Groups and herds: implications for the IPCC

by Judith Curry

Group failures often have disastrous consequences—not merely for businesses, nonprofits, and governments, but for all those affected by them. – Cass Sunstein and Reid Hastie

Context

The social psychology of groups conducting scientific assessments (e.g. the IPCC) is a topic that in my opinion does not receive sufficient attention.  For background, here are some previous CE posts:

This past week, there have been two  articles on this topic, that provide important insights of relevance to the IPCC assessment process.

Groups

Sunstein and Hastie have a lengthy article in the Harvard Business Review entitled Making Dumb Groups Smarter.  Excerpts:

The advantage of a group, wrote one early advocate of collective intelligence—Aristotle—is that “when there are many who contribute to the process of deliberation, each can bring his share of goodness and moral prudence…some appreciate one part, some another, and all together appreciate all. Unfortunately, groups all too often fail to live up to this potential.

Groups err for two main reasons. The first involves informational signals. Naturally enough, people learn from one another; the problem is that groups often go wrong when some members receive incorrect signals from other members. The second involves reputational pressures, which lead people to silence themselves or change their views in order to avoid some penalty—often, merely the disapproval of others. But if those others have special authority or wield power, their disapproval can produce serious personal consequences.

As a result of informational signals and reputational pressures, groups run into four separate though interrelated problems. When they make poor or self-destructive decisions, one or more of these problems are usually to blame:

  • Groups do not merely fail to correct the errors of their members; they amplify them.
  • They fall victim to cascade effects, as group members follow the statements and actions of those who spoke or acted first.
  • They become polarized, taking up positions more extreme than those they held before deliberations.
  • They focus on what everybody knows already—and thus don’t take into account critical information that only one or a few people have.

If most members of a group tend to make certain errors, then most people will see others making the same errors. What they see serves as “proof” of erroneous beliefs. Reputational pressures play a complementary role: If most members of the group make errors, others may make them simply to avoid seeming disagreeable or foolish.

If a project, a product, a business, a politician, or a cause gets a lot of support early on, it can win over a group even if it would have failed otherwise. Many groups end up thinking that their ultimate convergence on a shared view was inevitable. Beware of that thought. The convergence may well be an artifact of who was the first to speak—and hence of what we might call the architecture of the group’s discussions.

Two kinds of cascades—informational and reputational—correspond to our two main sources of group error. In informational cascades, people silence themselves out of deference to the information conveyed by others. In reputational cascades, they silence themselves to avoid the opprobrium of others.

Group members think they know what is right, but they nonetheless go along with the group in order to maintain the good opinion of others.

“Political correctness,” a term much used by the political right in the 1990s, is hardly limited to left-leaning academic institutions. In both business and government there is often a clear sense that a certain point of view is the proper one and that those who question or reject it, even for purposes of discussion, do so at their peril. They are viewed as “difficult,” “not part of the team,” or, in extreme cases, as misfits.

In the actual world of group decision making, of course, people may not know whether other members’ statements arise from independent information, an informational cascade, reputational pressures, or the availability heuristic. They often overestimate the extent to which the views of others are based on independent information. Confident (but wrong) group decisions are a result.

Suppose a group has a great deal of information—enough to produce the unambiguously right outcome if that information is elicited and properly aggregated. Even so, the group will not perform well if its members emphasize broadly shared information while neglecting information that is held by one or a few. The finding? Common information had a disproportionately large impact on discussions and conclusions.

Making wiser groups:

  • Silence the leader
  • ‘Prime’ critical thinking
  • Appoint a devil’s advocate
  • Establish contrarian teams

JC comments:  Lots of implications here for the IPCC assessment process, particularly

  • reputational pressures (I am the poster child for the ostracism faced by someone who disagrees)
  • cascade effects from previous assessment reports
  • consensus seeking approach that marginalizes/ignores dissenting perspectives

Herding

Nate Silver has an article Here’s proof some pollsters are putting a thumb on the scale.  Excerpts:

It’s time to stop worrying about outliers and start worrying about inliers. Earlier this year, my colleague Harry Enten documented evidence of pollster “herding” — the tendency of polling firms to produce results that closely match one another, especially toward the end of a campaign. What’s wrong with the polls agreeing with one another? The problem is that it’s sometimes a case of the blind leading the blind.

It’s not the inaccuracy of the polling average that should bother you so much as the consensus around such a wrong result. This consensus very likely reflects herding. In this case, pollsters herded toward the wrong number.

The impolite way to put it is that this was CYA (cover-your-ass) time for pollsters. Some that had produced “outlier” results before suddenly fell in line with the consensus.

The other giveaway is the one we discovered before in Iowa. By the end of the campaign, new polls diverged from the polling averages by less than they plausibly could if they were taking random samples and not tinkering with them.

To be clear, I’m not accusing any pollsters of faking results. But some of them were probably “putting their thumbs on the scale,” manipulating assumptions in their polls such that they more closely matched the consensus.

In some cases, the pollsters’ intentions may have been earnest enough. Perhaps they ran a poll in Iowa and it came back Ernst +7. That can’t be right, they’d say to themselves. No one else has the race like that. So they’d dig into their crosstabs and find something “wrong.” Ahh — that’s the problem, not enough responses from Ames and Iowa City.12 Let’s apply some geographic weights. That comes out to … Ernst +3? We can live with that.

Even when the pollsters mean well, this attitude runs counter to the objective, scientific nature of polling. As a general principle, you should not change the methodology in the middle of an experiment.

The problem is simple enough to diagnose: When pollsters herd, if the first couple of polls happen to get the outcome wrong, subsequent ones will replicate the mistake.

The occasional or even not-so-occasional result that deviates from the consensus is sometimes a sign the pollster is doing good, honest work and trusting its data. It’s the inliers — the polls that always stay implausibly close to the consensus and always conform to the conventional wisdom about a race — that deserve more scrutiny instead.

JC comment:  The idea of herding in opinion polling seems relevant for climate model intercomparison projects, production of multiple data records of the same climate variable, and model-data inter comparison efforts, particularly when combined with issues raised by Sunstein.

Disagreement between data sets, between models, between models and data, and between models or data with what you ‘expect’ can motivate subjective focus on ‘fixing’ the disagreement.  These ‘fixes’ can introduce bias.

Truly objectives methods in climate data record building and climate model calibration seem rare – the Berkeley Earth surface temperature effort seems objective, and also the calibration method used for the Hadley climate model.

JC reflections

Once again we see convincing arguments for devil’s advocate and contrarian teams in group assessments

The pitfalls of manufacturing a consensus (i.e. end up being wrong), with ever increasing levels of confidence, seem unavoidable with without formal inclusion of contrarian teams.

I was particularly struck by Sunstein/Hastie’s focus on reputitional pressures, which are HUGE in the climate debate – independent thinkers get labeled as deniers and get ostracized by those ‘with special authority or who wield power’ – i.e. climate scientists with access to the media, editors of journals, officers in professional societies, etc.

To my mind, this statement perfectly reflects the problem with interpreting the IPCC’s consensus:

In the actual world of group decision making, of course, people may not know whether other members’ statements arise from independent information, an informational cascade, reputational pressures, or the availability heuristic.

Related issues surrounding the IPCC process seem overripe for this kind of investigation and analysis.

404 responses to “Groups and herds: implications for the IPCC

  1. Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

    No scientific debate is held by IPCC about their view of climate change. I directly challenged the IPCC main responsibles (cited in the last page of my “Refuting …” document) of their last report (AR5), showing their mistakes at: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B4r_7eooq1u2TWRnRVhwSnNLc0k but I got no reply from them. If I were wrong they could refute my “Refuting …” in a scientific way.
    I also sent my “Refuting …” pdf to the contributors of realclimate.org but they did not argument against my refuting, nor in favour of IPCC, instead I got again silence.

    • Antonio,

      Silence was also the response of the US Congressional Space Science & Technology Committee to questions asked last year about changes in textbooks of nuclear physics and astronomy after WWII:

      https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/10640850/WHY.pdf

      The climate scandal arise from those changes.

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      • The process of creating HNG involves pulsing an range of low energy frequencies in a very specific sequence into water. The pulsing treatment effectively manipulates the molecules to line up in a certain structure which are then put through a splitting process. The result is HNG.

        So basically homeopathic car fuel? This has to be a parody. Yes?

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    • you get silence when you make bone headed mistakes a couple paragraphs into your document.
      If I told you the moon was made of green cheese you have every right to ignore me.

      • Steven Mosher

        Please identify statements you call “bone headed mistakes”.

      • Nice putdown, bully. Proud?

      • Antonio (AKA "Un físico")

        Steven I never said I was 100% right. Please, tell me where, in your opinion, I am wrong. In my “Refuting …” I show 3 arguments that invalidate the whole climatic theory supported by the IPCC.
        In summary: (1) climate sensitivity value is invented as it has been derived through innapropriate settings driving to tuning or to inacurate methods driving also to tuning, (2) attributing AGW as man-made is not methodologically correct as IPCC is adding/substracting radiative forcings with different level of understanding and MonteCarlo methods cannot be used in such case and (3) CMIP5 models are not reliable because: they use tuned values and because against what everybody in the finance sector is doing properly (i.e., using appropriatelly the timescales in order to create models with predictive capacity), in the IPCC they tend to validate a methodology where a small sampling can be use to project climatic scenarios during the following millenia; and this methodology cannot be right. This last issue is a clear shame for Matthew Collins and Reto Knutti (responsibles of chapter 12 in AR5), if they intended to base their report in normal science.

  2. Thanks, Judith. The IPCC’s groupthink does have its problems.

  3. There are leaders and there are great leaders. There are no great followers.

  4. Just think how much more effective The Inquisition might have been had the priests employed a sympathetic psychologist on each torture team to determine why the toturees were screaming so loudly.

  5. So far, the devil’s advocates have been woefully inadequate at providing their alternative explanations, each with their own evidence, for a warming of 0.7 C since 1950, or for why paleoclimate periods such as the Eocene were so warm with CO2 levels not much more than double today’s. It really is a failure to provide credible alternatives that leads to the current consensus, and the skeptics being only dismissed as being insincere in their unfounded doubts. This same group of skeptics also appear to subscribe keenly and uncritically to almost any idea but CO2, the ABCD syndrome, which defies the normal process of objective scientific reasoning.

    • Jim, it is always nice to understand who has the responsibility for determining what is credible. Thank you for identifying yourself.

    • nottawa rafter

      The consensus provides numerous psychological, organizational an d financial disincentives to seek out what reasonable alternatives might be. The path of least resistance is to jump on board with research that has personal rewards. If the climate establishment had allocated resources toward true scientific inquiry over the last 30 years rather than research that rewards conformity, the skeptics might not be throwing all the spaghetti on the wall to see what sticks. The skeptics are simply filling a void.

    • I think you have a narrow view. Didn’t Lewis an Curry adequately show the IPCC models were overheated? That is just one example.

    • Jim D,
      So now we are down to post 1950 warming claims. So what happened to the ~1850 to present claims?
      And has the short period of 1950 – present yielded anything notable in climate?
      Let all be CO2: To what crisis?
      As for objective scientific reasoning, plesae- we have read enough of climategate to know who is putting their thumb on the scales.

    • Natural Variability has caused warming and cooling for ten thousand years that has stayed in the same range. It does not matter if you understand what caused it or if you do not understand what caused it. It happened and the consensus people cannot explain what caused it and cannot identify anything that stopped happening.
      Natural Variability, whatever it is, is still in place and CO2 was not it before so it is not it now.
      Pope’s Climate Theory provides a reasonable cause. No one has proved it is wrong. Other people have Theory that has not been proved wrong. The CO2 Theory has not been proved right. Consensus climate reasoning is not anything like objective scientific reasoning.

    • It is a case that so far the science shows GHG increases can account for it. If you have science that shows something else, present it to the scientists to think about. So far, you’ve got nothing except the words not CO2, but something else yet to be named or named differently depending who you are talking to. As for Lewis and Curry, they also assume all the warming to be GHGs choosing several time-spans. GHGs more than account for the warming, and it is only because of some amount of negative aerosol effects that we haven’t seen more in the last century, and this is where the uncertainty resides.

      • ‘This paper gives an update on the observed decadal variability of the earth radiation budget (ERB) using the latest altitude-corrected Earth Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE)/ Earth Radiation Budget Satellite
        (ERBS) Nonscanner Wide Field of View (WFOV) instrument Edition3 dataset. The effects of the altitude correction are to modify the original reported decadal changes in tropical mean (20°N to 20°S) longwave
        (LW), shortwave (SW), and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s from 3.1, 2.4, and
        0.7 to 1.6, 3.0, and 1.4 W m2, respectively. In addition, a small SW instrument drift over the 5-yr period was discovered during the validation of the WFOV Edition3 dataset. A correction was developed and applied to the Edition3 dataset at the data user level to produce the WFOV Edition3_
        Rev1 dataset. With this final
        correction, the ERBS Nonscanner-observed decadal changes in tropical mean LW, SW, and net radiation between the 1980s and the 1990s now stand at 0.7, 2.1, and 1.4 W/m2, respectively, which are similar to the observed decadal changes in the High-Resolution Infrared Radiometer Sounder (HIRS) Pathfinder OLR and the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project (ISCCP) version FD record but disagree with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR) Pathfinder ERB record. Furthermore, the observed interannual variability of near-global ERBS WFOV Edition3_Rev1 net radiation is found to be remarkably consistent with the latest ocean heat storage record for the overlapping time period of 1993 to 1999. Both datasets show variations of roughly 1.5 W/m2 in planetary net heat balance during the 1990s.’ http://www.image.ucar.edu/idag/Papers/Wong_ERBEreanalysis.pdf

        ‘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.’ http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch3s3-4-4-1.html

        ‘It is hypothesized that persistent and consistent trends among several climate modes act to ‘kick’ the climate state, altering the pattern and magnitude of air-sea interaction between the atmosphere and the underlying ocean. Figure 1 (middle) shows that these climate mode trend phases indeed behaved anomalously three times during the 20th century, immediately following the synchronization events of the 1910s, 1940s, and 1970s. This combination of the synchronization of these dynamical modes in the climate, followed immediately afterward by significant increase in the fraction of strong trends (coupling) without exception marked shifts in the 20th century climate state. These shifts were accompanied by breaks in the global mean temperature trend with respect to time, presumably associated with either discontinuities in the global radiative budget due to the global reorganization of clouds and water vapor or dramatic changes in the uptake of heat by the deep ocean. Similar behavior has been found in coupled ocean/atmosphere models, indicating such behavior may be a hallmark of terrestrial-like climate systems [Tsonis et al., 2007].’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2008GL037022/full

        There is something astonishingly adamant in the warmist groupthink dynamic.

      • Even Tsonis acknowledges in his conclusions that decadal variability, which is the subject of these papers, is superimposed on background anthropogenic global warming, so these people do see the big picture too, and it is not just decadal variability going on. There are some with blinders on to those big-picture phrases when reading these papers.

      • Aerosols are the least of the uncertainties.

        It is astonishing how resistant these people are to anomalous information.

    • Who has nothing besides the words not co2? The scientists studying ocean heat transport?

      • steven, the people studying ocean heat transport have not denied CO2 as the major influence on global warming since 1950. Perhaps you have someone in mind? In fact the net growth of OHC supports the idea of a significant external forcing, if anything.

      • Jim, so the scientists studying OHT don’t argue that CO2 isn’t a GHG. That doesn’t change what they do say which is that a change in poleward ocean heat transport warms the world. So if there were a change in poleward OHT it could explain a substantial amount of the warming. Think how nice that would make life for climate scientists. No need to deny the MWP or the LIA anymore. Both easily explained by changes in OHT and supported by reconstructions of the Indian and Atlantic oceans.

      • steven, the Gulf Stream has not steadily warmed up the globe since 1950. It is as simple as that. The N. Atlantic is less than 5% of the global area, so it is a tail wagging the dog idea in the first place, and they know that, so they haven’t claimed it. The global OHC is rising which fits with forcing changes doing the driving, not with a redistribution of already warm water.

      • Jim, the reconstruction of the Gulf Stream shows it still accelerating as of 1950. How long does it take for a change in poleward volume of ocean heat transport to achieve it’s maximum effect? Is it as simple as that? Really? And as you know quite well I have linked study after study that hypothesizes it is not just a redistribution of heat. It changes the energy budget.

      • steven, ” And as you know quite well I have linked study after study that hypothesizes it is not just a redistribution of heat. It changes the energy budget.”

        You know it is a waste of time, JimD and the gang have solid high quality science on their side.

        How can you compete with that?

      • The Gulf Stream seems to be the 2nd largest current by volume and moves more water than the Kuroshio from what I read. An interesting question is, why does the smaller North Atlantic move more water when comparing the Gulf Stream to the Kuroshio? If I wanted to melt the Arctic sea ice, I’d go with the Gulf Stream. It seems that 2/3s of the melting is from below. With the sea ice gone, it seems the Arctic would warm which is argued to be significant.

      • People ascribing global warming to the Gulf Stream forget that the rise of global OHC helps the Gulf Stream to get warmer, among other things. It is one of the expected effects of more CO2 to have surface and deep ocean warming at the same time. So this whole effect is just another angle for looking at the effects of a steady forcing change that is now in the vicinity of 2 W/m2, headed towards 4 and 6 W/m2 under BAU. Other aspects include the fact that the land is warming twice as fast as the ocean, which ocean driving mechanisms can’t explain but external forcing can. This is also often overlooked by skeptics. As I mentioned, they have made very weak cases for their favored mechanisms that fall apart under closer scrutiny (e.g. explaining what the OHC and land are doing at the same time, explaining paleoclimate etc.).

      • I am suggesting the Gulf Stream is significant which might mean as low as causing 10% of a change. While more CO2 will help the oceans retain their surface heat I still find it a bit difficult to believe the way to warm something as massive as the oceans is with atmospheric insulation. If I proposed doing that, what would my timeline be for a 1.0 C total increase from the roughly 5.0 C total we have now? Looking at oceans surfaces with more insulation trapping heat at their surface we could ask where does this trapped heat now go? If it can’t go up, it has to go down and the better you trap it the more dispersion downwards. If the trapped heat moves sideways, the warmer bands are wider, emitting more heat both up and down. So the more effective the insulation the more time you give it to disperse into the deep where it’s not an immediate concern. I think we are seeing more direct SW into the oceans or the right amount into the oceans and a recovery from colder oceans. I think you meant the SSTs are warming slower. The oceans are hardly warming in their entirety perhaps 0.1 C in the last 75 years I am guessing. The oceans are contending with more than a little better insulation above their surfaces. They are contending with all the other water in the oceans that’s resisting change by means of its mass. They remember past temperatures in aggregate and are using their mass. A little OT, with our climate network, we need information storage, the deep oceans. It’s likely they’ll be telling us something for the next 1000 years. I like cold places for information storage. Deep cold water, and ice sheets are coherent and change relatively slowly. Less movement also retains past information better.

      • ‘The climate system has jumped from one mode of operation to another in the past. We are trying to understand how the earth’s climate system is engineered, so we can understand what it takes to trigger mode switches. Until we do, we cannot make good predictions about future climate change… Over the last several hundred thousand years, climate change has come mainly in discrete jumps that appear to be related to changes in the mode of thermohaline circulation.’ Wally Broecker

        The Gulf Stream is immensely significant in certain aspects of global climate. It does seem to be in phase with the multi-decadal beat.

        The Earth system added to warming between 1976 and 1998 – and has countered warming since.

      • Jim D, you are back to saying an ocean driving mechanisms can’t explain land warming yet you have been shown literature previously stating that this is exactly how the observations are explained. I’m beggining to think perhaps you are a little too biased to be the authority for determining what is credible.

      • Ragnaar, if the change in the Gulf Stream is indicative of total changes in poleward ocean heat transport you are looking at roughly a 10% increase .
        http://www.nature.com/ncomms/journal/v3/n6/fig_tab/ncomms1901_F5.html

        This model would indicate that is enough of a change in OHT to explain all of the warming since the LIA.

        http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/91JD00009/abstract

        Your suggestion that the changes in OHT in the Atlantic could be primarily responsible for changes in the Arctic is supported by the literature.

        http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/JCLI-D-11-00466.1

      • steven, “Your suggestion that the changes in OHT in the Atlantic could be primarily responsible for changes in the Arctic is supported by the literature.”

        Gots to watch that” Atlanticifacation”.since this is were the minions lose contact with the “surface” and OHC connection. The 20 degree swings in the northern high latitudes is basically -20 when there are glaciers and 0 C when there is seasonal ice melt. That is a feedback that is lost when there aren’t any glaciers which the oceans keep chugging along in the +/- 1.5 C temperature variation range. It is amazing how much Ice impacts Ice Ages.

      • Dallas, you must mean dry ice because nothing, nothing at all, happens unless CO2 is responsible.

