Error cascade

by Judith Curry

So…how do you tell when a research field is in the grip of an error cascade? The most general indicator I know is consilience failures. Eventually, one of the factoids generated by an error cascade is going to collide with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink.

The blog Armed and Dangerous has a provocative post entitled: Error Cascade: A definition and examples. Some excerpts:

In medical jargon, an “error cascade” is something very specific: a series of escalating errors in diagnosis or treatment, each one amplifying the effect of the previous one. This is a well established term in the medical literature: this abstract is quite revealing about the context of use.

There’s a slightly different term, information cascade, which is used to describe the propagation of beliefs and attitudes through crowd psychology. Information cascades occur because humans are social animals and tend to follow the behavior of those around them. When the social incentives are right, humans will substitute the judgment of others for their own.

A useful, related concept is preference falsification, the act of misrepresenting one’s desires or beliefs under perceived social pressures. Preference falsification amplifies informational cascades — humans don’t just substitute the judgment of others for their own, they talk themselves into beliefs most around them don’t actually hold but have become socially convinced they should claim to hold!

I use the term “error cascade” in a meaning halfway between the restricted sense of the medical literature and “information cascade”, and I apply it specifically to a kind of bad science, especially bad science recruited in public-policy debates. Ascientific error cascade happens when researchers substitute the reports or judgment of more senior and famous researchers for their own, and incorrectly conclude that their own work is erroneous or must be trimmed to fit a “consensus” view.

But it doesn’t stop there. What makes the term “cascade” appropriate is that those errors spawn other errors in the research they affect, which in turn spawn further errors. It’s exactly like a cascade from an incorrect medical diagnosis. The whole field surrounding the original error can become clogged with theory that has accreted around the error and is poorly predictive or over-complexified in order to cope with it.

Numerous examples are given, but lets cut straight to the climate change chase:

In extreme cases, entire fields of inquiry can go down a rathole for years because almost everyone has preference-falsified almost everyone else into submission to a “scientific consensus” theory that is (a) widely but privately disbelieved, and (b) doesn’t predict or retrodict observed facts at all well. In the worst case, the field will become pathologized — scientific fraud will spread like dry rot among workers overinvested in the “consensus” view and scrambling to prop it up. Yes, anthropogenic global warming, I’m looking at you!

There an important difference between the AGW rathole and the others, though. Errors in the mass of the electron, or the human chromosome count, or structural analyses of obscure languages, don’t have political consequences (I chose Chomsky, who is definitely politically active, in part to sharpen this point). AGW theory most certainly does have political consequences; in fact, it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts.

When a field of science is co-opted for political ends, the stakes for diverging from the “consensus” point of view become much higher. If politicians have staked their prestige and/or hopes for advancement on being the ones to fix a crisis, they don’t like to hear that “Oops! There is no crisis!” — and where that preference leads, grant money follows. When politics co-opts a field that is in the grip of an error cascade, the effect is to tighten that grip to the strangling point.

Consequently, scientific fields that have become entangled with public-policy debates are far more likely to pathologize — that is, to develop inner circles that collude in actual misconduct and suppression of refuting data rather than innocently perpetuating a mistake.

So…how do you tell when a research field is in the grip of an error cascade? The most general indicator I know is consilience failures. Eventually, one of the factoids generated by an error cascade is going to collide with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink.

Here’s an example: Serious alarm bells rang for me about AGW when the “hockey team” edited the Medieval Warm Period out of existence. I knew about the MWP because I’d read Annalist-style histories that concentrated on things like crop-yield descriptions from primary historical sources, so I knew that in medieval times wine grapes — implying what we’d now call a Mediterranean climate — were grown as far north as southern England and the Lake Mälaren region of Sweden! When the primary historical evidence grossly failed to match the “hockey team’s” paleoclimate reconstructions, it wasn’t hard for me to figure which had to be wrong.

Consilience failures offer a way to spot an error cascade at a relatively early stage, well before the field around it becomes seriously pathologized. At later stages, the disconnect between the observed reality in front of researchers’ noses and the bogus theory may increase enough to cause problems within the field. At that point, the amount of peer pressure required to keep researchers from breaking out of the error cascade increases, and the operation of social control becomes more visible.

You are well into this late stage when anyone invokes “scientific consensus”. Science doesn’t work by consensus, it works by making and confirming predictions. Science is not democratic; there is only one vote, only Mother Nature gets to cast it, and the results are not subject to special pleading. When anyone attempts to end debate by insisting that a majority of scientists believe some specified position, this is the social mechanism of error cascades coming into the open and swinging a wrecking ball at actual scientific method right out where everyone can watch it happening.

The best armor against error cascades is knowing how this failure mode works so you can spot the characteristic behaviors. Talk of “deniers” is another one; that, and the moralistic quasi-religious language that it goes with, is a leading indicator that scientific method has left the building. Sound theory doesn’t have to be buttressed by demonizing its opponents; it demonstrates itself with predictive success.

JC comment:  I think the the concept of error cascade is interesting and relevant to climate science.  I think this particular article goes over the top in essentially dismissing all of AGW as junk science, but I think his perception is correct in that once you start invoking scientific consensus and deniers, you lay yourselves open to the charge of junk science.

IMO the error cascade in the IPCC argument starts here: multidecadal and longer modes of natural internal variability are dismissed in the attribution arguments, based upon a flawed ‘detection’ of unusual warming (relative to natural variability) using climate model simulations that produce natural internal variability on time scales longer than ~20 years that is substantially lower (factor of 2-3) than observed variability (which is itself uncertain).  Dangerous climate related impacts are then attributed to AGW, which leads to a policy prescription of CO2 mitigation.  When people say the hockey stick and millennial climate reconstructions don’t really matter, I strongly disagree, since these data are crucial for empirical support of detection arguments.

With regards to this statement: “Eventually, one of the factoids generated by an error cascade is going to collide with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink.”  It seems to me that any such challenge from outside the field would most likely come from the solar community.

What interested me particularly is the concept of “consilience failure.”  The complexity of the climate system makes the concept of consilience failure more complex than  for some of the other case studies presented in the article.  The case for AGW is made by a consilience of evidence argument (here and here), which is basically “multiple lines of evidence.”  If one of the lines of evidence turns out to be flawed, then how does this influence the overall argument?  I discussed this on an earlier thread Frames and narrative in climate science:

The “doesn’t matter” versus “death knell” interpretations can be explained by the use of two different logics represented by the jigsaw puzzle analogy and thehouse of cards analogy.  Consider a partially completed jigsaw puzzle, with many pieces in place, some pieces tentatively in place, and some missing pieces.  Default reasoning allows you to infer the whole picture from an incomplete puzzle if there is not another picture that is consistent with the puzzle in its current state.  Under a monotonic logic, adding new pieces and locking existing pieces into place increases what is known about the picture.  For a climate scientist having a complex mental model of interconnected evidence and processes represented by the jigsaw puzzle, the evidence in the North report merely jiggled loose a few puzzle pieces but didn’t change the overall picture.  The skeptics, lacking the puzzle frame but focused on the specific evidence of the North report, viewed the evidence as collapsing the house of cards and justifying major belief revision on the subject.  Which frame is “correct”?  Well, both frames are too simplistic and the use of both frames are heuristics used in the absence of formal logical arguments. The puzzle frame is better suited to the complexity of the problem, but as a mental model it can be subject to many cognitive biases.

And this takes us full circle back to the points I made in my Reasoning About Climate Uncertainty paper,  the ways of combining evidence and the associated uncertainties and the associated logics becomes critical in determining how you would even go about falsifying the theory or inferring anything about the theory from comparison of model predictions and observations.

In googling around on the topic, I also encountered something called ‘cascade analysis,’ about which I am unfamiliar.  Let me know if you are knowledgeable about this, and find it to be of relevance.

424 responses to “Error cascade

  1. Unfortunately, as long as the “team” tries to maintain an iron grip on the science of climate change, an error cascade is inevitable. Indeed, the “inconvient truth” of the MWP being a global phenomenom is not totally under their control as many other branches of science have supplied strong evidence of its impact and global nature. The “team” has no control over those branches and thus are headed for the error cascade.

    • Concur. This is a very strong post and coupled with your commentary at the bottom constitutes an assertion that it would be very useful to address. Hope it happens.

    • Excellent analysis of the problem, Professor Curry.

      1. President Eisenhower warned of this impending problem in 1961:

      2. “The team” used grant funds to weave threads of different natural sciences together for decades (1971-2011) into “The Big Lie”

      http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Climategate_Roots.pdf

      3. That surfaced – like the tip of an iceberg – in 2009 as the Climategate scandal. The response of leaders of nations and scientific organizations shed new light on strange events recorded by CSPAN in January 1998 when NASA acknowledged experimental data had been withheld from the 1995 Galileo probe into Jupiter

      4. AGW cannot be rescued now, even if citizens are imprisoned according to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that President Obama signed into law on New Year’s Eve.

      Reality Is Truth
      AGW Is Untruth

      • A better ending for all:

        5. Leaders of nations and scientific organizations admit they are powerless and lead a world-wide reading of “No Fear”

        http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/No_Fear.pdf

        6. Citizens accept that leaders of nations and science are no more flawed than the rest of us and demand restoration of constitutional government instead of punishment.

      • AGW contains error cascade from decades of groupthink in astronomy, astrophysics, climatology, cosmology, nuclear, particle, planetary and solar physics – culminating in the illusion that world leaders control mankind’s fate and Earth’s climate:

        a.) A Big Bang made H,
        b.) The Sun is a giant ball of H,
        c.) The AGW model of Earth’s climate, and
        d.) World leaders control mankind and climate.

        Fact I: Humility is required to see reality.

        Fact II: Earth is a tiny piece of fly ash heated by a nuclear furnace that made our elements, spit out the ash 5 Gyr ago, and is a million times bigger than the tiny speck of fly ash world leaders seek to control.

        Fact III: The Sun is layered: The surface is H: The mantle is Fe: The core is a pulsar. Conversion of nuclear rest mass (m) into energy (E) powers the Sun [E = mc2] as neutrons evaporate from its pulsar core.

        Fact IV: The universe is infinite, expanding or contraction as neutrons become H-atoms or visa versa: Now energy is released as neutrons separate and decay into the H that hides the pulsar cores of stars http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

  2. I don’t know much about this concept as such, but it rings all the bells. Just another name for a rose, but it may be useful.

    Judith Curry, thank you. Science would be better if there were more like you. I could disagree with you 100% (which I don’t), but because of your “scientific attitude” I can only RESPECT.

  3. How about this one:

    “The most recent studies by researchers at ETH Zurich show that in the 1940s Swiss glaciers were melting at an even-faster pace than at present. This is despite the fact that the temperatures in the 20th century were lower than in this century. Researchers see the main reason for this as the lower level of aerosol pollution in the atmosphere”

    http://www.ethlife.ethz.ch/archive_articles/091214_gletscherschwund_su/index_EN

    Compare that to the climategate emails.

    “Here are some speculations on correcting SSTs [AJSTrata: Sea Surface Temperarutes] to partly explain the 1940s warming blip.

    If you look at the attached plot you will see that the land also shows the 1940s blip (as I’m sure you know).

    So, if we could reduce the ocean blip by, say, 0.15 degC, then this would be significant for the global mean — but we’d still have to explain the land blip.

    It would be good to remove at least part of the 1940s blip, but we are still left with “why the blip”.”

    If this isn’t a case where bad science led another team of scientists down a rat hole,..

    • “Huss points out that the strong glacier melt in the 1940s puts into question the assumption that the rate of glacier decline in recent years “has never been seen before”. “Nevertheless”, says the glaciologist, “this should not lead people to conclude that the current period of global warming is not really as big of a problem for the glaciers as previously assumed”. This is because it is not only the pace at which the Alpine glaciers are currently melting that is unusual, but the fact that this sharp decline has been unabated for 25 years now. Another aspect to consider – and this is evidenced by the researchers’ findings – is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago. These have led to a 12% decrease in the amount of precipitation that falls as snow as a percentage of total precipitation, accompanied by an increase of around one month in the length of the melt period ever since this time. Scientists warn that these effects could soon be matched by the lower level of solar radiation we have today compared with the 1940s.”

      Epiycles. If all you have is the “never seen before” hammer, everythings looks like “never seen before”. Nevertheless I see an improvement.

    • moptop, I think you hit the nail on the head. Glaciers are not as a bag of ice from the shop. The sick misleading is portraying it like that – but is all wrong!

      Glaciers melt every warm season. from the top / all year around from the bottom, by the geothermal heat. The second part is overlooked by the so called ”’scientific community” That is: the amount of raw material available for REPLENISHING THE ICE in winter. Do you want to be another person interested strictly in the truth only?

      If Sahara produces more dry heat – to destroy more moisture in the air > will be less RAW MATERIAL for replenishing the ice on the northern polar cap. Similar rule applies with the S/H. When building new dams, to save extra storm-water on the land and improve the climate – the leading Ringleaders in the green cult are against dams. Because dams destroy dry heat, dams increase moisture in the air for the vegetation, for better climate and as raw material for more ice. P.s. some glaciers get covered by ash that the winds bring from industrial areas and bushfires. ASH IS ANTI-FREEZE. Nothing to do with any phony GLOBAL warming. Science is not a science if overlooks most of the important factors.

    • moptop – There is something very wrong with that 1940s warming blip as shown in temperature charts. It covers up the termination of the early twentieth century warming which had started about 1910 and ended with World War II. It also covers up the entire war period and we know that this is impossible. The early century warming came to an end with the severe winter of 1939/40 and the Finnish Winter War was fought at minus forty Celsius. That one, you may remember, brought us the Molotov cocktails, literally named after Molotov when the Finns used them to destroy a Russian tank column. Next year Hitler invaded Russia and his defeat is attributed partly to the severe Russian winters they encountered. After the war it took until about 1950 for climate to stabilize. Some who were around then may still remember the blizzard of 1947 that shut down New York City for more than a week. Nothing like this has happened since. It is fairly certain that the early century warming was not greenhouse warming because it is impossible to turn it on or off as happened that winter. Solar phenomena were proposed as its is cause by Bjørn Lomborg and I am inclined to agree with him.

  4. Just from logical point of view an error cascade of climate change skepticism makes as much sense than an error cascade of climate science. To me it’s actually obvious that very many specific claims of climate change skeptics are pure error cascade.

    Blogs like this raise also the question: Are they originating from some deeper understanding and found relevant for the AGW issue, or are they the result of searching for new ways to support own views of AGW.

    • “To me it’s actually obvious that very many specific claims of climate change skeptics are pure error cascade.”

      You talked about specific claims and obvious. Care to fill us in?

      • moptop –

        blockquote>You talked about specific claims and obvious. Care to fill us in?

        R.E. says that a comedian said that Joan Rivers has more chins than “the Chinatown” phonebook (Chinatown has a phone book? Who knew?).

        Get a grip.

    • Skepticism is not a system like AGW so I don’t think the error cascade concept applies.

      • True. Instead of one big error cascade, you get multiple small error cascades. This is a direct consequence of what Mosher describes as the “confederation of tribes”. Skeptics aren’t a unified team, they’re a whole assortment of subgroups, each with specific objections, in varying degrees of legitimacy. But when the subgroups get small enough, the error cascade concept falls apart, and instead you have individual crackpots.

        There is no skeptical mainstream, because they’re defined by a negative, and that prevents something of the scale of a “team” from forming. That means that Skeptic a is allied with skeptic B without the two agreeing on anything other than that the Team is fast and loose. They don’t necessarily even agree that the Team is wrong, just that they’re fast and loose and misbehaving.

        McIntyre, for example, doesn’t make any strong assertions at all about climate science, he just shoots down obvious junk. I’m sort of in that camp; I don’t propose any alternate theories, I just recognize bad behavior and bad science when I see it.

      • Steven Mosher

        Thank u pe

      • Thank you. Someone from the skeptical camp finally admitting that this site is rife with crackpot commenters.

        What I will do is list the crackpots that I have encountered and highlight a salient error or two from each crackpot theory that generates a cascading comedy of errors. This should be a start to collapse each house of cards, one by one. I won’t do it here but on my blog so I have sufficient space for the math and graphics. Should be fun.

      • Web, irt to the crackpot count of this site: if you leave there will be one less crackpot.

      • PE: Ironically, lukewarmers are one of the skeptical tribes and Mosher is a leader. CAGW is a political movement that uses a scientific argument. Skepticism is the resistance. There are many strange bedfellows.

      • Web said, “What I will do is list the crackpots that I have encountered and highlight a salient error or two from each crackpot theory that generates a cascading comedy of errors.”

        Woohoo! Now I can make the crackpot list! Fred, Pekka, P.E. and I am sure others believe I am a crackpot for mentioning that what is assumed to be a negligible climate impact, conductive change due to the thermal conductivity properties of CO2 which peak at -20C, enhance heat exchange at the ocean atmosphere boundary layer most noticeably at the 4C density boundary in the southern oceans!

        I am somebody now! I have my own personal crackpot theory.

        Unfortunately I can’t invoke Einstein, only Feynman who said that turbulent flow is the most important unsolved problem in classical physics.

        From Science of Doom, “Note 2 – Of course, as explained in the detailed section on convection, heat cannot be transferred across a boundary between a surface and a fluid by convection. Conduction is therefore important at the boundary between the earth’s surface and atmosphere.

        Those darn multi-century to millennial scale feed backs never get any respect :)

      • Yeah, you got it. I’m part of the Fred/Pekka/Web consensus. Or is it conspiracy?

        (Hint: conduction doesn’t really come in to play in the atmosphere.)

      • P.E. said,” (Hint: conduction doesn’t really come in to play in the atmosphere.)” Of course it doesn’t :) So natural atmospheric oscillations obviously cannot vary conductive heat loss since it is surface area not turbulent interaction at the liquid gas boundary layer that determine heat flow.

        Precisely the reason that counter flow heat exchangers do not have exotic fin designs to maximize conductive heat transfer efficiency. :) It is all surface area and Reynolds numbers that are too complex to understand.

      • David, unfortunately most of the Skeptics are singing prof Plimer’s song / SYSTEM, no difference than the Warmist. Like two chicks on the same ass – maybe some difference, but I can’t see it. Ian Plimer brainwashed the honest people, people that are prepared to stand up for the truth. Therefore, Warmist success can be attributed to Plimer and his Apostilles.

        Now his Apostilles are fantastically creating ”back-door exits” for the Warmist – Warmist have no reason to spit the dummy. Skeptics are more into global warmings than the Warmist. In 5BC, 1230AD; people were scared to sail more than 50km west of Portugal, not to fall of the planet; but Ian’s zombies know that in New Zealand, Fiji, Hawaii was warmer at that time…???? TRAGIC! The first (inaccurate) thermometer was invented in 17 century – they know exact temperature for 9 / 11 / 1234, somewhere between Fiji and Hawaii… which is half of the planet. They know the temperature for that same day in eastern Pathagonia…???… Plimer. lord Monkton’s tribalism of their followers deserve medal from Al Gore.

        IPCC + East Anglia concocted that 98 was the warmest year – Ian’s zombies are using it as legitimate evidence / proof; to discredit the Warmist… that prolongs the Warmist lifespan – because laughter prolongs life. David, there is NO warmer or colder months or years!!! Only warmth and coldness shift places.

        Tomorrow will be exactly the SAME temp on the planet as yesterday! Even though today the sun will produce tremendous heat on the planet – will be ALL wasted instantly; plus a bit extra; the geothermal heat released in the air and in the water. Extra heat in the troposphere is not cumulative! Thanks to Plimer’s dysentery, the real proofs have being silenced, by both camps. Remember: oxygen + nitrogen are 998,999PPM. , Those two gases expand INSTANTLY when warmed up. Where troposphere expands, the temperature is minus -90C.

    • The error cascade here is the SkyDragon model and other skeptical musings. Most of these counter-models are built like houses of cards, and the minute someone points out a failing, they collapse. That explains why skeptics never say a peep concerning the correctness and validity of the dozen or so models that purport to explain everything.

      A house of cards is stable unless someone is around to perturb it !

      • Web, I find your post incoherent, but if you are claiming that skepticism is collapsing I do not see any evidence to support your claim. Quite the contrary.

      • Web, you seldom miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity to miss the point.

      • Latimer Alder

        I’m going to wait for the English translation…….but not with bated breath.

      • “Most of these counter-models are built like houses of cards, and the minute someone points out a failing, they collapse.”

        It’s true. look at another example recently that “Pressure-induced Thermal Enhancement” thing.

      • It’s not surprising when you near the truth that the skeptics suddenly develop a case of cotton in their ears. The Pressure Induced Thermal Enhancement model actually sounds similar to Stefanthedenier’s quack model, which gets the sign of the thermodynamic forcing wrong. (Temperature causes long-term pressure not the other way around)

        In these cases, we don’t refer to it as a cascade of errors, but call it what it truly is — a Comedy of Errors.

        The clowns come out of their clown cars, build a house of cards, and then get indignant when someone describes their comedy of errors.

      • Latimer Alder

        Until about two minutes ago I had never heard of the Pressure Induced Thermal Enhancement model.

        So whether it is right or wrong has no influence on my scepticism, which is founded elsewhere. You can read why on the denizens thread.

        And you really should stop assuming that all sceptics are sceptical for the same reasons. We are not. There are a zillion reasons why we individually believe CAGW alarmism is a load of baloney.

      • WebHub, the IPCC’s house of cards is collapsing; you as the joker started panicking. You call yourself a scientist; but don’t understand that methane is heavier than oxygen / nitrogen. You have no capacity to connect: how did that gas got in the ground that is getting recovered by ”fracking”.

        2] you are supporting the camp that relies on tree rings as a science. Any agronomist and lumberjack would have told them that 101 things affect the thickness of individual tree rings. In same orchard / same variety of trees / planted same day – have different thickness tree rings. Any agronomist would have recommended straight jacket for every believer in tree rings as evidence. If you don’t know what that means…

        3] people (from both camps) are discussing about one year being warmer than the next by 0,02C degrees; you cannot smell a rat. Because a rat cannot smell his own odour / stench. .WebHub, science is: checking and double checking, not silencing / ridiculing, when somebody points your extremism. Nobody knows what was the temperature on the planet for last year – to save his / her life. Therefore one comparing one unknown with many other unknowns is a ignorant clown; or a fanatic. Only my formula is correct; EH>AE>ECI. Please elaborate extensively on it, or apologise and shut-up .

      • WOW: PULL UP THE SKY DRAGONS — which most of us find uncompelling. models that purport to explain everything : That says everything. Please reference purport. and model.

      • Oh my, StefanTheDeny, showing the multiple error cascade at work. Now you have methane in the ground because it is heavier than air. Fact is that helium is also found in the ground, usually alongside conventional natural gas reserves. Is that also heavier than air?

        Typical skeptic modeler.

      • WebHub, I have no explanation for wrong behaviour of helium. Hydrogen is found in the soil after lightening; but doesn’t last long in its pure form, oxidises. I’m open mind on helium, honest.

      • scepticalWombat

        Stefan

        You call yourself a scientist; but don’t understand that methane is heavier than oxygen / nitrogen.

        Well I must admit I made the same mistake – silly me thinking that 16 is less than 28 or 32.

      • Web, “That explains why skeptics never say a peep concerning the correctness and validity of the dozen or so models that purport to explain everything.”
        I don’t know why you don’t get a better paint brush. Judith has already had a post on believers, lukewarmers, skeptics, deniers etc. On Postma’s post, I made one comment I think, he can’t do math. Do I need to constantly bash Postma because of his error? Scaffetta post I dismissed because of his novel statistics, hard as hell to follow “as used” data archive and lack of mechanism. The Skydragons I just chuckled and left a smiley. Vaughan Pratt’s response to skydragons I defended because actually noted that collisional transfer at the surface, conductivity, should not be neglected. So I am a whack job on that score. The CO2 residence time post, I reminded you that there are semantic differences between residence time and atmospheric life time.

        The Spencer Dessler post I also mentioned that semantics were getting in the way. Natural variability of clouds may not be technically a forcing, but they are definitely a factor. I also happen to agree with Spencer on the unified climate theory.

        So just because “skeptics” don’t waste time on Oliver, Herbert, stephan or captdallas, doesn’t mean they support them, they just value their time more than some other more frequent posters.

        Now, you have an incomplete theory you posted on. To a 95% confidence level, which is good enough because that is the climate science standard, you stated than natural variability is not more than 0.2 degrees. The 1998 El Nino was about 0.76 degrees Peak to Peak with a mean of nearly 0.4 degrees, How does that outlier impact the confidence in your results?

      • scepticalWombat, do I really have to convince you that: methane never comes out by itself. Belching, or from behind; always in compound of other things. Specific gravity of combined mixture is higher than of O+N. That’s the reason there is methane everywhere for fracking. The good lord made it NOT TO BE in a pure form,.for reason. Because as almost pure hydrogen – would have never sunk; instead it’s everywhere in the ground. Comes out attached to other compounds and organic matter – sinks in the ground, same as fisherman’s bait with sinker, sinks instantly in the water – that’s how methane sinks in the ground. Can be easily proven today, not to wait 100years.

        You don’t need to go far and smell cow’s exhaust – lawnmower grass clippings. after a week smell the same as cow’s product. It’s not the pure methane that smells – but is smelly! Same as CO2 is colourless and odourless; but you can see it in a bushfire; because is a natural mixture. Wombat, if you count the number of atoms in all that FRESH methane mixture – you will see that I and the laws of physics are correct!!! In the coal-mine is odourless, because the good lord didn’t need to invent how to sink the methane produced in the coal-mine. (that’s where ”the cannery in the coal-mine” comes from. But methane produced by animals is NOT pure!!! Unless the Warmist go behind every cow and bison to instantly separate / purify the methane from its natural ”additives” they are all lying that methane is a GLOBAL warming gas. You think that WebHub doesn’t know that his own methane is smelly? Well it’s made that way, so that it can sink into the ground!!! If you still don’t believe me, smell your own; but leave the cowboys in peace. New methane production is the most important / beneficial!!!

