Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation. Part IX: Chris Colose’s Comment

by Judith Curry

Renewed attention (e.g. Tamino) is being given to Chris Colose’s comment that was originally posted on the thread Education versus Endocrination:

What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.

On the first point, it is now apparently perceived as “bad” when scientists come to a conclusion that is robust enough to be well accepted by the majority. I have never seen claims of the sort that “gravity people” are engaging in indoctrination, or the indoctrination of cell theory, the indoctrination of soil science, or the dogma of electrons. Strangely, this only applies to conclusions about climate change, or maybe evolution (and especially in America).

In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter, and one goes to authorities (doctors for medical diagnosis, lawyers for legal advice, etc) for insight. Most people seek the explanation with the most support, which is then echoed by the experts in the field. Some, on the other hand, will leave 100 doctors that give them a certain diagnosis, and then approve of the one that tells them to meditate, take secret forest herbs, and pray five times a day to cure their illness. People go to calculus textbooks to learn calculus, and yet no one goes to an sociologist to learn by the segments of the heart and brain. However, in climate science, apparently ‘authority’ is a logical fallacy, and textbooks and classrooms can be replaced by random opinions on a blog.

What’s even more startling, is that the personal communiation of scientists through e-mails can actually change the laws of physics!

What all of this shows is that many people simply cannot think rationally about climate change, nor do they have the capacity to diagnose proper information from nonsense. And once they pursue nonsense, it is very difficult to convince them that they are wrong. You cannot convince such people that Pat Michaels, Singer, Marano, etc don’t actually have anything to say, or that WUWT is a disinformation source. It’s not that the information to show they are nonsense is unavailable, it’s that the information MUST be wrong.

It is also clear to me that climate scientists must now become babysitters to every half-baked idea out there, otherwise they are being dogmatic. They must write detailed responses to people who think the greenhouse effect isn’t real.

It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’ If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention. However, if ‘skeptics’ toss out 8 conspiracy theories, 10 logical fallacies, and 17 arguments with ZERO thought put into them, then it is a good thing that we get to hear all sides. Then, when one item on the bucket list is knocked down, they can just jump tot he next item. In the meantime, they are just as valid as everyone else’s idea, since the criteria for acceptance is 101% certaintly in everything.

An alternative explanation is that climate scientists have been put into an impossible situation by the existence of the IPCC (e.g. Ross McKitrick’s analysis).  Your thoughts?

394 responses to “Lisbon Workshop on Reconciliation. Part IX: Chris Colose’s Comment

  1. Roger Taguchi

    Good arguments, Chris!
    Now how about discussing errors in my postings on Judith’s blog on
    “Physics of the Greenhouse (?) Effect”. I have quickly corrected mistakes in a discussion between Kai and me regarding the Boltzmann vs Loschmidt argument. So I admit there was garbage in my earlier postings. As any honest scientist should. You could ask Kai, who also was honest enough to admit his own mistakes, but I do not believe that he and I ended up as enemies. In fact, I respect his honesty and thank him for his stimulation.
    Maybe that’s the way the whole climate change debate ought to be handled.
    But on both sides. Pete Ridley will be looking for your refutations, if you can find them.

    • Certainly not ennemies, why? I improved my comprehension of Boltzmann distributions and am now convinced that isothermal is really the equilibrium, which was not necessarily obvious (as shown by Loschmidt). I also think the discussion was enriching and not at all hostile.

      But discussions rarely are hostile when limited to purely scientific matters, especially when you are not publishing on the subject and thus no citation ranking or academic carreer advancement is at stakes. When people genuinely try to improve knowledge without other agenda, there is no reason for conflict.

      The problem here is that new (and not so new) science is used for decision making, in a process that collide with some fundamental options for societal organisation. This will inevitably lead to problems. Those problems can often be sorted out when the science used is solid, with low error bar prediction, and experimental validation, except for some unscientific skeptics which should not really care about the science anyway.

      When the science used is young, uncertain, with big error bar, and no definitive experimental validation, using it to try to shift policies will innevitably leads to conflict, including on scientific aspects.

      I think there is no way to avoid the special stress on science when science is used in a political context. The only (partial) immunity would be to separate science that is also used in non-political context and has been proved in engineering (like radiative transfer, S-B radiation of balck body, evaporation rules, energy conservation). This part is solid and discussion around it can occur in a very civil way,.
      At least it will not be directly poluted by more controversial science (here, the feedbacks mechanisms, and the GCM model built, leading to attributions, consequences of warming, and so on). This later science is specialized for policy making in a way, it is a construct of the very question that triggered the fight over policy. There civility and reconciliation can not be expected, as long as the problem is not made irrelevant by technical progress (cheap&safe nucelear) or new experimental evidence can be used to bypass the reliance on models (which seems difficult here).

      Judith has cleverly divided the subject in her greenhouse series, and most skeptics will agree with simple radiative models….as long as it is also recognised that those model can not give sensitivity estimate for earth climate because they simplify processes that are potentially as strong an influence on T that the additional backradiation modeled.

  2. My immediate reaction is to commend Chris for neatly summarizing many of my own thoughts on this issue. His comment about ‘authority’ particularly resonates with me. While the traditional stance of rejecting of ‘argument from authority’ has obvious value, i.e, something isn’t true just because someone with some kind of authority tells you that it is, in the context of climate science this somehow become twisted into a situation in which the people with the most knowledge about an issue have become, by definition, those who can be least trusted to have anything useful to say. This is a very confused state of affairs in my opinion.

    Yes, I’m familiar with ‘climategate’. I just have a hard time conflating the malfeasance of individual scientists with the blanket condemnation of an entire scientific field.

    • The point is not so much the malfeasance of individual scientists, but which scientists were involved. Climategate involves essentially the entire tiny coterie of individuals involved in the “detection and attribution” (or “fingerprint” or whatever) area of research — which is, as should be obvious, the foundation of the entire AGW edifice. Unless it can be confirmed that anthropogenic CO2 is “very likely” to cause worldwide disasters, it all falls apart: Bureaucratic plans for total economic control — poof! Financiers’ plans for vast wealth trading air at ratepayers’ expense — poof! Delusional dreams of replacing icky industrial society with a nice organic vegan world — poof!

      This is what accounts for both Climategate itself and the reaction to it by the public. Any ordinary, rational person would look at Climategate and ask, “if the science is so firm and well-supported, what on Earth are these guys so afraid of?” … and then come to the obvious conclusion.

      • Climategate involves essentially the entire tiny coterie of individuals involved in the “detection and attribution” (or “fingerprint” or whatever) area of research

        No, actually, it doesn’t.

      • Yes, actually, it does, since the principal modelers and the main paleoclimatologists are prominent in Climategate, and the chapter places heavy emphasis on the “hockey stick” Mann results, though the famous AR3 graph isn’t given prominence. Thanks for the convenient pointer to the HTML version of WG1 Ch9; I’ve just been using the .pdf version, which is both more convenient and less, depending on the particular use.

        90% or more of the chapter is arm-waving and window dressing, and the reference section irrelevant, since no actual evidence is cited. Worth reading over carefully and critically, though, however painful the experience may be.

      • Thanks for the convenient pointer to the HTML version of WG1 Ch9;

        You might find this annotated version of WG1 Ch9 somewhat more illuminating, if you ever decide that you want to read it ‘carefully and critically’ (or any of the 44 Chapters of AR4):

        http://accessipcc.com/AR4-WG1-9.html

      • the principal modelers and the main paleoclimatologists are prominent in Climategate

        Really? Who do you mean? Is it one person, three people, or the “entire tiny coterie of individuals involved in the “detection and attribution” (or “fingerprint” or whatever) area of research?”

        You are, of course, welcome to enjoy the links I found, and I acknowledge your courteous acceptance of same. Maybe a little time spent learning how to use Google would help you avoid making such sweeping statements in the future.

      • Craig Goodrich

        Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ve been using Google since a couple of unknown hackers at Stanford put out a request for testing help, which was forwarded to a Red Hat beta mailing list some twelve or so years ago.

        I find it endlessly fascinating that although I’ve asked over and over in numerous fora for an AR4 WG1 Ch9 page reference to even one piece of actual measured scientific evidence for CO2 causation of the two decades of warming in the last century, none has yet been provided. Have I finally hit paydirt? Can you help, PDA?

        If so, many thanks once again.

    • “Yes, I’m familiar with ‘climategate’. I just have a hard time conflating the malfeasance of individual scientists with the blanket condemnation of an entire scientific field.”

      Such conflation becomes easier, given the ‘entire scientific fields’ continued acceptance (extollance!) of the malfeasants and their self-impugned work products.

      If you are going to hang your hat on appeals to authority, it makes sense to spend some effort maintaining said authority. I see where the malfeasants are now petitioning Congress on behalf of ‘the entire scientific field’, with no apparent objection from same.

      Conflate that.

    • FiveString –
      in the context of climate science this somehow become twisted into a situation in which the people with the most knowledge about an issue have become, by definition, those who can be least trusted to have anything useful to say. This is a very confused state of affairs in my opinion.

      Perhaps this is, in part, because the people with the most knowledge about some issues have in many ways proven themselves untrustworthy. Example – until 2000, I had reason to disbelieve AGW but not to argue about it. Then I was mugged by a couple people wielding a “Hockey Stick” – which I knew to be false. Why did I know that? Because for years prior to that I’d been involved in and studied archaeology – and I knew that the archaeological evidence for the MWP was abundant and solid. So telling me that the MWP didn’t exist based on a statistical analysis was a no-brainer — it was false. It wasn’t until later that the HS was discredited, but the science based on it was discredited in my mind long before. And I’ve found no reason to change that opinion since. The people who lied to me about the HS are still lying to me – about Antarctic warming among other things. And then they’re telling me that I should accept their “word” wrt to their judgment about the risks that “they” predict as a result of “their” science. REALLY??

      And then they want to shut down open discussion on the blogs, even though (or more likely because) that discussion is the source of more and more discoveries of uncertainties and inconsistencies in the science. Mmm – you may not believe that but – witness the attacks on this blog and its host by “mainstream” climate scientists. What – you didn’t see them? Then you’re either blind or you haven’t been here very long. Stick around and watch for a while.

      I will agree that it’s all confusing – sometimes even to me.

  3. I think both explanations have some merit – the IPCC has done more than merely reflect a pre-existing consensus. Without it, I think there would still be significant scientific agreement on some of the same issues, but the political character of “consensus” would be markedly different.
    Currently skeptics are holding climate science to a high standard, higher than found in (some) other sciences (skeptics say this is justified because of the importance of climate science), and higher than that found in some of their own arguments (here it gets tricky because skeptics are not uniformly unskeptical of each other).
    Are the skeptics responsible for these excesses of critical thinking, or are they just reacting to the conditions created by the IPCC? Or those who created the IPCC, or Rachel Carson… The emphasis tends to fall on whichever root problem the speaker wants to emphasize.
    (also, it’s indoctrination not Endocrination hehe)

    • re: Endocrination

      In spellcheck veritas?

      I suspect at least part of the O’Donnel-Steig dust-up is hormonally driven. Once you have strong (tribal) identification with viewpoints it is hard not to trigger endocrine reactions when those viewpoints are attacked. Alas that is way off-topic.

  4. In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter, and one goes to authorities (doctors for medical diagnosis, lawyers for legal advice, etc) for insight. Most people seek the explanation with the most support, which is then echoed by the experts in the field.

    Note, in the particular case of the AGW hypothesis, that not only has there not been “a convergence of evidence” that the mild warming of the mid-70s to the mid-90s was due to CO2, there has appeared no evidence whatever, and in fact every testable prediction of the hypothesis is disconfirmed by actual measurements. This after two decades and $100 billion in research.

    As to “the explanation with the most support”, many of us with some actual knowledge of practical meteorology and an inclination towards cynicism thought in 1988 that the Hansen theory was extremely farfetched, given the overwhelmingly important role of hydrology and the carbon cycle in day-to-day conditions on the planet. We noticed that essentially all of the “support” for this notion came from politics; the scientific and meteorological establishments were almost universally skeptical. The mass media was not, but the mass media is interested only in chasing sensationalism.

    But of course the political support led to financial support, and so oddly “scientific” support seemed to rise in direct proportion to the taxpayer money expended to propagandize the theory. Even more oddly, this “scientific” support was completely independent of any actual evidence discovered.

    What all of this shows is that many people simply cannot think rationally about climate change, nor do they have the capacity to diagnose proper information from nonsense.

    Absolutely right. And Mr. Colose is, if you will forgive the phrase, a textbook example.

    • Very good points

    • Note, in the particular case of the AGW hypothesis, that not only has there not been “a convergence of evidence” that the mild warming of the mid-70s to the mid-90s was due to CO2, there has appeared no evidence whatever, and in fact every testable prediction of the hypothesis is disconfirmed by actual measurements

      ????

      I’m a long time skeptic, but I find the certainty of this statement to be just as off the mark as those on the alarmist side of the fence.

      • Fair enough. Find some.

        I am quite serious about this. The only — repeat, only — relevant section of the massive AR4 (available in pdf at ipcc.ch) is Working Group 1, Chapter 9, “Detection and Attribution.” It is less than 100 pages, very densely and confusingly written, possibly on purpose or possibly simply because most scientists are terrible writers in the first place (unlike, thank God, Dr. Curry), and a committee of them makes things even worse.

        I have taken on the awful penance of reading that chapter carefully, twice. My conclusion is that the only argument in favor of the AGW hypothesis to be found there is the same as Hansen presented twenty years before and Jones presented last year in a BBC interview: “Well, if it’s not carbon dioxide, I can’t think what else it could be.”

        On some occasion when you feel like self-flagellation for some particularly enjoyable sin, I invite you to read this chapter carefully. If you find a shred of actual scientific evidence for the AGW hypothesis, by all means post the page reference.

      • Stratospheric cooling? Now that the facts have changed as you had understood them, should I expect you on our side of the fence now?

      • Stratospheric cooling is no evidence whatever, it is simply one phenomenon predicted by the AGW hypothesis that actually occurred, and it certainly does not constitute any kind of confirmation, since the cooling could have occurred for any number of reasons. The point of a hypothesis is that it predicts an entire combination of phenomena, and unless that particular combination occurs precisely as predicted, the hypothesis is disconfirmed. This is elementary philosophy of science, and the fact that stratospheric cooling is one of the first talking points pulled out by AGW advocates is a clear demonstration of how much the common AGW propaganda depends on the scientific illiteracy of the general public.

        But in fact it may well be that the behavior of the stratosphere is not a result of but a contributor to global climate; Solomon et al 2010 (Sciencexpress) note that stratospheric humidity rose from 1980 to 2000, but has declined by about 10% since then. There is nothing in CO2-driven AGW theory that could account for this, and the authors note that “the trend in global surface temperatures has been nearly flat since the late 1990s despite continuing increases in the forcing due to the sum of the well-mixed greenhouse gases (CO2, CH4, halocarbons, and N2O), raising questions regarding the understanding of forced climate change, its drivers, the parameters that define natural internal variability, and how fully these terms are represented in climate models.”

        Sorry, no sale.

      • Oh that is precious. It is not evidence it is phenomena that just happens to be anticipated by mainstream climate science. One wonders what demises do when they’re out without their word parser. Not to mention there are so so many alternative explanations.

        Sleaking of which, feel free to reel off a few bearing in mind the trend in surface temperatures . I’ll be sure to hold my breath.

      • Scientific (and logical) illiteracy. QED.

      • Shorter Craig G: this paper I don’t understand says something about flat temperatures and the stratosphere therefore I can safely ignore my wild claims being exploded for me. QED.

      • If you were up to date you would also therefore be aware that there has been no stratospheric cooling since 1995. No signal there either then!

        Of course there will always be a handwave to explain why the signature isn’t there but remember occams razor before you do so. ie the simplest explanation is that there is no manmade warming.

      • Craig,
        What were two things Hanson said about the northwest passage in his 1981 paper?

        It’s in the abstract so you don’t have to dig too deep.

      • As to disconfirmation — taking just the two most obvious examples:

        The computer models, upon which essentially all AGW theory depends, predict that the tropical upper troposphere (around 10km) will warm at a greater rate than the surface. It doesn’t; there is no sign of such excess warming, either over the 70-year weather balloon records or the thirty-year satellite records.

        AGW theory says that excess heat is being retained in the climate system due to the rise in CO2 levels and associated positive feedbacks. But this heat, over the last decade, has not shown up as an atmospheric temperature increase, so it must be stored somewhere, only to pounce on us later. The only place it could be stored, since Fort Knox and Iron Mountain are under government control, is the ocean. Trenberth, for example, of “travesty” fame, has maintained that the excess heat is being stored in the “deep ocean.” But this would require that over the last decade something like 8 x 10^22 Joules of heat have managed to descend through more than a kilometer of ocean without the deep-diving ARGO buoys detecting their passage. This is absurd, a real travesty.

      • The computer models, upon which essentially all AGW theory depends

        Faulty premise. FAIL.

      • You are right; I apologize. I should have said, “The computer models, which at any point over the last two decade have served as the only explicit and definitive expression of the AGW theory, …”

        Thanks for the opportunity for correction.

      • Did Arrhenius use a PC or a Mac?

      • Michael, as has been discussed in extenso on other threads, the question is not how CO2 behaves in the lab. Yes, it is a “greenhouse” gas, absorbing and emitting mostly in the 15 micron band. The question is what, if any, effect an increase in this gas from 0.03% of the atmosphere to 0.04% (or even 0.1%) would have in a climate system which is totally dedicated to moving unimaginably huge quantities of heat and moisture from point A to point B on the surface of a spinning planet.

        Arrhenius first corrected his own work, then his results with respect to climate were regarded as discredited for thirty years, then they were briefly revived, then incorporated into a “standard view”, then discarded again, then revived as an excuse for panic. Your point is?

      • All of which — or most of which — may constitute evidence for a slight warming, which nobody disputes; none of which constitutes evidence for causation by CO2, which is the point at issue.

        As to palaeoclimate reconstructions, it is as close to (dare I say it?) settled as possible that both the MWP and the Roman Optimum were global in extent and around half a degree C warmer than the peak of the Modern Warm Period; the Holocene Optimum was up to three degrees warmer.

        “Estimates from forcing” presuppose, like the models, what you contend they are demonstrating. More tail-chasing.

      • it is as close to (dare I say it?) settled as possible that both the MWP and the Roman Optimum were global in extent

        Absolutely. To the extent that “the globe” is “the Northern Hemisphere” – a conclusion you can easily reach from watching TV news – this is correct.

        “Estimates from forcing” presuppose, like the models, what you contend they are demonstrating.

        What is an “estimate from forcing?” The studies reviewed by Knutti and Hegerl looked at known radiative forcings – solar, volcanic, CO2 etc. – and found little evidence for a sensitivity lower than 2°C.

        The phrase “estimates from forcing” appears nowhere in the paper, and it’s difficult to figure out what that could even mean.

      • Craig Goodrich

        Sorry; replying briefly here to a later reply (on the MWP) since we are about to run off the rails (or perhaps we already have).

        To the extent that “the globe” is “the Northern Hemisphere” – a conclusion you can easily reach from watching TV news – this is correct.

        Well, I’m glad to see we’ve made some progress, anyway; ten years ago the claim was that the MWP was purely a “North Atlantic phenomenon”, so now at least the painstaking cherry blossom records of Japanese Imperial gardeners and sediment studies of the lower Yangtze have been recognized.

        Who knows, in another decade someone might actually notice the stalagmite studies in South Africa and New Zealand, the ice cores from the Andes, and the sediment cores from Chilean lakes.

        The progress of science is slow… But then, it seems the progress of TV news is even slower.

        The phrase “estimates from forcing” appears nowhere in the paper, and it’s difficult to figure out what that could even mean.

        Probably my mistake; I parsed one portion of your link phrase as

        [ [direct estimates of …][from forcing between …]]

        while your reply clearly indicates the parsing should have been:
        [[equilibrium sensitivity][from forcing between …]]

        What is a “sensitivity from forcing”?

      • I am coming in the middle of this, but if I understand you correctly, you are saying the number of studies of non-Northern Atlantic MWP studies is rather low. That is not the case at all. There are over 900 scientists who’ve done papers on MWP evidence in sites around the world. May I suggest you see the map and map-links at http://www.co2science.org/data/timemap/mwpmap.html

        If I am misreading you, sorry.

      • “your point is….”

        That the ‘skeptics’ computer model phobia is irrational.

        Models existed a long time before computers.

        Luddites.

      • Of course they did, and they suffered from the same weaknesses as computer models and produced no actual evidence either.

        A computer simply feeds you back your assumptions several orders of magnitude faster.

  5. As I’ve mentioned before, remarks like Chris’s are the protestations of the innocent. Sure, climate science got corrupted, but the Express Train running beyond the limits of the tracks is the doing of the politicians and financiers.

    Judy gets it; see her comment about the IPCC.
    ================

  6. Latimer Alder

    ‘What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline’

    Good.

    If you guys want to play around with things that are used to propose profound changes to the current and future way of life of every person alive on this planet – and for generations as yet unborn, then you bet your sweet life that the standards that you are going to be held to will be the highest that you have ever even dreamt of.

    You will be audited and criticised and made to justify every step of your arguments. Not just to assert that you are a climatologist and expect your views to be accepted without question. Your basic data gathering will be made robust. Your precious unvalidated and unverifiable models will be taken apart by professional model breakers. You’ll be made responsible for every last little thing you do or write or say.

    In other words – you’ll have to behave just like anybody else working in science or engineering or research where your actions can have serious actual consequences on real people. Your field will grow up from playing in a sandpit to a serious scientific endeavour – with all the processes and procedures that go with it.

    And you personally might have to suffer the unpleasantness of having people without a PhD in Radiative Physics casting judgement on your work. I’m sure that you will cope.

    • There’s something to be said for this argument. But without a considerable increase in resources it is not going to happen. Nor is making life miserable for those of us who elect to try to explain matters to the public a proposition likely to improve the situation.

      There is general agreement among practitioners that the risks are serious. The rational response would be to act as if the risk were serious.

      Simultaneously, if there are doubts about the risks as evaluated by the practitioners evaluating the risks, to expand efforts in the field and its pedagogy.

      The apparently preferred strategy of punishing the messenger serves entirely different ends. This is not a strategy seeking an optimum outcome for the long term benefit world, but one seeking an optimum outcome for the short term benefit of those with a financial stake in the energy business as currently conducted.

      I am making no presumption in this comment that the IPCC/climate science community consensus is correct.

      I am just saying that if people outside that community seriously think that the consensus is dubious and have any respect for scientific method, they ought to go about addressing it in a far more productive way. Demanding a more formal, transparent and rigorous process requires that the field should be better funded, less attacked, and made more attractive to the most talented scientists.

      Harassment and inconsistent institutional support have the opposite effect. And so the risk profile keeps getting worse, not better, which is the opposite of addressing a potential problem.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’ll reply at length later, but simply observe that the checks and balances that I propose are not designed to do anything to influence your personal state of mind wrt happiness/miserableness.

        They are designed to give a greater (some) level of confidence that there actually is some real science behind the loudly shouted propaganda. If you (as one who has ‘elected to try to explain matters to the public’) find this process makes you uncomfortable, then I fear that is the price you will pay for your decision.

        Scientist in your ivory tower or advocate/politician subject to scrutiny. You can’t have the best of both worlds.

      • “Scientist in your ivory tower or advocate/politician subject to scrutiny. You can’t have the best of both worlds.”

        Wanna bet?

      • Latimer Alder

        I don;t see the need for more resources – just a better direction of the existing ones. For example I am told that there are about 30 different climate models (none of which seem to be much use at anything). Assuming that we might need three, we can shut down the other 27 with all their associated costs and use the resources saved on a proper system of governance.

        And we could do the same many times over. Because of the vast amounts of n-money that have been thrown at ‘climate science’ in the last two decades, every twobit college has a climatology department. No need for many of them. Close them and use the money to get a few creme de la creme departments – properly directed and rigorous in their processes and methods.

        My propositions do not ‘punish the messenger’. They work to introduce a proper standard of professionalism into climatology, and maybe rebuild some public trust in the field. The choice of doing nothing will just lead to it all falling into further disrepute – and a death by a thousand cuts. There is not a long-term third way.

      • Oddly, the only energy subsidies I can find getting expanded are the ones that are alligned with the AGW community.
        I would suggest that while you are upgrading your vocabulary, the message is still the same:
        “Denialist scum, if you sit silently and let us believers do what ever we want, we will simply ignore you with contempt. But if you dare speak without our specific approval, you had best watch out, cuz we are gonna get really really angry.”

      • Michael –
        There is general agreement among practitioners that the risks are serious. The rational response would be to act as if the risk were serious.

        Sorry, there’s only general agreement among those who agree. The fact that your side of the dance floor continually denigrates people like Lindzen, Spencer and others makes your first statement questionable (uncertain?).

        I’ve yet to see a real cost-benefit analysis – or a risk analysis – by anyone who would be qualified to perform such analysis. Being a climatologist does NOT make you qualified for such analysis. Therefore your second sentence may be “your opinion”, but no more. And there’s no reason for anyone to take it as seriously as you believe or desire.

        I am just saying that if people outside that community seriously think that the consensus is dubious and have any respect for scientific method, they ought to go about addressing it in a far more productive way.

        And how would you suggest that should be done? What mechanism do you believe is available for that kind of activity? In this blog you have a mechanism for communication with those pesky sceptics – and you and others continually attack and denigrate the effort that Dr Curry puts into it.

        As for productive – you apparently have no idea about the power of distributed processing – which is precisely what this and the other “open” blogs are in this context. RC doesn’t count because it’s not “open” and not amenable to real discourse. I’d have thought you’d have learned about the power of distributed analysis from the Dan Rather affair. Or maybe you did there what you do wrt climate science – slough it off as just a political attack. But it wasn’t – it was a critical analysis by a group of experts from many fields, all brought together by the Internet, pooling knowledge and synthesizing a solution to a “problem”. Which is precisely what’s happening wrt climate “science” and the blogs. Your collective work is being analyzed by a large and increasing – and increasingly competent – group of those who are well qualified to critique your work. Have you actually paid ANY attention to the qualifications of those who are dismissed out of hand by those on your side of the dance floor? You should because many of them are as qualified as you to analyze your work, your statements, your predictions. Dissing them is not smart because it’ll make many of them dig in and find even more holes, uncertainties, inconsistencies – and sometimes outright lies – in what comes across that dance floor. And you’ll undoubtedly like the results even less than the present situation.

        If you’re really a “scientist” then my advice is to do what scentists are supposed to do – investigate rather than dismiss those lines of inquiry that many of “you” have dismissed out of ego or ignorance or contempt or ……whatever reason. There are too many questions for me – or many others – to take “authority” as a basis for belief.

      • There is general agreement among practitioners that the risks are serious. The rational response would be to act as if the risk were serious.

        This is in the first place a questionable assertion, and in the second place depends crucially on the extent to which a rational observer regards the “practitioners” as free of conflicting interests. In the particular case of climate science the latter is much more vexing than it would be in, for example, particle physics — consider Pachauri’s financial interests or Mann’s research grant pipelines.

        … the field should be better funded, less attacked, and made more attractive to the most talented scientists.

        Let’s see… Over the last two decades, an expenditure of $100 billion worldwide could have provided clean water for most of the third world, or resolved most of the problems of mining safety while developing less environmentally-destructive methods of mining, or eradicated both malaria and vitamin A deficiency throughout Africa, to name only a few possibilities. What precisely do you have in mind when you recommend that this AGW snipe hunt be “better funded”?


      • I am just saying that if people outside that community seriously think that the consensus is dubious and have any respect for scientific method, they ought to go about addressing it in a far more productive way.

        If people inside the community had any respect for the scientific method, they would have discipline in their efforts, including high quality methodologies, archiving and transparency. This is very cheap, and doesn’t require additional funding.

        Drop funding of people / programs which have problems with archiving, transparency, methodology, professional integrity, or are “playing in the sand box” and use the money to fund the ones doing quality work. if you prefer higher quality efforts. Whining doesn’t generate sympathy, quite the opposite.

  7. I’m sorry but I cannot find much of value in Chris’s comment. He complains that skeptics sometimes put forward poorly thought out arguments. True. But the truthfulness of the statement does deal with the well thought out arguments and improved methods the skeptics also put forward.

    Chris’s comment is just a complaint that people ought to trust the climate scientists! I don’t buy it. They haven’t earned our trust. Every time someone audits a paper closely (McIntyre, O’Donnell, etc) they find the conclusion was unwarranted.

    It is possible to conduct a fair assessment of the science, but it is not easy. There are a number of papers still being blocked by climategatekeeping that deserved to be published, some by McIntyre. I know Christy and others have complained as well. Let’s get the papers out there and see if they stand up.

    Next comes an assessment report that is independent of the alarmism of the IPCC and the advocacy of SPPI. I have called for the IPCC to publish a Majority Report and a Minority Report. The Minority Report should be led by people who have been critical of IPCC bias. If they think they can do it better, they should be given the chance. It could be led by a team including Roger Pielke, Judith Curry, Lindzen, Christy, Chylek and many others. Next you invite in thousands of reviewers. If they have reviewed an IPCC report, they are welcome to review this one. Then you have the participants: editors, authors, reviewers vote on which report best represents current science. I think the more reasonable and less alarmist report would likely win. This would not decide truth, just which report would be called the Majority Report.

    Also, I think it is possible to do this without the IPCC if necessary. It is possible they are too blinded to their own errors and biases that they will not see the need for it. But that does not mean it should not be done.

    • Ron,

      You may be interested in the “minority report” at

      http://nipccreport.org/

      — which is an IPCC-style literature review coming to quite different conclusions than the UN version. It is almost as long as the IPCC document and much more scientifically rigorous. It is also much more readable, as it has no need to disguise lack of content with science-y bafflegab.

      • I am familiar with the report and while it presents an interesting perspective, it suffers from not getting buy in from a larger field of climate scientists. I think the involvement of people who have written consensus style reports in the past is important. I know Christy has been an IPCC author or contributing author. I know Pielke has been involved in some assessments, not sure if he has been an IPCC author or not.

        A good number of climate scientists have been critical of IPCC bias for some time. I think it is time they banded together and produced a solid assessment of the science – not something someone may accuse Big Coal of funding (whether true or not).

      • “Big Coal” funding? How about funding from “Big Government” wishing to become even bigger and more powerful?

      • … not something someone may accuse Big Coal of funding (whether true or not).

        This is impossible; if the accusers are sufficiently delusional to:
        * Ignore the countless billions spent by governments supporting tendentious AGW research;
        * Ignore the huge propaganda budgets of “environmental” lobbying groups (the WWF’s budget last year, for example, was around $500 million);
        * Ignore the obvious fact that the largest “big carbon” companies are themselves now chasing carbon-credit subsidies — Florida P&L, for example, the largest coal consumer in the country, has now destroyed more vast swaths of northern Appalachia with worthless but tax-break attracting wind turbines, and paid no taxes on more than $2 billion in revenue last year. The Great Satan Exxon gave $50 million to Stanford for climate research, compared to a gift of around $2.5 million to free-market think tanks.

        If, as I say, these fanatics can scream their shrill accusations in spite of all this, can you honestly imagine any institutional circumstances that would preclude such propaganda?

