AMS Annual Meeting

Update:  notes on Trenberth’s presentation here.  Ryan Maue comments at WUWT.

by Judith Curry

The Annual Meeting of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) will be held this week (Jan 23-27)   in Seattle, WA.    Program details are provided here.  An overview of what is going on at the meeting is provided in here.

The meeting

The theme of this year’s meeting is “Communicating Weather and Climate:”

The 2011 Annual Meeting is being organized around the broad theme of “Communicating Weather and Climate.” Effective two-way com- munication is essential for scientific research, education, and service to the public. Within disci- plines, it lets us access the latest results and keep up with new findings. In interdisciplinary efforts, effective communication allows us to work across disciplines and understand each other—even when we speak unique scientific languages. In education, it underpins our ability to advance general knowl- edge of weather and climate and contribute to the scientific literacy of our society. In serving the public, effective education lets us express weather and climate forecasts clearly and in terms people can understand and use. Listening is an essential part of effective communication; we must not only present information clearly, but must also listen and learn from students, policy makers, and the general public. Listening to and integrating the ideas of our partners in other disciplines or the public sector will lead to better research, products, and services for our diverse society. Today, we have access to more experience and research on what and how to communicate, and it is time to focus on the effective integration of this research within the weather and climate enterprise. At the same time, rapidly changing technology brings new and powerful tools to disseminate and receive information, as well as new concerns or challenges.

So is this a repeat of the communication sessions and panels at the AGU?  Not even close (I don’t think Greg Craven is attending).   The participants in the main panel on this topic are:

  • Moderator: Robert T. Ryan, NBC4 TV
  • Panelists: Thomas E. Skilling, WGN-TV/Chicago Tribune; Claire Martin, CBC News: Weather Centre; Doyle Rice, USA Today; Martin Storksdieck, National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council

There are two big invited lectures at the meeting:

  • Haurwitz lecture: Dennis L. Hartmann, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, and is entitled “Scale Interactions and the Generation of Low-Frequency Variability in the Atmosphere.”
  • Horton Lecture: James A. Smith, Princeton University, Princeton, New Jersey, and is entitled “What Robert Horton Did Not Know About Floods.”

Program details are here.  The program is much more about applied science than the AGU meeting.  Possible scientific “fireworks”?  Well, Kevin Trenberth will be making a presentation on his controversial paper, it will be interesting to see how that  is received.  There are two scientists that invariably pack the house at AMS for their presentations: Bill Gray and Kerry Emanuel.  On the AMS blog,  right hand side, there is a list of “hot topics” at the meeting, i.e. talks that they are highlighting as high interest.

Town Hall Meetings are typically 90 minute meetings at lunchtime or in the eve, often run by agency program managers, with plenty of time for Q&A, some interesting and relevant topics:

The AMS

The website for the AMS is here.  An overall description of the society is here.  AMS has about 14,000 members (less than half the size of the AGU).  In the 1980’s when I first joined, the AMS membership was predominantly NOAA employees.  At this point, the largest group is private sector meteorologists, with academics in the minority.  The AMS publishes a number of journals including the Journal of Climate.  Notably, the AMS journals do not use “pal review” like most other journals (i.e. AMS journals do not ask the author to recommend reviewers).

The AMS has certification program for consulting meteorologists and broadcast meteorologists.

Information about the AMS policy program is here.   Why does the AMS have a policy program?  When it was first proposed in the 1990’s, i was on the Council of the AMS where this was discussed, and the original motivation was to try to increase NOAA’s budget.  I objected strongly to that as a rationale for a policy program.  As it has evolved, it has turned into something interesting.  The Director of the AMS Policy Program is Bill Hooke, who blogs at Living in the Real World.  They organize a superb Summer Policy Colloquium.  Policy foci include weather hazards, climate, and space weather.   Policy statements of the AMS are found here.  Policy statements are drafted by the relevant Science and Technology Affairs Committee, and then they receive approval by the Council.  Draft statements are then emailed to all members and posted on their website for comments before final approval.  Their climate change statement is here. They have a draft statement on “Communicating Science” which is worth reading.

I like the AMS and find it to be a well run organization that serves the profession of meteorology well.  It is very different from the AGU, which is more of a scientific/academic society.

JC note:  I won’t be attending this meeting, but several members from my research group will be attending, so I hope to have some highlights to report next weekend.  If you are attending the meeting, I would appreciate any summaries or impressions.


118 responses to “AMS Annual Meeting

  1. Judith,
    At least a weather meteorologist will talk with anyone. I have been socializing with one for years. Mind you rarely do we talk about weather. :-)

  2. Does the selection of the theme “Communicating Weather and Climate:” indicate concern at the growth of “climate fatigue” in the last year I wonder? Another consideration is that the weathermen’s jobs are not at risk in the current climate but the climatologist’s funding and positions are beginning to look distinctly wobbly. Cozying up to the weathermen (known for being more than slightly jaundiced about AGW), may not work out too well.

    They’re in a boat and know there’s blood in the water and the sharks are circling the climate scientists. Maybe they won’t risk jumping in …

    Pointman

    • Or, they could just, you know, want to communicate climate science better.

      • Latimer Alder

        Why would they bother? It’s already settled, and ‘nobody without a PhD in Radiative Physics is qualified to have an opinion about it’ anyway.

        Why should they demean themselves to talk to oiks like us? We are only good for sending the money, shutting up – and doing what we’re told by those who are the Big Brains of Climatology.

      • It is always good to provide people with information, especially when they are misinformed.

      • Latimer Alder

        Well, I suppose it’ll make a change from the previous tactic of suppressing any dissenting views and abusing those who held them.

        Since that failed so spectacularly to influence people’s opinions, will this new one be any more successful?

        In UK we recently had a PM called Brown who had a very high opinion of his own intellect and ability (a view shared by few others). Every time the opinion polls showed that his support had dropped again, he persuaded himself that the problem was that his message wasn’t getting through…so tried harder to ‘communicate’, often with gruesome effects.

        But the problem wasn’t that people didn’t understand his message..the did that all too well and didn’t accept it as a sensible plan for the country. The more he explained it, the less we liked it, and he was soundly defeated at the next election.

        In case of any doubt, I’m excluding meteorologists who already do a good job under tough circumstances. It is the climos who need the new idea to shore up their dwindling support. And I suspect that they will be just as successful as the unlamented Gordon Brown – still a legendary intellect in his own mind………..

