Consensus or not (?)

by Judith Curry

Is there or isn’t there a scientific consensus on climate change?  And does it matter?

The dueling opinion pieces in the WSJ have spawned yet another insightful article.  Richard Black has an article on the BBC blog entitled Climate consensus cracking open – or not.  Excerpts:

In other words – in a meme that’s become very familiar over the last few years – “the consensus is cracking”.

It’s a troublesome meme in several ways.

First, and most obvious, is the absence of any evidence that it’s actually true. Certainly, since the “ClimateGate” affair there’s been criticism from within the scientific community about the practices of some climate scientists – but that’s very different from disputing their broad conclusions.

A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; consensus that the Earth is warming, consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason, or consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution, to name but three?

Thirdly, is the fact that it may not matter very much.

A couple of years back, at one of the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, I had a long chat with Viscount Monckton. As a scholar of Classics, he was able to detail with Classical derivation the reasons why consensus matters far less than simply being right.

But if the presence of a consensus is irrelevant, so, logically, is its absence; which makes the continued use by sceptics’ groups of the “consensus is cracking” meme a bit mystifying.

After all, how many times can you say it’s cracking before people start asking “so why hasn’t it cracked, then?”

In both cases – consensus and breaking consensus – it’s surely the evidence that should count, not the number of people you can get to sign your letter.

But it is surely the arguments themselves that ought to be the focus for discussion – not what they purport to say about a cracking consensus.

JC comments:

I’ve written several previous essays on the topic of consensus,

I have argued that a consensus on climate change is both unneccessary and undesirable, and that the consensus seeking process of the IPCC is having the (presumably) unintended consequence of damaging climate science and compromising the policy process.

Ward is concerned about absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; it seems that agreeing with the climate consensus requires supporting and endorsing the entire scope of IPCC conclusions and UNFCCC policies.

The climate community worked for 20 years to establish a consensus.  The impact of the consensus probably peaked in 2006-2007, at the time of publication of the AR4.  Courtesy of the CRU emails, we now understand the sausage making that went into creating the consensus.  Manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debate, to the detriment of both.  Its time to abandon the concept of consensus; consensus matters far less than simply being right and the arguments themselves that ought to be the focus for discussion.

So, here’s to ‘cracking the consensus’ in favor of open debate and discussion of policy options and in presenting carefully crafted scientific arguments that present evidence for and against, with suitable caveats about uncertainties and areas of ignorance.

333 responses to “Consensus or not (?)

  1. randomengineer

    Only 31% of germans are concerned with climate chane vs 2x that in 2006. The fat lady has just hit high C.

    http://thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/4867-germanys-top-environmentalist-turns-climate-sceptic.html

    • Thanks for the link. The “Church of Global Warming” shattered when

      a.) The public saw irrefutable evidence that data had been hidden, manipulated or ignored for decades [1-3].

      b.) Leaders of the scientific community ignored the evidence [1-3].

      c.) CO2-induced global warming, green jobs, and H-fusion reactors to meet future energy needs did not materialize.

      References:
      1. The Climategate Timeline: http://joannenova.com.au/2010/01/finally-the-new-revised-and-edited-climategate-timeline/

      2. Deep Roots of the Climate Scandal: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/10640850/Climategate_Roots.pdf

      3. Release of Jupiter isotope data:

      • Leaders of nations and of the scientific community are not at fault. They are simply as flawed as everyone else. For everyone’s sake, we need to abandon the idea of punishment.

        We set up a system that rewarded them for manipulating data, despite President Eisenhower’s specific warning against this in his farewell address to the nation on 17 Jan 1961.

        Now we must work with leaders of nations and sciences to end deception, . . . before we are forced to choose

        a.) Between social chaos or
        b.) Totalitarian government.

      • Scientists did to science, what bankers did to banking.

        Who is to blame? The scientists and bankers?

        Or those who assumed that scientists and bankers would not be tempted to cheat?

        For everyone’s sake, we need to repair the damage as quickly as possible. Who can do that better than the bankers and scientists?

    • Here’s another article on the same subject.

      http://notrickszone.com/2012/02/06/body-blow-to-german-global-warming-movement-major-media-outlets-unload-on-co2-lies/

      >>Today Germany’s national tabloid Bild (which has a whopping circulation of 16 million) devoted half of page 2 on an article called:

      THE CO2 LIE
      Renowned team of scientists claim the climate catastrophe is fear-mongering by politics“<<

    • Problem: We are trapped like rats on a sinking ship, with leaders of nations, banks and scientific organizations that formulated and adopted the policies that got us here.

      Solution: This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for talented scientists to help society by addressing data and observations [1] that were overlooked in the policies that brought us here.

      1. “Neutron repulsion,” The APEIRON Journal, in press (and ref #2, 83, 95, 97, 108 and 119) http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

  2. Judith –

    Unless I’ve missed something, I’m guessing your reference to ‘Ward’ was meant to be ‘Black’..

  3. Concensus in climate science is a concept that only arises when mainstream climate scientists describe their AGW theory. There never has been or ever will be consensus amongst sceptics.

  4. If you look for the definition of ‘consensus’, it is a general agreement among a group. In the case of a group defined as climate scientists, there is a consensus on AGW. ‘General agreement’ may mean majority, but is often taken to mean ‘no one would disagree’, and that is why it is a contentious word. A simple majority do agree, as can be discerned from reading their papers or taking anonymous polls, and it is more than 90% of this group by some estimates. Perhaps ‘majority’ or ‘overwhelming majority’ would be better descriptions of the AGW view, and don’t carry the misleading impression, to some, of unanimity.

    • ‘Consensus’ is a misleading description of the distribution of views among scientists who study climate. ‘Majority’ would be less contentious. As to whether it matters….

  5. The final stake has been driven into the heart of the the AGW consensus.

    This follows many other stakes through the heart. Which raises the question of why you’d drive a stake through the heart of something you’ve already killed?

    I’m also curious: Since driving the final stake through the heart of the consensus would necessitate removing the final nails in the coffin to get access to the previously killed AGW consensus (with previous stakes driven through its heart), is a nail still a final nail if it has been removed?

    Finally, I am also curious to know whether final stakes and final nails are renewable resources or whether we’re in danger of running out of them? If then aren’t renewable, have we reached the stage of peak stakes/nails?

    So many important questions in the climate debate have yet to be resolved.

    • Joshua –

      Very good.

      But what are we poor souls supposed to do when, after having killed it stone dead, and sealed it in a coffin, the creature clamours to be let out?

      P.S. Fret not – we re-use the nails ;)

      • Anteros –

        But what are we poor souls supposed to do when, after having killed it stone dead, and sealed it in a coffin, the creature clamours to be let out?

        I would suggest that you reconsider how you define “stone dead.” It seems that you have some instrumental error there (including, possibly, problems with your instrument of reasoning).

        Thanks for the reassurance about the nails, however.

        I know that stakes are usually made out of wood, and that wood can be considered as a renewable resource depending on your time horizon, but I do hope that at least you don’t use any endangered species of trees.

      • randomengineer

        Heavens. Mann positively SPARKLES, which is just wrong.

    • Chief Hydrologist

      Having just listened to Dracula as an audio file – http://www.booksshouldbefree.com/book/dracula-by-bram-stoker – all your questions answered.

    • Sadly the AGW consensus is not dead nor will it ever likely be. Scientific ‘Consensus’ draws the believers into the world of religion. There is ‘consensus’ among Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, and many more that ‘their’ beliefs (aka hypotheses) are concrete, but none can point to any evidence save some ‘papers’ that someone else wrote. If one attempts to ‘test’ these hypotheses with those that profit from their consensus one immediately ends up being told to prove a negative and is ostracized. Heathen, Infidel, Non-Believer! Sound familiar?

      Consensus is a component of religion. Science does not ask one to agree, it demands one to prove or disprove, not with a preponderance of evidence, but beyond any reasonable doubt.

      I doubt the AGW religion is going the way of the Dodo’s, I expect them to dig in and continue to seek forceful conversion. Religions that seek coerced conversion should expect escalated resistance.

    • It is difficult to comment on the zombie nature of AGW. Afterall, zombies used to exist only in movies and fiction.
      But it is clear that more and more people are becoming skeptical of the AGW consensus, whatever state of life, death or health it may be in.
      .

    • John Carpenter

      “The final stake has been driven into the heart of the the AGW consensus.”

      Joshua, I believe you purposely over generalized the idea AGW consensus is dead….. again. Which AGW consensus are you talking about? Black mentions at least three. So which one is dead?

      • John –

        I’m talking about the AGW consensus that I’ve been told, over and over, has been impaled with stakes and nailed into a coffin.

        I’m not sure exactly which one that is. So – it seems to me that when “skeptics” speak of those final stakes and coffins, they should specify.

        All sarcasm aside – I think that defining with greater clarity what, exactly, is being referenced as the “consensus” viewpoint is much needed. It requires input from non-partisans on both sides of the debate. Now the only problem is finding some of those.

      • Anteros-the-non-partisan

        Joshua –

        Humanity is affecting the climate. This will have bad consequences. Humanity should stop affecting the climate so much.

      • John Carpenter

        “All sarcasm aside – I think that defining with greater clarity what, exactly, is being referenced as the “consensus” viewpoint is much needed. It requires input from non-partisans on both sides of the debate. Now the only problem is finding some of those.”

        Ok, so why didn’t you just say that very sensible comment to begin with? BTW, I think it might be difficult to find ‘non-partisans on both sides of the debate’…that strikes me as a bit of an oxymoron. FWIW, I know what you mean. I would say I am of that persuasion….you think?

      • Antheros-the-covert-partisan;
        All false.
        The H0 counterparts:
        Humanity’s effects on the climate are at most insignificant (non-forcing).
        Any such effects are equally likely to be benign or unwanted.
        Humanity, to the minimal extent possible, should affect the climate in helpful ways (which might include maximizing CO2 output for the sake of agriculture).

    • The reason why stakes have to be driven regularly through the heart of AGW is because it is “zombie” science. By that I mean, like a zombie, it moves, makes noises and acts alive, when really it died quite some time ago.

      The thing that keeps it looking alive is the huge amounts of money pumped in by governments. Cutting the money flow would be the ultimate stake into the heart of this one.

      • Latimer Alder

        Yep.

        A huge reduction in spending on climatology would be very welcome. And the more the climatologits make public arses of themselves the likelier that will become.

        As times get harder, the pollies will be looking for things to cut spending on. And in the UK at least, few would currently shed a tear if all the climatologists were made redundant tomorrow. They keep appearing on the telly with ludicrous statements about how the cold weather is all down to global warming. And that the heavy snowfall and record low temperatures in Europe are all because the ice in the Arctic has melted because of the polar bears drowning or some other such s**t.

        Three, at least, of our widely circulated newspapers – the Telegraph, the Mail and the Sunday Times have become noticeably more hostile to the whole notion of dangerous AGW in the last year. And even the greens’ biggest cheerleader – the BBC – has been obliged to notice that not everything is rosy in climateland.

        So I think you will see budget reductions. They won’t be big and dramatic, but just small year-on-year reductions. It will only take a few years at -10% p.a. for the cuts to really hurt and for the field to die its long awaited death.

      • @ Latimer Alder; More ”Climatologist” are graduating now in university in one year; than all the climatologist graduate for the whole of 20 century / in 100years. They are not educated for any job to contribute to the society; all they know is; climate change, climate change…Must increase their budget, or they will get at each others throats. Who will employ brainwashed idiots in any other industry?. Climatologist, not having the knowledge / capacity to understand that: the phony GLOBAL warming has nothing to do with the constant climatic changes. They don’t know that climate can change for the better also. If no increasing in their budget; they will start stilling people’s washing from the line. Psychiatrists will get very rich.

      • Latimer Alder

        @stefanthedenier

        Anybody daft enough to have taken up climatology since November 2009 in the hope of a long, worthwhile, fulfilling and publicly funded career needs their head examining. And their shaky connection with reality independently assessed.

  6. No consensus, until they visit the reality / sanity small example: Greenland and Antarctic are almost as large as USA. On Greenland, and Antarctic are few thermometers clustered on a very small area. B] if the weather bureau was reporting the temperature for few places in Florida – as the official temperature for the WHOLE of USA, many people wouldn’t believe that is sane.

    In the evening when they report the weather for the whole of USA; remember what Stefan was saying: compare yourself if: when the temperature in Florida goes up by one, or two degrees for next day , does the temperature in all of the states goes up by EXACTLY that much. Or, some places goes up, some down. Some place by more some by less. Therefore: not having data collected on every square kilometer on Antarctic / Greenland = is blatant misleading.

    Then see on how many places the temperature is monitored in central Pacific for IPCC? Central Pacific is 15 times larger than USA. That is for temperature on the ground. Unwritten rule is: when close to the ground is cooler than normal > upper atmosphere is warmer than normal. Q: upper atmosphere is 90% of the troposphere… occasionally they send a balloon… to monitor on 1m3…??? Or occasional infrared two-dimensional infra-red photo of the troposphere – which is a 50km thick layer of earth’s air . Ii would be an insult to a 5 year olds intelligence, but is not insult to the fanatic Warmist and ‘’Fake Skeptics’’. The ‘’fake Skeptics’’ are Al’s fig leaf. THE KING Al IS NAKED!!! What consensus?! Consensus from the people that should be in jail for conspiracy…?

    Q: can the Warmist realize that heat distribution on the earth is 3 dimensional? A: of course they can, but is against their theology.
    Q: can the ‘’fake Skeptics / the B/S addicts’’ notice those things? A: NO, because they are busy, busy with their buckets and wheelbarrows actively collecting IPCC’s & Al’s B/S…
    Q: Would the climate stayed perfect, if there wasn’t any industrial revolution??? Q: why is some places good climate now, with much, much more CO2, than other places with bad climate and much less CO2?! NO consensus until the real proofs / facts are scrutinised, with open mind!!!

  7. I found a marked change of attitude in most of this piece from Richard Black. It’s quite refreshing – until the rather pointless sneer about sceptics and a cracking consensus…

    Overall though, it was even thoughtful which is a surprise from the BBC Bulldog.

    A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; consensus that the Earth is warming, consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason, or consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution, to name but three?

    The weird thing is, if you stop and think about it, is that this apparently sensible observation isn’t about the consensus at all. The consensus remains glued together as one homogeneous mass with not a trace of a gap between GW=AGW=CAGW = massive-immediate-mitigation. That hasn’t changed.

    No – his separation into three strands [believe me, there are many many more] of aspects of the climate issue is about scepticism This is what we have been saying for decades! This is one reason why a single unified group of sceptics doesn’t even exist – there are dozens of aspects of the CAGW edifice to be sceptical about, and although it seems to be news to Richard Black, there always were…

    It has just been politically expedient – from the point of view of the apocalypto-alarmians – to pretend that sceptics were all one thing and in fact were really just deniers. To be sceptical about policy or mitigation or adaptation was too dangerous to allow, so the ranks closed, the edifice became an alleged unity and all criticism was demonised as heretical and sinful [cf Al Gore comparing it to racism]

    That’s why it might appear as surprising to Black after 20 years of staring in the opposite direction that the single edifice/alleged consensus as viewed by its proponents is no such thing – proven by the fact that scepticism about it encompasses a vast range of perspectives and aspects.

    Isn’t it in fact remarkable that this observation – that warming, the cause of it, and it’s consequences are 3 separate things – seems such a novel idea to a hardcore warmist? When it has been obvious to any sane person since the beginning?

    This is already too long, but one question Judith. If the whole subject is to be opened up for debate, discussion and analysis, when someone asks you “are we in a position to make a decision on policy”, what are you to say? “There isn’t a consensus so we don’t have anything meaningful to offer?” Even if you wanted to say we have a number of uncertainties, wouldn’t there have to be a consensus on that? I’m just wondering if consensus is rejected, what do you describe as the basis for decision making? I assume a world democracy with one person-one vote isn’t on the cards?
    ***
    It’s late [4.30 UK time] – explains the ramble. The damn ‘throwball’ game last night has desynchronised me. And I have so much Co2 to emit tommorow! :)

    • I disagree. The GW and AGW are scientific views. Adding C is subjective based on urgency, which depends where you live, where you are on the socialist/libertarian scale, whether you care about polar bears, or sea level hundreds of years from now, etc. I think the consensus on CAGW is lower than on AGW, but one has to define the C in scientific terms (e.g. a particular temperature or CO2 rise) to quantify it in the same way as AGW.

      • Jim –

        I agree with you, to the extent that some people are vexed to the point of devoting their lives to the anti-AGW cause, and these people differ from the ‘mildly-concerned’

        As always there are degrees, But I do believe we are dichotomous creatures – we veer to one side or another, and we ‘have’ a belief or we don’t. The climate debate is polarised because some of us see a problem, and some of us don’t. Some of us create a picture of the future that’s difficult (climate-wise) and some of us see the climate-future very much like it is now.

        If I’d used P for problematic AGW wouldn’t you agree there is a large consensus with various people saying they’re sceptical [of the whole thing, or enough for the edifice to be not convincing?]

    • Well I agree with you Anteros. But in general I have noted a slight change in tone with regards to GW or climate change more generally within the BBC. Recently there was a program called ‘will it snow’. It was folksy and CBBCish but it was not too uninteresting. Since it was dealing with climate, I fully expected the issue of AGW to be raised, but it was carefully ignored.

      And now it seems Richard Black is starting to soften, although this:

      But if the presence of a consensus is irrelevant, so, logically, is its absence; which makes the continued use by sceptics’ groups of the “consensus is cracking” meme a bit mystifying.

      ….annoys me a bit. It is not the skeptics who used the consensus argument, it is the IPCC consensus approach which they have objected to, the reasons for which can be seen with perception that it is ‘cracking’.

      And now interestingly this fellow:

      http://thegwpf.org/best-of-blogs/4867-germanys-top-environmentalist-turns-climate-sceptic.html

      …is part of the paradigm shift. The policy consequences of being wrong about CAGW and nuclear alramism seem to be playing out in Germany:

      http://www.eike-klima-energie.eu/news-cache/germanys-green-energy-supply-transformation-has-already-failed/

      I wonder if in 20 years time, should those who suggest we are heading into a Dalton or Maunder type minimum be correct whether there will be zealotous activists advocating digging up every bit of fossil fuel they can find to burn in an effort to warm the climate…:-)

      • Agnostic –

        You’re right. But if that rather pointless and irrelevant bit from Black about sceptics and consensus cracking was removed, it would have been a remarkable turn-around. Some might have doubted it was the same journalist writing!

        All in all I thought it was a very reasonable article – although I still think it is a profound misunderstanding to say that there are different areas of consensus. There aren’t – not in practical terms – because the movement seals all the gaps and insists the policy conclusion follows unarguably from the initial observations. Disagreements can only be allowed that enhance the lustre of the problem – that re-affirm that there is an existential crisis. Disagreeing about various ‘solutions’ isn’t weakening the consensus – it is a way of strengthening it. It simply reminds everybody that there is a terrible problem ‘to be solved’

        It is the nature of scepticism to become diffuse and branch out – and even to start from many different places. People being called ‘sceptics’ have been saying profoundly different things to each other since AGW was first mentioned. It has merely been convenient to see them as all of a kind. SkS for instance has a list of sceptical arguments [strawmen, of course] that it wants to attribute to the same mythical individual. It is more convenient to defend an edifice if you convince yourself that all the attacks are coming from the same direction.

        ***

        I think it is fascinating that the consensus thinking – a deeply held but not obvious world view – affects everybody it comes into contact with. Most importantly it affects scientists – who don’t realise it – and then the ‘authority’ of the scientist becomes pernicious because it is unjustified.

        One example – one sceptical view concern the meaningfulness of the supposed ‘problem’. It is that change over time and natural adaptation make an illusion of supposed disasters. Human and natural systems and relationships are not fixed and are therefore not ‘fragile’ and the idea of such things being ‘stressed’ or ‘damaged’ is a very strange one. Indeed it is one that misrepresents reality. OK, that is a sceptical view and one would hope that it would at least be allowed an airing. One would also hope that those engaged in science are doing something [the science itself] that is as value-free as possible – that it is objective.

        The http://www.ice2sea.eu/ project is one that aims to ascertain if possible, future contributions from ice sheets and glaciers to sea levels. It is clearly a scientific enterprise – and an interesting one at that. One of its purposes is to provide the IPCC with information for its 5th report. My question is, is the science objective, or has it done something to obliterate the sceptical view I mentioned – that danger of changes are perceived by value judgements and not by science?

        Well, the mission statement of Ice2sea is quite clear – it says it aims to provide a A collective view of the likelihood of catastrophic sea-level rise.

        Do you see what has happened here? It is not even left to the IPCC (let alone anyone else) to decide on the meaningfulness of ‘catastrophe’. The language of apocalypse has infected something that speciously claims to be about ‘truth-finding’. A genuinely scientific approach would use a word like ‘large’ or ‘significant’ and immediately define it as X number of meters – to allow the value judgements and interpretations to continue elsewhere. The whole sceptical viewpoint has been made non-existent because the dominant consensus world view has bulldozed – through science! – over it without being aware of the process. Science has become an unwitting tool of a dominant ideology.

        More generally, every time a scientist uses the phrase ‘the problem of climate change’ they are re-enforcing a prejudice they don’t even realise they have. It is at this point I feel like observing that the demarcation between science and non-science simply doesn’t exist, and therefore the authority we grant scientists is as misplaced as that we used to grant high priests.

  8. That the word “consensus” was used as some sort of absolute proof of scientific validity struck me as very odd from the beginning. Perhaps it was my contrarian nature, but that insistence on “consensus” was my first clue that the AGW theories we were given 10 years ago were likely a crock of crap. After all, didn’t there used to be a “consensus” that the universe rotated around the earth?

    So, in the end, consensus isn’t important, except to those of us who remember being beaten about the head with the consensus thing by the AGW zealots who called me all sorts of nasty names. They were, after all, the true scientists, since they believed what had been told them, while I was evil since I dared to actually check things out for myself….

    • The first person known to have proposed a heliocentric system, where the Sun is the center of the Solar System and the Earth revolves around the Sun, was Aristarchus of Samos (c. 270 BC).
      In Archimedes book “The Sand Reckoner’ Archimedes describes the hypothesis put forward by Aristarchus

      ‘His hypotheses are that the fixed stars and the Sun remain unmoved, that the Earth revolves about the Sun on the circumference of a circle, the Sun lying in the middle of the orbit, and that the sphere of fixed stars, situated about the same center as the Sun, is so great that the circle in which he supposes the Earth to revolve bears such a proportion to the distance of the fixed stars as the center of the sphere bears to its surface”

      There were also some Indian ‘deniers’. The great Indian scientists Aryabhata (476–550), published his book ‘Aryabhatiya’ at the age of 23 in which proposed that the Earth spins on its axis, the Earth and other planets rotate around the Sun. He accurately calculated many astronomical constants, such as the periods of the planets, times of the solar and lunar eclipses, and the instantaneous motion of the Moon.

  9. randomengineer

    And speaking of Greenland…

    Somebody better alert the archaeology crowd that their data and conclusions can’t be right, that Mann et al is the only reliable consensus opinion.

    http://www.pasthorizonspr.com/index.php/archives/02/2012/viking-barley-in-greenland

    “The Greenland climate was slightly warmer than it is today, and the southernmost tip of the great island looked fertile and green and no doubt tempted Eric the Red and his followers. This encouraged them to cultivate some of the seed they brought with them from Iceland.

    The Vikings also tried to grow other agricultural crops. Their attempts to grow these crops and barley did not last long, however, as the climate cooled over the next couple of centuries until the Little Ice Age started in the 13th century.”

