Lies and consequences

In the horrible-inevitability department: Darwin Foes Add Warming to Targets.

My first thought when I read this was: “Creationists opposing AGW hysteria? Wow. So those stupid fucks are good for something after all.”

My second thought was: “It’d be a damn shame if AGW ends up discrediting good science with the public, but if it happens the scientific establishment has only itself to blame for not busting the AGW fraud first.”

In fact, I don’t think that bad outcome is likely to happen, for reasons I explained in Will the AGW fraud discredit science?. But this news story is a warning to all scientists: if you don’t want creationists to get traction, you can’t just treat this as someone else’s problem. You have to clean house. You have tolerated liars and rascals like Phil Jones and Rajendra Pachauri in your midst too long; you need to throw them out.

A diplomatic way for any random professional society to do this would be to demand that all climate science must be held to the strictest standards of methodological scrutiny. All data, including primary un-“corrected” datasets, must be available for auditing by third parties. All modeling code must be published. The assumptions made in data reduction and smoothing must be an explicitly documented part of the work product.

These requirements would kill off AGW alarmism as surely as a bullet through the head. But its credibility is already collapsing; the rising issue, now, is to prevent collateral damage from the scientific community’s failure to insist on them sooner. Every day you delay will strengthen the creationists and the flat-earthers and all the other monsters begotten from the sleep of reason.

UPDATE: and, in a nice bookend, ABC follows the money, suggesting strongly that the scientific establishment has failed to clean house because alarmism is just too damn lucrative.

137 thoughts on “Lies and consequences

  1. We need to stop refering to AGW research as “Science”, we need to come up with another word for it. I propose we use “zsovacpwe”*. If what they were doing was real Scientific research, then accuracy, accountability, repeatability, peer review (meaning REAL peer review, not just having your friends rubber stamp your work) etc. would have been important to the researchers. Zsovacpwe is what happens when scientific research is mixed with political zealotry for the purpose of making it seem like you have proven a pre-determined “fact” (often for personal or political gain). The real sad thing about zsovacpwe is that sometimes, the said “fact” is indeed truely a fact, but there is no way to tell. Maybe because in the practice of zscvacpwe, the data is molded and changed to support the process of finding the pre-determined outcome and the origional data is lost. Maybe because the zsovacpwe had a public relations aspect that was so succesful that many people have bought into it on such a deep level that it has grown out of control and realistic, inteligent, fact based, non-emotional debate has become impossible (please note, emotions have NO PLACE in scientific research/debate except the rare occasion where emotions are the subject of said research).

    Why bother to do scientific research at all if you are just going to make the results up anyway. Why go play golf if you are just going to write in what you WANT your score to be before you tee off on the first hole?

    s

    * I basicly hit my keyboard with both hands and that’s what came out.

  2. Forgive me for being out of the loop, as the whole issue has so much stuff to read through that I don’t have time to follow everything you guys are say, but ESR, do you merely take issue with this particular fraud, or do you disbelieve global warming entirely?

  3. >ESR, do you merely take issue with this particular fraud, or do you disbelieve global warming entirely?

    I believe all the supposed ‘science’ about human-caused warming is permeated with error and fraud – cooked data, assumptions that aren’t physically justified, bogus computer models. Garbage in, garbage out. Politicized junk science of the worst kind. I did not arrive at this judgment casually, but by careful study over many years. Thus, I was not surprised by the CRU leak.

    Whether it can confidently said that there has been non-anthropogenic global warming going on is a different question. I used to believe that until I found how spotty and corrupted the data were. Now I’m skeptical, but judge we don’t have the evidence to form a firm conclusion in either direction.

  4. From Pharyngula:

    My expertise is not in climate, but in biology, and I’m familiar with his type — it’s a common strategy among creationists, who do dearly love to collect complaints. There are people who put together a coherent picture of a scientific issue, who review lots of evidence and assemble a rational synthesis. They’re called scientists. Then there are the myopic little nitpickers, people who scurry about seeking little bits of garbage in the fabric of science (and of course, there are such flaws everywhere), and when they find some scrap of rot, they squeak triumphantly and hold it high and declare that the science everywhere is similarly corrupt. They lack perspective. They ignore everything that doesn’t fit their search criterion, and of course, they’re focused only on putrescence. They aren’t scientists, they’re more like rats.

    Creationists and Deniers use the same anti-scientific methods, so it’s no surprise that they’d start working together.

  5. My bigest problem is that the CRU big whig guy is now “coming clean” and saying that Global Warming stopped like 15 years ago. Do I believe him or not? I accept that the earth warms and cools naturaly. You know… ice age… mideval warm period… etc. but it would be nice to know where we are in terms of that warming and cooling. Not like it would really matter anyway, tomorrow will be tomorrow regardless, but it would be nice to know.

    Really, Obama is going to kill us all by playing around with his “Evil Dreaded Secret Earthquake Machine” one too many times. What has he got against Chile anyway?

    s

    BTW: The Earthquake machine bit was a joke. Geesh, some people….

  6. >My bigest problem is that the CRU big whig guy is now “coming clean” and saying that Global Warming stopped like 15 years ago.

    He hasn’t actually said this. What he said was that if you only looked at the last 15 years of data, you could only be 90% sure there had been warming. For arbitrary historical reasons scientists like to be 95% sure.

    ‘Significant’ is possibly the most misunderstood word in science. It means ‘big enough to be measured with 95% confidence’, but to a layperson (or even, to be fair, to a lot of scientists) it reads as ‘big enough to be important’.

    @esr: is this the “error cascade” thing you were talking about?

  7. Whether it can confidently said that there has been non-anthropogenic global warming going on is a different question. I used to believe that until I found how spotty and corrupted the data were. Now I’m skeptical, but judge we don’t have the evidence to form a firm conclusion in either direction.

    Sitting here in Florida with the very odd 51 deg F weather and unusual amounts of rainfall (winter is normally the dry season down here, but in the last couple of months we’ve had a ton of it) I’m reminded that this pattern is part of the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO), and that ENSO has been popularly blamed on global warming.

    What evidence is there that ENSO is caused by global warming, human-caused or not? I once thought that ENSO was caused global warming or other climate change, but the more I read about it, the more I find out that scientists studying ENSO have no idea what, if any relationship there is between ENSO and climate change, natural or not.

  8. My BS detector pegged out when I found out that the ice cores show that CO2 rises and falls in correlation to global temperatures, but that CO2 lags behind temperatures by ~800 years. I have asked AGW believers to explain this, and gotten responses like “oh, you simpleton, it’s so much more complicated, and if you were a real scientist you’d have read the literature…” The only thing I’ve been able to get out of them that makes any sense at all is that there’s some kind of feedback loop, wherein rising temperatures proceed to make the CO2 go even higher, which contributes to further warming…. But they have never even attempted to answer the fundamental contradiction of their reasoning:

    How is it that after temperatures and CO2 have both risen to the highest levels in millenia, the temperatures will drop for eight centuries before CO2 follows; how is it that when they are both at their lowest, temperatures will rise without CO2 following, for a similar period?

    Whatever the answer to that is, it belies the notion that CO2 is the primary driver of climate change. Until someone can explain this pre hoc, ergo propter hoc away, I will remain a “denier”.

    Do you feel up to the challenge, pete?

  9. > Significant’ is possibly the most misunderstood word in science. It means ‘big enough to be measured with 95% confidence’, but to a layperson (or even, to be fair, to a lot of scientists) it reads as ‘big enough to be important’.

    However, AGW requires both statistically and scientifically significant temperature increases. Jones claims that there’s evidence for statistical significance (but that conclusion is still uncheckable) but the amount of warming that he’s claiming is significantly less than what any of the warmist models predicted and may well be too small to be important.

    “less than the models predicted” is important – it means that the models are wrong, so there’s no point in continuing to use them to predict the future.

    Then again, we already knew that. Their predictions for hurricanes and cyclones are wrong too.

  10. >Do you feel up to the challenge, pete?

    A Google search will get you better answers than I can provide. That said, I can fill you in on the basics.

    CO2 is the primary driver of recent anthropogenic climate change.

    Past climate changes were not anthropogenic, and had different characteristics. The glacial-interglacial changes probably follow Milankovitch cycles:

    1: Change in solar angle melts polar ice, reducing the planet’s albedo.
    2: Reduced albedo => increased temperature.
    3: Increased temperature =>
    a. more melting of polar ice, leading to even lower albedo and more temperature increases.
    b. increased atmospheric CO2, leading to more temperature increases.

    (and something similar but opposite and slower in the other direction)

    Note that in this case the increases in CO2 happen after the albedo related temperature changes, and act as an amplifier for the warming rather than as a cause.

    CO2 was not the primary driver in the past. This is not because CO2 doesn’t cause global warming, but because in the past no one had pumped and extra 100ppm of CO2 into the atmosphere.

  11. Don’t take such an attitude toward the Creationists. Since the year 2000 I kept a copy of Summer’s Lease available on the web, before anti-AGW material really got popular or well thought out. Mr. Dunn is a historian. Who knows how much impact his article had? Quite a bit I assume. If not for this “creationist”, that article wouldn’t have been available on the web during those critical years. http://reactor-core.org/summers-lease.html

  12. >CO2 is the primary driver of recent anthropogenic climate change.

    That’s right, boys and girls, human-emitted CO2 has special magical powers that, even at less than 0.003% of atmospheric concentration, allow it to drive climate in a way that has never happened before in Earth’s entire history! It must be that icky capitalism we contaminated it with. Oooh look! A unicorn!

  13. Apparently simple laboratory physics is sufficiently advanced to be indistinguishable from magic, at least for esr.

    Where did you get 0.003% from? CO2 is about 0.04% of the atmosphere, with civilisation responsible for about a quarter of that.

