Science: in the doghouse(?)

by Judith Curry

One of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations. – Richard Horton

Research integrity has been a recurring theme and concern at Climate Etc.  Two new high profile cases of scientific fraud have recently been identified:

Important reflections on the broader issues are provided in an editorial in the Lancet by Richard Horton (editor of The Lancet), excerpts:

“A lot of what is published is incorrect.” I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules. This symposium—on the reproducibility and reliability of biomedical research, held at the Wellcome Trust in London last week—touched on one of the most sensitive issues in science today: the idea that something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.

The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness.  The apparent endemicity of bad research behaviour is alarming. In their quest for telling a compelling story, scientists too often sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data.

Our acquiescence to the impact factor fuels an unhealthy competition to win a place in a select few journals. Our love of “significance” pollutes the literature with many a statistical fairy-tale. We reject important confirmations. Journals are not the only miscreants. Universities are in a perpetual struggle for money and talent, endpoints that foster reductive metrics, such as high-impact publication. National assessment procedures, such as the Research Excellence Framework, incentivise bad practices. And individual scientists, including their most senior leaders, do little to alter a research culture that occasionally veers close to misconduct.

Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productive and innovative.

The good news is that science is beginning to take some of its worst failings very seriously. The bad news is that nobody is ready to take the first step to clean up the system.

JC reflections

Periodically, and perhaps increasingly as of late, high profile research misconduct is exposed, which acts to diminish the public trust in scientists and the research enterprise (but not necessarily ‘science’ itself).  Climate science had its place in this undesirable limelight circa 2010, following Climategate.

Unlike medical and social science, data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science – there is more than enough scope for data cherry picking and statistical methods to pretty much produce any ‘desired’ result.  So while we may not see actual research misconduct in climate science, bias in climate research is a major problem IMO.

Nevertheless, the incentives for scientists are pretty much common in all these fields.  Graduate students perceive the need for a high profile publication in order to get a faculty position at one of the prestige universities.  University resources, big salaries, big government grants, peer recognition, media attention and policy influence are the rewards of publishing high profile papers.  Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper, and generally to behave with integrity.

Beyond the motivations of careerism, there is also the motivation to produce a result that will support perceived ‘good’ societal objectives – this seems to have been a factor in the gay marriage study, and is also a factor in climate research.

Relying on the personal integrity and ethics of individual researchers clearly isn’t adequate; the problem is with the institutionalized incentives.  I am very pleased to see scientific leaders like Richard Horton beginning to take on this daunting challenge.

 

459 responses to “Science: in the doghouse(?)

  1. Hang on Prof Curry, isn’t Mann’s ‘hockey stick’ an example of data fabrication in climate science? It was never true but it was asserted to be true.

    I don’t think I can agree with your view “data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science – there is more than enough scope for data cherry picking and statistical methods to pretty much produce any ‘desired’ result. So while we may not see actual research misconduct in climate science, bias in climate research is a major problem.”

    Seems to me that cherry picking and statistically massaging are the actions that result in data fabrication.

    Or to put it another way, the act of fabricating data can involve cherry picking the initial data set(s) and then statistically massaging them in some fashion.

    • I think alleged hockey stick data issues were cherry picking and analysis artifacts, not actual fabrication. See wikipedia for discussion of this issue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fabrication_(science)

      Falsification might be better term for some of alleged data ‘manipulations’

      • While I largely agree there wasn’t any data fabrication in Michael Mann’s hockey stick, I don’t think it’s right to say that means there was no research misconduct. Michael Mann intentionally hid the results of tests he performed which were bad while publishing the ones which were good. That’s research misconduct even though it doesn’t involve fabricating data.

        Similarly, Mann and his co-authors originally claimed their hockey stick was robust to the removal of tree ring data, but they quickly discovered that was false. Rather than admit their mistake, they published a new paper building upon the old one, effectively building upon what they knew to be an untruth. That is research misconduct even though it doesn’t involve fabricating data.

        (For the record, there was a bit of data fabrication in the original hockey stick. Mann et al duplicated one of their proxies (Gaspe) used in their PCA approach and used it separately. That caused it to be used twice. Even worse, on the second use, Mann et al extended the proxy back in time by adding on four data points so it could be used in the beginning portion of their reconstruction. This was done because the proxy was one of only two of their 112 which had a hockey stick shape.

        Duplicating a series and artificially extrapolating one of the copies, without informing anyone they did it, much less why they did it, may be a minor case of data fabrication, but it is certainly a case of data fabrication.)

      • Prof Curry thanks for the reply and link.

        I think of it this way: the hockey stick graph of temps was a research product, a visual asset, a piece of intellectual property, an item generated from the climate science research activities of a climate scientist(s). As a graph every plotted point is a data point. At each point along that long hockey stick handle where there should have been a medieval warm period but there was instead flatlined temps, data fabrication occurred. The plot point was fabricated data.

        Falsification is another word to describe it, sure. But fabrication is still accurate in my view.

        What is a graph if not a data product?

        What is a graph that’s wrong if not a fabricated data product?

        Climate science is very actively engaged in data fabrication in my view.

        Every single temp graph generated by NOAA GISS BOM et al that plots temps on x date as y when they were z is evidence of data fabrication.

      • Michael Mann intentionally hid the results of tests he performed which were bad while publishing the ones which were good.
        Say What? This is backwards.
        Michael Mann intentionally hid the results of tests he performed which were good while publishing the ones which were bad.

      • In the hockey-stick, Briffa’s data was plotted along with other data series. But Briffa’s data was truncated so that “inconvenient” data was not shown even though the timeline of the graph covered later dates. That is fabrication – the deliberate showing of incorrect data – because the graph deliberately and incorrectly showed Briffa’s series ending in ~1960 [the end of a series is itself data]. Had the whole graph ended in 1960, that could possibly have been construed as cherry-picking. It didn’t.

      • popesclimatetheory, what are you talking about when you say:

        Michael Mann intentionally hid the results of tests he performed which were good while publishing the ones which were bad.

        Mann and his co-authors published r2 verification scores for their 1820 step, claiming those scores lent credibility to their results. They did not publish r2 verification scores for the earlier portions of their reconstructions, ones which called their results into question (as they were indistinguishable from 0).

        Mike Jonas, I’m afraid we may be talking about different things. The original hockey stick graph was created by Michael Mann and his co-authors. The Briffa reconstruction you refer to was a separate thing. Briffa and Mann’s reconstructions were sometimes plotted together on the same graph (such as by the IPCC and the WMO), but they weren’t the same thing.

        That said, Mann did use the truncated Briffa series in his 2008 “hockey stick” paper. There, he filled in the post-1960 portion with data taken from other proxies (including some which used the instrumental record). That means he used the truncated series, then extrapolated/interpolated to fill in the deleted portion. Very screw.

      • In the kennel Inquiry’s cur-tailed.

      • “Stitching” of unsuitable data sets, e.g. adding high variance short duration data to smoothed rolling averages, without disclosure, is right on the line between cherry picking and fabrication. Maybe there’s a better term, I don’t know.

      • I think alleged hockey stick data issues were cherry picking and analysis artifacts, not actual fabrication.

        Leave semantic quibbling to lawyers.

      • I’m not sure what terminology I would use to describe the manifold ethical breaches of Mann’s work. They include: ex post selection of data, failure to reveal nonphysical coefficients in a fit, replacing fit data with instrumental data (with different resolutions!), etc. Any single one of those could perhaps be attributed to incompetence, but taken together they form a troubling pattern.

      • A fine line between fabricating and distorting,
        I’d say, when distorting data leads to fabricating
        a result, hey, it’s warming not cooling.

    • I think another way of looking at it is that climate science deliberately blurs the line between the computer program and the data fed into it. This is because they don’t know how “the climate” works, or how to measure it properly.

      Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        tell us how dear oracle.

      • They all must be written in LISP…

      • Steven Mosher

        Touche` mw

      • Ah, homoiconicity. I remember first coming across that not in Lisp but a variant of Prolog from Imperial College in the early 80s. It’s been making a remarkable comeback with Clojure among my web programming peers. Sadly, any problems with climate models are unlikely to be due to any such powerful and elegant idea.

      • “You have to derive many variables from physical laws”

        http://climatesight.org/2012/01/20/how-do-climate-models-work/

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        I said speak Oracle. For yourself. Passing gas don’t count

      • I said speak Oracle. For yourself. Passing gas don’t count

        hmmm… :o)

        Now, a four-year study of the area in the vicinity of the shrine is causing archaeologists and other authorities to revisit the notion that intoxicating fumes loosened the lips of the Pythia.

        The study, reported in the August issue of Geology, reveals that two faults intersect directly below the Delphic temple. The study also found evidence of hallucinogenic gases rising from a nearby spring and preserved within the temple rock.

        “Plutarch made the right observation,” said Jelle De Boer, a geologist at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and co-author of the study. “Indeed, there were gases that came through the fractures.”

        http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2001/08/0814_delphioracle.html

      • “I said speak Oracle. For yourself.”

        I just did. It’s my understanding from this website on how climate models work that many variables are filled with numbers derived from physical laws.

        Are these numbers considered data input or programmed values?

        Andrew

    • David L. Hagen

      The greatest fabrication (and statistical mismanagement) by Michael Mann et al. was in the “Hide the Decline” METHOD as documented in excruciating detail in the Hockey Stick Studies by Steve McIntyre, Ross McKitrick et al. Climate Audit

      • I always feel weird doing self-promotion, but in an odd twist, I just published a fairly short eBook which gives quite a bit of attention to the trick to “hide the decline.” I don’t go into a lot of technical details (though I link to Climate Audit where it does), but I explain what was done and how, in a way simple enough for anyone to understand.

        It discusses more than that though. Most importantly, it shows the context of the trick to “hide the decline.” This wasn’t just something one person did. It was something a number of people in the field signed off on. Even worse, those same people turned around and criticized other people for the very same problems their own work had.

        I don’t even touch on many issues which have been brought up at Climate Audit and other places, but it’s still amazing how much hypocrisy and dishonesty the eBook covers. Plus, I get to show how Mann’s 2008 hockey stick is no better than his 1998 hockey stick, despite him having 10 years to work on it. I think that’s funny.

      • Just to be clear that the above s not opinion but fact, here is the actual verbiage:


        From: Phil Jones
        To: ray bradley ,mann@xxxxx.xxx, mhughes@xxxx.xxx
        Subject: Diagram for WMO Statement
        Date: Tue, 16 Nov 1999 13:31:15 +0000
        Cc: k.briffa@xxx.xx.xx,t.osborn@xxxx.xxx
        Dear Ray, Mike and Malcolm,
        Once Tim’s got a diagram here we’ll send that either later today or
        first thing tomorrow.
        I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps
        to each series for the last 20 years (ie from 1981 onwards) amd from
        1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline. Mike’s series got the annual
        land and marine values while the other two got April-Sept for NH land
        N of 20N. The latter two are real for 1999, while the estimate for 1999
        for NH combined is +0.44C wrt 61-90. The Global estimate for 1999 with
        data through Oct is +0.35C cf. 0.57 for 1998.
        Thanks for the comments, Ray.
        Cheers
        Phil

        Its pretty clear that a method was chosen after a team had agreed upon a goal as stimulated by a common motivation. Not Science as we knew it once upon a time.

  2. “Can bad scientific practices be fixed? …”

    Sure. Will they be fixed? Probably not. Then again perhaps before ‘fixing’ it one should determine the extent of the problem. There is a lot of gnashing of teeth and wringing of hands. Maybe the ‘problems’ with science are just another shtick.

    …fundamentally wrong?

  3. Judith, I’m admittedly behind the curve on this, but what’s the straight scoop on the temperature adjustments on GAST?

  4. Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper, and generally to behave with integrity.

    Richard Feynman recognized this as far back as the 1940’s:

    “When I was at Cornell, I often talked to the people in the psychology department. One of the students told me she wanted to do an experiment that went something like this–it had been found by others that under certain circumstances, X, rats did something, A. She was curious as to whether, if she changed the circumstances to Y, they would still do A. So her proposal was to do the experiment under circumstances Y and see if they still did A.

    “I explained to her that it was necessary first to repeat in her laboratory the experiment of the other person–to do it under condition X to see if she could also get result A, and then change to Y and see if A changed. Then she would know the the real difference was the thing she thought she had under control.

    “She was very delighted with this new idea, and went to her professor. And his reply was, no, you cannot do that, because the experiment has already been done and you would be wasting time. This was in about 1947 or so, and it seems to have been the general policy then to not try to repeat psychological experiments, but only to change the conditions and see what happened.”

    (“Cargo Cult Science,” In Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!, W.W. Norton & Company, 1985)

    Rats in mazes, climate models … is there really any difference other than which end of the levers the rat is on?

    • David L. Hagen

      Richard Feynman further examined scientific integrity in Cargo Cult Science Caltech 1974

      . . .But there is one feature I notice that is generally missing in cargo cult science. That is the idea that we all hope you have learned in studying science in school–we never say explicitly what this is, but just hope that you catch on by all the examples of scientific investigation. It is interesting, therefore, to bring it out now and speak of it explicitly. It’s a kind of scientific integrity, a principle of scientific thought that corresponds to a kind of utter honesty–a kind of leaning over backwards. For example, if you’re doing an experiment, you should report everything that you think might make it invalid–not only what you think is right about it: other causes that could possibly explain your results; and things you thought of that you’ve eliminated by some other experiment, and how they worked–to make sure the other fellow can tell they have been eliminated.
      Details that could throw doubt on your interpretation must be given, if you know them. You must do the best you can–if you know anything at all wrong, or possibly wrong–to explain it. If you make a theory, for example, and advertise it, or put it out, then you must also put down all the facts that disagree with it, as well as those that agree with it. There is also a more subtle problem. When you have put a lot of ideas together to make an elaborate theory, you want to make sure, when explaining what it fits, that those things it fits are not just the things that gave you the idea for the theory; but that the finished theory makes something else come out right, in addition.

      In summary, the idea is to give all of the information to help others to judge the value of your contribution; not just the information that leads to judgement in one particular direction or another. . . .
      We’ve learned from experience that the truth will come out. Other experimenters will repeat your experiment and find out whether you were wrong or right. Nature’s phenomena will agree or they’ll disagree with your theory. And, although you may gain some temporary fame and excitement, you will not gain a good reputation as a scientist if you haven’t tried to be very careful in this kind of work. And it’s this type of integrity, this kind of care not to fool yourself, that is missing to a large extent in much of the research in cargo cult science.. . .
      But this long history of learning how to not fool ourselves–of having utter scientific integrity–is, I’m sorry to say, something that we haven’t specifically included in any particular course that I know of. We just hope you’ve caught on by osmosis

      The first principle is that you must not fool yourself–and you are the easiest person to fool. So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself, it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.

  5. Tim Urban has written an excellent article on AI (here: http://waitbutwhy.com/2015/01/artificial-intelligence-revolution-1.html) and it may not be long before autonomous computers are able to model climate to a degree far beyond the capabilites of their human mentors. Politicization of science and personality factors are not going away any time soon. AI may be the only way to settle the climate debate.

    • That article is not excellent. While there is some work on using AIs to try to model the climate, that article doesn’t provide any useful information on it. Instead, it provides a lot of material which, if described kindly, would be labeled “wishful thinking.”

    • Don Monfort

      I am with Brandon, on this one. Keith Urban has written better.

  6. The only way any scientific misdirection could come about would be a continuous long term (10 or more years) downturn in temperatures.

  7. Does anyone else find it ironic that Richard Horton, of all people, is making these remarks? If I correctly understand his views, Horton positively favors the politicization of science. It’s depressing that he doesn’t see the inconsistency between that position and the ideas expressed above.

    • I’m not all that familiar with Horton, can you provide some web links? Thx

      • I started looking at his opinions after reading his statement and the responses of various readers at:
        http://retractionwatch.com/2014/10/02/contrary-to-reports-lancet-not-retracting-controversial-letter-to-people-of-gaza/
        His statements there are fairly bland, but listen to more of his talk in the video link on that page. He’s passionate, sincere, brilliant, perhaps a bit arrogant — and (IMHO) rather scary.

      • Apparently Horton believe the Government Devil is better than the Corporate Devil. From the article:

        Sheldon Krimsky, a physicist, philosopher, and policy analyst now at the Tufts University School of Medicine, puts it more bluntly. In Science in the Private Interest, a strongly argued polemic against the commercial conditions in which scientific research currently operates, he shows how universities have become little more than instruments of wealth. This shift in the mission of academia, Krimsky claims, works against the public interest. Universities have sacrificed their larger social responsibilities to accommodate a new purpose—the privatization of know- ledge—by engaging in multimillion-dollar contracts with industries that demand the rights to negotiate licenses from any subsequent discovery (as Novartis did, Krimsky reports, in a $25 million deal with the University of California at Berkeley). Science has long been ripe for industrial colonization. The traditional norms of disinterested inquiry and free expression of opinion have been given up in order to harvest new and much-needed revenues. When the well-known physician David Healy raised concerns about the risks of suicide among those taking one type of antidepressant, his new appointment as clinical director of the University of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health was immediately revoked. Universities have reinvented themselves as corporations. Scientists are coming to accept, and in many cases enjoy, their enhanced status as entrepreneurs. But these subtle yet insidious changes to the rules of engagement between science and commerce are causing, in Krimsky’s view, incalculable injury to society, as well as to science.

        http://www.nybooks.com/articles/archives/2004/mar/11/the-dawn-of-mcscience/

  8. It isn’t science that is problematic it is its institutionalisation through poor ethical behaviour compounded by inadequate monitoring by scientific peers and from the pressure applied by various political groups.

    • I wonder how consideration of getting tenure plays into it these days. The game seems different these days.
      .

    • Hi Mike. Tenure is another form of pressure, I agree, especially for academics early in their careers, which is illustrative of the tendency for dissenting voices in the climate science field to be heard from people at the latter stages of their careers. Judith is such an example.

  9. Isn’t it the trappings of science where there isn’t science, though?

    Imagine the same integrity question coming up in astrology. Funding is rolling in and institutions are tending to find significance in planetary motions with respect to people’s fates.

    Some questions are raised whether the funding is affecting peer review.

    On the other hand, the data collection is being done scientifically, with respect to planetary motions, and many graphs are published showing trends and events that coincide with planets.

    So the miniproblems, planetary motions, are good science — nobody is questioning it really, or anyway they know how to fix it if it’s broken.

    But the whole science of prophecy with respect to events seems to be fraught with integrity problems and bias in publication.

    Is there a way to do the astrology more scientifically?

    No. It’s not a science. There’s no procedure that will fix it.

    You can put on lab coats, and build the cargo cult science airport, but it’s not going to be a science. It’s too complicated.

    Only pieces can be science.

    The integrity issues are reflexes of its not being a science, and they’re indivisibly bound to that. You can’t remove them without giving in about astrology not being a science at all.

    Then the funding stops, of course, and everybody has to find something else to do, but you can’t get around it.

  10. No biggie. Aristotle claimed to know stuff he had no way of knowing. It’s not new, but, depending on the level of freedom, the knowing ends up overtaking the pretending-to-know, which is why we have obstetrics, hip-replacements, weather radar, SUVs, Bamix…lots of good stuff.

    Sadly, we also have something barbaric in our lives called “Survey”, which disgraces and insults us all. Survey is bred within a bizarre cult known as Publish-or-Perish.

    But, given freedom, human understanding will go forward. Survey too shall pass.

  11. Two letters.

    A. I.

    Turn IBM’s Watson loose and see what we come up with.

    Unless Watson gets selected as an IPCC Lead Author, in which case all hope is lost.

  12. Perhaps it is also worth recalling that, while he was not an official “member” of the (2010) Muir Russell writing team, Horton also authored “Appendix 5: Peer Review” of this document.

    As I had noted in my post, Horton’s “assessment” provided much food for thought. Some of which was echoed in a shorter contemporaneous piece he wrote for the UK Guardian.

    One of the Horton samples that grabbed my attention at the time:

    “The best one might hope for the future of peer review is to be able to foster an environment of continuous critique of research papers before and after publication. […]

    “This process of weeding out weak research from the scientific literature can be accelerated through more formal mechanisms, such as the systematic review. A systematic approach to selecting evidence focuses on the quality of scientific methods rather than the reputations of scientists and their institutions. This more rigorous approach to gathering, appraising, and summing up the totality of available evidence has been profoundly valuable to clinical medicine.

    There may be useful lessons here for the IPCC. Climate sceptics and climate scientists, along with their colleagues in other scientific disciplines, would likely welcome this greater rigour and scrutiny. It would certainly promote quality and strengthen accountability to a more critical public (and media) with higher expectations of science. More importantly, intensified post as well as pre publication review would put uncertainty – its extent and boundaries – at the centre of the peer review and publication process.

    This new emphasis on uncertainty would limit the rhetorical power of the scientific paper (53), and offer an opportunity to make continuous but constructive public criticism of research a new norm of science.” [my bold and extra para breaks inserted for ease of reading -hro]

    P.S. On the “irony” front … As I write this comment, I’m listening to a CBC interview with Pielke Jr. who is speaking about the latest on the FIFA scandal front, which was first brought to light in 2010.

    Too bad that far too many prominent faces and voices of “climate science” (and those who uncritically echo their claims, not the least of whom are the oh-so-dedicated self-appointed CBC mavens) are still so far behind the ‘truth-ball’, eh?!

    • Thanks for mentioning Pielke and FIFA. When the dam breaks it really does. Looking forward to that in climate.

    • The FIFA scandal “breaking” has nothing to do with justice, but everything to do with Russia.
      The tell will be if Russia’s bid to host the World Cup is attacked but not Qatar’s. The latter hosts a major US military base, the former, not so much.

      • The FIFA scandal “breaking” has nothing to do with justice, but everything to do with Russia.,

        Perhaps so. Nonetheless, both the UNEP and FIFA are (in current parlance) “supported by” international bureaucracies. Although, FWIW, my guess is that FIFA, with a mere 400 staff, is probably the smaller of the two.

        Both are riddled with self-important, scripted, smooth-talking and scandal-smothering people at the top. (cf the silence of the UNEP lambs, not to mention the Western MSM, in the face of Pachauri’s considerably less than honourable history of behaviours).

        Furthermore, notwithstanding all claims to the contrary, the IPCC and its “parents”, the UNEP and WMO – including the currently Figueres-led UNFCCC – have nothing to do with “justice” (of any natural and/or commonly known kind), either.

      • There are some who think the sudden activity (after 24 years of investigation) is due to Israel’s imminent booting from FIFA due to discrimination against Palestinian soccer players.
        Again, time will tell.
        The US’ proffering of a Jordanian puppet candidate against Blatter is interesting though.

      • ticketstopper | May 29, 2015 at 1:01 pm wrote:

        There are some who think the sudden activity (after 24 years of investigation) is due to Israel’s imminent booting from FIFA due to discrimination against Palestinian soccer players.

        Now you’re getting really far off-topic – and very, very far from up-to-date (or even reasonably informed) in your off-topic “assessments”!

        Those who might be interested in the actual facts pertaining to the Israel-FIFA foofaraw might want to take a look at a more nuanced and informed view which can be found here.

      • You might note that I never said I believed this, but that some others did.
        If the Palestinians have withdrawn their motion, then the original thesis stands: the sudden fit of justice is a function of geopolitics rather than justice.

  13. You wrote: “Relying on the personal integrity and ethics of individual researchers clearly isn’t adequate. . .”
    Agree with that statement. But there is nothing new or recent about a lack of integrity in scientific research – or in any other field, or area of life. Pretenders seek prestige, grants, employment, power, respect, etc., through ethical shortcuts. Others, who should know better, typically say nothing. These patterns of behavior are readily observable.
    Personal integrity is a rare character trait, in my experience. I had professors who pretended to know more than they did, when I was an undergraduate. They got truly upset when they were questioned and couldn’t provide answers and when their hand-waving was not accepted as an answer.
    Saw the same thing in graduate school. Pursued a master’s degree in engineering and spent a lot of time in labs with master’s and Ph.D. candidates, and witnessed the torturing of experimental results to produce needed outcomes. I saw professors condone and encourage such behavior.
    I went into industry, worked for a Ph.D., V.P. of R&D, very well respected man, tops in his field. Formerly part of the Manhattan project.
    He was a fraud, wrote obscurely, made presentations to engineering groups, published often, and pretended to know things he didn’t. He spoke so obscurely, used so much complicated math, that many people thought he was just smarter than they were, but the truth was he was just pretending.
    He frequently published articles and made presentations to professional groups, including one case involving a project where he pretended to have researched and solved a very difficult process engineering problem. Only he had done none of the work, and he couldn’t explain what he didn’t know. So he just made up his very impressive, but fictitious, explanation. I know, because I had done the work. You would never have guessed that, from what he wrote and said on the subject.
    This pretender went on to be elected as the president of a national engineering society.
    I got tired of engineering, gave the law a look. Found the same unethical behavior, people who pretended to know what they didn’t, starting with law professors, continuing on to judges, from municipal courts through state courts through federal trial and appellate courts, right on up to the Supreme Court. The higher I went, the more arrogantly the judges pretended to know what they did not know. And the less doubt they showed about any conclusion, no matter how ridiculous the arguments they had to concoct to justify their rulings, no matter how much they had to ignore, misrepresent, or fabricate the facts, no matter how much that existing law might seem to stand in in their way.
    Look at Bush v. Gore, where the Supreme Court ignored precedents, and decided – because they could – that George W. Bush would be President. Had they followed previous precedents, they would have deferred to Florida judicial determinations of vote counts, and Gore would have been President. I couldn’t stomach Gore, but what the Supreme Court showed, was that in a really important case, they wouldn’t let integrity get in the way of the “right” decision. They knew what they had done, and wrote that their decision should not be considered a precedent for other cases.
    There are scientists to whom integrity matters, but they most often won’t get recognized for that. As for the rest, they need to be exposed, relentlessly pursued, called out, shamed. There is no institutional solution to the problem, no short-cuts, but vigilance by the public, and public criticism, will be effective.
    The media, too, needs to be called out for their part in allowing and promoting pretend science.

    • Well, two things rise to the top, cream and scum.

      What can be done to make sure the cream rise to the top and not the scum?

      Is ruthless red teaming of studies a partial solution?

  14. “’A lot of what is published is incorrect.’ I’m not allowed to say who made this remark because we were asked to observe Chatham House rules.”

    Scientists who need Chatham House Rules before they will even discuss the dismal state of scientific publishing, in life saving (or life threatening) biomedical research no less. What profiles in courage. What a great example of the real problem, not with science, but with the abandonment of cultural norms in general.

    Post-normal scientists have replaced the medical Hippocratic Oath with the new and improved Hypocritical Oath – First, Take No Risks.

    • Steven Mosher

      I love it when anonymous posters say crap about others lacking courage.

      • Ben Palmer

        SM: do you think crap becomes less crap when you put your name to it? I suppose you commented from your mobile phone and you didn’t have possibility to elaborate on what crap you found.

