We Have 25 Years Invested in This Work…

Some of you may recall the memorable climate science phrase:

We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it.

Here’s the story behind this and some updates on it.

Warwick Hughes has been carrying out research on station data for many years and has published a number of articles in peer-reviewed journals. He has an interesting website here. I’m going to re-post some articles here for discussion purposes, and I think that Warwick will participate in the discussions. He has been trying for some time to get access to the station data used in the famous CRU temperature graphics in order to analyze their gridded data. He has requested this for some time from Phil Jones and been rebuffed – most memorably in the above phrase.

Recently Warwick has been tried to get the data from the U.S. Department of Energy, which has funded the research for over 20 years. They’ve taken the position that access to the data is Jones’ personal prerogative. Sound familiar? Here’s some of the correspondence and a quick survey of DOE funding and archiving policies.

Background
The Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center (CDIAC) of the U.S. Department of Energy has been heavily involved in global warming research since the early 1980s and began their sponsorship of Phil Jones and CRU at that time. Station data and documentation for the early studies(TR022 and TR027) on 2873 stations (NDP-020) was made available around 1990. Since then, there have been several iterations of the dataset, including an increase in the number of stations from 2873 to 5129. However, to my knowledge, there has been no updating of the archive on station documentation. Limited updating of the archive of station data was done in 1994 but again, to my knowledge, nothing in the last decade – thus almost nothing since IPCC came on the scene and transformed the politics of the issue.

In 2003, a major update of the CRU gridded dataset took place, but again, there was no updating of the archive of station data. In July 2004, Warwick Hughes asked Jones:

Where can I download the latest station by station data which is a foundation of Dr Jones et al published papers ? Note, I am not asking about the CRU gridded data which I can see on your web site.

Jones refused, citing supposed confidentiality restrictions from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) – one of the organizations that constituted IPCC. Hughes then attempted twice to obtain the station data from WMO, failing to obtain any reply to either inquiry. After WMO failed to reply, in Feb. 2005, Hughes again emailed Jones requesting the data. On Feb. 21, 2005, Jones replied:

I should warn you that some data we have we are not supposed to pass on to others. We can pass on the gridded data – which we do. Even if WMO agrees, I will still not pass on the data. We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it. There is IPR to consider.

The gridded dataset is located on the DOE website http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/temp/jonescru/jones.html: with the requested citation: Jones, P.D., D.E. Parker, T.J. Osborn, and K.R. Briffa. 2005. Global and hemispheric temperature anomalies–land and marine instrumental records. In Trends: A Compendium of Data on Global Change. Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Department of Energy, Oak Ridge, Tenn., U.S.A.

Hughes recently wrote the U.S. Department of Energy requesting the station data as follows:

Dear Tom Boden, Dale Kaiser,
I notice the CDIAC web pages at; http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/temp/jonescru/jones.html publishing this recent iteration of the Jones et al global temperature trends 1856-2004, that DoE has been funding since the 1980’s. I am asking you to provide me with the following data for the above project which should be archived for public access. Note I am NOT asking for gridded data.

1. raw monthly station temperature time series as contributed to Jones/CRU from various global meteorological organizations, together with metadata.
2. corrected and correct monthly station temperature time series used to generate trends together with a list of all corrections;
3. The results of all homogeneity testing.
4. Station documentation for each station along the lines as set out in TR022 and TR027 but updated and expanded to include all current stations. That is a start, more is required, for example, all station intercomparisons must be listed and those that influenced decisions should be ranked.
5. A list of stations used to generate trends, that have not reported in 2004.
6. Expanding on 5, a list should be supplied for each year back to 1995, of all stations that ceased reporting each year.

As you know, sharing data and research results is a basic tenet of open scientific inquiry, providing a means to judge the reliability of scientific claims. I look forward to your co-operation. Please let me know if there is any further information you require.

Yours faithfully,
Warwick Hughes
Perth, Australia

On October 12, 2005, Thomas Boden of the U.S. Department of Energy (copy to D.P. Kaiser) replied as follows:

Subject: Re: Station data required for 1856-2004 Jones et al
Dear Warwick,

Unfortunately, our data center does not have any of the six requested items. You will need to contact Phil directly. I spoke today with the DOE program manager who indicated Phil was not obligated under the conditions of past or present DOE proposal awards to provide these items to CDIAC. I regret we cannot furnish the materials you seek.

Regards,
Tom Boden
Carbon Dioxide Information Analysis Center
Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Policy Framework
Needless to say, I find this data secrecy maddening. The passivity of the funding agencies is breath-taking. Jones has been funded by DOE for many years: Here’s a listing of some grants that I’ve noticed in Jones’ articles, but I’m sure that the list is much longer. I would guess that many millions of dollars are involved.

Agency 

Grant 

DOE Carbon Dioxide Research Program 

DE-AC02-79-EV10098 

DOE Carbon Dioxide Research Program 

DE-AC02-81-EV10739 

DOE 

DE-FG02-85-ER60316 

DOE Carbon Dioxide Division 

DE-FG02-86-ER60397 

DOE Carbon Dioxide Division 

DE-FG02-89-ER69017 

DOE BER 

DE-FG02-98-ER62601 

Office of Naval Research 

N00014-77-G-0074 

NOAA Climate and Global Change Program 

Unknown (ref: J. Clim 1997) 

So what accounts for the U.S. Deparment of Energy’s inabilty to get access to the data: does this reflect government policy or inept/co-opted administration at D.O.E.?

Let’s look first at the overall policy. In this post Data Policy #1: U.S. Global Change Research Program, I discussed a clear policy statement by the U.S. Global Change Research Program in 1991 requiring public archiving of data after a very limited period of exclusive use by the contract investigator. In 1997, the U.S. Global Change Research Program suggested the following language for contracts, presumably in the expectation that granting agencies like D.O.E. would implement the policy:

SUGGESTED DATA PRODUCT REQUIREMENT FOR GRANTS, COOPERATIVE AGREEMENTS, AND CONTRACTS
Describe the plan to make available the data products produced, whether from observations or analyses, which contribute significantly to the grant results. The data products will be made available to the grant without restriction and be accompanied by comprehensive metadata documentation adequate for specialists and non-specialists alike to be able to not only understand both how and where the data products were obtained but adequate for them to be used with confidence for generations. The data products and their metadata will be provided in a standard exchange format no later than the grant final report or the publication of the data product’s associated results, whichever comes first.
Minimum Application – All such applicable data identified as important to the USGCRP
Desired Application – All such applicable data

I’ve posted up about NSF data archiving policy before here, but not previously looked at D.O.E. archiving policy. I’ve not been able to determine whether the DOE has a policy applicable at a departmental level. Several individual D.O.E. programs in the Office of Science (which operates B.E.R. one of the grantee offices listed above) have clearly articulated policies for data archiving and limited periods of exclusive use by investigators. For example the DOE Office of Science Atmospheric Science Program has the following policy (which would preclude stunts like Jones’):

8. Intellectual Property. The common good is served by sharing all of the data collected during a field campaign. However, the right to use this data must be balanced by a responsibility to the data providers that respects their efforts and intellectual property. ASP investigators and outsiders (subject to password protection before 18 months) can browse the data archive freely. Substantive use of data from the archive should require the following steps: 1) notification of the data provider and discussion of features of that data set that might not be apparent to an end-user, 2) feedback from the end-user regarding data features (such as consistency with other measurements or model calculations) that are uncovered during analysis, and 3) offer of co-authorship for publications that make use of that data set. We leave undefined, the term "substantive". Whether or not all of these steps are followed should depend on how routine a measurement is and how crucial (or prominent) it is to the end-users study.

Another D.O.E. program in the Office of Science, the Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Program has the following very adequate policy:

The basic tenets of the ARM data sharing policy are:
1. "Free and open" sharing of data.
2. Timely (e.g., "near real time" where desired) delivery of processed data from the ARM Data Archive to Science Team members.
3. Timely access (e.g., typically "days" for routine processing, housekeeping and archival of data from electronically accessible instrument sites) to data by the general scientific community through the ARM Data Archive.
4. Timely sharing of all data among various participants in ARM-sponsored programs.
5. Recognition of data sources either through co-authorship or acknowledgments as appropriate.
6. Sharing of data of common interest from external sources when possible, Some sources restrict secondary distribution of data. In these cases, ARM will seek specific allowances to distribute such data to members of the ARM Science Team, but will observe restrictions on further distribution from the ARM Data Archive if required.

The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) of the D.O.E. says:

Scientific and technical information (STI) is a principal deliverable of the Office of Science’s diverse R&D portfolio. The mission of the Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is to collect, preserve, disseminate, and leverage these R&D results and STI resources. To fulfill this mission, OSTI provides leadership and coordination for the Department-wide Scientific and Technical Information Program (STIP). Through its leadership of STIP, the development of state-of-the-art systems, and its ongoing domestic and international partnerships, OSTI assures access to the results of DOE research by the scientific research community, academia, U.S. industry, and the public. These results continually expand the knowledge base of science and technology.

Ironically, the U.S. is a signatory to the UN Framework Convention. The U.S. and the U.K. are signatories to the Framework Convention and are committed under the convention to the principles of data archiving under Articles 4(g) and 4(h). One could reasonably argue that the withholding of the station data is a breach of the Framework Convention by the U.S. and, if the data is now the private property of C.R.U. in the U.K., perhaps and ironically by the U.K.

ARTICLE 4: COMMITMENTS

1. All Parties, taking into account their common but differentiated responsibilities and their specific national and regional development priorities, objectives and circumstances, shall:

(g) Promote and cooperate in scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and other research, systematic observation and development of data archives related to the climate system and intended to further the understanding and to reduce or eliminate the remaining uncertainties regarding the causes, effects, magnitude and timing of climate change and the economic and social consequences of various response strategies;

(h) Promote and cooperate in the full, open and prompt exchange of relevant scientific, technological, technical, socio-economic and legal information related to the climate system and climate change, and to the economic and social consequences of various response strategies

As to why the Hockey Team is so keen on data secrecy, I have no idea. It makes them look bad for very little point – if I were coach of the Hockey Team, I’d tell them to stop acting like prima donnas, archive their data and get on with things. But that’s just me.

If I were an American citizen, I’d want to know why the bureaucrats who have been funding all this work have failed to include adequate contractual language in Jones’ contracts to ensure that there was archiving, just like there is for so many other D.O.E. programs.

If I were advising a congressional oversight committee, I’d sure add this to my list of questions.

If I were a D.O.E. manager who had funded these primadonnas, I’d tell them that, regardless of the technicalities of past contract language, if they wanted another nickel from me, they’d better get their asses in gear and set up a proper data archive – and they’d better do it by yesterday so I didn’t look like an idiot if I heard from some congressional committee.

For any Americans, who want to discuss Jones’ archiving practices with D.O.E. granting offices, the D.O.E. Office of Science, Biological and Environmental Research webpage is here and the CDIAC staff listing is here.

;


146 Comments

  1. ET Sid Viscous
    Posted Oct 15, 2005 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

    Now I aint no lawyer, but how does/would the Freedom of Information act come into play here.

    The DOE says that they don’t have the data, but as I understand it, if an FOIA request is filed, and they have the data, if it isn’t released things get a bit sticky.

    I have no idea how the FOIA works in regards to work that is financed by the Government, that is not held by the DOE, but I don’t think they would pay the money they paid without getting some data, a report wouldn’t be sufficient. I’ve worked on some DOE contracts, they are pretty picky about following rules (when it suites them anyways).

    I don’t think FOIA request from Candians (or those suspected of being Canadians) will work, but there are certainly enough Americans here to file a request.

    Another thing you might want to keep an eye in the future, are the actuall DOE contracts as they come out. You can find them at http://www.fedbizopps.gov/ off of that you can get the actual bid documents, and read the provisions as it is let out to bid. Then you can keep an eye on the rules concerning the data. I don’t know (never tried) if you can get to the bid documents of already awarded contracts.

    Don’t have to go there every day. Easy enough to set it up that it will e-mail you whenever bids containing certain key words come out.

  2. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 15, 2005 at 11:29 PM | Permalink

    It does not suprise me that some researchers don’t want anybody to review thier work too closely. There’s a psychological effect here where people sometimes invest their ego into their work to such an extent that they their self-worth gets all wrapped up into it. When that happens any criticism of their work becomes a personal attack.

    In my line of work, software engineering, I have seen this many times, and it often results in errors not being discovered before the product is released. A climate of finger-pointing and blame assigning eventually takes hold as the bugs are enventually found in the field. In some industries like medical devices and avionics this is not acceptable. The number of errors in the released product must be as small as humanly possible. Detailed peer review is absolutely necessary to achieve this objective. In order to operate in this kind of environment the engineer must practice an egoless approach to their work. They must view their work as something they created, not an extension of themselves or a reason for their existance. Since nobody is perfect, the things we create will sometimes be flawed. The goal is to find those flaws and fix them so that the thing we created is as error-free as possible. When this type of ethic is used the engineer is eager to submit his code to be peer reviewed and is happy when errors are identified, because that means there are fewer flaws in it now.

    I know this approach works because I’ve used it myself and have seen it in practice for over 15 years. I doubt Phil Jones or Mann use it though. Pity.

  3. Mark Frank
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 12:04 AM | Permalink

    Paul

    I also have some experience of large AD projects. You are absolutely right, but there is a crucial difference. In a software project there is a management team whose responsibilities include creating the appropriate culture. In my experience the successful ones do not do this by brute force. All this does is make the techies retreat behind their technology and they can always find a way of doing this. It is necessary to create a culture of trust, mutual respect and common objectives. It doesn’t matter how rigorous the processes are if the people don’t have the right attitude.

    That’s why I am not convinced by using the language and processes of disclosure. Someone needs to work on creating bridges at the personal level – tricky, frustrating even, especially in an academic environment, but not impossible.

  4. David Brewer
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 4:12 AM | Permalink

    The necessary cultural change may come eventually in this field.

    But it is no good soft-soaping the current practitioners. They have made their attitude quite clear.

    Right now they are in a privileged position. They have steered their results through peer review and into IPCC reports without ever supplying their data and methods. They have done well out of it financially and they are respected almost as gurus by the huge global warming community. Don’t expect them to place all this at risk voluntarily, “in the interests of science”. They are really bureaucrats rather than scientists anyway. I am sure they have turned down many polite requests from Warwick, and I bet he is not the only one. Only pressure will make them move now: FOIA requirements, congressional requests, funding levers, whatever.

    You won’t get much help from journals, because they realise they should never have published the stuff in the first place when it hadn’t been checked properly, and never could be because the data had not been archived. So they stonewall: “we sent it to respected peer reviewers, and they passed it with such and such changes, so we had every right to publish – go and ask the researcher if you want his data.”

    As to whether the researchers really have anything to hide: you bet they do. They have stations in there with two degrees of urban warming that stick out like a sore thumb when compared with rural neighbours. See Warwick’s city analyses: Los Angeles, Peoria, Cincinnati, and his grid cell studies of Northern Japan, Siberia etc.:

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/cities.htm

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/gridlist.htm

    Also many urban warming studies by Mitchell, Oke, Landsberg, Goodridge, Morris. As Warwick shows, Jones even included Phoenix Arizona — to which Jim Hansen made a 2.8 degree urban warming correction.

    Just one suggestion. When you or Barton or Warwick put detailed requests for disclosure, there is always the possibility that the respondents can pretend to comply by providing something that doesn’t quite suffice. Maybe you could also include some general statement of what you are after. Something like: Please supply the data and methods required to replicate your results. That way, they have to be able to demonstrate that they can get their answer from what they have given you.

  5. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    So Michael, who is it who gets to decide who is dubious and who isn’t? You don’t suppose it could be the same people who refuse to release the data needed to reproduce the very findings touted as ‘proving’ the dubiousness of the skeptics, do you?

  6. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 8:49 AM | Permalink

    re 5: guilt by association fallacy….

    Guilt by association, also known as the “bad company fallacy” or the “company that you keep fallacy,” is the logical fallacy of claiming that something must be false because of the people or organizations who support it.

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

  7. John A
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    How can you expect to be taken seriously in your crusade for open access to data, when the credibility of the arguments and the advocates you associate yourself with is so dubious?

    So the work of Steve McIntyre is discredited because he links to a website which links to a website whose views you don’t like?

    But this weblog links directly to RealClimate.org. Does this mean we agree with them? Approve them? Give them five stars for accuracy?

    Give yourself a full 100 points for empty rhetoric and sit down.

  8. Mike Carney
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Re: #5
    It used to be that your beliefs did not change your legal standing. And yet Michael Seward is proposing that open access to data is only appropriate if you meet some undefined criteria for non-dubious associates. We either have open data or we don’t. Selective open data isn’t. Global warming is a question that many are saying is a catasrophe for the planet, that will determine the spending of trillions of dollars around the globe and yet Michael is worried about giving data to someone with a dubious argument? With the planet in the balance shouldn’t we be looking for all the help we can get examining the basic data?

    The software analogy is quite interesting. Common practice for any significant software project is to have a separate group perform Quality Assurance (QA) on the sofware product. The job of QA is to try and break the product. It makes a software developer cringe but it is generally acknowledged to be a GOOD thing. Furthermore the process is heavily documented so exactly what was tested is known. Compare that with anonymous peer review. Exactly what the reviewer does is almost completely unknown. The reviewer certainly doesn’t have the time to verify the research. Which leaves us with other researchers duplicating the research as the final check. If only the data were available to do that…

  9. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Michael – let’s suppose that I wrote to the D.O.E. asking for station data. On your reasoning, it would be permissible to write back as follows:

    Dear Mr. McIntyre,
    It has come to our attention that your weblog included a link to the website of Warwick Hughes, who has quoted Steve Milloy and whose website, in turn, linked to websites of various critics of global warming, including Fred Singer, Tech Central Station etc.

