have the “desired” shape in the calibration period – as Wegman showed.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        This is the claim that McIntyre makes. In 2006 the NRC report endorsed this view (that P. Longavea) was not a good climate proxy. However, Salzer, et. al. (PNAS 2009) showed that bristlecones were indeed a good proxy. RTFP, the experimental design seemed to be very good and covered all the bases. The data they gathered is what it is.

        Now, Wegman’s view on the MBH 98/99 centering method was correct, as far as it went. But he did not redo the analysis using the correct centering method — in fact, he ignored a comment from one of his “reviewers” which told him to do exactly this. And of course, when it is redone using the correct methods (see Wahl and Ammann 2006 in Climatic Change) the impact of the reconstruction was minimal, and it had no impact on the conclusions of the paper.

        This is not to minimize the major problem with this first cut at a multiproxy analysis had, which is that it minimized long term variability. Of course Mann has published several papers since then showing the effect of this and outlining better ways of doing the reconstruction. Looks to me like science proceeding in a normal way.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        While it isn’t published literature, a response to Salzer2009 can be found here: http://climateaudit.org/2009/11/17/salzer-et-al-2009-a-first-look/

        “Doing the analysis using Graybill and Idso data simply squeezes the balloon, so that the divergence moves from one period to another. The authors have simply deluded themselves into thinking that they “explained” something and RC is too uncritical to notice.”

        More importantly, let’s talk about your claims regarding Wegman’s report and PCA. You said one of Wegman’s reviewers told him to redo the analysis properly, but Wegman did not. This is untrue. Noel Cressie made the recommendation Wegman show both the “wrong” and “right” PC1s on the same graph. See numbered point 2) of his e-mail:

        http://www.deepclimate.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/cressie-email-2006-07-18-with-attachment.pdf

        Worse yet, you claim Wegman did not redo the analysis. This is completely untrue. Figure 4.3 of the Wegman report shows the PCA reconstruction using Mann’s method next to the PCA reconstruction using properly centered PCA methodology.

        Finally, you say Wahl and Amman used the “correct methods.” Wahl and Amman agreed properly centered PCA demotes bristlecone proxies to PC4. They just say if you add enough PCs back in, you still get a hockeystick. Wegman’s response to this was:

        “A cardinal rule of statistical inference is that the method of analysis must be decided before looking at the data. The rules and strategy of analysis cannot be changed in order to obtain the desired result. Such a strategy carries no statistical integrity and cannot be used as a basis for drawing sound inferential conclusions. ”

        The question regarding the hockey stick was not one of methodology. It was, “Are bristlecones magical trees which capture global temperature information no other proxies capture?” PCA was only an issue because it gave undue weight to bristlecones. Wahl and Amman tacitly acknowledge bristlecones are the sole source of the hockeystick by saying they can get a hockeystick by adding enough PCs back in, in order to include bristlecones. In other words, McIntyre, Wegman, and even Wahl and Amman all acknowledge Mann’s hockeystick relies entirely upon bristlecones. Wahl and Amman just claim, “That’s okay.”

        As for Mann’s later work, Mann08 has almost the exact same issue. A major point of Mann08 was to show the hockey stick did not depend on tree ring data. This was true, as long as you also included Tiljander series. The problem is the Tiljander series was known to be contaminated due to human influence in the calibration period of Mann08. This means it could not be calibrated to the instrumental temperature record. Given this, its inclusion in Mann’s analysis is wrong.

        When you remove Tiljander from the reconstruction, you still get a hockey stick. If you then remove the tree ring data, you no longer get a hockey stick. Here’s a link to Gavin Schmidt acknowledging this:

        http://www.realclimate.org/?comments_popup=4431#comment-183182

        The criticism of the hockey stick has always been that it depends entirely upon a few choice sets of data, each with known issues. The situation hasn’t changed in ten years. I hope this isn’t “science proceeding in a normal way.”

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        As a follow up, I’m curious about something. Where do people get these ideas from? I’ve seen people say Wegman never redid the PCA with proper methodology time and time again. Where are you guys getting this from?

        I mean, it’s an entire page (p.32) of his report. It has a huge picture. Anyone reading his his report would be forced to see it. Given that, how is it such a popular argument? Did some person out there just say it and have his word taken as gospel? Is it just a random rumor creeping around the internet? Can we really just deny an entire page of a major report existed and get away with it?

        It’s mind-boggling. I honestly cannot understand how people criticize Wegman like this. Worse yet, nobody seems to notice how ridiculous it is. It’s like some people saying Obama wasn’t born in the United States, and everyone just shrugging their shoulders and saying, “That’s interesting.”

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Figure 4.3 is MM’s calculations, not MBH and only shows PC1 of the North American network. It does not show the reconstruction using the corrected methodology. But I agree, this is not exactly what Cressi was asking for.

        Use PCA implies some sort of PC retention rule. Mann used Priesendorfer’s Rule-N — see Jollife’s discussion here:

        http://books.google.com/books?id=_olByCrhjwIC&pg=PA129&lpg=PA129&dq=Preisendorfer+rule-n&source=bl&ots=qWZtJHi7A3&sig=AUJ1m9O7SamrZnHfWQZfSnkR1yM&hl=en&ei=u_25TKGzNIjSsAO-zIjdDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDoQ6AEwCA#v=onepage&q=Preisendorfer%20rule-n&f=false

        pp 128-129. WA2006 implemented this correctly, MM did not. This is not deciding on a method after looking at the data, it is implementing the chosen method correctly. Wegman was off base with his comment regarding WA2006 in his testimony.

        Finally, McIntyre’s comment on Salzer seems rather orthogonal to the contents of the paper itself. You did read the paper, didn’t you?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Figure 4.3 shows only PC1 calculation because bristlecones had been in PC1. I’ll agree I misspoke in that it is not a full reconstruction using PCA methodology. I took the fact PC calculations had been done as sufficient proof Wegman redid the analysis. It makes no sense to claim Wegman did not redo the analysis when we can see he did redo the PC calculations. Are we to believe he calculated the PCs, then just stopped? Give me a break.

        The entire basis for your criticism of Wegman here is he included only two PCs, as had MBH. You say this was wrong, that he did not redo the analysis, all because he did not include five PCs. To support requiring five PCs you claim, “Mann used Priesendorfer’s Rule-N ” and “WA2006 implemented this correctly.” Both of these are false.

        Wahl and Amman never mention Preisendorfer’s (e before i) rule. Their explanation for including five PC’s was as follows, “The convergence of results obtained using four or five PCs, coupled with the closeness of 5c to 5b, indicates that information relevant to the global eigenvector patterns being reconstructed is no longer added by higher-order PCs beyond the level necessary to capture the temporal information structure of the data (four PCs using unstandardized data, or two PCs using standardized data).”

        This has nothing to do with Preisendorfers’ rule. That the two approaches give the same results does not mean you can say Wahl and Amman “implemented this correctly.” Dismissing Wegman’s criticism of them by misrepresenting their method is obviously wrong.

        As for MBH, it did not use Preisendorfer’s rule either. Claims that it did first arose at RealClimate long after the paper had been published. The source code for MBH does not support the claim at all. More telling, applying Preisendorfer’s rule to MBH’s reconstruction gives different PC numbers for other steps of the reconstructions. For a detailed discussion of this issue, I suggest you follow this link:

        http://climateaudit.org/2005/08/04/source-code-preisendorfers-rule-n/

        All the evidence shows Mann did not use Preisendorfer’s Rule N, despite his supporters claiming otherwise. Wahl and Amman did not use the rule either, despite your claim otherwise. Unless you can provide any evidence Preisendorfer’s Rule N was used, your claims stand as complete bunk.

        In the end, this still all comes down to a simple point. Include bristlecones and you get a hockey stick. Don’t include bristlecones, and you don’t get a hockey stick. This means the entire hockey stick depended upon a small number of trees, which is both ridiculous, and in direct contradiction to what MBH said:

        “On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network, suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.”

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        My that’s a remarkably good explanation of how Rule-N works! Thank you.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Oh my god. I give a lengthy explanation detailing all the ways in which you are wrong, and this is how you respond? A single, dismissive sentence would be rude under any circumstances, but good lord.

        I didn’t say anything about how Rule-N works. The mechanics of it never came up in my post. You just ignored everything I said, then misrepresented me to pretend like somehow what I said agreed with you.

        There is no way you could have made that post with honest intent.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        And as for Mann et, al. 08? He redid the analysis using no dendro data and leaving out the Tiljander data and still got a hockey stick, although the results are only significant back to 1500. You can find the revised SI at his PSU site.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Saying he can still get a hockey stick “back to 1500” means nothing as his conclusion revolves around temperatures prior to 1500. From the abstract of Mann2008:

        “Recent warmth appears anomalous for at least the past 1,300 years whether or not tree-ring data are used. If tree-ring data are used, the conclusion can be extended to at least the past 1,700 years, but with additional strong caveats.”

        As you’ve just admitted, this claim is false. As you’ve just acknowledged, without tree ring data, Mann’s 2008 paper cannot say anything about the Medieval Warm Period. This means the conclusions of Mann’s 2008 paper are just as dependent upon a small amount of trees as were the conclusions of Mann’s 1998 paper.

        In summary, all claims about the MWP depend entirely upon a small amount of tree ring data. The only change in the last decade is how people have been managing to highlight that tree ring data. After ten years of “advancement,” Mann’s papers still say the exact same thing. The only thing he’s changes is how he hides it.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        That last sentence should read, “The only thing he has changed is how he hides it.”

        I would really love a preview button.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        This is using the CPS method. The EIV is significant farther back as Gavin pointed out in the comment you linked to.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Why do you insist on making untrue statements? Gavin said, “Note too that while the EIV no-dendro version does validate to 1000 AD, the no-dendro/no-Tilj only works going back to 1500 AD (Mann et al, 2009, SI).”

        It validates back to 1500, exactly as I said. Indeed, exactly as you said in comment 4322. As for CPS, “Since the no-dendro CPS version only validates until 1500 AD (Mann et al (2008) ), it is hardly likely that the no-dendro/no-Tilj CPS version will validate any further back,”

        Gavin doesn’t even say how far back CPS validates without dendro/Tilj, other than to say not farther back than 1500.

        I don’t understand why you changed your position from the correct one to an incorrect one. I especially don’t understand why you would cite a comment which agrees with your original position, but contradicts your new one. All I do know is you constantly saying things which are untrue, yet never admitting any fault is giving me a headache.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Here is a quote from Mann:

        Update 22 Aug 2010: Additional significance tests that we have performed indicate that the NH land+ocean Had reconstruction with all tree-ring data and 7 potential “problem” proxies removed (see original Supp Info where this reconstruction is shown) yields a reconstruction that passes RE at just below the 95% level (approximately 94% level) back to AD 1300 and the 90% level back to AD 1100 (they pass CE at similar respective levels). So if one were to set the significant threshold just a bit lower than our rather stringent 95% significant requirement, the reconstruction stands back to AD 1100 with these data withheld. Recent work by Saltzer et al [ Salzer et al, Recent unprecedented tree-ring growth in bristlecone pine at the highest elevations and possible causes, Proc. Nat. Acad. Sci., 2009] suggests there is little reason to withhold tree-ring data however.

        Page can be found here:

        http://www.meteo.psu.edu/~mann/supplements/MultiproxySpatial09/

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        And oh yeah, what’s wrong w/tree ring data? People who study this for a living consider it to be valid. Until there is some clear evidence that it is invalid — other than the braying from McIntyre — it should be considered to be valid. Sites are chosen BECAUSE they are near the northern/upper altitude species limits where low temps are the limiting factor. Show me one study which shows that trees chosen from sites such as this are now limited by high temps. Just one. If this was the case we should also be seeing a migration northward/upwards or the southern/lower species limits. I’m not sure that this has as of yet been observed.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        The “problem” with tree ring data is it is not a magical thermometer. If you have hundreds of series, but only twenty contain a particular signal, what should you do? Should you use a methodology which combines all of the series, but gives undue weight to those twenty? Having done this, should you then call it a “multiproxy study”? Should you praise this study for analyzing hundreds of series? Should you claim this study “is relatively robust to the inclusion of ” those series?

        Of course not. If a handful of trees can accurately measure global temperatures over the last thousand years, we shouldn’t clutter their data with data from other sources which are wrong (don’t show the same signal). Forget complicated formulas and massive amounts of data. Let’s just look at those few trees.

        Then again, nobody would believe you if you said a handful of trees are the entire source of your hockey stick. They would question how we know these trees accurately measure past temperatures. They would ask about those other trees which don’t have the same signal, wondering about the “divergence.”

        They would ask how it is trees which respond to local conditions like moisture and soil composition in addition to local temperature can accurately measure global temperatures.

        They would question how tree series which can have six sigma excursions due purely to mechanical causes (recovery from damage) can be used as linearly correlated to temperature.

        I’m sure there would be plenty of other questions as well. But really, it doesn’t matter. Nobody is claiming tree ring data can be used on its own to create a global temperature reconstruction for a thousand years. If someone wants to make that claim, they can argue it in journals.

        In the mean time, as long as people are using *multiproxy* studies to make a case, surely we are allowed to point out they really aren’t “multi” anything.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Here is how he hides it. Not so hard and it still looks like a hockey stick.

        Bear in mind that the result is not statistically significant prior to about 1500, although the recon seems to work pretty well back to about 1100, meaning the revised recon is within the error bars until about then.

        I’ve argued over the Tiljander proxies with AMac extensively, and two of them do show an inversion of the relationship (the “inverted” ones) towards the end of the LIA. My opinion is that these two should probably been excluded but the other two look good to go. This might have allowed the CPS to verify a bit farther back. The main problem is that as you go farther back there are fewer and fewer proxy records which are available.

        So yeah, I guess he’s hiding it. Right in plain sight.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        It doesn’t matter if something “seems to work pretty well” to you. If it fails statistical verification, it is meaningless.

        As for Mann “hiding” this issue, he only published a (revised several times) figure showing the difference after controversy came about. Then, despite knowing the conclusion of his paper was wrong, he made no effort to acknowledge or correct this.

        Finally, you clearly don’t understand the Tiljander series. First, you say two of the four Tiljander series “look good to go” because they do not show an inverse relationship to temperature. The fact the data was contaminated by human activity doesn’t matter. You just look at the data, and it fits what you think it should be. Apparently you don’t care there is no possible way to correlate the latter portion of the series with temperatures. Causality be damned.

        Nevermind the absurdity of talking about the “four” Tiljander series. One of those four series, the “thickness” series, is just two of the other series combined (lightsum and darksum).

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        Brandon, I said that two of them show an inversion of the relationship to temperature starting near the end of the LIA. The sign of the relationship changed near the end of the LIA. For the two that didn’t show this behavior, just because they show contamination doesn’t mean that it is impossible to calibrate them to temp (although the two I mentioned, and I forget which ones they were — I think they were XRD and darksum) show an inversion of the relationship between temps and proxy values stating in the late LIA. They passed the CPS screening procedure (automated) which is why they were used in the CPS recon. It doesn’t really matter, for the earliest step in the recon w/o tree rings the Tiljander proxies represent almost one third of the available data.

      • Rattus, I missed this discussion till just now. Your claims about Mann08’s use of the Tiljander data series — they aren’t proxies for temperature, certainly not as used by Mann et al. — are wrong.

        I’ve argued over the Tiljander proxies with AMac extensively

        You imply that you made some good points on Tiljander; I am not sure what this might refer to. We both participated in DeepClimate’s “Open Thread #4” in August 2010. I stand by what I wrote in these two comments.

        You are, as always, welcome to assemble your thoughts on Tiljander/Mann08 so that I can put them up as a guest post at my Tiljander-themed blog.

        Too bad you probably won’t see this belated response!

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        I feel obliged to point out Andrew Dodds was equally dismissive of the bristlecone issue in the last Open Thread, and there too he offered no support for anything he said. In fact, he still owes me a response: https://judithcurry.com/2010/10/07/open-thread-week-in-review/#comment-3946

        Bold claims repeated as nothing more than talking points will never make for a meaningful discussion. When people make claims with no intention of actually discussing them, all they do is detract from the forum.

      • When people make claims with no intention of actually discussing them, all they do is detract from the forum.