      • The NIPCC report is not scientifically rigorous by a far stretch. Anything that can be spun as evidence (no matter how flimsy) against a human contribution to climate change is uncritically accepted and even magnified. While anything that points to human influence is almost by definition too uncertain to matter. A highly inconsistent view of uncertainty and a complete lack of weighing the evidence.

        A magical trust that strong aerosol cooling from natural feedbacks releasing aerosols will come to the rescue. Incidentally entirely opposite to Lindzen’s claim that aerosol cooling is smaller than expected (http://www.skepticalscience.com/a-case-study-of-a-climate-scientist-skeptic.html ).

        For a critical look at the NIPCC report, esp regarding the role they ascribe to aerosols, see
        http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/06/13/the-nipcc-report/

      • The NIPCC report is not scientifically rigorous by a far stretch.
        Possibly not, although a link from Skeptical Science is a very poor way of making your point. Nevertheless, it is difficult to claim the NIPCC report is any less rigorous than the IPCC AR4, given the multitude of “errors” (lies, actually), the reliance on non peer reviewed literature despite claiming they NEVER do so, the secretive and politically motivated way lead authors are chosen.

        The NIPCC at least tries to produce a summary of the available science – I see no evidence the IPCC makes any effort to do so at all. If they were, this is NOT the way the would conduct themselves
        http://nofrakkingconsensus.wordpress.com/tag/climate-bible/

  8. In a nut shell, this comment by Chris Colose follows the same recipe we’ve become so familiar with.
    First, we have the slurs and denigrations of all who criticise AGW. No need to repet them here – they’re up in the quote.
    Then we have the wail about climate scientists being the only ones who are being hounded from blog to journal by sceptics who ‘can say anything they want’, whereas the climate scientist are forced to defend their science even to uneducated peasants who do not have aPh.D. in Radiative Physics …

    Well, I am more and more inclined to think that this debate about ‘the science’ and ‘the scientists’ contra ‘the sceptics’ is a red herring which is meant to stop us from looking to what this is really about: the huge attack on all our lives, through taxation, through a proposed supra-national entity to enforce this, through legislation in our countries which literally lead to putting lives at risk.

    If we, as citizens, are not even asked but told to bear such burdens, then it surely is our right to query the reasons for this. If the AGW scientists find that their data are under undeserved scrutiny then this is the reason.
    If they don’t like it, they have themselves to blame for entering the political arena as activists.

  9. “Endocrination”

    A new first in climate science?

    • Endocrination, from endo or ‘inside’ and crinis for ‘secrete’ or ‘leak’ the organization of a system into interconnected groups to regulate and control the activity of other parts of the body by insider leaks.

      See references to Climategate, and Lisbon Pearce-ing the Charterhouse.

  10. Actually, Judy, everyone seems to get it. This is a path to reconciliation. The errant scientists must eventually understand the forces causing their perversion. For them, ridicule; for the politicians, anger; for the financiers, bankruptcy.
    ===============

  11. Here’s another option for Climate Science. This is a couple of months old, but it’s always an option:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/14/science/14anthropology.html?_r=2

  12. Two points.

    First, did we skip part IX of this series?

    Second, as to Chris’s point concerning the standards to which climate scientists are now being held, I think it’s a matter of there being no free lunches in this world.

    Some prominent climate scientists have embedded themselves in a political process in which they simultaneously are using their status as expert authorities and participants in a democracy. The climate science community, through its many communications with the public (including blogs), has seemed to support this stance by the leaders of the field.

    In response to the use of scientific authority in the political process, political opponents have (not shockingly) attacked the science/integrity/process of these experts’ work.

    So I think I agree with Chris’s sentiment that climate science is being held to a higher standard then my work on laser spectroscopy and molecular electronics. At the same time, I am not using my science to support a particular political agenda. So I think there is a lesson in this case.

    One cannot confuse their own personal position in a democracy and expect that he/she will not be challenged. That challenge might even include rather ridiculous claims or campaigns to undermined the scientific process.

    Don’t you just love democracy?

    • “First, did we skip part IX of this series?”

      Nein ;-)

    • The one thing I’ve learned in my careful reading of this blog over time is how unique this intertwining of science and politics is, and how much it influences the entire issue in question (i.e, AGW). My stance coming in was that climate science must be just like my field (astrophysics) but it would be difficult to imagine an area in which politics overlaps less and I do appreciate the differences much more clearly now.

      That said, however, I wonder why, for example, medical research isn’t caught up in political wrangling to a similar extent? The stakes are high, and so is the price tag for society at large. So why is it that the fact that there are discredited doctors (like, say, Andrew Wakefield, who committed fraud to make big bucks) hasn’t engendered a worldwide army of skeptics who feel the need to personally ‘audit’ every paper in the NEJM or The Lancet?

      • Roger Taguchi

        You might be interested in flaws in the basic physics of the “radiative exchange” theory of the greenhouse effect, from my point of view as a molecular spectroscopist. Some are posted in Judith’s blog “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse (?) effect”. Sorry I have not provided a link you can click onto, as I don’t know how to provide it.

        Kai and I had an interesting exchange of arguments re “Boltzmann vs
        Loschmidt” on the same site, where both of us admit to making mistakes,
        but in the end everything was resolved (by me), with no hard feelings. The way science is supposed to work. Just don’t quote my early mistakes, which I quickly corrected!

      • Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse(?) effect by Judith Curry
        Posted on November 30, 2010 by curryja| 645 Comments
        https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/

      • FiveString,

        ‘That said, however, I wonder why, for example, medical research isn’t caught up in political wrangling to a similar extent?’

        I think the distinction has to with political mobility. Most aspects of medical research/science are not politically motivated at all. That is, there is not a group of medical scientists who are trying to lobby Congress to outlaw McDonald’s…or make more people eat McDonald’s for that matter.

        On the flip side, many people do question the motives and actions of big pharma as a political player. Comedians like Chris Rock have even likened pharmaceutical companies to ordinary drug dealers. They don’t make money on the cure was his punchline, if I remember correctly.

        There is also the AMA and other medical organizations backing some of the proposals in the latest healthcare overall passed last year here in the States. Those endorsements didn’t come for free in the sense that some observers automatically passed politically motivated judgments on ‘doctors’ I’m sure.

        But like in the case of climate science, those doctors are trying to participate in the management of risk (health risk) as constituents in a democracy while simultaneously using their expertise to motivate the existence of those risks (health risks). The risks might be real, in fact I’d say that they are very real, but I think there is some kind of innate checks and balances that some Americans have. They don’t want to be told about the risks and how to manage them by the same people. It’s as if that is too much authority for individuals or groups of individuals to have.

        By and large, it’s not the worst approach to the problem of democracy in my opinion.

      • Interesting you should bring up the medical field. That people accept what doctors say has little to do with the reliability of the underlying research – much of it is unreliable due to the presence of unknown independent variables, and epidemiological studies are notoriously prone to errors.

        If you’re diagnosed with something like congestive heart failure, then you’re pretty likely to follow whatever professional advice you’re given – you have a known problem which millions of people have had and is well understood. On the other hand, suppose you go in for a wellness check and the doctor says you may feel fine, but I think you have a new disease that hasn’t been reported before. The symptoms are you feel tired sometimes and you feel energetic sometimes – this will go on for a time, then you’ll die of you don’t follow my (very costly) directions and pay for routine doctor visits so I can study this more. I think the rational response would be to believe the doctor is not professionally trustworthy, since the differential diagnosis would be that you’re fine – normal, healthy variation in your health.

      • These climate doctors
        Shake their models, and point sticks.
        Raving at the sky.
        ==========

    • So I think I agree with Chris’s sentiment that climate science is being held to a higher standard then my work on laser spectroscopy and molecular electronics. At the same time, I am not using my science to support a particular political agenda. So I think there is a lesson in this case.

      I remember Dr. Curry making a comment (on Climate Audit IIRC) about how climate science had moved into the arena of regulatory science and away from being academic science (this is a very rough paraphrase, so while the sense is correct, I won’t swear to the wording). In that sense, I’d agree that it is being held to a higher standard and should be.

      Rather than say that it’s driving an agenda, I’d say it’s driving government action (eg. EPA). So by that token, it should well be more accountable and more transparent and less focused on personalities.

      • One of the problems I found with contracting out technology research to universities was the quality of the work was not always what was needed for industrial application (less rigorous approaches lead to risks that are difficult to quantify). You had to plan on checking some things internally before committing a large amount of money based on the results. It really depended on the researcher and exactly what you needed out of it.

  13. “In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter”

    There is an aspect of this discussion — possibly overlooked.

    In the early 1990’s a University Press published a book of literature that had gone unpublished for all the wrong reasons. The reason the work wasn’t published was due to a predominately male literary criticism process. The work was entirely from female authors.

    Problems in the Peer Review and criticism process aren’t new and can emerge again if not properly tied to intelligent Standards.

    • Where are the published Standards the IPCC used for their reports and why was a US Congressional review necessary to reveal the lack of proper Statistical review?

      I suspect all, on both sides of the debate, agree that missing Standards in Science are an issue.

      If one seeks a consensus of opinion, the easiest place to start is over issues we can all agree on. There is nothing Philosophical about the lack of Standards or, perhaps better stated, improper IPCC process. Related specifics must occur on the front-end or there simply isn’t “Quality”.

  14. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

    Yeah there is no point to even discussing climate science anymore. Here is a question I posted on Tamino’s site, which he edited out and would not answer.

    I asked this question on Tamino’s site:

    If I asked Spencer, Lindzen and Happer if the MWP was warmer than the 1979-present range, I think they would say the MWP was warmer.

    However, if I asked Schmidt, Alley and Santer, they would probably say 1979-present has been warmer.

    Also, here is the response from realclimate:

    41.I have a suspicious feeling this comment will not be posted. I am wondering if Gavin and the other moderators will comment on the MWP. Was the MWP warmer than 1979-present? Or do you believe that 1979-present has been warmer?

    I am asking this question because there seems to be a lot of disagreement between scientists.

    [Response: Why wouldn’t we post this (other than we’ve heard (and answered) the questions hundreds of times)? The literature says it is very unlikely that the MWP was *globally* as warms as recent decades, but it certainly may have been warmer is some places.–eric]

    [p.s. we’re not fooled by old trolls a.k.a. “Dr. Shooshmon, phd.” sock-puppetting as new trolls]

  15. Phillip Bratby

    “What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline”.

    What nonsense. He should try working in an industry where everything is independently verified and validated.

  16. Isn’t the debate over string theory in physics similar? There are physicists who make sarcastic comments about their string theory brethren. Now let’s imagine a political body was set up with terms of reference to demonstrate the correctness of string theory and to market it to governments (for the purposes of the analogy, we assume whether or not it’s correct has some meaningful political implications). What would happen? Exactly the same situation we find ourselves in here.

    In any case the argument essentially boils down to: “those who agree with the consensus think the consensus position is correct”. Shall I smack my palm onto my forehead in surprise?

    • String theory is a good parallel, yes.

      IMO, string theory is a 3rd or 4th generation error in concept, with the math leading them down a primrose path, one that ultimately leads to a brick wall covered in ivy – a dead end. Each of the steps seemed reasonable at the time, because the maths told them so. But being unable to verify each step empirically, they digested as well as they could until someone saw an outgrowth of the thinking at that time. Then the next step led them a little bit further afield. When some level of empirical contradiction did come, the whole idea wasn’t tossed out, but mangled a bit with patches that seemed reasonable. Rather than ask the question, “Did we go wrong somewhere along the line?” crowbars of various sizes were pulled out until one of them was, like in “Goldilocks,” one was “ju-u-ust right” – and that one was presumed to be the correct path to follow.

      Over time that grew into string theory, which was invented to solve unresolved discrepancies that had accumulated. Since the only reality was in the maths, few could complain and the ones who could were ones who had gone down that path, arm in arm, with string theorists, for whom it was just a little step beyond where they presently were, anyway, and thus fairly reasonable.

      Yes, the same kind of process could have happened in climatology, especially at the CRU-IPPC-Mann level of funding and policy making, what with their level of denial, for example, that the MWP even exists. They NEED it to not exist, so their numbers might “accidentally” (meaning objectively in their minds) show that the MWP was only local, despite nearly 900 studies to the contrary.

      At what point is it possible to even ask the question if they’ve gone down a primrose path, before they hit the ivory-covered wall at its end? Will they see it coming? Will someone warn them? If someone does, will they listen? Do they have to concuss themselves into the wall?

    • BTW, thanks for the tidbit about internecine strife in particle physics. I am happy to hear that some other theorists do oppose string theory. It is such a silly concept that I long ago stopped dropping in to keep up with anything.

      It is, IMVHO, simply an artifact of and misinterpretations of the math.

  17. I do not agree with Chris that climate scientists are held to higher standards. They are held to the high scientific standards of our universities and the high quality standards of our High-Tech industries. It is appropriate because they get very often the money of hard working people for their research.
    But I do also disagree with comments that suggest that climate scientists fail more often these standards than any other group of scientists or engineers. They are as a group as good as any other group of scientists or engineers.
    Moreover, I also disagree that authority has any value in a scientific debate. I for my part check only methods and arguments, not claims of authority or things like the citation index.
    Regards
    Günter

    • “They are as a group as good as any other group of scientists or engineers.”

      I think in any discipline there are very good practitioners, and bad ones. Having said that, being a physicist formerly engaged in semiconductor and nanotechnology research (and still consulting in nanotechnology), my view is the “goodness” off the climate research group is not up to par.

  18. OMG. Is Chris Colose a scientist?

    His comment/viewpoint is as anti-scientific as it gets.

    • He is listed as one of the approved posters on RealClimate.

      Read into that what you will.

      But also take it as some small indication of what comes out of RC and the state of mind there. For those who think I mean that entirely negative, let me continue:

      I see it as at least a bit of a mindset of being under siege. That can affect the group mind as well as the individual. Especially when so recently they had thought they had the world by the tail, albeit with a few nuisances yapping at their ankles.

      Suddenly 15 months ago their world was upset and their pronouncements were overnight “being held to a higher standard.”

      So, perhaps this is what Chris is seeing – not their being held to a higher standard than OTHER scientists, but to a higher standard than they themselves had been being held to. They evidently thought that that was the standard that all science was being held to.

      So now that the ground has shifted under their feet, the RC “group” isn’t use to be held to normal standards and just doesn’t get it, that this is the norm.

  19. Colose’s post is typical of the sort of non-scientific and anti-scientific thought that pervades climate science.

    It is pretty much entirely ad hom and ad verc (and yes Chris, appeal to authority is a logical fallacy, and not just in climate science). These are the stock in trade of arguments made in the abscence of science, i.e. in the abscence of strongly stated, falsifiable hypotheses that have been subjected to rigorous test.

    Climate science has actual science, but the CAGW claim does not. Rather, it is an untested assertion, supported by non-scientific ‘preponderance of evidence’ claims (which are themsleves largely appeals to ‘consensus’ of preponderance) and ‘just so’ stories.

    CAGW is a fine hypothesis. State it strongly and falsifiably, then rigorously test it. Be sure to show your work.

    Note: Such things as “We official climate scientists agree” and “You would go to 100 doctors about your ulcer and still eat herbs” are not scientific staements. They certainly dont test anything, other than the patience of the people you are throwing such nonsense at.

    BTW, not all that long ago (probably within your lifetime) you could have questioned 100 doctors about your peptic ulcer, and it is very likely that they ALL would have given you the “consensus diagnosis” of the cause of your condition – too much stress (meditation or prayer help with that?), spicy foods (watch those herbs! ), caffine, alcohol. Change your ways, you would have been told.

    Of course, we all now know (as many unstressed, bland-diet ulcer sufferers knew then) that those ’causes’ are merely aggravants. The true cause of most peptic ulcers is a bacterium (H. pylori ) which is best treated with anti-biotics – notwithstanding the previous consensus .

    Stop rationalizing in hyperbole, ad hom, and self love, and start with the science.

    • Nonsense, nonsense, nonsense, shut up or I’ll release the phlogiston in your body and you will instantly burn up. Quiet, I say!

      [Whoops! Why is it suddenly so dark in here? Did I accidentally let all the aether out?]

  20. I agree partly with the point made: it is true that, sometimes, the standard are set crazily high, just because mainstream climatology results are used to defend policies that skeptics find unacceptable. Which is not an honest thing to do when we of course would not like to play by the same unrealistic standards.

    But my main though is that climatology gave the stick to be beaten first, and is not simply a victim of the classic “kill the messenger if you do not like what he says”.

    The post is a classic on how the classic defense of climatology give the stick to get beaten: the author compare climatology to established medecine, gravity, cell theory, electromagnetism , evolution. This comparison is a joke, because it decide to compare scientific fields with VERY different status regarding experimental validation, theorical background and broadness of aplicability, and just maturity.
    Climatology is a young science (appart for early 1D models, that most scientific skeptic do not dispute except by saying that they are irrelevant for the situation at hand because they neglect factors that are not small compared to the GH downwelling radiation they model), an earth science which lack controlled experiment validation, which show huge errors bars for both experimental datasets and cross-model validation, and where historical reconstruction is difficult and hence still in dispute.
    It does not introduce new fundamental laws (electromagnetics, gravity, QD), it does not provide a unifying global framework explaining a lot of previously unrelated observations (evolution), it is not tested in broad repetable campaigns (medecine, although this is where the comparison is the closest – and indeed medecine is far from exhibiting the solidity of the previous fields).

    No, it is based on a solid well known idea (radiative exchanges in gas and solid thermal radiation), and from there build huge numerical models incorporating other more or less well known physics in a way that is known to be problematic (chaotic, non-converged). Those models are poorly validated, and their approximation/parametrisation/validity under active discussion.

    Add to that the strong connection to very heavy policies, which means that the science will almost innevitable be politized, and you have a mess that is not so common in science.

    So it does make sense to make the pre-cited comparisons.

    The early stage of evolution, pre-ADN, when Darwin, Lamark and fixist were fighting under the constraint of church may have been similar.

    Today, some medecine stuff is similar. Very new treatments which may bring a lot of money to laboratories but are at the pre-test stage. It is as much hype as science usually, with carefull claims hugely extrapolated from medicine scientific journal to mainstream media and public health policies. Check the recent flu scandals and WHO, very similar.
    Or precautionary principles and GMO/electromagnetic pollution.

    Those are good example to judge if climatology is unjustly held to unrealistic standards.

    I think it is true. But only, like in my previous case, because one attempts to use it’s findings to justify policy while the uncertainty of the findings is much to high, and the interpretations of the findings even more uncertain (Is a hotter climate a worst climate?).

    Climatology is just too young to be used for heavy-handed policies, and may always be too uncertain. It is unjust to demand unrealistic standard from their practitioners. But it is because the science is used unjustly. As, more often than not, the (star?) practitioners themselves ask for the use (and the urgent use) of their science, I do not have a lot of sympathy for the whining …

  21. “What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.”

    What a load of garbage. The only standard recognized in physics, is that of hard, measured, independently replicated, data. There is no other standard. The proponents of CAGW have presented NO measured data to support their hypothesis as to how CO2 is supposed to warm the atmosphere. NO, as in zero, nada, zilch, not one iota, etc. It is as simple as that.

    Until there is measured data of the change in radiative forcing for a doubling of CO2, the consequent no-feedback sensitivity, and the feedbacks themselves, there is nothing to support the CAGW hypothesis as to how CO2 warms the atmosphere.

    And, in consequence, we have no idea as to how much the atmosphere might warm if the CO2 concentration is doubled.

  22. Dr. Curry,
    If I am being too inflammatory, please accept my apology.
    How is this?
    Chris asserts that climate scientists are being held to unusual standards and bemoans the treatment people with his view on CO2 caused cliamte disrutpion are getting lately.
    He then proceeds to blame a rather large ( and growing) circle of people to blame.
    I would like to offer that any climate scientist who is feeling put upon these days can look in one place to find someone to blame:
    A mirror.
    I would also challenge Chris or anyone else who believes they are being held to a strange or unfair standard to prove it.
    I think he will find the reality is that from insurance to invesment advisory services, to public accounting, forensic science, the standards being used on climate science by skeptics are not only typical, but telling.
    The list of climate scientists who have brought this upon the field is long, but apparently should not be listed here, so it will not be by me.

  23. Indoctrination is no where limited to climate science. Medical science is probably the science is the most indoctrinated.

    Climate science is very different than any other science. It cannot be compared to the theory of gravity of Newton, which scientist were able to experiment on it, time and time again. Still some claim of the theory could not be tested on earth. When Appolo 11 reach the moon one of the first experiment they conduct was to watch if it was true that to object of different weight were falling at the same speed. So the experiment was to release a feather and a ball while on the surface of the moon. Both did fell at the same speed. Even though all these experiment proved the theory, in the end, the theory still didn’t hold up. A new theory had to take place, the theory of relativity.

    Climate science is a science that is closer human sciences. However climate science cannot be wrong because the scientist are noble servant who only want to make a better world. While human science are heartless

  24. It is also clear to me that the so-called ‘skeptics’ are allowed to make up whatever they want at will without consequence, and create a large but ill-thought out laundry list, and that we must play this game or else we’re being ‘dogmatic.’

    Does making things up refer to this or this?

    Observed data indicate to me that Climate Science is allowed to make things up at will without consequence. Certified Climate Scientists always, without exception, let the made-up stuff stand un-challenged. Always.

  25. Carrick Talmadge

    The real problem here is (some) climate scientists (and their supports) have heavily publicized and politicized this issue, and having done so, are now complaining about the consequences.

    As a scientist I don’t see climate science being given any greater or lesser level of scrutiny than any other science, when there is overlap between the science and public policy. There has been a claim of large overlap by climate scientists (e.g., warnings of catastrophic consequences if they are ignored). Having made the claims, these claims are now being scrutinized.

    What a shock that is…

  26. Excellent argument by Chris Colose.

    Mostly scapegoating and badmouthing by Ross McKitrick.

    This is a bit black and white of course. It doesn’t mean that there aren’t things to improve in climate science. See also the points by Michael Tobis in the comments above. Also, in response to the dynamic descrobed by Chris, some scientists and their supporters have gotten overly defensive, as a consequence of which dealing with criticism has not been as constructive as it should be.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘some scientists and their supporters have gotten overly defensive, as a consequence of which dealing with criticism has not been as constructive as it should be’

      Understatement of the century so far. And leaves the educated layman to wonder just why they are so defensive.

      Combine this with an aggressive unpleasantness to any who do not immediately pay them due deference and you have a very good sceptic breeding ground. And the more they do it, the more sceptical I get.

  27. Heikki Hartela

    I would agree with a lot of what Chris is saying, but on the other hand he is not getting the big picture.
    This is not a game of Skeptics vs. Climate scientists. It is not black and white.
    A-There are right wing radicals, who really believe Climate change is a leftist conspiracy. We have all seen them here. I would not call them skeptics.
    B-There are pathological conspiracy addicts, who apply the laws of physics with the same creativity as they use to claim the moon landing was staged. They are not what I understand as being skeptics.
    C-There are those who were outraged by climate gate, and who realized the science actually wasn’t settled, and felt betrayed. To regain their trust, they must understand enough about the science to be able to tell what to trust in. True Skeptics in my book, it they do not end up in A or B during the process.
    D-There are the climate scientists who do not support the “consensus view”, like Linzen and Spencer and maybe Judith(?). The way what they say is being dismissed as “skeptisism” talks volumes about how too many climate scientist think of the scientific process. You can’t just vote on what is true. Can you be a skeptic just for not agreeing 100% with the IPPC? There is no science without questioning; ie Skeptisim.

    So if it is to be Skeptics as one bunch on one side, who is on the opposite side? The anthonym would be “the gullable” or the “believers”. I don’t believe that, so let’s also stop talking about the “consensus view”.

  28. It is interesting that Colose objects to climate scientists being held to a high standard. Given the importance of their work and its possible policy implications, a high standard seems to be obviously required.

    What Colose seems to be complaining about is that insufficient deference is being paid to the practitioners of this relatively new “science”. Which, in my view, is as it should be given that the claimed end product of the science, AGW, is not well grounded in that science.

    Readers will remember that the CO2 connection to temperature has not been robustly measured. And they will remember that that connection may, in fact be dwindling as we continue in a period of no statistically significant warming. Deference to the authority of the climate scientists in these circumstances would be folly.

    Plus some climate scientists have compounded the problem by refusing to be completely transparent as to methods and data. Others have sought to disguise or minimize the significant uncertainty of their findings. Still others have left themselves open to charges that they manipulate the peer review process, exclude and obstruct non-consensus papers, refuse to obey lawful FOI requests and, in general, conduct themselves in an unprofessional, if not actually illegal, manner.

    As to Colose’s contention that the sckeptics are allowed to make stuff up at will the reality is that the skeptics don’t need to. The skeptics’ job is to examine and, if you will, audit the data and methods the climate scientists are using to prove the contrary of the “null hypothesis” that there is no manmade global warming. So, for example, where temps have been “adjusted” the skeptic needs to look at the “adjustments” and determine if those adjustments have been applied consistently and if they reflect an accurate understanding of the variables being adjusted for. (Being told that the raw data and the adjustments have been “lost” simply means that that particular dataset can no longer be relied upon.)

    The skeptics work is valuable, if thankless. It ensures that the claims of climate science are subject to at least some scrutiny. What is surprising is that the skeptics work is largely done by amateurs. One would think that climate science itself would attempt to check and recheck the papers, data and methods which lie at the heart of the science. (Which would mean that climate scientists, rather than amateurs, would have exposed the sloppieness of Mann in the past and would be exposing Steig at the moment.)

  29. climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.

    1. This ‘either scientist or sceptic’ rhetoric denies the existence of sceptical scientists.
    2. The heart of the most telling criticisms is that the ‘team’ does not abide by the standards of science, specifically in terms of data management, statistical technique, disclosure of data, meta-data, and methods and compliance with Freedom of Information law.

    On the first point, it is now apparently perceived as “bad” when scientists come to a conclusion that is robust enough to be well accepted by the majority.

    3. What is bad, is when a conclusion is presented as robust, when the underlying data and methods do not support it as robust.

    Most people seek the explanation with the most support, which is then echoed by the experts in the field.

    4. This is backwards. The experts in the field are those who have come up with new, robust findings. Most people will take guidance from them.

    However, in climate science, apparently ‘authority’ is a logical fallacy

    5. The argument from authority has its uses, but it is not science.

    What all of this shows is that many people simply cannot think rationally about climate change, nor do they have the capacity to diagnose proper information from nonsense.

    6. To me the answer is more and better science – good data and data management, full disclosure, the best statistical methods, full investigation of cause-and-effect, replication, reconciliation between predictions and outcomes – all the basics which are the necessary foundations of true understanding.

    ..WUWT is a disinformation source. It’s not that the information to show they are nonsense is unavailable, it’s that the information MUST be wrong.
    It is also clear to me that climate scientists must now become babysitters to every half-baked idea out there, otherwise they are being dogmatic. They must write detailed responses to people who think the greenhouse effect isn’t real.

    7. It seems to me there are a number of fundamental weaknesses in Climate Science as we know it, and rather than chase after straw men, Climate Scientists should be investigating them scientifically.

    If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention.

    8. Bad choice of example. In that case the scientist who drew attention to the error was publicly vilified by the head of the IPCC. That indeed drew international attention and deservedly so because of what it revealed about the scientific integrity of IPCC itself

    However, if ‘skeptics’ toss out 8 conspiracy theories, 10 logical fallacies, and 17 arguments with ZERO thought put into them, then it is a good thing that we get to hear all sides. Then, when one item on the bucket list is knocked down, they can just jump tot he next item. In the meantime, they are just as valid as everyone else’s idea, since the criteria for acceptance is 101% certaintly in everything.

    9. More straw men. Let’s just get on with real science (as in 7 above)

  30. “What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline, or for that matter, held to standards which skeptics do not want to put upon themselves.”

    So?

  31. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

    @Chris Colose
    Everybody, dont’ worry about what Mr. Colose says. He is all talk and no action. They hide behind their computer screens and run away from debates. The fact that they will not even discuss the MWP is all the proof you need.

  32. Very bad arguments, Chris.

    In most fields, consensus is thought of as a consequence of a convergence of evidence over time in a particular subject-matter, and one goes to authorities (doctors for medical diagnosis, lawyers for legal advice, etc) for insight.

    In other fields, sensible people trust the experts, consensus or not consensus, depending on what such science has provided in form of predictions come true, and general maturity.

    I can give you a very good example. Some years ago, there was a consensus on the causes of gastritis and stomach ulcer. A much wide consensus than in global warming science. I had a very strong and persistent gastritis, and was taking anti acids every day. The only “consensus” solution was to stop smoking, drinking, working, living, and any other interesting thing you can imagine. (More or less like consensus solution to global warming). But I heard about two unknown Australian doctors saying it was a bacterium. And I managed to do a very easy self experiment with the help of my veterinarian (no doctor was willing to help). I guess this was scepticism in action. Conclusion? I cured my gastritis 18 years before medicine science was able to do it, in spite of a formidable consensus. Apparently forever. And knowing the cure, I suggested it to a number of friends.

    No, you are not right. It is quite often the case that consensus doesn’t come from evidence, but from a mixture of prejudices and ignorance (immaturity of the field), with some help from economic interests. The more complicated the system a science works in, the more easy to have a vast amount of unknowns. And climate science still looks pretty complicated. Is it mature enough to trust a consensus blindfolded? This is the question, and I don’t have reasons to think so.

    However, in climate science, apparently ‘authority’ is a logical fallacy, and textbooks and classrooms can be replaced by random opinions on a blog.

    That’s an incredibly bad argument. Authority alone is nothing for any intelligent person, in any science or knowledge. Authority has no meaning without a context. (By the way, the same happens with “warming”, and even with “global warming”.) And so, authority in astrology is just laughable. And with an authority in economic science, you take it seriously or not depending on what this authority is saying or proposing. Climate science, of course, is not excused from context. Why should it?

    I could go on, but I guess you get what I mean with just this two examples. I think your argument, and its lack of context, is just a demonstration of the immaturity of climate science in case it represents something widely thought among climate scientists. And this seems to be the case.

  33. Good grief

    Blog posts about blog posts that were in themselves blog posts.

    • Latimer Alder

      And what kind of commentary do you expect to see on a Blog called Climate Etc?

      Discussion of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon? Or would a clip of Hordes of Wildebeest running majestically across the plain fit in more with your expectations?

      (with thanks to Basil Fawlty)

    • Well, then, Louise, feel free to start a pal-reviewed journal that only publishes pal-reviewed articles confirming pal-reviewed articles about pal-reviewed articles. We have, after all, a free country here, in spite of efforts to the contrary by those believing in “settled science.”

  34. Latimer Alder

    How many ‘climate scientists’ have had any training at all (eg first degrees) in ‘hard’ science?

    I wonder because they seem to have very little collective understanding of how to conduct work in those areas..experiment, hypothesis, falsification etc. But more they rely on somebody’s authority and qualifications and citation index rather than the quality of their understanding.

    Perhaps the new name should be ‘Aristotleans’. For was it not they who believed that the Big A knew everything and that his word was Law?

    • GEAFB. Try Hansen for a start. Oh how remiss, Hansen got his doctorate in physics with Van Allen, etc. Judy, of course, is a soft scientist, being a mere geophysicist..