      • WebHub, natural gas has being made by fresh produced methane, with its smelly additives to make it sink in the ground. Methane is never produced by itself in pure form – exactly for that reason; to sink in the ground! Regarding helium being where natural gas is; I would take that, with a pinch of salt. Natural gas is everywhere, in small / large amounts – including in Germany. But the Germans had to put highly flammable hydrogen in Hindenburg, instead of helium.

        WebHub, methane supposed to be colourless and odourless, but you are ”hiding the data” that your own methane is not odourless!!! you are specificity producing that odour, to sink the bastard into the ground / smell is the sinker; stop plying naive. Cow’s methane is no different than yours. All you green people should leave the most noble animals cow &sheep alone. EXTRA NEW METHANE PRODUCTION IS THE MOST ESSENTIAL, I have proven it beyond any reasonable doubt. Waiting for you and anybody, to prove me wrong!

    • Pekka Pirilä | January 5, 2012 at 4:54 pm

      What cues would you use for identifying last stage error cascade in skepticism of IPCC climate change reporting?
      The ‘scientific consensus’ cue would seem to no longer apply.

      Thanks,
      bi2hs

    • randomengineer

      To me it’s actually obvious that very many specific claims of climate change skeptics …

      You don’t get it. You probably can’t. By and large skeptics don’t have claims; they’re wanting proof of yours. What you perceive as “claims” are usually mere counterexamples (gedankenexperiment.)

      • Randomengineer,

        So you want proof? Science works on the balance of evidence not absolute proof. Would I be right in saying the idea is set the ‘pass mark’ just high enough that every attempt at providing what you ask for is inevitably going to not quite meet it? If anyone looks like they might you just raise it a bit higher?

      • randomengineer

        peter martin —

        Pekka seems to have a mental model wherein there are two groups offering competing ideas. This is not the case; skepticism isn’t an organised competitor. At the base level, skepticism is little more than a call for proof where skeptics offer “but did you account for X?” for a given claim where X might be one of a thousand “skeptical arguments” as lolwot’s site (wrongly) puts it. The point being made here is that the model of competing claims is wrong therefore the conclusions will be wrong.

        No competing claims.

        For example you have the wine thing. Scientists claim hockey stick, skeptics say “but did you account for historical evidence, because I seem to recall (recollection here) which counters this” and the answer is that it appears that no, they didn’t account for it, or worse, the answer is mere deflection such as ‘the so-called evidence is the result of illiterate shepards.’ Some AGW zealots then are happy to take a snarky and demeaning swipe at the skeptic with “what part of GLOBAL in that reconstruction went over your head, moron, you’re showing LOCAL stuff” as if this in and of itself debunks the skeptic “claim.” Other zealots toss in utterly wrong claims vis a vis the original question that purport to bolster the hockey stick.

        You see how this works?

        Hockey Stick = no MWP or LIA = claim.
        Skeptic = question “how does this explain historical evdence?”

        There is no skeptic counterclaim. No competing. Just a question.

        Problem is, no “debunking” happens at all, because at this point the skeptic becomes motivated to learn more and runs across co2science.org and Loehle’s reconstructions and original IPCC constructions, none of which looks like the hockey stick and all of which explain the historical evidence. The skeptic then reckons that s/he was right to question the stick.

        There was no skeptic claim. Merely a question.

      • I agree with Random’s answer. Another analogous dichotomy is religion claims. Some theists like to assert that atheism is a “religion” itself. The atheist responds that skepticism or lack of belief is not a counter-claim or alternative religious assertion. The burden of proof remains on the theist. Or as someone cleverer than I once wrote, “Claiming Atheism is a religion is like saying that NOT collecting stamps is a hobby”.

        Hopefully, the parallels are clear, regardless how one feels on the religion issue. It appears there is a similar attempt afoot to shift some burden of proof onto CAGW skeptics.

        This is why I now lean toward the approach of countering CAGW beliefs entirely by citing only the CAGW holy books themselves (ie actual IPCC reports, statements of IPCC lead authors and other IPCC sources). It’s now quite possible to show there is insufficient data and more than sufficient uncertainty to halt any economic or political action other than further study. We can stop the political aims of the CAGW movement using only their own authorities and ‘science’. This supports the point in the original article about the lack of consilience within the field itself.

    • Pekka – Climate change skeptics do not have an IPCC to give them a party line and they do not all talk the same. The majority of them are scientists, not high-profile bloggers, and they came to their opinions by doing science despite peer pressure to conform. To find out more about the science aspect which you obviously don’t know, first read my book “What Warming?” and then follow up with my article that came out last month in E&E. And then try to get your brain in gear and digest what I have said before expressing any more stupidities. The alarmists are constantly babbling about all the money ExxonMobile is giving us to lie about climate. I have not seen any of it nor do I have anything but a pension to live on. I understand that Hansen’s personal income is over a million and is also augmented by various prizes from green foundations. In fiscal 2012 the U.S. Government has budgeted 2.6 billion dollars for climate research of which half goes to NASA for Hansen to dispose of. ExxonMobile may have spent ten-twenty million for foundation support over a ten year period which is a joke compared to the billions the alarmists are dividing up among themselves and their institutions. Plus, it turns out, the U.S. Government has been funding half of the IPCC budget and keeping it off the books. Great parties at Copenhagen, Cancun and Durban, paid for by Uncle Sam.

      • The skeptics may not have an IPCC to take part in, but they have an IPCC to invent stories about. Those stories make also a form of error cascade, and that may well be the most influential error cascade type present on this site. My feeling is that not even Judith is fully immune to this cascade. Repeating questionable accusations often enough may lead to their gradual transformation to perceived confirmed truth even, when the evidence remains as lacking as it was to start with.

        I certainly don’t claim that skeptics would form anything like an uniform group. Therefore I wrote many specific claims of climate change skeptics are pure error cascade, not that the whole skepticism would be an error cascade (although it may be worthwhile to ponder, how far that could be the case).

        Error cascades have so many forms that they can be found everywhere. I have written many times about the biasing processes that do certainly affect climate science. Biasing processes are related to error cascades, although they are mostly weaker and more difficult to identify quantitatively than error cascades are in retrospect.

      • > Climate change skeptics do not have an IPCC to give them a party line and they do not all talk the same.

        Pat Michaels might not have been briefed by the time he was advising contrarians to stop the 1998 meme (at 2:00 onward):

        > Make an argument that you can get killed on and you will kill us all…
        If you loose credibility on this issue you lose this issue!

        Honest brokers should wonder why Michaels is so lukewarm about having to deal with memes that affect the credibility of “us”.

      • andrew adams

        The “Phil Jones” says no significant warming since 1995″ meme is another example. The question was deliberately framed so skeptics could push this argument, and push it they did. Of course no one actually told them to follow a particular party line – they didn’t need to.

    • Pekka I dont think you see an error cascade in “skeptics” position.

      Let’s distinguish tow forms of skepticism. The first is rare. A skeptic who consistently applies skepticism to everything. Such a beast is very hard to find. They make no attempt to ‘explain’ anything. They might hold the position that “nothing’ needs explaining or that natural variability “explains” everything, which is an empty explanation.

      The other kind of skeptic has a hobby horse theory. like, the sun dunnit.
      Unlike AGW which is a well developed theory supported by multiple lines of evidence, these hobby theories aim to explain one thing, typically the temperature series. A cascade of errors, as described above, requires a series of inter connected beliefs, and a small mistake in one place cascades through the system. In the skeptic hobby theory, there is no small mistake. there is always a huge mistake at the center that the skeptic is blind to. They can never see this kind of error because there whole system depends on it. Its rotten at the core: take sky dragons for example.

      • Paging Steven Mosher, white courtesy telephone please…

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2082799/Supersoldier-ants-gigantic-jaws.html

        I hope scientists never get the toolkit for sky dragons. Stupid is as stupid does, in the scientific hobby theory theirs is no mistake. More stupid.

      • Scientists are all to smart for our good. The Lord knows…

        Gen 6:5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, and he saw that everything they thought or imagined was consistently and totally evil.

        Gen 6:6 So the LORD was sorry he had ever made them and put them on the earth. It broke his heart.

        Gen 6:7 And the LORD said, “I will wipe this human race I have created from the face of the earth. Yes, and I will destroy every living thing—all the people, the large animals, the small animals that scurry along the ground, and even the birds of the sky. I am sorry I ever made them.”

        Gen 6:8 But Noah found favor with the LORD.

        How about all you well paid brite lites,
        sleep well-Good night.
        Little bugs won’t bite.
        Too much.

        PS/ Please read the foolish skeptic comments about the ant thing…
        & help our worlds best scientists, who just don’t get it anymore.

      • O, there is still some things in the scientists creative mind that need attention now!

        http://news.yahoo.com/first-genetically-modified-monkeys-born-us-191646942.html

        Ooh creatures-then another cascade of errors and for what reason? Money
        Who will be the judge in the end.
        Read the book.

      • One addition to the categorization is the role of the Devil’s Advocate. In an engineering organization, the DA assumes the role of the skeptic, but applies it to make the team’s argument stronger, not weaker.

        These are the grizzled veterans who get wheeled out during red-team reviews. We occasionally get angry with their statements but everyone realizes what their job is. The best ones actually get their hands dirty and help improve the model or the product.

        Crowd-sourcing is a culmination of this whereby one can apply a million eyeballs to improve a model. Sadly, this isn’t too common, apart from the statistical analysis of the Climate Auditors.

        My overall point is that one sharp Devil’s Advocate can lay waste to each of the counter-models, yet no dent has been made to the fundamental climate science models. Yes, you do see refutations of side-bar model substantiations but these are left in a weak state, I.e. certain proxy data can’t prove nor can they disprove a conjecture due to noise or overriding influences.

      • Mosh, you need to do a lot more work on your “sceptic” theory. This is the sort of thing you hear down the pub. “There’s only two types of sceptics you know, ones who don’t believe anything and the stupid ones.”

        Scepticism is much more nuanced than that, or at least my own is, and from what I read on the blogs there’s a wide variety of sceptics, from the one issue types, through to the Steve McIntyres who don’t have strong views on the veracity, or otherwise, of the topic.

        For a start I’m always sceptical when I’m told that if i don’t take up a certain lifestyle then nasty things are going to happen, preferably to me.

        I’m always sceptical of anything that puts human sinfulness at the heart of the problem.

        I’m always sceptical when groups all use the same language to argue their case, like “the science is settled”, “the vast majority of scientists”, and the latest one, “multiple lines of evidence”. You don’t have to be Einstein to recognise that if there was one piece of evidence that definitevly proved that CO2 was causing most of the warming it would be plastered across every newspaper in on earth within 24 hours of it’s publication.

        I’m sceptical that anyone can foretell the future, if they’re foretelling disaster then I’m doubly sceptical because i’ve a lifetime’s experience of disasters foretold and failing to transpire.

        I’m sceptical that anyone can build a model of the climate system, or even come close to building a model of the climate system because I don’t believe we’ve come close to understanding it.

        I’m sceptical we can replace our current energy sources with renewable energy in the timescale demanded by the green groups.

        I’m sceptical that transferring $100bn from the western industrialised countries will do anything more than make corrupt politicians very wealthy.

        Just so you don’t put me in category 1 I’m certain that there are scientists at the core of the IPCC who are running an agenda to persuade the world that there is AGW, that it will be catastrophic, and they are prepared to mangle the data to persuade the world of this point of view.

        I’ll leave it there, but will repeat, you need to do a lot more work on what constitutes scepticism, and it’s counterpart gullibility.

      • Mosher, You are gradually losing it. Just because there are crackpots out there who are easily debunked, you assume that all skeptics are in the same camp. That’s a pretty egregious fallacy.

      • I’d like to know which fallacy it is.
        But whatever this is, we see the same thing here:

        > Just because there are crackpots out there who are easily debunked, you assume that all skeptics are in the same camp.

        In the first camp, crackpots easily debunked.
        In the second camp, non-crackpots not easily debunked.

        This notion of “camp” deserves due diligence.
        An interesting meaning of camp:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Camp_(style)

      • Steven Mosher, the hobby horse theory is ”the ORIGINAL FACTS” of all the climatologists in the past. Collected crap by prof. Plimer from around the world. Part of it is the ”galactic / the sun dunnit. When I challenged all the commenter on two occasions; to find genuine mistake in my proofs as a Skeptic – you Steven Mosher played Sargent Schulz, ”I now nooothing”

        You all have to face the reality that: no warming is GLOBAL / no cooling is GLOBAL. Temperature on the planet is 3 dimensional distributed and constantly changes places. Oxygen + nitrogen regulate the temperature, not CO2!. Extra heat in the troposphere is NOT accumulative! Instead of criticising / ridiculing the Skeptics; get your sharp knifes into my formula: EH>AE>ECI (Extra Heat> Atmosphere expands> Extra Coldness Intercepts)

        Your friend Vukcevic was ridiculing me, ridiculing me is ridiculing the laws of physics. I hope he opened his eyes – because I cannot be wrong. I, as a Skeptic; challenging you Steven: disprove my formulas; or apologise to the Skeptics. (lots of proofs on my blog, much more in my book) Saying that: ”Skeptics don’t have proofs” is you ”WISHFUL THINKING”.

    • This is a little bit narrow and smug. Lindzen, Christy, Spencer, and lots of others have coherent theories about why sensitivity is lower than the models predict. In fact, there seems to be growing evidence for this even in the mainstream literature. You are guilty of the classical mistake of generalizing from the most extreme examples to a whole class of people.

      • Their consilience failure is the temperature record which has shown twice as much as they expected over the last 30 years alone, and their theory provides no source for this warming.

      • Jim, You are wrong on this. Lindzen has a perfectly good explanation. It is that all GHG’s have provided a larger forcing than the CO2 by itself. You know of course that the models have also overestimated the warming by as much as a factor of 2 and they are supposed to include all the factors. Just look at Hansen’s 1988 forcast.

      • I have not seen Lindzen explain it like that and he would still require a positive aerosol effect to make it add up. The models fit only when you add a negative anthropogenic aerosol effect, which is more realistic than a positive one, given the evidence from major volcanic eruptions.

      • No, I don’t think that’s true. There are lots of other forcings to consider including black carbon, stratospheric effects, CH4, etc. Aerosols are problematic because they are required for the climate models to get anywhere close to the data. I don’t think Lindzen invokes them. How do you explain Hansen’s scenario C actually matching the data quite well??
        That’s the bigger inconsistency.

      • David,
        One of the tactics of social manias is to dissemble and distract. They ignore Lindzen, Pielke, Christy, etc. so they can attack the non-science skeptics.

      • If you want to talk about Hansen’s 1988 effort with one of the first 3d climate models, which wasn’t perfect and had a very coarse resolution and primitive physics methods, I would point to his earlier 1981 Science paper that used a simpler model and almost got it right. Models and computers have improved since 1988 and there is a sense that 3 C per doubling is closer than 4 now.

      • hunter, I am not ignoring Lindzen et al., I am saying their consilience failure has already appeared in the form of the observed temperature record that, unfortunately for them, BEST was not able to disprove.

      • Yea, I’ve seen the Skeptical Science rationalizations. It looks like Hansen also dramatically overestimated what percentage of the GHG would remain in the atmosphere. And he overestimated the sensitivity. But, the fact of the matter is that overall actual emissions are closest to his Scenario A and that overestimates temperature changes by at least a factor of 2. In my book, that’s a big deal. It will be interesting to see what happens over the next 10 years. Skeptical Science’s cherry picking does not make it better. Basically, the NCAR model has the same problem as Hansen’s when run with best estimate forcings from pre-industrial times. The raw facts about temperature and forcings, which have increased at least 3W/m2 indicate a pretty low sensitivity (even neglecting “natural” variabliity). Thus the need for the aerosol adjustment factor.

  5. My consilience failure came from my work in archaeology. I know from archaeological evidence that ~1,000 years ago the Arctic was virtually ice-free and Inuit speaking people migrated from Siberia to Greenland following whales across the waters of northern Canada.

    Later, in Greenland, Norse settlers died out in place when the cllimate severely changed to much colder and they were unprepared to adopt indigenous subsistence practices suited to the new climate regime.

    These well established archaeological scenarios were denied by the hocky-stick model which did not recognize the Medieval Warming Period or the Little Ice Age. That changed me from a supporter to a skeptic.

    • Defense of that hockey stick has created more skeptics among thinking people than even Al Gore.

      • You talked about #’s of “skeptics” created by defense of the hockey stick. In other words, you must have evidence of great numbers of people who were not skeptical prior but skeptical afterwards.

        Care to fill us in? You know, like, with evidence?

      • BTW –

        Anecdotal references to you own experience doesn’t qualify as evidence.

      • randomengineer

        Joshua it was said by a comedian on Leno that Joan Rivers had more chins than the chinatown phone book. Would you think to harangue the comedian for evidence? Get a grip.

      • moptop | January 5, 2012 at 4:57 pm

        Defense of that hockey stick has created more skeptics among thinking people than even Al Gore.

        Yes, that seems logical to me also. V.P. Al Gore is not a scientist and so thinking people would be less likely to attribute to science any such errors as he might make. Plus, politicians are expected to exaggerate now and then. :)

        On the other hand, if those same errors were promoted by say, GISS or the IPCC, then in that case skepticism would likely increase among certain people.

        bi2hs

      • Josh,

        After spending the last 6 months reading climate site comments, one the patterns that emerges is “what was the catalyst that made you start doubting?” Visit the denizens page here and you can see people indicate what that catalyst was for them. As I see it, the following rank high:

        An Inconvient Truth
        The problems with the Hokey Stick
        CRU email releases 1 & 2

        It’s not an all inclusive list, but I’ll wager it covers a fairly large segment of the skeptical community.

        Note: I just noticed I misspelled Hockey, but as I was about to correct it, the thought occured to me that hokey is probably more apt a term.

      • Moptop, correct. A few thermotarians have figured that out, but most of them – precisely because of the error cascade phenomenon – continue to insist that they have a communication problem. They don’t. They have a behavior problem.

      • Frozen burial site at Ujarassuit:

        http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=5qonlDkZW3MC&pg=PA128&dq=Ujarassuit+cemetery&hl=en&sa=X&ei=x00GT7fgMNHJ8gPegPW7BA&ved=0CDQQ6AEwAA

        Note that Google won’t allow to read that page twice…

        source: Kirsten A. Seaver, The frozen echo: Greenland and the exploration of North America, ca. A.D. 1000-1500, Stanford University Press, 1 Dec 1997

      • Joshua,

        This is a common, and dishonest, contrarian argument. It goes along the lines of:

        “I used to accept the scientific consensus on AGW until I found out about Al Gore, or Climategate, or the hockey stick, or the international New World order conspiracy, or that 3,000 scientists had signed a petition, or that it hadn’t warmed since 1998 etc etc. Then I started to think for myself and guess what?”

        Jim Cripwell is certainly being more honest when he tells us “When I first heard about CAGW, maybe 12 years ago, I knew it was wrong.” In other words you start off with your conclusion and work backwards towards a justification for that. That’s the advantage of not being rational. You can argue any way you like.

      • Latimer Alder

        @tempterrain

        I entirely fail to see what is ‘dishonest’ about the circumstances you describe as such. Many people independently describe similar discoveries. You may think they are misguided or wrong..but you claim they are worse – that they are dishonest.

        In my case I heard that ‘The Science is Settled’. As a one-time chemist I thought ‘Wow, they must have done some really neat experiments to prove that…I must find out about them’.

        But when I came to look there was so little work based on anything concrete at all – and what there was was of poor quality that I realised that the conclusions had been vastly overstated in comparison to the evidence.

        Please explain where I am being ‘dishonest’ in that narrative. It’s the way it happened.

      • I became sceptical when I read that 2500 scientists were in agreement that human emissions were causing warming. The reason? Well have you ever heard anyone telling you that 2500 scientists agreed the earth went round the sun, or 2500 scientists agreeing on the General Theory of Relativity. It had to be propoganda, which led me to the belief that the scientific story couldn’t be that strong. I looked at it being an engineer I was looking for the vital “equation” that would connect CO2 and T in a way that made the science forecastable. And there isn’t one, all there was was a statement in the SPM for AR4 to the effect that it was very likely that the warming that couldn’t be accounted for from natural forcings was caused by CO2. now we’ve had 12 years or so of near temperature stasis while we’ve increased the CO2 in the atmosphere by 8% it’s even more baffling.

      • @temptrain

        In other words you start off with your conclusion and work backwards towards a justification for that. That’s the advantage of not being rational. You can argue any way you like.

        Speaking of starting off with conclusions, you need to study up on how and why the IPCC was setup by the UN via the UNFCCC and WMO

      • tim –

        I’m willing to believe that there really are some “skeptics” who were just wandering along their merry way, trusting in the theories that predominate among climate scientists, when they came across The Inconvenient Truth, the hockey stick problems, or the emails and after some extensive review of that evidence had a change of perspective.

        But here is the difficulty I have when “skeptics” project their own personal experiences, or those as described as we might see on the Denizens page, to a wider phenomenon.

        (1): The “skeptics” who describe those experiences are climate fanatics. They are a tiny majority not only of the American public, but also even of those who self-identify as “skeptical” about AGW theory. Most “skeptics” have no in-depth knowledge of what these fanatics explicate as what they see as problematic with The Inconvenient Truth or as misleading in the hockey stick graph.

        (2) The evidence of political affiliation correlating (although not necessarily related causally) with views on climate change is overwhelming. It is clear that for the majority of people who self-identify as “skeptics,” solid understanding of the inconsistencies or “overconfidence” in AGW theory are not foundational to their views on the subject – political or other types of ideology are.

        And as I read more of the comments at places like Climate Etc., it becomes very obvious that even among that more technically-informed group of “skeptics,” who would ostensibly not be primarily driven by political ideology but a cold, hard assessment of the science, there is a very strong tendency for “conservative” and/or libertarian beliefs. I don’t assume for any particular individual, ideology is the engine that drives their “skepticism” more than scientific analysis – but given the broad association of ideology with views on climate change and the general political orientation of even technically knowledgeable “skeptics” to assume that political orientation isn’t at least significantly causal for some if not largely causal for many, would be entirely un-skeptical.

        (3) As I read more of the comments at places like Climate Etc., I see more and more examples of “skeptics” displaying a great deal of un-skeptical beliefs. One easy to illustrate example is when people like Willis and Don Montford cite the Rasmussen poll, over and over, as some sort of evidence of a massive decrease in trust in climate scientists even though it is obvious that the results of the poll do not validate such a claim (I could explain if you’d like).

        Allow me to give a bit of an example to help explain those last two points. When I first started reading David Young’s post at Climate Etc., I thought that his criticisms of the work of climate scientists seemed very grounded in dispassionate skepticism. I know next to nothing about statistics, but I get the basic outlines of concerns about biases leading scientists to be overly confident about conclusions drawn from noisy data, and I’m certainly skeptical about the ability of scientists to effectively model unbelievably complex phenomena (I followed the work done on artificial intelligence fairly closely a few decades back because as an educator I’m very interested in epistemology, learning, and cognition and it made a big impression on my just how often, and for how long, scientists found that they underestimated the complexity of even the most simple elements of human cognition), and so I asked my brother, who is a professor of electrical engineering, whose field is signal processing, and who teaches aliasing, to look at a couple of threads where David and others elaborated on their criticisms of the statistical analysis of climate scientists. I wouldn’t have done that if I didn’t take David’s “skepticism” seriously. But what I have found over time are many examples of David displaying entirely un-skeptical analysis in his discussions related to the climate debate, and I have come to see that he is not dispassionate at all regarding the political overlay onto the science of climate change. From that evidence, I conclude that it is not likely, although possible, that even someone who has such well-founded and sophisticated technical critiques as David has of climate science is really driven by a cold, dispassionate skeptical analysis of the sort that would motivated by suddenly seeing that the science of AGW was built upon invalid science.

        I seem to recall that max once claimed relatively recent conversion into a “skeptic” and tempterrain provided evidence that contradicted that claim (an old post of his expressing extreme views on the subject prior to the events that he said served as a catalyst for his “skepticism.” I found an old post of kim’s from another site talking about “connecting dots” that prove Obama’s “Muslim sympathies.”

        We have solid evidence that the more information people have about the science, the more likely they are to use that information to confirm their foundational beliefs/perspective. It seems that the amount of knowledge is relatively rarely the determinative variable in how people view climate science; more commonly social or ideological identity seems causal (at least it is significantly more correlated).

        And please see this comment – which is somewhat related – if you haven’t already:

        https://judithcurry.com/2012/01/03/the-real-holes-in-climate-science/#comment-155996

        From what I see, even taking it at face value that at least some “skeptics” are driven by finding holes in the evidence as opposed to political or other ideological orientation, it is clear that “skeptics” as a group project that notion to a far wider group than is supported by the evidence.

        I have been asking for months for evidence to the contrary. Anecdotal explanations of one’s own experience doesn’t reach that criterion.

        Please, any skeptic who reads this post, if you disagree with what I wrote, please supply some evidence to support your disagreement. I’m beginning to lose faith in you!!!

      • Another screed from Joshua.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-socialism

        How do you account for warmist/your/Team/IPCC/MSM/Academia/Government funded groups/Democrats, socialist and leftist credentials Joshua??

