Week in review 2/03/12

by Judith Curry

A few things that caught my eye the past few weeks.

Cliff Mass

Cliff Mass has another hard-hitting post, on the U.S. National Weather Service’s Computer Gap. The post is chock full of insightful analysis and good recommendations. Of particular relevance to our discussions at Climate Etc.:

When U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell learned about the lack of computer power for U.S.  numerical weather prediction at a luncheon I attended, she asked an important question of the head of the NWS:  how can this be when Congress has appropriated large amounts of funds for weather and climate computers?  He did not answer, but the answer is clear: nearly all of these resources have been unavailable for weather prediction–most are used for climate studies.

Beasties in the sky

My colleagues at Georgia Tech have published a provocative new paper:

Natasha DeLeon-Rodriguez, et al., “Microbiome of the upper troposphere: Species composition and prevalence, effects of tropical storms, and atmospheric implications,” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (2013): www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.121208911.  Preprint link [here].

The paper is getting a lot of publicity.  Excerpts from the Georgia Tech press release:

In what is believed to be the first study of its kind, researchers used genomic techniques to document the presence of significant numbers of living microorganisms – principally bacteria – in the middle and upper troposphere, that section of the atmosphere approximately four to six miles above the Earth’s surface.

Whether the microorganisms routinely inhabit this portion of the atmosphere – perhaps living on carbon compounds also found there – or whether they were simply lofted there from the Earth’s surface isn’t yet known. The finding is of interest to atmospheric scientists, because the microorganisms could play a role in forming ice that may impact weather and climate. Long-distance transport of the bacteria could also be of interest for disease transmission models.

The microorganisms were documented in air samples taken as part of NASA’s Genesis and Rapid Intensification Processes (GRIP) program to study low- and high-altitude air masses associated with tropical storms. The sampling was done from a DC-8 aircraft over both land and ocean, including the Caribbean Sea and portions of the Atlantic Ocean.

Links between warming and past droughts questioned

Princeton News reports:

A series of recent droughts from Australia to the United States has led some scientists to warn that global warming has already begun to increase worldwide drought. But new research from Princeton and the Australian National University in Canberra has found that this might not be the case.

In an article published in November in the scientific journal Nature, the researchers reported that errors resulting from a model commonly used to assess drought, the Palmer Drought Severity Index, had led to overestimates of the severity of drought worldwide.

Von Storch’s new book

Pierre Gosselin reports on Von Storch and Werner Krauss’ new book on climate change, society, and policy (in German).  Excerpts from the book:

The climate debate is stuck in the mud, the credibility of climate scientists has been cast into doubt, and the policymakers’ ability to act on the issue of climate is minimal. We are sitting in the climate trap.”

The climate scientist [von Storch] had the suspicion that climate science was dragging around a ‘cultural rucksack’ that was influencing the interpretation of the data. 

Some climate scientists were regular interview-partners and talkshow guests – and thus self-confidence became bigger, to the point that they knew the truth about climate change and thus became convinced that policy-making and society should follow the deeper insight of science.”

Without really being aware of it, climate scientists had taken over the role of prophets: They predicted the imminent end-of-the-world if society did not fundamentally change soon, reduced its emissions, and behaved more sustainably with the environment. The problem was not only the message, but also that they were were often completely way in over their heads with the role as mediator between nature and society.”

Oh my.  I hope that someone will do an English translation of the entire book.

New perspectives on urban climate effects

Several new articles are challenging how we think about the urban impacts on climate.  WUWT reports  Waste heat – a bigger climate effect than once thought.

New energy sources: possibilities and prospects

The Energy Collective has a good article New energy sources: possibilities and prospects.

Funny side of climate change

Some climate cartoons from elephant journal.

JC comment:  My big proposal has finally been submitted, sigh of relief.  I have been pretty tied up the past 3 months writing proposals, so little time for blogging.  Thanks again to all the guest bloggers who have provided posts that have kept the dialogue going.

Right now, Feb looks pretty open (i.e. no big looming deadlines), so I hope to post more frequently.  I have a huge backlog of material to sort through.  Hopefully coming next week are posts on sensitivity, U.S. climate policy, and academic publishing.

269 responses to “Week in review 2/03/12

  1. Dr. Curry: “coming next week…..and academic publishing.” Is this going to cover the BEST decision to publish its results papers in GIGS?

  2. Fear of Global Warming a Phobia

    Blaming others for the weather seen as a serious sickness…

    Pseudofraidy affect (PFA), Kalimeraphobia, Labilephobia refers to a neurologic disorder characterized by fear of a hotter, more intimidating world than it actually is prompting a desire for more protection than is warranted by any actual threat. PFA occurs secondary to a true emotional problem often caused by repetitive, obsessive thinking of those abused by the Western education system. Patients may find themselves abandoning traditional ways of spiritual and logical thinking that serve to prevent individuals from succumbing to moral decline, mental helplessness – feeling lost in a wasteland of being and nothingness — and leading to an inaccurate view of the real world and an inability to assess their vulnerability to present and future weather conditions and all the myriad vagaries of life over which they have no understanding or control. Overcoming the devastating effects of a Western dysfunctional education is the only known cure. Individuals who do not rely on the mainstream media and who understand the floccinaucinihilipilification of the cabinets and cabinets full of worthless global warming research are far more mood-congruent with simple realities of historical, currently observed and rationally foreseeable weather conditions.

  3. Former Director at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Lennart Bengtsson, speaks out in largest swedish newspaper, a good transalation and summary here:

    The swedish original article here:

    Example “We Are Creating Great Anxiety Without It Being Justified. Yes, humankind is affecting the climate. But no, there are no indications that the warming is so severe that we need to panic”

  4. Judith Curry

    I couldn’t get past the abstract in PNAS and its paywall.

    Do you have a suggestion? other than…paying.

    Would you prefer I as a series of questions instead?

    What was the aerosol count? composition of the other 80%?

    • Link to the preprint here, i am adding this to the main post

      • Thank you. I’m reading it now

      • Likely exaggerates the potential for long distance transmission of disease. A poor vector, or I poorly know.

      • Judith Curry

        “Our results also indicate that airborne microbial cells may quantitatively be more important for cloud formation and precipitation than previously anticipated.”

        Thank you again for sharing this article. This was very interesting to me. I was unable to bring up and review the Appendices so some of my questions my be answered there. For what its worth, some random thoughts:

        Aside from Figure 3, was there further characterization of other materials in the atmosphere at those altitudes? I ask this because I was looking for “fellow travelers” organic and inorganic aerosol material that accompany some species of organisms. This information may be helpful to identify communities contributing to the bacterial analysis.

        It seems that there is a core world circulating bacterial community at high altitude to which is added by some climatological upheaval, like tropical storms.

        The fresh water organisms over California and transcontinental may reflect organisms seeded from fresh water from irrigation of crops.

        Several of the bacterial organisms: Burkholderia and Pseudomonas are frequently found in water environments and they can dominate an ecosystem as they produce “piocins” which kill other organisms with which they compete. Could some of the findings, including lack of finding the Ice Nucleation (IN) be related to species susceptible to these “bacterial antibiotics”?

        Again, thank you. I believe this article is a contribution to the literature as far as I am aware. Some further thoughts may “pop” into my head at some future date as this is only my first reading.

      • The pod people arrived many eons ago; they are pseudomonads and fungal spores.

  5. Yet another blog post about the urgency to deal with uncertainty in no uncertain terms. After reporting about some Norwegian study and recalling some lukewarm factoids, Kevin Bullis, who’s reporting as MIT Technology Review’s senior editor took him “to the oil-rich deserts of the Middle East and to China, where mountains are being carved away to build the looming cities” and whom “lived for a time in the Philippines, where I knew people who lit their tiny homes with single lantern batteries or struggled to breathe through the dense diesel fumes of Manila”, and thus “have a feel for the pressing need around the world for both cheap energy and clean energy” concludes:

    This all makes establishing sound policy difficult, to say the least. Scientists have a high degree of confidence that anthropogenic greenhouse gases are responsible for a large share of the roughly 1 ° C rise in temperatures we’ve seen so far, and that it will lead to warming in the future. Since no one can say precisely how much, and that’s why it’s so important to have a high level, prominent discussion in the United States and around the world about the risks of climate change, and how best to respond (see “Obama Still Needs to Make the Case for Dealing with Climate Change”).


    • This was my email and posting related the the MIT Technology Review.

      Dear Editors,

      I have been reading the “MIT Technology Review” for more than six years and your “DEAR MR. PRESIDENT” has upset me enough to write to you for the first time.

      You should always get the science right before you take a drastic stand.

      In “MIT Technology Review”, Vol 116 NO. 1 | January/February 2013, Page 8, “THE TROUBLE WITH PROBLEMS”, the young man was told to throw away the computer and use the one on his shoulders. Then on page 50, “DEAR MR. PRESIDENT”, you editors write that addressing climate change must take top priority, even though, other than CO2, there is no climate parameter that is out of the bounds of the past ten thousand years. You and the Alarmists, Consensus, Climate Scientists need to do the same thing. Throw away the Models that have shown no skill for the past 20 years, look at the actual well bounded data and use the computers that are on your shoulders. There is plenty of good data and, other than CO2, none of the data is headed out of bounds. Only flawed Model projections are headed out of bounds. There is no indication that immediate drastic action is needed. It is criminal to let flawed alarmist science ruin the energy production and the economy of this country and much of the rest of the world. Actually, science is always skeptic and therefore, consensus science is not science.
      There is no need to lower CO2 emissions. It is not driving anything else out of the bounds of the past ten thousand years, except crop production. More CO2 makes green things grow better using less water. MIT is usually known for science and it saddens me to see you ignore real science and latch on to alarmist madness.

      Consensus science is not real science. If anyone does address climate change at a high priority, I do hope that the first goal is to get skeptical and get the science right before taking drastic action.

  6. I posted the following on the last open thread, and did not get much in the way of response. Let me try again.


    The IPCC has no basis to claim any degree of certainty about (C)AGW until two things have been established.
    1. A CO2 signal is detected and measured above the background of the noise of natural variations. Inherent in this process is the ability to show that the signal was, indeed, caused by additonal CO2 in the atmosphere.
    2. From the measurement of the CO2 signal, the value of climate sensitivity can be measured. Inherent in the process is establishing the accuracy with which the measurement is made. When this accuracy is known, then and only then, can anyone state on any scientific basis, something about (C)AGW having some sort of probability of being correct.
    That is what I was taught in basics physics over 65 years ago, and nothing anyone says will make me change my mind.


    Maybe I might be able to get a better response this time. With the AR5 dues fairly soon, the degree to which the IPCC can claim high degrees of probability in the SPMs ought to be of considerable interest.

    • CO2 has a very specific radiative signature, so a CO2 signal is very easy to detect in radiative measurements both from the ground and from space. The radiative forcing change is an established fact of measurement and consistent with physics, and is much stronger than a solar cycle forcing change for example.

      • Bacteria in the atmosphere?

        If you’ve ever been in Mexico City on a dry day, when the wind is blowing from the city dump, you’ll experience all the bacteria in the atmosphere that you’ll ever need.