    This is the sort of thing that says the “unprecedented warmth” stuff is WRONG WRONG WRONG. It’s called “data.” Not models, not extrapolations, but DATA.

    • steven mosher

      when people speak of unprecedented warmth they are talking usually about a northern hemisphere average…”ave-ver-rage” And since we know that there is more to the NH than greenland, the observation that some portion of the NH may be warmer than the “ave-ver-rage” doesnt really come close to being a critique.

      More importantly, “unprecedented warmth” is really a side argument and not worth much attention.

      • steven mosher

        What you have described for the averaged “unprecedented (a bad word) [Medieval] warmth” goes just as well for the current globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature, which we are told by IPCC is “unusual” (another bad word) “in at least the previous 1,300 years”.

        “Ave-ver-rage”.

        Right?

        Max

        I’m reminded of a hazing procedure practiced on sailors when they first crossed the Equator on a ship, which was known as the “thermocouple:

        The blindfolded sailor was told to lie on his back with his legs straight up, slightly separated.

        Then hot (but not quite scalding) water was poured down one pant leg while icewater was poured down the other.

        The “average” temperature of this operation was a comfortable 30 degC or so.

      • randomengineer

        This speaks to paleoclimate. Until such time as the record is proven well enough that there are no more hockey sticks etc showing muted, stunted, or otherwise manipulated eras, I reject the notion that average is understood well enough to distinguish natural from anthropogenic signal. We obviously agree on radiative physics in the “all things being equal” notion, but I’m unconvinced that we understand climate from a systems standpoint well enough to attribute much. What I want to see is reproducible understanding of the past, not speculation, and certainly not nebulous handwavings. I reckon that when we demonstrate clear and unambiguous ability to model the past 2500 years (starting the model run from 500 BCE and letting it run to the present) we can say we know enough.

        You cannot begin to make present day attributions nor plans unless you have a clear understanding of the natural system. We cannot know the true anthropogenic component nor can we qualify such without complete separation of signal from noise.

        The problem is that what we have is *some* understanding which is then abused by bad actors who will then incorrectly blame e.g. a statistical outlier tornado outbreak on god knows what and the next thing you know, the dream we all have of orbital hotels gets screwed for another 50 years by chicken little, luddite, malthusian politics. For example Germany is apparently going to be dismantling 50 years of safe green power generation due to chicken little-ism and this is simply insane, a symptom of breathtakingly stupid prioritising.

        That the future can be hijacked by a discipline of academic interest only ought to be a crime. If it takes believers like me to reject anything other than full 100% proof of every single speculation to put a stop to this abuse, so be it. Climate change attribution and mitigation policy is a cure far worse than the disease.

      • “Unprecedented” is core. It is required to justify ditching all “business as usual” policies, and embarking on the campaign of drastic economic/social/political adventurism acknowledged by Greens to be the real Cause, when they’re feeling their oats.
        Because, to state the apparently-insufficiently-obvious, if it has “precedents” then attribution to human activity is bogus, and the proposed/demanded solutions pointless and irrelevant.

    • Check out Mann et al 2009 (figure 2) – it clearly shows the southern part of Greenland as being anomalously warm during the MWP.

      • Yes, one of his feeble attempts to “localize” evidence of precedence, leaving his global pretensions in place. I’d love to see how he isolated that warming from “first principles”!

        Such Mann-ipulations mean nothing, of course.

  10. Consensus is a proxy for “common wisdom” or “commonly believed”. It is, as Black rightly points out, a nose count. It is not, of course, science.

    The appeal to consensus is simply an appeal to authority in a very young and, if I dare say so, rather immature science. It is similar to Pauline Kael’s observation that she was astonished that the Republicans won because no one she knew ever voted for them.

    The games revealed in Climategate 1 & 2 are not at all surprising given the immaturity of the science. Unlike a relatively mature science like physics or biology, there are no elders, no Nobelists (except the Peace Prize kind), no Hans Bethes, or Oppenheimers or Feynmans, to call the infants to order. As the Climategate emails reveal, things get pretty nasty when there is no adult supervision. Peer Review is redefined as Lord of the Flies; bullying runs rampant and interesting results are repressed for “the Cause”.

    There is a fast emerging and very powerful consensus that this sort of infantile behaviour is simply not good enough. Nations are ditching Kyoto, ignoring the bleatings of the IPCC and looking at where the taxpayers’ money may have financed fraud and illegality.

    It will not end well for the Madoffs in the climate science business; but just as Madoff was an exception in the hedge fund world there is every reason to believe that the many non-Team climate scientists are not dishonest much less fraudulent.

    • It is similar to Pauline Kael’s observation that she was astonished that the Republicans won because no one she knew ever voted for them.

      I’ve often wondered what it is about Americans that determines whether they vote Democrat or Republican. Now I now: in the six degrees of separation, those voting Republican are those who are at distance at least 4 from Pauline Kael.

      This replaces my earlier candidates for the crucial factor.

      My first was to have been based on the conflict pointed out in Matthew 6:24 “Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Initially I thought this would be a no-brainer until it became apparent that Republicans were serving both and Democrats neither.

      I then turned to the Lake Wobegon factor, “all the women are strong, all the men are good looking, and all the children are above average.” Interviews with a great many Democrats and Republicans eventually convinced me that all Republicans are strong, good looking, and above average, as are all Democrats, so that factor wasn’t much use either.

      So that leaves me with Pauline Kael. If someone has a stronger or more good-looking candidate I’m all ears (or eyes).

      • I only know one person who is a climate denier, but I can feel them when I’m in the theatre.
        ================

  11. The problem with claiming symmetry about the consensus or its lack is that it misses the point.
    The consensus is being used to impose policies that do not work. Breaking the consensus is separate from the science, just as AGW is separate from climate science.

    • randomengineer

      The problem is the politics.

      This site discusses policies and technology that can better mankind.

      http://nextbigfuture.com/

      Now, compare that site to climate science. Which one of the two allows politicians to exercise the most power? Which is more positive?

  12. Norm Kalmanovitch

    All it takes for a consensus is for enough people to be convinced of something so there is a majority opinion. Science is based on data and a scientific consensus only exists when a majority of scientists share an opinion based on an interpretation of that data.
    HadCRUT3 seems to be the most prominantly accepted global temperature dataset and a linear best fit of the HadCRUT3 dataset over the past decade demonstrates a slight overall cooling trend.
    Starting with this data; what is the scientific consensus for this cooling trend?
    There is no possible scientific consensus that this cooling trend has resulted from global warming caused by CO2 emissions from fossil fuels because that is a political consensus based on unfounded claims made by the IPCC using fabricated climate models as evidence for this conjecture.
    We do know that the Little Ice Age was contemporaneous with the Maunder Minimum and the extension of the Little Ice Age correlates exactly with the Dalton Minimum so there is a growing scientific consensus that this decade long cooling is resulting in some way from the reduced solar activity of solar cycle 24 which is mimicking the start of the Dalton Minimum. As we get further and further into solar cycle 24 we are starting to see predictions about even lower solar activity in solar cycle 25 increasing the consensus that there is a high liklihood that we could see a treturn to the cooler conditions of the Early 1800’s within two decades during solar cycle 25 if the solar activity as predicted comes to fruition.
    A consensus is a majority opinion so it is not possible to have conflicting scientific consensus yet we have one stated “overwhelming consensus” that the Earth is warming catastrophically because of increased CO2 emissions from fossil fuels and one unstated growing consensus that the world is cooling due to changes in solar activity as measured by sunspot count.
    The simple answer to this conundrum is found in the basis for each consensus with the scientific consensus based on observed global temperature and observed sunspot counts and the other consensus based on computer models that have yet to make a single valid prediction because they are being driven by a fabricated CO2 forcing parameter and a contrived climate sensitivity factor neither of which have any actual physical basis.
    So it is not conflicting scientific consensus but merely political consensus conflicting with scientific consensus.

    • HadCRUT3 seems to be the most prominantly accepted global temperature dataset and a linear best fit of the HadCRUT3 dataset over the past decade demonstrates a slight overall cooling trend.

      While it’s fascinating to see a climate skeptic taking this position after all the yelling in recent years about how horribly bad this dataset is, Norm’s position is meaningless if he’s the only one. Is there any other skeptic on this blog who would be willing to back up Norm’s statement that HadCRUT3 is “the most prominently accepted global temperature dataset”?

      If not then Norm may have painted himself into a corner that he’ll have to extricate himself from 12 months from now if the period 2002-2012 turns out to demonstrate a slight overall warming trend. (Norm is presumably assuming that this is extremely unlikely, or that no one here has a 12-month memory, or both.)

      I’d like to be able to claim in papers I write that a fundamental objection of climate skeptics is to the reliability of the HadCRUT3 dataset. I’ll continue to assume this, based on everything I’ve read to date by climate skeptics, unless a significant proportion of the skeptical participants in this blog step up to Judith’s microphone and object that this is a misrepresentation of their collective position.

      Climate Etc. moderates a wide range of climate opinions with the light hand of a sympathetic climate professional with a 20-year background in radiation physics, making it the best blog on the planet for getting calibrated on the principal objections of climate skeptics to the claims of climate science.

      • What observational set would you suggest,the observations suggest the physics are wrong almost surely.

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1880/to:1900/mean:12/plot/gistemp-dts/from:1880/to:1900/mean:12/plot/best/from:1880/to:1900/mean:12

      • For a while some skeptics were all gung ho about the method developed by Jeffid and RomanM. It is arguably better than CRU, GISS, on purely technical and statistical grounds. Of course when some skeptics found out that this method shows more warming, they got amnesia. and when back to criticizing CRU and GISS.

        To date A bunch of us have.
        1. Looked at smaller and bigger datasets
        2. looked at raw and adjusted data.
        3. used no less than 8 independent methods: Zekes, Mine, Taminos,
        Romans, Giss, CRU,NCDC, and BEST.

        and what do you guess. Yup, its warmer now than in the LIA. And the answer is the same whether you use 100 sites or 44000. Often you will find skeptics arguing against the record on one hand and appealing to
        it on the other hand. You will find them arguing that 7000 sites is not enough, while they point to one site in Greenland or the weather in the aunts backyard. You will find them baffled to explain why the answer is the same whether we used 100 sites or 1000 or 10000 or 40000.

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan pratt

        ‘I’ll continue to assume this, based on everything I’ve read to date by climate skeptics, unless a significant proportion of the skeptical participants in this blog step up to Judith’s microphone and object that this is a misrepresentation of their collective position’

        Your starting position is to make an incorrect (and fatal) assumption. Scepticism is not a collective activity and there is no collective sceptical position. 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.

        Scepticism is not just the mirror image of Alarmism, where you literally 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.

        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. That Norm hasn’t involved himself in the controversy over HADCRUT merely shows that he has been busy on other stuff….an individual has only so much time and so many interests.

        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 and that we have a ‘collective position’ We aren’t and don’t….and you never know where the next thrust will come from.

      • Repeating said errors by incorrect assumptions do not correct either the observations or the physics.that is why it is necessary to explain the singularities ie timing is important

        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1883/to:1884/plot/gistemp-dts/from:1883/to:1884/plot/best/from:1883/to:1884

      • If there are others from Latimer Adler’s country that reason as he does, they could do worse than band together and form a Loony Party.

        Textbooks in any given field of science tend to say the same thing. Fields in which they don’t tend to be considered in some sort of crisis.

        GaryM, Latimer Adler, and Max Manacker seem to consider a field of science to be at its healthiest when its views are all over the shop, and that a field in which all the textbooks say the same thing is “uncritically trotting out the lines that the High Priests give you.”

        Latimer, you really need to re-examine your line of reasoning here. Consistency in science textbooks is not the hallmark of a conspiracy that you make it out to be, it is instead an indication that the subject is well understood.

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan pratt

        ‘Consistency in science textbooks is not the hallmark of a conspiracy that you make it out to be, it is instead an indication that the subject is well understood’

        I don’t disagree, and I haven’t made out that there is a conspiracy. No more than any other religion is a conspiracy. People who join the religion are obliged to take some things as a matter of faith. In your case it is the words of the IPCC….written, moderated and edited by the believers themselves. An interesting read (in parts) but not the most unbiased body to produce such a work.

        And all good scholars look not only at the work itself, but at the circumstances surrounding its production – its ‘context;’ if you will. The context (just realised what a good word that is if you separate it as ‘con text’ :-) )of the IPCC reports are deeply dubious. A self-selected bunch of reviewers…some or all of whom may hae deep ‘conflict of interest’ problems. All heavily invested professionally in the field and dependent upon its continuance high up the worry list for power, prestige and payment. A documented pervasive history of shenanigans and misbehaviour among the leading participants. An institutional inability/refusal to address much needed reforms. And a laughing stock of a Chairman enriching himself on the back of his position.

        A trustworthy piece of work? Non!

        As to ‘textbooks’. Those old thingies with theories and experiments and proofs. You haven’t got one. It was the first thing I looked for when I began to take an interest in climatology a while back. In particular I was looking for details of the experiment that showed exactly why everybody told me ‘the science is settled’. And I looked in vain.
        There is no such experiment. There are a lot of hunches and omens and tortured data that if looked at in a certain light with a full moon behind you and with Mars in Pisces might be assembled to give an idea about CAGW. But not much better than that.

        Instead you have a bunch of True Believer websites whose general apprach seems to be

        ‘We are Climate Scientists. Here is the Truth. Shut up and Listen.
        And be quiet at the back you Evil Big Oil funded Denier Scum’

        which is not the sign of a field of science confident in itself..more that of a .bunch of charlatans desperately hoping to stave off their inevitable defeat by stifling dissent. Or sticking their fingers in their ears and going la la la.

        The simple point that still eludes you is that you have built a big intellectual edifice out of almost no facts. It has few theoretical foundations, almost no experimental evidence and a bunch of ‘misbehaving’ dodgy architects. And we’ve spent $100 billion of public money to build this shaky construction.

        We sceptics will just keep on plugging away as we continually probe the countless weak spots. And one day..perhaps not too far away.. the whole thing will come tumbling down. It is possible that some of the debris could be used to construct a more stable idea. But an awful lot of it (teleconnections still make me laugh!) is just plain and simple junk.

      • Latimer,

        As to ‘textbooks’. Those old thingies with theories and experiments and proofs. You haven’t got one. It was the first thing I looked for when I began to take an interest in climatology a while back.

        Here’s one which I believe is quite well regarded.

        http://www.amazon.co.uk/Principles-Planetary-Climate-Raymond-Pierrehumbert/dp/0521865565/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328613823&sr=1-2#_

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        If you look at the IPCC 2001 TAR Figure with the Hockey stick and the HadCRUT3 dataset you will see that both show the global cooling from 1942 to 1975.
        If you look at the IPCC 2007 4AR you will see this same HadCRUT3 dataset but the cooling from 1942 to 1975 that was previously present in the data is somehow missing giving the false visual perception that the world has been warming continuously since the rapid rise in post war CO2 emissions. This is the mischief that was done manually altering the HadCRUT3 data as depicted in the climategate emails.
        That being said the raw monthly HadCRUT3 data was not altered and this data is presented on the http://www.climate4you.com website from 1979 to match the time frame of the satellite data so the three land based and 2 satellite based datasets can be compared for compatibility and accuracy in the past three decades.
        Since the satellite data is more precise and is not affected by sampling bias it represents a good standard on which to base the other datasets.
        If you compare the 1998 and 2010 el Nino events on the NCDC GISS and HadCRUT3 datasets you will see a clear demonstration of the variability caused by the sampling bias. Of the three surface based measurements the HadCRUT3 most closely represents the satellite based MSU UAH and MSU RSS data. This is because the HadCRUT3 data is the best managed data collection of the three and is least affected by UHIE compromising the data.
        If you take the HadCRUT3 data and draw a best fit straight line back from present day to 2002 this line will show a slight cooling trend.
        When any scientist sees a decade long cooling trend on raw data and sees the same thing on a second dataset made from separate measurements, it is generally taken as valid and when a majority of scientists concur that this cooling trend is related to solar activity as measured by sunspot count it is called a scientific consensus.
        When enough people who have never actually looked at raw global temperature data and blindly accept conjecture that the Earth is warming catastrophically because of increased CO2 emissions from fossil fuels form a majority opinion it is called a political consensus.
        “I’ll continue to assume this, based on everything I’ve read to date by climate skeptics, unless a significant proportion of the skeptical participants in this blog step up to Judith’s microphone and object that this is a misrepresentation of their collective position”.
        My 40 years of working as a professional geophysicist has taught me to ignore opinion if it disagrees with data; so on the basis of data versus unfounded opinion I will step up to the microphone and object!!

      • “the most prominently accepted global temperature dataset” does not equate to “CORRECT & HONEST” dataset. I for one am tired of arguing over the datasets, when I have no way of getting the crooks and criminals to fix the darned data… I am particularly distrustful of their UHI corrections. But, who is going to be honest and fix it.

      • Regardless of what corral Steve Mosher thinks he’s herded the cats from the skeptical side of the debate, my take is that most believe that the data is crap. Number-crunching chefs may have a grand time arguing whether the crap is best served in a BEST omelet, or a GISS souffle, or some kind of CRU soup — it’s still crap no matter how you choose to cook it.

        Like most areas of this ‘science’, hubris has chased any semblance of humility from the field. To mix my metaphors, it often feels as if we are witnessing a debate among the members of the emperor’s court about which item in his new set of clothes is most impressive.

  13. “A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; consensus that the Earth is warming, consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason, or consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution, to name but three?”

    Notice the passive voice. There “is” a problem in the “absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about….” This is precious coming from the BBC, one of the primary purveyors of the consensus meme. CAGW activists (lie the BBC) have been intentionally conflating AGW with CAGW (and every other aspect of GW) for years so they could label all skeptics “deniers” and “anti-science.” But now that confusion is a problem?

    It seems the cognoscenti have not only finally discovered natural variability., but have also noticed that intentionally confusing the debate does not always work in their favor. Now if only some of the consensus denizens of this blog would take the cue.

    and this is even more precious: “In both cases – consensus and breaking consensus – it’s surely the evidence that should count, not the number of people you can get to sign your letter.”

    Yup, skeptics have been saying that for years. Nice of you to join us.

    (This post reminds me of how all weather events were considered evidence of “global warming,” except when they stopped cooperating with the CAGW agenda – eg the vanishing snows of England. Situational logic?)

    • “A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about.” Notice the passive voice.

      Notice the “we”, Gary. If you think “we” means “climate scientists” then you need to take remedial English comprehension. “We” means climate skeptics, who are all over the map when it comes to what they’re objecting to.

      Remedial writing would also be in order. In your five paragraphs you failed to communicate which subset of warming, GHGs, or urgency bothers you. If all three then you’re using the same shotgun approach most skeptics seem to take, which tends to undermine their credibility.

      So which subset bothers you?

      (I was trying to be as snarky as you, hope I succeeded.)

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Pardon me for butting into your exchange with Gary, but I noticed that you had fallen victim to a common misconception: i.e. that “climate skeptics” are “all over the map when it comes to what they’re objecting to”.

        The fallacy in your argument is basic.

        The “consensus” believers are united in supporting a “mainstream” viewpoint being promoted by IPCC, namely that AGW, caused principally by human CO2 emissions, has been the primary cause of global warming since 1950, and that this represents a serious potential threat to humanity and our environment if human GHG emissions are not curtailed.

        A rational skeptic of this premise may disagree with the model-derived climate sensitivity estimates, which form the basis for the warming projections, or may object to the CO2 emission “storylines and scenarios” backing the forecasts. On the other hand, the skeptic may object to IPCC claims on the increase in vector diseases caused by AGW.

        So there is no NEED for the skeptics to be on the same page.

        To paraphrase Tolstoy:

        All “consensus” believers are the same but each “consensus” skeptic is skeptical in a different way.

        That’s the nature of the beast, Vaughan.

        Max

      • PS

        Just realize that Latimer Adler has written essentially the same thing (more eloquently, however) about no need for skeptics to have a “consensus” on why they are skeptical.

      • They are all over the map because they have no fundamental analysis to build from.

        They seem to be all over the map when it comes to geography as well. All the Brits commenting complain about the USA policies, the americans complain about what the Germans are doing, the Swiss are no longer neutral, etc. These are all individual sovereign nations they complain about and it always puzzles me why they think they have a vote in the matter.

      • All “consensus” believers are the same but each “consensus” skeptic is skeptical in a different way.

        Sorry Max but I’m not following your reasoning here.

        All atheists are the same, but each theist has a different god. If I understand your reasoning here your would seem to be arguing against atheism in that context.

        If you don’t like the religion analogy we can try another. All students of quantum mechanics have to accept the same theory or they wouldn’t pass the course, but each objector (and there are many) has a different objection to quantum mechanics. So on that basis you would argue against quantum mechanics.

      • Vauhghan Pratt,

        “Notice the ‘we’, Gary. If you think ‘we’ means ‘climate scientists’ then you need to take remedial English comprehension.”

        This is almost as precious as the BBC post itself. Of course the we was meant to refer to skeptics. In the same sense that when a kindergarten teacher is lecturing her class on self control she says “We have to ask permission to go to the potty.”

        The snarky condescending tone of the post was the reason my comment was written in a similar vein. But thanks for the reading comprehension tips anyway,

        Your writing advice you can keep to yourself. If I wanted to write a comment on my skeptical views I would have. Instead I was poking fun at the condescension and lack of self knowledge the BBC blog post demonstrated.

        As to another comment of yours above:

        “GaryM, Latimer Adler, and Max Manacker seem to consider a field of science to be at its healthiest when its views are all over the shop,”

        Latimer and Manacker are perfectly capable of speaking for themselves, but I for one said nothing remotely of the kind. It is so much easier to make up weak arguments for your opponent, than to deal with what they really wrote. There’s a whole website dedicated to this form of specious argument, called skepticalscience. It’s great for the true believers who want their biases confirmed, but it doesn’t have much to do with actual argument, or science, for that matter. Though I assume it is where you picked up your advanced literary skills.

        On a final point, not that you were genuinely curious, but as to “So which subset bothers you?”

        My skepticism falls mostly under the heading of the hubris of CAGW advocates (like yourself).

        I am skeptical that scientists can measure current global average temperature to within tenths of a degree when so much of the globe (oceans, atmosphere and land) are not even measured.

        I am skeptical that paleo global average temperature can be discerned to within tenths of a degree based on tree rings, ice cores, and other prozies; again in particular light of the fact that even less of the “globe” is susceptible to such measurements. (How do you find a proxy for different altitudes in the atmosphere or depths in the oceans from 100 or 100 years ago?)

        I am skeptical that computer models can predict much of use on climate 50 or 100 years from now, because they all disagreee, none have been tested against actual conditions, and are cosntantly being adjusted (like those oh so precise land temperatures) to be able to even predict the past.

        I doubt climate scientists can predict much of anything of use as of yet, with or without models, because there is just too much they don’t know about the climate of the Earth in general. In my opinion, “climate science” is at the level of development medicine was at when leeches were the preferred cure for some diseases.

        That’s just three, and I could list a lot more, but you get the gistof it.

        We don’t know near as much about the climate as we think we do.

        And by we, I mean of course you and your CAGW brethren; in case your reading comprehension skills aren’t up to piercing the sarcasm.

      • So there is no NEED for the skeptics to be on the same page.
        To paraphrase Tolstoy:
        All “consensus” believers are the same but each “consensus” skeptic is skeptical in a different way.
        That’s the nature of the beast, Vaughan.
        Max

        This I Like!

      • If you don’t like the religion analogy we can try another. All students of quantum mechanics have to accept the same theory or they wouldn’t pass the course, but each objector (and there are many) has a different objection to quantum mechanics. So on that basis you would argue against quantum mechanics.

