Driving in the dark

by Judith Curry

Long-term strategies should be built not on “visions” of the future but instead on the premise that longer term predictions (that is, forecasts of situations years and decades out), however presently credible, will probably prove wrong. – Richard Danzig

I’ve just encountered a remarkable document, Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National Security, by Richard Danzig who served as Secretary of the Navy under President Clinton.  Excerpts:

Prediction lies at the root of all strategic thinking. However, whereas routine, short-term predictions are generally right, strategic judgments about future environments are often, one might say predictably, wrong. The common response to this shortcoming is to try to improve predictive capabilities.

I propose a different tack, namely that long-term strategies should be built not on “visions” of the future but instead on the premise that longer term predictions (that is, forecasts of situations years and decades out), however presently credible, will probably prove wrong. I attempt here to show that this premise is not sterile or disabling and instead point to five complementary strategies that will better prepare the defense community for what cannot be foreseen.

Like others, I favor efforts to improve capabilities for foresight, and I agree with the best thinkers in recognizing that foresight is not the same as prediction. Prediction implies an ability to discern a particular turn of events. Foresight identifies key variables and a range of alternatives that might better prepare for the future. Yet my concern here is not to abet this admirable effort but instead to recognize and cope with its limits.

In my view, long-term national security planning will inevitably be conducted in conditions that planners describe as “deep” or “high” uncertainty, and in these conditions, foresight will repeatedly fail. Predicting the future may be “an inescapable task for decisionmakers,” but it is not the only task and it is wrong to plan solely on predictive premises. Planners need to complement their efforts at foresight with thinking and actions that account for the high probability of predictive failure.

The report presents propositions regarding prediction. The first are descriptive:

  • The propensity to make predictions – and to act on the basis of predictions – is inherently human.
  • Requirements for prediction will consistently exceed the ability to predict. 
  • Planning across a range of scenarios is good practice but will not prevent predictive failure.

The second set of propositions are prescriptive. They show how, even as they strive to improve their foresight, policymakers can better design processes, programs and equipment to account for the likelihood of predictive failure. Doing so will involve several actions:

  • Accelerating decision tempo and delaying some decisions. In a world characterized by unpredictability and increasingly frequent surprise, there are heavy penalties for ponderous decisionmaking and slow execution. The U.S. government is now designing and producing equipment on political and technological premises that are outdated by the time the equipment reaches the field. Programs must also be designed to defer some decisions into the later stages of development.
  • Increasing the agility of our production processes. A 21st-century DOD must invest in capabilities to respond rapidly to unanticipated needs.
  • Prioritizing adaptability. In the face of unpredictability, future military equipment should be adaptable and resilient rather than narrowly defined for niche requirements. 
  • Building more for the short term. Major acquisitions are now built for long-term use but would benefit from greater recognition of the unpredictability of technology development and combat environments. 
  • Nurturing diversity and creating competition. Competition and diversity produce a valuable range of potential responses when unpredicted challenges and difficulties arise.

Some insightful comments from Aaron Frank:

In a sense, Danzig’s advice is to reject the notion of optimality, arguing that there is too much uncertainty about the environment  to base any significant wager with respect to policy and even the technologies that undergird military force structure. Importantly, Danzig’s concerns are not over any particular model and its precision, but regarding the act of postulating a single future, or even a range of potential futures, and then planning against them. Simply put, there is no a priori way of knowing if the future, or set of futures, being planned for are the right ones, yet decision-makers and organizations must commit resources, take action, and go about their business based on some vision of what is coming.

A second piece of Danzig’s point is his reference to planning across multiple scenarios. Such an approach has been argued as the basis of creating robust strategies and the reason should be fairly intuitive: betting the house on a single future coming to be is likely to fail, while finding things to do that perform well in a variety of different cases means that one’s strategies will endure. Danzig, however, alludes to another aspect of this problem and correctly notes that not all scenarios can be identified beforehand, and some may encourage actions that would be harmful in other cases. As a result, planning against alternative futures must be supplemented by encouraging adaptation and change as new information becomes available. Thus, Danzig sets up adaptation as a necessary complement to robustness as a crucial aspect of strategy and decision-making under uncertainty.

The notion that success breeds failure in the prediction business is an important and often unrecognized aspect of intelligence analysis. While there has been an extensive and excellent literature of the tensions that exist between the intelligence community and policy-makers, often resulting in intelligence that is unused, ignored, challenged, or politicized, the ways in which it may be uncritically accepted and then encouraged to go beyond what is knowable while maintaining an appearance of certainty and confidence may be another path to intelligence failure induced by positive feedback from consumers.

The so called movement away from symphonies following the same sheet of music describing large bureaucratic military organizations may be replaced by the metaphor of improvisational jazz, but the players will need to work together and practice for long periods in order to understand and follow one another’s cues, and replacing parts will be more difficult if there is no script to follow. 

JC reflections

While these ideas have obvious applications to climate change and national security, I think Danzig’s ideas also have broad applicability to climate change: how we view climate model predictions, the inadequacy of our scenarios, and the failure to factor in the possibility of genuine surprises, or Dragon Kings.

Decision making under deep uncertainty has been an important topic at CE:

The economists/statisticians that are worried about climate uncertainty and Black Swans (e.g. Nassim Taleb, Martin Weitzman) are worried only about uncertainties related human caused climate change (e.g. the fat tail of climate sensitivity).  Genuinely unforeseen climate change (e.g. cooling) or disasters (unrelated to climate sensitivity; associated with natural climate variability) are ignored.

I like the distinction between foresight and prediction, something I haven’t thought about before.

The idea of intelligence failure induced by positive feedback from consumers is especially relevant for climate models and the IPCC.

And finally, I like this metaphor from Aaron Frank:

The so called movement away from symphonies following the same sheet of music describing large bureaucratic military organizations may be replaced by the metaphor of improvisational jazz, but the players will need to work together and practice for long periods in order to understand and follow one another’s cues, and replacing parts will be more difficult if there is no script to follow.

The UNFCCC is trying to figure out how to enforce internationally the same sheet of music.  It aint going to work – not the enforcement and not the hoped for outcome.  The metaphor of improvisational jazz fits a bottom up, creative adaptation.

367 responses to “Driving in the dark

  1. Improvisations are cliches, or say the dissassembly and reassembly of cliches.

    • russellseitz

      Three millennia of complaining about unruly sky gods”> has left civilization with a plenum of climate cliches.

      • Russell

        At least you have a Sense of humour.

        However, from the truth is stranger than fiction dept comes the news that we do actually have the climate records of the Byzantine empire from its establishment by Constantine through to a couple of decades prior to its fall in the 15 th century.

        There were some very interesting periods of exceptional climate including the time when icebergs battered the walls of Constantinople.

        Tonyb

      • Whatever caused the extreme climate events of 535-6 AD, they didn’t result from any global warming. No more than that mess around 2200 BC.

        Fortunately we now have abundant fossil fuels to take the edge off the worst Gaia can throw at us. Just the edge, mind you.

  2. Yes robustness is needed in planning. This sounds like textbook old school generation planning. Running a set of different scenarios for decades out and looking at the alternatives across the range of scenarios. The goal was not to pick a resource that would win any particular scenario, but rather one that would perform well (or could be mitigated -for example fuel switching) across the set of scenarios.

    • I should that that it has worked well. There have been planning failures due to construction costs greatly exceeding estimates or unanticipated technological problems, but installed conventional technology has overwhelmingly proved valuable over (and often well beyond) the anticipated life of those projects.

    • Beta Blocker

      aplanningengineer, Governor Brown has recently issued an Executive Order directing that all of California’s state agencies take the effects of climate change into account in their planning and regulatory decision making. As an exercise in making predictions about the future, is it possible to predict what kinds of impacts the Governor’s order will have on the public utility industry in California?

      For example, had the Governor’s order been in effect when the California Public Utilities Commission was reviewing NRG Energy’s application for building a new 500 MW gas-fired power plant at Carlsbad — NRG wants to construct this new plant as a partial replacement for San Onofre’s lost generation capacity — would the CPUC’s professional staff still have made a recommendation to the five commissioners that NRG’s application be approved?

      • What an interesting question. This seems different then working to mitigate climate effects of generation. I don’t know how the players would interpret that order. Increasingly severe weather (summer and winter) would increase peak demand-so build extra capacity? (In your case that would mean not only replacing San Onofre but also the increased demand due to climate change.) With worse weather people would need more power and to the extent climate harmed the economy, it would be all the more important it be as low cost as possible. Electric power would save lives from overheating…. Would the commission reason with that kind of practicality or go with the green intent?

      • Beta Blocker

        aplanningengineer, we really don’t have the details yet for how Governor Brown’s recently issued an Executive Order will be interpreted and implemented by California’s various state agencies. Each agency has to have an implementation plan published by the end of September 2015. Then the various implementation plans have to be implemented.

        NRG’s application for a new 500 MW gas-fired power plant at Carlsbad was highly contentious because advocates of the renewables pushed hard on their position that no new gas-fired generation is needed in the state because its future power requirements can be handled through a quick and aggressive adoption of the renewables.

        If we try to predict what the situation might be in California two years from now by looking at a time-traveled progress report published in the summer of 2017 concerning the impacts the Governor’s order actually had on the process of managing state government — we might conclude than anything under the sun can and will happen, including the possibility that the processes state agencies use in making their decisions are gummed up to such an extent that all of California’s regulatory and planning activities which affect environmental issues slow to a crawl or even stop altogether.

      • So how’s Governor Brown’s water planning working out? :-)

      • So how’s Governor Brown’s water planning working out?

        Cogently nswered at 0:58 at

  3. Seems to me kind of boils down to the old farmer observation: Don’t paint yourself into a corner. Alas, that is exactly what the green movement is hell-bent on doing.

    • Alas, that is exactly what the green movement is hell-bent on doing.

      And how is the brown movement any different when the green movement complains that the brown movement is painting itself into a corner too? Hell, the paint costs the same, don’t it?

  4. Judith:

    You mentioned “the failure to factor in genuine surprises, or Dragon Kings”

    Apropos of that, I would suggest that you read my May 26 post on WUWT “The Role of Sulfur Dioxide
    Aerosols in Climate Change”

  5. Seems like OODA, the decide fast and don’t look back competitive approach where you succeed statistically by the ability to make imperfect but better than par decisions faster than your opponent.

    We have no opponent in climate considerations. We are negotiating with ourselves over effects that are very small, very slow, and very uncertainly of human provenance.

    In this situation ponderous deliberation that slows an ill conceived overreaction seems best.

  6. Curious George

    This is a lecture for MBA students.

  7. I would like to see the planning that calls for this stuff. Looks like any man-made climate change that might happen won’t be because there is too much CO2 but because we plan to incinerate a substantial portion of the planet.

    The National Defense Authorization Act for FY2016 (NDAA) passed by the Senate Armed Services Committee includes a long wish list of nuclear weapons and delivery systems. The current plan is to design and build 12 new nuclear missile submarines, as many as 100 new nuclear-capable bombers, as many as 1,100 new nuclear-tipped cruise missiles, and to modernize around 400 intercontinental ballistic missiles and the various nuclear warheads in the U.S. arsenal. In addition, the Committee requires the modernization and replacement of forward-deployed nuclear weapons, dual capable fighter-bomber aircraft and perhaps the development of intermediate range nuclear weapons…Over the next decade, the United States plans to spend $348 billion on its nuclear forces, or about $35 billion a year, according to a 2015 Congressional Budget Office report. Reports conducted by the congressionally-appointed National Defense Panel and Center for Nonproliferation Studies indicate the nuclear arsenal could cost as much as $1 trillion to modernize. The official cost of this “all of the above” nuclear force modernization is a classified secret.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/homeland-security/243807-nuclear-weapons-the-all-of-the-above-strategy

  8. @Jack – You would be pleasantly surprised at the strategic analysis that goes into defense planning. In fact, if we are to maintain a credible deterrent to nuclear attacks launched at us, we must have a modern nuclear arsenal. Peace through strength isn’t a trope. The calculus here is quite straightforward.

    What, do you want to “count on the kindness of strangers”?

    • Ah yes… strategic analysis and defense planning. That’s why we spent a couple of trillion dollars on Iraq/Afghanistan – brilliant!
      I would prefer a ground and space based missile/bomber defense system. High powered directed energy weapons that can disable multiple threats from any place on the planet.

      • I have friends at the Pentagon, jacks. Draw up your plans for the ray guns and I’ll make sure they get to the right people. They will send you a nice letter of thanks that you can hang on your wall, and maybe a plastic G-man badge and tin whistle.

      • > I have friends at the Pentagon, jacks.

        Are they the same than those at Lockheed Martin, Don Don?

      • Steven Mosher

        It’s funny. In 1985 you guys would love what was on the drawing board atNorthrup

      • You should try to make yourself useful, willy.

        Which drawing board at Northrop, Steven? Tell us about it.

      • What about those at Boeing, Don Don: are they at the Pentagon now?

      • Drawing boards, Don. windowless building. Metal walls, too many frickin codes to remember., drawing board. nothing cool like this

      • The R&D for Have Arrow/Have Glass is now Iron Dome.

      • Yes yes, and in 5th grade I drew up the plans for my own orbital battle station. We’re all a bunch of tech weenies here. Get over yourselves. T¿T

    • Just want to add one more point. Turn this around and think…what would our nuclear arsenal be worth if Russia managed to deploy an effective missile defense system?

      • The problem is a defensive system has to hit all the targets, an offensive system only some of them.

        Credible deterrence is important – consider the holocaust, the destruction of Europe, and the “Rape of Nanking”. Some things should never happen.

      • You are not a student of history, jacks. The Soviet Union went broke trying to keep up with Ronald Raygun’s Star Wars schemes. The Russians are not capable of building an effective missile defense system. Nobody is, for the foreseeable future. The policy of peace through firepower is the thing to do, jacks. Get used to it.

      • It’s a very sad reality we best get used to; we’re in another cold war against a united China and Russia. The media begrudgingly doesn’t want to anoint the breadth of the reality because it distracts from all the fun promise of global Kum Ba Yah.

      • js4tx:: what would our nuclear arsenal be worth if Russia managed to deploy an effective missile defense system?

        I have news for you, Jack. Once upon a time the pen was mightier than the sword. Today the electron is mightier than the atom.

        Nuclear threats are nothing against those who can hack the internet.

      • Vaughan Pratt:
        Yes I overlooked the fact that even our own nuclear arsenal could be disabled (or worse, taken over) by cyber attack. No doubt our guys are trying to hack their stuff too. The internet might just be the most dangerous thing humans have ever invented. Did you ever follow Kevin Kelly and his views on technology? His book “What Technology Wants” http://kk.org/books/what-technology-wants/ was fascinating and prophetic. I’m looking forward to the sequel – Technium Rising. Two important insights, underlying all the software and hardware there are two emergent forces: the internet want to copy everything it touches and it wants to know where everything is (location aware).

      • The internet might just be the most dangerous thing humans have ever invented.

        Nah, Nanotech will be, it will also create magic, of course that’s the problem isn’t.

      • @js4tx: The internet might just be the most dangerous thing humans have ever invented.

        @micro6500: Nah, Nanotech will be

        Three quarks for the baryons under the sky,
        Bound by mesons mu and pi.
        A hundred atoms from these arise,
        A billion nano hacks to devise.
        One electron to rule them all, one electron to find them,
        One electron to bring them all and in the darkness bind them.

        (Wavelength of light: 500 nm. Diameter of a uranium atom: 0.35 nm.)

    • Kerry said; “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pretext.”, referring to Putin’s invasion of the Crimea.

      It as an astonishing comment in that it’s more than just a comment; but a philosophy of how the left naively sees the world. It’s this philosophy that’s behind the desired global response towards climate change, to amplify the merits of AGW into a politically charged unified one size fits all outcome. A synergistic tool for global unification and wealth redistribution; but other countries have their own ideas and interests because that’s how humans work. The lefts philosophy is extremely dangerous and cripplingly expensive.

      • When did Kerry say that? Has anybody told the clown that the Russians actually have invaded another country on a completely trumped up pretext, and they are doing it again? Somebody should push Lurch Kerry’s reset button.

      • I vaguely remember the comment, but it wasn’t given as a warning (well it might have been another redline), but as the comment of a civilized man, about Barbadian’s.

        The only peace the world will have is when petty tyrants know the sky will rain down on their heads if they step out of line. We’re trying to talk them to death.

      • Yes micro; Kerry’s comment implies how the 21st century is a civilized century of cooperative advancement, an enlightened century. That’s why he expressed his indignation towards Russia the way he did. It blind sighted him, that’s not the way 21st century countries act. And it was a veiled redline. “Get with the program dude!”

      • It blind sighted him

        And this is the biggest problem we face, the world is full of 12th, 19th and 20th century actors who laugh at such fools who are running the country now.
        Just like they do.

      • Don Monfort

        I know, jungle. Just making fun of the clown. Notice how passive that statement is. It’s like saying you don’t wear white after Labor Day. You don’t wear a striped shirt with a striped tie. You don’t invade other countries, it so 19th century.

        Reminds me of a quote that I can’t recall exactly who said it. Some famous smart dude was asked by some clown like Kerry, if he thought the time was soon coming when mankind would get along in harmony, without aggression and war. He said something like “Has not the hawk always eaten the dove.” Hawks don’t have reset buttons.

      • @DM: Has not the hawk always eaten the dove.

        Isn’t “always” a little extreme, Don?

        But sure, hawks are predators and doves eat seeds, so maybe you could have asked “Has not the hawk always eaten the seeds?”

    • Update to the game of international nuclear poker:
      The US opens the game with a $350 billion ramp up of our nuclear arsenal.
      Today Russia announced they are adding 40 new ballistic missiles to their nuclear arsenal. Putin says this will be effective immediately starting this year.
      So according to the rules of the game we now need to triple our budget and slash the deployment time. There is no book of rules that says humans won’t do really stupid stuff and there is no shortage of physcopaths among our world leaders. Worrying about climate change should be put on the back burner until this more existential issue is resolved.

  9. In climate change thinking, there is the fascination and love for its physics. The physics appears to be what is known, the so called settle science of climate change. The more esoteric the physics espoused, the more the credibility of the speaker. There are all sorts of lines on paper, numbers in columns, and formulas depicting this action and that response. All of this precision and knowability seems to give comfort to the speaker and their audience of certainty. And, yet, as we find, there is no certainty. How can this be? Easy. The future is unknowable. Efforts to garner facts and figures can help build a car, give it headlights to operate at night, but, if the operator is blind, there is certain to be a crash when there is a curve in the road.

    The improvisational jazz metaphor seems most appropriate as the players are talented, and yet may not be classically educated. Jazz musicians tend to listen to others in the group as well as listen to an inner self, the creative self, the adaptive self.

    Climate scientists could do worse, if they haven’t already.

    • The future is unknowable.

      Hear, hear. If you’re on a two-lane highway and you want to overtake a car while approaching a bend you can’t see around, just go ahead while chanting “The future is unknowable. The future is unknowable.”

      Back in 1966 on a two-lane highway in the north-east of NSW, with solid white posts embedded on each side of the road, I and my two passengers were nearly killed by a semitrailer overtaking a car at 90 mph whose driver seemed to believe in that point of view. We probably would have been killed had I not previously got into the habit of practicing braking to avoid those sorts of situations. Even then it was a close call: I managed to skid to a halt between two posts, and we sat for a couple of minutes collecting ourselves before driving on as though nothing had happened.

      Those who believe that future climate is unknowable are living in a fantasy world.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You know about as much about the future climate as you knew about the future semitrailer that nearly killed you.

        You assume you won’t get killed on the road. You assume your steering and brakes will work when you want them to. You assume that truck drivers will drive on their side of the road.

        Sometimes your assumptions are wrong. Sometimes your lack of knowledge about the future kills you.

        Got any more irrelevant analogies for us?

      • Vaughan, you didn’t know the future, you know that there are on occasion bad roads with dangerous drivers and you prepared yourself in case such a scenario arose and endangered you. Just as I endeavour to see as far ahead as I can when driving and take account of hazards/potential hazards long before I reach them. Even then, I often have to depend on my reflexes, which fortunately are fast, and my presence of mind. Not only on roads, of course!

        Faustino, cunningly concealed by WordPress as genghiscunn.

      • Mauvaise analogie, mon brave … overtaking a car
        on the bend of a two way highway, no fat-tail
        probability about that, complex cllimate inter
        actions are another matter.

      • Ah VP not one of your best posts I’m afraid. One thing is for sure though, and that’s climate is less predictable than some dick overtaking when unsafe to do so.

      • Vaughan Pratt

        I believe you are confusing defensive driving with not knowing the future. Your analogy speaks to preparing yourself to adapt for the unforeseen event(s). The whole point of defensive driving is: 1) to go ahead and drive even though you do not know what the future will hold; 2) adapt your driving style to the notion that there are fools out there and you will remain alert to they being in your pathway; 3) as you did, take a break and collect your thoughts; 4) continue on your life’s path.

      • Interestingly no one, not even Michael Cunningham, got my intended analogy with climate skeptics, namely with the truck driver who was overtaking a car around a bend on a two-lane highway with the involved vehicles closing at well over 200 kph.

        My mistake, I put the analogy in the first paragraph. Next time I’ll put in the last paragraph..

        The future is unknowable. What me worry? It’s a beautiful philosophy:

      • The analogy of skeptics to reckless drivers overtaking
        on a bend requires a further analogy doesn’t it, Vaughan,
        the analogy that climate change is as to a dangerous,
        narrow highway bend where collision is very likely just
        around the corner?

        But what with evidence somewhat lacking on positive
        CO2 feed backs, the present temperature plateau
        continuing, model projections of warming way out
        with observation, the analogy appears a bit, well,
        Ehrlichean, seems to me.And then there’s the
        bleeding of economies by costs of CO2 reduction
        measures and subsidizing ineffectual, (evidence
        indicates even un-environmental) renewable energy
        policies, no gain for lotsa’ pain. What analogy would you
        use for CAGWers and their Big Dollars Costing Avoidance
        Measures, Vaughan?

      • Vaughan

        I think you need to go to Analogy training school where you can learn to construct analogies that are relatable to the subject matter.

        I suspect Beth might be able to point you in the right direction what with her holding the franchise for the thought for the day. Not that she will be holding on to that much longer unless she actually produces some.

        Hi Beth, what about an analogy for the day? That could be fun whilst providing valuable training for Vaughan.

        tonyb

      • Thought fer Terday:

        ‘The Historical Record – cross referenced – contextual –
        is preferable ter No Record, which is life without memory,
        nothing ter compare to, as though new-born, and jest
        as unaware.’