      The really amusing one is the clown show going after Gavin Schmidt for being a “computer programmer” and then praising Claes Johnson as the second coming of Einstein.

      Google is your friend

      • Latimer Alder

        I think I’ll allow geophysics. They do experiments and stuff that they later verify (or not) by digging holes.

      • Latimer Alder

        PS – Are all Americans as unaware of the ‘rhetorical question’ as they are of irony? It makes communication very monotonic. No light and shade. Or humour.

      • Well, Latimer, Joe-Six-Pack is an American and he likes irony and light and shade with his freedom fries, doesn’t he? I don’t think its really an American issue. We have Rabett and you guys have Louise. Though, I must admit, since Louise stopped being a nag and settled for mean and nasty, she’s really turned a corner and is, now, one of the worthies of this blog. I don’t know about Rabett, though. Except for that weird third-person style of his and his “bunny” business, he is one dreadfully serious fellow, I admit. Probably an excess of lettuce and carrots in the diet.

      • … not to mention that Rabett hasn’t yet gotten the word and still believes that Gavin is an actual person, when it’s an open secret that it’s really just Mann with a false nose. That’s why nobody has ever seen them together.

      • Folks

        I thought about my comment re irony/humour overnight and must agree that it was not a charitable thing to say.

        I withdraw it.

      • For myself, Latimer, I appreciate the gesture. On the other hand, I always enjoy your deft, trans-Atlantic ribbings. Hope they don’t dry-up.

      • Latimer Alder

        Fear not. It was the remark I regretted. Not the rest.

      • That would be the same Hansen that was so frightened by his early studies of Venus?

  35. When you read Chris’ comment together with the curent story between Steig and O’Connel regarding Antarctica, it’s really difficult to take Chris as a person having any contact with ‘climate science’ reality !

  36. Dr. Jay Cadbury, phd.

    I suggest a new tactic. Until Schmidt, Mann, Alley and you can throw in Kevin Treebirth, agree to a debate with Lindzen, Spencer and Happer, do not accept any of their premises. If they are only willing to say it on the computer, it means nothing.

  37. Jeffrey Davis

    Good night, Curry. It’s your blog: respond to the nonsense.

    • Please return to your freshman notes from Reality 101 (Mr. Whizzbacher, 3 hr, reqd) and review the Law of Supply and Nonsense:

      1) There is never a shortage of nonsense.

      Dr. C has made the rational choice here of allowing all kinds of nonsense, in the (apparently wise) belief that to a large extent the pro-nonsense and anti-nonsense will meet and annihilate each other, producing some semblance of rationality at near Warp speed without the need for dilithium crystals (which she is almost out of; her last one is on a fabulously attractive pendant she had planned to wear on Valentine’s Day).

      In the RealClingon sector, however, an Imperial decision was made long ago to allow only pro-nonsense. which had the disadvantages of a) requiring ever larger quantities of pro-nonsense to be annihilated in the process of destroying the anti-nonsense, thus b) requiring the use of lower and lower grade pro-nonsense (and in many cases, completely synthetic faux-pro-nonsense) to power the Empire. The results are, of course, obvious in Imperial decline.

      • some threads are nuttier than others; others are quite good, especially (most of) technical threads.

      • On some topics, though, a thread without nuttiness is like a day without sunshine… Thanks again for a great blog, Dr. C, and don’t let the Rommulans get your pendant…

      • Jeffrey Davis

        So, the comments which indicate that there’s “no evidence” when there’s an abundance of evidence and more: an abundance of work dealing with the evidence are “quite good”.

        S’wonderful old technical thread.

        I wonder if any of your reviewers suggested that a more casual way with the literature was in order. “Judy, you’re being too rigorous here. Too meticulous. What your paper needs is more hand-waving. More stout assertions.”

  38. Appalling commentary from Chris, and one I think that demonstrates the sheer groupthink inside that community. In the very act of asking us to trust them, he show us the reasons why we shouldn’t: a ghasping awareness of what constitutes “authority”, “evidence”, “science” and “consensus” wrt the subject at hand.

    I have no problems picturing all of the climate academia thinking in these patterns, “Why won’t they just believe us? The nerve! They are just like creationists!”, without pausing for a moment, stop the gut reactive instinct of defending the group, and ask more questions like “Ok, so they want more transparency, better data, better science overall, I’m okay with that, how will we achieve that?”.

    Until they start doing such a thing, they’ll just attack windmills and lose public trust.

    Oh, and answering that question with a “More FUNDS please! We need more funds if we are to have better science” does not COPE, specially in a time where climate science is funded by the billions every year. You don’t need more money, you need DISCIPLINE. Focus on that one instead.

  39. Roger Caiazza

    I am gob-smacked that Chris Colese and others of his persuasion don’t seem to understand that science for policy implementation requires another level of expectations for review. A very large percentage of published science addresses topics that do not have direct implications to society and the academic peer review system is sufficient. However, when the science is being used to justify regulations that could lead to large direct costs or life-style changes then complete transparency is necessary. For example, the epidemiological studies used to justify the level of the limits for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards have been re-analyzed numerous times and each “side” in the debate provided enough information so that their work could be completely reproduced. Ultimately, the follow-up analyses identified problems with the original work that led to follow-up research programs which strengthened the science. Of course, we do not have the resources to review all science to that level but there are times when this is necessary.

    One of the climate change controversies that Colese et al. have ignored is that the EPA endangerment finding that CO2 was a pollutant was unique in that it did not provide that level of transparency in its supporting documentation. Instead, EPA basically quoted the IPCC documents and said that because they were peer-reviewed that was sufficient. Given that the ultimate financial and societal stakes are arguably larger than the ambient standard rule-makings, I do not think that was appropriate. I strongly suspect that many of the climate scientists embroiled in the “Climategate” debate for example, did not understand the expectation of critical reviewers in a regulatory context where transparency beyond the academic peer review system is required. When there were calls for the data and code, they were unprepared. Sadly the result is that personal conflicts have gone beyond the pale and now there is even litigation involved.

    Moreover, given the extraordinary peer review story of Eric Steig and O’Donnell et al. described in Part VI of this series suggest that the conspiracy theories dismissed by Colese et al. may not be theories.

  40. I think Chris has alot of it right, actually.

    The particular PR strategy to which scientists are being subjected is well documented, and I see far too few people identifying it for what it is.

    Modern PR and lobbying tends to express itself in two basic strategies: withholding information; and providing so much data, reports, etc. combining accurate information and intentional disinformation, that it gives the appearance of openness while diverting attention from what’s going on. We see these strategies used all the time by corporations and government–from acid rain to pharmaceuticals to oilspills.

    The second strategy is very common, now, and its use by well-paid corporate PR departments and websites in response to the threat of climate legislation is so well documented at this point that I would be surprised if anyone is unaware. This suggests that industry is very interested in delaying public concern.

    There is also well-documented history of many other types of PR campaigns, and the lengths to which many corporations have gone and continue to go to avoid having to change how business is done even when the issues are not disputed, by anyone. Moreover, governments do not like to upset business, especially when poverty is on the rise and production is falling, as in e.g the U.S. I don’t recall either industry or government powers putting up their hand first, to take responsibility for acid rain.

    There are dozens of major examples of business preferring to maintain the status quo, and refusing to take initiatives to protect the well-being of the public until legislated to do so. Very sad.

    One of the aspects of the American scene that I find interesting is that both scientists and environmentalists seem to be viewed with unusual suspicion. I assume this is in part because of the strength of the funded environmental lobby, and the ‘greening’ of business i.e., the kind of PR that everyone recognizes can be more about changing public perceptions of the corporations with the most abysmal records, than changing how business is done. However, this doesn’t explain why the average environmentalist is viewed as tied to the environmental lobby; why scientists, rather than corporations and governments, are the focus of accountability; and why the particular type of ‘greening’ that we can so easily document, along with the multi-billion dollar lobbying of industry, is apparently not on the public radar screen.

    The environmental and human rights organizations in many other countries, where grassroots environmental concerns inform and mass social movements are part of social change, are science-friendly and connected to health, labour, etc.

    I think Chris is right, the backlash is on a scale that should raise red flags for anyone seriously interested in understanding what’s going on.

    • Martha, this is utterly fascinating, since if one looks at the roster of pro-AGW blogs (RealClimate, ClimateProgress, Grist, etc.) one finds an interesting number of sites funded by PR organizations, while looking at more skeptical sites (WUWT, CA, the Blackboard, etc. — as well as this one [sorry, Dr. C, to put you in this group, but anywhere that free discussion is encouraged apparently now counts as Evil Skeptic site] one finds personally- or ad-funded sites.

      I’m not sure I understand either your point or the factual basis of your assertions. Please explain.

      • You are unaware of the hundreds of companies and ex members of Congress with ties to the energy sector who lobby your Senate every year – more last year than ever before — to influence delay on national climate change policy? Most are power corporations. Never mind the Wall Street lobby – suddenly a trusted source of climate information.

        That said, GE for example has been making the necessary changes for quite some time. They’re not stupid – they wish to retain their market share.

        Of course these, and the new emergent interests of alternative energy companies, are now the competing interests at play — not any hyped up competition amongst scientists about the uncertainties.

        Understanding the nature of PR and lobbying does not just involve following the money. It is about the influences public understanding. For example, on another current topic, if you only follow the U.S. media you will likely think that the only thing that should matter to the Egyptian people is America’s fears about American security — rather than Egyptian control over Egyptian democracy. To anyone familiar with the Egyptian situation and listening to Egyptians, on Egyptian issues, the conversation is about Egyptian realities — not the disconnected musings of the American media.

        Industry PR websites with alot of money to spend and who have the most powerful interests (as opposed to sites that just wantn to provide science information) include Heartland, and many other sites whose non-science PR gets posted at e.g. WUWT etc. , and re-circulated all over the internet. This has been a source of significant disinformation, for some members of the public who are trying to get informed.

      • Latimer Alder

        My top six webistes (ie those I consult most often) on climate matters are here, CA, Bishop Hill, WUWT, Telegraph and Guardian. As is shown by my personal website hit stats collected by Firefox.

        Which of these are ‘energy industry-funded’? Or am I free of the taint your are so determined to find?

      • Are you quite serious? WUWT circulates Heartland garbage. Bishop Hill was created as a site to discuss British politics, not climate change science. Now it relies on Climate Audit for much of its information and is tied to the British anti-climate change legislation lobby. We know Steve (Climate Audit)quite well, here in Canada. He is, and has been, advisor and policy analyst for a number of the most powerful mining companies.

        Etc.

      • Latimer Alder

        So none of them are funded by the energy industry?

      • Martha, I have spoken to each of these individuals who lead these blogs. They do not receive any funds from the energy industry (McIntyre receives some consulting funds related to gold and precious metal mining). The fact that politically motivated groups adopt or otherwise use what is posted on these web sites does not in any reflect on these websites or their proprietors.

        The warm blogs have much more direct ties to advocacy groups than do the skeptic sites (notably climate progress and real climate). So using this as an argument to discredit skeptic blogs does not stand up to any kind of scrutiny.

      • I couldn’t disagree wtih you more.

        I’m discussing PR and lobbying.

        I really think you (and several others here ) may be confusing funding, lobbying, and advocacy. It’s not just semantics. :-(

        PR is funded by a corporation, it has itself as its ‘client’, and is directly tied to the market (money) promotion of the corporation. All major corporations engage in PR, in all media, at all times. That’s our culture.

        Lobbyists are paid or unpaid, are about influencing legislation, and have the government as its ‘client’. Both corporations and public interest groups engage in lobbying (obviously) but the money to back up corporate lobbying is far greater. Combined with the money for PR, there’s really no arguing about who has more of this kind of power. Often hidden.

        Advocacy is not about promoting a corporation’s financial interests. It is about support for a variety of activities in relation to public interests and direct education. Of course it might involve corporate funding (some advocacy groups refuse corporate funding, in case it inadvertently influences their goals). People are usually volunteers (i.e., unpaid), it may or may not involve lobbying, and it has the public as its ‘client’.

        RC scientists are not paid for their work, their work is based in high quality science, and a liberal advocacy group that is neither hidden nor influencing the science discussion, has hosted the website.

        The sites discussed in my other response regularly circulate the PR of corporations, rather than focusing on high quality science, and the corporate lobby associated with these corporations is in the multi-billions (vs. the maybe hundred bucks per month spent by an advocacy group to host RC’s site). But Iappreciate the potential for indirect influence.

        Make of it what you will.

        In a sense, who cares who funds what? The issue is the quality of the information presented and people’s ability to evaluate information and sources – including funding if, as in the corporate PR and lobby efforts against climate legislation, it can be shown to be affecting objective presentation of information to the public.

        You are employed at Georgia Tech. Yours is a public university with an applied research branch that is about 80% dependent on money from the U.S. Defense Department. Elsewhere, state support of some other American public universities has seriously declined, but not at Georgia Tech. The rest pretty much comes from industry (as private funding).
        So do I assume that you don’t do quality research, with independence from direct or indirect influence on how you view the scientific basis for policy discussion? No, of course not.

        Do I see a neoliberal political bias, consistent with your government’s example to date, in your narrowing of policy discussion to uncertainties in projections? Yes, I do.

        And yet I still like you, and make no assumptions about how it will all be sorted out in a democracy. ;-)

        My comments about PR, lobbying, advocacy, etc., are about trying to clarify the challenges of the political and social context.

      • Martha you make some valid points, but you are off base with regards particularly to McIntyre, but as well as BishopHill and Anthony Watts. They have their opinions and their audience, and if they happen to agree with something put out by a corporation or advocacy group, then they are entitled to agree with it. In terms of who is spending more $$, it is the enviro advocacy groups, by an order of magnitude, this is well documented. So your point is?

        Re Georgia Tech’s money, about 25% comes from the state, a big chunk from tuition, a nontrivial amount from donations/endowment, then a sizable chunk (maybe 30%) from federal funding agencies (I confess i don’t know which funding agencies dominate overall, but in the school of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, funding is dominated by NASA, then by NSF, with NOAA a distant third). I personally know next to nothing about the Georgia Tech Research Institute (i don’t even know its physical location), what they do or where they get their money has no influence on me.

        I agree that the sociopolitical context is a very important and underappreciated issue, but it is ALOT more complex than blaming a few bloggers for publishing things from right wing advocacy groups (Watts does that, the others dont at all, as far as i can tell, and McIntyre especially does not do this).

        Most of my personal scientific research is currently in areas that are not directly tied to the AGW problem, but are indirectly relevant. My work in adaptation and assessment and policy is done in the context of direct applications for clients (and for the most part doesn’t get published, but you see hints of what i am working on in some of the threads). My clients hire my company because they like my perspective on the uncertainties, scenarios, natural variability, etc. If a company thinks that climate change isn’t a problem, then they wouldn’t see any reason to hire my company to do anything for them.

        So I am still missing your point?

      • Martha:
        You are kidding right? Your separation of lobbying and advocacy is pure semantics and your subsequent sanctifying of “advocacy” is patently ridiculous. Parties promoting and resisting various pieces of climate legislation have invested heavily in the full panoply of PR, lobbying and advocacy activities – as is their right. Blogs like WUWT and ClimateAudit may provide information that is used by such groups but their raison d’etre is to improve the quality of climate science and point to problems with both the findings of certain scientists and their subsequent somewhat unprofessional behaviour. For example, I challenge you to find statements by Steve McIntyre which reveals what he thinks about particular pieces of climate legislation. Judith can probably attest first hand to Steve’s conscious avoidance of such statements.

      • I don’t usually get into this kind of discussion, but this —

        RC scientists are not paid for their work, their work is based in high quality science, and a liberal advocacy group that is neither hidden nor influencing the science discussion, has hosted the website.

        is arrant nonsense. The “RC scientists” ARE padi for their work. Gavin, in particular, works for NASA and spends considerable time on a patently political blog – on the NASA dime. Which, if anyone were paying attention, would get him canned under the provisions of the Hatch Act. But, like Hansen, he somehow has immunity that is not available to other government workers.

        As for the financing of RC – it’s certainly IS a liberal advocacy group, backed in part by Soros IIRC. And that part WAS hidden for as long as they could manage it.

        And then there’s the “not influencing the science discussion” nonsense. Just what do you believe is the purpose of that liberal advocacy group in backing RC?

      • Martha,
        Can you do more than hand wave on this?
        And plese do talk about the billion$ that NGO’s and the gov itself is spending to promote AGW and how that is OK.
        Your side looks less desperate when it avoids hauling out the old petard of conspiracy and jumping right on it.
        Watch out! A Koch family retainer might be under your bed right now. No! He is in your closet! Call the climate cops, hurry!

      • Yes, the PR, lobbying, and advocacy context in the United States has become extremely complex. :-(

        However, the U.S. is not the rest of the world. Other national governments are not struggling to the same extent, and some other countries and many cities have moved to the forefront in dealing with climate change, while the U.S. sorts through these challenges.

      • Martha,
        What are they dealing with?
        The social movement? then you are right.
        But if you mean these cities enlightened nations are doing anything, either individually or collectively, that will make one bit of difference to the world climate, then you are wrong.
        And they are doing this at the price of destroying landscapes for windmills, poisoning landfills and urban spaces with mercury and other toxic metals, and at a very high financial cost.

    • Martha,

      If you think that the skeptics are a PR campaign funded by corporations, but Al Gore and Wall Street’s billions, the billions in govt research grants, subsidies and tax credits, and the billions raised by environmental groups and non-profits are simply the poor innocent victims of these mean skeptics and their “PR strategy”, there simply isn’t anything that can be said that would likely change your mind.

    • What the activist scientists are being “subjected to” is the political struggle that they entered voluntarily. Environmentalism is making its ultimate move, going after fire no less. The science has become politicized. This simple sentence has a deep meaning, something we have never seen before. Try to understand it. There is no PR strategy, on either side, rather this is all out political war, with great masses of people on both sides.

    • Not everything is PR. There is good research and bad research and interesting research. Good and bad I classify by quality of methodologies and conclusions. Interesting is interesting, suggesting some area to look at or think about.

  41. When the most prominent “scientists” in the field refuse to allow their work to be audited or replicated, they are not practicing science. They have abandoned the scientific method and short-circuited the absolutely critical self-correcting aspect of science. When the most prominent members of the field are shown to have repeatedly screwed up their statistics, they SHOULD be viewed with caution. And when they refuse to seek the help of stats experts, their work should be viewed with scorn.

    When the keepers of the critical databases have been shown to have failed to use normal quality control and to have engaged in questionable ‘adjustments’ to the data, their work should be the subject of doubt. This is especially true when 90% of the instruments fail to meet basic scientific standards.

    If someone wants to regarded with respect as an authority, they need to embrace the scientific method, embrace transparency, adopt basic quality control, install their instruments properly, and stop spending more effort in propaganda than in proper science.

    • Based on this comment, one would think that the great majority of climate scientists have no basic (never mind advanced) science education, no ability to understand the basics of complex systems, no critical thinking skills, no understanding of society, no controls on what they can pretend to be doing, and no real interest whatsoever in their work or other people.

      And the reason for this remarkable situation where climate science is on your view overwhelmingly dominated by dolts and psychopaths, would be what?

      I have seen better collections of nonsense statements cut and pasted from nonsense elsewhere on the internet, leading to a big, dramatic nonsense conclusion — but yours is pretty good. I stand corrected. The propaganda is all yours. You get a gold star. :-)

      • ‘Based on this comment, one would think that the great majority of climate scientists have no basic (never mind advanced) science education, no ability to understand the basics of complex systems, no critical thinking skills, no understanding of society, no controls on what they can pretend to be doing, and no real interest whatsoever in their work or other people’

        That certainly is the impression that some of them strive very hard to give. But you forgot ‘lack of self-awareness’ as another of their less agreeable characteristics.

        Otherwise, thanks for the excellent summary. I’ll borrow it to reuse if you don’t mind.

      • Martha,
        The strawman distractoin of cliamte science being either right or dominated by ‘dolts and psychopaths’ is pretty tired. Can you do better?

      • What I did, was indicate the sort of assumptions one would have to make, in order to claim what your friend(s) claim.
        I agree it’s very tired. It’s also completely irrational. Maybe you can talk with them.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      stan, First, most of what you say is untrue or hugely exaggerated – as for example Lucia’s blog has shown by the multiple replications of the temperature datasets from her contributors

      Second, much of your life is dependent on undisclosed science so why (as Chris Colose points out) the double standards?

      Third, none of the scientists had any control over the observations systems they use, not least those installed long before Hansen had run his first model. So why criticise them for the quality control? They are far more aware than you of the shortcomings which is why they do lots of science on quality control.

      • 1. Lucia’s blog has also shown that the models have limited utility. Unless you think that a 37% difference between model output and observation is minor.

        2. Neither my life nor stan’s nor yours is dependent on “undisclosed science”. There is nothing in any of our lives that is as closed and inaccesible as the science that the “Gang of 18” wants to use to change all our lives and those of future generations. Their science requires a higher level of openness, scrutiny and comunication as well as higher standards than anything in the past.

        3. Wrt quality control – I believe stan was referring to the lack of said control of the basic data sets – in particular the CRU data that was “lost”. But he can correct me if he meant something else. In which case, I will claim that point.

        However, you could also add quality control issues wrt the CRU code. Have you ever perused the “Harry Readme” file? The same could be said for NASA GISS code – and data. And CRU, in particular, has had code problems that were found by external investigaors that afaik they have yet to correct.

        Additionally, from an engineering POV, the basic data sets are garbage because the basic instrumentation is trash. They may be the only thing we’ve got, but that’s not an excuse. How many billions of dollars/pounds/marks/whatever have gone into climate science, in particular, modelling? And how much of that funding has gone into basic instrumentation – like upgraded temperature sensors?

        You – and Martha – notwithstanding, stan’s points are entirely accurate.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        1. Lucia’s original position was that the utility of the models would not statistically be determined for at least another 5 years. She changed her start point to make things more interesting for her reasons. 37% is minor – the range of sensitivity is 2-4.5C!
        2. Naive. Who tests drugs and pesticides? Independent scientists? Now that the work of Phil Jones is being validated, don’t you think we should move on.
        3. Are you another who thinks that harryreadme is somehow representative of all climate code!

        Billions have gone into upgraded sensors. eg. Satellites and ARGO. If the the existing ground network were changed there would have to be many more adjustments made to account for the changes. You’d have loved that!

      • ‘Are you another who thinks that harryreadme is somehow representative of all climate code!’

        I’ve spent some years as an IT Manager. Its my personal experience that a good IT shop is usually good at all aspects of the subject…and a bad one is bad at most everything.

        I can’t judge ‘all climate code’ from the HRM example, but its a pretty fair guess that it is representative of the quality ‘achieved’ at CRU. And that this institution was – until the events of November 2009 – well respected in the climataology world tells me that its likely that its standards aren’t wildly out compared with the rest of the field.

        We had lengthy outpourings earlier on this blog from ‘professional’ climate modellers handwaving wildly about how verification and validation of their models would not only be a slur on their characters and a drag on their intellectual freedom…but also impossoble, since they no longer understood what such models did.

        We also had the unedifying recent complaint – I think by Steig himself – that O’Donnell’s code was difficult to run because it was ‘modular’. A technique introduced into truly professional programming about 45 years ago to aid readability, quality, problem fixing and maintenance.

        So absent any better evidence, I think that there is a lot of circumstantial stuff that says HRM is pretty typical of the quality of code nad lack of professionalism shown in IT throughout the climatology world.

        BTW – I don’t exclude other academic ‘disciplines’ from these same shortcomings. My own history – starting as a junior academic modeller, then moving to the IT industry showed me just how amateur the academic world could be compared with professional IT shops. Having a supercomputer of a zillion petagigaflops doesn’t mean that you get better code..it just runs bad code faster.

      • Latimer,

        I think this boils down to the nature in which programs are being developed in the academia, as is most probable the case also the climate modelling community. In essence, they (the models) are not products that are being sold (you don’t have a real customer, who would complaint), but rather tools to test a scientific theory (or hypothesis, whatever). Of course, it is easy to assume (and also my personal experience confirms this) that for them the usual standard requirements, like how to design the programs to be clear, maintainable, fast, etc, are basically just foreign languge and/or obstruction of their real research work: even if they have some clue about them, they don’t see any real need to develop them accordingly. Hell, we are doing a climate model, not a new version of a software product — if I can compile and run it, it is enough!

        Obviously academic (modelling) programs are not usually written by software engineers i.e. experts in programming and software engineering, but by self-taught programmers perhaps with educational background with one single undergraduate course in Fortran or whatever. This, again very obviously, has direct implications on the quality of code.

        I can only imagine the pain of maintaning a program with 10-20 years of code, usually in a language not very well suited for large-scale software projects, written by my a large group of ‘amateurs’ (software engineering wise) with very different skill levels, ‘handwriting’ and little or none common working guidelines, simplest of which would be just basic things like how to partition your program, name variables, functions etc.

        What is interesting anyway is that given what I’ve written above, that from the outputs of the models (very probably, very hard to check as they are not exactly available to outsiders like me) we have already made very far reaching and expensive political decisions with more in the pipeline.

      • I agree with everything you say. I am not (necessarily) blaming the academics for being crap at IT. Coming from the same stable a looooong tome ago, I can understand the reasons why they aren’t experts in the field.

        But I do blame them for blindly believing in the unquestioned veracity of their conclusions while stubbornly refusing to do anything to drag their IT practices beyond those of the first faltering steps in the endeavour fifty years ago.

        That is simply unprofessional and wrong. It is not an adequate excuse to say – but we are only climatologits, we shouldn’t be expected to be any good at IT. It is at the very heart of climatology…there isn’t actually much else if you think about it. And if there was no IT there’d certainl ybe no climatology as currently ‘practiced’

        If they can’t be bothered to learn how to use a fundamental and essential tool of the trade and intelligent way, then we should pay very little attention to the ‘results’ that they claim to achieve.

        The list of dodgy ‘science’ that climatologists indulge in is a long one. To my mind their inability to properly understand and use IT is pretty near the top.

      • Of course I’m (and probably we both, Latimer) just guessing the real state of affairs within to modelling community, but frankly I’m quite sure that is not very good, at least compared to standards required by commercial software development. Anyway, I see clear reasons for this, and partly understand why ‘climatologists’ are bit puzzled about whether this quality control stuff is necessary at all.

        Resistance or reluctance to external audits and the secrecy about the internal working of the programs also hints that they might not be proud of their work from the outsider point of view, of which many with strong (or some) IT expertise.

        Nowadays, one with good credentials can (and frequently gets) get a paper to Nature and Science without even remote possibility to replicate or validate their work — basically many of the recent articles (The recent control knob (in Science if I recall) thing for intance) are just descriptions of model runs, and although I don’t believe the results are in anyway tampered with, I find it amazing that they are given so much space and prestige. My guess would be that nobody, including the first author, actually knows all the equations, parameters, equation solving methods etc that were required along the way, let alone there even exists any conclusive document or publication where they are discussed. This is one of the major sources for my doubts about the results.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        But Latimer, the CRU do not write climate models! Probably Steig does not write climate models either. Your characterization of what your “‘professional’ climate modellers” said is faulty; Easterbrook certainly says nothing like that. Because of these errors, your opinion has lost a lot of weight.

      • Forgive me if I misunderstood what Easterbrook took many pages of screed to say. My understanding is that he is entirely opposed to nay external audit of his models or of any attempt to verify or validate.

        There was a vigorous debate with him and others on that very topic here about six weeks ago. You’ll also forgive me if I don;t recognise your name as a contributor to that.

        Please can you enlighten me, then, on the exact line that climate modellers take on V&V for their models?

        As to your remarks that Steig and CRU do not write climate models, I believe that I covered this point in my remarks:

        ‘I can’t judge ‘all climate code’ from the HRM example, but its a pretty fair guess that it is representative of the quality ‘achieved’ at CRU. And that this institution was – until the events of November 2009 – well respected in the climataology world tells me that its likely that its standards aren’t wildly out compared with the rest of the field’

        Again – if you have evidence to the contrary, please provide it. I;d be delighted to know that high standards of IT professionalism are endemic throughout climatology. So far, I have seen nothing to persuade me that they are…and plenty that suggest they are not.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Steve Easterbrook said the following to Judy:

        ===
        “[We need] Fully documented verification and validation of climate models”. Indeed better documentation of the V&V practices is exactly what my current research project aims to do.

        What I object to is the idea that industrial processes that are used as risk reduction strategies for safety-critical systems should be brought in, because these would be a waste of time (for a community that is already far too small for all the demands that are made on it).

        I also object to calling what climate modeling centres do as “V&V-lite” or “v&v lowercase”, whatever the hell these are supposed to mean (you don’t define them), when you cannot clearly articulate what V&V strategies the various climate modelling centers currently use on a day-to-day basis.”
        ===

        You responded saying that you didn’t care if it was a waste of time without understanding that Steve thinks they’re a waste of time because they are inappropriate not because the resources are lacking.

        Essentially, you read into Steve’s post what you wanted to hear. As Chris Colose suggests, the V&V practices will *never* be good enough for you.

      • I’d suggest reading these two posts (Part I and Part II) and then my comments on them for an idea of what Easterbrook is suggesting as sufficient V&V and what is specifically objected to. I’ve stated that I agree that NASA-style external V&V would be overkill, but what Steve describes does not impress me.

      • And I still don’t care whether those who would be verified and validated think that such exercises would be a waste of their time. Poor dears.

        Their time, however precious to themselves, is not the issue. If the output of the models are to be used to justify the political and social developments that many advocates propose then I want to see those models ripped apart and put back together (or not) by the nastiest, meanest, craftiest and most devious ba**ards that can be found. And those nasty nasty people will not be drawn from the academic happy-go-lucky community but from the (reformed) hackers and fraudsters.

        I want to see a relentless effort to make the models robust and reproducible…using all the techniques of professional software development. It is such techniques that makes the Internet work pretty reliably…not assuming that the job is done once they’ve got a clean(ish) compile and a run without complete failure. Making a prototyp ein Lego is a very different proposition from actually building the skyscraper. A necessary first step perhaps, but only one step along a very long road.

        If that causes various modellers sleepless nights, then so be it. We are not dealing with a trivial problem like Air Traffic Control or Nuclear War Games, but with ‘the most important problem humanity has ever faced’.

        It is not the place for amateur weekend Fortran programmers or for playing due deference to the sensitivities of the individual programmers. Either we get these models as near d…d right as we can do using all the accumulated knowledge and wisdom at our disposal in all the affected fields – including IT. Or we ignore the models completely.

        The shroud wavers in climate advocacy assure us that with increasing CO2 we are making a voyage into the unknown future. Christopher Columbus and his brave band made a similar voyage 500+ years ago.

        But being a prudent explorer as well as a visionary he increased his chances of survival by using the best maritime technology he could afford. He did rely on a ramshackle craft made by a couple of talented hobbyists and sailed once for a day inshore only before he tackled the North Atlantic.

        Nor should we – if we ever want climate models to help guide our course, It is special pleading by the modellers to suggest otherwise. Like all vested interests we should listen to their case, but not allow them to dictate policy.

      • Aaargh! Classic example of how self-certification lets bugs slip by, however diligent or benevolent the self-certifier.