      • steven, lol “Dallas, you must mean dry ice because nothing, nothing at all, happens unless CO2 is responsible.”

        Right, where was my head! btw, when “skeptics question the “group think” er.. consensus, good minions always jump in to defend the herd.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2014/11/why-do-alarmists-love-marcott-et-al.html

        So I made Marcott specific link with minimal verbiage, just right for their attention spans, just to aggravate them of course. What do ya think?

      • I think they probably won’t bother to look and if they do their selective memory allows them to forget almost immediately anything that disputes what they wish to say is fact. I liked it tho.

      • steven, I mean this.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/crutem4vgl/from:1900/mean:240/mean:120/plot/hadsst3gl/from:1900/mean:240/mean:120
        It is very hard for skeptics to state that the green line (ocean) is driving the red line (land) because the land is leading the ocean especially in the last warming phase. This happens with the stadium wave thing too where CRUTEM4 clearly leads AMO, as expected for external forcing.

      • Here’s the relative current flow values from one source:
        http://www.seos-project.eu/modules/oceancurrents/oceancurrents-c01-p03.html
        The two colors show minimum and maximum flows. Different sources do give differing values.

      • Jim D:
        I suppose the land ocean lead/lag question can be looked at by considering that ground soil is often decent insulation and when compared to water it has only about 1/5 the heat capacity. I think these properties give it less inertia, and slower reactions. On a sunny Spring day in Minnesota the ground is not going to absorb a lot of the sun compared to an ocean so it’s going to be hotter in Minnesota that day compared to out in the ocean. In the Winter we aren’t getting much help from the ground in staying warm outside as it can’t transmit much residual heat that it stored in Summer, back into the air. Oceans can. We Scandinavians wanted to be a cold as possible in Winter so we wisely located far from the oceans:

        So land doesn’t store and transmit heat as quickly as the oceans do. And it doesn’t have anything like the vertical circulation of oceans or their effective depth. As far as it having much of a memory, in Minnesota anyways, the colder our Winter is means the cold tries to get deeper into the ground but it’s doing so against its insulation value or has diminishing returns. So a cold Winter will be followed by a later planting start date but the insulation value mitigates that. We might say annual soil temperature resets each year in the middle of Winter to about the same value as it can’t get much colder. Compared to the oceans it doesn’t remember a lot about past temperatures.

      • The Gulf Stream, the ocean currents, do not warm the earth. They just move the warming around. The Arctic warms because the Gulf Stream brings the warm water. The Gulf Stream did not make the water warm.

      • Ragnaar, that is the point I was making. Given the same external forcing, the land responds faster. Clearly the land warming can’t be coming from the ocean for the same reason it doesn’t in the summer. It is just thermal inertia. This graphically exposes the fallacy of the ocean-driven natural variability argument.

      • Jim, the skeptics don’t have to say it. That’s what scientists are saying as we have linked at you before, both I and Rob with different papers. I’d link a paper again but it seems to take me longer to find the link than the amount of time you remember it was linked.

    • “It really is a failure to provide credible alternatives that leads to the current consensus.” No, Jim, you don’t get a consensus on an unproven proposition because you and your cohort think alternatives aren’t credible (while others may) and/or haven’t adequately explored a complex issue to rule out alternatives, you get a consensus because the consensees find it convenient. One might call this a conveniensus (TM applied for).

    • The alarmists might have more credibility if they started from a position other than “the only possible explanation for warming/climate changes is human contribution to Co2”. The burdon of proof is those making that allegation, and so far, your “proof” is seriously lacking.

    • Maybe it’s a bit different Jim, the The hot Paleocene and early warm Eocene showns a cloud of CO2 data points around roughly around 500 ppm (not nearly double now). See Doria et al 2011, fig 1:

      http://droyer.web.wesleyan.edu/Giraffe_Pipe_CO2_AJS.pdf

      Then the CO2 rises to values roughly averaged on 1000 ppm towards the middle and late Eocene when ice rafted detritus reveals the presence of mayor ice fields on land.

      Then at the Eocene-Oligocene boundary at 33.9 million years ago, the Antarctic ice sheets comes into being at CO2 levels, still around 1000 ppm. It’s only around 31 million years ago that those CO2 levels drop to 500 ppm again and below.

      It occurs to me that the ice age – carbon dioxide group thinkers have a major issue to solve here.

  6. “reputational pressures (I am the poster child for the ostracism faced by someone who disagrees)” – JC

    Yes, there’s the victim card, again.

    Poor Judith.

    • No, it’s what auditors call in the UK a true and fair view. The way to become a victim is never to mention it and slink away into silence. What you no doubt would prefer but it seems are never going to have the satisfaction of seeing.

    • Richard, the strange thing is that in posts like these, Judith states the importance of disagreement, but despite this importance, seems more focussed on what she perceives to be some negative personal impacts.

      • I find the the host’s stance wholly consistent. She’s adamant she doesn’t want her critics censored. But we all know that when certain stock pejorative phrases come from those with ‘special authority or who wield power’ it can act as a powerful deterrent for those thinking of questioning the ‘consensus’, science or policy. Your failure to see this as you add fuel to the fire from behind pseudonymity doesn’t aid your credibility in these parts, my friend.

      • “Richard, the strange thing is that in posts like these, Judith states the importance of disagreement, but despite this importance, seems more focussed on what she perceives to be some negative personal impacts.”

        More focussed?

        gosh one parenthetical factual statement and you go all hyperbolic.

        Its a fact that Judith has experienced ostracism.

        It’s a fact that many on our side of the debate have called her anti science, denier, have announced the death of career and career advancement.

        However in all of this she has not played the victim. If you want to see how victims act, go look at Bill Cosby’s Accuser’s.

        Much as you and your thug friends would like to shut Judith up she won’t play the victim and be silent

      • ‘special authority or who wield power’

        Are you saying that some authority is preventing skeptics from speaking out? Who would that be?

      • No. I would limit skeptics to those who speak out. Curry and Mosher also speak out and would probably refuse the moniker, which is fine. You haven’t silenced us, nor will you. But some with private doubts have I’m sure been intimidated. Your lack of shame about this is shameful indeed.

      • Mosher said “…many on our side of the debate…”

        Who’s side are you on? I was always under the impression that you were on Steven Mosher’s side.

      • “Who’s side are you on? I was always under the impression that you were on Steven Mosher’s side.”

        He’s on the side of selling his product. That’s means you should believe in AGW.

        Andrew

      • nottawa rafter

        Michael

        Same ol’ whine, New bottle.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Joseph: Are you saying that some authority is preventing skeptics from speaking out? Who would that be?

        The people who review grant applications for funding, and who review papers for publication, and who invite speakers to colloquia exercise their authority to impede the careers of the people who are openly critical of the idea that CO2 causes, has caused, or will cause catastrophe.

      • The people who review grant applications for funding,.

        Can you give me an example of climate related research that wouldn’t get funding?

        .. and who review papers for publication..

        Can you give me an example of a worthy paper that didn’t get published?

        ,

        .and who invite speakers to colloquia..

        I am not sure not being invited to lecture publicly will impede someone’s career. How does that work?

      • Well, Michael, it is her blog, and it is to her credit and to all of our benefit that Prof. Curry shares her experieces, good and bad, with her readers. In the context of the articles she highlighted in this post the mention of Prof. Curry feeling/being marginalized was quite appropriate. Prof Curry is at the point in her career where she has the freedom to speak freely. I have personally seen the pressures put on others to conform vis-a-vis the “right” attitude on global warming, in academic institutions. Alas, a drive to create conformity is a fact of life in many organizations; the authors are spot on..

      • The herd seems to agree that Judith is oppressed.

        Martyrdom is a handy rhetorical device.

      • The herd only agrees the snideness is tiresome. We’ve taken different lines on victimhood if you read carefully (but have you ever?) Nobody’s called Judith a martyr except perhaps M Marler when he calls her witness. The two words were one and the same in the Koine Greek of the New Testament. In those days torture and death were part of the package, as in many parts of the world today, but it was the privilege of bearing witness to something much greater than oneself that was seen to outshine all that.

      • JC’s confidence is what drives her detractors to respond, to “control”. It’s refreshing that she has the fortitude and maintains the dignity to keep the subject in focus, not herself.

      • The “ostracized” and “denier” mention by JC speaks more to the pettiness of group think confidence than JC’s rep.

      • @ Joseph

        “The people who review grant applications for funding,.

        Can you give me an example of climate related research that wouldn’t get funding?

        .. and who review papers for publication..

        Can you give me an example of a worthy paper that didn’t get published?

        ,
        .and who invite speakers to colloquia..
        I am not sure not being invited to lecture publicly will impede someone’s career. How does that work?”

        Can you actually READ that with a straight face, never mind actually WRITE it with a straight face?

      • When Judith writes about negative personal impacts, she is telling us that is widespread and it needs to be confronted and not just take it on the chin.

    • Michael, it is undeniable that pro-AGW people in the media are saying a lot of negative things about Dr. Curry; I see them whenever she is mentioned by one of them. I think it’s pretty obvious that they are saying those things because they don’t like what she has been saying. Since that’s what she said, I don’t understand what you want, unless it’s to advance some narrative of yours. In order for you not to comment on it, is Dr. Curry required not to notice negative comments?

      • it is undeniable that pro-AGW people in the media are saying a lot of negative things about Dr. Curry

        Do you have any examples?

      • Joseph,

        Examples?

        Are you crazy? – these are ‘skeptics’, they don’t do evidence.

      • I need to provide examples? To someone who reads this blog? Pay attention or keep up your filter so you can stay in a bubble. It’s your choice.
        As I said, I see them “whenever she is mentioned by one of them”. That’s a nice strong statement, easy to disprove. If you like, you can do your own research and look up statements to the media by Michael Mann, say, that mention Dr. Curry and don’t say anything negative.

    • I am not sure what she means by “ostracism.” If she means in terms of collaboration, that could be attributed to the fact that her views have changed enough so they are no longer compatible with her colleagues.

    • “Ah consensus … the process of abandoning all beliefs, principles, values and policies in search of something in which no one believes, but to which no one objects; the process of avoiding the very issues that have to be solved, merely because you cannot get agreement on the way ahead. What great cause would have been fought and won under the banner ‘I stand for consensus’?” – Margaret Thatcher
      snip
      The Delphi Technique
      Never, under any circumstance, become angry. Anger directed at the facilitator will immediately make the facilitator “the victim.” This defeats the purpose which is to make you the victim. The goal of the facilitator is to make those they are facilitating like them, alienating anyone who might pose a threat to the realization of their agenda. [People with fixed belief systems, who know what they believe and stand on what they believe, are obvious threats.] If the participant becomes the victim, the facilitator loses face and favor with the crowd
      http://www.iror.org/delphi_info.asp

      Your Delphi facilitator skills are slipping Michael :)

    • Matthew R Marler

      Michael: Yes, there’s the victim card, again.

      It is more about her being a witness than her being a victim. Her point is not that she has experienced loss, it is that the members of the consensus have the power to inflict loss on dissidents, and that they use that power actively.

    • May as well play the victim card if you have one. Heck, Rev Al Sharpton made a career with the victim cards he had (Albeit a stacked deck with bogus cards). I guess will see if he can continue with the phoney deck regarding his tax problems and bankruptcy.

    • Yeah, da denier b*tch should just shut up and take it like a lady, right Michael?

    • John Carpenter

      Michael, I’m so surprised you picked up on this single sentence, uncanny that out of the whole post, this is the only part you feel necessary to comment on. Come to think of it, i’m even more surprised you didn’t tell her to put on her big boy pants.

  7. I was particularly struck by Sunstein/Hastie’s focus on repetitional pressures, which are HUGE in the climate debate – independent thinkers get labeled as deniers and get ostracized by those ‘with special authority or who wield power’ – i.e. climate scientists with access to the media, editors of journals, officers in professional societies, etc.

    I’ve no doubt ‘repetitional pressures’ exist in the climate/IPCC context and I find it a germane expression but seeing ‘denier’ as a consequence is I think only part of the picture. The label has a driving force of its own – proper analysis of this is liable to paint an ever bleaker picture of what is going on. But every little helps.

  8. Both papers are good scenarios of the issues. The bigger elephant, however, is the fact that the IPCC was established solely to prove the CO2 hypothesis, which directs all efforts in one direction. Couple that with the political agenda of national governments who fund much of the research and you have a “perfect storm” (pun intended) for both natural human group think and forced group think.

    • Curious George

      joshua called our attention yesterday to a post http://wattsupwiththat.com/2014/11/23/people-starting-to-ask-about-motive-for-massive-ipcc-deception/. I second his call.

      • There is no need to find a motive, which might imply a monolithic conspiracy. Instead, you only need to acknowledge that there is a system of rewards and constraints to which people respond. Then there is the intersection of special interests. Once it gets started in a certain direction it gains a life of it’s own. For example, a brilliant scientist, say Hansen, expresses,concern that the climate is warming due to anthropogenic CO2 (which may be true), someone else runs with that and confirms the conclusion, a politician drives legislation to fund research, more people are added to the group. More papers are published, the communities grow. New journals are created with reviewers drawn from the growing population of the group. A political organization is growing and it’s leaders buy votes with subsidies and funding. Opponents are labeled as evil, a common political tactic. NGOs form around the issue, now it becomes a belief, a movement, a self-selecting political identity with associated values. A counter-culture group forms in opposition and mirrors everything the other group does, ad infinitum.

        This is just one narrative, likely false, but it’s a way to see that there is no need for a conspiracy or a single motive. It could just be a historical cascade.

    • @ R2Dtoo

      “The bigger elephant, however, is the fact that the IPCC was established solely to prove the CO2 hypothesis, which directs all efforts in one direction. Couple that with the political agenda of national governments who fund much of the research and you have a “perfect storm” (pun intended) for both natural human group think and forced group think.”

      Got it in one.

      The purpose of the IPCC, and the self-licking ice-cream cone comprised of it, the Climate Science Consensus, and the politicians/NGO’s who fund the whole shebang (with OPM, of course) is to provide scientific justification for the aforementioned ice-cream cone to control every human activity that produces a ‘carbon signature’. The existence and magnitude of said signature to be determined solely by the ‘ice-cream cone’ doing the controlling.

      It is purely by coincidence that the only viable ‘solution’ to the problem of ACO2 driven CAGCC consists of taxing the signatures, regulating the amount of signature produced, and/or selling indulgences in climate signatures, under the control and direction of–you guessed it–the ‘Ice-cream Cone’.

      Of course there are naifs who fail to understand the above–or fail to believe it when it is called to their attention–and ride off on a Quixotic mission to discover how our climate system actually works. Inevitably, after examining the empirical evidence, they discover two things: a. NO ONE actually understands, or can enumerate with relative magnitude and sign, all of the factors which have caused, and continue to cause, our climate to vary widely, over every time scale examined, while still remaining within habitable limits and b. whatever the influence of CO2 (anthropogenic or otherwise) on the temperature of the Earth (TOE), it is certainly not the CONTROLLING influence and any ‘Climate Change Policies’ which are enacted with the ostensible purpose of controlling the ‘thermostat of the Earth’ by controlling anthropogenic CO2 will have negligible impact on the actual TOE, however defined and measured. Even a SUBSET of those naifs can trundle along, enjoying a lucrative, respected career as a ‘Climate Scientist’, as long as they only NOTICE the above–and keep their mouths shut about it in polite company.

      Others, like Dr. Curry for example, not only notice, but stick their hands up and say something along the lines of ‘Hey, y’all, are you REALLY sure that ACO2 is the dominant factor driving climate change and that it really IS going to result in global catastrophe unless the politicians tax and regulate it rigorously?’. Then they learn the folly of their ways. Some, like Dr. Curry, have tenure and can retain their position, if not their career and professional respect. Others, without tenure, retain none of the above.

      The ‘up and coming’ in the field, being smart enough to have completed college and entered into graduate school with a view towards a career in ‘Climate Science’, have noticed the above, and the fact that research proposals which fail to focus on some facet of the looming catastrophe of ACO2 don’t get approved/funded. And react predictably.

  9. It is interesting that you featured Nate Silver. He had submitted to reputational pressure and fired Roger Pielke, Jr., who had written what was not conventional wisdom.

    • It’s about the argument, not the person. Silver blew it with RP Jr, but that does not mean all of his arguments are bunk!

      In fact, Silver’s behavior illustrates perfectly some of Sunstein’s points about reputitional pressures!

      • Maybe RPJ just produced cr@p and got fired.

        Occams razor and all that.

      • Given the large amount of negativity toward Pielke because of his message, clearly visible at fivethirtyeight (which I read a lot), I think Occam’s Razor says that we don’t need to know anything about the quality of his work.

      • Or the razor cuts both ways, depending which way you swing it.

      • I’d add that the large amount of negativity I saw _has_ to be because of the message, not the quality of work, since most commenters are obviously not in a position to judge quality. The closest they get is some link they saw (but also can’t judge) which attacked the quality.

      • Matthew R Marler

        Michael: Maybe RPJ just produced cr@p and got fired.

        You are unfamiliar with the episode, aren’t you?

        RPJ did not produce “cr@p”, and he was fired because of criticism directed at Silver.

      • Michael,

        For someone who flings so much of it, we might credit you with being an expert on crap. But seeing as you’ve shown us nothing to make us think you are qualified to judge the work of RPjr, I’m going with you being expert only in the production of crap.

      • Matthew,

        No, I’m quite familiar with it.

        It was train wreck just waiting to happen – why would you choose a political scientist to write about climate science??

      • Judith, one of the most level headed posts here ever. Brilliant.

      • Fascinating.

        The topic is group-think and all the denizens think Judith’s post is just splendid.

      • Michael said;

        “Fascinating.

        The topic is group-think and all the denizens think Judith’s post is just splendid.”

        You’re a denizen as well so am glad you agree with the consensus.

        tonyb

      • Tony,

        Sadly, no.

        I do wonder how many ‘skeptics’ went and checked out the research, or did they just ‘follow the leader’?

  10. To the groups and herds are –e.g., the nerds that found absolutely no warming signal in Mann’s data. AGW theory pretty much caught a wave and burst on into the open based on phony data.

    • It certainly got a big head start.

    • What, did they find a warming signal in phony data, or no warming signal in good data?

      Which is all wrong, the data or the analysis?

      • Obviously, the data was phony. Remember: ‘hide the decline?’ The methodology was phony because tree rings are related to the amount of rainfall and drought, not global warming and there’s a lag time. Moreover, the analysis was phony because an ‘analysis’ of white noise returned the apocryphal hockey stick.

      • No, I don’t recall “hide the decline” as a law abiding citizen, I do not voluntarily possess stolen material.

        Tree rings are related to both, rainfall and temperature.

        I thought it was the red noise, not the white. Actually I think it was the data, not any random noise of any color and of course tricks with the y-axis. You have to watch those guys who play tricks with the y-axis.

        Get your story straight, if possible.

  11. anthony thompson

    Richard Feynman (Caltech 1974) on the Millikan experiment:

    “One example: Millikan measured the charge on an electron by an experiment with falling oil drops, and got an answer which we now know not to be quite right. It’s a little bit off because he had the incorrect value for the viscosity of air. It’s interesting to look at the history of measurements of the charge of an electron, after Millikan. If you plot them as a function of time, you find that one is a little bit bigger than Millikan’s, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, and the next one’s a little bit bigger than that, until finally they settle down to a number which is higher.

    Why didn’t they discover the new number was higher right away? It’s a thing that scientists are ashamed of–this history–because it’s apparent that people did things like this: When they got a number that was too high above Millikan’s, they thought something must be wrong–and they would look for and find a reason why something might be wrong. When they got a number close to Millikan’s value they didn’t look so hard. And so they eliminated the numbers that were too far off, and did other things like that.”

    • Whatever you do, don’t fool yourself.

    • Thanks for posting this. I was going to use this example, which I just read this last week in Feynman’s book, “You Must Be Kidding…”. You’ve saved me the trouble.

    • Yes, excellent example and one worth studying. No one is quite willing to risk being wrong and so they miss the opportunity to be the one that actually gets the correct answer.

  12. Hi Judy – Excellent post! However, one comment. You wrote

    “the Berkeley Earth surface temperature effort seems objective.”

    It certainly was objective, but it is not independent of the analyses completed by NCDC, GISS and CRU has the data that is used is still biased to mostly the same locations as they used. See the posts on this

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/10/20/comment-on-the-article-in-the-economist-on-rich-mullers-data-analysis/

    http://pielkeclimatesci.wordpress.com/2011/10/21/comments-and-questions-on-the-best-analyses/

    As I wrote in the first post

    “if they are in nearly the same geographic location as the GHCN sites, they are not providing much independent new information.”

    As I wrote then, I encourage you (or others) “to document how much overlap there is in Muller’s analysis with the locations used by GISS, NCDC and CRU.”

    This still has not been done to my knowledge.

    Roger Sr

    • wrong Roger.

      in some cases its the same location in other cases its different locations.
      Its also different times.