    Because of these associations, you will, of course, understand that we will now be unable to grant you access to the requested station data.
    Yours etc,
    CDIAC,
    U.S. Department of Energy

  10. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    compare this

    http://www.codata.org/data_access/policies.html#WMO

    Executive Council Resolution, June 1990:

    Requests members to reaffirm their commitment to the “free and unrestricted international exchange of basic meteorological data and products” among national meteorological services.
    WMO Congress, Resolution, June, 1995:

    The Congress,

    Adopts the following policy:

    As a fundamental principle of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), and in consonance with the expanding requirements for its scientific and technical expertise, WMO commits itself to broadening and enhancing the free and unrestricted* international exchange of meteorological and related data and products;
    Adopts the following practice:

    Members shall provide on a free and unrestricted basis essential data and products which are necessary for the provision of services in support of the protection of life and property and the well-being of all nations, particularly those basic data and products, as, at a minimum, described in Annex I to this resolution, required to describe and forecast accurately weather and climate, and support WMO Programs;
    Members should also provide the additional data and products which are required to sustain WMO Programs at the global, regional, and national levels and, further, as agreed, to assist other Members in the provision of meteorological services in their countries. While increasing the volume of data and products available to all Members by providing these additional data and products, it is understood that WMO Members may be justified in placing conditions on their re-export for commercial purposes outside of the receiving country or group of countries forming a single economic group, for reasons such as national laws or costs of production;
    Members should provide to the research and education communities, for their noncommercial activities, free and unrestricted access to all data and products exchanged under the auspices of WMO with the understanding that their commercial activities are subject to the same conditions identified in Adopts (2) above;
    Urges Members to:

    Strengthen their commitment to the free and unrestricted exchange of meteorological and related data and products;
    Increase the volume of data and products exchanged to meet the needs of WMO Programs;
    Assist other Members, to the extent possible, and as agreed, by providing additional data and products in support of time-sensitive operations regarding severe weather warnings;
    Strengthen their commitments to the WMO and ICSU WDCs in their collection and supply of meteorological and related data and products on a free and unrestricted basis;
    Implement the practice on the international exchange of meteorological and related data and products, as described in Adopts (1) to (3) above;
    Make known to all Members, through the WMO Secretariat, those meteorological and related data and products which have conditions related to their re-export for commercial purposes outside of the receiving country or group of countries forming a single economic group;
    Make their best efforts to ensure that the conditions which have been applied by the originator of additional data and products are made known to initial and subsequent recipients;
    *”Free and unrestricted” means non-discriminatory and without charge. “Without charge”, in the context of this resolution, means at no more than the cost of reproduction and delivery, without charge for the data and products themselves.

  11. David Stockwell
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Re: #5 Yeah, that a pretty good example of a pompous attitude. Personally I think people have as much right to try to shoot holes in canoes (theories) as they do to hold them together with silly putty and tape.

  12. JerryB
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    Dateline: late 1986.

    Phil and Tom hold a brief press conference to discuss their decisions regarding full and complete disclosure of data on which their recent papers were ostensibly based.

    Introducing the concept of “ante hoc, ergo propter hoc”, they expressed the concern that at some time in the near future people would have things called “websites”. While much uncertainty exists regarding what a website would be, they conveyed much confidence that some websites may have “links” to other websites, and some of those may have dubious links.

    In order to preclude possible association with such dubious links, they have decided to limit publication of their data to such portions as they see fit.

    They further suggested that within about a decade, someone named Mike would originate some new mathematical approches, and that he should avoid communicating details thereof to someone named Steve, even if said Steve does not have a website at that time, because may may have one soon thereafter.

  13. Kerry
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 12:58 PM | Permalink

    The more I watch this topic, the more I’m struck by the willful obstructionism, evasion, and, to put it as kindly as possible, deliberate misrepresentation Mann’s collection of vested colleagues are engaging in.

    As a recent example of the deliberate misrepresentation can be found over on Roger Peilke Sr’s weblog. RP Sr, contacted a neutral referee, to arbitrate a dispute on fundamental chaos physics that that he was engaged in with Annan, Connelly, and Schmidt.

    The referee, physics Prof. Eykholt of Colorado State, empathically came down of the side of RP Sr. in a email that was reproduced by RP Sr. on the the thread in question.

    The Mannites response? Annan claimed that in a follow up e-mail to Prof. Eykholt, the physics professor actually agreed with him and Connelly and Schmidt on the dispute. Curiously, the purported email was not reproduced for RP Sr’s edification.

    Informed of Annan’s claim, Dr. Eykholt responded with the a blistering denunciation of Annan’s blatant “misrepresentation” in an email that he shared with RP Sr for reproduction on his site.

    It includes the following smack-down directed at Dr. Annan:

    “I did my best to explain where your reasoning went wrong. You have now claimed that I agree with you about something we never discussed. This is totally unethical. Thus, this will be my last communication with you.”

    And the odd thing is that even after this unequivocal clarification, that Annan is still making, in a semantically slightly modified form, the same claim!

    The Mannites seem to be, as a group, ethically challenged.

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/?p=70#comments

  14. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 1:51 PM | Permalink

    Re#14, I ‘ve read around this too. It seems to me, and I’m impartial just like you, that this was a discusssion about chaos and it’s effect on models, weather and climate. What on earth that has to do with this place beats me, but I’ll give you credit for somehow using it as a basis for your attack on the ‘Mannites’ – that sinister subversive grouping you seem to think exists.

    Do you think scientist’s shouldn’t be allowed, for some ethical reason, to disagree? Heck, that would be bad news for CA!

    Oh, and as a matter of fact, I have some sympathy for Peilke’s views – so there!

  15. John A
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    It seems to me, and I’m impartial just like you, that this was a discusssion about chaos and it’s effect on models, weather and climate. What on earth that has to do with this place beats me, but I’ll give you credit for somehow using it as a basis for your attack on the “Mannites’ – that sinister subversive grouping you seem to think exists.

    Do you think scientist’s shouldn’t be allowed, for some ethical reason, to disagree? Heck, that would be bad news for CA!

    Oh, and as a matter of fact, I have some sympathy for Peilke’s views – so there!

    You missed your calling. Instead of farming, it should have been “alternative comedy”

  16. joshua corning
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 3:01 PM | Permalink

    i will be the first to say i don’t know what the hell i am talking about…but is this the data you (or Warwick) is looking for?

    http://junkscience.com/GMT/index.htm

    i think these guys are getting thier data from a global weather station network…is this the same as jones stations?

  17. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    re 17
    why is “the story so far” graph truncated on june 8?

  18. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    Peter,

    Do you think scientist’s shouldn’t be allowed, for some ethical reason, to disagree? Heck, that would be bad news for CA!

    Of course scientists should be allowed to dissagree. I have seen plenty of dissagreement during my 20 year involvement with the SEMI standards process. What I have never seen at SEMI is anyone successfully persuading a standards committee unless they could show the data which supported their position. I have seen numerous arguments rejected by vote as non-persuasive because they lacked supporting data.

  19. JerryB
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 3:56 PM | Permalink

    joshua,

    To your question: no. To your reference to a global weather station network: sort of.

    There is a collection of weather data called the global historical climatology network (GHCN), but most of the data was collected from various other sources, and lumped together, so the word network might be misleading.

    Much of Jones’ data may have been derived from similar sources, but that would still leave such questions as: which data he retains, and which he discards; what adjustments does he make, and why, etc.

  20. EdwardM
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    They say that lawyers argue the facts when the facts are on their side, argue the law when the law is on their side, and if neither is on their side, then they impugn the credibility of the witness. (Or perhaps, per this thread, hide the evidence.)

    Rather than address the points made, those who have an opposing perspective question the credibility of those who ask the questions. Everyone sees right through this tactic. Character assassination harms the credibility of the argument – apparently your arguments are weak? I dunno but I am suspicious when the argument begins with impugning the witness, rather than addressing the questions, points or issues raised.

    Way above, Michael S. began his argument by linking one person’s web site to another to another, and so on. By virtual of the – what? – transitive property of web links? – we can safely conclude who is good and who is bad? Let’s assassinate character and ignore the original question?

    A recent post at Real Climate on recent Congressional testimony began by mocking Michael Crichton as merely a science “fiction” writer. (See http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=188). Arguments that begin by shooting the messenger first, fall flat. If you do not understand why, go read my first sentence again. Impugning the messenger is merely a cheap shot that does not bring us closer to finding the truth. And weakens any arguments that may follow.

  21. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 5:44 PM | Permalink

    Re: #3
    I’m not suggesting that the “egoless” technique I’ve referenced can be forced on anybody, and it fact I agee with you – it can’t. In order for this to work, all the individuals involved *must* buy into it completely.

  22. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Re: #7
    Good call, Hans.

  23. Kerry
    Posted Oct 16, 2005 at 8:22 PM | Permalink

    Re#14, I “ve read around this too. It seems to me, and I’m impartial just like you, that this was a discusssion about chaos and it’s effect on models, weather and climate. What on earth that has to do with this place beats me

    Um, Mr. Hearnden, the name of this website is Climate Audit. I hope that revelation hasn’t left you too bruised.

    , but I’ll give you credit for somehow using it as a basis for your attack on the “Mannites’ – that sinister subversive grouping you seem to think exists.

    Mannites is not a perjorative. Simply shorthand for a coterie of researchers who have collaborated on many like-minded research projects.

    Do you think scientist’s shouldn’t be allowed, for some ethical reason, to disagree? Heck, that would be bad news for CA!

    This is an odd statement – to say the least. Hopefully there will always be some enterprising scientists, or interested “amatuers”, who disagree. Alfred Lothar Wegener instantly springs to mind.

    Thankfully, some such amatuers disparaged and pilloried by a specific discipline’s self-anointed clerisy, are not shouted down forever. And science advances.

    But to openly misrepresent the statements of others, as Annan seems to have done with Dr. Eynkolt, is indeed most unethical.

    Shockingly so.

    Oh, and as a matter of fact, I have some sympathy for Peilke’s views – so there!

    Uhhhh, o.k., then. Good for you. As a matter of fact.

    As for myself, I’m still trying to wade through it all.

  24. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 5:30 AM | Permalink

    Hm,

    I live a stone’s throw from Warwick Hughes (In Australia that means Amsterdam to Den Hague) so we had better join forces on this one. That will/should happen next weekend. I am in pre IPO mode, so Steve knows what THAT means and time means too.

    Warwick and have corresponded via email but work pressures and whatever means our paths are hard to arrange a crossing of.

  25. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    Warwick Hughes and I have been corresponding for some time via email. We are having mixed results getting information.

    We have been successful at getting information from some people, but not others. I have been having trouble getting even replies from NOAA. This is in spite of the fact that I point out that I am a US citizen in my emails.

    Does anyone have any suggestions for getting NOAA to respond?

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    What about asking your congressman for help?

  27. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    That is certainly worth a try. I was hoping to get a reply without resorting to brute force, but that may be the only effective method. All that I have requested is where I can find archived radiosonde data.

  28. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    Brooks,
    Emails are much easier to ignore than phone calls. Old-fashioned letters, especially if sent by certified mail, also carry more psychological weight. Using multiple communications methods and keeping detailed records of such will also help make it clear to others that a lack of response cannot be ascribed to simple negligence.
    I’ve also found it helpful in somewhat similar situations to expand the list of contacts to other individuals in the same organization, or related organizations, and ask them for advice on the best method to get the desired information.
    I’m not sure if mentioning citizenship status is helpful in the early stages, because (to my mind at least) it would seem to imply a more legalistic/contentious relationship, and I would prefer to reserve that for later.

  29. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    If all else fails (and travel is cheap), it’s hard to ignore a person physically present in your office!

  30. JerryB
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Brooks,

    Let me ask you to mention a couple of specific kinds of data that you have tried to get from NOAA. NOAA publishes very large amounts of various kinds of data on various websites.

  31. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    JerryB

    I am looking for weather balloon data with the basics: date, location, altitude and temperature. Knowing the off-set from the launch point or the wind speed would be helpful.

    I have gone through many links on the NOAA and related web sites, but I have not yet located this.

    I only want past data, not a subscription for future data.

  32. JerryB
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    Brooks,

    James Angell has been monitoring balloon data from a particluar set of (about 63) launch sites since about 1958. His summary results are posted at http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/temp/angell/angell.html but do not include the kind of information you seek. An address is listed, but I did not notice an email address for him. He has published many papers, some of which may include some of the kind of information that you seek, but I do not know if they do.

    A NOAA website regarding weather balloons is at http://www.ua.nws.noaa.gov/ and includes an email address for questions: upperair@noaa.gov

    If I come across a site that lists the kinds of information that you seek, I will post it, but I can’t promise that I will find such.

  33. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    JerryB

    Thanks!

  34. JerryB
    Posted Oct 17, 2005 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Brooks,

    It seems that if you want weather balloon data, you need to look for “radiosonde data”. Google “radiosonde data” and you will find several links to places with gigabytes of the stuff.

    For a couple of examples:

    http://raob.fsl.noaa.gov/ lets you pick byte sized chunks.

    ftp://atmos.sparc.sunysb.edu/pub/sparc/hres/ has five files, each with one year of data, each about 2 Gbytes in size.

  35. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 18, 2005 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    JerryB

    Thanks for the links. I am in the process of downloading.

  36. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 5:09 AM | Permalink

    Warwick Hughes and I had a rather long chat on the telephone tonight – and I am, sort of, up to speed on the Jone’s data, but it’s Warwick’s project and no unnecessary comments need to be made by me.

    Having said that, Jone’s grid cell methodology of estimating mean temperatures would, under JORC standards, make BrEx pale into insignificance.

    Hence global computed mean temperature increases are nothing but statistically invalid averages.

  37. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 5:12 AM | Permalink

    Oh,

    Warwick and I were employed by WMC many decades ago and in OZ, we mining types are a close knitted community.

  38. Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Can I just comment on two posts.

    5 I include links to a wide range of organizations. Can you point out errors in or critique what I have posted specifying Jones et al use of UHI affected stations at;

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/gridlist.htm

    in the case of grid cell studies.
    And

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/cities.htm

    for city by city studies.

    17 You have to have Jones et al data to critique or attempt to understand what they have done. You might get part way with GHCN or GISS data but the various datsets are different. My USSR page, scroll down on;

    http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/

    and I often compare all three sources.

  39. John A
    Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    Re #39

    Warwick,

    Do you fancy trading in your old, run-down, clapped out website and getting a proper weblog?

  40. Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    Re 40;
    Thanks John A for your idea. I am only too aware that my pages look daggy.
    The major part of my effort goes into content, that’s my excuse.
    I have searched for a better front page template but never managed to get much improvement.
    You could drop me a note at inward@warwickhughes.com if you want to enlarge on what you are driving at.

  41. Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 10 Steven McIntyre,
    You have no problem doubting the conclusions of the vast majority of climate scientists based largely on the alleged faulty analysis of proxy data in one iconic climate study. What about the faulty analysis of climate skeptic authorities, such as those that Warwick Hughes thoughtfully links to?
    I question the conclusion of the majority of climate skeptics based on the preponderance of dubious nonsense promoted by the vast majority of skeptic authorities, well illustrated by the links in Warwick Hughes website. How is it that the conclusions of climate scientists can be called into question as a result of supposedly dubious statistical techniques, but the long history of nonsense from the skeptics, (such as the Robinson et al paper that accompanied the politically motivated Oregon Petition, the corporate funded propaganda campaigns of the Global Climate Coalition, and the recent urban myth that Martian “global warming” disproves a human influence on earthly climate) tells us nothing about the integrity of the skeptic theory of climate?

    Why is it that the technical details of MBH 98 call into question the conclusions of thousands of climate scientists and decades of research, but the nonsense of the skeptics (well illustrated by Warwick Hughes links) escapes your disapprobation?

  42. Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 5:14 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 39 Warwick Hughes,

    The error you are making is implying that these alleged errors tell us anything relevant about the reality of global warming. The reality of AWG is the conclusion of the majority of the world’s climate scientists, based on multiple lines of evidence and decades of research and measured observations. Global warming is real, and not simply an illusion created by ignoring urban heat island effects.

  43. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    Re #42: while I’ve only published on MBH, I’m very unimpressed with the other multiproxy studies such as Jones et al 1998, Crowley and Lowery 2000 etc. Just because I haven’t published on them doesn’t mean that I haven;t looked at them. I am particularly unimpressed with the attempts to withhold data and methodology.

    I can’t do everything in the world. I’ve taken a particular interest in multiproxy climate reconstructions and that’s really all that I can commment on. I think that there’s a useful role for someone to carefully examine these studies as they are very narrowly based both in terms of a small scientific monculture and a small active ingredient proxy set.

    It’s possible that some of the studies that you refer to are inadequate, but, as I say, I can’t do everything. There are plenty of other competent people in the world, who I am sure will identify any problems in these studies.

    I am extremely sympathetic to Warwick Hughes’ attempt to get access to the station data used in the CRU temperature reconstructions. I cannot say whether a close examination of that data set will lead to any material change in the view of temperature changes over the past century, but checking the dataset seems a worthwhile exercise. Jones’ secrecy seems unacceptable to me. In particular, the bureaucrats who have written contracts that permit Jones to withhold the data should be brought to account.

  44. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 19, 2005 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Re: #43

    Michael, thanks for posting. A few comments.

    1. Please, please, never bother again to post about the alleged consensus. Science is not decided by a majority vote. It is decided by replicability.

    But beyond that, a quarter!! of the climate scientists worldwide stated in a recent poll that the scientific case for AGW has not been established. Add to this the fact that the older, more experienced climate scientists are disproportionately represented in the “not established” group, and it is clear that the science is by no means settled. The debate continues because many well-respected, established, in some cases brilliant climate scientists do not believe that there is evidence of AGW. So why do you?

