Survivor Season 8: the Hockey Team – the Mann Overboard Episode

Well, back from Washington. I’m not very good at describing reactions and impressions and touchy-feely stuff like that; I’m more comfortable describing what’s different with the 53rd and 84th series out of 112, but I’ll try.

I like Washington politics as a spectator sport. Sometimes it produces riveting drama, like when Richard Ben-Veniste was trying to pin down George Tenet or Condaleeza Rice in the 9/11 investigation or the WMD hearings or almost any stage of the Clinton impeachment saga. (I wanted Clinton to survive for a variety of reasons, but it was high-stakes drama, that’s for sure.) When one of these big events turns up, I’m addicted. Our story is pretty small-time stuff, but it’s sure interesting to have a ring-side seat.

This particular subcommittee (Oversight and Investigations) of the House Energy and Commerce Committee is very unusual in that witnesses are sworn in (and has subpoena powrs). At the Committee for Government Reform, where Roger Pielke and others appeared the next day, you aren’t. The act and obligations of being sworn in are not something that I take lightly and it’s impressive and sobering when you do it.

Physically the setting is impressive. The representatives are raised above you, with their staffers sitting behind them passing notes. On either end are high-definition TVs. There are several rows of seats for spectators behind you, which were packed early in the day and thinned dramatically as the day wore on.

I had worked feverishly to be ready. It’s summarize in only 5 minutes at the best of times and there’s lots of things that I want to say. Having said that, I also believe strongly that you should be able to summarize your points, however hard it may seem. I was editing down and down almost until I got on camera.

Some of you kept an eye on the proceedings, but for those of you who didn’t, here’s how the schedule worked. Proceedings started at 10 am. There were two panels of witnesses. The first panel consisted of the chairs of the two reports — Wegman and North. The second panel consisted of Tom Karl; Tom Crowley; Hans von Storch and myself.

Each representative has the right to make a 10 minute opening statement, alternating Republican and Democrat. It seemed that each representative took advantage of the right in full and the first hour and half went by listening to politicians. In one sense, the time was wasted, but in another sense, it wasn’t. For anyone who thinks that American politics is monolithic, they were quickly disabused by listening to the differences between Democrat and Republican. The Democrats all seemed to be Gore Democrats. Regardless of parties, the representatives were surprisingly familiar with the file.

The first panel commenced their opening statements at about 11.15. Their panel didn’t end until about 2.15 pm, interrupted for only 20 minutes for a vote by representatives around 12.15 – the one "convenience break". Each representative was then entitled to 10 minutes of questioning, again all representatives taking full advantage of their rights, and then 5 minutes of supplemental questioning, I stayed throughout the proceedings. I was assuming that there would he a short lunch break after the first panel, but, to my surprise, the instant the first panel was thanked, the second panel was brought forward and there we were. The second panel lasted only until about 4.

My impression was that the politicians got all the information that they wanted (or was really relevant to them) about halfway through the first panel and, once that happened, most of the opening energy was gone; the interest in the 2nd panel was pretty perfunctory. From their point of view, I think that both parties had concluded (reasonably):

· no one there defended how Mann calculated the hockey stick (Mann overboard);
· anthropogenic global warming was still an important issue, whether or not “Mann had ever been born”.

By the time that the second panel appeared, attendance was down from about 13 representatives to 3-4 and the audience had gradually melted away. Each of us got some questions, but the opening energy was gone.

At the start of the hearing, there was some sport about Mann’s empty chair. The Democrats tried to raise an issue about Mann not being there, while the Republicans tabled emails showing that Mann had been invited, with responses from his legal counsel that he was unavailable due to scheduling conflicts — I think that they said that he was on holidays. The idea of a climate scientist being represented by counsel raised a few eyebrows. I think that Barton and Whitfield were amused by it.

I’m not sure that Mann’s counsel has given him very good advice so far. His original replies to the committee were very saucy, with a bizarre commentary on his personal property rights in the computer code prior to providing it. Any lawyer that I’ve ever dealt with would have had taken that sort of stuff out (not that I’d have put it in anyway.)

I think that Mann would have been better off showing up. It’s hard to believe that it was just because of holidays. Maybe he was taking a cue from James Hansen, who was reported to have excused himself from the Committee on Government Reform panel because a “skeptic” — in his case the reputable and thoughtful John Christy — was on the panel. Maybe Mann wanted to see how the day went before deciding whether to show up. Maybe he had a dentist appointment or had to get a haircut. Who knows?

Most of you have formed conclusions about how everyone did. My main objective was not to fall flat on my face.

I chatted pleasantly with Ralph Cicerone during the one interlude, again saying that I thought that the NAS panel was constructive (which I think it was.) He thanked me for my thank-you email — he’s not used to receiving polite letters like mothers of another generation used to tell you to write. I said that the panel would have benefited from having an econometrician on it, as I’d suggested in the comment period; he said that they had received many such suggestions in the comment period and could not respond to them all.

I chatted a bit with Gerry North afterwards, who was very pleasant. He and Wegman got a sandwich after the first panel and watched the second panel from another room. He complimented me, but was probably being polite. He said that the proposed session on the NAS report at an All-Union session has been approved at AGU and asked me to present.

We ended up with an eclectic crew going out for beer afterwards. I acted as a bit of a social convener, although almost any of my business friends would have been far better at this than me. Von Storch, Zorita and I were desperate for a beer; Wegman and Said came for company (but drank soda); North begged off as he was headed for the airport; Crowley came; Myron Ebell of CEI attended the hearings and came as well. We all had fun with the post mortem. I liked the idea of everyone being pleasant afterwards with the wolf and lambs supping together – not saying who was what. I had a nice chat with Crowley while we walked out to the bar.

I stayed overnight and went to part of the Committee of Government Reform hearing where Karl was back in the witness chair, as was Connaughton of the administration in the first panel. Like our session, the first panel was packed, but things started emptying out for the second panel — Judith Curry, John Christy, Roger Pielke Jr, Jay Gulledge of Pew. They often had only 1-2 representatives in attendance, but staffers were there and they all seem to be quick studies.
I went to the airport a bit early arriving at 3 pm for a 5.45 pm flight. About 5 pm, the 5.45 flight to Toronto was cancelled as a cold front between Toronto and Boston had caused a lot of storms. The 8 pm flight was still arriving but was overbooked. So I ended up with one more overnight in Washington. (On the way down on the 18th, I’d had an interesting conversation with a young Canadian who’d been holidaying in South Lebanon (!), and had been traveling since the 12th. He left Beirut for North Cyprus, went by taxi to the border, walked across the border, took another taxi to Larnaka, flew to Prague. Visited there for a couple of days, then took a bus to Vienna to get back onto an Air Canada ticket. Then found out that he couldn’t re-enter the States on his visa from there, only from Canada, so he had to go to London, then Toronto, and then Washington.)

While many people might say that the above two conclusions of the Committee could have been known in advance, they weren’t necessarily known to all interested parties. I also think that the two House committees can each in their own way, take some small satisfaction for constructive contributions. Jerry North likes to say that science is “self-correcting”; it is but so are markets. That doesn’t mean that you can’t have “market imperfections” and Mann’s hockey stick would appear to be such a case in science. (Actually “market imperfections” is a very useful concept for this sort of analysis, now that I mention it.)

The two panels have made useful contributions to resolve issues that were in dispute — not all the issues — but they’ve dealt with some bottleneck issues. (Here I take specific findings about bristlecones or verification statistics or principal components as having more weight than where they simply reviewed literature.)

I’m puzzled by the announcement of another hearing on July 27th. This seems like a strange turn of events. In the room, it really felt like the committee had totally lost interest in Mann and the hockey stick, that the topic had run its course by the end of the day and that the committee was merely going through the motions in the second panel. I presume that the new hearing must have come from some sort of initiative from Mann and now wants to appear — I guess he didn’t like the Mann Overboard tone of the proceedings. In his shoes, I’d probably have ignored it and got on with things.

Think about it – they invited Mann, but didn’t insist on it and were content with Mann suggesting a stand-in (Crowley as a “proxy” for Mann, if you will); plus they seemed to have “moved on”. Now if Mann appears, no one can accuse the committee of “intimidating” Mann into appearing, he’s done so on his own free volition and even initiative.

In the shoes of the Committee – either party, I’d be irritated at Mann not showing up on the given day. I’d be inclined to have one person there (that’s all that were at the Government Reform committee most of the second panel); let Mann speak for his 5 minutes, thank him for attending and close the session without asking any questions. Let him know who sets the schedule and agenda.

But what will happen? Wait for the next cliffhanging episode of As the Hockey Stick Turns, or should that be Desperate Hockey Sticks?

Or maybe Survivor Season #8: the Hockey Team. This week was the Mann Overboard episode in which “Mike” got voted off the island. Next week, “Mike” tries to get back on the island. Breathtaking suspense.

277 Comments

  1. TCO
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Good work, Steve. I kinda had a feeling you would all go out together afterwards. Will you be there for the 27th?

  2. TCO
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:03 PM | Permalink

    Could you comment a bit on your interactions with the scientists? I guess I’m wondering your impression of their brilliance or lack thereof.

  3. Reid
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Steve: “Our story is pretty small-time stuff, but it’s sure interesting to have a ring-side seat.”

    You are too humble. The deconstruction of the hockey stick is the proverbial butterfly flapping it wings in Brazil causing a tornado in Kansas.

    The other day you chided me for saying the Wegman report is a nail in the coffin of AGW. I respectfully disagree. Scientifically speaking you are correct. But politically speaking it may turn into a tornado.

  4. per
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:35 PM | Permalink

    fascinating stuff; you could see the legal backgrounds coming through in the questioning.

    Thought it was fantastic. Shame you didn’t get much coverage in the questioning, but you were raising a series of new issues for them. You’ll get traction sooner or later, tho’.

    brilliant stuff and a magisterial performance

    per

  5. Lee
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:43 PM | Permalink

    Reid, have you carefully read the NAS report? The parts about other data supporting milleniascale climate anomalies int eh late 20th century? MBH 98/99 is not the only leg for the AGW stool – far from it.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    per, when you saw it, did you get the same sense of Mann Overboard? Or was I reading this into the byplay?

  7. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    I’m not sure that Mann’s counsel has given him very good advice so far.

    Well, I’m sure he’s told Mann to stop his negative and baseless rants about “two Canadian non-scientists,” which would be good advice. Maybe he truly is on vacation and that it’s to his credit that he’ll be showing-up next week.