  14. Climate scaremongers routinely claim that any given skeptic is a creationist, flat earther, etc. The NYT is probably doing this.

    But let us never forget Exxon’s criminal role in the Medieval Warm Period. If only King Alfred hadn’t taken their petrodollars!

  15. The enemy of your enemy is your friend. Your enemy is science (or at least, scientists), so your new friends are the creationists. I’m sure you’ll have a lot of good times together.

  16. > I believe all the supposed ’science’ about human-caused warming is permeated with error and fraud … I did not arrive at this judgment casually, but by careful study over many years.

    One has to wonder what exactly it is you’ve been studying. If you had even a passing familiarity with atmospheric science or physical oceanography there would be some evidence for it in your polemics. Maybe you’ve looked at the source for the CCSM coupler and found it wanting? Obtained easily available raw station data and produced you own 20th century reanalysis free of bias? No doubt you’ve collated a bibliography of journal papers you’ve read in the course of your study, that you will make available to the community for auditing? Yes?

  17. Note that in this case the increases in CO2 happen after the albedo related temperature changes, and act as an amplifier for the warming rather than as a cause.

    Pete, you failed to answer the most important question… If CO2 is such an amplifier, why is it that when CO2 is at its highest, temperatures can fall for eight centuries before the CO2 follows suit?

    And if you look at the record, there are roughly 10K years in the interglacials. This interglacial is a thousand or two years overdue to plunge into the next ice age. The paucity of sunspots right now should have us looking for ways to fight that, if it’s even possible to do so.

  18. >CO2 is the primary driver of recent anthropogenic climate change.
    >
    >Past climate changes were not anthropogenic, and had different characteristics.

    Recent climate change is, by AGW crackpot definition, anthropogenic, no need to demonstrate the “fact”.

    And recent climate change’s most noticeably “different characteristic” is that it has been substantially smaller than many past changes, the Medieval Warm period was substantially warmer than current temperatures.

  19. CO2 is about 0.04% of the atmosphere, with civilisation responsible for about a quarter of that.

    And there we have the root of it. The True Believers of the Church of Gorebal Warming have their own version of Original Sin, and it is “civilisation”. The only way to make Gaia stop crying is to reverse the last four thousand years of human history, and return to a pre-Stone-Age Garden of Eden. But all have sinned, and fallen short of the Glory of God. They will sell indulgencescarbon credits to expunge your guilt for not living a subsistence existence.

  20. It’s neccesary to completely discredit IPCC and the muppets currently running the show, move on and start serious study on the matter from a fresh angle and with transparency.

    AGW is not what’s in question. What’s in question are the investigative methods and the hidden political agendas of the the people running them. AGW is a possibility that should be taken seriously and just because these people screwed up doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. That reasoning is paralel to the one that says we shouldn’t question the “consensus” and it’s as full of ideological and political bias. The very fact that we are identifying fraud with the acronym AGW is dangerous. AGW is a scientific hipotesis that can be true or false (or undecidable), it can’t be fraud, just the methods can be.

    So let’s finish these clowns and start over but let’s keep our heads cool about the need to really research what’s (or it’s not) going on. The stakes are high.

  21. @William B Swift:

    Recent climate change is, by AGW crackpot definition, anthropogenic, no need to demonstrate the “fact”.

    This has been very well demonstrated by the science. The fact that you haven’t bothered to do your research doesn’t require me to pretend ignorance.

    the Medieval Warm period was substantially warmer than current temperatures.

    But apparently there’s no need for you to demonstrate this “fact”? Reconstructions of medieval temperatures show that we exceeded them sometime last century.

    @The Monster:

    Pete, you failed to answer the most important question… If CO2 is such an amplifier, why is it that when CO2 is at its highest, temperatures can fall for eight centuries before the CO2 follows suit?

    Temperature was leading CO2. So when the temperature reversed due to orbital changes, CO2 didn’t follow until temperature had reduced enough for CO2 to “catch up”. Hence the lag.

  22. Pete, here is a fundamental test:

    Reset a climate model to 1950 and feed it all the climate forcing data from the last 50 years. Until the model can reproduce the *observed* weather patterns over the time period there is no justification in trusting any of its predictions for the future.

    None.

    Modeling the behavior of complex systems is hard when you have a full understanding of all the processes involved. Trying to model the Earth’s climate when you don’t know such fundamental things as what drives cloud formation makes the task impossible.

    And, when the Domesday book records vineyards in England and the Vikings found a green Greenland during the same period the ‘reconstructions’ you refer to are more like obfuscations.

    Further, how can humans affect the temperatures of other planets? The whole solar system is warming, not just Earth.

  23. >Where did you get 0.003% from?

    The Mauna Kea measurements claim CO2 has gone from 310ppm to 380ppm in the last century.

  24. Global warming contrarians like Eric and other self-described libertarians who post here do indeed have much in common with the creationists:

    Both are driven in their opposition to science not by “Truth” but instead by their separate agendas.

    A creationist must dispute evolution because to do otherwise does away with god; a libertarian contrarian must dispute climate science because to do otherwise means accepting the possibility that state parties and (even) international political agreement might be useful (or even necessary).

    In each case the opposition is inherently irrational.

  25. >The Mauna Kea measurements claim CO2 has gone from 310ppm to 380ppm in the last century.

    Which gives 0.007% for last century, or 0.01% if you count the 19th century too.

    Weird error to make, although you seem to have decided that I had attached the adjective “anthropogenic” to the noun “CO2″ rather than to the phrase “climate change”, which is even weirder. Then there’s the reference to unicorns, which suggests to me that you might want to cut down on the cocoa.

  26. “Both are driven in their opposition to science not by “Truth” but instead by their separate agendas.”

    Argument by psychobabble and repeating the word “science” as a magic incantation.

  27. Both Creationists and AGW alarmists have a similar disregard for the scientific method.

    Intelligent Design is unfalsifiable, therefore it isn’t science.

    Yes, there is a greenhouse effect. Yes, CO2 and methane and H20 are greenhouse gasses. But, the different methodologies for determining the temperature of the Earth yield results that have wider margins of error than the supposed effects we’re trying to investigate. There are huge holes in the temperature record that AGW alarmists have been taking advantage of to help them finesse whatever results they want out of the data. Given the relatively short temperature history we have access to, assigning primary responsibility for any trends to human activities does not rise to the level of a testable scientific theory.

    The measurement of a statistically significant warming trend dosn’t say *anything* about the source of the warming. It just shows that a claim that the temperature hasn’t changed isn’t supported by the data. If my theory was that the temperature is rising because the USSR collapsed, I’d find just as much support for my theory in the non-“value-added” temperature data as AGW proponents have found for theirs. Showing that the globe is/was warming doesn’t come close to proving the anthropogenic part.

    The only bits of AGW that haven’t already been torn to shreds by “deniers” are the parts that are beyond the realm of science. The scientific predictions made by people who believe in AGW have generally been in two categories: “falsifiable and false” or “unfalsifiable”. The AGW signature isn’t there. The posited feedbacks haven’t lead to the cascading climactic failure we were warned about. They even changed the name from “Global Warming” to “Climate Change” because everyone can observe that the climate in many parts of the world is changing. We’re just not able to predict what changes will happen where over decadal or longer timeframes with any reliability.

    We’ll eventually know enough to make some judgements about human impacts on global temperature trends, but current AGW theories are just “sciency” activism that make a mockery of science. Just like Intelligent Design proponents do.

  28. Soooo sorry to disagree , Tom. [/sarc]

    Climate science is neither. Climate is measured in thousands to hundreds of thousands of years, not decades and science requires EXPERIMENTAL confirmation of hypothesis.

    Nobody has described any actual recorded climactic changes since we barely have a written history longer than 3 thousand years and absolutely no actual measurements with the accuracy required for purported AGW changes longer than 60 years, let alone a thousand of two. Nobody has actually designed the data collection to represent and random sample of earth temperatures – what we have in that regard is worse than problematic – its a joke. I wouldn’t use that surface station “data” if you paid me millions. It’s simply trash.

    Proxy measurements are problematic, unconfirmable, and theoretical and have a documented history of data manipulation eg Briffa, Mann etc. and in any case do not support the kind of accuracy needed to confirm AGW. Some of the proxy data can actually be employed to DISPROVE AGW.

    Secondly, you can get back to me once actual experiments with planetary heat exchange systems have been performed and replicated to confirm that .5 degree celsius rise caused by a 25% increase in atmospheric CO2 purported to be caused (but not proven) by fossil fuel combustion. ROFL

  29. Which gives 0.007% for last century, or 0.01% if you count the 19th century too.

    I’m not following you.

    380 PPM == 380/1000000 == 0.0038

    0.0038*100 == 0.038%

    Or am I missing something?

    ESR says: Dammit! I did the arithmetic right and then typoed the percent back in. *facepalm*

  30. >esr Says:
    >March 4th, 2010 at 6:27 pm
    >>CO2 is the primary driver of recent anthropogenic climate change.

    >That’s right, boys and girls, human-emitted CO2 has special magical powers that, even at less than 0.003% of atmospheric concentration, allow it to drive climate in a way that has never happened before in Earth’s entire history! It must be that icky capitalism we contaminated it with. Oooh look! A unicorn!

    Spew warning!

  31. Tom, the modelers have been trying for at least 40 years to scare the population at large in to accepting state control of their lives.

    The Club of Rome models and associated doom-mongering in the late 60s- early 70s were wrong. Know that I went to school with Dr. Forrester’s son and we knew bullshit when we saw it back then. A quote from 1971: “If the Club of Rome modeled New York City beginning in 1870 they would have come to the irrefutable conclusion that by 1970 we would all be up to our clavicles in used horse food.”

