Rumble in the Climate Jungle

By Keith Kloor | August 8, 2012 2:40 pm

Nearly a year ago, I wrote that

the “new normal” for climate communication and much reportage and analysis implies a connectivity between global warming and weather-related catastrophes.

Well, that was then. Courtesy of James Hansen, we’ve entered new terrain in the climate debate. What that looks like at the moment is the subject of a post by me that just went up at Discover.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, climate science
  • Jonathan Gilligan

    You quote Gillis writing that Hansen’s claims “go beyond the established consensus.” That’s what the research literature is for. The consensus is supposed to lag far behind the individual papers appearing in the literature. Research literature does not aim to present the last word, but to present new ideas with enough good evidence and reasoning to be worth arguing over.Hansen has published a new statistical analysis. Other people will respond. Eventually the consensus will adjust to incorporate both Hansen’s thoughts and the responses to it. See, e.g., Michael Oppenheimer, “The Limits of Consensus,” Science 317, 1505 (2007).Hansen’s statistical analysis looks good to me. It presents a new an useful way to look at the data on land-surface temperature. The dramatic rise in the frequency of what used to be three-sigma events is important when we’re assessing impacts. This isn’t a game-changer in terms of driving policy, but it is useful in presenting a new heuristic tool to help us think clearly about climatic effects on extreme weather.

  • Tom Scharf

    Good post.  Nice to see how some are stepping up to publicly object to Hansen”s clearly over the top statements.  

    This also happens to be pretty definitive example of the failure of peer review to perform the task it lays claim to: vetting papers for quality.

    Although PNAS is known to be pretty light on real review anyway (reviewers picked by the author?), if review isn’t even filtering out statements of  definitive causal connections to extreme events to the exclusion of all other causes made by Hansen, then it isn’t working at all.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I’ve yet to see any substantive criticism of Hansen’s paper, and it’s been out in draft form for quite some time. Guess we’ll have to wait and see.

  • Menth

    Excellent article Keith. Probably could have incorporated the IPCC SREX but given space constraints it’s understandable not being able to. 

  • BillC

    Unprecedented Arctic storm carves up ice pack – death scream heard – AGW extreme weather in the making! I predict they’ll be complaining about the record breaking snowfall in the UK in December.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Nice piece, Keith. Has anybody tried to square the circle between Hansen’s piece and what the IPCC wrote last month?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The IPCC wrote, “”There is medium evidence and high agreement that long-term trends in normalized losses have not been attributed to natural or anthropogenic climate change,” writes the IPCC in its new Special Report on Extremes (SREX) published today.”The statement about the absence of trends in impacts attributable to natural or anthropogenic climate change holds for tropical and extratropical storms and tornados,” the authors conclude, adding for good measure that “absence of an attributable climate change signal in losses also holds for flood losses”.Is Hansen saying the IPCC is wrong? Does that mean that James Prall will add him to his blacklist?

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    Hi Tom,The excerpts from the SREX you quoted mention tropical and extratropical storms and tornados and flood damage whereas Hansen’s paper deals with heat waves. On that subject the SREX report says  
    In many (but not all) regions over the globe with sufficient data, there is medium confidence that the length or number of warm spells or heat waves has increased.So I don’t see any contradiction there.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew,You’re right. I’ll have to go back to the SREX. At any rate, Hansen’s paper is nonsense. And I don’t like writing that. 

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    A few points that ought to be obvious:

    1) New evidence can emerge. That is what science is about.

    2) Circumstances can change. That is wht it is called climate *change*.

    3) Absence of attribution is not absence of causality.

  • jim

    Tom, what do think specifically are the technical problems with Hansen’s paper?

  • Menth

    “3) Absence of attribution is not absence of causality.”This is why I check my horoscope everyday.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Jim, I would note first the exclusion of prior periods where we have good data that would bear on the validity of his analysis, especially the 1930s. Indeed, given the length of the U.S. temperature record I see no reason not to go back even further.

  • Cliff Mass

    I wrote a new blog about Hansen and his claims:http://cliffmass.blogspot.com/2012/08/climate-distortion.html..cliff mass

  • jim

    Thanks Tom.  I’ve seen that criticism elsewhere too. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @13 and 15,

    google ‘climate normals’

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #16, no. If you have data you wish to present and are capable of staying conscious long enough, bring it here.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom it’s not a ‘data’ thing. It’s a ‘climatology’ thing.

    in the strictest sense, a “normal” of a particular variable (e.g., temperature) is defined as the 30-year average. For example, the minimum temperature normal in January for a station in Chicago, Illinois, would be computed by taking the average of the 30 January values of monthly-averaged minimum temperatures from 1981 to 2010.  

    Now if you’d bother to RTFR from Hansen, you’d have discovered the answer to your question:

    Anomalies are defined relative to a specified climatology, the observed climate in a chosen base period. The base period should be long enough to provide sufficient data for statistical analyses””we choose 30 y, consistent with the period used by most weather and climate services. The period should also be fixed because, as we show later, a shifting base period hides potentially important changes in the nature of the anomaly distribution.We choose 1951″“1980 as the base period for most of our illustrations, for several reasons. First, it was a time of relatively stable global temperature, prior to rapid global warming in recent decades. Second, it is recent enough for older people, especially the “baby boom” generation, to remember.Third, global temperature in 1951″“1980 was within the Holocene range.

    You’ve being following climate change for what, 4 years now? Surely you must have learned something by now. 

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Dr. Cliff Mass’s critique of Hansen is overwrought as well as, I would argue, entirely incorrect. His argument (one also used by Hoerling and by Nielsen-Gammon on various occasions) depends on the assumption that current climate is (or at least can be approximated by) the sum of baseline unforced climate and a linear trend. Not only is there no reason to accept this assumption, in fact Hansen et al’s data, among other things, constitutes an explicit refutation. In the end, Dr. Mass is arguing with the data, not its interpretation. A comment on Dr. Mass’s site from “admin” at 11:51 AM August 9 has further cogent criticism.The use of the phrase “Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive” is in any case excessive and cannot possibly contribute to the already deeply stressed comity within science or in the larger conversation. It’s deeply unfortunate.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Have another drink, Marlowe. By that crap standard Hansen had no argument to make in 1988. Real science looks as hard as it can for good data to lengthen its series. What Hansen wrote is a figleaf, covering his certain knowledge that extending his study backwards to–ooh!–even 60 years would invalidate his claims.

    Only a drunk would buy it.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    you really are precious Tom. Please keep it up.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive. The only question is whether he was among those he sought to deceive.

  • Joshua

    The use of the phrase “Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive“ is in any case
    excessive and cannot possibly contribute to the already deeply stressed
    comity within science or in the larger conversation.

    I will agree with that – irrespective of differences in how the data are best interpreted. The adjective “deceptive,” implies intentionality (ironically, whether or not that implication is intentional). As such, even if one concludes that Hansens’s science is flawed, how could someone know, with the information available, whether Hansen intended to deceive? Bad analysis (in this case either ambiguous language or a facile conclusion about attribution) is not a good way to prove bad analysis.Not that any particular table in the climate debate cafeteria food fight is above counterproductive rhetoric – but the constant attribution of motivation based on positions (assuming the implication of intentionality was, well… intentional) is inherently non-productive.

  • Menth

    All this boo-hoo button pressing over Mass’s ‘unhelpful language’ is more than a little dumb. Science thrives when it’s combative, homogeneity is the enemy. Now, if you believe showing any doubt or controversy among scientists is “bad for the cause” and should be downplayed and only discussed in private then good luck with that. It’s been a great strategy. 

  • Joshua

    Science thrives when it’s combative, homogeneity is the enemy. Now, if you believe showing any doubt or controversy among scientists is “bad for the cause” and should be downplayed and only discussed in private then good luck with that.

    It is hard to believe that such complete confusion is really the product of ambiguity in what I wrote, but hey, anything is possible, right?

    Disagreement about interpretation of the data, be it combative or not, is entirely appropriate.

    Ambiguity in how that difference in interpretation is conveyed (implying intentionality when it wasn’t intended to to so), or facile conclusions (attribution of motivation when evidence is lacking) is just bad analysis.Applauding bad analysis is not the same thing as appreciating heterogeneity, just as noting the counterproductivity of bad analysis is not the same thing is not the same thing as calling for uniformity. Hopefully that was less ambiguous?

  • Tom Scharf

    It has been shown repeatedly that if there is any climate signal in extreme weather events, it is not showing up yet in the trends to any significant degree.

    Mathematically untangling the “normal” extreme events that have occurred, occur now, and will continue to occur in the future regardless of the AGW climate signal from those “extra” events that ,may occur in theory due to AGW signal is like trying to unscramble eggs.

    Extreme events are by their very nature somewhat random and “noisy” in nature.  With no extra influences these type of random events will have periodic clusters and periods of inactivity.  That is the way random chaotic processes work.  Finding a single cluster is not very interesting.

    What is needed with noisy data is simple, longer trends.  The smaller the signal, the longer the trend needed in order to verify a valid signal exists.  RPJ has shown we need trends on the order of at least a hundred years to start getting confidence there is an emerging AGW climate signal.  

    Taking one drought, or the latest extreme event du jour,  and declaring AGW attribution is similar in nature to the activist lead (Trenberth, Gore) hurricane attribution after Katrina.  If this was an honest science topic, we would be seeing papers on how AGW is preventing hurricanes now based on the “simple correlation = proof of attribution” meme in climate science

    What we have here is Hansen reprocessing the same data (I would submit he is torturing the data…possibly water boarding it) that has already been examined in SREX and by the NOAA, who found no attribution, explicitly stated it to be natural variability in many cases.  Hansen somehow comes up with stated near CERTAIN attribution of the same events, Hmmmmm….at least the MSM is starting to catch on.

    Hansen’s activist profile works against him here, and the more he does this stuff, the more he drags climate science down into the mud.  The rest of science is not 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I like Dr. Hansen and respect his work. I think he has been a forceful and intelligent advocate for his position, a position I don’t agree with. 

    I think what he’s doing now is somewhat akin to what Stephen Schneider did shortly before his sad passing–putting his imprimatur on a paper that does not live up to the standards he has set during his career.

    I wish him well.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom S (#26): “It has been shown repeatedly that if there is any climate signal in extreme weather events, it is not showing up yet in the trends to any significant degree.”

    Until now. That is what makes this paper important.

    “What we have here is Hansen reprocessing the same data (I would submit he is torturing the data”¦possibly water boarding it) that has already been examined in SREX and by the NOAA, who found no attribution, explicitly stated it to be natural variability in many
    cases. “

    Hoerling who is sometimes quoted as a NOAA expert on this is making a substantive mistake, the same one Mass makes, a rather naive one.  See #19 on this thread.

    The situation on the ground has deteriorated, and intuition has already captured that for many of us, including leading meteorologists who have a great deal of experience to draw upon. Hansen has found a statistical measure that shows clearly and unambiguously that such perceptions are valid.

    The fact that such a result is unprecedented is why it is important. New results are like that. That it comes from Hansen is not especially relevant. The work and its implications stand or fall on the merits.

    That it finds a result where previous studies found null results is its key benefit, not its refutation.

    Anthropogenic climate change has been obvious for over a decade. Before that, it was only a probability. The same has now happened with impacts. Specifically, the signal of consequential heat waves is unambiguous.

    With the meteorological events of the past few years and the new results in the literature about them, climate change impacts are no longer entirely hypothetical. This type of disaster is a real, present, substantial and clear consequence of human behavior. This is happening earlier than most climate experts expected and bodes ill for the future, especially in business-as-usual scenarios.

    Occasionally from now on we will “roll a thirteen” and have individual events that are essentially outside the natural distribution. It is not unreasonable to call them “because of” anthropogenic climate change. Let’s hope the pace lets up a bit.

    The rules have changed because the situation has changed. Unless the consensus was hopelessly wrong, it was going to do that eventually. Unfortunately it has already happened. The phase of the climate saga where human-caused climate disasters were merely hypothetical is over.

    It ended in the past few years. It’s no longer just scientific judgment that consequences will eventually ensue from human-forced climate shifts. They are demonstrably happening now, and we now have the demonstration in hand with Hansen’s and Trenberth’s recent work.

    If the climate community has erred, it appears to have been on the side of complacency, not of alarm. Don’t fool yourself about this just because you don’t like to hear it. Nobody sane is happy about it.

  • BBD

    Tom

    I think what he’s doing now is somewhat akin to what Stephen Schneider did shortly before his sad passing”“putting his imprimatur on a paper that does not live up to the standards he has set during his career.

    I wish him well.

    Such talk. Nobody has shown HSR12 to be flawed yet.

  • Keith Kloor

    Michael Tobis,”The situation on the ground has deteriorated, and intuition has already captured that for many of us…”

    I don’t really think there’s a place for “intuition” in this scientific debate (28).You’ve stated that  a number of scientists have gotten things wrong on this (Hoerling, Mass, Nielson-Gammon).

    Surely, you are aware that a number of other highly reputable scientists have made statements on the Hansen paper that challenge its central claim (such as Allen and Stott).

    The main difference I see between these scientists (in their reax to the paper) is that the latter group is pulling its punches, and the former (especially Hoerling and Mass) is not.

  • jim

    Michael,The July 2012 temp exceeds the previous record (July 1936) by 0.11°C.  This is not a convincing marker of a new era in climate extremes.  It seems just the opposite: clear evidence that, overall, AGW has not yet brought a new era upon us.Your argument, however, about how AGW may affect blocking patterns, is interesting.  I’d be interested in hearing Cliff’s response.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis has been trying to push this meme for a long time, so it is no wonder he finds this paper welcome news.

    In the last few years it was pushing the Egyptian revolution, Pakistani floods, Russian heatwaves and Texan drought. And it didn’t matter how many scientific papers and pronouncements from meteorologists and historians were issued putting these events in their proper perspective–Dr. Tobis would grudingly admit their existence when pressed and said that it didn’t change his opinion.

    Dr. Tobis is certainly entitled to his opinion, as is Dr. Hansen. But what Hansen’s paper is equivalent to is a study of the economic cycle of the same period–it might be interesting, but failure to include the Great Depression sharply decreases its utility.This is a replacement story. The previous central theme, with its polar bears, Himalayan glaciers and malarial spread, did not work. I doubt if this one will either. But this has all the hallmarks of a study pressed into service to support a point of view, not a point of view that emerges from a study of the data.

  • grypo

    “The main difference I see between these scientists (in their reax to the paper) is that the latter group is pulling its punches, and the former (especially Hoerling and Mass) is not.”

    Actually, these different people have different contentions and different things to say. I’d love to know how you came about the information that Allen and Stott are “pulling its punches”. That information may be useful to get closer to the truth.

  • Keith Kloor

    grypo (33)

    “I’d love to know how you came about the information that Allen and Stott are ‘pulling its punches’.”

    I’m using my intuition.

  • grypo

    If we look at what Stott said:

    “While we can provide evidence that the risk of heatwaves has increased, we cannot say that the chances of such heatwaves were negligible before global warming set in.”

    From the abstract of Hansen’s paper:

    “It follows that we can state, with a high degree of confidence, that extreme anomalies such as those in Texas and Oklahoma in 2011 and Moscow in 2010 were a consequence of global warming because their likelihood in the absence of global warming was exceedingly small.”

    Definitions are not negligible.

  • grypo

    Myles Allen:

    “Dr. Myles Allen is head of the of the climate dynamics group at Oxford University. He’s reportedly said the results of the study are ‘broadly in line’ with recent similar papers. But Allen questioned Hansen’s interpretation of the data. In particular, the suggestion that recent heat waves must have been a result of global warming because their likelihood otherwise was very small.”

    I won’t get into Hoerling (who didn’t actually say anything worth print unless you like silly fighting words) or Mass, who, as several commenters pointed out, is wayyy off base in his assumptions on Hansen 12 (and it is a rhetoric-filled post besides), but I will mention Tamino’s criticism as valid, although until he picks up that ball again, I’m not sure we can say how much.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith,

    I’m not sure I understand the relevance of your claim about “intuition”.

    In the first comment of this thread, Jonathan Gilligan underlines that a scientific debate can happen between specific viewpoints, more or less peripheral to the mainstream one. That this scientific debate centers around interpretations and inferences that are intuitive to some but not others sounds like a natural way to describe how things work.

    In any case, I do wonder if “not holding punches” can help explore avenues in a constructive way. Since you did wonder about that on a related subject, why not ask the same question now?

    ***

    grypo,

    Perhaps you believe that Hoerling didn’t actually say anything worth print unless you like silly fighting words because you start with different assumptions than him?

    Again, just my intuition.

  • grypo

    Well, I certainly have different assumptions that  that of Hoerling, but whether or not it is ‘worth print’ would have to do with how my assumptions differ from those who printed them. ;)

  • Tom Scharf

    #28: “Until now. That is what makes this paper important.”

    You can believe that if you want.  But math simply doesn’t work that way.  If you want to believe that this data that has been analyzed ad nauseum and nothing significant has been found, and then an activist scientist invents some new alternate statistical methods and finds “certain scientific truth” that directly contradicts everything out there, then that is your option.  You might want to look up the term confirmation bias in Wikipedia.

    As much as you want to believe that Hansen has specially gifted math mojo, the fact is that this stuff is really not that hard to interpret by anyone skilled in the art of data processing and signal processing.

    Simply examining graphical trends of extreme events tells you 95% of everything you need to know.  No significant trends.  Period.  There is simply no need to invent new ways to analyze obvious data, unless you have an agenda.  

    When a scientist resorts to using advanced statistical measurements that he barely understands, it is because he hasn’t found the answers he was looking for using the standard measurements.  

    When you have really noisy data, you can run a lot of different statistical measurements and get a huge variance in results telling you just about anything you want.  And when this happens the honest scientist will say “these data methods are telling me nothing”, the dishonest scientist will pick the one he likes the best and publish those results.

    The hidden question that I (and many others) would really like to know is how many statistical methods and data filters did Hansen run through and discard before he found the “truth”.  “Hmmmmm… I just can’t get this to work at all with the 1930’s in there….I’ll just leave it out and pretend it doesn’t belong….maybe they won’t notice”.

    There is a reason that the FDA requires pharmaceutical studies to publish and get approved data collection and processing methods BEFORE the data is collected.  There is a reason that the people collecting the data do not know who is in the control group (double blind).  It prevents collection bias, data mining, and statistical “inventions” from biasing the results. They don’t require this because it might be problem, they do it because it has been demonstrated to be a problem.

  • PDA

    The situation on the ground has deteriorated, and intuition has already captured that for many of us, including leading meteorologists who have a great deal of experience to draw upon. Hansen has found a statistical measure that shows clearly and unambiguously that such perceptions are valid.

    Obviously, the important word in this passage is “intuition.” Readers can safely ignore everything that follows the proscribed term, as a pulled punch will always trump a hunch; even one supported by statistical analysis.

    If anyone is trying to put mt in the role of the Cassandra forever warning about the Trojan Bus, it sure doesn’t seem to be mt himself.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #39, This is another common mistake:If you want to believe that this data that has been analyzed ad nauseum and nothing significant has been found, and then an activist scientist invents some new alternate statistical methods and finds “certain scientific truth” that directly contradicts everything out there, then that is your option.  Attribution does not contradict prior lack of attribution. Lack of attribution can be superseded by attribution as more information gets collected.I agree that one can manufacture significance by trying enough weird measures. But this case is nothing like that. Hansen has shown a significant increase in locally hot events. It’s a perfectly sensible measure perfectly realistically motivated by the events in Texas last year and Russia the year before.On other matters, I think Tamino’s thing is just a quibble. I would be astonished if it changed the picture very much.As for earlier dates per Tom Fuller, that’s not an unreasonable suggestion. But while the American dust bowl was a big event in America, this is a global analysis, so going back to the 30s would probably not change the picture much. There would certainly be a tradeoff with less reliable and uniform data worldwide. That said, anyone who wants to try that can go ahead and do it using whatever dataset they choose. Again it’s hard to imagine this making the kind of difference to override the very striking results that Hansen has got. But it may be worth the attempt.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    “But what Hansen’s paper is equivalent to is a study of the economic cycle of the same period”“it might be interesting, but failure to include the Great Depression sharply decreases its utility.This is a replacement story. The previous central theme, with its polar bears, Himalayan glaciers and malarial spread, did not work. I doubt if this one will either. But this has all the hallmarks of a study pressed into service to support a point of view, not a point of view that emerges from a study of the data.”dang it, Fuller, if only you could think half as well as you write… That’s a real gem of a paragraph. It’s a real pity, on so many levels, that it is wrong.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Guess we’ll see, Dr. Tobis.

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    Tom Scharf,I’m happy to be corrected but my understanding is that previous studies of the relationship between the recent heatwaves and global warming have concentrated on the physical processes involved and Hansen’s approach of looking at it from a statistical perspective is a novel one. 

  • Sashka

    @27

    I think what he’s doing now is somewhat akin to what Stephen Schneider did shortly before his sad passing”“putting his imprimatur on a paper that does not live up to the standards he has set during his career.

    What standards?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sashka, Stephen Schneider stood up to a consensus that was just as strong as the climate consensus over the concept of nuclear winter. And won. With science.

  • Sashka

    That doesn’t describe his whole career.

  • Paul Kelly

    MT’s lament “if only you could think half as well as you write” also applies to him. MT is a fine writer, yet understanding diminishes outside the bubble of his expertise in the justification of AGW as an existential threat. Fuller is foolish to argue science with him. MT does not suffer from an information deficit. Neither does Fuller who understands the inapplicability of the information deficit, but continues to act within it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Paul, I think I need a translation.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Paul Kelly,

    What would justify AGW as an existential threat to you?

    I get the intuition that we’re rehearsing the “Yes, but CAGW activism” all over again.

  • Paul Kelly

    Tom,I think you have as much responsibility as MT does in moving past the this is war mentality that dominates the climate world. MT rejects cooperative effort. You don’t. You accept a variety of reasons for a shared goal. He doesn’t. You and he will never agree on the science. Only time will tell who is right and the answer is irrelevant to what is possible to do today. MT sits on a stool with three broken legs. He thinks the legs are fine. Oh, maybe one of the legs could use a minor repair, but this stool’s been around for more than twenty years and he’s quite comfortable wobbling on it. We think it obviously needs new legs.

  • PDA

    MT rejects cooperative effort?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    There are so many misrepresentations, falsehoods, and logical errors @51 that I was at a loss at where to start. Thanks for getting the ball rolling PDA.

  • Paul Kelly

    Willard,So far nothing justifies AGW as an existential threat, at least for the next century or so. I am optimistic that carbon burning will be replaced. A possible climate change existential threat is the end of the interglacial.                                                                                                                                                                                        Not sure what you mean by rehearsing the “Yes, but CAGW activism” all over again. I’ve pretty clear that the correct activism for replacing fossil fuels is the same regardless of one’s interpretation of the science.                                                                                           

  • Paul Kelly

    @52 & 53Yes, MT rejects a cooperative effort model for communication of climate issues. He has one so repeatedly and passionately.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Paul, I will move forward with cooperative efforts (already have, in fact). Doubt if it will ever be with Dr. Tobis, however.Until the CAGW activists accept that a big tent will get them to places a small tent won’t, they have the same net effect as Morano and Monckton, although obviously for different reasons.

  • PDA

    Who is it you’re cooperating with, Tom?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Paul what exactly is a ‘cooperative model for communication of climate issues’? Further, is it possible to support such a model while still questioning whether or not it is sufficient to the problem at hand? Oh and can I have a pony?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #58 that would be Lee Marvin in Cat Ballou.PDA, until you start answering questions, I ain’t answering any more of yours.

  • Paul Kelly

    Marlowe.

    In the information deficit model every discussion must include education on the science
    and the threat. In the cooperative effort model, every discussion must include a search
    for any agreement for any reason, no matter how large or how small, on
    action toward the solutions. The model has been described quite a bit in scholarly publications, most recently in Nature.
    No communication model is sufficient in and of itself. It is intended
    to be one leg of the stool. The measure is whether it is applicable to
    the task. On this, science is on my side.

  • PDA

    Well, Tom, you brought it up, so I imagined you might want to discuss it. Fine if you don’t.

    The only question I can recall you asking recently that I’ve declined is “what’s your opinion about the trillionth-tonne concept?” It seems to me what you’re saying is that you don’t want to engage about the topic at hand – something that you seem to feel is important – but would prefer to get into a food fight with me about a whole other thread. 

    I’d ask if this perception of mine is true, but apparently there’s a hoop I have to jump through before I get to even pose that question.

    I guess this whole “cooperative communication” thing is too sophisticated for me.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Yeah, PDA, guess so.

  • PDA

    Good luck pitching that big tent, then, chief.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Have a nice day, PDA.

  • BBD

    Tom @ 43

    Guess we’ll see, Dr. Tobis.

    I guess we will. MT, you, me and everyone else. I will be following the published responses (if any) to HSR12 with interest. If it turns out that there are in fact no serious methodological flaws in the study, you and I will be revisiting this topic, regularly.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Marlowe,

    Here’s your pony:

    > A major challenge facing climate scientists is explaining to non-specialists the risks and uncertainties surrounding potential changes over the coming years, decades and centuries. Although there are many guidelines for climate communication, there is little empirical evidence of their efficacy, whether for dispassionately explaining the science or for persuading people to act in more sustainable ways. Moreover, climate communication faces new challenges as assessments of climate-related changes confront uncertainty more explicitly and adopt risk-based approaches to evaluating impacts. Given its critical importance, public understanding of climate science deserves the strongest possible communications science to convey the practical implications of large, complex, uncertain physical, biological and social processes. Here, we identify the communications science that is needed to meet this challenge and the ambitious, interdisciplinary initiative that its effective application to climate science requires.

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/dilemmas-in-science-communication/#comment-16344

    Please also notice our own Groundskeeper’s cooperative shirt-rippin’ in that thread, to have a better intuitive feel of what cooperative communication should look like.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Marlowe,

    Here’s your pony:

    http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2012/04/17/dilemmas-in-science-communication/#comment-16344

    I don’t find the confirmation Paul’s leitmotiv that intuitive, but anywho.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD you’ll note Fuller’s hapless reply to #18. I’d say any further discussion with him on this topic is bound to be entertaining :)

  • Sashka

    The technical criticism of Hansen’s paper can be found here. Look at the plot near the end.