      • Hello Latimer. Their mindset, exactly like Brown’s, is that if they simply explain harder, their current problems will just go away. What they refuse to see is quite simple. People just plainly don’t believe them any more and that’s being reflected in opinion poll after opinion poll. I hesitate to use the Den*er word but if the cap fits …

        Pointman

      • Aesop’s fable:

        The Wind and the Sun were disputing which was the stronger. Suddenly they saw a traveller coming down the road, and the Sun said: “I see a way to decide our dispute. Whichever of us can cause that traveller to take off his cloak shall be regarded as the stronger. You begin.” So the Sun retired behind a cloud, and the Wind began to blow as hard as it could upon the traveller. But the harder he blew the more closely did the traveller wrap his cloak round him, till at last the Wind had to give up in despair. Then the Sun came out and shone in all his glory upon the traveller, who soon found it too hot to walk with his cloak on.

        For some reason the climate science community seems to be fixated with `blowing’ harder.

      • Nothing new under the Sun really …

        Pointman

      • Boring: Please define “misinformed” for us. Is it the same as “disinformed,” “malinformed,” “stupid,” WTF do you libera”misinformed” PROGRESSIVE NUTS mean by these terms, anyway? Can you spell 1984?

      • You should respect Dr. Curry’s blog by following the simple rules she has laid out for comments.

      • BTW, the AMS statement on climate change is excellent. One of the best I’ve seen.

      • Steve Reynolds

        “the AMS statement on climate change is excellent…”?
        Not this part:
        “Global annual-mean surface temperatures are rising at a rapid rate to values higher than at any time in the last 400 (and probably in the last 1000) years. Once introduced in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide remains for at least a few hundred years…”
        The 1000 year comment is at very best ‘plausible’, not probable.
        The CO2 residence time statement is beyond misleading.

      • “probably,” to me, denotes “more likely than not,” which accurately reflects the literature on the subject. I see nothing misleading on the residence time statement.

      • No Boris, their “probably” just reflects your interpretation of the literature. My interpretation is quite different. If the AMS wants to make such a controversial statement they should make it clear that it is controversial.

        As for residence time, that is around 5 years on average for individual molecules, because about 1/4 of the CO2 is exchanged very year. They are alluding to a very different concept, namely how long the supposedly “excess’ CO2 levels would take to dissipate if human emissions stopped. This concept is extremely conjectural. For example, it assumes that the CO2 levels are due to human emissions, which is itself a matter of contention. It also postulates a steady state climate system under counter-factual conditions.

        The AMS climate statement is very bad as far as the state of the science is concerned. It is pure AGW and misleading at that.

      • David

        Can you point me to a link that would be able to provide reliable information as to what percentage of atmospheric CO2 is due to humans today? I have read a reasonable amount about the Suess Effect and (C14, 13, 12,) but in truth it seems that it is a bit unreliable based on what I have read.

      • Rob, AGW posits that all of the CO2 above about 270 ppm is due to human emissions. However, it is not made up of human emissions.

      • I don’t have anything comprehensive but this piece indicates Termites emit ten times more CO2 than we do. I wonder how we’ll get them to curb their emissions?

        http://adsabs.harvard.edu/abs/1990JGR….95.3619K

        Pointman

      • If anyone reading this (Judith perhaps) can point me to a source of information that is measuring the content of the atmosphere today, and determining what percentage of the atmospheric CO2 is human caused….I would like to understand how it is being done.

        I do not doubt that people are contributing vast quantities of CO2, but as compared to the other sources it is still pretty minor. I also read that there have been changes in the emissions from the other sources. It would just seem reasonable to be able to take atmospheric measurements to be able to ascertain what portion of the current content was human caused….+/- some percentage would be fine.

      • jorgekafkazar

        A couple more links to CO2 source data.

        http://www.neatorama.com/2007/05/21/the-strangest-disaster-of-the-20th-century/

        http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn12218

        Do the math. If the articles are correct, volcanoes are a significant source of atmospheric CO2.

      • Well, the fact that humans are responsible for the increase in CO2 is not an assumption, but is confirmed by multiple lines of evidence and isn’t in the least bit controversial in scientific circles. The other statements are well-supported by the literature, as I said before.

      • Boris — rather than just stating that there is no debate about the fact in “scientific circles”; can you point to how this is being measured today? Clearly it is not being measured based upon C14. From what I have read about the extrapolations based upon C12/C13 ratios it is far from exact. If in fact these “scientific circles” are certain, it should be easy to find a link to provide…..but I have not been able.

        I am not stating that humans are not responsible for the increase. I am stating I have actually tried to research the topic and have not been able to find anything that shows how this is being determined today, or to show how as the ppm of atmospheric CO2 increases annually how “we know” it is all human caused

      • It is not measured Rob, although there are rough attempts to find empirical evidence, as you note, mostly using C13. The idea that the CO2 increase is human induced (the A in AGW) is based on a simple reservoir model. Specifically the annual increase is smaller than the annual human contribution. It follows arithmetically (but not scientifically) that if you subtract the human addition the sum goes down not up.

        The natural flux is assumed to be in perfect balance, except for the fraction of human emissions that is absorbed, the so-called missing sink. This negative lack of balance is thought to be due to the increase. There is actually very little physical evidence for this, if that is what you are looking for, and what there is came long after the theory was accepted back in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

        The leading contrary argument is that the CO2 increase is due to the warming of the oceans. The principal piece of evidence for this is the close correlation between ocean temps and CO2 levels (assuming these estimates are both accurate). Given that CO2 is just one of many supposed drivers of warming we would not expect this close correlation if CO2 were causing part of the warming, but we would expect it if the warming were causing the CO2, because that is a direct, solo causation.

        Of course all of this lies outside Boris’s circles. I imagine he defines his circles to exclude this skeptical stuff, while including his so-called “multiple lines” of evidence, which just means more than one piece of evidence. Perhaps Boris can tell you where those pieces lie.

      • Dave-
        Your assessment is similar to mine regarding the data available to show what percentage of the atmospheric CO2 is human caused. I have also read about other very significant sources of natural variability in CO2 emissions. I was rather hoping that there was some other source for better/current data but maybe not.

        When you think about how we “estimate” total human emissions, (it is more like a SWAG than real data) and when you consider the natural variability of CO2 emissions, it would seem that we really do have a lot of unknowns.

        For anyone to state that the increase in atmospheric CO2 content to be all due to human emissions would seemingly be an unsupportable conclusion.

      • Readers who might not want to rely on the opinions of Rob and David about the anthropogenic source of the observed CO2 increase should examine the literature for themselves. Here are two good places to start:
        RADIOCARBON – A UNIQUE TRACER OF GLOBAL CARBON CYCLE DYNAMICS (and references therein)
        and
        Closing the global radiocarbon budget 1945–2005
        Follow up with the “cited by” papers.

      • Boris– So your answer is NO, you do not have any reliable information .