    2. Given that, could you provide a citation for the “multiple lines of evidence” that show that AGW is happening? Please bear in mind that the results of computer models are not evidence. If you don’t know why, please consider the question and jump on Google until you do know why.

    3. Until Phil Jones provides the underlying data, neither you nor I know how much an effect the UHI islands are making. Without data, your claim that UHI is not significant merely reveals that you have prejudged the case.

    Let me repeat that again. Until Phil Jones decides to become a scientist, which up until now his actions have shown he is not, until that time we won’t know the extent of the effect the UH islands. You, on the other hand, have already made up your mind without a shred of data. You haven’t seen the data, I haven’t, just Mr. Jones.

    Now Phil is stuck. He’s made his bed, and wants to continue to lie in it. (And perhaps you should consider just why he hid the data in the first place, and why he contiues to refuse to reveal the data that would allow you to come to an informed decision on this question. After all, he’s concealing the data from you, remember … but I digress.)

    You, on the other hand, are under no such compulsion. We know that you make up your mind without data, you’ve demonstrated that, but you don’t have to continue to do so. I encourage and entreat you to set down the ideas which you have about climate science, and come at the field again with an open mind. You just might be surprised at what you find.

    w.

  45. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 1:48 AM | Permalink

    “Please bear in mind that the results of computer models are not evidence” what a silly comment. Of course they’re evidence, you might not agree with them, but your word doesn’t rule them out. I could say I don’t think that you’ve provided anything that I’d call evidence – would you accept that means it isn’t evidence? Of course not. Like me, you’re just a bloke who posts on blogs – get used to your insignificance.

    “Until Phil Jones decides to become a scientist, which up until now his actions have shown he is not, until that time we won’t know the extent of the effect the UH islands” a simple slurr on the man. “Until Wills Eschenbech decides to become a scientist, which up until now his actions have shown he is not, until that time we won’t know the extent of the biases in view.” Mere words – hopefully as insulting to you as those you say of Jones would be if he ever reads them. God you’ve got a conceited attitude towards damn good climatologists. Have you ever heard Dr Jones, for real? I have, he knows his stuff!

    “You, on the other hand, are under no such compulsion. We know that you make up your mind without data, you’ve demonstrated that, but you don’t have to continue to do so. I encourage and entreat you to set down the ideas which you have about climate science, and come at the field again with an open mind. You just might be surprised at what you find.”

    I wished you’d act on your own words. It’s as plain as a pikestaff you’re absolutely closed minded on this AGW business. I’ve never read a thing from you that conceeds any damn thing about AGW. You open your mind man! Smell the coffee! Blimey, I bet you’d think this year is warm globally because of UHI’s – sigh.

  46. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 2:17 AM | Permalink

    Peter

    ….computer models are not evidence…. Of course they’re evidence

    Other than the fact that GCMs are evidence that the programmer can write code that executes, just what are they evidence of?

    The definitions of evidence which are most applicable here are “that which tends to prove or disprove something” or “data presented to a court or jury in proof of the facts in issue.” These definitions are well understood by the average English speaker. I can not find a definition which includes computer projections of what might happen in the future, but can not be proved by information which we have available today.

  47. John A
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 3:39 AM | Permalink

    Blimey, I bet you’d think this year is warm globally because of UHI’s – sigh.

    Without access to the fundamental data, which Jones refuses to provide to anyone, no-one knows whether this year is globally warm, because of UHI’s or because of Jones’s methodology or something else. No-one means you as well.

    No-one, including you, can make any statement that AGW is proven without access to that fundamental data. As Willis points out, hiding fundamental data in the way Jones has is deeply unscientific and adds suspiciion that Jones is hiding something.

    The results of climate models are NOT scientific evidence of anything because they cannot be falsified.

    For example, were I to produce a theory that the world will end soon, based on predictions of extreme weather, floods, droughts, volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, then that would be an unfalsifiable theory. All of the above phenomena happen all of the time somewhere in the world. If I produced a mathematical model as evidence of the end of the world using the above data, are there any rational people who would take me seriously?

    Falsifiability is a key condition of good scientific theory. Climate models cannot be verified. Your statements on climate science are based on nothing more than your own personal beliefs about people you have never met, upon scientific reports you don’t understand, and upon personal incredulity that anyone could disagree with your “consensus”.

    Your other consistent tactic is to repeat arguments you can’t answer back to the person who said them, as if that is a satisfactory form of reply.

  48. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    Re: #46, Peter, thank you for posting, although I would have appreciated a less strident tone and fewer personal attacks. Most of the things I could say about your post have been said better and more clearly by John A and Brooks Hurd, and I thank them for their contribution. Beyond that, a few comments:

    1) What I have said about Phil Jones is not a "simple slurr [sic] on the man". It is a statement that he is committing scientific malpractice by hiding the data from you. And from me. And from everyone else. Which I guess is OK with you, because rather than deal with the statement, you accuse me of the doing same thing. Refresh my memory, what scientific malpractice, exactly, are you accusing me of? What data have I hidden? What scientific norms have I breached?

    2) You are right that Dr. Jones "knows his stuff", and is a good climatologist, and from what you say, he gives a good talk. But what on earth does that have to do with his hiding the data from you? How is that even remotely relevant?

    He may be a good devout churchgoing man as well, a man who loves his kids and his dogs and is a good husband and father, but so what? He’s not a scientist. Scientists don’t withhold data, because if they do, their results are unverifiable and un-replicable, and thus not science. In other words, if they hide the data, it’s can’t be science that they are doing, and thus they can’t be scientists.

    3) Computer models are certainly not evidence. I could write a computer model that would predict falling temperatures. Would that be evidence that temperatures will fall?

    In the recently completed "distributed computing" global climate modelling exercise, for example, they tested thousands of different scenarios. However, they threw out a number of otherwise perfectly fine results. Why? Because the results predicted falling temperatures, and thus were "unrealistic".

    Now my question is, do those results that they threw out constitute evidence that the temperature will fall?

    Of course not … and nor do the results that they kept constitute evidence that the temperature will rise.

    This is particularly true for climate models, because the climate is a chaotic, multi-stable, resonant, quasi-cyclical, driven system with numerous known and unknown feedbacks. No one has ever successfully modelled such a system in anything more than the crudest terms. The results of such models, while interesting at times, reveal more about the paucity of our understanding of climate than anything else, and are a long, long, long way from being evidence of anything.

    And meanwhile, I’m still curious to see Michael’s list of "multiple lines of evidence" that AGW is actually happening.

    w.

  49. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #48. Thanks ‘John’ ‘A’ I’d expect no better from you.

    “No-one, including you, can make any statement that AGW is proven without access to that fundamental data” presumably you don’t think that works the other way – that without acces to the data it can’t be disproven either – becuase you know that AGW is absolutely minimal. Right? Oh, and I’m amazed to know you know the models are wrong, because, unless you’ve time travelled to the future, you can’t KNOW they’re wrong. I guess you just unmovably believe them to be wrong…

    Re #47 Brooks I think computer models tend to back up the view that it’s warmed and it’s going to warm more. I might be wrong, I conceed that, will you conceed the models might be right? I doubt it, I rekon (correct me if I’m wrong) you too KNOW they’re wrong – though how, since were not in the future yet, again beats me.

  50. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Re #49. Wills, I tried to give you a flavour of the unpleasantness I felt in your comment. You clearly didn’t like me making a allegation of you, why ON EARTH do you think it constructive to make such an allegation of Dr Jones? Ok, OK! I know you KNOW you’re right, but, sorry, I (and it’s me posting, speaking for myself, and I am just this bloke from Devon in the UK with an interest in climate and a concern about what we’re doing to it) just wont condemn Dr Jones on the basis of a few people writing from clear and obvious strongly held positions. I know you KNOW he’s done what you allege, I just don’t see it the same way. I see an insult directed (with the active, baying indeed, support of others) at a climatologist. It’s an ad hom to say ‘Until Phil Jones decides to become a scientist’ he’s clearly a scientist, and a damn good one. You’d find few friends in any scientific community, or any community for that matter, if you go round so describing those you disagree with.

    So, I do responded in the tone of the post I respond to, especially posts I see as offensive. Why? To try, and fail mostly it seems, to make a point.

  51. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    Why do you remind me of the line which goes, “He who knows not and knows not that he knows not…”?

    So if I said I had a word from God and He said not to worry about AGW because He’s coming back to wind up the world before anything much happens, then becasuse you can’t disprove God said that to me, you have to take that as a scientific statement? That’s what you’re saying amounts to.

  52. John A
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    “No-one, including you, can make any statement that AGW is proven without access to that fundamental data” presumably you don’t think that works the other way – that without acces to the data it can’t be disproven either – becuase you know that AGW is absolutely minimal. Right? Oh, and I’m amazed to know you know the models are wrong, because, unless you’ve time travelled to the future, you can’t KNOW they’re wrong. I guess you just unmovably believe them to be wrong…

    I haven’t ever said that AGW is wrong. I have said that AGW is supported by poor evidence.

    Never mind that put words in my mouth, you have yet to produce any evidence that AGW must be the correct and only answer to why the Earth’s climate appears to be currently warming. I don’t know that the models are wrong, but by the same token you cannot prove they are right – the model projections are unfalsifiable. All I can say about the results of model runs is that they do not prove anything one way or another and therefore do not constitute evidence of anything.

    As Willis has pointed out, hiding your data is profoundly unscientific. If everyone is allowed to do that, how can we trust anyone to tell the truth?

  53. Paul Gosling
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    Are we getting confused about what replication is (the apparent holy grail of science)?

    If I measure the height of 100 oak trees in southern England and 100 more in Scotland and find that those in England are significantly taller, thus declaring that trees in England are taller than those in Scotland how do you replicate that work?

    Do you ask for my data, calculate the means yourself and declare it replicated. I would not consider that replication to support my work. Similarly if I told you which trees I had measured so you could go out and measure them yourself, that would still only tell you if my measurements were the same as yours. It would not be replicating my work and assuming our measurements were similar would still not get us any closer to knowing if trees in England are taller than in Scotland.

    Obtaining temperature data which has already been analysed and reanalysing them is similarly not replication, its just checking methodology. If you went out and got data from other stations, that is replication.

  54. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    Peter,
    Re:50

    GCMs may be right or wrong. I have not denied this. They are imprecise predictors like any computer models. Because they are imprecise, models can not “prove” what is going to happen.

    I use a rather sophisticated set of software packages which monitor all types of characterists of the stock market. Just as with the weather/climate, there is an enormous amount of information available to drive these programs. These progams allow me to model the markets. If these computer models allowed me to predict with any reasonable precision what the price of a single stock would be tomorrow or next week, then I would be able to make countless millions of dollars trading stocks. Unfortunately, the stock market and the weather are chaotic systems. I could avoid the word “chaos” and simply say that both systems have so many independent variables that computer modeling of either one will provide at best an imprecise guess of what is going to happen.

  55. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 2:36 PM | Permalink

    Re: #50, Peter, thanks again for posting. You say:

    I tried to give you a flavour of the unpleasantness I felt in your comment. You clearly didn’t like me making a allegation of you, why ON EARTH do you think it constructive to make such an allegation of Dr Jones? Ok, OK! I know you KNOW you’re right, but, sorry, I (and it’s me posting, speaking for myself, and I am just this bloke from Devon in the UK with an interest in climate and a concern about what we’re doing to it) just wont condemn Dr Jones on the basis of a few people writing from clear and obvious strongly held positions. I know you KNOW he’s done what you allege, I just don’t see it the same way. I see an insult directed (with the active, baying indeed, support of others) at a climatologist. It’s an ad hom to say “Until Phil Jones decides to become a scientist’ he’s clearly a scientist, and a damn good one. You’d find few friends in any scientific community, or any community for that matter, if you go round so describing those you disagree with.

    I am not insulting Dr. Jones. I am describing his actions. He is hiding the data and methods. How do we know? We have both direct and indirect evidence.

    For direct evidence, you can look at the quote at the top of the page. Now when I first read that quote, I felt (like you, I assume) that it couldn’t possibly be correct. I thought “no reputable, top-level person studying climate would do such a thing”.

    But unlike you, I didn’t then conclude (as you have) that because it was so unlikely, that the only conclusion must be that Dr. Jones wasn’t hiding the data. Unlike you, I like to deal with facts rather than just my own opinion. So I settled it the old-fashioned way. I wrote to Dr. Jones and asked him. He replied that, for various reasons, no, he would not release the data.

    For indirect evidence, I suggest that Dr. Jones is well aware of this particular blog. He has been free since day one to post up here saying “No, it’s all a misunderstanding, I never refused to release the data, it’s all available at http://www.somewherespecial.org.” He has not done so.

    So I am not making allegations about Dr. Jones, simply stating facts. He is not “a scientist, and a damn good one”. If he were, he would do what every real scientist does. He would release the data. I am describing his actions. You seem to think that this is not “constructive”. Before we can get to “constructive”, we have to see the data.

    You also seem to think my comments are an “ad hom” argument. They are not. An “ad hominem” argument is an attack on the man who provided the data and analysis in lieu of a scientific discussion of the data and the methods. It is an attempt to discredit the data and methods by attacking the author.

    But until Phil provides the data and the methods, there cannot possibly be an ad hominem attack. I am not trying to discredit his methods and data, merely trying to get him to reveal his methods and data.

    Yes, perhaps my comments were unpleasant, but it is an unpleasant subject. Do you know of a nice way to tell someone that they are callously flouting established scientific norms by deliberately hiding their data and methods? You say that I’ll find few friends if I “go round so describing those [I] disagree with.” Please re-examine what I wrote. I do not “disagree” with Dr. Jones, how could I? He has given us nothing to “disagree with.” When he does so, I may either agree or disagree, but until then, I cannot do either.

    Regarding #54, Paul, thank you for posting as well. You say:

    If I measure the height of 100 oak trees in southern England and 100 more in Scotland and find that those in England are significantly taller, thus declaring that trees in England are taller than those in Scotland how do you replicate that work?

    Unfortunately, you have drawn a false parallel. A more accurate parallel would be this:

    Suppose you “measure the height of 100 oak trees in southern England and 100 more in Scotland and find that those in England are significantly taller,” as you described. You then make a number of “adjustments” to the measurement to adjust them for variance and co-variance and perhaps something you call the “FHI”, the “Forest Heat Island”. You declare that after your “adjustment”, the Scottish trees are taller.

    I say I don’t believe it, and ask you to reveal the data and describe your methods. You refuse, saying I’m just “trying to find something wrong” with your study.

    To me, what you have done in this imaginary instance, just as what Phil has done, is not science because it is both unreplicated and unreplicatable. A study is not, , as you imply, just the data. But even if it were, if that data is not revealed, then the conclusions are not scientifically justified. If I said “I have wonderful data that proves that the earth is cooling … but I’m not going to tell you where I got the data,”, you would justifiably laugh in my face.

    But that is just what Phil Jones is doing. He has taken a bunch of data, subjected it to unknown mathematical transformations, and refusing to reveal either the data or the nature of his transformations, he asked us to take his results on faith. While this appeal to faith would make for a fine religion … it is not science because it cannot be replicated.

    All the best,

    w.

  56. John A
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    For direct evidence, you can look at the quote at the top of the page. Now when I first read that quote, I felt (like you, I assume) that it couldn’t possibly be correct. I thought “no reputable, top-level person studying climate would do such a thing”.

    But unlike you, I didn’t then conclude (as you have) that because it was so unlikely, that the only conclusion must be that Dr. Jones wasn’t hiding the data. Unlike you, I like to deal with facts rather than just my own opinion. So I settled it the old-fashioned way. I wrote to Dr. Jones and asked him. He replied that, for various reasons, no, he would not release the data.

    Did he say what those “various reasons” were, or is that embargoed as well?

  57. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    John, you ask what the “various reasons” were that Phil Jones gave for not revealing the data.

    IIRC, the main reason was because the funding agency (the WMO? the EU?) had indicated that he didn’t have to reveal the data. He also cited confidentiality issues. This is different from the reason he gave to Steve (couldn’t find the diskette) and Warwick (because Warwick might find an error in it).

    Unfortunately, my computer crashed badly a year ago, and I lost many of my old emails, so I can’t give you his exact wording … grrr, it made me a believer in backup, but it was closing the gate after the horses had bolted. It was quite clear from his response, however, that there was no way that I was going to see the data, thank you very much.

    w.

  58. Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    RE: # 44 Steve:

    Thank you for your comments. I understand that you don’t have time to analyze every climate study. I understand that you are not impressed with other proxy studies. But I still don’t understand why the nonsense of the skeptics (well illustrated by Warwick Hughes links) escapes your attention concerning the larger question about the integrity of the skeptics “climate theory”?

    How impressed are you with the Robinson et al paper included with the Oregon Petition, for example?

  59. John A
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    Willis,

    I wonder why Warwick or somebody doesn’t simpply file a request under the UK’s Freedom of Information Act and especially the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.

    If someone were simply to request access to the ftp server with all the data on it, it would cost nothing. Anyone in the world can make a request for it.

  60. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 5:30 PM | Permalink

    Re: #59, Michael, thank you for posting. I was a bit surprised that you have returned to post without giving us the list of the “multiple lines of evidence” you claim to have for AGW … but I digress …

    What I wanted to comment on was your question about “the integrity of the skeptics ‘climate theory'”.

    Near as I can tell, there is no general “climate theory” that is shared by either the skeptics, nor one shared by AGW adherents for that matter. In fact, it’s one of the problems with the whole of climate science, that there is no underlying, cohesive “theory of climate”. Given that, what theory are you talking about?

    The only thing that I see the skeptics agreeing on is that the scientific case for AGW is far from proven, and even there every skeptic has his/her own list of reasons that they don’t think the case is proven. What is this mysterious “climate theory” of the skeptics that you are asking Steve to critique?

    w.