    Hanson also is apparently “under the weather,” and another reason he said he refused an invitation is because he doesn’t think Congress gives a crap about doing anything about climate change and isn’t going to waste his time and breath on them.

    Gore also passed on an invite to one of the events, but I’m not sure which one (he had a “book signing in Northern VA” that was apparently more important). The quotes Tom Davis of Iowa made in an article I read about Gore turning-down the invitation seemed pretty snide…which I thought was fully appropriate.

    In reflecting on Mann’s behavior and responses to the critiques brought forth by M&M and others, and hearing the “it doesn’t matter” response, I’m reminded of the Black Knight’s state of denial in Monty Python’s “the Holy Grail.”

    • sandeep123000
      Posted Aug 26, 2010 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      i am agree.

  8. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Re:#5
    Definitely MO. Don’t lawyers have some sort of rule about not wasting time defending the indefensible? They’ve moved on, and even Crowley said that Mann’s methodology was mistaken.
    Your opening statement was very well done, definitely down to fighting weight — maybe you could give Wegman some tips?
    For the political junkies, it was also interesting to see the Republican Rep from NH clearly looking for some sort of compromise initiative that both sides of the subcommittee could support. I was disappointed that data access and archiving issues didn’t get more play (Karl seemed to be playing it very “safe” and I noticed he seemed to get some of the science wrong when he talked about determining past temps from ice cores using isotope “decay” methods rather than ratios).

  9. Jim Erlandson
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Jerry North likes to say that science is “self-correcting”

    In today’s WSJ OpinionJournal, Milton Friedman is quoted:

    In every discipline, progress comes from people who make hypotheses, most of which turn out to be wrong, but all of which ultimately point to the right answer.

  10. Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Excellent work! and I think that your gentlemanly “let’s have a beer afterwards” manner is constructive. I wished that you have been given more time and more questions. I saw most of the hearing and made some notes. I thought that the question and answer session was quite lawyerly, where the questioners tended to only ask questions in which they already knew the answer. There as a tendency for the questioners to only look for answers which supported their pre-defined positions.

    I really wanted to see someone put the hockey stick in the following context. I previously posted here , but I think that it’s worth repeating:

    The existence of a hockey stick would strongly suggest that the current state of climate change is beyond what would be expected from natural variation, and would be moderately strong circumstantial “proof” of AGW. The absence of a hockey stick certainly weakens, but does not destroy the argument for significant AGW.

    I heard three main reasons why a hearing on MHB98 and MBH99 was irrelevant and a “waste of time”:

    1) The methodology MBH98 and MBH99 was somewhat “discredited”, though the hearing appeared to conclude that subsequent studies using proper methodology had successfully reproduced hockey-sticks (no MWP). Even if MBH98 and MBH99 were completely discredited, the other “proper” studies affirmed their original conclusions. I heard no testimony that was critical of any subsequent reconstructions. Maybe I missed that testimony.

    2) The argument for AGW was supported by other “forcing” studies not explicitly mentioned. I strongly suspect that they are referring to chapter 10 in the NAS report and Hanson’s work. Lindzen has been critical of these studies and says that the uncertainties have been underestimated (or discreetly unreported). An audit of these studies would be interesting.

    3) Someone in the second panel (Crowley?)stated that a temperature reconstruction which showed a high temperature variations (no hockey stick) would actually be worse than a hockey stick, because this would prove that the climate is unstable and more susceptible to instabilities induced by CO2 forcings. I believe that it was Cuffey at the NAS press conference that made a similar statement. I think that an argument could be made that highly variable historical temperatures would suggest that external forcings have been underestimated and are not necessarily an indication of an unstable feedback system.

    I think that this blog has become a hobbby for some people:)

  11. Doug L
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    Lost interest? LOL. One of those Democrats was a real pit bull with Wegman, but a pussy cat with McIntyre. This is what those Democrat speeches said in effect:

    This is a waste of time. We don’t want the science scrutinized because all that matters is CO2 is evil and we got enough proof of that.

    So the Democrats weren’t going to give Steve M much of a chance to say anything interesting. As for the Republicans, perhaps they got enough bread crumbs to follow up on. One possibility: the hockey stick doesn’t matter, but if it’s true then the situation is even worse!

  12. JerryB
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Welcome back! And, thank you again for all your efforts.

    It would have been nice if you would have been allowed to ask Crowley, under the “whole truth” clause, to identify the components of the CH blend. :-)

    As someone noted in another thread, your reply to the “cold shoulder” question was delightful.

  13. Rod Montgomery
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 3:44 PM | Permalink

    Were any of the Congresscritters interested in the issues of archiving and disclosure of data and methods? Or were they fixated on the specifics of the Hockey Stick?

    Those seem to me to be the more important issues in the long run: if government spending on “scientific research” is just one more flavor of pork, with no insistence that it be spending on *science*, we have a problem far wider than one constellation of botched studies of paleoclimatology.

  14. TAC
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I was at the hearing on the 19th, I follow the Hill pretty closely — used to work there — and have been to lots of hearings. “Mann overboard” is being generous: No one even offered him a hand (e.g. tried to defend his methods, or him, for that matter). I am curious about what he will say on the 27th.

    If Congress had not abolished its Office of Technology Assessment (OTA), it would likely now be issuing a serious report characterizing all the Wegman and NAS findings. My guess is that, without OTA, we will likely see the Congressional Research Service issue a 2-pager on the hockey stick — some sort of summary of arguments. Maybe that’s enough.

  15. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    Steve- A minor correction – we were all also sworn in at the House Government Reform Hearing.

  16. WarmerThanThou
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    #10 Like your comment on the view that CO2 is evil. I believe that the atmosphere is composed of roughly the following: 78% nitrogen, 20% oxygen, 2% water vapor, and 0.04% CO2, along with other relatively small contributions. But this an amoral molecular weighting. I would like to now re-sort the list from least evil to most evil. I will use a Church of the Warmers Evil Scale, as follows:

    Nitrogen and oxygen are basically transparent to solar energy so they do not materially contribute to any greenhouse effect – AMEN! These substances are not the least bit evil. Using the Church of the Warmers Evil Scale they as pure hearted as a tenured Berkely professor driving his Prius downhill to protest a new WalMart.

    Water vapor (which dominates CO2 on a volume basis) is prone to being as important as CO2 with regard to greenhouse effect. It has a very complex global cycle and is exceedingly difficult to program into the global climate models. However, let it be known that water is not evil because man does not make water – CAN I GET AN AMEN FROM BROTHER AL! Water’s sins are hereby ignored and the church will defend water against all assaults regarding its “alledged” greenhouse behavior. Anyone casting stones at water instead of CO2 will find their entry barred to every single Starbucks location – even the drive-throughs.

    And now we come to it – CO2!!! Only 0.04% of the atmosphere but every 0.01% is as evil as George Bush’s soul on the Church’s evil scale – GET THEE BEHIND ME SATAN! The Church hereby proclaims that all CO2 will be hunted down as heretics and sequestered for eternity. All persons under our political authority will surrender large volumes of cash to our Global Warming Bishops so that they may undertake the capture of this evil CO2. No person will question or interfere with this effort. The Church of Global Warming judges that CO2 is the most evil gas in the universe – well the man-made portion anyway.

  17. per
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    did you get the same sense of Mann Overboard?

    I think my comment about lawyers comes up again; the evidence that was given (by both North and Wegeman and I think everybody else) was in agreement that there were specific errors. The lawyers were not being argumentative about that; merely trying to establish what does and does not follow from that.

    I don’t think I would go as far as Mann Overboard, because the evidence is of a technical error. But MBH’98/99 are holed below the waterline, this is now a matter of public record and no-one will want to use a study which is known to be flawed.

    In support of Mann Overboard, Barton didn’t have to say much, and was in ebullient good humour all the time, like a cat with cream; the evidence spoke for him. Once Mann has been shown to be in error once, it will be so much easier to pin other things on him.

    An outstandingly positive outcome.

    congrats
    per

  18. jae
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 5:31 PM | Permalink

    Steve: great work! I think your efforts have also killed the “The Debate Is Over” crap. There is now clearly one hell of a lot to debate about.

  19. CasualBrowser
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    Did anyone get a recording of this?

  20. HANS KELP
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 6:06 PM | Permalink

    And Steve Mc´intyre, your standing in the scientific community as such I´m shure has reached a new state of respect and accept. From now on I´m shure they will be willing to both listen to and also discuss your opinions more openly, and I´m also shure it´s partly because of the way you keep adhering to cold statistical facts. That means a lot to me. You might be wrong but you are mostly proved right and thats what counts, at least to me. I congratulate you with your obviously very fine performance on the 19th.

    Best wishes and keep up the good work, I watch it closely every day the whole week round. Some call it a hobby. I call this site a very very learning and educational source of information. Thank You.

    Hans Kelp

  21. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    RE#18 – July 19 Committee hearing webcast (~5.5 hours) is at:

    http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07192006hearing1987/hearing.htm

  22. Tim Ball
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    The problem with climate research was and remains the focus on specious studies. The Whitfield hearing and the debate here does exactly the same thing. The focus is so narrow that the volume of evidence for natural variability and causation of change is effectively swept aside.

    A standard debating technique is to keep people so focussed on one small point that they lose sight of the larger picture and lose any chance of the truth being revealed. I have watched as month after month year after year individual studies of one small segment of the entire white noise that is climate is rushed forward as pivotal. Volcanoes, Sea Surface Temperatures, ocean currents such as El Nino/La Nina, sulfates, soot, land use, are just a fraction of the ‘explanations’ so the public, who don’t pretend to understand, are completely confused.

    From my experience of talking with the public (about 100 presentations a year) the most telling evidence was that past climates changed considerably all the time and today’s conditions were well within the natural range. Historic time scales such as 400 or 1000 years are comprehensible and evidence of Viking experience very human.

    The AGW group needed ‘scientific’ evidence to eliminate the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age. Tree rings, ice cores and detailed statistical techniques couldn’t be contested or even understood by most people yet provided the visual dynamite of the hockey stick. Mann’s study provided all these benefits. Besides eliminating evidence that was understandable to the public the hockey stick was the long sought "human signal" or in another simile, the smoking gun. This is why it was so eagerly and blindly accepted; many wanted it to be true.

    Its importance was reflected in Mann’s ability to make it such a prominent part of the TAR Summary for Policymakers. Notice that Mann’s work does not make the connection with CO2 but that became an unquestioned given since natural variability and causes remain essentially unknown or unclear. This is a titanic hole below the water line.