        Would that include people who label AGW as ‘Catastrophic’ without ever telling us what ‘Catastrophic’ means? People who claim that ‘The hockey stick is broken’ without being able to point to the literature supporting the claim – because there is none? People who claim that scientists (especially climate scientists) doctor results routinely to get more finding?

        As far as responding to your post; If Mr McIntyre really has evidence that late 20trh century temperatures are nothing out of the ordinary for the last 1000 – 2000 years then he really should publish. End of. That’s the rules; as long as he refuses to publish, the hockey stick stands, and I don’t have to defend it.

        Although, offering a graph which simply had a smoothed average, no PCA, and showed.. an hockey stick (shocker!), does kind of blow away all the nit picking over PCA, as does removing the bristlecone pine series and getting the same result. I’d also point out that borehole temperature records, oxygen isotope records, and, in fact, every way we have of estimating paleotemperatures either supports the HS or does not refute it.

        As I said, read the literature.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        This is nonsense. You cannot simply say, “read the literature” as though it proves something. You seem to feel you can say whatever you want without offering a shred of evidence, a reference, or even an explanation. This is not true. I offered to provide reference for anything I’ve said, but you choose not to take me up on it.

        Instead, you misrepresent the claims being made, saying, “If Mr McIntyre really has evidence that late 20trh century temperatures are nothing out of the ordinary for the last 1000 – 2000 years…” You refuse to support anything you say, then demand everyone else prove something nobody is claiming.

        Unless you intend to start offering references or some other form of support for your claims, you are full of it. You are simply saying things are true without any evidence, then misrepresenting and denigrating people who disagree with you. You are wasting everyone’s time and it should not be allowed to continue.

      • Well, actually, I can say ‘Read the literature’; that’s how science works – and that’s real science, as opposed to ‘blog science’. And I have offered support for my claims.

        Should you want a more comprehensive set of references, I’d suggest starting here:

        http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/publications_ipcc_fourth_assessment_report_wg1_report_the_physical_science_basis.htm

        Correcting error is not wasting people’s time.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Waving your hands and repeating, “Read the literature!” won’t get you anywhere. If you’re going to say something is in the literature, provide specific references for where it is located. Otherwise, I can just do this:

        “Global warming is a hoax. The literature says so. Just go read it.”

      • Ehm.. Andrew’s first answer in this inline thread pointed out the absence of references to literature from sceptics, because, at least according to Andrew, there are none.

        And I don’t see you providing any references, either.

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        The burden of proof lies on those advancing a position. Andrew Dodds has said a great deal about what the literature supposedly says, so he is obliged to demonstrate such.

        But what would I be expected to provide reference for? Am I expected to provide references to support “that late 20trh century temperatures are nothing out of the ordinary for the last 1000 – 2000 years…”? I would hope not, as I’ve never made that claim. In fact, Steve McIntyre has not, despite what Dodds would suggest.

        Earlier I offered to provide references to Dodds for any of the issues I raised. I would gladly extend that offer to anyone else. But you will note, I am offering to provide references for specific issues and claims. Discussing details and resolving issues is worthwhile. Mindlessly pointing to hundreds of pages of text and saying, “The answer is in there” is not.

      • Andrew,
        Are you deliberately dense or is this a sincere position on your part?
        Or maybe you are just sincerely pretending to be as ignorant as your question suggests?
        It is fascinating to me, after reading books by leading AGW promoters, that anyone could at once claim to be informed on the issue and pretend that AGW is not about catastrophism.
        Why don’t you share with us what AGW is doing if it is not catastrophic?

      • Yes, Andrew, it always annoys me when someone tries to change the subject to avoid losing an argument.

        Mashey accused the Wegman team of not using his own (Mashey’s) preferred form of citation each time they paraphrased work that was in fact included in their bibliography. I’ve always found that the academic style (Smith, 2003) of citation (Jones, 1934; Ustinov, 1953a) makes it hard to read (McGuffey, 1903) and understand (Plato, 375 BCE) the actual (Marco, 1986; Polo, 1896) content; making it a style to be avoided when communicating to Congresscritters (Fix, 2010 [self-referentially]).

        Reality is only made up of hockey sticks when you insist on using stripbark bristlecone pines against the advice of the data compiler, using Tiljander lake sediments upsice down and continuing into a period where the data compiler clearly stated it is unreliable, cherry-picking isolated trees in northern Siberia, etc, etc, etc.

      • I thought that the production of a minor HS artifact from red noise was, in fact, the subject, what with you mentioning it twice, and am hence surprised when you go on about everything but it, almost as if you want to change the subject.

        But anyway, I assume that the ‘skeptics’ are doing the scientific thing and going out into the field to collect better data, so that they can publish a far more definitive and open temperature reconstruction? That would blow the whole HS thing away, obviously. Indeed it’s the only way of doing it.

      • Andrew:

        “I thought that the production of a minor HS artifact from red noise was, in fact, the subject…”

        Correct. Mashey tried to obfuscate that with specious accusations of plagiarism.

        “I assume that the ‘skeptics’ are..going out into the field to collect better data, so that they can publish a far more definitive and open temperature reconstruction?”

        Been done many time before and after MBH 98. It’s the Hockey Team’s reconstructions that are the outliers. Mann’s own latest effort, after finally leaving off using obviously invalid temperature proxies and correcting his statistical blunders, apparently supports this. He stated, buried in the text and without illustration, that his latest reconstruction is valid only through the period AFTER the Medieval Warm Period.

        This argument has been used against McIntyre many times. If I note that a baseball player has missed a catch he should have been able to make, is it then my duty to go out on the field and show him how it’s done? Or do I just record the error and let the game proceed? The player who missed the play certainly won’t say, “I did too catch it.”

        Of course, it’s easy for me to say Michael should just Mann up and admit his errors, but then his career would be over.

      • Been done many time before and after MBH 98.

        Excellent. Reference?

      • Oppo, D.W., Rosenthal, Y. and Linsley, B.K. 2009. 2,000-year-long temperature and hydrology reconstructions from the Indo-Pacific warm pool. Nature 460: 1113-1116.

        http://uanews.org/node/30720

        Patterson, W. P., Dietrich, K. A., Holmden, C. & Andrews, J. T. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA doi: 10.1073/pnas.0902522107 (2010)

        Alley, R.B. 2000. The Younger Dryas cold interval as viewed from central Greenland. Quaternary Science Reviews 19:213-226.

        Many included references. Knock yourself out.

      • Mann’s stunt was not in data itself. It was in his corruption of the data by his statistical fabrications and secretiveness.

      • Andrew is a target rich environment.
        Sorry about the quick re-post in advance.
        So are you asserting that nothing is wrong with Mann’s use of the data? Is it your understanding that skeptics have no problem with his methods?

      • Hunter, apparently Mann’s original mistakes were the synthesis of invalid data and statistical ineptitude. His incorrect PC centering mines the data for hockey-stick shaped series, and his use of the stripbark bristlecone pine series planted a huge, and entirely bogus hockey stick for the incorrect method to find. The infamous hockey stick was the inevitable result of those two errors. I think the secretiveness and obfuscation were an attempt to protect his career after folks pointed out how he had screwed up.

      • No amount of plagiarism, real or imagined, changes any of that. The charge merely deflects attention from the real issue.

      • Andrew,
        I think McIntyre summarized the challenge of pursuing Wegman as a plagiarist rather clearly:
        http://climateaudit.org/2010/10/12/copygate/#more-12122
        When your side pulls a real boner, like falsely accusing Wegman of plagiarism, if you can’t just admit to a screw up, the next best thing is to just sort of move on quietly.

      • I think you’ll find – if you search the web – that no-one disputes the fact that Wegman plagiarized. He plagiarized Wikipedia ad verbatim – and no-one denies it.

        As of now, the GMU investigates the claims from Bradley. And perhaps from Mashey, I don’t know. But I’ll not pre-empt their conclusions.

      • I think if you will glance at the link I provided you will see you are wrong. People do dispute if Wegman plagiarized under any reasonable definition of the term.
        And I think if you read the link I posted in full, you will see that this latest AGW community stunt is going to backfire as badly as 10:10.

      • Hunter, I don’t think anything can backfire as badly as 10:10. That was a true unforced error.

      • CRUgate is actually the richer source, imho- since it is work product related, but the whitewashes were expertly applied and the AGW community was having none of it.
        10:10 is a bunch of wannabes in the AGW community who just took the prevailing ethos of AGW a bit too far. CRUgate shows us how the sausage gets made.

  9. Michael Larkin

    Ed Fix:

    I think you’ll find that’s Andrew Montford’s (Bishop Hill’s) synopsis. But I agree, it’s an excellent one.

  10. Michael Larkin

    “One of my motivations for starting this blog is to try to wrap my head around the entire subject, beyond the subfields where I actively conduct research. My head is spinning . . .”

    Good for you! :-)

    And, if you think yours is spinning, spare a thought for the rest of us…

  11. Very nice Doc.

    So far I’m pleasantly surprised at your unwillingness to just play the middle. Issues on both ends have truth at their core, they are difficult to sort for a non-specialist. I hope you’ll take time in the future to discuss your own field. A little more dangerous but potentially far more rewarding.

    RC should be paying attention, truth before consequence.

    • Everyone, at least, on the good side has welcomed your slightly nutty but true ideas (when it comes to mathematics) – that’s why I love our batty but very crazy Czech Lubus!

  12. Perhaps due to my background as an attorney, I thought the interesting aspect of Lewis letter and the rebuttal to the APS response was the evidence contained therein — he made specific allegations outlining improper conduct by APS officers. Of course skeptics are going to get excited when someone with Lewis’ credentials speaks as forcefully as he did about his opinion regarding global warming. The importance of his letter, however, comes more from the improprieties he describes than from his conclusion.

    Dr. Curry, you have said that it is really curious how Mann could have been elevated as quickly as he was in the IPCC process. I think we all suspect that the process wasn’t kosher. Lewis points out other evidence that the “science” process behind global warming hasn’t been kosher. Anyone reading the e-mails and code file from the CRU can’t help but be overwhelmed at the evidence that the science process has had more than a few thumbs on the scale. Same for the revelations about the IPCC and how the public was misled about the nature of the assessments. As more and more revelations come out about the appalling lack of quality control in the databases and the curious role of “adjustments” in the data, a significant portion of the public is beginning to suspect that there is a possibility they may have been sold a bill of goods. At a minimum, a lot of questions deserve to be addressed.

    That is the context within which the public views Lewis letter and that’s why it resonates with so many people. Regardless of one’s view about CAGW, it cannot be denied that we are bombarded daily with false and wildly exaggerated claims about scientific certainty and consensus. And the intensity of the claims seems to have increased recently. A lot of scientists have been complicit in spreading these false claims.

    Given all that, Lewis’ letter seems particularly appropos in the current ‘climate’.

    • Stan, good analysis, thanks.

    • I’m sorry, but the statement:

      Regardless of one’s view about CAGW, it cannot be denied that we are bombarded daily with false and wildly exaggerated claims about scientific certainty and consensus. And the intensity of the claims seems to have increased recently. A lot of scientists have been complicit in spreading these false claims.,/b>

      Is just false.

      Unless you are willing to name and quote some scientists who have made ‘false and wildly exaggerated claims’ in the past year then I’m going to have to call you out as a liar.

      • Hansen, Schmidt, Briffa, Mann, Jones, for a start.
        I would suggest that calling people liars for pointing out the painfully obvious is a form of denial that is breath taking.

      • I’d point out that you didn’t answer the question.

        Names and recent quotes, please.

      • The quotes….I think I will hold awhile off so you can continue digging deeper.
        And I reject your one year time horizon condition. For most people, a lie is not a timed event.
        Unless you are willing to admit that cliamte scientists have a time stamp on their integrity?

      • The time horizon was in response to the statement:

        And the intensity of the claims seems to have increased recently.

        Since you didn’t actually make this claim, I’m not sure how you can reject it..

      • Do you think that AGW promoters have become more reasonable in the past year?

      • since I did not make it, I cannot reject it?
        Odd.
        >sorry about hitting submit too quickly<

      • Andrew – Here’s a statement that I would consider an exageratted claim – drawn from Michael Mann’s Op-Ed cited by Judy.

        “The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries.”

        My understanding is that Tyndall’s work regarding “greenhouse gasses” was first done in the late 1850s, or about 150 years ago, not “nerly two centuries. Further it is not clear to me that the basic physic of how this worked in the atmosphere and related to “human-produced greenhouse gasses” was truly worked out and understood at the time. Overall, a minor point, but was such an easy to find exagerration since it was linked to right on this page.

      • 1. The deaths of Aspen trees in the West
        2. Incredible shrinking sheep
        3. Caribbean coral deaths
        4. Eskimo’s forced to leave their village
        5. Disappearing lake in Chile
        6. Early heat wave in Vietnam
        7. Malaria and water-borne diseases in Africa
        8. Invasion of jellyfish in the Mediterranean
        9. Break in the Arctic Ice Shelf
        10. Monsoons in India
        11. Birds laying their eggs early
        12. 160,000 deaths a year
        13. 315,000 deaths a year
        14. 300,000 deaths a year
        15. Decline in snowpack in the West
        16. Deaths of walruses in Alaska
        17. Hunger in Nepal
        18. The appearance of oxygen-starved dead zones in the oceans
        19. Surge in fatal shark attacks
        20. Increasing number of typhoid cases in the Philippines
        21. Boy Scout tornado deaths
        22. Rise in asthma and hayfever
        23. Duller fall foliage in 2007
        24. Floods in Jakarta
        25. Radical ecological shift in the North Sea
        26. Snowfall in Baghdad
        27. Western tree deaths
        28. Diminishing desert resources
        29. Pine beetles
        30. Swedish beetles
        31. Severe acne
        32. Global conflict
        33. Crash of Air France 447
        34. Black Hawk Down incident
        35. Amphibians breeding earlier
        36. Flesh-eating disease
        37. Global cooling
        38. Bird strikes on US Airways 1549
        39. Beer tastes different
        40. Cougar attacks in Alberta
        41. Suicide of farmers in Australia
        42. Squirrels reproduce earlier
        43. Monkeys moving to Great Rift Valley in Kenya
        44. Confusion of migrating birds
        45. Bigger tuna fish
        46. Water shortages in Las Vegas
        47. Worldwide hunger
        48. Longer days
        49. Earth spinning faster
        50. Gender balance of crocodiles
        51. Skin cancer deaths in UK
        52. Increase in kidney stones in India
        53. Penguin chicks frozen by global warming
        54. Deaths of Minnesota moose
        55. Increased threat of HIV/AIDS in developing countries
        56. Increase of wasps in Alaska
        57. Killer stingrays off British coasts
        58. All societal collapses since the beginning of time
        59. Bigger spiders
        60. Increase in size of giant squid
        61. Increase of orchids in UK
        62. Collapse of gingerbread houses in Sweden
        63. Cow infertility
        64. Conflict in Darfur
        65. Bluetongue outbreak in UK cows
        66. Worldwide wars
        67. Insomnia of children worried about global warming
        68. Anxiety problems for people worried about climate change
        69. Migration of cockroaches
        70. Taller mountains due to melting glaciers
        71. Drowning of four polar bears
        72. UFO sightings in the UK
        73. Hurricane Katrina
        74. Greener mountains in Sweden
        75. Decreased maple in maple trees
        76. Cold wave in India
        77. Worse traffic in LA because immigrants moving north
        78. Increase in heart attacks and strokes
        79. Rise in insurance premiums
        80. Invasion of European species of earthworm in UK
        81. Cold spells in Australia
        82. Increase in crime
        83. Boiling oceans
        84. Grizzly deaths
        85. Dengue fever
        86. Lack of monsoons
        87. Caterpillars devouring 45 towns in Liberia
        88. Acid rain recovery
        89. Global wheat shortage; food price hikes
        90. Extinction of 13 species in Bangladesh
        91. Changes in swan migration patterns in Siberia
        92. The early arrival of Turkey’s endangered caretta carettas
        93. Radical North Sea shift
        94. Heroin addiction
        95. Plant species climbing up mountains
        96. Deadly fires in Australia
        97. Droughts in Australia
        98. The demise of California’s agriculture by the end of the century
        99. Tsunami in South East Asia
        100. Fashion victim: the death of the winter wardrobe

        http://www.opposingviews.com/i/100-things-global-warming-is-allegedly-causing

      • Amusing list. I decided to look one up (#38; the original web sites includes hyperlinks to sources). Here’s the relevant text:

        Nevertheless, the danger of bird strikes “is an ongoing problem, and it will always be a problem,” said Steven D. Garber, a biologist who was a consultant to the Port Authority in the 1990s.