  • andrew adams

    Paul Kelly,

    In the cooperative effort model, every discussion must include a search for any agreement for any reason, no matter how large or how small, on action toward the solutions.

    OK, so what happens if the actions on which you have managed to reach agreement don’t even come close to being sufficient to solve the problem?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sashka, we all know Tamino is a denier–who needs to look at his analysis? :)

  • BBD

    Sashka

    Tamino used annual data for the contiguous US. Hansen used the whole NH land surface and focussed on JJA only. Tamino asks interesting questions but doesn’t show that HSR12 is actually wrong. I await developments with properly sceptical interest.

  • harrywr2

    #58 “˜cooperative model for communication of climate issues’? Here is a quote from the official website of the Senator Inhofe, public enemy #1 of the climate concerned.http://inhofe.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=KeyIssues.View&Issue_id=4afe582f-a6f2-26f4-864e-b9d55562c2a4&CFID=20965653&CFTOKEN=41967276

    America’s energy supply should be stable, diverse, and affordable.  This
    means we must work to increase domestic energy production by expanding development and refining of oil, increasing exploration and production
    of natural gas, continuing development and innovative uses of coal and
    clean coal technologies, developing renewable sources of energy such as
    wind and cellulosic biofuels, and further developing nuclear energy
    .

    Of course the Joe Romm’s of the world will never be able to bring themselves to read the last line of Senator Inhoffe’s ‘Official Statement’.Even Senator Inhofe agrees with some of the solutions put forward by the ‘Climate Concerned’.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew Adams, if I can jump in front of Paul, I’m not thoroughly familiar with the model for cooperative effort, at least not a formal description of it, but I would reply, saying:

    Because the top down command approach has not worked,

    Because the information deficit model has not worked

    It is only through a bottom-up effort that we can send the correct signals to politicians and manufacturers regarding societal preferences.

    Individual green actions, ranging from conservation to purchases of things like Energy Star appliances to hybrid cars to solar panels, send signals to the entire market about what we want. Legislators use these signals when making laws. Regulators use them when making regulations. Manufacturers use them when making making product decisions.

    What we need to do in essence is start a parade, mostly so they can jump in front of it and pretend they’re leading it.

  • BBD

    Tom

    It’s possible that a cooperative effort might come about sooner if this sentiment were less vigorously broadcast:

    Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive. The only question is whether he was among those he sought to deceive.

  • PDA

    Nonsense, BBD.

    Calling your interlocutors liars, or drunks – or both – is a hallmark of the cooperative model.

    There appears to be something wrong with your stool.

  • grypo

    What is actually in Tamino’s post and what it means appear to be tales growing further apart by the minute. I see nothing within his critique that would question the findings about the increase in frequency of 3 sigma events in just over 30 years.

    There is an issue with variance from local to local, but it has yet to be fully explored. Here is Tamino himself, with his most recent words on the subject.

    [Response: Note that I re-scaled the data by the standard deviation for its individual month, thereby countering the effect of different variance during different months. Also, I didn’t average the entire year, I simply used all 12 months of each year. Still, year-round (rather than seasonal) data may indeed mask a change which is specific to one season (summer). Perhaps it’s comparing “granny smith” to “red delicious.”

    The fact remains that when different regions warm differently, the variance of the data will be the sum of the local variances and the inter-regional variance. I think the issue deserves further investigation.]

    I’d also like to get into why Stott’s and Allen’s words are important, but I get the feeling that this isn’t what people want to hear. They’d rather hear Hoerling and Mass thump on a well-worn punching bag.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    harrywr2,

    Here’s what I could find by clicking on the first link in the text you cite:

    Their [Dems’] hope is that if we restrict enough supply, the price of fossil fuels will increase, and we can then simply shift to a green economy-but this is wishful thinking. Clean energy certainly plays a role in our diverse energy profile, but in most cases these alternatives are not yet deployable in a form that can meet all our existing energy needs efficiently, affordably, and reliably. We still have to power this machine called America and we can’t do it without oil, coal and natural gas.

    http://epw.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?FuseAction=Issues.View&Issue_id=0cc2f398-cfad-4074-9c07-fb38bfdad1f5&CFID=20706023&CFTOKEN=61631820

    The subtitle of the page is interesting.

  • andrew adams

    Tom,

    I’m all in favour of doing those things and I agree that simply sitting back and waiting for politicians to take action isn’t sufficient – we have to send signals that it is politically safe (or even necessary) to take action. We seem to have achieved that up to a point in the UK in that all of the mainsteam parties feel it necessary to display their “green” credentials, although the government now seems to be furiously backpedalling.

    But ISTM that this model still accepts that action by governments is ultimately necessary and it depends on there being sufficient support for action amongst the public to send the necessary signals to politicians and regulators, and it doesn’t tell us how we persuade those who are unpersuaded by or resistant to the idea that we actually have a problem.

    What I understand by Paul’s idea of co-operative effort is instead of arguing with the skeptics and unpersuaded or trying to give them more information we should find areas of agreement where then can be persuaded that action is necessary, often where there are justifications other than combatting climate change. In other words, concentrate on finding win-win solutions. My problem with this, as I have said before, is that such an approach will not result in sufficient actions to seriously address the problem we face

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi AndrewYou may be right. But it sometimes seems that it’s that or nothing.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #77,

    “What is actually in Tamino’s post and what it means appear to be tales growing further apart by the minute. I see nothing within his critique that would question the findings about the increase in frequency of 3 sigma events in just over 30 years.”

    It depends whether you’re questioning the method or the conclusion, and this is a recurring theme in the controversy. To some people, methods matter; to others, only conclusions matter. It’s a major difference in scientific philosophies.

    From the sceptic point of view, this is how it often appears. A new paper is published that comes to dramatic orthodoxy-supporting conclusions by an invalid method. The media report the conclusions. The supporters cite the conclusions. The sceptics (or sometimes others, as now) point out the problems with the method, and maybe after a fight people will accept they’ve got a point. But it’s too late by then, because the conclusion is already established, and it will now take positive evidence to dislodge. Even though the criticism correctly points out that the conclusion should never have been drawn in the first place, it doesn’t actually prove it’s untrue, and so is a ‘weak argument’. It has failed to discredit the conclusion itself, and so can be ignored. It’s called the “the errors don’t matter” argument.

    Until that philosophical difference is resolved, people will continue to talk past one another.

    Tamino’s critique is, I think, a good one. There are plenty of others. As everyone notes the period selected for a baseline is potentially unrepresentative – globally it’s actually the 1940s that were warm, (the 1930s was specifically US history,) and in any case 30 years is far too short a period to capture natural variability. I think the convention started because when they first considered climate they had 30 years of data. I’ve never seen any calculation showing that 30 years was sufficient. (e.g. by showing the frequency spectrum was zero below 1/30yrs.)

    Another problem is the usual assumption that anything that happens in the modern period is due to an unnatural climate change, a form or correlation implying causation, or post hoc ergo propter hoc. We have long argued that the climate varies naturally – the mean taken over short intervals goes up and down, so why not the variance?

    The assumption is being made that the variance is usually constant, as people used to assume the mean was constant, and that therefore if the variance increases that must be unprecedented. But I’ve not seen anyone show that the variance of the climate in the past was flat – it’s another attempt to construct a hockeystick from just the blade.

    This issue is confused further by the changes in sample size. Gridcell datasets show wider variances in cells with fewer stations. As time progresses, more stations have led to narrowing variances, up until the great dying of the thermometers when one would expect the variance to jump up. With GISSTEMP’s weird extrapolation, it’s hard to tell how many stations contribute to any cell. Has this been accounted for?

    And of course any form of averaging will blur out the difference between brief “heatwaves” and longer periods of slightly elevated temperatures. The bits of the graph Hansen is pointing to are only 3-5 C above normal. Temperatures vary more than that day-to-day, and nobody is going to call it a heatwave because it’s 3 C warmer than expected. It’s a heatwave when it’s 10-15 C warmer than normal for a week, and it’s been averaged out over a longer period. And since this statistic mixes up heatwaves with non-heatwave weather, it doesn’t tell us anything for certain about heatwaves. You’d need to look at daily records for individual weather stations.

    Finally, on the question of whether it was “deceptive”, this is in its way a compliment. People find it hard to credit that Hansen of all people doesn’t know all this. He’s looked at the data in detail. He must have seen what it looked like in the 1940s. He must know about the questionable variances due to sample sizes. He must know that +3 C isn’t a heatwave. He must know that the frequency of actual heatwaves over the longer term has been studied in various places, and no dramatic trends found.

    He’s not some random incompetent blogger on the internet. He must know how controversial these claims are, how much work still needs to be done to verify them and reconcile them to earlier results. And yet here he is writing op-eds in the Washington Post, breaking the great taboo by attributing individual weather events to climate change, just where it’s liable to influence political opinion.

    Is he really that sure of himself?

  • John W. Garrett

    Hansen is spouting bloody nonsense and, for the nth time, his wild exaggerations are a tremendous disservice to “science.”It is refreshing and a relief to see that serious scientists (thank you Martin Hoerling) are taking him to task by labeling Hansen’s pronouncements for what they are.Seth Borenstein and his ilk should be ashamed and embarassed. They are enabling junk science and encouraging its increase and diffusion.  

  • Keith Kloor

    grypo (77)

    “I’d also like to get into why Stott’s and Allen’s words are important, but I get the feeling that this isn’t what people want to hear.”

    On the contrary, I’m all ears. Both scientists have made their criticisms in numerous media outlets. I’d also like to see a critique of Mass’s post on Hansen’s paper–by his colleagues, should they have one. 

    It appears that Gavin Schmidt agrees with you, Here’s a recent comment and inline response I noticed at RC:

    “I left a detailed comment, moderated out ,regarding the difference of scientific opinion on the paper by Dr Hansen reported upon in Wednesday’s NYT. In a nutshell I asked which of those if those agreeing with or dissenting from the conclusions of that paper were correct. I have no idea why this comment seeking information from experts in the field was not published. Are the critics correct or are they not?”

    [Response: Not. – gavin]

    I’d like to hear why they aren’t correct. Given the high profile nature of Hansen’s paper (and his elaboration of it in an op-ed, and the critical responses to it by some of his peers, I’d welcome a fuller engagement with it by climate scientists at RC or elsewhere.

  • grypo

    On the contrary, I’m all ears.

    Keith,

    Stott and Allen were one of the first to begin to look at attribution differently, knowing that pulling a p-value out of all the noise was impossibl. So to have them disagree with the final results of the paper would be important. They don’t actually go as far, and expectantly so, they agree with parts but object to some of the language used to describe the attribution. Following up on that would be very useful, especially finding out whether they are reacting to the paper’s conclusions regarding 3 sigma changes, variation, attribution language etc.

    Stott and Allen wrote this:

    Using a threshold for mean summer temperature that was exceeded in 2003, but in no other year since the start of the instrumental record in 1851, we estimate it is very likely (confidence level >90%)9 that human influence has at least doubled the risk of a heatwave exceeding this threshold magnitude.

    The Mass crit appears to be a dead end (not that you’ll take my word for it), with the exception of following up on a choice of baseline (which Hansen defends) with other experts.

  • grypo

    Andrew Freedman already made the connection to attribution with Stott.

    Also, he has a quote from Gavin that shows that he may agree with Tamino

    The one stretch in the paper is in the linking of the increase in areal extremes to an increase in climate variability

  • Marlowe Johnson

    What we need to do in essence is start a parade, mostly so they can jump in front of it and pretend they’re leading it.

    It seems to me that publishing a book about stolen emails from climate scientists wherein you accuse them of academic fraud isn’t exactly the most constructive way of ‘starting a parade’. In fact, it would seem that publishing such a book would have the opposite effect. Your mendacity, as always, is breathtaking.

    @Keith,

    If you’re looking for considered replies to Mass and Hoerling, I suggest you take a look at the comments over at Cliff’s blog. Perhaps the folks at RC will also put up a more detailed reply, but given that Hansen is Gavin’s boss, I wonder about the optics of that approach.

  • harrywr2

    #79,

    We seem to have achieved that up to a point in the UK in that all of the
    mainsteam parties feel it necessary to display their “green”
    credentials, although the government now seems to be furiously
    backpedalling.

    The questions related to  ‘Energy Security’ are much more pronounced in the UK.  The UK is a net importer of coal, oil and gas.

    In the US there was much broader support for action on ‘Climate Change’ in 2005 and 2007 when ‘most analysts’ expected the US to become a net importer of natural gas in the near future.

    I’m reminded of the quote of some french leader as to their decision to go ‘nuclear’.We have no gas, no oil and no coal, we have no choice.

    Broad support for a policy almost always involves multiple ancillary motivations. 

  • Keith Kloor

    Marlowe (86)

    I’m paying attention to the comments in that thread. So far, I see a a ping pong match. 

    It’d be nice if other climate scientists jumped in there to engage. I’ve noticed that Eric Steig has been a commenter on previous threads. Maybe he’ll weigh in, among others.

    Meanwhile, the conflicting professional assessments of the Hansen paper and apparent misunderstanding of it (from many?) invites clarification from places like Real Climate. It need not be Gavin. There are other contributors–or they could have a guest poster–someone who is an attribution expert. This seems like something we all could agree on, I imagine. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harry, we’re in the opposite situation now. Twenty years ago there were about 50,000 nuclear missiles in the world. That was widely recognized as a surplus, but stockpiles ‘benefited’ their holders with a feeling of increased security.

    What were the mechanisms that led to a present day with less than 5,000 of the damn things?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    I agree with everything you say Keith.

  • Joshua

    Calling your interlocutors liars, or drunks ““ or both ““ is a hallmark of the cooperative model.

    +1

  • Joshua

    Finally, on the question of whether it was “deceptive”, this is in its way a compliment.

    -1

  • Joshua

    - 88 – Keith –

    I predict that you will see the type of analysis you’re looking for. Perhaps people want to take some time to be careful in how they present their analysis.

    Perhaps the fact that other people have weighed in so quickly  is also informative in that regard?

  • Joshua

    #79 – AA –

    In other words, concentrate on finding win-win solutions. My problem with this, as I have said before, is that such an approach will not result in sufficient actions to seriously address the problem we face

    I think that perhaps? you are creating a false dichotomy. A focus on differentiating positions from values and/or goals is not mutually exclusive from developing both bottom-up or top-down policy (the split between those is another false dichotomy – one that I think both sides tend to fall into with a binary mentality).

    Basic (win-win/getting to yes) conflict negotiation is predicated on differentiating positions from values/goals and then creating alignment along values/goals. If you think that it is possible to enact policy without negotiating through the conflicts, then maybe policies can be enacted. I don’t think that’s going to happen – except if there is completely unambiguous evidence of massive impact from climate change on a short-term scale.What do you think?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    From what I can understand, I believe that this:

    You [Andrew] may be right [Paul’s approach will not result in sufficient actions to seriously address the problem we face]. But it sometimes seems that it’s that or nothing.

    I believe this seeming is at the root of our failure to communicate.

    If enough people cooperate to disavow that it’s not “that or nothing”, we might put that lukewarm discussing meme behind us, like we did with other greenline tests.

  • Joshua

    Willard –

    To borrow from Keith – what we see is an abundance of a zero sum gain mentality. When warriors on either side of the debate mechanism engage in a zero sum gain approach, should it be any surprise that they generate much heat but little light?

    What “other greenline tests” are you referring to?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    Please look under this tag:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/tagged/beingtested

    I believe that you forget the most important part of climate blogland: commenters attributing zero sum gain mentality to others.

    We have met the enemy and he is us.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    Here’s my favorite:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/22836534127

    I just filed it under the appropriate tag.

    Tumblr decided to stop parsing hypenated tags. I had to redo everything from scratch.

  • Joshua

    Willard -Well, I’m not sure which is more important… and it’s really all kind of the same thing, isn’t it?

    Person A says that Person B  is saying it’s all or nothing, even though Person A never said any such thing. Why? Because Person B has an all or nothing approach to the debate.

    “Situation normal, sir, all biases confirmed.” 

    Pinnacle of literary genius: Shakespeare or Walt Kelly?

  • Joshua

    All your biases are belong to us!

    Effin’ beautiful if I do say so myself.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Andrew Adams at #79, do you have ideas on how to yoke bottom-up approaches to reducing CO2 emissions to broader-based initiatives with centralized backing (or, if necessary, leadership)?

    I’m thinking of environmental issues in my lifetime that have been successfully addressed, in addition to our experience with nuclear stockpiles.How did lead get out of gasoline, pipes and paint? How did mercury contamination get addressed (to the extent that it has)? 

    On the flip side of the coin, how did the Green Revolution in agriculture spread (to the extent that it has spread)?

    In all of those cases, if I remember correctly, there were three classes of actor that pushed in parallel, not in unison, towards a broad goal. The public, non-governmental organizations and governments.

    Here, the public is broadly on board if the costs do not affect their personal lives. Non-governmental organizations are fiercely on board. Governments are at least paying lip service to the cause, and crucially do not seem to be obstructing efforts in this direction.

    And it seems to be working. CO2 emissions have peaked in the developed world, broadly speaking, and it seems plausible that they will decline significantly. The developing world is very aware of greenhouse gases and are only prevented by demographics and development from joining the parade.

    What I see as the major remaining issue may come down to what I was pushing at Dr. Tobis earlier–artificial deadlines, coupled with pessimistic but insistent estimates of sensitivity creating a sense of doom and dispiriting those who are generally moving in the right direction.

    There will be many (especially on comment threads such as this) who will mistake what I’m saying for a ‘Don’t worry, be happy’ message. It is not. What I think differentiates this ‘movement’ from other environmental ones is that there is no pronouncement of positive progress towards a goal.

    ‘You’re screwed, I’m screwed, we’re all screwed, but keep cutting emissions anyways’ may not be the most resonant message imaginable.

  • Joshua

    “˜You’re screwed, I’m screwed, we’re all screwed, but keep cutting
    emissions anyways’ may not be the most resonant message imaginable.

    Tom makes an point. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people saying exactly that. If only those other people would stop with this all or nothing nonsense.

  • harrywr2

    #89 Tom Fuller

    Harry, we’re in the opposite situation now. Twenty years ago there
    were about 50,000 nuclear missiles in the world. That was widely
    recognized as a surplus, but stockpiles “˜benefited’ their holders with a
    feeling of increased security. What were the mechanisms that led to a present day with less than 5,000 of the damn things?

    Mostly the ability to accurately verify thru technical and human means how many missiles our potential opponents have and their operational readiness status.

    Guidance and rocket technology has also improved to the point that the vast majority of missiles will hit their intended targets rather then a small minority.

    The inability to accurately estimate enemy strength combined with ‘targeting deficiencies’ ended up having the effect of having way more missiles then were needed.

    When the ‘wall came tumbling down’ it was shown that while the estimates of Soviet nuclear missile counts were reasonably accurate, the estimates of ‘operational readiness’ had been grossly overstated. I.E. A significant portion of Russia’s nuclear missiles weren’t ever going to get out of the silo due to lack of maintenance.

    Even today I can go and find estimates that as much as 50 percent of Russia’s substantially reduced nuclear missile arsenal is probably not launch capable. We know their manufacturing capabilities and rates of manufacturing various components and we know the shelf life of rocket motors and other things that will rust out/wear out with the simple passage of time

    Modern satellites are pretty good at detecting nuclear warheads…they really can’t tell if the rocket motor is completely rusted out or if the tritium triggers have been replaced according to schedule.

    Eisenhower tried to convince Khrushchev in the 1950’s that better information about the status of each others forces would prevent an unnecessary arms buildup. Khrushchev didn’t listen. Gorbachev finally got the memo.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keith,

    It seems to me that what we’re seeing here wrt to Hansen’s paper may be similar to what happened with the early hockey stick papers — methodological errors/weaknesses were found which have led some people to suggest that it invalidates the result, while others suggest not so much. Personally, whenever I see the kind of language that Mass and Hoerling use in this instance (i.e. political/emotional) I tend to discount the arguments that they make.

    Guess we’ll have wait and see.

  • grypo

    The difference is, Marlowe (#104), that Mass and Hoerling don’t even touch the methodological error that was found by Tamino, and that methodological error has nothing to do with the important result about outliers. Mass has one interesting question about where to put the baseline, which is reasonable from different arguments, and Hoerling doesn’t have anything that even approaches interesting from any standpoint. Meet the new standby quote.

    Several scientists (Stott, Allen, Tebaldi) have good questions about the way the language was used for attribution —
    ‘attribution of specific heat waves to climate change was not backed by persuasive evidence’
    ‘I don’t agree with how Hansen frames his conclusion in terms of the Texas 2011 and Moscow 2010 heat waves having been “caused by global warming’ —
    but thought the paper was ‘in line’ with other results.

    That’s my breakdown.

  • BBD

    Marlowe @ 104

    Exactly. +1.

  • BBD

    @ 76 PDA

    :-)

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard people saying exactly that. [You’re screwed, I’m screwed, we’re all screwed, but keep cutting emissions anyways]. If only those other people would stop with this all or nothing nonsense.

    While I agree with the sentiment, I’d like an example of such nonsense.

  • Joshua

    Willard –

    I hope you realize that I was being mockingly sarcastic for the purpose of pointing out Tom’s complete lack of insight. 

    “Those people” was the  clue.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Joshua,

    Thank you for your clarification.

    I believe the target of the caricature you mock could be something like this:

    Look, as a sales engineer you should understand this perfectly. We describe what our product actually does. But the other company is purely a PR outfit. They can tell the customer exactly what the customer wants to hear. What they can’t do is deliver.

    But if all that people decide upon is what makes them feel good, as opposed to who actually has product in the can and ready to ship, they will sign the contract with the wrong vendor.

    http://planet3.org/2012/08/07/wherein-our-hero-slips-into-social-science-denial/

    I just don’t see the point to argue about this anymore.

    This should be settled empirically.

  • grypo

    Hansen is circulating a detailed defense of the baseline period choice and comparison’s to the period going back to ’31.http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/2012/20120811_DiceDataDiscussion.pdf

  • andrew adams

    Joshua,I think that perhaps? you are creating a false dichotomy. A focus on differentiating positions from values and/or goals is not mutually exclusive from developing both bottom-up or top-down policy (the split between those is another false dichotomy ““ one that I think both sides tend to fall into with a binary mentality).I certainly wasn’t suggesting that such things are mutually exclusive, merely that the one is not an adequate substitute for the other. Basic (win-win/getting to yes) conflict negotiation is predicated on differentiating positions from values/goals and then creating alignment along values/goals. If you think that it is possible to enact policy without negotiating through the conflicts, then maybe policies can be enacted. I don’t think that’s going to happen ““ except if there is completely unambiguous evidence of massive impact from climate change on a short-term scale.What do you think? I don’t doubt here are some policies which can be enacted in such a way, but there will come a point when the differences in goals/values are insurmountable and no further progress can be made. To put it bluntly, one side has to win and the other has to lose. There is nothing particularly shocking about this, it’s the same as with many difficult political questions where there are groups of people with strongly opposed positions. Obama watered down his health care reforms to an extent to try to find common ground with his opponents but in the end the Republicans were still bitterly opposed to them and he still got them through anyway. Nice sounding “win-win/getting to yes” solutions are all very well for resolving conflict at an individual level in domestic or work situations, they are often not going to solve thorny political issues.I guess that the kind of massive impact from climate change you refer to could change the values/goals of the skeptics to a point where they would be more prepared to enact more drastic emissions reduction policies but I think it will be some time before we see changes which are so extreme and so unambiguously caused by human activity that their views will shift. Look at how furiously resistant some people are at the moment to the slightest suggestion that recent extreme events might possibly influenced by AGW – and I’m talking about people who would not call themselves hardcore skeptics here.

  • andrew adams

    Joshua,

    I think that perhaps? you are creating a false dichotomy. A focus on differentiating positions from values and/or goals is not mutually exclusive from developing both bottom-up or top-down policy (the split between those is another false dichotomy ““ one that I think both sides tend to fall into with a binary mentality).

    I certainly wasn’t suggesting that such things are mutually exclusive, merely that the one is not an adequate substitute for the other.

    Basic (win-win/getting to yes) conflict negotiation is predicated on differentiating positions from values/goals and then creating alignment along values/goals. If you think that it is possible to enact policy without negotiating through the conflicts, then maybe policies can be enacted. I don’t think that’s going to happen ““ except if there is completely unambiguous evidence of massive impact from climate change on a short-term scale.What do you think?

    I don’t doubt here are some policies which can be enacted in such a way, but there will come a point when the differences in goals/values are insurmountable and no further progress can be made. To put it bluntly, one side has to win and the other has to lose. There is nothing particularly shocking about this, it’s the same as with many difficult political questions where there are groups of people with strongly opposed positions. Obama watered down his health care reforms to an extent to try to find common ground with his opponents but in the end the Republicans were still bitterly opposed to them and he still got them through anyway.  Nice sounding “win-win/getting to yes” solutions are all very well for resolving conflict at an individual level in domestic or work situations, they are often not going to solve thorny political issues.

    I guess that the kind of massive impact from climate change you refer to could change the values/goals of the skeptics to a point where they would be more prepared to enact more drastic emissions reduction policies but I think it will be some time before we see changes which are so extreme and so unambiguously caused by human activity that their views will shift. Look at how furiously resistant some people are at the moment to the slightest suggestion that recent extreme events might possibly influenced by AGW – and I’m talking about people who would not call themselves hardcore skeptics here.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    It’s not the weather they’re upset about, Andrew. 

  • BBD

    So Tom, having read the HSR response originally linked by grypo at 111, do you still hold the view that HSR are trying to deceive? If so, please explain how, with clear reference to the methodology of HSR12. If you cannot, will you now retract this remark:

    Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive. The only question is whether he was among those he sought to deceive.

    If not, why not? 

  • BBD

    Also nice to see NIV’s misrepresentations at #81 exposed. NIV has been misrepresenting this paper ever since I first mentioned it here, several weeks ago.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #116,

    Which bit?