      Currently we use around 40K stations
      the vast majority of the sources are GHCN D– Daily raw
      the balance is GCOS– Daily.
      a small amount of monthly data is used IF and only IF it is not found
      in daily data.

      1. CRU uses between 4000 and 5000 stations. All monthly all adjusted.
      2 GISS uses between 7-8 K stations from GHCN-M and a couple
      other collections. Adjusted monthly data.

      As an example look at GISS in the USA

      USHCN is over 1000 stations. Why so few? because their method
      REQUIRES long stations.

      Now go look at the source of USHCN: GHCN-D you will find 20K stations
      in the US.

      Different locations: More locations: more data is used ( raw data at that) because our method doesnt rely on long series.

      • Steven thanks for keeping the facts straight regarding issues with which you are intimately aware. It does help us see who might be blowing smoke and then we can go to the next step– which is to ask why they are.

  13. Suppose a group has a great deal of information—enough to produce the unambiguously right outcome…

    Making wiser groups:

    ◾Silence the leader
    ◾‘Prime’ critical thinking
    ◾Appoint a devil’s advocate
    ◾Establish contrarian teams

    ◾Use the scientific method

  14. miker613 – Why not also read RP Jr.’s new book and form an independent view?

    http://www.amazon.com/Rightful-Place-Science-Disasters-Climate/dp/0692297510/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416933969&sr=1-1&keywords=pielke&pebp=1416933970737

    Nate Silver was just reacting to herd pressure, not any scientific reasoning. His behavior in that example helps make Judy’s case even stronger.

    Roger Sr.

  15. Reputational issues, misinterpreted signals that don’t get checked: are these not just symptoms of an unhealthy (in relational/psychological terms) community? Perhaps, we humans, are not very good at generating ‘healthy’ communities? And I certainly don’t claim to be ‘healthy’ minded myself. Even in this email, I may have created a signal that can be misinterpreted.

    I find this topic related to groups as interesting as that related to groups and individuals re certainty and ignorance. I am fascinated by the power of my own interpretive framework to vanish evidence I don’t like and believe that mole hills I do like are mountains. And I am just talking about myself here. Damn, I am guilty again.

    And thank you for another great post.

  16. Steven Mosher – You continue to misinterpret.

    Most of this extra site are expected to be in the same general area. Show us otherwise,

    If you have 10 more stations in the New York state, for example, they provide more confidence on the trend in that region (which is a valuable addition), but do not add anything to information on other regions.

    To make your point, instead of rudely dismissing, show us regions where sites are added that are not sampled by the other analyses.

    • easy peasy. the data has been there since day one.

      ONE reason to supply the data and code ( since day one) is to give
      YOU the tools to do your own busy work.

      Take colorado. You know that state, right?

      Here are our stations

      http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/station-list/region/colorado

      Its even google mapped for you

      Then go compare that with USHCN which GISS uses.
      http://data.giss.nasa.gov/cgi-bin/gistemp/find_station.cgi?dt=1&ds=14&name=&world_map.x=154&world_map.y=129

      New York?

      http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/station-list/region/new-york

      171 active stations
      308 historical

      http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/new-york

      We posted the data so that YOU could answer the questions YOU found scientifically interesting.

      Suffice it to say. USHCN which GISS uses is 1000 stations or so, DERIVED FROM GHCN-D which is 20K stations or so in the US.

      20K is greater than 1K

      GHCN-D covers different locations ( as you know)
      GHCN-D covers different times ( as you know)

      • I chose one at random. Crested Butte. Raw data shows no warming, in fact a slight cooling. Adjusted data shows warming.

      • Another one, top of the list, Stapleton airport. Raw data – no warming. Adjusted data, warming of about 1 degree.

      • Do that 40,000 times paul and you will find that the difference between Raw and adjusted is mousenuts.

        The raw data in the case of Crested Butte has errors.
        As Briggs notes when a station changes instruments and locations you have a NEW station. This happens 6 times for Crested Butte.

        you trusted that the station name ‘Crested Butte’ always refers to the
        same series. It doesnt. the station with that name has 6 changes to it
        that require you to slice the data. They are different stations.

        Further, the adjusted data you refer to is not adjusted.
        The REGIONAL expectation can be thought of as a regression model.
        Its the fitted values of that model. It tells you this:

        “if this station, DIDNT move, if this station DIDNT have instrument changes, if this station were consistent with its neighbors, It would have behaved like so”

        so to recap.

        1. The raw data is not simply raw data for one site. Several moves are made. During each of these moves they kept the same name for the
        station. Its not the same station.
        2. The data isnt adjusted. a field is fit to the data that minimizes the error.
        The “adjusted” series is nothing more than the fitted values of that
        model.

      • Mosher

        Slightly OT

        This link is to BEST Ukraine where Mean Rate of Change 1990 is 6.15 C per Century while Germany is 1.71 C per Century. Only Poland separates them. I also noted that Mongolia went down .75 C while rest of Asia was up significantly.

        My only question is this: Are these kinds of apparent regional differences on rate of change commonplace? Having Ukraine warming at a significantly higher rate than a neighboring country seems odd. The same with Mongolia.
        http://berkeleyearth.lbl.gov/regions/ukraine

      • Matthew R Marler

        Stephen Mosher: in some cases its the same location in other cases its different locations.
        Its also different times.

        easy peasy. the data has been there since day one.

        Do that 40,000 times paul and you will find that the difference between Raw and adjusted is mousenuts.

        Good posts.

      • Curious George

        “Do that 40,000 times paul and you will find that the difference between Raw and adjusted is mousenuts.” I remember that someone did that not a long time ago and found that while the adjustments had a nice bell curve centered at zero, most negative adjustments were for oldest data and most positive adjustments were for newest data.

      • Gates

        This is the first time I have analyzed the BEST data. Enjoyable. Interesting how so many trends are different such as Canada going up significantly and Alaska low and high mean dropping off the table. Golf out for a while. BEST in for a while.

      • Mosher

        I meant the above comment for you not Gates.

  17. The link to Politico above (talking about Keystone) is among the worst articles I’ve ever read because of what it says about the future of our society –e.g., socialist planners, living in a bubble, robbing the unborn of a future.

  18. This might be OT but I didn’t know anywhere else to put it:
    It seems that in California the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Western Renewable Energy Project is objecting too much of the California Wind Energy Association’s proposal for possible “renewable energy zones.”
    “Environmental advocates have an entirely different perspective.
    Helen O’Shea — director of the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Western Renewable Energy Project — said that while energy companies typically measure the “ground disturbance” of wind turbines as the area covered by their concrete foundations, environmental groups look at the entire project area. That’s important, O’Shea said, because wind developments can interrupt migration corridors for desert tortoises and bighorn sheep, among other species.”

    http://www.desertsun.com/story/money/2014/11/24/drecp-hurt-windmill-developments/70059056/

    • Matthew R Marler

      PMHinSC: It seems that in California the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Western Renewable Energy Project is objecting too much of the California Wind Energy Association’s proposal for possible “renewable energy zones.”

      It is an interesting aspect of California politics. There is a large overlap among the groups that proposed and now sustain the Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) for electricity providers, and the people who object to each particular renewable energy installation. As reported in the article, the NRDC and other organizations like them do not find any place in California suitable for the constructions of the wind farms that will be required to meet the RPS. In like fashion, every solar installation that might be large enough to contribute measurably to achieving the RPS is opposed by a coalition of local and statewide factions — no place is suitable for solar farms and the new transmission lines that are needed.

      To me it looks like, by their measures, coal-fired power plants have less total environmental impact than the solar farms and wind farms, but I am only 1 voter in the minority.

  19. John Smith (it's my real name)

    seems a good time to quote kim

    “we go mad as a herd and become skeptics one by one”

    so true…(kim, hope I remembered correctly)

  20. This group shares many of the attributes of groupthink, which makes sense, since the denizens are likely to be drawn to it due to the obvious groupthink behaviors of the IPCC and the advocates of AGW. It would be great if there were more participation by scientists with an opposing view. The devil’s advocates here seem more bent on provocation than discussion. There are exceptions.

    It is natural to seek out people that make us feel better about ourselves, and the Internet has a dangerous capacity to enable that behavior, which only serves to isolate us from a diversity of opinion, and from each other. I have been very concerned about this tendency since my first days as an undergrad at UCSC, where there was very little intellectual diversity. I was really disappointed, and that was pre-www. Since then, I see us sorting ourselves into communities of belief, physically and virtually. At this rate, it’s not going to end well.

    • I heartily agree about some wanting provocation not discussion. But for another perspective on prejudice and groupthink try this from Daniel Hannan yesterday on British philosopher Roger Scruton:

      Roger’s detractors call him an unthinking man’s thinking man, alleging that he will justify any prejudice, from insistence on traditional marriage to dislike of immigration, with allusions to Herder or Aristotle. In fact, the good professor makes a solidly Burkeian case for prejudice. Life, he holds, would become impossible if we had to think through every situation from first principles, disregarding both our own experience and the wisdom of our ancestors.

      In his new book, How to Be a Conservative, Roger takes a characteristically Burkeian approach to some of his favourite themes …

      I believe this kind of thing applies on all sides of the AGW debate – though given the wisdom of ancestors thing it’s an interesting giveaway to me that some of the most alarmed about AGW try and make much of the word ‘unprecedented’. But I hope the Burkeian view makes me perhaps a little more empathetic with those that take a different line from me – at least on my better days. :)

    • Justin

      When reading AR5 WGII Chapter 7 Section 7.2 I see the following:

      There is an extensive and scientific discussion on the uncertainty of cloud and water vapor feedback. However, the section ends with the conclusion that cloud and water vapor feedback is “likely positive”. There is a disconnect between the discussion and the conclusion, as if written by two different groups or two different authors; a scientific discussion and an illogical conclusion.

      Richard

    • John Smith (it's my real name)

      though an outsider
      I do not observe a lack of discussion here or undue provocation
      evidenced by the discussion between Pielke and Mosher
      (informative BTW)
      I see
      an incomplete data set concerning a highly complex system that is not fully understood
      vested advocacy groups on both sides
      a clash of cultural values as old as religion

      the expectation of “consensus” seems impossible under these conditions
      and a silly notion in general

      I reject the implication that “we” come here seeking like minded cohorts
      people have been seeking mutual support groups for centuries, they’re called tribes, clans, armies, and political parties, the EU, and the IPCC
      the web didn’t invent this behavior
      it just made it possible for an ordinary shlub like me to learn about the issue and join the tussle
      just like JCurry says, good new ideas often come from outside the ivory tower
      I say good
      I say fun
      I say positive in the long run

      I come here because there is a debate, unlike most of the alternatives
      thank you Judith Curry

      • John Smith,

        I agree. However, pre-web our contacts we were mostly limited by physical proximity, which can be diverse by accident. Now we can choose to surround ourselves, virtually, by like minded people. That has unintended consequences. Pick any conspiracy and I bet you can find an online community that embraces it.

        Non of this means I don’t think the IPCC is deep under the spell of groupthink – I do, it’s the poster child.

    • I do think Judith’s blog is one of the best!

  21. Matthew R Marler

    They are viewed as “difficult,” “not part of the team,” or, in extreme cases, as misfits.

    That was a fun read.

  22. Steven Mosher -Thanks! You have made my point. These additional stations are in the same region. The USA data is already well sampled in terms of trends (although as Paul Matthews has effectively exemplified, the adjustment issue is still an issue). We showed this years ago in our papers; e.g. see

    Pielke Sr., R.A., C. Davey, D. Niyogi, S. Fall, J. Steinweg-Woods, K. Hubbard, X. Lin, M. Cai, Y.-K. Lim, H. Li, J. Nielsen-Gammon, K. Gallo, R. Hale, R. Mahmood, S. Foster, R.T. McNider, and P. Blanken, 2007: Unresolved issues with the assessment of multi-decadal global land surface temperature trends. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D24S08, doi:10.1029/2006JD008229.http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

    What we need to see (and no, this is not my busy work as you are the ones making the claims on its robustness), are global grid boxes over land (say 100 km on a side) that show the locations of the sites and the period of time of their data). Such a figure would show the global sampling.

    With the same gridded approach, show the locations where the NCDC, CRU and GISS data are.

    This will show either that you have further sampled the same geographic regions , OR you have added information on trends outside of those regions and where.

    Roger Sr.

    • Matthew R Marler

      rpielke: What we need to see (and no, this is not my busy work as you are the ones making the claims on its robustness), are global grid boxes over land (say 100 km on a side) that show the locations of the sites and the period of time of their data). Such a figure would show the global sampling.

      Your first post contained this: “if they are in nearly the same geographic location as the GHCN sites, they are not providing much independent new information.”

      As I wrote then, I encourage you (or others) “to document how much overlap there is in Muller’s analysis with the locations used by GISS, NCDC and CRU.”

      This still has not been done to my knowledge.

      The documentation has been provided, but it seems that you want the information provided in a more readable format. Have the BEST team claimed to provide much “independent new information”?

    • Roger, another issue is methodological differences between the groups result in different levels of things like spatial resolution. Simply showing data has been added for areas does not prove the results are more representative. Even if they were at a global level, they might not be on a smaller level.

      I find it fascinating to compare temperature fields from BEST to those from other groups. It’s remarkable how inconsistent they are. What’s also remarkable is, to my knowledge, nobody from BEST has really addressed such inconsistencies, even when they are in areas which are well-sampled in every group’s data set.

      • As I understand from Mosher’s disquisitions, BEST’s field is a multiple-regression fit. There is no reason to expect it to match up to any particular individual station since they ran their equation “cleanly” without “pinning” any results to the observed temp at a given location. I’m not sure that that approach is the one that makes the most sense, but it’s one reasonable cut.

        One thing I’m not sure of (and not that motivated to figure out) is the extent to which BEST’s modeling approach implicitly imposed “smoothness” constraints on the estimated field, e.g. by functional form or number of parameters. If BEST’s field requires by parametric assumption that temperatures vary geographically in a smoother fashion than they do in reality, that could explain some of these inconsistencies (assuming you have read the data correctly).

      • stevepostrel, I agree there is no reason to expect the temperature field of an area to match any particular station for that area. Individual stations can disagree with their area’s temperature field. The problem arises when many stations fail to agree with their area’s temperature field. This especially arises with the smoothness issue you bring up.

        For an example, consider the southeast portion of the United States. GISS and other temperature constructions used many temperature stations in the portion of the US, finding a cooling trend. BEST finds a warming trend for the area. My point, which I imagine you’d agree with, is we can’t assume that difference in results arises from the extra data BEST uses. We have to consider the possibility methodological differences are the source of it.

        I know you said you’re not motivated to figure out how much “smoothness” BEST adds. I’m not either. I have spent some time on the matter though. You might be interested in some of what I’ve found. Here are three posts I’ve written:

        https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/07/10/is-best-really-the-best/
        https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/07/13/pick-a-spot/
        https://hiizuru.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/cooling-is-not-impossible/

        It’s really weird. GISS and BEST give very different results for some areas even though they have almost identical high frequency components. That is, you’ll often find the year-to-year changes are incredibly similar yet the trends over 50+ years are incredibly different.

        As far as I know, nobody has attempted to explain these differences. BEST certainly hasn’t. It still acts as though it has great spatial resolution even though any examination of its calculated temperature fields shows the opposite.

        I have an idea of why these discrepancies happen, but I don’t have the motivation to track them down. I especially don’t when BEST’s mouthpiece, Steven Mosher, basically said nothing I say matters unless I publish in the peer-reviewed literature where it is likely someone from the BEST team would be a peer-reviewer of anything I submit. I’ve seen enough of climate science’s gatekeeping to not care to subject myself to it.

      • Brandon, they all presume smoothness over some geographic extent that provably isn’t. For two concrete ‘disproof’ examples, see essay When Data Isn’t in Blowing Smoke (which essay you objected to elsewhere). Example one is is Rutherglen Australia, in the text supported by several footnotes to the scientists (Merohasy), citizen scientists (Nova) and journalists (LLoyd) who exposed the situation and caught BOM flatfooted using provably false justifications. Example two is the last footnote (24) to that essay, BEST station 166900. Of course, Mosher violently objected to that example, using ad homs such as I am a statistical ignoramus ( despite Ph.D. Quals in econometrics and 14 issued technical patents in 4 subject areas).
        Together they provide a quite graphic illustration of the issue buried in one of the general homogenization assumptions. For sure NCDC and GISS use versions of this suspect BOM and BEST smooth field assumption. In their documentation, most clearly for NCDC v2, see the text hyperlink for the switch to the PHA algorithm and footnote 8 on state level gridding for exact references. Or just look at the nClimDiv ‘new’ 2014 result for Maine, illustrated as one of three US states in the text prior to giving the overall US change produced soley by changed algorithms and NOT addtional data.

      • Sorry Rud Istvan. I can’t bring myself to look at that book now for reasons like those I stated earlier. Even if the book gets things right, as I stated there:

        Land-only data sets are different from land+ocean data sets. It is incredibly misleading to present them as the same thing. You cannot do that then expect me to listen when you accuse people of fiddling with data to get the desired results.

        That, combined with the incredibly unhelpful (and sometimes completely wrong) references in the book, prevents me from having any desire to look up things in it.

        As for geographic smoothness, the question of how homogenous temperatures (and their trends) are in spatial dimensions is an interesting one. It’s especially interesting because of the differences in spatial resolution between the various data sets. One of the most incredible things to me about BEST is how little spatial resolution it has.

        It’s strange enough they use far more data than the other groups yet produce results coarser than any of the others. What’s completely baffling is despite that, they somehow act as though their results have great resolution. I’ve seen BEST talk about producing results whose scale would result in dozens, or maybe even hundreds, of contiguous grid locations with virtually identical results.

        I can’t think of a single sensible reason for that which isn’t disturbing.

      • Splicing data series with widely varying spatial resolutions seems to be Michael Mann’s forte. The results of such data mannipulation should be treated with caution and do not, IMO, form a sound basis for policy decision-making.

  23. Making wiser groups:

    * Silence the leader
    * ‘Prime’ critical thinking
    * Appoint a devil’s advocate
    * Establish contrarian teams

    Why appoint a devil’s advocate when the actual devil is available? How can you expect anybody with all the usual confirmation bias, to be an advocate for someone that they think is the devil? These intellectually gutless activists need to do some actual debating!

  24. There is one hazardous group dynamic missing here, and that is risky shift. This is the observed fact that a group might take a decision that is more extreme or more “risky” than any one group member would take alone.

    This occurs because a group, like an individual, will often consider many paths, and expect to reject some. However in a group which does not have a clear leader (defined or emergent) and among people who are not used to being team members (cats in bags have been said to exhibit better teamwork than many scientists) the group members might feel that the path under consideration cannot be that bad, or others would have rejected it. They are all delegating their decision to the group, but not exercising their responsibility to act as part of the group in making that decision.

    This is one of the reasons that a defined hierarchy is important in certain safety-critical industries, like aviation where I as captain took responsibility, although my First Officer was perfectly capable of making all the decisions. I knew I was responsible for the decisions, and we were both trained to make such decisions as a structured team, and trained in the existence of risky shift – equally importantly my FO was trained to question me if he had any doubt as to my decision.

  25. Anyone noticed the use of the word “citizen” in compounds to denote a wholesome conformism?

    What about it, citizen-readers and citizen-bloggers?

  26. Appoint a devil’s advocate who says, What if it doesn’t warm for a decade? The science seems in better shape than the communication of the same, though the communication is effecting the science. Why do people herd?
    Evolution instinct
    Safety in numbers
    Information
    Absence of competitive edge
    http://aswathdamodaran.blogspot.com/2011/01/herding-behavior-why-so-what-and-what.html
    The loner is more likely to be attacked by a predator. The information is that of the crowd and new opportunities may be missed by herding. When one knows something they can stand apart, if not, the herd is the safer place to be. The link is another installment of, You can pick winners just as well as your stock broker can.

    • “The loner is more likely to be attacked by a predator” … and learns new and valuable techniques if he survives. One technique I learned in one lesson was never to try to get up after being head-butted and knocked down by a gang leader, bring him down on top of you and let his gang kick him rather than you. Then get up while he’s bleeding, and the gang will back off.

      • A somewhat related lesson taught by my Dad, a neck order US veteran interred with full honors at Arlington: never start a fight, but always finish one on top. There is no other acceptible option.

    • Faustino:
      A kind of rope a dope. On the subject of pack behavior:
      http://seaworld.org/en/animal-info/animal-infobooks/bottlenose-dolphins/behavior/ I’d rather be a dolphin than a cape buffalo. Also favoring packs is the recent ‘Wolves of Yellowstone documentary’. So I wonder if packs are more normal than herds for people? Perhaps it is better we have domesticated into herds in some respects. I don’t know?

