To Browsing Undergraduates

Our "blogfather", realclimate, has been celebrating their one-year anniversary (congratulations to them) and have been reflecting on their year. Kenneth Blumenfeld, who’s posted here once or twice, posted an interesting comment at realclimate, about how his undergraduates were now investigating climate change issues online, that they "very badly wanted to get behind RC", but wanted them to "step up to the plate, not just take practice swings", mentioning that they were getting their butts kicked. To any such undergraduates that may have come to this site: welcome.

Kenneth Blumenfeld’s full comment is here as follows:

I should relay, however, that undergraduate meteorology, geography, and geology students (to name only few disciplines) are now taking time out to investigate these issues, and they are doing it online, rather than in the literature, as wacko as that may seem. Despite the overwhelming majority of consensus-side scientists out there, it is much easier to get contrarian/skeptical/psuedo skeptical information. The consensus folks are getting their you-know-whats kicked in this regard, and all I can offer as evidence are my 90 or so students this past semester who I think very badly wanted to get behind RC but felt they were side-stepping direct confrontation. They felt that by appearing to ignore skeptics (except for on its own forum) RC was in some sort of denial. You and I may not believe this is true, but to the future climate scientists I think it is an important point. They want to see their people step up to the plate, not just take practice swings, so to speak.

Gavin’s reply is quite revealing of realclimate attitudes towards laity:

I think one needs to differentiate dealing with ‘sceptic’ issues from going head-to-head with some particular site or person. … [I] think it is do what we are doing – provide solid discussions of the real scientific issues which can then be used by others in different forums. If you have any specific ideas to make that work better, let us know.

A few thoughts for such undergraduates (to regulars, I apologize for repeating some old stories):

As I often repeat, I am not a "contrarian". If I were a politician and forced to make a decision on climate policy in the next 10 minutes, I would be guided by the IPCC and the various learned societies that I so often criticize. However, any scientist worth his salt (as Feynmann tells us) should not rely on authority and should question authorities. Such inquiries at realclimate often provoke a highly irritating faux exhaustion ("…sigh,…"). Not here.

Anyway, like an inquiring student, I’ve taken an interest in questions of climate change, with a view to understanding exactly how IPCC climate scientists were able to come to the conclusions that inform their policy recommendations. The most prominent graphic in the famous IPCC Third Assessment Report was the iconic hockey stick graph, which is the foundation of the claims that 1998 was the "warmest year" and the 1990s the "warmest decade" of the millennium, claims that were repeated over and over in promotion of the Kyoto protocol in Canada and doubtless elsewhere. I thought that both the claims and the graph were highly promotional (and this from someone with extensive experience in mining promotions) and began investigating the matter on a casual basis without any expectation that anyone would be interested in my findings. My interest and commitment to the topic would not then have risen much above the level of undergraduate browsing.

My browsing did go so far as to try to identify the underlying data and, for some reason, I contacted the author of the hockey stick study, Michael Mann, when I was unable to locate the data. I initially became engaged in the matter in a more serious way, when Mann said that he had "forgotten" where the data was and one of his associates, to whom Mann turned over the inquiry, said that it was not in any one place, but that he would get it together for me. I drew that conclusion that no one had ever checked Mann’s work and thought that this would be an interesting project, rather like doing a large crossword puzzle. At the time, like any undergraduate reading this, I had never written an academic article. I certainly had no plans to become engaged in academic controversy.

One thing led to another. It turned out that the hockey stick study was a very flawed piece of work and my coauthor, Ross McKitrick, and myself have written several articles criticizing various aspects of the article. Throughout this blog, you will see other issues with the original Mann study and similar studies. Because of the prominence of the hockey stick in IPCC, criticizing the hockey stick has occasioned tremendous blowback. Much of the early life of realclimate was spent trying to preempt our criticisms of the hockey stick. More recently, the "consensus" approach to the matter is that the hockeystick never mattered in the first place.

So where does that leave someone who still wants to know about the impact of increased CO2 on climate – in a ground truth sense, not in a pablumized sense of: here’s what "we know" – not Gavin’s "solid discussion which can be used in another forum", meritorious as that may be.

First, there are many complicated statistical issues. I don’t pretend to be much more than a one-eyed man here. I know enough to be aware of the issues. I’m shocked at the statistical ineptness of people purporting to be climate scientists. The statistical ineptness is quite weird, because, in some climate areas, you see very sophisticated math being applied to deal with complicated physics. But for some reason, this doesn’t seem to be the case with their statistics. As a rule of thumb, for any undergraduates: don’t assume that any of these guys have a clue about statistical significance. There’s been some recent threads at realclimate that illustrate this in spades. For any undergraduates with a strong interest in statistics: there’s a real gold mine of topics in climate science and I would urge you to take an interest in it.

Second, any consideration of climate policy matters will quickly bring you into contact with general circulation models (GCMs). In terms of academic productivity, I have much unfinished business with multiproxy studies, which as a matter of thoroughness, I wish to complete. However, since the promoters of these studies now say that they "don’t matter", some of the edge is being taken off the enterprise. Also by running this blog, one is brought into contact with readers with more general interests than multiproxy studies, as interesting as I may find them.

There are some disquieting points about GCMs. I won’t do anything more than allude to them for now. I’ve posted up about Robert Kaufmann’s finding that, for the purpose of modeling global temperature, GCMs do not out-perform simple linear models using the same forcing factors, and, in fact, under-perform them. Kaufmann posted this at realclimate. Gavin’s realclimate answer was that the issue of global temperature was a "done deal", that the GCMs had "moved on" to regional issues. He requested that Kaufmann continue any discussion of this pretty interesting issue off-line, undoubtedly contributing to the disquiet that the undergraduates feel about them side-stepping issues. Gavin seemed to suggest that those benighted people who were interested in global temperature, rather than "moving on", should look at EBMs (energy balance models).

In any event, for any undergraduates who’s come here, be warned that my posts are pretty uneven – this is just me, not an entire Hockey Team. However, you can be assured that, unlike realclimate, the objective is not to provide you with materials "which can be used by others in different forums", but to inquire about the issues. I hope that you conclude that: when we play hockey, we go into the corners and don’t just dipsy-doodle at center ice; when we play baseball, we step up to the plate and don’t just take practice swings. (Did I mention squash?)


238 Comments

  1. Posted Jan 5, 2006 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    Thanks Steve.

    As you know by now, I’m not an undergraduate (and I feel pretty old these days), but in terms of climate I am. We did very little statistics in undergraduate physics apart from thermodynamics (which I hated, so what the heck am I doing here…). If you have a good suggestion for a textbook where I, and others, could learn enough quickly to get up to speed with some of the discussions you are having, I would appreciate (Wikipedia only goes so far…).

    Just like you, I am beginning to look at these issues as an amateur. So here are a few thoughts for the other undergrads.

    I’m not versed at statistics, but have always had a liking for simple physical models. It is surprising how a simple model, that takes into account the most important phenomena at work, can give useful and insightful results. So maybe I can have some fun trying my hand at that. I have the temperature data from the past 150 years, I’ll get the CO2 data and the solar activity data, and try to get volcanic eruptions data. Who knows what I can replicate with an autoregressive time series incorporating a couple of parameters? Maybe I can do better than GCM’s (which in terms of replicating past data I find quite useless). I used to make optical filters for a living. The filter response always had “noisy” sidelobes. You could discount that as just noise, but by doing simulations, I figured out that the noise from the different physical processes involved in the manufacturing gave distinct spectral signatures. So the “noise” actually carried some very useful information on the process itself, and helped guide improvements.

    When I look at the temperature data, I start by doing just that: looking. Find a pattern, as Feynman would say. Nothing numerical yet, just a feeling. So my initial feeling is that despite all the averaging out, it is still a pretty “noisy” curve. You get these 0.3K swings within a couple of years all the time, which none of the GCM seems to reproduce. That’s where I am at this point.

    I won’t revolutionize the field, as you have done with your timely analysis. But playing around and doing your own experiments is a great way to learn about a subject, rather than just reading what others have done, and trust “the consensus”.

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 5, 2006 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    One thing that modern-day students can never even begin to understand is just how time-consuming even the most elementary statistical calculation was even in the late 1960s. Until this discussion, I’d either forgotten or blocked it out of my mind. You may feel old but I suspect that I’m even older. You’ve reminded exactly what a big and boring job it used to be to calculate even a simple F-statistic or t-statistic for a single model. Calculators were still very uncommon; I don’t recall using one at university. Like others of my generation, I learned to use a slide-rule in high school and we still used them in university in the late 1960s. You could sometimes get computer access, but would have to use punch cards that you prepared yourself and write a Fortran program, which had a turn time of one day and any format error would lead to the loss of a day. You also had to traipse physically to the computer center to do this. Either way, the calculations took so long that it was very difficult to get the type of feel for the results that you can get very quickly now.

    For linear models of temperature outputs from “forcing” inputs, take a look at the paper by Robert Kaufmann, discussed a little while ago. It’s very much on point. There’s a pressing need for someone who’s not a fellow traveller to try to wade through the GCMs and I very much encourage your initiative in this.

  3. George T
    Posted Jan 5, 2006 at 11:13 PM | Permalink

    #1: Francois:

    A great place to look for various long-term time series is the Carbon Dioxide Information and Analysis Center at Oak Ridge,
    http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/pns/pns_main.html

    There’s an amazing vatiety of data there, including temperature, cloudiness, gas concentrations, sunspots (the Wolf index), volcanic dust (dust veil index) and more. Highly recommended for the other undergrads as well.
    George

  4. Posted Jan 5, 2006 at 11:23 PM | Permalink

    I had an HP25 as an undergrad. 49 lines of program. Enough to simulate a lunar landing… I went through punch cards as well, but just briefly. Had fun with APL, learned Fortran. Nowadays, there’s a lot you can do with just an Excel spreadsheet that you wouldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago…

    Anyway, I remembered something else after my last post. During my masters degree, I actually discovered a new physical effect by doing computer simulations. I was numerically integrating equations that I thought were too complicated to get an analytical solution. It started off as a little glitch in the graphs, which I thought was an artefact of the numerical method. I was expecting something else, so I tried hard to make it go away, but it wouldn’t. That’s where I learned to pay attention to those little details that are not what you expect. Going back to the equations, I figured out a way to make some sensible approximations and get an analytical solution that confirmed that the “glitch” I was seeing was real. The effect that I predicted from that was later (much later actually) demonstrated experimentally by others. It turned out to be pretty useful. That was my first scientific paper, and it is still regularly cited after 25 years. So computer simulations ARE useful after all, but then they are useful when they show you things that you DIDN’t expect…

  5. Posted Jan 5, 2006 at 11:56 PM | Permalink

    I found this at The World Question Center web site: http://www.edge.org/q2006/q06_12.html#rees

    PHILIP CAMPBELL
    Editor-in Chief, Nature

    “Scientists and governments developing public engagement about science and technology are missing the point”

    “This turns out to be true in cases where there are collapses in consensus that have serious societal consequences. Whether in relation to climate change, GM crops or the UK’s triple vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella, alternative science networks develop amongst people who are neither ignorant nor irrational, but have perceptions about science, the scientific literature and its implications that differ from those prevailing in the scientific community. These perceptions and discussions may be half-baked, but are no less powerful for all that, and carry influence on the internet and in the media. Researchers and governments haven’t yet learned how to respond to such “citizen’s science”. Should they stop explaining and engaging? No. But they need also to understand better the influences at work within such networks “¢’‚¬? often too dismissively stereotyped “¢’‚¬? at an early stage in the debate in order to counter bad science and minimize the impacts of falsehoods.”

    Mr. Campbell may be worried about the climate change discussions on this blog by “citizen scientist”, who are going against the consensus published in “the scientific literature and its implications that differ from those prevailing in the scientific community?” If he is, all you “citizen scientists” keep up your good work!

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Russ, I doubt that we’re on his mind. I think (and hope) that I’m going about what I’m doing in a different way that the “citizen scientist” in question. Because of my experience with prospectuses, I’m far more conscious of the issues of disclosure and due diligence than typical citizens – arguably I’m more conscious of these issues than scientists. Securities commissions don’t try to determine whether an investment will go up and down; they mainly try to ensure full, true and plain disclosure. There’s a lesson there.

    I also don’t think that anyone is going to find many answers here, only questions. There’s an emphasis here on painstaking due diligence and on the disclosure that’s necessary to enable adequate due diligence. The problem with Nature and Science is that their own due diligence is inadequae and they do not ensure that authors provide sufficient disclosure to enable ground-truth due diligence. I think that this will change over time.

  7. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 3:16 AM | Permalink

    I truly am flattered; first I get the blue text from RC, and now a whole thread!

    For the full context of my comment, it may also be useful to see my original comment here:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=233#comment-7032

    I must say, the students did not just want RC to “go into the corners” (though I like the description)–they wanted the gloves to come off and (in a nod the the classic film “Slapshot!”) they wanted foil-wrapped hands to get busy. I am sure some of this was for entertainment purposes, but mostly it was because they want to see convictions that go beyond the bounds of the peer-review process. They quite astutely noted that policy makers are generally non-scientists. To make sound decisions regarding or influenced by science requires clear distillation from the investigators themselves. This involves taking part in the debate at all possible levels, not just the top level. The students felt quite let down by RC in this regard. In short, what goes on in the journals, or at the consensus level, does not matter if it does not make it down into the public sphere in a meaningful way.

    No matter what side of the debate one is on, it seems it is always a good strategy to exhaust all your avenues of advocacy and self-promotion. I learned this from my students, and I believe it to be true.

    Apologies to my students for conflating their views, which I recognize were more diverse than I described.

  8. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 9:10 AM | Permalink

    Hi, Kenneth,

    I would have said that RC often attempts the type of bullying behavior that you seem to be endorsing here – "foil-wrapped hands" a la Hanson Brothers. Consider the following letter from Michael Mann to Natuurwetenschap & Techniek http://www.natutech.nl/nieuwsDetail.lasso?ID=2565. Or consider any of their various hatchet jobs on our work. Or their censorship of opposing views to create a distorted record at their blog. If the view of your students is that the end justifies the means, then I think that RC is living up to their expectations and I’m not sure exactly what further bullying behavior they expect.

    One of the things that they dislike about this site is the blowback on withholding data and bullying behavior and the simple fact that their methods are put in the sunshine.

    If your students’ view is that the end justifies the means, I strongly disagree with that. It’s too easy to get tricked or to trick yourself. One of the best ways to avoid this is full, true and plain disclosure – this is proven over and over again both in business and hopefully science. Whatever the rights or wrong of a policy, it should not be based on flawed intelligence.

    In this respect, I hope that you and your students would disagree with the policy of realclimate author and mentor Michael Mann, who refused to disclose information except through a Materials Complaint to Nature, refused to be "intimidated" into disclosing his algorithm for how he got his results except through a federal request and still refuses to disclose his residuals, or with other Hockey Team authors, who simply refuse to disclose data and even let a verification process get engaged.

    By the way, as I’ve repeatedly said, if I were an IPCC proponent and concerned about getting policies implemented, I would read the riot act to these prima donnas, who refuse to disclose data and methods, regardless of the excuse. If you’re trying to build support outside your own trade, it’s important both to have clean hands and to appear to have clean hands. So they should not put themselves in the position of looking bad. I have no idea why they do it and why they continue to do it. It just seems like a total lack of discipline, suitable only for the minor leagues – say the Johnstown Chiefs.

  9. Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    Personally, I think that, as scientists, we often look down on non-experts and have a «we know better, we are the experts, trust us» attitude. A lot of scientists don’t really understand themselves what science really is. Not many have taken the time to learn what philosophers of science had to say (Popper, Kuhn, Feyerabend for example). They also rarely know much about the history of science (Gavin on RC made some really ignorant comments on Galileo the other day). So they are really ill prepared when they have to defend themselves.

    [SM- snip. Sorry, Francois - no Intelligent Design discussions here however well-intentioned.]

    In climate science, scientists get caught again with their pants down, and the RC bunch are typical of that. They have to play defence all the time! The problem is that policy makers, and the public, would love a clear answer: “yes or no”! Once you’ve fallen into that trap and answered yes (with a hockey stick graph, for example), it’s hard to back off, or you lose all credibility. Your only defence is to claim that you know the TRUTH, and that no one should question your expertise. In my opinion, climate scientists should have resisted much more strongly to the demands to give a clear answer, and should have put more effort insisting on the uncertainties, rather than the certainties. It’s the policy makers’ role to deal with that uncertainty, not the scientists’, and they do this all the time. I think climate science could proceed much more calmly if it didn’t have to justify its “consensus” all the time. Contrarian results would be given a more honest place in peer reviewed literature, and nobody would lose face if the whole warming hypothesis were to be proven wrong in a couple of years.

  10. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    Okay, the hockey fight analogy did not work. The point is, students saw a lot of unfinished business out there (here). Why weren’t the RC folks responding to your posts? Why weren’t they among the comment-makers here and at Climate Science? These are the sorts of questions they had. Fighting and dirty tricks from any side totally takes all the joy out of it…but good old fashioned engagement (at every possible opportunity) makes for a very robust and worthwhile debate.

  11. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Analogies are always tricky; the Johnstown Chiefs analogy was fun, but not exactly apt.

    I think that it was very poor form for RC to slag me and then not permit me to post up civilized and on-point replies in my defence. When Kaufmann turned up with some terrific comments about GCMs, that should have prompted a really interesting discussion. If it had happened here, I would never have dreamed of asking him to go off-air with his questions: either side. They’ve got a mentality problem which you’ve sensed and tried to get them to address (in a very nice way). TCO, a frequent poster, has often observed the same phenomenon which he has described as their Herr Doktor Professor mentality. I guess it’s because they are really preaching at us, trying to leave us with morals that we can take and distribute elsewhere. Gavin’s response to your comment was totally symptomatic – looking for a more effective way of preaching, rather than engaging.

    Their staffing is also very uneven. I don’t suppose that they were thinking much about it when they started and were just collecting volunteers. Gavin’s obviously very smart and energetic; he’s pointlessly petty at times, but on balance very strong. I find a lot of their posts very interesting.

    Rasmus, on the other hand, is a loose cannon and clearly at sea if he’s left on his own or even if he’s babysat. His weakness is sympotomatic of the general weakness of climate science in statistics, which we’ve been discussing. Because the rest of them are also weak on statistics, Rasmus probably seemed like a good candidate when they started. Plus he was probably at the table, in the deal. The problem for them is that they’ve now got their weakest guy up front in the very area that they are under attack. He’s only making things worse for them, as I am taking great amusement in pointing out. The situation would be easier for them to manage if they could just get by with censoring difficult comments as they’ve done so often. But they’re being held up to the light of day at our site. Since we get about as much traffic as they do and there’s so much cross-viewing now, they are unable to control the situation the way they prefer and the way they could when they started – just through censorship.

    It’s an awkward situation for them. If it were a business or even a hockey team, you’d cut your losses, send Rasmus down to the minors and try to get a new guy. But it’s not exactly a business so it’s hard to say what they’ll do. I’m not even sure who’d they’d get. Kaufmann would have been somebody that would have come to mind, but his concerns about GCMs would be pretty problematic for them right now. They’ll probably stick with Rasmus, breathe a sigh of relief when the current Rasmus thread hits its time limit and then stay away from Rasmus-type topics in perpetuity.

  12. Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth, Rus, Francois, others, the quote from Campbell and other comments are so on point about where science is now. If you think about the great scientific debates between Einstein and Bohr say these were carried out in meetings and letters and very rarely in the literature. Who would have possibly set up barriers to say the citizen couldn’t quiz them about the implications of relativity or quantum theory? The notion that the only valid debate is confined to the peer-reviewed literature seems to be a symptom of one the failings of modern science, where scientists have erected protective barriers around themselves. Any why? Well we all have our theories I guess. My favourite is power, Steve’s is the Hockey game.

    I am going out on a limb because I know nothing about GCM’s, but as a citizen what possible reason can there be for the IPCC to be reviewig 15 or so climate models. In the golden years of science the competeing theories would have been honed down to two or three and experiments done to eliminate the failures. A cynic would suspect the motivation more the equal distribution of funding that survival of the fittest theory.

    Why I am enthusiastic about blogs is that I think they are returning to those interested in science the sense of debate and excitement about science that has been beaten out of it by ivory tower and consensus politics. To young graduates, you want debate, START POSTING!

  13. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 2:50 PM | Permalink

    “what possible reason can there be for the IPCC to be reviewig 15 or so climate models.”

    It’s actually simple. If we assume the median of projections (forgetting for the moment the problems with GCMs in general) you get a possible change of approx 1.5 degrees. Hardly enough to whip people up into a frenzy to do something (as you I believe their motivation). By including the outliers they, and others can say, “In some models as much as 5 – 7 degrees”.

    Most people involved realize that these are the outliers, but by keeping them they can throw out scary numbers.

    As they do with sea level. They can say “If ALL the ice melts we could see 50 meters rise” ignoring the fact that this would be in hundreds of thousands of years even with worse case projections. Then they lead people to thinking we could see many meters of rise within a hundred years, flooding Florida and coastal areas etc. When even the most dramatic numbers show a rise in sea levels in the next century to be on the order of centimeters, not meters. But a seal level rise of 10 Centimeters is hardly a cause for concern over the next 100 years.

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think that the IPCC actually reviews ANY climate models. They take each of them as given, as opposed to attempting to analyze or review them.

    Also the IPCC wants to keep all these groups involved, so they all get a place at the table. That way, nobody feels left out.

  15. Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Re: 13,14. Here I was thinking about money again, when it is really about not hurting the feelings of mischievous spooks.

  16. John Hekman
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    This thread has some great comments about the process of discussing the strengths and weaknesses of climate science. The difference between this website and RC reminds me of academic workshops, both the good and the bad. When I was a grad student in economics at Chicago in the 1970s, the workshop structure at Chicago was the best in the field. Faculty from many specialties would attend workshops outside their own fields, and the level of criticism and nitpicking was brutal. But good research came out of it. I had the pleasure of seeing my work torn apart and put back together again by about a half dozen economists who later got Nobel prizes. Ouch. Then I moved to Boston and saw how the workshops at Harvard operated. Each was an isolated fiefdom. The senior professor ruled, few if any other faculty attended, and most of the comments were of the sucking-up variety. This did very little to improve the research product.

    So, kudos to you Steve for running a wide open, free discussion here.

  17. Ray Soper
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    So much of what passes for “science” seems to be politicised assertions more than science. It would help very much if all parties presuming to offer public pronouncements on any issue relating to science were required to make the following statements:

    1. That they personally embrace the fundamental requirements of scientific method. This of course requires that they understand the basics of scientific method, the history of science, and the issues faced by true scientists attempting to confound the current “paradigms”.
    2. That they have done so in the case under consideration.
    3. That they have accessed other relevant experts in related disciplines. This might be statistics in this case for example. Or the science of colloids in the area of rock formation for another example.
    3. That they are able to demonstrate that the methods that they have followed are sound, that the data is robust, and that their results can be replicated by any interested party. That is, they can demonstrate, to acceptable standards, that the statements that they are making are in fact true.
    4. That they are not financially dependent in any way on the outcomes. An interesting test of this point is to ask: “What difference would it make to my income if my statements are demonstrated to be 100% wrong?”

    This last test is very interesting given the ad hominem attacks so readily targeted at “those of us that are in the pay of big oil”. In fact, I would suggest that for most contributors to this site, the answer would be that “If I am proven to be 100% wrong, there would be NO difference at all to my income” since nobody is paying me for any of this. I suspect that many of the proponents of AGW views would have no choice but to say that if their views are 100% wrong, that the consequences are rather dire – that is, they would lose their jobs and source of income entirely, since their continued employment is dependent on maintaining the scare to ensure continued access to public funds.

    I know I am dreaming, but ……….

  18. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    John, did you deal with George Stigler at all at Chicago economics? I met him in 1961 or 1962 under amusing circumstances. He used to vacation at the Muskoka Lakes in Ontario where our family had a cottage. I used to play a lot of golf when I was 14-15 and was shooting in the 70s (I haven’t kept it up.) The 11th hole at our golf club was a relatively short par 5 and, one day, being an impatient teenager, I got tired of the old fogeys ahead of me and let my 2nd shot rip while they were endlessly dicking around the green. I nailed it and it rolled onto the green (this was long before super-clubs and super-balls). One of the old fogeys (George Stigler, who I recognized from caddying) picked up my ball and threw it into the woods. I guess that was supply-side economics.