        And it may become more so — despite efforts at mitigation. “There is evidence both in North America and in Europe that birds are shifting their territories,” said Joel L. Cracraft, curator in charge of the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History. “And that has been correlated with global warming.”

        Maybe many of the other 99 include scientists advancing exaggerated claims about scientific consensus and environmental catastrophe. This one, however, appears to be an exaggerated claim about an exaggerated claim.

      • Dr. Cracraft is a scientist. Not sure what you are getting at here.

        ” Curator-in-Charge and Professor
        Vertebrate Zoology, Ornithology
        Education

        * Columbia University, Ph.D., 1969
        * Louisiana State University, M.S., 1966
        * University of Oklahoma, B.S., 1964

        E-mail
        cracraft@amnh.org
        Phone
        212.769.5633
        Fax
        212.769.5759

        Downloads
        CracraftCV_7.2009.pdf
        Links
        Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics
        Department of Ornithology

        Research Interests

        Dr. Cracraft’s research on the systematics and evolution of birds, speciation analysis, and biogeography are all components of his interests in understanding how biotas originate and change over time, and how one understands patterns and processes of diversification. A major research effort in his laboratory involves a detailed description of one of the most spectacular examples of “adaptive radiation”: the birds of paradise (Paradisaeidae) of New Guinea and surrounding areas. A second major research project involving his research group is contributing to building the avian Tree of Life. The focus of this research is on the phylogenetic history of the songbirds, which comprise about 60% of all living birds. A related research effort is being put into the analysis of speciation and biogeography of various birds. He and his students have undertaken research on numerous groups of birds in most areas of the world, particularly Latin America and Australasia. Dr. Cracraft has also undertaken research contributing to conservation biology. He and coworkers have published several papers on species concepts and their implications for conservation, and have conducted a genetic study of species limits in tigers. He has also written extensively on biodiversity issues.”

        http://rggs.amnh.org/faculty/view/4

      • While this guy does not study climate, it does bring up an interesting question. Did he look into global warming research and conclude the science was sound or did he just pick up the faith and join the choir? Guys like him have been responsible for spreading the doom and gloom of global warming. Do they really know what they are talking about?

  13. I think one of the problems in this debate, and debates in general, is lack of women. Somehow we must encourage everyone to join in – I mean, every time the same conversation comes up it’s because its the same people, no? I just find it funny!

  14. And let us be clear what we’re talking about, not some ‘Ace in the hole’ here today gone tomorrow sentimentality but our lives and how to live? Our future cannot be rescued via little tricks or slight of hand or little tubes that bring a smiling face up – forgive my cynicism – but did we not see this before? We want to believe so we see. It may or it may not be true. All I’m saying is, hold on to your reason, as well as your heart!

  15. I’m a lot more interested in what’s happening with the IPCC right now than anything Hal Lewis has to say about it. The Lewis resignation is about as consequential for the future as the outcome of the Wegman investigation. Like it or not the IPCC is sticking around for the time being, and will be treated seriously by many parties regardless of how it is seen on the blogs. I think the IPCC still stands to preserve or regain its credibility, whether it does or not is another question.

    • I agree, but the blogosphere seems more interested in the personalities (with Lewis being the latest). Hoping we can get some discussion on the IPCC as the weekend progresses. At some point i will do a whole thread on reflections on the IPCC.

      • Rattus Norvegicus

        In spite of the spin put on the recent IPCC meeting by WUWT, the did address on of your biggest bugaboos: how to quantify uncertainty. This was also (to my mind) the most important critique of the IPCC process by the IAC. They are also in the process of developing new guidelines for using gray literature as well as formal procedures for addressing errors found after the publication of the assessment reports. These are all good and necessary revisions of the IPCC process.

      • Well the IPCC acknowledged the uncertainty issue, but I have no idea what they will actually do about it. The IAC mostly chastised WGII, with the inference that they should raise their uncertainty standards to the level used by WG I, which is still inadequate IMO. But overall these are steps in the right direction.

    • David L. Hagen

      Lewis explicit context was: “ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen.”
      Revkin et al. appears oblivious to how far climate science has fallen when such practitioners undermine the very foundations of science and ethical civilization.

      Prof. Lewis’ speciality is in evaluating technological risk and uncertainty. See
      ”Technological Risk,” W.W.Norton, 1990 368 pages, ISBN 978-0393028836
      He speaks from a deep understanding of the uncertainties.

      Lewis “The important thing for me is the suppression of open debate, which is the conventional way to identify fraud.”
      That is a good “smell” test for fraud. It is a pity journalists have so little understanding of the perniciousness of the fraud exposed by ClimateGate.

      Lewis: “[A]nyone who claims to be able to predict the climate well enough to guide public policy is committing a fraud.”
      Few understand the uncertainties in both data and models as well as Lewis.

      Kersten and Armstrong shown that the IPCC breaches most principles of scientific forecasting. See Global Warming Audit.
      http://www.forecastingprinciples.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=78&Itemid=130

  16. But think about ‘Ace in the hole’ and think about how this might be an extraordinary ace in the hole – think how they pasted it, just for you, how everything happened when you the viewer wanted, and when you got bored of it suddenly there were new stories and finally their rescue – if anyone, anywhere, anymore, had one journalistic bone in their body, they’d smell something rotten here!

  17. I’ll tell you what, I’ll do it myself! I begin by knowing that it is a lie like all illusions. Then I proceed to figure out how ‘he’ made this illusion. It won’t take me long. Just two days.

  18. Let me put this way, Dr Curry, when 50 men are alleged to have burred themselves and we think that is more important than, for instance, the millions of children who are deiing because they are to poor, or, in Europe, the many Chinese workers who are working for nothing and think, if they complain, they’d be forced back home – they all died in my Morecambe bay but what do Chinese people matter compared to a story with picture and 24hr tv? Obviously nothing?

  19. Dear Dr. Curry,

    On the subject of an open thread, I just discovered that Lindzen & Choi have a correction to their 2009 paper, which purported to show from ERBE data that observations support climate feedbacks being negative. Even after acknowledging criticisms of the earlier paper, they conclude that “The observational analysis implies that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.”

    Have you read this and do you have any thoughts? I know you were critical of the earlier paper at Climate Audit.

    http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/uploads/media/Lindzen_Choi_ERBE_JGR_v4.pdf

    ABSTRACT
    To estimate climate sensitivity from observations, Lindzen and Choi [2009] used the deseasonalized fluctuations in sea surface temperatures (SSTs) and the concurrent responses in the top-of-atmosphere outgoing radiation from the ERBE satellite instrument. Distinct periods of warming and cooling in the SST were used to evaluate feedbacks. This work was subject to significant criticism by Trenberth et al. [2009], much of which was appropriate. The present paper is an expansion of the earlier paper in which the various criticisms are addressed and corrected. In this paper we supplement the ERBE data for 1985-1999 with data from CERES for 2000-2008. Our present analysis accounts for the 36 day precession period for the ERBE satellite in a more appropriate manner than in the earlier paper which simply used what may have been undue smoothing. The present analysis also distinguishes noise in the outgoing radiation as well as radiation changes that are forcing SST changes from those radiation changes that constitute feedbacks to changes in SST. Finally, a more reasonable approach to the zero-feedback flux is taken here. We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics and extend the effect of these feedbacks to the global climate. We again find that the outgoing radiation resulting from SST fluctuations exceeds the zero-feedback fluxes thus implying negative feedback. In contrast to this, the calculated outgoing radiation fluxes from 11 atmospheric GCMs forced by the observed SST are less than the zero-feedback fluxes consistent with the positive feedbacks that characterize these models. The observational analysis implies that the models are exaggerating climate sensitivity.

    Best,
    Alex

    • Alex, thanks for spotting this, i haven’t read it yet.

      • I haven’t read it either, but I suspect the key passage is “We argue that feedbacks are largely concentrated in the tropics and extend the effect of these feedbacks to the global climate.” This is the handwaving step.

      • I don’t see how you can call that the “handwaving step.” Where does the Sun shine most intensely? Based on that, where would clouds have the greatest effect one way or another.

      • Jim – Thank you for providing an example of handwaving. ; )

        An example of non-handwaving would be a budget calculation showing that, on the time scale of variation being examined by Lindzen, flux changes on one part of the Earth are not compensated by flux changes on another part of the Earth.

        A reason one might expect such a compensation is the zonally-averaged meridional circulation of the Earth equatorward of 30 degrees (or thereabouts) is exactly balanced by downward motion poleward of 30 degrees. Any change in the strength of the zonally-averaged meridional circulation would be expected to have opposing effects on clouds in the tropics vs. higher latitudes and thus opposing effects on the radiation budget.

      • OK, I don’t fully understand what you mean. Are you saying that if clouds block 80% of the radiation at the day-side tropics, that somewhere closer to the pole enough radiation will be absorbed there to make up for the 80% lost to space?

      • Jim – Not quite. The issue is perturbations to the climate system. For example, it’s probably not too far off the mark to say that Washington and Oregon get 80% of the rain/snow that falls on the US Pacific Coast. When an El Nino occurs, their precipitation decreases but is more than made up for by precipitation in California, which is normally only 20%. Even in an El Nino, though, the bulk of the rainfall will still occur in the Pacific Northwest, just as the bulk of the greenhouse effect will still occur in the tropics.

      • I understand that concept. Effects of rising air in one place like the tropics is offset when it sinks over more northerly deserts. I was thinking of clouds more in terms of a reflector of sunlight and as a possible temperature regulation mechanism.

  20. On expertise. It’s all solely mass, momentum and energy; all mass, momentum and energy, all the time. The hardest problem is getting the new symbol nomenclatures.

  21. The main thing about the Hal Lewis story for me, is yet another example of AGW gatekeeping, by the APS..

    Much like the Royal Society that had been forced by some members to reconsider, it’s POSITION on climate change (whereas the RS has in the past not on principle, had a position). Hal Lewis claims that the APS sat on a similar petition by 200 APS members, which is a valid part of the APS process, which ultimately resulted in his resignation, ie he had been following the proceses from within the APS.

    Hal describes a process that failed, and a handful of the APS members deciding in secret, and ignoring the correct processes…

    This is linked to another story this week.
    Hal Lewis had a wiki page, and it instantly attracted a similar gatekeeping on all things AGW, by the usual suspects at Wiki..

    Wikipedia climate revisionism by William Connolley continues
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/13/wikipedia-turbo-revisionism-by-william-connolley-continues/

    ie a certain William M Connolley ( co founder of RealClimate) who has been all over anything against his CAGW viewpoints, (even living peoples biographies, for years..)

    This Gatekeeping came to a head this week, because Connolley is now topic (climate ) banned for his anti wiki behvaiour…. (6 months)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Arbitration/Requests/Case/Climate_change/Proposed_decision#William_M._Connolley_topic-banned_.28R3.29

    8.2) William M. Connolley has been uncivil and antagonistic to editors within the topic area, and toward administrators enforcing the community probation.

    8.3) …William M. Connolley has shown an unreasonable degree of Ownership over climate-related articles and unwillingness to work in a consensus environment.

    8.4) William M. Connolley has repeatedly violated the biography of living persons policy. Violations have included inserting personal information irrelevant to the subject’s notability, use of blogs as sources, inserting original research and opinion into articles, and removing reliably sourced positive comments about subjects. He has edited biographical articles of persons with whom he has off-wiki professional or personal disagreements.

    8.5) William M. Connolley has focused a substantial portion of his editing in the Climate change topic area on biographical articles about living persons who hold views opposed to his own with respect to the reality and significance of anthropogenic global warming, in a fashion suggesting that he does not always approach such articles with an appropriately neutral and disinterested point of view.

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2010/10/14/going.html#comments

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/14/willia-connolley-now-climate-topic-banned-at-wikipedia/

    “In a vote of 7-0, The most prolific climate revisionist editor ever at Wikipedia, with over 5400 article revisions has been banned from making any edits about climate related articles for six months.”

    This an example of extreme gatekeeping of a general public resource. disapperaing articles on roman warm periods, edit wars over A W Montford’s ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’, deletions of sceptics, Tim Ball, etc, voting to remove Jo Nova, long history of Wiki deletions of Anthony Watss, Climate Audit, etc (see those blogs for details)

    Gatekeeping claims have come to light because of climategate with respect of IPCC scientists and lead authours, amongst journals as well. Many have suggested MSM media gatekeeping in light of their response to climategate.

    Maybe a topic for you Judith?

    AGW Gatekeeping and how restore trust in processes.

  22. In “Atmospheric CO2: Principal Control Knob Governing Earth’s Temperature,” by A.A. Lacis; G.A. Schmidt; D. Rind; R.A. Ruedy at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York, NY.,” the authors maintain that:

    “For example, water vapor is a powerful greenhouse gas and is more abundant in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. But, it condenses and precipitates from the atmosphere and thus plays a different role than carbon dioxide and other, noncondensing greenhouse gases, such as ozone, methane and chlorofluorocarbons. Andrew Lacis and colleagues conducted a set of idealized climate model experiments in which various greenhouse gases were added to or subtracted from the atmosphere, in order to illustrate their roles in controlling the temperature of the air.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/14/nasa-giss-in-science-express-co2-climates-main-control-knob/

    However, even at -33C, water vapor exists. I don’t have a number in ppm of water vapor in air, but maybe someone here knows. Since water is such a powerful greenhouse gas, can it be said with certainty that even without CO2, there would not be a warming effect from the water vapor?

    • Is this a really good question for which no one has an answer or is it so blatantly stupid that everyone is laughing at me? :)

      • not a stupid question, i just can’t generate enough interest to actually read the paper :) when my next blog post is ready, i will try to take a look at that paper

      • Jim – The question’s fine. From what I’ve seen quoted from the article, they don’t claim that there’s zero warming effect from water vapor.

        As a general rule (close enough for our purposes), water vapor content at saturation decreases by a factor of 2 for every 10C drop in temperature. Going from +10 to -33 would be a reduction of about 96%. If relative humidity stays about the same, the actual water vapor content would decrease by 96% too.

        The lapse rate will probably change a bit. This matters because the temperature at the level(s) of atmospheric IR emission control the energy balance. Small effect, though, compared to the 96% reduction.

        But then because of the way absorption lines saturate and broaden, the net effect on the greenhouse effect would be much smaller than 96%. Maybe more like 80%. Someone’s probably worked out the answer; maybe it’s even in the paper!

        So not a stupid question. It’s just that the answer doesn’t tell you what you really want to know.

  23. I am a Fellow of the American Physical Society, and one who is currently unhappy with my society issuing statements related to topics in which the society has little expertise. Whether or not this has happened multiple times in the past is irrelevant. These statements serve no useful purpose, and are potentially harmful to what I regard as the best profession in the world: physics.

    For example, few (including me) would disagree that flu shots serve a useful purpose. But it should not be the concern of the APS (and most other professional societies) to issue statements about this topic. This would be within the purview of medical societies. In 2007 the APS leadership made a mistake, and the current leadership is stuck with the problem. Retraction would be too embarrassing, so a lengthy and messy watering down of the original statement was issued. This basically satisfied nobody, but was in my opinion probably the best that could be expected under the circumstances. This incident should serve as a warning for the society in the future.

    • What do you think about the APS Executive persisting in ignoring the Lewis’ Petition in direct contradiction to their own Constitution, please ?

      I noted this point above. It still remains undiscussed

      • I agree that this is the more interesting (and inexplicable) part of the story, the shenanigans going on at the APS. I am interested in what changed Lewis’ mind on this subject, I hope he replies to Revkin.