    However, Mann will not concede. He will simply say that it is a singe study that does not negate the human influence on climate. He will suggest you can reject the hockey stick but don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Now we must show how the computer models, the sole source of all warming predictions, are riddled with error, misuse of data, and based on false assumptions.

    John A: I’ve put in some paragraphing. Sheesh, don’t they do paragraphs in Canada?

  23. Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    Steve, you have done a marvellous job.

    In New Zealand, we have just been told that signing Kyoto could cost us billions because we have stopped planting trees and they got their orignal numbers wrong anyway. So many people are loooking of a way out and the Wegman report is a big help. The Government steadfastly says “the scinece is settled” and fewer and fewer people believe them.

    An article I wrote for a newspaper includes this:

    “If it becomes generally accepted that the hockey stick has no scientific merit and that the computer models cannot be relied on, it seems to me that there is a risk of a sudden collapse of everything associated with heavily subsidized renewable energy projects, carbon trading, “Clean Development Mechanisms” and the like. Coal mines and coal fired power stations will increase in value. Gas may even drop. Those who have put themselves forward as experts and yet have failed to take steps to assure themselves that the science is soundly based may find that their careers and professional reputations are at risk.

    Whichever way you look at it, the Wegman report tells us that now is the time for serious reflection and risk management. Beyond a shadow of doubt, “the science is not settled” and we must look at the science and the economics underlying claims of dangerous man-made global warming before we do anything else.”

  24. DonPedro
    Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 10:03 PM | Permalink

    If or when US Congress finds the HS to be a hoax, I would like their assistance to request a new report showing all studies and efforts that have build upon it and also should be ditched. And also, how much did this scam cost in total?

  25. Posted Jul 22, 2006 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    re#25

    I don’t think it is the money at stake that is the driving force, it is the power. Some (not all) of the congressmen want power. What better way to focus power in their hands than to control the energy industry via CO2. And the idea of AGW appeals to parts of their voting base who beleive that delevelopment and a market economy is basically evil.

  26. McCall
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:31 AM | Permalink

    Also my congratulations, Mr. McIntyre.

    There will be other collateral victims, outside the HT. Dr Lambert’s claimed stats background is deep enough to suggest that he should have known that MBH’9x was fatally flawed, after reading versions M&M’0x. If true, his ideology got in the way of intellectual honesty. His spin will certainly continue, but his screw-up defending the stats is there for all to see.

    If, as Dr Ball and others suggest, that the computer models are the next logical investigative area, Dr Hansen will likely be among those under scrutiny. As one of the fathers of modern climate modeling, some of his models and public proclaimations derived thereof, date back to the 70s!

    We’ll see what Drs Mann and Hansen have to say next (and in the coming) week(s).

  27. Bruce
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:34 AM | Permalink

    Re:#22: Tim, if you look towards the right side of your keyboard there is a key called “Enter.” If you press that every now and then, it breaks great long blocks of text into smaller, more readable blocks, often called paragraphs. I have the impression that what you say is useful, but I do find it hard to read. :-)

  28. Kevin
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 1:15 AM | Permalink

    re#26: I agree, Robert, that power in fact may be the chief motivator but we should not ignore financial gain (or ideology or mere personal ambition). What I call Global Warming Fundamentalism is also a global movement, and has a lot more than a few U.S. representatives in its pocket.

    re#27: The models and the surface temperature records will not withstand scrutiny, in my view as a statistician. As I mentioned in an earlier post, turn the statisticians loose on these during the course of a formal congressional investigation and it will be a slaughter.

  29. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:21 AM | Permalink

    So, #22, you’re going to re-write computer models (finding you want to find) and then you’re, #29, gonna re-write the surface record (to your liking). Then, you’ll both need to re-write glacier history to show they’re all actually advancing. Follow that by rubbishing the sat data (you used to love them when they said the right thing (not much warming) – now, they’ll have to go to).

    Then, give it a decade, you’ll be able to say ‘look, it’s cooling down according to the sats and the surface record, the new corrected models predict further cooling, the CO2 is coming from volcanoes, glaciers are advancing’ etc etc?

    Go for it! It should be fun.

  30. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:40 AM | Permalink

    So, #22, you’re going to re-write computer models (finding you want to find) and then you’re, #29, gonna re-write the surface record (to your liking). Then, you’ll both need to re-write glacier history to show they’re all actually advancing. Follow that by rubbishing the sat data (you used to love them when they said the right thing (not much warming) – now, they’ll have to go to).

    Poisoning the well.

  31. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

    Re 8: Unfortunately I didn’t listen to the Congressional Hearings last week and haven’t had time to read all the testimonies yet. However we do need to be careful about statements such as…

    ‘and I noticed he seemed to get some of the science wrong when he talked about determining past temps from ice cores using isotope “decay” methods rather than ratios).’

    There are methods to determine past temperature changes using isotope ‘decay’ methods. This is independent of isotope methods based on the oxygen delta 18-O composition of the ice core and should not to be confused with radioactive decay. The underlying principle is that there is thermal and gravitational fractionation of gas isotopes within the firn layer of the uppermost ice sheet. A sudden temperature change at the surface introduces a ‘spike’ into the isotope composition of the gas at the base of the firn layer. This is because isotope diffusion occurs at a faster rate than thermal diffusion in the firn. The spike gradually decays away as a new thermal equilibrium is established. The measurement is made on nitrogen (15-N and 14-N) and argon (40 Ar and 36 Ar) gas trapped in the ice core. The argon measurement provides a correction for gravitational separation and allows an estimate of the firn thickness.

    To my knowledge this method has not been used to study temperature changes of the past millenia or so. It’s been used to look at sharp temperature changes at the end of glacial periods. Strictly speaking the method is not a proxy thermometer. It responds to sudden changes in temperature. If the temperature change is slow enough that the temperature at the base of the firn layer tracks the surface changes then there is no change in isotope composition. Also, the change in isotope composition is relatively small and thus the sensitivity with respect to temperature is not that good.

  32. joshua corning
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:45 AM | Permalink

    So, #22, you’re going to re-write computer models (finding you want to find) and then you’re, #29, gonna re-write the surface record (to your liking). Then, you’ll both need to re-write glacier history to show they’re all actually advancing. Follow that by rubbishing the sat data (you used to love them when they said the right thing (not much warming) – now, they’ll have to go to).

    I belive much of the debate stems from GW Vs AGW….few if any serious skeptic would contest that the world is warming (surface record, glacier history, sat data). The skeptic has problems with if this warming is unpresidented and the lack of strong evidence that links it to human activity….3 of the 4 examples you provided give no evidence that human activity is the cause….and models are less like evidence but rather more like “what if” senerios.

  33. David H
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:47 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps I haven’t been looking hard enough but I have not seen or heard a single media report in the UK of Steve’s stunning victory. Has anyone seen anything?

    On the other hand AGW scare is business as usual. I just heard on the news that those of us who go to Church are to be told that flying on holiday and buying 4 x 4s (SUVs) are sins! That should do wonders for attendance.

  34. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:54 AM | Permalink

    Re #31, John Tim Ball, #22, said this “Now we must show how the computer models, the sole source of all warming predictions, are riddled with error, misuse of data, and based on false assumptions.”, a conclusion before the kangaroos sit. Kevin, #29, said this, “The models and the surface temperature records will not withstand scrutiny, in my view as a statistician. As I mentioned in an earlier post, turn the statisticians loose on these during the course of a formal congressional investigation and it will be a slaughter.” another conclusion before the kangaroos sit. So, bluster all you want, I’m just pointing out whats being said.

  35. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:57 AM | Permalink

    #33, joshua, poster #29 clearly doesn’t think the surface record is right, and therefore doesn’t agree it warming.

  36. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    re 30: Peter I don’t think it is a question of rewriting the computer programmes. We simply need to take the predictions of the models and test them against some data. This is a simple Popperian approach that I think you may have advocated yourself. It does not matter if we find areas where they agree with observation. If there are areas where they fail to agree then they are at fault and need looking at.

    Further, you have mentioned the tropospheric data set several times in recent weeks. John Christie, in his evidence on Thursday (his testimony is available on the web) has given a remarkably clear statement of the situation regarding the difference between surface and tropospheric temperature trends. If you read it you will see that he is very far from agreeing that the sat data is in agreement with the surface data. From recollection he seems to suggest that one set of data is in closer agreement with the surface data, whilst seven sets are not! Moreover, the disparity is still strongly evident in the tropics.

    Interestingly in his testimony he also eloquently describes surface records for the central valley and sierra nevada in California. The data set is amongst the best ever collated and certainly the most thorough analysis of any surface temperature data done to date. His conclusions are simple: the valley temperature record is consistent with the recorded land use changes. The Sierra record, where ther have been very few land use changes, show no temperature change at all in the past 100 years. He also points out that computer models predict the Sierra to be one of the regions most sensitive to warming!

    Now what are we to do with the models?

  37. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:26 AM | Permalink

    Peter, the url for John Christy’s testimony is here. It is an exemplar of clear presentation.

    reform.house.gov/UploadedFiles/UA%20-%20Christy%20Testimony.pdf

    I quote from his testimony:

    ‘The conclusion of the paper was that there is likely a significant difference between the surface and atmospheric trends, with the atmosphere being cooler. This is significant because all the model simulations indicate the atmosphere should be warming faster than the surface if greenhouse influences are correctly included in the climate models’

    The papers he refers to are currently in press in Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology and Journal of Geophysics Research.

  38. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:27 AM | Permalink

    #37, Paul,

    We simply need to take the predictions of the models and test them against some data. This is a simple Popperian approach that I think you may have advocated yourself.

    Indeed -it’s been done. They, the scientists involved, have done this (blimey, you must have at least dipped into IPCC 2001, Hanson’s stuff?) and there is a ‘match’. Of course the match isn’t perfect – no computer model is perfect. But I think if all models predicted a duck and in reality we got something that quacks, waddles and likes bread then they are probably on the right lines. If they predicted a duck and we got instead quadrapeds then maybe you and TB have a point, but that aint the reality. I’m not into denying ducks and shouting ‘bovine’ :).

    For me to accept the sceptic case (which one though? moderate 1C warming, no warming, all the metrics are wrong and it’s actually cooling, the CO2 is all volcanic nonsense, the conspiracy theory of it all being a leftie, greenie, enviro plot – pick one (I can live with the first btw)) you/they need to do more that to shout ‘VICTORY IS OURS!’ when you/they have to your satisfaction (only) trashed one science paper from 1998.