      • I love it when anonymous posters say crap about others lacking courage.

        An irony that stopped being delicious a while back, when a lighthearted mention was taken to be an assault on the whole person equivalent to stealing their DNA. (Ward Cunningham’s lovely phrase as we discussed this and related matters.)

        SM: do you think crap becomes less crap when you put your name to it?

        If I read Steve right he was saying it was crap to accuse others of lacking courage from a pseudonym. He’s already explained the referent, in other words.

      • Ben/Richard

        You don’t see the link between someone writing about others not having the courage to stand up and support what they believe, and then not being willing to write down their own name???

      • Rob: Sorry not to be clearer. I have often made the point Steve has here and have the scars to prove it.

      • Steven Mosher

        Ben read harder.

  15. It’s impossible for me to believe M. Mann and Al Gore are not both the fabricators-in-chief of AGW, the facts be damned. The big problem that, Ye Olde AGW Spécialiste d’Alarme have now is that AGW has become so politicized it is as easier to believe, “Aliens Cause Global Warming.” Everything we’ve seen coming from climate science so far only tells us that Western schoolteachers are at best, unconscious incompetents. “Whenever science is enlisted in some other cause—religious, political, or racialist—the result is always that the scientists themselves become fanatics.” ~Phillip Johnson

  16. Don Monfort

    “I thought it was a very ambitious idea, so ambitious that it might not be suitable for a graduate student,” said Dr. Green, who signed on as a co-author of Mr. LaCour’s study in 2013. “But it’s such an important question, and he was very passionate about it.”

    The prof. Dr. Genius Green had misgivings, but it was such an important and worthy cause. And the little neophyte grad student was so very passionate about it and hungry for publicity, knowing that his predetermined result would further his career, because it would ingratiate him with the ivory tower left looney elite. It worked. He get’s a professor job at Princeton, instead of landing at the local community college, or the third tier institution where Eli Wabbette dispenses his snooze inducing lectures.

    A clear cut case of science being misused for social/political activism. And we are all really shocked. This could never happen in The Consensus Climate Science.

  17. University resources, big salaries, big government grants, peer recognition, media attention and policy influence are the rewards of publishing high profile papers. Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper, and generally to behave with integrity.

    ok hmm.. So you get the resources, salaries, grants, etc by getting the wrong answers? Is that what you are saying?

    • Don Monfort

      You get the goodies by producing research that supports the consensus, joey. As if you didn’t know.

    • Yes, if there were things scientifically wrong in the IPCC WG1, you would expect the skeptic blogs to be alight with the “correct” science, but all you get are Monckton, Salby, some kind of solar delay mechanism, and complaints about thermometers in Paraguay. There is no there there if that is the best they have after all this time. They need to step up their game, because all we get posted here are scraps of seemingly hairbrained ideas that “skeptics” pick up on the internet with no actual research that would pass for science.

      • Don Monfort

        You are cherry-picking your strawmen, yimmy. Your incessant droning dogmatic doggerel on this blog is not doing your side any good. Is this one OK, Judith? I know I am supposed to go easy on yimmy and his huffpo BS.

      • JC Comment: nothing wrong with the quote from CA. However, I have completely lost my tolerance for comments that are trying to provoke someone or criticize someone personally. So try again and see if you can think of a good-faith way to introduce that comment into the dialogue.

      • Don M, OK, you name your best ideas of skeptical science then. This blog needs a list of what they consider acceptable skeptical ideas, so we can see what you’ve got. By science, I mean hypotheses that can be tested, if not actual theories that are supported by real data.

      • Don Monfort

        You got it wrong, yimmy. The skeptics don’t have to prove anything. We don’t have to show you no stinking list. We are the well-funded MOD crowd. We winning. You losing. About 7 billion people are not worried about climate change. Watch what happens in Paree, yimmee.

      • Jim D,

        If the IPCC supported the luminiferous ether, N Rays, or the indivisibility of the atom, I wouldn’t believe those either.

        Lots of scientists did. Lots of scientists believe in the non existent GHE. It doesn’t mean it exists, does it?

      • You know I don’t think have seen any area of actual science attacked so viciously like climate science by people who aren’t experts (except maybe evolution). Sure there are a few skeptical experts but the vast majority of actual climate scientists support the mainstream position. I believe this a more of a rebellion of the poorly informed ideological masses, not a real problem with the science.

      • Joesph writes- “Sure there are a few skeptical experts but the vast majority of actual climate scientists support the mainstream position.”

        What do you define as the “mainstream position” Often the “mainstream position is so broad that it includes potential for CO2 being net beneficial as well as net harmful.

      • Joseph | May 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm |
        You know I don’t think have seen any area of actual science attacked so viciously like climate science by people who aren’t experts (except maybe evolution). Sure there are a few skeptical experts but the vast majority of actual climate scientists support the mainstream position. I believe this a more of a rebellion of the poorly informed ideological masses, not a real problem with the science.

        Huh? Global warmers are exaggerating the CO2 forcing by a factor of 3, exaggerating the future CO2 increase by more than a factor of 4, claiming more CO2 is harmful, and claiming more warming is harmful.

        They haven’t proven any of their claims or attempted to reduce confidence intervals. Global warmers instead concentrate on analyzing the effect of the absolute worst case which is as likely as an asteroid strike, and blaming anything bad that happens on global warming – no proof required.

        I don’t attack the science – the recent measurement of downward IR indicates that the TSR is around 0.654°C which implies an ECS around 1°C. That isn’t much different than should be expected. But that is three times lower than the IPCC numbers.

        The mainstream position is an unsupportable joke. Consensus and “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” arguments seem to be the best the global warmers can do.

        There is no science behind the claims. Therefore what is being attacked are empty claims, not science.

      • Jim D: if there were things scientifically wrong in the IPCC WG1, you would expect the skeptic blogs to be alight with the “correct” science,

        There are important gaps in the knowledge. It is important to point that out, even when accurate alternatives are not known. Consider for example the famous case of the Clausius-Clapeyron law: it does not provide an accurate model of actual absolute humidity in a dynamically changing daytime; pointing out that skeptics also do not have an accurate model hardly makes the C-C model accurate enough.

        For another example from recent days, consider the quantitation of the Iris effect, by Mauritsen and Stephens, namely a model addendum to one of the “standard” models. It’s hardly likely that a first such attempt will provide an accurate model, but by highlighting an important unknown, it may stimulate productive research in the future. For me or another “skeptic” to assert that it is “hardly likely to be accurate” may be mistaken, but the fact that I also do not have an accurate alternative does not make the Mauritsen and Stephens model accurate (it may make them better scientists than I am, or better persons all-around, but it doesn’t make their model accurate.)

        What skeptics point out, often at loggerheads with each other, is that too many details are known too imprecisely for the science to be considered reliable enough to use the results for planning. Your message is that, if a skeptic points out that something is not known, then the IPCC conclusion must be correct. That is absurd. The responsible response is “How well is the IPCC conclusion supported by the evidence?”

      • Joseph: I believe this a more of a rebellion of the poorly informed ideological masses, not a real problem with the science.

        If that were the case, then complete, science-based responses to the criticisms would be plentiful.

        Consider, for example, the criticism that calculations of climate sensitivity ignore the changes in the non-radiative transfers of energy from surface to troposphere, also the indirect effect that “iris” changes have on the radiation in addition to the T^4 law. Have there been complete, science-based responses to the criticism? Not here. The response by Andrew Lacis has been to ignore the question, and the response by Chris Colose has been to ignore the difference between surface and atmosphere, and focus on a TOA imbalance/equilibrium argument. The fact is that the changes are not known, and the additional fact is that the ignorance is ignored.

      • Jim,

        I don’t need alternative theories. I’m simply asking for data supporting even one of the many claims laid at the feet of human caused climate change.

        You know, things like rising sea levels, increased extreme weather events, disappearing winter snow, threatened species, mass exodus by millions of climate refugees, disappearing islands, massive crop failures, war, famine, pestilence.

        All you have Jim is your models.

      • The skeptics are saying they don’t need alternative theories, but they want to claim that the science is wrong even though it fits the data. The skeptics need alternatives ways of fitting the warming over the last century without as much human influence. So far we have only seen the IPCC version of what would happen without increasing GHGs, which is much cooler. How do the skeptics explain the warming without an alternative theory for it? They seem to just have a “no” position on AGW without one. This is also known as denial.

      • The February study based on a decade of down dwelling radiation, if you follow it to the logical conclusion, indicates that only 0.24°C of the warming to date, and 0.164°C of the 20th century warming, was due to GHG.

        Now, if the models need more than 0.164°C to reproduce the 20th century temperatures, the problem ls not with the planet, but with the models. It is helpful to use real temperature instead of the CGAGW-boosted “adjusted” temperature as well.

      • Jim D,

        Are you being intentionally dense?

        Not every sceptic claims there is no warming or that there is no human component to it. How about responding to those who say;

        that there is good reason to believe that among the human influences CO2 may not be the most dominant.

        that almost every prediction / projection that gives a dire picture of the future is based only on models, whose output is diverging from observational data

        that to date none of the dire things predicted to have occurred or are now occurring actually have

        And if you only want to focus on “the science”, explain why certain scientists are defended so strongly when it is so clear that their work is substandard. That’s not saying all climate science is substandard, but some key portions are without doubt so. In fact I believe one of the purposes of this post is to show the problem is not limited to climate science. If it is endemic to scientific research as conducted today, why would you argue that the field of climate science is untouched by the problem.

      • Don Monfort

        Jimmy has to check with his handlers at huffpo on that one, tim. He will have to get back to you, as soon as he is refreshed on the appropriate dogma.

      • PA, I don’t think you know enough about the actual science to say you know the mainstream opinion is a “joke.” What are your credentials? Why is your opinion more valuable then the vast majority of people who actually what they are talking about?

      • I look at as if I were to go to some physicist and tell them they are doing something wrong because I heard about it on the internet and it seemed plausible to me,. even though I have no real background in physics. To me that seems a little ridiculous.

      • Joseph | May 29, 2015 at 11:10 am |
        PA, I don’t think you know enough about the actual science to say you know the mainstream opinion is a “joke.” What are your credentials? Why is your opinion more valuable then the vast majority of people who actually what they are talking about?

        Umm. Gee.

        Global warmers don’t follow the usual route of precisely measuring a problem, generating good models that emulate real world behavior, and using good models and good real world data make accurate future predictions that are proven to be correct.

        A study measuring the down dwelling radiation change didn’t occur until 35 years after the GHG effect was estimated. 0.2 W was measured for 22 PPM. This should be the TCR. The IPCC TCR is Ftcr = 2 * 5.35 * ln (C/C0), or twice the CO2 direct forcing with the TCR forcing coefficient being 2 * 5.35.

        If you plug 0.2 W (Fco2) and 22 PPM into the IPCC formula, Fco2 = 2 * 5.35 * ln (C/C0), the actual TCR forcing coefficient X can be determined instead of the theoretical 2 x 5.35:
        X = Fco2/ln (C/C0)

        The TCR (what you should have measured) forcing coefficient is 2 x 5.35 according to the IPCC. The actual X is about 1/3 of “2 x 5.35”.

        35 years and off by a factor of 3…. “Sigh”. But it gets worse…

        Global warmers have some problems:
        1. The global warming models are so bad they are just goofy wrong
        2. Global warming predictions seem to be less accurate than random chance.
        3. Future CO2 levels are claimed that appear to be physically impossible.
        4. Global warmers have so little evidence that they have to plead that the null hypothesis is they are right.
        5. Global warmers have to appeal to a self-interested and biased consensus (again due to lack of evidence).
        6. Global warmers have to insist that the precautionary principle (“if we don’t know what the hell is going on, we have to treat it as the most urgent problem in the world, and act immediately”) justifies expensive and urgent action.

        Sounds like a joke and not science to me.

      • Jim D: How do the skeptics explain the warming without an alternative theory for it? They seem to just have a “no” position on AGW without one. This is also known as denial.

        Skeptics do like to point out that the CO2 theorists have no explanation for the ca. 950 periodicity in the temp data, the ocean temp oscillations, or why the CO2 effect (if it is there) coincides with a peak predicted from modeling them.

        Try another analogy: say for the sake of argument that you and I work for different pharmaceutical companies (or perhaps I work for the FDA.) Your company announces that they have a new vaccine for malaria; I review the data and report that in fact it is no better than a concoction of pureed mosquito parts. You write that my company (or the FDA) does not have an effective malaria vaccine. So true, say I, there are gaps in the knowledge such that nobody has an effective vaccine. That does not make your vaccine worth more than a bunch of nostrums. It is important to continue the R&D so that humans will have a demonstrably effective vaccine, before one is used in a large-scale immunization program.

        So it is with global warming: no one has a demonstrably accurate model that can account for all of the data. In the face of ignorance, or inadequate knowledge, you promote “Cargo Cultism”: we have a partial explanation so let’s back it (perhaps with all we can afford, perhaps with more than we can afford) and ignore the liabilities..

      • The warming is nature trying to keep up with the almost entirely anthropogenically increased forcing. This part even skeptics like Lewis and Lindzen have accepted and they base whole papers on this starting point. They even accept that there is a positive imbalance, which logically means that all the warming so far as not kept up with the forcing. The energy balance deficit is a very clear signal of what is happening.

      • PA, if it is as ,simple as you say it is (anyone can see it) why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you? How does that make sense? Conspiracy?? No skeptic has explained that to me with any degree of certainty or sometimes even plausibility.

      • Joseph: I look at as if I were to go to some physicist and tell them they are doing something wrong because I heard about it on the internet and it seemed plausible to me,. even though I have no real background in physics.

        Is it true that you have no background in physics? How about engineering, or some other quantitative science, say chemistry or applied mathematics? Do you limit yourself to the internet, or do you follow the links to the published literature and read some of the original research?

      • And you didn’t answer question about why should your “opinion” on models, temperature record, or whatever over those who actually know the actual science?

      • Matthew, I have an interest and some advanced eduction in behavioral neuroscience. So I understand how science is supposed to work. And I understand that a selective reading of the literature will give you a “selective” view of the problem. In order to get a a thorough appreciation, you need a through knowledge of the related literature.

      • Joseph: PA, if it is as ,simple as you say it is (anyone can see it) why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you?

        Do you know what it is that “the vast majority of scientists who know the science” agree on? That humans have played some role in global climate change.

        Why or how it is that scientific fallacies sometimes arise among scientists has never been explained. But it has happened, unlikely though that may seem. You have doubtless read of lots of examples at ClimateEtc.

      • I think the vast majority would agree with the ECS range close to the one set out by the IPCC. I think the vast majority would agree that AGW has the potential to have severe consequences. And I would limit this to those who do climate science. It may be less for all scientists.

      • Joseph said “And you didn’t answer question about why should your “opinion” on models, temperature record, or whatever over those who actually know the actual science?”

        Joseph – everybody gets an opinion.

        It is up to you to decide how much weight to give to the opinions of others that you read on a blog (or even in a scientific paper).

        If you choose to give more weight to the opinion of someone who knows the actual science, that is your choice (and perfectly fine with me).

        The appeal to authority is an invalid argument technique however – but I am sure you know that. An expert saying something doesn’t necessarily mean what the expert says is correct. Conversely, what a layperson says isn’t necessarily wrong because they are a layperson.

      • Joseph | May 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm |
        PA, if it is as ,simple as you say it is (anyone can see it) why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you? How does that make sense? Conspiracy?? No skeptic has explained that to me with any degree of certainty or sometimes even plausibility.

        1. why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you?

        They don’t. I’m part of the 97%. I think it is getting warmer and man is contributing to it. That is the 97% global warming consensus.

        CAGW however is bullshit. That is why CAGW is never the consensus question.

        No skeptic has explained that to me with any degree of certainty or sometimes even plausibility.

        You must only have leftist elitist friends or not get out much.

        The US government alone is paying people over $20 billion a year to believe in global warming. We aren’t including all the windmill and dark glass subsidies at all levels of government or the biofuel mandates.

        With dozens of billions of dollars annually it isn’t hard to buy believers. And we haven’t included $ billions and $ billions in bribes and propaganda from the green lobby (fueled by fat-cat NIMBY billionaires).

        If you don’t believe money buys people, you don’t know money, don’t know people, and don’t live near DC where you can see how the government really works.

      • Joseph | May 29, 2015 at 1:45 pm |
        PA, if it is as ,simple as you say it is (anyone can see it) why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you? How does that make sense? Conspiracy?? No skeptic has explained that to me with any degree of certainty or sometimes even plausibility.

        1. It pretty much is that simple. The recent study that measured 0.2 W/m2 of additional down dwelling at two sites due to a 22 PPM change in CO2 should have shown 0.92 W/m2 if the high end CAGW/IPCC forcing levels were correct. Obviously they aren’t correct.

        The environmental absorption is now exceeding 55% of emissions and the rate of absorption increase is 2.2 times the rate of the annual emissions increase. The annual increase in absorption in GT is 120% (55% * 2.2 = 120%) of the annual increase in emissions in GT. The current 2.2 PPM average annual CO2 increase should start declining.

        2. why do the vast majority of scientists who know the science disagree with you? No, they don’t.

        a. The 97% “Cooked” consensus is actually under 1%.
        http://dailycaller.com/2014/05/16/where-did-97-percent-global-warming-consensus-figure-come-from/

        b. The original consensus was 75 of 79 self-selected scientists.
        http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
        1. When compared with pre-1800s levels,
        do you think that mean global temperatures
        have generally risen, fallen, or
        remained relatively constant?
        2. Do you think human activity is a significant
        contributing factor in changing
        mean global temperatures?

        I agree with the two original consensus questions, it is warming and man is helping. I am a 97%er. So claiming that the vast majority of scientists disagree with me is a flat out lie.

        3. How does that make sense? Conspiracy?? No skeptic has explained that to me with any degree of certainty or sometimes even plausibility.
        You either only know blindered echo-chamber liberals or you don’t get out much.

        It isn’t a conspiracy. Part of it is the grant oversight offices at the NSF and EPA. Reading through the RFPs it is pretty clear the grant money is fishing in the global warming pond. Another part of it is the political bias of the bureaucracy and academia (where most of the grant money goes). Another part is the influence of the top people in the field, Climategate was about the top people at the climate centers and 1 hockeysticker in emails in their own words discussing how to:
        1. Get “skeptical” journal editors fired
        2. Load the peer review boards with alarmists
        3. Block publication of skeptical literature
        4. Terminate the careers of skeptical scientists

        And another part is the money. The US government alone is flushing over $ 20 BILLION every year to buy more global warmers. This doesn’t include renewable subsidies by all levels of government, renewable mandates, biofuel mandates, etc. This doesn’t include $ bilions and $ billions of bribes and propaganda from Greenpeace, WWF, and other lackeys of the fat-cat narcissistic intolerant self-absorbed NIMBY billionaire backed environmental elites. Or the political contributions from people like Al Gore, who have carbon credit or other green businesses that could rake in hundreds of billions depending on government actions.

        If you don’t believe all that money doesn’t buy consensus, you don’t know money, you don’t know people, and you don’t live close enough to the beltway to know how government really works.

    • Clueless as usual Joseph.

      Try to understand what is meant by “high profile” papers. Then you might understand what the man is saying.

    • that to date none of the dire things predicted to have occurred or are now occurring actually have

      What dire things were predicted to have happened by now and there was a consensus around it?

    • An expert saying something doesn’t necessarily mean what the expert says is correct.

      My philosophy is that everything happens for a reason. What I want to know is why do the overwhelming majority of climate scientists generally agree with the IPCC about climate change if the errors in the science are so blindingly obvious? But yes I do tend to give more weight to the opinions of experts on scientific issues. What is wrong with that?

      • What I want to know is why do the overwhelming majority of climate scientists generally agree with the IPCC about climate change if the errors in the science are so blindingly obvious?

        I think what is accepted is that the physics of Co2 absorbing and then emitting IR photons in all direction, and that in isolation believe an increase in Co2 will cause warming, and nothing more.
        If the questions in surveys were framed around this, and whether there was any evidence that this has been experimentally proven, you would get two drastically different answers by most.

      • Joseph,

        micro6500 has given you one answer.

        I have another. That 97% of self-proclaimed climatologists (an admittedly ill assorted collection of mammalogists, mathematicians, physicists, astronomers, and so on), suffer from a psychiatric condition known as “folie à plusiers”.

        You now have a couple of reasons. Have you any good reasons for choosing to ignore either or both, based on fact?

    • Check below for my response, Richard

  18. Pingback: Science: in the doghouse(?) | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  19. from the editorial:

    “The conclusion of the symposium was that something must be done. Indeed, all seemed to agree that it was within our power to do that something. But as to precisely what to do or how to do it, there were no firm answers.”

    Perhaps this is in part because people are still far apart with respect to what the problems are. One thinks of the clairvoyant or clarity test:

    …Howard[1] defines the clarity test by saying that a quantity or event is clearly defined—it passes the clarity test—if a “clairvoyant would be able to say whether or not the event in question occurred or, in the case of a variable, the value of the variable.” Howard[1] defines the clairvoyant as “a person who knew the future, who had access to all future newspapers, readings of physical devices, or any other determinable quantity.” In later teaching Howard more broadly defined the clairvoyant as a person with perfect knowledge of all events and measurable quantities, past present and future, but no judgment.

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

    I am fairly confident that people are talking past one another at this time.

    • mwgrant: I am fairly confident that people are talking past one another at this time.

      In my experience, many people underestimate random variation, or positively don’t believe it occurs at all, and therefore do not appreciate the pernicious effects of selectively reporting a few results out of many. Believing in the “doctrine of necessity”, they leap quickly to the belief that everything in their experiment was caused by the factors that were measured and studied, and that therefor all the effects are “true”.

      Empirically, random variation is always present (or so we statisticians claim), so that what occurred might be due to something other than the causal sequence adduced by the experimenter. In my experience, most people do not believe that. So it is almost as if we statisticians are viewed as discussing “unicorns” (language borrowed from Steven Mosher.)

      So I agree with you: many of us are talking past each other.

  20. “data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science”

    Ehhhh…computer generated ‘data’ is at the core of ‘climate science’. If that’s not a form of fabrication, I don’t know what is.

    Imagine a world where scientists could only use real world data, at least when advocating for trillion dollar public policies.

    • Not to put too fine a point on it, but ‘Global Average Temperature’ is a fabricated number that is not global, not an average, and not really temperature. But that’s not what the stupid voters are told.

      • Steven Mosher

        Its actually a prediction but guys like you would not get it. So we dumb it down.

      • Gary M,

        Shame on you. You should have realised that temperatures are actually predictions. Thermometers are totally unnecessary.

        Highly intelligent people such as Steven Mosher realise that cooling is actually warming, predictions are really scenarios or projections (unless they are predictions of temperature), models provide more realism than reality, and CO2 is evil.

        Ho hum.

      • Actually it is an estimate. How do I know? Mosher told me so. That is how he got out of the trap when it was discovered the new “record” in 2014 as deigned by NOAA was actually lower than the new “record” as deigned by NOAA in 1997.

        Of course I can’t tell you how much my confidence level skyrocketed in all this. Mosher is my main man.

      • Steven Mosher

        Mike thermometers are necessary. But even they produce predictions. They don’t actually measure temperature. You knew that.. Right?

      • The Climate Etc obscurantist in chief is back. Telling us again how false claims of temperature trends in the past are “predictions.”

        “‘When I use a word,’ Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, ‘it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less’.”

        Data
        Means
        Measurement
        Prediction
        Usefulness
        Warms

        The entries in the Mosher lexicon of obscurantist deconstruction of language is limitless.

        But then, as a wag with a similar sense of amorality once said “It depends on what the definition of ‘is’ is.”

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote –

        “Mike thermometers are necessary. But even they produce predictions. They don’t actually measure temperature. You knew that.. Right?”

        You want to play semantics, right?

        “Thermometers” – why are they necessary, and what do you think they measure? Why do you need the measurements? What will change if you don’t bother measuring?

        “They produce predictions” – thermometers produce nothing. What are you talking about? Do you understand what you write?

        “They don’t actually measure temperature” – they measure nothing at all. You are correct. A thermometer sits quietly, and does absolutely nothing. You knew that, right?

        What are you actually trying to say? Feel free to dumb it down so we stupid people can understand. It sounds like nonsense to me, but I’m sure that a person of your calibre, vastly intelligent, and possessing an English major, should be able to communicate adequately.

        You know that, right? Oh well, maybe not.

      • catweazle666

        Mike Flynn: “but I’m sure that a person of your calibre, vastly intelligent, and possessing an English major, should be able to communicate adequately.”

        [Citation required]

      • I have really enjoyed this thread. Glad to see that Mosher’s pompous comments do not go unremarked.

    • Mosher is really smart you see. And sometimes he feels the need to talk down to regular folk to show just how freaking smart he is.

      Some people have to forcefully push other people down so they themselves look taller. and it appears mr. Mosher is one of them.

      Got picked on a lot in school, Steven? Payback time?

      Some of your comments are really informative and interesting. Thanks for those! Too bad a lot of them are drenched in bile and arrogant put downs.
      But hey, nobody is too old to learn right?

  21. Stupidity is an adequate defence to scientific malfeasance in many cases.

    Along the lines of “. . . everybody knows, so it must be true . . .”

    Often, research confirms, time after time, conclusions which turn out to be wrong or even physically impossible. “How can this be?”, he said.

    Possibly due to folie à plusiers. Papers (peer reviewed, of course) have been published on this subject. Forensic psychiatry.

    Facts are facts. Assertions are assertions. Deductions may be correct, or not. The facts should support the assertion or deduction.

    I support a return to the past, with Natural Philosophers and Experimenters, rather than Scientists, who are followers of Scientism, and produce whatever results are required by their paymasters, under threat of ostracism or loss of livelihood.

    I don’t think any will agree with me, but it’s my opinion. I know that my opinion is worth what you paid for it, and understand you probably prefer yours.

  22. Why do we here in the Northern Hemisphere have our coolest winter temperatures around the time of our closest approach to the Sun (perihelion)? Include a website (hyperlink) that addresses this question.

  23. Regarding: “Unlike medical and social science, data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science.”

    The map of land-based world temperatures for the year 2014 provided by NOAA’s National Climate Data Center, using GHCN data, is here:
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/temp-and-precip/global-maps/201413?products%5B%5D=map-land-sfc-mntp&products%5B%5D=map-blended-mntp

    About half of the data are “missing” according to NOAA. Are climate scientists getting the data from some other source? Do those other sources have “missing” data also?

    • Steven Mosher

      “About half of the data are “missing” according to NOAA. Are climate scientists getting the data from some other source? Do those other sources have “missing” data also?”

      yes there are other sources.
      there about 10 times as much data as you actually need.

      the planet is getting warmer.
      man does contribute to it.
      the question is “how much”

      • the planet is getting warmer.
        man does contribute to it.
        the question is “how much”

        It’s hard for me to understand why anyone has a problem with that statement.