      • Thank you for the reply, Judith but I was actually addressing the point to the poster Physicist who stated he (she?) is a Fellow of the APS

        Having the executive of your own professional organisation, to whom you remained loyal and paid annual dues to for lo! these many years, completely trash your own Constitution in murky pursuit of who-knows-what hidden agenda is a situation I am extremely familiar with … but it most certainly pertains to AGW, since such “Executive” behaviour only surfaced with this

  24. For fans of Anastassia Makarieva, she has a new paper posted on a discussion journal (note this is the way i think academic publishing should be done in the internet age):

    Where do winds come from? A new theory on how water vapor condensation influences atmospheric pressure and dynamics

    Makarieva A.M., Gorshkov V.G., Sheil D., Nobre A.D., Li B.-L.

    now up for public discussion at ACPD:

    http://www.atmos-chem-phys-discuss.net/10/24015/2010/acpd-10-24015-2010.html

  25. At dotearth, Andy Revkin has an interesting take on Hal Lewis, including an interview. A must read. Apparently more to follow if Lewis chooses to answer Revkin’s further question

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/a-physicists-climate-complaints/

    • I think Revkin will deeply regret his choosing to tap into the idea that this entire debate should be framed as affective.
      Who is more dysfunctionally affective? The ones clinging to the idea of a worldwide ‘global climate disruption’ and ‘tippipng points’ caused by CO2 or those who are skeptical of such claims?
      For the past period of over a year the AGW promoters have careened from revealing mistake to revealing mistake. Gore’s self destruction of his credibility, the emergence of Hansen as eco-warrior and genocidal supporter, to CRUgate to the Himalya meltdown to Copenhagen’s implosion to the CRU whitewashes to wild predictions about Arctic ice, to the faux audit of Pachurai, to the NZ temps being shown to phony, etc., etc. etc. Not one AGW hysteric clima has held up this year. So now attacking a respected physicist who sees through the social dysfunction is how low the Revkin’s and other profiteers from AGW must go.
      What would make Revkin’s interview with Dr. Lewis interesting is if he ever – ever- interviewed a Mann or Hansen or Jones as tough.
      But then Revkin would not be the lapdog CRUgate revealed him to be if he did that.

    • If one disregards climate models and dendro studies – what is left of the “mountains of evidence” that the Earth will undergo catastrophic global warming? I keep hearing about the “mountains of evidence.” Does this refer to the melting glaciers, the “extreme” weather, more hurricanes, or what?

      • Alex Heyworth

        So hunter, you claim Rivkin = Hansen’s chihuahua?

      • IMO Revkin is an independent thinker on this topic, at various times he has managed to inflame people on both sides of the climate change debate. I don’t always agree with him of course, but I regard him as being more in the “center” on this issue than most people.

      • He is an independent thinker, but like all journalists he tailors his writing to his audience. Given that he writes for the NYT, this will be a generally pro-CAGW liberal audience. On the question of inflaming people on both sides of the debate, blogs in mainstream newspapers are supposed to generate controversy and heat. More heat = more comments = more eyeballs.

      • Good question. The AGW promoters treat him as if he is. They talk about correction techniques to use on him, and their frustrations when he strains on their leash. Revkin protests it, and laughs it off, but at the end of the day he is either on a leash or so well trained he no longer needs one.
        But my question still stands: Will Andy Revkin ever do a tough critical review as the basis for interviewing Mann, Jones, Hansen, Schmidt, et al? Would he ever even think of actually critically reviewing them and making them go line by line? Would he like to hear from the psychologists and historians who may have some observations on how AW promoters compare with other historical and psychological processes?

  26. With respect to Hal Lewis. I suggest there are two aspects to this story; scientific and political. I agree that from the sceintific point of view, his resignation is a non-event. However, from a political point of view, his resignation could have major ramificatrions; it depends on whether others follow his lead. I have no idea what people think about discussing the politics of CAGW on this blog, so I will say no more. Please note that there are rumors that the report from the French National Academy of Sciences is devastating to the supporters of CAGW. This also could have major political implications.

    • Jim, on open thread, politics is fair game, as long as things don’t get too heated.

      • Let me wax political. CAGW is a fascinating subjest; so are missing solar neutrinos. Politicians have heard of the former, but not the latter. I live in Canada. In British Columbia there is a carbon tax on gasoline. Here in Ontario we are spending 14 BILLION dollars on wind and solar generators to try and replace 3 existing coal fired generators. That hurts me where it really matters; in my wallet.
        So far as I am aware, the US mid-term elections are the first time that politicians have said they are AGAINST CAGW in the hope that this will help them get some more votes. I know there is the ACT party in New Zealand, but I dont think CAGW was an election issue.
        Two weeks is a long time in politics. If Hal Lewis’s resignation gets reported in the MSM, this could have major implications. I have not noticed the story being reported at all, in the MSM. But if something else happens, i.e. another high profile resignation from the APS, this could become a major election issue in the USA.

      • It has been mentioned in the New York Times;
        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/a-physicists-climate-complaints/
        I don’t know how much truth there is to the review, but it’s the first I’ve seen on MSM.

  27. Frankly I find the physics envy and analysis of mathematical prowess quite frequently used in analyzing many complex system fields like climate science or biology and not very convincing. For every Ivar Giaever, forget about Lubos Motl, there are any number of Nobel Prize and other decorated members on the other side. I’m sure the skeptics used the same appeal to authority arguments before, it’s funny how the argument changes.

    • RB,
      Since scientist’s opinions on AGW are part of an affective process, according to Andy’s snarky little piece, why should the opinions of a bunch of non-experts be any more credible than Dr. Lewis?

      • hunter,
        The number of scientists who have done two big things in their life is exceedingly small and there are probably every field just has millions of ants, some who can see farther than others. Perhaps the phenomenon has something to do with what Hamming alluded to here .

        When you are famous it is hard to work on small problems. This is what did Shannon in. After information theory, what do you do for an encore? The great scientists often make this error. They fail to continue to plant the little acorns from which the mighty oak trees grow. They try to get the big thing right off. And that isn’t the way things go. So that is another reason why you find that when you get early recognition it seems to sterilize you.

        It is better to treat each person afresh on the merits of their arguments.

      • For the extra-scientific background behind those associated with the Marshall Institute and JASON, such as Dr. Lewis and Dr. Dyson were, there’s an article here h/t Dot Earth. Per this article, a feeling of earth sciences being inferior to physics and their own diminishing status in policy circles are some of the motivating factors.


        An IPCC leader—a physicist himself—echoed the above
        statement:
        There is a group of physicists among the contrarians
        who feel that they are experts [on the climate issue.
        There is a long-standing tradition in the physics
        community that holds that physicists can solve any
        problem just by thinking about it. There is a group in
        the US called JASON. These physicists meet down in
        Southern California, and they were convinced that they
        could solve any problem. They were convinced they
        could solve the acid rain problem intellectually. They
        didn’t care about models and clouds and other detail.
        They thought they could do it from first principles of
        physics. And there is some of that left over.

        Overhearing the above comments, another IPCC leader
        and scientist pitched in: ‘‘You see, there are scientists who
        have been working at the highest levels in science and
        government, who feel as if they can make statements about
        any scientific area. But what they have to do first is their
        homework!’’ While the JASONS raison d’eˆtre was to solve
        any problem in any field on the basis of mathematics and
        physics, their expertise and competence is questioned in the
        environmental field.

        The bottom line being that ability and knowledge are two different things.

      • Frankly what that quote suggest to me is the opposite: That the Earth science people are jumping at their big chance- climate science- to save the World and get lots of policy attention (and mucho dinero), and shaggy physicist who stands in their way had best watch out.

      • While on dinero, the article says ..
        Federal funding for basic science and physics research
        has steadily declined, while new fields (including environmental
        science and, especially, biomedical science) have
        enjoyed increased funds due to new social concerns. ……. For
        instance, inflation adjusted funding for nuclear power
        research and development decreased by sixty percent from
        1980 to 1990…….In his memoir, Seitz describes the SSC machine as ‘‘magnificently
        conceived,’’ associating its defeat with the US Congress’
        ‘‘lack of fundamental understanding of the scientific base
        upon which our current civilization rests’’ ………A more convincing reason for their
        engagement with the backlash is that they are defending
        what they consider good and right—a normative framework
        that endows them with the prestige, respect, and
        funding to which they feel entitled ….

        It cuts both ways.

      • Re: Myanna Lahsen’s paper

        Great God, this is an awful piece of … work. I’ve looked at it three times now, trying to identify the “George C. Marshall Institute trio”, and only found Frederic Seitz. The Wall Of Text is, well….

        “The above-mentioned sociological work on the antienvironmental
        movement establishes the what and the how
        dimensions of scientists’ engagement with it. What it does
        not illuminate is why such scientists have chosen to lend
        their support to this movement: Who are they? Where do
        they come from? What motivates them? This paper seeks to
        answer these questions with regards to three influential
        physicists who joined the backlash, Frederick Seitz, Robert
        Jastrow, and William Nierenberg (hereafter referred to as
        ‘‘the trio’’).” — page 4 (I think) of the paper.

        Ah. Never heard of Nierenberg. Has this woman never heard of what you use the abstract for?

        “It’s a sin to waste the reader’s time” — Larry Niven

      • The Lahsen paper reads as post-modern gobbledegook, but based on the assumption in the Summary that such physicists joined the contrarian-AGW group in order to defend their preferred world view of science against the winds of change – ie. they are incapable of adaptation. An interestingly silly assumption, absolutely untested of course

        I have played with a word processing program designed to take random post-modern phrases and assemble them in grammatically correct sentences. The result is perfectly formed utter nonsense, of course, but one such effort was actually published in an Aus newspaper and taken seriously :)

  28. In contrast to the APS policy statements and procedures, consider statements made by the American Meteorological Society.
    http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/amsstatements_inforce.html

    The AMS statements are designed to inform, and include recommendations. The policy statements have a finite lifetime, after which they are revised or dropped. There are very clear guidelines for these statements. The topics of these statements relate directly to standing committees of the society and their expertise.

  29. I compiled set of data relating to the North Atlantic, normally not associated with the climatic changes. Data are normalised to the CET’s indicating a possible contributory factor.
    CET-NAP
    Most of required and related informationto is assembled, but it needs to be presented in a systematic and coherent manner, for which some help from an educational or research establishment would be more than welcome.

  30. Roger Caiazza

    Andrew Dodds asked to quote some scientists who have made ‘false and wildly exaggerated claims’ in the past year. I offer the Syracuse Post Standard October 15, 2010: “A group of six prominent Central New York scientists and environmental leaders Thursday condemned Republican congressional candidate Ann Marie Buerkle for her comments in a televised debate in which she questioned whether global climate change was real. The group, including Cornelius Murphy, president of the State University College of Environmental Science and Forestry, said it wanted to set the record straight on the consensus opinion: Global climate change is happening and possibly a threat.”

    So far so good but then Murphy said: “This has been known by scientists for decades. We’re going to have changes of ocean levels of 1 to 4 feet by the end of the next century. We’re going to have a temperature change of 8 to 9 degrees.”

    While it is certainly possible to parse out the quote on projections to say it is not “false and wildly exaggerated” in my opinion that statement falsely and wildly exaggerates the degree of certainty associated with it. I have become increasingly frustrated when proponents of doing something about global warming do not clearly identify the temporal, spatial, and contextual limits of climate science and their confidence limits especially when they lump statements about the observed global warming since the little ice age with any projection of future conditions. It does them more harm than good.

    Incidentally, Ms. Buerkle’s quote was “a lot of the global warming myth has been exposed” and she has stated that she was referring to a scandal among climate scientists whose leaked e-mails suggested that they might have a personal bias.

  31. Over at dotearth, Andrew Gilligan provided a link to a very interesting paper that is relevant to understanding the Hal Lewis story, discussing why some elite physicists have chosen to be part of the anti-environmental movement

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-2590-2008.05.pdf

    • Dr Curry,
      Since when is being a skeptic of ‘global climate disruption’ the same as being ‘anti-environmental’?
      And since when did the skeptics become an ‘anti-environmental movement’?
      In fact, what is ‘anti-environmental’?

      • From the paper:
        ***
        Following Austin (2002), I define ‘‘antienvironmentalism’’ as a
        collection of ideologies and political practices designed to advance capital
        accumulation and manage the discontents stemming from industrial
        production and mass consumption.
        ***

        Basically, any scientist who does not go along with the religion is painted with motives other than they believe the science is dodgy.

      • Jim,
        Based on that Austin (2002), I hope that we get a much clearer definition.
        Frankly Austin (2002) sounds like gibberish.

      • The pro-CAWG crowd continually try to find ways to paint skeptics as funded by big oil, to be flat-Earthers, to be creationists, to be ignorant, stupid, or motivated by anything other than the fact they see the science behind CAWG as flawed. They also continually try to find ways to use flawed models as a basis for policy. The bottom line is that if the models can’t be proven to reliably predict future climate, they should not be used for policy. Sometimes the best you have just isn’t good enough and that’s the end of the story.

      • Jim: “The bottom line is that if the models can’t be proven to reliably predict future climate, they should not be used for policy. Sometimes the best you have just isn’t good enough and that’s the end of the story.

        I’m curious about that point of view, because I don’t understand it at all. Maybe this belongs in a climate model thread, but here we are, so here goes.

        We know from basic physics that anthropogenic increases in greenhouse gases should lead to a warming effect on the Earth.

        From past changes in climate (glacials, etc.) plus recent climate trends, we can get a very rough ballpark estimate of how big a warming to expect, based on past radiative forcing changes and resulting temperature changes. It’s very rough, because we don’t have direct measurements of way-back temperatures or many of the forcing changes, and independent corroboration of temperature changes from satellites is a relatively recent phenomenon.

        Climate models (aside from the many ways they help us understand the climate system) produce a fairly wide range of temperature projections too, implying they have large random errors. But the range of projections is consistent with the rough ballpark estimates from past climate changes and probably means that the extreme low and extreme high sensitivity possibilities are unlikely. They also illustrate some of the possible regional effects of climate change, which mostly but not entirely are consistent with observed changes.

        Clearly all the models are flawed, because no two agree on the climate sensitivity value and so it’s extremely unlikely any one is correct. But why does that mean that they should be ignored completely? Since the wide variety of models fall within a certain range of sensitivities, doesn’t that improve the odds that the real sensitivity is somewhere close to that range? Isn’t that useful knowledge?

        Would you rather make policy believing the climate sensitivity for CO2 doubling is 1C-9C (without models) or 2C-5.5C (with models)?

        And which of those two possibilities implies a greater sense of urgency?

      • Hi John, actually i think the 1-9C is the better set of numbers to work with, better reflects our uncertainties. More in this in the next two weeks.

      • Better to work with for who?

        For policy makers, it would be hopeless – maybe we need to do nothing much, or maybe we need far-reaching and urgent action. I think their resposne would be ‘go away and come back with something useful’.

      • And that would be exactly right. Implicit in your response is that there is nothing useful to policy makers, in our current understanding of the science. I would be hard-pressed to disagree with you here. If and when this changes let the policy makers know, but not before.

      • Dr. N-G,
        Of course this is a point that has been visited many times.
        I think even the most hard core skeptic would agree that a 9o rise in temps would be dramatic and in many ways bad.
        Since that is far outside even the IPCC band, perhaps an outlier like that should be clarified a bit?
        As to the ability of the models to predict regional or even global results meaningfully, that claim seems to conflict with what Dr. Pielke, Sr. has published on the matter.
        I remember that when I asked you another time if AGW could be falsified you stated, if I recall correctly, that it would take finding out that the understanding of the greenhouse effect of CO2 would have to be proven wrong.
        Am I remembering this accurately?

      • Hunter: The IPCC range does not go up to 9C because they use information available from climate model sensitivity studies.

        I didn’t say anything about predictions. Our ability to predict the climate is unproven, and it will remain so until it’s too late. Model output is useful for other reasons.

        You’re correct about our “falsification” conversation.

      • Dr. N-G,
        Thanks. I am glad my poor memory has not let me down too much.
        I look forward to understanding more about why 9o would even be on the menu.
        As to the falsification issue, I would offer this: Dr. Pielke is of the opinion- and he has backed it up with evidence- that GCM’s are not basic physics programs.
        If that is the case, would it not be reasonable that they could be proven wrong without discovering new physics or falsifying old? IOW, is it really reasonable to set the bar of falsification as high as basic physics for global climate disruption to be falsified?

      • Hunter – It’s not a matter of “could they be proven wrong”. They’re complex models with parameterizations. Of course they’re wrong. But they convey information, some of it more useful than others, particularly when the information can be tested against known physical principles.

        If we didn’t have climate models, I think that my concern for potential catastrophic effects of AGW might be greater. For example, our expectation that global tropical cyclone numbers will probably not increase is mainly based on climate models.