        And I’m sure that’s not the only place.


      • Jim D

        Jim Cripwell can correct me if I’ve misunderstood his post, but the “CO2 signal” to which he is referring is not the same as the one you are describing.

        He is looking for a “CO2 signal” which provides empirical evidence that increasing the atmospheric concentration of CO2 by a few hundred ppm will cause a perceptible change in global average temperature, not the radiative measurements, which demonstrate that CO2 can absorb and re-radiate LW energy, to which you refer.

        As far as the changes resulting from changes in solar activity, I’d say these are not fully understood. IPCC considers only measurable changes in direct solar irradiance on one hand but concedes on the other that its “level of scientific understanding of solar forcing is low”.

        And then there are the many other natural factors, which have a strong effect on our climate but are poorly understood.

        Lot’s of uncertainty still out there, Jim, and Cripwell is simply looking for a conclusive “CO2 signal”.


      • Jim D you write “CO2 has a very specific radiative signature, so a CO2 signal is very easy to detect in radiative measurements both from the ground and from space.”

        Maybe, but no-one has MEASURED the radiative forcing of CO2; all we have is estimations. Until we have measurements, one cannot establish any form of accuracy, so there is no basis for the IPCC to claim any sort of probability.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jim D
        You are confusing
        A) the spectral signature of CO2 which has been very accurately measured, with
        B) the impact of increasing CO2 on global climate – which is very difficult to distinguish from natural climate variations.
        Beenstock et al. (2012) show that global warming is directly cointegrated with(caused by) solar insolation, but NOT by CO2.

        See: Polynomial cointegration tests of anthropogenic impact on global warming
        M. Beenstock, Y. Reingewertz, and N. Paldor
        Earth Syst. Dynam. Discuss., 3, 561-596, 2012

        Specifically, the methodology of polynomial cointegration is used to test AGW since during the observation period (1880–2007) global temperature and solar irradiance are stationary in 1st differences, whereas greenhouse gas and aerosol forcings are stationary in 2nd differences. We show that although these anthropogenic forcings share a common stochastic trend, this trend is empirically independent of the stochastic trend in temperature and solar irradiance. Therefore, greenhouse gas forcing, aerosols, solar irradiance and global temperature are not polynomially cointegrated, and the perceived relationship between these variables is a spurious regression phenomenon. On the other hand, we find that greenhouse gas forcings might have had a temporary effect on global temperature.

      • David L. Hagen

        Jim D
        See Burt Rutan: ‘This says it all and says it clear’
        IPCC/HadCRUT Dataset Confirms Global Cooling Figure.

        A 33% increase in CO2 emissiosn went along with a DECREASE in global temperature trend from +1.44 deg C/century to -0.08 deg C/century.
        Natural variations easily dominate any impact of CO2.

      • But JD, do you see the radiation from H2O amplifying the effect of the small amount of extra CO2? Like, for example, the tropospheric hot spot? Last I read, there is no hot spot there.

      • Robert I Ellison

        If we look here the effect is seen as brightness temperature at toa and radiance at the surface – http://www.skepticalscience.com/empirical-evidence-for-co2-enhanced-greenhouse-effect.htm

        The toa evidence is for flux as seen through an aperature and the brightness temperature is a measure photon scattering in the atmosphere – rather that IR flux as such. Harries and similar studies show the greenhouse effect in the atmosphere but has little bearing on radiant flux as such what may have is the lag in ocean warming. Although the evidence is that ocean heat content follows toa net flux quite closely.

        ‘In summary, although there is independent evidence for decadal changes in TOA radiative fluxes over the last two decades, the evidence is equivocal. Changes in the planetary and tropical TOA radiative fluxes are consistent with independent global ocean heat-storage data, and are expected to be dominated by changes in cloud radiative forcing. To the extent that they are real, they may simply reflect natural low-frequency variability of the climate system. ‘ IPCC s

        It does seem a bit odd to accept one set of satellite observations as definitive and reject yet others for failing to tell the correct story.

      • Jim.
        , but no-one has MEASURED the radiative forcing of CO2; all we have is estimations.
        we have measured the radiative forcing many times. The accuracy of the measurements are WHY things like satillite sensors work.

      • Steven, you write “we have measured the radiative forcing many times. The accuracy of the measurements are WHY things like satillite sensors work.”

        I love the way you make this sort of statement, and provide no details of how this was done, what the reference is, or what the results were. What was the value of the radiaitve forcing and the accuracy of the measurement?

      • His simple faith is worth the guinea’s stamp.

      • I know what Jim Cripwell was asking for, but I was trying to interpret it as something that actually has a CO2 signal which is easily observed and that is the radiative spectrum with its forcing. Jim C would do much better to first see if he can understand that signal before looking at temperature records where he doesn’t know what he is looking for, and people have given up guessing what he is looking for.

      • Jim Cripwell, a lot of skeptics even accept that the CO2 forcing is not far from the IPCC estimate of 1.6+ W/m2 by now. This is from physics and CO2 measurements.

      • David Springer

        Thanks for the linkage Rutan, Hagen.


        RuTaN RuLeZ DuDe

      • Heh, nicely put. Has the IPCC estimate gotten to 1.6+ W/m2 by now?

      • DS, I’ve seen, wanted to touch, the wingtips scraped at takeoff.

      • JimD writes, “Jim Cripwell, a lot of skeptics even accept that the CO2 forcing is not far from the IPCC estimate of 1.6+ W/m2 by now. This is from physics and CO2 measurements.”
        If someone has MEASURED the radiative forcing of CO2, then there must exist a report which says, WTTE, “We have measured the radiative forcing for a doubling of CO2 and it’s value is x +/-y Wm-2. Where is that report?

      • kim, probably more like 2.0 W/m2. It can be calculated from ppm added since pre-industrial and the doubling forcing of 3.7 W/m2, so it would be a fairly robust number.

      • Jim Cripwell, are you looking for a global total measurement or a few point checks that the CO2 radiation behaves as expected, which along with the known total CO2 and global sample atmospheric profiles gives that number.

      • Jim Cripwell,

        You may find this useful.


        It shows the measured OLR at TOA compared to the theoretical values and they seem to me to be in remarkably close agreement, which would seem to indicate that actually we understand the radiative properties of CO2 and other GHGs, and how they actually behave in the atmosphere, pretty well.

      • Jim you have been given the reference on several occasions. you don’t care about the truth

      • David Springer

        Science of Doom is a blog not a reference.

        Minimal standard for grade schoolers is an encyclopedia. A widely used university textbook is best. Peer reviewed literature isn’t necessarily as mature or undisputed.

        Write that down.

      • I’ll give you guys a hint. try validation radiative transfer codes.
        If you had to do atmospheric tests and were concerned about the effects of water vapor.. what part of the world would you go to?

      • David Springer,

        The diagram I linked to at SoD is originally from Goody & Yung (1989).

    • Temperature in this warming period is well inside the bounds of the many warming periods of the past ten thousand years. The fact that there is more CO2 this time and the fact that temperature is well inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years is more than enough evidence for me to decide they cannot know that they are correct in their consensus alarmist madness.

    • You wrote: “the value of climate sensitivity can be measured”
      NO! CO2 can be measured and temperature can be measured, but correlation is not causation. What happened many times before without the extra CO2 did happen again. Warm periods follow cold periods. Nothing to do with the extra CO2.

    • This many years after a Little Ice Age is supposed to be a warm period similar the the Roman Warm Time and the Medieval Warm Time. What does anyone think could cause what always happens to not be supposed to happen this time?

      • Little boys and girls think cold is more likely next than more warm. They’d prefer warm. The vote was all for the toes.

  7. The paper on urban heat effects is one of the first I’ve seen on this very important topic. I’ve been intrigued by this topic since I noticed that there seemed to be a correlation between global warming and the building of new urban centers in China. It is of importance in terms of policy choices as well – if waste heat is a significant factor, then this increases the importance of energy conservation/efficiency, and makes the argument for nuclear to simply replace fossil energy much less compelling.

    • John Plodinec

      Coal-fired power generation on average has an overall thermal efficiency of 30 to 35%, new coal-fired plants in Germany are up to 43% and new high-temperature technology can get 50+%.

      New combined cycle gas turbine/ steam turbine power plants have an overall thermal efficiency of almost 60%.

      Normal pressurized water nuclear reactors get around 32% thermal efficiency while advanced gas-cooled nuclear plants can get up to 42% thermal efficiency.

      So as far as “waste heat” is concerned, gas fired combined cycle plants are the best.

      Of course, if there is a use for the low level waste heat (other industrial processing or domestic heating), the overall efficiency can be increased.

      If the criterion is CO2 emission, then nuclear is obviously the best choice, since the other alternates all involve costly and non value-added carbon capture and storage to reach zero CO2. The second best alternate is natural gas combined cycle, due to higher efficiency plus lower CO2 generation from natural gas than from coal.


    • John Plodinec

      In addition to waste heat from electrical power generation near urban centers, there are the other effects of urbanization, some of which are real and local, increasing local temperature measurements (and hence the overall records), but not really influencing the global temperature (the so-called “urban heat island” effect). Others are just poor measurement locations (near AC exhausts or asphalt parking lots, etc.) which distort the record by showing a spurious warming signal.

      There is a lot of literature out there on these effects; the magnitude of their combined impact on the overall global record is disputed.


      • Max, there is a very good reason why AC venting will not influence a min max record. think about it and see if you can figure it out.

    • Globally waste heat is very small. on the order of .02Watts.
      In the US and europe the average values are higher.
      If you like you can see global estimates of waste heat at 2.5 arc minutes
      Flanner 2009.
      There is a new system for calculating it that is probably better, written my Grimmond ( a frequent Oke co author ) the system calculates waste heat in a bottoms up fashion, software package is available. resolution is .25 arc minutes if I recall. The package is called LUCY.

      In terms of UHI waste heat is not the most important factor for urban energy balance and it depends upon latitude and season.

      On a regional level waste heat can be important, but as global contributor to warming its not.

      • I think they claim that by changing atmospheric circulation waste heat has caused continental scale warming of one degree C in the high NA lattitudes in winter. Is not that when and where much of the statistical surface warming comes from?

      • Steven Mosher

        On a regional level waste heat can be important, but as global contributor to warming its not.

        As an absolute contributor to the “globally and annually averaged land and sea surface temperature anomaly” it is “not important”, as you write.

        But I think it could make a perceptible difference to this indicator by distorting the local or regional temperature readings, as you indicate (e.g. part of the UHI distortion)..

        And I think that may be what John Plodinec was getting at.


      • david:

        “. Is not that when and where much of the statistical surface warming comes from?”

        in a word? no.

    • It’s not just waste heat. All energy consumed by humans ends up as heat.

      • Doesn’t some of it end up as motion?

      • I think all ends up as heat eventually, but you got me thinking…

      • David

        Correct me if I’m wrong, but maintaining velocity in a frictionless vacuum requires no energy, and the friction losses end up as heat. So it is just the acceleration or vertical motion against gravity that requires energy that doesn’t become heat. Am I right?