  19. John Hekman
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    Steve
    Yes, Stigler was there when I was a student. He was a marvel to listen to. Very witty. But cranky at times. A co-worker of mine at a part time campus job lived next door to him. When he came over to their house and she tried to butter him up by saying she was studying economics, using Samuelson’s text, Stigler had a cow and shouted “He is not an economist! He is an editor!”
    I spent some very enjoyable days in Ontario around 1962. Went camping on Eagle lake with a group of boys and a few adults. We went far into the vast interior in boats, did a lot of fishing.

  20. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #10, Kenneth Blumenfeld

    The point is, students saw a lot of unfinished business out there (here). Why weren’t the RC folks responding to your posts? Why weren’t they among the comment-makers here and at Climate Science?

    Did any of your students at least hypothesise that maybe the sceptics were right ?
    Or would that be too radical ?

  21. mikep
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    If we are into economist stories, I always liked the one (hope it’s true) about Stigler and Harry Johnson, who was a very prolific though not oustandingly original economist and also at Chicago. The story goes that when Stigler got the Nobel prize a journalist asked him why he was given the prize having writeen 3 books and fifty articles, whereas Professor JOhnson down the corridor had written twenty books and four hundred articles (I don’t vouch for the numbers). Stigler is alleged to have replied “Ah, but mine were all different”.

  22. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 8:40 PM | Permalink

    http://www.xs4all.nl/~jcdverha/scijokes/1_2.html#subindex

  23. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 6, 2006 at 11:09 PM | Permalink

    From another place on that site (quotes) one I thought that those of us here who receive monthly checks from Shell, Mobil and BP would find some resonance with.
    ____________________

    From: dok#NoSpam.fwi.uva.nl (Sir Hans)
    @A: Twain, Mark (1835-1910)

    @Q: In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower
    Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That
    is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year.
    Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or an idiot, can see that
    in the Old O\”olitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next
    November, the Lower Mississippi River was upward of one million three
    hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like
    a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven
    hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only
    a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have
    joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under
    a single mayor and a mutual board of alderman. There is something
    fascinating about science. One gets such wholesome returns of
    conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.
    @R: _Life on the Mississippi_ (1883) ch. 17

  24. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Re: #20:

    “Did any of your students at least hypothesise that maybe the sceptics were right ?
    Or would that be too radical?”

    This question actually brings up a lot of very important points about how I see the debate over climate change.

    First, the short answer is yes, some sided with the skeptics.

    We tried to keep a very open discussion going in class. This was the first time we ever did anything like this, so in many ways, the assignment was a trial run.

    I asked the students to put away any pre-conceived notions they had about climate change. I knew that some of the students were environmental activists and that others were Campus Republicans. As such, they may have felt they had certain lines to tow on global warming. Since most of the students were not going into atmospheric science, and this was an introductory meteorology class (I was a mere TA, BTW, in charge of running all of the lab assignments and discussions. This was a lab assignment), I felt confident that virtually none of the students had a scientific basis for their existing opinions on climate change. They may have had strong kneejerk or political bases for them, but not scientific ones. Miraculously, nobody challenged me on that point.

    So we sort of started from scratch, to the extent that it is possible to do so. In the end, most students took a hybrid view of “who was right.” I actually think that is leaps-and-bounds more sophisticated than picking sides and never straying from them, which is what most of us are used to doing.

    Interestingly, if you stand back from the debate over climate change, you see that there are actually three sides, not two. You have the “global warming is happening and it is because of us” folks; the “it is not so bad,” (skeptical) folks; and you also have a small “stop barking up the wrong tree” contigent, that brushes aside global warming and asserts that we need to look at regional and local measures of climate change, rather than just the change in global mean surface temperature. This last view was very popular with the students–far more so than the two conventional sides with which we are most familiar.

    Anyway, the purpose of the assignment was to move away from picking sides, and to move towards assessing the evidence to the extent that one can.

  25. John A
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    …the purpose of the assignment was to move away from picking sides, and to move towards assessing the evidence to the extent that one can.

    That’s my position all along. The problem comes when someone keeps telling you that “the argument is settled” or “there is a large consensus” or “the time for talking is over, we must take action” or other rhetorical devices designed to stifle debate take place. I get particularly irritated by people giving me that old hoary argument to adverse consequences if we don’t “do something”

    What you’re assigning and talking about is skepticism in climate science, nothing more or less. Pretty soon, you’ll accused of being secretly funded by shadowy fossil fuel companies. You’ll be “associated with the skeptics”. Maybe they’ll include you on exxonsecrets.org for doubting the GW line or even subjecting it to the normal process of the scientific method.

    Whatever your students may have thought, the questions of global warming are not political but ethical and methodological.

  26. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    #24: Interesting responses. For what it’s worth, I put myself in a different camp altogether. I am not a “skeptic” in the sense that I’ve ever said “it’s not so bad”. I view myself more as trying to determine if any of the intelligence is flawed – rather like someone trying to determine whether an aluminum tube is just an aluminum tube, as opposed to evidence of a nuclear enrichment program.

    I don’t think that your 3rd view really represents a permanent alternative. I agree that you have to look at details – that’s pretty obvious in my approach to things. However, if you break down the 3rd view – if there isn’t any overall significant overall change in global temperature, then regional and local issues are interesting, but essentially just weather, and the issue will fall off the table – although regionally some issues like U.S. western drought are still pretty important due to the historically relatively favorable 20th century moisture in that area.

    If there is a significant overall global change, then I agree that the regional impact becomes very important, but you can’t simply beg the question.

  27. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    re: #25:

    I study climatology. When people find that out, they often want to talk about global warming. A lot of visitors to this site and to realclimate might not know this, but global climate change is one part of climatology, but not the entirety of it. I personally have always found local climates more dynamic and more fascinating. It is what I study. Thus, I have never felt qualified to speak on global warming. Maybe I have a high standard for myself.

    Anyway, when these “tell me about global warming” conversations start, I can usually tell that the person to whom I am speaking has already made up his/her mind. They are just waiting for me to prove it to them. They will steer the converstaion for me, if I let them. This has happened many many times, on both sides of the argument. If I press them, they rarely–scratch that, never–can provide me with a basis for their reasoning. They heard it on the radio, or on Fox, or they read something, or a canvasser said something. Nothing substantive, just hearsay. That is no basis for an opinion, as I see it. And I am not much help, since I generally read the journal articles about cyclogenesis and snowstorms and extreme rainfall probabilities, and skip the ones about GCMs, ice cores, and the like…until very recently anyway.

    I obviously think it is poor practice to have an uninformed opinion about something and then to cherry-pick information that fits the opinion. I stress that all over the internet–here, on realclimate, everywhere you look, you find sparkling examples of this. Why not begin with an open mind and let good old deductive processes guide you?

    And that is the simple strategy that I was trying to impart to the students. I think it worked, at least somewhat. I think it used to be called “critical thinking.”

  28. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    There’s a very interesting essay by Henk Tennekes posted at Roger Pielke Sr.’s web site
    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/
    which addresses some of the topics raised in this thread, including the limitations of GCMs, the need to think independently and to resist being pigeonholed, especially on a subject as monumentally complex as climate change. I especially like this:

    “The advantages of accepting a dogma or paradigm are only too clear. One no longer has to query the foundations of one’s convictions, one enjoys the many advantages of belonging to a group that enjoys political power, one can participate in the benefits that the group provides, and one can delegate questions of responsibility and accountability to the leadership. In brief, the moment one accepts a dogma, one stops being an independent scientist.”

    This goes a long way to explaining the air of intellectual sloth and carelessness at RC and its allied institutions.

  29. Ray Soper
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    In posts 24, 25 and 26 are identified four positions which I think are as follows:

    1. Global warming is happening, and it is because of man’s activity (AGW). Post 24

    2. Global warming is happening, (it is because of us – implied, not said), but in the scheme of things it is not such a big deal. Post 24

    3. Global warming is not the issue. Local climate change effects are more important. Post 24

    4. Lets assess the evidence. Posts 25 and 26.

    Do these characterisations really cover the issue sufficiently? To make it crystal clear, isn’t the skeptical position embraced by most participants at this site as follows:

    1. Climate is a very big, complex, and chaotic system, subject to many possible influences, including solar activity, anthropogenic activity, complex feedback loops, natural compensatory processes.

    2. In essence, we don’t really know what is happening: An AGNOSTIC (meaning “we don’t know”)position.

    a) It is very difficult to measure a global average temperature at all. Temperature varies widely across the planet from hour to hour, for all kinds of reasons that may be local (UHI effects, microclimates) or global (diurnal cycle, annual cycle of summer/winter). Do we really have a good handle on “average” temperatures.

    b) given the very wide fluctuations from day to day, place to place, what is really the significance of changes in “averages” of around 1 degree across the globe, when we are talking about ranges from perhaps -50 deg C to plus 50 deg C at any point in time.

    c) If it is difficult to measure “average” temperature today, how difficult is it to measure “average” temperatures 100 years ago and compare them with today, remembering that the population of measurement sites is mostly different today (and much larger) than it was then, so is it really comparable. And even worse, how difficult is it to come up with a reliable measure of “average” temperature for the planet for the last 1000 years?

    d) Even if the data, properly gathered, adjusted (where necessary) for UHI effects (are the adjustments appropriate, correct), were to show an unequivocal warming trend, what might the cause of that trend be?

    e) IF (and its a big IF), we are able to show that there is unequivocally that i) there is a global warming trend, and ii) that it is caused by anthropogenic activity (neither of which points is yet demonstrated convincingly (at least to me), then what is the appropriate action to take, if any?

    3. Given the difficulties of resolving these questions, I think that the position of most people here is to say “Lets find out, as best we can, the answers to these questions. Lets do that it a truly scientific fashion. Lets be very sure of our methodologies, our processes, our data. Lets be careful to truly understand what is going on. If we are to take positions on any of the questions, it is surely incumbent upon us to ensure that the positions are based on sound, unequivocal data.”

    I don’t think that the skeptics are taking what might be described as the ATHEIST position (global warming is not happening. If it is, it is not caused by man) which is what some of the BELIEVERS are saying when they describe (in a lovely ad hominem) the skeptics as AGW deniers (referring of course to the “Holocaust deniers”). Most skeptics are taking what seems to me to be the only rational position which is the AGNOSTIC position, which is we don’t know. Lets find out.

    In passing, it is interesting to comment on the word BELIEVE in this context. The Macquarie Dictionary says “Believe: 1. To have confidence in; trust; rely through faith; 2. To be persuaded of the truth of anything; accept a doctrine, principle, system etc; 3. To have belief in; credit; accept as true; 4. To think.” In thinking about the word, it seems to me that the message of BELIEVE is “I don’t know from my own experience, but I will take on trust what you (or somebody else tells me is true.” Hardly a word that is applicable in science, or discussions on global warming.

    Please excuse me if I seem pedantic, but it seems to me vital to bring clarity to these fundamental aspects of the discussion. Everybody seems to be adopting positions. Let’s see if we can properly characterise those positions.

    One of the things that I have learned over an increasingly long life is that if I ever get involved in a discussion about GOD, the first thing to say is “lets define our terms here. What do you mean when you use the word God? What do I mean when I use that term?” If we don’t do that, we can only end up talking at cross purposes.

  30. Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    Re: #24, 25, 29 (defining positions)

    I think that the following “skeptical” view should be included:
    —————————
    Global change/warming may be occurring, but is likely dominated by natural variations. There is no compelling evidence to suggest that man is contributing significantly to these changes.

    There is plenty of “anecdotal” evidence of significant natural climate change over the past 1000 years (MWP & LLA), though there is debate over how much was regional vs global. Manmade CO2 emissions will contribute to warming, but any significant contribution would require a substantial positive feedback of several 100 percent.
    —————————

    Jason

  31. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 4:53 PM | Permalink

    Slight correction Ray. The agnostic position Is more of a “Prove it to me” stance. And I think that goes more to your points, which I agree with completely. The “we don’t know” position comes from that of course, lacking the proof.

    The only thing I would add to your points is. Besides defining the terms, what would be acceptable proof to confirm or deny the supposition.

  32. Ray Soper
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Sid, thanks for your comments. I am no etymologist, but I was using AGNOSTIC in the sense of being NOT GNOSTIC. GNOSTIC meaning “knowing”, therefore AGNOSTIC being “not knowing”. Macquarie Dictionary defines AGNOSTIC as “1. one who holds that the ultimate cause (God) and the essential nature of things are unknown or unknowable or that human knowledge is limited to experience”. I acknowledge that each of these terms has a religious connotation, which is perhaps not precisely accurate when describing the skeptical position. Is there a better term?

  33. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    No I think the term is fine for how you used it, and in fact it doesn’t really have a religious connotation. Religion being faith in the absence of proof. Agnosticism (as an isim) is about proving the existence of God, which is contrary to religion.

    I’m no etymologist either, I am however a devout agnostic :)

    But besides the root of the word you need to look at how/when/why the term was coined. This is not always possible with words. However, with agnostic it actually is known, and the person who coined it, Thomas Huxley, wrote quite a bit on the term and the reasoning.

    I’ll accept though that the term has developed other connotations over the time.

  34. JerryB
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Some of these comments bring to mind a quip from James D Nicoll:

    “The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don’t just borrow words; on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary.”

  35. Ian Castles
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 6:10 PM | Permalink

    In the course of “defining positions” in #30, Jason states that “Manmade CO2 emissions will contribute to warming, but any significant contribution would require a substantial positive feedback of several 100 percent.” Some hours earlier (although it was already 8 January in Australia!), Chris O’Neill said on John Quiggin’s website “Even ignoring feedbacks completely give a climate sensitivity of between 1.5 and 2 degrees C of warming for a doubling of pre-industrial CO2. Ignoring feedbacks completely is extremely conservative because the positive feedbacks are much stronger than the negative ones. Even with a climate sensitivity of 1.5 degrees C per CO2 doubling we have a serious problem on our hands.”

    I highlight the difference between these radically different statements in order to suggest an alternative way of characterising positions. Note that the conflict arises entirely on a point of fact. If Jason were to accept Chris O’Neill’s statement about the warming that has/would occur without allowing for any feedbacks, he would presumably agree that manmade CO2 emissions have made/will make a significant contribution to warming. Conversely, if Chris O’Neill were to accept Jason’s position on the same point, he would presumably agree that “we have a serious problem on our hands.”

  36. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    I agree that the skeptical view can be very diverse and multifacted; so can the other side. Hopefully every single person out there has a slightly unique perspective that cannot be summarized by sweeping definitions. Again, if you find that you actually identify with a quick-and-dirty definition, then perhaps someone is doing the thinking for you.

  37. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    #27: Kenneth, I’m all in favor of critical thinking. All I’ve tried to do is to replicate some of the famous studies and check some of their elementary statistical properties. Isn’t that part of critical thinking? I’m not advocating any policy prescriptions other than requiring adequate disclosure and better due diligence.

  38. Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    #36: But Steve, there ARE policy implications, and that’s why there is such a debate. Behind the science, you will most often find political opinions, and no one is really unbiased. I think Roger Pielke jr. on Promotheus has made a valid point about that. Here in Canada (well, Quebec anyway), the environmentalist movement has really succeeded in what might be called a grand scale propaganda effort. During the recent conference on GW in Montreal, it was absolute hysteria. In fact, the person we saw most often in the media was the local Greenpeace leader, then some politicians (e.g. Clinton..). I heard ONE climatologist!

    Having started to read quite a bit about the subject, I had a discussion at a family reunion on New Year’s eve with my brother in law. For me, it was really a test to see how my perception had changed with respect to his. I realized that he was fully indoctrinated (and he’s not necessarily a leftist in normal times…). When faced with contrarian facts, he would give the standard reply that this must be disinformation by the oil companies. Yet it was mostly stuff that came from the IPCC report or peer-reviewed papers!

    I find that deeply disturbing because it’s not only that the average person is UNinformed. They are MISinformed. I used to think that Bush was an idiot for not adhering to Kyoto. Yet now, having looked at all the numbers, I think that objectively it is an ill-conceived treaty that is just there to please the green movement and appear to do something useful. Our prime minister (soon to be former…) boasts himself as a champion of the environment, yet we have achieved nothing in terms of CO2 reduction.

    I don’t know if AGW is real or not. Yet, it’s not because the “warmers” MIGHT be wrong, that they ARE necessarily wrong. The green house effect is a hypothesis that makes sense, it has a sound physical basis. What all the data that I’ve seen so far haven’t convinced me of, it’s “how much”. Furthermore, we don’t know “all the physics” yet. I have enough experience with science to realize that there are still too many unknown effects that could drastically change our estimate of the long term effect of GHG’s.

    So I nevertheless think that we should probably reduce or stabilize the atmospheric CO2, but if we’re going to do it, let’s do it properly and try to achieve more goals at the same time. It’s not a bad thing to reduce our dependence to oil or coal. It’s not a bad thing to develop technologies that improve energy efficiency. It’s not a bad thing to do reforestation in Haiti, Central and South America, Africa. All of these things bring important side benefits, and reduce the risk that we might have a big problem with the climate in the long term. So while I don’t think that the alarmists are right, I nevertheless think that, objectively, there is a POTENTIAL problem and that we must start thinking about possible solutions. By not rushing, we will also give time to the science to develop, which will gradually reduce our risk.

  39. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #35: Ian, you say:

    Chris O’Neill said on John Quiggin’s website “Even ignoring feedbacks completely give a climate sensitivity of between 1.5 and 2 degrees C of warming for a doubling of pre-industrial CO2.

    This is way too high, given that the change in forcing from a doubling is estimated to be ~2.5watts/m2.

    Without feedbacks, this would increase the surface temperature from about 390 watts/m2 to 392.5 watts/m2. Per Stefan-Bolzmann, this corresponds to a temperature change of 0.46°C, call it half a degree.

    I would be very interested to see how Chris O’Neil gets a temperature change of ~1.75° from a 2.5 watt/m2 change in forcing, without feedback. My understanding of thermodynamics says no way it is that big.

    w.

  40. Ian Castles
    Posted Jan 7, 2006 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #38: Willis, Thank you for this. I knew from what I’d read elsewhere that Chris O’Neill’s figure must be far too high, but I could not have explained this, as you now have, from thermodynamic principles. You can read O’Neill’s posting in full on John Quiggin’s website at http://johnquiggin.com/index.php/archives/2006/01/04/the-end-of-the-global-warming-debate/ – scroll down until you get to the posting at 8 January, 3.14 am. Could I suggest that you post on Quiggin’s website a response along the lines of your above comment to me?

  41. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 3:47 AM | Permalink

    Lots of posts, so little time (and a probabilty I’ll get karmared too).

    Re #27, so Kenneth, if one comes to the kind of conclusion I have (broadly the IPCC view and it evolution upto the present time) I’m not a critical thinker? OH, but you are I suppose? At the best you’re being condescending, at the wrost downright insulting. Please stick to reasoning, not to none to subtle insult :)

    Re #29. Hey, Ray, we can read without the need for words in capitals my friend ;). Or, are you trying to suggest (not very subtly btw) people like me are both religious (and thus bad) and those think you are agnotic and thus good? Yeah, maybe…but, I’ve seen such ‘slinging’ before umpteen times :) Boring.

    Look, you all have a problem. It’s a problem to be resolved fairly soon – a decade or two. It’s that your going to be shown* to be wrong or right (as I am) in that time. I’m happy with my view, as I’ve thought it out. I see not reason to change it (in that the
    evidence continues to mount up) despite all the flak. If the evidence changes (if we see
    cooling for a decade for example) I’ll change it. But, since we’ve seen a year nearly as warm as ’98 without a EN I think things continue to stack up.

    Lets loose the dogs?

    * humm, maybe not, if it warms by 2C quickly (and Co2 shoots past 450ppm) there would still be a few (‘John A’ being a cert LOL ;)) claiming it’s all natural I suppose – doh!

  42. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 4:15 AM | Permalink

    Re 40: Ian, thanks for the suggestion. I’ve posted on Quiggin’s lite.

    All the best,

    w.

  43. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 4:28 AM | Permalink

    Re 42, make that “Quiggin’s site”

    w.

  44. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 5:07 AM | Permalink

    Re #41, Peter

    so … if one comes to the kind of conclusion I have … I’m not a critical thinker ?

    We don’t know, Peter. You don’t seem to give a reason for why you have come to the conclusion you have, nor on what basis you reject opposing evidence.

    To make it simple, let’s focus on a few questions :
    1.) Do you accept our host’s work debunking the MBH hockey stick ?
    If no, please explain why not.
    If yes, then :
    2.) Without the hockey stick, do you accept that our best guess of temperature in the last millennium is that shown in the first IPCC report, with the MWP, LIA, etc. ?
    If no, please explain why not.
    If yes, then :
    3.) Given that any 20th century warming doesn’t seem particularly unusual in the context of pre-industrial natural variability, why are you so sure that there is any anthropogenic effect ?

  45. Hans Erren
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    re 44:
    Careful with 3: The current set of proxies are not sufficient to state that

    Given that any 20th century warming doesn’t seem particularly unusual in the context of pre-industrial natural variability,

    We simply don’t know, that’s science, knowing where your boundaries are.

  46. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 7:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #44. fF, you just don’t get it. The fact is if the HS is wrong then climate sensitivity is HIGHER and the risks we’re taking GREATER. If I were you I’d pin my hope on the HS!

    Do I think the HS ‘debunked’ – no I do not. I’ve never thought it perfect, but I do think the totality of recons on the right tracks. Re 2 no, I don’t think one should think climate science stopped with the work of HH Lamb – especially if that one is you and you’ve found what you want to find (which you clearly have). Re 3) the late 20th early 21st Century looks pretty unusual in whatever context.

  47. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    Peter, I disagree with you that the HS being wrong proves anything one way or the other about climate sensitivity. The issue of climate sensitivity is obviously a very fundamental issue – arguably the fundamental issue. But I don’t think that any of the articles trying to argue that there is any simple “safe haven” in the argument that you’re referring to.

    I’ve been reading some of the articles on climate sensitivity and am still at early stages of trying to understand the arguments. Given that this is now held out as supposedly the nut-cutting issue – and, for policy purposes, I don’t disagree with identifying this as the key issue by the way- it is remarkable how little consideration is given to climate sensitivity in IPCC TAR in analytic terms or even to what accounts for inter-model variations.

    I am suspicious of simplistic equations of sensitivity to changes in solar fluxes with changes in infrared fluxes as there are many important differences in the properties of long – and shortwave radiation. However, I’m at very early stages in reflecting about this and do not have views on the matter yet. There are some interesting issues which I’ll try to get to in the future.

  48. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    re # 44

    It appears to me that Mann’s work still stands and the results are unchanged by all the obfuscation. Likewise there are multiple other lines of evidence including other multi-proxy studies that all generally line up with the Mann results.

    Finally there are observational facts such as the extent of glacial melt in South America were receding glaciers have exposed plants covered by ice for at least 3,000 and as much as 5,000 years. There was a 3,000 years old ice lake/damm in the arctic that is now gone, many of the Antarctic ice shelves that have disintegrated are thought to have been there for thousands of years. The ice caps on top of Mt Kilimanjaro are about to disappear after a 7,000 + year presence and likewise for Glacier National park. Also I don’t disregard “eskimo” legends that suggest some thing truly different in the weather.

    That you would some how point backward to the far less scientifically rigorous temperature trend from Lamb et al used in the first IPCC assessment is curious. Basically your comment 2 is inconsistent with your comment 1. And as Hans points out your comment 3 is glaringly inconsistent with comments 2 and 1.

    So no the “hockey stick” has not been debunked IMO or in the opinions of most professionally published scientist or their academic academies. . The culmination of evidence suggest that science has been pretty right on naming the holocene as they did because it has been up until now a period of relative climate stability. All of modern civilization has no doubt in my mind flourished under relative climate calm. The future for civilization appears to me to be one of energy shortages on top of over population, with massive climate change being the Cherry on top. I think the fires in Australia and Oklahoma, the last hurricane season (is it over yet?) and the world wide trends in drought and flooding speak to our coming climate future. But I’m glad for blogs like this so our posterity can look back and see just who’s willful neglect and blatant disregard set them up so.

  49. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #45, Hans
    My 3) was contingent on 2), which was based on my memory of the chart in the first IPCC showing the MWP peaking well above current levels.
    Your point that this chart cannot be derived from proxies with any great solidity, I fully agree.