        Posting a link to articles from 2004 and 2005 that refers to the tree ring data is the same weak data that I have previously read. When you look at the calculations based upon the tree ring data there is a HUGE margin of error.

        I was hoping someone had better information. How do we really know what percentage of the CO2 in the atmosphere today is human caused?

      • Boris, try and get interested in that strange thing called Politics. It does however ask you to consider the Why of things …

        Pointman

      • A noble cause. Perhaps they should start by researching openly how they communicated less than perfectly? by perhaps talking to some people who didnt get their message?

        the first aspect of debugging any com channel is understanding the message you meant to send, the message people thought they heard, and then figuring out how to improve that system.

        of course some transmitters cannot be fixed
        some receivers cannot be fixed
        and some channels cannot handle the bandwidth.

        simply some people should shut up.
        some people should be ignored.
        and the message needs to fit the medium.

    • I suggest you actually read the AMS statement on communicating science
      http://www.ametsoc.org/policy/draftstatements/communicating_science_draftstatement.pdf

      which i have now provided a link to on the main post. its interesting, and not what you think

      • 1. The list of topics in the first sentence is quite odd. The only one related to meteorology is climate change, which suggests that that is the issue actually involved here.

        2. Further down there is a great confusion between statistical probability and subjective probability, making the later sound like the former. Nor is there any concept of uncertainty in the central sense of lack of knowledge, the known unknowns in particular. People need to understand what we do not know.

        3. I question the claim that policymakers need more input from science. They have a great deal already. In particular, thinking that more input will somehow make controversy go away is a fallacy.

        4. There is no discussion of social media, especially blogs. Yet these are changing the face of public communication of science and science related issues in revolutionary ways. Climate change is a paradigm case here.

      • Do you believe that most policy makers really understand the economics of the often proposed “cap and trade” or “carbon sequestration” policies? If you believe that is true, how did the legislation in Calif. not only get proposed but approved by voters?

        I suggest that most people do not really understand the situation or what impact we may have by our actions…..which relative to total emissions is virtually meaningless to climate, but very expensive.

      • I don’t know what “really understand” means in this context. I am sure they heard from all sides and hearing more from all sides would not change things. These controversies are not due to ignorance, they are due to differences of opinion, including among the experts.

      • As an example, I do not think that Americans understand that if we took every action suggested by the most vocal AGW alarmists that we would only impact the climate by .008 C at a cost od $1.5 trillion.

      • You are equating understanding with believing what you believe. Others disagree and they get a voice too.

      • That does not seem to be an issue of believing, just math. Please point out where you believe the analysis is in error.

        A recent NASA-GISS paper in Env. Sci. Tech., co-authored by James E. Hansen calls for the shutting down of all coal-fired power plants in the USA by 2030, in order to avoid the global warming caused by the emitted CO2.
        http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2010/2010_Kharecha_etal.pdf
        What effect would this specific actionable step actually have on global warming?
        The paper tells us that 1,994 billion kWh/year were generated from coal in 2009 and that the average CO2 emission is 1,000 tons CO2 per GWh generated.
        So by 2030 Hansen’s plan would reduce CO2 emissions by roughly 2 GtCO2 per year.
        Roughly half of this “stays” in the atmosphere (with the rest disappearing into the ocean, the biosphere or outer space) so the annual reduction after 2030 will be around 1 GtCO2/year and over the period from today to year 2100 the cumulative reduction would be 80.5 GtCO2.
        The mass of the atmosphere is 5,140,000 Gt.
        So the net reduction in atmospheric CO2 would be around 16 ppm(mass) or 10 ppmv.
        If we assume (as IPCC does) that by year 2100 the atmospheric CO2 level (without Hansen’s plan) will be around 600 ppmv (“scenario B1”), this means that with Hansen’s plan it will be 590 ppmv.
        Today we have 390 ppmv.
        Using IPCC’s 2xCO2 climate sensitivity of 3.2C we have:
        Case 1 – no Hansen plan
        600 ppmv CO2
        ln(600/390) = 0.431
        ln(2) = 0.693
        dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.431 / 0.693 = 1.99
        Case 2 – Hansen plan implemented
        590 ppmv CO2
        ln(590/390) = 0.414
        ln(2) = 0.693
        dT (warming from today to 2100) = 3.2 * 0.414 / 0.693 = 1.91C
        So Hansen’s plan will result in a total reduction of global temperature by year 2100 of 0.08C.
        But what will this non-measurable reduction of global temperature cost?
        The total, all-in capital cost investment to replace 1,994 billion kWh/year capacity with the least expensive alternate (current nuclear fission technology) is between $4,000 and $8,000 per installed kW (say $6,000 on average). [Note: If we replace it with wind or solar, it will cost several times this amount per generated kWh, due in part to the low on-line factor.]
        1,994 billion kWh/year at a 90% on-line factor represents an installed capacity of:
        1994 / 8760 * .9 = 0.251 billion kWh
        This equals an investment cost of 0.251 * 6,000 = $1.5 trillion
        Globally some 6,700 billion kWh/year are generated from coal (around 3.4 times as much as in the USA).
        So shutting down all the world’s coal-fired plants by 2030 would cost $5 trillion and result in 0.27C reduced warming by year 2100.
        I think it is pretty obvious why Hansen and his co-authors do not run us through this cost/benefit analysis.
        And that is the real dilemma. There are no viable actionable proposals to reduce global warming – because we are unable to do so.

      • I don’t believe it is in error. I am a skeptic. You have missed my point.

      • David–I agree we have not communicated well. My point is that I do not believe most people concerned about AGW really understand the economics of the situation. I think that if people were better informed they would support better policy decisions.

      • Rob, I see no evidence for your thesis, because the people who are well informed exhibit the same range and distribution of opinion as those who are poorly informed. Positions do not change with knowledge. It is a scientific question, one I have studied for many years. Moreover, actual policy issues get already get a great deal of expert analysis.

      • David this is obviously something you have studied, but I find it hard to believe that CAGW, and any of its pseudo-remedies, would have gained the traction it has, if the general public had a better understanding of the scientific method than it does. The AMS document speaks of scientists’ duty to communicate “the nature of science” to lay-folk. Very noble in principle, but I suspect most climate scientists warmly prefer the public’s present state of ignorance. Unless, that is, the “nature of science” turns out to include, after decades of ignoring it, reversing the null hypothesis.

        Similarly, a statement like “It is irresponsible of the media to create a public impression that two opposing views are equally likely when 37 one is supported by volumes of evidence and the other by supposition, or to promote a physical explanation 38 founded upon feeling or belief while lacking supporting evidence.” would be all the more admirable if it went on to observe that climate science journalism has comprehensively flouted it for 20 years.

        It will be interesting to see what the weather guys think.

