AMS members surveyed on global warming

by Judith Curry

The results of the American Meteorological Society member survey on global warming are now available.  Some surprises.

The report describing the survey and the preliminary results are posted [here].  It is not a long document, only 19 pages.

From a blog post by some of the authors of the study:

Most AMS Members apparently agree that there is conflict among their colleagues in the Society on the issue of climate change. Those who perceive the conflict on this issue generally see it as at least a partly or somewhat positive thing, but at least some of them—29%, feel reluctance to bring up the topic of global warming at AMS meetings and functions.

Despite the perception of conflict, 82% of voting Members feel AMS should help to educate the public about global warming and 67% think AMS should help educate policy makers about it.

Those are some of the key preliminary findings so far from our recent survey of AMS voting Members, e-mailed in December 2011. The survey was a collaboration between our committee, CICCC, and Dr. Ed Maibach at George Mason University. We asked all 7,197 AMS voting Members about their varied perspectives about climate change. Specifically, we hoped to learn about Members’ assessment of the evidence, perception of conflict among our members, views about AMS’s role in public education, and personal involvement in public education activities.

With a response rate of 26%, the survey results may not be easy to extrapolate to the membership as a whole. 

The document is in such a format that I can’t cut and paste from the document.  Here is a retype of the summary of the views about global warming:

A very large majority of respondents (89%) indicated that global warming is happening; in contrast few indicated it isn’t happening (4%) or that they “don’t know” (7%).  Respondents who indicated that global warming is happening were asked their veiws about its primary causes:  a large majority indicated that human activity (59%), or human activity and natural causes in more or less equal amounts (11%), were the primary causes.  Relatively few respondents indicated that the warning is caused primarily by natural causes (6%), although a substantial minority (23%) indicated they dont believe enough is yet known to determine the degree of human or natural causation.

A large majority of respondents who indicated that global warming is happening indicated that if nothing is done to address it, over the next 100 years it will be very harmful (38%) or somewhat harmful (38%) to people and society; a small minority of respondents indicated that the harms and benefits will be approximately equal (12%), or that the warming will be beneficial on the whole (2.4%).  Among those respondents who indicated the warming would be harmful, only a small minority indicated that all (2%) or a large amount (20%) of the harms can be prevented through mitigation and adaptation measures; the more common responses were that a moderate amount (46%) or small amount (22%) of the harm can be prevented.

All respondents were asked how worried they are about gloal warming: a large majority indicated that they were very worried (30%) or somewhat worried (42%), while a minority indicated they were not very worried (20%) or not at all worried (8%).

Only 59% of the respondents indicated that 81-100% of climate scientists think that human-caused gloval warming is happening, while 20% of respondents reporter the number to be between 61-80%.

JC comment:  read the whole thing, this is pretty fascinating.  It is interesting to compare this with the 97% of the Anderegg et al. study.  Besides the obviously different methodologies, the AMS surveyed meteorologists, whereas the population included by Anderegg et al. was heavily spiked with economists and ecologists.  The demographic of the AMS group was such that 56% had published refereed journal articles in the past 5 years, and about half of these people published primarily in the climate field.

314 responses to “AMS members surveyed on global warming

  1. It would be interesting to know the percentage of the respondents who are a part of the governmental-education complex.

    • “68. Do you consider yourself part of the governmental-education complex?”
      :)

    • Hansen et al — 18 January 2012
      Quote: “because the combined effect of all forcings is less than that of greenhouse gases alone, and much of the greenhouse gas forcing has been “used up” in causing the warming of the past century. It is apparent that the solar forcing is not negligible in comparison with the net climate forcing.” end quote.
      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/2011/
      hesitation? deviation?
      ‘Solar forcing’ as compiled from the available data for the North Atlantic:
      http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/SSN-NAP.htm

      • Vuk

        Is Hansen saying that we have just about reached the full extent of co2 absorption as seen in the logarithmic curve and that natural causes e.g. solar forcing should now be considered a major factor in temperature changes?
        tonyb

      • I think that could be the implication, but can’t see how so soon. Let’s wait and hear from the experts.

      • Tony,

        What Hansen is saying appears totally clear.

        He tells that the rate of warming is determined by the net energy imbalance, which is rather small, much smaller than the total change in forcing since preindustrial era, because significant warming has already occurred. The present net forcing is actually very closely related to the “warming in the pipeline” as the net forcing is zero in energy equilibrium.

        According to Hansen the present net forcing is 0.58±0.15 W/m^2 and the variability of solar forcing is 0.25 W/m^2, i.e. almost half of the present net forcing. Therefore the solar forcing is an important factor in the variability of the rate of warming, although it has little influence for the warming over longer periods of several solar cycles. The average solar forcing of the last exceptionally long solar cycle of about 14 years is approximately 0.05 W/m^2 lower than the average of the previous two solar cycles (estimated looking at the graph).

        My understanding is that Hansen’s estimate of the net forcing is not an empirical observation but an outcome of his view of the state of the Earth system, and based at least in part on his model calculations. Hansen describes commonly his view of the state of atmosphere in a way that makes it difficult to see the order of logic. He has a coherent picture, where many things would change, when one is changed. Others may have different pictures, including other main stream scientists, when numbers are looked at the level of detail of 0.58±0.15 W/m^2.

      • There you have it Tony, I hope you got it!
        Or perhaps Hansen thinks he’s gone as far as he can with CO2, money has been “used up”, so now we need more funding to start researching the solar forcing.

      • Hansen et al -18 January 2012 looks like it deserves a post of its own. Funny that 0.2Wm-2 of solar is significant now, its almost like CO2 is near saturation? :)

      • I really fail to see the connection to the saturation of CO2. These issues are not related in any obvious way.

        What the statement of the importance of solar variability implies is that there’s not much heating in the pipeline. More precisely there’s about twice the amount of heating in the pipeline in comparison to the range of short term solar variability represents. The longer term variability might be about half of that, if we assume that the maximum is close to the solar cycle averages what we have seen and the minimum close to the minimum levels of the latest solar cycle. (I.e. we would miss the years of higher radiation level over a extended period.)

      • Vuk and Capt dallas

        Yes it looks like it deserves a post of its own.

        Pekka

        Thanks for your reply-Hansen is always not a clear communicator and the answers need to be teased out. You are hereby accorded frst teasing rights on any dedicated thread on the subject.

        tonyb

      • Pekka, there is not a lot about radiant forcing that is related in any obvious way unless the correct thermodynamic frame of reference is used. With the correct frame of reference, things get a lot clearer.

        The biggest clue that something is amiss, is when the answer from one frame does not equal the answer from another frame. Trenberth’s 330Wm-2 DWLR is based on a TOA frame of reference that ignores the temperature dependence of CO2 forcing is negligible. It is not.

        With the surface as a frame of reference, there is a great deal more information available from the data that is available. In fact, it is possible to find flaws in the data, like the Antarctic temperatures, if the correct frame of reference is used. Some of the information is pretty interesting, once you get beyond the limitations of two dimensional linear models.

        In any case, fairly soon there should be a few legitimate scientific break throughs that don’t involve poor math :)

  2. Dr. Curry – Very interesting. Thanks.

    Still I can’t help wondering whether, even within the membership of professional societies and polled anonymously, there isn’t a bit of ‘me tooism’ in responses.

    • Every poll has to be looked at in terms of “game theory” both for the pollster and the respondents. Even then, they often tell you less than they claim.

  3. Willis Eschenbach

    Regardless of their qualifications regarding climate, they should be shot as pollsters. Why is it that science is so insular, particularly climate science? Take the first question … please:

    1. In this survey, the term “global warming” refers to the premise that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years, may be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate may change as a result.

    Regardless of the cause, do you think that global warming is happening?

    Now that’s beyond dumb. We are supposed to assume that “global warming” means the temperature has increased in the past, may increase in the future, and that “as a result” the climate may change.

    Is this really how far climate “science” has sunk? There are so many “may”s in that sentence it is useless, meaningless, and totally devoid of content.

    I’d have to answer “Yes, sure, all that stuff you mention may happen”, but what does that mean?

    NOTHING!!

    The question is obviously designed so that the only way it can possibly be answered is “Yes”. Then people can say “89% of the AMS scientists said global warming is real”.

    This poll is pathetic, Judith, absolutely pathetic. Here’s an opportunity for you. You are at a college. Someone there must teach the science of polling. Give their polling class that question (the opening question, mind you) and have them discuss whether that is a good question for a poll.

    The AMS leadership should hang their heads in shame.

    w.

    • “Authors veteran meteorologists Joe D’Aleo and Anthony Watts analyzed temperature records from all around the world for a major SPPI paper, Surface Temperature Records – Policy-driven Deception? The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century is based on numerous astonishing examples of manipulation and exaggeration of the true level and rate of “global warming”.”
      http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/policy_driven_deception.html

      Read that again:
      >>>>>The startling conclusion that we cannot tell whether there was any significant “global warming” at all in the 20th century<<<<

      So spare me the BS Willis. When skeptics as prominent as D'Aleo, Watts and the SPPI are pushing the idea that global warming might not have happened in the 20th century you don't get to pretend that the question the AMS asked was unreasonable. Not to mention that even 11% of those polled didn't answer yes.

      • Actually, you can criticise the survey methodology without any reference to what other people have done. The US is the home of survey methodology. Why didn’t the researchers ask someone at Michigan or Columbia about how best to do this? The first question is simply awful, as has been pointed out above. Your heart sins when you read this kind of stuff.

        And for what it’s worth, I have made my own study of ‘global temperature’, and would say that we really do not have much idea of what happened to it in the 20th century, but that it is more likely to have warmed, if that means anything at all, than to have cooled. The reasons are methodological too, and have been pointed out again and again on this website.

      • Oh dear, maybe my heart sins too, but I mean ‘sinks’.

      • Willis Eschenbach

        As Don points out, whether or not “the question the AMS asked was unreasonable” has nothing to do with me, you, Anthony Watts, or SPPI. Either that first question I discussed is or is not unreasonable … but Anthony has NOTHING TO DO with that. Logic fail, my friend.

        So … spare me the BS, lolwot, as an acquaintance of mine recently remarked. If you think the first question is reasonable, then defend it. Attacking me or D’Aleo instead of addressing the issues just reveals your biases without furthering the discussion.

        w.

      • Don Aitken –

        It is only a subjective perspective that creates the illusion that the US is the home of survey methodology (even though it may be one home of many)

        Here in Britain we not only do it rather well, but have been doing it for some considerable period of time. A reasonably early test of our methodological techniques was entailed by the research for the Doomesday Book of 1086. Bearing in mind, of course, that we picked up many ideas from the Romans beginning a thousand years earlier, until we found it advantageous to throw them out.

        A world leading organisation like Ipsos-MORI would have provided a robust and insightful survey – had someone had the humility to ask them and the £s sterling to pay them :)

      • to Anteros: I wish I had said ‘sample survey methodology’, where it is undeniably true that the methodology was worked out at Columbia and then polished at the ISR in Michigan. I profited from that methodology both in Oxford and in Ann Arbor in the mid to late 1960s.

        But I would certainly agree that in the UK there are excellent centres using the very latest techniques. And I’d bet they’d be prepared to be paid in USD as well as £ — though probably not in Euros.

    • Greg Cavanagh

      Its more of a bait & switch.

      First you define the meaning of a phrase, lets say:- The term “pink fairies” refers to the premise that the world has bla.bla.bla.

      Then you ask the question; Has the world done the bla bla.

      You then do a phrase switch replacing “the world bla bla’d” with pink fairies, and you can then reconstruct the sentence thus:
      Pink fairies are real and happening.

      • “Pink fairies are real and happening”…yeah!

        Don’t think about it
        Well all you’ve got to do is, do it
        Well don’t talk about it
        All you do is do it, do it
        Don’t lie about it
        Do it, do it
        Write about it honey
        Then we’ll just do it
        Yeah,do do do do do do do do do do do it
        Do it do it do it do it do it do it do it do it
        You all just do it
        Don’t sing about it
        If you ain’t gonna, do it
        Don’t write about it man
        If you ain’t gonna, do it
        Rock and roll
        And the message is, do it
        You’re gonna rip me off man
        You blew it, do it, do it, do it, do it, do it
        Do it (x12) yeah

        –The Pink Fairies, “Do It,” 1971

    • In light of the fact that 26% responded to the survey, I hypothesize that the first question was to deliberatly bias the survey results. The creators of the survey only wanted results from that portion of the AMS who would not throw the survey in the trash after reading the first question.

  4. the survey results may not be easy to extrapolate to the membership as a whole

    Is survey sampling too esoteric to be considered? (question)

    If 29%, feel reluctance to bring up the topic of global warming at AMS meetings and functions and yet they respond to the survey alongside a total 26% of the AMS members, it might as well be that 74% of the AMS membership haven’t replied because they are afraid and don’t want to touch global warming with a long pole.

    Therefore the fact that 72% of the respondents say they’re worried is most likely very misleading…obviously, everybody worried about global warming has replied to the survey. So the real number of “worriers” might be 72×26=19%.

    And that’s a figure that would make perfect sense.

    • “With a response rate of 26%, the survey results may not be easy to extrapolate to the membership as a whole.”

      That’s an awfully low response rate. Simple bounds on the population proportions would be extremely wide, almost noninformative.

      • “That’s an awfully low response rate.”

        It’s not, actually. In the world of mass-mailing surveys to people that haven’t agreed in advance to participate, it’s actually exceptionally good.

        But it does create a ascertainment bias. It’s unavoidable in this kind of research.

      • One has got to think that the AGW zealots would be more likely to respond to the survey to ensure that “the cause” is advanced, thereby skewing the results significantly.

      • With an opening question like that, low response is not a surprise. Isn’t climate disruption the current term?

        The Global Temperature Average has increased in the past 150 years, is that evidence of climate disruption?

        That would have been the PC question.

        The warming of the past 150 years is primarily due to ?

        a, Recovery from naturally caused colder conditions.

        b. Greenhouse gas emissions

        c. Land use changes

        d. All of the above.

        During the past 150 years, over 10% of the land surface area has be modified for shelter, industry and agriculture. What percentage of measure warming is due to land use change?

        a. 0

        b. 10%

        c. 25%

        d. Greater than 25%

        Oops! I might create a biased survey!

      • ” In the world of mass-mailing surveys to people that haven’t agreed in advance to participate, it’s actually exceptionally good.”

        Well, now I know what to think of the “world of mass-mailing surveys to people that haven’t agreed in advance to participate.”

      • NW –
        “In the world of mass-mailing surveys to people that haven’t agreed in advance to participate, it’s actually exceptionally good.”

        In that world, the expected average return rate is 1% or less. But that number is a meaningless distraction wrt this discussion because that world is a random process, polling those who know nothing of you or your product, honesty, integrity, etc. It’s the same as cold-calling sales, whether homes, politcal ads or Uncle Lem’s Home Brew and Cure-All Elixer. Only the gullible will bite on the bait. Which, of course, is why we all still get offers of free money via UK, Thai, and other versions of the Nigerian scam. As I said – a meaningless distraction.

    • Some excellent points Omni. Also consider a few features of the context regarding the AMS and global warming:
      (1) Just a few years ago the charming climate commissar Heidi Cullen announces that any member of the AMS who does does not accept the “settled science” of CAGW doctrine should be thrown out of the organization.
      (2) The aforementioned Ms. Cullen among others is calling for climate change counseling (“voluntary” of course) for skeptical AMS members.
      (3) Other left-wing groups have begun a rat-out-your-skeptical-meteorologist campaign.
      I must have left out something, but you get the idea. . . . Oh yes, we have
      (4) CAGW activists have now taken to feloniously obtaining and then leaking in-house documents of an organization that is skeptical of CAGW doctrine. Just imagine: With the upper echelon of the AMS (and probably most of its staff) no firmly in the CAGW camp, how hard would it be really to obtain and release a list of AMS members who had responded to this survey and given “inappropriate” answers?

  5. Willis Eschenbach

    And further to my previous comment, they set up a definition of global warming that contains one historical, factual component (warming in the past) and two conjectural future components (warming MAY continue in future, this MAY affect future climate).

    Then in the question, they ask if global warming IS happening … how can you answer whether a conjectural future IS happening? That is meaningless.

    w.

    • Robin Guenier

      “That is meaningless”. I disagree – it’s perfectly logical to ask “Do you think that this (that may effect that) is happening?” Nonetheless, I accept that it’s absurd to include these “conjectural future components”. And their inclusion may well have deterred some respondents from completing the rest of the survey.

      IMO, however, what’s interesting about the survey is that, of those who did complete it, only about 17% considered AGW was real and serious – far less than I would have expected. See my analysis here: https://judithcurry.com/2012/03/06/ams-members-surveyed-on-global-warming/#comment-182780

    • Greg Cavanagh

      It’s a good trick question isn’t it.
      Global warming means:
      1, The world has warmed.
      + 2. The world might warm in the future.
      + 3. The weather might change in the future because it might get warmer in the future.

      Is “all of the above” happening?

      I actualy think the answer is no; primarily because of 3.

  6. “… The environmental movement gave Dansgaard and Oeschger the environmental Nobelthe Tyler Prizein 1996 because they thought the Antarctic ice record proved that CO2 regulates our global temperatures. But today we know that the correlation between CO2 and temperatures over the past 150 years is only 22 percent. The correlation with sunspots is 79 percent.

    “Now the most accurate ocean temperatures ever recorded from the Argo diving floats say the oceans stopped warming in 2003. Global surface temperatures have followed, dropping sharply over the last several years.

    “Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr., the former Colorado State Climatologist, wrote in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society in 2003, it is the change in ocean heat content that provides the most effective diagnostic of global warming and cooling. Nor does Dr. Pielke think there is any place on earth that a large amount of latent warming could be hidden.

    “Josh Willis, a loyal Jet Propulsion Laboratory bureaucrat, says the global and ocean cooling does not contradict the climate models. In fact, many climate models simulate four to five year periods with no warming in the upper ocean from time to time. However, a quick survey of the climate models has failed to find any such no-warming predictions published.

    “We must face the fact that the earth is now cooling, and any drastic actions to reduce fossil fuel emissions are premature. Dr. Kanya Kusano of Japans Earth Stimulator Project recently advised his government that the need for such actions is based on an unproven hypothesis.

    “Scientific maxim: If you theory doesn’t fit observed reality, change your theory.”

    [Dennis T. Avery, Hemispheric Timing Shows Oceans are Source of CO2, The Autonomous (4/2/09)]

    • Peter Davies

      I agree with Willis that the wording of the questionnaire should have been less pre-emptive. In my experience questionnaire design often projects the biases of the investigators; leading to dubious results from confirmation bias and motivated reasoning.

  7. Dr. Curry, in your first sentence “on global warning” should be “on global warming”… and it is a very entertaining mis-spelling, BTW. :)

  8. I agree with Willis. This survey is not helpful whatsoever, and even more, only about 1/5 of the already small response rate have most of their papers (in the last 5 years at least) on the topic of climate change.

  9. Next, let’s ask a group of salesman if they think they product they are selling is really that good.

    Andrew

  10. Norm Kalmanovitch

    100% of the global temperature datasets (including BEST) show no global warming for at least a decade.
    0% of the meterologists will comment on when the current global cooling will end.
    100% of the solar physicists relate the current cooling to solar cycle 24 and predict that solar cycle 25 will mimick the Dalton minimum that brought a continuation of the LIA in the Early 1800’s.
    100% of the climate model projections of global temperature based on warming from CO2 emissions have been wrong.
    and all 31,000 who signed the Oregon petition many of whom are members of the AMS disagree about global warming caused by CO2 emissions.
    All this survey tells us about is how pervasive the AGW belief system is.

  11. “The demographic of the AMS group was such that 56% had published refereed journal articles in the past 5 years, and about half of these people published primarily in the climate field.”

    That’s not what the first link says:

    27. What percentage of your papers published in peer-­‐reviewed journals in the last 5 years have been on the subject of climate change?
    [Asked if answer to question 26 is “Yes”]

    50% or more 23%
    Less than 50% 56%
    Not Applicable 21%

    I make it 23% of 56% or 12.9%. Which lines up perfectly with the fact that 13% of the respondents consider themselves climate scientists.

    A very interesting study, but not one that can tell us much about the views of climate scientists, since 87% percent of the sample aren’t climate scientists.

    Love to see more detailed crosstables and tease out, for example, if the PhDs differed from the BA/BS/MA/MS graduates, if the climate scientists differed from their brethren, if K-12 teachers differed from professors and so on.

    • “Love to see more detailed crosstables and tease out, for example, if the PhDs differed from the BA/BS/MA/MS graduates, if the climate scientists differed from their brethren, if K-12 teachers differed from professors and so on.”

      This would be VERY interesting.

  12. In Ian Ayre’s book “supercrunchers,” he references studies that compared what people said on surveys with how they actually behaved. The studies showed that it’s quite common for people to respond to surveys with what they think is the “right” answer, yet behave completely differently. People may have other motivations that bias survey results as well. In one study in Mexico, respondents that were dirt poor – that is, they had dirt floors – lied on surveys and claimed otherwise, even though they would recieve benefits for being poor, apparently because of the social stigma of being poor.

    How could one measure beliefs about AGW via behavior?

    • Two classics…

      Nisbett and Wilson, 1977. Telling More Than We Can Know: Verbal Reports on Mental Processes. Pysch Review.

      http://people.virginia.edu/~tdw/nisbett&wilson.pdf

      Manski, 1990. The Use of Intentions Data to Predict Behavior: A Best-Case Analysis. JASA.

      http://www.ssc.wisc.edu/cde/cdewp/89-23.pdf

      Read ’em and weep.

      • Nice papers, muchas gracias. Makes my point nicely. You’re supposed to believe in AGW, right? That’s what all the major science orgs say. Don’t wanna put down the wrong asnwer on that one.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        NW,

        thanks for the reminders.

    • And in addition to such examples of seemingly quixotic cognitive processes we must add cognitive dissonance especially as between propaganda and reality.