      • *****
        Would you rather make policy believing the climate sensitivity for CO2 doubling is 1C-9C (without models) or 2C-5.5C (with models)?
        *****
        If the climate models don’t model ocean circulation and effects well, and don’t model clouds and effects well, and have to make numerous simplifications and approximations; can anyone read much into the fact that the doubling-guess falls within an arbitrary range?

      • Some models do better than others with ocean circulations, but I’m not aware of any key ocean circulation features they’re missing. The models have a wide range of cloud behavior, so it’s hard for me to imagine that actual cloud behavior is too much beyond that envelope. If models had not been subject to extensive tests on past climate, I’d be quite a bit more concerned.

      • When you say the models have a wide range of cloud behavior, does that behavior emerge from equations based on the elementary physical phenomenon or is that behavior assumed to be X and “dropped into” the model as an approximation?

      • The cloud behavior is complicated by the multi-scale chaotic nature of the fluid flow. Climate models don’t come close to resolving the scales of relevance for clouds.

      • Thank you, Doctor.

      • The local behavior of individual clouds in response to upward motion, instability, etc. is dropped into the model as an approximation. The behavior of clouds in the simulated climate system then emerges through the interaction of the “model clouds” with the physics-based dynamics of motion.

      • Let me join hunter on this one. I have never been “anti-environmental”. I have been a major supporter of finding renewable energy sources. What I complain about is politicians doing the right thing for the wrong reason. We need an alternative to fossil fules, but not because they produce CO2, but because we might run out of them. I am a major supporter of re-cycling, and not producing garbage. And I am against what is true pollution in the air; CO2 is NOT a pollutant. So, by all means call me a denier of CAGW, but please dont call me anti-environmental.

      • The confusion of ‘greenhouse effect’ and AGW has been annoying.
        The confusion of ‘agree with AGW’ and ‘pro-environmental’ boggles the mind.
        AGW true believers support windmill power, which is a terribly anti-environmental way to generate electricity, for example.

      • Dr. Curry: Count me in with Hunter, Jim, and Jim Cripwell.

        Experiences of modernity in the greenhouse: A cultural analysis of a
        physicist ‘‘trio’’ supporting the backlash against global warming
        is simply a junk paper written and published by climate change advocates in order to grind an axe against their opponents.

        Guess where the editors of this fine “Global Environmental Change” publication hail from? Univ. of East Anglia. I’m sure they are entirely impartial.

        It would be trivial to turn this around and provide a similar and likely more devastating “cultural analysis” of climate scientists.

      • Well I am in favor of this kind of cultural analysis, i don’t think we do sufficient reflection on these kinds of issues. I hope that someone does a similar study of climate scientists that have become policy advocates and activists. These are subjects we should talk about and try to get a better understanding of.

      • As someone who for years has watched the AGW phenomenon, I agree with you on the need for a serious study of how climate science has become such a significant source of social interest and status.
        An important insight would be gained by understanding the term ‘anti-environmental’, especially in regards to AGW and one’s credulity or skepticism of it.

      • I agree that this is rather bizarre. Many of the pro-AGW scientists are pro-AGW because they believe their models, not because they are environmentalists. By the same token, many environmentalists are skeptical of AGW. I recall a thread like this over at WUWT, where Willis E. made a pretty convincing case that he was a pretty hard core environmentalist, and many others chimed in.

      • But the real question is how has skepticism of global climate disruption caused by CO2 become equated with ‘anti-environmentalism’?
        How has support of global climate disruption caused by CO2 become equated with being pro-environment?
        IOW, in the paper you linked, it was simply the working assumption that those wicked physicists, probably due to their politically incorrect senility or being paid puppets of Big Energy, or both, are now for destroying the Earth, or at least its environment.
        To me that is as large fallacy on the part of the authors as for a fundamentalist to decide that someone who does not support their faith is obviously a tool of satan, if not willing agent.

      • Having been an active organic gardener for 40+ years, moved around the country several times, I have come in contact with many varieties of environmentalists.

        Active environmentalists are a different breed from environmental activists, the former are genuinely concerned about the health of the soil and cleanliness of the water above and below the surface. Most worked quietly on local area projects to clean up areas of real toxic pollution, tried to educate others on organic growing methods, community based grass roots gardens for the disadvantaged, and building a net work of healthy food stuffs.

        The activists on the other hand were usually the young impulsive programmable, “rebels with a new cause”, seeking social structure to fit into, whose main interest seemed to be hemp cultivation. What you see today 30 years later is the latest generation of activists being gathered together by groups like green peace, and are [$12 / hour wages paid says the adds] being used as useful idiots to do the leg work of picketing and protesting what ever agenda the CAGW programmers are currently running to side track the real work of finding, reporting, and fixing pollution hazards, by the USEPA.

        The large corporations have been buying into the control process, of the programing of these for hire short term activists local agendas, for at least 20 years, sweeping the young unenlightened along in their wake.

        However the older organic soil builder crowd have been hoodwinked into adding funds and grass roots support to the drive to “be environmentally friendly”, and are becoming more aware that they have been used by the CAGW political agenda, and are not very happy at all. I expect a full fledged revolt by them out of revolution over the subverting of their original goals to the exact opposite.

        The midterm elections will show a huge wave of discontent in this population, it is already being discussed on the blogs, twitter, and other social media.

        The backlash from the hijacking of the real goals of reducing toxic pollution the USEPA was formed to do, into the CAGW NWO agenda driven “CO2 is poison” meme, just to consolidate a new tax base for wasteful spending of scarce resources in a period of economic downturn, orchestrated by the very same UN NWO antisovereign via coup by legislation, is not going to fly much longer.

        Kyoto was the first attempt to redistribute wealth into the international corporations operations that expanded to the third world in search of cheap labor, and tax exemption. What is interesting about this whole process in the environmental sense is that the pollution controls that were put in place in USEPA good ole days, that was supported by both types of environmentalists helped to drive the jobs and industry overseas.

        Now that China is building 3 to 4 new coal power plants every week, and India 1 to 2 each week, they are not using any of the advances in technology that makes using coal in the USA almost pollution free. And you wonder why true environmentalists are anti CAGW.

        Then add to that the problems that the hubris of the “climate science” is unsupported except by the fudged data “the teams” have been caught massaging, in the UK, NZ, AUS, USA, China, Russia, the IPCC snafu of errors in the scattered unsubstantiated propaganda.

        Now that Hansen et al have jacked the stats to almost a whole degree just to try to hide the decline, what are they going to do when global temperatures drop 3 to 5 degrees over the next 10 to 30 years? When are the real raw data going to emerge again so we can fix this make believe problem, by “repowering America” when the truth comes out?

        Now you want to say that the environmental skeptical attitudes to the totally corrupt political machine, is some how a product of the “not being able to properly sell CAGW to the masses”. “If only they knew how important it was to save the world.” When it has been clear all along that the complete loss of individual freedom has been the hidden agenda all along, and “the team’s handlers” have used the well intentioned environmentalists volunteer free labor to fuel the public part of the scam.

        To say that freedom loving, clear thinking skeptical minds, are “anti-science” and “anti-environmental” is just a slap in the face to people with common sense, who do the real work of food production, and industrial labor that runs this country.

        Garden forks, shovels, and torches will continue to fill town halls brought by the farmers ousted from their own lands in many countries, as the international corporation and banking system colonialism sweeps the worlds. I have sold my bolt action rifles, and invested in semi autos with lots of ammo, I do not plan on installing any alternative wind or solar electric power on my farm, although solar hot water works fine for me.

      • My experience on entering the topic of climate change, and my spatial awareness of the positioning and perspectives of those around me, suggests that the subject of climate change attracts “environmentally interested” parties.

        Those individuals then sub-divide into CAGW and Sceptic camps, not specifically on the matter of the environment but on the integrity and validity of the scientific work being conducted. The base interest in environmental matters remains, but the polarisation occurs on the divider between the goal of upholding scientific integrity at all cost and the goal of elevating ideological matters by whatever means available.

        The suggestion is then introduced by pro-CAGW camp, that the base interest of the Sceptic camp is fossil-fuelled rather than environmental and that the pro-CAGW camp is virtuous in contrast because it holds the moral, environmental high ground – fallacial ad hominem circumstantial.

      • Dr. Curry: I don’t object to such reflections as op-ed pieces or magazine articles, but as formatted and footnoted documents masquerading as objective academic papers I draw the line.

        The author has her biases, as well as the GEC publishing group, but those are concealed.

        My bet is that the current overwhelming left-wing bias of academia will be remembered by the future as fondly as McCarthyism is today.

        Give me an honest fist-shaking like Hal Lewis’s any day.

    • Judith, I suspect your use of “anti-environmental movement” was inadvertent, but it does reveal a profound truth about the politics of climate alarmism. From its inception, indeed I would suggest from the publication of Silent Spring, alarmists, whether of DDT, global cooling, acid rain, and now global warming, have peddled the superficially plausible notion that scepticism of their current obsession was incompatible with care for the environment. Their intention has been to produce the exactly the Pavlovian association between scepticism and a disregard for the environment (and of which David Bellamy is possibly the best-known counter-example) that your remark reveals. It is a false syllogism that was tested, as it turned to destruction, by the No Pressure video. To the extent to which they have succeeded, the peddlers of this myth have retained the loyalty of the vast army of fellow-travellers needed to keep the CAGW ship on an even keel. It’s the grand-daddy of all the straw men in CAGW alarmism, and needs jumping on, as hunter has.

      If I’m wrong, and you really do believe CAGW sceptics are anti-environmental, can you expand?

      • I am proud my six year old daughter got voted onto her schools ECO team.

        Everyone has been painted as anti-environment, if they disagree with CAGW – this is pure propaganda.. I have seen refrence to Judith Curry as now ‘failing’ as a scientist, for what she is doing.

        On Dr David Bellamy, the BBC’s Richard Black calls him a TV presenter, basically if you disagree with AGW, or are old, you are discounted…

        BBC: ‘Warmist’ attack smacks of ‘sceptical’ intolerance
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/thereporters/richardblack/2010/09/something_new_and_not_altogeth.html.

        Richard Black (BBC) listed a few men – Like “TV PRESENTER David Bellamy”…..

        Why NOT list Dr David Bellamy’s scientific qualifications –

        DR David Bellamy, OBE
        (they give out OBE’s to denairs? he should be stripped of it, right away, surely, sorry sarcasm)

        ————————–
        Professor David J. Bellamy OBE. BSc., PhD., Hon:- FLS,. FIBiol., DSc., DUniv., FIBiol., FCIWEM Hon (born 1933) is an English professor, botanist, author, broadcaster and environmental campaigner.

        He attended Sutton County Grammar School, Sutton, Chelsea College of Science and Technology and Bedford College, all in London.

        He was brought up as a strict Baptist.

        Bellamy and his wife Rosemary, whom he maried when he was 19, have five children – four are adopted.

        He originally trained as a botanist at Durham University, where he later held the post of senior lecturer in botany until 1982. He is still their Honorary Preofessor for Adult and Continuing Education.

        He first came to public prominence as an envoironmental consultant at the time of the Torrey Canyon disaster.

        In 1983, he was JAILED for blockading the Franklin River in protest at a proposed dam.

        He has been the writer and presenter of some 400 television programmes on Botany, Ecology and Environment.”
        ——

        Dr David Bellamy was campaigning and being JAILED for the environment and conservation, whilst Richard Black (and George Monbiot)werevery young. He was campaigning, whilst there WAS a Big businees vested interest against, environmentalism..

        But because of his views of AGW and man made global warming, George Monbiot (Guardian), has him in a deniars Hall of Shame. The BBC’s Richard Black refer to his as a ‘TV Presenter’.

        All his environmental/conservation acheivments ignored/forgotten, unlauded, because he will not submit to the ‘consensus’

        Whether Dr Bellamy is right or wrong on AGW, (he may not come across as well in hostile debates with George Monbiot, he perhaps was far too polite), that is moot, the point is the ‘consensus’ demands that deniars are ‘anti-science’.

        Even to the point where DR Judith Curry is now being dismissed by the usual pundits as ‘failing’ as a scientist…..

        Roger Harrabin had his Al Gore moment: (3 years ago)

        “And after the interview he [Al Gore] and his assistant stood over me shouting that my questions had been scurrilous, and implying that I was some sort of CLIMATE SCEPTIC TRAITOR.

        Jo Nova, mentions another scientists experience at the hands of Al Gore:

        “Hello, Richard, yes, exactly, and you are catching up fast on the world in 1990. Around then, an intolerant culture was established that scorned anyone who so much as asked difficult questions. Some eminent scientists were sacked. Al Gores staffers attacked Fred Singer so viperously, that he took them to court and won. But what message did that send to the world’s scientists? You can speak your doubts on the hypothesis of man-made-catastrophe, but be prepared to spend thousands on lawyers, risk your job, and lose your friends. Singer won the battle, but Al won that war.”
        At the time Al Gore was a US Senator – and became Vice -President of the USA in 1993….. A powerful message to scientist was sent.

        Yet Roger Harrabin (BBC) a while back, asked sceptical bloggers for a list of sceptical scientists. Well, perhaps they were still keeping there heads down.

      • Tom, the word “anti-environmental movement” was pulled from the Lahsen paper. My previous message stated that there seemed to be little correspondence between environmental activism (or anti-environmental activism) and AGW activism and skepticism amongst scientists and bloggers (with advocacy groups, that is a different story, there is a strong correspondence between broader environmental issues and AGW activism).

    • \i’m sceptical of the CAGW delusion…

      I am VERY much for the ‘environment’…

      That is just falling for the PR machine agaainst anyone sceptical… SEE Dr David Bellamy’s treatment above.. IN the UK, arguably he started popular environmentalism, now he is a ‘deniar’ (whatever that actualy means)

  32. Well, the paper is interesting and provocative; I don’t agree with most of it. The issue of U.S. federal science support shifting from pure science to impact science is interesting. Also, although not explicitly discussed in the paper, the reductionist approach to science (i.e. used in physics and chemistry) doesn’t work for complex environmental systems, so there seems to be a philosophical issue of many physicists to disdain the environmental sciences.

    • By the way, in case people haven’t figured me out yet, my motive in providing a link to something is that I think it is provocative and worth discussing, not that it is “true” in my opinion. Note, this is a different approach from that at RC, where their links etc. are carefully blessed and filtered as being the “truth” and the stuff i do is well purvey misinformation. Its a different approach to thinking/learning and I don’t hold myself as any particular truth authority or a filter for “misinformation”, but i do my best to foster logical reasoning and argument justification which requires that evidence from both sides of an argument be provided.

      • An important and gratefully appreciated distinction.

      • Indeed, some readers are going to see you as an authority however even if that’s only based on this being your blog, let alone your background. I imagine a lot of readers have been wondering about where you’re ultimately “coming from”, and what sort of endorsements lie behind your posts. This clears it up somewhat, but you’re still walking a bit of a fine line that may end up getting muddled. I do wish you the best in it though – makes for interesting reading.

      • And this, behaviorally, is the natural reaction not only for many lay readers but also to eminent Nobel-quality people . Nothing nefarious about the RC approach in this context ..

      • I have a fun post in the pipeline that takes on one of Krugman’s arguments, but I need to build up a bit more background for it

      • I think that it’s rather an issue of quality control over at RC rather than your jaundiced take on it as “blessed”. They try to keep the discussion to science as much as they can.

        You’ve taken a more promiscuous approach, the logical outcome of which is that at times comments here somewhat resemble a cage of monkeys flinging poo.

        Amusing (from a distance), but not very edifying.

    • Dr. Curry. To a great extent quantum mechanics blew away the reductionist approach. One can no longer plot the trajectory of a particle, know the state of a free photon, or guarantee that a particle has to have X energy to move through a potential barrier. Some scientists are still fighting the battle against quantum mechanics, even though it has described many observations that classical physics could not. The fact that climate is chaotic, or something hadn’t know about until reading this blog: spatio-temporal chaotic (fascinating), does mean it will be difficult to model. But that does not mean the one cannot test at least some predictions like the Earth’s radiation budget. It seems to me a toehold is to be gained through efforts like this and those efforts should attract more funding and time.

      • Also, on the other end of physical scale, the universe is studied by physicists. It is difficult to do an experiment on also. The point being that physicists in general have already run into the same sorts of problems climate scientists are seeing. I can’t believe the opinions about climate science of some of them is irrelevant or adds nothing to the discussion.