        My sentence should , of course, read:

        ‘He did *NOT* rely on a ramshackle craft made by a couple of talented hobbyists and sailed once for a day inshore only before he tackled the North Atlantic’

      • re Latimer’s second reply:

        I’m not so much concerned with the bug catching (verification), as that should be relatively easy to catch eventually, particularly if you use automated testing tools. My interest is more on the validation end – is the system, as specified, fit for purpose.

        As I mentioned elsewhere, I can build and verify a system that requires 2+2 = 5. Validating it would be a different story.

      • If the output of the models are to be used to justify the political and social developments that many advocates propose then I want to see those models ripped apart and put back together (or not) by the nastiest, meanest, craftiest and most devious ba**ards that can be found. And those nasty nasty people will not be drawn from the academic happy-go-lucky community but from the (reformed) hackers and fraudsters.

        Seems to me that I volunteered for that job yesterday. Think anyone will take me up on that? :-)

      • Steve Milesworthy

        “Undisclosed science”. In the “On being a scientist” document posted on the other thread it was claimed that 1% of plots in the Journal of Cell Biology had undergone “fraudulent manipulation”. Take two tablets of that with your meal.

      • Steve –
        read “Voodoo Scienc” by Robert Park.
        Follow that by “False Prophets” by Alexander Kohn.

        There are others, but once you get through those you may have better idea about what can go wrong with science. And if you’re as smart as I think you are, you may even make the connection to climate science. ;-)

  42. Schrodinger's Cat

    The core beliefs of climate science depend on a relatively small number of scientists, a single dataset (more or less), and a handful of different statistical treatments of that data. Many of those involved (but not all) are implicated in the Climategate affair. Data and codes have generally not been made available and there is evidence of corruption of the peer review process that continues today. There is considerable doubt about the quality of the data and bias based on thermometer locations and choice of these.

    These points are often forgotten. The thousands of convinced climate experts often quoted at us are those who benefited from the huge funding explosion and fed the already available exaggerated rates of warming into their computer programmes in order to produce alarmist forecasts that adversely affect every organism and process on the planet.

    It is argued, and probably generally agreed, that the recent changes in temperature are not unique and have been exceeded in the history of the planet. Although it is claimed that CO2 is the main driver of recent changes, this may not be the case if current warming is not unique and natural causes can have large effects.

    GHG effects are not disputed. The effect of CO2 alone is small. This fact would probably amaze most observers who have been led to believe that CO2 is the major culprit. The positive feedback from water vapour may also occur, but there are also negative feedbacks from water in the atmosphere and sceptics believe that these are dominant. This is probably the main point of difference, not CO2.

    Taking all of these factors into account, it seems to me that the science is certainly not settled. I am not an academic and it seems incredible to me that such momentous strategic decisions are being made on such a mickey mouse level of understanding. The great and the good, representing our learned institutions, pontificate about the consensus, the conclusions of the experts, and what do these sceptics think they are doing? To be frank, the people who make these comments have just accepted everything at face value and their pompous, ignorant remarks make me sick.

    My scientific life has been in industry, where success is measured in a tangible way. Either it does what it says on the tin or it does not. Imagine developing an aircraft using the quality traditions of climate science.

    Some of the earlier posts on this blog make me think of the Royal Society, the enquiries into CRU and the way climate science is reported by the BBC. All of it makes me think that there is something terribly rotten in parts of our science and quite frankly, it makes me totally ashamed to be a scientist.

    • Well said.

      Imagine developing an aircraft using the quality traditions of climate science.

      Well, at least it would have reduced the crowding at Copenhagen and Cancun.

      • That’d be an aircraft that from the dawn of the first use of the term ‘climate science’ (1971) to today — 4 decades — has gone from zero to carrying tens of thousands on board; this would be at least twice the speed of the actual aviation industry.

        While it’s encountered various turbulence and some course correction, by the accounts of those on board, it has had no substantial crashes; this would be a better record even than Quantas.

      • Let’s see… Looking at the model predictions … Locking them into navigation … Seats upright and locked …

        Hey, I didn’t know they had a model of the Sydney Opera House in Rio! Where is Corcovado? Why are all these people speaking English? Wait a minute …

      • Nope.

        That’d be an aircraft that existed only in a few incomplete CAD drawings inside the computer and as a high-level dream of how they’d like a plane to be in their version of an ideal world.

        But very little to do with anything substantial like engineering and answering experimental questions like ‘does it fly’. No test flights completed – indeed no metal bashed or plastic moulded at all. No history of success, no in-schedule flights, no take offs, no landings.

        A virtual aircraft only – still as far away from Kitty Hawk as ever. But the vision of what it might be one day is kept alive by a band of true believers.

        Like the Heaven’s Gate cultists, it is a craft from the stars that will satisfy all their dreams and take them to the Promised Land.

        Pity that nobody has ever actually seen one.

      • A virtual aircraft indeed latimer.
        You forgot to add that they’ve been selling seats and handing out boarding passes for this virtual aircraft for years now.

        Sad thing is, heaps of gullibles have been buying tickets lol

      • And yet, none of those on-board complain in this way.

        Those complaints of those stuck on the ground or floating about in hot air balloons that the airplane is too big and has too many people in it and goes too fast, and takes riders where the complainers wouldn’t want to go anyway.. how are these reflections on the plane?

        You get left farther behind every day, until you build your own better plane.

      • Errrrr VIRTUAL aircraft Bart, virtual.

        Nobody yet knows how fast, how far it can go . Indeed, nobody as yet knows if it can fly or even if it can be built.
        Re read what Latimer said…

        “But very little to do with anything substantial like engineering and answering experimental questions like ‘does it fly’. No test flights completed – indeed no metal bashed or plastic moulded at all.”

        It must be frustrating for you, having bought tickets, to find out that this magical airplane only exists in computer models.

    • Cat

      “These points are often forgotten.”

      Is that because they’re, y’know, not true?

      What is your small number of scientists, approximately?

      What is it based on?

      How do you determine it to be the basis of the core beliefs, and what are these?

      Which single dataset do you mean? Are you talking about global temperature records? Because I’ve seen lists including two dozen or more datasets unconnected to the global meteorological measurement apparatus, some of them of much higher quality than it, in use by scientists. Are you really unaware of all of these?

      Frankly, sounds to me like you’re making stuff up, or believing those who have without skeptically investigating their claims.

      • Bart –
        Unless you can refute Cat’s contentions, your arguments are underwhelming.

        Because I’ve seen lists including two dozen or more datasets unconnected to the global meteorological measurement apparatus, some of them of much higher quality than it, in use by scientists. Are you really unaware of all of these?

        So what? Regardless of how accurate those data sets are – they’re NOT the “official” data sets that all this crap is based on. Even if they’re “global”. And yes, I KNOW that the GHCN set is not what it’s cracked up to be. But it’s what we’ve been stuck with.

      • How does one refute vague?

      • That’s why I rarely take you seriously. :-)

    • Steve Milesworthy

      “Earlier in my career I was lead scientist at NASA’s Independent Software Verification and Validation facility, where I studied the VV&T processes used by NASA for spaceflight control software.
      I can categorically state that GCMs are independently validated by domain experts to a much greater extent than any of NASA’s mission critical spacecraft control systems.” Steve Easterbrook

      So, yes, I’d fly in one of their planes. This sort of quote makes a bit of a mockery of the “they’re just making it up to get grant money” comments.

      • Steve M: Perhaps so, but obviously the tasks of controlling a spacecraft and modeling climate are quite different. The former is far better understood than the latter.

        We sent spacecraft to the moon and back with remarkable accuracy. Today’s GCMs can only hindcast with considerable tweaking and none of the models predicted the leveling-off of temperature we have seen the past ten years or so.

        I don’t think climate scientists are making things up to get grant money, but they are getting paid to develop models.

        You can have my seat on the GCM plane.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        To be clear, I am talking about whether the code “does what it says on the tin” – correctly implement the algorithms. Not whether it is a perfect earth simulation. The quality of the code undermines the implied incompetence of its developers.

        And yes, most of the models demonstrate periods of cooling just like that we have recently seen.

      • Correctly implementing the algorithms is only half the equation (verification). The much more important part is validation – the process of showing that the requirements are correct. I can verify a system that has a requirement that 2+2 = 5, I just can’t validate it.

        Steve Easterbrook made some interesting comments around the validation process here late last year, but failed to stick around to defend them.

      • You need to read the threads on IV&V on this blog because your quote is pure grade AAA, gold plated BS. And yes, I did IV&V on some of those NASA systems. And if you give me a month with ANY of the GCM’s we could all have fun discussing the results. Well, OK – “some” of us would have fun – you might not be one of them.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Are you sure you are not part of the problem rather than being part of the solution, Jim, with this sort of comment. With respect to Judith Curry for initiating the discussion, Steve Easterbrook knows what he is talking about. But this is off track – regardless of which V we are talking about, Easterbrook’s findings suggest that statements such as:

        “Imagine developing an aircraft using the quality traditions of climate science.”

        are based on prejudice rather than knowledge.

      • Easterbrook’s findings suggest that statements such as:
        “Imagine developing an aircraft using the quality traditions of climate science.”

        are based on prejudice rather than knowledge.

        Don’t think so – my BS says “Aerospace Systems Engineer”. I was part of an aircraft system design team – and I’ve done spacecraft design and I&T at both the component and system level. As well as software system design, IV&V and operations for those spacecraft. And I was here for the IV&V thread on this blog. And I’ll repeat – pure grade AAA, gold plated BS.

        If I’d used the “quality traditions” that I’ve seen in climate science, I’d have been fired – and banned from the industry – before my first year was past. This is one of the many reasons why I’m a sceptic – and becoming moreso daily.

  43. William Newman

    Colose writes “If a climate scientist make one mistake, or a date gets screwed up in the middle of a 1000 page document about glaciers, it will receive international attention.” It seems to me that “a date gets screwed up” is an unreasonable rhetorical understatement of what caused the glacier controversy. See

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/columnists/christopherbooker/7062667/Pachauri-the-real-story-behind-the-Glaciergate-scandal.html#

    Colose doesn’t mention that the source of the goofy date was apparently employed by a separate organization run by Pachauri (independent of Pachauri’s role as head of the IPCC). Colose doesn’t mention that the date had apparently been used for fund-raising by that separate organization. Colose doesn’t mention that the date had apparently been defended by Pachauri playing the classic IPCC “voodoo science” card against his critics before he was forced to admit it was seriously in error. I am no expert in PR, but it I am very confident that without those unmentioned details, a mere screwed-up date would’ve been a much smaller PR problem. If Colose honestly thinks what happened is appropriately described as “a date [got] screwed up,” I think he may be honestly confused.

    • Steve Milesworthy

      If the screwed up date was deliberate, then how come there are still so few obvious foul ups in the 3000 pages or so? “Amazongate” got nowhere, and then the hunt for other stupidities went quiet. Obvious conclusion is that it really *was* a screw up that it was included.

      • Was Pachauri’s attack on Dr. Raina deliberate or just a “screw up”?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Pachauri’s attack on Raina was related to a report Raina wrote. The correction of the error doesn’t seem relevant as the IPCC report advocated by Pachauri (in particular the error free WG1 report ;) ) still disagrees with Raina. Pachauri is as much a politician as a scientist so his intemperate remarks say nothing about the science.

      • Perhaps, but it speaks volumes about those summarizing the science.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        No it speaks volumes about a political and scientific spat between two people who disagree strongly.

      • You don’t live in the real world, do you?

        Your deflecton of the “problem” from the science into the politics is either ignorance or …. hmm, I can’t use that word here….

        Enough to say that your statement is nonsense. Pachauri attacked Raina because Raina objected to the statement in the IPCC report. Which statement was later admitted by the IPCC to be a gross mis-statement. Your defense of Pachauri, if such it is, is misplaced.
        You also state:

        “Amazongate” got nowhere, and then the hunt for other stupidities went quiet.

        Which implies a deep well of ignorance. Perhaps you missed the other “gates”? You should really get out more.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        You don’t live in the real world because you assumed what I said without reading it properly. I did not defend Pachauri, and I agreed the statement was a stupid mistake. But it does not represent what it is claimed to represent as there really *are* very few stupid errors given the large body of work.

        Watch it with the “ignorant” comments. It comes across as arrogant and patronising.

      • You said –
        “Amazongate” got nowhere, and then the hunt for other stupidities went quiet.

        Wrong. The list goes on – and on – and on – and………………
        YOU may think there really *are* very few stupid errors given the large body of work But there are a lot of us who think otherwise.

        You said:
        Pachauri’s attack on Raina was related to a report Raina wrote.

        Did Raina write the IPCC section wrt Himilayan glaciers melting in ~30 years? Because that’s what Raina objected to – and then Pachauri attacked Raina for peddling “voodoo science”.

        Go read what you wrote again – sceptically.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        You don’t understand the difference between “mistake” and “thing you disagree with”. If the “thing you disagree with” is justifiable from the literature it is not a mistake.

        Pachauri was commenting on Raina’s report: “A State-of-Art Review of Glacial Studies, Glacial Retreat and Climate Change” which clearly contradicts the WG1 findings – still. Virtually nobody else noticed the 2035 date. But I am not defending Pachauri.

  44. As a public service, I continue my series of interviews with people who know very little about climate science. These are people asked to pay the bills for carbon offsets, cap and trade, green energy subsidies, shutting down coal-fired power plants or whatever. There is a vast mass of people who will want to learn about the science and risks and hazards before throwing their support and tax money at the causes Chris endorses. The battle between the warmistas and skeptics will be won or lost with the decisions made by SiL and people like him.

    SiL is has a BSci of Computer Science including undergrad classes in math, chemistry and physics…the usual engineering curriculum. He took no classes on climate or weather.

    KLC: Do you believe human activities can increase the earth’s surface temperature?
    SiL: I think anything is possible. I don’t think we are currently having an appreciable affect on the surface temperature.
    KLC: Do more people die in the winter or the summer?
    SiL: I would guess that it is about equal in first world countries.
    KLC: Do you believe people should drive smaller cars to reduce emissions?
    SiL: I don’t feel it is necessary. If doing so makes them feel better about themselves, I say, go nuts.
    KLC: If I said most CO2 emissions in the U.S. came from coal-fired power plants, what would you say we should do about that?
    SiL: Is it cost effective? Keep doing it. I enjoy the convenience of modern living.
    KLC: Do we have the right to tell people in India and China to reduce their rate of economic development to reduce emissions?
    SiL: No, but that hasn’t stopped the U.S. from telling other countries what to do in the past.
    KLC: Should we make them do what we say?
    SiL: Should we? No. Will we? I have no doubt.
    KLC: Would you drop nuclear bombs on them if they refused to reduce emissions?
    SiL: Wouldn’t that raise the surface temperature of the earth?
    KLC: Have I ever tried to influence your opinion on these topics?
    SiL: No.
    KLC: If I did try to influence your opinion, would it work?
    SiL: Only if you had Jedi mind powers.
    KLC: Any other comments?
    SiL: We should go out for a beer.

  45. Chris Colose: I don’t think I have ever heard a professional complain at such length as if he or she were a powerless victim. That post was almost painful to read.

    I am a software engineer. People can be unfair in my world too, but I would never take that stuff to my boss or co-workers as you have. I want to sound like I’m succeeding or have a plan to succeed in spite of whatever brickbats are coming my way.

    Consider Dr. Curry as a model. Has she been treated unfairly and been disparaged frequently? You bet. But if she remarks on these matters, she does so crisply without making a big deal about them or assuming that she ought never be treated poorly. She keeps her objectives in mind and how she might reach them, not the slights and unfairness.

    I see by your blog that you are still a student, so perhaps it is understandable, but I do suggest finding more active, empowered ways of expressing your points.

  46. What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline…

    Chris Colose: Many people have remarked upon this passage. Perhaps you can explain what I have not seen explained by any from the climate change side.

    In what other scientific discipline have we seen anything comparable to the Climategate scandal, perpetrated by the some of the most prominent scientists in that discipline?

    To me it seems like a very low bar for top scientists not to conspire to delete data and emails, to subvert peer review, and to disobey FOIA laws. And for other scientists not to ignore or rationalize such behavior.

    Yet you say that climate science is being held to a higher standard. If other sciences are rife with such abuses, I take your point. Otherwise, you are simply mistaken and complaining falsely.

  47. Perhaps Chris Colose needs to have a dialogue with Roy Spencer. Here is his chance:
    http://www.drroyspencer.com/2011/02/a-challenge-to-the-climate-research-community/

    Put up or shut up, Chris.

  48. Meanwhile oil depletion makes its mark and the latest Wikileak cables shows that Saudi reserves are exaggerated. A treatise on oil depletion, completely unfunded and sure to disturb the cornucopians:
    The Oil ConunDrum

  49. An alternative explanation is that climate scientists have been put into an impossible situation by the existence of the IPCC (e.g. Ross McKitrick’s analysis).

    It’s not an alternative explanation, it’s a case of “look, over there!”. Or alternatively “it wasn’t me, big boys from the IPCC did it and ran away!”.

    • Latimer Alder

      No diversion that I can see.

      The ‘impossible position’ problem is quite plausible to me. Either you go along with the all-powerful regime or you are professionally ostracised. And Climategate showed that the ostracism is real and tangible. Which bits do you find difficulty with?

      People write novels about such dilemmas – I think Graham Greene or John le Carre would be a good starting point for you.

      • I’ve read novels by both but I think we will have to differ over the question of what they have to say about climate science. Given your conspirital views are you sure you haven’t been reading too much Dan Brown?

        Your claim about ostracisation is wildly overstated – there are any number of scientists who are critical of the IPCC but do perfectly well and there are others who winge because they write bad papers which get panned and want someone else to blame.

        But this really is besides the point and just a diversion – it has nothing to do with what Chris Colose wrote. He made several points about the actions of the skeptics and how they impact the work of scientists. I’m sure that scientists come under all sorts of other pressures, whether related to the IPCC or their particular personal or professional circumstances, but this does not have any bearing on whether the arguments made by Chris are fair and accurate (or not).

        If Dr Curry wants to put the skeptics under the spotlight for once then fine, about time. If she wants to write an actual serious critical appraisal of the IPCC then fine. But her need for constant and gratuitous snarking at the IPCC is becoming tiresome and is at odds with her supposed aim of “reconciliation”.

      • Latimer Alder

        I have never read Dan Brown. My girlfriend persuaded me to go to Angels and Demons and I thought it was one of the worst movies I have ever seen.

      • All depends what one means by ‘reconciliation’.

      • I get the impression it means something along the lines of “surrender”

      • Reconcile your mind,
        Surrender to curious.
        Group think sucks out life.
        ==============

      • If Dr Curry wants to put the skeptics under the spotlight for once then fine, about time. If she wants to write an actual serious critical appraisal of the IPCC then fine. But her need for constant and gratuitous snarking at the IPCC is becoming tiresome and is at odds with her supposed aim of “reconciliation”.

        andrew adams: Good grief. Dr. Curry turned this entire topic over to Colose to criticize skeptics, and then there were three recent Dragon topics intent on critiquing greenhouse skeptics.

        Furthermore there is a huge difference between criticism and snarking. Occasionally one can sense impatience in JC’s comments, but I can’t think of an instance of her “snarking.”

        Meanwhile we have Michael, D64, and ianash from your side of the aisle who offer almost nothing but snarking.

      • Huxley,

        Indeed, good on her for posting Chris’s comments and inviting debate on the subject. I just don’t know why it was neccessary to try to turn it back onto the IPCC.
        As for the Dragon discussions, in my view the book represents outright crankery rather than skepticism – I don’t know why Judith bothered with it at all.
        I certainly regard Judith’s constant references to “IPCC dogma” and similar comment as, if not snark then petty and unneccessary.

      • aa,
        You might call it snarking, but I think reality is shwoing her to be spot on.
        You are only upset that your gore is getting oxxed.

  50. James Griffiths

    Chris Colose’s sentiments will be familiar to many people who have been found to be under performing, or their departments under performing, in the private sector.

    When the results that are expected of them are not forthcoming, an auditor of some form will be sent in to scrutinize procedures, methods, competencies and individual performances in order to return the department to full productivity.

    Everything will be ruthlessly questioned, from the understanding of fundamentals (radiative transfer?) to application (statistics?) with little regard for how “reasonable” the process may seem.

    “Victims” of this process feel that they are subject to scrutiny and invasive procedures that their peers are not. And they are, because their is a doubt cast over their ability. Undoubtedly, this is an unpleasant situation for all involved, but the only consideration in the process is to improve performance.

    Some sectors have these forms of audits as a matter of course. Certainly, every time I accept a significant contract I have to endure endless quality checks and frankly uncomfortable probing by hard nosed QA inspectors into my competence. It is highly effective though in establishing a rigourous and effective set of procedures. The amount of engineers and industry scientists I see asking awkward questions about “indisputable” theories make me chuckle, because this is exactly the same stuff I deal with on a daily basis. Almost certainly, they do to.

    Even to me, it sometimes seems unreasonable, but it gets results.

    Feynman once, by all accounts, refused a request to give a primer in quantum theory to a freshman class. He regarded his inability to condense the theory into a concise enough format for even a brief overview as an indication of the huge uncertainties in the understanding of the subject.

    Similarly, all research scientists have a duty to communicate their research, as well as research it. Many of them seem to believe there are flaws in their ability to communicate. Plenty of people think there are flaws in the research.

    Either way, everybody knows there is a problem of some sort, so complaining about the scrutiny that failure always brings is a non starter I’m afraid Mr Colose. Complaining about (and I paraphrase according to what appears to be the general tone) stupid people asking stupid questions would seem even more churlish if, as he seems to believe, the science is sound and its just the climate scientists can’t express the science well.

    Either way, it’s not going to stop until results start appearing that are commensurate with the level of the confidence of the claims.

    • Latimer Alder

      Excellently put. And so true.

      I think it was Colose himself who wrote on this blog

      ‘Nobody without a PhD in Radiative Physics is even entitled to have an opinion about AGW theory’

      – or something very similar.

      So he’ll not be at all pleased at your unqualified intervention and criticism.
      What right do you have to question his pronouncements? He is a Climate Scientist FFS!!

      • “‘Nobody without a PhD in Radiative Physics is even entitled to have an opinion about AGW theory’

        – or something very similar.”

        Or something not at all similar, but we know what he meant!
        We know the climate scientists are all wrong and elitest and stuff…all the bad things!

        High Five!!

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘We know the climate scientists are all wrong and elitest and stuff…all the bad things!’

        Not always all of those things. But as an elite, they suck.

      • Lernin stuf is bad!

        They know stuf – we call them names!

      • My qualifications (MSc Atmospheric Chemistry) stack up pretty well against any others posting here. You can read my bio in the Denizens thread.

      • But you are clearly an evil denialist scum who wants the Earth to die in order to fatten up your 401-K. Afterall, not agreeing with the consensus is proof of your invovlement in the energy company conspiracy and of your evil cynical beliefs.
        /sarc off

      • Latimer Alder

        Since I have absolutely no idea what a 401-K is, I plead not guilty. Is it an new Airbus so that the British aviation industry (with a bit of help from France and Germany) can ‘whupp Boeing’s ass’ again?

        I hope I have got the American terminology right. One so wishes to be thought of as hep and a cool cat, don’tcher know.

        It may come as a shock, but a GLOBAL warming blog is actually read outside the US of A. I’m told even people in our colonies like Montreal and Toronto have access to it!

    • > Either way, it’s not going to stop until results start appearing that are commensurate with the level of the confidence of the claims.

      And even then. There are always seems to be “a problem of some sort.”

      In that case, this will be a Neverending Audit.

      Even to me, it sometimes seems unreasonable.

      Sometimes.

      • James Griffiths

        Willard, it’s a rare thing indeed, the comprehensive theory of anything without a “problem of some sort”

        Until then, embracing scrutiny will only improve the product, the methods and this much sought after desire to communicate.

        Actually, it’s difficult to see how that point will be reached at all without the same level of auditing that the rest of the world seems to acknowledge is necessary to maintain standards.

      • Agreed. That does in any way preclude Chris to hold that “climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline.” And you have to admit that when he says that contrarians are not putting these “standards” upon themselves, he might have a point. Just look what happens here under this now essential extended peer-reviewing process.

        Let’s all embrace scrutinity.

    • James,
      Excellently explained what happens every day in the industry.
      This is Total Quality Management and it gets reliable and repeatable results to the benefit of everybody.
      Only people who don’t understand quality and standards complain about this procedure.
      Best regards
      Günter

  51. Chris’ post is a neat skewering of the woolly and illogical arguments put forward for decreasing the weights put on our best theories and promoting theories with little evidential support, arguments rarely based on the evidence itself, but how the evidence is discussed and how knowledge is presented, framing. Plus the odd assertion plucked from nowhere (‘the models don’t work’ / ‘but natural variability’ / ‘but climategate’).

    • Lazar you fool!

      You forgot the most important one – RC moderation!!!

    • Plus the odd assertion plucked from nowhere (‘the models don’t work’ / ‘but natural variability’ / ‘but climategate’).

      Are you trying to tell me that the models DO work? Then why don’t you also tell me which models work? And how closely they match observation (which is one of the measures of how well they work)? And while you’re at it why don’t you also tell me why they didn’t forecast the present lack of warming?

      Aaaahh – natural variability – seems to bug you. Since there’s considerable evidence to support it, why don’t you tell us all why it’s a non-starter? I’d be interested in hearing that.

      And then there’s climategate – which exposed both illegal and unethical practices being used by some of the “stars” in your world. Do you defend those practices? Specifically, do you approve of the perversions of the scientific process revealed in those emails? Did you read those emails?

      Don’t be shy – I’m listening. And I won’t call you bad names.

  52. Roger Taguchi

    Judith Curry started a blog on “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse (?) effect” in the hope of getting a clear explanation of how CO2 and other greenhouse gases can warm the atmosphere. Apparently she was honest enough to admit that she has not yet received one. The reason is that the “radiative exchange” model in all the climate change literature CANNOT by itself provide one. For scattering of an infrared (IR) photon, whether isotropically or as backscatter, does not change the energy of the photon, and so the air cannot gain any energy during such scattering. What’s been missing is the knowledge that the vibrational energy levels of molecules are quantized, with the first excited state in bond-bending for CO2 at 667 cm^-1 containing more than twice the average kinetic energy of air molecules at normal temperatures. Therefore when an IR photon emitted at that frequency is emitted from the Earth’s surface and absorbed by a CO2 molecule in the ground vibrational state, a “hot” molecule is created. This hot molecule can either (a) re-emit a photon (scattering), which doesn’t warm the air, or (b) occasionally transfer its energy during inelastic collisions with “cold” air molecules, most likely the surrounding N2 and O2 molecules. Statistical mechanics says that the most probable distribution of energy is to have the available energy shared among all the possible modes of motion, i.e. among translational and quantized rotational states.
    So the original IR photon energy winds up in increased translation and rotation of all the molecules; i.e. the air warms up. Because N2 and O2 are homonuclear diatomic molecules, they do not possess a permanent electric dipole moment, and therefore cannot absorb or emit IR photons and therefore cannot participate in “radiative exchange”. The linear CO2 molecule in its equilibrium position is also non-polar, but when it vibrates in the bond-bending mode, a changing electric dipole moment perpendicular to the O=C=O axis is created, so CO2 can and does emit and absorb IR. Ditto for H2O, the major greenhouse gas molecule.

    The radiative exchange theory says that IR photons are exchanged between CO2 molecules until they reach a 220 K level at 20 km, from which black body radiation escapes to outer space. First, N2 and O2 cannot emit IR, and CO2 and H2O can emit only at certain frequencies (vibration-rotation bands), and so the atmosphere gases CANNOT emit black body radiation, which consists of a continuous spectrum containing all the frequencies across the entire electromagnetic spectrum, though peaking at 15 microns for 288 K. Only solids and liquids (which have many weak forces between
    molecules in the condensed state producing many, many frequencies) and plasmas such as at the surface of the Sun (where accelerated electrons and protons can emit photons of all energies, which escape into empty space). Thus the radiative exchange theory is based on a near-total lack of understanding of black body radiation. There IS a 220 K layer at 10 km or 20 km, but the air cannot and does not emit a continuous black body spectrum!

    The radiative exchange theory is decisively falsified by the spectra obtained by satellites looking down on a 210 K Thunderstorm Anvil at 10 km and looking down on the cold surface of Antarctica. These and other spectra looking down on a warm Earth are available at
    http://www.sundogpublishing.com/AtmosRad/Excerpts/AtmosRad217.pdf and http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=16928&start=81

    The spectrum looking down on a Thunderstorm Anvil DOES show 210 K black body emission, the generally smooth curve extending across the entire width of the frequency range. This is emitted from the solid ice crystals (or perhaps supercoooled liquid droplets) that make up the cloud, which also blocks any 288 K black body emitted from the Earth’s surface.
    However, there is excess power radiating upward at CO2 and ozone frequencies (upward bumps or peaks at 667 cm^-1 and 1080 cm^-1). This power/m^2 cannot possibly be due to radiative exchange from the Earth’s surface (blocked by the cloud at all frequencies) or from the 210 K black body curve (too little power/m^2). The explanation must be due to fluorescence from highly excited vibrations of CO2 molecules produced by absorption of incoming IR from the Sun at many frequencies (including many overtone and combination vibrations). In the simple harmonic oscillator model for molecular vibrations, the energy gap between successive vibrational levels is the same, so the same 667 cm^-1 photon will be emitted for v=4 to v=3,
    v=3 to v=2, v=2 to v=1, and v=1 to v=0 transitions (where v is the vibrational quantum number). I have calculated that there is just the right amount of incoming power/m^2 in the incoming 5780 K black body spectrum of the Sun to explain the outgoing emission of 14 W/m^2 at 667 cm^-1. Similarly the excess CO2 emission seen over Antarctica cannot possibly be powered by the smaller power/m^2 emitted by the black body spectrum from the cold solid surface. BTW, the consensus interpretation for the higher CO2 emission over Antarctica compared to the black body output from the surface is that this indicates a “temperature inversion”, since the peak of an IR absorption peak somehow is a “temperature probe” measuring the “temperature of the black body layer”. This is laughably wrong to any competent organic chemist used to seeing complex spectra showing many different sized peaks, all for the same molecule in a lab spectrometer. Do all the different peaks in the complete IR spectra shown in the satellite spectra measure different “temperatures”? What kind of temperature profile for the atmosphere would that mean? The radiative exhange theory is wrong, and must be abandoned.

    The CO2 emission must occur very high in the upper atmosphere, as a guess at 80-100 km or so, where pressures are so low that deactivation by collision is low enough that IR photons can be spontaneously emitted from even highly excited vibrational states. Note that the CO2 emission curve seen looking down on the Thunderstorm Anvil exactly matches the shape of the downward CO2 absorption peak from the black body spectrum looking down on a warm Earth (shown on the same graph). What this means is that in all the spectra taken over the warm Earth, the solid and liquid surface emits a black body emission curve higher than the CO2 fluorescence produced at high altitude. Then downward bites are taken at resonant frequencies of greenhouse gases. The many jagged downward peaks at low frequencies (to the left of 550 cm^-1) are primarily due to transitions between quantized rotational energy levels of H2O molecules in the lower troposphere. The downward absorptions to the right of 1240 cm^-1 are due to transitions between quantized vibrations in bond bending of H2O molecules.