  61. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    People that have not worked with complex models simply have no idea how dodgy they can be. While they can’t be falsified, you can get a good idea on how accuratly they can predict outcomes by running known, real-world data through them and then compare the output with actual measured values. For example, for the climate models you count wind them back to 1980 and then run the forward until the present day. Then you could check to see if they match the actual measured (physical) values. Whenever they have tryed this with the climate models they find they are an embarassing amount off, so now they either don’t do this anymore, or they don’t publish the results. Until they can get to within .1 degree on this test, I won’t believe they can predict 1 or 2 degrees across a century or more. Even then, it will still be a model and should not be trusted too much.

    I’d also be interested in what people, especially Peter and Michael, think is the definition of a “scientist”. For some it apparently does not include things like full disclosure of data and methodologies or replicatability of results. So what makes a good scientist besides being really smart?

  62. Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    Willis Eschenbach:

    Thanks for your comments.

    “We know that you make up your mind without data, you’ve demonstrated that…could you provide a citation for the “multiple lines of evidence” that show that AGW is happening?

    You don’t really want me to reiterate that well-worn territory, do you? Since you’ve asked three times in the last 24 hours, I’ll assume that you’d really like to hear it from me rather than read it for yourself from the IPCC.

    Empirical evidence is the standard for determining the validity of the global warming theory. Multiple lines of evidence provide independent validation of the reality of anthropogenic climate change.

    Measurements from satellites, thermometers, and historical records have confirmed warming in the atmosphere, at the earth’s surface, and in the oceans. Even most skeptics now grudgingly admit to this. Principles of physics verify the warming of the earth from the effect of atmospheric greenhouse gases. Carefully measured concentrations of greenhouse gases from human sources verify that they are accumulating in the earth’s atmosphere at a rate not seen in hundreds of thousands of years.

    Scientists are also documenting increases in storm intensity, retreat of glaciers around the world, reductions in Arctic sea-ice, and the acceleration of a long upward trend in global sea level, consistent with the theory of global warming. There is also empirical evidence that plants, birds, fish, mammals and insects are responding to climate warming by changes in geographic and seasonal distribution. Ice core analysis shows that CO2 has amplified climate warming in the past.

    There is a spatial pattern of climate warming independent of mean global temperature that is consistent with greenhouse warming. Warming is greater in the northern hemisphere, over land, and at night, greater in the troposphere and cooler in the stratosphere, all indications of greenhouse warming rather than warming from solar radiation changes or other “natural” causes.

    The increasing acidification of the oceans is another line of evidence indicating the overloading of the atmosphere with CO2, evidence independent of any computer modeling.

    Positive feedbacks are also being observed as added evidence for the reality of greenhouse warming. As the climate warms, more water vapor is put into the atmosphere, which enhances the greenhouse effect. As polar ice melts, more solar radiation is absorbed by the darker earth and ocean, increasing the melting.

    The 10 warmest years in recorded history have all occurred since 1990. 2005 will continue that trend. Just today, the most intense hurricane ever recorded formed in the tropical ocean. Computer models have served to warn the residents of Yucatan Mexico and Key West Florida to run for their lives. I wonder if the climate change skeptics are so unimpressed by the utility of computer models that they would ignore such a warning?

    No single scientific study guarantees final answers or absolute certainty, but multiple lines of evidence help establish a balance of evidence in favor of an understanding of the climate. This is the case with the theory of global warming.

    “The only thing that I see the skeptics agreeing on is that the scientific case for AGW is far from proven, and even there every skeptic has his/her own list of reasons that they don’t think the case is proven. What is this mysterious “climate theory” of the skeptics that you are asking Steve to critique?”

    Exactly. My point exactly! The skeptics are all over the place. Every one has his or her own opinion about what is wrong with the theory of global warming. The climate scientists, however, do in fact have a consistent theory of global warming based on multiple lines of empirical evidence. Climate models are a demonstration of the principles of climate scientists “theory of climate”.

    The skeptics, on the other hand, have little more than a political manifesto camouflaged as science (witness Crichton, Inhofe, Michaels, Tech Central Station, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Global Climate Coalition, etc.) In fact, as you suggest, the skeptic’s arguments fail to rise to the level of a theory of climate at all.

    Steve is very articulate in expressing his disapproval of the quality of climate science research, but the relative quality of the vast majority of the skeptics’ “research” is much worse. (His personal work aside). This is what I would like to hear Steve comment on.

  63. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 7:59 PM | Permalink

    Re #62 and on the failure of modellers to check on how their models have performed (or their failure to report the results if they have. On another thread, I’ve referred to the two scenarios of future world output & energy use in the 1000-page plus study by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – Hafele et al, 1981, “Energy in a Finite World.”

    The two regions that the IIASA experts projected to have the highest rates of GDP per capita growth between 1975 and 2000 in both of their scenarios – the USSR/Eastern Europe and Middle East/North Africa – turned out to be the two regions which experienced NEGATIVE growth in output per head for the period. The two regions that they projected to have the lowest per capita growth in both scenarios – China/Centrally Planned Asia and SE Asia/Africa, which together account for over 60 per cent of the world’s population – were the two regions that showed the highest per capita growth in both scenarios between 1975 and 2000.

    The fact that poor Asian countries with most of the world’s population have enjoyed faster economic growth rates than the rich countries over the past 30 years is probably the most important socio-economic fact of our time, but it wasn’t foreseen by the modellers and, incredibly, many in the IPCC milieu still deny that it’s happened: three IPCC chapters (Chapters 1 and 9 of the WG II report and Chapter 1 of WG III report) go out of their way to assert that global inequality has been increasing in recent decades. The assertion is supported by false statistics.

  64. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 8:16 PM | Permalink

    Re: #63, Michael, I appreciate the post, but what on earth was all that about? I didn’t ask for information about, nor did you say, that there were “multiple lines of evidence” to show that the earth is warming. We all know the earth is warming, and has been for a couple of centuries.

    Your claim, for which you have given no evidence to date, is that humans are the cause of that warming. I note that despite the length of your post, you didn’t provide a single scrap of evidence to support that claim.

    Nor does the IPCC have scientific evidence to support that claim. Their famous statement about “the preponderance of evidence” showing that some of last century’s warming was AGW was put in the report by politicians, not scientists. In fact, a number of IPCC scientists very specifically objected to that statement being added to the report.

    A typical example of this confusion can be seen in your statement that “Computer models have served to warn the residents of Yucatan Mexico and Key West Florida to run for their lives. I wonder if the climate change skeptics are so unimpressed by the utility of computer models that they would ignore such a warning?”

    I note that despite having the very best computer models, hurricanes often land elsewhere than predicted. But the main point is this. I would gladly act on a hurricane model regarding tomorrow. I would be more doubtful about a forecast for next week.

    But a hurricane forecast for a month from now? You and I both know it would be ludicrous to believe it … and yet at the same time you believe that climate models forecasts for 100 years from now constitute “evidence” that humans are warming the earth.

    Still waiting,

    w.

  65. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 20, 2005 at 11:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #63, last para. I for one don’t want Steve to divert himself from the study of multiproxy climate reconstructions which he’s told us is all that he can really comment on (#44 on this thread). His postings on this subject are illuminating, as is the apparent unwillingness of many of the established scientists in this field to debate the science or even to facilitate the examination of their work by Steve or by others.

    Steve has agreed that it’s possible that some of the studies from skeptics are inadequate, but says there are plenty of other competent people in the world who can do so. I agree. In accordance with the principle of comparative advantage, I hope that he devotes his efforts to the work that he is doing so well. He is not merely expressing his disapproval of the quality of the studies in question: on some points, he is showing what is wrong with them, and on others he is showing that more information needs to be provided before the reliance that has already been placed upon them can be justified. The apparently poor quality of many of the multiproxy reconstructions would not be excused or mitigated in any way by a demonstration that the quality of some or most of the sceptics’ studies was even worse.

  66. Larry Huldén
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 1:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #63. If we have all these evidences for AGW, why is IPCC so strongly emphasizing a falsification (Hockey Stick) as the most important illustration of AGW ?

  67. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 1:56 AM | Permalink

    Re #65, OK Willis, how can you accept it’s warming and then say the figures are skewed by UHI’s – as you have? Lets have it clear. Do you think it’s warming? By how much (excluding UHI and including UHI please)? And what’s caused it? Do you think this warming will continue? I do, because there is CO2 induced warming, due to the lagg in the climate system, in the pipeline. See you in 2010?

    Re the rest of it. As I said, you KNOW Dr Jones is a bad boy – you’re beyond argument I’d say. I don’t, I’ll keep an open mind.

  68. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    #67. Larry, you (and others) can obsess about one graph if you like, me, I look at the whole of it.

  69. Anders Valland
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 6:19 AM | Permalink

    Re #63: Do you have access to some IPCC-report that the rest of us do not? You say the IPCC has supporting empirical evidence of accelerating rise in sea levels. Well, they do sort of, but most of it seems to be about the world emerging from the Little Ice Age (LIA). They actually state: “There is no evidence for any acceleration of sea level rise in data from the 20th century alone”. See IPCC TAR, ch. 11.3.2.2, page 663.

    With regard to storminess and precipitation, the TAR states that there is no trend towards extremes. Actually, there is no trend whatsoever regarding storminess. Precipitation, on the other hand, is increasing. But that is primarily in the form of more rainy days than more extremes. And there is nothing there which cannot be explained by the simple fact that the world emerged form the cold grip of the LIA. Ref. IPCC TAR, ch.2 (ch. 2.7 for those who want conclusions).

    With regard to surface-, satellite- and radiosonde-measurements we all know the story. Fact of the matter is, the troposphere still has a tendency to warm less than the surface. Where’s the empirical evidence pointing to anything anthropogenic?

    So, what report were you referring to?

  70. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    Interesting.

    Dear all,

    In an open system, energy in = energy out.

    Energy state should be equalised. Whether earth has increased CO2 does not alter the energy balance.

    Unless, of course, the earth itself in in a cosmic greenhouse that stops thermal equilibrium.

  71. Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    re 69

    Energy state should be equalised. Whether earth has increased CO2 does not alter the energy balance.

    Disagree, Equalising energy leads to higher internal temperature with decreasing emisivity caused by increasing co2 absorption.

    try this calculator:

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/sb.htm

  72. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    Re #67: Larry, I agree with the point about the emphasis in TAR on the hockeystick. I have a measure of sympathy for the argument put by some people (e.g. Pielke Jr, who’s an excellent commentator) that the issue of the impact of 2xCO2 receives little illumination from hockey stick debates. OK, then, as you observe, why did IPCC TAR feature it so much if the “real” evidence lay elsewhere? I presume that it was for promotional reasons.

    I agree that the issue of the impact of 2xCO2 is an important and valid concern. Is it 0.6 deg C or 6 deg C? Quite a lot depends on one’s view of this. We know that different models say different things – but they can’t all be of equal merit. What accounts for the difference between models? Right now we get results from different models, but very little explanation of why one model is hot and another model less hot. As Doug Hoyt points out, we’re already a long way to 2xCO2 (especially on the log curve)- so why hasn’t the actual sensitivity been as high the modeled sensitivity?

    If you look closely at IPCC TAR, there is surprisingly little insight or analysis on such topics. All models are deemed to be created equal. (After all, each model has been published in a peer-reviewed journal).

  73. Jeff Norman
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    The problem with measuring global climate is (as M&E say in their book) that it is on a scale too large to comprehend from a human perspective. The work that Jones et al have reported is an attempt to reduce the available data to something that can be understood by humans and politicians.

    I cannot recreate the work Jones et al reported on. However I can observe my local conditions to see if locally I can see some of the global trends being reported as science.

    I hear that 2005 is going to go down as one of the hotter years. I KNOW that the raw temperatures recorded locally by Environment Canada shows year-to-date 2005 is ~1°C cooler than the same period in 2002. I also KNOW that 2002 was the fourth warmest year since 1939.

    I also KNOW that a quick and dirty trend of all the long term temperature data made available by Environment Canada for the province of Ontario shows no real trend between 1939 and 1997. I see that the gridded data attributed to Dr. Jones et al on Mr. Warwick’s web site indicates this region warmed by 1°C degrees per century.

    I also KNOW that while 1988, 1998, 1999 and 2001 were anomalously warm years, 2000, 2002, 2003 and 2004 were pretty average years for the period 1939 to 2004. I also KNOW that NONE of this raw temperature data has been corrected for ANY Urban Heat Island Effects.

    I KNOW that outside of the city there was frost on the ground this morning. I know that where I live in the city there was no frost on the ground. I KNOW when I left for work very early this morning my thermometer indicated 3°C outside. The same thermometer indicated 7°C in the downtown core 20 minutes later. So I KNOW there is a local UHIE.

    I believe that locally climate has warmed during the last decade. I also believe that this warming is inconsistent with the Anthropogenic Global Warming hypothesis.

    The difference between what I KNOW about local climate and what I see Dr. Jones has indicated about local climate perplexes me and makes me wonder about the accuracy of the other local climates presented in his work.

  74. Ken Robinson
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Re: # 45

    Willis, can I ask where you found information on a global poll of climate scientists? I’m curious as to what questions were asked, and how the pollsters defined “climate scientist”.

    Thanks;
    Ken

  75. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 21, 2005 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    The study was done by Bray and von Storch. Here’s some information on it.

    A survey of over 400 German, American and Canadian climate researchers conducted by Dennis Bray of the Meteorologisches Institut der Universitat Hamburg and Hans von Storch of GKSS Forschungszentrum and reported in the United Nations Climate Change Bulletin, for example, found that only 10% of the researchers surveyed “strongly agreed” with the statement “We can say for certain that global warming is a process already underway.” Further, 35% of those surveyed either disagreed with the statement or were undecided. Perhaps even more interesting, 67% of the researchers either disagreed or were uncertain about the proposition that climate change will occur so suddenly that a lack of preparation would devastate certain parts of the world — the underlying assumption on which the talks in Kyoto, Japan were based. Close to half of the researchers — 48% — indicated that they don’t have faith in the forecasts of the global climate models, the strongest argument in favor of quick, decisive, international action to counter the threat of global warming. Another 20% expressed uncertainty about these models.

    At one point I actually tracked down the Storch study results question by question. I’ll look around and see what I can find. I note that half the climatologists said that they didn’t believe the forecasts of the Global Climate Models, those models that some on this list think are “evidence” of climate change.

    w.

  76. Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    RE; # 65 Willis Eschenbach:

    “Your claim, for which you have given no evidence to date, is that humans are the cause of that warming. I note that despite the length of your post, you didn’t provide a single scrap of evidence to support that claim… Still waiting.”

    Decades of research by hundreds of independent scientific and academic institutions around the globe have discovered that human-caused climate change involves forcings such as the radiative forcing of well-mixed greenhouse gases, as well as land cover changes. Observed data and theoretical physics provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate, gases which humans are clearly contributing to the atmosphere.

    Perhaps the evidence does not convince you, but to say I haven’t given it to you misses the point. These are not my opinions, but the conclusion of the majority of the world’s climate scientists. Your denial, on the other hand, is merely your personal opinion. You haven’t offered me a single shred of evidence that greenhouse gases have no relationship to the observed warming. Indeed, the scope and the character of these climate changes are evidence of greenhouse warming, which is the best explanation for these climate changes.

    You said it so well yourself “The only thing that I see the skeptics agreeing on is that the scientific case for AGW is far from proven, and even there every skeptic has his/her own list of reasons that they don’t think the case is proven.”

    The science offers you evidence in support of a theory, not “proof”. The skeptics, on the other hand, offer an inchoate hodge-podge of personal opinions, which fail to rise to the level of hypothesis, much less theory, which fail to explain the causes of climate change. I’ll stick with the science.

  77. John A
    Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    Decades of research by hundreds of independent scientific and academic institutions around the globe have discovered that human-caused climate change involves forcings such as the radiative forcing of well-mixed greenhouse gases, as well as land cover changes. Observed data and theoretical physics provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate, gases which humans are clearly contributing to the atmosphere.

    Name some studies of these “observed data and theoretical physics” that provide “plenty of evidence” for the effects of greenhouse gases on climate. And I don’t mean climate models, I mean hard unambiguous evidence of an effect on climate that is not less than the natural variation of climate.

    Science is not decided by majority, but by theoretic exposition leading to observations and reproducible experiement of those observations.

    Perhaps the evidence does not convince you, but to say I haven’t given it to you misses the point.

    No you haven’t Michael. You’ve made a statement without support.

    These are not my opinions, but the conclusion of the majority of the world’s climate scientists.

    Prove that a “majority of the world’s climate scientists” have concluded anything of the sort. Unless of course, this means the majority of climate scientists who already agree with you.

    Your denial, on the other hand, is merely your personal opinion.

    Your empty assertions are merely yours. Furthermore Willis is a scientist. You are a furniture maker. He has doubts. You have faith.

    You haven’t offered me a single shred of evidence that greenhouse gases have no relationship to the observed warming.

    You haven’t produced any evidence that they are. Perhaps you are under the impression that dogmatic statements constitute proof – not in my dictionary. Willis can no longer disprove greenhouse gases have no relationship than he can prove that Santa Claus doesn’t exist.

    In any case, its a straw man fallacy. Willis (nor any other skeptic as far as I know) has never said that “greenhouse gases have no relationship to the observed warming” but that no-one has shown that increased greenhouse gases cause significant measureable warming, that is outside of the natural variation of climate.

    Indeed, the scope and the character of these climate changes are evidence of greenhouse warming, which is the best explanation for these climate changes.

    So you say, but only if you accept the Mann Hockey Stick version of past climate, where past climatic change is mysteriously subdued. Is it the best explanation? That’s your opinion.

