Week in Review 5/23/11

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.

Popcorn time.

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.

Wedgies

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.

Pielke Jr. discusses this in two posts [here and here].  Andy Revkin discusses this here.  Muck and Mystery discusses this here.  Joe Romm is in denial here.

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:

173 responses to “Week in Review 5/23/11

  1. One big item that is unreported is a major step in the slow march of litigation to set aside the EPA endangerment finding. Numerous groups petitioned the US Federal Court for the District of Columbia to set aside EPA’s Endangerment Rule – that greenhouse gases (especially carbon dioxide) endanger human health and welfare – many arguing on scientific grounds. EPA regulation of GHG emissions depends on this ruling.

    The Court grouped these petitions and required the filing of a joint petition, which was submitted this Friday, May 20. It should make interesting reading, if it is posted on the Web someplace. Now the Court will start considering the merits of the case. My prediction, however, is that the Court will rule that EPA failed to conduct its own assessment and will require it to do so (i.e., they remand the rule). EPA merely cited the IPCC and USGCRP/CCSP reports. If so then a ruling on the science could still be years away, when EPA makes its own assessment, but the regulations should be put on hold. On the other hand anything can happen, as Court is always a gamble.

  2. At first, I thought it said “wedgies”.

    • climate blog humor :)

      • Speaking of the wedgies though,

        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.

        It seems like for a Princeton engineering professor, these solutions are awfully short on technological innovation and awfully long on “reach deep, and give till it hurts”. Just an observation.

      • or humour s we say in English! :)

  3. Dr. Curry,
    These are interesting. Thank you for pointing them out. I would like to add an important discussion to this list. Willis Eschenbach wrote a blog post for WUWT on May 14 titled “Life is Like a Black Box of Chocolates” regarding his analysis of GISS Model E. See http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/14/life-is-like-a-black-box-of-chocolates/

    Steve McIntyre picked up this discussion and made some interesting comments of his own on “Willis on GISS Model E.” See http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/15/willis-on-giss-model-e/

    The fact the global temperature output from the most advanced GCM can be mimicked with a single line formula in Excel is troubling to me. I am shocked that some claim not to be shocked by such a finding. This deserves much thought and discussion.

    • Ron,
      Willis used the ensemble average rather than an individual member. Individual members simulate internal variability, and the ensemble averages that out, so it is not surprising that the only common info of the ensemble is related to the forcing. The far greater cost of the GCM is in computing internal variations around the mean due to internal ocean circulations, land changes, etc.

      • JimD,
        You are correct that he used the ensemble average, but I am not certain your conclusion is correct. Are you saying that internal variability is completely random? Doesn’t internal variability have internal triggers? Or perhaps you are saying the GCMs are not capable of modeling the internal triggers?

        By the way, doesn’t the IPCC use the ensemble average in their assessment reports? If what everyone cares about is the ensemble average, why not use Willis’s single line Excel formula? It gets the same result and could have saved us about $80 billion we have invested in GCMs so far.

      • Internal variability is random, like real ocean circulation variations over long time scales. I don’t see any reason two ocean ensemble members should maintain any correlation for long being basically chaotic in behavior.
        IPCC uses ensemble averages and pays attention to the spread which is a measure of the chaotic versus forced parts of the changes. The real atmosphere behaves like an ensemble member, not like the mean. The mean comes out of the model sensitivity which is not known in advance, so it would not be possible to model the ensemble behavior without the GCMs to provide the effective sensitivity numbers for different time scales, and sensitivity does depend on time scales, like a response function. Hansen et al. (2011) uses the analogy of a Green’s function to represent this, which is somewhat more realistic than Willis’s limited-parameter fitted function.

      • JimD,
        You still did not answer the question. Why not use Willis’s simple formula and toss the GCMs? The GCMs may have other outputs, but everyone really cares about temperature. The only temp people look at is the ensemble mean. So are the GCMs really worth the $80 billion we have invested in them? Orrin Pilkey’s book “Useless Arithmetic: Why Environmental Scientists Can’t Predict the Future” is pretty good. Have you read it?

      • Willis needed the GCMs and the millions of dollars invested in them to come up with his formula. It is not independent. It doesn’t say anything about regional variations. If skeptics believed Willis and his formula, it would be a step forwards because it is a simple thing to understand without knowing anything about climate. I haven’t read that book you mention, but I have looked at parts of the IPCC report which are more relevant to understand for this scientific debate, and I also know that global models only fill in details of and refine calculations you can do with one-dimensional physically-based models (unlike Willis’s statistical one). Paleoclimate also gives model-independent clues. You seem to think models are everything, when they are not the basis at all.

      • steven mosher

        “why not use Willis’s single line Excel formula? It gets the same result and could have saved us about $80 billion we have invested in GCMs so far.”

        Several reasons.

        1. The period he fit does not include all feedbacks so it would not be very helpful in predicting the future.

        2. His mode doesnt cover…
        A. sea level rise
        B. Change sin arctic ice
        C. Precipitation
        etc etc etc

        It is utterly unremarkable that a lower order statistic ( the average temperature of 22 models of the climate) can be fit by a single equation. As systems go the climate is ( as willis has previous noted) remarkably stable. Like duh.

      • Are there any models that have predicted the future accurately? 5 years out? 10?

      • There is an easy way to do sea level rise – get a straight edge and extend the previous hundred year straight line another 100 years.

    • Paul Dunmore

      Ron
      I didn’t find Eschenbach’s result very interesting: he has rediscovered Taylor’s Theorem (early 18th century). A climate model solves an impossibly complex differential equation by numerical approximation, which is the only way the equation can even be stated, much less solved. The solution is a hideously complex nonlinear function of the forcing variables. Taylor’s Theorem says that (almost) any hideously complex nonlinear function of any number of variables is approximately linear in every variable as long as the changes are small. This seems to be all that Eschenbach has observed.
      Once we know the coefficients of the linear approximation, we can use a spreadsheet to draw inferences from the model, provided we don’t push matters so far that the linear approximation fails. But to get those coefficients from first principles of physics we need the supercomputers, not a spreadsheet.
      I doubt that trying to get a good linear climate approximation from first principles is the most sensible way to do it, but that is another story.

  4. Interesting quote from the Cambridge conference (has been picked up elsewhere, but not Kelly’s response)

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/05/13/downing_cambridge_climate_conference/

    John Mitchell: “People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,” he said. “Our approach is not entirely emprical.”

    From the audience, Professor Michael Kelly, who served on the Oxborough Report, wasn’t impressed with the thoroughness of this.

    Referring to using parameters as variables, Kelly said: “It strikes me as what you’re doing is what we did in solid state physics in the 1970s, which wasted a lot of time. We didn’t go back to our modeling as we should have, because it produced the right results. We quit while we were ahead.”

    ————–
    This has also been picked up in the MSM in the UK, in fact the author of the article seems to have asked the question, that drew John Mitchelll’s interesting answer.

    Daily Mail:

    “Dr Jones has previously admitted that, in surprising contrast to what computer models were predicting 20 years ago, there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

    I raised this with Mr Mitchell, asking how long this would have to continue, despite uninterrupted increases in the level of CO2, before he would start to question the validity of the models and the theory of man-made warming that they underpin.

    His answer sounded peculiarly unscientific, implying it would take a lot more than the absence of actual warming to shake his faith. ‘People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,’ he said. ‘Our approach is not entirely empirical

    Daily Mail: That carbon budget: even the scientists aren’t sure about global warming now – Analysis by David Rose
    “Earlier this month, I attended a remarkable conference at Downing College, Cambridge. It brought together eminent climate sceptics and true believers, including Dr Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, and John Mitchell, principal research fellow at the Met Office.
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389622/Mrs-Huhnes-licence–clean-3-points-New-pressure-Minister-speeding-offence-punishment.html#ixzz1NBOJdIrQ
    (third story in the link)

    The fact that this appears in the MSM in the UK is very interesting, as the media maybe at last picking up that many economic policies are ludicrous, based purely on CAGW policies.. The other 2 articles are about the UK Energy and Climate Change Ministers problems (Chris Huhne). The tone of Daily Mail article is also interesting, ie ‘believers’ (Phil Jones, Mitchell) vs ’eminent sceptics’

    • John Mitchell’s quote obviously has some context, which you won’t find in the Register. He’s talking about some particular issue, for which it may well be true. With cosmology, for example, or stellar dynamics, it’s obviously true. And there are lots of met issues (his field) where useful observations are hard to come by, and models may work well, eg hurricanes.

      • Latimer Alder

        Without the context., your assertion is no better than anyone else’s.

        He may have been talking about Lego as a way of using models in designing real buildings. But I doubt it.

        More likely that – given the Met Office’s stupendous ability to gobble taxpayers money on ever more powerful computers to run the frigging useless models on – it would be climate related.

        I will ask Andrew Montford, who was present at the conference, if he can enlighten us.

      • I made no assertion. No sensible comment can be made without the context.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘He’s talking about some particular issue, for which it may well be true’

        looks like a bit of an assertion to me……

        But no big deal….perhaps Bishop Hill will come back with the actual goodies.

      • The context is clear, a journalist asked a question, John Mitchell answered it… Not the Register link, the other one.

        David Rose (who was there and asked this question)

        “Dr Jones has previously admitted that, in surprising contrast to what computer models were predicting 20 years ago, there has been ‘no statistically significant warming’ since 1995.

        I raised this with Mr Mitchell, asking how long this would have to continue, despite uninterrupted increases in the level of CO2, before he would start to question the validity of the models and the theory of man-made warming that they underpin.

        His answer sounded peculiarly unscientific, implying it would take a lot more than the absence of actual warming to shake his faith. ‘People underestimate the power of models. Observational evidence is not very useful,’ he said. ‘Our approach is not entirely empirical

        Daily Mail: That carbon budget: even the scientists aren’t sure about global warming now – Analysis by David Rose

        “Earlier this month, I attended a remarkable conference at Downing College, Cambridge. It brought together eminent climate sceptics and true believers, including Dr Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit, and John Mitchell, principal research fellow at the Met Office.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1389622/Mrs-Huhnes-licence–clean-3-points-New-pressure-Minister-speeding-offence-punishment.html#ixzz1NBOJdIrQ

        Thus in context…

        I could always dig out the video of Sir Hoskins (Reading University and Grantham) saying Computer models were lousy and are still lousy, from last year if you like… Full video available: ;)

        Maybe he/they just mean this, lost in thie own computer models, not the first group of people to do this in many fileds, nor will they be the last…

    • andrew adams

      The fact that this appears in the MSM in the UK is very interesting, as the media maybe at last picking up that many economic policies are ludicrous, based purely on CAGW policies.. The other 2 articles are about the UK Energy and Climate Change Ministers problems (Chris Huhne). The tone of Daily Mail article is also interesting, ie ‘believers’ (Phil Jones, Mitchell) vs ‘eminent sceptics’

      Why are the tone of the piece and the fact that it appeared at all “interesting”, given that the Mail (and the writer, David Rose) have been constantly pushing this kind of nonsense for some time.

      Certainly Mitchell’s answer is not the one I’d have given – I’d have carefully explained to Rose what statistical significance means and why Jones’s words do not mean that there is any contradiction with the model projections. But of course Rose knows this anyway, he’s just too dishonest to admit it.

  5. With respect to Roy Spencer’s piece of GCRs and clouds, I went back to the IPCC TAR to WG1, and at 6.11.2.2 Cosmic rays and clouds

    I find the following “We conclude that mechanisms for the amplification of solar forcing are not well established. Variations in ultraviolet and solar-induced changes in O3 may have a small effect on radiative forcing but additionally may affect climate through changing the distribution of solar heating and thus indirectly through a dynamical response. At present there is insufficient evidence to confirm that cloud cover responds to solar variability.”

    In other words, in 2001, the IPCC claims there is no established link between GCRs and clouds. Svensmark’s landmark paper in Proc. Roy Soc A in October 2006 was not published in sufficient time for anything new to be added to this subject for the AR4 to WG1.