        H/t ter tony b’s studies of climate variability and
        my fifth edition of Serf Under_ground Journal

      • Those objecting to my analogy should fall into camps A and B. Camp A estimates the probability of civilization encountering a costly impact of rising CO2 this century to be significantly lower than that estimated by the truck driver of encountering a vehicle while rounding that bend. For camp B it is significantly higher.

        One detail I omitted was that we were way out in the country with no other vehicles for miles around. That circumstance made it an improbable situation, and the truckie took a calculated risk.

        No one here from camp B wanting to object to my analogy?

        People’s opinions about 21st century climate are more predictable than climate itself: they can be predicted based on no more than a minute’s observation of a climate discussion.

      • We are more interested in hearing about your epic Woods debunking project, doc. Any progress?

        You wouldn’t have those problems in Oz, if you drove on the proper side of the road.

      • Vaughan, your analogy is deeply flawed.

        A more accurate comparison would be to a truck driver going down a road where they can’t see perfectly ahead. There is no indication that the road is out or that it falls off a cliff, but should everyone stop driving…just in case?

        Without even reasonably reliable information that future conditions are worsening due to higher levels of CO2, is there a valid reason to alter the normal course of action if that alternation significantly diverts highly limited resources from other areas where they are needed.

        Should the truck driver with the load of medicine stop driving due to fear of the future?

      • @RS: Without even reasonably reliable information that future conditions are worsening due to higher levels of CO2,

        Yes, of course, Rob. That’s the belief that puts you in camp A, as I was explaining. Very predictable.

        @DM: We are more interested in hearing about your epic Woods debunking project, doc.

        Looks like Don at least got the point, as he’s switched the subject to his (very predictable) default topic. Keep working on convincing me it’s epic, Don, and maybe I’ll put it on the front burner. ;)

        @DM: You wouldn’t have those problems in Oz, if you drove on the proper side of the road.

        Been there, done that, Don, 1100 km just last month in fact. Drove from Sydney to Towamba (south of Bega) to visit a cousin I hadn’t seen for 40 years. Took a whale-watching cruise on Jervis Bay on the way down, very beautiful bay.

        The incident with the overtaking truckie happened around 1965 while driving from Sydney to Surfer’s. I was going 90 (145 kph) at the time, perfectly legal back then. My reflexes not being what they were 50 years ago (funny how that happens), I was grateful for today’s 80-100 kph limits most of the trip down to Towamba, especially at night.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Here’s Svante Arrhenius’ stab at the future –

        “By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.”

        I think he won a Nobel Prize. Maybe you are smarter than him, and can point out where is wrong. His view seems a good one to me, but what would I know?

        Can you help explaining where he went wrong?

      • Don Monfort

        I could have embarrassed you by asking about that strongly positive water vapor feedback BS, doc. Or, your perennial AGU poster. Are you still trying to sell the minikelvin thing? (I know what it is.)

        You are usually always good people, doc. Probably because you are from Australia. Nice place and nice people. Just don’t drink the beer.

      • @DM: Are you still trying to sell the minikelvin thing?

        That was my poster at AGU’s 2012 Fall Meeting, Don. I’ve since fallen in with the crowd that objects to the AMO being treated as a periodic phenomenon, and have replaced my periodic filtered-sawtooth hypothesis with an explanation of the AMO in terms of length of day, which has some support these days—WHT for example has it in his CSALT model. My home page links to my 2014 poster about LOD.

        Since then I’ve improved the fit there a great deal. Writing that up takes priority over analyzing the feeble solar oven Robert Wood built in 1909. Climatologist Charles Abbot points out that a solar oven with three sheets of glass in 16 °C (60 °F) weather can reach an internal temperature of 118 °C (245 °F) with no auxiliary reflectors—is there any point in adding to that literature?

      • @MF: Can you help explaining where [[Arrhenius]] went wrong?

        If the best theories are those that are falsifiable, why hound the dead with their falsified theories? You could with equal justification ask me to explain where Ptolemy went wrong with his epicycle explanation of planetary motion, or Becher with his phlogiston theory of oxidation, or Newton, Maxwell, etc. who believed in an aether that carried light etc.

        At the end of the 19th century, which was going through a downturn in temperature, and which was also contemplating the eventual onset of the next ice age, people generally felt that anything that kept cold at bay would be a great boon for crops, animals, etc. This was particularly true in the “cold climates” Arrhenius referred to in your quote, such as his native country of Sweden (in 1905 he moved to equally cold Norway to head up the Nobel Institute).

        It wasn’t until the 1930’s, after Arrhenius had died, that it occurred to anyone that rising temperatures, however caused, might be a problem. For much more on this, involving a much wider cast of characters than just Arrhenius, read either of the books by Stephen Weart or James Fleming. (I got these on Amazon back in 2010 for respectively $10 and $15.60. You may find even cheaper copies on eBay etc. today. What’s your time worth when multiplied by the number of hours you spend online discussing climate?)

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You wrote –

        “Charles Abbot points out that a solar oven with three sheets of glass in 16 °C (60 °F) weather can reach an internal temperature of 118 °C (245 °F) with no auxiliary reflectors—is there any point in adding to that literature?”

        Well, yes. At sea level (or close to it), the unconcentrated rays of the Sun cannot achieve this temperature. Neither you nor anyone else can.

        I’m sure you would like to prove me wrong, but you can’t.

        You would also like to prove the existence of the “greenhouse effect”, but of course, you can’t do that either.

        I’m always open to reproducible, properly conducted experiments, but you can’t point to any to support your assertions. Saying that someone else “pointed out” something, doesn’t make it true. Don’t you agree?

      • Saying that someone else “pointed out” something, doesn’t make it true.

        Maybe you overlooked the link I provided in support. Here it is again. Note the second paragraph of Abbot’s 1909 paper. Let me know if you believe Abbot is lying about this. I have no idea what else to make of your disbelief in the ability of glass to trap heat.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        I wrote –

        “Here’s Svante Arrhenius’ stab at the future –

        “By the influence of the increasing percentage of carbonic acid in the atmosphere, we may hope to enjoy ages with more equable and better climates, especially as regards the colder regions of the earth, ages when the earth will bring forth much more abundant crops than at present, for the benefit of rapidly propagating mankind.”

        I think he won a Nobel Prize. Maybe you are smarter than him, and can point out where is wrong. His view seems a good one to me, but what would I know?

        Can you help explaining where he went wrong?”

        You wrote –

        “If the best theories are those that are falsifiable, why hound the dead with their falsified theories? You could with equal justification ask me to explain where Ptolemy went wrong with his epicycle explanation of planetary motion, or Becher with his phlogiston theory of oxidation, or Newton, Maxwell, etc. who believed in an aether that carried light etc.”

        I didn’t ask about Ptolemy or anybody else.

        Why was Arrhenius’ ability to peer into the future worse than yours?

        Why would the climate not become more equable or better, and crops not increase, if CO2 levels increase? Because you say so? Because other equally gullible people say so?

        There isn’t a GHE, and no discernible adverse effect on human life from CO2 levels in excess of those presently existing.

        But here’s something to think about. H20. Every time you burn a hydrocarbon, you create H2O. The “worst” GHG is supposedly H2O. What actions do Warmists propose to take to lower ever increasing levels of the dreadful GHG, H2O, in the atmosphere?

      • Why was Arrhenius’ ability to peer into the future worse than yours?

        Benefit of hindsight.

        Why would the climate not become more equable or better, and crops not increase, if CO2 levels increase?

        Not my area.

        But here’s something to think about. H20. Every time you burn a hydrocarbon, you create H2O. The “worst” GHG is supposedly H2O. What actions do Warmists propose to take to lower ever increasing levels of the dreadful GHG, H2O, in the atmosphere?

        Let it rain.

      • My prediction for the future is that the preponderance of rain will go down.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Alfred Newman: “worry won’t get you anywhere.” Does this pertain to mitigation or adaptation? I am not clear from your comments. I am also not sure whether you accede that the future is unknowable or that you have some pathway to discern the future. If you say to prepare to adapt to changes in the climate, you have me on board. If you are saying, that it is mitigation NOW! or certain Thermogeddon, then I think you need to take a break, collect your thoughts before proceeding on. IF your higher physics leads you to more certainty about the future than I can muster, please jot down those numbers, show me those graphs, calculate those formulas and make a prediction. Tell me, will there be more rain in the world, the same, or less? Inquiring minds want to know.

      • Vaughan

        I’m not sure why the benefit of hindsight means you can predict the future better than a first class mind like Svante Arrhenius, (Nobel Prize, physicist, chemist, and all that), but if you say it, it must be so.

        If the effect of increasing CO2 levels is not your area, why do you argue with someone whose area area it appears to be?

        You say “let it rain”. Is this as dismissive of the deaths caused by floods, as Marie Antoinette’s “Let them eat cake” remark?

        I best let you go. My questions are only rhetorical.

      • Steven Mosher

        Mike
        Svantes hopes for the future do not amount to a prediction. His hopes don’t address what happens when ice melts or when seas rise
        He wasn’t so much wrong rather he was vague and incomplete

      • Steven Mosher,

        You wrote –

        “Mike
        Svantes hopes for the future do not amount to a prediction. His hopes don’t address what happens when ice melts or when seas rise
        He wasn’t so much wrong rather he was vague and incomplete.”

        You can play with words all you like. His meaning is clear, at least to normal people.

        The ice may melt somewhere, more may form somewhere else, seas may rise and fall, continents move up, down and sideways. Earthquakes may happen. Meteors may strike.

        Unfortunately Warmists seem to think that additional amounts of CO2 and H2O in the atmosphere are bad, bad, bad. Arrhenius, at least, proposed that additional global warming would be a good thing.

        You believe that Arrhenius’ wasn’t wrong (I’ll leave out the “so much” as being Warmist irrelevance), but he was vague and incomplete. You are of course correct. He was unaware of moving continents, and a raft of other things. So, yes, incomplete. Vague? You cannot comprehend his meaning, so of course it seems vague to you. I guess you accept that he was right, but you don’t like what he said, so you assert that he wasn’t really right at all. That sounds a bit vague to me.

        He didn’t address things that have subsequently been dreamed up by Warmists, as he was unaware of the future. You’ll notice he didn’t comment on the fact that there is currently plenty of coal, gas and other fossil fuels. He didn’t address the nuclear industry, either. I suppose this makes him inferior or dumb in your eyes, so I presume your dismissal of his ideas as “vague and incomplete” must be true, according to Steven Mosher.

        I don’t know whether you are pretending to be silly, whether you really are silly, or whether you are so overwhelmingly intelligent that you just appear silly to the majority of the population you consider dumber than you.

        Enough. You win the contest of silly. Enjoy the accolades!

      • @MF: If the effect of increasing CO2 levels is not your area, why do you argue with someone whose area area it appears to be?

        And who’s that?

      • @MF: My questions are only rhetorical.

        Feeling obliged to respond in kind and needing some good examples, I googled

        rhetorical question definition

        The first example returned by google was

        “Why are you so stupid?”

        That’ll do. Thank you, Google.

  10. Yes, the military planned for a tank war in Europe against the USSR, which no longer exists, but are fighting genocidal, anti-civilization, religious zealots with drones instead. The enemy of our enemy is now our enemy.

    Wrt CAGW, which also might not exist, we should plan for the weather of the past. Then, if CAGW is real, we will be ready for floods, hurricanes, typhoons, tornados, tsunamis, droughts, forest fires, crop failure, mass migration, and political instability – all the things that have already happened. Then, when everyone but the dead-enders realizes CAGW was just a game of wag the dog, our money and efforts will not have been wasted.

    Currently, CAGW is a political meme that is being used to gain power and divert public money and tax privileges to political friends in the NGOs, universities, and the “green” energy and “sustainability” industries. The whole thing is a grand kickback scheme and it’s participants should be prosecuted under the RICO statute. It is also a political cudgel to pound the political opposition. The usual suspects, the ever so useful id-eee-oughts, play their mindless role, encouraged by a biased and under-educated cadre of media and Hollywierd elites.

    I’m not a skeptic anymore, I’m a cynic. I’m tired of it.

    Get ready for a lot of “climate-change” nonsense over the next 18 months.

    • That’s the way I see it too.

    • richardswarthout

      Justin

      Prior to 2003 there was a move in the US Army to retire the tank; the brass envisioned a system-of-systems that could survive with sensors and speed, no need for heavy armor and big guns. The Iraq war of 2003-11 changed that thinking; the troops on the ground adapted and found the tank very useful for urban warfare.

      Richard

      • I still remember all of the criticism leveled against the Abrams during its development and early deployment. Turned out to be unmatched on the battlefield. 30 years later there still isn’t a land combat system that can match it.

      • The A10 falls into the “we don’t think they’re fancy enough”, except the pilots love them and we don’t have a decent replacement.

      • richardswarthout

        Tim

        When I retired three years ago we were in the planning stages for the M1A3 (3rd major configuration of the Abrams). It has now been operational for 35 years.

        Richard

      • I love the tank and the Warthog (Gatling with wings). My point was that the future is often very different from our predictions. Though Star Trek had it mostly right. I’m still waiting for the transporter and the green woman. Priniting organs and burgers is right around the corner. I bet we get printed organs before we get cheap and effective PV solar! :)

      • The military and the tank did a great job. Obummer booted it.

    • Well said Justin.
      Have blown through cynic right to “drink heavily.” :-)

    • You might get into trouble planning for 20th century sea levels in the 21st century. Even linear extrapolation could turn out to be poor planning. You have to take the long-term trends and accelerate them in the future, and then you have a chance of doing something that lasts, rather than something that is immediately negated by climate change.

      • Sea level rise is a non issue. The worst case bed wetting fantasies of the Climate Faithful amount to Millimeters a year. If your civil engineering can’t keep up with that you’re in the wrong business.

        The real issue with sea level is storm surge and flooding, and these should be accounted for as a standard part of coastal development. Any city that isn’t able to handle at least a meter of storm surge without shutting down should never have been built on the ocean. And a seaside city should ideally be able to briefly take up to a 5 meter surge without taking excessive structural or utility damage.

        The lesson that ‘superstorm’ sandy should have taught the people of New York is that the sea level is just the current average. You assume it’s a rule at your peril.

      • What if the question is, should we solve the storm surge problem by millimeters per year via CO2 reductions, or build protection that would take care of natural and man made surges? I’ll concede Sandy for the moment. The same protection such as sea walls that would have helped with that would also help for every non-Sandy clone surge that will happen in the future.

      • Enough climate change and forcing has occurred that a rule of thumb might be to take the change (whether in temperature or sea level) up to 2000 and triple it as an estimate for 2100. This at least gets a ballpark of where it will be. Yes, sea level can’t be stopped from rising at ever faster rates now. Greenland and Antarctica are both already melting down showing that they could be warmer than their equilibrium. Antarctica will take centuries to go, but even the first 10% contributes 20 feet to sea level. These are the things that could loom as we “drive in the dark”. Best strategy is to put the brakes on.

      • Jim D,

        What’s your cunning plan for coping when the climate fails to stop changing?

        After you get the CO2 levels down to 200ppm (you can’t go much lower or plant life dies), will the tectonic plates stop moving – up, down, sideways? Will volcanoes be a thing of the past?

        No more hurricanes or floods? Perpetual drought in California?

        Just remember, the trend is your friend – until the end of the trend, of course.

        I don’t believe you thought this through, but of course I might be wrong.

        Even with the finest military crystal ball gazers in the world, all chanting the mantra “failure is not an option”, the U.S. has not done particularly well, at least according to some. Korea, Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan are not examples of successful military campaigns by the U.S., at least in conventional terms.

        I would suggest you don’t lend money to someone who believes they can predict the future any better than yourself. If they could, they wouldn’t be working for a living, and wouldn’t need to borrow, would they?

      • @MF: I would suggest you don’t lend money to someone who believes they can predict the future any better than yourself. If they could, they wouldn’t be working for a living, and wouldn’t need to borrow, would they?

        My god, Flynn, If you’re as clueless about climate as you are about investing, I’d say we’re in for a spot of bad climate (TM).

        As a case in point, let’s take one of this planet’s better known registered investment advisors, California-based Financial Engines, FE,

        http://corp.financialengines.com/

        According to their latest report to the SEC just last month, they have $104 billion under management with 520 advisors serving 953,754 clients. Judged by the average assets per client of $110,000 they’re by a long shot the smallest of the top ten (as measured by total assets) registered investment advisors in the US.

        In comparison, Hall Capital Partners, also of California and third-ranked in the US by assets, manages a mere $32 billion, but spread over only 165 clients, which averages out to a cool $190 million per client!

        So why would FE, or for that matter Hall, need to invest other people’s money when they could just invest their own? Mike seems to think this ought to be a better strategy for them than letting their clients reap the gains.

        Well,what if it just so happened that FE didn’t have $104 billion squirreled away under its mattress to invest? Or the Hall partners passed around the hat among themselves and it came back with less than $32 billion?

        If you’re so cluey about investment, Mike, why don’t you invest $100 billion of your own in something you believe in?

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Where, oh where, were you when Morgan Stanley and Amaranth needed you? They lost around nine billion, and six and a half billion of others peoples’ money. I hope none of it was yours.

        Just recently Canarsie Capital lost around 99.7% of investor funds. Not to worry, the minimum investment was $1,000,000. Not much to lose, I guess.

        The SEC is investigating various fees charged by the world’s largest asset manager, Blackstone, according to Bloomberg. Many money managers provide little to no return after their fees are deducted.

        So, not so much ability to make canny investments overall. A very well developed talent to transfer money from investors’ accounts into their own, wouldn’t you say?

        I don’t have $100 billion to invest. Nor would I, given the unknowability of the future. A few years ago, I had a bit of fun following contrarian investing principles. I averaged 30% per annum for three years, in a generally falling market. I stopped. Maybe it was just a run of luck – but nobody goes broke making a profit.

        So give your money to the experts. Maybe you won’t lose 99.7%. A lot of people with a million or more to invest did. Maybe they were really, really, dumb. What do you think?

      • > given the unknowability of the future.

        How do you know that the future is unknowable, Mike?

      • How do you know that the future is unknowable, Mike?

        Get some dice, write down what you’re going to roll, then roll the dice, or a deck of cards shuffle well, write what the top card is, then turn it over.
        Write down what day and time it’s going to rain 2 months from now on your house (and that even allows for locations that have very regular rain).
        If you get snow, write down the day and time a minimum of two months in the future it’s next going to snow.

      • Many people invest and lose all their own money. Spend a day at bankruptcy court and watch and listen. But it is sort of funny when some dude makes highly risky trades and blows it all in just three weeks.Maybe there should be regulation on that.

      • Willard,

        Because I use the definition of “know” contained in the Oxford dictionary.

        If you can demonstrate an awareness of something that doesn’t yet exist through observation, inquiry, or information, then please do so.

        It appeared fairly obvious to me, but maybe a supremely intelligent chap like yourself uses the Climatological definition, which states that the future is fixed and knowable, but the past needs constant change and correction.

        Any other questions, Willard?

      • JCH,

        “The collapse of Canarsie Capital LLC caught the attention of Wall Street because it was run by the longtime former head of risk management at Morgan Stanley— Kenneth deRegt—along with Owen Li, a 28-year old former Galleon Fund Management trader. Among the fund’s wealthy investors, according to a person familiar with the matter, was Richard Axilrod, a top lieutenant to Louis Bacon of Moore Capital Management.”

        As you say, the fund took just three weeks to destroy the investors’ dough. Oh well, the former head of risk management for Morgan Stanley, and an experienced Galleon Fund trader should have sought advice from Vaughan Pratt about the future. Or a climatologist. What do you think?

      • > If you can demonstrate an awareness of something that doesn’t yet exist through observation, inquiry, or information, then please do so.

        Let me see if I get this right, Mike.

        If I want to reject a knowledge claim about the future, I invoke the principle according to which the future is unknowable.

        If I want to accept a knowledge claim about the future, I replace the word “future” with “something that doesn’t exist yet” and handwave to an online dictionary.

        Is this how it works?

        ***

        Considering that the trick you’re pulling is more than two thousand years old (search for Protagoras, or more recently Popper on Protagoras) it seems we might extend your principle: the future is unknowable and the past is forgettable.

        Would you agree?

      • I think you’re dealing with people who have both made and lost a great deal of money. That’s why they’re rich. For awhile anyway.

      • Been there done that, got the t-shirt.

        Though it was mostly the dot com implosion on unvested stock options and the tax man’s obscenely large cut of the vested shares.

        Easy come, easy go. Well that’s better than being bitter, right?

      • Went once with a friend of mine to a furniture store in Omaha where we were assaulted by a mean old immigrant woman. He told me she was the owner and it was part of the buying experience. As we were leaving he told me Warren Buffett loved that old woman and had bought her furniture store. I could not comprehend it.

        What do I know?

      • JimD – I deliberately left out sea level rise because that issue is covered by floods, which can be caused by a storm surge. If the sea level rises significantly over the next century, and we build to accommodate floods, we’ll be ok.

      • Willard,

        You asked two questions.

        My answer to both is no.

        Thanks for comparing me to Protagoras.

        Socrates referred to him as ” . . . the wisest of all living men . . .” Maybe he really meant you. I am just a dummy, but thank you for your concern.

      • It’s a fair point that the future is unknowable with games of pure chance. The simple toss of two coins (two-up) or two dice (craps) is for all practical purposes a perfect approximation to such a game.

        But a great many games admit an element of skill. Here “games” can be broadly construed as including betting on auctions, horses, stocks, bonds, weather, and climate.

        For none of these is it reasonable to consider the outcomes “pure chance”. By the same token it is unreasonable to consider the outcomes perfectly predictable. In all cases the truth lies somewhere in between.

        Skill in any of these games is relative: can you predict outcomes more reliably than others?

        Those who consider betting on stocks a game of pure chance, or one in which the odds are stacked against them, are most likely those with little skill in forecasting long-term stock movements. In the long run they will be beaten by those sufficiently knowledgeable about stocks to make better calls.

        The same goes for climate. Those who consider future climate “unknowable” are most likely those with little skill in forecasting long-term climate movements. In the long run they will be beaten by those sufficiently knowledgeable about climate to make better calls.

      • Thank you for your succinct answer, Mike:

        My answer to both is no.

        In return, a more succinct question: which observation, inquiry, or information made you succeed in demonstrating an awareness of the unknowability of the future?

        Many thanks!

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You wrote –

        “Those who consider betting on stocks a game of pure chance, or one in which the odds are stacked against them, are most likely those with little skill in forecasting long-term stock movements. In the long run they will be beaten by those sufficiently knowledgeable about stocks to make better calls.”

        I’m sorry if you take offence, Vaughan, but once again, you seem to be making assertions, and presenting them as fact.

