In the Mail Today

Dmitry Sonechkin, the #2 author of Moberg, Sonechkin et al [2005], has replied that he cannot send the Indigirka series used in Moberg et al [2005] because the "series developers do not want to disseminate it. They say this series will be re-calculated soon to reject some errors in it (a general trend etc.)."

If the series developers did not want to disseminate it, you’d think that allowing it to be used in a multiproxy study in Nature is pretty strange way of not disseminating it. Secondly, if the series developers now change the series, what good is the new version in understanding Moberg et al [2005]. So if I want to actually look at the data, I now need to get into the same old war: write a Materials Complaint to Nature and fight with Nature for 12 months. And I’m sure that this stuff is ear-marked for IPCC 4AR. What a goofy way of running a scientific community. Then people get mad at me for being hard to get along with.

Sonechkin went on to say that the three bristlecone pine series, Indian Garden, Methuselah Walk and White Mountain Master – which I hadn’t asked for – were available from the well-known paleoclimate databank. Perhaps this comment wasn’t meant in a condescending way, although a similar comment by the Leinen of NSF was made in a condescending way (without any justification on her part.)

While I hadn’t asked for the bristlecone versions as used, Moberg cautioned that there might be a problem with a one-year discrepancy in the dates of the bristlecone series. He said that he recalls "from discussions with Dmitry, that we had some problems with deciding to which year we should assign the WUS-tree data. It is not impossible that, for example, the year 1962 in my file actually corresponds to 1963 in the progams that the Russian colleagues used to make the reconstruction. Honestly, I am not quite sure about this." Moberg goes on to point out that their "reconstruction does not contain any information on timescales shorter than 4 years" so that the "problem is entirely negligible for all conclusions drawn in the paper. It would also be nearly impossible to see by eye any difference between two versions of the reconstruction with the WUS trees shifted one year back or forwards." I can’t imagine why there would be any difficulty in deciding what year to use in the ITRDB data. If they weren’t sure about this in discussions, you’d have thought that they’d have sorted it out before publishing in Nature.

I guess that means that they probably got it wrong, but it doesn’t matter. As a small mercy, I guess it also means that we won’t be hearing claims based upon the "warmest year of the millennium" from them.

43 Comments

  1. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 7:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Hang in there. Keep pushing the peanut.

  2. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 9:03 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I am very happy that the folks at Nature who review climate change articles are not responsible for reviewing the calculations which NASA uses for the space program.

  3. JerryB
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 10:09 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Comment 2 reminds me of a wisecrack from another field: if archetects designed buildings the way that some people do “science”, one woodpecker could demolish the whole city.

  4. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 12:28 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Well at least they are consistent.

    In the mathematical models all positive + warming feedbacks are accentuated, all negative feedbacks are ignored.

    In the articles only the worse case scenarios (doom & gloom) are mentioned, best case, or “positive” outcomes are ignored.

    Obviously nothing mankind does could ever have a positive outcome.

  5. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 1:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #2. You forget this

    “The Odyssey is NASA’s first mission to Mars since it lost an orbiter and lander less than two years ago. The Mars Climate Orbiter presumably burned up in the martian atmosphere in September 1999 because propulsion engineers failed to convert English and metric units.

    Less than three months later, its sibling spacecraft the Mars Polar Lander likely crashed because a software flaw shut off the descent engines prematurely, sending it on a fatal plunge into the red planet.” Source: http://archives.cnn.com/2001/TECH/space/03/19/mars.odyssey/.

    NASA makes it’s own mistakes…

    NASA can be thankful Steve hasn’t decided to rubbish, sorry audit, space science. ‘NASAaudit’ – has a kind of ring to it.

    ET Sid V. Which negative feedbacks do the models ignore?

  6. TCO
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 1:25 PM | Permalink | Reply

    NASA should be damn glad that Dick Feynman and the Admiral each decided to audit them. and they (or anyone) can learn from that. Don’t be such a fraidy cat. Science is all about digging into things.

  7. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 1:50 PM | Permalink | Reply

    NASA can be thankful Steve hasn’t decided to rubbish, sorry audit, space science.