        Students must answer the test questions the required way to pass but they don’t need to accept the same theory. You can give the answer that lets you pass the test, but you do not need to believe it is right.

    • Mosh

      You said

      ”Yup, its warmer now than in the LIA.’

      I have never in my life heard anyone say differently. What’s your point? Long may it stay generally much warmer than the LIA
      tonyb

  14. There is consensus among the best-funded scientists:

    a.) CO2 caused global warming
    b.) Hydrogen-fusion powers the Sun
    c.) The Sun is a giant ball of hydrogen
    d.) Neutron stars are dead nuclear embers
    e.) The neutron-neutron interaction is attractive

    Experimental measurements undercut them all.

    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1102.1499v1

    1. Cimategate e-mails and documents released in Nov 2009, and
    2. A CSPAN video of the release of Jupiter isotope data in Jan 1998

    Document manipulation of data by government-funded scientists, as Eisenhower first warned might happen in Jan 1961:

  15. “….which makes the continued use by sceptics’ groups of the “consensus is cracking” meme a bit mystifying.”

    Black has constructed a straw man here. Most, if not all, skeptics use the term “consensus” ironically, or with derision.

    The real tell is Black’s description of Monkton’s explanation as a “Classical derivation” – which I take to mean that Black feels that replication and testing (i.e. the scientific method) are no longer relevant in our post normal scientific world.

  16. Hannu Korpilampi

    Consensus is often quite irrelevant simply because even most of the educated people that should pay attention and study things, don’tt.

    Most of the people (including scientific experts) don’t bother studying most of the facts themselves but rely on the opinion of others – friends, co-workers, authorities, so-called-top-experts.

    When an overwhelming majority of those belonging to a overwhelming majority agree only because they trust that an overwhelming majority can’t be wrong, is that nothing more than circular reasoning? Is that worth anything?

    • According to your theory, scientific progress is impossible. How then do you account for the claims of scientific progress by scientists? Are you claiming that progress is merely an illusion, or that there is more to your theory than you have told us so far?

      • Scientific progress is not “impossible”, but it is severely restrained under a “consensus” process as opposing views are not tolerated.

        Max

      • Scientific progress is possible, but it never happens within consensus. It happens within beliefs in the ignorance of experts.

      • @manacker severely restrained under a “consensus” process as opposing views are not tolerated.

        Hey, didn’t realize you were on my side, Max. I won’t tell anyone if you don’t, but it looks like we both distrust conservatives. :)

        @Edim It happens within beliefs in the ignorance of experts.

        Is this your theory of how science progresses, Edim? And if so would you be ok with my adding it to my growing collection of climate skeptic theories of how science progresses?

      • Vaughan, it’s not my theory. I’m only a proponent. And I’m in good company.

      • Hannu Korpilampi

        I am merely claiming that although you can say that it is safer to bet with the concensus, since it is usually more often right than not, a majority opinion itself is not proof of a fact.

        Since people who know little about complex issues tend to be the most vocal and most sure of themselves, they are better at persuading people to believe them instead of the more unsure (but maybe more realistic) people who think the issue is too complex to understand with the current knowledge.

        Erroneous beliefs often become the concensus merely because they are presented by a self-confident authority and fit well on our current belief system.

        There is an excellent book about this phenomenon written by Dan Gardner called “Future Babble – Why Expert Predictions Fail And Why We Believe Them Anyway”

      • @hannu

        Great book packed with examples of the ‘experts’ being poorer predictors than the general public

        +1 from me.

      • I am merely claiming that although you can say that it is safer to bet with the consensus, since it is usually more often right than not, a majority opinion itself is not proof of a fact.
        Correct science opinion evolves. Consensus opinion evolves. Since science evolves, that means that past consensus was more often wrong than right. We can go back to flat earth. We can go back to stomach ulcers, Etc.

      • Hannu Korpilampi

        “Correct science opinion evolves. Consensus opinion evolves. Since science evolves, that means that past consensus was more often wrong than right. We can go back to flat earth. We can go back to stomach ulcers, Etc.”

        Apparently you do not understand what I am trying to say. Let me try one last approach.

        I do not believe in evolution because a lot of people with impressive resumees told me to believe in it. I believe in it because I understand how the process works and how the results we see all around us can come from it.

        I do not believe in catastrophic anthropogenic global warming just because some experts tell me to believe in it.

        But there are other matters that are so insignificant for me that I just take the easy road and believe the consensus. Maybe I shouldn’t, but nobody has the time to fact-check everything. You just have to rely on that surely someone, somewhere knows what he is talking about and that surely somebody would have said something if all this would be just nonsense.

        But since most people rely on other peoples judgement on most ideas, concepts such as concensus are just indicators about which ideas have the most convincing presentators. Not about who has the truth.

      • @ Vaughan Pratt, comparing ”climatologists” with the honest section of the scientific community is same as comparing the cleanliness of eyes with the cleanliness of as-holes… It is a gross insult, to compare the scientific community with climatologists. Stop doing that!!!

  17. I guess when 16 million people read that half page article in Germany’s leading paper we might see some “consensus” over there that it’s all lies.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/06/germany-in-skeptical-turmoil-on-both-climate-and-windfarms/#more-56069

    • Doug, you may not have noticed but both sides of the climate debate are calling the other side liars. You might keep that in mind when posting a link to a website purporting to offer evidence as to which side is lying.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        The two sides of the climate debate are at odds over whether the Earth is warming due to CO2 emissions from fossil fuels or cooling from changes in solar activity and changes to the albedo.
        Before the cause can be determined it first has to be settled whether the Earth is currently cooling or warming.
        To debate this only requires temperature data for the past decade because we all know that thye Earth warmed since the Little Ice Age so the only question of importance is whether the cooling of the past decade will continue, get worse, or reverse to global warming in the coming decades.
        So what is your prediction for the next decade warming or cooling?
        If we get enough responses we can have a consensus; if we get enough responses based on actual data we can have a scientific consensus; and if we wait ten years we can see if the consensus was correct.
        We don’t have to call anyone liars; mother nature will do that for us!

      • @ Vaughan Pratt; Calling both sides each other liars, is the only correct statement in the whole debate. Warmist say: 90% possibility of GLOBAL warming. The 10% is more important for them, as a ”back-door exit”

        The Skeptics believe 101% in the phony GLOBAL warming; who is the bigger liar? Vaughan, ZERO GLOBAL warming, is the only correct! Having temperature from 3% of the planet surface area monitored; only for the hottest minute in the day, which is not at the same minute every day – ignorant about the other 1439 minutes in 24h – not monitoring temperature on every cubic kilometre of troposphere; – commenting about warmer / colder year;will make the psychiatrists rich

      • @ Norm Kalmanovich; Norm, you are molesting the truth on a more gentle way. You state: ”we ALL know that the planet has warmed since the little ice age” LIE, LIE!!! Correct it, please: – ”you are ALL LYING that the little ice age was GLOBAL”!!! When was your ”little ice age in Europe” on the S/H was warmer than normal. Not taking in calculation the southern hemisphere – should be ONLY for the ”flat earth believers” . Loaded comments are = raping the truth, by false pretence! Shame, shame!!!

  18. Chief Hydrologist

    ‘The point of this bit of our article was to draw attention to the need for a more nuanced understanding of what an IPCC ‘consensus’ is – as I say: “Without a careful explanation about what it means, this drive for consensus can leave the IPCC vulnerable to outside criticism.” The IPCC consensus does not mean – clearly cannot possibly mean – that every scientist involved in the IPCC process agrees with every single statement in the IPCC! Some scientists involved in the IPCC did not agree with the IPCC’s projections of future sea-level. Giving the impression that the IPCC consensus means everyone agrees with everyone else – as I think some well-meaning but uninformed commentaries do (or have a tendency to do) – is unhelpful; it doesn’t reflect the uncertain, exploratory and sometimes contested nature of scientific knowledge.’ Mike Hulme

    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

    The warmists space cadets (watch out for the kool aid) idea of consensus is more a millenialist cult equivalent to the spacships arriving on tuesday. Hence the space cadets.

    ‘The culturally potent idiom of the dispassionate scientific narrative is being employed to fight culture wars over competing social and ethical values.’ MacKinder et al – The Wrong Trousers

    The space cadets are victims of group think – anything at all can be focussed through the lens of global warming.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

  19. Dr. Curry notes Black’s:

    A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about

    This is probably the most truthful part of Black’s article. The absence of clarity has been evident to me since I first stepped onto this “battlefield”; and it pertains not only to “consensus”. I called this The foggy solution to the climate question

    I also blogged about Black’s so-called “consensus is cracking meme” earlier today: Of consensus and the weakness of plastic pillars, although my perspective is somewhat different than Black’s.

    But that aside, while it may well be easier said than done, I cannot disagree with Dr. Curry’s conclusion:

    So, here’s to ‘cracking the consensus’ in favor of open debate and discussion of policy options and in presenting carefully crafted scientific arguments that present evidence for and against, with suitable caveats about uncertainties and areas of ignorance. [emphasis added -hro]

    • Hear, hear. Constructive suggestions as to how to move the debate forwards are vastly preferable to destructive suggestions from each side that their view is the only correct one.

      The confidence of each side of the debate is out of proportion to the persuasiveness of the evidence it has advanced to date. Both sides seem to be living in mutually inconsistent fictional models of reality, both firmly convinced that their fiction is fact and therefore shutting their eyes and ears to any possibility of alternatives. The situation is somewhat analogous to the state of quantum mechanics before Heisenberg and Schroedinger.

      • Latimer Alder

        ‘Constructive suggestions as to how to move the debate forwards’

        Me, I like it when people do experiments. And make yes/no predictions in advance., not afterwards. Publishing all the data and the models. Replicating and reproducing it. Responding to criticism – not arrogantly rejecting it. Getting proper statisticians to do the stats. Writing good computer code to professional standards. Researchers who can actually use EXCEL without stabilisers and who don’t (conveniently) lose all their files.

        But since all of these things appear to be explicitly forbidden by the Church of Climatology, I guess I’ll have a long wait to see them happen.

      • @LA experiments…yes/no predictions in advance…Publishing all the data and the models…Responding to criticism…proper statisticians…good computer code

        Latimer, you are so unpredictable. Nutty as a fruitcake on some occasions, lucid as a limpid lake on others.

        Researchers who can actually use EXCEL without stabilisers

        What? Name one researcher who publishes their stuff using EXCEL with stabilisers.

        Or are you talking about stabiliser links for the Lotus Excel? ;)

        But I hear you on Excel (with or without stabilisers). Not everyone has MATLAB.

        So what’s wrong with Excel with stabilisers, whatever they are? :)

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan

        Thank you for your complimentary remarks. I am always delighted to know that my work is appreciated.

        As to Excel with stabilisers, this refers to the famous Climategate 2 remark by Phil Jones (he of the ‘occasional’ memory lapses and non-existent filing system) that he ‘can’t use EXCEL to plot a graph once his IT department has gone home’. Cue amazed hilarity.

        Just the guy I’d trust to be in charge of one of the ‘most important datasets in the history of humanity’ or other such bollocks. And an ideal self-appointed guru of the IPCC. A true leader who sets the tone for the whole field.

        And we shouldn’t forget his determination to make sure that nobody ‘unfriendly’ should ever see his data. ‘Why should I show you my data when all you’ll do is find something wrong with it?’

        Climategate…the gift that keeps on giving!

      • Vaughan Pratt re Constructive suggestions:
        Some thoughts:
        Always explain what is intended when appealing to “climate change”.

        1) What trend is being referred to: warming/flat/cooling
        2) What cause is being hypothesized: majority anthropogenic/uncertain/majority natural
        3) Explain whether the future is being projected / predicted / assumed.
        4) Define the time frame being used: 10 years, 30 years, 100 years, 300 years, 1000 years, 3000 years, 10,000 years, 300,000 years, 1 million years etc.
        5) What are the full uncertainties involved – including both statistical and bias (Type A and Type B).
        6) Explain what verification has been done if any.
        7) Explain what validation has been done if any.
        8) Explain what action is being proposed, including the presuppositions, and objectives.
        9) Describe the predicted benefits and costs, and the basis for those evaluations.
        10) Describe the control method being proposed: central planning/motivational/none.

        Use “Consensus” only for political efforts.
        Use majority/minority for describing scientific popularity.
        Use verified and validated to explain the degree of confidence in the scientific hypotheses / theories
        etc. etc.

  20. “A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; consensus that the Earth is warming, consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason, or consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution, to name but three?

    Thirdly, is the fact that it may not matter very much.”

    It may matter much because they find some other excuse. And it could not gotten anywhere, but played long enough for some of them to make a lot money from the scam.
    As for second problem- we had global warming for 10,000 years- that is agreed upon. And the had global warming since the end of the Little Ice Age- and most agreed with this. Most agreed both of these points before the 1960’s. And at moment their is some agreed that we should see at least a little of bit global cooling for next decade or so. But few think we entering something as severe as the Little Ice Age- at most it will be 2-3 decades and then return to the long term period of warming.
    There was never any actual consenus or large agreement that CO2 was main reason. Some thought there were discernible fingerprints of human caused warming due to CO2. Persons first claiming that CO2 was causing warming, at this point i time are claiming the human causing warming come after this claim was first made- so what they “were” seeing was wrong. But are still clinging idea that periods after the 1970s CO2 is having some effect.
    In summary, almost all people agree that for most of warming since the end of the Little Ice Age had nothing to do with human caused CO2.

    As for : “Consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution.”
    The fair number people who claim this is important. But it’s also tied to the idea that fossils fuel are finite supply, and think such thing as wind mills, solar power, and ethanol are solutions [which they are not].

    • In summary, almost all people agree that for most of warming since the end of the Little Ice Age had nothing to do with human caused CO2.

      …bearing out my point above that “both sides seem to be living in mutually inconsistent fictional models of reality.” Had you been a contemporary of Pauline Kael, the odds of your running into her would be about those of an asteroid running into Earth. For you “almost all people” seems to mean “almost all people you run into each day,” which was Kael’s real point when she said she never knew anyone who voted Republican.

      • “In summary, almost all people agree that for most of warming since the end of the Little Ice Age had nothing to do with human caused CO2.

        …bearing out my point above that “both sides seem to be living in mutually inconsistent fictional models of reality.” Had you been a contemporary of Pauline Kael, the odds of your running into her would be about those of an asteroid running into Earth. For you “almost all people” seems to mean “almost all people you run into each day,” which was Kael’s real point when she said she never knew anyone who voted Republican.”

        LIA: “NASA defines the term as a cold period between 1550 AD and 1850 AD and notes three particularly cold intervals: one beginning about 1650, another about 1770, and the last in 1850, each separated by intervals of slight warming.”
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Ice_Age

        “In historic times, glaciers grew during the Little Ice Age, a cool period from about 1550 to 1850. Subsequently, until about 1940, glaciers around the world retreated as climate warmed.”
        http://www.nichols.edu/departments/glacier/glacier_retreat.htm

        Broadly since 1850 glacier have retreated and there has been warming trend.
        So in the period between 1850 to 1950, do you or anyone you know, make case that CO2 emission by humans was causing this warming?

        Do you disagree with:
        “The global warming of the past 50 years is due primarily to human-induced increases in heat-trapping gases.”
        http://www.globalchange.gov/publications/reports/scientific-assessments/us-impacts/full-report/global-climate-change

        “Before 1940, the increase in temperature is believed to have been caused mainly by two factors:

        1 Increasing solar activity; and
        2 Low volcanic activity (as eruptions can have a cooling effect by blocking out the sun).

        Other factors, including greenhouse gases, also contributed to the warming and regional factors played a significant role in increasing temperatures in some regions, most notably changes in ocean currents which led to warmer-than-average sea temperatures in the North Atlantic. Does this mean that solar activity is also primarily responsible for late 20th century warming? In short, no. Solar activity since the 1950s has been relatively stable and therefore cannot explain recent trends. Similarly, increased volcanic activity may actually have had a cooling effect in recent decades. On the other hand, greenhouse gas concentrations, which were relatively low pre-1940, have increased considerably and are now dominating the climate system. This highlights the need to look at all factors when determining which factors are likely to be affecting climate at any one time.”
        http://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-early-20th-century.htm

        So unless they drawing upon older papers, I would be interested and be surprised if anyone is currently making case that before1950, CO2 was significant part of what was responsible for warming.

    • gbalkie

      On this 200th anniversary of the birth of Dickens you have provded me with the opportunity of staying on topic when pointing to my article on his life, as viewed through the prism of climate change.

      http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/12/05/has-charles-dickens-shaped-our-perception-of-climate-change/

      Dickens was born in an exceptionally cold spell even for the depths of the LIA. However he wrote ‘A Christmas Carol’ during a summer heatwave and it was published during an exceptrionally warm winter, of which he experienced several during his life, as the climate warmed and cooled.

      The changing climate had nothing to do with co2 then, nor did it 100 years prior to his birth when there was a remarkable upturn in temperatures from the severest period of the LIA
      tonyb

  21. Is there a “consensus”?

    Is the “consensus” cracking?

    Are there more scientists agreeing with the “consensus”?

    Or are there more who are skeptical of some part of the “consensus”?

    Is the “consensus” a symptom of group-think?

    Is it even important whether or not there is a “consensus”?

    These questions (and their answers) are actually beside the point, as several here have noted.

    The problem is not the “consensus” (or lack thereof).

    It was the IPCC NEED to have a “consensus” in the first place – contrary to the normal way that science works, where opposing views are fiercely debated but not seen as “heresy” to a “dogma”.

    So one could ask the question: why did IPCC perceive the NEED to have a “consensus”?

    I think the answer to this question has two parts, both going back to who IPCC really is and what its charter was from the outset.

    1. IPCC’s charter was to investigate human-caused climate change and its (negative) effects and impacts on humanity and our environment plus to come up with suggested policies to avert these. No “human-caused climate change”, which is expected to have significant negative impacts, means no need for IPCC to continue to exist, so finding these became an existential NEED for IPCC.

    2. IPCC is an “intergovernmental”, i.e. political body. In politics (unlike in science), it’s all about “consensus”. So, in order to sell its message of alarming human-caused climate changes, a politicized “consensus” process had to be installed whereby opposing scientific views could be systematically shut out in order to maintain the appearance of a scientific “consensus” and lend credibility to the claims being made.

    The sad thing for IPCC is that its “consensus” process has backfired.

    The excesses that led to Climategate can be traced back to the “consensus” process, as can the IPCC falsifications that were subsequently exposed..

    These have led to a massive loss of confidence and trust in the general public (a recent Rasmussen poll showed that almost 70% of respondents in the USA believed that climate scientists are falsifying data).

    Think about it – 70%!

    For the honest climate scientists out there (and there are a large number) this must have been very painful. Our host has openly stated her dismay with this situation (and has been branded a “heretic” for having done so).

    I personally do not believe that public trust will return unless the “consensus” process is thrown out (most likely along with the IPCC, itself, plus a number of “insiders” who helped promote this process),

    Once climate scientists no longer see the NEED to have a preconceived “consensus” viewpoint, they can again concentrate on being scientists.

    Let’s hope that happens soon.

    Max

    • Totally right Max. The deformities in climate science (and I think it’s a better word than corruption) come from the IPCC and the vast increases in government funding for the science once the IPCC was formed (Bush Snr taking it from $200m to $2bn per annum and other smaller fish following suit), which led to a lot of youngsters with more money than experience and with a clear incentive to create an ‘even better consensus’ useful to the doom-mongers within the IPCC – the most obvious example being young Michael Mann and the hockey stick (though Briffa and Jones played their part in that). The role Sir John Houghton played at the IPCC during this crucial time is for me a great mystery, except that he seems to exhibit the paranoia about fossil fuel interests as the evil enemy of the truth more than most – and this seems to me to be part of the ‘folk consensus’ of all those who have really had the injections at IPCC level. (The use of the word denier based on the holocaust denier analogy is another part of the folk consensus which Sir John has not taken to, as far as I know. I’m using folk consensus in the same way scholars talk of ‘folk Islam’, meaning the beliefs of ordinary Muslims that are not officially part of Islamic faith.)

      • Latimer Alder

        @richard

        It is worth remembering that Houghton is a very strong Evangelical Christian and has never deserted his Welsh roots. These may both influence his strong views about fossil fuel – especially coal.

        (And in another life I used to sort and deliver his mail. But that’s a story for the pub!)

  22. Only 44 comments on this post so far, but already it’s pretty clear which side of the climate debate thinks there’s a consensus. Anyone here who couldn’t have predicted this shouldn’t be trusted with predicting climate fifty years from now.

    • There’s consensus about the absence of consensus.
      =========================================

    • There’s consensus about the absence of consensus.

      Only among climate skeptics.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Alternatively there is a consensus amongst space cadets – defined as any neo-millennialist predicting either the apocalypse or the coming of spaceships to save them from the apocalpse. Either way – for God’s sake don’t drink the kool aid Vaughan.

    • Vaughan

      I would seriously appreciate your opinion of what you believe there is a consensus on and within what group is there this consensus. Imo, in order to get a consensus the margin of error on temperature change as a function of CO2 has to be so high as to be meaningless.

    • Laws of physics don’t work on consensus. It’s yes or no.

  23. Seems everybody who’s ever mentioned the “97%” figure to shut down debate is now a certified idiot.

    • Latimer Alder

      ‘Seems everybody who’s ever mentioned the “97%” figure to shut down debate is now a certified idiot.’

      They were always idiots, it was just the certification we were awaiting.

      • I did send Judith a copy of Zimmerman’s MSc thesis (the cite where Doran (her supervisor) gets the 97% quote from..

        Appendices F and G are really fun to read (Feedback from those scientists that took part in ‘that survey’) quite negative even sceptical. Maybe I should trackdown the download link again.

        one example: (actuall feedback)

        “Question 1: When compared with pre-1800’s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?” 1800 -> when? Time frames for such comparisons are critical, as there is clearly natural variation that we are trying to separate from an anthropogenic effect. It did not make sense to continue given that none of the allowed responses were valid (this is not a case of ‘no opinion/don’t know’).

        This was a very simplistic and biased questionaire. Considering it was aimed at geoscientists, it had no time depth consideration at all, not even the short-range time depth of including the Little Ice Age, let alone the influence of orbital cycles, etc. I’m not sure what you are trying to prove, but you will undoubtably be able to prove

        ————-
        An interersting ancedote. the Guardain allowed people to link to the Doran 2 page EOS paper in their comments to show 97%

        When I put a comment in, including a link to the actual source material, for that 97% cite, pus a few extracts from the feedback. They would not publish it, and I’ve been on pre-moderation ever since :(

        The actual source material.. :(

      • Latimer Alder

        @barry

        If you are only on pre-moderation at the gruinad and haven’t been banned outright like the rest of us, then you aren’t trying hard enough :-)

  24. Chief Hydrologist

    Vaughan,

    Dusty is a democrat and Lefty, ironically, is a republican.

    TR: You are crazy. You know that?
    GK: Just telling you what I think.
    TR: Loneliness has driven you over the brink into paranoia and insanity, pardner.
    GK: Ha! I’m a cowboy. Loneliness is what I crave. Insanity is what we eat for breakfast. No, sir, solitude is a gift, Dusty. We are cowboys. Lonesome is part of the iconic nature of the calling.
    TR: Iconic?
    GK: That’s what I said.
    TR: Is that like the Yukon?

    http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2012/01/21/videos/#video-2

    Well pardner – I think loneliness has driven you over the top into paranoia and insanity. ‘The situation is somewhat analogous to the state of quantum mechanics before Heisenberg and Schrödinger.’ Some might think that real cowboys don’t talk like that. I’m not one – but real cowboys are straight shooters and I would like know whether you have a position or do you just like to drop in like Schrödinger’s cat and leave little piles of steaming…?