    However, since this time several papers have been produced, finishing with the latest Spencer paper. It now seems clear to me that we can no longer conclude that “that mechanisms for the amplification of solar forcing are not well established.” There is sufficient evidence to show that Svensmark may be correct. It seems to me that the IPCC ought to go back to this particular statement and bring it up to date. Of course, they will not.

    However, AR5 is in the works, and by the time this is ready for writing, we should have the report from the CLOUD experiment. It will be interesting to see if there is another discussion of GCRs and clouds, and if so, what it concludes. I would suggest that the time has come when the IPCC can no longer claim that there is no evidence for extraterrestrial forcings. And if such forcings, indeed, exist, then the claim cannot be made that the only thing that can explain the recent rise in global temperatures is an increase in CO2.

    I would suggest that it is about time for the Royal Society and the American Physical Society to re-examine their stance of CAGW, and state what has been obvious for years. That science cannot tell us what happens as one adds more CO2 to the atmosphere from current levels, but what little data we have suggests that any effect is somewhere between negligible and extremely small.

  6. What I find quite amazing, particularly given the various revelations over the last day or two in the UK, is how people are ever only too ready to believe that virtually any organisation is riddled with corruption (the FIFA being the latest example) yet regard the IPCC, CRU and the like as being as pure as the (soon to be extinct) driven snow.

    • Latimer Alder

      I’m very happy to be associated with those who do not think the IPCC and CRU are as pure as the driven snow.

      Quite the opposite in fact.

  7. Judith

    Thanks for links to interesting articles.

    Max

  8. Don Aitkin

    Judith,

    Thanks for the wide reading! I will read much more of Brown on the temperature data issue, which strikes me as crucial to the whole AGW argument: (i) warming is occurring, and (ii) such warming is unprecedented. These propositions require good data if they are to be believed. The more I study 20th century data, the less I feel comfortable with them. Temperature data earlier than 1980 seem to me almost useless. Proposition (ii) involves proxies, and all of them come with error possibilities, which are rarely discussed.

    The trouble is, as Bob Carter has pointed out to me, that if I continue with my current position I am unable to enter into any debates about what is happening — whether or not for example, there has been cooling since 2002, or whether Girma and Manacker are right about Hansen’s 1988 projections (though this one only relies on much better data).

    So I am tempted to ignore the data problem, since what is happening now seems to suggest that CO2 is not the villain.

    But, as someone who has a strong feeling for data quality, I feel that the global temperature anomaly expressed to three decimal places is just nonsensical, and continue to be amazed that anyone takes any notice of it.

    Help!

    • “the whole AGW argument: (i) warming is occurring, and (ii) such warming is unprecedented.”
      That’s not the whole AGW ardument. It’s nothing like it.
      The AGW argument is:
      1. GHG’s absorb outgoing IR
      2. We are adding GHG’s to the air in a big way
      3. Absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance.

      So we look to temperature observations to confirm whether 3) is happening. To a reasonable person, the answer is, very likely yes. To others, the conclusion might be that the temperature observations aren’t yet adequate for confirmation. That, if accepted, would say something about temperature measurement. The AGW argument remains.

      • Bad Andrew

        Nick Stokes,

        ” that temperatures will have to rise ” we’ve already seen as untrue. The temperatures go down as well as up, all the time, so obviously the “temperatures” don’t have to rise all the time to satisfy whatever balance you are imagining.

        Andrew

      • Great observation Andrew – yes, they go up and down every day.

      • Bad Andrew

        Yes. They do. Demonstrating that they don’t have to go up.

        Andrew

      • 3. Absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance.

        Let us look at the observation (judge of any dispute):
        http://bit.ly/jo1AH4

        3) is not supported by the data!

      • Girma,

        The data is quite clear in outgoing radiation spectra – http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v410/n6826/abs/410355a0.html

        If incoming radiation doesn’t change (but it does) – this must result in warmer conditions overall. You are denying both the theory and the data in a way that makes no sense at all.

        Cheers

      • You are denying both the theory and the data in a way that makes no sense at all.

        It has nothing to do with me.


        The data says the globe has a cooling trend since 2002.

      • And here is the tree from which the cherry was picked.

      • In turn, here is “the tree from which the cherry was picked” by Nick

        http://bit.ly/mscDyv

        in order to claim a global warming trend of 0.16 deg C per decade instead of the longer term 0.07 deg C per decade.

        And hence the claim:

        For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios.
        http://bit.ly/caEC9b

      • Girma

        Can you explain why you cherry pick your data?

        A climate ‘trend line’ less than a decade?

        How shameless.

        Here’s four other ‘observations’ like yours, over a half century that was far more certainly rising.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2002/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:2001/to:2010.3/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1968/to:1977.3/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1967/to:1976.3/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1969/to:1978.3/trend/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1967/trend

        If the current blip of downward ‘trends’ less than a decade long were like the last blip (and there’s no strong reason it ought, or ought not — absent a proposed mechanism and understanding of the underlying causes and chaos), then the next year or two will be the end of these negative ‘trends’ of under a decade each and the next 40 years will be another half degree warmer.

        It’s true “3. Absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance. “ is loosely phrased, allowing mischief to be made of its intent.

        Sad that anyone believes making such petty mischief so worth wasting others’ time.

        Why do you bother?

      • Nick & Bart

        What does the following global mean temperature data says?

        http://bit.ly/emAwAu

      • ???
        It says that if you detrend the data, it looks flat.

      • Nick & Bart

        What global warming rate was removed when detrending the data?

        a) 0.20 deg C per decade of the IPCC

        b) 0.06 deg C per decade
        http://bit.ly/kY5JXN

      • What’s the point of this nonsense? The IPCC has never said that the trend from 1880 to 2010 was, or should be, 0.2 C/Dec.

      • Girma

        It says we are dealing with someone who will not address a straight question about his methods, who further treats matters of science as a game he won’t play unless he gets to choose the rules and the game board, that the player exhibits about six times more confidence in the dataset than it contains in order to be put to the use he presents for it.

        It demonstrates extremes of hand-fitting curves to agenda to attempt to fool the observer’s eye, and a disdain for the niceties of graphical analysis and statistical methods.

        It depicts a presentation completely unaware of Bayes Theorem, which is a prerequisite of every undergraduate mathematics and engineering degree program in the world, and unhampered by the niceties of academic ethics in repeating one’s own work absent reference to original presentation.

        That it is found in one form or another associated with the presenter’s name hundreds or thousands of times across the Internet with a simple Google search also speaks of a concerted personal campaign to proliferate a fiction.

        Is that what you’re asking, Girma?

      • speaks of a concerted personal campaign to proliferate a fiction.

        I am not the only one.

        Several independent studies find evidence for just two full PDO cycles in the past century: “cool” PDO regimes prevailed from 1890–1924 and again from 1947–1976, while “warm” PDO regimes dominated from 1925–1946 and from 1977 through (at least) the mid-1990’s.

        http://bit.ly/gFDV5e

      • Bart

        Is it a coincidence the above PDO description matches the following global mean temperature pattern?

        http://bit.ly/emAwAu

      • Girma

        Not at all.

        However, your presentation includes far more nuance and implies far more (illegitimate, as Nick points out) message than just coincidence with PDO, and also has been used by you as a basis for exaggerated and unfounded claims that lack statistical support.

        You’ve previously made these claims, and now wish to pretend to naively ask, “My oh my, whatever can the ‘observations’ mean?”

        Tch.

        Shameless.

        You’ve made these claims, here and elsewhere already. Playing that you haven’t is unseemly.

        By simple Google search, you have done this in one similar form or another on multiple forums, many times.

        Your claims regarding such graphs, Girma, have been questioned and discredited on their own merit and within their own frame of reference, many, many times before.

        Do you directly address the questions straight on, ever? Not so far as I have seen in the vast majority of cases.

        You instead, Dr., turn the questions on their head, play games with phraseology, evade, dodge, duck, as you have done here yet again, or simply appear to slink away to return weeks or months later with the same claim, not having addressed the issues people bring to you about the original.

        How do you expect, Dr., to be taken seriously, or as anything but a dilettante?

        As manacker points out, there could be some sensible messages in the data at some confidence level, especially given what else is known about climate from other sources of non-temperature information, that adds significantly to the simplified picture of what may be happening to the global climate. In manacker’s reasoning, the observation ought give us pause to question the claims of the IPCC, many of which are poorly framed (especially when taken far enough out of context) or almost as baseless as your own claims when taken alone, apart from the larger body of knowledge.

        However, manacker is wrong to say that this is all or only what you mean.

        Just as manacker points to other evidence supporting his assertions, I point to the other times you have said other things, supporting the assertion that you go much further with these observations, therefore ought be reined in most severely to a basis of fact and proper methodology, which you flaunt as if you’d never heard such terms as ‘Standard Deviation’ or ‘Prior Probability’.

        He means not primarily AGW. He’s likely wrong, could be right, but at least he isn’t presenting clearly wrong graphs.

        +AGW. -AGW. These are not my issues with what you do. The +/-AGW debate isn’t mine.

        Bad logic, bad graphical presentation, dyskeptical argument and illegitimate claims are the feather up my nose here.

        Why should a cooling trend matter to tax questions, whether it be until 2030 or until the end of days?

        If you don’t think ACO2E has any impact, as you so thoroughly (though invalidly) argue, then certainly tax won’t impact the cooling rate.

        If you believe you can make an adequate argument to continue the $700 billion or more subsidy on fossil fuels, given that the subsidies have been going on for many decades without visible positive effect of any type at all except to the pockets of fossil opportunists, then try to make that case, step by step with careful observation and legitimate reasoning, by all means.

        As it is, you leap from disconnected thought to unsustainable conclusion on slim pretext and sham.

      • Bart R

        It appears that you are missing the entire point here, Bart.

        Girma is simply posting the observed data with his analysis of what they mean.

        His basic message appears to be, “be skeptical of climate scientists who sound like snake oil salesmen”.

        Sounds reasonable to me.

        Max

      • Hey guys.

        Don’t get you knickers twisted.

        Regarding Girma’s analysis.

        The global temperature anomaly has shown several multi-decadal cycles of warming and slight cooling of around 30 years for each half-cycle and an amplitude of around +/- 0.2C with an underlying long-term warming trend of 0.6C per century, resembling a sine curve on a tilted axis.

        While IPCC has pounced on the most recent late 20th century warming cycle as evidence for accelerated AGW, it is clear that the long-term record presents several dilemmas for the IPCC postulation, which Girma has depicted graphically:

        – First of all, the multi-decadal warming/cooling cycles bear no resemblance at all to the steady increase in atmospheric CO2 at a fairly constant compounded annual growth rate and no oscillations; statistical studies have shown that the temperature trend is a random walk, statistically speaking. As there is no robust correlation between temperature and CO2, the case for causation is extremely weak

        – The warming trend of the early 20th century is statistically indistinguishable from the much-ballyhooed late 20th century warming cycle, yet there were much lower human CO2 emissions despite the same temperature increase.

        – The same goes for an even earlier slightly less steep late-19th-century warming cycle, with almost no human CO2 emissions.

        – The multi-decadal cooling cycles in between cannot be explained satisfactorily.

        – The past decade has been a disappointment for IPCC, who had predicted warming of 0.2C per decade; as it turned out, there was no warming over the entire decade, despite CO2 levels reaching all-time highs; Girma points out that if this continues another couple of years we will have reached 15 years with no warming despite record CO2 emissions, a condition which has been previously stated to represent falsification of the premise that AGW plays a significant role in our climate.

        So it appears more and more, based on the actual physical observations rather than simply model simulations backed by theoretical deliberations, that human CO2 emissions are not the principal driver of our climate as postulated by IPCC.

        Now we get to the second step, i.e. suggesting possible alternate causes. PDO, ENSO, changes in cloud cover, solar activity, etc. (or some combination of the above, along with a possible smaller anthropogenic contribution).

        I think that is where Girma is right now (along with a handful of climate scientists, who have given up on the “primarily AGW” rationalization).

