Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program

by Judith Curry

The first 20 years.

The American Meteorological Society is publishing an online monograph The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program: The first 20 Years.  So far, the monograph includes 30 articles/chapters.

One of my earliest blog posts Confidence in Radiation Transfer Models drew heavily from ARM.

I’ve included a selection of these articles below, focusing on the data system and radiation measurements and modeling:

  • Introduction.  D. D. Turner, R. G. Ellingson  [pdf]
  • The ARM Data System and Archive. Raymond McCord, Jimmy Voyles [pdf]
  • The ARM Data Quality Program. Randy A. Peppler, Kenneth E. Kehoe, Justin W. Monroe, Adam K. Theisen, Sean T. Moore [pdf]
  • Spectral Radiation Measurements and Analysis in the ARM Program. E. J. Mlawer, D. D. Turner [pdf]
  • Contributions of the ARM Program to Radiative Transfer Modeling for Climate and Weather Applications. Eli J. Mlawer, Michael J. Iacono, Robert Pincus, Howard W. Barker, Lazaros Oreopoulos, David L. Mitchell [pdf]
  • ARM Solar and Infrared Broadband and Filter Radiometry
    Joseph J. Michalsky, Charles N. Long [pdf]
  • ARM’s Progress on Improving Atmospheric Broadband Radiative Fluxes and Heating Rates. Sally A. McFarlane, James H. Mather, Eli J. Mlawer [pdf]
  • Aerosol Physical and Optical Properties and Processes in the ARM Program. Allison McComiskey, Richard A. Ferrare [pdf]
  • ARM’s Aerosol–Cloud–Precipitation Research (Aerosol Indirect Effects) Graham Feingold, Allison McComiskey [pdf]
  • The Impact of ARM on Climate Modeling. David A. Randall, Anthony D. Del Genio, Leo J. Donner, William D. Collins, Stephen A. Klein [pdf]
  • ARM-Led Improvements in Aerosols in Climate and Climate Models. Stephen Ghan, Joyce Penner [pdf]
  • ARM’s Impact on Numerical Weather Prediction at ECMWF. Maike Ahlgrimm, Richard M. Forbes, Jean-Jacques Morcrette, Roel A. J. Neggers [pdf]

The articles are very readable and provide a wealth of background information on the topic.

JC reflections

The Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program was developed to supply an improved predictive capability, particularly as it relates to the cloud–climate feedback. ARM has made important contributions to the systematic measurement of atmospheric radiation and the atmospheric components that influence radiation.  They have done a very good job on data quality control and making the data set accessible.  The data have been used to evaluate weather and climate model parameterizations, and there have been some direct benefits from the ARM program in improving climate models (see esp the articles by Randall et al. and Ahlgrimm et al.)

Back when I was in the ‘know’, ARM had an annual budget of about $45M.  Assuming that level of funding over 20 years produces a total budget of almost $1B.  Has all that money been worth it?  Do we know understand and reliably model the cloud-radiation feedback?  Well the answer to the latter question is definitely ‘no’.

ARM is an example of use-inspired, top-down science.  The ‘recipe’ for ARM science included:

  • Long-term measurements of radiation, clouds etc and geographically disparate sites
  • Intensive observation periods (IOPs) using aircraft and other observations
  • Use of a single-column model strategy to evaluate climate model parameterizations against ARM observations
  • Use of cloud-resolving models (limited area, LES) to simulate cloud processes

The recipe generated lots of activity, lots of publications, etc. But the actual insights into the cloud-climate feedback and new parameterizations didn’t automatically emerge from this recipe.  New scientific insights didn’t really emerge from this process.

The ‘top down’ nature of the program and the ‘recipe’ left some very good scientists rather cold, and many didn’t last long in the program.  But a cadre of young scientists emerged, that were trained by senior investigators, that become very invested in the program and the ‘recipe’ and became the mainstays of the program.

I had funding from ARM for the period 1992-2008 (totalling about $2M).  The name of my project was “Towards the Understanding and Parameterization of High Latitude Cloud and Radiation Processes.”  I was a member of the Science Steering Committee for the ARM Alaska site, and chaired the committee from 2997-2000.  I served on the ARM Executive Committee from 1993-1996.  And I served on Science Board for the ARM Climate Reference Facility for a few months in 2008; my appt was rescinded once my funding wasn’t continued.