    I hate physicists – it is the arrogance of fundamentally explaining the universe. OK – time dilation is fine, and quantum mechanics and chaos theory. But nothing else you’ve ever done means diddly squat in the real world. When is the last time you got a 3 month weather forecast right based on ocean temperatures? When did it hit you that there are standing waves in global ocean and atmospheric patterns that persist for 20 to 40 years? When did you see rivers abruptly changing form as a result of abrupt changes in hydrology? When did it dawn on you that this was not cycles but chaotic bifurcation? When will you stop wasting everyone’s time and say something worthwhile?

    As Dusty would say – a cowboy can say anything that expresses the untold vicissitudes of the soul – I just wish you wouldn’t

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • When will you stop wasting everyone’s time and say something worthwhile?

      I sure do appreciate that you noticed I wasn’t trying to run ahead of the herd here, CH. ;)

      But if you want to set the pace I promise to try to keep up with you. :)

      • Chief Hydrologist

        At the very least you could give a nodding acknowledgement of the lake woebegone allusion. I like talking s… as much as the next guy. Anyone who styles himself after Cecil (he spent four years in clown school…I’ll thank you not to talk about Princeton like that) Terwiller has to have puncturing pretentious a…holes like you in mind.

        Promise – if I hear you riding up on Schrödinger’s cat – I’ll pick up the pace.

      • At the very least you could give a nodding acknowledgement of the lake woebegone allusion.

        Ok. Drovers are probably the only people on earth who can’t hear the rhyme when they say “breakfast for an icon has to start with eggs and bacon.” But it if’s one of your vicissitudes to go round asking drovers to pronounce “shibboleth” then I have to question your acumen.

        I hate physicists

        I love hydrologists when they say that.

        puncturing pretentious a…holes

        Not sure I’m parsing this correctly. You mean as in “rip you a pretend one?”

        Promise – if I hear you riding up on Schrödinger’s cat – I’ll pick up the pace.

        As opposed to vice versa?

        (Hopefully I didn’t accidentally say something worthwhile there.)

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “Drovers are probably the only people on earth who can’t hear the rhyme when they say “breakfast for an icon has to start with eggs and bacon.””

        A Drovers breakfast is a sit up, a cigarette and a look around.

        Where is that rhyme you were talking about?

      • Chief Hydrologist

        ‘A…hole, is another word for anus.

        It is also used to describe a member of society who is thoroughly useless…

        For example a Social Security Medical Officer who issues a false medical report in order to cut the disability payments of the most vulnerable members of society can be correctly described as an Arsehole (note the use of the capital A).’ urban dictionary

        As for a drover’s rhyme

        In my wild erratic fancy visions come to me of Clancy
        Gone a-droving “down the Cooper” where the western drovers go;
        As the stock are slowly stringing, Clancy rides behind them singing,
        For the drover’s life has pleasures that the townsfolk never know.

        And the bush hath friends to meet him, and their kindly voices greet him
        In the murmur of the breezes and the river on its bars,
        And he sees the vision splendid of the sunlit plains extended,
        And at night the wondrous glory of the everlasting stars.

        Clancy don’t ride no stinkin’ cat – now that’s a shibboleth.

  25. AGW consensus is real, is well known and well accepted.
    We know this because we read about it courtesy of UEA

    From: Joseph Alcamo
    To: ???@uea.ac.uk, ???@rivm.nl
    Subject: Timing, Distribution of the Statement
    Date: Thu, 9 Oct 1997 18:52:33 0100
    Reply-to: ???@usf.uni-kassel.de

    Mike, Rob,

    Sounds like you guys have been busy doing good things for the cause.

    I would like to weigh in on two important questions —

    Distribution for Endorsements —
    I am very strongly in favor of as wide and rapid a distribution as
    possible for endorsements. I think the only thing that counts is
    numbers. The media is going to say “1000 scientists signed” or “1500
    signed”. No one is going to check if it is 600 with PhDs versus 2000
    without. They will mention the prominent ones, but that is a
    different story.

    Conclusion — Forget the screening, forget asking
    them about their last publication (most will ignore you.) Get those
    names!

    This is known as the Alcamo 1000/1500 Consensus Law which is closely related to the IPCC 2500 Consensus Law

    • AGW consensus is real, is well known and well accepted.

      Yep. Likewise for thermodynamics consensus, quantum electrodynamics consensus, astrophysics consensus, plasma physics consensus, radioastronomy consensus, etc. If these fields didn’t have consensus a lot of people would be bailing on them.

      We know this because we read about it courtesy of UEA

      That might be how a few strangers to the field know it. Many other strangers may have many other ways of knowing it. However those who work in the field all know it by in-depth contact with the field, which is as uniform from their perspective as it is absent from your perspective.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Yeah and we hear about it from some space cadet expressing the untold vicissitudes of his soul. He forgot to mention Lysenko-Michurinism – which has more parallels to the neo-millennialists than quantum mechanics or relativity.

      • Yeah you’re absolutely correct as usual Vaughan. I forgot there was a…

        United Nations International Panel Of Thermodynamics UNIPOT
        United Nations International Panel Of Astrophysics UNIPOA
        United Nations International Panel Of Radioastronomy UNIPORA
        etc
        And they all propose that I hand over some of my hard earned to their beurocrats.

        How silly of me to forget all that. Consensus rules then.

      • Latimer Alder

        Is there a consensus on Teleconnections?

      • Latimer Alder

        Do all of these other fields make their ‘observations’ only within the bowels of unvalidated models?

        Do they consider a modelling run to be ‘an experiment?’

        Do they studiously avoid any prediction that could be compared with external reality?

        Do they hide data and methods from external scrutiny with a near paranoid fervour?

        Do the ‘leaders of the field’ proclaim that they are the only arbiters of what is true? And suppress any dissent?

        Because if they don’t, your comparison is not a good one.

        Climatology seems to have persuaded itself that – because of its self-asserted importance – it is a special case. That it can do ‘science’ in a different way from any other scientific field. That its standard of ‘proof’ should be orders of magnitude less than is accepted elsewhere. And that it is ipso facto immune from any criticism.

        That any critics are – by definition – Satan’s spawn and only doing so because they are funded by Evil Big Oil Denier Scum and interested only in lining their own pockets while the gallant climatologists battle against the forces of darkness to save the planet

        Those who cling so hard to the idea of consensus would do well to study the flipside of it – Groupthink.

      • All excellent questions. Grist for the philosopher’s mill.

      • Latimer Alder

        @vaughan

        I’m glad (again) that you think them to be excellent questions. But they are not meant as ‘grist to the philosopher’s mill’, but as questions that can be answered yes or no.

        Wanna have a try at it?

        Here’s an example:

        Wrt, say, astrophysics

        Q:’Do they hide data and methods with a near paranoid fervour’
        A: No
        Your turn. Same question but with climatology in mind
        A:

      • Latimer, the answer depends on the answerer, who will reward messengers bearing appealing messages and shoot messengers with objectionable ones.

        Until recently this was more true of evolutionary biology than of climatology. For the former, “shooting” tended to consist of accusations of atheism. For the latter, dishonesty is the more common accusation.

        While astrophysics is refreshingly free of this sort of thing, it says something about this blog that it manages to attract messenger shooters even in that subject, witness Oliver K. Manuel’s frequent objections here to the message that the heat from the Sun comes from fusion.

        But for chemistry we have no less than Linus Pauling, an icon of the field, who for years mocked the concept of quasicrystals, which nonetheless eventually earned its inventor the 2011 Nobel Prize in Chemistry. As shooters of messengers, the crackpot’s arsenal is puny compared to that of the respected icon, and Shechtman’s career was fortunate to survive that barrage of hostility.

        Messenger shooting predates weapons to shoot with. It has a long if not exactly noble tradition.

  26. I have found a way to define the “climate change consensus” in five points. It’s not difficult, just reverse a definition of “skeptic”:

    Global temperatures are warming, and
    The anthropogenic contribution (burning fossil fuels) to global warming or climate change is not over-stated, compared to other factors like natural variations or sun spots, and
    It is known with enough certainty what the main causes are, and
    It is known with enough certainty what the impacts will be, as climate models are adequate and no other doubt is relevant enough, and
    Urgent action by governments and/or substantial government spending (on all or some aspects of mitigation or adaptation) to counter AGW is necessary

    • Have you ever considered the loss of water to space?

      At some point, we will not have enough water vapor in the atmosphere as our planet dries. Then the planet will really start to warm!

      Silly me, that is also NOT covered by the consensus scientists.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        Joe, what’s your mechanism for how water molecules escape to space? Do they somehow acquire escape velocity, or are they swept up by the solar wind, or what?

        And given that there are 1400 tonnes of water on the planet for every 5.14 tonnes of atmosphere, and that the latter is more in the line of fire of your mechanism than the former, wouldn’t the atmosphere be long gone before the oceans dried up?

        Then the planet will really start to warm!

        There’s a grain of truth in what you say. 80 W/m2 is convected up from the Earth’s surface by evaporation, somewhat larger than the net radiative loss from the surface of 64 W/m2. However if you remove all the water then although the 80 W/m2 number drops to zero, the 64 W/m2 jumps to a few hundred, with the exact amount depending heavily on what other greenhouse gases remain.

        With no GHGs it would be somewhere between 250 and 330 W/m2 depending on how much the albedo was reduced by the absence of clouds in the sky and ice at the poles. The temperature would then drop well below freezing, though in your scenario this would not be noticed as there would be no water to freeze.

      • Actually an interesting question. The Earth could not lose water to space as such. The mechanism would involve water being photodissociated above the ozone layer (needs light whose wavelength is below 180 nm) to hydrogen which would form H2 and be lost to space. Something like this happened on Venus.

        However, there is very little water in the stratosphere because it can’t get past the cold trap at the tropopause. Most of the water vapor in the strat is from methane photodissociation, which is why increasing methane has wet the stratosphere

        Unless the tropopause warms significantly, don’t worry.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “”However, there is very little water in the stratosphere because it can’t get past the cold trap at the tropopause. Unless the tropopause warms significantly, don’t worry.””

        Eli, have you ever seen somebody run into a brick wall as they are looking over their shoulder for a imaginary boogeyman? Hilarious.

      • @Eli Rabett; Eli, planet is not losing water. Hydrogen will not escape the gravitational force. There is enough gravity even on 300km, otherwise the satellite’s gyroscope wouldn’t work. Earth is gaining water, not losing!! All those ”shooting stars” are very cold hydrogen / methane, sent from the sun, when making brrrrp. In contact with oxygen, they burn / turn into EXTRA WATER on the earth!

        The pagan belief that the shooting stars are dust particles is toooo ignorant. Dust particles are not 100% aerodynamic / shape of a bullet – shooting stars are always in a straight direction. 2] that ”dust particle must be bigger than 3 jumbo jets, to be able to be seen from 70km from the other side of the hills…?! Just ask and you will receive the truth. Bunny, you still own me an apology !

  27. Consensus is trivialy a fallacy, but it seems the only way for lay persons to form an opinion. The big problem is that consensus is also a main feature of groupthink. Obviously a coherent group with a mission to save the world is very succeptable to groupthink consensus

    http://www.au.af.mil/au/awc/awcgate/army/groupthink.htm
    http://www.jingkan.com/strive-for-a-genuine-consensus-avoid-groupthink-and-establish-collective-responsibility/

    If you’re genuinely interested to know if your consensus is true or merely the groupthink adhesive, then you’d allow competent outsiders to investigate your case independently and objectively. Now you are assured of groupthink when the reaction is invariably an appeal to authority.

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

    • Now you are assured of groupthink when the reaction is invariably an appeal to authority.

      Quite right. Every field of science is the same in that regard.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Well no – the fallacy specifically applies to reliance on a biased expert authority. Someone like Kevin (surely it isn’t decadal) Trenberth or Michael (he should in state pen not Pen State) Mann. This is not science so much as theatre for the untalented and unfunny. Vaughan is trying out some material – but I am pretty sure he isn’t going to end up on Broadway either.

        Contrary to Vaunography – real science may apeal to real authority but the distinction is not obvious to space cadets.

  28. John Costigane

    There are 2 types of consensus, closed and open. In a closed consensus, knowledge is frozen in time, while in the open type new knowledge is welcomed. This also applies to individuals, closed or open?

    Tamsin is trying to form a new approach, with the broadly sceptical in one group. This seems like an attempt at openness.

    • John,

      NASA is a good example of a stagnantly closed consensus.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      In a closed consensus, knowledge is frozen in time, while in the open type new knowledge is welcomed.

      I would support this to the following extent.

      Both sides of the climate debate suffer from impenetrable arguments long enough to hide a dozen fallacies in without detection. Neither side likes having this pointed out for their side.

      Climate models that are run for hundreds or thousands of hours are a case in point. Ideally they would have evolved over the past few decades into code that is easily seen to meet its claimed specifications, but instead they have grown like Topsy into monsters that no one should trust.

      Mike Mann and Steve McIntyre duel with statistical arguments so long that they can score points on each other even standing in different countries of the continent. To my knowledge no one has been able to compress the arguments of either one to a single page giving a self-contained and rigorous answer to the question of which of the competing conclusions is better supported by the statistical reasoning.

      I also support Latimer Adler’s endorsement of Excel as a modern-day slide rule for backing up claims that aren’t qualitatively obvious. Given the huge range of climate sensitivities, as acknowledged even by the IPCC, this is one area where any numerical evidence for the planet’s actual response, as opposed to the widely ranging theoretical estimates of it, would best be packaged as a spreadsheet aimed at communicating its conclusion clearly and unambiguously.

      • Go Excel. I left a comment on ClimateAudit one time about using Excel for something. I got some flack from the proprietor, a decent guy. It’s not R, but it’s useful.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        It’s not R, but it’s useful.

        Since the point of an Excel-based solution is to benefit the reader, if the writer can’t or won’t write Excel then let them write it in R or MATLAB or Origin or whatever and have someone else convert the result to an Excel proof.

        Proof discovery is usually harder than proof presentation. Excel may not be the best environment for finding a least-squares solution to a nonlinear problem, but in general it’s ideal for presenting the solution.

        That’s not to say a short proof always exists, but that’s a bridge we haven’t come near having to cross at this early stage. I don’t know anyone trying to either prove or disprove AGW this way. An easy-to-read Excel-based analysis would be a lot more convincing than all the handwaving we get from both sides. It’s premature to worry about the potential problems of something that doesn’t even exist today.

      • Regarding the difficulties of proof discovery, I have been tinkering with applying uncertainty analysis to a diffusional process. I am getting the final formulation down to a concise representation, which is really needed to make it useful for spreadsheet analysis.

  29. Richard Black:


    Other components of his argument are that money is better spent on aid to Africa than on a dash to renewables, that higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth, that current climate models are not trustworthy – in particular, because they project an acceleration of warming whereas over the last 17 years we have seen a deceleration – and that wind turbines may be left derelict in future when the cost of replacing the nascelles proves uneconomic.

    Is it the same Richard Black who received the following commendation who is writing the above stuff on the BBC?

    extremely disappointing to see something like this appear on BBC. its particularly odd, since climate is usually Richard Black’s beat at BBC (and he does a great job)
    http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=198

    Yes! The consensus has started to crack.!

  30. Consensus will always exist in the affairs of men. It’s not the presence or absence of a consensus that is the problem. It’s not even the BELIEF in the presence or absence of a consensus that is the problem. Rather, as our saloneuse has implied, it is consensus -SEEKING that has led climate “science” so far astray.

    As with the word “settled”, “consensus” can usually be substituted with some formulation of “uncontroversial” to great advantage.

  31. How can the world has a genuine scientific consensus on man made global warming when they admit the following in private?


    1) it’s a matter of what question one is asking. to argue that the observed global mean temperature anomalies of the past decade falsifies the model projections of global mean temperature change, as contrarians have been fond of claiming, is clearly wrong. but that doesn’t mean we can explain exactly what’s going on.

    2) Here are some of the issues as I see them: Saying it is natural variability is not an explanation. What are the physical processes? Where did the heat go? We know there is a build up of ocean heat prior to El Nino, and a discharge (and sfc T warming) during late stages of El Nino, but is the observing system sufficient to track it? Quite aside from the changes in the ocean, we know there are major changes in the storm tracks and teleconnections with ENSO, and there is a LOT more rain on land during La Nina (more drought in El Nino), so how does the albedo change overall (changes in cloud)? At the very least the extra rain on land means a lot more heat goes into evaporation rather than raising temperatures, and so that keeps land temps down: and should generate cloud. But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space: so we should be able to track it with CERES data. The CERES data are unfortunately wonting and so too are the cloud data. The ocean data are also lacking although some of that may be related to the ocean current changes and burying heat at depth where it is not picked up. If it is sequestered at depth then it comes back to haunt us later and so we should know about it.

    3) we can easily account for the observed surface cooling in terms of the natural variability seen in the CMIP3 ensemble (i.e. the observed cold dip falls well within it). So in that sense, we can “explain” it. But this raises the interesting question, is there something going on here w/ the energy & radiation budget which is inconsistent with the modes of internal variability that leads to similar temporary cooling periods within the models.

    http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=198

  32. Markus Fitzhenry

    “But the resulting evaporative cooling means the heat goes into atmosphere and should be radiated to space:”

    I find this confusing, is it the heat that is radiated to space, not of the forcing, of the upper mesosphere & above to the thermosphere:

    What heat (I’m assuming the manifestation of enhancement in potential energy here) moves by convection or radiative processes to the thermosphere? Where is a greenhouse between the mesosphere and atmospheric mass above to the hotter thermosphere?

    I could never see the analogy of greenhouse, must be blind.

    • Of the various heat flows from the surface, evaporative cooling at around 80 W/m2 is the largest. Evaporation at the surface converts sensible heat to latent heat, which then finds its way up to the clouds where the lower temperature results in condensation converting the latent heat back to sensible heat. The sensible heat is in turn radiated by the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases as well as aerosols in all directions, with much of the portion that is radiated upwards going straight to space.

      The so-called greenhouse effect constitutes another role for the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases, namely to capture some of the radiation from the Earth’s surface, thereby heating the atmosphere (specifically the lower troposphere) more than had there been no greenhouse gases. A hotter lower troposphere results in a hotter surface. The heating of the surface by the lower troposphere is popularly explained solely in terms of so-called “back radiation” or DLR (downward longwave radiation, a third role for both GHGs and aerosols), but some of that heating has to be by convection and direct contact as well without the involvement of either GHGs or aerosols, though in what proportion I don’t know.

      • Vaughan,

        Were is the planetary rotation that generates the energy for evaporation?
        How can a single calculation cover an orb that has different velocities and tilts.
        That good old averaging …changing an orb into a cylinder.

      • Vaughan said, “but some of that heating has to be by convection and direct contact as well without the involvement of either GHGs or aerosols, though in what proportion I don’t know.” Sure would be easier if it didn’t change so much :)

      • Joe’s World
        Do you mean the temperature difference between equator and poles, and the coriolis effect that drives the average winds?

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        ::The heating of the surface by the lower troposphere is popularly explained solely in terms of so-called “back radiation” or DLR (downward long wave radiation, a third role for both GHGs and aerosols),””

        Modelling climate back radiation is analogous to finding relativity in steel balls as they ricochet between posts in a pinball machine, hence the near impossibility in obtaining any meaningful result.

        A better methodology is to use solar radiance and atmospheric density as climatic indices. We are doing this now, and you will be able reflect on the findings soon. They are no GHG’s known to me.

        The historic soup of Atmospheric regulation gases is being retrieved from Paleon and Dendro samples and are being analysed. The best of citizens science, have thrown the climate puzzle pieces back onto the floor and seem to be re-assembling with a clear unambiguous principle.

        Greenhouse is of the 19th century, we found a Lamborghini and it’s speeding ahead of that old Model T. Trying to practice the theorist GHG’s was never going to happen. The terms of ‘back radiation’ of DWLR were never able to be related because of the equal force of UWLR.

        The invalid Co2 principle allowed a supposition that the back radiation would over time be sensitive to climate. The GHG principle defiles the principle of conservation of energy, over time scales.

        “”The sensible heat is in turn radiated by the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases as well as aerosols in all directions, with much of the portion that is radiated upwards going straight to space.””

        Knowing how this sensible heat is able to get past the cooling when separation of gases occurs as it moves through the stratosphere would help me define the climate machine. Surly, heat at the upper limits of Atmosphere regulate incoming radiation.

        Temperature at Earths surface is relative to the density of atmosphere, the force of pressure, solar isolation and planetary harmonics in our solar system.

        I’ve finished bouncing steel balls around between posts in a pinball machine, got me nowhere. Now I’m using the plunger and the slope of the suface to guide where the steel balls will go. Works for me.

      • Norm Kalmanovitch

        In his 1981 paper Hansen referred to this as the “greenhouse effect of clouds and gases” because the term greenhouse gases hadn’t been invented yet by IPCC and the greenhouse effect was still nothing more than a theortical calculation for the difference in temperature between the theoretical blackbody temperature and the actual temperature of the Earth which he stated as being 33°C for the greenhouse effect.

        “The so-called greenhouse effect constitutes another role for the atmosphere’s greenhouse gases….” what happened to tghe greenhouse effect from clouds and what exactly are these greenhouse gases considering only CO2 has an effect within the thermal band radiated by the Earth with all pther named “greenhouse gases” in the Kyoto accord either not having any effect within the Earth’s radiative spectrum or operate on radiation within a very low energy portion of the spectrum already dominated by water vapour (which is also a so called greenhouse gas but not included as such in the Kyoto list because it exposes the fatal flaw of the climate models not incorporating the dominant effect from water vapour)
        Interestingly the 33°C calculation for the greenhouse effect is still the same today even though there has been over a 50% increase in CO2 emissions demonstrating that this increase in emiossions has not affected the greenhouse effect to any measureable extent!
        This is because of the second law of thermodynamics which refutes the possibility of downward longwave radiation from the lower troposphere warming the Earth surface.
        The net thermal radiation from the Earth surface results from the fact that the lower troposphere is cooler than the Earth surface and law number 2 dictates the net flow of energy is from warmer to cooler making this statement a violation of the second law of thermodynamics: “The heating of the surface by the lower troposphere is popularly explained solely in terms of so-called “back radiation” or DLR (downward longwave radiation, a third role for both GHGs and aerosols),”

  33. Laughably, consensus speak just defines away any unconvenience coming from astro- and remaining geosciences, by seeing these as external supportive fields, not part of real climate science.

  34. Which consensus? The 1980s, 1990 or the 2000s? Those would be, it’s warming, OMG! it’s warming! and Is it warming? Some times it is hard to tell which bang wagon to jump on.

    The science seems to have a mind of its own. Even Paleo climate has come full circle, ” A nice review of the evidence for the eruption, which includes historical anecdotal information, is provided in the Emile-Geay et al (2008) article linked. – mike]” Whoda thunk that historical anecdotal information would be data again?

    • Captain,

      Did you know our scientific concept of evaporation does NOT include planetary velocity? Nor the density of salt in ocean water?

      Just planetary models of a fantasy world.
      The sad part is that these models are how they are suppose to be learning about our planet.
      Can’t even get the axis shifting right. It is the planet crust shifting NOT the axis. Ops, it’s the models that said the axis shifted.

      • Joe, I am working toward relative velocities at thermodynamic boundary layers, the math is difficult though, damn near chaotic :)

      • Captain,

        Certainly more rewarding when you know that you will be correct as you did not cheat by using averaging and changing an orb into a cylinder…

        :-)

  35. JC

    Thanks for the link to Richard’s BBC article.

    Richard, thanks for the following.


