Spreading the Blame for Climate Misinformation

By Keith Kloor | October 12, 2012 11:27 am

The debate over climate change is well known for excesses on all sides. Those who claim that the issue is a hoax actually have a lot in common with those who see climate change in every weather extreme. The logic behind such tactics is apparently that a sufficiently scared public will support the political program of those doing the scaring.

This is from a new Denver Post opinion piece by Roger Pielke Jr.

All the main criticisms that Roger makes in the column have much merit, and yet he and I don’t seem to agree on the meaning of this statement (which I’ve bolded) by him:

But there is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates. But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation “” even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change “” may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.

So what is he saying here?

CATEGORIZED UNDER: climate change, global warming
  • Joshua

    He’s fear-mongering about fear-mongering. It’s all a part of the “outrage machine,” that everyone gets so much enjoyment participating in.Thanks for picking up on this, Keith. It’s ironic when people legitimately concerned about poorly-qualified claims and the politicization of science contribute to those very same phenomena. Roger’s agenda doesn’t fit in with the most prominent partisan agendas in the debate (as seen in the comments on the Post website where people misinterpret Roger’s politics) , but he, like others, gets sloppy as he pursues his “schtick.” Which makes Roger’s closing sentence in his op-ed into basically one more contribution to the iron-o-sphere.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua,

    Okay, so you offered your speculation on Roger’s motives and your overall meta-take.

    But what is Roger saying in that statement he highlighted? That’s the question I asked.  

  • Jarmo

    RPJr says that deliberate exaggerations by the IPCC and some climate scientists threatens the credibility of all climate science. Something I can agree with, especially after Climategate.

  • Kuze

    Are there conservative bumpkins out there that believe the earth is
    7,000 years old or that modern climatology is a willful hoax? Sure, just as there are dim-bulb liberal soccer moms
    who don’t vaccinate their kids and think everything from the juice box
    to the jungle gym is going to kill their children. That ordinary,
    non-specialist people have science literacy issues should come as no
    surprise. The real threat to a society is when those who are held in
    high regard and trusted, the academy, the vanguard of scientific
    rationalism become swayed by and oblivious to their own ideological
    biases.

  • Gordon

    Kuze (#4) – Bullseye!

  • RickA

    He is talking about science for advocacy, rather than science for science.

    In other words, a scientist saying something which is not technically factual in order to advocate for a government policy.

    Quite a few scientists believe that this sort of behavior is ok.

  • Joshua

    Keith -

    But what is Roger saying in that statement he highlighted?

    I assume you mean the statement you highlighted?

    I’m not sure what your question really is, as it seems like what he’s saying is pretty clear. He’s saying that leading climate scientists and scientific organizations are contributing to misinformation. Where’s the question?

    The problem is that he fails to specify who he’s talking about and which statements that they make are “misinformation.” As such, the larger issue becomes for me why would someone concerned about the politicization of science willfully contribute to the outrage machine, where unscientific and unqualified generalizations are thrown back and forth? Isn’t that the basic problem?

    I assume his contention would be that  his opinionating will help de-politicize the science. My contention is that opinionating about the problem of poorly quantified public contributions from scientists will likely only be productive, if it is ever productive, to the extent that it is well-qualified and specific; otherwise, I believe it to be counterproductive and only likely to get the combatants on each side to digger deeper trenches. “Skeptics” will feel further vindicated in their “hoax” accusations and “realists” will become more defensive. I think that there is much evidence to support my perspective.

  • Keith Kloor

    Joshua, yes, I misspoke there–I meant the statement I bolded.

    Thanks for your answer.

  • FredT

    Shorter RPJr: The existence of an exaggeration of the science by an insurance company means that scientists everywhere should just shut up and leave all the talking to me.Even Shorter RPJr: Pay attention to me!

  • Jarmo

    Since Kyoto Protocol in 1997, global coal consumption has more than doubled. Since IPPC AR4 China has built about about 300 Gigawatts of coal power capacity and more is in the pipeline.

    Does the credibility of climate science really matter? I think the above-mentioned things would have happened no matter what. Sort of like the war in Afghanistan continues whether Obama gets a Peace Nobel or not

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    Anyone interested in my views on the role(s) of scientists in policy and politics are invited o have a look at my book The Honest Broker, which discusses this subject in depth.Of the above 3, 4, 5, and 6 seem to have gotten it ;-)

  • Tom Scharf

    RPJ’s comment on scientific credibility is clearly on the central issue he addresses in his blog and his area of expertise.  Climate change and weather extremes.  If you follow his blog, he consistently dismantles the <fill in blank with latest weather extreme> is caused by climate change and getting worse.  He has published several papers on this subject and was part of the latest IPCC report on weather extremes that found only a tepid connection to global warming.

    He has a lot of posts on this subject.  He calls out scientists who overstate the science on a regular basis.  I find the weather extreme connection somewhat amusing.  The facts don’t support this assertion (check the trends on drought, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, etc.), and they are easy enough to check.  

    What is strange to me is how fervently the advocates have latched onto this, when it is so easily dispelled with the data.  It seems desperate. All-in when you are holding a 10 and a 2.  Battle by power of suggestion.  The long term damage to credibility has been significant with this misguided constant short term agenda.

  • Tom Scharf

    Joshua,The first step toward climate science regaining lost credibility, is to realize they have a problem here.  You might disagree on this particular point, but those who believe credibility is a problem, and want climate science they can trust, have a valid point in increasing awareness of the problem.I think many of the people pointing this out are asking for climate science to self police the advocates in their midst better *** for their own sake ***.  Most academics won’t do this as a matter of professional courtesy (unless the science is anti-AGW ha ha).

  • Stu

    Joshua says: — “My contention is that opinionating about the problem of poorly quantified public contributions from scientists will likely only be productive, if it is ever productive, to the extent that it is well-qualified and specific; otherwise, I believe it to be counterproductive and only likely to get the combatants on each side to digger deeper trenches. “Skeptics” will feel further vindicated in their “hoax” accusations and “realists” will become more defensive. I think that there is much evidence to support my perspective.”  ……………….. …………….. …………..This is always a good point, one that I can only agree with, but incredibly belaboured by now by Joshua (sorry Joshua, but my eyes are rolling), who always manages to skip over the specifics of what anyone sayssaid. He has read RPJ, must have come across numerous ‘specific’ points raised by him on the issue, and yet here we go again. It’s no crime to move from the specific into the general if you’ve spent enough time (obviously, RPJ has done so) dealing in the specifics of something. Is is too difficult to infer meaning from RPJ’s general statement out of the history of specific statements he has made on this issue in the past? Atleast you could try to use some imagination/empathy/whatever and have a crack at it, before firing off your standard ‘fear mongering about fear mongering’ line, which seems to require no imagination on your part at all at this point. 

  • Joshua

    “sorry Joshua, but my eyes are rolling”

    That’s perfectly fair, Stu. I can certainly understand. I’ve certainly got my schtick. Not by way of an excuse for being repetitive, but most of us here have schticks (haven’t seen that you have one), and we tend to see them a lot, repeat them a lot, and no doubt sometimes see them where they don’t exist. But in addition to having schticks, we all seem to be more tolerant of a repetition of some schticks more than others, no? 

    Yes – RPJr has made numerous, specific assertions along the lines of  his op-ed. He makes some specific assertion in the op-ed itself. And sometimes I think he does so well and that it is in balance constructive (or at least should be if people are serious about accountability).

    Is is too difficult to infer meaning from RPJ’s general statement out
    of the history of specific statements he has made on this issue in the past?

    But this is where I differ from what seems to me to be your perspective, as I have also seen RPJr contribute to the food fight in ways that I think are, in essence, gratuitous. Clumsy statements such as the one that Keith highlights, IMO, fit that description – and IMV, Roger habitually ducks accountability when he gets sloppy like that. 

    So what I infer is that sometimes RPJr.’s contributions are well-considered and in the best case scenario constructive, and sometimes sloppy and unlikely to be anything other than counterproductive.

  • BBD

    Roger Pielke Jr writes:

    Researchers have similar conclusions for other phenomena around the world, ranging from typhoons in China, bushfires in Australia, and windstorms in Europe. After adjusting for patterns of development, over the long-term there is no climate change signal “” no “footprint” “” of increasing damage from extreme events either globally or in particular regions.

    I’m not disputing the analyses. What troubles me is the bat-squeak of a suggestion that this somehow undermines the validity of projections of bad stuff to come if physics works as expected and energy continues to accumulate in the climate system.

    Most scientists argue that the anthropogenic signal began to emerge in the 1970s and is still near the bottom of its projected evolution. Is it therefore surprising that we haven’t seen much damage yet? 

  • FredT

    Shorter RPJr response: I never have to be specific about my smears because somewhere, at sometime, I made some other points that may or may not be related.

  • tlitb1

    FredT – Could you make your wonderfully peevish condensations of RPJ so short that we get the irony of you not commenting at all? ;)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #16,

    Well, yes, precisely. Pielke Jr.’s point is that scaring people with provably untrue stories about present climate damage undermines the credibility of predictions of future climate damage.

  • Nullius in Verba

    I should probably clarify my last remark. I mean in a ‘the boy who cried wolf’ sense, eroding trust and authority, not that it logically implies the predictions of future change are false.

  • Joshua

    Well, yes, precisely. Pielke Jr.’s point is that scaring people with provably untrue stories about present climate damage undermines the
    credibility of predictions of future climate damage.

    Reasonable speculation. The only problem is that as often as I’ve seen that claim made in the “skept-o-sphere,” which must be at least in the hundreds if not more, I’ve never seen any actual evidence of it happening.

    Do you have any? Seems like at a certain point, “skeptics” would have an expectation for evidence to support such widespread speculation. There is little doubt that it hasn’t manifest nearly as much as many “skeptics” claim.

    Maybe there are more  boys crying “wolf” than some folks seem to think? (Sorry to say it, Stu) but seems like more fear-mongering about fear-mongering to me.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The recent attempts to attribute existing and recent weather to climate change are worse than wrong–they’re stupid. 

    Munich Re’s desire to justify rate increases dovetail nicely with the desires of the consensus side to find a new theme to drive policy in their direction.

    It might work for Munich Re, for a while. It will not work for climate policy. 

    Funnily, what will kill the strategy is not so much the work of people like Pielke, who present history and charts. It will be the factually incorrect experience of people seeing more snow and hearing about more ice, not realizing that both can actually happen as a result of warming.

    It won’t be the first time error is defeated by error.

  • BBD

    It won’t be the first time error is defeated by error.

    Ah Tom. So much damage has already been done it doesn’t matter any more. But thanks for your contribution. Let’s hope posterity views you more generously than I do.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Roger writes:

    “But there is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community. It is, of course, thrilling to appear in the media and get caught up in highly politicized debates. But leading scientists and scientific organizations that contribute to a campaign of misinformation “” even in pursuit of a worthy goal like responding effectively to climate change “” may find that the credibility of science itself is put at risk by supporting scientifically unsupportable claims in pursuit of a political agenda.”

    This is a *joke*.

    Roger repeatedly cites, as a sharp contrast to woefully benighted climate science, how the science about the ozone depletion issue functioned “normally”. Climate science, in Roger’s world, is filled with scientists jeopardizing (i.e. politicizing) science. Climate scientists, unlike normally functioning scientists during the ozone depletion saga, make unsupportable claims about the issue and make statements about its severity that turn out later to have been overwrought.

    Which is *hysterical* for anyone passing familiar with how the ozone depletion issue played out. The issue was- from its inception- based on atmospheric chemists doing what Roger would no doubt consider fear-mongering about the danger SST posed to the ozone layer and life on Earth when the science was far from solid to support such claims. Fears that never came to pass. But in Roger world, what would be an unforgivable, original sin for climate science is completely ignored. Because it’s inconvenient to Roger’s narrative that hippies and “activist” scientists are the real reason why climate hasn’t been addressed.

    This pattern is repeated throughout Roger’s non-academic work. If he needs to shade the truth about something in order to make it sound like the real enemies to progress are the climate concerned and those pushing for regulation, he does. In Roger land, during the ozone issue, we let industry take its time coming up with a technofix before trying to aggressively push regulation when no fix was already available. In reality, the people at Du Pont are on record as saying that no technological breakthrough occurred, but rather the growing demand for regulation borne of scientific consensus (itself a mixture of too optimistic, correct, and too alarmist views) put already existing alternatives that were previously considered too expensive to pursue into a different economic light.

    Roger can’t have it both ways. Science during the ozone depletion saga was no better and no worse than climate science. If one was a-okay, then both are. If one is to be rebuked, then both are. The solutions to ozone depletion were no more technological “breakthoughs” delivered before the threat of regulation than those for climate are.

    It’s a shame that journalists who sympathize with Roger don’t bother fact-checking him or, god-forbid, pushing back against his revisionist histories. It’s a shame that narrative is primary to reality. It’s a shame that there are people who will continue to nod along with BS even after this has been pointed out.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Gee Thingsbreak, your obligatory Roh-RohRogerRant seems much more digestible when it’s in one comment, as opposed to spewed out over 5 or 6 as you usually do. 

    I hope you feel better now.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry, Thingsbreak–but you do go on a bit about Roger for sins both real and imagined.

    Treating this case logically, you are berating him for being wrong about history and correct about current reality, if I read you correctly. This is the second best of four options (right on both, wrong on history but right on current reality, right on history but wrong on current reality, wrong on both).

    As so many of your compadres insist on option four in similar situations, why don’t you cut Roger some slack? If he really is wrong about the history leading to Montreal, why not just set the record straight?

  • Steve Mennie

    Man, it’s s good to see AGW back on the menu…GMO just wasn’t generating the same ‘juice’…

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    “if I read you correctly.”

    You don’t. He is wrong about history, because it fits his narrative. He is wrong about current reality, because it fits his narrative.

    Climate science is not, contrary to the crocodile tears of Roger and his sympathizers, in danger of ruining the field’s credibility or science’s generally. Every field has its scientists that end up being too optimistic, too pessimistic, the middle roaders (and in sad cases, the ignored/Cassandras) with the hindsight of history. Some of the “alarmists” of today will be seen as prescient tomorrow. Some will seem laughable. This is not unique to climate science. It never has been.

    Roger is selling a narrative: “alarmists” and hippies who overstate what Roger dictates is acceptable are the problem. Curiously, the individuals, groups, and institutional forces doing everything in their power to actually prevent *the solutions Roger himself claims to support* are entirely unmentioned. Hmm…

    Have you read The Climate Fix? It’s a riot. The entire chapter on the politicization of climate science (the one that makes no mention of the actual drivers of the politicization of the issue) had me in stitches.

    But look! I’m up to two posts. Pretty soon, I will get accused of “spewing out over 5 or 6 as I usually do”. Of course, if I don’t refute your inevitable micharacterization of what I wrote as you just did, my position gets distorted. Heads I lose, tails you win.

    Have a nice evening, all. Try to be skeptics. For a change.

    NB: Keith has been on a hot tear about hippies and libs not standing up to GMO idiocy (good for him about that). Notice how no one is saying that the fields of genetics or agricultural sciences are in danger of losing all credibility for themselves or science generally due to the occasional overly alarmist anti-GMO published paper? Of course not. The idea is absurd on its face. The blame is rightly placed on media biases, demographics, and influential individuals.

    Hmmm…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, you’re arguing from assertion, a la Tobis. 

    I disagree with you–however, this is a matter that can only be determined by perception, not objective measure. I believe climate science is falling down the public policy totem pole and may already be in last place, getting as much attention as the heartbreak of psoriasis. 

    I think the most vocal of the climate scientists–Trenberth, Mann, etc., are losing their impact and their credibility. I think the atmosphere is plainly polluted by the actions of Gleick, Gergis, Anderegg, Prall, Lewandowsky and umm, Mann. I  also think Gore has hurt the cause.

    I think science as a whole has suffered–but science as a whole has also contributed to the problems of climate science, with highly publicized cases of false findings and garbage papers.

    But credibility is a subjective phenomenon. If I were to criticize Pielke, it would not be because I had a different opinion than he on a subject that cannot be measured. I would criticize him for casting the argument in terms that cannot be measured.

  • Jack Hughes

    Gleick’s fraud and deception, Ehrlich’s being wrong and wrong and wrong, Hansen’s exaggerations. And Jones gloating over the death of skeptic John Daly.That specific enough?

  • Keith Kloor

    TB(28) 

    “Climate science is not…in danger of ruining the field’s credibility or science’s generally.”

    I agree. I have said repeatedly that such declarations by various people (it’s usually made breathlessly by climate skeptics.) are unwarranted. And when some climate scientists-turned critics of their field, such as Judith Curry, have made this charge, I have questioned it.  

    As for this:

    Notice how no one is saying that the fields of genetics or agricultural sciences are in danger of losing all credibility for themselves or science generally due to the occasional overly alarmist anti-GMO published paper?”

    Here you are comparing apples and oranges. The plant/agricultural science community polices itself very well. They call out the ideologically-motivated scientists who are publishing bad science. There are a few actual researchers (and they are clearly fringe/activist scientists) who get quoted in the media about the supposed dangers of GMOs, but they are not at all representative of the biotech/plant science community.

    Contrast this with climate science, where there are number of high profile scientists, such as Trenberth and Hansen, who are clearly identified with the mainstream climate science community, and often tapped by the media as de facto spokesman.

    Alongside this, you have influential advocates, like Joe Romm, whose unsavory tactics and exaggerations are tacitly tolerated by the the influentials in climate science community (because he’s on their team), and alongside this we have a mainstream media that is often willing to be trumpet the latest study or pronouncement of Methane bombs, or climate doom, or whatever.

    So your comparison between the two fields is not accurate.

  • Jarmo

    To return to RPJr’s original post, he criticizes Munich Re insurance company for linking natural catastrophies with climate change (in order to make money). As I understand, the IPCC just reported that there is no proof of that.

    Question to you guys: Should climate scientists correct this misinformation or not? Silence on their part means that they agree with the message.

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    I think he is saying that the those leading scientists who contribute to disinformation campaigns may discover that their actions result in people not trusting that scientists as a whole — or even other leading scientists– will be truthful. Instead, people may conclude that scientists as a whole spin their communications to suit their politics.Clauses also introduce the idea that the consequences may happen even if those leading  scientists who chose to participate in disinformation campaigns do so based  ‘good’ motive.

  • Joshua

    Instead, people may conclude that scientists as a whole spin their communications to suit their politics.

    More speculation, precisely of the type I’ve been reading for quite a while now in the “skept-o-sphere,” which is not based on evidence so far as I can tell. In fact, the evidence that we do have suggests that:

    (1) Changes in trust in scientists, on the whole, has been relatively minor – and concentrated in ways that correlate rather strongly with political ideology, suggesting an entirely different causality at least to some degree for that relatively small degree of change

    (2) Changes in public views about climate change also correlate with multiple factors, which suggests that the causal relationship speculated about so often in the “skept-o-sphere” (that supposed exaggerations and bad science on the part of climate scientists have or will create a lack of faith in science) – may well be nothing other than “skeptics” seeing what they want to see, and in contrast to basic principles of skepticism, continuing to run with their speculation either devoid of evidence or failing to control for confounding or hidden variables that lead to the identification of spurious relationships. 

    Not to mention, it is basic common sense that people think that scientists, just like freakin’ everyone in the universe, including “skeptics,” are subject to motivated reasoning. Everyone already knows this based on their personal experiences. Don’t “skeptics” realize that?

    What’s fascinating to me is how “skeptics” are so concerned that the public might lose faith in “scientists” because of the work of climate science — without similarly focusing on the impact of folks like Watts or Moreno or our much beloved “skeptics” who write comments in these pages.

    Seems to me that concern w/r/t trust in science and scientists  would necessitate a similar level of concern about the “hoax” mongerers.

    The selective disinterest in the “hoax”mongerers combined with fear-mongering about fear-mongering (i.e., speculative doom-saying about the impact of exaggerations from climate scientists) seems very, very odd to me.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    With respect to scientists I argue in the DP piece, similarly to arguments I’ve made elsewhere many times:”But there is one group that should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation: the scientific community.” This is especially the case when leading scientists and scientific organizations participate, because it creates risks to the broader credibility of science.Now there are two possible counter arguments to what I wrote (as compared to some of the bizarre fantasies about what I did not write;-). 1. Scientists need _not_ be concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation, perhaps because it does not exist or does not matter. 2. Scientists should actually be engaged in spreading misinformation, perhaps because the ends justify the means. I’d be happy to discuss further on my blog under the relevant thread, I won’t be following this one. Thanks for the comments.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    With respect to scientists I argue in the DP piece, similarly to
    arguments I’ve made elsewhere many times:</br></br>”But there is one group that
    should be very concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation:
    the scientific community.” This is especially the case when leading
    scientists and scientific organizations participate, because it creates
    risks to the broader credibility of science.</br></br>Now there are two possible
    counter arguments to what I wrote (as compared to some of the bizarre
    fantasies about what I did not write;-). </br></br>1. Scientists need _not_ be
    concerned about the spreading of rampant misinformation, perhaps because
    it does not exist or does not matter. </br></br>2. Scientists should actually be
    engaged in spreading misinformation, perhaps because the ends justify
    the means. </br></br>I’d be happy to discuss further on my blog under the relevant
    thread, I won’t be following this one. Thanks for the comments.

  • Roger Pielke Jr.

    Sorry for the formatting, line breaks not working for me.

  • Joshua

    Roger – hit the “source code” toggle (<>).  Look for </p> codes. Enter hard line breaks (enter key) after each </p> to create  paragraph breaks.

  • Joshua

    The lack of accountability shown by Roger in his comment is unfortunately not unique: The only two interpretations of what he wrote are the two he dictates, and any others are “bizarre.”

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    @ Keith:
    “Contrast this with climate science, where there are number of high profile scientists, such as Trenberth and Hansen, who are clearly identified with the mainstream climate science community, and often tapped by the media as de facto spokesman.”

    Trenberth and Hansen are making arguments they believe are supported by the evidence. They are publishing papers to this effect. There are some who disagree, and publish papers that seek to refute them. People in the media are happy to quote both the former and the latter.

    This is how all science works. There is nothing unusual about that.

    If you’re trying to say that Hansen’s and Trenberth’s papers/views are as outside of the mainstream of climate as the anti-GMO stuff is outside of genetics and ag, I am simply gobsmacked.

    Roger says idiocy like “Those who claim that the issue is a hoax actually have a lot in common with those who see climate change in every weather extreme.”

    And people nod along. It’s an obscene false equivalency. Climate change *is* in all weather extremes because it’s now *the background climatology*. To what extent climate change is *influencing* extremes is a bleeding edge problem, and it’s being handled as all questions in science are handled. But to equate those who think the influence is significant in terms of specific extremes with those who think it’s a hoax is just hackery. It fits Roger’s narrative, that’s it. He gets a pass from journalists because they want to believe him. Reality be damned.