  • harrywr2

    #113

    To put it bluntly, one side has to win and the other has to lose.

    No sane government would risk civil unrest. This creates an upper bound on the amount of  ‘sacrifice’ that can be imposed. It also creates a bound on the balance between ‘winners and losers’.Just do a google search on ‘Fuel Subsidies’ + Riots.Or look at how it took the ‘losers’ to shift the US House of Representatives from ‘overwhelming Democrat majority’ to ‘overwhelming Republican majority’ in 2010.If I believe various alarmists then action on climate change requires a 40+ year sustained effort. You can’t make a 40 year sustained effort if you are going to advocate for a policy that put’s your ‘supportive’ political leaders in the unemployment line in under 2 years.

  • BBD

    NIV – all of it really – do read the HSR response linked at 115. You can see for yourself. Actually, it might be an idea to read the original paper too. Because I don’t think you have, have you?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #119,

    Ah. Non-specific “misrepresentations”, eh?

    Yes, I saw Hansen’s response a while back. It didn’t help a lot.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    harrywr2, at least in the United States that’s demonstrably not true. We had politicians on both sides of the Cold War issue that kept their jobs election after election advocating for and against the sustained military effort we put forth during that struggle.

    There was never an election where it was on the ballot. There was never an election where it was off the ballot. 

    What we’re seeing now regarding climate change is phase two of a long battle meant to convince the public that it is as important as the Cold War. Phase One was a dramatic failure. But, as I wrote in 2010, those who are convinced are not going to fold their tents and slink away because of one defeat. And dammit, if they’re convinced they shouldn’t, even if I disagree with them.

    Right now, they’re searching for resonance. In my cynical opinion they’re at the stage the American government was a few decades ago where they over-inflated estimates of the Rooshian’s military capabilities, technological progress and advancement towards victory. Turned out they exaggerated for effect. But they didn’t quit (still haven’t). They just added other stories to their quiver.

    This is a 30-year war and the consensus still has all the advantages. I believe they will win in the long run and that their victory will, despite big negatives accompanying their victory, be a net positive for humanity.

    Xtreme Weather may do what polar bears could not. Whether it does or doesn’t, there are two things to understand. First, the notion of Xtreme Weather is in fact politically driven. Whether or not it is based in pure truth or fiction. Second, if this meme fails to take hold the consensus team will find another.

  • andrew adams

    harrywr2,Governments do things all the time which their opponents strongly object to without it leading to civil unrest, or indeed without it leading to them being kicked out of office at the next election. I see no reason to assume that introducing policies to tackle climate change would necessarily lead to either of these things.

  • andrew adams

    Tom #114,I’m referring to objections to links between made recent extreme weather events and climate change. Sometimes they have a point, but I find the vehemence with which they treat even the notion that such links could be made a bit puzzling.

  • BBD

    Tom

    # 115?

  • BBD

    Nullius

    “all of it really” ≠ “non-specific “misrepresentations””

    It means ‘all of it’. See link above.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Andrew,I think a lot of skeptics feel like Charlie Brown with the consensus team holding the football. Hansen’s paper is being put out with no less, but certainly no more, airs of authority than accompanied previous pronouncements that were diminished by later fact-finding.I’m not sure that it’s this particular announcement or the fact that the premiere advocate and public face for the climate consensus has released a paper that claims his own analysis shows scientific certainty for his position. 

  • BBD

    Tom

    Waffle.

    Please be specific, as requested at # 115:

    So Tom, having read the HSR response originally linked by grypo at 111, do you still hold the view that HSR are trying to deceive? If so, please explain how, with clear reference to the methodology of HSR12. If you cannot, will you now retract this remark:

    Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive. The only question is whether he was among those he sought to deceive.

    If not, why not?

  • BBD

    Is it because you are a conspiracy theorist? Eg:

    Xtreme Weather may do what polar bears could not. Whether it does or doesn’t, there are two things to understand. First, the notion of Xtreme Weather is in fact politically driven. Whether or not it is based in pure truth or fiction. Second, if this meme fails to take hold the consensus team will find another.

  • harrywr2

    121 Tom Fuller,

    harrywr2, <i>We
    had politicians on both sides of the Cold War issue that kept their jobs election after election advocating for and against the sustained
    military effort we put forth during that struggle.</i>

    That’s what you get when the ‘data is fuzzy’.

    Soviet politicians had one thing in common with US politicians, they were good at finding money to build things but not so good at finding money to maintain things.

    The ‘fuzziest number’ of all was operational readiness. I.E. What percentage of tanks and missiles and airplanes are actually in working condition. I saw numbers in the range 30% for major US weapons systems in the late 1970’s. Obviously the number that was ‘advertised’ was 90% or some such nonsense.

    ‘Trust but Verify’ pretty much ended that charade.

  • BBD

    I like ‘Xtreme Weather’ btw. Is that a neologism on this thread, or has it already been done?

  • Tom Scharf

    #121 Tom,

    Credibility has a shelf life.  You seem to be of the opinion that continuously trotting out the latest tenuous climate disaster science meme has no long term consequences.

    There is a reason that the the “top” climate scientists on earth are warning of a grave threat to humanity and it is met with a collective yawn.  Would this happen if the top astronomers warned of an imminent asteroid impact?  No, it would be taken seriously.  

    Whose fault is it that climate science is being taken by the public on the same level as astrology, not astronomy?  Self inflicted wound I would suggest.  

    The actual worst case scenario is “real” evidence of a climate catastrophe is really found.  Who’s going to believe it?

  • BBD

    Tom Fuller

    # 115

    # 127

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi Tom Scharf,Yes, you have a point. I think the barrage of stories blaming global warming for everything from the plague to pimples served to wear out their welcome.And I wrote in a series of stories for Examiner.com that the problem in the climate debate at the end of the day was that the real moral of the old fable was that there was a wolf. But CAGW marched on…As for self-inflicted wounds, I guess we could ask Moe, Larry and Curly here–but they’re having too much fun.

  • BBD

    Tom

    I have now asked you repeatedly if you still hold the view that HSR are trying to deceive. Apparently you do. But you have not explained how, with clear reference to the methodology of HSR12. Absent this explanation, you must withdraw this smear:

    Dr. Hansen’s claims are deceptive. The only question is whether he was among those he sought to deceive.

    You have no choice. Back up the accusation of scientific misconduct with specifics, or eat it.

    Ignoring me won’t make me go away. And as I said upthread, we will be revisiting this topic every once in a while, as necessary. All ignoring me does is underline your appaling behaviour.

    You have screwed up abominably here, Tom.

  • Joshua

    ==>> There is a reason that the the “top” climate scientists on earth are
    warning of a grave threat to humanity and it is met with a collective yawn. <<==

    Yet more argument by assertion. It is interesting that no matter how many times I ask for some, any, validated data to support this argument of cause-and-effect (despite obvious conflating variables that I have specified many times), I get bupkis in response.

    Evidence, my friend, at least partially controlled for conflating variables, typically accompanies cause-and-effect analyses. Why, as a “skeptic,” do you think no such evidence is required to substantiate your beliefs?

    Think about it.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    I see grypo has already pointed to it (#111) but I would like to emphasize that Hansen et al’s latest contribution addresses the complaint about baseline period directly.

    The crucial result is that while the 1930s were anomalous in the US, the global picture was not remotely comparable. In fact, their figure 3 making the comparison directly is about as compelling and disconcerting a portrayal of how serious things have already become as any I have seen.

    To bring things back to reality, please recall that we have decades of deterioration of the situation ensuing after the moment the world decides to take the problem seriously.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Or we have decades of weather getting warmer, cooler or staying the same. We don’t know. We won’t know for 30 years. Hansen compared one 30-year period with another 30-year period.

    The history and prehistory of the American Southwest is a story of lurching from one period of devastating drought to another. What is happening there now is not unusual, no matter how many times Hansen says so. It is only by limiting the period of examination that he can say so.

    The last time Moscow heatwaves were in the news, not only did scientists write academic and peer-reviewed papers saying it was not connected to global warming, blog enthusiasts found historical records of many such heatwaves with exactly the same qualities.

  • Sashka

    @111

    Hansen’s response doesn’t address Tamino’s criticism.

    There’s a simple way to address it though. Imagine that the time turned backwards (or, if you will, that we suddenly turned on a giant CO2-sucking machine). In other words, suppose we have 60 years of temperature data in reverse order while CO2 is falling. Then take 2000-2010 as a baseline (stable climate) and repeat Hansen’s calculations. If Hansen is right then you’ll find that the probability of extreme events in 50-s is a lot lower than in 90-s. And vice versa.

  • Sashka

    @136

    Could you repeat again what is that we have?. I’m not sure I got the timeline or your English right.

  • Marlowe Johnson

     Hansen compared one 30-year period with another 30-year period. 

    It would seem that Tom hasn’t even bothered to read the paper yet. 

  • BBD

    Nor has Tom retracted his unsubstantiated accusation of scientific misconduct against Hansen and co-authors. Perhaps fundamental ignorance of the paper explains all. But if so, Tom’s position is looking even worse. He didn’t read but misunderstand the study and *then* accuse Hansen of deception. He claimed deception without even reading the study first. Ugly stuff.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sashka, from page 6 of the paper:

    “The large 1930s and 1940s anomalies in the United States do not obviate the conclusion that recent global warming, with high probability, is responsible for recent extreme anomalies. Our SI Text shows maps of temperature anomalies for 6 y with the greatest “hot” area (1931, 1934, 1936, 1941, 1947, 1953) in that early warm period. Those years were warmer (globally and in the United States) than the 1951″“1980 mean, so it is not surprising that the area with 3σ anomalies was greater than in the 1951″“1980 climatology. The year with the largest area of 3σ anomalies was 1941, when it reached 2.7% of Northern Hemisphere land area. This compares with recent values as great as 20% and a recent average of about 10%.”

    Which is why the paper is comparing 1951-1980 with 1981-2010.

  • BBD

    It’s a bit late to start speed-reading now Tom. Especially as you have to play catchy-uppy by reading the HSR response originally linked by grypo at 111 (and myself, twice), and mt’s comment about it.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Keep it up Tom!

  • harrywr2

    #136

    To bring things back to reality, please recall that we have decades of deterioration of the situation ensuing after the moment the world decides to take the problem seriously.

    Article in Scientific American

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=asian-demand-forecasts-boom-for-coal

    By 2020, the report projects China will produce 4.5 billion metric tons
    of coal annually, reflecting a 3.5 percent compounded annual growth rate over the next eight years.

    Some investing paper quoting Chinese Officials

    http://www.marketoracle.co.uk/Article33766.html

    The NEA announced that coal demand growth will be restricted to zero,and consumption to a maximum of around 3.9 to 4.1 billion metric tons a year by or before 2017.

    http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/07/19/Chinas-downturn-affecting-coal/UPI-64701342732986/

    The Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California estimates China’s coal demand will peak around 2030 due to replacement by other energy sources and that overall energy demand will plateau around 2040.

    Who is correct?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi HarryProbably none of the above. China’s government desperately wants to move to cleaner power but cannot risk energy shortages. Rising demand will outpace the greener energy they can build.

    They’ll probably start getting a handle on things around 2050 or so…

  • http://planet3.org mt

    “Or we have decades of weather getting warmer, cooler or staying the same. We don’t know. We won’t know for 30 years.”

    (swats forehead)Call up George Will. Maybe you both can go back to writing about baseball.

    Keith asks whether there is any hope of a constructive debate. Tom Fuller provides the answer, which is, sorry, not around here. Without quality control on information, the debate will remain meaningless.

    OK. Let me explain two things.First, things continue to “get worse” as long as CO2 gets rapidly extracted from the geological system and into the active exchanges near the surface, if only in terms of ocean chemistry and wildlife ecology, which are directly disturbed by the CO2, climate change or not.

    Second, although we are at this point 99% sure that the long term result will be warming and consider it likely-to-very-likely that this will be visible from decade to decade henceforth, we are 99.99999% sure that the climate will not stay the same, because we are altering a term in the energy balance. If we are absurdly lucky, some places will get colder while others get hotter, though nobody has proposed any mechanism for this. The one thing we know with certainty (*) is that things cannot stay the same or close to it.(* – barring some weird solipsist philosophy)

    Although it isn’t mutual, I try to cut Tom Fuller slack. I’ve always thought that his idea of evenhandedness and moderation combine with his lack of scientific sophistication to explain his odd ideas. But writing like this from someone who has been thinking about the problem for years is very hard to excuse. 

    In another thread, Keith asks plaintively for constructive debate. Here is the answer in a clear demonstration. There can be no constructive debate without quality control. The interface between the meritocracy of science and the democracy of governance is a very difficult one. Pretending it doesn’t exist reduces everything to noise, where nothing is or can be known.

    At this point, the so-called conservatives are presumably gearing up to defund science altogether, starting with the parts they like the least. It’s hard to fault them, though, if we set up our discourse so that science is rendered invisible.

    Seriously, why should we bother with science in the public interest if all that gets through is “we don’t know anything”? What on earth is the point?

  • http://planet3.org mt

    In #142 there does seem to be some misreading of the text. Tom Fuller seems to think it weakens Hansen’s argument somehow. I miss it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you are correct about the likelihood of having a constructive debate. I submit that the reason for that is your tendency to argue from religious principles alone.

    There’s no doubt that increased CO2 will tend to warm the atmosphere–nobody’s arguing that. And climate will change–that’s what it does.

    But automatically characterizing change as ‘getting worse’ is a false premise from which to argue. If you want to say 10C increase in GAT is getting worse, you won’t get much argument. But the fact is we don’t know how much temperature will rise because we don’t know sensitivity. We don’t know how quickly it will rise, so we don’t know the degree of stress it will inflict on other species. As 99% of the stress is caused by other human factors (introduction of alien species, habitat loss, hunting, pollution), we do not know the quantitative contribution of global warming.

    You cut me slack because you have acted dishonestly with me and feel guilty about it. However, pride prevents you from apologizing. That’s why I don’t cut you slack.

    You had your chance to engage with me about the science. You refused to take that chance despite repeated offers. You don’t like to engage about the science. You like media criticism. You just aren’t any good at it.

    Like the other whining three stooges here, you ask for help from Keith when things don’t go your way, not because of any real issues.

    And yeah, that’s the scientific spirit. ‘What’s the point?’

  • PDA

    how much difference is there between

    the fact is we don’t know how much temperature will rise because we don’t know sensitivity

    and

    “we don’t know anything”

    ?

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Fuller: “As 99% of the stress is caused by other human factors (introduction of alien species, habitat loss, hunting, pollution), we do not know the quantitative contribution of global warming.”

    Given the above premise, it would be 1%, obviously. The proportion is not likely to remain constant though.

    More to the point I don’t know what Tom Fuller wants me to apologize for, except for me calling Judith Curry out for not making any statistical sense, which I can’t because she didn’t. If there is some reason I owe Tom Fuller an apology he should tell me about it, offline. 

  • BBD

    Dr. Tobis, you are correct about the likelihood of having a constructive debate. I submit that the reason for that is your tendency to argue from religious principles alone.

    ?!

  • Joshua

    There’s no doubt that increased CO2 will tend to warm the atmosphere”“nobody’s arguing that.

    One of the more fascinating aspects of the climate debate is when “skeptics” like Tom and Tom claim that inaccurate claims by climate scientists has driven down public confidence in climate science* – yet these same “skeptics” ignore any potential impact of “skeptics” who claim that the warming effect of ACO2 is entirely in doubt. The existence of people who argue about whether  ACO2 can warm the climate, or can warm to the climate to any significant degree, is obvious and abundant. Yet we see claims that “nobody’s arguing that.”

    The climate debate is a true work of art.

    * (Here’s a hint, fellas: Poll data show that many Americans aren’t familiar with what climate scientists actually say about climate change and we
    also have clear data that people interpret information about climate change in ways that confirm their biases due to social, political, or
    cultural identity.)

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @152

    Once you realize that Fuller is projecting his failings onto others, his bloghorrea becomes a little easier to interpret.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you did to Judith Curry the same thing you have done to everyone who disagrees with your religion, including myself. In her case, you called her incompetent without taking the trouble of reading any of her papers.

    In my case, you lied to me, about me, and misrepresented what I have written. I have no desire to correspond with you privately.

  • Sashka

    @150

    The difference is huge. Hope it helps.

  • BBD

    Apologies for OT. As a speaker of UK English I’m occasionally at a disadvantage. For example, I’m not clear exactly what the term ‘butthurt’ means. Can anyone help?

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #154 I object.I don’t know of any uncorrected misrepresentations on my part. I will appreciate any being called to my attention.I really don’t lie. I am absurdly scrupulous in that regard.My religious beliefs are unassuming. I’m a deist and a Unitarian. I don’t think those philosophies interfere with my ability to be skeptical and critical of my own understanding. I detest dogma. What Fuller and others mistake for dogma is actually a relatively deep familiarity with the topics at hand and the coherence of the evidence. This means that there are cases in which I can be confident calling someone else out for nonsense. That is part of the job description of a scientist. Most claims are false, and saying “no” to the false claims is how the truth emerges. If the person uttering the nonsense is too ego-attached to the nonsense, they will take the criticism personally. It’s like dentistry. A certain amount of discomfort is part of the process. It can’t be helped.But confidence and dogma are very different beasts.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    see here BBD. a certain individual who shall not be named comes to mind….

  • Marlowe Johnson

    actually a more concise definition is here, along with a better gif.

  • BBD

    Thank you Marlowe. I seem to have been on the right track, which is always encouraging to know.

  • grypo

    “Hansen’s response doesn’t address Tamino’s criticism.”

    So?

    TO everyone else, Tamino has written a new blog post, and as I’ve been saying his critique has nothing to do with the 3 sigma result, and the 3-sigma result is the important part of the paper. Much. Those hoping Tamino’s crits were of more significance, or reaffirm Mass’s critique will be disappointed. This is were Tamino goes from skeptic convert hero to alarmist backstabber!

    For the Mass lovers:

    That’s why Hansen et al. is so important. From a purely scientific perspective it doesn’t really add to our knowledge. But from a human perspective, it lay s it on the line. We’ve had bad heat events in the past but now they ‘re so much more common they ‘re vastly more difficult to deal with, so stop kidding yourselves, it’s already a bad problem and it’s just gonna get worse.
    All this reveals the utter foolishness of Cliff Mass’s distorted view that global warming has little to do with the extreme heat witnessed in recent y ears in many places. His argument is that global warming has raised temperature in the U.S. by about 1 degree F, but last y ear’s Texas-Oklahoma heat wave was 7 to 8 deg.F over large portions of TX and OK, so global warming is only responsible for a small portion of that heat wave.

    Even if his result were correct (which it is not), he utterly misses the point. Rather than sum up the situation the wrong way as he does, Hansen et al. did it right, showing that global warming doesn’t just make heat waves hotter. What’s much much much more important is that it makes heat waves more frequent. Cliff Mass gives the impression that there’s nothing to worry about because our “3-sigma” events “” the real killers “” will only be one degree hotter, quite ignoring the fact that we’ll get 10 times as many of them

  • Joshua

    Watch out for that stampede.

    Which stampede?

    The stampede of “skeptics” running way from Tamino’s analysis. It is to laugh.

  • Sashka

    @158

    On the subject of misrepresentations, let’s return to your 19 where you object to Mass et al. assuming that the climate can be approximated by the sum of of baseline unforced climate and a linear trend.

    Could you explain what is it that you find so uncceptable about it and where is it refuted in Hansen et al?

    Did I miss your reply to 139?

  • Nullius in Verba

    153,

    “One of the more fascinating aspects of the climate debate is when “skeptics” like Tom and Tom claim that inaccurate claims by climate scientists has driven down public confidence in climate science* ““ yet these same “skeptics” ignore any potential impact of “skeptics” who claim that the warming effect of ACO2 is entirely in doubt.”

    Oh, it has an impact, and one that I frequently complain about to them when I come across them, but there’s nothing I can do about it and it’s one of those things you just have to live with. It’s the price of free speech, and free debate. The reason it has a lesser impact on the sceptical side, though, is that climate sceptics don’t (and can’t) rely on argument from authority. There’s an inherent asymmetry in that climate scientists are claiming expertise, while the sceptics generally do not. The sceptic claim is basically that climate scientists aren’t all that expert either.

    Yes, there are a variety of strange individuals on the internet with incorrect beliefs about greenhouse physics. But it doesn’t hurt our reputation because we have no reputation – we have to make it entirely on the strength of our arguments. It doesn’t hurt the credibility of our system because we have no organised system. A professional scientist going off the rails tarnishes the entire academic system of institutions and journals and peer-review and white lab coats that allowed it to happen, but an anonymous nobody on the internet going off the rails has no extended implications beyond that person. (Up to a point.) Each individual amateur sceptic is judged on their own merits. And professional sceptics can’t be discredited without discrediting the system.

    It has its advantages and disadvantages. As an anonymous label, I can’t rely on my professional reputation or expertise to persuade, because here I have neither. I can only use the content of what I actually say to persuade people that I know what I’m talking about. That’s harder to do. But it also means I can’t be hurt by blows against my credibility or reputation as an expert, because I claim neither, and rely on neither. Each individual argument I make stands or falls on its own merits. And every new argument is the start of a new game.

  • PDA

    climate sceptics don’t (and can’t) rely on argument from authority.

    No. But they can (and do) rely on argument by assertion. 

    And when those assertions are amplified by repetition and augmented by assertions like YOU CAN’T TRUST SCIENTISTS BECAUSE CLIMATEGATE, there is a very nice little self-reinforcing circle that is well-nigh impossible to break.

  • BBD

    PDA

    Well, that’s conspiracy theorists for you.

  • Sashka

    In@162

    So his original criticism still needs to be addressed no matter the amount of nonsense that he posted before or after.

    as I’ve been saying his critique has nothing to do with the 3 sigma result

    Nevertheless it does.
    put your comments here…

  • Nullius in Verba

    #166,

    It’s not much different to the assertion that ‘you can’t trust Climategate because multiple enquiries’.

    We don’t simply assert ‘because Climategate’. We tell people what’s in Climategate. Why would anyone who didn’t know what Climategate was be impressed by the name? It’s the content that has the effect, not the wrapping.

  • Joshua

    NiV –

    I hope that you do realize that your argument is completely different than the one argued by Tom – and which I have often seen among “skeptics” – which is that the potential of ACO2 to change the climate “isn’t being argued,” or “no one in the room” is arguing that, or that “skeptics” “don’t listen” to people who make such arguments.

    In fact, those arguments are ubiquitous. I read “skeptical” blogs a lot, and I see it a lot. It comes in different flavors and intensities, but such perspectives are well-represented.

    As to your argument. As with Tom’s there is an imbedded illogic at multiple levels:

    The reason it has a lesser impact on the sceptical side…

    Again, the argument that I see, over and over, is that public opinion – specifically a lack of widespread concern about climate change –  reflects the scientific debate. Either you reject that logic or you don’t (or you talk about the degree to which it is or isn’t true). If you accept that logic, then you’d have to say that the impact of people who argue that ACO2 has the potential to change the climate is quite large. Obviously, it would be a factor in public opinion. The argument is hear often. Google “CO2 is a trace gas.” Google “the contributions of cows to global warming.” The logical foundation of those memes is that ACO2 could not affect the climate.  

    though, is that climate sceptics don’t (and can’t) rely on argument from authority.

    The selectivity about where people see “argument from authority” is a fantastic window through which to view the climate debate. Both sides claim the other side do it, and they both are correct. Additionally, the same people who say that inaccurate predictions from climate science has driven public opinion are generally the ones who systematically attack the “authority” of climate scientists, and who largely are absolutely convinced that the public has no confidence in the authority of climate scientists. The appeal of appealing to authority is yet another form of a larger phenomenon: the ubiquitous claims of victimhood on both sides.

    There’s an inherent asymmetry in that climate scientists are claiming expertise, while the sceptics generally do not.

    Please!

    Yes, there are a variety of strange individuals on the internet with incorrect beliefs about greenhouse physics.

    Again – this is an obvious attempt to diminish a very real phenomenon. What makes it ironic is the imbedded illogic of this claim – for the reason I stated above (the inconsistency in reverse engineering  a cause-and-effect relationship between what climate combatants say and public opinion).

    But it doesn’t hurt our reputation because we have no reputation ““ we have to make it
    entirely on the strength of our arguments. It doesn’t hurt the credibility of our system because we have no organised system.

    This reminds me of when “conservatives” complain about the power of the lamestream media right before they post statistics about how high Fox News’ ratings are.

    A professional scientist going off the rails tarnishes the entire academic system of institutions and journals and peer-review and white lab coats
    that allowed it to happen, but an anonymous nobody on the internet going off the rails has no extended implications beyond that person. (Up to a point.)

    Spencer. Lindzen. Curry. Christy. Beck. Limbaugh. Hannity. O’Reily. Romney. Bush. Santorum. A mixture of scientists and people who are far from anonymous figures on the Internet.

    It has its advantages and disadvantages. As an anonymous label, I can’t rely on my professional reputation or expertise to persuade, because here I have neither.

    You can also rely on specious arguments, conspiracy theories, etc., etc – as some “skeptics” do.

    Basically, NiV – I see the same basic problem with your argumentation here as I’ve expressed to you before. You want to have your cake and eat it too. On the one hand, you want to broadly assign noble attributes to “skeptics” (as seen in your use of “our” or “us” or “we”) and at the same time you don’t want to dissociate from some “skeptics” and at the same time you want to say that “skeptics” aren’t monolithic and shouldn’t be considered such. Just to be clear – I’m not lumping you in with other “skeptics” as you seem to think I’m doing. I’m evaluating your arguments on their face value. And in this case, it seems to me that you are trying to defend illogic in arguments presented by “skeptics” with an odd assortment of points that are highly questionable or not really on topic.

  • BBD

    Nullius

    It’s the content that has the effect, not the wrapping.

    That’s true. Contrarians everywhere got excited but no papers were withdrawn.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, in comment 158 you say that most claims are false and saying ‘no’ to false claims is how truth emerges.

    You have been making false claims ever since I started reading your work. You claimed that the Egyptian revolution was caused by grain shortages caused (first you wrote primarily, then you wrote partially) by climate change. You had no evidence. Your claim was false.