        That’s how I see it. If I’m wrong on this, I hope Girma will correct me.

        Max

      • Max

        I could not have said it any better.

        Thanks Max.

        I just hope they don’t tax us before establishing whether we have slight cooling trend from 2000 to 2030, similar to that from 1940 to 1970.

      • Pooh, Dixie

        Possibly of interest when considering de-trending:
        Akasofu, Syun-Ichi. 2009. Two Natural Components of the Recent Climate Change: University of Alaska Fairbanks Fairbanks, Alaska: International Arctic Research Center, April 30. http://people.iarc.uaf.edu/~sakasofu/pdf/Earth_recovering_from_LIA_R.pdf

        A possible cause of global warming.
        (1) The Recovery from the Little Ice Age (A Possible Cause of Global Warming)
        and
        (2) The Multi-decadal Oscillation (The Recent Halting of the Warming)

        Two natural components of the currently progressing climate change are identified. The first one is an almost linear global temperature increase of about 0.5°C/100 years, which seems to have started in 1800–1850, at least one hundred years before 1946 when manmade CO2 in the atmosphere began to increase rapidly. This 150~200-year-long linear warming trend is likely to be a natural change. One possible cause of this linear increase may be the earth’s continuing recovery from the Little Ice Age (1400~1800); the recovery began in 1800~1850. This trend (0.5°C/100 years) should be subtracted from the temperature data during the last 100 years when estimating the manmade contribution to the present global warming trend. As a result, there is a possibility that only a small fraction of the present warming trend is attributable to the greenhouse effect resulting from human activities.
        It is also shown that various cryosphere phenomena, including glaciers in many places in the world and sea ice in the Arctic Ocean that had developed during the Little Ice Age, began to recede after 1800 and are still receding; their recession is thus not a recent phenomenon.
        The second one is oscillatory (positive/negative) changes, which are superposed on the linear change. One of them is the multi-decadal oscillation, which is a natural change. This particular natural change had a positive rate of change of about 0.15°C/10 years from about 1975 (positive from 1910 to 1940, negative from 1940 to 1975), and is thought by the IPCC to be a sure sign of the greenhouse effect of CO2. However, the positive trend from 1975 has stopped after 2000.
        One possibility of the halting is that after reaching a peak in 2000, the multi-decadal oscillation has begun to overwhelm the linear increase, causing the IPCC prediction to fail as early as the first decade of the 21st century.
        There is an urgent need to correctly identify natural changes and remove them from the present global warming/cooling trend, in order to accurately and correctly identify the contribution of the manmade greenhouse effect. Only then can the effects of CO2 be studied quantitatively. Arctic research should be able to contribute greatly to this endeavor.

      • Pooh,Dixie

        According to Hubert Lamb glaciers had stopped advancing by 1750. There was a notably warm period from around 1700-1730. The low spot of the LIA seems to have been around 1607 using CET and reinforcing that with observations/records.

        There has been a warming trend from that date which is at least related to the Northern Hemishere. Unfortunately Dr Mann had his hockey stick blade the wrong way up . Instead of a long decline and then a sharp uptick from 1890 it would appear there has been a gentle 400 year long warming trend (with numerous reverses)

        tonyb.

      • Nick Stokes:

        I see that I was more terse than I ought to have been. I have written before about the central AGW argument (see the earlier thread I wrote). I could have added to more central propositions in the argument — (iii) that whatever increase has occurred is mostly because of human activity and (iv) that we need to do something now etc.

        But these propositions all depend on there being solid data that show, yes, that the planet is warming (over some specified period), and that no, there has been nothing like this in the past, and yes, there is good evidence that human activity is responsible for for this proportion of that warming.

        These are all data-based propositions.If the data don’t allow us to say that these propositions are soundly based, then all you can do is to talk about radiative transfer, make guesses about feedback, use models to argue that dire futures lie ahead, and so on.

        So I say again that good data are central to this argument — and that we don’t have good data.

      • Don,
        No, your extra points do not get closer to the case for AGW. This goes back to Arrhenius in 1896. It was well set out by the NAS Charney report in 1979. You will see there no use there of temperature data in support. This is pre-Gistemp; a good global estimate simply wasn’t available. But if it had been available, it would have been less convincing than now – there hadn’t to that date been much heating. But the AGW case is still strong.

        I believe there is now a great deal of data, and it convincingly shows temperature rise as would be expected from AGW theory. It includes satellite data, and the many other observations of melting ice etc. That’s confirmation. But even if all that is denied, it still only means that we don’t have good enough data. It doesn’t deny the argument.

        It is perfectly sensible for governments to act on anticipated harm, in advance of evidence that it is already happening. They do it all the time. For example, we spend vast sums on military defence against unproved threats.

      • Nick, it sounds like you do not believe in the testability of theories. You say “But even if all that is denied, it still only means that we don’t have good enough data. It doesn’t deny the argument.” You seem to be defining “good enough” to mean it agrees with the theory (but perhaps I have misunderstood you).

        Scientific method says if the data does not support the theoretical argument then that argument is falsified, or at least unacceptable. I think the data we have is already sufficient to falsify theoretical AGW. We can argue about the quality of that data, but the fact that it does not support your theory is not a basis for criticism of the data. That is called “theory saving” and it is a fallacy.

      • “I think the data we have is already sufficient to falsify theoretical AGW. “
        That’s a different proposition. If you think the data is good and shows temp declining to a sufficient degree as to be incompatible with AGW, then yes, the theory can be falsified. But few think that. Certainly I don’t.

        Don’s contention, as I understand it, is that the temp data is too unreliable for any conclusion. That’s not falsifying anything. It just says we don’t have good temp data. And no, I don’t believe that either.

      • I take the UAH data to be good enough to make a determination. It shows (1) no warming from 1978 to 1997, (2) no warming from 2001 to today and (3) that the later flat line is warmer than the former, so a step up in temp during the 1998-2001 ENSO cycle. While there is some warming it is inconsistent with GHG warming

      • David

        While I don’t think so short a span of time as 19 years has a lot of confidence associated with it in the data, I’ll need some explanation of your (1), given:

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1978/to:1997/trend

        And how do you draw a conclusion on what could or couldn’t be ‘consistent’ with GHG warming in so complex a system as the global climate?

        I mean, the Republican record on deficit spending in the same time period is ‘inconsistent’ with a fiscally conservative party, but does that mean Republicans are flagrant wastrels?

      • “We spend vast sums on military defence against unproved threats.” War has always been with us. And what threats do you contend are unproved? When people with whom you have previously fought still have missiles pointed at you, do you consider the threat unproved because said missiles are not currently flying at you?

        I repeat. War has always been a constant in the world. Chicken Little threats have also always been with us. In the past however, we didn’t spend vast sums after listening to Chicken Little.

      • Stan, I said
        “It is perfectly sensible for governments to act on anticipated harm,”
        including providing for defence against unproved threats. It’s a bit late when the threats are proved and invasion is on the doorstep. Same with AGW.

      • Rob Starkey

        Nick– You are correct that:
        “It is perfectly sensible for governments to act on anticipated harm,”

        But if a government acts unwisely in expending limited resources on inappropriate “potential or anticipated harms” and as a result does not have sufficient resources to provide the other benefits its populace expects, then the goverment will be replaced (either by election or force).

        This is an important point on the subject of climate change. Many who advocate drastic, immediate actions fail to recognize it and as a result wish the US to take actions that are expensive and will yield minimal results.

      • Rob Starkey

        Nick- the other point in you summary ;
        “3. Absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance.”

        In simple terms I agree, but the key is in the details. For example, a temperature rise by increased CO2 could be completely lost in the totality of the earth’s total climate system. I am not stating it definately is, but it theoritically could be.

      • Nick Stokes

        You have just stated YOUR “whole AGW argument”, as follows:

        1. GHG’s absorb outgoing IR
        2. We are adding GHG’s to the air in a big way
        3. Absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance.

        [To your point 3 I would add: “unless other changes, such as increased reflection of incoming SW radiation, compensate correspondingly”]

        But that is not EVERYONE’S “whole AGW argument”.

        For IPCC and many others, the argument continues:

        4. AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of observed 20th century warming

        5. AGW represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment, unless human CO2 emissions can be reduced drastically.

        In fact, this is the “AGW argument” to which many rational skeptics object, as it is not supported by empirical data derived from physical observations or reproducible experimentation, following the scientific method, but rather on model simulations based on theoretical deliberations.

        Max

      • No. 1-3 are the arguments for AGW – ie why warming is expected. 4-5 are consequences. 5 is not testable by empirical data – it’s in the future.

      • Don Aitkin

        Nick Stokes:

        Let me suggest that you read what I wrote a little while ago, in ‘An essay on the current state of the climate change debate’
        posted above on March 29, 2011. In that essay I set out what I saw as the central AGW propositions, drawn from the Summary for Policy Makers in AR4, with the last proposition drawn from repeated statements from ‘concerned scientists’. They go like this:

        1. The earth is warming.
        2. This warming is unprecedented.
        3. The warming is caused by the human burning of fossil fuels.
        4. The warming is dangerous to humanity, perhaps catastrophic.
        5. The only way to prevent dangerous outcomes is to curtail greenhouse gas emissions, everywhere.
        6. Things are getting worse, not better.

        You seem to me to be talking about something else altogether. Don’t you think that these statements are the core of the IPCC position? If you don’t, what do you think they core IPCC propositions are?

        My argument is that the first three and the last all depend on good data. Propositions #4 and #5 depend on models. You seem to agree to that. I don’t think the data are at all good, not nearly good enough to justify the scary statements that one hears (most recently, in Australia, that there is likely to be a one-metre increase in sea levels by the end of the century. You seem to be saying that lousy data don’tt matter, because the science is sound. But, as others have said to you, and I join them, the science ultimately depends on observations, and the ‘data’ are those observations. But, as Brown (top of this thread) has argued, the data are awful, and full of error. I agree with him, because I am looking at the source data myself. It simply doesn’t allow three-decimal-places for the GTA. So we are not able to say, with confidence, that the planet is warming in any other than a vague way.It might be dangerous, it might be beneficial, it might be inconsequential. We simply don’t know.

        I would like us to work on getting much better data before we engage in carbon taxes. Are you opposed to that?

      • Don Aitkin

        Our two posts to Nick Stokes crossed, but I see we are saying essentially the same thing.

        Max

      • What I set out is just the content of the first section of the SPM – the section “HUMAN AND NATURAL DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE”, from p 1 to about 5.5. You will find nothing there about the temp record. That is the AGW case.

        The next section is “DIRECT OBSERVATIONS OF RECENT CLIMATE CHANGE”. These are the observations which help to affirm the theory, and of course, make more real the consequences to us. I think they do that. But if you don’t believe it, then AGW lacks that affirmation (at present). Doesn’t mean it’s wrong – just that we don’t have the data.

        Then there is the section “UNDERSTANDING AND ATTRIBUTING CLIMATE CHANGE”. This makes the connection of the observations to the theory. Of course, if you deny the observations, then this means nothing. It affirms nothing and refutes nothing.

        Then there are the PROJECTIONS. They are deductions from the AGW theory which can’t yet be tested against the record.

        That’s the SPM.

        I think carbon taxes are justified on present knowledge. Just as I think taxes to support the military are justified even though there are no currently proven threats. Just because a risk is uncertain doesn’t mean it should be ignored.

      • Nick Stokes

        Since you have brought up AR4 WG1 SPM, let’s go through your points to see where we agree/disagree.

        The first section “HUMAN AND NATURAL DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE” concentrates on the HUMAN DRIVERS, while covering the NATURAL DRIVERS in a single short sentence on direct solar irradiance, which it relegates to relative insignificance, and a footnote to Figure SPM.2 in which IPCC concedes that its “level of scientific understanding of natural forcing factors is low”.

        This is no surprise, in view of the IPCC’s charter to investigate human-induced rather than naturally caused climate change. But it does point to a rather myopic fixation on anthropogenic factors, which could well represent a fatal flaw in developing an understanding of the whole picture.