    You’re right. NASA probably prefers for the blunders to destroy their expensive equipment and occasionally human lives rather than have a non-aerospace engineer point-out flaws.

  8. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 3:05 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #6. I agree, but, lets get real here, the science of climatology clearly isn’t much wrong. Why? Because climatologist, wouldn’t you know it, are also enquiring types (all scientists are), and not the kind of uniformly deceitful, untrustworthy, dodgy lot this place tries to portray them as.

    Re #7. I doubt that, but maybe they do put lives before discovering flaws. You ask them.

  9. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 4:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The most obvious is clouds (shade) which have a signifigant impact, but are to random for the models to include. And no model has the resolution to properly incoprorate it.

    All people are selfish and decitful to a greater or lesser degree. Climatologists aren’t saints. Saints aren’t even Saints.

  10. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 5:39 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Come to think of it.

    For those that religously believe in AGW I can see where they would substitute those people that profer to tell them the future, as priests and of course some like Mann will gain Saint lke status. Kind hearted people who only have our future happiness in their hearts, of course they have no agenda.

    For those of us un-converted savages, we still see them as regualar people, with all the same positives and negatives as any other person.

    There is a reason why Double-blind experiments hold a greater value.

    But as another example to your question. By including any and all Hockey stick shaped tree ring samples that is incluiding positive examples without question. By excluding non hockey stick samples they reinforce their desired result by removing any non hockeysticks from the graph.

  11. per
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 5:55 PM | Permalink | Reply

    The rules for scientific publication are designed so that you do not have precisely this situation; an inner circle of the priesthood with access to privileged information, and no way for anyone else to examine this data. It is obviously a situation which is ripe for abuse, and is entirely counter to the ethos of science.

    A materials complaint sounds straightforward, and the reasoning is unarguable. The trouble is that nature is a money-making corporation, and if its resources get tied up in things like this, it is making less money.

    It may even be worth emphasising the point of principle, and “editorialising”; if you are also making a case that numerous climate papers in science/nature suffer from this, it has a significant effect on the ability to replicate studies in this field- which after all, has substantial policy implications. Similar themes have forced mandatory policies for publishing DNA sequence and crystallographic data in the biological sciences.

    yours
    per

  12. àƒ'?anàƒËœ
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 7:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    For those of us un-converted savages, we still see them as regualar people, with all the same positives and negatives as any other person.

    So, the physics isn’t robust enough to state that the CO2 gain in the atmosphere will raise temperature?

    Wow. Convene a conference and make a call for papers. There’s a paradigm to overturn (call Bjorn Lomborg and Lindzen, because they’re believers too, not savages).

    àƒ’?anàƒËœ

  13. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 7:16 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I’m sorry, when exactly did I say that. Or are you just putting words in my mouth. In fact my conversation had absolutely nothing to do with that.

    But those are the tactics that are common to the Church of AGW

  14. Murray Duffin
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 8:11 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Joel Barker, a futurist, has made a study of paradigms and their effects. He contends that there is a phenomenon associated with them called “paradigm paralysis”. The attachment is so great to the paradigm, that it is virtually impossible to change. Further it can become impossible for a person to take data on board that is in conflict with a cherished paradigm. Barker contends that the paralysis is neither age nor gender specific; some people are willing to change and some are not. He also notes that academics can be particularly prone to this affliction. Some corporations have sr. managers (VP candidates) assessed by “industrial psychologists”, and one of the key things they look for is “critical thinking” which involves the abilities to maintain objectivity, keep an open mind, see valid relations among seemingly disparate data and to question accepted wisdom if new info. appears to be in conflict. Critical thinkers seem to be relatively immune to paradigm paralysis, but can be at risk of becoming skeptical for the sake of skepticism, and have to guard against this tendency. They also tend to be “boat-rockers”, which can be good or bad depending on the context, but in my experience tends to be good when based on sound critical thinking.
    Barker sites examples where learned men are exposed to data that conflicts with and imperils their paradigm, and are then tested for recall of that data, and literally deny ever having seen it. Such data simply gets filtered out by the subconscious between the eye and the memory. Such people tend to get very defensive when confronted with either threatening data or evidence of their selectiveness, and often resort to non-sequitors, ad-hominems, and diversions to avoid rational debate.
    I think the hockey team and their acolytes are very hung up on their treasured paradigm, and are probably literaly unable to objectively view, or even take on board, conflicting ideas/data, and are probably unaware of their tendency to be selective, and therefore unable to change. Murray Duffin