  50. beng
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:26 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps I’ve just missed any references to it here @ Climateaudit, but Surrealclimate has a pretty extensive webpage — Myth vs. Fact Regarding the “Hockey Stick”.

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=11

    A fair bit of effort went into something that no longer matters…

  51. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    Re #46, Peter

    The fact is if the HS is wrong then climate sensitivity is HIGHER

    Sorry, you’ve lost me here. Can you clarify, please ?

    And, remember, what I am after is some basis for deciding if you are a critical thinker, as per your original (rhetorical) question. What are the data and argumentation that persuaded you ?

  52. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    re # 45

    Hans,

    You really believe all the studies and general evidence out there our grossly inconclusive? You can’t point to any one study or set of facts that might imply a best estimate of past climate variability? You really think the IPCC should have no best estimate of recent holocene climate variability? There’s a lot of borehole , tree ring, Oxygen isotope , coral, stalagmite/tite, glacial and other evidence out there. All useless?

  53. beng
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:37 AM | Permalink

    And the above link leads to the below:

    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=8

  54. beng
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    The links I posted above are apparently old news as just alittle searching showed S_M already has previous topics posted about them (spring 2005). So my bad…

  55. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Re #48, muirgeo

    It appears to me that Mann’s work still stands

    Not to me. This site contains a lot of detailed analysis as to why not. Please explain where you think our host’s analysis is wrong.

    and the results are unchanged by all the obfuscation

    What does this refer to ? I find a lot of obfuscation on RealClimate, particularly links that say “we answer this criticism here“, and which link to something that entirelly fails to answer said criticism. (A probable source of frustration to Mr Blumenfeld’s students, I suspect – it annoys me intensely.)
    On ClimateAudit, I do not find such behaviour. If you are saying you don’t understand M&M’s maths, well, OK – but then you also don’t understand MBH’s maths, in which case you must have some other reason for taking their word for it.

    Likewise there are multiple other lines of evidence including other multi-proxy studies that all generally line up with the Mann results.

    If you read some more of this site, you will see why I don’t trust any of these multi-proxy studies, and am unlikely to do so until they have been properly audited.
    Regarding the other lines of evidence – please clarify ?

    the extent of glacial melt in South America were receding glaciers have exposed plants covered by ice for at least 3,000 and as much as 5,000 years.

    I thought carbon dating was more accurate than 3-5,000 years. Can you be more specific ?
    In any event, would you say that this indicates that the earth was at least as warm as today in pre-industrial times ? And hence that current temperatures are within the range of post-Ice Age natural variability ?

    many of the Antarctic ice shelves that have disintegrated are thought to have been there for thousands of years.

    I still don’t quite understand why we should be surprised that ice shelves break off. They are not like icebergs, in that they are not floating on water. Rather, surely they are the result of glaciers flowing down from Antarctica, and snow falling on top of them. As a result, surely they are being held up by structural rigidity rather than Archimedes principle, and as long as you keep putting more weight of snow on top, it is inevitable that they will break off sooner or later, no matter what the temperature. Or am I wrong ?
    In any event, can you tell me why they are “thought to have been there for thousands of years” ?
    (This is a genuine question – I was looking for this a few months back when this was in the news and couldn’t find a good answer.)

    The ice caps on top of Mt Kilimanjaro are about to disappear after a 7,000 + year presence

    Please clarify the evidence for the 7,000 years. Does this mean that 7,000 years ago, it was as warm as today ? Is it correct that it is still below freezing at the top of Kilimanjaro, and this is actually due to reduced precipitation ?

    Also I don’t disregard “eskimo” legends that suggest some thing truly different in the weather.

    Ummmm. Moving on …

    That you would some how point backward to the far less scientifically rigorous temperature trend from Lamb et al used in the first IPCC assessment is curious.

    We have had several years of the constant din of the marketing campaign telling us that the hockey stick is the scientific consensus. If the hockey stick is unfounded, and there is nothing else to replace it, then it would seem natural to fall back on the previous consensus. (Although I don’t particularly believe that chart either.)

    Basically your comment 2 is inconsistent with your comment 1. And as Hans points out your comment 3 is glaringly inconsistent with comments 2 and 1.

    They are not comments, they are questions, which is why they have question marks at the end. Question 3 is contingent on answering yes to question 2; Question 2 is contingent on answering yes to question 1.

    And as Hans points out your comment 3 is glaringly inconsistent with comments 2 and 1.

    No, Hans was saying no to question 2, on the grounds that the proxies are not good enough to support the chart in question. (Which I do not dispute.) Accordingly, question 3 does not arise for him.
    So, no inconsistency.

    So no the … energy shortages … over population … massive climate change … fires … hurricane … drought … flooding … [general death, doom, destruction] … who’s willful neglect and blatant disregard set them up so.

    You sound like one of these people who are driven by the need to hate. If so, well, this is science, and you are in the wrong playground.
    If you want to play here, make a start by answering my questions above, in such a way as to persuade me that your belief in AGW is the result of your critical assessment of data.

  56. Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:00 AM | Permalink

    #48

    Muiergo, you discuss “anectodal” evidence. Here are some quotes taken from the IPCC TAR on some of the “unresolved” issues. I’m collecting them to help me in future inquiries. I’ve only done chapters 1 and 2 so far…

    “It is believed that the overall effect of the feedbacks amplifies the temperature increase to 1.5 to 4.5°C. A significant part of this uncertainty range arises from our limited knowledge of clouds and their interactions with radiation.”

    “The effect of the increasing amount of aerosols on the radiative forcing is complex and not yet well known. (…) these are potentially important indirect effects of aerosols, resulting probably in a negative radiative forcing of as yet very uncertain magnitude.”

    “This is known as an “urban heat island”. The influence on the regional climate may be noticeable but small. It may however have a significant influence on long instrumental temperature records from stations affected by expanding urbanisation. The consequences of this urbanisation effect for the global surface temperature record has been the subject of debate.”

    “It is not known, for example, whether the rapid climate changes observed during the last glacial period are at all predictable or are unpredictable consequences of small changes resulting in major climatic shifts.”

    “Although estimates have improved since the SAR, there is still considerable uncertainty in the magnitude of this natural climate variability.”

    “It is likely that there have been real differences between the rate of warming in the troposphere and the surface over the last twenty years, which are not fully understood.”

    “New palaeoclimate analyses for the last 1,000 years over the Northern Hemisphere indicate that
    the magnitude of 20th century warming is likely to have been the largest of any century during this period.” (this is the hockey stick, which is not pretty much in doubt…)

    “Consistent with this finding are analyses showing a near 40% decrease in the average thickness of summer Arctic sea ice over approximately the last thirty years, though uncertainties are difficult to estimate and the influence of multi-decadal variability cannot yet be assessed.”

    “During the last deglaciation, local increases in temperature are likely to have been as large as 5 to 10°C over a few decades.”

  57. Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    #56: I meant: “this is the hockey stick, which is now pretty much in doubt…”

  58. hans kelp
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Somtimes some of the contributions on this blog makes it look like the whole thing is just about two competing footballclubs pounding on each other. I personally visit this site three or four times a day because of the open and fair presentation which I feel stand up to a sound and scientificly based scrutiny contrary to the one-eyed and one-sided blog of RealClimate where even respected scientist´s are considered whackey´s in case they allow themselves to ask questions opposing the theories and opinions of the Hockey Team. I think that people should bear in mind that it´s all about facts and science and stick to it. If people ignore that
    I´m afraid they in the end are guilty of creating an atmosphere of hysteria instead.

    All the best to you
    Hans Kelp

  59. Paul Linsay
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 1:44 PM | Permalink

    #47, Steve

    The issue of climate sensitivity is obviously a very fundamental issue – arguably the fundamental issue.

    I have to disagree with you on this. This is the postulated mechanism for warming, but the real issue is the ground based temperature measurements that are the basis for the claim of “unprecedented” global warming. They form the “one ring to bind them all” of global warming. If they are wrong not only is there nothing to explain and no need for the positive feedback, the models are shown to be wrong too since they track bad data.

    We have three different independent measurements of atmospheric temperature, balloon borne radiosondes, the MSU satellites, and the ground based thermometers. The radiosondes and MSU measurements agree where they overlap and neither shows any extraordinary warming, only the ground based measurements do. In any other field of science, if a quantity is measured by three independent means and there is agreement between two out of three, the third would be assumed to be in error.

    If you’re looking for something to do after finishing your statistics research on proxies, the ground based temperature measurement is the subject to work on. Of course, if you do that and are credible in showing that there are deep and possibly fatal problems, you will find yourself facing the Black Gate of Mordor, and it will open.

  60. Terry
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    Re: #1.

    Franscois:

    You might want to look up VARs (vector autoregressions) for your temperature-co2-solar activity-eruption project. These are used a lot in economics for this sort of exploratory project. You can play around with the interaction between many different time series in a generalized and well-understood framework. It allows you to have any number of series with any sort of causal relationship between them. You can also separate out which is likely to cause which (Granger causality). There are also procedures for determining which lags of which series should enter and which should not (AIC, etc.).

    Since the physics you are interested in look relatively straightforward, e.g., volcanic erutptions put particulates in the atmosphers which have a certain persistence and thereby cause temperature effects, I would be surprised if you don’t get pretty good explanatory power very quickly.

    As to statistical sources, William H. Greene’s “Econometric Analysis” is the bible and encyclopedia of economic statistics (which seems the most useful for your project since economics regularly deals with multiple inter-related time series). Whatever you need to know is covered there. It has a good discussion of almost everything, although it is fairly rigorous.

    I have always learned a lot from reading the manuals for statistical packages. If there is something statistical you need to do, someone has figured out a canned program for it and it will simply be an option for one of the commands in the program. I cut my teeth on RATS (now fairly neglected), but the SAS manuals contain much useful and concise information in a rather sprawling format. For instance, any good economoetric program will include extensive diagnostic tools to detect autocorrelation-in-the-errors in a regression, and will provide tools to deal with it. (I have often used the Newey-West correction for standard errors in regressions with autocorrelated errors.)

    Good luck, and keep us posted.

  61. John G. Bell
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 4:29 PM | Permalink

    I think Paul’s got it right. However, the GCMs look to be a very interesting and I’m sure you will find their exploration productive.

    You know your cutting all the legs off the AGW stool is putting them in a rather uncomfortable position. The floor.

    Big money in the GCMs. You should have them pay you off to sit on the sidelines :).

  62. Terry
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    RE: #10.

    Okay, the hockey fight analogy did not work. The point is, students saw a lot of unfinished business out there (here). Why weren’t the RC folks responding to your posts? Why weren’t they among the comment-makers here and at Climate Science? These are the sorts of questions they had. Fighting and dirty tricks from any side totally takes all the joy out of it…but good old fashioned engagement (at every possible opportunity) makes for a very robust and worthwhile debate.

    Excellent point. I have been trying to make this point myself both here and at RC. At first, RC comes of quite well, intelligent and knowledgeable. But, after a while you begin to notice they simply ignore many weaknesses. The first hint of this is that they don’t link to ClimateAudit. Then you begin to notice that they respond to only about half of of Steve’s hockeystick criticisms. Then you notice that they write two post on how hurricanes appear to be inceasing due to AGW and they don’t even mention Landsea’s contrary view (except deep in the comments when someone else brings it up) and they simply ignore earlier data which contradicts their hypothesis.

    Your students seem to be noticing this but wishing they would fix these deficiencies. Others of a more sceptical bent see this instead as evidence of dishonesty becaue it suggests they CANNOT refute the counterarguments.

    This approach has often worked in academia (I have seen it up close), where an argument can carry the field by sheer institutional pressure, but it is quite hard to do this nowadays. Effective counterarguments are very hard to marginalize. For example, Michaels regularly posts a few paragraphs of succint and simple counterargument that can be quite effective, and anyone can read it.

  63. Terry
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    What a great thread! I love high-level thumb-sucking of this sort.

    What I find endlessly fascinating about this debate is how it is nearly impossible for anyone to be truly objective. In science, we have the ideal of the disinterested truth-seeking scientist who will be guided solely by the facts, but it is incredibly rare to see such people. I try to be one such, but it is very, very difficult. Perhaps it is easier to be disinterested if you don’t actually have any stake in the outcome.

    Understand this phenomenon, and you have understood something very important about humans.

    BTW, I agree that Gavin is the best of the RC crowd. I think he is truly a scientist at heart. Rasmus, on the other hand is spouting gibberish. RC would increase its credibility if it repudiated him.

  64. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Interesting night on the history channel this evening.

    At 7PM (EST) a show about Weather conspiracies, the Yakusa controlling the weather, the military etc.

    At 8PM (EST) talking about the LIA (They must not have consulted with Mann [sarcasm on] who has so eloquently proven that it never happened [/sarcasm off]) and the impact both in real terms and secondary.

    Just the fact that anyone is making the point that cooling is a bad thing boggles the mind.

  65. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #63

    What I find endlessly fascinating about this debate is how it is nearly impossible for anyone to be truly objective. ………Perhaps it is easier to be disinterested if you don’t actually have any stake in the outcome.

    Comment by Terry “¢’‚¬? 8 January 2006 @ 5:03 pm

    Terry,

    When the debate becomes as polarized as it is and at an apparent impasse thats when I like to ask the question, “Why do climate science skeptics not want anthropogenic global warming to be true?” Like wise for believers like myself (that the IPCC is basically right) we have to ask ourselves why do we want the IPCC to be right? If you ask yourself those questions and look real deep and are truly honest with yourself you often find some interesting answers. Asking ourselves these questions may reveal how or why our objectivity may be skewed.

  66. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    Funny, I always ask the question.

    “Why do warmers want so badly for anthropogenic global warming to be true?”

    You’d think people would cling to evidence that we aren’t doomed. Instead they cling to evidence that we are doomed.

    PS Climate skeptics is probably a poor term. No one is skeptical that climate exists.

  67. Paul
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    #65,#66:

    I also ask the question “Why do they want the anthropogenic climate change” to be a fact?

    If you ask yourself those questions and look real deep and are truly honest with yourself you often find some interesting answers. Asking ourselves these questions may reveal how or why our objectivity may be skewed.

    What’s good for the goose is good for the gander…

  68. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    It seems to be an interesting coincidence that “Warmers” also seem to be anti-capitalists and so forth.

    To be a little more derogatory I consider them 21st century luddites.

    More importantly there seems to be some desire for control/power. There are plenty of ways to reduce energy usage that do not involve with national limits on energy usage. Something I’ve been thinking about all day today. See I have old windows (~1970) that are very leaky. I spent a majority of the day sealing them better as winter has gotten colder. For the most pat people that have windows like mine are also people that cannot afford to replace them with newer more energy efficient windows. We also spend a lot more of our time heating our homes than driving our car. So why aren’t “warmers” proposing window replacement loans from the government which, in northern areas, will drastically reduce energy usage, and thus CO2 emissions?

  69. Terry
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    muirgeo:

    A good question.

    I think sceptics tend to be driven by a disklike of what they see as dishonesty. If two people agree on nine things and disagree on one, a sceptic will home in the one and be upset that the other person will not admit to being wrong about the one thing. Hence a lot of scepticism is of the “you haven’t really proven what you say as well as you claim to” variety, or the “there is a lot more uncertainty here than you admit to” variety.

    I think that the believers tend to be driven by a disklike of corruption, and that their animosity is more driven by moral outrage. On the one thing they disagree about, the believers tend to attribute the difference to moral failing or mercenary motives. Hence, RC has a strong streak of moral outrage, and hence their emphasis on “concensus” which can be seen as a scientific version of established doctrine which it is heretical to deny. It is quite startling to see the steady attacks on sceptic funding, which strongly suggests that corruption is at the heart of their criticism.

    I have also recently begun to notice that the more senior and established (or independent) a person is, the higher the probability they are a sceptic. I know I have moved this way as I have aged. I have seen many obvious truths (disputed only be evil knaves) turn out to be wrong, and I now require a much higher level of proof than I used to. One of my most formative experiences was sitting among my engineering friends and becoming quite concerned that our short-sighted bourgeous society was ignoring the fact that we were going to run out of oil in 1990 and that there was going to be severe upheavals when that happened. Why wasn’t anyone doing something about this terrible crisis? How could people be so stupid?

    So now, when I run across something like the hockeystick which seems to me to be completely uncompelling (it is a negative result!, i.e., an extremely obscure and non-robust model fails to find large temperature swings in highly suspect data supposedly proves that the current temperature increase must be anthopocentric!) I tend to give less weight to the other findings which I cannot see into as well. I think it is entirely possible that AGW is real, although I find it hard to believe it hasn’t been exaggerated (given the gloomsters track record). On the other hand, I wouldn’t be surprised if the recent uptick is predominately natural and will be reversed in the near future, and that we just don’t understand climate well enough to understand why at this point.

    Oddly, the only point that there seems to be 100 percent consensus about is that Kyoto will have almost no effect on the earth’s temperature. I can’t think of anyone that believes otherwise (arguments that a hundred Kyoto’s would make a difference don’t count).

  70. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:02 PM | Permalink

    Terry don’t forget Paul Ehrlich’s prediction of massive famines in the 70′s and 80′s where “hundreds of millions of people will starve to death” Ehrlich is also a big doomsayer of the AGW movement.

  71. Paul
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    #69-

    My take on the “skeptics” is different. If they “agree on 9 out of 10″ issues, they can certainly argue about #10. However, with regards to climate science, it appears that #10 may not actually be true, even if the non-skeptic believes that it is, but keeps insisting that it is true. The skeptic then says “well…if #10 isn’t true, how many of 1-9 might not be true, too, as the science behind #10 was bad, couldn’t it be bad for 1-9, too?” In other words, trust is lost.

    #68 – I wasn’t going to say it, but there does seem to be some truth in this.

    An interesting (at least to me) anecdote: We’re going to be doing some work for an “earth friendly” company. One of the parties to the project described a recent failed project. They had bought some land, 45 acres (182,000^2 M), on a major river. It had a large lodge on it. The idea was each owner would have a 1/10th share of the land, and each would get 1 acre to develop. It was to be “communal” living (they had a term for it, but I forgot what it was). After 2 years, the project failed. They sold the land to 3 of the partners, 15 acres each, and disbanded the works. The interesting thing were the comments made by the project founder. He said “I wasn’t prepared for how people would behave. Some didn’t make their payments on time, most didn’t do anything to improve their one acre. Nobody showed up for the community projects, activities, or work activites. What amazed me, though, was how much people have done with after they owned the land outright. They’re always there doing this or that…fixing up, clearing & cleaning the land.” Around the table everyone was saddened that the experiement didn’t work (even if there are countless examples throughout human history of utopian failures–why would theirs be any different?).

    What does this story have to do with the climate? I’m not sure, but the type of people involved with this project are the same that are convinced that the earth is getting warmer because we’re all driving the wrong kinds of cars and living in the wrong types of houses–who will say in the same breath think that “there should be law” about it, it being anything that doesn’t conform with their view about the world.

  72. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:38 PM | Permalink

    “who will say in the same breath think that “there should be law” about it, it being anything that doesn’t conform with their view about the world.”

    Well to be fair I think that can be said about everyone of every type.

  73. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    Wow, what a difference a day makes.

    re: #41 (hold on while I pick up my mouthguard):

    I surely didn’t mean to offend anyone; I am sorry you felt implicated.

    I don’t know if I would qualify as a critical thinker, but I do know that I was uncomfortable taking a side in the argument without having knowledge of the data, the nature of the data, the methods, the meaning of the methods, the results and the robustness of the results. My suspicion is that most people can’t run down that checklist completely. I still cannot, and I admit that. And the true novices to whom I was referring…the people that cannot even account for one of those items…often still have opinions that have been informed by secondary, non-expert sources, often in the popular media. All I was saying was that I wanted my students to know why they believed what they believed. It is something I want for myself also, and it has been an exercise in making myself less judgemental.

    I also think that someone can acquire knowledge on their own, without, for example, knowing all the pieces of the scientific debate. I have heard of hydrologists buying into global warming because of changes in peak flow dates and what those changes say about the seasonal erosion of the snowpack. For certain, “picking a side” is and should be very idiosyncratic. To me, and perhaps this is one of my idiosyncrasies, it just makes for a fuller debate when one knows why, and can reason through it.

  74. Paul
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    I don’t think so… in fact, I think in most cases there shouldn’t be a law about it. Have you noticed that the more “laws about it” we have the worse our behavior has become? When a society has laws about the number of pepperoni on a frozen pizza, there are too many laws. Having a “law about it” eventually makes everyone criminals (because there are laws about everything) and nobody able to decide for themselves what truly is right and what truly is wrong.

    And this is all the more true with regard to policy decided upon by faulty science–climate science, stem cell science, nutrition science, whatever you want. I see one of the greatest benefits of this site is the fact that Steve is pushing for transparancy in science–which means, fewer laws about it–at least for a little while.

    And, to those undergradutes who are browsing this site (in a last ditch effort to stay on topic), I would hope that this site gives you pause before you advocate any type of policy decision based on science–because that science may not be as robust as you think it is–and that science may not support your political opinions, either (then again–it might, too).

  75. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 9:00 PM | Permalink

    Paul,

    I don’t disagree one iota that there are too many laws. My point was only that everyone has a particular viewpoint, laws that support or protect their viewpoint they like. It’s only those that they opose that they will disagree with.

    To me there is little doubt that we have way too many laws.

  76. Terry
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 9:17 PM | Permalink

    Paul:

    I agree that trust is a big factor here. In court, the saying is “false in one, false in all.” That is why in a court small lies can be devastating when exposed. A court may not be able to see into complicated facts and circumstances, so a judge will often focus on something small that can be clearly ascertained. This is why I keep harping on credibility over at RC and urging them to be more open about the shortcomings of their positions to increase their credibility.

    One of the most disturbing items over at RC is one of the smallest. Mann was interviewed on the ratio (BBC I think) in January of ’05. (There was a post on RC in January of ’05 about it.) Mann dismissed some of Steve’s work as being flawed because he (Steve) “simply got hold of some bad data.” (I quote from memory.) Steve has told me that it was Mann’s shop that gave him the bad data. If so, the honest thing for Mann to do would have been to say “Unfortunately we mistakenly gave Steve some bad data and this caused a lot of unneccesary confusion.” But, instead, Mann (apparently) chose to slyly blame Steve for his shop’s mistake. If true, this would be sufficient to make me never believe anything Mann says again. RC should address this frontally, and if Steve is right, Mann should apologize. It wouldn’t be a big deal. If, on the other hand, Steve’s story is innacurate, then Mann should explain why.

  77. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    I think “warmers” are being unfairly characterized. What is it about cars that these believers actually hate? All of the ones that I know love driving. I love driving. I wish it had no footprint whatsoever, and we could drive all over the world.

    Attributing a certain opinion to a hate for vehicles is to miss the argument completely. There may indeed be people who love driving, who collect cars, who also truly believe the claims and the evidence that anthopogenic CO2 release is responsible for a positive increase in global surface temperature. I think it is with great frustration that they conclude cars are part of the problem. I have heard very few calls for a return to the horse-and-buggy…or just to walking. I think that would be evidence for the hatred of automobiles.

    re: #63:

    What is an “anti-capitalist?” Are you implying that Mann and Schmidt, or many of my professors and colleagues support an overthrow of the current economic system in favor of a centralization of goods and services? I see them coming to campus with drive-through food, foreign-made clothes and the usual accompaniments of the middle and upper-middle class. I bet some of them even hold stock. I think they would be very upset to wake tomorrow and find that their economic freedoms had been stripped away.

    I will admit that there are some communal types on the fringe of the environmental movement, and that these folks are likely siding with the warmers (and they probably do hate cars), but I highly doubt they make up anything more than a few percent of the believers.

  78. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    Okay, I’ll try this (been rejected twice now for unknown reasons). Sorry for duplicates.
    I think “warmers” are being unfairly characterized. What is it about cars that these believers actually hate? All of the ones that I know love driving. I love driving. I wish it had no footprint whatsoever, and we could drive all over the world.

    Attributing a certain opinion to a hate for vehicles is to miss the argument completely. There may indeed be people who love driving, who collect cars, who also truly believe the claims and the evidence that anthopogenic CO2 release is responsible for a positive increase in global surface temperature. I think it is with great frustration that they conclude cars are part of the problem. I have heard very few calls for a return to the horse-and-buggy…or just to walking. I think that would be evidence for the hatred of automobiles.

    re: #63:

    What is an “anti-capitalist?” Are you implying that Mann and Schmidt, or many of my professors and colleagues support an overthrow of the current economic system in favor of a centralization of goods and services? I see them coming to campus with drive-through food, foreign-made clothes and the usual accompaniments of the middle and upper-middle class. I bet some of them even hold stock. I think they would be very upset to wake tomorrow and find that their economic freedoms had been stripped away.