      • My basic point is that both sides have strong arguments, which makes this a real debate, not a matter of ignorance on one sides part. In fact both sides claim the other side’s position is based on ignorance. This symmetry is very revealing.

        I don’t intend to debate your numbers but here are several of the well established counter arguments. First, we do not replace the coal plants. We use efficiency to cut demand in half. This is free in the long run. Second, eliminating the coal plants is part of a larger plan to eliminate CO2 emissions. This eliminates all new AGW, so your tiny fraction is irrelevant. The cost is low compared to saving the human race. Sacrifice will be required. Third, and most extreme, is contraction and convergence. This says that we must contract our consumption to converge on a fair global standard of living, which has little environmental impact.

        The point is that a lot of knowledgeable people accept one or the other of these arguments. Ignorance is not the issue. This is a genuine, informed debate.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘The cost is low compared to saving the human race. Sacrifice will be required’

        And exactly how does this ‘save the human race’. From what (in detail) does it need saving? Thermageddon? Nights being a bit warmer?. Shock horror one foot rise in sea level? The lesser spotted mating amazonian hedgepig getting a two day shorter/longer hibernate?

        Exactly which threats does your plan address? Leaping out from behind a curtain and making scary noises works are a children’s party, but we’re mostly adults here.

      • Latimer, it is not my plan. I am a skeptic, but I track the warmer’s arguments closely. If you do not understand the strength and popularity of these arguments then you do not understand the situation.

      • Rob – I’m about to address your interesting analysis much further down in the thread, where I can use the full column width.

      • David—you may be correct, but I disagree with the conclusion based upon my experience in dealing with people that I know who have been interested in the topic of climate change. (I fully accept that it is a statistically insignificant sample).

        I work in the aerospace industry in the United States. There are half a dozen of us who are all engineers and/or physicists who have been interested in the topic and have shared perspectives over the last three years. Three years ago, virtually everyone believed that the IPCC recommendations were probably correct and that the US implementing policies to restrict CO2 emissions made sense for the US and the world.

        Today, not a single one of those same people believe that a cap and trade policy, or a carbon capture policy makes sense for the United States to adopt. This change in perspective was due to increased knowledge of the topic. The same people who thought those policies made sense now do not because they better understand that the cost to the United States does not merit the improvements to the overall climate.

        I would admit that a part of the change in attitude is also due to a better understanding of the economics situation in the US overall. The US simply can not afford to keep spending resources on near worthless objectives/projects. Over the next several months, there will be more and more attention on the budgetary issues facing the US. I certainly hope that there will be massive cuts in funding for “the study of climate science”. I am not saying that the study has no merit, but during times when budgets need to be cut by over 30%, it simply is not a priority to fund to anything near the current levels.

      • Strangely enough, I’m actually familar with the document. I do my prep too. I had two rather large problems with it. The first was the description of models as “describing reality”. My thoughts on that idea are here –

        http://thepointman.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/the-seductiveness-of-models/

        The second one was the onus it seemed to lay on the media to present the one certain viewpoint. I’m sorry but that’s not the job of a journalist, that one goes to a PR agent. Let them decide if a dissenting view may have merit or not. You never know, it may be the resurrection of journalism from a coma of supine acceptance of press handouts from various special interest groups.

        Pointman

      • The admonition to the media is both vague and strange. It does not really say what you suggest, though it can be interpreted that way.

      • Well, since you’re leading with you chin again, I’ll say it. If you’ve got something to say then damn well say it. Don’t shilly shally around it. Pick a position, state it and let the chips fall where they may. Your comments share a certain similarity with the statement; they can be interpreted in any number of ways. Neither smack of conviction.

        Pointman

      • Sorry I was so brief but I only had a moment. No reason to be unpleasant. I think the key text is here (please tell me if not): “It is irresponsible of the media to create a public impression that two opposing views are equally likely when one is supported by volumes of evidence and the other by supposition, or to promote a physical explanation founded upon feeling or belief while lacking supporting evidence.”

        Note that climate change is not mentioned, so this statement may not even apply to the climate issue. That is the vagueness I alluded to. It sounds like they may be referring to creationism, but who knows? Lacking any example it is a strange thing to say. There is no way to tell how it applies.

      • I’m sorry David but my fundamental objection still applies. It is not the job of Journalism to act as an advocate or endorser of a particular viewpoint and for any institution, no matter how august, to have the cheek to somehow expect their cooperation is outrageous.

        Pointman

      • Pointman, please show me the text where this advocacy is asked for. I do not see it.

      • I also find this first sentence to be virtually meaningless: “For those in the media charged with reporting on scientific news and developments, or providing venues for discourse between experts offering opposing views, the body of scientific evidence provides essential context.”

        Opposing experts will presumably provide their own evidence. As for news it sounds like the reporter is supposed to interpret the news against some body of evidence, as opposed to reporting it. I think not, as that would be commentary, which is a different format.

        This whole section, if it relates to climate change at all (which is not clear), seems not to recognize that this is a realm of honest scientific debate. Reporters should not take sides when reporting.

      • Judith:
        I’m sorry but I think the AMS blew it in the very first sentence (which is very, very funny in my own sense of humor):

        “What Is Science? 15
        16
        Science is an enterprise that systematically acquires and organizes knowledge in the form of testable 17 explanations and verifiable predictions about the natural world.”

        BECAUSE, IMHO, virtually NONE of the current proclamations from
        climate science fits the “testable 17 explanations andverifiable predictions about the natural world.” If I am wrong about this, please tell me how!!!!

        Please focus on the word “testable.” That is the whole issue here. The “science du jour” is simply NOT TESTABLE, and therefore just may (probably is) junk science.

        For example, just HOW is the “atmospheric greenhouse effect” testable? Radiation cartoons? Where is the empirical evidence that underpins ALL of science?

        Another very important consideration that has been repeated a million times and ignored a million times by “climate science:” just HOW in the hell do we know that the modern warming period is not due to natural cycles, like (presumeably) the RWP and MWP?

        IMHO, the venerable AMS, along with the venerable ACS, Royal Society, and many other formerly scientific organizations are now nothing more than whores serving the altar of Government Handouts. Sad times in science, indeed!

        Fortunately, the public is not near as stupid as the elitists think they are, so maybe there will be some reasonable resolution to the GWS (Global Warming Scam).

      • I don’t know where all those numbers came from. Suxtnet?

      • It is all noble and well stated, including this:

        It is irresponsible of the media to create a public impression that two opposing views are equally likely when 37 one is supported by volumes of evidence and the other by supposition, or to promote a physical explanation 38 founded upon feeling or belief while lacking supporting evidence.