    The science offers you evidence in support of a theory, not “proof”. The skeptics, on the other hand, offer an inchoate hodge-podge of personal opinions, which fail to rise to the level of hypothesis, much less theory, which fail to explain the causes of climate change. I’ll stick with the science.

    How can you stick to that which you don’t understand? What you’re actually saying is “I will stick to the opinions of scientists who I think have provided enough evidence to satisfy my personal beliefs about the world”

  78. David Brewer
    Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    Problems with the approach: “Prove that the models are wrong”:

    First, the argument is the wrong way round. The burden of proof, traditionally and rightly, rests on the proposer, who must make out a case against the null hypothesis.

    Second, the phrasing confuses the real issue. “The models” are spoken of as if they are a sort of wise jury coming to a consensus judgement. What we actually have are hundreds of different models, with very different parameters, giving projections for 2100 that range from cooling to 10 degrees warming. From the results, an arbitrary selection is made to present a range of projected values.

    Now, one model result, within or outside the arbitrary range, is going to be close to average temperature in 2100. So this model will turn out “right” for global average temperature. But so what? If you make enough guesses at anything, one of them is bound to be close. The fact that one model gives the right answer does not validate even the methodology of that model, let alone “the models” and their results in general. “The models” en bloc could never be validated, because they contradict each other in design, assumptions and results.

    Believers in “the models” might indicate which model they believe in. Then we could discuss something real. A closer look at a single model would show that:

    – the behaviour of large influences on temperature has to be guessed (e.g. clouds)
    – historical data are inadequate to estimate the size of other influences (aerosols)
    – we don’t know if we have even identified all the factors (forcings) involved, and of those already identified, not all are included in the models. Recent papers have suggested that various forcings have been significantly underestimated (e.g. various solar influences, black soot, land use changes). All TAR model runs also misspecify water vapour effects (see Steve’s “modelling” category).
    – modelling procedure requires crude approximations over large grid cells, ignoring local climate and weather phenomena as large as hurricances
    – model projections are demonstrably unreliable at regional and local level: even those that appear to simulate the evolution of global temperature do so only by averaging hundreds of more or less wrong results for the grid cells.

    Climate modelling is a “what if” exercise. Model results are what would happen if the assumptions in the models were true and the starting conditions were as specified. This doesn’t mean models are worthless. They are experimental tools for trying to improve our understanding of climate processes. The more scrupulous and experienced IPCC participants have tried to make this clear, but it seems the message is too subtle. For what the IPCC actually claims for models, and what they are really trying to do with them, see the IPCC Technical Summary and Zillman’s explanation:

    http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/wg1TARtechsum.pdf ,Box 3, pages 48-9.
    http://www.assa.edu.au/publications/op/op22005.pdf , page 8f.

  79. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    Re: #77, Michael, thank you for your response. I asked you to list the "multiple lines of evidence" that support the AGW hypothesis. You say:

    Decades of research by hundreds of independent scientific and academic institutions around the globe have discovered that human-caused climate change involves forcings such as the radiative forcing of well-mixed greenhouse gases, as well as land cover changes. Observed data and theoretical physics provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate, gases which humans are clearly contributing to the atmosphere.

    Michael, we’re not advancing here. None of this is evidence of AGW. It merely repeats your earlier claim that there are "multiple lines of evidence", which now has become "plenty of evidence", without telling us what that evidence is.

    We agree that there are forcings. The nature and effect of these forcings, however, is not at all understood. For example, evidence shows that the climate is clearly related to the length of the sunspot cycle. However, why this should be so and how this connection works is still a wide open question.

    In other words, the existence of forcings does not show that humans are affecting the climate. The question is not whether the CO2 forcing exists. The question is whether that forcing will make any measurable difference in the climate.

    This is an extremely hard question to answer, for two reasons. The first is because the climate is a chaotic, multi-stable, resonant, quasi-cyclical, driven system with a wide variety of both positive and negative feedbacks. In a system of this complexity, it is absurdly simplistic to claim that if some forcing A goes up, the temperature must go up as well. For example, from about 1940 to 1970, the CO2 forcing was increasing, but the global temperature (as near as we can tell, since Phil Jones is hiding the data) was dropping. Why? The ugly reality is that no one knows why the earth cooled while the forcings increased, including you and I and all of the world’s climate scientists. Thus, the existence of forcings is not evidence of AGW, and the temperature drop from 1940 and 1970 is evidence that the forcings are not having the effect you presuppose.

    The second reason the question is hard to answer is that the CO2 forcing is so small. Theoretical physics, as you point out, indicates that the effect of doubling CO2 will be a temperature change of some 0.6 degrees. The IPCC says that it will take somewhere more than a century to double the CO2. Thus we are looking for a signal of 0.006 degrees warming per year, in a system where the accuracy of our global temperature measurements is no greater than perhaps a degree. Obviously, you are convinced that evidence for such an incredibly miniscule signal has been found. If so, please point to where the evidence exists.

    In addition, you still seem to be confused about the difference between evidence and theory. You say "theoretical physics provides evidence" … not. Theoretical physics can only provide theories. Evidence is something we must search for out in the real world.

    Perhaps the evidence does not convince you, but to say I haven’t given it to you misses the point. These are not my opinions, but the conclusion of the majority of the world’s climate scientists. Your denial, on the other hand, is merely your personal opinion.

    When you say "these are not my opinions, but the conclusion of the majority of the world’s climate scientists", which opinions are you referring to? And once the opinions are listed, perhaps you could give us some citation to show that the majority of the world’s climate scientists agree with you?

    Finally, it appears that you think that if the majority of climate scientists agree with you, you must perforce be right. However, as we all know, many times in history the majority of scientists have been dead wrong. Incredibly wrong. Absurdly wrong. This is why science is not decided by majority vote, but by evidence. I ask for evidence, you reply with unsubstantiated claims of consensus, claims which would be meaningless even if they were true.

    You haven’t offered me a single shred of evidence that greenhouse gases have no relationship to the observed warming. Indeed, the scope and the character of these climate changes are evidence of greenhouse warming, which is the best explanation for these climate changes.

    Michael, you say I haven’t offered you any evidence … did you notice that you haven’t asked for any evidence? However, now that you have asked for evidence, I’d be glad to offer some. Let me note, though, that the onus is not on me. You say that the earth is warming because of human activities, and that we should do something about that (Kyoto, etc.) which will cost billions of dollars. Before doing that, I ask for evidence that it is actually happening. Your response is to ask me to prove it’s not happening. But I’m not the one asking people to spend billions, you are, and so I’m not the one required to prove anything, you are. With that caveat, therefore, here’s some evidence:

    1. Greenhouse gases, in particular CO2, rose rapidly from 1940 to 1970, but the world’s temperature dropped.

    2. Greenhouse theory says that the polar regions should warm faster than the equator. In fact the Antarctic, far from warming faster than the equator, is cooling. This is completely contrary to your theory.

    3. Greenhouse theory says that the troposphere should warm more than the surface. In fact, it is warming less than the surface.

    4. None of the recent temperature changes has been at all outside the historical record. The earth warmed more and warmed faster from 1900 to 1940 than at any time since. The greatest warming in the Central England Temperature record occurred over two centuries ago. The greatest warming in the Armagh temperature record was from 1815-1825.

    You say that the "scope and character of these climate changes" are evidence of greenhouse warming. What, exactly, about the "scope and character" of which particular climate changes are evidence of greenhouse warming?

    You said it so well yourself “The only thing that I see the skeptics agreeing on is that the scientific case for AGW is far from proven, and even there every skeptic has his/her own list of reasons that they don’t think the case is proven.”

    The science offers you evidence in support of a theory, not “proof”. The skeptics, on the other hand, offer an inchoate hodge-podge of personal opinions, which fail to rise to the level of hypothesis, much less theory, which fail to explain the causes of climate change. I’ll stick with the science.

    You seem to be a bit confused about the process of science. Here’s how it works:

    1. Someone proposes a theory.

    2. Other people test and probe and examine and consider that theory, to determine if it is correct. They see if there is evidence to support that theory, or whether the evidence opposes that theory. They examine the experiments, check the data, replicate the studies, and see if the theory holds up.

    Note that nowhere in this is there a requirement that those who might disagree with the theory have to provide an alternate theory. In other words, if someone comes in saying "the moon is made of green cheese", it is not necessary to come up with an alternate theory of lunar composition. To disprove their theory, it is only necessary to show that moon rocks contain no cheese.

    Similarly, you have come up with a theory that says, in a boiled down form, "The earth is warming because of human activities." It is not necessary to come up with an alternate theory if one disagrees with you. Science provides a lovely concept called the "null hypothesis" which serves quite well as the alternate theory in all cases. In this particular case, the null hypothesis is "The earth is warming for some other reason than human activities."

    In other words, it is not necessary for the sceptics to come up with an alternate theory, and in my opinion, it is not even possible given the current state of climate science. There are simply too few good measurements and too many unknowns to do so. My point was not that the sceptics lack a theory of climate change, it was that there is no theory of climate change on either side of the fence. Why did the temperature cool during the 50’s and 60’s, and warm during the 70’s and 80’s? No one knows. Why is the Antarctic cooling and the Arctic warming? No one knows. Why were the 1400s warm, and the 1700s cool? No one knows. When will the PDO next flip to the other cycle? No one knows. There is no theory of climate.

    Now you have a claim, that increasing CO2 will warm the earth. You may be right, but this hardly constitutes a theory of climate. In addition, to date the predictions of your theory are not supported by the evidence. Whether I have a theory of climate is immaterial to whether your claim is correct or not.

    Finally, I’d like to correct one statement in John A.’s otherwise excellent post. He said "You [Michael] are a furniture maker." This, of course, is an ad hominem argument which has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of your statements. Einstein was a post office clerk. So what? The argument that you are wrong because you are a furniture maker is just as ludicrous as the argument that you are right because some group of scientists agrees with you. Science is not decided by the occupation of the person making the claim any more than it is decided by a majority vote of scientists.

    w.

  80. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Adding to Willis’ comments,

    Given the fact that internally the earth itself has large temperature changes which melts the upper mantle and deep crust producing volcanic eruptions at the surface, it is not difficult to see that the thermal energy involved and the mass of the earth itself, that the earth’s own internal temperature fluctuations might have bigger effect on the atmosphere’s temperature than the sun.

    Except we really don’t understand the internal workings of the planet.

  81. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 22, 2005 at 10:41 PM | Permalink

    CORRIGENDUM: Einstein was actually an Examiner (Third Class) in the Swiss Patent Office, not the Post Office … he had tried to become an Examiner (Second Class), but failed the test.

  82. MarkL
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 1:03 AM | Permalink

    Gentlemen (especially Mr Eschenbach), I would like to than you for a vastly interesting and extraordinarily informative debate. While merely an interested layman in this field, the debate between the scientific community and the ‘green-religious’ community as represented by Mr Seward has been most illuminating: both of the surprising tale of the basic data being withheld, and of the paucity of comprehension among the followers of the ‘green religion’.

    I am forced by the facts to state that the rationalists and scientists as exemplified by Mr Eschenbach carry the field here.

    With sincere appreciation

    MarkL
    canberra

  83. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    re #83

    What do I need to look out for so I can spot ‘followers of the “green religion’.’. What do rational scientist, and people like you good rational and non biased self, think about AGW? Just, you understand, so I know what I have to think…

  84. John A
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    Finally, I’d like to correct one statement in John A.’s otherwise excellent post. He said “You [Michael] are a furniture maker.” This, of course, is an ad hominem argument which has nothing to do with the truth or falsity of your statements.

    Willis, although that’s true, that’s not the sense I meant it. The full quote is in response to Michael Seward’s statement:

    Your denial, on the other hand, is merely your personal opinion

    My response was:

    Your empty assertions are merely yours. Furthermore Willis is a scientist. You are a furniture maker. He has doubts. You have faith.

    I wasn’t pointing out Michael’s profession as evidence that he was incorrect – I was pointing out the asymmetry between his and Willis’ scientific knowledge and their respective certainties about climate science.

    It reminded me of Richard Lindzen’s remark:

    On hearing about Canada’s Minister of the Environment David Anderson’s confidence in the dramatic conclusions of the IPCC summary report, Dr. Lindzen laughed, “There is a certain charm when politicians are so certain of the science when the scientists are not.”

  85. Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:21 AM | Permalink

    re 80:

    The second reason the question is hard to answer is that the CO2 forcing is so small. Theoretical physics, as you point out, indicates that the effect of doubling CO2 will be a temperature change of some 0.6 degrees. The IPCC says that it will take somewhere more than a century to double the CO2. Thus we are looking for a signal of 0.006 degrees warming per year, in a system where the accuracy of our global temperature measurements is no greater than perhaps a degree. Obviously, you are convinced that evidence for such an incredibly miniscule signal has been found. If so, please point to where the evidence exists.

    Six millikelvin per century is about sixty millikelvin per decade, funny that is approximately the unexplained trend in the sattelite data…

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/howmuch.htm

    refs:
    Douglass, David H, and B. David Clader, 2002, Determination of the Climate Sensitivity of the Earth to Solar Irradiance. Geophysical Research Letters 10 , doi:10.1029/2002GL015345.

    Douglass, David H, B. David Clader, and R.S. Knox , 2004, Climate sensitivity of Earth to solar irradiance: update. Physics, abstract physics/0411002.

    http://citebase.eprints.org/cgi-bin/citations?id=oai:arXiv.org:physics/0411002

  86. Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    oops that should be
    Six millikelvin per year is about sixty millikelvin per decade…

  87. David Brewer
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:46 AM | Permalink

    Willis may have been a bit hard in saying that Michael presents no evidence that the greenhouse effect is responsible for recent warming. Michael does say this:

    “There is a spatial pattern of climate warming independent of mean global temperature that is consistent with greenhouse warming. Warming is greater in the northern hemisphere, over land, and at night, greater in the troposphere and cooler in the stratosphere, all indications of greenhouse warming rather than warming from solar radiation changes or other “natural” causes.”

    Michael also points to increased storminess. But all these data, though valid, do not point in the direction indicated. The fact that warming is greater in the northern hemisphere, over land, and at night, is more clearly consistent with urban heat island (UHI) effects than with the greenhouse effect. In fact, “Conventionally, UHI was detected from nighttime World Meteorological Organization (WMO) 2-metre surface air temperature records” (http://climate.gsfc.nasa.gov/publications/fulltext/Jin.BAMS.pdf , which also has many useful UHI references, and information on how UHI is being incorporated into climate models).

    The IPCC’s attempt to use relative night warming (i.e. reduced daily temperature range) as evidence of the greenhouse effect was scientifically disgraceful. Warwick shows how it was done here: http://www.warwickhughes.com/climate/easterling.htm

    IPCC reports also play foul with the slight increases in cloudiness, thunderstorms and rainfall noted at weather stations over the twentieth century. All are features of urban climate described in detail decades ago by Landsberg and others. They are further evidence that weather station records contain urbanisation trends. The IPCC should have pointed out this obvious explanation, and explored how much spurious warming could be inferred in the temperature records at the same sites.

    Instead, the IPCC cited cloudiness, thunderstorm and rainfall changes in the first couple of pages of its Summary for Policymakers as evidence of “climate change” — knowing that 95 per cent of its audience would equate this with greenhouse warming. See last bullet point on page 2 and second and third last points on page 4 here: http://www.ipcc.ch/pub/spm22-01.pdf

    Doug Hoyt has further useful references on UHI and albedo changes here: http://www.warwickhughes.com/hoyt/uhi.htm http://www.warwickhughes.com/hoyt/albedo.htm

  88. Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Willis:

    Thanks for your response to my comments. You claim, “The earth is warming for some other reason than human activities,” and it is not necessary, or even possible to say what those other reasons are.

    Scientific research doesn’t prove that there is global warming. But if you ask what is driving global warming, greenhouse warming is the only explanation that is consistent with the evidence. The skeptics have a responsibility to answer the obvious question, if average global temperatures are increasing, what is the cause? You claim that no one knows, and in fact it is currently unknowable. I think it is more accurate to say that no one knows with absolute certainty, but an understanding of the climate is emerging from decades of research, and that the answers to these questions are coming into focus.

    Only a small minority of qualified scientists doubts the view that human causes are playing a significant role in recent average global temperature increases. The evidence that a majority of scientists agree with the conclusion of the IPCC is based on the statements of scientists and their professional organizations, and the content of the published peer reviewed literature. I am referring to qualified scientists with a record of scholarship who have specifically commented in the scientific literature on the question, not merely those participating in polls, think-tank policy papers, or lobbyists and advocates commenting on blogs and op-ed pages.

    Scientific groups from across the globe have issued statements about the current state of climate science knowledge. The IPPC’s conclusions have been endorsed by the National Academy of Sciences, and the G8 academies of science. In 2001 the National Research Council said that “The IPCC’s conclusion that most of the observed warming of the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations accurately reflects the current thinking of the scientific community on this issue.”

    The American Meteorological Society said in 2003: “Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases…”

    The AGU issued a statement in 2003 that “Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century… The global climate is changing and human activities are contributing to that change.”

    The Summary Report of the World Climate Change Conference in 2003 concluded: “An overwhelming majority of the scientific community has accepted (the IPCC’s) general conclusions that climate change is occurring, is primarily a result of human emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and that this represents a threat to people and ecosystems.”

    The Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Society of London issued a statement saying: “As regards the greenhouse gases carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (in particular), the link of these to climate is now firm.”

    Since you are a scientist, you are free to make up your own opinion about the validity of these claims. But since I am just a furniture maker, doesn’t it seem to be an exercise in good judgment to base my “beliefs” on the conclusions of qualified scientists and their national and international professional organizations?

    Do you think it would be sensible or prudent to endorse instead Louis Hissink’s unique suggestion that volcanism may be behind global warming, or adopt Fred Singer’s denial that the earth is warming, or sign on to Soon and Baliunis faith that liberating CO2 into the atmosphere is good for the earth? I don’t think so. I’ll stick to the science, even though I have no expertise in the subject of climate change.