      • Jim, there is a DOE program called Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program, in existence for almost 20 years with an annual budget of ~$40M, their website is http://www.arm.gov. This is actual field measurements (not laboratory measurements).

  33. Regarding the publication of computer code used in scientific publication: This is a simple matter. In any Science 101 college lab class you are told: describe your methods sufficiently that another person could replicate your experiment. Needless to say, that standard is the same for publications. At least some in cllimate science seems to be unfamiliar with this elementary requirement. I take this from the detailed discussion Steve McIntyre has shared on his experiences.

    In, say, molecular biology, you describe your methods sufficiently enough that anyone competent in standard lab methods either knows how or can figure out how to redo your work. This is essential – in order to advance your work, others frequently have to start by replicating it exactly.

    When climate science draws on statistics as its method of choice, there’s a fundamental difference from experimental sciences like molecular biology. Computer-generated statistical analyses cannot be replicated in the same way as protein isolation. The only way to replicate a specific statistical analysis of a particular set of data is to run the IDENTICAL analysis on the IDENTICAL data. Telling someone to do their own work – without your code and your data set – is abdicating the ethical and formal requirement to make methods available and to do reproducible science.

    Without publication of both data sets and code, readers can only trust that the work was done properly and as described. And trust can NEVER be the basis of good science. The now-infamous quote from a climate scientist passed on to McIntyre – “I’ve worked 25 years on this, why should I help your tear down my work?” (paraphrased) – represents perfectly the attitude towards the elementary requirements of proper scientific practice that has found its way into the field. The tearing down of previous work IS the proper working of science as a social endeavor. Mandatory publication of all code and datasets should be required by all journals – we’re not talking about the old-school piles of scribbled notebooks any more; everything is sitting in files on a hard drive. We shouldn’t have to beg to get scientists held to the same standard as college freshmen.

    • Mark B writes “When climate science draws on statistics as its method of choice, there’s a fundamental difference from experimental sciences…”

      You have completely lost me. I always thought that the word “science” implied some sort of experimental data. This is particularly true of physics, and, to me, climate science is part of physics.

      This is, of course, the trouble with CAGW. We cannot do experiments on the earth’s atmosphere. The conclusion we should draw from this, is that the classical scientific methodology of relying on experimental data, simply will never tell us what will happen as we add more CO2 to the atmosphere. What the conclusion by the IPCC should have been, ab initio, was that we just dont know. And we will never know, until we have the appropiate data to rely on.

      Instead the IPCC went into the never never land of non-validated climate related models, and pretended that they are, somehow, doing science.

      The mind boggles.

  34. Dr. Curry:

    A quick question. I was of the understanding that radiative heat transfer was a field of physics. I do clearly recall my first year course in introductory physics covered this, though my later courses in heat transfer were handled by the mechanical engineering and metallurgy faculties. At the heart of it, is not an understanding of HITRAN and MODTRAN a thing a physics expert is eminently qualified for?

    And for the record, I would call myself an anti-environmentalist. My wife on the other hand is a proud environmentalist. Makes for interesting dinner conversation.

  35. Well, you are sort of correct. Physicists would most likely understand the basic underlying quantum mechanics and possibly some spectroscopy. But this is different from understanding the phenomena of atmospheric radiative transfer that where the system is a mixture of specific gases (some of which are quite complex from the radiative transfer point of view), populations of aerosol particles of varying (mixed) composition and sizes, cloud particles (including vexingly complex ice crystals), 3D effects because of cloud heterogeneities, and a complex underlying surface with heteorgeneous emitting and reflecting properties. I have seen numerous cases of card carrying physicists with some bad misconceptions about atmospheric radiative transfer.

    In any event, atmospheric radiative transfer is one of the least controversial aspects of the whole argument. So expecting physicists to “naturally” have a handle on the climate problem is not correct.

    • Thanks for listening! I too understand the complexities. In metallurgy, we don’t have clouds and ice, but the rest certainly exist. The path lengths are often far in excess of what is seen in the atmosphere. Though the distances are smaller, the concentrations can be much higher and the temperature gradients much steeper. Most metallurgists who have done first principle heat transfer models would disagree with you on the lack of controversy regarding climate models of radiative heat transfer.

  36. John, I suspect that metallurgists and mechanical engineers have a much better understanding of radiative transfer in real systems than do physicists.

  37. Alex Heyworth

    Some very interesting software here:
    http://www.competinghypotheses.org/index.php?address=gnu%40cia-ach.toad.com

    Could be used to assess mitigation vs adaptation, or competing hypotheses for climate causation.

  38. Judith, I just read Revkin’s email exchange with Lewis. Far from being a grumpy old OUTsider to climate science, disgruntled at the shade into which the earth sciences had cast his purer calling, physics, as he has been painted, it is quite clear that he is a grumpy old INsider, to the extent of having in the early 90’s been an early climate modeller and published proponent of AGW (if not CAGW) alarmism.

    All that happened, as far as this jaundiced eye can see, was that he stuck by the Scientific Method, reexamined his theories in the light of the failure of the data to match their predictions, gave due weight to the null hypothesis, and thereby put himself at odds with climate science, which abhors such monkish notions. He and climate science have since followed trajectories so divergent as to permit him plausibly to be seen, a couple of decades on (it seems by you, among many), as somehow “outside” climate science, and his resignation therefore of merely political importance.

    You seem to be saying that his claims that global warming are a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.” are of political import only. In the light of what I have just learned about Lewis’ background, I am astonished that you should think his resignation to have no bearing on the science of CAGW itself.

    • Ouch. Revkin just may truly regret his approach if he allows Dr. Lewis to speak further. Or, more likely, Revkin will simply ignore anything else Lewis has to say and not publish any answers he may receive. Saving the world requires breaking a few rules and standards, after all.

      • Yes, my eyebrows rose when I saw him making himself a hostage to fortune, particularly since he was obviously aware that Lewis wasn’t the stranger to climate science the warmists paint him as. Can AR really be so confident of his capos’ hold on the ‘hood? I’m fairly confident anything Revkin withholds will be easy to find on the GWPF site, but surely he must know this too, and feel bound to publish? I shall be watching…

    • I’m not saying anything at all that could be construed that “his claims that global warming are a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.” are of political import only.” I don’t disagree with some of the things he said, but they are just statements and aren’t accompanied by arguments, evidence, or analysis so they are not very convincing. The challenge of making convincing arguments to support the kinds of statements he is making is daunting; I am finding that each point I want to argue and refute takes about 2000-3000 words on the blog. So accusations and words are cheap, but they aren’t convincing. I am personally trying to put my money (i.e. time) where my mouth has been in criticizing the IPCC report.

      I have not seen reference to any scientific papers or assessment reports on the topic of climate change that have been written by Lewis. This doesn’t mean they don’t exist; but I haven’t seen them. If he has been conducting unpublished analyses over the year on this topic, I would like to see his analysis and arguments.

      • I’d be curious to know which of the the things he said you “don’t disagree with.”

      • I look forward both to your larger discussions as well as Dr. Lewis’s.
        Do recall that he was fairly explicit in some of his reasoning:
        The corruption issues of CRUgate.

      • Sorry Judith, “……..his claims that global warming are a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.” are of political import only……. ” should have read

        “……..his claims that global warming science is a “scam” and a “pseudoscientific fraud.” are of political import only…..”

        And no, of course he hasn’t expanded (it was a letter of resignation, let’s not forget) on his cavils in scientific terms, although the Pielke piece you linked to clearly shows he is willing to, if given the opportunity. In other words it’s clear that he will not, having retired, simply fade from the scene in a cloud of frustrated “authority”, but is prepared to parry science in a way that would not have been appropriate, still less expected, in a resignation letter. So it’s unlikely the question of his fitness to challenge CAGW science will remain unanswered for long. In the Pielke/Lewis dialogue, both have made themselves hostages to fortune. I would have thought that was justification, if not for excitement, then at least keen interest?

      • Tom, that is basically my point. Of what import is a letter of resignation? Some people will find it interesting, but I personally don’t get it.

      • Dr. Curry: At this point I’m confused what your point is.

        An elite physicist has just lambasted the APS and declared war on climate change science. Lewis doesn’t simply disagree with climate change, he accuses the science and its practitioners of fraud and he supports the accusation by pointing to the Climategate materials, which are indeed dam*ing, though one can argue how much so.

        Furthermore, he does this when the climate change movement has been weakened by various scandals, losses of faith, and by an adverse economic climate.

        Unless I’ve misread Lewis, he will be coming back to do further battle and cause further damage.

        Only time will tell how much of a wrecking ball Hal Lewis will be, but if I were a climate scientist I wouldn’t want Hal Lewis banging around and validating what many taxpayers already suspect about climate science.

        According David Archer’s book, “The Long Thaw”, climate research is funded at $2 billion/year. That $2 billion/year could drop to $1 billion — or less — pretty quick with a Republican Congress in power. And subpoenas for the likes of Michael Mann could get a lot harder to dodge.

  39. Tomas Milanovic

    To talk about anti-environmentalism I would need a working (e.g internally consistent) definition of environmentalism
    To my knowledge the latter doesn’t exist.
    Therefore the former doesn’t exist either.
    QED

    If by definition is considered a selection of examples , then both are defined but are neither unique nor consistent.
    Example : if you define environmentalism like “The thesis and program of Greenpeace , WWF and ….” then I am clearly and intensively anti-environmentalist because my opinion can be well described by negating more than 90% of their opinions.

    Example : if you define environmentalism like “A minimisation of impact of human activities on human health under constraint of minimisation of costs.” then I am environmentalist.

    The fact that above are explicitely 2 plausible environmentalism definitions leading to the conclusion that I am and am not anti-environmentalist suggests that the concept of “environmentalism” is at best ill defined and at worst non internally consistent and absurd.
    In both cases it’s best not to use it (Hint to journalists).

    • There is an environmental movement that even has a lengthy discussion at wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Environmental_movement. The embodiment of this in the activities of environmental advocacy/activist groups is arguably often at odds with environmentalism in some fundamental philosophical sense.

      • Tomas Milanovic

        I am familiar with that piece of Wiki Judith.
        That’s why I said that I was interested in an internally consistent definition.
        This part of Wiki definitely is not that.

    • Environmentalism is one of those “isms” that’s simply gotten too big to be coherent. There’s no reason it should be well defined or consistent, though one might hope anyone who thinks of themselves as an environmentalist should have some consistency in their positions. There’s plenty of other “isms” with similar problems. Such words typically denote a broadly common sentiment – in this case placing value on and conserving the “natural environment”. But how to realize/practice this value in the world? That’s where things get complicated and plenty of differences and contradictions result.

    • Thomas:

      Here is my definition of environmentalism. I think most environmentalists would agree with it.

      Environmentalism strives for the elimination of all human impact on the universe.

      From that, a few logical conclusions follow.
      Human health is not relevant to the environment. Humans are a contaminant. You cannot define environmentalism with the inclusion of anything human. Your second definition is obviously a product of big oil propaganda. Eliminate any concern for humans and you eliminate the internal contradictions that vex you.

      • Tomas Milanovic

        John Eggert

        Tomas without h.
        I like your post on some meta level, and even agree with it on that level.
        I particularly confess to have been little vigilant against the big oil propaganda which might have subconsciously infected me.
        However I hesitate to descend to the normal level because I am afraid that many people could take what you say literally without realising the subtility of the meta level:)

  40. There have been a number of discussions in this thread about physicists making judgments about some aspect or another of climate science. It’s probably worthwhile to try to explain why (undoubtedly many) physicists feel that they have the ability to do this. In my opinion it’s based on several components of the ethos that underlies the branches of physics that I have worked in or been exposed to, and is probably representative of the field as a whole. You can judge for yourself whether this is reasonable or unreasonable.

    It’s certainly true that all branches of science are very complicated when one gets down to the level of details. This level is what defines experts, and is where most of us work. It’s very difficult to break into a new field because of what one must learn, not the least of which is mastering the language that identifies you as an insider rather than an outsider. This doesn’t necessarily mean that one needs to be an expert to develop a reasonably accurate overview of a field (i.e., without the details). Physicists pride themselves on the “spherical cow” approach to developing insight into physical problems (see Wikipedia for one version of the joke – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spherical_cow). Eliminate unnecessary details and insight results – the trick is to know what is “unnecessary”. A spherical cow is a system that only involves the radial dimension, not the full and very complicated 3-dimensional shape of a real cow. I know of a published paper on heat transfer in dinosaurs that reduced those creatures to a single dimension, and it made sense!

    Physicists also believe that (most of) physics can be unravelled using the reductionist principle – complicated behavior can be broken down into simpler behaviors based on physical laws that can be demonstrated. Although this is highly debatable (and in my opinion untrue) in some systems, it is a starting point. Indeed, this is how most of science is taught. A well-trained physicist is taught thermodynamics (very important in climate science), quantum mechanics (which underlies radiative atmospheric processes), and some fluid statics and dynamics. With this background one can easily learn some of the basics of climate science. But is it enough to develop a feel for the latter field, which is very complex?

    The proverb states, “familiarity breeds contempt”, but that is not true in science. Most of us are quite comfortable with what we know (much of which has been tested), and initially suspicious of novelties. It is not easy to break the paradigms of any field. I suspect (based on limited sampling) that most physicists who have thought about climate science suspect that the sun’s role is under-appreciated by climate scientists. The reason is that solar dynamics is part of physics and we are more comfortable with it than with less familiar mechanisms. I admit that I am in this group. Whether this viewpoint is successful or not remains to be seen.

    • But who is qualified to judge the findings of climate science?

      I find it interesting that so many climate change advocates are casting aspersions on Hal Lewis. But if his opinion is going to be thrown out because he is not a climate scientist, then all those big petitions of umpty-umpt thousands of scientists saying global warming is real must be thrown out as well.

      But then where are we? Then we will be relying upon the judgments of however many real climate scientists there are who are part of a new $2 billion/year industry that depends on climate change being dangerous to keep those enormous grants coming and who already have a history of fraud, and who failed to predict the current ten year lull in global temperatures.

      There doesn’t seem to be a good solution here.

      I’m inclined to go with Hal Lewis who doesn’t deny global warming, but does not believe that climate scientists can predict future climate with the accuracy they are claiming in order to drive the huge social changes they are demanding.

    • Tomas Milanovic

      With this background one can easily learn some of the basics of climate science. But is it enough to develop a feel for the latter field, which is very complex?

      Yes , of course!
      I am no climate scientist , I am a physicist for lack of better word.
      Now I challenge anybody to show me a paper, any paper, of the so called “climate” science where one would need some specifical language or knowledge that any well educated physicist doesn’t have.

      I suspect that your are new to these issues and still have some subjective idea that there is something special.
      No there is not – it’s fluid dynamics, rather trivial statistics, a bit of thermodynamics, a good deal of computer science and a very small piece of classical dynamics and that’s about everything.
      It’s clear that nobody here, me included, has the necessary knowledge to read a paper in the hep field (to take an extremum).
      But come on, there are only a very few extremely specific fields in the climate science that need much time and experience – cloud dynamics and perhaps radiative transfer in heterogeneous media (aerosols and phase change).
      Not that the “climate” scientists understand much about these fields anyway :)

    • The most recent physicist skeptic was of course Robert Laughlin. There was a sampling of climate scientist responses to his article at the Dot Earth blog as reported here . In addition to the “five reservoirs” issue that I highlighted earlier in the interview with Dyson, David Keith describes how “Dyson’s comments on climate were disappointingly shallow.” Or as David Keith says, if you had to attack climate science those were very odd places to start and the criticisms don’t look very well-informed. Meanwhile, the peanut gallery making inane remarks about their prowess in Hilbert space is quite the sideshow here.

      • RB: Speaking as one from the peanut gallery, though not boasting of any prowess in Hilbert space, all I can say is that climate scientists need to find better ways of communicating their results to other scientists and to the peanut gallery.

        This weary “disappointingly shallow” complaining about those who disagree comes across as arrogant and wears poorly if one is looking to have an impact in the world to meet the challenge of AGW.

        Climate scientists control the turf of climate science, granted, and outsiders will have a hard time challenging them there. However, in the world of laws, budgets and funding, it is climate scientists who are petitioning the rest of us. That world is not a sideshow.