        Although you may think that there are people with the ability to forecast long term stock movements, you would be hard pressed to find any. Benoit Mandelbrot probably had it right, when he said there was a “degree of order” in apparent chaos. Looking at chaos in the form of the Mandelbrot set, I find it hard to disagree.

        Your statement about the “long run” is widely touted as an excuse for failure by “experts” to accurately predict the future. In the case of financial advisers, the excuse for a failed forecast is usually that “no one expected that to occur”. Does the GFC ring any bells?

        The financial advice site which I believe you linked to, provides the following –

        “Forecasts are reasonable estimates based upon assumptions and information supplied by (or on behalf of) a client. Forecasts are generated using forward-looking models of the economy and securities markets, which may incorporate such data as historical returns, historical correlations, expected growth rates and calculated risk premiums. Past performance is not an accurate predictor of the future, and reliance on historical and current data necessarily involves certain inherent limitations.
        IMPORTANT: The forecasts or other information generated by FEA regarding the likelihood of various investment outcomes are hypothetical in nature, do not reflect actual investment results and are not guarantees of future results.”

        Based on models, and hypothetical. Past performance is not an accurate predictor of the future, and so on. Limitations.

        No refunds if they are wrong of course!

        If this is the best you can provide, it’s about the norm. If you wish to bet on their supposed skill, I wish you well.

        Climatology? Based on models, and hypothetical. Skill? Not so much in evidence, to date.

      • Willard,

        You asked –

        “In return, a more succinct question: which observation, inquiry, or information made you succeed in demonstrating an awareness of the unknowability of the future?”

        I am puzzled.

        As I stated previously, I am unable to find any observation, inquiry, or information relating to that which has not yet occurred ie. the future.

        If you have any observations, inquiries, or information of, for or from events which have yet to occur, please present them for examination. I realise you believe that the future is knowable. You must be using a different definition of either future or know.

        The Oxford English Dictionary gives the following sentence as an example of the use of the word “future” –

        “nobody can predict the future” This is merely given as an example of usage. You obviously would never use this sentence.

        I use the definitions contained in the Oxford English Dictionary. Maybe you use climatological definitions, which have special climatological meanings not used generally in the English language.

      • Steven Mosher

        Mike

        “nobody can predict the future?”

        I can. You can. anybody can predict the future. we do it, therefore we can.

        I predict that tommorrow it will not snow in San francisco. See? I just did it. I just made a prediction. I clearly can do this.

        What does it mean to predict the future? Well, in the first case a prediction is not an observation. It is a commitment. A prediction isnt a state of mind, it doesnt have a truth value. Its a commitment. When I make a prediction I am committing to certain things.

        I further predict that you won’t be able to remove this post no matter how hard you try. Go ahead. I commit to you that if you can remove this post, that I won’t respond on Judith’s anymore.

      • Mike Flynn,

        I’m don’t recall where or when you stated this previously:

        As I stated previously, I am unable to find any observation, inquiry, or information relating to that which has not yet occurred ie. the future.

        However, I do recall that you said not long ago:

        given the unknowability of the future.

        If you don’t have any observation, information or inquiry about the future, then you can’t use any such source to demonstrate that the future is unknowable. After all, the future is in the future, and the unknowability of the future is a knowledge claim about the future.

        How is the unknowability of the future given to you if you don’t any observation, information or inquiry about the future?

      • Steven Mosher

        Mike I predict that tommorow the future will still be unknowable

        thats kinda funny

        Better, I predict that you will NOT post on Judiths tommorrow

      • Steven Mosher

        Willard

        “If you don’t have any observation, information or inquiry about the future, then you can’t use any such source to demonstrate that the future is unknowable. After all, the future is in the future, and the unknowability of the future is a knowledge claim about the future.”

        Very nicely done.

        One thing that is interesting is that certain contrarians who can’t master the typical attacks against a scientific proposition, often end up resorting to philosophical skepticism.

      • Steven Mosher and Willard,

        You have convinced me. People of great intelligence can usefully peer into the future, and know what it holds.

        Dummies like myself, Governments, hedge funds, aircraft manufacturers and so on, can only make assumptions and guesses – darn!

        We appreciate your superior knowledge, and humbly beg to know what the future holds for us.

      • Willard and Steve,

        Here’s a customer for your We KnowThe Future business.

        He might be a know nothing dummy, in your eyes, having previously said something about the future and predictions. He’s the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia (admittedly a small country). He seems reasonably well qualified for the job.

        Quote from the Australian Financial Review –

        “Stevens conceded: “I certainly agree with the premise that you can’t forecast very well”. “What will we be doing in a year, I don’t know,” he admitted. So maybe it is prudent to ponder the possibility of a steep path back to “normal” borrowing costs, wherever they lie.”

        /humour on

        He’d probably appreciate your advice. Why don’t you tell him how dumb he is? I’m sure he’d appreciate that, you being so intelligent, and all.

        /humour off

      • > Dummies like myself, Governments, hedge funds, aircraft manufacturers and so on, can only make assumptions and guesses – darn!

        Fortune tellers too, Mike. I hope you don’t wish to imply that aircraft manufacturers are just like fortune tellers.

        And don’t forget the past too: we can only make assumptions and guesses for most of our past.

        Even the present is not so clear.

        ***

        Oh, and speaking of predictions:

        > [Y]ou can’t predict the future.

        I predict Mike Flynn will repeat that we can’t predict the future in a not too distant future.

        https://judithcurry.com/2015/05/06/quantifying-the-anthropogenic-contribution-to-atmospheric-co2/#comment-702011

        You can’t deny that my prediction wasn’t useful!

      • Yes, why save money for your retirement when you don’t know whether you are going to live to retirement age, put money in a college fund when you don’t know if your child wants to go to college (or is capable of going to college), or buy insurance for your home when you don’t know if your home will subjected to some unforeseen damage. Why do it if the future is completely unknowable?

      • Vaughan writes- “Those who consider future climate “unknowable” are most likely those with little skill in forecasting long-term climate movements. In the long run they will be beaten by those sufficiently knowledgeable about climate to make better calls.”

        Another perspective—Those who believe they know enough to determine today when and where a world with more CO2 will have a worse climate for humans vs. a better climate for humans are most likely guessing and have little reason to be believed.

      • Indeed, just as we have little reason to believe in insurers and reinsurers. They’re more likely guessing.

        This ain’t just a guess.

      • Willard:
        “Indeed, just as we have little reason to believe in insurers and reinsurers. They’re more likely guessing.”
        Their predictions sound like witchcraft. What are they doing? Using the past with a bias towards the now. Why now? They are trying to have the premiums equal the payouts, now. Failure to do so is insolvency and I do not recommend that. Are they really solvent with unknown future payouts? We’ll see. Here you can see a number of failures: http://www.weissratings.com/ratings/track-record/insurer-failures.aspx

      • Willard,

        You wrote –

        “You can’t deny that my prediction wasn’t useful!”

        I can deny whatever I want. However, in this case I won’t deny what you said.

        Your “prediction” was, indeed, not useful. I would go so far as to say it scaled the heights of non usefulness, if that suits you.

        If you can come up with a useful prediction, I would be even more impressed.

        You also wrote –

        “I hope you don’t wish to imply that aircraft manufacturers are just like fortune tellers.” Your hopes may well be dashed. I need more information, obviously.

        However, the Douglas aircraft company may have made predictions which lead to its demise with about the same, or possibly less, accuracy than an experienced fortune teller. Even an inexperienced fortune teller, such as I, can occasionally do better than aircraft manufacturers in many areas.

        How often does a manufacturer blame adversity on unforeseen circumstances? Or possibly, an aircraft manufacturer looks into the future, and does something it knows will bring misfortune on it?

        No one can foresee the future. The best one can do is make assumptions. The Sun will come up tomorrow. The drought will break. My country will win the war. My savings will be safe.

        And so on. You may believe differently.

      • Joseph,

        You wrote –

        “Yes, why save money for your retirement when you don’t know whether you are going to live to retirement age, put money in a college fund when you don’t know if your child wants to go to college (or is capable of going to college), or buy insurance for your home when you don’t know if your home will subjected to some unforeseen damage. Why do it if the future is completely unknowable?”

        Setting aside the snark, one makes assumptions in most cases. Some don’t save money for their retirement because they assume they won’t live that long, or for many other reasons.

        I never put money in a college fund. I assumed I would do better not paying someone else for their presumed ability to see into the future better than I, and it appears I was right.

        I don’t buy insurance for my home. I bear my own risk, and so far so good. I point out that the list of failed insurance companies grows ever longer. You obviously assume that your choice of retirement or college fund, or insurer, will not result in you losing 99.7%, or more, of the money you paid in.

        The future is completely unknowable. That doesn’t mean it wont exist, if you get my meaning. You hope your assumption that the Sun will rise tomorrow comes to pass. So do I.

      • So you think it is unwise for people to save for retirement, contribute to a college fund, or buy home insurance because you can’t predict the future?

      • Joseph,

        You wrote-

        “So you think it is unwise for people to save for retirement, contribute to a college fund, or buy home insurance because you can’t predict the future?”

        Setting aside the snarky attack, I don’t feel qualified to comment on the assumptions that others make, when of a private nature.

        On the other hand, if people attempt to browbeat or belittle me, owing to my perceptions of risk, and my actions arising therefrom, I always derive some amusement.

        They obviously have no facts to back their view.

      • > Their predictions sound like witchcraft.

        Imagine if they spake another language. It would sound even more like witchcraft. Insurers and reinsurers don’t need to predict anything in particular, BTW.

        ***

        > Here you can see a number of failures: […]

        The argument from error can lead to doubt lots of knowledge claims:

        This argument is motivated by the suggestion that you don’t know that a proposition is true if you could be mistaken about it. The idea is that, just as with the moral of the Gettier counterexamples, lucky guesses and happy accidents don’t count as knowledge: if it’s accidental that the belief is true, it could easily have been false, so presumably only the most reliable of reliable procedures should secure knowledge. Knowing must somehow rule out not just actual error, but the threat of error itself.

        http://www.reading.ac.uk/AcaDepts/ld/Philos/jmp/Theory%20of%20Knowledge/EpistemologicalScepticism.htm

        Descartes uses a version of that argument to doubt is sensory experiences. He does not consider godless logicians who can make mistakes. He could have, but he had an audience to please.

      • > No one can foresee the future.

        There’s no need to foresee the future to propose conjectures about it which we expect to be better than just wild guesses.

        ***

        > The best one can do is make assumptions.

        The same applies to the past, and also the present.

        ***

        You’re just using verbal defenses, Mike. Either you accept that knowledge is justified and true belief, or you don’t. If you reject knowledge as justified, true belief, then you need to reject the notion of knowledge altogether. Redefining knowledge as assumption cuts you no slack.

        This argument takes into account what the Oxford Dictionary says about that concept:

        http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/us/definition/american_english/knowledge

        ***

        Assuming that the Sun will raise tomorrow is kinda useful, BTW. Your body may not function properly otherwise:

        http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1619000

      • You are doing good, willy. Flynn brings out the best in you. Of course, he thinks he’s killing you.

      • Willard,

        Thanks for agreeing with me about the future. I’m not concerned about the past. It’s finished, gone. It’s history, regardless of climatological attempts to change it. One good thing about the past is that it can’t be altered. If something bad happened, you may wish to attempt to avoid it happening again. If past climatological predictions have come to nought, you might decide to ignore future ones, and pay attention to predictions of a different sort.Wouldn’t you?

        If your financial adviser’s advice resulted in bankruptcy a couple of times, do you keep going to him, or possibly try someone else’s vision of the future? I know what I’d do, but you might think otherwise!

        You wrote –

        “You’re just using verbal defenses, Mike. Either you accept that knowledge is justified and true belief, or you don’t. If you reject knowledge as justified, true belief, then you need to reject the notion of knowledge altogether. Redefining knowledge as assumption cuts you no slack.”

        Thanks for telling me what I’m thinking, and what choices I have, and what I need to do. Only joking, of course!

        I’m not interested in whether you wish to cut me slack (whatever that means), or even why you think I should be interested in any of your opinions. I don’t need to defend myself. You’re doing that for me, I feel.

        Thanks.

      • The relationship between planning and prediction is paradoxical. The less certain your predictions the more important planning is. With certainty in predictions, planning in easy, but not that critical. With uncertainty you need to re-evaluate your plans, hedge risks, provide for flexibility… As noted here S cenario analysis is component of a real planning effort.

        Treating uncertain forecasts as THE best available understanding and prescribing a simple course of action (as if you were operating under certainty) is pseudo planning at best.

        In any area where you need a forecast, it’s a good assumption that it’s going to be wrong. Some good questions are how wrong might it be, when will you know that, and how can (and will) you react to that. As I’ve said before, the difference between a good forecaster and a bad forecaster is that the good forecaster is among the first to know he’s wrong.

      • > I’m not concerned about the past. It’s finished, gone.

        Yet you appealed to it many times already, Mike. A recent appeal was here:

        If your financial adviser’s advice resulted in bankruptcy a couple of times, do you keep going to him, or possibly try someone else’s vision of the future?

        If you don’t care about the future, why would you take into account your adviser’s past performances? Earlier, you referred to Morgan Stanley, among others.

        More generally, what you call your assumptions rest on past experience. If you are not concerned about the past, then you might as well say that you are not concerned about your assumptions too.

        Or not. Do whatever you please. Do not hesitate to claim that the future is unknowable, even if it is self-contradictory; rinse and repeat arguments from error, rejecting along the way any kind of empirical knowledge; even rebrand “knowledge” as “assumptions” and dismiss all predictions as guesses. See if I care.

        Paraphrasing what Tony Abbott may have said, you know that the only person who can judge you is you.

        ***

        Beware, however, that some people might be a bit sensitive about bankcrupcy examples.

      • > The less certain your predictions the more important planning is.

        Hence the bankcrupcy of the Lomborg playbook.

        Contrarians keep using Mr. T’s influence, but I do not think it means what they say it means.

      • > If you don’t care about the future, why would you take into account your adviser’s past performances?

        Erratum:

        If you don’t care about the future past, why would you take into account your adviser’s past performances?

      • It isn’t not caring about the future, it’s in a future of high uncertainty, the best indicator of the future is the past, and in climate the past is an uneventful future.

      • @MF (to Jim D): What’s your cunning plan for coping when the climate fails to stop changing? After you get the CO2 levels down to 200ppm (you can’t go much lower or plant life dies) …

        In the millennium leading up to the industrial revolution, CO2 was less variable than one might imagine. The DSS firn ice cores from

        http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/lawdome.html

        go back to 1006 AD. From 1006 to 1796, CO2 fluctuated seemingly randomly between 274.3 (in 1604 AD) and 283.9 (in 1196 AD), averaging 280.1. That’s a range of less than 10 ppmv over eight centuries.

        But from 1825 to 1959 the same DSS cores rose steadily from 285.1 (in 1825) to 315.7 (in 1959), an increase of over 30 ppmv over less than 140 years, with the excess over 280 ppmv increasing exponentially.

        The DSS cores stop there, as it takes several decades for falling snow to pack the layer below to CO2-trapping firn. However the data recorded over the past 50 years at Mauna Loa shows the excess over 280 ppmv continuing to increase exponentially, with the CO2 rising from 320 to 400 ppmv over the 50 years since 1965.

        An exponentially rising time series is a geometric progression. Based on the Mauna Loa data, Hofmann et al [1] have estimated the excess CO2 over 280, as an annual time series, to have a ratio of exp(0.693/32.5) = 1.02155, which is to say, a CAGR of 2.155%. When compared with the DSS ice core data the Hofmann model hindcasts remarkably accurately all the way back to 1006 AD!

        If their model fits the 21st century as well as it has the past millennium, by 2100 CO2 will have reached 280 + (400 − 280)*1.02155^(2100 − 2015) = 1015 ppmv. At that time it will be rising at 1.55% a year, as compared to the current rate of 0.65% a year. (Transient Climate Response is predicated on a fixed CAGR of 1% a year over 70 years, a rate midway between the current rate and that of the Hofmann model for 2100, which asymptotes centuries hence to 2.155% for the obvious reason, bearing in mind that all models are wrong especially when extrapolated far enough.)

        According to NOAA’s National Ocean Service, sea levels did not change significantly over several thousand years prior to the 20th century, but then started rising at an increasing rate which by now has reached 3 mm/yr. If CO2 rises much faster in this century than the last, decreasing land ice can be expected to contribute more strongly to rising sea levels than to date.

        [1] Hofmann, David J., James H. Butler, and Pieter P. Tans. 2009. “A new look at atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Atmospheric Environment 43 (12) (April), 2084-2086. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.12.028. http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1352231008011540 .

      • VP needs to read Daniel Kahneman’s “Thinking Slow and Fast”. Investment guru’s are no better at crystal ball gazing than the average Joe. That’s why I have stopped listening to climate change experts because at the end of the day, they know little more about future climate trends than the average Joe.

      • Apologies for getting fast and slow assbackwards in my recommendation of Daniel Kahneman’s book.

      • Willard,

        You wrote –

        “Beware, however, that some people might be a bit sensitive about bankcrupcy examples.”

        And I should care because . . . ?

        Possibly somebody wants to blame me for their inability to foresee the future? I know they should have consulted you and Steven Mosher. Nobody could possibly go bankrupt following your prescient advice could they?

        But this is all irrelevant, isn’t it? You are peeved because it is becoming apparent that the current CO2 phobia is completely baseless. Or am I wrong?

      • @PD: [According to Kahneman] Investment guru’s are no better at crystal ball gazing than the average Joe

        Kahneman confined his criticism to bad investment advisors. May I suggest staying away from them?

        So what’s a “bad investment advisor”? Well, according to Kahneman it’s one who deludes him or herself about the prospects of an investment.

        Kahneman allows that there do exist good investment advisors. In the 1980’s, in my naivete I ran into some bad ones, but I learned the hard way to stay clear of them. If I hadn’t I’d be looking for work now.

      • @MF (to Willard): You are peeved because it is becoming apparent that the current CO2 phobia is completely baseless. Or am I wrong?

        Of course not, Mike. You’re not even wrong.

      • VP I have checked Kahneman’s book but find no qualitative assessment regarding investment advisers and assume that you are referring to another source. “Good” advisers that end up making serious money for their clients tend to be just lucky, according to Kahneman in the book that I was referring to.

        The point I was really making is that bias is a major problem for all decision-makers, especially when it comes to expertise, because Kahneman follows Meehl’s conclusion that experts also generally suffer from overconfidence as well.

        In this context, I believe that mainstream climate science have similar issues of bias and overconfidence.

      • @PD: I have checked Kahneman’s book but find no qualitative assessment regarding investment advisers and assume that you are referring to another source.

        Kahneman makes essentially the same point I made in this thread on June 11 when he says in his book, “Of course, there is always someone on the other side of each transaction; in general, these are financial institutions and professional investors, who are ready to take advantage of the mistakes that individual traders make in choosing a stock to sell and another stock to buy.” The point I made was “Skill in any of these games is relative: can you predict outcomes more reliably than others? Those who consider betting on stocks a game of pure chance, or one in which the odds are stacked against them, are most likely those with little skill in forecasting long-term stock movements. In the long run they will be beaten by those sufficiently knowledgeable about stocks to make better calls.”

        Where I described the competent traders as “sufficiently knowledgeable about stocks”, Kahneman referred to them as “financial institutions and professional investors, who are ready to take advantage of the mistakes that individual traders make” We’re both talking about the same people.

        @PD: [I] assume that you are referring to another source.

        Thank you, Peter. You set a standard for polite discourse that would be nice to see more of here. (I’m as guilty as many here.)

      • Willard writes –“Indeed, just as we have little reason to believe in insurers and reinsurers. They’re more likely guessing.
        This ain’t just a guess.”

        Insurers offer coverage for a relatively short period in the future and people can either pay the fees or not and take the risk if they think the cost of the coverage is deeded excessive.

        Those fearing negative climate change due to CO2 worry that the changes in the climate that might occur at some unknown time in the future. somewhere maybe. They (you) want others to pay to do something now with zero knowledge that what they are proposing to be done will have a net positive impact.

        So that makes sense to you huh?

  11. For the last 17 years, I’ve worked to enable Companies speed the process from design to manufacturing, when product lifecycles last maybe 6-12 months (like video cards), First to market with the next gen product makes money, second to market might cover their Non Recurring Engineering, everyone else looses money.
    Most of these parts are built at one time, and then sold off with the price dropping as newer or the next gen is introduced, until they find the bottom of the price curve and probably sold off as scrap or to some low end market.
    The Military is not agile. They tried, and maybe they’re even better than they were in the 80’s, but 10 year design cycles just don’t seem all that quick.

  12. The best first plan for the future is to not hamstring it with bad plans.

    Andrew

  13. the ways in which it may be uncritically accepted and then encouraged to go beyond what is knowable while maintaining an appearance of certainty

    The problem with “settled science” in a nutshell.

  14. Pingback: Driving in the dark | Enjeux énergies et environnement

  15. It’s always been a problem with ‘climate change’: the forecasts, by and large, have been for a century out or so. Hard to be held to account for longer-than-lifetime predictions, which allows the unscrupulous to continue to hyper-ventilate.

    Fortunately, the banality of observed climate change and the ageing and falling populations should allow us to forget about such nonsense.

  16. The idea the author is getting at (that any long term prediction, will probably prove wrong) was captured pretty well (especially as it relates to the global warming debate) by, among others, Michael Crichton. The genius of President Bush’s “thousand points of light,” is that it celebrates the enduring strength free individuals over the deceivingly simple-minded “certainty” of a state’s single torch of truth.

  17. Excellent thoughts; coming from the intelligence community (long retired) I agree completely. It is just damn hard to predict the future and cover all outlying effects. And my BS detector goes off multiple times from the AGW crowd’s alarmist statements. So I came here to learn.

    So why not go into the prediction business yourself? No doubt some Tech grad student would love to work on a “revised” program with variables more in line with your thinking. And publish the key variables for debate here. You could try crowd-sourcing the funding. With all the shots you’ve already taken, a few more shouldn’t make a difference, I hope.

    Tom H, class ’74

  18. With climate the decisions are dead easy, because it’s all happened before. There aren’t any new climates. And the period between opposites can be so short that, especially if you are Australian, long prediction is of no value and foresight and readiness are golden. Gundagai was built during searing drought, which finally did the impossible and dried up much of the Murrumbidgee River in the late 1830s. Then Gundagai was washed away in 1852 in our most lethal flood (just 18 months after the world’s biggest known fire, further south in Victoria).

    Here’s the thing: the local aborigines knew and warned about climate change in Gundagai, and saved many lives from their bark canoes when the Great Flood hit. Yet the governor had refused to release higher building ground after some disturbing flooding in 1844. He thought that what WAS dry, and IS dry, WILL be dry. He was into trends, you see. Oops.