    “alongside this we have a mainstream media that is often willing to be trumpet the latest study or pronouncement of Methane bombs, or climate doom, or whatever.”

    The climate mainstream routinely pushes back against such things. Please.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak I do not see evidence supporting your final sentence. I do not see evidence of the climate mainstream routinely pushing back against such things.

    Certainly not on your site. Do you have (perhaps archived) posts where you push back against some of the wilder claims, or do you have posts celebrating the wilder claims?

  • Joshua

    Roger says idiocy like “Those who claim that the issue is a hoax actually have a lot in common with those who see climate change in every
    weather extreme.”

    And people nod along. It’s an obscene false equivalency.

    Bingo. Roger seems to think that any interpretation of science that differs with his is necessarily bogus. Not to rule out that sometimes different interpretations of the science than his might be bogus, but his categorical distinction seems a bit, um, self-serving?

    There is a distinction between saying that every extreme weather event is directly attributable to climate change and saying that there is a degree of probability that any given extreme weather event might be caused or exacerbated as the result of AGW. Roger conflates those two arguments in his broad and unspecific finger-pointing. Ironically, that’s bad science.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Roger is not the one who conflates degrees of attribution. Roger in fact is noting that established sources of information about the climate do the same.

    The same sources will, when speaking to a ‘science audience’ will correctly phrase our understanding of how difficult attribution is and will remain. When speaking to the general public they will provide scarier language.

    The climate consensus may have adopted Xtreme Weather as a new strategy. However, they cannot resist making the same tactical mistakes that undermined previous strategies.

    So not only are they now held hostage to the vagaries of daily weather, the ENSO and other cycles and the large variation experienced planet-wide, they are also still prisoners of their past poor behavior, group think and routine condemnation of anyone who objects to their idiocy as equivalent to skinheads denying the Holocaust.

  • harrywr2

    #24 thingsbreak

    Science during the ozone depletion saga was no better and no worse than climate science. If one was a-okay, then both are.

    2010 Global Energy Expenditure was $6.4 trillion. How much does the world spend on refrigerants in a year?

    I would think most of us make numerous decisions involving chump change based on substantially imperfect knowledge. $6.4 trillion is not chump change.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    “”

    If course you don’t, Tom. Because you have blinders on.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/03/arctic-methane-on-the-move/

    http://www.carbonbrief.org/blog/2011/12/drop-the-methane-bomb

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2012/01/much-ado-about-methane/

    “Certainly not on your site.”

    Come now. A tu quoque? Really?

    For what it’s worth, I don’t have the hubris to imagine speaking for the climate mainstream, but I certainly made a comment about not jumping on the methane train without sufficient evidence towards the bottom of this post:

    http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2010/03/25/take-a-breath-correlation-causation-carbon-and-common-sense/

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Harry, that’s up from $5 trillion in 2010. That’s how fast it’s growing.

  • Joshua

    –snip–

    A January 1984 editorial claimed a regulatory program for acid rain would cost “upwards of $100 billion.”

    A January 1990 editorial predicted that the acid rain provisions in the Clean Air Act amendments would lead to “staggering” utility costs.

    . A 2010 EPA report estimated that by 2165, CFC regulations under the Clean Air Act will have prevented more than 6.3 million skin cancer deaths in the U.S. alone and saved $4.2 trillion in health care costs — a 76:1 benefit/cost ratio.

    –snip–

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Good, Joshua–how about quotes from studies that show some of the stories about acid rain were hype?

  • Stu

    Joshua says: “The lack of accountability shown by Roger in his comment is unfortunately not unique: The only two interpretations of what he wrote are the two he dictates, and any others are “bizarre.”” …. ….Let’s be specific. ;) These are not interpretations of what Roger initially wrote, they are the two main counter arguments as he sees it to his original intended claim (that scientists should be concerned about the spreading of misinformation). Thanks for your reply’s to date btw. 

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    I’ll happily sign on to possibility #1: leading scientists and scientific institutions rarely engage in alarmism and therefore this is not a major concern.

    This is not to say that there are no examples of excessive alarmism. There certainly are quite a few. But an honest investigation will show that the scientific community is not behind them.

    Unfortunately Roger’s entire Denver Post piece leading up to that question is a misleading muddle. Here is my argument to that effect.

    There is however, a real issue to consider in the perception that the scientific community is associated with excessive alarm. That this is damaging to science is clearly the case. But science cannot address that by refraining from alarmism, as is demonstrated by the fact that science already refrains from alarmism and simply reports balanced or even somewhat understated evidence that the public is reluctant to absorb. Perhaps there are other things that scientists can do, but the problem is clearly in other sectors, notably the press, abetted to some extent by social “scientists”.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you are one of those who Roger Pielke talks about. You are a climate scientist.You have uttered some of the most alarmist statements of anyone in electronic print. Your most alarmist statements are not backed by mainstream science.

    You are the poster child of the problem that needs to be solved.

  • Kuze

    @32 Jarmo,

    Relax, I’m sure Scott Mandia and the Climate Rapid Response Team are on the case.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sigh… Let’s start off by explicitly trying to avoid what Michael Tobis labels the real problem in discussions with those who don’t agree with him: “I now understand that this nasty misdirection is key to the entire modus operandi of the so-called serious skeptics. Nitpicking and misdirection and high dudgeon and low blows.” Let’s also allow for what Dr. Tobis acknowledges as a problem with his writing: “One thing I’ve learned about my writing recently is that I have a tendency to insert throwaway lines that distract from my point. ”

    So serious quotes only–directed at a central thesis, to wit, that Michael Tobis makes alarmist statements not backed up by science.

    1. “Let me explain why. It is not because I am a pusillanimous chickenshit, Mosher. It is because the fucking survival of the fucking planet is at fucking stake. ” Michael Tobis, April 2011

    2. “This has nothing to do with what people want. This has to do with the actual lump of rock we live on. The time scale of the problem is such that we are now in an emergency situation.” Michael Tobis, April 2011

    3. “If we all die next week, the amount of time for the earth surface processes to return to a pattern similar to its undisturbed trajectory will, as I understand it, be on the order of many thousands of years.” Michael Tobis, April 2011

    4. “First of all, food production is practiced as an extractive industry, dependent on depleting aquifers, petroleum and natural gas. That’s unsustainable by definition. Secondly, resource allocation is inequitable, we are running out resources, and the implicit promise of universal development is looking to the less developed world like a sham about now. Thirdly, despite the fact that our economies are grossly overheated, the idiot bankers have gotten us in a situation where if we don’t resume growth our whole organizational pattern will collapse. Fourthly, after some decades of improvement, the momentum has resumed toward xenophobia, isolationism, and ethnic blame. In particular, Christianity and Islam are about as friendly now as they were during the crusades. Fifth, the cheap petroleum is running out and the next cheapest replacements double the carbon burden of the atmosphere and oceans, which leads us to sixth, the atmosphere and oceans are already about as full of carbon as we can reasonably risk. Seventh, in the middle of all this nobody gives a rat’s behind about nuclear proliferation which we all used to lose a lot of sleep about. Eighth, the world’s major power is controlled by obstructionist elements and is redeveloping a fascist streak that had been in remission. The fact that Africa is dying of AIDS and hunger, and that species extinction is accelerating, now seem to disturb nobody’s sleep anymore amid all this. Did I miss any?” Michael Tobis, June 2011

    I think I’ll stop for the moment.

  • Joshua

    –snip–A January 1976 editorial said the connection between CFCs and ozone
    depletion “is only a theory and will remain only that until further
    efforts are made to test its validity in the atmosphere itself.” It
    added that the ozone layer “is subject to constant change in thickness
    through natural processes that have nothing to do with aerosol cans” and
    concluded that “it is doubtful there could be a very significant
    effect” of CFCs on the atmosphere. [Wall Street Journal, A Bit of Prudence at the CPSC, 1/6/76, via Factiva]–snip–

  • Joshua

    –snip–

    A May 1979 editorial said that scientists “still don’t know to what extent, if any, mankind’s activities have altered the ozone barrier or
    whether the possibly harmful effects of these activities aren’t offset by natural processes … Thus, it now appears, all the excitement over
    the threat to the ozone layer was founded on scanty scientific evidence.” [Wall Street Journal, Ozone Re-Examined, 5/15/79, via Factiva]

    –snip–

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    As for BBD’s idol, James Hansen,

    “Within 15 years,” said Goddard Space Flight Honcho James Hansen, “global temperatures will rise to a level which hasn’t existed on earth for 100,000 years”. Sandy Grady, “The Heat is On,” — The News and Courier, June 17th 1986.

    “GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

    That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control. Sea levels would rise and destroy coastal cities. Global temperatures would become intolerable. Twenty to 50 percent of the planet’s species would be driven to extinction. Civilization would be at risk.

    That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

    If this sounds apocalyptic, it is.”New York Times, May 2012

    “When I interviewe­­d James Hansen I asked him to speculate on what the view outside his office window could look like in 40 years with doubled CO2. I’d been trying to think of a way to discuss the greenhouse effect in a way that would make sense to average readers. I wasn’t asking for hard scientific studies. It wasn’t an academic interview. It was a discussion with a kind and thoughtful man who answered the question. You can find the descriptio­­n in two of my books, most recently The Coming Storm.”

  • Joshua

    –snip–

    A March 1984 editorial said that concerns about ozone depletion were based on “premature scientific evidence” and claims that “new evidence shows that the ozone layer isn’t vanishing after all; it may even be increasing.” [Wall Street Journal, Heads in the Ozone, 3/5/84, via Factiva]

    A May 1985 editorial claimed that the “ozone scare” was a result of “pop science” and suggests that it turned out to be a “false alarm.” [Wall Street Journal, Another False Alarm, 5/31/85, via Factiva]

    A March 1989 editorial called for more research on the “questionable theory that CFCs cause depletion of the ozone layer,” calling on scientists to “continue to study the sky until we know enough to make a
    sound decision regarding the phasing out of our best refrigerants.” [Wall Street Journal, Ozone Chicken Littles Are at It Again, 3/23/89, via Factiva]
    A February 1992 editorial stated: “It is simply not clear to us that real science drives policy in this area.” [Wall Street Journal, Press-Release Ozone Hole, 2/28/92, via Factiva]

    A March 1984 editorial claimed that banning CFCs “cost the economy some $1.52 billion in forgone profits and product-change expenses” and
    8,700 jobs. [Wall Street Journal, Heads in the Ozone, 3/5/84, via Factiva]

    An August 1990 editorial warned that banning CFCs would lead to “a dramatic increase in air-conditioning and refrigeration costs.” It added: The likely substitute for the most popular banned refrigerant costs 30 times as much and will itself be banned by the year 2015. The economy will have to shoulder at least $10 billion to $15 billion a year in added refrigeration costs by the year 2000. [Wall Street Journal, Clean Air Revisited, 8/29/90, via Factiva]

    A February 1992 editorial warned that accelerating the phaseout of CFCs “almost surely will translate into big price increases on many
    consumer products.” [Wall Street Journal, Asides: Middle-Class Payments, 2/14/92, via Factiva]

    –snip–I think I’ll stop for the moment.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Continued… “I went over to the window with him and looked out on Broadway in New York City and said, “If what you’re saying about the greenhouse effect is true, is anything going to look different down there in 20 years?” He looked for a while and was quiet and didn’t say anything for a couple seconds. Then he said, “Well, there will be more traffic.” I, of course, didn’t think he heard the question right. Then he explained, “The West Side Highway [which runs along the Hudson River] will be under water. And there will be tape across the windows across the street because of high winds. And the same birds won’t be there. The trees in the median strip will change.” Then he said, “There will be more police cars.” Why? “Well, you know what happens to crime when the heat goes up.” (The reporter has, after being contacted by Hansen, revised the 20 years to 40.)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Joshua, if  you’d like to research the possibility that claims about acid rain were over-hyped, you might as well begin with BBD’s favorite writer, Bjorn Lomborg:http://books.google.com/books?id=JuLko8USApwC&pg=PA178&source=gbs_toc_r&cad=4#v=onepage&q&f=false

  • Joshua

    These are not interpretations of what Roger initially wrote, they are the two main counter arguments as he sees it to his original intended claim (that scientists should be concerned about the spreading of misinformation).

    Yes, Stu.. Again a fair point.

    I would counter, however, that despite my error, what we still have here is what willard describes as a fallacious “argument from incredulity.”

    Just because Roger imagines those to be the “only two possible counterarguments” (aside from those he dismisses as being “bizarre” – and slightly different from your rephrasing as “the two main counter-arguments”) does not make it so.

    Keith is offering a counter-argument that does not fit one of the only two non-”biazrre” possibilities that Roger quite confidently states are possible. Do you think that Keith is offering a “bizarre” counter-argument?

    I think my point about Roger’s failure in accountability stands – my previous error notwithstanding.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Well, it’s nice having an archivist. But I am not “a leading scientist” and do not speak for the scientific community.

    The first point is not to be taken literally. But I’d stand by the rest, disconcerting as it is. I would argue that none of it is “alarmism” in the sense of being out of line with the facts.

    But it’s beside the point. I am not the voice of science. I speak neither for a scientific institution nor for any leading scientist. I am trying to get serious conversation going about these things, though.

    I do so specifically because I believe that these problems have solutions. Many of my readers and much of the public do not. In fact, to my litany of complaints, add that we have reached a sorry state where those who acknowledge that there are serious problems do not believe there are available solutions. That contingent optimism is the real middle ground, and its practically unoccupied.

    To Roger’s point, very little of it is what you hear from official channels or anywhere else, but even if it were you’d have to still argue that these issues are not realistic. Being alarmed is not alarmism.

  • Joshua

    Tom -

    I fear you’re somewhat confused. Apparently, you think that I am someone who says that scientific concerns about environmental or other issues have never been outsized.

    Either that, or your confused in thinking that the existence of outsized scientific concerns somehow disproves the reality of fear-mongering about outsized scientific concerns having negative effects (two of them being a focus of Roger’s concerns: The politicization of science and and the potential for eroding public confidence in scientists).

  • http://rankexploits.com/musings lucia

    Michael TobisWell, it’s nice having an archivist. But I am not “a leading scientist” and do not speak for the scientific community.Nevertheless, I think knowing your position is required for people to interpret what your opinion “I’ll happily sign on to possibility #1: leading scientists and
    scientific institutions rarely engage in alarmism and therefore this is
    not a major concern.”
    means vis a vis what leading scientists actually do.Given your penchant for indulging in some of the most dramatic alarmism on the internet, I judge it pretty likely that you don’t perceive what some of these other people doing precisely what you do to be “alarmism”.

  • Stu

    Joshua says: “(1) Changes in trust in scientists, on the whole, has been relatively minor ““ and concentrated in ways that correlate rather strongly with political ideology, suggesting an entirely different causality at least to some degree for that relatively small degree of change”…. This would still allow the possibility of a spread of misinformation, it’s just that people would run with that or reject it based upon their political or ideological affiliations. I think we see this daily. From that angle, based upon your correlation above, trust in science is unaffected as you believe what the scientist is saying because you already believe what he’s saying. Which pretty much reduces science to a simple authority to call upon in order to strengthen your own beliefs. Which is lame. Under those conditions, no… a spread of misinformation would not matter regarding levels of trust, but a follow on question would be, should it matter? I’d say yes, for a few reasons. … …On your question just above, I still think you’re conflating the meaning  of what Roger originally wrote (the subject of Keith’s post-  ’what is RPG saying’), with the counter arguments against it. I infer that ‘bizarre fantasies’ refers to the potential meaning of what he wrote, which we could argue about all day long I presume. The ‘counter arguments’ were offered as a rebuke to what Roger actually said, with both Keith and yourself falling within Roger’s choice 1 as I understand it – “It doesn’t matter, or it doesn’t exist”. You also offered, ‘fear mongering about fear mongering’, and ‘Roger lacks accountability’. So yeah, you’re right, there are more than 2 possible responses. I also fall into choice 1, but with a caveat. “It doesn’t matter, but perhaps it should”. 

  • BBD

    @ 56

    Dear Tom, Hansen has a point:

    “Within 15 years,” said Goddard Space Flight Honcho James Hansen, “global temperatures will rise to a level which hasn’t existed on earth for 100,000 years”. Sandy Grady, “The Heat is On,” “” The News and Courier, June 17th 1986.

    As of 2001, probably close to the truth.

    That level of heat-trapping gases would assure that the disintegration of the ice sheets would accelerate out of control.

    Heat melts ice. Global average temperature during the Eemian peaked at 1C – 2C above the late Holocene. mean sea level highstand was ~5m higher than the present.The WAIS may have contributed ~3m to the Eemian MSL highstand. The GIS perhaps contributed ~2m. Whatever the balance, there was a lot more sea.

    That is the long-term outlook. But near-term, things will be bad enough. Over the next several decades, the Western United States and the semi-arid region from North Dakota to Texas will develop semi-permanent drought, with rain, when it does come, occurring in extreme events with heavy flooding. Economic losses would be incalculable. More and more of the Midwest would be a dust bowl. California’s Central Valley could no longer be irrigated. Food prices would rise to unprecedented levels.

    Let’s take a moment to contemplate this pretty picture from Dai (2012).

  • Joshua

    # 64 – Stu -

    This would still allow the possibility of a spread of misinformation,
    it’s just that people would run with that or reject it based upon their political or ideological affiliations.

    That phenomenon is pretty well established in relevant literature – sometimes referred to as “motivated reasoning.”

    I think we see this daily.

    Agreed.

    From that angle, based upon your correlation above, trust in science is unaffected as you believe what the scientist is saying because you already believe what he’s saying. Which pretty much reduces science to a simple authority to call upon in order to strengthen your own beliefs. Which is lame.

    I’m not sure it’s “lame,” but it is what it is. Please consider the parallel phenomenon where people reject what a scientist says because s/he already doesn’t believe what he/she )the scientist) is saying. I think that it’s a bit more complicated than your description – but the simplistic version works both directions.

    Under those conditions, no”¦ a spread of misinformation would not matter regarding levels of trust, but a follow on question would be, should it matter? I’d say yes, for a few reasons. ”¦ “¦?

    I’d say it should matter contingent on whether you’re speaking very specifically about specific  individuals with careful attempts to quantify “misinformation” and not manufacture “outrage,” assert guilt by association, and be open to well-reasoned feedback about your own potential biases in identifying “misinformation.”

      I infer that “˜bizarre
    fantasies’ refers to the potential meaning of what he wrote, which we could argue about all day long I presume. The “˜counter arguments’ were offered as a rebuke to what Roger actually said, with both Keith and yourself falling within Roger’s choice 1 as I understand it ““ “It doesn’t matter, or it doesn’t exist”.

    I can’t argue for Keith – but I would not say that “doesn’t matter,” and I would not say that it “doesn’t exist.”

    You also offered, “˜fear mongering
    about fear mongering’, and “˜Roger lacks accountability’. So yeah, you’re right, there are more than 2 possible responses.

    I think that Roger sometimes has a tendency towards fear-mongering about fear-mongering. His schtick is focusing on poorly quantified assertions by climate scientists. To the extent that his focus is well-quantified and specific, I think it is valid and perhaps useful. To the extent that his focus is poorly quantified and unspecific – yes, I think it becomes fear-mongering about fear-mongering. My mention of a lack of accountability isn’t w/r/t the initial lack of specificity and quantification – we are all sometimes over-zealous in promoting our (schticks). The question about accountability is with reference to his failure to acknowledge when (IMO) he fails to quantify and specify. Just to be clear, my impression is that Roger takes accountability for his science seriously. It is w/r/t his openness to counterarguments – more specifically related to his commentary about the science, that I think that sometimes his accountability is less than it should be. .

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Well, Joshua, you don’t see skeptics worrying about the standing of climate science in polls or posting for years on end about how to communicate their position to the public, or establishing a rapid reaction team to go after the opposition, or establishing teams of ‘crushers’ to go after the opposition in the comments sections of weblogs, or having multi-million dollar communications budgets for No Pressure videos or falling bear commercials or wandering through the urban streets videos.

    Seems to me that alarmists are just as alarmed about their societal status as they are about the climate. Tobis, Hansen, Trenberth, Mann, Mandia, Santer, Gleick and a cast of thousands are repeating alarmist disaster predictions that melt like ice in the desert when confronted with actual science.

    They are fear mongering. They are also fear mongering about the lack of success of their fear mongering. Those of us who are not participating are not fear mongering–sometimes we’re laughing, sometimes we’re shaking our heads in disbelief, sometimes we’re just saddened by the waste of it all.

  • Tom Scharf

    Tobis, given your view on the issue, I would like to know a single example from you of what you consider an alarmist statement from climate science. 

  • BBD

    @67

    Seems to me that alarmists are just as alarmed about their societal status as they are about the climate. Tobis, Hansen, Trenberth, Mann, Mandia, Santer, Gleick and a cast of thousands are repeating alarmist disaster predictions that melt like ice in the desert when confronted with actual science.

    So Hansen, Trenberth and Santer are all at loggerheads with the ‘actual science’? Crikey.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “Imagine a giant asteroid on a direct collision course with Earth. That is the equivalent of what we face now [with climate change], yet we dither.”James Hansen

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “Given that global warming is “˜unequivocal’, and is “˜very likely’ due to human activities, to quote the 2007 IPCC report, should not the null hypothesis now be reversed? Should not the burden of proof be on showing that there is no human influence?” Kevin Trenberth

  • BBD

    @ 70 Actual science that contradicts Hansen?

    @ 71 An interesting thought experiment ;-) Actual science that demonstrates that there is no human influence?

    Dig that hole, Tom.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Any science that supports either statement?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    “I doubt Trenberth’s suggestion will find much support in the scientific community,” said Professor Myles Allen from Oxford University.”This needs to be fought against vigorously. Proving a negative is impossible.” Dr. Thomas P. Sheahen

  • BBD

    @ 73 Dear Tom, we touched on this at #65.

    @ 74 It’s an interesting thought experiment. Let’s play. Is there Actual Science that demonstrates that there is *no human influence*?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller
  • http://rabett.blogspot.com Eli Rabett

    To be clear, the claims of an climate change leading to increasing extreme weather damages come from the insurance industry, flatly contradict what Roger Pielke Jr. is and has been claiming and are not isolated to Munich Re.

    In any case neither Pielke nor anyone else has ever figured out how to factor in the effects of improved infrastructure on damages sustained. If correcting for population without correcting for improvements yields a flat line, then clearly the weather has turned for the worse.

    Scientists are not making these claims, insurance companies are.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #70,

    In a sense, it’s a perfectly accurate statement. We are in the position of imagining a giant asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

    #71,

    I’ve never been sure whether that was a case of Trenberth not actually understanding what null hypotheses were for, which seems remarkable scientific ignorance for a man in his position, or of him cynically manipulating the public misunderstanding of them.