      As Philip Stott predicted in his article on cognitive dissonance what follows is the usual insult crapulent b.s. but raised to a fever pitch from the AGW True Believers before they all get dragged down by the stone of dead cold logic. But, the final howling of the Heaven’s Gate cult of climate change castrophism marks a point in time that does give rise to some hope–I hope.

      Otherwise, are you going to tell me that after the hoax and scare tacticds have been exposed you’ve still got a Democrat party that is going to continue associating with those who think human activity is evil? Personally, I still cannot believe it and, I won’t believe until it happens. But, stranger things have happened lately.
      .

  13. The results of Question 24 are very interesting. Who is articulating an opinion? Government and academia.

  14. A poll of denizens finds 97.2% don’t think much of polls.

    • A recent online poll asked people how often they respond to online polls. About half the respondents said “never”.

      • Alex Heyworth

        Very droll, Fred. Full marks.

        My only response can be to say that solipsism is a very unpopular philosophy these days. I seem to be the only solipsist around.

      • Peter Davies

        Alex do you exist? While I may not exist as far as you are concerned please be asssured that I acknowledge yours. :)

      • Alex Heyworth

        Very much tongue in cheek, Peter. Happy to acknowledge your existence!

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Fred Moolten: About half the respondents said “never”.

        Delightful. You must be Kim today.

  15. Like Dr. Curry, I found the survey results surprising, since I would have expected a more skeptical/contrarian perspective than the polling suggests. However, the low response rate makes this hard to interpret.
    One reason for some surprise involves the composition of the respondents. In general, it has been my sense that meteorologists have tended to be less supportive of mainstream climate science conclusions than climate scientists. Of the respondents, 66% listed their specialty as “meteorology/atmospheric science”, while only 13% listed “climate science”. I would be interested to know how the individuals made that distinction for themselves – where is the dividing line?

    One other factor that I think may influence the thinking of AMS members is the content of the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS). This journal frequently publishes highly informative articles on climate science that are likely to give readers a more comprehensive picture of the current state of climate science than they might otherwise have arrived at.

    • “I would be interested to know how the individuals made that distinction for themselves – where is the dividing line?”

      See my comment above — the numbers, oddly enough, are virtually identical between those that identify as climate scientists (13%) and those that have published mostly peer-reviewed science in the past five years (12.88% calculated, or about 13%(!))

  16. Anthony Watts

    I find myself in odd and rare agreement with Chris Colose.

    With a 26% respondent rate, I suspect they’ve sampled only the people who care the most about the issue.

    This is about as useful as the “97% of climate scientists agree” poll that falls apart when you look at the actual numbers of respondents.

    • I think just as importantly, the “97%” poll falls apart when you look at the ‘questions’ that were asked. The astonishing thing is that 3% (or two individuals) were found who wouldn’t say “yes” to both questions.

      Perhaps they had a sense of humour, or were registering their belief that the questions were absurd.

    • When it comes to response rates from surveys, I always harken back to 1978 and my first Operations Research class. Gene Woolsey ended the class with a story from WWII. A pilot noticed that some RAF officer with a clipboard was going out to the flightline after they landed from every mission. The pilot one day ask what he was doing. The RAF officer explained that he was “studying bullet holes on the bombers and fighters to learn attack pattern and where armor might be most effective.” The pilot having just returned after a hard mission asked incredulously, “Did it ever occur to you that you only see the planes that COME BACK!?!?” My professor closed with, “Don’t let this happen to you.”

      While researching this story I found a 2007 report by Jaap de Rue (Word Doc), that reports the story slightly differently. Patrick Maynard Stuart Blackett lead that OR group and in their report to the RAF recommended armoring the least damaged areas since only planes that came back from Germany were included in the survey, his team reasoned that the untouched areas were apparently the most vital areas.

      Finally, in my internet research I stumbled upon this great page of Quotes from Science including “The best way to have a good idea is to have a lot of ideas.” — Linus Pauling.

      • This is a great story, but is looking more apocryphal to me now, given your account, since I read that Abraham Wald was the one who provided the insight. Of course Wald could have been a part of Blackett’s group:

        http://www.johndcook.com/blog/2008/01/21/selection-bias-and-bombers/

        …or maybe Cook has got it wrong.

        I would sure like to know the truth (who had the critical insight).

      • Stephen, I have been poking around and it is pretty clear that Abraham Wald wrote a monograph for the US forces in 1943 on this subject. It is also clear that Blackett (and/or his group) is credited in numerous online sources for advising UK forces on this subject. And it is clear that a couple of people suggest (e.g. Cook linked above) that Wald had some connection to the UK…

        But I cannot find anything online, in papers about Wald or Blackett, or the SRG in the US (Wald worked for the SRG during WWII) suggesting a link between US and UK stats efforts, or that there was any link between Wald and Blackett.

        It could be an example of simultaneous and independent insight, which happens in sciences… And it could be that some people have gotten mixed up about who Wald worked for.

        Very interesting anyway.

      • I can beat the RAF with one from Alfred Kinsey’s, Institute for Sex Research at Indiana University,

        He split a group of women into two pools that had the same education/class/age distribution. The true groups were asked to answer questions about their sexual history.
        In the first group a man with a clip board asked the questions.
        In the second group, electrodes were attached to the women, a team of male technicians studied the output chart of a ‘lie detector’, and a man with a clip board then asked the questions.
        Unsurprisingly, women in the second group outscored the first by a factor of two in sexual partners and other naughty stuff.

      • @ DocMartyn.
        What you describe is a classic “Hawthorne Effect.” I liken it to a human-scale Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle where the act of measuring a phenomena changes the phenomena. The more the human being knows it is being measured, the less likely the measurement will reveal typical behavior and the more likely it will reflect behavior under conditions of being watched.

        In my opinion, the survey also fails the Hawthorne Effect because the start of the survey tells the subject what it wants to measure.

      • Stephen said “I liken it to a human-scale Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle where the act of measuring a phenomena changes the phenomena.”

        Yes… And I would say this is a terribly under-researched issue for social scientists, particularly those of us who try to do laboratory experiments on human behavior–whether individual or group behavior.

        In behavioral game theory, which drops the “common knowledge” assumptions of classical game theory, the beliefs of players become critically important for testing theories. So a methodological practice has grown up–elicitation of beliefs during the course of game play. There’s a growing body of dissenting work, however, suggesting that the very act of asking subjects what they believe about their counterpart (in a game) changes the way they behave.

        So you have a situation where trying to measure one theoretical construct (beliefs, like it or not, are theoretical entities..see Paul Churchland) changes measurements of another thing (play).

      • @NW, Re: “planes that come back”

        I prefer the word “historical” rather than “aprocryphal”. I heard the story in 1978. Here is another telling from a 2000 Navy UndSec retirement. Legends get retold and embellished based upon the story teller and setting. Operations Research grew up in WWII. There is no doubt in my mind that the OR Group did go out and study battle damage with recommendations for changes to armor. And no doubt some people thought the returning planes were a reliable sample of damage from attack. But I have no doubt that the leaders quickly realized that the “planes that come back” were NOT a random sample of battle inflicted, but a highly biased one. This is the whole moral of the tale.

        It is not possible to inspect the planes shot down. All you have are the planes that come back. You have to work with biased data. Understand the bias. Be aware of it, not blind to it. Make your recommendations accordingly.

        In the climate arena, the “planes that come back” are the surviving thermometers; it’s The UHI Problem.

  17. A 26% response rate? Seriously? You would have to imagine that the warming “activist” would jump at a chance to respond, while those that are skeptical would refrain.

    • I would have to imagine, based on the sample at Climate Etc, that the “skeptical” would flood the researchers with a Greek chorus of ill-thought-out objections, while most of the pro-science folks would simply ignore the “debate.”

      All of the evidence suggests that climate deniers broadcast their howls of impotent frustration at every opportunity and at a volume entirely out of proportion to their actual numbers.

      If they did not overwhelm the researchers with responses, it would seem to suggest that the actual number of them in the AMS membership is tiny.

      • I would have to imagine, based on the sample at Climate Etc, that the “skeptical” would flood the researchers with a Greek chorus of ill-thought-out objections …

        After reading the first question this skeptic would have tossed it in the recycle bin.

      • John Carpenter

        “I would have to imagine… that the “skeptical” would flood the researchers with a …..”

        Yes Robert, you are imagining.

        “All of the evidence suggests that climate deniers broadcast their howls of impotent frustration at every opportunity and at a volume entirely out of proportion to their actual numbers.”

        Please provide, for everyones benefit, ‘all the evidence’. You have a source or a citation you can share for this evidence?

        Thanks in advance.

      • Robert, I guess in your little fantasy world of fiendish, fossil fuel funded deniers who are crafting a vast conspiracy to destroy the planet, you fail to notice the fact that being a “denier” is not good for one’s professional standing.

  18. Questions I’d like to see:
    “Do you feel the science of global warming is, in general, presented without bias?”
    “Do you feel the confidence levels in this science are justifies and the science has been settled?”
    “Do you feel a ‘global warming’ angle to a project would help or hinder obtaining funding?’
    “Do you feel those in the field welcome consrtuctive criticism and validation of their work?”
    “What level of confidence do you have that current computer models represent the actual real climate over 100 year timespans?”
    etc.

    • “Do you feel the science of global warming is, in general, presented without bias?”

      WIthout *prejudice*. There is probably *bias* given that the system is complex and imperfectly understood, but nobody knows which way the bias goes.

      “Do you feel the confidence levels in this science are justifies and the science has been settled?”

      The question is very hard to understand. Confidence bounds refer to specific estimates, not to a “science”. It might be worth pointing out that low confidence, however, means high risk. For example, Dr. Curry is unwilling to constrain the temperature sensitivity to CO2 doubling more tightly than 0 to 10 C. This would be considered very pessimistic about the state of the science, but it is also extremely pessimistic about the sensitivity, which over at least half that range would imply that devastating results are already unavoidable.

      “Do you feel a ‘global warming’ angle to a project would help or hinder obtaining funding?’

      Sometimes. It depends on who is in ascendancy at the particular agency and at the granting institutions and at the national level. Funding is insecure and working conditions are dreadful because of widespread ill-will drummed up in the general public by those for whom the proposed policy would be most inconvenient and those for whom opposing such a policy might gain them some political advantage. I can’t in good faith recommend that students with other interests remain the field unless there is an ethical component to their decision. As a place to build a science career, it has been made unrewarding and treacherous.

      “Do you feel those in the field welcome consrtuctive criticism and validation of their work?”

      Yes, but they are so barraged with invalid and hostile attacks that they occasionally misjudge a serious inquiry.

      “What level of confidence do you have that current computer models represent the actual real climate over 100 year timespans?”

      This question misconstrues the role of models in the science. All current GCMs are flawed, and perfection may never be attained. Models are systems with dynamics similar to the real climate system. Results which appear across most or all competent GCMs are probably roughly predictive in a given emissions/land use scenario.

      • Thanks, I appreciate the answers Michael, and suggestions Don, certainly hard to write a good question. These are more a summary of an impression from the outside that make it hard to take a lot of the predictions seriously. I can see from Michael’s answers though that it isn’t all roses on the inside either.

        The big one for me is the bias. It seems almost every graph, every start and end point on a data set, every error estimation and summary is framed in a way to make a stronger point than is there. This is true of both sides, but with the IPCC authors it really stands out. I don’t see this in other sciences, and it makes it feel more like advocacy than science. The public holds scientist’s opinions in very high regard, and sales people’s very low – that may explain the lack of traction. More candid answer’s like Michael’s (and better questions) would diminish the alarm, but people would put much more value in what remained I think.

        “science is settled’ obviously wasn’t my quote, and I agree it is a bizarre thing to say about science. I don’t think ‘potential’ risk is important without a certain level of confidence – eg. I don’t choose religions based on how terrible their hells are. I guess that is what I was trying to get at with ‘confidence’.

        For computer models (I am a programmer), the more I look, the more I’m surprised at how much they are relied on for results rather than just speculation. The quality of them seems very low from a coding standpoint as well.

        Just trying to figure out my lack of confidence with CAGW when I trust pretty well any other branch of science (ok, well maybe not string theory ; ). You see things being said and done that just don’t seem to happen elsewhere – even in branches like evolutionary science which has been under ‘attack’ by a much more organized and less scientific community for years.

        From this I at least see it is frustrating all around, and I’m sorry to hear that. Thanks Michael.

    • I think you are on the right path here, but I would suggest some more thought about the wording, and the methodology. There are better ways of asking questions which don’t load the answers. If you want to have a crack at this, I’d suggest going to a good textbook on survey methodology.

      • My reply is to Robin. Michale Tobis’s responses show you in part why you need to develop extremely good questions!

  19. A couple of points occur to me:
    1. I note that “carbon” and “carbon dioxide” do not appear anywhere in the survey.

    2. >With a response rate of 26%, the survey results may not be easy to extrapolate to the membership as a whole.
    Would it be unreasonable to speculate that the 26% who responded to a survey on *climate change* were, in general, the members who were most concerned about the effects of *global warming* ?

  20. A response rate of 26.4% is too low for any conclusions about this group.
    What is interesting is the response to this
    ” Do you think that the global warming that has occurred over the past 150 years has been caused…”
    [Asked if answer to Question 1 is “Yes”]
    Mostly by human activity 59%
    More-­‐or-­‐less equally by human activity and natural events 11%
    Mostly by natural events 6%
    I do not believe we (scientists) know enough yet to determine the degree
    of human or natural causation, even in the general terms stated in the
    categories above 23%
    I don’t know 1%

  21. A better survey would have been, e.g.,

    1. Based on the predictive ability of GCM models, are the AGW witchdoctors’ predictions of catastrophe based on something other than validated science, such as the casting of chicken bones or numerology or tarot cards?

    2. Shall prospects of global cooling be considered a disaster too?

    [Note: “The partial forecast indicates that climate may stabilize or cool until 2030-2040. Possible physical mechanisms are qualitatively discussed with an emphasis on the phenomenon of collective synchronization of coupled oscillators.” ~Nikola Scafetta]

    [And, Note: “… a long-term global cooling starting around 2002 is expected to continue for next five to seven decades…” ~Lu, Q.]

    3. What if humans actually averted an ice age–still a disaster?

    [Note: “If man made global warming is indeed real, and it helps to prevent another ice age, this would be the most fortunate thing that has happened to our species since we barely escaped extinction from an especially cold period during the last ice age some 75,000 years ago.” ~Walter Starck]

    4. What if global warming were to continue for 100 years? But, what if as throughout the 10,000 years of the Holocene, the global warming had nothing to do with humans–still a disaster?

    In responding to the questions above, please consider all of those pesky little problems we sometimes refer to as, reality, e.g., “Fossil fuels will run out well before any drastic effects on climate are possible.” (Ibid.)

    Additionally, respondents should keep in mind when answering these questions that everyone knows global warming has been much better for humanity than global cooling. “The net result of a projected doubling of atmospheric CO2 is most likely to be positive.” (Ibid.)

  22. It would be better if the percentages were left to speak for themselves rather than flavouring them with the words :”majority” or “minority” as if the reader could not assess such.

    I note that 29% believe that there are either natural or unknown reasons for warming.

    May I suggest that percentage must be somewhat higher than it would have been one or two decades ago, so the trend in that is rising much faster than the carbon dioxide levels, but no doubt strongly correlated with such, and hopefully likely to continue thus.

  23. ” a large majority indicated that human activity (59%),”

    No, no, no. Fifty-nine percent is not a large majority. A majority is 51% or more. Fifty-nine percent is much closer to no majority than it is to 100%. If 59% is a large majority, what is 87% – a truly monumental majority? God for bid we should have to describe 96%. This is called spin.

    • MarkB, the sentence referred to 70% as being a large majority:

      “a large majority indicated that human activity (59%), or human activity and natural causes in more or less equal amounts (11%), were the primary causes.”

  24. Here’s the question protocol, my asides in square brackets:

    1. Please consider the time period from March of 2012 to March of 2022. Do you believe the UAH [or whatever, but be specific in the question] measurement of global surface temperate [or whatever, but be specific] will go up or down across this ten year period [forced choice, do not allow “about the same”]?

    a. Up [go to question 2a].
    b. Down [go to question 2b].

    2a. You said you believe the [measure] will go up between [dates]. Please assign percent chances to the following statements:

    2a-i) Up by at least 0.1 C.______
    2a-ii) Up by at least 0.2 C.______
    2a-iii) Up by at least 0.3 C.______ [or whatever increments you think are good for this audience]

    2b. [mutatis mutandis for the “down” answer in question 1].

    See? How hard would that be, especially with Meteorologists–perhaps the one profession most used to probabilistic forecasting of events? And how much more informative.

  25. My initial impression:

    The AMS is being managed by climate warmers to do a survey to achieve a talking point.

    People familiar with polling work very hard to ask questions that provide responses whereby the results can be used effectively and efficiently.

    The AMS poll reminds everyone that its the agenda that is important, not the science, accuracy, honesty; just the agenda.

    The market place is suppose to decide whom to believe. It is assumed that competing agendas will pitch their theme and the public will decide: to buy their soap, their car, or, in this case, their message “we are all going to hell in a hand basket.”

    The poll of the AMS is an implement used to shovel CAGW. Nothing more; nothing less.

    • +1
      Especially your last point.
      Which means that as long as we see it, and understand it as advocacy (for something absurd) we won’t be led astray.

  26. DA @6/12 8.25.
    Hmm, tricky methodology, ‘may?..may?”… tomorrow we may all be dead.

  27. I have often wondered why is it that there seem to be so many meteorologists who are skeptical of global warming? Shouldn’t meteorologists have the inside track as far as insight into global climate change and global warming? Is it not that climate is just some time-averaged weather, needing only some statistical relationship to relate the two?

    The answer to those questions is clearly “No!” And this could possibly be a good part of the problem. Sometimes established knowledge can become an impediment when dealing with new problems and new concepts because the old concepts may no longer be valid or applicable, and need to be “unlearned”.

    Weather modeling/prediction and climate modeling/prediction are two very different problems in physics. Weather modeling is an “initial value” problem, while climate modeling is a “boundary value” problem. Weather may be thought as being similar to keeping track of a busload of people headed for the airport. They are all in close proximity at the initial starting point, but in a few of days they will be dispersed all across the globe. Climate, on the other hand, is more akin to a group of people scattered around the world who are all coming to attend some convention. At the end of their trip, they will all be at the same location, no matter where they might have started out from. (Weather is a diverging phenomena starting out from initial conditions, while climate is converging toward some equilibrium point defined by radiative forcings.)

    Good atmospheric dynamics and thermodynamics (and high spatial resolution), and good specification of initial wind, pressure, humidity, and temperature conditions, are the key factors for good weather modeling. Radiative heating and cooling, and the conservation of energy, are of little significance or concern.

    It is my supposition that in pre-global climate change days, most meteorologists would have had little reason to study radiative transfer modeling, or to worry about conservation of energy on a global basis. In weather modeling/prediction, a degree or two difference in predicted temperature, or a few Watts/m2 difference in solar or thermal fluxes is no big deal.

    In climate modeling/prediction, on the other hand, conservation of energy and radiative transfer modeling is of prime importance. It is the (radiative) energy balance at the top of the atmosphere between solar and thermal radiation that determines whether the climate system (global-mean surface temperature) is warming or cooling. Also, it is the greenhouse effect, a purely radiative transfer result, that keeps the keeps the Earth’s surface temperature as warm as it is (some 60 °F warmer than it would be without the greenhouse effect).

    There is of course a lot of sloshing around of the energy within the troposphere. This produces the “statistical weather” that is generated within a global climate model, and is the source of the uncertainty that is associated with local and regional climate variability, being as there are chaotic aspects to the horizontal energy redistribution.

    The paramount importance of global TOA radiative energy balance and the radiative transfer constraints on the climate system seem not to make much of an impression on these old-time meteorologists. I have tried explaining global warming several times to Bill Grey (of hurricane fame), but to no avail. Lindzen made the false claim some twenty years ago that the terrestrial greenhouse effect was 98% water vapor, and that less than 2% of the greenhouse effect was due to carbon dioxide. Fred Singer has repeated similar claims. They really should know better, but they don’t seem to understand the basic role and importance of radiative transfer modeling in climate change.

    • Andy,

      This is a great summary, but it’s important to not the few “loud” meteorologists like Bastardi, D’Aleo, etc paint the picture of what dynamic meteorologists are like (or what they believe), and I’m not sure this AMS poll is a good indication either. That said, I’ve had exposure to both climate and (plenty more) synoptic & mesoscale, hurricane, etc people in a couple of academic departments, and they’re all very bright people. Most of these people don’t pretend to know about climate issues they haven’t studied, just as radiative transfer experts don’t go around telling people who study ENSO dynamics that they are all ignorant. One lesson that can emerge from polls such as this is that it is important not to think of “atmospheric scientists” as one group of people, but rather many groups of people (just as with heart suregons, brain surgeons, etc) all of which are taught the same fundamental physics (just as all surgeons have been introduced to the human nervous system, kidney functions, lung functions, etc and know basic biology). But it would be meaningless to have a sports doctor or allergy specialist take a survey of how to best perform an important heart operation or detect cancer.

      It’s also important to note that sometimes discussions of the initial value problem can give a misleading impression that meteorologists don’t understand the weather too well. In fact, a lot of the basic weather systems that appear complex in nature, can often be broadly diagnosed in terms of rather simple physical arguments (e.g., the Quasi-Geostrophic Omega equation) even if the time evolution of weather in some location cannot be adequately predicted beyond a week or so. Even hurricanes have been described as carnot cycle processes (which must conserve energy), a simple thermodynamic textbook concept which is an idealization, but one that can bring out a lot of enormous insights.