        The next section “DIRECT OBSERVATIONS OF RECENT CLIMATE CHANGE” are used to “sell” the theory (another way of wording what you wrote). The “sales pitch” got a bit too enthusiastic in the comparison of the entire 20th century temperature trend with the trend in the second half to imply an acceleration in the warming trend, which did not exist in real fact and is simply the result of comparing a longer and shorter period in a cyclical record. A similar comparison of the first 40 years with the entire century would have shown twice the warming rate in the first 40 years (test in on “Woodfortrees” if you don’t believe it).

        The statement was made (bold print by me):

        Eleven of the last twelve years (1995-2006) rank among the 12 warmest years in the instrumental record of global surface temperature (since 1850). The updated 100-year linear trend (1906 to 2005) of 0.74°C [0.56°C to 0.92°C] is therefore larger than the corresponding trend for 1901 to 2000 given in the TAR of 0.6°C [0.4°C to 0.8°C].

        A closer look at the record shows that the 5-year shift of the 20th century record eliminated a strong cooling spell from 1901 to 1906, and that this was the principal reason for the increase from 0.6°C to 0.74°C, rather than the last five years of the record as implied by the word “therefore”.

        The paragraph on sea level rise tries to paint a picture of late 20th century acceleration in the rate of rise, adding a footnote:

        Data prior to 1993 are from tide gauges and after 1993 are from satellite altimetry.

        There are two basic problems here.

        Tide gauges measure sea level at selected coastlines, while satellites measure the entire ocean, except for regions near coastlines and the poles, where satellites cannot measure. So the two are measuring “apples and oranges”.

        To change the methodology and scope of measurement from one time period to another in order to compare the rates of the two time periods and claim acceleration is bad science at best. Since the tide gauge record did not show this alleged acceleration, it is more than just bad science in this case – in fact the tide gauge record (Holgate 2007) showed a slightly slower rate of rise over the second half of the 20th century compared to the first half.

        Then we have the statement that both the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets lost mass from 1993 to 2003, contributing to sea level rise. The only long-term record of both ice sheets with continuous measurements over this entire period is the satellite altimetry record. This showed a net gain of both ice sheets (Johannessen 2005/Zwally 2006 and Wingham 2006). IPCC decided to ignore these reports and base its claim of net mass loss on spot records using other methodologies but not covering the entire time period.

        There are other inaccuracies, exaggerations and distortions in this section, particularly in Table SPM.2 regarding extreme weather events, but those mentioned above were the most obvious ones to me.

        To this section you wrote:

        These are the observations which help to affirm the theory, and of course, make more real the consequences to us. I think they do that. But if you don’t believe it, then AGW lacks that affirmation (at present). Doesn’t mean it’s wrong – just that we don’t have the data.

        I’d rate this as more of a “sales pitch” with some rather obvious and silly errors, rather than an affirmation of the theory or an explanation of the consequences.

        The following section (which you did not mention) covered “A PALEOCLIMATE PERSPECTIVE”.

        This contains the sentence:

        Paleoclimate information supports the interpretation that the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least 1,300 year.

        This claim is based on the since-discredited Mann hockey stick (and subsequent spaghetti copy hockey sticks). It ignores many studies from all over the world using different paleoclimate methodologies, historical records from all over the civilized world at the time as well as actual physical evidence being found today, which all point to a MWP, which was slightly warmer than today.

        The section “UNDERSTANDING AND ATTRIBUTING CLIMATE CHANGE” attempts to make the connection of the observations to the theory. As you say, it affirms nothing and refutes nothing.

        It does, however, make a few unsubstantiated “leaps of faith”, for example the paragraph:

        Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in greenhouse gas concentrations.

        In view of the “low level of scientific understanding” of natural climate forcing factors, which was conceded in the first section, this sentence is meaningless. How can one assume that anthropogenic factors have very likely been responsible for most of the observed warming when one does not have a reasonable level of understanding of natural forcing factors? Obviously, one cannot, so the sentence is conjectural.

        The next section covers the “PROJECTIONS OF FUTURE CHANGES IN CLIMATE”.

        You state:

        They are deductions from the AGW theory which can’t yet be tested against the record.

        This is correct, but I’d describe this section as the “scaremongering” section.

        Here we enter the virtual “never-never land” of model projections of future climate change based on various “scenarios” and model-based estimates of climate sensitivity.

        A notable projection was:

        For the next two decades, a warming of about 0.2°C per decade is projected for a range of SRES emission scenarios.

        The “emission scenarios” came about over the first decade of the 21st century as projected, but the warming has not done so.

        The longer-term “scenarios” for the end of the 21st century bear mentioning here, as well.

        “B1” assumes a continuation of the CAGR of CO2 concentration as we have seen most recently and also since the Mauna Loa record started in 1959.

        The others all assume a higher CAGR, despite the fact that the UN projects human population growth to slow down significantly from the 1960-2000 rate of 1.7% CAGR to around 0.3% CAGR over the 21st century. The highest two “scenarios” assume CO2 concentrations to rise to a level that exceeds all the carbon contained in all the optimistically estimated fossil fuels on our planet.

        IMO, this is “scare mongering” in high gear, rather than anything resembling science.

        So much for SPM

        You state:

        I think carbon taxes are justified on present knowledge.

        If “present knowledge” is represented by SPM, I certainly do not agree.

        Nor (even more important than you or I) do a majority of the public, so these taxes are unlikely to occur on a global basis.

        It goes back to the famous quotation attributed to Abraham Lincoln about fooling all the people all the time.

        Max

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        “A closer look at the record shows that the 5-year shift of the 20th century record eliminated a strong cooling spell from 1901 to 1906, and that this was the principal reason for the increase from 0.6°C to 0.74°C, rather than the last five years of the record as implied by the word “therefore”.”

        Both five year periods have an effect. If you extend the 1901-2000 period to be 1901-2005 the trend goes up. If you then shorten that period to 1906-2005, the trend goes up even further. It’s a bit of both.

      • ”Doesn’t mean it’s wrong – just that we don’t have the data.”

        I’d have no problem with this if you added “…and may never have.”

      • Nick Stokes

        The “argument” for AGW, per se, is correct as you stated, with my addition to part 3. (IOW “temperature rise” is already a deduced “consequence”, which may occur unless another compensating “consequence” occurs, for some as yet unknown reason or “natural thermostat” mechanism). As a result, I would also specify that part 3 is a deduced “consequence” of parts 1 and 2.

        I would also eliminate the subjective phrase at the end of paragraph 2: “in a big way”.

        We then have:

        1. GHG’s absorb outgoing IR
        2. We are adding GHG’s to the air
        3. As a consequence, the increased absorption of outgoing IR means that temperatures will have to rise to restore radiation balance unless other changes, such as increased reflection of incoming SW radiation, compensate correspondingly.

        This formulation leaves open whether “temperature rise” could be imperceptible (and hence, insignificant) or perceptible (and hence significant).

        The problem is, Nick, that IPCC is selling us a “package”, which speculates that “temperature change” caused by AGW is highly “significant” (compared to that caused by natural forcing) and includes part 4 and 5 as I stated as integral parts.

        4. AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of observed 20th century warming

        5. AGW represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment, unless human CO2 emissions can be reduced drastically.

        I do not think that you will have many rational skeptics arguing against your 1-3 (with the additions I recommended), however many will object to the IPCC (or “mainstream”) “package”.

        Incidentally, that is what is being debated here, Nick, not your parts 1 and 2 plus the modified 3.

        Max

      • Why is CO2 so horrible at keeping diurnal temperature ranges low in dry regions like deserts?

        It appears to me only H2O is a GHG. CO2 is just a poseur.

      • The British Royal Society in their recent climate summary said that climate change was the result of ordered forcing and ‘internal climate variability’ that occurred as a result of ‘climate being an example of a chaotic system’.

        Ordered forcing, I feel, needs to be seen in the theoretical framework of dynamical complexity. That is – changes in conditions leading to abrupt, nonlinear and unpredictable deterministic chaotic change in OHC, ice, clouds, dust, vegetation and, therefore, land surface albedo.

        But what is internal climate variability? Mostly it emerges from variability in the Pacific and predominantly on interannual timescales from ENSO. A dragon-king in the terminology of Sornette (2005) is an extreme event associated with a chaotic bifurcation in a chaotic system. These occurred in the Pacific in 1976/1977 and 1998/2001 – with shifts in the frequency and intensity of ENSO events and a change in the trajectory. Most of the recent warming (that is – between 1976 and 1998) occurred in the extreme events of 1976/1977 and 1998/2001. Although – as we are talking about quite rapid changes – the monthly record is of much greater interest. The climate shifts at these time are associated with changes in sea surface temperature and related changes in cloud cover – together these change the planetary energy balance and redistributes heat between the oceans and atmosphere.

        The small changes in the radiative effects of greenhouse gases certainly are there in radiative spectra analysis – and in well based physical theory – but it is masked by internal variability. Feedback is a property of the system as a whole – and not of a single control variable – and is at the moment incalculable.

        Decadal climate variability can be largely understood in terms of decadal variability in the Atlantic and – especially – the Pacific. The two do seem, however, to be related – as seen in the synchonistic approach of Tsonis and colleagues. In the terms of chaos – there appear to be standing waves in the oceans and atmosphere in the spatio-temporal chaotic system that is Earth climate. The control variables for these may be interesting as the changes appear to emanate from the poles. Lockwood et al 2010 has suggested a top down mechanism involving solar UV drift and ozone.

        There is an effect on radiative flux from greenhouse gases. The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at levels not seen perhaps for 10 to 15 million years. Humans have a nascent industrial civilisation that depends on burning fossil fuels. I feel it is just facing inevitable reality to accept that there is a risk to both climate and ecologies that we are not competent to judge.

        I have been studying these decadal changes for more than 20 years. I have degrees in engineering and environmental science. My assessment of my own limitations suggests that determining the future by examining the entrails – the decadal linear trends – of the surface temperature record is a very poorly conceived pastime.

  9. Dr. Curry wrote (re Muller):

    The article is written by Michael Lemonick, author of the infamous Climate Heretic piece. This is a very nice article IMO, […]

    Been a while since I read Lemonick’s “Heretic” piece; but the first thing that struck me when I read his Muller piece was how much more respectful he seemed to be this time around. I somehow doubt that the flak he’s probably getting from the likes of Mann, Romm et al will result in his making the same follow-up mistake (i.e. with a poll)!

    And (re Bill Hooke’s “scary statistic” piece):

    I agree that it is quite scary! Although not surprising if one considers the recent study cited by Roger Pielke Jr., in which the dearth of progress in acquisition of ‘critical thinking and complex reasoning’ skills was noted for certain fields of study (including business!)

    To my mind, at least, critical thinking and complex reasoning skills would be pre-requisites for effective “strategic planning”. And if leaders lack the skills … well, it’s not surprising that they fill their days with other stuff! It’s somewhat akin to an astonishing “statistic” I heard recently on a CBC radio program: twitter is rapidly becoming the “source” of choice for journalists in search of a story!

    Btw … speaking of “critical thinking” skills (and/or absence thereof) those who are following the progress of the IPCC vis a vis the IAC recommendations, might be interested in knowing that the IPCC have now posted (with very little fanfare .. well, none that I’ve come across!) their “decisions text” at http://www.ipcc.ch/ [I had posted this in the “admitting mistakes” thread, but it might have gotten lost in the “traffic” :-)]

    P.S. Dr. Curry, thanks for adding me to your blogroll – Hilary

    • “Meet the Press” has a massive new board on their studio wall that shows multiple tweets coming in during the program. NBC is very proud of it.

  10. Just spotted at Bishop Hill
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/5/23/the-ipcc-goes-closed-and-opaque.html

    New rules regarding who gets to look at drafts versions of the IPCC report. Looks like they forgot to hire that PR person?