    You claimed that the Texas drought was caused by climate change. You had no evidence. Your claim was false.

    You claimed that Pakistani floods were caused by climate change. You had no evidence. Your claim was false.You claimed that the Russian heat wave was caused by climate change. You had no evidence. Your claim was false.

    I’m not a scientist. You claim to be. I say you’re a bullshit artist with a cause.

    I say that Hansen appears to have chosen both the length and time period of his base period to make his data serve his cause. 30 years is a bare minimum for statistical significance. If more is available you take it. Hansen should have run the data for 30 year period ending in 2010, 2000, 1990 etc. for as far back as he had the data and published it all.

    Measuring climate in units of standard deviation is not something I am used to seeing, because it is difficult to define a norm. I am not convinced that he chose an appropriate norm. Nor am I convinced that 3 deviations from the norm tells us anything specific, other than there is something that can be measured that occurs 3 deviations from the norm. It does not appear to tell us anything about climate or temperatures, nor is it easily applicable to periods prior to the modern temperature record. I question its utility.

    So I am unconvinced. I think Hansen has found a way of showing us that something is different in this 30-year period to the prior 30-year period. I think he is being deceptive about its significance. I think he may number among the deceived.

  • BBD

    I’m not a scientist. You claim to be. I say you’re a bullshit artist with a cause.

    This has come up before. Google produced a picture of the MT known and widely loved, along with this:

    B.Sc.: EE Northwestern U. Tech. Institute, 1976

    M.Eng.: Systems/Computer Engineering Carleton U., 1984

    Ph.D.:  Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences U Wis Madison 1996

    Postdocs: Argonne Lab department of Mathematics and Computer Science; University of Chicago department of Geophysical Sciences

  • Nullius in Verba

    #170,

    “the potential of ACO2 to change the climate “isn’t being argued,” or “no one in the room” is arguing that, or that “skeptics” “don’t listen” to people who make such arguments.”

    It depends what they mean by ‘skeptics’. We don’t argue that. We don’t believe that. We find it annoying to be told that we do.

    Just as I’m sure you would be annoyed to be told that you believe the world is going to catch fire and the seas are going to rise a hundred metres by 2050 and all the crops and animals are gonna die and the tiny remnants of humanity will be chased across the cracked and burning desert landscape by cannibals and vampire moths.

    Because some people on your side do.

    Does it affect your credibility? Sure. But not a lot, because none of those people are accounted “experts”. You can get away with it, because they’re politicians and activists and kooks.

    It’s only when someone like Hansen says the world is going to drown under metres of sea level rise that it affects anything. That’s why we love him so.

    And I’m pretty sure if Lindzen or Christy said the greenhouse effect didn’t exist, it would cause a lot more damage to the sceptic’s credibility. But they’re an exception. The reason for the difference in impact is that reliance on claims of expertise is mostly on the mainstream side.

  • jeffn

    Some classic Joshua at 170:

    “This reminds me of when “conservatives” complain about the power of the lamestream media right before they post statistics about how high Fox News’ ratings are.”

    This is because conservatives can read, comprehend and be utterly dumfounded by their opponents’ arrogantly expressed incompetence. Right before they ignore you.

    Ratings for the “Lamestream Media” – just the network television news- average daily viewers- 20.8 million viewers. Fox’s highest rated primetime show sees just under 3 million viewers a day on average.
    The fact that we can rely on you guys to be effortlessly snotty while asserting that 3 is embiggered than 21 is one of those things that tends to trip y’all up in the credibility department.

  • Joshua

    NiV –

    I go to “skeptical” sites and see seemingly smart and knowledgeable people arguing that ACO2 could not, possibly, change the climate. Mot a few of them seem like credentialed academics. What they say gets a lot of play at “skeptical” websites. Are those folks not “skeptics?”

    Now I can’t evaluate the science of their arguments. But I have to laugh when “skeptics” try to dismiss them as crackpots or “strange individual.” By what objective determination do you say that they are “strange?” By the level of agreement among credentialed experts? Is that the criterion you want to use? Should I use your opinion to decide who is “strange”? Or should I use BBD’s opinion? Is your use of subjective criteria any different than the subjective criteria used by “realists” to disregard the opinions of “skeptics?” If so, how?

    It depends what they mean by “˜skeptics’.

    Exactly. Now why don’t you give me an objective criterion that I can use when you refer to “skeptics.” Or lacking that, why don’t you just give me your subjective definition, along with an explanation for why <strong>you</strong> eliminate some people from your definition but not others. Is it merely on the basis of what you think is “strange?”

    And then remember, that just because you have such a definition – as you have told me, the definition of who and isn’t a “skeptic” isn’t monolithic.
    Your definition is not the only one. In fact, those people you think are “strange” no doubt consider themselves to be legitimate “skeptics.” How do you think they evaluate your “skepticism?”  Finally, NiV – I will again point out that this tangent of the discussion is largely unrelated to the subject I focused on in the post you first responded to. It seems like you offered your points as a sort of defense of Tom’s logic. Are you?

  • Nullius in Verba

    “By the level of agreement among credentialed experts? Is that the criterion you want to use?”

    No. Obviously not.

    You judge their opinions by the quality and content of the evidence and arguments they present, same as anyone.

    “Now why don’t you give me an objective criterion that I can use when you refer to “skeptics.””

    It depends on the context, as most use of language does. Not even mathematicians have only a single meaning for each word.

  • BBD

    It depends on the context, as most use of language does.

    Bit boring.

    Fly under your true colours, Nullius. Don’t be so shy.

  • Sashka

    I go to “skeptical” sites and see seemingly smart and knowledgeable people arguing that ACO2 could not, possibly, change the climate. Mot a few of them seem like credentialed academics.

    Could you provide some examples?

  • Joshua

    Sashka –

    If you go to those sites and you don’t see them, more power to ya’ bud. Powerfully motivated reasoning is powerful.

  • Joshua

    And BBD –

    For a nice example of proper use of that word in question in your #157 post — take a look at the comment #303 in the “overplaying the climate fear card” post from 7/30/12.

    Then read the posts from Sashka that it references.  It is hard to think of a better example than what Sashka provided.

  • harrywr2

    #170 Joshua

    Spencer. Lindzen. Curry. Christy. Beck. Limbaugh. Hannity. O’Reily.
    Romney. Bush. Santorum. A mixture of scientists and people who are far
    from anonymous figures on the Internet…

    Bush 2006 State of the Union Addresshttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/31/AR2006013101468.html

    So tonight I announce the Advanced Energy Initiative — a 22 percent
    increase in clean-energy research at the Department of Energy to push
    for breakthroughs in two vital areas. To change how we power our homes
    and offices, we will invest more in zero-emission coal-fired plants;
    revolutionary solar and wind technologies; and clean, safe nuclear
    energy.

    BUSH: We must also change how we power our automobiles.

    We will increase our research in better batteries for hybrid and electric cars and in pollution-free cars that run on hydrogen.

    We will also fund additional research in cutting-edge methods of
    producing ethanol, not just from corn but from wood chips and stalks or
    switch grass.

    Bush 2007 State of the Union Address.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/01/23/AR2007012301075.html

    BUSH: America’s on the verge of technological breakthroughs that will
    enable us to live our lives less dependent on oil. And these
    technologies will help us become better stewards of the environment, and
    they will help us to confront the serious challenge of global climate
    change

    2008 State of the Unionhttp://www.nytimes.com/2008/01/29/us/29bushtext.html?pagewanted=all

    The United States is committed to strengthening our energy security and confronting global climate change.
    And the best way to meet these goals is for America to continue leading
    the way toward the development of cleaner and more energy-efficient
    technology.

    From the IEA newroom – http://www.iea.org/newsroomandevents/news/2012/may/name,27216,en.html

    US emissions have now fallen by 430 Mt (7.7%) since 2006, the largest reduction of all countries or regions.

    I think you are throwing a rather big name that you disagree with on ‘policy prescription’ into a pile of people that disagrees with you on whether or not there is a problem. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    “I say that Hansen appears to have chosen both the length and time period of his base period to make his data serve his cause. 30 years is a bare minimum for statistical significance. If more is available you take it. “

    Tom you should take it up with  the WMO. Let them know that they’re being deceptive.

    Why does NOAA produce Normals?NOAA’s computation of climate Normals is in accordance with the recommendation of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), of which the United States is a member. While the WMO mandates each member nation to compute 30-year averages of meteorological quantities at least every 30 years (1931 – 1960, 1961 – 1990, 1991 – 2020, etc.), the WMO recommends a decadal update, in part to incorporate newer weather stations. Further, NOAA’s NCDC has a responsibility to fulfill the mandate of Congress “… to establish and record the climatic conditions of the United States.” This responsibility stems from a provision of the Organic Act of October 1, 1890, which established the Weather Bureau as a civilian agency (15 U.S.C. 311).What are Normals used for?

    Meteorologists and climatologists regularly use Normals for placing recent climate conditions into a historical context.

    I’m not sure which is more entertaining; your endless displays of butthurt (that one’s for you BBD) or your epic displays of scholarly ineptitude.

  • BBD

    It was your #303 on that that spurred me to ask. Belatedly, to my shame, but I think we must nibble away at uncertainty as best we can.

    :-)

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Ah “Climategate”. The Godwin’s Law of C-A-S.

    Well, now that we’re finally there, and this thread is officially good and dead, let’s talk “Climategate”. I’m composing a response to Mosher 

    So although I’ve long since lost interest or any expectation that there is any meat to the so-called “Climategate”, this scandal or pseudo-scandal is suddenly germane.

    NIV, anybody, could somebody tell me “what’s in Climategate” from your point of view?  I’d appreciate a list of highlights. I’m specifically interested in any behavior that would be unexpected from a typical scientist holding a typical scientific position under the very atypical circumstances.

    My point of view is, nothing much. By all means, try to talk me out of it. Let’s see if I missed anything.

  • BBD

    Marlowe

    Why bother? Tom’s not getting climatologies is just a little bit of the whole, horrible mess he has made in his denial of HSR12. The rest, especially the calumnies, was worse.

  • Sashka

    Joshua, I don’t go to those sites. So, can you provide examples?

  • Sashka

    @184: We can start with deleting emails and redefining peer-review process. Would you say it’s typical behavior for scientists?

  • Joshua

    Sashka –

    Go to those sites and see for yourself. I’ve been there enough to know what I’ve seen. I’m not going to be bothered to take the time to collect links just to convince you.

    Go to Judith’s site and search in some of the recent threads  for my comments about “skeptics” being thrown under buses; that will give you a head start.

  • Joshua

    #184 – MT – 

    NIV, anybody, could somebody tell me “what’s in Climategate” from
    your point of view?  I’d appreciate a list of highlights. I’m specifically interested in any behavior that would be unexpected from a
    typical scientist holding a typical scientific position under the very atypical circumstances.

    Without rehashing the details (and assuming it won’t be necessary) I am of the opinion that what was revealed by “climategate” was not necessarily atypical of scientists or anyone else engaged in tribalistic battles in high stakes situations. I also believe that the tribalism seen should be seen in full context – it didn’t originate with what was evidenced with “climategate.”

    That said, I’m not sure that the behaviors seen would be “expected.” And I would agree with “skeptics” who say  that it shouldn’t be justified.

    Any response?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    This time, for the avoidance of doubt for the irony deficient, I will say that Dr. Tobis is being disingenuous. You’ve been dissed, Doctor. I sent you a copy of our book. If you don’t want to know what happened with Climategate, nobody can force you to learn.

    And conscious avoidance of knowledge is a hallmark of the alarmist.

  • Sashka

    Joshua, no pressure. But forgive me if I can’t be bothered to scrape the Internet to confirm your words. I’m inclined to think that you made it up.

  • Joshua

    Sashka –

    No pressure felt. I thought I made that obvious.

    Feel research it on your own or not. I have no need to “confirm my words.” I know what I’ve seen. You’re perfectly welcome to think whatever you want. Knock yourself out.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    It is absolutely within the normal job of competent scientists to keep incompetent science out of the journals. Added to this was the post-normal requirement of keeping incompetent science out of the IPCC. 

    A good scientist can distinguish between things he disagrees with on the one hand and things that are lacking in competence and not due serious consideration on the other. Whether they were doing their jobs or not depends on the papers under discussion were acceptable as science.

    “Redefining peer review” did not impress me as a serious intention to control or redefine the journals. It may have been an intention to modify the IPCC rules to keep marginal contributions from nonscientifically motivated sources out.This all said, I am sure that outsiders unfamiliar with the literature and the dramatic personae are treated dismissively and rudely. The reasons for this are obvious – a credential is a good proxy for competence, especially in a small field. There are plenty of false negatives in this “we don’t want nobody nobody sent” world. But you can’t encourage every outsider and expect to get anything done.

    On top of this, the existing enmity with the McIntyre camp could not have helped him in this crowd. And as usual, whatever he came up with would amount to nitpicking and innuendo.

    The point here is not that the millennial and secular record group was behaving like saints. The question is whether they were behaving as ordinary scientists would under comparable extraordinary circumstances. 

    The reason the academic committees all cleared the scientists is that there were no clear boundaries for the situation, the situation was awful, and the players were not chosen for political finesse. 

    My point is not that they behaved perfectly. Nor did they behave post normally, as Mosher believes. They behaved pretty much as twentieth century scientists would, not as people wish they might. It was all perfectly normal. 

  • http://planet3.org mt

    It’s true that Tom Fuller sent me the text of the book in a rare moment of comity between us and it’s true I haven’t read it. Judging by Mosher’s essay, though, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the patience for their looking glass world.

    Scientists think that anyone seeing anything sinister here must be lying. Acolytes think that anyone seeing nothing sinister must be lying. For the first time I can see how the latter is possible, and how both groups may be responding honestly. But Mosher puts the post normal badge on the wrong team.

  • steven mosher
  • Nullius in Verba

    #182,

    30 years is a sort of cliche. a convention. It has no particular justification, any more than quoting the 95% confidence interval (as opposed to 90% or 98% CI) all the time does.

    The intuition behind it is that weather is high frequency, but that below a certain frequency weather is a constant called the climate. But 30 years was picked for this threshold somewhat arbitrarily. I’ve never seen any maths to show 30 years was suficient.

    And in this case, it clearly isn’t sufficient. 30 years does not capture the full range of natural variation. The distribution shifts up and down and narrows over time on longer timescales than 30 years.

    It’s arguable that since there is no mathematically justifiable limit, you have to pick something arbitrary. But personally, I think the arbitrary choice should be ‘all the (good) data you’ve got’. I see no justification for narrowing it.

    #193,

    “It is absolutely within the normal job of competent scientists to keep incompetent science out of the journals.”

    Here’s what Ed Cook said on reviewing a paper that “claims that the method of reconstruction that we use in dendroclimatology (reverse regression) is wrong, biased, lousy, horrible, etc.”

    “It won’t be easy to dismiss out of hand as the math appears to be correct theoretically”

    What’s your definition of ‘incompetent’?

    Personally, I think ‘Harry read me’ is the best example of the problem in Climategate. I would agree they’re acting like normal humans – and I don’t ascribe malice to their actions. My view is that like a lot of people they’re not very competent at their jobs and a bit out of their depth, and they put on a show of greater competence for the outside world. Then when it suddenly became important, and people wanted to check it, they panicked and tried to hide the dirty laundry.

    It’s understandable and human, but a problem that needs to be fixed, not denied.

  • steven mosher

    Tom BTW not so much for the solution, but rather the focus on terra watts.

  • steven mosher

    “It’s true that Tom Fuller sent me the text of the book in a rare moment of comity between us and it’s true I haven’t read it. Judging by Mosher’s essay, though, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the patience for their looking glass world.

    Scientists think that anyone seeing anything sinister here must be lying. Acolytes think that anyone seeing nothing sinister must be lying. For the first time I can see how the latter is possible, and how both groups may be responding honestly. But Mosher puts the post normal badge on the wrong team.”

    I don’t put the badge on anyone. For me PNS describes a situation. the first thing to notice about that situation is that there are sides in opposition. they are in opposition about the facts. about the values. about the stakes, and about the need for action.

    Period.

    what we can see is that in these types of situations behavior changes. Sometimes dramatically sometimes subtly. In these types of situations you get, for example, a scientist posing as a board member to get documents from a lobby group. I don’t think that kind of behavior is ordinary, normal or expected.

    in a PNS situation, I would argue, one needs to take more care about personal interests and values. Guess what? Overpeck thought the same exact thing and instructed those working on his chapter accordingly. he clearly explained to them that they needed to avoid even the appearence of impropriety. yes. Overpeck realized that the situation was different, he didnt call it PNS, but he offered a set of guidelines that should indicate to folks that this is something more than business as usual.

  • steven mosher

    I really dont want to discuss climategate but if MT would like a list of things, I’m more than happy to supply it. However, there is one thing I think he needs to understand. I’ve said it many times but perhaps he didnt attend to it. why is noble cause corruption in police so upsetting to the public.

    1. police are put into a position of trust.
    2. the have more power.
    3. many people idealize them. rightly or wrongly.

    As I’ve said part of the problem is that we have idealized scientists. The picture drawn in climategate of a few individuals looks one way to people who exist within the science community. It looks entirely different to those who have an idealized notion of science and scientists.

    For people who idealized scientists, who put them in a position of trust, some of the antics are rather unbecoming. If I buy MTs argument then I must accept that I should be much more suspect than I am. If its normal to hide the decline, if its normal to invent “provisionally accepted” just so a paper can hit a deadline, if its normal to fight the release of data, normal to obsfucate in responses to legal requests, normal to tell people to delete mail.. if that’s the new normal,then distrust is the new normal.

  • steven mosher

    “did not impress me as a serious intention to control or redefine the journals. It may have been an intention to modify the IPCC rules to keep marginal contributions from nonscientifically motivated sources out.This all said, I am sure that outsiders unfamiliar with the literature and the dramatic personae are treated dismissively and rudely.
    ###########################

    This treatment of the Jones/Trenberth versus mckittrick Micheals paper gets zero points for both historical and current knowledge.

    It’s pretty clear that Jones did not want to have to deal with M&M’s paper because it opposed the work of parker, jones and peterson. When it came time to write the chapter they ignored the paper through the first two drafts. In the end, they had to comment on it. In commenting on it they made stuff up out of whole cloth.
    Thankfully, in Ar5 this misstep has been acknowledged by the chapter authors… at least in the FOD. My view on M&M is that it is not compelling and is based on crap data which took me 5 minutes to uncover. Had Jones took the route of actually plotting the population data in MM, he would have had some solid ground to stand on.
    Instead, he didnt like the conclusion and played some political games to put the paper in a bad light. rejecting bad science for the wrong reason can be helpful to the cause. But, that argument only makes sense in a post normal situation.

  • steven mosher

    MT.  for the record. ‘redefining peer review’  is not about Mcintyre as you seem to suggest. The paper was written by Mckittrick and Micheals. That will not change your mind of course, but it may alert others  to the pitfalls about talking about a subject without reading the primary literature. I should hope that your message is not that the kind of behavior seen in the mails is not normal. the actions were understandable, but they were not, or i should hope they were not commonplace. If they were common place and accepted, then as I said before, that is an argument for more accountability and transparency. I think, your making the skeptics argument for them.Skeptic: All scientists act this way, and its horrible.MT: yes its normal, but its not bad.Mosher: its isolated and we can do better.So, unlike you and the skeptics I think the behvior is isolated to a few people, it’s not ordinary, and we can do better.the skeptics claim that all scientists act this way and they blow the behavior way out of proportion.you claim they all act this way, but its ok. no need to change or improve anything.you are more like a skeptic than I am 

  • PDA

    Personally, I think “˜Harry read me’ is the best example of the problem in Climategate. 

    You might want to talk to Mosher about that.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > I should hope they [the YesButClimategate actions] were not commonplace.

    This hope might not be warranted.

    This hope conveys righteous hindsight.

    I should only hope that we don’t need any more scapegoat if what we want is to reform institution.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > It’s true that Tom Fuller sent me the text of the book in a rare moment of comity between us and it’s true I haven’t read it. Judging by Mosher’s essay, though, I’m sure I wouldn’t have the patience for their looking glass world.

    I could. Can I have MT’s ebook?

  • Sashka

    Joshua, cut the crap. Of course you care how people perceive your comments. Otherwise you’d be talking to yourself in the shower.

    MT, on the subject of competence: what is it, from your PoV, that makes you more competent than Judy Curry or anyone other scientist whose opinions you dismiss without much discussion? It’s not like you had such a brilliant academic career that you can look down upon fellow scientists, is it?

  • Tom C

    I have worked in several different technical fields and corresponded with academic scientists for nearly 30 years.  The behavior exhibited in the Climategate E-mails is not typical.  Not by a long shot.  The main players are driven by pathological  motivated [political] reasoning.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Sashka, it will emerge in this conversation that I am not entirely happy with how science is conducted. My failures to be a major contributor are partly due to my own flaws and partly due to my falling into some of the same traps that critics of the field fall into. I think it’s premature to write a wrap-up of my career so I won’t go further just now. But I admit that my ambitions to be a scientist of the first rank cannot be said to have been a success as yet.There is no doubt that Curry has more of a publication record than I do. Is this a reflection on her virtues as a contributor to science? When she makes statements that are confused at an elementary level about a topic which she claims as her own turf, I suspect that the rest of her record is also dubious. About the elementary confusion regarding statistics I am certain. My competence comes from a much deeper understanding of the specific material (reasoning under uncertainty) than she has, mostly arising not out of my climatologist side but out of my communication engineer side, in the tradition of Norbert Wiener.There are those who would claim that I lack the credentials to make such a judgment. This would be a “normal science” point of view wherein only those with a stronger publication record in the field are in a position to make formal judgments, taken rather to excess with regard to what I write in my blog.In fact it happens that I know more about this stuff than most climate professionals. I am just not energetic enough to get significant publications in the field given that I am paid to do software grunt work and that I spend much of my spare time discussing the big picture with people like you. My only proof is the validity of my arguments. Ideally that should count for something, no?Thus, Sashka, I find myself astonished by the nature of your challenge. Is this “we don’t want nobody nobody sent” credentialism not precisely the problem that Mosher is complaining most bitterly about?

  • http://planet3.org mt

    aarg. Keith, fix your damned input boxes.

    Sashka, it will emerge in this conversation that I am not entirely happy with how science is conducted. My failures to be a major contributor are partly due to my own flaws and partly due to my falling into some of the same traps that critics of the field fall into. I think it’s premature to write a wrap-up of my career so I won’t go further just now. But I admit that my ambitions to be a scientist of the first rank cannot be said to have been a success as yet.

    There is no doubt that Curry has more of a publication record than I do. Is this a reflection on her virtues as a contributor to science? When she makes statements that are confused at an elementary level about a topic which she claims as her own turf, I suspect that the rest of her record is also dubious. About the elementary confusion regarding statistics I am certain. My competence comes from a much deeper understanding of the specific material (reasoning under uncertainty) than she has, mostly arising not out of my climatologist side but out of my communication engineer side, in the tradition of Norbert Wiener.

    There are those who would claim that I lack the credentials to make such a judgment. This would be a “normal science” point of view wherein only those with a stronger publication record in the field are in a position to make formal judgments, taken rather to excess with regard to what I write in my blog.

    In fact it happens that I know more about this stuff than most climate professionals. I am just not energetic enough to get significant publications in the field given that I am paid to do software grunt work and that I spend much of my spare time discussing the big picture with people like you. My only proof is the validity of my arguments. Ideally that should count for something, no?

    Thus, Sashka, I find myself astonished by the nature of your challenge. Is this “we don’t want nobody nobody sent” credentialism not precisely the problem that Mosher is complaining most bitterly about?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “I think it’s premature to write a wrap-up of my career so I won’t go further just now.”

    NIV, anybody, could somebody tell me “what’s in Climategate” fromyour point of view?”

    It’s true that Tom Fuller sent me the text of the book in a rare moment of comity between us and it’s true I haven’t read it.”

    “My failures to be a major contributor are partly due to my own flaws and partly due to my falling into some of the same traps that critics of the field fall into.””

    I admit that my ambitions to be a scientist of the first rank cannot be said to have been a success as yet.”

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, this is not the first time you have asked what Climategate was all about.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    My point is not to defend every action as unobjectionable, nor the state of science, especially policy-relevant science, as adequate to the challenges it faces. 

    Nevertheless I do mean to continue to defend the individuals involved as innocent victims of circumstance coping at nearly every turn in a defensible manner given the resources at hand, with a marginal error here and there.

    Prior to these events was a bizarre and unexpected bit of barratry that to everyone’s surprise treated scientists as if they were bureaucrats. (Much of the daily life off science is complaining about bureaucrats, understand. WHat’s more, academia considers its role to be a thorn in the side of power, especially nowadays that journalism is absent from the field.) 

    Pursuant to these events was an outrageous invasion of privacy an astonishingly public and overdrawn humiliation, and finally a barrage of propaganda of the most malign and pernicious sort.Put yourself in their shoes. If you had mentioned punching some pompous fool in the face somewhere in those emails, it would be pretty disproportionately humiliating.

    The post normalcy was all in the situation, imported by the opposition. The marginal errors were exactly what you would expect of perfectly ordinary scientists under abnormal stresses.

    But a candidate for the vice presidency on record speaking of a “perversion of the scientific method, where data were manipulated to support a predetermined conclusion,” in order to “intentionally mislead the public on the issue of climate change.” Sorry. That’s complete BS, and  it represents a disaster that goes far beyond science.

    Climate science is ploddingly normal. It is the attack on it that is postnormal. This is my key point of disagreement with Mosher. And it is responses like Ryan’s that show how fraught the ethics of that attack actually are.

    The less appealing behaviors of the science community, and I agree there is much that can be improved upon, is embedded in the much more important issue of the behavior of politics. That is what makes the circumstance postnormal. And that is what makes the ethics of the attack on climate fraught.

    Maybe it is really about the purity of science for Mosher and Curry and a relatively few others. But that’s a marginal question in the great scheme of things. The  question about which political party is promulgating vast and dangerous lies is ethically dominant over the question of how science is conducted. 