  89. Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    John A:

    Thanks for asking me to “Name some studies of these “observed data and theoretical physics” that provide “plenty of evidence” for the effects of greenhouse gases on climate. And I don’t mean climate models, I mean hard unambiguous evidence of an effect on climate that is not less than the natural variation of climate.”

    Unfortunately,the unambiguous evidence that you are looking for does not exists. The facts may be unambiguous (or not), but what the facts mean will always be ambiguous. There is no single unambiguous study proving beyond the shadow of a doubt that global warming has a significant human component. Every study has its detractors, and differing opinions compete in the scientific literature, as they should.

    But to deny that a common understanding has emerged among the vast majority of qualified climate scientists is to deny well documented reality. The 2,000 page IPCC report, written by 500 scientists and reviewed by about 500 other experts, is certainly comprehensive. But a lot of research has been done since 2001. All this research in total (not any one study in particular) paints a compelling and consistent picture of a world responding to dramatic and unprecedented increases in atmospheric greenhouse gases. I’ll mention just three here, so that you can exercise your compulsion to deny scientific claims that contradicts your faith in the skeptics message.

    I don’t want to get into dueling studies. I know that climate science is a very fertile ground for competing ideas. I know you want to deny the credibility of these studies, but my point is simply that the science supports the contention that global warming is connected to rising levels of greenhouse gases.

    My point is simply that it is not unreasonable to “believe in” global warming based on the science, rather than faith alone. This is because the science showing evidence for AWG is pervasive and widely supported. On the other hand, research that proves that natural causes alone are responsible for these changes has yet to be published. It would take faith to believe that natural causes alone explain the recent warming, since the science in support of that hypothesis is miniscule in amount and not widely supported where it exits.

    1. Tett SFB et al., JGR 2002 (Estimation of natural and anthropogenic contributions to twentieth century temperature change,) says “Our analysis suggests that the early twentieth century warming can best be explained by a combination of warming due to increases in greenhouse gases and natural forcing, some cooling due to other anthropogenic forcings, and a substantial, but not implausible, contribution from internal variability. In the second half of the century we find that the warming is largely caused by changes in greenhouse gases, with changes in sulphates and, perhaps, volcanic aerosol offsetting approximately one third of the warming.”

    2. Barnett et al. “Penetration of Human-Induced Warming into the World’s Oceans” (Science, Vol 309, Issue 5732, 284-287, 8 July 2005) “A new study has found a “compelling agreement” between observed changes in ocean temperatures since 1960 and the changes simulated by two climate models under rising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases. In all of the world’s ocean basins, the warming predicted by the models for the upper 700 meters (2,300 feet) of the ocean corresponded to actual measurements obtained at sea, with confidence exceeding 95 percent…The immediate conclusion is that human influences are largely responsible for the warming signal,” the authors write. “The statistical significance of these results is far too strong to be merely dismissed, and should wipe out much of the uncertainty about the reality of global warming,” said lead author Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. The changes were simply too strong to be explained by natural causes. The study was published in the June 2, 2005 online version of the journal Science”.

    3. “Precise measurements of temperature within the ocean confirm that the Earth is absorbing more energy from sunlight than it emits back to space, providing perhaps the strongest evidence to date that rising concentrations of greenhouse gases and other pollutants are the primary cause of the current global warming trend. The findings are reported in the April 28, 2005 issue of the journal Science…. The magnitude of the imbalance agrees with what we calculated using known climate forcing agents, which are dominated by increasing human-made greenhouse gases,” said lead author James Hansen, director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies.”

    Your brand of denial is your opinion, and your welcome to it. But it isn’t an accurate appraisal of the argument to say that “no-one has shown that increased greenhouse gases cause significant measureable warming, that is outside of the natural variation of climate”. Of course they have. You simply chose not to believe it.

  90. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 9:32 AM | Permalink

    Michael, I disagree with the comment about your occupation. My business background does not appear to qualify me in any obvious way to comment on climate issues, although I would argue that it’s actually been quite helpful. I’m much more suspicious than your average bear and I think that I’m much more attuned to when I’m being “promoted” and when people are “arm-waving” through difficult parts of their argument.

    As I’ve mentioned, I think that the studies that I’ve looked at in detail are very unimpressive and prove very little about climate change. I hope that studies in other areas are better. I’ve skimmed some of the detection and attribution studies and I don’t like them much either. I posted up on Hegerl et al earlier in the year. I’d be a bit wary of Tett and Barnett studies.

    Most scientists in the learned institutions haven’t studied the matters in detail and, in my opinion, are no more knowledgeable than brokers about individual stocks. I wouldn’t put a whole lot of weight on the opinion of non-specialist scientists – their statements are to some extent simply political. It doesn’t mean that they’re wrong, just that they aren’t adding as much as you think to the matter.

  91. Uncle Bill
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 12:04 PM | Permalink

    RE: #18

    Perhaps because “The Story so Far” has a publication date of May 8, 2005.

    The real question is why the graph doesn’t cut off sooner.

    One possibility is that the graphic was updated after the article was published.

  92. John A
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 12:24 PM | Permalink

    Isn’t it amazing that when I ask for unambiguous evidence of human-induced climate change that isn’t from climate model, I get Michael to cheerfully admit that:

    a) there isn’t any such evidence
    b) most scientists believe that it exists
    c) it is quite proper to believe in something because most scientists believe it, despite the absence of evidence
    d) despite the above “the science showing evidence for AWG is pervasive and widely supported”

    We are then treated to a list of climate modelling studies, as if these meant anything.

    Michael: point (d) and point (a) cannot both be true. Points (b) and (c) are fallacies.

    I’m not going to go through your reply statement-by-statement because I don’t have the time and this site has disk space problems as it is.

    Your whole argument is a statement of absolute faith that large numbers (and I’ve yet to see proof of those large numbers) of scientists cannot be wrong about something. Yet large numbers of scientists have been wrong about many things, and believed many things that turned out to be false.

    Those same large numbers of scientists have turned out to be wrong about the Mann Hockey Stick as a scientifically plausible reconstruction of past climate. It says much about your faith that despite that very obvious failure, you are still prepared to rest your faith on their belief about something even more vague and difficult to check or quantify.

    It isn’t “denial”, it’s skepticism. Denial means that there is unambiguous evidence that I’m somehow evading, but as you’ve already admitted that evidence doesn’t exist. Skepticism means that in the face of a proposition that is unlikely to be true, one waits for testable and reproducible scientific evidence.

  93. Paul
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    #90 Michael. Consensus science is seldom what it’s cracked up to be. Just to give a recent example, this year’s Nobel Prize in medicine was given to two doctors who proved that stomach ulcers are caused by bacterial infection and could be cured by antibiotics. This despite 50 years of consensus that ulcers were caused by stress and stomach acid, and that the lining of the stomach was too harsh an environment to allow bacteria to survive. They were laughed at when they proposed the idea and had to prove it by swallowing a cocktail loaded with H. Pylori and inducing ulcers in themselves. How strong was the consensus? At the end of WWII some New York hospitals were curing ulcers with the then new antibiotics, but were stopped because it didn’t fit the accepted medical model. Consensus was wrong in this case where the system is simpler and it’s possible to get good data and do real experiments. Why should a consensus that is ultimately based on contradictory and sparse observations coupled with crude and unverifiable models be better?

  94. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    Michael,
    There is another aspect of the existing temperature data for which no one has an unambiguous explanation. This is reduction in observed diurnal temperature variation. This is determined by actual temperature measurements taken by some form of thermometer, not proxy based temperature reconstructions such as MBH98.

    When selecting a single temperature point by which to compare one day with another, one could select the maximum or the minimum daily temperature. An average would seem like a good choice, but since most temperatures in the historic record are taken at intervals which vary from record to record, such an average might not be meaningful.

    The historical record of temperatures indicates that the minimum night time temperatures are increasing at a faster rate than the maximum daytime temperatures. If someone wishes to do a study of temperatures, they are able to select either the minimum, the maximum or both. I find it most interesting that the IPCC, Parker, and others have chosen the minimum temperatures. I do not mind that they make this choice, but I would expect them to point out that they have made this selection. I would also expect that they would comment on the effect on their conclusions of the daily maximum temperatures. Have you seen such a comparison in their papers or reports?

    Consider the effect of using only minimum temperatures in a study which claims to show global temperature change. Since minimum temperatures are rising at a faster rate than either the daily maximum termperatures or any daily average which one might compute, use of only minimums will heighten the dramatic impact of the study.

  95. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    Re: #89, Michael, first I’d like to thank you for continuing what at times has been a somewhat heated discussion. Your willingness to persevere is noted and much appreciated.

    Regarding your post, you say:

    But if you ask what is driving global warming, greenhouse warming is the only explanation that is consistent with the evidence. The skeptics have a responsibility to answer the obvious question, if average global temperatures are increasing, what is the cause? You claim that no one knows, and in fact it is currently unknowable. I think it is more accurate to say that no one knows with absolute certainty, but an understanding of the climate is emerging from decades of research, and that the answers to these questions are coming into focus.

    While we sceptics may have a “responsibility” to answer that question, and as much as I would like to answer that question, unfortunately, the answer is truly not known. My own feeling is that the sun and its variations play a much larger role than generally assumed. The variations in the length of the +/- 11 year sunspot cycle, for example, are closely related to the global temperature. Although no one knows why, the most plausible explanation involves cosmic rays. When the sun’s magnetic strength varies, so do the number of cosmic rays. This is known to affect cloud cover, which of course is central to climate.

    How many of the climate models include this in their constellation of forcings? As far as I know … none.

    Here’s another issue. The earth’s magnetic field has decreased by about 6% in the last century. What effect has this had on the climate? Again, no one knows, but it would be foolish to think that it has no effect.

    Again, how many climate models include this? Again … none.

    As I mentioned before, the underlying problem is that there is no underlying theory of climate. If we had one, in its simplest form it would look something like this

    Global Temperature = f(a,b,c,d,e,f,g …) – feedback(j,k,l, …) + feedback(m,n,o, …)

    However, our state of current knowledge is so poor that not only do we not know the functions in question, we don’t know what the variables are. Is decreasing magnetism a variable? Seems like it would be, but we don’t know. We also don’t know what many the feedbacks are. For the ones we do know about, we often don’t their size or even their sign. For example, it was recently discovered that when the ocean gets hot, plankton in the ocean emit gases that serve as cloud nuclei. These increase the clouds over that part of the ocean, and the plankton (and the temperature) both cool down.

    In this case, we know the sign of the feedback (negative), but lack even a reasonable estimate of the size of the feedback.

    How many climate models include this effect … you know the answer already.

    To me, one of the most valuable things that a scientist can ever say is we don’t know. While I know that everyone would like to have certainty about the climate, we simply don’t have enough evidence to say. According to NASAs Goddard Institute, we don’t even know the earth’s temperature to an accuracy of +/- one degree centigrade (see “The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature”, http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/abs_temp.html).

    We don’t know the earth’s temperature to within a degree, a problem which is greatly worsened by Phil Jones refusal to release his data. We don’t have a theory of climate. We don’t know the feedbacks in the system, or even what all of the forcings are, much less their size. And in the midst of all of this, you want me to give you a theory that explains why the global temperature has varied 0.6 degrees in the last century … I’m sorry, but the truth is, we don’t know.

    Nor do the climate models help. They give us answers all over the ballpark, they can’t all be right, and we don’t know either which one is right, nor why it is right (pure chance? luck? inspired programming?), nor why the others are wrong (bad data? bad program? wrong variables?). Thus they can’t give us any assistance. We do know, however, that the models do very poorly at generating results that are even lifelike, much less correct.

    In this regard, let me discuss briefly the Hansen et. al. study of ocean temperatures which was reported in Science magazine, and which you mention as “evidence” of warming. The study showed that for the period 2000-2005, the warming of the ocean closely matched the prediction of the model. This was claimed by Hansen to be the “smoking gun” which “proved” that global warming was happening.

    Being by nature a suspicious kind of fellow, I took the time to see how well the computer model did on the time period 1960-2005. Hansen et. al. did not report this result. What I found was that the computer model was wildly inaccurate for most of the time, with only two short periods where it matched the data, one in the 1980s and the other from 2000-2005. The authors of the study simply cherry-picked the 2000-2005 period, and ignored the results that were ludicrously in error. I’m not surprised that you believed the study, and in fact the results reported were accurate … except that the unreported results show that the accuracy was the result of cherry picking. And this, unfortunately, is what passes for climate science these days.

    So. A 55 year period, from 1960-2005. The computer model correctly forecasts a total of about 10 years of this period, and this is a “smoking gun”? Indeed, it is a smoking gun, but of a different kind. It is a smoking gun that proves the bankruptcy of current climate science. This kind of nonsense is why I said that computer models are not evidence. It is also why, in the poll of climate scientists I cited above, half the scientists said they have no faith in the models.

    But it appears you have faith in the models. I have asked repeatedly for evidence of AGW, and you have replied once again with studies based on models that half the climate scientists don’t believe in … even the IPCC, even James Hansen, know the limitations of the models (see below). They just don’t mention much about them.

    Let me digress slightly at this point to bring up a separate issue, what is called the “Faint Early Sun” paradox. Like many puzzles in science, this one is swept under the rug most of the time because it does not have an answer. The paradox is this. Theoretical physics is quite clear that the strength of the sun has increased by some 30% in the past couple million years. The paradox is that the temperature of the earth has not substantially changed during that time. This means that there is some extremely strong unknown feedback process which is keeping the earths temperature relatively constant.

    Now the sun’s strength is currently about 340 watts/m2, so this means the unknown feedback is capable of offsetting a forcing of 30% times 340 watts/m2, or about 100 watts/m2. Given the existence of that feedback, how likely is it that a change in CO2 forcing of 2.5 watts/m2 will change the earth’s temperature in any measurable way?

    Nor is this mystery feedback the only one. These feedbacks, as I noted above, are very poorly understood as to size, sign, or cause. However, their existence is beyond dispute. For the most part, they are either totally absent or poorly represented (generally parameterized) in the climate models. But they are incredibly powerful, and the added CO2 forcing is very small (about 0.5% of total forcing). For example, a tiny increase in average global cloud cover, less than 1%, is all that would be required to entirely wipe out the effect of CO2 doubling.

    Finally, regarding your comment about the various scientific bodies, you seem to think that the statements made by the leaders of those bodies somehow reflect the beliefs of the members. As a member of both the AAAS and the AGU, I can assure you that they represent nothing more than the beliefs of a few people at the top. In many cases, these people are not climate scientists. They have not polled their members before making these statements.

    The underlying problem in all of this is that a large number of scientists have an incredibly strong vested interest in the “existence” of anthropogenic global warming. People are always claiming that Steve and other sceptics gets some bit of funding from the gas and oil lobby (he doesn’t), while they never consider the scientists who will be, not just poorer, but out of both a job and a career when AGW is shown not to be an issue. Talk about having a vested interest in claiming AGW exists …

    This vested interest is so strong, in fact, that it has led many climate “scientists” (Mann, Bradley, Hughes, Esper, Phil Jones, and likely others as yet unknown), to conceal their data and their methods. So at this point, since to date you haven’t given me any evidence for AGW other than computer models, I have just one question for you:

    If the science is all as settled and clear as you seem to think, why are so many climate “scientists” unwilling to show us their climate “science”? This is a very important question. While the fact that they are hiding their “science” does not prove that their results are bogus, if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck …

    w.

    PS – a few quotes about the state of the models and of climate science for you to consider:

    “In sum, a strategy must recognize what is possible. In climate research and modeling, we should recognize that we are dealing with a coupled non-linear chaotic system, and therefore that the prediction of a specific future climate state is not possible.” — Final chapter, Draft TAR 2000 (Third Assessment Report), IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change).

    “Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward).” — Climate Change Science – An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

    “The forcings that drive long-term climate change are not known with an accuracy sufficient to define future climate change.” — James Hansen.

    “Reducing the wide range of uncertainty inherent in current model predictions of global climate change will require major advances in understanding and modeling of both (1) the factors that determine atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and aerosols, and (2) the so-called “feedbacks” that determine the sensitivity of the climate system to a prescribed increase in greenhouse gases.” — Climate Change Science – An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p1 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

    “The consensus is that major advances are needed in our modelling and interpretation of temperature profiles . . . and their analysis by the scientific community worldwide.” — David Parker, Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, Berkshire.

    “Because climate is uncontrollable . . . the models are the only available experimental laboratory for climate. . . . However, climate models are imperfect. Their simulation skill is limited by uncertainties in their formulation, the limited size of their calculations, and the difficulty of interpreting their answers that exhibit almost as much complexity as in nature.” — Climate Change Science – An Analysis Of Some Key Questions, p15 (Committee on the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council) ISBN 0-309-07574-2.

    “For the global mean [temperature], the most trusted models produce a value of roughly 14 Celsius, i.e. 57.2 F, but it may easily be anywhere between 56 and 58 F and regionally, let alone locally, the situation is even worse.” The Elusive Absolute Surface Air Temperature (SAT) (NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies)

  96. TCO
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    sun is a few billion years old and just in last few millions it cooled down 30% in power? Seems off…

  97. Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Willis, the absolute value of global average temperature doesn’t matter.
    In gravity exploration you can find orebodies by using relative observations, the absolute value doesn’t matter.

    Likewise the sattelite global average temperature also reports global average temperature anomalies to one thousanth of a degree.

    http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/public/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

    we don’t even know the earth’s temperature to an accuracy of +/- one degree centigrade

    is therefore a red herring.

  98. Ian Castles
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:12 PM | Permalink

    Willis, Thank you for another fascinating and illuminating posting (but note that 1960-2005 is 45 years, not 55 years).