    The null hypothesis is always the opposite of what science has shown, the null is what science proves to be false. You either show the null hypothesis to be extremely unlikely, or you draw no conclusion. Failing to reject the null hypothesis does not imply any belief or acceptance of it. Nor is it necessarily the ‘default’ belief – that would only be so if science was leading you to change your mind. Scientific confirmation of things you already expect to be true would require a null contrary to what you expect.

    So, for the null to be human involvement, the only scientific conclusion that could possibly be drawn would be that climate change was natural. I’m pretty sure that isn’t what Trenberth intended.

    #72,

    Is there any science to say that climate isn’t influenced by the flap of a butterfly’s wings, somewhere in the Amazon?

  • BBD

    Nullius

    How can someone with your obvious intellect entertain painful nonsense like climate change denial? Even given your almost pantomime libertarianism, it still beggars belief that a well-educated, scientifically literate adult could buy into this rubbish.

    Lock yourself in the potting shed and give yourself a jolly good talking to. Before it’s too late.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    To sum up my opinion regarding the headline of this post. I blame Yvo de Boer for retiring. He actually was a calming influence on many parties before he abandoned the stage to folks like Strong.

    I blame George Bush, for forcing Al Gore into retirement. (It’s always the Republicans’ fault….) Gore’s new hobby, while it made him $100 million, was polarizing as well as destructive.Ellen Goodman, for introducing a phrase specifically designed to complete what Gore started–turning climate change into a partisan issue in the U.S. I wonder if she pays folk like BBD for spreading the virus or if they pay her…

    Modern technology, which introduced higher granularity in measurements of land and sea temperature measurements (and an inconvenient break where records were spliced together). Oh for the days of 1978, when we had to watch Fantasy Island and Roots instead of the oscillations of Arctic ice.

    Non-governmental organizations that shifted focus from environmental protection to a disastrous obsession with climate change. Their overfed budgets and hyper-active imaginations led to an increasing stream of lies, half-truths and exaggerations that polluted public discourse and sadly, enlisted too many scientists into standing in front of their crap.

    Major media organizations that downsized their teams and left them dependent on journalism via press release. Their unthinking acceptance of the hysteria pumped out by the NGOs  may have poisoned the well for public debate on this issue for another decade.

    The tobacco companies, for providing a source of inspiration for a generation of sloppy social scientists like Naomi Oreskes, an easily transferable hate model for innumerate fools everywhere and educating a generation of lawyers who now can defend bad scientists like Michael Mann.

    Lukewarmers, for introducing a third platform into a two-party debate and creaming off some of the best talent for their own nefarious ends, leaving the consensus team ever-more shrill and the skeptics without some of their ablest voices (Liljegren, McIntyre, etc–not really counting myself).

    Ben Santer, for allowing attribution statements to be changed.

    Michael Mann, for not learning the statistics relevant to his studies.

    Hubert Lamb, for not adequately preparing and counseling  his successor.

    Svante Arrhenius, for changing his mind four times about sensitivity.

    Richard Lindzen, for smoking.

    Steve Mosher, for co-authoring a book that dared to quote climate scientists in full  and recount what was happening in the world at the time they made their unforced errors.

  • BBD

    As for Trenberth’s remarks, they are clear enough. He is asking the contrarian claque to demonstrate a coherent, scientific case, with solid supporting evidence, for its rejection of the scientific consensus on AGW. This is something that has never been done. done. Instead there is great deal of noise and a scatter of bad papers which don’t stand up to scrutiny. 

    The howling of the deniers ever since is ample testimony to the fact that Trenberth hit them right where it hurts.

  • BBD

    Bloody hell Tom. You actually take Singer’s part against Santer? Are you really that far gone?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, I’ve deciphered your initials: Bloody Big…

     What rhymes with cranker and twit? What rhymes with pool and scoring? What rhymes with boron and Cupid?

    What rhymes with flosser?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Watt’s Up With That proves conclusively that the Klimate Konsensus are insane idiots when it comes to adopting a communications strategy:”In the continental USA, there were 137 high temperature type records versus 857 low temperature type records this past week , a 6-1 difference. Last week there were 1154 low temperature type records putting the two week total for October at 2011. There were also 24 new snowfall records set this week in the upper plains.”

  • BBD

    Stow the abusive BS Tom. It only damages you.

    Now, to the very serious point at issue: you are repeating old denialist lies about Santer. Why the hell would you do such a thing? The record was set straight at the time, but clearly the facts need repeating since a new generation of climate liars has emerged and is repeating the same old smears.

    Here’s Santer’s unedited 1996 letter to the WSJ, setting out the facts. It was co-signed by 40 other scientists:

    Frederick Seitz’s op-ed of June 12 editorial-page piece, “A Major Deception on ‘Global Warming’” wrongly accuses both the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and a member of the climate science community of violation of procedure and deception. Not only does he thereby demonstrate ignorance of both the topic and the IPCC process, but his actions reflect an apparent attempt to divert attention away from the scientific evidence of a human effect on global climate by attacking the scientists concerned with investigating that issue.

    Dr. Seitz discusses editorial changes made to Chapter 8 of the 1995 IPCC report on the science of climate change. The chapter in question evaluates the scientific evidence from many studies that have attempted to detect “unusual” change in the Eearth’s climate, and determine whether some portion of that change is due to human activities. Dr. Seitz claims that the alterations made to Chapter 8, after a November 1995 IPCC meeting held in Madrid, were in violation of IPCC rules of procedure, and that their effect is to “deceive policy makers and the public into believing that the scientific evidence shows human activities are causing global warming.” Similar claims of procedural improprieties have been made by the Global Climate Coalition (GCC), a consortium of industry interests. These claims conjure visions of sinister conspiracies that are entirely unfounded.

    All IPCC procedural rules were followed in producing the final, now published, version of the Chapter 8. The changes made after the Madrid IPCC meeting in November 1995 were in response to written review comments received in October and November 1995 from governments, individual scientists, and non-governmental organizations. They were also in response to comments made by governments and non-governmental organizations during plenary sessions of the Madrid meeting. IPCC procedures required changes in response to these comments, in order to produce the best-possible and most clearly explained assessment of the science.

    There has been no dishonesty, no corruption of the peer-review process and no bias–political, environmental or otherwise. Mr. Seitz claims that the scientific content of Chapter 8 was altered by the changes made to it after the Madrid IPCC meeting. This is incorrect. The present version of Chapter 8, in its Executive Summary, draws precisely the same “bottom-line” conclusion as the original Oct. 9th version of the chapter–”Taken together, these results point towards a human influence on climate.” A statement conveying the same message was endorsed unanimously by the governments of the 96 IPCC countries represented at the Madrid meeting.

    The pre- and post-Madrid versions of the chapter are equally cautious in their statements. Uncertainties have not been suppressed. Roughly 20% of Chapter 8 is devoted to the discussion of uncertainties in estimates of natural climate variability and the expected “signal” due to human activities.

    The deletions quoted by Seitz relate to the difficulties involved in attributing climate change to the specific cause of human activities, and to uncertainties in estimates of natural climate variability. These issues are dealt with at great length in the published chapter. The basic content of these particular sentences has not been deleted.

    Dr. Seitz is not a climate scientist. He was not involved in the process of putting together the 1995 IPCC report on the science of climate change. He did not attend the Madrid IPCC meeting on which he reports. He was not privy to the hundreds of review comments received by Chapter 8 Lead Authors. Most seriously, before writing his editorial, he did not contact any of the Lead Authors of Chapter 8 in order to obtain information as to how or why changes were made to Chapter 8 after Madrid. He also did not contact either Prof. Bert Bolin, the Chairman of the IPCC, or those in charge of the report, the Co-Chairmen of IPCC Working Group I, Sir John Houghton and Dr. L.G. Meira Filho, in order to determine whether IPCC rules of procedure had been violated by the changes made to Chapter 8.

    Scientists examine all items of evidence before drawing conclusions. They generally avoid making pronouncements outside their own areas of expertise. Seitz has failed on both counts, and his conclusions are incorrect. We urge readers of The Wall Street Journal to read the IPCC report (“Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change,” Cambridge University Press, 1996). They will see for themselves that, as stated in and required by and stated in IPCC procedural rules, the detection chapter is a “comprehensive, objective and balanced” review of the science.

    BENJAMIN D. SANTER
    Convening Lead Author, Chapter 8
    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Yeah, so there. And a cat left a dead mouse at his doorstep, too!

  • BBD

    Tom, you said this:

    I blame [...] Ben Santer, for allowing attribution statements to be changed.

    It is an old, long-rebutted lie. Are you going to withdraw it now?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Nope. I’m still waiting for him to “beat the crap out of Patrick Michaels”. They’ve met since his threat to assault Michaels, but Michaels walked away unbeaten. 

    Kinda mystically metaphorical in a way… Klimate Konsensist blusters and threatens an opponent, but doesn’t follow through. Then issues hysterical media report about a mouse on his doorstep. 

    Santer had no business doing what he did in Madrid. And let me be clear–even if he was factually correct on the changes to the document, he had no right to do what he did. 

  • BBD

    Santer had no business doing what he did in Madrid. And let me be clear”“even if he was factually correct on the changes to the document, he had no right to do what he did.

    What *exactly* did Santer do that you claim he had ‘no business’ and ‘no right’ to do? Please explain while we have Santer’s WSJ letter open in front of us.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #79,
    :-)

    #81,

    What he was obviously trying to do was to get round the problem of not having any solid proof by proposing that we assume it is true unless disproven. It’s much the same as the “you can’t logically disprove God’s existence” argument for theism.

    It’s an argument that only satisfies those who already believe. But like all true believers, he cannot comprehend how a rational, intelligent, educated person could possibly not believe, and not be persuaded by the arguments that he finds persuasive. It’s all obviously true, the formal proofs are offered only out of a sense of thoroughness, and any gaps and errors in them don’t matter. So it’s just annoying the way opponents perversely keep poking at them, for all the world as if any problems they find cast genuine doubt on the conclusion, and it would be nice if we could skip the implied requirement for proof in a semi-formal way.

    The problem is all their arguments to prove the observed warming is anthropogenic have to first work out what the potential natural warming could be in order to exclude it, which they have extreme difficulty doing because they have relatively little understanding of natural variability. And that leaves the ‘natural variation’ hypothesis still alive and lurking there, like a worm in an apple, in the heart all their papers.

    I can certainly understand why he would want to get rid of it. What I’m not sure of is whether he really thought switching the null hypothesis round would achieve what he wanted, or if he was playing on the problematic public perception that if you didn’t reject the natural null then that meant it was natural. What he should have said was, given that we’re confident in the conclusion now, shouldn’t we stop doing attribution studies altogether?

    The solid case for rejection of the consensus position on attribution of observed late 20th century warming to anthropogenic causes is that no solid empirical evidence has been presented for it. That doesn’t mean the rejection is permanent, but it can’t be accepted yet.

    As the IPCC says: “The approaches used in detection and attribution research described above cannot fully account for all uncertainties, and thus ultimately expert judgement is required to give a calibrated assessment of whether a specific cause is responsible for a given climate change.” The IPCC’s selected experts, of course, are all true believers, and so have found the arguments persuasive – their assessment based primarily on the number of studies in consensus (sometimes called “the emperor’s nose” fallacy). Many outsiders are more sceptical.

    I really don’t mind scientists continuing to hold anthropogenic attribution as their favoured hypothesis – I’m not aware that it has been disproved either – and it is only by considering the best arguments from both sides that we’ll come to the truth. I don’t want them to stop believing, or to stop arguing the case. I don’t want to shut them up. But it would be nice if they stopped trying to imply the debate is already over or that their position is true by default until proven otherwise, because neither attitude is at all scientific.

  • BBD

    and it is only by considering the best arguments from both sides that we’ll come to the truth.

    The world awaits a coherent, supported case from the contrarians…

    Somehow, I think it waits in vain. Meanwhile, the scientific consensus on AGW remains robust and unchallenged.

    Intelligent people unconcerned by the strange and contradictory world of libertarian physics continue to accept the scientific consensus as this is clearly the rational and objective thing to do.

  • BBD

    Tom, see # 89. We’re all waiting.

  • harrywr2

    #47 Joshua,

    A January 1984 editorial claimed a regulatory program for acid rain would cost “upwards of $100 billion.”

    Multi-year cost estimates and estimates in editorials are frequently  nonsense. On both sides of an issue.

    The last I checked only about 1/3rd of US coal fired plants had SO2 scrubbers. For utilities that were already burning western(low sulfur) coal the compliance costs for acid rain was absolutely nothing.

    The math game is almost always the same. The side opposing the regulation trots out a ‘poster child’ plant. In the case of acid rain the plant would have been burning high sulfur Illinois Basin coal. Then they multiply the compliance costs across the whole fleet.

    The side asking for the regulation then takes the impacts on states downwind from high-sulfur coal burning states and multiplies it across the whole country.

    The same was true for the whole CFC debate. Yes..the replacement refrigerants are more expensive…at the wholesale level R410A(the replacement of the replacement) costs about $6/pound. A typical central air conditioner will use about 10 pounds. Trivial compared to the cost of the electricity to run the air conditioner.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #85,

    Umm. Santer’s letter seems to say that attribution statements were changed, as Seitz said. What he says is that they were changed for good and honest reasons, and that if only the IPCC process was at all transparent he would have been able to tell that.

    It seems to me that relying on a statement from the accused as evidence of their innocence is a bit… trusting, shall we say? But it doesn’t seem to contradict Tom.

  • BBD

    Nullius, I’m asking Tom to defend his regurgitation of an old, debunked lie about Santer. Give the man a chance, please.

    Your response shows either that you haven’t read Santer’s letter properly, or that you too are engaging in misrepresentation.

    I am of course shocked to the core.

  • BBD

    It seems to me that relying on a statement from the accused as evidence of their innocence is a bit”¦ trusting, shall we say?/blockquote>

    One other thing. Santer’s letter was co-signed by 40 other scientists (follow the link at # 85 to access the full list). Now, are they all lying to back Santer up?

    Are you a conspiracy theorist Nullius? It would explain a lot. Actually, taken together with the libertarian physics, it would explain everything.

  • BBD

    Dear God this commenting sofware is the PITA of the world.

    Again:

    It seems to me that relying on a statement from the accused as evidence of their innocence is a bit”¦ trusting, shall we say?

    One other thing. Santer’s letter was co-signed by 40 other scientists (follow the link at # 85 to access the full list). Now, are they all
    lying to back Santer up?

    Are you a conspiracy theorist Nullius? It would explain a lot. Actually, taken together with the libertarian physics, it would explain everything.

  • http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/ thingsbreak

    Tom writes:
    “Gore’s new hobby, while it made him $100 million, was polarizing as well as destructive”

    Gore’s $100 million dollar fortune is more than a third due to his stock in Google and Apple.

    Another huge chunk came from a steady flow of six-figure speaking fees he enjoyed as a modern high profile politician.

    Another big slice came from his non-climate related public commentary, like a best-selling book (The Assault on Reason).

    Another big slice came from Metropolitan West Financial Inc. and non-climate related Silicon Valley ventures.

    Given that the profits from his climate-related endeavors were plowed back into non-profits, I’m curious as to how the meme that the climate issue gave Gore $100 million in personal wealth got started.

    (I mean, I’m not really curious as to why it got started. I’m not even curious as to why it’s still being passed off as truth. I’m really just curious as to why people think it’s remotely plausible to those who aren’t drunk on climate “skeptic” kool aid.)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Thingsbreak, thank you for bringing my attention to that information. Although my statement was meant to be semi-humorous, I’m happy to keep your clarification in mind should the topic come up again.

  • BBD

    Ah, there you are Tom.

    # 89?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And Thingsbreak, I must remark that it’s a pity you can’t be as vigilant about misstatements when it comes to your own.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Sorry, BBD. I got sucked in to interacting with you. NiV went a long way towards answering your question and I have no interest in conversing with you.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #95,

    You appear to have misread Santer’s letter yourself. Either that or Tom’s comment. Santer is complaining that Seitz had said the alterations were made out of biased advocacy, but he claims that the changes were made for other reasons. Tom only said that he allowed attribution statements to be changed.

    I don’t know whether the other 40 scientists signed the letter on the basis of their personal knowledge of its truth, or simply as a show of support, and their trust in Santer’s honesty. Even scientists will do that sometimes, and advocates commonly circulate letters seeking signatures from unwary scientists who don’t know the subject well (like in 880476729.txt). We would need a lot more information about the background to that letter to tell.

    To be honest, it looks to me like Santer gives no real evidence to back his assertions, and that they’re carefully worded to avoid addressing the actual accusations anyway. But even if we take the letter as accurate, it doesn’t contradict what Tom actually wrote. The document was changed by Santer to exclude phrases casting doubt on attribution. It may be, as Santer says, the same doubts were still expressed in the remainder of the chapter, but the changes were made. There’s no doubt that they were.

    I think you have perhaps confused Tom’s more limited statement for those of other people on the same topic.

  • BBD

    Tom @ 102

    I asked:

    What *exactly* did Santer do that you claim he had “˜no business’ and “˜no right’ to do? Please explain while we have Santer’s WSJ letter open in
    front of us.

    You refuse to respond. That’s good enough for me.

  • BBD

    Nullius

    Same question for you:

    What *exactly* did Santer do that Tom claims he had “˜no business’ and “˜no right’ to do? Please explain while we have Santer’s WSJ letter open in
    front of us.

  • Fred

    It is so hard to take global warming “science” seriously. Now it comes out that there has been no warming for the past 16 years. Pro-global warming scientists have said that such an occurrence would disprove AGW, yet when it happens, they move the goal post and claim the theory is still credible. However, Judith Curry is quoted in the article citing the 16-year lack of warming that the climate models AGW is based upon are worthless as a guide to policy. Why are some people still saying we should destroy our economy for the fantasy of AGW?? On the lack of warming, see:http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2217286/Global-warming-stopped-16-years-ago-reveals-Met-Office-report-quietly-released–chart-prove-it.html

  • Nullius in Verba

    #106,

    Fred, 16 years isn’t enough to disprove it, any more than the previous 20 years was enough to prove it. It’s arguable whether there is any such proof/disproof interval, since it would depend on an accurate statistical understanding of the natural background, which we don’t have. Given that some natural cycles and fluctuations extend over more than 50 years, I don’t propose to get excited about 16. Don’t oversell it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    #107, +1

  • Fred

    #107, 108
    In 2009 Phil Jones, Director of the CRU said: “no upward trend has to continue for a total of 15 years before we get worried.”
    I think I would rather go with the professor’s original position on this matter.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’d be worried too, but about public and governmental support and sustaining efforts to do something about it. I wrote two years ago that this would be the toughest decade for supporters of vigorous action against climate change for just this reason.

    Of course that didn’t stop me from betting a grand on it with Joe Romm…

  • Nullius in Verba

    #109,

    1) Phil Jones is not a reliable source – I’m not going to suddenly take his word for it just because I suddenly like what he’s saying. 2) “worried” is not the same as “disproved” – what he’s referring to is that modelled fluctuations rarely last longer than 15-20 years, but of course that depends on how reliable the models are, and ‘rarely’ is not ‘never’. And 3), if you check the quote out, you’ll see he was starting his count from 2004/5, not 1998.

    For the purposes of criticising their past claims and pinning them down on falsifiability it’s a fair enough observation. There has to be some interval after which they’d have to question the theory. But we need to be consistent too. From a scientific point of view, there have been observed natural fluctuations of many decades length. They ignore or dismiss them, but we don’t. Scientifically speaking, without understanding the natural background statistics you can’t prove anything either way, we don’t understand the background, and trying to suddenly say this proves anything would mess up our best arguments that the previous 20 years don’t prove anything. And would be mathematically invalid, to boot.

    It’s like them and their heatwaves. If hot weather is always proof that you were right and cold weather is just random weather and means nothing, the constant flip-flopping blows your credibility right out of the water. Don’t make the same mistake.

  • Fred

    #111
    If Phil Jones, the professor who is head of the CRU is not a reliable source on AGW theory then who is?
    You are right that it is a statistical issue as to how long a plateauing of temperatures it would take to “disprove” AGW theory. But it is fun to see the warmists squirm over this report of 15 years and no rise in temperatures. The time was when warmists would incessantly predict that the next season, whatever it was, would be the “warmest ever”.

  • BBD

    From Ye Olde Charney Report, 1979:

    One of the major uncertainties has to do with the transfer of the increased heat into the oceans. It is well known that the oceans are a thermal regulator, warming the air in winter and cooling it in summer. The standard assumption has been that, while heat is transferred rapidly into a relatively thin, well-mixed surface layer of the ocean (averaging about 70 m in depth), the transfer into the deeper waters is so slow that the atmospheric temperature reaches effective equilibrium with the mixed layer in a decade or so. It seems to us quite possible that the capacity of the deeper oceans to absorb heat has been seriously underestimated, especially that of the
    intermediate waters of the subtropical gyres lying below the mixed layer and above the main thermocline. If this is so, warming will proceed at a slower rate until these intermediate waters are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat.

    Our estimates of the rates of vertical exchange of mass between the mixed and intermediate layers and the volumes of water involved give a delay of the order of decades in the time at which thermal equilibrium will be reached. This delay implies that the actual warming at any given time will be appreciably less than that calculated on the assumption that thermal equilibrium is reached quickly. One consequence may be that perceptible temperature changes may not become apparent nearly so soon as has been anticipated. We may not be given a warning until the CO2 loading is such that an appreciable climate change is inevitable. The equilibrium warming will eventually occur; it will merely have been postponed.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #113,

    “If this is so, warming will proceed at a slower rate until these intermediate waters are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat.”

    What an odd thing to say!The intermediate waters will never reach a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat. This is essentially because the water is flowing, and thus the heat balance is determined not by temperature differences but by heat transport rates. Warm water rises near the equator, flows across the surface to the poles, where it cools and sinks. The oceans partake in a huge convective cycle. Heat is transported downwards by mixing, and upwards carried by the great convective cycle, and at the point where these two rates balance, the heat can descend no further.

    Thus when surface waters warm, heat transport downwards by mixing is of greater magnitude (although counterbalanced by the relatively warm water’s greater buoyancy), and the balance point is at a lower depth, encompassing greater heat capacity. But the response stops once the warmer surface has got heat moving down through the deeper water fast enough, not when it is hot enough.

    The only places heat can enter the truly deep waters is at the poles, driven by the temperature difference between equator and poles (the difference being predicted to reduce with polar amplification, of course), and with several thousand years to go before that reservoir is filled up.

    I suspect it was not written by an proper oceanographer. It sounds more like something written by someone used to working with slab models. I don’t know, though.