Here is my 2007 annual report [arm-ar07] and the 2008 proposal that was rejected [armp 08 final].  In effect, I was told that I wasn’t ‘playing the game’, i.e. they felt that I should be organizing field experiments and attending their working group meetings (rather than sending students, postdocs).  Apparently they preferred such activities to actually writing papers and getting parameterizations in weather and climate models.  Further, they didn’t like my style of parameterization development — I was using their data to evaluate parameterizations (having a theoretical basis), rather than to derive empirical parameterizations that directly used their data.

I was frankly astonished not to be funded, but I had managed to hold on to funding longer than many of the other original scientists that were funded, who presumably also lost their funding since they weren’t playing the science game by ARM’s ‘recipe’.  (All this occurred prior to the time (circa 2009) when I became ‘controversial.’)  So no sour grapes on my part.  After all, my cloud-radiation research didn’t require much funding — the data were publicly available, and the analyses and modeling that Vitaly Khvorostyanov and I were doing could be done on a laptop. Our main research expense was paying page charges to journals for our publications.  Our response was to write the text Thermodynamics, Kinetics and Microphysics of Clouds.  This book provides a foundation for physically based parameterizations of cloud microphysical processes, which ARM apparently wasn’t too interested in.

The point of this narrative goes back to my post Pasteur’s Quadrant.  Use-inspired research, especially the top-down variety, will not be successful in tackling difficult problems without the creativity associated with Bohr’s quadrant.  The ARM program is a prime example of large (expensive) top-down use-inspired research program.  There is no question that observations are important, but observations/data do not automatically imbue understanding and knowledge.  Too much data, and emphasis on the process of collecting and analyzing data can become a substitute for thinking and doing the hard work of actually figuring things out.

So the ARM program has some successes to claim, and we have learned something about the sociology of science from this type of scientific program.  In terms of ‘bang per buck’ I will leave it to others to assess whether that $2B was well spent.  The money did train a new generation of scientists active in the field of cloud/radiation observations and processes.

But at the end of the day, we are still arguing about the sign of the cloud-radiation feedback and the magnitude of the aerosol-cloud indirect radiative effect, and climate models still have major shortcomings in simulating these processes.  These are very challenging problems to be sure.  It is time to stimulate some new ideas on how to approach these problems.

88 responses to “Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program

  1. Pingback: Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program – Enjeux énergies et environnement

  2. Use-inspired research, especially the top-down variety, will not be successful in tackling difficult problems without the creativity associated with Bohr’s quadrant. The ARM program is a prime example of large (expensive) top-down use-inspired research program. There is no question that observations are important, but observations/data do not automatically imbue understanding and knowledge. Too much data, and emphasis on the process of collecting and analyzing data can become a substitute for thinking and doing the hard work of actually figuring things out.

    Too true, unfortunately.

    But it seem likely to me that, as newer, more revolutionary paradigms are proposed, the data will become highly valuable in testing them.

  3. Off topic, “Monsanto shill” Kevin Folta appears to have stopped referring to climate skeptics as deniers. I don’t take sole credit for this although I did tell him that now he knows what it feels like to be hounded by the inquisition. He’s a true scientist and a really nice guy. Visit kfolta.blogspot.com/

  4. Good overview Judith. You have suggested approx $1Bill as being spent on this program earlier in your piece but later used $2Bill as the total approximate spend in your 2nd last para. Should this be $1Bill?

  5. Typo: “and chaired the committee from 2997-2000.” Perhaps that should be “from 1997-2000.”

  6. As they might say at the DNC, I know that you know that we don’t know what we don’t know, as it’s really hard to know the unknown but, no matter whatever we think we know, real scientists do not pretend to know in fifty years what the global climate of the world will be.

    It would be laudable if Climatists really were truly capable of making known the unknown and lying reality naked and exposed for all to see. Willis Eschenbach, however, gives us an inkling of the Climatists’ superhuman feat in attempting to deciphering the “interactions, phase transitions, limitations, resonances, couplings, response times, feedbacks, natural cycles, emergent phenomena, constructal constraints, and control systems,” of all things that have an affect on climate, “occurring on spatial scales from the molecular to the planetary, and on temporal scales from the instantaneous to millions of years.”

    But wait. Danger Will Robinson we have a problem. Facts are facts: The pretend science put forward by the IPCC-approved Climatists essentially stopped years ago. Since then, the theory underlying global warming alarmism amounts to nothing more than the worship of a bronzed dead head.