    Oh, and yes, as I understand it the satellite surface match isn’t perfect, it’s just much closer than it was. Actually, if you look at recent satellite data is does semm to be showing really strong NH warming and much,if any, less SH warming. Really odd that, the ‘ice problem’?

  39. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:00 AM | Permalink

    Peter, its simple…..1000 matches, one falsification..the models are wrong and need to be refined. This is the essence of the Popperian approach.

    Here we have a fundamental flaw. The atmospheric temperature record does not match the surface record. All the models predict that the atmospheric record should show a faster rate of warming. We do not see this, even taking into account the recent revisions to the atmospheric record.

    This is not a question of cherry picking areas of the earth that might or not match prediuctions of models with respect to temperature, precipitation etc. It is a fundamental mismatch between predictions of what happens at the surface and in the atmosphere.

    I don’t think IPCC 2001 can for one moment be taken as an up to date summary of the status of climate models. I’m not talking about tuning to match a present day observation. I’m looking at a model prediction having tuned it and then testing it for conditions different to the present day. The models fail just about every test. Having tuned a model can you predict an ice age response to different solar forcings…NO. You need to retune the models for this. Do the models predict natural climate variability. There are other tests too that the models all fail.

    Now I’m all for models BUT they have to be proven and robust. There isn’t a single one out there that this can be said for. All I’m arguing for, and I’m sure you agree with me, is that we do good science and present the results in as clear and open a way as we can to our peers and the wider community. I’m not certain that this is being done by groups on both sides of the debate and I’m writing as a professional scientist.

  40. Kevin
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

    No. 33: As I professional statistician I do not “re-write” data nor do like or dislike data. In my world, you don’t believe or disbelieve something just because you feel like it. One does not become emotionally involved with an hypothesis. This is called Science. Take or leave it.

  41. Jack Lacton
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:24 AM | Permalink

    #39

    Obviously, you have missed the fact that nearly every single public policy document on AGW has been based on the results of that 1998 paper including all of the major headline statements. It’s not just ‘some old paper’ like the warmers are now describing it.

    Victory has been won, in this case, by people whose honest analysis of the facts has revealed the truth.

  42. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:26 AM | Permalink

    John Tim Ball, #22, said this “Now we must show how the computer models, the sole source of all warming predictions, are riddled with error, misuse of data, and based on false assumptions.”, a conclusion before the kangaroos sit. Kevin, #29, said this, “The models and the surface temperature records will not withstand scrutiny, in my view as a statistician. As I mentioned in an earlier post, turn the statisticians loose on these during the course of a formal congressional investigation and it will be a slaughter.” another conclusion before the kangaroos sit. So, bluster all you want, I’m just pointing out whats being said

    There’s no bluster about it. We don’t know what ropey assumptions have gone into computer models because no-one has done a proper analysis of them.

    We have to assume the worst, as the previous “scientific consensus” based on the Hockey Stick has been shown to be “faith-based” and not “science-based”

  43. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:34 AM | Permalink

    Indeed -it’s been done. They, the scientists involved, have done this (blimey, you must have at least dipped into IPCC 2001, Hanson’s stuff?) and there is a “match’. Of course the match isn’t perfect – no computer model is perfect. But I think if all models predicted a duck and in reality we got something that quacks, waddles and likes bread then they are probably on the right lines. If they predicted a duck and we got instead quadrapeds then maybe you and TB have a point, but that aint the reality. I’m not into denying ducks and shouting “bovine’

    This would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t spend most of your time accusing well-qualified people of ignorance.

    The IPCC 2001 was dominated by the Hockey Stick – now debunked as statistical nonsense. Hansen’s "stuff" whatever that is, is not proven simply because it was included in the TAR any more than the Hockey Stick was "proven".

    Hansen’s more recent attempts to forge another consensus using computer modelling were also shown to be, at best, unlikely by Willis Eschenbach.

    Consistency between models is in the eye of the beholder. We do not know what parameters were added by the modellers in order to sustain warming, nor what assumptions were made.

    A billion climate modelling runs is worth less than a single point of empirical and verifiable data.

    Stop accusing people of ignorance simply because they take a much dimmer view of the shibboleths of global warming than you.

  44. Kevin
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:45 AM | Permalink

    My advice to all who have not yet done so: Read TAR, in its entirety. The science is clearly NOT settled.

  45. Reid
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:59 AM | Permalink

    The IPCC scientific reports admit that the GCM’s have no skill at predicting the future and are only scenarios. Yet the IPCC political summary reports use GCM’s as a main pillar of proof for AGW.

    All the scientists who say we have to improve the GCM’s and audit them are fooling themselves. There isn’t a computer model of a complex chaotic system in any field of study that doesn’t produce noise as time progresses in the model.

    We know this yet otherwise serious scientists talk about improving the models. All they will be doing is refining a scenario and not increasing the prediction skill from zero.

    Look into the work of Edward Lorenz. It is devastating to notion that GCM’s can be made skillful.

  46. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    I’ll play devil’s advocate here and argue that GCMs don’t necessarily need to be able to predict with absolute certainty in order to be useful tools.

    IF the GCMs are based upon well-understood processes in the atmosphere, oceans, etc. and IF they have the correct external forcings input, then they will have SOME predictive power. But, they won’t be able to predict the future perfectly. In that situation, however, they will still be useful as an “alternate earth”, where you can fiddle with the parameters and see what might happen. I suspect that no GCMs available today meet these requirements anyway, so the point is a little moot. But I do think they could answer questions about CO2, solar forcings, etc. without actually being able to accurately predict far into the future. But, I would expect if they had the power to answer those questions, they would at least be somewhat predictive.

    This business of dropping CO2 bombs in the atmosphere is riduculous though. There’s no point doing model runs if you aren’t going to be realistic about it. Simulate an exponential CO2 curve, like what we actually have, and see what happens. And if you do 100 runs and 10 of those give non-sensical answers, chances are your model is broken. Don’t just throw those ten away and pretend the other 90 are valid. It’s time to go back to the drawing board…

  47. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

    Re #39:

    Peter, all models are proven wrong for recent cloud cover changes in the Arctic:

    There is a significant deviation between the models when it comes to cloud cover, and even though the average between the models closely resembles the observed average on an annual basis, the seasonal variation is inaccurate: the models overestimate the cloud cover in the winter and underestimate it in the summer.

    The result of this is that models overestimate temperatures in summer and underestimate cooling in winter, thus overestimate overall (future) warming.

    All models underestimate cloud cover changes in the tropics. The change in insolation (2-3 W/m2) and outgoing IR (~5 W/m2) is an order of magnitude larger than the extra heat retention expected from the change in GHGs in the same period.

    Ferdinand

  48. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:12 AM | Permalink

    Re #44,

    This would be a whole lot easier if you didn’t spend most of your time accusing well-qualified people of ignorance.

    John, you’d be well advised to take your own advice. Not that experience teaches you settle for calling people ignorant…

    Besides, I didn’t accuse PD of ignorance and he clearly isn’t ignorant (nor, to be clear, is anyone else here for that matter, though there are undoubtedly things we all don’t know). Of course it does depend upon how you define ‘ignorant’. No one here is ‘lacking knowledge or awareness in general’ but most of us are ‘(ignorant of) uninformed about or unaware of a specific subject’. I suspect you meant the former, I admit to the latter myself – as we probably all should. My tone to PD was more of disbelief, PD must know the models have been tested.

    #40, seriously? You’d reject 999 models if one showed otherwise? Not ‘wrong’ surely? But ‘not perfect’?

  49. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    #37. Paul, you wrote:

    Interestingly in his testimony he also eloquently describes surface records for the central valley and sierra nevada in California. The data set is amongst the best ever collated and certainly the most thorough analysis of any surface temperature data done to date. His conclusions are simple: the valley temperature record is consistent with the recorded land use changes. The Sierra record, where ther have been very few land use changes, show no temperature change at all in the past 100 years.

    There’s an interesting link here to the bristlecones and foxtails – the foxtails are in the Sierra Nevadas, the bristlecones in the White Mountains on the other side of the Owens Valley about 30 miles away. The strongest hockey stick comes from sites with no tempeerature change – the lack of correlation with gridcell temperatures and more limited local records was already known, but this will presumably be as good evidence of lack of correlation of this proxy to temperature – low-frequency or high-frequency – as one can seek.

  50. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    Ferd, not ‘proven wrong’, but not perfect. I’ll take Nicholas’s view. They’ll never be perfect, that doesn’t mean they’re by definition ‘wrong’.

    I see we’re, #46, back on chaos again. Reid, if climate is truly chaotic it might be 65C in Britain tomorrow, -65C on Tuesday. It wont be because climate is constrained by physical reality.

  51. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:28 AM | Permalink

    Kaufmann has argued that, for NH temperature estimates, GCMs do not out-perform simple linear regression models given the forcing factors. That’s an important issue to explain.

    Second, an important tool in modern presentations in the spaghetti graph of "model ensembles". But we know little about how the model runs are selected. For example, in the climateprediction.net experiment, some of the models go off the rials (the "cold equator" cases, for example. I presume that the submitted runs of the models all conform to some expectation and are not selected by chance.

    Thirdly, some of the reliance on models involves an assumption that modeling errors are not biased relative to the effect. This means that intercomparisons need to be extrmely attentive to evidence of effects where ALL the models err in the same way – as this is an area of systemic weakness. For example, all the TAR models had a too cold tropopause. Things like that need to be CLEARLT enumerated and listed in the risk factors and work areas. I can think of reasons why this particular systemic error might not be just incidental, but indicate an over-estimate of climate sensitivity to 2xCO2.

  52. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:57 AM | Permalink

    The above discussion of computer climate models could benefit by referring to the following:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=755

    Please see posts 321, 323, 326 to 329,334, and 336 to 338.

    In #338 I’ve attempted to summarize, as follows:

    Thanks again to Douglas Hoyt for his valuable comments. I hope he will stay on this site and continue his contributions.

    It is regrettable and indeed reprehensible that atmospheric aerosol data has not been fully analyzed, when billions have been spent elsewhere on bogus “climate research”, much of it little more than alarmist propaganda – intended to raise the level of fear rather than help understand this complex issue.