      • opluso,

        The question should be “who cares?” Certainly not people about to die of cold. Maybe people who have heat phobia?

        Steven Mosher is far too intelligent to care about people freezing to death. Maybe he thinks they are too dumb to move – like the people in the desert or Death Valley who probably think it’s too hot. That might indicate dumbness also, I guess, at least in Steven’s mind.

        I wonder how Steven calculates the dumb quotient of people he’s never met, and knows nothing about? Ah, it’s obviously related to anyone not showing proper respect for the giant intellect, the first class, all knowing mind of Mosher!

        Discussing the future as if it were fact, is a recreation for the deluded. Do you not agree? A battle of the estimates or predictions would seem to be less than useful. I’m always willing to accept new facts – not unsubstantiated assertions.

      • the planet is getting warmer.
        man does contribute to it.
        the question is “how much”

        It’s hard for me to understand why anyone has a problem with that statement.

        Me too. This isn’t where climate science should be in the doghouse and we score an own goal of massive proportions, playing into the hands of the dissemblers, when we imply that it is.

      • “the planet is getting warmer”

        Except for when the line squiggles downward.

        That’s means it’s getting colder.

        Andrew

      • Mike Flynn

        “The question should be “who cares?””

        No. That definitely should not be the question. ‘How much?’ clearly influences who will care.

      • “the planet is getting warmer.
        man does contribute to it.
        the question is “how much””

        Yep!

      • catweazle666

        Steven Mosher: “the planet is getting warmer.”

        Except that it isn’t. Or not for between 18 and 26 years, depending on which dataset you choose.

    • Steven Mosher redefined the Global Average Temperature to be a prediction. He is predicting it is getting warmer.

      Who needs reality when you can have the far more useful Steven Mosher GAT? Worried about Gavin Schmidt only claiming a 38% chance of 2014 being the HOTTEST YEAR EVAH?

      Get your Steven Mosher Predicted GAT! More accurate than the real thing!
      Every year warmer than the one before!

      Climatology in the service of Man.

      • In the GIStemp record there are 135 years. 2014 is the warmest year. It held the record for the warmest 12 months for 31 days.

      • Steven Mosher redefined the Global Average Temperature to be a prediction.

        No. He, like many, infers warming from a particular statistic’s evolution over time, but he did not redefine that statistic.* Also for the record: The concept of an average is to arrive at a single-value measure of the centering tendency of a distribution of values, e.g., an annual average global temperature. It can be and is calculated in different ways and so it is usually important to specify how the calculation is done when the discussion is quantitative..
        ————
        * SM did not even define it in his comment nor was it necessary.

      • However, I do find his use of the term prediction to be confusing at times, e.g., there at times where I would use estimate, but that can reflect difference in backgrounds (disciplines).

      • mwgrant,

        GaryM | May 27, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Reply

        Not to put too fine a point on it, but ‘Global Average Temperature’ is a fabricated number that is not global, not an average, and not really temperature. But that’s not what the stupid voters are told.

        Steven Mosher | May 28, 2015 at 4:01 am |

        Its actually a prediction but guys like you would not get it. So we dumb it down.

        I knows it’s difficult to keep track of Mosher’s diversions and prevarications. He frequently takes both sides of an argument, sometimes within hours of one another. I linked to a group of them once. I will see if I can find it, since he is in such fine obscurantist form again today.

        My favorite was his comment that “there is no such thing as ground truth.” A comment he made shortly after claiming elsewhere that GCMs were validated against “ground truth” – said “ground truth”, he later admitted, being more computer generated data.

      • Mike,
        According to Gavin, do any years have a greater than 38% chance of being the warmest year?

      • Hi Gary

        Yes an average global temperature is a fabricated number—that is the nature of averages which by various methodologies boil a collection of numbers down to one. Statistics are fabricated numbers. That is why “it is usually important to specify how the calculation is done when the discussion is quantitative.” That is also why estimate error has to be taken up.

        One also has to keep in mind that the idea of an average global temperature (for a given time interval—more ‘averaging’) is a conceptual fabrication, but that does not prevent it from being a potentially useful metric.

        As for Steven’s use of ‘prediction’, Mike Flynn’s comment suggests an bottom-line read that is certainly different than mine. Frankly I think Mike is headed in the wrong direction, but here Steven is ambiguous and that is not helpful to anyone whom might be behind on the curve. By my parsing the average global temperature metric is estimated, not predicted. Maybe my read of his comment is wrong, but that is of little real concern.

        Diversions? Taking both sides on an argument? Steven long ago noted that he approaches CE as a sandbox…fair enough. Prevarications? Come on! Gotta overlook occasional fouls and let the game be played. :O)

      • I don’t want to waste my time on this idiocy, but the next year, I believe, is 2010 at 23%. The race is over. It had a set of rules. The photographs shows a nose in front, and it is the nose of horse 2014. And it is not very close.

        And what the whatever does it matte?. It’s a heatwave. we’re in a heatwave. Do you honestly think your castigation of Schmidt and NASA looks anything other than partisan lunacy when the 12-month mean just 3 months later is .73C. 1997 was the warmest year. Ever hear anybody talk about it being the warmest year?

        Of course not. Because 1998 beat it by a country mile. So far, 2015 is beating 2014 by a comfortable margin, and it could be a country mile by the end of 2015. The BoM’s latest ENSO forecast has higher ONI numbers. Much higher. ENSO – easy come and easy go. It could end up anywhere, including way hotter than anything seen in the instrument record or the depths of La Nina by September, but it looking way hotter.

        But yeah, I’m whistling past the graveyard. LMAO.

      • I apologise to all who failed to appreciate I was endeavouring to use sarcastic humour to pillory Mr Mosher’s poor choice of words.

        I do not know what he intended to write, only what he wrote.

        As others have pointed out, Mr Mosher’s language tends to be, shall we say, flexible. In Mosherworld, one would probably find that one plus one is an absurdity, as one is only approximately one, and certainly the prediction that one one plus one equals two is only an estimate, dependant on who provides the ones, and what the approximately two is to be used for.

        Sorry. I’m doing it again. It’s the Warmist influence.

      • bobdroege,

        You wrote –

        “Mike,
        According to Gavin, do any years have a greater than 38% chance of being the warmest year?”

        Maybe you should ask Gavin. How would I know? You might believe that Gavin’s estimates, predictions, scenarios, or projections, have some practical use.

        Obviously, I don’t, as you might gather from my comments. I believe Gavin is a Civil Servant, with a mathematics qualification. He believes that increasing levels of CO2 result in an increase in the energy content of the Earth, as far as I know.

        This is supposed to show itself as increased near surface air temperatures, or as missing heat hidden in the ocean depths or some other similarly unlikely situation.

        The whole thing appears to emanate from basic confusion. Gavin might stand in front of a blazing fire, and convince himself and others that they were feeling warmer because the CO2 concentration in the vicinity of the fire was very high, and the IR emission from the CO2 caused the temperature increase.

        All very logical, showing 100% correlation between rising CO2 levels and temperature. I don’t believe it.

        I don’t believe in N Rays either. Or the ether. Or zero point energy.

        Just because I don’t believe in CO2 induced global warming, doesn’t mean it’s true. As a matter of fact, the journal Nature has just published a study forecasting a possible reduction of temperatures lasting for some decades. How does Gavin assess the chances of this?

        The climate behaves chaotically, according to the IPCC. Make your assumptions, place your bets.

      • Forget 2014, the last 12 months look like the warmest of any 12-month period by a clear margin, and I think we are headed for more where that came from.
        http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/from:1950/mean:12

      • Mike,
        Then maybe you should read what he actually said on the subject before you type “HOTTEST YEAR EVAH”

        As for the Nature article, did you actually read it, even just the abstract, cause it does not predict global cooling in the next few decades, that is what I got from the abstract. But that has been around for a while, a slow down in the MOC would cause regional cooling to Britain and Europe.

        Looks like you are flipping a coin to see what you believe in, with the greenhouse effect, the ether, n-rays and zero point energy.

        I get two of four being real and one is another thing Einstein didn’t get the Nobel prize for that is more important than the photo-electric effect.

        It is correct to say that climate is chaotic, but it does not follow from that, that it is unpredictable. See,

        http://to-campos.planetaclix.pt/fractal/lorenz_eng.html

        play the Java applet

      • Bob Droege,

        You wrote –

        “Mike,
        Then maybe you should read what he actually said on the subject before you type “HOTTEST YEAR EVAH”

        As for the Nature article, did you actually read it, even just the abstract, cause it does not predict global cooling in the next few decades, that is what I got from the abstract. But that has been around for a while, a slow down in the MOC would cause regional cooling to Britain and Europe.

        Looks like you are flipping a coin to see what you believe in, with the greenhouse effect, the ether, n-rays and zero point energy.

        I get two of four being real and one is another thing Einstein didn’t get the Nobel prize for that is more important than the photo-electric effect.

        It is correct to say that climate is chaotic, but it does not follow from that, that it is unpredictable. See,

        http://to-campos.planetaclix.pt/fractal/lorenz_eng.html

        play the Java applet”

        Maybe you should read what I wrote, and quote the parts with which you disagree. I can’t see where you challenge what I actually wrote, or provide any facts that contradict what I wrote.

        You may believe you can predict a chaotic climate system. The IPCC says otherwise – from the IPCC wg1 –

        “In climate research and modelling, we should recognise that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the long-term prediction of future climate states is not possible.”

        Maybe you should tell the IPCC working group they are wrong.

        Before you do, put a value that leads to chaos into a really simple equation without complex numbers, the logistic population equation.

        Try something in the region of 3.57 or so.

        Now predict the value after say 826 iterations. How hard can it be? One simple equation, nothing tricky, one variable input parameter.

        Now what were you criticising?

      • Steven Mosher

        Mw. It’s pretty standard to refer to interpolation as prediction. When we estimate the value of unsampled locations we are predicting that if you took measurements at those locations the values would be as we estimate.

      • It’s pretty standard to refer to interpolation as prediction.

        Interpolation” as “prediction” is based on an often unwarranted assumption. Presumably everybody who uses this approach is aware of what that assumption is, and justifies using it in their particular case. Oh, wait…

      • Mike,

        Zero point energy is a fact, as well as the greenhouse effect, I guess I can’t challenge you on your beliefs, kind of drifts into religious territory.

        I think you misunderstand what the IPCC statement means about predicting future climate states, let me help you out.

        It’s like the applet I linked, you vary the initial conditions and you always get something that looks like a butterfly, something with 2 lobes, never three or more, never one.

        Double atmosperic CO2, are we going to get one of the warmer climate states, or one of the colder?

        Interesting prediction here from 1972

        http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~eps5/writing_assignment/CLIMATE_BKGD/Sawyer_Nature_1972.pdf

        Someone with more brains than I have, should calculate the Lyapunov time for the earths climate system, but I gather Sawyer has shown it to be more than 43 years.

        Chaotic systems are predictable for times less than the Lyapunov time.

        The IPCC said long-term predictions are not possible, but obviously, short term predictions have been made.

      • Hi Mosh,

        It’s pretty standard to refer to interpolation as prediction. When we estimate the value of unsampled locations we are predicting that if you took measurements at those locations the values would be as we estimate.

        I–myself, me–would say common instead of standard. As I noted above terms can reflect differences in backgrounds (disciplines). To wit I have Mo and Ed, Journel, Myers, and de Marsily books from my ‘earthy days’ on the floor and none even have the term prediction in the table of contents or index. However, estimation is the topic in multiple chapters. I would not be surprised, however, that ‘geostatistics’ pursed by some mathematical types and scientists/engineer working with time series may use different language.

        Also as AK suggests using an estimate as a predictor entails further assumptions. Use of the term prediction in a discussion here runs the risk of mixing the temporal element, i.e., trends–whether taken up in humor or earnest. [h/t Mike Flynn :O) ]

        BTW if I took measurements at those unsampled locations I would compare them with local estimates and not a global estimate. In addition global values are typically not amendable to direct measurement like local values are. What is a prediction for something that can not be measured? That is one reason why I like to refer to average global temperature as a metric or measure. It is a proxy construct and we need to remind ourselves of that continually. (Story for another day.)

      • Steven Mosher

        Mw of course you compare the local with the local. However when I say the global is 9.5c what that means is this. Select a random sample of unsampled locations. 9.5c is the best prediction you can make that will minimize the error. If however you ask me to predict a certain location then you compare the prediction with the local value.
        Note that the dullards who demanded a more precise discussion have left.

        That was my point. They demand a conversation they refuse to have

      • Steven Mosher

        Mw this may help you

        Station observations are commonly used to predict climatic variables on raster grids (unvisited locations), where the statistical term “prediction” is used here to refer to“spatial interpolation” or “spatio-temporal interpolation” and should not be confused with “forecasting.” In-depth reviews of interpolation methods used in meteorology and climatology have recently been presented by Price et al. [2000], Jarvis and Stuart [2001], Tveito et al. [2006], and Stahl et al. [2006]. The literature shows that the most common interpolation techniques used in meteorology and climatology are as follows: nearest neighbor methods, splines, regression, and kriging, but also neural networks and machine learning techniques.”

      • Steven Mosher

        Ak
        “Interpolation” as “prediction” is based on an often unwarranted assumption. Presumably everybody who uses this approach is aware of what that assumption is, and justifies using it in their particular case. Oh, wait…
        #########
        And they are often based on warranted assumptions.
        It is a stupid pet trick to note that assumptions may be unwarranted. Maybe unicorns. The burden you have is to
        A. Find the assumptions
        B. Show that they are important
        C. Show how better assumptions change the answer

        Note I assume you are intelligent.
        Note I assume that physical laws accepted today operated in the past
        There are always assumptions
        Demonstrating that an assumption is unwarranted is different than asserting the mere possibility of it’s existence. And more importantly an unwarranted assumption often proves useful.

      • C. Show how better assumptions change the answer

        How about when you throw the trash out altogether it changes the answer?
        Like that there’s no loss of night time cooling?

        BTW, what’s the uncertainty for all of that guesstimating, as compared to the actual measurements?

      • I’m having trouble understanding how the uncertainty can be so low for BEST. Modern day weather station thermometers have a +/- 0.75 C spread. Older thermometers might have had a +/- 2 C.

        But then, given the huge daily variation in temperature, the error introduced by Tobs stands to be huge. The daily variation in temperature is in the range of 10-20 C. The uncertainty introduced by Tobs correction will tend to be large. Perhaps another +/- 5 C.

        In a lab experiment, the temperature might be determined 5 times in the same system in roughly the same state. It’s straightforward to apply statistical techniques in this scenario.

        For surface temps, there are no repetitions for a temperature measurement. Each thermometer is in a unique environment, not measuring the same point above the surface. Applying statistics in this situation is not straightforward at all.

        It’s difficult to understand how the final product can have such a small uncertainty.

      • I’m having trouble understanding how the uncertainty can be so low for BEST.

        They make it up? But I digress.

        given the huge daily variation in temperature, the error introduced by Tobs stands to be huge. The daily variation in temperature is in the range of 10-20 C. The uncertainty introduced by Tobs correction will tend to be large. Perhaps another +/- 5 C.
        ……
        For surface temps, there are no repetitions for a temperature measurement. Each thermometer is in a unique environment, not measuring the same point above the surface.

        Depends what you do with the data, if you use the previous day’s min (or max) temp measurement to calculate the anomaly tobs can be ignored, as long as that station takes the measurement the same way, or you have a long enough string of measurements.
        Imagine you take min and max at the same time everyday, since surface temps on a daily basis is a sine wave (close enough) tob cancels out, same if you take a true min/max measurement. It gets ugly when you start with an average of min/max and then compare that to 3 decades of average temps. Draw it out on paper. Yes the change from min to max will likely be off, but it’s unmeasured so there’s no good way to make it better other than to just make stuff up. Daily temp is very much tied to Sunrise and Sunset, which also changes on a daily basis, all fixed time min/max measurements will be off most of the year.
        And the average daily temp increase is just under 18F.

      • micro – I’m a bit confused. A min max thermometer measures the min and max irregardless of the time it occurs. A cold front can come through at 11 AM and the max could be at 11 AM. So, I’m not sure what you mean when you say measure the min or max at the same time every day.

      • micro – I’m a bit confused. A min max thermometer measures the min and max irregardless of the time it occurs. A cold front can come through at 11 AM and the max could be at 11 AM. So, I’m not sure what you mean when you say measure the min or max at the same time every day.

        Min/Max do, I don’t know when they replaced older mercury thermometer. But, for the cold fronts, without human intervention at the time the record was taken, everything else is just guess work. It’s also relatively uncommon.
        Here, look at this string of temps.

        If you were using min/max to calculate the day to day change in temp (an anomaly) what would you get for an average daily rising temp and the following night’s falling temp.
        Is it perfect? he77 no, but it is the data we have, and that’s what I think we should be using, what we’ve measured, as it was measured and see what it says. That’s what got me started, I have the data skills, so I got the data and started looking at what it actually said before it was “processed”.

      • micro – what math package do you use? I’ve grown rather fond of R. I have the open source version that’s like Matlab, but haven’t used it extensively.

      • micro – what math package do you use? I’ve grown rather fond of R. I have the open source version that’s like Matlab, but haven’t used it extensively.

        I use Oracle sqlplus, it’s what i work with for work.
        it’s all here BTW
        http://sourceforge.net/projects/gsod-rpts/
        Well, I’m still working on adding surface solar forcing, so I haven’t updated the published code for that yet.

      • Mosh,

        Thank for your responses. With regard to prediction and estimation I was providing my perspective from three decades of exposure to and using geostatistics in a particular domain—geohydrology. No more no less. That puts me beyond help. :O)

        On a more general note I can appreciate the difficulty in providing precision and completeness on these topics (and others) in a blog environment. While necessary it can be difficult and tedious even in the slow-paced regulatory environment. I always appreciate your efforts in the blog cafeteria…even when proffered with a little lighter-fluid.

        [OT] BTW I am having a grand old time looking at the changes in variograms looking at things on the scale of physiographic regions…no surprise but it is interesting. Haven’t touched interfaces–land/sea, drainage winds, etc. … think that is case by case circumstances.

        regards,
        mwg

      • micro – I used Oracle SQLPlus extensively in the past. What I like about R is the awesome graphics packages. It make easy to show results graphically, which is much the way I think.

      • micro – I used Oracle SQLPlus extensively in the past. What I like about R is the awesome graphics packages. It make easy to show results graphically, which is much the way I think.

        There’s an R add on, plus a “Spacial” package for Oracle, but it’s more stuff to figure out with a limited amount of time to do it.
        I work with table data all day, so it’s just easier, charts I do in excel, not ideal, but it works.
        At some point I’ll probably do it, plus at some point I’ll try to write something to publish, but none of this aids my day job, need to keep the public separate from the work world.
        Also my name mi cro, is a homonyms of my real name it’s just there’s no way this stuff will show up if one of customers types in the correct spelling.

      • spatial not Spacial

      • micro – I, too, have a day job, plus an old house that we are remodeling. I don’t have much time to dive into the data, which is necessary if you really want to understand what’s happening. I don’t feel that BEST is intentionally making the warming look bigger than it is. I mostly wonder about the claimed error bars of the finished product.

        A scalar field isn’t anything magical. It won’t reduce uncertainty. The data isn’t a field, since the station points are discontinuous, so the field is generated based on those points.

      • It is a stupid pet trick to note that assumptions may be unwarranted. Maybe unicorns. The burden you have is to
        A. Find the assumptions

        I didn’t have to find it, it stood out to me as obvious on reading your statement about interpolation.

        B. Show that they are important

        In this case, I’d expect anybody thinking about it to realize its importance.

        Perhaps not for “global averages”, but interpolation, to be useful, depends on one critical assumption: that the field being interpolated is continuous, tends to linear with decreasing scale, and is essentially linear at a larger scale than the spacing of the data points being interpolated.

        C. Show how better assumptions change the answer

        The default assumption should be that the field is not subject to interpolation. Before using such a technique, it should be incumbent on the user do demonstrate some reason to consider it likely that the field meets those requirements.

        Otherwise, the assumption that interpolation is not a valid method of prediction will “change the answer” to be more likely to be right. An answer of “don’t know” is better than an answer that appears to know but doesn’t.

        Demonstrating that an assumption is unwarranted is different than asserting the mere possibility of it’s existence.

        It’s a question of the default assumption, which can be derived based on how much is known, and what it is, about the field being “interpolated”.

        Now, for example, before using interpolation to “predict” the values of, say, a temperature field at a particular location, one might demonstrate that the method appears to be roughly predictive by using such a method with a subset of data points, predicting values for those possessed but not used in creating the field prediction. IIRC BEST did something like that.

        As did Cowtan and Way 2013.

        As indicated in the response to the 1st comment – we have tested the methodology adopted in this study against both held-out observations and against grounded/floating buoys in the Arctic ocean, often located on sea ice. The results of our study indicate that the performance of the hybrid method is reasonable over ice (Figure 4; Figure S5).

        However, the actual demonstration, IMO, remains necessary. And it seems to me that both BEST and C&W have implicitly agreed by providing the needed demonstration.

      • and is essentially linear at a larger scale than the spacing of the data points being interpolated

        But it isn’t, surface temps are disrupted by weather fronts.

      • But it isn’t, surface temps are disrupted by weather fronts.

        Weather fronts move. Much more likely to be important are the effects of coastlines (transitions between open water and land), and major divides in mountain chains, where the average elevation and relief can often make substantial changes, to their values or their derivative WRT space. (Or, on occasion, both.)

      • “Weather fronts move”
        They move, but they aren’t linear, nor do they move in a regular direction as compared to surface stations, as well as rain can hit a station between two other stations that are not affected.

  24. Well, at least sports like soccer are free of corruption.

    • Climate science leads the way. Quiet achievers, beavering away with no thought of personal advancement or aggrandisement.

      Producing measurable benefits for all humanity, with humility and at great personal sacrifice.

      Adhering to the highest ethical standards, refraining from personal attacks on other scientists, making no dubious claims, and comporting themselves in a sober and dignified fashion at all times.

      Always prepared to offer objective, fact based, and experimentally supported opinion to any body seeking knowledge, free of personal bias.

      And if you believe that, you would probably approve grants to climatologists.

      • I got my degree at the ACME School of Climatology!

        You can too!

        Be the first one on your block to have a global average temperature thermometer in your own back yard!

        With our amazing technology you will be able to predict past temperatures, and record future temperatures, with amazing accuracy and precision, without leaving your back yard!

        Just pay $100,000 by iPay to http://www.ibelieveinthermageddon.com and you too can predict what the future temperature of the entire globe will be in 85 years to within 2 tenths of a degree.

        (Oh, you will have to put your intellect in a lock box, with Al Gore’s manhood, for use by the government at a later time and place of its choosing.)

        Order now and you get a nifty el Nino decoder ring and a youtube video of our super-secret CAGW handshake.

        Don’t delay, supplies are limited!

      • Thanks GaryM but alreeady got my granulate degree at

      • mwgrant,

        You know where I can get a good quantum wrench?

      • As soon as you try to use it, it disappears.

  25. So, there are too few rewards for publishing unspectacular truth, and too few consequences for publishing sensational fiction.

    Okay, but what to DO about it? (Besides appeal to everybody to be nice and ethical?)

    How about this – A fund to reward research that debunks other research.

    A bounty system.

    The Wild West Solution. That would liven things up!

    • One factor in grant decisions should be the extent to which the researcher has validated previous studies. With only about 20% of previous studies being valid this is important work.

      The researcher should get significant points for each previous study he has disproven, and twice as many points for each study where he has proven fraud.

      A rather junior researcher who has refuted a number of previous studies would win grants over a senior researcher who ignored prior work.

      It should be obvious that the low validity rate means that any study that builds on a previous study has to reproduce the existing study first – to verify validity – before building on it.

  26. “Unlike medical and social science, data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science – there is more than enough scope for data cherry picking and statistical methods to pretty much produce any ‘desired’ result. So while we may not see actual research misconduct in climate science, bias in climate research is a major problem IMO.”

    But there’s another problem that afflicts “climate science” particularly even when no statistics are involved: it is so interdisciplinary that too many who identify themselves as climate scientists lack the background in a given paper’s underlying basic science and/or math.

    Since I’m not a scientist, aspects of most papers I read leave me puzzled while other readers seem to grasp them immediately and comment with apparent authority. On those few occasions when I do take the time to dug into the substance, though, I not infrequently find that in reality neither the authors nor the commenters had a clue.

    Now, in a sense, this is just a question of degree; I’ve seen it in narrower disciplines, too. And climate science is not the only area in a paper can be so afflicted with latent ambiguities that nailing its meaning down could take a reviewer more time than it took the authors to write the original paper.

    But my experience with narrower disciplines has been that unless litigation is involved a proposition’s author will almost always acknowledge error when the ambiguities have been dispelled and the error is demonstrated to a mathematical certainty. By contrast, many climate-science practitioners’ ignorance of, say, even the relevant mathematics can enable an erroneous proposition’s proponents simply to brazen it out; the error demonstration is comprehensible to few who profess climate-science expertise.

    Again, this is in a sense just a question of degree. But the degree seems high to me.

    • “Cherry picking and statistical methods to produce pretty much any ‘desired’ result”

      It’s interesting to look at the fallibility inherent in the construct of protocols used in polling and not see the parallels of methodologies for which science is advanced. It’s well known how one can get any answer one wants from polling by managing the construct of human demographics (data input), inclusive of age, gender, region, sampling size, education, how questions are framed, political persuasion, etc.; basically the gerrymandering of information used to support conclusions about a polls focus. It’s no revelation that these are part of the methodologies of politics used to advance “science”, after all, 97% of all scientists believe in the view of AGW.

      Based on the varied subjects on this site and the demonstrable evidence described by so many of the politics entrenched in every aspect of not just climate science, but our higher institutions, the question of “is science in the doghouse”, and “the idea that something has gone wrong”, isn’t an idea, it’s a conclusive fact being draped in a tortured lament.

  27. Reblogged this on Climate Collections and commented:
    The high road of integrity is lonely and without reward other than the satisfaction of knowing one has done the right thing.
    –Anon

    No good deed goes unpunished.
    –Anon

  28. Reblogged this on Centinel2012 and commented:
    Sadly it maybe to little to late COP21 is almost here!

  29. David L. Hagen

    Retraction Watch documents these increasing failures by scientists.

    Futhermore J.P. Iondis explains Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

    Simulations show that for most study designs and settings, it is more likely for a research claim to be false than true. Moreover, for many current scientific fields, claimed research findings may often be simply accurate measures of the prevailing bias.

    Cited by 2792 articles!

    • I think retraction watch is doing a very real public service. I look at their RSS feed everyday. Not only is it important work, but it can also be entertainment. It was a lot of fun to post over at retraction watch when the Lewendowsky paper was retracted.

    • David L. Hagen: Futhermore J.P. Iondis explains Why Most Published Research Findings Are False

      nit pick here: the correct spelling is :Ioannidis

      Good link, otherwise. Thanks.

