The real holes in climate science

by Judith Curry

The American Meteorological Society 2011 Award for Distinguished Science Journalism in the Atmospheric and Related Sciences goes to  . . .

Quirin Schiermeier for his article published in Nature, entitled “The real holes in climate science.”  The citation on the award is: “For “The Real Holes in Climate Science”, an insightful and candid article on key remaining gaps in understanding climate change.”

The subtitle on the article is “Like any other field, research on climate change has some fundamental gaps, although not the ones typically claimed by sceptics. Quirin Schiermeier takes a hard look at some of the biggest problem areas.”

Some excerpts:

In its most recent report in 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) highlighted 54 ‘key uncertainties’ that complicate climate science.

Such a declaration of unresolved problems could hardly be called ‘hidden’. And some of these — such as uncertainties in measurements of past temperatures — have received consid- erable discussion in the media. But other gaps in the science are less well known beyond the field’s circle of specialists. Such holes do not undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution. The uncertainties do, however, hamper efforts to plan for the future. And unlike the myths regularly trotted out by climate-change denialists, some of the outstanding problems may mean that future changes could be worse than currently projected.

A perspective from Gavin Schmidt (note: this article was published Jan 2010, in the wake of Climategate 1.0):

Researchers say it is difficult to talk openly about holes in understanding.

“Of course there are gaps in our knowledge about Earth’s climate system and its components, and yes, nothing has been made clear enough to the public,” says Gavin Schmidt, a climate modeller at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York and one of the moderators and con- tributors to the influential RealClimate blog. “But this climate of suspicion we’re working in is insane. It’s really drowning our ability to soberly communicate gaps in our science when some people cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ for the slightest reasons.”

JC comment:  seems to me that Gavin is confusing cause and effect.  People cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ when they perceive that scientists are trying to hide uncertainties.

The article focuses on the following four ‘holes’: regional climate forecasts, precipitation forecasts, aerosols and palaeoclimate data.

Regional climate predictions:  the money quotes are from Smith and von Storch:

“Our current climate models are just not up to informed decision-making at the resolution of most countries,” says Leonard Smith, a statistician and climate analyst at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

“You need to be very circumspect about the added value of downscaling to regional impacts,” agrees Hans von Storch, a climate modeller at the GKSS Institute for Coastal Research in Geesthacht, Germany, who has recently contributed to a regional climate assess- ment of the Hamburg metropolitan region. If the simulations project future changes in line with the trends already observed, von Storch has more confidence in them. But if researchers run the same model, or an ensemble of models, multiple times and the results diverge from each other or from the observed trends, he cautions, “planners should handle them with kid gloves. Whenever possible, they’d rather wait with spending big money on adaptation projects until there is more certainty about the things to come.”

Regarding precipitation:

The different simulations used by the IPCC in its 2007 assessment offer wildly diverging pictures of snow and rainfall in the future. The situation is particularly bad for winter precipitation, generally the most important in replenishing water supplies. The IPCC simulations failed to provide any robust projection of how winter precipitation will change at the end of the current century for large parts of all continents.

Even worse, climate models seemingly underestimate how much precipitation has changed already — further reducing confidence in their ability to project future changes. A 2007 study, published too late to be included into the last IPCC report, found that precipitation changes in the twentieth century bore the clear imprint of human influence, including drying in the Northern Hemisphere tropics and subtropics. But the actual changes were larger than estimated from models — a finding that concerns researchers.

“If the models do systematically underestimate precipitation changes that would be bad news”, because the existing forecasts would already cause substantial problems, says Gabriele Hegerl

JC comment: the possibility that multidecadal natural variability is a major driver of rainfall variability does not seem to be considered.  The poor performance of the climate models somehow gives rise to greater alarm about the future.  Go figure.

Re aerosols:

One of the biggest problems is lack of data. “We don’t know what’s in the air,” says Schmidt. “This means a major uncertainty over key processes driving past and future climate.”

JC comment:  +1 for Gavin on this statement.  It is greatly at odds with the Hegerl et al. reply to my assertions about uncertainty in aerosol forcing in the uncertainty monster paper.

Re the tree ring controversy, +1 to Hegerl for her comments on the divergence issue:

“They show what was, at the time, the best estimate of how temperatures evolved over time,” says Hegerl. “However, with hindsight, they could have been a bit clearer how this was done, given the high profile that figures like this can have.”

“I’m worried about what causes the divergence,” says Hegerl. “As long as we don’t understand why they diverge, we can’t be sure that they accurately represent the past.”

The article’s concluding statement:

Even with ongoing questions about the proxy data, the IPCC’s key statement — that most of the warming since the mid-twentieth century is “very likely” to be due to human-caused increases in greenhouse-gas concentration — remains solid because it rests on multiple lines of evidence from different teams examining many aspects of the climate system, says Susan Solomon, the former co-chair of the IPCC team that produced the 2007 physical science report . . . “The IPCC’s team of scientists,” she says, “would not have said that warming is unequivocal based on a single line of evidence — even if came from Moses himself.”

JC comment: -1 for Susan Solomon.  The misleading oversimplicity of the multiple lines of evidence argument was discussed previously here (section 5).  The uncertainties in the paleoclimate record and the aerosol forcing discussed in Schiermeier’s article are alone sufficient to question the high confidence in the IPCC’s attribution statement.

When the paper was published in January 2010, it wasn’t discussed at Climate Etc. (which did not yet exist), but was discussed by Pielke Sr.,  Bishop Hill and Climate Resistance. Bishop Hill has this to say about the article:

It tends to reiterate lines of argument that are familiar to anyone who has followed the pronouncements of the Hockey Team in recent years. This is hardly surprising when one looks at who he chose to interview – Gavin Schmidt, Jonathan Overpeck, Gabriele Hegerl, Susan Solomon, Hans von Storch, and an economist called Leonard Smith. Not a sceptic among them and four of them being Hockey Team members.

Schiermeier claims that the divergence problem is restricted to “a few northern hemisphere sites”, directly contradicting Keith Briffa who has referred to it as “a widespread problem” in the NH. 

JC conclusion:  I agree with Pielke Sr’s summary statement on the article:

The article is a step forward from other news summaries of climate science. However, it still perpetuates significant misunderstandings and erroneous conclusions about our actual understanding of the climate system.

The article raises the important issue of the holes in climate science, but only seeks perspectives from establishment scientists.  The ‘enduring myths’ section is not effectively rebutted at all (Pielke Sr’s post takes this on).

With regards to the AMS Award, this article, even with its flaws, is to be applauded for taking on this topic in some depth.

With regards to the 4 topics selected, I agree that these 4 are all pretty big holes in climate science.  I was dismayed not to see any mention of natural variability (even in “enduring myths”), other than this statement on precipitation:   “We really don’t know natural variability that well, particularly in the tropics,” says Hegerl. (JC comment: personally I think the holes are greater in the mid/high latitudes).

What are your thoughts on the biggest holes in climate science?

546 responses to “The real holes in climate science

  1. “Researchers say it is difficult to talk openly about holes in understanding.”

    It’s difficult when there is an overriding political goal that drives a preconceived conclusions and the green narrative behind mainstream climate claims.

    ““Like any other field, research on climate change has some fundamental gaps, although not the ones typically claimed by sceptics. Quirin Schiermeier takes a hard look at some of the biggest problem areas.”

    The usual smug self-centered arrogance of warmists talking to and about others. Hence, the strawdog is formed about what warmists will and will not address.

  2. Ocean Heat Content and Northern Hemisphere CO2 reconstruction.

    The OHC is obvious. The NH CO2 is more interesting. The leaf stoma reconstructions show fluctuations that to me are similar to the current satellite measurement of CO2. The Siberian natural gas release is from biomass around 33K years ago. Barrow Alaska permafrost is data to 6K-10K years ago. So there must have been swings in NH CO2 levels. In the Vostek cores, the o18 temperature and CO2 relationship may not be an indication of global climate as much as a shift in the origin of the source of the o18 and CO2 since the temperature required for the CO2 is tropical or near tropical.

    Call me kooky, but it really looks like geomagnetic fluctuation has a bigger impact in the Antarctic and on glaciation than considered by any other than the craziest cyclomaniacs. (shiver!)

  3. “The poor performance of the climate models somehow gives rise to greater alarm about the future. Go figure.” – JC

    Well, duh.

    If models are underestimating impacts such as decreased rainfall, should we be reassured? Go figure indeed.

    • Maybe the models are underestimating impacts such as decreased rainfall because they fail to adequately account for natural internal variability, which is dominating the signal

      • Maybe, maybe not.

        Though the article referred to states that;
        “…these changes cannot be explained by internal climate variability or natural forcing”.

        So maybe not.

      • Natural variability does not exist. Or it is minor. Otherwise how could this quote from Schiermeier be true?

        “Such holes do not undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution”

      • Maybe Schiermeier should be re-written?

        “Such holes do not undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans OR NATURAL VARIABILITY are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution OR NATURE”

      • Oh, but wait natural variability does not exist because Mann’s hockey stick proved that temperatures do not vary naturally.

      • Fred,

        Explaining the warming minus anthropogenic effects is “NATURE”.

        That’s what they are saying – natural variability does not account for it, not that there is no natural variability.

        Basic reading comprehension would allow you to understand that saying “cannot be explained by internal climate variability” implicitly recognises that there is this natural internal variability.

      • andrew adams

        The “go figure” comment doesn’t exactly indicate a willingness to engage with the arguments being made. In fact it seems to indicate that you think Hegerl et al are not arguing in good faith.

      • The phrase “cannot be explained by internal climate variability” merely refers to the very limited natural variability in the models, not to actual natural variability. It is an argument from ignorance. Natural variability is a well known unknown, so the argument is a farce.

        For example, throw in a trend called emergence from the LIA and natural variability can explain the warming very well. The fact hat we do not understand the LIA does not mean it does not exist. Moreover, there are a dozen known unknowns like this. Thus the argument from ignorance is despicable.

      • Of course natural variability exists. What else explains the intermittent rises and drops in historical records? Acknowledging the Irregularity in Internal and external systems and the uncertainty surrounding everything is tremendously important.

      • This relates to the “unfalsifiability” problem, in particular as it relates to attribution. And notice the phrase “models are underestimating”. Which ones? Given the wild divergences, probably a few overestimated changes.

        In any case, calling the changes “impacts” begs the question.

    • Tough to claim “science” when the word “maybe” and “if” is on every paragraph or should be. The conclusions of the agenda are never sold that way are they?

      The “alarm” has always been more important than the models or science claims. It’s about the transfer of power from private interests to authoritarian ones like experts, political tribes (moonbats), governments or regulators.

      Duh yourself!

      Maybe we should drop 25 trillion into asteroid defense, the big one might be just around the corner at we might be able to stop it with such an investment (maybe not) but following the idiot logic of the “precautionary principle” and the fact I own defense contracting shares I stand to benefit from I think this is a great plan.

      If and maybe can work wonders in central planning.

    • Michael, poor model performance does not increase he likelihood of extreme events. These are two different kinds of uncertainty. That is, you are assuming that there is a normal distribution of real probabilities around the bad results. There is no basis for such a claim.

      Poor performance merely increases the likelihood that the models are wrong. Bad is just bad. It does not increase the likelihood that they are underestimating or overestimating anything, just that they are wrong. Picking forecasts out of a hat does not increase the probability of extreme events. It is irrelevant to that probability.

      • David, as always your comments are “right on the money”.
        Judith’s Uncertainty Monster summarized the situation extremely well.
        Just to mention a couple of major ‘holes’ how about aerosols (where are the data?) and especially clouds. Regarding the latter, I was quite impressed by Graeme Stephens’ Charney Lecture available at
        http://sites.agu.org/fallmeeting/scientific-program/lectures/bowie-and-named-lectures/6dec/
        After hearing this I don’t understand how anyone can possibly entertain the notion that “the science is settled”!

  4. OPEN CHALLENGE No.2, TO ALL COMENTERS; TO FIND MISTAKE, OR BETTER ANSWERS

    If any of the active Warmist / Skeptic gets outside the ‘’city island heat’’: you can see 10km radios +10km up = 700km3 of air. There are horizontal and vertical winds. From those rocks over there, vertical wind goes up – behind there, vertical winds go in direction down towards the swamp – on the other side – vertical winds go fast up from that red exposed soil to the sunlight – further there vertical wind goes in direction down towards the rice paddies – behind you, the wind goes upward from the farmer’s house walls / roof. Those winds slow when the cloud comes above… but depends on the angle the cloud approaches and its density / altitude… then those winds speed up again, but not at the same speed… red soil is warmed faster than the rocky outcrops. After sundown 2h, from the sandy soil and that house, vertical winds change directions. From the red soil and the rice paddy / swamp, change direction after midnight; but at slower speed.

    2]Those vertical winds are attacked by horizontal winds that are on different altitudes / directions every 90m. up. Sometime SOME winds travel at 3knots – others at 27knots – others at 40knots and rearrange the temperature constantly – then some slow down – other speed up. Who is recording the DIFERENT temperatures on every few cubic meters that is changing every 10 minutes in the year, in the space you can see?!?! The space you can see with your eyes, without moving, is area of 600 000 different temperatures, and those temperatures change every 10 minutes. There are 6 000 thermometers monitoring for IPCC on the WHOLE planet! Only 1% of thermometers for what is needed, to monitor the space you can see with your eyes. How many thermometers you think you will see in those 700km3?! How much larger area on the planet you cannot see without mowing?!? Be honest to yourself. Not 100-200-300-600 years ago… NOW they have 6 000 thermometers for the whole planet that is sending them data, mostly on the ground / most concentrated in Europe /USA…

    Nobody knows the temperature in the troposphere for last year, to save his life; but they pretend to know for year 1700, 1200AD, 5BC. They know which year was warmer by 0,2⁰C or colder than the previous year… look at their charts… What was the temperature 345km NE of Wellington? People didn’t even know that New Zealand existed at that time… What about 432km SW of Hobart, at 357m altitude on the year after, on 4 of July at 9,35AM; or 456km SW of Easter island on that same time of the day at 69m altitude? Is Easter island not on their globe? Easter island in Pacific represents 20 times larger atmosphere than Europe + USA. Was it cloudy on that day? When gets cloudy – upper atmosphere gets warmer – on the ground cooler; but that rule is only for daytime; at night is opposite; but not if it wasn’t cloudy… depends on the thickness AND altitude of the cloud, also. Com-on ‘’leading scientist with temperature charts’’. Temperature in the troposphere is 3 dimensional. Would you buy a used car from a temperature chart maker?! Because of them, billions of $$$ are getting ripped-off, because of them, tremendous damages are getting done to the economy, environment and to kid’s brains in school and university. People shouldn’t profit from crime; existing law says in Australia.

    With that lousy accuracy, when they state that: one year was warmer or colder than the next by 0,05⁰C, it’s only admission that he or she is honesty deficient! For correct data, must be from every cubic meter of air, equally; for every 10 minutes in the year; from the ground to the edge of the troposphere. Not only from the hottest minute in the day – unless the hottest minute is on same time, every day on every place on the planet. Otherwise is all bull. When some place is warmer than usual – declaring the WHOLE planet is warmer – is same as saying: the planet is warmer at lunch time by 12⁰C, than before sunrise…?! That’s how reliable their data collection is. They collect data on 6 000 places on the planet / not evenly distributed. It’s ESSENTIAL to have from 6 000 trillion places data to be collected, for every few minutes, before can start talking about reliability of GLOBAL temperature. They are not interested in correct data; because correct data is proving them wrong. Local temperatures always fluctuate – GLOBAL never!

    Do you know why the hottest minute of day is not on same minute, not even same hour every day?! B] Why different places have different minutes as the hottest minute of the day? Therefore, collecting temperature for the hottest minute in the day is completely meaningless! If one day has one hour above 20⁰C, but the following day has 3h-4h above 20⁰C is much more impotent than picking the hottest minute. 2] average temperature for every minute in 24h and the hottest minute don’t fluctuate the same == it’s only useful for the B/S Merchants. 3] if vertical wind with extra coldness was only 55m on the way down; when the temperature for that day was recorded for that place, but not tomorrow, or not on the other side of the hill… Extra heat in the atmosphere is not accumulative – because of the expansion and shrinking of oxygen + nitrogen in change of temperature > if you collect all the extra heat accumulated in the atmosphere for the last 150years – you wouldn’t have enough to boil one chicken egg!!! I suggested in my book: ‘’all charts about global temperature, should be printed on soft paper only, to have some positive use. That’s all what the fuss is about?!

  5. randomengineer

    What are your thoughts on the biggest holes in climate science?

    The large black one where reasonable recommendations go to die. The only ones left seem like they’re written by the unholy spawn of Ehrlich and Edgar Allen Poe.

      • Analysts with no brains rely on a single anecdote to prove their assertion.

        Let me explain how real analysis works, randomengineer. You first take a gander at my latest online book and note that I don’t analyze any data unless I can get sufficient statistics such that a random datapoint can’t subvert the interpretation. So get some substantiating data and show a sample distribution of distances and you are on your way.

        As it stands, you fail badly at evaluating epistemic errors.

      • randomengineer

        Analysts with no brains rely on a single anecdote to prove their assertion.

        Readers of English can distinguish between the concept of “for example” and “this is the only example.” This isn’t the first time you have responded to what you thought you read as opposed to what was written.

        C–

      • You are an anecdotal example of a skeptic, yet this reliance on proof by example seems to be quite common among you folk.

  6. The biggest hole is that the models are close to falsification about as soon as is mathematically possible. Individual problems include the stratosphere is not behaving as modeled. The troposphere is not behaving as modeled. Ocean heat content change is not indicative of a large energy imbalance. Ocean oscillations are poorly understood. Aerosols are poorly understood. Storms are poorly understood. Clouds are poorly understood. Sea level rise attributions are simplified and contributing factors ignored. Sea level rise is not accelerating. Warming is not accelerating. The biosphere is poorly understood. Ice sheet flow is poorly understood. There is a lack of consistency in arguments regarding transient and equilibrium senitivities. Land use changes and heat transport from land use changes are poorly understood. Perhaps I missed some since I never really tried to make a list before. On a positive note I do think the scientists know CO2 is a GHG. After that I’m not real sure they have firm handle on anything.

    • Excellent list. All eugenics got right was.that evolution is real. How much more than CO2 is a ghg does AGW get?

      • Problem is, for some people, That one brick in the foundation is enough. That and “multiple independent lines of evidence” that turn out to be neither independent nor evidence.

    • Nice list.

  7. Reposting this. Hasn’t appeared.
    In my view, the biggest hole (by far) is the total ignoring of land-use factors affecting local and regional climate, probably accounting for much of the observed change that is incorrectly being attributed to CO2.
    Roger Pielke Sr has long been arguing that land-use factors are a major factor in observed climate change due to anthropogenic factors, but it would seem that most climate scientists do not address this issue.
    The Sydney Morning Herald carried an interesting article about Peter Andrew’s views on this issue, just the other day.
    http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/more-storms-on-the-way-unless-we-learn-to-manage-the-land-20120101-1ph66.html

    • An important factor in land use is freshwater systems. Peer reviewed work ny limnologists, freshwater scientists, shows that freshwater systems are huge sinks of carbon, yet I have yet to see one climate worker deal with this.

      • Hunter, Lift a finger and do the quantitative work. What? You’re skeert that someone will criticize your analysis?

      • This scold coming from someone who refuses to download wind data from the Bonneville Power Authority because it’s too much like work.

      • What a wanker, P.E.

        I downloaded data from Ontario and Germany wind farms about a year and a half ago and did a comprehensive analysis of the time series data. I happen to be on vacation over the holiday, so am not going to bend over backwards to work the Bonneville data at your whim and call.

        I tell you what; I will analyze the Bonneville data set when I get back, and I will add it to a future revision of my tome.

        But then again, maybe not, because trained seal and organ-grinder monkey is not my forte.

  8. CLOUDS
    From what I read, the causes and magnitude of variability of clouds is likely one of if not the greatest uncertainty in the models.

    NASA states:

    Feedbacks
    Clouds. Clouds have an enormous impact on Earth’s climate, reflecting back into space about one third of the total amount of sunlight that hits the Earth’s atmosphere. As the atmosphere warms, cloud patterns may change, altering the amount of sunlight absorbed by the Earth. Because clouds are such powerful climate actors, even small changes in average cloud amounts, locations, and type could speed warming, slow it, or even reverse it. Current climate models do not represent cloud physics well, so the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has consistently rated clouds among its highest research priorities. NASA and its research partners in industry, academia, and other nations have a small flotilla of spacecraft and aircraft studying clouds and the closely related phenomenon of aerosols.

    In his testimony before Canada’s Senate hearing, Dr. Jan Veizer, (Distinguished University Professor, Emeritus, Department of Earth Sciences,University of Ottawa) emphasized that clouds make a difference of about 30 W/m^2 (clear to cloudy) while the total warming was nominally about 1.6 W/m^2. i.e. about 5% of clouds. Very small natural variations in clouds could easily dominate the cause of climate variation.

    Roy Spencer recently came to the realization:

    The radiative variations CERES measures look nothing like what the radiative feedback should look like.

    The very sign of cloud feedback is disputed:
    A Primer on Our Claim that Clouds Cause Temperature Change

    Even the IPCC admits the biggest uncertainty in how much human-caused climate change we will see is the degree to which cloud feedback [temperature change => cloud change] will magnify (or reduce) the weak direct warming tendency from more CO2 in the atmosphere. . . . All of the 20+ climate models tracked by the IPCC exhibit from weak to strongly positive cloud feedbacks.

    But we claim (and have demonstrated) that causation in the opposite direction [cloud change => temperature change] gives the illusion of positive cloud feedback, even if negative cloud feedback really exists.

    CERN CLOUD experiment is just beginning to understand the fundamental cloud physics. When we see the CLOUD researchers being forbidden to even comment on the consquences of their results, and the funding for this critically important project being politically delayed a decade, that tells me that “Climate Science” is in serious trouble in terms of the foundational scientific ethic of a vigirous skeptical search for objective truth.

    • I suspect that when it comes to controlling the climate Clouds outrank CO2 by orders of magnitude.

      However, until someone comes up with a convincing analysis of what clouds do, CO2 gets to claim any effect that was really caused by modulation of the cloud cover.

      • gallopingcamel, what clouds + water vapour do to the climate is well known. Unfortunately, the Warmist used clouds as example – to badmouth CO2. Skeptics are as Warmist parrots – they repeat 50-60% of the Warmist gospel – then try to make an argument about the rest.

        gallopingcamel, if you want to know what clouds and water vapour do to climate; compare Brazil V Sahara’s climate. 2] if you want to know what CO2 does to the climate, compare the climate around Kyoto city, Detroit, Stuttgart V climate in Sahara and Australian desert; where is only 10% of the amount of CO2, than around those industrialist cities. Reason boys from both camps are scared from my challenge above

      • gyptis444
        That is an excellent lecture on clouds by:
        Graeme L. Stephens, JPL Climate Change – A Very Cloudy Picture
        A21G Charney Lecture, Moscone West Rooms 2022-2024, AGU FALL Meeting 2011
        I found particularly interesting his observations that models strongly differ even on the sign of the feedback:
        Cloud feedback versus total feedback
        “Conclusion: Differences in cloud feedback are again the largest single source of uncertainty of all feedbacks (range from -0.5 W/m^2/K to + 0.7 W/m^2/K)” – Andrews et al. 2012 (at 18’20”-19’00”)
        Very interesting how clouds very strongly change the water response.

        “The ‘thermal absorbent’ character of water is greatly enhanced when in condensed phase. On a molecule by molecule basis, water in either solid or liquid form in the atmosphere absorbs more than 1000 times more strongly – a relative small amount of liquid or solid water disproportionally influences the flow of radiant energy through the Earth system.” (24’55” – 26’12”)

      • David, Clouds and water vapor play hell with AGW theory.

        That is a pretty crappy graph, but the blue is mid-troposphere and the Orange the stratosphere for the northern hemisphere. The 1998 El Nino stands out with the mid tropo warming being equal to the strat cooling. As you may be able to see, there are shifts in the lead/lag and relative amplitude that indicate changes in the out going radiation. Water overlaps the ozone spectrum, so I assume the changes are related to cloud/water vapor radiant energy. I never went any further with this because of a computer crash, but someone could possibly make a Wattmeter of sorts to estimate cloud impact.

      • Sorry, the orange is the INVERTED stratosphere the green is the actual stratosphere from RSS if I remember correctly.

  9. It seems the biggest hole is the issue that ties all these together and that’s the sensitivity issue. When all is said and done, from aerosols to paleoclimate data…what we want to know is how much warming can we expect from a doubling of CO2? Involved in figuring out this sensitivity of course is knowing what all the fast and slow feedbacks are, and wrapped up in this is the issue of earth-system sensivity, which of couse is the hardest of all. I think recent studies that are taking a look at both the basic Charney sensitivity and combining it with earth-system sensitivty are on the right track, but there is still so much we don’t know about these slower feedbacks, and this “we know that we don’t know it” should be communicated more. Added to this of course is the issue of deciding what research to fund, and the probability that any given line of research will help reduce the uncertainty in the climate sensitivity issue, so with some reasonable bands of uncertainty policymakers can feel confident that 2C, or 3C, or 4C of warming per doubling of CO2 is the most likely of being accurate. So what lines of research are most likely yield results that will reduce the uncertainty in the climate sensivity issue?

    • Trenberth disagrees with you

      • That may be a good thing.

      • R. gates,
        It certainly speaks well of you. ;^)
        I agree completely with you on the need to understand range and scope of changes before we start planning for the worst, much less anything else.

    • R Gates

      Even if you accurately knew how much the world was warming overall, you would not know if that was bad or not. In order to know that, you need to understand the impact of the temperture change on the rainfall in a specific area.

      • I’ve not even addressed the issue of harmfulness or benefits. The first step should be one of really pinning down sensitivity. Also, the mix of negatives versus positives most likely changes greatly between levels of of sensitivity…meaning that a 2C warming has an entirely different profile of negatives and positives than a 4C warming, and some could even completely reverse. Pinning down sensitivity should be, and is for some, key to everything, as it meaningless to talk about responding to change unless you have a reasonable certainty what that change is going to be.

      • Rob, one hemisphere can get warmer, or half a continent; but the whole planet cannot get warmer; because the laws of physics don’t permit. Warming, or cooling is NEVER GLOBAL. I have proven that; reason my challenges are avoided by both camps. It’s nothing wrong with not knowing; nobody knows everything – everybody knows lots of things. But avoiding / discrediting / silencing the truth when presented- is admission that most of people active in climate debate are scared of real proofs + they don’t trust their own believes; but will prefer misleading to continue, than to be faced to admit that they were wrong in the past.( I will download the whole of this page, for future evidence) Santa and GLOBAL warming are not for real kiddies!!!

    • R Gates it is implicit in what you say that there is some optimal global temperature which I assume to be 2c, or 3C or 4C below the expected increase in warming from a doubling of CO2. How was this optimal temperature arrived at? Is it a scientific finding? Or a political aspiration? Where are the scientific papers that show us on a regional basis (for that is where we all live) all the great benefits that flow from this optimal global temperature? As Stefan points out above the idea that we can measure the temperature of the earth in a meaningful and scientific way is frankly absurd. And then to add madness to the madness, we spend fortunes on building computer models which try to predict this meaningless parameter.

      So here are a couple of holes: the assumption that there is some optimal global temperature and that that expression has some meaning.

      R Gates this is not aimed specifically at you. It just seemed appropriate to raise the point here.

      Kind regards

      • “R Gates it is implicit in what you say that there is some optimal global temperature which I assume to be 2c, or 3C or 4C below the expected increase in warming from a doubling of CO2. How was this optimal temperature arrived at?”

        The optimal temperature is the one we know everything is adapted to.

        3C or 4C warmer and we have no idea what will die out, collapse or other bad stuff happens.

      • “The optimal temperature is the one we know everything is adapted to.” But given that the climate changes all the time it must be the fact that everything is adapted to adapt to changing climate.

      • Gary, you make some excellent points. What is an “optimal” temperature? The answer is certainly not simple, but would be arrived at by looking at the full range of biosphere and climate interactions. Is optimal only what benefits mainly humans, or should we define it to be what provides for the healthiest and most robust biosphere overall, as these two might not be the same? As the Holocene has allowed for the kind of stability overall to climate that has given rise to both human agriculture and civilzation, using the Holocene as a benchmark is not completely illogical. Could a 2C or 4C climate be even better? Possibly, and possibly not.

      • lolwot,
        There are birds adapted to living from Arctic tundra to tropic jungles.
        There are animals and plants that have the equivalent range of adaptation. Your condition is more of a red herring than a point to understand.

      • Gary: “But given that the climate changes all the time it must be the fact that everything is adapted to adapt to changing climate.”

        That can only be said for conditions that have existed recently.

        The globe hasn’t been 3C warmer than present for millions of years.

      • Hunter says: “There are birds adapted to living from Arctic tundra to tropic jungles.”

        And what about the other birds that aren’t? And what if their food source can’t adapt? What are those birds going to do then?

        “There are animals and plants that have the equivalent range of adaptation. Your condition is more of a red herring than a point to understand.”

        Same problem. What about all the animals that aren’t adapted for such ranges. And what about the knock on effects they will have on other animals and plants?

        I think your last sentence more describes your own response than mine. It’s quite obvious that animals and plants on Earth today are adapted for holocene climate, with no guarantee they can adapt to a different climate in merely a few hundred years.

      • Gary Mirada –
        I agree that to imagine a global temperature as ‘optimal’ is absurd. When my part of the world (the idyllic part of the UK..) was being populated, sea levels were 400 feet lower and it was 6 degrees colder. I guess everything living was pretty well adapted at the time. Life certainly thrived.
        And whaddyaknow, life seems still to be thriving now it’s gotten 6 degrees milder. Who’d have thought it?

        Lolwot – you ‘speculate’ about how some species might find a rise in temperatures difficult. Perhaps, but temperatures have been rising and falling for millions of years – adaptation appears to be effortless and effective. When we see signs of change, why don’t we see the remarkable process of adaptation in progress rather than ‘stress’ and ‘struggle’ and other such misnomers?