        Since you’re in a finger pointing mood. talk about a pot calling the kettle point in your case.

      • Joshua, since experience does not count in your life. Just model what you sense, it is your life. You like living inside the boxes.

        “Please, any skeptic who reads this post, if you disagree with what I wrote, please supply some evidence to support your disagreement. I’m beginning to lose faith in you!!!”

        You know:
        Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: [it is] the gift of God:

        Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

      • I like King James’ voice of authority:

        > So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.

        http://bible.cc/revelation/3-16.htm

      • For Joshua, why am I a skeptic?

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/why-does-the-stratosphere-cool-when-the-troposphere-warms/

        You will notice that the “experts” seem to have trouble communicating the complexity.

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2006/03/significant-warming-of-the-antarctic-winter-troposphere/

        So what happened with the significant warming in the Antarctic troposphere?

        http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2009/02/antarctic-warming-is-robust/

        Which if your research, that Natural Magazine groundbreaking peer reviewed paper, co-authored by Michael Mann, used novel statistical methods to “imput” data that did not exist.

        Joshua, these are the A-Team climate scientists, the best of climate science best!
        So it would be foolish to doubt their motives, right?

      • Tom –

        Joshua, since experience does not count in your life.

        Something I said must have lead you to seriously misunderstand my perspective.

        I am a huge advocate in the role of experience in learning processes. Such a perspective is the single-most important element in my work as an educator – rooted in my earlier career experiences as a carpenter.

      • Cap’n –

        So it would be foolish to doubt their motives, right?

        Of course. Questioning the influence of “motivated reasoning” (if not necessarily motives, as I assume that at the very base, most of us have similar motives) is a fundamental component of skepticism, and I am nothing if not a skeptic.

      • tempterrain

        There you go again with silly claims:

        This is a common, and dishonest, contrarian argument. It goes along the lines of:

        “I used to accept the scientific consensus on AGW until I found out about Al Gore, or Climategate, or the hockey stick, or the international New World order conspiracy, or that 3,000 scientists had signed a petition, or that it hadn’t warmed since 1998 etc etc. Then I started to think for myself and guess what?”

        If this REALLY occurred (which only the skeptic will REALLY know), then there is NOTHING “dishonest” about telling it as it really is.

        But for many (including myself) it was not that they specifically “accepted the scientific consensus on AGW” at first – probably more likely that they merely “did not question the IPCC position on AGW”.

        Then, in my case, it was a combination of several things that started me to be more skeptical: the hockey stick saga, the media ballyhoo surrounding the release of AR4 SPM several months before the “supporting science” was published, and the claims that a “mainstream scientific consensus exists” that “the science is settled” on CAGW (so it must be right) – and “the time to act is now”).

        I started digging to see if there were holes in the IPCC “mainstream scientific consensus” view (that CAGW represents a serious potential threat), and I found the “error cascade”, which our host describes in her comment above.

        This is pretty basic, as it raises questions regarding IPCC claims a) that most of the late 20th century warming since 1950 was very likely caused by human GHGs and b) that the warmth of the 20th century is unusual for the past 1,300 years.

        As Judith writes, when these assumptions fall, the IPCC predictions for the future also fall, as does the need for urgent mitigating action.

        It is like a house of cards.

        I am convinced, tempterrain, that many of the rational skeptics of CAGW have gone through the same thought process and it is arrogant and presumptive of you to say that they are “dishonest” when they relate this.

        Just so you know…

        Max

        .

      • And Cap’n –

        I will say that from what I’ve seen, you do a better job of controlling for your political orientation (which, btw, I think is full of holes) in your approach to the climate debate. There are a few other examples of such I’ve seen among the “skeptics” I’ve encountered her and at other sites in the blogosphere. I tend to view your input as more skeptical than “skeptical.”

        But, again, you seem to fall into the trap of over-generalizing from your own approach and history. You are an outlier – certainly among “skeptics” in general, and IMO among “skeptical” climate fanatics.

      • Joshua, today it is a bunch of numb-ers. You know it, I know it, we all can see it…

        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/real-jobless-rate-114-realistic-labor-force-participation-rate

        yet progressives will never admit it because if you admit to the lies, where & when will it all end? Who needs straight Marine’s, when warmers have drones? Remember ‘Always prepared’ you Young Pioneer.

      • Joshua, I don’t consider generalizations a trap, they are a tool, as long as you remain aware that there are exception to every rule or generalization.

        Generally, linear approximation of complex systems are useful to solve a problem. They are nearly always useful as a tool to verify how appropriate a method may be. For example, the Steig et. al used a complex method to attempt to in fill or imput data in the Antarctic temperature record. A simple linear interpolation of the available data would have improved their research by providing a baseline value. A generalization, linear interpolation, would have prevented humiliation, another false result from improperly used RegEm.

        My generalization of politicians is they have personal motives and that you can tell when they are lying because their lips move. That doesn’t mean that they cannot be good leaders, everyone needs motivation and a little BS, I just what to try to understand how much of each they have before I vote.

        Speaking of motives and BS, people that use linear no-threshold model results and do not properly address uncertainty, likely have a powerful motivation.

        That is a generalization that is a very useful tool.

      • Cap’n –

        Joshua, I don’t consider generalizations a trap, they are a tool, as long as you remain aware that there are exception to every rule or generalization.

        Absolutely. The exception to rules is where much information lies. Is that not the key instrument in determining what is causal from what is correlated?

        Similarly, the exceptions to generalizations are what helps to differentiate a skeptic from a “skeptic.” When someone who self-identifies as a “skeptic” generally postulates skeptical analysis, and then fails, utterly, to employ skepticism in specific areas, it can be highly instructive as to the nature of their “skepticism.”

        Indeed, generalizing (pattern recognition) is fundamental to how we make sense of the world – and the interplay between pattern recognition and psychology is the meat in the murky soup of the climate debate.

        And speaking of meat, you know I love me some meat (bacon in particular). Since reading up on the skepticism about the lipid theory, I’ve doubled-down on my bacon consumption.

        An interesting discussion:

        http://immortalhair.forumandco.com/t4850-saturated-fats-and-the-lipid-theory

      • @Joshua

        “Please, any skeptic who reads this post, if you disagree with what I wrote, please supply some evidence to support your disagreement. I’m beginning to lose faith in you!!! ”

        I can only disagree with what you wrote with regards to myself and can’t generalize to others, so I don’t know if I’m even disagreeing, but here goes. Also, these busy and long threads slow down the typing (I should start offline then copy/paste) so bear with me if I don’t address your points in order.

        1) I’m a climate fanatic, but only recently. Generally speaking, my motivation to be skeptical in particular of “mainstream” AGW is watching it take over everything in the environmental arena, coupled with my return professionally to the environmental side of civil engineering.

        2) My “skeptical conversion” really found legs with Climategate 1.0; media coverage led me to research it a bit more, I found Climate Audit, read up on the hockey stick. No, I have never done the math myself, but I do believe that Steve McIntyre et al are essentially correct on the hockey stick, and Michael Mann et al are essentially wrong.

        3) I consider myself mainly “skeptical” of the science and don’t really try to apply that to policy. I’m not sure “skepticism” is applicable to policy except when it is applied to strong claims or predictions of a policy’s effects. By “skeptical” of the science, I mainly focus on asking pointed questions to enhance my understanding and get at holes in the prevailing, “consensus” view. It gets that attention precisely because of its status. One exception to my lack of “policy skepticism” is my agreement with McIntyre and other critics (last I saw he preferrect the term critic to skeptic) that IPCC needs to be replaced/enhanced with something more hardcore, military/industrial red-team style (hey just for laughs I wil present a policy proposal at the end of this post, which will reveal all my biases I hope).

        3) Politically and with respect to religion, I am a lapsed Catholic welfare-state liberal with some reservations, particularly related to bureaucratic creep and the sanctity of all things not market-based. I took an online poll that someone linked to on this blog several months ago and among about 12 political categories I was classified as a Canadian, though I live in Pennsylvania.

        Here’s my policy proposal. Disband IPCC. Negotiate a new international treaty to fund a kick-ass climate assessment program. Fund it with a very small carbon tariff proportional to per capita cumulative GHG emissions (including land use change) since some starting date, say 1950 (and adjust every year). So that whenever Chinese cumulative per capita emissions exceed Germany’s, China will be paying more into this fund than Germany, per capita. Don’t pretend for a minute that this is going to be refunded, except to cut budgets for other climate-related expenses (we can vote). As far as the per capita cumulative emissions, see this Wikipeda page, though the exact graphic I would like to see updated is not on there: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:CO2_responsibility_1950-2000.svg

        Finally, for a break from Climate and off into the Etc., see this story (other denizens may find this interesting too):

        http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2103831,00.html

        Finally, God bless the US of Canada, America and Mexico (I’m not sure what to do about Central America) and Go Steelers Beat Denver!

      • BillC –

        Before I read the rest of what you wrote, I need to respond to this:

        I can only disagree with what you wrote with regards to myself and can’t generalize to others, so I don’t know if I’m even disagreeing, but here goes.

        That indicates that you don’t disagree with what I wrote. I have stated over and over that disagreement with respect to yourself is entirely consistent with my argument.

        I respect what you write and how you think – but I just can’t understand how you can think that distinguishing yourself from a general pattern could, in any way, suggest disagreement – even to the way that you qualified the potential disagreement.

      • & (a la McKitrick, I think) tie it to the rate of warming, as calculated by WTI(current) – WTI(1979) (www.woodfortress.org) except no refund if it cools, cuz as Kim has foreseen, we’ll need it then too.

      • BillC –

        Thanks for the thoughtful response. I’ve done enough blogging for one day (by a factor of about 1,000). I’ll check back later to respond.

        For now, (as an Eagles fan), I’ll just say that I find your views to be typical of a Stillers fan. And I won’t even mention Big Ben’s disreputable past (so as not to invite comments about Vick).

        How ’bout those Pirates? Heh!

      • Josh,

        I don’t know that I can respond to every point you raise, as it is a very long post. But on the point relating to motivation based on where one lies along the political spectrum, I would make the following comments:

        1) It is a two edged sword. If you are correct that “skeptics” on this issue are mostly on the far right of the spectrum, it is also a reasonable statement to say that believers congregate on the left hand side of the spectrum. Therefore, I find that most criticism based on political arguments is not germaine to the debate, unless the some issue in the debate carries into the political realm. I’d go so far as to say it is a deliberate attempt to distract the argument away from the real issues. Note that this applies to both parties. I no more believe in left wing conspiracies as I do right wing ones. Using such arguments also implies that only one side has it right. That in order to be top notch in a scientific field, one has to be left of center in their political views. I have a hard time excepting that as a vaild condition in real life.

        2) I’ve found it may be close to a fool’s errand to classify and attribute people’s political leanings from internet comments. In self-assessing, where I might be in relation to “center” can vary depending on the issue. I’m sure it isn’t terribly difficult to peg me as generally right of center, but its relevance is not really useful without a lot more context.

        These are two reasons why “political pegging” arguments should be avoided. A view that I think we all could pay heed to.

    • Since the most of the Holocene was likely warmer than today, archeologically it must be very interesting, the virtually ice-free arctic. Another hockey stick, I mean the NH sea ice reconstructions? Climatc changes are fascinating.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Spreading_homo_sapiens.svg

    • Joshua,
      As long as you persist with the ” ” around skeptics, and as long as you continue to demand specifics from people while bloviaing on with your global paintbrushing of skeptics with no data to offer, you will remain a parody of yourself. And as long as you continue with your creepy mysoginist stalking of Curry, you will be a self-prodizing mysoginist.
      The issue is how the AGW social mania has been built with tools like noble cause corruption, information cascades, group think, confirmation bias and etc.
      Perhaps you could address that sometime?

  6. “Another aspect to consider – and this is evidenced by the researchers’ findings – is that temperature-based opposing mechanisms came into play around 30 years ago”

    So the researchers found that the opposing mechanisms were “temperature based”?

    “This is because, taking into account the data recorded for the level of solar radiation, the scientists made a surprising discovery: in the 1940s and in the summer of 1947 especially, the glaciers lost the most ice since measurements commenced in 1914. This is in spite of the fact that temperatures were lower than in the past two decades. “The surprising thing is that this paradox can be explained relatively easily with radiation””

    I wonder if that would explain the “warm blip in the ’40s? What I don’t get is that the models all predict higher temps when aerosols are lower, here aerosols were lower, and the temp readings were in fact higher, yet they adjusted them down anyway…

  7. This was brought up here @ Climate Science some time ago. Nested Almosts. When someone uses someone else’s Almost conclusion to come up with another Almost Conclusion. Inevitably someone else then takes that Almost-Almost Conclusion to come up with their own Almost-Almost-Almost Conclusion.

    Almost-Almost is far from conclusive. AGW Science is ripe with these Nested Almosts.

    Food for thought. If you do not get a reduction in Convection within the Troposphere, you do not get a drop in Temp within the Troposphere. Recall that Warm air expands and necessarily cools do to that expansion. Note that the Tropopause is 17km at the Equator on 6-7km at the Poles because of this. If the temp rises, then the atmosphere expands reducing the pressure and temp.

    Trapping Radiation without restricting an increase Convection will not result in a rise in temp. If any of you understand differently, please provide an example.

    Happy New Year

    • Sorry, meant to say an increase in the 3rd Paragraph

      • Climate Science has added a new and slippery tense to the English language.

        An event can be in the present, in the future, in the future conditional and in a computer simulation all at the same time.

        Like an uber-weasel word, the climate tense suggests a meaning that evaporates when you challenge the claim.

  8. Wow!

    The post about error cascades, is itself an error cascade.

    Grapes were grown in southern England, so MWP, therefroe the hockey stick is a fraud!!

    Let’s se if we can correct this skeptical error cascade; you can grow grapes in southern England in summer now, last year, or two hunded years ago.

    Signifiies nothing.

    Confirmation bias wins again.

    • There you go, reduce an argument down to a single item, ignoring the rest, then pronounce yourself the winner. Does this seem like dialogue to you?

    • randomengineer

      I think the argument was that you could grow grapes in the MWP and then couldn’t until recently, meanwhile the 1999 hockey stick showed no difference between MWP and LIA (neither existed.)

      • No.

        Never a problem growing grapes in England.

        The quality of the wine……that’s another story.

    • Actually the error is in stating that grapes were grown in the South of England during the MWP. They were actually being grown far up into the North of England as well as in Scotland.

      Commercially, grapes are still grown in the South today, but certainly NOT in the North.

      There, fixed that error cascade for you and the point still stands.

      • they are grown in the north today too

      • Will,

        “Commercially, grapes are still grown in the South today, but certainly NOT in the North.”

        That’s not what it says here!

        http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2010/may/21/english-wines-vineyard-stays-uk

        “England’s most northerly commercial vineyard sits at the foot of the Yorkshire Wolds, roughly 12 miles from York.”

        Still its not as warm as in the MWP eh? Didn’t the Vikings have vineyards in Greenland then ?

      • Yea, I thought that modern climate was about as warm as the MCO so its not surprising that vinyards are creeping North. Seriously, I see a lot of reconstructions that say that modern times are roughly as warm as the MCO (Mideval climate optimum). That I think is what the balance of the evidence supports. Even Moberg states that climate variability is pretty large and thus it needs to be taken into account in evaluating the modern warm period. This wine thing is a little tiresome. There are a lot more variables to consider including the fact that modern strains of vines are probably a lot different than those of the middle ages. They are probably more hardy because of the common European practice of grafting using hardy root stock after the plague of mold that nearly wiped out some European stocks earlier this century.

      • Pardon me, I meant last century.

      • OK so you found ONE vineyard in the North of England.

        Quote from that article: “This is a young venture (Stuart and Elizabeth Smith produced Ryedale’s first vintage in 2009),”

        Good luck to them. They will need it.

        So finally you have found some “proof” of “global warming”.

        Here, let me provide with even more hard evidence.

    • Michael

      Two more pieces for your puzzle.

      A 1950’s book from England on home wine-making has recipes calling for broadbeans, peapods and the like, but not one recipe using grapes.

      During the MWP, the French passed legislation to stem the flood of cheap grape wine from England because it was harming their domestic industry.

      • Latimer Alder

        The truly worrying thing about the Hockey Stick is not that it stinks as a piece of statistics, but that nobody from climatology even appeared to have wondered whether its conclusions had any historical validity.

        Did none of them know any tame medieval historians or archaeologists for a sanity check? Know enough history themselves to just think about how Mann’s conclusions differed from contemporary evidence? Or,.closer to home, spend an hour wondering why the Met Office in 1980 (I have a copy of the original literature) were publishing a temperature profile with both the LIA and MWP clearly shown and commented upon?

        Because either they did none of these things..in which case they have an extremely limited mental curiosity (very bad attribute for people whose conclusions are used to change the world) or they did so and for some reason kept schtummm (even worse attribute for people who claim to be objective truth-driven scientists)..

        Whichever it was, it reflects very badly on all climatologists..and extremely badly on the diminishing band who are prepared to fight tooth and nail to still defend it against overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

      • “why the Met Office in 1980 (I have a copy of the original literature) were publishing a temperature profile with both the LIA and MWP clearly shown and commented upon?”

        was it a northern hemisphere reconstruction? No.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        Missed your point. Please reword.

    • Michael,

      While I had the same thought that the growing of grapes is not exactly solid evidence, there is a considerable body of historical record which describes weather patterns not currently seen today.

      Since I’ve always had a love of history (my undergrad), I will admit to the possibility of bias here, but if I have to choose between researching actual comments and record keeping, even if it isn’t instrumental and tree rings to give me a picture of the what the climate was 500 or a 1000 years ago, I’m inclined to go with the historical record.

    • I live in Stockholm (in Sweden at the lake Mälaren). During the Vikings there where wild grapes here. I can tell you, you will NEVER EVER find wild grapes in our part of Europe at the moment.

    • Michael, He never said it was going to be good wine, now did he?

      Rev 6:6 And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and [see] thou hurt not the oil and the wine.

      WAR DRUMS: Iran, Israel and US plan Gulf exercises…
      British destroyer sent in…
      West readies oil plan…

      Oweee…

      Looks like it could be another error cascade on the way, just over the horizon.

  9. Dr Curry –

    I think this particular article goes over the top in essentially dismissing all of AGW as junk science”

    I hope I’m reading an unwritten “to put it mildly at the end of that statement. It is so ridiculous It makes me want to defend AGW science..

    “scientific fraud will spread like dry rot

    – is verging on the paranoid and delusional… Had the dry rot of fraud spread to you and your colleagues back in 2006?

    You’re right to point out the problems inherent in people claiming a ‘consensus’, and also the alarm bells that should ring when the accusation of ‘denier’ arrives in a speculative and uncertain area of science. But the article doesn’t make much of either of these, which to me leaves the assertion that fraud has become widespread. I simply don’t think that is true – I believe the influences of groupthink are much more subtle and harder to identify than straight fraud. For example, there was no fraud involved in the ‘miss-measurement’ of the charge on an electron following Milikan’s oil drop experiment – but false results were obtained nonetheless.

    I think the article misses saying something useful or pertinent about group psychology by being fevered and partisan. It is a great pity as there is much to ponder in such a topic.

    • kudos.

    • Anteros, I think you are conflating a number of issues that ought to be discrete.

      Firstly, is it right to dismiss climate science as junk science?
      Secondly, if it is, is “fraud” the reason for doing so? Or is climate “science” to be dismissed as junk science for other reasons, eg because it is practised by mediocrities who sincerely believe in their work?

      The word “fraud” always causes problems, being open to a wide variety of interpretation. I have certainly seen widespread evidence of scientists “obtaining an advantage by deceptive means”. If such instances are widespread enough (and I have no reason to believe I have seen all there is to see), clearly the field is junk.

      But let us give climate science the benefit of doubt, and say that it has serious, but not fatal flaws, and that it has some clever people doing good science. (By the way I believe this is the case). That might permit someone of your scientific education to give it continued credence, since you are in a position to distinguish the wheat from the chaff. The problem is, your analysis really only works for pure science with no, or few, policy implications. Climate science is, and has set itself up as, a field with immense policy implications. It has set out to galvanise lay opinion in support of its goals, and traded on the trust of the vast majority of the population who not NOT have your expertise, and cannot judge the matter on its science as you can.

      So what has the freshly galvanised laiety been taught by climate science? As I see it, they have started off (c 1980) with almost no interest in “climate”, and have since learned ONLY the effluvia of the warmists – the junk. For them, as supposed actors in the great environmental project, climate science, tout court, IS the junk – it’s all they know. And it needs dismissing, in its entirety.

      Another thing to remember in all this, is that climate science really isn’t important enough to devote a great deal of attention to. Most of the risk attached to it in the public mind (and their consequent willingness to invest resources in it) is bogus, and the extent to which we can or do influence the weather grossly exaggerated. The extent to which the prosecution of CO2 is overfunded is grotesque and unconscionable. Spending a fraction of these resources on extending weather prediction ability, resilience to weather-related events among those at risk from them (and they are the same as they always were, pre-CAGW bed-wetting) would be far more beneficial to mankind. Tip the rest back into the economy, where it belongs, and the job’s a goodun.

      But that’s not going to happen without climate “science” suffering a spectacular and humiliating demarche – bring it on!

    • Worse, Raymond invented emacs.

    • Anteros

      I think if you read Dr. Curry’s comments you will see that the crux of the “error cascade” argument as it applies to AGW today relates to IPCC claims

      – that “most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations”, and

      – that “the warmth of the last half century is unusual in at least the previous 1,300 years”

      both of which have been seriously questioned scientifically and neither of which is based on empirical scientific evidence.

      This leads to the “error cascade” relating to the IPCC projections for the future.

      “Group psychology” (or “group think”) certainly plays a role in this, as does the corrupted “consensus process” of the IPCC.

      But the point made by Judith was that climate science as a whole is not a victim of “error cascade” while the IPCC “mainstream consensus position” is.

      I hope I have been able to differentiate it clearly (at least as I see it).

      Max

  10. Michael, you’re missing a key datum – yes, we can grow wine grapes in Southern England today, but that’s only because modern wine grapes have had genetic and graft help from cold-hardy New World varieties. For most of the last millennium you could *not* i n fact have grown wine grapes in England – let alone hugging the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

  11. Assuming the following quote is from the blog “Armed and Dangerous”
    astute readers may view the two websites following,
    and draw their own conclusions.

    “I knew about the MWP because I’d read Annalist-style histories that concentrated on things like crop-yield descriptions from primary historical sources, so I knew that in medieval times wine grapes — implying what we’d now call a Mediterranean climate — were grown as far north as southern England and the Lake Mälaren region of Sweden! ”

    http://www.visitsweden.com/sweden/PressRoom/Local-press-rooms/US/Press-releases/Press-releases-2011/Skane—Swedens-wine-country/

    http://www.englishwineproducers.com/

    Since wine grapes are currently being grown in Sweden and England, what
    does that say about comparing temperatures between now and the MWP?

    • randomengineer

      Same reply as to michael —

      I think the argument was that you could grow grapes in the MWP and then couldn’t until recently, meanwhile the 1999 hockey stick showed no difference between MWP and LIA (neither existed.)

      Are you both having reading issues or is it just me?

      • It’s just you, as the records show winemaking in England through what has lately been called the little ice age.

        http://www.english-wine.com/history.html

        The whole argument that you could grow wine grapes in england only during the MWP and recently is bonkers.

      • “randomengineer : I think the argument was that you could grow grapes in the MWP and then couldn’t until recently, meanwhile the 1999 hockey stick showed no difference between MWP and LIA (neither existed.)”

        The hockey stick shows a 0.3C difference between the MWP and LIA.
        There’s no logical reason why that would contradict any observation about made about grapes. Bear in mind that the hockey stick is for the entire northern hemisphere, not just England.

      • bob droege | January 5, 2012 at 6:01 pm

        Bonkers? From the website you linked:

        English wine: its history in a nutshell!
        Many vineyards in Middle Ages, but later decline

      • bob droege, your link:
        “At the time of the compilation of the Domesday Survey in the late eleventh century, vineyards were recorded in 46 places in southern England, from East Anglia through to modern-day Somerset. By the time King Henry VIIIth ascended the throne there were 139 sizeable vineyards in England and Wales – 11 of them owned by the Crown, 67 by noble families and 52 by the church.

        It is not exactly clear why the number of vineyards declined subsequently. Some have put it down to an adverse change in the weather which made an uncertain enterprise even more problematic. Others have linked it with the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII. Both these factors may have had some part to play but in all probability the decline was gradual (over several centuries) and for more complex reasons. ”

        “Henry VIII (28 June 1491 – 28 January 1547”
        I should be note that one can grow grapes almost anywhere you grow anything, but grapes for wine, means one has to have generally good yields- you have a bad year or two, once in awhile but generally need good years.
        And grapes take a long time to grow, if fair percentage dying, or non-productive it’s lot’s wasted time and effort.

      • “bonkers”

        Understatement.

    • I was just going to point that out. Wine grapes were even grown in southern england in the little ice age.

      Perhaps the author would be better off looking at the MWP itself as an error cascade and take a look at the groupthink on the matter in skeptic circles. An awful number of people have become misled like the author into thinking that the MWP was a time much warmer than present, ie when southern england had a “Mediterranean climate”, greenland was green (that ones a little more ludicrous), etc.

      Based on what? Nothing but group think. Ironically the MWP being so warm is not supported by anything other than flimsy circumstantial evidence (farms in greenland! wine in england!) and yet skeptics rarely get skeptical about that.