      • David Springer

        Capital C for Carnot. It doesn’t just provide insight. Without it one can’t begin to understand the dynamics of the ocean and troposphere. It’s heat engines all the way down and water is the working fluid. As well, water also plays a huge role in operating speed of the engines through huge disparities in albedo between its phases which meter how and where input energy from the sun is distributed between the hot and cold sides of the various engines. It’s a huge Rube Goldberg contraption to be sure but quite understandable once you have the physical properties of water and the operation of heat engines well understood. Non-condensing greenhouse gases are a second-order phenomenon while the global ocean has a mostly liquid surface. When the earth is mostly frozen and the heat engines which use H2O phase transition from liquid to gas in their operation slow down or stop then, and only then, do non-condensing greenhouse gases take on a first-order effect. In the frozen ocean scenario carbon sinks are shut down along with the water cycle but volcanoes continue to emit CO2 which, after millions of years of accumulation, begin to melt the ice which then starts the water cycle going again in a positive feedback. Non-condensing greenhouse gases can be aptly viewed as the kindling which ignites the water cycle.

    • Wrong.

    • A Lacis

      The trace gas radiative transfer model suffers the burden that the physics does not allow the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere to raise surface temperatures more than by 1.3 C over 100 years.

      Mythical amplification by water vapor to raise surface temperatures to 3.7 C is a guess, an agreed upon guess by some, nevertheless, still a guess. The physics of water vapor amplification has not been validated.

      Reliance upon models which in of themselves can not be validated nor verified is a profound weakness still not addressed over the last 20 years.

      There is gathering understanding that climate science is diverging from the trace gas radiative transfer model, and as there is progressive divergence from the hypothesis, it is more likely than not, the hypothesis is incorrect.

      A theme in my understanding climate is that there are periods of remarkable stability punctuated by abrupt changes that lead to new states. Currently there is no way to predict the direction of such changes. and, prediction after all is the hallmark of science.

      I dismiss your analogy of everyone converging to a spot for a convention as the convention participants already know where there are going to end up. You are pronouncing that you know already where the climate will end up in a hundred years. You have not investigated it, just modeled it and frankly, I doubt it.

      Unless and until people who rely upon climate models can predict climate as opposed to project a series of imagined outcomes, science has no way of telling if what you say has any merit.

      • RiHoo8,

        Modeling the climate problem is not just an issue for radiative transfer, but that’s an extremely important component of the problem. It’s also the component where Andy happens to be one of the worlds leading experts, so naturally he is going to emphasize it in his comments. The broader issue is the fundamental difference between the initial value problem and the boundary value problem.

        Your point about water vapor is just plain wrong, although admittedly you need to go beyond just radiative transfer to understand why it is wrong. There are very solid dynamic and thermodynamic regulations to the water vapor changes that occur in response, to say, rising SSTs. A number of theoretical and more sophisticated models have, in fact, been developed to explain this and they generally agree very well with observations (either from satellite trends, or from case studies such as the response to Pinatubo). It is not the fault of climate scientists that you are unaware of this very large literature.

      • David Springer

        RiHo08 | March 6, 2012 at 11:45 pm | Reply

        A Lacis

        “The trace gas radiative transfer model suffers the burden that the physics does not allow the doubling of CO2 in the atmosphere to raise surface temperatures more than by 1.3 C over 100 years. ”

        Under ideal conditions where radiative transfer is the only mechanism at work. In the real world radiative heat loss is the dominant mechanism over land but evaporation is the dominant mechanism over water. Greenhouse gases don’t raise ocean temperature they raise evaporation rate. The only way to get gin up some alarm about rising temperature is to invent more greenhouse forcing from the water vapor while ignoring what’s happening with clouds. Clouds reflect about 30% of the sun’s energy straight back away before it can warm the surface. A 1% change in surface forcing is negated by a 1% increase in cloud cover. We have not yet figured out how to even reliably measure global average albedo. It’s a fuzzy number in the GCMs that reportedly varies by as much as 7% from model to model. The few experiments like “Earth Shine” which have attempted to measure it did not reach satisfactory agreement about the absolute value but they all did agree that the number varies from year to year and can exhibit multi-year trends at least up to 1%.

        “Mythical amplification by water vapor to raise surface temperatures to 3.7 C is a guess, an agreed upon guess by some, nevertheless, still a guess. The physics of water vapor amplification has not been validated.”

        I’d say its much worse than “not validated”. Under the water vapor amplification hypothesis where would it predict the highest mean annual temperature on the earth? It would be near the equator in a humid location. Where in fact is it? Dullal, Ethiopia. Between 1960 and 1966 it had a mean annual temperature of 34.5C which is the world record. It is indeed near the equator as we’d expect but it isn’t humid. Dullal is a salt desert with average annual rainfall between 1 and 3 inches. Failing a prediction like that is generally considered falsification not ‘failure to validate’.

      • @RiH008 A theme in my understanding climate is that there are periods of remarkable stability punctuated by abrupt changes that lead to new states

        While I could believe your understanding is based on denier literature, it would be interesting to know whether there is in addition any scientific basis for your understanding. I’m not aware of any myself so I’d love to know more if there is.

    • “Sometimes established knowledge can become an impediment when dealing with new problems and new concepts because the old concepts may no longer be valid or applicable, and need to be “unlearned”.”

      Laughable! Climate change huh? You don’t even know what it means, it seems. It’s your “climate change” that needs to be unlearned.

      The energy balance at the TOA is dependent on the energy balance at surface, by the way. The evaporative flux at the Earth’s surface is the predominant coooling mechanism of the surface.

    • Andy, I don’t think this point about initial value problem vs. boundary value problem is correct. Technically, both weather and climate are the same initial value problem. The difference is that weather modeling generally assumes that certain gross forcings are constant and in climate you can’t make this assumption. But the boundary value problem statement is a gloss. The real statement you are grasping for I think is that climate is the statistics of the attractor. But this is a statement that in fact implies nothing absent other strong assumptions that are certainly false such as that the attradtor is of relatively low dimension and is strong enough to over come errors in time integration. Paul Williams has shown how in simple situations this assumption has no basis.

      The reason this mis-statement is attractive is that most people whose knowledge of mathematics is limited think that a “boundary value problem” is well posed by analogy with elliiptic systems. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth.

      So, you are assuming a lot of things that are probably false. In any case, the first thing you must do to try to verify these assumptions is to control numerical errors rigorously. I think you probably know that this condition is almost certainly not met. Absent rigorous error control, it is highly unlikely that it is met in practice.

      The other thing is of course subgrid models. The effect of these models is largely unknown. Convection, just to name one, is a chaotic process like turbulence, in fact convection gives rise to turbulence. At the very least you need sensitivity studies with respect to these models. Some data is I’m sure available, but it seems not the exhaustive study usually required. It seems that in fact, you are not even solving the momentum equation in detail in the vertical direction, something that would give rise to large errors in most fluid dynamics simulations.

      Dynamics are critical to the feedbacks which are critical to sensitivity estimates. The dynamics are precisely the “weather.” My sense based on 30 years of modeling is that you’ve got a long way to go to make the “boundary value problem” gloss mean something. Assertions about the “average dynamics” require more than just hand waving in my opinion.

      Best Regards

      • Climate is not an initial value problem. For a given “boundary” which would be taken to mean forcing, arrangement of continents and oceans, atmospheric composition, orbital parameters, the climate statistics should be about the same or possibly may have two modes close to each other such as the glacial and interglacial periods. In an initial value problem, the climate statistics would depend on the weather you start with, which is not true as every climate model settles to its unique climate regardless of initial state for a constant boundary (forcing). Changing the forcing, which is what happens at various rates in reality (quickly currently), causes a drift or transient climate, which is the state we are in now, but a fixed boundary is deterministic with regard to climate. This is why it is a boundary problem even if that boundary is changing in some specified way.

      • > In an initial value problem, the climate statistics would depend on the weather you start with, which is not true as every climate model settles to its unique climate regardless of initial state for a constant boundary (forcing).

        I’m not sure that this generally true of the models. In fact, I heard the opposite, i.e. the model “climate” does depend on the initial state.

        Second, whatever the models behavior it tells us nothing at all about how nature works.

      • JimD, What you say is confused I think. Boundary value problem has a rigorous definition as does boundary value problem. Both weather and climate are initial value problems. Climate has variable forcings, which are not really boundary values at all, but “sources” for the energy equation. I suggest you look at a good book on partial differential equations.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        ‘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.’ Hurrell et al 2009

        The continuum of feedbacks result in a dynamically changing environment. Energy is always conserved but within that are changes to the short wave component especially from clouds, dust, biology and snow and ice that are significant over interrannular to decadal to millenial timescales – conservation tells nothing about the internal mechanisms that change albedo. Climate shifts abruptly – rather than converging to a state – at all conceivable timescales. They have made these fundamental errors in assumptions and tell us that we don’t understand rather than reading and understanding the literature than says otherwise.

        The situation with models is worse. They are of course intrinsically unstable within the limits of feasible inputs by the very nature of the partial differential equations of fluid flow. This is known without a doubt by mathematicians – it is irreducible imprecision in the words of atmospheric physicist James McWilliams – and yet they persist in glossing over this in the hopes that not enough people will notice.

        Beyond that Chris is lapsing into incoherence – something I have been known to do as a result of posting without editing. I am sure there is a message in there somewhere – regardless that it something that I am not likely to agree on. There is something about clever people in meteorology or other departments at least who might disagree with Chris – who is after all a climate scientist. I am reluctantluy forming the opinion that climate science is insufficient to the task if the leading proponents persist in retailing utter nonsense that is evident nonsense in a broad natural philosophy framework. These people are the problem in that they lack a broad understanding.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

      • David Young

        Chief, Thanks for the citation

      • The initial value problem does not technically go away, but it becomes a decidedly smaller fraction of the uncertainty as time progresses relative to structural/parametric uncertainties in models, as well as in the particular scenario (e.g., emissions) one follows in the future. A good illustration of this is in Hawkins and Sutton (2009)
        http://www.met.reading.ac.uk/~ed/publications/hawkins_sutton_2009_BAMS.pdf

        Note at the end, Figure 3 and 4 (I particularly like 4c as an illustrative tool). The uncertainty in prediction is some combination of initial conditions, scenario, models, and the relative fraction of these competing uncertainties changes with time. The initial condition relevance drops off rapidly with lead time, while the scenario is rather unimportant until several decades out. A similar plot for the British Isles is shown- the importance of internal variability increases at smaller spatial scales and shorter timescales. Note that the decadal-prediction issue involves a rather complex intersection between all these sorts of uncertainty.

        This is all well-known, and arises from the fact that the signal in a climate forcing will inevitably grow as the magnitude of internal variability stays roughly constant. The system itself is also constrained by the laws of physics, e.g., by the top of the atmosphere energy balance.

        Such statistical predictability is not surprising. Summer in the NH is consistently warmer than winter. If the absorbed solar energy by the planet were to increase, the planet warms. Even global precipitation/evaporation is constrained by energetic arguments. As another example, the width of the Hadley cell can be approximated to first-order on the back of an envelope, and it’s trivial to explain, why for example, Venus has a near-global Hadley cell extent while on Earth it only reaches to near 30 degrees. A consequence of the pole-to-equator temperature gradient and rotation on Earth gives rise to baroclinic instability that we see manifest in mid-latitude cyclones ans associated warm/cold fronts. In the tropics, deep convection only sets in above a certain SST threshold (usually above about 26.5 C in the modern climate). New York does not have 10-year trends of Florida-like temperatures, although on individual days it can. A meaningful climatology can also be established of hurricane track patterns, etc (e.g., hurricanes do not spontaneously form around the Poles and travel around the worlds oceans). We see fairly predictable responses between different regions of the globe during ENSO (e.g., most El Niño winters are mild over western Canada, and wet in areas of the Southern U.S). We cannot predict an individual El Nino event 50 years from now, however, but fishing/agriculture, etc is highly sensitive and responds in a rather specific way to announcements of an upcoming El Nino/La Nina.

        All of these things are part of the reference, equilibrium climate we are used to. If you inserted a small lake into a grid box in some climate model, and all of a sudden you got radically different climate sensitivity estimates and projections out to 2100, that might be more evidence that one cannot meaningfully do climate analysis. Yet there is no indication that the climate behaves in a way that is highly sensitive to initial conditions for longer-term projections, and explanations that invoke chaos ignore the observed fact that the climate behaves within constraints, globally and locally, that we have all grown accustomed to.

      • David, no, Andy Lacis has the correct usage for climate and weather problems. Perhaps atmospheric science uses a mathematical analogy, but strictly boundary problems are defined by their constraints (boundaries) and not by their initial values. I think your confusion is that you may consider initial values to include atmospheric composition and continental configuration, but in the earth system models, the initial condition is just the state of the atmosphere, land and ocean in terms of its state variables (prognostic variables). This is a rigorous definition of the initial state because these are the variables that are stepped forwards by the dynamic and land-surface equations, hence the term initial value problem. In mathematical systems with prognostic equations, initial value problems are those that depend on the initial setting of the prognostic variables. I think you can see that climate statistical states don’t depend on initial patterns of the wind, temperature, moisture, etc.(weather state).

      • David Young

        That’s the whole point of what I said. The Schmidt “doctrine of the attractor” has no evidence other than the empirical observation that “every time I run the model, it seems to settle down to the same climate.” Chris, this is just nonsense. If there is too much numerical dissipation, the result would be exactly as Schmidt describes. As I said before, absent rigorous error control and sensitivity analysis, no one with experience with these things would credit this empirical evidence. It is circular and needs the kind of rigorous analysis that your buddies in the “communications” ministry are at pains to avoid acknowledging is needed. I would suggest you look at Wilcox’s book on turbulence modeling to see how questionable the assumptions of subgrid models really are.

        Think of it this way. Cloud feedbacks are critical to climate outcomes. Clouds are dependent on the details of dynamics. This cannot be well modeled in GCM’s that don’t even model correctly the momentum equation in the vertical direction and thus can’t model convection correctly.

        Chris, just consider the influence of the configuration of continents on climate. It contradicts the “doctrine of the attractor.”

        Circular reasoning based on models is not physics, it just shows that too much dissipation will stabilize any computational model.

      • David Young

        JimD, I now know you are confused. The alleged independence of the climate on initial conditions is not a mathematical consequence, it is an imperical observation of running flawed models over and over again. It has no rigor and is circular reasoning. The climate is an initial value problem. The only difference is that now we are using a “statistical” norm to measure the output. Like I said, you need to read up on partial differential equations.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        The ‘uncertainty in prediction’ stems form 2 sources

        There is widespread evidence of abrupt climate change – from interannular to millennial scales. ‘Recent scientific evidence shows that major and widespread climate changes have occurred with startling speed. For example, roughly half the north Atlantic warming since the last ice age was achieved in only a decade, and it was accompanied by significant climatic changes across most of the globe. Similar events, including local warmings as large as 16°C, occurred repeatedly during the slide into and climb out of the last ice age. Human civilizations arose after those extreme, global ice-age climate jumps. Severe droughts and other regional climate events during the current warm period have shown similar tendencies of abrupt onset and great persistence, often with adverse effects on societies.

        Abrupt climate changes were especially common when the climate system was being forced to change most rapidly. Thus, greenhouse warming and other human alterations of the earth system may increase the possibility of large, abrupt, and unwelcome regional or global climatic events. The abrupt changes of the past are not fully explained yet, and climate models typically underestimate the size, speed, and extent of those changes. Hence, future abrupt changes cannot be predicted with confidence, and climate surprises are to be expected.

        The new paradigm of an abruptly changing climatic system has been well established by research over the last decade, but this new thinking is little known and scarcely appreciated in the wider community of natural and social scientists and policy-makers.’ NAS (2002) Abrupt Climate Change: Inevitable Surprises. The idea of chaos confuses the poor little things – what we say instead is that abrupt climate change is non-linear. In the Earth climate system there are control variables and non-linear responses – as in the definition of abrupt change in the NAS report. It happens on decadal scales as shown by Tsonis and colleagues. These decadal changes are far less predictable than ENSO even. It is categorically nonsense to imagine that climate will necessarily evolve steadily over the century in response to ordered forcing.

        The other source of prediction error is an unknown divergence in solution space. Small differences in the range of plausible inputs – either as initial or boundary conditions – result in divergence of the solution with time as a result of sensitive dependence and structural instability. (James McWilliams, 2007, Irreducible Imprecision in Atmospheric and Oceanic Simulations, PNAS) Here is figure 1 from McWilliams showing divergence of 2 solutions from initial points that are close together – http://s1114.photobucket.com/albums/k538/Chief_Hydrologist/?action=view&current=sensitivedependence.gif

        Climate is almost certainly abrupt and non-linear. Climate models are certainly chaotic. I can only conclude that Chris and Andy have a deficiency of natural philosophy and mathematics.

        Best regards
        Captain Kangaroo

      • David,

        It appears that you’ve read about differential equations, and maybe turbulence, but really have no idea how to apply these concepts to the climate system or to climate modeling. For example, the position of continents is a boundary condition because it determines the spatial surface albedo distribution, the ocean circulation patterns (regions of upwelling, etc) and modifies the hydrological cycle. This is also part of the equilibrium climate, and one weather forecasters do not need to modify, but they do need to be conscious of many predictable responses that arise from such impacts, as well as the topography (e.g., you tend to get wet conditions along a slope of the mountain that air ascends over, but dry conditions on the opposite side).

        You are also confusing the inability to model something (perhaps due to the inability to get grid sizes small enough because of computational expense, even if we understand aspects of the microphysics) with inherent ‘chaos’ that must arise from initial conditions (and that inherently make the statistcs unpredictable). The climate simply does not behave this way either in models, in modern observations, or in any indication in the paleoclimate record. Moreover, all weather and climate models have dynamics, some better than others, and some emphasize different spatial or temporal resolutions. I don’t deny we have a lot of progress to go in cloud modeling, but this is far away from your claims.

        That said, I’m afraid that no amount of butter-fly flapping and no sensitive dependence to initial conditions observed in the real atmosphere is strong enough to overcome the radiation budget changes associated with a doubling of CO2. In other words, it is possible that the the climate system does exhibit some kind of long-term chaos(on multidecadal to century timescales), but that the forcing is strong enough to wipe out any significant uncertainty due to initial conditions that arise, and good models don’t spontaneously transition into some completely new climate state in Holocene-like background states for good reason.

        None of this is “RC doctrine” but well established in the atmospheric community, and I’ve seen no support in dynamical systems theorems, numerical modeling, or observations to suggest much different. I’m not sure there’s really any more to your claim and that’s probably my last response unless you have something radically new to introduce.

      • Chris Colose.
        You are ignorant. Ignorant of the fact that David has worked in the field for decades. NCAR. You are also ignorant of the issues with time stepping. Stick to what you know

      • David Young

        Chris, Your last response is just so much argument from authority. Have you read Chief’s posts about rapid climate change. There is ample historical evidence that the models and their overly dissipative numerics miss a lot of important dynamics. Surely you are not arguing that cloud feedbacks are accurately modeled. You are just arguing that you have “special” knowledge about climate that is not backed up by historical evidence or mathematical theory.

        Get a life and expand your horizons. Climate science is a primitive field beset by immense uncertainty. Did you even read my posts? The point is that climate is really fluid dynamics, multi-phase fluid dynamics, with forcings, convection, turbulence, boundary layers, everything. Have you ever looked at subgrid modeling errors and their effects? You state things about “the climate” as if you as a novice climate scientist have unique knowledge of this. I’m a lot older than you are and trust me on this, you need to branch out and realize that other fields are more mature than climate science, which I sometimes think is a pseudo field. You will not make a name for yourself by parroting the dogmas of the Lord Gavin, but by challenging the dogma with new and fresh insights from other fields where the dogma is supported by rigorous evidence.

      • David Young

        Sorry, Chris, I may be coming across as too grumpy. You’re a great young scientist with a great future. Just remember that progress comes from questioning the dogma, not accepting it!!!!

      • steven, I always thought skeptics didn’t like ‘argument from authority?’ But it’s interesting that I am being criticized as young and ignorant when I am defending the conventional view that is well-established in textbooks and modern climate literature.

        Yourself and David can remain unconvinced, but the fact is that the relative stability of the Holocene (along with the many other examples I mentioned above, and that Andy Lacis discussed) is a rather powerful argument against chaos being an important factor in long-term, statistical characterizations of the climate. Even ‘abrupt climate change’ events have been successfully modeled as threshold processes/stochastic resonance (with Milankovitch forcing important for longer timescales), though I’m sure that the evolution, of say, a D-O event does have an initial condition component.

        David can mention words like “turbulence” and “complex” all he wants, but none of that changes the fact that virtually no climate scientist thinks in the worldview that he does, no support exists for thinking in that way (indeed, this is why climatology can exist at all, and why no literature can substantiate that the present climate suffers from any kind of initial-condition sensitivity that would compromise the value of projections of the response of statistical quantities, like global mean T, to increases in GHG’s). This is not something unique to “Gavin” and in fact I have not seen Gavin talk much about the subject of chaos at all (although I remember RC had a good discussion on it following the death of Lorenz, mostly from raypierre at the time).

        As I’ve also mentioned, David has completely changed the subject and put words in my mouth by saying things like “Surely you are not arguing that cloud feedbacks are accurately modeled…” NCAR or not, I don’t think he understands what he is talking about in application to atmospheric science problems.

        Really, there is no reason to take anyone’s word for any of this. There’s an abundant literature on all of these problems.

      • David,

        Luckily, a lot of dynamicists, boundary layer experts, modelers, cloud physicists, etc are working on a number of the uncertainties that still lurk in the climate system (and of which I never denied). Indeed, these uncertainties are why people bother to research at all, and why I have an NSF grant to study climate problems.

        Really, I’m not saying anything here new or unconventional, yet people still feel the need to talk about some youthful insight I’m claiming to possess. It’s really not. With ll of David’s theorizing, he has not stepped back and looked at how the climate actually behaves, and the enormous predictive ability that has come from modern day modeling. Luckily, other researchers do not work under the premise that any long-term forecasting will be inevitably compromised by chaos, that modern uncertainty means that we can’t know anything (or know a lot), or that models can’t be useful depending on the question.

      • @Chris Colose

        “…With ll of David’s theorizing, he has not stepped back and looked at how the climate actually behaves, and the enormous predictive ability that has come from modern day modeling.”