    For example, I recently came across an article (no doubt well-funded) that claimed that poison ivy was growing faster and more virulent because of increased atmospheric CO2 levels. It is well-established that increased atmospheric CO2 is a very effective fertilizer of most/all plants, but apparently poison ivy is fundable, but similarly increased yields of wheat, corn and soybeans are of less interest. I have also seen numerous studies by biologists and geographers which assume an alarming level of warming (e.g. greater than 4-5 degrees C) and then predict the resulting reduction or extinction of a plant or animal species within a particular geographic area – these well-funded studies are, in general, just more examples of “garbage in, garbage out”.

    Conclusions (Primary, subject to revision):

    A. The climate computer models that claim history-matching, including the 1940-1975 cooling period, used fabricated aerosol data and are therefore rejected as unsound.

    B. Adequate research funding should immediately be allocated to analyze the aerosol data, as far back as such data is available.

    C. History-matching of climate computer models should be re-run using the actual aerosol data and the results compared to the previous runs using the fabricated data.

    Predictions (Fearless) :

    1. Using actual rather than fabricated aerosol data, properly history-matched climate computer models will illustrate that more than 80% of the current warming trend is due to natural factors such as solar radiance, and less than 20% is due to humanmade causes. Using such corrected models, projections of future warming due to human activity (assuming a doubling of atmospheric CO2 to 560 ppm) will equal less than 0.3 degrees C.

    2. Natural solar-driven cooling, which will begin prior to ~2020 during Solar Cycle 25, will overwhelm the current warming trend.

    Regards, Allan

  53. Reid
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:22 AM | Permalink

    Re #51: “back on chaos again”

    Chaos is the elephant in the GCM room that scientists, both pro and con, refuse to see. The GCM are useful for understanding processes but useless in multi-decadal predictions.

    Paul Penrose posted a comment a few weeks ago about computer models that did an excellent job of describing how they are contrived.

  54. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    Re: #51

    Reid, if climate is truly chaotic it might be 65C in Britain tomorrow, -65C on Tuesday.

    Peter, You’re confusing “random” with “chaotic”. You were half doing a good job today of pretending to know what you’re talking about but this is a bit of a give-away. Chaos does not require that there be sudden jumps in a variable. Indeed, the equations for a physical situation which include chaotic regions generally are continuous. What changes is the predictability of a situation over time due to the sensitivity on initial conditions.

  55. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:36 AM | Permalink

    re 51:

    For climate models some objective benchmarks should be defined, based on which their results should be rejected. In my memory it’s the worst performing models that yield the extreme temperature runs.

  56. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    Please stop the chaos postings on this thread. It’s not an issue that I think is an important one for the issues at hand, but, in any event, can be discussed on another occasion as the arguments are well-worn.

  57. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Steve M., in addition to the point of systemic errors, the comment of Martin Lewitt on RC:

    Recent evidence now shows, that all the AR4 models, yes “all”, show a systematic bias against solar forcing, the leading competing theory to anthro GHG warming. They all have a positive albedo bias. For references, see the Roesch (2006) and Bender (2006) in my comments here: Science blogs

    See also further replies and comments of the same topic at RC…

  58. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Steve M,

    If you’re going to discuss GCMs you’re going to have to discuss Chaos (and you did discuss GCMs in #52). Chaos is precisely why different model runs diverge. We can use different terminology to indicate the same dependence on initial conditions, but I think it’s easier to use the well-established term.

    Note that the chaotic tendencies of GCMs and their computational limitations are in theory separable, but in practice they overlap. I.e., even with unlimited computational abilities we’d still not get determinative results because of limited accuracy of real-world measurements. And no matter how data-dense we made our model, we’d be stuck with the fact that the equations (as instituted) are prone to chaos.

  59. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 8:31 AM | Permalink

    #39s: “the CO2 is all volcanic nonsense”
    This comment is clearly showing lack of reason and showing a blind un-ending belief in AGW if that’s all a person gets from a detailed conversation in another area of this blog. Not one person said that they believed the “CO2 was all volcanic” anywhere in that discussion. I participated in that discussion.

    What was discussed and asked: was there a clear understanding of the contributions of volcanic activity to the overall picture we are trying to understand here?

    Fact: nobody has really counted all of the volcanoes, especially the tens on thousands on the sea floor. 1511 volcanoes have erupted in the last 10,000 years and should be considered active. (This number is from the new Smithsonian Institution book, “Volcanoes of the World: Second Edition” compiled by Tom Simkin and Lee Siebert)

    AGW has killed how many people exactly ?

    Fact:
    In the last 200yrs : ~204,000 people have been killed by a volcano. And last week a 2-3ft tsunami killed 500+ people and that was barely reported in the news.

    How much money is spent on research to support the hypothesis of AGW from that 1998 paper? How many articles are printed each week? How often are scientists silenced or called names, or accused of nonsense who speak out and say “wait a minute” we don’t have correct models or understanding of proxies or the atmosphere, or how it all works so let’s slow down and stop spreading fear based assumptions!!

    And how many people are taxed and fined on behalf these assumptions? Why did SteveM have to go to Congress and Mann only sends a lawyer when the math/ facts/statistics were really looked at by those deemed professionals?

    I know why.
    AGW is a poster child for the promotion of a political and social ideology. #39’s comment above proves it to me. AGW all the time! Let’s misrepresent and twist everything possible to reflect what *I* think is true and most important : anything else considered is nonsense!

  60. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    John, you’d be well advised to take your own advice. Not that experience teaches you settle for calling people ignorant…

    Besides, I didn’t accuse PD of ignorance and he clearly isn’t ignorant (nor, to be clear, is anyone else here for that matter, though there are undoubtedly things we all don’t know). Of course it does depend upon how you define “ignorant’. No one here is “lacking knowledge or awareness in general’ but most of us are “(ignorant of) uninformed about or unaware of a specific subject’.

    No, what I mean is that one of your persistent tactics is to claim that people do not accept your point of view because they have not read the IPCC TAR or this or that scientific paper.

    Most of us have read the IPCC TAR. The IPCC TAR contains (other than the Hockey Stick) a lot of woolly sentences that try to minimize uncertainty by linguistic sleight-of-hand and phrases which appear designed to mislead by emphasizing a false certainty over conclusions which are disputable.

    This is the sort of rhetorical slipperiness that I saw in the NAS Panel report as well – an unwillingness to justify conclusions with reference to facts or even to get to grips with inherent uncertainty. I think that this whole paradigm of “Official Science” is very wrong, very costly and ultimately will collapse the confidence of the general public in science which will be disastrous.

  61. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    #49: Peter, the models are exactly that: models of the climate system. There hasn’t been a single model that adequately explains the fact that the atmosphere in the tropics is warming more slowly than the surface. For me this is a fundamental test of wether or not a model is adequately describing the behaviour of the ‘climate system’. The fact that they don’t implies there is a problem somewhere. Given this how can we place any confidence in so called ‘predictions’.

    Alan in #53, and at another thread has looked at the problems of aerosols. Models have been tuned to match the 1940-75 cooling by assuming an increased aerosol loading in the atmosphere. From posts by Douglas Hoyt it would seem there is little or no justification for such tuning.

    Similarly, in post #48, Ferdinand has pointed out the poor way in which models estimate cloud cover. The list goes on.

    The models are complex with very many variables. The more variables you have the easier it is to ‘tune’ a models response to match the present day climate. The test then is to take the models with the tuned response and see what it predicts. This might be a climate under a different set of forcing conditions e.g. ice ages, the Holocene climatic optimum; it might be regional differences in warming, it might be climate variability, or indeed the example I started with, the response of the troposhere.

    I have not seen a single model that convicingly tests well against such empirical data. Yes, the models produce lots of spaghetti graphs as Steve M pointed out, they produce good looking plots of regional temperature and precipitation changes. But these don’t pass muster when you look closely at the data.

    I don’t doubt that the models are an intellectual achievement, and help in understanding the way the climate system works. However, I suspect that more insight is potentially avaialable by looking at fundamental physical and chemical principles and incorporating these into simple box models of mass and energy transfer.

  62. Hans Erren
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    volcanic CO2

    Present-day carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from subaerial and submarine volcanoes are uncertain at the present time. Gerlach (1991) estimated a total global release of 3-4 x 10E12 mol/yr from volcanoes. This is a conservative estimate. Man-made (anthropogenic) CO2 emissions overwhelm this estimate by at least 150 times.

  63. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    #50 That’s an interesting observation Steve. For me the lack of correlation between foxtails/bristlecones and local temperature would have ruled them out as a proxy. I’m concerend about the teleconnection idea, unless the mechanism is CO2 fertilisation which, I think, is the basis of current understanding on the foxtails/bristlecones.

    I think John Christy’s testimony is an excellent document. His study of temperature changes in the valley and Sierra is exactly the kind of work we need doing for many other locations. The records are there, for example the Armagh observatory.

  64. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    Peter

    #33, joshua, poster #29 clearly doesn’t think the surface record is right, and therefore doesn’t agree it warming.

    Oh be reasonable. If one says that 1+1=7, and I say it’s wrong, does that mean I am claiming the result is less than zero? Saying the surface record is incorrect is far from saying there’s no warming.

    As far as ridiculously extrapolating in a previous post the comments on models and the surface record to things like glacier retreats…you know as well as I do that there were widespread glacier retreats global long before man-made GHG emissions were of any significance. Nobody is arguing that they are all advancing (althoug according to IPCC Fig 2.18, there are a number of them which are), the issue is man-made vs natural.

    May I suggest “Peter Overboard?”

    RE#59,

    AGW has killed how many people exactly ?

    According to “the science” link on Al Gore’s climatecrisis.net, the number of GW deaths will “double by 2050″ to “300,000.” Not sure that’s cumulative or annual, or where that claim is coming from (no references provided in his “the science” page).

    Of course, far more people die from cold-weather related deaths, but why bother reporting that? Killer heat waves make much better news, apparently.

    Fact:
    In the last 200yrs : ~204,000 people have been killed by a volcano. And last week a 2-3ft tsunami killed 500+ people and that was barely reported in the news.

    Ah, but AGW “may” cause more frequent tsunamis because rising sea levels will put more weight on top of ocean floors, making underwater plate shifts/earthquakes more likely to occur. And with rising sea levels putting more people globally at risk of tsunamis, more of us have the potential to be affected.

    I think the latest tsunami was actually 6ft. I guess everybody was kind of numb to it because it paled in comparison to the previous Indonesian tsunami. And I haven’t noticed any home videos of the event, either, which really grabs viewer/downloader attention.

  65. jae
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    “Peter overboard” What a great comment!