  15. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 8:20 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Very Interesting in relation to Phill’s quotation from Aaron Wildavsky from his book about risk, just today.

    http://greenspin.blogspot.com/

  16. Greg F
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 8:54 PM | Permalink | Reply

    So, the physics isn’t robust enough to state that the CO2 gain in the atmosphere will raise temperature?

    Strawman. It is not a question of whether CO2 acts as a greenhouse gas, it is a question of how its properties effect the complex system we call climate and what the quantitative effects will be.

  17. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 8, 2005 at 9:10 PM | Permalink | Reply

    But it’s a complex, coupled, chaotic system. Obviously, changing a minor factor will drive the entire system to blast furnace like tempratures. It’s also just as obvious that changes in other major driving factors like solar ouput are only going to have minor effects. I mean it’s not like what the sun does could come close to what man can do, or a few cow farts.

    What I’m worried about is that these increasing tempratures will thaw out the beast.

    They say it’s as big as four cats, and it’s got a retractable leg so as it
    can leap up at you better and you know what Greg, it lights up at night, and it’s got four ears. Two of
    them are for listening and the other two are kind of back-up ears, and it’s claws are as big as cups and
    for some reason it’s got a tremendous fear of stamps and Dr. Mann was tellin’ me that it’s got magnets
    on it’s tail so as if you’re made out of metal it can attatch itself to you, and instead of a mouth it’s got four
    arses.

  18. Paul Gosling
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 1:36 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh Sid

    You were doing so well at presenting your fairly reasonable arguments, then it all went horribly wrong. Religious zealots, worshipping at the alter of their priests of the truth, on which side of the argument?

    I don’t know too much about chaotic systems, but isn’t the whole (interesting) point about them, that a small change in an apparently unimportant parameter can bring about a large change in the whole system?

  19. Ed Snack
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 2:39 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, that is one thing, also large changes in an apparently important parameter can bring about an insignificant change in the whole system. And that’s the thing about chaotic systems, you can’t tell which is which.

  20. Paul Gosling
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 4:34 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Personally I don’t believe in chaos theory. I like to think of it as an insufficiency of data theory. Things only appear chaotic because we don’t understand the system in question.

  21. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 8:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    re #20

    You need to read a bit more about chaos theory, Paul. There’s sound theory there about how tiny changes can make big differences. One way to think about it is understand how oscillations which reinforce can produce large vibrations, for instance what happened to the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Meanwhile relatively large oscillations can dampen out if they’re out of phase.

    Now you can claim that if you just knew a little bit more things would be understandable, but that’s just not the case. To put it in mathematical language:
    Given system C(t), C is chaotic if
    For some t, for every k gt 0 and every m gt 1 there exists a delta t lt 1/m such that
    C(t + delta t)- C(t) gt k.

    [sorry for the gt = greater than and lt = less than, but the silly system thinks they're part of html tags and won't show things right.]

    Actually that’s worded a bit strong, as we’re only interested in k up to some upper limit. If a system will knock down a bridge from vibration we’re not concerned with whether or not it’d blow up the earth if we tuned it a little finer. Likewise we might want to make the lower limit for m higher than 1 depending on the system. At any rate, whether my formulation would hold up to analysis or not, the point is that no matter how much you know about a chaotic system, there are things which you don’t and can’t know.

  22. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 9:23 AM | Permalink | Reply

    I only mentioned priests on one side. But since you seem to be so against it, and only accept chaos sytem theories when they support your beliefs, and ignore them when they don’t. (yet more supporting evidence for my original statements)

    Maybe you could offer an alternate hypothesis for the AGW belief that the doom sayer priests… Sorry I mean scientists, are more altruistic in the minds of some than others.