      • lolwot | January 5, 2012 at 6:09 pm | Reply

        I was just going to point that out. Wine grapes were even grown in southern england in the little ice age.
        Perhaps the author would be better off looking at the MWP itself as an error cascade and take a look at the groupthink on the matter in skeptic circles. An awful number of people have become misled like the author into thinking that the MWP was a time much warmer than present, ie when southern england had a “Mediterranean climate”, greenland was green (that ones a little more ludicrous), etc.
        Based on what? Nothing but group think. Ironically the MWP being so warm is not supported by anything other than flimsy circumstantial evidence (farms in greenland! wine in england!) and yet skeptics rarely get skeptical about that.”

        Wine grapes certainly were grown in England during the LIA, but certainly not on any large scale commercially. During this time, they were generally grown in a Vinery, a specially built greenhouse usually attached to the side of a large house or manor. Indeed, so difficult was it to grow vines at that time, it became a status symbol amongst the “landed gentry” to have a Vinery built. They were the heated swimming pool of the time. If you visit the Roman Palace at Fishbourne in West Sussex, you will find a reconstructed garden there that includes a small vineyard. If you read the information boards or the guide book, you will see that the vines planted there reflect the originals, which were found to be of a strain still found in Italy today. In other words, they hadn’t been cross bred with more northern French or German strains to increase their hardiness, but had simply been dug up in Italy and planted in England. Those vines appear to have lived quite happily and though it isn’t possible to know what kind of yields they attained, it’s likely that had they not flourished, they would have been dug up and replaced.

        If you really think the evidence for the MWP only relies on “farms in Greenland” or “wine in England”, then I’m afraid you are sorely lacking in knowledge. Though the “farms in Greenland” bit should at least give you pause for thought, especially as they are finding more and more of them as the ice sheet retreats. Forget about the GW issue for a while and go do some reading and investigation of your own. There is a wealth of information out there, most of it written long before climate was ever an issue. Then you will be able to decide for yourself if those thousands of archaeologists and historians have got it all wrong and the MWP didn’t exist.

      • Sorry lolwot – but the MWP is supported extensively throughout science and the world with hundreds of studies showing it was global in nature. While the studies do not use dendro hockey sticks to make their points, they do use other sources to show that indeed the temperatures were a lot warmer from the Antartic to China, to South America to greenland. It is not just one study or even one place that most rely on to understand the MWP was global. It is thousands from hundreds of different disciplines that they have read and followed. Thus affirming that Climate Science is headed for the error cascade by denying what is strongly becoming undeniable.

  12. Raise your hand if on 1/5/2011 you’d thought you’d see this kind of post here a year later.

    PS the MWP point is extremely important. Just look at the effort put into removing it from existence. Grapes or no grapes. And Viking burials in permafrost.

    • “And Viking burials in permafrost.”

      You sure? Or is that a myth? beware of the groupthink and the error cascade.

      • “As the archaeologists dug through the permafrost and removed the windblown glacial sand that filled the rooms, they found fragments of looms and cloth. Scattered about were other household belongings, including an iron knife, whetstones, soapstone vessels, and a double-edged comb. Whoever lived here departed so hurriedly that they left behind iron and caribou antler arrows, weapons needed for survival in this harsh country, medieval Europe’s farthest frontier. What drove the occupants away? Where did they go? ”

        “Greenland’s climate began to change as well; the summers grew shorter and progressively cooler, limiting the time cattle could be kept outdoors and increasing the need for winter fodder. During the worst years, when rains would have been heaviest, the hay crop would barely have been adequate to see the penned animals through the coldest days. Over the decades the drop in temperature seems to have had an effect on the design of the Greenlanders’ houses. Originally conceived as single-roomed structures, like the great hall at Brattahlid, they were divided into smaller spaces for warmth, and then into warrens of interconnected chambers, with the cows kept close by so the owners might benefit from the animals’ body heat.”
        http://www.archaeology.org/online/features/greenland/

        Yeah, they must be a bunch of deniers.

      • where does that mention graves under permafrost?

      • The skeptical inconsistency in the argument is glaring.

        The same people who argue that 7000 thermometers are not enough to measure the worlds temperature, point to data from a few locations to argue that the MWP was warmer.

        If they were consistent the would argue that we dont know enough to say anything definitive about the LIA or the MWP.

        The change in the standard of evidence in their position should be clear to them, but they have a huge blind spot.

      • I’ve seen a lot of proxy evidence on this and I can’t remember a single one except Mann’s bad statistics that showed recent times to be warmer than the MCO. The only way even Skeptical Science can do it is to use “Mike’s Nature trick.” I’m surprised Mosher that you are unaware of this.

      • steven,
        One other point:
        The LIA and MWP are supported by hundreds of citations and studies world wide.
        Just because posters here are using anecdotes to show that climes were warmer than the same places today does not make those other studies go away. Also, your argument is ignoring the point of the anecdotes offered, and simply dismissing them on the (incorrect) basis they are not global.
        Briffa’s famoul tree comes to mind when I think of anecdotal. The ‘hide the decline’ to falsely make the case trees are good thermometers comes to mind. Ignoring tree experts who point out using trees to tell climate stories is a bad idea comes to mind for anecdotal examples.

      • randomengineer

        Mosher — The same people who argue that 7000 thermometers are not enough to measure the worlds temperature, point to data from a few locations to argue that the MWP was warmer.

        Conflation. The 7000 thermometer argument is in respect to the claimed precision of 1/100 of a degree using instrumentation good to +/- 1 degree.

        Meanwhile the MWP = warmer argument is based on history.

        The skeptics then argue that if the 0.01 precision is correct then the same 0.01 precision club that they’re being beaten with must also apply to the other recent (false precision) data showing the MWP is warm.

        You can’t have it both ways. Either the precision is false or if not corroborates the MWP being warmer. Bottom line is that this is the argument to show that the hockey stick is wrong, nothing more.

      • Mosher, you just contradicted your own analysis. The same people? Are they really the same people?

    • We should especially remember that Montford pointed out the Deming affair in his book. Overpeck, one of the highest placed members of the “team” emailed Deming with the statement, “we have to get rid of the MWP!” To any competent and fair minded person, that is all you need to know on this subject.

      Lindzen, Deming, Montford and others have a copy of the email.

      • Thank you for making me remember this. Here are the notes at Bart’s, in a thread entitled **How Science does and does not Work (and how [contrarians] mostly fall in the latter category)** :

        http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2011/06/22/climate-science-scientific-method-skeptics-not/#comment-13768

        ***

        In pages 27-28, Andrew Montford introduces Deming and his research using this description:

        > Deming had recently created a temperature reconstruction for the last 150 years, based on boreholes in North America. In his study, he concluded that North America had warmed somewhat in the period since 1850, but had little to say bebond that. This was good, solid science but not the stuff of newspaper headlines.

        Here are some expressions in the following sentences:

        – “considered highly important in climatic science circle”
        – “with the expectation that temperatures were being driven upward”
        – “storyline of rising temperatures”
        – “global warming industry”
        – “who [the global warming industrialists] thought they saw”
        – “they thought I was one of them, someone who would pervert science”
        – “flash of light […] murky shadow”
        – “the aim was to erase it in the climatological record in its entirety”

        My interest here is not in the Deming affair as such [1], but in the function of portraying Deming as doing “good, solid science”, immediately before the intriguing portray of consideration, expectation, storyline, industry, and other institutionalized thought processes and interests. Andrew Montford is not known to be knowledgeable in borehology. The statement of his opinion regarding Deming’s work deserves due diligence. As the Auditor might ask his readership to ponder: _why_?

        Here’s my hypothesis. Montford is framing the Deming affair as the story between a noble scientist versus global warming industrialists. One (or two, if we count Richard Lindzen) against a powerful multitude. A sudden revelation of tainted intentions. Pure light among the murky shadows of climatology.

        We can see that defining “good, solid science” is quite secondary. We’re not into the realms of scientific criticism, but more something like **scientific opposition research**. The way scientific opposition research operates deserves due diligence.

        [1] The Montford Dossier certainly deserves due diligence. For instance, it is claimed that “Lindzen of MIT has confirmed that the email was written by Jonathan Overpeck.” But note 12, which follows this claim, points to an Arxiv document authored by Lindzen. There is one mention to Overpeck in that document: a signature to an international conference invitation. The only mention of “getting rid” of MWP cites (Deming, 2005) as authority. Here is when the Auditor might revive yet another introduction to check-kiting.

      • Willard said
        Thank you for making me remember this.

        Deming stated quite clearly that he was told in an email, I quote, “we have to get rid of the Medieval warm period”. I have heard nothing of Overpeck claiming this is untrue, misleading, or that he was taken out of context (a common excuse for alarmists). Maybe he has somewhere. I haven’t read everything. After all, Deming has the email! Perhaps he is waiting for Overpeck to challenge him about it?

      • Gil Grissom,

        Thank you for evading all that has been said in the main part of my post and for mentioning the topic of my note to reiterate your appeal to incredulity. Perhaps I can condense what I say in that note:

        1. Lindzen confirms Deming
        2. Deming confirms Lindzen.

        For the life of me, I would never claim that this is all a competent and fair minded auditor needs to know to think about check kiting. And I would never leave the readers with dog-whisteled dots.

        Any competent and fair-minded auditor should be able to spot your appeal to incredulity and your dog-whistling. That is all fair-minded and competent auditors need to know.

  13. I would be much more impressed with the people being disputatious about wine grapes in England if they weren’t so assiduously avoiding the topic of wine grapes on the Arctic Circle in Sweden.

    • The whole thing is a classic error cascade;

      The orginal blog article repeats the silly ‘grapes in England’ thing.

      Judith reproduces the claims (at least politely noticing it’s a hyperventilating piece of overblown rhetoric), with the denizens duely following suite, baaing in unison about ‘grapes in England’.

      If Judith is really interested in preventing ‘error cascades’ she has a great opportunity in doing so here. Following form the medical approach, the answer is – correct any error as sson as you notice it. If you don’y you get endless comments saying how that ‘grapes in England’ disprove modern warming.

      Of course, Judith would be very very busy here trying to break the error cascades of the denizens.

      • it also soon morphs into other claims I suspect are myths like the one about vikings being buried in what is now permafrost

      • Do tell us how silly the grapes in Britain are. And tell us about the silly grapes in Vinland as well.

      • hunter,

        If hansen took measurements in greenland and england and extrapolated over the rest of the world, would you sit still for it?

      • Mosher, don’t tell me you forgot about the Deming affair?

        I take it you don’t believe it happened.

        I take it you don’t understand its implications.

      • steven,
        Great question.
        Their sampling and interpolations and conclusions are not very different than if they did only measure a couple of spots. Additionally, as Briffa demonstrates, underlying tools that allegedly represent the entire world came down to one tree.
        Since we know the Briffa and HS are junk, I would suggest that anything conforming to them is junk as well.
        Error cascade/social mania/noble cause corruption: The legs of the AGW stool.

      • Michael said
        “The whole thing is a classic error cascade;
        The orginal blog article repeats the silly ‘grapes in England’ thing.
        Judith reproduces the claims (at least politely noticing it’s a hyperventilating piece of overblown rhetoric), with the denizens duely following suite, baaing in unison about ‘grapes in England’.”

        Yes, and did you notice, Michael, how I ended the argument from the MWP deniers with a collision “with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink” – namely modern viniculture uses frost resistant varieties which means the limit of northerly viniculture comparisons from then and now are not of like to like.

        Incidentally, while we are on the subject, Jo Nova has an excellent post about Australian viniculture here
        “Revered wine science expert writes skeptical book to rave reviews”
        http://joannenova.com.au/2011/12/another-skeptical-mind-revered-wine-science-expert-writes-skeptical-book-to-rave-reviews/

      • Michael

        Hold on, there!

        You suggest that Judith “correct any errors” in blog posts as soon as she notices them.

        If you want that kind of service, switch to RealClimate. Gavin Schmidt will correct you if you deviate from the accepted “mainstream scientific consensus opinion”. And he will simply censor out those comments that raise too many questions or contradict him.

        I prefer Judith’s approach. Let them all talk and get it out of their systems.

        There will always be a few good nuggets of info mixed in with a lot of back and forth wrangling and name-calling plus empty rhetoric, with our host chiming in very occasionally when she is directly addressed by a poster or has something pertinent to add from her perspective.

        That’s what makes this blog so successful, Michael.

        Max

      • Max, to put it another way, when you filter the noise out of the internet signal, you lose a lot of the useful information. Analogous to dealing with data.

      • M,

        You must have missed the title of the post ‘error cascade’.

        The whole premise of the approach is the detection, correction and prevention of error.

      • bob droege

        From your linked site:

        Skane – Sweden’s Wine Country
        …wine production is an emerging industry in the region, which began in the mid- to late- 1990s…

        At least some of the grapes are German hybrids which are best suited for cooler conditions.

        bi2hs

  14. Most of the Holocene was warmer than now, and most of the rest of the Holocene will be colder than now.
    ======================

    • “Most of the Holocene was warmer than now”

      Based on?

      Not another myth i hope

      • lolwot

        Most of the holocene was warmer than now in the Alps, based on studies of carbon-dated plant/tree remains uncovered from receding glaciers.

        If you are truly interested, I can cite lnks to references.

        [Realiize that these are not “global records” – who has such records? – but they are good indications.]

        Max

      • Because Kim says so. That’s as good as anything the Team proffers.

      • “Most of the holocene was warmer than now in the Alps, based on studies of carbon-dated plant/tree remains uncovered from receding glaciers.”

        Surely that only constrains the minimum. Unless the glaciers are currently in equilibrium.

        Also I was meaning the world as a whole, as I think Kim was alluding to.

      • spangled drongo

        Based on GISP2 ice cores?

      • lolwot

        “Most of the Holocene was warmer than now”

        Global measurements” over “most of the Holocene”?

        You’ve got to be kidding. These do not exist.

        But the data do exist for the glaciers of the Alps, which were smaller than today over most of the Holocene” based on carbon-dated remains of plant material found under the receding glaciers today. This is good information, since it is based on actual empirical data from physical evidence.

        Does this “prove” that our planet was “globally” warmer over “most of the Holocene” than it is today?

        Not really. But it gives a good indication that this might really have been so.

        Kim may have other specific references.

        Do you have any references based on actual empirical data that would show that most of the Holocene was COOLER than now”</em?

        If so, I would be very interested in seeing it.

        Max

  15. To me the biggest error cascade in AGW exists in the belief that the atmosphere is primarily heated by emissions of IR from the ground.

    This is a fundamental prerequisite of the so called “greenhouse effect” hypothesis.

    Yet this erroneous premise is based purely on false perception brought about by the atmospheric temperature lapse rate.

    Without this fundamental error the “greenhouse effect” hypothesis is dead. Yet the majority of folk are either oblivious to this fallacious concept or have accepted the fallacy without question.

    However a cursory glance at the radiosonde data and the illusion is gone. Over most of the Earths land surface the ground is predominantly cooler than the Air above it. As is the case over most of the oceans too.

    As a general rule of thumb, the thicker the socks, the colder the ground.

    • Will unfortunately the science does not argue that.

      1. GHGs increase the Opacity of the atmosphere to IR
      2. that results in a raising of the effective radiating height of the atmosphere.
      3. when radiation returns to space from a higher colder region, the result
      is a surface that cools less rapidly.

      • Mosher,

        1. Is an unproven hypothesis which after more than 150 years, the last 30 of which have been marked by intensive mass brainwashing, and hundreds of billions in fraudulent research, STILL REMAINS AN HYPOTHESIS.

        2 and 3 are simply a description of what happens to an atmosphere when it warms.

  16. Patrick Moffitt

    Science operates within a complex self organized system (academic, political, media, NGOs, rent seekers) where the bulk of the energy is provided by government funding. The buffering capacity of this system insures the interests of the system are served and prevents “arcane” consilience failures from causing any major system disruption.
    Major consilience failures were/are seen in the acid rain crisis, nutrient policy, fisheries management etc. It has been my experience that when a consilience failure occurs- the weaker political/funding position will yield. Science generally plays a small if not inconsequential role.

    The response to a consilience failure regarding the MWP as an example would be less funding for those that might research elevated temperatures in the MWP, less graduate positions available to non-hockeystickers and extreme peer pressure. The consilience failure disappears because their will be insufficient resource/incentives to overcome the buffering of the more powerful system narrative.

    Basically, environmental science has evolved into little more than an arm of the funding regulatory agencies. Science’s new role is to “justify” preordained policies promoting regulatory self interest. This is not a conspiracy but rather 40years of iterating a selection bias consistent with incentives. (Maintaining the purity of science being one of the less important incentives at work)

  17. Surely the biggest error cascade of all is caused by not wanting to accept that man can significantly the climate through greenhouse gas emissions. In the attempt to justify that belief all manner of errors pour forth.

    • Not surely, not really, not even. Keep pouring.

    • No, the cascade starts with a small error. This error is a huge blind spot.Most skeptical thought systems ( when they have them) suffer from major conceptual blind spots.

    • Define significant.
      The AGW definition is shown to be crap.

    • Sorry again lolwot. Not accepting that man can significantly affect the climate is not an error cascade (or even one posited by anyone but warmists looking for strawmen). You cannot “not accept” what has yet to be proven. If you want to “believe” in it, that is fine. I believe in God. But then I am not trying to convince you scientifically of his existance either.

    • lolwot

      Surely the biggest error cascade of all is caused by not wanting to accept that man can significantly the climate through greenhouse gas emissions.

      This is not as black-and-white as you put it, lolwot. There are actually two pertinent questions.

      – Has man changed the climate of our planet significantly?
      – Can man willfully change the climate of our planet significantly in the future?

      The answer to the first is “YES” (depending on what is meant by “significantly”). Man has certainly changed LOCAL and maybe even REGIONAL climate “significantly”, but the jury is still out on whether or not he has changed GLOBAL climate “significantly” (see our host’s comments to the “error cascade” post above)..

      The answer to the second question is most likely “NO”, with the add-on “no matter how much money we throw at it”.

      There have been NO actionable proposals that would result in “significant changes of our planet’s climate” if implemented of which I am aware (if you know of any, please correct me).

      Max

  18. The cascade of errors described in the abstract, pointed to by the blog is about hospital errors and concurrent events in individual cases. How this applies to “multidecadal and longer modes of natural internal variability are dismissed…” etc does not logically follow. Nor does it have anything to do with the multiple lines of evidence arguments. And what tree-ring evidence is used for detection and attribution? What appears to have happened here is form of confirmation bias. This doesn’t replace logical argumentation and truth. Perhaps wanting to inject a new term into the debate is easier than drawing specific lines of argument, but this shouldn’t confused with a real applicable analogy.

    • I agree this is basically a noisy metaphor. However there is a feature of climate science that seems to fit, which is one group accepting as settled what the originators are still debating. The most extreme version of this cascade-like behavior is the modelers trying to explain the HadCRU mean temperature trend line, as though it were known to be the actual temperature over the last 100 years. Then the UNFCCC uses the modeling results to determine the emissions constraints needed to avoid a 2 degree warming. Then the impact analysts use the modeling results to determine the adaptation needs for the two degrees. And so It goes, an interlocking set of assumptions. It has a cascade like quality.

      • Perhaps ‘a comedy of errors’ would be a better term. The context supplied by the leaked emails would suggest that the methods employed by those madcap characters have a Keystone Cop quality to them.

      • Keystone? What are you insinuating about Pennsylvanian Climatologists?Watch it, or you might get a letter from a lawyer.

    • I agree. This is the best response I have seen.

    • reconstructions play a role in detection and attribution
      you need to read Ar5

  19. I would argue that the term ‘climate science/scientist’ is at the heart of many of the problems that are picked up by consilience. These terms obscure meaning rather than clarify it.

    The Hockey Stick is a classic example – a physicist morphs into a ‘climate scientist’ and promulgates a theory based on statistics and biology. When statisticians and biologists demur, they are slapped down because they are not ‘climate scientists’.

    However, it is also important not to overemphasise consilience. For one thing, the ‘well tested’ theories in other disciplines are not infallible either. For another, it can drift into the danger zone of seeking a Unified Theory of Everything, which is where the gods send scientists whom they wish to make mad (or where we find those who are mad already).

    What appears to be a problem of consilience may actually be a problem of different paradigms in different branches of science that do not mesh.

    Sorting those questions out can certainly be useful and illuminating, though.

  20. A person’s motivation is often defined by her choices, and so I puzzled why Dr. Curry, legitimately concerned about the need to guard against errors in science, chose to illustrate her concern by quoting the bizarre rant from Armed and Dangerous.

    Not being a mind reader, I can only speculate, but what troubles me is the sense that what we have been seeing in some recent posts is a subordination of objective analysis to a campaign of surreptitious warfare against Gabi Hegerl and the Chapter 9 authors brought to a head by the Uncertainty paper and the rebuttals it inspired. Warfare polarizes, and that is not a recipe for error avoidance on anyone’s part.

    It would be doubly unfortunate because Dr. Curry has many insights to offer on the subject of uncertainty and error avoidance, but by focusing on the “attribution” issue (albeit the explicit mention here was only brief), she has chosen a losing battlefield. The Chapter 9 authors fell short of cogency in making their case, but it’s now clear to me they nevertheless had reality on their side. This thread is not the place for levels of confidence (see the recent Hegerl thread and many previous ones), but I believe any realistic future conflict will be fought over what level of high confidence the ghg attribution deserves rather than whether substantial confidence is justified. Whether I am right or wrong, I will argue below that treating this as a war to be waged will be counterproductive.

    Dr. Curry is stubborn, which can be a good thing, but if she wishes to continue her campaign in the belief that the facts will ultimately vindicate her, I would urge her to do it only in posts explicitly devoted to that purpose and to avoid dragging it along as a subliminal message in multiple posts ostensibly devoted to something else. I also hope she engages in enough introspection to fully understand why her position has been rejected as incompatible with the evidence, and why, if that is to change, it will require some new approach, because the current attempts to refute the strong ghg attribution have been far off target. I don’t think she can succeed, but it’s her prerogative to try.

    I raise the warfare analogy because I hope she will be careful not to be beguiled by encouragements she’ll encounter in this thread. I have no doubt that many participants are eager to see a fight, and will commend her for having the courage to incur the wrath of the climate science establishment, assuring her that truth is too clearly on her side for her to be deterred by the caviling of critics. But while they may perceive warfare to be in their best interest, I’m not sure it’s in hers. I see the task she has carved for herself to be more difficult – to remain independent without making rebellion a cause in itself, to concede the legitimacy of certain mainstream scientific conclusions even when she is not yet convinced of them, and to engage in respectful dialog with her peers on the level of detailed evidence rather than abstract concepts. There have been times in the past when I saw that happening, but the more recent signs of combativeness are a step in a different and worrisome direction.

    Finally, if the disagreements on specific issues like these can be restricted to very specific posts, we can perhaps see something happen that I would very much welcome. That is an increase in the number of posts devoted to potential advances in climate science. There has been less recent room for these than I would have wished.

    • Fred,

      My wife repeatedly proves to me that butting heads with a stubborn woman is an exercise in futility.

      But I do agree with the general premise that approaching the debate as a war to be won can be counter productive.

      • If I was interested in being on the “winning” side, I could have been more involved in the IPCC, gotten my share of the Nobel Prize, etc.

        What I’m interested in is better understanding of the attribution of climate variability change over the last 1-2 centuries. I’m interested in this personally as a scientist, and I blog about it since a number of other people seem interested in this topic, and dealing with this issue is important in the context of various policy debates about climate change.

        With regards to “war,” I pay no attention to what people seem think is a war. That said, I am not easily intimidated, so I may come across as warrior like.

      • Dr Curry,

        I did not mean it to sound as if I was agreeing with Fred’s comments specific to you. Which was why I used “general premise”. It has been my observation that there is a fair amount of rudeness that comes out on blogs when people disagree, which I see as a sign of a warfare prospective. One example being the tendancy of some to be so critical of you.

        This site is one I enjoy greatly and if people have trouble with your positions, well, they can piss off. Not as if there aren’t tons of other sites one can spend their time on.

        I do stand by the part about arguing with a stubborn woman though.

      • interesting point about stubborn woman. If I were male, would this be characterized as not easily intimidated, tough? I’m not being critical of your statement, I am just interested in the role of gender in public debates like this.

      • Most smart women I’ve known have figured out how to do mental/rhetorical judo on people and turn that liability into an advantage. But yes, sexism is always lurking in the corners. And not usually from the usual suspects.

      • If I was interested in being on the “winning” side, I could have been more involved in the IPCC, gotten my share of the Nobel Prize, etc.

        Interesting.

        So, despite that post after post at her blog tells us that the AGW-cabal has lost the war, and despite Judith writing often of the importance of the contributions from those same tribalists who have declared that victory, Judith herself thinks that “skeptics” are on the “losing” side.

        And we see now that Judith, instead of seeking personal glory like climate scientists who disagree with her and align themselves instead on the “winning side” even though it isn’t scientifically valid, rises above vainglory to pursue the noble (and not Nobel) scientific truth.

        With regards to “war,” I pay no attention to what people seem think is a war.

        And she “pays no attention” to the tribalism.

        Unless, of course, it’s the tribalism of those who fall out on one particular side of the debate.

      • You are really straining, josh. It’s time for you to go back and read some of your posts. Are you really proud of your stalking of Judith and your incessant, ignoble haranguing? You are even influencing Fred. Don’t you people have any shame?

      • It’s not a female thing. I have noticed both here and at Lucia’s ( and at climate audit when Lucia and Judith argued with some males) that the problem is a male thing.

        witness Joshua. He doesn’t even see how his language, tone, and style of argumentation changes when he addresses Judith. Having observed more than my share of otherwise competent young males dissolve in the face of a particular class of female, I’m utterly amused at his lack of self knowledge and awareness.