      • Ragnaar, I doubt if it is constant. Certain behaviours were consistent with living in hunter-gatherer group of 50-150, different behaviours in a settled life, different again in various forms of state-sized groups. I would say that most people have strong tribal/herd tendencies, but that the community at large benefits from having “rogues” and free-thinkers. China and Islam were once far more advanced than Europe et al, but their societies stagnated because they were dependent on control and compliance, and discouraged free-thinking. This was at least in part because they were monolithic, power-based states, while in Europe, post-Roman Empire, there were fragmented states and after the Reformation, great scope for variety. In England from Saxon times, it was understood that the king ruled in a compact with the people rather than as the absolutist heads of China and Islam. Post-Gutenberg, literacy became widespread in most of Europe, while it was severely constrained by the rulers in China and Islam. So the “normal” depends on the possible.

  27. (I am the poster child for the ostracism faced by someone who disagrees)” – JC

    _____
    Completely true, and sadly, but not surprisingly so. I’ve always been a fan of the underdog, even when I don’t agree with the underdog’s perspective. The courage it takes to “take on the establishment” is inspirational and reminds me of the best of what humans are all about. I also disagree with the IPCC, but not in the direction of Judith or skeptics, but in the direction of some of Trenberth’s statements– that the consensus or “herd” approach has forced the IPCC to water down and understate the threats from anthropogenic warming– that the real threats could be even worse that the IPCC’s findings. The “hiatus” has given a bit of cover to both the skeptics, who on the extreme doubt the existence of anthropogenic climate change, and the IPCC, which could water down and sanitize the actual science to be more politically palatable. Despite the certainty of pronouncements from so-called skeptics of another 10 or 20 years of ‘hiatus”, actual data such as this years record warmth in a non-El Nino year, suggests this ‘hiatus” cover might be evaporating rapidly in the next few years.

    • this ‘hiatus” cover might be evaporating rapidly in the next few years.

      They have been saying that for a lot of years now.

      They wanted 5, then 7, then 12, then 15, then 17, now they want 30 or 50.

      Time will tell. Mother Nature is on the Skeptic Side. She has kept temperatures inside the bounds of the past ten thousand years. All the warming has been inside the bounds of natural variability of the past ten thousand years. We could warm more and still be inside the bounds.

      Consensus Alarmism has no actual data that supports it.

  28. Matthew R Marler – You are correct; the data are there. However, it is not my role to present their analyses in a more effective manner.

    Toy wrote

    “Have the BEST team claimed to provide much “independent new information”?”

    Yes- the implication of their findings is that they have confirmed the magnitude of the long term global surface temperature trend of other groups.

    However, as we wrote in our 2007 JGR paper

    “The raw surface temperature data from which all of
    the different global surface temperature trend analyses are
    derived are essentially the same. The best estimate that has
    been reported is that 90 – 95% of the raw data in each of the
    analyses is the same (P. Jones, personal communication,
    2003)”.

    Now BEST has added additional locations. My question is

    “Are the raw surface temperature data from which the BEST global surface temperature trend analyses obtained from the same geographic areas as NCDC, GISS and CRU? If not, what new geographic areas are added and what is the data spatial and temporal coverage in these areas? What fraction of the BESt analysis is dependent on these new locations?

    Roger Sr.. .

    • Matthew R Marler

      rpielke: quoting me:“Have the BEST team claimed to provide much “independent new information”?”

      answer. Yes- the implication of their findings is that they have confirmed the magnitude of the long term global surface temperature trend of other groups.

      I see. I did not interpret their claim as a claim to have provided independent new information, but to have performed the best possible analysis to date of extant information.

      Matthew R Marler – You are correct; the data are there. However, it is not my role to present their analyses in a more effective manner.

      ok. I interpreted your first comment, that I quoted, as complaining that no documentation had been presented at all.

      Thank you (toy?) for your replies.

  29. It’s very hard to have contrarian teams or a devil’s advocate when the entire group, indeed the entire organisation the group is embedded in, indeed in some cases a major section of society, are heavily influenced by a powerful cultural drive that automatically fosters a dislike of any challenge to that culture. To combat the runaway corporate culture that led to the Enron and banking crises, strict legislation has been introduced, including policies for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

    Nothing less would work for the enviromental domain, where the media, NGOs, academia, and indeed entire governments are deeply influenced by the culture of belief in the certainty of catastrophe (a much bigger beast the corporate animal above). Yet where is the environmental equivalent of CSR to rein this? Given this culture is also influencing the law in its favor, even getting a start down the path to better balance is a very tough challenge.

    Kath Hall of the Australian National University says in ‘The Psychology of Corporate Dishonesty’:
    “Groupthink, therefore, increases the risk of corporate dishonesty. Just as individual dishonesty is always a part of trying to preserve or negotiate our self-image, so group dishonesty is fundamentally linked to preserving the corporate image. As McLean and Elkind wrote in the context of Enron: ‘Enron’s accounting games were never meant to last forever . . . The goal was to maintain the impression that Enron was humming along until Skilling’s next big idea kicked in and started raking in real profits . . . In Skilling’s mind, there was no way he was going to fail. He had always succeeded before, and his successes had transformed the company. Why would it be any different [now]?’”

    Yet the ‘corporate image’ and therefore the ‘corporate culture’ for various organizations, e.g. the IPCC or the UK Met Office or NOAA, has become almost synonymous with climate change being a very major problem and being without doubt man-made. One might speculate that:
    “Their data accounting games were never meant to last forever . . . The goal was to maintain the impression that Climate Change was humming along until the next big temperature upswing kicked in and started raking in the real rewards and recognition.”

    • “To combat the runaway corporate culture that led to the Enron and banking crises, strict legislation has been introduced…”
      _____
      Yes, the far right pushed SCOTUS to declare corporations as people, ensuring that they have even more power and can pretty much completely dominate every aspect of American life. Don’t like the government in power…no problem, buy a new one.

      • Corporate personhood has been a plank of US law since the late 19th century, but is limited (for instance can’t claim 5th amendment protection). While this has become part of the tussle over corporate political spending latterly, I don’t think it was in anyone’s interests, even the right, for companies like Enron to go rotten on the inside and collapse, and I don’t know of any attempts to resist new law on say, fabricating records. (i.e. resisting via political interference). So I guess these are kind of 2 different subjects.

      • R. Gates,

        Don’t forget the personhood of public employee unions, which are the really big spenders in most local elections. At least you can refuse to buy products from a corporation, you cannot refuse to pay your taxes.

      • Gates

        Yes, the far right pushed SCOTUS to declare corporations as people,

        A theme seen often is that the SCOTUS decisions are based on politics, especially when the decisions go against one’s desires. Often when we see criticisms of the court they are not based on a thorough review of the decision. I have not read the decision, but are you sure it is not the result of the law, the wording of the law? The court has recently been opposed to judicial interpretation of laws.

      • The consequence of declaring money as speech is that around election time, if you have less money, you have less speech. This was not the intent of freedom of speech, which was more of an egalitarian idea when first expressed, making it possible for all voices to be heard, which just doesn’t happen with the new system.

      • The point is exactly that money is now codified to grant more influence and control in the governance of the people and affairs of the nation. The salient word is “codifed” for we know that the rich, and historically white male people have controlled the reigns of power. Eventually, the common folk will become more aware of this sham republic, and eventually take back control. It may take a while, and I may long be dead, but the game will be up eventually and American Revolution II will commence. Who knows, maybe even new guillotines will be built and used.

      • We might say it was declared that money is not speech some time ago. Which I might say meant your money is not your money, when it comes to speech. They chipped away the rights associated with money to get at free speech.

      • Very simple rules limiting election spending would suffice, not just by the politicians, but by other consortia. It also solves the problem of Congressmen spending maybe 75% of their time fundraising and talking to rich schmoozers who want something in return for their money. The current system is more like a plutocracy than a democracy.

      • “The current system is more like a plutocracy than a democracy.”
        —–/
        Not “more like”— it is a Plutocracy. But the masses are generally happy with their reailty TV, constant gladiator games, pornography, gluttony…etc, and so the modern Roman Empire goes on.

      • Gruberment of the people… . .

      • So explain to me, and I’m deadly serious, how you would limit the news networks and their in-kind contributions to Democrats? They are corporate entities, too, and they use their money to support politics they believe in to the detriment of those they don’t. In other words, they give themselves more speech and others less based on their influence and money. Any system that addresses the issue of money (and influence) in politics has to address that issue, as well. Otherwise, you’re just codifying bias into the law.

  30. It is only thanks to cheap, plentiful, reliable energy that we live in an environment where the air we breathe and the water we drink and the food we eat will not make us sick, and where we can cope with the often hostile climate of Mother Nature. Energy is what we need to build sturdy homes, to purify water, to produce huge amounts of fresh food, to generate heat and air-conditioning, to irrigate deserts, to dry malaria-infested swamps, to build hospitals, and to manufacture pharmaceuticals, among many other things. And those of us who enjoy exploring the rest of nature should never forget that oil is what enables us to explore to our heart’s content, which preindustrial people didn’t have the time, wealth, energy, or technology to do.

    The energy we get from fossil fuels is particularly valuable for protecting ourselves from the climate. The climate is inherently dangerous (and it is always changing, whether we influence the change or not). Energy and technology have made us far safer from it.

    The data here are unambiguous. In the last 80 years, as CO2 emissions have risen from an atmospheric concentration of .03% to .04%, climate-related deaths have declined 98%. Take drought-related deaths, which have declined by 99.98%. This has nothing to do with a friendly or unfriendly climate, it has to do with the oil and gas industry, which fuels high-energy agriculture as well as natural gas-produced fertilizer, and which fuels drought relief convoys.~Alex Epstein, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels…

    • While one can indeed construct a moral case for fossil fuels, as Epstein does, I’m somehow missing why this has anything to do with my comment above 0: Ditto regarding your reply to RiHo08 below.

      • Apologies, the tabbing in your quote made me think this was a reply. Ditto below.

      • I see your confusion; the comment is not a reply. It is indented because it’s a quote –e.g.,

        More broadly, high-energy, highly-developed countries have the most livable environments, because they have the means to protect themselves from the many dangers of nature. Low-energy, undeveloped countries have the worst environments and are the most vulnerable to disasters, whether natural or manmade. Alex Epstein (Ibid.)

    • Nice quote! Part of the groupthink is an exclusive focus on the potential negative aspects of CO2, while essentially neglecting to examine the positive aspects of the energy generated in its creation. In reverse, the groupthink focuses on the potential benefits of cutting CO2 emissions without quantifying the costs.

      In fact, they assiduously avoid a cost/benefit analysis. I have the suspicion that this is not accidental.

      • The wealthy high energy use countries simply have the ability to displace the entropy created to outside their immediate environment. The law of entropy growth through the use of energy will not be avoided. You can bury your waste, dump it at sea, or ship it off to 3rd world counties, but the entropy still expands, as you create your little artificial island of glass and steel, surrounded by increasing entropy.

      • What they account as cost is the energy component of GDP. But the true cost of eliminating CO2 emissions is the cost of replacing fossil fuels with a low carbon energy source. That is preserve the benefits of a technological society while replacing fossil fuels. Utterly impossible at this stage to eliminate fossil fuels – so the cost of the latter is effectively infinite.

        BTW – there is absolutely not even remotely a shortage of energy sources. If it comes to it – there is quite a bit in matter of all sorts.

        Randy seems hardly to have gotten out of the city – let alone into industry or – indeed – lived in a third world country. I find this progressive mindset they share to be naive in the extreme. What point there is to it escapes me – but it is not remotely socially, economically or environmentally viable or sustainable.

        “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialized civilizations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?”
        Maurice Strong

        ”A massive campaign must be launched to de-develop the United States. De-Development means bringing our economic system into line with the realities of ecology and the world resource situation.”
        Paul Ehrlich

        Does that sound familiar?

  31. “In the actual world of group decision making, of course, people may not know whether other members’ statements arise from independent information, an informational cascade, reputational pressures, or the availability heuristic.”

    Although the above statement may be true as far as it goes, there seems to be one behavioral trait not mentioned that comes into play during the evolution of groups and herding. Namely, progressive insolation from outside information. Obama has a White House staff that insulates him from contrarian information. This insulation from outside sources keeps him from dipping his toe into reality. Hence, he makes predictable error after error, often speaking before having adequate information. (numerous illustrations available upon request.)

    As we acknowledge the death of President John F. Kennedy this month, I am reminded that he read the NY Times (when it was a newspaper) as an outside source of information every morning cover to cover including sports, real estate, entertainment, foreign affairs, national happenings. He may have not read the editorials for sanity sake.

    What I am getting at, groups not only tend to herd (like cattle tightly clustered with their backsides to a storm), groups let fewer outsiders into the tightly packed herd; newcomers remain on the outside of the herd.

    The IPCC’s primary characteristic is one of consensus building: insolation from outliers, actively demonizing those stepping away from the consensus views (Judith Curry you are hardly a child now at 29 yo), and in truth, so insecure that shouting and other bad behavior is not only tolerated, but, encouraged; tantrums (numerous illustrations upon request).

    As corporation chief executives surround themselves with “yes men & women) ultimately leading themselves and others in their charge down a path of indulgence and self-destruction, so too, groups, and IPCC is no different, is sprinting to its own finished line.

    • Consensus thinking, like CAGW, has a problem concerning
      insulation and feedback.

    • RiH008

      You are correct, except JFK was blinded too, a situation well described by David Halberstam’s book, “The Best and the Brightest”. It is a classic work showing the effects of bias and decision making.

      • JustinWonder

        True, JFK was blinded by the broader picture of Catholicism and Vietnam was a Catholic nation at the time. I recall reading somewhere that religion was the opiate of the people. Hmmm, its on the tip of my tongue.

      • RiH008

        Are you implying that JFK’s Catholicism was the driver of his errors on Vietnam? His problem was that he, via selection bias, surrounded himself with like-minded people that thought they were too smart to listen to others with diverse viewpoints. They made mistakes that killed around 60,000 US soldiers and maybe 1,000,000 Vietnamese.

      • Kennedy’s administration approved of the overthrow of Diem, who was Catholic, because of the suppression of Buddhists.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        LBJ escalated the war
        JFK was likely to disengage after ’64 re-election

    • RiHoo8

      Charles Murray in Coming Apart discusses “progressive insolation from outside information.”.

      He uses convincing statistics and describes the pathway from elite colleges to elite jobs and elite isolated zips. And shows that voters in those zips are almost entirely Democrat.

      Richard

  32. Environmentalists treat “natural resources” as a fixed pile that nature gives us and which we dare not consume too quickly. In fact, nature gives us very little in the way of useful resources. From clean water to plentiful food to useful medicines, we need to create them using ingenuity.

    This is certainly true of energy. Until the Industrial Revolution, there were almost no “energy resources” to speak of. Coal, oil, and natural gas aren’t naturally resources — they are naturally useless. (Or even nuisances.) Those who first discovered how to convert them into energy weren’t depleting a resource, they were creating a resource. The world was a better place for it.

    It is obscene to call today’s new resource creators in the shale energy industry and the oil sands energy industry “exploiters” when they have turned stone and sludge into life-giving energy—a feat that may ultimately extend to trillions of barrels of once inaccessible oil (in all of human history we’ve used just over a trillion barrels). The fact that oil is a “finite” material is not a problem, any more than the “finite” supply of rare-earth metals is a black mark against windmills. Every material is finite. Life is all about taking the theoretically finite but practically limitless materials in nature and creatively turning them into useful resources. The fossil fuel industry does it, the “renewable” — actually, the “unreliable” — energy industry doesn’t. End of story. “Renewables” are no more the ideal form of energy than wood is the ideal material for skyscrapers. Alex Epstein (Ibid.)

  33. ‘Groupthink’ id real enough in climate to be a real threat to good science. One way to solve the problem: ask each member to detail how and why he or she made that decision. This may not lead to a correct group decision but at least shame some members into independent thought.

  34. I’m surprised I didn’t see much (any?) discussion of Michael Mann here. Suppose we apply what this post says to the paleoclimate field. Michael Mann had a hugely popular temperature reconstruction in his hockey stick. Is it hard to imagine subsequent results “confirmed” his answer even if his answer was wrong? Not really.

    In fact, there’s pretty strong evidence that’s exactly what has happened. The most interesting and obvious piece of evidence is more recent temperature reconstructions have generally not shown anywhere near as a flat a “shaft” for the hockey stick as Michael Mann did. However, despite them showing far greater variability, they have always been framed in the hockey stick debate as confirming Mann’s original work.

    Mann’s work would never have become as famous as it did if it had looked like what most of the more recent reconstructions look like. The claim newer work “confirms” his results seems to indicate the importance of herding in this field. And if that’s true, it’s likely said herding is preventing a genuine analysis of the field’s data.

    And of course, with all the media attention the field has received, this effect would extend beyond scientific publications.

    • Seems more so that Dr Mann brought new information to the table and the groupthink of deniers has been trying to ostracize Dr Mann for this. Although Dr Mann’s work has been repeatedly shown to be accurate, the groupthink of deniers has been reinforced by their group often enough that they now believe otherwise despite the facts. Brandon, your comment shows the influencing effects of this groupthink.

      • Eric, Dr. Manns error have been repetedly replicated, that is not the same as repeatedly proved accurate.

        Thanks to a lot of statistical mumbo-jumbo, it is easy to keep making the same mistakes using the same methods.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2014/11/why-do-alarmists-love-marcott-et-al.html

        If you back away from the statistics, which few people actually understand, you can see that data quality really does count. No matter how much crap you average, it is still just average crap.

      • And yet, your side cannot write a paper that proves the WMP was warmer than today. Just one simple little paper.

      • Eric, I’d wager you’re incapable of discussing Michael Mann’s work in any technical manner. I doubt you could explain his methodology, what data he used or how they work together to produce the results he got. I doubt this because if you could, you wouldn’t write a comment so silly. Mann did not bring any “new information to the table.” The only things he did that others hadn’t done before him were wrong.

        You’re welcome to prove me wrong though. Tell me, exactly what was “new” about Michael Mann’s hockey stick?

      • JCH, “And yet, your side cannot write a paper that proves the WMP was warmer than today. Just one simple little paper.”

        I don’t think it is “our” job to “prove” anything. All we are responsible for is looking at the data and methods in order to critique the validity.

        That is a comparison of a long term low frequency paleo reconstruction used by Marcott and a shorter higher resolution reconstruction of the same area not used by Marcott. The shorter recon is within the uncertainty of the longer, but indicates there is no MWP while the shorter indicates a MWP as warm of warmer than today. If the methods, including data selection, eliminate the MWP, we are allowed to say that it does. Since the MWP existed prior to Mann and Marcott, it would be their job to explain the quirks in their methods not mine to reinvent the MWP.

        The theory of orbital cycle influence on climate also existed prior to the “team”.

        It would be their job to explain why CO2 lags temperature most of the time but suddenly solar and CO2 have swapped roles. The basic “no-feedback” CO2 sensitivity doesn’t have the a$$ to drive climate when glacial extent is at a minimum, the models are all “projecting” higher than realized impact or lower than realized impacts which is an indication to most rational folks that the models have issues. Not my models, not my job to fix them.

      • CaptDallas,
        “Not my models, not my job to fix them.”

        But I’d wager you’d be willing to work with them to try if asked, huh? It’s my impression that valid falsification or plausible alternative, is a handy way to do just that.

      • Danny, “But I’d wager you’d be willing to work with them to try if asked, huh?”

        Nope. Climate models need to know their limitations, the current generation don’t.

        Since Gavin and the 50/50 +/-30 is a strawman for the believers, that compares GISS model E with GISS. If the models cannot capture the pre-1950 changes there is absolutely zero reason to believe they are replicating “furture” climate. To “answer” Judith, Gavin has to ignore pre-1950. That’s his model, it’s his job to fix it.

      • JCH’s comment:

        And yet, your side cannot write a paper that proves the WMP was warmer than today. Just one simple little paper.

        Is a common sentiment that baffles me. Most people who’ve put any real effort into criticizing Michael Mann’s work agree him being wrong doesn’t tell us the MWP was warmer than modern times. Most will say we don’t know what past temperatures were well enough to effectively compare past and modern times.

        The sentiment seems to be any answer is better than no answer, no matter how baseless the answer might be.

      • That’s not my sentiment. I agree with Mann in that it would be nice to contain the putative whatever.

      • Repeatedly shown to be accurate by whom, Eric?

        David Appell made a similar claim recently and at least he had the integrity to list the papers or researchers whose work supports that of Mann. Unfortunately for him, all of the references (Marcott, Gergis, etc) were ones which have been shredded almost as much as Mann’s work.

  35. Reblogged this on I Didn't Ask To Be a Blog and commented:
    “The pitfalls of manufacturing a consensus (i.e. end up being wrong), with ever increasing levels of confidence, seem unavoidable with without formal inclusion of contrarian teams.”

  36. There are groups and there are herds…and then there are cabals.

    • Hist! Do u hear it?
      Sound of herds trampling
      on other people’s freedoms.