    I assume the point of quoting it here was to offer a possible explanation as to why global temperatures over the last 16 years have not risen. But that won’t work, because then you would have to explain why this same ocean mechanism didn’t stop it rising during the previous 20 years. You would normally expect the two effects to occur the other way round, yes? Or maybe it was just generally educational…?

    It was quite interesting, anyway.

  • BBD

    Lovely bit of misdirection there Nullius! Nice try at incorrectly conflating deep water formation in the high NH latitudes with oceanwide energetic exchange at varying rates between the mixed and intermediate layers.

    But keep on spreading the climate misinformation! It’s bang on topic. 

    But what compels you to lie about climate science? It’s just such an odd thing to want to do.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #115,

    Conflating? I wrote two long paragraphs on oceanwide energetic exchange, and one short one on deep water formation. I think I kept the two quite separate. There’s even a big gap of white space between them.

    You do sometimes make me wonder.

  • BBD

    You are misrepresenting the way energy accumulates in the ocean at various depths. What you say is deliberately twisted to make it appear as though there is some sort of error in the standard position.

  • harrywr2

    #113 BBD,

    From Ye Olde Charney Report, 1979:

    And here we are, more they 30 years later and there is still a great deal of uncertainty as to the short term transient climate response and the total response. One can find serious scientists making a case that the total climate response may end up taking multiple centuries.Give me a nuclear reactor with an outlet temperature of 1000C that costs less then $3,000Mw and I’ll kill off fossil fuels entirely in the space of 40 years. Of course that’s what the multi-national Gen IV nuclear initiative is supposed to do…unfortunately they don’t expect their work to be complete until the early 2020′s.

  • BBD

    And now you are lying about your lies. If it wasn’t so distasteful, it could almost be funny.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #117,

    I got my version out of oceanography textbooks, which I would presume is the “standard version”. The stuff you quoted, isn’t.

    It looks to me like it was written by someone who was not an oceanographer, who had been taught slab models, made some ‘estimates’ based on an incomplete understanding of the physics, and wrote an ‘authoritative’ report on the basis. And of course those who trust in Authority naturally assume the author as a Proper Scientist is expounding the actual “standard version”.

    We’ve seen this several times. You quote something or say something that gets the physics totally wrong – that’s outside even mainstream climate science – but because it’s from one of your trusted authorities you think it’s infallible, and has to be “standard”. And nothing will convince you otherwise.

    Well, I’m not even going to try. If you want to think the oceans act like a diffusive slab and stop absorbing heat because they’ve got warm, you go right ahead. From a rhetorical point of view, that suits me just fine.

  • BBD

    Keep on lying Nullius.

  • BBD

    It’s got fuck all to do with the old slab models being discussed in Charney. Your calculated obfuscation was to conflate DW formation with ocean-wide exchange between the mixed and intermediate layers and then *insinuate* that there’s a problem with the standard position.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #122,

    I can only asssume you don’t know what the word “conflate” means.

  • Tom C

    BBD – Whether Nullius is right or wrong, your resort to profanity is not helpful. 

  • BBD

    I can only assume that you are lying to us Nullius.

  • BBD

    Unless you didn’t read the textbook very carefully, of course. Could that be it?

  • BBD

    And while I remember, I’m waiting for you to tell us what *exactly* Santer did that Tom claims he had “˜no business’ and
    “˜no right’ to do? Please explain while we have Santer’s WSJ letter open
    in front of us.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Funny how many of us are lying to BBD. Almost… clinical…

  • BBD

    It’s not just me you two are lying to Tom. It’s everyone who reads your stuff.

  • BBD

    Luckily for the common weal, they also get to read things like # 102 and # 104. I think the vast majority of readers here can and will draw the appropriate conclusions.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Eaxamples of actual alarmism: Derrick Jensenhttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9os1GFuWJ0&feature=relatedJames Kunstlerhttp://www.kunstler.com/blog/”What a way to go” grouphttp://www.whatawaytogomovie.com/The DARA report; I discuss it here:http://planet3.org/2012/09/28/alarmist-spin-muddies-the-water/The last is probably the best example of actual politically motivated pseudoscience of the sort that Pielke is suggesting; the trouble is that there are no scientists or scientific institutions involved.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, I believe you neglected one that is actually run by a climate scientist. Called Only In It For The Gold.

  • Vinny Burgoo

    MT: ‘[DARA] is probably the best example of actual politically motivated pseudoscience of the sort that Pielke is suggesting; the trouble is that there are no scientists or scientific institutions involved.’  Well there’s Hans Joachim Schellnhuber (who also sat on the advisory board that OKed the Global Humanitarian Forum’s discredited estimate of climate change-related mortality).

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    It took some doing, but I tracked down the report of which I had not heard. Not surprised Roger didn’t like it. But “Roger doesn’t like it” is not necessarily a refutation.

    I will stipulate Schellnhuber and Rockstrom as prominent mainstream voices of science. And the report does seem quite sloppy.The justification is:

    “The 40 percent proportion is based on an analysis of data provided by Munich Re on the past trend of weather-related disasters, as compared to geophysical (i.e. non climate change related) disasters over time.5 It compares well to a 2009 scientific estimate of the attribution of climate change to droughts.11 It is assumed that the 40 percent increase due to climate change based on frequency of disasters can be applied as an approximation for the number of people seriously affected and deaths. The 4 percent proportion is based on a study by WHO4 which looks at health outcomes from gradual environmental degradation due to climate change.12

    Application of this proportion projects that more than 300,000 die due to climate change every year””roughly equivalent to having an Indian Ocean tsunami annually.13 The number of deaths from weather-related disasters and gradual environmental degradation due to climate change “” about 315,000 deaths per year “” is based on a similar calculation, (i.e. an attribution of 40 percent from weather-related disasters that translates into 40 percent of the death burden from weather disasters due to climate change and 4 percent of current death burden from disease14). Over 90 percent of the death toll relates to gradual onset of climate change which means deterioration in environmental quality, such as reduction in arable land, desertification and sea level rise, associated with climate change. As for the number of seriously affected, the basis for the estimations of deaths is negative health outcomes.”

    Is this unreasonable? It does seem rather sloppily written. I’m having trouble following the reasoning above. But I don’t think the numbers are off the reservation. Consider the difference between frequentist statistics (proving a phenomenon beyond reasonable doubt) and Bayesian (making a best estimate) appears in his latest screed against Munich RE and so I don’t doubt he objected at the time. Drug companies need to prove their case, but insurance companies need to do best estimates.

    Frankly, 300K globally is a smallish number: it amounts to a morbidity of 1/25,000 or perhaps 1 of every 500 deaths. Can climate change be contributing to that many deaths already via extra hunger and catastrophe? I think it’s a difficult question but it’s not obvious to me that it’s wrong or fake the way the DARA number is.

    How has it been refuted?That said, I would not claim that the report is something to be proud of. On the other hand, a couple of scientists on the advisory board doesn’t mean they edited it carefully, though I suppose they should have. It’s a pretty marginal case all around, then, not really output of the scientific community and not obviously hugely in error. It’s hardly a slam dunk the way Roger’s claim implies.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #114, this is Charney you are talking about! Suggesting he didn’t understand thermodynamics is absolutely ludicrous. (It brings to mind the delicious moment on usenet when some undergrad huffily told John McCarthy that he knew nothing about computers.)

    You may wish to consider that when von Neumann decided to prove that his new computing machine could solve real and important problems, it was Jule Charney he chose to collaborate with.

    Rather than getting on your high horse about this, try to think of a sense in which the claim would be meaningful. Hints: 1) this is about an equilibration process 2) in those days a leading scientist did not have to choose his words so carefully in a time when the McIntyres of the world would try very hard to make him look stupid.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, in response to your first question, yes, 300,000 deaths per year due to climate change is unreasonable. It is in fact absurdist fantasy. It is a post hoc doubling of an earlier UN projection of 150,000 deaths per year, that was generated a decade ago without any supporting documentation.Yes, scientists did not have to choose their words as carefully in a time when the Tobis’ of the world would try very hard to libel them, assassinate their character and impugn their honesty and intelligence without ever having read their work.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #135,

    I haven’t suggested Charney didn’t understand thermodynamics. I suggested that the phraseology he used suggested he had an incorrect model of the physics in mind.

    And I have absolutely no respect for argumentum ad verecundiam (as Locke defined it). Everyone makes mistakes. It’s no big deal. Bearing in mind that Charney was himself criticising “The standard assumption” in this piece, it’s self-evident that there can be nothing wrong in criticising what other perfectly respectable physicists have said.

    brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat” brings to mind a picture of water warmed until it can warm no more. This would be appropriate to the case of two static thermal masses thermally connected to one another. The upper mass is warmed quickly. The lower mass is warmed more slowly by mixing, diffusion and conduction across the boundary from the upper mass. If the upper mass was held at a fixed temperature, eventually the lower mass achieves the same temperature as the upper mass and the heat flow stops. If the upper mass warms continuously, so does the lower mass, but with a time lag. As I’m sure you know, this is known as the “two slab model”, and the idea is that the upper layer warms quickly, but as fast as predicted because of the heat flow to the lower slab, and then the whole thing keeps on warming at a slower rate to a much higher temperature.

    The problem is that the oceans do not work as a slab model. If they did, the deep ocean would have equilibrated at the average surface temperature thousands of years ago. The reason it doesn’t is that over most of the ocean the water is continually flowing upwards, the deeper you get the slower the downward heatflow becomes, and eventually the downward heat flow matches the upward advection. You never get to the stage where there is water that can absorb no more heat, because there is always a continual supply of fresh, cold water. It’s not when the lower waters are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat, it’s when the heat transported by downward mixing deeper down is fast enough to balance the upward flow.

    In general terms, the result is much the same – a surface warming is reduced by downward heat transfer until a new balance is achieved and the transfer stops. But I am, if you’ll forgive me, sceptical about the details of his calculation if he isn’t using the correct model for the physics.

    Possibly, as you suggest, he was simply loose about his wording. But then, what other wording might he have been loose about? It makes things difficult to interpret, you see. And in any case, I’m not sure why it’s reasonable that I should repeatedly get called a liar just for questioning a bit of physics. Other than that being BBD’s way, of course.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Sorry, that should be “…but not as fast as predicted…”.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    NiV #138

    I’m not calling you a liar. I don’t think you are one. I think people are far too quick to attribute dishonest motivations to each other.

    On the other hand, it is entirely clear to me that Charney meant quite specifically “until it equilibrates”. It’s possible that this was edited out in pursuit of more understandability to the (somewhat less stupid than today’s) politicians.

    Your description of the ocean circulation is almost correct. In fact, where the compensating upwelling for high latitude deep-water formation occurs remains an open question. It’s true that in models this happens almost everywhere, but the models are almost certainly wrong in this regard, since they mix diffusively far too rapidly. As far as I know the real balance remains one of the key mysteries of climate science.

    Charney had little data to base his understanding of the ocean upon, far less than we do. But his speculations were entirely reasonable on that account. 

    Your eagerness to think otherwise, while not to my mind dishonest, strikes me as revealing of a systematic problem. But I don’t think you are lying. I do think you are unreasonably eager to disbelieve anything that climate scientists say, even in the case of one of the most notable theoretical meteorologists of all time.

  • Tom Scharf

    Florida hurricane insurance rates went through a very similar “Munich Re” type model grinder in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina and the very active hurricane year following.

    The end result was an approx. 40% increase in wind insurance rates in Florida due to the decision to no longer use historical rates of hurricane disasters and instead rely on new computer models.

    You can call me cynical when insurance companies change of risk models result in large increases in rates to consumers.  With hurricanes, they used climate change propaganda as a tool to increase rates.

    What has happened since they changed their risk system?

    We are currently in the longest recorded period ever since a CAT3 hurricane landfall has occurred in the US. 2300+ days and counting.  The disaster costs for the decade of 2000-2009 was right on the historical average even with the exceptional years of 2005 and 2006.  Global cyclone energy has been at near all time lows for 5 years straight.

    What has happened to insurance rates in Florida?

    They haven’t gone down at all.  Yes, you can call me cynical all right.

    Sarasota Herald Tribune won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting for exposing this fraud.

    RMS, a multimillion-dollar company that helps insurers estimate hurricane losses and other risks, brought four hand-picked scientists together in a Bermuda hotel room.

    There, on a Saturday in October 2005, the company gathered the justification it needed to rewrite hurricane risk. Instead of using 120 years of history to calculate the average number of storms each year, RMS used the scientists’ work as the basis for a new crystal ball, a computer model that would estimate storms for the next five years.

    Florida insurers rely on dubious storm model

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101114/article/11141026

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Munich RE does not insure individuals. They insure insurance companies. Arguably the motivations to raise rates are the same, but the front line providers can always take their business elsewhere.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    There are sooooo many reinsurers out there…

  • BBD

    mt

    I’m not calling you a liar. I don’t think you are one. I think people are far too quick to attribute dishonest motivations to each other.

    Had many conversations with nullius, have you? The man is a serial, tactical misrepresenter. Stick around and you will soon see for yourself. My patience evaporated months ago. Read N’s #120 again, and see it as the delegitimisation set-up of Charney. Then note the careful distortion in what follows.

    False start, distorted argument, false conclusion.

    I call that lying.

  • BBD

    When contrarian delegitimisation arguments rest on a nitpick, it’s always important to check exactly what else was said. Here’s more from Ye Olde Charney Report:

    The only part of the ocean that has been included in the general circulation modeling of the CO2 effects is the mixed layer. The rationale for this simplification is that only the mixed layer needs to be modeled in order to deal with the annual cycle, while the heat capacity of the deeper ocean does not matter once thermal equilibrium has been reached.

    On time scales of decades, however, the coupling between the mixed layer and the upper thermocline must be considered. The connections between upper and lower ocean are generally presumed to have response times of the order of 1000 years, the essential coupling being local vertical diffusion and formation of bottom water at high latitudes. This ignores the mechanism of Ekman convergence of the surface mixed layers in the large subtropical gyres, which pumps water down into the upper thermocline over more than half the ocean surface area, a reservoir much larger than that of the mixed layer alone, The connections between the upper-thermocline reservoir and the deep ocean may indeed require very long time constants, but the carbon and heat budgeting on the decadal time scale must account properly for the potentially large reservoir directly beneath the mixed layer.

  • tlitb1

    @140: Tom Scharf October 15th, 2012 at 7:13 pm

    Well thanks for that article. As an answer to the question at top I think we have a winner?

    Today, two of the four scientists present that day no longer support the hurricane
    estimates they helped generate. Neither do two other scientists involved in later
    revisions. One says that monkeys could do as well.

    In the rush to deploy a new, higher number, they say, the industry skipped the rigors
    of scientific method. It ignored contradictory evidence and dissent, and created
    penalties for those who did not do likewise.

    I notice RPJ gets a mention in that article too. Seems the Pulitzer prize winner understood what he was saying ;)

  • tlitb1

    Also from that article @140: Tom Scharf

    RMS said the change that drove Florida property insurance bills to record highs was based on “scientific consensus.”

    I may be hasty here, but I don’t think one needs a peer reviewed study to see how public perceptions of science would go if that became a common stick to beat down public objection when subsequent facts turn out different.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #144,

    Yes. I would agree with that part. So?

  • BBD

    You are just bloody mind-boggling sometimes nullius. Your attempted misrepresentation of the supposed ‘faults’ in Charney is crap. Distorted, dishonestly self-serving crap which is directly contradicted by the quote provided above.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #148,

    In what way?

  • BBD

    You start with a nitpick over wording and were well on your way to inflating it to a dirigible-scale misdirection when mt put a stop to it.

    In the midst of inflating the misdirection blimp, you insinuated that Charney was an incompetent who made ‘estimates based on a incomplete understanding of the physics’, so that his ‘stuff’ got ‘the physics totally wrong’ and was ‘outside even mainstream climate science’. He was not a ‘Proper Scientist’. All this smearing is carried out in professionally compressed form at #120.

    Somewhere along the line, the *very notion* that the oceans can store large amounts of energy independent of the macro-circulatory phenomena (THC) got dismissed pushed out of the spotlight.

    The excerpt quoted above dispels the confusion you have introduced. It distinguishes clearly between the upper (mixed) layer and deep ocean. It explains that a very large energetic reservoir exists in the *intermediate* layer. It concludes by stating what I have been arguing all along:

    the carbon and heat budgeting on the decadal time scale must account properly for the potentially large reservoir directly beneath the mixed layer.

  • BBD

    OHC 0 – 700m and 0 – 2000m here.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    BBD, bloody-mindedness is not lying. Further, NiV may be responding to the part of the report that you quoted. Did you provide a URL for the report?

    http://www.atmos.ucla.edu/~brianpm/charneyreport.html

    Anyway, bloody-mindedness is endemic these days. 

    There is no doubt that there are a few bad actors. I am convinced that they have far more influence on the naysayers than on the scientific mainstream, but in order to make progress I don’t think the conversation can proceed on that assumption.

    There’s plenty of stubbornness to go around. I think there is something to be said in favor of leaving the anger and frustration at the door when engaging on neutral territory like this. I’m not saying the anger is not justified. But it is hard to distinguish between the perpetrators of this fiasco and its victims. It is worthwhile to keep an open mind as much as possible, not only about individuals, but even about the prospect that one’s own perspective is horribly wrong. That is the scientific way after all.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #150,

    Using the wrong model for the physics is more than a ‘nitpick over wording’. You’re the only one here being distracted by it. And mt agreed with me (close enough) about the physics, and the only problem he saw was that I was being ‘unreasonably eager to disbelieve’ climate scientists, especially ‘most notable’ ones. While I think we’ll have to agree to differ on the ad verecundiam stuff, I don’t have a problem with his science in this case. And anyway, the whole thing was, so far as I can tell, a grand distraction from the whole ’16 years’ thing on your part. As I’m sure you must know, the size of the oceanic heat sink has nothing to do with the past 16 years climate flatline. Ekman convergence has not suddenly started up during the past 16 years.

    Also, I haven’t said Charney was incompetent – I suggested he might have not been an oceanographer and perhaps working outside of his field – and I explained the physics and why what was written was not quite right. If he got the physics wrong, the other implications follow – I can’t stop that. That the oceans circulate and their thermal equilibrium is about balancing flow rates have been mainstream science for a long time. And I didn’t say he wasn’t a ‘Proper Scientist’, I said that your unhealthy deference for ‘Proper Scientists’ made you unable to accept that they could ever be wrong.

    And I think in most of my substantive comments I have acknowledged and discussed the ocean’s heat capacity over and above the mixed layer, as well as briefly mentioning heat storage in the deep oceans, (which you seemed to take great offence at). Its existence is not the issue here.

    So all in all, I think the problem here is that having quoted holy scripture to back your point, you’re annoyed that I dared to point out a physics error in it, somewhat deflating your quote’s impact, and you lost your temper over the blasphemy. You’ve misunderstood what I said, and what Charney said, and what the argument was about. You’ve tried to give the impression I was lying or distorting things, without being able to give any coherent explanation in what way. And you’ve added yet another example of bad-tempered, foul-mouthed rudeness, empty of content, to support our contention that the climate zealots have no argument. MT did pretty well to recover from that – and was both polite and provided some weighty content – but I know what impression people will take away and remember. So thanks for that. It’s been fun!

    But I do think it is a shame that not everyone can learn to disagree politely, or to hold civilised conversation with ideological opponents. I apologise to everyone else for all the noise my entertainment caused.

  • Barry Woods

    134#MTthe figure of 300k climate change deaths come from a sole report from the GHF. When Prof Richard Betts , Met Office, Head of Climate Impacts, and IPCC AR4 & AR5 lead author, advised Dr Katie Hayhoe that this figure was not based on rigorous science, Katie removed this from her climate change slides. If you are interested I will track down the document he cited to support this.

  • BBD

    I neither misunderstood you, nor Charney, nor you intent to undermine and misrepresent the report. You continue to inflate the nitpick into a blimp . You continue to insinuate that Charney is in error when as we can easily see from the quotes I provided this is not the case. You continue to *assert* that libertarian physics is correct and real physics is in error.

    In short, you continue to repeat misdirections as you have done throughout this exchange. A standard tactic of lawyers and politicians the world over.

    You have added another example of the way in which you subtly and persistently distort the facts and misdirect the discussion.

    And you are still whingeing about politeness, which is sick-making. Politeness is earned by and in good faith.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Politeness, as with everything else BBD discusses, is something about which he is woefully ignorant. Perhaps he can paste in a quote from some Emo Etiquette paper, peer-reviewed by French aristos and published in 1788. “When prevaricating about one’s opponent, one must observe the following protocols.” “The use of emoticons to camouflage hostility.” “The value of repetition in covering one’s lack of an argument.”

  • BBD

    Tom

    It’s time to revisit your # 83. You laughable hypocrite ;-)

    BBD, I’ve deciphered your initials: Bloody Big”¦

    What rhymes with cranker and twit? What rhymes with pool and scoring? What rhymes with boron and Cupid?

    What rhymes with flosser?

    I have more of your exquisitely turned compliments that we can look at together. Would you like to do that, Tom?

  • Marlowe Johnson

    BBD it’s no fun when the difficulty level is so low. you’d think that NiV and Fuller would at least try to be a little more artful in their sophistry.

    oh look a red squirrel….

  • Vinny Burgoo

    MT (#34): ‘Can climate change be contributing to that many deaths already via extra hunger and catastrophe? I think it’s a difficult question but it’s not obvious to me that it’s wrong or fake the way the DARA number is.’

    The disasters component of GHF’s estimate of climate change-related deaths was questionable. The much larger disease and malnutrition component was just daft. GHF simply doubled an estimate that the WHO had made about five years earlier. Why double it? GHF didn’t say.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’ve always said I don’t like to be rude unintentionally. And I am aware that in other cases lack of rudeness does not equal politeness. But I’m not trying to be polite with trolls. I intend to be rude and will continue to be at best dismissive with them.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Well, back to the substance, if NiV doesn’t disagree with me on substance and I don’t disagree with Charney, what exactly is the point of the conversation?The whole nature of so-called “climategate”, the whole nature of McKitrick, Liljegren, the whole gang, the whole nature of denying that there is overwhelming evidence of an urgent problem, is all based on nit-picking, on tempests in teapots. It’s not surprising to see NiV picking yet another nit here. And despite the counterproductive mannerisms, BBD is quite right in that regard.Nitpicking cannot be off limits, of course. Sometimes a failure to pick a nit leads to missing a serious problem. But it’s the job of the nitpicker to make the case. And when no case is made, it is the job of the defender to contest neither the nit nor the picker, but rather to contest the broad implications.The answer to this particular teapot tempest has to be that “equilibrate” would have been a more precise choice of words, that Charney obviously knew that he was using approximate words to describe equilibration, and so what of it? 

  • BBD

    I don’t mind you being rude Tom. It’s the hypocrisy that is emetic.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you have spread climate disinformation that has contributed to the present state of affairs. 