  7. Will Janoschka

    There seems to be no actual measurement of thermal radiative flux in this whole ARM program! Can you please disclose what is meant by the word “Radiation” in your title ‘Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program’? Do you refer to radiative intensity/potential (radiance), actual/measurable power transfer (flux), or a measurement of the attenuation of only amplitude modulation of that flux, by the intervening atmosphere, as is mistakenly identified as (flux attenuation), as used in every LBLRTM in use to date?
    Thank you!

  8. Thanks, Professor Curry, for sharing your own experiences with top-down directed research. After we successfully measured the decay rate of Te-128 in 1975 (the longest measured half-life at the time), there were efforts to entice me to accept research funds to look for proton-decay. I now finally see how bureaucrats in federal research agencies have been quietly directing research funds to keep the public unaware of reality.

    • Will Janoschka

      Te-128?
      I certainly hope you did not touch it! Sir Dragon Breath!

      • You are right, the calcogen elements (S, Se, Te) are chemically like oxygen (O), but poison and stink. But we measured radiogenic Xe-128 that accumulated over billions of years in an old telluride ore. As I recall, the half-life of Te-128 (10^24 years) means about only one atom of Xe-128 was produced per gram of ore per year. That measurement meant the rest mass of the neutrino was indistinguishable from zero.

      • David Springer

        So progress in global warming science during the past century is the same as the rest mass of the neutrino.

      • Will Janoschka

        David Springer | July 30, 2016 at 8:22 am
        “So progress in global warming science during the past century is the same as the rest mass of the neutrino.”
        Yup! But look at the velocity!!! there is no stopping Climate Science!

  9. Great post! The large-scale data collection part is just the sort of program I like. I can understand that the program managers need to account for how money is spent. But there should be some mechanism to give hearing to maverick approaches. This lends dynamism to the program and could produce unanticipated but valuable, significant results.

    Also, as you point out, the data is available. So as long as you don’t need a lot of computer time, you can still use it.

  10. dogdaddyblog

    Dr. Curry, I use “Wandering In The Weeds” as shorthand for your “Too much data, and emphasis on the process of collecting and analyzing data can become a substitute for thinking and doing the hard work of actually figuring things out.” Practitioners beat you on the head with minutia, without elucidating worthwhile truths.

    Thank you very much for your continued cogent analytics across the climate change spectrum of topics. As you have surely found, however, truth-tellers rarely remain popular.

    Dave Fair

  11. 4TimesAYear

    Reblogged this on 4timesayear's Blog.

  12. /sarc on

    A billion here, a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking real money!

    It’s a good thing the US has so much cash to spare.

    One might hope that the next twenty years might be more fruitful than the first twenty. Maybe more funding is needed to make researchers more intelligent than they presently seem to be.

    /sarc off

    Cheers.

  13. Judith

    You say;

    “But at the end of the day, we are still arguing about the sign of the cloud-radiation feedback and the magnitude of the aerosol-cloud indirect radiative effect, and climate models still have major shortcomings in simulating these processes. These are very challenging problems to be sure. It is time to stimulate some new ideas on how to approach these problems.”

    An interesting piece but ultimately frustrating. Its like a very expensive murder mystery but without the body or even a suspect . What ARE these new ideas that will help us to solve this game of Cluedo?

    tonyb

    • People should read the oldest book in the Bible, chapter 38, I believe.

    • Reformated:

      What ARE these new ideas that will help us to solve this game of Cluedo?

      What do Networks Have to Do with Climate? by Anastasios A. Tsonis, Kyle L. Swanson, and Paul J. Roebber Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 87(5) · April 2006

      The study of networks has recently exploded into a major research tool in many areas of science. The discovery of “small world” and scale-free networks has led to many new insights about the collective behavior of a large number of interacting agents and complex systems. Here we introduce the basic ideas behind networks, as well as some initial applications of networks to the climate system. Our results suggest that the climate system exhibits aspects of small-world networks as well as scale-free networks, with super-nodes corresponding to major tele-connection patterns. This result suggests that the organization of teleconnections may play a role in the stability of the climate system. In addition, preliminary work suggests that temporal changes in the network’s architecture may be used to identify signatures of global change. These and other applications suggest that networks provide a new tool for investigating and reconstructing climate dynamics from both models and observations.