        The climate change movement has played its cards poorly and lost public confidence. Restoring confidence will be difficult. Some humility would help, I think, but humility seems to be in chronically short supply among climate change scientists and advocates.

      • huxley,
        Physicists heaping scorn on climate scientists while not recognizing that they are outside their field of expertise is also arrogance.

      • RB: Hal Lewis was definitely over some line — call it arrogance, call it worse, or maybe he was just blind with fury over Climategate — but if other scientists can’t disagree with or question climate scientists without being labeled arrogant, then I have to say that climate scientists have set themselves up as an arrogant priesthood and we are all the worse for it.

      • RB,
        Is it not odd that former AGW supporters can never be principled in their stand, never well meaning, never deeply concerned? All must be shallow, senile, ignorant, cynical?
        And the only non-cliamte scientists allowed to comment with impunity on climate issues are those who, like Bob Ward, are tripping over themselves to praise the glory of global climate disruption?
        Lewis was one of the early workers in cliamte science. He has had a change of mind and heart. He has been up until now a highly respected man willing to stand up to authority. Now he is a shallow senile old man suffering from affectation disorder.
        Do you sense a pattern- that shows something incredibly disturbing about your side?

      • Well, hunter, for your team it is never that this is based on an opinion derived from practicing science, but about dinero and an evil leftist redistributionist plot. Harold Lewis wouldn’t get as much front-page skeptic attention if he didn’t go around screaming fraud.

      • RB,
        I have not bought into the dinero and commie rat plot, actually.
        Last time I checked, Spencer, Lindzen, Pielke Sr., Christy, Lewis, etc. are practicing science.
        Have you bought into the skeptics are all paid by a VRWC of BIG oil and the Koch family, and that no scientists are saying that we are not facing a global tipping point to turn us into Venus?

      • hunter,
        No, actually I think some of the skeptic bloggers are making better arguments than the Hal Lewises and Dysons of the world. If they had anything to say, they should be doing it through published work like Pielke instead of running around proclaiming fraud while rubber-stamping it using the authority of their past track record.

  41. Steven Mosher

    Isn’t it interesting how DC and others had nothing to say about the time NCDC “borrowed” Watts work without attribution.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/10/15/how-to-solve-attribution-conflicts-in-climate-science/#comments

    So, folks, that problem got fixed by NCDC. they merely added the attribution

    • Scott Basinger

      It’s certainly a lot more cordial of an approach if all your agenda entails is seeking proper attribution. I just hope that there’s more of Watts approach instead of a new destructive inqusition.

  42. Brandon Shollenberger

    Judith Curry, what do you think of having tree ring discussions in this blog now? I know I am not the most informed on the subject. I also know I am not the best communicator. Even so, there is no way the exchanges I’ve had with Andrew Dodds and Rattus Norvegicus could be considered reasonable exchanges.

    I know I could choose not to respond to false claims about tree rings and the like. Doing so would certainly spare me a headache. However, if people can post blatantly untrue statements to your blog, and nobody calls them out, your blog will just serve to spread disinformation.

    What happens the next time someone comes in and dismisses critics of the hockey stick based on some false premise? Will anyone point out they are wrong, then deal with each of their excuses? After the headache I’ve gotten from doing it, I don’t think I would. Nobody else seems interested.

    I really don’t know. Maybe I am overreacting, but what I’ve seen in these exchanges seems disgusting.

    • Brandon – I agree that “if people can post blatantly untrue statements to your blog, and nobody calls them out, your blog will just serve to spread disinformation” however, I believe I have seen this being done by both ‘sides’ in this debate.

      I think Dr Curry should actually list some of the known, unquestionable facts that folk can be referred to when this kind of thing happens.

    • This is not the best place to debate tree rings, in fact I would prefer to keep this as a tree ring free zone. I have very little personal expertise in this area. I also haven’t gotten caught up with all the comments from yesterday, I will check.

    • “However, if people can post blatantly untrue statements to your blog, and nobody calls them out, your blog will just serve to spread disinformation.” – Brandon

      I suspect the irony of making that statement here is lost on you.

      And yes, you are very much over-reacting.

    • Brandon,
      Andrew is not winning anything. He is losing big time. Every false argument he uses in defense only makes him lose more. Enjoy the show.

  43. Tomas, I do not question the ability of someone with a Ph.D. in physics to read a climate science paper and generally understand the underlying physics and mathematics of the problem being discussed. There are a number of topics in climate science where the physics/chemistry/math can get fairly complex in its application to a specific problem, and not what an individual physicist may have encountered before. Examples are geophysical fluid dynamics (including geophysical turbulence); radiative transfer in a complex 3D media with gases, particulates, and large complex emitting/reflecting surfaces; cloud-aerosol-chemistry interactions; sea ice dynamics (e.g. elastic viscous plastic rheology); are some that immediately come to my mind.

    Mechanical and aerosopace engineers may have a background that provides a better understanding of these topics than does physics. Further the engineers have a better sense of a systems approach, whereas the reductionist approach of most of physics does not help them comprehend the climate system.

    So even if a physicist can read and understand a climate science paper and even possibly identify an error and/or suggest a better approach, there is a very large leap from this to being able to assess the entire science and dismiss it.

    What climate scientists have is a background knowledge of the phemonenology of the atmosphere, ocean, sea ice, ice sheets, hydrology, geology, land surface processes. Along with this comes a conceptual understanding of the system and a framework for reasoning about the system.

    So I am personally not too impressed when a physicist comes along and dismisses climate science and climate scientists. Assessing this complex subject, even if restricted to the IPCC reports, is a daunting task, which I am currently undertaking in a way that seems, at least to me, systematic. If someone else takes on the assessment of climate science with similar diligence, I would be interested in hearing about the logic and arguments used in their assessment.

    Charges of fraudulence or whatever aren’t very convincing unless accompanied by evidence and reasoning.

    • Dr. Curry,
      But what many people are reacting to is not the specific science. It is the actions attitudes and behaviors of those who claim the science means we are facing a worldwide climate catastrophe.
      People designing airplanes, refineries, computers, or doing astronomy do not act the way a large number of climate scientists are behaving.

      • Again, let me support what hunter is saying. One of my pet peeves to climate scientists is the claim that, with respect to CAGW, “the science is settled”. My objection to what the IPCC has done, is that they have not followed to classical methodology of physics, in that there is little or no experimental evidence. Having looked at the science that has been presented with respect to CAGW, my belief is that the science actually proves nothing, and we just dont know what the effect of adding CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels is. Such little observed data as we have, suggests that the effect is small, and maybe even negligible. I dont want to repeat what I have said about the use of models.

      • Argh.

        “…the claim that, with respect to CAGW, ‘the science is settled’.” Citation, please. I will happily defend the statement that the balance of scientific evidence clearly indicates a significant possibility of climate changes outside of Holocene natural variability. I don’t know how that could be interpreted as “settled science”, though.

        (But that reminds me, I do need to blog on the false level of certainty in the introduction to the recent NAS climate report.)

        “…they have not followed [the] classical methodology of physics, in that there is little or no experimental evidence.” Cosmologists, then, are not real physicists? How would you classify Stephen Hawking? Good scientists use all the information available to them, and until we’ve completed our global warming experiment, we have to do the best we can with little experimental evidence.

        “…science actually proves nothing…” Popper would agree, but let’s not go there. I disagree with your reading of the evidence, but I agree that the range of possibilities remains uncomfortably large.

      • John N-G writes “the claim that, with respect to CAGW, ‘the science is settled’.” Citation, please.”

        At a general election in Canada, I attended a meeting of the Green Party. The main speaker was a professor from Carleton Universtiy, here in Ottawa. His opening statement was that, with respect to CAGW, the science is settled. I have seen the same thing written, but I have not, of course, kept any references. Lord May is on record as saying that only a handful of scientists oppose the idea that CAGW is real, and half of them are crackpots. This seems to me to be pretty close to “the science is settled“. The mere fact that we are spending millions of dollars, euros and many other currencies on the meetings of the UNFCCC, supports the idea that many of our politicians believe the science is settled.

        On a general point, there are two aspects of physics, which are opposite sides of the same coin; experimental physics, and theoretical physics. They are mutually supportive. Physicists who examine the subject from a theoretical point of view, such as Prof. Hawking, are undoubtedly doing physics according to the classic methodology. They are searching for ways in which observed data can be obtained sometime in the future. A classic example of this is the God Particle, the Higg’s Bosun. This has been examined theoretically for years. Now we have the Large Hadron Collider to try and find it experimentally. That is the classical methodology of physics.

        As I have noted many times, we cannot do experiments on the earth’s atmosphere. What the proponents of CAGW should have stated clearly, 20 years or so ago, was that the classical methodology of physics can NEVER answer the question of what happens as we go on adding more and more CO2 to the atmosphere. What they tried to do was an end run around the problem, and by the misuse of non-validated models, claim that they had a substitute for experimental data, which was sufficiently robust that it was “very lilkely” that CAGW was real. That is what I object to strrongly. The idea that the output of non-validated models is equivalent to experimental data.

        So when you say “we have to do the best we can with little experimental evidence`, I object strongly. We have to find sufficient data to support the conclusions that are claimed to have been found. If the best we have is too little, then it is not good enough.

      • Jim C- Thanks for elaborating.

        On the specific issue, I’ll be very surprised if the speaker used the term “CAGW” or its full-worded equivalent. The issue may well be semantics. To qualify as “CAGW”, how likely does the “C” have to be? 10%? 60%? 100%?

        On the general issue, but in precisely the same terms, what scientific expectation of finding the Higgs boson would justify the expense of building the LHC? 10%? 60%? 100%?

        We can and do conduct experiments on the atmosphere. Some are intentional (Project STORMFURY), some are not.

        Most scientists I talk to would agree that scientific predictions about the outcome of doubling or tripling CO2 in the atmosphere are so broad and uncertain, and include sufficiently dangerous possibilities, that they would prefer to stop the experiment rather than see it through to 2100.

      • Hunter, I agree the behavior of some scientists (amplified by enviro advocacy groups) leaves much to be desired. But we see the APS (physicists) behaving in exactly this same way on the climate issue, and advocating on a whole bunch of other topics for which they do not have expertise.

        There is a risk that we are facing worldwide climate catastrophe. risk is cost of the future event times its probability. This risk isn’t zero (we don’t know how big the risk is), but such catastrophe is possible. How to develop robust policy strategies in the face of deep uncertainty is a big challenge (I was going to start this topic this week, but got sidetracked on detection and attribution, which will be the topic of the next few posts).

      • Dr. Curry,
        Excellent points. We are also facing the risk of a large asteroid strike.
        But the probability of an asteroid strike is quite small, but non-zero. And we do know that large scale asteroid strikes have occurred in the past.
        We do not have a record of increased CO2 causing global climate havoc in the past when it was higher than we are going to see. We do not see warming running away when CO2 has increased in the past, after warming. The only records we have of global climate catastrophes is that of ice age glacial periods.
        I think if we were to focus on the things that we know make a difference- decrease toxins in the atmosphere, decrease soot, remediate areas damaged by human activities, minimize our impacts where practical- we can achieve so much more than looking at CO2 as a some sort of Gaia-sized thermostat dial. As Pielke, jr. points out in his iron law, it is simply not going to work. As others point out, CO2 is part of a menu of climate forcings. Focusing on CO2 is like focusing only on the french fries as the key to weight problems, while ignoring the salads, broiled fish and cheeseburgers and their possible impacts for good or ill.

      • Hunter, I totally agree that emission stabilization targets is not a robust climate policy. Weather and climate catastrophes will happen anyways even if stabilization targets are met, and/or they might be totally unnecessary and incur unneeded costs.

      • It would be great if that could be conveyed to decision makers. But then the AGW social movement has a lot of equity at risk in a rational approach to energy/enviro and climate policy and will continue to push back hard.
        Good luck getting this practical view heard.
        But something tells me you are going to be very lucky.

      • Judith, not for the first time, I find my fillings rattling, as I read “There is a risk that we are facing worldwide climate catastrophe. risk is cost of the future event times its probability. This risk isn’t zero (we don’t know how big the risk is), but such catastrophe is possible.”

        As hunter has pointed out, CAGW is, on any scientific appraisal of the evidence, a TRIVIAL risk, and must surely be accounted much much MUCH lower than asteroid strike, since the latter is known to have occurred in the past, while the former hasn’t. Yet you blithely write about it as though it were a real and present danger (while being careful to disavow any precise assessment of the risk) deserving of public attention, research funding, MORE research funding, etc. You include more caveats than the average mouth-breathing warmist zealot, but you still seem unable to shake free of the “we must be doing something bad to the planet” meme sufficiently to step back from the fray and see the CAGW scare for the manufactured narrative that it is. The truth is that there’s nothing scary going on in the climate, and that we should stop spending money on climate research until its practitioners can show good reason to resume it – two decades of cash has done nothing but corrupt science, and has certainly failed to produce good cause for alarm. We should stop burdening our economies with taxes and regulations aimed at a nonexistent threat. Above all we should rise above the myth of human turpitude – it may be good for the soul, but it’s SOOO counter-scientific!!!

      • You pose two extreme positions, neither of which represents what I said. The size of the risk is unknown (both in terms of magnitude and probability), and there are analogues in the past for warmer climates with much higher sea levels. So to say the threat is nonexistent and we should completely ignore it is as bad as saying that it is urgent that we act immediately with drastic actions.

      • Tom, you talk about “a real and present danger”. The danger, otherwise known as risk, is real. But the ‘present’ side of things is not.

        Sea levels have been many tens of metres higher in the past, we do know that. Fortunately at that time we didn’t have large conurbations of tens of millions of people living at what they thought was sea level, nor were there vast tracts of land in river deltas dedicated to agriculture. We do now.

        Which is where Judith’s descriptions of risk come into play. We simply have so many people and so much capital invested in various places that we have put ourselves at risk.

        We will continue to invest in buildings, industries and growing food. Sensible investors always work on calculated risks. Some people even make money out of risk, so why don’t insurance companies cover nuclear reactors or Florida’s storm risks? Because they know they’ll lose money on the events specified.

        We’re in the process of working out our risks of large crop failures around the world and of sea level rise endangering cities and populations. Without climate science, none of those risks could be quantified. No actuarial calculations, or over-conservative (alarmist) calculations, no reasonable insurance cover.

        Could commerce and industry continue without insurance to cover some of the risks? I doubt it.

      • adelady,
        Do you think oceans are going to rise faster than the infrastructure will wear out?
        Check histories of Boston, San Francisco, Houston, Miami and even New Orleans. We move shorelines around meters at a time for our convenience and by necessity.
        But the best guesses are that ocean levels are doing about what they have done for a long time: going up about 1/8 of an inch per year.
        It required certain people making Scifi movie claims that Antarctica or Greenland is going to melt away to make ocean levels interesting at all.
        By the way- check the history of river deltas and you will see that people knew to live in them for the rich soil deposits and plentiful water back to Biblical times.

      • Judith and Adelady, if the risk of catstrophic climate change were circumscribed by climate science as strictly as you do, we wouldn’t be having this dialogue. But then if climate science had correctly portrayed the risk it was studying it would never have received the attention and funding it has. It would have remained the obscure, unremarked corner of science (and its scientists all the better for it) that it probably deserves to be. It owes its very existence to the perception of risks much more “real and present” than you allow.

        So I will accept that there is, in your strict terms, risks from climate change. But the same strict terms would produce a catalogue of global hazard far too extensive for mankind to forfend. Just about anything plausible and bad would be included. It just goes in that vast box of things that would be scary if they were a lot more probable, but aren’t. In the long run, we don’t devote a lot of resources to these sorts of problems.

        And to the extent that climate change is a risk worthy of public expenditure (of all forms from research funding to public policy actions), it’s clear to me that by far the most probable hazard, next to which the risk of CAGW is infinitesimal, is to be found in FALLING temperatures. Like asteroid strikes, this HAS happened before, is statistically OVERDUE to happen again, we know a LOT about its effects, and they are all BAD. Sorry about the caps, but they highlight to the absurdity, to me, of constructing a risk narrative around CAGW which leads to proposals for public action and increasing expenditure on research.