      • Citizen-serf, will you march with us? You can be my equal till we get the rebellions crushed. You may even call me Citizen – for the time being.

        – a citizen-toff

      • Look toff, we serfs have fallen fer that line before. One or two
        large-scale revolutions and a coupla’ marches a while back
        come ter mind.

      • mosomoso

        Beth has assured me she has not been associating with Wat Tyler but I have my doubts.
        tonyb

      • Tony b
        as a climate historian
        takes his evidence
        with a dose of
        scepticism.

      • Something I’ve learned about the lower classes is that if you give ’em cheap electricity you make a rod for aristocratic backs. In my day, no serf would stay up late reading – with winter heating and desk fans for summer!

        Well, a bit more of this climate tackling and planet saving should fix my servant problem. We’ll make their lives one long Earth Hour.

        – toff (I’m dropping the lame ‘citizen’ schtick)

      • ‘Ter thine own self be true,’ a maxim that sometimes we fergit.
        (What with herds and gravy trains.)

      • I need to know. As a skeptic what is it that controls me? A herd, pack, or cabal? What will become of me as the years pass? What happens to old serfs? It appears that many of the denizens are also not young but unlike me, they are well read and nimble of mind. So to clarify, what will happen to an old, dull minded, serf?

        Richard

      • Richard

        You by no means come across as old or dull minded but merely one who had had a life and had better things to do than get sucked too early into the fascinating but complex world of the ‘global warming/climate change’ nexus.

        I would suggest you read more, follow links when presented in good faith by either ‘side’ and ask questions.

        There are several standard books that would give you a wide background on climate, whether history or current matters.

        I think quite a few were referenced in Judith’s ‘On my bookshelf’ feature a few weeks ago . If not, no doubt we could all suggest a number that would give you a well rounded view of the subject/.

        Without having a well rounded view with information from the consensus and non consensus viewpoints it is difficult to objectively formulate your own viewpoint.

        tonyb

      • Richard, Please rest assured that you and I are part of a herd of our own. You (and therefore I) are not alone.

        Tony B, Thanks for the book list reference. I’d not yet stumbled across that. Looking now!

      • Danny

        It’s j’c’s book shelf’ you could usefully look at. The link is on the side bar.

        A prime example of reading comments comes in the first ten or so posts when there was an interesting exchange between Kim, myself and others.

        Further down there are links to courses, articles and other books, so the comments are as rewarding as the actual references to books that Judith provides.

        Tonyb

      • As always, your guidance and insight is so very much appreciated. My learning curve is much like a proverbial “hockey stick”! (or is that schtick?—for Kim!)

      • Completely OT, but wanted to share my Mum was raised in Gorston-on-sea and I still have family in the area. Love it. Grandad was a fisherman. Trying to verify but heard that a family member was caught after WWI trying to salvage large (brass, I believe) propellers (North sea?) near there and got arrested. No luck tracking down evidence.

        As Kim mentioned in one of her posts, I fully agree that Villefranche is well worth the visit. So much history, but we Americans are guilty of thinking the world is only as old as our country.

      • Danny

        Is that the the gorleston near Great Yarmouth? Your tale is completely believable as there was much salvage to be had at the various ports.

        As an aside, You might be interested in this site. It’s a large ships salvage store near us

        http://www.trinitymarine.co.uk/

        All sorts of interesting salvage including brass propellers on occasions. Their solid wood ships doors are wonderful value. They might know of tales of salvage from the east coast but failing that the local museum in great Yarmouth might have someone interested enough to do a bit of digging.

        Tonyb

      • That is the one! I tried British museum of navel history, but did not get a reply. I will look in to this.

        I had a feeling you’d be a great source and I cannot possibly thank you enough for this lead. My sis will be excited when I tell her of this tomorrow. Please think of the smiles you’ve just created!

      • Tony and Danny

        Thank you for the comments. Tony, I’ll follow your suggestions. Also want to get a better grasp of English Literature; feel that I’ve been missing something there.

        Hopefully I’ll be in Plymouth for the 400th anniversary.

        Richard

      • Richard,

        A serf finds endless fascination in the papery whispers of
        fictional characters created from the pens of real observers
        of the human condition, characters and plots offering ‘an
        indexed guide to life,’ adultery, anger, ambition, angst, even
        sometimes altruism. Anne Tyler’s novel on angst, ‘Dinner at
        the Heartsick Restaurant’ Penguin.) is witty and wise.

        Fellow serf.

        https://beththeserf.wordpress.com/2014/03/02/13th-edition-serf-under_ground-journal/

      • Danny

        Looks like Gates may have left but your discussion with him left me with a thought that has to be released (too much pressure under the skull). Here it is:

        There are many reputable scientists that tell us useful predictions of climate cannot be made; that while we know much about the basic physics and chemistry, we know too little about critical interactions. My inclination is to trust these scientist, who lay out the limits of science, over those who declare enough is known. The scientists in the first group are following the advice of Feynman, and absolutely are not pseudo scientists.

        One more thing, about your last comment “I tried British museum of navel history” – You might have been more successful at the museum of NAVAL history. I wonder how many scholars there are in “navel” history:)

        Richard

      • Innies or outies? Lint or no? I deserved that! Thank you for a giggle.

        I feel our perspectives are much the same. If one tells me “we think” as opposed to “we highly likely know” then won’t provide evidence to support, my suspect radar goes up. I appreciate your offering.

      • Beth

        Thank you for that. I’ll be reading it.

        Richard

  37. Group failures often have disastrous consequences—not merely for businesses, nonprofits, and governments, but for all those affected by them.

    In other words, when the group decides to go all-in, it’s usually with our money and our lives.

    This Steyn/Charlton quote is appropriate:

    Bruce Charlton, Professor of Theoretical Medicine at the University of Buckingham in England, wrote that “that landing of men on the moon and bringing them back alive was the supreme achievement of human capability, the most difficult problem ever solved by humans.” That’s a good way to look at it: The political class presented the boffins with a highly difficult and specific problem and they solved it – in eight years. Charlton continued:

    “Forty years ago, we could do it – repeatedly – but since then we have not been to the moon, and I suggest the real reason we have not been to the moon since 1972 is that we cannot any longer do it. Humans have lost the capability…”

    http://www.steynonline.com/6665/interstellar

    And the reason we can no longer do it has something to do with the NASA groupthink which resulted in the Challenger disaster.

    • Diag, when my daughter was studying Engineering – Space and Mechanical, a lot of the cautionary how-not-to-do-it tales were of NASA. Not from the H A Pope era, I hasten to add.

      • The H A Pope era at NASA was from 1963 to 2007.
        were your daughters tales from before 1963 or after 2007?

      • Pre-2007, I can’t be more specific from memory other than Challenger. Not from the Apollo era, I tend to think of you, Harold Doiron and the retirees group in terms of that era, the examples were more recent. It may be that there were better known because of NASA’s high profile rather than because of a higher rate of relevant incidents there.

  38. I have often asked myself this question;
    What is the difference or similarities between the IPCC as either a separate entity or collectively along with the very closely intertwined, interacting, self centred, self perpetuating very limited goal orientated, academic based climate warmist research establishment and a major Corporation with it’s goals of increasing it’s power and influence, it’s funding capacity and it’s role in business, politics and in public life.
    They both, the climate science establishment in it’s current evolved form and the Corporations are both trying to create something they can sell to the public and the politicals as an absolute necessity they must adopt and have.
    The outcomes of a successful selling process being significant rewards forthcoming in power, influence and financial rewards for the scientists / employees of both the climate science establishment and the corporation if they are successful in their sales and promotion drive.

    Frankly as a layman I now see after a number of years of an evolving climate science, almost no difference in the way in which both entities, the closed incestuous scientific entity that is the climate warming research establishment and the big Corporation’s behavior in trying to achieve those same influence pedalling, self promoting, political and public influencing and financially enriching goals.

    Based on that thinking I strongly suspect that the rules that govern the “Life Cycle of Corporations” also applies to the evolved and current closed corporation like political, business and operational structure of the Global Warming and climate science establishment.

    If so then the stages that illustrate and govern the life of this three to four decades old corporate climate science structure can be found for example in one well known source, the Adizes Institute’s “Corporate Life Cycle”

    [ http://www.adizes.com/lifecycle/ ]

    [ As a byword; Based on a century of business history, the average life of an American corporation is around forty years. ]

    The different stages in the “Corporate Life Cycle” found in the link above can be rolled over for an interactive explanation of each stage of the Corporate Life Cycle.

    The stages are listed as ;
    Courtship
    Infancy
    Go Go
    Adolescence
    Prime
    The Fail
    Aristocracy
    Recrimination
    Bureaucracy
    Death.

    I think the Climate warming science establishment and the IPCC are past the “The Fall” stage in the climate alarmist science establishment’s progress through it’s Corporate like life cycle.

    In reading this Adizes Institute’s Corporate Life Cycle, my guess would be that the IPCC and climate alarmist science establishment, both of which have been built and constructed entirely on and around the CAGW meme, are both now well on the downward path to the “Aristocracy” / “Recrimination” equivalent stages of the Adizes Corporate Life Cycle and are heading down the slope to the “Death” stage

    A brief roll over explanation from the Adizes life cycle graph for each of those three following stages, each of which has a more comprehensive expansion to be found in the links in the Life Cycle graph panels.

    The Fall;
    The Fall is positioned at the top of the lifecycle curve, but it is not the place to be. That position is Prime, where organizational vitality is at its maximum. Companies that are in the Fall phase have started to lose their vitality and are aging. When an organization first begins to age, the symptoms wont show up on its financial reports. In fact, the opposite is true. Companies in the Fall stage are often cash rich and have strong financial statements.

    [ Substitute “highly influential ” for “cash rich” in the last line above and the statement fits closely to the Climate alarmist science establishment’s near past situation ]

    Aristocracy;
    The effects of the steady decline in flexibility, which began in Prime, start to become more obvious in Aristocracy. Because it has neglected to pursue long-term opportunities, the company’s focus becomes increasingly short-term. For the most part, its goals are financially-oriented and low-risk. With less of a long-term view, the climate in an Aristocratic organization is relatively stale.

    Recrimination
    When an Aristocracy is unable to reverse its downward spiral and the artificial repairs finally stop working, management’s mutual admiration society abruptly ends. The good-old-buddy days of the Aristocracy are gone, and the witch-hunts of Recrimination begin.
    Companies in this stage focus on who caused the problems, rather than on what to do about them.

    And then “Bureaucracy” followed by “Death”!

    And then Science will pick itself up, wash and cleanse it’s soul and cast out it’s stinking dregs and perhaps a little wiser we hope, again take it’s rightful and respected place in society as a major contributor instead of a serious impediment to further human progress.

  39. Every herd has its cliff.

    • Cliff

      “Well ya see, Norm. It’s like this. A herd of buffalo can only move as fast as the slowest buffalo. And when the herd is hunted, it is the slowest and weakest ones at the back that are killed first. This natural selection is good for the herd as a whole, because the general speed and health of the whole group keeps improving by the regular killing of their weakest members. In much the same way, the human brain can only operate as fast as the slowest brain cells. But naturally, it attacks the slowest and weakest brain cells first, making the brain a faster and more efficient machine. That’s why you always feel smarter after a few beers.”

  40. “They are viewed as “difficult,” “not part of the team,” or, in extreme cases, as misfits.” Quite a lot of us at CE, I suspect. A herding of the free-thinkers? Do we encourage each other to think more freely and enhance our reputation by exaggerating our scepticism? No, Fan, no comment needed, thanks.

  41. I’m a simple guy, and do not have the science to guide me through the data like many of you. One thing I cannot figure out is why it’s “activists” and “skeptics” on competing blogs of many kinds talking mostly with each other (with some good exceptions doing what I perceive the scientists should be doing which is playing on the other teams fields).

    So I ask. Why are the scientists not speaking with each other?

    Would like to toss this out here for appropriate pummeling. This electronic device is anonymous. Each scientist is assigned a number. A set of data is provided, the appropriate analysis is conducted, conclusions drawn, and results posted. All anonymously. This takes away many of the hurdles of groups. Devil’s Advocacy and Scientific Method rule. And most importantly, so does the science.

    Remember, I’m simple, but the current way seems unnecessarily hard.

    • “One thing I cannot figure out is why it’s “activists” and “skeptics” on competing blogs…”
      Once in a while a warmist such as Lacis posts here, and I think that’s valuable. I just mentioned pack behavior, maybe that’s it. A warmist shows up at WUWT and the regulars say, look what’s for dinner. Watt’s site does have value, a lot of news and some good authors. I use his oceans page frequently, still wanting to see my kind of PDO take shape. To continue on my pack analogy, think the the IPCC as a herd and the skeptics as a hunting pack though in need of more organization. I think your question is good. We should interact more with other points of view.

    • Danny said:
      “So I ask. Why are the scientists not speaking with each other?”
      ——
      Danny, you seem like a smart person. Do you honestly think the scientists are not speaking with each other? There are multiple international conferences every month where climate science specialists share the latest research and discuss the issues. It is far less monolithic than some would have you believe. Yes, the vast majority are convinced of the reality of anthropogenic climate change, but the details are actively debated every single day by scientists ” speaking to each other”.

      • The problem is that skeptic scientists do talk to each other and they do try to talk to the consensus scientists but the consensus scientists do only talk to other consensus scientists.

        The Climate Change Conference in July had scientists from all over the world but none of the Consensus Scientists attended, not to speak and not even to listen. They don’t discuss and debate with anyone who does disagree. If their Consensus Theory was correct, their Consensus Models would be working and they don’t even want help to figure out what is wrong.

      • Popesclimatetheory,

        I can see that as they have entire careers and reputations on the line. But a few sneak in to this blog and that blog. If silliness such as posting by those such as I were moded out, the science could play out anonymously. And maybe progress could be had. But I like pipe dreams.

      • The Consensus people don’t consider the opinions of any who disagree, that is how they maintain their 97%
        It is getting easier for them to maintain their 97% because they are losing members. Dr Curry is not the only one they have kicked out or who has left.

      • I’m only smart enough to know that I’ve much to learn.

        My point is that there are opportunities to express viewpoints, analysis, alternatives, “skepticism” (sorry ’bout that), abound on tools such as these. From RealClimate to Climate, etc. and in between.

        Dr. Curry provided for our consumptions, reasons why good analysis and communication may not be occurring. So why not change the playing field. The same dynamics inherent in the IPCC consensus forming condition apply at “get togethers” of all kinds. Scientists are human too.

        We see evidence right here of a tool that functions. Anonymous posting removes need for political/group behavior and this should leave the science. Peer review would be (relatively) immediate, feedback received, and science happens.

        So, no, I don’t think the scientists are “talking to each other” at all. I think they’re talking via alternative sources with many external forces around each other and to the public (in some cases).

        Picture it. Dr. Curry states her case for 50/50 +/- 30 and goes head to head with the scientists behind the consensus and they work out the details. I think that would be enlightening.

      • “The Climate Change Conference in July had scientists from all over the world but none of the Consensus Scientists attended, not to speak and not even to listen.”
        —–
        If you are referring to the little get together in La Vegas, there are very good reasons why no “consensus” scientists attended:

        1. That is a made up derogatory term. There are real scientists and those now practicing pseudoscience. That conference was a celebration of pseudoscience. Real scientists debate anthropogenic climate change every day.

        2. If one is late in their career or never had a career in real science they might become interested in pseudoscience, but for a professional scientist, it ends a career– not because of what you start to believe, but why and how.

        This is why real scientists stay away from pseudoscience.

      • R. Gates,

        Even you can’t believe what you wrote here.
        So are every single one of these folks: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming
        what you’d classify as psuedo……….scientists?
        I respect your passion, but your newly found term is providing damage only to your reputation and is not benefiting your argument. This kind of generalization, if it can’t get passed by me, will certainly not stand analysis of others much more educated.
        If you want to put me on the PS list, fine, I’ll agree fully. But not all those whom you perceive as being counter to “the movement” fit the description.

      • Danny Thomas | November 26, 2014 at 9:28 am |
        “Picture it. Dr. Curry states her case for 50/50 +/- 30 and goes head to head with the scientists behind the consensus and they work out the details. I think that would be enlightening”

        Could be, but it takes two to tango.

        Gavin Schmidt gave a very detailed response to Judith’s position.

        Judith responded with hand-waving and snark.

        Judith was challenged on this , and she eventually said that she would respond….that was months ago.

      • I agree fully. It does take two to tango. This goes exactly to the point as this was “dueling blogs” and not the parties communicating directly (unless something of which we’re unaware has taken place). And if personalities, reputations, and politics were removed (as much as humanly possible) the science could prevail.

        We all make mistakes, but it’s contrary to human nature to wish to be embarrassed. This topic (climate change) is unquestionably more important than the individuals involved. Anonymity should address some of this concern.

        I wonder if Gavin Schmidt was (part of) the source for the IPCC offering as I’d prefer that those that develop whatever theory be involved, but Schmidt vs. Curry would be reasonable proxy in lieu.

      • Too busy. Has a lot on the late. Will get back to you on that.

      • plate.

        So in the meantime, smear smear, smear smear, oh what a joy it is.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        Danny T
        read Judith’s “50 – 50” post on attribution and then read Schmidt’s response On Real Climate as Michael suggest
        Good luck
        Judith did not respond with hand waving snark ’cause there was barely anything coherent to respond to
        Curry makes a simple clear point
        Schmidt not
        I’d be interested in your take

        there is not much debate on Real Climate
        because that side thinks doubters should be quiet
        hence the free discussion you seek is hard to find

        Also, we’ve seen a good exchange between Mosher and Pielke here over BEST
        which makes me skeptical that temp data can be accurate to tenths of a degree
        or that any such animal as average global surface temp can exist outside the ivory tower, at least with current observational tech

      • John,

        I will look at Curry v. Schmidt again, but from my first read I pretty much gleaned only that the science is not settled.

        I’ve not delved at all into the temp. data bases but Mosher makes a great point with Crested Butte not being one, but effectively 6 different stations. This combined with our practice of using airports (lots of reflective surfaces and ever expanding heat islands) to collect data leaves me less comfortable with using surface temps as valid resources.

        I’m bothered by Henson’s 30 year “climatology” beginning around the same time the Clean Air Act became effective making me wonder how the removal of aerosols by a presumably good set of laws may have led to “much ado about nothing”.

        Toss in Tonyb’s wonderful historic references, and I sleep quite well at night.

        But I look forward to others providing sleep depriving resources.

        So much to learn.

      • “I respect your passion, but your newly found term is providing damage only to your reputation and is not benefiting your argument.”
        ______
        Here’s is an excellent recent article on this topic:

        http://phys.org/news/2014-11-scientists-distinguishes-science-pseudoscience.html

        This term should make people feel uncomfortable. It challenges scientists to make check both themselves and their fellow scientists who might stray into the area of pseudoscience. Sometimes the dividing line can be hard to see. This video (part of the article above) is well worth a look:

      • R. Gates,

        I promise you I will look at your offering. Also, I just ran across this (on Fox so ya know) and have to wonder if it’s a previously unknown unknown, if it may also have climatological impacts of which we’re unaware.http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/11/26/scientists-discover-earths-star-trek-style-invisible-shield/

        There (it seems to me) is so much we do not know.

      • Ah. You’d offered this before. I cannot disagree with the reference, but can see how it applies to all equally.

        I’m most likely to be named pseudo scientific as I don’t have the background, but my concern for you is that you paint with too broad a brush. I provide to you a wiki containing 54 reputable academics including J. Curry, et al. And I ask again, do you declare them pseudoscientists just because they do not support that which you do?

      • “I will look at Curry v. Schmidt again, but from my first read I pretty much gleaned only that the science is not settled.”
        ____
        What science is not settled? This overly broad is not scientific and get’s back to the issue of pseudoscience. It is supposed to me:

        1) We don’t know GH gas levels affect climate?
        2) We don’t know human activities are altering GH gas levels?
        3) We don’t know how strongly (sensitivity) of GH gas changes?
        4) We don’t know all the feedbacks related to altering GH gas levels?

        For some of these points the science has a high degree of being “settled” (no science is ever 100%).

        The point is, simply saying “the science is not settled” does not adequately describe the exact areas of uncertainty, and hence in not science but pseudoscience and thus can be seen as more of a motivated or positional statement rather than a straight scientific.

        So if you are going to play the Uncertainty Monster card, you need to tell us exactly where that monster is living and how big that monster is compared to the Pretty Darn Certain monster, as having those two battle constantly is what honest science and rational skepticism is all about.

      • R. Gates,

        Ya’ll been busy since I went to run an errand.

        Here’s my take.
        CO2 is increasing. Rate of increasing has increased for the most recent decade. CO2 is a GHG. I don’t see causation to catastrophic levels. I do see warming.

        More fully, AGW “banks” predominately on CO2 and the bulk of mitigation is oriented towards reducing CO2 emissions and including reducing CO2 in our atmosphere.