      Complex network analysis helps to identify impacts of the El Niño Southern Oscillation on moisture divergence in South America by Niklas Boers, Reik V. Donner, Bodo Bookhagen, Jürgen Kurths Clim Dyn (2015) 45: 619. doi:10.1007/s00382-014-2265-7

      We investigate the temporal evolution of moisture divergence and its spatial clustering properties over South America. Our analysis focuses on dependencies on the phase of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Moisture divergence is computed from daily reanalysis data of vertically integrated moisture flux provided by Modern-Era Retrospective Analysis for Research and Applications for the time period from 1979 to 2010. We use a sliding-window approach to construct a sequence of complex networks, each obtained from synchronization of events of strong positive (negative) moisture divergence, which we interpret as strong evapotranspiration (precipitation) events. We make the following three key observations: (1) Moisture divergence values over the Amazon rainforest are typically higher during positive ENSO periods (El Niño events). (2) The spatial coherence of strong positive (upwelling) events assumes a characteristic pattern of reduced coherence in this area during El Niño conditions. This influence of ENSO on moisture divergence and its spatial coherence is dominated by the El Niño events of 1982, 1987, and 1997. (3) The clustering characteristics of the obtained climate networks qualitatively agree with the spatial distribution of connected regions with simultaneous events (i.e., events that occur at the same time), but provide a more detailed view on the spatial organization of strong atmospheric upwelling events. Interestingly, no comparable results are found for negative extremes of moisture divergence (strong precipitation events).

      How complex climate networks complement eigen techniques for the statistical analysis of climatological data by Jonathan F. Donges, Irina Petrova, Alexander Loew, Norbert Marwan, and Jürgen Kurths Climate Dynamics November 2015, Volume 45, Issue 9, pp 2407-2424

      Eigen techniques such as empirical orthogonal function (EOF) or coupled pattern (CP)/maximum covariance analysis have been frequently used for detecting patterns in multivariate climatological data sets. Recently, statistical methods originating from the theory of complex networks have been employed for the very same purpose of spatio-temporal analysis. This climate network (CN) analysis is usually based on the same set of similarity matrices as is used in classical EOF or CP analysis, e.g., the correlation matrix of a single climatological field or the cross-correlation matrix between two distinct climatological fields. In this study, formal relationships as well as conceptual differences between both eigen and network approaches are derived and illustrated using global precipitation, evaporation and surface air temperature data sets. These results allow us to pinpoint that CN analysis can complement classical eigen techniques and provides additional information on the higher-order structure of statistical interrelationships in climatological data. Hence, CNs are a valuable supplement to the statistical toolbox of the climatologist, particularly for making sense out of very large data sets such as those generated by satellite observations and climate model intercomparison exercises.

      Hierarchical structures in Northern Hemispheric extratropical winter ocean-atmosphere interaction by Marc Wiedermann, Jonathan F. Donges, Dörthe Handorf, Jürgen Kurths, and Reik V. Donner (submitted to International Journal of Climatology)

      In recent years extensive studies on the Earth’s climate system have been carried out by means of advanced complex network statistics. The great majority of these studies, however, have been focusing on investigating correlation structures within single climatological fields directly on or parallel to the Earth’s surface. In this work, we develop a novel approach of node weighted coupled network measures to study correlations between ocean and atmosphere in the Northern Hemisphere and construct 18 coupled climate networks, each consisting of two subnetworks. In all cases, one subnetwork represents monthly sea-surface temperature (SST) anomalies, while the other is based on the monthly geopotential height (HGT) of isobaric surfaces at different pressure levels covering the troposphere as well as the lower stratosphere. The weighted cross-degree density proves to be consistent with the leading coupled pattern obtained from maximum covariance analysis, while network measures of higher order allow for a further analysis of the correlation structure between the two fields. Zonally averaged local network measures reveal the sets of latitudinal bands for which there exist strong correlations between parts of the ocean and the atmosphere. Global network measures quantify the strength of these similarities and identify atmospheric layers which form clusters of strong correlation with the ocean. All measures consistently indicate that in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics the ocean is correlated with the atmosphere in a hierarchical fashion such that large areas of the ocean surface correlate with multiple statistically dissimilar regions in the atmosphere.

    • Am

      Interesting thanks. Are networks a ‘new idea’ in climate science, or merely one of the old ones that perhaps has not yet been fully explored yet? Perhaps those more familiar with the concepts might care to comment

      Tonyb

    • AK

      Six spell checker induced mistakes in my short reply. Sorry I did not pick up the one relating to your name

      Tonyb

    • Are networks a ‘new idea’ in climate science, or merely one of the old ones that perhaps has not yet been fully explored yet?