      • Something like that Max. I have not studied it. Maybe some chemical changes too.

      • David, forty years ago I asked a lucid and liquid tongued chemistry professor if capturing more of the sun’s energy here on earth for our use would raise the temperature of the earth. He was purple rather than pellucid before admitting he wasn’t sure of the answer.

      • Edim:

        “It’s not just waste heat. All energy consumed by humans ends up as heat.”

        the waste heat estimates are made from consumed non renewable energy. please see the group that performed the simulations ( eggaaads models ) and see the other work they have done ( eg Flanner )

  8. Researchers discovered Joshua’s pet concept, scare quotes included:

    > ‘Scepticism’ in public attitudes towards climate change is seen as a significant barrier to public engagement. In an experimental study, we measured participants’ scepticism about climate change before and after reading two newspaper editorials that made opposing claims about the reality and seriousness of climate change (designed to generate uncertainty). A well-established social psychological finding is that people with opposing attitudes often assimilate evidence in a way that is biased towards their existing attitudinal position, which may lead to attitude polarisation. We found that people who were less sceptical about climate change evaluated the convincingness and reliability of the editorials in a markedly different way to people who were more sceptical about climate change, demonstrating biased assimilation of the information. In both groups, attitudes towards climate change became significantly more sceptical after reading the editorials, but we observed no evidence of attitude polarisation¬ – that is, the attitudes of these two groups did not diverge. The results are the first application of the well-established assimilation and polarisation paradigm to attitudes about climate change, with important implications for anticipating how uncertainty – in the form of conflicting information – may impact on public engagement with climate change.


    • Willard

      The study shows that skeptical people tend to be more skeptical than gullible people, who tend to be more gullible.

      Now that’s a conclusion that even the most skeptical person will probably accept (or am I just being gullible?).


      • Almost intriguing enough to follow up, but if it’s psychology about skepticism, I’m skeptical. What would willie wonder?

      • From the horse’s mouth:

        While the scepticism scale as a whole showed that participants shifted uniformly towards greater scepticism, analysis by individual questions suggested some interest- ing variation between items on the scale (see Table 3). In fact, there were only a few items which showed significant changes, including significant increase in agreement with the item “I do not believe climate change is a real problem”. Strikingly, significant changes in pre/post ratings of individual items were evident for items about the reliability of scientific evidence, complexity and expert disagreement— suggesting that these are the specific attitudes about climate change that are most susceptible to perceived uncertainty.

        Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty.

        Say that again.

        Uncertainty, uncertainty, uncertainty.

      • ‘In fact, there were only a few items which showed significant changes.’

        I’m significantly uncertain about the certainty of significance of this.

      • Willard

        Are you sure you’ve got the right end of the horse there?


      • I’m looking the gift horse in the mouth. Many white stallions on crimson hills, but it’s all Greek to me.

      • Let’s try by emphasizing the relevant bit:

        > Strikingly, significant changes in pre/post ratings of individual items were evident for items about the reliability of scientific evidence, complexity and expert disagreement— suggesting that these are the specific attitudes about climate change that are most susceptible to perceived uncertainty.

        MiniMax’ playbook might not be so innocent, after all.

      • Wee willie finds guilt in curiosity. Hmmmm. That makes me curious.

  9. Judith

    Von Storch’s new book sounds interesting from the excerpts you cited. I’ll see if I can get a copy.


  10. The horrors of carbon use.


    Talk about hockey sticks, figure 2 is an eye catcher.

    Who has been the most wrong – Malthus and Ehrlich, or Hansen and Mann?

    • a classic example of confusing correlation with causation

      • I see, if only we hadn’t burned so much coal and oil, and had begun Margaret Sanger’s sacred eugenics quest sooner, we’d probably be even richer.


      • Choices, choices.

    • Gary M

      The Robert Zubrin article on carbon use and GDP is a real eye-opener. I have seen similar statistics, but have never seen them demonstrated so clearly.

      “Carbon efficiency” (GDP generated per ton of CO2 emitted) is another indicator, which shows the same statistical correlation.

      This shows (2007 data) that the more developed nations (EU, Japan, USA, etc.) generate more GDP per ton of CO2 emitted ($2,200-3,300) compared to the developing nations (China, Brazil, Russia, India, etc. at $500-900), with the “Asian Tigers” somewhere in-between (at around $1,300).

      Some of this may be the result of “outsourcing” manufacturing, especially the heavy industrial type, but interestingly, these efficiencies are increasing with time as the nations continue to develop and improve energy use (latest estimate for the USA is up from around $2,200 to over $2,700 today).

      There is no doubt that the industrially developed world has lifted itself out of the 19thC poverty and short life expectancy to the current relative wealth and high quality of life at least partly as a direct result of the availability of a reliable, low-cost source of energy, as Zubrin concludes. (It’s a no-brainer.)


    • Wealth is directly correlated with work, where an increase in the work available increases wealth.
      The work that 1 man can put out is somewhere about 0.1 hp
      How many servants / slaves would the avg US household need to provide the work for the number of hp available to this avg US household?

      I have not bothered to calculate this number, but the avg US household has more wealth in the form of work available to them than all but the major kings and nobility of prior times, and all due to carbon based power.

  11. So we now have a distinction between the old ‘urban heat island’effect and the new. I can’t see much point in making the distinction. However the concentration of those cities in the Northern hemisphere probably explains why the N. hemisphere is always warmer than the South.

    My own car trips often take me from south of Sydney to north of that city via the m7 which bypasses the city to the west. I have noticed on many ocassions that when I am on the m7 I need to switch on the air conditioner as the car gets uncomfortably warm. So the ‘urban heat island’ is alive and well in the Southern hemisphere. They are just fewer in number. But if all our cities ran on nuclear power and our cars on hydrogen, so neither emitted CO2, the heating effect would be the same. It is part of the price of building big cities.

    • The new claim is that waste heat is changing circulation patterns and thus temperatures on a continental scale. This is very different from UHI (which is also different from local heat contamination of thermometers in rural areas). It makes the surface statistical data even less reliable.

      • changing how heat is distributed doesnt change trends.
        the heat added to the system is small .02Watts globally. But the high concentration in the NH does causes changes in circulation that redistributes heat. It has nothing to do with the reliability of the surface record and everything to do with how heat is distributed.

  12. Malthus and Ehrlich’s were very wrong on both timing and degree, because of erroneous data assumptions. Ehrlich is particularly unforgivable. But they were not wrong with respect to the underlying theoretical dynamics. I published a book on that last year, going over available present data and concluding there are difficulties, but not disasters, by about 2050. Malthus will likely become vindicated in that time frame, with respect to both food and fuel.
    Hansen and Mann appear to be wrong with respect to underlying theoretical dynamics. Constant UTrH is not, diminishing the positive water vapor feedback. Cloud feedback is probably negative, not positive as in the GCMs. Posted here, and also in a recent book chapter as an illustration of other, bigger, issues.
    Getting the data wrong in a correct theory is fixable. Getting the data wrong in a wrong theory is not.

    • Rud Istvan

      Based on the data out there, I’d agree with you that Hansen (and IPCC) have overestimated the (2xCO2) equilibrium climate sensitivity by incorrectly assuming strongly positive cloud feedback and water feedback based on constant relative humidity. Correcting for these errors most likely puts ECS at a bit less than half the previously estimated values from model predictions, as also demonstrated by the actual record.

      I’d also agree with your comment:

      “Getting the data wrong in a correct theory is fixable. Getting the data wrong in a wrong theory is not.

      Malthus and Ehrlich may have gotten the hypothetical statistical effect of exponential population growth right, but (as we are already seeing) the exponential population growth rate is not holding – and it is expected to slow down even more sharply over this century (from 1.7% CAGR to around 0.4% CAGR).

      And the second false assumption has been that technology will not keep pace with population.

      Future “doomsday scenarios” all have one thing in common, Rud. They never turn out that way (or we wouldn’t be here today).

      Just my thoughts on this.


      • P.S. It’s close to 1AM here in Switzerland and I’m going to watch the Super Bowl (which Swiss TV is broadcasting!)

      • There is a lot of energy in the universe, and probably around 10,000,000,000 or more human souls to exploit some of it sustainably et safely.

      • Let’s see … if the volume of cow farts increases at the rate of 2.3% per year, then …

      • Nice time to remind people that if all the sun’s energy reaching the earth were dedicated to the sustenance of humans @100 watts/human, then the theoretical maximum population of the earth is in the quadrillions, approximately a million times our present population. This is, of course, practically impossible. With Norman Borlaugs as our heroes, though, a tiny increase in our percentage use of that energy would support many multiples of our present population in a style to which we would all like to become accustomed.

        And I’ve not even utilized other solar energy which could be imported via microwave, technology possible today.

        Sadly, what the Malthusians lack is not adequate resources, but adequate imagination.

      • David Springer

        The lights going out was an awesome break for San Francisco which couldn’t get its head and ass wired together in the first half. San Francisco is well known for the intense male bonding that takes place when the lights go out.


        I kill me sometimes!

    • People have been claiming that Malthus, right about the theory, but wrong about the timing for about as long as people have been claiming that Marx was right about the theory, but it just hasn’t been implemented properly yet.

      CAGW, peak oil and the population bomb. Snake oil by any other name….

      • Don’t ya love them candy-coated M&M’s? Better ‘n butter, wouldn’t melt in your mouth. The new green ones are such a craze.

      • Philosopher David Stove describes Malthusian theory as-

        “It is . . . a curious irony that the general biological principle which he put forward comes steadily closer to being true, the further one departs from the human case, and is a grotesque falsity only in the one case which really interested Malthus: man.”

        Or this from Benjamin Marks, succinctly summarized at //mises.org/daily/1675-

        “The environmental movement of today is aiming toward living in a non-economic “society” by showing why it would be unpleasant to live in. It is staggering how a movement like this could amass such a following.”

      • kim

        Yeah. But the red ones are too sour and the green ones have a bitter aftertaste…


      • If they’d just stuck with the theobromine instead of slipping in pharmakos theologie.

      • Shakespeare and Newton were some smart guys, but they probably believed in ghosts.

        With synthetic bio on the way, we are one of the last generations to suffer the ghost of Malthus. Still, I don’t think the descendants will hold it too much against us.

  13. I’m preparing an in depth survey, By god it’s deep, re
    ‘Whether Skeptics make fewer mistakes than non-skeptics*
    I will be targetting some high level pundits such as Erlich and
    Al Gore even JC herself!
    * PC term fer – u – no – wot.

  14. CAGW, peak oil, population bomb and lead. What a cheerful group of progressive doom saying commenters we have this weekend.

    Well I don’t know why I came here tonight,
    I got the feeling that something ain’t right,
    I’m so scared in case I fall off my chair,
    And I’m wondering how I’ll get down the stairs,
    Catastrophists to the left of me,
    Chicken littles to the right, here I am,
    Stuck in the middle with you.