    The Global Cooling models and scares in the 80s-90s were wrong.

    The Global Warming (now generic Climate Change) models are wrong now.

    Tell me exactly *how* do you define the average temperature for a system that is not remotely close to thermodynamic equilibrium? Where do you measure it, knowing that we don’t have *any* usable historical data for 70% of the surface of the planet and damn-near no high-quality data for the other 30%. Even the US temperature stations have been so poorly placed and maintained that 80% of them are providing 2 degree or more elevated readings.

    You can’t accurately measure the air temperature if you put a radio transmitter *inside* the enclosure with the thermometer, or put it on top of an asphalt parking lot, or next to an air conditioning condenser.

    If your input data is garbage the outputs of all these bad models will be garbage squared, and not REMOTELY good enough to justify the economic interventions that the AGW crowd propose.

    I don’t deny the climate changes, I DO deny the models out there come remotely close to accurately predicting future trends or can justify imposing carbon credits, ‘green jobs’ and the rest of the central planning crap coming from Gore et. al.

  32. >>> The Mauna Kea measurements claim CO2 has gone from 310ppm to 380ppm in the last century.
    > > Which gives 0.007% for last century, or 0.01% if you count the 19th century too.
    >I’m not following you.
    >380 PPM == 380/1000000 == 0.0038

    0.007% is the the percentage change i.e. 100% * (380 – 310)/(10^6). I guess Tom thought that was what Eric meant. At any rate, 0.04% is the right number to 2 sig fig. If you think this is too small to have a measurable macroscopic effect then feel free to make your cocoa with a 380ppm arsenic solution.

  33. OK, at the risk of repeating myself:

    The common contrarian position, as exemplified by Eric’s now-frequent “it’s all a fraud” posts, is not one informed by the actual published science (oops, there’s that word again) but is rather cobbled-together punditry comprising the same old recycled myths being pushed by those who in many cases freely admit they made up their minds long ago.

    My point is that I suspect “libertarian” minds in particular have been made up not because of any perceived problems with or inconsistencies in the science (none of which in fact stack up on analysis), but chiefly because of the peculiar libertarian worldview. (Witness Rick T’s invoking of the “state control” bogeyman above and Monkton’s frequent use of the global communism strawman.)

    The fact that repeated attempts by Pete and others here familiar with the science to point out that contrarian punditry is usually misconceived or downright wrong are simply shouted down is particularly telling.

    I suppose I’m not expecting to change anyone’s mind about this. It just seems so “stick in the eye” obvious that I couldn’t help poking the hornets nest again.

  34. >The common contrarian position, as exemplified by Eric’s now-frequent “it’s all a fraud” posts, is not one informed by the actual published science (oops, there’s that word again) but is rather cobbled-together punditry comprising the same old recycled myths being pushed by those who in many cases freely admit they made up their minds long ago.

    Silly man, I was just as skeptical of the global-cooling panic of the 1970s, years before I was a libertarian. Dislike for the stench of junk science crosses political boundaries.

    It wasn’t ‘punditry’ that first led me to smell a rat, it was noticing that the warmists had thrown the Medieval Warm Period down the memory hole. Nobody had to tell me that was bogus, I knew it myself because I had read period annals that showed wine grapes growing in England and as far north in Scandinavia as Lake Malaren. I also knew how the Little Ice Age had killed off the Greenland Colony. When I didn’t see that GAT crash in the “hockey stick” graph, I knew they had to be peddling bullshit. So I did the deductions from the evidence myself, get it?

  35. andrewc

    I think the point is that we do NOT know if such an increase in CO2 partial pressure has a measurable impact and we do NOT have the tech nor the spare solar systems required to confirm or deny such a hypothesis.

    In fact, the details of every single assumption underlying AGW are and will likely remain poorly known. We don’t know for a fact there has been a temperature increase; we don’t know that burning fossil fuels is causing the CO2 concentration increase, etc etc etc We can not even put a numerical probability value to our suspicions, nor accurate error bars on our data statistics. “Climate Science” can uncharitably be described as naturalist dilettantes desperately seeking astral-communion with mother-Gaia.

    The whole concept is absurd/fabulist as a result and will remain such for the foreseeable future.

    ESR is certainly not alone in discovering a pegged bullshit meter.

  36. Tom: theorizing about others’ psychological state is risky business, hard to prove/disprove your theory in a debate for obvious reasons.

    Now, discussing libertarianism and solutions to AGW is interesting. If ESR *were* an AGW-believer, I reckon he would be of one of the following opinions: 1) state intervention is not unlibertarian (property rights protection) 2) state intervention is unliberterian but the market will solve it 3) who cares, let the world warm, we need to see this as a force of nature, not drag people into it, just like we don’t sue earthquakes for vandalism.

    ESR, which option would you go with?

  37. >ESR, which option would you go with?

    If I believed in AGW, the option I’d go with is: “We’re fucked. There is no way the state interventions to ‘solve’ this problem won’t end up doing more damage than the problem.”

  38. >we don’t know that burning fossil fuels is causing the CO2 concentration increase

    You’re mostly correct in your skepticism, but wrong about this. Carbon-isotope tracing does verify that most of the 20th-century increase is anthropogenic.

  39. Sorry, ESR but that is not factual nor what I said.

    I said that we do not know that the increase was due to human’s fossil fuel burning – and we do not. Isotope tracing is filled with as many assumptions as most other science. We theorize/suspect but we do NOT know.

    [b]Science is not fact – it is probability and it is critical that we understand the significant difference. [/b]

    And btw, there has NEVER been any experimental confirmation of such isotope studies nor will there be in the foreseeable future, and probability does not figure into isotope studies since NO such numbers can possibly be generated.

    Further, there are many other problems with the data – many human and naturally induced processes differentially mobilize/sequester carbon isotopes and, as is typical, such processes are poorly understood and poorly quantified.

    Having worked alongside the scientists who study and quantify carbon budgets and cycles, I can tell you that what can not be measured adequately is ‘estimated’ and added to their flow charts. Such estimates generally fall into the category of WAGs and that’s fine – but such results must be taken with a grain of salt, as usual.

    BioBob PhD Aquatic Ecology

  40. >As you (should) know, the existence or otherwise of the Medieval Warm Period has precisley nothing to do with concern about anthropogenic climate change. And anyway, your memory-hole allegation is also baseless, by the way. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Description_of_the_Medieval_Warm_Period_and_Little_Ice_Age_in_IPCC_reports [It's All Text!]

    The Wikipedia page does not back your claim. Nowhere does it concede that GAT would have had to have been dramatically higher than today’s to allow wine grapes to grow that far north. It was when I noticed the absence of any feature on the “hockey stick” reconstruction where the MWP ought to be that I smelled bullshit. I did not know at the time that Steve McKittrick was smelling the same bullshit, and when I read about him my reaction was “WTF? Why does he have to be on a crusade about this? It’s not already well-known that this is a problem?”

    That’s when I decided I couldn’t trust what the “experts” were telling me and started seriously digging. The second and third things I learned about that pegged my bogometer were the use of pine ring widths for paleoclimate reconstruction and the theory that rising CO2 levels would lead to nonlinear increases in greenhouse trapping due to H2O (I don’t remember which I got to first).

    I knew the tree-ring reconstructions were bullshit because I had been paying attention during the first wave of dendrometry in the 1970s, back when the focus was on the American Southwest. I had learned then that ring widths are twice as sensitive to annual rainfall as they are to temperature, so if you don’t know the precipitation history in detail they’re useless as proxies for the latter. And the supposed link from CO2 to cloud cover just smelled — in particular, I couldn’t see even an attempt to justify the coupling estimates.

    The point is, no pundit had to tell me any of this. I noticed it on my own. Actually, I think I may have noticed the MWP problem before McKittrick did.

  41. “That’s right, boys and girls, human-emitted CO2 has special magical powers that, even at less than 0.003% of atmospheric concentration, allow it to drive climate in a way that has never happened before in Earth’s entire history! It must be that icky capitalism we contaminated it with. Oooh look! A unicorn!”

    ESR, I will not judge your own motivations in this matter, but making this a matter of capitalism, even jokingly, could backfire. Like it or not, there ARE people out there who will sell the world for a quick buck.

  42. >The point is, no pundit had to tell me any of this. I noticed it on my own. Actually, I think I may have noticed the MWP problem before McKittrick did.

    Righto. Fine. Point taken. You made up your mind long ago.

    But each of the issues you raise has been addressed in the published science. Which you would know if you had bothered to read (in particular) the IPCC 4th Assessment Report. So repeating them on a blog is, as I said in my post, punditry untroubled by the necessity to deal with the actual published science instead of some imaginary “alarmist” conspiracy.

  43. >Nowhere does it concede that GAT would have had to have been dramatically higher than today’s to allow wine grapes to grow that far north.

    I don’t know much about grape growing, but I suspect it would be sufficient for Scandinavian temperatures to be higher.

    From the Wikipedia entry on the Medieval Warm Period:

    A study by Michael Mann et al. finds that the MWP shows “warmth that matches or exceeds that of the past decade in some regions, but which falls well below recent levels globally”.[17] Their reconstruction of MWP pattern is characterised by warmth over large part of North Atlantic, Southern Greenland, the Eurasian Arctic, and parts of North America which appears to substantially exceed that of modern late 20th century (1961–1990) baseline and is comparable or exceeds that of the past one-to-two decades in some regions. Certain regions such as central Eurasia, northwestern North America, and (with less confidence) parts of South Atlantic, exhibit anomalous coolness.

    >Steve McKittrick

    pedantic note: Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick.