        Perhaps good advice when debating Genesis, but I think we have seen this particular point turned into a screaming whambulance by the Team.

  3. When I registered, the smarmy, politically-correct nonsense about carbon offsets turned my stomach.

  4. Will Greg Craven be there!!??!!??

  5. Shoot! I see you beat me to that, sorry! :)

  6. @David Wojick

    >because the people who are well informed exhibit the same range and distribution of opinion as those who are poorly informed. Positions do not change with knowledge<

    I have great difficulty in not simply ignoring this statement. It cuts across my views like a cross-cut saw

    Can you elucidate this notion with hard evidence, please ?

    • Actually it is a bit worse than what I said. The most informed people are those in the climate science community and they probably accept CAGW by around 60-40, if not higher. This is somewhat higher than the distribution in the general uninformed public, but I attribute that to the liberal bias in academia, which is where the scientists mostly dwell. Ideology is a major confounding factor in any statistical analysis of the climate debate demographics. But we really have no hard evidence about these distributions, in large part because the polls ask silly questions of the public and no questions of the scientists.

      I track a lot of blogs, with very different levels of knowledge, and the same arguments appear at all levels. Of course the greater the knowledge the more precisely the issues are specified but they are basically the same issues. At the top you get Hansen vs Lindzen, etc.

      So there is really no strong correlation between knowledge and position. It is fundamentally an ideological debate, not a scientific one. The science is simply unsettled, providing ample evidence to support contradictory views.

  7. Well, now that I Google “testable” I’m not so sure that the venerable AMS should have even used this word. They really need to let the scientists talk, rather than the PR morons whom nobody respects.

    http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/Testable

  8. Judith,

    Society in general are tired of the constant world ending senerio with theories that do not happen.
    Add on to this any trend is taken advantage of by corporate greed for profit.
    This has generated a more expensive power from the less efficient sources for the “going green” theme. Fuel is more expensive then it should be for profits.

    This makes it much harder to survive on a fixed income or a competitive one that has to keep wages down. A great many factories have closed and are not competitive any more to the over seas labour. Lost homes from these lost jobs. Then hearing massive bonuses for CEO’s and managers.

    Society is frustrated and struggling.

  9. I believe Dr Pieter Tans has recently been awarded the Revelle Medal by the AGU. Part of his acceptance speech reads:

    “As climate scientists we now find our­selves in the situation that our subject is widely understood to be so relevant to soci­ety that many powerful interest groups feel threatened. Thus, we are facing a well-orga­nized and well-funded campaign attack­ing our science and our integrity, spread­ing confusion and disinformation. This is not surprising, as mitigating climate change goes to the core of our energy sup­ply system and the broader economic sys­tem. Human-made climate change demon­strates that we cannot continue business as usual. Should we ignore the deliberate lies and manipulations we face and stick purely with the science, hoping that sound judgment and compassion will eventu­ally prevail? We are scientists, but we are also citizens. It is our civic responsibility to redouble our efforts to convey to the public clearly the urgency and the essence of the climate change problem. The kind of world we leave to our children and grandchildren depends on it.”

    http://www.agu.org/about/honors/union/revelle/tans_pieter.shtml

    • You confuse the science with the implementation of policies regarding the science. Please explain what policies you wish to be implemented and justify how those policies make sense???? PLEASE

      • Rob – I am not confusing the science and the implementation of policies. I am reporting what Dr Pieter Tans said.

      • Louise– I was asking you, because (perhaps incorrectly on my part) it appears that you believe that we (the US) should be taking actions to reduce CO2 emissions as soon as possible. I have not been able to get any supporters of this position to actually discuss the merits of their suggested policy recommendations…rationally.

      • I believe Louise is a skeptic, Rob. In any case the policy discussion you seek will be lengthy, and is not appropriate on this blog. I run a Yahoo! Group that includes representatives from many sides in the debate and we would be glad to take up your issue, if you care to join. You can sign up at http://www.climatechangedebate.org

      • Rob, I think Louise is a skeptic. In any case the lengthy policy issues you want to discuss are probably not appropriate for this forum. I too am a skeptic but is seems to me that if one accepts CAGW then the policy proposals follow quite rationally.

      • Rob, are you asking Tans this? He is not here. Louise posted his speech. Clearly Tans wants to mitigate climate change, as he understands that concept, because he says this: “…mitigating climate change goes to the core of our energy sup­ply system and the broader economic system.” So I assume he wants to rework th energy supply system and economic system, probably along the usually proposed lines, but he is not here.

    • Indeed, Tans is giving a standard pro-AGW argument, which is that skeptics are anti-science. The C-AGW proponents are forced to that position by the following problem. They claim the science is settled but skepticism is still widespread. Skeptics must be either stupid, ignorant or evil. Tans is opting for evil. Allegations of evil are the norm at the political level, which is where this debate is playing out.

    • “Thus, we are facing a well-orga­nized and well-funded campaign attack­ing our science and our integrity, spread­ing confusion and disinformation.”

      Eek! I thought it was only people of a skeptical persuasion who were supposed to be conspiracy nutters. I don’t know about anyone else but I haven’t seen a penny for my efforts. Have the rest of you skeptics been holding out on me? Say it ain’t so …

      Pointman

    • It is sad when we see well educated people like Dr. tan make such rash and ignorant statements.
      But historically it is not at all unusual for scientists to let their passions and personal prejudices compromise their work or for them to seek the personal destruction of those with whom they disagree.
      http://www.historynet.com/dinosaur-wars-in-the-american-west.htm
      The foibles of mixing scientific egos, governemnt money and hot new areas of research are not new.

      • Excellent point, hunter. Science has never been a realm of pure reason, far from it. The only thing that is relatively unique about the climate debate is that the passions and prejudices have a specific political policy direction.

      • and at the end of the day, it is these policy directions that really matter.

      • Indeed, and skeptics are winning handily, no matter how much the AMS, AGU, AAAS and AGW scientists complain. Kyoto is dead (for now). US cap & trade is dead (for now). All that remains is to stop EPA, which is in progress. At that point the climate policy issue is completely off the table (for now). I feel great. But I still want to redirect the climate research program toward something useful, if possible.

      • and when did the USA became the centre of the world?

      • What the USA does is pivotal, which is kind of like the center (or centre). But really it is just my territory, all I know about so mostly all I talk about.

      • A number of us used to call it “The World” more than not. Sometimes it was “The Land of the Round Doorknob”. Some may not have the sensation, but most from the good ol’ USofA tend to feel like they’re living on another planet if they’re anywhere else.

      • And China and India are looking at this by giving enough lip service to silence the easily duped, like Hansen, while absolutely ignoring the alrmist garbage.