    You have tried to tie specific Xtreme Weather events to climate change without scientific backing. You have conducted vendettas against those who disagree with you merely because of their disagreement, no matter how much you try to paper it over with pseudo scientific claptrap. You have worked to preserve an aura of settled science that extends far beyond reality. And you cling to a fixed idea of sensitivity that is outmoded, does not account for the operation of the world’s carbon sinks and used this as both a flagpole and a lance. 

    That’s where we are. The purveyors of half the climate disinformation don’t even understand what they’re doing. On the other side, you can damn well bet that the Moranos and Moncktons are at least aware of what they’re saying. 

  • Marlowe Johnson

    Tom,

    i inadvertently read your post and am dumber for it. may god have mercy on your soul.

    oh and ‘pseudo scientific claptrap’ has been added to the list for 1.5 points.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    re #164, (Yum, barrelfish! Sometimes it’s too easy to resist.)

    I think by “vendettas” Tom Fuller means my refusal in a single instance to withdraw a single criticism of a single scientist who made an astonishingly elementary error. It becomes a vendetta because every time I post at this site Mr Fuller brings it up again. But that scientist was still revealingly wrong. I would just as soon let the matter drop, but Mr. Fuller keeps embarrassing that person by bringing the matter up again.

    I do agree that vendettas are tiresome.

    By “without scientific backing” in my discussion of extreme events Tom Fuller means I know not what.  I have tried to be especially nuanced and careful on this fraught subject. It is flatly incorrect to say that there is no evidence tying severe events to anthropogenic change, despite Pielke Jr.’s protestations. Beyond that, it depends on the class of the event and the specific nature of the claim. If I have erred in any particular instance I would appreciate chapter and verse so I can clarify.

    By “an aura of settled science that extends far beyond reality” Tom Fuller presumably means his infallible understanding of science is contradicted by his infallible understanding of what I say. I question both.

    “And you cling to a fixed idea of sensitivity that is outmoded, does not account for the operation of the world’s carbon sinks” is, sorry, flatly ignorant. Formally defined quantities retain their formal definition; when I talk about the usual meaning of S (sometimes called the Charney sensitivity) I try to make it clear how that quantity is defined and how it relates to the actual real world. I frequently do mention carbon cycle feedbacks, which on the whole make the picture worse (but not, in my opinion, as much worse as some “methane bomb” advocates say). But to include those in S somehow would be to unilaterally redefine an analytically useful quantity commonly in use in the field. (This is illustrative of the depth of understanding of the material that Fuller brings to bear in judging my efforts.)

    As for “The purveyors of half the climate disinformation don’t even understand what they’re doing”, we do seem to have a rather poignant point of agreement, don’t we?

  • BBD

    mt

    Sorry, either I’m going blind or what is now # 152 has only appeared fairly recently.

    BBD, bloody-mindedness is not lying. Further, NiV may be responding to the part of the report that you quoted. Did you provide a URL for the
    report?

    I did – twice – and to the correct pages of the html version no less (eg # 144) It’s a quality service this, I’ll have you know ;-)

    I lose my temper with nullius every six months or so. I’m sorry you happened to appear just when you did. Your point is taken, but nullius is a witting serial misrepresenter. He knows exactly what he is doing. Which is why he makes me so furious on occasion.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    BBD, understood.

    With a few possible exceptions like Morano and Horner, who seem like a pure unmitigated sociopaths to me, I have at least some doubt about almost everybody’s intentions, and am willing to concede the benefit of the doubt. Getting angry is entirely understandable, but posting angrily generally constitutes a victory for one’s opponent.

    There are even exceptions. I stand by my famous rant against Mosher, which I actually thought about at some length. I think it was worth the damage to my own reputation only because I think Mosher is smart enough to know better and hold some hope that he is decent enough to reconsider and recant his association with the vicious “climategate” farce. I suppose it would be awfully confusing for Tom Fuller if he did.

    But NiV isn’t really important enough to blow up at. It’s really quite amazing how many ways there are to think about a problem. The celebration of nitpicking in the naysayer culture is clearly a problem, but that doesn’t in itself make it dishonest. But you are more of a regular hereabouts than I am (thanks in some measure to our vendetta-abhorring friend) so you may be right. Even so, fury is generally best squelched. It should be deployed tactically and rarely.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you are at the point where Michael Douglas was in the film Falling Down, right before he realizes he’s the bad guy.

    I do not refer to a single instance of your slimy political hit job against Judith Curry. I include also your similar attacks against Roger Pielke Sr. and Jr., Lucia Liljegren, Steve McIntyre, Steven Mosher and myself. You use the same sleazy tactics against each. You attack their character and competence without doing any investigation, while in fact refusing to read evidence to the contrary when it is offered to you.

    The vendetta was yours. You slimed each of the individuals I named because it suited your political ends, writing countless posts attacking them (and myself), pretending it was based on science but instead based on their (and my) disagreement with you on the key issue in climate change–sensitivity. You continue your baseless attacks today. The others named have chosen to move on. I have not. I will continue to confront your dishonest crap, here and elsewhere, and not just about Curry. Above you show yourself guilty of the very actions you accuse McIntyre of. You defame a good man and make yourself look silly.

    It is flatly incorrect to say there is evidence tying severe events to anthropogenic climate change. Read the IPCC. They contradict you.

    I don’t claim to infallibly understand you. I doubt if even you understand yourself. Although not a scientist, I understand that science progresses in fits and starts and sometimes takes three steps forward and two steps back. I basically think you are responsible for the current ‘two steps back’ part of this.

    Although not a scientist, I can confidently say that you do not understand the operation and interaction of the major carbon sinks on this planet, primarily because their operation and interaction are not understood by anyone. Although I can get Stockholm on the line if you think you’ve solved it.

    You are a conscious impediment to progress in this debate. You behave abominably and use sanctimony to defend yourself. You adopt a preacher’s robes in defending what you think is science, but is instead a political program.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Oh. Sorry, then. I’ll shut up and let Tom Fuller do the explaining.

    Or maybe somebody else can do better. (Go to minute 14 to skip all the introductory stuff.)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    More Malthus. You just don’t learn. Is it phosphorus or potassium this time?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, I am telling you in all seriousness that bald-faced lies about the current condition of the planet undermine the attempts of serious and well-meaning people to prepare to deal with real problems that are coming down the road.

    To borrow a quote, you ‘are a force for evil.’

  • Marlowe Johnson

    ok if y’all aren’t drunk after reading this thread (in particular #168) then you’re clearly cheating and hereby disqualified from further events.

    @mt

    as is occasionally the case, i think that your mild-mannered temperament sometimes leads you astray. I don’t begrudge you for it, but i would suggest that when others react with fury its because they are reacting — not calculating. I hate calculated bullshit in all its myriad forms (i.e. the topic of this post).  i especially hate it when it’s combined with pearl clutching from the likes of the Roger the Shrubber or one of the knights of Ni.

    civility has its place (even on the internets). but it shouldn’t be elevated as a virtue at the expense of honest indignation. i await willard’s admonishment, but there it is.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    That’s as rich as BBD talking about politeness. It’s like a priest talking about sex.

  • Tom Scharf

    Tobis,

    Thanks for answering an honest (but sarcastic) question with an honest answer, by the way.  The 100m climate deaths from DARA made me laugh out loud when I read it.  One has to really wonder what’s in the minds of those who think this type of propaganda is going to work out for them in a positive way in the long run.  

    As far as the “so called climategate” comment goes, my comment would be that if this was so insignificant, why are you still talking about it?  It’s 3 years later now.  You are not the sole judge and jury on tempests and teapots here.   

    Speaking only for myself, I can attest to my own personal investigation into the statistics of the hockey stick and hide the decline as what originally spurred my interest in this area.  I read through CA’s detailed analysis on this before I knew McIntyre had become such a pariah to the “real scientists”.   I also looked at RC’s defense on this.  It’s my opinion that most neutral observers with math skills are going to come down on McIntyre’s side here.  

    In the end, it’s not really a big deal, an academic dispute.  What struck me as somewhat bizarre though was the extreme defensive reaction to McIntyre, and the unwillingness to acknowledge bad math.  Then I read a bunch more of those e-mails…and well I don’t trust climate science very much at this point.  

    But data speaks for itself.  So if climate science can show compelling data, I’m willing to listen.  However I will not take their word for it on interpretations of what the data means.  They have some trust building to do before I’m willing to do that.

    We will see if AR5 tells us it is “worse than we thought” after 16 year plateau of temps and no sign of acceleration in sea levels.  I’m also paying close attention to how the summary to policymakers lines up to what the peer reviewed science actually states.  Case in point will be extreme weather attribution.  Will they even acknowledge the woeful performance of climate models?

  • Tom C

    There are some concepts that scientists have a hard time understanding but engineers understand very well.  One of these is the idea of equilibrium.  Nothing in the ocean ever equilibrates.

  • BBD

    What has that got to do with the relentless increase in OHC <i>at least</i> down to 2000m? 

    The problem from a planetary perspective is *disequilibrium*. Energy accumulation within the climate system (mainly the ocean). This is caused by an increased fraction of GHGs in the atmosphere.

    Or if you prefer, it is a consequence of well-understood radiative physics that has been predicted for over a century.

  • BBD

    That’s as rich as BBD talking about politeness.

    From now on, each demonstration of hypocrisy by Tom will generate a quote we can all enjoy together. I have a large store.

    Now, as Tom’s many fans will know, he suffers terribly from butt-hurt. When I mentioned this to him on one occasion – purely out of sympathy, you understand – this was his response.

    BBD has fallen in love with two words and a hyphen. They symbolize his intellectual approach to scientific issues.

    Beware the butt-hurt.

    Does this indicate any predilections on your part that you feel you need to share with us, BBD? Your initials can form suggestive combinations ““ which may explain your desire for the anonymity which prevents you from being taken seriously”¦

    Pure class, eh folks?

  • Nullius in Verba

    #175,

    Perhaps, but sometimes it gets close enough for all practical purposes.

    #176,

    It’s one of those quirky little annoyances when people mislabel a graph “Global Ocean Heat Content” and then show the axis going negative. What’s “negative heat”? We can work out what they probably mean, but it’s sloppy. I recently saw another graph of “total Antarctic ice mass” that went negative. The very concept boggles the mind.

    The graph you show doesn’t demonstrate that warming occurs “at least down to 2000m”. The gap between the two lines indicates the warming in the layer 700-2000 m, and this does appear to have increased, but it doesn’t say where in the 700-2000 m interval the heat has gone. It might, for example, all be in the range 700-1300 m, and deeper layers unchanged. I’m not saying it is, mind, but your graph doesn’t show otherwise.

    It’s presumably worth noting, given the steric rise in sea level, that ocean heat content has probably been rising since around 1870. Your bold attribution of causation is most brave.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    “One of these is the idea of equilibrium.  Nothing in the ocean ever equilibrates.”Not exactly, but it is a useful concept anyway.We’ve had about 7000 years of relatively stable climate; accordingly the temperature structure, at least of the surface and troposphere, clearly has equilibrated in some sense. It seems likely that the upper ocean has done so as well. Whether the entire ocean has equilibrated is a good question, but the time scale believed to be on the order of 2000 years, so given that we’ve had steady forcing and steady response, an equilibrated structure is quite reasonable. (Formally, that would mean that the Eulerian time derivatives of long term average quantities referenced to space can be treated as zero. This does not apply to the mass-following balances, (Lagrangian derivatives) which may be what yo9u are thinking.We covered none of this in engineering fluid dynamics or engineering thermodynamics in my engineering education, (B Sc EE, Tech Institute, Northwestern) by the way. It is my experience that there is a wall of mutual incomprehension between scientists and engineers almost as high as that between Republicans and Democrats.)Now we are injecting a nontrivial imbalance, so the time constant of equilibration is extremely important to a qualitative understanding of how the earth is responding to the new forcing.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    With regard to the stability of climate over recent millenia, while I’m sure that Dr. Tobis will dismiss this because of provenance and the identity of the authors will give BBD another opportunity to allude joyfully to anal rape, I will call your attention to news of a paper as noted by everybody’s favorite website WUWT:

    “The reconstruction of past climate has improved significantly in the past few years due to the availability of more proxies and better statistical analysis.

    The authors acknowledge this and point out the differences that are emerging from the reconstructions conducted about a decade ago. They mention two such reconstructions performed by Michael Mann that they say, perhaps typically for the period, show little variability. They add they display, “little evidence for previous temperature anomalies comparable to those of the 20th century.”

    The authors conclude that previous climate reconstructions “seriously underestimate” variability and trends in the climate record of the past two millennia.

    This new analysis shows that the warming we have seen in the late-20th century is not unprecedented, as can be seen in figure 5 (from the paper). Seen in the reconstruction is a well-defined peak of temperature between 950″“1050 AD. They also find that the first millennium is warmer than the second.”

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/10/17/new-paper-confirms-the-climate-was-warmer-1000-years-ago/#more-72515

  • BBD

    nullius

    It’s one of those quirky little annoyances when people mislabel a graph “Global Ocean Heat Content” and then show the axis going negative. What’s “negative heat”? We can work out what they probably mean, but it’s sloppy.

    More nit-picking. This is, of course, an anomaly graph. IIRC, the baseline is 1955 – 2006. MT will know and correct me if I am mistaken. Here is the reference page itself.

    From Levitus et al. (2012):

    [3] We use the term “ocean heat content” as opposed to “ocean heat content anomaly” used by some authors because “ocean heat content” is an anomaly by definition. OHC is always computed with a reference mean subtracted out from each temperature observation. Otherwise the OHC computation depends on the temperature scale used.

    Next, you say:

    The graph you show doesn’t demonstrate that warming occurs “at least down to 2000m”. The gap between the two lines indicates the warming in the layer 700-2000 m, and this does appear to have increased, but it doesn’t say where in the 700-2000 m interval the heat has gone. It might, for example, all be in the range 700-1300 m, and deeper layers unchanged. I’m not saying it is, mind, but your graph doesn’t show otherwise.

    First, the graph shows OHC increase 0-700m vs OHC 0-2000m. As usual, you are trying to confuse the issue. But rather than descant on this, I will simply point to Levitus et al. (2012) (link available from NOAA OHC page) which states that:

    [...] the 700″“2000 m layer is responsible for approximately one third of the total warmingof the 0″“2000 m layer.

    The fantastically tiresome link limit here at CaS must be respected. Please next response for stand-alone 0-700m OHC *increase*. Just so we are clear that OHC 0-700m is *increasing*.

  • BBD

    OHC increase 0-700m.

  • BBD

    High time you were banned Tom…

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Start your own blog and ban me, then. Funny how the reaction of the Klimate Krazies is always to limit speech… Complaints to the blog author, censoring their own modest efforts… Manic campaigns over mythical false balance in journalism. 

    It’s all about not letting the other side speak. And that’s all you’ve got at the end of the day, BBD. Insults, repeated pasting of old links and calls for censorship.
     

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom Fuller, thanks for the interesting link, even though it comes via Watts.

    It’s only one study, but it seems at first glance a sufficiently legitimate one to add to the spaghetti diagram.

    The narrowing of the MWP from its previous estimates is interesting and is its emergence from the background noise is striking. It seems a very clear signal in the analysis and not something to dismiss out of hand.

    Also, one notes that the straight shaft of the post-MWP hockey stick is rather closer to MBH 98 than to some of the more variable later studies. So the straightness of the shaft remains an open question. Since this is the issue on which the various attacks on MBH 98 were based, and since the new data are very smooth in the period covered by MBH 98, it is interesting that Watts does not mention this evidence as supportive of that original work.

    If real, this new version of the MWP is so substantially above background variability that it demands some phenomenological explanation. Is it forced (presumably solar) or free (ice or deep ocean) variation? And either way, exactly what happened? If the results hold water, these are questions that will presumably occupy the attentions of serious scientists for a while.

    But regarding the warm pulse itself, is only a temperate northern hemisphere signal, not a global signal, so its comparability to the current warming is not established, the remaining 3/4 of the globe not being involved. Naysayers are always confusing global, regional and local signals to suit their present argument without any concern for the overall coherence of their position. This is a case in point.

    Even disregarding that important caveat, to suggest that (again if it turns out to be real) it amounts to a precedent for the present situation is wishful thinking, which in turn is based on a weak understanding of the underlying physics.

    The present forcing is abrupt and enormous compared to other Holocene events. We are just seeing the beginnings of the response. Comparing it to a pulse which apparently settled out quickly is not valid. We know what is causing the present pulse, and we know that the response is only just beginning. We’re just on the upslope of the perturbation. Call em when it swings down again. Until then, there’s many reasons to expect that this will look more like the PETM than like the MWP, i.e., a 50 million year event, not a 1000 year event.

    In short, hang on to your hats, because you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. We can say that with some confidence.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, I hypothesized 18 months ago that the MWP was in fact a rolling regional event with start and stop dates that varied, something I later discovered was prefigured in the literature and had been for decades. There is clear evidence that something similar to the MWP occurred in several regions of the southern hemisphere.

    At the time I wrote that this seemed an intuitive way of looking at things–that although we refer to global temperature and cetera, what we are dealing with is regional phenomena that have knock-on effects with neighboring regions. At the time, of course, I was told I didn’t understand science, was pulling shit out of my (butt-hurt) ass, and had a black hat as tall as Washington lobbyists.

    Your problem is that you assert that we haven’t seen anything yet, when from the data available it would be just as easy (and just as vacuous, of course) to assert the contrary–that we have seen the bulk of the planet’s reaction to the changes to which we have subjected it.

    I think it is becoming a testable hypothesis that sensitivity is not accurately captured by one figure and that sensitivity in Region A may not only be different from Region B but may be a cause of changes to sensitivity in Region B. And I would suspect that this will introduce another line of argument–that high sensitivity in Region A will serve to lower sensitivity in Region B.

    This will satisfy some skeptics who will say the global average is X, far lower than the Y put forward by alarmists. This will enrage alarmists, because it will undercut their political position.

    But it will be correctly perceived as holding the potential for tragedy by scientists, who will understand that the very modest benefits accrued to Region B by lower sensitivity are far outweighed by the damage suffered by Region A.

    None of the above is original and in many circles it is nothing more than stating the obvious. However, I have not seen it argued effectively in public communications. The reason being that those equipped to make the argument are too busy telling us the sky is falling.

  • Sashka

    @ NiV (114, 153)

    I have to side with Tobis in that Charney clearly did mean equilibrium.

    Though he was a genius, Charney wasn’t an oceanographer and also crucial advances have not been made at the time of the writing. Tobis (I understand an oceanographer by training) though not a genius doesn’t have the excuse.

    You can catch up with the modern theory of thermocline by reading Xin Huang’s lecture and the original LPS paper on ventilated thermocline that he discusses.

    What happens at the poles is actually the opposite of you seem to suggest. At poles the heat doesn’t enter the deep ocean, it escapes it in the process of deep convection. That’s because at the time of convective overturning the surface water is near freezing point – colder than the deep water. The vertical gradient is even stronger in the South where surface water is much less saline.

    The important part of all this, however, is that Charney was quite right in that the thermocline has a very large heat capacity and is quite capable of deferring the atmospheric warming by many decades. Of course you’re quite right in that last 16 years are no different from the previous 20. None of the alarmists have any idea why the temps suddenly flattened out, all huffing and puffing notwithstanding. Nor any of us, to be fair.

  • Sashka

    In
    @ 161, Tobis

    There is no evidence that there is an urgent problem. Not overwhelming nor otherwise.put your comments here…

  • BBD

    It’s the sick stuff that I would like to see removed Tom. I refer you – and anyone else concerned about your first paragraph at # 180 – to the Urban Dictionary.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    BBD, if you want to remove sick stuff from this website, leave.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #189, thanks for your fairness to Charney, and your link to the excellent Huang lecture. Is there a link to the whole course?

    The hiatus in global mean surface temperature is not as mysterious as it is being made out by the agnotologists, who love to reduce everything to a scalar. The climate continues to warm apace, even if the surface does so only modestly. And we need not appeal to subtle dynamics to get a first order understanding of it.

    The global mean surface temperature flattening is clearly attributable to a transition to a regime where cool-phase El Nino dominates. See Tamino’s excellent analysis here

    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/the-real-global-warming-signal/

    One of two things will happen: either El Nino will return to normal, or the ENSO cool-phase is dominant in warming climates.

    There is paleo evidence to support the latter, and it seems dynamically sensible to me in a back-of-the-envelope sense- the cool ENSO phase makes the ocean more able to participate in the warming so is arguably the higher entropy configuration. Neither of these is proof, but it is consistent with the recent record.

    If it’s false, i.e. if there is no trend in ENSO climatology, then what we will probably see is a return to the baseline trend. If it’s true, we will see a return to the baseline slope, but with an offset equal to some large fraction of the ENSO amplitude in the global mean temperature.There is no sign of a decline in the rate of heating of the ocean column (as opposed to surface warming).

    http://www.skepticalscience.com/news.php?n=1659These are complex arguments for a newspaper, but it isn’t fair to say that there is no understanding. Heat continues to accumulate in the climate system. If there is a near-hiatus in the increase of global mean surface temperature, it is basically attributable to a lack of strong ENSO events since 1998. There is a limit to the intensity of La Nina events, so they cannot keep the trend down for much longer.

    In short, the system is finding ways to channel some of the heat from the surface. That is what disequilibration looks like. But this mechanism is nearly tapped out and there don’t seem to be any obvious comparable mechanisms available on comparable time scales. (Last year was indeed the warmest La Nina year on record. So even if we are wedged in the La Nina state for good, the La Nina configurations themselves are warming rapidly at the surface.)

    In summary, the heat imbalance persists as robustly as ever, and barring some large climate shift of some unanticipated sort it is clear that the surface will resume its background warming rate. Further, if indeed speculation that we are stuck in or near the La Nina phase is wrong so that more large El Ninos are in our near future, then the present slowdown is just noise superimposed on an unaltered trend.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #181,

    You know, sometimes, you write something to get yourself out of a hole and only end up getting yourself deeper in?

    “We use the term “ocean heat content” as opposed to “ocean heat content anomaly” used by some authors because “ocean heat content” is an anomaly by definition.”

    Huh?!

    I even considered the possibility they were using the strict thermodynamic definition of ‘heat’, rather than its casual use as ‘internal energy’, but that doesn’t work either. What do you think this means?

    “OHC is always computed with a reference mean subtracted out from each temperature observation. Otherwise the OHC computation depends on the temperature scale used.”

    First, there’s only one temperature scale in use in thermodynamics, and second, and change in temperature scale would surely result in a counter-change in specific heat capacity that would cancel it out. This is very odd.

    “First, the graph shows OHC increase 0-700m vs OHC 0-2000m.”

    No, it’s not showing OHC increase, either. A negative OHC increase would be an OHC decrease. And I think the horizonal axis is time, (if that isn’t mislabelled too).