    Most importantly, because CO2 is such a powerful greenhouse gas, the IR photons emitted at central frequencies around 667 cm^-1 are almost totally absorbed in the lower troposphere, which would produce a spectrum with a downward bite extending to essentially zero transmission. Superimposed on this zero transmission at central frequencies would be the fluorescence emission seen over Antarctica or over the Thunderstorm Anvil, producing a truncated downward CO2 peak. The truncation at around 33% transmission has been wrongly interpreted as due to a 220 K black body emission layer at 20 km, which I must emphasize does not exist. The exact match of the CO2 curves in the two spectra including the Thunderstorm Anvil shows that even the 210 K black body spectrum emitted by the top of the Anvil must be essentially totally absorbed by CO2 in the atmosphere between 10 km and the fluorescent layer. The reason is that any of the 210 K black body energy that reaches the satellite sensor from 10 km must be added to the upward fluorescent peak, which would destroy the exact fit.

    Finally, this interpretation of the spectrum resolves the paradox that CO2 is such a powerful greenhouse gas that its central frequencies ought to be “saturated” (i.e. reach essentially zero transmission), and yet the spectra seen looking down on a warm Earth show around 33% transmission! What kind of “saturation” is that?

    I have shown without the use of a single equation how flawed the IPCC’s “settled science” is, even at the level of basic physics. Working on a PhD in Radiative Physics apparently is not enough to be able to see this clearly.

    I have other arguments, including some calculations using arithmetic, which show that the IPCC estimate for temperature sensitivity is a factor of 4 too large, and that therefore predictions of future global warming are a factor of 4 too large. You may read them at my postings of Feb. 5, 2011, 12:04 pm, 12:33 pm, and Feb. 7, 7:44 pm at
    https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect/
    I thank Pooh, Dixie for looking up this link (I’m not too handy with computers).

    I invite Chris Colose and anyone else interested in deciding the merits of my arguments to post further comments at this blogsite.

    • I would like to take issue with your statement:

      Judith Curry started a blog on “Physics of the atmospheric greenhouse (?) effect” in the hope of getting a clear explanation of how CO2 and other greenhouse gases can warm the atmosphere. Apparently she was honest enough to admit that she has not yet received one.

      The scientifically correct statement regarding the atmospheric greenhouse effect is clearly presented in Pierrehumbert’s essay (among many others). The issue that I was concerned about in that post was about how this can be clearly and effectively communicated to the public. It was not about questioning our basic understanding.

  53. My short answer:

    That is what is to be expected, when phasing the state of PNS.

  54. After my shot answer I expand a little.

    The stakes are high. Science has obtained many results, but the results are not as clearcut as many proponents of strong actions have told. Many of these claims are not been made by scientists, but they have tried to use science as support for their conclusions. Some scientists have joined in simplifying matters. Hoe could it be that this would not be used against science.

    The nature of science is also widely misunderstood. Many people have thought that scientific truth would be absolute and some scientists have contributed to it in their quest to raise the status of science. When it is realized that this is not the case, people are confused about the nature of science.

    Many scientists (a small minority, but still many and visible) have behaved in a way that worsens the situation. Few think that skeptical bloggers should follow very tight ethical rules, but scientists have had more trust than others and the expectations set on their behavior have been higher.

    In open web interchange – and now also widely in established media, evaluating the rightness of opposing views is very difficult and is sometimes replaced implicitly by counting the number of messages.

    The requirements set on scientists are essentially higher – and so they shall be. Scientists must live with that and learn, what it means.

    • That is a list of distraction techniques to which science is vulnerable, they are certainly familiar, and their deployment may be a reasonable expectation. I’m not sure that there is an answer in here, without knowing first what the question was. In the face of techniques which prey on and broadcast the human limitations and vulnerabilities of scientists, I would prefer that people evaluate the vulnerability/robustness of science against human weaknesses by understanding scientific processes, than they would examine these weaknesses in ever greater detail in a Neverending Audit. Socialists have a problem understanding or even believing that capitalism works when they don’t understand or ignore competition. There is something similar here with under-appreciated effects of competition, replication, and the size of the field. Claims such as dissent being suppressed or of science resting on the work of one or two or twenty individuals with human flaws, appear to be the nonsense that they are after reading enough papers, but that is not easy to communicate and to make believable. Michael Tobis has worked on the communication problem for long enough and is still struggling to form the outline of an answer, and he is wicked smart.

  55. Colose is talking nonsense as usual. Climate scientists are not being “held to higher standards”. They are being held to the standards that proper scientists adhere to automatically, without thinking about it:
    * Present your results clearly and unambiguously, in such a way that others could reproduce them if they wished.
    * Present real data and proxy data separately, in their entirety, so that readers can see clearly how the two relate to eachother.
    * Do not attempt to “hide” data that does not fit with your theory.
    * Make raw primary data available.
    * When reviewing papers, do so in an objective and fair way.
    * When selecting papers for the IPCC, do so in an unbiased and balanced way.
    etc etc etc…

  56. Steve Milesworthy

    It’s unbelievable how people in this thread are happy to reconcile such themes as the small “coterie” of powerful scientists, the billions of money spent, the twenty different climate models, the powerful political agenda and so forth. The rhetoric is ridiculously overblown.

    No small coterie of scientists could have so much power. No large group of scientists would align themselves with a theory that was as obviously poor as implied.

    The theory stands because it has multiple lines of supporting evidence. Arguing about what to do about it can be done without resorting to character assassination. (And “they started it” is not a good argument.)

    • I disagree, Steve. I think a group of people knew humans were destroying the planet and latched onto a logical, coherent and useful storyline. Unfortunately, storylines are cheap and easy; there are an infinite number of them. Logic and coherence are necessary, but insufficient for proof. A repeatable and verifiable cause and effect relationship is required to separate speculation from science.
      Work on this, Steve, and you’ll figure it out.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        “storylines are cheap and easy”! Um…I keep being told it cost 50 billion dollars. A repeatable and verifiable cause and effect has been identified and has not been falsified.

      • Please show us the cause and effect that has been identified and not falsified for our $50 billion$

      • “A repeatable and verifiable cause and effect has been identified and has not been falsified.”

        Because it is so weekly stated, and the alleged effect is so small, and the rush to judgement has been so swift, that falsification yet lies within the noise of the data.

        At this point we have but a collection of facts (some contested) and a ‘just so’ story that claims to be the only story that fits them. In a court of law, which uses a standard of conclusion intentionally much weaker than that employed by sicence, this would be referred to as circumstantial evidence, and unworthy of conviction. It doesnt meet ‘beyond a reasonable doubt’ and science demands more rigor than that.

        Chiseled into the wall above the doorway to my first physics classroom was the admonition that ‘a collection of facts is no more science than a pile of bricks is a house’.

    • Steve Milesworthy: The range of skeptic positions here is broad; summing all comments together and applying the total to everyone here is a fallacy.

      That said, there is a small coterie of scientists at the top of climate science — just as there is in any field, $2-4 billion is spent on climate science every year, there are numerous climate models and there are powerful political agendas tied up with the climate change movement. However, that’s not the same as saying that it all ties together in a big crazy conspiracy.

      Global warming theory is well supported and you might be surprised that many here — perhaps even most — accept the basics of it, but we stop short at accepting the whole package as presented at, say, RealClimate or Copenhagen.

      You can be sure too that character assassination goes both ways in this not very civil debate.

      What do you suggest to improve this situation?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Well yes, I’m not trying to lump people together and assume they all share a common opinion. In fact I’m suggesting that this is one of the problems of the debate – all scientists get tainted with the purported and, in my view, exaggerated, actions of a few scientists.

        I suggest avoiding or challenging lazy characterisations.

      • all scientists get tainted with the purported and, in my view, exaggerated, actions of a few scientists.

        Steve M: Assuming you are referring to Climategate, that’s a problem, because it wasn’t the actions of a few random climate scientists — it was several of the most prominent climate scientists who were conspiring to delete data and emails, subvert the peer review process, evade FOIA laws, etc.

        Furthermore, with the exception of Dr. Curry, virtually no one on the climate science side decried these abuses. In fact quite a few have gone out of their way to excuse and provide cover for the Climategtate scientists. As far as I am concerned, the whole field of climate science is tainted by its complicity in these abuses.

        Until climate scientists and their supporters start cleaning up their field, instead of whining about how skeptics are demanding an impossibly high standard, I will wonder what further corruption lies under the hood of climate science.

        If climate change is truly such a huge crisis, I’d expect its advocates to do nothing less than keep their reputation as impeccable as possible, but instead life goes on as before with the Climategate gang intact and running things as before. It’s as though Nixon and his cronies succeeded in staying in office after Watergate.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Delete data. Um – no. Conspire to evade FOI – does one person’s request make a conspiracy. The FOIA is not science. “Subvert” peer review – no. Climate scientists are not “defending” the climategate scientists they are pointing out that the allegations are exaggerated and the result of flawed actions rather than fraud actions.

        Since subsequent evidence is that the temperature record is fine, the dodgy sceptic paper was dodgy and published in a questionable way and since no original data was deleted, this is completely different from Nixon. Nixon is another exaggeration.

      • Steve –
        “All scientists” is an interesting group – when what we’re talking about is those who call themselves “climatologists”. Even the “climatologist” label is misleading because there are a number of disciplines represented in that group – astrophysicists, geophysicists, Atmospheric physicists and others, many of whom are not physicists at all. So the label “climatologist” is self chosen and can be misleading. And any assumption that all those people from all those disciplines will share a common opinion would be foolish. Any assumption that they all share common knowledge, ethics, morality, etc would also be false. They should, however, ALL share common practices wrt to the science they claim to perform. I say “claim” because as has been demonstrated, not “all” of them meet even the standards demanded of the most junior scientist – or engineer – or janitor. This is not to say that the lack of ethical practice in climate science is rampant or pervasive , but it IS common enough to bring suspicion upon the entire field. Which means that the actions of a few have necessitated increased scrutiny and a demand for “higher standards” for the entire enterprise. And rightfully so for many reasons.

        One reason is that the actions/ethics of the Team, if practiced in a business environment, would soon find them looking for a new career. If, as an engineer, I had ever “hid the decline”, so to speak, I would rightfully have been escorted out of the building by an armed guard ASAP. I watched that happen to a spacecraft controller who tried to hide what was honest error. The error was forgivable – hiding it was not. I have recently opined that many of those in climate science could not hack it as engineers. Make what you want of that.

        The major problem, though, as has been expressed in more than one way on this blog, is that the “science” is being used as a tool to influence political decisions. Indeed, to press for major dislocations in the society and civilization that we have spent 5,000 years building. Do you believe that that kind of dislocation should be made on the basis of “sloppy science”? I don’t.

        You may not believe that the science, as it stands, is “sloppy”. If so, then you REALLY need to re-examine the basics again. And that means examination of BOTH sides of the dance floor. Are there valid points in the warmist POV? Undoubtedly. In fact, much of what’s included in that POV also exists on the “sceptic” side of the house.

        BUT – there also valid points on the sceptic side of the dance floor that are dismissed out of hand by the “consensus” – with little or no reason. The “science”, for example, is not “settled, contains great uncertainties, and is, in many cases, just plain “sloppy”. And then there’s the “made up” and/or “nonsense” stuff. Look at the literature – peer reviewed, grey, media (both print and electronic) – and tell me that everything that comes across is honest or true or even, in many cases, reasonable. I promise I wouldn’t believe that. Nor would anyone with two brain cells that actually connect.

        Oh – you use the word exxagerated. I don’t think so. Try looking at the actions of the Team and judge them in relation to what would happen to you if you did the same kinds of things in your own profession. It might give you a different perspective.

        And then there’s your last line –
        I suggest avoiding or challenging lazy characterisations.

        Avoiding lazy characterisations is good. But not challenging them? You’ll find no agreement from me. Do I get lazy sometimes? Yes. Do I object to being challenged on it? No.

        To list just a few of the benefits, a challenge focuses me, makes me think, and increases my knowledge because I then have to learn things that I didn’t know. One of the things one is supposed to learn in school (especially college) is critical thinking – and that one’s knowledge is not complete. I find too many people today who are too smug and self satisfied with what they know to bother learning what they don’t. I’ve spent a lifetime learning. I’m still learning. Are you?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        I meant “avoid lazy characterizations, and challenge lazy characterizations”. I don’t think I or most climate scientists would have hidden the decline, despite the reasonable arguments for not showing the decline, or maybe showing it as a dashed line (such as the 1998 paper on divergence).

        But people are happy to suggest that this is good evidence that many or most climate scientists would doctor graphs.

        What happens though, is that one side takes an extreme position on something like this, and refuses to accept that the other side sees the issue less critically.

        The “If you refuse to utterly condemn their practices you are as bad as them” mentality

      • @Steve Milesworthy –

        I meant “avoid lazy characterizations, and challenge lazy characterizations”. I don’t think I or most climate scientists would have hidden the decline, despite the reasonable arguments for not showing the decline, or maybe showing it as a dashed line (such as the 1998 paper on divergence).

        But people are happy to suggest that this is good evidence that many or most climate scientists would doctor graphs.

        What happens though, is that one side takes an extreme position on something like this, and refuses to accept that the other side sees the issue less critically.

        The “If you refuse to utterly condemn their practices you are as bad as them” mentality.

        But, Steve, where is the evidence that any condemnation at all – much less utterly – has occurred?

        No one on the skeptic side is demanding “utter” condemnation, but a bit of reasonable condemnation on the climatology (i.e., pro-AGW) side would have gone a long way. In the absence of such, can you blame anyone for wondering whose side you are on – science’s or “hiding the decline”/peer-review sabotage/stonewalling?

        If the shoe were on the other foot – if you saw evidence of a skeptical climatologist doing any of what the Climategate docs suggest, are you saying you would passively stand aside and let other skeptics rally round their flag?

        You defending climatology is not what skeptics are startled at. What bothers us is your tacit approval of the CRU actions implied in the Climategate docs. You wouldn’t give skeptics the same wide berth, would you?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Four days after the emails are released Gavin says:

        “Redefine the peer-reviewed literature!” . Nobody actually gets to do that”

        “Suggestions that FOI-related material be deleted … are ill-advised even if not carried out.”

        along with a sense of embarrassment that I suspect anyone would have if their email correspondence exposed a few personal rants.

        There’s plenty more if you look for it.

        But you’ve done it again. I have suggested that I would not have “hidden the decline”, but because I didn’t say it with enough venom have I offered them my “tacit approval”?

      • Steve –

        If I didn’t see your suggestion about “hide the decline”, pardon the oversight.

        But that wasn’t quite an answer to my question, which was, basically have you sanctioned their actions, real or suggested? Or have you called for any real investigation to see if the threats of deleting emails and dumping data had actually occurred?

        When Phil Jones later admitted that the data was “lost,” does that not suggest losing it might have been awfully “convenient”?

        I am not asking these questions to get specific questions, but to ask about the mindset of climate change scientists and supporters as to why such threats (and FOI violations) have been so tacitly approved. Where was the outrage within the community? So little was heard from the community that the silence was deafening. Where were the voices saying, “Yeah, Phil, we need to shut these skeptics up. Where is the data archive? Just put it out there and shut them up.”

        This silence indicted the entire climate science field. And for some reason the climate scientists missed that fact. They’d been so used to having things their way, perhaps, that they just thought one more press pronouncement would make it all go away.

        RC kept pumping out the same lines, expecting them to have the same impact as before. I wonder if even now they realize how damage they did to themselves.

        With defenders of the faith out there, RC-IPCC-Mann-CRU still are operating as if nothing has changed except that WUWT has brainwashed more people (in RC’s opinion). It doesn’t seem to occur to them that they made a monumental blunder in denying FOI requests.

        Why they would even deny them at all makes no sense, unless there was something in the data they felt very insecure about. I think in that vein, it comes down to what several here are pointing at: The low quality of the statistical/IT processing of the data.

        It’s always been a puzzlement to em why Jones et al and Mann et al didn’t include their data and methodology to the journals as required. (That is beside the issue of why the journals accepted them not being turned in.) Knowing the journals required them, what possessed them to not include them? It is not only standard journal requirements, but also standard scientific procedure. So why did they leave them out? What conversations – if any – transpired between them and the journals when the data wasn’t provided?

        But that first step – not giving the data – what mental process drove that action? Why on Earth would they not provide them, as a matter of course?

        It cannot have been simple oversight. The had to know the requirements of the journals. They had to have some reason. Skeptic that I am, my mind goes in all sorts of nefarious directions, trying to understand the motivation behind that decision. Are there innocent ones?

        Were the journals actually in the habit of giving a waiver to this requirement? I don’t know.

        Steve, if you know the answers to any of these questions, there are a whole lot of people out here who would like to pick your brain.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        The problem I see is that the vehemence and venom of the condemnation on one side will always automatically result in defences being put on the other.

        In this instance we are 14 months down the line and, largely, there has been no dent in the science and therefore no evidence that the strength of the attacks was either valid or helpful.

        Lucia’s blog followers have shown that there was little merit in the reams of FOI requests. The scientists always said that “if you don’t like the results go and calculate them yourself”. That’s what Steig said – then everyone jumps down his throat as soon as he disagrees with the alternative result.

        Suppose that instead of Inhofe and co demanding Mann’s notebooks they had funded a lab to do some alternative analyses. Would that have been more helpful (assuming it wasn’t run by Republican staff members ;) )

      • The FOI requests were for data and methodologies. As I posted earlier, in “ON BEING A SCIENTIST – A GUIDE TO RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT IN RESEARCH – THIRD EDITION, by Engineering, and Public Policy Committee on Science (Author), National Academy of Sciences (Author), National Academy of Engineering (Author), Institute of Medicine (Author) , on Page 9 there is this:

        “Because of the critical importance of methods, scientific papers must include a description of the procedures used to produce the data, sufficient to permit reviewers and readers of a scientific paper to evaluate not only the validity of the data but also the reliability of the methods used to derive those data. If this information is not available, other researchers may be less likely to accept the data and the conclusions drawn from them. They also may be unable to reproduce accurately the conditions under which the data were derived.

        This resistance to accepting some of it is just what happened, although it took some time after 1990 and the advent of the Internet for them to really get to it and begin to audit.

        According to the NAS scientists are required – as scientists – to provide this information. It should not take an FOI to access the data nor the methodologies.

        I’d make a bit of an analogy having to do with another form of intellectual property. I say “intellectual property” because when a scientist publishes he/she is laying first claim on an idea or a set of information and its interpretation. Science being the attempt to understand the natural world, publishing is pretty much the claim to a new understanding of a subject, based on the newly collected and/or arranged look at a particular topic.

        One other type of intellectual property is the patent. For new inventions or developments the researcher.inventor has in the main two choices – to file for a patent or to keep the information as a “trade secret.” If he/she chooses the latter he does not divulge any of how it is done but goes forward with two things in mind: Someone else can reproduce the work and file a patent, thus risking the monopoly on the process (which is what it often is), but in doing so the trade secret might outlive the monopoly protection of a patent. If the patent route is taken, monopoly protections guaranteed, but only for 20 years – PLUS the inventor must make public the process or mechanism.

        According to the NAS scientists, when they publish, are more or less choosing to make publish their work, but they also get the right of primacy, as the person who took the science forward.

        But, like in patents, according to the NAS, they must provide information specific enough for someone else to replicate/copy their work. In an invention, if someone tries out what is in the patent, it is illegal to sell the results, but it is also possible that they will falsify the claim of the patent holder that the principle works at all.

        The patent holder does not have to have made a working model. In the case of the laser, Gordon Gould had sketches in his lab book and a paper published after Bell Labs had filed for the patent. That was in 1958, after which patent battle ensued that lasted until 1987. Neither one produced the first laser produced the first laser. It is possible that the laser might not ever have worked, though as we know it did. But the patent application itself did not require it, which is the point.

        The point is: Without the data and methodology/process being revealed, the paper should not be published or patent awarded. It is required to provide enough information to falsify.

        It is not only the NAS which requires this, as I understand it. Science magazine also requires submittal of this information.

        Why is it the pro-AGW folks act as if Mann and Jones had the right to withhold this information?

        Why do they claim that is is in some way a violation of their ownership when someone asks for it?

        If they publish, they are supposed to relinquish the data and methodology to others specifically for the purpose of replicating and possibly falsifying it.

        What am I missing here??? Is climate science the only science that is not required to do this???

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Reply to:
        SteveGinIL | February 11, 2011 at 9:32 am

        In most science a “description” of the methods would be considered acceptable. If the description is inadequate then you are at liberty to ignore the result, reinvent the wheel, and provide a competing result.

      • I think the reply from SteveGin IL is good. I would only add a couple thoughts –

        First that I don’t believe “ALL” climate scientists can be stuffed into the same box. I think “MOST” of them would NOT have played the “hide the decline” game. Or maybe I’m just overly-optimistic? Whatever.

        I also think that “MOST” climate scientists didn’t really know what the Team was doing. Or maybe I’m just overly-optimistic? Whatever.

        In any case, SteveGinIL is right – even when climategate hit, there was a deafening silence from the climate “community.” The reaction was to “circle the wagons” and investigations were considered rude, crude, unnecessary and intrusive. Still are – witness the ongoing fiasco in Virginia.

        I have a slightly “softer” attitude about the defensive attitude because I worked for many years with atmosperic scientists who did NOT believe what today is called the “consensus view”. But they would not oppose that view because they wanted to continue their careers. Opposition would have found them either buried in the basement with no chance of advancement or out the door looking for another career. IIRC most of those people eventually did find new careers. Frankly, I think that’s one reason why the post-Climategate attitudes and actions (and investigations) played out the way they did.

        But none of that excuses or condones the nearly complete silence wrt to corruption within ones chosen profession. And that silence – or worse, active defense – of those actions, just tars the entire profession. The sceptics don’t have to do anything active – eventually the entire structure will implode on its own. Anything the sceptics do – IF they do it honestly and openly – may hasten that implosion. But even that isn’t certain.

        Hmm – don’t want to forget the “extreme position” thing. If you want an example of how that will likely play out go look at the NRA vs Gun control thing. It’s analagous. Gun control was on a roll from the 60′ through the 80’s and the NRA was just getting started. Today there’s little momentum for gun control and the NRA has a better organization and more power then gun control advocates ever imagined possible. The NRA didn’t want that, is still not comfortable with it, but was forced into it by those who wanted the whole banana and weren’t willing to compromise.

        I don’t think the sceptics want to organize either, but if they are forced into it …….it’ll be Katy-bar-the-door. And we’re getting ever-so-much closer to that, in part due to the gang-of-18 letter among other things.

      • Jim –

        Yeah, in about 2004 or 2005 I started an email correspondence with George Taylor, who at that time was the State Climatologist for Oregon. I wrote him about the PDO, back when its importance had not yet been realized. I was all hot to trot to see where it fit in, and his name came up somehow. In the course of events, George admitted that he’d actually discovered the PDO before Hare did, but George hadn’t gotten around to publixhing on it, so Hare got the credit. But George wasn’t mad about it; he was glad it was out there in the mix anyway.

        Now. though Oregon is about as Liberal a state as there is, which means usually pro-AGW, George was even at that time getting all sorts of flack because he would go around saying that the science was still not convincing – as in settled. He wasn’t exactly a skeptic, but he sure wasn’t on board. He described the situation without whining about it. He was close to retirement age, and he said there was only so much he was going to stick his neck out.

        George also told me that a very large number of climatologists were unconvinced but – as you say – they were not willing to stick their necks out and have their heads – cut off, as in careers cut short. He said most of them were older climatologists, ones who did climatology the old fashioned way, in terms of proving things out and such – like the NAS book I refer to in a comment above.

        George was treated as a laughing stock in Oregon. No matter how good his career had been, his opposition to AGW just made him a black sheep in Oregon. He has since retired. And they were altogether eager to get him out and put in “one of their kind.”

        I also have another retired friend, Rodney Chilton, a climatologist in British Columbia, who leans more to the skeptical side. As I hear him tell it, he didn’t want to make waves, either.

        Both of them are men of their own minds, which I’ve always seen as a good thing in science. But for them, it was zip-lip time. They could see which way the wind was blowing, and they chose to clam up and keep from risking their retirements.

        Personally, early on in my readings on AGW I saw what seemed like a lot of bullying going on, especially in the attitude of Michael Mann. His comments even toward Keith Briffa in the Climategate emails were appalling. It was obvious Briffa was intimidate, and he caved in – specifically about “hiding the decline.”

        And if they do that “to one of their own” who didn’t toe the line, I wondered what kind of bullying was there to generic climatology citizenry? When George Taylor told me of his reality, by that time I wasn’t surprised.

        I have no axe to grind. A 90% liberal myself, I originally accepted at face value about global warming. I started reading on it only out of curiosity, to see the papers in which natural variation, solar influence, and whatever else might be out there were ruled out. I thought it would be a one or two hour search in which I’d find a paper and see their reasons for eliminating all those other possible causes and leaving human activity as the single cause left standing to take the blame. That was in the late 1990s.

        A funny thing happened. That paper never showed up. Dr. Roy Spencer at UAH recently asked for basically that, and there still aren’t any takers. His exact words were:

        Show me one peer-reviewed paper that has ruled out natural, internal climate cycles as the cause of most of the recent warming in the thermometer record. [emphasis in the original]

        I am still looking for that paper. A Santer 2003 paper was suggested as answering this, but when I went to read it, it was such a sloppy paper I took exception to it, point by point. I think it is the worst peer-reviewed paper I’ve ever seen. How it got past the reviewers and editors of Science is beyond me.

      • Steve, I can contribute my experience to that. I got nice comments about The Hockey Stick Illusion from a reasonably well-known climatologist. I would love to use them as marketing blurb, but he prefers to keep a low profile among his academic peers. I don’t blame him and I agreed to keep his comments confidential.
        To the extent that some people have been brow-beaten into silence…the cabal should be ashamed…and that’s part of the reason I will not rest until they are defeated.

    • Steve says:
      “The theory stands because it has multiple lines of supporting evidence.”

      That’s not quite true. The theory stands because nobody has been able to disprove it yet.

      If your criteria were sufficient, then the theory that the sun travels round the earth would still be standing.

  57. Chris’ opening

    What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline,

    is an amazingly untrue assertion.

    My response is the recently released book, “ON BEING A SCIENTIST – A GUIDE TO RESPONSIBLE CONDUCT IN RESEARCH – THIRD EDITION, by Engineering, and Public Policy Committee on Science (Author), National Academy of Sciences (Author), National Academy of Engineering (Author), Institute of Medicine (Author) .
    (Thanks to the warmists worst nightmare, Anthony Watts for posting at http://tiny.cc/8lfya)

    Page 9:

    “Because of the critical importance of methods, scientific papers must include a description of the procedures used to produce the data, sufficient to permit reviewers and readers of a scientific paper to evaluate not only the validity of the data but also the reliability of the methods used to derive those data. If this information is not available, other researchers may be less likely to accept the data and the conclusions drawn from them. They also may be unable to reproduce accurately the conditions under which the data were derived. [emphasis mine]

    “The best methods will count for little if data are recorded incorrectly or haphazardly. The requirements for data collection differ among disciplines and research groups, but researchers have a fundamental obligation to create and maintain an accurate, accessible, and permanent record of what they have done in sufficient detail for others to check and replicate their work. …”

    I don’t know how this could be any clearer.

    Not one person at WUWT or in the skeptical camp is asking for more than what the NAS et al are telling scientists they must do – presumably to be competent scientists.

    FOIAs and FOIs shouldn’t be necessary, according to the NAS et al. That would even make stonewalling FOIAs and FOIs be unnecessary, wouldn’t it.

    Phil Jones, Michael Mann et al as shown in the Climategate documents thought it was sufficient to tell Steve McIntyre and others, “Hey, the data is over there somewhere, and you figure out the methods for yourself.” The NAS would disagree, it seems.

    Most of Climategate would never have happened – perhaps even 100% – if the people at UEA had done like all the other scientists are required to do. According to the NAS.

    The skeptics didn’t make up these rules for scientists, much less extraordinary levels of rules for climatologists in particular. SCIENCE made the rules up.

    No one is holding climatologists to a “higher standard.” Chris is making that up. I wouldn’t speculate on why he is misrepresenting reality – but he is.

    I’ve been following the skeptical blogs – CA and WUWT in particular – for about 10 years now, and I’ve never heard one person advocate any higher standard for climatologists vis-a-vis other scientists. At the same time, there is not one of them willing to give climatologists a pass, either. To be honest, it sounds like paranoid whining – but also part of some sort of seeming stall tactics the AGW insiders continue to pull, until forced to come clean with their data and methods.

    But if he is merely misinterpreting what they say, that is a different story. But it doesn’t mean the skeptics will let them slide. The skeptics won’t be satisfied until all this is available to the public:

    1. 100% of the raw data underlying the climate warming claims
    2. 100% of the methodology used to arrive at the warming claims
    3. The above would 100% include specific numeric adjustments made to the raw data, along with explanations of why those numbers were used.

    YES, skeptics are asking climatologists to hold themselves to a higher standard than the one they’ve been applying to themselves. But it is no higher than they expect from any other discipline, as he asserts. In that Chris is just plain wrong.

  58. There is a whining tone to Colose’s comments, that climate science is being held to a higher standard. Not really. There are of course fields of academia which have no real world consequences, and no one bothers them. But if the science involves drugs or atomic energy or power transmission lines or microchips, the scrutiny of any proposal is much more rigorous than what is being complained about. You don’t get approval for a computer chip fabrication plant based on a “general agreement” about chip design. You don’t get approval for a nuclear plant based on a “consensus”. Climate science wants to change the whole world without being accountable. Sorry guys.

  59. Latimer Alder

    Any ideas on how I should go about auditing myself on the view that nothing much has really changed in the climate since I was born (1960), and that I expect not much will happen in the next 100 years?

    How should I hold myself accuontable to the same standard as those who wish to entorely change the entore world economy because a trace gas has a slightly larger footprint – and if we don’t do what they say we’re all going to fry – if the drowning doesn’t get us first.

    Seems to me that there are a lot of testabel propositions and opportunities for robust evidence examination in the ‘alarmist’ view. But a lot less in the sceptical.

    • Not at all. Look at what R. Pielke has done looking at trends in disasters and storms–and finding no trends. This is a test of the null that nothing is happening of consequence, and the null can not be rejected.

    • I have asked here on multiple occasions, and sent a very respectful note to Dr. Treneberth, on exactly this topic.
      If I have been answered on this, I have over looked the answer.

  60. Why does the climate science community think it is immune from the fate of, say, Yucca Mountain, irradiation of food, and several other outcomes, all based on science?

    There are several issues that affect public policy for which the science is fully developed, yet these have not yet been adapted into public policy. More importantly, for all of these, not only is the basic science fully developed, but the engineering and technology needed to implement solutions in a manner that ensures the health and safety of the public are fully developed. The implementation technologies have proven to be completely viable relative to reliability, costs, performance, public health safety and effectiveness. Here are some examples.

    Scientific Consensus, and equally important engineering consensus relative to practical / viable implementation methods and procedures, exists for the following.

    1. Nuclear irradiation of all organic food would save lives and at the same time reduce the resources needed to produce foodstuffs by significant reduction in food wastes.

    2. Fission-based nuclear power is at present the best alternative fuel source to fossil fueled base-loaded electricity production.