      • They’re certainly up for receiving a “wealth transfer”, i.e. the “defacto-redistribution” the IPCC talks about. As far as I know Japan have raised two fingers up against any new Kyoto. I think only Europe, with its undemocratic bureaucratic system, is full-steam ahead towards CO2 trading. Unfortunately we recently had to suspend the scheme due to massive fraud.

        I do wonder what the historians will make of all of this.

      • Historians will wonder why so many with so much education had so little wisdom. They will wonder why people who were the beneficiaries of such a wonderful legacy of material and informational riches squandered them on a social mania. They will be puzzled as to how so many people in positions of responsibility to challenge wild claims shirked their obligations and simply joined in.

    • How sad, embarrassing for the spirit of Roger Revelle.

      Of course, Revelle suffered the earlier humiliation of being Al Gore’s alleged
      mentor, (although Revelle’s friend, Freeman Dyson disputed that).

      Whatever is in this koolaid to make men of such (potential) stature say such
      things? Twenty years from now, it will be an interesting journey down
      memory lane, picking the thinkers out of the herd. ….Lady in Red

  10. The only interesting question about the AMS meeting is if they will decline to folow the sorry path of the AGU.
    Will they allow people like Mooney and Trenberth harangue the members and hijack the organization to make it just another organ for pushing AGW?

    By the way, here is the Pielke, jr. post on the connection of corruption and vulnerability to natural disaster.
    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2011/01/corruption-kills.html#comment-form

  11. Rob – Your provocative analysis raises important questions about the need and feasibility of reducing CO2 emissions through reduction in the use of coal (and by inference, other fossil fuels as well). Here, I want to address only one aspect of the issue. Among the elements I won’t touch on are several that simply can’t be adequately discussed within a single thread. Each deserves a separate post and thread, and probably much more. These include the accuracy of cost estimates for mitigation and for failure to mitigate, the time frame over which the consequences should be considered, the distribution of the burden of consequences, and the implications of uncertainty regarding the probability of best case vs worst case scenarios in the absence of reason to believe the uncertainty can be greatly reduced in the near future.

    Of additional importance is the critical question as to how U.S. policy will serve to encourage or discourage mitigation efforts by other major emitting nations, and thus the extent to which our own actions will be amplified globally. This is obviously a major consideration, but I will leave it for extended discussion elsewhere. Here, I will address global coal usage on the assumption that what we do will have at least some discernible effect globally.

    Finally, along the same lines, I will discuss the consequences of a global cessation of coal combustion, not because it is feasible, but because it is symbolic of the consequence of rigorous efforts to achieve a major reduction in fossil fuel use generally – from all sources. Also, to the extent that optimal reductions are unachievable, they provide a standard for judging how well partial attainment of that goal may achieve partial mitigation of the consequences.

    The concept of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (DAI) with the climate system is based on the expectation of serious adverse consequences for global temperature elevations exceeding 2 C above pre-industrial levels. To date, a rise of about 0.8 C has been observed. If we were to cease all fossil fuel combustion immediately, current atmospheric CO2 levels would mediate a further small temperature rise, followed by a very gradual decline. For the next century, therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that a further rise of 1.2 C or less would be needed to confidently avoid DAI.

    Readily accessible coal reserves are typically estimated at about 900 Gtons. In addition, coal constitutes most of the estimated future reserve of all fossil fuels – see, for example Meinshausen et al 2009 . As oil reserves dwindle, coal will become an even more dominant contributor to fossil fuel CO2. Current global consumption of about 6.7 Gtons annually is expected to rise to about 9.98 Gtons annually by 2030, and may exceed even that later in the century. If cheap oil becomes very scarce after mid-century, it is likely that half or more of the coal reserves may be consumed before 2100, and if we wish to consider consequences beyond that date, we should address the results of consuming all 900 Gtons.

    Assuming that 90 percent of coal carbon is converted into CO2, consuming the estimated reserves will yield about 2916 Gtons of CO2. If all this remained in the atmosphere, it would raise CO2 levels by 567 ppm by mass or about 355 ppmv. If the atmospheric concentration is elevated to about half that level, the increase would thus be 178 ppmv – this is an approximation because some of the excess will be dissipated slowly via the carbon cycle, while natural sources will add to the excess.

    How much this would raise temperature depends to some extent on the level resulting from other fossil fuels and natural variation, but we should assume those contributions will be smaller. In addition, it will depend on the actual value of the climate response to CO2. As a rough approximation, we might assume that other fossil fuels would contribute their own 90 ppmv, and so we could ask what is the coal contribution to temperature rise from a 268 ppmv rise over current CO2 at 390 ppmv, and at a climate response of about 2.5 C per CO2 doubling over an average of a century.

    The value of ln2 is 0.693, and ln 658/390 is 0.523. This yields a temperature rise of about 1.9 C. If coal is subtracted, we get ln 480/390 = 0.207, corresponding to a temperature rise of 0.75 C. Coal brings the rise in temperature above the DAI limit, while its absence maintains temperature just below the limit.

    Given the obvious uncertainties (in the direction of both greater danger or greater safety), my purpose is not to prove a specified level of danger. Rather, it is to demonstrate that plausible estimates provide a reason to consider coal a major contributor to potential harm, whatever the magnitude of that harm. The intention to reduce a possible 1.9 C rise as much as possible over the course of decades is not unreasonable. The cost/benefit tradeoffs, as I suggested above, are a subject of a different extensive discussion.

    • Just to add to the above, I neglected to include warming still realizable from current CO2 levels. This would be small if partially offset by cooling from anthropogenic aerosols, but if aerosols are diminished in the future via pollution reduction measures, more than an additional 1 deg C might be involved.

      • Richard S Courtney

        Fred Moolten:

        Your argument consists of unsubstantiated assertions and nothing else.

        Most of your assertions are false, but there is no need to refute them all to disprove your argument because your argument depends on one of them. You assert;

        “The concept of “dangerous anthropogenic interference” (DAI) with the climate system is based on the expectation of serious adverse consequences for global temperature elevations exceeding 2 C above pre-industrial levels. To date, a rise of about 0.8 C has been observed. … For the next century, therefore, it is reasonable to estimate that a further rise of 1.2 C or less would be needed to confidently avoid DAI.”

        But you provide no evidence that DAI would be likely as a result of “global temperature elevations exceeding 2 C above pre-industrial levels”. And there is no reason to suppose that DAI would occur.

        Indeed, there are several reasons to think there would be no such “dangerous” effect. For example, global temperature rises and falls by 3.8 C (i.e. nearly double 2 C) during each year. This results in nothing “dangerous”.

        There is much else that is wrong with your argument, but this ‘2 C assertion’ is so wrong that it alone is sufficient to discredit your argument.