  15. David Hoppock and Dalia Patino Echeverri present: **Using Energy Efficiency to Hedge Natural Gas Price Uncertainty**

    The U.S. electricity sector faces significant uncertainty as it makes large capital investments to replace aging infrastructure and to comply with forthcoming environmental regulations. Near- and long-term uncertainties include fuel prices, demand growth, and environmental and climate policy. Utilities and regulators must manage these risks in order to maintain reliable electricity at affordable prices. Energy efficiency investments can provide an important tool for managing risk by reducing exposure to uncertain costs, deferring major generation investments, and reducing environmental emissions. This paper describes an example analysis of an investment in a natural gas power plant with and without energy efficiency under natural gas price uncertainty and the value of efficiency as a hedge against a price spike. The example presented illustrates a method to quantify the value of energy efficiency as a hedge against a variety of risks.


    The word “uncertainty” reduces the certainty that it is uninteresting.

  16. Brandon Shollenberger

    Since we’re talking about a Week in Review, could we perhaps get a response to the ridiculous post Rud Istvan made on this blog? He flagrantly made things up to justify his post. Surely somebody would like to respond to that.

    (I have little knowledge in the field Rud Istvan’s post covers. I’d offer to write a rebuttal if I felt qualified, but I don’t. I can do basic fact checking to prove Rud Istvan’s claims wrong, but a real rebuttal would require someone knowledgeable in the field.)

  17. Brandon, it is so evident that you do not have knowledge in the field covered by my post, as you admit above, that a further reply is unwarranted. You are obviously offended by my observations. Nature does not care one way or the other. Truth will prevail despite fervent hopes to the contrary.
    Normally I would not reply to such plaints, but you really left yourself wide open by an admission of ignorance about the subject on which you vehemently protest my studied conclusions, with all thereferences deliberately provided for public scrutiny and your criticism. I suggest that rather than projecting your obviously heartfelt but self proclaimed ‘ignorant’ opinions, you educate yourself, then bring facts and logic, not opinions and feelings, to the discourse.
    Regards to a fellow human

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      Rud Istvan:

      Brandon, it is so evident that you do not have knowledge in the field covered by my post, as you admit above, that a further reply is unwarranted. You are obviously offended by my observations. Nature does not care one way or the other. Truth will prevail despite fervent hopes to the contrary.

      What in the world would make you think I am “obviously offended by” anything? Prior to reading this topic, I hadn’t even heard of Maugeri. I think I had heard of you, but I can’t remember where.

      As for offense, the only thing I’ve been offended by is the fact Judith Curry gave space to an article that obviously made things up. I like this blog, and I respect Curry so it offends me when obvious rubbish is promoted here.

      As for this topic, all I’ve done here is some basic fact-checking. You made claims, and I took a little time to check those claims. They were wrong. That makes me suspect your overall message is wrong. My suspicions may turn out to be true or false. I don’t know. All I know is I’ve seen enough from you to doubt anything you say.

      you really left yourself wide open by an admission of ignorance about the subject on which you vehemently protest my studied conclusions, with all thereferences deliberately provided for public scrutiny and your criticism. I suggest that rather than projecting your obviously heartfelt but self proclaimed ‘ignorant’ opinions, you educate yourself, then bring facts and logic, not opinions and feelings, to the discourse.

      This is nonsense. You flagrantly misrepresented your own sources (at the very least, the Guardian article and the underlying cable). I pointed that out. Anyone can see which of us is right. It doesn’t take any special knowledge. Five or ten minutes of reading is enough.

      I have no feelings toward this topic. Quite frankly, I don’t care about it.* It matters to me only insofar as I find discussing it interesting. I’ll “educate” myself as much as necessary to meet my interests, but that’s it. I won’t hide my “ignorance.” I won’t pretend to have some authority based upon some ephemeral quality. I’ll tell people what I see and ask them to judge for themselves what it means. I think that’s a reasonable approach, and I think most people will approve of it.

      *I have a lot of topics I look into, and due to personal reasons, only some of them matter to me. This isn’t one of them. I don’t think anyone cares why it isn’t.

  18. Brandon,and anyone else, I make you an offer. Judy knows I have been working on an article length condensation of the peak oil sections from two now published books. Is a second edition revision to a part of one chapter of second book. Create a way for me to efile it to you, and the most recent version is yours to study and critique, only proviso being I get the critique somehow back so as to continue to improve it. Lots more facts than the little post on Maugeri.
    Since my name is not an avitar, I suspect connections can be managed without unduly burdening our gracious hostess.

    • Brandon Shollenberger

      I’d be happy to review/critique anything you’d send me. My e-mail address is public knowledge so that shouldn’t be a problem. It’s just my name, separated by a period, at gmail.com (Judith Curry, as well as a number of others, can confirm it’s me if necessary).

  19. Here is a way to fix the NWS computer gap and make climate research useful at the same time. Mainstream media now says that every case of bad weather, now called extreme events, is due to climate change. Clearly we need to adapt to this bad stuff and near term prediction is key to adaptation. So we redirect the US climate research budget to adaptation prediction, which used to be called weather forecasting.

    Moreover since roughly half of the $2 billion/year US climate research program is spent on satellites and launches we can rebuild the aging NWS satellite system as well, all in the name of adaptation. Forecasting bad weather is much more useful than the present focus on silly sensitivity studies.

    • David Wojick

      Your concept sounds good to me, but you are suggesting that we slaughter a sacred cow that a whole bunch of diverse interest groups with major lobbying power are milking.

      Lots of luck.


      • Don’t forget the golden eggs and magic beans.

      • Redirecting money within agencies is a lot easier politically than cutting their budgets. It is still climate research.

  20. JC comment: My big proposal has finally been submitted, sigh of relief. […]

    Right now, Feb looks pretty open (i.e. no big looming deadlines), so I hope to post more frequently. I have a huge backlog of material to sort through. […]”

    Important Reminder:
    JC’s best poster award

    Anyone around here able to intuitively recognize methodological mathematical equivalence??…

    Simple bunches of bursts …

    Solar-Terrestrial Magnetic Polarity Weave

    … measured using burst-bunch-tuned multi-extent complex wavelets, gaussian smoothing, & second order central differences.

    The boundary conditions are extremely simple when bunches are used to unscramble bursts. THIS is the key to unscrambling multidecadal aggregate from interannual-spatiotemporally-turbulent-tangle. I’ve been illustrating applications here for the past year. I challenge ANYONE here to catch up. I applaud Dr. Curry’s intuition about the AGU poster and look forward to seeing this actually-productive avenue front & center one day soon…

  21. Chip Knappenberger has an interesting post Global Lukewarming: Another Good Intellectual Year (2012 Edition)

    • David Springer

      That’s an interesting paper. It’s surprising no one has done this before. Craig Venter circumnavigated the globe, twice, collecting samples of microbes from various depths and had a shotgun sequencing lab aboard the research vessel cataloguing new genes found in the samples. He cataloged over a million. I’m sure he’d be very interested in doing the same with atmospheric samples.

      At any rate if 20%+ of aerosols are actually living bacteria that’s a substantial fraction of nucleation sites for raindrops. Here’s the kicker. Ultraviolet radiation from the sun kills living things. Without any change in TSI we know that UV level varies as a fraction of sunlight. That variation may, among other things, throttle the bacterial population in the atmosphere and thus have an effect on clouds and precipitation.

      • Ultryo-violet rays impact the biome other than atmospherically, too.

      • David Springer

        X-rays also kill bacteria. Both UV and X-rays burst upwards for short periods of time during solar flares. What you’d hardly notice because of the short duration might sterilize the atmosphere because bacterial cells are bathed in the high energy photons from all angles and don’t have a nucleus or sophisticated DNA repair machinery to protect the code. On the other hand this little guy now known as Conan the Bacterium who we all learned about in grade school is famously resistant to radiation damage.

        Sounds like time for some shotgunning. Radiodurans has some unique (among prokaryotes) machinery for repairing DNA damage. Presumably if you have a catalog of genes from the air samples you could look for correspondence with unique genes in radiodurans. If the airborne critters have the same or similar DNA repair mechanisms then they’re probably natives in the upper atmosphere. Or higher :-)

      • David Springer

        This just keeps getting more interesting. The intersection of microbiology and climate.

        Radiodurans or Conan the Bacterium (I love that nickname) was discovered in 1956, the year of my birth. So some of you probably finished grade school before it got into all the inductory natural science textbooks. Anyhow, the genus is the perfect candidate for life high in the atmosphere able to withstand extremes of heat and cold as well as radiation. Here’s the next kicker. Colonies of radiodurans are pink to red in color. I hadn’t been aware of that! So I naturally then hook that factoid up with what’s talked about here in MIT’s Technology Review:



      • David Springer

        I wonder if we can teach radiodurans colonies to make tiny hard beads with a drop of diesel or ethanol in the bottom and then make a parachute like a dandelion seed and fall from the sky.

        Hahahaha… it’s DOABLE!

        I wish I at the beginning of my engineering career again. It was certainly interesting being part of the silicon revolution but I suspect it’s going to pale compared to the synthetic biology revolution. Analogously I’d say it’s about at the same point where silicon was at in about 1975 when the first electronic pocket calculator came out. The next 20 years will be transformative as first synthetic fuels are produced by manufactured microbes at a cost below what oil ever was then as genetic engineering and biologic programming mature and we can program colonies of them to build macroscopic structures with microscopic precision the world and do it for free from local materials and sunlight… that’s doable.

    • Wrong link to Chip Knappenbergers article, here it is:

    • blueice2hotsea

      Judith Curry

      Thanks, interesting.

      May I also point out that UV ought to make phytoplankton more suceptiple to viral infections which could result in diminished albedo via reduced DMS cloud nucleation. I wonder if climate models account for the role of viruses in the carbon cycle.

      Microorganisms constitute more than 90% of the biomass in the sea. It is estimated that viruses kill approximately 20% of this biomass each day…

  22. As of 3 Feb 2013, the total sea ice anomaly is now POSITIVE. See http://arctic.atmos.uiuc.edu/cryosphere/

  23. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    Peter Lang asserts: “Your comment is so silly, it’s not worth arguing with.”
    [hilariously, Peter then commences to argue vehemently!!!]


    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    Serious, WUWT is reporting on a serious medical situation that Steve McIntyre (the host of Climate Audit) is encountering, that nicely illustrates market failure, and teaches lessons that are valuable for climate-change economics too!

    • The short story is, Steve’s McIntyre daughter suffered a seriously spine injury while vacationing in New Zealand.

    • The (very!!!!!) good news is, Stever’s daughter has reasonable prospects of a good medical recovery.

    • More good news is, New Zealand’s health-care system covers the cost of her care.

    • The sobering news is, Steve’s daughter now has a pre-existing condition that is sufficiently serious, as render her permanently uninsurable by US free-market health-care criteria.

    • Worse news is, she may not have the option of staying in New Zealand, and therefore, Steve’s daughter is suddently at risk of becoming (medically speaking) a stateless person — welcome in no developed nation of the world … welcome not even her American birth-land.

    • ObamaCare to the rescue!

    • Uhhh … unless the Republican Party makes good in its pledge to repeal ObamaCare.

    Peter Lang, please tell us, how exactly do simple-minded unrestricted markets deal fairly with these very common, very urgent, very difficult (as Steve McIntyre’s family has suddenly discovered) real-life situations?