    >had learned then that ring widths are twice as sensitive to annual rainfall as they are to temperature, so if you don’t know the precipitation history in detail they’re useless as proxies for the latter.

    Increased temperature leads to increased evaporation leads to increased rainfall. This actually makes tree rings even better proxies than if they only responded to temperature, because they’re effectively sampling temperature over a wider region.

    >the theory that rising CO2 levels would lead to nonlinear increases in greenhouse trapping due to H2O

    How is this controversial? Increased temperatures mean increased humidity, and water vapour is a greenhouse gas.

  44. > The Wikipedia page does not back your claim.
    My “claim” was that your allegation that the “warmists had thrown the Medieval Warm Period down the memory hole” was false.

    My link shows the MWP had been referred to in all 4 IPCC Assessment Reports. Is anyone else confused?

  45. >My link shows the MWP had been referred to in all 4 IPCC Assessment Reports. Is anyone else confused?

    The point is that it was missing from the big fucking hockey stick that Hansen et al. were waving around at everyone. That’s what set off alarm bells in my mind.

  46. >Increased temperature leads to increased evaporation leads to increased rainfall. This actually makes tree rings even better proxies than if they only responded to temperature, because they’re effectively sampling temperature over a wider region.

    Um, did you take stupid pills this morning? Temperature is far from the only or even the primary driver of precipitation. You’d have to denmonstrate that all those drivers were below statistical noise level relative to temperature-precipitation coupling, first.

    >How is this controversial? Increased temperatures mean increased humidity, and water vapour is a greenhouse gas.

    It wasn’t the sign of the coupling that bothered me, it was the nonlinearity and the lack of any principled justification for the coupling function. Much later, after my skepticism was well formed, I learned that I hadn’t been skeptical enough — the effects of albedo shift from increased cloud cover are significant and may even reverse the sign of the coupling.

  47. >Actually, I think I may have noticed the MWP problem before McKittrick did.

    And you invented the internet that same week, right? So, hand-waving grapevine temperature reconstructions good, published, scrutinised tree-ring reconstructions bad? Anyone else notice the irony (not to mention the bizarre inductive leap from ‘grapes grown in a location’ to ‘global mean temperature’)?

    > And the supposed link from CO2 to cloud cover just smelled — in particular, I couldn’t see even an attempt to justify the coupling estimates.

    Then you didn’t look. Seriously, if you have a scientific point to make then make it, all I see so far is parroting of sceptic talking points. Squawk.

  48. hey pete –

    explain to all of us how you get from tree ring width increases of 3 millimeters +- 7 mm to .5 C temperature increase anomaly – damned if i can do the math :D

    While we are asking you to pull rabbits out of a hat, explain to us all how an increase in temperature someplace guarantees increased precip everywhere or somewhere or anywhere or wider region possibly-could-should-might-implies-probably-definitely, p=95% !!!!

    Heya, we could use some info on how you can get a 100 foot rise in sea level by 2100 or 2300 or whatever from an estimate of 10 cm increase per century +- 10 cm ?

    Inquiring minds want to KNOW

    Yeh – that’s the ticket ! I just am sure you will provide definitive answers science has been waiting for since that little girl asked ‘why is the sky blue?’

  49. @BioBob

    If you’re actually interested in the answers you could head over to the IPCC site and start reading.
    But you’re not so you won’t.

  50. >(in particular) the IPCC 4th Assessment Report.

    Isn’t that the report that was full of horseshit about imminently melting Himalayan glaciers based on a telephone conversation with a guy who was projecting based on anecdotal evidence from a student paper? Real high standards of evidence in those, yes sirreee….

    At this point I’d trust the reading on a used car’s odometer before I’d trust anything the IPCC issued. Read my lips: not just zero credibility, negative credibility.

  51. >Um, did you take stupid pills this morning?

    Hey, I’m not the one making simple maths errors today.

    >Temperature is far from the only or even the primary driver of precipitation. You’d have to denmonstrate that all those drivers were below statistical noise level relative to temperature-precipitation coupling, first.

    Nope. Are you aware of what “proxy” means? Proxies don’t need to provide an exact measurement of regional temperatures, they only need to be correlated with them.

    @BioBob >While we are asking you to pull rabbits out of a hat, explain to us all how an increase in temperature someplace guarantees increased precip everywhere or somewhere or anywhere or wider region possibly-could-should-might-implies-probably-definitely, p=95% !!!!

    Strawman.

  52. >Isn’t that the report that was full of horseshit about imminently melting Himalayan glacier.

    This must be a new meaning of the phrase “full of” that I was unaware of.

  53. > Read my lips: not just zero credibility, negative credibility.

    Just so we’re clear, you’re saying that the use by the IPCC of *one* non-peer reviewed source in one chapter of the Report means that the entire Report (and everything else “issued” by the IPCC) lacks credibility? Are you sure you want to go there?

  54. @ pete, andrew

    lol, sorry, I just had to pull your chain

    even you would have to admit that a vast planetary heat engine with a 4+ billion year history, controlled by a remote nuclear-decomposition engine interacting with a vast universe is more complex than we can understand/measure at this moment; that massively chaotic systems such as weather defy small scale quantification or prediction or determination of causation.

    we model, we learn, we try to understand but we are human and error prone, over-proud, over-confident, and ignorant.

    Lose the certitude, the hubris, and understand that we are insignificant and universe is big and unknowable – and dispenses its secrets grudgingly, and then we promptly forget them – rofl. It really is too funny.

  55. > The point is that it was missing from the big fucking hockey stick that Hansen et al. were waving around at everyone. That’s what set off alarm bells in my mind.

    By “missing” you presumably mean “weaker than I expected to see having read some historical accounts”.

    In any event, as we all know tree-ring data is only one proxy source. Other proxy reconstructions generally tally pretty well with the “big fucking hockey stick” that contrarians so like to pretend has been “discredited”.

    There’s a decent summary (with a nice graph at the end) here.

  56. AGW all boils down to one question:

    What is the temperature of earth today ?

    If the absurdity of that question does not set off alarms in your head, nothing will.

    And yet that is exactly what “climate science” purports to provide – an answer that no human can provide and that is so nebulous that it can not be answered because it can not be defined nor can the data be discovered.

    And whether you like it or not, proxy data is ‘trash data’ and can ultimately only be used for comparison with itself and has no quantifiable relation to absolute real-world physical measurements. It’s interesting, but ultimately limited in utility, especially when AGW types are concerned about .5 degrees C.

  57. The UK Met Office will no longer be publishing seasonal (i.e. 3 month) forecasts, saying that it is “very hard to forecast much beyond a week”:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8551416.stm

    Yet they, the IPCC, CRU, and all of the other AGW-pushing “scientific” organisations around the world are telling us what the temperature will be in 50 years’ time (or, at least, what it will be if we don’t stop driving and flying).

  58. Pete, you failed to answer the most important question… If CO2 is such an amplifier, why is it that when CO2 is at its highest, temperatures can fall for eight centuries before the CO2 follows suit?

    Temperature was leading CO2. So when the temperature reversed due to orbital changes, CO2 didn’t follow until temperature had reduced enough for CO2 to “catch up”. Hence the lag.

    You just don’t see the flaw in that at all, do you? If CO2 was supposed to be amplifying the temperature increase, then when the other forces at work started pushing it back down, the high CO2 level should have pushed back, hard, and continued pushing back until the reduced temperatures brought the CO2 level down enough to reduce the power of the CO2.

    When I look at, say, the Vostok data, I see that CO2 levels reached 300 ppm ~325 My ago when the temperatures were falling at their fastest rate. Even at 300 ppm, CO2 is therefore insignificant compared to the actual drivers of the process; what reason is there to believe that at 380, 400, or even 500 ppm it will suddenly overpower those drivers?

  59. >what reason is there to believe that at 380, 400, or even 500 ppm it will suddenly overpower those drivers?

    Because it’s politically required, of course. Duh.

  60. Just so we’re clear, you’re saying that the use by the IPCC of *one* non-peer reviewed source in one chapter of the Report means that the entire Report (and everything else “issued” by the IPCC) lacks credibility?

    First of all, a lot more than just that one issue has come up. I consider the totality of the situation and reject your attempt to lock it back down to just that one issue.

    Secondly, you have two basic choices here. Either the IPCC summaries are the best summarization of the science possible, the golden standard of research before which denialists should just quaver in fear and awe and shut the fuck up, each line lovingly crafted and carefully checked against unbiased peer review and just generally unassailable as science and it contains incredibly stupid errors like sourcing multiple things from advocacy groups and phone calls to a guy doing a master’s degree, or it’s just a sort of incidental document we should ignore and not actually the core of the climate change point, so it’s no big deal that it contains effectively unsourced assertions and untested garbage, all the good stuff is somewhere else, ignore the IPCC report.

    Which is it?

  61. >Which is it?

    If you had ever dealt with Biblical inerrantists you’d know the answer. The holy book is the one true and final answer to all skeptics and literally true in every detail, except for the embarrassing lapses and impossibilities from which all right-thinking people have learned to avert their eyes.

  62. Indeed.

    Instead of John 3:16, we need Ezekiel 23:20.

    From the NIV version:

    There she lusted after her lovers, whose genitals were like those of donkeys and whose emission was like that of horses.

  63. Hmm…I suppose it depends on whether hearing about donkey dicks or hard science scares them more.

  64. > Carbon-isotope tracing does verify that most of the 20th-century increase is anthropogenic.

    It shows that the carbon in the atmosphere is increasingly anthropogenic , but that’s something different.

    Carbon dating works because many life forms have carbon isotope preferences.

  65. > The Mauna Kea measurements claim CO2 has gone from 310ppm to 380ppm in the last century.