        My “uncertainty monster”. AGW professes “likely” catastrophic results if mitigation is not implemented.
        AGW has stated:
        more intense and frequent hurricanes. Incorrect.
        Temps to follow this pathway (hockey stick). Incorrect.
        Heat of hiatus/pause/whatever is in the oceans. Maybe, but underdetermined.
        Aerosols may be causing cooling. Underdetermined.
        Hanson specifically stated GW based on 30 year “climatology” (his words) that was studied right after the Clean Air Act. So I question was warming occurring all along but masked due to aerosols?
        AGW says Ice melting. Check, oops, except Antarctica (a pretty large area of ice). Underdetermined.

        So AGW says “mitigation or death” (exaggeration mine) based on what I perceive as a less than stellar track record.

        But what does AGW say about sun spots (I’ve not yet studied). I lived thru the 70’s when “climate science” told me we were all gonna freeze due to 11 year sun spot cycles. Underdetermined.

        So, if I’m a independently thinking person, and I write these down in columnar form I get “unsettled”. Therefore, my (current) conclusion is to study more fully before we was bazillions of dollars on what may be ineffective (or potentially damaging) mitigation.

        But being open minded, I think, much smarter folks than I say: increase biomass and improved Ag practices may mitigate if temporarily. I think, left and right oughta like that.

        I also think, why not make “CO2 mitigation” voluntary but provide “renewable like” subsidies and some company such as Exxon would jump on that in a heartbeat and use it as a marketing tool. But jamming it down the throat of those “skeptics” such as I doesn’t seem prudent. AGW says, nope, not our way so forget it.

        I see this fight was brought out by AGW and is a noble cause. But I see skepticism as equally noble, sans further evidence. So AGW should change the approach, take what they can get, and run with it. But that’s me.

        I’m open to correction, further evidence, and frankly ridicule. But more of the same, breeds more of the same. And any bloggers on any blogs ain’t gonna fix it. The scientists need to work with other scientists. Right now it’s a fight.

        It make zero sense, if our planet is truly on the line, for us ALL not to take this challenge head on. But since I don’t see definitive evidence we have a challenge (yet) I support further research.

        Sorry so wordy, but I wanted to address the “uncertainty monster” to the best of my capability.

      • R. Gates,

        Further to our discussion. Since I’ve done my best to provide evidence for my “uncertainty monster” would it be less than fair for me to ask what make you certain enough to be willing to spend “trillions” of dollars on CO2 mitigation in lieu of any other approach? This perspective will be helpful.

      • Pseudoscience is where you construct a flat or downward trend with recent years and claim that therefore CO2 isn’t having the expected effect because they think, or try to imply, AGW means it should always be upwards. These flat trends are still possible from natural variation, but you see this all the time in articles, some even quoting scientists.

      • JimD, “Pseudoscience is where you construct a flat or downward trend with recent years and claim that therefore CO2 isn’t having the expected effect because they think, or try to imply, AGW means it should always be upwards. These flat trends are still possible from natural variation, but you see this all the time in articles, some even quoting scientists.”

        So THATS what pseudoscience is. I was under the impression that “thinking” natural variability could account for half or a little more of the warming since 1950 was pseudoscience. Or was that scientific disinformation, anti-science or some combination of the three?

      • ‘As for your question: at the end of the century we were sitting on the highest global temperature value of the modern record. Since then we have leveled off and we may in fact be cooling. “We have reached the top of the mountain”, therefore it’s not surprising that the last decade is one of the warmest on record. Think about it! The important aspect is that the warming of the 80s and 90s has stopped and the models missed it completely! The important issue is that we have entered a new regime in global temperature tendency. In fact, I find it very misleading that scientists will present “the warmest decade” argument to justify their beliefs (or failures).’ Anastasios Tsonis

      • “There (it seems to me) is so much we do not know.”
        ______
        And that is what motivates scientists, or at least ought to.

        But it is a balance of building on and applying what we DO know, to research and investigation into the areas of uncertainty and the unknown. The recent landing on the comet (a spectacular achievement), used the absolute limit of what we do know about the universe (laws of gravity, materials, chemistry, etc.) in order to investigate the surface of a comet, which we’d never done before. If scientists had thrown up their hands and declared the Uncertainty Monster too big, and the task therefore too impossible, then the attempt would never have even happened. Fortunately, real science, (as opposed to pseudoscience) drove the mission to land on a comet, and by using what we do know with a high degree of certainty, we are able to search into the areas of true uncertainty. This is the way true and honest science works. A very beautiful thing, and really a crowning achievement for our species.

      • captd, well that may be another example, where you assert that over half the change since 1950 is natural variability with little chance of it being more, because that is saying that the central IPCC estimate (100% manmade) is almost certainly wrong.

      • “Since then we have leveled off and we may in fact be cooling.”
        _____
        A bit of a premature prediction it seems since 2014 is not quite over and the probability is quite high that the year could be the warmest on record. And no, it does not take “torturing” or “twisting” the data to make this year so warm. It’s been warm– globally at or near the warmest of the warm this year. It is pseudoscience to suggest there is any hint of cooling going on.

      • ” I was under the impression that “thinking” natural variability could account for half or a little more of the warming since 1950 was pseudoscience. Or was that scientific disinformation, anti-science or some combination of the three?”
        _____
        Probably good to watch this video one more time:

        Expecting models to exactly fit a curve of actual temperature evolution in the real world is absurd, and those who claim the failure of models to fit an exact curve “proves AGW wrong” or even “the system is not as sensitive” to CO2, are practicing pseudoscience, even if they likely don’t realize it. The sweet spot in looking at actual data is finding the right level of distinguishing noise from signal. Curve fitting in the opposite way– picking a pre-selected bit of the data to prove something does not exist is the worst kind of dishonest pseudoscientific garbage. Worthy of true disdain.

      • I ironically quote a real atmospheric physicist and the get usual superficiality from Randy the video guy. Not so long long ago it was a super El Nino – now it seems the vague hope that 2014 will edge out something or other on an annual basis. There is so much wrong with that idea it is difficult to know where to start. So I wont – but try this for a start.

        http://pielkeclimatesci.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/r-321.pdf

        Warming may not resume for decades given the multi-decadal persistence of these regimes. As Tsonis suggests.

        http://woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1900/plot/hadcrut4gl/from:1900/mean:12

      • JimD, “captd, well that may be another example, where you assert that over half the change since 1950 is natural variability with little chance of it being more, because that is saying that the central IPCC estimate (100% manmade) is almost certainly wrong.”

        Well, the IPCC doesn’t DO science, but you are implying the IPCC is infallible in some way. Since the models are over estimating warming by about twice, logically the model estimate of 100% manmade, could be off by half. Energy based models are indicating “sensitivity” could be about half but magically “natural” variability can’t be off by half. Very unique logic you have going on there JimD. I think you deserve a roller coaster award.

      • “The important aspect is that the warming of the 80s and 90s has stopped and the models missed it completely! ”
        _____
        Garbage. The models were not designed to anticipate or predict natural variability. There seems to be many factors involved in the “hiatus” and none of them are dynamics that could be put into a model.

        But beyond that, the basis for the ‘warming has stopped’ meme is tropospheric surface temperatures, which are the least stable, the lowest thermal inertia, and most subject to the very natural variability that causes the models to miss fitting a curve exactly. When looking at the broadest measures of net energy in the climate system, the “hiatus” barely exists, if at all, and it appears the system continued to gain energy quite robustly even if the tropospheric surface temperatures plateaued at the highest levels on record.

      • Walter Starck noted that if only humans really were able to heat the globe, “and it helps to prevent another ice age, this would be the most fortunate thing that has happened to our species since we barely escaped extinction from an especially cold period during the last ice age some 75,000 years ago.”

      • “Not so long long ago it was a super El Nino – now it seems the vague hope that 2014 will edge out something or other on an annual basis.”
        _____
        Certainly a super El Nino in 2014 of the kind we had in 1998 would have blown the doors off the tropospheric temperature record high year. More remarkable is that we may very likely set a new record WITHOUT that El Nino. All previous record high years we of course El Nino years. This will definitely be the warmest ENSO neutral year (just as the last La Nina was the warmest La Nina year), but the fact that an ENSO neutral year could be the warmest overall year on record is quite telling– but of course this data is lost on pseudoscientific “skeptics”. The fact that the relevance of it is lost on them (either intentionally or unintentionally) is a hallmark of their pseudoscience.

      • R, Gates, I have absolutely no expectation of models exactly fitting observations. It has been noted by many on many occasions, that there are periods prior to 1950 where the models seriously miss, not just miss, observation.

        Looking at ~1890, 1910 and 1945, it would appear that models overestimate initial forcing and don’t replicate the lagged response to forcings. The “hiatus” or the oceans ate my warming, is another example of the models not “getting” the lagged response because they don’t “get” the oceans.

      • “The “hiatus” or the oceans ate my warming, is another example of the models not “getting” the lagged response because they don’t “get” the oceans.”
        _______
        Ocean to atmosphere energy flux is among the most poorly constrained dynamics in the models– no doubt, meaning of course this should be (and is) among the most intensely researched areas. How much energy is actually flowing into the oceans? How much is flowing out? What controls that flow? How do clouds and ice and aerosols affect that flow? What are the short and long term natural variations in this? How do internal and external forcings affect this? All worthy areas of research and thankfully hundreds of honest scientists are looking into these areas everyday. What we do know is that the oceans continued to accumulate energy quite robustly over the past decade, even as tropospheric temperatures remained mostly flat at the highest levels on instrument record.

      • You state this:
        “What we do know is that the oceans continued to accumulate energy quite robustly over the past decade, even as tropospheric temperatures remained mostly flat at the highest levels on instrument record.”

        So I ask you what happened before? What is the normal range of energy inflows/outflows during a substantial time frame. Unless I’m not understanding, our ARGO system is young by any climate time reference is it not?

      • ‘Lorenz was able to show that even for a simple set of nonlinear equations (1.1), the evolution of the solution could be changed by minute perturbations to the initial conditions, in other words, beyond a certain forecast lead time, there is no longer a single, deterministic solution and hence all forecasts must be treated as probabilistic. The fractionally dimensioned space occupied by the trajectories of the solutions of these nonlinear equations became known as the Lorenz attractor (figure 1), which suggests that nonlinear systems, such as the atmosphere, may exhibit regime-like structures that are, although fully deterministic, subject to abrupt and seemingly random change.’ http://rsta.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/369/1956/4751

        Models not only don’t get the physics but can’t possibly deliver a deterministic solution.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        science v pseudoscience
        perhaps we should form the IPOS
        Intergovernmental Panel on Official Science
        so we may all know which is the “correct” science

        mongrel dogs are always the smartest
        always will be

      • ‘This study uses proxy climate records derived from paleoclimate data to investigate the long-term behaviour of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO) and the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). During the past 400 years, climate shifts associated with changes in the PDO are shown to have occurred with a similar frequency to those documented in the 20th Century. Importantly, phase changes in the PDO have a propensity to coincide with changes in the relative frequency of ENSO events, where the positive phase of the PDO is associated with an enhanced frequency of El Niño events, while the negative phase is shown to be more favourable for the development of La Niña events.’ http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2005GL025052/abstract

        The hallmark of space cadet pseudoscience is unconvincing narrative. A ‘super El Nino’ remains very unlikely for decades potentially.

        A coupe of mild winters in the north Pacific and an early warming of the equatorial Pacific in an almost El Nino will not change the fundamental science. Despite all the hopes and fantasies of space cadets.

      • If you are referring to the little get together in La Vegas, there are very good reasons why no “consensus” scientists attended:

        Yep, they are working for Alarmist Consensus organizations and they would likely get fired.

      • R. Gates, “What we do know is that the oceans continued to accumulate energy quite robustly over the past decade, even as tropospheric temperatures remained mostly flat at the highest levels on instrument record.”

        The oceans have likely to have continued “robustly” gaining energy from at least 1700-1750 AD. It is more than just the IPWP that indicates that, even Nino3.4 indicates it.

        The “robust” rate of warming is entirely consistent with that long of a “recovery” trend.

        None of this would be all that controversial if Paleoclimate “dabblers” had stayed out of paleoclimate “:science”.

      • CaptDallas,

        You may have answered a follow up I posed to R. Gates. I found this: http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/WarmPool/ and it indicates a decadal or multidecadal cycle of warm to cool is “typical”. Is this the type of warming your referring to in the IPWP (new acronym for me)? The Nasa site seems to provide evidence counter (or at least less than convincing) to the claim of the hiatus heat being in the ocean if that discussion entails a shorter time frame than the cycle Nasa shows.

        I have a feeling I’m missing something here and this may be a tangent I should save for later.

      • Danny Indo-Pacific Warm Pool (IPWP) is a very good area to estimate “global” temperatures and “global” ocean heat content. The NINO regions, as in ENSO or El Nino, in the central and eastern Pacific are good regions to estimate “global” temperature variability.

      • If I understand correctly then, an Argo buoy set in IPWP could be used gauge an set of expected global temperatures, and a similar set in ENSO would be used to gauge a change in those ranges? So IPWP is typically fairly static and consistent, whereas ENSO changes (oscillates) based on the flow of warm to cool or cool to warm depending (if I recall my El Nino/La Nina study from 20+ years ago correctly)? Ugh. Is that reasonable?

      • Let’s see, on one hand we hear that we don’t have good enough measurement to know if the oceans have been accumulating energy over the past decade, but on the other hand we’re told with utmost confidence and certainty:

        “The oceans have likely to have continued “robustly” gaining energy from at least 1700-1750 AD.”
        ___
        Wow, we had better measurements of ocean heat content from 1700 to 1750, but worse from 2004 to 2014. Amazing the way pseudoscience works…quite contrary to logic.

      • R. Gates,

        Work with me here. I commented about the decade of data and CaptDallas commented on the historic trend.

        By this comment you did not answer my question or respond to his assertion.

        I’m trying to learn, giving your perspective fair assessment, responding to your “uncertainty” concerns in detail and you give back this? And toss in pseudo science to top it off? You can do better.

      • Danny said:

        “AGW says Ice melting. Check, oops, except Antarctica (a pretty large area of ice). Underdetermined.”
        _____
        Danny, you asked what pseudoscience is, and this is a very good example. This point that pseudoscientists like to make about Antarctic sea ice is such a shallow and unscientifically based “proof against AGW” that it is an instant give away that you are not well versed on the full status of what’s going on in Earth’s cryosphere on a global basis, nor what’s going on overall with cryosphere in Antarctica, nor what the experts are suggesting are possible causes for the sea ice to be showing some season to season growth. Your objection (which has been used on Faux News on several occasions) is actually a good example of the dumbing down of those too lazy or too uneducated to actually look into the facts and data of the global cryosphere and see how rapidly the net global ice mass in declining. Really Danny, if you plead ignorant (as you have on several occasions here) then continue on with that, and don’t step into the world of pseudoscience. Ignorance is the doorway to pseudoscience, and only lots of education will keep you from crossing over.

      • R. Gates,

        Then provide evidence, not chastisement. My research, having once example being the recent in water under ice examination that showed the ice extent to be fuller than projected and expected.

        You picked one of my examples and I can and do appreciate your addressing it specifically. That tells me to look more deeply.

        The chastisement only weakens your offering, so please provide sources and evidence to the contrary.

        I did not say it was proof in and of itself against AGW. In fact, I believe I said underdetermined. Agreed? If not, evidence and resources please.

        I freely admit to being uneducated on Antarctica. Or maybe the appropriate term is undereducated. I await your response to my other objections and further resources substantiating your critique. I do not use Fox as a resource for science. The offering on the newly discovered fields outside our planet was first reported (to my knowledge) by Fox and in that report it states the study will be released via Nature later this month.

      • “R. Gates,

        Work with me here. I commented about the decade of data and CaptDallas commented on the historic trend.”
        _____
        The best data with the narrowest bands of uncertainty are the past decade. Argo has made a huge difference. You probably should ask the good Capt. to put some uncertainty bands on the data from 1700-1750. If he does it correctly, it might be very eye-opening for you.

      • I agree Argo is the best, and most current, but it only covers just over the past decade. Why, from your view, is using “only” a decade of data the correct method?

        These seem to be reasonable questions of your perspective although I perceive that you find them to be otherwise. I find some of your critique of my perspective beneficial. As I’ve shared, I’m not of a scientific bent, but I can learn and am learning. But to make a decision based on the evidence at hand would be like stopping analysis of an experiment half way through and jumping to a conclusion. That seems less than scientific to me and would be more evidence of “pseudo” science if I did. I keep telling you I’m subject to further convincing, but we’re not there yet. I’ve asked for evidence to move me towards AGW and have received none. Until then, color me skeptical and I’ve stated numerous reasons for that status.

      • “So IPWP is typically fairly static and consistent, whereas ENSO changes (oscillates) based on the flow of warm to cool or cool to warm depending (if I recall my El Nino/La Nina study from 20+ years ago correctly)? Ugh. Is that reasonable?”
        ____
        The IPWP represents the largest single identifiable “body” or pool of warm water on the planet. It is intimately connected to both the ENSO as well as the IOD (Indian Ocean Dipole). It is also intimately connected to global weather patterns and it both affects and is affected by weather patterns thousands of miles of way. It is one of the most important single climate related factors on the planet. Any one who wants to gain a deeper understanding of Earth’s climate will spend many hours studying just the IPWP and all its teleconnections.

      • Thank you. It’s on my list and my list is substantial. I’ll get there eventually and I appreciate the perspective.

      • R. Gates, “Wow, we had better measurements of ocean heat content from 1700 to 1750, but worse from 2004 to 2014. Amazing the way pseudoscience works…quite contrary to logic.”

        Boy you have your straw stacked and ready! “Likely” is not an indication of extreme confidence and not based on just paleo data. The oceans can only lose and gain energy so quickly, unlike the atmosphere. That’s why is it pretty obvious the models have some time constant issues. GISS E in ~1885 shows an atmospheric rapid response that peaks fast and decays to nothing in about 5 years. The oceans can offset a great deal of the initial response at the expense of a longer recharge time. The oceans and atmosphere don’t respond the same to forcings.

        Based on “current” estimates of the rate of ocean heat uptake and “current” estimates of the depths of the LIA in the IPWP region, the approximate time to recovery would be about 300 years.

        When I say that the rate of warming “is consistent with” something, that is all that it means, “consistent with”.

        That chart which linearly projects the rate of 0-700 meter ocean warming back to 1700 AD with the IPWP reconstruction indicates the “consistency”.

        If you want more “consistent with”, the IPWP reconstruction is “consistent” with current estimates of Volcanic and Solar forcing.

        The Marcott et al Holocen reconstruction is not “consistent with” known solar and volcanic forcing. Well guess what? Marcott has a few errors.

        http://redneckphysics.blogspot.com/2014/11/why-do-alarmists-love-marcott-et-al.html

        There will never be “proof positive”, but in general things “fit” provided you don’t assume 3X(2XCO2) impact and just stick with the “no feedback” sensitivity estimates.

      • The best data with the narrowest bands of uncertainty are the past decade. Argo has made a huge difference.

        Indeed for the OHC 2006-2014,we can observe that the increase is not global,not the NH and not the tropics,but in a limited geographical band in the SH eg Sutton and Roemmich

        The spatial distribution of the 2006 – 2014 warming indicates that all of the heat content increase during that period is in the southern hemisphere ocean (60°S to 20°S), with no significant trend in the tropics (20°S to 20°N) or the northern hemisphere (20°N to 60°N

      • “That chart which linearly projects the rate of 0-700 meter ocean warming back to 1700 AD with the IPWP reconstruction indicates the “consistency”.”
        _____
        Captn, you probably ought to go back and watch the video on curve fitting. You also should find out what the real uncertainty range is on the data from 1700-1750. Mind you, I think generally you might be right in that the oceans began to warming as the world pulled out of the LIA, but a linear trend line covering three centuries is pseudoscience in the extreme.

      • Rosenthal 2013

        Discussed here: https://judithcurry.com/2013/11/01/pacific-ocean-heat-content-for-the-past-10000-years/
        ITW – intermediate water temperatures. Looks like around 1700 we left a millennial minimum. I applaud the paper for looking in one of the right places.

      • Ragnaar,

        Thanks for that. Yet another reason history should be at least considered in the discussion.

        R. Gates. This seems to be a can of worms you opened, I’ll leave this part to you and will look forward to further discussion on my direct “uncertainty monsters” independently.