      Well, there’s a paper from 2003, so it’s not that new.

      OTOH, the IPCC left a key paper on this subject out of their 2013 reports. So I’d say they’re engaged in paradigm defense, doing everything they can to suppress, denigrate, and discredit ideas like those that challenge their GCM-centric, obsolete, “consensus science”.

    • Will Janoschka

      This thread titled “Atmospheric Radiation Measurement Program”
      Is not about some newfangled computer paradigm, but about measurement, of something to do with electromagnetic radiation. What was measured? When? By whom? Using what instrumentation? The whole ARM program seems to be nothing but a deliberate attempt to continue the absolute nonsense of atmospheric CO2 built into the very basics of every Global Circulation Model!
      A better faster implementation of garbage in, still gives results garbage out!

    • Will Janoschka

      Curry: (“These are very challenging problems to be sure. It is time to stimulate some new ideas on how to approach these problems.”)

      “An interesting piece but ultimately frustrating. Its like a very expensive murder mystery but without the body or even a suspect . What ARE these new ideas that will help us to solve this game of Cluedo?”

      Prof Curry seems to allude to problems that are but fantasy, invented by government funded academics, intent on promoting FUD and feeding at the trough. There is not one ‘Climate scientist’ that has any idea of how thermal electromagnetic flux is generated, or propogates through a dispersive atmosphere! These same clueless spout on and on of how EMR originating in the atmosphere increases surface temperature. “These problems are only the abject incompetence of the problem creators!

  14. My favorite example of the old-style geophysical research paper is M. S. Longuet-Higgens A Nonlinear Mechanism for the Generation of Sea Waves, answering the question where all these waves come from so fast.

    You could imagine a vast wave measurement program trying to understand this with data, without the curiosity and insight that goes into the simple explanation.

    Climate is a million times more complex as to interaction numbers and will get nowhere, top-down or not.

    This or that subtopic will pop out, if somebody someday gets curious enough, but they won’t fit together into a science of climate.

    At best you can do cargo-cult science, namely go through the motions and hope the lab coat effect works.

    • Longuet-Higgins’ paper is highfalutin nonsense because it does not account for the role of white-capping in the frequency down-shifting of wave energy nor the formation of 5th power, power-law spectra of swell which are observed experimentally. See
      http://blackjay.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/sidebandinstability.pdf .
      It is the dominance of mathematical theory to the exclusion of empirical science which is the scourge of both fluid dynamics and “climate science”.

      • “Breaking of the forward slopes” sound like white-capping to me.

        Date of the paper, 1968. Ignore linear growth rates, he said, it’s the nonlinearity that’s doing it.

        Pretty good mathematical theory.

      • You mathematicians just don’t get it, do you? The theory has to fit the observations, not the other way round.

  15. If you are having slow loading problems, the links web browser loads the slow loading pages on CE in seconds.

    http://links.twibright.com/features.php

  16. David L. Hagen

    Quantitative Line By Line IR Modeling
    The corresponding effort was for quantitive exhaustive Line By Line (LBL) modeling of the IR absorption/emission of the atmosphere and then trying to understand the results for a steady state atmosphere. e.g. see Ferenc Miskolczi The greenhouse effect and the infrared radiative structure of the Earth’s Atmosphere Development in Earth Science, Volume 2, 2014

    This paper presents observed atmospheric thermal and humidity structures and global scale simulations of the infrared absorption properties of the Earth’s atmosphere.
    These data show that the global average clear sky green-house effect has remained unchanged with time. A theoretically predicted infrared optical thickness is fully consistent with, and supports the observed value. It also facilitates the theoretical determination of the planetary radiative equilibrium cloud cover, cloud altitude and Bond albedo.

    Did not support the party line – and did not receive further funding.

    • Miskolczi radiation model stuff is suspect on several grounds. Lubos Motl has done the most extensive problem analysis. Not in favor of continued funding of bad math and bad physics. Funding stop justified.

      • Will Janoschka

        Miskolczi does not have a radiation model. He has an atmospheric structures model which is much more useful than any GCM. Noor. VanAndel did the most through review of his work, perfect math and good physics! You got your “theoretical understanding” of electromagnetic radiation from where? Perhaps from some coursework in thermodynamics/heat transfer, that treats EMR as heat. Ever heard of James Clerk Maxwell?