  11. With regards to the deployment of “Wedges” in the present time …

    Why isn’t anyone talking about how perhaps the biggest obstacles to pulling off some of these ‘wedges’ are environmentalists themselves.

    In truth, everyone’s an environmentalist when it comes to the health/life effects of a Wind Farm or Biomass (etc.) facility coming to their neighborhood… But if these sorts of “wedges” are to be successfully deployed, who else is going to be able to communicate support for their larger (but diffuse) benefits for the whole, if not environmentalists?

    Think about it… we’ve got all these people prattling on about how we need a million wind turbines, a whole slew of biomass facilities, fracking for all, etc…and yet when it comes to actual deployment, these same advocates band together with apathetic-but-now-caring NIMBY types to destroy any project that comes near them.

    Let’s consider any environmentalist that is “thinking globally” when “acting locally”… Who’s in favor of a nuclear power plant within 15 miles of their house? A biomass facility down the street? Wind turbines within earshot on the ridge? A hydro-dam just upstream from you?

    If you don’t want it… why bother promoting it for ‘everyone else to deal with’? The costs run-ups for all of these projects are huge because of well informed NIMBY types and their litigation. Many projects have been killed because of them– and NOT the general public.

    The reason why places like China can deploy all sorts of green energy initiatives is because they don’t even bother with the rights of the individual with regard to siting– and the individual is more culturally receptive/submissive to the needs of the state (certainly compared to America).

    Even here, there are many environmentalists that wish that the US government can just mandate green energy deployment without having to bother with due-process, etc. “just get it done”… but those same people are at the front of the line weilding placards and rolodexes full of attorneys when one of these projects comes to their area code.

    …all this from a guy who is about to be a 1/4 mile from a biomass facility. I support the project, but the locals are up at arms about it. One of the chief opponents, a fellow local Earth Scientist colleague. Face it. Someone’s going to have to live near this stuff…it might as well be the environmentalists that understand their benefit.

    Whoops /rant

    • Jack Hughes

      Hi Salamano,

      You have highlighted a big problem in the green movement: the gap between talk and action.

      Greens would love the whole world to “de-carbonize”.
      Failing that, they would love their own nation to “de-carbonize”.
      Failing that they have not started to “de-carbonize” at a personal level.

      I have only ever met one green who did this: he lived a very simple and frugal life surrounded by second-hand and recycled stuff – like the old comedy film “Steptoe and Son”. His wife left him and she needed therapy afterwards.
      His 2 children were actually very normal and nice kids. We used to give them contraband chocolates.

      Apart from this neighbour it’s all talk and no action.

      • Tonight there was a vote in my city in regards to the biomass plant. City Counselors approved a permit a couple of years ago, and the company came in and poured millions of dollars of investment to get things rolling. Now, proverbial winds are blowing in a different direction, and the city council voted to revoke the permit.

        This, despite the foreknowledge that tomorrow morning, the company is looking to file a 50-million dollar lawsuit on the revoked permit.

        How come ‘environmentalists’ who support green energy don’t see this sort of thing happening everywhere else, if they themselves fight hard to eliminate green energy producers near them?

        This ‘wedges’ talk is meaningless unless/until the folks who propose it are also willing to engage on this issue.

  12. Judith Curry

    Thanks for some interesting articles.

    Lemonick treated Dr. Muller a bit more with kid gloves than he did you in the “heretic” article back in November. Looks like some of Muller’s statements have started a bit of a broohaw among the faithful keepers of the dogma, though. “Popcorn time”, indeed.

    Tony Brown has written another interesting piece. He does his homework well and has a way of making something as dry as climate history sound fascinating.

    The Spencer article is interesting as it is the first time (AFAIK) that he has come out with observational data that support the Svensmark et al. cosmic ray / cloud hypothesis. When the results of the CLOUD experiment at CERN are released, it will be interesting to see if they confirm the satellite-based estimates made by Spencer.

    The Cambridge “get-together” was interesting more for the mixed bag of participants than apparently for anything anyone said, but the author’s reaction to Svensmark’s presentation was interesting (does Svensmark have something new up his sleeve that he is about to pop?)

    [Haven’t gotten to the Easterbrook and Hooke articles yet.]

    The “wedges” retraction (?) by Robert Socolow is also interesting. First it was a bit too easy for us to change our climate, now it’s a bit too hard (I’d vote for the second opinion). The key message I read is his acknowledgement (and dismay) that AGW is no longer considered a serious problem by a majority of people today:

    “Scientists and environmentalists interested in getting climate taken seriously have failed beyond their wildest imaginations. This is a time for self-assessment”

    Your efforts on this blog and elsewhere are a part of that “self-assessment”, which IMO will eventually mean a basic change of direction and approach in climate science.

    Max

  13. Muller continues to be mealy-mouthed. Friedman and Gore are just “exaggerating” a little? I think not. Shameless egregious distorted hyping is not mere “exaggerating”.

  14. ian (not the ash)

    Meanwhile, as reported in Australia…

    “The Commonwealth Government’s independent Climate Commission released a report yesterday saying climate change is still real, it is still caused mainly by burning fossil fuels and digging up trees and the consequences are still going to be bad… But for anyone with even a passing concern in climate change, the announcements felt about as fresh and revelatory as they did the last time they heard them. Or the time before that. Or before that.
    The commission’s report called this the “Critical Decade” in which the world needs to respond to the challenge. Just like the 1997 Kyoto Protocol was supposed to have responded to the challenge. Just like Copenhagen was going to be the meeting that saved the world. These catchphrases echo across the decades.”

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/2728116.html

  15. Sorry, Nigel Lawson as a “climate luminary” and a “serious skeptic”?
    He wasn’t even a serious Cabinet minister under Thatcher!!

    • Latimer Alder

      I think you’ll find that he was Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister) for over six years, and oversaw many of the excellent reforms at the time.

      The Chancellorship, along with the PM, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary is usually considered to be one of the four great offices of state. In economically turbulent times, it is probably second only to the PM . So he was hardly a ‘non-serious’ cabinet minister.

      I wonder why you make no attempt to rebut his arguments…just make a snide and eminently dumb remark about the guy? Lack of counter arguments? Or just warmist knee jerk reaction to anything uncomfortable for them?

      • andrew adams

        Well I don’t quite accept your high opinion of his record as chancellor, given that we ended up in what was then the worst recession since the war, but that’s an argument for a different forum.
        Still, he was, as you say, holder of one the great offices of state so that does give him a certain amount of prestige. But that’s no reason to treat him as any kind of authority on climate science.

      • Latimer Alder

        Agreed.

        But neither can he be dismissed as a non-serious Cabinet Minister as the previous correspondent attempted to do.

        And in so doing he merely emphasises his inability to discuss any sensible argument. ‘Play the man, not the ball’….the alarmist’s #1 tactic.

      • Latimer Alder

        Worth noting too that he is serious enough to have written a published book about the subject, and appears and speaks regularly at climate-related discussions in UK.

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Appeal-Reason-Cool-Global-Warming/dp/0715638416/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1306246560&sr=8-2

        Hardly a trivial figure.

    • andrew adams

      And Ian Plimer as well!

      Presumably James Delingpole was busy.

  16. Rob Starkey

    Regarding Scientific American- I personally have found the periodical to be extremely biased in their coverage of potential climate change. They repeatedly attribute any negative environmental circumstance to human released CO2. The articles usually have a mild disclaimer stating “scientists believe this might be attributed to CO2”, but it is just propaganda and not science. That Mann does not like SA is strange.

  17. Michael D. Lemonick
    Scientific American, June 2011

    Muller will be finished with the final study any day now, and if it confirms those early results, as expected, he could be permanently relegated to the skeptics’ dog house.

    http://bit.ly/j5zvj0

    How can Michael make such a conclusion?

    Actually, in the same article, what Muller said was:

    And yet the science didn’t seem settled

    This is exactly what most skeptics say. It is on the interpretation of the data, not at the data itself that the cause for the skepticism rests.

    • Wishful thinking.

      Washington, DC – car use has dropped IN the city – but many of those who use the Metro uses their car to get to the Metro. Most use cars to get to the grocery, doctor, shopping mall, whatever. And the Malls have HUGE parking lots that are mostly full.

      No – usage may have dropped off in the large cities, but in small towns, suburbia and flyover country, it’s alive and well.

  18. Mann and Romm are a good pair indeed. Poor Mann has driven himself into a tragic figure. He reminds me of a stock character who shows up so often in the British murder mysteries I enjoy so much. There’s always a huffing and puffing upper class twit who doesn’t want to answer the questions of the police. The typical line usually includes “Why the impudence!” When all you’ve got left is bluster, you know you’re in trouble. Such a person can only get more and more bitter.

    • Latimer Alder

      Tragic?

      I think not. A weak and petty man who played with fire and found it has come back to burn him. But he chose to take the seductive path to influence and fortune.

      Like all who tried it before him he has come to find that it is not an easy road. And that fame is a fickle mistress.

      Hoist by his own petard…….

  19. Muller: Having testified before Congress, I have a sense that most members of Congress are serious, that they are thoughtful, that if they have a point of view that disagrees with what you call the mainstream, it’s because there have been legitimate skeptics who have raised real issues that have not necessarily been answered.

    Thanks Prof Muller.

    What is the following oscillation in the global mean temperature data?

    http://bit.ly/emAwAu

  20. Re the piece in National Geographic about Socolow’s wedges, read his email to Joe Romm on http://climateprogress.org/2011/05/18/socolow-wedges-deployment/

    Socolow writes:
    “Look closely at what is in quotes, which generally comes from my slides, and what is not in quotes. What is not in quotes is just enough “off” in several places to result in my messages being misconstrued. I have given a similar talk about ten times, starting in December 2010, and this is the first time that I am aware of that anyone in the audience so misunderstood me. ”

    Say about Romm what you want, but he displayed better investigative journalism than most others in this matter.

  21. Hi judith

    Thanks for your reference to my work on the History of temperature measurements.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/05/23/little-ice-age-thermometers-%e2%80%93-history-and-reliability-2/

    I become more concerned with the writing of each article at the way that historic temperature data is used as supposed high quality material with which to program a computer model or make wide ranging assertions.

    Whether you use actual temperatures or anomalies the record is much too imprecise to prove too much, let alone to create a scenario whereby profound and far reaching policy is being formulated.

    My best guess is that- as Lamb and others observed- the warming was well under way by 1750 judging by the subsequent retreat of the glaciers. My other best guess is that Dr Manns profoundly influential Hockey stick has its blade up the wrong way and the gentle warming trend can be traced back to around 1607. There was no continual decline until a sudden uptick in the 1890’s or so.

    James Hansen with Giss is merely plugging into the end of a long established trend not recording the start of it.

    I am writing an article entitled ‘The long slow thaw’ which tries to trace milestones in the evoloution of our climate over the past 400 years. In the meantime if anyone wants a copy of the full article on the Study into historic measurements please email me., That part carried on WUWT is probably 20% of the total and I would welcome peer review before I decide what to do with it.
    tonyATclimatereasonDOTcom

    Tonyb
    t

    • Nebuchadnezzar

      “Whether you use actual temperatures or anomalies the record is much too imprecise to prove too much, let alone to create a scenario whereby profound and far reaching policy is being formulated”

      You haven’t shown that though. You have made a list of sources of potential error. That’s an interesting exercise, but without quantifying them and then feeding those uncertainties through to other analyses your assertion – though interesting – is unsupported.

      It’s clear from looking at global temperature records that we can see effects like El Nino and La Nina, long term ocean oscillations like the PDO and AMO, atmospheric perturbations like the AO and AAO, the effects of volcanoes and such like.

      In fact, some of the effects on your list are known and their effects have been studied and quantified. Others are, I suspect trifling. It’s impossible to tell until you quantify them.

      • Neby old mate – you are full of simplistic and unsubstantiated narrative as usual. I would tend to be more tolerant but for the unfortunately arrogant tone. You need to know a lot more or be less unctuously superior.

        Here is one quantification from realclimate. If you note the underlying trend is 0.1 degree C is you start by taking out extreme ENSO events in 1976/1977 and 1998/2001.