        Bear in mind too, that of all creatures barring perhaps viruses, human beings are the most adaptable ever to have existed on planet earth.

      • “Lolwot – you ‘speculate’ about how some species might find a rise in temperatures difficult. Perhaps, but temperatures have been rising and falling for millions of years – adaptation appears to be effortless and effective.”

        While it’s reasonable to assume that present species are adapted to glacial and interglacial transitions and typical variation within glacials and interglacials, it is not reasonable to assume the same species are adapted to a jump far above interglacial temperatures.

        Species haven’t needed to be adapted to such a climate for millions of years. In fact many species around today weren’t even around back then – our own and some of our ancestors included. And for those that were there has been plenty of time for the genes to have “forgotten”

        And for a second thing the speed of this transition will be measured in centuries, not affording species with a lot of time to adapt. Some may fail simply for lack of time.

        And for a third thing this happens simultaneously with other upturns such as ocean acidification and an overhaul of the carbon cycle. Plus all those additional stresses humans have introduced in other ways.

        Put all that together and it’s not far fetched at all that a mass extinction could occur.

        Sure life will spring back in hundreds of thousands of years time as new new species evolve and branch out into a new world.

        But for human civilization living in the next few hundred years the earth could be a lot more barren than it is today.

      • lolwot,

        I would think that the adaptation indicates the “optimum” temperature is likely quite broad. The fact our planet is teeming with life and has undergone climatic and temperature shifts far more dramatic than even the worse case predictions of the IPCC suggests that trying to peg the temperture in 1900 as “optimum” is nothing more than pin the tail on the donkey.

      • “The fact our planet … has undergone climatic and temperature shifts far more dramatic than even the worse case predictions of the IPCC”

        Has it? Can you name some?

      • lolwot,

        Wasn’t the temps during the last ice age more than 2 C different from today?

      • we should also bear in mind that all species living outsside the tropics survive a large swing in both diurnal and seasonal temperatures. Moreover it is by no means clear what a rise in ‘global temperatures’ actually means. The metric is so blunt it cannot tell us if nights and winters are warming or spring and autumn (fall) are warming or cooling. The way the warming is made up is equally if not more important than the warming itself. And then we need to see regional effects because no-one experiences global temperatures. The whole concept of global temperature is in my view a political construct and has no place in scientific research.

      • “we should also bear in mind that all species living outsside the tropics survive a large swing in both diurnal and seasonal temperatures.”

        And yet the ranges of various species are restricted by latitude.

        The warming out of the last glacial period took thousands of years.

        On the otherhand the warming forecast will happen in hundreds.

    • Another nice comment …

      … and an excellent question at the end.

  10. I agree that all 4 things mentioned are holes. To my way of thinking, there are some much more serious ones.

    One very big problem that is very pervasive (as illustrated by Fred’s recent exposition of the energy balance methods applied to attribution) is the extensive use of linearized assumptions. The problem is the nonlinear interaction of forcings with internal variability. The response to even small forcings can be very nonlinear and state dependent. For this we need radically better numerical methods and radically better subgrid models. I note Isaac Held’s recent post on modeling convection that shows how depedent on the spatial extent of the grid the results are. If we could systematically control numerical error with modern methods such as adjoint methods and variable order time integration methods, we could I believe really try to examine some of the nonlinear issues in a meaningful way. Right now, the best I can get is Gavin Schmidt’s “all the model runs seem to settle down to basically the same thing” and “grid resolution has gotten finer over 30 years and the results didn’t change that much in terms of sensitivity.” These are very weak rationalizations of little rigorous value. Then there is Fred, who just says these deeper fundamentals are just irrelevant to simpleminded linearized models. That is so weak as to barely deserve refutation.

    Another very big problem is the use of almost all the resources for even more and longer model runs. These runs need to be used to evaluate models and test sensitivities of the models instead. That can often be done with much shorter integration times. Sophisticated parameter estimation methods can be used to calibrate the subgrid models. These methods so far as I can tell are totally absent in the field. The reason for that is that they can only be applied once the models are numerically consistent and well defined.

    Another big problem is the noisy data. Far too little is being invested in better data collection. One example of this is aerosols and black and organic carbon, but another is stratospheric effects. By the way, the Held results seem to me to show how simplified models of the moist adiabatic response to warming are in need of revision. The real response is very complex and nonlinear. That could easily explain the tropospheric temperature trends with altitude that have drawn such infinitely fine adjustments to try to get them to agree with the models. The models are probably wrong.

    Paleoclimate is a much bigger one than generally acknowledged because being able to model past climate changes is a critical validation exercise for models. It is I think theoretically impossible to validate a model based only on the last 30 or for that matter 50 years of data. The system is far too complex for that.

    I would echo Richard Lindzen in saying that climate is a small primitive field beset by immense uncertainty. It rather reminds me of fluid dynamics in the 1950’s. Yes, Fred, most of the fundamentals (including the Navier-Stokes equations had been known for 100 years) were known, but areas of uncertainty were immense and numerical modeling was primitive and of marginal utility. We can do better and need to focus resources in improving understanding and collecting better data.

  11. Theo Goodwin

    “I’m worried about what causes the divergence,” says Hegerl. “As long as we don’t understand why they diverge, we can’t be sure that they accurately represent the past.”

    This statement is the clearest and most important statement quoted by Dr. Curry. It states what was clear to many of us as soon as Climategate 1 broke. I discussed these matters in great detail at the Guardian, especially at the site dedicated to Fred Pearce’s twelve essays on Climategate.

    Briefly, what Briffa and the team had discovered was a divergence of their “tree ring width” proxies from thermometer records that began in 1960 and ran through publication of the original Hockey Stick article. They had discovered that forty years of data no longer supported their claim that temperatures were rising steadily. They had no idea why the data diverged. They should have begun empirical research to learn why. Instead they famously chose to “hide the decline” by replacing the data with thermometer records in the Hockey Stick article.

    Serious scientists would have recognized that they were onto something of great value. They had forty years of data showing that “tree ring widths” from the variety of tree they studied no longer had value as proxy data for temperatures. This powerful evidence that they had collected calls into question at least the past proxy data from this variety of tree and maybe all such proxy data from trees. Serious scientists would have immediately published this finding. Then they would have immediately undertaken empirical research on the trees in question in the environments in question to learn why those trees no longer track temperatures. The fact that they did not do these things reveals serious failings among these scientists.

    Finally, finally, Dr. Hegerl has gone public with the claim that climate science must learn what changed in the trees so that they no longer track temperature. What must be done is empirical research that should have been done before the trees were used as proxies. Scientists must undertake experiments to determine what factors in the environments studied determine growth in these tree rings, the relative contribution of each factor, and the mathematical function that specifies the growth pattern for each factor. Lazy climate science has assumed that growth in tree rings is a linear function of temperature. That kind of lazy, non-empirical work must be forever put behind us.

    All proxies must be subjected to rigorous empirical investigation as described above if they are to serve as data for climate science. Scientists must not simply accept historical records at face value. The empirically unexamined proxy data are not worth having.

    I want to anticipate an inevitable but wholly erroneous suggestion. Some will suggest that ten proxy studies that show the same thing, or maybe a hundred such studies, can overcome the need for empirical validation of proxies. The answer is that a hundred studies based on proxies that have not been empirically examined are worth exactly the same as one such study, namely, nothing.

    I want to anticipate a confusion. Some people will reply to me that dendrochronology has a good scientific pedigree and I must be wrong to dismiss it wholesale. I am not addressing the matter of dendrochronology. Using “numbers of tree rings” as proxies for numbers of years has proved to be rather reliable. I am addressing dendroclimatology, the use of trees as proxies for weather phenomena such as temperature, moisture, and similar items. No one has even begun the empirical research that is necessary if some particular kind of tree in some particular kind of environment is to be used as a proxy for some weather phenomenon. All dendro proxy data must be treated as suspect until empirical research shows for each kind of proxy that it is a valid proxy for a specific weather phenomenon.

    It goes with saying that the data supporting the Hockey Stick is worthless. I am very sad to say that some of the scientists knew that the data was worthless before they published it.

    • Theo Goodwin

      One edit: the word ‘with’ should be the word ‘without’ in “It goes with saying that the data supporting the Hockey Stick is worthless.”

    • Theo, When will I be able to write a letter in support of your grant proposal to do the fundamental work that climate scientists shamefully neglected to do? Your post is a sad commentary on a decade of controversy and absolutely no progress on the fundamentals.

      • That sounds like delusions of grandeur on your part. You guys should roll up your sleeves and do the work without the benefit of funding.

        All I see is wordy rappinghood from you, and until you lay down some fundamental premises and start building up the math, I think it is just so much posing.

      • You believers still do not get science . Skeptics have pointed out problems in AGW. Stop the drama queen bs and deal with the problems and stop pretending skeptics have to offer alternate theories The article and Gavin admit there are problems. Now we agree on the major points. Only extremists and the gullible keep on with blaming the skeptics.

      • Hunter tells us to deal with the problems, and forget about all the drama queen stuff. Is that comment aimed at Young and Goodwin?

        Drama queens and nags are the ones that birch and moan all day and don’t lift a finger to actually advance the state of the practice.

      • Web,
        Dama queens are players who take their minor roles and seek to dominate the entire stage with it. Drama queens are the climate scientists who sold their science as cause to believe a climate apocalypse is at hand.
        Drama queens are those who keep claiming we are running out of, say, oil and gas, no matter how many times they are proven wrong.

      • “WebHubTelescope | January 4, 2012 at 4:16 am |
        That sounds like delusions of grandeur on your part. You guys should roll up your sleeves and do the work without the benefit of funding.

        All I see is wordy rappinghood from you, and until you lay down some fundamental premises and start building up the math, I think it is just so much posing.”

        It is amazing that you cannot see the necessity for empirical validation of proxy data. Do you really believe that the quality of the data matters not at all?

      • Thanks for the kind words. I have fought for recognition of this problem since Climategate and I am extremely pleased that the main point has been accepted by mainstream climate science as seen in Dr. Hegerl’s words.

      • WEB,

        Why are you going after the commenters rather than addressing the point that using tree rings as proxy thermometers is a questionable practice?

      • WHT: Skeptics should go after this without funding when the proponents get millions? Really?

    • The use of tree rings as a temperature proxy is well and truly discredited. Years of data cherry picking, obfuscation and downright fraud have reduced it to a cesspit of scientific nonsense. Even some of the practitioners of this pseudoscience recognise the deceit (see various climateaudit posts and the CG emails). The historical global temperature record (pre thermometers) is a mess and consequently it is impossible to make statements about the historical context of current temperatures without adding a large dollop of the cesspit’s contents.

    • The Trees are growing better because there is more CO2

      • Herman, don’t you find it a bit sick; when the Green People are against extra CO2, against saving extra storm-water on the land, to improve the climate. Trees are made 25-30% of carbon / 70% of water… Are the Greens really green? Al Gore is made 25% of carbon.

        Herman, radious of about 200km around coal powered electric generators, the trees are much better, than in the semi-desert. Because the trees are screaming for extra CO2. WHO IS THE CLOWN TO SAY THAT 150y AGO WAS THE BEST AMOUNT OF CO2 in the atmosphere?! 150y ago the CO2 was depleted to the most criticality low level. Ask the tree about the correct amount of CO2, not the big city sleeker ”climatologist”

      • CO2 makes green things grow better while using less water.
        CO2 is a trace gas and likely does have a trace effect on temperature.

      • How can such a trace gas be important for growth / temperature?

        Because it is .. / ..

    • The Hockey Stick is real, it is not made up, but it is a CO2 Hockey Stick and not a Temperature Hockey Stick.

    • tim –

      Which methodology for temp data analysis is not a questionable practice?

      If you can’t think of any:

      (1) What would be the theoretical basis by which any given methodology would be deemed not questionable?

      (2) Do you think that the earth is warming. If so, what makes you think that?

      • Joshua, you commented that: I don’t believe that 98 was warmer than any other year, and I can prove it: planet wasn’t warming in the 90’s – is not cooling now. Well that makes me correct. Can you be honest for one day in the year and say; who is correct?

      • Joshua,

        For starters, I work regularly with Foresters in my role as a science mentor with a non-profit science education organization and without mentioning climate change, simply asking which would they say tree growth is more likely to reflect, precipitation or temperature, the answer is always precipitation. The idea that a few trees can be used as temperature records is pretty hard to accept. That they then can be extrapolated to tell us what the “global” average temperature for any year out of the last 1300 is even harder to swallow. My question to WEB was to challenge the point being raised and not the character of the people making it.

        I’m not sure what your question is meant to do. Probably because it doesn’t really pertain to what I said. Maybe you just want to argue.

      • tim –

        Rebuke acknowledged and thanks for the additional information. I would agree that if there aren’t good answers to the issues you raise re: tree ring proxies, then skepticism is warranted. As such, if WEB has the answers, I’d like to read them.

        By way of explanation, the point of my questions was that any individual metric is bound to be imperfect at some level, and in fact, I’ve seen “skeptics” question each and every metric – mostly in proportion to the extent to which the metric brings a return they don’t like.

        That isn’t to say that skepticism about the metrics isn’t valuable and/or warranted, but that it is hard to assess whether or not questions are being raised aren’t a reflection of an agenda more than a question of the science.

        At some point, I, personally, am left wondering whether sometimes criticism of various metrics isn’t more a quest to hold evaluation of temperature trends to a deliberately unreachable standard at the expense of fair evaluation of the relevance of probable trends.

        Still, your points are interesting, so my questions to you would be the following: is there some correlation in the influences of temperature and precipitation on tree ring growth? Are the two variables likely to influence tree growth to some extent in tandem? Is there a mediator or moderator effect? Are you saying that you believe that there is no discernible causal relationship between temperature and tree ring growth that isn’t obscured by the effects of precipitation? In other words, assuming low variability in precipitation, wouldn’t patterns of tree ring growth be discernibly affected by temperature? Assuming that is true, have the relevant studies attempted to address/control for variability in precipitation? What do climate scientists say about the question you pose about the stronger influence of precipitation?

      • Yes, Joshua.
        Skeptics very often practice selective skepticism. It really says nothing about the individual cases to note that the person raising the skeptical is inconsistent.
        And its the individual cases that you should attend to, Not the inconsistent behavior of human beings.

        If you look at individual cases you will see that the temperature record has some very minor issues. If you look at proxies you will see major issues.

        If you look at skeptics behavior you will find that
        sometimes they question the temperature record, sometimes they appear to believe in it. sometimes they question proxies, other times not.

        Noting that humans are inconsistent in their application of skepticism is no great discovery and moves you no closer to understanding where you can and should be skeptical.

        Trying to understand the science by understanding the humans who comment on it is a fools errand. Its a fools errand because people are less understandable than the science.

      • Josh,

        I agree that when grouping all “skeptics”, you find considerable variability in what they question and argue about. I tend to think that it dilutes the challenge to what I believe foremost, which is that the evidence climate change will be harmful is specieous at best, that any negative effects are likely to be within mankind’s ability to respond to and that there are as likely to be beneficial effects, maybe more so, than harmful ones.

        Given that belief, I subsequently conclude that calls to act now to avert disaster are unfounded and therefore suspect. When one adds in ancillerary components, such as the “bible” of climate change being the IPCC reports, a group run under the aspices of the UN and apparently not quite as august a body as they claim to be, and the simple fact we have experienced a flattening of global temp average, it isn’t hard to start wondering if the primary motivation behind “climate change” is political and not scientific – i.e. the transfer of wealth. In fact one doesn’t have to go through this mental exercise. One simply has to look at the statements from the various climate summits and the UN organizations associated with climate change.

        If one believes in the concept of transferring wealth from rich to poor, fine. Robin Hood became famous implementing this concept. My beef is be honest about it. Don’t use CAGW as the boogyman to scare us into achieving that goal.

        Regarding your questions – all solid. Unfortunately you are asking the wrong guy. While I’ve picked up some stuff – I can show you how to bore a tree, do a canopy density measurement, layout a ground plot and identify species, I’m not a forester, biologist or any kind of expert on the subject. I would say that I would think anyone using tree rings to tell temperature has already answered your questions. My impression is they have not. As has been point out here and elsewhere, dendrochronology is fairly well established. Dendroclimatology is not. And when you come right down to it, without a clear knowledge of what past temperatures were for the last 1000 or more years, it is difficult to state with surity (say at least 66% or better) that what we have experienced the last 100 years is unusual. While that alone doesn’t automatically mean there is no human influence on climate, it does raise the bar of certainty with regards to proving the link and the negative impacts.

      • tim –

        Thanks for the 12:00 pm response. Points taken.

  12. Climate models forecast disaster. If the Climate models are not accurate, that is not bad news, that is good news.

    • Climate models DO NOT forecast disaster. They currently inaccurately forecast changes in conditions. Others have decided those changes will be net harms.

  13. More CO2 made the trees grow better. They took that to be higher temperature. It was not.

  14. Here’s a hole; they are trying to specify the cause for global warming when the globe is cooling.
    =============

    • The kind of hole that’s big, black and sucks in common sense observations only to regurgitate panic.

  15. Hole?

    Holes?

    Just remind us all how many basic laws the climate-botherers have discovered.

    And the quality of predictions made.

  16. Willis Eschenbach

    The biggest hole in climate science is the assumption of linearity.

    This is encapsulated in the reliance on the incorrect equation

    ∆T = lambda ∆F

    which in English is

    The change in temperature ∆T is the climate sensitivity (lambda) times the change in forcing ∆F.

    It’s not what you don’t know that bites you … it’s what you know that ain’t so.

    w.

    • So true. Linearization only works if the system responds as predicted. ln(Cf/Co) assumes linear temperature response from a known concentration assumed to be 280PPM. It is destine to overestimate impact..

    • Linearity covers a lot of territory. People often forget about real-world behaviors such as hysteresis.

    • climate models show a generally linear response of temperature to forcing.

      • And what do you believe the climate models accurately predict over what timeframe?

      • If the complexities of climate lead to highly non-linear linear response then I would have expected the models, which are far from mundanely simple, would hint at such an effect.

      • Atmospheric and oceanic simulation (AOS) models are intrinsically non-linear.

        ‘AOS models are members of the broader class of deterministic chaotic dynamical systems, which provides several expectations about their properties (Fig. 1). In the context of weather prediction, the generic property of sensitive dependence is well understood (4, 5). For a particular model, small differences in initial state (indistinguishable within the sampling uncertainty for atmospheric measurements) amplify with time at an exponential rate until saturating at a magnitude comparable to the range of intrinsic variability. Model differences are another source of sensitive dependence. Thus, a deterministic weather forecast cannot be accurate after a period of a few weeks, and the time interval for skillful modern forecasts is only somewhat shorter than the estimate for this theoretical limit. In the context of equilibrium climate dynamics, there is another generic property that is also relevant for AOS, namely structural instability (6). Small changes in model formulation, either its equation set or parameter values, induce significant differences in the long-time distribution functions for the dependent variables (i.e., the phase-space attractor). The character of the changes can be either metrical (e.g., different means or variances) or topological (different attractor shapes). Structural instability is the norm for broad classes of chaotic dynamical systems that can be so assessed.’

        http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        Non-linearity is what is known as a threshold concept in theories of knowledge. Threshold concepts are –

        ‘Transformative: Once understood, a threshold concept changes the way in which the student views the discipline.

        Troublesome: Threshold concepts are likely to be troublesome for the student. Perkins has suggested that knowledge can be troublesome e.g. when it is counter-intuitive, alien or seemingly incoherent.

        Irreversible: Given their transformative potential, threshold concepts are also likely to be irreversible, i.e. they are difficult to unlearn.

        Integrative: Threshold concepts, once learned, are likely to bring together different aspects of the subject that previously did not appear, to the student, to be related.

        Bounded: A threshold concept will probably delineate a particular conceptual space, serving a specific and limited purpose.

        Discursive: Meyer and Land [10] suggest that the crossing of a threshold will incorporate an enhanced and extended use of language.

        Reconstitutive: “Understanding a threshold concept may entail a shift in learner subjectivity, which is implied through the transformative and discursive aspects already noted. Such reconstitution is, perhaps, more likely to be recognised initially by others, and also to take place over time (Smith)”.

        Liminality: Meyer and Land [12] have likened the crossing of the pedagogic threshold to a ‘rite of passage’ (drawing on the ethnographical studies of Gennep and Turner) in which a transitional or liminal space has to be traversed; “in short, there is no simple passage in learning from ‘easy’ to ‘difficult’; mastery of a threshold concept often involves messy journeys back, forth and across conceptual terrain. (Cousin [6])”.’

        http://www.ee.ucl.ac.uk/~mflanaga/thresholds.html

        There are thousands of studies of non-linearity. Starting with the Poincaré 3 body problem in the 19th Century through Lorenz’s convection simulation in the 1960’s and beyond.

      • lolwot, “If the complexities of climate lead to highly non-linear linear response” Stop it! :) That’s a second keyboard today! You practicing material for Leno?

      • No, this is Taylor’s series approximation at work. We are talking about a few degree response on top of a 300K degree baseline. At those relative temperature differences, linearized forcing functions are a good approximation.

        This is physics toolbox stuff, useful in understanding at an intuitive level lots of fundamental behaviors.

        Is the lol and :) there because you find this amusing?

      • Well then, commenter Frank gave essentially the same argument I did, so the argument is not going in your favor.

      • Web, “Well then, commenter Frank gave essentially the same argument I did, so the argument is not going in your favor.”

        Which argument are you referring to? The smileys at what I thought was humorous or the temperature dependence of the Arrhenius equation?

        If it was the Arrhenius equation, 249K versus 223K is not what I consider a small change. The Antarctic and the tropopause temperatures would appear to be in a nonlinear range for the Arrhenius equation.

        CO2 forcing change due to a doubling is about 1 percent of total forcing. What is an acceptably small range for a linear approximation of CO2 would depend of the magnitude of the other forces and feed backs. At one percent anticipated change, 2nd and 3rd order effects become significant. Since doubling CO2 will decrease TOA emissivity from approximately 0.609 to 0.602 it would appear to me that the choice of linear approximation of should be considered carefully.

      • Cap’n, Same problem as always. You lack coherence in your arguments. The 33 degree response is separate from the AGW impact of a few degrees.

      • Web said, “Cap’n, Same problem as always. You lack coherence in your arguments. The 33 degree response is separate from the AGW impact of a few degrees.”

        How would it be separate? If AGW is to apply more radiant forcing by changing the emissivity, that forcing should be equally applied as CO2 is a fairly well mixed gas. CO2 absorbs photons emitted by bodies at various temperature. The spectrum of CO2 is well know and the Planck envelopes change with temperature is well known. The claim of polar amplification and the troposphere hot spot are also well known.

        Since the northern pole appears to be amplified, the southern pole not amplified and the troposphere hot spot less amplified than expected, I suspect that the temperature variation over the Earth’s surface and troposphere layers, where CO2 has greater impact, 249K to 223K, is greater than can be linearly approximated. The observational data made me do it.

        Arrhenius’ equation is based on the 33 degree response and linearized. If you look at his 1896 paper, his predictions by latitude are erroneous. So since his predictions don’t match reality something is off, is it nonlinear response or something more intriguing?

    • Chief Hydrologist that doesn’t show non-linear response of temperature to forcing in a model.

      Dallas, the global temp response in models to forcing is roughly linear. That is despite them being complex non-linear systems. There is no evidence the response is not roughly linear in the real world too.

      • lolwot, I thought I knew what you were trying to say, but you have to admit nonlinear linearity is a touch funny :)

        The trending or what you consider the linear parts of the response are interesting The slope of the 1910 to 1940 and 1980 to 2000 linear trends are close to the same as you say despite the complexity of the system. The slope of the decline from 1950 to 1980 is roughly half of the slope of the upward trends.

        Now that the AMO has appeared to shift to negative, if the slope of the coming downward trend is less steep that the 1950 to 1980 trend, that may be the proof positive of the magnitude of the CO2 enhancement of the greenhouse effect.

        Of course there are plenty of nonlinear high frequency blips that can get people excited, but a 17 to 20 years downward trend of the same slope as 1950 to 1980, would blow CAGW out of the water.

        So those linear trends in all the chaos mean something. Only since the instrumental record is so short, longer term trends that may be natural are just about impossible to determine.

        I consider this rational skepticism, to not bet the farm until we have a better idea of how much we should bet. We will have a better idea in about 5 to 10 years.

    • Willis: When the independent variable is changed by a small amountl well-behaved functions show approximately linear change in the dependent variable (T) . Differential calculus works because the terms with higher powers of deltaX can be ignored as deltaX approaches zero. (Mathematicians have invented functions that are not well-behaved, but these don’t usually describe phenomena in the real world.) So I object to any ARBITRARY declaration that climate sensitivity is not constant for small changes in temperature.

      The no-feedbacks climate sensitivity is effectively linear. Differentiating the Stephan-Boltzman equation gives dW = 4oT^3.dT. As long as changes in T are small enough that T^3 can be treated as a constant, there will be a roughly linear relationship between deltaW and deltaT. For a 1% change in T (typical for climate change scenarios), treating T^3 as a constant causes a negligible 3% error. Substituting and rearranging terms gives a more useful equation (that is independent of emissivity): dW/W = 4(dT/T). A 1.6% change in radiation (dW/W = 1.6% comparable the forcing expected for 2XCO2) produces an 0.4% change in temperature (dT/T = 0.4% or 1.0 degK at 255 degK).

      Then we need to ask if feedbacks are likely to also vary linearly with small changes in temperature. Limiting discussion to the Charney climate sensitivity avoids the problem of non-linearity in surface albedo feedback. The change in saturation water vapor can be shown to be roughly linear (7% increase per degK) for small changes in T. Water vapor in some parts of the atmosphere (in the boundary layer over oceans, in ascending/cloudy regions) is likely be in equilibrium or near equilibrium with liquid water, so the non-linearity should be in clear regions that are easy to monitor from space. Clouds obviously change dramatically with the seasons where I live (deltaT 15 degC), so cloud feedback is unlikely to be linear over a large temperature range. However, smaller temperature changes could easily be linear (whether the feedback is positive or negative). One phenomena that is clearly non-linear is the development of deep convection (and hurricanes) when SST tropical crosses a threshold about 26.5 degC. The resulting clouds block the sun, forcing the “local” climate sensitivity to be very low near such thresholds. All forms of buoyancy-driven convection involve a threshold, but may be effectively linear once the threshold is crossed

      The changes from LGM to today and today to “catastrophe” represent roughly +/-1% changes in mean global temperature (in degK). What specific feedback or phenomena do you expect to CAUSE dramatic non-linearity in climate sensitivity in this temperature range?

      • Frank – Thank you for a detailed and lucid description of the mathematical relationships involved in forcing/feedback relationships and forcing/temperature relationships. If I could just clarify a small point, you mention that the change in saturation water vapor with temperature is roughly linear, which is certainly true for small changes, but technically, the illustration you used (7% increase per deg K) describes an exponential relationship. For a small change, that difference is not dramatic, but the exponential aspect of the CC relationship does have implications for both water vapor and lapse rate feedbacks.

      • Doug Badgero

        How does this argument change if you consider changes in energy and not temperature? The atmosphere is not a homogenous mix of material with constant heat capacity, and a lot of energy is absorbed as latent heat and moved via advection.

      • Frank | January 4, 2012 at 4:56 pm

        “Differential calculus works because the terms with higher powers of deltaX can be ignored as deltaX approaches zero. ”

        I would take a look at a psychrometric chart, Enen the simplified ones are a smear of logartihmic curves over the ranges affecting climate- about -40 deg C to +40degC. When you get into areas where phase changes take place, the result is even more amplified. Just note the change in “climate” that occurs in the evening when dew starts to form. For an hour or so a perfectly comfortable 70 deg. F can go to a clammy, stifling 70 deg. F until the water condenses out. Calculus flunks out when the near zero change in temperature ecompasses a phase change of water because a tiny change in temperature has no relationship at all to a relatively staggering amount of heat energy involved.

        I suspect this is a primary reason for the difficulty in parameterizing clouds in climate models. If the temperature isotherm is off by a difference of a few meters, much less a kilometer, it means the difference between a mild breeze in a couldless sky and millions of tons of water dropping out of a thunderstorm.

      • George M,

        Exactly, there is a discontinuity in temperature as Q changes. Thank you for being more descriptive and explicit in your argument than I.

      • Phase changes are dispersed over space. Nice try but this isn’t some homogeneous experiment.

      • Reply to George M: Climate change is about mean global temperature changing 1% on the Kelvin scale – the scale where temperature is proportional kinetic energy – not global extremes ranging from -40 degC to +40 degC. Logarithmic and exponential functions are effectively linear for small changes in the independent variable. (See answer to Fred.)

        Your point about phase change is important. 24 hours per day of sunlight during the Arctic summer doesn’t raise the temperature above 0 degC. Phase change is important in clouds which can be made of liquid water or ice.

      • Doug Badgero

        “Climate change is about mean global temperature changing 1% on the Kelvin scale………..”

        I agree it is not about changes of +40K to -40K, but neither is it just about a 1% change in global temperatures. It is more likely about regional energy changes that could easily be 3% or more. We know that while the earth’s average temperature changes 6K during an ice age the poles cool 20K or more while the tropics remain relatively constant. Looking at the calculus of small changes to a metric, global temperature anomaly, that has little or no physical meaning doesn’t tell us as much as you think IMO.

        In addition, we don’t know where we are on that “smear of logartihmic curves”. Without a better understanding of the response characteristics we could easily be in a similar place to a magnetic circuit near saturation (H v. B curve).

    • The biggest hole in climate science is the assumption of linearity.

      Since linearity plays a fundamental role in every other science, it would be helpful to understand what it is about climate science that makes it different.

      Or are you proposing to extend your ongoing attack on climate science to other sciences that you feel assume linearity inappropriately?