      • Undeniably, the SH has gained the majority of the ocean heat content since 2006, based the best data we have:

        YEAR WO WOse NH NHse SH SHse
        2005.125 8.973 1.292 5.614 0.483 3.359 0.809
        2006.125 11.932 1.053 6.008 0.415 5.925 0.638
        2007.125 13.498 0.911 6.577 0.347 6.921 0.564
        2008.125 13.305 0.888 7.266 0.332 6.039 0.557
        2009.125 12.615 0.896 6.329 0.382 6.286 0.514
        2010.125 15.881 0.793 6.659 0.317 9.223 0.476
        2011.125 15.216 0.884 6.511 0.344 8.705 0.540
        2012.125 17.308 0.799 6.990 0.336 10.318 0.463
        2013.125 20.318 0.728 8.798 0.282 11.520 0.446
        2014.125 20.901 0.728 8.191 0.285 12.709 0.443

        But this is not surprising given overall dynamics of ocean to atmosphere heat flux and the roles of both slightly greater Antarctic sea ice in keeping ocean heat in, the cooling of the eastern Pacific as a cool phase PDO and more prevalence of La Nina had been in place, etc.

        The real take away remains the global ocean heat content though, and seeing the jump from 11.932 to over 20 x 10^22 Joules (down to 2000m). This a remarkable rise in less than 10 years.

      • 10 years vs. 300 vs. 10,000? More evidence to my eyes that we need further study prior to decision making.

      • Danny said:

        “I’ve asked for evidence to move me towards AGW and have received none.”
        ______
        I am not sure what you mean by “move me towards AGW”. Also, I could not possibly convince you of anything, even if I wanted to, and I don’t. The only way to become “convinced” of anything as complex as AGW is through hours and hours of study. I have spent over 30 years studying the issue and not one thing I’ve ever read on a blog has changed my mind. It has been the hundreds of research papers I’ve read combined with long and in depth discussions with climate scientists who have been generous with me as an amateur to help me understand the issue enough to have a credible opinion.

        Hit the books for a few YEARS, and then you can trust your own judgement enough to move toward anything.

      • Okay. Poor choice of words on my part.

        I then ask for evidence that refutes my specific list of “uncertainty monsters” as to why they should not be that.

        I don’t wish to play word games with you. I wish to learn. You asked me to define my UM and I did so. So now I ask you, if you chose not to address them, why ask me to define them to you? I already knew them.

        My friend has been a AGW’er and CAGW’er since 1998. He’s shared his take and I find it to be less than convincing. This is what has lead to my quest.

        I frankly find it interesting that a scientist is not open to perspectives of others when those may contain keys to further discovery and understanding. Yet I read your strict defense of only AGW’s side of the story without consideration for alternative plausible theory (such as natural viability). And if anyone puts forth conversation contrary to AGW you resort to not addressing the evidence but to labeling it as “pseudo science”. I ask you again, do you regard the 54 scientists offered in the wiki I sent before (here again to make it easy: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming) to be pseudo scientists?

        And I ask you again, what percentage of GW do you attribute to man and what percentage to nature? I do not have an answer, but I am seeking one. I find that no one really does (that I can find). Therefore, decision making to the extent of trillions of dollars for mitigation is……….well………..less than scientific (maybe pseudoscientific, or maybe politics……..and that’s okay but just call it that so I can move on.)

        I still appreciate your passion.

      • R. Gates, “The real take away remains the global ocean heat content though, and seeing the jump from 11.932 to over 20 x 10^22 Joules (down to 2000m). This a remarkable rise in less than 10 years.”

        “Likely” too remarkable. There is a new OHC paper that indicates that is a data combination issue. The total is about right, there just isn’t a jump. It may be a while before we know more..

      • Danny Thomas:
        I spent a lot time learning about the Indian Pacific Warm Pool and the ENSO region as it’s important. Now the question is, are they, causes, results or a local manifestations of the whole system? La Nina conditions:

        The Walker circulation is kind of positively feeding back, rising in the low and dropping the high as far as I can make out. I’d bet the farm that eventually the feedback will collapse. One has to love nature.

      • Ragnaar,

        If my recollection holds, the the El Nino would be approximately the opposite. Is that reasonable?

        And how big is your farm? Wanna know so I can attribute the strength of the wager vs. the risk. :)

        As always, my thanks!

      • Wow. I don’t see Randy the video guy has any training or expertise at all. Merely a one eyed narrative about ‘the science’ and a rather delusional and supercilious disdain for those who don’t get ‘the science’ of impending apocalypse.

        Do you see a pattern emerging here? The problem with space cadets is that they need catastrophe as an excuse for social control. Many of them seem to actually be true believers. A familiar form of group psychopathology.

      • R. Gates, “Captn, you probably ought to go back and watch the video on curve fitting. You also should find out what the real uncertainty range is on the data from 1700-1750. Mind you, I think generally you might be right in that the oceans began to warming as the world pulled out of the LIA, but a linear trend line covering three centuries is pseudoscience in the extreme.”

        A linear trend is a good way to show “consistent with” not much more. The actual most “likely” resembles the Oppo curve with volcanic dips from time to time. That is why I included the Sol y Vol plot. Your pseudoscience reference earns you a roller coaster award.

      • captd, the pseudoscience is not that you have odds of the anthropogenic fraction orthogonal, almost mutually exclusive, with the IPCC range, but that you don’t back them up with anything. The hallmark of pseudoscience is lack of evidence that would stand up to any scrutiny, or making claims beyond the evidence, such as those that claim certainty about high natural variability fractions or the exaggerated implications of cooling or flat trends.

      • “I read your strict defense of only AGW’s side of the story without consideration for alternative plausible theory (such as natural viability).”
        _______
        Danny, perhaps against my better judgement (I’m not sure yet), there seems to be something I like and trust about you…time will tell about that.

        Anyway, you may not know that I used to go by the moniker of “Skeptical Warmist” here, partially to show poke fun at the whole “warmist” vs. “skeptical” thing, but also to show that honest scientists are always skeptical about everything, no matter how much they might think it more likely than not. Newton generally was right about gravity, but Einstein was skeptical enough to refine and move the theory forward, and Einstein remained skeptical of his own theories right up to the day he died.

        Related to AGW, over course natural variability plays a role in the fluctuations of climate. There is not one scientist who would suggest otherwise. And even though my position is that AGW is more likely to be generally true than not, and even more so, it is more likely than not that we are seeing a long-term accumulation of energy in the system due to anthropogenic activity and related feedbacks (mainly, but not exclusively fossil fuel burning), I am always open to other possibilities, and in fact, as a real honest to goodness skeptic, I seek out viable alternative more than rehashing the constant stream of data that reinforces what I already presume to be likely.

        In addition to the mountain of research papers that you should be reading on your own, I would also suggest you speak to actual scientist in the field, and see that they are not a “herd” or a monolithic “consensus” but actual real unique individuals that for the most part remain quite committed to rationally skeptical ideals and standards and would all love to discover some new bitt of data that would completely upset the notion that human activity is radically altering planet earth, with climate change from GH gas increases being only part of that radical change.

        Hit the books, try to attend events where you can pull a real climate scientist aside and have a cup of coffee with them. I think you’ll see that the term Skeptical Warmist is quite appropriate for many of them.

      • Thank you for that. I used to be involved with a family owned college bookstore, but that was long ago so I have no longer have direct contact. But there is no reason I could not invite one to lunch and pick their brain and may just do so when I near a city with a university. That is sound guidance.

        The reason I found this site is a (different from my AGW buddy) friend suggested I might find it to my liking in that respect, if disagreement, is to be found. I truly consider if this is my “confirmational bias” in that I find myself skeptical. And I also find warming. So we may not be so far apart. Even those here who see things as more black and white they profess their points with wit, experience and some sanity. I thank the site for that.

        So until I’m able to find a “climate scientist” to speak with one on one I used Dr. C as a distant proxy in that I find her offerings to be aligned with mine. Specifically, it’s warming, but we’re not sure why. And she seems to offer reasonable solutions even without knowing the extent of the problem. I try to filter out the politics and I chase sources like a dog chasing their tail. My head often hurts, my eyes glaze, and my bride declares herself an “internet widow”. I won’t be the one to discover answers but I do find resources to evaluate. My goal is more informed understanding. I truly appreciate those that you offer as well as those from others.

        I thought I had a pretty reasonable read on you being open minded. If not, one would have to be a bit masochistic to hang around threads so contrary to their views.

        I appreciate your words, and hope I can earn the trust that you (tenatively) offer. I’m truly here to learn and your bearing with me means much.
        Respectfully.

      • JimD, ” but that you don’t back them up with anything. The hallmark of pseudoscience is lack of evidence that would stand up to any scrutiny, or making claims beyond the evidence, such as those that claim certainty about high natural variability fractions or the exaggerated implications of cooling or flat trends.”

        That is absolutely complete rubbish. We should start a fun to raise money so you can buy yerself a clue. The “ONLY” known, is the no feedback sensitivity of 1 C per 3.7 Wm-2 of atmospheric forcing and both of those have a range of uncertainty. Based on an “average” ocean temperature of 4 C which would have an “average” approximate effective energy of 334.5 Wm-2, the “sensitivity” to that atmospheric forcing would be 0.8C +/- 0.2 C degrees. 4 C happens to be the approximate temperature of the main ocean thermocline because water has the unique proper of a maximum density at 4 C degrees. Even with salt mixed in, the 4 C tends to be the preferred temperature of the thermocline.

        Not remarkably, the estimated DWLR tends toward 334.5 Wm-2 since the oceans and atmosphere are a coupled system. Also not remarkable is that temperature of an “ideal” black body with 1361 Wm-2 solar energy available would have an average energy applied of 341 Wm-2, slight above 334.5 because there is not 100% perfect energy transfer. Hence S-B has 0.926 as a estimated correction factor for less than ideal reality. That means the “Expected” black body energy would lie between 315 and 341 Wm-2.

        The Earth is very close to exactly where it should be. Once you allow for the LIA, you should not expect more than 0.8 C +/- 0.2 C per doubling of CO2.

        There is your pseudoscience.

      • Pseudoscience Alert: Captn D said:

        “4 C happens to be the approximate temperature of the main ocean thermocline because water has the unique proper of a maximum density at 4 C degrees.”

        ——
        Perhaps you accidentally misstated this? Please refer this this graph that shows the typical thermocline curve in the ocean:

        Now what exactly do you mean by your statement? We see in the curve above that temperature drops off very slowly in the first 500m or so of depth (going from 24C to 20C), but then in the 2nd 500m (500m to 1000m) it drops off very rapidly from 20C, eventually rolling off to the 4C temperature. That 20C isotherm (at about 500m) is considered a crucial point in the thermocline.

        Please expand on what you were meaning by your statement there Captn.

      • The complete opposite to Jimbo’s self serving narrative is the case. Warming last century was 0.07K/decade and as much of that was quite natural – the rate seems hardly likely to increase any time soon.

        Natural variability is sometimes extreme, certainly abrupt and always episodic. There is no guarantee that the next climate shift in the next decade or three – after the current cool multi-decadal mode – will be to warmer and not to yet cooler conditions as the planet crosses the threshold of Bond event zero.

        The real questions is why are space cadets so resistant to evident reality? But really – who cares.

      • R, Gates, 20 is critical where surface temperature is above 20C. At 35 g/l and 4C density of salt water is 1.0278 g/cm3, that is your stabilizing density. That is where the temperature gradient virtually stops. You can call that the bottom of the “global” thermocline if you like, but that is the temperature the thermocline tends toward. That is also the temperature the “average” oceans tend toward.

        Think of it as a nifty density driven thermal regulator that drives the OHC bus, THC.

      • Capt Dallas:
        After your reading your comments about 4.0 C being something, I looked at some old notes I made:
        SST 17 C
        Atmosphere 15 C
        Oceans 4 C
        GHG effect 32 C
        No GHG effect – atmosphere -17 C
        If the oceans read the manual on GHGs they’d be 15 C like the atmosphere. They didn’t. Can we go so far as to say that the atmospheric effect is 32 C and the effect on the oceans is 21 C?
        Off topic:
        I will not ask this on my own new thread but stay on this one, as I fear the herd will not follow me.

      • R. Gates, what do you think I misstated? A thermocline is a temperature gradient, the slope of the gradient decreases at ~4 C degrees which is where the maximum density of fresh water, which is what the rest of the liter minus the ~35 grams happens to be. If you decrease the temperature, the density of the fresh tries to decrease, you have a more stable density layer at 4 C. That is the bottom of the steepest slope of the ocean temperature gradient, aka thermocline.

        If you think of the poles near the surface, salinity changes along with temperature would determine if the sinking water stays above or below the 4 C stable layer. This where the fun starts with the fluid dynamics of the sinking water staying above, changing OHC or falling below, not having much impact at all on OHC. It also impacts the amount of energy that has to be advect poleward to stabilize the sea ice edge. Lost in most of the AGW discussion is that a planet doesn’t have any particular time table it needs to stick to. So changes in the THC energy transfer can pick any number they like producing those lovingly embraced by climate science, Pseudo-cyclic “oscillations” with periods of hundreds to thousands of years with a “strange attractor” of 4 C.

      • “R. Gates, what do you think I misstated? A thermocline is a temperature gradient, the slope of the gradient decreases at ~4 C degrees which is where the maximum density of fresh water, ”
        —-
        I’m just sure what point you ‘re trying to make. The depth of 20C isotherm far more interesting, especially in the E. Pacific, in terms of effects on the troposphere. The bulk of the ocean is currently around 4C based on net energy in the climate system and the physical properties of water. The top 500m of the ocean is well above 4C, and is involved in constant energy exchanges with the atmosphere, thus affecting weather.

      • Rag, According to Manabe, the GHE could be 90 degrees or more. The poles for example are about 50 degrees warmer than otherwise because of ozone and water vapor advected poleward in the stratosphere. That is above the “boundary” often used for the “GHE”. As far as what the “average” surface temperature should, that is mainly dependent on the glacial extent. Since the poles tend to be anti-phase more often than not, you can wander all over the place trying to pick a number. The “average” oceans though are going to tend toward 4 C, thanks to water vapor, the stratospause is going to tend toward 0 C and the Turbopause is going to tend towards 184K degrees, that is related to just “dry” GHGs. .

        As it stands now, the “33C discrepancy” is closer to 32 for what that is worth. Now the atmospheric boundary layer which is probably the most important surface, is the one that really needs to be figured out. It should be around 334.5 Wm-2 minus the average “surface” atmospheric window energy, `20 Wm-2 or in the ballpark of -2 C degrees. which appears to be what RSS is measuring for their “surface”.

        Anywho, according to Stephens et al, there is about +/- 17 Wm-2 of uncertainty at the “assumed” surface estimated with the combination of surface stations and sst data and I will take their word for it.

      • R Gates, “I’m just sure what point you ‘re trying to make. The depth of 20C isotherm far more interesting, especially in the E. Pacific, in terms of effects on the troposphere.”

        It is interesting, but there is no physical limit to it that I am aware of. I look for more stable Thermodynamic frames of reference and the 20C layer tends to move up and down quite a bit with changes in solar, cloud cover and surface winds. Since most of the data, including paleo references SST, ocean bulk layer or bottom water, I haven’t really thought that much about it.

      • “I look for more stable Thermodynamic frames of reference and the 20C layer tends to move up and down quite a bit with changes in solar, cloud cover and surface winds.”
        ——
        Indeed! A pulse that follows the ebb and flow of natural variability! That’s exactly why it so interesting. There is direct connection to the flow of energy between ocean and atmosphere and the 20C isotherm.

      • Captain Dallas:
        I’m still trying to grasp the THC but at times I make a bit of progress. It struck me looking at a study, the freshwater evaporates at the lower latitudes out of the oceans as they head North. The freshwater is then mixed back in up North to some extent. And this might suggest a variable salinity front up North. And off on a climate network tangent again, salinity values are a kind of memory and control for each packet of water. There would be a difference for the water arriving up North when there is either maximum and minimum lower latitudes ocean evaporation rates.

      • R. Gates, “Indeed! A pulse that follows the ebb and flow of natural variability! That’s exactly why it so interesting. There is direct connection to the flow of energy between ocean and atmosphere and the 20C isotherm.”

        Of course, it is a coupled system. That though might just be a “weather” relationship. Shifting north south would be a “climate” relationship ala the shifting westerlies or changing “thermal” equator. That is something more easily found with the data available.

        Rag, Toggweiler with the GFLD has a few papers on the THC. While the NH fresh water impact is most studied, there is a SH impact that can cause sub surface water to actually be warmer than surface water, mainly near the sea ice edge. Generally, though, the SH is pretty well mixed so you have a lower average salinity than the NH. The differences determine the depth of THC deep water flow along with a half dozen other factors.

        To really understand the THC would require some serious modeling since there are so many factors. Imagine pouring a layered cocktail like a B-52. You have to pour at just the right rate to maintain a laminar flow to avoid mixing the liquors. So if the rate of growth and/or extent of sea ice changes, the THC would change. Add more or less fresh water and it would change. Change the surface wind average velocity or direction and it would change. Then the impact may not be seen for 30 to 120 years or longer, depending on the depth of the layer impacted.

        Lots of job security in that area of research.

      • Captain Dallas:
        “So if the rate of growth and/or extent of sea ice changes, the THC would change.” I think what you said is important. The salinity and sea ice are correlated or oppositely correlated perhaps. Maybe codependent.
        Under sea ice we have:
        “# About 50 m of low salinity water “swimming” on top of the ocean. The temperature is -1.8 °C, which is very near to the freezing point. This layer blocks heat transfer from the warmer, deeper levels into the ice sheet, which has considerable effect on its thickness.
        # About 150 m of steeply rising salinity and increasing temperature. This is the actual halocline.
        # The deep layer with nearly constant salinity and slowly decreasing temperature.”
        So it seems at high salinity values the heat dives sooner which would allow a fresher water advance. At lower values it would keep its heat closer to the surface and interfere with sea ice advance and penetrate further North. Sorry to bother you, do you think I have the immediate above right? I think I’m still trying to understand a mechanism of the stadium wave and might be close.

      • Ragnaar, ““# About 50 m of low salinity water “swimming” on top of the ocean. The temperature is -1.8 °C, which is very near to the freezing point. This layer blocks heat transfer from the warmer, deeper levels into the ice sheet, which has considerable effect on its thickness.”

        Because it is fresher, the lens temperature could range from -1.8 to 0 C which is an energy range of about 8 Wm-2. If the oceans where saturated brine, the freezing point could range from -18C to zero which makes a “snowball” earth a bit difficult to achieve and salinity a pretty good proxy to surface temperature.

        http://www.albany.edu/atmos/45954.php

        Brian Rose is a fairly new Ph. D working with ocean models. You might want to check out a few of his papers for a “global” long term perspective.

      • Capt,

        Actually there is no maximum density of sea water with temperature. Just looked up the values, and for average sea water at the surface at a salinity of 35 the maximum density goes to 0 and is therefore coincidental with ice. At higher pressures (deeper down) the salinity can be less than average and still not have a maximum density curve. For instance, at average depth of apx 14,000 feet, fresh water with a salinity of 0 would go to maximum density at freezing. For FRESH water at the surface the maximum density is at 4 C, then expands to 0 C where it freezes. The fact that temperature of sea water tends to 4 C with depth must have to do with something else not maximum density.
        In order to have a maximum density, surface water needs to have a salinity of apx 17 or less.

        See http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/014662917890005X

    • Wow. See I don’t Randy the video guy has any training or expertise at all. Merely a one eyed narrative about ‘the science’ and a rather delusional and supercilious disdain for those who don’t get ‘the science’ of impending apocalypse.

      Do you see a pattern emerging here? The problem with space cadets is that they need catastrophe as an excuse for social control. Many of them seem to actually be true believers. A familiar form of group madness.

      • Seems when Rob is not cutting and pasting the same tired set of outdated research, he has nothing but snarky ad homs.

      • I quote from dozens if not hundreds of reputable sources – each with a specific relevance. If you have read it before – then you know the message hopefully. Don’t read it again. But in this whack-a-mole environment where insane memes – and the usual supercilious condescension about pseudo-science and such – are repeated over and over – the question of whether actual science is understood is moot.

        Randy the video guy pulls narratives out of the dark hole of space cadet memes. No quotes – zilch in the way of specific relevance. Usually mere quibbling and whining about some minor point he utterly misrepresents – along with delusional self-aggrandizing prattling and preening. Zilch credibility peddling worthless and misleading crud inevitably – in the service of progressive social ambitions. Perhaps you can tell – I have very little respect or patience for such as Randy.

        The real problem is the pontificating on simplistic memes that have minimal resemblance to reality – while resisting actual science and practical and pragmatic policy responses. These people are weirdness personified.

      • “I quote from dozens if not hundreds of reputable sources – each with a specific relevance. If you have read it before…” Y a w n

        Perhaps you can tell – I have very little respect or patience for such as Randy…” D o u b l e Y a w n.

      • If you are tired and emotional Randy – perhaps you should give it a rest.

      • Speaking of emotional Rob, it is always you who resort to ad homs first – not just with me, but several others here. Perhaps you should give that a rest, or least really ask yourself why you’re so insecure you need to get snarky and personal.

      • The lack of self-awareness is one of the fundamental characteristics of a space cadet.