        Here is a comment from above that might be useful – https://judithcurry.com/2011/05/23/week-in-review-52311/#comment-70093 – we do not have much of a handle on internal climate variability and there are very limited mathematical tools for approaching the problem.

        I have quoted before the head of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) Tim Palmer on the problem of prediction. Here is chapter 1 of Predictability of Weather and Climate. Do try to follow.

      • that is: 0.1 degrees C /decade

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        You should read what I said more carefully.

        My comment concerned measurement error. I was using El Nino as an example of a phenomenon we know about because the measurements are sufficiently good to resolve it. Ditto AMO, PDO and other Os. As I said before, I agree with you that we don’t have much of a handle on internal variability. My point was the observations are of good enough quality that we are at least aware that there is internal variability to get a handle on.

        If one is arguing that the observations are too poor, then that needs to be quantified. How poor exactly are they? Do you know?

  22. Romm reports that Michael Mann requests retraction of defamatory claims

    With sincere apologies to all fans of the fab flick “Casablanca” [not to mention lyricist and composer Herman Hupfeld] …

    [This day and age we’re living in
    Gives cause for apprehension
    With speed and new invention
    And things like circumvention

    Yet some get a trifle weary
    With post-normal climate theory.
    So we must get down to earth at times
    Relax relieve the tension

    And no matter what Romms’s progress
    Or what may yet be proved
    The simple facts of science are such
    They cannot be removed.]

    Please take note, Lemonick
    A trick is not a trick, decline is not decline
    My climate science shall apply
    As time goes by

    And when my tree-rings few
    Still say, “disasters due”
    On that you must rely
    Or else you I shall sue
    As time goes by

    And when some experts say
    Your stats cause great dismay
    On them you can’t rely
    No matter what the science brings
    As time goes by

    Sea rise and mosquitoes
    Increasing at such rate
    Hearts full of passion
    All ‘cuz of Climategate
    Science needs Mann
    And Mann must have his mates
    That no one can deny

    It’s still the same old story
    A fight for pubs and glory
    A case of do-as-I say or die
    The wold will always endorse my hockey-stick
    As time goes by

    Oh yes, the world will always welcome my hockey-stick
    As time goes by

    • hro001

      As Bogie said, “Play it again, Sam…”

      • Fair’s fair but if you are going to get Casablanca wrong!!!!

        ‘Bogart’s supposed line from Casablanca. This is well-known as one of the most widely misquoted lines from films. The actual line in the film is ‘Play it, Sam’. Something approaching ‘Play it again, Sam’ is first said in the film by Ilsa Lund (Ingrid Bergman) in an exchange with the piano player ‘Sam’ (Dooley Wilson):

        Ilsa: Play it once, Sam. For old times’ sake.
        Sam: I don’t know what you mean, Miss Ilsa.
        Ilsa: Play it, Sam. Play “As Time Goes By.”
        Sam: Oh, I can’t remember it, Miss Ilsa. I’m a little rusty on it.
        Ilsa: I’ll hum it for you. Da-dy-da-dy-da-dum, da-dy-da-dee-da-dum…
        Ilsa: Sing it, Sam.

        The line is usually associated with Humphrey Bogart and later in the film his character Rick Blaine has a similar exchange, although his line is simply ‘Play it’:

        Rick: You know what I want to hear.
        Sam: No, I don’t.
        Rick: You played it for her, you can play it for me!
        Sam: Well, I don’t think I can remember…
        Rick: If she can stand it, I can! Play it!’

      • OK, Chief, I may have got it wrong on “Casablanca” but hro001 definitely got it right on her version of “As Time Goes By”.

        Max

      • Thanks, Max … but, you know, in keeping with the theme, perhaps you could amend your “controversial” comment so that it reads …

        “Play it again, Mann” [and based on past performances, he probably will] ;-)

  23. “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.”

    I find this claim to be ironic. Richard Muller is guilty of at most of some sloppy analysis in which he mistakenly conflates Mike’s “nature trick” with Briffa’s “hide the decline” or something like that (it is indeed hard to keep straight all the “tricks” .) For this he is accused of deliberate dishonesty. Yet Mann, et.al. expect everyone to give them the benefit of the doubt concerning all the various ways the “divergence problem” has been hidden and to avoid charges of deliberate deception. Mann, Jones, Briffa, et.al are living in glass houses when it comes to asserting “dishonesty”.

    • Mann starts of his Muller diatribe with:

      Anyone who thinks that Richard Muller has any credibility at all …

      Credibility?

      Tell it to Bernie Madoff, Michael.

      Max

    • pauld,
      Con-artists have to make sure their victims carefully parse what they hear about the con-artist.
      Con-artists are the first and loudest to accuse others of what they in fact are doing. con-artists have to seek to censor what critics say, and have no toelrance of being made fun of.
      Think of how Mann responded to the ‘hide the decline parody’, and to his op-ed campaign over the last year, in which he misrepresents those who question him, as good examples of this in action.

  24. Joe Lalonde

    Judith,

    The slow process is the realization that a great deal of todays science is manufactured for a certain purpose.
    Manufacturers only want good studies to be published while suppressing bad ones and taking away any funding that may have a negative effect on their product. Many experts have been produced by manufactured science and sit high in many government committees.
    Having to follow this criteria through the process of “peer-review” only generated a like minded “old boys club” of having to follow certain formulas or mathematical equations which fail as they are too rigid in a changing planetary system and a changing solar system.
    Mechanical processes are considered a pseudo-science when in actual fact, they understand the process this planet created.

    Science is currently built on a house of theoretical cards that is falling and will eventually discredit the whole field.

  25. 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.”
    Is this the statement that Mann believes is “false” and “libelous”? It is interesting to me that just today Steven McIntrye posts his frustration with Mann, noting that “Rather than conceding even seemingly indisputable points, Mann and his associates contested every single issue – even the seemingly indisputable and elementary observation that Mannian principal components mined datasets for hockey stick shaped data” http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/23/climategate-documents-confirm-wegmans-hypothesis/
    So Mann views a statement as libelous (i.e. false) that McIntrye views as “indisputable and elementary”. As a layman who follows this debate, I think that this accurately reflects the state of the debate, but if I am missing something, I would be happy to be corrected.
    To better understand the source of this dispute, I would like to review several propositions to see exactly where the dispute lies.
    1) McKitrick asserts that Mann did not apply standard Principle Component Analysis to derive the hockey stick. Specifically, they assert:

    “In a conventional PC analysis, if the data are in differing units it is common to “standardize” them by subtracting the mean of each column and dividing by the standard error. This re-centers and re-scales all the data to a mean of zero and a variance of 1. With tree ring data no such re-scaling is needed since the data are pre-scaled before archiving. In Mann’s program, he applied a scaling, but with a difference. Rather than subtract the mean of the entire series length, he subtracted the mean of the 20th century portion, then divided by the standard error of the 20th century portion. ” http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf at page 8

    For those who support Mann’s methods, do you agree that Mann applied a non-standard form of principle component analysis? If you believe that Mann’s method can be defended, do you at least agree that he should have disclosed his method and defended it in his paper?

    2) McKitrick further asserts that Mann’s methodology has a significant effect on the results. He observes,

    “Since the mean of the 20th century portion is higher than the mean of the whole series, subtracting the 20th century mean ‘de-centers’ the series, shifting it off a zero mean. This, in turn, inflates the variance of these series. PC algorithms choose weights to maximize the explained variance of a group of data series. If one series in the group has a relatively high variance, its weight in the PC1 gets inflated. The Mann algorithm did just this. It would, in effect, look through a data set and identify series with a 20th century trend, then load all the weight on them. In effect it ‘data-mines’ for hockey sticks.” http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf

    This allegation makes sense to me intuitively. Is this disputed by someone?

    3) To test whether this assertion is correct, M&M tested it by running Monte Carlo simulations. McKitrick explains:

    “To test the power of Mann’s data-mining algorithm we ran an experiment in which we developed sequences of random numbers tuned to have the same autocorrelation pattern as the NOAMER tree ring data. In an autocorrelated process a random shock takes a few periods to drift back to the mean. Initially we used a simple first-order autocorrelation model, but later we implemented a more sophisticated ARFIMA1 routine that more accurately represents the entire autocorrelation function associated with tree ring data. In statistics these kinds of models are called “red noise.” The key point was that the ARFIMA data is trendless random noise, simulating the data you’d get from trees in a climate that is only subject to random fluctuations with no warming trend.
    In 10,000 repetitions on groups of red noise, we found that a conventional PC algorithm almost never yielded a hockey stick shaped PC1, but the Mann algorithm yielded a pronounced hockey stick-shaped PC1 over 99% of the time.” http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/McKitrick-hockeystick.pdf

    4) The Wegman report claims that it was able to duplicate M&M monte carlo simiulations. Are M&M’s and Wegman’s Monte Carlo simulation results disputed by anyone?

    M&M’s conclusion was that the PC methodology used by Mann created hockey stick graphs out of random red noise data. If this is true, it would seem to support Mueller’s assertion that Mann’s methods contained a “serious bug”. Although there have been many other hockey stick graphs that used different methods and/or different proxies, I am not aware of any peer-reviewed articles or even blog posts that dispute this basic point. Are there any?

    • “Is this the statement that Mann believes is “false” and “libelous”?”
      How about some facts? Citations? When and where did Mann say such a thing?

      “For those who support Mann’s methods, do you agree that Mann applied a non-standard form of principle component analysis? If you believe that Mann’s method can be defended, do you at least agree that he should have disclosed his method and defended it in his paper?”
      It seems to me that Mann made a simple programming error. He subtracted the calibration mean instead of the total mean. This had minor practical effect.

      “McKitrick further asserts…”
      “The Wegman report claims…”
      What none of these people did is what anyone really interested to find out would do – redo the calculations using correctly centred PCA. Show what the difference is. Why didn’t they do it?

      Well, Wahl and Ammann did. And they found the hockey stick was still there.

      As did all these people. And they weren’t using decentred PCA.

      • Interesting looking at the authors of those studies. P.D. Jones was on 4 of the the 10, M.E. Mann 3 of the 10 and K.R. Briffa on 2 of the 10. Independently confirming themselves?

      • Latimer Alder

        Good to see that the graph acknowledges there was a MWP – as contemporary written records, circumstantial evidence and archaeology all confirm. When did climatology catch up with truth?

        But after that long ago time, things don’t go so well.

        And dont’cha just lurrve the illegible spaghetti post 1900? Looks like something is going up, but you can’t actually pick out which bits do what..nor if any or all of the 10 are used to make the thick black line going up.

        Now where have I seen that trick before…one might almost think it is hiding something…no doubt the authors would decline to comment…..

      • andrew adams

        Latimer,

        The black line is the instrumental record.

        All of the reconstructions date from between 1998 and 2005 and broadly show that temperatures during medieval times were relatively warm (at least in the NH) but probably not as warm as today, which has been and still is the established view, so I’m not sure why you think climatology has suddenly had some kind of change of heart.

      • Latimer Alder

        Because I remember the rallying cry:

        ‘We have to get rid of the MWP’

        and magically Mikey Mann appeared to have done so.

        Until the two Macs came and showed his work to be ‘economical with the statistics’ (extremely charitable interpretation)

        That’s why I just wanted to check. Here’s the climatological chronology.

        1990 and before: MWP existed. It was warm, it was good, things grew, it wasn’t cold and people were happy.

        abt 1995: ‘If things were that good in the MWP then why should they be scared of AGW now. And if they managed the MWP without added CO2 then there could be another explanation now. Bad News!! We must get rid of the MWP!!

        1998: Mann to the rescue. There never was a MWP. It didn’t exist. No siree not even a tiny bit. I’ve used a secret method and secret data to prove it. Climatologists and IPCC members dance in street! The Wicked MWP is dead. Warming is unprecedented! Careers are safe!

        2000-2007: Macs extract the truth from Mann inch by painstaking inch. His paper is baloney. Climatologists shuffle feet and look the other way. Nothing to do with us..and anyway its even worse than we thought!