      • Steven,

        You noticed that too. Women are foreign objects to josh. No wonder he has so much time to haunt this board. I hope he can work out his issues.

      • Don,
        It’s one of those things that people trained in noting shift’s in style can spot in an instant. It’s also notable in some of his metaphors. The choices people make in this area are seldom conscious and provide a nice little window to the soul. The boy clearly has/had issues.
        That doesnt make him wrong, but it is entertaining to watch.

      • Thankgod for stevens amateur psych skills.

      • Your assessment is correct, Steven. The little confused puppy is stalking the cougar. It’s claws against little paws. He is in way over his little pointy head.

      • randomengineer

        Monfort — cougar

        Interesting projection there. :-)

      • If you read over this thread, Josh isn’t the only nimrod who thought he’d bag himself a lioness, but would never dare to come near a lion.

      • R.E.,

        i mean the word to be taken in only the most flattering connotation. Don’t you think Judith is hot?

      • lol!

        An entire sub-thread devoted to speculation about my motives, psychology, and sexuality.

        I wonder if they’d have to completely revamp their conclusions if they realized that their entire edifice presumes that I’m heterosexual?

        And next they’ll blame me for their staying up late at night posting their fantasies about what they can tell from my tone and metaphors?

        You know, the incessant whining about how I am “distracting” their important work of posting the same conspiracy theories over and over again in blog comments.

      • Indeed, courage is all what is needed to bully Joshua.

        Must be another male thing.

      • Sorry to have upset you, josh. But I don’t think anyone is assuming that you are heterosexual. We don’t really care. No one would blame you if you sought in person attention anywhere you can get it. We would be relieved. I am sure that we all hope that you can find someone, anyone to give you a hug once in a while.

      • Michael
        It’s not psychology, and I suppose because I have been professionally trained and paid in it, it’s not amateur.

        Don, you have that wrong. That is not the axis he is operating on.

        Joshua. This is not about your sexuality or your motives.

        Mostly its about your style.

        Even your retort here fits the pattern perfectly. Do you not see how your language changes measureable ways when you engage males as opposed to females? Other people dont exhibit this changes in style as dramatically as you do Joshua. You have a style issue. Now, in my experience that is often coupled with certain personal issues

        Willard sees it, but he cant comment

      • steven –

        I love how you allude to a difference but don’t describe it in detail.

        I’m not sure what you’re referring to – but I suspect that you’re alluding to something that I’ve already acknowledge; there is a degree of a double-standard in my reaction to Judith and to other posters. I tend to be snarkier with her on a consistent basis. I’m snarky with the hunters and the dons, but tend to ignore the holes in their thinking more than I do in what Judith writes.

        But I think that you’ve failed to control for a key variable.

        Check out my comments over at noconsensus or at WUWT – or even to some extent at Pielke Jr.’s blogosphere abode (and in a different realm, many of my comments directed towards Charles Johnson at LGF). I tend to be less tolerant of poor logic when it is presented by a blog moderator. My guess is that it has more to do with my attitude towards “authority” than anything else.

        If you have something in mind that distinguishes my reactions to Judith from my reactions to the other bloggers mentioned, please be more specific. I’m open to input.

        It would be entirely un-skeptical to reject out of hand the possibility that gender bias in one form or another influences my reasoning.

        What’s curious, however, is your interest in the topic.

        lol!

        Anyway, if you have something to say, bring it on. I have nothing to hide. Your vague allusions serve no real function, and suggest that you aren’t sure about what you claim to be certain.

      • Actually Steven, you are wrong. Joshy’s problem with Judith has to do with her stature, rather than her sex. He feels a need to dog her, because she is a real climate scientist who is not supporting the cause faithfully. And it makes him feel important to take her on. She is only mildly annoyed.

      • Regarding stubborn women, my comments are only in reference to being married.

        Outside of that realm I’d probably apply the term tenacious. As my dad used to say to my brothers and I … “Your mom is stubborn, I’m just tenacious.” I’d also note that my wife’s “tenaciousness” is exactly what I need, as I’m pretty hard headed in my own right.

        And as someone who has worked for women as much, maybe more, than men, I’ve found that I get along well with intelligent, determined, “stubborn” women bosses. I tend to prefer them. Why they seem to like me is somewhat of a mystery.

    • Dr. Curry exhibits an interest in various theories of human reasoning, for good reason. The climate debate is a mess. The concept of error cascade is probably applicable to the climate issue, despite the poverty of the quoted post.

    • Fred, I find this comment rather astonishing. Surrepetitious warfare against Gabi Hegerl and the authors of chapter 9? What is surrepititious about blog posts, and what is the warfare? Am I (or anyone else) not allowed to question any of the arguments and conclusions in the IPCC? If so, that is rather frightening. You state that the Ch 9 authors fell short of cogency in making their case. Well we can certainly agree on that.

      The biggest problem with the IPCC attribution argument is their overarching reasoning about the problem. The multiple lines of evidence argument is naive when you are addressing a complex system with multiple hypotheses in the argument. This is the point I am continuing to make, from different perspectives (multiple lines of evidence, if you prefer).

      Nothing subliminal about this. The problem that I have in discussing this issue with my peers that most of them don’t seem to have a clue about or any interest in the abstract concepts about reasoning that I think are at the heart of the problem.

      • The problem that I have in discussing this issue with my peers that most of them don’t seem to have a clue about or any interest in the abstract concepts about reasoning that I think are at the heart of the problem.

        If that is your assessment of your peers’ ability to address this issue, then I worry that the combat is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and you will be disappointed by the outcome. They may not be infallible, but don’t you think they deserve more credit than you are giving them?

      • I’m not worried about my peers or what credit they may or may not receive. I’m interested in scientific arguments. If the outcome of this debate is better arguments and greater transparency and traceability of the arguments, then I am happy (regardless of what the eventual attribution answer turns out to be). Note that I have never stated that the IPCC attribution statement itself is incorrect; I don’t personally know what the correct answer is, my issue is with the level of confidence (very likely).

      • Fred, you are coming across as obtuse.

      • “The problem that I have in discussing this issue with my peers that most of them don’t seem to have a clue about or any interest in the abstract concepts about reasoning that I think are at the heart of the problem” – JC

        My problem is that much of this comes across as an enthusiasm that barely reaches an undergraduate level , and in this particular case, not even close to that.

        Inter-disciplinary study is all good, but there is a always a risk of making a total pig’s ear out of it, this discussion of ‘error cascades’ being a good illustration, where the comments have succumbed to near-terminal confirmation bias, as the denizens latch on to ‘grapes in England’ with all the tenacity of a starving dog with a bone.

        The medical research into errors (using cascade analysis) has an interesting point, one you may like to ponder Judith – well over half of all errors are classified as errors in communication.

        The other conclusion that’s well understood in the field is that corrrection and avoidence of error is best performed in a no-blame atmosphere, with an emphasis on systems change to effect the best outcomes, rather than pondering the flaws in inidivuduals.

        Ascribing errors and problems to venal self-interest, group-think, deliberate deception, fraud and ill-intent in general, is massively, massively counterproductive and something the ‘skeptic’ community needs to urgently reconsider if they really want to have a positive impact on science.

      • There is no “skeptic community”. The groupthink mindset displayed by people dreaming about a “skeptic community” is truly revealing.

      • Michael said, “The medical research into errors (using cascade analysis) has an interesting point, one you may like to ponder Judith – well over half of all errors are classified as errors in communication.”

        Then she picked an excellent topic. Well over half the errors in climate science are communication errors. Overly communicating confidence. Under communication of divergence. Just like in medicine, skill training would not help, but administrative change would. :)

      • There is no “skeptic community”.

        You have to understand that where they come from, there are no people, only “communities”.

      • Judith,

        You sure you want “better arguments”? How about longer arguments? You also don’t “personally know if IPCC attribution statement itself is incorrect” or if its correct. And you’ll be happy to carry on saying that for as long as you possibly can? You’ll always be able to scrape up enough doubt from somewhere, I suppose.

    • It is a presumptious post Fred. Judith is not your patient. Perhaps your ignorance of fluid dynamics is causing you to accept linearized energy balance arguments about attribution that are just wrong.

      The article in question has limitations. It does seem to me to describe accurately the whole Hockey stick fiasco and the fact that it is seriously defended. It does not describe all climate science.

    • Dr. Curry’s posts and comments amount to “surreptitious warfare?” I wonder what made the usually genteel Fred Moolten go all martial on us?

      Seems like someone hit a nerve.

      I await anxiously the condemnation of this scurrilous over reaction by our resident fairness police.

    • Fred, before climate science can advance it needs to be reformed. You should ponder that before dismissing in such a wordy fashion a very valid critique. Some of your post was nearly condescending of our host, but I guess that inadvertent on your part.

      • Fred, all deniers in GULAG!!! Dissidents like me should be avoided; what they comment / sergeant Schultz tactic… I know nooothing! Freedom of speech is not helping the AGW. Leading Warmist as blue blood, should be above critique. Sounds good.

    • Fred Moolten
      I encourage you to consider the social phenomena exemplified by Lysenkoism. See my post below.
      In Is There a Basis for Global Warming Alarm? Richard Lindzen (2005) observes:

      A rarely asked but important question is whether promoting alarmism is good for science? The situation may not be so remote from the impact of Lysenkoism on Soviet genetics. However, personally, I think the future will view the response of contemporary society to ‘global warming’ as simply another example of the appropriateness of the fable of the Emperor’s New Clothes. For the sake of the science, I hope that future arrives soon. In the mean time, we can continue to play our parts in this modern version of The Emperor’s New Clothes. Our descendents will be amused for generations to come.

      • The situation may not be so remote from the impact of Lysenkoism on Soviet genetics.

        Yes, indeed. And as Lindzen pointed out in his essay comparing environmentalists to Eugenicists, it also “may not be so remote” from a movement that advocated forced sterilization of poor people and execution of “undesirables.”

    • Fred Moolton: That is an increase in the number of posts devoted to potential advances in climate science.

      In what areas would you like to see the most advances in climate science?

      There are 360 days left in 2012, and I expect that there will be runs of days that have topics not interesting to you, and runs of days with topics that are interesting to you. I don’t see the point of commenting that we are in the midst of a run of topics that don’t interest you.

      • Aren’t there 361 days left?

      • randomengineer

        According to Dr Mann’s patented highly scientific averaging, it’s precisely 360.25, which will be flipped upside down for rounding to 360. Mattstat is therefore, on average, correct. Go ahead — dispute it, denier.

      • Fred Moolton: Aren’t there 361 days left?

        You are correct — I thought that yesterday was Jan 6.

    • Nice try, Fred.

      I actually think that your speculation about motive is a bit over the top – but Judith has been putting up some particularly weak posts lately (for my money, the “dangerous naivete” post – yet another in the long line of “skeptics” attempts to make the “scientists have been wrong before so they must be wrong this time argument” – was no less weak than this one).

      I tend to take her at her word that she considers this to be a serious endeavor to wrestle with philosophical questions related to science (as opposed to an attempt to settle personal disputes) – I just think that her biases make her unable to see the obvious flaws in the material she’s been posting.

      • You could be right, Joshua, and I’m always hesitant about attributing motives, but I did get the sense of a running battle with Hegerl et al. If she says that’s wrong, I’ll accept her word without any doubt.

      • Fred, I have never met Hegerl. Her name never even stuck with me until I started looking at the attribution issue. I had a minor interaction with her when she made a comment on Nic Lewis’ post. Then she published a comment on my uncertainty monster paper. That is the extent of my interaction with Hegerl et al. In terms of the et al., most of them I have never met, and a few such as susan solomon I have met but have never had a one-on-one conversation. The disagreement is not personal, it is about my finding their argument unconvincing.

    • I also hope she engages in enough introspection to fully understand why her position has been rejected as incompatible with the evidence, and why, if that is to change, it will require some new approach, because the current attempts to refute the strong ghg attribution have been far off target.

      I’m a bit surprised by that. That level of snottiness is something I’d expect from Robert.

      • P.E. – I can understand your impression although it wasn’t what I intended. If you think someone has been judged seriously in error based on evidence, and has failed to realize that her arguments are not addressing the evidence for the conclusion she’s trying to dispute, how would you phrase it?

    • By the way Fred, I posted something on a previous thread that is relevant to simple energy balance methods and nonlinearity. I will at some point give references and do a full LaTeX version with equations and rigorous arguments.
      https://judithcurry.com/2012/01/03/the-real-holes-in-climate-science/#comment-155822

    • Fred

      Best wishes for the New Year.

      The source for today’s topic is the personal blog of Eric S. Raymond. You may not realize this, but there probably is not a more polar opposite to you than Raymond. I only mention this because I hope you do not mistake the selection of this post by curryja as an intentional insult.

      Millions of people are familiar with Raymond as he is legendary in the Open Source/Linux community. Raymond is brilliant and also suffers from palsy and – as has been suggested of many hacker’s – possibly suffers from mild autism or Asperger’s Syndrome – or as Raymond hints: is actually missing some of the brain circuitry that lubricates ‘normal’ human social interaction. Where he lacks, perhaps you have MUCH.

      Because of unpredictable anarchists like Raymond, nervous governments around the world are ratcheting up control, which in turn provokes worse outbreaks of insolent behavior. However, I think his insight into the deficiencies of authoritarianism is valuable. If only he could collaborate with someone like you Fred, his message could be translated into a style more suitable for a scholarly, polite audience.

      bi2hs

  21. Since the the topic of wine is getting wide play here, I’ll note that the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington & British Columbia) produce some of the best wine in the world.

    I’ll also note that 500 years ago, wine grapes did not grow here (although a plant called Oregon grape did – good luck making wine out of it though). In this instance, I doubt climate had anything to do with it. Rather white European males, seeing how deprived their native brothers were, took it upon themselves to improve their condition by bringing them the grape.

    (See Martha, even us right wingers care about inequality.)

    • I might add that this year Washington produced the 6th best wine in the world according to Wine Spectator, Baer Ursa 2008. It is indeed a great wine, with the characteristic full body of Northwest wines unlike the French lighter mineral accented style. I was fortunate enough to purchase roughly 1% of the total production. However, I only share with argumentative types who don’t take themselves too seriously.

      • I’ll argue with you.

        And I have somewhere a photo of me dressed up as Cookie Monster for a friend’s 5 year daughter’s birthday party.

        PS – ever try wines by Owen Roe? He’s become one of my favorite Washington winemakers. Neat labels too. Iron Hand, Sharecroppers Row.

    • I think I might include Fred in this category, but he has to overlap with my brother and go through the baptism of fire from an Internist or he gets no wine.

    • andrew adams

      I visted western Canada a few years ago and the BC wine was excellent (it was mostly pinot noir as I remember). You don’t often see it over here in the UK though.

  22. “In googling around on the topic, I also encountered something called ‘cascade analysis,’ about which I am unfamiliar” – JC.

    In the medical literature it’s, somewhat oversimplified, the storyline of an error.

    It’s a detailed look at not just the incident or error (itself a contested term in the literature, ie, what is an ‘error’?), counting and detailing them, but trying to identify all the factors and their temporal and causal relationships.

    A simple drug administration error could be seen to be clinical misjudgement best addressed through skill development. An error cascade analyisis of the incident might show that a relevant pathology result was not in the patients medical records, without which the prescribing error occurred. No amount of skill training of the medical staff would address this error, but an overhaul of the admin procedures in medical records would.

    PS. Our bloggers take on error cascades in medicine, is, …..how should I put this…….wrong.

    • Michael, you may be right about the medical use of the term, but you are confusing separate streams of error analysis. The analysis of any catastrophic preventable outcome (I would include circumstances that lead to unwarranted death of a patient) almost always concludes that the causes are multifactorial. People get very frustrated in the aftermaths of things like the Challenger disaster or the Katrina disaster because it is rarely possible to point the finger at one or two baddies and hang them from the highest tree.

      The process that leads to a patient being given the wrong drug, or the wrong dose, comes from the interaction of the factors, not the separate factors. It is a chain of events.

      But, in the case of the climate change debate, there is no catastrophe to perform an inquest on. What we are trying to do is establish and maintain a system of checks and balances to prevent a potential catastrophe – whether it be the frying of the planet or the pointless destruction of our economies, or both (depending on your perspective).

      Triangulation is always a sound practice in evaluating a hypothesis. Error cascades are most likely to occur in linear logic, such as tiny errors in models being magnified. But it is not the same thing conceptually as multifactorial failure of checks and balances in a complex system.

  23. During the MWP, the Vikings established a colony at the northernmost tip of what is now called Newfoundland (on the eastern coast of Canada). Their name for the colony (translated into English) was Vineland. The present site is named L’Anse aux Meadows and archaeologists have found conclusive evidence of the wine making that was carried out there about 1000 years ago. Today, the average temperatures there in the winter are -15C (min) to -7C (max) and in the summer are 8C (min) to 17 (max). Needless to say, there hasn’t been any wine made there since the Vikings left.

  24. ”Science doesn’t work by consensus, it works by making and confirming predictions. Science is not democratic; there is only one vote, only Mother Nature gets to cast it, and the results are not subject to special pleading”.

    Judith, Mother Nature is controlled by the laws of physics / chemistry. How come, I’m the only one in the world taking the laws of physics for guidance; when I state some proof… I have being actively silenced by both sides. Unless Stefan’s formulas are scrutinised; they are all barking up the wrong tree. here is my formula what controls / regulates the climate in nature: EH>AE>ECI (Extra Heat>Atmosphere Expands>Extra Coldness Intercepts) not the Fujitsu air-conditioner, CO2 or bias scientists. Avoiding my formulas doesn’t change the truth – instead, it confirms that dubious characters are into climate and the PHONY GLOBAL warming. The truth will win!!! ME AND THE LAWS OF PHYSICS (mother nature) WILL WIN. Anybody brave enough to join me?!

  25. Hard to say anything about this argument, as it is all grounded in A&D fantasy world in which climate scientists have been caught in a “fraud” and must be “exposed and destroyed.”

    It would take a personal of stronger imagination than mine — or one share similar paranoid delusions — to evaluate this argument as if those premises were reality.

    • Stomp your feet, squeeze shut your eyes, say lalalala and those pesky denialists will go away.

    • Hey Robert – the “exposed” bit has already happened. Waiting now for the other shoe to drop.

    • It disappoints me Dr. Curry offers Gainists, Greenshirts, Watermellons and Zombie’s a safe harbor here by refusing to address cultural Marxism as it relates to the Team and the consensus.

      If you didn’t think you were a social sterotype living in green (socialist) fantasy world babbling on a park bench about “science” Robert you’re sadly mistaken.

      • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eco-socialism

        For more background from a leftist source at that.

      • cwon,

        As I commented to Joshua, arguments based on political ideology introduce more noise than substance, unless the topic is specifically political in nature. If we are taking about the IPCC, then politics is valid. Discussing error cascade is apolitical. No one side has a greater or lessor propensity to fall into it.

        Do I believe there is a strong element of political ideology wound through the climate change debate? Most definitely. I just think that we don’t bring out the politics guns unless the other side goes overboard on their end with it.

  26. “AGW theory most certainly does have political consequences; in fact, it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts.”

    Dr. Lindzen reported this the moment the first IPCC report was issued. Their minds were made up long before the data was ever gathered. They stood to make billions in research funding and their collective politics (the more important driver) would expand government authority as well as their own.
    Climate science is a green enclave at most levels.

    He was a Democrat at the time.

    His head should be carved on Mt. Rushmore with a cigarette in his mouth. It’s impossible to imagine how much worse it would have become without him.

  27. Re Armed and Dangerous

    Serious alarm bells rang for me about AGW when the “hockey team” edited the Medieval Warm Period out of existence. I knew about the MWP because I’d read . . . that in medieval times wine grapes — implying what we’d now call a Mediterranean climate — were grown as far north as southern England . . .

    That also rang alarm bells for me at the time, both for historical wine in England and the Vikings in Greenland.
    The current IPC WG1 zero order draft continues to claim that the modern period is warmer than the medieval warm period.

    However, see: Dinoflagellate cyst-based reconstructions of mid to late Holocene winter sea-surface temperature and productivity from an anoxic fjord in the NE Pacific Ocean R. Timothy Patterson, Graeme T. Swindles, Helen M. Roe, Arun Kumar, Andreas Prokoph Quaternary International 235 (2011) 13-25
    Patterson shows much greater temperature variations, including older periods warmer than both the present and the medieval.
    See CO2Science.org with its numerous abstracts on the Medieval Warm Period. e.g. see the Global Medieval Warm Period.
    (See also the NIPCC reports at:
    http://www.nipccreport.org/reports/reports.html)

    An extreme form of a politically enforced error cascade was Lysenkoism during Stalin’s reign.
    In The Ghost of Lysenko (2009) Bruce Walker warned:

    Perhaps the most egregious ghost is Trofim Lysenko, the man who ruled the life sciences of Soviet Russia from the late 1920s until the early 1960s. He had a theory which fit Marxism perfectly: acquired characteristics can be inherited. . . . It was science that fit the political needs of the Bolsheviks, and so it was science backed by the awful power of the party and the state.

    Lysenko’s experiments were heralded, although the experiments were never replicated. . . .it was obvious to anyone with a free mind that Lysenko was propounding nonsense. But it was not until 1962 that the Soviet government allowed a real critique of his cartoon science. Why?
    Because in the Soviet Union, as in Nazi Germany, truth was never “objective.” Science could literally be “Aryan,” or “proletariat,” or otherwise fit into some sort of sociopolitical mindset. . . .
    The ghosts spawned by Lysenko still haunt us today. The “science” of a modern Lysenko — Albert Gore, Jr. (son of the famous racist, Albert Gore, Sr.) — is totalitarian nonsense. The only question is this: How many good men must be consigned to the gulag before the dulled consciences of the administrators of academic “learning” smell Lysenko’s stench?

    Key question:
    Does the science seek “objective truth”?
    OR is it biased to a sociopolitical outcome?

    Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming appears to be biased/driven by the socio/political goals of the radical green movement – far from objective truth.
    Objective truth based on observed facts are needed to restore the integrity of climate science.

    • It’s about a sociopolitical outcome regarding AGW and climate science, “very likely” as IPCC summary statements like to measure.

      Thanks for the links, this has been one of the better starter topics Dr. Curry has put up on the one hand but then ignores a big chunk of the point;

      “I think this particular article goes over the top in essentially dismissing all of AGW as junk science, but I think his perception is correct in that once you start invoking scientific consensus and deniers, you lay yourselves open to the charge of junk science.”

      It isn’t about actual science being junk but the cultural movement of AGW agenda policy which is in fact more important than any real science that advocates falsely cling to when the debate is rationalized in a completely different way (religously denied by AGW advocates). Science is window dressing, a song and dance routine for the main act which is collective politics and the associated rent seeking subplots and power grabbing.

      It must be difficult to be on the ground doing real science and then become dominated by the likes of the Team, Greens or Zombies and all associated disputes. Dr. Curry again is minimizing the abuse by focusing on the junk science summary claim when so much more was included and accurate in the article. By not commenting on specific themes in the article is she endorsing or avoiding discussion and why?

      Here is an excerpt that should be framed;

      AGW theory most certainly does have political consequences; in fact, it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts.

      When a field of science is co-opted for political ends, the stakes for diverging from the “consensus” point of view become much higher. If politicians have staked their prestige and/or hopes for advancement on being the ones to fix a crisis, they don’t like to hear that “Oops! There is no crisis!” — and where that preference leads, grant money follows. When politics co-opts a field that is in the grip of an error cascade, the effect is to tighten that grip to the strangling point.
      ///////
      That’s a mouthfull of the essay and the issue with AGW agenda science. If Dr. Curry really didn’t care what others thought she would make a public comment about the political culture involved (even if she is associated) and admit or deny the core of the Team and the central AGW is indeed a political contrivance on a larger scale.

      It’s like watching Geraldo Rivera digging Al Capone’s Vault on TV;

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mystery_of_Al_Capone%27s_Vault

      When do we get behind the concrete Dr. Curry and know what you really think the core of AGW movement and the motives of the Team were and are?

    • Hi David –

      It’s complicated.

      Lysenko s idea of inheritance of acquired characteristics was actually Lamarckian evolution, which was resurrected by the Darwinists of the late 19th century. So both the Soviet Marxists and Nazis eugenicists were ‘Darwinists’. Elsewhere, in the 1930’s, Mendelian genetics had been brought into the mix and thus was born evolutionary theory. Not until accounting for the Creationists objections to Darwinian errors in the interpretation of the fossil record was Modern Evolutionary Biology fully formed. Ironically, there is recent recognition of the long convincing evidence of Lamarck inheritance – in which environmental cues influence the acquired characteristics of descendants.

      Regardless, I agree that the marriage of science and force can produce frightful offspring. Many do not know this, but Galileo’s first heresy conviction was basically for refusing to say that heliocentricism was a HYPOTHESIS despite stellar parallax not being shown. Kepler, Galileo’s contemporary had no troubles with the inquisition, although he eventually lost his job as head astronomer to the Holy Roman Emperor, because he was a lifelong Lutheran.

  28. Judith Re Cascade Analysis
    In context of your error cascade etc., cascade analysis appears to be useful but with limitations. e.g.
    A String of Mistakes: The Importance of Cascade Analysis in Describing, Counting, and Preventing Medical Errors Steven H. Woolf, MD, et al.