    But it is surely the arguments themselves that ought to be the focus for discussion – not what they purport to say about a cracking consensus.

    Max, it seems we are closer to our destination than the other side!

  36. Interesting concept is that the speed of our planets velocity has defined boundaries with centrifugal force. At 48 degrees latitude the strength of centrifugal force is too week to pull due to the angle of our orb on the planet surface.
    The strength of centrifugal force is at a maximum of 90 degrees to the axis and as the angle of our orb and velocity changes, so does the strength.

    • Latimer Alder

      Start by understanding the difference between speed and velocity. They are not the same. An A level physics/mechanics text should help.

    • Latimer,

      Ever consider “That is the point where water flows North and South!”

      • No. I have never considered it to be relevant to solar power…or indeed to anything. Please explain why you think it is.

    • I bet also that if you stood at either pole you’d find no such force at all.

      But what this mundane observation, known for hundreds of years, brings new to the climate debate baffles me.

    • randomengineer

      Quick, what’s the 44 degrees N torsion factor on tinfoil creases here? I need to get my hat made correctly.

  37. Latimer Alder

    @joe

    Don’t be so f…g dense! We’ve had this discussion before. Solar energy on a tilting orb is well understood…I think the Greeks had the hang of it even (but maybe they’ve had to give it away to Brussels since – joke for Europeans)

    That we understand it so well just shows how daft it is to think that solar energy is going to make a big contribution to islands located at +51N like the UK. A different and better story when you are at 0 on the equator.

    • Okay bright boy,

      Where are the charts on angles of solar heat hitting the planet surface?
      Different velocities of planetary speed have different time of solar heat hitting the surface. Angles of atmosphere and distance differences distort the strength by having to go through more density in atmospheric molecules.

      • I believe that you should investigate properties of sines, cosines and tangents. They will lead you in the right direction. Greeks again I think.

        But if you’re still stuck with doing it from first principles, here’s a handy little calculator

        http://www.solartradingpost.com/solar-angle-calculators.html.

        You might also care to contemplate how satellite dish installers manage to get the dishes pointing at the right piece of sky first time. Maybe they’ve worked out the angles of elevation etc beforehand!

        This is not new stuff, however much you;d like it to be. Sorry.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        You might also care to contemplate how satellite dish installers manage to get the dishes pointing at the right piece of sky first time. Maybe they’ve worked out the angles of elevation etc beforehand!

        Or maybe they use something like this meter. That’s how I do it if I want to point a dish at a satellite. You splice the meter in between the dish and the satellite and then swing the dish around until the meter shows you’ve hit a satellite. Piece of cake, I’ve done it many times (ok, maybe it wasn’t so easy the first time).

        Helps to have some idea of where the geostationary Earth orbit (GEO) sits in the sky from your neck of the woods; the satellites all sit in a line along it. Its highest point in the sky is in the direction of the nearest point on the equator, i.e. either due south or due north depending on your hemisphere, or straight up if you live on the equator. With practice you can aim at the GEO by eye without any instruments except the meter for homing in on a satellite.

        This also gives you an approximate way of telling compass directions in any photograph that includes a domestic satellite dish, to an accuracy of around 20 degrees generally, as long as you know which hemisphere it’s in. Even huts in the back woods of Lower Slobbovia often have such dishes these days.

      • Latimer Alder

        All the satellite dishes in Lower Slobbovia are buried under several metres of snow right now. The snow and extremely cold weather has, we are assured by the climatologits with a straight face, been caused by global warming.

        Cue a minute’s silence to remember the poor folks of Lower Slobbovia who are the first known victims of global warming-induced hypothermia.

        You really really couldn’t make it up

      • Yes, Lower Slobbovia is under metres of snow and the temperatures are around -20 °C. Life is very hard in these circumstances. Such brutal cold snap is unprecedented, even for the oldest people around. It’s basically few days of snowing at -10 to -15 °C, then few days of freezing at -15 to -20 °C, then snowing again at unusually cold temperatures. Still no end in sight.

      • Think of the couple of decades of Global Warming propaganda that has infiltrated the L. Slobovian communities via those dishes. Now if more of that energy could be thermalized?
        =====================

      • You really really couldn’t make it up

        Your deep concern is touching.

  38. JC


    So, here’s to ‘cracking the consensus’ in favor of open debate and discussion of policy options and in presenting carefully crafted scientific arguments that present evidence for and against, with suitable caveats about uncertainties and areas of ignorance.

    Amen.

    With the above, I hope science and scientific institutions will return to truth seeking.

  39. Consensus implies no skepticism and no skepticism implies no science.
    We must favor not having consensus.

  40. Albert Stienstra

    After all this I think I know where the missing heat is going. It is distrubuted as waste heat into discussions like the one above, by people like V.Pratt

    • Naw, Vaughan is just trying to highlight the deterioration in what decorum ever may have existed. Chief is fighting fire with fire since he correctly assumes that non-linear impacts are being under estimated and many are not even trying to understand the potential impacts, which is deteriorating the decorum in the opinion of many.

      Joshua will be along soon to analyze what he believes to be the more serious breaches in logic and the rest are pounding their pet theories to death.

      It is like Thanksgiving dinner for a normal dysfunctional family, which sounds like an oxymoron, but really isn’t :)

  41. 1. I wonder if this is happening because of the GWPF report on BBC bias obviously scoring stronger points than that ridiculous “impartially” garbage the bbc had themselves ordered?

    2. Pierrehumbert’s book is actually a lot less consensus prodding than one would have expected

    3. According to basic physics bread cakes and bricks don’t exist. The water in the mix boils at 100C so when the oven door is opened only the original powdery substances will remain. This is based on elementary physics discovered by Ur-Arrhenius in the XX millennium BC. The consensus is multiversal and if you eat bread or cake you’re a water boiling denier. If you eat bricks you’re instead a dentist’s dream client.

  42. Consensus or Not?

    Global Warming or Not?

    All those wasted years.

    Andrew

  43. ceteris non paribus

    Rishard Black wrote:

    A couple of years back, at one of the UNFCCC meetings in Bonn, I had a long chat with Viscount Monckton. As a scholar of Classics, he was able to detail with Classical derivation the reasons why consensus matters far less than simply being right.

    Monckton seems to presume that the consensus view is disjoint from being right.

    Could it be that independently-minded scientists choose to accept the consensus in majority numbers because they believe it to be right?

    Why do some writers randomly Capitalize?

    And what the heck does “Classical derivation” (whatever that is) have to do with the socio-politics of science?

  44. As many others have noted, having the appearance of a ‘scientific consensus’ is of extreme importance to the AGW crowd. Trenberth must quote the ‘97%’ in the WSJ op-ed; the IPCC must have a consensus, and it must be constantly pointed out that all important Academies of Science and professional organisations (eg: the AGU) agree. Without this general professional agreement it would have been much more difficult to convince politicians of the need for urgent action.

    Any consensus amongst the general public has long since broken down, but here in the UK & Europe (and Oz) the public are ignored on vitually every issue.

    I fear the scientific consensus can only strengthen in the future, wherever the data may go.

    Schoolchildren are taught the ‘truth’ of it; young would-be climate scientists assume it; newly-created climate departments at Western universities are filled with newly-appointed tenured spokesfolks for the AGW side who can get the government money flowing in (no University wants the grants to dry up because its scientists are saying ‘there is no AGW problem’).

    If there is an increasing discrepency between the data and the ‘consensus’, then more excuses like the ‘deep ocean’ will be easily manufactured to hold things together.

    And If, as was said on an earlier thread, science advances ‘death by death’ as the old guard disappears, then we will have to wait until the data makes the AGW view look absurd to children, and the young scientists of today die off.

    The bleakest possible future scenario:
    The world gets colder with all the implications for food production, etc. Meanwhile scientists are on TV telling us that it’s only a temporary aberration and normal warming will resume as soon as possible.
    And then the public finally pressure the policticians to ignore the scientists.
    And scientists are not listened to again, even when a real wolf turns up.

    • cui bono –

      Any consensus amongst the general public has long since broken down, but here in the UK & Europe (and Oz) the public are ignored on vitually every issue.

      I’ve always been curious about the logistics of how that works. How is it that in countries where governments are elected, does the public get “ignored on virtually every issue?”

      I fear the scientific consensus can only strengthen in the future, wherever the data may go.

      How do you reconcile that viewpoint with the views that I read all across the “skeptical” blogosphere that the final stake* has been driven into the heart of an AGW that has been sealed into it’s coffin with a final nail*.

      The bleakest possible future scenario:

      Anteros? Are you here?

      *Many times over, I might add.

      • Joshua –

        Without wishing to get too political, there are many issues where the public have different ideas from politicians, but public opinion is ignored because all the major parties in many countries agree with each other, not the public.

        In the UK, the public has been Eurosceptic, doubtful about the benefits of mass immigration, against windmills all over the place… There’s a long list. But no party would dare to fully agree for fear of being labelled ‘populist’.

        Europe has its ‘political class’, quite prepared to sacrifice the interests of their peoples to the ideal of Europe.

        Enough of politics.

        As to the consensus, it will still get stronger. It’s not enough to chip away at AGW science as it keeps acting more as a shape-shifting monster than a vampire or zombie, and is far from being in its grave.

        This has nothing to do with the data; it’s more a human weakness for believing in something that is long past its sell-by date, and irrespective of the data.

        Did you have a bleaker future scenario? Now you call me on it, I can think of a few.

  45. The consensus cracked because of => http://bit.ly/wVWllY

    • Yes Girma. Nature’s phenomena will judge. Warmists have made their bed, but it doesn’t seem comfortable. Even “commitment” is out of reach.

  46. To try to address the topic of the post let’s start with a definition of “consensus” per Webster’s:
    Definition of CONSENSUS
    1
    a : general agreement : UNANIMITY b : the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned
    2
    : group solidarity in sentiment and belief

    In regards to the topic of “AGW” it would seem that in order to accurately claim there is a consensus, a person would need to define specifically the topic that they believe there is such a consensus.

    1. Is there a consensus regarding the IPCC’s AR4? Obviously not, since there are many scientists and engineers who disagree with the conclusions?
    2. Is there a consensus regarding the general principal that additional CO2 will lead to a warmer atmosphere if all other variables remain unchanged? Here I would probably think that there is, but with the stipulation that almost nobody believes that all the other variables do remain the same in the real system.
    So I ask the simple question—On what specifically is there a consensus on the topic of climate change?

  47. I have to say, it is always an interesting experience to read comments in the “skeptical” blogosphere.

    In this one thread, we have “skeptics” asserting, without absolute certainty, that there is no “consensus,” that the “consensus” is falling apart, that consensus believers are all members of a cult, and that “skeptics” are unlike the consensus in that they don’t all believe the same thing.

    It is certainly true that among “skeptics” there is not a uniformity of opinion. It is also true that among “skeptics” we see people expressing absolute certainty about a variety of claims that are mutually exclusive.

    Next, we’ll find “skeptics” expressing complete certainty about temperature trends even as they argue that the methodologies used for collecting that data aren’t scientifically valid.

    Oh.

    Wait.

    • And here we have “Joshua”, effectively convincing himself of something.

      Andrew

      • Cap’n

        “Mommy, mommy, they do it tooouuuu.”

        Now where have I see that before?

      • “Mommy, mommy, they do it tooouuuu.”

        “Now where have I see that before?”

        Repetitively in your own comments?

        Andrew

      • Little Johnny: “Mommy, he touched my proxy! Tell him to stop touching my proxy!”

        Mom: “Son, you know if you keep playing with your proxy you will go blind.”

        Little Johnny: “But what’s the use of a proxy if you can’t play with it? I just don’t want him playing with it!”

        Mom: “Talk to your father!”

        Father: “Son, everybody plays with their proxies, some just have bigger proxies.”

        So the consensus is, play with your own proxies until they are big enough to mean something. Then they are fun to share :)

      • bad andrew –

        Repetitively in your own comments?

        Now that is undoubtedly true. I guess an explanation in in order.

        I wrote “Mommy, mommy” posts as a satirical commentary on a kind of moral equivocation I see often among some “skeptics” (it isn’t something that is unique to them by any means) that one might expect from a young child.

        Now I suppose I could just write something on the order of “Two wrongs don’t make a right,” but I’m concerned that “skeptics” might find such comments to be condescending, and Don has told me that no one likes me, so I’m very concerned about worsening that problem.

        The reason why you have read my “Mommy, mommy” comments often should be fairly obvious if you think about it.

        And as always, thanks for reading.

    • Joshua

      But we have not read what you believe there is a consensus on and by whom. Please respond with you answer to that.

      • Rob –

        It is my impression that the majority of scientists in the field support the argument there has been anomalous warming in recent decades, and that it is very likely that ACO2 explains most of that anomalous warming.

        As to the precise degree of attribution to ACO2, it is my impression that the majority of scientists in the field support the argument that it is related to a function of sensitivity that is described in a range of probabilities.

        As to the impact of climate change, it is my impression that the majority of scientists in the field consider the potential magnitude of change merits consideration of policies aimed at mitigation.

        There are quite a number or related areas where there seems not to be a consensus: For example, there seems to be a lack of consensus among economists as to the relative costs and benefits of various policy options.

      • Joshua

        In your view if a “majority of scientists” agree with what you stated and others strongly disagree is it appropriate to claim a “consensus”?

        Isn’t it necessary to always define specifically what the consensus is about and by whom before making such a claim?

        When you write “most of that anomalous warming” is there a consensus? I would think not even if only 49% disagreed.

      • Rob –

        In your view if a “majority of scientists” agree with what you stated and others strongly disagree is it appropriate to claim a “consensus”?</blockquote

        I'm not sure about that. There is a lot of potential ambiguity around the use of "consensus." In addition, I agree that there are problems with viewing the science to heavily through a consensus-colored lens. That said, I don't think that it is irrelevant that a clear majority of scientists in the field do seem to share a viewpoint w/r/t the issues I discussed.

        I doubt that the 97% figure could be accurate when viewed in full context. You'd be hard-pressed to find 97% agreement on anything. If I believed the 97% figure, then perhaps speaking of a "consensus" would be less problematic (although not problem-free).

        Isn’t it necessary to always define specifically what the consensus is about and by whom before making such a claim?

        Sure.

        When you write “most of that anomalous warming” is there a consensus? I would think not even if only 49% disagreed.

        Agreed.

        Still, again, I think that it isn’t irrelevant that a majority of those in the field seem to think that recent warming is anomalous within a certain range. They base that belief on the fit between the physics involved as well as recorded temperature trends. They account for uncertainties in that reasoning; although it can certainly be argued whether they do so sufficiently., that seems like a reasonable approach to me.

      • Joshua
        I do not disagree with much of what you have written in response. I do think people are frequently misusing the word consensus in regards to the issue however.

        On a larger point I would not agree what even a “majority” of scientists agree on regarding the topic in question today.

        What “scientists” were asked what specific questions and when? Imo, based on discussing the issue with many engineers I work with who have read about the issue, there is a far lower percentage than 50% who agree with the conclusions of the IPCC. There is far lower than 50% who find that GCMs provide reliable outputs.

        Imo- people are stating that there is a consensus solely for the purpose of effectively marketing the course of actions that their “belief system” supports

      • Rob –

        Imo- people are stating that there is a consensus solely for the purpose of effectively marketing the course of actions that their “belief system” supports

        I think that is a bit simplistic. I tend to steer clear of such categorical statements of cause-and-effect, especially when it speaks to people’s motivations, and especially when it speaks to the motivations of people I’ve never met.

        As to your observations w/r/t your colleagues. First, I’d have to be somewhat skeptical of your sample collection – both when considering the biases one might find among engineers and when considering the biases one might find related to your selection criteria of who to ask, “social desirability” biases, etc.

        But more than that, the problem I have with anecdotal descriptions of viewpoints such as the one you just offered is that very often, I see flat-out inaccurate statements among “skeptics” about what the IPCC has and has not said. For example claims that the IPCC has said that the “science is settled,” or that there is no consideration of “natural” influences on climate.

        Given the two sample sets, my impression is that people who study the issue in more depth as a part of their profession are more likely to know the details that are related to the misconceptions I have oft’ seen repeated by “technical” types in the “skeptical” blogosphere – and those “skeptics” are more likely than your average engineer to have examined the issues in more depth (although in a counter-balancing way, they may also be more likely to be dominated by biases).

      • Rob –

        I do not disagree with much of what you have written in response.

        Sometimes a lack of disagreement means agreement.

      • Joshua

        LOL, maybe I did hesitate to write that I agreed with you.

        Regarding the IPCC- it has recommended that vast mitigation steps be taken and that funding be provided to less developed countries by currently developed countries to fund those countries efforts to mitigate climate change. Those are conclusions I believe to be either unsound or unable to be implemented in the real world.
        Regarding the sampling of the thoughts/opinions of the engineers I work with: I agree that it a non statistically representative sample. I would however suggest it is more representative than you probably believe. I have discussed that studying the issue is a bit of a hobby of mine and learned it was also a topic of interest for several of our very senior engineers. I actually sought out these people to discuss what their views were and why.
        I’ll admit that some of the perspectives I heard were not fully consistent with the science as I view it, but two of the major points I found universal agreement on was the poor use of modeling in forming conclusions and that the mitigation plans seemed very costly for what was gained.
        In every case, the engineers who I discussed the topic with (and who had read on the issue) were dismayed with the current GCMs development process and the identification of the models capabilities and limitations for use. We are used to knowing exactly what a model is designed to predict, within what margin of error and over what time periods. Regarding mitigation steps, there was less knowledge of the details but more of a universal perspective that there is not a discussion on how a particular mitigation strategy will actually impact the climate.

      • Rob –

        LOL, maybe I did hesitate to write that I agreed with you.

        Interesting how that works, isn’t it? I can only point it out because I have the same tendency myself.

        Regarding the IPCC- it has recommended that vast mitigation steps be taken and that funding be provided to less developed countries by currently developed countries to fund those countries efforts to mitigate climate change. Those are conclusions I believe to be either unsound or unable to be implemented in the real world.

        I think that this is the fertile ground for debate.

        I would however suggest it is more representative than you probably believe. I have discussed that studying the issue is a bit of a hobby of mine and learned it was also a topic of interest for several of our very senior engineers. I actually sought out these people to discuss what their views were and why.

        I would suggest that you need to control for a variety of variables which, undoubtedly, would be difficult to control for in your sample. What are the sampling biases inherent in surveying the opinions of your senior engineers? That doesn’t make them wrong or your sample fatally biased. It is what it is.

        I’ll admit that some of the perspectives I heard were not fully consistent with the science as I view it, but two of the major points I found universal agreement on was the poor use of modeling in forming conclusions and that the mitigation plans seemed very costly for what was gained.

        Regarding the first point – I share some concerns about the use of modeling as a means for drawing conclusions. However, the difficulty I have with much of what I see represented in “concerns” about such modeling are over-statements about the certainty that climate scientists derive from their modeling. Again, I think that the degree of certainty they suggest w/r/t model outputs is a very legitimate subject for debate. What I’m talking about, however, is the oft’ read assertion that climate scientists claim complete certainty. This is clearly not true w/r/t the “consensus” opinion. The ubiquity of such claims makes it very difficult to have a full discussion about the opinions of “skeptics” as a group.

        Regarding the second point – as I understand the situation, there is very much uncertainty represented in the attempts that have been made to assess the long-term impact of the myriad mitigation plans that have been discussed. As such, when I see people drawing hard conclusions about the “cost” of mitigation, I have to wonder where the certainty comes from.

        In every case, the engineers who I discussed the topic with (and who had read on the issue) were dismayed with the current GCMs development process and the identification of the models capabilities and limitations for use. We are used to knowing exactly what a model is designed to predict, within what margin of error and over what time periods.

        I am inherently “skeptical” about the validity of modeling. That said, I have seen much criticism of modeling that seems highly rooted in partisan orientation. I think that this is an important question for debate.

        Regarding mitigation steps, there was less knowledge of the details but more of a universal perspective that there is not a discussion on how a particular mitigation strategy will actually impact the climate.

        That should be, I think, more of a focus in the debate also. However, again, I see much on both sides that seems to be unfounded certainty – both from “realists” that any reduction in ACO2 would likely significantly change the probabilities of harm from climate change, and from “skeptics” who seem overly certain about the “benefits” of warming as well as about the futility of mitigation relative to any potential long term beneficial impact on the climate.

      • Joshua
        Thanks for what I considered to be a thoughtful reply.
        You wrote: “However, the difficulty I have with much of what I see represented in “concerns” about such modeling are over-statements about the certainty that climate scientists derive from their modeling.”
        And
        I am inherently “skeptical” about the validity of modeling.
        My response: I am not skeptical of modeling in general at all. There are reasons why I trust models. We follow a process for development and define what attributes they were designed to predict and what margin of error they are expected to perform within for a specific period. We compare the initial outputs of our models against observations and adjust our models and our assumptions for accuracy accordingly. This process is done extensively before a model is relied upon and we (or others) can go back and review these same criteria and see if the model is still working within its design criteria at any time in the future. This is not true of GCM’s.
        Imo the GCM’s are the backbone of the whole argument for implementing immediate mitigation actions and that backbone is so flawed that it should be ignored.
        I am not claiming that any particular model is not right, but there is simply not a reason to believe any to be accurate. The idea that these models will not be accurate in the short term, but trust us they will be accurate over the long term is just fantasy. Fantasy’s can come true, but do you make policy around them? The idea that we should average the result from a dozen unproven models and then make government policy based on that average is simply stupid. Anyone should know this. I wish we had better models that could be relied upon with verifiable results of conditions that are important to government policy making.
        The idea that all nations will be harmed by a warmer planet is unsupportable. Some countries will benefit while other will be harmed. The question is who and how much.
        You wrote: The ubiquity of such claims makes it very difficult to have a full discussion about the opinions of “skeptics” as a group.
        My response: Imo ‘skeptics should not be viewed as a group. That is generally dangerous. There are many reasons while people do not support the conclusions of the IPCC. Some are completely senseless while others are well reasoned. Imo, the key is that those who wish actions to be taken need to present a coherent case to justify the actions they propose. This has not yet been done. There is too much uncertainty regarding the rate of long term warming, what it will do to specific areas of the planet and what impact the proposed actions will have to correct the perceived problem.

    • You – like so many of your coreligionists – fall into the trap of thinking that scepticism is fully described as ‘the exact opposite of Alarmism’. So if you guys believe that something is white, all sceptics must believe it to be black. That if you say something is hotter, we all line up with the coldists.

      And in doing so you both flatter yourselves considerably and miss the point bigtime. In the same way that say hindus and atheists and confucianists and pagans and jews and muslims are all non-christians, they do not all believe the same things – nor do they pretend to. What unites them – in very limited circumstances – is that they don’t believe in the divinity (or even existence) of jesus.

      So – while you seem to take great glee in discovering the bleeding obvious – it is no more a surprise that some sceptics have different understandings from others. You don’t expect jews and muslism to believe the same things…why do you expect the same of sceptics?

      • Latimer –

        So – while you seem to take great glee in discovering the bleeding obvious – it is no more a surprise that some sceptics have different understandings from others.

        You seem to have missed my point. I would suggest that you re-read my comment that you’re responding to, but perhaps I could add some clarity here anyway.

        I am not surprised that “skeptics” have different understandings. I am commenting on two other phenomena: (1) they don’t quantify their certainty very carefully, (2) some individual “skeptics” alternately seem certain of ideas that are mutually exclusive, (3) many time “skeptics” accept the overriding conclusions of other “skeptics” even though they are certain about underlying principles that are mutually exclusive, and (4) much of the certainty they express involves a misplaced certainty about the uniformity of those they are disagreeing with.