    To us un-believers on the outside it looks no different than the Cult of the Dead cow or Heavans gate, less the Nike’s

  23. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 9:24 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #5

    Peter,

    You are correct that

    NASA makes it’s own mistakes…

    Every organization and individual makes mistakes unless they are totally stagnant. We learn from our mistakes.

    However, rather than concentrating on NASA’s mistakes, consider their successes. You will have to admit that their successes far outnumber their failures. Their failures have been tragic, but their successes have been spectacular.

    Now consider the AGW proponants. Where can one find their successes?

    They have convinced many journalists that any climate change is AGW. This is a fact, but is it a success? If so, what is their goal?

    They have convinced many government ministers that any climate change is AGW and if we do not take immediate, drastic measures that we will have a climate disaster within a few years. Since most of these government ministers lack any scientific background, they rely on the AGW proponants for expert advice. Strangely, these same ministers spurn the advice from any individuals who do not preach the AGW mantra. This is also a fact, but is this a success? If so, what is their goal?

  24. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 9:43 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re: #14

    Joel Barker also points out that many of the people responsible for shifting paradigms come from outside the mainstream. Those in the mainstream typically attack anyone who questions their paradigms.

    The mainstream paradigm for several millennia was that the Earth was the center of the universe, all heavenly bodies were in motion around the Earth, and the world was flat. People who questioned these paradigms were often reviled by the mainstream. Some were burned at the stake as heretics. Many simply remained quiet.

  25. Dave Eaton
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 12:14 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I still think that “primate dominance hierarchy” is a better analogy than priesthood. The effects are similar, though. I won’t let you have my bananas, my access to the holy of holies, or my data because you are not in my priesthood/gang of apes.

    I would caution anyone who is not a fairly seasoned scientist against ascribing any noble motives to us. I got stung as a graduate student by the malfeasance of one JH Schon (sorry, I don’t know how to umlaut him, and considering his fall from grace for faking some of the most interesting and revolutionary results in materials science and physics in decades, I consider him stripped of his umlaut as well as his PhD.) Our field doesn’t rely on the kind of varied and scattered data as climatology- Dr. (excuse me, Mr.) Schon faked graphs of current and voltage. The papers appeared in (wait for it…) Nature.

    The “audit” that caught the fakery was holding 2 graphs, overlaid, from two separate papers over one another, that were identical down to the noise. These were quite different experiments, and even if they were not, there ain’t no way, so to speak, that even the noise is identical in 2 separate runs. I am glad that finding this (ahem) mistake didn’t take a lot of statistical prowess, or I wouldn’t have been able to understand how it was caught. It was a mistake that didn’t ‘matter’, said Dr. Schon, and he promised a replacement. Bell Labs didn’t buy it, set up an independent panel to investigate, and ended up firing Schon, and retracting his papers, and his grad school in Germany ultimately took away his PhD. So pardon me if ‘peer review’, or any of the other sanguine “trust in the experts” commentary doesn’t exactly bowl me over. Worse, I am reading a MS thesis in Library science (OK, I’m unusual) showing how the vast majority of citations of retracted papers (they use Schon as one case study) shows the overwhelming number of citing papers cite confirmatory evidence for the retracted findings.

    You can see one typical paper, complete with a link to the retraction here:
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v403/n6768/abs/403408a0_fs.html;jsessionid=3EEE577757C5A77998D576CF951FD000

    The point is that science is generally carried out by decent folks. They make the assumption that others are doing the same, and they, and their fields suffer mightily for taking shortcuts that would be fine if everyone were perfect and honest. I don’t need to suspect wrong doing, and I don’t have to be a wild-eyed global warming/greenhouse effect denier to expect that the work done be as above reproach as possible. Jumping threads a little, a compliance package would surely be a pain in the ass to the postdoc or graduate student tasked with putting it together, but would it not help the pro side to have their work readily audited and, presumably, reproduced?