    How long have they been doing accurate CO2 measurements on Mauna Kea and why aren’t there any from somewhere else?

    Mauna Kea is a volcano that spews CO2. Since its “spewage” of lava varies over time, I’d suspect that its CO2 emissions vary as well. (I suspect that someone started measuring CO2 at MK because of its CO2 emissioins.)

    I don’t know how long it takes to reach a new equilibrium, but I’d be surprised if the equilibria were always flat wrt the atmosphere as a whole.

  66. > Secondly, you have two basic choices here.

    I choose pink. No – wait – blue.

    False dichotomies and har-har snark about “biblical authority” don’t really move your position beyond contrarian punditry, do they?

  67. @The Monster:

    >When I look at, say, the Vostok data, I see that CO2 levels reached 300 ppm ~325 My ago when the temperatures were falling at their fastest rate.

    325 ky ago right? Are you reading the ice core in the right direction? They often plot it with present day on the left, and depth (i.e. going back in time) along the x-axis.

    >Even at 300 ppm, CO2 is therefore insignificant compared to the actual drivers of the process;

    No one is claiming that CO2 overpowers all other factors at all times and on all scales. But it’s been the dominant factor over the last 100 years and will be the dominant factor over the next 100.

  68. Tom, you dodged my point. You can’t hold up the IPCC report as the golden standard, but just stuff the manifest problems it has shown under the table. If you want to cite it as an authority, then explain to me in some reasonable manner why a document that has been proved to contain an unsupportable position based on a phone call to some guy doing a master’s thesis in a non-climatology field (IIRC), amongst several other problems, all well-substantiated. Why should I defer to this authority?

    Watching both you and pete try to beat us “denialists” over the head with authorities is downright surreal; have you been paying no attention in the past few months? You can’t use IPCC report authority to shut down inquiries into the validity of the IPCC report, that’s just circular appeals to authority, two, two, two fallacies for the price of one

  69. >Why should I defer to this authority?

    We’re not asking you to ‘defer to this authority’. We’re asking you to have at least a minimal understanding of the science you’re criticising. The IPCC reports remain a good source of the basic science.

  70. >The IPCC reports remain a good source of the basic science approved Party line.

    There, fixed that for you.

  71. @Jeremy
    The IPCC Assessment Reports are comprehensive assessments of the state of climate science. Any errors that may be identified in an IPCC Report are (and have been) publicly corrected.

    I’m not asking you or anyone else for that matter to “defer” to the published science, but gee it would be nice if you at least read (even some of) it first. If you are actually interested in the answers (rather than high school debating tactics) you might find that some or all of the issues raised by contrarians have been comprehensively addressed already.

  72. When I read predictions of dire happenings in years to come, when weather reports aren’t reliable more than 3 days out, I recall A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court.

    I also remember my favorite story that the Sufis tell about Nasruddin. It seems his neighbor found him daubing flour paste on the walls of his house.

    “Why are you doing that?”

    “To keep the lions away.”

    “But there are no lions in Bagdad!”

    “See?”

  73. @ Andy Freeman
    >How long have they been doing accurate CO2 measurements on Mauna Kea and why aren’t there any from somewhere else?

    How long ? Roughly since they were 1st able to perform CO2 analysis in the 1960 – 70 period

    They actually do perform CO2 measurements at a number of places – you can read all about them and see their numbers @
    http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/co2/sio-keel.html

    You concerns about accuracy/measurment bias have always been addressed and a sample of such discussed is detailed here:
    http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    Measurement error and bias is not really a serious issue and the scientists involved have ALWAYS provided the details of their analysis and raw data, unlike the voodoo AGW CRU gang, ROFL

  74. Jeremy:
    > You can’t hold up the IPCC report as the golden standard, but just stuff the manifest problems it has shown under the table … Why should I defer to this authority?

    There are three IPCC working groups: WG1 reports on the physical science, WG2 reports on impacts, WG3 reports on mitigation. You don’t have to look hard to find climate scientists who have a beef with this or that section or statement in the WG2 or WG3 reports. This is not surprising because there is a lot of uncertainty about impacts and consequently there is room to reasonably hold a range of opinions. There is far less uncertainty in estimates of climate sensitivity to CO2

    Impacts and mitigation depend logically on the science reported in WG1. The science on WG1 does not depend logically on the material reported in WG2 and 3. I’d like to see WG2 and 3 report a year or two after the science report is released to make this decoupling clear.

  75. Are you reading the ice core in the right direction? They often plot it with present day on the left, and depth (i.e. going back in time) along the x-axis.

    Yes, I’m reading it correctly. here is a particularly easy-to-read graph. If you look at ~325Ky (yes, you’re right about my mislabelling that as My before), you can see that CO2 peaked at ~300 ppm as temperatures were plummeting. That CO2 so clearly trails temperature (by eight to twelve centuries depending on who does the analysis — one researcher found excellent fit at 1073y lag) makes it really difficult to believe that CO2 can ever be in the driver’s seat.

    No one is claiming that CO2 overpowers all other factors at all times and on all scales. But it’s been the dominant factor over the last 100 years and will be the dominant factor over the next 100.

    You assert this, but where’s the evidence?

    As I said, CO2 has been roughly this high before at ~325k years ago, when temperatures were falling their fastest. Where is the basis for the idea that neo-CO2 today is somehow more powerful than paleo-CO2? Is anthro-CO2 like Crack Cocaine, some highly-refined, super-powered form of the substance, with special power that “natural” CO2 somehow lacks? If temperatures can be falling that rapidly with 300 ppm CO2, how can 380 ppm CO2 drive an increase?

  76. I also remember my favorite story that the Sufis tell about Nasruddin. It seems his neighbor found him daubing flour paste on the walls of his house.

    I heard that story as about a “magic rock” that keeps the tigers away.

    It’s basically the same argument that neocons use to support the PATRIOT Act.

    Never mind that most of the time law enforcement’s new PATRIOT Act superpowers are deployed against non-terrorist criminals such as drug dealers.

  77. >You assert this, but where’s the evidence?

    If you’re interested in the evidence I would suggest reading IPCC AR4 WG1.

  78. The problem is not that I haven’t read significant portions of the latest IPCC report. The problem is that I’ve also read the counterarguments. Many of them are quite simple, yet powerful; for instance, I think the idea that we’re currently in “unprecedented warming” has been utterly demolished, and given that the way in which it has been demolished is to concretely point out actual other times in history which have seen every bit as much warming every bit as quickly (and in many cases more quickly), it doesn’t matter now how much a someone blathers on about this point or how many computer models you throw at the problem. It’s a simple question with a simple answer. This is just one example of such things.

    The other problem is that it doesn’t matter what masterful scientific structure has been built on top of what I think has been fairly persuasively argued is faulty data. GIGO. Until someone can give me a really, really good explanation of why the surface station record is having its urban heat island encroachment “corrected” upward on a routine basis, for instance, I remain underwhelmed.

  79. >Until someone can give me a really, really good explanation of why the surface station record is having its urban heat island encroachment “corrected” upward on a routine basis, for instance, I remain underwhelmed.

    Have a look at this graph from this page at NOAA.

    The purple line is the UHI adjustment. It’s clearly been corrected downwards.

  80. Surface station data is trash – period.

    It was never designed to perform the kind of analysis that AGW folks have employed it for and in any case does NOT have the kind of accuracy / precision to support the claims of AGW ‘scientists’, who are actually closer to politicians or priests than scientists.

    The noise in the data from surface stations overwhelms any possible observed temperature increase. It’s a simple matter of low sample size, sampling error, human error, observation bias, general lack of accuracy in historical data, and inappropriate ‘transformations’/corrections to data.

    You just can NOT get scientific accuracy from a poorly designed data collection scheme – period. But not only is the sampling methodology problematic, the demonstrated observational bias a la surfacestation.org also overwhelms any ability to descriminate the kind of resolution required.

  81. > The problem is that I’ve also read the counterarguments.

    Really? Then you’re missing something.

    As a few others have pointed out, parroting contrarian myths about the MWP and hand waving about how difficult the problems are doth not a “counterargument” make.

  82. Tom, as people keep telling you, parroting alarmist myths about AGW is a waste of everyone’s time (and ESR’s bandwidth) … unless you have some strange psychological need to publicly demonstrate your devotion to a set of beliefs you mistakenly label “science”. The same goes for Pete.

    Citing the IPCC or Wikipedia as credible authorities in this issue indicates an alarming lack of clue. Anyone who does this instantly loses most, if not all, of their credibility. (Wikipedia explicitly disclaims authority, relying instead on the sources cited in articles.)

    On another topic: The most disappointing thing I learned from climategate is that the temperature records we have are almost useless for climate studies. That’s not surprising: they were collected for meteorology, not for multi-decade longitudinal studies. (And there is a connection to the fall of the USSR: in the early nineties, military forces all over the world shut down lots of weather stations which would otherwise have been ideal sources of long-term data.) How do you extract some useful signal from all that crap? You have to massage the data. You have to use ad hoc methods, because those are the only methods you have. The only way to decide which ad hoc methods to use is to see which ones give results that look good. That is, you are forced to make less-than-scientific judgments before you even have data to work with! Observational (as opposed to experimental) sciences are always tough, but climate science is really hard.

  83. @Jeremy Bowers: >The problem is that I’ve also read the counterarguments. Many of them are quite simple, yet powerful;

    Any “simple, yet powerful” argument that an established scientific theory is wrong should set off some alarm bells.

    You can assume that if you’ve heard the argument, then so have the experts in the field. Yet the argument has not convinced them to abandon the theory! This is effectively an “existence proof” for a counterargument.