      • David L. Hagen

        ristvan – distinguish Miskolczi’s Line By Line model which was validated together with others versus his graphing temperature variations, versus his models to fit those. Errors in some don’t negate other results.

      • Folks, defend Miskolczi if you wish. But bring math, not blog generalizations. I will repeat–he has been mathematically repudiated. Period. End. Over. Now, refute the bad math.

      • Will Janoschka

        “Now, refute the bad math.”
        Can you point out any bad mathematics in this 2014 paper?
        Did you even bother to read the paper, before spouting your drivel?

      • David Springer

        ristvan | July 29, 2016 at 10:25 pm |

        Folks, defend Miskolczi if you wish. But bring math, not blog generalizations. I will repeat–he has been mathematically repudiated. Period. End. Over. Now, refute the bad math.

        Seriously Istvan? You’re criticizing others for blog generalizations in place of math and then you employ a grand sweeping generalization “he has been mathematically repudiated. Period. End. Over” with your next breath.

        You’re a fool and a charlatan, Istvan. Period. End. Over.

        ROFLMAO

    • Will Janoschka

      Any paper by Ferenc Miskolczi is a worthwhile read. Thank you. From the conclusions:

      In our view the greenhouse phenomenon, as it was postulated by J.Fourier (1824), estimated by S. Arrhenius (1906), first quantified by S. Manabe and R. Wetherald (1967), explained by R. Lindzen (2007), and endorsed by the National Academy of Science and the Royal Society (2014), simply does not exist.

  17. Empirical data collection and parameterization is a different agenda than theoretical understanding. No surprise there that ways eventually parted. The better ARM data has obviously not resulted in better climate models. Which suggests model problems are not per se data or parameterization. They are more fundamental, like attribution and grid resolution computational intractability.

  18. There’s R. W. Hamming’s book motto, the purpose of computation is insight, not numbers.

    The Dover paperback edition Numerical Methods for Scientists and Engineers seems to have omitted the motto but it’s cited in section 1.1, in the Look Inside.

  19. Hey Judy, ARM did have a most important fundamental impact on our radiative transfer models. Their precise observations of the infrared spectrum combined with precise observations of the temperature and water vapor profiles allowed us to lower the errors in spectroscopic radiative transfer modeling of water vapor in the infrared from about 10-20% in the early 90s down to about 2% by the year 2000. This was quite important.

    For cloud feedback, you must study the whole earth cloud variability for the longest satellite record. After a long slog, we’re finally running version 2 of the International Satellite Cloud Climatology Project and should have it out this fall.

    Observation is the judge. Regards, John

    • Will Janoschka

      “ARM did have a most important fundamental impact on our radiative transfer models. Their precise observations of the infrared spectrum combined with precise observations of the temperature and water vapor profiles allowed us to lower the errors in spectroscopic radiative transfer modeling of water vapor in the infrared from about 10-20% in the early 90s down to about 2% by the year 2000.”
      What measurements taken after 1990 showed that atmospheric attenuation of amplitude modulation of EMR is not the same as some assumed attenuation of electromagnetic flux? Who did the measurement? When was this done? What instrumentation and techniques were used? How were these different than the 1970s measurements that verified the HiTran database for spatial, temporal, modulation?

  20. The problem could be described as drowning in data. Same thing happened in molecular genetics when the sequences started to pile up. They started talking about “data mining” and “big data”, but the big discoveries stopped coming because they come from a deep understanding and hypothesis building and everybody was too busy with all that data.

    • NASA had the same kind of problem once…

      http://www.reuters.com/article/us-nasa-tapes-idUSTRE56F5MK20090716

      think what you want but by all means be sure to do the math, 200,000 tapes…

    • Javier,

      Could you please look at my comment here: https://judithcurry.com/2016/07/12/are-energy-budget-climate-sensitivity-values-biased-low/#comment-796768 and give me your opinion (and any relevant references) on two points I’ve made from the charts:

      1. even if the global average temperature increases by 3C, the tropics would warm by only about 1C.

      2. The high and mid latitudes would warm much more.

      3. Warming of the mod an high latitudes would be beneficial for life on Earth

      4. We don’t know whether 1C warming of tropics would net-beneficial or net-damaging, but I see no convincing evidence it would be a serious threat.because the tropics have been much warmer in the past and life thrived in such periods.

      Could you comment. In particular, is chart of tropical temperatures consistent with accepted wisdom?

      • ==> 3. Warming of the mod an high latitudes would be beneficial for life on Earth ==>

        So much for respecting uncertainty, eh?