        Your certain comment about me being a co-relgionist is a very nice example of they fourth phenomenon on my list.

        Now let me be clear – these are all very human characteristics in my view. My observations is to point out that despite a habit among some “skeptics” to selective assign those types phenomena to the combatants on the other side of the debate, in fact, they are ubiquitous.

        I thank you for writing a comment that so clearly supports that observation.

      • Sorry – your false certainty was expressed in this comment, not the one I quoted:

        You – like so many of your coreligionists – fall into the trap of thinking that scepticism is fully described as ‘the exact opposite of Alarmism’.

      • @Joshua

        ‘much of the certainty they express involves a misplaced certainty about the uniformity of those they are disagreeing with’.

        But Joshy. Surely there is a consensus! All the right thinking people agree..It is only those Big Oil Denier Scum who disagree. The Science is Settled, say 97% of all known climatologits.

        t can’t have gone away. Has it? Say it ain’t so., Joshy, say it ain’t so! Maybe it’s just escaped from its cage and will be back when it gets hungry.

        Coz I know no other way to interpret your remark other than that the famed consensus is a load of hooey. Please show me where I am wrong. I will just slip out for some beer and popcorn first. Toodle pip;.

      • Latimer –

        I will just slip out for some beer and popcorn first. Toodle pip;.

        I get that you find it entertaining to argue about the validity of straw men. Sorry, you’ll have to get that entertainment elsewhere. I find it kind of boring.

      • ceteris non paribus


        You don’t expect jews and muslism to believe the same things…why do you expect the same of sceptics?

        Because one would like to live in the hope that skeptics are being guided by something a little more tangible than the religious beliefs that guide Christians, Jews and Muslims, etc. – You know, measured data.

        It’s no surprise that people who call themselves climate skeptics are all over the place – and even contradict one another – when it comes to their views. The real question is why should anyone else take these views as being scientifically interesting.

        One does not become a skeptic simply by saying “I don’t agree with the consensus view” or “I refuse to believe the IPCC reports”. That’s far too easy and not at all interesting. If that’s all you’ve got, then you don’t even have enough to ante-in to the next round of scientific betting. Show me the data!

      • Hi Josh

        Almost ran back from the store to be ready for the fun!

        Now where were we on that consensus thingie? Had we decided that that there was one because enough Alarmists think alike (seem to remember that 97% of all cats prefer Whiskas or sthg like that) and believe the same things? Or that they didn’t and there wasn’t?

        It’s ever so confusing knowing whether this consensus actually exists or not…and what it actually means if it does..or doesn’t….

      • Hi Latimer –

        The Science is Settled, say 97% of all known climatologits.

        Here’s a technical question for you. When someone double’s down on inaccurate but certain statements, does the size of the hole they dig grow at a linear rate or an exponential rate?

      • @ceteris

        You want us to look at measured data?

        Suggest that you encourage your chums to stop concealing it then! You might get them to show the methods they use as well. Rather than relying on the ‘trust me, I’m a climate scientist’ line that provokes no more than a belly laugh.

        One of the most memorable lines in the Climategate ‘enquiries’ was when Phil Jones (he again!) author of over 200 academic papers, all supposedly peer-reviewed, was asked what he did when such reviewers asked to see his data and methods. ‘I don’t’ he said. ‘They’ve never asked’.

        You can draw your own conclusions about that exchange, but it did not give me confidence in the leading climatologists nor their ‘professional’ practices. And it is doubts about their integrity like that that contribute powerfully to my scepticism.

        Others, Steve Mc is a fine example (who would not describe himself as a sceptic btw), just want to get right down into the guts of the numbers to see for himself how they have been manipulated. You can read all about the pathetic obstacles thrown in his path while trying to look at such measured data as you recommend in Montford’s excellent history of the quest…’The Hockey Stick Illusion’

        The reasons for scepticism are many and varied, but, I fear, contributions like your recent one do little but throw petrol on the flames.

      • I have never understood what ‘doubles down’ actually means. Is it an expression common in the Colonies?

        And surely it has been the consensusite’s proud boast for many years that the relevant figure is 97%.

        If you know better, please feel free to point out where this number is inaccurate.

      • ceteris non paribus

        Latimer:

        Throwing petrol at the flames is fun!

        Do you doubt the integrity of epidemiologists because some of their research data is not public? (Remember, epidemiologists determine how public money is spent, and their policies can have wide-ranging sociological and political consequences.)

        Can you think of any scientific discipline other than climate science where so much of the relevant raw data is available free on-line?

        Anyone with an internet connection, MS Excel, and some spare time, can reproduce the results that appear in many of the peer-reviewed pubs.

        If you have some credible evidence that shows that climate scientists are wrong – I say Go for it – Bring it on!

        Science has nothing to fear from skepticism.

      • Latimer –

        Is it an expression common in the Colonies?

        Heh. “The Colonies?” What is this, 1776?

        And surely it has been the consensusite’s proud boast for many years that the relevant figure is 97%.

        You’re leaving out the “science is settled” part, Latimer. Who has said that 97% believe that the “science is settled?” Now I question the 97% figure (read my comments to Rob Starkey), but that doesn’t justify your false certain statements.

        Why do some people who self-identify as “skeptics,” who are very concerned with proper quantification of certainty, drop obviously false, overly-certain comments at the drop of a hat?

        You have made a series of obviously false, overly-certain comments in this single thread alone. In this context, “double-down” means that you make an obviously false, overly-certain statement in defense of an obviously false, overly-certain statement.

        Now taking your concerns about uncertainty at face value, what does it say that your concern is manifest so selectively?

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Joshua Says:
        “”Here’s a technical question for you. When someone double’s down on inaccurate but certain statements, does the size of the hole they dig grow at a linear rate or an exponential rate?””

        Here’s a relative question for you. Has your cranial circumference reduced since you have been doubling down on inaccurate but believed to be certain statements.

        Joshua, fair debate and all that, but at some time any sensible person must leave if its continuum results in numbness and dumbness.

      • Latimer Alder

        @joshua

        Thanks for your last reply. I’m sure that it’s just as witty, insightful and to the point as your posts so often are.

        But, if you have no objection, I’ll wait until the English translation becomes available.

      • Latimer –

        But, if you have no objection, I’ll wait until the English translation becomes available.

        No objections. Not in the least.

        On the other hand, perhaps my entire post was completely incomprehensible to you (and so there’s nowhere to start to begin to clarify) – but if you could point to any particular section that was unclear, I’d be happy to try to explain myself again.

      • markus –

        Has your cranial circumference reduced since you have been doubling down on inaccurate but believed to be certain statements.

        Any time you’d like to quote a certain but inaccurate statement of mine, please feel free to point it out. You can use my comments to Latimer about his inaccurate but certain statements as a model if you’d like.

    • “Whatever their views about climate change, few economists (outside the Obama administration) believe that constraining the use of fossil fuels will promote economic growth”

      from the WSJ

      I suspect few economists inside the administration think this either.

      • billc –

        I would think that the more relevant question is how many economists – that have studied the issues in some depth – feel that: (1) explicitly constraining the growth of fossil fuels (for example, through a large carbon tax) and seeking alternative replacement energies would significantly retard economic growth or prove effective economically in the long run or, (2) implicitly constraining the growth of fossil fuels by taxing carbon less heavily to fund research into alternative technologies would significantly retard economic growth or prove cost effective economically in the long run.

        When you simplify the question to such an unrealistic and unnuanced argument, it is easy to speculate how various economists might weigh in – but other than being able to make statements that are obviously true, it seems to be not particularly useful.

      • Here’s an instance of a member of the administration declaring higher prices a “hardship” when times are “already pretty tough”.

      • Joshua,

        I agree that the original quote is not well framed, or framed in a way to push a political point. My point is when you frame it that way, I don’t think many in the Administration think this either, so it’s a straw man (if that is the correct use of the the term straw man).

        As far as your adaptation of the quote I agree that you state it much better in both of your options. I suspect not many economists support #1 as a growth strategy. Those who favor the actions of #1 I don’t think are as worried about the economic consequences of #1, or think that alternatives to the growth paradigm are necessary.

        I’ve always thought economic growth was a bit ephemeral. Sort of along the lines of Pielke Jr’s recent “all jobs are service jobs” idea, economic growth to me does not imply endlessly increasing resource or energy consumption. Or to put it another way, we could stop doing that and still have growth.

    • And the preponderance of evidence in these letters strongly suggests that there is an “overwhelming consensus” that Trenberth and his gang of 37 have done themselves a disservice.

      One wonders if he and his cohorts are now demanding a letter of “apology” from the Editor of the WSJ for failing to get their stamp of approval on these letters ;-)

  48. Steve Fitzpatrick

    I actually think a pretty solid consensus, at least among physical scientists and engineers of all types, is reasonably close. Many (maybe most?) technical folks, even those who are usually considered quite “skeptical”, agree that an equilibrium sensitivity value below 1C – 1.2C is unlikely, and that the true value lies somewhere above that range. The skepticism, at least among technical types, seems to me about the extent of amplification due to water vapor, clouds, etc, the extent of “aerosol offsets”, and the rate of heat uptake by the ocean. The higher the asserted range of credible climate sensitivity, the more the technical consensus falls apart. For example, a “skeptic” or “lukewarmer” might think the credible range is 1.4C to 2.3C per doubling, which overlaps part of the IPCC consensus range. Over time, quality data on the ‘known unknowns’ will almost certainly better define the technically credible range, even though there has been precious little progress over the past couple of decades. (I suspect a volcano like Pinatubo would narrow the credible range and help generate a stronger technical consensus.)

    Where I believe there is much less consensus (and I suspect this includes many in the climate science community) is in the credible range of consequences and costs for specified levels of warming, with a large part of that lack of consensus the result of the value assigned to intangible costs, based mainly on personal beliefs/morals/political views.

    IMO, a public policy consensus on specific, and perhaps enormously expensive, actions must be justified based on a combination of:

    1. Technically credible analyses of both short and long term consequences/costs (including potential benefits!) for warming,
    2. Reasonable discounted present value calculations for avoided future costs, and
    3. Difficult (especially for those on the extremes) compromises on the ‘value judgements’ which are always involved in the setting public policy.

    Reaching any such consensus seems to me a very long way away, if only because No.1 above seems a long way away. In the mean time, rising CO2 in the atmosphere from continuing (and growing) use of fossil fuels over the next few decades will gradually improve the signal to noise ratio of GHG forced warming (compared to natural variation), helping to more accurately quantify the true climate sensitivity, while rising demand and costs for fossil fuels will both increase the quantity of economically recoverable fossil fuels and stimulate the development of economically viable alternatives.

    • Good comment.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      (I suspect a volcano like Pinatubo would narrow the credible range and help generate a stronger technical consensus.)

      I seriously doubt this. First, whatever contribution Pinatubo may have made to atmospheric CO2 would have been a brief impulse, not the steady flow currently amounting to 10 GtC a year relevant to the climate sensitivity question. The response to an impulse does not translate directly to the response to a steady rise without an understanding of the reactive component of the sinks, in particular how the ocean behaves as a capacitor, which attenuates fast pulses much more strongly than slow and steady rises.

      Second, the impact of Pinatubo on CO2 as measured at Mauna Loa during 1990-1993 seems to have been far smaller than its impact on temperature, which would lead to an absurdly large climate sensitivity if the CO2 had increased, or a negative climate sensitivity if it turned out to have decreased.

      These three graphs from WoodForTrees.org illustrate all this quite nicely. They are respectively the sea surface temperature (red) and land temperature (green) for the northern hemisphere (Pinatubo is at latitude 15 N), along with CO2 (blue) scaled to fit. (The three means of 12, 10, and 8 months serve as a filter with a sharp cutoff at 12 months blocking essentially all higher frequencies; the 10 and 8 ones collaborate to push down the first side lobe of the frequency response of the 12-month filter, not needed for CO2.)

      During 1991-1993 Pinatubo dragged down the land temperature about twice as much as the ocean. This is because although both have high thermal capacities the land has much higher thermal resistance making it a less effective heat sink than the ocean. But as the blue curve shows Pinatubo added no measurable CO2, in fact if anything it slowed the rate of increase of CO2 slightly, presumably by feedback from the temperature reduction.

      All this goes to show that it would be impossible to deduce anything about global-warming-relevant climate sensitivity from the time period around Pinatubo.

      • No you are guessing .What the literature suggests is that there was an increase in the ability of the sinks to absorb carbon That the increase was step like ( a devils staircase ) and noticable subsequent to the Volcanic excursions the reasons are poorly understood and their may be multiple reasons eg Sarmiento 2010.

        We show here an updated estimate of the net land
        carbon sink (NLS) as a function of time from 1960 to 2007
        calculated from the difference between fossil fuel emissions,
        the observed atmospheric growth rate, and the ocean uptake
        obtained by recent ocean model simulations forced with reanalysis
        wind stress and heat and water fluxes. Except for interannual
        variability, the net land carbon sink appears to have
        been relatively constant at a mean value of −0.27 PgC yr−1
        between 1960 and 1988, at which time it increased abruptly
        by −0.88 (−0.77 to −1.04) PgC yr−1 to a new relatively
        constant mean of −1.15 PgC yr−1 between 1989 and 2003/7
        (the sign convention is negative out of the atmosphere). This
        result is detectable at the 99% level using a t-test. The land
        use source (LU) is relatively constant over this entire time
        interval. While the LU estimate is highly uncertain, this does
        imply that most of the change in the net land carbon sink
        must be due to an abrupt increase in the land sink, LS = NLS
        – LU, in response to some as yet unknown combination of
        biogeochemical and climate forcing.

        Further an additional mechanisms are thought also to be at play (not included in this model ) such as fe into oceans eg Duggan 2010

        Iron is a key micronutrient for phytoplankton
        growth in the surface ocean. Yet the significance of volcanism
        for the marine biogeochemical iron-cycle is poorly
        constrained. Recent studies, however, suggest that offshore
        deposition of airborne ash from volcanic eruptions is a way to
        inject significant amounts of bio-available iron into the surface
        ocean. Volcanic ash may be transported up to several
        tens of kilometers high into the atmosphere during largescale
        eruptions and fine ash may stay aloft for days to
        weeks, thereby reaching even the remotest and most ironstarved
        oceanic regions. Scientific ocean drilling demonstrates
        that volcanic ash layers and dispersed ash particles
        are frequently found in marine sediments and that therefore
        volcanic ash deposition and iron-injection into the oceans
        took place throughout much of the Earth’s history.

        ….By November 1991 the Pinutabo stratosphere aerosol plume had reached the southern latitudes ,a recent estimate of the mass deposition flux there being 9×10^-13 g cm^-2s^-1 at that time. If 1% of this flux was iron sustained for 3 months over the area of the southern ocean this would amount to roughly 4×10^10g iron. Given a typical carbon/iron molar ratio of 10^5 for phytoplankton in iron limited regions,this would enable additional new production of about 7×10^13 mol carbon .Such an increase would then give rise to the observed pulse of the order of 10^14 mol of oxygen into the atmosphere (Keeling 1996)

        Another well documented and excluded process is the role of Acid rain following volcanic excursions that is well known eg Gauchi 2008.

        Northern temperate and high-latitude wetlands are a major source of the greenhouse gas methane (CH4). Here, we estimate the sensitivity in the strength of this source to the effects of large Icelandic volcanic eruptions such as the Laki eruption of 1783–1784. We applied spatially explicit modeled sulfate aerosol and S deposition fields from a Laki eruption simulation to a climate-sensitive model of CH4 emissions from wetlands. We
        estimate that the combined influence on climate and S deposition from the Laki eruption halved the output of CH4 from wetlands north of 30N for the first 12 months following the eruption. The largest short-term component responsible for the CH4 suppression is the aerosol-influenced surface cooling, although the effect of large-scale S deposition on CH4
        emissions provides a longer-term suppressive effect on emissions. Together, we estimate this combination of processes to result in an annual suppression of20 Tg CH4 in the year of the eruption and two subsequent years. Further, the impact of the eruption on atmospheric CH4 concentration extends beyond the likely duration of suppressed emission. The modeled
        effect of this large Icelandic eruption is consistent with ice core records of atmospheric CH4 concentrations at the time and is equivalent, in size, to the current estimated suppressive effect of industrially derived S pollution on the global wetland CH4 source.

        Volcanics are not simple problem of radiative physics,which is why the GCM models are significantly limited.

  49. Regardless of the dictionary meaning of consensus, the only thing that matters from a scientific point of view is, Is this fact accepted by all active scientists in the field? Special relativity, yes. String theory, no.

    If not, we have a different name for it: a _open question_.

    The vast majority of scientists in the field believe in the various critical parts of AGW. It is, nevertheless, an open question.

    It seems to me that anyone who tries to deny this is trying to control the narrative and can’t really be trusted.

  50. Steve Fitzpatrick – as a technical/science type my gut feeling is that sensitivity is only meaningful when its timespan is specified; that on the centennial scale it might be between 0.5C and 1.8C; that on the millennial scale it might might be between -1C e +3C; that the actual temps will be a mess to compute as different sensitivity effects kick off at different timescales.

    • Steve Fitzpatrick

      I specifically said “equilibrium sensitivity” (>>100 years response to a fixed change in forcing). That value is the most commonly discussed. The temporal response curve is of course also of interest.

      • I wonder if a better categorization would be S50, S100, S200 etc…the sensitivity at various time scales. Surely this has been proposed.

      • Steve F

        1. “Many (maybe most?) technical folks, even those who are usually considered quite “skeptical”, agree that an equilibrium sensitivity value below 1C – 1.2C is unlikely, and that the true value lies somewhere above that range”

        Wishful thinking … you don’t *know* that at all

        2. “I specifically said “equilibrium sensitivity” (>>100 years response to a fixed change in forcing).”

        Just a few years ago, the commonly used timeslice was 30 years. That hasn’t worked out too well. Move the timeslice again, Steve, I know you can do it

      • steve fitzpatrick

        ianl8888,
        “I know you can do it”
        What the heck does that mean?

        What I know/do not know is really not at issue when I am expressing an opinion based on my experience. What I do know is that the experienced people I communicate with on this subject, who are technically trained, tend to discount very low levels of sensitivity as not plausible. Is it unanimous? No. But most accept that a minimum climate sensitivity above 1.0C per doubling is reasonably certain.

        I have never advocated “30 years” to determine a value for climate sensitivity, and I am puzzled that you would even bring up that number. The concept of equilibrium climate sensitivity is pretty clearly defined. The difference between equilibrium and shorter term responses depends (of course) on the time period considered, the assumed rate of ocean heat uptake, and the assumed rate of aerosol offset.

  51. “So, here’s to ‘cracking the consensus’ in favor of open debate and discussion of policy options and in presenting carefully crafted scientific arguments that present evidence for and against, with suitable caveats about uncertainties and areas of ignorance.”

    Excellent post. Thanks for your leadership through the dark night of “the consensus.”

  52. Declare the agreed upon characteristics of climate consensus, examine the evidence, make a judgement.

    Or note pragmatically that there exists at least two lists of lettered scientists making counter claims in the popular press and accept the obvious – no consensus. The presence or absence of a consensus does not require the opinion of the consensus be right or wrong, for or against AGW, only that the consensus exists. It does not.

    How hard was that?

    Of interest is the faction that claims there is a consensus also claims they alone are authoritative in regards climate matters. Coincidence?

  53. “Courtesy of the CRU emails, we now understand the sausage making that went into creating the consensus. Manufacturing a consensus in the context of the IPCC has acted to hyper-politicize the scientific and policy debate, to the detriment of both. Its time to abandon the concept of consensus; consensus matters far less than simply being right and the arguments themselves that ought to be the focus for discussion.”

    Plenty of people (too numerous to list) knew this long before the CRU emails were released. Dr. Curry is essentially correct and some of the
    post links are among her strongest. Still, she misses what was important and in common with the core of consensus makers in the first place. Vanity or social embarressment regarding peers might be a motivator but not a very good excuse. Like swinging the hammer at the nail but never actually hitting it head on.

    The farce of consensus always needed since the science of AGW was always too thin to pass as soup. It’s willful blindness to ignore the specifics of the consensus political cultures involved.

    • “Vanity or social embarressment regarding peers might be a motivator but not a very good excuse.”

      And then there was that $14 billion or so in US Fed funds over 7 years, not to mention another $1 billion from the Duke Foundation, etc etc… all with the premise that Mann-style AGW existed as the basis for funding.

      • Surely our gallant climatologits would never have been influenced by filthy lucre, power, prestige or position? Such venality is reserved for the Big Oil funded non-consensus Denier Scum.

        / sarc

      • Actually, I don’t think money explains it at all on any side debating at this level. It’s all about political culture, really deeply rooted political culture and memes.

        So deep, Dr. Curry can’t discuss them directly and by name. It’s a “appearance” of politics that is most disturbing regarding the “consensus” that troubles her. Forget that it was all “actually” politics from start to finish and of a very specific kind.

        She needed CRU emails to figure this out?

  54. In January 2006 30 BBC folks held an all day meeting with 30 climate activists (with the exception of Dr. Richard North) and at the end of the day – surprise! – came away knowing there was a consensus about AGW and its evil consequences.

    Is Black now willing to convene another meeting?

  55. Might I make the suggestion that a backwater field of academic research (ie, climate history) got hijacked when its findings provided a compelling story to obtain funding?

    In this way, Mann-style AGW became like Keynesian economics — whatever truth there is to either is besides the point, as politicians, activists and money-seekers use them to get funding and power.

    When that happened, science (or economics) be damned, since most who are using that rationale don’t understand what they’re talking about. And suddenly we have a bunch of nincompoops running around saying that “consensus” was indeed scientific fact. ‘Cause if you don’t understand the science, you probably won’t understand scientific processes either?

  56. “Science has nothing to fear from skepticism”

    Then Latimer, why all of the fear when skeptics started asking questions? No, it wasn’t expressed as “fear”, but rather outrage that turned into nastiness at those who simply started asking questions. Ten years ago, climate history was at best a backwater branch of science, and most — even with math/science PhD’s — had never heard of it before. As we started asking pointed questions, and demanding data (that mysterious disappeared), and demanding computer code for “corrections” were were branded as worse-than-Nazi’s (or Nazi-lite, or something).

  57. Doesn’t matter in the slightest if there’s a consensus. Could we please leave all of this terribly boring politics behind us? And focus on understanding nature for a second? People squandering away time is all that’s happening in these online climate discussion forums lately. Please folks: Let’s concentrate on understanding nature. Thank you for at least considering this simple suggestion. I’m eager to volunteer in the limited time I have. Nature is beautiful. Politics: ugly, boring.

    • Sadly, researchers (like you?) have to visit the land of politics sometimes. And some your peers were seduced into the land of celebrity and money, where the concept of “consensus” replaced that of scientific method.

      Quite frankly, a fair number of us are still pretty p****ed off at how some in the scientific community conducted themselves rallying around “consensus”. If you’re saying that researchers won’t ever do this again, and I won’t hear my politicians talking about AGW, then I’m willing to go back to my normal, beautiful world.

    • PV,

      First science as a stealth green movement and agenda to the masses, now we get the white-wash that consensus really shouldn’t have mattered from similar parties? Like any political mob sustaining a consensus wasn’t as easy as forming one was it?

      The AGW movement is ugly, boring and political by those who designed it as such; the AGW promoters. A path to power and agenda by usual suspects well represented on these boards and the moderator herself. Pretending it doesn’t exist or matter is a common meme that fails the reality test. Most consensus members, including Dr. Curry sang a different tune in 2006 for example. It’s a little insulting that so much weight was put on the CRU emails regarding reform when so much was obvious before that moment.

      Most consensus members should feel shame, when at the gates of social/political/economic validation they didn’t say “consensus doesn’t matter” did they? Nature is one thing, actual history is of great importance as well.