        Adelady, interesting that you raise the question of insurance. As hunter says, people are actually quite used to adapting to rising and falling sea-levels, and have been for centuries. I’m surprised that you say insurers won’t “cover nuclear reactors or Florida’s storm risks” (as opposed to the premiums being very high), but if true, it would imply that that human occupation of flood-affected areas will be short-lived, since the underwriters (who have to get these things right or go broke, unlike climate scientists) will refuse to insure property built where it is likely to be inundated. At the same time, I have little doubt that canny insurers will ride the gravy train of CAGW alarmism, exploiting the willingness of their customers to pay premiums appropriate to a much higher level of risk than they are actually underwriting. So it might be difficult to get the good oil on what the insurers really think about CAGW – but FASCINATING!! Judith, getting a guest post from an experienced actuary would be a worthwhile goal, IMO!

        So if the risk is as circumscribed as (I am glad to see) you accept, I’m confident we can leave it to the insurers to manage – that’s their job. And when they need help from science in predicting hazard, I’m sure they’ll be happy to pay well for sound advice, and will know where to find it. Doubt if it’ll be Norwich, though.

      • “The Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund is a state-run reinsurance corporation and—if it hasn’t already—will almost certainly become the largest provider of reinsurance in the state of Florida.” ..from…
        http://www.jamesmadison.org/pdf/materials/671.pdf
        The only reason insurance companies offer policies in Florida is that the state of Florida underwrites most of the risk. Unfortunately for the rest of the US, there is no way Florida could find the cash to pay out insured losses in the event of a major hurricane or flood.

        And as this report makes abundantly clear, changing the system to a real commercial risk basis would make insurance unaffordable for residents in vulnerable areas.

      • FYI, I am on the Advisory Council for the Florida Hurricane Catastrophe Fund (appointed by Gov Crist). I’ve been on the committee for a year (we have a conference call tomorrow), mainly about managing the fund. My expertise hasn’t been drawn on yet, but but presumably I was appointed for a reason.

      • Insurance reports.
        Extract from Munich re (because I remember seeing it when it was issued, there may be others) http://www.munichre.com/en/media_relations/company_news/default.aspx?foid=2010-08-05
        Loss trends
        “Our database clearly indicates a sharp rise in the number of weather-related natural catastrophes per year, in terms of overall and insured losses. For instance, there has been a threefold increase in floods since 1980. There has also been a rise in the number of windstorm losses, Atlantic hurricanes being particularly destructive.”
        “Germany ……. Power stations were forced to reduce output when river temperatures exceeded critical thresholds and the required degree of cooling could no longer be guaranteed.” IIRC the same thing happened in Tennessee and France this year with nuclear power plants, don’t know about coal fired plants.

      • You make a very good case for ceasing state support for the insurance of risky properties, if that is indeed what they are doing, and allowing the market to persuade people not to live in endangered areas, but none at all for spending money on, and generally fretting about, climate change.

        And yes, I have no doubt the insurers are parrotting the alarmist mummery in their public pronouncements. Some may even believe them, but either way they would have nothing to gain from disabusing their customers of their perverse anxieties; that would tend to depress the premiums they could charge. What I’m interested in is what they tell each other about climate predictions, and what they tell their investors. They’re not necessarily the same thing.

      • Every time I create italics I don’t seem to be able to uncreate them – can anyone tell me what I’m doing wrong?

      • Tom, replacing [] with , closing tags are [/i] or [/em]

      • Munich RE has used selling climate fear as a technique to justify higher premiums for awhile now.
        The only reason that flood losses are up is that more assets are put at risk in flood zones. This has been well described by Pielke, jr. in peer reviewed literature.
        All you are pointing out here is the intersection of AGW fear mongering and AGW profiteering.

      • Oh, and the river temp issue- the answer is to design cooling towers well enough to handle a wider range of temps.
        But if you or other AGW believers were serious about CO2 being the thermostat dial of the planet, and you cared about the environment, you would be holding marches to demand nuclear power plants be built, supporting research on making nuclear even cleaner and safer and developing thorium fission plants.
        When and if the AGW community finally gets around to that place, you will discover that many AGW skeptics will be there with a glass of wine to welcome you.

      • It’s not just the temperature of river water – though I’m pretty sure that was the issue for Germany and Tennessee. The issue in France was sheer lack of water for some plants. (Or was that the 2003 heatwave?)
        As for nuclear. Salt cooled thorium is the only way to go. IMHO not appropriate for places like Oz or NZ with such small or scattered populations. Considering Oz geothermal, solar and other abundant renewables I see no reason to entertain other more expensive / timeconsuming options.

      • So would you like light white wine, a hearty red, or perhaps a fruity Sangria, to start the celebration?

      • . But we see the APS (physicists) behaving in exactly this same way on the climate issue…

        Dr. Curry: No. We are not seeing physicists ignoring FOI requests, rigging peer review, rigging climate blog discussions, threatening to destroy data, maybe destroying data, and the like.

        That, sadly, is the exclusive domain of climate scientists, and not just any climate scientists, but some of the most prominent.

        Furthermore, if climate scientists are setting themselves up as a priesthood where only they are competent to assess climate science, and not even elite scientists can weigh in, then we are in trouble, because climate scientists have shown themselves to be untrustworthy in deed or, with a few praiseworthy exceptions such as yourself, in complicity.

        If the stakes are as high as you say they may be, then why are Climategate games tolerated? Why aren’t climate scientists struggling mightily to police their ranks and to explain their findings so that elite physicists and even the rest of us can get it?

        All I see are the usual academic/scientific/environmental turf wars and environmental hysteria campaigns that have been going on since Rachel Carson.

        Why should climate scientists be trusted?

      • Also, most of the environmental scares — the population bomb, nuclear winter, the Club of Rome, etc. — have come to little or nothing or even shown to be bad science.

        But no thanks to 99% of scientists, who did nothing while ordinary citizens were having the bejesus scared out of them. If citizens aren’t backing climate change now, maybe it’s because they’ve been fooled too many times before.

        Afterward scientists behind the scares like Paul Ehrlich and John Holdren went on to tenure at Stanford or Chief Science Advsior for the White House.

        And today, no one involved in Climategate has had their hair mussed beyond toothless inquiries and bad publicity.

        When those in the climate change movement start behaving like climate change is of overriding importance, maybe I’ll start believing it is.

      • Huxley – I am confident you will enjoy Kesten Green’s structured analysis of Great Big Scary Predictions That Never Happened (my paraphrase).

        http://kestencgreen.com/green%26armstrong-agw-analogies.pdf

        As you will see, climate catastrophism is but the latest in a long tradition of loony scares characterised by:

        *the perverse extension of uncontroversial science
        *a priesthood claiming “the science is settled”
        *and calling for urgent action.
        *subsequent failure of the prediction to be fulfilled
        *reams of absurd, wealth-inhibiting legislation left on statute books the world over for decades after the scare had evaporated.

        enjoy.

      • Ouch. That is going to leave a mark.

      • TomFP: Lovely — citations and everything! Thanks.

        Here’s an amusing thread on a climate change blog in which the authors attempt to justify Steven Schneider’s notorious quote:

        So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have.

        http://climatesight.org/2009/04/12/the-schneider-quote/#comment-3748

        I disagreed and mentioned several of the past environmental scares and found my comments constantly censored as “inflammatory.” Others were too.

        Climate scientists may be able to control debate in their field and on their blogs, but they don’t understand that to outsiders — including the people whose votes ultimately pay for the funding of climate scientists — this control smells like bad science. As Hal Lewis put it:

        The important thing for me is the suppression of open debate, which is the conventional way to identify fraud.

        http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/a-physicists-climate-complaints/

      • Ouch, it did leave a mark. I think six or eight of my brain cells died when I read about the authors’ assertion that a valid test of the IPCC forecasted future warming was to assume that the 21st century warming scenarios applied to the period 1850-2000. In order to preserve my ability to think clearly, I’ll not read further.

      • Perhaps you missed their request for strong feedbacks?
        If it as stupid as you think, then read it so as to enjoy a good romp. But perhaps there is a point in comparing AGW and its social interactions to other science/society interactions? Or, if as some seem to believe, climate science is a special realm with special rules, then we less informed need ot understand the special rules of AGW better.

      • I’ll be happy to read such a comparison from someone who has not already demonstrated their intellectual unreliability.

    • Fair enough, but why do you think you have a “feel” for say, geology better than those of us who have been deeply involved in it for over 30 years or so … involved to the point where real lives have depended on it in the now, not in some GMC-projected what-if future ?

      When geologists say that hard geological evidence does not support significant aspects of AGW, you reply “Ah, but you are not climate scientists”.

      That’s exactly how we geologists feel about “climate” scientists. As I’ve pointed out, reap as you sow.

  44. With regards to the tree ring discussion further up the thread, i’ve seen discussions like this a number of times before. These issues obviously won’t be settled here, but if people want to continue discussing this on an open thread, I won’t object.

    I will remind the proponents on both sides of this argument to recall my earlier essay on “Doubt.” IMO, paleo reconstructions of surface temperature involving tree rings mostly reside in the “white” region of the Italian flag.

  45. Michael Larkin

    John N-G October 17, 2010 at 11:29 am said:

    “Cosmologists, then, are not real physicists?”

    I have my doubts about those who talk with a straight face about black holes, dark matter and energy, the Big Bang and string theory. They may have more in common with high priests than scientists.

    Certain areas of science are becoming more and more metaphysical, less and less connected with commonsense and reality. Others are losing their integrity.

    Personally, I suspect it’s a passing phase in human evolution. One day we’ll look back on all this foolishness and hubris and wonder how we could ever have been like this, just as we currently wonder how we could ever have behaved as we did in the Middle Ages.

  46. Did anyone find the missing Tropospheric Hot Spot this week?

  47. The subject of experiment has come up, so ….

    My previous post about the mindset and background of physicists was primarily directed at the theoretical side of my field (I am a theoretical physicist). There is one other side to the sociology of physics that badly conflicts with the public pronouncements of a subset of climate scientists (many of whom appear to be heads of institutes). It’s these aspects that most bother me, and to most physicists it just doesn’t smell right.

    Every physicist (me too) agrees that physics is an experimental science. In my areas of physics there are a lot of theoretical ideas that have a short shelf life – they conflict with experimental work and are discarded. Einstein once said: “No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong.” It is frequently stated that in climate science the purpose of experiment is to “validate” the models. A physicist would never say this. If I were to tell my experimental colleagues that they should validate my calculations, they would laugh at me, and forcefully tell me that experiments “test the validity” of models. There is nothing that experimentalists enjoy more than shooting down a theory or model. This is an integral part of our culture, which seems to translate poorly to climate science. The APS rewrite of the original 2007 statement about climate science said: “In addition, more extensive and more accurate scientific measurements are needed to test the validity of climate models to increase confidence in their projections.” The first part is what I would expect, but the last 6 words were presumably not written by an experimental physicist! I get the feeling that some climate scientists believe that their field is a theoretical one, experiment is optional, and they just need more computational power for running the models.

    Pronouncements that “the science is settled” (or its equivalent) sets a physicist’s teeth on edge for two reasons. Special and General Relativity are two of the most important discoveries in physics of the past century or so. Yet they are still being tested at finer and finer scales, and Einstein is still holding his own. Finding a crack in either Relativity Theory is the way to instant fame, and fame (peer respect) is the only currency that matters in basic research. Clearly the scale at which a breakdown might occur is important, since that influences what phenomena will be significantly affected. But nothing is settled.

    Richard Feynman (one of the great physicists of the last century) said: “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” Any worthwhile experiment or calculation will be redone. Finding other people’s mistakes is part of the game (and not pleasant if you are on the receiving end), which explains why there is little fabrication in the hard sciences. Only results that are so insignificant that they aren’t worth checking avoid this kind of “audit.” Checking and rechecking is a fundamental part of the scientific process. Nothing is settled.

  48. Interesting essay from MIT on climate policy:
    http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N45/yost.html

    • Game theory based analyses by Bruno Mesquita are already predicting that mitigation policies will be failures or non-starters for the same reason. Some energy analysts also predict that the optimal strategy for the world will be to sign global warming treaties and not adhere as the world transitions to coal as the dominant source of energy.

      • The latter has been used by policy makers for as long as there have been contentious issues and is tried and true.
        I made a bet years ago that AGW is not likely to end in a great denouement, but instead fizzle away in useless commitments and posturing. There are too many bloviated egos and entire careers built on selling the idea of global climate disruption for it be likely that the a complete deconstruction would occur in the public square. Instead we wet some AGW policies, they will have some negative impacts, and probably extend misery, but will be far less destructive than what the hardcore of AGW demand.
        But that is a cynical outcome, and at heart I am an idealist.

    • Mesquita’s original article in Foreign Policy has disappeared behind a wall but there’s an extract here .

  49. On his Dot Earth blog four days ago, Andrew Revkin — the pro-warming journalist who was part of Climategate — finishes his article on Hal Lewis by quoting David Ropeik, a former Harvard instructor who consults on technological risk for, among others, the White House:

    Our fears are a combination of the facts and how those facts feel. Our brains are hard wired to do it this way. It seems Dr. Lewis is demonstrating the very phenomenon he laments, letting his affect and worldviews interfere with taking all the reliable evidence into account in order to make a truly informed and fair judgment.

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/10/15/a-physicists-climate-complaints/

    Here’s President Obama the next day from a Democratic fundraiser:

    Part of the reason that our politics seems so tough right now and facts and science and argument does not seem to be winning the day all the time is because we’re hardwired not to always think clearly when we’re scared. And the country is scared.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1010/43706.html#ixzz12k7crTB7

    Interesting how close these two quotes are, especially the parallel usage of “hard-wired.”

    In both cases we find liberals disposing of disagreements by psychologizing their opponents. It couldn’t be that their opponents have principled, rational objections. No, their opponents must have been reduced to child-like irrationality because of their fears. Fortunately liberals, from their superior vantage, can see through to the true problem.

    I imagine this sentiment will continue to comfort liberals, but with the upcoming US elections the majority of Americans are poised to reject the superior judgment of their liberal betters resoundingly. Liberals might be advised to speak less condescendingly in the future.

  50. Do you approve of Anthony Watts’ labelling you a lukewarmer?

    • Well, lukewarmer is not apt to describe myself, although I self-labeled in this way once in an attempt to come across more moderate than the IPCC consensus. Lukewarmer seems to be associated with a fairly high certainty that climate sensitivity to doubling CO2 does not exceed 2C. Personally i think such a position is over confident; the sensitivity is actually highly uncertain.

      While i am trying to get rid of labels (see my Doubt essay), i think climate debate daily http://climatedebatedaily.com/ does the best job of categorizing the various web sites: Climate Etc. (and by extension myself) lands in the “neutral” category.

      • Dr. Curry,
        If climate is so sensitive to CO2, why has CO2 not only risen in the past after temperature increases, but preceded temperature decreases?
        If the sensitivity is so positive, where are the examples of this happening?

  51. Judith wrote: “In this month’s Atlantic, there is a very interesting paper about medical research entitled “Lies, damned lies, and medical science”.

    If medicine – with double blind studies, an FDA that audits and recalculates the statistics for every datapoint from every patient, and no systematic concerns about public policy – has real problems, think how bad climate science must be. At least in medicine, they rely on traditional standards for drawing scientific conclusions (p <0.05) and clinical trials can often be expanded until robust statistical conclusions are reached. Of course, this still means that 1 out of every 20 studies (p = 0.05) will reach an incorrect conclusion simply by chance and that systematic flaws in protocols will increase this error rate. However, contrast this to climate science where the IPCC considers conclusion that are "more likely than not" worth mentioning instead of meaningless. 10-33% of conclusions that are judged "likely" will be wrong by chance and this number will grow when you add systematic errors and prevalent investigator biases that are far worse than in medicine. The overall error rate in IPCC conclusions judged "likely" might be estimated to be 25-50%, or even 25-75% wrong. Due to public policy implications and a general lack of rigor, when the IPCC judges something extremely likely, we are probably looking at an error rate that is somewhat higher than in medical studies: perhaps 20-30%?

    • The article highlights the issue that Pres. Eisenhower raised about scientific technological elites holding the nation captive.
      http://www.h-net.org/~hst306/documents/indust.html
      How much public money are we pouring into groups which, as Dr. Curry demonstrates, are using circular reasoning to impose policy solutions that benefit those demanding the policies, and their friends?

  52. Servus Ich bin Simone
    Hallo leutz, bin neu hier!

    Gruss
    Simone