    I will admit that there are some communal types on the fringe of the environmental movement, and that these folks are likely siding with the warmers (and they probably do hate cars), but I highly doubt they make up anything more than a few percent of the believers.

  79. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    #70: Mann’s comments to BBC and long before that about the so-called "bad data" were far more dishonest than that.

    First, the "bad data" was downloaded from the URL at Mann’s FTP site that we were directed to by Scott Rutherford and Mann deleted it after our 2003 paper and replaced it with a new directory which had never previously been in the public domain. Second, only the PC series differed between versions. Third, after we had noticed problems with the "bad data", we asked Mann for specific confirmation that the data was the data used in MBH98 and Mann said that he was too busy to respond. Fourth, we did not use the "bad data" in our 2003 paper; we completely re-collated the tree ring data and calculated fresh PCs; it was ridiculous for Mann to say that we didn’t notice the "bad data" when we’d just spent 20 pages itemizing data problems in microscopic detail. Fifth, Mann said that I had asked for an Excel spreadsheet; I didn’t, I asked for the FTP location of the data used in MBH98. Sixth, Mann said that the data had been collated especially for us and the collation errors introduced at that stage; it hadn’t been; when we checked the date, it was much earlier than our request (although this dating was deleted together with the file.) Seventh, the "bad data" issue was resolved long before the 2005 papers and had nothing to do with them. Etc., etc.

    I was amazed that a Scientific American Visionary of the Year was simply lying. I was also amazed that climate scientists seemed to think that this deplorable behavior was acceptable practice.

  80. Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:25 PM | Permalink

    First, I apologize for skipping back to earlier discussions (aournd #50), but I think some interesting points were not made. If I am misrepresenting anything, please let me know.

    1) The average temperature in Antartica as a whole has been decreasing over the past 40 years.
    2) The Antartic ice pack as a whole has thickened about 60cm over the past 12 years, or about 5cm / year.
    3) In Greenland, while we often see pictures of the retreating glaciers near the coast, the ice pack as a whole has thickened over the last XX years.
    4) A chart that shows the historic temperature estimates of several well-known studies often sited by global warming theorists http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.html (I believe this is often referred to as the “spaghetti graph”)shows that many of the studies estimates temperatures a thousand years ago were similar to temperatures today.

    The typical response is “well temperatures are increasing now faster than they have in over 2000 years.

    Here is my response, and I would truly appreciate if any similar arguments have been made( I assume there have been, but just not explained in my non-scientific way): If we look at temperature estimates over the last 2000 years from many of these same studies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:2000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.png) we see that temperatures before the mini medieval were in a general uptrend. Eyeballing the data, if you run a trend line through the pre-cooling period and extrapolate it through the 20th century, current temperatures seem to lie around this trend line. Moreover, the drop in temperature was quite drastic, similar to the subsequent rise in temperature. This suggests (to me atleast) that the medieval cooling period was an aberration, and the reason we see the subsequent uptrend is that temperatures were readjusting to their normal levels.

    I don’t have the raw data for this 2000 year temperature graph – if someone could point me to it, I would like to run some simple regression tests to see if this theory of mine holds true. As I said, I don’t have much of a scientific backround – I studies economics in college with several courses in econometrics, statistics, and regression analysis. Hmmmm, sounds familiar ;-)

  81. Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

    Sorry about the spelling and grammatical errors in my previous post – I was trying to finish as my 2 year old daughter was attacking me :-)

  82. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    New posters are sometimes picked up by the anti-spam software as spammers. If a post gets held up, email me. don’t re-post or you really confuse the spam software as the re-posting is likely to reclassify your spam rating and cause it to go back and wipe out prior posts.

  83. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 8, 2006 at 11:59 PM | Permalink

    #80 – I’ll post up a summary of URLs for the raw data (or perhaps a collation of the datasets.) Remind me if I forget.

  84. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 12:30 AM | Permalink

    Ken since you addressed a question to me I’ll expand.

    By saying anti-capitalist I misspoke slightly. What I should have said was anti-industry. Meaning they are against any industry larger than say Ben and Jerry’s.

    As to Mann et al, I did not include them in that. My personal opinion of them is different than the anti-industry types. So for them drive through food and foreign made clothes are not as bad as for the real anti-industry types. But regardless even most of the hardcore anti-industry types are perfectly fine driving big SUV’s and having the latest Apple laptop etc etc etc. What they don’t want is for anyone else to do so. There was a great parody over at http://greenspin.blogspot.com/ a couple of months ago, where two professors had a fictional conversation about rallies against cheap airfares for the masses, while taking advantage of them themselves because they were “working for the good of everyone.”

    I’m probably explaining myself too much, just trying to give my position on that particualr issue.

    But anyways for further discussion of the trust issues, and Terry’s “false in one, false in all.” Comment might I point you (and anyone else) over to a slightly more detailed discussion of the “We Have to Get Rid of the Medieval Warm Period” issue. You can find it here http://www.cei.org/utils/printer.cfm?AID=4484 about half way down under that heading (MWP) or search for “Deming”

    On a side note. I watched the History channel show on the LIA. Rather interesting in that they discussed the MWP a well, and early on the talked quite a bit about how beneficial the MWP was to man, how much nicer life was, and how it was a time of great prosperity. Then they talked of the horrors of the LIA. They showed the many natural causes for both, spending about 15 minutes on the Marauder minimum, and so forth. Went into the “Year without a summer” otherwise known as the year eighteen-hundred-froze-to-death.

    But at the end they had to blame all our future troubles on AGW, and one esteemed learned noble even said that the LIA ended in the mid 1800s due to anthropogenic Greenhouse gas releases during the early industrial revolution. But he did not see this like it was a good thing, quite the contrary.

  85. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 12:41 AM | Permalink

    RE # 55

    fFreddy,

    Some one already linked to the “spaghetti graph;

    http://www.wmconnolley.org.uk/1000_Year_Temperature_Comparison.html

    The Moberg study would be another that confirms the generally stabile climate over the last 6,000 years.

    http://www.nature.com/news/2005/050207/pf/433562a_pf.html

    Likewise factual evidence such as the melting of the snow cap on Mt Kilimanjaro is proof enough for me that we are entering a climate regime that civilization has never been exposed to.

    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/kilicores.htm

    That you seem to think there has been a massive scientific blunder and the results of all these peer reviewed scientific journals is spurious means nothing to me. What would convince me otherwise would be an actual study being published that showed something significantly different from Mann, Moberg, Thompson ect….. none exist to my knowledge.

  86. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 12:54 AM | Permalink

    For the previously indestructable snow of Mt Kilimanjaro I would refer you here
    http://www.john-daly.com/press/press-01a.htm#kilimanjaro
    and here
    http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=287182005

  87. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    Re # 85, muirgeo, while I appreciate the posting, you’re not following the story here very well. You would do well to start by taking a look at:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?cat=6

    about the manifold problems with Moberg et. al. before you start quoting Moberg as some kind of an authority.

    In fact, take a quick cruise through this whole blog, then come back and tell us about Moberg and the rest of the Hockey Team. Until then, you’re just revealing that you haven’t done your homework.

    w.

  88. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    RE # 66 to #69

    When I ask myself the question why I want global warming to be real I conclude the following;

    I want global warming to be real because I want to believe that the laws of physics and nature are very precise and some what predictable. I don’t want to believe we could get something so basic as the spectrophotometric properties of the CO2 molecule wrong. I want global warming to be real because I am a believer in the utility of the scientific method in spite of all its imperfections. For the IPPC report to be completely off base would say something very detrimental of our scientific institutions, our scientist and maybe of the scientific method itself. Call it faith if you will I call it trust as it is based on true past experiences. The scientific method has brought us atomic bombs, kidney transplants, the Mars rover, the human genome project and this here internet. The only way the IPCC report could be wrong is either for some massive conspiracy amongst scientist ( who I consider some of the most honorable and self less of just about any profession) or it could be wrong because of some massive communal error of evaluation which seems unlikely considering the number of people working on the project. The bottom line is I want to believe I know the truth and the facts as they really are because I understand my best bet in responding to reality is not to deny reality but to face it head on knowing the truth. We as a civilization won’t survive if we don’t understand the truth and facts of the world around us.

  89. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

    RE: #85

    I apologize if my previous post wasn’t readable – like I said, I hit the “Submit” button while fighting off a tenacious, hungry toddler. However, I think it addressed some of your points. However, to be more specific, what is your response to the following:

    1) Overall sea ice around Antarctica has been increasing (source: Goddard / NASA, http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/topstory/20020820southseaice.html )

    2) The Antarctic ice cap is growing (source: European Space Agency, http://www.esa.int/esaEO/SEMILF638FE_planet_0.html ). The Antarctica ice cap represents something like 90% of the world’s ice and 70% of the world’s fresh water ( http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/shackletonexped/classroom/w1coldest.html ).

    While global warming theorists claim their models account for this (warmer weather = more moisture in the air = more snow), the earliest I have seen this claim made is the late 1990′s, suggesting models were adjusted to account for this after the fact(I can’t prove this, so it is merely speculation). And the next point has some interesting implications…

    3) Antarctica is cooling (source: Nature, http://www.nature.com/cgi-taf/DynaPage.taf?file=/nature/journal/v415/n6871/abs/nature710_fs.html ) Note: this is also in contradiction to the theory of polar magnification expressed elsewhere.

    4) From 1992 to 2003, the Greenland ice cap has grown (source: Science, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/abstract/310/5750/1013 ). I believe Greenland is second in size to Antarctica.

  90. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:32 AM | Permalink

    Re # 87

    Willis maybe you could give me a couple of sentences summary as to what is wrong with Moberg rather then giving me a reading assignment of volumes of web pages. 2 or 3 sentences Willis…… what’s the big problem with Moberg? Oh and how about maybe 1 or 2 sentences as to why you guys can’t do anything but pick apart the existing literature as opposed to pointing to something existing in the literature of substance that suggest your contrary view.

  91. Hans Erren
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:43 AM | Permalink

    re 88:

    Hi George,

    I agree with you that CO2 is a greenhouse gas, and that adding more CO2 leads to warming. The question is:”how much?”
    see
    http://home.casema.nl/errenwijlens/co2/howmuch.htm
    and
    http://www.ukweatherworld.co.uk/forum/forums/thread-view.asp?tid=25003&start=1

    Only by parametrisation of huge postive feedbacks the models get their high sensitivity. Combine this with a CO2 cycle that saturates uptake, add an extreme future CO2 emission scenario due to dodgy economic models et voila Chicken little is shouting a you.

  92. IL
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:50 AM | Permalink

    #88 Muirgeo, you’ve given the game away, you ‘want’ to believe in AGW, it is a matter of faith to you, you can’t see how the large number of scientists involved in the IPCC could make such a mistake. That’s the difference with this site, most people here do not ‘want’ any particular position, they are objectively trying to discover what is objective truth. The fact is that the climate system is not the simple model that you want but enormously more complex. How the IPCC scientists and those at RealClimate MAY have got it wrong is that they have become a closed little cartel, reinforcing each others ideas and prejudices and not had sufficient knowledge and experience of areas like autocorrelation in statistics. Read the contributions on this blog. they raise serious, substantiated points that cast doubt on the simple, overhyped AGW model. For me as a scientist but outsider to climate science, the evidence raised here is compelling that the analytical procedures that the proxy studies (eg Mann et al., 1998, Moberg etc) are deeply flawed and there is considerable evidence that there has been a huge amount of natural variation in global climate. I also note that there are good grounds for uncertaintly about the degree of warming observed today. From there, for me, it is a simple step to say, if there has been such large natural variation in the past, how much of the present warming – if such there is – is due to natural variation and how much AGW? Undoubtedly there is some AGW, but how much? To me the evidence for that answer is ‘quite small’.

  93. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    Re # 86

    Sid,

    I understand about the drought effects and the land changes around Mt K. but there was drought in the region before and the ice caps apparently never completely melted. I’m not saying this is absolute evidence but it sure supports the idea that the climate is in a state it has not been in for thousands of years.

    And below you can listen to Lonnie Thompson talk about Peruvian glaciers that have receded past points they have not been in over 5,000 years. And then their is Glacier National Park. The impending loss of the parks glaciers is also suggestive of us entering a new climate regime like nothing civilized man has ever experiences. All these facts suggest Mann and Moberg and others got it right and the 90′s were likely the warmest decade in maybe many millennia.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4233320

  94. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 2:22 AM | Permalink

    RE # 92

    Yeah IL but the real question is why you or most “skeptics” want to NOT believe significant global warming is occurring. Why you want to NOT believe that the 2005 hurricane season, the heat drought and fires in Australia and the warmest year on record coincidentally being 2005 are in no way related to the activities of man. Why do you NOT want to believe that CO2 can “re-radiate ” infrared rays back to the Earth warming it and evaporating more water vapor warming the Earth still more and melting snow and ice changing the Earths albedo and warming it yet more.. why do you NOT want to believe those things….My guess is that one of two things you previously believed before you ever came along the idea of anthropogenic climate change are causing you to want to NOT believe in man made climate change. My guess….your either a dominionist, a strick laissez-faire capitalist or a believer of both. If global warming is real the knees of all your belief systems are taken out…..you’re left with nothing, possibly not even a moral base, on top of being wrong and on top of having an impeding global disaster to explain to your children.

  95. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Re #56 This is GREAT!

    Somtimes some of the contributions on this blog makes it look like the whole thing is just about two competing footballclubs pounding on each other. I personally visit this site three or four times a day because of the open and fair presentation which I feel stand up to a sound and scientificly based scrutiny contrary to the one-eyed and one-sided blog of RealClimate where even respected scientist´s are considered whackey´s in case they allow themselves to ask questions opposing the theories and opinions of the Hockey Team. I think that people should bear in mind that it´s all about facts and science and stick to it. If people ignore that
    I´m afraid they in the end are guilty of creating an atmosphere of hysteria instead.

    All the best to you
    Hans Kelp

    You open with a condemnation of the two ‘sides’ and then, without obvious embarrssment, take one side and insult RealClimate. Classic :)

    Generally.

    It’s very difficult to follow this thread since a lot of commments have been deleted (I had two deleted, they’re back, two higher up I needed to refer to have gone. Post 48 by muirgeo seems to have gone and Kenneth Blumenfeld seems to have had problem (thanks for the reply btw)). I do note your comment though Steve about re posting.

    fF I’ll try to reply sometime. Re Antarctica. I think the truth is that we can’t say for sure if it’s cooling or warming since data is sparse and of short duration. Some climatic changes around Antarctica have led to more Katabatic winds and these have cooled coastal stations like Hadley.

  96. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 3:14 AM | Permalink

    Spammed again – grr!

    Steve: Peter, if you get spammed, don’t post up again right away or it makes matters worse. Email me instead. Cheers, Steve

  97. JerryB
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 6:13 AM | Permalink

    It appears as if Spam Karma has deleted Muirgeo’s comments.

    I would expect that Steve will restore as many of them as he can.

    Muirgeo, (and others)

    As Steve has mentioned, do not attempt a duplicate post; Spam Karma reacts rather negatively to such.

  98. John A
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 6:42 AM | Permalink

    I restored muirgeo’s comments from Spam Karma. This might cause a little confusion with the numbering of the replies, so please bear that in mind.

  99. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:05 AM | Permalink

    OH, Hi, George! I didn’t recognize who you were before Hans’ message. Well, this blog is rather more technical than Climate Debate was / is, but you don’t seem to have changed your style the past few years. However I had a little fun just now and looked as some early messages between us. And that led to looking at:

    http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/reg15n2j.html

    an article by Richard S. Lindzen. I’m not sure when it was originally published, but we’d discussed it in 2001 and it had probably been written rather earlier since I don’t see any discussions of Kyoto or even the Clinton Administration.

    Anyway, IMO, the paper holds up rather well, and is still well worth reading for a discussion of the early days of the global warming scare.

  100. IL
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    #94. Muirgeo, depite all the stereotyping you are throwing around to try and typecast and villify me, my only outlook is as a practicing scientist who is looking at evidence. Why don’t you look at evidence? there is plenty on this site. There is more than sufficient evidence, some raised on this blog by McIntyre and others and also in peer reviewed literature, that the proxy studies as pushed by the IPCC in the TAR and other evidence for AGW as the DOMINATING forcing for current global temperature rises (I note again that the situation for temperature rises is not so clearcut as usually hyped) is not sustained.

    The evidence is that in the recent (2000 year past), the Earth has at times been warmer and colder than it is at present. By far more serious for humankind and the other species on this planet is cooling, warming is far more beneficial and not disasterous – why do you think that the CO2 level and global temperature of 1750-1800 was the optimum? it wasn’t! Why should we try hard to get back to it? So rather than yelling hysterically about your moral position, perhaps you could consider if GLOBALLY the world might not actually be a little better off with higher CO2 and on average a little warmer? Its happened before naturally, it will happen again naturally (despite whatever humankind does) and no runaway greenhouses have happened, the warmer periods of the recent past have been times of renaissance and plenty.

    The Earth’s climate system is not constant, the sun’s output is not constant and although there are all sorts of thermostats in the system maintaining about the same same temperature, the temperature does fluctuate through time and its about time that was recognised, there is not some mythical ideal climate in 1750-1800 (just when the Earth was coming out of the Little Ice Age LOL) that we should hark back to.

  101. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    Terry,

    thanks for the tips. I used to work with SAS ages ago (Ph.D. time…). Now my daughter is using it. I am wondering if one could not make a very simplified model of earth as a climatic system. Maybe just water and ice? Add a fluctuating sun, some ground underneath (maybe not, as arctic is mostly ocean). The idea is that the phase change from water to ice may have enough consequences to make the system evolve in some kind of chaotic way. Just to see what kind of dynamics you can get. I’ve always liked to study the dynamics of a system (more than the statistics), because it can point to what dominant mechanisms are at work. I’m also reading about the carbon cycle and I realize that this is also an area that is very poorly understood. The uncertainties in the CO2 budgets are huge. We like to think of CO2 as a smoothly increasing function of time, yet emissions seem to vary a lot from year to year. Half of human-made emissions are already eaten up, so there is a negative feedback of some sort. Futhermore, the net rate of increase of CO2 has been decreasing in recent years as emissions themselves have increased. AARRGH! How can one say that everything is settled!!

  102. Paul
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    #94-

    muirgeo,

    There’s no “wanting” for the things you post about. There is a want to understand how things really work. It’s about which questions get asked (and then subsequently answered).

    Physics and the science of it is correct. We just don’t understand it. Just because Aristotle had his 4 elements doesn’t mean that that the world started working differently when we learned what really was an element and what wasn’t.

    My guess….your either a dominionist, a strick laissez-faire capitalist or a believer of both. If global warming is real the knees of all your belief systems are taken out…..you’re left with nothing, possibly not even a moral base, on top of being wrong and on top of having an impeding global disaster to explain to your children.

    I’ve also shown where you come from…Your position is one of faith, just like the religious position that you denigrate. You have shown a strong political bias already and that significant AGW would support your world view. It is political for you and you are attempting to use science to justify a political world view. This comment, and others you have made, have certainly caused me to think that objective search for truth might get in the way of your political belief system. (And, I’d love to get into a political discussion with you, but this isn’t the proper forum for it)

    For example: One way to ask the question is “Do human activities influencet he climate?” There is bias in that question, depending on your viewpoint. But, there are better ways to learn what is happening. The quesitions would be “How does the climate work?” “What can we learn from past climates to understand the present climate?” The second question then opens a can of worms–”Since we have no actual ‘weather’ data to learn about the past climate, what do we have that can give us a picture of the climate in the past?” “Do tree rings give us climate data?” (the answer appears, from most of the current data to be that they don’t) “What information about the past climate do ice cores give us?” Notice that the questions are open ended…they don’t have any bias in them. Sometimes, you might need to ask a question like “Do ice cores provide an accurate representation of CO2 levels in the past?” Then, you need to start asking questions about how CO2 gets trapped in ice, what happens to the CO2 over time and pressure. Questions about sampling, testing, contamination all become issues that need to be reckoned with long before we can come to any conclusions about CO2 levels in the past. (as an aside, many of these questions have been discussed on this site–and I’ve learned we don’t have particularly good answers to many of the questions).

    I’m sure there are those who ask the “first principle” questions–but those who make the most noise about ACC (It’s become clear that its no longer AGW, but all of climate is now fair game) are the ones who seem to have the least humility about what they know or don’t know. They’re the first to be so sure of themselves, their data and research. They’re the first to twist the debate to be about things (funding, politics, etc). What has impressed me about Steve is that he is completely transparent–all of his stuff is posted for anyone and everyone to look at and take apart. When he’s had presentations to make, he’s asked for help, and people have been brutally honest with him, yet Steve hasn’t seemed to be offended or upset by it.

    In other words, I don’t think some of the “first principle” questions haven’t be asked or answered. The more I read things at RC and then at this site, the more I’m convinced that we we’re just now starting to learn the limits of what we really know. Bad science leads to things like Kyoto–which everyone agrees won’t do what it’s supposed to do. It makes those who agree to it feel like they’ve “done something” and give them political ammunition to use for those who “didn’t do something.”

    muirgeo, you’ve shown a little laziness in asking someone to “summerize” some key points of this site. If you are really interested in the truth, spend some time looking at this site–it will cost you time, energy and thinking. And, remember, this is science, not religion.

  103. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    RE #88 and other posts by Muirgeo,

    Muirgeo, I understand your point of view. Pretty much like my brother in law’s, actually. Personnally, what tipped me into looking more closely at the issue was the “consensus” thing. As a scientist, this just sounded highly suspicious to me. I’ll tell you this: if you actually read the whole IPCC report, you find a lot of areas where there are large uncertainties. What I don’t like is that while these uncertainties are stated explicitly, they don’t dare go one step further and warn that new findings could overturn the conclusion completely. It’s one thing to give error margins, and confidence levels. It’s another thing if there is an as yet “unknown” mechanism. I find that there is plenty of room for many of these “unknown” mechanisms to be uncovered yet. An empirical argument could be made that if CO2 had a positive feedback to climate dynamics, the climate would be unstable, and any perturbation would have made it run away like mad already. Yet it’s fairly stable (although there have been times when it was much more unstable than today, and we don’t know why…), so it’s highly possible that there are plenty of negative feedbacks as well.

    I will add one thing about the “consensus”. Very few of the IPCC or other climate scientists actually speak out publicly. Science is very specialized, and the hundreds and hundreds of scientists who work on the issue are all very knowledgeable about their own limited field. In a way, they are no better at figuring out if the end conclusion that there is anthropogenic warming is real or not, than any well informed scientist, or a layperson who would take the time to read about it. If they do speak out publicly, what they are giving is just a well informed “opinion”, one that is also tainted by their political beliefs, consciously or not. So I would say: don’t trust that this is the “truth” because it comes out of a scientist’s mouth.

    And at other times, when an issue becomes heavily publicized, and you get a lot of media attention, a well-intentioned scientist can paint him/herself in a corner because results that have made you a “visionary” may not be so good after all, and it’s really hard to back away. It’s all very human.

  104. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    Just a quick note as I have to work. I apologize if I offend anyone. As much as you may disagree with me or as I disagree with you I first and foremost appreciate everyones interest in the issues. As oppsed to the other 90% of the worlld sitting on the couch watching sit coms. I think in the end we all are looking for the same answer …to do what’s best for ourselves and posterity. So forgive me if I get passionate….I have to daughters and the future I leave them is the only moral compass that I can look to for guidance.

    In summary, I look at all your responses to me as I would a juror on the OJ Simpson trial trying to explain to me how complicated everything is and how if there is any doubt…if the glove doesn’t fit….you must acquit. The evidence is overwhelming that OJ committed 2 murders and should be in jail. Likewise the abundance of concordant data makes anthropogenic warming a certainty……and finally while admitting to the huge uncertainty of the science that uncertainty DOES NOT suggest to me a time for more study before we act. Because the certainty is that we will and are seeing significant climate change the only surprise in the uncertainty is likely to be BAD /severe climate change on the high side of the predictions.