      It’s the actual politics that are interesting to most people, the consequences of fantastic ambition around AGW promotion. Go find me a thread where the politics of AGW or sides isn’t questioned? If it were restricted to spagetti charts most of the board would vanish. That’s how fascism is maintained at RC and why they aren’t relevant. Mystic green science from self-declared experts (a tiny enclave of “science” at that)who hide their political affiliations has run out of general interest and social support.

  58. Latimer — put down the gun. Relax. This is an academic discussion.

    BTW, you suggest the data in this whole AGW / Consensus discussion was, is, available. Please recall that we are talking about the stuff 5-10 years ago, when “consensus” was the en vogue word. At that time, the raw data was NOT available, nor was the code for the correction programs. In fact some of that raw data was said to be missing — do you remember that? And as I recall some of the “leaked” emails, the entire matter of keeping both raw data and correcting code secret was a topic of conversation… remember?

    So tell us again how, 10 years ago when the UN was jamming this stuff down our throats, and Kyoto was being proposed, how all of this data and code was freely available?

    • Latimer Alder

      @geek

      I think you are confusing me with some other poster. Please check to whom you are replying.

    • Geek,

      You might have Latimer misidentified.

      Yes, there is a big time hypocrisy from those water-carrying now on back-tracking “consensus” at this late date. It should be worn like a Scarlet Letter until they die or actually recant. I’m glad someone else notices and comments.

  59. I heard someone comment once that religion would be well served if in seminary, there was as much emphasis placed on logic as there is on theology. It seems that this is also the case for science.

    One poster above correctly identifies Black’s criticism of skeptics as a straw man. That however serves only as his springboard into still greater vista’s of poor thinking. These are rife in the selection of his work posted here. Taking one “But if the presence of a consensus is irrelevant, so, logically, is its absence; which makes the continued use by sceptics’ groups of the “consensus is cracking” meme a bit mystifying.” This is true. However, he fails to embrace the idea that the sum of his construct breaks both sides of the argument. He should perhaps realize that continuing to blather on about “why hasn’t yet cracked?” is rendered meaningless by his own argument. Once he wrote the sentence cited above sentence, he was done.

    My point here is not to indict one side or the other, but rather both. Objective truth based on consensus (either in support of AGW or otherwise) is simply not logically possible. Consensus is a form of the “Appeal to Authority.” Such a proof can be “good” or “bad” but not “true” or “false” as is the case with the scientific model of prediction/observation & measurement. The community of Weather Science generally speaking, is attempting to apply a historical/legal form of proof to an objective, scientific argument.

    The validity or lack thereof of specific components to the appeal to authority are therefore pointless to the desired end point which presumably equals, “If we all (or most of us) agree, then that’s the way it is.” That’s another form of fallacy literally called “missing the point.”

    I have to say that having spent exactly one year as a teaching assistant in philosophy thirty years ago and working as an engineer for the intervening years, I’m very nearly shocked to see such a failing of logic from an otherwise learned community.

    To sum, measuring consensus or lack thereof proves nothing and in fact does not offer the slightest thread of evidence in support of or in objection to objective reality. It does prove the presence or lack of consensus but that is all.

    • I have a seminary degree — 90 semester hours of grad school work.

      I assure you that logic is indeed applied to traditional religious beliefs. And in fact, I can assure you that some religious beliefs today are more the result of Greek philosophy than anything else — and I’m not sure that’s a good thing.

      Your use of religious examples in this AGW discussion is appropriate, as I long ago noticed how AGW true believers were more into a religious belief than a scientific conclusion.

    • Vaughan Pratt

      During the past 12 months I’ve given a few talks on global warming, always with the title “The Logic of Global Warming” to emphasize the point that most on both sides of the climate debate argue illogically.

      I am all in favor of consensus, but only when based on logic. To base logic on consensus as is currently done is to argue circularly, that is, to assume what you set out to prove. This is illogical.

  60. If we were approaching the topic afresh, are there elements we could all agree on?

    Would we all agree that the globe has warmed about 0.8C over the past few decades? I personally think that’s obvious, but are there those who do not?

    Would we all agree that this has happened during a time of increasing human impacts on all elements of the natural environment? Again, I would think this is obvious, but your mileage may vary.

    And would we all agree that the correlation between the two points above is worth investigating? I think it’s interesting and relevant to human life, perhaps even more than investigation of what preceded the Big Bang and the invention of Sheldon Cooper (blessed be his name and his position in the firmament).

    On a similar track, would we all be able to agree that environmental NGOs seized upon global warming as a plank for their position that human impacts on the planet have been troublesome and that they financed a media campaign that included iconic but over-egged stories about Mt. Kilmanjaro, polar bears, malaria and Himalayan glaciers? (This does not exclude agreement on a counter-argument financed by those like the CEI.)

    Would we all be able to agree that the IPCC is by their very mandate focused on just the impact of human emissions of CO2 and that this had a prejudicial effect on the questions being asked in science?

    It seems to me that if we could just frankly admit that we sort of screwed up our initial investigation of something that is nonetheless very much worth investigating, we might be able to start afresh.

    • tom,

      a bit OT with respect to your comment, but I’d be interested in your thoughts.

      https://judithcurry.com/2012/02/06/human-choice-and-climate-change/#comment-166503

    • There’s that troublesome “we” again.

    • Latimer Alder

      @thomasfuller2

      ‘And would we all agree that the correlation between the two points above is worth investigating?’

      Well up to a point, We’ve already spent 25 years and 100 billion dollars on this and similar investigations. And not come to any definite conclusions. So I doubt it’d be worth doing any more since any effects we might subsequently find will be so small as to be trivial.

      With sums like these involved ‘being worth investigating’ is not an absolute reason. I can think of lots an dots and lots of other things that we could better spend another 100 billion bucks on than funding another bunch of academics to ‘investigate’ something for another 25 years without finding anything interesting.

      • Latimer Alder

        On further reflection, your essay seems to be a plea to be allowed to start over and do it right this time rather than screw it up as has been done in the past.

        Had you made this suggestion immediately after CG1 and Copenhagen, it might have fallen on receptive ears.

        But you are too late. Too much water has flowed under the bridge since then. Too many of the public have become completely disillusioned with climatology and climatologists. They have bigger and more immediate problems to worry about. And they are beginning to get angry with the ‘scientists’ who they see as having misled them (see for example today’s ‘Bild’ in Germany.

        There’s no going back. You guys had your chances and you failed.That’s how history will remember the great global warming failure.

      • Umm actually, Latimer, I did–it’s in a book Steve Mosher and I wrote…

        As for the $100 billion, if you back out money for satellites, what’s left?

      • Latimer Alder

        @thomas

        Hi Thomas…sorry hadn’t put the name to the book. I have your book on my shelf along with the invaluable HSI and other good stuff. I read it assiduously when it came out

        As to what is left of the $100 billion. Here is the breakdown for this year’s federal climate budget:

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

        Maybe you can identify exactly what each agency does better than me. But not a lot of to seems to be going NASAwards. Just enough ($400 mill) to pay Jim Hansen’s travel expenses, Gavin Schmidt’s salary and the running costs of real climate.

        Whatever they spent it all on, sure thing is that the poor benighted taxpayer got extremely bad value for money.

      • LA,

        from the document you linked;

        “HIGHLIGHTS
        – Funding for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP),
        which coordinates and integrates research over 13 executive branch
        departments and agencies, would increase 21 percent to $2.6 billion.
        – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
        requests $2.2 billion, an increase of 58 percent, for the National
        Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS). This
        would restore climate sensors, advance sea height monitoring, and fund
        NOAA’s Joint Polar Satellite System (formerly NPOESS).
        – NASA requests a 27 percent increase for Earth Science. NASA would
        accelerate four Decadal Survey missions, initiate one new climate related
        mission, and re-launch the Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO), which
        would monitor carbon sources and sinks throughout the world.
        – The Department of Energy (DOE) request would increase funding for
        renewable energy (up 37 percent) and energy efficiency (up 12 percent),
        and eliminate $2.7 billion in subsidies to high emitting industries. Robust
        funding would continue for Energy Innovation Hubs, Energy Frontier
        Research Centers, and the Advance Research Projects Agency-Energy.
        – The Department of the Interior (DOI) request would substantially
        increase funding for its Climate Change Adaptation initiative (up 26
        percent) and renewable energy programs (up 24 percent).
        – The National Science Foundation (NSF) requests $955 million
        Geosciences Directorate (a 7.4 percent increase) with $480 million
        requested for Atmospheric and Earth Sciences.

    • Tom said

      ‘Would we all agree that the globe has warmed about 0.8C over the past few decades? I personally think that’s obvious, but are there those who do not?’

      No, the figures do not show that. Parts of the globe have cooled over the last few decades. Some areas have remained static and others-the majority- have warmed-perhaps because of the concentration of weather stations in urban areas, as well as other factors. This general-but not overall-warming can be traced back to around 1650.

      Sorry to be pedantic but i think you are under the impression that all parts of our world has warmed equally and that it is a modern phenomenon.

      I agree with you that NGO’s have greatly overegged the pudding and continually cry wolf, who if he (or She in case Martha is reading this) even exists, is a pretty miserable and underfed creature and not capable of threatening-let alone destroying- us. I agree that IPCC concentrate too much on Co2 but not sure it is possible to start again with a clean sheet.

      I do however agree with you about Sheldon Cooper, who has just informed me that he agrees with every word I say..

      tonyb

  61. “But if the presence of a consensus is irrelevant, so, logically, is its absence; which makes the continued use by sceptics’ groups of the “consensus is cracking” meme a bit mystifying.”

    It isn’t mystifying at all. Consensus is irrelevant to truth, and thus to science. Consensus is therefore indispensible to politics, which is anathema to truth.

    “Global warming” is not a scientific conclusion, it is a religious belief and a political expediency. The first is opposed to consensus, the second demands it, and the third is empowered by it.

    What is so mystifying about that?

  62. Chief Hydrologist

    I have no problem with the simple radiative physics of the atmosphere.

    I agree with the Royal Society

    In principle, changes in climate on a wide range of timescales can also arise from variations within the climate system due to, for example, interactions between the oceans and the atmosphere; in this document, this is referred to as “internal climate variability”. Such internal variability can occur because the climate is an example of a chaotic system: one that can exhibit complex unpredictable internal variations even in the absence of the climate forcings discussed in the previous paragraph.

    There is very strong evidence to indicate that climate change has occurred on a wide range of different timescales from decades to many millions of years; human activity is a relatively recent addition to the list of potential causes of climate change.’

    I agree with the NAS Committee on Abrupt Climate Change.

    ‘Large, abrupt climate changes have affected hemispheric to global regions repeatedly, as shown by numerous paleoclimate records (Broecker, 1995, 1997). Changes of up to 16°C and a factor of 2 in precipitation have occurred in some places in periods as short as decades to years (Alley and Clark, 1999; Lang et al., 1999). However, before the 1990s, the dominant view of past climate change emphasized the slow, gradual swings of the ice ages tied to features of the earth’s orbit over tens of millennia or the 100-million-year changes occurring with continental drift.’

    ‘Modern climate records include abrupt changes that are smaller and briefer than in paleoclimate records but show that abrupt climate change is not restricted to the distant past.’

    I agree with James McWilliams on ‘irreducible imprecision’ in models due to ‘sensitive dependence’ and ‘structural instability’.

    I agree with James Hurrel.

    ‘The global coupled atmosphere–ocean–land–cryosphere system exhibits a wide range of physical and dynamical phenomena with associated physical, biological, and chemical feedbacks that collectively result in a continuum of temporal and spatial variability. The traditional boundaries between weather and climate are, therefore, somewhat artificial.’

    I agree with Anastasios Tsonis

    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,’

    I agree with Keenleyside et al , Swanson et al, Mochizuki et al that oceanic variability is suppressing global warming.

    I agree with scepticalscience.

    ‘Next, Trenberth wonders with this ever increasing heat, why doesn’t surface temperature continuously rise? The standard answer is “natural variability”. But such a general answer doesn’t explain the actual physical processes involved. If the planet is accumulating heat, the energy must go somewhere. Is it going into melting ice? Is it being sequestered deep in the ocean? Did the 2008 La Nina rearrange the configuration of ocean heat? Is it all of the above? Trenberth wants answers!

    So like an obsessive accountant, Trenberth pores over the energy budget, tallying up the joules accumulating in various parts of the climate. A global energy imbalance of 0.9 W/m2 means the planet is accumulating 145 x 1020 joules per year. The following list gives the amount of energy going into various parts of the climate over the 2004 to 2008 period:

    • Land: 2 x 1020 joules per year
    • Arctic sea Ice: 1 x 1020 joules per year
    • Ice sheets: 1.4 x 1020 joules per year
    • Total land ice: between 2 to 3 x 1020 joules per year
    • Ocean: between 20 to 95 x 1020 joules per year
    • Sun: 16 x 1020 joules per year (eg – the sun has been cooling from 2004 to 2008)

    These various contributions total between 45 to 115 x 1020 joules per year. This falls well short of the total 145 x 1020 joules per year (although the error bars do overlap). Trenberth expresses frustration that observation systems are inadequate to track the flow of energy. It’s not that global warming has stopped. We know global warming has continued because satellites find an energy imbalance. It’s that our observation systems need to be more accurate in tracking the energy flows through our climate and closing the energy budget.’

    I think the ‘missing energy’ was always there in the deep ocean.

    And here’s the CERES data – notice the upward trend in net but don’t look too closely at SW.

    The rest of this decade seems a forgone conclusion. A decline in TSI and UV – colder generally and much colder (I agree with Mike Lockwood et al) in mid latitudes. An intensification of the cool mode Pacific Decadal Variation – e.g Burgess et al.

    I think I must be part of the consensus. I don’t believe the half baked nonsense we get from Joshua and Co.

    Robert I Ellison
    Chief Hydrologist

    • I think I must be part of the consensus. I don’t believe the half baked nonsense we get from Joshua and Co.

      heh. I have a company now?

      Pray tell, Chief, what is it that I say that is “half-baked?” Is it where I point out your susceptibility to your partisan influences when you discuss non-scientific aspects of the debate (I’ve pointed them out to you many times in the past when you’ve responded to my posts). Is it the part where I’ve pointed out to you the unintentional irony of your pearl-clutching and hand-wringing from your fainting couch about the vitriolic rhetoric of others? Is it the part where I point out the facile reasoning of “skeptics?”

      You made the assertion. Now back it the f… up. Or, continue to make unsubstantiated statements. It’s your loss either way.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        This thread is about the scientific consensus of lack of for GHG radiative forcing.

        “”your partisan influences when you discuss non-scientific aspects of the debate””

        Joshua, do you mind retracting your Social Science input here and shoving it up your bum. Enough of your idiotic trolling.

        I’ve got your back Chief, you are welcomed anytime.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        No Joshua – your content less sophistry has long since palled. I don’t bother reading past the name – ever.

      • Chief –

        No Joshua – your content less sophistry has long since palled. I don’t bother reading past the name – ever.

        Absolutely beautiful.

        Now think about that comment again, and what it was in response to. If you didn’t read past my name, then how did you fashion that response?

        Do you see a problem?

        What have me and my company said, Chief. Back it the f…. up. Or, continue to make unsubstantiated claims.

        I simply love it when “skeptics” are so pitifully unaware of the contradictions in what they say.

        Tell me why you thought it meaningful to single my name out and assign me a company if my “content less sophistry has long since palled.” (Did it ever not pall?).

        Oh. You didn’t read that, did you?

        Classic. And absolutely hilarious. For such a smart fella, you make some astoundingly contradictory statements.

        Stick to the science, Chief. When you venture out into other areas, you do yourself a disservice.

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        Definition of insanity:

        Doing the same thing over and over again but expecting a different result.

        – Albert Einstein

      • Markus –

        This thread is about the scientific consensus of lack of for GHG radiative forcing.

        My comments are (mostly) on point – by virtue of commenting on the views of “skeptics” w/r/t that consensus.

        But your “concern” about my being “off-topic,” by virtue of a series of posts whining about me being “off-topic” is duly noted.

      • Latimer Alder

        @chief

        When faced with a new post from the troll, remember Churchill’s wise reply to the gift of a book from its author.

        Dear Sir

        Thank you for the book. I shall waste no time in reading it. WSC.

        (American audiences may have to read this aloud a few times before they see the point).

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I really don’t know Joshua – as it completely pointless reading anything you say it is really much more fun to respond randomly. As you might have noted elsewhere I am a bit obsessed lately with loneliness and insanity being the iconic nature of a cowboy. Nothin’ much happens in Minnesota in February – that’s why a cowboy is lonesome. Loneliness has tipped you over the edge into paranoia and insanity, pardner. You have reached a tipping point from which there is no return.

        You just keep posting – I’ll keep randomly popping back. As I say this is much more fun and educative than actually reading anything you write.

        Robert I Ellsion
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Latimer,

        Great minds think alike. It is exactly my tactic to totally ignore Joshua and respond with random bits of nonsense. Pretty much Johua’s modus operandi in other words.

        Cheers

      • Chief –

        I really don’t know Joshua – as it completely pointless reading anything you say it is really much more fun to respond randomly.

        Keep ducking.

        You made an accusation. A cowboy would stand by his words when challenged. Why won’t you?

        What have I and my company said that was half-baked?

        Or keep ducking.

        It never fails to amuse.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        What was that Josh? You were saying something? Couldn’t have been important.

      • Keep ducking, Chief.

        I’ll categorize that post as having precisely the same degree of insight as when you claimed months ago that you were going to take your ball and go home (stop responding to my posts) .

        You’re reading my posts, Chief. I know it. You know it. It is abundantly obvious to anyone who has read this exchange (the evidence is right there in your posts).

        Prove your case.

        Take your ball and go home.

        Keep making claims that are self-evidently false.

        The choice is yours.

      • Latimer, “Dear Sir Thank you for the book. I shall waste no time in reading it. WSC.”

        I have always believed this was not Churchill – who is not the sole source of bons mots in British political history – but Disraeli, who used this formulation. As a novelist at a time when there was a vogue for “lady novelism”, he began receiving fragrant and mostly meretricious manuscripts in far greater numbers than he could possibly review, even if he were not distracted by his day job of running the country/empire. And I think it was:

        “Dear Sir Thank you for the book. I shall LOSE no time in reading it. BD.”

        This source appears to agree
        withttp://www.lhup.edu/~dsimanek/muirbook.htmh me

      • Chief Hydrologist

        Joshua,

        You are a la-la kook. It is not only lonesome in Minnesota – it is cold there in the snow and ice – with the cougars and the anvils falling out of trees. It is amusing me hugely – whatever you’re saying I am sure that iconic cowboys can talk ‘any way they like to express the untold vicissitudes of their soul.’ It is a shibboleth to say that an icon can’t talk whatever way he damn well pleases. I am just not listening.

        Robert I Ellison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Chief –

        It walks like a duck. It quacks like a duck.

        It’s a duck.

        You know it. I know it. Everyone who’s read this thread knows it. No matter how much after-the-fact CYA “I’m not listening” you try to trot out there, the proof is in the pudding.

        And you’re throwing pudding like a 7th grader in a Junior High School cafeteria food fight.

      • Chief Hydrologist

        I am trying to think of 10 good reasons for reading anything that Joshua posts?

        I have to admit that I got nothing. Any help here? What are the pros and cons of reading anything more than the byline?

        Pros. (not reading)
        1. much less pissant progressive bull to wade through
        2. i can use the time to much greater benefit – cutting my toenails for instance
        3. it amuses me hugely that he keeps responding despite the fact that I never read anything he posts – why would I lie?
        4. all he ever says is that i should stick to science and leave the insults and politics to him – so why need I bother?
        5. I can of course go on with about 600 reason for not reading Josh – but why bother?

        Cons (not reading)

        Naw I got nothin’.

        Robert I Ellison
        Chief Hydrologist

      • Latimer Alder

        @tomfp

        Thanks for the correction. I had obviously been misinformed.

  63. Back in February 2007, IPCC had just published its AR4 WG1 “Summary for Policymakers” report to the world, to much media fanfare and hooplah. This represented the “consensus of 2,500 scientists”!

    We learned, among other things, that we should expect milder winters in the Northern Hemisphere, as a result of the global warming attributable to human greenhouse gas emissions.

    Now, for many people living in Europe and other northern locations this news was not all that bad, but for Switzerland, where I live, it was considered to be very bad news indeed. The ski resorts had just had four winter seasons with warmer temperatures and less snow than normal, and now they were learning that this would be the new norm.

    Hotel operators, travel agents, restaurateurs, sports boutique owners – everyone, in any way earning from winter tourism – were all complaining and bemoaning this sad state of affairs.

    And whose fault was it all?

    Op-ed articles by climatologists and science reporters were telling us that we were to blame for this sad state of affairs through our rampant consumerism and excessive use of fossil fuel-based energy. It was all our fault.

    But then a strange thing happened.

    The rampant consumerism and excessive use of fossil fuels continued unabated, but the winters turned colder again, with more snow – in fact so much snow that it was causing an annually-recurring avalanche hazard in many parts of the Alps. This winter it has been as cold as 25 degrees below zero in many alpine resort towns, with the cities in the valleys having temperatures in the minus teens.

    What happened?

    We now know the answer.

    Citing climatologists from the US Atmospheric and Environmental Research group (AER), the headlines in the Swiss daily newspaper, Tages Anzeiger, tell us: Winters in the Alps are getting colder. One reason may be the melting Arctic sea ice.

    And, of course, this is happening because of man-made global warming, caused by (you guessed it) our “rampant consumerism and excessive use of fossil fuels”.

    Ouch!

    Max

    • Melting Arcitic pack ice causing more snow is one of the dumbest rationalizations I have yet heard from the AGW community.
      It is so obviously pulled out of thin air as to boggle the mind.

    • Manacker, You have really gone loopy. Weather is not climate. All of the mid to low-altitude Swiss ski resorts had very little snow as late as about a week before Christmas. All anyone has to do is go to Google News and select 2011 to see the stories:
      http://thechronicleherald.ca/travel/41365-snow-free-slopes-worry-swiss

      Then they got snow around Christmas and a mix of rain and snow at 2000 meters. No real cold that I can see into the beginning of January.

      It probably has gotten colder since, haven’t been keeping track, but that’s weather for you. Weather is not climate.

      Minnesota has had weeks on end of 40 F degree days since mid-December and no snow on the ground in the metro area as we speak. But this again is weather, it’s not climate. There is no way that an area can become 15F warmer in one year without it getting colder somewhere else around the globe. The average temperature won’t change much year-to-year, because all the large capacity thermal lags prevent this.

      • Latimer Alder

        Dear Webbie

        Oh yes…it has got a lot, lot, lot colder in Europe since the beginning of January……are weather maps not frequently availabel on Al Gore’s interweb in your country?

        And I just love to see the Alarmists doing utterly bonkers things like suggesting that the reason it is so f..g cold is because of global warming.

        It merely confirms the ever-growing public suspicion that climatologits are dangerous nutters who are really away with the fairies. And leaves them further and further marginalised in the energy and mitigation debate.

      • I recall never writing a blog post or comment on the weather, and only did that now to show how ridiculous you all are to equate a cold stretch with global cooling. Which is just as ridiculous as associating a warming stretch with global warming. Do they use this thing we call statistics in England?

      • WHT

        You have missed the point again.

        It is NOT whether or not a few warm winters followed by a few colder and snowier ones are classified by you (or anyone else) as “climate” or as “weather”.

        It is that when there were several warmer than “normal” winters with less snowfall than “normal” in Switzerland, we had climatologists and science reporters warning us that this was a direct result of climate changes caused by AGW.