    Peter H.- there is a site, NasaWatch.com that a former NASA engineer runs. He has plenty to say and ‘audit’, if you want to look.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 1:09 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Dave, I hadn’t realized prior to reading the link that there was a “green” aspect to Schàƒ⵮ (alt-0246 àƒ⴩ – magically efficient solar power.

  27. TCO
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 1:17 PM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s interesting that the first author doesn’t want to be associated with the retraction becuase he beleives in the science. IOW, despite the data being faked, he stands by the conclusion. You know the Dan Rather “fake but accurate” thing.

  28. Dave Eaton
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 2:51 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Steve- the green angle is why I linked to it here. I was far more disappointed by the collapse of the high Tc superconductivity Schàƒ⵮ claimed for pentacene and doped fullerenes. It derailed a lot of my plans, so I took it personally. I regard it now as a good lesson to have learned early, and any hint of a scientist being cagey about data or methods makes me suspicious. It doesn’t constitute proof of malfeasance, I’ll grant, but it is not quite right, either. It is one of the ‘extrascientific’ criteria I would apply to decide whether someone’s work needs more examination.

    TCO- I recall Schàƒ⵮ claiming he didn’t archive data because his hard drive was too small. This seemed pretty unlikely, but darned convenient. (The guy didn’t keep a lab book, either.) He also claimed that his vacuum equipment had a small, irreproducible leak that made his insulating oxide films unusually good. Some of the effects he claimed to see have indeed been predicted under extreme conditions- so ‘fake, but accurate’ might be where his head was. I’m not sure what ever happened to this guy, Schàƒ⵮, but there has been a diaspora of Lucent scientists following the scandal. There were many questions raised about why senior scientists who are co-authors didn’t at least peek in to see some of these fantastic results being obtained. So I suppose even in the hardest of physical sciences, due diligence is crucial, and we need to think more about how to do it.

  29. TCO
    Posted Sep 9, 2005 at 3:52 PM | Permalink | Reply

    I had a minor episode of Lucent tally-whacking where I performed the whack. Not a big deal or anything, but I was explicit correcting a small incorrect claim in one of their papers by verbatim quoting. I confess to some mild knife sliding in my psyche, but the critical thing was that I know how incorrect things in the literature can linger on, get cited, etc. (and this was a reasonably important paper of theirs in terms of application). I wanted to make sure that record was corrected firmly.

    Later found out through the grape vine, that they “had it in for me” and that a Beller had (as reviewer) tried to reject a paper of mine. Funny thing was I didn’t even know about it for years as the reviewer comments were totally disjointed (other reviewers all liked my stuff) and editor obtained extra review when the one out of the blue negative one came in. Actually what I saw was that the stuff got published without any request for revision (no reviewer comments) which was my advisor’s first expereince of that in 200 publications as author and 300 as editor. Mostly connected to me being very upfront about limitations of the work as well as explicitly seperating observations from possible inferences to broader implications (I still had those…I think those are valuable in a science paper and make it more interesting). And following the darn “notice to authors” like a schoolmarm. Not to it being any great shakes of a discovery…just honest datapoint science. Not even perfectly performed (not every experiment can be…but you can be upfront about the issues: like using less expensive but more reactive substrate or the like.) It’s actually important to do that, so that the work can still have relevance even if found out later to have been flawed. The person who discovers the problem may be able to correct for the error or at least disagregate papers that have the error from those that don’t.

  30. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 2:26 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #23. But, while you and other try to portray the like of me as religious nuts and decievers the opposite is the truth.

    I’m interested in evidence, from all sides – that’s why I’m here! Yet I know sceptic who wont read places like RealClimate (I wonder why, goes aginst their beliefs perhaps (he said similarily ad homingly…)). If I see evidence of cooling (see parts of Greenland, and parts of Antarctica (though the reasons for the cooling are also interesing)) I don’t deny it!!!