    Finally, I hold the science of climate change and the politics of Kyoto as unrelated in there truths. I can agree that Kyoto does not look like a wise move. So any presumed subjectivity on my part regarding the science does not presume Kyoto as the response. I think THAT shows some decoupling of my political and scientific views. That being said I think if we had a true leader in the USA he could have rejected Kyoto but lead the world by instituting any number of win win policies that could address the problem while actually improving ours and the worlds economy.

  105. Paul
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 10:35 AM | Permalink

    Likewise the abundance of concordant data makes anthropogenic warming a certainty……and finally while admitting to the huge uncertainty of the science that uncertainty DOES NOT suggest to me a time for more study before we act. Because the certainty is that we will and are seeing significant climate change the only surprise in the uncertainty is likely to be BAD /severe climate change on the high side of the predictions.

    That’s just the rub… what is the evidence that AGW exists? Can you point me to the sources of this evidence? And sources that aren’t in question (for instance, if any of your sources point to ice cores or tree ring proxies, you’re going to have to do better because neither of these is established as fact–as this site has demonstrated).

    Just for the sake of argument, let’s say that AGW does exist. What are the causes? Is it CO2? Or, for the sake of this argument we’re going to say that humans are producing CO2 causing AGW. What do we do about it? Do we know how to stop producing CO2? Can we cut it enough to stop AGW (from what we’ve learned about Kyoto, nobody is willing to pay what appears to be the cost to do so, not only that, but we can’t get two of the worlds largest producers, soon to surpass the US and the rest of the world, China and India, to even act like they care)? Finally, I’ve asked this question a number of times, what evidence is there that a slightly warmer earth is bad? It appears that while there are pluses and minuses, taken together the pluses out weight the minuses, thus making some GW a good thing.

    Now, for the sake of argument, let’s say that human CO2 isn’t such a big deal after all…that is what we do doesn’t affect global climate enough to make a difference one way or the other. What will we do then? That would mean that CO2 levels are not the primary factor in climate. Can you live in a world where man has that little control over the climate?

    You seem to want to act out as a result of the “precautionary principle.” You say that the consequences will be dire if we don’t act. If the science behind AGW is flawed, then wouldn’t the supposed consquences also be flawed? How do we know that whatever it is we do won’t have different negative consequences? Humans have a terrible track record with regard to “good intentions.”

    Lastly, let me ask you how you would implement any changes you think are necessary to keep the world from being destroyed?

  106. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    RE # 105

    That’s just the rub… what is the evidence that AGW exists?

    Basically every climatological trend I can think of is consistent with global warming.
    -Surface trends; 3 independent compilations that each show the same thing
    - Satellite trends
    - Sonde baloon trends
    - Alpine glacial trends
    - Percipitation trends
    - Hydrological trends
    - Arctic ice trends
    - Arctic river flow trends
    - Pan evaporation trends
    - Ocean temperature trends
    - Large lake temperature trends ( Tahoe, Tanganika, Bakail)
    - Drought trends
    - heating day and cooling day trends
    - record heat trends
    - record cold trends
    - snow line trends
    - Lake freeze/ thaw trends
    - permafrost trends
    - Earthshine trends
    - Spectrophotometric trends
    - surface skin layer trends
    - spring budding trends
    - migratory trends
    - atmospheriic moisture trends
    - cloud trends
    - increased snow accumulation over the Antarctic and Upper elevations of Greenland do to increased moisture and precipitation.
    - precipitation trends
    - sea level rise trends
    - atmospheric shirkage trends
    - stratospheric temperature trends
    - sea surface barometric pressure trends

    What are the causes?
    CO2 mostly but methane, CFC’s and land usae changes.

    What do we do about it?
    Invent non carbon based energy systems….we need to do this anyway. And no this is not going to happen by the free market alone.

    Finally, I’ve asked this question a number of times, what evidence is there that a slightly warmer earth is bad?

    Trends in droughts, floods, hurricaine strength, bark beetle forest decimation, 30,000 dead in Europe from an unprecidebted heat wave and forest fires are pretty suggestive. Oh and polar bears are losing weight….

    You seem to want to act out as a result of the “precautionary principle.”

    I’m a physician and we have a very successful model becoming famous and taughted world wide. It’s based on the precautionary principe of Preventive Medicine….don’t try to make caution a bad thing.

  107. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    RE: #106

    1) How do you account for the points made in #89?

    2) How do you account for global temperatures from 1935 to 1990 being relatively flat? Source: Mob05 (assuming Mob5 is correct)

    3) If you look at Mob05 over the past 1000+ years, you will see that there was a drastic drop in temps around 1000AD, more or less the inverse of the rise in temps over the past several hundred years. Isn’t it possible that we are just returning to pre-cooling temperature ranges, given that our current temperatures are relatively on par with thos pre-cooling temps (actually current temps are a bit lower)?

  108. Paul
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    #106 – You’ve produced a nice list. But where are the links, the evidence, the science? There is a lot of conjecture that these things may be happening. But, at this point, that’s all it is…conjecture.

    Temperature “trends” have not been proven (that’s what much of the debate is about–and what what much of what is on this site is about). It’s all speculative, hypothetical, and sometimes, I think, wishful thinking.

    You keep coming back with somewhat emotional arguments and assertions that what you believe is true. Why not present some scientific arguments to support your position? (And to the undergraduates browsing this site, this exchange is hopefully useful)

  109. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Paul

    Particular when this board is filled with people who have written and published vaious articles showing the reality of his above mentioned list.

    Dave

    Am I correct in assuming you’ve seen this guy before, or are you talking of another George?

    muirgeo

    To beat a dead horse concerning Mt. Kilimanjaro might I refer to the Mark twain quote I put up in #23. Things change, always have, always will. Get over it.

  110. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    Re Kilimanjaro – as far as I’m concerned, the evidence that the Kilimanjaro ice cap is 10,000 years old is fantastically skimpy. It could be much younger. Look at some past posts on this under the Category “Thompson”.

  111. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Do we even have any written records on the snow prior to 1848?

    Can they date the snow at the bottom?

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=408

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=409

  112. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    re #110

    I could be wrong but I believe the age of Mt K’s ice cap is about as much in doubt as a 100 year old tree with 100 growth rings or a 10,000 year old piece of organic material carbon dated to an age of about 10,000 years.

  113. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    RE: #105

    Paul, in my opinion, it is as dishonest to deny that there is ANY evidence for AGW than to claim that ALL the evidence points that way. Personnally, I find that there is not ENOUGH evidence yet for catastrophic warming. The IPCC TAR is a very good summary of the evidence at hand, yet it did not convince me.

    However, what I like about the idea of having a policy for bringing back the CO2 concentration to lower levels, or just maintaining it where it is, is that if it is done via a world wide R&D effort, we will get many benefits from the technology that will come out of it. Much like when we went to the moon, which was a much more useless thing to do. Also, if we gain the ability to CONTROL how much CO2 there is in the atmosphere, it can’t be a bad thing. It’s like learning to build a dam, which then helps you regulate the river flow, and prevent flooding. Notice that I’m not saying it should all be based on reducing emissions.

    But I nevertheless believe that one should always remain a sceptic, meaning that no result should be regarded as a definitive result.

  114. Paul
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    #113 -

    I’m not denying it (AGW), I’m only asking for real evidence, which seems to be slim.

    I’m all for R&D efforts to change CO2 levels. What I’m not for are significant policy decisions that are based on bad science.

    As for your river analogy (which is perfect for this). We used to build dams in the western part of the world to regulate flow, prevent flooding, generate electricity (some of the cheapest, most renewable energy available). But some have decided that dams are bad. When was the last time you heard a dam being built in the western world? It’s very very unlikely that it will happen. Many of the same people who clamor for renewable energy also complain about the impact a dam has on the environment. What was once good policy is today bad policy. Let’s not do the same thing with CO2 (for instance what if tamping down on the CO2 levels cools the earth too much and we start sliding into another ice age? Isn’t that bad, too?).

  115. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 6:27 PM | Permalink

    re #109,

    Oh yes, I used to argue with “Mr. Muir” all the time on the Climate Debate Forum run by David Wojick. He dropped out there a couple of years ago, but it doesn’t look like he’s changed his style a bit. As you noticed he produces tons of stuff with nothing (or to be fair with only links to others’ material) to back it up. As is typical of warmers you can’t get him to engage on discussing the actual topic and discuss it. IOW, he’s another Peter Hearnden.

    Of course, I’m sure he can produce a negative report on me too. I’ll let others decide if I’m right over time if he sticks around.

  116. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 7:11 PM | Permalink

    I figured. If we can’t agree on anything else, I do agree with your opinion of him.

  117. Paul
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    #115 – Thanks for the info… I’ll stop now.

  118. Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    Muirgeo, I am curious as to what you don’t understand. There is significant distinction is between “global warming” and “anthropogenic global warming” (AGW). If we assume that climate change is normal, then how do we know that any current trend is significantly due to man made CO2 emissions?

    Let’s assume that we have reliable evidence that the planet has experienced a net warming trend in the last 100 years. This still doesn’t prove that man-made CO2 emissions are a significant component of the trend. AGW requires more evidence. Much of the debate centers around two issues:

    1. Can the increased CO2 theoretically cause significant warming above natural variation?
    2. Does the current climate trend appear to be significantly different from natural variation?

    Regarding (1): the greenhouse effect is overwhelmingly dominated by water in the atmosphere in the form of vapor and clouds. Everyone seems to agree that the doomsday projections of a 4-6 degree increase with a doubling of CO2 would require a CO2-H2O feedback factor of several hundred percent. Basic estimates give an increase of only ~0.5 C from a doubling of CO2.

    One study gives a theoretical mechanism with empirical supporting evidence that water vapor actually has a NEGATIVE feedback factor as much as -1.1 (-110%). (Lindzen et al. 2001)
    http://clouds.eos.ubc.ca/~phil/courses/eosc582/iris.html
    One critic (Lin et al.) who disagrees with the interpretation of the data calculates a positive feedback between 0.01 to 0.12 (1% – 12%). However, the high end of 12% is still very low.

    Regarding (2): Even if issue (1) is unresolved, we could still find circumstantial evidence of AGW if we can show that the earth is experiencing an unprecedented warming trend. If the MBW Hockey Stick reconstruction is accurate, then it would suggest a link between CO2 concentrations and temperature trends.

    According to Steve McIntyre and Ross McKitrick, the popular proxy reconstructions give no proof that the current climate state is unusual when compared to the last 1000 years. There is plenty of “anecdotal” evidence of significant natural climate change over the past 1000 years (MWP & LLA), though there is debate over how much was regional vs global.

    I’m sure that you would agree that a useful “Precautionary principle” wouldn’t mean eliminating any risk as all cost. Getting hit by an asteroid would be catastrophic, but not everyone would agree that the risk (as we know it now) justifies spending trillions of dollars for a defense system against them. I would hope that my physician would or would have a similar precautionary principle.

    You listed several trends in post #106. What studies lead you to believe that any of these are significantly from man made CO2?

    Jason

  119. hans kelp
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    Re # 95

    “”You open with a condemnation of the two ‘sides’ and then, without obvious embarrssment, take one side and insult RealClimate. Classic “.

    Dear Peter, I was hoping that readers of the blog would be able to catch the proper meaning of the sentence submitted in #58 (despite my poor english ). Well, at least you did not and I have to admit that it of course could be misunderstood, so let me try to be a bit more specific about it because that´s actually very easy.
    When I wrote
    “Somtimes some of the contributions on this blog makes it look like the whole thing is just about two competing footballclubs pounding on each other.”
    I wanted to point at just the ONE side which you and some of your “warmer” fellows so glaringly represents. To me, You behave much in the same manner as a typical English footballfan who without thinking totally dismiss the opponents fans and even fight them and this just because they represent another football club. Just go back and take a look at your own postings on this site and take note at the way you dogged the questions you were given by ignoring them. Shame on you! Given the way that you, despite your sometimes very very negative attitudes, have been treated frankly and nicely by Steve Mcintyre I think that it´s okay if I make clear that the only side who has to be “condemned” is your side.

    Just to clarify another bit. You say that I am insulting RealClimate. Your dead wrong. It´s just the opposite. As long as
    the people of RealClimate keep up their current policy of censuring out postings they don´t like, as witnessed from several posters on this site, they are blocking my access to a free, objective and open scientific debate on the issues of climate science. That´s an insult!

    All the best to you.
    Hans Kelp

  120. Dano
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    Jason, IR iris hasn’t withstood peer review (clue is no subsequent papers nor discussion – check ISI).

    Best,

    D

  121. Terry
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:42 PM | Permalink

    Hey: be nicer to Muirgeo! He graces this site with his thoughtfulness and should be treated well.

    Re: the spaghetti chart: it is a very interesting piece of evidence because people draw completely different conclusions from it. It is a real Rorschach test

    When Moberg came out, Patrick Michaels posted it under the title “Hockestick R.I.P.” He posted it without the thermometer line (the black line) and argued that the newer studies showed showed that current temperatures were not unusual.

    On the other hand, RealClimate hailed the Moberg study as being a confirmation of the hockeystick conclusion and posted the spaghetti chart with the temperature line on it.

    Try it yourself, you get a completely different conclusion without the black line.

    This is why Steve has been adament that the proxy data should be updated. I don’t have enough time to explain why. Give it a think, it is a fun little logic problem and and leads to some real insight (IMHO).

  122. Terry
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:50 PM | Permalink

    Francois:

    I have wondered exactly that about the GCM models. Someone needs to explain to me what we gain by using such complicated models. Gavin says that climatology has much simpler models of the type you mention. It seems like there should be a lot of intuition and power in such models.

  123. Terry
    Posted Jan 9, 2006 at 8:55 PM | Permalink

    Francois:

    An empirical argument could be made that if CO2 had a positive feedback to climate dynamics, the climate would be unstable, and any perturbation would have made it run away like mad already. Yet it’s fairly stable (although there have been times when it was much more unstable than today, and we don’t know why…), so it’s highly possible that there are plenty of negative feedbacks as well.

    Exactly what I have wondered. It is very interesting to see the comments of trained scientists from other fields in this debate. They come without preconceptions and trained instincts as to how phycical systems and empirical work works. They often have simple insights of this sort which can help cut through to the core of an issue.

  124. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    RE #118

    You listed several trends in post #106. What studies lead you to believe that any of these are significantly from man made CO2?

    Jason

    All of the studies that don’t exist showing they can explain the current warming trend based on any of the known climate variables. No such study exist yet several studies DO exist which show the current warming trend can only be explained with inclusion of anthrpogenic forcing.

    Put another way there is NO COMBINATION of known natural forcing or intrinsic climate variability that can explain the current warming trend…NONE.

  125. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    RE #123

    Francios/Terry,

    What about the idea that climate undergoes “state changes”. That is that it is stable with a given forcing /perturbation but at some limit suddenly jumps to another dramatically different but stable regime. Something like an electron going around a nucleus and being excited from one state to another. Or like Earths climate suddenly jumping from a glacial to an inter-glacial. Or from an inter-glacial to a……what ever you call it when you go one level above an interglacial…I don’t think we’ve had one of those for a while. Should be interesting.

  126. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 3:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #119, just one big ad hom. You think I’m not dismissed? LOL, of course I am. Take the rose coloured spectacles off.

    Actually the latter parts of this thread are illuminating. We have Muirgeo pointing out the lines of evidence in #106, and we have those supporting CA. And then…I see how CA is turned in on the world. CA looks into papers, the work of others, it does nothing new but just attempts to deconstruct. Others look out, they look at the planet, they study it, they monitor it, they observe, they measure, they collate, then they report it or put it down in papers. CA simply doesn’t do this. Now, what would I rather do? Study the planet, or grub around in the statistical depths of various papers looking for needles that I want to turn into haystacks? Oh, difficult that.

    So here’s a question – to test the idea. How many of you sceptics actually monitor the weather (as in take regular readings, have themometers, rain guages AWS’s that kind of thing and keep records)? To start the ball rolling, I do all those things.

  127. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 4:51 AM | Permalink

    “NO COMBINATION of known natural forcing or intrinsic climate variability that can explain the current warming trend…NONE.”

    What dream world do you live in (Venus possibly where that *might* be true)

    CO2 is a weak forcing at best, any AGW would be a result of massive feedback. And climate in no way shows a direct response. What your saying Is kind of like saying peeing in the ocean is the only way to warm it up.

    If you want natural forcing, look at solar output, where global temperature tracks presactly to solar output within the first order.

    In other words you know not of what you speak.

  128. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 4:55 AM | Permalink

    RE: 125

    Hey muirgeo

    So long as we are thinking about possibilities. What about the idea that climate is affected by the Sun? Sun increases heat, Earth warms. I know it’s a slightly wacky theory. Make any less sense than the atmosphere acts like a big atom, as you suppose.

    But for instance I’ve noticed a funny thing here. The longer I run the heater in my house, the wormer it gets, this has lead me to the theory that if I burn the heater hotter it will warm as well.

  129. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    RE #128

    Hey muirgeo

    So long as we are thinking about possibilities. What about the idea that climate is affected by the Sun? Sun increases heat, Earth warms.

    Sid

    Sid,

    What about the idea that solar output has not gone up over the last 40-50 years and the Earth has heated up significantly?

    http://aom.giss.nasa.gov/srsun.html

    or see fig 3 below

    http://www.brighton73.freeserve.co.uk/gw/solar/solar.htm

  130. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    #124: George, I haven’t looked in detail at the detection and attribution studies, but I posted up a short note on one of the most prominent Hegerl et al here http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=456, in which I excerpted a figure from the study. Look at the bottom part of the panel for the residual. As you will see, the residuals in the early part of the graph are pretty much equal to the observations, so the model has virtually NO explanatory power outside the range being fitted. I don’t understand how the demonstrated residuals can yield the claimed R2.

    I tried to obtain data on a forthcoming Hegerl study being used in IPCC 4AR. This led to the usual quasi-litigation: but IPCC did not require Hegerl to provide the data and Hegerl refused to let me see her data. It’s human not to want some one to analyze your work, but it’s not a valid scientific attitude. I wish that, for once, someone on the AGW side, would rise up and, at a minimum, endorse the idea that these prima donnas, even if correct and perhaps especially if they are correct, would stop acting like prima donnas and produce their data and methods.

  131. John Davis
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #129
    The comment about “no change over the past 40-50 years” reminded me of the Hansen “Smoking Gun” paper discussed on RealClimate: http//www.realclimate.org/index.php?p=148
    One of the points is that the current planetary energy imbalance – even if it is merely maintained at the present level – will cause a continuing increase in temperature. As Gavin puts it in his reply to comment 15 on RC

    The basic idea is that since feedbacks are a large part of the response, lags due to ocean thermal inertia slow down the full feedback response. For the current imbalance, and idea of how long it will take for the warming to come down the pipe can be seen in the figures in the Wigley and Meehl et al paper referenced above. In the GISS ‘committed climate change’ simulations, most of the additional warming has occured by 2050, but there remains a slow increase for decades afterwards.

    Since forcing is forcing – be it solar or GHG – by the same logic, a constant higher solar irradiance since the 1950′s should even now still be having an effect. Possibly not the whole effect, but some of it.

  132. beng
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 9:09 AM | Permalink

    The question of AWG is obviously important, but the IPCC’s idea of carbon limits to “change back” the climate is absurd — even if AWG were reasonably demonstrated.

    When the climate changes for whatever reason (as it always has, naturally, even during brief human history), you don’t try to change the whole earth’s climate! This is absurd. You deal directly w/the problems. Example: If AWG is causing sea-level rise (which has always been naturally changing anyway, and people have adapted), people should move away from the affected coastal areas, not society wasting resources trying to change the WHOLE global climate thru extremely costly, indirect & probably impossible-to-prove-effective methods.

    Some climate researchers like the Pielkes have already moved past the bumbling IPCC. Whatever the AWG outcome, IPCC carbon-limits are a ridiculous “solution”.

  133. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Nice cherry picking. Not only that, but I don’t see how a change of ~25% to 30% of the total graph range is not going up as well as down.

    Why don’t we look at total irradiance, of the which tracks perfectly with surface tempratures. i.e. A trend up in solar output is followed shortly thereafter with the same magnitude of warming, and the reverse is also true.

    http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/fig6-5.htm

    From your beloved IPCC BTW.

  134. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 10:08 AM | Permalink

    For further reading

    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2005GL023849.pdf

    Francois:Since you’ve been interested, and are more capable than I

    TSI data

    Overview
    http://daac.gsfc.nasa.gov/interdisc/readmes/sol_irrad.shtml#501

    Data sets
    ftp://disc1.gsfc.nasa.gov/data/inter_disc/radiation_clouds/solar_irrad/

    Temprature data
    http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/data/temperature/#datdow

  135. John Davis
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    re #129, #131
    I notice that the NASA plot (#129 above)shows solar irradiance increasing by about 2W/sq m since 1850-ish.
    The data used by the Hansen paper(#131) seems to show solar irradiance variance about a factor of 10 lower than this.
    Has anybody any idea why this should be?

  136. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    re #133

    For some reason I don’t think I’ve looked at this graph before. It’s certainly very suggestive. I suppose I need to look a bit more at what the solar cycles are and what mechanisms are available to amplify the affects.

  137. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    Been posted before by me with a similar temp graph, both from IPCC. Paul has a better one that I’m looking for. Ah here it is http://www.oism.org/pproject/s33p36.htm figure 3

    I’m currently working on overlaying the two (maybe 3 with CO2)

    There really isn’t a need to find amplification, Going from Willis’s # from the other day up in pot # 39 he stated 0.46C change from an increase of ~2.5watts/m2.

    Going by the graph we get approx ~3.5watts/m2 from 1900 – 2000 which would equate to how much of a temprature increase by the end of the 20th Cnetury? I can’t do the math but I reckon it’s greater than 0.46C What would you say, somewhere between 0.6C – 0.8C for the 20th century?

    Odd that.

  138. Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Muirgeo-

    Two questions:

    1) You still haven’t addressed the fact that Antarctica is cooling – given that Antarctica is 1.5 times the size of the U.S., this would seem to be a significant hole in GW theory / models.

    2) Given there was a more or less equivalent DROP in temps in the early 1000′s AD (that was obviously naturally caused) why isn’t it plausible that the same is happening now, but in reverse? Couldn’t this be a clear sign of a natural correction?

    Maybe I’m missing something. Would someone else comment on this? I frequently use this as an argument when speaking with GW “believers” (as you can tell from my previous posts ;-) ) but perhaps it is irrelevant?

    -Justin

  139. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 11:42 AM | Permalink

    Oh and let us not forget to factor in the Pirate variable.

    http://www.venganza.org/piratesarecool4.jpg

  140. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 12:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #134
    Sid for the literature you cited:

    “We estimate that the ACRIM upward trend might have minimally contributed 10–30% of the global surface temperature warming over
    the period 1980–2002.”

    10 – 30 % umm that’s not 100% or even 50% of the warming. Wonder what was responsible for the other 70-90%?

  141. Paul
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 12:37 PM | Permalink

    Clearly, the solution to GW (assuming that it’s a problem) is to have educate young children to become pirates. With more pirates, we can reduce the global temerature significantly.

  142. Terry
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 7:53 PM | Permalink

    Re: #123.

    What about the idea that climate undergoes “state changes”. That is that it is stable with a given forcing /perturbation but at some limit suddenly jumps to another dramatically different but stable regime.

    Might be, but who knows? Lets carry that logic through for a minute. If the climate does undergo discrete state changes from one relatively stable state to another, there is some mechanism which keeps it stable within each state. If so, enhanced CO2 is unlikely to have any significant effect. … Unless CO2 is somehow different from all the other forcings … but why?

    Also, about there being no other explanations for the recent temperature increase: it is a mighty strong statement to say that ALL other explanations have been definitively ruled out. What about if we postulate a positive feedback mechanism that enhances another basic forcing such as solar activity? I hear that GCMs regularly employ positive feedback mechanisms that enhance the CO2 effect. Why not a similar mechanism for solar forcing? I’m sure there is a bright climatologist who could come up with one.

    Also, a second significant forcing factor, aerosols, is necessary to make the current models replicate the temperature decline of the middle of the last century, so there ARE other factors besides CO2 that are credibly claimed to have a significant effect on climate. Indeed, the aerosol effect was strong enough to completely offset the CO2 effect for a number of decades. If there are at least two significant climate factors, then there might very well be 3 … or 4. If the temperature record were to exhibit a serious decline for a few decades do you have any doubt that climatologists would be able to come up with a number of reasonable explanations for it?