        While I see your point about perhaps a bit too general assertions about deficiencies in modelling in certain field, like climate, I and probably many others would be very interested in the evidence of this “enormous predictive ability” you speak about. Or is this new development that is yet to materialize, but will give us good predictions in for example next 17 years or so? Any?

      • “the enormous predictive ability that has come from modern day modeling”

        Hahahahahaha! Too rich! I love this blog!

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        David Young: The real statement you are grasping for I think is that climate is the statistics of the attractor.

        That’s nicely put. But wouldn’t the “statistics of the attractor” refer to the equilibrium (or steady-state) climate? Wouldn’t the climate of the current decade be the statistics of the trajectory throughout the current decade?

      • David Young, you have your own definition of an initial value problem. The usual definition would be one where the answer depends on the initial settings of the prognostic variables (a specific type of variable that is predicted with the model’s partial differential equations). With climate model output statistics, this is not the case. The answer when it settles down is not dependent on the initial state. It is a useful concept to understand because many don’t quite get this subtle aspect of climate model determinism, which can be interpreted as determinism prescribed by the forcings (boundary values).

      • Just a few more points:

        1. JimD, its not my definition, its the mathematical definition. The results of a climate simulation and of the climate itself must depend on the initial values even if that dependence becomes smaller and smaller as time goes on. The evidence that it gets smaller and smaller is weak and since this doctrine requires strong assumptions, it should require strong evidence. In a lot of fluid systems, this assumption is simply not true.

        2. Chris, I’m not saying that the climate is unstable, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn’t. I’m just saying that the fact that the models seem stable and replicatible tells us virtually nothing about their accuracy.

        3. I note that my (and Paul Williams’ by the way) critique of the models numerical errors is not new. I forgot where I saw this, but at some point in the 1980’s or 1990’s, one of Hansen’s funding proposals was reviewed by people who made much the same point. As Pekka points out, it may be obvious from the climate model literature that this is true. I’m not in a position to say. I do however know that in general the issue of numerical error in models, while not hidden, is usually not put in a prominent place for others to find. I will leave it to the astute reader to ascertain why it is in the modelers interests to do this. The monitization and politization of all science and engineering in the last 50 years has in my opinion eroded the scientific quality of the literature in many areas in my opinion.

        4. One thing that can be said in the models favor is that often fluid dynamics simulations are a lot better at predicting increments between two situations than they are at predicting absolute levels. This may be true of climate models, but it requires strong evidence to conclude that.

        5. Subgrid models are something that is really much harder than is generally imagined. The problem is that in any dynamical system, the local states vary dramatically from the “average” state. A subgrid model that fails in even some extreme states may in fact have a big impact on the grid resolved scales. It’s too technical to go into here, but this is true in any situation where you are near the edge of flow separation or the onset of turbulence. So, setting these models from a small set of noisy observations is problematic.

        6. There is a lot to be said for simplified models that are based on specific theoretical understanding if they are tied strongly to reliable data. Once again its very technical, but boundary layer models appropriately developed from sound theory can be more accurate than supposedly more general Navier-Stokes simulations. This fact is not well known because of the academic prejudice in favor of more complex and “general” models. Again, reliable data to define and calibrate the models is critical. However, I still think that conservation of energy is usually a very weak constraint.

        While I appreciate the confidence a couple of denizens have expressed in my opinions, I do not hold Schmidtian ideas about my own credentials or intelligence. I’m really not more than average amoung my peers. I am perhaps a little bit more persistent and like to ask questions.

      • David, it is very easy to test if two or more entirely different initial states lead to a statistically similar climate. This is one of the points of running ensembles. Another way to see this is that weather states only a few weeks apart bear little correlation to each other. Initial state information is quickly lost among the growing modes that dominate the tropical and midlatitude systems. The analogy is closer to a boiling water pot with continuous energy input than a gently swirling unheated pot. The memory of the initial state is short in these conditions.

      • Jim, You are making a statement about the models which I do not doubt is true. It is true of a turbulent simulation with too much dissipation where you get the wrong answer. This is independent of whether its true of the climate system itself and whether the models accurately reflect this system. We need somehow to escape the circular reasoning that because models have a certain characteristic, the real system must have it.

      • GCMs resolve the main energy transferring modes of motion. Very little of it happens at sub-grid scales, except in the vertical direction, where adequate boundary layer and moist convection schemes are required, and they would quickly know if they did not have sufficient vertical energy transport when comparing with observed profiles globally, which of course is done. You seem to be under the impression that model outputs are not compared to reality as validation, or maybe you think the reality is not known?

      • David Young

        JimD, I don’t know how to answer you. All scales are important in fluid dynamics. Just capturing the main energy transfers tells you nothing about feedbacks like clouds for example. These depend on the subgrid scale effects. I know models are checked against data. My impression is that the correspondence is not very good at decadal scales. How good it is at century scales is unknown because of lack of data . I do note that the models have changed a lot in terms of their predictions over just the last 30 years. One thing that concerns me is Isaac Held’s recent work on convection that shows that the subgrid details can have a big effect on the larger scales. Generally, it would be a miracle if the subgrid scales did not impact the resolved scales. You can read about Reynolds’ averaging for example to see some of the issues. The effects go both ways.

      • Decadal scale predictability is not difficult because of the models, it is difficult because of the character of the turbulence that makes it even impossible for models that are perfect to machine round-off (Lorenz’s study). GCMs have to get the jet stream, equator-pole heat and moisture transport, annual cycle, continental effects, stratosphere, etc., right to even have a chance at being used for climate. Each model may have different biases in regional climate details, but only when they have generally similar responses to forcing changes is it considered significant in the IPCC report. There are things as pointed out by CK that may not be modeled, e.g. collapses of ice shelfs, slowing or stopping of major ocean currents that are more likely under climate forcing changes, or just solar variations and volcanic activity, so no one can say the prediction is completely reliable, and is just a guidance about the least that could happen in that sense.

    • Andy, One other point. You probably realize that in fluid dynamics, global conservation of energy is a very weak constraint. An airplane in level flight and one diving toward the ground have exactly the same global energy balance. The engines are the only source of energy and its the same. Of course, the dynamics are some what different, but not radically different. This should show you that conservation of energy is usually not of much value without conservation of momentum and mass, and that is the dynamics, in which we see turbulence, conveciton, and other processes that cannot be modeled accurately in detail on computers in any of our lifetimes. Dynamics make the difference between a positive cloud feedback and a negative feedback and that’s critical. And clouds are strongly dependent on “weather.”

      • David,
        In describing climate as a “boundary value” problem, the main point that I was wanting to make is that for specified (fixed) radiative forcing boundary conditions, there exists an equilibrium temperature that the climate system is being forced to approach. If the climate model is arbitrarily started at some hotter temperature, the model will cool toward that equilibrium value. If the model is started at a colder temperature, it will warm as it approaches the equilibrium value (which is a function of the radiative forcings).
        (Of course the climate system, as do climate models, has natural variability about the equilibrium point, so the climate system will approach its equilibrium point in an averaged sense.)

        When we think of climate modeling, what we are actually trying to model is time evolution of the climate system as it approaches its evolving equilibrium point (because the radiative boundary conditions keep changing). Typically, the climate model might be ‘spun up’ for a couple hundred years to reach equilibrium for say, 1850 conditions. Then, all the time-varying radiative forcing changes are applied and the climate trend to current climate conditions (and beyond) is calculated. This of course has the characteristics of being an initial value problem (relative to 1850 conditions), and we are specifically interested in just how the climate system evolves in response to the time dependent changes in radiative forcing.

        Getting the model to the 1850 equilibrium conditions is an example of the classical ‘boundary value’ problem where we are not sensitive to the actual model starting conditions several centuries earlier. Likewise, once the radiative forcings become fixed, the model will then be approaching its equilibrium point, without really caring by what path it got there. In between, we may well be looking at the climate system as an initial value problem, but that is only in the sense of the climate system time-evolution in response to the time-dependent radiative forcings for which the sign of the radiative energy balance at TOA is a clear indication of whether the climate system is warming or cooling.

      • David Young

        Andy, You are up late on the East coast!! I understand what you are saying. But its all observations about the behaviour of models. My only point is that this is circular in that you assume that the models actually describe the physical system, which it seems to me needs a lot of work to validate.

      • I guess that everybody agrees that climate models are technically solved as initial value problems. The rationale behind their use is, however, that the final results obtained from them are effectively determined by structure of the models, the values of model parameters and boundary conditions. These final results are statistical distributions of atmospheric variables such as average surface temperature, it’s variability and many more detailed variables.

        Behind the rationale is the hypothesis that both the models and the real climate are effectively controlled by the boundary conditions. Being effectively controlled means that the statistical distributions mentioned in the first paragraph are reached in decades rather than centuries and that they represent stable or quasistable attractors. The other alternatives include a very slow approach towards the stationary distribution and the possibility that there are no stable enough attractors, i.e. the climate will have irregular unpredictable transitions that dominate over the mechanisms being considered.

        Whether a specific model has the properties required for its usability can be checked by running it long enough over a range of boundary and initial conditions that covers all relevant situations. This may be demanding but that’s possible.

        Whether the real Earth system has the properties that allow for being modeled by the type of models we have, is a more difficult problem to verify. I think that proving that hypothesis is not possible, but success of existing models may be considered as limited support for the hypothesis and at the same time also for the applicability of those specific models. It’s also possible to study all kind of instabilities that occur in the Earth system and analyze theoretically as well as with the help of specialized models, whether these phenomena are likely to lead to such further phenomena that would make modeling impossible in practice using the existing methods.

        I’m sure many modelers have been thinking about these problems, but what I have read appears to tell more about lack of sufficient knowledge and understanding than about strong basis for the trust in models. By what I have read I refer to articles written by active modelers, not climate skeptics. I cannot tell explicit references as I have not made notes on, where I have learned different things. (I have some ideas, but I should check the details.) I think, however, that worries of the type I discuss can be found in essentially any text written on the subject of climate model reliability that’s not written specifically to convince non-scientists of the opposite.

        I don’t agree with those who say that chaos of any type including the spatiotemporal chaos makes with certainty climate modeling impossible at the relevant level of accuracy and reliability. Certainty of that type is as seriously unjustified as certainty in the validity of a model in being accurate for projections that depend to an essential degree on unverified assumptions or badly understood behavior of the model. In my view the success that models have shown in many ways is real support for their usability, but I remain skeptical on their validity in making projections far to the future as extrapolating success in some areas to new ones appears still to depend on too many highly uncertain assumptions.

        The fact that significantly different models may be judged presently as equally justified is evidence on the freedom of choice that the modelers have and indicates that there are almost certainly further possibilities that are again equally justified, but perhaps deviate more in their projections to the future.

        We fall back to the question of chicken and egg, models as chicken and simple physics based arguments as egg. Does our trust in the model projections depend more on their agreement with the physics arguments or the trust in the simple physics argument on the model results. In other words: How much more trust in the projections based on simple physics arguments we have based on the models?

        Model analyses do certainly help in checking many relevant issues and in finding errors in faulty arguments. This is the role of models in building scientific understanding. The question remains, however, on the value of models, when we want to know the final outcome of a change like a major addition in CO2 concentration. When the model and the understanding of fundamentals exist and agree on all important points, then we have basis for trust. As long as important details remain both badly understood and too difficult to model, we haven’t reached the goal. In this situation trust in models involves a lot of wishful thinking – and many active modelers have said that as well.

        (I have not discussed separately issues related to discretization, as I include all those in the models. Models are not defined by the continuous equations, but by including all details of implementation.)

      • Climate modellers are lost in minutiae by looking out at climate through keyhole, rather than opening the front door and lookat the wider horizons.
        From my posts on ‘Real Climate’:
        Climate models often fail since they look at a far too short time period, do not take fully into the account role of the North Atlantic’s importance to the global temperature movements, and finally do not have sufficient and necessary knowledge of the reasons for the Atlantic Oscillations (the NAO in particular).
        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/CGNh.htm
        http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/GNAP.htm
        some more details on the AMO-NAO (all important but sadly up to now ignored) close relationship: http://www.vukcevic.talktalk.net/theAMO-NAO.htm
        I suggest to the ‘not so successful’ climate modellers to have a closer look.

      • David Young has written an excellent series of comments here and I would encourage people to read everything he has written carefully.
        Andy Lacis is wrong when he writes “there exists an equilibrium temperature that the climate system is being forced to approach.”
        If Andy’s computer models do this, then as David has said this just indicates that the numerical models are massively overdamped. This delusion seems to be widespread in climate science, and is linked to the absurd idea that the climate can be described by a linear ODE
        dT/dt = F – T,
        and the idea that the climate only changes in response to some inposed ‘forcing’.

        To anyone who knows about nonlinear systems, fluid dynamics and numerical models, this is a very clear indication of the bizarre “groupthink” within the field.

        Going right back to Andy’s original question of why meteorologists are often sceptical, it may just that many of them are well aware of the difficulties of predicting the future and he weakness of numerical models.

    • John Carpenter

      “I have often wondered why is it that there seem to be so many meteorologists who are skeptical of global warming?”

      Andy, meteorologists are largely empiricists, while climate modelers (like you) are theoreticians. There is a divide between the way these two types of scientists work and interpret the data they observe. An empiricist will be more skeptical of the reasons ‘why’ an observation is noted vs a theoretician who beleives it can be explained through modeling. Empiricists will remain skeptical until physical, measurable experimental observations show phenomenon to be so while theoreticians are comfortable in the knowlege of applying known mathematical physical relationships to explain and mimic what is observed. Two different ways of approaching science by different types of mind sets. Either of them on their own does not wholly explain observations entirely, you need both working together to make the picture clear. Climate science has not progressed that far yet, so the empiricists will be more skeptical than the theoreticians at this stage.

      This may be an over simplistic explanation, but I beleive the gist of it is correct.

      • Some of the above discussion involving Andy Lacis, David Young, Chris Colose, Pekka Pirila, and others has been instructive, but I also think that it has to some extent taken place in a vacuum. Consider the question as to whether climate behavior should be modeled primarily as an initial value problem or a boundary value problem. In theory, there is no reason why climate, in response to a forcing, should converge toward some reasonably average response over the course of decades – it would be entirely possible for the magnitude and timescales of chaotic fluctuations to overwhelm any convergence tendency. In practice, has this happened?

        Tentatively, I would suggest that the observational data suggest otherwise. Among these are the long term warming (particularly as a post-1950 trend), accompanied by long term increases in ocean heat content, and by repeatedly sampled changes in OLR, DLR, and their spectral signatures that signify a response to forcings that dominates over fluctuations. However, it’s also clear that over many shorter intervals, fluctuations appear to dominate. It is also possible that in more distant past eras with less anthropogenic influence, and in some future times, a stronger influence of multidecadal/centennial fluctuations would be apparent. I think the main point is that our theories of climate are inadequate to greatly limit the possibilities, but we can narrow them down by comparing theoretical possibilities with what has actually been happening. This should also dispel some misconceptions that our entire theoretical basis for climate change depends on the output of complex GCMs, useful as the latter may be in enhancing our understanding, and giving us at least a rough idea of how future climates might respond to imposed perturbations.

      • Fred, I think the evidence that this does not happen is more compelling than you state. There is no indication in the Holocene that internal variability, could for example abruptly change the climate regime into one comparable to 2xCO2 (and no coupled ocean atmosphere model simulates such). There is also plenty of evidence that the long-term geological evolution of Earth’s climate, glacial-interlgacial cycles, etc can be understood as a response to forcing. Abrupt climate changes, bifurcations, etc are interesting but as uncertain as they are, these have also been explained by threshold processes and with a number of robust responses that occur, for example, in water-hosing experiments (without the need to invoke chaos, although I’m sure that D-O events are in some way a result of a chaotic nonlinear system which is probably loosely sensitive to initial conditions, though with specific regional patterns and amplitudes; there’s also plenty of reason to suspect that the sort of variability occurring between LGM and deglaciation is not possible in Holocene boundary conditions).

        This is all supplementary to my examples outlined above (e.g., summer being warmer than winter, New York not suddenly turning into Florida, having a well-defined “tornado alley” that makes sense climatologically) that supports the notion that the climate behaves under various constraints, only one of those constraints being the TOA energy balance. This means people cannot simply make things up when assessing the degree of realism in future simulations.

        I hope you can appreciate that I find blog discussions of model performance a bit odd, since it takes entire chapters/reports to give the subject much justice. The skill of a model depends very much on the variable, location, season, timescale, and statistic of interest; moreover, that skill varies across models. Moreover, some features are highly dependent on detailed parametrizations and some are not, and the fidelity of those parametrizations vary depending on the topic of interest. These nuances are not (and usually cannot) be adequately represented in forums such as this, especially where a lot of people want to know vague and meaningless things like whether a model is “right” or “wrong.” Thus, discussions end up attacking or defending the notion of model usefulness rather than interesting scientific analysis of model performance.

        With all that said, a comment about your discussion of variation about the mean: “internal variability” is real, and all coupled ocean-atmosphere models simulate features that resemble ENSO, AMO/AO , blocking events, Northern Annual Mode, monsoons, etc. Some features are more real than others (MJO is not really good right now, though some models do have organized eastward propagating convection), the CMIP3 models often underestimate the amplitude of low-frequency planetary wave variability, or kick off convection too early in the day. Models also have forced variability like the diurnal and season cycles. Some of these features may not be as well-rooted in theoretical physics as is the interaction of CO2 with an infrared photon, yet they still emerge as a consequence of atmospheric dynamics, which in turn is governed by laws such as conservation of mass, momentum, F=ma, etc.

      • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

        Fred Moolten: In theory, there is no reason why climate, in response to a forcing, should converge toward some reasonably average response over the course of decades – it would be entirely possible for the magnitude and timescales of chaotic fluctuations to overwhelm any convergence tendency.

        I like that.

        Tentatively, I would suggest that the observational data suggest otherwise. Among these are the long term warming (particularly as a post-1950 trend), accompanied by long term increases in ocean heat content, and by repeatedly sampled changes in OLR, DLR, and their spectral signatures that signify a response to forcings that dominates over fluctuations.

        Why do you consider the post-LIA warming, especially the post-1950 trend, to be “long-term”? Half or so of the post-1950 era shows very little warming, with most warming having occurred in a 20-year subspan of that era. Besides that, at least a few of the paleoclimate reconstructions show oscillations with a period of about 1000 years (this is one of the areas of this debate which needs much more research, but it’s also non-ignorable), suggesting at least the possibility of a peak that can not be exceeded due to negative feedbacks. This last is speculative, but it is not “baseless” speculation. So I support your use of the word “tentative”; there is much in climate science that is tentative.

      • Matt – The definition of “long term” is a matter of perspective. I used it to refer to the multidecadal intervals where forcing mediated by GHGs and other climate drivers is inferred from the data, because these are the intervals of particular interest to us in terms of both attribution of past warming and estimates of warming for the remainder of this century.

        I don’t want to rehash here all the evidence that most post-1950 warming was a forced response to GHGs, but I agree with you that it would be useful to have more data on longer (e.g., millennial) intervals. Chris, in his comment above yours, calls attention to the apparent absence of very major global fluctuations during the Holocene, but there have been some bumps and dips prior to recent centuries that are not yet fully explained. It’s also interesting that larger fluctuations seem to be more probable during glacial rather than interglacial climates like the Holocene. Part of this may reflect the existence of much larger ice extent, which lends itself to stronger ice-albedo feedbacks as well as larger changes in ocean circulations.

      • Chris,

        There is no indication in the Holocene that internal variability, could for example abruptly change the climate regime into one comparable to 2xCO2 (and no coupled ocean atmosphere model simulates such).

        What you write above is plausible, but I do wonder, how stringent limits we can really get from empirical data. I have discussed above my views on the role of models in providing evidence on that.

        There is also plenty of evidence that the long-term geological evolution of Earth’s climate, glacial-interlgacial cycles, etc can be understood as a response to forcing. Abrupt climate changes, bifurcations, etc are interesting but as uncertain as they are, these have also been explained by threshold processes and with a number of robust responses that occur, for example, in water-hosing experiments (without the need to invoke chaos, although

        When you say that that there is evidence that various phenomena can be understood, do you mean that they not only “can be understood” but really are understood, i.e. causal connection can be proven, or do you mean that we don’t have proven that they might ultiamtely be really understood.

        I do feel that there is too much wishful thinking in considering many things that that are presently only consistent with theory as really understood. Many explanations are going to change essentially and I do believe that scientists who have proposed those explanations will not be chocked when they do indeed change. Rather they know very well that the proposed explanations are only hypotheses consistent with the limited data that we presently have.

      • I’m not sure what Chris means when he says that climate “can be understood in terms of forcings.” In a trivial sense this is always true. All systems can be understood in terms of forcings. The problem is that the response to forcings can be very complex and involve all spacial and time scales.

        The problem here is that there is a lot of evidence that climate responds to very subtle changes in distribution of forcings and that feedbacks can be very important. And these feedbacks can be very entangled in details of dynamics, for example clouds. There is also evidence as Chief points out for rapid climate changes. The distinction between “forced variation” and “internal variability” is of no value except as a rhetorical device. Each situation is different in terms of sensitivity to changes in forcing and time scales of the response.

        One thing you must understand very clearly. Incorrect dissipation, usually too much dissipation, is the eternal enemy of models. It gives you simulations that appear “too stable” and miss important variations. Absent rigorous efforts to control it, numerical dissipation is likely too large because real dissipation is usually very small. In the real climate system, the dissipation is very small and must be unresolved in models. It can only be incorporated in subgrid models. The numerical dissipation on the grids used must be orders of magnitude larger.

      • David, I don’t get the feeling we are getting far in this discussion so I’ll highlight in a few points my main views here, and one that I suspect would be common to the bulk of the climate community. :

        1) To me, the whole issue is one of signal vs. noise. That is, can any possible sensitive dependence to initial conditions that may conceivably apply over centennial timescales dampen out the expected changes due to a doubling or quadrupling of CO2? Even if we integrate an essentially perfect atmosphere-ocean model forward in time with no forcings (e.g., volcanoes) it will have variability on all timescales, and the magnitude of that variability will depend on the variable (e.g., temperature or precipitation) and spatial scale. Is that larger or smaller than the size of the signal we expect from a given CO2 or solar increase. Period.