      • The difference is well known,eg Ruzmaikin

        ” Linear and non-linear systems respond differently to external forcing. A classical example of a linear system response is the Hooke’s law of elasticity that states that the amount by which a material body is deformed is linearly proportional to the force causing the deformation. Earlier climate change studies used this linear approximation to evaluate the sensitivity of the global temperature change caused by external forcing. However the response of non-linear systems to external forcing is conceptually different; the issue is not a magnitude (sensitivity) of the response. Non-linear systems have internally defined preferred states (called attractors in mathematics) and variabilities driven by residence in the states and transitions between them. The question is what is the effect of an external forcing: change of the states, residence times or something else?

        Answer to this question is critical to our understanding of climate change.
        Based on the model studies mentioned above we can formulate the following, updated conjecture of the climate system response to external forcing: external effects, such as solar, the QBO and anthropogenic influences, weakly affect the climate patterns and their mean residence times but increase a probability of occurrence of long residences. In other words, under solar or anthropogenic influence the changes in mean climate values, such as the global temperature, are less important than increased duration of certain climate patterns associated say with cold conditions in some regions and warm conditions in the other regions

        Not a small problem

      • Actually Vaughn, non-linearity is a significant focus across the sciences. There are entire journals devoted to it in some. About 20 years ago I helped develop a new program in non-linear science at the Naval Research Lab. Our mission was to get all the disciplines thinking about non-linearity, it being so new and different.

        Climate science is a glaring exception. The climate model 50-100 year projections typically look like simple linear projections of the estimated 1978-98 surface trends. This is an appalling simplification, given the non-linear nature of the system, which is clearly an oscillator.

      • Vaughan Pratt said, “Or are you proposing to extend your ongoing attack on climate science to other sciences that you feel assume linearity inappropriately?”

        I don’t think it is an attack as much as a frustrated observation. Linear approximations play an important role as a baseline or reference. When observation or performance doesn’t match the approximation it needs to be adjusted. Planck’s original approximation has been adjusted a few times. There are still quite a few unsolved fluid mechanics problems based on approximations and adjustments. Medicine has quite a few examples where linear approximations require adjustment. Every field has run into something that falls outside of expectations enough to require adjustment.

        The issue with climate science is that to skeptics, the observation are outside of expectations enough to deserve adjustment but the error range of climate is so large the climate scientists defend their results as being close enough while the difference between 1.5C and 4.5C is really too large to make informed policy decisions. If the compromise range of 1.5 to 4.5 had not been adopted, The Manabe range would be the focus and the Hansen range discounted.

        Would you buy a car that has an EPA estimate highway fuel mileage of 15 to 45 miles per gallon without a test drive starting and ending at a gas pump?

      • Doug Badgero

        Vaughan P,

        Choosing to design and operate a plane’s wing in the laminar flow region doesn’t make fluid dynamics a linear science across all flow regimes.

      • Vaughan, Glad you are back. I wrote a post downthread concerning nonlinearity in fluid dynamics that I think you might find interesting. Basically, linearity is the science of the 19th century, very useful in a lot of settings if the linear models are “adjusted” with data. Not very useful for a priori predictions of complex flow problems.

  17. You are being incredibly generous giving Hegerl +1 for her statement “As long as we don’t understand why they diverge, we can’t be sure that they accurately represent the past.” It would be better to say that as long as we don’t understand why they diverge we have no reason for believing that they represent the past at all.

    • You need to be careful not to go too far the other way. You say “as long as we don’t understand why they diverge we have no reason for believing that they represent the past at all.” whereas there actually are reasons for believing that they represent the past, only those reasons can’t explain the divergence.

      Perhaps it would be better to say that either information in tree rings represents the past (with some accuracy) or it doesn’t. The divergence problem is strong evidence that it doesn’t.

      • I don’t understand your point. The divergence problem shows that in the only genuinely out of sample test we have tree rings fail catastrophically. There is no reason to believe that they would do any better in reconstructing past temperatures. Unless and until the divergence problem is properly resolved dendroclimatology simply should not be used.

      • Unless and until the divergence problem is properly resolved dendroclimatology simply should not be used.

        One can use dendroclimatology, but one needs to accept that the results will necessarily drag a whopping great big question mark with them wherever they go until such a time as the divergence problem is resolved.

      • The question mark is so “whopping great big” that the results of dendroclimatology should not be used for anything else until the matter is resolved. In particular people should stop pretending that they have anything useful to add to temperature reconstructions.

      • Neb: sure the information in tree rings reflects the history of the trees. But at the present state of understanding tree rings tell us sweet fanny adams about long term temperature variations. The hockey team, led by Michael Mann, knew that but have tried to cover it up. That is why they get accused of scientific fraud. I wouldn’t use that term myself, as it has legal connotations. I’ll settle for calling it junk science.

      • There may be recourse in the courts for those who actually have a financial interest, for instance, the taxpayers of the Newnited States.
        ======================

    • okay, +0.5. Hegerl’s statement is much better than “it would be scientifically irresponsible not to delete the data after 1960.”

      • On those terms I’ll give her a 0. To reach a positive number she needs something like “it was scientifically irresponsible to delete data after the 1960s”.

  18. “Such holes do not undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution”

    Hang on, such holes undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, holes which are based on the flat rate of early twentieth first-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such stabilising by including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution

    • Hang on, such holes undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate
      This is what Gavin Schmidt meant when he said “But this climate of suspicion … [is] drowning our ability to soberly communicate gaps in our science when some people cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ for the slightest reasons.”
      If you think holes or gaps undermine a theory then you don’t understand science. Science is about looking for holes/gaps and filling them. No holes = no science. There are two things that can undermine a theory: 1) a prediction made by the theory that does not come true, 2) another theory which can explain all observations first explained by the original theory and can explain supplementary observations.
      Holes/gaps do not undermine scientific conlusions.

      • AGW predictions are shown to be wrong. Period. It is not the job of skeptics to explain it all. We are not the ones selling the theory. Einstein’s own comments about falsification make your assertion way off base. Skeptics do not need to offer an alternate theory. Skeptics have shown AGW is wrong. Believers can either demand it gets fixed or continue to enable the likes of the team to continue to mislead you.

      • andrew adams

        As usual scientists can’t win – if they say “there are no holes and gaps” they are accused of ignoring uncertainty and claiming the science is settled. If they say “there are holes and gaps” that supposedly undermines their whole understanding of climate.

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        AGW predictions are shown to be wrong. Period.

        Which ones?

      • andrew, this reply ended up below. I post it again here, hoping it will show up in place:
        This was posted upthread but is a nice starting point to your question:

        steven | January 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply

        The biggest hole is that the models are close to falsification about as soon as is mathematically possible. Individual problems include the stratosphere is not behaving as modeled. The troposphere is not behaving as modeled. Ocean heat content change is not indicative of a large energy imbalance. Ocean oscillations are poorly understood. Aerosols are poorly understood. Storms are poorly understood. Clouds are poorly understood. Sea level rise attributions are simplified and contributing factors ignored. Sea level rise is not accelerating. Warming is not accelerating. The biosphere is poorly understood. Ice sheet flow is poorly understood. There is a lack of consistency in arguments regarding transient and equilibrium senitivities. Land use changes and heat transport from land use changes are poorly understood. Perhaps I missed some since I never really tried to make a list before. On a positive note I do think the scientists know CO2 is a GHG. After that I’m not real sure they have firm handle on anything.

      • hunter,

        That’s all a bit vague and woolly, and saying that some things are “poorly understood” is a different argument from saying that particular predictions have been wrong. For the other things mentioned – global temperatures, sea levels, OHC, the troposphere (not sure particular measurement he is referring to) as well as other physical phenomena, observations agree to varying extents with what is expected, in many cases it’s just too early to make a firm judgement either way. But in general the world seems to have been in many ways behaving much as expected – sea levels rising, ice sheets melting, OHC increasingg sea ice and glaciers retreating, numerous observed changes to the biosphere – earlier flowering and fruiting dates and changes to the geographical ranges of plants and animals etc. Your claim seems to be that predictions are not just proving to be of varying or unknown accuracy but flat out wrong, and not just some of them but all of them. You’re going to have to provide a bit more meat than that to back up your claim.

      • Andrew,

        I could be wrong here, but as I understand it, attempts to have the models predict past climate regularly failed to do so until they made adjustments to the historical data being inputted. (Example, adjusting the SST data collected from ships – saying the bucket collection method created errors.)

        I am not claiming that data adjustment is the same as fraud, far from it. But for me, changing the data, rather than the model, to get the results you are after does not create a strong sense of predictive power.

      • aa,
        If you disagree with the list, then go to the AGW prmoters who made those predictions and discuss the problems with them.
        Do not blame skeptics for pointing out where the promoters were wrong.

      • Andrew Adams: If they say “there are holes and gaps” that supposedly undermines their whole understanding of climate.

        No.

        It undermines their claim to have detailed and complete enough knowledge that we should believe their forecasts of a 2K global increase by such and such a time; and a 2 meter rise in global mean temperature by such and such a time; and a catastrophic failure of human agriculture, resulting in billions of deaths, by such and such a time. Especially when “such and such a time” is about 2050, or the Earth residence times of Hansen’s grandchildren.

      • There are two things that can undermine a theory:

        1) a prediction made by the theory that does not come true,
        “How many AGW predictions have failed?”

        2) another theory which can explain all observations first explained by the original theory and can explain supplementary observations.
        “PTE does that for me, even if there still “scientific holes” in its coverage”.

        Thanks for the heads up on what science is about, by that reasoning I can deduce little science in the theory of AGW, as the theorists claim a settled science.

      • PTE? Does that refer to that crap recently posted on WUWT?

      • andrew adams

        hunter,

        If you disagree with the list, then go to the AGW prmoters who made those predictions and discuss the problems with them.

        But as I disagree with the list my problem isn’t with the “AGW promoters” or their supposed predictions.

      • andrew adams

        timg56,

        I’m not really qualified to discuss in detail how models are programmed, but it seems likely that the bucket collection method you mention did create errors and they had to be compensated for as best possible. I don’t think it follows that they did so in a way designed to make the models fit the data, but it seems likely that if we had better data from the past that would improve our understanding of things like how SST changes and so make for better models.
        So yes, I don’t dispute that our confidence in the models is not as high as we would like for whatever reason, I doubt it could ever be – ultimately we will have to wait to find out. But I would certainly dispute hunter’s claim that they have already been proved wrong.

    • andrew adams

      MattStatt,

      Leaving aside the obvious strawman in your argument, actually it doesn’t neccessarily undermine any of that. All scientific fields have “holes” in our understanding, but we still manage to understand a lot of things quite well. The question is where the holes exist and clearly scientists still feel able to make certain judgements about our future climate despite the existence of such holes. Your argument is not really much different to the one I was arguing against in my previous comment.

      • What part of my list do you disagree with? You mentioned the troposphere yet it is no secret that the troposphere is not showing the pattern of warming expected. Do you have a reference that shows this discrepency has now been resolved? Do you have other complaints with my list?

  19. The biggest hole in catastrophic climate change science is the credibility of the junkett scientists who sit atop the manure heap.

    Assuming there is a global temperature and that it is fixed and assuming that the rise in temperature is of the order of 0.7 C in the last 150 years. Is this value alarming given the historical record and also what proportion of this rise could be attributed to man made CO2. Or put another way if CO2 were to be removed from the atmosphere what would the global temperature of the earth be?

  20. The believers tried to demonoze skeptics. They tried to ignore skeptics. They tried to silence skeptics. A very few engage with skeptics. This article, like Richter’s book, admits there are important problems with AGW while still ignoring or making pro forma put downs of skeptics. If this is the article of the year for believers, there were very slim pickings. The author is clearly not able to engage in critical thinking, but this passes for hard hitting analysis in the AGW believer world. Schmidt, who is a leading AGW communicator reveals himself to be at best incompetent. His admissions demonstrate he is not merely incompetent, but working in doubtful good faith.

  21. FWIW, my other gaping hole is whether we can trust the temperature record at all, after all the “adjustments”. Never explained. Never justified. Always in the direction of cooling older records, and thus warming more recent records.
    Nor do we get any explanations for the changing population of temperature stations used. It seems that there is a selection process going on to ensure that warming stations are included, and cooling stations are excluded.

    It all might be OK. But how can we tell when the “climate scientists” refuse to provide the explanations, refuse to provide the raw data, refuse to provide the computational software.

    Count this dude as not trusting them.

    • mondo,

      You’re a bit behind the times.

      That’s all very WUWT – circa 2009-2010

      • You wish it were so.

      • No mondo’s claims are all outdated and represent old tired skeptic accusations that have since been shown to be false.

        Look at where he claims scientists refuse to provide the “computational software”. Yet GISS source code has been available for years.

  22. Natural variability ?
    There is no mystery about ‘natural variability’ usually associated with the AMO, the PDO and the ENSO. They are all caused by the changes in the heat transport by the major currents, or more precisely change in the balance between cold and warm currents; for the AMO it is the circulation within subpolar gyre, the Labrador vs. the N. Atlantic drift current, while for the PDO it is Kuroshio vs Oyashio (Kamchatka) current.
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/A&P.htm
    It is just a matter of the available energy distribution, either it is reradiated back into the space in the sub equatorial region (global cooling), or transported by the ocean currents further towards the poles (global warming).
    The ENSO case is somewhat different, where the balance between the South Equatorial and the Counter Equatorial currents determines the oscillation:
    http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/ENSO.htm
    The AGW science is preoccupied with the CO2, and the sceptic camp is determined to squeeze the extra energy out of the TSI (in either case there is very little that matters), but when the both sides of the argument hit the buffers, it will be possible to present a more coherent case for the causes of the natural variability.

  23. I’d say that one of the big holes is the ability of those challenging the consensus to come up with a plausible hypothesis that can generate specific predictions to back up the more general claims.

    If, for example, we agree that we think natural variability is an important and under-represented factor then we have a general statement. A general statement is almost useless. You can use it to generate other general statements like uncertainty is probably underestimated because insufficient attention has been given to natural variability, or that such and such an event could very well be cause by natural variability. But these statements are equally nebulous.

    The other way that natural variability is invoked is as a lazy null or a null of the gaps in which any deviation from AGW predictions is automatically taken to imply that natural variability is a much more likely cause without ever quantifying it.

    Don’t just say, more attention needs to be paid to natural variability.

    Instead say something concrete and specific like, what we need to do in this analysis here is include natural variability forcing patterns – including the AMO and PDO – alongside the other forcing factors. In fact, use these patterns from this paper, with these alternatives.

    • That supports what I said elsewhere in this thread. One can only parade around so many nebulous assertions before you have to invoke some math and see how they all fit together.

      I think the skeptics need to face up to the fact that mathematical modeling is the only way to get quantitative impacts of their potential ideas into the bigger picture. Until they do this it just so much yammering. That is the gaping hole in the debate.

    • Neb, the whole point about natural variability is that it is inherently unpredictable.

  24. “JC comment: seems to me that Gavin is confusing cause and effect. People cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ when they perceive that scientists are trying to hide uncertainties.”

    The problem is that some people perceiving an error or fault, cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ as their opening interpretation, and then whine that scientists seem reluctant to engage openly with them.

    • It’s the unclean political agenda of the core of the climate community pushing AGW and carbon regulations. They should fess up, they’re green/pro-regulators across the board.

      Gavin Schmidt is an eco-activist, government funded troll with a pro-government agenda.

      We should be honest about ehat the talking points should be.

      • And clearly you are a disinterested observer without any ideological axe to grind, which makes your opinions so free of distorting bias.

      • Michael, I am a relatively disinterested observer. I approached climate issues in 2007 with an open mind and observed the behavior of RealClimate and ClimateAudit. I observed behaviors at RealClimate and from the pro-Mann group that raised red flags about credibility.

        (1) A general tendency to hide data and code (with some exceptions).

        (2) A general tendency to heavily edit comments.

        (3) Specific instances of leaning on journals to remove editors who published articles critical of Mann et al.

        And I have observed opposite behavior from McIntyre et al. Even though some (dghoza, et al) have accused them of deception, the ClimateAudit practice of making everything available makes it easy to check.

        This doesn’t mean that ClimateAudit is always right and that RealClimate is always wrong. It means that the latter group is acting like they have something to hide. It is *process*, not outcome, that has me worried.

      • Steven Mosher

        if u read the mails u will see the motivation behind the comment policy.

      • > A general tendency to heavily edit comments.

        Yes, but RC moderation.

        The concept “general tendency” might be of help dissolve many problems, including the divergence of old tree rings.

  25. General holes in the current climate consensus:
    (1) Criteria for falsification
    (2) Inability to make accurate predictions
    (3) Overreliance on models constructed with AGW being central to the models.

    On (2) the 1990s view that temps will rise in a nice neat line has been crushed in the 2000s. If Dr. Santer can say that ‘natural variability’ can overwhelm AGW for up to 17 years, then natural variability must be super powerful.

    Nebuchadnezzar (January 4, 2012 at 4:56 am):
    “Don’t just say, more attention needs to be paid to natural variability.”

    More attention needs to be paid to natural variability!!!!

    • So get hopping and build up a model for natural variability. The hole is that the skeptics don’t have one and can only whine that nonlinearies and chaos make it too difficult to proceed.

      • “non-linear” is the new black for ‘skeptics’.

      • See Chief Hydrologist (January 4, 2012 at 7:30 am) below. Nonlinearities and chaos don’t make it too difficult to proceed, but they sure give a different perspective on things. And different projections for the future.

      • randomengineer

        WHT — So get hopping and build up a model for natural variability. The hole is that the skeptics don’t have one and can only whine that nonlinearies and chaos make it too difficult to proceed.

        From where does this silly notion come from that says skeptics need to come up with alternate theorems?

        The MUFON group has gathered a crapload of data over decades regarding alien visitations on earth, and their consensus position is that aliens visit the earth. Studying alien stuff is what these people do. They probably know more about alien visits than most governments combined.

        I’m skeptical that aliens visit.

        So… using your “logic”, I am now compelled to spend absurd amounts of my time to dig through countless books and periodicals and the alien museum in Roswell and so on in order to comprehensively refute what they claim. And if your pal Joshua is in on the demand, he’ll demand a full set of links showing the alternate theory that purports overturn the MUFON consensus.

        I think overall that you either don’t get the concept of “skeptical” or you think you’re being clever using a “demand alternate theories” rhetorical trick. (My guess? Both.)

        Being skeptical means simply that someone asserts X and the skeptic says no, I don’t think so. It is not up to the skeptic to make a counter assertion. A simple “I don’t think so” is more than sufficient.

        As for me, I don’t think I need to spend more than 8 seconds on the claims of MUFON.

      • Web

        You are starting to sound really silly with your suggestions. How about those who want to change behavior justify the changes with accurate data (models that work and accurately predict the future)

      • Web said, “So get hopping and build up a model for natural variability. The hole is that the skeptics don’t have one and can only whine that nonlinearies and chaos make it too difficult to proceed.”

        That is a broad brush from someone that should recognize that CO2 forcing obviously has a temperature dependence as well a concentration dependence.

        This is a rough draft I have started just to explain how part of the model should be set up. It is a complex system with multiple boundary layers and multiple interactions, I don’t think it is solvable enough to predict the climate in the short term, but it will be better than what is being used now.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2012/01/pressure-density-and-global-warming.html

      • WebHubTelescope: So get hopping and build up a model for natural variability.

        Skeptics and believers have made lots of models of natural variability. They have holes also, but not for lack of effort. According to some of the models, humans face a couple of decades at least of cooling before the warming resumes.

        You know this.

      • I don’t see anything but a bunch of words. Start relating this in more formal and unambiguous terms and I might be willing to follow it.

        If you want to be taken seriously, it helps to use the language of science. This is the way we were educated and you might as well at least make a token attempt to get our interest.

      • Web, said, “I don’t see anything but a bunch of words. ”

        Damn words! They do get in the way of good cipherin’ I could just given you an equation, like dF/dT=(AlphaFc + BetaFe + GammaFr)/T and state that the formula is based on the approximation of the S-B relationship dF/dT=4F/T with the coefficients Alpha, Beta and Gamma included to adjust for the non-linear relationship between the source temperature and the characteristics of the energy fluxes between thermodynamic layers. But that would be a waste of time because you would assume that the coefficients are something silly like constants.

        I will eventually get around to the math. Before I do that I prefer to more completely lay out the problems so I don’t have to hammer in the final pieces of the puzzle.

        As far as you or anyone else taking me seriously, not my goal in life. You though seem to have that goal. I will give you a clue though about Arrhenius’ global warming equation. It is the perfect greenhouse response. Like the Carnot engine of climate change.

      • Cap’n, you’re giving Arrhenius too much credit. Carnot is at least a useful limiting case. We know rigorously that we can’t do any better than that, though we also know we can’t even do that well. Arrhenius, OTOH, doesn’t allow the direct calculation of anything. It has to be eperically fitted to … drum roll … climate sensitivity.

      • > From where does this silly notion come from that says skeptics need to come up with alternate theorems?

        Perhaps from Peter Lipton’s Inference to the Best Explanation:

        http://books.google.ca/books/about/Inference_to_the_best_explanation.html?id=sxvPkvcvRd0C

        I’d like an engineer-level formal derivation explaining why inferring to the best explanation would be a silly notion.

      • Doesn’t that take money?

        Once again I could be wrong, but I’m under the impression that the models that exist today were created with somebody’s money and not in the free time of the modelers.

      • Have you and Robert swapped screen names?

        He’s sounding reasonable with the start of the new year and you are not.

      • Timg56,

        You’re supposed to frown upon “going after commenters”. Anywho, if you have an alternative explanation of AGW, go to scienceofdoom.com and produce one. Money and fame is awaiting you, or anyone who could beat the explanation we have so far. If you don’t have any alternative explanation, the one we have will stay on the table.

        Meanwhile, please indulge into building up lists of concerns to your heart’s content.

      • Joachim Seifert

        If you have an alternative theory to AGW, then, what your nonsense: “Money and Fame are awaiting you…..”? What absurd idea…..
        What awaits you is a total ignorance by climate institutes, no reply whatsoever, and polite asking that they received information, just to
        aknowledge, saying we received, but dont call us, we call you…..is already to much…..policy of keeping the mouth shut and looking the other way…
        This is the reality, I wrote to major LAs of AR5 and major climate institute and physics organizations as the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft……
        …..please stay on the carpet of reality and avoid nonsense…..
        JS

      • Web, I have a model; don’t say the Skeptics don’t have a model. Most of the Skeptics believe in more GLOBAL Warmings, than the Warmist as you. The more my model is known; that is no such a thing as GLOBAL warming; all the warmings / coolings are localized – the more interesting the debate will become; will have some truth in it. For now, you believe in Santa, but not in Rudolf – Skeptics believe in Rudolf, but not in Santa. THE KING IS NAKED!!! WebHub, put a fig leaf on!

      • Don’t worry stefanthedenier. All the skeptics are behind you with your model. Silence on their part indicates complete agreement with your comprehensive insight. That is the only thing I can conclude.

        Yet, as far as I am concerned, you spout complete gibberish. So continue to use my name in vain.

      • WHT,
        Your conclusions about Stephan, like your conclusions about oil and most other topics, would be wrong.

      • Willard,

        I’m not exactly “going after” WEB. More like making an observation in the form of a question. Need I point out that he is the one throwing out insults?

        As for coming up with alternate theories, I don’t really have to provide an alternative to question the one being presented to me, do I? I’m under the impression the folks presenting a theory are the ones obligated to prove it.

        You also ignore the part about the money. If someone is expected to provide an alternative theory, don’t they need funding, just as the people who came up with the current one have gotten? In otherwords, telling someone who is skeptical to provide an alternative theory is nothing more than saying “piss off”.

      • WebHubTtelescope: I don’t see anything but a bunch of words. Start relating this in more formal and unambiguous terms and I might be willing to follow it.

        To whom were you addressing that? Some specific models for natural variability (Ludecke et al is one example ) have been presented for discussion.

      • Ludecke has a model?

        At best he has heuristic fits to some empirical data.
        Which was the most recent paper discussed here.

      • You think that someone has to be paid to come up with a model?

        Ha ha. That’s a good one.

        Seriously, there are enough smart people willing to work in collaborative, essentially crowd-sources environments for the money thing to be meaningless.

        The L-word comes to mind when I keep hearing these weak justifications for why skeptics can’t come up with a model.

  26. Chris Savage

    Is there any other branch of science where Schiermeier’s statement would be accepted as proof?

    “the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution.”

    The reality is that climate scientists don’t know what caused the 20th century warming and it is nonsensical to say that just because they can’t think of anything else is has to be human-driven.

    If someone shows me a crop circle and says it must be caused by aliens, because there’s no other explanation, I still don’t believe in aliens. I say I don’t know what caused it, which is a perfectly scientific answer.

    Science is not about finding answers. It is about the pursuit of the truth. Pursuing the truth may lead to answers but if you start by looking for answers you’ll probably end up with the wrong ones.

    • That’s not what they are saying- it’s more like this; we understand natural internal climate vatiability and recently observed climate doesn’t fit within this natural variability. Taking into account human pertubations of GHGs, we can explain recent observations, therefore it seems very likely that recent warming is anthropogenic.

      The scientific view of crop circles is very similiar; we understand crop natural varibility and observed crop circles don’t fit within that natural variability. Taking into account human bevaviour and technology, we can easily explain crop circles, therefore we posit that crop circles are caused by human activity.

      The ‘skeptic’ take would be; we don’t understand crop’s well enough, there is some uncertainty about crops, so maybe crop circles are just an expression of natural variabilty. Why do scientists want to blame everything on man’s influence?.

      • Chris Savage

        It’s not “scientists”. It is just those climate scientists who promote the AGW theory. I challenge you to name another branch of science where the we-can’t-come-up-with-anything-else-so-it-must-be-true logic is accepted.

        Climate scientists may well understand natural variability, perhaps even very well, but this whole argument is based on an assumption that they know it perfectly. Ipso facto, any unexplained variability must be man-made.

        Unfortunately these same scientists then have to come up additional natural variability, which they previously forgot to mention, to explain away the failure of man-made warming to behave as they predict.

        It’s all about facing up to the unknown unknowns (as Chief Hyrdologist argues effectively below) rather than pretending they don’t exist.

      • Again, that is not the proposition.

        Mis-representing the argument so you can more easily dismiss it, is bad faith.

      • andrew adams

        The “lack of plausible alternatives” argument doesn’t stand on its own, but it is valid when also taking into account the a priori expectation that increased CO2 levels will cause warming.

      • Michael (January 4, 2012 at 6:29 am)
        “That’s not what they are saying- it’s more like this; we understand natural internal climate vatiability…”

        Hubris.

        If they understand it, why were no predictions made in the 90s which match what has actually happened since?

        Look at AR5 ZOD, chapter 10 p 18:
        “In summary, while the trend in global mean temperature over the past decade is *not significantly different from zero*, it is also not inconsistent with internal variability superposed on an anthropogenic warming trend”.

        This is way out of line with what was predicted a decade ago. And the explanations which follow this statement about ‘natural variability’ are not very convincing – eg: “stratospheric water vapour declined abruptly by about 10% after 2000 for *unknown reasons*”.

        They don’t understand natural variability at all.

        Some posts suggest that sceptics need to come up with an all-embracing alternative hypothesis before dissing the consensus one. Why? We’re not the ones applauding putting huge wind turbines over “Englands green and pleasant land” based on dodgy science.

      • cui,

        It’s just a reply to the oft asserted nonsense that climate scientists don’t know about, or just ignore, natural climate variability.

        This can only be said by those who have no knowledge of the literature.

      • Chris Savage

        Andrew
        “The “lack of plausible alternatives” argument doesn’t stand on its own, but it is valid when also taking into account the a priori expectation that increased CO2 levels will cause warming.”

        Only if you assume
        a) you have fully accounted for all natural variability
        b) Natural fluxes of CO2 into and out of the atmosphere precisely balance, so that the accumulation of atmospheric CO2 must be all down to the much smaller anthropogenic portion.

        Neither of which are any more than assumptions.

      • Micheal –

        The ‘skeptic’ take would be; we don’t understand crop’s well enough, there is some uncertainty about crops, so maybe crop circles are just an expression of natural variabilty. Why do scientists want to blame everything on man’s influence?.

        That’s good.

      • Actually joshy, what Michael said about skeptics and crop circles is just a silly ad hom accusation that skeptics are dumb clowns. If a skeptic/denier had made a similar claim about your side, you would be demanding proof that climate scientists believe crop circles occur naturally. This is just a game for you, joshy. You need to think about how much time you are expending on this foolishness. Don’t you have something more productive to do?

      • Michael, using the words: ”scientific and recent warming” shouldn’t be used together.There hasn’t being any recent warming of the planet. Maybe was warmer where the few thermometers they have – but that has nothing to do with the WHOLE planet. Loaded comments are not information, but just loaded comments. Saying is one thing, reality is another. Me saying that; you are a good / honest person – it doesn’t make you honest. Take my challenge above – see that nobody knows what the temperature is, to save his / her life; but everybody talk as if they know.. Some day psychologist, criminologists and psychiatrist will be study the contemporary debates. In a civilised society; justice needs to be done.

    • A. C. Osborn

      Chris, I am and have always have been a total skeptic of AGW, but there is another branch of science that does exactly the same thing, Astrophysics.
      The Big Bang theory needed “Dark Matter” and now needs “Dark Energy” to explain it.
      But I agree with you, the warmists use of it is pathetic and as for Michael’s
      “we understand natural internal climate vatiability” and not one AGW scientist predicted the currrent Flat Line Temperatures.
      They now say it must be due to Chinese Polution, Aerosols, heat hiding at the botom of the Oceans or maybe even natural variabilty. LOL

      • When you put together the lie, er ‘nonfactual assertion’ that the 20th Century had an extreme rate of temperature rise, with this century’s temperature record, you can see just how far out to sea, er overwhelmed by the flood, the alarmists are.