        2011: ‘Of course we always said there was a MWP. Just only in Europe so all other bets are off. Whoever told you anything else?’ Ans: You guys did in IPCC 3. Loudly and at tedious length’

      • andrew adams

        Latimer,

        As I’m sure you are aware, the supposed email containing the “We have to get rid of the MWP” remark has never been produced and the supposed author denies saying it. For a “skeptic” you seem remarkably willing to accept such claims at face value despite the lack of any supporting evidence.

        Your “chronlogy” is just fairytale stuff. For a start, if existence of an MWP was so damaging to the pro-AGW case prior to Mann “getting rid of it” in 1998 then how come Kyoto was signed in 1997?

        Can you provide a single verified quote from a climate scientist saying anything alonh the lines of “If things were that good in the MWP then why should they be scared of AGW now. And if they managed the MWP without added CO2 then there could be another explanation now. Bad News!! We must get rid of the MWP” to prove that this is not entirely a figment of your imagination.

        And why the obsession with Mann? Why ignore the other reconstructions ‘s which fail to show a MWP warmer than today?

        The existence and extent of the MWP is interesting to climate scientists because it may tell us more about how our climate works. It is not and has never been a “problem” for them. The “skeptics” obsession with the subject is just downright silly.

      • Andrew,

        What is the (global) temperature trend for the last 10.000 years? Can we say with any certainty if we have cooling or warming (~10.000 y)?

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        andrew adams, other reconstructions are not ignored. Mann gets the most attention because he, and his work, is ultimately at the center of the issue, but that doesn’t mean anyone else is ignored. It’s also worth noting, in my experience, Mann gets a lot of attention simply because he gets defended. Things would be differernt if people said, “Mann’s work was garbage; we should talk about Hegerl’s instead.”

        Then again, it seems no agreement can be reached on Mann’s work. If nobody can agree on the most analyzed issue, what are the odds they’ll agree on one most people haven’t even looked at? Despite talking about other reconstructions getting the same results, defenders of Mann tend not to know anything about the other work.

        It doesn’t help Mann released a new reconstruction almost a decade after his first, and it was promoted by defenders of the consensus far more than any of the other reconstructions to which you refer. That’s bound to draw more attention to it, a bad thing when you realize it was fatally flawed in the exact same way as Mann’s original reconstruction.

        Almost a decade later, had passed, and you can summarize the new in the exact same way as the old, “This paper has many errors, both minor and severe. It’s conclusions depend entirely upon small amounts of questionable data being given undue weight.”

      • aa –
        All of the reconstructions date from between 1998 and 2005 and broadly show that temperatures during medieval times were relatively warm (at least in the NH) but probably not as warm as today, which has been and still is the established view

        Bullfeathers. It was the exact opposite of that statement that got me into a 3-month long flame war about the MWP with the “opposition” waving the IPCC report at me and my waving 150 years of archaeology at them.

        And one more thing – if it’s warmer today, why isn’t anyone farming Greenland? And where are the grapes being grown in England?

        I’m not sure why you think climatology has suddenly had some kind of change of heart.

        Because they’re being forced into it by this kind of thing –

        http://www.pitt.edu/~mabbott1/climate/mark/Abstracts/Pubs/Birdetal11PNAS.pdf

      • And one more thing – if it’s warmer today, why isn’t anyone farming Greenland? And where are the grapes being grown in England?

        Seriously? Lol.

      • Yes – seriously.

        Why do you think the questions lack validity?

      • Nebuchadnezzar

        “And where are the grapes being grown in England?”

        Let me google that for you:
        http://www.english-wine.com/vineyards.html

      • andrew adams

        Jim,

        The evidence appears to show that parts of Greenland did indeed have an exceptionally warm period about 1,000(?) years ago, indeed it was almost certainly hotter than today. Who says so? Michael Mann in his 2009 paper. That doesn’t mean it was warmer globally or even across the NH.

        As has already been pointed out there are grapes being grown right across England.

      • andrew adams

        Also, the paper you linked to was interesting, especially in the light of the two severe droughts in the Amazon region in recent years. I’m just not sure what you think it proves.

      • Nick Stokes quotes me and then replies
        ““Is this the statement that Mann believes is “false” and “libelous”?”
        How about some facts? Citations? When and where did Mann say such a thing?”
        The original post states: “Romm reports that Michael Mann requests retraction of defamatory claims, citing an email from Mann . . ..” Since it was not entirely clear from the post, I was wondering what claim Mann believes was defamatory? A defamatory claim is by definition a harmful “false” claim. When it the claim is made in writing it is “libelous”. Perhaps I was incorrect in assuming that Romm’s report was correct, but clearly Mann’s email suggests that he was upset by some claim that Muller made. I may be wrong (that is why I asked), but it appeared from the post that Mann was upset by Muller’s claim that,

        “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.”

        I think that it Muller is correct that Mann’s paper contained a “very serious bug”, but you attribute the serious “bug” to a programming error rather than an intentionally chosen method. M&M demonstrate that the “programming” error (if that is what it was) has the effect of creating hockey sticks out of “red noise”. Do you dispute this? I don’t see how this could be an insignificant problem.
        Whether one can derive a hockey stick graph by using standard PC analysis is a point that is hotly disputed as I understand the controversy. Wahl and Ammann create a hockey stick using standard PC analysis by retaining five PC’s. Whether it is correct to retain five PC’s is disputed, but unltimately not relevant to whether the original Mann paper contained a “serious bug” intentionally or by mistake.
        I quoted McIntrye as being frustrated that Mann will not concede even “the seemingly indisputable and elementary observation that Mannian principal components mined datasets for hockey stick shaped data”. If Mann made a programing error, why won’t he concede it? Has he?

      • There is a difference between a statistical method that is formally correct and one that is useful. Useful methods can often be buggered by a pathological data set, formally correct ones not. The method that McIntyre recommends is formally correct. The one that Mann use is useful.

        It should be noted that

        a. McIntyre and McKitrick created a data set from red noise from which he selected the small percentage that had hockey stick shapes, but even in that case the blades of the sticks were much smaller than that from the MBH98 and 99 reconstructions. Wegman used this set but, treated it as “typical”.

        b. McIntyre and McKitrick created a set of paleoclimate records by a particularly strange reading of the list of inputs to MBH 98 from which they published a distorted (before 1600) reconstruction. Wahl and Ammon actually used the data set that was used in MBH 98 with the properly centered analysis. A particular example of what McKitrick and McIntyre did is that the Central England Temperature record is only instrumental and continuous in England after 1720 or so, but McIntyre and McKitrick claimed that having used the CET (MBH98 only used the record back to 1730 or so) MBH were obligated to use the dicey early part of it as well. And so it went.

      • Eli says:
        “McIntyre and McKitrick created a data set from red noise from which he selected the small percentage that had hockey stick shapes, but even in that case the blades of the sticks were much smaller than that from the MBH98 and 99 reconstructions. Wegman used this set but, treated it as “typical”.”
        Perhaps I am misunderstanding your point or missing something, but what you claim is not what M&M reported as I read their paper. Here is what they say:

        “The simulations nearly always yielded PC1s with a
        hockey stick shape, some of which bore a quite remarkable
        similarity to the actual MBH98 temperature reconstruction –
        as shown by the example in Figure 1. A sharp inflection
        was regularly observed at the start of the 1902–1980
        ‘‘calibration period’’. Figure 2 shows histograms of the
        hockey stick index of the simulated PC1s. Without the
        MBH98 transformation (top panel), a 1 s hockey stick
        occurs in the PC1 only 15.3% of the time (1.5 s – 0.1%).
        Using the MBH98 transformation (bottom panel), a 1 s
        hockey stick occurs over 99% of the time, (1.5 s – 73%;
        1.75 s – 21% and 2s – 0.2%).”

        The proxy issues are interesting, but not really relevant to the point I am trying that Muller was factually correct in stating that the original Mann paper had a “serious bug”.

        As to how M&M handled proxies, that may be interesting and worthy of discussion. However, I am deliberately limiting my discussion to the basic question whether Mueller was factually correct in stating that the the original Mann paper had a serious bug.

      • Opps, I forgot the link to M&M: Hockey sticks, principal components, and spurious,significance, GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH LETTERS, VOL. 32, L03710, doi:10.1029/2004GL021750, 2005 http://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2005/09/mcintyre.grl.2005.pdf page 2 of 5

      • Brandon Shollenberger

        Pauld, you aren’t misunderstanding anything. Eli Rabett is simply advancing an untrue claim.

  26. “This conference seems like a really good idea, and it is good sign to see the climate establishment engaging with some serious skeptics. ”

    I’m sorry, which skeptics were the serious ones??

  27. Bishop Hill has a very interesting post re the Cambridge workshop, on what we can agree on.
    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/5/24/what-we-agree-on.html

    I had a thread sort of like this previously what we know with confidence,
    https://judithcurry.com/2010/11/14/what-we-know-with-confidence/

    we should discuss Montford’s list, i’ll get a thread up on this in a few hours.

    • The Cambridge meeting must hurt…

      The Carbon Brief are very quick to ‘independantly’ and neutrally’ counter it (sarc off)

      http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/05/david-rose-climate-science-checked

      “Overall, Rose’s article is a collection of biased half-truths and unreferenced statements. Many of these have been repeated elsewhere many times by climate skeptics – and the overall effect is to give an entirely misleading picture about the current state of climate science.”

      Just how neutral are they ;) (European Climate Foundation funded)
      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/18/the-carbon-brief-the-european-rapid-response-team/

      “The question that Rose put to Professor Mitchell implies that scientists do not question the validity of the models that they use and their underpinning theories. In reality, climate scientists are constantly questioning, refining and improving models. The IPCC AR4 report devotes an entire section to that very topic.”

      Classic mis-direction. it is not the question that is interesting, BUT John Mitchell’s answer….

      • andrew adams

        Carbon Brief are addressing Rose’s article rather than the Cambridge meeting itself. Their criticisms are entirely correct.

      • Latimer Alder

        No they aren’t.

        Rose’s question does not imply that

        ‘scientists do not question the validity of the models that they use and their underpinning theories’

        It questions whether they take any notice of the actual real world observations out there when ‘questioning the validity….’ etc.

        and Mitchell’s response is pretty unequivocal that they do not

        ‘Our approach is not entirely empirical’

        Which I take to be climatologist speak for

        ‘Sod the observations, we know we’re right’. And with a minor subtext of ‘And sod you guys too…we’re untouchable’.

      • andrew adams

        The whole assumption underlying Rose’s question is incorrect, so it is meaningless regardless of what you think of the answer he got.

        The other criticisms of Rose’s piece are entirely accurate as well – he is a complete joke who has no understanding of the subject.

      • Latimer Alder

        Which ‘assumption underlying Rose’s question’ do you have in mind?

      • andrew adams

        That Jones’s remarks on the statistical significance of the temperature trend somehow invalidated or contradicted the model projections.

      • Andrew

        Don’t you find it extraordinary that the ‘evisceration’ by Carbon Brief glowingly referred to the first paper by Arrhenius in 1896 but signally fail to mention his second paper ten years later? In this he admitted he had got his calculations hopelessly wrong and reduced them by two thirds.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Svante_Arrhenius

        It seems that Carbon brief are unaware of it as well despite being told at least twice of their omission.

        tonyb

      • andrew adams

        Tony

        No, I don’t think it is relevant at all. The point of mentioning Arrhenius’s 1896 paper is that it was the first paper on the subject and so it demonstrates for how long the effect of increasing CO2 levels on climate has been studied. That is the reason his name is generaly brought into these arguments.
        The accuracy of his particular calculations are neither here or there – given the state of the science at the time one can hardly expect his estimates to closely match our current understanding of the subject.

      • Andrew

        I’m not sure if you’re being serious or not. Arrhenius made a huge somersault, but it is his original paper that is glowingly referred to, not his subsequent stab at something closer to reality.