        For, say, long-term global mean temperature, there is no evidence that the models are missing anything of strong significance. Moreover, (on a consistent basis) no one has successively observed or simulated internal variability of the magnitude like 2xCO2. That may not be true for other statistics such as rainfall in East Asia, though this should be evaluated independently.

        2) It seems necessary to formulate a common definitional framework here. Negative feedbacks are not examples of the same sensitive dependence to initial conditions that plagues the weather forecasting issue beyond 1-2 weeks, even if they involve clouds. Things may be “unpredictable” in the sense that they are left out of current models, or are parametrized in ways that cannot be extrapolated outside the modern climate, but it’s unclear that they are “unpredictable” in the sense that whether they actually happen is sensitively dependent on initial conditions.

        3) It is my impression that there is widespread agreement that bifurcations, tipping points, threshold responses etc can and do occur, and that responses may exist not anticipated by modern models (such as the prospect of much more rapid melt from the Greenland ice sheet). Even in these cases, it is generally the long-term growth/decrease in global mean T which can often set the stage for such events. For unknown ‘switches,’ it is impossible on first principles to evaluate whether it will have sensitive dependence to initial conditions until someone comes up with a specific proposal for what such a switch might be, though constraints exist concerning the realism of various events occurring (e.g., a background state that is conducive to D-O and Heinrich events is unlikely in a warm climate with strong deep water formation and little ice).

        4) The theoretical possibility of long-term chaos could conceivably apply when you include the deep ocean, owing to multiple interacting timescales in the system. Even if we stick to shallow ocean dynamics, ENSO emerges as a nonlinear chaotic phenomenon that exhibits predictability loss, and the strength/impacts of ENSO do depend somewhat on the background state, but its projection onto the climate is fairly standard across multiple events (as I mentioned in a previous comments, we see rather predictable responses in the distribution of warm/cool or wet/dry across the U.S/Canada, and its projection onto global mean T is very small relative to the increase in CO2).

        5) A lot of this discussion is very academic since on first principles one could concoct some play-around model where the sensitivity of trends in decadal-centennial statistics (to initial conditions) overwhelms the long term sensitivity of that statistic to the increase of GHGs. However, here is where I part ways with several blogospheric dynamical system theorists and mathematicians, because it’s another thing to demonstrate a compelling mechanism that acts like this in the real world.

        “As I began to learn meteorology, I found it necessary
        to unlearn some mathematics.” –Lorenz

      • David Young

        Chris, I appreaciate your points. I suspect that Lorenz was speaking of the mathematics of linear systems, which it turns out is limited. My point is merely that many of these questions about fluid dynamics are well understood in simpler situations where it is easier to quantify things including the limitations of models. You would see things where the data is a lot more reliable and the models well understood. And you would see systems where sensitivity to initial conditions is indeed present at all time scales. The simple fact of the matter is that we don’t know the answers to a lot of these questions. We have noisy data or no data at all and we have models that we know are wrong. There is a lot of work to do.

    • A Lacis,
      Maybe a better question would be why do climate scientists, who see little of actual weather believe so many dire things are happening?

    • A Lacis,
      One other thing: I believe you are confused. Climate is composed of weather events. To dismiss those who actually make a living studying weather events seems a lot like folly on your part.

    • My background is in economics, and the distinction you draw is metaphorically similar to the division between microeconomists and macroeconomists. The former look at parts of the economic system while taking aggregate spending, interest rates, and unemployment rates as given; the latter try to treat the whole economy as a single system and rely heavily on overall identities such as total spending = total income and trade account imbalance + capital account imbalance = zero.

      The huge conceptual gap between the two, which generations of economists have tried to bridge in various ways, is that the micro folks don’t really need to assume a money economy to get their models to work (although keeping score with money is the normal convention). For macro modeling, on the other hand, the distinction between “nominal” and “real” quantities (and the impact of these differences) is central to macroeconomic debates.

      Some of the macro people (and micro people who think informally about macro policy) basically argue that a micro-style approach is also appropriate for the whole economy–you can ignore the “veil of money” and just look at real quantities. That belief somewhat resembles meteorologists thinking about overall climate without considering radiative balance. The mainstream policy models reject this non-monetary view, and the typical macroeconomist tends to react to this non-monetary view much the way you describe the typical climate scientist reacting to a non-energy-balance view.

  28. It’s the usual steering poll with the “cause” lined up behind door #1. The usual suspects are near by.

    As for Dr. Curry’s comment; “Anderegg et al. was heavily spiked with economists and ecologists”

    Economist and Ecologists = Far left Green fringe members

    It would help if Dr. Curry just spoke plainly when it’s called for, which it often is but it fails her time and again.

    Most AMS members know the leadership running the poll are far more AGW radicalized than the cross section of members. The poll is clearly cooked (framed questions and wording to steer a pro-warmer conclusion) and designed to turn skeptics off. Garbage in, garbage out.

    • Economists = far left green fringe members?

      Do tell…

      • NW, on the planet Earth, later 20th century to now. Yes, most economists are liberals with a few exceptions such as the Chicago school of thought.

        What planet are you visiting from by the way?

      • I’m visiting from planet USA, where Economists have the reputation for being far and away the (relatively) most right members of the academy.

        “Of the six fields surveyed, Table 6 shows that voting Democratic is most
        preponderant among the anthropologists and sociologists, who both have a
        Democrat:Republican ratio of nearly 16:1. The least preponderant is Economics, but even there the ratio is about 2.5:1.”

        http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/klein/PdfPapers/KS_PublCh06.pdf

      • NW,
        I wouldn’t go so far as to say that Economists are the most rightward leaning of ALL academia based on a study which is only limited to the Social Sciences department.
        If you want to see really rightward leaning proclivities, I’d invite you to look for similar studies done on Engineering departments.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        We lament the fact of ‘economists as social engineers’.

        http://ipa.org.au/publications/1821/economists-as-social-engineers

      • CK, “the fact?” Ha ha. Because some nonentity says so? What discipline do you think Hayek and Friedman hail from? Postmodern Literary Criticism?

      • Captain Kangaroo

        You mean – ‘Sinclair Davidson is Professor in the School of Economics, Finance and Marketing at RMIT and a Senior Fellow at the Institute of Public Affairs.’

        Do you have any point? And that is Saint Heyak to you dipsh_t

      • dipsh_t. Very witty. Did you make it up yourself?

        Seriously CK, as you probably have not noticed, I usually read your comments, both rambling and scientific, without comment. Your rambles I ignore, and your science I read with interest. Reflect. Nuff said.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Enough said – I don’t think so. You make idiotic claims about economists and respond with an idiotic remark about nonentities when I post a link to Sinclair Davidson who wrote precisely on this problem in economics.

        That’s why I called you a dipsh-t. Can’t see any reason to change my mind here.

      • (reply to CK 12.26) I thought I was being a “mainstream economist” when I wrote the following six years ago. I hope that Davidson is wrong.

        Market failure and government failure

        Markets are very efficient devices for providing and processing information, for organising production and distribution of goods and services so as to allocate resources to their highest valued use and thus maximise community income. Their superiority to central planning is well attested.

        There may, however, be cases where markets do not produce the most efficient outcome, where there is “market failure.” This tends to arise in particular circumstances, for example when there is a natural monopoly, where externalities are not taken into account, where there is information asymmetry or in the case of public goods. (There is extensive literature on the issue for those who seek more detail.)

        The identification of market failure alone is not, however, sufficient reason for government intervention. There can be no presumption that governments outperform markets: indeed, “government failure” is more common. The World Bank advised that “the countless cases of unsuccessful intervention suggest the need for caution. To justify intervention it is not enough to know that the market is failing; it is also necessary to be confident that the government can do better.” A Bureau of Industry Economics paper assessing the 15 major interventionist policies of the Commonwealth Government from 1970-85 found no positive outcomes: 13 had negative returns, while for two the net outcome was unclear.

        Should the cost to the community of market failure be significant, government should first see whether it is possible to improve the workings of the market. If not, it must assess its capacity to produce a better outcome, and the costs and benefits of any intervention. Given that a number of studies have found administrative costs of around 15-50 per cent in government industry support programs, the prospect of a net benefit from intervention must be considered doubtful.

        Within the Queensland system, the term market failure has rarely been used in its true economic sense. It tends to be shorthand for “We think that certain opportunities for which there is no commercial support should in fact be pursued, with government funding.” That is, picking winners again.

        _____________________________________________________________________________
        Imperfect government: “The skills of government in addressing market failure are often exaggerated. Government intervention must overcome three formidable difficulties: the tendency of regulated firms to “capture” their regulators, weak incentives for efficiency within the public sector, and missing information (where markets lack it, governments are likely to lack it as well). … The record of intervention is poor … history suggests that the burden of proof should lie with those who would extend the government’s role.” The Economist, 17/2/96.

      • CK,

        Sinclair basically cites two Nobel laureates in defense of his interpretation of what contemporary economists do: Ronald Coase and Robert Solow, both of whom I deeply admire. Nobel laureates in Econ have a tendency to go off the political deep end after getting their prizes (see for instance Joe Stiglitz and Paul Krugman), but Solow and Coase mostly didn’t.

        Nevertheless, I don’t think either Solow or Coase are much in touch with contemporary econ. Notice that Sinclair’s paper has no data whatsoever on what contemporary economists actually do: Solow and Coase offer opinions on what they think grad students should understand, or on what economists have been doing since A. Smith, but neither of them offer any systematic data on these matters. Nor does Sinclair.

        Adjacent to my office, Ken (not his real name) examines the spontaneous emergence of property norms in ill-defined laboratory environments (he is very much a Hayekian). Down the hall is the old Nobel laureate Victor (not his real name) who works a good bit with Ken. Victor also writes about the contrast between constructive and ecological forms of rationality. He is also a Hayekian in many ways. Then there are Mark and David (not their real names): They do in fact design synthetic market mechanisms–that is, they create trade mechanisms that do not actually currently exist, and so might be “engineers” in your sense of the term. Trouble is, they do this for businesses, and get paid good money to do it. So they are not doing it for “society,” at least in the sense that your pal Sinclair would understand. Craig (not his real name) is a theorist who examines game-theoretic models of warfare, applicable to internet security, defense and other things. Several of the younger experimental faculty do experimental work based on Craig’s theories.

        Recently, Bob (not his real name) from another university gave us a seminar on social experiments. Interestingly, a huge proportion of those are done in the USA, and we might speculate as to why that is so, but I digress. These have been randomized trials of different kinds of training programs, crime prevention programs and so forth. I have known Bob since grad school. He is an old libertarian. Bob figured that he could do more social good understanding the outcomes of those experiments, than he could by writing essays like those of your pal Sinclair. Bob figures that his extensive empirical research, mostly showing that very few of these programs pass the cost-benefit test (in fact, they usually don’t even pass the benefits test), is much more socially useful than pontifications on social philosophy. I tend to agree. At any rate, Bob’s research cannot be described as social engineering. In fact, it is an attack on social engineering.

        You asked what my point was. I hope this illustrates it. It seems funny to me that a scientist would demand empirical evidence for scientific claims, but when it comes to social science, they would accept completely evidence-free armchair essays.

      • Peter Davies

        It is my belief that Sinclair Davidson attributes far too much of the social engineering currently going on to the influence of economists.

        In Australia unfortunately we have a blurring of small L liberal values with small L labour values and no real choice available to voters more interested in allowing free markets to work unimpeded..

      • NW,

        The survey linked confirms my statement, thank you. That there are deeper fringes and enclaves of left/liberal association in Academia/media or Hollywood I have no doubt. Look at public funded areas in particular (very much like climate science) they become overwhelmingly liberal. The sterotype being Paul Krugman or Joeseph Stiglitz who are foaming at the mouth New Dealers.

        Care to try again?

    • Peter Davies

      Cwon14 suggests that economists and ecologists are far left green fringe in political orientation. Is this an assertion or can you give some evidence?

      I am trained in economics and know hundreds of them (in Australia mainly) and while I generally consider most of them to be somewhat conservative in political orientation, I feel that because many work for Government Departments and agencies, they tend to develop policies which accord with the political orientation of the Government of the day.

      While ecologists remain outside my scope of experience, I tend to agree that environmentalists are generally leftist in orientation, because of the dealings that I and other neighbours were forced to undertake due to the discovery of an endangered species of swamp tortoise near our rural properties.

      • PD,

        I’ve worked in finance, banking and brokerage for 30 years. The orthodox in economics is Keynesian which is a socialist/statist model.

        It’s very natural the politics follows the dominating “consensus”, very much like climate science is essentially a “green field”. How it reached this extreme in past 40 or so years would be interesting but we have a host who can’t even admit the left’s link to “advocacy” as she puts it.

        It’s a mighty deep orthodox at work.

      • PD,

        Try the survey NW linked above. Seem like a perfect confirmation piece to me on economists.

        Are you really serious about “environmentalist fields” in general? In academia? Publically funded research? This is a joke right?

        Hunter are you out there? This is exactly the sort of alternate universe Dr. Curry chooses to subsidize with words like “advocacy” rather than common sense observations. You help the disinformation process and you know better just as I and others do. Don’t be a useful idiot, recant.

      • Peter Davies

        Economics is the one subject in which University exam questions never changes over time – only the answers.

        Like climate, economic indicators are most likely non-ergodic and not amenable to theorising and prediction.

        The economic scenarios never repeat over time and spatial continuums and hence there are no prescriptive remedies available that work in all cases.

      • PD,

        I’ve stated before Keynesian (Government driven) economics was the original junk science used to abuse currency with an academic rationalization attached to it. The godfather of AGW.

        AGW is a symptom of social decline, the loss of reason and the abuse of authority on an ever declining educational base level found in our society (results of public funded education which is also agenda driven). How bad is it?

        http://www.zerohedge.com/news/jim-grant-must-watch-capitalism-alternative-what-we-have-now

        Yes, relate the Federal Reserve and the IMF to the IPCC and the “consensus”. That’s how bad it is. Same mission statements; control the entire global population through expert rationalizations and regulations. QE1,2,3? Just like Cap and trade (tax), massive wealth redistributions then enhance government expansion.

        AGW and the Keynesian system both need to sleep with the fishes. Jim Grant should be the next Fed Chairman but it isn’t going to happen in any scenario. This is a society that can’t handle the truth. You see in the end AGW is a symptom of social decline, like leaving the Gold standard or 40% of children born outside of marriage. It’s all fruit of the same poisoned tree.

      • Peter Davies

        The adoption of income redistribution policies is not necessarily a consequence of Keynesian macro-economics Cwon14, more likely socialism based on simplistic left wing ideology.

        The basic problem with socialism is the inbuilt dis-incentives for productive working lives on the part of rapidly decreasing numbers of entrepreneurs and rapidly increasing numbers of mendicants and other non-productive government employees with snouts in the publically funded troughs.

      • Keynes died too young, in his later years he expressed regrets from his Fabian socialist years. I don’t think he believed in permanent inflationism for example which is the current state of modern Keynesian thinking. He would have called Paul Krugman a fool for example. So the very term “Keynesian” is a form of defamation of Keynes himself not that he wasn’t filled with flaws and miscalculations along the way.

        The reality of modern Keynesianism is in fact state run economics and socialism. Sorry to break this to you. Keynes would be appauled by the levels of excess associated to his name. Just as many people in the 50’s realized the fools they were in the 20’s-40’s Keynes didn’t live long enough to recant. Of course many of his core policies never worked even in the context of their times. A war time economy during peacetime model has not proven sustainable or desirable. In the face of the great wars and the aftermaths you can understand to a degree how the miscalculations began but it’s still no excuse.

  29. Judging by the comments, most of the commenters have never written a survey. I have, back in the ’80s. It’s really hard, and struggle as you will, there will be problems with the wording and things to complain about and respondents will find ways to misunderstand. You do the best you can. Perhaps some of you can suggest better wordings instead of getting angry at the wordings they chose. It isn’t easy, and likely your wording will actually test something different from theirs.

    26% is a good response rate for this kind of survey, with so many questions. There will be some selection bias, but that’s unavoidable. Probably the respondents are more extreme – perhaps in both directions – than the general population. At least there was a nice-sized sample; can’t ask for much more here.

    Now, as to the results. Wake up, folks! Hold back a minutes from your furious knee-jerk reactions, and you might see some interesting things. Skeptics, are you disappointed in the results? You shouldn’t be. Believers will be disappointed as well. As Dr. Curry pointed out, the current narrative is that 97% of climate scientists believe – wholeheartedly! – in the consensus. Listen to these aggregate numbers instead: About 40% believe that it is not clear that Most global warming is caused by human activity. Less than 40% believe that global warming will be Very harmful. At least 30% believe that mitigation will not help more than A small amount. 30% are Not very worried. 30% are afraid to discuss the topic in the AMS because they know it is controversial among members.

    I do not understand why AGW skeptics find it necessary to feel that more scientists than that disagree with the AGW consensus. Every straight-out survey I’ve seen (Bray and von Storch 2008, for instance, as opposed to the really dumb ones that study weird proxies) shows similar results. Deal with it: Most climate scientists don’t agree with you. Doesn’t mean you’re wrong: A significant fraction obviously do agree with you, at least on one or more of the critical questions.

    • Maybe some of the denizens have never written a survey, but I’ve written lots of them and (among other things) do research on the form and ordering of survey questions. Frankly I couldn’t care less about this survey’s responses as soon as I learned that it was a self-selecting response survey with a 26% response rate. I really don’t care about what the responses were as soon as I learned that.

      Far better to have a good stratified sampling frame, sample some 5 or 10 percent of the population, work like hell to get that 5 or 10 percent to respond, have a plan for resampling the strata in the event of noncompliance, and do simple statistics thereafter. Or, if you are going to incur the possibility of self-selection bias, then have a frame in place for dealing with it ex post, by any number of reasonable procedures. This survey does none of that.

      • Well, you’re the expert. But I can’t see how the survey doesn’t show, at the very least, that there are solid numbers of doubters out there, even if the numbers can’t be trusted. That would be true even in the unlikely event that skeptics answer these surveys much more than believers.

      • here’s some very simple arithmetic. With a 0.26 response rate, let’s suppose that the answer to some yes/no question is x (proportion between 0 and 1). Among the 74% missing, the maximum response is 1 and the minimum response is 0. So we have:

        True-Min = .26x + .74*0 = .26x, and
        True-Max = .26x + .74*1 = .26x + .74.

        Here’s a table of bounds:

        x True-min True-max
        0 0 0.74
        0.2 0.052 0.792
        0.4 0.104 0.844
        0.6 0.156 0.896
        0.8 0.208 0.948
        1 0.26 1

        Pretty uninformative in these worst-case bounds, above and below. And as Feynman says, you’re supposed to say how bad your estimates might be under the worst conditions of what you don’t know.

        That’s why the response rate is so important.

      • I understand the numbers. But also understand that (a) Your worst case scenarios aren’t as likely as somewhere in between, but even more importantly (b) My point isn’t dependent on the precise numbers. It is just not possible to claim that 97% of climate scientists agree fully with the AGW consensus, given that around 40% of the sample don’t agree (fully), on each of several critical issues.

    • I think it was the questions that drew the ire rather than the results. Even the idea that a survey has any scientific relevance is weird. I agree though, even with the presumptive questioning and interpretation, it is pretty clear that people are starting to realize this dossier has been ‘sexed up’, for whatever that is worth.

    • miker,

      “I do not understand why AGW skeptics find it necessary to feel that more scientists than that disagree with the AGW consensus.”

      Really, I don’t care at all at this point. What bothers people is the obvious steering to maximize the pro-warming headline number. We should really speak the truth about how groups form and what the climate “community” is really about. Most academics, especially climate academics, related media enclaves like weather reporters are going to be operating in largely and intensely liberal structures. You bet more than one might be concerned about how the survey was framed and the motives of the organizers suspect upfront. Some might be worried about being outed as skeptics and have good jobs to protect. Look at what they deal with on a day to day basis;

      http://junkscience.com/2012/03/05/feds-cullen-try-counseling-skeptic-weathermen/

      How would you like Heidi Cullen and her ilk polling you on warming opinions if you know the “wrong” (politically that is) might get you to a reeducation camp and or blacklisted?

      I’m also sure that most in the climate community disproportionately vote democratic or to the left throughout the globe. People waving a fist at an Earthday rally when they are undergrads are clearly going to be attracted to a government funded, grant culture in “eco-sciences” that “Climate Science” falls under. This is the reality that has to be “dealt with” and clearly Dr. Curry and many of the warmers are appauled when asked to do this. The specific political cultural discussion taboo is maintained on this site at all times. Why don’t you comment on that?

      • cwon, you have a good point here, but there are survey methods to deal with these kinds of fears. Not that this survey used any of them. Hi ho.

      • I’d mention that I tried to point out some similar numbers on the wikipedia page
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
        about some of the earlier surveys,
        and was entirely blocked there by Connolley and his minions. I don’t know what’s happened to the page since, but at the time, every statistic there was required to fit the 97% narrative.
        Maybe they thereby convinced some other people of that, but me they convinced that pro-AGW scientists can be pretty partisan and pretty dishonest.

    • John Vetterling

      Sanity!
      I’ve done surveys too and would have been thrilled with a 20% response rate.

      Long story short – most scientist agree with AGW in principle but question some of the details. Not really news. A lot of scientists are skeptical of the proposed solutions. Also not really news.

      • And it very much depends on the question, and what people mean by scepticism.
        If you ask a load of sane, informed, intelligent scientists whether human activity has an effect on the climate, you will tend to get an almost unanimous “yes”. And that includes all the people that self-label as sceptic.
        It is only in the minds of the true believers in Armaggedon that sceptics are seen as denying basic physics.

    • Willis Eschenbach

      miker613 | March 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm

      Judging by the comments, most of the commenters have never written a survey.

      Judging by the questions, none of the AGW folks have ever written a survey.

      w.