        And really, any moron can now see that natural variability isn’t modeled well yet. These alarmist apprentices are so above themselves as to believe 20 brooms can sweep the science clean, when they’re just beginning to understand the sorcery of the sun’s and the earth’s joint climatic expression.
        ================

  27. Judith,

    You argue ” seems to me that Gavin is confusing cause and effect. People cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ when they perceive that scientists are trying to hide uncertainties.”

    The IPCC put climate sensitivity {2 xCO2} in the range of 1.5 to 4.5 degs. That’s 3K +/- 1.5K. Or +/-50%

    Just suppose that the IPCC followed your advice and widened their range to 1K-6K. You can even suppose, if you like, that the IPCC were to apologise for “hiding” the true range of the uncertainties in earlier reports.

    Are you seriously suggesting that people like Hunter would write in and withdraw their previous claims of “fraud and misconduct”. Would they ever write:

    “Well, Judith, this new range of uncertainties has made all the difference. I’d previously accused the IPCC of being a hoax. Part of a Communist inspired New World Order plot to work through the UN to subvert the US constitution and create a world government. But, now they’ve listened to you, I’ve totally changed my opinion. I’m now totally convinced by what they report on global warming ”

    OK maybe I’m being a little unfair in using Hunter as an example. But, seriously, do you really expect that a wider range of uncertainty ever would have made, or ever will make, any difference whatsoever to the political nature of the so-called debate?

    Does anyone think that?

    • “Does anyone think that?”

      No but I’m reminded of the post I saw along the way about the guy who was beating the GCMs with a 10 line excel spreadsheet.

      Belated Happy New Year Judith. Keep at it! :-)

      btw that “10 lines” is just an estimate. Could be more could be less. And I can’t remember exactly what criteria he was beating them on or how it was checked and verified relative to the models or reality but I know it’s within the range of totally rock solid to complete junk. Knowing what we know of human behaviour we’ll all be able to draw our favourite conclusions. ;-)

      • Moshpit,

        My comment was about what Judith’s “strongly suspects”. Everything I’ve said so far relates immediately to the nature of these suspicions. Auditors might strongly suspect that you have no reason to argue about the topicality of my comment. “As is often the case”, they might suspect even more strongly.

        You want me to stop recalling the You Made Me Do It game here? Simple. Convince Judith that in a debate of “political nature”, one shall not hide normative claims under metaphysical counterfactuals, and that when one indulges into moralistic claptraps, one should own it. These are really simple points. I strongly suspect you know it.

        The reason for my strong suspicion is that you refrain from doing it yourself. Up to a point, of course, the point being your Briffa example, which bears no relevance to my comment. I strongly suspect that showing how trivial the matter disproves your point: if what separates the two parties (neither of which I defend, btw) is to be seen by the two formulations you underlined, then there no reason to strongly suspect that the audit will never end.

        That you insist on *the* point (a concept that exists only for rhetors) while coatracking your weekly issue is simply unwinnable. By contrast, that you insist on “they brought it onto themselves” is to be commended. So advise Judith to use “they brought it onto themselves”, which for the life of me I would never say is a truism. This frames the “political nature” of this debate under a most natural frame. This is a useful trick, as every strict fathers know.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard,

        It is not me who insists on “they brought it on themselves”
        This was a finding by the inquisition.
        The rest of your comment, where it makes sense, is largely off topic.

    • It wouldn’t change the political nature of the debate, but the scientists would be off the hot seat and could get on with doing science rather than hiring lawyers, etc.

      • No-one hires a lawyer for fun and giggles.

        People (including scientists) hire lawyers because they find themselves involved in legal proceedings for which their previous experience in doing science is not particularly relevant.

        They find themselves in this position quite often because they are simply doing their job and speak in public about it – and are then targeted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Attorney General of Virginia, Judicial Watch, the American Tradition Institute, Senator Inhofe et al.

        If you think this is all happening because those specific scientists underestimated some uncertainty in some paper, you are delusional.

      • I strongly suspect that people wouldn’t be going after these scientists if they hadn’t made overconfident statements about their research in the IPCC and their research and data were transparent.

      • Steve-Ah,
        If you think that Mann & gang are lawyering up because of the wicked VRWC and that what they are doing- covering up data, dodging legit FOIA, resisting lawful calls for review- are just part of their jobs, you have a very odd definition of ‘just doing their job’.

      • Steve-Ah | January 4, 2012 at 9:58 am
        No-one hires a lawyer for fun and giggles.

        Mann does. He is the one suing Ball. He is the one trying to block Cuccinelli (when he lacks any standing in the matter in the first place). Apparently blanket statements like yours are easily disproven by the stupidity of the people hiring lawyers.

      • As someone who has (unfortunately) been strongly advised to seek the counsel of m’learned friends, I’d be fascinated to know what “overconfident statements” I’d made about my research in the IPCC and what of my “research and data” were not transparent.

        JC reply: The nesting is overwhelmed, I will respond at the bottom of the thread

      • I strongly suspect that people wouldn’t be going after these scientists if they hadn’t made overconfident statements about their research in the IPCC and their research and data were transparent.

        I strongly suspect you are wrong. Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

        Can you give any examples in which openness and frank discussion of uncertainty changed the behavior of someone like Rush Limbaugh, who tells his 15 million listeners on a weekly basis that all climate science is a hoax? Do the changes of heart of people like Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, and Mitt Romney have to do with a lack in discussions of scientific uncertainty, or are they driven by politics?

        Are scientists like Mann and Hansen targeted because they are uniquely opaque, or because they are overconfident, or is it more likely that they are targeted because their work demonstrates in clear and easily communicated ways facts about the physical world which some people seek desperately to deny?

      • Gavin, it’s hard to answer that without being the person giving you the advice. Could you tell us a little more about who is advising you to get counsel, and why?

      • Gavin –

        I might be wrong, but I think you got caught by a ricochet – a sort of collateral wounding. No. I wouldn’t like it either, but it’s a feisty old debate this climate business.
        Speaking off the record, I admire your patience.

      • Yes, one of those unlikely and unintentional broad brush, scatter-gun-ricochet wounds.

      • JUdith would be handy in a gangland war – she’s the king of the drive-by!

      • Judith,

        There was a recent paper featured here that made very confident claims about the non-anthropogenic nature of observed warming, with zero data trnasparency (not yet made available).

        So the ‘skeptics’ were “going after” this paper and its author??

        According to your confident assertion, of course they would have.

        I’m sure you’d be shocked , just shocked, to know that it got a very warm reception here from the ‘skeptics’. (some, not me, might say the reception was rather credulous)

      • Micheal

        Were the “skeptic” papers you were referencing being used as the basis for governmental policies that would require a great expense to the public? I suppose not. Should those ‘skeptic” papers be viewed with skeptism? yes

      • Michael –

        ‘King’ seems somewhat gender inappropriate. And ‘drive by’ – on her own blog no less! Maybe she should ask for your permission before she comments…

      • Sorry,

        I was just being sceptical about Judiths seemingly over-confident assertion regarding the motivation fo others’ behaviour and assessing it against a known example that would give us some idea as it its accuracy.

        I apologise for not being a team player.

      • Robert –

        I strongly suspect you are wrong. Do you have any evidence for this assertion?

        As is often the case, Judith was unspecific enough that it is difficult to understand what she means, let alone whether her statement is accurate.

        I strongly suspect that people wouldn’t be going after these scientists if they hadn’t made overconfident statements about their research in the IPCC and their research and data were transparent.

        In other words, if certain specific but unspecified scientists had been more transparent with their data she thinks that some? people might not be going after them. Vague enough to be plausible? Perhaps.

        Of course, even if her statement is true, it ignores the larger phenomenon of widespread tribal attacks against climate scientists by a variety of tribalists that care little about questions of data transparency or overconfident statements. The fact is, many (most?) “skeptics” don’t even know what most climate scientists say about the science let alone whether they make their data transparent or make “overconfident” statements. .

      • > I strongly suspect that people wouldn’t be going after these scientists if they hadn’t made overconfident statements about their research in the IPCC and their research and data were transparent.

        Scientists Made People Do It.

      • Michael –

        Fair point.
        And I was just being a vaguely civilised and appreciative guest :)

      • Speaking for myself only. I was motivated to “go after” 3 things.

        1. The gisstemp code. No FOIA was required, we badgered. Hansen released the code. No more issues for me there. In fact, you can find me defending GISS over on WUWT on a regular basis.

        2. NOAA records. In 2008 NOAA took down data ( station metadata) that had previously been posted. I FOIAd the documents pertaining to this decision. The agency acted professionally. I have 500+ pages of documents and records. Everything was handled as it should be by PROFESSIONALS. No problems were found.

        3. The CRU confidential agreements and policies.

        Here I was motivated by Jones telling an obvious lie about the agreements. That would lead to more lies documented in the mails relative to my follow up FOIA.

        So, willard, did the scientists make me do it? No. Mostly it was idiots in the blogosphere who made stupid arguments. I saw only one way to settle those idiot arguments: get the documents.

        Now, the INQUIRIES found that CRU brought this trouble on themselves.
        So, maybe you should take it up with muir russell

      • Here is another thing we “went after”
        Hide the decline

        What did people argue? People argued that the uniformitarian principle was on the line. That maybe dendro was a crock

        This was dismissed as skeptical claptrap

        Now, when Briffa writes a proposal to get money… what does he write

        “Palaeoclimate reconstructions extend our knowledge of how climate varied in times before expansive networks of measuring instruments became available. These reconstructions are founded on an understanding of theoretical and statistically-derived associations acquired by comparing the parallel behaviour of palaeoclimate proxies and measurements of varying climate. Inferences about variations in past climate, based on this understanding, necessarily assume that the associations we observe now hold true throughout the period for which reconstructions are made. This is the essence of the uniformitarian principle. In some northern areas of the world, recent observations of tree growth and measured temperature trends appear to have diverged in recent decades, the so called “divergence” phenomenon. There has been much speculation, and numerous theories proposed, to explain why the previous temperature sensitivity of tree growth in these areas is apparently breaking down. The existence of divergence casts doubt on the uniformitarian assumption that underpins a number of important tree-ring based (dendroclimatic) reconstructions. It suggests that the degree of warmth in certain periods in the past, particularly in medieval times, may be underestimated or at least subject to greater uncertainty than is currently accepted. The lack of a clear overview of this phenomenon and the lack of a generally accepted cause had led some to challenge the current scientific consensus, represented in the 2007 report of the IPCC on the likely unprecedented nature of late 20th century average hemispheric warmth when viewed in the context of proxy evidence (mostly from trees) for the last 1300 years. This project will seek to systematically reassess and quantify the evidence for divergence in many tree-ring data sets around the Northern Hemisphere. It will establish a much clearer understanding of the nature of the divergence phenomenon, characterising the spatial patterns and temporal evolution. Based on recent published and unpublished work by the proposers, it has become apparent that foremost amongst the possible explanations is the need to account for systematic bias potentially inherent in the methods used to build many tree-ring chronologies including many that are believed to exhibit this phenomenon”

        You see how it works

        Express doubt when you want to get money.
        Hide the doubt when talking to policy makers

        simples.

      • All this is irrelevant to my claim that Judith is using the old counterfactual trick. Nonetheless, let us note that when seeking a grant, Briffa writes

        > likely unprecedented

        When helping writing a document for the IPCC, Briffa writes:

        > unprecedented

        while hiding the qualifier under a table yet to be properly Italianized.

        What an hypocrit.

        ***

        Let us also note that

        (1) Idiots in the blogosphere who made stupid arguments [Made Me Do It, Mostly].

        and

        (2) CRU brought this trouble on themselves.

        might be tough to reconcile.

      • Scientists Made People Do It.

        That does seem to be a rather consistent theme of Judith’s: tribalism among “skeptics” is unconcerning, and anyway, even if “skeptics” go tribal, it’s excusable and/or mere “intemperance” because the climate scientists made them do it.

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard.
        the point was about the challenge to dendrochronology. so engage that point not the adjective. second you get to decide was the inquiry right or wrong. but for cru lies but for stupid arguments like yours I would never have done those foia.
        not too hard to understand

      • Steven Mosher –

        On the Hide the Decline issue and your bringing Briffa into it, if you haven’t seen the WUWT post “Paging Mike Mann – your dendrochronologist will see you now” from JAN 3rd, have a read.

        Hal Fritts, who first tied tree-rings to temperature (as I understand it) is in an Climategate 2 email tussle with David Savidge of the Univ.of New Brunswick (where he does things like tree biology). Savidge savages Fritts and another on their lack of funcamental understanding of how tree-rings even are formed. Fritts and the otehr guy throw up straw daogs, talking about tree-rings and dating – which is another story and not one anyone disagrees with.

        But it is interesting that Briffa wants money to “This project will seek to systematically reassess and quantify the evidence for divergence in many tree-ring data sets around the Northern Hemisphere. It will establish a much clearer understanding of the nature of the divergence phenomenon, characterising the spatial patterns and temporal evolution.”

        That is utterly amazing. Briffa wants to quantify the fact the at divergence problem exists and to describe the end-of-the-process numbers (that is all he is asking for money for, as I read it). WHY is he not asking for money to study foundational tree-ring formation and how that ties in with temperature in the first place. Fritts is the guy who claimed there is a link, and in his only on-topic responses to Savidge, Fritts says he wished he had time to actually study that. The underlying science isn’t known, and Briffa wants to study the tree-ring numbers (what else ISs there, if he doesn’t go back to square one?). That is all because Briffa is only a behind-the-desk number processing scientist, and it is doubtful he even knows HOW to do field studies to learn about tree-rings from the ground up.

        If Fritts doesn’t even know, then one can easily suggest that no one in dendroclimatology knows.

        Under all that, though, is the real possibility (probability) that tree-rings don’t WORK as proxies for temperature. Briffa’s whole “uniformitarian” argument goes down the drain. Why? Because if tree-rings aren’t reliable proxies now, then there is no divergence problem – only a modern day version of the ether, animal magnetism, epicycles and eugenics. IOW, there is no science of paleoclimatology if tree-rings don’t work as proxies. How can I say that? Because that is what the instruments are telling us. In the most reliable period of temperature measurement in the history of man, the last 70 years, there IS no correlation between tree-rings and temperature. And – based on the very basis of uniformitarianism – that means that there never WAS such a correlation. THAT is the big elephant in the room.

        If 70 years of non-correlation don’t scream that to everyone, I just don’t get it. How long does it have to not correlate? (And that doesn’t even include the argument that “correlation does not mean cause and effect.”)

      • Robert,

        I for one do not listen to Rush or any other talk radio.

        I also try not to attribute motive, as I’m more likely to be wrong than right. I do not know the motives of the groups filing FOIA requests to UVA, CRU or any other organiztion or individual. That doesn’t change my view that there is nothing inherently wrong with such requests.

        What I can do is examine what my own motivation would be in the same circumstance – i.e. being the one to file such a request and/or having such a request filed to obtain communications I’ve been a part of. In the first instance, it would be the result of wanting better information in order to make a more informed decision regarding policy and regulatory actions being taken by my government that impact me. In the second instance, I wouldn’t have any problem, unless there was certain proprietary information that could benefit my competition at my expense. I believe the FOIA laws protect for that.

        In the case of the UVA request and Prof. Mann, I do not see where the proprietary information part comes into play. From what I’ve read, the arguments put forth have been privacy – i.e. the emails are personal – and the so called “chilling” effect on scientific research.

        Is it possible that huge corporations and special interests are behind this because they feel threatened? Maybe. But I tend to think that these corporations already know that it is far smarter to adapt to changes in policy trends than to fight them.

      • > [T]he point was about the challenge to dendrochronology.

        The point was about shovelling justifications under “cause and effect” talk.

        The point was that “as long as people perceive” creates a self-sealing argument.

        The point was that this leads to a conspiracist rationale.

        The point was that Judith needs a better argument than that.

      • Robert, Your answer is wrong. The problem is the politization of climate science. Politics has always been an unpleasant business repellant to gentlemen and scholars. There were exceptions like Teddy Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson. Climate scientists such as Hansen are a large part of the cause of this politization, so they must share some of the blame for the rough and tumble to which they have exposed themselves.

      • Willard

        That is not the point. That is how you have tried to twist the discussion.
        The point was made by the inquiries. I did not see you object to their conclusions. I havent seen any defenders of climategate question the inquiries.
        What they rightly saw was that CRU brought the trouble on themselves by their mishandling of FOIA.

        And, you obviously missed the point WRT briffa. The paragraph he wrote requesting the funding is exactly the kind of paragraph he should have written in AR4.

        so, you want to understand what causes people like me and mac to “go after” certain issues and certain actors. simple.

        You want to prevent future climategates? simple.
        hey, the planet’s at stake. I suggest using the precautionary principle.
        The risk in telling the truth, following the law, and being forthcoming about uncertainty is minor.

        But hey, I’m only telling you what other climate scientists told Jones and Briffa.

    • Temp,

      My answer to the scenerio you put forth is that, No, it would not.

      I’ll go on and say that seeing the error bars for predicted temperatures was one of the early catalysts to questioning the call for us to “do something” about global warming. When the degree of error swamps the predicted change, the prediction is pretty much useless as a basis for action.

  28. Chief Hydrologist

    I am certain that there are significant uncertainties in everyones knowledge of climate. There are unknown unknowns everywhere in real life – so how could it be otherwise with such a complex and poorly quantified system. In real life – engineered systems for instance – we make assumptions or rely on simple empirical relationships and move on. In responding to climate risk (or simply the potential risk in the unknown unknown) you would take simple and cost effective actions with multiple benefits in the real world.

    Let us for instance restore carbon in agricultural soils, conserve and restore ecosystems, bolster education and health services and thereby reduce poulation growth, enhance economic development and thereby reduce black carbon and ozone emissions and make strategic investments in energy technology.

    But I think that ‘global warming’ is an overly simplistic concept. Classically reductionist in a chaotic universe. There seems to be an earth system operating as a single complex, dynamic and deterministically chaotic entity. Science tells us this and other things about how deterministically chaotic systems work. Small changes in initial conditions lead to large changes in energies cascading through powerful sub-systems. Climate is in principle predictable but in practice incaluable. Non-linearity is the fundamental climate mode at all timescales of weeks to millennia – science tells us. This is not a gap – this is the new climate paradigm. Most people understand this as much as they understand relativity or quantum mechanics. This is not a problem with science – this is another problem of the human condition.

    • A. C. Osborn

      Cheif, nice to see you back here, Happy New Year to you.

      • Agreed.
        Isn’t this (new?) paradigm one of the reasons for the polarisation in the debate? It is eminently possible to see any number of trends and scenarios – all very convincing – in the mass of data. Though scientific folk hate to admit it, what many people see is a consequence of an emotional disposition rather than the result of objective viewing.

        What is your natural predilection – stimulating change…..or catastrophe?

      • ‘Agreed’, as in welcome back. Your post made a lot of sense too :)

    • There is a nice list above, but I will post it here for you to ignore:
      steven | January 3, 2012 at 11:36 pm | Reply

      The biggest hole is that the models are close to falsification about as soon as is mathematically possible. Individual problems include the stratosphere is not behaving as modeled. The troposphere is not behaving as modeled. Ocean heat content change is not indicative of a large energy imbalance. Ocean oscillations are poorly understood. Aerosols are poorly understood. Storms are poorly understood. Clouds are poorly understood. Sea level rise attributions are simplified and contributing factors ignored. Sea level rise is not accelerating. Warming is not accelerating. The biosphere is poorly understood. Ice sheet flow is poorly understood. There is a lack of consistency in arguments regarding transient and equilibrium senitivities. Land use changes and heat transport from land use changes are poorly understood. Perhaps I missed some since I never really tried to make a list before. On a positive note I do think the scientists know CO2 is a GHG. After that I’m not real sure they have firm handle on anything.

    • Chief,
      Great to see you. I hope you will visit more.

    • Hi Chief
      Welcome back and a happy new year to you. Long time, no see.

    • Welcome back, Chief.

    • Mr. Hydrologist, you are the only one mentioning ”population control” you must be a honest person.

      Always there is a”but” Enriching the soil with carbon is farmer’s job and people involved in climate should be kept on big distance. a] it’s beneficial for the crops, but when pining ”the climate change” on it – reverses back to misleading. If big money is involved for small benefit: the more carbon in the soil = better / bigger crops = bigger biomass – after 6 months harvested – after 9 months that sequestrated carbon is back in the air – released as CO2 by the fungi that consume the BIGGER biomass. .

  29. Another hole is the use of models for a complex non-linear system with multiple variables. If a model can’t accurately predict the weather in nine months time how on earth can it predict the climate in fifty years time.

    How often do we here the sarcastic remark “you are confusing weather with climate” Well sorry if you live in a temperate climate zone there are certain weather patterns associated with that climate. So why can’t the models pick up on these weather patterns and hence we could be advised of the changes in climate. The answer of course is that the models are useless predictors of weather and climate change.
    And my proof that the models are useless, well that’s easy, the models tell us that with increasing CO2 levels the global temperature will increase, but that is not happening and the excuse is that the effect is being overpowered by natural variability.

    • Awesome.

    • Stacey,
      Because when you study the history of a region,and compare it with what the AGW community claims is *proof* of dangerous climate change or whatever they call it this month, you find it is historically not unusual.

  30. Judith,

    Mechanically is where scientists fail to understand this planet.
    Heat distribution is through a different velocity.
    It has about a 15 day delay to the effected areas.

    I mapped the velocity of the planet one way.
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/lalonde-joe/world-calculations.pdf
    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/guest/lalonde-joe/world-calculations-2.pdf
    But this fails to show the circulation of the atmospheric heat and why it is effected.
    The other velocity mapping I am currently looking at effects the motion of the atmospheric heat to travel uphill/downhill. It effects very little to the circulation of oceans but greatly effects the atmosphere.

  31. Let me reiterate R. Gates | January 4, 2012 at 12:48 am | The major hole is the estimate of climate sensitivity. However, the problem that I see is that there is no proper science that enables anyone to go from the acknowledged change in radiative balance in the atmosphere that occurs as one adds more CO2, to change in temperature.

    There is a basic assumption, that as more CO2 is added, there is no change to the “structure of the atmosphere”. In other words, one can solve the problem by only looking at the radiation term, completely neglecting conduction, convection and the latent heat of water. The assmuption has, so far as I can see, never been justified. Until it is, then any numeric values of what the climate sensitivity is for a doublng of CO2, are, IMHO. scientific nonsense.

    • Jim,

      Conduction and convection were created in a NON rotating lab.
      This eliminated the mechanical processes around them.

  32. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘A nonlinear dynamical perspective on climate prediction is outlined, based on a treatment of climate as the attractor of a nonlinear dynamical system D with distinct quasi-stationary regimes. The main application is toward anthropogenic climate change, considered as the response of D to a small-amplitude imposed forcing f. The primary features of this perspective can be summarized as follows. First, the response to f will be manifest
    primarily in terms of changes to the residence frequency associated with the quasi-stationary regimes. Second, the geographical structures of these regimes will be relatively insensitive to f. Third, the large-scale signal will
    be most strongly influenced by f in rather localized regions of space and time. In this perspective, the signal arising from f will be strongly dependent of D’s natural variability. A theoretical framework for the perspective is developed based on a singular vector decomposition of D’s tangent propagator. Evidence for the dyamical perspective is drawn from a number of observational and modeling studies of intraseasonal, interannual, and interdecadal variability, and from climate change integrations. It is
    claimed that the dynamical perspective might resolve the apparent discrepancy in global warming trends deduced from surface and free troposphere temperature measurements.’

    http://www.astr.ucl.ac.be/users/hgs/PalmerJClim99.pdf

    Climate non-linearity has been studied for more than a decade – there are very many papers and very many models. A concept of climate as deterministically chaotic is accepted as scientifically valid by the NAS and the Royal Society. The natural system is deterministically chaotic with quasi-stationary regimes. The former is critical in forming a valid conceptual framework – understanding how and why it works as it does. The latter is critical in understanding decadal patterns – and hazarding predictions of no warming for 20 to 40 years from 1998. As we have done – and as has been done in the literature – for a decade now.

    • We are cooling, folks; for how long neither Robert nor kim know.
      =========

    • Chief,

      Climate chaos is a matter of perspective of being ignorant to the facts around them.
      Strictly following temperature data blinds the mind to the physical and mechanical processes in play.
      Planetary tilting is the big player in the atmospheric circulation of heat and cold.

    • CH, welcome back!

    • Nice to have another voice of reason back again. Furthers my quest for more knowledge and acts as a counterbalance to some others who are trying to make this a Huffington Post look alike. I have always enjoyed your posts

  33. I agree with Judith. Recognizing holes is an acknowledgement that work has to be done. Serious study into them will either widen the holes or close them. Ignoring the holes is the path to the dark ages.

    • Phil,

      Climate scientists ignore facts strictly for the temperature readings.
      This is why they are absolutely frightened for anyone to question their research.

      • Joe, I think that is what judith is saying. The holes themselves are not proof for or against anything. It is the treatment of them that discerns scientists versus prelates.

  34. The most basic hole is the lack of audit and replication. A lot of what supposed scientists believe they “know” is based on studies which have bad assumptions, lousy statistics, and overwhelming confirmation bias. That the so-called scientists think that these studies and their data need no transparency, no audit, and no replication is easily the biggest hole.

    What the climategate e-mails show is not so much how bad the science is, although they certainly do that, but rather that there isn’t real science going on at all. And there won’t be any real science until the hockey team is collectively a laughingstock in the community of serious science.

    • Stan,

      Your right.
      Collectively creating a consensus science has in fact hindered any real science from being brought forth as it may attack the current collective mindset.
      Ignore and hope the person or research will go away or that they just give up the fight.

    • http://www.wired.com/magazine/2011/12/ff_causation/all/1

      “although people talk about causes as if they are real facts—tangible things that can be discovered—they’re actually not at all factual. Instead, Hume said, every cause is just a slippery story, a catchy conjecture, a “lively conception produced by habit.” When an apple falls from a tree, the cause is obvious: gravity. Hume’s skeptical insight was that we don’t see gravity—we see only an object tugged toward the earth. We look at X and then at Y, and invent a story about what happened in between. We can measure facts, but a cause is not a fact—it’s a fiction that helps us make sense of facts.

      The truth is, our stories about causation are shadowed by all sorts of mental shortcuts. Most of the time, these shortcuts work well enough. They allow us to hit fastballs, discover the law of gravity, and design wondrous technologies. However, when it comes to reasoning about complex systems—say, the human body—these shortcuts go from being slickly efficient to outright misleading.”

  35. Judith,

    If we strictly had the rotation of the planet, we would have no water.
    It would have boiled away long ago.
    But the circulation of cold and warm air cools or warms the water so that this does not happen.
    This is the process of planetary tilting and the velocity of atmospheric circulation.

    A strictly rotating planet has no circulation as heat and cold would be concentrated in the regions of rotation and never intermingle or move out of their regions.

  36. Phil the endless whine of “it’s about science” as a tool to avoiding the verdict of rejection has run the course. CAGW and the pro-regulatory green effort failed. Kyoto dead.

    The talk about “science” is really like a myth preservation society, they hope to bring it back from life support. It will never be “proven” to link carbon in lenear fashion to warming, too many variables that impact the climate. All of this effort is about a political result.

    • You seem to forget who pays the bills for the scientific conclusions and creates policies based on them….politicians.

      • Far from forgotten, in part it’s about the created science to support the ideological and shared political agenda. Then all the phony resentment that the climate community expresses when confronted with the conflicts of interest; “I’M A SCIENTIST!!!” When there is a huge correlation of political cultures (eco-left) and the advertised science conclusion (regulate carbon).

      • And unfortunately, whether they realize it or not, the reputation of non-climate scientists and science in general is being damaged by this science cheerleading. When “anti-science” becomes a political slogan, all of science suffers every time somebody publicly makes a fool of himself or worse.

        This is why every now and then a Freeman Dyson will speak up, but most scientists are blissfully unaware of the damage that’s being done.

    • Ah yes, ‘irreducable complexity’ – much loved argument of the ‘Intelligent Design’ fanatics in their never ending battle against science.

      • Michael,

        Science is absolutely fascinating when not in it’s current corrupted state of consensus scientists.

      • Would love to chat Joe, but am hampered by not being able to make sense of a single one of your comments.

      • Would love to chat, Michael, but when you link ID’s ‘irreducible complexity’ to cwon’s description of climatic temperospatial chaos, then I find it senseless to do so.
        =========

      • You have already reduced yourself to a green rabble sterotype. I don’t spend much time on ID but I don’t see those people trying to regulate global energy on a belief system. Hence I don’t care much about ID but do care about the harm the eco-left has done to the world with the Orwellian, anti-growth, fascist inclined AGW movement.

        If you can’t tell an apple from a grape of a political reality which seems to be based on atheistic social bigotry in your own mind where could this discourse lead us?

        Again, we’re back on the margin of civility. Talking ID= CHRISTIANS (at some level or grouping) is “coded” like “DENIER= Holocaust denier=Nazi Godwin’s Law violation”. Then again, these aren’t direct PC violations in our society so it’s permitted here. If there was a reference to someone’s race or class (even if highly coded) that would get booted and I would say correctly. It’s just a clear double standard. “ID fanatics” is a bigoted and hate driven remark, perhaps not as bad as the way ‘Denier” is used by the usual suspects here but your code is understood and hypocrisy clear. So why don’t you vandalize a Nativity scene somewhere before the season is over Michael if that makes you feel more “scientific”.

      • Michael, I am disappointed. I would have suspected that you would understand that deterministically chaotic is not ‘irreducible complexity’. deterministically means that the complexity can be reduced, only not by simple linear equations, but with non-linear equations. We live in a non linear world filled with people that only grasp linear no threshold concepts. .:)

      • cwon14, shorter version: no sane person cares about ID. It’s a non-issue.

      • cwon,

        ID = not science.

        That’s all.

        Much like ‘climate skeptic’ = not science.

  37. The biggest hole in Climate Science is the lack of consideration for ice albedo.
    It clearly snows more when earth is warm and the Arctic is open.
    It clearly snows less when earth is cooler and the Arctic is frozen.
    This does not get mentioned by any Consensus Climate Scientists and is not properly in the Models.
    This is the thermostat of earth.