  30. Geoff Sherrington

    Three serious points follow.
    1. Climate research is not representative of all current science. Much good science continues. Please do not tar all science with the black carbon brush of the climate gloomerati. The temporary limelight radiating from this newby bastard child is mainly from poor scientists whose excellent superiors are pushed into the shadows. In a self.serving way, poor scientists can almost be identified by their personal preferences for science by press release.
    2. There were gross structural distortions created during the drift over the last 50 years of scientific funding from the profits of scientific achievement, to funding from taxes. Scientists perform better when they know that their future incomes as scientists are linked fairly clearly to their success in generating visible income. Yes there are projects for which funding from taxation is most appropriate, such as some types of warfare work or large projects like lunar landings. (This has ever been the case, only it used to be managed better). The danger of funding from taxes is that individuals can get to call the shots – and most individuals have a corruption price.
    3. Many countries and organisations are reprehensible for allowing inacceptable scientific corruption to pass unpunished. There needs to be more strength behind procedures that reward honest science and punish dishonest. Why is so little heard of disincentives for dishonesty in climate science in particular? Where is the equivalent process to reward a person who kills another after a false claim to be authorised to perform brain surgery?

    To illustrate, a light story from the 1970s. The tiny airfield at Katherine, Northern Territory, had a rudimentary shed with a glass box for public notices. These grew over time, something like this.

    Become a light aircraft pilot. Ten hours to solo, 50 hours to full licence, Contact …..
    Become a light aircraft twin pilot. 20 hours and 200 dollars to solo, 1:50 hourd to commercial licence. Ace Flying School, contact …
    Go fully commercial Train for Connair DC3 captain, you will need 1000 hours and 1000 dollars instruction fees.
    Qantas seeking First Officers. Minimum 2000 hours multi captain pistons.
    Prime Ministers’ Flight now has two Boeing 707 jets. Become a Captain, tour the world. Youl will needlevel A security clearance, 10,000 hour cap bash and impeccable flying record.
    Become a Helimuster chopper pilot. Need two cold cartons of Fosters for the instructor and a half hour ride on a merry-go-round.

    The lesson? Every day, Flimate science looks more like the cattle roundup.

  31. Lots of interesting points raised – the ‘idealised’ scientific method relies on falsifiability and therefore confirmation or falsification of previous work, but the modern practice of science particularly in academia is based on novelty of research and on many procedures that are borderline impossible to reproduce and replicate.

    Obviously, a lot of what is published will be proven wrong in the future, and as such having something published in a ‘peer reviewed journal’ is no guarantee of the rightness of the findings – the best you can hope is that the study has been carried out correctly. Obviously there are areas that fall under the broad canopy of science for which this is a huge issue – nutrition and food science being one where papers with opposing conclusions seem to be published on an almost weekly basis (e.g. low carb / high protein or high carb / low protein, cholesterol etc)

    One thing I was told at the outset of my PhD was ‘there is no such thing as bad data, just wrong interpretation’. Now clearly this is a little tongue in cheek, as you can have data that is misleading for any number of reasons (poor sampling, incorrect sample labelling or handling, inappropriate analytical methods, equipment failure being the first few I can think of), but the interpretation is then whether to include or exclude, and whether something mathematical / statistical can be done to improve the reliability of the data (e.g. applying a correction for instrumental drift). The key point however is that the raw data is there both for further investigation and for checking by others.

    The Feynman anecdote up thread shows that these are not new problems, and as an aside I will say that in both my MSc and PhD research I failed to reproduce results consistent with previously published work. Now, whether this was through my incompetence in the lab or inadequate documentation of the methods in the literature is unknowable.

    However, I think that there are reasons for thinking the issues around reproducibility and erroneous (although not fraudulent or fabricated) research are getting worse, for a variety of reasons:
    1 – The ever-increasing prevalence of ‘publish or perish’ attitudes

    2 – ‘Impact factors’, and the tendency of the most high profile journals (Nature, Science etc) to focus on headline-grabbing research, which of course is frequently those papers that find the most unexpected (and therefore most likely to be incorrect) results. Wasn’t it Carl Wunsch who said something along the line of ‘just because something is published in Nature doesn’t mean it is necessarily wrong’.

    3 – Over-reliance on (and an infatuation with) technology. Think Monty Python’s ‘machine that goes ping’. It’s very easy to think of complex equipment or computerised statistical processes as ‘black boxes’. Input something at one end, push a couple of buttons and get something out the other that you treat as data. I suspect in many cases researchers know less than they are letting on about the processes within these black boxes, and so can often make inappropriate choices that impact the output. And then they have to try to explain it in an article (with some benefit from the supplementary information) to a degree that someone else could replicate the process. Of course, climate modelling has this issue writ large.

    4 – Sometimes an unwillingness to share data, code or statistical processes in a manner that allows reasonable replication. Anyone who has followed ClimateAudit for a while knows the difficulties encountered in reverse-engineering the stats procedures used in some palaeo-climate papers and the unwillingness of researchers to share information. It’s back to Phil Jones’s comment of why should I give you my data, you’ll only try to find something wrong with it…

    In most cases though, I think it is important to remember to never attribute to conspiracy (or malpractice) what can equally well be explained by cock-up.

    • All very excellent points. I read Climate Audit and have been shocked at the many climate scientists who refuse to archive their data.

      Proprietary data should be an oxymoron when it is obtained by public dollars. If we can fix that problem alone, we will have made a giant stride.

      Laws should be passed that all data obtained by government funded research should be made publicly available, after a reasonable period to publish, file patents (if applicable) or in very rare cases because of national security issues.

      But just look at all the posts on the Thompsons (Lonnie and Ellen) at Climate Audit (to pick just one example). Truly difficult to understand how they get away with not archiving all of their past data.

      It is very hard for a layperson to understand.

      Phil Jones comment was truly anti-science.

  32. Craig Loehle

    Sources of bias and bad results:
    1) No one will investigate un-PC theories (see prior post on the Iris)
    2) Gate-keeping by the consensus
    3) Insisting that a cloud of points is “consistent with” something
    4) Never admitting any data is bad (Tiljander sediment, for example)
    5) Never admitting a statistical method is being used wrong
    6) Ignoring and not citing contradictory data/theories (IPCC is big on this, for example ignoring Svensmark, Earth’s electric field, cloud feedbacks…)
    7) never admitting a theory/model is wrong

    • Steven Mosher

      1) No one will investigate un-PC theories (see prior post on the Iris)

      I remember sitting in a meeting of many skeptics and Hans Von Storch.
      he offerred up GCM time to test any skeptical idea. NOBODY had any ideas to test. Its hard to investigate UNICORNS. Folks who are skeptical are free to postulate any crap idea they want. but they dont. There only idea is ABC; anything but c02.

      2) Gate-keeping by the consensus

      It is harder than it should be to publish crappy skeptical papers. Thats true. Ask Monkton… opps

      3) Insisting that a cloud of points is “consistent with” something

      That’s largely true. Clouds of points also are INCONSISTENT with some theories. Every day I use clouds of points to rule out things.

      4) Never admitting any data is bad (Tiljander sediment, for example)

      Yup.. this afflicts many people. Some skeptics for example still use old charts that have been deprecated. old data too.

      5) Never admitting a statistical method is being used wrong

      Yup. I especialy like the guys who do simple averages of temperature data, even when every reader of Climate Audit could show them why they are wrong, but wont.

      6) Ignoring and not citing contradictory data/theories (IPCC is big on this, for example ignoring Svensmark, Earth’s electric field, cloud feedbacks…)
      Read your last few papers. use that as a standard. How much contradictory data did you show? take the paper you did with Scafetta as a gold standard..

      7) never admitting a theory/model is wrong

      they are all wrong. the question always is “do you have an improvement?”

      • Here is an idea.

        As a layperson, I cannot actually deliver on my idea – but still I suggest it.

        I would like to see some work done on the validity (or usefullness) of model ensembles. I can sort of understand why you might run many different iterations of the same model and average them.

        However, I have no idea why one would average the runs (or selected multiple runs) of totally different GCM’s (each programmed with different physics or different parameterzations).

        So the use of model ensembles in climate predictions (or projections) seems to me to be worthy of investigation.

        To me (again as a layperson this is just my opinion) – each model needs to be evaluated on its own, against real world data (or even synthetic data). At some threshold, each model should pass or fail. Failure just means they need to tweak it again (which they seem to do every year anyway).

        If using ensembles does pass muster (I admit I am biased against the notion – so I cannot see how this is a good idea), only individual models which “pass” should be allowed into the ensemble.

        To me, many flawed models, which do not seem to actually model the climate, get mixed in and their flaws averaged away by the ensemble.

        What is the point of that?

        I say cull the bad ones and keep the good ones – evolution at work.

      • Craig Loehle

        Well Mosh, aren’t you clever. You think there is no invalid gatekeeping? How about the riot that ensued and continues to ensue over Lomborg’s quite mild apostasy? How about the post a few days ago about Lindzen–is he a skeptic with a crappy paper?
        For item 7, the correct answer is not: do you have an improvement, it is whether the model is adequate for purpose. The early airplanes(1900) were often improvements over prior planes but the planes still crashed. There are improvements in earthquake science but still no ability to predict them.
        For item 6, in my paper with Scafetta, we were trying to propose an alternative model–don’t you complain that no one does that?

      • There only idea is ABC; anything but c02.

        But of course, even a doubling of CO2 is a moderate direct change of around 1C. It is the presumed additional net of feedbacks that were posited to be large and now appear to be small that made the ball game.

      • Mosher writes
        “Folks who are skeptical are free to postulate any crap idea they want. but they dont. There only idea is ABC; anything but C02.“

        WRONG

        Your over generalization is only accurate a small percentage of the time.

        Many are skeptical because observed conditions are inconsistent with the models used to predict future conditions and appear to significantly overstate the rate of probable warming and thereby also lead to a vast overstatement of probable problems associated with any warming that does occur.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Your over generalization is only accurate a small percentage of the time.”

        Actually if you look at skeptics in PRACTICE you will find that the generalization fits.

        “Many are skeptical because observed conditions are inconsistent with the models used to predict future conditions and appear to significantly overstate the rate of probable warming and thereby also lead to a vast overstatement of probable problems associated with any warming that does occur.”

        Really? Skepticism PREDATES the pause. try again

      • There was a lot of nutty skepticism in the old days, which very few pay any attention to (no greenhouse effect, no 2nd law of thermo, etc). The skepticism that has survived is the role of natural variability – mainly the sun and ocean circulations – which has been given new life by the pause.

        Also, there are many new skeptics, a lot of people started paying attention this after climate gate, when the pause was well underway.

      • Steven Mosher

        “Here is an idea.”

        that’s a standard approach. the problem is recognized. the issue is the metric one should use to downselect models

      • Steven Mosher

        Craig

        “Well Mosh, aren’t you clever. ”

        I suppose so, ask Gleick.

        “You think there is no invalid gatekeeping? ”

        Stupid question. Of course there is. for lots of people.

        “How about the riot that ensued and continues to ensue over Lomborg’s quite mild apostasy?”

        how is that related to gatekeeping at journals. Lomborg does just fine.

        How about the post a few days ago about Lindzen–is he a skeptic with a crappy paper?
        Not crappy. incomplete.. and in the end inconsequential.

        “For item 7, the correct answer is not: do you have an improvement, it is whether the model is adequate for purpose. The early airplanes(1900) were often improvements over prior planes but the planes still crashed. There are improvements in earthquake science but still no ability to predict them.”

        Of course they can be predicted. people do it all the time. Some people dont live in california because they find the vague predictions useful.

        For item 6, in my paper with Scafetta, we were trying to propose an alternative model–don’t you complain that no one does that?

        That wasnt your standard. Your standard was
        ‘Ignoring and not citing contradictory data/theories ”

        you failed your own standard. no changing topics son.

      • “Really? Skepticism PREDATES the pause. try again”

        How about you try to reduce your over generalizations? Skepticism prior to the “the pause” was reasonable for a variety of reasons. Issues like models of undemonstrated validity come to mind.

        Geez- I guess based on what you have written that it was poor science to be skeptical of the evidence to support the claims for the acceleration in sea level rise that was claiming to be due to occur within a couple of years or that we would definitely be living through more frequent and severe storms.

      • “I remember sitting in a meeting of many skeptics and Hans Von Storch.
        he offerred up GCM time to test any skeptical idea. NOBODY had any ideas to test.”

        So Von Storch offered up GCM time to those who understand that GCMs don’t predict (I am using that word with its actual meaning) temperatures worth a damn.

        Why would anyone need to? The runs of GCMs have, for 18+ years, been an excellent ‘experiment’ in demonstrating their own invalidity.

        It’s like a phrenologist making predictions about your winning the lottery 18 years in a row; and then offering to let you use his phrenological model so test any contrary theory you have to the contrary, when you haven’t.

        Stating that a theory is false is not a theory in itself. Understanding that phrenology is wrong does not require making a new model for predicting the future from bumps on your head.

        Except maybe in Mosherland.

      • Steven Mosher

        Judith

        “There was a lot of nutty skepticism in the old days, which very few pay any attention to (no greenhouse effect, no 2nd law of thermo, etc).”

        That is still alive along with the salby nonsense. There is NO NEW SKEPTICAL ARGUMENT UNDER THE SUN, save perhaps the pause.

        ” The skepticism that has survived is the role of natural variability – mainly the sun and ocean circulations – which has been given new life by the pause.”

        There is nothing new in solar variability. And currently the revisions to TSI data will reduce secular trends. the solar story gets a huge test in the next 5 years. when temps dont drop.. folks will want to know why.

        “Also, there are many new skeptics, a lot of people started paying attention this after climate gate, when the pause was well underway.”

        Climate gate was 2009. And yes many people have paid attention after that, BUT they still focus on ABC. For christs sake they still think the temperature record is a hoax and Roger Sr is supporting that nonsense.
        its impossible to get people to simply call skeptics out for claiming fraud where there is none.

      • I disagree big time. There are major open issues wrt carbon feedbacks. The role of the oceans in attribution of 20th century warming (not to mention 21st century climate) is a major outstanding issue. The solar story is very far from complete – TSI is only part of the story, and even that part is hotly disputed in terms of the 20th century record of TSI.

        The bottom line is that climate models don’t agree very well with observations. And the overarching issue is relative importance of natural variability vs human causes – this remains unresolved. Even the IPCC says ‘more than half’, which is not at all precise, and there are good reasons to doubt even the ‘more than half’

      • davideisenstadt

        thanks mosh.
        I had not taken in my daily dose of snark and equivocation until I finished you posts..I have to mention again your blaring ignorance of post classical physics, that is, everything developed after say, 1890. Of course Fermi, the Curies, Einstein Bohr Oppenheimer and the rest really weren’t physicists, now were they? According to you, no.
        Physicists dont deal with probabilities as you wrote….unless of course they studied physics within the last one hundred years or so….
        Maybe you should take a MOOC on quantum physics, and you will realize that in reality, thats all physicist do, is deal with probability fields.
        The ratio of snark to real content in your posts has increased over the years I’ve been reading you.
        Now, if one discounts the equivocation and pissante quibbling over “prediction”s versus “projections” versus “scenarios”, contained in your missives to the world, theres no there there, to paraphrase Dorothy Parker.

      • Steven Mosher

        “The solar story is very far from complete – TSI is only part of the story, and even that part is hotly disputed in terms of the 20th century record of TSI.”

        I am referring to Leif’s work. It will take the gas out of many skeptical “arguments” which is why the leading solar nuts object to his work,
        As for “other stuff” than TSI. Unicorns are not new in skeptical theory.
        They have been arguing that there might be unicorns since god was a unicorn.

        there are no new skeptical arguments. They havent made step one toward providing a more compelling explanation.

      • Steven Mosher

        david

        “Maybe you should take a MOOC on quantum physics, and you will realize that in reality, thats all physicist do, is deal with probability fields.”

        earth to david.
        read harder.
        I’m well aware that all we know in any field is a probability field. I’m actually MORE skeptical than you are.

      • “a more compelling explanation”

        And scarier stories. Boo!

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher

        “The bottom line is that climate models don’t agree very well with observations. ”

        They agree quite well. Given the complexity of the system getting the sign right is a huge accomplishment.

        “And the overarching issue is relative importance of natural variability vs human causes – this remains unresolved. ”

        It will always be unresolved due to the nature of the problem. That is, you cant do controlled tests. So All you will ever have is the best explanation.
        to date. If the warming resumes skeptics will still cling to “natural” as an explanation. Thats because they never detail conditions under which they would surrender.

        Even the IPCC says ‘more than half’, which is not at all precise, and there are good reasons to doubt even the ‘more than half’

        More than half is plenty precise. I use that every day to make decisions.
        Annoying I know.

      • “All you will ever have is the best explanation.”

        This sounds like someone who has given up on doing science.

        Andrew

      • Steven Mosher: BUT they still focus on ABC.

        In my experience that comes up when someone recommends, demands, or self-righteously demands, government-mandated expensive measures to reduce CO2 output. In that context (which I would claim is a context that we are always in) it makes perfect sense to focus on the liabilities in the CO2 theory. The most important question related to the “iris effect”, for example, is whether it undermines the case for controlling CO2 (realclimate concluded, without an adequate empirically-based quantitative estimate, that it doesn’t). As long as a strident group of activists interprets every result that way, there will be an equally strong or strident group of skeptics of government who question whether the case against CO2 is strong enough to justify the proposed expensive remedies.

      • Steven Mosher: So All you will ever have is the best explanation.
        to date.

        That is not (not!) “all you will ever have.” You also have:

        1. estimates of the accuracies of the best and alternative explanations;

        2. a sense of how accurate the calculations have to be to be useful for given problems;

        3. lists of liabilities in the explanations that have to be investigated.

        Strong advocates of reducing CO2 have produced hand-waving and passion when skeptics have pointed out 1, 2, and 3 in the CO2/climate science. What’s needed in place of hand-waving and passion are more accurate models and more empirical research.

      • If Mosher would spend less of his time advocating for a particular conclusion and more time advocating for improving the science itself, the world would be a better place.

        Andrew

      • In response to:- “The bottom line is that climate models don’t agree very well with observations. ”

        Steve Mosher writes- “They agree quite well. Given the complexity of the system getting the sign right is a huge accomplishment.”

        An absolutely ridiculous statement by Steve. The models are not performing quite well given the purpose that the models were developed to forecast. The models may be useful in the development of better models but they are not useful for government policy considerations.

        You continuously come back to “ but skeptics don’t have any other creditable theory.”

        Your desire for an alternate theory is not required to be satisfied. It is a valid position to be skeptical that the actual rate of warming will lead to net negative conditions for the US (pick a nation) or the world overall and that there is not sufficient evidence to show that most CO2 mitigation activities are worth the cost of the activity to those paying for it.

        Someone claiming warming will cause problems does not make it true.

        Someone claiming they know the sensitivity of the climate to more CO2 also does not make it true. Demonstrating the accuracy of one’s forecasts by showing that they are consistent with observed conditions builds creditability. Accepting the outputs of models before they have shown accuracy for the purpose they were developed is bad science, engineering and policy.

      • catweazle666

        Steven Mosher: They agree quite well. Given the complexity of the system getting the sign right is a huge accomplishment.

        Given that there is increasing evidence that despite the ever-increasing positive gradient of the model ensemble, the climate appears to be cooling and has been since ~2000, they haven’t even managed to get the sign right.

        You’re delusional!

      • Steven Mosher said “there are no new skeptical arguments. They havent made step one toward providing a more compelling explanation.”

        Point 1 – skeptics don’t have to provide new arguments. Skeptics don’t have to provide a more compelling explanation. All we have to do is point out your side has not met its burden of proof in showing the null hypothesis is proven wrong.

        Point 2 – the null hypothesis is still in operation and it is the burden of climate scientists to prove it wrong. They cannot do that yet because the data have not been gathered long enough, and the signal is so small compared to the noise. The argument climate scientists make that no other explanation works other than humans did it is not scientific proof – it is mere hand waving and hypothesis subject to further proof based on data. No doubt once observations are gathered for long enough they will be able to show statistically that humans are having an impact – but they cannot show it yet. Maybe the data will show we caused 50% of the recent warming – maybe 100% – maybe 25% – the data is not in yet.

        Point 3 – It has been warmer in the recent past (1000 years ago – 3000 years ago – 8000 years ago) when CO2 levels were lower (say about 280 ppm), so merely pointing out it is warm now is not enough to prove the recent warming is caused by CO2. Yes there is a correlation – yes it supports the consensus hypothesis – but that is not the same as proving causation. That has not been done yet.

        Point 4 – The data is consistent with multiple theories. One theory the data is consistent with is that human emitted CO2 caused the recent warming. Another theory the data is consistent with is that whatever caused the previous natural warming (1000 years ago, 3000 years ago or 8000 years ago), with lower CO2 levels, is also causing the recent warming. The data do not allow you to rule out one or the other. We don’t have enough long term data to rule out all natural causes in favor of only a anthropogenic cause. We certainly do not have enough data to rule out 50% natural and 50% anthropogenic (which is certainly more in line with observations than 100% of the recent warming being caused by humans).

        So the attempted burden shifting implied by Mosher’s statement is invalid. Sure it would be great if a skeptic comes up with more arguments or actually provides compelling proof – but it is not necessary.

        Skeptics do not have the burden of proof – it remains squarely on the climate scientists (the consensus side).

        The most honest of them (Trenberth) admits the null hypothesis remains that all climate change occurs naturally until proven otherwise. He also advocates that we don’t have time to wait for this proof – we have to take action now – meaning he fully acknowledges that the null hypothesis is not proven false yet.

        The argument that we have to take action now is not a scientific argument – it is an advocacy argument, attempting to persuade policy makers to take action in advance of scientific proof (i.e. application of the precautionary principal). You don’t need the precautionary principal in the face of scientific proof – you only need it in the absence of scientific proof.

        I see a world in which 119.75 meters of the last 120 meters of sea level rise occurred naturally and only the last .25 meters is “caused” by humans (i.e. the last 8 inches or so). So 99.8% of the warming over the last 20,000 years is natural. Really how much of the last 8 inches was natural and how much caused by humans – we really cannot say definitively yet – much more data gathered over many more years will be necessary to pin down the exact attribution between natural warming and human warming.

        Until then – it could be mostly natural and a little bit human or mostly human and a little bit natural or anywhere in between. The consensus side has not ruled any option out yet and our side doesn’t have the burden of ruling any option out.

        All the consensus side can really say is:

        HEY – it is about as warm now as it has been before.

        I THINK it is caused by humans (but cannot prove it yet) and I THINK we should do something about it. I THINK we should emit less carbon but have no real plan on how to do that – other than create tremendous misery for billions by making food, fuel and energy more expensive.

        I am not sure what the COSTS or BENEFITS of emitting less carbon are – but really urgently think we need to emit less carbon. I THINK renewables are good – even though they cost more than hydrocarbons and we know we cannot replace hydrocarbons with 100% renewables yet.

        Think about the children.

        Oh – by the way – if you disagree with anything I say you are MENTALLY ILL.

      • Steven Mosher | May 28, 2015 at 3:10 pm |

        “The bottom line is that climate models don’t agree very well with observations. ”

        They agree quite well. Given the complexity of the system getting the sign right is a huge accomplishment.

        Hey Steve, Do you think if even just the interconnect delay was calculated as accurately as CGM’s calculate regional temps and rainfall your chip would passed timing verification?

      • Richard Arret,

        exactly!

      • ulriclyons

        Steven M:
        “I am referring to Leif’s work. It will take the gas out of many skeptical “arguments” which is why the leading solar nuts object to his work,”

        In my book you’re nuts if you think that climate and more particularly weather can change much from the norm without the involvement of the Sun.
        Leif on one hand is most thorough, and can give a well informed and honest answer of what the data says. But typically when the topic is the solar influence on climate, he will obfuscate and misrepresent the data, and never admits when he was wrong, e.g.
        http://joannenova.com.au/2014/06/big-news-viii-new-solar-model-predicts-imminent-global-cooling/#comment-1501043

        “As for “other stuff” than TSI. Unicorns are not new in skeptical theory.”

        That’s unfortunate for you to be othering “other stuff” when there are known influences of the solar wind on the polar atmosphere.

      • Richard Arrett @ 6.05 very good post, thanks.

      • Richard Arrett, there are two facts that you can use for attribution.
        1. The forcing change of the last century is anthropogenically dominated.
        2. The imbalance remains positive.
        This means that for all the warming we have had, it has not caught up to the forcing. Ergo manmade warming is all we have had and more. There is more in the pipeline. You only get out of that conclusion by denying one of the facts above or not accepting the energy balance concept.

      • The forcing change of the last century is anthropogenically dominated
        http://oto2.wustl.edu/bbears/trajcom/emconovsz.bmp

        Three things:

        1. The CO2 level was 310 before human fossil fuel emissions became significant.
        2. The February study says that forcing is 2 W/22 PPM. This implies Fco2 = 3.49 * ln (C/C0) in Wm-2
        3. Dividing by 3.7 Wm-2/°C to get the temp increase from CO2 forcing, it is therefore 0.24°C to present and 0.164°C to 2000.

        Now, the 21st century warming to this point should have been 47% of the entire 20th century GHG warming.

        According to BEST which is supposedly gooder than the other temperature trend guesses, it appears that the 21st century warmed about 0.12°C. The satellites are closer to the 0.0°C range. Math using February study results says 0.08°C.

        We do know the forcing change was 0.2 W from 2000 to 2010 because they measured it.

        The 20th century was 0.164°C warmer due to GHG. There was some error bound or confidence interval associated with the February study and you could probably claim a few more hundredths of a Watt for the 20th century. But even if you manage to massage the 20th century forcing up to 0.89 W/m2 (0.24°C) this ts not the dominant part of the 20th warming.

        So the statement that CO2 is the dominant cause of 20th century warming is simply incorrect.

        CO2 is the submissive. Nature is the dominant.

      • > save perhaps the pause.

        Depends on the time frame:

        Pat Michaels shows some gate keeping skills right there.

      • > You also have: 1. estimates of the accuracies of the best and alternative explanations;

        Citation needed.

      • Willard | May 29, 2015 at 7:35 am |
        > You also have: 1. estimates of the accuracies of the best and alternative explanations;

        Citation needed.

        Well…

        The real problem is GAST combines sea surface temperature, land air temperature at 4-6 feet (either 4 or 6 feet is apparently acceptable), and some guess at polar temperatures. The land measurement isn’t the surface temperature the temperature of the air above it. The polar estimates basically depend on the guessing skill of the person doing the estimates.

        GAST isn’t Global Average Surface Temperature, it is Global Synthetic Surface Temperature Index (GSSTI).

        The three different components are like combining data on red delicious apples, tomatoes, and strawberries to create a red fruits index. It is a number that will change with time and reflects real data. It isn’t clear what the index means. There is an implicit assumption that a 1°C in the temperature of an equal area of ocean, land air at 4-6 feet, and polar guess are equivalent. It isn’t clear to me what the “accuracy” of a mixed index means.