    The evidence for globally averaged warming is, to my mind, unequivocal. It’s seen in ALL the temperature records. This year is no different. The link between emissions of ghg’s, land use changes and the rest and temperature rises is very strong (I’d love it to be otherwise). Likewise the predictions, based on solid science (which is why places like this try so hard to show otherwise) and allowing for the unknowns (like clouds) are there – 1-5C (the error being mostly with cloud effects and other less well understood areas – you feel lucky?)

    It’s not my (or, I suspect, those like me with simlar views but far more expertese) goal to claim other than the above. It my be your goal to try and show otherwise, but that’s your problem.

  31. per
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 3:53 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dear Peter
    you are tilting at windmills that do not exist.
    No-one here is denying the temperature measurements. No-one is denying that there are climate models- though it is legitimate to have varying views about how good those models are.
    It is very important to understand what the science actually is; so this is why careful scrutiny of papers is essential to the scientific process. That is a major point of discussion here.

    yours
    per

  32. TCO
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 4:25 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Some of y’all skeptics were being mean to me, when I got here…even though Steve puts up with my shenanigans amusedly…

  33. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 11:35 AM | Permalink | Reply

    ” It’s seen in ALL the temperature records”

    Let’s be clear here. By all SURFACE temprature records, atmospheric records do not show the same rises in tempratures.

    And even a basic knowledge of thermodynamics and common sense would tell you that the magnitude of increase in the SURFACE temrpature records could not be driven by the atmospheric tempratures (A 30 degreee C stove is not going to heat a pot to 80 Degree C). which is one of the bigger clinchers for me.

    And what the QAGW types completely ignore is that the skeptics dont argure the temprature records, and the increase in SURFACE tempratures. It’s the cause and the amount that is anthropegenic that they argue.

  34. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 12:22 PM | Permalink | Reply

    This morning, I read that UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott stated that: “As a European negotiator at the Kyoto climate change convention, I was fully aware that climate change is changing weather patterns and raising sea levels,” he said.
    He continued: “The horrific flood of New Orleans brings home to us the concern of leaders of countries like the Maldives, whose nations are at risk of disappearing completely.” (quote from BBC News)

    Trettin, a soon to be ex-German government minister, made a similar statement on Katrina.

    Realclimate.org stated on September 2, that “there is no way to prove that Katrina either was, or was not, affected by global warming. For a single event, regardless of how extreme, such attribution is fundamentally impossible.”

    I checked a bit more on the tropical cyclone/global warming issue on Realclimate. There is a long blog from May on Storms and Climate Change which presents graphs plotting numbers of hurricanes by category for each 5 year period from 1850 to 2005. There was also a graph plotting maximum wind speed and minimum pressure of the most severe storms over the same time periods. Both of these graphs indicate a trend of increasing tropical cyclone intensity.

    One poster pointed out that “Neumann et al. (1993) and Landsea (1993) recommend only utilizing data since 1944 for computing climatological statistics. I remind everyone that Landsea is one of the principals on the re-analysis project. From the Re-Analysis document I recommend that you review the sections The Work of Jose Fernandez-Partagas and Center Fix Files. Often the number sets on Hurricanes given are calculations made from deductions of eyewitness accounts. In other words, (educated) guessed at. When equipment readings did become available, there were calibration problems or sustained winds destroyed the equipment at a certain intensity.”

    It was also pointed out that tropical cyclone intensity is cyclical. 1931 was a year of many very intense storms. Therefore, recent increases in the number of tropical cyclones is quite likely a continuation of multi-year storm cycles.

    In light of the calibration and measurement issues, there was general agreement that these graphs were not capable of showing a trend of tropical cyclone number or intensity over the period from 1850 through 2005.

    If Realclimate basically admits that the 1850-2005 data set is questionable, why then are policy makers such as Trettin and Prescott, among many others, so convinced of a correlation between recent climate change and storm intensity? Why do they also believe that almost all climate change is AGW?

    I think that it is a reasonable question to ask where these policy makers are getting misleading information?