        And it is disingenuous for you to say;
        “Given the obvious uncertainties (in the direction of both greater danger or greater safety), my purpose is not to prove a specified level of danger. Rather, it is to demonstrate that plausible estimates provide a reason to consider coal a major contributor to potential harm, whatever the magnitude of that harm.”

        You have not given any reason of any kind to think there would be any “harm” of any kind. And, in the absence of any such reason, the rhetorical trick of equating “dangerous” with “potential harm” is reprehensible.

        Richard

  12. I received this message from a student of mine that is attending the meeting about Monday’s talks:

    I’ve attended some interesting talks today, but the best had to be a
    talk by Zhoahua Wu from FSU who raised a number of important issues
    related to the AR4 climate simulations (questions he had at the time
    IPCC was building their assessment but did not raise in fear of being
    reprimanded, not sure exact phrasing he used here but close). Issues
    raised include: 1) Why does the ensemble spread of the 20th century
    simulations have a jump discontinuity with reduced spread post 1963?
    2) Why is the change in amplitude of the AR4 simulations of global
    surface temperature larger than observations post volcanic eruptions?
    3) What component of the recent trend in global temperatures is due to
    the anthropogenic forcing vs. multidecadal (natural variability)?
    This last one is obviously of high relevance to your work recently.

    First, the authors showed additional evidence to what’s already been
    shown in the literature that the coupled models cannot reproduce the
    60-70 year period of multidecadal variability associated with the
    overturning thermohaline circulation. The implication of this is
    important, since in their analysis, the multidecadal AMO signal is
    responsible for about 1/3 of the secular trend in global surface
    temperatures since 1970, which would imply anthropogenic GHGs explain
    only about 0.6C since 1970 versus the 1C or so commonly cited.

    The other component of the talk that was especially fascinating is the
    point that was made on climate model calibration, namely the impact of
    training a climate model on a period of record shorter than the period
    of the multidecadal signal. Since we are calibrating on a time period
    (1963-2000) when the multidecadal trend is positive in addition to the
    anthropogenic GHG signal, Wu et al. are concerned that this impact is
    to overstate the amount of warming that is likely to occur in the 21st
    century simulations. He concludes that we need another 30 years of
    data (so that we’ve resolved a full period of the oscillation in order
    to have confidence in future climate projections). Finally, he also
    mentioned that he’s seen no work related to AR5 that indicates the
    multidecadal variability issue has been adequately resolved

  13. At the AMS session I attended, it was amusing when David Karoly attributed a spike in climate-oriented editorials and letters to the editor in late 2009…to the Copenhagen conference.

    • Ken

      .. Did he attribute 7% of the spike to Copenhagen?

      • David pointed to the very marked increase of climate traffic at the end of 2009 and said it was correlated with Copenhagen…he didn’t mention Climategate or any other natural variations. Ha!

      • So.. he correlated, then you attributed by inferring from correlation, then you attributed the implication to him?

      • Bart, you can listen to his comments for yourself.

        It shows the time variations and obviously the blip here is [caused by] Copenhagen, but there is in fact an interesting seasonal cycle.
        – David Karoly

        By not mentioning Climategate, David clearly reveals his bias. The only newsworthy aspect of Copenhagen was its colossal failure. The editorial heat at the end of 2009 revolved around the whistleblower leak of the Climategate e-mails.

      • Ken

        Just to clarify, David Karoly said, “It shows the time variations and obviously the blip here is Copenhagen, but there is in fact an interesting seasonal cycle,” or David Karoly said, “It shows the time variations and obviously the blip here is caused by Copenhagen, but there is in fact an interesting seasonal cycle,” the former or the latter?

        To save the time of listening.

        I certainly don’t disagree that the speaker is (probably purposefully) obfuscating, and that there is a revealed bias.

        I just want to know the particulars, so I can be alert to the exact methods used.

        If reporters are not so precise and accurate as they can be, they are automatically a source of error themselves. Reporters of reporters who post office the mistakes by adding to them little errors of their own neither come away with clean hands nor contribute to resolution.

        Which is why, too, in my opinion the reports from various well-meaning students, however, y’know, well-meaning remain only interpretations, therefore opinion and hearsay, and as opinion less than useless in a discussion of science. IMO.

    • It is interesting to watch AGW true believers become what they accuse skeptics of being.

  14. Trenberth gave his talk yesterday, here are notes provided by one of my students that is attending the meeting:

    In his talk, Trenberth began by reviewing the ClimateGate scandal and said that it should be better referred to as a ‘swiftboating’ attack since he views the episode as an attack onclimate scientists. He clarified his quote from an email that has since gone viral across the blogosphere about it’s a travesty that we can’t explain the lack of warming over the last several years. What
    he was actually referring to, he says, is the fact that at the time we could not account for the global energy balance when the total ocean heat content is considered, but now it appears that much of the heat is being stored below 300 m. He also mentioned several quotes from Thomas Friedman that referred to the Internet and blogosphere as a dumping ground for the sewer system. He also mentioned a historical quote that he often uses when he speaks with climate change deniers, something to the effect that “everyone may have an opinion, but there is only one set of facts”. He also recommended that climate scientists should not engage with the deniers since it provides them with an elevated platform for their message. He also does not think it is appropriate that the media tries to present a two-sided view to the issue when in fact there is only a small minority in disagreement.

    In addition, as you’ve mentioned on your blog, he clarified his thoughts on the new hypothesis testing framework in which we are now to assume that humans are altering the climate and instead have to prove that this hypothesis is incorrect. The basis for this idea was rather intriguing as we went through it. He began by assuming that there is a Gaussian distribution of some climatic variable and then you simply shift the mean of the distribution like temperature to some larger value. What he claims is happening today with the original hypothesis evaluation (i.e. testing that there has been no change) is that because most of the weight with the new cimate-shifted distribution lies within the original distribution, that we are seeing a plethora of Type II false-negative errors, whereby people are using
    examples of events to prove falsely that we have seen a shift in climate (since the event occurs within the original distribution) even though one would expect let’s say 80%, or so of the actual phase space to remain unchanged. Given the increasing frequency of false-negatives, in his view this motivates testing the reversal of the original hypothesis.

    Having said all of this, he then concluded his talk by discussing the recent extreme events of 2010. The headline of this last slide was something of, “The following extreme events of 2010 very likely would NOT have happened without global warming: “. From what I recall, these are some but not all of the events that were listed:

    1) Pakistan Floods
    2) Russian Heat Waves
    3) Extreme flooding in Queensland
    4) Recent Brazilian floods

    After his talk was finished, Trenberth was questioned on this last aspect of his talk although the question was very poorly worded. The basic idea behind the question appeared to be how one would go about testing whether or not these events would have occurred if there was no anthropogenic global warming (e.g. how do we know these events would NOT fall within the PDF of the previous climate.) Trenberth’s response was rather unclear, but he essentially touched on the fact that by Clausius-Claperyon we expect something on the order of a 4% increase in atmospheric water vapor content which although small when acted upon by the current La Nina climate state, has led to an unrealized set of extremes that were witnessed in 2010.