    CONCLUSIONS Cascade analysis of physicians’ error reports is helpful in understanding the precipitant chain of events, but physicians provide incomplete information about how patients are affected. Miscommunication appears to play an important role in propagating diagnostic and treatment mistakes.

    The typical engineering related use is exemplified by:
    The cascade analysis for energy and process integration of batch processes. I: Calculation of energy targets KEMP I. C. (1) ; DEAKIN A. W. ;

    A time-dependent analysis, the Cascade analysis, is presented. Time-temperature cascade tables are developed which show how much heat can be recovered by direct heat exchange between streams, and how much heat can be transferred between different time intervals by heat storage systems. A three-dimensional cascade plot is introduced to aid visualisation of heat flows. The effects of using different types of heat storage are discussed briefly. Algorithms for generation of the cascades are also presented.

    An example applied to climate change:
    Carbon and footprint-constrained energy planning using cascade analysis technique Dominic C.Y. Foo

    energy planning of biofuel systems in view of land availability constraints, which arises when agricultural resources need to be used for both food and energy production. Algebraic targeting approach of cascade analysis technique that was originally developed for resource conservation network is extended to determine targets or benchmarks for both of these problems.

  29. There were a other interesting posts on the blog but I found the format difficult to sort out;

    http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1631

    We discussed the flip use of the word “fraud” on the last thread, aside from that this is deadly accurate on the moving parts of AGW interests and advocates, excerpt;

    Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters

    James Delingpole, in Climategate: Time for the Tumbrils, noting the public collapse in credibility of AGW “science” utters a fine rant summed up in this wise (parochial references to British political figures and organizations omitted):

    I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or imprisoned. I want warmist politicians booted out and I want fellow-travellers who are still pushing this green con trick to be punished at the polls for their culpable idiocy.

    For years I’ve been made to feel a pariah for my views on AGW. Now it’s payback time and I take small satisfaction from seeing so many rats deserting their sinking ship. I don’t want them on my side. I want to see them in hell, reliving scenes from Hieronymus Bosch.

    …………….

    Nice segmenting on types of conspiracies that might be involved;

    Any conspiracies in sight? Yes, actually…

    Conspiracy #1: Most of the environmental movement is composed of innocent Gaianists, but not all of it. There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops. Their goals are political: trash capitalism, resurrect socialism from the dustbin of history. They’re actually more like what I have elsewhere called a prospiracy, having lost their proper conspiratorial armature when KGB Department V folded up in 1992. There aren’t a lot of them, but they’re very, very good at co-opting others and they drive the Gaianists like sheep. I don’t think there’s significant overlap with the scientists here; the zombies are concentrated in universities, all right, but mostly in the humanities and grievance-studies departments.

    Conspiracy #2: The hockey team itself. Read the emails. Small, tight-knit, cooperating through covert channels, very focused on destroying its enemies, using false fronts like realclimate.org. There’s your classic conspiracy profile.

    My model of what’s been going on is basically this: The hockey team starts an error cascade that sweeps up a lot of scientists. The AGW meme awakens chiliastic emotional responses in a lot of Gaianists. The zombies and the green-shirts grab onto that quasi-religious wave as a political strategem (the difference is that the zombies actively want to trash capitalism, while the green-shirts just want to hobble and milk it). Pro-AGW scientists get more funding from the green-shirts within governments, which reinforces the error cascade – it’s easier not to question when your grant money would be at risk for doing so. After a few times around this cycle, the hockey team notices it’s riding a tiger and starts on the criminal-conspiracy stuff so it will never have to risk getting off.

    Overall, is this conspiracy? No. Mostly it’s just people responding to short-term incentives, unaware that they’re caught up in an error cascade and/or being politically fucked around. Nobody involved is what you could reasonably call evil – well, except for the zombies. It would be pretty evil if the hockey team had planned all this, but I’m not cynical enough to believe that. Not yet, anyway, but I haven’t read all the emails either.

    ///////////

    I’m glad others note the issue of targeting zombies and linking them to the truely evil actors at the heart of the AGW cabal; The Team, IPCC and eco-left leadership.

  30. http://esr.ibiblio.org/?p=1631

    There were other good essays on the Armed and Dangerous;

    Naming and shaming the AGW fraudsters

    James Delingpole, in Climategate: Time for the Tumbrils, noting the public collapse in credibility of AGW “science” utters a fine rant summed up in this wise (parochial references to British political figures and organizations omitted):

    I’m in no mood for being magnanimous in victory. I want the lying, cheating, fraudulent scientists prosecuted and fined or imprisoned. I want warmist politicians booted out and I want fellow-travellers who are still pushing this green con trick to be punished at the polls for their culpable idiocy.

    For years I’ve been made to feel a pariah for my views on AGW. Now it’s payback time and I take small satisfaction from seeing so many rats deserting their sinking ship. I don’t want them on my side. I want to see them in hell, reliving scenes from Hieronymus Bosch.

    ……….

    Any conspiracies in sight? Yes, actually…

    Conspiracy #1: Most of the environmental movement is composed of innocent Gaianists, but not all of it. There’s a hard core that’s sort of a zombie remnant of Soviet psyops. Their goals are political: trash capitalism, resurrect socialism from the dustbin of history. They’re actually more like what I have elsewhere called a prospiracy, having lost their proper conspiratorial armature when KGB Department V folded up in 1992. There aren’t a lot of them, but they’re very, very good at co-opting others and they drive the Gaianists like sheep. I don’t think there’s significant overlap with the scientists here; the zombies are concentrated in universities, all right, but mostly in the humanities and grievance-studies departments.

    Conspiracy #2: The hockey team itself. Read the emails. Small, tight-knit, cooperating through covert channels, very focused on destroying its enemies, using false fronts like realclimate.org. There’s your classic conspiracy profile.

    My model of what’s been going on is basically this: The hockey team starts an error cascade that sweeps up a lot of scientists. The AGW meme awakens chiliastic emotional responses in a lot of Gaianists. The zombies and the green-shirts grab onto that quasi-religious wave as a political strategem (the difference is that the zombies actively want to trash capitalism, while the green-shirts just want to hobble and milk it). Pro-AGW scientists get more funding from the green-shirts within governments, which reinforces the error cascade – it’s easier not to question when your grant money would be at risk for doing so. After a few times around this cycle, the hockey team notices it’s riding a tiger and starts on the criminal-conspiracy stuff so it will never have to risk getting off.

    ///////

    CWON14; We were just discussing the flip use of the word fraud on the last thread and how the term can be counter productive even at times correct. There is a good point about defining the zombie faction of the AGW movement and how evil and fraud can’t be applied to these groups. Also the flaw of defining a uniform conspiracy theory when the entire AGW movement has many moving parts.

  31. Paul Vaughan

    “With regards to this statement: “Eventually, one of the factoids generated by an error cascade is going to collide with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink.” It seems to me that any such challenge from outside the field would most likely come from the solar community.”

    Earth Orientation Parameter experts could crush climate science. Their lack of aggressive corrective action raises questions (and puts their field in question).

    Dr. Curry: I caution you to regard solar scientists & their theoretical abstractions with a much heavier dose of skepticism.

    Regards.

  32. Paul Vaughan

    Very interesting article.

  33. I think he is wrong about grape vines and the MWP. It was in the Roman period that grapes for wine were grown as far north as Leeds in the UK. I don’t know any evidence for grapes being grown north of that. Sweden? Really?

    Point about the RWP and MWP being real, and the implications, and the sources in the Annales school, all that is correct.

  34. In the worst case, the field will become pathologized — scientific fraud will spread like dry rot among workers overinvested in the “consensus” view and scrambling to prop it up. Yes, anthropogenic global warming, I’m looking at you!

    Why?

    Because there has not been any change in the global temperature pattern since record begun 160 years ago as shown =>http://bit.ly/pxXK4j

    Therefore, there is no evidence of anthropogenic global warming!

    Yes, anthropogenic global warming, I’m looking at you!

  35. Mosher – you’re changing the goalposts. The hypothesis is that the MWP wasn’t as warm as today. To counterpoint it all I have to do is show an area where the hypothesis is clearly wrong. My assumption is of course that those graves were not in special places, ie the Viking settlements were not a paradise of warmth in the middle of a cold Greenland. This means the supporters of the hypothesis have to show my counterpoint wrong.

    Since my point is to show there’s not enough information to enact harsh mitigation policies, my job is pretty easy and can be done without leaving my full-time day job. I don’t have the time or inclination to come up with an alternative theory for something that might as well not be important enough to warrant an alternative theory, but this has little to do with the ability to detect baloney.

    • Im not changing anything
      “The hypothesis is that the MWP wasn’t as warm as today. ”
      Thats not the hypothesis, thats your opportunistic restatement of it.

    • You don’t have time to come up with an alternate theory but you have time to debunk using something that substitutes for theory. I wish I had that magic formula, as I could probably use it in my day job.

      • WebHubTelescope: You don’t have time to come up with an alternate theory but you have time to debunk using something that substitutes for theory.

        Most usefully, it’s the slaying of a beautiful theory with an ugly fact. I am not sure Mauritzio Morabito (omnologos) has the ugly fact, but in general it is very useful to point out when a theory is false or incomplete, even when a new theory can’t be developed. The way you formulated your response there is an implication that ignorance should never be acknowledged.

      • k scott denison

        MattStat, I thing you hit home a point that seems foreign to many or most on the warmer side: that it takes only one fact/observation (ugly or not) to disprove a theory. Rather than digging into facts that might disprove AGW or that the MWP didn’t exist, those on the warmer side dissemble and for lack of better words, make excuses why the fact doesn’t apply.

        I have not seen someone from the warming side say: “History tells us that Greenland was settled and apparently warmer in the middle ages – how does that impact our theory?”

        Rather, they say: “The reconstructions show there was no MWP so any evidence that the climate was warmer ANYWHERE during the middle ages MUST just be local or regional because we KNOW it wasn’t global.”

        This is just one of many observations of the way the warming side behaves that trip my skeptical radar.

  36. Science doesn’t work by consensus, it works by making and confirming predictions.

    Comparison of AGW predictions and observations=>http://bit.ly/cIeBz0

    AGW fails the observation test!

  37. Strictly speaking the 1989 “San Bernardino Train Derailment” was more of a causal cascade than an error cascade, but it is a classic example of a chain of mistakes leading to an unfortunate result.

    A bunch of hopper cars of Sodium bicarbonate (Trona) needed to get from the Mojave desert to a ship. A lot of things went wrong.
    .The 67 fully loaded cars were vouchered over to the railroad with the weight omitted.
    .A clerk looked at the load level and estimated the weight at 60 tons. Right for coal. Not for Trona. The cars each weighed 100 tons
    .Three engines were assigned to the train, but one would not start, so a fourth hooked up in front of it.
    .A dispatcher recalculated the weight and assigned two additional engines but the crew was not told the new weight estimate.
    .Of the six engines in the train, one was totally inoperative. Two had no dynamic brakes, and one had intermittent dynamic braking.
    .The crew — being unaware of both the weight and the faulty dynamic brakes approached the long grade from Cajon Pass to San Bernardino with the train moving too quickly.
    .When the train started to run away, the engineer applied emergency braking. He was unaware that doing so shut off the dynamic braking and left only the air brakes. (Not that it made much difference)
    .The train hit a 40mph curve at the bottom of the grade going 110 mph. It derailed into a residential area killing the crew and two residents.
    .During the cleanup after the derailment, a backhoe damaged a buried gasoline pipeline that ran next to the tracks.
    .The pipeline subsequently burst and checkvalves that should have shut flow down failed. The gasoline ignited, killing two people and destroying a number of houses and vehicles.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Bernardino_train_disaster

    A nice example I think of how one thing can lead to another.

  38. Judith,

    I was struck by the use of ‘cascade’ because a year or so, following a link here, I read a paper by two social scientists on what they called the ‘availability cascade’ . I did not note their names, but their argument was that we judge whether or not something is true by how many examples of it we see reported. Fires, storms, apparently trapped polar bears, floods, cold, undue heat — if these events are authoritatively linked to a single attributed cause, then almost anything in that domain will seem to be an example of the cause, and we become worried. I picked that up because it seemed to me that ‘climate change’ had become the offered cause of so many diverse incidents that it ceased to be a likely cause of any.

    And on wine in England, I have been to Fountains Abbey near Ripon, in the north of England, and it seems to have had a winery — that was in the 15th century. And when I lived in England in the 1960s, and asked about English wine, I was told that there was none. Maybe there was some, but you certainly couldn’t buy it in shops, and wine stores knew not of it.

    • If I may be so bold, could I offer a little, er…….scepticism, to your compelling anecdote on the sad decline of the English vinyards.

      Now this is just my, admittedly far-fetched idea, that perhaps the lack of imported Califonian and Austarlian wines in 1500 may have enhanced the apparent palatability of the English drop.

      • andrew adams

        Wine has been produced in England more or less constantly over the last 2k years. Production did decline to an extent after the MWP for various reasons and pretty much stopped between the two world wars, but commercial production was revived after WW2. Obviously it took some time to really take off and English wine would still have been hard to come by in the 1960s as Don says.

        On a wider point, we have seen various comments here about wine production in England, Canada and Sweden and Viking settlements in Greenland during the MWP. This is perfectly consistent with research which suggests that during the MWP temperatures in parts of Northern Europe (including England and Sweden) were on a par with the late 20C, that eastern Canada was slightly warmer and the southern tip of Greenland considerably warmer. Who says so? Michael Mann.

  39. I should always do my homework first! The names are Timur Kuran and Cass Sunstein, and you can Google the term, too.

    • Good catch, Don. Searching Google Scholar on the exact term http://scholar.google.com/advanced_scholar_search?hl=en&as_sdt=0,5
      finds their paper first, plus almost 70 others. PDFs are available for many.

      K&S say ” An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of
      collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.”
      http://www.law.uchicago.edu/files/files/364.pdf

      There is even one on climate change! “The Psychology of Global Climate Change,” by JJ Rachlinski – U. Ill. L. Rev., 2000 – HeinOnline.
      http://env.chass.utoronto.ca/env200y/ESSAY2001/globwarm.pdf

      • randomengineer

        Good heavens, they stumbled upon what every marketer in the past few hundred years knows — you have your product mentioned where your customer can see it and once the customer has seen it for more than a few months, s/he “knows” the product is respectable and has been around. This is why magazine ads don’t start paying back until you reach a certain (time) threshold.

        Makes you wonder about academia in a way. Lives in an odd world of its own making rather than observing the obvious in the workaday world.

      • And, having done my homework, I came across the article in 2008, before ‘Climate etc’ started — not that it matters. But ‘read, think, research, write’ is a better process than ‘read, react, write’.

  40. Crackpots are usually away from mainstream so by renouncing mainstream skeptics are bound to find themselves in the company of crackpots.

    That is a truism with zero relevance on the debate about how good mainstream is.

    • There are plenty of crackpots on the mainstream side as well. Note too that “mainstream” is a political term. It denotes the group in power. The stream in question is the funding stream.

    • Seems as though no one (except maybe me) has the suspicion that some, maybe many, of the crackpot skeptics (especially the anonymous ones) could actually be “team” members posting as “deniers” in an attempt to make them look bad. These guys are getting nervous.

      • I actually mentioned that a few days ago, suggesting agent provacateur or just some dudes trying to punk everyone.
        How can one tell?

      • some, maybe many, of the crackpot skeptics (especially the anonymous ones) could actually be “team” members posting as “deniers” in an attempt to make them look bad.

        lol!

        Based on the level of paranoia implied in that post, I have to wonder which “team” member is posting under your screenname?

      • Paranoia my foot. Nice to see that you are an expert psychiatrist too, Joshua. Using a straw man to score points in an anonymous debate could be used by either side. The point I was making was that only public figures that have stated who they are and can be verified should be taken at face value. For example, a few months ago at Climateaudit, Tim Osborn started criticizing a poster on the subject being discussed. The poster was someone no one really knows, etc. When McIntyre asked Osborn why didn’t he discuss the matter with him, Osborn never responded and has not been heard from again.

        But you may be right Joshua, there is so little money, political power, and social engineering at stake in the GW debate, such tactics would never be considered by anyone. I stand corrected!

        By the way, the updated movie Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy came out today here. I hope to be able to see it tomorrow if the schedule will allow it. The original was a series done in England. I thought it was terrific. It was based on the Kim Philby affair in the 1950’s and 60’s.

  41. Doing science has always been fighting against error cascades. Real skepticism is an antithesis of perpetuating error cascades. Both require pursuit of real objectivity, which accepts any claims only based on their merits. They are an ideal that can never be reached, but pursuit of that ideal is possible.

    (Typical climate change skepticism is something totally else as it means just being certain that main stream science is wrong or at least its conclusions unsubstantiated.)

    One problem of promoting the importance of recognizing uncertainty is the possibility that by that requests are made to give up trust in conclusions, which are actually well justified. This is very obvious in the discussion on climate change. Judith has stated in this thread again her opinion that the uncertainties have not been recognized sufficiently by IPCC or some group of other scientists. That may be true, but whether it is or is not on the whole is uncertain. (There is an uncertainty on uncertainty and that seems to be the area, where she disagrees with many.)

    There’s no doubt that uncertainties have not been always recognized fully and they are seldom described perfectly, but that’s a different issue than claiming that they have been belittled in general.

    As the issues are very difficult and complex, different people, including best specialists of uncertainty, look at them in different ways and have difficulties in communicating on them. It has been proven numerous times that people’s risk perceptions are in many ways contradictory and that people cannot take even well known facts about probabilities into account in their risk assessments. On common risks they perform better, but when we discuss risks that any individual meets with a low probability ever, the contradictions grow large or even huge.

    Risks of the type that the climate change may bring are unfamiliar. Effective countermeasures are also badly understood (are there really any?). People are really unable to compare such risks and all the other uncertainties by intuition. That doesn’t stop them from doing that. When put in this situation any typical libertarian knows what to do (the government should do little or nothing, the markets may react or not). People who support an active government and the well-fare state or with strong ecological ideologies have a totally different natural reaction to uncertainty. Neither side has really the background knowledge needed for the conclusion, but both may be certain that they are right.

    I’m uncertain, on what I should conclude. That has led me to look quite a lot at literature that tries to give quantitative support for some policies. Unfortunately the literature can be divided to two parts. One part appears fully satisfactory in its logic, but remains equally uncertain about the conclusion. The other part tries to justify it’s conclusions, but fails to do it convincingly as the argumentation is always plagued by some really serious gaps.

    I can agree on some very generic statement that something should be done. The risks are big enough to warrant some countermeasures, but deciding, what and how strong ones, cannot be answered. The differing conclusions of Stern and Nordhaus are a manifestation of the difficulty and they are not at the extreme edges of plausibly reasonable. It’s of little value to know just that something should be done, when further guidelines are lacking.

    There’s a lot of uncertainty in the climate science proper, but that’s trivial in comparison with the other difficulties in deciding on objectively justifiable policy. Here I consider doing nothing as a specific choice that requires equally strong justification as any other choice. Thus I don’t support specifically that.

    The only conclusion that I’m confident about is that it’s more important to build flexibility for future choices than to do something else immediately, but in that I must recognize that doing something now may be essential for the building of flexibility. If we let the situation move too far in some direction, getting back to track may be very difficult or even impossible. I’m stuck again, but I don’t have more trust to the abilities of the government of Finland, EU administration, IPCC or UNFCCC on this issue. My view is that none of these has really even accepted the nature of the most difficult problems and even less tried to analyze it properly. There is some work (like that of Nordhaus or Stern), but not in a form that would offer real guidance.

    One of the main proposals that I have made on IPCC is moving the most directly policy relevant work to a different format. I don’t think that IPCC can produce good reports or analysis in those areas. The contact between substance understanding, understanding of risks and economics and political views must be made closer to proceed. That’s likely to require parallel work of several groups, but these groups must agree on the basic premise that they try to help in reaching finally some agreement on action rather than perpetuate the disagreements.

    • In the Nordic countries I think colder climate will much worse than warmer climate. In Sweden where I live I can only see one bad thing with warmer climate and that is higher sea level. So for us it would be better to more think of what will happens if it gets colder.

      • Latimer Alder

        Sorry Henrik – you Scandiwegians don’t count. All and any warming must be catastrophically bad. There is no ‘good’ warming.

        For it has been written so in the Great Tome of the IPCC.

        /sarc

      • randomengineer

        The new Norman overlords following their 1066 victory decided to do a survey which although spelt domesday is pronounced otherwise. The IPCC tome is the manifesto of the wannabe replacement overlords whereupon failure to comply is also pronounced the same. Finally, the notion of peasant “rights” is put in its place once and for all. The struggle is over.

    • Pekka, I have to disagree with the word “just” in your claim that “…climate change skepticism is something totally else as it means just being certain that main stream science is wrong or at least its conclusions unsubstantiated.”

      Climate change skepticism is based on deep study. I myself have spent 19 years identifying just some of the basic flaws in CAGW, doing a lot of research in the process. Others have done a lot of original work. Skeptics did not create this unpleasant situation, that happened when the community was captured by a political movement. Note too that your term “mainstream science” is a political term. That this identifiable group has the power it does is the problem, a problem for science as well as society.

      As for the rest, your premise that we must reach some agreement on action is misplaced. It ignores the fact that the political disagreements are fundamental. The action decisions are therefore being made democratically, not by consensus or agreement. Any panel that you create that comes to an agreement on action must be unrepresentative. Democracy is not about agreement.

    • Pekka

      Much of what you have written is correct, but there is one fatal flaw:

      (Typical climate change skepticism is something totally else as it means just being certain that main stream science is wrong or at least its conclusions unsubstantiated.)

      This is NOT “typical” of rational skeptics of the IPCC premise of CAGW, which I will state, as follows: AGW, caused principally by human emissions of CO2, has been the primary cause for 20th century warming and, if left unabated, represents a serious potential treat to humanity and our environment.

      They simply insist on empirical data based on real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation to substantiate these claims. So far this evidence has been lacking, as you must know.

      Your statement is just as biased and incorrect as if I would make the statement:

      (Typical climate change belief means just being certain that IPCC consensus science is correct and its conclusions substantiated) without insisting on empirical evidence to corroborate this science

      .

      Both statements are judgmental and neither grasps the real truth, Pekka.

      Max

      • Max

        I am an expert reviewer for Ar5. The overwhelming impression I get in some chapters-such as sea levels and temperatures-is that there is a huge amunt of conjecture, speculation and assumption. I have queried this in such examples as deep ocean warming and await the back up papers.

        tonyb

      • > I am an expert reviewer for Ar5.

        Readers may ask: how can I become an expert reviewer?

        Here are three easy steps:

        1. Go read Tony’s:

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/12/15/register-to-become-an-expert-reviewer-for-ipcc-wg1/

        2. Follow the instructions there.

        3. Wait for approval.

        This should be enough to be able to preface all your future comments in blogland with “I am an expert reviewer for” whatever you fancy.

        Best of luck!

      • Max,
        As I wrote in another message, I don’t think that all climate skeptics are similar. After all there is an infinity of ways of having doubts on the main stream views and that leaves a lot of freedom.

        In my view those that fit my formulation are rather typical, while all other varieties combined are likely to outnumber the typicals, as I described them.

        It’s certain that no one and no organization can claim to represent all skeptics or speak on their behalf.

      • I join with Max Manacker, and add that if there’s one thing that sceptics about AGW oughtn’t to be, it’s ‘certain’! I’m certainly not certain (joke). I’m sceptical that the proposed remedies will do any good in addressing what is claimed to be the problem, and agnostic about much of what is claimed to be the science.

        As you say elsewhere, and as others have said more generally, while it is sensible on occasion to talk about two camps, the ‘supporters’ (of the IPCC position) and the ‘dissidents’, there is a world of difference between the two camps. One is united around a set of propositions, and the other contains a wide range of dissidents, who do not necessarily share the same opinions and do not come from the same starting points. And they do not bother, for the most part, arguing with one another — they reserve their shots for the principal antagonist, ‘the consensus’.

      • > [T]here is an infinity of ways of having doubts on the main stream views and that leaves a lot of freedom.

        Yes, but let’s not forget the power of recursive definitions: Suppose that somebody, somewhere claims P. Here is how to be skeptikal about P:

        1. How do you know that P?
        2. Yes, but are you sure?
        3. Fair enough, but can we call this P settled?
        4. You say it’s settled, but how could P ever be settled in science?
        5. And do we have an engineer-level derivation that P?
        6. What would Feynman say of those who believe that P?
        7. Perhaps P, but how does that matter for the price of butter?
        8. Ok, it matters, but what if P was a good thing?
        9. And what can we do about it anyway?

        There might be ways to simplify this algorithm by adding some recursion.

        This could help alleviate the Procrustean beds between questions 3 and 4, and questions 4 and 5. Just try to satisfy two skeptics, one asking 3 and the other asking 4, or one asking 4 and the other 5. This might explain why skeptiks are acting as if they were not part of the same camp.

        * * *

        We might be lukewarm to add this other question:

        10. Of course P, but should we make sure that those who hold P ought to be squeaky clean?

        This might not belong to the skeptkal audit, only to the one that raises deontological concerns. A variation is the question raison methodological concerns:

        11. Of course P, but should we make sure that those who hold P got to the result in some squeaky clean way?

        Both 10 and 11 gets conflated most of the times. These are good questions. In fact, they are so good that they create a never ending audit.

        * * *

        If I forgot questions, I’d like to know which one.

        On the face of it, I believe this covers much of my experience in climate blogland.