    “the 700″“2000 m layer is responsible for approximately one third of the total warmingof the 0″“2000 m layer.”

    I think you perhaps misunderstand the nature of the problem. The heat content in the 700-2000 m layer is the sum of the heat content in the layers from 700 m to 2000 m, so knowing the total for 700 to 2000 doesn’t tell you how it’s distributed across those layers. It could all be in the first 100 m or the last 100 m and the total would be the same. You could even get heat loss in some layers balanced by bigger gains elsewhere, and the total be the same. Knowing just the total does not tell you warming occurs “at least down to 2000m”.

    The Levitus stuff is a bit of a mystery, but this part is easy enough.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #187,

    I’m sure he meant equilibrium. But he appeared to mean an equilibrium brought about by the lower layers warming until they could absorb no more, rather than an equilibrium brought about by balancing rates of flow.

    And no disrespect to Charney is intended, but I’m not convinced calculations of timescales based on an incorrect assumption, however justified by the information available, can be relied upon.

    But it’s been an interesting diversion.

  • BBD

    Tell you what Nullius, you take your muddle to Levitus – or mt, or anyone you like. I’ve explained *politely* and I think you are twisting my tail.

    The graph is labelled: Comparison of Global Heat Content 0-700 meters layer vs. 0-2000 meters layer.

    Please take this up with NOAA. I have explained *politely* and I think you are twisting my tail.

    I think you perhaps misunderstand the nature of the problem

    I don’t think there is a problem. Measurements down to 2000m indicate that OHC in the global ocean is increasing. Nit-picking, introducing hypothetical depths at which OHC is higher than at others in order to make a non-point…Yet again, you are twisting my tail.

    Thanks for helping mt understand what you are actually all about.

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

    “Your problem is that you assert that we haven’t seen anything yet, when from the data available it would be just as easy (and just as vacuous, of course) to assert the contrary”“that we have seen the bulk of the planet’s reaction to the changes to which we have subjected it.”

    Well, yes. If by “data” you mean observational data uninformed by scientific understanding, you would of course be correct. However, you may wish to consider this in the light of 1) the common observation that science is tested by its ability to make predictions and 2) the fact that arguing directly from observations uninformed by science makes all predictions vacuous. In short, your conclusion is equivalent to a wholesale rejection of science, and thus takes climate agnotology somewhat further than it usually goes. Perhaps you would like to qualify it so that your rejection of science is more specific to climate. 

    As it stands, you have expressed essentially the same position as this guy. Except that I think he isn’t serious.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Are you talking to yourself in the mirror, Dr. Tobis? Do you not see that I took the obverse tack to show you where your logic leads?

  • Sashka

    Speaking of the love to scalars, I have to mention the fatal attraction of our resident idiot to climate sensitivity. I don’t recall you standing up in defense of complexity in those cases. NiV usually does that despite he has no chance to be heard.

    Not sure I understood your point about ENSO. Even if ENSO switched into another mode (even permanently) it’s a one time event. One way or another the warming should continue, perhaps at a slightly different rate.

    I don’t believe in any of the OHC-based calculations. As an oceanographer you should know that there’s not nearly enough data for that.

    There’s a lovely comment by the moderator on the sceptical science site: Glenn shows in this post that the amount added from 1961-2011 (133 Terawatts) is equivalent to 2 Hiroshima bombs a second. Continually since 1961.. I’ll just let it hang on it’s own merits.

    Perhaps the system is finding ways to channel excess heat from the surface downward. (Assuming there is indeed excess heat.) Your statement that “this mechanism is nearly tapped out” is based on nothing. On the opposite, pumping the heat down the thermocline can continue practically ad infinum. Moreover there is an extremely efficient mechanism for the ocean to return some or all of the excess heat back: through the newly ice-free Arctic (and Southern as well if the warming ever gets there) Ocean. The winter heat fluxes through open water can easily reached hundreds of W/m^2, two orders up from normal.

    Since the future is so clear to you, it will be nice to hear some sort of a verifiable prediction. It will soon be 10 years since you guys keep talking about inevitable that stubbornly doesn’t happen. I wonder what it takes for real scientists to admit being wrong?

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

    BBD, Nullius’s nitpick never held any credibility with me.

    I have been playing this game for 20 years now and it’s hard to surprise me. My point to you is to remember that we are not engaged in real discourse at all. It is pretend discourse that actually polemics. Getting angry is normal, but expressing anger is usually tantamount to losing polemically. 

    It’s really shocking to real scientists and rational people when first exposed to it. But you ought to know better. The best revenge is to find the core stupidity of the argument and expose it as calmly as circumstances allow.

    Obama did a good job of exactly this at the second debate. At the first one, of course, he just rolled over and played dead (like “normal” science). At the second, he attacked the core fallacies (“postnormal” science). 

    But he never really expressed the totality of his anger and contempt. The moment he did express anger was justified. “Hey, this guy was my ambassador and my friend and part of my team. How dare you suggest I didn’t care?” But it was also carefully subdued and carefully chosen. Getting peeved by some random fellow reading too much into a word choice doesn’t rise to the threshhold of polemical anger, even if it deserves actual anger.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Obama won the second debate because he could calmly cite facts supporting his position and facts that contradicted his opponents.

    He didn’t predict the end of the world if his bid for reelection failed. He didn’t whine and moan about the state of the world when he took office. He didn’t do any of the things that characterizes the behavior of people like Dr. Tobis.

    The facts on the ground at this moment in time do not support the things you say, Dr. Tobis. They do not contradict the theory of anthropogenic contributions to global warming at all. But they undermine the whole ‘sky is falling’ schtick.

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

    Sashka, there is a maximum La Nina amplitude. So that means that the contribution to the surface balance of the possibly shifted ENSO signal saturates.

    In other words as you say “Even if ENSO switched into another mode (even permanently) it’s a one time event. One way or another the warming should continue, perhaps at a slightly different rate.” Agreed. But it would appear to slow during the onset of that change.

    I am happy to repeat the calculation in Hiroshima bombs per unit time, though those are hardly intuitively useful and clearly meant to have an emotional rather than a rational impact. I rather prefer Fuller’s suggestion of toasters instead as they draw on the order of a nice neat kilowatt and are easy to imagine. A watt per square meter is a toaster per 32 meter square, toasting all day every day. We are up to about two of those by now.

    As for predictions, I predict that once volcanic activity and ENSO are accounted for, the ongoing warming can be extrapolated for several decades. That is, I assert that the smoothness of Tamino’s graph is not coincidental, and consequently predict that it will continue.

  • Sashka

    @ 193

    Assuming that the ocean heats up uniformly in horisontal directions then there will be no appreciable change in pressure gradients and therefore no feedback on the flow rates. There may be no balancig flows at all.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    The warming will in all probability continue, although it will in all probability maintain its current sawtooth shape. But it will probably continue at about half the rate predicted by model ensembles for the next thirty years.

    Because of overhype about current weather, climate, sea level rise, glacial ice decline, etc., the next thirty years will produce paralysis in addressing the real issues. 

    And because of ‘forces of evil’ like Dr. Tobis (thank you for the phrase), when we get slammed with the natural effects of a doubling of energy consumption, mostly coal, we will have to scramble to compensate for the current and near term future of inactivity.

    Dr. Tobis, you want to blame your opponents for what is happening. I submit the fault is yours–and those in your camp. 

  • Sashka

    @ 200 is not a verifiable prediction.

  • BBD

    You’re right of course Michael. I ought to know better. I *do* know better. Most of the time… Sometimes though, one encounters combinations of personality and ideology that make me forget myself.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #194,

    “Measurements down to 2000m indicate that OHC in the global ocean is increasing.”

    Yes, that statement could be deduced from your graph. But it wasn’t what you said.

    #198,

    “The best revenge is to find the core stupidity of the argument and expose it as calmly as circumstances allow.”

    Yep. :-)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #201,

    I meant vertical heat flow, as explained in #114 and #137.

    The effect is to increase downward heat flow via mixing, by increasing the temperature of the water being pushed down. The effect is non-linear, since warmer surface waters would result in stronger stratification through buoyancy – but there are mechanical effects (like Charney’s Ekman convergences) that mix the waters despite their density. Warmer water would increase net downward flow, and the balance with upward flow (at equilibrium) would occur at a greater depth.

    It’s still simplified, of course.

  • BBD

    @ 205

    Nit-picking. But to be fair to you, OHC increases in all basins down to ~1500m. The detail is in Levitus (2012):

    [10] Figure 2 shows the linear trend and total increase of heat content for 1955″“2010 of global and basin heat content as a function of depth (0″“2000 m) for 100 m layers. We computed basin time series of OHC for 100 m-thick layers from 0 to 1500 m and 250 m-thick layers between 1500 m and 2000 m. Then the linear trends for each time series were computed. For the deepest two layers (1500″“1750 m and 1750″“2000 m) we added the linear trends of 1500″“1750 m and 1750″“2000 m layers to get the total change of the 1500″“2000 m layer and divided that total change by five (the number of 100 m-thick layers between 1500 m and 2000 m) to plot in Figure 2. Warming is surface intensified in all basins. In the 0″“100 m layer the Pacific exhibits the largest total increase. Below the 100 m layer the Atlantic exhibits the largest increase of all ocean basins at all layers down to 2000 m depth. Figure S3 shows the percent variance accounted for by the linear trend in each layer of the basins in Figure 2. In the Atlantic Ocean the linear trend has accounted for at least 60% of the variance at all layers to depths just exceeding 1500 m. The Pacific shows percent variance contributions near or exceeding 60% in the 0″“100 m layer and between 500 and 1100 m depth. The Indian Ocean differs considerably and shows the greatest percent variance contributed by the linear trend in the 0″“100 m, 200″“500 m, and 1100″“1500 m layers.

    See L12 section 6 for more on warming below 2000m.

    There is no core stupidity in my arguments. Nor do I indulge in tactical misdirection through nit-picking.

  • BBD

    I’ve remembered the last time you failed to understand an anomaly graph btw – we were discussing the Dai review study of projected drought. You started going on about ‘negative rainfall’. Odd blind spot you have there.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #207,

    Very good! That’s much better.

    #208,

    Yes, it’s a quirky annoyance of mine. I seem to recollect you exhibited a chart labelled “rainfall” that went negative. It turned out to be some sort of drought severity index anomaly, or something. Given the subtleties that can be hidden by some of these complex definitions and calculated quantities, labelling them as something straightforward-sounding they’re not is not something I apologise for complaining about.

  • Tom Scharf

    Tobis, what is your predicted rate of warming, and over what time period do you claim it can be falsified?

  • BBD

    @ 209 No admission of nit-picking misdirection? No acknowledgement that you were wrong?

    No acknowledgement that you seem incapable of recognising an anomaly graph by the tell-tale negative values frequently included?

    Just the usual, inappropriate, billowing condescension…You surprise me.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #211,

    It wasn’t nit-picking misdirection because it was more than a nit and there was no direction to your random and irrelevant quote to misdirect from. And I was right about the physics.

    And I did, in this case, recognise it as an anomaly graph, although your previous “rainfall” example shows that such a deduction isn’t generally safe. Not all anomaly graphs include negative numbers, and certainly not all graphs with negative numbers in them are anomalies! It’s just a matter of experience with the sort of errors climate scientists commonly make.

    But if you get things right, I do like to tell you sometimes. Positive feedback is important.

  • BBD

    Let’s strip out the self-serving rhetoric and set the record straight.

    It wasn’t nit-picking misdirection because it was more than a nit and there was no direction to your random and irrelevant quote to misdirect
    from. And I was right about the physics.

    You have demonstrated no errors in Charney despite being asked by mt as well as me to clarify. Yet you have repeated this canard constantly since introducing it via a nit-pick. That’s what you do to make fake points. Second, my original quote was neither random nor irrelevant. See Trenberth et al. (2011). The problem here is two-fold: you are a denier, not a sceptic, and you don’t know as much as you think you do.

    And I did, in this case, recognise it as an anomaly graph, although your previous “rainfall” example shows that such a deduction isn’t generally safe. Not all anomaly graphs include negative numbers, and certainly not all graphs with negative numbers in them are anomalies! It’s just a matter of experience with the sort of errors climate scientists commonly make.

    First, either you were deliberately nit-picking to misdirect or you didn’t recognise an anomaly graph when you saw one – on two separate occasions. Which is it? Second, a further misdirection – what I actually wrote at # 211 and you *misrepresent* here was this:

    No acknowledgement that you seem incapable of recognising an anomaly graph by the tell-tale negative values frequently included?

    Spot the difference?

    And finally, as ever, you slip a spoonful of dog filth into the soup:

    It’s just a matter of experience with the sort of errors climate scientists commonly make.

    That is a completely unjustified and unacceptable smear. You have zero right to complain about the kind of pushback you get from me. You work hard for it nullius, you earn it, so you get to own it. As is only right, fair and proper. A good free market ideologue like you must surely recognise the truth in that.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #213,

    “You have demonstrated no errors in Charney despite being asked by mt as well as me to clarify.”

    The statement we’re discussing is: “If this is so, warming will proceed at a slower rate until these intermediate waters are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat”. I am saying that the intermediate waters will never be brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat because there is a constant supply of fresh cold water. Equilibrium occurs by a different mechanism. There is always plenty of capacity left to absorb heat, but it doesn’t get used because of the limited rate of mixing.

    Tobis displays the usual “the errors don’t matter” attitude to climate science, saying things like: “in those days a leading scientist did not have to choose his words so carefully” and “It’s possible that this was edited out in pursuit of more understandability” and “Charney had little data to base his understanding of the ocean upon, far less than we do.” But he also says: “Your description of the ocean circulation is almost correct” and notes further complications and mysteries.

    I don’t mind him excusing Charney – it’s nothing personal on my part – and I don’t expect any agreement nowadays on the “the errors don’t matter” and the “ad verecundiam” stuff, so I’m not disappointed by its lack. Under the circumstances, it was a good and constructive comment, and I’m happy to say so.

    “Second, my original quote was neither random nor irrelevant. See Trenberth et al. (2011).”

    Ah! A hidden argument! That I was supposed to obviously deduce by my mind-reading skills! That wasn’t what you wrote or quoted from, though, was it? Nor is it given in Charney.

    “either you were deliberately nit-picking to misdirect or you didn’t recognise an anomaly graph when you saw one”

    Obviously I recognised an anomaly graph. I said it was mislabelled, that the error was obvious from the impossible negative values, and while we could work out what it meant it was annoyingly sloppy.

    And again, we see the climate science “the errors don’t matter” attitude in your assumption that it is our job to figure it out and correct it. Carelessly glossing over minor errors becomes a habit, one that eventually leads you in to trouble when you start to miss/dismiss bigger gaps. Science is about precision.

    “You have zero right to complain about the kind of pushback you get from me. You work hard for it nullius, you earn it, so you get to own it.”

    And please don’t think I’m not grateful! Your example helps the cause of scepticism considerably. The picture presented is one of calm reason versus a torrent of abuse. It’s always better than I could have reasonably hoped for. My sincere thanks for the entertainment.

  • BBD

    And off we go again:

    The statement we’re discussing is:

    No, nullius, enough. Stop.

    The problem here right from the outset is that *you* are fixating on an irrelevance. You are attempting, by dogged misdirection, to prevent the discussion from focussing on what is relevant. And Charney is relevant to the warming hiatus, which is why I brought it up in the first place.

    Levitus 12 tells us that the global OHC is increasing. It shows that over time, the increase is occurring at ever-greater depth. This fits with what is proposed in Charney (see quote at # 144). Decadal variability in the depth of ocean heat uptake might indeed be wholly or partially responsible for a surface warming hiatus, as proposed in Trenberth 11. You don’t know and you cannot rule this possibility out. Nobody can, including Hansen, who argues that increased negative forcing from tropospheric sulphate aerosols is the main factor responsible for the recent flattening of the warming trend.

    Then we come to your increasingly comical inability to admit error:

    I said it was mislabelled, that the error was obvious from the impossible negative values, and while we could work out what it meant it was annoyingly sloppy.

    But the graph *wasn’t* ‘mislabelled’. It is an anomaly graph. The problem is that you didn’t recognise this fact. You made a mistake – and not for the first time either. But, astonishingly, you are still claiming the graph was ‘mislabelled’.

    Keep it up if you like nullius, but I advise against it as you are losing ground rapidly now and I will spend as long on this as necessary.

  • Tom C

    “Levitus 12 tells us…”  Sounds like a Bible verse.

  • BBD

    It does, doesn’t it. Okay, how about ‘Sidney says…’  ;-)

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I just finished reading Nate Silver’s new book. Interesting section on climate change. It’s a good book, and not just because that section could have been written by Lucia Liljegren (well, Lucia with a good spell-checker).

    I can see why the Klimate Konsensists had to issue a preventive strike saying ‘he got some things wrong’ but couldn’t do a full bore BBD ‘you disagree so you’re a denier and a liar and your pants are on fire’.

    Bonus in the book–as clear a plain language explanation of Bayes vs. frequentism as you’re likely to find anywhere.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    “It’s just a matter of experience with the sort of errors climate scientists commonly make.”Now them is fightin’ words, son. Let’s have a list of those, and some evidence. 

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    As near as I can tell NiV suggests that “can no longer absorb heat” is an error because it has nothing to do with equilibration, and then proposes that a LAYER can absorb heat because there is mass flux THROUGH that layer. 

    This woefully confuses the Langrangian and Eulerian points of view. If fluid dynamics jargon is over your head, it confuses the concept of what engineers call a control volume with the concept of the energy balance on a mass. Then NiV makes assertions of a sort that offer no useful basis for reasoning. As far as I can tell they are a meaningless garbling of the two analytically sound approaches, but at best they are unfamiliar for a reason – if there’s any validity there it is of no theoretical utility.

    Charney’s statement is about a layer, not about a mass. The layer can no longer absorb heat when it equilibrates. It’s a perfectly useful and reasonable analytical approach and it fits in with the surrounding reasoning. NiV’s claim  to more analytical power than Charney is more than a little bit risible.

    Now NiV pretends to have a catalog of ways in which “climate scientists” (meaning more generally, presumably, scientists who think about climate so as to include Charney) commonly err. I hope it gets published as I could use the entertainment, but I don’t hold much optimism that there will be useful corrections therein.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #215,

    “The problem here right from the outset is that *you* are fixating on an irrelevance.”

    You’re the one who keeps bringing it back up.

    “But the graph *wasn’t* “˜mislabelled’. It is an anomaly graph.”

    It’s a graph of the ‘heat content anomaly’ that is incorrectly labelled ‘heat content’. If it was a properly labelled anomaly graph, it would be labelled ‘heat content anomaly’. Just as if it was a graph of the ‘heat content rate of change’ it would be labelled with ‘heat content rate of change’ and if it was a graph of ‘the detrended cube root of heat content divided by minus six’ it would be labelled as such. Incorrectly labelling it ‘heat content’ and leaving the reader to guess what function had been applied to it first is… let’s just say… not standard scientific practice outside of climate circles.

    “I advise against it as you are losing ground rapidly now and I will spend as long on this as necessary.”

    Suits me. Although I’ve no idea why you would want to.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #219,

    Well, number one on the list is their tendency to plot anomalies of quantities labelled as the quantities they are anomalies for. :-)

    #220,

    I was using the Eulerian viewpoint throughout, and no your big, scary words aren’t over my head. :-)

    The full phrase is: “warming will proceed at a slower rate until these intermediate waters
    are brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat
    “. So at what temperature can water no longer absorb heat?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #211 Science advances only by drawing falsifiable conclusions and tyesting them, yes. But some people confuse that with a belief that probabilistic conclusions are not scientific. Essentially this amounts to a denial of statistics.

    Consider the proverbial roulette wheel. Consider the silly bet of placing a chip on red and a chip on black. My prediction is that with odds 36/38 you will end the spin with as much money as you started with. But suppose one of the two green slots comes up. Did that “falsify” my prediction? Certainly. Did it falsify my theory, though? Certainly not.

    You can only falsify a statistical prediction by watching a steady state for a very long time. If I lose my “red or black” bet a tenth of the time rather than a nineteenth of the time, eventually you can  conclude that the wheel is biased in favor of the house (and that you should bet on green to get in on the action). But you will have to watch a lot of spins.

    Climate prediction is even harder than that – the system is not stationary. To the extent that it is really partially random (this is debatable) we would need hundreds or thousands of nearly identical planets to falsify a prediction. 

    It is commonly believed that climatology is the same as climate prediction, but it is not. It makes a great many falsifiable predictions and tests them all the time in pursuit of deeper understanding of the system. But it’s not clear we will get the predictions right.

    The hiatus is, in my opinion, clearly identical to a shift in the El Nino index over the past couple of decades. We believe that we understand El Nino quite well but we cannot predict it well. There is a very good reason to model it as random. 

    The GCMs are all over the map as to long term El Nino trends so there is no consensus prediction. 

    I am suggesting that this may in fact be a forced trend, in which case the hiatus is not merely random but is nearly over and warming will resume. But this is not a consensus position. If El Nino comes back, the hiatus is a glitch, and not only will warming resume but it will come back to baseline. 

    There are plenty of other flies in the ointment. If Greenland starts to melt very quickly for instance, we could well get substantial cooling in the North Atlantic. This could drive much of the heating underwater for a very long time.

    The main falsifiable predictions from the nonscientists point of view are simple. 1) Energy is conserved. 2) Greenhouse gas accumulation (and other human forcings) are now altering the components of that energy balance substantially and increasingly. 3) Climate accordingly cannot in the next few centuries be as stable as it has been in the last few thousand years, and will become increasingly disrupted on a decade-over-decade time scale.

    The details are uncertain although warming remains a good bet. That doesn’t mean the science is nonexistent or untested or wrong. Further testing will indeed further clarify matters. That is why we build GCMs, to do preliminary testing without waiting for the actual world to respond.

    To the extent that you dismiss GCMs, you will have to wait thousands of years for the testing to be complete, by which time our descendants, if any, will quite certainly regret undertaking the experiment. Now there’s a prediction for you.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #219 if leaving out the word “anomaly” is a problem, it is a problem in communicating across the boundaries of the discipline, not an error within the discipline.

    You are flatly wrong if you claim that “ I am saying that the intermediate waters will never be brought to a temperature at which they can no longer absorb heat because there is a constant supply of fresh cold water. ” is Eulerian, and consequently wrong in claiming that you understand the jargon. As has been pointed out numerous times, the phrase “can no longer absorb heat” should be interpreted as “equilibrates”, and makes perfect sense as such.

    Given this approach, it is indeed very difficult to believe that you are serious and have honest intentions. I now see quite clearly why BBD is angry. You are flogging utter nonsense and it is hard for me to see how it is possible that you are not doing so willfully.

  • BBD

    You’re the one who keeps bringing it back up.