        At least RSS, UAH, and the radiosondes are measuring a single physical parameter of the environment – tropospheric air temperature. This makes them superior to the GSSTI products.

      • I wonder that the uncertainty is for all of those unmeasured places in their “prediction”. It’s 77,7F outside in NE Ohio, that must make it 55F in Thompson, MB Canada. Does anyone (other than BEST, NASA GISS, CRU) think that’s “better”?

        Steve always points out how wrong the plain averages I use are, but the uncertainty in a plain average is a fraction of the infilled BEST uncertainty, and while the weighting of the plain average is skewed, it’s also proportional to certainty, not a bad trade off I think.
        Plus if you really want to normalize weighting, I generate data on 1×1 degree cells.
        Hey, but I published my code and the data I use is all available on line.
        http://sourceforge.net/projects/gsod-rpts/

      • micro6500 | May 29, 2015 at 10:57 am |
        I wonder that the uncertainty is for all of those unmeasured places in their “prediction”. It’s 77,7F outside in NE Ohio, that must make it 55F in Thompson, MB Canada. Does anyone (other than BEST, NASA GISS, CRU) think that’s “better”?

        A more serious issue is that the actual sea surface temperature is measured but the land air temperature is measured instead of the actual land temperature. .

        The actual land temperature is only dimly related to the air temperature and a 1°C change in air temperature is going to have less than a 1°C impact on land temperature since the land loses about 1/2 its heat through other means.

      • A more serious issue is that a fraction of the actual sea surface temperature is measured

        Fixed it.

        The actual land temperature is only dimly related to the air temperature and a 1°C change in air temperature is going to have less than a 1°C impact on land temperature since the land loses about 1/2 its heat through other means.

        Actually what we have here is a land – space sandwich, with the atm stuffed between them, if you’re measuring Tsky in IR you should measure the ground as well, concrete and grass cool very very differently at night, as well as asphalt and concrete warming a lot differently during the day.

        I can imagine when we’re all done 90% of the warming is land use and jet contrails, and what are we going to do when we figure that out? Do you really think Al will stop flying around?

      • Jim D said “Richard Arrett, there are two facts that you can use for attribution.
        1. The forcing change of the last century is anthropogenically dominated.
        2. The imbalance remains positive.
        This means that for all the warming we have had, it has not caught up to the forcing. Ergo manmade warming is all we have had and more. There is more in the pipeline. You only get out of that conclusion by denying one of the facts above or not accepting the energy balance concept.”

        You are assuming your conclusion – we do not know the forcing change for 1900-1999 (or 1901 to 2000) was anthropogenically dominated. That is merely a hypothesis and the data are not sufficient to rule out natural variation. So this is not a fact but an assertion.

        The imbalance remains positive – by that I assume you mean we are warming. True we are warming – so I agree with your point 2. However, I disagree that this allows attribution. We have been warming for 20,000 years (i.e. the imbalance has been positive for 20,000 years – ok maybe not every year but on average). That does not mean the warming of the last century was dominated by humans. All it means is that – yes it is warming, and we don’t know how much of the warming is human caused and how much would have occurred naturally in the absence of humans.

        Once we have enough data to do attribution, it could turn out to be 49% anthro and 51% natural, for all we know. We cannot say with certainty at the present time, based on our current data exactly how much warming was caused by humans versus nature.

        Bottom line – everybody is guessing.

      • > Well…

        Thanks for playing.

      • Jim D: You only get out of that conclusion by denying one of the facts above or not accepting the energy balance concept.

        No. You can accept the “energy balance concept” while pointing to liabilities, errors, omissions, approximations (of unknown error size) in the extant calculations. Most of the calculations of “climate sensitivity” (maybe all except mine) assume that the temperature changes on the surface and in the troposphere are the same — it’s a part of the “equilibrium assumption”. I showed that if you look at changes in the energy flows at the surface you get a different “sensitivity” estimate for the surface than the other estimates. I have put it up for comment here at ClimateEtc and at RealClimate, but not gotten it into an archival journal yet. A few dozen people have downloaded it from ResearchGate.

        To repeat: you can accept the “energy balance concept” while describing the liabilities in the current energy balance calculations.

      • Ricard Arrett, you are conflating forcing and warming. The only natural forcings of any significance are the sun and volcanoes, and these between them add up to less than 10% of the forcing change from anthropogenic causes and it is not even clear what sign that has. Warming is the response to forcing. The imbalance is the forcing left over that has not been responded to yet. It shows up as a radiative imbalance and/or ocean heat content rising. This is why the imbalance is the proof that all the warming we have had so far does not measure up to the forcing change. Given that the forcing is anthropogenic, the warming response should be considered anthropogenically forced with more to come.

      • Matthew Marler, the surface and tropospheric temperature change are not assumed to be the same. The lapse rate feedback accounts for the difference, and is actually a negative feedback that offsets part of the water vapor feedback.

      • Jim D says “The only natural forcings of any significance are the sun and volcanoes, and these between them add up to less than 10% of the forcing change from anthropogenic causes and it is not even clear what sign that has.”

        The sea level is 120 meters higher than it was 20,000 years ago. The average rate of sea level rise over that 20,000 years is 6mm per year, and there have been periods where the rate was far higher than that.

        So natural forcings can clearly be at least double what the combination of natural plus anthropogenic forcings were last century (i.e. 6 mm is double the 3mm/year current sea level rise rate).

        If we perfectly understood all of the natural forcings acting on the climate we wouldn’t have to keep tweaking the models every year.

        So I disagree that we know all of the natural forcings of any significance or what the natural forcings are as a percentage of anthropogenic forcings.

      • Richard Arrett, we are not anywhere near an Ice Age, and orbital forcing has changed nothing like as much as either solar or volcanic forcing over the last century, which are themselves far short of anthropogenic forcing. We need to put things into proper perspective, otherwise we just confuse ourselves with erroneous musings.

      • All the low hanging icicles fell off the hibiscus.

      • Don Monfort

        I am going to have to help yimmy, on this one. Those are some very nasty points you raise, Richard. What about all that natural variation over the last twenty freaking thousand years? Shame on you. All what we know about natural variation is that it ain’t in any way shape or form responsible for any of the warming since at least 1950. We know this because….well we just know it.

        Wait a minute, we also know that some damn unfathomable quirks of nature are responsible for the pause that is killing our cause. The best we can come up with is the story about gazillions of Hiroshima bomb equivalent little heat thingies that have been exploding in the deep frigid ocean abysses. They are actually like depth charges, not bombs. They go off way down somewhere where they are not detectable.

        Now please stop, Richard.

      • There are some good arguments, Mosher. The most important is that the GDM’s are runing way too how especially for the lower troposphere.. That almost certainly means that ECS is a lot lower than we have been told. That’s pretty important I would say.

      • “That almost certainly means that ECS is a lot lower than we have been told. ”
        If I remember my history right, the PDO wasn’t even discovered(1997) until after the consensus became “fact “.

      • micro6500 | May 30, 2015 at 12:45 am |
        “That almost certainly means that ECS is a lot lower than we have been told. ”
        If I remember my history right, the PDO wasn’t even discovered(1997) until after the consensus became “fact “.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_sensitivity
        A committee on anthropogenic global warming convened in 1979 by the National Academy of Sciences and chaired by Jule Charney[13] estimated climate sensitivity to be 3 °C, plus or minus 1.5 °C. Only two sets of models were available; one, due to Syukuro Manabe, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 2 °C, the other, due to James E. Hansen, exhibited a climate sensitivity of 4 °C. “According to Manabe, Charney chose 0.5 °C as a not-unreasonable margin of error, subtracted it from Manabe’s number, and added it to Hansen’s. Thus was born the 1.5 °C-to-4.5 °C range of likely climate sensitivity that has appeared in every greenhouse assessment since…”[18]

        The ECS and TCR haven’t changed substantially since a guesstimate 36 years ago.

        This means global warmers are slow/can’t/won’t learners.

      • If I remember my history right, the PDO wasn’t even discovered(1997) until after the consensus became “fact “.

        Trenberth and Hurrell wrote this in 1992 (published 1994)

      • Trenberth and Hurrell wrote this in 1992 (published 1994)

        PDF here for anybody needing through the paywall.

      • I’ll have to read the pdf, here’s the wiki page
        http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pacific_decadal_oscillation it says it was named in 1997, “The Pacific (inter-)decadal oscillation was named by Steven R. Hare, who noticed it while studying salmon production pattern results in 1997.[1]” I think Pekka mentioned the paper was from 1992.

      • I’ll have to read the pdf […]

        To save you (possible) trouble, here are links to two ref’s that I found worth chasing down:

        Bjerknes J (1969)

        Namias J (1969)

      • The field defined by a parabola is not a probability field.

      • Willard: Quotes me: “You also have: 1. estimates of the accuracies of the best and alternative explanations;”

        Citation needed.

        You are asking for citations to the existence of R^2 and MSE?

      • Jim D: Matthew Marler, the surface and tropospheric temperature change are not assumed to be the same.

        Actual derivations of climate sensitivity do not make the distinction. Your additions are post hoc handwaving. Some derivations explicitly assume equilibrium, others implicitly.

  33. “there is also the motivation to produce a result that will support perceived ‘good’ societal objectives”

    This seems to be the key point and is true. This has always been occurring, but the issue is an increasing concern now because of the increase in the speed of worldwide communications.

  34. Can bad scientific practices be fixed? Part of the problem is that no-one is incentivised to be right. Instead, scientists are incentivised to be productive and innovative.

    A number of years ago the software company I worked for was concerned that the sales guys weren’t selling enough maintenance updates, so the next year they increased the commission on maintenance.
    Sales guys are smart, they work on the deals that pay the best, the next year maintenance sales were way up, but license sales were down.
    At the annual sales meeting the President got up and basically said, be careful what you wish for, you might get it (very paraphrased).

    But is it any wonder we now have this problem in science?

    But it also makes me feel better about my climate work, I’ll probably never get it published, I don’t have the CV to get past the gatekeeper, but because I get paid for doing something else, I’m not beholding to anyone, except my customers.

  35. Most scientific problems seem to have more than enough ‘wiggle room’ so that making any scientific conclusion is basically impossible, and all conclusions (or at least many) are feasible.
    But reality is not impressed by scientific conclusions.
    Some problems are simpler.
    The ‘scientific method’ on the other hand is laudable. But that doesn’t mean there is a scientific conclusion.
    I personally don’t believe any conclusion unless it can be proved in a few pages or can blow up an island. Or fly.

  36. Craig Loehle

    Another problem with science is a code of gentlemen. It is like the old upper class in England, holding the line against the masses, it is necessary to never criticize another gentleman in public. We academics are all gentlemen here and must be nice to each other. This may explain why journals have no interest in letters pointing out errors or studies that audit or try to replicate work. Too unseemly. While I of course am in favor of courtesy over rudeness, science should in the end be about the truth, not a club that covers each other’s rears.

    • Craig

      Mosh is NICE to people? Either that means the code is incorrect or he is not an academic…

      tonyb

      • Craig Loehle

        Well, Mosh is not an academic, but I wasn’t talking about him. I remember my major prof had a talent for pointing out errors in talks (and was usually right)–other profs hated him.

      • Steven Mosher

        as the blurb indicates the scene took 17 days to shoot. one take. no edits

    • Craig Loehle: We academics are all gentlemen here and must be nice to each other.

      Where did you get that idea?!

      • Craig Loehle

        I clearly wasn’t talking about the internet but about academia and journals. Journals do NOT like criticism of existing work.

    • Kip Hansen

      Reply to Craig Loehle ==> Yes, quite the case … collegial courtesy.

      Doesn’t apply when they attack ideological opponents in the Climate Wars — but you are quite right, none will publicly point out that a colleague’s work is junk science — even though he might say so in private in the faculty lounge.

      We saw some of this in ClimateGate.

      The same still exists in medicine — a doctor will almost never report another doctor’s misbehavior or malpractice.

      • Kip, the senior orthopaedic surgeon at Guys Hospital in 1968 didn’t quite admit the mistakes made by his subordinates after he operated on me then went on holiday – I still suffer from the effects – but he did say “If there’s anything I can ever do for you, call me.” A few years later there was, and he delivered.

      • Reply to genghiscunn ==> It is certainly an odd behavior, this collegial courtesy, that in most fields would be considered “covering up for colleagues”.

        I relative of mine, a practicing doctor on staff at seven Southern California hospitals, was “strung out” (addicted to) on amphetamines and sleeping pills — taking the uppers to wake up and work, and downers to sleep despite the uppers — a vicious combination. Many of his colleagues must have recognized the symptoms, they were obvious to me the moment I saw him. Not one colleague intervened with him personally, not one went to hospital administrators. I had to handle it myself — “Cold turkey, starting today, or I will report you to the state medical board.” He recovered and never relapsed. But it took family to do it, his fellow doctors would not.

  37. Government funding is a major cause of poor science. When a politician buys science – he gets what a politician wants.

    • “Government funding is a major cause of poor science”

      This is an overreach as a generalization, but accurate for any body of science offering quid pro quo incentives to advance a political agenda and direct capital back to academia. It’s a perfect storm when government politics also happen to align with the overarching principles of many in academia unless you believe academia is a bastion of conservatism. AGW science therefore is the “perfect” tool to advance new world order views because it can be leveraged in a myriad ways to advance the leftist manifesto.

  38. Another example of the doghouse problem:

    A recent report concluded that climate is driven by ocean circulations, and that the future is looking cooler.

    The key line is: It is based on observational evidence of the link between ocean circulation and the decadal variability of sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.

    This is empirical evidence from the RAPID Project:

    Getting a reprieve from the dangers of global warming would be good news, but these facts were not well received by everyone last month at a conference in Vienna, as tweeted by Dr. McCarthy.

    https://rclutz.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/evidence-is-mounting-oceans-make-climate/

    • A recent report concluded that climate is driven by ocean circulations

      This is exactly what the surface data shows.
      Annual averages of Min Surface temps have changed at distinct locations, at different times. Annual Max temp not so much.




    • Steven Mosher

      “A recent report concluded that climate is driven by ocean circulations, and that the future is looking cooler.”

      ocean circulations are the EFFECT, not the cause.

      • The effect of what? Solar heating? (Don’t come with CO2)

      • It depends on the ’cause of what’ and on what time scale you are looking at and how you define the system.

      • A recent report concluded that climate can be materially affected by changes in ocean circulations. Meanwhile, accountants report that significant changes to expenses affect net income.

      • ocean circulations are the EFFECT, not the cause.

        Cause and effect” is a myth. Especially when you pick apart a hyper-complex non-linear system, look at one element, and try to determine which it is.

      • Ragnaar, What they said was:
        “The study, published in Nature, proves that ocean circulation is the link between weather and decadal scale climatic change. It is based on observational evidence of the link between ocean circulation and the decadal variability of sea surface temperatures in the Atlantic Ocean.”
        Don’t put words like “materially” in their mouths, it’s unsanitary.

        BTW Are you related to that Viking? He is something else, amazing.

      • Ron Clutz
        I was trying to respond to Mosher’s, “…ocean circulations are the EFFECT, not the cause.” Making the offending statement less offending.

      • My, what big certainty you have.

    • RC and µ6500 have some interesting charts..

      The CMIP5 GCMs are a failure for many reasons but the two main ones are:
      1. The models are bad.
      2. The RCP runs assume GHG increasing and “all other things being equal”.

      The second assumption reduces the models to an expensive way to draw a weakly exponential upward curve.

      Until studies accurately determine attribution for pre and post 1940s warming future temperature prediction will be as accurate as astrology.

      Knowing attribution of causation for past climate change.would seem to be necessary for reliable prediction.

    • And what causes the wind JCH? The heating of the atmosphere by the oceans, largely through evaporation, results in pressure differences from place to place; the winds arise and are further energized by the earth’s rotation.

      • This is also on point: (from the same Dr. McCarthy)

        Researchers now think the North Atlantic Oscillation, the atmospheric pattern that controls the jet stream, determines when this ocean temperature flip takes place.

        “The North Atlantic Oscillation is really driving these changes in ocean circulation,” said Gerald McCarthy, lead study author and an oceanographer at the University of Southampton in the United Kingdom.

        In the past 90 years, the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation has undergone three major transitions: warming in the 1930s and mid-1990s and cooling in the 1960s. Those shifts can be attributed to the North Atlantic Oscillation, which switched phases just before the AMO did, the study reported.

        http://www.livescience.com/50998-jet-stream-controls-atlantic-climate-cycles.html

      • RC, and what happens to the surface temp record when the land area bounded by the path of the jet stream changes?
        The difference in Ohio’s average summer weather of the late 60’s as compared to the late 90’s could all be explained by the path of the jet stream changing so instead of getting Canadian air, we started getting more Gulf of Mexico air.

      • You got a problem with Canadian air? You want Mexican air? Sounds like a problem to sort out with NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement).

      • :) In the summer I want Canadian air! In the 60’s and early 70’s +90% of the cars did not have air conditioning, and I don’t really remember needing it.

        Come winter, we could skip Canadian *cough-Arctic-cough* air, a lot of Mexican air would be welcome, in fact it’s not uncommon to hear someone hoping for some global warming in these parts…….

      • Canadian air got a bad rep in the old days when Americans didn’t know the difference between C degrees and F degrees. US mittens aren’t rated for -15F

      • micro this conversation reminds me of a classic from Minnesotans for Global Warming:

      • When polar bears start hunting on Lake Erie, I’m moving south.

      • Aha. A closet warmist.

      • micro6500 | May 28, 2015 at 4:40 pm |
        :) In the summer I want Canadian air! In the 60’s and early 70’s +90% of the cars did not have air conditioning, and I don’t really remember needing it.

        Come winter, we could skip Canadian *cough-Arctic-cough* air, a lot of Mexican air would be welcome, in fact it’s not uncommon to hear someone hoping for some global warming in these parts…….

        Windmills and PV aren’t much good for power generation. However if you point the wind turbine in the correct direction and lock the tracking system you can blow the mexican heat north in the summer and the Canadian air south in the winter using all the PV energy that is available at the wrong time..

        This also solves the problem of what to do with all the deployed wind and pv systems which aren’t very good at grid power generation and mitigates some of the “duck curve” problem for the power grid.

      • However if you point the wind turbine in the correct direction and lock the tracking system you can blow the mexican heat north in the summer and the Canadian air south in the winter using all the PV energy that is available at the wrong time..

        I like it!
        This reminded me of something, I wonder how much energy it takes to boil all of that tropical water, and then carry it a couple thousand miles poleward so it can fall as rain (in Texas for instance). It might have been Hurricane David, but I estimated it carried 25-30% of the water in Lake Erie north over the US, some of which went 1,500 miles at least. How much fuel in a fleet of 747’s and turbo heaters would that take to do?

      • micro6500 | May 28, 2015 at 6:06 pm |

        I like it!
        This reminded me of something, I wonder how much energy it takes to boil all of that tropical water, and then carry it a couple thousand miles poleward so it can fall as rain (in Texas for instance).

        You don’t have to boil it – just atomize it so it evaporates. Solar driven installations offshore that atomize water, whether heated or unheated would increase the humidity of coastal air. If you want it to go north you would have to use your wind mills.

        But a better idea for the tropical water in the Nino3.4 region (a desert) is large pipes that use solar/currents/wave-action to pump nutrient rich cold water from the bottom to the surface. We could create a rich fishing ground and eliminate El Nino at the same time.

    • ulriclyons

      Well here’s the paper, quote:
      “The Atlantic overturning circulation is declining and the AMO is moving to a negative phase.”
      http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v521/n7553/full/nature14491.html

      It’s the reverse. Low AMOC events happen during negative NAO episodes, and that is when the warm ocean pulses to the AMO and Arctic occur. The AMO was warm during the Gleissberg solar minimum in the 1880-90’s, because negative NAO had increased, as it has from 1995 onwards.
      The AMO moves in phase with solar cycles in its cold mode, and anti-phase with solar cycles in its warm mode, so it should have cooled slightly around this sunspot maximum. Being a ~69yr cycle, it is not due to go fully into its cold mode until from the 2030’s.
      Roughly between the sunspot maxima of the first two weak solar cycles in a minimum is where most of the negative NAO happens, like 1807-1817 in Dalton, and 1885-1895 in Gleissberg. For this minimum it’s from late this year through to around 2024, the AMO should warm strongly again.
      http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/esrl-amo/from:1880/mean:13/plot/sidc-ssn/from:1880/normalise

      • Urlic – looking at the SST charts for May, it does look like it will take a pretty good dip, but I think it it will up sharply by summer. We’ll see. My personal opinion is there may be no negative AMO in the 21st century, or, if there is one, it will be very short lived,

  39. Mosher, “I remember sitting in a meeting of many skeptics and Hans Von Storch.
    he offerred up GCM time to test any skeptical idea. NOBODY had any ideas to test. Its hard to investigate UNICORNS. Folks who are skeptical are free to postulate any crap idea they want. but they dont. There only idea is ABC; anything but c02.”

    Typical Mosherian BS. CO2 by its lonesome is limited to 0.8 to 1.2 C of impact and that depends on the starting absolute temperature. The issue is an always has been the variety, sign and magnitude of the potential feedbacks. Since CO2 is pretty much the only known, why would anyone be looking at CO2? Of course that leaves everything other than CO2.

    For the models, pick what you want. A few years ago Susan Solomon confidently stated that tropical ozone and water vapor changes had absolutely nothing to do with tropical SST. Since then plug in ENSO region SST and you can get ENSO like response. Plug in Iris assumptions and you get iris response. Plug in mixed phase cloud assumption you get mixed phase cloud response. The “untuned” models aim to please doncha know. Model “tuning” also is another Mosherian along with ABC, PM2.5 , NOAA wtf NOAA, blah blah blah.

    Climate science just isn’t ready for prime time.

  40. “Relying on the personal integrity and ethics of individual researchers clearly isn’t adequate; the problem is with the institutionalized incentives. ”

    Most people begin a marriage with good intentions. Then, “things happen” resulting in: infidelity, lying, mistrust of one another, and pretty soon, that that was, is no longer.

    The most scientists begin their careers with good intentions, and then, “things happen.” Soon, its just easier to “go with the flow”. Integrity is eroded away bit by bit.

    The need to restore trust that had been lost as happens with the disillusionment of a marriage, an institution, or even a career really begins with one learning how to trust one’s self. One is wary of one’s own culpability in the break down of trust. Demons lurk in the darkened corners of one’s mind.

    I do not agree that changing incentives will do much to restore trust in science and scientists in particular. These are clever people who learn quickly to adapt to the new incentives.

    The scientist, the divorcee, starts with rebuilding trusting relationships, now a bit wiser.

    • When I married, it was a commitment for life; no ifs or buts. Such commitment allows you to get through the downs. Similarly with work: I never compromised my integrity, though that often incurred a cost. It all comes down to individual values: if you have strong and soundly-based values, you don’t resile from them.

      Faustino

  41. Feynman’s Cargo Cult commencement address (excerpts upthread) show the issues highlighted by this post have been around for a long time. I took Horton’s Lancet editorial as a statement that they have grown worse and increased in volume. There are a number of reasons commented on above.
    One that was not touched on is sheer volume, which per se gets tougher to ‘police’. Another is canned packages (say in statistics) which enable ‘push a button’ stuff the user may have no real understanding of, and that is inappropriate. Mann’s centered PCA is an example. Saw a lot of that in business forecasting.
    The issue is, what’s to be done. Certainly archiving data and code is a step.
    Another might be a requirement that any federally funded result be replicated elsewhere. That would have prevented the PMEL ‘ocean acidification’ publication on the Netarts Bay oyster hatchery. Another is stronger consequences for being ‘sloppy’. Marcott has not suffered from his abomination (previous guest posts), nor did Science respond to my detailed, explicit complaint beyond acknowledging receipt. In that Science let science down.

  42. Must read: I fooled millions into thinking chocolate helps weight loss
    http://io9.com/i-fooled-millions-into-thinking-chocolate-helps-weight-1707251800

    • Judith

      speaking of food and medical science, this just appeared in the papers

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-3096634/Why-butter-eggs-won-t-kill-Flawed-science-triggers-U-turn-cholesterol-fears.html

      Despite being the most researched area of science-with the ability to try out tests in real world situations rather than the laboratory-we continually find the medical establishment revising their opinions of the efficacy of food and drink

      Eggs good for you then bad for you then good for you again. Ditto with coffee ,red wine, dairy foods, chocolate and any number of other items. Now Cholesterol is being reprieved as the bad boy of medicine and the mantle has passed to sugar.

      Of course, the inevitable has happened in as much as fat was so bad for you so low fat alternatives were brought out. To improve these often tasteless concoctions a great deal of err…sugar, has been added. Four teaspoons in a small jar of yoghurt in our local shop.

      If the medical establishment clearly don’t know everything after thousands of years of trying, billions of guinea pigs, trillions of pounds on research, what hope is there for climate scientists who believe they know (almost) everything?

      The remedy to climate hubris? Take a large spoonful of Rumsfeld dictum with a large swig of humility before running every climate model…

      tonyb

      • Yeah tonyb, since this was announced months ago I’ve been wondering if anyone would call for accountability for the hundreds of thousands if not millions of premature deaths induced by the PC public health establishment’s misplaced focus on dietary cholesterol. Ridley seems like the first I’ve heard.

        This is a much closer analogy or example of PC science gone wrong when compared to the PC Klimatariat than the worn examples of Continental Drift, or Ulcers, because it shows committed resistant group think as opposed to normal paradigm shifts, and caused much more pain, suffering, and death than the others.

      • I make a point of never eating anything with a health “tick” awarded by a qango. Government funded neurosis starts with tubs of slimy margarine but ends with mountain ridges littered with wind turbines.

      • Tony

        While I agree with what you have written, I’d add that while many climate scientists may be largely incorrect about CO2’s impact on net conditions important to humans. That doesn’t mean it has no impact.

        It is frustrating to read some people’s comments who claim to “know” that CO2 can have no impact. Probably the same who think dumping industrial waste into the ocean can‘t have any impact.

        I always thought Rumsfeld was a smart guy, but he sure messed up the administration of Iraq post military campaign.

      • tonyb,

        It’s all about the statistics. If the public ever tumbles to the fact that statistics is not science, the science publishing industry will cease to exist and funding for such ‘science’, particularly epidemiological studies, will dry up.

        Agenda driven medical science used to be about forcing massive doses of anything you could find into mice and rats (where was PETA all those years). The resultant collapse of immune systems, and the ever useful Bayesian priors, led to new ‘carcinogens’ being discovered every other day.

        They have since figured out they can get the same desired, subjective, predetermined results with just the statistics, so millions of mice and rats have been spared.

        It’s progress for rodents. For mankind, not so much.

        Wine is bad for you. No it’s good. No wait it’s bad again,. Wait, if you drink it on Thursdays with a full moon, it’s good for you. But on Wednesdays it causes liver disease.

        And don’t get me started on salt.