      • Willis,

        You’re making a good but trivial point. The real issue is Dr. Curry’s willful blindness of the political culture of climate science. It’s a pure taboo here and holds back the debate.

        I realize there are skeptics who share the same general world view as Dr. Curry and the consensus. This shouldn’t matter at all. Dr. Lindzen grew up, so should everyone else if they want to be taken seriously.

        Of course the AMS leadership is to the left of it’s members and the society at large. That’s why they invested in the leadership process in the first place. Do you really think the survey was a hack partisan job by accident???????

        You can join the list of those I have a bridge to sell you.

    • MattStat/MatthewRMarler

      miker613: It’s really hard, and struggle as you will, there will be problems with the wording and things to complain about and respondents will find ways to misunderstand. You do the best you can. Perhaps some of you can suggest better wordings instead of getting angry at the wordings they chose.

      Yes, it’s hard work to do a good job. You need to test out the questionnaire/poll before administering it, among other work, but the payoff is that the results might be meaningful. In this case, that work was not done, the questions are bad, and the results are full of ambiguities.

      The return rate is neither good nor bad, but is most likely highly biased rather than a random sample.

      In short, the poll results are completely non-informative.

      • “In this case, that work was not done, the questions are bad, and the results are full of ambiguities.”

        Again, is everyone on this board born yesterday? You think it was a lack of work that makes consensus builder survey’s bad? They worked night and day to get the maximum response they wanted up to an including intimidating potential AGW dissent from responding. Trying to do a “good job” has little to do with it.

        If it was an honest even handed survey most consensus supporters would seek to have it banned and seek to punish those distributing it or try to link it to Heartland and “big oil”.

      • cwon, what do you think of Hanlon’s Razor? Not much, I expect. :)

      • NW,

        Stupidity can be innocent or simply a feature. It’s amazing how many times even very experienced skeptics such as Willis Eschenbach can observe a particular pattern in the warming community and only address it as a unique symptom of the moment. In this case the poll was “incompetent” which is nonsense. Of course it was crafted to get the headline numbers they wanted maximized. The reason? The common political culture of the AMS leadership and alliance to the alliance to those generating the poll.

        It isn’t a conspiracy theory to realize there is a “they” and thousands of similar actions like this and are distorted, underreported or explored by their peers in the media. A similar line of thinking is the “shock” expressed regarding Climategate of Fakegate, again what planet are you living on that any of this is a surprise??

  30. People respond strategically in such surveys. This can be nicely observed in the Bray/von Storch 2008 survey. Overwhelming majorities of respondents agree about DAGW and say they highly trust the IPCC. But we must not forget that all these people are fully aware that:
    .
    – survey results will be published and widely discussed
    – ambigious convictions within the ‘climate community’ would be noted by the media and decisionmakers
    – this weakens the narrative of DAGW and ‘consensus’
    – a weakened DAGW narrative will endanger funding of the climate change industry, science being an important part of the latter
    – so better not create a scandal by collectively questioning the narrative …
    .
    The expressed strong belief in DAGW and the IPPC in Bray/von Storch 2008 is so obviously inconsistent with the strongly expressed doubts about, e.g., the quality of climate models or the foundations of climate science. Read these results! The perhaps best part are the open remarks respondents could place at the end. It reads like a sceptic compendium. You simply can’t come to such strong beliefs in DAGW when you have so strong doubts about the maturity of the underlying science. This inconsistency can only be the result of responding strategically.

    • Carl,

      The special magic of the Storch survey as with many others is to avoiding disputes over “quantity”. They are all politically contrived to reinforce all social bias that exists in a community. Every effort is made and Dr. Curry supports the obfuscation of political links found in the consensus community. That’s why he word “advocacy” is acceptable here but “left-wing” is not in discussing Mann, Jones, Hansen or Gleick. So while Dr. Curry expresses doubts about the IPCC consensus she is also supporting it through this politically correct protocal. Most skeptics here fall in line, I’m sure many have just given up and left.

  31. 87.5% of all statistics are made up anyway

  32. Captain Kangaroo

    Chris introduces several unstated assumptions into the discussion. One concerns the propensity of models to shift phase space from some presumed Holocene stability. Certainly they can as is the nature of the underlying equations – this is the mathematics of the model we are discussing and not any fundamental correspondence with nature. Andy describes starting at a precisely defined point with precise boundary conditions and arriving at a unique solution. It is all such nonsense.

    ‘Atmospheric and oceanic computational simulation models often successfully depict chaotic space–time patterns, flow phenomena, dynamical balances, and equilibrium distributions that mimic nature. This success is accomplished through necessary but nonunique choices for discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupled contributing processes that introduce structural instability into the model. Therefore, we should expect a degree of irreducible imprecision in quantitative correspondences with nature, even with plausibly formulated models and careful calibration (tuning) to several empirical measures. Where precision is an issue (e.g., in a climate forecast), only simulation ensembles made across systematically designed model families allow an estimate of the level of relevant irreducible imprecision.’

    As these explorations of the topology of the phase space ‘across systematically designed model families’ has not been undertaken – we have little idea of the extent of irreducible imprecision in the models.

    How significant is this? ‘Nevertheless, I advocate the hypothesis that plausible, chaotic AOS models have important levels of irreducible imprecision due to structural instability resulting from choices among a set of modeling options that cannot be clearly excluded. The level of irreducible imprecision will depend on the context, and this level is likely to be greater the more chaotic and multiply coupled the targeted flow regime is.’ The greater the complexity of the model and the higher the resolution the bigger the problem is.

    So how are solutions arrived at? ‘AOS models are therefore to be judged by their degree of plausibility, not whether they are correct or best. This perspective extends to the component discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupling breadth: There are better or worse choices (some seemingly satisfactory for their purpose or others needing repair) but not correct or best ones. The bases for judging are a priori formulation, representing the relevant natural processes and choosing the discrete algorithms, and a posteriori solution behavior.’ The model formulation leaves much to be desired in grid size and breadth of coupling – requiring 1000’s of times more computing power. A posteriori solution behavior? I sometimes joke about pulling it out of their arses.

    ‘Simplistically, despite the opportunistic assemblage of the various AOS model ensembles, we can view the spreads in their results as upper bounds on their irreducible imprecision. Optimistically, we might think this upper bound is a substantial overestimate because AOS models are evolving and improving. Pessimistically, we can worry that the ensembles contain insufficient samples of possible plausible models, so the spreads may underestimate the true level of irreducible imprecision (cf., ref. 23). Realistically, we do not yet know how to make this assessment with confidence.’

    One further assumption was that radiative effects of CO2 outweighed other changes even with chaotic climate shifts on decadal scales. How can we know that? All of the satellite evidence shows that albedo changes dominate global energy dynamics. Where should we expect that natural variability comes from? What are the energy dynamics of decadal climate? How is this predictable in the least?

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

  33. I can’t resist saying that the discussion that Cap’n Kangaroo, David Young, Andy Lacis, Chris Colose and others have been having on this thread (which is about something else altogether!) has been most educative to me, and should dispel the notion, if it still exists somewhere, that the science is settled!

    • Peter Davies

      Agree entirely Don. OT but nonetheless educational. I reckon if the rest of us keep reading long enough we will become savy enough to hold a sensible discussion with anyone about climate and climate change.

      I certainly have refined and improved my BS detector markedly over the past 6 months that I have been visiting Judith’s place, which is IMO the best and most balanced climate forum on the internet.

    • dennis adams

      I agree with you as well. Even before reading this and other GW blogs, my practical experience told me that a claim in any scientific field that the “science was settled” was absurd. I am even more convinced now.

  34. Beth Cooper

    Don A 7/12 6.04 am.
    I apologise for my cryptic response @ 6/12 10.10. I was referring to your comment, ‘the first question is simply awful.’

    (1) In this survey, the term ‘global warming refers to the premise that the world’s average temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years,
    *may* be increasing more in the future, and that the world’s climate *may* change as a result.

    • Got it! Seeing it again, it is an even more awful question. The way I was taught to develop a question like that was to express the point in an initial statement, then get the respondent to comment on his/her feelings about that statement, either pro or con, along a Likert scale of some kind (VS Agree, S Agree, neutral, S Disagree, VS disagree.

      So it might have been as follows:
      ‘As you know there is much talk today about global warming, and one statement is that human activity, through the burning of fossil fuels, has caused warming. What is your own view? Do you agree, or disagree, with that statement [Interviewer: repeat if necessary]?

      ‘How strongly do you feel about this, Very strongly, Fairly strongly or Not very strongly?’

      Then one could go on to the ‘unprecedented’ bit, again using a strength of feeling follow-up question.

      If you did that you would get seven-fold distributions of responses, with ‘no opinion, neutral’ in the middle, and ‘Don’t know’ in the residual category. There shouldn’t be many of those in a group like the AMS.

      Of course, for the answers to mean anything, you would need to employ a random stratified sample of responses. The AMS survey did neither, and is worthless, in my opinion.

  35. A physicist

    It’s remarkable how few posts (none?) are willing to consider the Occam’s Razor explanation of the AMS poll results:

       • AGW is real and serious, and

       • those who know the most, have appreciated it soonest.

    Whereas plenty of posts exhibit a strong attraction to cognitive patterns that Trish Roberts-Miller’s essay Characteristics of Demogoguery describes in the three sections “Conspiracy Theories,” “Bad Science,” and “Anti-Intellectualism.”

    • With a pen name like A physicist, it would seem you would be more interested in the physics. The greenhouse effect theory has a number of anomalies that indicate that some aspects of the theory needs tweaking. You though seem more interested in ignoring those anomalies and accepting conventional wisdom with its flaws than attempting to think outside of a fairly small box that requires a huge amount of assumptions that likely are incorrect in a non-linear dynamic system.

      • The history of climate-change physics is the history of steadily improving it. Every climatologist knows that history of improvement, every climatologist expects that improvement to continue as a living process, every climatologist participates in that process, and the survey had no questions about it.

        What most climatologists don’t regard as likely — but conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals all do regard as likely — is that our present understanding of climate change will alter radically. Because that understanding has been pretty stable for the past 50 years.

      • A Physicist –

        http://psychcentral.com/news/2008/02/15/herd-mentality-explained/1922.html

        You seem to be suffering from this. There is help available from online psychologists at the site.

        Anyone who believes that “understanding has been pretty stable for the past 50 years” and won’t change much in the future can’t be serious, knowlegeable, sane, or talking about real science.

        If you want stability, try astrology. That hasn’t changed much for centuries.

      • Cui bono, next time you board a Boeing 787, please reflect that its design is not all that different from that of a Boeing 707 dating back to the year 1958.

        Since the 1950s, our understanding of climate physics has evolved about as much as commercial aircraft designs have evolved. That is, our understanding is immensely more sophisticated in every detail, and yet our overall design conceptions haven’t altered much.

        The point is, future conceptions of climate change are similarly likely to alter radically as the design of future generations of commercial aircraft. Which is to say, radical alterations could happen … but professionals don’t consider them likely.

      • A physicist –
        If you believe that a 787 is just a bigger 707, then you’re speaking out of ignorance. Given that as a conclusion from your own words, why should I take anything else you say seriously?

        FYI, I had a part in the transformation of the technology from 707 to 787 and there were some VERY large leaps involved. 1958 technology would never have gotten a 787 off the ground much less safely back on the ground.

      • David Young

        AP, I can confirm that you are speaking from ignorance. For one thing the fuel burn of the 787 is at least 50% less than the 707. There have been huge improvements in understanding and modeling. I suggest a recent paper by Airbus authors in Journal of Mathematics in Industry that outlines the problems remaining in modeling. The observations are even more valid for climate models which are still very primitive. Please stop holding forth on subjects about which you are very uninformed. Ignorance is bliss, or something like that.

      • A physicist said;

        ‘What most climatologists don’t regard as likely — but conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals all do regard as likely — is that our present understanding of climate change will alter radically. Because that understanding has been pretty stable for the past 50 years.’

        That may be so, but ideas do have currency over many decades. From 1820 to 1954 thousands of leading scientists of the day were taking co2 measurements and were convinced that co2 levels were highly variable and that around 400ppm was the norm. We now believe differently and that co2 sinks and sources would be exactly in equilibrium if it were not for mans excess emissions of around 2ppm per year. So bearing in mind we are on a steep learning curve I think your statement is open to debate.
        tonyb

      • A physicist –

        Granted a car still has 4 wheels, some steering and an engine, and a plane still has wings. That’s mature technology.

        You have a point in that there is a division of opinion here. Many contributors to this blog do not believe climate science is a ‘mature science’ in the way you, Chris Colose and Andrew Lacis seem to,

        Take some caution from physics, perhaps:

        “The Munich physics professor Philipp von Jolly advised him [Plank] against going into physics, saying, “in this field, almost everything is
        already discovered, and all that remains is to fill a few holes.”

        “On 27th April 1900, Lord Kelvin gave a lecture to the Royal Institution of Great Britain. The title of the lecture was Nineteenth-Century Clouds over the Dynamical Theory of Heat and Light. Kelvin mentioned, in his characteristic way, that the “beauty and clearness of theory” was overshadowed by “two clouds”. He was talking about the null result of the Michelson-Morley experiment and the problems of blackbody radiation.”

        Climate science (see earlier in this thread) can’t seem to deal with clouds period, never mind two of them.

        And there are plenty of examples of radical changes in physics and astronomy in just the last 10-15 years (the *increasing* expansion of the universe; other solar systems which tore up the textbooks on planetary formation, etc,etc) that shocked those who thought they had it all pinned down.

        So ” all that remains is to fill a few holes” is dangerous thinking. Something will blow the field apart – we just don’t know what it is yet.

      • If it happens that Hansen’s seven key predictions don’t come true, that will shock the field of climatology … in which case, theoretical adjustments will commence immediately.

        Whereas if they do come true … well … no amount of evidence convinces quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals, eh?

      • Faites vos jeux, then.

        But 20 years until the ball stops spinning? Can’t the Great Grandfather give us a prediction that’s testable a bit more quickly? Unless you count his annual predictions of huge El Ninos any-month-now…..

      • Hansen’s 1981 predictions came true. That’s why so many climate scientists think his present predictions are right.

        Conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals are not convinced … and never will be convinced.

      • Given his subsequent graphs, our interpretation of ‘successful predictions’ may differ.

        Never mind, according to Chris Colose (March 7, 2012 at 3:21 am) “the enormous predictive ability that has come from modern day modeling” should start to give us searingly accurate predictions any year now.

        My reaction to his statement remains the same. Time will tell.

      • “Hansen’s 1981 predictions came true” – according to a paper by … guess who? LOL

        “If it happens that Hansen’s seven key predictions don’t come true, that will shock the field of climatology …”
        Re prediction 1, I hope they are shocked by the Colorado Jason data that shows quite clearly that sea level rise is decelerating.

      • A Physicist:
        here is your Seven Key predictions
        Earth has been warming for 3oo years… with or without our fossilfuel sins.

        Seven Key Predictions of Climate-Change Science in your list are:

        Prediction 1 Satellite altimeters will affirm the prediction of accelerating sea-level rise, and

        Prediction 2 Satellite gravitometry will affirm the prediction of accelerating ice-mass loss, and

        Prediction 3 Satellite photography will affirm Arctic ice-cap loss and poleward biome migration,

        Prediction 4 Satellite radiometry (solar) will affirm the prediction of stable solar output, and

        Prediction 5 Satellite radiometry (terrestrial) will affirm the prediction of radiative energy imbalance, and

        Prediction 6 Satellite telemetry (from ARGO) will affirm the prediction of warming oceans, and

        Prediction 7 Satellite spectrophotometry will affirm the prediction of a warming particle-laden atmosphere.

        And I predict exactly the same thing, and it has been going on since the 18th century. It does not need any CO2 to be true. That is what nature has been doing busily for some 300 years.

        just make it even easier, why don’t you add an 8th prediction:
        SUN will rise in east every day, proving CO2 is going to burn the earth

    • We all know you were a physicist, but a Clingon too?

    • Hmmm… am anonymous poster wants us to believe in Global Warming. That’s a new twist.

      Andrew

    • What form of reasoning is this: the Jesus and his deciples model of understanding climate? And, does Al Gore qualify as one of the early adoptees or are you suggesting we go back to Medieval times?

      Even if we did not know that the Left is willing to use any means–even a hoax and scare tactics–to achieve its Marxist Utopia, and even if the Left admitted that no matter what happens in America the rest of the world and most especially the energy-deprived Third world and developing counries will continue to use oil and coal and nuclear energy, that wouldn’t change the fact the null hypothesis of AGW theory, that all climate change is natural, has yet to be rejected.

    • Robin Guenier

      But an Occam’s Razor explanation doesn’t demonstrate that at all.

      According to the poll, 89% of respondents agree that GW is happening [Q1]. Of these, 87% are “extremely” or “very” sure [Q2a] – i.e. 77%. Of these, 38% believe that GW is “very harmful” [Q4] (I suggest “somewhat harmful” does not mean it’s considered “serious”) – i.e 29%. But, as only 59% consider the warming is due to “human activity” [Q3], only 17% (29% x 59%) consider “AGW is real and serious”.

      In other words, those who know the most are the least sure.

      • Caveat: And, it takes a willing suspension of disbelief to assume that such knowledge is based on a passionate search for truth for its own sake, devoid of bias, preconceptions, superstition and ignorance and not ideologically-driven for political self-serving purposes.

      • Exactly Wagathon. The circle here is that Dr. Curry is blocking and tackling for the consensus by refusing to specifically identify the most glaring bias that impacts the consensus; political ideology the size of ten barn doors.

      • Robin Guenier

        Wagathon:

        I’d be interested to know why you think that a finding that a mere 17% of AMS members think that AGW is real and serious is “ideologically-driven for political self-serving purposes”. Thanks.

  36. I know television meteorologists have to put up with Forecast the Facts and their hate letter campaigns to news editors. Yep, turn in your local weatherman for heresy if they don’t genuflect at the altar of CAGW. It is so typical of climate Alarmists. Create an atmosphere of fear where one becomes reluctant to express their opinion. How telling. If you don’t know squat about the science this characteristic alone is reason enough to oppose them.

  37. These questionnaires always ask the wrong questions. Better ones would be –
    “How much are you prepared to pay per year to cut CO2?”
    or “If CO2 cannot be significantly cut without changes to the way we live, what sacrifices are you prepared to make?
    a) Have only one child/grandchild per child?
    b) Give up flying?
    c) Give up personal fossil fuelled transport (with no guarantee that electric vehicles are any better than present)?
    d) Live in a flat with only as many bedrooms/living spaces as people in your home (ie no spare rooms or games rooms)?
    e) Have 10% of the possessions you have now?
    f) Eat a vegetarian diet, low in foods transported more than 100 miles or grown in greenhouses?
    g) Convert your garden to grow vegetables and biofuels (ie nothing solely ornamental)?
    h) Dig up your garden and/or floors to install ground source heating?
    i) Rip out architectural features of your home to make way for insulation?
    j) Get rid of your pets?
    k) live in the shadow of a wind farm?
    l) live in the vicinity of a nuclear power plant?
    m) etc”

    It’s one thing to agree with something on a theoretical basis and something else to pay for it. Cutting CO2 is one area where you get no marks for good intentions.

    • TinyCo2

      Very apposite. Sounds like a good subject for a thread;
      ‘So what would YOU be prepared to sacrifice to curb CO2?
      tonyb

      • Short answer nothing.

        Actually I have a smallish carbon footprint (3-4 tons) but for reasons that purely suit me. Having got it that low I know how far from normal my lifestyle is and how unsustainable it is for the majority. I have no desire to cut mine any further but I could if I had to.

        I guess that you’re assuming I’m a believer but I’m pretty much an agnostic. I think the evidence is so poor and thus unconvincing that it doesn’t matter if CO2 is a threat, we’ll never cut emissions. AGW proponents are lying to themselves about the quality of the science, the solutions and their commitment.

      • tinyco2

        i was suggesting a title for a thread not commenting on your lfestyle.

        I suspect most people would prune their lifestyle a little but would not be prepared to make big sacrifices like giving up their car or not flying, and in the great scheme of thins their sacrifices would be pointless. .
        tonyb

    • Tiny, I like the way you think. Generally, the sacrifice proposed by the activists is increased tax load which, of course, feeds their trough. The form is: YOU make the sacrifice. I’LL benefit. How noble is that?

    • I agree TonyB It is a good subject for discussion and I’ve tried asking it on various non sceptic sites. I’ve been told it’s irrelevant or just been ignored. I think it’s vital because when people say that they’re worried about AGW it doesn’t seem to be reflected by what they do. I’d guess most haven’t even tried to calculate how much CO2 they emit. I point out that they never have ‘show us your footprint’ articles or discuss tips for cutting energy use. I’ve seen more on WUWT! They raise up CO2 sinners like Al Gore and don’t see the hypocrisy of it.

      I sometimes think the reason sceptics make them so cross is they realise that genuine solutions to rising CO2 won’t come from their side. They need someone else to make the inventions that will save their pampered lifestyles.

  38. Chris Colose, I have been reading your 2010 “Comment” paper where you and co-authors pretty much gut Gerlich and Tscheuschner.
    I am however a little puzzled by Figures 1 and 4, with respect to Figure 5/6.
    In Figure 1 we have the Trenberth-style Earth Energy budget showing the ‘average’ fluxes for a Earth that does not rotate on its own axis, nor around the sun. Essentially, a very simple model for various fluxes.
    In Figure 4 you show in a very nice graphic how treating the 300K Earth surface as a planer black-body and the atmosphere at 260K as another planer black-body. You rightly show that there is of course heat flux in both directions, although total flux through the system is going to be from surface to space.
    Then we get to figure 5-6. You do a very nice two shell and sphere model, showing the relationship between two bands in the atmosphere and outgoing radiation.
    However, why didn’t you use the Thermosphere as your top of the atmosphere?
    The Thermosphere is the actual top of the atmosphere and has a Tmax of 1,800 K.
    So why didn’t you include the Thermosphere as a radiating black body?
    Is there some magic book where one can look up which parts of the atmosphere are black bodies and which are not?
    As the Thermosphere is heated by 6-8% of total solar output, especially the highly variable uv, why did you ignore it.