        Judith, why did you delete that comment? I thought you advocate for acknowledging uncertainties.

    • David Springer

      Yes but think of the spin-off effect from big data – ever increasing demand for more computing resources to sort through it all.

      Every cloud has a silver lining. Write that down.

    • Data; can’t live with it, can’t live without it.

  21. Shame, Shame. (sound of bell clanging).
    Money well spent? Yes.
    It gives you folks numbers to argue about.
    Only the Federal Government has the reach and money to maintain such a network.
    Doc, as the hurricane lady, ever hear of the National Water Level Observation Network?
    Just a bunch of numbers, right? Drowning in numbers? Drown certainly without them!
    Sorry, I hear ducks quacking. I plead the fifth (or maybe I’ll drink one to calm down).
    Don’t forget to vote.

  22. It seems that polarisation is the issue.
    In my view, we certainly need both data collection projects (like ARM – they used to be called librarians) and also theoreticians to propose hypotheses where data is lacking. But these should both be about 10% of the science – the other 80% needs to be the synthesis: taking the hypothesis, comparing with the data, generating your model, comparing, refining etc.
    In climate science, we seem to have this the wrong way around – 50% hypothesis generation, 40% data collection and 10% synthesis.
    It’s been 30+years since climate science hit “the big time” and got it’s funding boost, yet we still don’t know the sign of cloud feedbacks, we still haven’t significantly reduced 2xCO2 climate sensitivity range – the list goes on.
    There IS a lack of data to be sure, but there is significant funding available for collecting it.
    There is an abundance of potential explanations (hypotheses) to investigate.
    Surely we have sufficient data by now to make significant impacts into trimming our hypotheses down to managable numbers – if not, then perhaps it is time to turn of the tap and let science go the way it always has: some few passionate individuals with tenure keep collecting and amassing data until we have enough to make sound judgements, and the theoreticians keep pushing the boundaries producing options, but no-one outside the field itself really takes it seriously until it starts producing usefully predictive results.

  23. Looking at the Twitter link to the article about problems that may be too wickedly difficult to solve, Brexit may be the rational solution to the problem of people who have fled to America for a new life who then help give political power to politicians who don’t much like America (“No, no, no, not God Bless America. God damn America”)– politicians who have no problem using global warming to fundamentally remake the country into something else, even if AGW is nothing but a hoax and a scare tactic to help push an ideologically-driven agenda having zero to do with science, the economy or the wellbeing of the people.

    • Really interesting… thanks.

    • Steven Mosher,

      You may have missed this comment addressed to you: https://judithcurry.com/2016/07/12/are-energy-budget-climate-sensitivity-values-biased-low/#comment-796768 . I’d be very interested in your considered comment on this important issue. Especially, do you have more authoritative chart of the tropical temperatures over the geologic past and is their persuasive evidence that such temperature changes are a serious threat?

      • Steven Mosher

        I probably did. When you refuse to watch Held or understand that there are other points of view other than your narrow one, then we might have a conversation. It’s somewhat sad, since I anticipate you will like what we have to say about nuclear in the coming months

        ‘I don’t accept your statement. It seems to be based on three unstated assumptions, none of which I accept:
        1) there is no natural variability,
        2) ECS is 3C or greater and
        3) global average temperature changes immediately in response to a doubling of CO2 concentration.

        Wrong.

        1. you have Natural variation on top of that
        2. I based it on 1.5C ECS
        3. It doesnt change immediately

        Dont expect to hear back from me. Burst appendix.. recovering.

      • Steven Mosher,

        You say “Dont expect to hear back from me. Burst appendix.. recovering.”. I think that is a dodge. You’ve been avoiding this critical issue that underpins your faith in CAGW since the first time I innocently asked you “what are the impacts?” (several years ago), yet you continue to make other comments.

        I don’t recall the link to Held you gave. I probably did look at it at the time. From what I recall Held is a modeler and does not address the issues I asked about. If you say it does address my questions, please provide the link again and I’ll look at it again.

      • Steven Mosher,

        I do recall the Held lecture https://www.newton.ac.uk/seminar/20101209161017001 . I did answer you on this. I said it was hard to hear a lot of what he said but that his suggested approach is fundamentally flawed. He says you don’t need to know whether or not GW is damaging in order to justify polices to mitigate. That’s nonsense. He’s a physcist, not a policy analyst. He’s talking way outside his area of expertise.