    Stripped of your misdirections you become provocatively – no, childishly - dishonest. I think we are finished here.

  • BBD

    mt

    Now imagine being subjected to this behaviour for a year. But I’m still sorry I let the rat out of the bag earlier.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh, if only that were true of you, BBD.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller
  • Nullius in Verba

    #223,

    I think he was after a specific number. For how long would you have to watch it and see no warming to falsify the theory?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    NiV, there’s a big difference between falsifying model projections and falsifying the theory of anthropogenic contributions to global warming.

    In my mind, the model ensemble can be tossed today. About three or four  of the individual models are worth hanging on to for the moment.

    But if temperatures stayed broadly flat for fifty years, I do not believe that would falsify the basic theory of AGW. It would just make some people look pretty silly.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #224,

    “if leaving out the word “anomaly” is a problem, it is a problem in communicating across the boundaries of the discipline, not an error within the discipline.”

    Thanks for confirming that climate scientists don’t see it as an error.

    “You are flatly wrong if you claim that “ I am saying that [...] because there is a constant supply of fresh cold water.” is Eulerian”

    The Eulerian viewpoint considers a fixed place (like a particular depth) and considers fluid flowing in and out of it, and the Lagrangian viewpoint follows the viewpoint of the moving water. Discussing the constant supply of fresh cold water is Eulerian. Discussing the vertical heat flow at a given depth is Eulerian.

    “the phrase “can no longer absorb heat” should be interpreted as “equilibrates””

    How very Orwellian. We just ‘interpret’ what was originally said as something else that is true, and the original statement becomes true as well.

    Are you serious?

    #225,

    I will spend as long on this as necessary

    I guess it’s no longer necessary, eh?

  • http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com willard

    Keith,

    I believe that the claim you underline by Junior might very well appeal to a very strong version of the Precaution Principle. It is of the form:

    (HBPP) By doing F(p), X may find that may put Y at risk.

    The conclusion dog-whistled here is: X should stop doing F(p), in this case F being “supporting” and p referring the some claims presumed to be unsupportable. (Y is related to X, i.e. it’s G(X), but never mind that.)

    This looks like an appeal to the precautionary principle to me. This also look at a quite strong version of it. I’m not sure if it’s possible to do anything that would satisfy F(p) without triggering the Honest Broker’s PP (HBPP). In fact, I did not know honest brokers accepted strong versions of the PP.

    This might be a big problem. YMMV.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #230,

    The theory of anthropogenic contributions to climate is not at issue. Of course that’s true.

    The issues are hypotheses like “the temperature is going to rise to dangerous levels over the next century” and “the observed late 20th century warming was almost entirely anthropogenic” and variations.

    If the alternative hypotheses are things like “climate sensitivity is low and natural variability is high and statistically ‘persistent’”, versus “imminent climate catastrophe half-of-all-species-are-going-to-die repent-ye-sinners doom doom”, how long does it take to falsify? Or does any conceivable outcome – hot, cold, whatever – still support the theory? It’s a basic question for any scientific theory.

    Give us a number.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @228

    nice post tom. i agree with much of what you say, particularly on the low hanging fruit that needs to be picked on the installation side. 

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Hi NiV, I assume you want Dr. Tobis’ opinion, but mine is 33 years.

  • Nullius in Verba

    Thanks Tom. Actually, I’d like the IPCC’s and our government’s, but anyone’s is welcome. It was actually Tom Scharf’s question at #210. I was just clarifying.

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

    If the weatherman says there is an 80% chance of rain, and it doesn’t rain, is that a falsification? Is the prediction in any sense meaningful? Would you carry an umbrella if you had to walk around town on such a day?

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

    Fuller: “Dr. Tobis, I hypothesized 18 months ago that the MWP was in fact a rolling regional event with start and stop dates that varied”

    That, on the other hand, is a pretty darned unfalsifiable hypothesis. But you see that nobody of those squawking about falsification calls Fuller out on this. Could it be because they are agnotologists, and not the defenders of scientific rigor they claim to be?

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

    #234 Give me a hypothesis before I give you a number.

  • BBD

    @ 234

    If the alternative hypotheses are things like “climate sensitivity is low and natural variability is high and statistically “˜persistent’”How can sensitivity be decoupled from natural variability when both depend on the same physics? Here’s Kyle Swanson (of Swanson & Tsonis 2009 ‘climate shifts’ fame) discussing this mistaken thinking at RC (emphasis as original):

    It first needs to be emphasized that natural variability and radiatively forced warming are not competing in some no-holds barred scientific smack down as explanations for the behavior of the global mean temperature over the past century. Both certainly played a role in the evolution of the temperature trajectory over the 20th century, and significant issues remain to be resolved about their relative importance. However, the salient point, one that is oftentimes not clear in arguments about variability in the climate system, is that all else being equal, climate variability and climate sensitivity are flip sides of the same coin.

    A climate that is highly sensitive to radiative forcing (i.e., responds very strongly to increasing greenhouse gas forcing) by definition will be unable to quickly dissipate global mean temperature anomalies arising from either purely natural dynamical processes or stochastic radiative forcing, and hence will have significant internal variability. The opposite also holds. It’s painfully easy to paint oneself logically into a corner by arguing that either (i) vigorous natural variability caused 20th century climate change, but the climate is insensitive to radiative forcing by greenhouse gases; or (ii) the climate is very sensitive to greenhouse gases, but we still are able to attribute details of inter-decadal wiggles in the global mean temperature to a specific forcing cause. Of course, both could be wrong if the climate is not behaving as a linear forced (stochastic + GHG) system.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #240,

    “A climate that is highly sensitive to radiative forcing (i.e., responds very strongly to increasing greenhouse gas forcing) by definition will be unable to quickly dissipate global mean temperature anomalies arising from either purely natural dynamical processes or stochastic radiative forcing, and hence will have significant internal variability.”

    I’d be very interested to see that definition.

  • BBD

    If the climate system responds strongly to either internal or external forcing  it is *not* – by definition – capable of dissipating global mean temperature anomalies very rapidly. If it could do that, it would not respond strongly to changes in internal or external forcings.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #242,

    That’s just a restatement.

    Why would it dissipate anomalies at all? You’re assuming responses to forcings and other anomalies are perturbations from a fixed equilibrium, but what if they’re changes to the equilibrium position? Then perturbations and shifts may occur independently, with different sensitivities and variabilities.

    How does the definition exclude this possibility?

  • Nullius in Verba

    Feel free to take your time with your answer. I’ll be gone for a while.

  • BBD

    It is necessary to restate when the other party is being obtuse. If you refuse to accept the logic behind Swanson’s statement, then there’s nothing much I can do except acknowledge that you are by no means as clever as you think you are.

  • BBD

    Or you are clever, but dishonest because the discussion is not about physics but about libertarian ideology which cannot tolerate the fact that AGW is the greatest market failure the world has ever seen. We both know what we are talking about, which is why these shadow plays are getting tiresome.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #245,

    Ahhhh… Riiiight…

    #246,

    The greatest market failure was, I believe, the overpopulation crisis in which we are all due to die prior to 1985. More serious even than the great pesticide crisis in which we are all due to die from pesticide poisoning by 1980. More serious than the exhaustion of all natural resources, due to happen…, well, whenever. Any time from 1798 to 2100.

    There’s always a ‘greatest market failure’ that urgently requires the end of the free market, democracy, freedom, etc. Don’t you guys ever give up?

    Silly question.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis at #238, as I said, I did find others who considered the MWP a sequenced series of events. The first sequence they noted was in the better-documented Northern Hemisphere. But I guess it wasn’t blessed by the Holy Water made by Mann, so it can’t be true. But hell, Arizona isn’t that far away from you. You could have checked.http://www.geo.arizona.edu/palynology/geos462/20climsolar.html#mwp

  • BBD

    @ 247

    There’s always a “˜greatest market failure’ that urgently requires the end of the free market, democracy, freedom, etc. Don’t you guys ever give up?

    Now we get down to business! Once the the proxy argument about science is out of the way.
    ;-)

  • Tom C

    Michael Tobis: You wrote re Obama: “But he never really expressed the totality of his anger and contempt. The moment he did express anger was justified. “Hey, this guy was my ambassador and my friend and part of my team. How dare you suggest I didn’t care?” “  Saying “I’m offended” is not the same as answering the question or providing evidence that the charge is true or not. It is merely a form of evasion that depends on bluster and emotion. 

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Re: market failure.

    The market has not failed yet. But there are defnitely forces that are pulling it toward failure. One trouble is that the industries of the past have a lot more capital than the industries of the future in the marketplace of the present. Another is that the benefits of the future energy sources accrue primarily to the world collectively, not to the individual making the energy purchase. With regard to carbon sequestration or geoengineering approaches, there is no individual benefit at all; the benefit is entirely collective. 

    It is not inconceivable that the carbon-free systems will compete, but the likelihood that they will sufficiently dominate in the absence of policy action seems very small. This forlorn hope is the core of Lomborgism/Breakthrough Institute-ism, I think Pielke Jr and Revkin and Kloor buy into it, and to the extent he has a coherent position at all, I think Fuller does too. But I don’t see it as likely.

    If the “CAGW” hypothesis is that “if we burn all the carbon without sequestration we are idiots who will damage the earth irreversibly and coarsen human life for generations” I hold to it with near certainty. If it is that the marketplace will do exactly that lacking intervention, I am confident in that as well. 

    If it is that there is no hope in overcoming this tendency in the marketplace, I remain unconvinced. Though the market has not failed us yet, it seems unlikely that as presently constituted it will find a way without an intervention in the rules. 

    To save the libertarian viewpoint, one could easily argue that the current marketplace is distorted, and that capturing externalities, primarily with a stiff carbon tax, would repair it. That’s not my preferred strategy for equity reasons (as explained by my friend Paul Baer and his associates at ecoequity.org ) but it’s a hell of a lot better than what we have going.

    The reasons that most of the so-called right in the English-speaking former colonies do not adopt this rational position are not philosophically coherent but are politically realistic – most of their supporters are the descendants in blood or at least in attitude of the most eager don’t-tread-on-me pioneers. Thus by happenstance they are the people whose lifestyles would be most impacted by such a change and they wouldn’t tolerate it. In more crowded countries you don’t see this tendency nearly as strongly, and the right adopts more rational positions on this and related questions.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    History is also rife with tragedies due to warnings unheeded. False negatives are as risky as false positives. And some risks may have the wrong date attached but be real, so may amount to false false positives.

    There is no rule of thumb. We actually have to think. Sorry.

    The more crowded the world and the more impact comes from its increasingly affluent people, the more risks we have to think about. This rock we somehow emerged upon did not come with any money-back guarantees of performance. We only get to break it once.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, show some signs of having thought through this yourself. 

    Do you not see that the increase in population is coincident with mass urbanization, reducing our footprint on the planet?

    Has it escaped you that the Green Revolution has actually meant that we are feeding more people using less land?

    Have you ever flown over this country and looked out the window? We are not running out of space… here or in 99% of other countries. I’ll give you Hong Kong and Monaco.

    Have you looked at the spread of solar power and estimated where it leads?

    Will you ever remove Malthus’ blinders for even a second and look at the world as it truly is?

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #254, all important points. They indicate that there is a path to the future. But they don’t explain why we should expect to take it without some intervention in the marketplace.1) Do you not see that the increase in population is coincident with mass
    urbanization, reducing our footprint on the planet?Some validity. But as the global middle class grows, urban or not, they demand more (meat and electricity especially) than undeveloped rural folk. This is of course a good thing, but to pretend it has no attached challenges is wrong – do the math.2) Has it escaped you that the Green Revolution has actually meant that we
    are feeding more people using less land?This is only sort of true. We are feeding more people using the same land. But the available gains are nearly tapped out. I avoid “green revolution” as a name because it is confusing. But it’s certainly relevant. However, it is also heavily based on extractive inputs which may actually lead to a reversal. And then there’s accelerating climate change.3) Have you ever flown over this country and looked out the window? We are
    not running out of space”¦ here or in 99% of other countries. North America and Australia are not especially crowded, though much of the land is irretrievably unproductive. 99% is obviously a made up number. 4) Have you looked at the spread of solar power and estimated where it
    leads?I hope it replaces coal and gas for electricity, and it may well do so for peak load in hot places. At present, we don’t have a way to store the energy at scale so that it will replace baseload. Policy encouraging electric cars would go a long way to fix that. It will not replace oil, nor fossil fuel inputs into industry and agriculture. 5) Will you ever remove Malthus’ blinders for even a second and look at the
    world as it truly is?Fuller says he is a liberal, but he embraces these right-wing short-circuits. Malthus was a founder of economics and should not be dismissed with a sneer. There are risks, and there are uncaptured externalities, and there are numerous aspects of the situation that the marketplace is making worse.I think we have solutions. But that doesn’t mean we are automatically going to use them.

  • BBD

    mt observes:

    I think we have solutions. But that doesn’t mean we are automatically going to use them.

    Especially not if there is a widespread and concerted effort to ensure that we don’t. Think on that, Tom.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I’m sorry, Dr. Tobis. If you’re just going to throw out the typical scare blockquotes that have been dragging down discourse since the sad days of Paul Ehrlich, I really don’t have time to educate you.

    Please feel free to pick up the thread when you have spent some time acquainting yourself with reality.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Oh, that’s right–I forgot. The primary literature is not something you read, is it Dr. Tobis? Well, you can continue playing Dr. Doom as much as you like–but don’t expect anybody who’s actually read a book to listen. Of course, that still leaves you with BVD as an audience…

  • Jeffn

    The comment at 251 is interesting, primarily becaus it misses the “right wing” and “libertarian” positions entirely.
    A couple of questions may help you:
    Is there any place where a carbon tax has been necessary in order to see utilities use nuclear power or natural gas in place of coal? What is the climate-based rational for picking “clean” alternatives that require politically unlikely carbon taxes over “clean” alternatives that do not?
    Have we learned anything about wind and solar from our brethren in Europe and do you think it reasonable that some people believe that lesson has dampened enthusiasm for those sources?
    Choose the best phrase to complete the following sentence: the best way to eventually move to electrified transportation is to enact policies today that… A. Ensure electricity production is expensive, limited and intermittent or B. ensure electricity production is less expensive, plentiful and reliable.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #258 awaiting references to back that up, or do you want me to guess what primary literature you mean?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Doom, I will, but save me some time by listing some of the literature that has informed your opinion. (And if you start off with anything about the ‘Nine Planetary Boundaries’ I will be both saddened and educated about your prejudices…)

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #255 reformatted. Keith, please tell your web guy to fix this garbage by date certain or take a hike.===

    #254, all important points. They indicate that there is a path to the future. But they don’t explain why we should expect to take it without some intervention in the marketplace.

    1) Do you not see that the increase in population is coincident with mass urbanization, reducing our footprint on the planet?

    Some validity. But as the global middle class grows, urban or not, they demand more (meat and electricity especially) than undeveloped rural folk. This is of course a good thing, but to pretend it has no attached challenges is wrong ““ do the math.

    2) Has it escaped you that the Green Revolution has actually meant that we are feeding more people using less land?

    This is only sort of true. We are feeding more people using the same land. But the available gains are nearly tapped out. I avoid “green revolution” as a name because it is confusing. But it’s certainly relevant. However, it is also heavily based on extractive inputs which may actually lead to a reversal. And then there’s accelerating climate change.

    3) Have you ever flown over this country and looked out the window? We are not running out of space”¦ here or in 99% of other countries.

    North America and Australia are not especially crowded, though much of the land is irretrievably unproductive. 99% is obviously a made up number.

    4) Have you looked at the spread of solar power and estimated where it leads?

    I hope it replaces coal and gas for electricity, and it may well do so for peak load in hot places. At present, we don’t have a way to store the energy at scale so that it will replace baseload. Policy encouraging electric cars would go a long way to fix that. It will not replace oil, nor fossil fuel inputs into industry and agriculture.

    5) Will you ever remove Malthus’ blinders for even a second and look at the world as it truly is?

    Fuller says he is a liberal, but he embraces these right-wing short-circuits. Malthus was a founder of economics and should not be dismissed with a sneer. There are risks, and there are uncaptured externalities, and there are numerous aspects of the situation that the marketplace is making worse.

    I think we have solutions. But that doesn’t mean we are automatically going to use them.

  • BBD

    Tom

    I’m always pleased to see that you follow my commentary elsewhere, even down to noting particular variants on my screen name used by others.

    But enlighten me: what does BVD actually stand for? The other chap didn’t explain either, and I am in the dark.

  • harrywr2

    #254

    Policy encouraging electric cars would go a long way to fix that.

    Sorry, but at our current technological place in history electric cars will do nothing to solve the problem. Fuel consumption is driven predominantly by rural/suburban dwellers and electric cars have no where near the required range to meet the transportation needs of rural/suburban dwellers.  Forcing a lifestyle change on rural/suburban dwellers thru punitive tariffs is politically impossible.I’ve driven across the US on a motorbike with a 180 mile range. Planning fuels stops was a major headache.As far as using electric cars as a ‘peak/off peak’ load balancing tool that too is rooted in fantasy. No one is going to let someone tap their ‘tank’ while they are at work.For vehicles the best hope is hybrids running on synthetic methanol. To cost effectively produce synthetic methanol you need a VHTR. Go ask Steven Chu how much he asked our current glorious leader for VHTR research budget and see how much he got.The ‘party of greenness’ does not increase budgets for nuclear R&D. Only evil Republicans do that.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #259“Is there any place where a carbon tax has been necessary in order to see
    utilities use nuclear power or natural gas in place of coal?”

    I don’t understand the question.

    Utilities are and will always be heavily regulated. The only meaningful question is what the right regulations are to optimize the output. Carbon figures into the picture in a way that has not been adequately taken into account. As long as the real cost of carbon emissions is not factored into those regulations adequately, the utilities will continue to contribute to the carbon problem.

    “What is the climate-based rational for picking “clean” alternatives that
    require politically unlikely carbon taxes over “clean” alternatives
    that do not?”

    As stated, none whatsoever.

    If the implication is that one should support nuclear power, in fact I for one am inclined to do so despite the risks, and would like to see serious attention paid to evaluating the thorium option in particular.

    However, I do not trust the right’s enthusiasm for nuclear power. After all, it is a highly centralized and necessarily highly regulated strategy. If the left ever shifts on this the right will also reverse itself, because this is not a natural fit with the idea of decentralized decision making at all. The right appears to like nuclear because the left hates it, not because it is a good fit with their ideology.

    Regarding transition from coal to gas, it is necessary to ensure that the gas is replacing coal and not actually replacing zero-carbon options, and also that it is not so overbuilt as to interfere with the eventual transition from gas to zero-carbon options.

    Have we learned anything about wind and solar from our brethren in
    Europe and do you think it reasonable that some people believe that
    lesson has dampened enthusiasm for those sources?

    That’s too vague a question for me. I’m not familiar with what your grumpy anti-wind anti-solar sources are telling you about this. I am sure that people are telling stories that dampen enthusiasm for their competitors. That’s the usual case. The question is whether to believe them. Care to provide chapter and verse?

    Lacking details, like any technology, especially at scale, I am inclined to believe that unexpected problems have arisen and that whatever problems arose are getting worked out. There is nothing about human ingenuity that causes it to only work around dirty fuels.

    Choose the best phrase to complete the following sentence: the best way
    to eventually move to electrified transportation is to enact policies
    today that”¦ A. Ensure electricity production is expensive, limited and
    intermittent or B. ensure electricity production is less expensive,
    plentiful and reliable.

    Now this one is actually interesting. Actually it is more like A!

    I admit that this is strange. But wind power is most available at night when demand is lowest, and electric cars demand power when they are not in use. Even in the daytime, a car is mostly not in use. So a fleet of electric cars constitutes exactly the battery technology that intermittent energy supplies need. There is a lucky fit such that electric cars make wind energy more useful and wind energy makes electric cars cheaper. It also delays and possibly altogether avoids the shift to a post-automobile infrastructure, for good or ill.

    This is explained at length in David Sandalow’s book “Freedom from Oil”.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @263

    electric cars will do nothing to solve the problem. Fuel consumption is driven predominantly by rural/suburban dwellers and electric cars have no where near the required range to meet the transportation needs of rural/suburban dwellers.  

    google ‘average u.s. commuting distance’. next google ‘PHEV all-electric range’

    you may know a bit about electricity, but you appear to know jack shit about the transportation sector. sorry to be so blunt, but there it is.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #264 Most of most people’s trips are not cross-country. If your country refuses to build a tolerable train system, or you have a complex route or some cargo, you can rent a vehicle for that purpose.

    Most Americans purchase vehicles to cover a very small subset of their actual usage (partly because of the prestige issue in vehicle brands). It’s not economically rational to buy a pickup truck for the one time a year you want to move a couple of plywood sheets, or an eight-seat SUV for the one time a year your cousins and in-laws visit.

    I saw this argument advanced to support Google’s autonomous vehicle program. You can just punch up the cost effective car you need for your next trip and it will dutifully show up at your door waiting to take you where you are going. That person argued essentially that the autonomous vehicle would reduce the friction involved in vehicle rental so much that most people would not bother owning a vehicle at all! I find that hard to imagine but who knows.

  • Tom Scharf

    #223 Tobis,

    Appreciate the answer.  I understand probabilities and accept most of your answer is factually correct.  

    But I also understand when I’m not getting any answer at all.  If you want to answer in the form of a PDF, fine.  If you want to claim that the recent lack of warming (and lack of predicted acceleration of temperatures)  is just due to “bad luck”, and that your PDF is still correct anyway, I can accept that answer.  It is noted that you can draw a PDF with wide tails and *always* be correct with that answer though.

    But you must also accept that since the center and distribution of this PDF has such high uncertainty attached to it due to its complex underpinnings, that an alternate conclusion can be drawn from the data.  The flattening can justifiably be interpreted as the given PDF is probably (ha ha) wrong.  The model that generated the PDF is questionable.  That’s the way I see it.  It is not unreasonable.

    And we all know what that interpretation leads to…lower CS…less of a problem for the future…and undesirable political damage to the home team.

    Academic arguments aside, what I find to be strange is that the super obvious argument that the current PDF is wrong (given the measured data) is not even realistically allowed to be discussed openly inside of or outside of climate science.  You can’t tell me bringing up this idea isn’t hitting the third rail of climate science.  I eagerly await what AR5 has to say (or NOT say) about it.  

    Dangerous outcomes are dependent on high CS, positive feedbacks to carbon, accelerating responses to increased fossil fuel use.  When the measured data doesn’t show this is happening, it ought to be (very) important to science.  Is it?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    As an aside while I am waiting for Dr. Tobis to respond, I have a question for any on the consensus side who care to respond, partially brought to my mind by what Dr. Tobis wrote above.