    More fairly than New Zealand’s baby-cooking cannibalistic (as Peter Lang’s demagogic rhetoric describes it) health-care system, that is!

    And what moral lessons do health-care economics, and climate-change economics, have for one-another, regarding market failure associated to the health-care commons and/or the climate-commons?

    The world wonders, eh Steven Lang?

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Bankrupt her and put her on medicaid. Saves a lot of, well, what does it save? Oh yeah, profit. Money? Not a frickin’ dime.

    • Fan Factless fans his bad. It could be, it might be, it is, a foul ball. He’s from the government and he’s here to help you.

    • Steve McIntyre is Canadian, I would assume her birth country is Canada.
      US Republicans don’t get to vote in the Canadian Parliament.

      Even without Obamacare, the pre-existing health condition waiting period in Washington State has been nine months for quite some time.

      So what lessons can we gain from making assumptions?

      • I assume harrywr2’s facts are right even when he speculates.

      • David Springer


        Canada has nationalized health care which ostensibly has no waiting period for pre-existing conditions. What’s up with that?

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Kim asserts: “Fan Factless fans his bad.”

      Kim, perhaps you — and harrywr2 too! — would benefit from reading more economic literature, or else studying more economic data, or maybe even watching more cartoons!

      `Cuz hey, it’s all about data, rationality, security, and process, right?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • David Springer

      • The sobering news is, Steve’s daughter now has a pre-existing condition that is sufficiently serious, as render her permanently uninsurable by US free-market health-care criteria.

      No, the public system will pick up the cost of her care if Steve cannot.

      If she had a private provider before she went to New Zealand they are obliged to cover it. If Steve wants a new provider to cover it it’s usually a six month waiting period before pre-existing conditions are covered. Very often large group plans at large companies don’t have waiting periods.

      You have no idea how it works, do you, Pratt? You’ve never had to deal with it. You and your family have been covered by a university health insurance plan since forever.

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      David Springer asserts: “You have no idea how [health-care] works, do you, Pratt?”

      David Springer, it’s no secret how “it” works.

      • MDs, economists, and (most importantly) voters all foresee that ObamaCare will evolve toward a Swiss-style public-private hybrid system.

      • The Supreme Court has ruled that the ObamaCare reform is constitutional

      • Republicans have not got the votes to repeal the law. Neither has Mitt Romney (nor any other Republican leader) ever proposed viable alternative legislation.

      • A majority of voters prefer to keep/extend ObamaCare … and that proportion is increasing year-by-year.

      • No nation on earth that has regulated its health-care market has ever gone back … because electorates prefer systems that guarantee access to good-quality health-care at reasonable prices … which is why American voters now punish politicians who attempt to undo health-care reforms.

      • American’s have seen the benefits of (for example) Medicare coverage of end-stage renal care. In retrospect, we appreciate that ObamaCare became inevitable in 1972, with the passage of Section 299I of Public Law 92-603, October 30 .

      • The electorate has grown immune to ideology-driven slogan-shouting and/or conspiracy theories and/or personal abuse in regard to health-care reform. Good!

      • The majority of senior Republican leaders no longer promise to repeal ObamaCare … they no longer wish to clash with American voters on (what has become) a manifestly losing issue for Republicans.

      Conclusion  The health-care future’s not hard to see, is it David Springer? And if sea-level rise accelerates, then similar reforms will come to the energy sector of the economy, as have come to the health-care sector. Right?

      \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  24. Let me bring this out as a new thread. There are two issues with both radiative forcing and climate sensitivity for a doubling of CO2. One is what is the value of these numbers? I am not in the least bit interested in discussing what the numerical values are.

    The second issue is have these numbers been measured? So far as I can see, no-one has actually measured either of these numbers. If they have been measured, in whatever form any one cares to define, where are the reports that say, WWTE, we have measured the value of radiative forcing, or climate sensitivity, and the value is x +/-Y in the appropiate units.

    The issue is that if these numbers have NOT been actually measured, then the IPCC has no scientific basis on which to base it’s estimates in the SPMs to WG1 of AR4, that thes is a >90% probability or >95% probability that adding CO2 to the atmosphere does something or other.

    • Dont need to measure it when you can calculate it. Accurate calculations.

      How do you measure how close apophis will pass earth? You cant until it happens. But you can calculate it. With accuracy.

      • lolwot you write “Dont need to measure it when you can calculate it. Accurate calculations.”

        I dont believe you when it comes to using these numbers to establish the probability as to whether adding CO2 to the atmosphere has any effect on climate. If these numbers are not actually measured, and therefore no accuracy has been measured, what is the basis for the IPCC’s claim that there is a >90% or >95% probability that something or other is happening, and where in the AR4 is this basis discussed?

      • So how can NASA report confidence that Apophis won’t strike earth in 2029? They sure haven’t measured how close it will pass (that would require a time machine).

        How do you square their claims of accuracy as to apophis’s path? They’ve made calculations but you don’t accept calculations can produce accuracy.


      • lolwot, you write “Explain”

        Why on earth do you continually bring up red herrings? We are not discussing asteroids, or whatever; we are discussing CAGW. It is irrelevant what NASA claims. The issue is what the IPCC claims, which you refuse to discuss. I can only assume you refuse to discuss this issue, because you know that the IPCC has absolutlely no scientific basis whatsoever for the claims they make. And you cannot provide the basis at all.

      • The crux of your argument is that accuracy can only come from measurements. That’s wrong. The simplest way to show why its wrong is to present an example where accuracy is not based on measurement.

        And this is what I have done. It seems you just don’t want to admit you are wrong.

      • lolwot – But it is only a calculation. It may or may not come to pass as calculated. All it would take is a metoerite strike to the asteroid in question and the current calculation wouldn’t be worth the magnetic domains it is printed on.

        Reality trumps theory EVERY time. Some of you rely too much on theory and maths. Not saying these things aren’t valuable – they are – but don’t get them confused with reality.

      • lolwot, you write “And this is what I have done. It seems you just don’t want to admit you are wrong.”

        You are putting words in to my mouth. I have never calimed anything of the sort. There are all sorts of ways to establish accuracy; some are better than others. The best way of doing it is to measure the values needed and at the same time measure the error. But there are other ways, I agrree. The question is, with the actual accuracy that has been established, is it good enough to answer the specific question at hand.

        The questiuon I am trying to address, and which you steadfastly refuse to talk about, is what is the basis for the IPCC claims in the SPMs to the WG1 of AR4? Is the accuracy to which the values of radiative forcing and climate sensitivity have been established, good enough to warrant the assertions by the IPCC? I claim that, because these numbers have not been actually measured, and therefore we do not know the accuracy, these claims have no basis whatsoever.

        THAT is the issue which you will not address.

      • “I claim that, because these numbers have not been actually measured, and therefore we do not know the accuracy, these claims have no basis whatsoever.”

        You are back to claiming that if it isn’t measured it has no basis.

        Back in 2004 NASA calculated that Apophis had a 2.4% chance of hitting the Earth in 2029. They didn’t go to 2029 and measure that, they calculated it in 2004. Are you saying that number had no basis whatsoever because it wasn’t measured?

        On one hand you seem to be arguing that without measurement there is no basis for claims. But on the otherhand you admit there are other ways of establishing accuracy:

        “There are all sorts of ways to establish accuracy; some are better than others. The best way of doing it is to measure the values needed and at the same time measure the error.”

        which is it? Do we need measurements or not.

      • “lolwot – But it is only a calculation. It may or may not come to pass as calculated. All it would take is a metoerite strike to the asteroid in question and the current calculation wouldn’t be worth the magnetic domains it is printed on. Reality trumps theory EVERY time. Some of you rely too much on theory and maths. Not saying these things aren’t valuable – they are – but don’t get them confused with reality.”

        If you aren’t saying NASA’s calculations of Apophis’s path are valuable then perhaps it’s time to recognize NASA’s calculations of radiative forcing and climate sensitivity might be valuable too.

        Ie measurement is not necessary.

      • lolwot, you write “You are back to claiming that if it isn’t measured it has no basis.”

        I do no such thing. I claim that because climate sensitivity has not been measured, the IPCC has no basis to claim >95 % probability in the SPMs. You claim that the accuracy is known by some other means. How do you justify the IPCC claims of >95% probability based on your knowledge of the accuracy of the estimate of climate sensitivity?

      • Because they are giving a figure for half the warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to greenhouse gas warming.

        if they had said ALL the warming, that would been a far less certain statement.

    • You need to get your units right and ask questions that show you have the potential to understand the answer.

      1. Climate sensitivity. That would be change in temperature for a change in Watts. So, if the sun increases by 1 watt, what happens to the temperature. or if you have a volcano that blocks incoming radiation, and Watts go down what happens to C? Biggest issues are.
      A) is it the same across different temperatures, independent of
      temperature ( probably not , but it may be locally linear )
      B) what is the instantaneous value? transient value and equillbrium

      So, let see if you can understand this basic metric before we go any further. Please note, this is only a definitional step. And you have to understand the definitions before proceeding.

      Then, if you can get these definitions we can move on to how forcing for C02 is measured.

      • Steven, you write “Then, if you can get these definitions we can move on to how forcing for C02 is measured.”

        Let me make this a lot easier. You define radiative forcing and climate sensitivity anyhow you like. I will accept your definitions as valid. Then you tell me how all the values were measured, what the numbers are, what the accuracy is and where all this is reported. Then we can discuss tha basis for the IPCC’s claims about certainty.

      • Condescending barely suits him, but there it is, all dressed up in the Invisibility Cloak again.

    • Jim Cripwell

      Looks to me like you are getting the usual double-talk on how the (2xCO2) climate sensitivity at equilibrium (ECS) is “measured” (or should I say “calculated”), with an added bit of blarney about what ECS “really means”.

      But these guys are not answering the basic question (in my words, rather than yours):

      Was the effect on global average temperature (at equilibrium) of doubling the atmospheric CO2 concentration actually measured, and, if yes, how?

      A simple question that should be answered by a simple answer.


      • Max, you write “A simple question that should be answered by a simple answer.”

        I know. You know as well as I do how difficult, if not actually impossible, it is to do the equivalent of cross examining the warmists on this issue. In their heart of hearts they must know that we are correct if they have any elementary understanding of physics at all. But their faith that CAGW is correct is so strong that they will never allow themselves to discuss this issue on a proper scientific basis.

      • I can attest that every single Warmer (literally, without exceptIon) I have conversed with over the years has either resorted to silence or fallacy when confronted by basic questions like yours, Jim Cripwell and Max.


      • Jim Cripwell

        An honest answer could well be:

        “NO. It was never actually measured. But…”

        A not-so-honest answer could be:

        Well, er…it was kinda measured, or at least simulated, using known physics and climate models, backed by oodles of good proxy data from events that we believe happened millions of years ago, which we can only explain if we assume that…”

        (But that one is just a version of the first one, in actual fact.)