    You’ll generally find that a little searching will uncover this counterargument. It will usually be a little more difficult and nuanced than the simple+obvious+wrong argument it refutes, but you’ll learn a lot by finding it.. This rule has served me well when listening to the many superficially plausible arguments put forward by creationists.

  84. People keep debating the wrong questions.

    Is AGW real? Yes: CO2 is a greenhouse gas and human activities have increased CO2 levels, which has (will?) raise temperatures. But that question turns out to be unimportant.

    The important question is: how much warmer will it get?

    One of the few things about the climate that we have good numbers on are current and recent CO2 levels and the greenhouse effects of those levels. The predicted effect of the current increase roughly matches the claimed rise of 1°F (to 1 sig fig) in recent decades. (Note that temperature changes from CO2 go as the log of the CO2 level, BTW.) This is not significant compared to daily, annual or century-scale temperature variations. Even pushing CO2 levels to 4 times historic levels (let’s not!) would raise temperatures only 2°C over 1970s levels.

    So why are people worried? Because of a theory that CO2 levels could affect the greenhouse effects of water, the only greenhouse gas that matters. There was a proper scientific theory of how this could happen. Being a proper theory, it made a testable prediction (about tropospheric temperatures). The prediction has been tested: it failed. So much for that theory.

    The alarmists have some alarming predictions from climate models, but we cannot yet model the Earth’s climate accurately, because (a) we don’t understand several crucial mechanisms yet (eg., cloud formation) and (b) we don’t have enough compute power.

    So the best available answer to “how much warmer will it get?” isnot a lot.

    (Cue discussion of all the good reasons we should move away from fossil fuel …)

  85. The alarmists have some alarming predictions from climate models, but we cannot yet model the Earth’s climate accurately, because (a) we don’t understand several crucial mechanisms yet (eg., cloud formation) and (b) we don’t have enough compute power.

    I’m not so sure about (b). I think if we could understand (a), we could probably build a supercomputing infrastructure to come up with some real climate models. Clustering is the key, of course.

  86. Don’t forget: (c) we don’t have enough high quality data on what is going on now to feed the models, and (d) we are debating the settings on vernier dials but ignoring the *primary* system driver: the amount of energy coming from the Sun.

  87. @Chris Chittleborough
    > Citing the IPCC or Wikipedia as credible authorities in this issue indicates an alarming lack of clue.

    Citing the IPCC certainly does upset contrarians. Naturally enough, I suppose, as the published science refuses to agree with their beliefs.

    And, in case you’re having trouble following along, my link to a Wikipedia article in an earlier comment (being a summary of the four IPCC Assessment Reports) was to quickly show that ESR was – again – demonstrably wrong when he implied that the IPCC had “hidden” (“thrown down the memory hole”) the medieval warm period.

    @Rick T
    > [we are] ignoring the *primary* system driver: the amount of energy coming from the Sun.

    Are you sure?

  88. > The important question is: how much warmer will it get?

    Well, that’s certainly *an* important question. For a more detailed discussion, you might read IPCC Working Group II’s report.

  89. For a more detailed discussion, you might read IPCC Working Group II’s report.

    You might also consult star charts, tea leaves, the palm reader down on the corner… all have an equal chance at success in predicting this outcome.

  90. esr’s commenters: the IPCC is wrong, because it says X!!

    tom etc: But if you read the IPCC report, you would see that it doesn’t say X.

    esr’s commenters: why would we read the IPCC report? It’s wrong!! QED!!!

  91. > UPDATE: and, in a nice bookend, ABC follows the money, suggesting strongly that the scientific establishment has failed to clean house because alarmism is just too damn lucrative.

    Not really.

    Eric’s link is to a self-described “climate skeptic” opinion piece on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation website.

    Yes, that would be the government-owned and funded Australian public broadcaster. Yes, they are in the middle of doing what broadcaster’s call “providing balance in the debate”.

  92. @pete, Tom: You aren’t helping your case any by making repeated references to the IPCC reports. The issue at hand is heavily tied up with the validity/impartiality of said reports. If the skeptics are right, then the IPCC reports are, by definition, not correct; arguing from them simply by saying “it’s in the IPCC report, so it must be true” is (yes, really) like arguing the literal truth of the (Bible|Qu’ran|insert-holy-book-here) by citing that book. While it is certainly possible that the arguments contained in the reports are well-founded, they must be addressed on their own merits, not simply for having been included. While I agree that the Himalayan-glacier issues do not necessarily discredit the entire rest of the report, their inclusion does demonstrate that the reports are not infallible.

  93. If the skeptics are right, then the IPCC reports are, by definition, not correct; arguing from them simply by saying “it’s in the IPCC report, so it must be true” is (yes, really) like arguing the literal truth of the (Bible|Qu’ran|insert-holy-book-here) by citing that book.

    To remove the emotion from the argument when debating religious people over arguments like:

    religious guy: “<book> says foo so it must be so.”
    me: “And exactly what makes <book> an authority on foo?”
    religious guy: “Well, <book> says so right here…”

    I usually point out that it’s like a self-signed SSL website. You can’t trust the SSL website because the website itself says it can be trusted, you need good third-party verification. (The good third-party verification part being an entirely separate issue. :)

    That’s the case with IPCC report. We don’t have any good, reliable third-party sources that can vouch for it.

  94. @pete, Tom: You aren’t helping your case any by making repeated references to the IPCC reports. The issue at hand is heavily tied up with the validity/impartiality of said reports. If the skeptics are right, then the IPCC reports are, by definition, not correct; arguing from them simply by saying “it’s in the IPCC report, so it must be true” is (yes, really) like arguing the literal truth of the (Bible|Qu’ran|insert-holy-book-here) by citing that book.

    You’re missing the point; we’re not saying “it’s in the IPCC report, so it must be true”. It’s more like “it’s in the IPCC report, so it must be in the IPCC report”.

    Anyone who criticises things the IPCC hasn’t said is making a strawman argument. We’re directing them to the reports because they should be the starting point for any debate on climate science.

  95. Anyone who criticises things the IPCC hasn’t said is making a strawman argument. We’re directing them to the reports because they should be the starting point for any debate on climate science.

    This is true, but I notice you repeatedly saying, more or less, ‘just read the IPCC report’, in the absence of any evidence that the person to whom you address the direction has not, in fact, already done so. It’s an understandable impulse, if you don’t believe that the person you are replying to is aware of the arguments in the report, but repeatedly doing so to people who later turn out to have already read the report tends to give you a flavor of argument by authority.

  96. but I notice you repeatedly saying, more or less, ‘just read the IPCC report’, in the absence of any evidence that the person to whom you address the direction has not, in fact, already done so.

    No, neither Tom nor I have been saying any such thing. We’ve pointed to the IPCC reports in two cases:

    1) esr claimed that climate scientists had memory-holed the MWP. Tom pointed to the IPCC report (or at least to Wikipedia summaries) to show that they had in fact discussed the MWP. Hopefully we are in agreement that the IPCC report is an accurate source for the claims made by climate scientists.

    2) Commenters have asked questions which boil down to “what is the evidence for AGW?”. As it turns out, that evidence is conveniently summarised in the WG1 report. Why would we not send people there as an answer to that question? On the other hand, if specific questions have been asked about the evidence presented by WG1, we’ve tried to answer those.

  97. Hmmm. I’m thinking pete has a real point here. He claims he isn’t arguing from authority (although I think he is, to a certain extent), instead he is referencing the best summary of the argument he believes to be correct, that is, the IPCC report. I think of these things as levels of arguments. The first level for each side is their orginal argument. The second level is their replies to their opponent’s first level. The third level is their replies to their opponent’s second level, and so on. As I understand pete, he is claiming that the IPCC report is a good summary of several levels of argument about climate change, and that you can’t argue against it, or against the standard AGW view without reading the IPCC report.

    pete is partially incorrect. I can argue against the standard AGW view (and therefore undermine the report) without reading the IPCC report. When doing so I simply must avoid arguing about the specifics in that report. Instead I make general arguments against climate science. These are easy to make, and I have not heard them refuted.

    pete is also partially correct. You can’t effectively argue against the IPCC report itself without know ing what is in it.

    An example of a general argument against climate science is this. Predictive climate science depends on a historical science, paleoclimatology, for much of it’s theoretical power. But historical sciences are themselves notoriously unpredictable, simply because historical science is so difficult. Over and over within the historical sciences we have dramatic upheaval in our worldview simply because someone dug up a new place or came up with a radical new idea. The asteroid which killed the dinosaurs is a classic example, as is the 11,000 year old temple complex which moved back year zero of civilization 5,000 years.

    Then there is the problem of looking at the entire planet through a set of tiny pinholes. Please explain to me how we can determine the planetary temperature to the accuracy of one tenths of a degree for the thousands of years needed to develop a climatary baseline, much less global models. So how do we measure stratospheric temperatures back then? And what is the detail? What were the stratospherice temperatures above the Pacific 5000 years ago? What about 10000 years? And 15000 years? What about oceanic temperature and the changing shapes of the various oceanic thermoclines? Where is your detailed proxy for ocean temperatures? And how many global data points does it give us?

    The notion that we can get sufficiently accurate paleoclimatic data to inform current policy is ludicrous. We have never tried to apply a historical science to this sort of practical engineering problem before. Historical sciences are not useful for engineering purposes.

    There probably are arguments against this general argument about whether paleoclimatology can give us the information we need. For all I know someone found a wonderful proxy to give us stratospheric temperatures over every land mass twenty years ago. I will have to say, though, that if such arguments exist no one has pointed them out to me.

    Yours,
    Tom

  98. I can argue against the standard AGW view (and therefore undermine the report) without reading the IPCC report. When doing so I simply must avoid arguing about the specifics in that report. Instead I make general arguments against climate science. These are easy to make, and I have not heard them refuted.