    I have no idea how you plan for war or new tech. But planning for climate is easy: it’s all going to happen! And it’s going to double-happen in Australia. This simple wisdom is known to most of our cab drivers and and bar flies but mysteriously withheld from many climate scientists.

    Yet Paul Krugman has shown that great prestige and rewards await the scholar who can discover what is known to every cab driver and bar fly. So get busy, climate people!

  19. Now there are various climate forecast out there and the why and how behind it (including myself) .

    I say let us see who is most correct and take it from there.

  20. human1ty1st

    A weakening AMOC prediction. Observations are not co-operating

    http://www.ocean-sci-discuss.net/12/1013/2015/osd-12-1013-2015.pdf

  21. One could distinguish at the start between two choices:

    1. Leave climate science intact as a supposed science

    2. Simply dissolve climate science as a supposed science.

    There’s an immediate budget effect. It’s not obvious what else changes, except that (2) is vastly more efficient.

    • People said much the same about computer science when I entered it in 1967. At the time the subject was summarily dismissed as slide rule science.

      Judging by the tone of the sentiments being expressed here, not much seems to have changed in the interim. To every new science there is an equal and opposite reaction. As a result new sciences advance only at a very slow rate: one funeral at a time (h/t Max Planck).

      • I never heard it and I started in ’63. Huge investments in free operating systems, compilers and assemblers with elaborate macro packages. The FFT was published in ’65. Everything was fast progress because it paid off. Shell sort was ’59.

      • rhhardin,

        I’ll be hornswoggled! A bit before my time, but quicksort was 1959 also. What are the odds?

        I didn’t realise K&R C wasn’t published until 1978. How about that?

      • I have a first edition paperback of K&R, as well as a first edition PB of Kernighan & Pike’s Unix Programming Env. :)

      • The computer industry was certainly well respected as such early in the second half of the century, and I’m not aware of aspersions cast on computer engineering per se, even then.

        As a U. Sydney student in the summer of 1965, knowing next to nothing about computers, I applied to all seven computer companies with Australian outposts for a 3-month job, was admitted by IBM Sydney and CDC Melbourne (the other five didn’t even respond), accepted the former (because CDC treated it as just more courses instead of a real job), and learned a huge amount, in particular Fortran II, the architecture of the 1440, inventory management, and a little about the 360.

        None of it struck me as at all scientific however (though perhaps CDC might have persuaded me otherwise), and when I returned to continue my studies in physics neither I nor anyone in my cohort considered computing to be a “science”. The term “slide rule science” was a common phrase in my circles if not yours.

        Those inside the field of computer science per se surely saw things differently, but to those of us outside the field the concept seemed like a confusion between the terms “engineering” and “science”..

        Six years later my Ph.D. thesis was titled “Shellsort and sorting networks”. I had embraced computing as a science. But that hasn’t stopped me from looking back at the earlier days when I, and a great many others in the traditional sciences like physics and chemistry, hadn’t. Even in 1969 it was possible for an established computer scientist like Christopher Strachey [1] to raise the question.

        [1] Strachey. C,. “Is computing science?”, Proceedings of a Symposium on Computer Science, Girton College, Cambridge, August 1969.

      • Imagine if in 1959 the UN and several major countries had colluded on an international agreement which required that every home should have an IBM 709 in the basement and the core curriculum for every elementary math student should include training in FORTRAN. Many billions would have been spent on expanded tube/valve manufacture to support the new industry, and taxes on other productive industries would have been funneled through various governmental agencies, and the residue used to subsidize this “critically needed” new industry.

        Computing was/is a wonderful thing, but would the action described above have saved the world or wasted vast sums of wealth and natural resources based on flawed vision and bureaucratic waste,bungling, and inertia?

    • The word “science” implies a distinct body of knowledge on any subject but these days researchers specialise in smaller and smaller fields, to the extent that the boundaries between various scientific disciplines are getting very blurred.

      Climate studies seems to encompass a very wide ranges of scientific disciplines but the field of computing seems more to do with the gathering and manipulation of data rather than functioning as a separate discipline in itself.

      Vaughan Pratt seems to consider that the field of computing is more of a research tool rather than as a science in its own right and if I have understood his comment correctly, I fully agree. Academics naturally try to elevate there areas of specialisation so as to obtain more resources and this seems to be the case for the field of climate science, as opposed to that of meteorolgy.

      • I see the Science of Computers as more the study of architecture and computing technology, than the application of computers. The line blurs between architecture and implement of computing. Was Seymour Cray’s adder (iirc) science or implementation, I’m inclined to say science, same with RISC, Very long word, massively parallel systems all seem to be more science than application.
        Software development, even when it’s a hardware description language is by itself more application.
        GCM’S IMO are not computer science, figuring out how to reduce the cell size by 1000x, while at the same time reducing time steps another by 1000 on current technology would be science (without a loss of fidelity ).

      • I would see some parrellels between the fields of Climate Science and Criminolgy (as opposed to Criminal Justice and forensics). A loose conglomeration of academics addressing the “crime” problem. Sociologists, philosophers, political scientists, psychologists, …. A major difference is that Criminologists did not convince policy makers that they had the answers suffice to to justify the elevation of their field through the influx of research funding.

      • @PD: Vaughan Pratt seems to consider that the field of computing is more of a research tool rather than as a science in its own right

        Between the Hubble telescope and astronomy, which would you say was the research tool and which the science?

        While there do exist scientists who don’t use research tools, they don’t get a lot of respect from the scientists who do.

      • VP asks the question: … between the Hubble Telescope and Astronomy which could be said as a research tool and which the science?.. It seems obvious that the Hubble Telescope is the tool and the field of Astronomy is the science but I wonder if this is true?

        The telescope in itself reflects the state of the art in computer technology and satellite development and represents a very practical application in the evolving science of Astronomy.

        The field of Astronomy in general could also be considered a set of hypotheses through which the study of the Universe is carried out and and thus may be considered research tools.

      • Some years ago the Association for Computing Machinery decided that the name didn’t reflect the subject of computer science adequately and cast around for a better name. But questions with the flavour of this discussion (where to draw the line between science and its tools) were never answered satisfactorily. In the end the ACM got over its little identity crisis and decided its name was just fine after all.

  22. This should have been here, instead of the last post. This is spot on topic!

    http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/06/10/1622202/nasa-releases-massive-climate-change-data-set

    • Quoting from NASA:

      “The NASA Earth Exchange Global Daily Downscaled Projections (NEX-GDDP) dataset is comprised of downscaled climate scenarios for the globe that are derived from the General Circulation Model (GCM) runs conducted under the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project Phase 5 (CMIP5) and across two of the four greenhouse gas emissions scenarios known as Representative Concentration Pathways (RCPs). The CMIP5 GCM runs were developed in support of the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC AR5). The NEX-GDDP dataset includes downscaled projections for RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 from the 21 models and scenarios for which daily scenarios were produced and distributed under CMIP5……

      The NEX-GDDP dataset is provided to assist the science community in conducting studies of climate change impacts at local to regional scales, and to enhance public understanding of possible future global climate patterns at the spatial scale of individual towns, cities, and watersheds.”

      The problem I see is the rcp8.5 feed. It includes huge volumes of fossil fuels which are in turn burned to create emissions profiles (it also includes what seems to be exaggerated methane emissions they needed to reach the target forcing). I’m afraid the USA government via NASA is making a huge effort to induce research based on very soft foundations.

      The other problem I see is a certain amount of false confidence oil companies are projecting about what’s going on. People whose bonuses are a function of share price aren’t about to announce they may be running out of oil.

      • NASA. Ha!
        Well, it beats having to do hard shxt like launching stuff into space.
        And by the time people realize you’re wrong, you’ll be retired.
        Sounds like a cush job vs. real Rocket Science.

      • RCP 8.5 is interesting. Up to 2013/2014 it is a reasonable match for emissions and atmospheric CO2 levels.

        However, right now fossil fuel emissions are supposed to continue to rise and the annual rise in CO2 is supposed to go to 3 PPM/Y.

        It doesn’t seem like either of those is going to happen. The rate of increase in fossil fuel is going to slow or quasi-plateau. The rate of atmospheric CO2 increase is going to taper off. When emissions plateau the trends say the absorption will catch up in 20 years.

        The actual lifetime of CO2 in the atmosphere is 16 years (half-life 11 years) as determined by the excess C14 from nuclear testing.

        This year the emissions will be about twice the amount from 1978-1983. Only about 21% of the post 1976 CO2 emissions increase is going into the atmosphere.

        The rate of atmospheric increase was about 1.7 PPM/Y in the 1978-1983 period. This year the rate of increase is on track to be the same 2.13 PPM/Y as last year.

        The radiative forcing increased 0.2 W/m2 from 2000 to 2010. It is fair to assume it has increased to 0.3 W/m2. That is 1/3 of the IPCC projection.

        The IPCC so far has been right about the emissions but wrong about the results. The IPCC projections for atmospheric CO2 and forcing, have an increasing trends after 2020. This would mean the IPCC projections are fixin’ to get wronger a lot faster.

      • PA, RCP8.5 includes very high methane emissions. The CMIP3 blew the methane, so this time they extrapolated the trend, then jacked it up, but this methane emissions curve isn’t supported.

        Regarding the oil plateau, I think we are entering a “sinusoidal plateau” for production and prices. The Chinese have performed as a dampener, they purchased and stored large amounts of crude in the last six months, but that storage binge seems to be over. Production and prices will be swinging a lot unless the USA increases its strategic oil storage capacity. Wild swings are bad for the U.S. economy because it has become a major oil producer, but this production requires enormous effort (I think the current economic slump is caused in part by the huge slow down in economic activity in oil producing states as well as those supplying services and materials to the industry).

        I don’t have a handy set of equations to estimate the combined methane plus co2 plus minor gases radiative forcing. I noticed nobody seems to plot the way this is supposed to be evolving over time, and comparing it to the observed outgoing radiation, to derive the evolving feed backs. We seem to get tons of baloney based on the cmip5 ensemble results, and meanwhile I see very few analyses of what goes on.

      • @PA: The rate of atmospheric increase was about 1.7 PPM/Y in the 1978-1983 period. This year the rate of increase is on track to be the same 2.13 PPM/Y as last year. … The IPCC so far has been right about the emissions but wrong about the results. The IPCC projections for atmospheric CO2 and forcing, have an increasing trends after 2020. This would mean the IPCC projections are fixin’ to get wronger a lot faster.

        The annual rate of increase of CO2 is far too noisy for any one year to be meaningful:

        Even averaged over a decade (the five horizontal black lines) it’s still too noisy to draw reliable conclusions about a single decade. If in 2000 you’d compared the average of 1.50 ppmv increase per year for the 10 years 1990-1999 with that of 1.61 for 1980-1989 you’d have breathed a big sigh of relief and declared that the increase per year was at last decreasing based on the ten-year averages. But 2010 would have proved you badly wrong by jumping to 1.96 for 2000-2009!

        The average for the five years 2010-2014 is 2.22. In order for this decade not to show an increase over 2000-2009’s 1.96, the next five years will need to average 1.70. But if your “on-track” expectation of 2.13 for 2015 pans out then 2016-2019 will need to average 1.59. What are the odds?

        The eye can get a clearer picture of the long-term trends by looking not at the annual differences but the data itself:

        Hold a straightedge to any 5-year part of that plot and you’ll see that the whole curve is concave upwards (positive second derivative). No sign of it bending down.

        So what’s all this doing to the temperature? Well, since 2000 temperature has been rising at only 0.78 °C/century. For the 15 years starting in 1980 it rose at the higher rate of 1.00 °C/century, so certainly we’ve had a hiatus of sorts. But if you’re serious about the rate of increase of CO2 being meaningful, 1990 witnessed CO2’s little hiatus when the average for 1980-1989 declined to 1.50 ppmv/yr from the previous decade’s rate of increase of 1.61 ppm/yr. Hiatuses (hiati?) happen (though hardly as often as hurricanes).

        And if you’re going to look at just recent years, as you’re doing with CO2, then the trend since 2011 is a truly remarkable 5.74 °C/century!

        Not to worry. The hiatus will be back for the period 2022-2032, just at a much higher temperature.

      • And if you’re going to look at just recent years, as you’re doing with CO2, then the trend since 2011 is a truly remarkable 5.74 °C/century!

        But, none of the temperature increase is due to a “residual” warming after it cools at night, nor is it from a “residual” warming at the end of the year.

      • But, none of the temperature increase is due to a “residual” warming after it cools at night, nor is it from a “residual” warming at the end of the year.

        Say more. Explanation, quote, citation, link, …

        (Are you talking about the residual layer just above the atmosphere’s nocturnal boundary layer? If so I have a guess as to what you might be referring to.)

      • “Say more. Explanation, quote, citation, link, …”
        For each surface station that collected at least 360 days samples per year. Calculate the day to day change in min temp, and the day to day change in maximum temp.
        This is the the trend of that station, average all of the stations for that year and you have the trend for all stations that have a full year of samples. If you limit precision to the +/- 0.1F of the NCDC global summary of days data, the trend of both min and max since 1940 is 0.0F for 69 million daily samples. If you go out to 2 or 3 digits of precision the average from 1940 is negative, 50 of the last 74 years are negative, 30 of the last 34 years are negative. Iirc max is positive if you go out to 4 or 5 digits of precision. I can get exact numbers tomorrow if you’d like.
        You can include some 120 million samples and get much the same, but you’re including stations with a partial year of samples.

      • Calculate the day to day change in min temp, and the day to day change in maximum temp.

        What? That statistic has to be completely meaningless. Any trend would be totally drowned in noise, which more digits of precision wouldn’t overcome. Results could be trends up or down and bear no relationship to more conventional ways of estimating trends.

      • When you average them together, weather averages out, and since a year is cyclic if it returns to the same value that averages to zero as well.
        You end up the the measured trend of a group of stations.

      • Steven Mosher

        Vaughan

        micro wont listen.

      • “micro wont listen.”
        It’s an anomaly based on the station Steve, except I don’t throw away the day to day warming – cooling difference , and it also detects the rate of change though out the year.
        Which the processing BEST does throws away, so while you get a temp, you can’t tell if it has anything to do with a change in Co2.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        Seriously, are you saying that measuring the global average temperature of the Earth, and measuring the same temperature one year later (when the Earth has completed precisely one complete orbit around the Sun), will be completely meaningless?

        How many orbits do you have to wait, before you see the temperature change?

        50? 100.

        I have a problem visualising the Earth being cooler when furthest from the Sun, and warmer when closer (due to its elliptical orbit), but finishing up warmer at any point in its orbit one year later.

        How is the excess accumulated heat stored?

        After being exposed to continuous sunlight for four and a half billion years, where did all the stored heat from the Sun go? Why did the Earth cool? When did it most recently stop cooling, and start getting warmer?

        It sounds like nonsense to me, but I’m sure you can answer my simple questions. Please?

      • Seriously, are you saying that measuring the global average temperature of the Earth, and measuring the same temperature one year later (when the Earth has completed precisely one complete orbit around the Sun), will be completely meaningless?

        No, I was referring to the day-to-day changes at individual stations that Micro was talking about.

        You’re talking about year-to-year differences of a single time series. The time series can be reconstructed exactly to within an additive constant (recall the phrase “constant of integration” from way back when?) from those differences when given exactly. If given slightly inexactly it doesn’t make a big difference for just one time series inspected annually. It makes a huge difference if there’s one for each of a hundred thousand instruments examined daily.

        Which may have been Micro’s point, I wasn’t terribly clear as to what he was driving at.

      • There’s 9 or 10 thousand stations in total I think,but it changes year by year as stations that collect for a full year changes.and yes I’m doing a full years integration of the day to day change for those stations.

      • Let’s see if I can show you.
        Here’s just US stations, the average of multiple stations day to day change for 1950 to 2010 plotted out.

        Now, for one you can take the slope from ~March to October, as well as from Oct to Mar and then plot the resultant slope
        here.

        You can also sum a years worth, divide it by the number of stations and get the year to year change for that collection of stations.
        This is all global stations

        You can see that max temp hasn’t really changed, min temp has, but when you group the stations by geographic areas you get these
        US

        Tropics

        South Pole

        South America

        North Pole

        Eurasia

        Australia

        Africa

        You can see that when you do an annual average the trends all disappear. But the profile of the change in surface temp (second chart) has changed, but looks like it’s changing direction (I’m in the process of adding 2014 to see how it goes).
        You can also use the daily min to max to tomorrow’s min to look to see if nightly cooling is less than or greater than the prior’s day warming.
        You get this

        When you average all of these, it’s negative.
        Now, that bothered me for a while, until I figured out that the atm is heated and humidified in the tropics, and then carried poleward, when it travels over land it starts to cool, and the surface stations see that as tomorrow’s minimum on average being slightly cooler than this morning.

      • After being exposed to continuous sunlight for four and a half billion years, where did all the stored heat from the Sun go?

        Gosh, Mike, that many joules should surely have evaporated the whole planet. Your thoughts on that topic would therefore appear to be a figment of the imagination of some pre-evaporation would-be ancestor of yours who left your brain patterns in her will. URLs are standing by to help if and when this hits home.

      • Mike,

        After being exposed to continuous sunlight for four and a half billion years, where did all the stored heat from the Sun go? Why did the Earth cool? When did it most recently stop cooling, and start getting warmer?

        It sounds like nonsense to me, but I’m sure you can answer my simple questions. Please?

        All you really need to do is familiarise yourself with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

      • @ATTP: All you really need to do is familiarise yourself with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.

        DFTT.

      • Each morning I check the daily temperature anomaly of the globe. Then I check the SOI.

      • ATTP,

        “All you really need to do is familiarise yourself with the Stefan-Boltzmann Law.”

        I did. It didn’t seem to work all that well with a molten globe like the Earth. I couldn’t get the Earth to have a surface temperature of 3K in the absence of the Sun.

        That was just the start.

        You seem to want to indulge in a silliness contest. I never indulge in such contests with Warmists. They invariably win.

      • Mike,

        It didn’t seem to work all that well with a molten globe like the Earth. I couldn’t get the Earth to have a surface temperature of 3K in the absence of the Sun.

        You just didn’t wait long enough.

      • ATTP,

        You’re right, of course. I don’t think I could hold my breath that long.

        Good one.

      • Mike,
        Hmm, I get the impression that you think that I was implying something that I actually wasn’t. I really did mean that if you wanted to take a planet like the Earth and let it cool (in the absence of heating from a star) to the cosmic background temperature, it would take a very long time. My quick, back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests that it would take longer than the age of the universe, but I might not have done that carefully enough. Even in the Earth today, radioactive decay generates about 20TW of energy. That, alone, would maintain a surface temperature of about 30K.

      • Okay, I’ve done the calc a bit more thoroughly. If you ignore radioactive decay, then an Earth-mass, Earth-radius planet would have a temperature of around 6K after about 10 billion years. To cool below 3K would take 80 billion years (about 6 times longer than the current age of the universe). Still a fairly simple calculation, so I wouldn’t take the numbers as particularly accurate, just rough estimates.

      • fernandoleanme | June 11, 2015 at 3:40 am |
        PA, RCP8.5 includes very high methane emissions. The CMIP3 blew the methane, so this time they extrapolated the trend, then jacked it up, but this methane emissions curve isn’t supported.

        Reasonably intelligent people don’t worry about methane. About 1/2 of the methane emissions is preexisting, about 2/3rds is from “natural” sources including rice field and food animals (we can reduce this if we starve billions of people), and only about 19% is due to fossil fuels.

        The half-life of methane is 7 years and the mean lifetime is 9 years. The combination of lifetime and the actual sources means any effort to reduce methane from fossil fuel is a wasted effort. This lifetime also means the methane clathrate threat is a sick joke.

        It is a don’t care situation. The methane level is twice what it used to be because methane emissions are twice what they used to be. Since there aren’t going to be many more rice fields or food animals so it is about as bad as it is going to get.

      • ATTP,

        I believe I understood you correctly.

        My quick estimate of the Earth”s surface temperature (no Sun) is between 30 and 35K. Measurements are relatively accurate, but vary depending on location, of course.

        Now if you applied 255 calories of energy (specifying that conditions were such that 1 cal would raise the temperature of 1 g of water by 1 K), to 1 g of water, and you measured the final temperature of the water as 288 K, you might be surprised. “It’s 33 K warmer than it should be!”, you cry!

        You recheck your calculations. Yes, starting at 0 K, your final temperature should be 255 K. It must be due to the greenhouse effect!

        Some billions of dollars later, your lab assistant tells you that the water sample you used was actually 33 K before you applied the energy that resulted in a final temperature of 288 K.

        Imagine how silly you might feel. Ah well, its only a fable, I suppose.

        What do you think?

      • ATTP: an Earth-mass, Earth-radius planet would have a temperature of around 6K after about 10 billion years.

        Under what assumptions? Source and sink of heat, temperature at the start of the 10 billion years, mechanism of heat transfer through the mantle (conduction or convection?). etc.

        To cool below 3K would take 80 billion years (about 6 times longer than the current age of the universe).

        You mean cooling from 6K to 3K? Via radiation to space? Is the Sun continuing to supply heat during the cooling? Internal heat transfer?

        (As probably the only astrophysicist contributing to this thread, your back-of-the-envelope methods should be of more than average interest.)

      • Don Monfort

        More interesting that kenny’s evolving back of envelope methods is you first name, doc. I have been thinking that more than half of the letters could be silent, depending on the pronunciation. I don’t think you pronounce it Va-ug-han. Seems like it could easily be Von, Van, or the Viet, Voan. Worst case, Vaughn. Save you some letters.

      • ATTP,

        If you ignore radioactive decay, you would be committing the same error Lord Kelvin did. It obviously makes an enormous difference, both to the age of the Earth, and its present rate of cooling. I’ve noticed that many Warmists seem convinced that the Earth must have stopped cooling billions of years ago, and totally ignore the fact that if the core is white hot, and the environment is around 3 K, then the crust is somewhere between the two, and there will be a temperature gradient between the centre of the Earth and 3 K.

        Therefore, cooling.

        I would not take a punt on the time to eventual isothermality. I rather suspect that it’s a long way away. If the Sun is about half way through its life, other events may intervene before 10 billion years have elapsed.

        At least we agree the Earth is cooling. The Sun hasn’t been able to stop it for four and a half billion years. Nor is it likely to, any time soon.

      • @DM (apparently urgently needing to say something): Seems like it could easily be Von

        Easily. At a 1972 meeting introducing new MIT assistant professors to the students, I was introduced as “Professor Von Pratt.” I responded with a heavy German accent.

        At a cafe, when asked what name to put on my order, I tell them Von so as to increase the odds I’ll recognize their pronunciation. I don’t need the world to know I’m vuggin’.