    I have a lot of sympathy with many of the specific criticisms Mosher makes. But they are in a context where they hardly even rise to the level of secondary concerns. 

    Science works well enough these days despite its flaws, and politics works badly enough, that every public word on this subject (or even every private email that presumptively will be stolen and published some day) carries a substantial ethical weight. I ask people to take into account how their words will be used by people whose primary impulse is manipulative and dishonest.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Tom Fuller #210: I keep asking what “Climategate” was all about because if there really was some actual substantial scientific dishonesty I would not like to inadvertently defend it. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I suppose you could wait for the movie.

  • John F. Pittman

    mt, you won’t find all of the problems in Fuller and Mosher’s book. To undersatnd it you will need to know some of the basic differences in the 2nd, third, and 4th IPCC AR WG1 works in terms of paleo, GMC’s and attribution. F&M cover one aspect. It re-inforces the other aspect. The very first email includes a meta description of some of the Russian sub fossil proxies. In it is noted that the sub-fossil treeline is more poleward which is evidence of what type of relation should be used for growth versus temperature. There are discussions about the paleo reconstructions. In CGII, there is a further challenge by another professional of the linear assumption used in reconstructions, and discussions of precipitations’ effects. In short there is enough information to challenge the paleo that was used in TAR and FAR. Not in terms of if they are pausible, but in terms of the confidence used to attribute most of the warming in the latter half of the century to humans. When one adds in such items as replaced some of the Y with X, or infilling some Y with X, and then regressing Y:X for a correlation makes the confidence limits in the MODERN period floor to ceilign which means the CI’s for the past must be even larger. Not to forget that the effect of adding the modern temperature at the end is now an absolute no no. They are no longer independent with a reasonable expectation of the extrapolating as was done. At the point this was done not only is it mis-leading to the eye, the claims based on CI are worthless, not because the authors did not state somewhere most of what was done, but because they did not examine its effects on CI’s, or did not put it in the work. Since that time other sources have come to light that one of the reasons that some CI’s were unreproducible was that sometimes CI’s were 1 sigma, sometimes 2 sigma. Other work has confirmed much of the original peer reveiwed counter arguments were correct. Sorting incorrectly compresses the signal in the past. Thus the hockey stick has known problems at both ends. But that said, the work is in many ways very good, if not great work. It is the conclusions and certainty of the conclusions that need to be challenged and re-examined. The part that does not seem to register is spelled out in the 4AR where the IPCC notes that due to the interdependency of both proxy work and GCM’s to modern climate history, they are not truly independent. The IPCC acknowledges this and goes on to say that it is the way they both explain the data in the same way and magnitude that helps the IPCC to assign the confidence they do. And this is where it all falls apart, the conclusions are overconfident with respect to the science, and that leads or should have lead to a re-evaluation. At this date the disagreement is that some say it has been done and others say not. My position is that until scientists can show that a linear relationship is correct, and signal bias reduced and properly accounted in the CI’s, the evaluation, except in the most general terms, simply cannot be made. Correlation indicates causation, it is insufficient in provding it.

  • http://planet3.org mt
  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, the first lesson about Climategate is that it did not start with Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick and it did not end with the exposure of their emails.

    It started with Hansen 1990. It continues today.The core issues are not scientific. They are about governance. 

    Governance issues are more important than science issues. Science has a mechanism for dealing with error. It works. Entrenched bureaucrats (many of whom are also credentialed, publishing scientists) fight to preserve position and policy that produced error.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Pittman’s note carries little weight for me. “But that said, the work is in many ways very good, if not great work.” is good enough for me.

    That means we are left with “IPCC notes that due to the interdependency of both proxy work and GCM’s to modern climate history, they are not truly independent. The IPCC acknowledges this and goes on to say that it is the way they both explain the data in the same way and magnitude that helps the IPCC to assign the confidence they do.”

    And here we have a deep misunderstanding at best. The proxy records in question are related to deep time, when climate really did change a lot. The tree ring stuff plays very little role in estimating the sensitivity. 

    All we can know from the millennial scale is that CO2 did not change very much, the climate was very stable, and some relatively small variation occurred superimposed on a very small cooling trend. There may or may not be much there worth studying in terms of unforced or solar-forced natural variability but there is certainly nothing about sensitivity; it’s just the ratio of zero to zero, which is indeterminate. So in fact, the sensitivity estimate is independent of the millennial record. It’s other proxies and other scientific questions that go into the sensitivity.

    And of course, one can cast doubt on those too using the usual methods of doubt-mongering. Pittman, barking up the wrong tree, shows us how it’s done. 

    In the end, outsiders do bark up the wrong tree far more often than not. Outsiders’ failure to understand the social and informal processes of science usually ends up throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #216 claims “it” started with Hansen 1990? But what is “it”? 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The behavior that created the issue we are discussing.

  • Sashka

    MT, I didn’t understand what you found so astonishing. I thought I asked a reasonable question given what you have contributed to the body of scientific knowledge so far.

    I accept your answer WRT statistics or reasoning under uncertainty. Your background in engineering could give you some comparative advantage vs. most climate scientists. (I do find it relevant though that you criticise only dissenters, not Mann or Hansen.) However my challenge was not constrained to statistics. You have made similar comments about Judy before in a general context; specifically – using the word “sophomoric”. So, once again, why do you feel superior as a climatologist?

    There is no doubt that Curry has more of a publication record than I do. Is this a reflection on her virtues as a contributor to science?

    Not a perfect reflection but certainly a reflection. Why not? Better than publishing nothing, isn’t it?

    My only proof is the validity of my arguments. Ideally that should count for something, no?

    Ideally you’re able to publish your arguments in the peer-reviewed journals, no? Wouldn’t that be a classier approach than off-handedly putting your opponent’s whole (peer-reviewed) record in doubt? In the blogosphere, ideally, you can get out of your shell and defend your arguments in the open. However, in my limited experience, every time we start talking about science you promptly disappear. I recall that you once explained that you’re not paid for blogging. That’s fair enough but then the validity cannot be challenged much less established.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, sorry–I have Hansen on my mind right now. It was Jones et al, 1990 that fired the first gun of Climategate.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, had you read Curry’s publications you would have been able to answer your own question. Maybe even before sliming her.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    See the pattern here?

    You slimed Roger Pielke Jr. for The Honest Broker. You didn’t read it.

    You slimed Judith Curry as incompetent and sophomoric. You didn’t read her.

    You slimed both Steven Mosher and myself for the mere act of publishing a book on Climategate. And despite the fact that I emailed you a copy, you haven’t read it.

    Most damning to me is the fact that you have continued to slime Steve Mosher after you have received but without having taken the time to read the book you are sliming him for writing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Is that the spirit of scientific inquiry in action?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You see, Dr. Tobis, if I may be so bold, you are a part of Climategate–surprise!

    You are a part of a political movement to push a position and a set of policies and you refuse to examine data that might undermine your political position.

    I don’t accuse you of publishing wrong science. I accuse you of being a part of bad governance.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > You slimed Roger Pielke Jr. for The Honest Broker. You didn’t read it.

    Citation needed.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Curry wrote a sophomoric essay about uncertainty on her blog. That doesn’t present me with a publication opportunity.

    Similarly, Hoerling is transparently wrong on attribution of warm events. I was one of the first to say so, but many people agree with me. I figure somebody big in the attribution game will find some suitably formal way to say so, but again, I don’t know of anything in the formal literature to bother refuting. Like Curry’s flag, it may in fact be far too weak of an argument to pass peer review in the first place.

    On the other hand I find and have always found Hansen’s work and conduct impeccable.

    I do not find the technical questions about Mann’s work interesting or relevant to any major climatological issue. I have seen a talk by one of Mike’s students who seemed eminently competent. I have met Mike briefly and have corresponded with him on occasion and I like him. I have no reason to doubt his overall competence. 

    Maybe he made some trivial errors or maybe he made some judgments that others disagree with. Both Arthur Smith and WIlliam Connolley, whose scientific judgment I trust, have looked into the accusations and ended up unimpressed. As deliberate manipulations on his part they are clearly trivial. Unless someone manages to convince me they are scientifically relevant, I’m uninterested; poking at this only seems to help the propagandists and the harassers.

    In <a href=”http://init.planet3.org/2010/05/eschenbach-has-half-point.html”>at least one case</a> where an excessive alarm was raised in a statistically naive way, I did criticize the paper and supported Eschenbach. The paper in question should not have passed review.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #226 I read “Honest Broker” all the way through. I was surprised by how bad it was.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    After you slimed Pielke you read the book.

    Why do you continue to slime Mosher for writing a book you have in your hands and refuse to read?

    You’re part of the problem.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    I don’t know about “slime”. I did not criticize HB until I read it. I do not recommend the experience.

    I am working on responding to Mosher’s piece on Curry’s, as he asked me to do and as I promised him I would. He did not place reading the book as a prerequisite.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    with all this talk of ‘sliming’ I may have to restock the fridge…

    keep the butthurt coming Tom!

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    For you to say, “Unless someone manages to convince me they are scientifically relevant, I’m uninterested” is not necessarily bad.When you continue to nonetheless comment on the issues and the motivations of those who have looked into it you are behaving badly.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Steve is a more forgiving soul than I. You have written nothing here that would call into question my description of you as a bullshit artist with a cause.

  • BBD

    Tom, you seem hell bent on self-immolation on this thread.

    mt – +1 to everything running from # 207. I particularly agree with the ‘look, a squirrel’ tactic so prevalent in current discourse. Never mind the Arctic or GIS or the evolution of 3 sigma anomalies. Let’s talk (and talk, and talk) about ruddy ‘Climategate’ and the sodding Mannean Hockey Stick. As if it actually mattered.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you wrote:

    “Curry wrote a sophomoric essay about uncertainty on her blog. That doesn’t present me with a publication opportunity.”

    She has also written 63 peer-reviewed and published papers. 

    Before you wrote the following: ”

    We have reached a point where it is impossible to judge that Curry is in touch with the science that she is supposed to be a prominent participant in. So has she lost touch, or has she never had much scientific insight to begin with? That’s the only question any of this burbling raises”

    you might have read one of them. You said later that your motivation was political. Own it, Trofim.

  • John F. Pittman

    That mt does not understand the methodology of the IPCC, does not change it. The deep time is part of it, but only part of it. The reason is almost universally acknowledged. As one goes back into deep time the number of uncertainties, and effects on assumptions increase at the same time as the data gets sparser. Your understanding is not what is in the IPCC AR4 WG1. It has both and in particular uses the time period of 1000AD to the time of writing to directly support their conclusions of most of the warming in the last half of the century. Perhaps like F&M’s book, mt just didn’t read it. His statement “All we can know from the millennial scale is that CO2 did not change very much, the climate was very stable, and some relatively small variation occurred superimposed on a very small cooling trend.” depends on the proxies as known to the extent that it supports this statement, or not. And indeed, this type of statement is methodological errors of proxy papers and arguments published that contest methodology. The credit of these methods is not mine to claim, mt; the IPCC used them.  mt I do have to appreciate the irony of your barking up the wrong tree analogy talking about outsiders to the science with your EE, ME, and CSc degrees with me with my Biology with Math minor talking about tree rings and methodology problems known in the field. mt, please note, I did not make a CS argument in post. Any argument as to its relevance to my posting was made by the IPCC, especially with respect to the past 1000 years, or even deep time.

  • BBD

    Eh. That won’t do.

    I particularly agree that the “˜look, a squirrel’ tactic is too prevalent in current discourse.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, I’ll repeat one of the many questions I posed earlier that you haven’t answered:

    “Why do you continue to slime Mosher for writing a book you have in your hands and refuse to read?”

  • John F. Pittman

    234 BBD. I agree the conversation should be on thread. mt asked, and I thought the answer fairly easy. There is a large disagreement to its worth, relevance, and use by both sides of the debate. I think #215 by mt deserves its own thread. But no takers so far.

  • BBD

    JFP

    mt, please note, I did not make a CS argument in post. Any argument as to its relevance to my posting was made by the IPCC, especially with
    respect to the past 1000 years, or even deep time.

    If you think the MWP/LIA are evidence for a low climate sensitivity, I’d love to know how you reasoned that out :-)

  • BBD

    JFP

    Never fear – I wasn’t complaining about OT – I was speaking about the climate ‘debate’ in general.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    In perhaps the cruelest of ironies (and recognizing that Dr. Tobis is irony deficient) he wrote in the same thread where he slimed Dr. Curry,

    Lysenkoism is exactly the central risk of politicization of science. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    ‘Lysenkoism’? For heaven’s sake Tom, it’s not even 3 o’clock EST. Some of us have work to do. If you keep this up….

  • Joshua

    Lysenkoism is exactly the central risk of politicization of science. 

    That is absolutely beautiful.

    Really.

    Spectacular.

  • John F. Pittman

    240. The answer in a simplistic manner is that if the MWP was warmer than today, it would support the high sensitivity that mt is alluding to, and would support the deep time sensitivity or at least not contradict it. But things are not simple. That is why I think getting the proxies to tell us as much as they can with confidence MAY be important. But none of this changes how the IPCC wrote AR4. mt is concerned with CS, I am concerned with methods.

  • BBD

    John F. Pittman

    The answer in a simplistic manner is that if the MWP was warmer than today, it would support the high sensitivity that mt is alluding to, and
    would support the deep time sensitivity or at least not contradict it.

    Why does the MWP have to be *warmer* than today? The mere fact of its existence, and that of the LIA, as responses to apparently quite small changes in forcing suggest at least a moderately sensitive climate system.

  • Sashka

    Hansen has made multiple baseless statement on attribution of “extreme weather events” in the past and, no doubt, will continue the same in the future. It probably counts as impeccable conduct in your book, so I probably shouldn’t challenge that.

    But strictly on the scientific side, shouldn’t he have subtracted the trend before computing probability distributions in his latest paper?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sashka, doesn’t he also get falsely fat tails by dividing by standard deviation?

  • PDA

    Tom, you’ll recall that I offered Dr. Curry and mt – and everyone else – a venue to discuss his critique of her post.  She didn’t take the opportunity to defend her presentation (which is neither here nor there, people have their own priorities) nor did anyone else, including yourself. Unless being really really pissed at mt was somehow in your mind a defense.

    I don’t presume to guess what motivates you to white-knight Dr. Curry so intensely, so much so that you’re still at it, two years later. But I do note that neither here, nor at mt’s, nor on my blog – nor to my recollection at Climate Etc. – did you ever present a substantive counter to mt’s critique, other than “how dare you, you f#$@ing cad.”

    I know that my pointing it out will probably make it impossible for you to see it objectively, but dude. Seriously. Not helping your case at all.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Thanks for posting the link PDA. Brings back lots of memories. The quality of Fuller’s prose hasn’t changed has it? As you said back then

    At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul. 

  • PDA

    I was an early adherent of the cooperative effort model.

  • John F. Pittman

    BBD In a real way, I am not offering an estimate one way or another. As far as I am concerned, it is what can be stated and suppported. The claim of suggesting at least a moderate sensitivity depends on a lot of assumptions and data/hypotheses with a lot of range in the CI’s. It also ignores LTP phenomena or rather it bounds it, and I do not know that it is bound in such a manner. The manner in which some GMC’s express forcing has its critics as well.There criticisms are well founded, but that does not mean that GMC’s are necessarily wrong, incorrect, inaccurate or a whole host conclusions that people believe because a critiscism has a point. The question again is how much and how well something can be supported.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, you might consider why people avoid your venue. 

    Defending Curry is just by extension defending myself from those who, as Tobis warned us himself, are leading this part of science towards Lysenkoism. 

    I stand by my defense of her and my attacks on Dr. Tobis. He libeled her without reading her work. He didn’t attack her post. He attacked her competence and character. At one point he was attacking her competence and character based on what her commenters were writing.

    It’s his schtick. It’s what he does. It’s scummy.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #245 The MWP and millennial reconstructions tell us nothing about forced climate sensitivity because forcing was basically constant through that period. So “if the MWP was warmer than today, it would support the high sensitivity” strikes me as  evidence of a weak understanding of the problem you are writing about. In normal science this gives me permission to ignore you. In politicized science, of course, it doesn’t. But that way lies Lysenkoism…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Your words, Dr. Tobis. I was quoting you.

  • Joshua

    He attacked her competence and character…It’s his schtick. It’s what he does. It’s scummy.

    Also beautiful.

    Really.

    Spectacular.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    PDA it’s even more spectacular when you consider that a few minutes you consider Tom’s suggestion about being ‘irony deficient’

    In perhaps the cruelest of ironies (and recognizing that Dr. Tobis is irony deficient) 

    It must take a lack of self-awareness of epic proportions to behave like this wouldn’t you say?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Lysenkoism is exactly the central risk of politicization of science.” That does sound like something I’d say, doesn’t it? Takes the edge off 254, I’m afraid. Oh well, honesty is the best policy.

  • Joshua

    It must take a lack of self-awareness of epic proportions to behave like this wouldn’t you say?

    I am guessing that question was for me? Yes, it certainly suggests a lack of awareness. I’d say a spectacular level. I’m not sure it’s epic. I see it all the time. It never ceases to amaze me no matter how ubiquitous it is. Can something be spectacular yet not epic?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Yes indeed it was directed towards you. wrt to epic vs spectular….i may be biased by decades long exposure to diablo 2 and world of warcraft conventions, but i would say that they’re mutually exclusive ;)

  • Sashka

    Tom, I’m not sure whether Tamino is correct on the subject of using local standard deviations vs. standardized anomaly (he may be right – and it’s easy for him to check – but my sense is that it’s not a major problem). But I think he is exactly right on de-trending. That’s why I was curious what MT would say in his statistical capacity.

  • BBD

    Joshua/Marlowe

    Perhaps ‘epic’ implies depth, while ‘spectacular’ suggests immediate impact?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > Dr. Tobis is irony deficient.

    Indeed, for instance:

    http://init.planet3.org/2010/10/willard-on-curry.html

    Just imagine how irony deficient this exchange would have been if Dr. Tobis and willard were the same person, as one commenter suggested.

    Let’s not wonder who that commenter was.

  • harrywr2

    #247

    The mere fact of its existence, and that of the LIA, as responses to apparently quite small changes in forcing suggest at least a moderately sensitive climate system.

    Let us all know when you have worked out stratospheric water vapor. It’s impact in non-linear. It also changes for reasons ‘poorly understood’.http://scienceofdoom.com/2010/04/28/the-strange-case-of-stratospheric-water-vapor-non-linearities-and-groceries/

  • John F. Pittman

    I hope the dear readers do not object strenously to my posting like unto mt to show the dearth of relevance in his posting:So “if forcing was basically constant through that period,” strikes me as evidence of a weak understanding of the problem of understanding science that you are talking about, because this is not known to be true. It is a reasonable assumption, that has reasonable data to back the hypotheses; yet we know that temperatures have been much higher and much lower in the record. In normal science this gives me permission to ignore you, and note the irony of your statements. As I stated as one goes back in time there are fewer actual measurements, more assumptions, and conditions change. mt takes an assumed postion and delegates those with other opinions or simple considerations as being unscientific; yet questioning and trying to falsify or make better is the most common action a scientist engages in. I do not know that the proxies would show an elevated MWP or not. That is also a sign of a good scientist. But it was not I that pointed out that if the MWP was worldwide and met what a lot skeptics claimed it would mean a higher sensitivity. That this person is a renowned atmospheric scientist, not just in the “warmist” camp, but part of IPCC AR3 and 4, just makes the irony of mt’s position funnier.

  • Tom C

    Tom Fuller – As long as we are listing Tobis’ greatest hits, let’s not forget his accusations of sinister intent against two archeologists who happen to have a theory about how the Easter Island statues got where they are.  They were obviously crypto-deniers.  Also, his frequent discourses on economics in which we learn that economists don’t know anyting about economics.  Who does?  Surprise! Surprise! Tobis!

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    What’s your point here? That sensitive climate systems respond to non-linear stuff? Isn’t that part of what makes them sensitive? If not, why not? So if we ramp up the CO2 forcing, what happens…?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom C points out that I myself am a skeptic in fields in which I am not credentialed or deeply acculturated, particularly economics. This is true. This is why I do not resort to arguments from authority in defending climate science – I reserve the right to call other fields into question, so I must grant the right of others to call mine into question. I understand that the “normal science” approach of ignoring such critiques risks false negatives on cogent critiques. I also understand the necessity of avoiding false positives on critiques which experts can immediately dismiss, which climate skeptics generally fail to acknowledge. I make no claim to understand economics, though. That’s false.Like critics of climate science, my claim is rather that important economic questions remain so wide open that one should act as if nothing were known about them at all. Unlike critics of climate science, I eagerly seek evidence to prove me wrong.

  • BBD

    willard @ 263

    A word I rarely use: wow. Thanks for the link.

  • PDA

    it is a reasonable assumption, that has reasonable data to back the hypotheses; yet we know that temperatures have been much higher and much lower in the record. In normal science this gives me permission to ignore you

    One would be ever so grateful to have that explained.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Sashka: “Hansen has made multiple baseless statement on attribution of “extreme
    weather events” in the past and, no doubt, will continue the same in the
    future
    .

    It’s trivially obvious that we have had enough of a surplus of extraordinary large scale anomalies of late to motivate looking around for an explanation, and it doesn’t take much looking around to find a candidate cause.

    Drawing the obvious and correct conclusion sometimes uses other techniques than statistics.

    Suppose a two meter asteroid hit a bridge. Suppose the bridge fell down within the next hour. Coincidence? Nobody would think to do statistics on such a problem, and what’s worse, the statistics would be inconclusive. The answer would nevertheless be considered obvious. Nobody would call Wegman.

    But strictly on the scientific side, shouldn’t he have subtracted the
    trend before computing probability distributions in his latest paper?

    Like so much that engages the opposition, it doesn’t matter much.The paper is not trying to establish a subtle relationship. It’s just saying, look, see?

    Phil Plait did it right.

    1950-1980 is a good slice to represent the late holocene. What we have now is early anthropocene, dramatically different. Just look at it. 

    You can have a subtler debate about the variance, which is what Tamino was asking for in his second piece on Hansen et al. But in his third piece he has backed down a bit, realizing that this interesting question is a secondary aspect of the paper.

    With regard to the trend in the variance, I don’t know that there is a clear “should” here.  If you want to quantify something, you get to define your terms.

    Given that, the spatial scale of the trend one proposes to remove becomes an issue. It adds all sorts of complexities that don’t really belong in this paper, though subsequent work may well take it on if it makes sense.

    The simplest cases would be to subtract no trend, or a global linear trend, or a global decadal average. Of the three, the first (which is what they used) is the one that makes the key point, that it looks like anthropogenic climate change is already substantial, most graphically accessible. The last decade looks different from all the others. The other two options just amount to sliding the x-axis around and wouldn’t change the variance.

    My intuition is that Tamino’s more complex spatial trend approach wouldn’t change things enough to matter qualitatively. I don’t like it though. I think it is potentially misleading on the variance question, as surely it tends to remove the most extreme anomalies from consideration. Anomalies in short records can dominate the trend. I’m not sure I’d go so far as to say it’s “wrong” but I find it problematic.

    But on the primary point of the paper, yes, your sense that things are warming up very quickly isn’t your imagination. (Or, for some here, your sense that they aren’t warming up in any unusual way is your imagination.) What’s more, this was not true a mere decade ago. Things have changed in a way that has changed. Deal with it.

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA: it is satire.  I note you left out the conditional that precedes the part you quoted. mt made an assertation while taking me to task about something he has a strong opinion about. I was asked a question upstream, and answered it. The answer was one from a noted “warmist” scientist. And mt says this means he has PERMISSION to ignore me (about science). Too bad he seems to be ignoring those fellas who wrote AR3 and AR4 WG1. Well, not my problem.

  • BBD

    harrywr2

    For our retirement cruise, shall we set non-linear sail on Lake El’gygytgyn?

  • PDA

    You’re passing me on both lanes, John. What “warmist” said the MWP was worldwide, and the thing about the high sensitivity, or any of the other things you said?There are times when plain speech is very welcome.

  • harrywr2

    #274 BBD

    For our retirement cruise, shall we set non-linear sail on Lake El’gygytgyn?

    Personally I like hanging out at Dry Falls and Lake Missoula. Ice cores can not possibly convey the enormity and devastation of what a ‘cataclysmic flood’ really is. Looking at a 12,000 or 13,000 year old ‘natural disaster’ makes today’s ‘disasters seem puny or even miniscule.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    When Dr. Tobis writes,

     “I do not resort to arguments from authority in defending climate science” 

    Either he is being disingenuous or his memory fails.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    “I do not resort to arguments from authority in defending climate science” Hmm. Okay, defending that gets very complicated very quickly. Withdrawn.I do mean to say that a field should welcome challenges from outside and be capable of dealing with them. It would be better if the challengers were reasonably polite and respectful, though.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis vilifies Steven Mosher for over a year, despite Mosher’s repeated attempts to reconcile with him. Dr. Tobis’ explanation is that Mosher co-authored a book about Climategate. Despite hearing from many people, including myself, that Mosher’s writing in Climategate is not what Tobis thinks, Tobis is adamant.

    When I send him the book to read, he doesn’t read it.

    “Unlike critics of climate science, I eagerly seek evidence to prove me wrong.”

    Yeah.

  • Sashka

    Drawing the obvious and correct conclusion sometimes uses other techniques than statistics.

    What techniques might that be? Are you saying that Hansen relied on something else other than statistics? What was it? And, at the risk of boring you, how do we know that the conclusions are correct?

    My intuition is that Tamino’s more complex spatial trend approach wouldn’t change things enough to matter qualitatively.

    That intuition is wrong as you can see from Tamino’s last plot

    http://tamino.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/tgpdfs.jpg

    Thus (unless it’s due to local std vs. standardized anomaly) it does matter very much.

    I do mean to say that a field should welcome challenges from outside and be capable of dealing with them.

    It would be better if the challengers were reasonably polite and respectful, though.

    I don’t know how it looks from your PoV but I’m honestly trying.