  38. The argument of “the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution (sic)” is an obvious argument from ignorance. It should say “inability given what we have included regarding natural variability”. First, we know there is a lot we do not understand. Second, the models do not include a lot that discussed is in the literature, such as indirect solar forcing.

    This argument is the central fallacy in AGW.

    • David,

      Their is laboratory science that ignores any and all factors around it but for a single conclusion and calculation and then their is the real world.
      Is it a wonder that we still are in the same place as 100 years ago in understanding this planet?

  39. Consensus Climate Science says that ice on earth is melting because CO2 is warming earth.
    That is not how it works.
    Ice has been melting since the Little Ice Age and earth has warmed because the ice has melted and retreated
    Now, the oceans are warm, the Arctic is open, it is snowing more and earth will cool as ice again advances.
    I don’t expect to convince anyone who has made up their mind differently, but in the next few years, this will become so clearly true that Climate Science will be upended.

  40. doskonaleszare

    “It is greatly at odds with the Hegerl et al. reply to my assertions about uncertainty in aerosol forcing in the uncertainty monster paper.”

    That’s beyond ridiculous.

    Your assertions about inverse calculations and circular reasoning were wrong, and you were not able to refute Hegerl et al in your reply to their comment.

    Deal with it, and don’t try to pretend that Gavin’s words somehow support your argument, because they do not. I’m sure Gavin will be happy to correct you on that point.

  41. Heh, there’s a hole in the science that you can drive armies of lawyers through. Wait’ll the plaintiff’s bar checks which way the wind is blowing, and how chill it’s become.
    ===========

  42. “Like any other field, research on climate change has some fundamental gaps, although not the ones typically claimed by sceptics.”

    Garbage bin the entire article, if this is the premise.

    Andrew

    • It is garbage and the smug musings of how consensus players limit the range of their talking points and they hope the broader debate. Their views still matter to each other and the farce lives another day (in their mind).

      Consensus is a closed room where you only get to invite those who agree with your agenda to speak and disparage dissent as a teacher insults students and claims authority; “I’m the teacher, you’re the ignorant student and
      I’ll tell you what science really is”. Imagine a boot stepping on your face for all of eternity, that’s the AGW consensus by their own inclination and most of it has nothing to do with science at all.

    • BA,
      Look at the evolution of the believer’s comments:
      Pre-climategate, the believer mantra was along the lines of the IPCCC is gold, the science is settled, the scientists are above reproach and only kooks doubt the consensus position of climate catastrophe.
      Now they admit all of that is bogus, but are still holding on to the last threads holding their faith together. Of course they have a hate-on towards skeptics. yet even this article largely agrees with the serious skeptical critique of AGW. Look at how Web’s only reposnse is to accept the criticism of AGW but demand that skeptics fix it for him.
      This is what progress looks like: the quiet beleivers looking for the exits, the noisier ones blaming it on skeptics even while accepting what skeptics have been pointing out, (or even more oddly pretending skeptics did not start the serious reviews of the consensus), and all that are left are the likes of the self-tracking idiot, Joshua one-note, etc.
      Deconstructing AGW is not about credit. It is about pointing out the large flaws in a social movement that hijacked a science. AGW has pushed a series of failed policy, treaty, legal and financial ideas that have cost the tax payers billions of dollars and opportunity costs.
      AGW, after all of its pious sturm and drang has accomplished nothing. Not one idea the believers have pushed ahs worked, except to profit AGW profiteers.
      This article is a step in the right direction.

      • Joachim Seifert

        …good reply, see my comment just minutes ago, I will present a detailed paper until May….only transparent calculations for everyone, no assumptions, no uncertainties, AGW will loose another round….
        JS

  43. Topologically, if there’s a hole in something you can turn it inside out. That’s what needs to be done.

    Then people won’t say “It’s not rocket science”. They’ll say “It’s not climate science”. :-)

  44. I agree with you Hunter on substance but as for the article being a step in the right direction, I don’t see that. It seems another effort for the consensus to define talking points and do some damage control while retreating. the Team should address questions but shouldn’t control the debate format and the loved narratives. It’s now a refuted consensus with political corruption to address.

    • cwon14,
      It is not likely that there will be a grand denoument of believers sudenly seeing the light and understanding that having basic science right does not equate to having the applications of that science in the real world correct.
      Most will do as this author does, and still try their best to ignore and/or disrespect skeptics, even though we have been calling it correctly.
      There are careers, billions, huge tax payer subsidies, books, movies, etc. etc. etc. that few people are going to pitch out.
      Some beleivers will cling on, like the 911 truthers and UFO abductees they are so similar to.

      • So how is more obfuscation a step in the right direction? That it is amazingly weak in logic?

      • cwon14,
        The believers need to be allowed to gracefully withdraw. If it becomes easier to dig in and cling to AGW than to leave, many will choose to do that.
        Speaking only for myself, I do not want burnt earth (pun intended). And there is always the chance skeptics can be wrong- there may be heat in the pipeline, as nonsensical as that concept is. There may be some sort of tipping point, despite the lack of evidence. The atmosphere may actually be highly sensitive in the up direction, even though when CO2 rose in response to temps before, there was no dangerous amplification. We may start to get the long predicted changes in weather, etc. We need to deal with the real problems of adapting to a planet that is our precious home but is all too often a dangerous place. We have lost a fair amount of time on the AGW social mania. The faster we can help people decide to apply their efforts on things that actually help, the better off we all are.

    • If you keep retreating downstairs, you eventually find yourself in the basement.

  45. Norm Kalmanovitch

    When Climate models fail in their predictions as badly as scenario “A” for Hansen’s 1988 model which matches (actually underestimates CO2 emissions by 10%) the CO2 emissions of the past 23 years, scientists would check the failings of the models while propagandists simply ignore physicalm data and still support faulty model predictions.
    General Circulation Models have no way of incorporating the effect from increased CO2 without a CO2 forcing parameter and the parameter used in Hansen’s GCM is a complete fabrication with no physical basis.
    General Circulation Models operate on rates of energy transfer or flux and without a time factor to depict how much time the flux operates there is no way to determine actual energy and temperature depends on energy and in no way can be determined from energy flux without some sort of empirical relationship determined from physical data. This factor referred to as “climate sensitivity” is another fabrication with no actual physical basis.
    Essentially GCM’s are incapable of either incorporating the effect from CO2 or predicting temperature without a CO2 Forcing Parameter and a Climate Sensitivity Factor, both of which are physically baseless fabrications created to project catastrophic global warming from increased CO2 when in reality this is a physical impossibility.
    It is not holes in climate science that are the problem; it is strictly the fabrications that created these holes.

  46. Some/many “climate scientists” have worked hard to push the implementation of their proposed “solution” to the “problem” of human caused warming with a very minimal understanding of the climate “system”. My assertion can be proven by the lack of ANY “climate model” that can even reasonably accurately predict future conditions at a regional level. If you do not really know what will happen in the future, how is it reasonable to request people to make a fundamental change in how a system operates today?
    If you understand a system fully, it can be accurately modeled. Regarding the climate we do not- it really is that simple.

    Many of the readers and posters at this site are reasonably skilled at various technical disciplines that are impact the issue, but really do not understand how all the variables fit together and should be weighted. Personally I find reading some of the posts on a specific aspect of the issue both interesting and humorous. Just because a certain aspect of the theory seems accurate or is true does not mean the “system” will react as you think it will. If we had models that could accurately predict the future, and if these models showed that there would be net harms to the US, I would support pushing for drastic US actions to reduce CO2 emissions. The truth is the current models are little more than initial steps in a process and not worthy of use for policy implementation.

    • Steven Mosher

      ” My assertion can be proven by the lack of ANY “climate model” that can even reasonably accurately predict future conditions at a regional level. If you do not really know what will happen in the future, how is it reasonable to request people to make a fundamental change in how a system operates today?”

      That’s easy. We can, for example, build a flight simulator that will indicate that a plane will depart at high angle of attack. But, the model might not tell you that the plane will enter a flat spin and it certainly cant tell you whether the dominate mode will be a left hand spin or right hand spin.
      The model will also failto tell you how big a hole the plane will make when it crashes.

      Still, we use the model to improve the design and stay away from driving the system to a point where behavior is unpredictable.

      GHGs cause warming. When will never be able to tell exactly how much warming, where that warming will occur, with the kind of accuracy many people demand.

      Best plan is to find a way to cut GHGs, until you do, prepare for the worst

      • Steve
        Since we are both aerospace engineers, I know you realize what you wrote is a bunch of crad. When developing a flight simulator model you first determine the key criteria that it is important for the model to simulate and within what level of accuracy the model needs to perform against these criteria in order to be used. There will always be things that models will not be able to simulate or predict, but that is not what is important in terms of climate models.
        Climate modelers have definitely not followed the general engineering process in the development of the current set of models. What are they designed to be able to predict, with what accuracy, over what timeframes? It certainly does not seem to be the criteria that are important to policy making or human life.
        It may be a good idea to cut GHG’s, but I have no reliable data to show me that is true. I can see no data that shows a warmer world is necessarily any worse for the US or the world overall over the long term that is not very cost effectively managed by the construction of infrastructure that would have had to be built or rebuilt over the timeframes in question. If you have some reliable data showing something to the contrary please show it. All I have read is speculation at best, and generally seems to be very biased in an attempt to show a warmer world is worse for humans.

      • Steven,
        You assert, “prepare for the worst”. Please define ‘worst’.
        Why? The story of AGW for the last multiple years has been the loss of credibility of the claims of the catastrophists.

      • uh catastrophe is very much still on the cards. If everyone wants to keep emitting at least lets not pretend catastrophe has been ruled out

      • Stephen Mosher, you are being hyperbolic and unrealistic, as is all CAGW. It is not a question of “exactly” how much warming, it is a question of there being any discernible warming at all? So far the best evidence is none, as far as the expected GHG increases are concerned. Thus there is no “worst” to prepare for, nor any reason to cut GHGs.

        BTW we do have models that can estimate how big the hole will be when the plane crashes. We use them to design bombs. They are much better than climate models, because the problem is much simpler.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        GHGs cause warming
        This is a false statement because a 57.1% increase in GHGs since 1979 has produced zero detectable enhancement of the greenhouse effect as evidenced by 31 years of satellite measurements of OLR.
        To make this statement valid you have to show that warming was caused by GHGs and if this was the case the increase in insulation from the GHGs would reduce outgoing energy which would heat the surface and increase the outgoing energy back to its original level according to the fourth power of the absolute surface temperature. To achieve this equilibrium state from an enhanced greenhouse effect would require OLR to be constant but if the world was warming from increased energy from the sun reaching the Earth surface the OLR would simply increase proportional to the fourt power of the Earth’s surface absolute temperature.
        Satellites show that this is exactly what is happening so a combination of increased solar output and decreased albedo is what caused observed warming and GHGs played no part in this at all

      • BTW- as an example of skeptical people holding a wide range of positions or views simply read the comments above. Personally, I accept that additional GHG’s will warm the planet, but I do not think we understand what rate that warming will be in the actual system yet because we do not yet understand all the variables and there respective impacts. I see understanding the potential temperture rise as only one point-the other being is the evaluation of what a warmer world means to the lives of the people in the nation in which I reside and whether that impact is positive or negative and to what degree.

        Others view the issue differently, but we agree that it does not appear to be an issue that warrants taking actions that would damage our economy.

      • creationists also hold a wide range of positions. it’s not a great feature.

      • lolwot

        That is a very poor comparison. A better one would be all people do not accept the “x” religion as the word of god. That would include any religion not “x” and all those who are unsure of the role or applicability of religion in general

      • Rob Starkey –

        You mention something that seems to me criminally overlooked – that infrastructure is, by its nature, replaced as a matter of course. I remember reading in the 90’s in England that the life expectancy of a new dwelling was about 30 years. Whatever the exact figures for all aspects of our constructed lives, there is a perpetual process of replacement and innovation. It strikes me that any change in climate will easily be subsumed in the general ongoing replacement/adaptation. Perhaps most strikingly, agriculture throughout the world is changing an order of magnitude faster than changes is precipitation or sunshine hours – even if a definitive change can be ascribed to man’s activities (which as yet, I doubt).

        S Mosher – ‘Preparing for the worst’ sounds like a very pessimistic way of saying ‘continue to decrease vulnerability to climate’ by doing exactly what human beings have been doing for centuries – developing and increasing our adaptability. Funnily enough, the greatest asset in that direction has been the utilisation of fossil fuels. The way to stop that process of overcoming vulnerability to climate would be to pre-emptively desist from making use of economically recoverable fossil fuels.

        Perhaps we should rename fossil fuels as ‘climate vulnerability minimisation substances’ or some other catchy neologism. Kim- where are you. You’re needed over here!

      • Breath of Life.
        =======

      • “GHGs cause warming.”

        BEST thinks one third of all weather stations are cooling.

        Would it not be true to say GHG’s may cause cooling or warming depending on whether we believe all climate changes are caused by GHG’s only — and we ignore albedo changes and bright sunshine changes and TSI changes and the overall lack of accuracy is measuring termperature.

      • lolwot,

        RE “uh catastrophe is very much still on the cards.”

        Would those be tarot cards?

        Exactly which of the many catastrophies that have been predicted do you believe have a reasonable chance of occurring?

    • lolwot,
      You claim catastrophe is ‘still in the cards’.
      When has catastrophe from weather not been in the cards?
      N. America has suffered multi-decade mega droughts. Hurricanes were much stronger and more frequent a few thousand years ago. Glaciation was a major catastrophe and has put big parts of the NH under ice several times in the age of man. Flood myths exist around the world because huge floods have happened everywhere there is water. Can you tell us reducing CO2 is going to decrease catasstrophe in the future and offer evidence that is not the equivazlent of revelation?

      • hunter –
        Good points. Every time I hear the idiot shrieking ‘can you prove that changing the atmosphere is safe? I think to myself that if safe is what you want, you should have declined the offer of being born.

        The natural world is dangerous and as you say there will always be storms, droughts, floods and famines. And we’re never going to know exactly when they are going to arrive!!

        But what is the best defence against capricious nature? Development! Progress! Escape from poverty! Buildings with foundations as opposed to mud huts. Heating and air con! [for you people lucky enough to need it..]

        If you want to increase the climate ‘unsafeness’ we can all go back to subsistence farming and we’ll be about as vulnerable as you like.

        That nonsense about the fear of making the atmosphere ‘unsafe’ leads me to think that there’s a fearful misanthropic worldview crawling around underneath a slimy green exterior..

        Just to confirm – you’re right, catastrophe is always on the cards. Development, though, makes us less vulnerable and more adaptable.

      • Anteros –

        Development as a defence against nature – that used to be called “progress” and it used to be seen as a positive. And it is EXACTLY what the rest of the world used to look up to, about the U.S. Somewhat more of the world “has gotten it,” mnow, and people in Malaysia, Italy, Spain and many more countries, are living safer lives now. For those who think Italy and Spain have always been prosperous, they are not up on their history. There has been a lot of PROGRESS, in the old-fashioned (circa 1900) meaning of the term. Life is better, people live longer, and far, far fewer die from hurricanes and other natural disasters.

        And the rest of the world – the part that hasn’t had “progress” wants in on it, too. Why the enviros want to take the world back to an agrarian 1799 pre-industrial level where 95% of the population works manually on farms, I have NO idea. I am just not that much into shoveling horse and cow manure myself.

        Every point you make needs to be shouted from the rooftops.

      • catasstrophe

        Freudian slip?

      • randomengineer

        Anteros — That nonsense about the fear of making the atmosphere ‘unsafe’ leads me to think that there’s a fearful misanthropic worldview crawling around underneath a slimy green exterior..

        The greens/watermelons are luddites. Safe effective no emission energy security tech in the form of spaceborne solar is ready for prime time but the luddites won’t hear of it. The greens are also malthusians which of course is all part of misanthropy.

        Come to think of it I can’t think of a positive attribute possessed by the greens. They probably wouldn’t even make decent fertiliser. Pity.

  47. I just read that the US South Pole Station just recorded the highest ever temp. of -12.3 beating previous high of 17.2 set in 1978.
    Better double up on those uncertainty pants else somethings likely to show.

  48. randomengineer

    Looking at this post cynically, it’s almost as if there’s an invitation for skeptics to justify a “god of the gaps” argument, i.e. the same strategy that is a can’t-win for the creationists trying to deny evolution. There are gaps in all scientific theories, but this doesn’t make then automatically wrong.

    It seems clear that climate science as we know it is fundamentally correct in vector but has yet to reach the stage where substantive knowledge can be reliable. e.g. there is reason to think warming since 1850 may be exacerbated somewhat by anthropogenic emission but is fundamentally a natural phenomenon. At some point the science will develop methods able to definitively say what portion is what. The only problem I see in the entire endeavour is the self-assured pronouncements claiming that the post 1850 warming is solely human which is then propped up with flimsy proof, and anyone questioning the flimsiness is labeled as being some sort of scientific neanderthal (i.e. tribalism.)

    • It is a cynical post, designed to avoid the key social forces (the ends, leftist policy) while using any science argument (means, abstraction in science) as a cover story.

    • “there is reason to think warming since 1850 may be exacerbated somewhat by anthropogenic emission but is fundamentally a natural phenomenon. At some point the science will develop methods able to definitively say what portion is what.”

      The science of the IPCC calls for action on emissions. Without a definitive (or even a good approximation) say on what portion is what, IMHO it is not possible to devise good policy for emission reductions.
      The perilous waste on the unstable theory of AGW is economic vandalism, creating distress to human development inequitably. FOIA points us to his theory.

      IPCC, a skeleton for a body of scientific holes.

      • “Without a definitive (or even a good approximation) say on what portion is what, IMHO it is not possible to devise good policy for emission reductions.”

        Yeah it is

      • Markus, Limiting emissions without a solid number for the potential adverse effect of not limiting emission is not really a problem. Doing it properly is the problem.

        Say the US elects someone with common sense, I know that is likely a fantasy, they could set a goal to limit emissions by x amount in x years, I believe that has happened. What did go with it is a proper plan to limit the emissions.

        A first step would be something like, “After two new nuclear waste processing facilities are completed, reprocessed fuel will be used to fuel x number of nuclear power plants located in y states to replace the z aging coal fired power plants to provide needed base load electrical and thermal energy required for these regions.

        We will continue our efforts to develop mature alternate energy sources, however, until a means to store intermittent energy produced by wind and solar is developed, high efficiency fossil fuel powered demand generation plants will be required.

        See, the horse is in front of the cart. It works better when the horse can see where it is going. By not getting warm and fuzzy, you leave cleaner options open.

        If the Greens had started with a workable plan, chances are no one would care the climate scientists are not the sharpest tacks in the box :)

      • In this case lolwot is correct.

        It is possible to devise good policy even in the face of great uncertainty.

        Of course that doesn’t mean the policies currently being implemented or proposed are good ones.

        And doing so relies heavily on the blind squirrel theorem.

  49. tetragrammaton

    The article, and particularly the comments, remind me of two foil-wrapped pieces of cheese, which I purchased and eventually discarded long ago. They were bought at a gourmet store in Cambridge, England, (on Bridge Street I think), on my walk back to college after a lecture. (Perhaps the lecture in question had been one of Professor Edward Bullard’s absorbing and joyful geophysics romps.)

    One of the pieces of cheese was unwrapped a day or two later by my then-roommate, who found to his disgust that the cheese was half-full of holes. Large numbers of maggots were diligently enlarging the holes but the segment of cheese (which of course was dumped) had still retained most of its original shape. When the second piece of cheese was unwrapped, some time afterwards, it had lost its shape entirely. All holes, not much cheese, but lots of activity.

    “The Real Holes In Climate Science” article conveys an aura of a discipline with lots of structure (“robust” structure, of course) with just a few holes. But the 140+ comments on this thread make clear that the “climate science” of a decade ago has now become more holes than cheese. ( I don’t want to pursue the analogy much further, for fear of mischaracterizing the many diligent denizens on this site who are identifying the varied and numerous large and small holes.)

    With so many holes and so little cheese left, the AGW story seems to be headed for the same fate as my second piece of cheese, back in 1960. Lots of holes and not very much of the cheese left!

    • ceterus non paribus


      But the 140+ comments on this thread make clear that the “climate science” of a decade ago has now become more holes than cheese.

      “Consensus science” alert!

      Because science is all about the preponderance of comments on a blog frequented by self-appointed experts, most of whom clearly cannot be bothered to read the technical publications, or do the required maths, much less provide any alternative theory with empirical evidence to back it up.

      I can see the exciting WUWT post already:
      “Climate Science Finally Falsified by 140+ Reader Comments on Curry’s Blog!”

      • ‘self-appointed experts’…with arguments which have not been refuted.
        ‘technical publications’ = pal-reviewed apologia for a defunct hypothesis.
        ‘do the required maths’ – at least most of us can use Excel!
        ‘provide any alternative theory’ – not our job. See posts above.
        ’empirical evidence to back it up’ – for CAGW, that’s self-referential.

        Still, if you want to worship the Great Swiss Cheese Vampire Squid.. :-)

      • randomengineer

        much less provide any alternative theory with empirical evidence to back it up.

        This is absurdity on stilts. Skeptics are not compelled to provide alternate theorems. You’re practicing rhetoric, and moreover, you’re not very good at it.

        If you were reading paleontological dissertations on hominids some 30 years ago the accepted consensus was that modern man and neanderthals probably never met, and if they did, modern warlike man probably wiped them out. They certainly never interbred. Of course, I was skeptical of these assertions.

        Today thanks to mountains of new data and technology, not only is interbreeding accepted, but DNA evidence shows us that (unsurprisingly) a certain Ozzy Osbourne has 4% neanderthal DNA. The consensus has shifted, just as it should.

        Now, using your logic, can you please specify at what point was it incumbent upon me to accept the 30 year old consensus and not be skeptical, and what alternate theory I should have been able to champion, find the links for it, and otherwise provide my own evidence that in fact modern humans and neanderthals interbred? Obviously questioning the consensus 30 years back wasn’t “proper” skepticism, so if you could kindly show me what WAS proper skepticism, this would be of great help.

        Thanks,

        RE

      • ceterus non paribus

        RE wrote:

        Skeptics are not compelled to provide alternate theorems. You’re practicing rhetoric, and moreover, you’re not very good at it.

        If course I am practicing rhetoric. That’s all anyone does on blogs.
        You’re soaking in it.

        That was whole the point of my previous post. It’s all well and good for people to say “I don’t agree with the science”. No problem. Knock yourself out.

        But if you expect to be taken seriously by people who are willing to look at the physical evidence, then you ARE compelled to provide alternate explanations. Otherwise you are just… practicing rhetoric.

        And quite frankly, your low opinion of the quality of my rhetoric will not keep me awake at night.

      • ceterus non paribus

        RE wrote:

        Obviously questioning the consensus 30 years back wasn’t “proper” skepticism, so if you could kindly show me what WAS proper skepticism, this would be of great help.

        Questioning the consensus on that issue thirty years ago was not “proper” skepticism because the evidence that challenged the old consensus was still in the future.

        Skepticism without supporting evidence is just “the argument sketch” from Monty Python.

      • randomengineer

        But if you expect to be taken seriously by people who are willing to look at the physical evidence, then you ARE compelled to provide alternate explanations.

        Thousands of people, many with major league credentials, and many who do study this every day thus are expert enough at it, are convinced that aliens visit earth and have done so.

        Using your definition of “skepticism” it’s now up to me to prove that aliens don’t visit — in order to be taken seriously. WTF! Thankfully the real world doesn’t share your inane attempt at redefinition.

      • ceteris non paribus


        Thousands of people, many with major league credentials, and many who do study this every day thus are expert enough at it, are convinced that aliens visit earth and have done so.

        Sure. Some of them have a Nobel Prize. (Kary Mullis)

        That’s why credentials and sincerely held convictions are beside the point. It’s evidence that matters.


        Using your definition of “skepticism” it’s now up to me to prove that aliens don’t visit — in order to be taken seriously.

        No. I am not suggesting that you need to “prove” anything. I am suggesting that merely questioning something, and declaring a reticence to believe it is not skepticism, but simple gainsaying.

        Blog-talk is cheap and easy. I am sure that Google would supply us with hundreds of pages of fascinating “debate” on “both sides” of the alien visitation “issue”.

        But if you want to declare (as an example) that the greenhouse effect is false, then it is entirely incumbent upon you to provide evidence that it is false. And it would it would certainly strengthen your case if you also have a scientifically credible alternate explanation for the average temperature of the Earth’s surface.

      • randomengineer

        But if you want to declare (as an example) that the greenhouse effect is false, then it is entirely incumbent upon you to provide evidence that it is false.

        Absolutely, but this isn’t skepticism; it’s alt.theory. The former doesn’t require the latter.

      • ceterus non paribus

        RE:
        While I too have employed USENET, I cannot make sense of your last comment.

        If you are saying that being a scientific skeptic does not require that you be in possession of an alternate theory, then I must say that you are setting a very low bar for skepticism in the domain of science.

        Do you think that Ptolemaic / geocentric astronomy was rejected by astronomers because is didn’t do a very good job at predicting planetary positions? Hint: WRT recovering the observations, Copernicus’ theory was no better than Ptolemy’s.

        We (I assume) are heliocentrists because (among other reasons) Kepler’s laws and Newton’s dynamics are incompatible with any geocentric theory.

        So – One could say “I doubt that Ptolemaic astronomy is true”. But without the added theoretical content of a Copernius, Kepler, Galileo, or Newton – your “skepticism” is no more scientific than saying “I don’t like cheese”.

      • ceterus non paribus –

        IMO – an excellent series of posts!

      • Joshua,

        CNP provides a rational rebuttalof the claim maid by others here including Hunter and RE that skeptics need not have an alternate theory. It’s not really a complete refutation because CNPs initial point that comments by self-appointed experts on a blog aren’t convincing, is really in the eye of the beholder. They convince a lot of people, and the smarter the argument, the more convincing, even though the proponent doesn’t put forward an alternative hypothesis. CNPs comments about not being able to do the required math (or to paraphrase WHT, not willing) are demeaning. Your own exposition of your skeptical self-checks w/r/t the “war for oil” theme was pretty good stuff. Your concurrence with this present line of reasoning disappoints me….

      • BillC –

        Points taken. The criticisms you make of CNP’s posts are valid, IMO. I’d like to see his response.

        Still, I think he makes some good points w/r/t the nature of skepticism, and how to differentiate skepticism from “skepticism.”

      • ceterus non paribus


        CNPs initial point that comments by self-appointed experts on a blog aren’t convincing, is really in the eye of the beholder.

        Well, yes. You are certainly free to choose whether or not any given blog comment convinces you or not. No argument there.

        But do your convictions correspond with any objective (or at least inter-subjective) facts? If you do not bring evidence to the table, then you are just playing the post-modern game of “competing narratives”. That can be lots of fun, as this blog clearly shows, but it doesn’t really help science move toward better theories.


        They convince a lot of people, and the smarter the argument, the more convincing, even though the proponent doesn’t put forward an alternative hypothesis. CNPs comments about not being able to do the required math (or to paraphrase WHT, not willing) are demeaning.

        They were meant to be. This is a blog. Demeaning “skeptics” who can’t be bothered to do their science homework is exactly what such “skeptics” deserve.

        If you want to try to argue about climate science without being able to competently discuss things like e-folding, optical depth, or the Boltzmann distribution, go right ahead. But you will not be doing science.

        That’s the issue I have with 90% of the posts I’ve seen here – They’re not really about climate, they’re all about the “etc” – vague sociological analyses, oft-repeated statements that our knowledge is not complete, political interpretation of researchers’ motives, and score-keeping the “teams”. None of that is really surprising – What is surprising is how many people posting such comments on blogs think that they are “doing science”.

  50. With regards to the AMS Award, this article, even with its flaws, is to be applauded for taking on this topic in some depth.

    I agree. It was a good choice for an award.

    Holes:

    1. Late 19th century warming, early 20th century warming, and late 20th century warming all occurred at the same rate, despite a large change in atmospheric CO2.

    2. Use of radiative balance models when the detailed energy flows are not all known to sufficient accuracy, and for sure are not all radiative heat transfer.

    3. Use of equilibrium arguments for short-term prediction when the equilibration time (if an equilibrium exists, which has not been demonstrated) is thousands of years.

    4. GCMs give discordant results: no more than one can be accurate, they may all be inaccurate, and there is no strong justification for believing in the “average” model result; to date, the model predictions have not been shown in any case to be accurate (e.g. prediction of 2K – 4K increase in temperature by first decade of 21st century.)

  51. Joachim Seifert

    The largest hole, the major one, has not been mentioned:
    “Variations of the Earth’s orbit”: These variations are pendulum swing movements around the progressing orbit path, so-called Librations (see Wikipedia for the Moon).
    The Lead authors of AR4-wg1 (2007) met in 2006 and there one of them proclaimed: The Earth’s orbit must be kept constant…no changes permitted…..then everybody padded each others shoulders and a
    “great Happiness broke out” (according to Email of an participant) and
    all together, see wording in AR4-wg1-chapter 2 :” we ASSUME the Earth’s orbit to be INVARIANT.”..[[therefore all RF belongs the the atmosphere…]].
    It really sounds like a grotesc theater ….. it really is……and this is how the IPCC conducts climate science…
    The Hole is the Earth’s orbit, this is the place to look, to find and to match the puzzle pieces in the climate science puzzle picture
    …….the present temp plateau since 2001 can exactly be calculated for the next decades, focussing on Libration motions of the planet….as sure as the Amen in the Church…
    JS

  52. Biggest hole of all: the unknown unknowns.

    • P.E. – absolutely right. Lazy now, so will borrow from a reply yesterday:

      The Team took one known known (Arrhenius) and used it to bat every known unknown, unknown unknown and unknown known out of the playing field. As a sceptic, I want them all back in the game!

    • I think the known unknowns are quite sufficient, especially natural variability and forcing. There may be no unknown unknowns, for all we know.