      • VP,

        Under what assumptions? Source and sink of heat, temperature at the start of the 10 billion years, mechanism of heat transfer through the mantle (conduction or convection?). etc.

        I was assuming no star (which I thought was the point). Initial thermal energy is approximately GM^2/R (i.e., assume the planet formed via collisions of smaller bodies that originated far enough away that their initial energy is zero). The specific heat capacity is around 1000J/kg/K which allows you to estimate an average temperature. Energy loss is then sigma T^4 x Surface area. Integrate from t = 0.

        You mean cooling from 6K to 3K? Via radiation to space? Is the Sun continuing to supply heat during the cooling? Internal heat transfer?

        No Sun, and the assumption is that the surface temperature is the same as the average temperature – which would be an over-estimate. So, it would probably take even longer.

        Of course, I may have lost track of the whole point of this. I had the impression that Mike was claiming that he couldn’t get the Earth to cool to 3K and I was simply trying to point out that if you include radioactive decay, you wouldn’t expect it to be 3K today in the absence of the Sun, and even if you ignore radioactive decay, it would still take longer than the age of the Universe for an Earth-like planet to cool to the temperature of the cosmic- background.

        Of course, Mike is somewhat confusing our loss of internal energy with cooling of the surface, so it’s all a bit confused.

        Mike,

        If you ignore radioactive decay, you would be committing the same error Lord Kelvin did.

        Well, Kelvin didn’t ignore it. He didn’t know about it. I wasn’t ignoring it because I don’t think it plays a role (I already pointed out what effect it would have), I was ignoring it because I don’t have time to develop a model that includes both radioactive decay and accretion energy.

      • Evidently A4 calls for envelopes with bigger backs than US letter. :)

        I don’t have time to develop a model that includes both radioactive decay and accretion energy.

        You may not need to. Did you happen to run across England et al‘s article in GSA Today in 2007? They cite Richter’s 1986 analysis purporting to show that if Kelvin had known about radioactivity and accurately taken it into account, it would have had a negligible impact on his estimate of the age of the Earth.

        I.e. Richter is contradicting Rutherford.

        Nine years before Rutherford there was Perry, Kelvin’s assistant, who without knowledge of radioactivity made what was essentially Richter’s argument modulo the detail that radioactivity would have no significant impact on Kelvin’s age estimate, which of course Perry was in no position to show, any more than Kelvin.

        Where Perry took exception to Kelvin’s reasoning was in the matter of heat transfer from the mantle to the crust. Kelvin modeled this as pure conduction, thinking of the mantle as too solid to admit convection. Perry proposed what is today understood as the main mechanism of heat transfer through the mantle. This higher rate of transfer of heat to the surface maintained the surface at a high temperature vastly longer than Kelvin calculated.

        [1] Richter, F.M., 1986, Kelvin and the age of the earth: Journal of Geology, v. 94, p. 395–401

      • @VP: Perry proposed what is today understood as the main mechanism of heat transfer through the mantle.

        Sorry, there should have been a “, namely convection” at the end of that sentence.

      • VP,
        Very interesting, thanks. I had not seen that.

  23. David L. Hagen

    Quantitative Forecasting
    Richard Danzig’s observations are further quantified by Forecasting Prof. Prof. J. Scot Armstrong with his scientifically based Principles for Evidence Based Forecasting.

    See: Alain Elkann’s April 8, 2015 Interview of J. Scott Armstrong: FORECASTS OF DANGEROUS MAN-MADE GLOBAL WARMING ARE NOT VALID

    Are forecasts of dangerous man-made global warming valid?
    From the scientific point of view they are not valid.
    The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global mean temperature [changes] cannot be forecast because climate is too complex. They nevertheless rely on complex computer modelling to represent their assumptions about how the climate works. . . .
    Unfortunately, governments treat the IPCC scenarios as forecasts. Scenarios produce misleading forecasts, as described in Principles of Forecasting (p.519-540). Moreover, the IPCC assumptions lack scientific support, as explained in the three edited volumes of Climate Change Reconsidered published from 2009 to 2014. . . .

    What is the scientific truth about forecasting global mean temperatures?
    Kesten Green, Willie Soon, and I are alone in our willingness to claim that we provide scientific forecasts of long-term change in global mean temperatures. Given the high uncertainty about the net effect of human carbon dioxide emissions on global temperatures, we only see natural changes in climate. Thus, we forecast no long-term trend, either cooling or warming. Our tests of forecast accuracy over the period from 1851 to 1975 found that for forecasts for 91 to 100 years ahead, the models used by the IPCC had errors that were more than 12 times larger than errors from our “no-trend” model. . . .
    I proposed a bet with former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in 2007. . . . to forecast global mean temperatures for the next ten years. I forecast no trend. (Given natural variation, I faced a 1/3 chance of losing.) He refused the bet. Theclimatebet.comtracks monthly data on global mean temperatures to show how our bet would have fared had Mr Gore been willing to bet the IPCC “business as usual” scenario against my bet on “no trend.” . . .
    You had a long controversy and a 2008 Senate Hearing about the extinction of polar bears? Right?
    Yes. The polar bear population has been increasing in recent decades due to restrictions on hunting. Despite the strong upward trend in the polar bear population, government researchers forecast an immediate sharp downward trend based on forecasts of global warming. They violated 69% of the relevant forecasting principles. For example, they did not fully disclose their data. They refused to provide me with their data on the population of polar bears. (See my 6-minute testimony on YouTubefor details.) . . .

    “April 8, 2015
    J. Scott Armstrong is Professor, University of Pennsylvania, Editor of Principles of Forecasting, a founder of the International Journal of Forecasting and the Journal of Forecasting, author of Long-Range Forecasting, and founder of forecastingprinciples.com. All of his papers are available at jscottarmstrong.com
    See also Kestin Greena & J. Scott Armstrong Global Warming Forecasting GLOBAL WARMING: FORECASTS BY SCIENTISTS VERSUS SCIENTIFIC FORECASTS ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT VOLUME 18 No. 7+8 2007

    • David – not to worry.
      The useful ID10Ts will bring up how Susan Crockford took $750 bucks from big oil a decade ago, and how this really means that the polar bears are all dying, even though their numbers have increased 500% in 40 years.

      No kidding. Just happened to me on facebook 2 days ago.
      The ID10Ts will not be denied their coolaid.

    • David L. Hagen

      Certain Trade War over Uncertain Models — a response to Professor William Nordhaus Caleb Stewart Rossiter, Adjunct professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, and School of International Service, American University, Washington, DC

      As someone who has helped students in math modeling and statistics classes sort through these sorts of hypotheses over the past decade, I cannot share Professor Nordhaus’ certainty on either the causes or the effects of the warming to date and the predicted warming to come.  The models do not, in fact, attribute the recorded 1.2 degree Fahrenheit (or .7 degree Celsius) rise in temperature since around 1880 entirely to human-based emissions of warming gasses.  . . .
      Models of our complex and chaotic climate system simply don’t make useful predictions after a few days’ time.
      The climate models have gotten more complex, for sure, with thousands of estimated parameters for warming potential, vorticity, circulation patterns, absorption of heat, pressure, energy, and momentum by various layers or atmosphere, land, ocean, and sea-ice.  But they are still like models of the stock market, based not just on theoretical causations, but on correlations in conditions that will never be repeated.  This makes prediction, well, unpredictable.  A climate model runs on many imperfect assumptions, including crucially the precise warming potential of carbon dioxide.  It must be constantly “tuned” to control its predictions, since slight changes in any of the thousands of assumptions and parameters can cause it to explode upwards or nose-dive to zero in future time periods.

    • @DLH (quoting J. Scott Armstrong): The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded that global mean temperature [changes] cannot be forecast because climate is too complex

      Anyone know where Armstrong got that? AR4? AR5? Particular chapter?

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan
        See: IPCC
        14.2.2.2 Balancing the need for finer scales and the need for ensembles

        “In sum, a strategy must recognise what is possible. 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. The most we can expect to achieve is the prediction of the probability distribution of the system’s future possible states by the generation of ensembles of model solutions. This reduces climate change to the discernment of significant differences in the statistics of such ensembles. The generation of such model ensembles will require the dedication of greatly increased computer resources and the application of new methods of model diagnosis. Addressing adequately the statistical nature of climate is computationally intensive, but such statistical information is essential.”

        BUT currently the model ensemble appears about 200% of actual. etc.

    • Ignore that. Reading Armstrong a bit further, I ran across

      They violated 69% of the relevant forecasting principles.

      I found myself wondering if he’d submitted that for April 1 publication.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan
        The FDA has forced medical science and the pharmaceutical industry into strict objective double blind methodology in clinical trials etc. to avoid severe biases. With “climate” science we have the advocates messaging both the data and the models to get what they believe will happen – e.g. with CO2 sensitivity about twice reality etc. See the latest evidence from Nic Lewis: Implications of recent multimodel attribution studies for climate sensitivity

        The parameter combination that best fitted the observational data gave a median estimate for ECS of 1.64°C. With non-aerosol forcing etc. uncertainties adequately allowed for, the 5–95% uncertainty range was 1.0–3.0°C.
        Figure 2 shows posterior PDFs for the two TCR estimates from my new study. The best estimates are within 0.05°C of each other. Their average is 1.37°C, with a 5–95% range of 0.65–2.2°C. This is within a few percent of the best estimates for TCR in Lewis and Curry (2014), and of those given in Otto et al (2013), of which I was a co-author alongside fourteen AR5 lead authors.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan
        IPCC gave no recognition that scientific forecasting methods even existed. Armstrong finds the IPCC methods breached most applicable scientific forecasting principles as identified in the peer reviewed literature. The current models average of 200% actual temperature trends since 1990 are symptomatic of the IPCC’s very poor.

    • None of the global warmers assumptions appear to be valid.

      If all of your assumptions are invalid this makes accurate forecasting more challenging.

      Global warmers should be forced to prove empirically all their assumptions before they are allowed to do any forecasting or predictions.

      • @PA: None of the global warmers assumptions appear to be valid.

        About 8 hours ago Mike Flynn had an apropos remark (8:26 pm yesterday to be precise):

        if you say it, it must be so.

        The world’s climate scientists hear this all the time from the world’s so-called “skeptics”. Eventually it gets old.

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 17, 2015 at 4:56 am |

        The world’s climate scientists hear this all the time from the world’s so-called “skeptics”. Eventually it gets old.

        Gee. If you could provide some assumptions or predictions of global warmers that are proven or accurate that would be helpful. I’m not aware of any.

      • Krapp’s last Tape?

      • @PA: Gee. If you could provide some assumptions or predictions of global warmers that are proven or accurate that would be helpful. I’m not aware of any.

        Since “proving assumptions” is not something I have any experience with, I’ll have to stick to predictions.

        And since “global climate” obviously doesn’t mean this year or last, I’ll stick to the definition implied by the IPCC’s definition of Transient Climate Response, namely a 20-year running average. (The World Meteorological Organization supposedly uses 30 years for the definition of climate but I’ll believe that when I see it on a WMO website.)

        Now, what prediction of 20-year global climate do you feel has not been “proven or accurate”.

      • Nice dance. Didn’t ask for dancing.

        The models are the IPCC prediction of the future. They are soaring to the sky.

        The IPCC forcing (TCR) is about 3 times too high given the 0.2W/m2 for 22 PPM measurement for 10 years at two locations.

        The IPCC RCP8.5 2100 CO2 level is about 4.5 times higher than the likely increase from current CO2 levels.

        The hiatus is really a stasis and the temperatures aren’t going to take off.

        The Antarctic sea ice is at record levels (implying that the ice sheet loss is slowing), the Arctic sea ice is steadily increasing in volume.

        The pCO2 trend in the ocean has been flat for 15 years.

        The global warming position doesn’t appear to have any factual support. The updated RCP files are overestimating the atmospheric increase a couple of years out (2.6 PPM/Y vs 2.1 PPM/Y).

        It is like global warmers don’t know anything about climate. Sadly it appears that global warming is simply political posturing, and not a scientifically grounded theory.

      • David L. Hagen

        Vaughan
        Re: “Now, what prediction of 20-year global climate do you feel has not been “proven or accurate”.
        Start with the 1990 mean global warming prediction. Actual temperature rise has been slightly less than 50% of that prediction. (Having written a 330 page document based on the IPCC models can’t be trusted!) Secondly none predicted the 18.5 year pause. etc.

      • Vaughan Pratt,

        You wrote –

        “And since “global climate” obviously doesn’t mean this year or last, I’ll stick to the definition implied by the IPCC’s definition of Transient Climate Response, namely a 20-year running average. (The World Meteorological Organization supposedly uses 30 years for the definition of climate but I’ll believe that when I see it on a WMO website.)”

        Gee. From a website wmo.int claiming to be the website of the WMO –

        “What is Climate?
        Climate, sometimes understood as the “average weather,” is defined as the measurement of the mean and variability of relevant quantities of certain variables (such as temperature, precipitation or wind) over a period of time, ranging from months to thousands or millions of years.

        The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.”

        I’m sure you will tell me and others that it’s “not really” the WMO, or they “don’t understand”, or maybe that it’s “more complicated than that”.

        Of course, you could refuse to look at the WMO website, and could claim that you didn’t see it.

        But no matter. The IPCC thoughtfully supplies the following definition of climate, for those unable to locate the WMO website –

        “Climate
        Climate in a narrow sense is usually defined as the �average weather�, or more rigorously, as the statistical description in terms of the mean and variability of relevant quantities over a period of time ranging from months to thousands or millions of years. The classical period is 30 years, as defined by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). These quantities are most often surface variables such as temperature, precipitation, and wind. Climate in a wider sense is the state, including a statistical description, of the climate system.”

        So, in typical eccentric Warmist fashion, you make up your own definition based on an implication derived from a definition of something else.

        Might I suggest you familiarise yourself with relevant definitions, and a grasp of basic physics.

        Your sniggers and sneers might be taken more seriously, if you made fewer unsupported assertions. Don’t you agree?

  24. Here’s a link to the bp factbook of world energy oil summary:

    http://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/pdf/Energy-economics/statistical-review-2015/bp-statistical-review-of-world-energy-2015-oil-section.pdf

    Consider page 4 of 15, production. Compare it to page 12 of 15, refinery throughputs. As you will see, the two numbers are very far apart. The difference is mostly natural gas liquids (ethane, propane, butane).

    As it turns out, these ngl are used as minor fuels, or as feedstock for plastics and other chemical products. I like to revisit this topic because I’m very familiar with the field, and I find a bit of disinformation and zigzag in the way the real picture is presented to the public by the EIA, the IEA, the EU, the IPCC and the other letter soup agencies.

    The trend we see is for much lighter production, with a significant NGL fraction. This is caused by the nature of the new “shale” reservoirs, which have extremely low permeability, and thus tend to produce in commercial quantities if the “petroleum” has very low viscosity. NGL, being much smaller molecules, but heavier than methane, are found in the liquid phase “crude oil” at reservoir conditions, but they also enter the gas phase in gas reservoirs.

    Why am I going over this? Because we will be getting oil from two “new sources”, the “shales” (very light oils, condensates, and NGL), and from very heavy crudes found in Canada and Venezuela. These crudes include a high asphalt fraction, and require special treatment to break down the molecules, add hydrogen, and make synthetic liquids. And, no matter how I turn this situation and look at it from different angles, I have to conclude that oil prices are going to increase so much we are going to have to change the way we do things anyway.

    Which leads me ONE MORE TIME to point out the IPCC ” business as usual” ditty is baloney. They need to be called on the way they invented figures to feed their GCMs.

  25. We have foresight and can predict with virtual certainty that there will be a human ending cataclysmic asteroid event on earth sometime between a few years and some millions of years from now. Would designing solutions be prudent for this? Or does the potential timescale prorate the risk away for not adopting a call to action plan?

    We can’t predict with certainty the future of AGW or if it is indeed bad at all. We have the foresight to continue to develop technology and can make reasonable near-term predictions for curbing CO2 concentrations. Going ever further out in time technological advancement overtakes uncertainty about AGW until fear ceases. So the question then becomes what applied methodologies are good enough on a near-term basis to buttress against perceived risks until both technology and good stewardship eliminate fear for those inclined? Also how fast is technology advancing? Faster than most perceive if one looks at the last 100 years. I would argue that the steps industry is currently taking to mitigate their own carbon footprints, the recent peak and now downward trajectory of CO2 concentrations in developed nations, increasing global forestation, decreasing paper production, and global awareness in developing nations towards curbing their carbon footprint is enough in itself to hold us over until major breakthroughs in technology squash fears entirely. We should continue to do basic science and advance our understanding of climate. IMO, that’s it, we put our financial resources to work to invigorate the economy so we can afford the technologies of the future.

    • At least with an asteroid you know the consequences are going to be severe.

    • Given the motivation, mankind can make progress in reducing the global carbon footprint, but it does need a reason, otherwise you get much less progress in that direction. The reason is the more emissions, the more the climate change, and the more the climate change the harder it is to predict what will happen which is scary. Deep uncertainty is guiding this direction of progress already, as it should. Rather than stopping us doing anything, uncertainty is driving our current direction of progress which is the best way to reduce uncertainty about the future. Most people are very conservative when it comes to the climate, and it is because a known climate is better than an unknown one.

      • “the harder it is to predict what will happen which is scary.” Doesn’t scare me, Jim D, it’s the normal state of existence, you must learn to be more equanimous with ever-changing circumstances.

    • Jim D,

      You mention the “global carbon footprint”. Are you talking about carbon or carbon dioxide? Possibly CH4? Or do you mean GHGs, in which case you are talking about the hydrogen or oxygen footprint, as H2O is supposedly the major GHG.

      What has this got to do with emissions? What emissions are you talking about? Plants emit oxygen. Is this bad? Cars emit all sorts of things, including water vapour. Too much? Not enough?

      You mention a known climate compared to an unknown one. What is the difference? What is the “known climate” of California, do you think? What would an “unknown climate” look like?

      I believe your thinking is muddled and unclear. You may possess a Messianic fervour, but it needs to be accompanied by suitable clear English expression. Maybe you are too intelligent for dummies such as myself.

      Give it a try. Assume everybody is dumber than you. Steven Mosher may be able to help. I believe he has qualifications in English expression.

  26. > It aint going to work

    Is that a prediction?

  27. This might be the only way to get the alarmist community to think differently about their predictions. There is more than one way to change someone’s mind.

    http://www.iflscience.com/brain/frankenstein-doctor-performed-head-transplants-mice-says-monkeys-are-next

  28. I’ve been making similar points for many years, but Danzig carries more weight.

  29. From the article:

    It’s an unfortunate quirk of human psychology; it’s allowed us to outwit and outplay most other species around the globe—we’re smarter, more resourceful, more conniving—but it might also come to mean we won’t outlast them. There are currently a host of very real, very pressing, and very long-simmering crises on our plates; climate change, sure, but also biggies like mass extinction and biodiversity loss and ocean acidification, which will take up to many decades before they become full-blown, civilization-threatening calamities.

    That’s why I’ve always bristled a bit at the post-colon header of Jared Diamond’s great book, Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed. What society, comprised of humans capable of abstract thought, with fully developed brains, would actively choose to fail? “It’s been a good run, but seeing as how I am exhausted from all this rapaciousness and decadence, I hereby opt to Fall” -the Roman Empire.

    Diamond’s work, published in 2005, before the emergence of the post-Inconvenient Truth climate change awareness boom, details the myriad ways that societies doom themselves, primarily through environmental misdeeds that should be ominously familiar to contemporary society, like deforestation, overfishing, and the ruination of farmland, as well as unsustainable social practices like slavery, over-taxation, and loss of trade partners.

    http://motherboard.vice.com/read/apocalypse-neuro-why-our-brain-cant-process-the-planets-gravest-threats

    • jim2,

      Diamond’s first book: “Guns, Germs and Steel” was by far his best. I never could quite get into or buy into “Collapse”. He seems to have gone down the Thomas Friedman self indulgence mode after G G and S.

      • I loved “Guns, Germs and Steel”. It was looking at the word in new and fascinating different ways that I had never thought about, but it all seemed reasonable. I eagerly awaited and bought “Collapse” hoping for the same. It was full of interesting stories but I did not feel that the generalizations and extensions it contained were sufficiently grounded. Global planet earth 2015 versus Easter Island. We were on course to run our of nitrogen. Technology saved us in a way that doesn’t generalize historically.

        Now there’s the question did he get the history right. http://www.npr.org/sections/krulwich/2013/12/09/249728994/what-happened-on-easter-island-a-new-even-scarier-scenario

      • Diamond is a very enjoyable writer, but as a historian he makes far too many assumptions and “leaps of faith”. That was evident even in Guns, Germs and Steel.

      • @timg56: [Diamond] makes far too many assumptions and “leaps of faith”

        So should he have made fewer, or none?

        And if the former, where’s your pain point?

    • I read Diomands book shortly after it came out and long before I understood the skeptical arguments regarding manmade climate change. I thought it was a good book; it was interesting, well written, and a worthy exploration of how societies collapse. I find it difficult to extend the analogy of past societies to the current modern one, because modern society is vastly larger, more interconnected, and with a incomparably faster rate of information dissemination. It’s comparing apples with entire regions of fruit growing.

      Nevertheless the lessons are worth bearing in mind, the most important of which is “the tragedy of the commons”. Those UN or EU critics miss this important point. For all they may be beurcratic elephants, and at times ineffectual and inefficient, it is far better to have them for their primary purpose – forums for disparate national entities to resolve disputes and work together on common problems.

    • I loved both of those books – very entertaining. Infact, I can reach out and touch both books right now. In gg&s he delivers a coherent narrative, but I don’t know if it is true. Collapse has some interesting chapters on environmentally sensitive oil drilling in Indonesia (?), the preservation of the forests of Japan, and the chilling effects of global cooling on the collapse of the 400 (?) year old Greenland colony. The description of that epic fail, including ax fights in a church wedding and a final desperate descent on the last standing farms, was absolutely riveting.

  30. AK: 4:17 pm
    Thank you for your suggestion. I’ll give it a try.

    http.//wattstsupwiththat.com/2015/05/26/the-role-of-sulfur-dioxide-aerosols-in-climate change/

  31. Thanks Judith for this post and the article. The distinction between foresight and prediction has never been more obvious in the case of climate science. Prediction is yet another case of putting all your eggs in one basket and in the case of something as uncertain as climate, there is a strong need for a much more nuanced approach.

    • Prediction is yet another case of putting all your eggs in one basket

      Indeed, although my impression was that those most confidently predicting the future were those adamantly opposed to any suggestion that climate change might pose a risk, namely by predicting that climate change would cause no significant harm.