  66. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    #63. Aside from the detailed station records, the correlations to gridcell records were very poor. Osborn and Briffa 2006 claimed to have checked this; when I compared the foxtail chronology used by them to HAdCRu gridcell, the correlation was only 0.04 or so. Osborn/Briffa said that they had inaccurately reported the temperature data set that they used in Osborn and Briffa 2006( but didn’t feel that this warranted a correction.) They said that they actually used CruTem2, which started in 1888 from which they had a correlation of 0.19 – still not very impressive. They said that the data in the HadCRU datset from 1870 to 1888 was “spurious” – hardly very resassuring.

    There is station data going back to 1870 in the USHCN. My guess is that the CRUTem2 data set uses an old version of the USHCN, where station data only commences in 1888. Of course, the station data in CRUTem and HadCRU is undisclosed. It’s a typical can of worms.

  67. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Hans Erron, #62
    Yes we went through that.
    Here we go again.
    volcanos have 150x less influence compared to athropologic influence, but we don’t know everything. Yes.

    Sounds like a big numbers when you disregard uncertainties and imply how CO2 is the villian in the story of human verses Mother Earth. Posting this CO2 “fact” in light of my comment only inforces this argument:

    “”Humans are a big mistake, more are doomed if we don’t fix________, maybe it’s too late to fix _______ and you must listen to me and me only”

    Guess what? I believe humans belong here, and didn’t make horrible mistakes as we have evolved over time. On the contrary: we lived, we grew, we prospered and did the best we could.

    I also believe we have knowledge on our side. And, I really dislike the fear and guilt, negative and hate based thinking attached to any of the efforts proposed **for all of us** to continue our growth and quality of life as human beings. It is that attitude more than anything when discussing climate change (which is a fact of life with or without CO2) that is utterly irratating to reasonable people.

    #64 exactly

  68. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    #66 As with everything you have uncovered Steve there is little concern for disclosure. One assumes, though this might not necessarily be correct, that the source of the data for HadCRU and CRUTem are open access files. I’ll ask some questions and see what I can uncover.

    I need to read Christy’s paper on the valley and Sierra records very closely. Do you know how closely they match the gridcell record. From what I can determine John Christy used something like 17 stations in the valley and 23 in the Sierra. This should ensure a robust data set.

  69. Paul Dennis
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    #66 Steve is there any way I can write to you directly? Does smcintyre 25 AT yahoo.ca work?

  70. David H
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    Auditing the surface record is now a very important objective and as I recall every single witness on Wednesday agreed that the calculated results in papers upon which public policy is determined should be capable of replication.

    Part of the real warming we are experiencing is due to land use change and urbanisation. We need to know how much this is. Some of these higher temperatures may well be given more weight than is correct in some grid cells. We need to find out. Only when we have excluded these is there any point in arguing how much of what is left is due to the sun and how much increased GHC.

  71. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    I enjoyed your contributions in Washington, Steve, and congratulations! The pieces I saw indeed looked like Mann overboard, and I also guess that he will try to get back on board if he gets an opportunity. We will see. RealClimate.ORG in the newest article again tells us that neither of the errors affect the results. I also like the wise comments of many other debaters here.

  72. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    In addition to #64:

    Michael, I heard the same reasoning again and again, about the number of extra deaths during the 2003 heat wave in Europe. And that is extrapolated to the future, where in 2100, a 2003-like heat wave is likely to be a “cool” summer. But that is only one side of the story.

    The other side is that there will be less cold waves. And cold waves kill in average some 10 times more people than heat waves…

    Climate and people is some strange combination. According to Keatinge, for each region in Europe, there is a 3 C temperature band wich gives the least mortality. Outside that band, there is a higher mortality, but to the low side app. 10 times more than to the high side. The temperature band changes with the latitude: from around 15.8 C in North Finland to around 24.2 in Athens. It is clear that people can adapt to their local climate…

  73. Tim Ball
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    I hope this format suits everyone and apologize for previous problems.

    Re #45
    I agree the IPCC TAR science report clearly underlines the uncertainties, that is why the focus is always on controlling the Summary for Policymakers (SPM). It will happen again with AR4.

    Re #30
    I do not wish to rewrite anything. Your comments indicate you don’t know that I was as opposed to predictions of continued global cooling in the 1970s when it was the consensus. Consensus is not a scientific fact – it wasn’t then and it isn’t now. I seek logical factual evidence with proven ability to predict in order to prove or disprove the theory that current warming is due to human additon of CO2 to the atmosphere. Unfortunately, as Lindzen said the consensus was reached before the research had even begun. Now as the evidence accumulates it is increasingly evident the thesis is not proved; but still I reserve judgment.

    The major evidence ‘proving’ the theory was the output of computer models. A few simple questions and comments will underscore the problems.
    Why do they assume a doubling of CO2? There is no evidence this will occur and as I understand even if it does there is an upper limit to the amount of temperature increase. This is why they have had to invoke feedback mechanisms with WV while ignoring most other feedbacks. This practice of throwing in variables or using methods, like sulfates to try and accommodate the models to the facts only underlines the inadequacy of knowledge and mechanisms and the desperation in trying to defend the indefensible. I also understand the models use an instantaneous doubling rather than a more plausible gradual increase should it occur. Have they adjusted the models to accommodate the new evidence that temperature changes before CO2, not as assumed?

    There is totally inadequate data as the basis for the models. Until the satellite data in 1978 we only had coverage for about 15% of the globe and much of that was contaminated by the urban heat island effect. Problems with parameterization are part of the hockey stick discussion and that is for North America with the among best coverage; imagine the problems for the rest of the world. Then consider that the models are 3 dimensional and we have virtually no data above the surface.

    But don’t let my comments make the argument, rather, consider what AGW proponents have said.

    Steve M reported on this blog the problems of computer capability and capacity. "Caspar Ammann said that GCMs (General Circulation Models) took about 1 day of machine time to cover 25 years. On this basis, it is obviously impossible to model the Pliocene-Pleistocene transition (say the last 2 million years) using a GCM as this would take about 219 years of computer time." I understand it takes several weeks simply to force one variable and achieve a new equilibrium. With all the complexities of climate and with so many key factors omitted can they ever hope to simulate or predict?

    Stephen Schneider 1993; "Uncertainty about important feedback mechanisms is one reason why the ultimate goal of climate modeling – forecasting reliably the future of key variables such as temperature and rainfall patterns – is not realizable."
    Jones and Wigley 1994: "Many of the uncertainties surounding the causes of climate change will never be resolved because the necessary data are lacking."
    Kevin Trenberth 1999; "It’s very clear we do not have a climate observing system…This may come as a shock to many people who assume we do know adequately what’s going on with the climate but we don’t." Trenberth was commenting on a US National Research Council report that said, "Deficiencies in the accuracy, quality and continuity of the records place serious limitations on the influece that can be placed in the research results."

    Wegman identified the narrow circle of self-supporting and self-approving climate researchers. Unfortunately, so many of them are also involved in the computer model research. Jones’ reconstruction of the temperature for the last 130 years is presumably an integral part of the models. He also refused to disclose his methods. For me all this is sufficient to seek full disclosure of the data, its manipulation, the assumptions made, the methods and formulations used and have this done by people who use models and statistics in other discplines.

    Beyond disclosing the problems with statistics Steve M also showed the value of having people who are not part of the ‘family’ examine what is going on. A major problem for dysfunctional families solving their problems is they don’t know they are dysfunctional. Is it too facetious to say climate research and especially modelling needs a little sunlight?

  74. Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Welikerocks, I tend to agree with you when you say:

    AGW is a poster child for the promotion of a political and social ideology. #39’s comment above proves it to me. AGW all the time! Let’s misrepresent and twist everything possible to reflect what *I* think is true and most important : anything else considered is nonsense!

    On the other hand, when I see this from Dr. Tim Ball:

    Now we must show how the computer models, the sole source of all warming predictions, are riddled with error, misuse of data, and based on false assumptions.

    I can’t stop wondering who the “we” is. Is there a group of humans, scientists or not, whose task or mission is to show that AGW is false, whatever the actual truth is? And if so, who are they, and would they be willing to identify themselves before they speak? Because that would mean that they are also promoting a political or social ideology.

    Surely, Dr. Ball, someone who gives 100 speeches a year does so for a reason, and has little time for actual science.

    I suggest that we let science speak for itself, and be as much as possible free of political or ideological partisanship. If there is one thing that one should learn from Steve’s work so far, it is how hard it can be for proper science to see the light of day when there is political and/or ideological interference. It is actually ironic that it took actual political interference to get to bottom of the problem. Not that it’s any news, it all started with Galileo!

    That being said, models DO need to be audited. Too much of the AGW theory depends on them, and modelers are another example of a closed community that talks mostly to itself. Yet you only need to browse through a few papers to realize how poor they are at describing the real world. It wouldn’t matter in the normal course of science, but in the current ovecompletely without scientific valuerly politicized context, we cannot base policies on science that is not properly audited. As for there scientific basis, Popper, since he was mentioned, would probably have thought that they are without any scientific value.

    Personnally, I almost agree with Allan (#53). I would place my bets on the role of cosmic rays), but that is really a hunch. They seem to be a key to cloud formation, and cloud formation is the one biggest unknown in models and climatology in general. We need to know more about that topic, yet how much resources are allocated for that, compared with studies purporting to show how poison ivy will benefit from AGW!

  75. bender
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 1:12 PM | Permalink

    On the other hand, when I see this from Dr. Tim Ball:

    Now we must show how the computer models, the sole source of all warming predictions, are riddled with error, misuse of data, and based on false assumptions.

    I can’t stop wondering who the “we” is. Is there a group of humans, scientists or not, whose task or mission is to show that AGW is false, whatever the actual truth is?

    “We” is an open invitation to anyone who shares his skepticism.

    The fact is that error and uncertainty, both in paleoclimatology and climate dynamics modeling, are critical issues which have been neglected, and in many ways, covered up, through a mix of negligence and possibly worse. This could have been solved through the scientific process, but the gatekeepers’ obstructionism and lack of accountability has led to something else.

    Keep reading the blogs and comparing notes and you’ll quickly learn where the scientists who understand climatology and the role of uncertainty and statistics in science are lurking.

  76. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 1:22 PM | Permalink

    #60 — “I think that this whole paradigm of “Official Science” is very wrong, very costly and ultimately will collapse the confidence of the general public in science which will be disastrous.”