  99. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    Hey TCO, short sabbatical, but welcome back.

    Yes, Willis fell prey to the old million / billion typo. People really ought to be more careful of it since a thousandfold difference is a bit too large to overlook.

  100. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    TCO, it’s actually “billions”, not “millions.” As main sequence stars age, they convert more of their hydrogen to helium and slowly get hotter (the 30% *increase*).

  101. John A
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 5:40 PM | Permalink

    Willis,

    Being by nature a suspicious kind of fellow, I took the time to see how well the computer model did on the time period 1960-2005. Hansen et. al. did not report this result. What I found was that the computer model was wildly inaccurate for most of the time, with only two short periods where it matched the data, one in the 1980s and the other from 2000-2005. The authors of the study simply cherry-picked the 2000-2005 period, and ignored the results that were ludicrously in error. I’m not surprised that you believed the study, and in fact the results reported were accurate … except that the unreported results show that the accuracy was the result of cherry picking. And this, unfortunately, is what passes for climate science these days.

    Could you send me those results from the climate model versus the ocean temperature? (E-mail is in the “Contact us” link on the RHS)

  102. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 9:28 PM | Permalink

    Re: 102, John, your info is in the email.

    Re: 97, TCO, welcome back … billions (Willis hits himself in the forehead).

    Re: 98, Hans, good to hear from you. You say:

    Willis, the absolute value of global average temperature doesn’t matter.
    In gravity exploration you can find orebodies by using relative observations, the absolute value doesn’t matter.

    Likewise the sattelite global average temperature also reports global average temperature anomalies to one thousanth of a degree.

    You are correct that there is a difference between accuracy and repeatability. With measurements taken over a short period of time by a single stable instrument, we can often use the difference between two or more successive measurements to give us valuable information, perhaps without having any absolute information at all

    Among the problems with the temperature measurements are that they are not taken by the same instrument, and the data points are widely scattered around the globe, so that variations in one location may have a much greater effect than variations in another location.

    An example of this second effect is in the zonal band from say 65°S to 70°S, where the Jones data varies widely from the MSU data because the Jones data is heavily influenced by the temperature of the Antarctic Peninsula.

    It is also not generally recognized that the number of stations used in the temperature record has varied greatly, and has gotten much smaller in the last few years. In 1900, there were about 1,500 stations in the GISS network. This rose to about 5,800 stations in 1970, and since then, it has dropped back down to about 1800 stations.

    To summarize:

    We are not using the same instruments to measure the temperature from year to year, and
    We have only about a third as many reporting stations as we had only 35 years ago, and
    Spatial coverage has thus changed every year, and
    The effects of the UHI are both unknown and uncorrected, and
    While some parts of the world are warming, some are cooling, and some are unchanged, and
    The coverage of the warming, cooling, and unchanged parts of the world is different year to year, and
    Thanks to Dr. Jones, we don’t know exactly how the final number is calculated, and
    We are not looking to compare two measurements taken minutes or days apart, but decades to a century apart, and
    The underlying accuracy of the thermometers is +/- 0.1°C.

    Given all of this, the idea that the relative observations are significantly more accurate than the absolute observations is simply not supportable.

    Finally, it is vital to keep in mind the size of the signal. We are looking for a signal which is +0.006°/year, using a very sparse and changing network of thermometers that are accurate to at best 0.1°. Although the repeatability of the global temperature calculations is certainly greater than their absolute accuracy, neither is within an order of magnitude of the size of the annual signal.

    w.

  103. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Hans,
    Re: 98

    Likewise the sattelite global average temperature also reports global average temperature anomalies to one thousanth of a degree.

    Are these temperatures really accurate to 3 significant figures?

  104. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 9:45 PM | Permalink

    Re: 104, the published margin of error for the MSU data is +/- 0.05°C/decade, which is 0.005°C/year. See http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/readme.07Aug2005 for details.

  105. TCO
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 10:06 PM | Permalink

    No it’s not. Not nescessarily. This is a stats blog, so maybe Steve can explain. Maybe this will help though. what would be the accuracy per day? second? microsecond?

  106. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 10:13 PM | Permalink

    re: 106,TCO, I quoted the published margin of error, and your response is about accuracy. Do you mean the same thing by the two?

  107. TCO
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    you can’t take the error/decade and divide by ten to get the error/year.

  108. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 23, 2005 at 10:35 PM | Permalink

    Willis – re TCO’s posts: I did some posts on the satellite measurements in August. The residuals are not consistent with a linear trend fit. In order to deal with the autoregression, the standard errors margin in the regression coeffecient (trend) end up being much larger – and not necessarily just a double.

  109. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 12:03 AM | Permalink

    Michael and Peter may be interested in the following comment on climate models recently posted by the Realclimate people (Modeller vs. modeller, 20 October, 2005):

    How do you address the issue that models cannot be used to predict the future? In other words, models can only predict what might happen under a given set of conditions, not what will happen in the future.
    A. Exactly. This is what the IPCC scenario excercise is all about, and why the model simulations for the future are called projections, not predictions. No-one in this game ever thinks they are predicting the future, although it often gets translated that way in the popular press. We take assumptions that people have made for the future (and this is not restricted to IPCC) and see what consequences that would have for the climate. Sometimes though those assumed conditions eventually turn out to be quite close to reality, and so it is worth revisiting the old projections, and evaluating the results.

    Sometimes climate models turn out to be quite close to reality. (Even a broken clock reads the correct time twice a day.)

  110. Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 9:49 AM | Permalink

    Yes John, why are you dodging?

  111. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Peter

    I don’t know what the future holds, I just don’t dismiss out of hand the projections

    Nor do I. However I do try to find the original data to see if there has been any massaging. In those areas such as gas analysis (one of my core competancies), I also consider whether the people taking the data used reasonable care to avoid sample contamination. If the input data is flawed, then the old computer term which I learned as a freshman comes into play: GIGO.

    This may begin to explain why some models taking into account clouds as a major forcing project another ice age, while others which minimize clouds as a forcing project up to a 6 C temperature rise over the next century.

  112. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Re #96: Willis, Ohmura wrote an article about the Faint Early Sun paradox, which I commented about at climateskeptics about 18 months ago. Ohmura attributed the stablization as due to changes in cloud cover and provided some ballpark calculations to show that it was feasible. The article is somewhat related to some interesting calculations on entropy (see also Raph Lorenz on this). It’s interesting stuff, but, if I get into it right now, I’ll never get anything done.

  113. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    Peter,

    only 3% of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere is anthropogenic

    The “extra” CO2 in the atmosphere is based on assuming that the pre-industrial CO2 level is correctly indicated by the ice core gas analyses subtracted from current CO2 levels as measured in real time at Mauna Loa and generally by grab sample elsewhere. Although I have a high degree of confidence in the Mauna Loa and Scripps CO2 analyses, I am very concerned about the ice core CO2 data. This is not a trivial issue, since if the ice core CO2 data is providing us a lower CO2 level than was in the original pre-industrial atmosphere, then the “extra” CO2 quantity is unknown.

    The ice cores are, in my opinion, contaminated with ambient air. In addition, the data has been centered timewise by assuming that the gas in the ice is a different age than the ice. Adjustments of up to 3,400 years have been made by some authors. This allows ice core data to “fit” the Mauna Loa data. The leaf stomata data which I have seen indicates a much greater variation in CO2 levels than is indicated by ice core CO2 data for the same time period. This indicates to me that at the very least, the ice core samples were contaminated before they were analysed. I believe that the analyses were very precise, but the critical question is whether they were accurate.

    I believe that there are two issues here. One is the amount of CO2 in the present atmosphere which is anthropogenic. The other is the “base” CO2 level. Both of these values are assumed but are they known with any accuracy?

  114. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    Peter, Hans, et.al

    I also think John is wrong in the 3% CO2 statement, and that he should just admit it and move on, but I would like to discuss a partial validation. This is the question of just how much CO2 can be sequestered per year and how long the environment takes to adjust to a higher rate of sequestration.

    Now the total gross input of CO2 into the atmosphere each year according to my old global carbon cycle chart is 157.1 gtC per year of which 5.5 comes from fossil fuels and cement (3.5%) which is where the 3% number John mentioned comes from. Of course the theory is that before humans started burning oil and coal the numbers were in balance with the amount going the other direction and now they’re not and the environment can’t get it back in balance. This has always struck me as rather unlikely. There’s no reason I can see that 151.6 gtC is some magic number which the environment can absorb each year but no more. We know to begin with that the currently measured increase in atmospheric CO2 is only about half of the human-produced addition to the atmosphere. But why should the ability to remove additional CO2 be so small? The earth has had lots of times when it’s had much greater amounts of CO2 in the atmosphere for long periods of time. And these haven’t been times when we’ve had a quick spurt of CO2 release from a comet or volcanoes, etc. They’ve been times of a warmer climate for the most part.

    So since we agree that there’s been warming of the earth since the end of the LIA, isn’t it just as likely that the rise we see in CO2 is caused by the quick warming than from an inability of the earth to absorb all the new CO2 “even if it wanted to”? Perhaps human activities, burning forests; fossil fuels; land use changes, etc., have help to supply the CO2 which the atmosphere “wanted” at a higher temperature but which is usually not as quickly available since it’s normally tied up in plants and soil and seashells, etc. But once the amount of CO2 reaches an appropriate level for the prevailing temperatures, it will level off on its own as feedbacks take off which haven’t been much in view yet.

  115. John A
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    Hans, Dave but not the wretched Hearnden,

    I had to look for a while to find the source of that factoid, and it was David Wojick writing in the Electricity Journal (December 1997):

    Take climate change. Story after story says the U.S. is the largest source of greenhouse gases in the world. This is misleading, because it ignores natural sources which are far greater than man-made ones. The mass of the atmosphere is around 5,000 trillion tons. Water vapor, by far the most common greenhouse gas, averages 50 trillion tons, carbon dioxide 2 trillion tons. Water vapor is emitted by evaporation in vast quantities, roughly the sum of all the world’s rainfall. About 500 billion tons of carbon dioxide are emitted naturally each year, from the ocean and from decay and respiration of plants and animals, especially plants.

    Man-made emissions of water vapor are negligible compared to nature’s. Emissions of carbon dioxide from all human activities are about 25 billion tons per year, or 0.05 of what nature puts out. Of this the United States puts out about 5 billion tons, or one one-hundredth of natural emissions. If we cut U.S. emissions by 10 percent, which would be very difficult, this would be just 0.001 of nature’s emissions, not counting the water vapor.

    I have other second-hand references that estimate the human produced carbon dioxide at 3% – 5% which is where the “97% natural” claim came from.

  116. TCO
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    John, I have a swimming pool that is half filled. There are 100 gallons/minute coming in from a supply pipe and 100 gallons being pumped out. Now I start filling with a thin pipe that puts in 2 gallons/minute. I come back next day and the pool is all filled. (Outpumping rate did not change). Is it really relevant to say that only 2% of the new water is from human use? Does it change that the level doubled? If I turn the 2GPM source off, is it significant?

    Oh…and I didn’t understand your point on average temp either.

    And that dude Roger Peilke who thinks momentum is not conserved when friction heating occurs…sheesh!

  117. John A
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    TCO,

    You assume that your outflow does not change, and that your dominant inflow also remains constant.

    Two very big assumptions that I’m not sure can be justified.

    Here’s a third: the speed of water that flows out is a function of the square root of the depth, so the water level will rise to a higher level and not overflow.

  118. TCO
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

    Let me give you another example:

    I have a decorative rock pool. It has a pump that moves water up from the basin and lets it fall down a water fall. (pedant antisipation note:There is very slow loss to evaporation). I take a hose and start filling it (even at a much slower rate than the waterfall). Surely, the level rise can be quite significant.

    The basic point for you: mentioning how small the addition of the hose is compared to the recirc of the waterfall is beside the point.

  119. TCO
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Why don’t you run this calc: what is the total addition rate by burning fossil fuels? How does this compare to the pounds in the atmosphere that result from having an increased level?

  120. Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Hey John why are you censoring Peter Hearnden there was an absolutely valid posting (to the point actually) before my # 111, are you trying to be realclimate?

    We have now a debate where the causing post is mssing.

    I don’t like this at all.John replies: Because Peter Hearnden’s full and only occupation here is to "Poison the Well"

  121. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    TCO, you’re just being wretched :)

  122. John A
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Of course in real world, the new equilibrium will be something higher than the old equilibrium (since the other processes do change eventually) and will eventually stop the buildup. But the new level is (can likely be) still be the result of a forcing function that is additional to the normal processes.

    Ah yes, the legendary positive feedback. I think I shall leave it as an exercise for the student to work out that if postive feedbacks dominated at all, we wouldn’t be here. (See Venus for further details)

    As Doug Hoyt and Warwick Hughes will no doubt point out, the real atmosphere/ocean system is dominated by negative feedbacks.

  123. Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    re 121

    Why don’t you run this calc: what is the total addition rate by burning fossil fuels? How does this compare to the pounds in the atmosphere that result from having an increased level?

    here is the answer

    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/sink.htm

  124. TCO
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    John, my example was not positive feedback. It is negative feedback actually. It has to be negative given that a new equilibrium is reached. It is just that the higher level is due to the additive source from outside the system.

    P.s. FREE PETER!

  125. John A
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    TCO,

    The problem I have is with your assumptions. In all of these simple models, we assume the atmosphere to have a volume as fixed as a bathtub, we assume that the atmosphere/ocean system is a closed system, we assume that the incoming radiation from the Sun is constant, we assume no turbulence, we assume no viscosity, we assume radiative equilibrium with no feedback lag, we take no account of water vapor flux assuming it to be constant, no change in albedo from changes in land use, glacier lengthening and shortening, no volcanic eruptions, no feedbacks from vegetation.

    Yet all of these things are very important. As I hope you understand, IF we assume those things, then an “unnatural” small forcing of man-made carbon dioxide MIGHT cause a warming, but only if the climate system is in an unstable equilibrium.

    But is it?

  126. Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    re 125
    The current atmospheric CO2 rise fits fairly well to a first order fick diffusion law, where the sink flow is proportional to excess concentration.

    see this debate here

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=134#comment-1628

    (my webserver crashed, the mentioned excel file is now here:
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/co2fick.xls )

  127. Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    How do you address the issue that models cannot be used to predict the future? In other words, models can only predict what might happen under a given set of conditions, not what will happen in the future.

    A. Exactly. This is what the IPCC scenario excercise is all about, and why the model simulations for the future are called projections, not predictions.

    No, the IPCC scenarios are called “projections” rather than “predictions” for the same reason the pseudoscientific nonsense in “Limits to Growth” and “Beyond the Limits” were called “projections.”

    In both cases, the people doing the “projections” knew that the “projections” were nonsense, and wanted to have an explanation when they didn’t come to pass.

  128. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    Peter H ran into Spam Karma – I’m not sure why.

  129. Paul Penrose
    Posted Oct 24, 2005 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    It’s interesting how Peter, and sometimes TCO, require the other debater to prove a negative in order defend their position, as in “Prove that x does not cause y”. They know perfectly well that this can’t be done, but it has the effect of permanently putting the ball in the other’s court, if they don’t catch the logical fallacy. I’m sure most of us here have noticed this, but I thought I’d point it out for those that have not.

  130. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    re 130
    I am not surprised, peter had to repeat the 97/3 question so often that it started to look like spam ;-)

  131. TCO
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    I didn’t make any assumptions. I’m just calling to task the importance of your statement, by showing how a small addition can matter over time. How for your comment to be relevant, it requires that the system DOES change: how really, this is the relevant point: ability of the sink to increase absorbance, not the size of the addition versus the size of the (in equilibrium) recirc. You’re the one who has to support that. Since you are arguing the point that the size of the addition does not matter. And I would remind you, that CO2 is part of life. We produce it when burning sugars and plants make it by photosynthesis. It is like the water being pumped up for he water slide. When we burn fossil fuels instead, we are like the hose adding water to the pool. If we add at a rate greater than evaporation**, we will drive level up.

    Paul P: I’m not trying to prove the opposite. I’m really more interested in examining positions than in “winning the fight”. I think JohnA is a good guy and all, but he’s not Steve M. And he sometimes can put out a statement that is just skeptic blather rather then actually trying to think about and make insights on the system. I’m not trying to PROVE to him that the sink mechanisms won’t keep up. I’m trying to get him to realize that thinking about whether they will is the key issue. And I think…mission accomplished.

    John, your comment about “unstable equilibrium” bothers me. Don’t throw terms around like that when you don’t really think through the system or have solid thermodynamics grounding. (It’s ok, though, that stuff can be tricky.) The level can change without the system having been at a metastable point. If you look at Hans’s graph, nothing about the behavior indicates that we are metastable. Level is going up slower than the addition rate. It’s classic Le Chatlier’s Principle: the system PARTIALLY counteracts the addition. That means level DOES go up, but less than the amount added.

    P.s. Don’t get sidetracked on the water vapor/temperature discussion. We are talking about the carbon cycle here. (It’s likely not a metastable or unstable system either, even with positive feedback of water vapor…think through it.)

    *And what is the sink? Carbon in vegetation is a very different thing from carbon plankton dropping to the bottom of the ocean. Note that this isn’t an argument, here per se, John. I’m trying to get you to THINK. How do those two absorption methods vary in implication??

    **If you want to continue the analogy, what is “evaporation” in our CO2 cycle (exercise for the reader)?

  132. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    Re #133, a lot of good points TCO, I’m thinking :)

  133. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 8:36 AM | Permalink

    The relationship of CO2 levels to temperature, and changing levels of both, in geological time is an issue that’s quite intriguing. In Crowley and North’s text, the higher temperatures in (say) the Eocene are attributed primarily to higher CO2 levels. As an aside, this viewpoint sits uncomfortably with frequent statements (e.g. Nature) that modern levels of both CO2 and temperature are “unprecedented”. For the purposes of global warming, Nature seems to have adopted Bishop Ussher’s viewpoint of world history.