  32. Yes, Peter, and let us not fergit that we ain’t good
    at predicting, Five Year Plans, Ten year Plans,
    Great Leaps Forward …well …
    .
    .
    .

  33. “Foresight identifies key variables and a range of alternatives that might better prepare for the future.”

    Well if that isn’t prediction it at least would have to be the ability to judge correctly what is going to happen in the future, else it’s not foresight.

    J.C.
    “Genuinely unforeseen climate change (e.g. cooling) or disasters (unrelated to climate sensitivity; associated with natural climate variability) are ignored.”

    That is ridiculous, without the ability to predict ahead the only foresight one would gain is from history. And that shows that humans prospered in warmer times than now, and suffered regularly through cold periods. Predicting the next cold period should have been the first priority.

    “The so called movement away from symphonies following the same sheet of music describing large bureaucratic military organizations may be replaced by the metaphor of improvisational jazz, but the players will need to work together and practice for long periods in order to understand and follow one another’s cues, and replacing parts will be more difficult if there is no script to follow.”

    Sometimes the best music session you’ll have with someone is on the first occasion, and with a spontaneous composition. The long hours of practice is in learning to understand by ear, and in the expression and facilitation of the language of music. Climate science has no such language, because much of it lacks sound theory and principles, and the dichotomy of the proponents and sceptics of AGW may as well be collectively playing out a Swan Lake score.
    I use the metaphor of jazz improvisation regularly, particularly for scientific investigations. Having no script is ideal as it eliminates assumptions. Having a good ear is like having good observational skills.

  34. “The UNFCCC is trying to figure out how to enforce internationally the same sheet of music. It aint going to work – not the enforcement and not the hoped for outcome.”

    Of course it won’t work. But that is irrelevant. Progressive policies are not about improving the subject of the policy, they are about increasing and maintaining power for progressives.

  35. Another try (I’m not very computer literate):
    http//wattsupwiththat.com/2015/05/26/the-role-of-sulfur-dioxide-aerosols-in-climate-change/

    This is a fairly long post, with the ultimate conclusion that the global Climate Sensitivity for atmospheric SO2 aerosols is .02 deg. C. for each Megatonne added or removed. Quite high!

    And zero for CO2.

  36. “Prediction is very difficult, especially if it’s about the future.”
    Niels Bohr (Or was it Yogi Berra?)

    There is nothing new in the climate debate.

  37. patmcguinness

    The DOD planning analogy is a good one. They do planning based on strategic threat analysis and from there can gameplay scenarios. but note, the planning is only planning. DOD responds to threats that materialize not ones that are projections of what may happen in 40 years.

    The whole 2C charade, that then uses hyped up sensitivity numbers to project doom, is a parlor trick of using sub-5% possibilities and turning them into claimed certainties when expressed by politicians. These are not real 5% risk levels, but constructed wholly out of our ignorance aka uncertainty measures in various parameters. Amplifying this with a ‘must act now’ that avoids wating for actual feedback or greater certainty means we are almost certain to be over-reacting to the situation.

    The move in the right direction would be to have robustness and resilience measures based around changes *if and when they occur*.

    If indeed CO2 ppm is a problem, then we could set up a response calibrated to 1) CO2 ppm levels 2) CO2 emissions 3) temperature levels and other impacts as they occur. state ‘we will cap emissions if a) CO2 ppm > 450ppm and b) emissions are higher and c) temps are > 0.3C above 1990-2000 average.

    This gets away from the casting of hypothetical projections and gets back to tailoring policy to actuals. We have actual harm from today’s pollution levels, we reduce it.

    A criticism will be lodged that you cannot wait for 2C to happen or it will be ‘too late’. We hear that already. In fact, we’ve been given the used car salesman treatment of ‘we have only until dec 2015 to save the climate’ etc. In 2009, it was … ‘by 2009’.

    The counterpoint is that if you model it, waiting 10,20 or 30 years to make CO2 cuts changes CO2 ppm projections and climate impacts VERY LITTLE. We dont have to wait for 2C, we can siply wait for 0.3C further warming. We can take minimal measures now, and increase the measures as the CO2 ppm increases beyond 450, 500, 550 etc. and the temperature increases 0.2/ 0.4/0.6 etc. It turns out that technology can move faster than the climate, and that even if we waited for say 0.3C, which may take 10 more years or may take 30 years.

    I would further add that since natural uptake is pulling half of CO2 emissions out of the atmosphere, even a 25% reduction in CO2 emissions cuts in half the rate of climb of CO2, greatly lengthening our time and hence our options. So we don’t need steep or large cuts at this time.

    Stabilizing Co2 emissions by 2040 vs 2010 would suffice to set us up for stabilizationin Co2 levels later eg. if emissions are flat to 2040 vs 2010, then by 2040 (25 years), we will be at 450ppm (assuming 2ppm/yr). if we cut 25% (from 2015 levels) from 2040-2060, then we will be at ~480ppm in 2060 (1.5ppm/yr). A 1.5C TCR would imply about ~0.4-0.5C warming by 2060 relative to today. By that time understanding and technology both will be much greater. I suspect solar will be cheap enough that mitigation and post-fossil-fuel will be easy to do.

  38. “technology can move faster than the climate”

    Exactly

  39. If you’ve not seen this video, it shows what a politicians who understands the facts can do against a puffed up “copy and paste” alarmist.

  40. Somewhere I read that for a model to be useful it needs to provide ‘information’ in its prediction, i.e. be better than a coin toss.
    For me that is the issue, that the accumulation of error while integrating a model results in no information. Understanding maybe, but not information.

  41. My prediction for the future is that the preponderance of rain will go down.

    I would presume that if the tropics warm, it will evaporate more water, which as it moves poleward has to rain out. Now where it rains could change if this happens, but less rain, I don’t think so.

  42. @Scottish Sceptic: If you’ve not seen this video,

    Many thanks for that, SS. I just blew ten quid on DVD’s of Dad’s Army when I could have had twice the laughs in half the time for free watching David Davies on Youtube improve 9000% over Captain Mainwaring‘s bluster.

    In the category of logical fallacies per minute, Davies beats Mainwaring hands down. He should get out of Parliament and follow John Oliver across the Atlantic to serve as his counterpoint.

    Great stuff, SS. More, please.

    • Glad you enjoyed the video VP, so did I, for different reasons! If we need to consider 20 or 30 years as being indicative of any long term trend then another decade of negligible warming will kill the AGW cause and another decade of cooling after that will bury it for good. By then I will be 95 and I will be pleased for the current, generally younger generation of warmists to supply me with free drinks to the end of my days.

      • @PD: another decade of negligible warming will kill the AGW cause and another decade of cooling after that will bury it for good.

        So I don’t understand, Peter. You seem to like deeply fallacious stuff, such as David Davies’ (any relative?) truly amazing little speech there, or the sceptics’ article of faith that the hiatus is here for good (don’t tell me you hadn’t noticed that over the past four years global climate climbed nearly quarter of a degree?, nearly six degrees a century), etc. Yet you still pay attention to what I write?

        Clearly you’re one of the most open-minded denizens of CE. I’m hard pressed to nominate a competitor.

      • I am attentive to what you write VP. I am quite conscious of my own biases too and wish that others would become more so. The point I made was that 20 to 30 years seems to be too narrow a window to be making any conclusions about weather/climate.

        Now you have talked about 4 years weather data having a meaning (0.25 degree climb in GAT) whereas we all know that natural variability on a seasonal basis at least in Australia can be around 10 degrees C and on a daily basis something around the same as well.

        In the US (I have never been there yet) the fluctuations of weather is understood to be even higher. My feeling is that ) 0.25 degrees C is too small amount to be concerned about given the spread of natural variability.

        David Davies is related in the sense that our forebears were descended from the early Saxons that inhabited the kingdom that is now referred to as Wales. However, this statement has been made in my thinging quick mode and is subject to the usual disclaimers of possible bias and overconfidence.

      • thinking is the word I intended to write – fat finger syndrome.

        BTW thank you for your kind remarks VP and I find much of the same with your contributions to this forum.

      • > Clearly you’re one of the most open-minded denizens of CE.

        +1.

        ***

        > I’m hard pressed to nominate a competitor.

        My vote would go to Mr. Carpenter.

        Most Denizens may be more receptive than they seem, I am beginning to surmise. The lords of ClimateBall are just too strong.

      • @PD: we all know that natural variability on a seasonal basis at least in Australia can be around 10 degrees C … My feeling is that ) 0.25 degrees C is too small amount to be concerned about given the spread of natural variability.

        Certainly if the year 2100 is only 0.25 °C hotter than today, Peter, I would fully agree with you that there is no occasion for concern.

        However the consensus of those who have studied the question most closely is that the global mean surface temperature is rising at a rate that will bring it to between 2 and 4 degrees hotter than today. Moreover not all regions will experience the same increase: some might see an even lower temperature than today, while others could see 6 or 8 degrees more.

        To be 4 °C hotter would require the average rate of increase in temperature over the next 85 years to be 0.047 °C per year

        Sometimes, such as during 2004-2011, we can expect to see increases less than this, such as in the previous decade. On other occasions we can expect to see more, such as in the past 4 or 5 years.

        Now would you feel equally comfortable saying “My feeling is that 4 degrees C is too small amount to be concerned about given the spread of natural variability”? And if not, why not?

        Vaughan

      • vp, “However the consensus of those who have studied the question most closely is that the global mean surface temperature is rising at a rate that will bring it to between 2 and 4 degrees hotter than today.”

        The average range of estimates is 2 to 4 C warmer than some time in the past. Using “today” it is closer to 0.8 to 2.5 C. In order to get a “consensus” they averaged the guesses back in 1979 so roughly 1979 is today as far as that consensus goes.

        Since climate science “sensitivity” is based on the statistics of guessing you could plot a guess trend which should lead to a 1.6 C “consensus”. I believe “Baysian” is the preferred method for compiling scientific opinion poles.

      • vp, Somethings else that is interesting is that since “sensitivity” is based on “surface” temperature and that is a variable, there could be more cooling in the past than warming in the future. 2100 could be only 0.25 C warmer than “today” but 2.5 C warmer than “yesterday”. The uncertainty in the “surface” temperature in 1900 is about +/- 0.35 C so a whopping 0.7 C of undiscovered cooling could save the “consensus”. OMG! it was colder than we thought!.

        You don’t really need to know the past in order to make an “informed” decision” that something has to be done though. That is kind of funny since with the past cooling we have already responded to the impact of that warming. There is a neat temporal shift in climate science.

      • I have a feeling that I will regret this VP but I will bite. If the AGT goes up by 4 degrees by 2100 and given that 70% of the Earth’s surface is water and therefore has some evaporative cooling going on, the average land temperatures in the NH will have risen by say 8% on average.

        This means that Canada and northern Europe and Asia will have considerably more land available to produce crops and fodder for livestock and that heating costs for their resident populations will decrease, leading to lower demand for power.

        Sea levels presumedly will rise by say 5 metres but this will not be uniform around the world and the rise will be fairly gradual in any case and coastal communities will have time to mitigate its effect. The tropical zones will have much more precipitation and the increased atmospheric moisture content will serve to dampen extremes of temperature in these regions.

        Given the foregoing, I wouldn’t feel particularly threatened by these developments if I were alive. The present extreme cold of continental Europe, northern Asia and the Americas will at least be more hospitable for their inhabitants.

      • Err .. NH land temp up by an average of 8 degrees, not 8%.

      • Vaughan writes
        “However the consensus of those who have studied the question most closely is that the global mean surface temperature is rising at a rate that will bring it to between 2 and 4 degrees hotter than today. ”

        My request– Please cite the source of that conclusion. That is a consensus in your mind only. The IPCC reports are not a based on a consensus of scientists who have studied the issue.

      • @cd: The average range of estimates is 2 to 4 C warmer than some time in the past. (Bold mine)

        The Summary for Policy Makers at the beginning of AR5 defines “the past” by referencing temperatures to the global mean surface temperature averaged over 1985-2005. According to WoodForTrees, the 20 years 1985-2005 averaged 0.273 °C above HadCRUT4’s reference point.

        Using “today” it is closer to 0.8 to 2.5 C.

        If you take “today” to be the ten years 2005-2015, those averaged 0.493 above the HadCRUT4 reference point, an increase of 0.22 °C over “the past”, while the 20 years 1995-2015 averaged 0.443 above it, an increase of 0.17 °C. That would decrease my 2-4 range to about 1.8-3.8, considerably more than 0.8-2.5.

        However my 2-4 range was a bit simplistic. The projections depend among other things on what CO2 does. As I was saying earlier, according to Hofmann et al the excess of CO2 over 280 ppmv during the previous millennium has been very well modeled as having a constant CAGR of 2.155% and reaching 120 ppmv (as the excess over 280) in 2015. If that keeps up, the result during this century will be essentially the red curve labeled RCP8.5 (Representative Concentration Pathway) in this plot:

        The surface’s response to this additional CO2 depends on many other unknowns besides CO2. By varying those unknowns a climate model will generate a range or ensemble of temperatures. And different models may project different outcomes even under the same assumptions, due to the variety of “equally plausible numerical representations, solutions and approximations for modelling the climate system, given the limitations in computing and observations” [AR5, FAQ 12.1, p.1036]. Taking all this into account, the most likely outcomes of RCP8.5 up to 2100 are projected by the red range in Figure SPM.7(a) on p.21 of WG1AR5:

        Taking “today” to be about 0.2 °C as above, i.e. subtracting 0.2 from what Figure SPM.7(a) shows, the further increase for 2100 assuming RCP8.5 is 2.6-5.2 °C. For the much lower RCP2.6 (the green curve in my first figure) the corresponding range is 0-1.5 °C.

      • @RS: My request– Please cite the source of that conclusion.

        Done (with corrections) immediately above.

      • Not sure why you have to click on the first of the two plots in my foregoing (long) post. Here’s what it should have expanded to automatically.

        It’s from Wikipedia, source and citation details here.

      • @PD: Given the foregoing, I wouldn’t feel particularly threatened by these developments if I were alive. The present extreme cold of continental Europe, northern Asia and the Americas will at least be more hospitable for their inhabitants.

        Could be. However WG1, The Physical Basis, has nothing to say about those sorts of issues, which are the subject matter of WG2 , Impacts, Adaption and Vulnerability. They’re more appropriately assessed by ecologists, marine biologists, etc. My pre-CS background was physics. My wife has degrees in marine biology (from Macquarie University) and ecology (from Stanford) and I defer to her judgment in such things.

      • @RS: The IPCC reports are not a based on a consensus of scientists who have studied the issue.

        You raise an interesting question of semantics there, Rob. If you have a group of nine people named 1,2,…,9 estimating that the value of some variable is respectively 671,672,…,679, and you then say that their consensus is that the value lies in the range 671-679, would it be reasonable to call that range a consensus estimate? They’re all in agreement to 2 decimal places.

        That’s a simplified version of the provenance of the orange (pink?) area in Figure SPM.7(a) above, which comes from some 30 CMIP5 models all delivering somewhat different results.

      • CD:
        “That is kind of funny since with the past cooling we have already responded to the impact of that warming. There is a neat temporal shift in climate science.”
        You’ve pointed out the upside of warming. Yes it is as bad as we thought with the steady significant rise in temperatures. We’ve found that the sea levels, ice sheets and sea ice are surprisingly resilient to such a fast increase. The animals and the plants seem to taken it all in stride. The more alarming the rise to date is, the more adaptive abilities we can attribute to each of the many natural and human systems. Our experience has been an admirable adaptation to the first 1.5 C of warming.

      • @cd: Since climate science “sensitivity” is based on the statistics of guessing you could plot a guess trend which should lead to a 1.6 C “consensus”. I believe “Baysian” is the preferred method for compiling scientific opinion poles.

        The two mainstream notions of climate sensitivity are Equilibrium Climate Sensitivity, ECS, and Transient Climate Response, TCR.

        ECS is only useful for projecting hundreds if not thousands of years into the future, and then only after CO2 has stabilized at some level after changing significantly, and staying that way while awaiting equilibrium. Models estimate ECS by “spinning them up” to the initial conditions and then simulating that scenario to convergence.

        TCR is for the case when CO2 doubles by rising at 1% a year for 70 years. Models estimate TCR by simulating that scenario in place of the ECS scenario.

        Your premise that models estimate the temperature in 2100 would be circular if the models assumed either ECS or TCR, given that ECS and TCR are estimated from the models. The only use for either ECS or TCR is for back-of-the-envelope estimates of the impact of rising CO2.

        Furthermore ECS is useless for back-of-the-envelope calculations of temperature in 2100, since temperature will be nowhere near equilibrium given the big step-up in CO2 over the previous 150 years. It is more useful for much longer-term scenarios where CO2 changes significantly but then stabilizes for some hundreds or thousands of years, as during the ice ages.

        TCR is more useful than ECS for forecasting temperature in 2100 since for the 70 years from now to 2085 CO2 will initially be increasing by 0.7% a year, subsequently rising to 1.7% by 2085, making 1% a plausible middle ground if you feel obliged for some reason to use TCR.

        Unfortunately the past 70 years 1945-2015 gives us no idea of what TCR is going to be during 2015-2085 because during that time CO2 was initially increasing by 0.17% a year, and even now is still only up to 0.7% a year, much lower than 1% on the whole. Instead one estimates TCR by running models.

        But if you’re using TCR to estimate the temperature in 2100, you should be using the model directly for that and not pulling out TCR and plugging it into a formula in the hope of recovering what the model told you in the first place, which is an intrinsically lossy process.

        So in practice TCR isn’t much more useful than ECS for projecting out to 2100.

        A more reliable way of estimating the future, in my opinion, is a model that can be trained and tested on available climate-relevant data. For example given CO2 for 1000-2015, temperature for 1850-2015, length of day for 1700-2015, etc. train the model on whatever data is available up to the year Y, then test it on the rest of the data, namely for Y-2015. One can expect the model to test badly for say Y = 1900 but to start improving for Y > 1950. Measure the quality of the model by how well it improves, with regard to such measures as accuracy and stability. (WHT, is that basically how you tune your CSALT model?)

        The question of how to use a good model of the past to forecast the future is a very interesting one, since the premises that made the model work well up to the present may shift either gradually or suddenly in a way that renders the prediction very inaccurate. For example if the excess CO2 above 280 ppmv continues to rise with a constant CAGR of something like the past 2.155%, the predictions could be quite good, but if the CAGR dropped dramatically, as in every Representative Concentration Pathway except 8.5, the model’s understanding of the surface’s response to changing CO2 could be wildly inaccurate since it was neither trained nor tested on that sort of CO2 data. Accommodating that possibility requires attending more closely to the underlying physics, amongst other things.

      • @Ragnaar: Our experience has been an admirable adaptation to the first 1.5 C of warming.

        Yes indeed. The situation is rather like that of the home computer builder who puts a massive slab of copper on the CPU to serve as the heat sink, with no fins or fan. He turns it on and runs a stress test. Observing that the CPU warms up to a reasonable operating temperature, he congratulates himself on a job well done and goes off to boil a cup of coffee. When he returns he finds a boiling hot heat sink and a fried CPU.

        For our planet the ocean is the heat sink, rising CO2 is the stress test, and now is the time to congratulate ourselves on Earth’s resilience and focus our attention on more important matters like countries leaving the Euro, ISIS, etc.

        When calculating the heat capacity of the ocean, restrict attention to the oceanic mixed layer, which averages only 50m in depth. Although the deep ocean has a vastly higher heat capacity, it acts only marginally as a heat sink for the mixed layer, as witnessed by the main thermocline, and not at all for the land. Were this not so the ocean as a whole could hold global warming at bay for centuries!

      • vp, “The Summary for Policy Makers at the beginning of AR5 defines “the past” by referencing temperatures to the global mean surface temperature averaged over 1985-2005. According to WoodForTrees, the 20 years 1985-2005 averaged 0.273 °C above HadCRUT4’s reference point.”

        That is wonderful, but the original “consensus” was based on the Charney compromise of 1900 and 79. 110% of the warming beginning in 1950 according to Gavin Schmidt is due to Anthropogenic causes, primarily CO2. Picking 1985-2005 as a baseline to indicate that warming from 1950 is predominately man made, doesn’t mean that 1985 to 2005 is the “new” baseline or Zero for future warming.

        Warming up to 1950 is a bit of a mystery. During the “consensus” heyday, it was due to solar and aerosols. Both are having a bit of a “consensus” challenge. Prior to 1902 of course there was no climate change according to the most “consensus” of all consensus authorities, which btw produces better accuracy with tree rings than NOAA wtf NOAA can muster with real thermometers during the 1880 to 1902 overlap period.

      • My assessment of the likely scenario if GAT goes up by 4 degrees C is based on a whole lot of sources, some pro AGW and some against. While I can understand your deference to the expertise of your wife, I still don’t believe that she would have much idea of what would happen either.

        The main problem IMO would be the impact of rising sea levels but the whole question is moot because the indications are that CO2 levels (both anthropogenic and natural) will never be problematic because of the huge sinks of the ocean and of the vegitated areas of the land mass.

        I believe that the world has much more to fear with a sudden onset of cooling rather than from the gradual warming that has been observed to date. In this respect, the GCM’s are even more deficient than in their estimates of future warming, purely because they have not factored in the various natural cycles adequately IMO.

      • cd: Picking 1985-2005 as a baseline to indicate that warming from 1950 is predominately man made, doesn’t mean that 1985 to 2005 is the “new” baseline or Zero for future warming.

        You may have missed the point that this choice of baseline defines 0 on the y-axis for Figure SPM.7(a) of AR5WG1. Without that information the range for 2100 in that figure is physically meaningless. The first step in interpreting that figure is not to take 1985-2005 as the new gospel but to figure out how to eliminate it as a baseline so as to make “today” the baseline you asked for, which turned out to be no more complicated than merely subtracting 0.2 from the numbers read out from the graph.

        the original “consensus” was based on the Charney compromise of 1900 and 79.

        As you wish. Using the same methodology one can compute how much hotter 2100 will be than 1979 (smoothed to a 10 or 20 year running mean) according to Figure SPM.7(a), or any other year you wish. Since years much more recent than 1979 were hotter, you’ll end up with a larger figure for the warming in 2100 above 1979 levels than above much more recent levels.

        110% of the warming beginning in 1950 according to Gavin Schmidt is due to Anthropogenic causes, primarily CO2.

        Given that there was no significant warming beginning in 1950, this would seem a strange statement for him to make. Where did he make it, and did he explain what he meant by it?

        Warming up to 1950 is a bit of a mystery. During the “consensus” heyday, it was due to solar and aerosols. Both are having a bit of a “consensus” challenge.