      • I remember in the mid-1960s seeing a spokesman from the Fed Government explaining how a study had found that eggs were a problem for high cholesterol. I stopped eating them for breakfast immediately. Forty years later I read a book about how Presidents dabble in details and related how LBJ was concerned about the price of eggs. He brought in an economist from the Department of Agriculture and asked how to get the price of eggs down. Drive down demand was the answer. Voila, a study was produced that did the trick.

      • GaryM: statistics is not science

        Statistics is the set of applied mathematics that models random variation, where “random variation” is the variation that is not predictable and not reproducible. In the first half of the 20th century physicists tried hard to distinguish between what might be called “really random” (or “metaphysically random”) and “merely random in appearance” (or “epistemologically random”) and did not come up with anything useful. Random variation occurs in all em”pirical research.

        What definition of “science” are you using, something that classifies statistics as “non science” and other applied mathematics as “science”? Or do you go along with the view, sometimes expressed, that mathematics is something other than “science”?

      • Or do you go along with the view, sometimes expressed, that mathematics is something other than “science”?

        I hadn’t really thought of it before, but maybe it is more a language (a natural language) than a science?

        Lots of sciences are defined, expressed and explored in mathematics, but science, I’m not sure.

      • Math is a tool of reason. It does not have the capacity to solve scientific questions by itself. It needs other things to go with it.

        Andrew

    • Oh dear, and I so would have loved to believe that one.

      • Pekka

        With all due respect, you seem to show your bias in writing –“the issue is that warming has been predicted, and we wish to know, how bad it will be?”

        Do you really “know” that warming will be net bad for any nation or overall? Isn’t whether it is bad or good dependent on the timescale of occurrence?

      • Rob,

        “How bad” allows for all kind of answers including “not bad at all”. My point does not depend on that answer to the least.

      • davideisenstadt

        so pekka…
        dontcha think more work should be done on narrowing our estimates of ECS?

      • What if more work broadens it?

      • It would be more productive to be able to narrow our projections for TCR for timescales important to humanity. How sensitive will the climate be to CO2 over the next 30 years as an example is more important to know than a theoretical estimate of ECS.

      • “Thus, the whole climate system must be regarded as continuously evolving with parts of the system leading and others lagging in time. The highly nonlinear interactions between the subsystems tend to occur on many time and space scales. Therefore, the subsystems of the climate system are not always in equilibrium with each other, and not even in internal equilibrium.”

        The Physics of Climate

        Kinda makes you wonder about the climate backgrounds of those pushing the concept of ECS to begin with.

      • Edimbukvarevic

        That article was way ahead of its time in expressing such scepticism. I wonder which future sceptical papers on climate will prove to have been ahead of their time?

        I suspect it will involve the sun , ocean currents and the jet stream amongst other things.

        Tonyb

      • Edimbukvarevic, That is quite an article. Detailed, well researched and way ahead of its time. Quite the opposite of what is described in JC’s link above (and anything i’ve read in the NYT lately).

      • Tony, i agree about the sun, ocean currents, and the jet stream. These three factors are probably related.

      • Tony,
        What’s the need for sun, ocean current and the jet stream?

        The issue is not that something unexpected is waiting for explanation, the issue is that warming has been predicted, and we wish to know, how bad it will be?

    • A yummy piece of artistry

    • There is two level to this story, at one level it is fun and games, and quite amusing.

      At another level – the journalist/author/pseudo-research scientist clicked off a handful of red flags for science studies that guaranteed his study would have successful but meaningless results..

      This raises a question: why aren’t there guidelines for Federal research to specifically prohibit the practices that lead to bad studies?

      And if these guidelines already exist, are why aren’t they being followed?

    • Thank you Dr. Curry — I missed that one in my news stream.

  43. I remember that one. My doctor told me to watch what I eat, but I wasn’t fast enough.

  44. When an institution such as science has no quality control, don’t expect quality. There is no accountability.

    See http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970203764804577059841672541590

    Why Most Published Research Findings Are False
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

    • The scary part is there are a number of scientific areas where the probability of a published result being valid are so low it doesn’t make sense to fund the research.

      The correlation of study size with validity is another issue.

      Current grant funding seems oriented at keeping researchers employed, rather than generating valid results. Funding a few large studies that might be valid makes more sense than funding a lot of small studies that aren’t.

      The scientist themselves do contribute to the problem and a 5 year debarment for false results due to researcher error would reduce the number of false studies due to procedural errors.

  45. ulriclyons

    “Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper,”

    So it’s just a backslapping club for clever sounding theories?

  46. curryja | May 28, 2015 at 2:47 pm |
    “…… The solar story is very far from complete – TSI is only part of the story,……..”

    During summer months the low Arctic atmospheric pressure moves to the north of Iceland following the ice retreat (related to insolation).
    The N. Atlantic SST amplitude oscillation (throughout the year thus nothing to do with the insolation) appears to ‘follow’ the low Arctic atmospheric pressure (summer’s) amplitude oscillations, but with a variable delay, which has been progressively increasing.
    Variable delay is presumably linked to some past initial state of the Arctic ice boundary via a deep ocean floor current, such as the NIJ current (google it) taking longer and longer to reach the subpolar gyre (the engine of the heat transport across the North Atlantic Ocean, the region of the intense ocean–atmosphere interaction and the home of the N.A. meridional overturning circulation ).
    In this Illustration
    – graph A shows the ‘real time’ relationship between summer Arctic atmospheric pressure and the N. Atlantic SST
    – graph B shows relationship as it would exist if the ‘boundary condition’ was time invariant.
    – graph C could offer a possible and realistic cause of both.
    However, good synchronisation in both graphs (B and C) can by achieved only by employing a known and accurately measured physical factor, but in doing so makes the relationship between two variables irrational, unless there is something about the sun-earth link the science is not aware of.
    Off to the doghouse with all of the above.

  47. Research integrity has been a recurring theme and concern at Climate Etc. Two new high profile cases of scientific fraud have recently been identified:

    Well, this (and the examples) are a good summary of the situation.

    There are too kinds of study problems: careerism oriented errors and “social responsibility” errors.

    The careerism errors are presumably random and increase the noise level of science but don’t have any impact on the direction of science. The bad studies are basically wasted government money.

    The “social responsibility” errors are far worse. This is the rationalization to exclude conservatives (non-socialists) from academia. This is the rationalization for hijacking peer review and journal editing, and for attempting to remove the opponents of modernist social engineering from positions of influence. The science end of it is the suppressing of studies that undercut modernist social engineering, to deny the opponents data to support their views. This is a deliberate effort to skew the science for what are essentially political reasons.

    The government and government funded science is not to be a tool of the lackeys of a leftist fat-cat billionaire-funded elite.

    Politicking by government employees was recognized as a problem which is why there is a Hatch act. The skew in the political viewpoint of bureaucrats and scientists mandates a strengthening of the Hatch Act with a 10 year ban for scientists (and firing for government bureaucrats) for the kinds of manipulation of the system detailed in the climategate files.

    • PA
      Spot on.

      The recent rebalance of funding by congress has the left seething, redirecting social science budgets among other things to hard science. That’s a good start. There’s certainly need for government funding of science, the hard part is making sure it goes to the right place.

      I have no problem with private enterprise funding science for profit either. If an enterprise contracts a university who in turn delivers science as intellectual property at least one can be reasonably assured the deliverable is sound science or the enterprise through its due diligence isn’t going to pay up. That’s Incentive. Everyone makes money, the public benefits from the advancement of science directly. A win, win. How depressing.

      • Sorry, I placed this post higher in the string that was meant for here, in context.

        The current proposed House budget for science, Obama has threatened to veto:

        http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-05-21/news/62459934_1_house-republicans-climate-change-climate-research

        “The bill prioritizes “basic research and development” and requires that federally-funded scientific projects are “in the national interest.”

        “A coalition of more than 140 researchers, universities, laboratories and other organizations protested against the law, joined by Democrats denouncing what they called the politicization of research.”

        The Democrats denounced the bill as politicizing of research, yet the NSF funded $700k for the play “The Great Immensity” that dealt with global warming.

        You decide who is politicizing science.

      • Like any piece of government welfare, there will be a lot of screaming and hollering when the funding to left-oriented science propaganda is taken away.

        Greenpeace, the WWF, and the rest of the lefty pseudo-science propaganda machine are lazy cheapskates that have gotten used to the government producing peer reviewed propaganda for them. They need to dip into their own pockets and do the work, and not rely on charity from the American taxpayer.

    • The social responsibility skew, ‘Only socialists need apply.’

  48. I quote:”… Unlike medical and social science, data fabrication does not seem to be a factor in climate science – there is more than enough scope for data cherry picking and statistical methods to pretty much produce any ‘desired’ result.”
    I disagree. Cherry picking and bad statistics, and just plain incompetence, may be common but it does not compare with data fabrication. Let me outline an actual case of long-term cata fabrication that is still going on. There are reports of “data adjustments” by major data sources which are probably unjustified by science because no information explaining the reasons for it has come out. But what I have discovered is way beyond mere “adjustments” and is clearly a fraudulent scheme to change temperature history. Their specific target is temperature in the eighties and nineties that refuses to follow their fairy tale of global warming. By suppressing knowledge of that they can justify more spending on anti-CO2 policies. If you look at global temperature history you will notice that starting in mid-seventies the global temperature curve has a distinct upward turn at about 1976. The official temperature trend follows this upward turn, goes up and reaches the end of the century without a break. This upward trend is a fabrication. What really happens is that the warming that started about 1976 ended in 1979 with a full stop.. What followed it from this point forward was a horizintal, no-warming temperature stretch of 18 years. That means a hiatus as long as the present one has existed there without anyone noticing. The only reason Iknow aboutit is that it is present in satellite data-sets. You don’t know it beause there is no sign of it on any official temperature curve issued by GISS, NCDC, HadCRUT or Brkeley. Berkeley lacks it because when they compiled their data they made a special effort to exclude all satellite data from it. Wonder why they did that. What is given to us instead of the hiatus is an imaginary “late twentieth century warming.” ENSO was active during this period and produced a wave train of five El Ninos, with La Nina valleys in between. To find the global mean temperature in such a case, put a dot in the middle of each imaginary line connecting the El Nino peak with its nearest La Nina valley bottom. When you do that the dots line up in a horizontal straight line, indicating absence of warming. To do it right, follow directions in my book [1]. The final product is shown as figure 15 there. It is based on satellite temperature data. I discovered immediately that using this same procedure with HadCRUT3 gives an upward slope indicating warming as shown in figure 24 in the book. As a result of this false warming which blots out the hiatus their twenty-first century temperatures are also egaggerated. Eventually I discoverd that all three temperature sources were involved when I found out that they all had been using a common computer program to adjust their temperatures. Fortunately for us and unbeknownst to them the computer left large upward spikes in all of their temperature curves. These spikes are in exactly the same locations in all three, supposedly independent, publicly available, temperature data-sets. Satellite data are free of this junk and in my opinion are the only believable temperature sources today. We should of course look at the possible consequences and modus operandi of this fraud. The straight temperature rise from mid-seventiers to the end of the century is an important exhibit if you are arguing that global temperature is rising. It would certainly be embarrassing to show an 18 year horizontal dent in the middle of it. It would also reduce the claimed warming of the twenty-first century and increase the believability of the present hiatus. Chance climate variation in 1979 also plays a role. When that short warming of 1976 ended in 1979 they probably did not want to believe it and made a “correction” to suppress the apparent lack of warming. It may have been confusing too with all of those El Ninos popping up. But when year after year more corrections were needed they more or less had trapped themselves into manufacturing that phony warming. It had its advantages, nobody suspected it, so why not continue? But no way is this an excuse to allow a colossal fraud to be perpetrated on the public. This is what it is and an investigation is in order. It should include an evaluation. correction and publication of the corrected temperatures in the eighties and nineties. And appropriate penalties for fabrication of false climate information.

    [1] Arno Arrak, “What Warming? Satellite view of global temperature change” (CreateSpace 2010), Figures 15 & 24

    • Arno, Did you ever contact Steve McIntyre to place your information up for audit? I am personally skeptical of your claims but I want you to have an avenue for hearing.

      My question right now is this: Granting the possibility that the temperature record could be skewed for two decades, why would there be a conspiracy to do this when logic tells one that future data at some point will expose your false trend with an equally unflattering correction?

      • Ron Graf | May 29, 2015 at 12:54 am says “… I am personally skeptical of your claims…”

        I am for skepticism. If you find any factual misstatements or errors I am ,ore than happy to discuss them and take corrective action as needed. But you must actually look at the data and familiarize yourself with the issues before expressing an opinion. That is how science works. As to Steve McIntyre and others, I don’t know them. My information is available to all if they wish to comment or react. This is not the first time I have pointed out this situation. During the past five years I have from time to time brought it up but have gotten no responses while the false data has eaten itself into the mainstream temperature records. If no one cares they deserve to be victims of global warming pseudoscience. I am not doing this for profit. I was blissfully retired until I saw Al Gore’s movie. I am doing climate science only because Al Gore made me do it.

      • I am doing climate science only because Al Gore made me do it.

        Me it was GCM’s, the whole positive feedback thing, having a lot of experience with simulators and modeling, and then it was how quickly it cooled off after sunset.
        The more I dug, the worse I found the science to be.

      • Steven Mosher

        “The more I dug, the worse I found the science to be.”

        publish.

      • publish.

        You want to help me? I’ll even let you be first name, otherwise you’ll have to wait until I get to it.

        “publish.”
        He just did.
        Andrew

        It seems that providing my code isn’t enough for Steve, although when he was complaining about Mann’s hockey stick he said that was all he needed.

        But’s it’s real simple
        for station x (Yesterday’s max temp – yesterday’s min temp) – (yesterday’s max temp – today’s min temp).
        Select a set of stations by lat/lon, average rise, fall, difference between them, difference between yesterday’s max and today’s max, avarage max temp, min temp, average temp, average dew pt, calculate rel Humidity, count sample size, and then report on included station, calculate the slope of the daily anomaly (rise-fall), oh adding surface solar now.
        But it’s really all about the difference between rise and fall.

      • “publish.”

        He just did.

        Andrew

    • Steven Mosher

      Judith, Why do you allow this kind of statement on your blog.
      Integrity sometimes demands that you correct people specifically.

      See below

      “There are reports of “data adjustments” by major data sources which are probably unjustified by science because no information explaining the reasons for it has come out. But what I have discovered is way beyond mere “adjustments” and is clearly a fraudulent scheme to change temperature history. Their specific target is temperature in the eighties and nineties that refuses to follow their fairy tale of global warming.”

      1. The answer that you get with RAW data is not significantly different than the answer you get with adjustments.
      2. The Ocean is 70% of the globe. Adjustments COOL the ocean.
      3. The Land is 30% of the globe. Adjustments slightly cool some time periods and warm others. The net is a small amount of warming.
      4. The adjustment codes EXPLAIN IN DETAIL how the adjustments are made .Those codes are posted for your inspection.
      5. Multiple approaches to adjustments — human directed, and fully automated– have all been tested and validated on synthetic data.
      6. Multiple approaches to adjustments by different groups are all consistent with each other.
      7. You are charging fraud. At NOAA there are two men in charge of adjustments. If you have discovered fraud, name the names, put up or shut up.
      8. You are charging fraud. At berkeley that would be Robert Rohde, Zeke and me along with others. Are you or are you not charging us with scientific fraud? Put up or shut up.
      9. Nothing in any one’s code “targets” the 80’s and 90’s. you have made an assertion of fraud and a specific statement that is not merely a matter of opinion.

      There is a big boy pants issue here. Judith will you for once put on some big boy pants and SPECIFICALLY criticize denizens who make unwarranted and unsupportable false allegations.

      • Steve, I do not regard the issue of adjustments to the surface temperature data record to be a finished story. You read too much, and too little, into the statement that you criticize.

      • Mosher you are way too prickly about these statements. We are all adults and many have vast life experiences with the ability to discriminate between fact and assertions. I read BS from both sides every day and know it when I see it. Berkeley has done a terrific job with what they have. But you ought to be at least introspective and honest with yourselves enough to know that you are dealing with data compiled over hundreds of years with thousands of brains and fingers involved as part of a longitudinal organization and regardless of your efforts to provide the best report possible, there are limitations to correct what transpired way before your time. No one will ever know what the true temperatures were. The raw data won’t even do that.

        If there are facts, then most readers will hold judgment until they are produced. Relax, its Summer in the City.

    • Steven Mosher

      “You don’t know it beause there is no sign of it on any official temperature curve issued by GISS, NCDC, HadCRUT or Brkeley. Berkeley lacks it because when they compiled their data they made a special effort to exclude all satellite data from it. Wonder why they did that. ”

      1. We compile our data for the temperatures at 2 meters taken by thermometers.
      2. Satellite “data” doesnt exist for air temperature at 2 meters over the periods you discuss. It does not exist for history before that time period.
      a) satellite data is the output of brightness at the sensor and a physical
      model. It is NOT a measurement of air temps at the surface
      b) One satellite series does provide an air temp estimate at 2meters. AIRS
      this series is short and starts after 2000. The estimate of the air surface
      temps relies on several models including a first guess based on NCEP
      which itself is derived from the station data we use.
      c). satellite estimates of air temps are a single time of day measurment.
      air temps from thermometers are typically minimum, maximum and average.
      3. No specific effort was made to EXCLUDE satellite data. There is no
      applicable data. You cannot average temperatures taken at two meters by thermometers with temperature data at several kilometers above the surface.

      • a) satellite data is the output of brightness at the sensor and a physical
        model. It is NOT a measurement of air temps at the surface

        Cannot be said enough times. The RSS scientist says thermometers are more accurate at measuring the surface air temperature.

      • 1. We compile our data for the temperatures at 2 meters taken by thermometers.

        WMO “standard” is 1.25 to 2.0 meters above ground.
        IIRC, European stations are 1.5 meters?

        When I look up station data, I get an elevation, but no indication of sensor height above ground, much less how that might have changed over time.

        I’m not going conspiracy here, the various data sets are ‘reasonably’ close to one another and I think people do their best to correct things, but especially given winter time inversions, a slight change in height can add spurious signal.

      • a) “satellite data is the output of brightness at the sensor and a physical
        model. It is NOT a measurement of air temps at the surface”

        Cannot be said enough times. The RSS scientist says thermometers are more accurate at measuring the surface air temperature.

        There are strengths and weaknesses to all the data sets.

        MSU doesn’t measure surface, but that’s a strength if one is trying to preclude local effects.

        One reason to focus on the satellite era is the comparsion between the four major data sets: Land, SST, RAOB, MSU. They’re all reasonably consistent.

      • RSS is not reasonably consistent after 2010. There is something wrong. It is misleading people.

        It will probably correct somewhat with the El Nino.

      • RSS is not reasonably consistent after 2010. There is something wrong. It is misleading people.
        How do you know that?

        We just got through saying that MSU and SfcT are different measurements at different locations. Throw in the fact that RSS excludes the poles and overlaps the mid-lattitude bands and it’s not surprising if regional variations don’t amplify the series differences in the shorter term while remaining consistent longer term.

      • Mosh

        I don’t believe any of you are committing fraud. As I have said to you by email and also to richard betts in petson at the Met office, is that it would be helpful if you both crystallised your thoughts into a coherent short document that refuted these allegations that keep resurfacing. this could then be posted onto your respective web sites allowing us all to link to them.

        I have made the effort of contacting such as Booker and delingpole to point out these allegations are unfair but neither you nr the Met office Nor others help your causes by refusing to confront this matter head on .

        As I have said to you numerous times I do not Agree with the notion or value of a global temperature but the idea you are deliberately falsifying data I find ludicrous. Please help yourself by posting a definitive statement that clearly tackles the allegations .

        Tonyb

      • While I agree with Tonyb the idea the BEST team is “deliberately falsifying data” is ludicrous, I find it difficult to defend BEST too strongly on the issue when BEST goes to the media and makes false claims about having shared data. About a month ago, head of the BEST team Richard Mueller told everybody:

        “Furthermore, because of the interest, we re-analyzed all the data with ZERO adjustments, just to see what we would get. These results have been made available online. What we found was that the conclusions we had previously drawn were unchanged. The data are available here

        That statement was untrue. People have asked for that data for a couple years now, and it’s never been released. And there’s been no reason given BEST not releasing it. BEST has simply chosen not to share data to allow people to check their claims then turned around and told the media it has shared that data.

        Even more troubling, Mueller answered a question:

        4. Are there any regions of the world where modifications appear to account for most or all of the apparent warming of recent decades?

        “For large regions, I think not. For individual sites, yes. But keep in mind a number we have published: A third of all sites show cooling over the past 100 years! That’s because regional variations are huge. People often write to us and say they have found three sites where cooling dominates; we write back and say we can give you 10,000.

        Even though it’s trivially easy to see BEST’s adjustments do account for “most or all of the apparent warming” in some regions. The BEST group has posted maps on this very site which clearly show that.

        I don’t think, for a moment, BEST is “deliberately falsifying data.” I do, however, find it difficult to defend them against that accusation when they go around saying things to the media about their data and results which are clearly untrue.

      • “Furthermore, because of the interest, we re-analyzed all the data with ZERO adjustments, just to see what we would get. These results have been made available online. What we found was that the conclusions we had previously drawn were unchanged. The data are available here“

        What I find even worse is that what maybe 30% of the surface is measured, so how would he even know if they are changing the results?

      • Brandon

        When mosh has finished writing his fraud rebuttal he might be able to get round to a paper expanding on the statement made by muller that one third of stations show cooling.

        Tonyb

      • Tonyb, I don’t know if that would be enough for an entire paper, but it would certainly fit in a paper where BEST explains the effects of its adjustments. They’ve done a lot of hand-waving and saying their adjustments don’t matter, but at the same time, they’ve been saying things which are clearly untrue about those adjustments. That sort of behavior is just begging for the accusations Mosher laments.

        And then they want people to defend them against charges of fraudulently adjusting their data. Uh, no. When BEST is up front, honest and clear about their adjustments and what effects it has, then I will defend them against charges of fraud. I mean, BEST is still refusing to provide its unadjusted results, much less actually discuss them. If they’re going to do that, while falsely telling the media they’ve provided those results, how can I be expected to defend them?

        Heck, knowingly claiming to have provided goods or services when you haven’t can be fraud. How can I defend BEST saying they haven’t committed scientific fraud when I have to admit there’s a case for saying they’ve committed plain and simple fraud?

        BEST was a great idea, and they made a lot of wonderful sounding promises. If they had lived up to those promises, we wouldn’t be having these discussions.

      • Steven Mosher,

        Wikipedia –

        “The World Meteorological Organization (WMO) agreed standard for the height of the thermometers is between 1.25 m (4 ft 1 in) and 2 m (6 ft 7 in) above the ground.”

        Aust BOM –

        “The thermometers should be placed in the shelter at about 1.2 m above ground level.”

        Question – how do you reconcile air temperatures at 1.2 m with those at 2 m, or do you just guess it’s mousenuts, and disregard it? There seem to be quite a few papers that show 0.8 m can make a significant difference, particularly in arid cold conditions at night.

        Am I correct in assuming you just dismiss the problem as being irrelevant, or too hard?

        Thanks.

      • JCH,

        You wrote –

        “Cannot be said enough times. The RSS scientist says thermometers are more accurate at measuring the surface air temperature.”

        The only problem might be that, as Steve Mosher states, temperatures are not measured at the surface. Ground, that is, surface temperatures are significantly from near surface air temperatures.

        Now tell me why measuring the temperature of the surface is worse than measuring something else, and just pretending you measured the temperature at the surface, by calling it the surface temperature.

        I suppose that the science is settled, so it must be scientific.

      • A global temperature is about as useful as an average depth of a river you have to wade, but far more uncertain and utterly trivial to boot.

        As for more general determinations: warming, pausing and cooling must be the most boring three horse race on earth, unless you’re watching the transition in and out of the Younger Dryas. And you can’t really extend the field. Even duller is the dribble of sea level rise since the late 1700s.

        Either the Holocene is shaped like a dropped spaghetti noodle or it’s a hockey stick, at least at this end (with bobbles on the handle depending on model). I say squiggly noodle, someone else says hockey stick. That might be worth debating, at least.

  49. From the article:

    No doubt national news media outlets are out of control when it comes to weather coverage, and their idiotic claims find their way to us on a daily basis.

    The Houston flooding is a great example. We are being told this is “unprecedented”… Houston is “under water”… and it is due to manmade global warming.

    Yes, the flooding in Houston yesterday was severe, and a serious threat to life and property. A genuine weather disaster that has brought on suffering.

    But, no, this was not “unprecedented”. Flooding from Tropical Storm Allison in 2001 was more widespread, and flood waters were deeper.

    On the other issue, the entire climate change situation has become politicized, which I hate. Those on the right, and those on the left hang out in “echo chambers”, listening to those with similar world views refusing to believe anything else could be true.

    Back to my point… many professional meteorologists feel like we are fighting a losing battle when it comes to national media and social media hype and disinformation. They will be sure to let you know that weather events they are reporting on are “unprecedented”, there are “millions and millions in the path”, it is caused by a “monster storm”, and “the worst is yet to come” since these events are becoming more “frequent”.

    You will never hear about the low tornado count in recent years, the lack of major hurricane landfalls on U.S. coasts over the past 10 years, or the low number of wildfires this year. It doesn’t fit their story. But, never let facts get in the way of a good story…. there will ALWAYS be a heat wave, flood, wildfire, tornado, tyhpoon, cold wave, and snow storm somewhere. And, trust me, they will find them, and it will probably lead their newscasts. But, users beware…

    View story at Medium.com

    • Oops! Forgot the link:

      View story at Medium.com

      • jim2,

        Obviously the end of the world approaching. At least we won’t have to worry about evil CO2 at the End of Days as Warmageddon overwhelms us.

        PS to the humour challenged – not to be taken seriously, unless you Believe.

    • The link disappeared!!

    • This was written by Meteorologist James Spann.

    • Mr. Spann’s facebook account is:

      https://www.facebook.com/jamesspann

      • The comparison has problems. One, Allison was a tropical storm:

        The Memorial Day weekend floods were caused by thunder storms:

        If you look at historic records for water depth, you have adjust the number for mitigation infrastructure as it is added. I mentioned the huge drainage tubes that were installed in the hospital district. Those could have an effect on the crest on Brays Bayou.

        These same simplified stories circulated the internet after the Wivenhoe Dam incident in Australia.

      • There is no point in claiming that GHG warming creates rainier or more violent weather. That ship has sailed.

        The other problem is that with only 0.24°C of the post 1900 warming due to GHG – you are just blaming nature for getting warmer.

        Another issue is that in a fast growing state like Texas the massive increases in hard-surfaced ground are going to make worse flooding inevitable. Houston started on its 3rd beltway in 1994 and it is still not complete. The 2nd (middle) beltway has been more or less complete since 2011.