      • Willard on how to be skeptical

        Here is how to be skeptikal about P:

        1. So now it is warming?
        2. It could be bad, so I don’t mine them getting some funding.
        3. ITS GONNA COST HOW MUCH!?
        4. Now you say its settled and GONNA COST HOW MUCH!?
        5. You need a better engineering report to justify THAT MUCH MONEY!?
        6. Feynman said you’re nuts!
        7. THE UN!? They’re idiots! Can’t we do this in country?
        8. FOR THAT MUCH MONEY A LITTLE WARMER SOUNDS FINE BY ME!
        9. IT IS GOING TO COST HOW MUCH AND DO SQUAT! What are you smoking?
        10. You want more money? Where’s the warming bubba?
        11. Go away! Didn’t you say it would be warmer by now? More hurricane? Cats and Dogs sleeping together and all that gloom and doom? What are you smoking?
        12. Now you want money to figure out why what you said would work didn’t? Divergence problem? Antarctic problem? Missing heat problem? Where did you go to school? Auburn?

      • And so Cap’n Dallas shows us another way to be skeptikal of P:

        > Don’t tell me about P: what ‘s up with Q?

        Arrr!

    • Pekka,
      Excellent points. Could it be better to consider a group whose role is to test strongly the premise of the IPCCC? From every study of the IPCCC process it is clear that an echo chamber has developed. A group whose goal is to deconstruct the echo and test the underlying assumptions might- just might- have some good results.

    • Pekka –

      Thanks for that excellent (as usual) post.

      People ask for an example of the “middle ground” on the climate change debate. I have seen few that come as close to realizing that standard than you. I have to wonder if it is coincidence that a Finn presents such a rare commodity.

      Not to over-generalize from one example, but I’m a believer in the theories of a bilateral relationship in the influence of language and development. I have to wonder if the somewhat unique history of the Finnish language, and the somewhat unique affiliation of Finland as a nation, don’t foster a less-ideological bent among Finns in general.

      Any thoughts? Is that just wacked-out speculation?

      • Tulach Àrd

      • The history and the small size of the country have certainly their influence. In a small and culturally rather homogeneous country seeking consensus is perhaps more natural. That is probably a significant factor in the relatively large number of internationally active mediators like the recent Nobelist Martti Ahtisaari both from Finland and from other small countries including the other Nordic countries in particular.

        Another consequence of the small size of the country is that there are more generalists and fever deep specialists as there are not so many people available for every issue that narrow and deep specialists could be nominated to handle all details. People have been forced into covering wider areas (and I’m personally happy with that).

    • Very well put.

      I’m sure you are aware that, after Slovenes, Finn’s are among the smartest, most attractive and reasonable people in the world.

  42. Whodathunk a site like this with noble and high ambitions would just turn into one more dialogue of the deaf?

    I guess anybody who thought about it for more than a second. It is a shame though, nevertheless. The blog is valuable, IMHO, even if the comment thread is just one more wasteland of cheerleaders, with tiny, overwhelmed, oases of civil debate.

  43. [Re-posted. Did not go through first time.}

    Judith Curry

    Thanks for posting another very relevant article.

    You defend climate science against the “error cascade” argument in general, but then add:

    the error cascade in the IPCC argument starts here: multidecadal and longer modes of natural internal variability are dismissed in the attribution arguments, based upon a flawed ‘detection’ of unusual warming (relative to natural variability) using climate model simulations that produce natural internal variability on time scales longer than ~20 years that is substantially lower (factor of 2-3) than observed variability (which is itself uncertain). Dangerous climate related impacts are then attributed to AGW, which leads to a policy prescription of CO2 mitigation. When people say the hockey stick and millennial climate reconstructions don’t really matter, I strongly disagree, since these data are crucial for empirical support of detection arguments.

    These ”errors” have, indeed ”cascaded”.

    They form the very basis for the two most important claims of the IPCC argument:

    – That human GHG emissions have been the primary cause of most of the late 20th century warming (a claim you have challenged)

    – That the warmth of the 20th century is unprecedented in at least the past 1,300 years (a claim that many have challenged)

    And, with these premises, the projection:

    – That, if left unabated, AGW represents a serious threat to humanity and our environment

    In fact, the whole concept of catastrophic (or alarming) AGW falls apart without this ”error cascade”.

    What to do about it?

    As the author states, politics and science do not mix well and yet they are inexorably linked in climate science today, primarily as a result of IPCC and UNFCCC and the many high publicity propaganda releases (such as Al Gore’s “AIT” film).

    A strong scientifically, rather than politically, based counterbalance to these organizations is required to get climate science back on a scientific, rather than political, track.

    Cries for “action now” based on the premise that “the science is settled” should be shelved until the “error cascade” you describe is corrected and the many still open uncertainties are resolved with an open mind and to the best of our ability.

    I am personally convinced that this change has to come from within the climate science community rather than being imposed from the outside.

    There will undoubtedly be major resistance from today’s “insider consensus group” to such a change, but it must come if climate science wants to regain its credibility.

    I know you have written about this problem in the past and have some ideas on “how” this can be resolved.

    Maybe it’s worth a separate post.

    Max

  44. I get to read the same but re-worded error cascade every time a Warmer tries to actually defend AGW speculations.

    Andrew

  45. Error cascade–

    Let’s see… IIs that sort of like, you stupidly poke one eye out and you cannot bring yourself to see what you’ve done so you poke your other eye out?

  46. –> With regards to this statement: “Eventually, one of the factoids generated by an error cascade is going to collide with a well-established piece of evidence from another research field that is not subject to the same groupthink.” It seems to me that any such challenge from outside the field would most likely come from the solar community.

    Maybe but currently it is the fields of sociology, psychology and philosophy and history that are most intrigued by the cargo cult science and self-defeating nihilism of the Left. We’ve already had such challenges from outside the field from statisticians like the chalkboard squeak heard round the world when the mathematics of McShane and Wyner showed that there was absolutely no signal in the data that underlies Mann’s hokey schtick. And, that is why global warming really is nothing more than a symptom of a dead and dying culture where liars, charlatans and flimflammers are not held accountable, those without a conscience are rewarded and truth has no value.

  47. ceteris non paribus

    From the blog ‘Armed and Dangerous’ that JC cites:

    There an important difference between the AGW rathole and the others, though. Errors in the mass of the electron, or the human chromosome count, or structural analyses of obscure languages, don’t have political consequences (I chose Chomsky, who is definitely politically active, in part to sharpen this point). AGW theory most certainly does have political consequences; in fact, it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts.

    That is a lovely piece of complete nonsense.

    Leaving aide the “rathole” and “fraudulently” juicy bits…

    The LHC has cost about 10 billion $US so far – to find the Higgs boson – with gives mass to the electron…

    The Human Genome Project cost approximately 2.7 billion $US – to, among other things, count the number of human chromosomes…

    Anytime that kind of money is involved, there are “political consequences”.

    Furthermore, anyone who doesn’t understand the deep structural relationships between language and politics is simply daft. The reference to Chomsky’s activism is amusingly ironic.

    And finally, “rather than being based on anything so mundane and unhelpful as observed facts” could certainly apply to the entire quoted paragraph.

    • randomengineer

      Anytime that kind of money is involved, there are “political consequences”.

      Following recommendations by IPCC cheerleaders could bring the western economy to its knees. The numbers you cite are chump change. From previous posts it’s clear that the notions of context and scale aren’t your cup of tea, but… seriously?

      • It’s already on its knees. This could finish Europe off, and leave North America flat on it’s butt wondering what hit it.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Ah – the “destroy the economy of the West” argument.

        I have fond memories of the CFC ban in 1998 doing the very same thing.

        The “our economy is too fragile to change” gambit never gets old for some folks.

        It’s not as though rapid climate change will have any economic consequences.
        Perhaps not following the recommendations of the IPCC could bring the global economy to its knees.
        All depends on who’s right.
        Please place your bets now on behalf of your descendants.

      • Funny how the ‘skeptics’ suddenly switch to alarmists in the blink of an eye, huh?

  48. Perhaps it is geology that is pushing back against CAGW error cascade. We have a good video now of Dr. Ian Clark’s testimony at a recent Canadian Senate hearing:

    • ceteris non paribus

      Wow. You will lap up anything that is put in front of you, I guess…

      3 seconds with Google caught me this:

      In the 2007 UK television documentary “The Great Global Warming Swindle”, he states that changes in global temperature correlate with solar activity, saying “Solar activity of the last hundred years, over the last several hundred years correlates very nicely on a decadal basis, with sea ice and Arctic temperatures.” Data in the graph Clark defends were modified from the original publication, leading to suggestions among practicing climate scientists that these data were falsified to improve the apparent correlation between solar activity and temperature.

      Falsified data? Improving the correlation?

      Oh well, it was only practicing climate scientists that noticed.
      So it’s OK then.

      • You have nothing to say about the main point: CO2 does not drive temperature change.

      • cnp, Fred did make a good point, “No – for practical purposes, atmospheric CO2 is essentially unsaturable, because radiation escapes to space from altitudes where molecules are sparse, and because wavelengths outside of the center of the main absorption band intercept photons at progressively lower rates the further they are from the center. ”

        However, this issue is how close to saturation CO2 is at the surface since it is surface warming that is our concern.

    • ceteris non paribus


      CO2 does not drive temperature change.

      OK – I’ll bite.
      Please tell me at which stop you decided to step off the science bus.

      Is it that you don’t believe in the spectral properties of CO2?

      Is it that you don’t believe that the concentration of CO2 has increased?

      Is it that you think that natural variability has completely accounted for the climate changes we’ve seen in the last 50 years?

      Are you a Spencer-type cloud-forcing “Christian Scientist”?

      Or have you gone the whole nine yards and rejected the greenhouse effect based on a paper by a couple of Germans?

      • Are you a Spencer-type cloud-forcing “Christian Scientist”?

        Uh oh. Man the ramparts.

      • cnp,
        Please do show us where CO2 has led climate warming in the past.
        TIA,

      • ceteris non paribus

        “Man the ramparts”

        Sorry. My climate sensitivity is pretty damn low.

      • ceteris non paribus

        hunter:
        Please show us that you are capable of using the internet to find out things all by yourself.
        TIA.

      • Co2 doesn’t drive climate is not rejecting the Greenhouse effect.

        From realclimate, In other words, CO2 does not initiate the warmings, but acts as an amplifier once they are underway. Of course you have to consider the quality of the source, they have been known to err on occasion.

        In the same post they say, “The 4200 years of warming make up about 5/6 of the total warming. So CO2 could have caused the last 5/6 of the warming, but could not have caused the first 1/6 of the warming.”

        5/6 I would think is outrageously overestimated since water vapor alone is responsible for over half of the greenhouse effect and change in albedo is estimated to cause on the order of 40Wm-2 of forcing change between glacial and interglacial.

        So the question is how much CO2 amplifies the GHE since it is not the driver of climate. .

      • Cap’n

        Of course you have to consider the quality of the source, they have been known to err on occasion.

        Do you reject the basic science/logic of the AGW CO2 as a lagging driver analysis?

      • OK. I’ll help you. In his talk Dr. Clark puts his finger on a basic error in the cascade. Hint: Look for the word “preposterous”.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Cap’n Dallas wrote:

        5/6 I would think is outrageously overestimated since water vapor alone is responsible for over half of the greenhouse effect and change in albedo is estimated to cause on the order of 40Wm-2 of forcing change between glacial and interglacial.

        Sure, H20 is responsible for over half of the GHE – But the relevant thing is the net CHANGE in the radiative energy balance of the Earth, not the fractional contribution of each GHG at any particular time.

        Unlike atmospheric CO2, which has increased by about 40% in the last 150 years, water vapour is always near equilibrium.

      • enp
        You are missing the scales involved. H2O is almost 97% of the GHE, and BTW, water vapor fluctuates+/-5%, and more depending on the region and the season. CO2 is overwhelmed and lost in the noise.

      • Do I reject AGW CO2 as a lagging driver analysis? Yes, The theory requires too many assumptions. The worst assumption is that water vapor is a feed back of CO2. Evaporation and convection are major sources of surface cooling. Water vapor is the major factor in albedo. Since CO2 lagged both interring and leaving glacial/interglacial it cannot be a driving factor in both cases as postulated by Arrhenius.

        CO2 can amplify climate by returning or restricting out going long wave radiation, That amplification increases both evaporation and convection which are both negative feed backs. The positive feedback of water vapor needed for significant AGW has not been observed and is unlikely to exist.

        So drive no, amplifier yes, but the gain seems to be pretty low compared to AGW theory estimates. Manabe and Callendar had better estimates. Hansen and Arrhenius had motivations.

      • cnp,
        Arm waving,no matter how hard you try, will not help you fly.
        But it is entertaining to watch you try.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Ron C. wrote:

        You are missing the scales involved. H2O is almost 97% of the GHE, and BTW, water vapor fluctuates+/-5%, and more depending on the region and the season. CO2 is overwhelmed and lost in the noise.

        And you are missing the fundamental difference between the quantity (GHE) and the rate of change in that quantity.

        It’s a bit like the difference between 100 m and 100 m/s.

        But, really. If you’re so convinced that you’re on to something big here – I’d advise you to publish ASAP. Your declaratives deserve to be read by scientists far and wide. And you wouldn’t want to get scooped by that famous climate scientist, Marc Morano.

      • Cap’n –

        I should have been more specific – and I couldn’t quite tell from your answer whether you solved my lack of specificity.

        Do you reject the analysis that the lag is a part of CO2 initially functioning as an amplifier that once it reaches a certain magnitude, functions as a driver?

        It seems that you’re saying that you do:

        So drive no, amplifier yes, but the gain seems to be pretty low compared to AGW theory estimates.

        But maybe you’re creating a false dichotomy in that what once was an amplifier can later become a driver.

      • cnp
        You are talking about parts per million–big % of CO2 increase in ppm (as shown by Dr. Clark in his graphs), but small in the atmosphere compared to H2O–the normal changes in H20 swamp the little bit of increase in CO2. But this is clearly falling on your deaf ears. I’m done.

      • andrew adams

        H2O is almost 97% of the GHE

        Citation needed methinks.

      • cnp,

        Regarding the spectral properties of CO2 (or any other GHG), I remember learning that each gas absorbs within a particular part of the spectrum. If this is the case, isn’t there a point where increasing concentration “saturates” that spectrum?

      • CNP,

        Of the GHGs H2O is the driver and CO2 the hitchhiker, not the other way around. Major GHE warming requires CO2 to drive H2O creating a positive feed back. H2O is not playing the game. Angstrom had it right that CO2 was near saturation. More CO2 has a radiant impact, but the altitude of the impact increases, as predicted, but water, ice, water vapor and CO2 itself block its surface impact, reducing CO2’s gain.

        In Arrhenius’ 1896 paper he has a table with estimated impact by latitude. The greatest impact of a 1.5 times increase from his day, would have produced about 4.5 degrees of warming over land at 25.5 degrees North. In 1986, Hansen told the press that warming in the US would reach 2 to 4 degrees by 2010 to 2020. The CO2 concentration that would cause that increase? About 400PPM. The CO2 concentration Arrhenius’ based his table on, about 420PPM.

        Both Hansen and Arrhenius have made testable predictions that have failed. So I didn’t take the bus, some seem to have taken the short bus :)

      • tmg56 “Regarding the spectral properties of CO2 (or any other GHG), I remember learning that each gas absorbs within a particular part of the spectrum. If this is the case, isn’t there a point where increasing concentration “saturates” that spectrum?”

        No – for practical purposes, atmospheric CO2 is essentially unsaturable, because radiation escapes to space from altitudes where molecules are sparse, and because wavelengths outside of the center of the main absorption band intercept photons at progressively lower rates the further they are from the center.

        The principles are well explained by Pierrehumbert in his Physics Today article.

      • Andrew Adams
        Appreciate your question, and it deserves a more nuanced answer. By volume, water vapour and clouds are 97% of greenhouse gas content in the atmosphere. But as to effect, 75 to 80% is a better estimate, considering especially CH4. Nonetheless, it is still the case that (at present concentrations) a 3% change in H2O is the same effect as a 100% change in CO2.
        See: http://www.friendsofscience.org/index.php?id=3

      • andrew adams

        Ron C,

        Thanks for the clarification – my understanding is that CO2 contributes 20-25% of the GHE so we are not far apart. I don’t know if your claim that “a 3% change in H2O is the same effect as a 100% change in CO2” is correct, but that would seem to imply a very strong positive water vapour feedback and thus high climate sensitivity.

        I found it a bit odd that the site you linked to claimed to be debunking a “myth” that CO2 is the most common GHG in the atmosphere.Does anyone really think that?

      • Andrew Adams
        No one who exams the issues with critical intelligence believes CO2 is the dominant GHG. But unfortunately, most citizens, and even politicians, have not done the homework–so yes it is a myth that has to be debunked. I even saw one reporter in Durban refer to “carbon monoxide”. The ignorance on this issue is enormous.

      • Andrew Adams
        Sensitivity to H2O, definitely. My point is that small variations in water content, regionally and seasonally, swamp CO2 variations.

      • Ron C,

        The particular myth being referred to was that CO2 is the most common GHG in the atmosphere (which is obviously wrong), not that it is the “dominant” GHG, which rather depends on how you define “dominant”. If there are people who do not realise that H2O is more common in the atmosphere and makes a greater direct contribution to the GHE than CO2 then it’s right that they be corrected, but in doing so it would be wrong to lead people to believe that increases in CO2 cannot have a significant effect – let’s not replace one myth with another.

        The point about sensitivity is that the level of climate sensitivity to CO2 depends to a large effect on the strength of the feedbacks, including the feedback effect from increased H2O in the atmosphere. So if an increased level of H2O has a powerful effect as you suggest then that implies high overall sensitivity to increased CO2.

      • Andrew, It’s been fun to banter with you. No matter how you parse my words, I don’t agree with you: CO2 effect is not amplified by H2O, it is nullified. I am going to go with Miskolczi on this one: “The data negate increase in CO2 in the atmosphere as a hypothetical cause for the apparently observed global warming. A hypothesis of significant positive feedback by water vapor effect on atmospheric infrared absorption is also negated by the observed measurements. “

  49. One of the key components of the IPCC alarm call is that impacts will be bad. I did an analysis of ecosystem impact studies. I found that the more realistic the study the more likely it was to find neutral to positive effects of climate change. Leaving out a critical biological process is likely to take you into a regime where organisms don’t do well, but that is only a convenient, and not a realistic, result.
    Loehle, C. 2011. Criteria for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.7

    Abstract
    There is concern about the potential impacts of climate change on species and ecosystems. To address this concern, a large body of literature has developed in which these impacts are assessed. In this study, criteria for conducting reliable and useful assessments of impacts of future climate are suggested. The major decisions involve: clearly defining an emissions scenario; selecting a climate model; evaluating climate model skill and bias; quantifying General Circulation Model (GCM) between-model variability; selecting an ecosystem model and assessing uncertainty; properly considering transient vs. equilibrium responses; including effects of CO2 on plant response; evaluating implications of simplifying assumptions; and considering animal linkage with vegetation. A sample of the literature was surveyed in light of these criteria. Many of the studies used climate simulations that were >10 years old and not representative of best current models. Future effects of elevated CO2 on plant drought resistance and productivity were generally included in growth model studies but not in niche (habitat suitability) studies, causing the latter to forecast greater future adverse impacts. Overly simplified spatial representation was frequent and caused the existence of refugia to be underestimated. Few studies compared multiple climate simulations and ecosystem models (including parametric uncertainty), leading to a false impression of precision and potentially arbitrary results due to high between-model variance. No study assessed climate model retrodictive skill or bias. Overall, most current studies fail to meet all of the proposed criteria. Suggestions for improving assessments are provided.

    • So much light, so little heat.

      Show me a scientific article on any subject, by scientists with no political axe to grind, and I will read it with an opened mind. But show me a scientific article, written by scientists funded by progressive governments, the results of which are guaranteed to generate additional funding to those scientists, and that are used to support the massive expansion of progressive government, and history tells me to doubt what I read.

      Do I view political activism disguised as science through a political lens? You betcherass. So sue me.

    • Craig Loehle

      Thanks for link to your interesting study.

      For others who might be interested, here is access link:
      http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.7/full

      Max

  50. I would like to specifically document error cascades in climate change studies. I have found (Loehle, C. 2011. Criteria for Assessing Climate Change Impacts on Ecosystems. Ecology and Evolution doi: 10.1002/ece3.7) that when studies are done about how some altered climate aspect will have bad effects, that some model is created to extrapolate warming effects on plant growth, for example (this is in fact my specialty by the way). In order to generate this model, certain assumptions must be made. One of the following assumptions is often made: 1) extreme future change scenario [in order to be able to detect impact…], 2) leave out CO2 fertilization effect [even though it is known how to model it], 3) pick only a single GCM scenario [ignore uncertainty], etc. The study will typically have a result that might be completely changed if the assumptions are wrong. In basic research the next step is to investigate these key assumptions, but in climate impact studies the “right” answer has been given and “accepted” assumptions are used, so no one looks more closely. Those studies that alter these assumptions to be more realistic typically project increasing plant (forest, crop) growth over the next 100 yrs, not disaster, but these studies are not necessarily picked up by IPCC (to be generous).

    • It is nice to see some confirmation for what I thought I was observing with a casual look at some of the “impacts” papers – i.e. just reading the abstracts.

  51. Joshua writes “Please, any skeptic who reads this post, if you disagree with what I wrote, please supply some evidence to support your disagreement. I’m beginning to lose faith in you!!!”

    So far as I can see you have no appreciation for what are the main concerns of many skeptics/deniers, including myself. I have one main interest in the science of CAGW, and one only. How do you measure any number associated with CAGW? And since the major number for CAGW is climate sensitivity, that is where my interest lies. How do you measure climate sensitivity? Hence I am interested in the argument between Spencer and Dessler, and Ludecke and Trenberth. I also think Girma is right to repetitively bring us back to the hard numbers which show that CAGW is, simply, just plain wrong. I am disappointed that, for weeks, we have seen no statement at the end of Judith’s comments WTTE, “This is a technical thread and will be monitored accordingly”.

    When it comes to climate sensitivity, proponents of CAGW quote numeric values as if they were carved on tablets of stone. So far as I can tell, ALL these numbers are estimates, have never been measured and are based on the assumption that they can be derived by ONLY looking at radiaiton effects. I have never seen this assumption shown the be valid.

    So, any time, Joshua, you want to talk about how we measure any number that is relevant to CAGW, you will probably find me responding. But when it comes to airey, fairey talk such as you write, I am not really interested.

    • Jim C –

      So far as I can see you have no appreciation for what are the main concerns of many skeptics/deniers, including myself. I have one main interest in the science of CAGW, and one only.

      Please re-read what I wrote. I make no assumptions about what are the concerns of any particular individual – although I take into account evidence that might be instructive (as I discussed with my observations of David Young’s input).

      I specifically noted that I’ve found the comments of some “skeptics” to be, at least w/r/t the evidence provided, consistent with the notion that their “skepticism” is rooted more or less, wholly, in a scientific analysis. For example, I’ve noted that David W’s skepticism w/r/t temperature trends is internally consistent in a way that the comments of most of the “skeptics” I’ve read isn’t.

      My comments were in reference to how “skeptics” generalize about other “skeptics.” Again, your particular approach to the debate reflects an outlier – those “skeptics” who are well-informed about the science (climate fanatics). That descriptor applies to only a small minority of “skeptics.” Further, even among that small minority, the evidence suggests that for at least a significant amount, social, and political or other ideological orientation is a relevant factor.

      If you have evidence that supports a different conclusion, please provide a link.

      So, any time, Joshua, you want to talk about how we measure any number that is relevant to CAGW, you will probably find me responding. But when it comes to airey, fairey talk such as you write, I am not really interested.

      Outstanding!

      I do love me some irony!

      • How is it you fail to address the political ideology of warmists and for that matter the Team?

        You’re pathetic Joshua, only people who disagree with are partisan?

      • cwon –

        … only people who disagree with are partisan?

        Not at all, cwon. There is nothing that I’ve ever posted at Climate Etc. that would support such a conclusion.

        Nothing.

        My main point is that partisanship is a fundamental influence in how people reason in all situations, let alone highly controversial contexts that have large-scale social and political implications.

        My basic point is that to conclude that there is some over-riding disproportionality in partisan influence on the different sides of the debate is most decidedly antithetical to skepticism. It reeks of confirmation bias.

        It’s really amazing how often people can read and respond to my posts and not understand what I say – yet complain that I say the same thing too often. I realize that a lack of conciseness makes my discourse difficult, so maybe just need to try more often!

        Well, either that or folks need to check their confirmation bias at the Climate Etc porthole.

      • I realize that a lack of conciseness makes my discourse difficult, so maybe just need to try more often!

        Left the door wide open on that one.

      • Joshua:

        “My main point is that partisanship is a fundamental influence in how people reason in all situations”

        All situations, really.
        evidence please.

        If this were true, you couldnt prove it, that is you couldnt prove it in a way that is free of partisanship.

      • Joshua,
        You want ‘irony’? Tell us why people are required to build a fence around their pool to protect the children from an ‘attractive nuisance’ yet Hollywood will make stars of kids with guns, just for more money? Of course they are ‘artists’, not citizens of the United States. YMMV, don’t worry though I know how much I still got in the tank.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2083134/Is-sickest-film-America-Calls-ban-ultra-violent-gang-movie-featuring-children-young-12.html

        You continue to refuse to deal with facts that are right in front of us all every day. Yet your tribe keeps telling us your science is settled. To quote Michael…WTF?

        Definition of CITIZEN
        1: an inhabitant of a city or town; especially : one entitled to the rights and privileges of a freeman
        2 : a member of a state b : a native or naturalized person who owes allegiance to a government and is entitled to protection from it
        3: a civilian as distinguished from a specialized servant of the state

        Want some get some.

      • Josh is almost right. I think it’s fair to say that policy preferences are driving the bulk of both sides of the argument. That isn’t always “political” in the ideological sense, it can be venal.

      • steven –

        All situations, really.
        evidence please.

        Sure – partisanship as a wide descriptor – to include social identity, cultural influences, experiential influences, psychological formation. If we parse the definition of partisanship, I guess you could say it’s an overstatement.

        I haven’t studied the issue in-depth, but the evidence of strong influence of these factors in how people reason, problematize, etc., seems to me to be ubiquitous. I’m content to accept the generalization. If you have evidence to the contrary, I’d love a link. Exceptions to generalizations are the meat of debate.

      • steven –

        If this were true, you couldnt prove it, that is you couldnt prove it in a way that is free of partisanship.

        lol!

        So your absolutist statement shows that you are in agreement with me.. So what is the evidence you used to reach your conclusion?

      • Josh is almost right. I think it’s fair to say that policy preferences are driving the bulk of both sides of the argument. That isn’t always “political” in the ideological sense, it can be venal.

        How “almost.” That seems to me to be a precise and concise summary of my argument.

      • After re-reading the definition of the word ‘citizen’, I noticed that there were not periods at the end of the three definitions, More PC it seems:

        1. …or burgess.
        2. …; -opposed to alien.
        3. A civilian, as opposed to a soldier, policeman, etc.
        ———————————————————————————————–
        More irony.
        Pervert: …
        You scientists should look it up. It is the root cause of AGW, et al
        Get out your old dictionary for the true meaning.

      • Joshua, you write “Again, your particular approach to the debate reflects an outlier – those “skeptics” who are well-informed about the science (climate fanatics). That descriptor applies to only a small minority of “skeptics.””

        I would love to have a reference that I am in a minority of skeptics. Where on earth do you get that idea from? All over the skeptical blogs the vaste majority of skeptics seem to have the same approach that I have. We are those who are pressing the learned societies, eg the Royal Society, and the APS, to change their support for CAGW, and write proper science. So far as I am aware, and I have no hard numbers, there are hundreds of thousands of scientists who are much better informed about CAGW than I am, who are skeptics. And the number, I believe, is growing on a daily basis.

        So, Joshua, reference please.

      • Jim C –

        I would love to have a reference that I am in a minority of skeptics. Where on earth do you get that idea from? All over the skeptical blogs the vaste majority of skeptics seem to have the same approach that I have.

        Please, look at what you just wrote.

        What % of people who identify as “skeptics” (a large % of the American population, as one metric), have ever read a “skeptical” blog, let alone written comments at a “skeptical” blog?

        And even there, when you go to WUWT or Climate Etc., what do you see w/r/t evidence of strong ideological (cultural, social, political, etc.) orientation?

        Please – I’m trying to keep an open mind as to your personal approach to the debate, but it really doesn’t help when you apply such clearly un-skeptical logic.

        You can’t generalize to hundreds of millions of people on the basis of what you read in the skeptical blogosphere or from your own personal experiences.

        It just doesn’t stand up to basic scrutiny. If you have some evidence for your speculation about how your experience and/or approach is applicable to a wider context: please provide a link!

        And with that, have a nice day!

      • Josh,

        Regarding your majority of skeptics argument. Limiting that group to the US, we are talking about 48% of the population according to the last poll I saw. (Of course it all depends on what questions are asked and how, but this isn’t a discussion about the science of polling.)

        So, over the last half dozen years or so it appears that the American public has gone from about a third skeptical to almost half. As to why that is, I would only be guessing. If you want to believe it is the half that votes Republican and is right of center, go ahead. I’m not saying you are wrong. But as I mention above, that means the other half who believes in CAGW must vote Democrat and all be left of center. If this is the case, then it is not relevant to a debate on the science, unless you believe that one can only do good science if they are a lefty.

    • ceteris non paribus


      All over the skeptical blogs the vaste majority of skeptics seem to have the same approach that I have.

      OMG – That is the most beautiful example of confirmation bias I have ever seen.

      I’m going to take a wild guess that all these skeptical bloggers like to call this widespread skeptical approach “the scientific method”.

  52. dangerous sheep

    The discussion about medieval vineyards in England ignores the fact that the main threat to the harvest is from damp not cold! Warm but wet weather encourages all sorts of pests and moulds which nobody could deal with until very recently. In Europe vineyards thrive in Hungary but not SW Ireland since although the later has much less frost it also has less sun. Consequently I think that they are very poor evidence for the Medieval Warm Period.

    I do think there is evidence for the MWP from archeology. In Wales where I live. abandoned farm sites and traces of fields are quite common on land that
    today is too bleak to be used for anything except rough pasture. These mainly date from the tenth to the early thirteenth centuries so coincide with the MWP. Similiar farm sites have been found in the west of England (Dartmoor) and Ireland

    • randomengineer

      Viticulture is mentioned not due to it being comprehensive so much as iconic. There’s a ton of historical evidence to the effect that the MWP was warmer than today, and your observation is an addition to that.

      • The denial of the historically well established MWP was a good example of stubborn overreach resulting in wagon circling around the indefensible. If I were a green, I’d be furious at Mann.

      • ceteris non paribus


        If I were a green, I’d be furious at Mann.

        If frogs had side pockets, they’d carry guns.


        There’s a ton of historical evidence to the effect that the MWP was warmer than today, and your observation is an addition to that.

        Would that ton of evidence include temperature proxies? Results based on models? Or do you have the raw satellite data?

        And – Do blog comments really count as historical evidence?

      • Would that ton of evidence include temperature proxies? Results based on models? Or do you have the raw satellite data?

        lol!

      • randomengineer

        Would that ton of evidence include temperature proxies?

        Yes. Visit the Idso brothers site. They know a thing or two about both CO2 and the MWP.

      • ceteris non paribus


        Visit the Idso brothers site.
        They know a thing or two about both CO2 and the MWP.

        With a review like that, from such an obvious expert in the discipline, I can see no need to actually read the site.

        You win.

      • Anyone who wants to prove the MWP and LIA needs to do better than England/Europe references, but they must also do better than the HS.

        WAAY better.

      • cnp,

        That “evidence” would be historical records and archeological finds.

      • randomengineer

        CNP — Look up Idso and Graybill.

  53. I wonder if Judith gets frustrated sometimes by the willful failure of the trolls to address what she writes. There must be some limit on how much tolerance she has for nitwits picking nits to the nth degree.

    Regardless of the comment about grapes, the larger question is about error cascades and whether they apply to climate science (it is possible, after all, for someone to write something which contains some truth and some error).

    The intrusion of politics is certainly one good marker. A massive intrusion of politics and a demand for science to support extraordinary policy changes increases the risk of an error cascade exponentially.

    The biggest marker for the possibility of such an error cascade would be the rejection of the scientific method. What could be a bigger red flag than that? The rejection of transparency and the interference with efforts to audit and replicate speak volumes. The biggest relevance of the hockey stick to this whole mess is the (non)reaction of the science community — the failure of anyone to raise questions or even examine the study and its novel methodology when well-established (but inconvenient) facts got ‘erased’, screams “error cascade” at full volume. Especially so when a scientist then testified that scientists were actively looking for ways “to get rid of the MWP”.

    btw — Doesn’t matter what kind of errors were in the hockey stick or whether there actually was the conspiratorial e-mail. With the policy implications involved, any science community concerned in the slightest about accuracy and public responsibility would have investigated. The dereliction of their duty to do so says a great deal about their lack of regard for accuracy. See error cascade.

    When a very large percentage of the people involved demonstrate repeatedly that they have no interest in accuracy and work diligently to avoid accountability, don’t be surprised to find that the errors build and cascade.

    • stan,
      Think in terms of entertainment value: The believers provide endless amounts, for free.

    • ceteris non paribus


      Doesn’t matter what kind of errors were in the hockey stick or whether there actually was the conspiratorial e-mail. With the policy implications involved, any science community concerned in the slightest about accuracy and public responsibility would have investigated.

      Ummm. They did. Multiple times. Guess you missed the memos.

      • Steve Mc asked for Mann’s data and code to check the work. Mann told him that no one had before. This was long after the hockey stick had become the worldwide poster child for global warming. Which was, of course, why Steve got interested in it.

        Guess you missed the reality.

    • ceteris non paribus


      I wonder if Judith gets frustrated sometimes by the willful failure of the trolls to address what she writes.

      Which trolls?

      The “this site is the Cosmo magazine of climate science” trolls?

      Or – the “everything I read fits perfectly into my vast left-wing conspiracy” trolls?

      Inquiring trolls want to know!

  54. iain macleod

    http://mises.org/daily/5860/What-Is-a-Scientific-Theory

    Came across this snippet today, I think it sums up a lot of what goes on in the “AGW Climate Camp”

    • thanks for this link

      • Marcel Kincaid

        “This observation, in a nutshell, forms the foundation and is the great strength of the Austrian School of economics, which stands virtually alone in the contemporary world as a bastion for thinkers who are unsatisfied with imperfect and subjective approaches to science.”

        You have to admire the author’s cool objectivity and lack of bias. No doubt that’s what Dr. Curry most appreciates about the article and intends to adopt in her own writing,

  55. WHT – if you come to me with photographic evidence showing pigs can fly I can either come up with an alternative theory about flying pigs or show the evidence is flawed. Either will do.

  56. ceteris non paribus


    When a very large percentage of the people involved demonstrate repeatedly that they have no interest in accuracy and work diligently to avoid accountability, don’t be surprised to find that the errors build and cascade.

    Now. Now.
    There’s no need to be nasty to either the Marshall Institute or Edward Wegman.

    • Were they the ones who obstructed FOIA requests? Or wrote “why should I share my data when your aim is to try to find something wrong with it?” Were they the ones who conspired to subvert peer review?

      I must have missed those memos. The e-mails I read involved a bunch of people who agreed it was a good idea to focus on being effective rather than honest, so they offered up scary scenarios and failed to mention their doubts.

      • ” .. “why should I share my data when your aim is to try to find something wrong with it?” …

        This was one that set alarm bells ringing for me. My understanding of publishing and peer review is to accomplish exactly this.

        It isn’t as if Mann is researching some new product or industrial process and has reason to protect proprietary information. Yet that is the impression I get from him. His methods and research are proprietary.

  57. Joshua, aside from stalking JC and spending your entire life here on her blog, what do you do to earn your income? I suspect that you are some sort of activist who makes his living from his participation in supporting the spread of the UN’s AGW scam.

    • Indeed, and I’m paid extremely well on a sort of commission basis.

      I get paid by the number of responses my posts get. And there’s a multiplier in effect: when my respondents make totally illogical points or resort to personal attacks, I get paid at a premium rate.

      I just had a very nice dinner last night by virtue of Don and mosher’s responses to my posts, and ironically finished it off with a nice bottle of desert wine from the Northwest U.S.

      • Joshua

        I just had a very nice dinner last night…and ironically finished it off with a nice bottle of desert wine from the Northwest U.S.

        Are you sure it wasn’t one of those AGW-supported Swedish copy-Sauternes we read about earlier on this thread?

        Max

      • I’ll respond to everything you post, if I get a cut.

      • Home alone. Extra small take-and-bake pizza, for one. Ripple is not manufactured in the Northwest, little puppy. And it ain’t really wine. Caching! There’s another dime for you, joshy.

  58. Bruce Stewart

    “The multiple lines of evidence argument is naive when you are addressing a complex system with multiple hypotheses in the argument.”

    I imagine that JC sometimes feels discouraged when she reflects on how often she is obliged to repeat the same or similar points. This gem reminds me that, given the variety on individual learning styles, a subtle variation in restating familiar points can make a difference, and that many denizens are grateful for the chance to profit from JC’s dedication. Thank you!

    Who knows, perhaps even Mosher will notice and reflect on this one.

  59. Error cascades and consilience failures. Bloody marvelous, thanks for that.

    It’s always nice, particularly for the academics, to have academic support for describing what they’re talking about in high falutin terms that have been previously used and recognized as academic-worthy concepts of known content.

    Tho in the end, what he talks about re the MWP is what lead a lot of us non-academics to originally go “Umm, what?”, even tho we didn’t have such fine phrases as error cascades and consilience failures to describe that reaction. For me it was familiarity with the Norse sagas that caused that reaction when the attempt to edit the MWP out of existance became clear.

  60. Hi, Judith (all)…to go back to the more general points highlighted by Judith’s post and the early comments, it seems to me this problem has been around for a while, under different labels…and that social networking and the quick uptake of new information (even mis-information) by scientists may provide self-correcting mechanisms that prrather effective in the future. I’ve discussed these in a post on Error Cascade which can be found at http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=510.

    • Bill Hooke

      Thanks for link to your interesting article on “error cascade”.

      I agree with you that Judith has summarized in just a few lines how this “error cascade” has impacted the current understanding of climate science with relation to the impact of humans versus natural factors on recent plus past warming periods – and how this has shaped the projections for the future.

      You write that peer review is not of much help , but that “social networking may help make up for this problem”, and I would agree with the BIG caveat to watch out for two things: “group think” and a “politically driven consensus process”.

      Both exist pretty heavily in IPCC-led climate science today and both could turn the “social networking” into nothing more than an internal reinforcement of an “error cascade”.

      Max

  61. “Both exist pretty heavily in IPCC-led climate science today and both could turn the “social networking” into nothing more than an internal reinforcement of an “error cascade”.”

    When that kind of behavior becomes conscious and deliberate, it’s called a conspiracy. The leaked emails indicate that the threshold was crossed by some of the main actors. I hope joshy asks me for evidence.

    • Don, the cross over on words like “Fraud” and “Conspiracy” are important but look at this way, The NY Times puts out largely a uniform ideology. It isn’t something they like to admit and it is a form of group think, there may abuses but the bias itself is hard to attach “Fraud or Conspiracy” to even if the editors spend everyday toning their outlook and refining their bias points in their work. A newspaper is not permitted to claim it is doing “science” although there is an entire culture appealing to a similar authority conclusion. A joke it may be.

      My frustration with the Dr. Curry (associated AGW zombies like J-boy and others are close meaningless as a serious conversation) is the basic stonewalling regarding very identifiable social groups associated to climate science, the Team in particular, the IPCC and a very common AGW regulatory agenda advocates in climate science.

      Here we have a very good article and an interesting side topic included; error cascades. The core of the article relates directly to the political overhang of Team AGW players, no comment from Dr. Curry as always. She might comment about bias, agenda, tribes etc. etc. Will she ever discuss the eco-left linkage to AGW and the Team and Climate community itself? A bridge too far, it’s duck and cover time. Hence we have thousands of circular posts that miss the heart of exactly what the AGW is really about. It’s the lack of transparency that she comments on in general.

      Error cascades are interesting and a symptom but really wouldn’t you rather discuss the desease itself? Sadly, Dr. Curry is trying to control the talking points and create AGW Perestroika by avoiding the main motives of climate science corruption and science agenda setting supports. The wrong side of history to be sure and somewhat gutless. It may be she is mortified by her political comrades in climate science and can only bare this level of movement. Still, to not even note the common political culture of Team members and the “cause” itself holds the blog back. That vacuum of basic honesty permits the likes of Martha, Robert or Joshua (consensus toads, team cheerleaders) and others to flourish in the very false narrative of “it’s all about science” where “science” is word to be Orwellian reconstructed by the very people supporting “hide the decline” itself. It’s all directly relates to basic conversational spin and dishonesty. Why not discuss the core of the A&D essay itself? Why not the basic linkage of the Team to eco-left agenda setting which is after all the core of the AGW mania and excess?

      • If some day we were able to view stolen emails that were exchanged among the managers, editors, and reporters of the NYT, I am sure we would see prima facie evidence of a conspiracy to distribute left-wing propaganda. And it follows that misrepresentation of the left-wing rag as a “news”paper, is fraud. It’s not a prosecutable offense, but it’s fraud nonetheless.

        “Still, to not even note the common political culture of Team members and the “cause” itself holds the blog back.” You just said it. Judith did not stop you. Don’t expect Judith to be your puppet. Just take advantage of the nice forum she has provided to say what’s on your mind.

      • “Don’t expect Judith to be your puppet. Just take advantage of the nice forum she has provided to say what’s on your mind.”

        At the end of the day when the political agenda of theTeam is taken off the table with the usual refrain of “it’s about science” (largely false) we remain no where near the truth of the AGW debate. I can’t think of a valid reason for Dr. Curry’s obstruction to the topic.

  62. barn E. rubble

    You’re unlikely to find a better example of ‘Error Cascade’ than this gem mined from the CG2 emails back in January 2007. It’s also a wonderful example of how things can come back to bite you. Hard. The authors actually list the people/papers they think used bogus data/figures but laugh it off . . . What’s particularly alarming and absolutely offensive to me is how they reason that previous (criminal) incompetence now negates any acknowledgment of error and further, now impedes any advancement of ‘what we (think we) know now.’

    I had posted this first @Realclimate because their WebSite is cited thruout the thread but for some reason it was not posted. Even tho the graph in question in this thread is the one Realclimate has worked hard to remove from memory. But then again that goes back to being bitten and bitten hard.

    The headline here is Ray Bradley signing off with:

    “So, that’s how a crude fax from Jack Eddy became the definitive IPCC record on the last millennium! Happy New Year to everyone
    Ray”

    http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=6059

    The entire thread describes not only using data/figures that they had no idea of the exact origin or robustness (for lack of a better term) but admission of using figures simply because ‘it was out there’ and ‘I was forced to’. Bradley actually lists the papers he thinks abused the known data. And by abused he means using the same figure they knew was ‘back of a napkin’ sketch that was pulled from thin air (altho Phil didn’t think so) or fabricated entirely.

    Happy New Year, indeed.

    This thread deserves further investigation..

  63. Marcel Kincaid

    “it becomes clearer by the day that the IPCC assessment reports were fraudulently designed to fit the desired political consequences ”

    It’s interesting that Dr. Curry cites this piece by a well-established AGW denier (and GW skeptic) who bases his argument in part on a completely dishonest and fraudulent claim by David Rose in the Daily Mail that out-and-out lied about Dr. Murari Lal and fabricated a quote of him. By doing so she is playing a dangerous game and opening herself up to very serious charges.

  64. Marcel Kincaid

    “Here’s an example: Serious alarm bells rang for me about AGW when the “hockey team” edited the Medieval Warm Period out of existence. I knew about the MWP because I’d read Annalist-style histories that concentrated on things like crop-yield descriptions from primary historical sources, so I knew that in medieval times wine grapes — implying what we’d now call a Mediterranean climate — were grown as far north as southern England and the Lake Mälaren region of Sweden! When the primary historical evidence grossly failed to match the “hockey team’s” paleoclimate reconstructions, it wasn’t hard for me to figure which had to be wrong.’

    So the author’s entire argument against AGW is based on a supposed example of consilience failure that Dr. Curry KNOWS is ignorant and bogus. She says that he “goes over the top in essentially dismissing all of AGW as junk science” — there is an understatement if ever there was one.

    “but I think his perception is correct in that once you start invoking scientific consensus and deniers, you lay yourselves open to the charge of junk science” — You are always open to the CHARGE, when what you say is not politically or socially acceptable to people, as AGW is not to the (call them what they are) deniers. But whether the charge is VALID depends on whether it actually IS junk science. What Dr. Curry assiduously avoids noting is that what esr (the author of that piece) engages in, along with the deniers and faux “skeptics” who have adopted this blog, is most definitely junk science.

    • randomengineer

      What Dr. Curry assiduously avoids noting is that what esr (the author of that piece) engages in, along with the deniers and faux “skeptics” who have adopted this blog, is most definitely junk science.

      Recursion error much? The act of observing and writing about junk science isn’t junk science.

    • Steve Garcia

      Marcel, we seem to be on the same side. One of my “Aha” moments was that same erasure of the MWP.

      But I would point out that your quote about “over the top” has a different meaning than what your point was making. Judith said that he
      <blockquote… goes over the top in essentially dismissing all of AGW as junk science”

      The operative word, “all,” in the context of the point she was making is “all of AGW.” With that word, Judith was either using “preference falsification” or she was saying she does not think that every bit of AGW is a bunch of hooey/error cascade.

      We can’t look at an error cascade for only what it is NOW. Every error cascade has its beginning, when the bandwagon got started.

      …Myself, I think it is a bandwagon (which is what an error cascade is) that coincided with the perception in the early 1980s, close to the real polluting days of pre-1980, that our polluting of the air and water was a terrible thing. And it WAS a terrible thing, but by the time Hansen kick-started the CO2=global warming equation, we had already gone well down the path of ridding ourselves of nasty, dirty air and foul-smelling sewer-rivers. (See “Toronto 1912” at http://climateaudit.org/2012/01/05/toronto-1912/ for a hell of an eye opener of what real pollution looks like.) Pollution was VERY fresh in all our minds when Hansen was pushing his agenda that has become global warming. But the youngsters of today don’t know about real pollution, so they look at steam coming out of stacks and believe it is pollution – because that is all they can see now, so how would they know any difference?

      Now, the only possible thing we are putting into the air is CO2. We oxidize out the Nitrogen and Sulfur compounds, and we scrub out the carbon soot. (I know; I’ve been in on designing the equipment that does it. And the equipment does a fabulous job; look at our blue skies and clear rain. You would not have seen those often in the pre-1970 era. See the link below; ALL our big cities looked like that then! Piffle! Now our cities are all clean, and suitable even for tourism.) We have pushed it so far toward the ridiculous that we have oxidizers on bakeries, of all things! That wonderful smell coming out of bakeries is considered a pollutant! The error cascade has gone from the sublime to the ridiculous, when they steal away our bakery smells.

  65. No matter what happens, we can always count on a Marcel Kincaid to be ready to pontificate about stuff he doesn’t know wrt people he doesn’t understand. Like death and taxes, True Believers are impossible to avoid.

  66. Bill Hooke has an interesting post on error cascades, motivated by this post
    http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=510

  67. What is brought to mind from this is Pavlov and his dog, on a dog pound scale. Armed and Dangerous says this

    …error cascades are all too common where science meets public policy

    Cannot one see the obvious? Where there is policy, there are governmental monies. Where there are governmental monies, how can an academic with his career ahead of him or her not salivate at the prospects of all but unlimited money? I am reminded of so many dogs who will eat till they get ill, if enough food is put in front of them. Pavlov ad infinitum et absurdum?

    Is there a need to go into the subject further? There is only the need to discard the myth of the ivory tower as a place of non-interest as to where the next meal (think grant money) might coming from. We only need to thin of academics as normal human beings, instead of angelic discoverers.

    With governmental monies, instead of a single morsel with its signal light, there is a conveyor belt possible, not to mention so many more morsels right as the first light is lit. A comparison night be a kid on Christmas morning before the tree with its piles and piles of presents. But we are talking of visions of a possible never-ending Christmas tree – the proverbial money tree.

    What academic with his career ahead of him has the will to stand before the money conveyor belt and turn away?

    Even those whose papers’ findings disagree with global warming manage to put in the text somewhere some assertion that “this is not to insinuate that global warming is not happening; we all know it is.” Or “It is not yet clear how this is to be understood in an ever warming climate due to man’s CO2 emissions.” Armed and Dangerous points out that this is “preference falsification, the act of misrepresenting one’s desires or beliefs under perceived social pressures.

    In the review * on “Private Truths, Public Lies: The Social Consequences of Preference Falsification”, is this assessment:

    A common effect of preference falsification is the preservation of widely disliked structures. Another is the conferment of an aura of stability on structures vulnerable to sudden collapse. When the support of a policy, tradition, or regime is largely contrived, a minor event may activate a bandwagon that generates massive yet unanticipated change.

    A more concise summary of the global warming “largely contrived” “structure” could hardly be possible. Can anyone say “Climategate”? A “minor event” which activated “a bandwagon” of “massive yet unanticipated change.” And it happened just at the moment (Copenhagen) when the aura of stability was to be carved into stone.

    * http://www.powells.com/biblio/9780674707580?&PID=27627

  68. Judith, I think Dixie Pooh’s post some time back about ‘availability cascades’ is relevant here. It is in your ‘Climate story telling angst’ thread here: https://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/#comment-54661
    Dixie’s post is a comment on my ‘memeplex’ post in that thread, here: https://judithcurry.com/2011/03/06/climate-story-telling-angst/#comment-53804
    After CG2 and other events, maybe even in the 9 months from then until now, you and indeed others may see more in this perspective than previously.
    Andy.

  69. Very good observation Andy,

    “An availability cascade is a self-reinforcing process of collective belief formation by which an expressed perception triggers a chain reaction that gives the perception of increasing plausibility through its rising availability in public discourse.”

    I have been thinking of this as di-hydrogen oxide or linear no-threshold mentality. Simplistic reasoning based on outdated notions and group think that become religiously protected “common sense” that is senseless.

  70. If the world is going to warm up, the sea has to warm. So far Argo has failed to show this warming. One explanation is that the deep ocean is warming, rather than the upper levels.
    But how can this be? Warm water expands, becoming lighter than cold water. So it must move towards the surface.
    I can understand currents etc dragging warm water down, but how is it possible for the warmer water to stay deep?
    Jim petrie

  71. My sense of the “error cascade” term from the single reference article is that is probably originally applies to obvious errors, the sort on immediate reflection everyone would see was an error. EG a physician writes a wrong drug dose; a junior pharmacist doesn’t notice it is way out of bounds or thinks the physician knows what they are doing and is too scared to ask; a nurse administers the wrong dose thinking the physician must have wanted it and the pharmacist has verified it was OK.

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