    3. Genetically modified food crops have the same benefits as listed in 1 above.

    4. The proper use of DDT can very significantly reduce unnecessary deaths in less-developed countries.

    5. Development of lesser-developed countries through easy access to abundant electricity will very significantly reduce unnecessary deaths while at the same time reduce unnecessary use and destruction of natural resources.

    6. Re-use of fission-based fuel can significantly reduce the cost of generating base-load electricity while at the same time reduce impacts on the environment and natural resources.

    The standards employed to ensure the public health and safety of each of these has yet to be approached by the climate science community.

    Relative to openness, and independent verification and validation, consider the situation with Yucca Mountain. Yucca Mountain, necessary because the USA can’t do 6 above, was part of our attempt to attain what has already been done in other countries. It’s going down the tubes. Yet, the Yucca Mountain project has been a model of openness. Every calculation, every report, every aspect in every detail is available for review and study by any one who wants to. And to a depth of detail that has very likely never previously been attained. The science, plus the all-important engineering and technology development for safe and reliable implementation, have been completed for years and years. Not used here.

    As another example, irradiation of foods can save lives. With bonuses of reduction in use of natural resources for food production, including use of hydrocarbon-based fuels. Fully developed, approved for us by the FDA, and methods for safe and reliable and effective implementation fully available. Not used here.

    There are other examples; many others.

    It should be exceedingly clear that there are extremely important forces at work that can easily negate all the finest efforts of tens of thousands of dedicated workers accomplishing the best in science, engineering, and applied technology, over an uncountable number of hours. It should be especially clear that simple, and oftentimes incomplete and simplistic, appeals to ‘science’, ‘the science’, or ‘the peer-reviewed science’ just won’t fill the bill.

    The list above are all related to important national policy issues in the USA. The senseless degradation of these important issues into bumper-sticker-grade simplistic political footballs which are used to garner votes borders on stupidity. Important national policy issues have been regulated to vote-gathering opportunities.

    The issue most visible to the general public is probably the so-called energy policy. The USA does not yet have an energy policy in spite of trying for about four decades. The science has been complete for decades. The engineering and development for viable implementation completed for decades. The viable technologies developed by the USA have been adapted by several other countries and provided the foundation for reduced emissions of CO2. Not used here.

    It is interesting to me that some of the same organizations that originally devised and implemented the procedures and processes, through take-over and control of the various public / stakeholder input mechanisms, and senseless litigation, that has reduced these issues to senseless bickering for votes, are some of the same organizations that now push for the top-down-only problem definition plus top-down-only single so-called solution relative to CO2. The combination of a top-down-only problem definition plus single top-down solution candidate are certain to lead to spectacular failure; debacle-grade failure.

    And a counter example: Use of biomass crops to reduce consumption of oil for transportation has very significant adverse impacts on the environment and more importantly on human populations through higher costs for food that is necessary for health and safety. A solely top-down ‘solution’ that is totally political and devoid of any science.

    Another example. In the 1980s the Strategic Defense Initiative ( SDI ), more popularly known as Star Wars, had a strong certified scientist, Edward Teller, as an advocate. Strong and vocal, and very very public advocate. I’m certain that he had the ears of many top-of-the-line political leaders in positions of immense power. SDI failed to pass the legislative branch of the USA governmental system.

    These outcomes have been attained because of introduction of politics into science. Climate science can not be sure that advocates and advocacy will not lead to the same fate.

    • Dan,
      Your post is worthy of a lot more attention.
      The cliamte science social problem has led us to look at examples of bad science becoming policy.
      One that is more serious is good science becoming non-policy.
      You have outlined this very well.

    • And now cellulosic ethanol, the next great savior of biomass-to-fuel, advocated by many in the climate science community, has crashed and burned.

      How many top-down, certain to fail, solely political so-called solutions will we have to go through before the correct, and only certain to succeed bottom-up solution method kicks in?

  61. @Jim Owen 6:04pm:

    Gavin, in particular, works for NASA and spends considerable time on a patently political blog – on the NASA dime. Which, if anyone were paying attention, would get him canned under the provisions of the Hatch Act. But, like Hansen, he somehow has immunity that is not available to other government workers.

    If true, this would explain why posts at RC are anonymous – it would form a smoke screen for his non-governmental activities on the public dime. If only Gavin posted anonymously, it would be a smoking gun instead of a smoke screen. So, is it true? Do they at RC have any explanation for posting anonymously? How can it even claim to be a reputable science blog if they are hiding behind anonymity?

    …Perhaps one of them is named Theo. D. Cline and they are attempting to hide him… /Sarc

    • I already told you your error. The majority of their articles identify the author. I have seen a commenter or two ask who wrote an article, and they’ve always immediately corrected the omission.

      If it credits “group”, they usually name the authors either below the title or in the first paragraph.

      • However, RealClimate has deleted all the timestamps from the website presumably for reasons like Jim Owen mentioned.

        * After CEI filed the FOIA seeking RealClimate emails, administrators at Real Climate deleted all timestamps on all of their postings, making it impossible to show they were made during work hours. But we kept color copies of the original posts.

        * NASA admits that it discovered 3,500 emails on Dr. Schmidt’s NASA computer related to his work on RealClimate but won’t produce them.

        * NASA did not ask Dr. Schmidt to look for responsive records until 22 months after we sent them the FOIA and threatened to sue. It is highly likely relevant emails were destroyed during this period.

        http://www.vol360.com/tag/realclimate-org/

        Gavin Schmidt, Michael Mann, and the Climategate Gang should all have been fired or otherwise forced out by now. Until they are, I will consider climate science a corrupt field unworthy of trust.

      • huxley,
        I think doing that could easily be evidence of covering up criminal activity, itself a crime.
        Everytime the consensus is tested, they answer the test with obfuscation, distraction, coverup and denial.

      • And don’t forget ad hominem attacks.

    • Steve –
      I can’t, in general, anwer questions about RC because as stated in other places, I rarely go there except to read specific comments as posted by others.

      I worked as a NASA contractor for many years, watched a number of people get canned for far less reason than the actions of Gavin and Hansen have provided. I also know what the RC funding situation was several years ago (when I retired). Is it still the same? I don’t really know, but I seriously doubt that it’s changed. If it has, I’m willing to listen, but ….. as the man said, trust but verify. And I would.

  62. (Wow – I replied to a comment that came to me by email, but hadn’t been actually moderated/posted yet. I wonder if it will list before mine or after?)

  63. Actually, someone just this week pointed out a Gavin RC post, and when I went there, it was anonymous – no attribution whatsoever.

    That is probably the 5th or 6th RC post I’d seen in a row without an author claiming credit, so I have every reason to wonder why.

    If that is just the luck of the draw as to the RC posts I’ve gone to read, perhaps. But it doesn’t explain why they have ANY that are anonymous.

    I did just go to RC and see that recent posts have specific authors, so I maybe just missed seeing the attributions before. I will consider it a dead issue and stop saying it.

    “Group” is an odd attribution. I have visited hundreds of blogs on dosens or scores of topics, and have never seen that anywhere else. It is certainly strange. And if anyone wanted to hide his/her government-dime advocacy behind that moniker, “Group” would be a useful a.k.a.

    • Once again, “group” is usually, in my experience, identified as to authors. Why they do it the way they do it I do not know and do not care. The names are normally listed.

      I’ve read the blog for years. “unforced variations” is fairly new; it’s their “open thread” and has no author. Once in great while they’ll do a “Friday Roundup”, which is usually “Group” and not individually identified. I presume the links to stories are provided by more than one of them.

      They have an archive with all the articles by author.

      • Yes, the faux outrage is seeking an outlet.

      • Again, I’ve never once in hundreds of blogs seen any posts not fully attributed to one or more individuals by name when posted.

        They have an archive with all the articles by author.

        Are you suggesting others to wade through their archive listings merely to see who it is that is talking?

        Now, I will throw in a sop for your side: Clearly the use of User IDs on blogs does not identify the writer. But in a science blog with several scientists speaking (presumably each for himself in the main), I think that the posters, all of whom must have permission, should be always clearly spelled out. Commenters deserve the right to know to whom they are speaking and whose perspectives are being laid out.

        And if any of the posters are being paid for by the public, it is of interest to the taxpayer to know if advocacy is possibly being done illegally. Illegality would be not an issue for the readers, but of authorities. But suspicion of illegalities – commenters in a free, taxpayer-funded society are allowed to question if that is occurring.

      • And if any of the posters are being paid for by the public, it is of interest to the taxpayer to know if advocacy is possibly being done illegally. Illegality would be not an issue for the readers, but of authorities. But suspicion of illegalities – commenters in a free, taxpayer-funded society are allowed to question if that is occurring.

        Yup – but just try to get anyone interested. I have. And what I got was ……. no response. Even GS15 and Supergrades just ignored the question or gave non-answers while looking like they’d just had a lemon explode in thier mouth. Funny, pathetic, curious ….. and worrisome. How DO they keep their jobs?

      • And if any of the posters are being paid for by the public, it is of interest to the taxpayer to know if advocacy is possibly being done illegally.

        In what way could it be illegal?

      • Federal employees are prohibited by the Hatch Act (1939) from doing political work while on duty.

      • I find it very hard to see how running Real Climate would qualify as “engaging political activity” in the context of the Hatch Act (or indeed at all).
        As far as I can see the permitted and restricted activities under the act generally relate to supporting political parties or pressure groups and election campaigning.
        TBH trying the use the Hatch Act against contributors to RC strikes me as petty and vindictive.

      • aa,
        The response of RC- to erase time stamps of their posts- certainly implies they disagree with your interpretation.
        If the RC work product is createdon NASA servers or equipment, btw, tampering with it may in itself be legally questionable.
        Also, their heavy handed efforts to obfuscate the record post climategate make the question about what else they have hidden away very reasonable.
        Recall the UV excuse to ignore the FOIA requests: the data had been destroyed. The team and its defenders seem to think 1984 was an instruction manual, not a warning.

      • Good one, Hunter. Well said.

      • hunter,

        As I had never heard of the Hatch Act until about five hours ago I certainly concede that my interpretation is probably not the definitive one. But given the kind of activities which are generally covered by the act I’m not convinced by Steve’s explanation of why running RC constitutes “political activity” and would be interested to hear yours (assuming it is any different).
        RC is not hosted on NASA servers so I think you are clutching at straws in your attempt to use tampering with their own blog as stick with which to beat them (and not all RC contributors are public employees in the US).
        I’m not sure why removing the time stamps would make any difference. The time stamp shows what time the article is published, not in whose time it was written.

      • ReakClimate’s “About” says this:

        The discussion here is restricted to scientific topics and will not get involved in any political or economic implications of the science.

        If that is true, then RC should be objectively presenting both sides of the issues, which no one here on either side believes. Every presentation is biased in favor of the AGW position, which, with its authors’ connections to the IPCC can only be construed as advocacy by RC. If a website 100% presented arguments in favor of the Republican Party, would you disagree that it was an advocacy website?

        Now, does advocacy itself rise to the level of “political activities”? Some would say yes. My side says it is an illegality. You don’t think so. Ultimately that might be something for the courts to decide.

        Let us look at another angle: If someone working at NASA GISS was using the servers, the email and his workday time (paid by the taxpayer) to hit on chicks on an online dating service, would you think that was a violation of the terms of his position? Hitting on chicks isn’t illegal, but doing it while someone is supposed to be working for the government – where do you put that? Just bad judgment and slap his hand? Do you see anyone on the AGW side advocating that here? Do you see anyone on the AGW side even interested in finding out?

      • Steve,

        If that is true, then RC should be objectively presenting both sides of the issues, which no one here on either side believes.

        Why does an objective approach neccessarily entail presenting different “sides” of the issue? It’s the job of scientists to do the science, examine the evidence and come to conclusions, and they are entitled to communicate those conclusions to the public. If they consider there to be different possible conclusions then fair enough, but of the evidence appears to point in one direction they should say so – they are not obliged to give prominence to arguments they consider to have little weight in search of some kind of balance (see Okrent’s law).

        Every presentation is biased in favor of the AGW position, which, with its authors’ connections to the IPCC can only be construed as advocacy by RC.

        Scientists advocating the conclusions they have reached based on their work and their professional consideration of the work of others seems perfectly reasonable to me.

        If a website 100% presented arguments in favor of the Republican Party, would you disagree that it was an advocacy website?

        Not neccessarily – if, say, an economist airs his professional opinion of the state of the US economy and the measures needed to address its problems (which would be going further than the RC guys do) and those views happen to coincide with Republican policy that doesn’t mean he is an advocate for the Republicans.

        Now, does advocacy itself rise to the level of “political activities”?

        It rather depends on what is being advocated. If the guys at RC were advocating specific policies then you might have a case, but what they are doing now? If they are guilty then scientists who claimed that CFC’s were destroying the ozone layer or that unprotected sex could cause AIDS would also be guilty, and the next time a scientist identifies a problem which could have serious implications for mankind they will STFU and hope someone else notices.

        As for your last paragraph, ultimately people doing personal stuff in work time is a disciplinary matter between them and their employer. Personally I spend a lot of hours in the office and the distinction between what is my time of what is my employers time gets a bit blurred. Do you know how much time Gavin Schmidt spends on RC and on his work for NASA? Does Roy Spencer work on his blog in his employer’s time (you don’t have to answer that one – I don’t actually care.

      • The beauty of the net is, that we have different sites. The freedom of discussion is not based on the full objective openness of any single site.

        Those, who disagree strongly with RC would not care to criticize it, if it would not be influential. It is as influential as it is based on its present virtues. Very open discussion on a site of its nature and stature would almost certainly lead to a flood of worthless adversary comments from both extremes.

        How objective and correct is the picture that RC gives on the present scientific knowledge can certainly be argued. How well the site reaches the goals of its maintainers might also be discussed and ideas presented on, how the site could succeed even better in either serving these goals of in giving an as objective as possible picture of the state of science (whether giving an objective picture is or is not the goal of the maintainers).

        The recent case concerning studies on the Antarctic temperature trends did not convince me that RC or people writing there succeed particularly well in reaching any of the goals that I would expect them to have, and there are similar earlier examples, but they are free to perform well or less well. They have anyway performed well enough for maintaining their stature.

        Whatever one thinks about RC, it is at least clear that objectivity is something much more demanding and very different from giving equal status to “both sides”. What are the “both sides”?

      • Pekka – On some of theses points, I could not disagree with you more.

        Those, who disagree strongly with RC would not care to criticize it, if it would not be influential.

        Based on web visits, you would be amazed at how little influence RC has. WUWT has about 10 times the traffic. RC is continually “preaching to the choir,” and few others drop by. Part of that is because RC moderators don’t allow any “inconvenient” points of view to be presented.

        Very open discussion on a site of its nature and stature would almost certainly lead to a flood of worthless adversary comments from both extremes.

        That is simply not true at all. WUWT invites pro-AGW people to both post and comment. That openness is part of why they are the #1 most visited science blog. There are on average about 2.5 million web visits to WUWT every day. In addition, WUWT has been nominated for Best Science Blog in the 2011 Bloggies. In 2008 WUWT won as Best Science Blog in the Weblog awards ratings. RC’s control-freak nature shoots themselves in the foot.

        It is perhaps the “flood of worthless adversary comments” that makes for a better discussion. You might have the impression that “adversary comments” will, by their very nature, be “worthless.” If so, that is your loss. I am continually amazed at the level of pertinent and very scientific comments that “flood” WUWT. That is as opposed to the dogma-only way of things on RC. I learn something new at WUWT not only every day, but most often several times a day.

        They have anyway performed well enough for maintaining their stature.

        This is debatable. RC’s influence is much less than you seem to think. As I said, they are “preaching to the choir,” while WUWT is open to whomever might drop in. Each has its slant. Guess which one is winning?

  64. “You don’t get approval for a nuclear plant based on a “consensus”.”

    Inappropriate analogy. A nuclear plant is a single experiment which must work. Scientific knowledge is the result of convergence in the results from different experiments, conducted by different teams, using different methods, different data, studying different hypotheses about the phenomena of interest, rinsed and repeated. ‘Climate auditors’ have not changed scientific knowledge in more than a decade of trying because looking for nits in an individual experiment is an inefficient and ineffective auditing approach, as any scientist should know. A cynical bunny may guess that blogging half-baked analyes with no effect sizes and snarking about ‘The Team’ is a more efficient and effective way to encourage distrust and confusion in the public sphere. If that is the aim, the ‘climate auditing’ process has the major benefit of not running the risk of confirming the result you want to sow doubt on.

    All this applies to the idea of ‘quality assurance by extended peer review’ by Ravetz and JC. Scientists know what game is being played, and you guys are surprised that they won’t play along.

    • Inappropriate analogy. A nuclear plant is a single experiment which must work.

      Wrong. It is an appropriate analogy.

      Right. A nuclear plant had better work or the cleanup will be a real mess.

      Wrong – Nuclear reactors don’t class as “experiments.” And – the “must” in your contention is a result of “your” apparent ignorance of nuclear technology. OTOH, if AGW is wrong and we accept and implement the proposed actions, again – the cleanup will be a real mess. It’ll also be a helluva lot more expensive in terms of both implementation – and cleanup.

      Back to “wrong” – I’ve watched subtle changes in the alarmist story over the last ten years. So there have either been changes in the science or changes in the PR. Either way is an improvement.

      Wrong again –
      A scientific theory is a mathematical model that describes and codifies the observations we make. A good theory will describe a large range of phenomena on the basis of a few simple postulates and will make definite predictions that can be tested. If the predictions agree with the observations, the theory survives that test, though it can never be proved to be correct. On the other hand, if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. (At least that is what is supposed to happen. In practice, people often question the accuracy of the observations and the reliability and moral character of those making the observations.)
      – Stephen Hawking

      Notice the part that says: if the observations disagree with the predictions, one has to discard or modify the theory. The “nits” those “climate auditors” have found – and continue to find – do not entirely invalidate the theory, but they DO demand that the theory be modified. One of the canards that sceptics are tagged with is that they “want to throw out everything”. Bullfeathers.

      Wrong – the “Team” has not been discredited by sceptics, but by it’s own actions and attitudes. Why are you surprised that both sceptics and the public object to illegal and unethical actions?

      Wrong – we’re not surprised at all that “some scientists” won’t play along. Cognitive dissonance in action. That plays into the last part of the Hawking quote, doesn’t it.

      Wrong – I don’t like PNS, but ‘quality assurance by extended peer review’ is just another name for distributed analysis, which is a logical extension of distributed processing to the Internet. I don’t think you understand that. If you did you wouldn’t have made that statement.

  65. Wrong. Every nuclear power plant is the nexus of many experiments, and with much on the line, the least of which actually is the billions spent on it. If it fails, it could do all sorts of heinous things to the community. Witness Chernobyl. Deaths, illnesses, deformed babies, contaminated towns, economies destroyed.

    And the implication that “a” nuclear plant is just something that comes off the end of an assembly line is simply not true. There are any number of types of nuclear plants out there, and the development of them is still ongoing (Google “Thorium MSR” and “Breeder reactor” for example). In reality, many nuclear plants ARE experimental, at the least because they are ramp-ups from smaller experiments and theories, as nearly 100% vetted as possible, but still with some level of unknown.

    As to this

    ‘Climate auditors’ have not changed scientific knowledge in more than a decade of trying because looking for nits in an individual experiment is an inefficient and ineffective auditing approach, as any scientist should know.

    that is nothing more than the old saw that “All the big ideas in science are solved; all that is left is filling in the gaps of our knowledge.” That one gets floated about ever decade, just before some field (sometimes 2 or 3) has some revolution that makes people fall back and regroup. It has about as much validity in science as a flat Earth.

    From NMR to PCR, from SL-9 to graphene (the new Wunderkind of materials science), unforeseen developments come along all the time. Even the ozone hole – where was that 40 years ago?

    As to climate science being an exception to that? Every field goes along thinking they have it all mailed down, all fat and sassy, rocking in front of its hearth, all warm and cozy, getting more wrinkled every day. That is when some snot-nosed kid comes along and upsets the applecart. When it happens in climate science, don’t say I didn’t tell you so.

  66. that is nothing more than the old saw that “All the big ideas in science are solved; all that is left is filling in the gaps of our knowledge.”

    That’s not it at all. Lazar’s argument doesn’t assume that there aren’t significant discoveries still to be made in climate science, it just points out that none have been made by the “auditors” so far and that they are highly unlikely to do so.

    • I think that you completely misunderstand what auditors are there to do.

      In accountancy they are not employed to prepare the accounts, but to try to ensure that those who have done so have done so honestly.

      They do this in two ways – actual investigations to check the work and by the mere threat of their existence they provide a check and balance on anybody inclined to act in a less than correct way.

      But they are not employed to do original work while acting as auditors.

      Steve McI chose his blogname wisely. Lack of an effective and independent audit function in any endeavour makes it easier for shoddy and/or corrupt work to go undetected. Climatology is no exception.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        “Lack of an effective and independent audit function in any endeavour makes it easier for shoddy and/or corrupt work to go undetected. Climatology is no exception.”

        The scientific method involves independent testing of theories. It’s not an “audit”, but it is the scientific method which has worked successfully, partly because scientists depend on their reputations, but mainly because they are forced to become domain experts.

        Lazar’s point is that the theory that an auditor can add value is so far unproven. Without going through the trials and tribulations of the hard scientific endeavour it is hard for an auditor to become expert enough. As we can see, Steig and O’Donnell have entirely different takes on roughly the same data. You don’t need an auditor to check their maths because you know each of them will pore over the other’s results with a fine-tooth comb.

      • To follow up on your remarks, O’Donnell acted as auditor for Steig’s work and found it ‘lacking’. Auditing as it should be done.

        You make my point better than I could that an effective and independent audit function is essential. And is not at all the same as getting a few mates to read your manuscript and buy them a beer or three.

        In the most famous circumstance in climatology, the audit work was made very difficult for the ‘auditor’ since the principal refused to release either his actual data or his method. Hence making auditing effectively impossible.

        You can read all about the whole sorry saga of how the ‘shoddy’ work was finally debunked in that excellent book ‘The Hockey Stick Illusion’ by AW Montford. Your conviction that an audit function is needed will be strengthened yet further by that shocking tale.

      • It’s not an “audit”, but it is the scientific method which has worked successfully, partly because scientists depend on their reputations, but mainly because they are forced to become domain experts.

        Lazar’s point is that the theory that an auditor can add value is so far unproven.

        We all know that the vast majority of the work done by CRU, by Mann, too, is number crunching. That no one with full qualifications in statistics was on board argues that the work did need to be audited/reviewed/checked at a very high level. CRU hiring in Harry and the reaction that Harry had to what he was seeing foreshadows a not of problems with the way the work was being done. When Harry was throwing up his hands and (for all intents and purposes, it seems) randomly trying this out and that out – does that sound like adequate control over their data and programming? Of course not. It virtually screams for someone to come and see not only did they get the right data (one of Harry’s perplexities) but that the algorithms be correct, too. The concepts behind the algorithms are the domain of the scientists, for sure, but the implementation of the concepts still needs to be vetted to make sure it is DOING what they want, not just giving out something close to the expected results.

        Ask any IT professional about concepts being turned into algorithms properly. It is a serious and critical stage. I know very little bit about it, but what I’ve gleaned is that every line of code is run over with a fine-toothed comb before ever being used. They don’t just do it by trial and error, like Harry was forced to do. Harry playing with things to see what fitted – that is why the IT guys in the skeptics column are walking around smacking themselves upside the head, going, “Holy mother of God.”

        So, add value? How about just making sure the code does what it is intended to do – what is told the public that it does – and not just, “Well, it didn’t self-immolate, guys, so let’s run with it” ?

      • On that point, you know a huge portion of the skeptics’ POV is addressed at exactly that issue – Is the code correct? And in not just one way. From UHI adjustments to adjustments of past history (e.g., when, say, temps in the 1920s shift downward in later iterations of work presented, which should not be happening), to problems illuminated in Harry Read Me, plus the amazing one-sided TOB adjustments (all of them upward). Those are off the top of my head.

        Those are audits/checking of the statistics, not the concepts – and unless work is done to validate that they are not just artifacts of the statistical processing.

    • What an odd and counter-factual understanding of the audit process and its value.
      In industry a healthy audit process is that indepedent eyes confirm what the audit target claims so that thrid parties- clients, owners, regulators, stakeholders, can have reasonable confidence in claims made by the target.
      That many believers here find no value in this speaks volumes.
      That believers here make bizarre demands, that auditors offer alternative explanations instead of simply providing credible audit results says volumes more.
      In industry companies announce changes in earnings based on audit results.
      In climate science the auditors are attacked, the results generally ignored and collusion, as we see in Steig, occurs to derail the audit.
      This is more of an Enron or Madoff situation than a sign of a healthy process.

    • it just points out that none have been made by the “auditors” so far and that they are highly unlikely to do so.

      And that’s wrong. The significant “discovery” made by the auditors was that the math and proxies were wrong. In doing so, they have fulfilled their purpose.

      At one point Hitler ordered his scientists to produce papers that would refute Einstein. They produced 100 papers – none of which accomplished the purpose. Einstein’s comment was – If I were wrong, it wouldn’t take 100 papers. One would have been sufficient.”

      Somehow, today “one” is apparently insufficient.

  67. For a professional company the audit process is a welcome and necessary feedback loop that serves to improve processes and products. Moreover, it is viewed as a constructive way to improve the customer-supplier relationship and a pathway that invokes trust in the customer. I do not understand that the proposal to do such an audit process could be denied.
    Best regards
    Günter

  68. Steve Milesworthy

    In industry, reporting methods are somewhat standardised so that the auditor understands the methods as well as or better than the company accountant, and has thereby earned the authority to conduct the audit. The cost of the audit to the company is the auditor’s time and the company accountant’s time to lay out the data in the required format.

    In science, the auditor needs to be an expert in the field otherwise the benefit of the audit is nil – a dishonest scientist would run rings around an auditor, and honest scientists will have their time sapped talking the auditor through things. The only way to truly gain expertise is to do the science.

    I don’t see anyone saying that scientific claims should not be verifiable. I see them saying that the idea of an auditor is simple-minded and its value to the process is unproven. That’s not to say auditors in some standardised areas would not have their use – for example monitoring medical trials, and I don’t disagree that auditing the temperature records may be useful given the importance people now put on them.

    Certain so-called auditors “in climate science” are attacked because they have started out with an assumption that the scientists are dishonest, are repeatedly offensive about scientists, and because their work has been used as a political weapon.

    • Steve,
      If you were to become informed on the topic of the most well known auditors, I think you would have a different opinion on what sort of basis this great fight started.

      • Agreed. I pointed out to him about Steve M’s attempts to audit being the start of this all. I believe that is what you are referring to.

      • SteveGinIL,
        Yes. The Hockey Stick Illusion describes this factually and clearly.

    • Any good financial auditor starts with the assumption that the accounts as presented are a complete fabrication designed to pull the wool over the stakeholder’s eyes. That is what an auditor is there to do.

      The most famous example of where this tried and tested system broke down was indeed Enron where the auditors and the auditees had developed far too close a relationship. The end result was the Enron crimes were discovered far too late and the audit firm also collapsed.

      Auditors are not (necessarily) primarily there to add value to the processes they audit – though they can often add helpful advice. They are there to make sure that the processes are done honestly, transparently and correctly. They are most certainly not there to be best buddies with the auditees. If they are, they have failed.

      Anywhere outside academe is ues to such processes and recognises the need for them – and the overall value they provide to society. What makes you guys think that climatologsts should be treated any differently from a bank or a social club or a doctor or a policeman?

      • I see auditing having to do with the data crunching aspect, and couldn’t agree with you more.

        A reviewer, on the other hand, is there to deal with the concepts and the conclusions, to make sure those aspects are correct.

        In climate science as it exists, both aspects need attending to, because of the heavy weight of data and the large amounts of time involved in that side of the equation. And both reviewer and auditor should be tackling a paper assuming that the scientist(s) made a mistake somewhere, perhaps several mistakes, and it is their job to find it/them.

        That reviewers are not statisticians and yet are being asked to pass judgment on heavily statistical papers – I’ve never understood that. When multiple disciplines are present in a paper, which is also quite common in climatology, it is very perplexing that reviewers are individuals, not teams. (If my impression here is wrong, I stand corrected, but it is certainly my understanding that climatology papers are reviewed by climatologists, even when dendrochronologists – for example – are co-authors.) A specialist cannot by himself adequately review an interdisciplinary paper. Not in any reality I live in.

    • …a dishonest scientist would run rings around an auditor…

      Wow, is that what you see them doing around Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick? If so, wake up. That audit started this all… Even when they stonewalled Steve, they only succeeded in making him finding ways of finding out anyway. Steve sometimes has admitted to not being in this about the climatology part, just in looking at how the data was processed. When he has found the data, he has found errors. He’s also found stuff they’ve done right; it isn’t all bad for them, but the errors do seem to show that some of the overall conclusions are not correct. That is exactly what an auditor would and should do, and exactly what has happened.

      So I think your point is wrong. A good auditor will ask the proper in order to do his job properly. Processing climate data isn’t some alien technology. Statisticians can handle the math. If there are scientific issues, that part isn’t an audit; that part is review and can be dealt with by qualified climatologists. And you know what? It might be Roy Spencer or John Christy, instead of their drinking buddies. Between an auditor and a climatologist, they can cover it all. Or is using more than one person somehow objectionable to you?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Steve McIntyre is the exception rather than the rule in that he has the time and diligence to study and learn new techniques.

        Of course processing climate data is not “alien intelligence”. But it is the day job of a scientist and would therefore have to become the day job of the auditor.

        Stop pretending that I am claiming that due diligence is not needed. My view is that the scientific method is, in most cases, the best form of due diligence. I am also happy about improved standards for disclosure of data and methods so that anyone can take it upon themselves to become an auditor or scientist. I would bet though that the peer review process and the normal scientific method would give you a better result 99 times out of 100.

      • Unfortunately for you the one extremely well-documented case of a place where an auditor actually got involved, must have been the 1 in 100 that didn’t give the better result. The ‘hockey stick’ is dead.

        And the correspondence shown in the Climategate e-mails demonstrates that the major participants weren’t averse to contemplating gaming the system to their advantage.

        So your faith in your colleagues ability is touching. But there appears to be no evidence other than faith to support it. Just another facet of climatology then!

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Well since 1998 a number of different reconstructions using different techniques, proxies and data have come along with little thanks to McIntyre and others who seem more interested in fighting a personal and political battle over minutiae, so it is perhaps better to say that the hockey stick has been superseded by other reconstructions that show current temperatures are likely higher than they have been for over a millennium.

        Now you clearly don’t believe it but that is what the science says, so in effect the McIntyre method of auditing has failed.

      • You still fail to understand auditing. Auditing is not ‘an alternative way to do science’. Auditing accounts is not the same as running the accountancy function. Auditing is checking the existing work.

        McIntyre’s method worked well in showing that the work by Mann et al had not been done correctly and could not be relied upon. The ‘peer review’ process in which you have so much faith had not detected these important and significant errors.
        McIntyre did not set out to show that he had a better reconstruction. That is not an auditor’s job.

        I will have faith in the other reconstructions you mention hen they to have been independently audited. Until then I will rely on the mental processes supposedly employed by Jeremy Paxman – one of UK TVs most rightly feared political interviewers:

        ‘What is this lying bastard lying about to me today?’