      • Max, you write “A not-so-honest answer could be:”

        I would accept the not so honest answer if only one of the warmists would write it down. Because we can then go on the discuss the REAL issue. And the real issue is the basis for the IPCC claims in the AR4. If the warmists were to give the not so honest answer you describe, then it is obvious that the IPCC has absolutely no basis whatsoever for the probability claims it makes in the SPMs to the AR4. Zero, nada zilch. Absolutely no basis whatsoever.

      • Jim,

        You may have missed the following link which I posted above


        (originally from Goody & Yung 1989)

        It shows that the calculated radiative effect of CO2 and other GHGs in the atmosphere, based on measurements of their radiative properties made in the laboratory, almost exactly matches observations.

        This would seem to me strong evidence that we have a good understanding of how GHGs behave in the earth’s atmosphere and that we can have a high confidence in calculations of the increase in radiative forcing caused by a doubling of CO2.

      • Andrew, you write “This would seem to me strong evidence that we have a good understanding of how GHGs behave in the earth’s atmosphere and that we can have a high confidence in calculations of the increase in radiative forcing caused by a doubling of CO2.”

        I agree. And I missed nothing. But “strong evidence” is not actual measurement. Until we have an actual measurement of radiative forcing, which is impossible to do, we cannot be sure what it’s value is, and we dont know anything about accuracy. CAGW is a hypothesis; I agree a plausible hypothesis. It will always be a hypothesis until we have empirical data which makes it more than a hypothesis. What I object to, strongly, is the IPCC claiming >90% and >95% probabilities that adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes some sort of change; e.g. a rise in temperature. And that issue, neither you not anyone else, seems to be prepared to discuss.

      • Jim,

        We have actual measurements of outgoing longwave radiation at TOA and actual laboratory measurements of the radiative properties of GHGs, and these measurements are in good agreement.

        I’m not sure exactly what other measurements you want. We can’t directly measure the radiative forcing effect of a doubling of CO2 levels in the atmosphere because CO2 levels have not doubled, therefore we have to make a calculation base on our current understanding of the radiative properties of CO2. The question is therefore do we have sufficient understanding to make an accurate calculation – I would argue that we do.

      • Andrew, you write “The question is therefore do we have sufficient understanding to make an accurate calculation – I would argue that we do.”

        Fair enough. Now give me the logic as to why this allows the IPCC to claim in the SPMs that there is a >90% or >95% that adding CO2 to the atmosphere causes whatever it is they claim. I am waiting for you to appraoch this question, which you seem to be extremely reluctanty to do.

      • Jim Cripwell, since natural variations can only fluctuate up to 0.2 degrees and the actual temperature rise is more than double that, even if we assumed we were in a max rather than a min now, it would be argued that changed forcings account for more than half of the temperature rise. What forcings is the next question. Well, solar forcing hasn’t changed much, maybe giving us 0.2 degrees at most, so more than half the forcing is the anthropogenic part, which is easily accounted for by CO2 even if you neglect a negative anthropogenic aerosol effect as Lindzen likes to do, and more so if you don’t neglect it. So the IPCC claim that most of the temperature change comes from CO2 is a safe bet. Some estimates put it around 100% with a further positive contribution from other GHGs and a negative one from aerosols.

      • Jim D writes “So the IPCC claim that most of the temperature change comes from CO2 is a safe bet.”

        Fair enough. Presumably the IPCC has expanded upon this in more detail in the AR4. Where can I read all about this in the AR4? I cannot find it, but maybe that was because I am looking in the wrong place. I cannot believe that the IPCC would make such claims, in the SPMs, unless the logic was fully explained in the report itself. Can you help?

    • The climate is sensitive in other ways than those just manifest in temperature. moshe asserts not incorrectly, but incompletely.

  25. James published some comments that should make every climateballers both happy and sad.

    About the IPCC and Dick:

    Note for the avoidance of any doubt I am not quoting directly from the unquotable IPCC draft, but only repeating my own comment on it. However, those who have read the second draft of Chapter 12 will realise why I previously said I thought the report was improved :-) Of course there is no guarantee as to what will remain in the final report, which for all the talk of extensive reviews, is not even seen by the proletariat, let alone opened to their comments, prior to its final publication. The paper I refer to as a “small private opinion poll” is of course the Zickfeld et al PNAS paper. The list of pollees in the Zickfeld paper are largely the self-same people responsible for the largely bogus analyses that I’ve criticised over recent years, and which even if they were valid then, are certainly outdated now. Interestingly, one of them stated quite openly in a meeting I attended a few years ago that he deliberately lied in these sort of elicitation exercises (i.e. exaggerating the probability of high sensitivity) in order to help motivate political action. Of course, there may be others who lie in the other direction, which is why it seems bizarre that the IPCC appeared to rely so heavily on this paper to justify their choice, rather than relying on published quantitative analyses of observational data. Since the IPCC can no longer defend their old analyses in any meaningful manner, it seems they have to resort to an unsupported “this is what we think, because we asked our pals”. It’s essentially the Lindzen strategy in reverse: having firmly wedded themselves to their politically convenient long tail of high values, their response to new evidence is little more than sticking their fingers in their ears and singing “la la la I can’t hear you”.

    About Lewis:

    I have some doubts about Nic Lewis’ analysis, as I think some of his choices are dubious and will have acted to underestimate the true sensitivity somewhat. For example, his choice of ocean heat uptake is based on taking a short term trend over a period in which the observed warming is markedly lower than the longer-term multidecadal value. I don’t think this is necessarily a deliberate cherry-pick, any more than previous analyses running up to the year 2000 were (the last decade is a natural enough choice to have made) but it does have unfortunate consequences. Irrespective of what one thinks about aerosol forcing, it would be hard to argue that the rate of net forcing increase and/or over-all radiative imbalance has actually dropped markedly in recent years, so any change in net heat uptake can only be reasonably attributed to a bit of natural variability or observational uncertainty. Lewis has also adjusted the aerosol forcing according to his opinion of which values are preferred – concidentally, he comes down on the side of an answer that gives a lower sensitivity. His results might be more reasonable if he had at least explored the sensitivity of his result to the assumptions made. Using the last 30y of ocean heat data and simply adopting the official IPCC forcing values rather than his modified versions (since after all, his main point is to criticise the lack of coherence in the IPCC report itself) would add credibility to his analysis.

    A parting shot about Knutti:

    [T]he IPCC’s sensitivity estimate cannot readily be reconciled with forcing estimates and observational data. All the recent literature that approaches the question from this angle comes up with similar answers, including the papers I mentioned above. By failing to meet this problem head-on, the IPCC authors now find themselves in a bit of a pickle. I expect them to brazen it out, on the grounds that they are the experts and are quite capable of squaring the circle before breakfast if need be. But in doing so, they risk being seen as not so much summarising scientific progress, but obstructing it.

    There’s a nice example of this in Reto Knutti’s comment featured by Revkin. While he starts out be agreeing that estimates based on the energy balance have to be coming down, he then goes on to argue that now (after a decade or more of generating and using them) he doesn’t trust the calculations because these Bayesian estimates are all too sensitive to the prior choices. That seems to me to be precisely contradicted by all the available literature, which demonstrates that so long as absurd priors are avoided, the results are actually remarkably robust.


    As we can see, lots of people are appreciating the fact that we only have one life.

  26. You want freedom? Here it is:

    > Freedom is the world-famous app that locks you away from the ‘net so you can be productive. If the internet is distracting you from your work, Freedom might be the best 10 dollars you’ll ever spend.


  27. Oh, wait. It goes on your pc. Hallelujah!

  28. It is possible that the 1970’s US oil peak will be re-visited or exceeded.

    “Shale plays have gotten a lot of attention lately, as more and more news articles focus on the importance of U.S. shale in helping reverse the 40-year decline of U.S. domestic oil production. “Hubbert’s Peak” has ruled as production fell to under 5 mmboe/d from a peak double that in 1970. Outside of a rise in the late-1970’s/early-1980’s brought on by a 12-fold increase in the price of oil in 7 years, production had been in a multi-decade steep decline – until the U.S. shale revolution:”


  29. Via Keith’s tweet line:

    A University of British Columbia study of American attitudes toward climate change finds that local weather – temperature, in particular – is a major influence on public and media opinions on the reality of global warming.

    The study, published today by the journal Climatic Change, finds a strong connection between U.S. weather trends and public and media attitudes towards climate science over the past 20 years – with skepticism about global warming increasing during cold snaps and concern about climate change growing during hot spells.


  30. A fan of *MORE* discourse

    BREAKING NEWS As reported by SlashDot in the story Paper on conspiratorial thinking invokes conspiratorial thinking, a new (free-as-in-freedom) article by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues has just appeared in Frontiers of Personality Science, titled Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation:

    “Much of science denial takes place in an epistemically closed system that is immune to falsifying evidence and counterarguments. We therefore consider it highly unlikely that outreach efforts to those groups could be met with success. … Recursive theories, while intensely promoted by certain bloggers and commenters, were largely contained to the ‘echo chamber’ of climate denial.”

    And yes, Lewandowsky et al name the sites that they consider to be “echo chambers of climate denial” … by applying objectively quantitative criteria for membership!

    Principal [denialist] web sites:

    • wattsupwiththat.com
    • joannenova.com.au
    • junkscience.comd
    • climateaudit.org
    • bishophill.squarespace.com
    • australianclimatemadness.comc
    • climatedepot.com
    • rankexploits.com/musings
    • warwickhughes.com
    • noconsensus.wordpress.com

    Does this list accord with Climate Etc readers’ common-sense assessment of the”echo chambers of climate denial”?

    To paraphrase Fox News: “Lewandowsky reports; you decide!”

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  31. A fan of *MORE* discourse


    Background  SlashDot is reporting a story Paper on conspiratorial thinking invokes conspiratorial thinking,
    about an article by Stephan Lewandowsky and colleagues titled Recursive fury: Conspiracist ideation in the blogosphere in response to research on conspiracist ideation, appearing in Frontiers in Personality Science.

    Breaking News  Todays’s WUWT/Anthony Watts/Jeff Condon lead story is claiming Lewandowsky’s latest smear paper gets pulled from the journal website.

    WUWT Gets It Wrong  But, uhhhh … today’s WUWT claim is just plain wrong: the Lewandowsky et al. article can still be downloaded (in its PDF entirety) from the Frontiers in Personality Science website via the PDF link that SlashDot is so kindly providing … and appreciation is hereby extended to the SlashDot/Frontiers editors, for continuing to provide public access to Lewandowsky’s full PDF article.

    Watts’ next for WUWT?  Hmmmm … perhaps Anthony and Jeff should ramp-up their efforts to shut-down the Frontiers web-link that SlashDot is supplying? And perhaps WUWT should start going after the SlashDot editors too?

    The Futility of Discourse Suppression  Thank you, Anthony and Jeff … for drawing public attention to the comedic “Whack-a-Mole” futility of efforts to suppress public and academic discourse! And thank you, SlashDot/Frontiers editors, for so ably fostering free public discourse! *MORE* discourse, please!

    \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

  32. ‘Futility of discourse suppression,’ lol, that’s droll, fan.
    Yer callin’ false attribution ‘academic discourse?’
    Sounds lter me like word play straight out of ‘Animal Farm.