    • Doc-

      For the most part, the troposphere is what matters for planetary energy balance and if one were to quantify a “mean height” where emission gets out to space, it would be about 5-6 km high. The stratosphere matters too, though to a much lesser extent (but not completely negligible), but you do need to factor in ozone absorption.

      The rest of the atmosphere is at such low density that it is of no significance for the planetary energy budget, and in fact at some point the standard assumptions invoked by climate scientists involved in radiative transfer (e.g., local thermodynamic equilibrium) do not apply because molecules so rarely collide. If you could somehow visit the thermosphere, you’d not even feel hot. There are people who study high atmospheric and high energy physics (auroras, etc) but it is essentially a completely different community.

      • “The rest of the atmosphere is at such low density that it is of no significance for the planetary energy budget, and in fact at some point the standard assumptions invoked by climate scientists involved in radiative transfer (e.g., local thermodynamic equilibrium) do not apply because molecules so rarely collide”

        So energy density, which is not explicitly part of the S-B equation, is actually important in understanding radiative fluxes? One can ignore the Thermosphere because it is not a body, due to its very low density, but one can compare the ground/ocean surface with the atmosphere; treating all three as ‘bodies’?
        I find it very odd indeed that you can perform these type of calculations, with such assurance. A plot of Altitude vs. Temperature gives a ‘Sigma’ shape; see figure 1.
        http://iopscience.iop.org/0034-4885/33/3/301/pdf/0034-4885_33_3_301.pdf
        The temperature at the top of the Stratosphere, 50 km up, is the same as the ground temperature. Your Figure 1, Trenberth-style Earth Energy budget, gives the atmosphere a defined temperature.
        I have yet to see how one calculates the ‘average’ temperature of the atmosphere, give that pressure declines with altitude and potential energy rises.
        So may I humbly ask, how you derived your average 260K for the atmosphere, for your energy budget.
        You can show the math if you like.

      • Doc, Are you trying to insinuate that the thermal mass of the atmosphere should be considered when attempting to determine the greenhouse effect impact? What a novel concept.

      • you note, Nostromo skipper, that CC has not seen fit to explain his published box model of the planets radiation budget.
        Then again, climate scientists never do.

      • LOL, I think there will be lots of ‘splainin’ required over the next couple decades. :)

      • Markus Fitzhenry

        “”Chris says:
        For the most part, the troposphere is what matters for planetary energy balance and if one were to quantify a “mean height” where emission gets out to space, it would be about 5-6 km high.””

        In fact it is 5.5klm high by Hansens reasoning, however, place convection which Hansen dismisses, into the mix and whammo, emissions to space start at the surface.

  39. In all this discussion I have not seen anybody bring up the fact that the energy we consume emits enough heat (50x10E16 BTUS per year) to heat the atmosphere (5.3x10E18 kilograms) by )0.14*F. Most of this heat goes to melting glaciers, some to other places. The Kyoto protocol conveniently ignored heat as a cause, and the advocates for nuclear power refuse to accept the notion that heat has anything to do with temperature. They presume that heat is immediately radiated to outer space without consequences to the environment. Nuclear power emits twice as much total heat as the electrical output. Last month the U.S. granted permits for two more nuclear plants, the first since 1978. It’s time to reopen the discussion to include heat along with CO2 to determine their relative impacts on “climate change”

    • Philip,

      work out the numbers of heat generation over a global scale. It’s negligible.

      • Hmmm? From GISSTEMP, “Solar Cycle
        Figure 9 reveals that solar irradiance is beginning to emerge from a protracted minimum, at least two years longer than prior minima of the satellite era, making the sun a significant source for cooling during the past several years. The magnitude of the solar forcing, which varies about 0.25 W/m2 from solar minimum to solar maximum, is much smaller than the forcing by human-made greenhouse gases. However, the most relevant comparison of the solar forcing is with Earth’s energy imbalance, 0.58±0.15 W/m2 (Hansen et al., 2011), because the combined effect of all forcings is less than that of greenhouse gases alone, and much of the greenhouse gas forcing has been “used up” in causing the warming of the past century. It is apparent that the solar forcing is not negligible in comparison with the net climate forcing.”

        If 0.25Wm-2 is apparently not negligible, About 13 terrawatts is about 10% of what is no longer negligible and about 45 terrawatts of geothermal is about 40% of something that is no longer negligible. Combined, the negligible amount to 50% of something that is no longer negligible. I guess land use may not be as negligible as once thought.

        Chris, what does Hansen mean by used up? That is a Scientific term I am not all that familiar with.

      • I’m trying to put together a solar thread where this discussion will be relevant, might be this weekend before i get to it

      • Thank you Judith, the sun is indeed on its 200 year cycle sabatical leave, and the fall out for the northern hemisphere may not be pleasant.

        It would seem that even Hansen is starting to see the light.

      • The net imbalance is a function of current absorbed solar radiation, the forcing a given increment of CO2 causes, and the manifested temperature rise. If solar irradiance decreases in the modern climate, or if there is a sustained, long-term temperature rise, the imbalance will decay to zero.

      • Chris said, “If solar irradiance decreases in the modern climate, or if there is a sustained, long-term temperature rise, the imbalance will decay to zero.” So if we have a reliable magnitude of the change in solar forcing, we should be able to back calculate the relative magnitudes of other forcings and feed backs more accurately?

        Interesting.

      • Probably the most recent paper relevant to solar forcing is by Gareth Jones et al.

      • yes, that was my planned jumping off point for the solar thread

      • Judith said.

        ‘I’m trying to put together a solar thread where this discussion will be relevant, might be this weekend before i get to it.’

        Relevant? Relevant? We don’t want a post thats RELEVANT. Obviously when you do, we’ll all have to go and talk about something else :)
        tonyb

      • Chris –

        “work out the numbers of heat generation over a global scale. It’s negligible.”

        Before dismissing Philip’s point, recall that direct human heating was the subject of intense debate before CO2 hijacked everything. See, for example, William W. Kellogg in his essay ‘Climate Change and the Influence of Man’s Activities on the Global Environment’ in ‘The Changing Global Environment’, ed. S. Fred Singer, 1974.

        He estimated that the heat produced by a fully industrialised world with a larger population than present would need to be mitigated, as it would amount to 2% of net absorbed solar energy and cause continental temperatures to increase by several degrees and the poles even more.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        ‘We present a new technique to reconstruct total and spectral solar irradiance over the Holocene. We obtained a large historical solar forcing between the Maunder minimum and the present, as well as a significant increase in solar irradiance in the first half of the twentieth-century. Our value of the historical solar forcing is remarkably larger than other estimations published in the recent literature.

        We note that our conclusions can not be tested on the basis of the last 30 years of solar observations because, according to the proxy data, the Sun was in a maximumplato state in its longterm evolution.All recently published reconstructions agree well during the satellite observational period and diverge only in the past. This implies that observational data do not allow to select and favor one of the proposed reconstructions. Therefore, until new evidence become available we are in a situation that different approaches and hypothesis yield different solar forcing values. Our result allows the climate community to evaluate the full range of present uncertainty in solar forcing.’ Shapiro et al 2011 – http://www.aanda.org/index.php?option=com_article&access=doi&doi=10.1051/0004-6361/201016173&Itemid=129

        Damned if I know.

      • Judy, the Thesis has some very nice seasonal 7Be and 10Be data.

        http://e-collection.library.ethz.ch/eserv/eth:30179/eth-30179-02.pdf

        This gives on an idea of how cosmic ray flux changes, depending on distance of the Earth-Sun.

        The rule of thumb would be a doubling of 10Be deposition in ice-cores is about the same as the annual max and min production rates.

      • Judith Curry

        Looking forward to the solar thread.

        There is some new stuff out there, which should make this interesting.

        Max

      • dennis adams

        If someone puts together a solar thread, I would love to see a summary of recent studies which address the cycles and the probable impacts or the impacts that are in contention. It seems like there are several recent findings and theories and it is a little overwhelming to sort them all out.

  40. Willis Eschenbach

    A physicist | March 7, 2012 at 12:23 pm |
    I

    f it happens that Hansen’s seven key predictions don’t come true, that will shock the field of climatology … in which case, theoretical adjustments will commence immediately.

    Whereas if they do come true … well … no amount of evidence convinces quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals, eh?

    This is typical “A Physicist” nonsense. He says that the “key predictions” are:

    Prediction 1 Satellite altimeters will affirm the prediction of accelerating sea-level rise, and

    Prediction 2 Satellite gravitometry will affirm the prediction of accelerating ice-mass loss, and

    Prediction 3 Satellite photography will affirm Arctic ice-cap loss and poleward biome migration,

    Prediction 4 Satellite radiometry (solar) will affirm the prediction of stable solar output, and

    Prediction 5 Satellite radiometry (terrestrial) will affirm the prediction of radiative energy imbalance, and

    Prediction 6 Satellite telemetry (from ARGO) will affirm the prediction of warming oceans, and

    Prediction 7 Satellite spectrophotometry will affirm the prediction of a warming particle-laden atmosphere.

    Since none of these “key predictions” have any numbers, hard limits, or time frames to determine if they’ve come to pass or not, they are neither verifiable nor falsifiable … so in other words, they are just as useless as the usual crop of “predictions” from AGW supporters, none of which are falsifiable either.

    It’s just more of the usual “A Physicist” bafflegab. As the poet said “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

    w.

    • Willis,
      It is especially interesting that ‘a physicist’ is seeming obsessed with claiming others are quibbling, when in fact nearly every one of his posts is quibbling over some minor detail or side issue.

      • A physicist

        Hansen mad predictions, those predictions came true, and thereby most AMS members are convinced that Hansen’s science is right. Now Hansen has made more predictions. So what’s the problem?

    • A physicist

      Willis asserts: Key predictions have no time frames.

      Abstract predicts: “acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade.” If confirmed, this prediction will convince still more AMS climate professionals. And it will convince precisely zero conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals.

      • A physicist

        Hansen has zero credibility on sea level rise-dont forget it was him that forecast several metres rise by the end of this century. I would also remind you that Holgate reckoned that the (very modest) sea level rise had been slower in the second half of the 20th century than the first half (although not to a statistically meaningful level.)

        There is nothing happening that is at all out of the ordinary with sea levels, despite all the shrill assertions for two decades
        tonyb

      • tony b,
        The beleivers are not capable of processing the idea we are not in a climate crisis. That is why the faithful rely so much on the most alarmist of the AGW promoters.

    • Just who the hell do you think you are Willis, a damned Bookie?
      If climate scientists wish to make ambiguous projections and use post-hoc data massaging to prove they are ‘skillful’, who are we to question their sagacity?

  41. The Earth-Sun distance results in an increase of about 6.9% in solar energy reaching the Earth at perihelion relative to aphelion. So surely one can calibrate everything that can possibly be due to solar changes using a pair of Trenberth-style Earth Energy budget’s, one at perihelion and one at aphelion.
    The formation of 10Be shows an annual sine-wave pattern with max almost exactly 2xmin.

  42. Willis Eschenbach

    As one example, consider the “key prediction” that “Satellite radiometry (terrestrial) will affirm the prediction of radiative energy imbalance.” It is generally agreed that the earth is almost never in instantaneous radiative balance. So what kind of “prediction” of radiative energy imbalance are we referring to?

    You see, in general the earth is always either warming or cooling … which means it is not in radiative balance. So how much imbalance are we talking about, and measured over what time frame? A day, a year, a decade, a century?

    “A Physicist” is just babbling here, this stuff is totally meaningless.

    w.

    • A physicist

      Hansen takes pains to explain these matters qualitatively, quantitatively, openly, and accessibly.

      Quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals prefer not to assimilate this material.

      • Why are you changing the subject, dissembling, even, dare I sayy it, quibbling?

      • A physicist

        The post reference a body of work that has convinced most AMS professionals … and convinced zero conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals.

        So folks can decide for themselves, eh?

      • Willis Eschenbach

        A physicist | March 7, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Reply

        Hansen takes pains to explain these matters qualitatively, quantitatively, openly, and accessibly.

        You link to a statement of Hansen’s. However, it is not a prediction in any sense. Typical of you, to say that there is some “key prediction”, and then not link to a prediction of any kind.

        A “prediction”, since you don’t seem to know what it is, comes from the Latin. The word præ- means “before,” and dicere means “to say”. You see the clues in there? It means to foretell, to forecast, to say something will happen before it happens.

        Thus, a prediction is nothing like Hansens statement that you linked to. That is Hansen’s statement about the past and present, and has nothing to do with predicting anything.

        This is business as usual for you, “A Physicist” … bafflegab, supported by cites to irrelevant information. Here’s a protip for you—if you have “seven key predictions” up your sleeve, you’d better check and see if they have to do with the FUTURE. You see, if they’re referring to the past, they’re not a prediction … surprising, huh?

        Otherwise you’ll have even more people pointing at you and laughing than is currently the case.

        Hansen did in fact make a prediction about sea levels. He said around 1988 that in forty years the ocean would rise about 3 metres (10 feet). In fact it has risen by about 65 mm (2.5 inches). Nor has their been any sign of the feared “acceleration” you claim (without numbers) in your first “key prediction”, which is that “Satellite altimeters will affirm the prediction of accelerating sea-level rise.”

        In fact, the satellite measurements of sea level show a deceleration … what was your comment about how “Quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals prefer not to assimilate this material.” Which one are you?

        There is no sign at all of sea level acceleration, and in fact we see sea level deceleration of rise in the satellite record … assimilate that, my pseudo-physicist friend, and come back and report on it once it is fully digested.

        w.

      • A physicist

        One sentence with a link conveys the point; the main questions are, how soon the acceleration and how fast the sea-level rise? Hansen predicts: soon and fast.

      • A physicist –

        You’re not Hansen, are you? You seem awfully fond of everything he says, and possibly the ground he walks on.

        Somebody check whether Hansen uses words and phrases such as quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals.

      • A physicist

        Have been lurking onto your interesting exchange with Willis Eschenback, in which he has repeatedly asked you to stop quibbling and instead supply specific timelines and magnitudes of what you have referred to as Hansen’s predictions on sea level rise.

        You have now responded with:

        the main questions are, how soon the acceleration and how fast the sea-level rise? Hansen predicts: soon and fast.

        .

        “soon and fast”?

        Huh?

        What kind of BS* as you spreading here, A physicist?

        Max

        *Note: BS = “bad science”

      • A physicist

        Manacker, the link specified “this decade.”

      • A physicist

        I said upthread that hansen has zero credibility on sea level predictions as he has at various times predicted up to a 5 metre rise. Do you seriously go along with this nonsense?
        tonyb

      • A physicist

        Hansen’s explanations make sense.

        Cherry-picked, out-of-context quotations by quibblers, conspiracy theorists, fringe scientists, and anti-intellectuals don’t make sense.

        That is why AMS scientists heed the former, not the latter.

      • A physicist

        I don’t know who you are replying to here.(5.17)

        I assume it wasn’t me as it wasn’t any sort of response to my comment. Do you agree with Hansens belief that sea levels will rise by up to 5 metres?
        tonyb

      • A physicist

        Provide an in-context, verbatim quotation, please … because out-of-context, cherry-picked “he said / she said” claims are futile, eh?

      • A physicist

        You said to me at 5.40 to provide an in context quote. I had this exchange previously with a Hansen acolyte and repeat the conversation verbatim. (Willis akso quoted something similar upstream)

        “”You said (another commentator)

        ‘Either way, no reference to what Hansen actually said in Reiss’ book, and certainly no mention of a “prediction” of “a 10 foot (3m) sea level rise”. That seems to be a creation by you, and possibly a conclusion of Anthony in the post you reference. ‘

        That is when I joined the discussion.

        “It depends on how fast ice sheets melt, but anything from 16 to 80 feet seems to be the scenario according to Hansen, with a fairly loose time scale which he put at decades. “

        Here again is the article where you say he made no reference to this;

        http://arxiv.org/ftp/physics/papers/0703/0703220.pdf

        He cites ’Global mean temperature three million years ago was only 2-3°C warmer than today (Crowley 1996; Dowsett et al 1996), while sea level was 25 ± 10 m higher (Wardlaw and Quinn 1991; Barrett et al 1992; Dowsett et al 1994).’

        Hansen believes that if its business as usual it will be 5.5 degrees warmer (presumably Fahrenheit) which is the figure needed, according to his citation, to create sea levels 25 m higher. In fact only 1 degree more is needed if the logic in the article holds. (see ref below for citation of this 5.5 degree figure.)

        Hansen clearly said a 5 metre rise by 2090- that is decades not centuries. It is quoted in the Hansen and Sato 2011 paper I linked to earlier and which interestingly you now seem to be backtracking about by throwing up semantic niceties and wordy smokescreens over the timing of the 80 foot reference.

        Hansen said this in 2007 at a conference ;
        +
        http://www.independent.com/news/2007/feb/08/the-scariest-man-on-the-planet/

        “Since then, Hansen’s prognostications have grown considerably more dire. “In the past five years, it’s become clear to me that the problem is a lot more urgent than we thought,” he (Hansen) said Monday night. Unless major steps are taken to curb the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases within the next 10 years, he is “99 percent certain” that the world as we know it will be forever changed. “If we go down the business-as-usual path, it will be 5.5 degrees warmer by the end of this century, warmer than it’s been in 3 million years,” he warned. “If you go back to that time, the sea levels were 80 feet higher.” Should that happen, he predicted, hundreds of millions of people would be homeless, the world’s weather patterns would be violently scrambled, and about half the planet’s species would become extinct.”

        The Commentator said

        “And once again, Hansen has moved far out ahead of the curve. Fuelling his alarm are two factors. It used to be that paleo-climatologists thought the hottest the world had ever been was 2-3 degrees Celsius warmer than current temperatures. Hansen says new research shows that the hottest temperature was actually 1 degree Celsius warmer than now, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. And when the world was a single Celsius degree hotter, he said, the geologic records indicate the seas were 85 feet higher than they are today. The record indicates we’re now within just one degree of the warmest period on the planet. In other words, whatever wiggle room we thought we had has just dramatically tightened.”

        We have got ‘business as usual’ so that is presumably why we have two predictions for 5 metres and 80 feet.

        Here is Hansen again writing in the Royal society journal of 2007 which was reported on here by Dave Lindorff

        “Hansen, saying that recent evidence of melting at the poles shows ice melts much differently, and faster, than once assumed, warns that a few degrees’ rise in temperatures in northern regions could produce much worse results. While he says we could see a resulting rise in sea levels over this century of several meters (bad enough), he also warns that with only the widely predicted 5-6 degree Fahrenheit rise in this century that the IPCC has predicted, the earth could see these two huge ice sheets collapse almost entirely over the next century, with a resulting sea rise of some 80 feet or more. “

        http://www.opednews.com/articles/genera_dave_lin_070705_flash_21_us_media_igno.htm

        Here is the actual article;

        http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/docs/2007/2007_Hansen_etal_2.pdf

        “The imminent peril is initiation of dynamical and thermodynamical processes on the West Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets that produce a situation out of humanity’s control, such that devastating sea-level rise will inevitably occur. Climate forcing of this century under BAU would dwarf natural forcings of the past million years, indeed it would probably exceed climate forcing of the middle Pliocene, when the planet was not more than 2–3 degrees C warmer and sea level 25m 10 m higher (Dowsett et al. 1994). The climate sensitivities we have inferred from palaeoclimate data ensure that a BAU GHG emission scenario would produce global warming of several degrees Celsius this century, with amplification at high latitudes.’

        Read the Hansen papers-read his references within them. Read the Romm article. Are you still saying that your claim that Hansen made no prediction of a 3 metre sea level rise to be correct or that he has made no references to 80 foot?

        It seems to me that the alarmism is coming from your side with such as Watermark, Joe Romm and Dave Lindorff together with numerous other green campaigning organisations

        Hansen seems quite happy that his ultra alarmist views are peddled around the blogosphere by his own cohorts. If he wants to put over a more measured view perhaps he ought to write an appropriate article ‘clarifying’ his position and ensure this gets the same publicity, then we wouldn’t be having this conversation where you are trying to defend a position that is indefensible.

        if hansen believes in a catastrophic temp rise because of business as usual it follows the sea level rise is equally so

        When I write part three of my sea level rise series I will no doubt refer briefly to Hansen, but I am interested in proper factual information not wild estimates. However if you believe he has been misrepresented in face of all the evidence why don’t you put the record straight by writing an article?
        ——–
        End of the exchanges
        tonyb

      • A physicist

        Tonyb, your long post amounts to this. James Hansen is warning that the probability P_{\text{CAGW}} of the climate physics chain

            GHG  \Leftrightarrow GHE  \Leftrightarrow AGW  \Leftrightarrow CAGW

        extending to completion satisfies

            P_{\text{CAGW}} \gtrsim 20\%

        But that is simply what most rationally skeptical AMS members believe.

        For the common-sense reason, that our present understanding of climate physics is too imprecise to bound P_{\text{CAGW}} to any substantially lower value.

        That is why this AMS survey is sobering.

      • Here is a recent picture, taken by Peter Gleick, of NY showing Hansen was right;-

      • A physicist

        your 6.28

        Wow! Are you being serious? As Willis said previously thats sheer bafflegab. No amount of pseudo algebra wll disguise what Hansen said about sea levels which I quoted Verbatim and in context.
        tonyb

      • A physicist

        Tony, you forgot to mention your estimate of the probability P_{\text{CAGW}} that Hansen’s tens-of-meters sea-level rise predictions are correct, on the time-scale that the cited references stipulate (say, a millennium or so).

        If you are confident that

            P_{\text{CAGW}} \ll 20%

        then please summarize your reasoning. That reasoning will be of great interest to Climate etc. readers, because the survey indicates that most members of the AMS do not share that confidence.

      • A physicist

        As a matter of fact, the blurb by Hansen, which you cited, specifies:

        ”but the ascendency of ice melt leads us to anticipate acceleration of the rate of sea level rise this decade”

        Acceleration from what specific value to what specific value?