    We’re sure on the same page here, John. I think a lot of damage has already been done, but is not yet in view. When AGW falls and the smoke clears, people are going to ask how it could have been that so many prominent scientists behaved so duplicitously and why it was they got away with it for so long in the company of, and being encouraged by, so many other prominent scientsts. The damage done already will then be revealed. There will be a crisis of confidence. I only hope it finally comes to the good.

    And I agree with your assessment of the language in the NAS report. It was very squirrelly, and the panel backed into their conclusions while throwing up lots of dust to disguise the hard truths. It’s “plausible” indeed that the 20th century really was warmer than the 11th. It’s also “plausible” that a King Arthur really did have a round table.

  77. John A
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    And I agree with your assessment of the language in the NAS report. It was very squirrelly, and the panel backed into their conclusions while throwing up lots of dust to disguise the hard truths. It’s “plausible” indeed that the 20th century really was warmer than the 11th. It’s also “plausible” that a King Arthur really did have a round table.

    In the Scottish legal system, there can be a verdict of “not proven” rather than “not guilty” in criminal cases.

    In the NAS Panel’s case, the notion that temperatures were higher in the 20th than in the 11th is “not proven” rather than “plausible”. It is up to the paleoclimatologists to make a strong case for such an occurrence. Unfortunately they haven’t bothered to make such a carefully constructed case one way or the other.

    This causes me to wonder if climate science is tilted to maximum certainty rather than to careful scholarship.

  78. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:03 PM | Permalink

    #74 — Francois, I think Tim’s comment in #22 should be seen in the context of someone who understands and values a system, knows that it has been riddled with error, and sees the necessary program to fix it.

    That is, the prescription for action is based in pragmatic error-correction and is not a call for an ideological imposition.

    Thank-you for the link to Tennekes’ paper discussing Popper and climate. I’ve admired Popper for years, and think there is a very rational argument to be made that he’s right about how science proceeds (as contrasted with Kuhn’s model — or at least the postmodernist bastardization of it).

    At the risk of an off-topic reprimand, anyone who has not read “Higher Superstition: The academic left and its quarrel with science” by Paul Gross and Norman Levitt should go right out and get a copy for your home library. It is one of the most dense and intellectually satisfying reads of my experience. A review here.

  79. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #74, Francois Ouellette

    I can’t stop wondering who the “we” is. Is there a group of humans, scientists or not, whose task or mission is to show that AGW is false…

    Of course, this was just a thought that occurred to you at the time. You are not suggesting that Dr Ball is seeking anything other than the actual truth.

  80. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Many posters have mentioned land-use as having affected temperature records over history.

    Here is link to the longest actual temperature record on the planet for; a place that is not affected by land-use changes, a place in the North which is supposed to be more affected by global warming than other positions on the globe, a place where the polar bears are supposedly starving and drowning.

    York Factory / Hudson Bay Canada has the longest (almost) continuous temperature record of any location on earth (back to 1769.) When the fur traders first arrived and reported back to the Hudson Bay Company in England that it was extremely cold there some winters, the Company along with the Royal Society of England decided to continuously record temperatures with a newly invented device, the thermometer.

    No warming. Just lots of variability.

  81. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 2:33 PM | Permalink

    #73 — John, what upsets me is to wonder whether part of climate science is tilted toward maximally-desired result, rather than careful scholarship.

    #74 — I forgot to mention in #78, with respect to Tennekes’ recapitulation of Popper’s provision that the skill of the skill of the model needs to be assessed, was that Popper’s requirement was in fact met in at least the 2002 paper by M. Collins “Climate predictability on interannual to decadal time scales: the initial value problemClimate Dynamics 19, 671–692.

    Collins set up an experiment in which he had a perfect climate model and initial conditions of unlimited precision. He then looked to see how quickly the model predictions diverged from the ‘true climate’ as the values of the initial conditions were changed. He used the state-of-the-art HadCM3. What he found was that the model diverged rapidly with very tiny changes in initial conditions. That is, the skill of the skill was poor. He concluded that even at regional scales, yearly to decadal predictions were the best that could be expected, and that “regions” included only those areas where climate was moderated by large bodies of water such as the Atlantic Ocean.

    This paper makes a mockery of seriously tendered centennial climate projections, and yet they continue.

  82. McCall
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    re: 39 “For me to accept the sceptic case (which one though? moderate 1C warming, no warming…”

    Skeptics acknowledging 1C warming? Past or forecasted, and over what period? If you were referring to the generally accepted average warming over the span of the industrial revolution, you have made a common mistake. A nit of a question I know, but it does refer to the one that you “can live with.”

  83. Reid
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    Re #80: “York Factory / Hudson Bay Canada has the longest (almost) continuous temperature record of any location on earth (back to 1769.)”

    I am skeptical of any pre-1900 scientific instrument recordings due to a lack of precision instrument calibration. If you view the temperature chart it shows wild swings. This is probably due to lack of instrument calibration rather than actual wild swings.

    I can’t back my hunch up with a study or data but precision calibration of instrumentation is a 20th century advancement. It is often said that we only have hard temperature data since the mid-1800’s. I believe we only have hard data since the late 1970’s when satellite temperature measurements became available.

  84. David Smith
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:43 PM | Permalink

    Pardon me if this has already been asked and answered. My question is, simply, what are the next steps to either validate or refute the other paleoclimatological studies?

    The NAS used these other studies as evidence of AGW. But, to me, it seems like they should be rigorously examined to firmly establish their validity, or their weakness.

    It seems like all sides of the issue should welcome this, especially climatologists, in the pursuit of truth and of providing the public and policymakers with the best information available.

    On a different topic, I was struck by part of Tim Ball’s comments in #22. These comments concerned the eager and unquestioning acceptance of the hockey stick and that the eager acceptance was because a group of people wanted to believe it. I think that Tim is probably right.

    That eager acceptance smacks of ideology rather than science, which is the thing that makes some of us AGW believers (like me, though I’m of the benign flavor) uneasy about my fellow believers.

    As a regular reader of the website, I thank all of you, of all persuasions, who contribute. You are helping people like me learn, form opinions, learn more and correct opinions. There are some thoughful people visiting this website. Thanks.

  85. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    re: #84.

    I’d think that each thermometer produced before the modern era would have been calibrated to a fair degree of accuracy via some fixed points. Certainly an ice bath and boiling water or human body temperature would be used and the rest of the scale interpolated. Sure it’s possible a degree or so of error might occur, but there’s going to be very little drift over time with a mercury thermometer. So as long as the same thermometer was being used any differences measured are going to accurate +_ a degree or so. Therefore when we see the average temperature bouncing many degrees over the years, I’d say we can trust the vast majority of the variation to be due to actual differences over time rather than calibration errors.

  86. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    re 85:

    Two points:

    First (just to keep it in the record, since a lot of people here seem to keep losing track of it) the NAS report also cited a lot of other kinds of evidence for anomalous late 20th century climate, not dependent on paleodendro studies. Yes, the other paleodendro studies are support, but they are far from all the support.

    Second, I have been finding myself puzzled by all the focus on the first couple papers of this line of investigation, with potshots but not solid aggregated investigations of the others, if the goal is to “audit” the conclusions of the overall field. I’ve been hanging out here for several months, reading back, looking at papers as time allows, and becasue of the scattershot approach I still dont have a good feel for the criticisms being proffered at the subsequent liteature, whether those scattered criticisms of the overal field impact the overall conclusions of the entire field, and even in the case if individual papers to what extent the criticisms imapct the conclusions of the papers.

    TCO keeps pressing Steve to publish – I think that is critical if Steve feels that there are serious flaws with the later major papers in the field and expects to be taken seriously about them. Given that his posting style here makes it damnably hard to put together a good overall picture of what he is saying, I find myself thinking that until he bothers to put together good supported PUBLISHED criticims of the methodology of the major papers in the literature and how that imapcts the CONCLUSIONS of those papers, divorced from his snarky asides to the ‘hockey team’ he so often indulges in here, and makes those consolidated arguments available for considered responses, that it is hard to take the criticims of the later literature completely seriously.

    Certainly, Steves “publishing” style here leads me to conclude either that he isnt interested in anyone being able to understand what he says outside a small cadre of long-term insider specialists (in which case, why bother and why not publish to that cadre and the rest of the specialist field?) or that he is unwillign to pull his criticisms together into a complete package taht is availabe for criticism in response. I dotn buy the third option, that he simply doesnt understand to communicate this – he does that too well for this to be the reason. I’m not saying it is one or the other, I’m saying this is what looks like the possible conclusions from here.

    It IS important: even if the conclusions arent all that relevant to the basic question of whether we are moving into milenially unique climates (given the other kinds of evidence), it IS important to the questions of how we calibrate models and interpret some other kinds of data. Why Steve won’t aggregate his points and publish (or even do it here, although that is less useful), if his criticisms of the subsequent literature acutally matter to the conclusions, is beyond me.

  87. Reid
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    Re 86:

    Dave your point is well taken. However, the gaps in the graph of many years appears to me that different thermometers were used. A thermometer broke and another eventually replaced it. While a reference point could be roughly calibrated were other points on the scale roughly calibrated also?

    It is a minor point and just a spur of the moment hypothesis of mine. But consider that calibration of weather balloon and satellite temperature instruments is contentious in the 21st century. That being the case there is ample room for skepticism on prior mid-1800 temperature records.

  88. e.ou
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 6:47 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    Now that the hockey stick has been broken I think it a detailed review of the Global climate models would be interesting. I was on my way home after attending one of the Kyoto Conference of Parties and I was shocked and ammused on hearing an interview with one of the global climate modelling experts commenting that computer models will become more accurate as more monitoring data, monitoring stations,and more variables are added to the models using bigger and faster computers. I thought I was transported to the 60s, before the science of Chaos was firmly established. Deterministic and possible fine tuning of climate models to a high level of accuracy is prevalent among climate modellers and NGOs climate advocacy groups. The significance of the climate models on AGW debate is much higher than the hockey stick as they are not only involved in the past climate but on the future climate patterns as well.

  89. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:14 PM | Permalink

    re 98:

    “the hockey stick has been broken”

    Would those of you throwing this claim around, please define exactly what you mean? Better yet, use a phrase that actually means something? This is an extraordinarily imprecise phrase, and lends itself easily to interpretations that are simply not congruent with what has actually happened.

  90. Reid
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #90: “the hockey stick has been broken…Better yet,use a phrase that actually means something?”

    There really was a Little Ice Age and a Midieval Warm Period. How is that? Simple enough or does it need further simplification?