      • jch

        Severe thunder storms in Texas are well documented in the US Monthly weather review and many other first hand accounts never made it into that document. Of the many examples this one from 1885 is curious

        http://www.texasescapes.com/MikeCoxTexasTales/Chilled-Catfish-of-Concho-County.htm

        tonyb

      • Interesting story about Texas weather, Tony.

    • The trick with a new weather disaster seems to be cast it in a unique mold by harping on anything distinctive about it. Because no two disasters can be alike, those distinctions will always be there. If the USA Great Floods of 1913 or 1927 were to occur now, who doubts that they would be adduced as proof of alarmist claims? Those were mighty freaky events…easy to slip that word “unprecedented” in for good measure. Who’d argue?

      A certainty: I say the klimatariat would definitely seize on an event like the Dayton Flood. It is impossible, if 1913 were to read 2015, that they would neglect to squeeze every bit of juice from the disaster to pump their theology. Can anyone tell me they wouldn’t? And you have to keep a straight face or it doesn’t count.

      Btw, the response to those two floods leaves one in awe of American enterprise and dynamism.

      • Oh Paradigm, oh biass confirmation!

      • Almost instantly there will be some bozo claiming a historic flood crested at a higher level. It happened when the Wivenhoe incident took place. It turned out the Wivenhoe incident was far more significant than the first reports, some of which infected Climate Etc.: not unprecedented, but far more significant than the idiotic red-bar graph that appeared early on the internet to prove climate change was not involved..

        So it goes both ways.

        Mitigation effect:

      • I read the hydrologist’s report for the construction of Wivenhoe. That dam was built in full awareness of the 1893 triple flood and even higher water levels achieved earlier in the 19th century. They took seriously some geological indications and aboriginal anecdotes as well.

        Floods before and after Wivenhoe all had different characters/causes and graphs and stats can only tell you a bit of the story. As I recall, 1974 brought more concentrated falls on the city of Brisbane while 2011 may have been greater over the whole catchment. Well, since the 1893 disaster was so severe in all respects I guess it would be frivolous to run an ugly pageant of past and recent floods to try and prove that climate is somehow getting more extreme. You just build the bloody dam, don’t you?

  50. I got one! Halperin’s Lyme and ALS paper in around 1990. And is lyme connected to a higher risk of getting ALS. “most of the (unexpectedly high) occurrence of lyme antibodies in als patients in his study was “probably coincidental”. So 9 of 19 randomly selected ALS patients in a high lyme area had antibodies against lyme. BUT he guestimated that in the general population in that area 10.5% of people had antibodies. (Even though blood donations were showing something like 7%). Now 10.5% as background and 9 of 19 show up with the antibodies. I did the math. Chances of that happening at random is just over 1 in 21000 But if you choose 5 % as the background level, it goes to 1 in 9 MILLION chance that lyme and ALS are not related in that sample! Good study by the way, but absolutely terrible conclusions by Halperin with deadly consequences for those lucky als patients whose illness is caused by lyme infection. People with ALS are not offered antibiotic treatment. Antibiotic can prolong the life of those with the illness caused by a lyme infection. It might even save some of them. Instead they are lumped in with those with pure ALS and let die a horrible death. (My math was verified by 2 mathematicians) Immunologic Reactivity Against Borrelia burgdorferi in Patients With Motor Neuron Disease 1990 It does not take much work to download the full paper and see the glaring mistakes he made. Publicize your “peer review” of the statistical error and you might help save a lot of lives in the future. Some of the ALS patients that Halperin gave antibiotics got a “herxheimer reaction” and died. (He gave them too much antibiotic , too quickly and they died from toxins from dieing bacteria). He based some of his conclusions on his medical error. Brian

  51. I’ve got it! I know how ‘climate scientists’ can explain away all the problems in their religion – the missing hot spot, the missing heat, the missing 0.1C warming per decade, the missing ice free Arctic, the missing vanishing Antarctic ice. the missing increase in catastrophic weather events, the missing super el Ninos, all of it.

    Quantum climatology. All these phenomena were there, until somebody looked for them.

    “Wheeler’s hunch is that the universe is built like an enormous feedback loop, a loop in which we contribute to the ongoing creation of not just the present and the future but the past as well. ”

    http://discovermagazine.com/2002/jun/featuniverse

    All those historical temp adjustments? The past keeps getting cooler because climate scientists keep looking at the data. The recent past and present keep getting warmer for the same reason.

    So I now have discovered the cure for globalclimatewarmingchange.

    Stop looking at the climate. Defund all climate scientists, because it’s not that they are fabricating data, massaging statistics, cherry picking data, or tuning GCMs. They are actually changing the climate by their observations.

    Make them stop!

    We need to prevent CAQW. Catastrophic anthropogenic quantum warming.

  52. “Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper, and generally to behave with integrity.”

    This is a problem of our obsession with newness and novelty: what happened yesterday or if we already spoke of it, is not important. It is also a problem of accountability. If you are not accountable, what you said yesterday doesn’t matter.

    For “correctness” to be valued, for someone to be accountable, looking backward AND calling to task another party for mistakes have to be socially supported activities. Al Gore and Michael Mann continue to use slides and say things from years past that have been discredited or, at a minimum, shown to be exaggerations or inappropriate. They shrug off criticisms because they can. They are not held accountable by society or their professional alliances.

    But the problem is much, much greater than that. George Bush lied/misinformed/disinformed about the presence of biological, chemical, nuclear Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq in order to frighten the world into attacking that country. The lie brought in Britain. It was a lie known as a lie at the time, and attempts by Valerie Plame to bring truth to the fore were ruthlessly stopped. Obama says outrageously incorrect things these days about the certainty of terrible damage and the criticality of immediate, punitive, regulatory actions by the American (and other) governments. But there is no come-back. They are not accountable.

    As long as there is no accountability for gross errors, integrity will be challenged in the scientific – and all other! – fields. The solution is to demand accountability, but how is that to be done?

    I have had a long career in the profit-based oil and gas business. And I have a lot of experience to back my statement that accountability is not high. Bonuses are paid, termination packages are paid even when the company falls down through egregious risk-taking and internal deceit. Should we mention Wall Street and Goldman Sachs here, or General Motors and Chrysler, where absolute self-interest ruled right through the economic crisis of 2008? Where was the accountability when the American taxpayer bailed out the rich for their flagrant disregard of their taxpayer shareholders?

    Accountability. Ms. Curry, you write well on ethics and integrity, the philosophical issues of science, and I am with you ever step of the way. But I despair. Like you, I see the worms in the apples sold in the market. But how are we to rid ourselves of those rotten apples if we won’t go back to the owners of the orchards and tell them to clean up their act or we’ll stop buying their product?

    The dilemma lies in the breakdown of the social contract we have between ourselves and those claiming to speak for us. Fix the contract and these problems will go away either by not happening or by being fixed in a timely fashion.

      • Don,

        Tell me you don’t have personal experience of the low accountability of industry executives, bankers, investment firms and politicians. Tell me the Plame outing was a mistake and not punishment.

        Cherry picking for your political friends – sure, I’m guilty of that, too. Comment on my point: lousy accountability.

        BTW, I’m not a liberal. Your focus goes to another point I make, that skeptics don’t apply the same level of skepticism to their side as to the warmist’s. We are both in a love-me, love-my-dog relationship.

      • DP – Plame was already “out.”

      • Tell me the Plame outing was a mistake and not punishment.

        It was mistake and not a punishment.

        Richard Armitage told Novak and Woodward about Plame at a time he was unaware of her covert status.

        It is what it is. He was never charged.

        Since none of the other people sued by the Wilsons were the source of the news article their lawsuit went nowhere.

  53. I am an attorney and I work in a major medical system with several teaching hospitals where I routinely examine relationships between academic researchers and private industry. I am commenting here in my personal capacity and not as a representative of that organization. (This is also my first comment here–I have been a lurking “denizen” for several months.)

    What I see as a key factor underlying all of the bad “science,” paper retractions, cherry-picking data, unreproducible results, is that the connection between scientist and the actual funder of research has been severed. Let’s look to the incentives of government funders and the institutions relying on government funding for the cause.

    Government funders are not spending their own money, they’re spending taxpayer money forcibly confiscated. There is no taxpayer vote on what the taxpayer gets to fund. It is a truism that people are much more careful about spending their own money than they are about spending others. Private organizations spend their own money or money voluntarily provided to them by individuals who enjoy the protections of contract and fiduciary law.

    If we assume for the sake of argument that PHS and other government research proposal reviewers have their hearts in the right places and are really trying to find the best research to fund, the problem is their expertise and the volume of requests they have to deal with. They need a shorthand for identifying credible researchers. Peer-reviewed publications is a handy measure. The “name” of the university is another (more on that below).

    If we make the more realistic assumption that the motivation of keeping their jobs at PHS trumps finding good science to fund (consciously or unconsciously), then we have the question of politically-directed spending on research and the need to toe the political line. Witness the near-impossibility of getting federal research dollars if you do not agree with CAGW.

    Universities are motivated to develop internal processes and policies to take advantage of the federal cash cow. Federal funding is one-stop shopping for funding, meaning you have to deal with only one set of funding standards. In addition, the federal grant reviewers are relatively unsophisticated gatekeepers vs. private/industry reviewers and have no personal skin in the game, and researchers do not face the same pressure to produce reproducible results that they would from private funders. As a result there is a reinforcing cycle of top universities attracting researchers who get published and PHS funding the research conducted at those universities–with no incentives to break out of the government-funding cycle.

    Representatives from industry have repeatedly communicated to academia that one of industry’s key issues with funding academic research is the need for reproducible results. With the cut in federal research dollars we are seeing universities and researchers seeking more funding from private industry and foundations–my bet is there will be more rigorous and reproducible research coming out of academic institutions as a result.

    • > It is a truism that people are much more careful about spending their own money than they are about spending others.

      I doubt this Friedmanian idea, but I do hope it’s true:

      Although a great deal of research has shown that people with more money are somewhat happier than are people with less money, our research demonstrates that how people spend their money also matters for their happiness. In particular, both correlational and experimental studies have shown that people who spend money on others report more happiness. The benefits of such prosocial spending emerge among adults around the world, and the warm glow of giving can be detected even in toddlers. These benefits are most likely to emerge when giving satisfies one or more core human needs (relatedness, competence, and autonomy). The rewards of prosocial spending are observable in both the brain and the body and can potentially be harnessed by organizations and governments.

      http://cdp.sagepub.com/content/23/1/41.abstract

      • Willard, I think your quote is orthogonal to the point I was making, which is that people are more careful about how they spend their own money as opposed to how they spend others’ money. People could certainly thoughtfully spend their OWN money on others with great satisfaction–I’m a mother, friend, concerned citizen and modest philanthropist, I happily spend money on others all the time.

      • ms, good points. A related issue is how much of your own money would you ‘bet’ on certain things; much easier to bet other people’s money

      • > I think your quote is orthogonal to the point I was making,

        I’m not sure you make that point, ms. think, I rather think you assume it as a truism. The point of the study is related to that truism insofar as it is the spending of our own money that makes us feel good about ourselves. Accepting the study’s findings leads to distinguish ownership from selfishness, a concept that may deserve due diligence, considering that the CEOs of public corporations don’t exactly manage their own assets.

        More generally, studies in altruism tend to undercut individualist claptraps based on the mythology promoted by armchair classical economists. The inefficiency of public agencies compared to private companies may very well be unjustly overemphasized. I don’t think a “no votes” on a proxy ballot counts as a way to dislodge crooks and cronies out of their golden seat.

        The not-too-distant financial turmoils indicate that it might not be the best of times for private institutions to take the higher moral ground in such matters.

      • > I think your quote is orthogonal to the point I was making,

        I’m not sure you make that point, ms. think, I rather think you assume it as a truism. The point of the study is related to that truism insofar as it is the spending of our own money that makes us feel good about ourselves. Accepting the study’s findings leads to distinguish ownership from selfishness, a concept that may deserve due diligence, considering that the CEOs of public corporations don’t exactly manage their own assets.

        More generally, studies in altruism tend to undercut individualist claptraps based on the mythology promoted by armchair classical economists. The inefficiency of public agencies compared to private companies may very well be unjustly overemphasized. I don’t think a “no votes” on a proxy ballot counts as a way to dislodge cronies out of their golden seats.

        The not-too-distant financial turmoils indicate that it might not be the best of times for private institutions to take the higher moral ground in such matters.

      • Well… plus 1 to ms. think …

        The rewards of prosocial spending are observable in both the brain and the body and can potentially be harnessed by organizations and governments.

        This statement gives me heartburn. I am not a fan of more than the minimal government interference.

      • > This statement gives me heartburn.

        That sometimes happens when you get the truth from the gut:

      • Well, no.

        The social progressives who are provably the least ethical and most immoral element of society use the Federal government to push their “prosocial” policies down the throats of a resistant majority.

        The normal rules of social debate don’t anticipate that one party will constantly lie and cheat without being held accountable. This gives social progressives an unfair advantage.

        The real solution is to prune the Federal government down to its minimal functions (defense, border patrol, etc.) and return the other powers to the states. The immoral and unethical tactics used by the social progressives should be criminalized.

        Allowing social engineering by the unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonorable, and dishonest (social progressives) is unconscionable,

        .

      • > Allowing social engineering by the unprincipled, unscrupulous, dishonorable, and dishonest (social progressives) is unconscionable,

        See for yourself:

        The Justice Department’s announcement primarily cites deals between FIFA, sports marketing groups, and broadcast corporations for the television rights to air the World Cup and other international soccer tournaments. Dating back to 1991, the indictment alleges, those involved conspired to receive bribes from marketing firms in exchange for exclusive television contracts—to the cumulative tune of more than $150 million. As Attorney General Loretta Lynch stated, “It spans at least two generations of soccer officials who, as alleged, have abused their positions of trust to acquire millions of dollars in bribes and kickbacks.”

        http://www.wired.com/2015/05/fifa-scandal-explained/

        In the next few days, Mr. T. will release billions upon billions of invisible hands to brush that as a statist conspiracy.

      • Willard | May 29, 2015 at 4:44 pm |

        The Justice Department’s announcement primarily cites deals between FIFA, sports marketing groups, and broadcast corporations for the television rights to air the World Cup and other international soccer tournaments. Dating back to 1991, the indictment alleges, those involved conspired to receive bribes from marketing firms in exchange for exclusive television contracts—to the cumulative tune of more than $150 million.

        Well… This doesn’t seem relevant to my point.

        Social Progressives are moral relativists. This means they behave about as honestly as the average person when there is nothing on the line. When something affects their social goals the gloves come off. .

        So on any topic where the social progressives have a position you have to assume they are lying, and it is safer just to assume they are lying all the time.

        However, just because all social progressives are liars does not mean that all liars are social progressives. The left does not have a patent on dishonesty. They are just better at it.

        As to the FIFA scandal… It should be pointed out that most soccer countries are more socialist than the US so dishonesty is to be expected.

        Plus, real men don’t run around outside in shorts and knee socks playing footsie.

      • > This doesn’t seem relevant to my point.

        A point which no doubt is diagonal to the one you plussed, PA, but which one: that progressives are provably the most immoral elements of our society, that you’re a minarchist who can compromise at the state level, or that it’s your civic duty to fight the scum of the earth, I mean the progressives? I don’t have anything to add to this rant, PA. Please, do continue.

        Meanwhile, I’ll simply continue to push forward the very idea that reality is seldom as simple, e.g.:

        “In 2014, transatlantic organizations with a seat in Germany could apply for U.S. government funds to influence Germans so that they would support American interests, for example regarding free trade agreements.” (page 43)

        “The truth is that all the transatlantic think tanks have the sole purpose of supporting NATO. And NATO is led by the U.S.” (page 144)

        […]

        Discussing a six week study trip to the US organized by the German Marshall Fund in which Ulfkotte had participated upon invitation: “It is no secret that the German Marshall Fund maintains excellent relationships with intelligence agencies… The GMF gave each of us [participants] an envelope with cash for the stay in the United States. I could choose a climatized rental car, the petrol was paid for as well of course. Ditto the hotels, the laundries, the meals. And there were… presents. (…) At some point during this U.S. trip, I became unable to tell who really was only from the GMF and who was from U.S. intelligence. (pages 147-148)

        “Nearly all pro-American organizations or those close to intelligence services mentioned in this book have blogs, on which German journalists regularly write. (…) And these conformist journalists frequently receive invitations for trips to the U.S. There, they can then give paid-for presentations, thus closing the circle [of corruption].

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/till-bruckner/think-tanks-lobbying-medi_b_7179422.html

        There’s even a bit about George Soros, as if the article was meant to confirm your point.

        The truth is out there, PA. Go get it by the throat.

      • Willard…
        In 2014, transatlantic organizations with a seat in Germany could apply for U.S. government funds to influence Germans so that they would support American interests…

        I want a small Federal government.

        A small Federal government doesn’t have the money or people to do really embarrassing things that a large rich Federal government does. Excess Federal resources, bureaucrats, and lawyers are the Devil’s advocates and paving crew.

        If you think the government is doing too many bad things – downsize it and it will do less bad things.

      • > I want a small Federal government.

        Exactly orthopedic to what ms. think was talking about.

        You know, PA, Bart R was even more radical than that: he was a complete minarchist. Not just the Federal bit. Everything.

        Yet, I was fond to read his comments. Here’s an excerpt of one of his latest comment, before he got fed up with Judy’s deletions:

        Any insurer wants to have solid understanding of the Risk impacts of climate kinetics. Many businesses need insurance to defray their risks, and unnatural trends are part of many corporate risk profiles.

        Given the diversity and number of nations with various tax regimes, and one hopes in future carbon cycle privatization, aimed at stemming tyranny in the use of scarce resources, it’s hard to imagine good business would not want the advice of knowledgeable professionals dedicated to steering through such complexity.

        https://judithcurry.com/2013/06/10/climate-change-officers/#comment-330888

        Somehow, you don’t reach the same conclusions. If you’re a minarchist, wouldn’t you be interested to stop anyone from abusing resources that belong to you in part?

        If you think that a public science has an accountability problem, wait until it gets into the hands of private interests. Most of the examples so far mentioned in this thread compromise the reputation of big industries. Yet they are used to reinforce management truisms.

        Here would be a less ad hoc hypothesis, along with a simpler:

        So yes, the geeks and the executives and the agents and the military have [expletived] the world. But in the end, it’s the job of the people, working together, to un[expletive] it.

        View story at Medium.com

        In any case, PA, please do continue.

    • Don Monfort

      Willy is in charge of orthogonality round here. If he is not being orthogonal, we pay no attention. So please don’t take it personally.

      • I wondered why I could never understand his posts. I was beginning to think he was an alien.

      • Don Monfort

        You must have heard about the rumor going around on ATTP. Some of the denizens over there are saying that prof. kenny was on one of his intergalactic trips studying planet formation, when he heard of willy’s (not his name out there) mastery of orthogonality and he brought him back to be his moderator.

    • willard – there is a world of difference having your money taken from you at the point of a gun, aka the law, and having it spent in ways out of your control; and giving freely your own money

      • > there is a world of difference having your money taken from you at the point of a gun, aka the law, and having it spent in ways out of your control; and giving freely your own money

        Indeed, just as there is a world of difference between spending your own money and managing assets for salary and stock options, jim2. At least in principle. According to what we all accept as a truism.

        Or not. Intuition differs on that, as it’s related to responsibility and accountability. It also may differ according to the prototype one has in mind. Take the case of an household:

        Women now drive the world economy.

        Globally, they control about $20 trillion in annual consumer spending, and that figure could climb as high as $28 trillion in the next five years. Their $13 trillion in total yearly earnings could reach $18 trillion in the same period. In aggregate, women represent a growth market bigger than China and India combined—more than twice as big, in fact. Given those numbers, it would be foolish to ignore or underestimate the female consumer. And yet many companies do just that, even ones that are confident they have a winning strategy when it comes to women.

        https://hbr.org/2009/09/the-female-economy

        Imagine an hypothetical wife spending your money to buy stuff for the family and herself, jim2. Do you think she’ll spend less responsibly because it’s yours?

      • You have attempted to juxtapose two orthogonal cases.

      • > You have attempted to juxtapose two orthogonal cases.

        I disagree, jim2. I simply provided you a third-person scenario where your background knowledge may conflict to what we may think is a truism.

        Let’s talk more generally, and without any quasi-fictional examples:

        Since mainstream economics attributes a consistent preference ordering to all agents, and since more specific models typically take agents to be well-informed and self-interested, it is easy for economists to accept the view that an individual agent A will prefer X to Y if and only if X is in fact better for A than Y is. This is one place where positive theory bleeds into normative theory. In addition the identification of welfare with the satisfaction of preferences is attractive to economists, because it prevents questions about the justification of paternalism (to which most economists are strongly opposed) from even arising.

        Welfare and the satisfaction of preferences may coincide because the satisfaction of preferences constitutes welfare or because people are self-interested and good judges of their own interests and hence prefer what is good for them. There are many obvious objections to the view that well-being is the satisfaction of preferences. Preferences may be based on mistaken beliefs. People may prefer to sacrifice their own well-being for some purpose they value more highly. Preferences may reflect past manipulation or distorting psychological influences (Elster 1983). In addition, if preference satisfaction constitutes welfare, then policy makers can make people better off by molding their wants rather than by improving conditions. Furthermore, it seems unreasonable that social policy should attend to extravagant preferences. Rather than responding to these objections and attempting to defend the view that preference satisfaction constitutes well-being, economists can blunt these objections by taking preferences in circumstances where people are self-interested and good judges of their interests to be merely good evidence of what will promote welfare (Hausman and McPherson 2009). There are some exceptions, most notably Amartya Sen (1987a,b,c, 1992), but most economists take welfare to coincide more or less with the satisfaction of preference.

        http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/economics/

        The first emphasis motivates the example of your fictional wife. The second emphasis shows that the truism represents some kind of economic postulate that may very well be dubious.

        Tell me if you prefer we talk by cases.

      • We were discussing the case that government doesn’t spend our money with care. Despite the Denizen’s of the Dismal Science bloviation above, it’s my judgement that the wife and the hedge fund manager, typically, will be more cautious with OPM than the government. They have more consequences waiting for them if they mismanage. The government is impervious to consequences – they make the law and they have the big guns.

      • > We were discussing the case that government doesn’t spend our money with care.

        Not quite. The case would be that the government doesn’t spend our own money as well as we’d do ourselves. Underneath that case, there still is a truism according to which we manage better our own money than otters’. The implication traces back to at least Friedman’s populist efforts, e.g.:

        I don’t know which “we” you’re referring to, jim2, but the cases I offered question that truism. They are thus quite relevant. If you believe your hypothetical wife would optimize the household’s money if it was hers, then you ought to give her all your money that goes into the household.

        Invididualism has problems with personal identity. What defines your self goes beyond yourself. Each day toddlers top armchair classical economists by the sheer power of the social skills they develop.

        ***

        What makes you think that CEOs spend the investors’ money with care, BTW?

      • What makes you think that CEOs spend the investors’ money with care, BTW?

        Not all of them do, but they can and do get fired, and now they can go to jail. Same with Wife’s, they can and do get kicked out if needed.

        Has any elected official gotten impeached due to how the Government spent my(or anyone else) tax money?
        The second problem is once spending is written into law, it’s really hard to get it removed. Auto headlights were required by law to be sealed beam lights in 1940 or something, it took until 1983 for it to finally be removed.
        If it’s hard getting the votes to put something into law, it’s twice as hard to undo it.

  54. I think the biggest problem with climate science is the predominant view of human interaction with climates systems as a “problem” rather than as a puzzle.

  55. Yes, science is in the doghouse, but there will be more serious consequences if the public becomes aware of the potentially serious consequences of misrepresenting data for research funds:

    https://malagabay.wordpress.com/2015/05/29/the-ice-age-is-coming/

  56. From an economist’s (or anyone who’s stopped to think about the incentives for very long) point of view, inaccurate grant-funded science isn’t surprising. Paying people upfront for risky, exploratory work does not tend to produce good results in any industry. Governments don’t mind this much, because governments are also not incentivized to produce much of actual value.

    If you want accurate results, try making the researchers put their money where their mouths are whenever possible. e.g., prize-funded science.

    • Seems like a sensible suggestion.

      The Englishman Harrison developed and built a ship’s chronometer, and tried to claim the £20,000 prize offered by the Admiralty for such a sought after thing.

      Aha! Straight into the hands of the beaurocrats! “Of course you get the prize, Mr. Harrison, but first, a couple of minor details. . .”

      Eventually, after personal intervention by King George III, Harrison, at the age of 80 or so, received most of the prize he was originally promised.

      Interesting footnote is that Harrison was a carpenter by trade.

      • I think outcomes are better with an organization which needs to maintain a good reputation and/or can be taken to court. e.g. xprize.org.

  57. Another climate scientist spreading ACO2 Climate FUD. From the article:

    Katharine Hayhoe, a climate scientist at Texas Tech University, likens what’s happening to a stewpot: Natural climate fluctuations such as El Nino go into it. So do jet stream meanderings, random chance, May being a transition month, and local variability. Then throw in the direct and indirect effects of climate change.
    “We know that the stew has an extra ingredient,” Hayhoe says, referring to climate change. “That ingredient is very strong. Sometimes you add one teaspoon of the wrong ingredient and boy, it can take your head off.”

    http://apnews.myway.com/article/20150529/us-sci–weird_weather-04e347af1d.html

  58. Above, reference was made to Trenberth and Hurrell (1994), which I just read, as well as two references therefrom [Bjerknes J (1969), Namias J (1969)]. Thinking about what I’d read, I realized a way to describe my otherwise vague and hard-to-communicate thoughts about how climate science might progress beyond GCM’s.

    I see a distinct change in perspective between the two papers from 1969, and Trenberth and Hurrell (1994). The latter is much more focused on statistical analysis at a global level, while the former seem (to me) to be much more focused on specific mechanisms. Those mechanisms involve phenomena that GCM’s (AFAIK) find hard to reproduce, at least with any realism. I was struck especially by the analysis of the “Walker Circulation” [Namias J (1969)].

    When the cold water belt along the Equator is well developed, the air above it will be too cold and heavy to join the ascending motion in the Hadley circulations. Instead, the equatorial air flows westward between the Hadley circulations of the two hemispheres to the warm west Pacific. There, after having been heated and supplied by moisture from the warm waters, the equatorial air can take part in large-scale, moist-adiabatic ascent. The dynamic conditions governing that kind of motion can be analyzed in the schematic figure 8, which presents a vertical profile of the pressure field along the Equator.

    In the Pacific part of that round-the-world profile, the horizontal pressure gradient is directed westward along the ocean surface (except locally near the South American coast) and eastward in the upper troposphere. If the equatorial air were enclosed between zonal vertical walls, a simple circulation as shown by the schematic streamlines in figure 8 would develop. The moist-adiabatically ascending motion in the west would be adjusted so as to occupy less space than the descending motion in the east, whereby a steady-state field of temperature can be maintained (the warming by descent —ω(γd—γ) being compensated by the net radiative heat loss).