        He says “we do not want to exceed certain limits”. The limit he refers to is 2C. That limit is political, not scientific. There is no valid scientific basis to justify it. Therefore, the entire basis for his lecture is unjustified.

      • Steve, best wishes for a speedy recovery

      • Peter Lang, Steve really did have a burst appendix. I’m not truly an eye witness as I did not see the appendix or the surgery, but I did drive him to the emergency room, hear his doctor give him his diagnosis, and picked him up from the hospital. Your comment above was beneath you. Steve can be an online ass, but if he doesn’t want to answer you, it is unlikely he’ll make up lies to get out of it.

      • Charles the Moderator,

        You misinterpreted my comment. Please re-read it. I did not say Mosher is lying about his medical issue. Nor did I doubt that is true or imply it.

        Without your misinterpretation of my comment, the comment stands as correct.

        I am sorry to hear Stephen Mosher is not well. But he is well enough to comment, and his comment was his usual standard of rudeness and avoidance of critically important questions when the answer does not support his CAGW beliefs.

      • David Springer

        “Don’t expect to hear back from me. Burst appendix.. recovering.”

        I’m sorry to hear that. Not the burst part, the recovering part.

      • Mosh

        Genuinely sorry to hear of your illness. In order to cheer you up you will see Upthread that I am advertising for someone to read anecdotal historic climate material to you in person whilst you recuperate. No, don’t thank me, it’s the least I can do.

        Tonyb

    • I noted in the Nature paper a reference to “sketches and images depicting the shapes of glaciers and their thickness.” and this “we can trust that what they painted is exactly what they saw”.

      Isn’t this the kind of “anecdotal” evidence that Mosher so frequently disparages when lecturing Tony about what science is and what science isn’t ?

      • Cerescokid

        That’s different because,…well because it’s just different.

        I shall be able to send mosh lots of anecdotes he can read at his leisure during his enforced recuperation. Anyone know his address so we can post them through his letterbox? I am sure he will be really grateful for the reading material

        . Alternatively if anyone lives close by him I pay 20 dollars an hour for anyone who can read the material to him in person, whilst ensuring he doesn’t move.

        Tonyb

      • Cersco kid

        Here is my graphic of glacier movement over the last thousand years.

        It is my interpretation of material in E Roy laduries book ‘times of feast times of famine ‘ whereby he examined many thousands of records of glaciers including photos, illustrations, lithographs and written records.

        That they advance and retreat is well known. Why that seems a revelation to some is less well known

        Tonyb

      • And a revelation that lower elevation glaciers respond more to warming than higher elevation glaciers.

    • Interesting site, Steve, great pics. Hope you are better soon.

  24. Steven Mosher,

    Using the past to predict the future.

    Works extremely well, except when it doesn’t. Just like casting runes, or reading the Tarot. Woo, woo, I’ve got a white coat!

    Cheers.

    • Steven Mosher

      too funny Flynn uses his past experience predicting the future to predict his future us of the past to predict the future.

      • Steven Mosher

        too funny Flynn uses his past experience predicting the future to predict his future use of the past to predict the future

        Sorry.. mispelled “use”.

      • Yes this is what they say when your investment portfolio goes bust.

  25. Yes having a go at people’s medical situations is best left to extremists like former RC William Connolly who cheered Bob Carter’s death. Disgusting.

    Hope all is well with you Mr Mosher, burst appendix is no joke. Mine popped 5 years ago when in Northern Finland in -37c. Was touch and go for a while as it took ages to get to hospital.

    Hope all is well good man

  26. As for ARM, we are stuck with secondary processes measurement due to logistical issues of measuring the drivers.

    We are also stuck with “all things equal” base calculations like Energy budget, radiative forcing relative to evaporation without the required resolution of say, winds over oceans that throw such base calculations out the window.

    Similarly, Henry’s law is also useless as a base calculation for Ocean CO2 absorption as Henry’s law doesn’t deal with real world situations, just a closed system of gas and water

  27. We should accept these limitations and the uncertainties they create.

  28. 1.5c ECS is a forced regression based on observation. If last century change was 2.5c ECS would be at least 3.5c

    So natural variability “could” be driving all of your ECS estimations. Admitting that is a step forward.

  29. Pingback: Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup #234 | Watts Up With That?

  30. Interesting article on resilient earth blog about paper with long record of 640,000 years temperature and monsoon estimates from caves.
    Scott