      • Or there may be vast unknown unknowns, for all we know. That’s the problem with unknown unknowns, innit? We just don’t know.

      • ceterus non paribus

        This thread is starting to read like a press release by Donald Rumsfeld.

        The thing about unknowns is that they are sharp at both ends.

        The IPCC could be wrong – because they have underestimated future climate changes. But I don’t think that possibility should make anyone particularly happy.

    • Arrhenius’ greenhouse law is scarcely a known known; it’s a vintage 1900 spherical cow. Like his kinetic rate equation, also known as the “erroneous law”.

      • Exactly! It is useful as a limit though it looks like. He required perfect CO2 forcing for his ice age theory and the equation is close the perfect greenhouse response. The question with his equation becomes determining the efficiency of the ghg response. :)

    • The evidence from reviews of AGW predictions is that they do not underestimate the risks at all. Instead AGW community vastly over states the risks of CO2 on a consistent basis.

  53. –> “And unlike the myths regularly trotted out by climate-change denialists, some of the outstanding problems may mean that future changes could be worse than currently projected.”

    Famous hurricane expert BILL GRAY was the first skeptic to be labelled a ‘denier’ by the Left, My challenge to the Left is to cite any examples of “myths regularly trotted out” by BILL GRAY. There is only one myth and there is no one on the Left with the honesty to admit the truth: that there really was a Hit+++, political correctness is a tool designed to hide truth, liberal fascism really does exist and poli, “LET US BE HONEST about the intellectual culture of America in general: It has become almost impossible to have an intelligent discussion about anything….”

  54. The biggest hole in the legitimacy of climate science is the domineering role of global and national politics.

    Transparency.org produces a graph and report of perceived corruption in 182 countries. The three worst levels of corruption out of eight are represented by 116 countries (64% of total!). Given that IPCC reports are likely to be the products of a corrupt political organization, caution is rational.

    Ultimately, the question is can good, honest climate scientists infect the U.N with intellectual integrity or will self-serving moral cretins corrupt the science?

    (Note: a 2/3 majority in the U.N General Assembly requires votes representing only 10% of the world’s population.)

    • blue,
      do you think the behavior of the self-named ‘team’ has helped or hurt the proboem you havepointed out?
      If you were to read Donna Laframboise’s book on this topic, you would see strong documented evidence that supports your point rather well.

      • Hi hunter –

        However much unintended, the likelihood of corrupted science increases whenever any ‘Team’ is politically motivated to prefer a ’cause’ over unbiased discovery.

        For example, WHT is adamantly opposed to IPCC anti-corruption reforms because he predicts blocked GHG mitigation will result. He imagines that corruption in global governance is a manageable ‘necessary evil’. However, crises become intractable when they are the source of revenue for corrupt power; true solutions won’t be applied until all value is exploited. IMO, with WHT’s noble cause corruption, GHG emissions can be expected to INCREASE and climate science will fail to progress in the areas most weak.

        bi2hs

      • bi2hs,
        WHT’s hubris can only exist in someone who has never had to pick up the pieces resulting from the hubris oof thinking one can out think a corrupt person.
        Having lived through the results of those choices made by others as well as myself, folly is too kind a description for thinking one can tolerate corruption and get good results.
        You are spot on: If we allow the climatocracy to impose the taxes and enrich their pals and favored parasties, we will see billions waste away and the opportunity cost will be more than academic.

  55. patrioticduo

    It’s not the science that has holes. It’s the climate scientists themselves that have them. Because when pure (theoretical) scientists don’t talk to the applied side of the campus, mayhem and chaos reigns supreme. I cannot think of any other example where the chaos and mayhem has gone on for so long, without proper scrutiny and without the intervention of engineers and applied scientists to calm things down. It’s so bad over in the climate science frat house that we shall probably have to bring the campus police in to bring the worst of the bad actors under control. But one way of the other, it will be applied scientists and engineers that get climate science off the crazy train that it is currently on.

  56. To build on something I just posted up at the beginning, for those who never look back:

    The phrase “cannot be explained by internal climate variability” merely refers to the very limited natural variability in the models, not to actual natural variability. It is an argument from ignorance. Natural variability is a well known unknown, so the argument is a farce.

    For example, throw in a trend called emergence from the LIA and natural variability can explain the warming very well. The fact that we do not understand the LIA does not mean it does not exist, nor that it cannot be modeled.

    Moreover, there are a dozen known unknowns like this. Thus the argument from ignorance is despicable. It ignores large portions of the scientific literature, where the known unknowns are actively discussed.

    Models in science are supposed to be used to experiment with different hypotheses. This is basic science. Instead the community is trying to build climate forecasting systems, based on preconceived ideas, which is applied science (or engineering). The basic uncertainties have been swept away in the process. The design is frozen, because they are building a product, not doing science.

    • patrioticduo

      Can we both agree that the current crop of “climate scientists” don’t do applied nor pure science very well? Basically they suck; which is usually a strong indication of the presence of a hole of some kind.

    • “For example, throw in a trend called emergence from the LIA and natural variability can explain the warming very well.”

      What’s the explanation then?

      It’s not just models. It’s people too. Neither models nor people can provide a natural explanation for the recent warming that fits all the observations.

      • The explanation is emergence from the LIA. What do you not understand about this hypothesis?

        More broadly that climate is a natural oscillator. We don’t know why but it is still an explanation, that is an alternative hypothesis based on evidence, one that has to be explored. Most importantly it is an explanation that has to be explained away before AGW becomes credible. There are a bunch of these, but they are being ignored by those who proclaim AGW to have been demonstrated. The logic is simple. You can’t convict when there are multiple suspects.

        This is really the skeptics’ basic point. We do not have to explain the alternatives, just point them out and note that they have not been explained away.

      • “More broadly that climate is a natural oscillator. We don’t know why but it is still an explanation”

        No that’s a description then, an explanation would have to actually explain how it works physically. “We don’t know why” precludes that.

        “natural oscillator” is about as useful a description “god did it”

        There are actual explanations of course for the little ice age and the warming after – eg volcanic and solar influence – but those don’t explain the recent warming and that’s another reason why scientists think the recent warming is very likely to be largely caused by man.

      • Right, you want the LIA mechanism. But we don’t have the LIA mechanism, do we? That is the skeptics’ point. But you can’t claim that the LIA mechanism does not exist just because you do not have it, because we have the LIA observation. Nor can you demand that we provide the LIA mechanism. That is your job, if you want to confirm AGW. You have to provide the LIA mechanism in order to demonstrate the role of CO2.

        This is the basic confusion in the debate. Same for the other oscillations and correlations, like sun-climate. You can’t convict if there are multiple suspects. You have to rule out the other suspects first.

      • Excuse me, but I did not realize that the LIA had been explained. Volcanism you say? Where is that exactly? It is not in the TAR so it must be hidden in the AR4. Do you have the page number? I guess this means the hockey stick is false.

      • see http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/figure-6-13.html for example

        The little ice age can be explained. Half the victory there is because the little ice age is rather vague so a general explanation is all that’s needed.

      • contrast that with the failure of any alternate theory to *explain* the pattern of temperature changes.

        Yet we are supposed to believe some hither unknown forcing – or magic internal variation (the god did it “explanation”) fits just as well?

      • lolwot, do you mean the pattern that shows that temp changes have been trivial, inconsequential and over hyped?

      • A slight rephrasing of your statement will show you the basic problem of AGW – “Neither models nor people can provide an explanation for the natural climate change that fits all the observations”

      • lolwot: “natural oscillator” is about as useful a description “god did it”

        “natural oscillator” is as useful a description as “gravitational attraction”, “electron spin” or the “constancy of the speed of light”. In each case something partially known and mathematically modeled is used to explain other phenomena — without either being understood more deeply.

        A classic example of a “natural oscillator” is in fact light, whose wave-like properties in the absence of a medium of propagation is a mystery.

  57. The laws of holes:

    The first law of holes is to stop digging, stop the rut, stop the abuse, stop the wrongs, and stop the lies.

    The second law of holes is cover up, fill it in, and keep it from becoming a hazard.

    The third law of holes is scrub it; I’ll explain, any holes dug up cannot be properly concealed, and where they have been concealed, the detectives would first go digging there and not fresh ground. Just imagine what gets dug up. You have to eliminate detections because you don’t go digging holes if you have nothing to keep from view.

    Seems apropos?

  58. Dr Curry –

    I’m not sure I have an answer to your question, primarily because it’s not the question I would ask. As a climate scientist it is understandable that you would be looking for a hole in the science, whereas to me the science is only one part of the picture and my question would be more focused on where the hole is in our understanding.

    Much of this, for me, chimes with what Mike Hulme has been saying, particularly since he published “Why we Disagree about Climate Change”. Focusing on W/m2 and non-linear feedbacks tends to ignore the reality we have relationships with weather, and weather events that are non-numerical. By this I mean that science (and scientists) need to remember that there is little it can say about how a change in climate will actually affect people – especially people who are yet to be born.

    I think it is incredibly simplistic to attempt to categorise changes as to whether they are ‘positive’ or ‘negative’. It’s an obvious thing to do, but I think it misses what is essential. Somewhere along the road it makes us forget that most people are vulnerable to climate not necessarily climate change. If we focused more on today’s vulnerabilities, perhaps tomorrow’s would be better able to take care of themselves.

    My brother experienced some dramatic climate change a few years ago – he moved from London to Chicago. Climate plays a different role in his life but the difference is neither positive or negative – it is just different. Why? He is not climate vulnerable because he is relatively well-off. It really is that simple.

    It seems almost an obsession with many people to use science as a proxy for truth, when it is patently ill-equipped for that task – particularly when making inferences about the future. Here I’m just echoing Dr Curry’s observations about uncertainty, but using the idea not so much for the outputs of the GCM’s and IPCC scenarios but on the whole idea that science can say something useful about things we call ‘impacts’. I don’t think it can, or at least it can’t say very much. I think the climate debate runs much deeper than the bits and bobs that science can offer about likely futures – it is more fundamental than that. How do we see ourselves as a species? As part of the Universe? How do we feel about change? About the loss of certain things? About our responsibility for changing our surroundings?

    I think many views on either side of the debate are incommensurable and science has precious little to do with that. So I think the ‘hole’ in the debate is an acknowledgement of what is really up for discussion – arguing about ‘the science’ is actually allowing the hole to exist – it keeps us away from looking at what is more important.

  59. Arfur Bryant

    [“What are your thoughts on the biggest holes in climate science?”]

    1. The reluctance of ‘climate science’ to go back to square one and re-visit the postulation that a trace gas in the atmosphere has the ability to exert a significant influence on the terrestrial ‘greenhouse effect’.

    2. The inability of ‘climate science’ to give a well-reasoned answer to the very simple question “What is the contribution made by CO2 to the ‘ge’?”

    Until ‘climate science’ can stop making assumptions and accept that the data does not fit the ‘theory’, there can be no hope of ‘climate science’ redeeming itself.

    ps, great post above, Anteros.

    • Gavin Schmidt authored a paper that went back to square 1 and gave a well-reasoned answer to your “simple question” and found that CO2 has a more significant impact on the greenhouse effect than many people thought.

      • lolwot,
        No, you liked the paper because it conformed to your faith.

      • Arfur Bryant

        lolwot

        Are you referring to the Lacis et al 2010 paper?

        If so, do you also think that CO2 alone contributes 20% to the ‘Greenhouse Effect’?

      • yes I am talking about the lacis paper

      • lolwot: Gavin Schmidt authored a paper that went back to square 1 and gave a well-reasoned answer to your “simple question” and found that CO2 has a more significant impact on the greenhouse effect than many people thought.

        No.

        Gavin Schmidt (Lacis et al) used a well-developed mathematical model, not “square 1”. He (they) found that CO2 had a more significant effect in raising atmospheric temperature to what it is than many people thought, if all the heat transfer processes (and their perturbations) are included in the mathematical model, and if they are all represented accurately.

      • Arfur Bryant

        lolwot,

        Thank you for clarifying which paper you were talking about, but you didn’t answer my question.

        If you believe, as Schmidt and Lacis do, that CO2 alone contributes 20% to the GE, then you should be able to explain why a 40% increase in CO2 alone has been contemporaneous with (but not necessarily causing) a mere 0.9 C increase in the GE.

        20% of 33 (the current accepted figure for GE) is 6.6 C
        In 1850, the start of accurate data recording according to the IPCC, the GE must therefore have been 32.1 C. 20% of that is 6.42 C.

        So, in 1850 – according to Schmidt – 0.028% of the atmosphere contributed 6.42 C and yet a 40% increase in this massive contributor has only yielded a mere 0.9 C warming if one assumes that all of the warming is due to CO2. As this assumption is obviously in doubt, then all one can say is that CO2 may have contributed an unknown amount of the 0.9 C warming. Nobody knows how much or how little.

        20% contribution by CO2 is not a well-reasoned answer. It is, at best, a guess based on an initial assumption and model inputs.

  60. [Gavin Schmidt] “…“But this climate of suspicion we’re working in is insane. It’s really drowning our ability to soberly communicate gaps in our science when some people cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ for the slightest reasons.”

    JC comment: seems to me that Gavin is confusing cause and effect. People cry ‘fraud’ and ‘misconduct’ when they perceive that scientists are trying to hide uncertainties.

    Gavin’s middle name should be ‘Hyperventilating.’ Or ‘Paranoia.’

    Judith, your response is completely spot on. Schmidt, as a mainstay of RealClimate, has no one to blame for the lack of public awareness as anyone on the planet, and he has continually tried to fob it off on the people asking him to be transparent with his work. RealClimate is so open they almost universally moderate out any but the most sycophantic comments submitted.

    What a mendacious, paranoid hyperventilator.

    • SteveGInIL,
      After reading his comments, and reflecting on his role at RC, and the culture he has imposed on RC, I think “cynical”, “deceptive” and “insincere” also fit the bill. If one cannot close the deal when the press literally falls over itself to echo what you say from nearly every editorial board in the nation, and from every news reader and every magazine, then one needs to look within for an explanation.

    • Far be it from a non-scientist skeptic to argue in (partial) defense of one of the learned leaders of the opposition, but I don’t think the moderation policy at RC has anything to do with whether Gavin Schmidt has failed to be open about his data and code, or has engaged in any fraudulent conduct himself. (I have no opinion one way or the other, but I don’t recall anyone making such an argument about lack of transparency or fraud about Schmidt’s work, and absent evidence, I assume he has not.) But regardless, moderation of a blog would seem to me to be a completely different animal from publishing scientific research and hiding (or not) data and code.

      I would say the real reason Schmidt might justly feel that some of the comments are directed at him regarding hidden data and code and “fraud” in some climate science, is his failure to acknowledge there is any problem at all in this area. If he is tarred, it is by association and his own conduct in being the biggest defender of all things consensus, and for refusing to acknowledge that the emperor is at least missing a garment or two.

      • > If he is tarred, it is by association and his own conduct in being the biggest defender of all things consensus, and for refusing to acknowledge that the emperor is at least missing a garment or two.

        Indeed, Gavin is begging for it.

      • GaryM –
        By your comments you don’t seem to be well-informed about this.

        I invite you to visit WattsUpWithThat.com and do as search on “Gavin Schmidt” or “RealCimate”. You will get an earful about Gavin and others at RC doing exactly what you “don’t think” is happening. You don’t need to read all of the bits. Links should be included, but when RC simply deletes comments that aren’t sycophantic, you might have to take people’s word for it. Of course, once edited out, commenters tended not to return, so the number of comments they deleted would be somewhat higher, except what was the point of returning? To hear RC preaching to the choir?

      • Indeed, Gavin is begging for it.

        It is climate scientists’ fault when they are falsely accused of something.

      • This is exactly right, Gary. One has only to look at the Climate Etc threads on hide the decline and see Gavin’s responses to see that he is behaving like a defense lawyer and not an objective scientist. That’s OK, and perhaps its the job Hansen has assigned him, but he would gain credibility with me if he was to admit what some of the obvious problems with the field are. It’s never too late in my book to see the light and be redeemed.

      • Indeed, Gavin should mortify himself,
        and see redemption under the
        Public eye, for his own
        scientific salvation.

        Come clean Gavin, or
        else you’re
        Making Us Do it.

      • Steven mosher

        I think the animus toward Gavin is wholly misplaced and really distracts from the real issues. He draws fire for a bunch of reasons, none of them valid in my mind. People tend to forget that he was the guy standing on the firing line when climate gate hit. He took comments from all quarters and did a great job. This doesn’t mean I agree with everything he says, but people need to drop the tar brush.

      • I kind of agree with Mosher. Schmidt is the least offensive of the team and seems pretty reasonable to me. He certainly is usually reasonably honest when not in the defense lawyer mode. He did help me understand climate models several months ago and did it very professionally. However, Steve, I would urge you to review the hide the decline threads here to see him in defense lawyer mode. That’s OK, he may just be doing his job as assigned by Hansen, and everyone needs a good defense lawyer, but this does lead me to take some of his statements with a grain of salt.

      • Steven,
        For about one week Gavin permitted anhonest and free discussion at RC. He openly pondered what cg might mean. then, well before any reasonable conclusions could have been made, he simply shut down, returned to pre CG standards at RC, and continued his fear mongering obfuscation.
        I see no reason to ingore this about one of the major opinion makers of the AGW movement. especially one who effectively serves as minister of propaganda and then has the chutzpah to complain about ineffective communications.

    • The ‘skeptics’ true colours are showing.

      Nothing makes then happier than attacking a person, as opposed to rationally and logically critiquing ideas and arguments to advance the science.

      Go Team Skeptic!

  61. “I’m worried about what causes the divergence,” says Hegerl. “As long as we don’t understand why they diverge, we can’t be sure that they accurately represent the past.”

    No duh. See Climategate emails #1738 and #5582 (from Nov 2002), both being exchanges between Rod Savidge and Hal Fritts (sometimes called “the Father of dendroclimatology”). Savidge is a professor in the Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management at the University of New Brunswick (which province is rumored to have one or two trees), with special expertise in tree physiology, wood anatomy, and plant cell biology, among others. Savidge pointed out (not for the first time, from the tone of Fritts and one Dave Lawrence) that dendroclimatology (DC) claims about tree-rings are invalid, since the DCists don’t bother to understand the biology tree-ring formation. Fritts and Lawrence both throw up straw men by talking at Savidge about tree-ring dating, instead of the use of tree-rings as proxies for temperatuies. Neither one never even address Savidge’s point, except when Fritts ackowledges that, yes, someone in the DC field should, but they basically are too busy on other things. They repeatedly tell him what a pain in the ass he is, with all his harping at conferences about tree-ring biology.

    Without knowing how tree-rings form, yes, it is valid of Gavin to say that since they don’t know “what causes the divergence,” or that they may not “accurately represent the past.” But it is also incumbent on him and his team to make sure they understand the biology underlying the tree-rings they use and the divergence which they don’t understand.

    In the science I was taught, when you don’t know a complex phenomena, it is beholden upon a researcher to go find out the fundamentals before building millennia-long reconstructions and computer models. Otherwise you are building GIGO fake science. How can it not be a house of cards, without the basics being known? In how many different ways do these folks not know the fundamentals underlying their reconstructions? No wonder they don’t know why there is a divergence problem. But do they actually go out and try to learn why? No. And there is the real divergence problem.

    See http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=5582

    • SteveGinIL,
      Yet the journalists have decided there is nothing to see in CG e-mails and it unseemly to look at this stuff, since it is not about national security.
      the implications of the problem of the tree rings are profound: since they are crap, the graphs made from them are crap and the past record they allegedly represent is crap. It is not simply the faux hockey stick that is junk. Everything that looks like it is junk as well.

  62. Climate models are the biggest hole in AGW. Stainforth has shown that a large number of plausible climate models with dramatically different climate sensitivities (1-10) can be constructed using realistic parameters for clouds and precipitation. Due to computational expense, Stainforth didn’t vary thermal diffusivity in the oceans, a key parameter that is poorly known and critical to the difference between transient and equilibrium climate sensitivity.

    The IPCC relies on an arbitrary set of models (AR4 called it an “ensemble of opportunity”) that were selected partially for political reasons and partially because “natural selection” demanded that these models evolve in such a way that they reproduced 20th century warming. The historical record contains an unknown amount of natural variability and other factors (land use changes, UHI, and possibly unknown drivers), but any model that can’t reproduce the historical record of 20th century warming would be certainly be extinct by now!

    Many of these models show dramatic differences on regional scales and in their ability to model seasonal changes in temperature. (The poor and variable to model even seasonal changes in temperature is hiding in Supplementary Figure S8.2b of AR4 WG 1 Chapter 8.) We are told to trust the ensemble average of all models, which performs better than individual models – but not when looking for a hotspot in the upper tropical troposphere.

    • The important implication of thermal diffusivity in the ocean is that it can only generate a lag effect. The capacitive buffer together with the long adjustment time of CO2 can tend to keep the warming effects in the pipeline, only to re-emerge later. This is a good example of a transient energy balance effect, familiar to anyone that understands heat sinking or thermal energy management.

      Frank, thanks for your insightful remarks on the post.

      • I’m interested in the “heat in the pipeline” concept: I understand Hansen is big on it… does it just disappear for a while and can’t be seen, only to “re-emerge later”? What is the supposed mechanism? It’s hiding somewhere, right?

      • as far as I understand “heat in the pipeline” is analogous to a pot of lukewarm water on an active stove. When the stove is turned up the water will eventually reach boiling, but not immediately. Until it does there is still “heat in the pipeline” in the sense that the water has still yet to reach it’s maximum temperature for the current stove setting (forcing)

        I don’t think the phrase means any heat has “disappeared” and will “comes back” in any sense.

      • But you can’t measure the incremental increases to boiling point (in your example)?

      • randomengineer

        …does it just disappear for a while and can’t be seen, only to “re-emerge later”?

        Yes, because if you try to observe it, it will disappear. Heisenberg, Harry Potter, or Horsepuckey. Your call.

      • @RE – a thermodynamic deus ex machina? :-)

      • Woodentop – In 2005, several different papers described the same phenomenon, but only Hansen gave it the misleading name “heat in the pipeline”. It refers basically to future warming that would occur if CO2 levels remain constant. That energy isn’t anywhere on planet Earth yet – it represents future heat accumulation due to the persistent imbalance between future incoming and outgoing energy. In other words, it’s not hiding, it simply hasn’t arrived, but will unless CO2 levels drop.

        The other authors used a more appropriate term – “climate change commitment” – although even that is somewhat misleading, since we are only “committed” to the warming if we don’t let CO2 levels fall. Some of this was discussed a couple of years ago in a Nature Geoscience article by Mathews and Weaver, but that is behind a paywall. However, you can see what the curve looks like from the RC post on the subject – it’s the orange curve depicting a “constant composition” future.

      • From RC:

        “In such a scenario, the planet still has a radiative imbalance, and the warming will continue until the oceans have warmed sufficiently to equalise the situation – giving an additional 0.3 to 0.8ºC warming over the 21st Century. Thus the conclusion has been that because of climate inertia, further warming is inevitable.”

        So we should be seeing this (or any) rise in ocean temperature / thermal expansion meantime? Is it hiding in the atmosphere somewhere? I daresay it’s quite small (0.3 – 0.8 eg C over a century!?) so maybe it’s so small we can’t measure it, but so big it’s going to be troublesome in a hundred years or so. Maybe not?

        What’s climate inertia? The RC article wanders off into “societal, economic or technological inertia” which I don’t recall from my undergraduate physics. It’s been a while though.

        Sounds all a bit “homeopathy” to me.

      • It’s not hiding anywhere. It’s the future warming that will occur if we continue to absorb more energy than we release to space. It would occur gradually, because the ocean, with its enormous heat capacity, takes a long time to warm up from extra energy that is continually put into it. It would be measurable.

      • Fred said: ”if we don’t let the CO2 to fall / decrease” Do you think that possibility for falling exist?! China built another 53 coal-powered power generators last year- their cars on the roads doubled… you still work on ”ifs”

        IF GLOBAL warming doesn’t eventuate; people as you and WebHub will have lots of explaining to do. I wish I will be a member of the jury. Fred, why you didn’t accept my challenge above? That is admission that ”all of you already know that ”you are wrong” Happy new year!

      • WebHub: From reading Lindzen, for a specified forcing, there appear to be two varieties of climate models that can fit the observational record: 1) Those with low climate sensitivity and modest delay between transient and equilibrium temperature change. 2) Those with high climate sensitivity, compensated for by a larger delay between transient and equilibrium temperature change. The latter type of model requires high thermal diffusivity so that more of the radiative imbalance can go into warming the deeper ocean than warming the surface. You are correct in pointing out that thermal diffusivity “only” effects the lag, but there still appears to be a link between thermal diffusivity and climate sensitivity. If the 20th century has seen 0.7 degC of observed warming and there is another 0.5 degC of “committed warming in the pipeline”, that model presumably must have high thermal diffusivity.

        If my figures are correct, a constant radiative imbalance of 1 W/m2 (3.15*10^7 J/m2/yr) can warm 75 m of water (4.2*10^6 J/m3/degK) by 0.1 degK per one year. If only 75 m of mixed layer need to be warmed, there would only be a decade between transient and equilibrium temperature change. If higher thermal diffusivity permits warming to much greater depths, the gap will be proportionately longer. (If the situation ever approaches equilibrium, the radiative imbalance will decrease and the initial warming rate will drop.)

  63. Gavin, here is a response to your query further up thread. Given the timing of your statement and the apparent climategate motivation for the article, I inferred that your statement was made in in reference to scientists that were on the hotseat as a result of the emails (notably Jones and Mann), or perhaps to the broader “consensus” community. I did not infer that you were speaking for yourself (you played a relatively minor role in the emails), but if the shoe fits . . .

    If someone has personally called you a fraud, did you ask the person why? The accusations of fraud that I have come across in the technical climate blogosphere are mostly from people working in the fields of engineering, regulatory science or medicine, who do not see what is going on in the IPCC assessments as measuring up to the standards in their own fields.

    Hunkering down and not admitting to doubt and uncertainty is not the way to convince the engineers, etc. that the assessments, actions, whatever, are not fraudulent.

    • I actually think fraud is too strong a word. However, collusion to hide relevant facts might be a better description. I don’t think that legal terms are of much use here and I decry the use of the criminal or libel law in any such dispute. We must rely on persuasion and argument to carry the day and talk people like Gavin into considering some alternatives. This is one thing about Mann that angers me, he is very litigious and is trying to use libel actions to silence critics.

    • What does Gavin Schmidt have to whine about here? On his own partisan blog he simply deletes any voice that distracts from the Real Climate AGW propaganda machine. It doesn’t fall under the definition of “fraud” but is it any less short of vices? As I said elsewhere “fraud” as a summary statement about AGW activism is both saying too much and TOO LITTLE at the same time. Fraud just doesn’t cover all the human failings of the AGW movement.

  64. Judith –

    The accusations of fraud that I have come across in the technical climate blogosphere are mostly from people working in the fields of engineering, regulatory science or medicine, who do not see what is going on in the IPCC assessments as measuring up to the standards in their own fields.

    Are you referring to the voluminous accusations of fraud that can be found regularly at your blog and other “skeptical” blogs? If so, what are the criteria that you use to assess those accusations of fraud to ascertain the background of those making the charge and the basis on which they are making the charges of fraud?

    Do you have some data for basing your evaluation, or is it merely conjecture based on how you feel about the comments?

    If you have some data, can you provide access to your data?

    If you’re only going on how you feel, how certain are you of your assessment?

    • Oh – and what do you mean by “most?” Assuming that might mean anywhere between 50% and, say, 95%, could you pin it down a bit more precisely?

    • I think it’s more quibbling form Judith, presented in the usual manner of vague allusions, broad generalisations and unsupported assertions, to be as non-transparent and untestable as possible,

      • Michael, Quislings, kooks & commies…

        We need to watch, to make sure we all don’t fall into a hole.
        Young Pioneer.

      • Don,

        You do seem to concede Joshua’s point when you minimize Judith’s “casual blog comments.” But you question its relevance. Here are two questions:

        1. What about the “political nature” of the debate?

        2. Suppose this blog was a mailing list: could we say “casual emails in a mailing list”?

        Whatever your answer to these questions might be, thinking about them should remind you that Joshua’s point bears some relevance.

        If conceding Joshua’s point is that hard, and we’re only having a casual conversation in a blog, we might be tempted to question the explanatory force of “tribalism” and see that as a human trait.

        I’ve learned today that acknowledging mistakes, uncertainties and all that jazz can lead to redemption. Redemption, Don! Can you believe it?

        I’m glad that you sometimes welcome Joshua’s comments like you just did, albeit backhandedly. I do hope you’ll stay gentle when threading on him. He would never Make You Do It, you know.

    • You must really be proud of yourself, joshy. You might have made the point that Judith does not apply the same standards of evidence and certainty to her casual blog comments, that she hopes to see from the I freaking PCC. Let’s see if she bothers to respond to your disingenuous, haranguing foolishness.

    • This post is so lame even for your low standards of logic Joshua. Of course millions of educated people realize the eco-left agenda and vague science rationalizations of AGW activism to reach those goals and how it is largely a fraud agenda. All she said is she hears the commentary. It would be positive if Dr. Curry came out and admitted it but she still wants to talk of the goon consensus activists. She is going to support the fraud consensus publically.

      She’s still one of your own Joshua, stop putting words in her mouth.

    • Josh, Judith’s conclusion would seem to be justified by the facts. Her description certainly describes my reasons for paying attention to climate science.

      • David Y –

        Josh, Judith’s conclusion would seem to be justified by the facts. Her description certainly describes my reasons for paying attention to climate science.

        I can’t agree. I don’t doubt that Judith’s statement reflects some component of what we find in the “technical blogosphere” (whatever that means), but from reading her blog on a regular basis I find her characterization to be largely inaccurate.

        “Most” accusations of fraud I see are based in ideological partisanship.