  143. Paul Linsay
    Posted Jan 10, 2006 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    RE #123, 138:

    What about the idea that climate undergoes “state changes”. That is that it is stable with a given forcing /perturbation but at some limit suddenly jumps to another dramatically different but stable regime.

    This is common behavior for a non-linear dynamical system, even without a change in forcing. You might have heard of them under the name of chaotic systems. Can you guess what the atmosphere is?

    To start your education here’s a random web page I found http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/lorenz/ that plots the Lorenz attractor, the solution to the Lorenz equations, which were invented as a simplified model of the atmosphere in 1963. Look at the plot of the coordinate traces. They fluctuate all over and never repeat. This is a simple system with just 3 variables. The earth’s atmosphere has to be described by thousands of variables. Think it’s going to be simpler? Repeatable? Predictable?

    Back to the original question, there is evidence that climate does undergo state changes. The Pacific Decadal Oscillation is quite evident in temperature records. The last jump was about 1975. Check out Pielke Sr’s web site. He discusses these jumps and points out that the GCMs don’t show any.

  144. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    Re# 143

    Thanks Paul,

    I think I WAS alluding to the chaotic nature of climate. That’s not something that is reassuring….(The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks!)
    – Dr Wally Broecker, one of the world’s leading experts on the role of oceans in climate change.

    Anyway I think your lesson plan might better be aimed at Francois and his poorly informed and logically inconsistent statement (“An empirical argument could be made that if CO2 had a positive feedback to climate dynamics, the climate would be unstable, and any perturbation would have made it run away like mad already. Yet it’s fairly stable (although there have been times when it was much more unstable than today, and we don’t know why…), so it’s highly possible that there are plenty of negative feedbacks as well.)

  145. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 1:08 AM | Permalink

    Re # 143

    The earth’s atmosphere has to be described by thousands of variables. Think it’s going to be simpler? Repeatable? Predictable?

    Comment by Paul Linsay “¢’‚¬? 10 January 2006 @ 10:03 pm

    Repeatable? Yeah its definitely repeatable.

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/atmosphere-energy/climate-change/vostok-ice-core.jpg

    Predictable? Somewhat. Our best scientist have said to expect about 0.2 C of warming per decade. http://www.cru.uea.ac.uk/cru/info/warming/ Looks pretty spot on to me since the 80′s when such predictions were made. But yeah state changes do still scare me specifically when the climate is being forced into conditions the globe has arguably never seen before.

  146. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

    …the climate is being forced into conditions the globe has arguably never seen before.

    Never seen before? Come now, George. That’s just plain not true. At most you could say, not see in this present interglacial. Lots of times the earth’s atmospheric CO2 content has be vastly higher than at present. And lots of time the global temperature has been vastly higher. Sometimes one or the other and sometimes both.

  147. Paul
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    #145 -

    Our best scientist…

    Who do you put into that category? Is Mann included? How about all of the others who are unwilling to provide access to their data and code? Are these guys the “best scientists”? Are these scientists reacting to the graphs all based on the same apparently bad data?

    There are good scientists doing good work…but not all of the “best” ones are in agreement that the current apparent anthropogenic CO2 issue is causing the current apparant global warming.

  148. Paul Linsay
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    #145: re the Sierra Club plots of climate and CO2. Very interesting. First off, it’s not repeatable. The time between peaks vary and the details are different. Notice too the sudden rise in temp and CO2 followed by a slow falloff, characteristic of a relaxation oscillation and certain kinds of chaotic behavior.

    Now let’s ask some questions. Which caused which, rising temps caused rising CO2 or vice versa? In either case, why is the rise so rapid compared to the fall? Why did it start rising? What made it stop rising? Could the oscillation be due to an external cause that has nothing to do with either atmospheric temperature or CO2?

    Oh yeah, if you study the plots you will see that 120 Kybp, 235 KyBP, and 320 KyBP the temperature was anywhere from 2 C to 4 C warmer than it is now, with lower levels of CO2. I’ll spare you the discussion of whether the glacial CO2 measurements are reliable, discussed elsewhere on this site.

  149. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    You’ll also not Paul that that temprature record shows that in the past the temprature was signifigantly lower than current, up to 9C with the average appearing to be about 6C less than current, with present day (even before 1850) being near the top of the scale.

    Regardless of “warmers opinion” I think everyone can recognize that a world at it’s “norm” is signifigantly colder and as such, much more of a problem than a warm world.

    Rising sea Levels are less of a concern when your house is under a kilometer of Ice and crops won’t grow any further north than Nevada.

  150. Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    Re #145: The Sierra Club site is a bit selective in which CO2-Temperature plots it shows at:

    http://www.sierraclub.ca/national/programs/atmosphere-energy/climate-change/ten-myths.html#cc7

    Other studies (of apparently higher resolution) have reported a lag time of ~600 years between changes in temperature and changes in CO2. This suggests that the changes in temperature are responsible for the changes in CO2. Try looking them up in an internet search, or maybe some kind person here will provide them.

  151. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    re #146

    Dave,

    I mean in the sense that the last time CO2 levels were as high as this may have been millions of years ago. And I’m guessing the Suns output has changed since then as has the Earth itself from the massive human topographical changes, the creation of the isthmus of Panama and other changes in other atmospheric componants.

  152. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    re # 147

    Our best scientist…

    Who do you put into that category? Is Mann included? How about all of the others who are unwilling to provide access to their data and code? Are these guys the “best scientists”?

    Comment by Paul “¢’‚¬? 11 January 2006 @ 9:11 am

    Paul,

    Yes, I put Dr Mann as one of those good scientist. M&M have made some very serious claims about both the credibility of Mann’s work and worse still of his character and his intentions.

    M&M and Mann both known the truth, I don’t…but it saddens me to know one of them may be responsible for some very very dastardly deeds.

  153. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    Re # 148

    the Sierra Club plots of climate and CO2. Very interesting. First off, it’s not repeatable. The time between peaks vary and the details are different. …………………. I’ll spare you the discussion of whether the glacial CO2 measurements are reliable, discussed elsewhere on this site.

    Comment by Paul Linsay “¢’‚¬? 11 January 2006 @ 3:59 pm

    Paul this sort of stuff is just classic for skeptics argument tactics. As if the the measurements and the actual climate changes in the Sierra graph need to be PRECISELY repeated to be “repeatable”….ridiculous. The broad trends ARE repeated.

    Likewise the measurements of CO2 levels in ice core samples ARE reliable until YOU publish something in the peer reviewed literature that PROVES otherwise……note caps aren’t me yelling just for emphasis.

    Nothing in climate science is PRECISE…and if you’re simply, glibly gonna discount every bit of evidence because its not “precise” then there’s little to discuss. And that’s one of the big things that irks me about M&M. They’ve been caught in multiple serious blatent mess ups in their own book, published papers and rejected papers yet they have no hesitation to nit pick the fine details of others to the point of impugning their character and motives with no bounds.

  154. Paul
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    #152 -

    You can’t be serious?!? Read the two most recent topics on this board and then come back and tell me that Mr. Mann has been honorable in his behavior.

    Talk about sticking your head in the sand and wishing it would all go away…

  155. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 11, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    #153 – George, I’ve never written a book so strike that off your list. A lot of people have been trying pretty hard to find flaws in what I’ve been doing. Name me a “blatant mess up”. I don’t assign blame for making mistakes; that’s easy enough to do and that’s why people should archive data and code. Withholding adverse results is blameworthy as is covering up a problem.

    As to the reasons or character of the people, I’ve been careful not to speculate. I’m merely observing the facts, which certainly provide compelling evidence that adverse results have been withheld and that Mann has not responded to appropriate requests for data. I’m not idly asserting this but providing detailed and documentary evidence. If you see any inaccuracies, please advise me and I’ll make appropriate corrections.

  156. Paul Linsay
    Posted Jan 12, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    #153 – George:

    As if the the measurements and the actual climate changes in the Sierra graph need to be PRECISELY repeated to be “repeatable”….ridiculous. The broad trends ARE repeated.

    You clearly didn’t understand the content of the web page I sent you to earlier that showed the variables in the Lorenz equations oscillating. Look at it again. http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/lorenz/ Now that you’re back, notice that it sort of repeats but never really does, and the oscillations are entirely due to the natural dynamics of the non-linear system, WITH ONLY CONSTANT ENERGY INPUT. Now compare with the Sierra Club plots. Same story, they sort of repeat, but never exactly the same and it’s clearly not periodic. To put it more simply, there is absolutely no need to have either the temperature or the CO2 to be a forcing in the climate, the oscillations in both can be a consequence of the natural dynamics.

    Likewise the measurements of CO2 levels in ice core samples ARE reliable until YOU publish something in the peer reviewed literature that PROVES otherwise

    As I said earlier, you should find the comments on this site by people who are clearly expert at this kind of measurement who are quite skeptical about the quality of the data.

  157. jae
    Posted Jan 12, 2006 at 6:36 PM | Permalink

    Boy oh boy, it looks like an exercise in futility to try to get Muirgeo to address any of the SCIENCE. He has his (religious) beliefs, and that is it. I hope he spends as much time reading his medical journals as he does grandstanding about subjects he barely comprehends. Maybe he thinks he really is a modern-day Muir.

  158. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 12, 2006 at 7:27 PM | Permalink

    Re # 156

    Paul,

    I forgot what we were talking about initially. Oh yeah… climate and state changes. Do you think there is any chance increasing CO2 to a certain level might cause a state change? I certainly do because of all the variables that do effect climate CO2 seems to be a biggy.

    Regarding your link;

    http://astronomy.swin.edu.au/~pbourke/fractals/lorenz/

    Ewe…pretty. Thanks

    You said;

    Thanks for you opinion here but I suspect the oscillations are a result of changes in forcing….maybe say Milankovitch cycles. Further they are dependent on changes in greenhouse gases. I think if you took CO2 out of the picture the chaos dies and the Earth goes snowball. Just my opinion based on some of the facts as I understand them.

    You have a dogmatic approach to logic that makes me guess you are politically conservative. From the “Black and white… down with grey crowd”. You seem to make assumptions like…The climate varies naturally so apparently that means we have no way to influence it…forgetting that its possible for both to happen. Likewise and somewhat an extension of the same you assume that the climate because its chaotic varies intrinsically with out external forcing thus is not influenced by external forcing. How about a little of both…how bout some grey thinking?

  159. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 12, 2006 at 10:30 PM | Permalink

    George, how about you citing some “blatant errors” or withdrawing the remark? Cheers, Steve

  160. Murray Duffin
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    Re:140.
    Well as much as 30 % of the surface instrument average increase seems to be land use effect and impact of changes in the data base especially since 1989. (Ie it is an overstatement of actual warming). This probability is strongly supported by the recently corrected sat. measurements. Then up to 30% of the increase is now shown to be solar. We also have evidence of solar brightening since at least 1990, which may be evidence of reduced aerosols, contributed by collapse of the FSU and implementation of the Clean Air act. All of these leave maybe 30% max due to anthropogenic CO2. When using CO2 as the only or even the major explanation of warming, there is always the problem of 1940 through the early ’70s when temp. declined while CO2 rose. We also have the last 9 years where temp. didn’t rise, while CO2 concentration accelerated slightly.
    Alpine glaciers and numerous treelines suggest frequent warmings ( at 900 to 1000 year intervals) in the past, at least several of which have been greater than now. At ca 5000 to 6000 yeras BP the treeline advance into what is now tundra (especially in Siberia) indicates a much greater warming than now. If the past cyclicality is being repeated we may be near the beginning of another cooling, in which case some anthropogenic warming will be most welcome. Muirgeo needs to get less selective in the evidence he accepts. Murray

  161. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 1:11 AM | Permalink

    RE # 159

    It should be noted that some falsely reported putative “errors” in the Mann et al.
    (1998) proxy data claimed by McIntyre and McKitrick (2003) are an artifact of (a) the
    use by these latter authors of an incorrect version of the Mann et al. (1998) proxy
    indicator dataset……

    When one does an audit shouldn’t you have all the accounts?

    Now I did say blatant errors of M&M and I understand those summarized at the link below with the exception of the E&E paper are not your responsibility…….

    http://timlambert.org/2004/10/mckitrick8/

  162. Hans Erren
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    When one does an audit shouldn’t you have all the accounts?

    Indeed, that was asked for, but not provided.

  163. Jeff Norman
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 4:31 AM | Permalink

    Regarding Mt. Kilimanjaro… If we were to assume that the ice on Kilimanjaro is actually 10,000 years old, would this not suggest that the amount of ice is inversely proportional to global temperature? Could we not conclude that the Earth must be cooling because there was no ice there last time the Earth was cold?

    I consider myself to be skeptical of the AGW hypothesis and yet I want to believe the Earth is warming (and do) because frankly the alternative is terrifying.

  164. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Re:#163

    If the ice on Mt Kilimanjaro is 10K years old, how would be know that? Only if we were observing a static system.

    Which all climate models have to be because they cannot, in their wildest dreams, cope with the real one.

  165. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:28 AM | Permalink

    error – be = we

    Sigh,

  166. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 7:01 AM | Permalink

    re:# 161
    Dear george
    you appear to be coming in at the tail-end of the debate here, with points which have been resolved many moons ago.

    You seem to have a very old quote: the “incorrect version of the Mann et al. (1998) proxy indicator dataset” was the dataset provided by Mann, and warranted to be good by Mann ! If you look at the climate audit archives, you will see that there is quite a bit of documentation to this story, and it is not very complimentary to MBH. This issue has been formally clarified, in a way that you can check. M&M made a formal complaint to Nature that the methods of MBH’98 were completely inadequate; it transpired that there were so many errors, that Nature made MBH issue a corrigendum, which was published in 2004.

    cheers
    per

  167. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    Re # 166

    Well whenever a paper gets published that is supposed to be an audit or a replication analysis I’d call it a pretty major “flub-up” on some ones part if all the original data was not included. I guess we could blame the E&E editorial staff, we could blame Mann but he claims he was not offered a final draft for comment as is customary. It looks to me like the goal post keep getting moved to cover up this initial embarrassing error in the E&E paper. First there was a problem with Mann’s reproducibility, then the problem changed to one of methodology, then one of calibration and finally it has become a problem with the proxies themselves and still more a problem of the lead authors ethics, honesty and intentions. Now there is an apparent mass conspiracy between the IPCC scientist, the major science journals and even our finest scientific academies NAS, AAAS and others are involved…..forgive me but I remain “skeptical”. Also I’m sure you know of Mr. McKitrick’s debunked claims in his book about global average temperature and the issue with degrees and radians being inappropriately used in a “detailed” 4 year researched publication or a “bomb shell paper” as it was referred to by its authors before it actually exploded.

  168. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Dear george
    perhaps we are talking about different papers ?
    M&M’03 used the data described in the nature paper by mbh’98. M&M’03 additionally used data provided directly by Mann as the data used in MBH’98, and it checked these data against archived versions of these data. It audited both these sources.

    The canard that all the original data of MBH’98 was not put in is simply untrue, and the record shows this to be so. MBH later published a corrigendum, admitting that there were errors in their original paper, so even MBH accept that what M&M published in 2003 was correct.

    If you wish to make the case that there was an error in the E&E’03 paper; state what it is clearly, and we can show you in graphic detail whether you are right or wrong.

    yours
    per

  169. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    RE #161 (I’ll pick up on 167 later):
    George, you cite Lambert as authority for supposed "blatant errors". Lambert hardly represents a valid authority. But let’s look at the two matters involving me, which you claim as evidence of "blatant error".

    Lambert characterized our 2003 paper as saying:

    The hockey stick graph was the product of “collation errors, unjustifiable truncations of extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculations of principal components, and other quality control defects.”

    The supposed "blatant error" is evidenced by Lambert’s claim:

    Mann et al publish a correction to the supplementary information for the hockey stick graph. They say that the errors do not affect their published results.

    First, you have to be careful of how Lambert summarizes things. The phrase "collation errors,…" occurs in the following sentence:

    The data set of proxies of past climate used in Mann, Bradley and Hughes (1998, “MBH98″ hereafter) for the estimation of temperatures from 1400 to 1980 contains collation errors, unjustifiable truncation or extrapolation of source data, obsolete data, geographical location errors, incorrect calculation of principal components and other quality control defects.

    Obviously all of this is true regarding the data set then at Mann’s FTP site. Mann subsequently said that this data set was not the one actually used in MBH98. Perhaps. Obviously we were not able to carry out a full-scale "audit" because we had to work with the data that was supplied. But in a real world situation, if an auditor issued an adverse opinion, the client would never be able to get away with saying that they supplied the "wrong" data. You’d want to know why they had duplicate books, how they had used the duplicate books and you’d insist that every line and every comma be justified.

    Lambert’s account of the disposition of the matter is not the end of the story. The Corrigendum is evidence that our identification of errors was correct and that there were certainly no "blatant errors" in these identifications. Now Mann claimed in the Corrigendum that the "errors" did not affect their results. But be careful. The Corrigendum was not peer reviewed and Mann’s making a claim, then repeated by Lambert, does not make it true. Our position was both that the Corrigendum was incomplete and that the errors did matter. This position is certainly supported by our various peer-reviewed papers in 2005 (not that peer review makes them right). My point here is that Mann claiming that his "errors" do not matter falls well short of demonstrating that we made "blatant errors".

    Second, Lambert characterized our second paper (then still unpublished) as saying simpliciter:

    [the] hockey stick is the product of improper normalization of the data.

    He then said (linking to Mann apologist and realclimate coauthor, William Connolley)

    Jury is still out, but it does not look promising for McKitrick

    Our 2005 papers cannot be characterized quite so simply. We pointed to the erroneous PC calculation, but also to the flawed proxies (bristlecones and cedars), pointing to the interaction between them and then to the flawed statistical procedures in MBH98 (including the withholding of adverse results). In the squib here, Lambert and Connolley are describing our account of the bias in Mann’s PC method. In fact, our identification of the bias has subsequently been acknowledged and agreed to by many more imposing authorities than William Connolley and Tim Lambert e.g. von Storch, Zorita, Huybers, Zweiers, Mia Hubert.

    So neither of the points raised by Lambert pertaining to McIntyre and McKitrick substantiates your claim of "blatant error".

  170. jae
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 10:40 AM | Permalink

    Chrichton said something like: “Environmentalism is the religion of choice for urban atheists.” I think he was describing our friend Muirego. There is no way to win an argument with a religious zealot.

  171. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Re # 170

    Yes I’m an environmentalist. Isn’t everyone? Or are some people actually against the environment? Oh that’s right there ARE a lot of people who believe the Armageddon is coming so we might as well exploit the heck out of the Earth…our kids won’t need it… that’s scary/sad. Yes, I’m an atheist….proud of it and I wear it as a badge of objectivity, courage and inner strength. No Gods…No Masters for me. Yes nature is my creator…your’s too…it’s a fact. I stand in awe of nature and I’m shamed by those who have little respect for it…there very own creator..those who would plow it under at a whim. But religion? No, I have none….religion is opium for the masses..a way to control the masses and its based on faith. Belief in Nature requires no faith..its all around…open your eyes man…..I’m free and a free thinker and very able to be reasoned with by those who are reasonable.

  172. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 12:39 PM | Permalink

    re: #171
    whether you are an environmentalist or not, that doesn’t allow you to make up facts, and suppress information that doesn’t support your case.

    You have made claims; so where are M&M’s “blatant errors” ? Where are the “falsely reported putative “errors”” in M&M’03 ?

    I suspect I might wait a while for you to answer such a direct question.
    yours
    per

  173. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    Per

    You should know, as with all religions “The ends justify the means”

  174. jae
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Muirgeo: Yes, you do have a religion, complete with all the “beliefs” and to the exclusion of many facts. Your religion is, indeed, environmentalism, and I think that’s why you are so supportive of AGW; it is part of the religion of environmentalism. And I also suspect that you, like most of your ilk, are very well off and really don’t care about how well off other people are. You will not be harmed financially, no matter what crazy futile things are done to prevent us all from the supposed catastrophe of AGW.

  175. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 3:25 PM | Permalink

    jae,

    OK…right…sniffle sniffle… you got me (hanging my head low). Religion is bad and I have a religion so I’m bad to. I admit it…sob…sob…I believe faithfully in clean air and clean water…and even in renwable energy…I’m so….so…ashamed….boo hoo hoo….Yeah,…I even ..sniff..sniff like sniff… to be in the wilderness… you are right I have crazy beliefs like that My Great Grand Australapithices mother was also your Great Grand Australapithices mother, I even believe we have a common paramecium grandmother….sob..sob…..I faithfully believe we are made of star dust and that the Earth is 4.5 billion year old and…sob…stammer..studder…yes…sob I even believe faithfully in the laws of physics and I actually have faith that CO2 can re-emit short wave radiation…aaooorrggg…sob…sob …you caugt me..just another sheeple luny religionist. Oh how I wish I could be good like you and not have a religion…sob…sob….religion is sooo bad and it’s ruined me….ahh..boo hoo hoooo….

  176. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    Muir-ego (sic)

    Although you are adept at creating diversions, like the previous post, you seem to avoid answering questions.

    Per asked you a question (172). Is #175 the answer?

    I have also asked you questions.

    We are still waiting for the answers.

  177. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    You guys are wasting your time with George. He’s perhaps more rational on the face of things than say Methane Mike (who’s a Gaia worshiper), but George just lets requests for facts roll off his back. He’ll happily re-cite his favorite sites and references, but won’t actually discuss them, nor engage in an actual scientific discussion.

    And despite his attempts to make fun of religion, his basic style is the appeal to authority. This is perhaps a good stance to take for a practical physician, but in the case of scientific research it’s as close to religion as is possible. Anyway I’ve exchanged hundreds of messages with George and he’ll never change.

  178. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    per, per #172 and #176

    see;

    http://timlambert.org/2004/10/mckitrick8/

  179. jae
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Gentlemen:

    Re. #175 Wow, what a tantrum. I apologize to all; I should not be straying from the relevant topics, and I will not talk about Muirego’s religion or political preferences anymore.

  180. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    Dear George

    I believe faithfully in clean air and clean water

    You are a man in awe of Nature. So do you drink natural water, with its rat turds, poisonous bacteria and parasites, or do you drink the chemically-treated, filtered product of civilisation that is clean water ?

    I even ..sniff..sniff like sniff… to be in the wilderness…

    And do you drive home from the wilderness, to your house with central heating/ air conditioning/ electricity and a PC ? Do you take your dinner from the fridge/ freezer, and cook it in your oven, once you get back from the nasty cold unfriendly nature ?

    I am always amused by the sanctimony of the self-righteous environmentalist, who sits at his lump of environmentally-unfriendly processed steel and plastic, burning energy to send texts telling me how environmentally perfect they are. Sure.

    cheers
    per

  181. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    see; http://timlambert.org/2004/10/mckitrick8/

    Ah, so you are relying on tim lambert to think for you ?

    That pages references the MBH corrigendum, wherein messrs. MBH admit they made errors in MBH98, as pointed out by M&M in E&E’03. That looks like a fairly straightforward point in favour of M&M to me.

    For M&M version 2, Doltoid goes as far as saying the jury is still out. In support of this, it brings in gossip by punters who don’t know the field, and even this is hedged by weasel-words: “probably”, “I think”. It is kind of noticeable that the punters are very vague in their comments- there is no clear, specific item that M&M have done wrong, or sub-optimally, or anything. And there is a reason for that- if they made a specific claim, they would have to back it up, or look stupid.

    Just like you are not making specific claims, and hiding behind vagueness. I would encourage you to think for yourself; you might learn.

    yours
    per

  182. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    Now is probably a good time (since you are all in personal attack piranha mode) for me to re-ask my question.

    Why do you guys NOT want global warming to be true/ Any honest takers?

    Oh…and this one. When small kids come to see me they often have stranger anxiety so they close their eyes and turn their heads when I walk into the room. It makes them think I went away. Do you think this phenomenon could work for global warming?

  183. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    Once again you show how you are incapable of thinking in between black and white. I happen to believe we can live well and still have natural places to visit. I guess some one like you believes the two are mutually exclusive….sad.

    And regarding water….when I’m way out in nature I drink it straight from the river….only near civilization do you need to filter out the contaminants and rat turds.

  184. Jeff Norman
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Re:160

    Well as much as 30 % of the surface instrument average increase seems to be land use effect and impact of changes in the data base especially since 1989.