    Without the zonal walls, this equatorial circulation does enter into exchange of absolute angular momentum with adjacent parts of the atmosphere to the north and the south; and, since the equatorial belt of the atmosphere is always endowed with a greater absolute angular momentum than adjacent zonal belts, a divergence of absolute angular momentum must result at the Equator. Under steady-state conditions this loss of absolute angular momentum in the equatorial atmosphere is compensated by the frictional torque about the axis of the earth at the interface of atmosphere and ocean.

    FIGURE8. -Profile of height (dynamic meter) of standard isobaric surfaces along the Equator in January and July, based on data from Heastie and Stephenson (1960). “Walker Circulation” over the Pacific entered as suggested in the present article. The narrow maximum at 180″ in January and the big maximum at 80″E in July are possibly spurious features. [Original Caption.]

    I’ll add a note here for those unfamiliar with the basics of global meteorology that the equatorial zone is very different from the rest of the globe, in that (among other things) it does not experience a significant geostrophic effect. Thus, unlike most of the globe, air will flow directly from high-pressure areas to low-pressure. Elsewhere, a relatively small spot of high or low pressure can remain (somewhat) stable because its pressure gradient is maintained by a loop of wind at right angles to the gradient (except at the upper and lower boundaries). But at the equator, a pressure difference between (for instance) equatorial South America and a location at 180° Longitude would result in air flow from one location to the other, as shown in the figure above.

    Now my point is this: Bjerknes makes reference to specific phenomena, usually present, at least during certain parts of the year. For example, the cold upwelling westerly current (westwards flowing, opposite to how a “westerly wind” would blow) reaching from eastern South America often as far as 180° Longitude (see Bjerknes J (1969) figure 7). This is blown by a typical Equatorial Easterly, down the pressure gradient created, in turn, by that same cold water.

    Somewhere between South America and Indonesia, there’s an area of hot surface water and maximum convection, creating a low pressure zone at the western end of the Equatorial Easterly mentioned above. West of that, there’s an Equatorial Westerly, perhaps driven by high pressures created at the western end of the Trade Winds. This, in turn, blows very warm water emanating from the equatorial edge of the tropical gyres back to the east, warming as it goes, until it reaches the western end of the “Walker Circulation”. [Bjerknes J (1969)]

    The great variability of the precipitation record at Canton Island in figure 1 reflects the fact that the western end of the Walker Circulation varies in longitudinal position from year to year. When the equatorial cold water and the arid regime reach Canton Island, that is a sign that the axis of the Walker Circulation is west of 172″W, so that subsiding air prevails over the island. When the Walker Circulation axis is located east of 172″W, Canton Island is under the rising air column with frequent rain from midtropospheric cloud as well as from convective cloud favored by the positive sea-minus-air temperature difference

    Now this process involves a number of easily defined phenomena, such as the equatorial westerly cold current and easterly wind mentioned above, and the object that constitutes both the “western end of the Walker Circulation” and the eastern end of the Equatorial Counter Current.

    This latter object is probably central to the actual functional processes that create the Southern Oscillation (ENSO) and determine the evolution of El Niño (and La Niña).

    So here’s the approach I’m considering: rather than try to “recreate” these phenomena from GCM’s with large cells and (probably) inappropriate parametrization, why not build models where the phenomena are basic parts of the system. This “Central Equatorial Pacific Convergence” (or whatever it should be called, I’m sure somebody’s given it a name that has priority) would have a number of attributes, that would vary over time, by season and year-to-year. These might include base longitude, pressure gradient between its surface low and the high-pressure off South America, pressure gradient between its surface low-point and the high in the West Pacific (presumably off Indonesia) , actual volume of air involved in full-troposphere convection, average rate of precipitation, etc.

    Real-world characteristics of this object could be determined, and relationships with ENSO and other global-scale variations could be mapped, then models could be built from the sort of objects described above, attempting to produce a functional model of climate evolution.

    An advantage of this approach is that, as progressively more attributes are added to the object, its variation (in the real world) will be in a space with progressively more dimensions, and thus, its evolution during each instance of “oscillation” can be followed independently of previous and following instances. It will define a unique path through its attribute space, and variation in that path (among oscillations) can be compared to other global variations, looking for causal connections.

    Obviously, this is still very vague, both because it’s hard for me to communicate what I’m thinking about, and my thinking itself is very “high-level” with regards to how such a GCM replacement would work. But I put it out here in case it stimulates anybody else’s thinking productively.

    References:

    Bjerknes J (1969) Atmospheric Teleconnections From the Equatorial Pacific by J Bjerknes Mon. Wea. Rev., 97, 163–172.

    Namias J (1969) Seasonal Interactions Between the North Pacific Ocean and the Atmosphere during the 1960’s by J Namias Mon. Wea. Rev., 97, 173–192.

    Trenberth and Hurrell (1994) Decadal atmosphere-ocean variations in the Pacific by Kevin E Trenberth, James W Hurrell Climate Dynamics March 1994, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 303-319.

    • “But I put it out here in case it stimulates anybody else’s thinking productively.”
      It’s a great idea, and reminds me of the beginning of the design automaton Industry. Logic primitives stitched together and available for simulation.
      The second point goes with this, I spend a lot of time helping design engineers understand what and why the simulations were telling them, simulations are not reality, and have various levels of fidelity, but the question you asked and how you defined the conditions matter, and most of the gcm results fail to inform and improve for these reasons.
      Actual climate not amenable able to testing just makes it harder.

      • Thanks micro6500. It occurs to me that, from the perspective of Object Oriented Programming, current GCM’s sort of look like a grid of “objects”, each of which represents an arbitrary grid cell. By contrast, I would suggest starting with “objects” that represent real-world phenomena.

    • Here are some more thoughts.

      As I understand it, the typical major tropical storm/hurricane/typhoon involves a central area of convergence and convection (the “eye” being a vortex phenomenon embedded within it), with substantial evaporation in the areas of converging winds surrounding the central convection.

      By analogy, then, the central warm pool/convection center in the equatorial Pacific might be using its equatorial “arms” east and west, along with their associated areas of trade winds, in an equivalent moisture-gathering mode.

      Long ago, when I read Bjerknes J (1969) (or perhaps another paper with a similar thrust), my thought was that El Niño might represent a state in which the Equatorial Westerly, and Counter-current, were “clamped” against the Andean Cordillera. Each of these phenomena represents a (potential) major source of convection, the end of the Counter-current because it’s the warmest surface water in the area, the Andean Cordillera because heating from sunlit land at high altitude is more effective than at the surface, and air at 700-400mB, already having gone through one cycle of precipitation and cooling, can be heated by contact with land and go through another.


      • What should be done if it’s not already, is to have a virtual environment where this type of situation can be modeled, and simulated at high enough fidelity and resolution that we can replicate these conditions, and validate them against the real thing.

        Then it lends itself to study and exploration. Does adding a 4 watts per square meter change the storm, doe it carry more water, alter it course, does a blob of cool water kill it, the space that can be explored becomes significant. Plus we can build expertise in the difference between real and virtual. I can’t emphasize this aspect of simulations enough, even really smart people get lost, or worst they stop thinking and just believe the results, even when any idjit walking by can tell in 2 seconds it’s not real.
        This is what I think happen with GCMs, modelers fell in love with the results, it has to be true,and if measurements don’t agree the measurements must be wrong.
        Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

      • Excellent comment. ENSO is a Western standing storm that strengthens when it occasionally move to the East. If I were to move ocean heat to the TOA, I’d use two updrafts instead of one as with an El Nino. In the diagrams the slope of the thermocline flattens and the circulations double, there are two updrafts. Compare this to a flattened PETG. This may lead to a wavy meandering jet stream. Simple boring slope changes correlate with non-linear system changes. This suggests there are non-vertical and non-horizontal slope values that coincide with system reorganizations.

      • Speaking of a good post.
        These are the details and variants in the details that are important, both to understanding of the real world and to validate your models.
        The will never be able to get GCM’s right with large cells until they get the details right with small cells.

      • Found an interesting paper [Zhang et al (1995)] that suggests that for very high sea-surface temperatures (SST) cooling of the ocean surface from evaporation actually decreases with increasing temperature, on a time-scale of months. (It does, however, appear to increase with increasing temperature on the shorter time-scales involved in actual convection systems.)

        This paper derives from a substantial study of the Western Pacific, during the period from 1 January 1992 to 30 May 1993. Now, here’s my thought. They attribute the decrease in evaporation to reduced wind speeds (averaged over long periods) due to increased convection, and convergence. This sort of makes sense, but in line with the ideas above, the Pacific Warm Pool in the Western Pacific is the source of the Equatorial Counter-Current (AFAIK) which moves east until it reaches its terminus at the intersection with the Equatorial cold current and associated easterlies coming from offshore South America. These easterlies are probably considerably cooler, and dryer in absolute terms, than the air coming from the west.

        So the negative feedbacks that Zhang et al (1995) don’t find may well be a function of the intersection of these two currents, at what I’d predict to be usually the lowest-pressure (surface) object on the Pacific equator. (Except for the core of the occasional tropical storm.) This intersection, pulling both warm/hot humid air and water from both directions, lies on/near the equator, where geostrophic forces are negligible. It provides a great deal more convection than is driven by local evaporation.

        Thus, the tendency for evaporation to “fade off” when SST increases past a certain point is counteracted by mixing with the cooler water from the east during a normal state of the “global standing storm”.

        During El Niño conditions, the Equatorial Counter-Current extends all the way to the South American coast, then spreads polewards where mixing with cooler water, and weather systems driven by on-shore monsoons, work to cool it to levels where increased evaporation can finish the job.

        An interesting point is that when the Equatorial Counter-Current does not extend all the way to South America, there will be a variety of influences on its movement, some with positive feedbacks, some with negative. The tendency for evaporative cooling to decrease with increasing SST above a point somewhere around 31.5°C [Zhang et al (1995)] could well be a positive feedback tending to push the “global standing storm” to the east.

        If the greenhouse effect actually tends to push SST in the Western Pacific and Equatorial Counter-Current past this point, then one effect of increased GHG’s might be an increased tendency for El Niño conditions to occur. Based on many paleo studies (not referenced), this tendency would have to be added to a number of natural tendencies that have been influencing this behavior since at least the end of the last glaciation.

        But it would have to be added. If, in fact, increased GHG’s actually contribute to pushing SST’s over this “tipping point” as Zhang et al (1995) imply.

        Reference:

        Zhang et al (1995) Convection-Evaporation Feedback in the Equatorial pacific by Guang Jun Zhang, V. Ramanathan, and Michael J. McPhaden J. Climate 8, 3040–3051.

  59. In the way of solutions to the problems outlined here:
    “The sins of expertness and a proposal for redemption”
    published in 2000.
    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1118019/

  60. “Afflicted by studies with … flagrant conflicts of interest … science has taken a turn towards darkness.”

    OK, government climate science possibly the worst confict of interest there has ever been.

    ” scientists too often (a) sculpt data to fit their preferred theory of the world. Or (b) they retrofit hypotheses to fit their data. ”

    Yes (a) is clearly bad.
    But what is wrong with (b) – making/correcting theory to fit the facts ?

  61. Pingback: Watching Wayward Warriors Waging Worldwide Worries | Skeptical Swedish Scientists

  62. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #181 | Watts Up With That?

  63. rogerknights

    Here’s a terrific book with apposite quotes, a few of which I include below:

    Quotes from Anthony Standen’s Science is a Sacred Cow, [1950], 1958, Dutton Paperback.

    Used copies are available inexpensively on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Science-Sacred-Cow-Standen/dp/0525470166/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213281131&sr=1-1

    15-16: Scientists are convinced that they, as scientists, possess a number of very admirable human qualities, such as accuracy, observation, reasoning power, intellectual curiosity, tolerance, and even humility.

    18-19 [Certain people (called “science fiends” later in the book)] suppose that because science has penetrated the structure of the atom it can solve all the problems of the universe.… They are known in every … college as the most insufferable, cocksure know-it-alls. If you want to talk to them about poetry, they are likely to reply that the “emotive response” to poetry is only a conditioned reflex…. If they go on to be professional scientists, their sharp corners are rubbed down, but they undergo no fundamental change. They most decidedly are not set apart from the others by their intellectual integrity and faith, and their patient humility in front of the facts of nature…. They are uneducated, in the fullest sense of the word, and they certainly are no advertisement for the claims of science teachers.

    23-24: Mr. Hillaire Belloc has pointed out that science has changed greatly, and for the worse, since it became popular. Some hundred years ago, or more, only very unusual, highly original spirits were attracted to science at all; scientific work was therefore carried out by men of exceptional intelligence. Now, scientists are turned out by mass production in our universities, and … they are very ordinary professional men, and all they know is their trade.

    25: It all comes down to correlations…. Very often they argue that the one thing caused the other, when it might have been the other way round. Executives have been found to have a large vocabulary; therefore, learn ten new words every day and you will become an executive. Or else, there will be an argument that, in principle, runs like this: a man gets drunk on Monday on whisky and soda water; he gets drunk on Tuesday on brandy and soda water; and on Wednesday on gin and soda water. What caused his drunkenness? Obviously, the common factor, the soda water.

    26: As advertising always convinces the sponsor even more than the public, the scientists have become sold, and remain sold, on the idea that they have the key to the Absolute, and that nothing will do for Mr. Average Citizen but to stuff himself full of electrons.

    28: A theory is simply a well-tested hypothesis, but there is no sharp dividing line.

    31: They will define these [terms] in tight phrases which convey a meaning only to those who already understand it.

    31: The dreadful cocksureness that is characteristic of scientists in bulk is not only quite foreign to the spirit of true science, it is not even justified by a superficial view.

    • Fabulous quotes.

      It is also humbling. It took me years of experience with the breed to realize those truths, and that was in an era in which plentywere around to observe. That author realized that at a time when scientist types were comparatively thin on the ground.

      Science is like many other areas: the ability to regurgitate findings others have made bears little relationship to the ability to reason competently from those findings. A great amount of the former ability makes too many blind to their limitations with regard to the latter.

      • Einstein was a big fan of the book. Perhaps because the author’s obituary says:

        The author seemed impressed only by physicists, because he found that they usually knew what they were talking about.

    • Nice. Soda Walter, he he.

  64. H Belloc “Some hundred years ago, or more, only very unusual, highly original spirits were attracted to science at all; scientific work was therefore carried out by men of exceptional intelligence. Now, scientists are turned out by mass production in our universities, and … they are very ordinary professional men, and all they know is their trade.”

    This is true for almost all professions nowadays. University education is the ultimate dumbdown process, with millions of mediocre graduates to be absorbed into the workforce. Amongst all of them, however, I keep a sharp lookout for a true intellect, with true originality, because only from such few geniuses will humanity progress.

  65. rogerknights

    Here’s a TED Talk on this topic:

  66. rogerknights

    Here are more quotes from Standen’s book, Science Is a Sacred Cow, which is out of print but available used at Amazon at the link above.

    35: There is truth in an old wisecrack of Oliver Wendell Holmes: “Science is a good piece of furniture for a man to have in an upper chamber provided he has common sense on the ground floor.”

    43: Education, like everything else, goes in fads, and has the normal human tendency to put up with something bad for just so long, and then rush to the other extreme.

    60-62: The first thing to realize about physics … is its extraordinary indirectness…. For physics is not about the real world, it is about “abstractions” from the real world, and this is what makes it so scientific…. Theoretical physics runs merrily along with these unreal abstractions, but its conclusions are checked, at every possible point, by experiments.

    89: A physicist once said, … “We have seen our atoms.” … He didn’t really mean it…. He meant only that we can see the trail of an atom. Now just suppose a hunter were to announce, “I saw a tiger on Long Island yesterday”; if, on close questioning, he were to back down to “what I mean is, I saw the trail of a tiger,” would he be believed in the clubhouse?

    82: If the idols of scientists were piled on top of one another in the manner of a totem pole, the topmost one would be a grinning fetish called Measurement.

    69-70; 85: Lord Kelvin was so satisfied with this triumph of science that he declared himself to be as certain of the existence of the ether as a man can be about anything…. “When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it….” Thus did Lord Kelvin lay down the law. And though quite wrong, this time he has the support of official modern Science. It is NOT true that when you can measure what you are speaking about, you know something about it. The fact that you can measure something doesn’t even prove that that something exists…. Take the ether, for example: didn’t they measure the ratio of its elasticity to its density?

    68, 88, 179: Physics is NOT a body of indisputable and immutable Truth; it is a body of well-supported probable opinion only…. Physics can never prove things the way things are proved in mathematics, by eliminating ALL of the alternative possibilities. It is not possible to say what the alternative possibilities are…. Write down a number of 20 figures; if you multiply this by a number of, say, 30 figures, you would arrive at some enormous number (of either 49 or 50 figures). If you were to multiply the 30-figure number by the 20-figure number you would arrive at the same enormous 49- or 50-figure number, and you know this to be true without having to do the multiplying. This is the step you can never take in physics.

    73: In the grand old nineteenth century days, physicists were convinced that everything goes according to rule.

    90-91: It is true that physics gives a wonderful training in precise, logical thinking—about physics. It really does depend upon accurate reproducible experiments, and upon framing hypotheses with the greatest possible freedom from dogmatic prejudice. And if these were the really important things in life, physics would be an essential study for everybody.

    191: If this “critical open-minded attitude” … is wanted, the question at once arises, Is it science that should be studied in order to achieve it? Why not study law? A judge has to do everything that a scientist is exhorted to do in the way of withholding judgment until all the facts are in, and then judging impartially on the merits of the case as well as he can…. Why not a course in Sherlock Holmes? The detectives, or at least the detective-story writers, join with the scientists in excoriating “dogmatic prejudice, lying, falsification of facts, and data, and willful fallacious reasoning.”

    93: Evidently in biology there is the same tendency to utter pompous nonsense that characterizes scientists of all types.

    98-100: Analogy is a wonderful, useful and most important form of thinking, and biology is saturated with it. Nothing is worse than a horrible mass of undigested facts, and facts are indigestible unless there is some rhyme or reason to them. The physicist, with his facts, seeks reason; the biologist seeks something very much like rhyme, and rhyme is a kind of analogy…. This analogizing, this fine sweeping ability to see likenesses in the midst of differences, is the great glory of biology, but biologists don’t know it…. They have always been so fascinated and overawed by the superior prestige of exact physical science that they feel they have to imitate it…. In its central content, biology is not accurate thinking, but accurate observation and imaginative thinking, with great sweeping generalizations.

    108-10: But regular biology, as an “ology,” has to be “scientific,” and this means in practice that it has to be made dull…. Everything has to be expressed in utterly impersonal terms…. The explicit purpose of this is to be “scientific,” as science is understood by biologists, but there is also an implicit purpose, which … consists of inculcating a particular “ism,” which may be called “materialism,” or “mechanism,” or “determinism.”

    113: Since biologists deal constantly in analogies, they are easily misled by them.

    107: “Survival of the fittest” led to “nature red in tooth and claw” and this is not sufficiently wishy-washy for modern scientists.

    112: Man is sometimes described as “one of the animals in a community of organisms,” although this gives quite a stretch, nay a violent yank, to the meaning of the word, “community.”

    118: Psychologists, like other scientists, pride themselves on being extremely modern, and therefore much better than any group of people that ever were before….

    127: Psychologists pay lip service to the scientific method, and use it whenever it is convenient; but when it isn’t they make wild leaps of their uncontrolled fancy….

    120: It is perfectly possible to be objective about an angry man, but it is inadvisable, for it will only make him angrier.

    128 & 130-31: If you want to understand human beings, there are plenty of people to go to besides psychologists…. Most of these people are incapable of communicating their knowledge, but those who can communicate it are novelists. They are good novelists precisely because they are good psychologists…. If one wishes to learn about psychology in a genuine, rather than a scientific, way, by far the best thing to do is to read masterpieces of literature…. Not that literature is taught as if it had anything to do with psychology…. The professional literature men … are if anything even worse than the scientists…. Really great psychological insights cannot be simply expressed, as so many propositions…. It is unlikely that they will ever be “scientifically known”….

    123: Insight is not the same as scientific deduction, but even at that it may be more reliable than statistics.

    133: If simple emotions elude investigation by gauges and recording instruments, what happens to our more complicated feelings?

    137: The really important questions in human life are hardly touched upon by psychologists. Do liars come to believe their own lies? Is pleasure the same as happiness? Is it better to have loved and lost than never to have loved, or not to be able to love?

    140: “There’s many a true word spoken in jest”; scientists are abominably solemn; therefore scientists miss many a true word.

    141: Science … must be absorbed in order to inculcate that wonderful humility before the facts of nature that comes from close attention to a textbook, and that unwillingness to learn from Authority that comes from making almost verbatim lecture notes and handing them back to the professor.

    143: If they study a primitive society, it is anthropology, if a civilized society, it is sociology.

    149-50: The theory that gravitational attraction is inversely proportional to the square of the distance leads by remorseless logic to the conclusion that the path of a planet should be an ellipse…. It is this logical thinking that is the real meat of the physical sciences. The social scientist keeps the skin and throws away the meat…. His theorems no more follow from his postulates than the hunches of a horse player follow logically from the latest racing news. The result is guesswork clad in long flowing robes of gobbledygook.

    151: A biologist, if he wishes to know how many toes a cat has, does not “frame the hypothesis that the number of feline digital extremities is 4, or 5, or 6,” he simply looks at a cat and counts. A social scientist prefers the more long-winded expression every time, because it gives an entirely spurious impression of scientificness to what he is doing.

    156: Such instances of the almost infinite unpredictability of man are known to social scientists, but they are no more affected by them than the asylum inmate is by being told that he is not Napoleon.

    168-69: Physical scientists probably deserve the reputation they enjoy for incorruptibility and unswerving devotion to pure truth. The reason for this is that it is not worthwhile to bribe them.

    169: The “truths,” if they are truths, of social science are nebulous and inconsistent. Who really knows what he wants at any given moment?

    173: The problem of war is something more subtle than any social scientist can understand.

    176: “Science is based upon the belief that the universe is reliable in its operation”—and this remains a pure assumption, for we can never have any proof that the universe is completely reliable.

    177: The most “advanced” thinkers today [are] quite possibly the least reliable—just think of the advanced thinkers of yesterday.

    176-77: But although in theory physicists realize that their conclusions are … not certainly true, this … does not really sink into their consciousness. Nearly all the time … they … act as if Science were indisputably True, and what’s more, as if only science were true…. Any information obtained otherwise than by the scientific method, although it may be true, the scientists will call “unscientific,” using this word as a smear word, by bringing in the connotation from its original [Greek] meaning, to imply that the information is false, or at any rate slightly phony.

    177-78: Our advanced and fashionable thinkers are, naturally, out on a wide swing of the pendulum, away from the previous swing of the pendulum…. They seem to have an un-argue-out-able position, as is the manner of sophists, but this is no guarantee that they are right.

    181: The memory, a child once said, is “the thing we forget with.”

    182: Some scientists have even seriously debated whether these machines think. These scientists think themselves, but they know nothing about thinking [and] have no understanding whatsoever of the “subjective”….

    189: There are science teachers who actually claim that they teach “a healthy skepticism.” They do not. They teach a profound gullibility, and their dupes, trained not to think for themselves, will swallow any egregious rot, provided it is dressed up with long words and an affectation of objectivity to make it sound scientific.

    195-96: Even the professional scientists themselves take their objectivity the easy way, for they practice their objectivity on objects…. The thing not to do is to look through a microscope at an amoeba and kid yourself that it is going to improve your judgment of social problems. It isn’t…. Worse still, it may fool you into thinking you have achieved something when you haven’t. In this way, science is not the best thing to study, but the very worst.

    205-06: And yet, what if the average itself were wrong? … Is it not plausible, and even likely, that most of us have the wrong kind of brain wave?

    217: Social scientists see things differently from Mr. Huxley, and are not much concerned about freedom or servitude. In “Survey of Social Science” … “Freedom” does not appear in the index. Neither does “Liberty,” although “Libraries” is there. However a short discussion of liberty and freedom can be found in the text, under the heading, “Regulations.”

    213: An abstract thing like liberty is a little difficult to see for a “scientist” who cultivates objectivity, particularly if he is so gosh-darned objective that he thinks there is no such thing as thought, only “verbal behaviors.”
    ————

    PS: Here’s a good one from Norbert Weiner:
    “We are for the first time finding a scientific career well paid and attractive to a large number of our best go-getters. The trouble is that scientific work of the first quality is seldom done by the go-getters. . . . The degradation of the position of the scientist as an independent worker and thinker to that of a morally irresponsible stooge in a science-factory has proceeded even more rapidly and devastatingly than I had expected.”

    • Why not a course in Sherlock Holmes?

      Heavens no, they already apply Holmesian logic, “we’ve proven that warming isn’t anything we have thought of, so it must be this other thing we thought of”

  67. Reblogged this on This Got My Attention and commented:
    Terrific remarks, especially these:
    “University resources, big salaries, big government grants, peer recognition, media attention and policy influence are the rewards of publishing high profile papers. Nowhere does there seem to be any incentives to actually get the right answer, attempt to reproduce and criticize a peer’s paper, and generally to behave with integrity.

    Beyond the motivations of careerism, there is also the motivation to produce a result that will support perceived ‘good’ societal objectives – this seems to have been a factor in the gay marriage study, and is also a factor in climate research.

    Relying on the personal integrity and ethics of individual researchers clearly isn’t adequate; the problem is with the institutionalized incentives.”

    • The structural flaw is just this:

      President Lincoln assigned the responsibility of advising our government on matters of science and technology in 1863 to a private, self-perpetuating group of distinguished scholars – the NAS (National Academy of Sciences).

      In 2015, descendants of that original group are reviewing the annual budgets of federal research agencies for Congress and now directing the flow of billions of research dollars without oversight to avoid obvious conflicts-of-interest.

      NAS members are not saints and should not be put in that position.

    • +1

      http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G2-3437702983.html

      Unfortunately many if not most researchers are moral relativists and they have no personal integrity. There are indications that about 3/4 of academics (the people doing the research) are .moral relativists.

      The solution is to debar moral relativists from government science grant programs. Producing dishonest or biased results is absolutely wrong and moral relativists don’t understand that.

  68. Brian G Valentine

    “Graduate students perceive the need for a high profile publication in order to get a faculty position at one of the prestige universities.”

    Graduate students haven’t the experience to do anything meaningful, as far as I have observed.

    Historically, there have been less than 10 that I know of: Lebesgue, Schrodinger, John Couch Adams, Paul J Cohen, and four or five others that I can think of.

    Graduate students have to come with the understanding that they will not make their mark immediately

  69. While trying to find semantics upon which we can agree to define Mann’s ,shall we be charitable and call it ‘careless’ behavior we are overlooking the elephant in the room that this bit of scientific dross was so quickly and completely accepted and widely disseminated as foundational scientific truth by that august body, the IPCC. It is their conduct not that of one mann that we should be concerned with.