        Now we are having colder than “normal” winters with more snowfall than “normal”, and climatologists plus science reporters are warning us that this is a direct result of melting Arctic sea ice, again caused by AGW.

        You can’t make this stuff up. It’s too absurd.

        Max

      • More think it has to do with cooling trends.

      • WHT

        More think it has to do with cooling trends.

        This would be a good sign, if true, because it would mean that a greater percentage have still maintained their sanity.

        Unfortunately, there are the ones who put out the silly hypothesis tying alpine winter cooling and unusual snowfall to melting late summer Arctic sea ice.

        And, even more unfortunately, the “sane” ones (to whom you refer) are keeping pretty quiet, so far.

        Max

      • Latimer Alder

        @webbie

        ‘more think it has to do with cooling trends’

        Cooling trends? What cooling trends might those be? Why weren’t we told about cooling trends?

        Why does the nice lady from the Met Office go on telly and tell us that all the cold and snowy weather is because of global warming, and that if we don’t stop doing whatever she disapproves of
        there will be so much global warming that we’ll all freeze to death.

        But seriously webbie. Just you and I here. You can tell me. When you all made all those predictions about ‘global warming’, you had your fingers crossed hadn’t you? And your toes?

        We should have known really that it was all a joke…just a very expensive one.

        But at least we know now. The cold weather is down to ‘cooling trends’. Mystery solved. $100 billion well spent says I.

      • WHT

        Around one third of global stations have been cooling for some time as we observed in this article by separating out the individual stations from the composite of stations used to create an ‘average global temperature’

        It appears that warming is by no means global as there are many hundreds of locations around the world that have exhibited a cooling trend for at least 30 years-a statistically meaningful period in climate terms.

        http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/09/04/in-search-of-cooling-trends/

        These general figures were confirmed by the recent BEST temperature reconstruction which reckoned that 30% of all the stations they surveyed were cooling. (perhaps Judith could do a post on this?)

        Many of the rest (but by no means all) are in urban areas, which many of us believe do not reflect the full amount of localised warming caused by buildings/roads etc. Add in that many stations are not where they started out and have migrated to often warmer climes such as the local airport, and that many stations have become replaced by others or been deleted, and we start to see an immensely complex picture emerging where we are not comparing like with like.

        That is not to say that generally temperatures have not increased since the end of the ‘LIA’. I am thankful for that, but many others seem to experience great angst that we are not all still freezing our butts off.
        tonyb

      • You were the guys talking about cooling trends, or whatever euphemism you want to apply, such as “non-warming” trends. Don’t act so coy about it. Please, try to find something I have blogged about concerning short-term warming trends. You won’t find anything because I only look at strong statistical trends. That’s what separates my approach from the Phantom Chasers on both sides of the debate.

        “And, even more unfortunately, the “sane” ones (to whom you refer) are keeping pretty quiet, so far.

        Max”

        Well, duh. You will never get me in a gotcha concerning this short-term stuff. I really do only look at the fundamentals.

        And Latime siad:

        “But seriously webbie. Just you and I here. You can tell me. When you all made all those predictions about ‘global warming’, you had your fingers crossed hadn’t you? And your toes?”

        Again, I have never said a thing about short-term warming projections. I have plenty of projections on CO2 levels, but that’s cause the dynamic range of fossil fuel production is so large. I know enough not to get burned by poor sized statistical samples. Unless it is either long-term or a strong dynamic range, I avoid the analysis and say nothing.

      • “These general figures were confirmed by the recent BEST temperature reconstruction which reckoned that 30% of all the stations they surveyed were cooling. (perhaps Judith could do a post on this?)”

        The behavior is called dispersion. If some area warms up, another area may cool because the overall probability distribution has tails. The tails do not see a difference between positive and negative, since temperature is a non-homogeneous variable.

      • @ WebHub; after warming, is not a ”tail” of cooling, lad. When some area warms up – the air in that area expands – intercepts extra coldness on the edge of the troposphere – that extra coldness falls some other place. You are explaining my formula backwards. Because your nose has being JUST BELOW THE TAIL for too long. Stand back, to be able to see the whole body, not just what is below the tail. ”EH>AE>ECI” Put one on your bumper sticker on your car

  64. randomengineer

    It wasn’t that long ago that it was widely held that bad evil humans (almost entirely the same bloodline that begat capitalists and republicans) were warlike dimwits who wiped out the neanderthals. For a while starting in the 90’s dimwits were distinctly gaining on 2nd banana status what with the evils of climate change being (astonishingly) seen as more likely. Now however it looks like we bred the buggers out of existence and simply absorbed them (resistance is futile.)

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-02/asu-rnd020612.php

    Makes you wonder WTF is so special about the unchanging climate change consensus given that in *real* sciences the consensus seems to be adaptable to the data. So is it a) climate scientists could use some lessons, or b) more proof that the entire ball of wax is so intertwined into politics that it’s too corrupt to be usable? You decide.

    • Latimer Alder

      Having studied climatology and climatologits for quite a while now, I sometimes find it difficult to convince myself that the Neanderthals have completely died out…..

      • Look for brow ridges, receding chins and powerful jaws.

      • Latimer Alder

        Might they be balding and very very touchy also?

      • Latimer you really should keep up with the literature. You surely must have heard of Homo Staticus, a species bearing a superficial resemblance to Homo Sapiens, (indeed capable, in extremis, of breeding with it), but in reality fundamentally hostile to that species.

        Homo Staticus is genetically endowed with an exaggerated fear of change of any sort, and an unshakeable belief, abundant contrary evidence notwithstanding, that its present environment is the only one it is capable of inhabiting. Genetically bereft of Common Sense, Homo Staticus is nonetheless able to absorb, store and reflexively regurgitate vast quantities of “facts” justifying his neurotic preoccupations, without understanding any of them.

        Extremely rare in times of genuine peril, like WW2, populations of Homo Staticus bloom like red algae in times of peace and plenty.

        May bite when told things might actually be OK – approach with care.

  65. I suggest there has been a certain amount of missing the point in this discussion, is it not more apposite to ask exactly how long ago did we reach “Peak Consensus”?

    And how far down t’other slope will we slide?

  66. Late comment here.

    Consensus in science is not an objective, or a goal, or a way in which scientists resolve questions.

    It is a diagnostic, or indication, for the rest of us to get an insight into what questions scientists are getting resolved, by their usual methods.

    There IS a scientific consensus that the planet is warming, and that the main cause of increasing temperatures is a stronger greenhouse effect, driven by changes in the atmosphere brought about by human activity. If you think that consensus is falling apart, then you are simply way WAY out of touch with what scientists are doing.

    If you disagree with the consensus, then that is a different matter to be considered on its merits. It is not wrong to disagree with a consensus simply because it is a consensus. Arguments still need to be considered on their merits. One, by one, by one. And they are.

    • Chris if:

      “Consensus in science is not an objective, or a goal, or a way in which scientists resolve questions.”

      Why should we care that:

      “There IS a scientific consensus that the planet is warming”

      Are you implying that We Unwashed Rabble should use different criteria than The Scientists do when trying to get questiones answered?

      Andrew

      • That depends on how big you “we” is.

        For the great majority of people, including just about everyone in government, yes, of course they should not be trying to use the same tools as scientists. They ought to be taking the advice of scientists, and taking particular note of the consensus of scientists, on those points where there is a solid consensus.

        For a smaller group like those of us here at this blog, we mostly should be looking at the arguments on their own merits, because we have a particular interest on the subject matter itself.

        Mostly we don’t do that by original research ourselves, but by review and examination of published original work by scientists. No matter where they stand on a consensus. (Though of course, most published work supports the consensus; if it doesn’t then it isn’t the consensus; a few exceptions are fine.)

        In blogs like this, there is a lot of argument over matters which are basically resolved as far as nearly all working scientists are concerned. That’s fine too. It’s certainly not a reason to to dismiss the arguments. For people (like me and you and others) who think they have a bit of an understanding of the actual scientific basis for or against different propositions, we SHOULD look at those, on their merits.

        And when we do, in my experience, the actual reasons why there is a consensus — the data, the physics, the evidence — become clear and we start to see the difference between skepticism, and ignorance or denial.

        That’s just a general expression of how I see these things going. It is STILL the case that each new specific argument is worth taking on its own merits.

      • “For the great majority of people, including just about everyone in government, yes, of course they should not be trying to use the same tools as scientists.”

        Of course they should be using the same tools. Scientists should be helping them/us do this for relevant issues.

        Andrew

    • Chris –

      I absolutely agree with you.

      But I think there is a problem of perception here. Many mainstream scientists think sceptics are people who disagree that the planet has warmed somewhat and human activity is a significant cause. That is simply not true – a very small [but very vocal] group of people, particularly in the US think that. Most sceptics I know do not. In a way, we’re all part of that same consensus.

      Most of us – the vast majority are sceptical about something, or many things, that are completely different.

      The problem is that there are a few [but vocal] scientists that are claiming the ‘consensus’ is also qualified to speak about the consequences of this warming and that there should be a response. To me these things are entirely separate, and the former consensus means nothing to the debate about the other two subjects. And I also don’t believe climate scientists are any better qualified to talk on either of the other tow subjects than informed members of the public.

      If you like, a legitimate consensus about a physical process has been hijacked to be an alleged consensus about something completely different.

      My suspicion is that when a lot of people are talking about ‘the consensus’ they are likely to be talking about very different things to each other.

      • Anteros –

        That is simply not true – a very small [but very vocal] group of people, particularly in the US think that.

        I think that statement is highly questionable:

        Now of course, it is possible that some *% if respondents to that poll confused “global warming” with ACO2 caused global warming (which would be interesting since such large % of the “skeptical” respondents said that they didn’t need more information to make up their minds), but note that another question suggests that was certainly not the case of all respondents:

        http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2011/10/q50.jpg?w=500&h=325

        Many mainstream scientists think sceptics are people who disagree that the planet has warmed somewhat and human activity is a significant cause.

        Now maybe many “mainstream scientists” overestimate the number of “skeptics” who think that no warming is taking place, but: (1) It seems that many “skeptics” underestimate the % of “skeptics” who actually do feel that way and, (2) it is hard to take some “skeptics” at face value when they simultaneously say that they don’t doubt that the Earth is warming and yet rather categorically reject data that show that the Earth is warming, say because of not enough data points, and then selectively accept poorly distributed data points when they suggest a lack of warming.

        I think that Chris nailed it at many levels.

  67. Harold H Doiron

    The Climate Science Community owes it to the general public to debunk the “scientific concensus” impression that is so often repeated in the popular media without truthfully documenting the source of this claim. It may be painful for those within the “concensus” to do so, but that would be good science and good ethics. Thank you Dr. Curry for trying to convince your colleagues that this charade has gone on too long.

    Last night, at a presentation at the University of Houston by Prof. S. Fred Singer, there was an audience discussion with him about the DANGERS to humanity regarding control of CO2 emissions. These dangers to the economies and quality of life of people in developing and undeveloped countries, by trying to deprive them of cheap fossil fuel energy and preventing increased levels of CO2 in the atmosphere that would help food production to feed starving people around the world, need to also be discussed openly in the media by responsible scientists. Otherwise, I will continue to believe there is a conspiracy of the so-called “scientific concensus” to ignore the scientifically proveable harmful effects to global humanity through successful control of CO2 emissions, by only promoting the less certain AGW global warming hoax and their ill-conceived and unproved theory of being able to control the climate through control of CO2 emissions. The science of both sides of this issue need to be openly and honestly discussed with the general public and public policy makers.

    There are many folks in the USA hurting for jobs and a decent living right now because our President has chosen to accept the unproven theory that human related emissions of CO2 are causing “unprecedented global warming”. The science clearly isn’t settled and seems to be clearly incorrect in global temperature trends since 1998. This false impression of a scientific concensus regarding AGW is giving birth to harmful public policy decisions, like the decision to not go forward with the Keystone XL pipeline, to use taxpayer dollars to support unprofitable “green energy” companies with subsidies and handouts in technologies that don’t stand a chance of replacing fossil fuels on an acceptable scale, new unrealistic EPA emissions standards for automobiles, new EPA emissions regulations for coal fired power plants, lack of movement on a national energy independence plan, etc. The “greens” may be getting their way on the basis of, at best, flimsy scientific theories, but I am confident history will show their agenda was harmful to the USA and other world economies that may be waking up to the ADW hoax (see Germany discussions above) before we, as a nation, do. China, whose government and centrally managed economy is led by engineers, must see us as a declining world power led by easily deceived and naive leaders. As a US scientist, not inside the Climate Change community, I am embarrased by the scientifically immature and unethical behavior of prominent members of the USA Climate Change community. I am especially embarrased that my former employer, NASA, allows its most prominent climate change scientist to make alarmist public pronouncements using his NASA credentials and unscientific, biased and slanted summary of NASA’s GISS temperature database, while ignoring conflicting temperature data from NASA’s weather satellites and other sources. At least NASA, as an official government agency, has had the good sense not to make an officicial scientific finding or conclusion regarding AGW. However, NASA’s indecision and official silence in this matter, and the lingering “scientific concensus” ruse is fueling the public misconception about current climate trends and allowing other government agencies to waste $billions in response to the ill-defined “AGW problem”.

  68. Mydogsgotnonose

    To those who imagine the ‘consensus’ has anything remotely to do with real science, I recommend you peruse Exhibit 1: http://www.cgd.ucar.edu/cas/abstracts/files/kevin1997_1.html

    See how in Figure 1 it is claimed that there is on average 390 W/m^2 ‘Surface Radiation’? Funnily enough, that is exactly the total radiative flux predicted by the Stefan-Boltzmann Equation for an isolated body at 15°C in a vacuum.

    How can that be when there is an atmosphere? After all, in many years measuring what happens with combined convective and radiative heat transfer, to get radiation to exceed convection for a near black body flat plate needs ~120°C [for aluminium it’s ~300°C!].

    This totally incorrect use of the S-B equation appears to be the root error in the climate models because to get that IR flux there has to be the totally wrong claim that ‘back radiation’, in reality Prevost exchange Energy, can be added to the IR from the ground, i.e it can do thermodynamic work.

    That is bunkum. So the consensus has always been wrong. No climate model can predict climate. The models have to be rebuilt with advice from outside scientists whose job is to correct 5 basic physics’ mistakes.

    I thought it just 4 until I saw this diagram when I realised this was the fundamental mistake.

    • That is kinda problem. There is nothing wrong with assuming a perfect black body as long as that perfection is used throughout the calculations. It would give you an upper limit. The problem is confusing an upper limit with expectations. The projections only give us the worst case, not both the worst case and best case so that the range is clearly communicated.

      That is why perfectionists are always disappointed :)

      • Mydogsgotnonose

        My point is that real IR flux is far less than claimed in the Trenberth-Kiehl diagram and the only way they get it to 390 W/m^2 is by using totally incorrect radiation physics.

        This is why the models claim present warming should be 3-5 times the real level assuming this is mainly GHG-AGW then saying it’s corrected by a negative net AIE for which there is no experimental proof and the model predictions are wrong because the physics is wrong.

        This is shown here [page 5]: http://www.gewex.org/images/feb2010.pdf

        The models use double real optical depth to hide the incorrect heat generation.so they can’t predict climate. Even the derived satellite data are wrong.

        And because the assumption of 100% IR thermalisation is wrong, it;’s likely that present net CO2-AGW is slightly negative with recent heating from an entirely different process related to the Arctic melting, a cyclical process over ~70 years.

        The GCMs are fine, it’s the climate science that’s wrong.

  69. It is my view that consensus has something to do with narrative, and that the narrative in question here is one seated in the English language quite specifically. I have a chapter on the subject, the first two paragraphs of which are here:

    As a journalist, I’ve had my scientific bona fides called into question by those convinced climate change is a grave, modern concern – as though writers have not studied different subjects and then discussed what they learned in print before. I would like to point out that it is climate scientists who have truly left their own realm and come stomping onto writers’ turf – that of narrative.

    The climate scientists who have delved into this particular narrative the most successfully are, for the most part, native English-speakers. Indeed, global warming is a tale that is principally written in English. Scientists from a number of non-English-speaking countries have added a detail or two along the way, but no one can compete with the influence of British and American scientists in the story’s telling. If you are one of the people who fears the effects of manmade global warming, and your native language happens to be English, you might want to think about that for a moment or two. One reason for the disproportionate power of English in the master narrative is the simple fact that the longest continuous record of temperature anywhere on Earth comes from England. Known as the Central England Temperature, or CET, the record extends back to 1659. An aggregate of four temperature stations falling within a triangle covering a sizable hunk of England, CET is its own form of scientific achievement.

    More here: http://amzn.to/xam4iF

    • Harold

      Great to see you here. Recently I exended CET back to 1538 in this article.

      https://judithcurry.com/2011/12/01/the-long-slow-thaw/

      I also wrote an article in which I only half jokingly suggested that Dickens had a disproportionate impact on the Anglo Saxon view of the world through such stories as a Christmas Carol. . Consequently I agree that for a variety of reasons, CET, THe Met Office etc ‘we’ have had a considerable impact on the climate change debate, and not in a good way.
      tonyb

    • One reason for the disproportionate power of English in the master narrative is the simple fact that the longest continuous record of temperature anywhere on Earth comes from England.

      ?

      English is the language of much scientific discourse in most fields.

      For example, medical researchers from non-English speaking countries very often publish in English. Is the reason for that the “simple fact” that the longest record of observations of human physiology come primarily from England?

  70. May I draw people’s attention to

    http://nofrakkingconsensus.com/2012/02/08/scientific-consensus-leadership-stephen-schneider/

    I would love to hear some comments from the names mentioned at the end of the paper.

    • The list of right-wing extremists involved in a “Big Oil” conspiracy at the bottom of the page?

      Just kidding.

      A tawdry tale indeed.

  71. It’s always progress when Dr. Curry makes it to Climate Depot;

    http://www.climatedepot.com/

    Who, what and why there are sausage makers should be clarified but it is progress.

  72. To answer the question:

    Yes, there was a (political) consensus of scientists.
    No, there was not a scientific consensus.

    For there to be a scientific consensus, knowledgeable scientists review the science (data, methods, etc.) and by repeated testing come to the conclusion which supports the consensus.

    A “political” consensus of scientists simply means a group of scientists all believe the same thing without necessarily carrying out a scientific review.

    In other words, if Scientist A comes to a conclusion, and Scientists B, C & D all agree based on their trust in Scientist A, then its a political consensus, not a scientific consensus. Only if Scientists B, C & D independently verify the conclusion can it be called a scientific consensus.

  73. Noud Vermeulen

    Scientific consensus as such is not very interesting, unless you mean a ‘paradigma’: a shared theory for the time being….(Kuhn, Popper)
    Consensus ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE is only applicable to the IPCC-community and their adherents; I doubt to call this a scientific one. Moreover IPCC is just a minor subset of the total of the relevant scientific community.
    So, unless you speciify the question further, the best answer is: it does not matter.

    Noud Vermeulen (Netherlands)

  74. Noud Vermeulen

    In 1543 Copernicus knew that the heliocentric system was a better idea, he wrote ‘De revolutionibus.’ At a time that the Church still declared that there was consensus about Aristoteles’ theory of the earth as the centre. The book went on the index.
    In 1630 Galilei said that Copernicus was right, so he was trialed in 1633 by the inquisition and placed under house-arrest.
    In 2009 the Church admitted that they were wrong in 1633.
    Things have been speeded up now, but who is Copernicus, who the Church and who is the Inquisition nowadays?
    Being right is more important than having consensus. Power is even more important than consensus, unless you follow the scientific way.

  75. All I can say — as a member of the sceptic community — is that we, as a loosely knit group, have never claimed to have reached a consensus. The claim about having a consensus has come form the side of the orthodox climate science “team” (their word) and — more particularly from the architects of the IPCC process.
    And as for Black’s supposed distitinction:
    “A second problem is the absence of clarity over which consensus we are talking about; consensus that the Earth is warming, consensus that greenhouse gas emissions are the main reason, or consensus that it’s a problem requiring urgent solution, to name but three?”
    It would seem that the “team” has consistently claimed to have a consensus on all three of these facets of the consensus spectrum. and the edifice that they have constructed stands or falls together.
    When it comes to the reliability of data sceptics are quite right to be sceptical but that alone is not enough to puncture the consensus. So we have to work form what data we do have and our main gripe is that the data points in a different direction than the AGW proponents claim. It is a very simple and straightforward fact that there has been no further warming for the last 12 years or more — an issue on which there ought to be 100% agreement. But unfortunately the “team” still tries to discount his hard fact.
    It would be nice to think that JC’s closing comment that:
    “So, here’s to ‘cracking the consensus’ in favor of open debate and discussion of policy options and in presenting carefully crafted scientific arguments that present evidence for and against, with suitable caveats about uncertainties and areas of ignorance.”
    sounds good to me but I see little hope of it happening unless and until the “team” gets at least as far as conceding that their basic hypothesis that CO2 is the main culprit for such warming as has occurred nay indeed be badly flawed.

  76. The final word on consensus;

  77. Now that the consensus is broken you don’t want your consensus anymore? Unfortunately,

    You made it;

    You OWN it.

    And I will keep calling the IPCC consensus climate scientists the IPCC consensus climate scientists, just to be as specific as possible in naming the enemy. And I do mean that seriously; they are the enemy of honest science. Here in Germany, people like Marotzke and Latif, and of course Schellnhuber and Rahmstorff do their best defending the consensus against the marauding hordes of skeptics; and it’s fun to watch them go down. I want them fired.

    The consensus came home to roost. And it was good.

  78. The presence or absence of a consensus does not by itself prove anything.

    OTOH, it’s entirely logical that in response to the evidence accumulating and pointing more or less in the same general direction, that the experts’ opinions about that general direction start to converge. I.e. a consensus emerges. A theory either rises to the level of consensus or it is abandoned.

    It can thus not so easily be dismissed as being irrelevant either.

    • Bart,
      Consider AGW a false positive of your thesis.

    • Bart,
      I think the better way to frame it is using the concept of our best science.

      Our best science is never settled science, its just the best science we have to day.

      Its not our best science because of who supports it or how many people support it. Its our best science because it does a better job of explaining
      what we observe than any other science.

      When you focus on what our best science tells us, you dont ever run into the issue ( false issue ) of settled science. And you dont really count heads.

      just a thought.

  79. Steven,

    The term “best science” may indeed be better than “settled science” (which I hardly ever use anyway), but it still runs into the issue “best according to whom?” But indeed, you circumvent that by saying “best according to its explanatory power”.

    However, my point still stands, that as a result of the best science doing a better job of explaining what we observe than any other science, naturally the experts’ opinions start to converge into the general direction of that “best science”. I.e. a consensus emerges.

    Laypeople need tools to distinguish the best from the slightly less good from the worse science. I’m not an expert in health science, or evolution. I go by secondary cues (e.g. as laid out in this post http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2009/02/08/who-to-believe/ ). Counting *expert* heads is one of those cues, and quite a powerful one since it usually serves as a good proxy for where the evidence points to (or for what the best science is, using your preferred term). You can only discard is as being a good proxy if you have evidence that the scientific process severely malfunctioned. Which of course is why there are such efforts expended in painting climate science in a conspiratorial light: The existence of a conspiracy or group think would diminish the relevance of consensus as a proxy for the evidence.

  80. I’m sure this is certainly among the most significant information in my opinion. And im glad reading your article. But need to remark on some general things, Your website style is wonderful, the articles really is excellent : D. Good job, cheers

  81. I just like the helpful info you supply for your articles.
    I will bookmark your weblog and test again right here frequently.
    I am reasonably certain I’ll learn lots of new stuff proper here!
    Good luck for the next!