  • Sashka

    “if the MWP was warmer than today, it would support the high sensitivity” strikes me as evidence of a weak understanding of the problem

    Fair enough. How about

    The mere fact of its [MWP] existence, and that of the LIA, as responses to apparently quite small changes in forcing suggest at least a moderately sensitive climate system. ?

  • Louise

    Keith, as you have noted, I am an infrequent poster to your site although I do read it most days. I find it very tiresome to read comment after comment from Tom Fuller that refers to other commenters as liars, drunks, bullies, etc. Could you please persuade him to stop?

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA: It was said by Santer who was pointing out the problem with skeptics who believed inconsistant things about CS, sunspots, and MWP in a blog somewhere. Ithink it was about S&B10(?). He asked a rhetorical question. It would be hard for me to make the skeptical arguments, since I agree that the argument in question was inconsistant. Through this thread I have been pointing out the effect of assumptions and CI’s. This was another example. And I would say not all assumptions are equal.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    > Dr. Tobis vilifies Steven Mosher for over a year […]

    Citation needed.

    ***

    [D]espite Mosher’s repeated attempts to reconcile with him [.]

    See for instance:

    That experiment with MT went exactly as planned. And the experiment of seeing how long it would take before he went apoplectic on me worked. So, it would be fun if other people who also believe in the science, got booted off the team. You see the only way for people to get a handle on the real rules for membership is to cross a few lines and watch for explosive reactions.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2011/they-are-forces-of-evil/#comment-74558

    Moshpit’s own emphasis.

    Yup.

  • Keith Kloor

    Louise (281)

    I can appreciate your distaste for the endless personal sparring between a group of mutual antagonists.

    Unfortunately, Tom is not the only guilty party. He gets as good as he gives. 

    I sometimes wonder why people engage with those who they hold in such disdain. When I get to that point, I simply stop engaging with a particular individual. Otherwise, I’ve found that the exchanges mostly result in a volley of mutual insults.

    But dishing out insults seems to give some readers a perverse pleasure. I suggest you read past the names of commenters that you find irksome.

  • BBD

    I sometimes wonder why people engage with those who they hold in such disdain.

    Because they never bloody well stop foghorning nonsense, day in, day out. If there is no push-back against the jabberwocky, pretty soon it’s all you can hear in the room.

  • BBD

    @ 279 Sashka

    I repeat my earlier comment: Tamino’s figure (and that whole earlier analysis) used the US lower 48 annual data. HSR12 on the other hand used all NH land surface data and focussed on the JJA period. Why you keep linking to Tamino’s figure is becoming ever-more mystifying. Also, you really do need to read his most recent post which brings some much-needed clarity to the topic. I know this has been linked upthread, but since you apparently missed it I’ve provided the link again.

  • grypo

    For those very interested in the variability issue, per SkS, a recent paper, Donat 12, explores the issue and comes out with similar results to Tamino on the variability issue and similar results to Hansen 12 (using the same baseline) on the distribution issue.

    The results indicate that the distributions of both daily maximum and minimum temperatures have significantly shifted towards higher values in the latter period compared to the earlier period in almost all regions, whereas changes in variance are spatially heterogeneous and mostly less significant.

    So yeah, Tamino’s latest post is right on the same mark.

  • Keith Kloor

     BBD (285), 

    “If there is no push-back against the jabberwocky, pretty soon it’s all you can hear in the room.”

    This one’s for you.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Knowing what and whom to ignore and when is really a central issue.In normal science, your goal is to pursue truth. As soon as someone reveals themselves as less informed than yourself on a subject which engages you both, you ignore them. That is a key skill in becoming effective in science.In politics, your goal is to pursue social consensus. You cannot ignore anybody. That is a key skill in becoming effective in politics.When science and politics meet, nobody knows what to do.”Climategate” issues are almost entirely about scientists ignoring people who are scientifically irrelevant but politically relevant. I don’t see much in the supposed scandals in the emails that doesn’t relate directly to that. 

  • Joshua

    Keith (288)

    That cartoon is brilliant. I made the mistake of showing it to my girlfriend perhaps two years ago. Anyone here who doesn’t see themselves in that cartoon has zero insight. 

    I wonder if it would make a differences if you posted that as some kind of image that travels down the screen in the margins next to the comment box.

  • Joshua

    (289) MT -

    In politics, your
    goal is to pursue social consensus. You cannot ignore anybody. That is a key skill in becoming effective in politics.

    I think that your first two sentences may embed a logical problem in that they suggest opposite goals.

    I also think that I disagree with with your point more generally. Willard recently posted a clip that spoke about the importance of good listening to creating effective political outcomes. The best political outcomes I’ve ever seen were achieved through collaborative planning amongst stakeholders, and  involved  prioritizing listening over persuasion. I would suggest that there is an inverse relationship between trying to persuade people to agree to something (as opposed to asking them to listen) and their investment in the outcomes.  

    I can assure you that it is extremely unlikely that you will ever, persuade Tom of anything significant.. I might be someone you’d be more likely to persuade of something, and from where I sit, the way you engage with Tom lessens that likelihood. Of course, I am only one person – so then the question becomes where is the evidence that I am some kind of outlier?

  • BBD

    Joshua

    I wonder if it would make a differences if you posted that as some kind of image that travels down the screen in the margins next to the comment box.

    Of course it wouldn’t!

    ;-)

  • Keith Kloor

    @289

    I’ve stopped engaging with commenters who don’t recognize their own motivated reasoning. 

    This includes people who don’t recognize that their are legitimate issues arising from the climategate emails that can’t be swept under the rug or dismissively waved away.

    I understand the reason why some do that, because there are cynical exploiters like Morano who use such events for political purposes.

    But if your “goal is to pursue truth,” where ever that may lead, then you should pursue it–especially if you are a scientist.

    But I’ve concluded that the politics of climate change are so incredibly ugly and partisan that the truth is secondary to the aims of those inhabiting the two extreme poles of this debate.

     

  • Pingback: A new insight on post normal climatology | Planet3.0()

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua (291)

    “The best political outcomes I’ve ever seen were achieved through collaborative planning amongst stakeholders, and  involved  prioritizing listening over persuasion.”

    Can you provide some examples, particularly those in the science and/or environmental realm. I’m inclined to agree with you, but I would like to see examples that you believe help illustrate this.

    Also, along the same lines, see this new piece by Dan Kahan.

  • grypo

    This includes people who don’t recognize that their are legitimate issues arising from the climategate emails that can’t be swept under the rug or dismissively waved away.

    This is likely to happen because there is yet to be a careful analysis. Most of the analysis looks for a person to blame, a sacrificial lamb, but each instance of supposed bad behavior from scientists has its explanations. Whether people like them or not usually involves motivated reasoning. Usually, the motivated reasoner will inject his or her own biases into the motivation behind “behavior”. And that is that. Did Jones not want to include M&M to protect the “consensus” or did he do it because all other evidence pointed out that M&M was wrong? Could he have handled it differently? Sure. But is MT a motivated reasoner because he believes that the latter was the case? Is he at fault for understanding the difficulty that some people were under in trying to manage the science through the politics? Is he wrong for blaming the politcos more than the scientists? Was there a system set up to protect scientists from the politicos? A careful analysis would wonder these things.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    I hope I am not seen as dismissing “climategate”issues in the above. What I propose here is an explanation of how it reveals important cultural blindnesses within science. 

    Various investigatory bodies have decided that any academic or scientific misconduct revealed is so trivial as to be negligible. I agree with that. So what real issues are revealed if the conduct is not unusual?

    I propose that the problem revealed is that normal academic behavior, which is exactly the xkcd suggestion to ignore people who are wrong, is not suited for the key purpose of the postnormal institution of the IPCC. That key purpose is to explain the state of affairs to the non-expert political and journalistic subcultures and to the public at large. In that context, simply ignoring people who are stubbornly wrong is not a workable strategy.

    I feel compelled to add that conversations intended as private in a context like the one at hand (Group A has information that group B needs to understand but is motivated not to understand, while group C has a pile of petty confusions and resentments and distractions) are bound to be embarrassing. So we have to keep in mind how deeply unfair politics-by-hacking actually is in such a complicated matter, how a victim of such an outrage would respond after the fact, and what the obligations of the larger community of which they are a part would be.

    I think it is crucial not to minimize the fact that everyone whose email was exposed is a victim of a criminal act, and that those exploiting that act for politics are on very dubious ethical territory just to start with. That only exacerbates the initial impulse to disengage with people who are wrong. Science is supposed to be especially ruthless in disengaging with people who are shown to be wrong not just substantially but also ethically.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    I hope I am not seen as dismissing “climategate”issues in the above. What I propose here is an explanation of how it reveals important cultural blindnesses within science. 

    Various investigatory bodies have decided that any academic or scientific misconduct revealed is so trivial as to be negligible. I agree with that. So what real issues are revealed if the conduct is not unusual?

    I propose that the problem revealed is that normal academic behavior, which is exactly the xkcd suggestion to ignore people who are wrong, is not suited for the key purpose of the postnormal institution of the IPCC. That key purpose is to explain the state of affairs to the non-expert political and journalistic subcultures and to the public at large. In that context, simply ignoring people who are stubbornly wrong is not a workable strategy.

    I feel compelled to add that conversations intended as private in a context like the one at hand (Group A has information that group B needs to understand but is motivated not to understand, while group C has a pile of petty confusions and resentments and distractions) are bound to be embarrassing. So we have to keep in mind how deeply unfair politics-by-hacking actually is in such a complicated matter, how a victim of such an outrage would respond after the fact, and what the obligations of the larger community of which they are a part would be.

    I think it is crucial not to minimize the fact that everyone whose email was exposed is a victim of a criminal act, and that those exploiting that act for politics are on very dubious ethical territory just to start with. That only exacerbates the initial impulse to disengage with people who are wrong. Science is supposed to be especially ruthless in disengaging with people who are shown to be wrong not just substantially but also ethically.

  • Keith Kloor

    @297

    I think you have a few blind spots of your own. That’s okay. We all do.

    As to this: 

    “Science is supposed to be especially ruthless in disengaging with people who are shown to be wrong not just substantially but also ethically.”

    I agree. But you do realize this cuts both ways in the climate arena?

  • Sashka

    @MT

    I don’t know that there is a clear “should” here.

    I thought it should be clear that one should avoid mixing mean with variance. That’s what detrending is for.

  • Sashka

    I hope I am not seen as dismissing “climategate”issues in the above.

    Do you want an honest answer or a polite one?

  • Tom C

    mt writes: “Science is supposed to be especially ruthless in disengaging with people who are shown to be wrong not just substantially but also ethically.”  Unfortunately, a good number of the E-mails are about disengaging with Steve M, who was right, substantially and ethically.

  • Sashka

    @294

    The informed parties of course have been carefully trained to ignore any information that does not lead toward truth.

    Thus the trainers of the “informed parties” have known where the truth is all along. I’m not sure I understand what you mean.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    That’s funny, Dr. Tobis. Over at P3 you claim to know what Climategate was about. (You’re incorrect, but that is your claim.) Here you profess ignorance.

    You also write, “Sometimes people who are wrong and clueless harass people who are informed.” I’m sorry, but you’ll have to be more specific in your apology.

  • PDA

    I am herewith declaring PDA’s Law: As a blog comment discussion grows longer, the probability of someone invoking xkcd.com/386 approaches one. “Someone is wrong on the internet” is, ultimately, the topic of every comment discussion and many if not most blog posts. Arguments (well, and porn) are the raison d’être of the Internet. Let’s not be ungrateful.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Keith at #288, when they make the Broadway musical, the tune for that cartoon is available–Billy Joe’s Piano Man.Someone is wrong on the InternetThat’s why I’ve been here all night…Maybe Louise will offer to finish the stanza

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis writes, “Various investigatory bodies have decided that any academic or scientific misconduct revealed is so trivial as to be negligible.”

    Sadly, none of the investigations looked at the science. The closest anyone came was an examination of  a handful of published papers by UEA, chosen by UEA, none of which dealt with Climategate issues.

    The scientific conduct of those involved with Climategate was not revealed at all, let alone judged as trivial.

    The investigations fulfilled their remit, assessing the damage to the institutions hosting the Climategate scientists and finding them not threatened.

  • BBD

    Fuller writes:Sadly, none of the investigations looked at the science. The closest anyone came was an examination of  a handful of published papers by UEA, chosen by UEA, none of which dealt with Climategate issues.

    And we’re back to conspiracy theorising again. Next after evil scientists comes world government, socialism and killing the poor. It’s *pathetic nonsense*. Meanwhile, the Arctic melts, the Greenland ice sheet summer albedo shift has now happened, the permafrost continues to melt etc. And some people want to talk about ‘climategate’. I am genuinely furious, so will now stop before landing myself (deservedly) in moderation.

  • harrywr2

    #293 KK

    But I’ve concluded that the politics of climate change are so incredibly ugly and partisan

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0812/79734.html?hp=r2

    the Obama campaign has been airing
    a radio ad in Ohio that champions the president’s “clean coal” efforts
    while resurrecting then-Gov. Romney’s nine-year-old crusade against a
    coal-fired power plant in Massachusetts.

    Nothing partisan about the fact that you can’t win elections  by championing policies that threaten to put a significant constituency out of work.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #303 Sashka:

    The typical case in science is that crackpots outnumber actual experts in the world, and even put up a good showing within the academy. The coping mechanisms that emerge revolve around that situation. It seems very difficult to explain this to climate-consensus naysayers, but that is little surprise. Talk about motivated reasoning!

    Actual expertise is self-validating because it is accompanied by 1) skeptical habits of mind and 2) a rich and powerful network of coherency that allows quick dismissal of most unpromising ideas. 

    When you’re more expert on something than someone else, it is very easy to tell. When you’re less so, it is very hard.

    In a governance related situation, decision makers have no direct claim to any expertise at all. They lack the network of mutually reinforcing concepts and evidence. From that point of view, it is hard for such expertise to be distinguished from sheer crackpottery (Gerlich & Tseuschner) or overvalued nitpicking (McIntyre). 

    Such people do not come in conversation about science among scientists. They only come up in conversation about matters such as outreach, public relations, public policy. They do not matter in science. To the extent that the science is sound, there should be a way to ensure that they do not matter in policy more than they matter in science. 

    But there is no obvious praxis to implement that, no obviously fair way for the informal adjudications of science to be connected to matters of justice and fair play at the public policy level. I am not claiming that for the policy sector to identify real expertise is easy. I am to the contrary asserting that it is very challenging both ethically and practically. 

    For example, I suspect that the policy sector greatly overvalues economics in general and a particular school of economics especially. I’m enough of an outsider to be uncertain, and familiar enough with academics to be grateful for any attention to my inquiries from any quarter. I try to be polite and respectful because I fully realize I might be wrong in very much the sort of way that NiV or Sashka are wrong about us. How politics came to trust a certain academically controversial branch of economics while essentially rejecting an academically uncontroversial body of climate science is to me a fascinating and crucial comparison.

    The earth sciences are not as distinct from the rest of science as economics is. The scientific community as a whole recognizes earth science as part of the overall network of complex, coherent, mutually reinforcing and constantly tested knowledge. It habitually interacts with biological and astronomical sciences and is recognized as part of the structure of science that cannot be removed. At this point, it is difficult to imagine how the climate sensitivity to CO2 could be small without leaving gaping holes in a lot of science.

     One could do worse than deferring to the G8+5 national academies on the broad brush picture of climate as a sort of proxy for expertise. I admit that one could call this an appeal to authority, but I think it is an appeal to the coherence of science.

    I don’t know of a comparable proxy for economic theory.  I sometimes and think the proxy in de facto use is in America and some other countries “the theory that is as far as possible from Marxism”. My own immediate family bears real scars from the communist era in Czechoslovakia, and I’m not a communist by any means, so I sympathize with the historical antecedents of this approach. It’s not clear to me that this is a rational proxy for a rational economic policy though.

  • John F. Pittman

    BBD: It is not a conspiracy theory. The largest number of hits in CG1 is to use Yamal and larch. Larch is a common species used in proxy reconstructions. The questions that were asked by those who read the emails and took issue with the science were not asked at any of the inquiries. This is simply a matter of record, and does not require a conspiracy on anybody’s part. One can look at this without going into motives of individual groups/tribes. This search does include many of the emails that Steve McIntyre was interested in. But that is unsuprising in that larch and Yamal are part of many reconstructions. As far as  “”world government, socialism and killing the poor”” that is the Rio Declaration and the precautionary principle with certain assumptions. But it is also not a conspiracy. It is in the public domain and stated publicly. Now whether one gets world government or killing the poor, that depends on the assumptions. Socialism is the definition of the wealth redistribution that was proposed and is in the public record. It may of been a choice from their point of view of which is better: increased socialism or increased lawsuits with respect to what is termed climate justice. I haven’t researched it, so don’t have an opinion.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    To paraphrase what Michael is suggesting — no other academic discipline has become as politicized as economics. To a certain extent this isn’t terribly surprising (it used to be called political economy after all). But it is interesting to see how little debate there is in mainstream media about the intellectual bankruptcy of Chicago School, given its track record over the last 30 years. Frankly, I’m surprised Krugman’s head hasn’t exploded by now ;).

    Oh, and speaking of Marxism, Fuller is echoing the Materialist Conception of History on the other thread….

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I cannot tell if Michael Tobis wrote comment #310 or someone intending to satirize him did the honor.

  • PDA

    Willard has twitted me for using the term “Dunning-Kruger,” and to some extent I agree that it’s a shaming term that’s not particularly helpful in communications; whether using the cooperative model or something else. But I assert that not-kowing-what-one-is-talking-about-and-acting-like-one-does is a real thing, and a very big thing in culture-war arguments (needless to say, I hope, I see climate as a front in the broader culture war).I don’t know how to respond to assertions about larch and bristlecone pines; it’s out of my expertise, and while the people who are describing those proxies as a small piece of a very, very large puzzle seem to have a persuasive point, I certainly don’t know for sure. That would be very D-K of me.However, socialism is a word, with a meaning. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is a document. It has a meaning. Saying one has anything to do with the other is the kind of conflation that the term “not even wrong” was invented to describe. Poverty reduction is not state ownership of the means of production. Environmentalism is not Marxism. This is not a pipe.When one person is wrong on the internet, it’s an opportunity to practice rhetorical skills and have some fun. When a lot of people are wrong on (and off) the internet, though, there’s a cost in not responding to the wrongness.

  • PDA

    SHEESH.

    Willard has twitted me for using the term “Dunning-Kruger,” and to some extent I agree that it’s a shaming term that’s not particularly helpful in communications; whether using the cooperative model or something else. But I assert that not-knowing-what-one-is-talking-about-and-acting-like-one-does is a real thing, and a very big thing in culture-war arguments (needless to say, I hope, I see climate as a front in the broader culture war).

    I don’t know how to respond to assertions about larch and bristlecone pines; it’s out of my expertise, and while the people who are describing those proxies as a small piece of a very, very large puzzle seem to have a persuasive point, I certainly don’t know for sure. That would be very D-K of me.

    However, socialism is a word, with a meaning. The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development is a document. It has a meaning. Saying one has anything to do with the other is the kind of conflation that the term “not even wrong” was invented to describe. Poverty reduction is not state ownership of the means of production. Environmentalism is not Marxism. This is not a pipe.

    When one person is wrong on the internet, it’s an opportunity to practice rhetorical skills and have some fun. When a lot of people are wrong on (and off) the internet, though, there’s a cost in not responding to the wrongness.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    To the extent that U.S. conservatives have managed to make climate science part of the culture wars, that’s a loss for communications in the U.S. Pity they got enthusiastic assistance for making it a partisan domestic issue from some on the other side.As someone who is not a conservative, not a Republican and is a lukewarmer, I find that characterizing this by party label a bit overly facile. Nobel physicist Ivar Giaevar is every bit as librul as I am. So is Satan’s Spawn Bjorn Lomborg.As for repeated ‘wrongness’ I would agree that it needs to be responded to, which is why I won’t let Dr. Tobis alone, either about Climategate or his treatment of Dr. Curry.I would submit that much of the ‘wrongness’ you respond to is political, not scientific. Certainly that is the case with Dr. Tobis. 

  • BBD

    PDA

    When one person is wrong on the internet, it’s an opportunity to practice rhetorical skills and have some fun. When a lot of people are
    wrong on (and off) the internet, though, there’s a cost in not responding to the wrongness.

    Exactly as I said to Keith earlier, prompting something not unlike mockery in response.

    That aside, but given what you say, I am slightly ashamed to pop back here and find that you have been good enough to address JFP’s remarks at # 311. Thank you.

  • PDA

    “culture war” ≠ Republican vs. Democrat. 

    if I meant that, I’d have said that.

  • Keith Kloor

    PDA (315) 

    “When a lot of people are wrong on (and off) the internet, though, there’s a cost in not responding to the wrongness.”

    A lot of people are routinely wrong on the internet. I watch in amazement via my twitter feed.

    What interests me is not how many, but WHO is wrong, or WHO is peddling misinformation to advance a political/ideological agenda. And by WHO, I mean influential trusted sources–also known as information brokers. They are the ones that disseminate wrong information that then spreads on the internet and through the media.

    They are the ones that I’d rather spend my limited time addressing, on those occasions that I do.

  • Sashka

    MT, I sort of feel bad that I cannot respond to you with an essay of comparable length. I certainly don’t have enough time, among other reasons. I’ll just address a few points that I find especially disagreeable.

    First of all, there is no climate consensus beyond the fact that CO2 will warm the atmosphere to some extent.

    The expertise comes in different colors and flavors. Similarly qualified people look at the same data and come to opposite conclusions. Given that, “self-validating” is hardly a good thing. The only way to validate science is to consistently check the theory against reality. Trying to stifle the opposition based on self-validation and mutual back-slapping is Lysenkoism.

    Even the real expertise, in the very best sense of the word, doesn’t translate into real knowledge of everything important for public policy.

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by NiV and myself being wrong about climate scientists.

    IMO, you description of political rejection of climate science is oversimplified at best. The right rejects most of it mostly because the left buys most of it. Both are wrong.

    Earth sciences are not homogeneous. Seismology and meteorology are essentially hard sciences. Climatology is not. In particular because it is not being tested, contrary to what you assert.

    It is entirely possible that CS < 2C. Assuming that this quantity can be defined.

    One could do a lot better than deferring to the G8+5 national academies on the broad brush picture. In particular CCS is just a pipe dream.

  • Joshua

    Keith (295)Check out “participatory planning” as a concept employed in urban/rural planning. It isn’t science per se, but it involves gathering scientific information and involving scientists, and it incorporates input from environmental (and other) citizen groups to solve problems that cross over into issues that have a great deal of environment impact. A key component is a process whereby “expert” information is considered very crucial, but the hierarchy typically found associated with expert information is flattened. Specifically, the planning process is not run in a top-down method by “experts,” but through a collaborative process. But there is a very structured and comprehensive method by which expert information is given to the public so they can make informed decisions. (As a bit of a side note – I worked with a student that was writing a dissertation on the adaption of participatory/collaborative planning processes to Japanese urban/rural planning, and it was interesting there was to see how as compared to Japan, the familiarity and history Americans have with “civil society” makes this country ideally suited for collaborative work between “experts” and citizen groups. As a culture, our general attribute of being less hierarchical than most other cultures can work to our advantage within collaborative planning.) Obviously, the situation with climate science is not directly parallel – but I think that in some ways participatory urban/rural planning structures can inform the process of disseminating scientific expertise about climate science to the public under an umbrella of policy formation.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua (221)

    I’m familiar with the concept and and how it works. I was just curious to learn of specific “political outcomes” that you deem a successful result of the process. 

  • BBD

    Sashka

    First of all, there is no climate consensus beyond the fact that CO2 will warm the atmosphere to some extent.

    Er, that’s more than a tad misleading.

    The only way to validate science is to consistently check the theory against reality. Trying to stifle the opposition based on self-validation and mutual back-slapping is Lysenkoism.

    Followed by

    I honestly have no idea what you mean by NiV and myself being wrong about climate scientists.

    = :-)

  • grypo

    I think Lysenko may disagree with Sashka on that one. Surely biding his time under Stalin’s underbosses until he could rise to power in order to imprison his opposition in death gulags was much more impressive than what any climate scientist has achieved.

  • Sashka
  • Sashka
  • Marlowe Johnson

    Such interesting places you inhabit Sashka. The interested reader will note the bio of the author of the link @326

    Kevin DeAnna is former deputy field director at the Leadership Institute and founder of Youth for Western Civilization. He’s trained conservatives on philosophy and tactics for Americans for Prosperity, Eagle Forum, Young Conservatives of Texas, and other conservative and libertarian groups around the country. 

  • PDA

    There’s really nothing like the fag-end of a long C-a-S thread. I almost feel like throwing in a Hitler reference, just so we’re sure we’ve covered all the bases.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #320 “First of all, there is no climate consensus beyond the fact that CO2 will warm the atmosphere to some extent.”

    Our egalitarian age has lost track of the word “presumptious” but this jaw-dropping blurt certainly seems like an occasion to renew it. It’s an amazing demonstration of ignorance, unwarranted confidence, and disrespect.

    “The only way to validate science is to consistently check the theory against reality.”

    Again, presuming. Presuming that I am not interested in data is hardly different from a presumption that I am a crazed ideologue. Bad enough, but what about writing off an entire discipline that way? What’s the point of evidence-based dialogue under the circumstances?

    ” Seismology and meteorology are essentially hard sciences. Climatology is not. In particular because it is not being tested, contrary to what you assert.”

    If there is a clear boundary between research meteorology and climatology, I’d be interested to know what it might be. 

    As for “seismology”, there are two definitions of that field, but they are both admittedly remote from climate. However, geology as a whole is not. As a hint, consider why the Mars missions are so intent on looking at rocks. It’s because rocks contain chemical traces of the climate conditions under which they formed. The give and take between climate science and geology is consequently quite considerable.

    I have been frustrated by Sashka in the past but this is amazingly thickheaded stuff from him. 

