by Judith Curry
I am still hunkered down writing a proposal (deadline May 25), but we need a new thread so here goes. There are a number of interesting articles and blog posts this past week that are worthy of discussion, here are a few that have caught my attention. And I’ve probably missed some interesting things also, hope you can highlight some other articles of interest.
Richard Muller Interview
Scientific American has published an interview with Richard Muller, Director of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature group. The article is written by Michael Lemonick, author of the infamous Climate Heretic piece. This is a very nice article IMO, and this reinforces my judgement regarding Muller and the BEST project (which I am proud to be associated with). Joe Romm is predictably incensed with Scientific American, but fortunately posts the article on his website. The article includes this statement from Muller:
Muller: A few years later, McIntyre came out and, indeed, showed that the hockey-stick chart was in fact incorrect. It had been affected by a very serious bug in the way scientists calculated their principal components.
Romm reports that Michael Mann requests retraction of defamatory claims, citing an email from Mann:
As Mann writes, “Anyone who thinks that Richard Muller has any credibility at all should see thisrecent video report by Peter Sinclair, which shows him clearly lying about the science and the scientists. There is no room for such dishonesty when it comes to discussions of science.”
Mann writes me: I find it terribly distressing that Scientific American — and Michael Lemonick (for the second time now) — would knowingly allow the pages of this once-respected magazine to be used to smear scientists such as myself. This is indeed a sad day for Scientific American. I suspect that many of my fellow scientists will decide with some regret, as I did more than a year ago in response to the eroding quality of the magazine, that they hve no choice but to cancel their subscription. What a sad loss.
Tony Brown’s article on Little Ice Thermometers
While on the subject of the surface temperature record, WUWT posts excerpts from a very interesting paper by Tony B. It discusses the unknown knowns and known unknowns associated with historical surface temperature record. This is well worth reading, and I hope Tony B stops by to discuss. A paragraph from the conclusion:
None of this is to say that many original observations were not done with great diligence and skill, just that there are so many variable parameters affecting the accuracy of the reading that a direct comparison to today’s values is impossible. To believe we have a highly accurate data base of even individual records that can be parsed to fractions of a degree is an illusion, and this uncertainty is multiplied many times when considering the accuracy of a ‘global’ temperature.
Solar – Cosmic Ray Interplay and the Earth’s Climate:
Some new research has been published regarding Svensmark’s theories on the impact of cosmic rays. Roy Spencer comments on this subject here. An article on this from the Institute of Physics is here. This is a topic that I would like to dig into more deeply (unfortunately I am currently in a deep spare time deficit): it is one the key known unknowns in climate science, and it interfaces with my interest and expertise in cloud nucleation.
National Geographic has a really interesting article entitled “Climate Scientist Fears His Wedges Made It Seem Too Easy.” An excerpt:
When the torrent of predictions about global warming got too depressing, there were Robert Socolow’s “wedges.” The Princeton physics and engineering professor, along with his colleague, ecologist Stephen Pacala, countered the gloom and doom of climate change with a theory that offered hope. If we adopted a series of environmental steps, each taking a chunk out of the anticipated growth in greenhouse gases, we could flatline our emissions, he said. That would at least limit the global temperature rise, he said in a 2004 paper in the journal Science.
The Princeton colleagues even created a game out of it: choose your own strategies, saving a billion tons of emissions each, to compile at least seven “wedges,” pie-shaped slices that could be stacked up in a graph to erase the predicted doubling of CO2 by 2050.
It was a mistake, he now says. “With some help from wedges, the world decided that dealing with global warming wasn’t impossible, so it must be easy,” Socolow says. “There was a whole lot of simplification, that this is no big deal.”
He said his theory was intended to show the progress that could be made if people took steps such as halving our automobile travel, burying carbon emissions, or installing a million windmills. But instead of providing motivation, the wedges theory let people relax in the face of enormous challenges, he now says.
Cambridge Climate Conference
A private climate conference was held May 13 at Cambridge, billed as “skeptics meet warmists.” The Register has a lengthy article on this (titled “Would putting all the climate scientists in a room solve global warming”), and it is also discussed in a series of posts at Bishop Hill [here plus previous threads]. Climate luminaries in attendance included Phil Jones, Andrew Watson, John Mitchell, Michael Lockwood, Henrik Svensmark, Nils-Axel Morner, Ian Plimer, Vaclav Klaus and Nigel Lawson. This conference seems like a really good idea, and it is good sign to see the climate establishment engaging with some serious skeptics. It seems like the format was not designed designed for meaningful questions and discussions. But it seems like this may have established the groundwork for some meaningful engagement, which is much needed.
Workshop on Advancing Climate Modelling
Steve Easterbrook has three lengthy posts on Workshop recently held at NCAR “A National Strategy for Advancing Climate Modelling.” This is really an excellent write up. I have draft post that has been sitting around for awhile entitled “Whither Climate Modelling?” I hope to discuss this Workshop in the context of a broader future post.
Living in the Real World
Bill Hooke’s refreshing and insightful blog has some thoughtful posts: