Argument and authority in the climate fight

by Judith Curry

The opinion pieces published in the WSJ continue to be discussed, and perhaps finally they are stimulating some useful insights.

The Council on Foreign Relations has a blog on Energy, Security and Climate.  Their latest post is Argument and Authority in the Climate Fight.  Some excerpts:

I know, like, and genuinely admire several of the authors of both pieces. But both dangerously use earned authority in their areas of expertise as a substitute for careful argument in other fields.  The original authors do this far more egregiously that the respondents, but both succumb to the same unfortunate temptation.

This phenomenon doesn’t only show up when climate scientists lecture on economics or particle physicists assert that only they know how the atmosphere works – it appears all over the climate debate. Clean energy entrepreneurs regularly assert that because they’ve created solar jobs, they know that more solar energy is good for the U.S. economy. Oil barons are similarly authoritative in asserting that their industry experience tells them that a transition away from fossil fuels would be economically ruinous. Too many economists will assert that this or that policy won’t affect investors’ and consumers’ behaviors, since that’s what their theories tell them, even if investors and consumers themselves can tell you from experience (and hence some authority) that that is dead wrong. Other economists will tell you thatthey know that cutting emissions will be cheap, when smart political scientists can readily point out that real world politics will likely lead to considerably more expensive policies.

This isn’t an argument for why people should only write in areas where they have PhDs. After all, if that were the standard, I’d be out of a job. But if people want to invoke authority (something that should be kept as rare as possible), they ought stick to areas where they’ve earned it, rather than sliding into ones that seem closely related to uninformed readers but that actually aren’t all that similar. Otherwise, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument. This would leave the writers of the original Journal op-ed without much to say on an opinion page (save their observations about the unpleasant culture in some university departments), this week’s respondents focusing on climate science, and everyone better off.

JC comments

The phenomenon of physicists claiming authority on climate science derives from the not incorrect sense that major elements of climate science are applied physics.  However, unless a physicist has spent some time reading atmospheric science and climate texts and journal articles, the physicist is unlikely to know much if anything about how the climate system works.  Apart from that, there is also the issue of hidden knowledge in a particular field.  Of the hundreds of authors that contribute to the IPCC WG1 Reports, how many individuals have sufficient grasp of the material in all of the Chapters even to provide a credible review?  I suspect the answer is very few, if any.

Given that, is the meta-cognitive abilities of someone like Freeman Dyson of greater value in sorting through all this than the typical IPCC author with narrow expertise?  And finally, the POST  briefing paper discussed in the Week in Review attempts to provide an independent and balanced analysis, something that is lacking from the experts on a topic of complexity with disagreement among experts, not to mention the politicization.  The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument.  JC note to the IPCC: rely less on expert judgment and appeal to authority, and more on carefully crafted and documented arguments.

In terms of solutions, people tend to filter them in terms of what they personally know about and would benefit and need.  There is an old saying (in the U.S., anyways) that if you ask the Teamsters what is needed to solve any problem, they will tell you ‘more trucks.’  The point is that there are no simple solutions to complex problems, and that multiple perspectives  from multiple areas of expertise are needed.

Then add to this mix politics and a clash of values, and you have the unholy mess that is the climate fight.  Then it is up to the policy makers to decide what to make of all this.  At this point, I don’t think scientific experts appealing to their own authority carries much weight.

Update:  Bill Hooke has a must read essay “Cockpit resource management for climate scientists and policy makers.”  Excerpt:

And because, fact is, if planes were piloted by (climate) scientists and politicians, airports and their environs would be a hellish landscape, littered with the wreckage and debris of crashed planes, awash with jet fuel, towers of flame sending huge plumes of black, oily smoke skyward.

And that’s not just because of any lack in piloting skills…but rather the result of how we scientists and our colleagues seem to prefer to communicate. We place (over)-much value on being right. We will go to great lengths to prove ourselves right. We’ll allow ourselves to be easily offended if someone suggests we’re wrong. We are prone to believe that a record of distinguished past accomplishment in science makes us right in the present, and to believe that distinguished accomplishment in one area makes us the expert voice in other contexts.

These attitudes have been tolerated – maybe even encouraged – for years in the climate-change arena.

419 responses to “Argument and authority in the climate fight

  1. Judith–Excellent post- I will be interested if anyone disagrees

    • Well there have been very few posts where no one disagrees :) I suspect the 38 signatories of the WSJ letter would not agree.

      • Thank you, thank you, thank you, Professor Curry, for your role in the “climate fight.”

        Ancient scriptures assure us the outcome: “Truth is victorious, never untruth” [Mundaka Upanishad 3.1.6; Qur’an 17.85; numerous verses from other scriptures].

        World leaders and consensus scientists had the power and resources, but events of Nov 2009 and Jan 1998 confirm the scriptures:

        Nov 2009: Climategate emails and documents released

        http://joannenova.com.au/2010/01/finally-the-new-revised-and-edited-climategate-timeline/

        Jan 1998: CSPAN recorded deception

        With kind regards,
        Oliver K. Manuel
        Former NASA Principal
        Investigator for Apollo

      • Events in Jan 1998 and Nov 2009 confirm: Authority can and has controlled a great deal of information about reality since ~1971.

        But authority cannot control reality:

        1.) Earth’s heat source is the same stormy nuclear furnace that made our elements.

        2.) Neutron repulsion in the solar core powers the Sun.

        3.) Earth’s atmosphere and oceans are insulators with enough heat capacity – especially with phase changes like freezing, evaporation, melting and condensation – to moderate temperature changes that would otherwise be induced by our violently unstable heat source.

    • Rob – we can’t have everyone agreeing. That would make for a 100% consensus, and consensus would invalidate the thread! :-)

      • Consensus would not invalidate any proposition, but neither can it validate it (as far as the proposition deals with scientific knowledge).

  2. I think the Hayekian notion of a ‘pretence of knowledge’ applies to the climate debate. Intellectuals rather naturally overrate their knowledge and are eager to impose ‘solutions’ without understanding the complexity of the system that are trying to understand and the limitations of their own mind.

    Hayek’s worldview is overviewed here: http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Friedrich_Hayek

    • Thx, you just triggered an idea for a hayek related post :)

    • Chief Hydrologist

      ‘As a profession, economists have made a mess of things.’ FH

    • Curious Canuck

      I get that feeling everytime I watch. Great clip.

      Fight of the Century: Keynes vs. Hayek Round Two

      Lines that made me think climate change.

      Science: “Econometricians, they’re ever too pious. Are they doing real science or confirming their bias? Their Keynesian models are tidy and neat. But that top down approach is a fatal conceit.”

      Green Jobs: “Creating employment is a straight forward craft when the nation’s at war and there’s a draft. If every worker were staffed in the army and fleet we’d have full employment and nothing to eat.”

      Swap in ‘climate’ for ‘economy’ and see: “The lesson I’ve learned is how little we know. The world is complex, not some circular flow. The economy is not a class you master in college, to think otherwise is the pretense of knowledge”

      Talented and smart production. Clever and clear.

  3. The issue at hand is whether or not a scientific hypothesis, in any given field, is following the scientific method — meaning, is the data replicable and are the results replicable? Can the hypothesis be tested? Under what conditions can it be said to not be true?

    You don’t need to be an expert in a specific field to determine if sound science is being conducted.

  4. “The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument.”

    Absolutely. The only authority in science is scientific method. Scientific method consists of two steps: create hypotheses and apply criticism to them. Creating hypotheses is a matter of human invention that is followed by testing them against experience. Step two is presenting all one’s work to everyone so that they can join in the fury of criticism that will be directed at the hypotheses. The creator of the hypotheses is likely to be the most furious critic.

    The product of science is well confirmed physical hypotheses that can explain and predict some phenomenon in the real world. It is the work of explanation and prediction that makes our science an empirical undertaking rather than a philosophical undertaking.

    I think I have very briefly touched upon all the terms in scientific method. Anyone who steps beyond scientific method in arguments for his views has some explaining to do, at least to scientists.

    Citing consensus as a reason for believing some scientific claim takes us outside scientific method and into politics. Citing the achievements of a scientist, including the now dubious achievement of winning a Nobel Prize, takes us outside scientific method. The genuine scientist is always more interested in explaining his/her work and exploring his/her work than in seeking acceptance for his/her conclusions. So if you run into a scientist who is not so interested in explaining his hypotheses and the evidence for them then beware this scientist who is not interested in his/her own work.

  5. Let me highlight two quotes. The first from our hostess

    “At this point, I don’t think scientific experts appealing to their own authority carries much weight.”

    with which I heartily agree. The post by the proponents of CAGW in the WSJ, so far as I can see, only appealed to authority; there was no mention of any hard measured data. By contrast, the article in the same newspaper by the opponents of CAGW carried this statement.

    `The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.`

    So for the opponents of CAGW there was a basis for their argument in the hard measured data. After all, if global temperatures are not rising, and they are not, then the non-validated climate models are proven to be unable to predict the future, and there is no scientific basis for the hypothesis of CAGW.

    So I agree completely with our hostess, and would point out that the opponents of CAGW did NOT just appeal to thier opinions. The proponents of CAGW ONLY appealed to their opinions. Score 1:0.

    • The opponents of CAGW DID appeal to their opinions:

      `The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.`

      That’s an opinion.

      • lolwot writes “That’s an opinion.”

        Absolutely correct. But I wish you would read what I wrote. What I said was “So I agree completely with our hostess, and would point out that the opponents of CAGW did NOT just appeal to their opinions. The proponents of CAGW ONLY appealed to their opinions. Score 1:0.”

        Can you see the difference? The opponents of CAGW did NOT rely ONLY on their opinion. They included hard data. The proponents of CAGW relied ONLY on their opinions. There was no statement about hard data whatsoever. Not that this is surprising, since there is little to no hard data to support CAGW.

      • The “proponents of CAGW” did provide hard data:

        “the long-term warming trend has not abated in the past decade. In fact, it was the warmest decade on record. Observations show unequivocally that our planet is getting hotter.”

      • “Warm” is not “warming”. One is a state, the other a trend.

        “The warming has not abated”…”The warmest decade on record”. Non-sequitor.

        I put the same argument to the Met Office when they said the same as Trenberth et al. Probably did as much good.

      • The fact is that for global warming to have ended 10 years ago you’d need the 00s to be no warmer or even cooler than the 90s.

        The 00s were warmer than the 90s to such an extent that the longterm trend cannot be said to have ended.

      • lolwot – now that’s just arithmetically wrong and you know it.

      • would you argue that global warming ended last year because 2011 is cooler than 2011? Of course not.

        So you appreciate that just because a trend is flat or falling over a period doesn’t mean global warming has stopped since the start of that period.

        The question is how long do you need. 10 years is not enough.

      • *2011 is cooler than 2010

      • I would argue that “warm” implies neither “warmest” (cooling trend) nor “warming” (warming trend).

        Their view was “the warming trend has not abated. The last decade was the warmest since records began…” It doesn’t follow.

        Please can we agree on that, before this becomes angels on pinheads? :-)

      • lolwot; They didn’t ”overestimate” they lied about the PHONY global warming. ”Overestimate” is a very ”loaded comment” One cannot ”overestimate or underestimate” something that doesn’t exist. Them lying that warming is happening – then changing it to cooling is happening; is same as when the switched from Nuclear Winter for year 2000, to GLOBAL warming. It would be an insult to most of 5y old intelligence; Because the Fake Skeptics reason as 2-3 year old – you have to wait for another year; for them to wake up from induced coma, performed to them by prof Ian Plimer & Co

  6. “…scientific experts appealing to their own authority…”

    There is no Global Warming without this. Climate Scientists have done this from the get go. It is the wellspring from which the last 30+ years of Climate Science flows.

    Andrew

    • The world has warmed whether scientists tell us about it or not.

      • lolwot, GLOBAL warming is inside your head, not outside in the environment. On this blog people avoid for some reason to talk about; in many countries people are freezing to death; do you know why no comments about the truth / reality? Arctic winter is gone to Asia Minor – to the subtropics = Warmist’s cold-shower. Time to spit the dummy, lolwot! What you are talking, only proves that: one that got involved in the conspiracy voluntarily is the one that doesn’t poses any dignity / honesty in the first place.

      • As it has throughout the existence of climate.It is the folly and hubris of the AGW movement that it dangerous and can be managed.

      • Earth has warmed since the little ice age, but it is all over now.

      • lolwot, listen lad: extra heat in the planet’s troposphere is not accumulative! All the extra heat accumulated for the last 150years in the troposphere – wouldn’t be enough to boil one chicken egg. That’s: all the heat the sunlight produced + all the geothermal heat released into the air + all the heat produced in smelters for melting iron ore + all the volcanic heat for the last 150years; not enough heat left to boil one chicken egg!.

        Because, IF any extra heat a: THE VERTICAL WINDS INCREASE. 2: THE VOLUME OF THE TROPOSPHERE INCREASES; into the unlimited coldness. The only reason the Warmist are still persisting, is because of the Fake Skeptics – ”Skeptics” that BELIEVE in more GLOBAL warmings than any Warmist would ever believe. The ”Fake Skeptics” are much bigger B/S consumers than the Warmist of the lower genera and IQ.

  7. “The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument.”

    Oh dear, must agree too.

    The reasons so many ‘outsiders’ get involved in climate science are many:

    (1) They simply don’t *trust* the current leadership of the ‘insiders’

    (2) They think climate is so *complex* that every branch of science, including theirs, has something important to bring to the party

    (3) They think that climate science is so complex that there is no scientific *expertise* yet; only scientists more familiar with (failing) current thinking

    (4) They see too much *confidence* being shown in the current theories and wish there was more critical thinking (Dyson probably apprears here)

    (5) They see a huge policy nexus being built on flimsy scientific foundations and perhaps fear a *backlash* which will stigmatise them as well as the AGW leadership

    (6) They just plain don’t *believe* a word of the current consensus and feel a need to throw rocks at it before it does any more damage

    Some overlap here, of course. And some lacunae.

    Most outside critics do not say “I’ve spent 30 years as a particle physicist and I’m saying AGW is wrong”. They do produce reasons for doubts, and I think your citation of Dyson is spot on – he has an excellent record of understanding, in Feynman’s words, “how difficult it is to know something”.

    There are some wonderful examples in Martin Gardners books (eg: “Fads and Fallacies in the Name of Science”) about scientists with little expertise in a field blowing big holes in a ‘consensus’ (my fave is N-rays – not relevant to this but very funny).

    So let’s keep arguing – not that there’s much chance of that diminishing here on this warm blog or out there in the cold outside world.

    • You mention Martin Gardrner, an all-time fave. Lots of crackpots writing comments on this blog, of whom Martin would probably have a chuckle over.

      Freeman Dyson admitted to a real misunderstanding when someone finally convinced him that CO2 has a very long adjustment time. After that the reality of the long-term effects of anthropogenic CO2 finally hit him.

      • WHT –

        Hmm. If Freeman Dyson has changed his mind it must have been very recently. He reviews the book “Don’t Sell Your Coat” by Harold Ambler (a critique of global warming) published January 27, 2012 as follows:

        “How did the good politics of social justice become chained to the bad science of global warming? Read Don’t Sell Your Coat to find out.” – Freeman Dyson, world-renowned physicist, Princeton professor emeritus.

        PS: It’s too soon for the book to have any Amazon reviews yet, but I dare say Peter Gleick will zoom in any minute now!
        ———-
        My point about Gardner (I’m also a fan) was that wonderful consensuses could be blown apart by a simple question from an outsider. Much better examples than I could give come from the post by Nicola Scafetta (February 5, 2012 at 12:32 am) below.

      • Read how Freeman Dyson tries to extricate himself from his misunderstanding in this dialog with Robert May:
        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2008/oct/09/how-long-will-they-stay/
        You can see how a smart guy tries to rationalize where he went wrong.

        This was posted to Climate Etc a while ago.

        Martin Gardner popularized skepticism and one of his interests was in pseudoscience and exposing crackpots.

      • Somewhere in there, I think, is an admission that the residence time on a planet known as earth is very long, and that on some “Freeman in Wonderland” planet it’s his number.

      • Web

        Why do you focus on the unimportant part of Dyson’s opinion on the issue vs. the broader perspective?

        Dyson and arguably most others who have technical competence and have studied the issue also concluded that there is insufficient evidence to support the IPCC’s conclusions that AGW is a problem requiring drastic and immediate action.

      • Rob your post is an appeal to authority and hence we are not allowed to accept it.

        Just because Dyson reached a certain conclusion is apparently worthless.

      • You can see how a smart guy tries to rationalize where he went wrong.

        WHT, if you could put May, Dyson, and James Clerk Maxwell in a room together today to argue this point, I expect all three would disagree.

        And I further expect I would take Maxwell’s side.

        What surprised me was that May evidently doesn’t look at ideal gases in the way recommended by Maxwell a century and a half ago. I took physics under May in the mid-1960s—I could follow his lectures in real time better than anyone else’s save Chris Wallace’s. The two of them were the examiners on my Honours year project on tunnel diodes—both of them were utterly brilliant, asking me key questions I couldn’t answer even after all my work, like the time it took for an electron to tunnel.

        I can only think that years of biology and Royal Society administration have somehow managed to erase Bob’s intuition about ideal gases. (In his defense I should say that Bob’s lectures focused on quantum mechanics, and I don’t recall any lectures by him on ideal gases, which he may well have dismissed at the time as too obvious to bother with, much as Theo Goodwin at Tamsin Edwards’ Sceptical Compass today dismisses climate science as too “unramified” by comparison with the Higgs Boson.)

        Ideal gases are tricky to reason about, as the experience with the Crookes radiometer of that era showed—even Einstein felt obliged to weigh in half a century later on that dispute (and ended up agreeing with Maxwell). Maxwell argued that to get the reasoning right you had to ignore the identity of the molecules. Yet here are both May and Dyson drawing distinctions today that depend on identity!

        May correctly makes the point that the distribution of residence times of individual molecules has a long tail. But it’s that exact point that gets both his and Dyson’s reasoning into hot water.

        If the question is about expected CO2 level in the future, neither of them should be talking about “residence time of a molecule.” As Maxwell would point out, it has no bearing on the physics of an ideal gas, which is essentially what we’re talking about here when asking about future CO2 levels.

        The basic fallacy with “average residence time” as both May and Dyson want to define it is that if even just 1% of any given kind of molecule in the atmosphere stays there for a million years (to caricature May’s long tail argument), you have a lower bound of ten thousand years on residence time. And that’s true even if (as another caricature) the residence time of the remaining 99% is less than a year! In that caricatured situation we’d have a residence time of 10,000 years even though CO2 had come down from today’s 394 ppmv to an unprecedented low of 4 ppmv.

        It’s also true with or without replacement, the distinction Dyson claims supports his arithmetic. Granted the arithmetic is different as Dyson says, but in order for Dyson’s “carbon-eating plants” to bring the average residence time down to his claimed 12 years, those plants need to eat essentially the whole of the long tail that’s keeping the average residence time at 10,000 years!

        As my botanist wife reminds me, plants need to breathe, just like animals. (As a physicist-turned-biologist it’s more likely that May knows that than Dyson, but not much more given that botany is not his forte.) So even if high-tech horticulturists can improve the output of plants’ daytime photosynthesis by a whole order of magnitude, which is extremely unlikely in the foreseeable future (though some Japanese scientists have been hinting lately that 4x is achievable), the 24-hour respiration requirement of plants makes Dyson’s 12-year figure wishful thinking.

        But if you could somehow persuade plants to stop breathing and turn blue, as required by Dyson’s arithmetic, all the oceans would freeze over and recreate the hypothesized SnowBall Earth of half a billion years ago, pretty much as envisaged by Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle without even the high-tech benefit of ice-nine.

        The points on which May and Dyson disagree are at about the level of the Red Queen arguing with Tweedledum and Tweedledee. As Maxwell would point out, identity of CO2 molecules tells us exactly zip about what would happen to the level of atmospheric CO2 in any of the scenarios envisaged by these two authority figures.

        Darwin and Planck both made the point that science had to wait for the older generations to die off. Dyson is 88 and May is 74, draw your own conclusions.

        But then reconsider them in light of the fact that if Maxwell were participating in this argument today he’d be 180. When the experts of half a century ago dismiss as trivial the insights of those from one and a half centuries ago, the Darwin-Planck model of merely awaiting the demise of our authority figures is seen to be overly simplistic.

  8. Judith, you say, quote:
    “”The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument. Note to the IPCC: rely less on expert judgment and appeal to authority, and more on carefully crafted and documented arguments……”
    ………What if they are obstinate? And reject what they do not like,
    ignore sceptical documents, and not even care to answer…
    ……Example (and I can send you the official IPCC-TSU-answer on my
    AR4-complaint, that the Earth’s orbit and orbital effects are
    incorrectly/insufficiently described in AR4 and orbital RF is therefore
    missing.)…. They agreed, quote: “There are indeed more processes….”
    ….but…[.we do not want to included them, therefore]: “no action warranted”… without giving reasons or any explanations…..
    ……Obstinance of the higher level….that is the problem, they
    hate to enter scientific discourses…..
    JS

  9. Climate scientists engage in stonewalling. Everyone knows that the CAGW thesis depends on the “feedbacks” produced by human caused rising CO2 emissions. There is no scientific account of such feedbacks; that is, there are no well confirmed physical hypotheses which can be used to explain or predict “feedbacks.” Given the lack of physical hypotheses, there is no scientific ground for believing the CAGW thesis. Climate scientists adamantly refuse to engage in discussion of this matter. This stonewalling is another form of the fallacy of argument from authority. Climate scientists use their authority to rule out of bounds topics that show their weaknesses and yet they claim that the science is settled.

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      They can’t engage in the type of out of bounds topics they needed to crystallise the concept of AGW. They continually lacked the ability to think during this lengthy debate and really with all they had they could do nothing else than seek support from authority. Children really.

      Call me a misanthropist, but something gives me an impression that Climate scientists are going to get their backsides spanked.

      The Greenhouse focus on radiative physics is analogous to an attempt to determine the path of steel balls, solely from the way they ricochet from post to post in a pinball machine.

      What a useless bunch of “physics” to never engaged opposing theory.

      Now we have studies of how the force is using the plunger (solar radiation) and the slope of the playing surface (atmospheric pressure) combine to define the action in the climate machine.

      Cui bono, indeed. The appeal to authority has found a new subject. Let the money wars begin.

    • “There is no scientific account of such feedbacks”

      yeah there is. Take water vapor feedback. Higher temperature. More water vapor in the air. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. More warming.

      • http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1990/plot/rss/from:1990

        First IPCC report 1990. First documented case of the Gore effect 1993.

      • I am sure that anything they have said on the topic amounts to hunches. Climate scientists have a weird habit of treating their hunches as rigorously formulated, well confirmed hypotheses. In all such cases, they have been mistaken.

      • How about:

        Higher temperature. More water vapour in the air. More clouds. Less warming.

      • Katio1505,

        I prefer the clouds are made of solid and liquid particles of water theory, rather than the clouds are made of water vapor theory.

        Which means more water vapor in the air means less clouds means more warming.

      • that would be cloud feedback, not water vapor feedback.

      • There is also the ice albedo feedback.
        More warming means less sea ice which means less short wave light reflected into space which means more warming.

        Cue the but it’s dark up there in winter.

        But it is a year around effect.

        This years arctic sea ice maximum is going to be a bit shabby.

      • It doesn’t work that way in Seattle where with more moisture in the air it is very cold, cloudy, and often raining.

      • lolwot:Take water vapor feedback. Higher temperature. More water vapor in the air. Water vapor is a greenhouse gas. More warming.

        lolwot, Brazil and Sahara are on same latitude. Same distance from the equator and polar caps. Instead of constantly lying to themselves’ Warmist and Skeptics can learn a lot what H2O does to the climate from those two, and million other places. I’m’ referring about the fake Skeptics – the ones that BELIEVE IN MORE GLOBAL warmings than the Warmist; it’s sick, isn’t it. Skeptics D/H that believe in planet warming every day and cooling every night…? Believing 101% in GLOBAL warmings and calling yourself a ”Skeptic” is pathetic. Even the hardcore Warmist avoid to refer to medieval ages + 5BC as GLOBAL warmings; but every goose under the sceptic’s banner promote 10 times more GLOBAL warmings than the Warmist; that makes even the Warmist liars to blush from shame to be a modern human. For Skeptics that common sense and logic in their brains is clinically dead.

      • @stefanthedenier lolwot, Brazil and Sahara are on same latitude…that makes even the Warmist liars to blush from shame to be a modern human.

        Since the northernmost point of Brazil is 5 N while the southernmost point of the Sahara is 14 N, it seems to me that for Stefan to talk about liars is for the pot to call the kettle black.

        Or perhaps he’s just location-challenged. Stefan, how often do you lose track of your car keys?

      • @ Vaughan Pratt=====
        Vaughan, the map of Sahara doesn’t match the map of Brazil; but most of the areas on both places are on same latitude / same distance from the equator and the polar caps. Brazil is much larger than Monaco / Sahara is much larger than Lichtenstein. As a typical Warmist, you know how to massage the truth, when exposed lying.

        The issue is: water vapour is declared as a bad gas for the climate by the Conspirators!!! If you had a grain of honesty – would be easy to compare the areas of Brazil V Sahara that are on same latitude; Brazil has lots of ”water vapour + CO2” Sahara doesn’t. Question is still the same: which of those two places has better climate?! If you wish, you can compare Vietnam, Burma V central Sahara, they are on same latitude; which of them has good climate and why?! You have proven how desperate the Swindlers like you are becoming. With my proofs I have put you in a ”checkmate position”!!!! Admit guilt – half is forgiven. Instead you behave as when bank-robbers are cornered into the safe = trying to prove that they broke in to deposit money… jury will not buy crap. You cannot con most of the people, most of the time. Time is against you.

        Brazil has more H2O + CO2, but much better climate than Sahara. Vietnam / Burma have much, much more CH4, but much better climate than Sahara!!! If you are so ignorant; ask and you will receive more explanation, don’t ridicule, by massaging the truth, only proves that you have lots of skeletons in you closet – Desperado. If one stands up for the truth like me – is against lies! H2O + CO2 are shade-cloth affect gases (DIMMING AFFECT) not Greenhouse affect!!! Instead of admitting guilt with dignity – you chose kicking and screaming tactic; when you don’t admit guilt when presented the truth = it’s proof that you did know that you were lying from the beginning = double crime. I have all the proofs and I will win. I wish to be given a chance to put you on a witness stand / under oath – where you cannot change the subject when proven lying

  10. Climate Watcher

    I had a wonderful professor who espoused Pascal’s fight against the ‘method of authority’ in favor of empirical evidence.

    The irony is invoking the reputation of Pascal in the process.

    Ultimately, it is the evidenced based veracity of what is said that matters, not who said it.

  11. Dr. Curry,

    I wonder if there are any statements of fact in the first WSJ opinion piece with which you disagree? I think I have read almost every one of the points in that piece in your posts and comments on this blog at one time or another. The tone is certainly different from yours, but are there any factual errors in describing the state of the science, or the politics?

    • Gary, I can answer this as well:
      In climate science, the IPCC/AGW resorts to 1. obstinance and 2. to
      numerical weight (e.g. 97% agree, we are many you are few….)….
      this is the error in climate science……
      I took time to Email to more than 150 contributors of AR5, friendly
      explaining: that the AR4 contains the major error that the Earth’s orbit
      is declared as having no effect (RF) in our lifetimes (millenium
      scale)…… therefore all models have to be wrong, for a major input
      parameter is missing …..[[see also WUWT: Nicola Scafetta on his latest Epoch making paper on astronomic climate causes]]……
      …….result: just 3 replies (all from England)….out of 150…..
      …. And this Email is important because 1 missing
      major input variable invalidates model outcomes….even the present
      flat temp plateau does not seem to impress AGW-model simulants…
      …….. this is the true error in the state of climate science….
      JS

  12. I’m not sure I understand the point. Were the authors of the editorial really arguing from their authority. That was not obvious to me. What is clear to me is that smart people from outside a field can often make very significant contributions with a little work.

    • David –

      The whole basis of the 2nd op-ed was surely authority.

      “Do you consult with your dentist about your heart condition? In science, as in any area, reputations are based on knowledge and expertise in a field and on published, peer-reviewed work. If you need surgery, you want a highly experienced expert in the field who has done a number of the proposed operations.”

      The first op-ed was less so, although they did mention one Nobel winner and one economist.

      • It was full of appeal to authority. Eg:

        “In fact, a large and growing number of distinguished scientists and engineers do not agree that drastic actions on global warming are needed.”

        “In September, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever”

        “large numbers of scientists, many very prominent, share the opinions of Dr. Giaever….”

        “the number of scientific “heretics” is growing with each passing year”

        “Although the number of publicly dissenting scientists is growing”

        “Speaking for many scientists and engineers who have looked carefully and independently at the science of climate, we have a message to any candidate for public office”

        Not to mention the “signed by 16 scientists” thing.

      • lolwot

        They simply stated that not everyone agreed with the consensus, and the number was growing and some were ‘distinguished’. If there is any criticism to be made, it is that this was an insufficiently supported assertion, not an appeal to authority. Given the claims of consensus, what else could they say if they didn’t want readers to regard them as a bunch of eccentrics?

        The 2nd was far more an argument from authority: “We’re climate scientists. You’re not. Butt out.”.

      • The first letter appealed to authority. The second letter said OK then and bought real authority to the table.

      • “Real authority”. Aren’t you rather defeating your own argument here? Trenberth et al appealing to the authority of Trenberth et al.

        Oh sorry, I forgot about the 97% (I keep wondering, when they whittled the survey down to 77 or 79 or whatever respondents, which 2 didn’t agree).

      • There’s no escaping that on authority the responding scientists had more than the signers of the first letter.

      • cb,
        The second essay was not only based on authority, it was pretentious self-referential authority.

      • hunter,

        the second letter was not ‘based on authority’, but on knowledge. That knowledge does conveys some authority on the subjcect matter, which in a nutshell was the problem with the first letter from such wonderfully knowledgable people such as a geneticist.

        In the end, that is what expert opinion is – a high level of knowledge.

        Yes, some prefer ignorance, but let’s not pretend that it’s a god thing.

    • @David Young What is clear to me is that smart people from outside a field can often make very significant contributions with a little work.

      Agreed. Nobel laureate Richard Feyman is a case in point. Although he was outside the field of rocket science he was able to home in on the O-ring problem with the Challenger shuttle when the rest of the panel he was serving on couldn’t see it. Movie star Hedy Lamarr’s spread spectrum invention is another example. Another notable instance is politician Al Gore’s invention of the Internet (“just a little work, Ben Franklin could have done it if he’d still been around”).

  13. I have an anticancer drug in the first stages of animal testing.
    I designed the drug, did the initial synthesis and did all the in vitro work, I also have the Patent in the works.
    The drug does kill glioma, using a very clever method that bypasses all the normal chemo-resistance pathways.

    First animal died with the syringe still in its tail.
    We have dropped the dose, but it is clear that the therapeutic window is much narrower than I anticipated. Thing is, the design is so we would have a very wide therapeutic window.

    Hypothesis. Test hypothesis. Science.

    • The irony is that the CO2 drug dose is being increased without testing. Lets hope the therapeutic window isn’t much narrower than anticipated.

      • cui bono
        your link took me down the memory lane and numerous Thursday afternoon/evenings at the South bank (old LWT now ‘the LS’ ) were ‘HINGFY’ is recorded.

    • Latimer Alder

      @doc martyn

      ‘Hypothesis. Test hypothesis. Science’

      H’mm

      Hypothesis. Hide the data and methods (if any). Declare ‘Its worse than we thought’. Panic. Climatology

      • Denier scientific method:

        1. Sit on butt all day
        2. Log onto internet and winge and moan about the science
        3. Don’t bother doing any
        4. Fabricate bogus tests and declare all the science invalidated!

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        Wow. Is that the best that you can come up with?

        Exactly the same as a very bad actor’s response to an unfavourable theatre review of a very bad play.

        Next you’ll be trying the sob story about how hard it is being a climatologit and how we’re all unfair and that we don’t understand you and that you’re going to thcream and thcream until you’re thick.(*)

        Says a lot really.

        (*) Copyright VE Bott/R Crompton

      • cui bono
        your link took me down the memory lane and numerous Thursday afternoon/evenings at the South bank (old LWT now ‘the LS’ ) were ‘HINGFY’ is recorded.

      • Have I Got News For You

      • believer day:
        Pretend to be enlightened
        Read RC
        Echo RC
        Repeat.

    • Doc,
      Targeted pro-drug? or drug encapsulated in targeted nanoparticles or liposomes? using PEGylation to stealth the attack?
      or targeted exploding dendrimer pro-drug?
      check out the video at the end of this ACS piece. I don’t know how this idea has progressed since 2003, but I like the Star Wars like video at the end of the story.

      http://pubs.acs.org/cen/topstory/8139/print/8139notw1print.html

  14. Lolsomething wrote: ‘ The opponents of CAGW DID appeal to their opinions’:

    `The lack of warming for more than a decade—indeed, the smaller-than-predicted warming over the 22 years since the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) began issuing projections—suggests that computer models have greatly exaggerated how much warming additional CO2 can cause.`

    ‘That’s an opinion.’

    Here’s an opinion. This has to be one of the more inane comments I’ve read in a long while.

    • You miss the subtlety of my argument.

      Hint: there’s no such fallacy as “appeal to opinion”

      • lolwot

        Imo, you are correct that the original wsj article skeptical of cAGW did invoke a strategy to appeal to authority by stating that many engineers and “scientists” doubt that the actions proposed by the IPCC are warranted.

        Imo, you have ignored the central reason for the implementation of that strategy.

        Those who initiated and support the notion that immediate and drastic actions must be implemented to prevent great harm originally employed an argument that there is a consensus of learned experts who best understand this complex issue and agree it is a problem and agree on a course of action. It was frequently said that not to agree to support their conclusions demonstrated that a person was some way “mentally challenged.”

        It was an effective strategy in that most people are not willing or able to research the details that make up the supporting data and rely upon “experts” to summarize the issue and suitability of proposed actions.

        Fortunately, Imo the strategy ultimately is failing due to very practical reasons.

      • Imo the strategy ultimately is failing due to very practical reasons.

        All that remains now is to bring your opinion to the attention of those whose opinions count for something.

        If that doesn’t work there’s always the approach in the climax and denouement of The Matrix Revolutions. Some coordination required.

  15. incandecentbulb

    But, we all know what the scientific method is and we also know that it has been sacrificed by the government-funded climatologists of Education Complex on the altar of liberal utopianism.

    • Latimer Alder

      After some years of study of the ways of climatologits, I genuinely think that they do not know what the scientific method is. Maybe it’s because few of them have any knowledge of ‘hard science’ or engineering. Or maybe because it all looks a bit harder than they want to get involved with

      They would have made great interpreters of omens…reading huge global significance from signs like the motion of a flock of geese or the precise configuration of the entrails of a dead animal. Or attempting to turn otherwise harmless trees into treemometers via the mechanism of ‘teleconnections’.

      But as scientists, they have a long long long way to go

      • When people talk about “scientific method” on blogs I get the impression they are demanding a simplistic cartoon version of the world in which scientists in a “lab” wearing white coats and shaking chemicals in their “Test Tubes” must adhere to words like Hypothesis -> Test chalked on a blackboard.

        Much like computer science graduates will spout nonsense to me about how software development has to follow some ideal cartoon model whether it be some new Agile approach or an older “waterfall model” of software engineering. But in the real world companies don’t do that. They just get on with it and their success is not measured in the methods they use but the results they obtain.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘They just get on with it and their success is not measured in the methods they use but the results they obtain’.

        I don’t disagree.

        Working for a company – which most often has a particular problem to solve – is not the same as working in the sheltered groves of academe. In the first case the solution required will usually have to be practical and economical and prove to be better than that provided by the competition. And may well have to be refined several times over its lifetime. In the second the only required result is to publish something in a peer-reviewed journal every once in a while. The quality of the work is immaterial..it is the act of publication itself that is the goal. Once published the paper is complete and stands alone. It is rarely of ever compared with any competition and however weak it is is rarely revisited or withdrawn.

        As to methods, the ‘scientific method’ of hypothesis, test, improvement and so on is used not just because it is an elegant method in itself, but because it has actually been shown to work in many different situations to many different problems. Wild guesses, fraud, hoaxing, wishful thinking, faux statistics have all been tried at one time or another but none of them work as consistently well as the scientific method. To argue otherwise – that somehow your case is diddereen, or special or exempt is to ignore the experiemental evidence of the efficacy of this method.

        Similarly with software development methods. People do not spend lots of time and effort inventing/designing new methods just becasue they like doing os – at least not in the commercial world they don’t. They do so because the existing methods have deficiencies. And they hope that the new method can eliminate soem of them.

        Way back when, when IT was young, nobody had any idea about how to write ‘good software’. Trail and error by millions of coders began to show which were blind alleys and which were mor promising avenues. And after 60 odd years we are beginnign tp get a better idea of how to do things. And today’s methods are usually more effective (by whatever metric you care to measure) than those of 30 years ago when I started in the field.

        Aand a final word about people with testtubes and white coats. Chamistry is an intensely practical science..to the extent that ‘Theoretical Chemistry’ is only a recent innovation. Chemists are innately experimentalists. They want to know all the experimental details of a claim. And not just to accept another chemists work on a subject but to reproduce it and build upon it in their own lab.

        As such they are probably the greatest ‘Show Me’ audience you can get. And that is why a a lot of chemists view with great sceptcicim the claims of climatology which rarely rise above the concept of having had an idea and then publishing the idea but nver doing the experiment.

    • “But, we all know what the scientific method is”

      I doubt it

  16. John Carpenter

    I think the problem started with what the IPCC stated at it’s inception in 1988: to assess…

    “the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change. It does not carry out new research nor does it monitor climate-related data. It bases its assessment mainly on published and peer reviewed scientific technical literature.”

    The ‘human-induced’ term before ‘climate change’ being the important distinction. Coupled with the idea the assessments are created for policymaker guidance to make new rules and…. for many people red flags go up. I pulled the above laguage from the Union of Concerned Scientists website here,

    http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science_and_impacts/science/ipcc-backgrounder.html

    Interestingly, if you go to the IPCC website now… the ‘human-induced’ term before ‘climate change’ is no longer present.

    http://www.ipcc.ch/organization/organization.shtml

    I can only speak for myself, but part of the reason I landed more on the ‘skeptical’ side of the argument (though now I admit to being ‘lukewarm’) was the nagging feeling I had, and to some extent still have, that the ‘human-induced’ portion of climate change was determined to be significant very early in the process of examining the science of climate change. As someone active in my own area of research I have gained enough experience and expertise to know that rarely do the original ideas used to formulate a hypothesis turn out to be 100% true or maybe even 50% true. In fact what I find is… the more I learn about X… the less I ‘know’ about X, especially when X is a complex problem with lots of moving parts.

    Engineers, physicists, chemists,… etc.. who engage in either developing new products or engaged in general research should know this to be true… if they are really honest with themselves. This is not to say we can’t make things work or gain understanding because obviously we do, but rarely do we set out on a project with a fixed idea in mind and find we were 100% correct.

    With this kind of a background perception, many of us find the storyline the IPCC presents as being too neat and tidy (highly confident). They do present some stumbling blocks such as the role of the oceans, CO2 sensitivity, clouds… but the overall message went from ‘we think it is CO2’ to ‘it looks like its CO2’ to ‘yep, it’s CO2’ was too easy in the span of only a couple decades. Many other items that seem like they should be important were dismissed… the role of solar variation and natural variability being two significant factors. Add on the heavy reliance on models to explain the ‘why’ question and you have a recipe for skepticism.

    I, for one,tend to be cautious in providing a high levels of confidence when asked ‘why’ a process behaves as it does. Again, that is not to say I am not confident I can control the process b/c in may cases I can… but the understanding of exactly why it works is different. I often have a working theory about why it might behave as it does, but low confidence because I can’t measure or study what I need to know to gain the confidence.

    IMO, the perception of putting the cart before the horse… knowing what the conclusion was before we started… just rankles many people. If climate science pushes back when inquired about the confidence of it assessment with an appeal to authority type answer, then you are going to have a stalemate with those asking the questions. AFAIK, the overall hypothesis is 100% correct and CO2 is the biggest problem we face with respect to climate change… but I still have my doubts.

    • You have captured the essence of my doubts about the theory and the scientists involved. It is all too neat and tidy complete. with nicely tied ribbon

    • Union of Concerned Scientists:

      The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was established in 1988 under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization for the purpose of assessing the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of the risk of human-induced climate change.

      IPCC:

      Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading international body for the assessment of climate change. It was established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the current state of knowledge in climate change and its potential environmental and socio-economic impacts.

      The two are not entirely identical. I wish they were.

    • You have the root of the credibility issues that continue to plague the IPCC right there: looking at only one possible variable -human induced- to explain “global warming” / “climate change”.

      The IPCC, and those who have become its main drivers and above all the main benificiaries of its activites, explicitly never had any interest in learning more about other possible / reasonable variables that might be at play in whatever it is we are observing. That is not science -not even remotely. That is the ultimate embodiment of confirmational bias, since by definition it filters out anything that is not “human induced”.

      But the really nasty 600 lb grizzly bear that’s still in the room -behind mulitple layers of wallpaper, mind you, are the IPCC’s political antecedants.
      Although the MSM have done their utmost not to flag this too often, the IPCC has an overarching political message, one articulated at the outset by one of its co-founders, the Canadian socialist Maurice Strong, who famously made the observation that if in order to save the earth it is necessary to dismantle de industrialzed economies, so be it, and that the IPC would be a useful instrument in that process. The very same message was articulated by Ottmar Edenhofer -on of the IPCC’s top administrators- at the 2010 Cancun meetings, where with astonishing candour he stated that the IPCC was really no longer about climate science, but rather was an instrument for the re-distribution of global wealth from the developed to the devloping world. As the saying goes: “if a man tells you he is going to kill you, it’s best to take him at his word”.

      So, what we are left with is an organization that operates on a grand scale confirmational bias -disguised as “climate science”, with the explicitly stated aim of remaking the world economic order. The stealth and opacity with which it continues to conduct its “assessments” is only getting worse, as evidenced at e.g. Climate Audit. It will interesting to see how many governments will be taking the findings of its next report at face value.

      • The IPCC doesn’t just look at one possible variable. It looks at a wide number.

        It’s just fact that the biggest forcing known to man is the human CO2 contribution.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “It’s just fact that the biggest forcing known to man is the human CO2 contribution”.

        It’s just a fact that the biggest forcing known to this man is Lolwot contributions I emit in the morning.

      • John Carpenter

        tetris, IMO the machinery of the IPCC has ended up being a real detriment to climate science as a whole. The over emphasis of CO2 as the primary bad actor has had two negative outcomes in letting the science mature in a more productive way.

        1) By making CO2 the poster child of why the climate is changing along with the urgent message of ‘we must do something now’…. the whole science has become politically polarized. The quotes you provide are examples of the types of polemic arguments that gets the backs up of a lot of ordinary people, not to mention the extremists on the skeptical side. Investigating a complex issue in the midst of a politically charged climate can only result in extreme distrust of the opposing sides. Whether this was done purposely or not in the beginning by the IPCC, I dunno. But I do know certain types of power hungry people gravitate to issues that are politically charged to either make a name or to gain power. I have to believe the vast majority of scientists studying the climate do not fall in this category…. but many of their helpers probably do.

        2) It has stifled ideas of other factors or forcing mechanisms as the potential causes/contributors of climate change (variability). At least from where I observe it appears that way. If I am a researcher looking for funding, I am not going to risk losing a grant because my idea is not mainstream. Therefore, I am going to couch my idea within the framework that ‘human-induced’ climate change (with the implicit idea it’s due to elevated CO2 levels by human activities) is a part of the study. It becomes ingrained in the request that my work may further prove CO2 may be the big problem. I will not tend to submit requests that run counter to that idea. What is the likelihood I will get a research grant that might result in the suggestion CO2 is not as major a contributor as thought?

        Look, I have to admit a lot of what I say about how grant requests are written or awarded is pure speculation on my part, but here is the rub…. I have this perception… right or wrong, it is there in my mind lurking about, raising questions. I submit this is not a healthy mindset to have when trying to analyze a complex problem. We want to be objective and properly critical in our evaluation… but this unhealthy perception of what is the driving force behind the IPCC is getting in the way.

  17. Andy Revkin has an entertaining post that is relevant
    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/04/in-overheated-climate-fight-a-search-for-common-ground/

    And in the spirit of “love your enemies”, see anthony watt’s latest post in support of Michael Mann.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/04/editorial-in-support-of-dr-michael-mann-and-open-debate/

    • In support of Micheal Mann? Seriously? Are we reading the same WUWT article?

    • Judith

      The “love your enemies” support, which Anthony Watts is giving Michael Mann is sort of like that of a one-legged milking stool with termites (potentially treacherous in a manure-filled barn)..

      Will there be an open debate between MM and (say) Roy Spencer (or Richard Lindzen) on the “broader issues”?

      Or will there be a more specialized (yawn) debate between MM and other paleo-climatologists on the validity of bristlecone pine reconstructions?

      Or how about one between MM and Steve McIntyre on statistical methodologies (snore)?

      Or (biggest draw of all) between MM and Lord Christopher Monckton on climate-related policy issues?

      (I’m not counting on it.)

      Max

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      What is the theocracy of authority in Science;

      I would postulate the Philosophers of Science are the gatekeepers of acceptance for the Science of Physics.

      Karl Popper contended that the central question in the philosophy of science was distinguishing science from non-science.

      Early attempts by the logical positivists grounded science in observation while non-science was non-observational and hence nonsense. Philosophers argued that the central feature of science was that science aims at falsifiable claims (i.e. claims that can be proven false, at least in principle).

      How do we aim at falsifiable claims when the door is a closed shop of climate scientists. At the end of AGW lectures they ask, any questions? Well, yes, now we do have a few.

  18. Hypothesis….Test hypothesis….. Science.

    Hypothesis: More CO2 “traps heat” and radiates it back from the troposhere to earth.; Physics: plancks law, Stefan Boltzman requires an emitter to have higher temperatures to emit more infrared. Consequently where the troposphere is back radiating more, it should be warmer.

    Prediction from the hypothesis: find warming in the medium levels of the troposphere, the more radiation, the more heat. Hence there must be a hot spot which is strongest at the equator.

    Test hypothesis: Result from e-mail # 1939 Climategate2:

    http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=1889

    “Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous.”

    • “Hypothesis: More CO2 “traps heat” and radiates it back from the troposhere to earth”

      Well that’s more like observed fact than hypothesis.

    • Physics: plancks law, Stefan Boltzman requires an emitter to have higher temperatures to emit more infrared. Consequently where the troposphere is back radiating more, it should be warmer.

      The atmosphere isn’t a black body, meaning it doesn’t absorb all radiation in all wavelengths. The reason “back radiation” increases with increasing CO2 is that more radiation is being prevented, or rather delayed, from escaping the Earth. The atmosphere isn’t necessarily radiating with more intensity on average, but there is more of it available to perform absorption and radiation and so more is emitted back to the surface.

      The real prediction of a tropical tropospheric “hot spot” relates to the water vapour lapse rate feedback, which isn’t specific to CO2 at all.

    • leftturnandre

      In science, when the observation does not match theory, we chuck the theory.

      Here is comparison of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) theory and observation:

      IPCC AR4, 2007 => http://bit.ly/z7cOHe

      This comparison shows the observed global mean temperatures (GMT) are less than model projections if human CO2 emission were held constant at the 2000 level.

      In addition, there has not been any change in the climate as there has been only a single GMT pattern since record begun 160 years ago. This pattern has a unique property of a warming trend of only 0.06 deg C per decade and an oscillation of 0.5 deg C every 30 years. This pattern can be clearly observed in the data from NASA and the University of East Anglia as shown in the following graph.

      http://bit.ly/Aei4Nd

      This result shows, for 160 years, the GMT pattern (the climate) has not been affected by human CO2 emission, volcanoes and aerosols! These variables did not have effect because the GMT pattern before and after mid-20th century were nearly identical.

      As observations do not match AGW theory, chuck the AGW theory!

  19. I agree with this vision.
    The basic of Roland Benabou theory is that your invested interest in a domain prevent you to see opposing views.

    this post vulgarize beanbou works in a nice way.
    http://seekingalpha.com/article/124027-denial-collective-housing-delusions

    if you are IPCC member, will you agree that you could be fired ?
    If your house is paid with benefits from solar panel, will you admit it is a stupid energy…

    you cannot have honest vision if you are a stakeholder, even unconsciously.

    soon we will remember the most stupid sentence of the las 400 years:
    “I have had 50 years of experience in nuclear physics and I know what’s possible and what’s not. . . . I don’t want to see any more evidence! I think it’s a bunch of junk and I don’t want to have anything further to do with it.”

    all the pathology of denial is in that sentence.

    in my “innovation management course” at work they say that innovators have the following characteristics :
    – they are foreigners (not of the same business, science, country…)
    – they have a strong network to share view with, separate from the mainstream
    – they have a resilient mind, they keep their idea despite opposition

    innovation cannot came from the wagon circle.

  20. Given that, is the meta-cognitive abilities of someone like Freeman Dyson of greater value in sorting through all this than the typical IPCC author with narrow expertise?

    I often wondered about this. My short answer would be yes. But I’d be interested in other people’s answers, even if they are longer than mine.

  21. Another way in which some climate scientists commit the Fallacy of Argument from Illegitimate Authority is that they insist that we accept their models without explication and they insist that their models can substitute for physical theory.

    The clear example of substitution is the argument that manmade CO2 must be accepted as a cause of warming because without such an assumption the models cannot replicate the increase in temperature in the late 20th century. That inference is totally illegitimate. Models reproduce reality but they do not describe reality. To infer a causal connection, or some “hand waving” connection, from a model is way beyond the pale. To an Oxford educated Englishman it is nothing short of a category mistake.

    As long as climate scientists argue from models, they are simply repeating their own uninvestigated beliefs and arguing in a circle bolstered by their authority.

    • Scientists are going on weight of evidence. If our best numerical explanations of the climate come up short in explaining the recent warming except when human activity is factored in, it would be criminal to ignore that.

      • Lolwot, have a look at my previous comments:
        The AGW/IPCC fraction is clearly obstinate and ignore Scepticism….as soon as they discover that a paper is not along AGW-lines, they ignore it and never answer….and as you add another word: AGW are persistent “criminal” ignorers…
        JS

      • You are confusing explanation and reproduction. Models reproduce reality. They produce simulations. Physical theory describes reality and can be used for explanation and prediction. Physical theory implies observable fact. Models have no logical relationship to observable fact. Models do not imply observable fact and cannot be used for prediction. They cannot be falsified. Some scientist has to interpret his model as accurately reproducing fact, yet no climate science is willing to discuss the standards of reproducibility. For that reason, all standards applied to models must be indexed to the model authors. That is disgustingly immoral behavior.

      • lolwot,
        Some scientists have arrived at an opinion you liked so much you made it a religious exercise. Now you are immune to counter-opinions.

    • Theo

      “To an Oxford educated Englishman..” Ah, memories! From the sound of your arguments, PPE?

  22. What I find curious as a non scientist interested in the debate are the solutions proposed to mitigate the problem (CO2). You can’t solve the problem using less energy dense power generation (windmills, solar, carbon credits, etc.) without impoverishing everyone on earth. Before I take the notion seriously, I want to see the scientists and the environmentalists supporting realistic plans. At this point I don’t trust the science or the rhetoric

    • Uh there are realistic plans. All the things you mentioned plus nuclear which you didn’t.

    • The point is that it does not make sense to “get rid” of CO2. More CO2 means more plants, there is a simple relationship. If we were to reduce artificially CO2 to 350 ppm we would give up some % of the biosphere. For what?
      Furthermore plants having more CO2 available need less water.
      This is why at the current concentrations reducing CO2 would be very dangerous if not criminal thinking at famine and the increased population.

  23. Judith –

    Given that, is the meta-cognitive abilities of someone like Freeman Dyson of greater value in sorting through all this than the typical IPCC author with narrow expertise?

    How are you defining the term metacognitive there?

    Depending on your definition – what makes you think that Dyson has any greater metacognitive abilities than anyone else in the debate?

    • Oh, and what’s up with the “appeal to authority?”

      Don’t you know that many of your “denizens” flat-out categorically reject arguments by “appeal to authority” as a fallacy?

      What’s that?

      Oh.

      Never mind.

      • JC note to the IPCC: rely less on expert judgment and appeal to authority, and more on carefully crafted and documented arguments.

        Wait.

        Hold on.

        In the same paragraph where you say that we should turn to Dyson because of his “metacognitive” abilities (I mean Judith, aside from his “authority,” on what basis to you appeal to his “metacognitive” abilities?), you admonish others for appealing to authority?

        Huh?

        This is w/r/t Dyson’s views on a subject that he, himself, says that he hasn’t studied in detail?

        Wow!

      • Hey Joshua! You’ve managed to ask and then answer 3 questions without reference to anybody else!

        Is this a record? :-)

      • Is this a record? :-)

        Doubling down on the argument fallacies by piling on an ad hom to protect Judith’s appeal to authority?

        :-)

        How do we quantify growth in argument fallacies? Linear growth or exponential growth?

      • cui bon,

        Sometimes Stewie just gets tired of not being answered.

        Judith, Judith, Judith, Dr. Curry, Dr. Curry, Dr, Curry…,

    • Read Galileo’s Diaglogues edited by Drake and Einstein. There you can learn all that anyone can learn about metacognitive ability. Galileo invented scientific method.

      • Theo –

        How are you defining metacognition. As I understand the term (and have used the term for years), it refers to one’s knowledge about their own learning processes. How do you, or Judith, have any knowledge about Dyson’s metacognitive abilities?

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Theo, if the gentleman had the ability to megacognitate, then he would know about metaclimatic states.

        And stop harping.

      • Scientific method is metacognition. It is about science.

      • Theo –

        Scientific method is metacognition. It is about science.

        Have you bothered to look up the word?

        Could you please give more detail on your definition of metacognition?

        Saying that scientific method and metacognition are synonymous doesn’t quite cut it for me.

      • Joshua, “Saying that scientific method and metacognition are synonymous doesn’t quite cut it for me.” That would be because the science you are seeing is not good science. Part of metacognition is, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood is, a scientist has gotta know his limitations.

      • Cap’n —

        That would be because the science you are seeing is not good science.

        OK. Now I got it.

        Dyson is metacognitive because he practices good science and doubts AGW.

        Hawking (or Schmidt, etc.), on the other hand, isn’t metacognitive because he practices bad science and thinks AGW probable.

        Thanks for clearing that up for me.

      • In case that flew past you, I was laughing at your cause-effect attribution, not actually agreeing with you.

      • Schmidt is not in the same class. He is good at what he does, not so good at determining what it means. He made one of the most ridiculous comments I have read. That 2 degrees or 4 degrees, it doesn’t much matter, or words to that effect. Metacognitively, he should realize that the difference means something, possibly a lot more than just a model glitch.

        The Antarctic not warming, the mid troposphere not warming as much, the stratosphere not cooling as much, all mean something. The Arctic warming more in relation to the tropics means something. The rate of convection being greater than estimated means something. The fact that more and more models are estimating lower transient sensitivity. The lack of ocean warming in the southern hemisphere. The unbalanced atmospheric CO2 concentration between the northern and southern hemisphere, the uncertainty in mixed-phase clouds. The Tsnosis and Douglas network and semi-chaos methods showing natural shift greater than expected. All mean something. Pulling all those something together requires more than a bean counter or computer programmer.

        It requires knowing what to do with the knowledge and the lack of knowledge. That is not a common gift.

      • He made one of the most ridiculous comments I have read.

        So what do you think of the “metacognitive” ability of 16 scientific “experts” who analogized climate scientists to Lysenko?

        Oh. right. They never said anything ridiculous.

      • Now you are just being dense. How’s that critical reasoning course coming along?

      • cap’n

        Now you are just being dense.

        Right. I’m being dense because you work backwards from your agreement with someone’s views to assign the attribute of being “metacognitive” – to top it off, apparently defining the word in a way that will remain known only to yourself and people who also want to assign the attribute selectively.

      • Part of metacognition is, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood is, a scientist has gotta know his limitations.

        Where is your evidence that Dyson knows his limitations?

        Oh. Right. You agree with this conclusions. I forgot.

      • I did define it, a scientist has gotta know his own limitations :)

        Metacognition refers to one’s knowledge concerning one’s own cognitive processes or anything related to them, e.g., the learning-relevant properties of information or data. For example, I am engaging in metacognition if I notice that I am having more trouble learning A than B; if it strikes me that I should double check C before accepting it as fact.
        —J. H. Flavell (1976, p. 232).

      • “Where is your evidence that Dyson knows his limitations?

        Oh. Right. You agree with this conclusions. I forgot.”

        I agree with my conclusions. I never met Dyson, Does he fish?

      • joshua.
        like dydson.
        not dyson. someone like dyson
        grant judith her presumption that dyson has
        metacognitive abilities. amd stay on topic.
        frankly I question whether metacognition is
        that useful. your thread jacking has
        reach a new low.

    • Joshua

      Why divert discussions into obviously unimportant tangents?

      You are bright enough to realize the point of the WSJ article was to show that there is no technical “consensus” that the conclusions of the IPCC are warranted based upon the quality of evidence available today.

      Is there ANY reason to go into a microscopic analysis of the precise wording in a post in a way that has nothing to do with the core issue?

      • Why divert discussions into obviously unimportant tangents?
        […]
        Is there ANY reason to go into a microscopic analysis of the precise wording in a post in a way that has nothing to do with the core issue?

        I assume these were purely rhetorical questions, Rob! Nonetheless, I believe the answer to your second question lies in your first: Joshua is a dedicated diverter of the highest time-wasting, bandwidth-wasting order.

        His early efforts, I found mildly amusing (well, for about his first two forays). But, IMHO, his perpetually recycled “debating” tactics make one long for the good old days of Usenet – when those who chose the diversionary path of Joshua could be readily consigned to one’s kill-file, thereby considerably enhancing the signal to noise ratio of one’s reading experience.

      • If Joshua cannot manipulate people of good faith and hijack conversations, he has nothing.
        Ignore the twit.

    • Evening Josuha,

      I thought I had a reasonable grasp on what mega cognition was (until I started doing some research). For me I liked these two references best-

      1) Metacognition http://agpa.uakron.edu/p16/btp.php?id=metacognition
      “Problem solving is a complex behavior. Regardless of how much experience or knowledge a problem-solver has, each new problem situation is in some ways unique, requiring creative application of strategies for posing, solving, and resolving the problem at hand. Metacognition is the awareness and understanding of one’s self as a thinker. Expert problem-solvers, and effective thinkers of all kinds are usually self-aware thinkers. They plan strategies for attacking thinking problems. When they hit blind alleys, they stop, analyze, and reflect. Effective thinkers pose alternatives for themselves and choose among them. Students’ ability to reflect on their thinking “as thinking” and to analyze their own strategies are their metacognitive skills.”
      and 2) http://academic.pgcc.edu/~wpeirce/MCCCTR/metacognition.htm

      meta cognition
      In general, metacognition is thinking about thinking. More specifically, Taylor (1999) defines metacognition as “an appreciation of what one already knows, together with a correct apprehension of the learning task and what knowledge and skills it requires, combined with the agility to make correct inferences about how to apply one’s strategic knowledge to a particular situation, and to do so efficiently and reliably.”

      For me what Dyson has is an ability to tap into his 1) taict knowledge rather quickly which he can then use in a feedback loop to refine his “posing” part of the definition noted above and then 2) he can come up with ways of expressing that tacit knowledge more explicitly using an “agility to make correct inferences about how to apply one’s strategic knowledge to a particular situation, and to do so efficiently and reliably.”

      • Sounds like Dyson fishes :)

      • Evening Mark,

        I actually know a little bit about metacognition, but thanks for the links.

        Expert problem-solvers, and effective thinkers of all kinds are usually self-aware thinkers.

        And that is why I’m asking how, outside of suppositions based on agreement with Dyson’s thinking on AGW, people are quantifying Dyson’s metacognitive skills relative to Schmidt or Hawking.

        And perhaps you could point me to a link that shows that metacognitive skills are proportional to one’s critical thinking skills. No doubt, there is probably on average some positive correlation. The problem here is that people are making facile conclusions that they are directly proportional – and they are doing so because of, essentially, an appeal to Dyson’s authority (as a physicist that has not studied climate science in much detail).

        My point is not to dismiss Dyson’s opinions. I think he’s obviously a smart dude. My point is the selective objection to “appeals to authority.”

      • Note that judith suggested someone like dyson. then mote that joshua turned it into a discusion
        about the man in particular amd into a
        discusion about judith and others.
        not one cogent thought from him on the topic
        derailer. troll
        hobby horsing.

    • Joshua

      You wrote your actual concern is: “My point is the selective objection to “appeals to authority.”

      Yes, both sides of the debate/discussion have to varying degrees “appealed to authority”.

      Those who initiated and support the notion that immediate and drastic actions must be implemented to prevent great harm originally employed an argument that there is a consensus of learned experts who best understand this complex issue and agree it is a problem and agree on a course of action. It was frequently said that not to agree to support their conclusions demonstrated that a person was some way “mentally challenged.”
      It was an effective strategy in that most people are not willing or able to research the details that make up the supporting data and rely upon “experts” to summarize the issue and suitability of proposed actions.

      Isn’t it “necessary” to communicate that it is untruthful to claim there is a consensus of scientists and engineers in support of the IPCC’s conclusions?

      How else does one prove there is no consensus?

  24. “Argument from authority” is illogical and does not pass the rigors of the scientific process, which only recognizes “argument from evidence”.

    But the op-ed on “Argument and authority” by Michael Levi was not discussing science.

    It was discussing policy and politics.

    The two groups of scientists (some climatologists on both sides) were misusing their scientific credentials to lend authority to their opinions on a topic, where they have NO authority.

    That’s even worse.

    To argue that the science supporting the IPCC CAGW premise must be right, “because the NAS or RS leadership has said so” is a pure “argument from authority” (and can be discarded as such).

    To extend this one step further with climatologists attempting to lend authority to their opinions on policy matters based on their specialized knowledge of some climate-related scientific discipline is an even greater fallacy of logic.

    Personal opinions on policy matters of all individuals (particularly those who might be impacted by these matters) are great and (provided they are rational and not based on emotions, such as fear) should be considered valid.

    Attempting to lend authority to these personal opinions based on having a PhD in some climate-related field is a misguided “argument from authority” (where there isn’t even the “authority”).

    Just my personal opinion.

    Max

  25. I take it that no on here so “concerned” about “appeal to authority” felt that the first WSJ editorial was worth reading because of the “expertise” of people who signed it.

    Right?

    • It depends on what the quoted words mean.

      • It depends on what the quoted words mean.

        Which is why I asked for clarification. Apparently Judith’s intended meaning is non-standard. Even so, with a non-standard definition – it’s still an “appeal to authority.” Judith is suggesting that we accept Dyson’s “authority,” merely because of his reputation, and not even on a subject that he’s studied in detail.

        Even with a non-standard definition – would you mind quantifying for me Dyson’s “metacognitive” abilities relative to, say, those of Gavin? How about Hawking?

        The hypocrisy of Judith’s argument here is stunning.

      • Judith is suggesting that we accept Dyson’s “authority,” merely because of his reputation, and not even on a subject that he’s studied in detail.

        Hilarious he worked with von neumann and Charney on a number of problems in meterology ie the mathematical problems that constrain atmospheric physics (these have not evolved in the last 4 decades the solutions are still open and infinite)

        In an interesting chapter entitled Engineers Dreams from his book” Infinite in all directions”, Freeman Dyson explains the reasons for the failings of Von Neumann and his team for the prediction and control of Hurricanes

        “As soon as we have good enough computers we will be able to divide the phenomena of meteorology cleanly into two categories, the stable and the unstable”, The unstable phenomena are those that are which are upset by small disturbances, and the stable phenomena are those that are resilient to small disturbances. All disturbances that are stable we will predict, all processes that are unstable we will control”

        Freeman Dyson page 183.

        What went wrong? Why was Von Neumann’s dream such a total failure. The dream was based on a fundamental misunderstanding of the nature of fluid motions. It is not true that we can divide cleanly fluid motions into those that are predictable and those that are controllable. Nature as usual is more imaginative then we are. There is a large class of classical dynamic systems, including non-linear electrical circuits as well as fluids, which easily fall into a mode of behavior that is described by the word “chaotic” A chaotic motion is generally neither predictable nor controllable. It is unpredictable because a small disturbance will produce exponentially growing perturbation of the motion .It is uncontrollable because small disturbances lead only to other chaotic motions, and not to any stable and predictive alternative.

        Judiths argument is that the reduction of expertise ( the Macdonalization of scientific expertise ) is a limiting quality in the IPCC reviews (where interaction and understanding is constrained)

        This US and western phenomena is well known to external observers eg V Arnold

        One other characteristic of the Russian mathematical
        tradition is the tendency to regard all of mathematics as one living organism. In the West it is quite possible to be an expert in mathematics modulo 5, knowing nothing about mathematics
        modulo 7. One’s breadth is regarded as negative in the West to the same extent as one’s narrowness is regarded as unacceptable in Russia.

      • Joshua –

        I think something useful here would be a brief, all-encompassing and never-to-be-quoted amnesty.

        I have admitted that I was not impressed with either op-ed. I called them both ‘dishonest’, and I didn’t come down much in favour of one nor the other except to say the first one ‘wasn’t much better’

        However, that was partly to do with the rhetoric [+ lysenko] and needless exaggeration and the tribal insinuations. Otherwise I would have come down firmly on the side of Lindzen et al. I’d also have found a way to justify appealing to their authority, independence, and good sense. Trenberth’s mob I would have dismissed [and do] as having no authority. Why? Because I believe them to be profoundly wrong. So really, all I’m saying is my own judgement and understanding [cf beliefs] are paramount and people who have authority are those who agree with me.

        I have a suspicion that this is fairly common. Who here doesn’t appeal to an authority when they happen to find one that agrees with them?

        One thing I would add here is that this ‘appealing to authority’ has a distinct asymmetry to it. In the same way that many churches claim to be the sole interpreters of God’s message to mankind, there are many claims that the ‘science has spoken’, with one voice, to one group of people in the only language that conveys truth. And the claims are a full 97%. Statistical significance indeed!

        This is patently false, but is used to protect and promote a belief system. Dissenters and heretics are obliged to scratch in the dirt for less obvious persuasive devices.

        If, as Mosher says, the asymmetry is primarily about power and control of the public emotion [which is fear – always] it is still the case that everybody acts for the same reason – they believe their beliefs are true. This obviously cannot be the case but that is the way we are. And strangely, though we know we are sincere and assume others who believe as we do are also sincere, we find it obvious that most of those who believe something different to ourselves are dishonest. They are also knaves, liars and pursuers of nefarious agendas that lie hidden under the cloak of a false and made-up belief. And they probably eat children too.

        Apart from an amnesty [temporary, of course] so we can admit that we use what the hell appeals to authority we can find, why do we not accept the clear-as-day reality that the people on the other side of the barricades are absolutely as sincere in their beliefs as we are ourselves?

        James Hansen, Kevin Trenberth and Al Gore are not pretending to believe something they do not. It is enough that they believe something that is not true.

      • Anteros –

        I have a suspicion that this is fairly common. Who here doesn’t appeal to an authority when they happen to find one that agrees with them?

        Bingo.

      • Joshua.

        Judith does not appeal to dyson’s authority.
        She asked a question.. should we consider SOMEONE LIKE dyson..
        basically, she is asking whether or not ‘metacognition” is just as important as expert opinion. You translate this into an apeall to authority by misreading the text.

        You could have said

        1. yes Judith, metacoginition is important, but I think Dyson is a poor exemplar or unproven exemplar
        2. No judith, metacognition is not that important, regardless of who you want to point to as an exemplar of that trait

        personally, I think ‘metacognition’ is pretty limited in its usefullness when compiling a report on the science. It would be useful in a report on the report.

    • Joshua –

      Heavens, with lolwot here I thought you could take the day off. :-)

      The first op-ed was interesting mainly because of it’s rarity value.

      The second was interesting for showing the usual hubris – all we need to do to answer the first is to say ‘We’re Team Climate” and then add some cut-n-paste cliches about settled science.

      • cui bon –

        The first op-ed was interesting mainly because of it’s rarity value.

        That is a completely subjective determination.

        I found it interesting because I was stunned to find a group of very smart and knowledgeable people sign their name on an editorial that analogizes climate scientists to Lysenko.

        Unfortunately, such specious logic is not terribly rare.

      • “That is a completely subjective determination.”

        It’s true, I haven’t been counting, but how many MSM editorials have you seen opposing AGW? In the UK, I can’t think of one.

      • cui bono –

        It’s true, I haven’t been counting, but how many MSM editorials have you seen opposing AGW?

        How many MSM editorials have you seen comparing scientists to Lysenko? I haven’t been counting, but in the U.S., I can’t think of any.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Joshua, stop acting like an ambulance chaser. Somebody makes a adjectivally consummate statement here and you run after it hoping for some pay. You’re distracting.

        Can you go and stand in the corner and just listen for awhile.
        Please.

      • markus –

        You’re distracting.

        Is the tree outside my window distracting if I choose to look at it instead of something else?

        Man up.

      • cb,
        If there is an opportunity to hijack, hijackers will show up.

      • Joshua,

        I suspect that some may not have seen the letter, but just gave their approval for a general anti-AGW misive.

    • Joshua

      Are you referring to the first WSJ op-ed (1/27) “No Need to Panic…”, (signed by 16 scientists) or the follow-up op-ed (2/1) by Kevin Trenberth “Check With Climate Scientists …”, (signed by 38 scientists)?

      Or both?

      Please specify and clarify your thoughts (they seem a bit muddled to me).

      Thanks.

      Max

      • max –

        Or both?

        Both.

        Which is why I think that the “concern” about “appeal to authority” among some “skeptics” here is laughably hypocritical.

        Please specify and clarify your thoughts (they seem a bit muddled to me).

        Heh. Well, max, there could be two people responsible for that situation, now couldn’t there be?

        I’ll refer you to my comments on this thread:

        http://www.collide-a-scape.com/2012/02/01/summing-up/

        and this thread:

        judithcurry.com/2012/02/01/tracking-the-line-between-treatment-and-diagnosis

        if you’re interested in more clarifying my position in more depth. I explain quite a bit why I think that both editorials and the reactions from both camps are little other than same old, same old, junior high school cafeteria jello-slinging.

      • Joshua

        Thanks for clarifying your position.

        As a rational skeptic, I can only agree with you that “argument from authority” is illogical and that the rigor of the scientific method only accepts “argument from evidence”.

        Until I see empirical scientific evidence, based on real-time physical observations or reproducible experimentation, which supports the IPCC premise that AGW has been the principal cause of warming since the mid-20th century and, therefore, represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment, I will remain rationally skeptical of this premise.

        Guess we’ve both clarified our positions.

        Max

  26. Chief Hydrologist

    Our ‘interest is to understand – first the natural variability of climate – and then take it from there. So we were very excited when we realized a lot of changes in the past century from warmer to cooler and then back to warmer were all natural,’ Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin

    Science informs – it is just that numbnut is too dumb to listen. Here is a graph (Swanson et al 2009 16120–16130 _ PNAS _ September 22, 2009 _ vol. 106 _ no. 38) showing natural internal variability from oceans against a monotonic residual warming signal.

    There are 3 implications in this.

    1. The residual trend is nowhere near 0.17 degrees C/decade.
    2. If you look beyond 2000 – we are in a 20 to 40 year cool phase.
    3. There is no possibility that 20th century variability is the limit of natural variability.

    This hit me like a tonne of bricks in 2003 – and I have been called a denier by know nothing little dipsh… with their appeals to groupthink ever since.

    There is a difference between an appeal to authority – interpreting science narrowly in a (pissant progressive) political context – and an honest, wide ranging and sceptical (in the true sense) love of natural philoshpy.

    Disband the IPCC – it is a massive failure – and let theories compete in the ideas marketplace.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • incandecentbulb

      I am sure it can be said that in the eyes of the world American climatologists are very objective in that they do not care any more about the future of Americaism than all of the other climatologists who have been appointed by all of the other countries in the UN.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        You mistake me for an American and a pissant progressive. That said – I love America. American liberals – in the classic enlightenment sense and not in the odd way you have allowed pissant progressives to redefine the term for you – are the purest light of freedom and democracy. Now more than ever in an era where science is corrupted to politics – should we heed the words of Friedrich Heyak.

        ‘We must make the building of a free society once more an intellectual adventure, a deed of courage. What we lack is a liberal Utopia, a programme which seems neither a mere defence of things as they are nor a diluted kind of socialism, but a truly liberal radicalism which does not spare the susceptibilities of the mighty (including the trade unions), which is not too severely practical and which does not confine itself to what appears today as politically possible…Those who have concerned themselves exclusively with what seemed practicable in the existing state of opinion have constantly found that even this has rapidly become politically impossible as the result of changes in a public opinion which they have done nothing to guide. Unless we can make the philosophic foundations of a free society once more a living intellectual issue, and its implementation a task which challenges the ingenuity and imagination of our liveliest minds, the prospects of freedom are indeed dark. But if we can regain that belief in power of ideas which was the mark of liberalism at its best, the battle is not lost.’

        BUt science is something different to be valued as a key to the liberal utopia.

      • Chief, I don’t think there are that many Americans can relate to the type of liberal radicalism mentioned. They confuse opportunity with rights, they believe in the power of the people, but want to yield that power to the state. They are a pretty confused bunch.

      • Here is another economist quote, “If the Federal government was in charge of the Sahara desert, with in five years, there would be a shortage of sand.”

      • incandecentbulb,

        Progressives are progressives first, and everything else second.

    • Chief

      I like your “our interest is to understand” statement.

      All this discussion about the validity of “argument from authority” versus “argument from evidence” can muddy the issue for some.

      Let’s take your example.

      There is no doubt in anyone’s mind that you are very knowledgeable in a field of climate science (related to hydrology), with loads of hands-on experience.

      As a result, when you state a learned opinion related to this field, I listen.

      But the key point is that you back your words with scientific data.

      IOW your arguments are not simply “arguments from authority” (like the rubber-stamping of the IPCC “consensus” opinion by the political leadership of NAS or RS, for example) but “arguments from evidence”.

      I am hoping readers here can see the difference. I can.

      Max

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Thank you Max – I always value your considerd opinion – especially when it is so flattering. I am but a humble hydrologist – and would be content to be so. It was only that these oceanic influences on rainfall were so damn encompassing. But my aim is political – and one of those aims is to restore the honour of science from the meddlings of those pissant progressives. If the tool is colourful language – so be it.

        Robert I Elison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Max –

        I have to disagree – I only listen to Chief H ‘cos he’s lucky enough to share a big chunk of my understanding [we all have our own names for it – I usually just call it truth-baby :)]. If Mr hydrologist did a big swerve, saw a hypnotising light and used his hydrological experience and evidence to argue that the seas are going to boil, I would have to dismiss him as a crank and would deny I ever agreed with a word he said.

        That’s the way of the world methinks..

      • Anteros

        Believe what you are describing is referred to as argument from agreement”.

        Very powerful.

        Max

    • Chief

      1. The residual trend is nowhere near 0.17 degrees C/decade.

      The residual trend is only 0.06 deg C per decade.

      As a result, IPCC’s 3 deg C climate sensitivity must be modified to 3×0.0.06/0.17 = 1.06

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yes Girma – your residual trend is about right. But here is a different conception of climate sensitivity. Theoretically – climate is insensitive away from saddle points and wildly sensitive at points of chaotic bifurcation.

    • Chief; if numbnut is stupid for avoiding the ”book for brainwashing” you are most definitely much, much dumber for believing what that book says!!!

      Believing that: one can know if the planet is warmer / colder by 0,23C shows your arrogant stupidity. Monitored on only 6000 places now, mostly on the ground, mostly in Europe USA, more thermometers there than in Oceania that is 10 times larger. Infra-red satellite TWO DIMENSIONAL occasional photo of 50km thick layer of troposphere… you Chief know PRECISE temperature for thousands of years ago, thanks to the ”book for bleaching people’s brains” Telling those lies with confidence, will leave you on the end as chief with no Indians. If you are an honest hydrologist, stick to what you know; Preaching from the book that brainwashed you, is molesting the truth. If you know hydrology / Queenslander – read the page on my website: ” FLOODS AND DROUGHTS THAT WE DON’T NEED TO HAVE” After that, if you have stomach for the truth and real proofs – should read the other 7-8 pages. Hydrologist can IMPROVE THE CLIMATE, but you must face the truth / reality; that: the book that brainwashed you, is detrimental to the whole humanity. Temperature on the WHOLE planet doesn’t go up and down as a yo-yo; have some decency and apologise to Numbnut. If you were the Goose to believe the lot from the ”book for brainwashing” blame the idiot in your mirror!

  27. incandecentbulb

    If it ain’t falsifiable it ain’t science… like, for example, climatology which pretty much has become synonomous with a belief in AGW and the acquisition knowledge through reductionism, modeling and pie in the sky liberal utopianism, the real world be hanged.

  28. If climate scientists were prevented from working with sparse, noisy data of inadequate duration that are dependent on many interacting variables, they would be out of work.

    • I should have said “If climate scientists were prevented from drawing absolute affirmative conclusions from sparse, noisy data of inadequate duration that are dependent on many interacting variables, they would be out of work.

  29. For sure, appealing to authority can only be one part of an overall evaluation of information, argumentation and interpretation.

    I often see the claim at ClimateEtc and other similar sites that the IPCC relies too heavily on appeals to authority. Maybe. The question is whether or not these are appropriate identified experts who also provide analysis and documentation that can then be further evaluated and interpreted by others’. And contrary to the skeptic meme, the consensus claim is a collective communication, and that is a different issue from appeals to authority.

    Like most people, I don’t expect the IPCC to operate at the level of social rights and justice issues so it has not surprised me that the IPCC is not actually in the business of regulation — regardless of any appeal to its authority.

    I would agree that habituated appeals to false authority, and an absence of analysis, has become common across the board of public opinion in the U.S.– right and left. It probably has something to do with the anti-science, irrational Bush years and the continued effects on everyone. :-(

    That’s a problem, since we do have to weigh the interests of individuals and society(ies), and the main tension involves legislation. This means that it is legislators who need to show how they are going to weigh different human interests and why – not the IPCC.

    Since there is vast uncertainty and it strains the best economic and political analyses, we have all the more reason to demand transparency in legislation and be shown the details of how any piece of legislation will value the future as well as the present, based on a reading of IPCC summaries.

    cheers

    • incandecentbulb

      “…how any piece fo legislation will value the future as well as the present, based on a reading of IPCC summaries,” of what? The value of individual liberty or some utopian fantasy?

    • Martha

      You state:

      For sure, appealing to authority can only be one part of an overall evaluation of information, argumentation and interpretation.

      Yes. And an erroneous one, at that, if the “appeal to authority” is not backed up by an “appeal to evidence”.

      In fact, as far as the “science” is concerned, there is only the argument from evidence that counts.

      The sociopolitical discussions (what economic policies to adopt, what specific political measures to take, etc.) should also be based on sound scientific evidence (and popular support, of course, in democratic societies) but can, in themselves be more judgmental.

      But IMO it all goes back to the “science”: is the IPCC “consensus” premise on AGW supported by empirical scientific evidence or not?

      If the answer is not a clear “YES”, there is no need to even consider the policy or political issues of “what to do about it?”

      And that is where we stand today.

      The “science is NOT settled” and It’s time for the climatologists to continue to do their homework before we charge off to fight a virtual hobgoblin by committing economic hara-kiri.

      (Guess you would disagree.)

      Max.

    • John Carpenter

      “I would agree that habituated appeals to false authority, and an absence of analysis, has become common across the board of public opinion in the U.S.– right and left. It probably has something to do with the anti-science, irrational Bush years and the continued effects on everyone.”

      Damn Bush… four years out and we still haven’t shaken him. Your right Martha, that has to be the reason we yankees have no critical thinking ability anymore. Thanks for the heads up, I was wondering that myself.

    • Martha,
      If you only stopped making ignorant statements like this…..well then we never really would hear from you, would we?

  30. The only meaningful appeal to authority is:
    “Do it yourself then. You’ll get the same results I did”.
    Of course, this is a bit difficult with climate.

  31. ‘Yes,’ to Theo and The Chief! Oops, is that an an appeal to authority?
    No, it’s a response to their critical arguments.
    Michael Mann and team, come on…
    ‘Show us your data,
    Start doing it now!’
    Show us your data,
    Steve Mc will show you how.’

  32. 6 or 7 years ago there were endless arguments about the real estate market. Then as now, the two camps were sharply divided. There was the “no way is this a bubble” crowd, and there was the “how can you be so stupid as to not see this is one of the biggest bubble in history?” crowd.

    One could say those arguing that real estate would go on rising forever…that housing simply could never go down on a national basis…were the true believers. Values would continue to rise forever, just as temperatures due to Co2 will go on rising forever. Meanwhile, it seems to me the housing naysayers were akin to today’s climate skeptics in some important ways.

    The discussion of “appeal to authority’ I think is apt. In those heady days, all of officialdom was assuring people that real estate would never crash…the banks, the real estate industry, the government, even Alan Greenspan (talk about an appeal to authority). The true believers bought it, many of them coming to bitterly regret their faith in the received wisdom, and their faith in the opinions of people with obvious conflicts of interest.

    I find the parallels interesting, and am guessing that many of today’s climate skeptics were also real estate skeptics, especially from back in the earlier days when to voice contrarian opinions was to invite much contempt and derision.

  33. The phenomenon of physicists claiming authority on climate science derives from the not incorrect sense that major elements of climate science are applied physics.

    This is so difficult to accept as the idea of that chemistry is applied physics.

  34. If 75 of 77 climate scientists claimed they could usefully predict the weather for the next 90 days would we believe them? This is the problem with climate science. Until we demonstrate a better understanding of the underlying dynamic system behavior all we are left with is appeals to authority.

    • if they have no scientific theory they are doing astrology.
      if they have a scientific theory I would like to see how its predictions are validated. If predictions are not validated or poorly validated then I would assume the 75 have done something wrong in their theory.
      if prediction are only partially validated or there is not enough data then they miss something in the theory which needs to be improved or we need to wait and collect data.
      what about if the 2 others have previously already said the theory would fail?
      science is not advancing based on consensus.

  35. “However, unless a physicist has spent some time reading atmospheric science and climate texts and journal articles, the physicist is unlikely to know much if anything about how the climate system works.” Judging by the dismal results of climate change models, looks like the “experts” are not much better.

  36. Still waiting to see a good scientific argument in favour of CO2-based global warming.

    Tyndall has been misinterpreted.
    Greenhouse mechanism is wrong or undefined and if undefined is untestable.
    Stefann Boltzmann and Planck have been misapplied to atmosphere, since we can’t sensibly compare surface effects and “integrated earth+atmosphere as seen from space” effects.
    Land based measurement of temperature is great for flying planes, but corrupted for measuring heat on earth from jet engines and airports.
    There are no experiments that quantify IR-absorbing gas absorption/temperature/reemission that anyone can show me.

    Thermal pollution carries more weight – that heat generated on earth causes warming – is robustly undeniable, if inconveniently true.

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      “Thermal pollution carries more weight”
      Pollution could be defined as chemical elements properties that are damaging to ecosystems, hydro systems, atmospheric systems. I would go as far as to muse the best alternative, for the economic rebound, is to embrace nuclear fusion.

      Even leaving junk around in the Earths surface poses hazards for security of containment. But jeez, we have always reached for the stars, haven’t we.

      Besides I’m a big boy, I’m not going to let some dragon beat up on me. :-)

      • This history blog of AWG focusses on CO2….and omits completely
        the Earth’s orbit and the forcing effects of Earth’s orbit’s librations…
        …..Before assuming that CO2 does the warming job, it has to be clearly
        calculated that the Earth’s orbit doesnt do it…..
        Please stay in the right sequence of warming causes and the energy flux: First Sun, then Orbit and lastly, the spare remainder goes to CO2- processes only…!
        Attributing the warming to the remainder CO2 …. has no scientific value
        when the other two warming causes (before the energy reaching the atmosphere) were NOT extensively studied and calculated…..
        ……. And here we detected the great mistake of AGW……and therefore,
        the present temp plateau since 2001 was not forecast in TAR and AR4
        , the GCMs are are inaccurate, and the Skeptics will triumph slowly but surely….
        …….this is not the question “IF” but “When” …..
        This AGW-history blog is therefore pure AGW-nonsense propaganda….
        JS

      • Yet another skeptic predicting global warming ended in 95/97/98/2001/etc

        The next few years are going to be a blast.

      • When Arrhenius proposed his brilliant ionic theory a lot of ignorants (including many physicists) claimed that it was dynamically impossible… Today undergrad students learn his theory and use it in labs and the names of the ‘experts’ that did fight the idea are now forgotten.

        Why would Arrhenius’ ideas about global warming be considered in a different way? It is a delight for me to read so many ‘experts’ fighting him again, this time with ‘arguments’ about Earth’s orbit.

      • Juan,
        Are you suggesting that CO2 is not only a climate control knob, but is also able to control Earth’s orbit? Did Arrhenius discuss Earth’s orbit at all in his work on CO2 or in his work on eugenics?
        And I do agree with your assessment of his work on physics, by the way, until you get to orbital mechanics.

      • Juan said, “Why would Arrhenius’ ideas about global warming be considered in a different way? It is a delight for me to read so many ‘experts’ fighting him again, this time with ‘arguments’ about Earth’s orbit.”

        Then it would make sense to read Arrhenius’ paper before coming to a conclusion. He made predictions, in the Addendum, “The influence in the southern hemisphere, therefore, will be about 9% less than in the northern.” Reasonably accurate right?

        “In consequence of the minimum nebulosity between 20 degrees and 30 degrees latitude in both hemispheres, the maximum effect of the variation in Carbonic acid is displaced toward the equator, so that it falls at latitude 25 in the two cases of 0.67K and 1.5K. ” K being approximate 280PPM. This would appear to require some adjustment.

        http://www.rsc.org/images/Arrhenius1896_tcm18-173546.pdf

        It seems that nebulosity does not have the impact he anticipated. :)

      • Oh, BTW, I recommended a post humus post publication peer review of Arrhenius’ groundbreaking paper some time ago. Since he has an unpublished correction of the results to 1.6(2.1) with water vapor, his second thoughts on the subject may be interesting :)

  37. A search for common ground in the climate fight.

    Let the observation decide whether we need to be concerned about Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW).

    http://bit.ly/oembwR

    If the global mean temperature (GMT) pattern deviates (red region in the above chart) from the historical pattern, then we need to be concerned about AGW

    If the GMT pattern does not deviate from the historical pattern, then we don’t need to be concerned about AGW.

    Do you agree?

  38. Norm Kalmanovitch

    JC comments

    The phenomenon of physicists claiming authority on climate science derives from the not incorrect sense that major elements of climate science are applied physics. However, unless a physicist has spent some time reading atmospheric science and climate texts and journal articles, the physicist is unlikely to know much if anything about how the climate system works.
    Physicists know withn absolute certainty that the only wavelength band radiated by the Earth that is affected by CO2 is centred on 14.77microns and this band is already close to saturation at current concentration levels limiting the effect of increased CO2 concentration to under a degree C regardless of how large the concentration increase because clouds and water vapour are responsible for at least 90% of the greenhouse effect of 33°C and with only 3.3°C possibly attributable to CO2 and the saturation of at least 80% there is only 0.66°C possible further effect from increased CO2.
    Physicists by nature are rather competent at evaluating physical data. According to AGW orthodoxy the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is enhancing the insulating capacity of the atmosphere reducing the amount of longwave radiation that escapes into space and this trapped longwave radiation is causing the Earth to warm.
    If this was the case there would be a clear indication of reduced outgoing longwave radiation in the past 31 years of continuous satellite measurement of OLR. Any physicist even one who knows nothing about either climate or the atmospheric processes but is capable of determining whether a curve is trending up or down would know that this is not happening and for the past 31 years there has been no enhanced greenhouse effect as claimed by those who spew this AGW garbage using the authority of their stature as scientists to misinform the public.

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      The pen, the pen
      My power is the pen.

      To write, to write
      My power is to write.

      The mind, the mind
      Of this they are blind.

    • “limiting the effect of increased CO2 concentration to under a degree C regardless of how large the concentration increase”

      You get about a degree direct warming per doubling of CO2. As CO2 is very low, doubling it more than once is easy.

      “clouds and water vapour are responsible for at least 90% of the greenhouse effect”

      This paper paper puts clouds and water vapor as responsible for just 75% of IR absorption:
      http://www.giss.nasa.gov/research/briefs/schmidt_05/

      “According to AGW orthodoxy the increased CO2 in the atmosphere is enhancing the insulating capacity of the atmosphere reducing the amount of longwave radiation that escapes into space and this trapped longwave radiation is causing the Earth to warm. If this was the case there would be a clear indication of reduced outgoing longwave radiation in the past 31 years of continuous satellite measurement of OLR.”

      You aren’t factoring in that as the atmosphere warms it emits more OLR into space.

  39. Chief Hydrologist

    Does the science seem a little uncertain? It should. We have natural variability leading to warming and cooling in the instrumental record, a residual warming over the century of a mere 0.08 degrees C/decade, models that are tuned to the wrong variables and estimate CO2 warming of 0.17 degrees C/decade, a planet that seems – more likely than not – not to warm for another decade or three rather than at the 0.2 degree C/decade as forecast by the models, which are themselves affected by ‘structural instability’ and ‘sensitive dependence’ resulting in unknown ‘irreducible imprecision’ and have a plausibility that is determined by a wholly inadequate model formulation (verisimilitude) and the behaviour, after the fact, of the solution. Have I missed anything? Earnest as these people seem – they corrupt the reality and subtlety of science for broad propaganda purposes and this extends into the scientific literature. So what’s new? The evil Russian empire and Lysenko comes to mind as a parallel. On the other hand – the points I have raised above are all addressed in the literature and so open science must be self correcting.

    There is a progressive agenda much as they dissimulate. It seems genuinely to be about limits to growth and fears for the future – something that transcends mere carbon dioxide but for which the supposed scientific consensus serves as stalking horse. True enlightened liberals that we are – we reject limits to growth – we believe that the destiny of wealthy and resilient cultures is something that should earnestly embraced through free markets, individual freedom, democracy and the rule of law.

    The new rhetoric of progressives involves suspending democracy, directing production and consumption, controlling fertility and otherwise limiting individual action. This is a challenge to freedom itself and the ideals of the enlightenment on which societies such as Australia and America were founded. We are for the intellectual adventure of perpetually recreating free societies – we are for a limitless future for humanity.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • “Have I missed anything?”

      Yep.

      You’ve missed the longterm rate of warming in the last few decades is higher than 0.08C/decade.

      You’ve missed the fact that CO2 level is being driven through the roof by human activity, to highs not seen for millions of years.

      You’ve missed the implications of this. Namely that very accurate radiative models show a doubling of CO2 produces about 3.7wm-2 forcing, which is far greater by an order of magnitude than any other conceivable event (and a doubling of CO2 is *very* conceivable).

      You’ve missed the impact of CO2 on ocean pH.

      You’ve missed a paleoclimate record that screams high sensitivity (not simply in the temperature sense either) and is complete with abrupt changes.

      You are too fixated on temperature. A lot of people are. Oh well you’ll at least have a chance to get it when temperatures continue rising. I just fear that many skeptics who are so keen on the climate entering a “cooling” cycle will come up with lame excuses to continue denying when they realize the world is actually still warming.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “”You’ve missed the long term
        You’ve missed the fact that CO2 level
        You’ve missed the impact of CO2 on ocean pH
        You are too fixated on temperature””

        Then add to this mix politics and a clash of values, and you have the unholy mess that is the climate fight. Then it is up to the policy makers to decide what to make of all this. At this point, I don’t think scientific experts appealing to their own authority carries much weight.. JC.

      • Lolwot

        You are too fixated on temperature

        I thought “global warming” meant increase in “temperature”.

        How can we talk about global warming without talking about temperature?

        Now when IPCC’s projections are found to be wrong ( http://bit.ly/z7cOHe ), you want us to stop taking about temperature.

      • Lolwot

        For 2011, IPCC projection => 0.7 deg C
        For 2011, observation => 0.35 deg C

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Numbnut,

        Abrupt changes are the sad thing about it. They imply extreme sensitivity at saddle points – as I have said in this thread. And indeed as Tsonis and colleagues say in the paper from which I excised the figure showing residuals after removing ‘natural variation’. Can I assume from this that you are in denial about natural variation. Can’t be because you mentioned abrupt paleoclimatic change?

        The whole screams green overreach – and there is a shrill echo claiming that the 00’s were warmer than the 90’s therefore we are still warming. I wonder if that would be so obvious if it were not for Mt Pinotubo? Regardless, you can be assured that we are in a cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Variation – and this cannot help but be a global cooling influence. As even the merest study of oceanography would show you. You forget also that I am a hydrologist and my love has been for the rain and the rivers, streams, lakes and oceans. I understand more than most hydrological variability.

        3.7 W/m2 is a 1% change in albedo. It changes this much and more in a year sometimes – according to the satellite data.

        Ocean pH change is not distinguisable from background variability – although I am not one to say that we can continue with impunity increasing CO2 emissions as the global economy continues to grow.

        You have less than a nuanced understanding. We are in a cool mode. This is obvious to all but those who won’t see – natural variability for God’s sake.

      • “Regardless, you can be assured that we are in a cool phase of the Pacific Decadal Variation – and this cannot help but be a global cooling influence.”

        So you are telling me that there’s a proven relationship between the PDO and global temperature?

        Can you explain what scientific process was performed to yield this relationship. I assume it’s iron tight if so many skeptics are willing to endorse it. So it can’t possibly be based on models or correlation. Ie the kind of stuff skeptics would usually dismiss.

        You know and I know that there is no proven relationship between PDO and global temperature that meets the skeptic demands of science.

        The only reason skeptics buy into the idea is because it offers them a straw for what they want to believe – that global warming has stopped. Hence unquestionably a PDO switch and associated cooling enters the skeptic lexicon as a “truth” of climate.

        That doesn’t mean PDO has no influence on global temperature, but I primarily question the relationship skeptics believe.

        Here’s an alternative. PDO has been falling since 1980:
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/jisao-pdo/to/plot/jisao-pdo/from:1980/trend

        Falling! Could it not then mean a COOLING impact for 30 years?

        Why do skeptics assume the cooling impact only begins when it “switches” to the negative part of the grah? Are you claiming that if PDO stayed negative indefinitely the world would cool indefinitely?

        So what superior climate science exists that proves your case?

        “3.7 W/m2 is a 1% change in albedo. It changes this much and more in a year sometimes – according to the satellite data.”

        When is a 1% change in albedo ever *maintained* for multiple years let alone decades?

        “Ocean pH change is not distinguisable from background variability”

        That’s like saying the 6C rise in global temperature since the last glacial maximum is indistinguishable from background variability because in many regions the daily temperature min -> max is greater than 6C.

      • lolwot,
        Do show us the impacts on ocean pH, please.
        You believers come back to your evidence-less talking points like dogs to vomit.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        albedo

        the PDV – as opposed to the PDO – the V in the centre of the Pacific currently cooling the planet

        ‘Pacific decadal oscillation hindcasts relevant to near-term climate prediction’ – http://www.pnas.org/content/107/5/1833.full

        ‘A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise.’

        You are such an idiot. You make things up without any basis at all and
        expect that is how I operate.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Numnbnut – you are a clueless little twit – why don’t find out something about the processes you are talking about before pontificating on the basis of something you graph at woof for trees. Why don’t you do do some reading for a change. Why don’t you try to find out what the physical mening of positive and negative PDO is. All rhetorical – it is because tyou are a f’ing idiot.

  40. Has Joshua left now?

    Whew!

    ….Lady in Red

    • I am not sure who is worse, Joshua or my 6 year old grandson……talk, talk, talk. talk. I love it coming from my grandson, but with Joshua…………

  41. My hunch for the observed minimal effect of human emission of CO2 on global mean temperature is because convection heat transfer dominates radiation heat transfer at the surface of the globe.

  42. After several decades of in the trenches program and system design I can usually recognize crappy source code even in languages or with API’s I don’t usually use. There is a method and if your code is messy it is unlikely to work well. And it is usually obvious.

    Similarly when scientists with many decades of experience review the results of the IPCC and climate science and say they just don’t believe it I have to take what they say to heart EVEN when they are not directly involved and it is not their “field”. They understand the process and from their view climate science is not up to their standard.

  43. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/03/quantifying-sea-level-fall/
    thanks to David Archibald via Anthony Watts for the above link. actually I couldn’t insert it in the right spot. there is a hockey stick chart in David’s post that I would refer you to but it’s intended for the end of this comment when I’m referring to the Australian ‘condition’.
    I appreciate the opportunity to engage in these discussions .
    re this topic, ideally evidence transcends authority – sack the ipcc !
    my ‘eyes lit up’ on the meta-cognition comments. I have looked at it in some detail. thinking about thinking, most rudimentarily. deductive reasoning is handy, but for my money, give me image streaming (a la Einstein). I’ll have some of what Nikola Tesla had too!
    intelligence is quantified by speed and accuracy. ergo, solve problems quickly.
    it appears to me that economics is the one legged stool propping up the global warming beast.
    in reality, climactic agw has stalled, ecomomic agw is faltering, with countries pulling out of agw agreements, protocols, subsidisation, and other failures. the ideology is sick.
    I wonder how much, as a percentage, CO2 emissions were reduced compared with if no measures were taken, and what was the cost of that exercise ? this would be important for damage claims, reparations, out of court settlements and suchlike.
    the Australian ‘condition’ bears viewing. carbon tax due to start in 2012, at $25 a tonne, emissions trading in 2015. huge propaganda campaign in mainstream media, all levels of government, education, csiro, b.o.meteorology, massive (million dollar) fines for business dissenters, banning of some Monkton youtube files, our very own failed catastrophists… those in authority here are in complete denial – ‘the science is settled’ ( climactic data meanwhile either disappears or is altered to reflect warming ideology).
    my own hope is that soon the due process of the law will bring justice to bear on agw miscreants. however I suspect 3 years of cooling will have the desired effect.

    • @William Martin

      ” … banning of some Monkton youtube files”

      Which ones, please ? (I’m not much interested in Monckton, but I am interested in censorship details)

    • all that david archibald BS will blow up in your faces. I for one will make sure the world doesn’t forget that skeptics were predicting warming had ended.

      • Iolwot

        I tend to agree with you that some sceptics are painting themselves into a corner.

        As I said to you previously, the earth has been generally warming-in fits and starts-for some 35 or more decades. I am certainly not predicting that this very well established trend will abruptly reverse itself, although it seems to be in some sort of hiatus at present.

        However, in turn, You need to be able to explain why this warming trend predates the considerable co2 increase and also why around a third of the world has been cooling for a statistically meaningful time scale of at least 30 years.

        Regional or even local warming would be a more accurate phrase than ‘global’ warming.
        tonyb

    • Welcome to this blog William. As a fellow Australian I am inclined to agree that time and observations will falsify the AGW hypothesis within the next decade. I also think that the carbon tax in Australia will only last as long as the current Govt and that there will not be more than 6 months of actual carbon tax implementation, which, going by the current Govt’s track record of implementing socialist policy, will ultimately disappear, like
      CO2, without any trace :)

  44. It is utter nonsense to suggest, worse to believe that people trained in one discipline cannot judge the quality of work done by those trained in another field. One need only study the methods to find sufficient cause to distrust the results. People all over the world are reacting not to the complex science but the the abuse of authority displayed by the central climate science orthodoxy. The fool me once rule is in effect.

    The liberated emails written by the core group demonstrates clearly these people are incapable of proper science, are willing to resort to thuggery to silence opposition, and rely not on the science they produce but on strategically managing the climate science ecosystem to accomplish their goals.

    The greatest evil in all of this is the stoney cold silence from vast numbers of those in the scientific fields regarding the very clear message revealed by CG1 and CG2. Where the hell is the outrage? It’s as if this were all just business as usual.


    • It is utter nonsense to suggest, worse to believe that people trained in one discipline cannot judge the quality of work done by those trained in another field.

      The differential equations governing physical problems are universal, and it is mainly the material properties that change. For the mechanical engineer, the material is mainly steel; for the civil engineer it is mainly concrete; for the aeronautic engineer it is mainly air etc. Only little study is required for the mechanical engineer to solve a civil engineering problem.

    • dp,
      That is an extremely good point.
      And imagine a court system where the accused would have to solve the crime for the prosecution. But that is what the AGW community demands of skeptics.

  45. Dear Judith,
    I believe that the issue is a little bit more complicated than what you summarized.

    First, it is not reasonable to request that so-called “climate scientists” be granted the special privilege of not being challenged by other scientists in different fields. This is highly inappropriate, in science in particular. Everybody has the right to challenge the claims of everybody else in science.

    What makes a person a so-called “scientific expert” in a specific field against other people is not the tag-name than he/she has on his/her business card such as “Dr. Tim Brown, climate scientist.” But it is his/her capacity of showing that he/she does perform better in its profession than those who may challenge his/her understanding of a specific phenomenon.

    History of science is filled of examples of people challenging the “consensus” in a specific discipline coming from another discipline. For example, the field of microeconomics between the 19th and 20th century was greatly developed by Vilfredo Pareto who strongly challenged the economists of his time. One may think that Vilfredo Pareto too was an economist by profession, but he was not. His personal formation was physics (!) and engineering (!). He simply succeeded in showing that his understanding of economical phenomena was superior to that of the professional economists of his time. In the same way, for example, the 11-year solar cycle was discovered by Samuel Heinrich Schwabe. One may think that Schwabe was a professional astronomer or astrophysics by formation. He was not. He was, by formation, a pharmacist (!) who simply succeeded in showing that his understanding of solar data was far superior to that of the professional astronomers. And innumerable examples like these exist in history.

    If a scientist or a category of scientists are challenged by somebody else in their specific field of expertise, what they need to do is very simple. They need to show that they understand the phenomenon under discussion better that their opponent by using valid scientific arguments, or if they do not have valid arguments, they need to welcome their opponent’s ideas and acknowledge them and praise him/her.

    What is happening in the specific topic of climate change and global warming is that a group of scientists, calling themselves “climate scientists”, has proposed an explanation based on a theory focusing on the anthropogenic GHG emissions. The problem is that, by just looking at internet, these scientists have failed to convince a lot of people with different expertise that their theory is solid and accurate. The challenge is mostly based on the analysis of the same data used by everybody, for example global surface temperatures, which the AGW critics claim to contain evident patterns which are not reproduced by the AGW theory.

    For example, in my last publication in this field

    N. Scafetta, “Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005.
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/Scafetta_models_comparison_ATP.pdf

    I have shown that the global surface temperature appears to be characterized by a set of harmonics (~9.1, ~10-11, ~20, ~60 years period, at least). Although the physical causes of these harmonics are not fully understood (I have argued that these are astronomically induced harmonics), I could prove that none of the General Circulation Models (GCMs) used by the IPCC is able to reconstruct these oscillations, which make most of the observed climate variability.

    I could also prove that GCM are currently overestimating the volcano signature by a significant factor, and I could show that the use of natural harmonics can be used to bind the net anthropogenic effect on climate to a magnitude that is about three times smaller than what the GCMs have assumed. Finally, I have shown that this harmonic model plus the corrected anthropogenic effect (which were all calibrated on the period antecedent 2000) is quite able to reproduce the global temperature standstill since 2000 and some other dynamical pattern observed in the temperature. On the contrary, all GCMs of the IPCC have predicted a steady warming during the same period.

    So, at this point, the scientists who have promoted the AGW theory using a set of GCMs can do one of the two things: 1) contradict my calculations by proving that their models reproduce the oscillations observed in the temperature, or 2) acknowledge that these natural oscillations exist and that their physics is not yet implemented in their models, and that this missing physics needs to be developed yet (that is the science in not settled yet).

    In the latter case, it cannot be claimed any more that CO2 does what the AGW advocates have thought because such a conclusion is based on climate models whose outputs have not passed the observational test. In fact, their GCM models have failed to properly reconstruct the observed dynamics and structure of the temperature data from 1850 to 2012, which these models were supposed to reconstruct, and since 2000, forecast.

    Some of the figures I have produced are in my web site
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/

    Evidently, the fact that I am a physicist by formation is irrelevant; it does not make my results better or worse. In the same way, if other people develop arguments that questions ideas held by other people, the validity of their arguments is in the arguments themselves, not on the kind of doctorate one holds. So, criticizing the meditated opinion of a set of people by simply claiming that most of them are physicists working in fields different from climate science, is not valid.

    These physicists very likely have sufficiently studied the relevant literature and concluded that the AGW theory is not as robust as the majority of climate scientists have claimed. The advanced reason is very simple: there exists a significant mismatch between the data and the predictions of the theory, everywhere.

    There is nothing wrong for experienced physicists to express such a professional opinion; that is what physicists do all times.

    I personally believe that climate scientists should try to search a constructive dialogue with people with a different scientific background. After all, climate science is a multidisciplinary science that truly requires people from multiple disciplines.

    Departments of Earth Science should simply favor more multidisciplinary dialogue. For example, the sad costume typical only to the departments of Earth Science of the so-called “dis-invitation” of speakers that challenge the AGW needs to end once and for all. It simply isolates these departments from the rest of the world and gives to everybody only a clear message of scientific dogma and intellectual obtuseness. After all the students need to be educated in critical thinking, not in dogmatic indoctrination.

    Indeed, instead of fighting against physicists (and everybody else) who simply express valid concerns, the departments of Earth Science should try to open their doors to them because these departments may also greatly benefit from the expertise and novel methodologies that physicists and mathematicians are able to develop.

    Indeed, Departments of Earth Science should seriously consider hiring some physicists interested in climate phenomena.

    • Nicola

      Thanks for your considered comment.

      …it cannot be claimed any more that CO2 does what the AGW advocates have thought because such a conclusion is based on climate models whose outputs have not passed the observational test.

      Agree!

      IPCC projection Vs Observation => http://bit.ly/z7cOHe

      No change in climate pattern for 160 years => http://bit.ly/Aei4Nd

    • Nicola

      Thanks for your Forbes article.

    • Thank you for this thoughtful and illuminating piece. I have read so many scientific papers such as yours that seem to raise many valid doubts about the current AGW thinking, that I have never understood why the skeptical scientists throughout the world dont have a conference of their own just to aggregate all their findings into one voluminous paper. I suspect it would be impressive. As of now since everyone is so scattered it seems all the voices of dissent are being marginalized and drowned out by the voice of authority,

      And thanks again to our host for allowing scientific dropouts such as myself to learn so much about this issue from these scientists.

    • I’m wondering why you haven’t responded to my requests for your code and data. Jones Scafetta.

    • Dr. Scafetta:

      As I have said in other letters, I am not a scientist of any kind, but I do read a LOT of ‘climate science’ stuff and from my point of view your letter above is the best summary of the current state of climate science that I have read so far.

      When the models don’t match the data, proclaiming ‘We’re the experts, we don’t need no steenkin’ data, and you’re not qualified to have an opinion anyway.’ doesn’t cut it, scientifically.

      Even I know that and I’m NOT one.

      Thank you.

    • Nicola Scafetta | February 5, 2012 at 12:32 am | wrote: “I personally believe that climate scientists should try to search a constructive dialogue with people with a different scientific background. After all, climate science is a multidisciplinary science that truly requires people from multiple disciplines.”

      Dr. Scafetta, on this point you have my unconditional support.

      • For Climatologist should be legislated: penalty for malpractice. Most of the Climatologist would have being in jail; or looking for different job. Used car salesmen profession would have suited them much better. 2] in Australia they need sheep shearers. If the climatologist pretend that sheep are the suffering taxpayer; they have experience in fleecing, can make big money on shearing the sheep. 3] no other profession would tolerate what the contemporary ”climatologists” are doing

  46. @ Ian18888
    re banned Monkton files, I can’t provide exact details of date, file name.
    I can say that the item was related to the Durban IPCC Conference.
    a message came on the youtube screen when I attempted to view the material
    ” This has been banned by your government” or words to that effect.
    a search has not been able to locate a further example of this message.

  47. Chief Hydrologist

    50 Quatloos a year that each year of the next 8 will be cooler than 1998. The only thing I can’t figure out is how numbnut gets his pants on by himself in the morning.

    • you have an unhealthy obsession with kids underwear.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I don’t have any obsession with such a thing. I find the very idea repulsive in the extreme and it is certainly not something I would joke about. Are you a child?

      • I just realized “pants” in the American sense means trousers, not underwear, so you mean I can’t put my trousers on in the morning like I am an idiot? That’s even worse than the claims I can’t do up my own shoelaces.

  48. Steven Sullivan

    So, Hydrologist, your criterion is , ‘ at least 1 year in the next 8 must be hotter than one of the hottest years on record’?* And if that doesn’t happen, you think that this would disproves a long-term warming trend? Seriously?

    Dr. Curry, why do you let such silliness stand unchallenged by your own authority, so very, very often here? Surely you know better?

    (No longer considered *the* hottest in recent times, btw — it has been beaten since, including in HadCRuT data, according to their new analysis. Which makes me wonder if you knew any of that, before promoting this bet.)

    • Markus Fitzhenry

      Steven Sullivan says;
      “it has been beaten since, including in HadCRuT data”

      HadCRUT is the dataset compiled by the Hadley Centre of the UK Met Office and by the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) of the University of East Anglia.

      Does the name Phil Jones and his emails ring a bell with you?

      The dataset of HadCrut is suspect, is your inference that current temperature anomalies are other than natural fluctuations?

      • haha is this comment a joke?

        Priceless and as I thought. Deniers quote HadCrut verbatim to support their delusion that global warming stopped in 1997 (used to be 1995), but as soon as they get the feeling the record isn’t helping them anymore they will wheel out the whole CRU/Phil Jones excuse in order to dismiss it.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        The dataset of HadCrut is suspect, is your inference that current temperature anomalies are other than natural fluctuations?

        Give give the answer or go away.

    • Latimer Alder

      Care to define (numerically) what you mean by ‘long-term’?

      Because it seems to me that climatologits can always hide behind any recent ‘unfortunate’ measurements that do not show the effect that they so crave by hand-waving that some (undefined) longer-term trend remains upward.

      Which is very convenient for them in the short-term, but does no good at all for their long-term credibility. :-)

    • That is not her job. That is our job and you have tried to challenge it, but not very well I might add

    • Chief Hydrologist

      In any of the annual records there is no year that is warmer than 1998 in any statistically meaningfully way. The annual records are moreover more an artifact of the persistence of ENSO in any year. The monthly records all show temperature peaks in 1998 – as a result of an extreme ENSO event associated witht the 1998/2000 climate shift.

      Nonetheless – the decline in solar intensity over the next several years is a factor. As is the the intensity and frequency of ENSO.

      ‘A negative tendency of the predicted PDO phase in the coming decade will enhance the rising trend in surface air-temperature (SAT) over east Asia and over the KOE region, and suppress it along the west coasts of North and South America and over the equatorial Pacific. This suppression will contribute to a slowing down of the global-mean SAT rise.’ http://www.pnas.org/content/107/5/1833.full

      So we have had no warming since 1998 – and little is possible in the next decade. You are a fool with no possible relevance.

  49. Markus Fitzhenry

    Latimer Alder says:
    “but does no good at all for their long-term credibility.”

    Ain’t that a misnomer.

  50. There has just been snow in the UK. Don’t worry, I’m not suggesting that this somehow invalidates AGW.

    Of more interest is the much-ridiculed comment from Dr. Viner of CRU in 2000:
    http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/snowfalls-are-now-just-a-thing-of-the-past-724017.html

    This remark really shows that at the start of the 2000s, the team from CRU believed that the temperatures would continue to rise inexorably for the next decade, and that the effects would warm the UK / N. Hemisphere winters along with everything else. This was the ‘standard model’.

    Compare that with Trenberth et al op ed: “Such periods [of low or absent air warming] are a relatively common climate phenomenon, are consistent with our physical understanding of how the climate system works, and certainly do not invalidate our understanding of human-induced warming or the models used to simulate that warming.”

    So, in 2000 authoratative climate sources made no mention of a possible hiatus in the upward warming trend (of up to 17 years?) and now the authoratative climate sources say this is perfectly normal.

    In 2000, N. Hemisphere winters were supposed to warm; now they can be colder due to AGW effects on weather patterns.

    Something has certainly changed in the last 12 years, both in the message and in its reception by the public, but you wouldn’t think so from the confident tone of the Team. The ‘appeal to model authority’ carries no weight now. The public credibility of predictions is shot to ribbons.

    Once you’ve lost credibility, you don’t often get it back.

    • Viner is talking about is the longterm. It is still the consensus expectation that UK winters will warm in the longterm. The temperature in Winter in the UK is already teetering above freezing point.
      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/

      The further above freezing point it goes, the less chance there is for snowfall. It will rain instead.

      The headline of the independent story “snowfalls are now a thing of the past” contradicts Viner’s claim that snowfall will be: “a very rare and exciting event”.

      People also overlook this quote by Viner in the same article:
      “Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.”

      So the consensus does expect snowfall to get rarer as the UK warms. Counter-inuitive hypotheses that snowfall will increase in lower latitudes due to the continue decline in summer arctic sea ice extent is out there but it is not strongly backed.
      http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/02/120201105126.htm

      • Latimer Alder

        And the winner of the Bill Clinton Prize for ‘It All Depends What you Mean By Will’ is:

        Lolwot!

        For his remarkable achievement in forever arguing that black is white and for consistently trying to have his cake and eat it.

      • lolwot –

        Thanks for the links, but:

        First, the UK is actually more prepared due to massive snowfalls in the past 3 winters. The UK has increased the number of road and runway gritters – ironically, the town council of Brighton led by Green councillors has drastically increased its number.

        Second, what is this ‘longterm’ you refer to? How long do we have to wait for it? Don’t forget Keynes: “In the long term we are all dead”.

        Third, I see no evidence that Viner was talking about some ill-defined long-term, nor that anyone at the time believed that warming was going to stop or slow to a crawl. There is still a disconnect between what was being said then, and the excuses now.

        Finally, I must appeal to the ultimate authority on all things:

    • Alder, those who play on the Viner quote as if he’s been falsified are ignorant. Very little difference between them and the people who think a cold winter means global warming has ended.

      That Viner quote again:
      “Heavy snow will return occasionally, says Dr Viner, but when it does we will be unprepared. “We’re really going to get caught out. Snow will probably cause chaos in 20 years time,” he said.”

      You see that? He isn’t claiming it will never snow again. He was right about being caught out, but not on the date. It was 10 years, not 20 years.

      If 95% of UK winters of the 21st century have effectively no snow Viner will be right, and that doesn’t preclude 3 snowy winters at the beginning of the 21st century (in fact the early years would be most likely to yeild it). Of course those that pretend to be ignorant ignore this statistical fact.

      Then there is the basis of Viner’s claim. Check the longterm changes in minimum temperatures of December, January and February in the UK:
      http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/climate/uk/actualmonthly/

      Notice how the monthly minimum temperature for each month is climbing higher over time away from freezing point. That means statistically months that fall below freezing will become less likely. And that means less statistical chance of snow. Which is the basis of Viner’s point.

      The UK teeters on the edge of rain and snow and we are getting warmer. What Viner says is entirely logical and people need to know it.

      Yes he could be wrong. There might be more snow in a warmer UK somehow is the regional warming also changes circulation patterns. But he is correct that on the face of it we are heading towards less snow.

      • lolwot,
        Those pretend Viner and the rest of the promoters were not talking the immediate period are just editing history to make it fit.

      • “If 95% of UK winters of the 21st century have effectively no snow Viner will be right…”

        See the Spartan reply to Philip II of Macedon, who threatened invasion with: “You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city.” The Spartans replied with one word: “If.”.

      • lolwot, the graph is showing a very stable average. Note how very simillar are the values in the 90s & beggining of the 21st century with the 20s – 30s?
        This is not an argument for continuous warming but rather showing a long term oscillation.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘But he is correct that on the face of it we are heading towards less snow’

        H’mm

        The observed fact (for you claim to like such things) is that in each of the last three winters there has been appreciable heavy snowfall in my home town near London. For the previous ten only one had such a fall. Those are the facts.

        You – and the Met Office guy – have a hypothesis that ‘on the face of it we are heading towards less snow. But no actual evidence of snowfall records to support it. You have some semi-cogent arguments about what might happen to temperatures and how such changes could affect the number of snowfalls. But you have not actually observed the number of snowfalls decreasing with time, Indeed for the last three years they are increasing rather than decreasing – at least in leafy Surrey.

        Would you care to explain how – as an experimentalist – you would go about proving or disproving your hypothesis. What data you would wish to collect/measure, over how long a timescale, how In detail) you would analyse such data and what your critical yes/no question would be?

        For my nasty suspicious mind has this nagging feeling that one of the great things about climatology is its ability to move the goalposts post hoc to explain events that don’t fit in with the theory.

      • Lars P: “This is not an argument for continuous warming but rather showing a long term oscillation.”

        Continuous warming is expected for physical reasons, not from extrapolating past trends.

        Latimer Alder: “You – and the Met Office guy – have a hypothesis that ‘on the face of it we are heading towards less snow. But no actual evidence of snowfall records to support it.”

        The hypothesis is based on common sense reasoning about physics. Mild temperature in the UK are associated with no snow. Cold temperatures are associated with snow. If winters in the UK get milder over time it will be more often too warm for precipitation to fall as snow or to settle. Therefore less snow.

        You ask how I would “go about proving or disproving” this.

        First here is how I wouldn’t do it: I wouldn’t do what skeptics do and look at 3 cold winter periods that have snow and use that to conclude the hypothesis is wrong.

        We clearly need more data to conclude whether it’s correct. Really though the only question is whether winters will get warmer in the UK. That warmer winters will have less snowfall is pretty much a common sense given. if it’s too warm for it to settle, yet alone snow, you can’t get snow.

      • lolwot, “ENSO is a long term trend” Actually, ENSO is a fairly short term trend. If we knew what the true long term trend was, the CO2 radiant forcing would be an upward shift in that trend, land use would be an upward shift in that trend, the change in cloud response to both CO2 radiant and land use change would likely be a downward shift in that trend. The one impact not often discussed, is whether water vapor is actually a positive or negative forcing on the trend.

        Arrhenius assumed it was a major positive forcing. In his paper, the maximum impact of CO2 on the “surface of the Earth” would be near the tropics of Capricorn and Cancer. The minimum nebulosity factor he used in this calculations.

        If you would like to enlighten yourself, review his paper and compare observations to his predictions. To really wow the climate science blogosphere, adjust Arrhenius’ ocean and land reduction factors so that observations matches his formula.

        Appeal to authority is bad when the one appealing hasn’t checked the veracity of the authority. :)

      • lolwot:”Notice how the monthly minimum temperature for each month is climbing higher over time away from freezing point.”
        Lars: “Note how very simillar are the values in the 90s & beggining of the 21st century with the 20s – 30s?”
        lolwot: “Continuous warming is expected for physical reasons, not from extrapolating past trends.”
        You are basing your proof of theory pointing to simply noise, there is no significant variance within a century of data so the variances do not support the theory.
        There is no signal to recognise in the graph which raises a big question mark to the theory you support, the CO2 changes since the 50s have been significant enough, if this is a real driver of the climate how comes that the changes within 60 years of data cannot be discerned from the period before it? What did cause the warming in the 20s-30s that is shown in the data?

      • Lolwot:

        Notice how the monthly minimum temperature for each month is climbing higher over time away from freezing point. That means statistically months that fall below freezing will become less likely.

        I would suggest that either that graph isn’t showing what you think it does, or you’re misinterpreting it.
        I have not seen a single winter in the UK when the temperature hasn’t dropped to well below the -4C minimum on that graph on several occasions, very often falling below -10C. And I’m in the south-west – it gets a lot colder up north.

    • You know, Trenberth’s remark about variability is just eyewash. cui bono pegs it: the AGW promotion team was pushing inexorable rises and increasing symptoms for many years. But Trenberth wants it both ways: If things are normal, it is still AGW. If something unusual happens, it is AGW. If something is indistinguishable from the past (iow, everything), it still AGW.
      And then of course we see the team making sure the past looks……better for their case.

      • The expected inexorable rise is in the longterm, not the short-term.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘The expected inexorable rise is in the longterm, not the short-term’

        Please define the timescale for short and long term in this phrase. If the models are as good a representation of climate futures as a re claimed it should be simple to define what is meant.

        Hiding behind ‘longterm’ – while refusing to define it – is the trick of the conman and the charlatan.

      • “Please define the timescale for short and long term in this phrase.”

        Long term would be over decades. Short term would be over years.

        It also depends on the record and the precise time period in question. For example the recent time period is biased cooler by a double dip La Nina and a long and deep solar minimum, so more time is needed to conclude the trend isn’t still upward.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘Long term would be over decades. Short term would be over years’

        How many decades? One, ten, five hundred? How many years? One, ten, a thousand?

        Along with doing experiments, using numbers accurately and precisely is part of the scientific method.

        Woolly phrases like ‘decades’ and ‘years’ are just smokescreens to hide the flimsiness of your ‘evidence’. Lots of speculation, but very little observed fact.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘For example the recent time period is biased cooler by a double dip La Nina and a long and deep solar minimum, so more time is needed to conclude the trend isn’t still upward’

        I can translate this.

        ‘If we ignore the things that cause the climate to be cooler, we believe that it is getting warmer’.

        Wish I supported a football team that played like this:

        ‘If we ignore all the goals the opposition score, then we win every game, apart from those which are a 0-0 draw’.

        Mind you – my own club has a very optimistic manager whose post-match comments often verge on the ridiculous.

        ‘Apart from the five goals we conceded, the boys played very well. And if we keep trying eventually we will score ourselves. Twenty three games without a goal isn’t anything to get worried about. We know that the overall trend is very positive here’

      • If you want an actual calculated figure:
        17 years
        http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2011/2011JD016263.shtml

      • Latimer: “‘If we ignore the things that cause the climate to be cooler, we believe that it is getting warmer’.”

        ENSO is temporary noise over the top of the longterm trend.

        When you do a line of best fit on the data are you measuring the ENSO noise or the longterm trend? Or don’t you care?

      • “ENSO is temporary noise over the top of the longterm trend.

        When you do a line of best fit on the data are you measuring the ENSO noise or the longterm trend? Or don’t you care?”

        Another AGW epicycle. ENSO is not noise! It has for sure longterm (multidecadal) trends and very likely at all timescales.


      • lolwot – “Long term would be over decades.”

        Oh pity us poor mortals Lolwot! Do we have to keep arguing until our dying day? :-)

        I’d really like to try the falsification question again (asked many times before; never adequately answered):

        What would it take for a reasonable, fair person to consider the AGW hypothesis falsified?

        At least that might set a time limit on how long we have to keep this up!

      • @lolwot

        Thank you for sharing the calculated number ’17 years’

        But, for clarity, please define what you suggest it is telling us? It is clearly a length of time. But for what to occur…or not occur?

        Scientists like physicists, chemists and mathematicians – and many more – take a great deal of care in defining their terms so that any ambiguity is minimised.

      • As to your remark abut ENSO etc, it seems to me that by the way you ask the question you already have pre-decided that there is a continuing long-term trend. And are now seeking ways to justify its annoying non-appearance in the actual observations, rather than using the data to tell you about the trend. Putting the cart before the horse.

        Meanwhile back in the real world, we have been led to believe that civilisation will collapse, all of nature will be gone in an instant and the cutey-wutey polar bears will all be drownded if the temperature goes up about a degree between now and doomsday. So for us practical folks I guess it is the actual observed temperature that is the important piece of information, not the trend.

        We can leave a discussion about whether these predictions have any more validity than those of any other failed Doomsday cult to another occasion.

      • lolwot, I know it is difficult researching stuff, so here is a screen shot of Arrhenius’ table.

        Arrhenius underestimate how good we would be dumping CO2, so the K=1.5 is almost exactly what it is today, imagine that. Are the temperatures what he predicted?

        Maybe you can get Joshua to collaborate with you on determining Arrhenius’ margin of error?

      • “As to your remark abut ENSO etc, it seems to me that by the way you ask the question you already have pre-decided that there is a continuing long-term trend.”

        I’ve decided based on the trend in components that make up global temperature
        http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-global-warming-signal/

      • “So for us practical folks I guess it is the actual observed temperature that is the important piece of information, not the trend.”

        Well prepare to be surprised when the observed temperature jumps up in coming years and you didn’t see it coming.

        Because you didn’t listen. But don’t worry virtually the whole skeptic blogosphere will be shut down by that event. Hard to backpeddle after so many of you have pinned your colors to the mast of “no warming” only to have all those hated climate scientists ending up right.

      • And with the parting shot of

        ‘You’ll all be sorry you didn’t listen to me when you are all consumed by Thermageddon (in more than 17 years)’.

        Lolwot flounced out.

        I guess the discussion just got too hot for him……..

      • “the whole skeptic blogosphere will be shut down”

        Let a Warmer comment often and sometimes a hint at the truth leaks out.

        The leftist spirit is willing, but mistakes still can be made.

        Andrew

      • I am not a leftist I am quite right wing.

        What I say is true, skeptics have made a bad move strategy wise. I can’t really understand why they’ve heaped on the global cooling/end of warming meme other than they are nitwits. There’s really no good evidence for it and it seems to be mostly wishful thinking.

        Skeptics could have just said they “don’t know” what will happen or even that they expect more warming. But they haven’t, they’ve painted themselves into a corner.

      • lolwot, please read the ultimate Nicola Scafetta paper and you will
        see the influence of astronomic, Earth’s orbital and third-body-gravitation
        (Jupiter and Saturn) forces…..
        All of this is left out by AGW, neglected on purpose in CO2-make up hype.
        First the orbit and gravitation in regard to producing RF (radiative forcing),
        only the rest (if it remains any – to be calculated first) goes to CO2…..
        …..all of those who talk about CO2 (AGW) are hindloaders…..
        ……To the question why Skeptics have not produced an unified alternative
        approach as a contra to Warmists : This is also clear: They are being mislead in the assumption (produced by AGW), that both EFFECTs and CAUSEs
        of global warming take place WITHIN the atmosphere….This is the great lie…… most Skeptics have not realized this…. but now: Scafetta is out…
        a great new Epoch has started… see:
        Scafetta on his latest paper or my booklet showing that climate effects are found within the atmosphere, but climate change CAUSES have an astronomical (Earth’s orbital) background……
        As long as you stay WITHIN the atmosphere with your arguments,
        your climate projections will inevitably be wrong, because you were sitting on the wrong horse….and you will
        regret your opinion after various decades of missing global warming…
        like the old communists after the breakdown of socialism in Eastern
        Europe….. these guys ever since pull in their head and do not want
        to talk communism any more -have a look yourself-…. and this is how you will end up if you
        continue to ignore the astronomic side of climate…..believe me: This is !00%
        JS.

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        ‘What I say is true, skeptics have made a bad move strategy wise’

        You really don’t understand the nature of scepticism do you? It is not just the mirror image of Alarmism, where you have a big black book telling all you guys what is the received wisdom of the religion..and most of you all adhere pretty closely to it – uncritically trotting out the lines that the High Priests give you.

        Scepticism – as its name sort of implies – is not a collective activity. However much you like to fantasise about ‘Big Oil shills’ and the Cock Brothers, there is no Central Sceptic Politburo dictating the Sceptic Party Line.

        The real problem you have is that the ‘accepted tenets’ of the Alarmist Creed are under attack from many different directions at once…this reflects its essential shakiness. Some of a sceptical bent find their interest most piqued by the unpredicted temperature behaviour of the last decade. Others by the professional misbehaviour of the leading climatologists. Steve McIntyre likes getting to the bottom of the stats – despite the efforts of the participants to prevent him exposing their inadequacies. Many others are more interested in the political and policy implications of the Castle in the Air so carelessly built over the past thirty years.

        But wherever you look…temperatures, statistics, misbehaviour, policy….and all the myriad of other things, your castle is under siege..and bits are already dropping off your defences in increasingly large lumps.

        You have no new weapons to fight with and the sustained sceptic attack will eventually expose the kernel of truth (if there is one) among the flimflam of all the other junk that you guys believe in.

        So do not fool yorself into thinking that ‘sceptics’ are a homogeneous mass. We’re not..and you never know where the next thrust will come from.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “So do not fool yorself into thinking that ‘sceptics’ are a homogeneous mass. We’re not..and you never know where the next thrust will come from.”

        Bravo, Latimer, Bravo.

      • Lolwot/Latimer –

        I don’t relish sticking my face in the midst of a sword fight but I ‘d like to add something.

        Characterising sceptics as oil-funded, or extremist right-wingers or denialists is easy but obviously a bit of a giveaway – it says you don’t want to discuss the issue. Similarly, if a sceptic says all climate-alarmed people are eco-nutters and extremo-communists, it is only paranoia talking.

        There is a difference though. A big, fat and very ugly difference.
        There is a definitely a single consensus position – more Co2 (from people) = more heat = bad things in triplicate = we must stop Co2. Simples.

        In contrast, there is very much not just one sceptic position – we are legion!

        Latimer is correct in saying that opposition to this consensus comes in many forms. Loads. Heaps of different things to object to. And it may be that much of one objection doesn’t match up with much of another. Latimer and myself may have two fundamentally different perspectives on why the edifice is flawed, and we may not even agree with each other.

        The consensus – the edifice – has to take on all-comers and defeat them all. That is the way of science, among other things.

      • “Scepticism – as its name sort of implies – is not a collective activity. However much you like to fantasise about ‘Big Oil shills’ and the Cock Brothers, there is no Central Sceptic Politburo dictating the Sceptic Party Line.”

        I realize that. It’s much like the tea party isn’t it? A few influential members, but they largely don’t control the overall group with any authority.

        You speak the merits of such a decentralized structure, but the disadvantage in the longrun is that idiots have far more influence than is good for you. That is amplified by the Glenn Beck effect where sensationalist ranting by idiots is a big hit with the angry masses.

        The cooling nonsense could have been marginalized. The likes of Anthony Watt’s and media darlings like Bolt and Delingpole do have enough influence to nip stuff in the bud. Unfortunately they aren’t your brightest bulbs in the house and they’ve chosen instead to push a sensationalist global cooling idiocy that they probably think is a great argument against AGW in a contrarian sense. Perhaps they even believe the nonsense about global cooling, who knows.

        The more knowledgeable skeptics like Roy Spencer and Lindzen who know otherwise do not speak up to set them straight. Perhaps because they don’t have enough influence. I believe Pat Michaels a few years back tried to warn fellow skeptics (I think at a heartland conference) to stop all the global cooling arguments. He warned them about what would happen if warming continued. His warning has evidentially gone unheeded, as I expected. Delingpole, Watts, Rose, Bolt control the skeptic media/blog message, not the Lindzens and Spencers.

        You say “there is no Central Sceptic Politburo dictating the Sceptic Party Line” as if it’s a good thing. Ultimately though what we “alarmists” have is our best and brightest seeding the information. Your best and brightest do not, it’s the sensationalizers who are largely ignorant of the subject that decide the message on their blogs.

        So we have the clueless strategy of pushing global cooling. Hows that going to stack up? if global cooling does happen AGW is finished anyway. It matters not whether skeptics predicted it. But if global warming continues the skeptics own blogs and media claims will come back to bite them. We will have a vast recorded history of skeptic posts and media articles predicting an end to warming and the start of cooling (an ice age in some cases!). It’ll be very hard to argue climate scientists are incompetent or wrong when they predicted the one event you didn’t expect to happen.

        Climate skeptics with all their blogs are barely 10 years old. The focus on short-term trends has only worked because the claims haven’t had enough time to fail. But ultimately such ignorance is doomed to failure. We simply haven’t had long enough yet to see the predictions crumble.

      • “I am quite right wing.”

        lolwot,

        How’s come I don’t believe you?

        Andrew

      • is it because you are a partisan hack?

      • “is it because you are a partisan hack?”

        lolwot,

        Maybe it because the rest of the stuff you comment is similarly hard to believe.

        Andrew

      • lolwot,
        Failed prophets always say that the doom they profitized is just over the horizon.

      • so do the successful ones

      • hunter –
        Profitised! I’ve not heard that before :)

      • It would be a good name of a band –

        “Lolwat and the profits of Doom” :)

      • Latimer Alder

        @lolwot

        Too much to take in with your last post for a full reply before breakfast.

        But I really don’t think that it is a wise idea for your side to be concentrating on using the quality of future climate predictions as a touchstone.

        Such an argument would be easily categorised as shooting oneself in the foot. One only has to point to the 100+ billion dollars of public money spent on climatology in the last twenty years and note that all that effort did not predict the recent temperature plateau.

        It is very easy indeed to

        ‘to argue climate scientists are incompetent or wrong when they failed to predict the one event they didn’t expect to happen’.

        It has stopped warming. And all the forces of climatology didn’t see it coming. I want my $100 billion back and with punitive damages.

        ..more later

      • “100+ billion dollars of public money spent on climatology” – Lati

        I’m very impressed by the vast range of $ vlaues the ‘skeptics’ throw up when they feel the need to cast asperions.

        Just yesterday, someone else was saying it was 3 trillion dollars.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        The US government budget for climatology is about $2.5 billion p.a. and has been similar for the last 25 years. Taking account of inflation, that gives a npv in the US alone of about $100 billion.

        But my country (UK) also funds climatology via the Met Office and other institutions to about £500 million p.a. And I’m sure that other countries (Australia is an obvious one, Germany probably some of the Nordics and so on).

        So I’m happy for you to show a better calculation, but for a round figure for general discussion, I reckon $100 billion worldwide is probably a bit light. But I am always a charitable guy and wouldn’t want to overstate my case.

        $100 billion it is until you show me better.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        That’s raw figure you are using there Latimer.

        The opportunity cost, or if you will, the loss of future benefits, forgoes the direct cost, tenfolds.

      • Latimer Alder

        @markus

        You are right that I am using raw figures. Everybody, even academics, can understand that I hope. Opportunity cost would likely be a level of sophistication too far for this audience :-(

      • “The US government budget for climatology is about $2.5 billion p.a. and has been similar for the last 25 years”

        More rubbery figures.

        I think this is the game where the ‘skeptics’ attribute every cent ever spent on the whole range of climate and weather related related items, from weather stations to satellites, and then pretend it’s all about research into climate change.

        Old.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        You’re quite welcome to propose alternative figures if you feel that mine are substantially in error.

        But just saying that you don’t agree with them – without any quantification of where they are wrong – is only going to convince the most ardent True Believer.

        As they said in my old A level papers – ‘show your working’.

      • Lati,

        You’re the one making grand claims of “100 billion dollars”.

        “show yourt working” indeed – from you we have one unsubstantiated assertion, which you then multiply by 25 based on an assumption.

        ‘Skepticism’ in action.

      • lolwot,
        Real prophets only have to say it once per doom.
        Hustlers making profits always seek to keep the doom just over the horizon.

      • Latimer Alder

        (hope this gets to the right place this time!)

        @michael

        You could start here

        http://www.usgcrp.gov/usgcrp/Library/ocp2009/ocp2009-budget-gen.htm

        and here

        http://www.nsf.gov/publications/pub_summ.jsp?ods_key=nsf12001

        Ten million here, a billion there ….it soon adds up to real money…..

      • Lati,

        So the “100 billion dollars” figure, you just pulled that out of your arse didn’t you?

        An interesting aside – those reports show that funding for research into natural climate variability (that thing the ‘skeptics’ keep claiming isn’t done) is included under the ‘climate change’ budgets.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        As I have now said several times, you are very welcome to suggest your own figures if you have better ones.

        Simply repeating that in your opinion mine are wrong, with no backup to show why, is hardly convincing.

      • Latri,

        You make a wild claim based on not much – my pointing that out doesn’t require any alternative claim.

        More ‘skeptics’ in action.

      • @michael

        How about the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists, whose figures agree with me? Did they too ‘pull them from their arse’ as you so elegantly and eloquently put it?

        You can follow through the links from here

        http://climatequotes.com/2011/01/08/how-can-climate-scientists-spend-so-much-money/

        Or download the relevant table for the Federal Budget from here:

        http://climatequotes.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/cc-funding2011.pdf

        So unless this body is making it up too, we’ll go with my broad brush estimate of $100 billion spent over the past 25 years. And just about nothing to show in return.

      • Lati,

        Those links aren’t working ATM.

        But it’s not that we have ‘nothing to show’. Quite the opposite – you just don’t like what it shows.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        We have invested $100 billion over the last twenty five years to study ‘climate’.

        For that level of expenditure, it s reasonable to expect some form of return.

        What useful things do we now know about climate that we didn’t know before we spent that money? I would contend that many climatologists have made good careers, some spacey guys have put up some satellites, Phil Jones has had plenty of opportunity to lose his data again, but our actual practical knowledge is hardly changed.

        Before we started we had no useful models for climate prediction. Now we have thirty not useful such models. Before we started we had lived with a gentle rise in sea-level for hundreds of years and barely noticed. Today we are still living with a gentle rise in sea level and have barely noticed. Before we started there were lots of hurricanes affecting the US…now there aren’t so many….before we srtarted temperatures were rising very slowly….now they are rising (if at all) very slowly again.

        So it all looks to me like a colossal waste of time and effort. Hence my characterisation of ‘nothing to show for it’.

        We know very little now that we didn’t know before this huge hosepipe of cash for climate started. If you think I am wrong, please give practical examples.

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        Just checked my earlier links. They work fine for me and confirm my statement about the US Federal Budget.

        My rough estimate of $100 billion spent on climatology stands

      • Lati,

        Even a casual glanve shows your 2.6 b figure ia a substantial increase over previous years, so just multiplying by 25yrs is nonsense.

        i guess you’re probably only out by 50+ billion……..

      • Latimer Alder

        @michael

        Is the concept of Net Present value (npv) beyond you?

  51. This puts the likes of Mooney, Tobis, Romm, and the other rent seeking AGW promoters on notice.

  52. @ Ian 18888
    an example of the Australian government banning internet transmission of information.

    http://theconversation.edu.au/deadly-censorship-games-keeping-a-tight-lid-on-the-euthanasia-debate-2549

  53. Lolwat

    I am able, with at least 95% confidence, to assert that a plot of your age against your height since birth will continue to show a positive trend, despite the fact that you will not have ‘grown’ much, if at all in the last decade.

    One wonders whether you might ‘pause’ to consider your analogous assertion regarding ‘warming’!

    With apologies to Mr Briggs

  54. “The bottom line is that rather than invoking authority, they’d be well advised to stick to careful argument. JC note to the IPCC: rely less on expert judgment and appeal to authority, and more on carefully crafted and documented arguments.”
    Absolutely. Argument from authority paves the way to astrology as Lubos nicely points out. Either we let climatology join astrology or we move towards scientific method in climatology with documented arguments.
    Thank you for the post and the continuous support for the scientific method.

  55. Clean energy entrepreneurs regularly assert that because they’ve created solar jobs, they know that more solar energy is good for the U.S. economy. Oil barons are similarly authoritative in asserting that their industry experience tells them that a transition away from fossil fuels would be economically ruinous.
    ========================================
    Sorry JC stopped reading past this infantile equivalency. OIl barons might arguably be subsidized — as greenies proclaim, but solar would not even exist without subsidies.

  56. I woke up this morning and found this incredible discussion going on between lolwot and the climate skeptics. IMHO, lolwot is trying to defend the indefensible.

    Around 30 years ago, when the idea of CAGW was first mooted, the proponents of CAGW produced a lot of hypothetical estimations which showed that the effect of adding more CO2 to the atmosphere would be overwhelming so far as increased temperatures were concerned. Then the observed data came in, with the culmination of the strong El Nino year of 1998, and these hypothetical estimations seemed to be absolutely correct. So all sorts of way out predictions were made, based on the idea that things would go on supporting CAGW into the indefinite future.

    It has not happened. The observed data from the 21st century has not gone according to plan so far as the proponents of CAGW are concerned. Global temperatures have stubbonly refused to go on increasing. The wild predicitions about less snow (Killimanjaro, Europe, etc) have not come true. As have just about all the other doom and gloom stories.

    Now I see the almost comical situation of lolwot trying to justify the idea that the observed data is still supporting CAGW. I have news for him; it isn’t. One of the problems for the proponents of CAGW is that they made the case many years ago that the “science is settled”; it is “very likely” that the observed rise in global temperatures was caused by too much CO2. On that basis, there was no need to debate us skeptics; we were wrong ab initio. The trouble is that for the proponents of CAGW to agree on a debate of the issues at this stage, is an admission of defeat. The observed data ought to show that a debate is entirely unnecessary. To agree to a debate would be the admission that the observed data does not necessarily support CAGW.

    • Name a climate scientist who said that climate science is settled.

      To which studies are you referring to when you say there were predictions of less European snow cover? And define snow cover.

      How’s your prediction of the recovery of multi-year sea ice doing?

      HadCRUTCH3 is a crutch. According to GisTemp, which is the BEST so far, since 1998 there is one year equal to 1998 and four years in excess of 1998. And it’s likely there will be two more in excess of 1998 by the end of 2014.

      • JCH

        Is there any evidence of dangerous sea level rise associated with CO2? No?

        Is there any evidence that the general circulation models used by the IPCC have accurately forecasted current conditions or should be relied upon for predicting the climate for the next 50 to 100 years? NO

        Is there ANY evidence that less developed nations will independently choose to dramatically reduce their rate of CO2 emissions growth? Is there any reasonable means to stop worldwide CO2 emissions growth for several decades? NO

        Can the people who fear cAGW at least occasionally be realistic and address the world as it really is and stop pretending it is per their dreams?

        Why don’t you and the other people who fear cAGW realistically address how the specifics of what they wish to do will actually be paid for and how it will impact the problem they fear?

      • How about Gavin Schmidt?

        In the climate field, there are a number of issues which are no longer subject to fundamental debate in the community. The existence of the greenhouse effect, the increase in CO2 (and other GHGs) over the last hundred years and its human cause, and the fact the planet warmed significantly over the 20th Century are not much in doubt. IPCC described these factors as ‘virtually certain’ or ‘unequivocal’. The attribution of the warming over the last 50 years to human activity is also pretty well established – that is ‘highly likely’ and the anticipation that further warming will continue as CO2 levels continue to rise is a well supported conclusion. To the extent that anyone has said that the scientific debate is over, this is what they are referring to. In answer to colloquial questions like “Is anthropogenic warming real?”, the answer is yes with high confidence.
        – Gavin Schmidt

        See, the science is settled.

      • Rob – I’m not looking for evidence in toay’s sea level. Why would I look at today’s sea level? Why? It can;t tell me anything at all. I’m not looking for GCM to tell me today’s weather. To me your points are utter nonsense. But have fun with them!

    • “Global temperatures have stubbonly refused to go on increasing.”

      It has gone on increasing:
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:60

      I note you don’t comment on arctic sea ice, which has declined beyond expectations and you don’t comment on ice sheets which are losing mass at an accelerating rate.

      The world will continue warming significantly if we do not put in place steps to reduce CO2 emissions. Much of the problem with skeptics is they come up with crud excuses rather than logical reason. At the rate it’s increasing CO2 will dominate 21st century temperature trends.

      • lolwot and JCH, I deliberately tried not to be specific with respect to what is actually happening with the observed data. That is a huge subject, and I have been accused before of highjacking threads. Of course you can produce one graph, from GISS of course, which supports your ideas. That is not the issue. The issue is to look at ALL the observed data at the same time. For example, I dont just look at the GISS temperature/time graph. There are the other four data sets, of which the satellite data, IMHO, are the closest to reality. I also did not discuss what is happening the Antarctic sea ice, either. If you want to look at sea ice, then we need to look at all the data. Taking a look at all the data is a huge subject, and I have no intention of discussing any sort of cherry-picked specifics.

        What I claim is this. If you look at ALL the observed data, it does not support CAGW. It also does not prove that CAGW is wrong. We are going to have to wait a great deal longer before that happens; unfortunately.

  57. “JC note to the IPCC: rely less on expert judgment and appeal to authority, and more on carefully crafted and documented arguments.”

    And the very opposite extreme to “carefully crafted and documented arguments” is to be found in blog comments.

    • Michael –

      Your mistaken generalisation gives the lie to your misunderstanding –

      It depends on whose blog comments.

      • If there any here, please point them out.

        That the skeptics have missed the irony of Judith’s post is no surprise.

  58. iolwot

    I note your graph starts at 1958. The world has been (generally) warming in fits and starts since around 1650, with the early 1700’s being especially noteworthy for the rate of increase. This is also evidenced by glacier records.Whether the current 10/15 year virtual hiatus signals an end to this long slow thaw is as yet unknown.
    tonyb

  59. It is indeed interesting that contrary to the implication of

    ” There is an old saying (in the U.S., anyways) that if you ask the Teamsters what is needed to solve any problem, they will tell you ‘more trucks.’ ‘

    Climate scientists say action and those who deny that the climate is changing say give the climate scientists more money to do research.

    Interesting

    • It is, though most wanting more research are promoting regional modelings to try and get some return on the money already invested :)

    • Once again Eli wrongly generalizes the situation.

      Who is it that is saying the climate is not changing? It has always changed and always will. As you know there are two fundamental issues: the rate of change and will conditions significantly worsen for humanity as a result of that feared high rate of change.

    • And more funding is NOT the answer. Better focused funding of reaserch is the appropriate answer.

      • Eli-

        Let’s start with the direction of the development of more useful models and move away from the useless concept of global GCMs and to regional models.

      • Been there, done that. You appear not to be paying attention but google scholar is your friend. An interesting problem with regional models tho is that they need global models to control the boundaries. Oh well.

      • Eli- Once again you write a highly misleading statement. Regional climate models do not require the development of global GCMs to work properly. Time for you to run off again

      • Eli

        And looking at the situation realistically–when the US is spending almost 40% more than it is generating in revenue it is obvious that massive spending cuts will be necessary. So are you suggesting spending on this issue should take a priority over everything else???

    • Please do not count me among those deluded academics saying that we should give the climate scientists more money.

      Having already spent north of 100 billion dollars on climatology and got the best part of f… all in return, it is time to stop throwing good public money after bad. It should all be closed down as quickly as possible. If anybody is still interested in climate modelling they are very welcome to fund it themselves.

      • So who is going to do the research that youse guys are moaning about? Tony Watts? Judith Curry?

      • Wabett –

        You still Josh?

        If there were a hundredth of the research it would neatly fall back to the relevant/useful bits.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Bad news for you Eli, a little birdy told me Gina Rinehart is paying a few hip young Aussies to knock over the scientific method for the United Theory of Metaclimate.

        Considering Gina is the wealthiest woman in the world and owns most of the coal, I’d say they will produce a theory acceptable to The Philosophy of Science soon.

      • “hip young Aussies”

        Ian Plimer?

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Why would you show me a clip produced by a bunch of urber-environmentalist wackos.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Lolwot I’m laughing at you, so is Tony Abbott and his best mate Ian Pilmer.

      • Louise, in that clip Monckton talks about the US tea party putting some lead in the pencil of the republican party.

        I was thinking it was equivalent to putting lead in their tea.

      • For those that don’t watch the video, it is of Christopher Monckton explaining to a bunch of Australian corporate mining suits that they should get a wealthy person to start their own TV channel to give their ‘balanced’ view point in the same way that Fox news does in the USA.

        He recommends Jo Nova along with Bolt

      • “Lolwot I’m laughing at you, so is Tony Abbott and his best mate Ian Pilmer.”

        don’t you guys have better things to do

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “I was thinking it was equivalent to putting lead in their ‘billy’ tea”

        You can lead a horse to water but a pencil must be lead.

      • Louise said, “Monckton explaining to a bunch of Australian corporate mining suits that they should get a wealthy person to start their own TV channel to give their ‘balanced’ view point in the same way that Fox news does in the USA.”

        Didn’t Gore take a stab at Current TV?

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “Australian corporate mining suits that they should get a wealthy person to start their own TV ”

        They did. They did. Gina has thus far bought 17% of Fairfax News.

        Ouch!

    • Latimer Alder

      Eli asks

      ‘So who is going to do the research that youse guys are moaning about? Tony Watts? Judith Curry?’

      ‘Nobody’ is good enough for me. We’ve already seen that 100 billion dollars of funding for climatology has bought us f… all that is of any practical use. There’s no need for further research to waste more money on telling us even less.

      Time to cut our losses and defund the lot.

      • Right, let’s bring those polar orbiting satellites down right now and not put up new ones, no one needs to monitor the sun either while we are saving money. That 100 billion is essentially all for satellite building, launch and operation

      • @eli

        Good suggestion. +1 from me.

        If the satellites have a practical use (eg GPS) , then keep them up there. But putting them up just so a bunch of academics can get another useless phenomenon to write another useless paper about is bonkers. If they want bigger toys to play with they can use their own pocket money.

      • But I note that of the federal climate change budget for 2011, only 15% ($438 million) went to NASA. So maybe they have other guys putting up satellites too. Or maybe the $438 million is used just to fund Jim Hansen, Gavin Schmidt and Real Climate??

  60. Meanwhile, sunspots are way down again for January. With a major solar minimum at hand, something the alarmists are falling all over themselves trying to dismiss, all this talk of warming is approaching lunacy. Look for a return to Dickensian winters (already approaching that the last few years)….and short, crappy summers.

    AGW is just another mania, and will soon be going the way of Tulip bulbs and Florida real estate.

    • We’ve already left the solar minimum. Take a look:
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1960

      As a solar fan don’t you think that large upturn in solar output will have a warming effect? Why not?

      • If the predictions are correct we are already at the limit cycle of solar maximum before the tapering off in 2013.eg

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/pmod/from:1980/mean:12

        If we use PMOD the problem becomes apparent.The recent minimum however is no different from the 22/23 cycle minimum degradation on virgo PMO6V radiometers requires adjustment down of around 0.2wm-2 eg Krivova 2011

        These results suggest that early degradation trends in PMO6V data (Fr¨ohlich, 2000; Frohlich & Finsterle, 2001) might have not been fully accounted for (cf. also Frohlich, 2009). For this reason, the level of TSI during the activity minimum in 1996 seems to be overestimated in the PMOD composite by roughly 0.2 W/m2, which explains the apparently different behaviour of the TSI over cycle 23 when compared to other
        proxies as found by Frohlich (2009).

        This is problematic for a number of recent papers eg Hansen 2011

      • Still none of you have answered the question.

        Will the upturn in solar output in recent months have a warming effect or not?

        Here’s another question skeptics avoid like the plague:

        How much of a cooling impact has the solar output decline since 2001 had on global temperature?
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/pmod/plot/pmod/from:2001/trend

      • For reference here’s the trend in global temperature since 2001:
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/plot/wti/from:2001/trend

        The flat trend means that if the recent solar minimum had a 0.2C global cooling effect, a warming factor of that amount must have offset it. Think about that: a warming factor of 0.2C/decade….

        So either you have to downplay the influence of the Sun and say the recent solar minimum *couldn’t* have caused anything near 0.2C cooling, or you have to admit that it could have in which case the flat trend in global temperature is compatible with a continuing warming from CO2, contrary to skeptic claims that it’s some kind of proof the warming has stopped.

        The above is a real dilemma for skeptics which is why they don’t like to play this game.

      • lolwot writes “The above is a real dilemma for skeptics which is why they don’t like to play this game.”

        Garbage. It is thought that the sun’s magnetic effects have a significant effect on climate. Assuming this is true, no-one has any proven mechanism as to how this happens. There are still major problems establishing a link between GCRs and climate; i.e Henrik Svensmark.

        We are not talking about a change in the amount of radiation we get from the sun controlled by the solar constant.. Changes in this seem to have a negligible effect on climate. Something else that changes on the sun affects climate. When we know what this is, then we will be able to discuss the subject sensibly.

    • Tulip ‘seeds’.

    • Eli

      Let’s assume that 100billion is mostly for satelitte build etc. In your opinion should they be placed in the ‘priority’ category over and above arguably more worthy ways to spend money or do you consider thema necessity?

      tonyb

  61. Girma and Dennis, thank very much for your reply to my comments above February 5, 2012 at 12:32 am

    About the “that I have never understood why the skeptical scientists throughout the world dont have a conference of their own just to aggregate all their findings into one voluminous paper.”

    Indeed, there are conferences and numerous books around where valid arguments of scientists questioning the AGW theory, as advocated by the IPCC, are presented.

    For example, few months ago at Santa Fe there was a nice conference were scientists of both side of the debate were invited including me and Judith Curry.

    http://www.cvent.com/events/third-santa-fe-conference-on-global-and-regional-climate-change/event-summary-bb57a62c4a1f40d8af285205963998df.aspx

    My opinion of this conference was quite positive and the so-called “skeptical” scientists performed quite better than the AGW ones, in my opinion. The only negative point was that many skeptical scientists were old/retired people who are worldwide famous for their trully experimental geophysical work.

    The major problem, however, is that the conference at Santa Fe is the exception.

    Usually AGW advocates do not want to debate with AGW skeptics in public and every time they can , they try to suppress and not giving them the possibility to publicly present their opinions and results.

    This happens in multiple ways, for example:

    1) by not inviting them in talk at the university departments despite the merits of their research,
    2) by dis-inviting those that by “error” were previously invited (see here for the last shameful dis-invitation

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/01/university-of-osnabruck-shuts-down-debate-calls-skepticism-provocative/

    http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/03/university-of-osnabrucks-disinvitation-of-rrofessor-vahrenholt-camouflaged-the-true-motives/

    ),
    3) by abusing the peer review process in the journals for not letting their valid papers to be published,
    4) and most of all, by not hiring young scientists who may be skeptical of the AGW theory despite the excellent strength of their applications.

    As a consequence we have people like Trenberth et al. questioning the reservations expressed by a group of physicists claiming that he can explain the standstill of the climate since 2000 and the failure of IPCC models to predict it by proposing the so-called theory of “hiatus”.

    Note that some of the physicists that signed the letter on WSJ are extremely famous. For example Antonio Zichichi (president of the World Federation of Scientists, Geneva) has published more than 1000 papers: see here http://www.ccsem.infn.it/em/zichichi/short_bio.html . And do you think that these people do not understand the scientific method and how to test whether a scientific theory agrees with the data?

    Let us see how Trenberth’s theory of “hiatus” works and performs. Look carefully at their figures here
    https://nar.ucar.edu/2011/lar/nesl/understanding-slow-fluctuations-global-temperatures-where-does-heat-go-when-surface-te

    The theory of “hiatus” claims that the climate system sometimes moves energy from the surface to the deep ocean which results in ten years or so of flat surface temperature. This conclusion is deduced from climate model simulations, not from data, by the way.

    Is this theory solid or is it just an unproven hypothesis?

    There are several problems.

    1) It does not explain the observed flat temperature observed since 2000. In fact, the models used by Trenberth show only some random red-noise 10-year flattering events that, however, occur in 2050 and 2070 (!). While during the period 2000-2010 the model predicts solid warming! This is indeed a curious way to explain the 2000-2012 temperature standstill !
    2) The Trenberth’s models predict only 10-year “hiatus” periods at most, while the observations show far longer hiatus-cooling periods such as 20 and 30 years, as occurred in 1880-1910 and 1940-1970.

    So, Trenberth’s “hiatus” theory is still unsupported by the data, Indeed, it is just a hypothesis currently incompatible with the observations.

    On the contrary, the model that I have proposed, based on specific natural oscillations

    N. Scafetta, “Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005.
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/Scafetta_models_comparison_ATP.pdf

    shows that once the model is calibrated in the period 1950-2011, it is able to accurately predict all so-called Trenberth’s “hiatus” periods occurred in 1850-1950 and more. In the same way, once my model is calibrated in the period 1850-1950, it is able to accurately predict all so-called Trenberth’s “hiatus” periods occurred since 1950 which include also the standstill temperature observed since 2000.

    So, which model performs better up to now? Which model better satisfy the requirements of the scientific method (=reconstruct and forecast the data)?

    I truly think that people such as Judith Curry, who have responsibilities both in Earth Science departments and also toward the society in general, should start to seriously taking into consideration not only inviting for talks so-called skeptical scientists, but also offering some faculty positions to people who can bring in and develop new ideas based on alternative strategies. This also in respect of the society that funds these departments and that those departments are supposed to serve.

    in fact, it does not make any sense to invite or hire only AGW supporters while large part of the population and tax-payers is not convinced of the solidity of the AGW theory and would like that also people with alternative ideas are give the possibility to develop them.

    I am available, for example :)

    • Nicola

      Great idea for people such as Judith to create faculty positions for those proposing other than Agw theories.

      I note your availability but would point out to Judith that I will undercut your charges by 75 percent :)
      Tonyb

      • Tonyb –

        I’m not going to claim I offer value-for-money, but I think I can even undercut your 75% :)

      • Tonyb, hopefully you are not so powerful :)

        However, if there is a serious economical crisis because of wrong environmental/energetic policies, the salaries of everybody in the US universities will be cut by 75% :)

      • Anteros and Nicola

        A fee? Ee lad, I’d pay Judith good money for the privilege of working for her AND I’d explain why cricket is much better than baseball :)

        What do you think of our chances anteros, the target could have been worse
        Tonyb

      • tony b and Anteros

        Hell, I’m a retired chemical engineer and (like Web) only know what I’ve read about climate, but I think Atlanta is a cool place, so I’ll undercut you all.

        Max

      • PS And (in spite of the fact that this is “Super Bowl” day in the USA) I think skiing is better than either cricket or baseball – or football, for that matter.

        A Yellowjackets slalom team?

        Well, if Nicola Scaffeta is right, it’s going to get a lot colder and the smart developers are already looking at covering Stone Mountain with ski lifts when that happens.

        Max

    • Dr. Scafetta –

      You’ve nailed the biggest problem of the next few years in climate science. Whatever the data shows, the people appointed as ‘climate scientists’ to new ‘climate science departments’ in Universities are bound to be pro-AGW.

      This is because some were drawn to climate science by their ‘save the world’ mentalities, and because Universities seeking funding are not going to appoint non-AGW BAU scientists if they want to attract funds.

      So if, as was said in earlier thread, science proceeds ‘death by death’ as the old guard retire or die off and the young turks take over, the discrepency between data and howling warmist catastrophism will become ever greater.

      Lolwot is sadly right – whatever the temperature series goes from now on, AGW is not going to vanish from the Earth any time soon.

  62. Tonyb –

    Just money? I’d give my life-savings, my house and my first-born, AND I’d face a whole session of Pakistani spin-bowlers on a turning pitch :)

    The odds aren’t great, but I love an impossible challenge. Wouldn’t it be remarkable if they won?

    • Anteros
      Anyone prepared to sacrifice their Knees deserves the job, you just need to submit two recent articles you’ve written on climate change and i’ll step aside.

      Don’t think our chances are great after the way we managed to throw away the last test
      Tonyb

      • Max

        The same offer goes to you, just submit to me two recent articles on climate change youve written and i’ll step aside, then perhaps you and anteros can decide the overall winner with a ski slalom race.
        Tonyb

  63. Spotted at Bishop Hill, there is a new post by Michael Crucifix “The climate scientist’s authority”
    http://mcrucifix.blogspot.com/2012/02/climate-scientists-authority.html

    • “We, climate scientists, are so much overwhelmed by evidence about climate change that it comes us as a surprise that other informed people may believe that this actually does not happen.” (?)

      This is much better:
      http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/01/12/please-global-warming-alarmists-stop-denying-climate-change-and-science/

    • Crucifix from the link: “As a climate scientist there is no benefit from engaging in discussion with an individual or group, if my authority is not acknowledged.” and “…experience tells us that eliciting authoritative opinions increase one’s chance of success in decision-making.”

      Hmm… And I always thought that if the position, reputation, and pension of someone with an “authoritative opinion” depends on funding from powerful non-scientific political and financial “sugar-daddies” with an agenda, then one should be cautious in dealing with such useful tools and their “I’m the expert” pitch. Especially, if Mr. Authoritative Opinion just happens to consistently come up with nothing but the “right” answers all the time–ones that please the money-bags and politico heavies that fund the expert’s cushy life-style and hopes and dreams.

      And if an “expert”, for example, “expertly” advises that we must reduce our carbon footprint, but then that same finger-wagging “expert”, himself, regularly takes high-carbon jaunts to CAGW conferences (of all things!), that could readily be held as video-conferences, then we should, again, be cautious since we are dealing with a little “expert” hypocrite.

      You know I’d hoped we had all learned something from the the “tobacco scientists” example. You know, scientists who have a vested interest–position, reputation, and pension–in their “expert” advice. You know, scientists funded by make-a-buck big-shots with a scam that needs a little “science” to sell. But I guess the neo-“tobacco-scientists”–like Crucifix–get a pass. As long as the Big-Green bosses are happy, it’s O. K. to be a neo-“tobacco-scientist”, I guess. And everyone else is a “denier.”

      Nice try Crucifix.

  64. incandecentbulb

    The Forbes article demonstrates all too clearly that the truth will never set global warming alarmists free.

  65. For those who may be interested in my latest research:
    N. Scafetta, “Testing an astronomically based decadal-scale empirical harmonic climate model versus the IPCC (2007) general circulation climate models” Journal of Atmospheric and Solar-Terrestrial Physics, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.jastp.2011.12.005.
    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/Scafetta_models_comparison_ATP.pdf

    One extended review was made by Dr. Carl G. Ribbing, professor at the Department of Engineering Sciences and at the department of Solid State Physics at Uppsala University in Sweden (I hope the link works)

    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.theclimatescam.se%2F2012%2F01%2F17%2Fmer-harmonisk-analys%2F

    Another one is on Forbes
    http://www.forbes.com/sites/larrybell/2012/01/10/global-warming-no-natural-predictable-climate-change/

    Of course there is mine on Anthony Watt’s web site:

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/09/scaffeta-on-his-latest-paper-harmonic-climate-model-versus-the-ipcc-general-circulation-climate-models/

    As I said above, Let us just hope that goodwill, but still uncertain people such as Judith Curry undestand what they really need to do.

  66. “The point is that there are no simple solutions to complex problems, and that multiple perspectives from multiple areas of expertise are needed.”

    Careful..
    Ever heard of Euler’s Equation?

  67. I’ve just updated the main thread with this:

    Bill Hooke has a must read essay “Cockpit resource management for climate scientists and policy makers.”
    http://www.livingontherealworld.org/?p=544

    Excerpt:

    “And because, fact is, if planes were piloted by (climate) scientists and politicians, airports and their environs would be a hellish landscape, littered with the wreckage and debris of crashed planes, awash with jet fuel, towers of flame sending huge plumes of black, oily smoke skyward.

    And that’s not just because of any lack in piloting skills…but rather the result of how we scientists and our colleagues seem to prefer to communicate. We place (over)-much value on being right. We will go to great lengths to prove ourselves right. We’ll allow ourselves to be easily offended if someone suggests we’re wrong. We are prone to believe that a record of distinguished past accomplishment in science makes us right in the present, and to believe that distinguished accomplishment in one area makes us the expert voice in other contexts.

    These attitudes have been tolerated – maybe even encouraged – for years in the climate-change arena.”

    • From the excerpt, I actually feel for clikmate scientists – because they have been described in a way that makes them seem just like everybody else. Welcome to the human race! :)

    • I could read that excerpt as: There comes a point when decisions have to be made, even with incomplete data, because delay itself is a problem. This is what good pilots do; they make timely decisions to avoid bigger problems later. I wholeheartedly agree with that.

      • Markus Fitzhenry.

        Jim D, I myself do a flight check, a “L” pass, and a good look at the engineers report before takeoff.

        So, your assology of destroyed planes around the airport, doesn’t fly with me.

      • Well, we’re in the air and there is a thunderstorm ahead. Do you call on your engineer then (or dentist)?

      • Markus Fitzhenry.

        Jim D, if you are stupid enough to get into GCM machine, without doing the prelims, listening to your Engineer and Doctor then, I have no sympathy for those who definitely are not going to make it to the other side of that thunderstorm they could have avoided.

        All it would have taken to avoid this air disaster, was the stricture of The Scientific Method. Hubris will die with them, for their sins are against Science.

      • Markus, if the scientific method involves waiting for 100% certainty before taking any, even precautionary, action, it may lead to bigger problems later.

      • Latimer Alder

        @jim d

        ‘if the scientific method involves waiting for 100% certainty before taking any, even precautionary, action, it may lead to bigger problems later’

        And the converse applies. If every time you hear a twig snap in the forest you convince yourself that the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Black Beast of Armageddon are coming for you – and knock down your house in an attempt to appease them – then you have already got big problems with rationalisation and judgement.

      • Jim D,
        Then you mostly missed the main point.

  68. Surely the point about the original WSJ op ed, and its relation to argument from authority, was to highlight that there are in fact some very serious scientists whose views are not reflected in the mainstream. It is the consensus scientists who rest so heavily upon argument from authority (97% and all that…), so the WSJ piece is a direct response to that.

  69. Chief Hydrologist

    So here is numbnuts temperature plot – http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/wti/plot/wti/from:2001/trend

    Here is Roy Spencers – http://www.drroyspencer.com/wp-content/uploads/UAH_LT_current.gif – although he doesn’t seem to have updated his graph.

    The peaks and troughs are mostly ENSO – the fast response due to energy moving between the ocean and atmosphere. There is a pretty solid correspondence between ENSO and global temperature variability. 80% explanatory power in the tropics I have read.

    The graphs are pretty much the same. So for the global dataset – we can say that temp. peaked in 1998? As a result of the 1997/98 ‘dragon-king’ in the 1998-2001 climate shift?

    Just as an aside – less snow in Britian? – http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8615789.stm

    ‘Solar activity during the current sunspot minimum has fallen to levels unknown since the start of the 20th century. The Maunder minimum (about 1650–1700) was a prolonged episode of low solar activity which coincided with more severe winters in the United Kingdom and continental Europe. Motivated by recent relatively cold winters in the UK, we investigate the possible connection with solar activity. We identify regionally anomalous cold winters by detrending the Central England temperature (CET) record using reconstructions of the northern hemisphere mean temperature. We show that cold winter excursions from the hemispheric trend occur more commonly in the UK during low solar activity, consistent with the solar influence on the occurrence of persistent blocking events in the eastern Atlantic. We stress that this is a regional and seasonal effect relating to European winters and not a global effect. Average solar activity has declined rapidly since 1985 and cosmogenic isotopes suggest an 8% chance of a return to Maunder minimum conditions within the next 50 years (Lockwood 2010 Proc. R. Soc. A 466 303–29): the results presented here indicate that, despite hemispheric warming, the UK and Europe could experience more cold winters than during recent decades.’ – http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/5/2/024001

    The cold winters are a result of UV – which changes much more than TSI.

    This is the SORCE data on TSI – we are close to peak and we can project a decline over the next several years. – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/ts.gif

    Here is Claus Wolter’s Multi-variate ENSO Index. – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/enso/mei/ts.gif

    The other correspondence to make is the dominance of La Niña to 1976, El Niño to 1998 and La Niña since. Slow change in the energy dynamic associated with cloud changes as the decadal modes switch between cold upwelling dominant and cold upwelling suppressed.

    So enough mouthing – are they going to take my bet? 50 quatloos each year that the 1998 peak monthly temperature is not exceeded for the rest of the decade and 50 quatloos that this decade will be cooler than the last.

    • Chief

      It is a bold prediction that I would think you would be more likely to loose (the part of this decade being cooler especially). If you were willing to wager real money we can discuss the specifics off line.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Rob,

      It is not bold at all – if you look at the science and trends in the elements I listed. In response we have a response short on detail and long I would think and more likely.

      The currency is looking like an idiot – and you have a head start. I take it we have a bet?

      Robert I Ellison
      Chief Hydrologist

  70. Alan D McIntire

    I recently finished reading
    “Thinking, Fast and Slow” by Daniel Kahneman, winner of the Nobel in Economics.

    The title of Chapter 21 is “Expert Intuiton: When Can We Trust It?”

    Kahneman’s argument goes like this:

    If the environment is sufficiently regular to be predictable, and one
    has had an opportunity to learn those regularities through prolonged
    practice, one can trust expert opinion.

    Chess and poker are extreme examples where you can trust expert
    opinion. Firefighters, nurses, airplane pilots all fall into
    categories of a regular predictable occupation with an opportunity to
    learn from practice.

    Medicine is in between- Anesthesiologists get plenty of IMMEDIATE feedback- too much anesthetic and the patient can wind up mentally damaged or dead- too little and the patient wakes up yelling on the operating table.

    On the other hand, those studying MRIs have a false confidence in their diagnostic ability when there is little experience with CONTROL groups.

    A 50 year old patient complains of back pain, the doctor checks the MRI, sees a damaged vertabtate. Not having seen the MRIS of the countless 50 year olds NOT suffering from back pain severe enought to visit a docto, and who ALSO have damaged vertabrae, , the doctor, jumps to the conclusion that the damaged vertabrate is what’s causing the pain.

    At the other extreme are political scientists and economists. They
    may be just as knowledgeable in their fields as firefighters, but
    economics and politics are chaotic and unpredictable. Meteorology
    is another field which becomes chaotic – no predictions are reliable
    more than a few days in the future. A meteorologists prediction of
    what the weather will be like 15 days from now is likely no better
    than yours.

    Where do climate scientists fall on this scale? Climatologists have
    NOT had the opportunity to observe and learn to predict NUMEROUS
    climates and numerous climate changes, and Earth’s climate has fluctuated
    irregularly and unpredictably over historical and geological time, Not only haven’t
    they had the time to learn about any regularities, but in all
    likelihood climate behaves chaotically, making it IMPOSSIBLE to
    predict over extended periods.
    Meteorologists KNOW their field is chaotic and unpredictable,
    climatologists don’t know their limits.

  71. I just fall on that article (translated in french at http://www.skyfall.fr/?p=1008),
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/01/06/what-we-dont-know-about-energy-flow/
    by Dr Brown (presented as a physicist specialist of condensed matter)

    it can be put with you articles on Space-Time Chaos.
    the reasoning use tools that are not specific to Climate.

    I feel that it is the example of what someone of another scientific domain can give to any other domain. A new perspective, a way not to solve the complexity, but to get around and make it simple.

    foreigners can make big mistakes in a domain they are not specialist, but also they can use their competence to circumvent the vision of those who don’t think out of their own box…

    and all of that does not even assume there is a rational self delusion caused by pathologic incentive (like tendencies to justify your science, your job, your usefulness, your budget, your heroism)…

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  73. no