  33. David Springer

    “Thank you, Anthony and Jeff … for drawing public attention to the comedic “Whack-a-Mole” futility of efforts to suppress public andlibelous academic discourse!”

    Fixed that for ya!

  34. Here yer go, fan.
    … man of a thousand voices talkin’ perfectly loud …

    • A fan of *MORE* discourse

      Beth, in the immortal words of Crocodile Dundee: “You call that nonsense? Now, THIS is nonsense!

      Enjoy!  \scriptstyle\rule[2.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}\,\boldsymbol{\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}\,\heartsuit\,{\displaystyle\text{\bfseries!!!}}\,\heartsuit\,\overset{\scriptstyle\circ\wedge\circ}{\smile}}\ \rule[-0.25ex]{0.01pt}{0.01pt}

    • Hi Beth

      I see that I quoted those well known climate sceptics-The Beatles-in one of my previous articles;

      “So as well as the other factors- reservoir infill, compacted grass, poor siting- UHI appears to be a major factor in temperature rises during the 20th Century. A factor that seems surprisingly underestimated in many of the increasingly urbanized global temperature data sets from Giss and Hadley/Cru.

      No visit to Central Park –even a virtual one-wouldn’t be complete without a final stop at Strawberry Fields-a place dedicated to John Lennon who was gunned down nearby. He played some amazing music and wrote some amazing things. He could have been talking of our current age, and our obsession with chasing climate phantoms, when he said;

      “Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.”


  35. Hi Tony,

    I’ve read many of yer com-pre-hens-ive-ly doc-u -ment-ed articles
    but missed the Beatles’ reference. Say Tony, and fan, what’s kinda surprising, despite the UHI effect from poor siting, and as I’m sure yer
    must be aware,* is that there’s been a 15 /16 year pause in warming.
    ‘It’s cooling folks, for how long even Kim doesn’t know.’*
    * Irony * H/t .

    Thought fer Today … ( or perhaps a philo-soph-ical question:)

    ‘ Is the Asylum run by the Lunatics?

  36. Reading these comments an a paper on conspiratory thinking and after having a short look at the paper itself I’m left wondering where do we have more conspiratory thinking, in the places that the paper lists or in the paper itself.

    Some of the issues mentioned in the paper seem genuine, others rather created by conspiratory thinking.

    • Same ‘ol same ‘ol, Pekka.

      • Joshua,

        Sometimes my understanding of idioms is not sufficient for being sure of the exact message in a short comment.

        (I did notice one earlier comment by you that seemed to be closely related to what I wrote, but a comment on recursive loops leaves freedom for interpretation about the coverage of the loop. Thus I wasn’t sure.)

      • Nothing new under the sun, Pekka:



        Another way to understand this is Non nova sed nove, which might have anticipated Kleene’s theorem:


        Programs that generate their own code is called a Quine.

        ClimateBall might very well be a Quine.

        I might be biased.

      • Actually, there are two recursive loops at work (my comment above referred only to the first loop).

        Identification of conspiracy-mongering (which does exist) inspires conspiracy-mongering (so well-illustrated by my good friend Peter Lang) – loop back.

        Jell-o flinging inspires Jello-flinging – loop back.

      • Yup.

      • Anything feeds a conspiracy, Joshua, including an analyst of a conspiracy.

        But we certainly can predict that conspiracy theory theorists will study conspiracy theorists calling the theorists conspiratorial, and determine that rejection of scientific theories of conspiracy theories is often motivated by conspiracy theories.

      • But we certainly can predict that conspiracy theory theorists will study conspiracy theorists calling the theorists conspiratorial, and determine that rejection of scientific theories of conspiracy theories is often motivated by conspiracy theories.

        loop back.

    • See who has seized your banner, Pekka?

    • Pekka,

      The definitions of conspiratrial ideation are so broad that almost anything counts. Let’s take, NS or Nihilistic Skepticism. One feature they point to is “low trust.” Without rigorous quantification I could well argue that much of science is low trust. or Must be Wrong, MbW can also be a feature of the process of coming to explanations. NI, nefarious intentions?The whole process of working to remove observer bias is predicated on the notion that observers could have intentions that run counter to discovering truth.
      NoA; no accidents? heck thats just a strategy of trying to understand outliers. You say its noise and an accident. I try to find meaning.
      The paranoids and the anti paranoids ( Pynchon gravitys rainbow)
      That said, it is interesting to not these forms of thought on all sides. Conspiratorial ideation has value. It works, except when it doesn’t.
      At some point I think it would be fun to go through a Mann editorial or his book.. The modes of conspiratirial ideation can be found on all sides and science itself is shot through with forms of thought not inseperable from these styles of thought. These thought styles have value, adaptive value. They work, except when they don’t.

  37. Pekka –

    I just means that things don’t change:


    Here’s an interesting speculation about the etymology – although I’m dubious:

    The earliest version I can find is a workman’s complaint on the day they are being paid. There accents sounded near to Same ole, same ole, but what they were saying was Same Old, Same Hold, about the money employers would hold out to pay for the “expenses” the company would charge the workman.

    My earlier comment was actually a different line of thought – that was just a dig at “skeptics.”

    But I agree with you – this paper, like the previous one, stretches a legitimate finding (a non-causal association between extremism and climate “skepticism” among those actively engaged in the climate debate food fight) too far, and as a result, is reduced to essentially just more Jell-o flinging. There is no doubt (IMO) that views on climate change are correlated with political and/or other ideological identifications. There is some relevance to that correlation, but that relevance is lost when: (1) it is over-stated and, (2) it is viewed on one side of the debate in isolation to the same phenomenon on the other side of the debate. The association between ideology and views on climate change (on both sides) is a symptom of a causal mechanism (motivated reasoning), not the causal mechanism itself.

    • Joshua

      Good analysis (except you forgot to mention it was a very dull paper)

      • I agree, tony. I couldn’t get very far through it: very tedious.

        It is like listening to a group of 12 year-olds elaborating endlessly on the theme of “He did it first.”

      • To confirm that it is a very dull paper, I liked it.

      • I would have liked it more had they made the very obvious observation of how the internet itself feeds and fosters and reinforces certain forms of conspiratorial ideation. Especially things like NI, MbW and NoA. That would have an interesting paper. I think the individual has less to do with his actions than they do and think that the more interesting approach is to focus on how the group and technology reinforce certain styles. There are only certain moves allowed in the thought game..

      • David,

        The role of philosophers for the past development of science may tell more about the role of polymaths in the past when the volume of detailed knowledge was not as overwhelming as it’s now.

      • Once upon a time, I used the mother figure to describe philosophy. There were two reasons. The first was because every discipline it creates sooner or later separates itself from her. The second reason was that the father figures of the time were daunting: Chronos, Ouranos, and Zeus form a strange filiation.

        Personally, I consider philosophy as either a conceptual or a martial art. Perhaps both.


        Speaking of sophistry, Blue, you might be interested to know that one of Protagoras’ biggest fan was Popper.

        You might be interested in the comment thread of the following blog post, as there are some bits about Gorgias:


    • That “views on climate change are correlated with political and/or other ideological identifications” was taken for granted, Joshua.

      They tested something else.

      • willard –

        I wasn’t referring to what they tested for. I am saying that there is little doubt (IMO) for an association between climate change beliefs and political (or other) ideology. As such, it is only logical to assume that there would be a relationship to extremism (and thus a conspiratorial mindset – such as that they tested for) as well. Thus, I think the finding they tested for is trivially true. What might be a smidgeon more meaningful is if they had better control, and similarly tested “realist” blog comments for extremism, and the logically associated phenomenon of conspiratorial mindsets.

        But even that would lean towards trivial on the Joshua-scale. We already know all of this. Motivated reasoning is inextricable from the climate wars just as it is inextricable from other, similar controversies that overlap with social, political, and personal identifications.

      • Testing for conspirational behavior is not trivial, Joshua.

      • It’s obvious that performing such tests objectively is virtually impossible. Various statements are classified and the classification involves bias. There are strong and obvious cases, they guarantee the signal, everything else is dependent on such details in the classification where subjective factors pay a major role.

        Arguments in the favored direction are always non-conspirational, those in the opposite direction get easily classified as conspirational.

        I read about one year ago the books of Donna Laframboise and Michael Mann as far and as thoroughly as I could bear them. Both are extremely conspirational in their own ways and that forced me to skip parts of both.

      • Testing for conspirational behavior is not trivial, Joshua.

        I that that the test is trivial in the sense that it advances nothing.

        Those already convinced of a “skeptic”/conspiracy theorist link don’t need the paper. Those who reject such a link will not be convinced by the paper.

        The test is also trivial because it lack context. To the extent that it might have real meaning besides that which is easily observable – it would be if there were the kind of control that enabled us to see a higher association of conspiratorial thinking among “skeptics” as opposed to any other group of extremists (“skeptics” as indicated by climate blog commenters are, by definition, outliers, or extremists).

        My feeling is that even if any such higher prevalence of conspiracy thinking was found among “skeptics” in contrast to a similar outlier sub-group of non-“skeptics,” it would be swamped in importance by what is already basically established science; i.e., what we know about the attributes in how humans reason in the face of controversies that overlap with personal, ideological, or cultural identifications.

      • Joshua,

        You are right. Who needs conspiracies after reading Kahneman.

      • > It’s obvious that performing such tests objectively is virtually impossible.

        Why mention it, Pekka, if not to emphasize the subjective aspect?

        And why would you do that, Pekka?


        Once we go down this road, there is no turning back.

      • > I that that the test is trivial in the sense that it advances nothing.

        You mean that it is uninteresting, sterile, etc.

        I think it could be fruitful, as it might help get a grasp on ClimateBall in a more descriptive way than saying “same ol’, same ol'”.

      • Coming from natural sciences I have always my doubts on the results of social sciences, hopefully not as badly in excess than many of a similar background have, but it’s always there waiting for opportunity to affect reasoning.

      • Coming from philosophy, which is the mother of all sciences, I have my doubts about everything. I even doubt that there is something rotten in the state of ClimateBlogland. Very weak doubts, but still.

        Doubt is useful until it’s not. Then it hinders the courage to confront reality. Courage is the condition to virtue, as only courage can make us go beyond our self-doubts.

        This very blog’s premise runs against the conceptual framework that helped built it.

      • there is value in a taxonomy of moves and plays in climateBall.
        Also, a taxonomy can be used as a weapon to shut off conversation.

      • Queen Willard, queen of the sciences.

      • You mean that it is uninteresting, sterile, etc.

        Yes – I shouldn’t use “trivially true” and expect that it wouldn’t be taken a statement of formal logic.

      • Coming from natural sciences I have always my doubts on the results of social sciences, hopefully not as badly in excess than many of a similar background have, but it’s always there waiting for opportunity to affect reasoning.

        While I recognize the truths in that skepticism, I also think that it reflects a dangerous attitude – in two ways: (1) it lets the (false) notion of perfect research be the enemy of the good, (2) it suggests a bit of a false distinction between the “hard” and “soft” sciences. The lines are not so distinct, as seen in the evidence provided by Kahneman.