        You, yourself, say above that you wouldn’t call it “fraud” even though you apparently identify with Judith’s discussion of technically proficient critics who are concerned about the IPCC not living up to professional standards. So you wouldn’t fit into her description either.

        So who does? Who does throw around accusations of “fraud” based only on an assessment of insufficient scientific diligence? Are there some? Perhaps? Most of what can be found in the “technical blogosphere?” I doubt it. That’s why I asked for clarification (what does “most” mean?), and evidence.

        Judith’s statement, to a large extent, is internally contradictory. Most people who criticize the IPCC for a supposed failure to live up to professional standards wouldn’t use the term “fraud,” but speak of less than acceptable levels of diligence without attributing such nefarious motivation as is connoted by the term “fraud.”

        The problem I’m getting at is that Judith, regularly, IMO, similarly confuses spittle-flecked tribalism for legitimate skepticism about scientific diligence, and as a result mistakenly underestimates the impact of “skeptical” tribalism as a general phenomenon.

        I have asked her many times now to clarify and quantify such statements that I believe fail to differentiate between “skepticism” and skepticism without ever getting a serious response. As just one example, she has never provided evidence for how she has determined that the impact of climategate comprises a “crises” in confidence among the general public. If she made such vague statements and failed to provide an explanation once or twice, that would be one thing, but she does it repeatedly.

      • Josh, you don’t get a serious response from me because you don’t ask serious questions.

      • And she doesn’t only do it in drive-by comments. She also does it in presentations to scientific gatherings and even in academic manuscripts.

      • “…I find her characterization to be largely inaccurate.”

        Ok Joshua, I’ll bite. Quantify your argument. Show data that would rebut her argument.

      • Judith –

        Josh, you don’t get a serious response from me because you don’t ask serious questions.

        Ah. That explains it. And here I thought it was because you have trouble quantifying your certainty and validating your claims.

      • SGreenFrog –

        Ok Joshua, I’ll bite. Quantify your argument. Show data that would rebut her argument.

        Here’s one such issue (there are others where it’s harder to find data – but Judith is the one who is making assertions without data, I’m only asking her to provide data for her assertions). Judith has referred to a public “crisis” in confidence in climate science as a result of climategate.

        Here you can find some data that is obliquely relevant:

        http://scienceblogs.com/framing-science/2010/03/stanford_researcher_climategat.php

        And here we can find data that are directly relevant :

        http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1633932

        Keep in mind, to “lose” trust in something, you have to have trusted it in the first place. For a “crisis” to happen, I would say that: (1) you need a widespread loss of quite a significant magnitude among a large group of people, you would have to validate a significant change for that group.

        You will note that the second link describes that some 29% of the American public reported hearing about climategate. Of that group:

        Over half (53%) said that the stories had caused them to have much less (29%) or somewhat less (24%) trust in scientists, while 43 percent said it had not affected their level of trust. Five percent said they had more trust in scientists as a result of the news stories.”

        So we have 29% of 53% of 29% who would likely have been put into a state of “crisis” in their trust in climate science. What’s that, about 5% of the public? (Without even considering the counterbalancing effect that for some folks, climategate made them more certain of the science behind AGW).

        Now please note – the numbers of Americans who felt that climategate was of some significance is greater than the 5% or so that I’m interpreting from the data:

        Roughly 17 percent of all Americans said that the scientists involved in the scandal had either falsified their results or conspired to suppress contrary research. Likewise, 16 percent of all Americans believed the emails undermined the conclusion that global warming is happening. These findings all suggest that Climategate had a significant impact on overall public opinion, despite the fact that a large majority of Americans had not heard of it, at least as of early January 2010. The email story also appears to have influenced public opinions of both climate science and scientists.

        But when we’re talking “crisis” I would say that the bar is set higher than a mere identification of “impact,” or “influence.” .

        And please note further:

        To determine which Americans lost trust in climate
        scientists as a result of Climategate, we constructed several regression models to test the individual and combined influence of demographics (i.e., sex, age, education, income, and race), political orientation (conservative vs. liberal and political party), and underlying cultural worldviews (egalitarianism and individualism) on public interpretations of and responses to the scandal.

        And what did they find?:

        Political Orientation, political ideology and political party were strong predictors of public loss of trust in climate scientists….Together, political ideology and party identification explained 37 percent of the variance in the loss of trust…Worldview explained 47 percent of the total variance…Individualism was the single best predictor of public loss of trust, followed by conservative political ideology, while egalitarianism strongly predicted those Americans that reported no loss of trust. This overall model was able to explain 57 percent of the total variance in public loss of trust in scientists due to Climategate

        Well, well, what do you know. The political, ideology, and world-view orientation of most people who reported that they had “lost trust” as the result of climategate was one that would lead me to conclude that they didn’t have much trust to begin with. Those who had a “crisis” of confidence were more likely to have though that AGW was a “hoax” prior to climategate.

        Shocker, isn’t it?

        I would argue that represents a relative, but not terribly significant (and certainly not validated as significant – as the self-report of change is likely in many cases to be exaggerated) change among a relatively small group.

        This encapsulates the problem I have with some of what Judith says. She generalizes from a notably small group without providing validation.

      • Here is one for you josh:

        http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/environment_energy/69_say_it_s_likely_scientists_have_falsified_global_warming_research

        And you can look at the results of Copenhagen, Cancun, and Durban to get an idea on how seriously the folks who inhabit the globe are taking the alleged dangerous global warming. Is that Judith’s fault, joshy? Or are you clowns failing to make your case? Got data?

      • Don –

        I’ve responded to your mention of that poll before. Go back and read my earlier response, and how I outline why I think that the way you use that poll is exactly what differentiates a “skeptic” from a skeptic.

        If you’re serious about discussing the issue, then address the points I raised. I see little point in reconstructing the argument if you’re not interested in a real discussion.

        Also, add this to your research material:

        Otherwise, I’ll just chalk this up as yet another puppy with hard-on post of yours (which you generally alternative with posts where you claim you’re going to stop responding to my posts).

      • No, I am not going to go back and read your posts. Once is enough. And I am not serious about discussing the issue with you, because you are not serious. Judith just said so, and you don’t have any data to prove otherwise. You are just a little chihuahua yapping at the heals of a big dog climate scientist, who has strayed just a little bit from the reservation. What you are not smart enough to realize is that Judith is trying to help your failed lot of Big Climate consensus boys to understand where they went wrong. She is suggesting ways to improve the credibility of the science and the presentation. She is not a “skeptic”. Now carry on with your incessant, impotent yapping

    • Leave Judith alone, Joshua. Your attack is just nasty. Why impute her generalized observations need to be justified by anything other than just that.

      It is you whom have often appealed to authority in the global warming consensus, Judith can appeal to her own authority for certainty in her own assessments, be a nice man and respect that..

      • markus –

        Your attack is just nasty.

        My questions were meant to be teasing not nasty. Sorry if they come across that way.

        Why impute her generalized observations need to be justified by anything other than just that.

        Given that much skepticism generally (as differentiated from “skepticism”), in my opinion correctly, are based on a failure to justify generalized statements, I find that comment to be ironic.

        It is you whom have often appealed to authority in the global warming consensus,….

        Really? Can you provide an example, let alone proof of “often?”

        Judith can appeal to her own authority for certainty in her own assessments,

        She can and often does. Shouldn’t she hold herself to higher standards? When prompted to do so, shouldn’t she provide evidence that supports her generalized assessments?

        be a nice man and respect that..

        Judith’s statement rationalized accusations of “fraud.” Do you think that qualifies as “nice?”

      • Josh is the self-styled anti-Judith. It’s his mission. Makes him feel important. He wanted to be the self-styled McIntyre killer, but Steve won’t put up with his foolishness on Climate Audit.

      • Judith’s statement rationalized accusations of “fraud.” Do you think that qualifies as “nice?”

        People rationalize their activism with their careers. Do you think most “journalists” at the NY Times think they are biased and distorting in their coverage? No, they think of themselves as part of a better informed elite and excuse their behaivior and lack of objectivity based on that authority. Academics who choose to study eco-fields I’m sure rationalize their views throughout their lives along a very traditional (at this point) liberal “idealism” for example “protecting the enviornment”. This is how enclaves form. Why it forms in media, entertainment (Hollywood), many affuluent communities, academics, government services can be both easy and hard to figure out. The AGW activist community isn’t that hard a group to understand. Mostly academic driven at inception are people attracted to eco-left value systems, funded through government grants and debt dependent academic the lesson is learned very quickly; YOUR RESEARCH WORK MUST HAVE SOCIAL CONSEQUENCES. Hence climate fear is a funding tool. Then linking it to a popular villian, carbon interests (AKA; “BIG OIL”) and creating the idea of a “sin tax” it all starts to take shape. Add the global wealth redistribution ambitions of the UN rank and file and the “cause” to blame Western culture and the under developed world as “victims” and you can see the swill that AGW feeds.

        For many it isn’t “fraud” but a sad commentary on the decline of academics as well as science professionalism. Certainly many humanity diciplines are highly charge political enclaves that feed other mirrored professional enclaves, i.e. Ivy league “journalism” schools leading to the NY Times for example. Many of these are dying on their own weight as well. It’s just that AGW crossed a number of lines of social and academic declinism that prompts so much outrage and reaction. It’s a poster child of social rot and political corruption.

        Fraud is a quick word, the net affect is fraud like. Enclaves form in society, people like to affirm in groups and are compromised in different degrees. Not every warmist is zealot or even a collectivist. When you look at the whole history and the mass of forces behind the AGW effort it’s hard not to admit the correlation I’ve described at a larger scale. With millions involved, there are always exceptions and there is human variance and cross-over on specific issues. More specifically the “Team” with its repression of data, distortions of facts and agenda setting is suspect of “fraud”. Michael Mann, Gavin Schmidt, Phil Jones, Jim Hansen are all leftist ideolouges of different degrees. “Fraud” is esculated word, you can imagine the frustration when a phony “consensus” with soft science data stands on a political agenda stating the “science is settled” and we must do this. So pointing the that word “fraud” is the smallest of relative outrages in the conflict.

      • Question–did certain “climate scientists” mislead policy makers or those with the authority to issue funding about the quality of their information or positions with the intention to secure additional funding for their model development or additional studies? I do not have a position on the answer because i do not have sufficient information to give an informed response. There was certainly enough money in play to motivate some people to be deceptive.

    • Joshua,
      Your one-sided conversations with Dr. Curry remind me more and more of watching the sad case of crazy people walking down the street holding heated conversations with their imaginary friend.

  65. So lets say we do effectively wait another decade or two more to see what temperature does before deciding whether to cut emissions. I am fine with that idea on the face of it, but I would prefer it works the other-way round.

    Ie we start cutting emissions now and in another decade or two we can decide whether to increase them again or keep cutting.

    The reason for starting now is that I think in fact “starting now” would reveal a truth that we can’t start now and prompt us to fix that as soon as possible.

    What I am envisioning is that the likes of China and/or India will actually oppose emission cuts when it comes down to actually doing it. I think the current “climate debate” in which we wait 20 years to see what happens before deciding is a mainly europe-united states thing.

    I think other countries are staying silent knowing that emission cuts won’t happen while the US opposes it. Only once the US decides on global cuts will this fact come into public.

    In other words I think there is a 2nd “climate debate” between the West and China/India/etc that hasn’t even started yet. If we wait 20 years to decide a conclusion to our debate only to discover the beginning of a new debate (China now wants to wait another 20 years) we’ll have burned 20 years away.

    I only single out China and India because they are big emitters now. Ultimately I suspect a lot of the world will try to oppose measures when if US stops doing so on their behalf.

    It would make more sense to draw out this debate now, to hold both of them in parallel. Also waiting 20 years for it to become a West vs rest of world debate bodes ill for the fact that many prominent climate scientists are western.

    • randomengineer

      I think the current “climate debate” in which we wait 20 years to see what happens before deciding is a mainly europe-united states thing.

      Yes, they (china and india) would love to watch the west trash their economies while they do as they damn well please. And to think, I’m not being harsh here. Despite my wanting to see the west adopt nuclear in a major way right here right now for overall energy security (emissions be damned, they’re of little importance, but if that’s what it takes to get energy security, so be it) you and I both know that enviromental groups and housewives and vampire lawyers would eat the effort alive for 20 years and destroy the effort, leaving the west with idiot windmills. Add another few years of Obama administration insanity levels of oil company smackdown and pipeline refusals and exploration moratoriums and the west not only doesn’t have energy security, hell, it hardly will have energy anyone can afford anyway. Western economies are ruined, China wins.

      There is no climate debate. There is only an energy and economics debate.

    • lolwot,

      I actually agree with much of what you say here, yet seem to reach different conclusions. Here is why.

      If you and I are correct in our belief that India and China are not going to agree to limits, then almost any limiting strategy is doomed to failure. Europe and the US could eliminate all fossil fuel emissions within the next couple of decades and nothing would change in regard to the predictions. The rest of the world, not only China and India as you accurately state, would continue to increase production. Which begs the question Why bother? This is without even looking at any incurred costs to such a drastic change large scale reduction in emissions would entail.

      If China is simply playing a delaying game and as 2020 approaches comes up with further reasons against it implementing emissions reductions on the necessary scale, then having the west take drastic action now only plays into their strategy.

  66. My four holes:

    (1) The assumption that the global temperature anomaly has real meaning.

    (2) The poor quality of the basic temperature data over time, and the even worse reliability and validity of the data for SST (which isn’t ‘sea surface temperature’ for the most part).

    (3) The lack of understanding about climate sensitivity.

    (4) The assumption that increases in temperature must have negative effects for humanity.

    And one of my New Year’s wishes has been fulfilled already: How nice to see post from Chief!

    • Don Aitkin,

      Why stop at 4?

      (5) Scientists predicted cooling in the 60’s

      (6) It hasn’t warmed since 1998

      (7) Its all due to Cosmic rays

      (8) Its all due to the sun

      (9) AGW contravenes the second law of thermodynamics.

      There lots of them You’d easily get to a hundred if you tried!

    • I guess that I’d give more credence to Don’s “holes” if he hadn’t demonstrated such enormous holes of his own in understanding of the science, in the past

  67. This thread has seen a lot of talk about nonlinearity from Frank, ChiefH, and others. I humbly offer some theory and facts about nonlinearity and linearized methods in fluid dynamics and by extension climate science.

    1. As Frank asserts, any differentiable function can be represented over an infinitesimal range by its linearization. But the important question is how big are the nonlinear terms that are neglected? The only way to know for sure is to compute them or estimate them. Just reasoning from the linearized models CANNOT do this. In fluid dynamics, these terms are usually large. I can’t go into details here ( because of time constraints) but one can easily find this information in any undergraduate text on fluid dynamics. Linearized methods can often be used however if they are “adjusted” with actual data.

    2. I think a lot of the confusion centers around macroscale behaviour vs. smaller scale behaviour. As every airline passenger should be grateful for, the global forces and moments on an airplane are pretty linear over a significant part of the flight envelop. The airplane is designed to make that happen. However the problem is not very well posed. That’s why icing is such a problem, the effect of small changes in shape of the airplane is highly nonlinear. Basically, any time separated flow or vortex dominated flow is involved, there is strong nonlinearity at both the macroscopic and microscopic level. These phenomena are central characteristics of climate.

    3. Newton’s method for solving nonlinear systems is based on solving successive linearizations of a nonlinear system. Thus, its performance on a particular problem is a very accurate measure of how important nonlinearities are. I hate to break the bad news, but virtually all fluid dynamics problems are strongly nonlinear, not just with respect to forcings, but with respect to boundary conditions. This is amply documented in the literature and is well known to anyone who has done even a small amount of computational simulation.

    4. Some problems that are known to be ill-posed are the separated flow problem, the problem of vorticity transport, the problem of transition to turbulence, the convection problem, and the problem of making the flow stable with respect to boundary conditions. Of course, all these phenomena play a role in the atmosphere and the ocean.

    It strikes me that asserting that some global relationships such as Stephan-Boltzman cooling are linear over the range of interest is largely irrelevant. The other nonlinear effects will usually dominate the dynamics. Certainly, these simplified models can be useful, but careful validation is required. And that is the problem with climate, the data is usually too noisy to draw strong conclusions.

    It seems to me that the most likely explanation of past climate changes is the nonlinear responses to small changes in forcings, e. g., the interaction of forcings and feedbacks and internal variability. This is certainly the conventional wisdom with regard to the ice ages. This would imply that understanding these effects is quite important to understanding climate and that simple relationships while useful in some cases won’t help us in calculating sensitivity for example.

    I apologize for the fact that this post does not have equations and references, but time is limited. For those of a scholarly turn of mind, there are excellent survey papers that can be accessed at the VonKarman instutute which has an excellent series of courses on these subjects that has been ongoing.

    • I agree David, but it is also important to point out that it is not just the non-linearities in atmospheric fluid dynamics that matter. We are talking about decades to centuries so non-linearities in ocean circulation, cryosphere and biosphere also matter, not to mention indirect solar dynamics.

      When the TAR first appeared there were a series of diagrams (at the end of chapter nine?) that illustrated these oscillatory feedbacks, but they mysteriously disappeared.

    • David,

      This comment justifies all the time spent reading through the post. Thank you.

      It also reminded me of that famous band – Eddy and the Currents.

  68. Mosh: Wot, trolling now? Gavin’s behaviour ok? Next it’ll be desmog. Huh!

  69. Reply to Fred Moolten January 4, 2012 at 5:29 pm

    You are technically correct about the exponential relationship between water vapor and temperature (thank you), but the relationship is still effectively linear for a small temperature change. If one rearranges the terms of the Clausius-Claperyon relationship and lets P1 = P and P2 = P+dP, the pressure side of the equation becomes ln[1+(dP/P)]. The Taylor expansion of ln(1+x) is x + x^2/2 + x^3/3 … and the ln(1+x) is approximately linear in x if x is small enough. How small is small enough? x is about 10% bigger than ln(1+x) when x is 20% (equivalent to a 3 degK temperature change) and 20% bigger when x is 50% (equivalent to a 7 degK temperature change). On the temperature side of the equation, T1*T2 in the denominator is approximated by T^2, a negligible error. So the exponential relationship between temperature and water vapor doesn’t interfere with assuming that water vapor feedback will vary roughly linearly with temperature for AGW.

    Like WIllis, my personal inclination is to hope that climate sensitivity varies with temperature, so climate sensitivity calculations based on the LGM can be ignored. It doesn’t make sense to hope for non-linearity over a 1-2% change in degK without a good reason for expecting non-linearity – especially when we are discussing the biggest holes in the IPCC consensus. I wrote my comment looking for good reasons to believe in non-linearity, but rejected most of the possibilities. However, convection is clearly a non-linear phenomena with an onset threshold. Meridional transport of heat occurs by convection and polar amplification indicates that meridional transport varies with mean global temperature. Now I will add chaos to my list of possibilities; chaotic phenomena are inherently non-linear. The coupling of the ENSO to the annual cycle is apparently a chaotic phenomena, but nudging the planet into a permanent La Nina state won’t prevent a high climate sensitivity from causing “catastrophic warming” in the late 21st century.

    • Frank: It doesn’t make sense to hope for non-linearity over a 1-2% change in degK without a good reason for expecting non-linearity

      At a base temperature of 288K, a 1% increase in temperature (2.88K) produces a 4% increase in T^4. Thus, even for what seem like small changes in T, the nonlinearity in the Stefan-Boltzman equation produce non-negligible nonlinearities in the expected radiative heat transfer.

      Ice melt changes and water vaporization changes are proportional to temperature changes, but the convective and advective heat transfer process are probably non-linear.

      Over the range of climate changes expected by the AGW theory consequent upon a change of CO2 concentration, the non-linearities are not negligible.

      • I expect that everyone with fair knowledge of mathematics and physical systems agrees that the response a change in forcing is approximately linear for small enough changes and that the problem is, what is the limit of “small enough”.

        I list here a few thoughts that might help in judging, where that limit might be.

        Locally we have many effects that are highly nonlinear, like melting of ice or formation of tropical storms, but the extent of these local effects on the global scale is again changing linearly for some range of change in forcing.

        One approach that has been mentioned is based on looking at attractors, which are fundamentally nonlinear phenomena and certainly present. For the Earth system as whole we have at least one attractor and possibly several. These attractors change approximately linearly over some range of changes and if there are more than one the same applies to their weight in the probability distribution of possible states.

        The fact that the distance from the typical temperatures to the freezing point of water is much smaller than the distance from absolute zero is significant and leads to the expectation that the limit of small enough change may be rather small, but the mechanisms I listed above may tell that this argument is not as strong as it appears on the first sight. We know, however that the strong nonlinearity that leads to the ice ages is rather close to the present in comparison to the value of the average absolute surface temperature.

        We know a little about the influence of varying temperatures. The general dynamics of the Earth system has not changed dramatically over the last few thousand years as far as I can interpret the knowledge. This gives some evidence for linearity over the range experienced during that period.

      • Pekka Pirila: The general dynamics of the Earth system has not changed dramatically over the last few thousand years as far as I can interpret the knowledge. This gives some evidence for linearity over the range experienced during that period.

        I think the second sentence does not follow from the first. We could be in the basin of attraction of a non-linear system.

        the problem is, what is the limit of “small enough”.

        I agree, but I think my example shows that, for the hypothesized increased CO2 forcing, we are not in the region of “small enough”. Or at least that any claim of “small enough” requires some demonstration.

      • Pekka, You say the Earth has one main attractor and likely several smaller ones. That would justify greater use of linear approximation for small change.

        I believe the Earth has two main attractors, Glacial and Interglacial, and likely several smaller ones. That changes my perspective on what will be justified use of linear approximation and what is a small change since direction of change has to be considered.

        CO2 lags temperature coming out of an Ice age, Co2 lags temperature going into an ice age. Since I consider two main attractors, that implies to me that CO2 is not a major initiator of climate change relative the unknown factor the initiates the glacial/interglacial change.

        So should we discard data indicating the existence of a driver or combination of drivers that are at least equal to CO2?

      • MattStat,
        One quite likely possibility is that the Earth system is within a shallow local minimum region of an attractor. Then the typical linear change caused by the change in forcing is a change in the properties of the attractor. The change of the position of the state of the Earth system within the attractor would have lesser immediate consequences for the global averages.

        The local climate might change more in many areas, and over limited regions at some critical boundaries those changes are likely to become very rapidly nonlinear without changing the global picture.

      • The Ornstein-Uhlenbeck random walk process is a simple model that happens to have nonlinear factors. Big whoop, we are doing something nonlinear! Is everyone happy now?

        Incidentally, the O-U proess has a reversion to the mean property which gives it the feel of an attractor.

  70. Birger Wedendahl
  71. here’s an example of a big hole that has only apparently just been realized:
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/01/120103211054.htm

    • That’s not a hole. That’s a perfect example of confirmation bias and AGW hysteria and why people are skeptical. I find the pseudo-science mind-boggling. It’s also mind-numbing.

      • I think that comment says more about your confirmation bias. Can you actually find fault with the issue the study is raising?

        Or fault with my point that such a complex impact has been widely overlooked?

      • Of course Edim read the original paper and looked at the mathematical model before proclaiming it “pseudo-science”………oh, wait…

      • Heh, where are the new species arising? Warmer will increase diversity. How this study could be so wrong, I’ll leave to the experts.
        ==============

      • Michael, lolwot,

        “Pseudoscience is often characterized by the use of vague, exaggerated or unprovable claims, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation, a lack of openness to evaluation by other experts, and a general absence of systematic processes to rationally develop theories.”

        I just copied this sentence from wikipedia, because I agree with it. The criterion of falsifiability is the best tool to distinguish science from non-science. IMO, an over-reliance on confirmation rather than rigorous attempts at refutation is the hallmark of pseudo-science. If it’s not a rigorous attempt at refutation, it’s not science. It’s just bureaucracy.

    • randomengineer

      The species extinction scaremongering has been ubiquitous for years, also affecting papers for all physical sciences. Hardly a paper can be read regarding clovis culture and humans in north america without the bone thrown to climate change as a probable cause of clovis disappearance.

      • If we killed off 5 or 6 billion humans, many other species would fair much better. It is intereting (imo) that people who fear CO2 growth are not zealots for human population control/reductions.

      • Scratch a climate alarmist, find a morbid Malthusian.
        ================

      • “Hardly a paper can be read regarding clovis culture and humans in north america without the bone thrown to climate change as a probable cause of clovis disappearance.”

        As an analogy picture a room in which thousands of dominoes are arranged on the floor. The “climate change” here is opening the window. Will a resulting draught cause a “disaster” to the domino world?

        The studies you mention are a bit like saying “this specific domino might fall over if the window is opened”. Ie they are only considering the direct impact of a draught on individual dominoes.

        What is clearly missing and potentially more serious is the indirect knock-on effects on other dominoes if any domino falls over.

        This is a massive hole in the science – GCMs aren’t anywhere close to being able to include species. It also bleeds into common discussion of the matter where simplistic and trite considerations of single species are made in isolation which IMO tend to overestimate the ability of life to adapt because the fragility of the system as a whole is not being assessed.

      • randomengineer

        lolwot, the point is that climate scaremongering is today’s bogeyman and you can tell because stuff wholly unrelated to climate mentions it. For all we know, what whacked the clovis culture is a common genetic malady for that group looking for a spot marked X and north amercia provided X. e.g. syphillis was given to europe by the natives on the first voyage of columbus; it was geographically restricted to north america at one time.

        That all other possible (and far more probable) mechanisms of clovis culture disappearance are completely ignored and yet climate change — of all possible improbable things — is mentioned tells us that the funding and journal acceptance processes are compromised with today’s “correctness.”

        (I’m quite certain that if you were to look you’d find that climate change caused mental problems for the guy who assassinated Archduke Ferdinand. If not, just wait a few months. It will appear.)

        Species extinction claims are nothing more than useless additions to the rest of the massive pile of climate claims, many (most?) of which are based solely on statistics and models. This I think is much of the heart of the matter where it concerns skepticism in general. When climate is claimed to be the underlying driver for everything possible (i.e. pick a subject, any subject, and climate is the bogeyman) this is the point where sane people will say “whoa.”

        Climate change advocacy *creates* skeptics. If someone tells you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is. In terms if climate, people are making so many claims that the answer to life the universe and everything is no longer 42, it’s “climate change.” Same mechanism kicks in as “too good to be true.”

    • lolwot,

      Isn’t this an example of Darwinism at work?

      I’m also reminded of a news story covering a research paper on birds in the Andes. It found that certain species of birds had not moved as much or as fast as predicted when climate changed What was interesting was that it reached the conclusion these species were at risk of extinction, ignoring the fact that the predicted change in range and habitat came from modelling and therefore the possibility existed that the model was wrong, not the behavior of the birds.

      Then again, maybe this is where the term bird-brained comes from. Stupid birds don’t realize they are not doing what the models say they should. And everyone knows that someone with a PhD knows what is better for a bird than the bird does, right?

      • individual examples are meh.

        what’s more interesting is even if these birds did not move, is their food going to move? their predators? will new predators turn up? perhaps new food (but then that’s unfortunate for the “food”)? if the whole chain gets splashed hitherwither in various directions and ranges we might find out as a result the whole thing breaks down.

      • lolwot,

        I’ll agree that there are lots of interesting lines to pursue with regard to the study of the birds peculiar to the instance I mentioned above. Each helps to build our body of knowledge and understand the birds and their relationship to various other factors. Which is part of my point. To conclude that the birds (or any species you want to pick) are at risk because field observation does not match model predicted behavior borders on idiotic. Which is the more reasonable conclusion?

        The change in habitat is not significant enough to impact the range and behavior patterns of the birds.

        The birds ability to adapt to changes in its environment to date is sufficient enough not to see significant displacement and relocation.

        The birds are at risk because they are not relocating fast enough.

        Of the three, the last one appears to be the least likely to be an accurate assessment.

  72. Quickie recap of a comment left at Sciam on an article dissing Judith:
    “Iconoclast” posts the following:

    14. Iconoclast 05:06 PM 10/23/10

    The proposition that the average temperature of the earth’s surface is warming because of increased emissions of human-produced greenhouse gases cannot be tested by any known scientific procedure

    It is impossible to position temperature sensors randomly over the earth’s surface (including the 71% of ocean, and all the deserts, forests, and icecaps) and maintain it in constant condition long enough to tell if any average is increasing. Even if this were done the difference between the temperature during day and night is so great that no rational average can be derived.

    Measurements at weather stations are quite unsuitable since they are not positioned representatively and they only measure maximum and minimum once a day, from which no average can be derived. They also constantly change in number, location and surroundings. Recent studies show that most of the current stations are unable to measure temperature to better than a degree or two

    The assumptions of climate models are absurd. They assume the earth is flat, that the sun shines with equal intensity day and night, and the earth is in equilibrium, with the energy received equal to that emitted.

    Half of the time there is no sun, where the temperature regime is quite different from the day.

    No part of the earth ever is in energy equilibrium, neither is there any evidence of an overall “balance”.

    It is unsurprising that such models are incapable of predicting any future climate behaviour, even if this could be measured satisfactorily.

    There are no representative measurements of the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide over any land surface, where “greenhouse warming” is supposed to happen.

    After twenty years of study, and as expert reviewer to the IPCC from the very beginning , I can only conclude that the whole affair is a gigantic fraud.

    Every paragraph a gem.

    • absolute nonsense.

      This part:
      “The assumptions of climate models are absurd. They assume the earth is flat, that the sun shines with equal intensity day and night”

      is completely false

      and this part:
      “It is impossible to position temperature sensors randomly over the earth’s surface (including the 71% of ocean, and all the deserts, forests, and icecaps) and maintain it in constant condition long enough to tell if any average is increasing.”

      is baloney.

      Come on the guy hasn’t even engaged logic has he? Blinded by dogma perhaps?

      Logically if it was so impossible to measure any meaningful global average surface temperature then the result shouldn’t resemble anything like say the SST or satellite records. Yet it does. All the records show a large rise in surface temperature coincident with the 1997/1998 El Nino for example.