    The best source for the standard AGW view is the latest IPCC report, but obviously you can still learn the standard view from other sources. But you can’t argue against the “standard AGW view” until you know what the standard AGW view is.

    For example, you say “Predictive climate science depends on a historical science, paleoclimatology, for much of it’s theoretical power”. But palaeoclimatology is only a small part of climate science. Much of the theoretical power of climate science comes from climate modelling based on basic uncontroversial physics.

  99. Much of the theoretical power of climate science comes from climate modelling based on basic uncontroversial physics.

    Can these climate models be fed data from 1950 and accurately predict the last fifty years’ climate change? If not, then why are we using them to determine policy? You might say that fifty-year scales are too small to be meaningful, and the predictive power is on larger scales–but if so, then why can we model these larger scales using only the 150-odd years of reliable data that we have? As far as I can tell from everything I have read, current thoughts on atmospheric modeling include comparatively little in the way of ‘basic uncontroversial physics'; it’s largely chaos theory. Models based solely on the uncontroversial physics are unlikely to be very accurate.

  100. pete,

    AGW depends strongly on paleoclimatology for confirmation of the theory. With no confirmation it has no power. We are dealing with a science which claims we must have decades, if not centuries, in order to weed out noise from the CO2 signal. Ideally to develop a good theory of planetary climate we would have tens of thousands of years of good observational data on thousands of planets. We don’t. We have extremely small amounts of data for a few planets (and moons) and a small amount of data for one planet. We have at best 15 to 20 decades of very spotty low quality data which was never designed to develop climate models from. Thus, paleoclimatology is needed.

    Yours,
    Tom

  101. @Tom DH: >Can these climate models be fed data from 1950 and accurately predict the last fifty years’ climate change?

    Yes they can. For details you could read the … wait, never mind.

    @Tom DG: >AGW depends strongly on paleoclimatology for confirmation of the theory.

    Okay, no argument here. But this is the empirical rather than theoretical side of climate science.

    >we must have decades, if not centuries, in order to weed out noise from the CO2 signal.

    Since the 95% confidence threshold for “significance” is rather arbitrary, so is the threshold for “enough years”. 15 is usually not enough, but 20 is usually sufficient.

  102. Reading the IPCC AR4 WGI CH8, wading through techspeak about climate models…They say that climate models “with very few exceptions” match observed temperature in retrodiction within 2 °C. Isn’t all the fuss about warming of about .5 °C?

  103. >Reading the IPCC AR4 WGI CH8, wading through techspeak about climate models…They say that climate models “with very few exceptions” match observed temperature in retrodiction within 2 °C.

    These are errors in local (gridcell) temperature, not global temperature.

    >Isn’t all the fuss about warming of about .5 °C?

    “Over 2°C” is the conventional wisdom for “dangerous warming”, although the most vulnerable nations would prefer we stayed under 1.5°C.

  104. pete,

    Twenty predictions isn’t very many. I would think, in addition we might want to get through some climeate cycles to see if the theory matches and explains them. Here are some cycles that a good climate theory should predict, explain or even rule out as important:

    The highly variable North Atlantic oscillation.
    The 3 to 7 year El Niño-Southern oscillation.
    The 11 year sun spot cycle.
    The 15 to 30 year interdecadal Pacific oscillation.
    The 20 to 30 year Pacific decadal oscillation.
    The 40 to 50 year Arctic oscillation.
    The 50 to 90 year Atlantic multidecadal oscillation.

    I’m trying to figure out how we can reasonably say that a climate theory is solid with only twenty years of predictions. I would think a good climate theory would explain and predict the variations in these cycles as well. Again, this theory has to be solid enough to do engineering. That’s a bit more rigor than the instructive and entertaining stories we get from good archeology, for example.

    Yours,
    Tom

  105. >Again, this theory has to be solid enough to do engineering.

    If we wanted to use geoengineering, sure. If we want to know whether it’s safe to double the concentration of atmospheric carbon, we can make that determination even when there’s considerable uncertainty.

    There seems to be a lot of people that think along the lines of: “we don’t have a perfect understanding of climate, therefore we can safely assume that climate sensitivity is low”.

  106. > If we wanted to use geoengineering, sure. If we want to know whether it’s safe to double the concentration of atmospheric carbon, we can make that determination even when there’s considerable uncertainty.

    Nope. The question about whether it is safe to double the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide is an engineering question as well.

    There also seem to be a lot of people that think along the lines of: “we don’t have a perfect understanding of the economy, therefore we can safely assume that people won’t die if we mess with it”.

    I’m afraid that the precautionary principle is useful only when there are a few unknown dangers. When there are many, it becomes utterly useless, since you can always pick a contrary danger.

    Yours,
    Tom

  107. >There also seem to be a lot of people that think along the lines of: “we don’t have a perfect understanding of the economy, therefore we can safely assume that people won’t die if we mess with it”.

    Having an imperfect understanding of something does not absolve us from making decisions, and does not imply that every position is equally sound. Not knowing everything is not the same thing as knowing nothing.

    If global warming is going to cost 15+/–5% of world GDP and mitigation is going to cost 2+/–3%, the fact that there’s a “+/–” doesn’t make the decision impossible.

  108. > If global warming is going to cost 15+/–5% of world GDP and mitigation is going to cost 2+/–3%, the fact that there’s a “+/–” doesn’t make the decision impossible.

    Sure, but I’ve no good reason to believe that’s true. That’s an engineering statement about cost, not a scientific statement provided by physics. You can’t make engineering arguments unless the science is up to engineering standards. And, as we have been discussing, you have given me no reason to believe the current state of the science is up to the task.

    Yours,
    Tom

  109. Sure, but I’ve no good reason to believe that’s true. That’s an engineering statement about cost, not a scientific statement provided by physics. You can’t make engineering arguments unless the science is up to engineering standards. And, as we have been discussing, you have given me no reason to believe the current state of the science is up to the task.

    I certainly haven’t, but climate scientists have and they’ve kindly summarised the evidence for you. Meanwhile, neither you nor anyone else have given me any reason to doubt their conclusions.

  110. > Meanwhile, neither you nor anyone else have given me any reason to doubt their conclusions.

    Sure I have. You asserted (without giving your reasons) that twenty years was enough. I gave you reasons it wasn’t, and you have failed to argue against them. You haven’t even given me one sentence based on that wonderful summary. My reasons may not have been sufficient to change your mind, but they are reasons.

    Yours,
    Tom

  111. >You asserted (without giving your reasons) that twenty years was enough.

    Evidence here.

    >No warming trend in the U.S. since 1895?

    So if there’s a positive global temperature trend but no US trend, which of those facts is more relevant to the theory of global warming?

    >Is this up to engineering standards?

    “engineering standards” is just a vague phrase. Do we have sufficient understanding to predict annual temperatures? No. Decadal temperatures? Yes. But we don’t need annual resolution predictions to know that we need to take action.

  112. pete,

    I looked at the link. Thanks. But it answers this question: “Of course that raises an interesting question: how long a time span do we need to establish a trend in global temperature data?”

    That wasn’t the question we are talking about. The question we are talking about is: How many years of predictions do we need to confirm the theory?

    I apologize if that was not clear. I dearly wish I had phrased it this way from the start.

    > So if there’s a positive global temperature trend but no US trend, which of those facts is more relevant to the theory of global warming?

    The positive global temperature trend is more relevant, provided it exists. But we have a big century long chunk of data in one of the places on the globe where we actually have data which shows no warming. That should raise some doubts for you. It’s true that this is only 1.5% of the globe’s area, as Hansen said. How much data do we have for the rest of the globe over that period?

    > “engineering standards” is just a vague phrase.

    A very useful phrase. Engineering is not like science. Engineers have to build things that could kill people if they fail but don’t. Scientists (generally) avoid potentially deadly expiriments. Engineers have to make good cost estimates for things they know how to do. Scientists can’t make good cost estimates, because no one has ever done it. (Check out the cost estimates for a break even fusion device. Scientists keep making them, but the truth is they don’t know.) Climate science does not have the proven record of success which engineering requires. It’s too young, and hasn’t got sufficient predictions under its belt.

    > Do we have sufficient understanding to predict annual temperatures? No. Decadal temperatures? Yes.

    Great. Your twenty yearly predictions just became ten decade long predictions (the other ten decade long predictions are for decades that aren’t finished yet). So there are even fewer predictions to confirm the theory. In addition, for the last twelve years (over a decade) the people promoting the theory cannot explain why the actual global behavior does not match their predictions.

    > But we don’t need annual resolution predictions to know that we need to take action.

    No, but we need enough predictions to confirm the theory, and it would really help if the theory didn’t have twelve years it couldn’t predict.

    It occurs to me that this is why you keep talking about fifteen to twenty years. You are claiming that we can ignore that twelve years because it is less that fifteen. OK. But that decreases the number of predictions the theory can make. If we need twenty years to establish a trend, that means that we must wait twenty years after each refinement of the theory before it has made one prediction. That’s a catastrophic reduction in the number of confirming predictions! It means we have had one prediction since 1990! One prediction for a statistical model is not very many.

    Yours,
    Tom

  113. pete,

    Something ate my last post, so I may repeat myself.

    Thanks for the link. It answers this question: “how long a time span do we need to establish a trend in global temperature data?” We have been discussing a different question: How many predictions does it take to confirm this theory? I’m sorry I did not state this so clearly before.

    > So if there’s a positive global temperature trend but no US trend, which of those facts is more relevant to the theory of global warming?

    The positive global temperature trend, if it exists. That century of data should concern you, though. True, it only covers 1.5% of the globe. But we don’t have a century of data for most of the globe. How much of the globe do we cover during that time period?