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer,

        Your level of comprehension is really very limited. I have said that McIntyre is an exception in that he has time to conduct an “audit”. I understand that the audit process involves checking/repeating work and have said that it would not be practical with most science. How many hours did O’Donnell and Steig spend auditing each other’s work? And this is just two papers. Their time was meaningfully spent because they then added value by doing their own analyses.

        Incidentally, Steve McIntyre’s “I’m not interested in showing what the MWP was like” is just a cover for not wanting to admit that there is no good evidence that the MWP was globally warmer than now. No there isn’t. Really. You can be sure that if there were, Steve would have been onto it.

      • Which reconstructions using which proxies? I may well have missed something because since 2006 I’ve spent several years in teh mountains/backcountry and out of touch. But every reconstruction I know about has used either the same techniques or the same “kind” of data (if not the identical data) or both. I’m not a “paleoclimate expert” but I AM an expert on data acquisition and analysis. And examination of the data that has been made available leaves me completely unconvinced and underwhelmed. So perhaps you can point me to something better?

        But if it uses Bristecone, Yamal or upside-down Tiljander, don’t bother.

        As for higher temps than in the previous millenium, you need some serious education wrt archaeology. Only climatologists make that claim. And then only on the basis of questionable proxies and even more questionable statistical techniques.

        Wrt McIntyre, your bias is showing. Afiak, his only purpose is and has been to set the record straight. Can you prove otherwise?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        You’ve missed the point by a mile. I’m not claiming anything about the MWP. The point is that what science papers say does not appear to be influenced much by McIntyre’s input. If anything the science papers are more forthright in reaction to the political weight McIntyre has allied to him. Whether a political battle has been lost in the meantime is neither here nor there.

        Given that, how far do you suppose a professional auditor would have got with Michael Mann? Mann would have had him for breakfast.

      • Professional auditor’s report on Mann’s hockey stick paper (preliminary)

        To the stakeholders,

        ‘Mr Mann refused to allow me access to his data or methods. We were unable to make an audit so do not recommend that any weight should be placed on his conclusions’

        Such a report in finance would lead to the immediate collapse of the auditee and (very likely) jail time for its directors.

        Your next point?

      • McIntyre WAS a professional auditor. He looked over mining prospectuses so that people wouldn’t invest in imaginary mines.

        Bullying methods like Mann uses would be pretty worthless against pretty much any auditor. It would have probably had the opposite effect of that desired. It is called human nature.

        Mann bullied people in his field because he was a great fund attractor and they knew if they weren’t on his good side he could make or break them. Look at how he chewed Keith Briffa up and spit him out, regarding “hiding the decline.” Briffa backed down. And I am certain he didn’t like doing it. But he did. And he is still on “The Team,” because he did.

        But an auditor doesn’t give a damn about being on no stinkin’ team. Mann’s abusive ways wouldn’t work.

      • Uh, Steve – you’re the one who’s claiming that valid reconstructions have “superceded”Mann’s work. So – where are they? Where’s the beef, man?

        You’re also the one who said show current temperatures are likely higher than they have been for over a millennium.

        So you ARE talking MWP.

        And then you say –
        If anything the science papers are more forthright in reaction to the political weight McIntyre has allied to him.

        Heh! And just how do you think he acquired that political weight? So – he HAS had an effect. Unfortunately, less has changed then you believe. Code/data are still being “hidden”. And now even supposedly reputable scientists who should know better are beating the alarm drum.

        Mann? – is a pussycat. Your faith in him is touching but misplaced. McIntyre fisked him – several times. I have no problem seeing through his BS. Nor do a lot of others. And his WaPo column was just pitiful. I’ve never heard a real scientist whine like that.

        Latimer is exactly right. An auditor doesn’t need to debate the “science” – only report on the inconsistencies.

      • Steve, I am glad we agree on due diligence and that good review is part and parcel of that.

        Accepting your 99 out of 100, then with so many on the skeptical side quite well versed in dealing with statistics and coming up with different statistical evaluations/conclusions than the pro-AGW folks (when the data can be gotten), it is just our take in this that this is that 1 in 100.

        One specific study that had been peer-reviewed and is now seriously questioned is the UHI study of Chinese cities that was co-authored by Phil Jones. The conclusion was that UHI was only 0.01C, leading to CRU considering UHI to be a non-factor. But then analysis of the claims of no TOB changes showed this to be completely wrong. This alone requires discarding the study and modification of any studies based on it.

        Several analyses of raw instrument data show that in the raw data over great swathes of regions the raw data showed no warming, while adjusted data consistently showed warming in the same areas. Nearly 100% of the stations with no warming in the raw data ended up showing warming after “adjustment”, a statistical anomaly, if not impossibility. Somehow, the results by CRU and Mann never show the pre-adjusted data so that anyone can see where the warming is coming from (in the processing, certainly, but at what stage? and where is the information on what adjustments were made?) No one doubts that adjustments aren’t needed. Homogenization comes with climatological studies over decades and centuries. But when they are done, aren’t the reader and reviewer entitled to be able to see the basis for the adjustment values? One of the Climategate files shows that an average was applied globally. I would question that as being lazy and improper. I think it is something a reviewer should red flag.

        These are just a couple of fact bites that throw some doubt on the warming POV. Until at least some of these issues are addressed by the climatologists, skeptics are going to continue to doubt the science.

        The common meme that there are no contradictory studies seems to pacify the pro-AGW folks, but it simply isn’t true. There has been plenty of work done that puts warming into the “maybe” category. YES, there are studies that support it. But with any number of peer-reviewed papers that contradict it, why is it still held put forth publicly as settled science? Due diligence argues that the disputes be settled and that in the meantime neither side’s position should be held as the real answer. At this point the Precautionary Principle is usually pulled out of the hat. But asking “But what if it is true?” is not science.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        There are many acknowledged problems with the datasets. The scientists doubt the science as well. There is a role for more science, though, rather than more auditing because many issues are not straightforward.

        Perhaps there is a role for more independence and, in some circumstances once procedures are formally laid down, some auditing. But the case has to be made.

      • I think in essence I would agree with all that.

        But you know what? That is all the skeptics are saying.

        But in the meantime, it seems precipitous to undertake the policies being advocated. Skeptics are 100% of a wait-and-see let’s-prove-it-first crowd.

        I have said lots of times, “If they prove the science adequately, I will sign on to it.” But so far their science doesn’t convince me. A big step would be to make a model that actually works. Another would be to clean up the things you talk about here. And that will take time.

      • At the end of all this “discussion” – one point has yet to be made. There should NEVER have been any necessity for an “outside auditor” in the first place. The scientific process provides it’s own automatic auditing function – IF AND ONLY IF it’s functioning properly.

        The very fact that an outside auditor was required at all is prima facie evidence that the process was – and still is – broken wrt climate science. It’s not just peer review that’s broken, but the process itself. If it were functioniing properly, Mann’s work would have been deep sixed by the other scientists in the field and the HS would never have been featured by the IPCC. It wouldn’t have taken McIntyre’s time and energy to do the job. As McKitrick noted – the IPCC has warped the scientific process and undermined its own purpose.

        And I’m still waiting for those references to valid reconstructions. Should I hold my breath? :-)

    • Steve,
      I think there is a misunderstanding. An audit in the automotive industry is mostly inspecting quality and manufacturing methods, like SPC, FMEA, MSA, etc. I don’t think that an automotive company that does the regular audit of its semiconductor suppliers would employ experts in semiconductor manufacturing, but rather experts in quality and manufacturing methods. The know how is provided by the supplier if needed. But if they decide to do so they would hire experts.
      Doing a scientific audit one needs foremost experts in the scientific methods and in quality methods.
      Hopefully one could find experts in climate science that are experts in the scientific methods that one could educate in quality methods and hire them. I trust that there are a lot of capable climate scientist. Doing audits is a matter of choice, but is very powerful to gain trust. I would strongly recommend that to climate science.
      Best regards
      Günter

    • In science, the auditor needs to be an expert in the field otherwise the benefit of the audit is nil – a dishonest scientist would run rings around an auditor, and honest scientists will have their time sapped talking the auditor through things. The only way to truly gain expertise is to do the science.

      You’re talking nonsense. An auditor does NOT need to be an “expert” in the particular field – only in the part that they’re auditing. McIntyre’s expertise was/is in statistics. Mann’s was not. Mann’s statistical techniques may have been innovative, but they were wrong. It doesn’t take a climatologist or a paleoclimatologist to audit that – just a statistician.

      Some (most?) of Mann’s proxies have been wrong – do we need to go there? Hell, when my wife looked at the Yamal proxy story, I didn’t have to tell her they were wrong – she told me. What is it with those who defend this garbage? Blindness? Stupidity? Bias? Or just religious fervor?

      Certain so-called auditors “in climate science” are attacked because they have started out with an assumption that the scientists are dishonest, are repeatedly offensive about scientists, and because their work has been used as a political weapon.

      Again – nonsense. You’re making assumptions about their assumptions. And that’s ALWAYS a loser because there’s no way you can know that. And it tends to really PO those you’re making the assumptions about. AFAIK, McIntyre started out to verify Mann’s work. And then discovered that both the code and data were “hidden” (the first “hide the decline”?). It took him years to replicate the work and prove it wrong. Why was that level of effort necessary? Why was the data and code not made available? Did Mann KNOW it was wrong? Those questions are obvious to anyone with two brain cells to rub together.

      You diss McItyre and give Mann a pass – that’s a really good indicator of your scientific detachment – or rather, lack thereof.

      Then there’s the “offensive” garbage – and that’s what it is. I challenge you to show any example of the “auditors” being “offensive”. But don’t come back without links or references.

      The fact that their work has been used as a political weapon sounds like a personal problem – yours. In what way does that invalidate their work? If what they’ve done is accurate, then why would you expect thier work to NOT be used so in the present political environment? How naive are you?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        No. Example: In “Parker 2006: An Urban Myth?” Steve McIntyre wrote an article about the Parker paper “A demonstration that warming is not urban”. It was in my view? phrased in an extremely disrespectful way and also presented the wrong end of the stick that his readers gladly bit off and chewed (specifically the implication that climate scientist do not believe in urban heat islands).

        The Parker claim still largely stands despite a tentative effort from Pielke Jr to explore the issue more deeply.

      • Having both met Steve Mc in person and heard him speak on several public occasions, it is difficult to imagine a more mild-mannered and polite guy…more like a big cuddly bear than the bogeyman of the alarmist’s imagination. But very, very persistent under the surface.

        I’d love to see the bit where he was ‘extremely disrespectful’ to a climatologist. Please can you provide a link or something to the bit that so upsets you. Thanks.

        PS – what have climate scientists actually done to deserve special respect over and above the normal courtesies of life?

      • Steve Milesworthy

        McIntyre is definitely offensive to the realclimate crew. I picked the Parker paper because Parker is not really a “Team” player – though McIntyre pretends so – and, having seen him present an enthusiastic talk on buckets, is far more mild mannered and polite than McIntyre – though he’s a bit thin to be called “cuddly”. Google “mcintyre parker 2006 an urban myth”.

        I would say that McIntyre is an “operator”. He implies and insinuates and his followers take the bait.

        And to Jim Owen, I didn’t give Mann a pass, but I think he would be clever enough and robust enough to get a claim that the moon was made of cheese passed an average “auditor”.

      • Steve

        If your best argument really comes down to the fact that you believe Steve Mcintyre ‘dis’sed’ the Team and so must be ignored, I fear that you are on thin ice indeed. Especially if the mild quotation I have found is the best example you have of such misdemeanours.

        That The Team have shown themselves to be less than proficient in their use of statistics (twice now, 10 years apart) is a far greater sin in my eyes than the nuances of Steve Mc’s use of language. As a scientist I’m sure that you agree with me in your heart of hearts.

      • Don’t forget that good auditors are external ones. There is little that any climatologist could threaten that would derail a good external auditor. And, of course, such tactis would be mentioned in the assessment, plain for all to see.

        And few auditors are noted for their shy retiring natures and desire for peace, harmony and a quiet life. They ain’t like that.

      • LOL – So, auditors basically play “Bad cop, Bad cop,” then. Okay – thanks for the warming – – er, warning!

      • They don’t necessarily set out to be seen as unpleasant…that doesn’t help them do their job either. But they are no respecter of persons, nor likely to be taken on by sob stories about unpleasant and undeferential language.

        Auditors should be sceptical of everything unless it can be proved.

      • How can they do otherwise?

        I started out in engineering at $3.50/hr drawing steel pipe sections. All drawings had to be 100% checked by someone other than the draftsperson, and then the checking reviewed by the group leader before going back to make the corrections. When it got back to the originator, he was required to not accept the checker’s corrections, but to correct the checker if necessary. (This sometimes happened…) Every qualified individual had to draw sometimes and check sometimes.

        I had enough aptitude at it that within 2 months I was included in the “round-robin” checking. This meant with 2 months experience I was checking the work of people with 25 years experience. I was told specifically to not hold back, that if I thought something was wrong, to mark it wrong, and it would be worked out later – the main thing was just to get the drawing 100% correct . No egos allowed, and no politics allowed. The theory is that if at least two people agree on each single dimension or feature, then it is virtually impossible for it to be wrong.

        So, I’ve done my share of verifying others’ work, in my field. Since that time I’ve worked many places, and almost none of them checked drawings. But I still check my own drawings. I make sure I approach everything from a different direction from my first approach. I “bleed” on my own drawings as if the drafter was an idiot. Slips of the pencil or typos happen, or things get left out. And real errors in judgment also happen. Theoretically the journal reviewers catch all of the errors.

        I don’t get the mentality of “If I did it, then it is beyond reproach.” In any science reviewer or auditor is necessary. But if the process is allowed to include egos or office politics, no good can come from those additions. Anyone should welcome verification – if for no other reason than to reiterate how good the work is. If flaws show up, the originator should be happy they are found and corrected.

        But checking individual drawings assumes that the underlying design is correct. If that is wrong, a building might collapse or a machine fail prematurely. Or even fail to work at all. This overall is as important as the individual checking, and to verify this is to lean on experience.

        In science there sometimes is no previous experience. When that happens, who checks the concept? Reviewers do – but with Mann’s groundbreaking compilation work – and it was groundbreaking, whether it was perfect or not – who was there who could adequately review it?

        In my mind, Mann should understand that some of what he did might not have been perfect, and he should have welcomed feedback. But he also should have known that when the MWP and the LIA were missing, then he must have done something wrong. Steve M pegged it in his 2003 paper. Others, as soon as they saw his hockey stick graph, knew he had made a mistake. Mann’s response then and now has been – ignoring all evidence to the contrary – that the MWP was only a regional effect. Right – a 400 year cold spot. Because of that, the skeptics thought Mann was delusional and in denial, and still do. Mann brusquely told everyone to go fly a kite. So it became early on a battle over the MWP, and that part hasn’t abated since.

        I will say this: In 7 years of round-robin checking, not one argument ever broke out. The numbers spoke for themselves. I think that is how reviewing is supposed to work. The same goes for auditing – the numbers either add up or they don’t. There is no room for egos. There should be no arguments.

        I guess what that says is that global warming – being about the numbers down to the 0.1C degree – should be well enough understood that arguments don’t happen. But that means that it is not well enough understood. And if it is not, then the building will be in danger of collapsing.

      • Steve –
        Having read McIntyre’s comment, I agree with him. Nor was he offensive. In fact, he was less so than I would have been under the circumstances. The McIntyre post you referenced was a straightforward, no-nonsense review of a paper he disagreed with. He had no reason to be particularly “nice”. If you can prove his analysis wrong, please do.

        As for Parker NOT being part of the Team, you apparently failed to read the original paper. It starts by referencing the 1990 Jones paper (see the second sentence in the introduction) which McIntyre had good reason to find …. “suspect” is not the right word – “false” might describe it better. He later references other members of the Team. Sorry, but he qualifies.

        As for Mann, you give him too much credit. But that’s your problem.

      • I found the article and read it eagerly looking for some titbit of bile that McIntyre had provided. I was sadly disappointed. The best/worst I could see was

        ‘Now, from my own direct experience, whenever I see someone from the Team paraphrase an article and say that their “main” conclusion is X, I do not assume that the original article said that at all’,

        which admittedly doesn’t show a huge amount of respect to the people discussed, but hardly ranks as one of the great insults of our day.

        Maybe I missed the best bits. If so, please point them out.

      • Steve – I have to agree with Latimer on the “extremely disrespectful” label about the McIntyre article “Parker 2006: An Urban Myth?” I don’t see the disrespect.

        As to whether it was an urban myth or not, the Wang et al (2003) article has been thoroughly savaged factually. Claims made by Wang that the TOB metadata was basically unchanged in those Chinese cities was patently false. The findings of the study, therefore, are useless. Jones, who was a co-author, has distanced himself from it.

        And what were the findings? That the urban heat island effect doesn’t exist. Not if 0.01C is “existing.” Yet that study itself was wrong. Therefore, based on it, no one would know if UHI exists or not. Othere studies have shown a UHI effect to exist. A recent one (possibly not peer-reviewed – I can’t recall offhand) showed that UHI was as high as 12C, though that one seemed to be an outlier. Several degrees C seemed to be the reality. If I can find the paper, I’ll give the link.

        One amateur effort, a man and his son, drove in and out of downtown Phoenix, and measured the UHI at about 7.5C – in both directions.

        There are plenty of observations that show UHI has some reality to it. Even if it is only 1C, with the reduced number of met stations in the GHCN database now, that translates into a very large negative adjustment that has not been incorporated into the GISS, NOAA and CRU adjusted results. My sense is that it is enough to more than offset the “increase” they show.

        So, which is it? UHI or not? Warming or not? My POV is that we don’t know – that the studies done are so flawed that whether the linear trend is positive or negative cannot be known. Yet.

        The raw data is there. But they won’t tell us what the basis is for the adjustments. What I’ve seen in the Climategate files is that they apply an “average” to all the stations. That is lazy and poppycock. Each station has its own unique UHI and TOB adjustments that need to be entered into the databases. While that sounds like a lot of extra work, it is not much for each station, and it would not be a big project to enter them, one by one. And once entered (and agreed on), they are there forever – or until the next TOB change at any particular station, at which time that gets added in, too. Averaging adjustments globally is just WRONG. It is bad science. As was the Wang paper.

  69. Steve,
    I think there is a misunderstanding. An audit in the automotive industry is mostly inspecting quality and manufacturing methods, like SPC, FMEA, MSA, etc. I don’t think that an automotive company that does the regular audit of its semiconductor suppliers would employ experts in semiconductor manufacturing, but rather experts in quality and manufacturing methods. The know how is provided by the supplier if needed. But if they decide to do so they would hire experts.
    Doing a scientific audit one needs foremost experts in the scientific methods and in quality methods.
    Hopefully one could find experts in climate science that are experts in the scientific methods that one could educate in quality methods and hire for audits. I trust that there are a lot of capable climate scientist. Doing audits is a matter of choice, but is very powerful to gain trust. I would strongly recommend that to climate science.
    Best regards
    Günter

    • ‘Doing audits is a matter of choice, but is very powerful to gain trust’

      ……And being so actively hostile to external audit is exactly the behaviour one would expect of those wit something that they wish to remain concealed

      • Latimer – I agree for the most part, but don’t think that the only reason to be hostile is because they think the entire work is crap (and that revealing the underlying data would show that to be true). I think that based on Phil Jones’ admissions about the archiving being very poor, I think embarrassment might be the driving force. I am not sold on that, but it seems a plausible reason. It is all inferences and speculation on my part, though. Until the data and methodology is revealed, who can know? In the meantime the stonewalling makes them look bad. At the least.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Having worked in a UK university lab where some computers used 3.5 inch disks, some 5 inch disks and some used magnetic tape and there was no means to convert between formats, what Jones says rings true to me too. I’m glad that my research didn’t become critical to the economy of the world otherwise I’d have been embarrassed too.

      • Piffle and tosh!

        having been involved professionally in designing commissioning and operating data storage installations in the UK for 30 years, I fear that you merely confirm earlier remarks of mine that climatologsists are not fit to be let loose with IT equipment.

        There are/were any number of ways to transfer data between those formats (utilities from IBM, Norton and a host of other vendors have been easily available at relatively low cost for years).

        That you guys chose not to invest on such stuff, or were ignorant of it or just didn’t care was up to you. No evil sceptic took you round the back of the bike sheds and duffed you up if you threatened to spend 30 quid on a bit of useful software.

        But that the custodians of one of the three worldwide datasets on which all of AGW theory relies can’t manage to do a simple job like keep hold of their own data and when necessary convert if from one format to another goes beyond simple incompetence towards negligence with malice aforethought. It is not just embarrassing – it should lead to immediate dismissal of all of the relevant principals.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Latimer, Who said I’m a climatologist? I’m not. This was an astronomy lab. We had two PCs and a mainframe. Just supposed my telescope detected an asteroid heading toward earth. And then someone nicked the floppy disk that had my calculations on because they wanted to backup their Tetris scores….erk!

      • Quite interesting. When was that asteroid? In the 1990s?

        In case you’re into that sort of stuff still, check out http://www.cosmictusk.com.

      • Understood about the mixed media problem. But to store disks isn’t all that hard. And buying extra backup servers was always an option, wasn’t it? It wasn’t like Linear A and Mayan texts and never the twain shall meet. Converting medias shouldn’t have been that impossible.

        In Harry Read Me he was startled by the fact that the data was in 11,000 files. That sounds like no effort was made to archive properly. A big undertaking? I do think so. But those 11,000 WERE on hard rives for Harry. With the money flowing ito CRU, though (as documented in the Climategate emails to some degree), should have afforded them – more than anyone else – to archive adequately. If he had to bring in temps to do it, big deal. It could have been done and probably should have been done.

        And: No backups???

        Jones had to know that sooner or later someone was going to ask for that data. Shrugging and all is not adequate enough defense, though I do understand if he looked at it as a thankless and monumental undertaking.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        At one time, all we had was lab notebooks which got lined up one by one on the bookshelf. Then computers came along and suddenly large amounts of data could disappear at the press of a button, and did. You got the data. You analysed it. You wrote the paper. It got published. And then sys admin would tell you you were over quota – so rm -r * and it’s gone.

        I can’t say what happened in Jones’s lab, but the paradigm switch happened during Jones’s career, so maybe it is a case of old dogs new tricks.

        But even now it is an issue. Climate models produce petabytes of data. How long should it be kept to meet the demands of an auditor? Two cycles of IPCC reports? Three?

      • NASA data is kept – by law – for a long, long time – 20 years at one time, then extended to 30 years and then extended again. There are warehouses full of the stuff. And there are still scientists who use data from spacecraft that died in the 1960’s. The idea that there’s no data prior to 1979 is just BS. It’s more likely to be “inconvenient data” in that it doesn’t support the “consensus” but “not available” Bullfeathers.

      • The cynic in me says chuck away the petabytes of data anyway. If it came from climate models its probably garbage. And if it was any good it could always be rerun.

        Oops – I forgot. We don’t do climate modelling that way. Well tough. Just junk it.

      • Steve –
        There’s ALWAYS a way to convert data. All it takes is knowledge of your system and a little imagination.

        At one time I needed to convert data from 9-track to 7-track tape. There were two “official” ways to do that, neither of which was practical in the available time. So I transmitted the data from Greenbelt, MD to Alaska via satellite, where they turned it around and sent it back so we could record it on 7-track. When my manager chewed me out for misusing resources, I laughed at him because what I did enabled us to complete a $4 Mil test which would otherwise have had to be rerun. I saved them $4 Mil for the cost of 20 minutes transmission time. There’s ALWAYS a way – if you’re committed to the solution.

        “Your” conversion problem is much easier. Have you figured it out yet? :-)

    • Günter,
      Science is not about methods, science is about results. Good results will be confirmed by further work independently of the original methods.

      Using good methods is valuable in many ways, but they are not decisive. Good results are no worse, when they have been produced by deficient methods. This may be less efficient and this may delay the acceptance, but not more.

      Conversely following methods without smallest fault does not quarantee good scientific results.

      The overall process corrects the faults sooner or later.

      • Pekka,
        I disagree at least some on your position that science is not about methods:
        If bad methods are used in sicence, the results are in doubt.
        And exrtreme example would be German Nazi medical research on holocaust victims.

      • Hunter,
        All results of science are in doubt. Only confirmation by further results may reduce this doubt to the level if insignificance.

        A scientific paper, which does not follow well enough well justified methods or which does not report well the methods used, may easily be disregarded even when wrong. Adherence to good methods is very useful in many other ways as well, but for “real science” the evidence comes from independent confirmation, not from auditing.

      • I wrote “even when wrong”. I should have written “even when correct”.

      • I read it the way you intended, but you are still off base about methodology.

      • In a field like climatology that is so laden with statistics, I wouldn’t agree with your last sentence. The algorithms and data need to be vetted, right down to the code. It is not enough to say, “This is our concept.” The code needs to reflect that concept completely. One wrong code character can change results.

      • I wrote below two lengthy answers, which should explain my way of looking at these issues, and be applicable also to this special case.

      • Pekka – Engineering has been called “Applied Science.” As I learned it, there is theoretical science and there is applied science. So engineering is applied and academic is the rest. I am an engineer, one who worked his way up from a drawing board (which used to be fairly common, at least in the U.S.) and my apologies if this is too engineering-centric:

        Methods do matter. From one perspective, academic/theoretical science is the search for methods that work reliably and efficiently – in terms of their predictive ability. When that predictive ability exists, it moves out of the academic and into the engineering side of science. And then the methods that work are turned over to technology/engineering, so that the world will benefit from them – and, of course, pay for the reliability to improve their lives.

        I look at something called science and if it has low predictive ability, I look down my nose at it, as a “wannabe science”. Pardon me, but if it is poor at predicting, no matter how scientific it looks to the outsider, what is their claim to being a science? It might as well be astrology.

        Yes, the non-astrological “-ologies” are “the study of” this or that – and are trying to understand their field. Well and good. But studying something doesn’t make it a science. If it were, with all the astrologers out there, astrology, too, would be considered a science. As studies those other -ologies are potentially sciences. Psychology and sociology and economics (economicology…LOL) come to mind. Those and some others are “sciences” that so far don’t do a very good job of predicting, but some of them seem to be making progress toward that. In the meantime, until their methodologies improve – so that they get consistent results – they are just pretenders.

        IMHO, it is the methods being nailed down that divides the actual sciences from the nascent sciences. When a scientist in a field can push this way and can predict a specific reaction/result to that push, then that part of that field is science.

        But without the consistency that comes from methods (in math those methods are formulas), I don’t see how you can say that methods don’t matter as much as results. After all, Velikovsky successfully predicted the temperature of the surface of Venus, and there isn’t one person here that accepts his result as anything more than a lucky guess. Without knowing WHY we get the results we do – quantified step by quantified step – it is crap science. Until cold fusion is in place somewhere, churning out megawatt after megawatt by doing the same thing over and over and over again (a method repeating itself), cold fusion is crap science. If even ONE method succeeds, then a science is born. The results are not the science. The results are at the end of the process, driven by the science. Reliably. Predictably.

      • SteveGinIL,
        If the science is not good it is not valued by other scientists. The verdict comes from the science community. It doesn’t come following explicit rules but it comes. Because other scientists are the immediate audience of scientific publications, this is decisive.

        Science should be open to surprises and totally new openings. Therefore fixed rules and procedures are not the right approach. The non-formalized verdicts of the science community may err and it is not a particularly efficient way of reaching results. It great value is in that all rules can be bent or modified, when a good reasons appear. Scientists have been taught certain principles (such as described in new NAS guidelines) and they have learned their significance in doing science. Every member can influence the verdict by his own reaction to the new paper. It is a form of non-formalized elitist democracy.

      • Pekka,
        Not to be contentious, but methodology must be correct, correctly documented, and accessible for the results to be credible.

      • Yes. The methodology must be in valid and well documented for the paper to have value, but that is taken care by the scientific process. A scientists who will not follow good methodology will not usually get papers published in good journals and will not usually succeed in his/her carrier. They may be exceptions for various reasons, but even they will not influence permanently the science. All this happens without applying fixed rules. The unformalized peer control is the most important factor, not the formalized parts of it.

        And to repeat myself: The formal controls are essential in research that is used in decision making without the luxury of waiting for the full scientific process to perform its role in verifying the results.

      • Again I failed to read what I wrote before posting.

        “in” is superfluous on the first line.

        Later in the paragraph “They” should read “There”.

      • Pekka,
        I don’t think we have the same understanding of audits. An audit is not about mistrust. Audits are about building trust for customers that are not experts in the manufacturing methods of their suppliers, but have to built a reliable product on their own. Therefore they inspect the methods and procedure of their suppliers. This procedures and methods have been described by the suppliers mostly themselves obeying some very general standards. In the audit it is inspected, if the supplier follows its own procedures diligently. If he is doing that the customer is satisfied and trust is established.
        Climate science is in the focus, since climategate, deserved or not. I therefore recommend to do audits within climate science in order to built trust in the public eye. At least for the institutions that are funded by the taxpayer. An audit in climate science should have the goal to built trust with the goal to convince the public to invest in the necessary technologies. I don’t understand why anybody within climate science would object. The objection I read in this blog against such audits actually raises serious doubts in me.
        Moreover following the quality standards of the industry might mean also that only validated mitigation efforts get implemented, rather than implementing bad ideas like advocating burning wood and risking lung cancer of children.
        By the way a method describes a way of working, it describes how you gather and evaluate data and therefore how you get results. There are instrumental methods, measurement methods, calibration methods, statistical methods, computer methods, Lab procedures, sample preparation, etc.
        . I do think science and getting reliable data has a lot to do with methods.
        As a taxpayer and a citizen of Germany I do think I am the customer of a lot of climate scentist that research with money that I gladly give. Therefore I think I am entitled to have the german climate scientists and the public institutions they work in and their methods audited. I I would rather pay for such audits as for useless reports like the Copenhagen synthesis report or such. You won’t convince me.
        So, I guess scientists would be able to show what methods and procedures they follow and what standards they use. The auditor can judge and the auditor could be a peer.

        Regards
        Günter

      • Günter,
        I have been in many of my comments explicit concerning the separation of the basic scientific process and the use of the totality of the present knowledge of the science community.

        The basic scientific process is slow (meaning that significant progress takes usually years or more). It requires confirmation by independent research. Often the confirmation is not explicit, but implied by successful use of the results. When a new scientific paper presenting interesting results is published, many scientists from the same and close fields of research read it carefully. They study, whether it has weaknesses and bring observed weaknesses to the knowledge of other scientists either by writing a publication or by other means. This happens, how ever well good procedures are followed and reported in the original paper. If the paper presents badly executed or reported science, it may be disregarded. If the result is interesting enough, somebody else will even then try to do it better.

        All above applies to significant science in fields with many research groups. In lesser fields the process is not as efficient.

        The problem with the above is that it is a very slow process. Many people argue that we cannot wait with climate science so long that the basic process of science can confirm, what is valid and what is not. Then we are in applied research – or in Post-Normal science. In these fields auditing is important. It adds significantly to the value of the results (or to quality in the terminology of Ravetz). It is indeed important for the use of climate science in policy decisions. It is not that important for the science, but it is important for its use. It is particularly important when new weakly confirmed results are introduced into the data base if decision making.