      So much for his claim that “no rational average can be derived”

      And to top it off he ends with an argument from false authority:
      “After twenty years of study, and as expert reviewer to the IPCC from the very beginning , I can only conclude that the whole affair is a gigantic fraud.”

    • “No part of the earth ever is in energy equilibrium, neither is there any evidence of an overall “balance”.

      The evidence is in the existence of the Standard Atmosphere, which my Venus/Earth atmospheric temperatures comparison confirms as the equilibrium state of the atmosphere.

      The biggest hole in climate science is the forsaking of the Standard Atmosphere, and its absolute assurance that the atmosphere is fundamentally stable, in order to pursue a non-existent “runaway climate” nightmare, as allowed by a naive radiation transfer theory that reproduces radiation levels but fails to account for the real thermodynamics of the atmosphere, and a “greenhouse effect” that has led the top scientists into violating the most fundamental of all physical laws, the conservation of energy. There is no competent climate science whatsoever, because of what amounts to a consensus mental breakdown in science. This blog is really just a continuing therapy session for those who refuse to confront the stable reality.

    • We got it, made in the shade. Kool’s.

      T

    • Actually, the sun does shine with equal intensity day and night.

      The satellites provide an acceptable approximation of a global temperature trend. Nothing scary there, so far.

  73. If we’re talking big holes, we can’t avoid talking about American political culture.

    Like all posts at ClimateEtc this one amounts to the argument that the culture of science is to blame for the American public’s confusion, bolstered by frequent claims that the field continues to ignore (rational) skepticism and critically engaged discussion of questions within the field.

    Let’s say ClimateEtc is right and receives an award for this. Congratulations. :-)

    Now let’s pretend that there is no better approach from which to examine knowledge (e.g. how it advances within a specific culture or historical context, its bureaucratization in modern society, the role of mass media, the power-divided nature of society in general and specifically American society at this juncture in history, etc.) than the right-wing approach routinely used to interpret social issues and responses, on this site.

    Next, accepting both your problem identification and approach, let’s talk about solutions.

    What is to be done, exactly? I mean, what is to be done socially and politically? Public support for either more of the same in society or for any changes includes policies that try to anticipate future needs, whether in relation to healthcare, the economy, or climate change risk reduction and management (especially for the most vulnerable, although I realize that attaching this value consideration to social policy is not shared by everyone); and involves more ‘public’ than just the United States.

    Assuming a first reasonable step is to offer accurate information and assuming as we might for the sake of argument that you do that, what next? What next, exactly? Please be specific. BESIDES issues related to the IPCC, science communication, and more research, what next? Since American political culture continues to polarize all issues and information, regardless of the importance or quality of information, it’s a very tough question.

    Given political polarizations at this time, it is not at all clear what could happen that would make a difference for the next while to either the public’s understanding or wishes (regardless of science or its communication) — if anything.

    • Martha, regarding AGW advocacy, we should have been rooting out publically funded academic radicalism 40-50 years ago and the phantom climate issues and policy mitigation would never have gone as far as it has. Who are people like you to whine about “politics”? AGW and it’s supporters are held together by a partisan goal (global statism, redistribution and regulation ambitions) and all the “conclusions” of a highly abstract area of soft science are framed in that fashion.

      AGW mitigation is and always will be a political act first with advocacy and agenda setting first and foremost. The core members of the “team” are all largely eco-left government expansionists so are most of the government funded academic and professional enclaves supporting AGW. This is reality.

      The next step is to defund the advocacy science culture, conclude it was a corrupted field, eliminate the IPCC if not the anti-American/Western culture U.N., renounce socialism, exam the levels of debt funding of academic activism and then record the proper history of the evil movement in all its forms. That’s the end game Martha.

      • Just one more thought on “fraud” Kim, would we tell every member of the former Soviet system they were accountable to a FRAUD?

        It could be argued but I think it’s counter productive to social self-awareness and longer-term reform. There was a lot more to say about the Soviet system than it was a fraud, which there certainly was at many levels.

        At the science academic level, it would help if consensus members came clean about the politics driving AGW and the core team players in particular. It would be painful for those who hold similar political values, Obama contributors in climate science for example just thinking of one off the top of my head. REGARDLESS, it would diffuse some of the hostile tone and frustrations that lead to the word “fraud” in ordinary conversation.

    • Martha
      You wrote-“ the right-wing approach routinely used to interpret social issues and responses, on this site.”
      What’s a “right wing” approach in your opinion? Is there a list of issues that you evaluate people’s positions on to decide? Imo, positions on issues are determined based upon the merit of the support of the individual issues.
      You ask about the political situation in the USA. I suggest you will see a change in the political outlook of both the US and the EU over the next decade as the economic realities of nations spending and promising to spend more than nations are generating in revenue becomes backbreaking to those regions economies.
      It is easy for political leaders to promise that if you work for 30 years you can retire at 55 with a wonderful lifetime pension and free medical care, but the reality is that someone else has to pay for those benefits. Given the demographics of a aging population, the prior promises will soon have to be broken. In the US one of the 1st things to be dramatically cut will be pension and medical benefits for former and current military personnel. It is not nice to break a promise, but reality is a bitch sometimes.
      In regards to a potentially changing climate, can you please identify a single major nation that “deserves” to get funds from the US or the EU because of the issue? Can you explain why you feel that way?

      • Martha seems to define ‘right wing’ as ‘anyone who disagrees with her dialectic’.

      • For a long-time I struggled with the use of the term “fraud”. I do think it’s a product of a better than 40 year evolution regarding green regulatory ambitions and how bitter the last 20 years have been in particular. A committed Marxist hasn’t engaged in “fraud” even if he seeks vote to expropriate others property.

        More simply as George Costanza stated on Sienfeld;

        “It’s not a lie if you believe it”

        Joshua is a perfect example and why the word and act of “fraud” is abstract in intense political and cultural debates. Many in the eco-left can’t accept or absorb the thin arguments to match their agenda. Others I think are far more guilty. Fraud implies “conspiracy” and our social divide is more complex than that regarding AGW activism.

      • Fraud has a clear legal definition. Fraud does not require there to be a conspiracy. Joshua is in no way committing fraud. He is not intentionally deceiving people to gain a personal benefit. (at least not here as nobody benefits from these exchanges)

      • Which is sort of my point Rob, “fraud” isn’t a good word to describe a large if not deeply suspect social/political event like AGW and emotional passions associated. Just as the word “science” has equal weighting across all disciplines.

      • There has been fraud, and it will be difficult to identify, amongst the ‘Extraordinary Popular Delusion and Madness of the Crowd’ which is Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. The financial fraud exposure will be direct and is already happening. The political fraud exposure will be more diffuse and chaotic. The scientific fraud? Well, there will be history books.
        ============

      • Kim, in any large activity with people there is fraud inside of any structure. I’m not disputing your observation but there is a consequence to telling both the fool and the guilty associated to AGW that the entire movement was “FRAUD” which is the quick and dirty view/term of many pundits. Fraud is often used in a flip conversational fashion as well as being used in a court room.

        Fraud actually cheapens the scaling of the actual abuses for some and besmirches the many who don’t know better and/or are actually conditioned to accept common authority instructions from the elite leadership of the AGW core. So I don’t think it’s a good word to focus on to describe the entire eco-AGW extreme movement, it’s lazy for one thing.

        Also, you hope society takes the right lesson from this agenda science, political goal driven movement. When it’s finally done and defunded, all excesses corrected to a large degree, it’s all likely to move on to similar “growth topics” and other emotional based green agenda. Still, some are going to capitulate to reason. Fraud doesn’t relate to the delusional at an Earth Day rally or sitting in comfort at the academic lounge while thinking capitalism and industry are the great evil in the world. Fraud just doesn’t some up the problems of AGW and the eco-left enviornmental movements. It’s too much and too little at the same time, too simple.

        If you want reform, you have to get to a deeper honesty about what forces are actually at work in the debate and AGW history. It includes those who rationalize their personal fraud for politics or profit but it can’t sum up the entire reactionary green movement of the past 50 years in the West. It can’t sum up AGW agenda science.

      • Hello, Rob,

        “What’s a “right wing” approach in your opinion”

        Characteristically, the value of individualism, little concern for inequality, a survival of the fittest mentality and laissez fair economic views are advanced. And since conservatives in the U.S. are so frequently severely theoretically challenged individuals, I would suggest some recognition that their approach tends to advance one-sided arguments and to be very selective in the presentation of evidence and to have no interest in discussing how politics functions in modern society. Contrast this with progressive values and approach, and you will find that the characteristics are not a difference in degree but a difference in kind: the social priorities related to economic decisions, concerns about democracy, social justice, and equitable distribution of resources comes up more often.

        “Is there a list of issues that you evaluate people’s positions on to decide”

        The difference is not in the issues raised but rather the interpretation and proposed response to the issues. I made that clear in my previous comment but if you required even more clarity you now have the above.

        “can you please identify a single major nation that “deserves” to get funds from the US or the EU because of the issue? Can you explain why you feel that way”

        Americans might wish to think about how to use their resources wisely and about polices to support the vulnerable people within the U.S. – namely, people who are poor, and who cannot move away from risks using their own resources or absorb hardship from climate change without social welfare support.

        The idea of who is “deserving” is a questionable one, but if you mean who needs help, the needs around assistance and aid are identified by people themselves; and the role for outside help involves a range of policy options that includes not only financial assistance but aid delivery systems that actually boost self-determination.

        “Can you explain why you feel that way?”

        Basically, I support this kind of crafting of progressive economic and trade policies with a focus on social priorities because these practices tend to promote humanitarianism, equitable distribution of assistance and opportunity, and shared responsibility-taking — which reflects my beliefs and an approach to resources and political power that I value.

      • Martha,
        Did you work hard to be as historically illiterate as you apparently hard, or did it ocme naturally?

      • I would rather read Martha’s comments than anything you write Hunter.

    • Martha, politics sure suck the fun out of things. How the politics of individual nations impact their path to energy solutions is probably the biggest single issue that needs to be resolved.

      I personally think that the developed nations should work on energy policies that best match their needs so that undeveloped nations will have a greater variety of approaches to follow based on results.

      One biggest problems for the US is nuclear waste reprocessing with nuclear waste storage a more common problem for all nations. Since it is fairly well agreed that nuclear in some form must be used, solving those issues should be a priority.

      Coal may not be needed in developed nations, but is unavoidable in at least the near term in the developing nations. The developed nations have made more progress and have greater potential to develop cleaner coal technology. So it seems foolish to me to not have the US, Canada and the UK at least maintain some portion of coal power production to improve the technology.

      Energy is definitely worth of a new thread or two.

      • Have you studied the waste associated with 4th generation nuclear plants or thorium nuclear plants. Most people “fear” nuclear energy based upon 40 year old plants and technology. We don’t think about the technology of 1970 cars when deciding whether to get a new autobomile. Why do we evaluate nuclear power based on old technology?

      • Rob I have. One of the odd things with the generation IV is whether the fuel is provided by reprocessing facilities or continuous feed from on site processing. If I remember correctly, Thorium needs more than just thorium. Most of the developed world has more than they want of spent fuel and other nuclear waste. Properly processed, generation IV reactors can use that waste. In the US reprocessing is a major problem. Step one in the US is to remove that barrier to nuclear development.

        Liquid Fluoride Thorium reactors and even the old school CANDU reactors can burn spent fuel and a good deal or reprocessed waste. Liquid fluoride is still in the future and the CANDU doesn’t have the inherent design safety that I would like in my backyard.

        In the mean time, light water reactors, (boo hiss) are pretty safe and with reprocessing can produce fuels for thorium cycle reactors, even run on Thorium mixed fuels.

      • CANDU is a big improvement over conventional rod bundles for the simple reason that the fuel never gets old. That’s what made TMI and Fukushima so hard to cool. I wouldn’t have a problem living a mile from one of those.

      • And btw, Th doesn’t need anything but Th. Th makes U233. The U233 is the actual fuel. There is also an inevitable small amount of Pr234 produced as a byproduct that you have to get rid of.

      • Capt,

        I’m curious why you believe that nuclear waste storage and reprocessing is a problem?

        Reprocessing technology has existed for some time. US nuclear plants are currently burning fuel with was reprocessed from Soviet warheads. Something like 96% of the uranium in a spent fuel rod can be reprocessed into usable fuel.

        As for storage, we don’t need to bury waste in some underground salt mine. We have dry storage casks – which double as shipping containers – that can contain the spent fuel rods. There are tribes who have proposed storing these on their lands. As someone who lives in Oregon and Washington, I can vouch for there being no shortage of real estate available for this, in these two states along. Stick them in the desert, put a chain link fence around them and hire people to drive around the perimeter in a pickup every so often. It really is that simple.

      • P.E. CANDU has a positive void coefficient. I don’t like that, just me probably.

        Thorium still needs U233 or U235 or plutonium to become critical. The issue with processing is cash. Processing out of the cycle produces a revenue stream for the designers which is a big deal for the designers.

      • timg56, reprocessing is a political and EPA problem. The technology is fine, it is just the unrealistic demands to avoid the impossible and the nearly impossible. Fukushima took a 9 plus earthquake, a higher than expected tsunami and a human over riding a safety, the nearly impossible, so obviously it is unsafe 50 year old technology :(

        The scenario for someone to steal enough plutonium from a reprocessing plant, evade detection with the stolen plutonium long enough to amass enough for a bomb, assemble the talent to build the bomb, deliver the bomb and the have the bomb actually work, is nearly impossible.but that is why the Carter administration limited reprocessing.

        While we have the storage for spent fuel, the EPA has ruled that the storage facility must not expose anyone to the equivalent of 15millirem per year near the storage site. That is a pretty tight regulation. Overly restrictive some might say.

      • Thanks Capt.

        I was wondering if I simply misunderstood what you were saying. Having spent 10 years in the industry and worked at plants all over the nation, I can attest to most of our “nuclear” problems being political, not technical.

        Side note – I found it interesting that over on RealClimate if you bring up the issue of nuclear power, you’ll get a slew of attack comments and then get told that the subject is not permitted (though negative responses apparantly are).

    • Martha, do you mean to say science or saience?

      “Given political polarizations at this time, it is not at all clear what could happen that would make a difference for the next while to either the public’s understanding or wishes (regardless of science or its communication) — if anything.”

      or just a TypeO? Here you go:

      http://www.saibaba-x.org.uk/21/Sai's_ignorance_of_science.htm

      Even more lite reading for the white jackets.
      Have a good 1.

    • randomengineer

      Martha, we’re all well aware that the intent of your post is to say that the right wingers are anti-scientific neanderthals by definition, that this is a major problem, etc.

      In US culture the left (democrat) thinks government solves problems. The right (republican) reckons government IS the problem. There is a fundamental difference in how government is viewed.

      When there is a recommendation that requires government action, then absolutely, there will be 50% of the voting population tilted against this by definition.

      What you’re observing is neither a weakness nor a hole.

      • ceterus non paribus


        When there is a recommendation that requires government action, then absolutely, there will be 50% of the voting population tilted against this by definition.

        Unless it is an illegal invasion of a sovereign nation justified on false pretexts.

      • randomengineer

        If you want to veer from observations of left/right divide on socioeconomic issues and dive into cheap shots, they could at least be funny.

        Democrat: “Two dozen Saudis perpetrated a horrible crime.”
        Republican: “Hey, I know. Let’s invade Iraq, a country who had nothing to do with it.”

      • ceterus non paribus


        If you want to veer from observations of left/right divide on socioeconomic issues and dive into cheap shots, they could at least be funny.

        Sorry if military invasions don’t turn your crank.
        Not really meant to be funny.

        But – You should know that most non-Amer’kans snicker when they see your Democrats described as “left”. They tend to laugh out loud when Obama is called a “socialist”.

      • ceterus non paribus | January 5, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
        They tend to laugh out loud when Obama is called a “socialist”.

        Nationallizing 1/5 of a nation’s economy is socialism. Like it or not.

      • cnp,

        Re illegal invasions

        There is a video perfect for you …

        Want to guess which one represents your point of view?

      • tim –

        I’m hoping that you really don’t buy the arguments presented in that animation. I mean I’m all for a good joke, and Dems/libz/Obama are certainly not above hypocrisy – but all the arguments of the “Republican” in that video are bogus.

        Care to discuss?

      • Josh,

        I’d enjoy a discussion, but that’s one better done over drinks. Besides, I need to head home to feed the dog and get dinner ready before the Laker Blazer game. Somethings are more important than climate science or politics. Watching the Blazers kick the shit out of LA is one of them.

      • Joshua

        I suggest you watch the video again.

        The “Republican” does not make “arguments” – he simply asks questions, which the “Obama is awesome” co-worker answers.

        Max

      • manacker –

        The “Republican” does not make “arguments” – he simply asks questions

        There is an element of truth in that, but it isn’t a fair overall characterization.

        For example, listen to what the “Republican” says with one of the first questions he asks:

        “Do you realize Qaddafi only gave up his nukes only after watching Iraq go down.”

        That is an argument framed as a “non-argument,” or a question. And it is a non-argument argument that is false at a number of levels. And a similar form of argumentation continues throughout.

        Please be more skeptical.

    • Martha,

      In the context of your perplexity with humanity’s unwillingness to sacrifice on behalf of urgent problems, you’ve noted “…it is not at all clear what could happen to make a difference…” and “What is to be done, exactly?”

      Here’s my suggestion and one that I’m sure you’ll agree will make a powerful impression on humanity and very possibly produce the mass action response you seek for the problems you perceive.

      As a first step, I recommend leadership by example and from the front. That’s the sort of thing that inspires and motivates Joe-and-Josephine-Six-Pack. So, again, I suggest you, personally, Martha, and all those sharing your sense of the need for self-sacrificing action by humanity employ personal example and leadership from the front as your main instrument of change.

      Secondly, taking carbon-reduction, for example, you need to then go beyond your own personal example and convince the boss carbon-hogs–kings, queens, billionaire big-mouths, fading rock and film stars, venal big-shot politicians, etc.–to immediately discard their high-carbon lifestyle and playthings. The sight of our betters in perpetual sack-cloth with only an unheated and un-air conditioned cell for shelter and a simple staff to aid their travels and only a thin, Vegan gruel (from locally grown veggies, of course!) as their monotonous daily repast, would make a greatest possible impression on the Joe’s and Josephine’s of the world. Then get the carbon-piglet flunkies of the NGO’s, UN, and academia to join their ascetic betters and you’ll be well on your way to saving the world. Think Savonarola and St. Francis of Assisi!–and the enormous impact they achieved through leadership from the front and by example.

      In the meantime, I and others observe the carbon-piggie excesses and obscene, carbon-blow-out hypocrisies of those seemingly most convinced of the carbon peril (and poised to make both big and little bucks off the solutions) and conclude that the whole deal can only be a hustle. I mean, the IPCC won’t even take the simplest of steps to reduce its carbon-footprint and show leadership in that effort by video-conferencing its annual conferences! See what I mean, Martha?

      Again, Martha, leadership by example and from the front–first by you and others like you, then by the trend-setters and aristocrats, then by the intelligentsia, and then make your case to Joe-and-Josephine-Six-Pack. I’m sure he and she will listen, at that point. Otherwise, Joe and Josephine are just gonna make like they smell a rat and blow the whole thing off.

    • Martha, see my previous post Can we make good decisions under ignorance?
      https://judithcurry.com/2011/08/22/can-we-make-good-decisions-under-ignorance/

      information is not knowledge, and neither automatically produces wisdom

      • Wake up josh! Judith has posted. Question her motive, and demand to see her evidence. Your stalking duties call.

      • ceterus non paribus

        Judith, I just read that entire post – and all I see are lists of rather vague normative statements along with some qualitative musings on “deep uncertainty”. Surely we can do better than that, especially in the domain of science.

        One of the main things that differentiates scientific results from other claims of fact, is that we generally have some idea of HOW uncertain we are. You know – standard deviations, expected values, confidence intervals…

        So, while information is not knowledge, knowledge is information.

      • cnp,
        When you claim, “One of the main things that differentiates scientific results from other claims of fact, is that we generally have some idea of HOW uncertain we are.”
        You hoist most of the AGW consensus claims up in the air explosively and toss the remains under a bus.
        Thank you very much.

    • Martha,

      Would you like to comment on the real holes in the climate science?

      • No, I prefer to consider the pragmatic quality of the information and how it is presented, rather than pretend that I am doing climate science.

        You have argued that statistics do not show that second-hand smoke is harmful and anyway smog is a bigger cause of health problems so it is wrong to have smoking bylaws for e.g. parks and pools. You feel that politics has become “feminized” and complain or object that public office is increasingly held by “mothers”.

        Unfortunately, I don’t have time to talk with you. :-(

      • Martha, you have a very nice queue I am sure, but remember we don’t have to kowtow to authority anymore. It’s Bonza eh?

      • Martha: You have argued that statistics do not show that second-hand smoke is harmful and anyway smog is a bigger cause of health problems so it is wrong to have smoking bylaws for e.g. parks and pools. You feel that politics has become “feminized” and complain or object that public office is increasingly held by “mothers”.

        That’s someone else, not I.

      • Martha –

        You feel that politics has become “feminized” and complain or object that public office is increasingly held by “mothers”.

        Seriously?

        Whether it’s Matt or not (doesn’t really sound like him), I’d like to read that if you could provide a link. Whoever wrote it, it would be good for a laugh.

      • Joshua, that was probably me, but the spelling was muthas :)

      • Martha dear, I just read this on the web about a non smoking Big Brain scientist, he is a pragmatist who is still trying to understand the opposite sex. Why not pour yourself a larger and give him a buzz. It would be a nice thing to do and we all know your heart is big, it’s a win-win for sure.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2082440/Stephen-Hawking-Women-complete-mystery-says-Quantum-physicist.html

        New horizons all round. My Sheila and I, we are still giving it a go. Tough slogging at times but such is life in the big outback under the stars.

      • Cap’n –

        I recall your equivocating about the evidence of harm from 2nd hand smoke. Did you really argue that other stuff?

        Really?

      • Steven Mosher

        Man your screwed that one up Martha,

        1. you try to change the subject
        2. you get called on it
        3. you attack matt by mistaking him for someone else
        4. you get called on it

        Time to address the topic our hostess put up.

      • Smiley Josh :)

        Though I did give an example in the second hand smoke studies where the difference between a New England study and an Arizona study indicated a cause other than second hand smoke, poor Indoor Air Quality most likely due to tight building syndrome and mold in Sheetrock. I am not a fan of linear no threshold models because they produce unreliable and misleading results.

        Radiation studies are probably the worst examples of LNT model abuse. There is an increase in 5th and 6th onset of cancer because more people live to experience their 5th and 6th decades. Octogenarian males have a much higher rate of prostrate cancer. Most Octogenarian males smoked. Smoking therefore causes prostrate cancer. That is a perfect example of linear no threshold modeling, ignore the fact that most of those prostrate cancer causes never would have survive to get it :)

      • Cap’n –

        We’ve been through this before. Your criticisms not withstanding (you might recall my mention that after two basement floods this year I’m quite aware of the problem with mold on sheetrock), the evidence for harm from 2nd hand smoke I think is pretty solid – I gave some details on that previous thread.

        But did you really argue the other stuff, i.e, the “feminization” of politics, mothers holding office?

      • Since Martha may be referring to my example of bias use of linear no-threshold modeling ans since selective use of data, (hiding the decline) is a general topic,

        http://www.world-nuclear.org/sym/1998/cohen.htm

        Note what happens when three of seven data points are left out :)

    • Martha, when you wrote:

      “Now let’s pretend that there is no better approach from which to examine knowledge (e.g. how it advances within a specific culture or historical context, its bureaucratization in modern society, the role of mass media, the power-divided nature of society…”

      Why do you think that there are hasty barricades found when the archeologists uncover the plazas of the Mayan, city centers. The last act to save their High Priests? Then everybody just went away for no reason?

      Tahrir Square in Cairo Egypt, looks the same way today. We know you don’t want to see the truth. You Liberal, silly-head.

    • Martha’s post on politics/economics are always amusing. She only knows a little more about progressive economics than she does about conservative economics. And she knows nothing about conservative economics.

      Understanding the difference between how progressives and capitalists react to the “consensus” is easy once you take a realistic view of the respective philosophies.

      Progressives value “fairness,” “social justice” and “equality.” The meaning of these terms, not coincidentally, depends entirely on the subjective determinations of the person espousing them. They are, in other words, situation. They do not limit at all the believers options when it comes to policy, so they can adopt the most radical reforms, on the weakest evidence, all in the furtherance of “fairness.”

      Conservatives believe in free market (not laissez faire) economics and the Judeo-Christian ethic. Both serve to limit the options of the believer when it comes to policy. Freer market economics properly understood is a restraint on government’s power. The more disruptive the policy, the higher the burden of proof to justify it. Both the costs, and benefits have to meet objective standards to justify the imposition of such a policy.

      To the contrary, all a progressive needs to support any given policy, is to believe that it is “fair.” There are no objective principles against which the proposed policy must be judged. And since that determination is purely subjective, reliance on appeals to authority, and “consensus” are perfectly acceptable.

      CAGW is the perfect example of the difference. The progressives talk constantly about how “unfair” it is for evil corporations to make profits while they destroy the world with CO2. Objective evidence is at most marginally relevant, since the basic question is fairness. Decarbonization should be carried out because it is subjectively “fair.”

      The conservatives, to the contrary, demand objective evidence of both the seriousness of the problem and of the costs (as well as the alleged benefits) of the proposed policy. Decarbonization should only be carried out if it is demonstrated to be objectively necessary, and the benefits outweigh the costs.

      Progressive principles, by being subjective, serve to expand the power of those demanding the exercise of government power. Conservative principles, by being objective, force limitation s on such power.

      • Garym
        Essentially, you reflect what I said in terms of values and principles, with further explication of your own conservative beliefs around non-intervention of government, competitive capitalism and private ownership.

        Feel free to question a description of ‘laissez faire’ but don’t do it by quoting conservapedia because that doesn’t help you to understand what I said or why I said it. We all understand that modern relations between business and government involves constraints on ‘pure’ principles but we can talk about how to apply these ideas in this century, rather than past centuries. By using the term ‘laissez faire’, many people are emphasizing the nostalgic pro-laissez faire principles of libertarians and neoconservatives; and the non-intervention of the American (federal) government in many areas, especially the regulatory refusals of George Bush around climate change policy.

        Regardless, your beliefs are understood to fall under the idea of competitive capitalism and as much freedom from government ‘interference’ as possible.

        I’m surprised that you seem so unaware, however, that while American conservatives and neoconservatives have emphasized Judaeo-Christian roots, America is not the world. Does this surprise you?

        To be honest with you, I think some of what you have expressed is a form of jingoistic arrogance, not the best of a thoughtful, compassionate conservatism.

        Regarding the rest of your rant, there are objective principles against which policy (proposed or passed by e.g. either Republicans or Democrats) is to be judged by the public and governments. Unfortunately, given how polarized American politics has become in the wake of the increasingly neoconservative agenda of the Republican party, the public just responds with more polarization.

        I’m hopeful that the American public will reclaim its democratic power and resist this small but for the past few years very powerful neoconservative backlash. I’m not sure how they will do that, but I’m hopeful. That was my point.

        cheers

  74. Climatology’s inability to balance the energy budget is a glaring hole. The “missing” heat energy cannot be rationalized or explained away. Until it is located, the claim that we understand the climate system is indisputably inaccurate.

  75. Peter Wilson

    What are your thoughts on the biggest holes in climate science?

    From Schiermeier’s article, the statement “Such holes do not undermine the fundamental conclusion that humans are warming the climate, which is based on the extreme rate of the twentieth-century temperature changes and the inability of climate models to simulate such warming without including the role of greenhouse-gas pollution.”

    I think the glaring inability of the climate “consensus” to recognize the circularity of this argument is the largest hole in the alarmist case. The proposition that the 20th century increase is unusual and extreme is thoroughly discredited by multiple lines of evidence, to borrow a phrase, but the reliance on the models to determine the cause just defies all credibility. The fact that models which have been tuned to reproduce the 20th century temperature increase when fed the actual CO2 inputs no longer do so when the CO2 forcings are removed proves nothing – why on earth would anyone expect the results to remain unchanged, especially in light of the large role for CO2 and associated feedbacks assumed by the modelling community?

  76. The Real Hole in Climate Science

    To say the global mean temperature pattern has changed when it has not since record begun 160 years ago as shown => http://bit.ly/pxXK4j

  77. Jeffrey Eric Grant

    So, I have read all the comments below and am still wondering about my two questions:
    1) Send me a link of a recent empirical scientific study that concluded that rising CO2 in the atmosphere has caused an increase of atmospheric temperature greater than about 2C/100yr. Please, and
    2) Since warm water releases gasses like CO2, then how can it be that the earth;s oceans are both getting warmer and decreasing its pH at the same time?

    I have asked these questions to reputable scientists for quite a while now, with no positive responses. I especially request this from AGW adherants.

    Can any of you point me in the right direction? Thank you

  78. I think the fundamental hole is the misunderstanding of the fundamental physics of “IR-absorbing” gases, which goes way back to widespread misinterpretation of the Tyndall Effect. Tyndall did not elucidate the disposition of IR which did not transmit through the gas column – specifically, he did not measure nor observe heating in his gas columns. As far as I can find, there have ot been modern repeats of Tyndall’s experiments nor quantification of heating in gases not transmitting IR. Radiative transfer modelling in Spectralcalc suggests a small CO2 effect (0.2degK).

    I know Judith disagrees with me, but I have not been shown any evidence to back up this view.

  79. ‘And unlike the myths regularly trotted out by climate-change denialists, some of the outstanding problems may mean that future changes could be worse than currently projected”

    YES, climatic changes .will keep occurring; big and small, BUT, it has nothing to do with the phony GLOBAL warmings. Because H2O regulates / changes the climate; locally and global climate,, not CO2, not the climatologist. Industrial areas have twice as much CO2, but have much better climate, than lands without water. Compare the climate around Kyoto city, Stuttgart, with the climate inland Australia, Sahara; or, is that a taboo?!