    • Dr. Curry,
      Trenberth will regret this talk and what he said in the near future.
      There is a saying that a fish is caught by its mouth.
      Trenberth’s mouth has been open quite a bit.

    • ‘Swiftboating’, eh? I actually think that is apt, but remember, half the world interprets that word differently than the other half.
      ===============

      • In fact Kim, most of the world outside the US has no idea what it means or refers to. (Perhaps Kim is referring to the world in the US sense, as in “World Series”!)

      • Heh, half the political world. My definition would be the ‘sudden revelation of facts which destroy a previously established false narrative’, but your mileage may vary according to whether you are driving on the right or left.
        ==================

      • kim,
        I think that is a concise and accurate definition of ‘swift boating’.
        That Trenberth think this is what has been done to him is very self-revelatory.

      • The meaning depends upon whether you hear it with your left ear or your right ear. This word marks an important cultural divide.
        ================

    • He began by assuming that there is a Gaussian distribution of some climatic variable and then you simply shift the mean of the distribution like temperature to some larger value. What he claims is happening today with the original hypothesis evaluation (i.e. testing that there has been no change) is that because most of the weight with the new cimate-shifted distribution lies within the original distribution, that we are seeing a plethora of Type II false-negative errors, whereby people are using
      examples of events to prove falsely that we have seen a shift in climate (since the event occurs within the original distribution) even though one would expect let’s say 80%, or so of the actual phase space to remain unchanged.

      So, to anyone familiar with even basic ANOVA, the take-away is that the magnitude of the effect is small. Based on his activism in the press, I don’t think that’s what he hoped to leave in the mind of his listeners.

      Given the increasing frequency of false-negatives, in his view this motivates testing the reversal of the original hypothesis.

      Or, you know, listen to the statisticians, and move away from sharp hypothesis testing altogether:

      An example of an implausible sharp null hypothesis would be that a large increase in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has exactly zero effect on the global mean temperature. When a null hypothesis of no effect is untenable, emphasis should be on estimation and/or prediction along with uncertainty quantification. Thus, the testing and attribution questions for climate change seem to me to be irrelevant and the focus needs to be on prediction.

      Editor’s comment on McShane & Wyner 2010

    • Judith

      Perhaps you would pass on to your students these quotations which only serve to illustrate that Trenberths arguments and his derogatory requoting that ‘everyone is entitled to their own opinion…’ can be seen as merely the latest in a long line of people trying to justify their prevarious position

      Bertrand Russell; “The fact that an opinion is widely held is no evidence whatsoever that it is not utterly absurd.”

      “I know that most men, including those at ease with problems of the greatest complexity, can seldom accept even the simplest and most obvious truth if it be such as would oblige them to admit the falsity of conclusions which they delighted in explaining to colleagues, which they have proudly taught to others, and which they have woven, thread by thread, into the fabric of their lives L Tolstoy”

      Albert Einstein said “If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn’t be called
      research.”

      Nietzsche wrote: ” The most perfidious way of harming a cause consists of defending it deliberately with faulty arguments.”

      Tonyb
      “H.L.Mencken wrote:The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

    • The moment “swiftboating” came out of his mouth he established that he is a hard core political liberal and that he is so enamored of the political narrative that he is incapable of rational objectivity. He would have to have a life-changing epiphany on the order of Paul’s on the road to Damascus before I suspect he would be capable of documenting his claims with the thoroughness and honesty with which the Swift Boat Vets documented theirs.

  15. I just repeat Dr T is out of his depth on hypothesis testing.

    What he wrote in the pre-match notes was incomprehensible, and it sound as though he continued in the same vein. If he doesn’t like Type II errors using Ho “AGW false” then swapping to Ho “AGW true ” might mean he isn’t able to reject the new null either – but as we all know that tells you little. It’s rejecting the nulls that delivers the real information.

    He should choose whatever hypothesis is appropriate for his experiment.

    • Richard S Courtney

      HAS:

      Trenberth was suggesting a change tro the null hypothesis as it applies to climate change. But, despite repeated explanations and corrections concerning the nature of the null hypothesis, you yet again assert;

      “He should choose whatever hypothesis is appropriate for his experiment.”

      No! That is an attack on the scientific method.

      The null hypothesis is that nothing has changed unless there is empirical evidence that a change has occured.

      So, in the case of the cause(s) of climate change, the null hypothesis is that the causes of climate change are the same (i.e. natural) as the causes of previous and similar climate changes unless empirical evidence that shows a different cause is obtained.

      That is the ONLY null hypothesis concerning climate change and it is the governing hypothesis according to the scientific method. Any assertion is pure pseudoscience if it disputes this is the only null hypothesis concerning climate change. Trenberth was asserting a change to the null hypothesis.

      Richard

      • Explain to me why I shouldn’t set up an experiment using the null “man made GHGs caused more than 50% of 20th century temperature increases” which is essentially the IPCC position?

        How would that be attacking the scientific method?

        In fact if I could falsify that null I think many of the skeptics would be deeply satisfied. As I’ve noted before, Dr T should be encouraged to accept this as his mission in life.

    • HAS,
      It depends on the meaning of ‘appropriate’.
      For Trenberth, ‘appropriate’ means ‘how to ignore pesky skeptics and get on with maintaining the social power of climate science’?

      • You are exactly right if you’re saying Dr T is playing politics here rather than dealing with a scientific issue.

        My underlying point is political too. Everyone that responds to this political play (like Richard S Courtney above) by saying “this is a travesty of science” (or some such) are not only wrong in the science, they are playing directly into the politics on Dr T’s terms. He needs to polarize to have effect.

        Simply re-frame the political debate and agree with Dr T that this is exactly what he should be doing (testing Ho “AGW is true”). Its what skeptics have been doing all along and we look forward him joining in to do some real science and to a stream of papers from him attempting to falsify AGW.

        You’ll teach him some science and some politics.

  16. Another question he was asked was about predicting regional variations and events and he agreed that there was a lot of work yet to be done. Right now they have the luxury of pointing to any climate event (drought or flood, record low or record high) and enjoying any implication it is related to human causes. They can’t say it with any certainty that will get warm here or wet there…all of their claims are conveniently non-falsifiable.

    One thing I found interesting…he is completely wedded to the global warming theme…and has not changed to global climate change or catastrophic climate change.