      • Indeed, Moshpit. But please do not conflate the moves with the games. There are moves that render ClimateBall as irrelevant as it is obnoxious.

        But then clicks never were related with relevance.


        Institutions have their ways to guarantee their perennity beyond their members’.

        Let’s not forget that ClimateBall becomes an institution.


        For those who just arrived, here’s where ClimateBall was introduced:


        Here would be another way to tackle ClimateBall:

        This paper examines the framings and identity work associated with professionals’ discursive construction of climate change science, their legitimation of themselves as experts on ‘the truth’, and their attitudes towards regulatory measures. Drawing from survey responses of 1077 professional engineers and geoscientists, we reconstruct their framings of the issue and knowledge claims to position themselves within their organizational and their professional institutions. In understanding the struggle over what constitutes and legitimizes expertise, we make apparent the heterogeneity of claims, legitimation strategies, and use of emotionality and metaphor. By linking notions of the science or science fiction of climate change to the assessment of the adequacy of global and local policies and of potential organizational responses, we contribute to the understanding of ‘defensive institutional work’ by professionals within petroleum companies, related industries, government regulators, and their professional association.


      • Joshua,

        Why would I spell that out?

      • Pekka –


      • Why mention Kahneman, Pekka?

      • willard –

        Coming from philosophy, which is the mother of all sciences,

        One of my favored memories was instigating and orchestrating a debate among graduate students from a variety of disciplines on the question of which science was a subset of which others: chemistry, mathematics, biology, or physics (as I recall, although there may have been others).

        Good thing there were no philosophy students present, as the exercise would never have gotten off the ground, eh?

      • I have read more Kahneman that others who might be even more relevant. I see in his studies enough for the statement I made.

        I have been interested in economics as well. Psychology and social behavior play a very large role there, and Kahneman has got a Nobel (memorial) price in economics without being an economist. That added to my interest in his writings.

      • Joshua,

        Perhaps everyone would have ganged up on the philosopher, which would have led to a huge success.

        Speaking of which, you’d not be the only one to forget:


      • This very blog’s premise runs against the conceptual framework that helped built it.

        Seems apropos to mention (Judith) Curry’s paradox:
        If this sentence is true, then the uncertainty monster exists.


      • I’m not sure what you mean by conflating moves with games.
        I suppose what I am saying is the the moves are universal. By “move” I mean a style of thought, a pattern of response. These are a fixed inventory. in some games certain moves are not allowed in other games they are.

        Let’s take the move of questioning motives or imputing motives.

        Your behavior presents me with challenge. I see willard claiming that the sky is purple, when I believe very strongly that it is blue. We are built to explain stuff. So, here is willard claiming the sky is purple when it is in fact blue. I have several moves. Those moves are limited. One of those moves is to explain the phenomena by saying that willard is a prick and he is just trying to upset me. In certain games this move is not allowed or it is frowned on. An editor at nature would not allow this move in a science paper. the game of gossip in the faculty lounge would allow this move. The game of politics would allow this move. A flame war on the internet would allow this move and encourage this move. On the internet you have
        to say something. If other players have played all the other moves, then I can either copy them ( +1) or I play a move than nobody has played yet and go a bridge to far. One could almost argue that the internet almost insures that all moves will be played. And replayed. including the move of trying to get above the board. So there are only moves.
        Am I missing your point?

      • That’s great, willard. Thanks. Is it just my imagination, or is the sociologist hanging her head in shame?

      • hehe.
        you will like this Willard.
        First Class: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_A._Earle

        Earle: “Welcome to introduction to philosophy. You may be thinking what does philosophy do? Philosophy does nothing. It is the love of knowledge, queen of the sciences”

        Cool guy. I switched from math/physics to Philosophy.

      • Why do you think that Kahneman’s work would apply for ClimateBall, i.e. Lew’s topic, Pekka?

      • Let me think about this, Mosh. When the kids will sleep, I might have access to something else than a tablet.

        Speaking of tablets, here could be a pair for atheists:


        Ps.: Nice one, Agent!

      • Williard,

        I’m used in looking for unintentional biases in both individual and in group behavior. I did that before knowing anything of Kahneman’s work, and what I have read of him has added a lot knowledge on, how that works at all levels of reasoning. Naturally there are also intentional factors and there are also genuine conspiracies, but very much can be understood without.

        When all mechanisms of unintentional bias are taken into account, conspiracies are not needed for much, even purely intentional individual actions have a greatly reduced role. I included in the above the word “purely” because the intentional and unintentional mix – again in a way that agrees well with the ideas of Kahneman.

        It’s certainly essential to consider group behavior in addition to psychology of individuals. The dynamics of bubbles in stocks or real estate prices are interesting examples of that, and so is the behavior of credit rating agencies. Psychology is an important factor in all of that but so are the mechanisms of information sharing (of true information and false rumors). The case of attitudes to climate change is not identical, but there are obvious parallels.

      • Tres gentil, Pekka.

      • Why do you think that Lew’s looking for any kind of bias, Pekka?

        No, let me rephrase that:

        Why do you [&c], Pekka?




      • Philosophers often articulate new concepts for the first time. Each of the great philosophers is great because they articulated a great new concept. In some cases, many perhaps, these new concepts laid the foundation for a new science. My favorite example is dynamics, which grew out of medieval philosophical debates over the quantity of motion. Descartes can be said to have discovered the mind, and so it goes. In this sense philosophy is indeed the queen of the sciences, or at least the mother.

      • Willard,

        What he’s looking for is actually not essential for my argument, my argument is more about the origins of what he is seeing (or perceiving).

      • I know, Pekka. I was hinting at the fact that why-questions can become troublesome.

        The capacity to ask why-questions might have provided an evolutionary benefit, just as paranoid traits serve well in war times.

        The thought that the truth is out there got us outside to see if it was.

        Nowaways, it sticks us in front of a computer screen, cf.


      • > I know, Pekka.

        I should have said:

        > Thank you, Pekka.

        Thank you, Pekka.

      • The number of why-questions by small children might indicate support for your proposition.

      • blueice2hotsea

        willard –

        Philosophy is the queen of sciences, yes. (Provided, of course, that the practioners are more fans of rhetoric than of sophistry.)

        Better is mosher’s jingo that philosophy is the queen of knowledge.

      • Blue,

        I replied elsewhere:


        Sorry bout that.



        Still thinking about moves and games. But basically, my point was that there is a need to distinguish levels: moves are posts, comments, tweets, etc. At this level we could have a tactical analysis, if we accept that tactics lies at the contact point between the players.


        A strategical analysis would have to encompass this level and take sequences of moves. Times and lines, so to speak. This is this level that made me start to write with TimesAndLines:


        My objective was both descriptive and poetical. I was trying to come up with a way to let the words speak for themselves. This creates and interesting ambiguity, which I’m not trying to alleviate. There’s nothing much I could do anyway about this kind of ambiguity: the phenomenologists got at least this right.


        As I see it, the “game” level is above these two. This would be the level of the conversation, the scientific discourse, etc. You underline this level when you say:

        I have several moves. Those moves are limited. One of those moves is to explain the phenomena by saying that willard is a prick and he is just trying to upset me. In certain games this move is not allowed or it is frowned on. An editor at nature would not allow this move in a science paper. the game of gossip in the faculty lounge would allow this move. The game of politics would allow this move. A flame war on the internet would allow this move and encourage this move.

        What you’re saying here is more or less what Walton and Krabbe about commitments in dialogs, I believe. This is also akin to the meaning of a game in Berne’s theory, although he does seem to seek an interaction void of any game. I’m not sure I buy that.

        In any case, ClimateBall offers us a very nice mix of rhetorical genres.


        My remark was hinting at the fact that we should look at Lew’s paper at two distinct levels: the peer-reviewed paper that describe and tries to explain tactics and strategies of ClimateBall, but also the blog post that aims at something else, which itself participates in the war.


        Considering the number of words I used for that remark and the number of words I am using now to explain it, I hope you agree that, sometimes, ambiguity is just a matter of informational complexity.


        I might be silent for a while, now. My NeverEnding Audit has ended a while ago and there’s not much more for me in this. Besides, Tumblr added some other changes that almost wrecked my site, yet again.

        Say hello to bender for me. Tell him I took his:

        > Seems it’s his job.


        as a compliment, notwithstanding that what he was presuming was provenly false, since my last comment was in line with my first. A little less ambiguous, perhaps, but that is all. Just a playful remark about a sentence containing lots of seemings.


        I advised Stephen against that war, btw, but I believe he got the word “fury” from me.

  38. Agent 86 –

    Any secrets to tell us about Agent 99? And is it true that the algorithm for Hymie was based on a certain Climate Etc. denizen?

    • Any secrets to tell us about Agent 99?

      Thaddeus swore me to secrecy.

      And is it true that the algorithm for Hymie was based on a certain Climate Etc. denizen?

      Originally built to serve KAOS.
      Not bored by repetitive tasks.
      Able to metabolize poisons.
      General lack of self-awareness, humour, or irony.

      You could be on to something there…

  39. Hmmmm. Fascinating:


    So there we see elaboration of the “ultimate utopian vision of radical environmentalists, who see people as a scourge on the planet,…” Indeed, a carefully-reasoned description what would happen “if we gave the environmentalists what they want..”

    Electric car owners would come to the rude realization that, shock!!!! it takes electricity to run their cars!!!!!

    There would be no water (causing fecal matter to clog toilets – what is it with “conservatives” and the focus on all things scatalogical?)

    Mob attacks on solar energy users – who would wish they hadn’t tried to dismantle the 2nd amendment an instead had stocked up on assault rifles

    Thank god for Anthony and his WUWT contributors… if it weren’t for them, those “radical environmentalists” would get “what they want” – which, of course, is for all their friends and family to suffer and die miserable deaths so that spotted owls can live well.

  40. Oh dear whatever happened to global cooling

    Wow that makes January 2013 0.9C warmer than January 1984!

    • lolwot, Peculiar things are happening, which sort of dont add up. The Nino 3/4 index is negative, but so is the SOI. The UAH and RSS both increased a lot between December and January. We have SSW over the North pole. My suspicions are that these are somehow related. But what it is all about, I have no idea. I wonder if anyone else has any thoughts. It will be interesting to see the GISS amd NOAA data when they come out, hopefully next week.

    • lolwot seems to take some comfort in short term trends but when the next set of temp data hits the blogosphere and the next set and the next set arrives and it will be obvious even to him that the wheels are falling off the AGW’s CO2 hypothesis.

      No cherry picking lolwot, just keep doing WFT regressions using each new set of data when they come in and only go back (say) for just 10 years each time so that decadal fluctuations can be removed an see what you get.

  41. Hey Steve,
    Re ‘moves’. And ‘philosophy, queen of the sciences’.

    Here’s a move. While that old epistemological metaphor no longer constrains our insights, it is time to replace it with something that promotes a more modern conceptualization of the activity of philosophy (and other areas of knowledge) as collaboration (with science, etc). No?

    No Queens, Handmaidens or Kings, for me, thanks. ;-)

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