     Here is a noted scientist,  sometimes referred to as a climatologist and sometimes as a meteorologist, oddly complaining about the lack of adequate field data to better constrain a keystone of the scientific understanding of climate. This is just by way of counterexample of several of Sashka’s points.To be as restrained as I can manage, (I erased a very intemperate paragraph here) Sashka evidently does not know what he is talking about, and it would be the decent thing to stop pretending otherwise.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    It’s hard to think of how to formulate an enforceable and workable law against negligent indifference to facts that wouldn’t be dangerous, regressive, undemocratic, and in America at least, unconstitutional.

    But the fact that we can’t legislate against it doesn’t mean that there isn’t grossly unethical behavior taking place. We don’t have to look far for examples.

  • BBD

    @ 328 Marlowe 

    Do you know what the BNP is and who Nick Griffin is? I was a bit taken aback by the link at # 327 too.

  • BBD

    Sorry, that’s ambiguous – I know who Griffin is and what the BNP is.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Here’s where Donald Brown posts stuff:

    climateethics.org

    Yes, but Lysenko, I guess.

  • grypo

    Clearly there is line somewhere that denotes the end points between keeping psudoscience off the record and censoring, imprisoning, and killing scientists. It appears Sashka has no idea where this line is and continuously trips over it. Until Sashka can come to grips with this, those comments on the scientific process aren’t going to be valid.

  • BBD

    Anyone interested in why a Brit might recoil somewhat at a link to the BNP website (#327) can find out more about Nick Griffin and his views on wiki.

  • Sashka

    I was under impression that you wanted to have a respectful conversation. Apparently no longer. But you’ve been around long enough to know that on Internet offense can just as easily go the other way. This is what I get for being nice and charitable. You want respect? Sorry but you’ll have to learn it on the strength of your reasoning.

    I believe we went through this before. But in case if you suffer from short memory I’ll repeat that if you want to talk science I’m ready to match your world-reknown expertise point-to-point. I did it before and you know it. That’s what really frustrated you in the past. If you can prove me wrong go ahead. Otherwise color me unimpressed.

    Feel free to define consensus in any way you like and tell me what else we have the consensus about. (OK, I’ll agree about acidification without contest. Also, some ice will melt.) Anything else? Please don’t forget to provide evidence of consensus.

    I didn’t say you’re not intersted in the data. But 13 years of flat temps didn’t change any of your views on AGW (AFAIK). That makes you what?

    The difference between meteorology and climatology is in timescales and applications. Thought you knew it already.

    That quote from Trenberth, what exactly was it a counterexample of?

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA your errors. The strawman: It was socialism and not Marxism. You confuse conflating with the fact that I pointed out a socialist part of wealth distribution CONTAINED within the document. You say the declaration has meaning. I would say it has many meanings and definitions and one can read them. Your claim of proxies being a small part of a larger puzzle ignores that in attribution it is one of two main parameters that are used to establish causation in IPCC WG1. The other are models. Tree ring proxies are a subset of the larger temperature proxy set, and temperature proxies are a subset of the larger proxy record that is used. “” Poverty reduction is not state ownership of the means of production.”” is also a strawman. It is not just using production to end poverty. The declaration includes mechanisms for taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor. The items are money and technology. This meets the definition of socialism, not Marxism your strawman.

  • BBD

    # 337

    You want respect? Sorry but you’ll have to learn it on the strength of your reasoning.

    Cuts both ways, on the internet. As do other things. This thread has been a revelation in several ways.

  • Sashka

    MJ @328: did you have a point to make?

  • Sashka

    @335. Yes, Big Brother. Keep them off the record. Redefine peer review if necessary.

  • grypo

    Does this mean we are changing from Lysenko to Big Brother? Does Big Bro have a connection to the famous ‘peer review’ quote?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    well sashka since your anonymous, the point i’d make is that we can only judge your arguments on the basis of their merits and the sources you choose to use to support them. Judging by those last two links, I think its fairly clear that your a hard core, possibly delusional, conservative/libertarian.

  • Sashka

    Lysenkoism is the idea that scientific disagreements can be “resolved” outside science. Particular fate of the dissenters, however tragic, is another issue. You need to come to grips with this. Then you will be able to connects the points. Maybe.

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Compare:

    Lysenkoism is the idea that scientific disagreements can be “resolved” outside science.

    and contrast:

    Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives

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

  • Doug Allen

    Keith, I applaud your frequent critical remarks about the over-the-top statements and accusations by extremists on both sides in the climate debate, and your role as an environmentalist in the past with Audubon and now.  Sadly, Discover Magazine seems to have an agenda which prohibits comments like mine which, 30 hours later, is still awaiting moderation., 27. Doug Allen Says: Your comment is awaiting moderation.August 14th, 2012 at 2:51 pm After his rant, Julian Penrod asks”¦ “deniers”¦” “Will they say what signs they consider absolute proof man mad climate change is occurring? Everywhere else I asked, I received no answers.”Although attempting a conservation with fanatics such as Penrod and Galkowski is likely to result in only more rants, name-calling, and hystrionics , I’ll have a go for just this one round. Julian, please do your homework and you will learn that there has been only 20 years of global warming, 1978-1998, during the past 67 years of increasing CO2 emissions, and that those 20 years of signifiant warming were statistically the same as the warming in the 20th centrury which ended about 1942. Of course we all know there has been no global warming the past 15 years and that there has been no acceleration in sea level rise. Catastrophic events have not been quantified on a global scale until recently so it’s difficult to know if anything unusual let alone unprecedented is happening. There definitely has been no increase in U.S tornadoes and hurricanes.So here is your answer from someone who is a liberal, a conservationist, and who teaches a course on climate change. Because the Hansen 1988 temperature model projections and 1990 IPCC model projections show little skill and because there has been no recemt warming despite incresing concentions of CO2, now up to almost 400 ppm, I am a “lukewarmer” who does not deny AGW, but who thinks your ravings (and Hansen’s) about CAGW and weather events are unhelpful, unscientific , and likely to create even more distrust of science and scientists. That distrust of science and scientists, not CAGW, is the tragedy we presently face, and you are part of the problem, not part of the solution. If we actually had global warming and sea level rise that came close to matching the Hasen and IPCC model projections, then, I would certainly show the level of concern that you now mistakenly have with no empirical evidence to validate it.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    woot, they’re calling in reinforcements

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @345

    Lysenkoism is used colloquially to describe the manipulation or distortion of the scientific process as a way to reach a predetermined conclusion as dictated by an ideological bias, often related to social or political objectives 

    hoist with his own petard comes to mind don’t you think?

  • Keith Kloor

     Doug (346)

    Thanks for stopping by. A couple of things.

    1) I wasn’t an environmentalist with Audubon. I was a senior editor and writer at the magazine. To some, that might not be much of a distinction, but it’s a meaningful one to me.

    2) I wouldn’t read anything into your comment being in moderation at Discover. I know that the editor of this particular piece is on vacation this week, so its unlikely anyone is paying attention to comments that might still be coming through. Tomorrow morning, I’ll ask another editor to have a look and approve it.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Sashka: ” if you want to talk science I’m ready to match your world-reknown expertise point-to-point.”

    I have seen little sign of this. Rather I see an attempt to deflect any serious conversation to shopworn rightwing political talking points, and away from any interesting mutually respectful engaged conversation in a scientific vein. I like your definition of Lysenkoism and I’d like even more if you refrained from it.

    You claimed that there is a solitary point of climate science consensus, that CO2 increase will cause some indeterminate amount of warming. 

    This extraordinary claim gives us a chance to engage in an interesting scientific conversation. You stipulate that CO2 increase will cause some indeterminate warming, yet you claim that this is the ONLY point of consensus within what you consider climatology.

    My question to you is this: how can this fact be established in isolation? I would claim it is not the sort of thing that be determined directly, that it is a conclusion based on a whole coherent network of scientific facts from multiple dominos. You suggest to the contrary that it is the only reliable fact. I challenge you to explain. How can this fact be established if there are no other facts to draw upon?

    Please, also, let us know what your scientific background is so I don’t address my responses at too elementary a level for you in future.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    damn autocorrect. s/dominos/domains/

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    No-one will be surprised that I agree with Doug above. I’ll extend his remarks with my own observation.

    By obsessively and mistakenly preaching climate doom here in the present due to Xtreme Weather and what-not the alarmists are endangering the future.

    There was a wolf. We are going to be using twice as much energy in 25 years as we are today and three times as much in 60 years.

    If that energy comes from coal we’re cooked.

    But having false alarm after false alarm sounded by alarmists and then show to be nonsense, the public will turn away.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Woot that, MT.

  • Sashka

    @350

    I see an attempt to deflect any serious conversation to shopworn rightwing political talking points

    Here’s Rashomon all over again. OK, sir, please show me examples of me making “rightwing political talking points”.

    From my PoV, each time you show up here, I offer you a conversation on science which you never pick up. Examples in this thread alone: 138, 139, 164, 248, 280, 281, 301, 337.

    and away from any interesting mutually respectful engaged conversation in a scientific vein

    Seriously? You can tell this to me with straight face after 330?? Wow. Astonishing.

    Now you want to challenge me to prove the negative. That’s nice but I challenged you to prove your position first in 337.

    As for my background, let me assure you that you’d find it quite satisfactory. Actually you did already once when we talked about nonlinear systems, attractors, predictability and all that wonderful stuff. Assume that I’ll understand your arguments at any level.

  • grypo

    Even with the chopped down and incorrect re-versioning of “Lysenkoism”, the terminology “outside science” is undefined rhetoric. For example, is the process for laying out the most accurate science for a report like the IPCC considered such in this version of Lysenkoism?

  • PDA

    The strawman: It was socialism and not Marxism.I didn’t say you said anything about Marxism. I didn’t say you said anything about pipes, either. I’d so prefer it if you’d respond to the substance of my arguments, rather than lawyerly word-parsing. Please and thank you.Tree ring proxies are a subset of the larger temperature proxy set, and temperature proxies are a subset of the larger proxy record that is used.I’m glad you share my sense that these proxies are “a small piece of a very, very large puzzle.” As to the question of how quibbles about the subset of the subset of the set can be said to invalidate the entire set, much less any conclusions derived from analyzing the set… I don’t know, as I said. What do you think?The declaration includes mechanisms for taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor. The items are money and technology. [Citation needed]This meets the definition of socialism.[Citation needed] 

  • PDA

    OHAI, KEITH’S WEB DEVELOPER

    The strawman: It was socialism and not Marxism.

    I didn’t say you said anything about Marxism. I didn’t say you said anything about pipes, either. I’d so prefer it if you’d respond to the substance of my arguments, rather than lawyerly word-parsing. Please and thank you.

    Tree ring proxies are a subset of the larger temperature proxy set, and temperature proxies are a subset of the larger proxy record that is used.

    I’m glad you share my sense that these proxies are “a small piece of a very, very large puzzle.” As to the question of how quibbles about the subset of the subset of the set can be said to invalidate the entire set, much less any conclusions derived from analyzing the set”¦ I don’t know, as I said. What do you think?

    The declaration includes mechanisms for taking from the wealthy and giving to the poor. The items are money and technology. 

    [Citation needed]

    This meets the definition of socialism.

    [Citation needed] 

  • Sashka

    @343

    The pages that I linked quote certain people saying certain things. If you don’t believe they said what they are quoted as saying – go ahead and refute. I don’t find it significant where the information is published or by whom personally unless the writer has a reputation as a lier. Things are either happened or not. If you evaluate the evidence based on the political views of the writer then I suggest looking for somebody delusional in the mirror. But given what you tend to write here it seems like a distinct possibility.

  • Sashka

    grypo, there are two kinds of people: those who copy-paste quotes from wiki and those who know some things themselves. My definition may not be the most elegant but these are my words and they correctly reflect the substance of the phenomenon.

    I’ll assume for now that you have some idea about normal scientific process. The methods that don’t belong there could be described as “outside science”. It’s not that hard to figure out.

    IPCC was not ostensibly designed as a (sorry) lysenkoist project. But it partially became one.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Sashka, you have made some extravagant claims; you need to refine them or defend them, or we are not having a conversation at all. 

    If we have a respectful conversation, I will concede points that weigh against me when they are true, and I will be honest about my intellectual strengths and gaps. I expect the same from you. I don’t know whom I am arguing with. Although you are usually close to idiomatic I see hints (including but not limited to your pseudonym) that English is not your first language, so we may not be using words exactly alike. So we would be patient with each other in defining terms.

    Lysenkoism, for instance, is a charged term carrying the weight of tyranny as well as of bureaucratic foolishness. You did not hesitate to cite some rather extremist websites in defense of the idea that climate change is an excuse for tyranny. There are people from eastern Europe, notably Vaclav Klaus and prominently Lubos Motl, who actually believe that climate science is a sham and a front for a resurgence of Stalinism. 

    This type of talk strikes most people as crazy. For myself, from a family that shares in the trauma and insult of twentieth century eastern Europe, and as a participant in the science that is accused, it is not just crazy but terrifying. I understand how powerful this baseless scapegoat craze can be. My grandfather was rounded up and killed as part of the most prominent of these. I don’t  relish the idea of following his precedent. So excuse me for getting a bit upset.

    You claim that climate science has essentially no content, and wave vaguely in the direction of a difference in time scales with meteorology. This is complete nonsense as a trivial and marginal familiarity with the primary literature would make clear. 

    You claim to be scientifically sophisticated, yet you repeat the simpleminded propaganda about “no global warming since 1998″, as if you had no idea about how to separate trends from variability. (This is clearly in the set of things that rightwing websites like the two you happily cite believe that are simply beyond the pale.) As I said, if you can’t work it out for yourself, go look at Skeptical Science. I’m sure they’ve done this particular piece of nonsense justice.

    I propose the Kiehl-Trenberth diagram as a good basis to start talking about what is actually known about climate science. Perhaps I was not clear about this. 

    The IPCC document is not a summary of climate science. It is a summary of what has changed about the science of climate change. A delta on a delta, that is. It provides a useful entry into the literature, but it is not the core of the literature. You seem deeply confused about this. 

    Is the IPCC process is politicized? Absolutely. It is “intergovernmental” by definition. Does it impact the conduct of science? Unfortunately, it does. The artificial five year cycle has had an especially awkward effect in the US modeling community. But does it actually bias (as opposed to just obstructing) the results? Of this there is no compelling evidence that I have seen. The reason scientists put up with the indignities of public patronage in a society where technical skills can be generously rewarded is the nobility of the search for truth.

    Is the IPCC report itself skewed? That’s unclear insofar as WG I is concerned. I claim that WGI is skewed toward understating, not overstating risks and I am not alone in this opinion. Is it “Lysenkoist” in that it is controlled by organized forces opposed to human freedom and dignity? No. That is ridiculous and paranoid and dangerous talk. And to avoid raising emotions where they don’t belong, you probably would avoid it.

    I am not, myself, a defender of WG II or WG III and never have been. I claim an epistemologically privileged position for physical science; this is what shields WGI from the sort of vagueness that the other groups end up with. But we still need to discuss mitigation and adaptation, and the political and ethical implications of this and similar problems. We can’t defer it all to science. WGII and WGIII are charged with making the attempt and summarizing the literature. It’s a difficult task because unlike with actual climate science, there is no clear and coherent consensus to build upon. I don’t know in any detail why the last WGII report, in particular, was such a shabby mess.

    But I don’t think the ghost of Stalin had anything to do with it. Rather I think he haunts the websites you cite. Nothing promotes tyranny better than fear-based opposition to tyranny that doesn’t exist. You don’t have to be explicitly Stalinist to be a part of totalitarian tendencies. (See Arendt’s classical book on totalitarianism to understand the commonalities between totalitarianism of the right and the left.)

    If you want to engage on relevant science, feel free to discuss the Kiehl-Trenberth diagram and the difficulty in constraining the out-of-balance residual in the energy budget. Does the diagram itself not represent a meaningful achievement? What of the quantification of the terms? How does this fit in to your claim that climate science is empty?

    This is my proposed counterexample to your claim that climate science is empty of established results, which is your claim that I find the most egregiously indefensible.

    You don’t get to just hurl doubts and innuendo, and not engage on substance, despite NiV’s suggestion that this sort of behavior is somehow constructive. If you ask provocative questions but don’t engage in considering the answers, you don’t have much basis to accuse me or my community of politicizing science.

  • PDA

    My definition may not be the most elegant but these are my words and they correctly reflect the substance of the phenomenon.

    I think this pretty much exemplifies the point of contention in the skeptics vs. warmists (for want of a better term) conflict. 

    There are more extreme versions: “all science is corrupt, my gut sense is just as valid as your research paper or more so.” But I think this catches the gist.

    The extreme version of the converse, of course, is argument by authority (or Wikipedia copy/paste). And that’s certainly out there. I have been guilty of it myself, without a question of doubt.Is there a way to end-run this conflict? I suppose that’s the subject of another thread…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Very noble, Dr. Tobis. Almost stirring. And yet you defend specific instances of behaviour that run counter to your stated philosophy and act yourself in ways that belie your stated commitment to a life bound by ideals.

    Please explain.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    PDA, after 362 comments this is essentially an open thread–everybody else is now nominating good or bad journalists on another thread. So go ahead.

  • grypo

    these are my words and they correctly reflect the substance of the phenomenon

    But that’s not how communication works. You can’t make up a definition and expect that others will know what you mean. MT correctly points out the associations and usual meaning of Lysenkoism.

    But that aside, I also disagree with you that the IPCC didn’t start out as a “outside science” project. It really is outside science. But the writers did a pretty good job making it as scientific a possible considering the job they needed to do. Any reading of the comments within the review process is evidence of this. Or any retelling of the Santer story from the 90’s.

    This is why I like the “redefine peer review” story. Any real analysis pulls the investigator into the review comments. It takes them back what was being discussed in the email (HINT: De Freitas/CR) and what was likely meant by the private comment. But only a careful analysis would do that.

  • Sashka

    Sorry but conditions of my employment don’t allow blogging under my real name. But it is true that I’m an immigrant from the Soviet Union and my family background is similar to yours.

    I cannot go into endless and pointless exercise of proving the negative. It was you (among many others) who made claims about broad consensus on climate. I challenge you (yet again) to make up at least a short list of specific statements that all the climatologists agree upon.

    I don’t feel like I need to defend quotes whereever they came from. It either happened or not.

    I don’t really give a crap about Vaclav Klaus. I’m not very familiar with Lubos Motl. I’ve read some of his pieces, though. Let’s say, not everything made a lot of sense. Let’s say I’m not a fan.

    I did not say that climate science has essentially no content, nor did I mean it. Climate science has a large body of knowledge. Unfortunately, most of it is conditional on assuptions (that make the application to real world problematic) and riddled with uncertainties. There are no quantitative predictions that were confirmed by observations.

    and wave vaguely in the direction of a difference in time scales with meteorology. This is complete nonsense as a trivial and marginal familiarity with the primary literature would make clear.
    Originally, the atmospheric GCMs used for climate simulations were adopted from weather forecast model, chiefly by changing the grid resolution and increasing time step as much as stability allows. Would you dispute that? I’m not familiar with the latest developments but I never heard of anything that make atmospheric components of climate models fundamentally different from meteo, apart from grid resolution, time step and some parameterizations. Now let me tell you again that in my book “complete nonsense” is not a part of respectful conversation. If I’m wrong you can say so and back it up with reputable references. Otherwise “nonsense” can travel both ways.

    It is not the simpleminded propaganda about “no global warming since 1998″. Not only that it is plainly true, reputable scientists said so too. I recall Marotzke and Latif among others.

    I never said that IPCC is the core of the literature. You may be confused about what I said. But it’s not hard to figure out before putting words in my mouth. However I’m happy that we agree on the “politicized” part.

    Is it “Lysenkoist” in that it is controlled by organized forces opposed to human freedom and dignity?
    Or forces concerned with the long term survival of human race. What’s the difference? It is Lysenkoist just the same. I appreciate your nuanced position on WGI vs. WGs II and III though.

    You don’t have to be explicitly Stalinist to be a part of totalitarian tendencies.

    Excellent point. Exactly what I’m thinking, too.

    you don’t have much basis to accuse me or my community of politicizing science

    I thought we already settled that. Regardless, I’ll consider your answers whenever you feel like giving any. So far it didn’t happen, unfortunately. I will get back to you on K-T diagram later in the day. Running out of time now.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sashka, over at Bart Verheggen’s blog, Pat Cassen gave about as clear and succinct summary of the consensus POV as I’ve ever seen. It was about a year ago. http://ourchangingclimate.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/the-risk-of-postponing-corrective-action/#comment-6827Pity that the rest of the edifice on which the science is based is not so clearly defined.

  • grypo

    A quick examination of Ben Pile’s article on the GL melt reveals much about the media’s examination post NASA headline, and reveals much about the media’s examination of the media’s examination of the GL melt. But it also reveals that the media had no real interest in getting the story right. They either wanted it to be that Greenland melts away or that the event is a cycle that happens every 150 years and was expected because of this. Neither of these is correct.

    From Ben Pile

    In plain sight of the fact that the melting was neither unexpected nor unprecedented

    He uses the NASA presser quote

    “˜Ice cores from Summit [a central Greenland station] show that melting events of this type occur about once every 150 years on average. With the last one happening in 1889, this event is right on time’, said Lora Koenig, a NASA researcher involved in the analysis of the satellite data.

    But what does that mean? Where does that come from? The number itself comes from a Richard Alley paper in 1995. It is not used as a number to denote an expected cycle, but to denote a classification.

    Melting is clearly scarce, averaging I event per 153 a over this time and supporting the classification of Benson (1962) that this site falls within the dry-firn zone

    Further examination of that paper reveals that before 1889, the last time the melt occurred was about 700 years before that. It also reveals that that most melts occurred during the MWP and then again many more during the Holocene Optimum, both times when it was anomalously warm over the N Hemisphere. Ya know, like now. It’s only expected because of the conditions, not cycles.

    This information wasn’t looked into. Perhaps the problem with the media is that it can’t decide which tribe keeps getting things right and which isn’t. Who distorts (knowingly or not) simple quotes to avoid finding themselves in one of those tribes. Or perhaps the media is just too inept to handle a simple piece that details the reality of the this particular or any other phenomenon.

  • http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/ Arthur Smith

    Keith writes:

    “What interests me is not how many, but WHO is wrong, or WHO is
    peddling misinformation to advance a political/ideological agenda. And
    by WHO, I mean influential trusted sources”“also known as information
    brokers. They are the ones that disseminate wrong information that then
    spreads on the internet and through the media.They are the ones that I’d rather spend my limited time addressing, on those occasions that I do.”

    This is an important point. This group of “influential trusted sources” changes naturally over time. There is a selection process – but the selection is for power, not truth. To the extent a firm grasp of reality significantly contributes to wealth and worldly power, the two will be in accord and those with influence will naturally also hew closely to what is true. From the industrial revolution through the mid 20th century that correlation largely held, and the world made great leaps and bounds in our understanding of reality (science informing technology and vice versa, and both informing policy).

    The “influential trusted sources” in the US have long included many with a scientific understanding – from Jefferson and Franklin to the establishment of the National Academy of Sciences, Vannevar Bush’s leadership and the founding of NSF, the office of science advisor and the OSTP in the executive branch, and for a time the congressional Office of Technology Assessment.

    But the power of these science/technology-based trusted sources has clearly declined in recent years. OTA was closed in 1995. OSTP has declined with budget cuts and the science advisor I hear rarely meets with the president any more. Congress bypasses the NAS about as often as it consults it these days.

    Something fundamental has changed in the relationship between power and truth in the world. It is very likely a consequence of our immense growth in technologies over the past couple of centuries, but I don’t think the internet or any other one technology can be directly blamed. Decoupling may be more associated with financialization of the economy, inequality and inherited wealth. Or it may be more cultural, as “technocrat” and “meritocracy” seem to have become dirty words. Whatever the cause, untruth holds sway in our day more than ever, and science is far from the only victim.

  • Dave H

    Sashka@337We’ve had 13 years of flat temperatures for over a century. Yet temperature has risen. 

  • Sashka

    Re, K-T diagram (not sure why they get name credit for it – by the time of publication there was conceptually nothing new there), it’s a nice illustration. OK, it’s an achievemnt, mostly in engineering. In the context of climate change, the numbers would be more meaningful if they had error-bars attached. How meaningful is the net absorbtion number of 0.9 W/m^2? How well is it really constrained? Will at stay at this level in the future? What does it have to do with the consensus?

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    Congratulations, Sashka. Those are the right questions. Maybe we can make progress after all.

    I agree that conceptually the diagram just states what is already clear from first principles. All I meant to assert was that there are useful things clear from first principles. Now that you have stipulated that, I need not proceed from a position of being insulted. And we can think about what is known and what isn’t.

    One point that has not been made often enough is that climatology is NOT limited to the science of predicting 21st century climate change, although that is all IPCC is interested in. Climatology is, to me, the study of the behavior of the Charney system (atmosphere/ocean/sea ice) and is essentially the union of meteorology and physical oceanography. Its key issues are what the energy balance is, and how it changes. 

    I don’t have anything specific to convince you about in that context, just that a rich and formal body of knowledge exists on which the climate change concern is built. If you prefer to call it “meteorology”, that is fine with me. That’s just words. The point is that there is a formal phsyical science which benefits from all the advantages any exact science has over other forms of knowledge.