        Randy the video guy has spent years repeating endlessly his silly little narratives, his condescending prattle, the snide asides, the cloying preening, the trivial quibbling, the bald insults.

        They insist that we take them at their own measure – but then whine about pseudo-science, deniers, the mad, the psychologically disturbed, the greedy and the old white men. It is not going to happen – they are off the planet wrong headed.

        It is quite incredible – but true to form – that he confuses my identification of his traits – and those of space cadets more generally – with insults. It is not ad hom if it is true and relevant.

      • “It is quite incredible – but true to form – that he confuses my identification of his traits – and those of space cadets more generally – with insults. It is not ad hom if it is true and relevant.”
        —-
        Your opinion that an ad hom is “true” and therefore can be used validly at your whim displays how incredibly corrupt your thinking is Rob. Seriously dude, your inflated ego knows no bounds.

      • We have decided to let you take the day off tomorrow, gatesy. Give it a rest. Happy Thanksgiving!

      • True and relevant to the argument was the phrase used.

        If the state of mind of space cadets is relevant – as it always is to the climate war – then it is not ad hom. That is not using character assassination – i.e. corrupt and arrogant thought processes – to discredit an opponents argument. Although for Randy – and space cadets more generally – to whine about being insulted is a bit rich.

        I am not particularly talking to them – but defining the psychological context. More for my sake than theirs.

      • “I am not particularly talking to them – but defining the psychological context. More for my sake than theirs.”
        ——
        More for your EGO than theirs. Your inflate yourself by defining other so small. You are one hugely self-important man. Good on you, “Chief”.

      • “Unless we announce disasters no one will listen.”
        Sir John Houghton,
        First chairman of the IPCC

        Belittling others to make myself feel big doesn’t really work for me – although I am not surprised that a space cadet thinks like that. Pure projection in other words.

        The psychological construct involves both a moral and intellectual superiority – a claim to ‘the science’ and to social and environmental virtues. A challenge to any of the foundational group memes undermines the groupthink modulated personality construct.

        It exists at one level of a conviction that they are the best hands and minds to direct people and society. They aren’t – they are pissant progressives with an inadequate grasp of science, faith based policy and an authoritarian impulse. Any bad faith is justified by the noble cause they are pursuing. As far as I am concerned, they can announce disasters all they like – no one is listening. Or whine petulantly – and with a negligible capacity for style, colour and language either I might add – about morally repugnant and intellectually inferior deniers.

    • Danny – A good way to find out what scientists are saying to each other is to see what’s happening at the annual AGU meeting is San Francisco. Go to this website:
      AGU meeting index terms
      Click on subjects like –
      ATMOSPHERIC PROCESSES
      CRYOSPHERE
      GLOBAL CHANGE
      and so forth.
      Follow through among the many talks on links to whatever intersts you.

      Many (most) abstracts are available online. Spend some time doing this and you will get a better perspective on what is going on scientifically than you will ever get spending comparable time reading blogs like this.

      Enjoy.

  42. The rate of warming in the 20th century was some 0.07K/decade – once decadal variation is removed in any of a number of ways.

    Temperatures are of course plateauing in the current cooler regime. Where to in the next climate shift? I’d consider centennial –

    to millennial variability.

    But hell – that’s me. It’s a big picture kind of thing.

    • Big picture is good. Since TSI peaked around 1960 and has been declining since, but ocean heat content has been increasing over the same period and of couse we’ve had the warmest tropospheric temperatures since at least the MWP, we need to see what the big picture of forcing and natural variability tell us.

      • The start of the solar decline clearly seems to be 1985. Gone in different directions since? Although perhaps not for long.

        http://rspa.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/463/2086/2447#F3

        Recent ocean warming – both in ERBS and CERES – seems to be that other side of the shortwave equation in reflected SW.

        So how much of the 20th century warming was quite natural – and likely to be reversed this century? Somewhat less than a rate of 0.07K/decade warming this century seems plausible – all other things being equal.

    • Rob: Thank you for supplying figure 3 which is quite revealing. I have always maintained that climate is not a stationary system, nor should it be. Figure 3 tells us why. You will note that the figure shows a peak at 1940. It is broader than my figure 2 on my website (underlined above). That is because 20 year averaging broadens it more than 11 year I use. But the peak at 1940 remains unexplained and is the basis for my assertion of non-stationarity. There is no other explanation for it, but it was ignored by the IPCC. that means of course that any attempt to fit a transfer function to the data is bound to fail. I suspect that is why the IPCC models don’t work, i.e. climate temperature is an on/off phenomena, not a continuous one. What do you think?

      • The Earth system is complex in the sense of deterministic chaos.

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

        In the words of Michael Ghil (2013) the ‘global climate system is composed of a number of subsystems – atmosphere, biosphere, cryosphere, hydrosphere and lithosphere – each of which has distinct characteristic times, from days and weeks to centuries and millennia. Each subsystem, moreover, has its own internal variability, all other things being constant, over a fairly broad range of time scales. These ranges overlap between one subsystem and another. The interactions between the subsystems thus give rise to climate variability on all time scales.’

        The theory suggests that the system is pushed by control variables – perhaps greenhouse gas changes and warming – as well as solar intensity and Earth orbital eccentricities – past a threshold at which stage the components start to interact chaotically in multiple and changing negative and positive feedbacks – as tremendous energies cascade through powerful subsystems. Some of these changes have a regularity within broad limits and the planet responds with a broad regularity in changes of ice, cloud, Atlantic thermohaline circulation and ocean and atmospheric circulation.

        Dynamic climate sensitivity implies the potential for a small push to initiate a large shift. Climate in this theory of abrupt change is an emergent property of the shift in global energies as the system settles down into a new climate state. The traditional definition of climate sensitivity as a temperature response to changes in CO2 makes sense only in periods between climate shifts – as climate changes at shifts are internally generated. Climate evolution is discontinuous at the scale of decades and longer.

        See for instance – http://www.fraw.org.uk/files/climate/rial_2004.pdf

      • Alexander Biggs wrote:
        climate temperature is an on/off phenomena, not a continuous one. What do you think?

        Of Course it is. The temperature that Polar Sea Ice Melts and Freezes is the Set Point. When the temperature is exceeded, it snows much more until earth cools. Then the temperature is not exceeded, it snow much less until earth warms. Temperature has gone up and down across the same set point for ten thousand years inside very tight bounds. Temperature has gone up and down across this same set point for a million years in somewhat wider bounds.

      • “Why has Earth’s temperature stayed so stable? Global temperature has stayed within a narrow band for at least the last half billion years. During that time the planet has seen meteor strikes, and millennia long widespread volcanic eruptions, and huge forest fires, and oceans disappearing as continents were lifted out of the sea, and huge changes in the land cover, and all manner of good, bad, and ugly events. Each of these events had a large effect on the forcings. Despite all of that, despite all of the variation in the forcings and the changes in the losses during all of that geological time, the earth’s temperature hasn’t moved around much at all. A few percent. And the variation over the last 10,000 years has been less than ±1%. For a system as complex as the climate, this is amazing stability.” ~Willis Eschenbach [Sic]

      • The shifts are abrupt, sometimes extreme and involve ice and snow feedbacks. The big changes between glacials and interglacials in the past 2.58 million years seem to involve insolation at 65 degrees north setting the scene for feedbacks related to thermohaline circulation.

      • Thank you, Popesflimatetheury and Rob Ellison for your replies. However Popesclimatetheory a set point should not be confused with stationarity. My voltmeter has a set point of zero, but that does not make it a non-stationary device. In fact it is a highly stationary repeatable device. which climate, at least in 1940, was not. In fact, the only thing special about 1940 ( apart from Hitler going mad and causing me to enlist against him) was that U-boats started sinking allied tankers carrying Texas crude across the Atlantic. But it is hard to link that with climate change, no one will believe it.

  43. There may come a time we have to actively oppose and resist geoengineering efforts:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30197085

    • Yep, people who cannot model the temperature should not mess with trying to change it.

      CO2 is making green stuff grow better while using less water and they do want to stop this.

      Letting them try would be really stupid.

    • “Geoengineering” and “unintended consequences” go together like peas and carrots. R. Gates, I would suggest the time “to actively oppose and resist” is now.

  44. Mosher, loved this Nate Silver quote,
    “The occasional or even not-so-occasional result that deviates from the consensus is sometimes a sign the pollster is doing good, honest work and trusting its data. It’s the inliers — the polls that always stay implausibly close to the consensus and always conform to the conventional wisdom about a race — that deserve more scrutiny instead.”

    Remember our conversations or perhaps my diatribe on Cowtan and Way which you always go silent on.
    Cowtan and Way only have implausibly close to the consensus findings for all in fillings on previously documented areas of temperature records. They have no occasional or even not-so-occasional result that deviates from the consensus. And they never show a cooling result in any part of the Arctic.
    Only run away out of control warming.
    Why is that?
    And are you a group or a herd?

  45. One herd doesn’t value human life much: BBC on geo-engineering and urban food production:

    “Schemes to tackle climate change could prove disastrous for billions of people, but might be required for the good of the planet, scientists say. That is the conclusion of a new set of studies into what’s become known as geo-engineering.”

    Who determines “What is good for the planet”? Humans. Who decides that wigftp justifies damaging up to 4 billion people? Those same humans. Have the 4 billion been consulted? No.

    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30197085

    “Urban agriculture is playing an increasingly important role in global food security, a study has suggested.

    “Dr Drechsel said that when urban farming was compared with other (ie rural) farming systems, the results were surprising. For example, the total area of rice farming in South Asia was smaller than what was being cultivated in urban areas around the globe.

    “Likewise, total maize production in sub-Saharan Africa was not as large as the area under cultivation in urban areas around the world.”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-30182326

    • “One of the largest, known as Lohafex, was an Indian-German experiment in 2009 which involved dumping six tonnes of an iron solution into the South Atlantic to encourage plankton to bloom – trapping carbon which would then be sent to the seabed when the organisms died. Results showed limited success.”

      Around the same time as these potty people were adding six tonnes of iron solution in the wrong way, the Big Dust from central Australia in 2009 (result of good rain leading to silt which is blown west in certain spring conditions favoured by El Nino) deposited an incalculable tonnage of iron in the Pacific, all in the right way. Maybe if someone had called the dust a “climate mechanism” it would have got more attention, especially if there were the usual implied downers about erosion and over-grazing.

      Of course, the potty people would not have noticed and would not have cared. They were too deeply engaged in being potty. By the time you’re into geoengineering, your space-cadetship is well and truly completed.

    • In the 1970s, they wanted to spread soot on the ice in the arctic in order to combat global cooling.

      http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2009/12/scientists-considered-pouring-soot-over-the-arctic-in-the-1970s-to-help-melt-the-ice-in-order-to-prevent-another-ice-age.html

      Whatever the budget for geo-engineering, we should have an equal amount budgeted to do the opposite.

      • John Smith (it's my real name)

        JeffN
        you shouldn’t mention things like this
        science made mistakes back then
        those days are so over

      • Stephen Schneider was finally against the idea because he thought there could be negative effects. I mean, how do our climate scientists work all this stuff out? Someone suggests sooting the Arctic – as you do – but then you get some more thoughtful type like Schneider who thinks: Weeeellll, I dunno guys. Maybe we should soot the Arctic to warm the planet, but, on the other hand…

        Of course, caution can be taken too far. When an out-and-out genius changes all history by reading past temperatures in bristle cone rings – something no ordinary genius could ever do – you just have go along. I mean, if the guy was completely potty someone would have noticed during that peer-review thing, right?

      • Overherd at the Lemmings’ Conference:

        ‘Stephen says, Stephen says …If Stephen told you to not jump off
        a bridge would you do it?’

    • Serfs tend ter favor Socrates, Judith Curry, Philip Tetlock
      and Faustino with regard ter recognizing the limits of one’s
      ‘expert knowledge.’

      • Climate scientists are experts. They know more about climate than anyone else. Of course.

        But who smuggled in the idea that experts are assumed to be honest?
        And interested only in advancing knowledge, wherever it takes them? And that neither they nor their paymasters stand to benefit from deviating from the scientific method.

  46. The ‘group grope’/ ‘herd’/ informational and reputational cascades leading to conformity are not new issues. HBR was writing about them in business contexts. The GM ignition switch fiasco, Barnes and Noble v. Amazon being a couple of recent examples. In the business world, there are supposedly two structural ‘corporate governance’ correctives (bothnpf which corporations often seek to avoid). One is independent boards of directors. Two is actvist/dissident shareholders.
    All the HBR mechanisms (many of which mechanisms are provided by ‘strategy’ comsultants), and the structural governance mechanisms are all missing from the IPCC, from ‘pal’ review, and apparently climate science generally. Only way to explain AR5 ‘increased confidence’ despite the pause. In the corporate world, that statement would have caused an auditor to fail to certify the AR5 ‘books’.
    But structural reform of climate science won’t happen easily because of government grant systems, with governments beholden to NGOs and associated campaign funding (Tom Steyer, Sierra Club, WWF, and Greenpeace being examples). It will take a ‘shareholder revolt’ as happened in Austrlia last year, and perhaps in the US this year.

    • Curious George

      The IPCC confidence is increasing all the way to zero. They are model “scientists” and live in a model world.

    • The January 2000 AOL – Time Warner Merger is a good example of shared delusion. How so very smart many really dumb people actually are can only be explained by the values of a dysfunctional culture in which they lived. Global warming is a product of that dysfunctional culture.

      • Wag, you gave better examples than mine. Another was ‘sticky eyeball’ valuation metrics in the dotcom bubble of 2000. In fact, CAGW seems increasingly analogous to Socks ( the dog muppet for Pets.com). Bust.

  47. These issues are true and occur in all science, so are also several other factors that may lead to faulty results in scientific work.

    These issues are obvious enough and common enough to make them well known to every competent scientist. Being trained in science includes being trained to counter errors of this type. In spite of these errors are done all-the-time in all fields of science. Furthermore it’s plausible that the issues are more severe in a field like climate science, where repeatable experiments are rare, many methods involve subjective judgment, and where political pressures are often strong.

    In spite of all these negative factors it’s not at all obvious that the main stream understanding of physical climate science is significantly biased. The field has grown large enough to involve many independent groups. It has attracted a larger number of highly competent individuals. Most important results are scrutinized extensively. All this seems to be enough to result in outcome that’s not seriously biased.

    There are certainly individual papers that are biased or outright erroneous. Such papers are often overemphasized in MSM and public discussion, but such attention tends to be short-lived, and of little significance in the long run.

    • ‘Simply put, if you’re attracted to ideas that have a good chance of being wrong, and if you’re motivated to prove them right, and if you have a little wiggle room in how you assemble the evidence, you’ll probably succeed in proving wrong theories right. His model predicted, in different fields of medical research, rates of wrongness roughly corresponding to the observed rates at which findings were later convincingly refuted: 80 percent of non-randomized studies (by far the most common type) turn out to be wrong, as do 25 percent of supposedly gold-standard randomized trials, and as much as 10 percent of the platinum-standard large randomized trials.’ http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/lies-damned-lies-and-medical-science/308269/

      This is everything to suggest that climate science is even more damnably compromised than medicine. That it is the best science that we have – in either field – is scant comfort.

      But it goes well beyond the little science and few scientists succeeding in shedding new light on a problem. It goes to the blogospheric echo chambers that are training grounds in climate memes, the artificial hothouse of bodies such as the IPCC and the strident moral posturing of the true believers. It all results in overweening confidence in something called ‘the science’. Something – btw – that bears little resemblance to the little science and few scientists. Of course – knowledge, imagination and a curious mind free to follow where science leads is a pre-requisite.

      The over confidence in the simplistic mishmash of climate memes is one thing. The solutions they would to impose inevitably involve controls of one sort or another on production and consumption. A magical solution as ineffective as it is impractical. It seems more a power grab by a technocracy than respect for freedom and democracy.

      How and why are these two aspects of the social problem conflated? A complete confidence in utterly ridiculous and simplistic notions of ‘the science’ and absurd policy tinged with an authoritarian social impulse?

    • With all due respect, I must ask, for all the funding they have received, what have they accomplished?

  48. Curious George

    “such attention tends to be short-lived, and of little significance in the long run.” My best friend accused me of not caring about our grandchildren. I value the significance of alarmism very high.

  49. It was probably already mentioned in the comments, but on this Thanksgiving holiday, thanks, Professor Curry, for hosting Climate, Etc.

  50. Eli Rabett
    “Serious question how many people here take seriously Steyn’s characterization of Mann as unscientific and the ringmaster of a tree-ring circus?”
    Serious answer, yes.
    Not releasing his code, not answering questions on his methods made his whole project a circus and he is the ringmaster. As to unscientific, I do not think Steyn said he was not a scientist or that he was not doing scientific work. He questioned the competence of the work noting that incompetence was the best explanation for Mann, the others involving misleading people as to [tree ring] data sets and algorithms used deliberately.
    Also do you believe the investigations of Mann and related investigations were a scandal, whitewash and cover up?
    Yes, yes and yes.
    As Eli would know very few actual investigations of Mann have been done and those by his university were so constrained and unhelpful that they actually invited comparison to the University’s scandal, whitewash and cover up, sorry, treatment of another employee that was the cause of the current court proceedings.
    A proper inquiry, focusing on the Mike’s trick e mails by the University would have stopped this being a scandalous issue.
    A proper inquiry into his scientific work has never been done.
    A proper inquiry into his Nobel Prize claims and the claims that he had not been involved in making the graph on the IPCC report when he was showed some elements of whitewash and cover up.

  51. oops wrong site. remove if wish.

  52. Jarrett-Obama are not having any luck finding a loyal progressive stooge to serve as the nominal (but well-paid) head of the Jarrett-Obama Lame Duck Empire’s Defense Dept. Several of our anonymous board characters are imminently qualified. Go for it. There could also be a seat opening up soon on the Supreme Court. Get your applications in.

  53. This is going – btw – when Judy gets around to it. There is a reason that the lowest common phuckwit is the only person ever to get banned from CE – and this is it.

  54. Hello and thanks for very insightful blog!

    I have a question or some thoughts concerning the “group think” blog.

    The notion of “group think” etc. i can maybe understand as a possible process “in play” concerning an IPCC executive document or prelude to policy makers. But i find it much harder to argue for such a problem with respect to the broader scientific literature concerning climate physics etc. The vast number of researchers in different fields and in different institutions should warrant such a “group think” risk as very low.

    I would possibly expect this “group think” mentality to be a more valid risk applied to the “opposite” side of the bench so to speak, especially concerning the groups that are actively supported by commercial interests that directly benefits from the lack of any action against curbing for instance fossil fuel emissions.

    • Higher the number of ‘researchers’, higher the group think risk. Bigger the paradigm, severer the paralysis.

    • The great beneficiary from curbing fossil fuel emissions from Big Coal is, obviously, Big Oil. There’s a huge commercial war going on and it helps to have the greenest uniform. This is something we’re not supposed to notice, but there’s a reason why Exxon etc love impotent energy sources, and why Boone Pickens loves the smell of minced eagle in the morning.

      Still, when “climate science” exempts itself from knowing about most of what’s under us and above us and loses itself in the confecting of non-Kardashian models…why hold those vulgar commercial people to a standard? If bristlecone pines can be thermometers, Gazprom can be saving us from nasty nukes and naughty coal.

      If this isn’t groupthink, it’s no-think.

  55. This critique seems to rest on the sweet but politically outdated notion that science is about ACTUALLY getting to the truth – rather than merely APPEARING TO, and in so doing being an impressive-sounding social tool in the hands of whoever is paying for it.

    Government is paying for climate science. Government likes taxing and ruling. Therefore government climate science is about producing ‘reasons’ for taxes and rules. If they weren’t incessantly hypeing up manmade global warming, they just wouldn’t be doing their job for chrissakes.

  56. Pingback: As We Are Wont | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

  57. This reminds me of two things: how the software engineer Dijkstra (of “GOTO statement considered harmful” fame) described group efforts: “A camel is a horse designed by a committee”. And how Richard Bandler, co-founder of NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming, a psychotherapy “art form”) re-aligned a dysfunctional board in a Fortune 100 company. He sat there watching how the board managed to NOT reach a consensus. Then he made cards with numbers on them that designated in which sequence people were allowed to speak – only. All of a sudden things went smoothly and peacefully. He had simply observed who tended to shoot down whose arguments and re-arranged the speaker sequence so that only positive re-enforcement or constructive criticism were likely to happen. that said, with a body like the IPCC things are different. The IPCC’s “findings” will influence who gets money for what, who gets tenured when etc. – even if this only works “through the grapevine”. It always ends like under Stalinism where you tended to second-guess which foot to put forward next. This is not something you can truly reform. It is only be abolishing the mechanism, like the polit bureau gave way to a more democratic structure in Russia (not yet perfect maybe, but certainly in theory with the ability to correct itself.