        Indeed! As an alternative to solar and aerosols, my December 2014 AGU presentation offered a half-baked explanation in terms of length of day. In January I improved both the physics and the fit of this explanation. WHT’s CSALT model may be quite similar in that regard.

        Prior to 1902 of course there was no climate change according to the most “consensus” of all consensus authorities, which btw produces better accuracy with tree rings than NOAA wtf NOAA can muster with real thermometers during the 1880 to 1902 overlap period.

        Huh? During 1980 to 1905 climate declined from −0.13 °C to −0.45 °C. How does that constitute “no climate change”? Or did you mean “no global warming”?

      • @PD: I believe that the world has much more to fear with a sudden onset of cooling rather than from the gradual warming that has been observed to date.

        Oh good, you’re back in WG1.

        That’s ridiculous.

      • vp,

        https://climateaudit.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/2014-bas-hockey-stick.png?w=910&h=556

        Notice how Mr. Consensus doesn’t use instrumental prior to 1902 and only instrumental after. Uncertainty in the instrument during that period is on the order of +/-0.35 C, a 0.14 C change is a third of the uncertainty.

        Using the new and improve HADCRUT with kriging, there has been about 0.;9 C of warming from the 1880-1902 baseline +/- about 0.35 C because of the uncertainty. From about 1960 to precent there have been enough Antarctic measurements to have something close to a “global” mean temperature.

        Using a 1961 to 1990 baseline, you have about 0.6 C of warming +/- about 0.05 C, prior to 1961 you have 0.5 C +/- about 0.35 C. Your millikelvin and CSALT have excellent fits to pretty much unknowns.

        Webster’s CSALT has large dependence of SOI.

        SOI is pretty tightly linked to the Indo-Pacific Warm Pool. Webster though is pretty tightly linked to the “consensus”. If warming prior to 1960 is 0.5 or greater, pretty much a given with the tropical reconstruction, Solar, aerosols, land use etc. can have have more impact than CO2 equivalent gases so your Half or complete baked explanation is going to need dLOD, fair dust and unicorns to get all the “consensus” players on the same page. More past cooling = more fairy dust.

        OHC anomaly, SLR, Best, HADCRUT, GISS tend to favor the new kids on the block, Oppo, Linsey and Rosenthal more than they do Mr. “Consensus” with is “no significant climate change” prior to 1902.

        The “real” consensus is that all things remaining equal, a doubling of CO2 equivalent gases will have roughly 1.0 to 1.2 C of climate impact.

        Something like that. There are a large number of “consensus” papers that IMO have played a bit fast in loose with “uncertainty”. Because of that I am starting to hear more about the “past really doesn’t matter, there is more than enough evidence to take action now.” type verbiage. Since not all of the stated uncertainties used by the “consensus” can possibly be correct, ignoring uncertainty is becoming the name of the consensus game. I believe that is why Dr. Curry started this blog.

      • @cd: Because of that I am starting to hear more about the “past really doesn’t matter, there is more than enough evidence to take action now.” type verbiage.

        Where are you hearing “the past doesn’t matter”, cd? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Of course it matters. Had the average temperature over the past 50 years been less or equal to that of the previous 50 years, those claiming CO2 has any influence on temperature would by now be in the same camp as flat-earthers.

      • (Sorry, I was away for a few days.)

        @pd: http://dailycaller.com/2015/05/28/study-predicts-decades-of-global-cooling-ahead/

        Thanks, Peter. I read the article by McCarthy et al, the U. Southampton researchers that the Daily Caller is referring to. It indeed claims that “the AMO” is “moving to a negative phase”.

        Unfortunately for those looking for evidence that the planet is about to cool off, the only support for this in the article is a single sentence: “This may offer a brief respite from the persistent rise of global temperatures, but in the coupled system we describe, there are compensating effects.”

        You’ve interpreted “respite from the persistent rise” as “decades of cooling ahead”. This overlooks the following key words in that sentence:

        1. “Brief”. How did “brief” become “decades”?

        2. “Coupled system.” Your interpretation ignores the possibility of other influences on temperature besides the AMO.

        3. “Compensating.” Such influences may compensate to drive the temperature up, offsetting or even canceling any cooling impact of the AMO.

        No one should be surprised by the hypothesis that the AMO, having risen dramatically since 1970, will in due course turn around and cool off. I’ve certainly advocated that in the past: the blue curve in Figure 10 of my 2012 AGU poster only goes to 2010. However it is periodic with a period of 151 years, and when extrapolated it shows the AMO cooling by 0.24 °C during 2030-2060. So McCarthy et al are hardly the first to forecast an AMO-based cooling.

        And I’m by no means the first either. In 2011 Loehle and Scafetta forecast an identical 0.24 °C AMO-based cooling as shown in their Figure 5, albeit with an earlier cooling phase than mine.

        It’s kind of a no-brainer that the AMO will cool off after its recent strong rise.

        But in these projections, any actual cooling is largely offset by the continued warming due to CO2. McCarthy et al don’t claim otherwise, and nobody else does either, except those who’ve read into this article inferences that simply aren’t there.

      • @cd: Uncertainty in the instrument during that period is on the order of +/-0.35 C, a 0.14 C change is a third of the uncertainty.

        Are you speaking of a systematic bias in the instruments or random errors?

        If the former, you have a good point. Please explain how this systematic error arose.

        If the latter, you neglected to divide by the square root of the number of readings. Even if there are only 10,000 readings over the period in question, that still reduces your 0.35 °C error to 3.5 millikelvins.

        So which is it?

      • VP I agree with your assessment the the headline of “decades of cooling” is wrong but I never took that leap of logic that you may have alluded to me.

        My take on the AMO cooling would be similar to yours except to say that the past “pause” in AGT seems unrelated to the AMO but that the cooling of the AMO may indeed stretch out the “pause” another decade.

        I also agree with you that there are other factors apart from the AMO at work in the coupled system that we are dealing with but that climate change works both ways in my lexicon. The idea of a continuing positive feedback working on AGT for more than 30 years is becoming hard to sustain IMO.

        I find that CO2 increases may be subject to the law of dimishing returns as the climate response rate seems to be changing along the way, possibly this rate may well be a vector with a functional relationships changing along spacial and temporal lines, rather than a constant.

      • vp, “Where are you hearing “the past doesn’t matter”, cd? I’ve never heard of such a thing. Of course it matters.”

        Mainly here since I don’t get out much. The bias would be systematic. If you have a larger number of measurements for the same point you would reduce error, like measuring “a” board. When you increase the number of measurements by increasing the number of boards being measured you can’t use the same math unless all the boards are perfectly the same. That is an unrealistic assumption, especially once people start hunting for new boards with a value in mind. That is the problem with a consensus, you know what you are hunting for.

    • stevenreincarnated

      VP, with the potential of a change in temperature of 0.2 C/decade due to internal variability, there comes with it a potential that a lot of people are going to end up looking very silly.

      http://dukespace.lib.duke.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10161/9167/2014_Brown_GRL.pdf?sequence=1

      • Thanks for the link stevenreincarnated. This study is well done and the narrative is not overhyped, for a change! Vaughan Pratt will no doubt be aware of this study and I would be interested in his take on it.

      • @PD: Vaughan Pratt will no doubt be aware of this study and I would be interested in his take on it.

        Actually I wasn’t aware of it, so thank you Steven for that link.

        @sr: with the potential of a change in temperature of 0.2 C/decade due to internal variability, there comes with it a potential that a lot of people are going to end up looking very silly.

        Brown et al treat warming and cooling decades, i.e. relatively short-term fluctuations, not long-term trends like CO2-induced global warming. With the potential for the surface temperature to rise by 2.6-5.2 °C between now and 2100, such decadal temperature fluctuations are irrelevant both because they are an order of magnitude smaller, and because, unlike CO2 warming, they average out over a period longer than two decades.

        Furthermore, since the results of Brown et al are obtained using CMIP5 models, I don’t see how they can make those who base their conclusions on CMIP5 models look silly.

        A related recent paper

        http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n6/pdf/nclimate2605.pdf

        by Dai et al was submitted to NCC (Nature Climate Change) two weeks before Brown et al’s submission to AGU’s GRL (Geophysical Research Letters). (But whereas the latter went online 2 months later the former had to wait 11 months, suggesting that if you want fast publication you might do better in the US than the UK.).

        Although the focus of Brown is on the influence of energy flux imbalances at TOA, both papers attribute the hiatus to the most recent of many declines in the Interdecadal Pacific Oscillation that are then followed by matching rises.

        Oddly, neither paper has anything to say about whether the IPO is currently rising or falling, though if the last five years of 0.33 °C/decade rising in HadCRUT4 are any indication we should be right in the middle of a rising decade, and moreover one rising at record speed! The following decade it will fall again.

        Brown attributes the IPO to fluctuations in albedo caused by clouds, with which I enthusiastically agree. Unlike Brown however I would take this a step further and attribute these cloud fluctuations to reversals of Bz, the “vertical” component of the Interplanetary magnetic field, whose orientation conveniently matches that of HadCRUT4: whenever Bz points up (north), so does HadCRUT4 (positive trend after high-pass filtering to remove AMO and AGW), and the reverse when Bz points down. :) This has been going on since 1870, and the same thing can be seen in Central England Temperature in the century or so before industry in that neck of the woods started to distort CET.

      • @PD: I would be interested in his take on it.

        As soon as I get out of moderation. (No idea what I did wrong.)

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP, you are absolutely correct in that a mere oscillation can’t compete with imaginary future warming, although your order of magnitude smaller seems a bit overstated. A typical warm/cool half of the oscillation will last 30 years or 3 decades and at the maximum rate of warming/cooling that will be 0.6 C.

        Why would anyone look silly since they are relying on the same models? Well, at least some of those same models also produce centennial oscillations:

        http://www.ldeo.columbia.edu/~jsmerdon/papers/2012_jclim_karnauskasetal.pdf

        So now you have a situation where the models are producing not only enough internal variability to explain the warming since mid 20th century but are also producing a warming secular trend upon which to place that oscillation, at least on some runs this must be happening. If you can explain all the warming with modeled internal variability and yet almost all the model runs are too hot, you have a real problem. They are going to look really silly if they have been claiming the internal variability of the models as GHG forced warming without knowing what they were looking at, don’t you agree?

      • @sr: your order of magnitude smaller seems a bit overstated. A typical warm/cool half of the oscillation will last 30 years or 3 decades and at the maximum rate of warming/cooling that will be 0.6 C.

        A period of 60 years (two of the 30-year half cycles you’re referring to) would correspond to the AMO, not the faster IPO. We can get a rough idea of the AMO’s amplitude from this plot showing HadCRUT4 with the 20-year IPO removed (the red curve) and with the AMO removed (the green curve). The amplitude of the AMO, as the difference between the red and green curves, can be seen to be about 0.1 °C, or 0.12 °C if you make allowance for some attenuation of the 60-year AMO by the 20-year filter creating the red curve. That’s a peak-to-peak oscillation of 0.24 °C, way less than the 0.6 °C you’re claiming.

        0.121 °C is the amplitude claimed by Loehle and Scafetta for the 60-year cycle in their model, namely Case 2 of coefficient A in Table 1 on page 29. This is in excellent agreement with the above very rough analysis! (I don’t agree with L&S that the “AMO” is an actual oscillation, in fact I believe it’s largely died out at this point and won’t come back for some time, but that’s another story.)

      • @sr: They are going to look really silly if they have been claiming the internal variability of the models as GHG forced warming without knowing what they were looking at, don’t you agree?

        I would agree that it could be possible to mistake an oscillation for an exponential rise. However if the rise were over the course of a century, the period of the oscillation would need to be at least four centuries in order to avoid containing either a minimum or an inflexion point somewhere within the curve. And even then you should find a better match of that curve to an oscillation than to an exponential, which critics would have no trouble pointing out to the sillies who hadn’t thought of that.

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP, I’ve been arguing for a long time with people that think internal variability can only redistribute heat and has nothing to do with the energy budget. I must admit that argument seems to have been fading away recently but it was fairly common for a while. I can easily see a climate modeler adjusting their parameters based on a model run with too much negative internal variability because the results were too far from that expected. Once they do that all their model runs would run hot except for those which have the same amount of negative variability. Almost all the model runs are too hot. Could be a coincidence or could be cause and effect.

        As far as the IPO goes, I found 1 reference that stated 15-30 years and several that stated 20-30 years. I thought about giving myself the gold star since my time was mentioned more often but that wouldn’t be a very fair grading method so I will let you have the gold star instead. It doesn’t really change my argument. If you have some oscillations that last 30 years and take the maximum rate of warming/cooling you still get 0.6 C.

      • stevenreincarnated

        VP, I failed to mention, if they had a model run with a large amount of negative internal variability and they were adjusting to a time period that hapened to have a lot of positive internal variability, they could really mess things up royally.

      • VP – the AMO is a mirage. You need a mechanism, and suddenly a little piece of the earth appears to be it. It’s not. It’s a complete head fake.

        When the show is run, the PDO runs the show.

    • Vaughan

      Imo it is more than semantics it seems to be an attempt to intentionally deceive.

      The process by which the IPCC reports were generated were not based on reaching a consensus of qualified contributors. You know this to be true but falsely claim that there is a consensus of scientists/engineers.

      The IPCC reports overstate the certainty of future warming associated with additional CO2, and definitely overstate the certainty of net harms that may result from any warming that does occur.

      If asked whether people (qualified scientists) agreed or disagreed to the question(s)
      1. Do humans contribute to warming- I’d agree there is a consensus
      2. You are confident that over 75% of warming since (pick a timeframe and vary the percentage) is due to humans? (see how the numbers of positive responses will vary)
      3. You confident that any warming that does occur will lead to net harms for humans in 10 years, 25 years, 50 years, 100 years, 200 years?
      4. You are confident that CO2 mitigation actions will result in a more favorable climate for humans

      When someone claims that there is a consensus they should be more specific about what, or they are most likely trying to deceive.

      • Rob, regarding your question 1 I think we’re in agreement there.

        Your other three questions suffer from the problem that, for practically every career scientist you ask, he or she will not have sufficient qualifications to reliably answer more than one. To answer all three would require a career spanning research in geophysics, biology, and civil engineering.

        I submit that almost any career scientist attempting to answer all three will merely be offering you opinions based on ignorance in at least two of those areas.

        Each of those questions is best answered by specialists in that area. One does not ask the family doctor to perform heart surgery.

      • But then doesn’t that religate consensus to the most superficial level?
        I know that’s what I think is part of the slight of hand used to snow the public by the Cook’s of the world.

      • Rob, if mitigation was technologically within reach and economically in the noise of GDP growth, you would do it without question, wouldn’t you? On both counts it is and we should.

      • But then doesn’t that religate consensus to the most superficial level?

        Not at all, in fact the exact opposite. Each IPCC report, AR5 being the latest, is really three separate reports, on respectively the physical basis, impact, and mitigation of climate change. Each of the three reports is assigned to a working group comprised of experts in the respective area. There is no expectation that any of those experts have any additional expertise in either of the other two areas, though one may find the occasional exception.

        Had the IPCC report had been organized more homogeneously so as to represent a consensus of all its contributors, without regard for whether or not they knew anything about the other two areas, what you’d have would be a very different document looking more like the media, which tends to place fairness and balance above expertise.

        The variance that Rob is expecting in the answers to his questions is the variance he finds on blogs and in the media. The IPCC report also contains some variance, but of a far more calibrated kind, calibrated by experts in the relevant area, not by blogs and the media.

      • Not at all, in fact the exact opposite. Each IPCC report,

        But the IPCC teams are a small collection of I would presume selected scientists who most had to pass the 2,3 and 4 as “yes” test to get the gig. That’s not the 97% though, most of the 97% agree with one, never looked any deeper into 2,3 and 4 and if they do agree it’s just from all of the news that comes from the cheerleader.
        How many of those 97% have actually looked at in particular GCM’s and Global Temps in detail? Because if they did they’d find both of those are the keystones of CAGW and they are mostly smoke, simply extrapolation of the positive portion of a warming/cooling cycle into a positive ever increasing trend. It’s nonsense.

      • Jim D | June 23, 2015 at 1:03 am |
        Rob, if mitigation was technologically within reach and economically in the noise of GDP growth, you would do it without question, wouldn’t you? On both counts it is and we should.

        There is a significant cost in reducing CO2 emissions and atmospheric CO2 because of the reduction in the huge benefits of more CO2. The mitigators deliberately ignore this cost because it vastly outweighs the benefit from their largely virtual harm.

        I like the current situation. Emissions appear to be stabilizing at 10 GT/Y and the current 5.4 GT/Y of environmental absorption will rise to neutralize the effect of emissions over the next few decades.

        At 10 GT/Y of emissions we can burn all the fossil fuel reserves and more with little or no effect on global temperature other than an initial increase in forcing of about 0.6-0.9 W/m2 over the next 40 years.

      • @PA: Emissions appear to be stabilizing at 10 GT/Y

        Fascinating. The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center begs to differ. How do you account for the graph on the left:

        (a snapshot of the above CDIAC link) which shows no let-up at all in the steady rise of CO2 emissions.

        The second graph shows that all four of the contributors to CO2 emissions, Coal, Oil, Gas, and Cement in that order, each continue to rise inexorably.

        We also see the amount of atmospheric CO2 above the preindustrial level of 280 ppmv rising inexorably. Between 1000 AD and 1800 AD, that excess fluctuated seemingly at random by plus or minus 5 ppmv. After 1800 this excess then started rising exponentially with a CAGR that, according to Hofmann et al [1], has remained at a remarkably robust 2.155% up to the present excess of 120 ppmv over 280 ppmv, i.e. 400 ppmv total.

        There is no sign whatsoever that this CAGR is changing.

        If that CAGR keeps up, in 85 years time the excess will have risen by a factor of 1.02155^85 = 6.44. Since the current excess is 120 ppmv, that entails an excess of 120*6.44 = 773 ppmv.

        Add that to the preindustrial level of 280 ppmv and you have an atmospheric CO2 level of 1053 ppmv!

        To paraphrase Senor Ferrari in Casablanca, might as well be frank, monsieur. It would take a miracle to get us out of that future.

        Maybe all that CO2 is a wonderful future. I hope it is, but then that’s not my area.

        [1] Hofmann, David J., James H. Butler, and Pieter P. Tans. 2009. “A new look at atmospheric carbon dioxide.” Atmospheric Environment 43 (12) (April), 2084-2086. doi:10.1016/j.atmosenv.2008.12.028,
        http://linkinghub.elsevier.com/retrieve/pii/S1352231008011540

      • There is no sign whatsoever that this CAGR is changing.
        If that CAGR keeps up, in 85 years time

        Again who thinks our use of nuclear won’t increase significantly in 85 years, and if it hasn’t it’s because of the greens and their irrational fear of nuclear. I’ve been waiting for them to become pro-nuke, and for the most part the only prominent warmist to promote nuclear power is Hansen, the rest have to either be idiots (to believe we can run a 1st world society on wind and solar), or they just hate humans (well everyone except their green friends), it’s insanity.
        There should be a new question for the CAGW crowd, would the world be a better place with 6 billion fewer people.
        Me I want nuclear power, and to start getting our resources from space, which at least for 100’s of year there’s an unlimited amount of resources just waiting for us.

      • http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/news/2015/march/global-energy-related-emissions-of-carbon-dioxide-stalled-in-2014.html
        “Global energy-related emissions of carbon dioxide stalled in 2014”

        http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-31872460
        “Global CO2 emissions ‘stalled’ in 2014”

        I don’t write the headlines I just pass them along.

        CDIAC only has estimates for 2014.

        We’ll see what they post when they update their report.
        Global_Carbon_Budget_2014_v1.1.xlsx

        The good news is any increase isn’t the fault of Americans or Europeans.

        http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/gmd/ccgg/trends/
        May 2015: 403.94 ppm
        May 2014: 401.78 ppm

        We are on course for the same CO2 rise as last year.

        If we are going to stay on an RPC8.5 trajectory we have to hit an average 3 PPM/Y CO2 rate of increase by 2020. That doesn’t look like it is happening. Given that the RCP was written in 2011 and updated in 2013 for them to be almost 0.5 PPM off (we are supposed to hit 2.62 PPM/Y this year) doesn’t bode well.

        We’ll see.

      • If we are going to stay on an RPC8.5 trajectory we have to hit an average 3 PPM/Y CO2 rate of increase by 2020. That doesn’t look like it is happening. Given that the RCP was written in 2011 and updated in 2013 for them to be almost 0.5 PPM off (we are supposed to hit 2.62 PPM/Y this year) doesn’t bode well.

        So why is it that those insisting the hiatus is going to continue for decades refuse to acknowledge that the last five years of HadCRUT4 have seen a terrifying rise of 3.3 °C/century during that period, yet are perfectly happy to point to a single year’s change in CO2 emissions as proof that those emissions are now on the decline?

        Even though the economy was recovering in 2008 from the 2007 crash, and was going gang-busters in 2009, CO2 emissions fell from 8.749 GtC in 2008 to 8.626 GtC in 2009.

        Year-to-year changes in this business are completely meaningless. At the very least you need to average over five years for CO2 emissions in order to get any meaningful idea of future trends.

        I don’t write the headlines I just pass them along.

        Sure, from defenders of fossil fuel like IEA. You might just as well pass along headlines from other CE icons like Heartland or Professor Lindzen.

      • So why is it that those insisting the hiatus is going to continue for decades refuse to acknowledge that the last five years of HadCRUT4 have seen a terrifying rise of 3.3 °C/century during that period,

        Because the temp series have had more plastic surgery than Heidi Montag
        Here’s the actual amount of annual temperature change when based on the average of day to day difference between today’s warming and tonight’s cooling.

      • The good news is any increase isn’t the fault of Americans or Europeans.

        True for both CO2 and beheadings.

        Kind of like saying that the good news is that the incoming asteroid is going to hit China and not America or Europe.

        It ignores “global” in the term “global warming”.

      • Vaghan,

        You wrote –

        “At the very least you need to average over five years for CO2 emissions in order to get any meaningful idea of future trends.”

        Meaningful? Future trends?

        A 12 year old with a straight edge can extrapolate history. Is it meaningful? No. If you can’t even predict how long a present (history to now) trend will continue, how can you possibly tell the direction of a future trend, let alone how long it will last.

        This is the stuff of dreams, hedge fund managers, and climatologists.

        There is no hiatus. The Earth is not warming. For four and a half billion years, nothing has managed to stop the a Earth cooling. If you believe the Earth stopped cooling, and is now warming, you should be able to nominate the decade (at least), when this momentous change in the trend occurred. You might even take a stab at the lowest temperature the Earth reached, before the trend reversed.

        As a nonbeliever in the nonexistent, I don’t have to worry about answering impossible questions. Abandon the Dark, come over to the Light, and enjoy the fruits of being able to answer questions without having to resort to magic.