    That then begs the question – what caused the changes in CO2 levels over geological time? The trend into the Pleistocene seems to have been gradually, but progressively downward. None of the attempted explanations for changing CO2 levels in geological time – I’m thinking here of million-year scale – seem very convincing to me.

    Within the Pleistocene, CO2 levels seem to have co-varied with temperature, leading to thorny Milankowitch issues of how to get a 100 ka cycle from precession and obliquity cycles of 41 ka and 23 ka. The last LGM seems to have been a remarkably harsh one even in geological terms. If we’re talking “unprecedented”, it might even qualify. There are still features where we’re still recovering from the LGM.

  134. TCO
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    Maybe thinking about the CO2 process and their time scale is helpful. CO2 going to the bottom of the ocean is gone for a long, long time. I assume there is some brought back up in vulcanism? Or are there other processes that change carbonate to CO2?

    CO2 that becomes part of the plant mass seems like a much more dynamic equilbirium. If the plants use up all the CO2, then they can’t grow any more, then it becomes too cold for them, etc.

  135. TCO
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    Who are the lead researchers in terms of understanding the carbon cycle?

  136. Mats Holmstrom
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Re. 135:
    It has been suggested that the 100 ka cycle in oxygen isotope data is due to changes in orbital inclination relative to the invariable plane (perpendicular to the solar system’s angular momentum). If there is dust in the plane that precipitates on the top of the atmosphere, this could affect climate.
    http://muller.lbl.gov/papers/nature.html

    Abstract
    Spectral analysis of climate data shows a strong narrow peak with period ~ 100 kyr, attributed by the Milankovitch theory to changes in the eccentricity of the earth’s orbit. The narrowness of the peak does suggest an astronomical origin; however the shape of the peak is incompatible with both linear and nonlinear models that attribute the cycle to eccentricity or (equivalently) to the envelope of the precession. In contrast, the orbital inclination parameter gives a good match to both the spectrum and bispectrum of the climate data. Extraterrestrial accretion is proposed as a mechanism that could link inclination to climate, and experimental tests are described that could prove or disprove this hypothesis.

  137. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Of course the main things to keep in mind when thinking of the carbon cycle are:
    1. CO2 + H2O +hv = CH2O + O2 and

    2a. CaCO3 + H2O +CO2 = Ca++ + 2 HC03-
    2b. HCO3- = CO2 + OH-

    [BTW how do I put greater than and less than signs on the equal sign without the stupid web page thinking it’s an HTML symbol and not printing it?]

    The first equation summarizes photosynthesis and basically shows us what happens on land. The second equation is the buffering of carbonate in the ocean. Creatures which use carbonate for shells run the first equation backwards and this draws down the concentration of Ca in the ocean. Calcium carbonate is essentially insoluble compared to bicarbonate so insofar as shells rain down to the deep ocean or get buried under sediment on the continental shelfs this removes CO2 and calcium as well. But there is a gigantic amount of limestone available which can be dissolved into bicarbonate and calcium ion and washed into the ocean and this withdraws CO2 gas from the atmosphere, so it will eventually replenish things. The question is how fast this process is and how much it speeds up as the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere increases. I haven’t yet seen a good discussion of the subject. There are a number of articles which talk about the oceans becoming more acid (less basic actually), at least locally, because of CO2 dissolving in the ocean, but numerical discussions of how much carbonate can be recruited how quickly to neutralize this have been lacking in what I’ve found so far.

  138. Knut Knutsen
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    Re 137: Check: http://www.carboocean.org/

  139. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    re 140. Well it appears it might be useful, but I don’t see how I actually find anything on the site. It does have a publication page but it’s restricted. So how does one get permission to view data unless one’s a member of one of their scientific organizations?

  140. TCO
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    I’m (me) more interested in framing the problem, understanding how the top guys in the field think about it so far. Auditing data is a whole ‘nother elephant.

  141. John A
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #139

    Oceans becoming more acidic (or less basic) because of increased CO2. This must be another one of those tiny molehills built into Himalayan peaks of fear: HCO3- is a really weak acid. The much more likely reason for any change in oceanic PH must be from black smokers and undersea eruptions at mid-ocean ridges. The idea of atmospheric CO2 causing such a measureable change on the scale of the world’s oceans is just risible.

  142. D
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    The 10 warmest years in recorded history have all occurred since 1990. 2005 will continue that trend.

    Comment by Michael Seward “¢’‚¬? 10/20/2005 @ 7:41 pm

    Having followed Eshchenbach, Hissink, John A with interest, would add only an observation in rebuttal of the above claim by Seward: it is false.

    15th-14th over Europe was a very warm period, and 13th-12 century over the Mediterranean Middle East B.C, hotter still, and in case for a period of about 100 years in duration. In the middle East it was so dry soil layers are dessicated, indicative of hot dry condtions over a long period, and the strata is for that period.

    The Nile and from its source, and the Euphrates were reduced to two long lines of bogs. It is during that period the first cisterns were sunk into rock for water.
    Famine lead to large decreases in population, whole villages wiped out, whole clans wiped out. Violence by desparate people added tot eh carnage.

    The populations of the Mediterranean invaded the Middle East and attempted to invade Egytp, they were repulsed, seeking to take control over what they assumed to be was still the land of milk and honey the Nile valley and the fertile coastal crescent . The Greek Coaltion , as it were, lives on in the name `Red Sea’ which was the semitic name for the Greeks , and in the lists of the `tribes’ of the Coalition including those in Genesis. Cartouches depicting them leave no doubt.

    Documentary evidence include: Kings writing to the Egytian court requesting relief supplies of grain,and the E.Court replying, they cannot because their crops have failed, that the Nile has failed, and stores of grain inadequate for themselves.

    The Labourers who built the tombs of Pharoahs were on upper middle class,as it were, paid in grain which they traded in the markets. The tomb builders stopped building royal tombs because, they were not being paid, in grain.

    So, it was a vey hot century , far hotter than what, though they are nonsense, the scenarios of `climate modellers’ throw up. It is certainly nonsense to assert, `The 10 warmest years in recorded history have all occurred since 1990. 2005 will continue that trend.’ when it is, bluntly, false, and the current `warming’, in so far as it may be occurring has been preceded by the mini ice-age which is ending and which was preceded by a long warm period. That Manne manipulated his `hockey stick data’ to produce a kink to `prove’ AWG covering the industrial revolution to the present , is all the more amusing, not only for the juk science entailed in that abuse of maths but also in the breath-taking silliness involved in altogther eliminating the record which, before matters of science as laid out by Eshchenbach , simply makes nonsense of such claims.

    In perspective, given the time scale involved, a 100 years is short , climate fluctates, it occurs rapidly, and is merely a regular physical phenomenon, even though, as the above gentlemen have pointed out,is still a mystery as far as adequate explanation by sound theory is wanting – which is altogether different to what the boosters of AGW assert as science,theory,and evidence.

  143. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 25, 2005 at 10:31 PM | Permalink

    re#143,

    Yes HCO3- is a very weak acid. That’s why it’s ideal as a buffering agent. But H2CO3 is a pretty strong acid; except that it tends to spontaneously break up into CO2 gas and water. Anyway the formulas for the pH of a solution are straightforward and there’s no doubt that if the concentration of HCO3- relative to H2CO3 goes down because more CO2 is absorbed by the ocean the pH will also go down. But as I said, this will eventually be ofset by increased weathering on land and by dissolution of CaCo3 from shells. The question is how fast and how much the new equilibrium differs from the present one. The ecoalarmists are almost certainly wrong, but it might well be that a different balance of sea creatures will develop.

    And there’s nothing particularly strange, let alone funny with the atmosphere interacting with the ocean and producing change. Every square meter of ocean has a square meter of atmosphere above it and we can expect that they will be in some sort of dynamic equilibrium. If CO2 concentrations have inceased 30% then the upper parts of the ocean will reflect that.

  144. Mats Holmstrom
    Posted Oct 27, 2005 at 5:21 AM | Permalink

    Re #54 and #56,
    I think an interesting discussion got lost in the avalanch of posts.
    What is replication? What should a scientist make public?
    I would argue that as much as possible should be public. The data, how it was collected, and the analysis (including the software). This allows replication on several levels. Starting with either (I) collecting new data, (II) reanalysis of the data using different methods, or (III) reanalysis in the same way. I think good science should be reproducible on all these levels.

  145. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Oct 27, 2005 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    Mats
    Re: 146

    I agree with your post. There would be limits on distribution of data when such data was produced for a privately funded study. However, I feel that even privately funded studies should have their data distributed when the study is used to influence public policy.

  146. T J Olson
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 6:59 AM | Permalink

    I want to commend Micheal Seward for so bravely and articulately weighing in here on a blog with not a few ranking AGW skeptics. I hope he visits and opines again. He’s certainly not alone and gives voice (if not vent) to many less engaged lurkers here. In fact, if all I read were newspaers and popular science magazines (at least in the US) alone, I sure I would agree.

    But perhaps there’s the malignant point: our isolation (ie, most of us arein North America). One skeptic Michael did not mention is Bjorn Lomborg. His thick and serious book – “The Skeptical Envrionmentalist” – was produced without any yucky corporate or rightwing support. Yet that fact did not prevent him from getting pilloried by the US Scientific American, yet praised by the Italian Sci Am! In fact, if you visit http://www.lomborg.com, you can also read details of a Danish debate conducted by authorities and its outcome: “The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has December 17 2003 repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that BjàƒÆ’à‚ⷲn Lomborg’s book ‘The Skeptical Environmentalist’ was ‘objectively dishonest’ or ‘clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice.'”

    Only on March 12, 2004, did the DSCD’s rejection of its own complaints become official. These turn out to have been based on the US Scientific American’s own sponsored critique by many AGW heavy-hitters. Their authority sufficed to persecute a junior academic dissenter. And yet having said so, is it now safe to go on and ignore the politics of science in climatology? I think not.

    Lomborg – a statistics professor at the time teaching in a Danish university political science department – began his study by trying to repudiate the claims of the late US economist Julian Simon. Simon is often dismised because of his “right wing” connections. But in large part, Lomborg found Simon substantially correct: the environement is getting better, with certain exceptions (eg, oceans). As for climate change, the best evidence (satellite observation) indicates very slight recent warming.

    If so, why throw trillions of dollars at an issue with limited certainty and often hyped benifits when definite benefits can be had for hundreds of millions of people with so much less money?

    I bring up Lomborg’s persecution and its conclusion here because the participants above in the back-and-forth with Michael on ACW lead us to the political problem of marginalizing serious dissent in science and its enormous human and inhumane consequences. Because of such marginalization, some $42 billion dollars has been spent on ACW by the US federal government in the past 15 years – 90% of all research dollars on the matter worldwide. (Numbers approximate, from memory.) And yet most educated and informed people are like Michael, ready and willing to ceed authority to spend trillions of more dollars guided by experts. Scientific conclusions can have enormous ethical consequences in public policy.

    Now, surely all will admit that this is a political matter with great practical importance. For example, Michael mentions one certain dire problem with AGW: more climate instability – he says (#63): “Just today, the most intense hurricane ever recorded formed in the tropical ocean.” But look at the evidence of those closest to bearing the real costs: private US insurers – those who place real bets indemnifying against property loss – unlike the supposedly more serious scientists – are unmoved by ACW: “The American Insurance Association, which represents 400 property and casualty insurers, says the debate about global warming has not been resolved.

    “‘The science isn’t that definite,’ said David F. Snyder, the group’s vice president and assistant general counsel. ‘There’s no consensus in the insurance industry on the issue.'” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/10/04/AR2005100401700.html

    (Others, like Munich Re – a large reinsurance firm in Europe – are either politically pressured to join “the consensus” or are enjoying the cost-subsidizing compliance with the EU brings (or both). At any rate, the political-legal-economic environment isn’t as few there as here, and so words like “consensue” are more rountinely respected there.

    http://gnn.tv/headlines/3607/Disaster_Losses_Lead_Insurers_to_Global_Warming_Debate)

    Having lived in Boulder, Colorado for many years, I’ve had a front row seat on environmental politics because several federally funded labs like NCAR, UCAR and NOAA are local fixtures. These institution’s research has largely supported AGW instead of skepticism. But up the road at Colorado State University, the famed hurricane season forecaster William Gray in 1998-9 descried the impact of the ACW research funding-fetish as crowding out his arguably more important – and socially and economically more valuable – research. Billions a year are not enough to go around in climate work!

    Despite facts like these, Michael’s skepticism – like many others – goes the other way: “The skeptics…have little more than a political manifesto camouflaged as science (witness Crichton, Inhofe, Michaels, Tech Central Station, The Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Global Climate Coalition, etc.).” But as Gray avered, a climatologist like Pat Michaels is not going to sell-out his professional integrity for merely the 200-grand in support from Western Fuels Association. It’s a question of degree of fiscal dependence; some dependence is far from near-total. If it is fair to raise the question of bias and conflict of interest here, why don’t any AGW supporters equally raise the issue – much less answer it – when mega-billions in federal monies support thousands of “climate scientists”? Isn’t what’s good for the goose also good for the gander?

    So why don’t AGW suporters answer these conflicts instead of blithely ignoring them? The findings of Public Choice economcs over the decades, as well as simple common sense, tells us that they don’t because to do so would expose their deep conflict of interests to public scutiny and skepticism; it’s in their self-interest to change the subject and hype their works importance for their own benefit. It is rightly pointed out that Fred Singer and many other skeptics by contrast are retired or else elder scientists, and therefore lack both the same slavish dependence and arrogant ambition the mega-billion dollar conflicts of interest that younger government scientists thrive on – yet it still remains fashionable to condemn the little funding that private interests do for the skeptics while giving a uncritical pass to ACW proponents. Isn’t this revealing?

    One who famously tried to expose this to our benefit was President Eisenhower. He made the phrase “military-industrial complex” famous for identifying one kind of conflict of interest. ( CIA WMD CYA, anyone?) He did not, however, neglect the other one: publicly funded science. In fact, they are a triad of self-dealing interests. Here’s how he put it in his Farewell Address:

    “Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of electronic computers.

    “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present–and is gravely to be regarded.

    “Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    http://www.ku.edu/carrie/docs/texts/ddefarew.html

    Scientific elites can become the captives of public causes – and not just during war, but during the contests of peace-time, too. Eisenhower inveighed against the very conflict of interest that climate scientists succumb: groveling before their financial masters, telling them what they want to hear instead of being ethical masters of the truth – a phenomemon that gives rise to this very web site. Yet Michael completely ignores (and others do worse: morally exempts) publicly funded ACW research conflicts of interest.

    Which is why Michael Crichton advocates reforms that would prevent such fateful mistakes as the Hockey Stick from guiding policy-making. He writes: “I believe we have ample evidence that our governmental procedures fail to separate reliable information from mere opinion, speculation and untested belief.

    “That’s why I argue that policy decisions should be grounded in independently verified studies”¢’‚¬?because that is the only way to get the politics out of science.” (See more here http://michaelcrichton.com/speeches/index.html)

    An instance of this baleful neglect and the educated ignorance it inculcates came to me personally. Last year, I dated a 30-something physician. She earned her Masters in environmental science and policy from The University of Minnesota in the mid-90s. She asked me about the field now, (which I also study, but abroad); about ACW, “…we knew [man-made temperature increases] would happen.” Her best remembered professors were former Cold War physicists, recruited to serve a new cause.

    Like Michael, she was very much impressed with the physicist’s certainty that added CO2 and temperature increases are directly related. Yet this ignores that this definite correlation holds only for closed systems – not open ones like the earth. Even advanced education in this subject would deny her certain wisdom in our captivity to policy made by and for our scientific elites.

    The epistemological status of climatology is rather far from eco-toxicology, our best developed environmental field, and yet that field has many controversies (eg, Superfund sites). Education in the facts of ecological uncertainty is what we all could benefit more from instead of seductive mythologizing. But will we ever hear about this from a organization already (yes – ALREADY: read the successors to the Montreal Protocol) committed to positive anti-AGW action like the UN?

    United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Kyoto Treaty are modelled on this success, intending to verify support for ACW. The mega-billion dollar environmental lobby saw in the treaty work eliminating CFCs a model for a virtuous new world-wide project. The UN – again post-Cold War, with dimminishing world wide conflicts – needing another reason to justify its existence, obliged. And so did Vice President Al Gore.

    The seemingly neutral work of a thousand scientists in the IPCC is nonetheless beholden to the “Excecutive Summary” writers who work for politically appointed “diplomats,” most of whom are the priviledged sinecures of poor states. The result, therefore, is more of a self-justifying (because it abrogates power to the UNs well-paid bureacracy) scam than a neutral, truth-seeking, science focused project. we should be surprised if it ever finds null-results. Should we therefore ignore the implications of the mega-billion dollar “oil-for-food” corruption just because the IPCCs work is sacred “science?” Or just trust “well-intended” authorities? Or should we find creative ways around these endemic conflicts instead of meekly submitting to be “guided.”

    We are dumb not to resist because suspicious conflicts of interest abound; they are ignored at humanity’s peril, good sense, as well as our pocketbook. All the while, we can feel better about ourselves for exercising self-denial. It is the virtue of the ascetic follower. Given this near-religious institutional power, let us now pray before the vulgar SUV.

8 Trackbacks

  1. […] "We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it."http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=403 […]

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  5. […] quotation left out the next sentence, which is important for today’s post (see here): Why should I make the data available to you, when your aim is to try and find something wrong […]

  6. […] between Warwick Hughes and the US Department of Energy, which was reported at CA in October 2005 here. Earlier in February 2005, Jones had famously refused Warwick Hughes as follows: Even if WMO agrees, […]

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