    If you in fact think that this is a titanic struggle for the fate of the earth and that you are opposed by real enemies in the form of Republicans, polluters and energy companies, where do you get information about what they believe and drives their behaviour?

    I see very little evidence that many of those I encounter in the blogosphere have actually read any of the literature that informs the belief systems of those they consider enemies.

     I have read  popular literature Earth in the Balance, The Last Generation and Where on Earth are We Going, among others, to get a broad idea of the themes animating the people I am corresponding with. I have also read all of the TAR and most of the FAR, Stern’s report and hundreds of abstracts and quite a few full papers published by climate scientists. I have also read literary antecedents ranging from Small is Beautiful, The Limits to Growth, Silent Spring, The Population Bomb, etc.

    And I don’t think I’m in the middle of a war. 

    If I did think I were in the middle of a war, I would take to heart the dictum ‘know thy enemy’ and would have read a lot more.

    So if I may be a bit indelicate, if you who share many of the same opinions as Dr. Tobis do believe you are in a war for the survival of the planet, did you ever stop to think about how to win it?

  • Tom Scharf

    The solution for effective electric cars:

    B.E.T.T.E.R.  B.A.T.T.E.R.R.I.E.S.

    duh.  10x capacity, and 10x faster charging.  Then we can really talk.  

    Don’t even get me started on the failure of advances in battery technology of the last 50 years.  Pathetic.  Lithium was useful, but on the whole it is a sad state of affairs.  Contrast and compare where the electronic industries were 50 years ago and now compared to battery chemistry.

    Anyone who makes a real breakthrough will make absolute ginormous loads of money.  The incentive is there.  Must be a tough problem.

    However very large energy capacities in very small spaces is sometimes called a bomb, so it is never going to be easy.

  • Tom Scharf

    I’m helpless without a spelchekker.  

  • Tom Gray

    The climate debate has become  closed system populated only by zealots on each side. One can see it in the comments on this blog and on other climate blogs.  Each side wraps its rhetoric in the mantle of the supposed certainty of scientific results. That is the misinformation that Pielke is describing. The zealots scream the same arguments at each other with the hyperbole getting more and more shrill as time  goes by. The general public tuned out of this issue long ago.  Climate change is  a good way for politicians to mask their subsidies to  favored interests. Other than that they do nothing because it is a non-issue to the general public.This blog is not exceptional in any of this. It is just like any other climate blog with  the same people talking past each other with the same comments being written over and over again in spite of any purported topic. The issue is ovr and the zealots have killed it. The zealots can just not admit it…

  • jeffn

    #264

    1. Are carbon taxes necessary to switch to nuclear? Does that make the question easier to understand?
    The answer, of course, is no. Ergo you desire an policy you don’t need and won’t get, have wasted two decades waiting for it, and insist that we believe you when you say this is “urgent.”
    2. Ah, so you misunderstand the politics of nuclear power. “The right appears to like nuclear because the left hates it, not because it is a good fit with their ideology.”
    Nonsense. The right likes nukes because they hold the potential to provide something critical to economic growth- low cost, dependable energy with which to drive business. This is also why the left objects to nuclear power.
    You wrote: “If the implication is that one should support nuclear power, in fact I for one am inclined to do so despite the risks..”
    Facts on the ground- Over two decades where this has allegedly been the most important issue ever and not a single nuke approved in the supposedly dirtiest nation ever. And the green movement takes credit for it.
    3. Wind and Solar- To recap here, you’ve got all your policy chips stacked on the bet that renewables are, like, totally awesome. But you aren’t paying the slightest bit of attention to how well they’re working in the places they are being tried. And you wonder why your cause is ignored on the campaign trail this year?
    4. “But wind power is most available at night when demand is lowest, and electric cars demand power when they are not in use.”
    Question, when you plug 300 million cars into the grid at night, will night continue to be the time when “demand is lowest?” Question 2- Do you really believe that only “right wingers” would object to a proposal to offer electric cars with a grid that can charge them only at night, at the highest expense of all options, and is likely to draw down your battery in the parking lot during the day leaving you stranded at the office?

    It’s the contradictions that kill. Weather is climate when it’s warm, not when it’s cold. We like nukes, we just won’t build them. This is urgent, but we can wait around for a “radical shift” away from economic growth. etc etc etc

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #273 If there’s a straw man contest you should enter it.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Unintentional humor there. Dr. Tobis, you’ve been asked a number of questions on this thread that you haven’t apparently had time to respond to.

  • BBD

    Tom

    So what about my # 262 then?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Why should Dr. Tobis answer #262?

  • BBD

    Could be a comment numbering glitch. My comment is the one marked BBD.

  • Nullius in Verba

    #277,

    I suspect Dr Tobis has a comment in moderation which he can see but nobody else can. As soon as he’s straightened that out I’m sure he get right on to answering your question.

  • BBD

    But it was addressed to Tom. To prevent further nonsense confusion, here is the comment again:

    TomI’m always pleased to see that you follow my commentary elsewhere,
    even down to noting particular variants on my screen name used by others.

    But enlighten me: what does BVD actually stand for? The other chap didn’t explain either, and I am in the dark.

    Demonstrating bad faith is daft.

  • BBD

    Demonstrating bad faith is daft.

    Apologies for the formatting error. The final sentence was not part of the original comment. I’d hate to be accused of misrepresentation! :-)

  • Nullius in Verba

    #279,

    I think Tom’s comment at #276 (or whatever) was intended as humour.

  • BBD

    Sure, but the point is that I am asking him to explain the joke. Why are you commenting on this anyway?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Maybe NiV should answer #262.

  • BBD

    Tom, you are a shit.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom Fuller has asked to me provide peer-reviewed citations for, what? 

    “Dr. Doom, … save me some time by listing some of the literature that has informed your opinion.”

    Presumably “Dr Doom” is me, but I’m not sure which “opinion” that is. It seems like a pointless time sink to guess.But the real oddity is what the “literature” means here. The only clue I have about either is that the “boundaries” paper is not relevant.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Tobis, you are indeed whom I was referring to as Dr. Doom. I was merely asking what you had read from the other side of the fence.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #287: Fence? But the fence is a fantasy. Honestly, I see no fence.

    I see a few people off the reservation, but they aren’t saying anything very clear. Scratch the surface and each one has a different story. I give that sort of thing no less attention than it deserves – I love outliers, they fascinate me, and who knows that one of them won’t see something we all missed. But there isn’t an “alternative hypothesis”; there’s a coherent body of theory and there’s people who quickly demonstrate that they don’t understand it. There’s no fence, just a cluster and some outliers.

    Romm says the outliers and the cluster are veering opposite ways. I’m not sure that is true, though there’s a ccase to be made. 

    To the extent that this is mature science, there will always be leaders, followers, and charlatans. But any follower as competent as a typical grad student knows enough to know who is a real scientist and who isn’t, and most of us don’t pay attention to them at all.

    I have called Pielke and Curry out about things that make no sense. I have not been impressed with their answers. I consider both of them capable of useful social insights. I have learned things from both of them. But they do not show the characteristics of scientific insight that a scientifically educated person has little difficulty spotting in most cases, at least in the fields with which I am familiar. (There is the occasional clever fraud, but fortunately they tend toward more lucrative disciplines than the climate sciences.)

    I mean, I still would like to finish reading Philander’s mathematically dense book on El Nino some day, for instance. Is there some “other side” on that one that I should know about?

    When I read peer reviewed work, I am working, not websurfing. I don’t know how to do a comparable thing with fake science that I do with real science. 

    Because with reading real science my main thoughts are “did I understand that” and “could it possibly be true”, all very time-consuming and brain-wattage-inducing.. 

    Compare with the experience (of someone who has some understanding of the phsyical system) of reading the other stuff so far past the fence that is not aimed at the people who actually understand very much about the physical systemThe experience is “who the f do these people think they are with this transparent BS” and “oh that old crap again” and “wait, what’s this, here is some new crap, what ridiculous error are they flogging this time”. 

    It takes a lot less time, except once in a while when the new crap is especially creative.

    Which is why so little of it gets through peer review, and why a journal instantly loses cachet when an example does get through. 

    Admiittedly, there are a lot of those outliers, even though there is no fence. This is because of “postnormal” of course. It is not because of any particular charcteristics of the actual science.

    And indeed, I have read much outlier stuff during my less serious reading, perhaps more from outside the cluster than inside it, because it’s so much easier on the brain (harder though it is on the soul sometimes) than actually concentrating on a worthwhile argument.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Doom, it sounds to me as if you are justifying your decision not to read from the unapproved list. 

    When I wanted to understand Republicans and why they felt as they did, I didn’t read sociological treatises. I read Atlas Shrugged and the Fountainhead, The Conscience of a Conservative, Hayek, Samuel Huntington, Niall Ferguson and Leo Strauss.

    I learned that sane and intelligent people can be truly conservative and disagree with my political positions without being scions of Satan.

    I didn’t classify them prior to reading them–no wonder you haven’t read Pielke or Curry, if you approach them as fake science from the beginning.

    There’s no excuse for your repeated witch hunts–you have behaved contemptibly for years. But at least your comment #287 explains some of it–in addition to pure malice, you have adopted the self-erected firewall approach to make sure you were never exposed to the thinking that animated your opponents. But that also explains why you are continually getting your ass kicked in every argument in which you engage.

    Scholarship is not science and should not be mistaken for such. But you are not engaged in science–you are fighting a political war. A war of choice and one that needn’t have been waged, much like our excellent adventure in Iraq. And scholarship would have brought you the keys to victory.

    You’re not only a bad person, you’re a fool.

  • Tom C

    Tom Fuller – Please try to show a bit more respect to the winner of the “Woody Guthrie Thoughtful Blogger” award.  Also, please try to advance the theme of climate skeptic = extreme libertarian and that climate alamrists have no economic worldview other than a devotion to science, even though Woody Guthrie was a fellow traveller communist.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom C, that is what’s called a “smear”. I wonder why nobody tried that with my predecessors, say N-G or Annan.

    Do you also smear anybody who sings “this land is your land”? Woody is a crucial figure in American cultural history. Reading his biography “Bound for Glory” is revelatory and I highly recommend it to anyone who hopes to understand twentieth century America.

    But that doesn’t make me agree with everything he ever said. And in particular I am willing to say that I am not now nor have ever been a communist sympathizer. But I have to also say that it’s more than a little disturbing to be challenged in that way. There’s another important episode in 20th century American history you may be forgetting.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Doom, when I visited P3 and noticed you had been ‘awarded’ the Woody Guthrie prize, I also noticed a comment from you saying how sad it was that the only way to get any attention was to attack someone, something I’m not sure Woody Guthrie (or Norbert Wiener) would have taken as advice on how to conduct a communications strategy.

    But that’s what you’ve done and you’ve gotten your 15 minutes of fame. You now bask in bloggy sunlight because of attention received due to those you have whipped–the Pielkes, Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre, Steve Mosher and myself.

    How do you intend to use your fame?

    Do you intend to rewrite Guthrie’s anthem? ‘This land is my land, this land is my land? You could animate it with pictures borrowed from Yertle the Turtle.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Parenthetically, Dr. Doom, you seem to have found time to read ‘Bound for Glory’, which makes me wonder even further at the strict No-Knowledge Zone you have created regarding your political opponents. It cannot be a question of available time…

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    Tom Fuller, reading is one thing, understanding what you have read is another. You didn’t seem to read what I wrote (which is your call, except that you responded to it).

    My point is that there is nothing serious (in the way of peer reviewed science, which is what you first asked about) to read that is unequivocally from the “other side of the fence”, and pretty much hasn’t been for at least 15 years, at least to my knowledge. There are certainly questions of nuance and differences of opinion, but there is no fence.

    I freely admit to doing a lot of light reading, as is obvious to anyone who follows my site. In that category I read plenty of naysayer stuff. Almost all of it is nonsense and half-sense; one of the most common bits of nonsense is that there is a divide among scientists.

    I’m not claiming unanimity on any particular question – obviously that depends sensitively on the question. I’m just saying that the idea of an active debate between two camps is purely political and does not exist in the scientific community.

    There are, of course, a few extreme outliers, but they are entirely playing to the gallery, not to the scientific community. Arguably they perform a useful function, but advancing the science isn’t it.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #292 Tom Fuller again misses the point.

    I am indeed sad that articles which are critiques of individuals get more conversation than more positive or inquisitive pieces. It may be human nature, or it may be modern culture, but it is not something that is encouraging either way.

    But critiques are necessary. Neither science nor democracy can function without them. I don’t intend to stop, and from all appearances you don’t either.

    Goose, gander. Isn’t this particular criticism inherently hypocritical?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    I ain’t getting famous out of being your designated hairshirt.My beef with you is that you attack (not critique) stuff you don’t bother to read.

  • harrywr2

    #264 Marlowe,

    “google “˜average u.s. commuting distance’”

    Average commuting distance is nonsense. My average commuting distance is 3 miles. I would never own a vehicle with a 3 mile range.

    What do you not understand about why people purchase the vehicles they do? The vehicle is not just for commuting unless you can somehow make the incremental cost of multiple vehicles for multiple purposes work out.

    People buy vehicles for their ‘worst case need’. That is why in the US average vehicle weight is 4,000 pounds and Nissan Leafs and Chevy Volts sell like absolute crap.

    Next door to me I’ve got his and hers 6,000 pound SUV’s. They like to go camping. In their eyes they need a vehicle large enough to pack their children and all their camping equipment.

    Across the street from me is a CFO of a multi-billion dollar company. He owns a big ass pickup truck. The guy can’t even correctly identify a hammer…but he likes to go ‘dirt biking’ with his son once or twice a year so he ‘needs’ something large enough to carry a pair of dirtbikes.

    And just to make sure you understand where I am on US transportation.

    When I got done ‘serving my nation’ in the Middle East some 30+ years ago I was one angry young man. I must have keyed(scratched car paint with key) 100′s of gas guzzlers. I hated gas guzzlers and the people who drove them.

    Then I grew up, and figured the only way I was going to actually ‘solve the problem’ was to get a degree in engineering and figure out a way to give people the ‘lifestyle they preferred’ without having to send naive young men off to some craphole country stuck in the 14th century to get them their stinking oil. Unfortunately, the necessary metallurgy for a 100 MPG vehicle just didn’t exist.

    Everybody who drives a big ass vehicle will have a story…and nothing you could possibly say will change their opinion as to that ‘need’.  They get to vote not only with their wallets but also at the ballot box. If gasoline prices go up by 10 cents a gallon they will quite happily believe whatever conspiracy theory anyone wants to make up.

    Expand your mind Marlowe…people who aren’t Urban Dwellers don’t want to live like Urban Dwellers and they will vote with their wallets and at the ballot box against anyone who attempts to force them to live more like Urban Dwellers.

    Battery powered cars are going nowhere. The power density of batteries is no where near where it needs to be to provide the necessary range and size that non Urban Dwellers ‘need’ in order to pursue their preferred lifestyles. Thomas Edison figured that out more then 100 years ago at a time when electric vehicles outnumbered gasoline powered vehicles.

    If the US population wanted to live in crowded cities our substantially European Ancestors would  have stayed in Europe.

    Sorry Marlowe, you have absolutely no understanding of the US population, good luck on convincing them they must change their lifestyle aspirations.

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

    #296 Tom Fuller, if you’re my designated anything, I promise it wasn’t me who did the designating. 

  • Tom C

    Michael, I actually like Woody Guthrie and don’t much mind that he was a communist.  I was really trying to tweak you and get you to realize that constantly accusing others of distorting science because of their economic point of view is a game that two can play.  What are we supposed to conclude when all the climate alarm bloggers are dyed in the wool leftists?

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

    299 OK, put that way it is a good question. Not an especially original one, but a good one. Not a great one, because there are obvious exceptions, most notably Hansen, and also Alley, Bickmore, Emanuel. But at least it is inoffensive.

    It can obviously be asked in a symmetrical way, as you point out.

    It is clear that there is a correlation between political philosophy and opinion on climate science that needs explanation. It is possible a priori that both sides of the question are equally tainted by bias, or that most of the bias is on one side or the other. I don’t know of any way to address this other than through the practice of science itself.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Doom, there is not in fact a correlation between political philosophy and opinion on climate science. Outside of this country, and outside the fevered dens of the blogosphere. You just can’t be right about anything.

    Republicans picked up skepticism as another arrow for their quiver in the U.S. Most liberals outside the consensus keep their mouths shut about it in the U.S.

    But what correlates do you find between Steve McIntyre (proud Canadian sharing the politics of his province), Bjorn Lomborg (gay stats professor from the Netherlands), Lucia Liljegren (fluid dynamics Republican from Illinois), Steve Mosher (software modeler and literature master from Wisconsin via UCLA), Roger Pielke Jr. (Obama supporter and professor in liberal Colorado), Roger Pielke Sr. (who sensibly keeps his politics to himself)and myself (to the left of Woody Guthrie?

    Only our opposition to the idiocy promulgated by the Gleicks and Manns of this world, as faithfully regurgitated by you…

    You claim to be a voice for science but you pull lint out of your navel and think it’s equivalent to commandments etched in stone. Your unbroken record of inaccurate pronouncements is epic. But your condition is clinical, if not critical.

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    #301 So you don’t like me, you don’t like Peter, and you don’t like Mike. So there are exceptions to political correlation on both sides (a point I myself made) though most of the people you mention don’t obviously qualify. Do you have anything of value to add to this conversation or do you just want to be the center of attention all the time?

    Let’s go back to our coversation rather than Tom C’s, to your challenge. What are the (per your specification) “peer reviewed” articles from the “other side of the fence” that if I read them honestly would change my “opinion”?

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Dr. Doom, I don’t think anything would change your opinion. For that matter, I’m not even trying to change your opinion. 

    What I’m trying to hammer into your thick skull is that there is no path to victory for your consensus that does not include reconciliation and a deep understanding of those you have spent the past few years denigrating, reviling, libeling and dragging through the mud.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    And actually, Dr. Doom, what I wrote was, “Dr. Doom, I will, but save me some time by listing some of the literature that has informed your opinion. (And if you start off with anything about the “˜Nine Planetary Boundaries’ I will be both saddened and educated about your prejudices”¦)”So let’s start with one. You did a series of posts about polar ice so you should be conversant and have at least expressed interest. Have you read Improved Methods for PCA-Based Reconstructions: Case Study Using the Steig et al. (2009) Antarctic Temperature ReconstructionO’Donnell et al? If not, why not? If so, what did it say to you?http://journals.ametsoc.org/doi/abs/10.1175/2010JCLI3656.1

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    I ran some posts by Neven about observed Arctic sea ice extent and a couple of the usual horse race graphs. Your suggestion that this is tantamount to claiming expertise on application of PCA to Antarctic temperature reconstruction is telling. Nevertheless, I am aware of this particular controversy and see no reason to doubt <a href=”http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2011/02/odonnellgate/”>Dr Steig’s account of it</a> and his preliminary summary which I’ll just quote because of the c-a-s link limit:2010Ryan O’Donnell: Our paper in the Journal of Climate shows a somewhat better way to look at the same data. Antarctica is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more too, and so the overall trends are smaller. Still, West Antarctica is definitely warming significantly, as Steig et al. found. That’s interesting.Eric Steig: Nice paper Ryan. Thanks for sending along a pre-print.Steve McIntyre: Hey, we got published in the Journal of Climate! Another paper showing that the “team” made up the data again! (Sotto voce): Ryan says it it is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more. Otherwise we get the same results, though the magnitude of the trends is smaller. But West Antarctica is still warming significantly. But I really don’t care. The peer review process is broken, which is why.. umm”¦our paper was published in the leading climate journal.Liberal Media: That paper wasn’t published in Nature, so we’re not very interested.Conservative Media: Antarctica is cooling. Global warming is a fraud.Public: zzzZZZzzz””””””””-P.S. For those actually interested, yes, I’ll have more to say about O’Donnell et al., but overall, I like it.”“eric

  • http://planet3.org Michael Tobis

    trying again:

    I ran some posts by Neven about observed Arctic sea ice extent and a couple of the usual horse race graphs. Your suggestion that this is tantamount to claiming expertise on application of PCA to Antarctic temperature reconstruction is telling.

    Nevertheless, I am aware of this particular controversy and see no reason to doubt Dr Steig’s account of it and his preliminary summary which I’ll just quote because of the c-a-s link limit:

    Ryan O’Donnell: Our paper in the Journal of Climate shows a somewhat better way to look at the same data. Antarctica is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more too, and so the overall trends are smaller. Still, West Antarctica is definitely warming significantly, as Steig et al. found. That’s interesting.

    Eric Steig: Nice paper Ryan. Thanks for sending along a pre-print.

    Steve McIntyre: Hey, we got published in the Journal of Climate! Another paper showing that the “team” made up the data again! (Sotto voce): Ryan says it it is warming a bit more in summer, and a bit less in winter in the Ross Sea region. In fall it is cooling a bit more. Otherwise we get the same results, though the magnitude of the trends is smaller. But West Antarctica is still warming significantly. But I really don’t care. The peer review process is broken, which is why.. umm”¦our paper was published in the leading climate journal.

    Liberal Media: That paper wasn’t published in Nature, so we’re not very interested.

    Conservative Media: Antarctica is cooling. Global warming is a fraud.

    Public: zzzZZZzz

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    You are in a prison cell of your own making. You have the key on a string around your chest. The door is unlocked. You will stay in the cell forever.

  • Marlowe Johnson

    @harry-coal-bot

    I’m glad that you agree that many Americans have historically been irrational in their decision making processes when it comes to vehicles.

    when you buy a house do you buy one with 10 bedrooms for the one weekend when the entire extended family is visiting with kids? Or, like most people, do you base your purchase on a variety of considerations — including typical needs? 

    Now some have argued that the battery capacity on the Volt is over-sized, and that an all-electric range of 20 miles would be more than sufficient for most consumers. Frankly, I don’t think that there is any ‘right’ answer. Ultimately, manufacturers will compete with one another and the ‘market’ will decide which specifications are the most appropriate for various price points.

    Like it or not, the trend towards vehicle electrification will continue. Now I realize that you like to frame this issue in terms of  ’pure’ EVs, but the reality is that the market will grow in a variety of ways; hybrids, PHEVs, and yes, some pure EVs. 

    Your implicit suggestion that the electrification of the transportation fleet can only be judged in terms of the success of pure EVs, and that the only way to improve efficiency is lightweighting is f*cking ludicrous. Frankly, it makes you come across as a crank. Let me suggest that you spend a little less time on those coal forecasts and a little more on vehicle technology market forecasts.

  • http://3000quads.com/ Tom Fuller

    Of course Dr. Doom can always compare us to Genghis Khan and the Golden Horde… nah, that’d be way too crazy. Only a winner of the Woody Allen award would be that foolish…

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Collide-a-Scape

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, a senior editor at Cosmos magazine, and 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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