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 23, 2015 at 3:52 am |

        So why is it that those insisting the hiatus is going to continue for decades refuse to acknowledge that the last five years of HadCRUT4 have seen a terrifying rise of 3.3 °C/century during that period, yet are perfectly happy to point to a single year’s change in CO2 emissions as proof that those emissions are now on the decline?

        Sure, from defenders of fossil fuel like IEA. You might just as well pass along headlines from other CE icons like Heartland or Professor Lindzen.

        Huh? The 20th century warming hasn’t been completely incorporated so there is going to be a little residual warming. And the future CO2 is going to warm things up by as much as 1 W/m2 by 2100. Without good information on what drove 20th century warming (and we don’t have good information on what drove 20th century warming) it is hard to predict if temperatures are going up, down, or sideways.

        If things warmed up to 0.5°C by the end of the century it wouldn’t be surprising. If CO2 is only causing 0.2 W for 22 PPM it didn’t cause much of the 20th century warming. Something else did and might do it again.

        Some strong warmers and the IPCC apparently believe the CO2 level is driven by emissions and is going to take off. I see a 30% increase in the annual atmospheric CO2 rise in response to doubled (100% more) emissions and am not as convinced. On the other hand the warming faction don’t think CO2 makes plants grow.

        Fossil fuels aren’t perfect but they are cheap and very beneficial. That 55% growth increase since 1900 saved a lot of animal habitat that would be farms now. Unfortunately the greens are covering the habitat with glass or windmills.

        I really don’t expect the emissions to decline – they could go as high as 13 GT/Y. It depends on what India does. The rate of CO2 increase is a different story – that will attenuate with a much slower emissions rise. But China only has about 35 years of coal and when they and Indonesia run out, there isn’t anyone to push emissions. India doesn’t have the coal resources or the urge to burn them that China does. When you include the US over half the world coal production is in static or declining production mode.

        http://oilprice.com/Energy/Coal/Why-Appalachian-Coal-Cant-Compete-With-Colombia.html
        The US has too much of the worlds coal resources and the greens are making it inaccessible for mining or too expensive to export. About the only thing we might export is some western open pit coal.


        The US, the proud possessor of 28% of the global coal resources, is going to produce enough coal to feed a declining number of coal fired plants and that is it.

        If the CO2 level doesn’t break 412 PPM by 2020 it is going to really be hard to get excited about global warming. The CO2 level is supposed to be almost 416 in 2020 according to the IPCC. If it is less than 412 PPM somebody at the IPCC doesn’t know a lot about earth science.

      • @PA: If the CO2 level doesn’t break 412 PPM by 2020 it is going to really be hard to get excited about global warming.

        You must be joking. You’re saying that if CO2 rises at a rate of only 2.4 ppmv over the next 5 years, the rise is no longer a serious matter?

        That’s ridiculous.

        The CO2 level is supposed to be almost 416 in 2020 according to the IPCC.

        Where do they say that? (Hofmann et al say 418, which would be my bet were it not for the fact that the value in any single year is not terribly meaningful.)

        If it is less than 412 PPM somebody at the IPCC doesn’t know a lot about earth science.

        And you know more than the earth scientists? Well of course, we all know that all the world is mad save thee and me, and even thee’s a little mad.

      • @MF: The Earth is not warming. For four and a half billion years, nothing has managed to stop the a Earth cooling.

        Something must have stopped it cooling just after the Younger Dryas:

        If you believe the Earth stopped cooling, and is now warming, you should be able to nominate the decade (at least), when this momentous change in the trend occurred.

        How about 11,500 years ago? Sorry I don’t have the exact decade, hard to read it off that graph.

        You might even take a stab at the lowest temperature the Earth reached, before the trend reversed.

        Sure, I’ll bite. How about −20 °C below today’s temperature?

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 23, 2015 at 6:17 am |
        @PA: If the CO2 level doesn’t break 412 PPM by 2020 it is going to really be hard to get excited about global warming.

        You must be joking. You’re saying that if CO2 rises at a rate of only 2.4 ppmv over the next 5 years, the rise is no longer a serious matter?

        That’s ridiculous.

        Well, I believe the CO2 rise will drop below 2 PPM by 2020. But yes I don’t believe the CO2 rise is a serious matter.

        Where do they say that? (Hofmann et al say 418, which would be my bet were it not for the fact that the value in any single year is not terribly meaningful.)

        416 (actually 415.78022) is straight out of the RCP85_MIDYEAR_CONCENTRATIONS.xls Am I the only one that actually reads these things? However – if you want to spot me the 2 Hofmann PPM points I’ll take them. We’ll specify that we are comparing to the July Mauna Loa data or the yearly mean to the RCP85 midyear.

        If it is less than 412 PPM somebody at the IPCC doesn’t know a lot about earth science.

        And you know more than the earth scientists? Well of course, we all know that all the world is mad save thee and me, and even thee’s a little mad.

        Apparent I do. I tend to prefer to think they are dumb or deluded rather than dishonest.

        This year would probably be under 2 PPM except for Al Nino.

        If the CO2 rise is under 2 PPM in 2020 they should hire me to do prediction on the basis of demonstrated talent.

      • Vaughan

        You acknowledge that there is no consensus on the most important aspects of the issue of potential climate change when you write:

        “Your other three questions suffer from the problem that, for practically every career scientist you ask, he or she will not have sufficient qualifications to reliably answer more than one. To answer all three would require a career spanning research in geophysics, biology, and civil engineering.”

        Jim D writes “if mitigation was technologically within reach and economically in the noise of GDP growth, you would do it without question, wouldn’t you? On both counts it is and we should.”

        My response- Jim D, you write what you hope and believe and not anything of substance. What is in the “noise of GDP growth” in your opinion? Potential policies should be evaluated individually to see if they make sense. In the US there is an increasing economic crisis as our population ages and our budgetary imbalance increases over the next 20 years. Harm to the USA is much more likely to come from economic issues than from changes t the climate over the next 50 years. The worldwide CO2 growth curve is not going to change significantly due to US domestic actions.

        Questions to you both– How sure are you (10%, 50%) that more CO2 will result in net negative conditions for the USA or the world overall? What specific data has led to that conclusion? If you can’t answer these questions, why should we invest in the activity when we have other pressing priorities for our funds?

      • @PA: 416 (actually 415.78022) is straight out of the RCP85_MIDYEAR_CONCENTRATIONS.xls

        Sorry, I screwed up somewhere. The Hofmann formula for year y is
        280 + 36.2*exp(0.693*(y-1958)/32.5)
        Setting y = 2020 gives 415.78732, 0.00710 more than RCP85_MIDYEAR. Absurdly smaller than the annual range of around 6 ppmv.

        Am I the only one that actually reads these things?

        Maybe so. Thanks for that spreadsheet! Sorry I missed your comment in April that brought it up or I’d have used it sooner.

        For the period 2000-2020 the two ” concentration pathways”, RCP8.5 and Hofmann, differ by varying amounts that never exceed half a point. Then for 2020-2080 Hofmann drifts below RCP, reaching 5 points below in 2060 before drifting back up to overtake it in 2074. But after that Hofmann takes the lead and by 2100 is 92 points ahead of RCP, nearly 4800 points ahead in 2200, and in 2437 hits 100% of the atmosphere, slightly higher than on Venus. :)

        Thje difference between the two can be understood by expressing RCP8.5 along the same lines as Hofmann. For 2015-2060, “anthropogenic” RCP8.5, defined as the excess over 280, grows with an average CAGR of 2.2%, slightly faster than Hofmann’s 2.155%, but then drops thereafter to reach 1.4% by 2100, 0.3% by 2200, and no further growth after 2250. This explains why Hofmann drifts below RCP8.5 until 2080 then races ahead of it — Hofmann doesn’t adjust his CAGR downwards the way RCP8.5 in effect does.

      • Vaughan Pratt | June 23, 2015 at 2:50 pm |

        The Hofmann formula for year y is
        280 + 36.2*exp(0.693*(y-1958)/32.5)
        Setting y = 2020 gives 415.78732, 0.00710 more than RCP85_MIDYEAR. Absurdly smaller than the annual range of around 6 ppmv

        Thanks for the insight on how the numbers were generated.

        There are a number of moving parts to the yearly rise in CO2. 1/4 of the total increase in emissions (2.4 GT) happened between 2003 and 2013. If that continued the numbers should be licking at 412, but the emissions trend doesn’t look supportable… so I am cautiously optimistic in my prediction.

        You are right, the weekly data is pretty noisy. 2020 might not be definitive if the CO2 level splits the difference.

        Thanks for the confirmation of the IPCC 2020 CO2 level and if the actual emissions alter the 2020 level forecast feel free to update.

      • Vaughan,

        You have shown a graph pertaining to Greenland, I believe. Are you claiming that events in Greenland are applicable to the entire Earth? I know some Warmists claim this, but I am interested in your thoughts.

        If you don’t, and I give you credit for not being completely foolish, then you have not answered my question. In other words, you don’t know, but seem reluctant to acknowledge the fact.

        Your stab at a global average of -20 C average 11,500 years ago is purely laughable. What temperature would you calculate, albeit errelevantly, from the Warmist application of S-B? Did the Sun suffer an inexplicable and vast drop in output 11,500 years ago, and magically resume its output after this? Or did you mean 20 C below the current average, and insert a misleading minus sign for fun?

        A moment’s reflection will show that to achieve an temperature of either figure you intimate would require a cessation of physical laws either at the Equator or at the Poles, to achieve your average temperature. Given the evidence of widespread animal and plant life at the time of your proposed average temperature, it is most unlikely that you know whereof you speak.

        An increase in CO2 and H2O should do no harm. Geophysical measurements indicate the Earth is cooling as it should. Newtons Law of cooling indicates an approximate trajectory, which agrees with my expectations, barring unforeseen events.

        Have fun!

      • @PA: the emissions trend doesn’t look supportable

        Pieter Tans said as much to me at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting when he stopped by my poster, which was using the Hofmann formula. He and James Butler were Hofmann’s two coauthors on their short 2009 paper in Atmospheric Environment justifying the formula. Tans told me that Hofmann had died very unexpectedly of a heart attack in August of 2009, only months after the paper had appeared. He also said that it was primarily Hofmann that had been promoting the formula, and that he himself expected emissions to ramp up more slowly, making the formula an overestimate for the future.

        Since RCP8.5 follows an almost identical curve up to 2075, the same can be said for it.

        In the meantime Table 9 on page 70 of the CDIAC’s Global Carbon Budget 2014 shows the increase in actual emissions (E_{FF}) over each previous year to be −0.5%, 4.9%, 3.2%, 2.2%, and 2.3% for the five respective years 2009-2013. It also shows the projected increase for 2014 to be 2.5%.

        Can’t say I see any support so far for Pieter Tans’ expectation in December 2012 of a slow-down in emissions.

        We’ll just have to wait and see when some sign of a slow-down happens. Looking forward to it, we could sure use it!

      • @MF: Are you claiming that events in Greenland are applicable to the entire Earth? I know some Warmists claim this

        Ironically Coldists claim it whenever it suits their argument.

        Here’s what the Wikipedia article on the Younger Dryas has to say about it for other latitudes besides that of Greenland.

        “In western Europe and Greenland, the Younger Dryas is a well-defined synchronous cool period.[12] But cooling in the tropical North Atlantic may have preceded this by a few hundred years; South America shows a less well defined initiation but a sharp termination. The Antarctic Cold Reversal appears to have started a thousand years before the Younger Dryas, and has no clearly defined start or end;”

        Bottom line: extremely cold everywhere on the planet during the Younger Dryas.

        Different parts of the planet may have since warmed by different amounts, but they certainly all warmed or San Franciscans would have been able to skate on the San Francisco Bay in the winter of 1905.

      • @micro6500: But the IPCC teams are a small collection of I would presume selected scientists who most had to pass the 2,3 and 4 as “yes” test to get the gig.

        The process is actually quite open, with the reports written by the “core writing team”, namely those with expertise in the relevant areas (or would you prefer that they be written by people ignorant about those areas?) but with plenty of opportunity for comment by anyone who cared, expert or not. 3,600 individuals were nominated for the core writing team, with 830 selected from over 80 countries: 36% from developing countries, 21% female, and 63% fresh blood who had not previously contributed to earlier reports. By region, there were 8% from Africa, 16% from Asia, 6% from South America, 28% from North and Central America, 7% from the South West Pacific, and 34% from Europe.

        The number of people involved, including the above statistics, can be seen here. A total of 142,631 comments were received, all of which were duly recorded so that anyone who objected to some detail of the report would have their objection on record.

        So if you had an objection to some detail but did not raise it then you have only yourself to blame for the report being unaware of your objection.

        Those who did raise an objection but felt their objection was neglected can look at the other comments to see whether anyone else had the same objection. With over 140,000 comments you can imagine that competition for attention by the panel is pretty stiff! So if you were alone in raising that particular objection then it would be understandable if the panel found itself unable to spend much time on your objection — you would then not be part of the 3% minority but rather of the 0.0007% minority raising that objection.

      • the greens and their irrational fear of nuclear.

        You can’t blame that on “the greens”. If it were just the greens, they’d have no more influence on reducing nuclear energy than on reducing CO2.

        A lot more people than just greens are opposed to nuclear energy, and on more rational grounds than you give them credit for.

        Each nuclear power station that fails due to some unplanned-for event and lays waste to hundreds of square miles around it is another nail in the coffin of nuclear energy. So far the most significant such events have been Chernobyl and Fukushima, which doesn’t seem like a huge rate. But nuclear currently supplies only 11% of the world’s electricity, and if you increase that to 100% then you can expect such unplanned events to occur nine times as frequently.

        There is also the problem of disposal of spent fuel rods. The half-lives of various spent fuel byproducts are discussed here. Those claiming that it is impossible to predict the future a hundred years should be even more concerned about the security of spent fuel with a half life of a thousand years or more. Storage techniques that seem perfectly reasonable today might for all you know seem laughable a thousand years hence, e.g. in a post-apocalyptic world.

        Thirdly there is the rise of ever more technologically capable terrorists. Perhaps they aren’t capable of destroying nuclear power stations today, or weaponizing spent fuel rods in order to blow up cities, but how long do you expect that to remain the case?

      • @micro6500: Here’s the actual amount of annual temperature change when based on the average of day to day difference between today’s warming and tonight’s cooling

        Didn’t we have this conversation last week? You said yourself that this technique was hugely sensitive to slight noise. It can’t produce anything meaningful.

      • I did, which was why you (I) only include stations with a full year of samples. That eliminate one mode of error, if you have only a couple stations you get more effects from weather, so you have to watch that, this is global so there isn’t a lot of that either. Lastly if it had a lot of error the magnitude would be much larger, this shows very little error, and inverted it’s a good match to the satellite record.
        And the latter years there are a lot of stations included, and if I made up data for 80% of the planet I could make nice smooth graphs too, but what I produce shows there’s no trend in loss of cooling due to co2.

      • To be honest Vaughan, I’m very disappointed that the elegance of what I’m doing is so lost on smart people like yourself, the code is available, a huge number of backing data reports are available , and the actual math could be done by a grade school student.
        It’s the most accurate method of detecting a trend in station temp, and it all done on actual measurements, as opposed to infilling and homogenizing 70-80% of the data. I guess it does go a long way to explaining the current state of climate science though.

        It’s like comparing any singer from before say the 90’s to all of the current generation of singers who only sound good because their producer knows how to run auto-tune, they can’t sing, but boy can they dance around the stage though.

      • Here, Mosh started a thread on measurements http://wattsupwiththat.com/2015/06/20/progress-on-the-problems-with-australias-acorn-sat-surface-air-temperature-records/#comment-1968617
        I explain what I’m doing using his example of scales measuring weigh, just work your way down to the bottom of his thread, please.

      • @micro6500: I explain what I’m doing using his example of scales measuring weigh, just work your way down to the bottom of his thread, please.

        I looked at that. Nothing you said there made sense.

        I cannot imagine a less accurate way of inferring a trend in weight by noting daily changes in readings. Far more accurate would be to take daily readings at the same time every day, fit a straight line through them, and use its slope as the trend.

      • They are anomalies, it reduces the need for a known precise calibration of the scale and you can directly combine multiple scales into a collection to determine a trend.

        And have you read the process used by BEST, CRU, etc?

      • I think my reply ended up at the end, instead of at the end of the thread. Mod, if this ends up in the right place, you can delete the other reply.

        I looked at that. Nothing you said there made sense.
        I cannot imagine a less accurate way of inferring a trend in weight by noting daily changes in readings. Far more accurate would be to take daily readings at the same time every day, fit a straight line through them, and use its slope as the trend.

        Let stop talking about weight, and switch to surface temps. Min and Max temp are taken when they are taken, no one has any influence when they are recorded, and if it’s truly min and max, that’s set for most days based on sunrise and sunset. But everyone get the same data to work with.

        But you’re telling me that the trend from
        75.0,75.0,75.1,75.1,75.2,75.2
        is something you can understand, but the trend
        0.0,0.0,0.1,0.1,0.2,0.2
        is nonsense? They are identical trends. And with the difference I create, I can combine trends from other stations to determine the measured trend from a larger area.

        Now if you’re saying that all trends from surface data are useless, and you can get everyone else to agree with that, I have no issue with that statement, But IMO it’s too easy to come up with headlines that aid the cause for anyone to agree to that.

  43. Pingback: The problem with really long-term planning « DON AITKIN

  44. /humour on

    There is a tradition of recognising eminent achievers from time to time, by naming units or scientific principles in their honour.

    Watt, Celsius, Lord Kelvin, all had units named after them. Seebeck, Peltier, Hall, give their name to principles or effects, Avogadro and Newton have Laws.

    In climatology, there has apparently been no recognition of outstanding achievement being recognised by naming a unit, effect, or principle in an eminent achiever’s honour. No Hansen unit, or Mann Principle, or even Gavin’s Law.

    I intend to rectify this seeming omission, by recognising an outstanding achiever in the field. I propose this honour in recognition of Vaghan Pratt’s contribution to climatology, and Warmism.

    The unit of measurement will be known as the Pratt, and, as is usual with climatologists and Warmists, will be amenable to the definition being undefined, indefinite and slippery.

    Usage might be as follows –

    “What Pratt did this?”
    “You’d have to be a Pratt to believe that!”
    “Are you quite finished Prattling yet?”

    Note that the definition, following climatological tradition, is quite different from the accepted Oxford English Dictionary definition of “An incompetent or stupid person; an ****t”

    Something like the climatological use of the word “surface”, or “warming”.

    I suggest a petition with one or two signatures at least should get the ball rolling.

    /humour off

    • Coming from an MF that is rich.

    • ‎Touché.

      I should stop insulting Mike.

      • Vaughan,

        It’s fine.

        I presume that’s a picture of you defending to the death my right to say things with which you disagree?

        Good on yer, mate!

      • Mike, you raise the interesting question of who’s supposed to say touché, the toucher or the touché(e). My understanding was the latter but then I know nothing about the sport.

      • Vaughan,

        I believe it’s the touched. As in “Bugger! You got me!”

        Some people think I’m a bit touched. I’m happy to leave it there, if it suits you. Until next time?

      • Having something to agree on is always good.

      • Steven Mosher

        real swords

      • “Do the populations of warmists and coolists fluctuate because coolists eat warmists?”
        In a manner of speaking. Wamist: CO2. Coolist: Clouds, increased circulations. We seem to see that the rise of Warmists, caused the rise of the coolists. I meant warming causes countering cooling effects. Recalling this plot:

        If the warming factors could be isolated they’d behave somewhat chaotically as do the cooling factors. Both factors though chaotic are tightly linked to each other. One does not wander off for long from the other. What is we gave tons of CO2 (food) to the Hares? Would their population increase? The Lynx would flourish, and thank us if they could. Until they managed to eat most of the Hares. We’d blame the Lynx of course for that. So some are fearing being over run by Hares. We have the Lynx though.

      • So some are fearing being over run by Hares. We have the Lynx though.

        Quite so. My take on CE is that it was founded and is governed by Lynxes who, in the spirit of the first and fourteenth amendments of the US constitution, tolerate Hares, to varying extents. (The fourteenth amendment prohibits eating them without due process of law.)

      • I think it was Willard’s comments that got me started on this prey/predator line, Thank you. Assuming we can cause it to warm, increase the Hare population, what do the predators have to say about that? The Lynx are likely to adjust to the situation. If they cannot, we’d have a problem.

    • You forgot to mention that a Pratt only measures the past to predict the future. In other words, it measures something we don’t care about for something we can never know.

      To measure the ever present, I suggest a Flynn, inspired by:

      Reminescent of the phrase “In like Flynn.” Means you have extraordinary dumb luck.

      That party was so flynn, some drunk chick went down on me and gave me a $20 tip!

      http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=Flynn

      You might prefer the first definition, of course.

      • “In other words, it measures something we don’t care about for something we can never know.”
        “Turchin takes pains to emphasize that the cycles are not the result of iron-clad rules of history, but of feedback loops — just like in ecology. “In a predator-prey cycle, such as mice and weasels or hares and lynx, the reason why populations go through periodic booms and busts has nothing to do with any external clocks,” he writes.”
        http://www.wired.com/2013/04/cliodynamics-peter-turchin/
        We could take mice and weasel surveys, the past, and predict where the populations are headed. In the role of the mice we have factors that warm the planet. Playing the weasels are the factors that cool it. The weasels just follow the mice.

      • @Ragnaar: We could take mice and weasel surveys, the past, and predict where the populations are headed. In the role of the mice we have factors that warm the planet. Playing the weasels are the factors that cool it. The weasels just follow the mice.

        I’m confused. Do the populations of warmists and coolists fluctuate because coolists eat warmists?

  45. I looked at that. Nothing you said there made sense.
    I cannot imagine a less accurate way of inferring a trend in weight by noting daily changes in readings. Far more accurate would be to take daily readings at the same time every day, fit a straight line through them, and use its slope as the trend.

    Let stop talking about weight, and switch to surface temps. Min and Max temp are taken when they are taken, no one has any influence when they are recorded, and if it’s truly min and max, that’s set for most days based on sunrise and sunset. But everyone get the same data to work with.

    But you’re telling me that the trend from
    75.0,75.0,75.1,75.1,75.2,75.2
    is something you can understand, but the trend
    0.0,0.0,0.1,0.1,0.2,0.2
    is nonsense? They are identical trends. And with the difference I create, I can combine trends from other stations to determine the measured trend from a larger area.

    Now if you’re saying that all trends from surface data is useless, and you can get everyone else to agree with that, I have no issue with that statement, But IMO it’s too easy to come up with headlines that aid the cause.