  35. Murray Duffin
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 12:34 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re:#30
    Peter, even the hard line skeptics I encounter accept that there is global warming. The total denial that was common some years ago has largely disappeared. The doubts now concern the extent of warming, the causes and the significance. Personally, at this time, with all of the evidence I can find, I would conclude that the surface instrument average overstates the warming by up to 25%, that CO2 contributes no more than 30% of the real warming, that the present warming is not at all unprecedented, that solar forcing is significant, and that solar forcing has passed it’s peak for now. The biggest problem I see with the AGW CO2 folks is the cooling from ca 1943 to ca 1975, while CO2 continued to increase. A simple CO2 model cannot backcast this period, so the modellers introduced aerosols, for which there are no good measurements in the period of concern. One can make a case for some aerosol effect due to nuclear testing and Mt Agung from 1952 through 1975, but given the limited extent and duration of cooling from Pinatubo it’s hard to explain all of the cooling that way. Svensmark et al have made a good case for solar forcing for the same period, that has not been refuted. Probably both effects were in play. The problem comes in for the period from 1943 to 1952. The Hadley surface instrument reconstruction has the major cooling from 1943 to 1950. What was the very strong aerosol source during this period? We now have a similar issue from 1997 through 2005. CO2 continues up, while temperatures are essentially flat, and there is evidence of reduced solar activity. There is also evidence of significantly decreased aerosols since ca 1990 which should still be contributing to warming. These problems belie the certainties of the AGW camp.
    The main issue with climate audit has been that the ICPP guys used the claim of unprecedentd warming, along with totally unsupportable scenarios of dramatic future warming, to scare the world into actions that might even be counterproductive. M&M have invalidated what was presented as evidence for the the unprecedented warming claim, blowing away a key pillar of the AGW story. More importantly, they are now exposing what has been taken for science as being frequently questionable. Adding their findings to the IPCC scenarios casts the whole body of AGW work into doubt, simply by association. Hopefully the result will be a more balanced approach that tries to take all forcings into account, and that tries to get the measurement of warming right.
    Rants and fulminations from the AGW adherents do not help, and you have been a real ranter. It was nice to see your calm and rational input in message #30. Murray

  36. fFreddy
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 2:23 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Re #34

    This morning, I read that UK Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott stated that: …

    Oh, dear. How do we explain to the non-Brits about John Prescott …

  37. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Sep 10, 2005 at 6:35 PM | Permalink | Reply

    Oh, dear. How do we explain to the non-Brits about John Prescott …

    I read his CV on his web site. It seemed clear to me that he did not gain his post in the Labor Party by way of his scientific expertise.

    We, on the other side of the Atlantic, can hardly gloat considering all the lawyers that fill the halls of of our Capitol.

  38. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 1:22 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Just because of the dealy and I think it’s important to mnote that it is the surface record that is increasing, and while the atmospheric record is increasing, by not near enough to acount for by greenhouse warming. See above comment 34

  39. Paul Gosling
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 3:04 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Dave D RE21

    I doubt I would understand the math. But is the example of suspension bridges really a chaotic system. If that were the case then surely they would be falling down all over the place because it would be impossible to design a bridge to account for a chaotic system. Wasn’t this just a case of not understanding how suspension bridges interacted with wind?

  40. TCO
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 5:48 AM | Permalink | Reply

    It’s a small forcing function that interacts with the natural vibrational mode of the structure. Another example is hitting the right note and cracking a glass.

    P.s. Are you really trying to disagree with the mathematically proven (with peer-review) idea of chaotic systems? With fractals and the like?

  41. TCO
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 5:50 AM | Permalink | Reply

    A very easy one to look at is Newton’s method (from 1st year calculus) for finding roots of equations. It turns out that there are no clear boundaries of root areas (it’s fractal at the boundaries). Well-described in Glick’s book and easily repeatable at the desktop.

  42. TCO
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 6:47 AM | Permalink | Reply

    Paul, are you also one of those guys who “just doesn’t like” or worse “just doesn’t believe in” quantum mechanics?

  43. TCO
    Posted Sep 12, 2005 at 6:49 AM | Permalink | Reply

    There’s also that famous math thereom that says that there are unanswerable questions. That bothers me too. I don’t like it and want to stamp my foot. But it is math, proven and all.

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