    Murray,

    As I understand it, a contributing factor to the post 1989/90 warming trend was the termination of many, many weather station records in 1989/90. Most of these were rural records that had been used in compiling averages for prevous years.

    This is particularly true in Canada. I understand cost was the driver.

    Jeff

  185. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    Hmmm, George. Did you try this “do you still beat your wife” style question out in the Climate Debate Forum before? It seems familiar now that I look at it closely. Anyway, trying to force people to agree with an implied assumption, “I want global warming to be false”, isn’t the way to win friends and influence people. Not that I’d consider the assumption a moral flaw and certainly there could be defenses of it made, but it’s not pertinent to the situation. IOW, you’re going to get few or no responses.

  186. jae
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:17 PM | Permalink

    And regarding water….when I’m way out in nature I drink it straight from the river….only near civilization do you need to filter out the contaminants and rat turds.

    Oh, boy, are asking for trouble, Dr. Muirego. Ever heard of elk and deer turds?

  187. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    Why do you guys NOT want global warming to be true/ Any honest takers?

    I think Global Warming would be great. A warmer, wetter, CO2-fertilized environment really doesn’t seem all that scary to me. Other than a possible slight rise in sea levels, I see plenty of positive outcomes including a proliferation of life, the opening up of vast areas for farming areas in Canada and Russia, and a Northwest passage. People can always move from low-lying areas and will have a century or two to do so even in the most dire GW scenarios.

    That being said, I still find the so-called evidence for AGW less than convincing.

  188. jae
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    Why do you guys NOT want global warming to be true/ Any honest takers?

    I certainly want increased CO2, since all the studies I have seen show very positive benefits (and there are hundreds of such studies). The only problem I’m aware of is the highly questionable THEORY about it causing abnormal global warming.

  189. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    Dave,

    I think it’s a very pertinent and serious question. I’ve asked it to myself both ways. It’s a good way to try to look into what personal biases we might have about the subject.
    I remember asking you what you would recommend we do if we had a crystal ball that showed us the IPCC report was correct and you couldn’t even attempt an answer. I think that says a lot.
    I tell you my quick answer to the question from both sides. Idealogical the skeptics tend to be Conservative and if global warming is true and serious the free market system has failed as it provides no answer. If the global temperature begins to moderate then the “warmers” often ideologues on the left will have a hard time convincing anyone of future environmental threats. And my answer has more to do with the foundations of our scientific institutions. If you guys are right it’s a major blow to them. In fact from my opinion you can only be right if there has been some sort of mass conspiracy or consensual cooking of the books. I have little doubt however, it is the conservative ideology that will take a big blow on the issue…more Katrina’s,Rita’s and Wilma’s more winter fires in Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas, more floods and droughts and eventually the house of cards will come down…..

  190. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    And regarding water….when I’m way out in nature I drink it straight from the river….only near civilization do you need to filter out the contaminants and rat turds.

    There are rodents living in the higher elevations of the Front Range. In spite of the fact that you would be way out in nature, if you would be so foolish as to drink water directly out of the streams, you would certainly live to regret it.

  191. per
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 7:19 PM | Permalink

    I happen to believe we can live well and still have natural places to visit.

    Permit me a guffaw on the radical nature of your environmental beliefs; but it seems, like most everyone here, you are quite happy to take all the benefits of civilisation, with all the environmental impact that has brought.

    when I’m way out in nature I drink it straight from the river

    Populations deeply ensconced in “nature” are one of these few places you can get to have a look at really good, endemic disease in really advanced states. Natural parasites, natural bacterial infection, natural gangrene, natural leptospirosis and the rest. Nature as the home of purity, health and goodness… in your fantasies.

    Oh, and by the way, just in case you forgot, you made specific claims. When are you going to back them up ?
    where are M&M’s “blatant errors” ? Where are the “falsely reported putative “errors“” in M&M’03 ?

    yours patiently
    per

  192. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

    Re # 187

    People can always move from low-lying areas and will have a century or two to do so even in the most dire GW scenarios.

    Comment by nanny_govt_sucks

    Well…. yeah…. except for the hundreds of thousands of still displaced gulf state residents.

  193. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Comment by Brooks Hurd

    No! The only thing I would live to regret is never drinking water out of such streams. In fact I do use a filter most of the time now for extra caution but in the past and often presently if I’m without a filter I’ll drink out of a mountain stream if I know its source. I might of had giardia once or twice before but no big deal the stuffs pretty much like holy water to me..what with my enviro-religion and all.

  194. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 13, 2006 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    Muirgeo … either answer the questions or leave.

    That’s my vote,

    w.

  195. Terry
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 12:49 AM | Permalink

    Good lord, what a mess of a thread.

    One more nyeh-nyeh apiece and we shut this one down, agreed?

  196. James Lane
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 2:37 AM | Permalink

    Miurgeo,

    “Why do you guys NOT want global warming to be true/ Any honest takers?”

    I had a good think about this. I don’t believe I have a position about wanting or not wanting GW (or AGW) to be “true”. I’m only interested in the evidence, and at this time I don’t find the case for AGW very compelling. I do believe that the earth is warming, but in the absence of good evidence that that this warming is unusual or unprecendented I am not especially alarmed.

    Turning the question around, I can think of great reasons why green groups and many climate scientists would want AGW to be “true”, which is one of the things that made me suspicious about all the doomsday scenarios in the first place.

    I’m not quite as appreciative of your contributions as Terry, but I think it would do wonders for your credibility if you answered the question about M&M’s “blatant errors”, in the same way that earlier posters and myself have answered your question.

  197. T J Olson
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

    To amplify James response to an important question: why would anyone NOT want ACW to be true?

    It isn’t a question of science. If ACW is true, and if the consequences are deleterious, then doing something – provided it is effective – is not an issue. The solution is then for collective action.

    There are practical two problems with such a “solution,” however. First, what is an equitable one? This is an insupperable problem for a collective decision making process to answer without politicization. Second, because of the public choice problem – ie, the dispersed benefits of concentrated decision-making authority – the goal posts of any solution are vulnerable to shifting. This means that interest groups can achieve their pet private goals at public expense, whether genuinely environmental or not, or simply anti-humanistic and socialist/fascist power-grabbing (ie, attempting to achieve non-environmental goals like the planetary redistribution of wealth).

    Thus, the history of alleged Green Groups since the late 80′s has been to rally behind AGW hysteria and promoting the issue! It isn’t enough to get clean air and water, we must have new crises validating further fund raising efforts in the pursuit of “God is Green” purity. The consciousness raised US public has been notoriously accepting of this argument. Socialist politician’s in Europe have been especially enthusiastic about AGW and collective solutions. This is not an accident. The consequent politicization of science leads me to be skeptical of “Green” claims and the alleged problems that schemes like Kyoto claim to cure.

    Is there any way out of this problem? Perhaps only the one proposed by Micheal Crichton – funding pro and ~pro stances in science equally.

  198. hans kelp
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 7:13 AM | Permalink

    re: 197

    In “Taken by the Storm” by Christopher Essex and Ross McKitrick,
    the authors come up with an exiting solution to the problem that you mention Michael Chricton also is concerned about. You will find it in the chapter called “In Praise of Polarization: The People v. Carbon Dioxide”. A good book which I only can recommend anybody to read.

    Hans Kelp

  199. Jim Clarke
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 6:18 PM | Permalink

    While we often debate the details of various AGW issues, I have found that most disagreements are not based on the evidence, but on the interpretation of the evidence. The interpretation is the result of basic assumptions that provide the ‘world view’ through which all data is filtered.

    It is very difficult to persuade a ‘Muirgeo’ with physical evidence, because he will simply interpret that evidence to fit in his world view. (Actually, we all do this, not just Muirgeo.) The real argument lies with our assumptions, and dramatic advances in science often come from the realignment of our most basic assumptions concerning the nature of the universe.

    If I have any hope in ‘changing the mind’ of someone like Muirgeo, I would have to address his basic assumptions about the world and the nature of things. I would have to show him that his assumptions are not correct, and a ‘better’ world view exists. Which brings me to the following comment contributed by Muirgeo in post #144:

    “I think I WAS alluding to the chaotic nature of climate. That’s not something that is reassuring….(The climate system is an angry beast and we are poking it with sticks!)
    – Dr Wally Broecker, one of the world’s leading experts on the role of oceans in climate change.”

    Here we see evidence of one of the basic assumptions about the universe that is not only held by Muirgeo, but by very many who contemplate the meaning of chaos in the world, including Dr. Wally Broeker. I would maintain that their assumptions and resulting world view are incorrect, and, more importantly, dangerous.

    Perhaps to make my point, I should start at the beginning. As a meteorologist with a keen interest in the global warming debate since the 1980s, I realized I needed to learn more about the idea of ‘chaos’. As a primer, I purchased and read ‘Turbulent Mirror’ by F. David Peat and John Briggs, shortly after it was published in 1989. As an example of chaos, the authors told the (theoretical) story of the first mass extinction on Earth. At that time, billions of years ago, life on Earth existed only in the oceans and was comprised of single celled little critters of various types. One day, a new little critter appeared that gave off a toxic substance that nearly wiped out all other life forms! Fortunately, some critters survived by combining with other critters to form a symbiotic relationship that enabled the newly formed, more complex entity to thrive in the new environment. The terrible pollutant that caused this catastrophe was oxygen!

    Whether this actually happened or not is irrelevant. The point is that Peat and Briggs used this story to warn modern man of the fragility of the biosphere, and cautioned the reader to keep pollution to a minimum, otherwise risk disturbing the delicate ‘balance’. It seems that many have embraced a similar line of reasoning, including Muirgeo and Broecker. Personally, I was shocked at this rationale and found it extremely dangerous. I realized that if intelligent aliens with a similar ‘world view’, came to Earth from the Planet Greenpeace and beheld the new oxygen producing critters, they might have killed those critters (are at least quarantined them) to save all the other single celled creatures. Had they done this, (and continued to do it for billions of years) Earth would still be a planet with only single-celled creatures in the oceans and lifeless, barren lands.

    I realized at that moment that chaos is the natural order of things and very necessary for the advancement of life. If we are a product of Mother Nature, we owe our existence equally to Father Chaos. I realized that any form of stasis is unnatural. Stasis promotes stagnation and death, while chaos promotes life and complex diversity. Modern environmentalism is all about stasis, and is, therefore, unnatural. I immediately canceled my memberships in Greenpeace and the Sierra Club. A year later, I left the Union of Concerned Scientists for similar, fundamental differences in world view.

    If you believe that chaos is ‘an angry bear’ and that we are ‘poking it with a stick’ then you are misunderstanding the whole nature of the universe! The “bear and stick’ analogy characterizes chaos as dangerous and something to be nullified. Life, however, is chaotic and one can not nullify chaos without nullifying life.

    The “stick’ idea is also a problem. In chaos theory, everything is a stick. Everything that exists changes the dynamic of the whole. The only way that humans can not be a “stick’ is if they do not exist! Perhaps Muirgeo or Broecker would argue that it is not wise to do so much poking, but it is impossible to know what is wise and what is not. For example, was it “wise’ for single celled creatures to start giving off oxygen, producing a mass extinction, but, at the same time, triggering more complex life forms that have led to our diverse biosphere? Would the world be better off as a barren wasteland? To even ask these questions is to misunderstand nature. The fact is that chaos is constantly producing “big pokers’. If we humans stopped poking (by not existing), nature and chaos would produce other big pokers.

    The biggest message that chaos is sending to us is that adaptability is the single most important attribute that any life form can have to insure survivability. The second message is that the future is not predictable. Seemingly positive actions may bring negative results and vice-versa; and inaction may be just as negative or positive as action!

    That is why the Precautionary Principle is unworkable as a principle. It is self-contradictory! It is physically impossible to prove that any action will be free from negative consequences, yet the inaction generated by the use of the Precautionary Principle may very well produce a negative effect, making the use of the Precautionary Principle something that the Principle would advise against!

    When you base your world view on the idea that chaos is something to be cajoled into stasis, and the Precautionary Principle is a workable ideal, you are bound to see terrible “problems’ were they may not exist and offer up solutions that go against nature, and will, therefore, fail miserably!

    Kyoto is a prime example of a solution based on this misrepresentation of chaos and the nature of things. The notion that humans can guide climate into some benevolent, static state, or even “improve’ the future state of climate, by manipulating trace gases in the atmosphere can only come from such a misunderstanding. Reverting back to our old analogy: the reality is that the bear is always angry, whether we poke it or not, for that is the very nature of the bear. If we try to calm the bear, we will likely get clawed to shreds.

    If, on the other hand, you understand that chaos is not the enemy, but simply the nature of things, then you understand that we can not fight it, and that any attempt to do so will result in failure at best, and disaster at worst. The real key to successful living in this world is adaptability. We recognize the bear for what it is and learn to adapt to its rants. We can not predict what the bear will do, but we can react to it and be prepared for its worst.

    Instead of trying to reduce CO2 to try and reduce the threat of hurricanes (cajole the bear), we can build safer buildings that can withstand what the bear will throw at us. Instead of trying to reduce CO2 to try and control climate (cajole the bear), we can recognize that climate will always change regardless of, or in spite of our actions and prepare for those changes by increasing our adaptability. The key to increasing our adaptability is to increase our knowledge, which is occurring at a much faster rate today than ever before, and at a much faster rate than climate is changing.

    Therefore, it is not worth worrying that your children will be incapable of having a decent life due to climate change. They will be better equipped to thrive after climate change (regardless of its origin) than we can currently imagine. If, however, we teach our children that they must strive to “cajole the bear’ (reduce the chaotic nature of the universe), then we will condemn them to a miserable life in which they will continually be torn to shreds.

    Until the majority of scientists and politicians grasp the reality of chaos and understand that the very notion of controlling it is oxymoronic, we will continue to have grossly different interpretations of physical data, and grossly different recommendations for “solving’ the “problem’. One side does not understand the nature of chaos and views “climate change’ as the problem. The other side understands how chaos and nature work and view adaptability as the problem. One can not successfully argue the issues without first addressing the fundamental differences in these cosmologies.

  200. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 14, 2006 at 6:24 PM | Permalink

    The last few seemingly civil comments notwithstanding, I’m with Terry (#195). Shut ‘r down, Steve. It’s a trainwreck, of a way-off-the-tracks variety.

    My two cents.

  201. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

    Re # 187

    I think Global Warming would be great. A warmer, wetter, CO2-fertilized environment really doesn’t seem all that scary to me. Other than a possible slight rise in sea levels, I see plenty of positive outcomes including a proliferation of life, the opening up of vast areas for farming areas in Canada and Russia, …….

    Comment by nanny_govt_sucks “¢’‚¬? 13 January 2006 @ 6:22 pm

    Great! Improved farming in Canada and Russia. I’m not sure where you live but I live in America, the bread basket of the world…or it was.

    http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/2006-01-12-arizona-drought_x.htm

    As much of Arizona enters an 11th year of drought conditions, the state could experience its driest winter season in centuries.
    And that has officials worried about agriculture, water supplies and the threat of wildfires.

    Arizona’s mountains are virtually bare, with snowpack conditions worse than they were at the same time in 2002 “¢’‚¬? a year that set records as one of the driest in five centuries.

    Rural areas are bracing for water shortages…………
    “I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Larry Martinez, ………….It’s quite shocking to a lot of folks who depend on the snow. …………

    Farmers who draw on smaller rivers and reservoirs could run short this year. ……

    Poor range conditions could tighten grazing allotments, squeezing ranchers who have yet to recover from earlier dry years.

    Meanwhile, some experts are already predicting one of the worst wildfire seasons in years ……….

    SOUNDS GREAT!

    And where’s all that water going???

    Seattle Nears Rainy-Day Record

    http://www.breitbart.com/news/2006/01/13/D8F3UKIG0.html

    The city had its 26th straight day of rain Friday and was just a week short of the 1953 record of 33 consecutive rainy days. Daily rainfall records have already fallen in Seattle and Olympia.

    More seriously, officials worried about the potential for more landslides and floods, warning that the saturated landscape can’t hold much more water.

    “What we need is a reprieve,” Tony Fantello, maintenance and operations manager for Pierce County Water Programs …………No dice. Mostly light rain fell early Friday, and the weather service predicted more over the next 10 days.

    Some highways remained closed by mudslides, while Amtrak and commuter train service that had been suspended north of Seattle due to mudslides could resume Friday afternoon, officials said.

  202. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:19 AM | Permalink

    …….. I see plenty of positive outcomes including a proliferation of life, the opening up of vast areas for farming areas in Canada and Russia,.

    Comment by nanny_govt_suck

    SCIENCE NEWS online;

    Last year, for the third year in four, world per-capita grain production fell. Even more disturbing in a world where people still go hungry, at 294 kilograms, last year’s per capita grain yield was the lowest in more than 30 years.

    http://www.sciencenews.org/articles/20030531/food.asp

  203. Paul
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    #203 -

    World hunger is not the result of anything but politics and greedy evil men (and I suppose women). It’s not for lack of arable land, or the ability to grow enough food to feed the planet. It’s not because the whole world is in drought conditions.

    #202 -

    Yes…and you’ll note that the current weather is approaching old records. That’s right…the weather was bad in the past. And, guess what, it might will happen again in the future. What happened to cause the drought 5 centuries ago? CO2? Global warming?

    #201 -

    You really don’t pay attention to what you read on this site, do you? You didn’t even understand the post you were quoting.

    This is really a religion to you, isn’t it.

  204. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    Re # 196

    “Why do you guys NOT want global warming to be true/ Any honest takers?”

    I had a good think about this. I don’t believe I have a position about wanting or not wanting GW (or AGW) to be “true”. I’m only interested in the evidence, and at this time I don’t find the case for AGW very compelling. I do believe that the earth is warming, but in the absence of good evidence that that this warming is unusual or unprecendented I am not especially alarmed.

    Comment by James Lane

    James,

    I don’t think you are quite getting the question. It’s not a question about the science. Its a question about reality and what it means for each of our personal world views. Its a question of if you could choose which answer were the true one which would you chose and why?

    Wouldn’t it bother you to know that global warming was a serious threat that required our attention and resources to deal with it? Wouldn’t it be nice to know that it was just a false alarm that required not one centilla more of our attention? Wouldn’t it bother you to know the environmentalist were right.

    It would bother me if its true for the first reason above. If it’s not true it would bother me because I would see it as a MAJOR failing of our scientific institutions. Something I have very much faith in because of its proven track record. And it would bother me because it would suggest nature is less predictable then we might have thought.
    If as I suspect climate change is upon us and our great scientific institutions have recognized a hidden silent calamity in waiting then I will be glad to know that the threat was recognized by the success of science. My faith in these institutions will be confirmed and my confidence will be high that surely science will also lead the way with answers on how best to address the issue.

  205. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 2:04 AM | Permalink

    Re # 204

    Well once again please note who brings the ad homs/ personal attacks to the table. Your comment is insulting to both atheist and people of religion alike.

    Anyway Paul,

    If the climate is being forced by the equivalent of placing 3-4 miniature 1 watt bulbs ( like those on your Christmas tree) over every square meter of the entire Earth and leaving them on every hour of every day don’t you think that extra energy will eventually come out in the climate system as more rain, more drought, more storms, an increased turn over of the hydrological cycle? It’s simple to point out that droughts have always occurred and that floods have always occurred by it’s also very reasonable to assume they will occur more frequently in a climate that has an extra 2% of energy charging it up.

  206. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

    As much of Arizona enters an 11th year of drought conditions …

    Well, then GW predictions for more rain should come in handy.

    But of course we’ll hear the alarmist claims that future climate means wet places will get wetter, and dry places will get dryer. Somehow.

    But even if that fantastic claim were true, alarmists would still have to face rhe probablity that someone might build a canal from a wet area to a dry one, such as was done in California.

    I guess next we’ll hear that it will be impossible to build canals in the future because Global Warming will cause the cement for the sides of the canal to not dry fast enough. Or some such bs.

  207. Robert Leyland
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 2:56 AM | Permalink

    muirgeo;

    You’ve made some pretty strong statements here, which I quote below. Several people have requested that you either back up your claims, withdraw them and/or apologise.

    I now stand with those people.

    It is extremely rude to insult the host, and even worse to hit and run.

    Please correct this, so civilized people can continue to discuss the issues in a civilised manner.

    thank you,
    Robert.

    > But I’m glad for blogs like this so our posterity can look back and see just who’s willful neglect and blatant disregard set them up so.
    >
    >Comment by muirgeo ‘€” 8 January 2006 @ 8:23 am

    >M&M and Mann both known the truth, I don’t…but it saddens me to know one of them may be responsible for some very very dastardly deeds.
    >
    >Comment by muirgeo ‘€” 11 January 2006 @ 7:13 pm

    >Nothing in climate science is PRECISE…and if you’re simply, glibly gonna discount every bit of evidence because its not “precise” then there’s little to discuss. And that’s one of the big things that irks me about M&M. They’ve been caught in multiple serious blatent mess ups in their own book, published papers and rejected papers yet they have no hesitation to nit pick the fine details of others to the point of impugning their character and motives with no bounds.
    >
    >Comment by muirgeo ‘€” 11 January 2006 @ 7:43 pm

  208. Louis Hissink
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

    Jennifer Marohasy’s blog also has its quota if the Lenin type “useful idiots”. In fact these posters seem to have appeared on all the active “anti-GW” blogs, though at the insistence of friends I have not opened up direct comments on my own blog but have a separate blog, Messenger Shooting, for them to post their arguments. It is a very underused resource I find. :-). Causes all sorts of irrational posts on other blogs.

    The hysterics suggests the enemy have used up all their usual cannon fodder and are now resorting to sending the inmates of the various “madhouses” into battle to fight their battles.

  209. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 6:09 AM | Permalink

    Muirgeo, thanks for your posting. You said:

    SCIENCE NEWS online;

    Last year, for the third year in four, world per-capita grain production fell. Even more disturbing in a world where people still go hungry, at 294 kilograms, last year’s per capita grain yield was the lowest in more than 30 years.

    Unfortunately, this was an article, not about a scientific study in a reviewed journal, not about even a scientific study of any kind, but about a news release by the Worldwatch Institute. I would be very cautious about quoting them, because Lester Brown is well know for … ummm … let me say “enhancing” facts and figures.

    For example, in this case, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is the recognized source of all of these kind of food related statistics. They give the following figures for total grain production per capita (2004 population estimated):

    Year Grain Production Per Capita Per Year
    1961 285
    1962 297
    1963 296
    1964 306
    1965 299
    1966 317
    1967 324
    1968 327
    1969 324
    1970 323
    1971 345
    1972 328
    1973 346
    1974 332
    1975 334
    1976 353
    1977 346
    1978 369
    1979 353
    1980 350
    1981 362
    1982 369
    1983 349
    1984 376
    1985 377
    1986 373
    1987 354
    1988 339
    1989 361
    1990 371
    1991 353
    1992 363
    1993 345
    1994 350
    1995 334
    1996 360
    1997 359
    1998 352
    1999 348
    2000 339
    2001 343
    2002 327
    2003 330
    2004 355

    As you can see, production has been basically stable since about 1980, at around 350 kg/person/yr. Production did not fall last year. Nor did it fall the year before that. It fell three years ago, but in turn, it did not fall four years ago.

    Nor is the per capita production the lowest in more than thirty years, as they claim. It’s not even the lowest in three years. It is the highest of the last seven years. Nor, in fact, is it anything like 294 kg. per person — it is 355 kg per person.

    Finally, 355 kg per person is enough to give every person on the planet about a kg. (2.2 pounds) of grain per day. That’s a couple of loaves of bread.

    Don’t believe me? Hey, the cool part is, the FAOSTAT database is online at

    http://faostat.fao.org/faostat/collections?version=ext&hasbulk=0&subset=agriculture

    and you can check for yourself. Go get the data, you’ll find that his particular Worldwatch report is wildly inaccurate. Unfortunately, that is altogether too typical of them — never trust their figures, because as in this case, all too often they’ll come back to bite you.

    w.

  210. per
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 7:41 AM | Permalink

    Oh, and by the way, just in case you forgot, you made specific claims. When are you going to back them up ?
    where are M&M’s “blatant errors” ? Where are the “falsely reported putative “errors”” in M&M’03 ?

    you may have missed this. Alternatively, you may not want to respond.