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA: First some house keeping. Your
    definition of socialism is closer to my definition of Marxism. Your “Poverty reduction is not state ownership of the means of
    production” is one aspect of socialism that tends towards Marxism, but
    there are differences. Other aspects of socialism are “cooperative management of the means of production”
    which is included in general descriptions in Wiki from Britannica Academic
    Edition. PDA, I now understand why you recommended I address the argument. We
    disagree on a definition and that is why it appeared to me to be a strawman. Another
    definition is from dictionaryofeconomics Dot com, for example. My favourite is
    from Wiki “There are many varieties
    of socialism and there is no single definition encapsulating all of them.”  Another item of housekeeping, before I cause another
    misunderstanding, stating money was transferred in the Rio Declaration was
    wrong. It is the transfer of wealth which is worse from my perspective in terms
    of my argument of socialism.  From Rio “Principle 3 The
    right to development must be fulfilled so as to equitably meet developmental
    and environmental needs of present and future generations.” “Principle 4 In
    order to achieve sustainable development, environmental protection shall
    constitute an integral part of the development process and cannot be considered
    in isolation from it.” “Principle
    5 All
    States and all people
    shall cooperate in the essential task of eradicating poverty as an
    indispensable requirement for sustainable development, in order to decrease the
    disparities in standards of living and better meet the needs of the majority of
    the people of the world.” And “Principle 9 States should cooperate to
    strengthen endogenous capacity-building for sustainable development by improving
    scientific understanding through exchanges of scientific and technological
    knowledge, and by enhancing the development, adaptation, diffusion and transfer
    of technologies, including new and innovative technologies.”  Now for some of the interesting parts “Principle
    11 States shall enact effective environmental legislation. Environmental
    standards, management objectives and priorities should reflect the
    environmental and development context to which they apply. Standards applied by
    some countries may be inappropriate and of unwarranted economic and social cost
    to other countries, in particular developing countries.” Which is the
    recognition that Rio could result in inappropriate
    and unwarranted economic and social costs to other countries; that it may be
    particular to developing nations does not limit it to developing nations. The
    transfer of technologies is not limited to the states knowledge; that statement
    is not in there.  The right of an individual
    or a corporation to consume resources is not in the principles and has led
    people to point out sustainability as stated by the UN is an oxymoron. There
    are several good references on sustainability and the disagreements in Wiki “sustainability”.
    As stated there are seemingly conflicting Principles with “”Principle 2 States
    have, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations and the principles
    of international law, the sovereign right to exploit their own resources
    pursuant to their own environmental and developmental policies, and the
    responsibility to ensure that activities within their jurisdiction or control
    do not cause damage to the environment of other States or of areas beyond the
    limits of national jurisdiction.”  But in
    terms of my argument, it is the States, it is a taking, as in restricting
    resources which is state management of production, or technology transfer which
    is wealth transfer and it is written in the context of social good of helping
    the poor and addressing disparities versus an individual right to own or a
    capitalist/corporate owner managing the production and resources themselves. In
    context of what is written, the State is recognized which is why there is
    argument with respect to individuals, capitalism, and what does sustainability
    mean. A good one liner for me is “What use is a sawmill without a forest?” What
    is not readily apparent to some is that if you take from one the technology and
    the ability to consume resources in order to eradicate poverty by giving these
    to others, that this transfer of wealth is due to that transfer of the
    technology and the consumption of resources. The sawmill quote illuminates this
    where the forest is still there but it is another forest and sawmill that are
    allowed production. PDA you state I’m glad you share my sense
    that these proxies are “a small piece of a very, very large puzzle.” As to the
    question of how quibbles about the subset of the subset of the set can be said
    to invalidate the entire set, much less any conclusions derived from analyzing
    the set”¦ I don’t know, as I said. What do you think?

    I think without knowing the statistical weights of the
    tree ring proxies one cannot claim it is a small piece in a very, very large
    puzzle. However, if you can provide a citation in AR4 Chapter on Attribution to
    the point that proxies are a very small part of attribution or as you stated
    small piece with respect to a very, very large weighting of attribution to
    something else,  I will concede it. I read
    otherwise. Perhaps I missed something.

  • John F. Pittman

    Darn formatting got me again. Sorry, Keith. Dr. mt your 371 was a great comment. I agree the comment is not made often enough. I wish you had made it a lot ealier. 

  • PDA

    Principle 2, in my reading, is there to limit any hint that the Declaration (which is just that; it is not binding in any way) calls for “takings.” In other words: it does not conflict with, but rather modifies, the following Principles. Can you explain why you read it differently?

    I do not understand why you assert “technology transfer… is wealth transfer.” I’ve always understood it to mean the licensing of technologies for use in developing countries as a method of economic development. It is not a new idea; it’s been taking place for some time. Can you expand on this assertion?

    As I said, I don’t know how to weight tree-ring proxies. “I think without knowing,” in your felicitous phrase, that their importance is rather small. I would be happy to be enlightened on this point.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #370,

    For me, the thing the K-T diagram doesn’t capture is the dynamics.

    It’s like doing a heat flow diagram for a refrigerator. OK, there are x watts leaking in through the insulated walls, and y watts from opening the door z times a day, and w watts pumped out on average, and the radiation/convection balance is v… from all of which you can work out the temperature must be T.

    Or you could just look at the thermostat.

    It’s interesting and useful for many other purposes, I’m sure, but it doesn’t answer the question, which is really about the dynamics; the causal flow. If you add extra insulation, does the refrigerator get any colder? We have all these heat flows, but how do they affect one another? What controls them?

    Sunlight shines through a shallow pool of water and heats the bottom. We can draw a diagram of the heat flows, to show several hundred watts being radiated back from the water onto the bottom. Does the bottom of the pond heat up as a result? A pot of boiling water on the stove is at a measured temperature of 100 C. We put the pot lid on, re-emitting some of the thermal radiation back in to the water. Does the temperature of the water rise?

    You don’t have to dispute the accuracy of the K-T diagram to question its relevance. What matters is control. The K-T diagram doesn’t show that.

  • http://initforthegold.blogspot.com Michael Tobis

    NiV, there’s no control captured in that view other than radiative equilibrium. 

    Relevance to what, exactly? 

    Are you saying that if anything changes the measured components can change dramatically? If so, yes, certainly. Clouds are especially easy to push around and their centrality to the energy flows is clearly shown. If this were a complete model we wouldn’t need supercomputers and I wouldn’t have a day job. But it’s a useful conceptual model for many purposes.

    Are you saying that there are homeostatic mechanisms on a century or shorter time scale other than the radiative balance shown? If so, I hope you’re right but nobody has proposed any except Lindzen who comes up with a new one (or arguably a new version of his old one) every year. None of those have panned out.

  • John F. Pittman

    I tend to agree with your points, but as to the meaning, well that is a problem. What is being proposed, and an example of this is the Kyoto agreement, is a reduction of capability/wealth and transfer from one to another. We will use it as an example of  meeting the Rio Declaration. In it we will use that there is the taking such as taking coal away and replacing with wind. The population that lost pays for a more expensive source of power and that coal is shipped to China which will use it. It is a cheap source of energy for them, and meets their infrastucture. The Chinese are also paid to develop hydro they were going to develop anyway, and in this case is a money as well as wealth transfer when production starts . The coal is still burnt and since it was taken from Britain with its emission controls and goes to China without, the world pollution increases which is another cost. It is not paid by the Chinese. In this scene, Britian will also have to pay for the changes in infrastructure that would not have occured. This will increase carbon emissions and is a further cost to be paid.  In this case, it is a wealth transfer, since China will have an economic advantage in production with coal and hydro. This production is a measurement or component of wealth; and Britian will pay wealth (loss of the coal unit) and increased costs of wind by government support, and at least a temporary increase in emissions, though these emissions may be indirect. For example, the windmills came from China, as often is the case, and this then becomes a direct/indirect transfer of money and wealth. I do not disagree that it is a licensing in many cases. However, my reading is along the lines of what is stated. It is not stated that it is voluntary for individuals or corporations, it is voluntary for the states. If you read the principles there are not limits as would preclude takings. It reads that states are expected to transfer. Not all things are advantageous to license. In some states, licensing and intellectual property do not carry the force of law. So one would claim being cheated, the state would claim not part of sovreignty. Note, it is the absence of the definition of rights. I will get back to you on the proxies and attribution. I misstate enough as is without hurrying through a complex argument, especially one where my point some consider inflammatory and/or nitpicking. It may be Sunday, I have to take my daughter to college tomorow and be a pack mule on Saturday.

  • PDA

    None of the things you detail above are in the Rio Declaration. All of them, as you correctly note, would be the actions of states, and legislatures would have to enact them into law. 

    If you think there is any chance of anything like what you describe becoming law in any English-speaking country, we may be inhabiting VERY different subjective worlds. . 

  • Sashka

    @371: I am aware of the state of the science (and I didn’t call it meteorology). To me, it’s a body of legitimate scientific research with a lot of interesting work done. However the relationship of all this body of work with real physical system is soft. The litmus test is the prediction of the future. That doesn’t happen yet and I doubt it will happen any time soon.

    May I now renew my request for the constituents of the consensus?

  • John F. Pittman

    But things like this did occur in Britain in response to the Kyoto agreement.The only one I am not sure of is where all the UK windmills came from. There was a complaint about the Chinese windmills, so I don’t know if they were installed, and the sources of that information I would take with a grain of salt. The other parts are what happened. The nature of what happens is what the treaty states. If you were to claim that it could not occur in the US, I might agree with you. But then one of the stealth provisions, Copenhagen, if I remember correctly, was that if the treaty was signed, it would be binding. The wording was claimed by some like Senator I to be a purposeful endrun on soveriegnty. Don’t know about that since that is motive, but the draft I read at the time did state the binding. It did not make it to final that I saw. 

  • http://www.mutantblog.co.uk andrew adams

    FWIW, as someone without a scientific background trying to understand the science as best I can, I have found the K+T diagram very helpful.

  • Tom C

    mt – I think many of us understand what an energy balance is.  The point here is that the system is, to put it mildly, very complicated.  And unfortunately, the models are not accurate.  Pielke Sr. posts 3-4 papers per week that demonstrate why the models aren’t accurate and why much uncertainty remains about just about everything: CS, ice, hurricanes, etc..  The position Sashka, I, and others take is based on the peer reviewed literature.  Yours is not.

  • Sashka

    To be fair, MT doesn’t say that the models are accurate. At least not to me. He does say something about “consensus” but I am not being able to determine what he means.

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA here
    is the first part. Since you stated that proxy reconstructions were not a
    particular area for you, I have some quotes from AR4 to highlight why proxies
    are important. Read this and see if you understand and agree. There is more
    support for the basic concept of that the IPCC needed proxies for the
    confidence of attributing recent temperature changes with anthropogenic
    emissions. But, I don’t want to flood Keith’s if this short version will work. It
    is about the approach, more detail includes more of the why. That may be more
    important to you, but this background info sets the stage. “˜Equilibrium climate
    sensitivity’ (ECS) is the equilibrium annual global mean temperature response
    to a doubling of equivalent atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels and is
    thus a measure of the strength of the climate system’s eventual response to
    greenhouse gas forcing. “˜Transient climate response’ (TCR) is the annual global
    mean temperature change at the time of CO2 doubling in a climate simulation with
    a 1% yr”“1 compounded increase in CO2 concentration (see Glossary and Section
    8.6.2.1 for detailed definitions). TCR is a measure of the strength and
    rapidity of the climate response to greenhouse gas forcing, and depends in part
    on the rate at which the ocean takes up heat. While the direct temperature
    change that results from greenhouse gas forcing can be calculated in a
    relatively straightforward manner, uncertain atmospheric feedbacks (Section
    8.6) lead to uncertainties in estimates of future climate change. The objective
    here is to assess estimates of ECS and TCR that are based on observed climate
    changes, while Chapter 8 assesses feedbacks individually. Inferences about
    climate sensitivity from observed climate changes complement approaches in
    which uncertain parameters in climate models are varied and assessed by
    evaluating the resulting skill in reproducing observed mean climate (Section 10.5.4.4).
    While observed climate changes have the advantage of being most clearly related
    to future climate change, the constraints they provide on climate sensitivity
    are not yet very strong, in part because of uncertainties in both climate
    forcing and the estimated response (Section 9.2). An overall summary assessment
    of ECS and TCR, based on the ability of models to simulate climate change and
    mean climate and on other approaches, is given in Box 10.2. Note also that this section does
    not assess regional climate sensitivity or sensitivity to forcings other than
    CO2. 9.6.1 Methods to Estimate Climate Sensitivity: The most straightforward
    approach to estimating climate sensitivity would be to relate an observed
    climate change to a known change in radiative forcing. Such an approach is
    strictly correct only for changes between equilibrium climate states. Climatic
    states that were reasonably close to equilibrium in the past are often
    associated with substantially different climates than the pre-industrial or
    present climate, which is probably not in equilibrium (Hansen et al., 2005). An
    example is the climate of the LGM (Chapter 6 and Section 9.3). However, the
    climate’s sensitivity to external forcing will depend on the mean climate state
    and the nature of the forcing, both of which affect feedback mechanisms
    (Chapter 8). Thus, an estimate of the sensitivity directly derived from the
    ratio of response to forcing cannot be readily compared to the sensitivity of
    climate to a doubling of CO2 under idealised conditions. An alternative
    approach, which has been pursued in most work reported here, is based on
    varying parameters in climate models that influence the ECS in those models,
    and then attaching probabilities to the different ECS values based on the
    realism of the corresponding climate change simulations. This ameliorates the
    problem of feedbacks being dependent on the climatic state, but depends on the assumption
    that feedbacks are realistically represented in models and that
    uncertainties in all parameters relevant for feedbacks are varied.
    Despite uncertainties, results from simulations of climates of the past
    and recent climate change (Sections 9.3 to 9.5) increase confidence in this
    assumption. What did 9.3 to 9.5 have relevant to this? “Inferences about
    climate sensitivity from observed climate changes complement approaches in
    which uncertain parameters in climate models are varied and assessed by
    evaluating the resulting skill in reproducing observed mean climate (Section
    10.5.4.4).””  “Despite
    uncertainties, results from simulations of climates of the past and recent
    climate change (Sections 9.3 to 9.5) increase confidence in this assumption.””
    P 683 The Summary “”When driven with estimates of external forcing for the last
    millennium, AOGCMs simulate changes in hemispheric mean temperature that are in
    broad agreement with proxy reconstructions (given their uncertainties),
    increasing confidence in the forcing reconstructions, proxy climate
    reconstructions and models. In addition, the residual variability in the proxy
    climate reconstructions that is not explained by forcing is broadly consistent
    with AOGCM-simulated internal variability. Overall, the information on temperature change over the last millennium is broadly consistent with the
    understanding of climate change in the instrumental era.””

  • http://planet3.org mt

    Tom C #382: The word “uncertainty” and the word “confidence” are so closely related that there are some ordinary scientific contexts where they mean the same thing. “Show the confidence interval” vs “show the uncertainty interval” for instance are exact synonyms. They are flip sides of the same coin. Where there is uncertainty there is also confidence.

    That said, the lower your confidence, the higher the risk weighting you should give to a disruption. That is because cost rises faster than linearly with the scale of the disruption. A tenth of a degree global warming is undetectable. A degree is arguably benign. Ten degrees is more than ten times worse than a degree. A hundred degrees is much more than a hundred times worse than a degree. 

    So while you and I may disagree about the amount of confidence one can put in the central predictions (I am not sure about that), if you are the one who expresses less confidence or more uncertainty about the scale of the disruption, you are the one who rationally should be more worried about it.

    Why people who dislike climate science are not typically more worried than people who like it continues to baffle me. It strikes me as entirely irrational, and is a terrible and consistent weakness of the whole “skeptical” enterprise. 

    Within the field it tends to go the other way, where people who have more confidence in models are relatively less alarmed by the evidence. That is far more rational.

    Sashka #383: This depends on whether you are asking what the consensus is on climatology or on climate change. I started the thread insisting that a real field of climatology exists. You eventually admitted it. So you can just go study it.

    On climate itself, a number of textbooks have come out of late. I learned mostly from lecture notes and dynamic meteorology texts, so I am not the one to judge which is best. The exception for me was Peixoto & Oort’s “Physics of Climate” which was pretty much the only option twenty years ago and is still useful to me. This one, which looks at first glance both accessible at an undergraduate level and sound, is free online: http://www.climate.be/textbook/. Of course it would be remiss of me not to mention my friend and former supervisor Ray Pierrehumbert’s “Principles of Planetary Climate”, which is a thick brick which I am sorry to say I have not made much progress in. It focuses on the radiative transfer and leaves out the fluid dynamics, so it only tells half the story.

    Regarding climate change as opposed to climate, asking me what the consensus is in a field with a formal process of producing a consensus document is sort of strange. I make no ridiculous claim to be more authoritative than IPCC WG I on this question. If you care to know what the consensus is, go read it.

  • PDA

    John, you can post links to external pages rather than copy-pasting big blocks of text. Weird formatting aside, I just find it really difficult to read long passages as comments. 

    The point under discussion, as I understand it, is not “are proxies important,” but rather, how important tree-ring proxies, as a subset of all proxies’ are to the overall understanding of climate change. If I’ve misunderstood that, I’d welcome your clarification. 

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #386 I had the privilege of spending four years in a postdoc at the University of Chicago Department of Geosciences. Coming from the dynamical meteorology and oceanography side, I was unfamiliar with the earth science side of climatology. I spent four years surrounded by the paleoclimate community and immersed in it. Tree rings came up twice.

    The McIntyre vs Mann controversy had bubbled beyond the internet and into the real world. I am sorry I have forgotten which of the many episodes this was – it predated the CRU hacking; I’d guess around 2006. 

    We had a faculty/postdoc/graduate student seminar on proxies, and one grad student decided whimsically to take on tree rings. Nobody in the room had ever thought about it. We learned the world “dendrochronology”. Everybody had lots of ideas why it would be hard to make it work as a global or large scale proxy. A few months later we had a meatier seminar about von Storch’s critique of Mann, and sentiments were generally on von Storch’s side. 

    In fact, Mann’s specialty isn’t tree rings either, but earthier in extracting information form noisy data. So he was the guy to start the process, and though he apparently understated century scale variability his confidence bounds seem to have held up nicely.

    But tree rings were totally out of left field for the paleoclimate community. This is something I can personally attest to.

    Further, on the primary question of constraining climate sensitivity, the millennial record is of absolutely no use, because the boundary conditions were very stable during that period. You can’t back sensitivity out of an unforced climate. You can get some sense of stability out of it, though. The question of how flat the shaft of the stick is is not without scientific implications. But its utility and its role in drawing up the big picture is minor at best. Certainly it had no role whatsoever prior to 1998, since no such result existed then.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis seems oblivious to how tree rings came to be so important in the discussion of paleoclimate. If he thinks that Steve McIntyre brought it up or has sustained it over the years, he is smoking crack.

    The IPCC used the Hockey Stick chart half a dozen times in AR3. It was the dominant image of the climate debate. McIntyre’s critcism of the Hockey Stick calculations sparked a storm of reaction against–McIntyre, not the Hockey Stick. That included the creation of the Real Climate weblog.

    McIntyre never said that tree rings were important for paleoclimatology, nor for the ultimate determination of the validity of climate arguments. He just said the Chart was screwed up. He was 100% right.

    Talk about blaming the messenger…

  • Tom C

    mt writes – “In fact, Mann’s specialty isn’t tree rings either, but earthier in extracting information form noisy data.”  Finally! Something we agree on.  Mann’s specialty is, indeed, extracting information from noisy data. sigh.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #387,

    “But tree rings were totally out of left field for the paleoclimate community. This is something I can personally attest to.”

    That’s fascinating. Because I thought the technique was already well-established in the community 8 years earlier with Briffa and Jones 1990. (“A 1,400-year tree-ring record of summer temperatures in Fennoscandia” Nature.) Not to mention Fritts’ book “Tree Rings and Climate” of 1976.

  • PDA

    Extracting information from noisy data is something I deal with too. Be thankful for turbo codes and Reed-Solomon forward error correction if you like high speed wireless Internet. Are we really going to have another go at the Hockey Shtick on a dead thread? I’ll make some popcorn. 

  • John F. Pittman

    PDA all of that is from the chapter on attribution in AR4 with some referecnes to chapter 10. The reason it is important is that you wanted more than assertions, I assumed. This is just background. If you do not know how the attribution was done, then it will be difficult if not impossible for me to say anything other than read Chapters 6, 8, 9, 10, especially 9 of AR4. Once you are familiar with the methodology of attribution we can discuss why tree ring paleo is important. mt’s comment in 387 seems reasonable. Unfortunately it is not what the science says according to AR4. The reason can be found in chapters 9 and 10. GMC’s and attribution contain assumptions that are a circular argument in terms of resolving attribution as indicated in AR4 by its authors. Proxies are used to increase confidence of the results because we have one and only one X, climate history, and to provide confidence that the results are not due to circular reasoning. The paleo records that indicate that the temperature of the Current Warm Period are unusual that extend to recent years are almost always tree rings. They provide the decadal resolution necessary to make certain conclusions such as the CWP being warmer than other periods according to the AR4 authors. The atribution of CO2 in AR4 is a differencing. The claim of how the climate should respond is made based on  how much natural variablity, and solar forcing compared with how much more the models indicate is necessary to get the increases that we see. The claim is that without using the forcing of CO2, current climate conditions cannot be replicated. Without tree rings the claim about recent years is not backed by measurement, it is an extrapolation of phenomena measured in the past and assumed responses for the present.

  • Sashka

    @385, 387

    I thought it was pretty clear that I have been asking about climate change.I never said that climate science is empty and I was completely explicit in 379.

    Regarding climate change as opposed to climate, we already agreed that IPCC is politicized. IPCC was not created to formulate a consensus position but to “assess available scientific information on climate change” in other words to summarize peer-reviewed literature. This is not the same. Moreover, I know enough to claim that IPCC produced verbiage (for example on attribution) that is based on nothing but the subjective opinions of the writers.

    Thus the question remains: what are the specific predictions about the future that almost everyone in climate community agrees upon?

    sentiments were generally on von Storch’s side.

    Were these sentiments reflected in publications or at least on RC?

    But tree rings were totally out of left field for the paleoclimate community. This is something I can personally attest to.

    With all respect to your personal testimony, the facts points to the opposite. For example:

    The Tree-Ring Lab was established in 1975 by Dr. Gordon Jacoby and Edward Cook, through the encouragement of Dr. Wallace Broecker. The main function of the lab, during this early phase, was to expand LDEO science capabilities by providing high resolution geological and paleoclimate data from tree-rings. Early TRL projects focused on establishing long tree-ring records from temperature-sensitive boreal forest locations in North American for studies of global change, using dendrochronologically dated wood, to investigate the value of stable isotope ratios in cellulose as paleo-thermometers and developing the necessary computer software for processing the data. By the late 1970’s, TRL science expanded to focusing on the eastern United States, a largely unexplored region for tree-ring research.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #393 Let me clarify. I didn’t mean to question that tree ring studies existed and I never doubted that they are useful in regional studies. That’s well known, though I was unaware of Broecker’s role in starting it.

    But they had no role in global dynamics or global change studies prior to 1998. That is exactly why MBH was a breakthrough on the millenial time scale.

    I stand by my claim that tree ring proxies are not important components of the paleoclimate picture as a whole, had no influence at all prior to 1998, and are essentially an irrelevant result insofar as the key issue of calibrating sensitivity is concerned.

    I stand by my (and many others’) claim that despite all the obvious procedural problems that are hardly surprising in such an unprecedented process, IPCC somehow has managed to produce reasonable representations of the climate physical science consensus. This is no guarantee of future performance, but so far so good.

    If there are serious misrepresentations of consensus in WGI reports to date, I think there is probably a slight bias toward understatement.

    Two factors pull for understatement. One is the weight of extreme outliers like Lindzen and Spencer, which are not balanced by comparably vocal and prominent outliers on the other side of the spectrum. The other is the requirement for unanimous governmental-level ratification of the official summaries. (See the discussion of the events of November 1995.) This gives the fuel-producing nations leverage and tends to dull the edge of explicitly alarming results systematically.

    I do not have the expertise to critique the other working groups. My tentative impression, which I have had confirmed from impacts experts at both ends of the complacency/alarm spectrum, is that the latest WGII report was particularly weak. This is not because of the trivial Himalaya slip-up and the gotcha moment it saddled Pauchari with, by the way.

    Given the awkward circumstances, the past successes in coming up with a solid and coherent WGI consensus is a testament to the competence and good will prevailing within the physical sciences. These attributes may be more challenged in other parts of the academy.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, I believe you are confusing the term ‘breakthrough’ with the more appropriate ‘breakdown.’

  • Sashka

    I’m afraid I have to charge you with one count of aggravated avoidance of a straightforward question. A simple admission “you’re right, I’m wrong” would be more honorable.

    According to RayP Linzen was quite cooperative when serving on IPCC, so he was not such a big factor.

    AFAIK, the requirement for unanimous governmental-level ratification of the official summaries worked exactly the opposite way. The officials wanted stronger language and in some cases imposed on scientists.

    But this is irrelevant to the point that I was making. IPCC gives the summary of new peer reviewed literature, not consensus.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    AFAIK, the requirement for unanimous governmental-level ratification of the official summaries worked exactly the opposite way. The officials wanted stronger language and in some cases imposed on scientists. 

    umm…no that is completely and utterly wrong. Nice try though!

  • Sashka

    I guess that would be your word against mine.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    #398 There’s a video of Santer at the Schneider Symposium that elaborates on the IPCC plenary process.

    http://cyperusmedia.com/pages/shs_memorial1/symposium27.html#vid4

    PS – Autocorrect changed Santer to Santa. I Just barely caught it.

  • http://planet3.org mt

    While I am sure that tree rings had little impact on global change discussions prior to MBH ’98, I will stand by the hypothesis that they had no impact whatsoever prior to 1998, pending a relevant citation to the contrary. Your move.

    (They’re still not that important. I for one never heard about them except on the web, except on the two occasions ca. 1996 that I mentioned, and I think about this stuff constantly.)

  • Sashka

    Thus you are maintaing that NSF have funded what seemed to be an irrelevant research for quarter of a century. That’s a very interesting claim in its own right. I wonder if Keith would reach out to Wallie for a comment.

    Are you finally in the mood to tell me what the consensus is all about besides what was discussed above?

  • Sashka

    Thought so.

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Collide-a-Scape is a wide-ranging blog forum that explores issues at the nexus of science, culture and society.

About Keith Kloor

Keith Kloor is a NYC-based journalist, and an adjunct professor of journalism at New York University. His work has appeared in Slate, Science, Discover, and the Washington Post magazine, among other outlets. From 2000 to 2008, he was a senior editor at Audubon Magazine. In 2008-2009, he was a Fellow at the University of Colorado’s Center for Environmental Journalism, in Boulder, where he studied how a changing environment (including climate change) influenced prehistoric societies in the U.S. Southwest. He covers a wide range of topics, from conservation biology and biotechnology to urban planning and archaeology.

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