        Hansen is arm-waving, but here are some real-life data for you.

        Over the 20th century sea level rose at 1.74 mm/year on average (somewhat lower rate in the second half of the century than in the first half), based on the tide gauge record (Holgate 2007), which measured sea level at selected coastlines (where we humans live).
        http://www.agu.org/journals/ABS/2007/2006GL028492.shtml

        According to IPCC AR4 SPM (p.5) it rose by 3.1 mm/year over the period 1993-2003, based on satellite altimetry, measuring the entire ocean except areas near the poles and shorelines, which cannot be measured by satellite altimetry.

        Over this same period a 2007 paper by Carl Wunsch et al. using several direct and modeled methods states that the rate of rise was 1.6 mm/year (or around half that claimed by IPCC).
        http://ocean.mit.edu/~cwunsch/papersonline/Wunschetal_jclimate_2007_published.pdf

        Wunsch also states that ”systematic errors are likely to dominate most estimates of global average change: published values and error bars should be used very cautiously”.

        The NOAA scientists making the satellite altimetry measurements agree with Wunsch et al. regarding the high error level of sea level measurements by satellite altimetry (Sharoo & Miller, 2004):
        http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/05276/EGU04-J-05276.pdf

        “The currently accepted value is 2.5±0.5 mm/year.
        However, every few years we learn about mishaps or drifts in the altimeter instruments, errors in the data processing or instabilities in the ancillary data that result in rates of change that easily exceed the formal error estimate, if not the rate estimate itself.”

        Then we have a more recent study by Houston & Dean:
        http://www.jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-10-00157.1

        The study compares 57 U.S. tide gauges in the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) data base that have lengths of 60–156 years with worldwide data from 1930 to 2007, obtaining ” small sea-level decelerations similar to those we obtain from U.S. gauge records”

        A recent check by P. Gosselin of 21 world-wide tide gauge stations reported by NOAA, shows that the rate of SL rise at 15 locations is decelerating while 6 locations are accelerating, with the average rate of rise at 1.47 mm/year, or slightly below the Wunsch et al. (2007) or Holgate (2007) levels.
        http://notrickszone.com/2011/09/17/slowing-sea-levels/

        IOW the observed rate of rise is slowing down slightly, NOT accelerating.

        Of course, if one looks at a plot of the average decadal rate of SL rise in mm/year (Holgate 2007), one sees that decadal swings in the rate of rise overshadow any longer-term trends, which appear to be flat or slightly decelerating:

        In fact, IPCC hints in AR4 SPM (p.5) that this may be the reason for the postulated increase over the period 1993-2003:

        ”Whether the faster rate for 1993 to 2003 reflects decadal variability or an increase in the longer-term trend is unclear”

        A physicist, you are going to have to come with something more convincing than this non-specific arm-waving junk science by Hansen you have cited.

        Max

      • A physicist,
        Hansen has been predicting serious climate dangers since 1988. According to Hansen, Manhattan is already underwater and subtropical vegetation is invading the New York metro area.

  43. If only 26% responded then it is clear the 74% who did respond do not consider the issue to be serious. Ie they don’t think that life on earth as we know it is in grave danger. Alterrnatively they could be despicable people who do not care for their fellow human beings and are presently pulling the wings off butterflys? :-)

  44. “Fred Moolten | March 7, 2012 at 2:37 pm |

    Probably the most recent paper relevant to solar forcing is by Gareth Jones et al.’

    Fred, doesn’t it worry you that the ‘Annual global mean near-surface temperature anomalies from individual ensemble members of HadCM3 simulations forced with anthropogenic and natural factors’ look nothing like the line-shape of the actual. They fail, even though they have been trained to look exactly like the ‘real’ temperature.
    in most fields, if the simulation do not match the actual physical reality, we do not use them as the basis of future projection. We we to do this, medical specialists in general area of psychotic diseases would be called.

    • “Fred, doesn’t it worry you that the ‘Annual global mean near-surface temperature anomalies from individual ensemble members of HadCM3 simulations forced with anthropogenic and natural factors’ look nothing like the line-shape of the actual. They fail, even though they have been trained to look exactly like the ‘real’ temperature”

      What is the basis for that statement? Although not in the Jones et al paper, HadCM3 simulations performed fairly well compared with observations even if the match was certainly not perfect.

      The statement that the simulations “have been trained to look exactly like the ‘real’ temperature” is incorrect.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        Models are tuned to observed variables and have broadly mimiced the temperature response in recent times – within broad limits of accuracy. These results are qualitative – within the range of feasible solutions available the obviously plausible solution mimics observations of temperature. They are hardly likely to choose a solution that doesn’t. The models do poorly on details such as ENSO, the PDO and cloud dynamics in the marine stratocumulos regions. They are doing extremely poorly on forecasts from 2000 with observations falling outside of confidence limits.

      • Models are tuned to observed variables

        That’s true, but the “observed variables” that models universally accept as the basis of tuning are those for the existing climatology – seasons, latitudinal differences, atmospheric patterns, etc. The models are not tuned to temperature trends they are attempting to simulate. Whether individual modelers at times make one or more choices based on a foreknowledge of a trend has been conjectured, and is not implausible, but the notion that models are routinely tuned to match trends is contradicted by the descriptions of how models are actually parameterized. If they were, the matches would be better than they have turned out to be.

        Some of this was discussed extensively in the thread on Lindzen’s presentation, and I think it would probably be more useful for readers to review that discussion rather than have it repeated here. The limitation of models in simulating short intervals (e.g., 2000 to 2011) was discussed in earlier threads.

      • Captain Kangaroo

        You are both correct and incorrect Fred. The problem emerges from structural instability arising from non-unique choices for parametisations.

        ‘Atmospheric and oceanic computational simulation models often successfully depict chaotic space–time patterns, flow phenomena, dynamical balances, and equilibrium distributions that mimic nature. This success is accomplished through necessary but nonunique choices for discrete algorithms, parameterizations, and coupled contributing processes that introduce structural instability into the model.’ McWilliams 2007 – the quotes from my previous posts were also from McWilliams – http://www.pnas.org/content/104/21/8709.full

        The problem is that there are non-unique solutions possible within the bounds of plausible inputs. This is just from the mathematics of the Navier-Stokes partial differential equations. The solutions look like Figure 1 from the McWilliams paper.

        The plausibility of the climate simulation emerges from a posteriori solution behaviour. Thus plausible solutions for the 20th century look similar to the observed temperature transient – but these are by no means unique solutions to a perfectly posed initial or boundary condition problem. The choices as to plausibility are determined after the fact.

        I think perhaps the math is being misunderstood – rather than being deliberately misrepresented.

  45. Correction should read “Eschenbach”

  46. Judith Curry

    Let’s check this claim by the (arguably pro-CAGW) AMS management, who set up this survey:

    Despite the perception of conflict, 82% of voting Members feel AMS should help to educate the public about global warming and 67% think AMS should help educate policy makers about it.

    Questionnaires were sent to 7,197 AMS members, of which only 1,862 (25.9%) sent back some sort of a response. [Excluding those members whose “email addresses were invalid” this was 26.4%.]

    So we actually have 21.2% of AMS Members who” feel AMS should help to educate the public about global warming” and 17.3% who “think AMS should help educate policy makers about it”.

    Yawn!

    Looks like the AMS management is trying to sell us a bill of goods.

    Where is Naomi Oreskes when we need a good number-smith?

    Max

  47. I would expect a survey of AMS members to reflect the “consensus” mainstream view. That is what we got. I think it unlikely that the weakensses in survey design had a major impact on the results.

    If however, scientific inquiry reveals better theories properly properly supported by data, the “consensus” will change, as it does in any scientific field. What is missing is the scientific inquiry.

    • Robin Guenier

      I’m getting bored with saying this – but the survey doesn’t reflect the (alleged) “consensus” mainstream view. See this: https://judithcurry.com/2012/03/06/ams-members-surveyed-on-global-warming/#comment-182780

      Perhaps the problem is that no one really knows what the consensus is – if indeed there is one.

      • Robin

        Your logic (and arithmetic) are impeccable.

        This survey turns out to be a red herring.

        Max

      • Robin Guenier

        Thanks, Max. In fact, I had a slight problem with the logic as both Q3 and Q4 refer back to Q1. But, even if the questionnaire had been more usefully constructed, the outcome would still have been around 17% – maybe less.

        I disagree that the survey is a red herring. I suggest it reflects the real views of AMS members (i.e. that AGW is not a big deal) and is thus very important and interesting.

  48. John from CA

    The survey questions are poorly designed related to the “global warming” definition. Meteorology/Atmospheric Science (66%) would logically conclude it simply means “temperature has been increasing over the past 150 years”.

    Its also very disappointing to see that Chi analysis hasn’t been presented — Demographic group and question response. How for instance did the employed in government (29%), university (28%)group respond vs the Meteorology/Atmospheric Science (66%) group?

    Very poor survey and analysis in my opinion.

    Of the 89% who answered Yes:
    – only 46% are Extremely sure it is happening
    – only 59% feel its mostly by human activity (note the use of the term mostly)
    – only 38% feel “global warming” will be Very Harmful over the next 100 years
    – only 22% feel mitigation and adaption measures can prevent a large amount of the “harm”
    – only 30% are very worried about it

  49. Beth Cooper

    Interconnections is the name of the game.

    Climate’s dynamic chaotic flow, not clocks but clouds,
    Changes in solar variability from
    Maunder minimums to Mediaeval heatwaves,
    Sun spots and the markets.

    Get it?

  50. So 62% were merely somewhat worried or less.

  51. Hansen foresaw the flooding of Manhattan … wait … that didn’t happen, did it?

  52. Captain Kangaroo

    ‘Yourself and David can remain unconvinced, but the fact is that the relative stability of the Holocene (along with the many other examples I mentioned above, and that Andy Lacis discussed) is a rather powerful argument against chaos being an important factor in long-term, statistical characterizations of the climate. Even ‘abrupt climate change’ events have been successfully modeled as threshold processes/stochastic resonance (with Milankovitch forcing important for longer timescales), though I’m sure that the evolution, of say, a D-O event does have an initial condition component.’

    The Earth climate system is dynamically complex – there are control variables and dynamic and non-linear responses. So there is a semantic equivalence in the terms chaos and threshold events – a small initial change propagates non-linearly through the system. Even stochastic resonance is a special case of non-linear amplification of a signal where the initial change is conceived of as being amplified in the system through interactions with system ‘noise’.

    ‘David can mention words like “turbulence” and “complex” all he wants, but none of that changes the fact that virtually no climate scientist thinks in the worldview that he does, no support exists for thinking in that way (indeed, this is why climatology can exist at all, and why no literature can substantiate that the present climate suffers from any kind of initial-condition sensitivity that would compromise the value of projections of the response of statistical quantities, like global mean T, to increases in GHG’s).

    ‘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.’ http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?record_id=10136&page=19

    Anastasios Tsonis, of the Atmospheric Sciences Group at University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, and colleagues used a mathematical network approach to analyse abrupt climate change on decadal timescales. Ocean and atmospheric indices – in this case the El Niño Southern Oscillation, the Pacific Decadal Oscillation, the North Atlantic Oscillation and the North Pacific Oscillation – can be thought of as chaotic oscillators that capture the major modes of climate variability. Tsonis and colleagues calculated the ‘distance’ between the indices. It was found that they would synchronise at certain times and then shift into a new state.

    It is no coincidence that shifts in ocean and atmospheric indices occur at the same time as changes in the trajectory of global surface temperature. 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,’ Tsonis said.

    Four multi-decadal climate shifts were identified in the last century coinciding with changes in the surface temperature trajectory. Warming from 1909 to the mid 1940’s, cooling to the late 1970’s, warming to 1998 and declining since. The shifts are punctuated by extreme El Niño Southern Oscillation events. Fluctuations between La Niña and El Niño peak at these times and climate then settles into a damped oscillation. Until the next critical climate threshold – due perhaps in a decade or two if the recent past is any indication.

    ‘Most of the studies and debates on potential climate change have focused on the ongoing buildup of industrial greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and a gradual increase in global temperatures. But recent and rapidly advancing evidence demonstrates that Earth’s climate repeatedly has shifted dramatically and in time spans as short as a decade. And abrupt climate change may be more likely in the future.’ http://www.whoi.edu/page.do?pid=12455

    Here is my favourite proof of a lack of Holocene climate stability. It is shows red sediment shift in a South American lake for the last 11,000 years. El Niño increase rainfall and thus sediment moving into the lake. Thus a red shift indicates more El Niño.

    It shows the drying of the Sahel 5,000 years ago, the demise of the Minoan civilisation starting 3,500 years ago, periods of long droughts and intense flooding and cyclonic activity. Large variability and sudden change.

    I have long suspected that climate science is far too insular a discipline. It is all there in the literature – but it all needs to be put in the context of a very broad natural philosophy framework involving real world data interpreted through a rational theory of scientific knowledge.

    The models are different again. They are in essence calculations that diverge in time as a result of necessary but non-unique choices in inputs. Whether they are conceived of as initial value or boundary problems makes absolutely no difference to the intrinsic instability of the models. They are in the terms of mathematics a poorly posed initial value problem because the uncertainty in inputs creates an intractable instability in the computations.

    Understanding the nature of the maths is part of developing a rational theory of knowledge.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

  53. It really should be mentioned that the little climate enclave at George Mason Uninversity, while I would view the entire school as moderate are general CAGW promoters with all sorts of ties to the pinheads at Yale University who are rolling in excess climate funding like no other campus in the nation.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/02/23/george-mason-university-study-figures-out-what-i-already-knew-climategate-had-a-major-impact-on-tv-meteorologists/

    http://search.yahoo.com/r/_ylt=A0oG7ib4PFhPVnwAzNpXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTE1bTVpMG5nBHNlYwNzcgRwb3MDNQRjb2xvA2FjMgR2dGlkA1NNRTEwMV8yNjg-/SIG=12r2vl678/EXP=1331211640/**http%3a//environment.yale.edu/climate/files/PoliticsGlobalWarming2011.pdf

    Hanlon’s Razor NW?? Not quite by a longshot. It’s not like everyone is going to surrender at GMU either, they generate plenty of liberal hate targeted there. The point is they have a full-mooner CAGW section at GMU, it’s likely linked to the idiot “communication” efforts that produced the turd survey in question here, often tied to joint efforts with Yale University where climate funding corruption runs wild.

  54. A short list of pinhead Yale Climate activities that relate to GMU as well;

    http://news.yale.edu/2009/01/13/media-advisory-new-era-science-policy-yale-experts-available-discuss-obama-s-plan

    Minitrue located at Yale;

    http://www.npr.org/2011/06/21/137309964/climate-change-public-skeptical-scientists-sure

    “Only 13 percent of Americans got the correct answer, which is that in fact about 97 percent of American scientists say that climate change is happening, and about a third of Americans just simply say they don’t know,” he said.

    These are the people running the “surveys”. Willis, NW, Miker tell me again about “why” the poll Dr. Curry cited look the way it does???

  55. More evidence of GMU “collaborating” with Yale Climate “Communications”;

    http://news.yale.edu/2010/06/08/poll-american-opinion-climate-change-warms

    I love this one below. How convenient, Yale which rolls in climate funding polls to find the public supports more government funding for “research”;

    http://www.treehugger.com/corporate-responsibility/americans-support-strong-climate-energy-policy-yale-poll.html

    They must be doing a great job right?

  56. Don A @ 8/3 12.32.
    Doesn’t seem to work like that now, Don. You’re looking for a reasoned response, could there perhaps be another agenda?

    • No, I’m just old-fashioned. If you want to find out something, you make sure that your methodology is as good as it can be, that’s all.

      Cheers,

      Don

  57. Robin Guenier

    John from CA:

    “only 30% are very worried about it”? Hmm … I make it only 17%: https://judithcurry.com/2012/03/06/ams-members-surveyed-on-global-warming/#comment-182780

    Either way, contrary to what most commentators here seem to think, the results of this survey do not remotely support the alleged “consensus”. That, Judith, is the real surprise. But, in truth, I believe it’s closer to what “climate scientists” really think than we keep being told.

    • John from CA

      6. How worried are you about global warming?
      [Asked if answer to Question 1 is “Yes” or “Don’t know”]
      Very worried 30%

      So of the 89% who answered Yes, they believe the earth has warmed over the last 150 years (no implied reason), only 30% of the 89% are very worried about it.

      The entire survey was a complete waste of time, questions were poorly designed and the analysis was pitiful. One can only hope the AMS doesn’t use the survey for anything other than landfill.

      • John from CA

        sorry s/b

        So of the 96% who answered “Yes” or “Don’t know” if they believe the earth has warmed over the last 150 years (no implied reason for the warming), only 30% of the 96% of responses, minus 8 who didn’t respond to question 6, are very worried about it.

    • John from CA

      Hi Robin,
      from your analysis
      “In other words, those who know the most are the least sure.”

      IMO, any attempt to determine “know the most” would require use of the demographics. Example: it seems reasonable that those “who know the most” fall into Climate Scientist group which is why it was so disappointing that they only ran frequency analysis on question responses devoid of the demographics.

      It would be very interesting if a “consensus” is not found in the Climate Scientist group and the degree to which they are worried about the warming.

      It would be very interesting to run some chi on the survey but I doubt AMS is willing to release the surveys for additional analysis.

  58. Captain Kangaroo

    There are observed changes in the SW radiative flux that are the dominant signal by far in TOA power flux (Wong et al 2006) – and indeed LW cooling identified as cloud related by inputting ISCCP cloud amounts and calculating radiative transfer (IPCC, AR4). I have a problem with the idea of noise – at TOA it is all signal. These changes are associated largely with clouds changes in marine stratocumulus regions in the Pacific. I have discussed some of the literature here.

    https://judithcurry.com/2011/02/09/decadal-variability-of-clouds/

    But let’s bring the predictive power back to something more manageable – say a decade or 3. ‘Using a new measure of coupling strength, this update shows that these climate modes have recently synchronized, with synchronization peaking in the year 2001/02. This synchronization has been followed by an increase in coupling. This suggests that the climate system may well have shifted again, with a consequent break in the global mean temperature trend from the post 1976/77 warming to a new period (indeterminate length) of roughly constant global mean temperature.’ Swanson and Tsonis 2009

    So we have what is a dynamical mechanism for climate shifts. These are of course associated with decadal changes in circulation, wind, clouds and biology in the Pacific and which look likely to modify the global energy dynamic for a decade or three more. The climate state emerges as non-linear and chaotic – across major modes of climate variability. Where this goes is somewhat problematic. Based on Australian research into storm wrack – I am expecting a shift in this century to much more intense and frequent La Niña for a couple of centuries.

    Still we have what is at most 0.1 degrees C/decade warming – please see Kyle Swanson’s much ado about natural variability post at realclimate – and have decided that this is not an existential threat in the immediate future. My private joke is that this is despite the risk of catastrophic (in the sense of Rene Thom) climate change any time at all now. Rather – we would like to have sensible choices about how to proceed to manage essential global economic growth with humanitarian and environmental sensitivity. These are choices that have not brought into the social calculus deeply as yet – but the world is not warming and we will insist that they are.

    Best regards
    Captain Kangaroo

  59. @A physicist

    You are one of the only posters on any of the climate blogs who tries to claim scientific credibility with your screen name. You say you are “a physicist” yet none of your numerous posts ever causes me to imagine that you are truly any kind of scientist, never mind a physicist.

    So are you honestly a real physicist (and how would we tell), or are you trying always to pretend to unearned credibility? I’ve noticed this is becoming a pattern with you, such as when you claimed that having dinner with some US Marines gave you some unique claim and insight into “truth” in the climate debates. You seem to be one of the most trolling and dissembling posters I see on any of these blogs.

  60. To what extent are respondents influenced by the ambiguity of terms? The UNFCCC definition, amplified by press and repetition, leads to the meme:

    Climate Change {means} Global Warming {means} Anthropogenic Global Warming {means} Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming
    {which requires} Mitigation {which requires} CO2 Policy {which requires} Fossil Fuel Management by Governments.

    IMO, it is past time to determine what is really going on with climate, and why.

  61. The sub-topic of modeling was very educational and shows the importance of blogs like this one- learned discusions and disagreements in real time. My less educational summary is this-

    A Lacis: radiative forcing and modeling foretell the future- all roads lead to warm.

    David Young: sorry, that’s a circular agument. I may not know the future, but I’d rather be right than be prescient.

  62. Hansen’s Seven Key Predictions. Seven is a magic number (seven deadly sins, seven vestal virgins, etc.), but Hansen’s seven, besides being untestable statements, are really just two predictions-
    Here are his 7-

    Prediction 1 Satellite altimeters will affirm the prediction of accelerating sea-level rise, and

    Prediction 2 Satellite gravitometry will affirm the prediction of accelerating ice-mass loss, and

    Prediction 3 Satellite photography will affirm Arctic ice-cap loss and poleward biome migration,

    Prediction 4 Satellite radiometry (solar) will affirm the prediction of stable solar output, and

    Prediction 5 Satellite radiometry (terrestrial) will affirm the prediction of radiative energy imbalance, and

    Prediction 6 Satellite telemetry (from ARGO) will affirm the prediction of warming oceans, and

    Prediction 7 Satellite spectrophotometry will affirm the prediction of a warming particle-laden atmosphere.

    Hansen’s two predictions are-
    #1 warming will occur and be evident with all 4 of the elements: earth, air, fire, and water (the GHG forcing)
    #2 there will be no change on solar output (the solar forcing)
    Although we have A Physicist here for an authority check, it appears to me that Hansen is most likely wrong on prediction #2 if solar output wavelengths are considered and may be wrong on #1, but we need many more years of temperature data to know if he’s right or wrong. My quixotic guess is that Hansen may be as much as 50% correct, and as much as 100% wrong.

  63. Since when is science determined by hand-waving/polls?
    Just wondering…
    Brgds/TJ

  64. Try the Delphi Method. Of course you need experts, e.g. people who have studied and though about the problem.