    You could actually try to establish what the facts are, and the consequences for MBH. This might give you cause to consider some of the tenets of your eco-religion; who knows ?
    cheers
    per

  211. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Re # 211

    I’ve answered this question 3 times now on this blog. See post #172. The blatant errors comments of M&M refers to blatant errors in the book Taken by Storm where they (McKitrick) argues non sense about their being no such thing as average temperature and that temperature doesn’t have any physical meaning. In the paper published by (McKitrick/Michaels) claimed to be a "bombshell" that debunks global warming it BLEW-UP when it was found these authors, after 4 years of research, mixed up degrees with radians when calculating their results. Finally, the first paper by M&M was published as an audit of Mann but omitted some of the data.

    http://timlambert.org/2004/08/mckitrick6/

    SM: George, you haven’t answered the question at all. On my blog, the readers here understand “M&M” to mean “McIntyre and McKitrick” rather than any two authors with surnames ending in M or with one author with a surname ending in M.

    I have nothing to do with the book by Essex and McKitrick. Whether or not errors were committed in that book has nothing to do with me or anything that I’ve written; I place little confidence in Lambert’s diagnosis of anything, but, be that as it may, an error in E&M, is not an error of M&M.

    Second, I had nothing to do with Michaels and McKitrick, although people like William Connolley and seemingly yourelf seek to perpetuate that canard by slyly using M&M in two very different contexts. Even if coauthor McKitrick was involved in the mistake, it has nothing to do with me. Further, as I’ve pointed out, I think that the fact that a computer programming occurred in one paper after peer review should make you all the more way that an error might have occurred in a paper by Mann and should be checked.

    Third, the first paper on Mann did NOT omit any data. As I’ve said repeatedly, we carried out a complete re-collation of the data and it was all used. Differences in methodology resulting from the need to interpret a defective public record led to differences in results, which we were able to reconcile as more information entered the public record. Additionally, and we made this clear at the time, the public record of MBH was severely defective and they did not co-operate. In our opinion, society was making decisions based on the equivalent of “unaudited statements” – which is a recipe for problems in other areas. We did not the best that we could with the existing record but never claimed to have a carried out a “complete audit”. The Seoul University has recently audited Hwang and only a procedure of similar scope would qualify as an audit of Mann.

  212. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:00 AM | Permalink

    George,

    And you were smacked down 3 times but haven’t recanted. As always your messages are worthless. Furthermore you’re totally out of your depth here. And you’re not doing the position you’re supporting any good by proving you can’t do anything except cite other’s mistaken claims.

  213. John A
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    Re #212

    Is it just stupidity or are you just aiming to waste everybody’s time with the same debunked claptrap, George?

    In the book “Taken by Storm” written by Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick, they discuss the problem that in a non-equilibrium system such as the earth’s climate system, there is no definitive way to produce something called a “mean temperature” that is physically meaningful.

    In the paper by McKitrick and Michaels, there was a small mistake with a program where they entered values as degrees instead of radians. In response, they produced a corrigendum, an impact assessment, and a corrected article the very next issue. It did not affect their conclusions (fortunately for them, unfortunately for eco-idiots)

    Now George, what are the “blatent errors” in the papers by “McIntyre and McKitrick”? Stop waffling about Tim Lambert’s bad grasp of science and get to the nitty-gritty. Inquiring minds would like to know what are these “blatent errors” that no-one, least of all you or Lambert, Mann, Bradley or Hughes, have ever been able to produce.

  214. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    RE #199

    Jim,

    Nice post. But…there’s always a “but”. I would describe you as a fatalist. Maybe an Epicurean. But I think what you are recommending is that we should not separate ourselves from the rest of the beast and nature. You suggest we should not try to plan or change the future we should simply adapt. I disagree. We evolved these brains for a reason….so we COULD plan for the future. That’s are very survival advantage over every other single species that has ever lived on this planet. We are able to plan the future. We learned to grow crops, heard other animals, build dams and levies and store food. We learned to treat diseases with medicine but then we did even better we learned to plan for the future when a virus might attack us by preparing our immune systems with vaccines.

    Adaptation is certainly one big part of the answer to climate change….ultimately maybe the main answer. But to deny that there is any chance that at some level we will push the climate into a new state (anger the beast to the point of attack) is against the facts. To me part of the adaptation is minimizing risks. I suggest there are many win:win solutions to switching away from our dependency on fossil fuels. I suggest we use our brains and instead of just trying to build a big enough gun to “kill the beast” we stop poking the beast altogether.

  215. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:16 AM | Permalink

    Re#213

    So Dave you think submitting a paper were the main calculations were fouled up by mistaking degrees for radians isn’t a blatant error that’s your problem not mine. You are the one who just says things and assumes because you say them they are true…as if I was smacked down…no I wasn’t. I provided three blatant indefensible errors and you wish to continue to defend them…fine.

    SM: George, as I keep saying, I had nothing to do with the cosine latitude error in a paper in Climate Research whose authors’ surnames ended in M. The paper contained an error. It has nothing to do with me. Please stop slyly insinuating that I had something to do with this error. The fact that an error occurred in a paper by other authors proves nothing about whether Mann committed errors. The first of your examples likewise had nothing to do with me. The third claim was untrue.

  216. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    RE # 211

    You could actually try to establish what the facts are, and the consequences for MBH. This might give you cause to consider some of the tenets of your eco-religion; who knows ?
    cheers
    per

    Comment by per

    Sorry everyone else but this is a recurrent theme. I’ve been repeatedly told I have a religion and I’ve been called an eco-religionist and a religious zealot. All apparently for expressing my views?

    Could some one please expound on these and tell me what my religion is all about…..what’s my God, god or Gods (multiple) name/s? Does my religion have something neat in it like other religions where I get to tell everyone else they will be smote for not believing it too. Oh yeah and when and where is the next mass? I figure I should go since it is my religion after all.

  217. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:41 AM | Permalink

    In deference to comments by Ken Blumenfeld, this thread has gone off the topic. George, if you wish to discuss alleged “blatant errors”, may I suggest that you locate the thread MM03 Scorecard and post up on this thread or one of the cosine latitude threads.

  218. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    Steve,

    This thread, I believe, was about why they at RC don’t come here or link here or go "toe to toe" with people here and take on the issues. Maybe the very fact of how this thread devolved from such a discussion of me going "toe to toe" to being called names and all sorts of derogatory comments is THE very reason the people at RC don’t even talk about you, your blog or the issues you’ve brought up about their research. It looks to me like they’ve moved far on from considering that you have any issues at all of which need going "toe to toe" over especially in light of the attacks one gets if they attempt to voice other opinions.

    In summary, the course of this thread is the answer to the question the thread asks.

    SM George, realclimate has devoted numerous threads to talking about us and to issues brought up in my research- so your claim that they don’t talk about us is wrong. Both Houghton and Mann have talked about us to the U.S. Congress as well.

    They have censored attempts to reply, as I’ve discussed on my blog. They do like "move on" – that doesn’t mean that they’ve answered the problems, merely that they’d rather "move on". There are some Canadian banks who recently made allowances for large liabilities connected with Enron; they’d have liked to "move on" as well, but sometimes it’s not as simple as that.

    As to going toe-to-toe, like William Connolley, you try to slyly attribute errors to me that have nothing to do with me. Your tactics. like William Connolley, are those of Karl Rove. You don’t want to examine the substance of the claims against MBH, so you try to denigrate me and, if you can’t denigrate me, you go after people whose last name begins with the letter M.

  219. Paul
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 10:30 AM | Permalink

    George:

    In several places on this particular thread and elsewhere on this blog people have asked for you to respond to very specific questions. Instead, you ignore them, bring up unrelated items and complain about people calling you names (the worst of which appears to be a religious zealot). You have yet to respond to any question beyond the “radians” issue, which was answered multiple times. Something you could have found out for yourself as it is posted on this blog (long before you dropped by).

    If I was a “warmer” or “anti-skeptic”, I would attempt to advance this thread something like this:

    The skeptics claim that the proxy’s used are not good indicators for temperature. Of course they are and here’s why: (insert list of reasons, published literature, etc). The skeptics claim that the models used to predict future climate are useless. Of course they’re useful and here’s why: (insert list of reasons, published literature, etc).

    That would be a scientific debate…the same kind of debate that happens in many of the threads on this site. It would be a place that browsing undergraduates could see both sides of the argument (as I think they can if they spend time on the site).

    Let me also say this: There is very little wand waving here. If an assertion is made, all of the reasoning, code, data is made available for others to check out (which they do). Steve, and others, get hit pretty hard by those who agree with him to help make the results more robust. It’s all out in the open. Steve is very humble–he accepts criticism very well and I think he’s earnestly trying to figure this all out.

    I’d invite you, and the browsing undergraduates to follow the three threads that Steve posted regarding “Ammann at AGU”. It gives a relatively concise timeline of what has happened with regard to the multi-proxy studies. If after reading that you still have faith that Mann, et al. are acting in good faith to advance climate science in a fair and open way, then there is nothing that can be said except that you want to believe that their position, AWG, is correct.

  220. muirgeo
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    ..if you can’t denigrate me, you go after people whose last name begins with the letter M.

    SM

    No, I defend some people who’s last name begins with M as well. Are you telling me your first paper had the exact data that was used by Mann? I understood it had some of the original data excluded and for a supposed audit I suggest that’s a blatant error. If that is the case I don’t care to hear a story of blaming this on some one else. It was your paper and it was your responsibility to get the data right. McKitrick’s error were gross as well and the best I can say is that they weren’t your’s so I can be blamed for lumping them together as M&M.

    SM: Touché, you do defend some people whose last name begins with M – my "blatant error". In our first paper, we re-collated all the tree ring data sets from original sources except Vaganov (so we used the MBH PC series, which did not affect the AD1400 step) and we re-collated the majority of the 81 proxies used directly and not through PCs, where we could identify a digital source. One more time, we did NOT leave out any data.

    In some cases, Mann had used "grey" or obsolete versions of the data. In such cases, we used the official versions in a "corrected" version testing the sensitivity as well as the MBH versions in a benchmark calculation. While I’ve been lectured from time to time about what’s involved in an "audit", it is mostly by people who have far less knowledge of audit processes than I have. I have considerable experience in using audited statements in securities offerings and have dealt with auditors and I know the type of questions that they ask. It is entirely within the range of audit procedures to test the effect of using archived data rather than obsolete data; auditors look at invoices.

    Another thing that auditors do is to check the notes to the financial statements and check for ad hoc special cases. Consider the Gaspe series. Mann extrapolated one out of over 400 series in its early portion. He did not disclose this unique extrapolation and misrepresented the start date of the series in his Supplementary Information. This would be something that a business auditor would find extremely offensive although academics don’t seem to care. A business auditor would want to know why this account was treated specially and to be assured that the special treatment had no effect, and, if it had no effect, he would want a consistent policy.

    The Mannian claim about exclusion of data is couched very slyly: one of their usual formulations is that, if you exclude the early portion of the North American tree ring data, you can get a high early 15th century result. This is true, but it does not mean that we excluded it. This does not prove that we excluded – only that exclusion of it yields these results. This statement can be modified a little: if you exclude the bristlecones, you get a high 15th century result. It’s not the exclusion of North American data that causes the effect, it’s the exclusion of the bristlecones. The effect also arises through permutations of PC methodology. If you use a conventional PC calculation and the same number of retained PCs as MBH98 in the 15th century step, you get a high early 15th century, because the effect of the bristlecones is demoted to the PC4. Mannians say that this "effectively" excludes the bristlecones. But there’s a big difference between "effectively" excluding them either because they are a lower order PC and alleging that the data was "omitted".

    Auditors also test the veracity of representations. Mann claimed that their reconstruction was "robust" to the presence/absence of dendroclimatic indicators in total. It is common ground between all parties that the exclusion of the bristlecones (whether as a sensitivity study or for any other reason) leads to a high 15th century result. This obviously contradicts the robustness claim. I’ve never seen any attempt by a Mannian to resolve this contradiction.

    The representation of robustness (and the representation of statistical skill) were not incidental to the widespread acceptance of MBH, but fundamental warranties. 

  221. Steven Hales
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    re: #221

    muirgeo: When you say “I understood it had some of the original data excluded and for a supposed audit I suggest that’s a blatant error. If that is the case I don’t care to hear a story of blaming this on some one else. It was your paper and it was your responsibility to get the data right.” Consider if this was an SEC audit (M&M) and the company being audited (MBH98) knowingly withheld accounting information that would affect the audit’s outcome (MM03) would you consider that a blatant error on the part of the auditors or would you perhaps hold the company (MBH98) to the standard of full and fair disclosure? The repercussions in the business world for the company (MBH98) could be fines and/or prison for the principals. This is the seriousness of the actions of the Hockey Team. But since this takes place in Academia, where the consequences are low when the wagons are circled and the rhetoric hot, I can see their strategy as possibly working. But the old saw “the hit dog barks loudest” seems to apply.

  222. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:16 PM | Permalink

    Well, seems like muirgeo’s finally lost the plot totally. He says to Steve:

    Are you telling me your first paper had the exact data that was used by Mann? I understood it had some of the original data excluded and for a supposed audit I suggest that’s a blatant error. If that is the case I don’t care to hear a story of blaming this on some one else. It was your paper and it was your responsibility to get the data right.

    Umm … er … muirgeo, have you read anything that Steve has written on this site? Dude, you’re a riot, your writings are hilarious. And thanks to the miracle of the internet, you now have people laughing at you all over the planet.

    But are you sure that this worldwide hilarity at your ridiculous claims and contorted reasoning is the outcome that you really want? I mean, it keeps us amused and all, but wouldn’t you really prefer to have people take you seriously than to have them continue to laugh at your ongoing foolishness?

    w.

  223. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Once again on this, we used the data set at Mann’s FTP site to which we were directed after a specific request. After noticing problems, we asked Mann to specifically confirm that the data set involved was the one actually used in MBH98. We then proceeded. This is what a business auditor would have done. It would have been inappropriate to then ask the University of Virginia or the University of Massachusetts whether Mann kept duplicate books.

    In a business situation, if a company said that an attempted audit was invalid because the auditor had seen the duplicate books, rather than the real books, it would lead to very serious repercussions. I agree with the comemnts of others on this.

    As to the specific comments in our Scorecard and I continue to emphasize this: nearly all the specific points made in MM03 apply to the duplicate books as well. No true explanation has yet been provided for why the duplicate books exist. Mann’s explanation – that the duplicate books were made in response to our supposed request for an Excel spreadsheet – is false on two levels. We did not request an Excel spreadsheet and the duplicate books existed long before we came on the scene. There has also been no examination on how the duplicate books were actually used, if not in MBH98, they must have been used in some other study (studies).

  224. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 3:06 PM | Permalink

    Earlier on in this thread, I erroneously commented that students of mine trying to understand the whole climate change debate wanted to see a fight. I retracted that when I realized my comment may have worked at a bar, over a beer or two, but not over the internet, where people don’t see each other and where the heat of passion easily overcomes the due respect one expects in polite argumentation. In addition, it was not an accurate characterization of their views.

    In any case, many people seem to have taken the fight message too seriously. My students actually did not want internet violence; that is why we all gravitated toward a few sites (this, RC, Climatescience), rather than the more obviously one-sided advocacy sites that don’t even feature postings from scientists involved in the debate(s). There were other threads here, and at RC (fewer at climate science, but they don’t have the traffic) that had degenerated to fist-pumping, taunting, in-your-face, how-ya-like-me-now sort of debauchery that is already plenty easy to find on the web…but the students (and I) were generally not impressed. And I think no serious scholar could be.

    I am not sitting in judgement; one of my first internet experiences ever was to flame a very opinionated but well-respected atmospheric scientist for some of his rants. It was not a good move.

    I am just saying that for those of us who are interested in the debate, or whose research is tangential to it, long volleys of flame pong do not bode well for future visits.

    Okay so this time it was more like four cents, rather than two.

  225. John A
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 3:49 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    Sometimes when someone repeatedly tries to smear you with lies and by association on your own weblog, you either stand up and be counted or give up.

  226. Kenneth Blumenfeld
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    Maybe, John, but violence begets violence. So you stand up, Steve stands up, other supporters stand up, and Muirgeo says, “hey, I don’t have to take this crap” (which is the same thing you are saying, in essence), and then you have a long, unproductive flame war that is mostly repetition and is not moving any part of the debate forward in a meaningful way. Again, this is only my opinion. I am not the moderator, thankfully, and I am not pretending I can do a better job. I am just saying that to people like me (and maybe I am the only one), lowering the standards of conduct is a fine enough reason to stop paying attention to what’s going on here. It’s not directly related to my research, and I can follow the arguments in the journals just fine, so what does this site offer someone like me when I have to wade through the ad-homs, the accusations, and the pointless social/political typecasting to get to the substance?

  227. JerryB
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    FWIW, even as a metaphor, the “violence begets violence” reference seems to be both excessive, and an inaccurate suggestion that Steve’s responses to muirgeo’s comments were similar in character, or in substance, to muirgeo’s comments.

  228. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 5:55 PM | Permalink

    Ken, one thing that John A and I discussed (and we should probably write to WordPress about this) is the ability to move comments from one thread to another as a means of keeping a thread clean without being accused of censorship.

  229. John G. Bell
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    That is a fine idea. Do it. The trolls think every thread a bridge to gather under. Non trolls OTs would find a better home. Some OT remarks have been quite interesting. Looks like more work for you and I hate to see that.

  230. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 6:38 PM | Permalink

    Re Kenneth, #229

    …I can follow the arguments in the journals just fine, so what does this site offer someone like me…

    Holding one’s nose and ignoring the intrusion from the likes of muirgeo has a definite attraction – I am certainly more interested in Steve’s work, his journey, the frequent educational contributions from people with an extraordinarily wide range of obviously expert knowledge, and not forgetting the occasional laugh out loud snarks from John “shadowy Newtonian thinktanks” A, or ET Sid “peeing in the ocean” Viscous. All of which are available here more easily and more rapidly than in your journals.

    Unfortunately, this is what the (doubtless large number of) good climate scientists have been doing for far too long. As a result, they have signally failed to defend their field from being overrun by the political activists.

    Science matters. If you want to be the sort of academic who retreats into an ivory tower, then I can’t stop you. But someone has to defend the tower against the barbarian hordes.

    “In order that evil should triumph it is sufficient that good men do nothing.”

  231. fFreddy
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    Our “blogfather”, realclimate,

    Incidentally, Steve, isn’t that a trifle, umm, Oedipal ?…

  232. John S
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    Kenneth,

    I concur with your observation.

    I also note that one of the hardest things to do when you believe someone is speaking arrant (or, worse, insulting) nonsense is to remain quiet or respond only once in polite and measured tones. The ease and anonymity of posting to a blog (or Usenet prior to that) is akin to the ease of email and this has been observed to cause all sorts of problems.

    Sadly, it is an inherent feature of the medium that these sorts of unproductive ‘conversations’ keep breaking out (and moderators face a damned if you do, damned if you don’t decision which seems to have no good outcome). The only marginally workable solution for a reader who nonetheless believes there is benefit from blogs/Usenet seems to be the killfile or equivalent. After a while you just stop reading posts from some people.

    As far as browsing undergraduates go, blogs can very easily identify the controversy – but more than that … be careful not to eat the pomegranate seeds.

  233. per
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 9:34 PM | Permalink

    you telling me your first paper had the exact data that was used by Mann? I understood it had some of the original data excluded and for a supposed audit I suggest that’s a blatant error….

    Dear George
    it is of course possible that you make your remarks without knowing the relevant background. Let me set out some background info, which is justified in detail on this site.

    1) MBH published a paper in 1998, wherein they set out what their methods were. They provided a full list of the data that they used in that paper.
    2) When M&M asked MBH for a copy of the data used, MBH supplied them with a data file. On request, MBH verified that it was the correct data, and then Mann said he was too busy to help with any further requests on the data.
    3) M&M used the data, as described in the original paper, and as supplied in the data file, and checked it against public deposits of those data files.
    4) MBH actually used different data than they set out in their paper. They padded the data without saying they did this; they used grey (unofficial, non-publically deposited) versions of official datafiles instead of the datafiles they referenced; they did not use all the files they said they did; they used files and did not mention they had used them.
    5) We know this to be so, because M&M published in E&E’03, and made a formal complaint to Nature about MBH’98. Nature adjudicated the complaint, found that the MBH’98 methods were a significant problem, and forced MBH to write a corrigendum. MBH admit they made errors in the original paper.
    See:
    http://www.uoguelph.ca/~rmckitri/research/trc.archive.html
    go to “UPDATE: July 1 2004″,”UPDATE: November 11″

    So you are correct when you say that M&M’03 did not have the data as used by MBH. However, M&M’03 did use the data that MBH said that they had used. Do you think that this reflects badly on M&M ?
    yours
    per

  234. James Lane
    Posted Jan 15, 2006 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    George, you wrote

    “It would bother me if its true for the first reason above. If it’s [AGW] not true it would bother me because I would see it as a MAJOR failing of our scientific institutions. Something I have very much faith in because of its proven track record. And it would bother me because it would suggest nature is less predictable then we might have thought.
    If as I suspect climate change is upon us and our great scientific institutions have recognized a hidden silent calamity in waiting then I will be glad to know that the threat was recognized by the success of science. My faith in these institutions will be confirmed and my confidence will be high that surely science will also lead the way with answers on how best to address the issue.”

    Are you really saying you’d prefer a climate catastrophe than having your faith in institutions challenged?

    As I explained in my original answer to your question I don’t “want” AGW to “not be true”, I’m interested in the science and the evidence. But I will concede that I am concerned about the scientific standards of some climate scientists and the promulgation of “science” via press release. If the claims of climate disaster prove to be unfounded, this will be a huge “cry wolf” with disastrous effects for the public credibility of science. That really is something worth worrying about, so perhaps we have some common ground.

    But wanting (or not wanting) something to be true, has nothing to do with whether it is true, and I’m surprised to find that you think your ideological position (or anyone’s for that matter) is relevant.

  235. Posted Jan 16, 2006 at 12:00 AM | Permalink

    George, in case you are wondering, McIntyre dismisses my criticism of Essex and McKitrick because “Chris Essex is an accomplished thermodynamicist”. Feel free to dismiss McIntyre’s criticism of Mann because Mann is an accomplished climatologist.

    John A, I see you are repeating your false claims that I am wrong about Essex and McKitrick. It’s been six months now since you first made the charge and you still haven’t provided any support for it. Are you ready now, or did you just suddenly get really really busy again?

  236. Ed Snack
    Posted Jan 16, 2006 at 2:26 AM | Permalink

    Tim, written your “Mann stuffs it up again” article yet, or are you in total hypocritical denial still about authors who issue corrections that confirm their findings as against those who like to pretend they don’t make mistakes ?

  237. John A
    Posted Jan 16, 2006 at 3:10 AM | Permalink

    Actually Tim, I’m repeating the entirely true claim that Tim Lambert is “an accomplished troll with a history of making personalized insults against people who are much brighter than he is, and repeating false claims against them in the sure and certain hope that they will be repeated around the Internet”.

    I don’t work to your timetable Timbo, but rest assured, when I do turn my attention upon your false claims of scientific competence, I will make sure to get the resultant document peer-reviewed by knowledgeable and responsible scientists.

    As it happens I am investigating whether I should write my first scientific paper on a different subject, while in the real world of work here in the Exxonsphere, I am scoping for the next phase of a project in order to earn some money.

    I’m sorry that you’re not first in the list of my priorities that your inflated ego demands, but priorities are priorities.

  238. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jan 16, 2006 at 8:07 AM | Permalink

    Ken, you were right about this thread running out of control.

    As I’ve mentioned on many occasions before, I am not going to get into a discussion of Essex and McKitrick at present. I don’t know enough thermodynamics to know whether their point is right or wrong. Whether they are right or wrong is irrelevant to any multiproxy issues.

    I doubt that any one here was wondering what Tim Lambert thought about entropy. I try to moderate with a light hand, but I moderated Methane Mike. I’ve previously said that anyone interested in discussing entropy with Time Lambert can do so at his blog http://www.timlambert.org and this will continue to be the policy here.

    Again, Ken and others, my apologies for this thread going out of control.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] “skepticism” is taken from “one US magazine”). This means statements like the one below (from Climate Audit’s Jan 5, 2006 entry) are literally invisible to the “Poles Apart” authors: “As I often repeat, I [Steve McIntyre] [...]

  2. [...] McIntyre’s “skepticism” is taken from “one US magazine”). Statements like the following (from Climate Audit’s Jan 5, 2006 entry) are literally invisible to the “Poles Apart” authors and [...]

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