        If someone is going to refer to Arrhenius and his calculations to support their viewpoint do you not think it right that they should refer to his modified considered position and not his shooting from the hip calculations?

        tonyb

      • andrew adams

        Tony,

        Arrhenius is rightly celebrated for recognising that increased CO2 levels in the atmosphere would cause warming and for making the first attempt to calculate the likely extent of such warming. That is an achievement in its own right.
        No one, absolutely no-one, uses Arrhenius’s actual calculations to make the case for AGW – there has been a great deal of research into climate sensitivity since then which has given us estimates which are considered to be much more accurate than his initial ones.

      • Andrew

        You said

        “No one, absolutely no-one, uses Arrhenius’s actual calculations to make the case for AGW – there has been a great deal of research into climate sensitivity since then which has given us estimates which are considered to be much more accurate than his initial ones.”

        My point was that Arrhenius produced two papers, the second of which substantially backtracked on the first. The Climate Rapid Response Team themselves reference his first paper within their resources page but not his second. It is quite common for many people to airily point to this 1896 paper to demonstrate that the effect has been known for many years and how considerable the end results will be.

        They rarely point out that his considered calculations ten years later were nowhere near as dramatic as his initial ones.

        If you think therefore that absolutely no one quotes Arrhenius to make their case I am afraid we will have to agree to differ as a google search reveals numerous references to the 1896 paper but not the later qualification.

        By the way I note that Callendars paper is also quoted approvingly by the Climate rapid response team, but not the elegant demolition of his work by Giles Slocum

        Arrhenius, Svante, 1896. On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground. Phil. Mag. ser. 5, vol. 41, 237-276.

        Ekholm, Nils, 1901. On the Variations of the Climate of the Geological and Historical Past and Their Causes. Quart. J. Roy. Meteorol. Soc. 27, 1-61.

        Callendar, G.S., 1938. The Artificial Production of Carbon Dioxide and Its Influence on Temperature. Quart. J. Roy. Meteor. Soc., 64, 223–240.

        Plass, Gilbert N., 1956. The Carbon Dioxide Theory of Climatic Change. Tellus 8, 140–154.
        http://www.climaterapidresponse.org/resources.php

        Tonyb

      • andrew adams

        tony,

        It is quite common for many people to airily point to this 1896 paper to demonstrate that the effect has been known for many years and how considerable the end results will be.

        You are right in the first instance – people point to his 1896 paper to demonstrate that the effect of CO2 emissions has been known, or at least suspected, for many years – it emphasises the fact that it is not some modern day hoax or post hoc justification for the warming we have seen. That’s the context of the reference in the Carbon Brief piece and indeed in AR4 – the only place it is referred to is when the history of climate science is discussed.

        I have never ever seen anyone refer to it as evidence of how serious the end results will be. The usual reference is to the IPCC estimate of 2-4.5C (ie less than Arrhenius’s initial calculation) for climate sensitivity, or perhaps to Knutti & Hegerl’s paper – these are most certainly not based on Arrhenius’s 1896 calculations. Having said that, his later calculation is more in line with the IPCC range than the former one so I’m not sure why you think it is somehow damaging to the AGW cause.

        As I said before, Arrhenius’s 1896 paper was a milestone in climate science, that is why it is so often cited. His actual calculations have been superceded by the large number of studies on the subject of climate sensitivity done since then.

      • Latimer Alder

        You dissing my man Svante?

        Have there been any fundamental discoveries about the ‘greenhouse effect’ since him that have invalidated his work?

        If not, where does your cheap and arrogant remark

        ‘given the state of the science at the time one can hardly expect his estimates to closely match our current understanding of the subject’

        come from?

        Presumably you don’t think much of the Ike Newton guy either. But it was a long time ago. Bless him for even trying…. As to James Clerk Maxwell, Faraday, Rutherford, Kelvin…well they tried really really hard didn’t they. Sweet little things……

      • andrew adams

        Latimer,

        No-one is dissing anyone, I don’t know what you are on about.

    • Joe Lalonde

      Judith,

      Confidence is not certainty.
      We as low life are not allowed to bring up parameters that were NOT included in a study in a lab.

    • Judith

      A separate discussion of Montford’s list as you suggest would be very helpful.

      Max

  28. A list of items on which there is substantial agreement is a great idea. I also think it would be helpful to further the debate to devise a list of assertions which scientists from both sides agree can be reasonably disputed or , perhaps, which are subject to substantial uncertainty.

  29. “Popcorn time.”

    Lol, Judith :>)

  30. W F Lenihan

    Steve McIntyre’s post below should be enough to prime s first rate food fight.

    http://climateaudit.org/2011/05/23/climategate-documents-confirm-wegmans-hypothesis/#more-13628

    • Yes, I was just about to post that link. The hypothesis is about the failure of the peer review process when a field is dominated by a small clique who peer review each others’ work in the absence of independent and unbiased referees in the field. Wegman could not prove his hypothesis – because reviewers were anonymous – but it is proven by Climategate e-mails within the Jones-Mann clique, about referencing each others work.

    • In that thread, Nick Stokes made an important observation that coincides with my experience as a peer reviewer, a reviewee of papers I’ve written, and as a member of a journal editorial board responsible for soliticiting reviews. Nick may comment here, but the salient point is that achieving a knowledgeable and objective overall perspective from reviewers is challenging, and has often been found to be best accomplished by choosing reviewers (typically two, with a third solicited if the first two disagree) whose perspectives differ from each other. Toward this end, journals often invite authors to suggest the names of potential reviewers. If the editors find an available reviewer on this list whom they deem competent, that reviewer may be asked to participate, but responsible editors will also try to select someone who has exhibited a different perspective on the subject – perhaps a rival of the authors. The editors will make final decisions based on their evaluation of all the reviews, including an evaluation of conflicting opinions. What this means is that the existence among reviewers of one who shares an author’s perspective simply exemplifies the process of acquiring a diversity of review opinion, and does not necessarily signify a bias in favor of the authors.

      In a field with a very narrow spectrum of expertise, diversity may be hard to achieve, but even in that circumstance, it’s rare for all opinions to be identical. Ironically, it has not been infrequent (in my experience) for someone’s “friends” to be the harshest critics when the field is competitive.

      Peer review is well known to be imperfect, but anyone familiar with submitted papers that are rejected or accepted only after major revisions is aware of its value as one means of improving the quality of material readers encounter. Between legitimate journals and the blogosphere, there is almost nothing that cannot see the light of day, but the peer review process is a guide to help knowledgeable readers assess the potential value of reading an item according to the general quality of the journal in which it is published. With enough time, we should all read everything, but there is never enough time.

    • W F Lenihan

      Steve McIntyre’s post which you cited does clear up a lot of points concerning the peer review process in climate science.

      Max

  31. Laws of Nature

    Dear Judith,
    I would like to post about three statements, which are made in the video endoresed by M. Mann:
    I There was no data for the last 20 years before “Mike’s Trick” (Min 3:58)
    II All non-tree proxies track temperature constitently in the past (Min 7:15)
    III All data for the studies in question are available online from 1999 (Min 11:45)

    I don’t want to put words in Steve McIntire’s mouth, but AFAIK, he has disproven those statements and someone should tell that to M. Mann and P. Sinclair…
    I SMc’s explanation of various “tricks”
    http://climateaudit.org/2011/03/29/keiths-science-trick-mikes-nature-trick-and-phils-combo/
    It seems to me that there is data after 1960, but “Briffa’s trick” is responsible for not using it.. the statement in the video still seems to be wrong

    II http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/01/the-no-dendro-illusion/
    G. Smith: “Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tijlander sediments.”
    Well.. what I take from there is, that adding/removing a bad proxi does change the result a lot and while before 1500 seems certainly unvalidated, nothing is sure about a more recent validation .. it seems to depent heavily on methods and asusmptions.
    III http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy
    “In a corrigendum published on 1 July 2004, Mann, Bradley and Hughes acknowledged that McIntyre and McKitrick had pointed out errors in proxy data that had been included as supplementary information to MBH98, and supplied a full corrected listing of the data. They included an archive of all the data used in MBH98, and expanded details of their methods.”
    That seems to show, that the correct data was not there prior to 1 July 2004.

  32. I do have to wonder why Mr. Sinclair spends so much time and money in trying to convince the world that the entire sceptic case hinges on their supposed misinterpretation of two insignificant little phrases contained in just one email out of around 1500.
    Talk about misrepresentation!

    • andrew adams

      His response is in proportion to the amount of noise generated by the skeptics regarding those two insignificant phrases.

      • Latimer Alder

        The phrases might have been insignificant, but the underlying behaviour was very significant.

        Being as charitable as I can it showed that the authors in question had only a very sketchy understanding of the scientific method and an arms length one with the concepts of openness and transparency.

        ‘Why should I show you my data if you’re only going to find something wrong with it?’

        Exactly Phil! Spectacular Own Goal!

      • andrew adams

        I was assuming that Peter was referring to the “trick” to “hide the decline”, which is nothing to do with Jones not sharing his data.

      • Latimer Alder

        M’lud

        They both speak to a pattern of behaviour which shows that being straightforward and direct about their work and taking pains to ensure that it can be easily understood and checked by others was very low down their list o priorities.

        The scientific method as it has been understood for three or four centuries emphasises these points as being paramount. The climatologists in question acted positively against these tenets.

        We can only speculate as to why they acted in such a manner. Was it the feeling of power..that they there were saving the world? Or the companionship of viewing themselves as crusaders for a cause – however misguided? Perhaps it was just the praise and glory heaped upon them that went to their heads. And the adulation of their coworkers. But they knew that their case wouldn’t stand up to serious examination..and took every step possible to avoid such scrutiny.

        The case for the prosecution rests.

      • Was there really a lot of noise generated by the sceptics over that, or was it just said by some to be so?
        In any case, I don’t believe that ignorance and a propensity to make waves are peculiar to, or even over-represented in, the sceptical community, as opposed to the alarmist community.

      • andrew adams

        Peter,

        The fact that so many of you are still going on about it in this thread and other current ones shows the amount of noise you are making about it.

  33. Stephen Pruett

    ”With some help from wedges, the world decided that dealing with global warming wasn’t impossible, so it must be easy,”

    I don’t think so. Most of the world has never heard of wedges. I think the world looked at the inner workings of climate science in the CRU files and decided that CAGW might not be settled science as depicted by IPCC. Other factors may include credible climate scientists (like the host of this blog) expressing concern that the certainty of CAGW was overstated; Phil Jones stating that there has been no significant warming for the last 10 years (at least 11 now); consistently and sometimes ridiculously overstated predictions of catastrophe by IPCC (Himalayan glaciers melting in a few years, etc.); investigations of climategate figures that were done or strongly influenced by the affected institution and clearly lacked anyone acting in the role of “prosecutor” to ascertain the facts and address concerns raised by critics; strident defense of hiding the decline; the exploding kids video; unelected bureaucrats declaring CO2 to be a pollutant based on IPCC reports that were shown to be not entirely reliable; claims that the cold weather this winter was caused by global warming; reports predicting or blaming AGW for almost every type of bad outcome imaginable (mass migration from Mexico, increased malaria, collapse of agriculture in the tropics, etc.). This is a partial description of the items that were reported widely enough that a significant portion of the world may have noticed them. Collectively these and other tidbits have pegged the public’s internal bs meter.

    • Stephen Pruett

      Believe you have summarized succinctly the events that have led to the public’s “BS meter” going off scale with regard to AGW.

      Some of these may be reversible (lack of past decade’s warming, for example).

      Stupid TV ads (exploding kids or fear-mongering bedtime stories) are eventually forgotten (even if the bad taste in the mouth continues for a while).

      But others, such as the public loss of confidence in and respect for IPCC and climate science in general, are not that easily reversed.

      The unwillingness or inability (?) of the “mainstream” group to admit and correct errors (see earlier thread) and the dogged defense of the DAGW dogma by a group of “insider climatologists” even after these errors have been exposed have been major factors leading to this loss of public confidence IMO.

      Max