      • Pekka,
        What is climate science other than applied science. We have scientists, who take data that other people took and calculate energy budgets, or calculating temperatures according to the principles of engineering field of heat transfer. They calculate feedbacks according to a electrical engineering practice. Climate scientist use a lot of things like it would be black boxes, satellite data or computer models. Or they use empirical indices as fitting function to fit the data.
        This is the trademark of applied sciences. Of course there are groups that do basic research. But if I read the publications from those german scientists that contribute mostly to IPCC reports like Rahmstorf or Schellnhuber I would consider their field applied science. Those are the guys I want to audit mostly. Because those are the guys who ask for policies.
        Many of the conclusions in climate science that I read are not up to the standards of basic research. For my opinion many papers in climate science conclude in a very speculative way. You read in basic textbooks sentences like.: It could be an unknown anthropogenic factor (M. Latif in Klimawandel and Klimadynamik). This is no basic research, this is speculating.
        But also basic research would improve, implementing the quality standards for data collection of six sigma program from industry. It is always good to learn.

        Best regards
        Günter

      • Günter,
        You should find enough on my way of thinking in my recent messages. Answering now would just repeat the same arguments.

        I have also stated explicitly my views on how both aspects appear in climate science and in a combination, where use to support decision making is very important (i.e. applied research or PNS).

      • “I do think science and getting reliable data has a lot to do with methods.”

        Günter, I don’t know how else it can be done. When playing with ideas and concepts, I am all over the map, but when it comes time to make or do things consistently – meaning controlling the results, as in reliable predictions – methods must be consistent. (That is why robots and automation manufacture products more consistently than humans.)

        What you describe sounds a lot like ISO 2000 and subsequent manufacturing standards/certification.

        I don’t give a hang about scientists being consistent, if they are studying newts in Central America. I don’t care terribly unless they are part of dictating a huge change in the way life is lived and threatening the lives of people due to shutting down technological society. Some argue based on the diktats that are proposed and the loss of freedoms. I give that some weight, but my big thing is that 6.3 billion people can’t survive without the infrastructure of manufacturing and transportation we have. To be rid of industry and technology as much as they want us to will be to sign the death warrants of perhaps 3-4 billion people, because that is all the people the world will support (IMHO) with CO2 emissions cut so much.

        I just argue that if such drastic steps are asked for, then they’d better be damned sure of the science. Claiming “consensus” isn’t good enough. It would be if this was newts. Honest!

      • Steve,
        Yes and you likely have shared my experience that those “engineering” and quality methods are rarely taught at universities. Therefore I hear Pekka’s and Chris Colose’sarguments also a lot from R&D and engineering groups. Those arguments are not knew to me, however I consider them excuses, since we have proven repeatedly that once the methods are implemented, they prove to be very useful for scientists and engineers. Those methods improve daily work in getting you reliable data, which in turn leads to better and more reliable conclusions. Don’t we need that?
        I cannot imagine that those methods should not be useful for science and a scientist. It doesn’t replace creativity and ingenuity, but it augments it.
        And I agree with you, if the IPCC or any other group of climate lobbyists like to change policies in our societies based on the predictions of the peer-reviewed literature or some climate models. I think we should require as citizen that the proven quality standards from our high-tech industries get implemented in public institutions that do climate science.
        Best regards
        Günter

      • Günter,
        I worked 20 years at the Technical Research Centre of Finland, an organization similar to national laboratories in U.S. and Forschungszentrums in Jülich or Karlsruhe. ISO standards were introduced in many activities and were essential in some of them. Following rules is essential for good professional research.

        The procedures can be defined for activities that are known at the time the rules are written. It is, however, impossible to write good rules for something that cannot be predicted. In real science unpredictable situations are often the most important ones. How to handle them must then be decided based in general principles, not on fixed rules. A promising venue must not be closed in science, when it cannot be followed within the written rules.

        Searching for something new is a different activity from measuring the precise value of a known entity. Scientists do both, but the first is the final goal of every ambitious scientist.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        If we go back to what Steve Easterbrook has said in his research on how climate models are developed you will see that the desire to improve and augment procedures exists within organisations. The scientists and engineers have come up with methods that appear to work. The point Steve has made is that in this instance novel rules work where an arbitrarily chose set of standards imposed externally would not in his opinion work.

        There is similarly a big challenge to organise and describe the massive amounts of data being generated by models and observations. Again, the scientists need and desire to understand the data far more than some external auditor, and projects are ongoing to develop and improve the metadata, and the methods that allow models and observations to be compared. The scientists are also recognising that the data needs to be accessible to a wider variety of users if it is to be studied for the purposes of looking at climate impacts.

        The result of such efforts *should* be a system that could far more easily be used by an auditor. Indeed there are a number of “sceptic” papers out that use the results of the model intercomparison problems that aim to point out flaws in the models.

      • Steve

        I think that you are starting from the assumption that if we all leave it to the scientists, fearless seekers after truth that you believe they are, we will all end up in the best of all possible worlds with the ‘right’ answer.

        Once upon a time when I was a grad student many years ago. I’d probably have agreed with you. Viewed from the academic perspective, I imagined that untainted by grubby commercial considerations of money or political motivations, the researcher sitting in his ivory tower of integrity above the fray serves only the objective truth.

        Which is of course complete hooey. Academics, like everybody else are driven by external factors like status, publishing. career advancement, citation index, jealousy peer acceptance, groupthink and ego. They are no different, nor morally superior, however much they like to convince each other that they are. They are human beings, subject to the same temptations as the rest of us.

        And that is why organised humanity has invented systems of checks and balances to guard against such temptations. The old Russian proverb, memorably adopted by Pres. Reagan, is ‘Trust, but Verify’, which is exactly right.

        Financial audits are not there to help a companies CFO with his accountancy. They are there to give the shareholders and other interested parties some reassurance that the CFO and the Directors aren’t cooking the books and stealing all the loot.

        Similarly scientific audits aren’t there to help the scientists do better science (though that may be a secondary outcome). They should be there to make sure that the science as reported has been done as described that the methods have been followed correctly and that the conclusions follow from the work. Like in financial audits, the auditor should have access to everything about the work – all the papers, all the original data, all the original methods and to question the relevant players. And – just like in a fianancial audit, the results should be made public. Being audited is not supposed to be an exercise for the benefit of the auditee, but for the other stakeholders that may be influenced by such work. Climatology and climatologists claim special insight and influence over the future of humanity and big societal changes may flow form their work and opinions. It is only right that their work is subject to better scrutiny than pal
        review and groupthink.

        You might argue that such scrutiny is overkill. But in the one documented case of Mann’s paper of the Hockey Stick the auditor showed – despite all the difficulties placed in his way by the auditees – that one of the most influential and acclaimed papers in climatology was wrong in method and execution. And that his conclusions were an artefact of the method not the data. Had there been no audit, the wrongness of this work would not have come to light. How much else of no value has slipped through the peer review net but is still taken as the truth?

        So., uncomfortable as it may be for the scientists, I fear that auditing of ‘important science’ is going to become more the norm. At the moment, based on their track record, many do not trust climate scientists to do their work thoroughly and with integrity. Auditing maybe a way back to some credibility.

        If the next 99 audits come up squeaky clean, you will be on target with your 1 in 100 remark. I mean no personal slight on your judgment or integrity when I take leave to doubt it. Cheers.

      • Steve Milesworthy

        Once again Latimer, you are not reading what I say when you say “you are starting from the assumption…”. You will see that I have used evidence to justify my points. You are using your gut feeling and what you’ve read on climateaudit. I think you need better evidence than that for your view.

        Still, I’ve enjoyed the conversation here.

      • Sorry Steve

        Perhaps I just missed the evidence that you used. I didn’t see much, other than some stuff about auditing being inconvenient for scientists (probab;y true, but not relevant to its purpose) and some opinion about how to do things better – most of which I sort of agree with. There’s also a pretty ludicrous claim that Steve McIntyre didn’t show suitable deference or respect to The Team – as if that made his conclusions wrong or made their science better science.

        In contrast we have excellent documented evidence that when left to their own devices, climatologists can do very poor science – especially where statistics are involved, an dot is only when outside ‘auditors’ take a look that the deficiencies are exposed. The conventional checks and balances of peer review have failed in at least tow cases. DJ Keenan has some compelling evidence of a third (Jones and China) and my guess is that there are many more.

        I fear that you are waving your hands wildly in the hope that we will all look elsewhere, but that trick no longer works.

        As to due deference to climatologists – I propose to start showing a suitable level of respect when they start to deserve it.

      • Steve, I would point out that there really isn’t much on ClimateAudit to read most of the time. And Steve M is such a dry writer, and so technical, that reading his stuff is often like reading the telephone book. (Sorry, Steve, but it is.) Yes, he gets good shots in.

        But the really influential skeptical site is WUWT. And 9 out of 10 articles there have links to peer-reviewed or other articles, so WUWT is much like a clearing house or marketplace.

        Steve’s posts are much more focused on his own particular issues with Team members, his articles, and his journals tribulations.

        WUWT brings in stuff from all over, so there is much more meat there.

        I will say this: Besides the anti-big-government issues there, the main thust of WUWT – as it is with CA – is to get to the truth of the matter. Yes, they think CRU and Mann and warmers have it wrong. And they bring in every argument against the warmers they can. But they do it in an honest way. Trust me. Outside of AGW, I am a died-in-the-wool, government-please-protect-us-from-the-ravages-of-carnivourous-capitalists liberal. I’d convinced myself AGW was a wrong concept before I landed on WUWT’s shores, so there was no brain-washing they did to me. I am thrilled every day to learn what I do on WUWT, as much from the commenters as from the posts. I filter out the anti-government “stuff” and learn from the rest. Sometimes I wonder what I am doing there. But I feel much less welcome at, say, DailyKos.com and HuffingtonPost.com , where all the liberals reside. At WUWT I can voice disagreement without being savaged. I’ve been beat up on DailyKos more than once. Multiple POVs are actually welcomed at WUWT to a healthy degree. I’ve never been beat up at CA or WUWT.

        And as to “gut feelings,” yes, there is that. But there is also a LOT of science going on, too. It is up to the participant to wade in and wade through.

      • (Note: It looks like we can go no deeper in levels of response here — there is no “Reply” link to Latimer’s reply, so I am commenting here, instead…)
        Latimer –

        …when left to their own devices, climatologists can do very poor science – especially where statistics are involved, an dot [sic] is only when outside ‘auditors’ take a look that the deficiencies are exposed. The conventional checks and balances of peer review have failed in at least tow cases.

        For the life of me, I can’t understand why with all the statistics involved, climatologists do not have a professional statistician on staff and as co-authors, just to make sure they are following proper statistical methods. I can’t see any way that a climatologist can believe he can do a better job than a professional. Would they do their own dendro? Their own geology? Of course not.

      • Which is of course complete hooey. Academics, like everybody else are driven by external factors like status, publishing. career advancement, citation index, jealousy peer acceptance, groupthink and ego. They are no different, nor morally superior, however much they like to convince each other that they are. They are human beings, subject to the same temptations as the rest of us.

        You left out career security.

        But also,science is a MUCH more dog-eat-dog world than most people exist within. Ambition is rife. Competeition and one-up-man-ship is ever present. You put 100 ambitious people in a room competing against one another for attention and standing, and you basically have some level of “Lord of the Flies.” usually a low level, but it is there. Academia is that room.

        Ambition, competition, attention-getting, egos, those are the “temptations” – and they are much stronger in science than in most of our careers.

      • Pekka,
        All the better. Your institiution already agreed with me that standards and audits augment and improve their scientific work.
        You write:
        “Searching for something new is a different activity from measuring the precise value of a known entity. Scientists do both, but the first is the final goal of every ambitious scientist.”
        I guess nobody will disagree. However, the IPCC’s work and policy advice Copenhagen Synthesis reports for policymakers is not searching for something new.
        I just want to audit, how the results are gathered that go into this process of influencing politics.
        One remark. In the six sigma tool park, there are a lot of methods that can be used by a basic researcher successfully, especially gathering Statistical data over longer periods of time. So I can’t see your black and white picture.
        I gave a recommendation, everybody can choose for himself.
        Regards
        Günter

      • Günter,
        It is difficult to agree in discussion, when participants talk about different subjects. I have tried to be as specific as possible without making the comments excessively long. I have tried to define, what I have been talking about. Still I get continuously comments implying that I would have been talking about something very different. Certainly it is partly my own fault, but also certainly only partly.

        When commenting on the messages of others I have the related problem that I do not know, what they have been talking about. If I have not guessed correctly, it gets more likely that I will also be misunderstood, however careful I try to be in my formulation.

        From the very beginning in writing my comments in several discussion chains I have had in mind that the use of research based data in decision making requires understanding of its reliability and accuracy. With the exception of well established science confirmed in a multitude of ways, knowledge of the procedures used is an important factor in judging the reliability and accuracy.

      • Günter – I’ve worked in both “normal” engineering offices and R&D, so I know both sides of the methodology situation. I am always amazed at how much solid work can be done when methods are nailed down in manufacturing when everything – parameters, stresses, forces, reactions, materials – are all well known.

        Those methods improve daily work in getting you reliable data, which in turn leads to better and more reliable conclusions.

        Work flows quickly and reliably when it is all well organized from time putting everything at the engineer’s fingertips. At the same time, in R&D, with so much in the process of being discovered, imagination and insight team with solid experience, allowing for the best understanding and workability of what is new.

        I cannot imagine that those methods should not be useful for science and a scientist. It doesn’t replace creativity and ingenuity, but it augments it.

        I agree with you 100%. Both together allow for moving science and technology forward. Each without the other is okay, but in some circumstances both together is best. But those working at the forefront cannot leave behind solidity.

        I have been told personally that it is the older climatologists who disagree with global warming; it is their experience that tells them the (mostly) younger climatologists “don’t have their feet on the ground.”

        If I had to put it in 25 words or less, that is precisely how I would assess global warming: It is science that does not have its feet on the ground.

  70. I tend to agree with Chris Colose’s perspective and commentary that within the current political climate, climate science is indeed being treated differently than most, if not all of the other scientific disciplines. However, I don’t think that Chris intended the comment to be about the science per se. Let me try to clarify by adding my perspective on this topic.

    As a science, climate science is absolutely no different than the other scientific disciplines, neither seeking nor meriting any kind of special treatment or consideration. As in the other sciences, observations are analyzed, hypotheses and theories of how the climate system works are formulated, tested, amended. Then the results are published in scientific journals.

    This puts the proposed results (the message) out in the public domain as a legitimate target to be scrutinized, criticized, attacked, modified, rejected, or even accepted as being possibly correct. There is no expectation that the message should be received with any kind of deference. It is put out as a target to see if it will survive the harshest of critical scrutiny. That is the way that science works. Nature is the ultimate final arbiter in deciding what will eventually be proven as correct, and what will be found to be erroneous. Typically, the messenger who is presenting the message is not attacked personally however right or wrong his message may turn out to be.

    I, and several of my colleagues, started our scientific research in astronomy. As in any field, there were many capable, colorful, opinionated, and bombastic personalities. I make note of one young PhD who proposed to explain the high surface temperature on Venus by means of a dust insulation model, rather than the greenhouse effect. Turned out the message was incorrect. But the messenger was never personally attacked. The reaction was – novel concept maybe, but it can’t possibly be correct because . . . blah, blah, blah, and blah. Moreover, nobody outside of that particular astronomy group could possibly have cared less whether the surface temperature of Venus was due to dust insulation, or the greenhouse effect.

    In the early days of climate science, the situation was basically similar. There was a variety of different interpretations of what was going on in the climate system, along with different disagreements between different individuals. As in astronomy, most all of the squabbling, technical interactions, and camaraderie was largely confined to those interested in climate science. Outsiders did not particularly care what it was that the climatologists were doing or studying. So, what changed?

    Climate science began the study of terrestrial climate change in earnest. The principal climate forcings and climate feedback mechanisms were identified and evaluated. Accurate measurement and monitoring of greenhouse gases and climate system components was undertaken. It was found that the steady increase in greenhouse gases, in particular atmospheric CO2, due to fossil fuel burning was causing a strengthening of the atmospheric greenhouse effect, and as a result, the increase in global surface temperature.

    All this was interpreted as unhappy news by the fossil fuel industries. They seem to have understood quite clearly the climate science message. The rising global temperature means the subsequent melting of polar ice, accompanied with the inescapable rise in sea level – a recipe for impending ruin of low lying real estate. The fossil fuel industries understand that a rising sea level is something that most nations would want to avoid – hence, every reason to anticipate a call for the curtailment of fossil fuel burning to reverse global warming and limit the impending rise in sea level.

    There is however significant uncertainty as to the precise time scale and the amount of sea level rise. The sea level rise is unlikely to be anything significant over the next decade or two. Basically, the fossil fuel executives don’t see global climate change as something that will affect them significantly in their lifetimes – after that they don’t really give a damn. So, like the tobacco companies before them, they have elected to muddy the waters by deliberately sowing misinformation to confuse and bamboozle the public understanding of what is happening with global climate.

    The fossil fuel industries have been funding dedicated minions at the Heartland, Cato, and George C. Marshal Institutes (among others) to generate misinformation about global warming and global climate change. They have attempted to attack the climate science message (such attacks actually part and parcel of the scientific process), but without much success, since the foundations of climate science are more than strong enough to withstand such challenges. Having failed in discrediting the climate science message itself, they have resorted instead to attacking the climate science messengers with character assassination, political innuendo, stolen e-mails, etc.

    This is what sets climate science apart from the other disciplines. The attack on climate science is not stemming from the correctness or incorrectness of the science itself, but from the fiscal fears of the fossil fuel industry who are fearful that any action taken to counteract global warming will adversely impact their financial interests.

    I have never heard astronomy or zoology being accused of dogmatism and indoctrination. I am more inclined to think that that is what the fossil fuel minions at the Heartland, Cato, and George C. Marshal Institutes are attempting to do.

    I don’t expect any kind of ‘consensus’ on climate science forecasts to develop any time soon. The next decade should produce a string of record highs in global temperature, especially since the solar cycle will be in the upswing.

    In the next ten to twenty years most of the climate ‘skeptics’ will have evaporated, both because of expected improvements in climate models, and because the continued rise in global temperature will be that much more compelling. Only the climate deniers will be left holding the bag for the fossil fuel industries. But unfortunately, we will have lost two decades of time in which to fix the climate problem.

    • Andy, thanks for your perspective. I try to leave room for honest disagreement, wherever the disagreement comes from. But every once in awhile, i come across a real whopper, see Peter Gleick’s essay related to the Heartland Inst.
      http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gleick/detail?entry_id=82761

      and here is what Heartland had to say:
      http://www.heartland.org/full/29316/Huffington_Post_Defends_False_Climate_Accusations.html

      Heartland picked a really rotten cherry on this one.

    • I’d have more sympathy with this view if I had actually ever heard of the George C Marshall Institute and the Heartland Corporation – who Andy Lacis casts as the villains of the piece.

      Whoever they are, they are not household names in UK. And the story would be stronger if he could also bring some more definite evidence of the bad things that they have done beyond wide generalisations.

      I came to be a sceptic from starting out hearing a lot about The Science is Settled, wondering which great experiments they had done to demonstrate this and then discovering that there weren’t any. Lots of ‘consistent with’, lots of correlation, but no actual experiments. Coupled with the extreme unpleasantness shown to anybody who asks ‘awkward questions’ on the alarmist blogs, I began to see that the emperor’s had few clothes.

      No politics, no Big Oil cheques – I don’t even possess any transport beyond a bicycle – I came to the sceptical position by own efforts. It may be others got here by other routes. But I doubt of it was by influence from ‘shadowy corporations’ that they have never heard of.

      • And on further reflection. I find it quite insulting for Lacis to dismiss sceptical views purely as the product of propaganda from fossil fuel mouthpieces.

        Were he to read the earlier ‘Denizens’ thread he would see that many of us sceptics have had long and successful careers in applied science and technology – dealing with real world problems and evidence. And with ‘success’ determined by more concrete achievments than simply publishing scientific papers to acclaim from one’s pals. Like : did the spacecraft fly, does the Internet work, is the bridge still in one piece?

        In such fields we are obliged to develop highly tuned BS detectors – in order to separate workable from unworkable solutions. The notion that we collectively would fall in thrall to some slick media guys pushing Big Oil propaganda is quite simply ludicrous.

        Lacis believes that scepticism will die away naturally in twenty or thirty years. I fear though that the time of reckoning and thorough debunking of the worst of the alarmist case is much closer than that. The politics are stacking against it – in US and in UK. In The Netherlands. Public faith, hence funding and influence for AGW research is fading like the morning dew.

        Andy – go and fight against an imaginary enemy if you will. But remember Desert Storm. Schwarzkopf had Saddam completely fooled as to the direction the attack would come. You however are fooling yourself by believing in the superficially easy ‘Big Oil connection’, and missing the real point.

        Surely you are cleverer than Saddam. Aren’t you?

    • Andy,
      The way you describe the development of climate science sounds right to me, but I think you have a much too narrow view of the skeptics. There are certainly organizations founded by industry, which sees its interests jeopardized, but that is only one part of it. All kind of people are instinctively skeptical on the need to make large changes. They try to find justification for their intuitive conclusion. I know here in Finland many well educated people with a strongly rational approach to issues confronting them, and skeptical of the severity of the climate change. I am sure that such people form a large part of the opposition also in the U.S.

      I would certainly not classify myself as an AGW skeptic, but I am not entirely satisfied by the way climate science has been presented by the scientists in the public. All too often I hear statements by some well known scientists that go beyond what I believe science is capable of showing. Too few scientists protest and tell that they do not accept all those statements. I have also had private discussions with main stream climate scientists and know that they express themselves differently in such discussions than they are willing to say in public. They think that being too open leads to misunderstandings, and to some extent they are right. I am personally convinced that showing openly that all scientists have their own slightly different views and that they do not agree always with public statements of others would gradually strengthen the trust in climate science, not weaken it. For a while a uniform front is effective, but in time it breaks.

      The climate science is not either in as unique situation as you seem to think. All sciences related to human health have been equally attacked for ever, and similar problems are common in many areas of applied research and development. It is unavoidable, when the results of research may lead to immediate actions of great significance. The status of climate science has risen to new heights with the good and bad consequences for the climate science community.

      • Pekka,
        You write:
        “All too often I hear statements by some well known scientists that go beyond what I believe science is capable of showing. Too few scientists protest and tell that they do not accept all those statements.”
        I agree. Thanks for pointing that out.
        Regards
        Günter

  71. So Dr. Lacis, the notion that a climate shift occurred in 1998 (Tsonis & Swanson 2009,) and that we are in a ~10-to-~30-year cooling phase is not one that you think has legs?

  72. All this was interpreted as unhappy news by the fossil fuel industries. They seem to have understood quite clearly the climate science message. The rising global temperature means the subsequent melting of polar ice, accompanied with the inescapable rise in sea level – a recipe for impending ruin of low lying real estate. The fossil fuel industries understand that a rising sea level is something that most nations would want to avoid

    Andy –
    1. ice melt – you need to talk to a good glaciologist. Ice does NOT melt due to rising global temperature. It melts due to wind, rain and black soot. And to the temp of the water beneath it in the case of the Arctic and Antarctic. Air temp has only a minor effect. Any high altitude hiker knows this. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist – or a climatologist. And I am two of the three.

    2. The Antarctic is NOT melting – in fact it’s done very well for itself this year – and last. You should really check the numbers before expounding about it. In addition, it’s not warming significantly – regardless of whether you prefer Steig or O’Donnell.

    3. Sea level rise – has certainly not stopped, but again, you should really check the numbers – the rate of sea level rise has not increased, but rather decreased.

    4. You make a great deal of noise about what the fossil fuel industry knows and about their attitudes, intentions, motivations and actions. You should have discovered long ago that that’s a dangerous game because it’s entirely based on YOUR assumptions and attitudes about them. What you’re doing is called “projection”.

    5. If the fossil fuel industry were so intent on destruction of the “consensus” message, then why did they contribute more to the “consensus” side of the dance floor than to the sceptics -by several orders of magnitude? You say –
    The fossil fuel industries have been funding dedicated minions at the Heartland, Cato, and George C. Marshal Institutes (among others) to generate misinformation about global warming and global climate change.

    Where is your evidence for this? Where are the numbers and sources?
    And while you’re at it, why don’t you take a close look at the funding and sources on your side of the dance floor. Handwaving and argument by authority don’t cut it.

    Then you say –
    every reason to anticipate a call for the curtailment of fossil fuel burning to reverse global warming and limit the impending rise in sea level.

    There are consequences to curtailment of fossil fuel use. You should have checked the Clean Energy thread before coming here. Since you didn’t, I’ll make life easy for you – I wrote this last week as a very small introduction to the subject –
    https://judithcurry.com/2011/01/31/lisbon-workshop-on-reconciliation-part-iii/

    And I wrote this last night –
    https://judithcurry.com/2011/02/11/scale-of-the-clean-energy-challenge/#comment-41679

    I doubt you know very much about the subject – but it would affect you as much as anyone else if your recommendations were to be implemented. For one thing, the minimum cost of just the subject I wrote about would be $10 Trillion. And it’s a relatively minor, though vital part of what you’re proposing.

    There are other consequences discussed on the Clean Energy thread as well. I’d suggest you read some of them.

    You may be an excellent climatologist, but as a prognosticator of the future…..let’s just not go there.

  73. Jim,

    I am looking at the global warming problem from the physics perspective. The most significant of the climate forcing measurements is the continued upward trend in atmospheric CO2 (now at 391 ppm). Also, solar irradiance is on the upswing part of the solar cycle. This combination will produce new global temperature records in the coming decade.

    There is significant regional and inter-annual variability in the climate system. These fluctuation average out with time. But they do result in a noisy looking trend in most climate variables. That is why you need to pay more attention to the physics of the global warming problem. Statistical analysis alone of the available climate data is hard pressed to sort out all of the calibration and sampling problems to extract a sufficiently clean cause and effect relationship to be useful for making reliable future projections. Based on our understanding of the basic physics of the global energy balance and of the greenhouse effect, we know where the global temperature is headed for as atmospheric CO2 keeps on increasing.

    It pains me that the Clinton-Gore administration was so foolish and short-sighted as to cancel the Argonne fourth generation nuclear energy research project. They also didn’t have the political wherewithal to impose a carbon tax (although they talked about it) that might have mitigated the energy pickle that we find ourselves in.

    • Andrew,
      You start with basic physics and end up with your political view. Sorry, but this is exactly what makes me skeptical, even though I think increasing CO2 concentration will increase the energy content of the earth.
      Regards
      Günter

    • ‘Statistical analysis alone of the available climate data is hard pressed to sort out all of the calibration and sampling problems to extract a sufficiently clean cause and effect relationship to be useful for making reliable future projections’

      Is this just a long winded fancy way of saying that the signal of CO2(if there is one at all) is far too small, compared with the noise, to reliably pick out from the observations?

      Newsflash: Humans and humanity have to contend with the sum of all the signals and the noise. Those are the things that make up weather and climate. Which are the realities we live in and through.

      If there’s a tiny increase because of global warming, so be it, but compared with all the rest of the signals and the noise, it is swamped. I fear that you may be so concentrated on one particular tree that you have missed seeing a whole forest.

  74. 1. Science is about models with predictive power. That predictive power trumps any or all belief systems. Science is never about consensuses, which is elementary stuff in science and epistemology. Appealing to a consensus as scientific evidence, e.g., “most scientists believe”, is an alarm. It reveals a failure of the science, or of science literacy, and often both.

    2. AGW supporters, most notably those at IPCC, claim truth in their science by consensus. They should have sought instead to validate their model through predictions and validation. To have sounded an alarm with a model never validated, that is, never raised to the level of a theory, was, for scientists, a breach of ethics. IPCC dragged immature climatology into the public sector.

    Now it’s too late, as nature has proved itself to be a contrarian over the last four decades. Expected warming has failed to materialize. See, for example, Schwartz, S.E, et al., “Why Hasn’t Earth Warmed as Much as Expected?”, J.Climate, v. 23, 5/15/10, remarkable in that it was even published. The reasons for the failure in climate sensitivity were predicted, including most notably the failure of IPCC to account for dynamic cloud albedo. Among other things, IPCC got the hydrological cycle, the carbon cycle, and solar variation wrong.

    Notable, too, is that one of Schwartz’s co-authors, Henning Rodhe, is credited with the AGW-essential conjecture that CO2 was a long-lived, hence well-mixed, greenhouse gas, published in 1973 with lead author Bert Bolin, who became the first IPCC chairman in 1988. Rodhe was a Contributing Author to the TAR, a report that includes a contradictory formula from first year high school physics for the lifetime of an atmospheric gas, or water in a leaky bucket. For CO2, it is between 1.5 and 3.5 years, depending on whether leaf water is included. IPCC repeated the formula in AR4, but never used it in the main body of either Report. So in summary, Rodhe, a player in the founding of the AGW conjecture, is ironically present to chronicle its slow demise as a viable model of anything.

    3. Naomi Oreskes became the darling of the AGW movement when she proclaimed near unanimity in support for the AGW model by her large sampling of papers published in peer-reviewed climate journals. An objective review of her work contradicts her findings, however. What she demonstrated was that she could find no evidence that peer-reviewed climate journals published papers that contradict the AGW dogma. Richard Horton, MD, editor of The Lancet, has confirmed that the peer-review process is to determine the acceptability of papers as support for the prevailing dogma, and not to further science.

    4. The public furor over AGW is not with peer-reviewed journal articles as some suggest. Scientists can publish whatever they want, dogmatically or objectively (should they choose), and the public will simply ignore it all. The public’s problem with AGW is the IPCC and its Third and Fourth Assessment Reports. IPCC makes a blatant pitch for public funds, for personal recognition and profit, and for regulation of people by and through pointless control of their use of energy. Their pitch rests on an abysmal excuse for both science and the scientific method, all addressed to a most vulnerable public sector, especially to American politicians.

  75. Dr. Jay Cadbury

    @A Lacis

    So what if the GAT rises. We are below historic GAT, Andy. Furthermore, I don’t see how my local average temperature rising a few degrees is going to do anything. Also, you, Gavin and the rest of the grand imperial wizards are cowards. If you are so confident of your predictions, then get on the news and argue with a colleague like Richard Lindzen. I’m sick of the cowards. You guys are not willing to put your reputation on the line like Lindzen will. The silence says it all. JC moderation

  76. To Jim Owen, Latimer Alder, SteveGinIL, Jeff Glassman and others whose judgment I respect: Supporters of the IPCC claim that the fundamental “science is settled”. Please judge for yourself, after going to my posts on Feb. 22, Feb. 7 & Feb. 9 (the last 3 posts) at
    https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/30/physics-of-the-atmospheric-greenhouse-effect .

  77. What is clear to me is that climate scientists are now being held to standards which are not typical of any scientific discipline

    The standard you have such difficulty with Chris, is merely that climate scientists stop trying to mislead – as Jones, Mann et al are seen to be doing in Climategate – and that those scientists who agree that honesty in science is a good thing, should be seen to distance themselves fom those like the Climategate crooks that do not.

    None of this has happened, hence the perception of climate scentists as highly educated liars.