    “engineering standards” is just a vague phrase.

    It’s a very useful phrase. Engineers build things that, if they fail, can kill people. Scientists, OTOH, avoid potentially deadly expiriments. Engineer have to make good cost estimates. Scientists, who are doing things for the first time, don’t. Engineering is based on time tested, proven methods. Climate science is too young and has made too few predictions to be trusted.

    > Do we have sufficient understanding to predict annual temperatures? No. Decadal temperatures? Yes.

    I understand why you keep quoting fifteen to twenty years. It’s a possible way to account for the problem of the twelve flat years I referenced above. But it also means we have a catastrophic dearth of predictions. With decadal temperatures we have one prediction since 2000. With fifteen years we have one prediction since 1995. And with twenty years we have one prediction since 1990. That’s not many predictions. I’m still not sure it solves that twelve flat year problem. Those twelve flat years really damp down the increase since 1990. Sure, it’s a warming trend, but is it big enough to match the theory?

    > But we don’t need annual resolution predictions to know that we need to take action.

    No. We need a theory that is confirmed.

    This also goes back to the cycles I mentioned before. The warming trend issue does not help with those cycles. What we want to see is the theory confirming and explaining and predicting those cycles. As cycles they do not involve one warming trend. We need to see long tem cyclical behavior combined with the warming trend. We do not want warming trends caused by the cycles in question.

    Yours,
    Tom

    Yours,
    Tom

  114. >We need a theory that is confirmed.

    You’re framing this as an absolute, black-and-white issue: confirmed theories are valuable, unconfirmed theories have zero value. The question should be how well confirmed is the theory.

    >I understand why you keep quoting fifteen to twenty years.

    15–20 was for a very specific purpose: the number of years required to detect the warming trend in global surface temperature data.

    >The positive global temperature trend, if it exists. That century of data should concern you, though. True, it only covers 1.5% of the globe. But we don’t have a century of data for most of the globe. How much of the globe do we cover during that time period?

    It’s about 60–70%, and we can detect a warming signal in that data. (Note that if you add the last 20 years to that century of US data (your article is from 1989) you can detect a local warming signal; of course this is still local, and so much less relevant than the global signal.)

    >I’m still not sure it solves that twelve flat year problem. Those twelve flat years really damp down the increase since 1990. Sure, it’s a warming trend, but is it big enough to match the theory?

    There is no “twelve year flat problem”. If the theory predicts, say warming at a rate of 2°C/century, then the prediction for the decadal “trend” will be something like 0.2+/–0.3°C/decade. You just can’t test the theory over that sort of time frame. The last twelve years give a trend of 0.6+/–1.2°C/century — while you can’t say you’ve detected a warming trend given those uncertainties, you also can’t describe it as “flat”. The fact that it’s based on the cherry-picked 1998 start date reduces the confidence that the trend is “flat” even further. If you take the last 15 years, you get 1.2+/–1°C/century, a warming trend consistent with the theory. 20 years gives 1.5+/–0.3°C/century, at which point you can be confident that there has been warming over the last 20 years.

    Trenberth’s point is that climate science can’t do predictions at the annual scale. Clearly they would like to be able to! And because the media and the public have essentially zero understanding of statistics, he thinks it will be easier for climate science to advance to the point where it can make these annual predictions than it will be to explain why a decade or so of global temperatures tells us very little.

  115. I am yet again perturbed my the mixing up of global warming and anthropomorphic global warming. I am even more disturbed that global warming has any critics. The last time I checked, there were not large sheets of ice covering North America. Clearly the climate is warmer now than it was in the far past. The local climate in Europe is warmer now than it was during the “little ice age” and the climate in the northeastern part of the US is warmer now than it was when George Washington crossed the Delaware River. The polar ice cap is consistently thinner now than it was 50 years ago. All of these support the idea that the Earth’s climate is warmer now than it was in the past.

    I am worried that those who claim all global warming is a hoax do so for the same reason that strict creationists have to claim there is no evolution of any kind. As soon as the door is opened to allow the existence of global warming or evolution, then questions about how much, when, how long, do humans have anything to do with it are allowed. If we ask these questions and find out that humans may have an effect, then we are open to the possibility of trying to do something about it. I am also concerned that the convolution of the terms GW and AGW is a deliberate attempt to confuse the issue for short term gain.

  116. > You’re framing this as an absolute, black-and-white issue: confirmed theories are valuable, unconfirmed theories have zero value. The question should be how well confirmed is the theory.

    No, I’m not, that is in fact my big question. I will admit it sounds that way, because once science is drafted to work a potentially deadly or expensive problem (aka, engineering or medicine), the soundness required increases dramatically over say, theories created while studying climate because it is interesting.

    > You just can’t test the theory over that sort of time frame.

    Yes, and therefore a longer version of my question is:

    How many (and what kind of) predictions over what time frame constitute a fair test, given the number of lengthy climate cycles which could confound the data?

    I think you’ve told me we haven’t had sufficient time (or number of equivalent planets with useful data) to test this theory, given how long it takes to tease a warming signal out of the data.

    Yours,
    Tom

  117. How many (and what kind of) predictions over what time frame constitute a fair test, given the number of lengthy climate cycles which could confound the data?

    I think you’ve told me we haven’t had sufficient time (or number of equivalent planets with useful data) to test this theory, given how long it takes to tease a warming signal out of the data.

    What constitutes a fair test depends on three things: the theory you’re testing; the theory you’re trying to distinguish it from; and the level of confidence required.

    For example, if you wanted to detect a 2°C/century warming trend, against an alternative hypothesis of <1°C/century warming, with 95% confidence, you'll need 20 years.

    If you'll allow me to paraphrase your question, I think you want to know if we have enough data to distinguish these two theories (with an "engineering" level of confidence):

    (1) The recent warming is a result of anthropogenic CO2 working through a high climate sensitivity.
    (2) The recent warming is part of a natural cycle.

    In the case of the warming trend vs. no trend theories, it's easy to find the "crucial experiment" that separates them. The first theory predicts a 2+/–1°C/century measured trend over 20 years, the second predicts 0+/–1°C/century.

    Obviously it's slightly more complicated in the case of (1) vs. (2). But given the amplitudes, rates of change, and directions of the climate and weather cycles you mentioned, the last century and a half of data are enough to show that they can't account for the current warming, whereas current climate theory can.

  118. “The March of Folly: From Troy to Viet Nam.”7 Tuchman poses the question: How do men of weak moral fiber react when confronted with information that threatens their social status, or their financial circumstance, or their professional position, or their status as an expert or guru in one area or another, or their political power? Borrowing from the behavioral sciences, Tuchman explains that such men invariably manifest the behavior identified as cognitive dissonance. The behavior of cognitive dissonance involves three phases which Tuchman describes as follows:

    ○ Phase I: Characterized by denial, usually with an attitude of “Don’t bother me with facts; my mind is made up.”

    ○ Phase II: Characterized by waffling and attempts to denigrate or minimize the significance of the unwelcome facts, usually with expressed claims like, “Oh, we already know all about such and so, and it’s really not relevant or important,” and often, “If you really possessed all the information that we do, you would understand that such and so is not as you think it to be.” And so on.

    â—‹ Phase III: Characterized by outright lying. In this phase, the moral weakling can no longer deny the unwelcome facts, and his contemporaries or the general public know that he knows such, – and he knows that they know he knows it. In this phase, the fellow descends to outright lying; he makes pronouncements that he knows to be false, and hopes to brazen it all out.

    ex:
    http://www.gasresources.net/THECARBONISOTOPERATIONONSENSEcorrectedbyElyzabethforWashConference.htm

  119. pete,

    > the last century and a half of data

    That data set is very poor quality and low resolution. We could clean up the data, but we would need experimental means of doing so. Something like adding extra high quality stations in various regions, cleaning the low quality data multiple ways for a decent period (fifteen to twenty years by your estimate above), and seeing which clean up efforts were the best. (Bonus! We end up with more high quality data, which is good even for the nightly weather report.) But even so, 150 years produces only ten independant fifteen year experiments and only seven independant twenty year experiments. Since the models aren’t based completely on physics – some of the complex unknowns involving water vapor are modeled without being sure how the physics plays out – they are, at heart statistical models. We wouldn’t up-end the entire medical industry based on a study with only ten people (much less seven), and we wouldn’t certify an airplane based on only ten test flights – particularly using poor quality, cleaned up data.

    Everything you have pointed out so far has lead me to believe that sufficient confirmation is even harder than I originally thought, and you haven’t even addressed some of the long cycle scenarios.

    Yours,
    Tom

  120. biobob,

    I like “The March of Folly: From Troy to Viet Nam”, but I think Tuchman’s parallels fell a bit short when in came to Vietnam, since Abrams was actually able to turn the tide.

    Yours,
    Tom

  121. @Tom

    Nobody is perfect ;D

    I think we see eye to eye on AGW and surfacestation.org at any rate ROFL

    GIGO

    It’s hard for people untrained in science statistics to understand the proper way to do sampling to obtain repeatable results and that weather station data are dogs that won’t hunt.

  122. All this just makes me want to build an old-fashioned thermometer station, white-painted, with louvers, according to specs, in the back yard, far from the AC condenser, concrete slabs, etc. It would have an actual mercury thermometer in it too, for consistency with previous data. Can you still get a mercury thermometer these days?

  123. >The House of Commons has found no evidence of tampering with climatological data.

    E.g. the political fix was in. No surprise, especially not under a Labour government. And even if the Conservatives were in power, there’s billons of dollars of carbon-offset graft on the line here. The fraudsters’ allies won’t give up easily or soon.

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