  91. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 8:32 PM | Permalink

    How about what we actually know – the uncertainty in the dendro reconstructions is larger than we thought (from the NAS report) and the founding paper had stats problems (from the NAS report and Wegman report). But there is still a lot of qualitative and quantitative evidence for late 20th century and early 21st climate anomalies on millenial time scales.

    Maybe that means ‘broken’ to y’all.

  92. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    re: 92

    But there is still a lot of qualitative and quantitative evidence for late 20th century and early 21st climate anomalies on millenial time scales.

    None of which has been mcintyred yet. (It’s time Steve was turned into a verb). Give it some time. A few months ago you and others were denying there was anything wrong with MBH98-9, now you’re urging everyone to move on. Be careful what you ask for!

  93. mark
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    Uh, actually, I have yet to see any evidence that the 20th century is anomalous. To date, the HS was the key to proving “anomaly.” We don’t have any other records that reliably go back far enough to say anything is “anomalous.”

    Mark

  94. Bruce
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    Re: #90: Lee, seems to me that there was a fable about a boy crying “wolf” that may be applicable here!

  95. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:33 PM | Permalink

    #92, When climate scientists cite “anomalies” they generally mean excursions from the mean. They don’t at all necessarily mean ‘unusual,’ ‘remarkable,’ ‘surprising,’ or ‘unprecedented.’ One of our local professionals can correct me here. Given that, an excursion from the mean is no reason, in and of itself, for any concern other than adaptation. Nor is an excursion any reason to suppose that climate is entering an unprecedented regime.

    In fact, there is no good reason to suppose that 20th century climate is long-term unusual, nor is there any good reason to suppose the change in global average temperature during the 20th century was unusually fast or unusually large on a climatological scale.

    You keep claiming “a lot of other kinds of evidence for anomalous late 20th century climate,” Lee. I’d like to know what that evidence is. We know climate changed rapidly in the past. However, the resolution of virtually all paleo-studies is not enough to make a detailed comparison with the 20th century record. That lack of resolution disallows any comparative empirical judgment that the rate or magnitude of 20th century climate warming was unusual.

    Given the absence of any properly comparative empirical evidence, given the positive evidence of large and rapid climate swings in the past, and given the inability of GCM models to make any valid assessments of real Earth climate, where exactly is that, “lot of other kinds of evidence for anomalous late 20th century climate“?

    Anyone?

  96. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:34 PM | Permalink

    First, Dave, a few months ago I was saying I was looking to see if there was anything wrong with not 98-99 per se, but the enntire body of work (it is why I’m here), and disputing statements that seemed without factual backing – often pretty wildly without factual backing. I’m still puzzled why y’all concentrate so much of the earliest paper, and not the entire set of papers relevant to the issues. And remember that even here Wegman didnt look at whether the stsastical issues mattered to the conclusions of the paper and whether the stat issues he identified matter to the conclusions. I’m also wondering why instead of looking at the major issues and tracking them through the entire body of literature and putting the analsysis in comprehensive understandable form Steve continues scattershotting about through individual problems without tying them solidly to the conclusion. It doens not lend to trust in either his motives or his conclusions, as I said above.

    I HAVE found personally sufficient (to the matter of where I stand on policy issues, at least) answers to the questions that I told y’all I came here to look at. Does all this matter to the overall question of AGW? IMO, no – the NAS report convinced me of that. Is it flawed, the entire body of work? Possibly. And that does matter to calibration of models, etc, if the reconstructions are ok or can be made to work, and therefore is important.

    But it looks to me as if BOTH sides, including Steve and y’all here, could get off your high horses and address the ANSWERS to those issues, including applying adequate analyses if necessary, and including more proxies of different kinds if necessary, rather than continue to indulge in vendettas and personal attacks over a paper that has been superceded by years of later work.

    The qualitative evidence consists of observations; either those observations are simply true, or a lot of people are overtly lying, which I find hard to imagine on this scale. The non-dendro quantitative evidence is of several kinds, all of which supports or is consistent with the same conclusion. I find it, in total, convincing. And I’m not given to the kind of conspiracy theorizing that argues that since this work has problems we should simply refuse to believe any other work that comes to the same conclusions.

    Mark, you really should read the entire NAS report, a majority of which does NOT deal with the dendro reconstructions.

    Bruce, it seems to me that in that fable, there ended up being a problem with a wolf.

  97. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:39 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I have listed that evidence in several posts, including in threads where you were participating. I’m tired or repating it over an dover. Please refer to the summary of the NAS report for an outline – it is summarized in paragraphs adjacent to the use of ‘plausible’ that y’all have (incorrectly IMO – see my first post last monday after I got off being banned) parsed to death.

    Qualitative evidence is not ‘deviations from the mean.’ They are qualitative, not quantitative; thus the label. They are observations of events that have not happened in thousands of years, that could not or are unlikely to be happening unless climate events are outside the range of anything observed in that period.

  98. Lee
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    It appears that all my posts are being checked and approved – they do not appear on the sidebar for some time. Is anyone seeing them now, or do they only appear here after they appear on the sidebar?

    I ask because on previous occasions I have seen my posts in the thread when no one else could, but not listed in the sidebar, when they had been referred to Steve for approval – and I’d like to know when others are able to see them.

  99. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

    KYOTO SCORECARD.

    THE FOLLOWING LIST, WRITTEN FROM A CANADIAN PERSPECTIVE, IS EXCERPTED FROM OUR ARTICLE PUBLISHED IN NOVEMBER 2002:

    http://www.apegga.org/whatsnew/peggs/WEB11_02/kyoto_pt.htm

    Our 2002 comments are in upper and lower case; OUR NEW COMMENTS ARE IN CAPS.

    TOLD YOU SO…

    REGARDS, ALLAN

    Kyoto has many fatal flaws, any one of which should cause this treaty to be scrapped.

    Climate science does not support the theory of catastrophic human-made global warming – the alleged warming crisis does not exist. THE CLIMATE ALARMISTS ARE LOSING EVERY SCIENCE DEBATE: M&M BROKE MANN’S HOCKEY STICK. ATTRIBUTION OF THE MAJORITY OF WARMING TO HUMANKIND IS FAR FROM PROVEN – A SOLAR/COSMIS RAY DRIVER IS MUCH MORE CREDIBLE. FUTURE HUMANMADE WARMING WILL BE LESS THAN 0.5 DEGREES C, AND NATURAL GLOBAL COOLING IS PROBABLE BY YEAR 2020.

    Kyoto focuses primarily on reducing CO2, a relatively harmless gas, and does nothing to control real air pollution like NOx, SO2, and particulates, or serious pollutants in water and soil. WE DO HAVE AN URBAN AIR QUALITY PROBLEM – IMAGINE THE IMPROVEMENTS THAT WOULD HAVE BEEN ACHIEVED BY NOW IF WE HAD FOCUSED THE HUGE KYOTO EXPENDITURES ON URBAN AIR QUALITY, INSTEAD OF BOGUS HUMANMADE GLOBAL WARMING.

    Kyoto wastes enormous resources that are urgently needed to solve real environmental and social problems that exist today. For example, the money spent on Kyoto in one year would provide clean drinking water and sanitation for all the people of the developing world in perpetuity. REVIEW BJORN LOMBORG’S COPENHAGEN CONCENSUS. ECONOMIST LOMBORG EVEN ACCEPTS THE BOGUS PRO-KYOTO SCIENCE, AND HE STILL SAYS THERE ARE MUCH MORE EFFECTIVE WAYS TO SPEND THE MONEY.

    Kyoto will destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs and damage the Canadian economy – the U.S., Canada’s biggest trading partner, will not ratify Kyoto, and developing countries are exempt. CANADA HAS SUFFERED JOB LOSSES IN MANUFACTURING, BUT MAINLY DUE TO OUR STRONG DOLLAR. THE ONLY REASON THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED TO A GREATER EXTENT DUE TO KYOTO IS THAT CANADA HAS DONE NOTHING SIGNIFICANT TO REDUCE GREENHOUSE GASES – EUROPE HAS, AND IS ALREADY SEEING INDUSTRIES SHUT DOWN AND JOBS LOST BECAUSE OF KYOTO.

    Kyoto will actually hurt the global environment – it will cause energy-intensive industries to move to exempted developing countries that do not control even the worst forms of pollution. SEE PREVIOUS COMMENT – THE MOVE BY INDUSTRIES TO “POLLUTION HAVENS”, ESPECIALLY CHINA, HAS ALREADY BEGUN.

    Kyoto’s CO2 credit trading scheme punishes the most energy efficient countries and rewards the most wasteful. Due to the strange rules of Kyoto, Canada will pay the former Soviet Union billions of dollars per year for CO2 credits. PURCHASING CO2 CREDITS FROM RUSSIA WAS THE PLAN OF THE LIBERAL PARTY OF CANADA – FORTUNATELY THESE CROOKS WERE DEFEATED RECENTLY AND THE NEW CONSERVATIVE GOVERNMENT HAS SCRAPPED THE PLAN TO PURCHASE RUSSIAN CO2 CREDITS.

    Kyoto will be ineffective – even assuming the overstated pro-Kyoto science is correct, Kyoto will reduce projected warming insignificantly, and it would take as many as 40 such treaties to stop alleged global warming. THE PROJECTED REDUCTION IN WARMING DUE TO FULL KYOTO IMPLEMENTATION WAS 0.06 DEGREES C. EVEN THE MOST STRIDENT KYOTO SUPPORTERS HAVE NOW ACCEPTED THAT THIS STATEMENT IS TRUE.

    The ultimate agenda of pro-Kyoto advocates is to eliminate fossil fuels, but this would result in a catastrophic shortfall in global energy supply – the wasteful, inefficient energy solutions proposed by Kyoto advocates simply cannot replace fossil fuels. CORN ETHANOL, WIND POWER, SOLAR POWER, ETC. ARE PROVING EXPENSIVE AND INEFFECTIVE. NUCLEAR POWER IS THE ONLY ANSWER TO REPLACE FOSSIL FUELS, AND KYOTO PROMOTERS ALSO HATE NUCLEAR – SO THEY OFFER NO PRACTICAL SOLUTIONS.

  100. Allan M.R. MacRae
    Posted Jul 23, 2006 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    Readers may review the following statements and supporting data and to draw their own conclusions about the alleged global warming crisis:

    1. Climate has always changed, long before man could have had any impact on it. For example, contrary to Mann’s hockey stick, etc. the Medieval Warm Period was as warm or warmer than the present.

    2. Much of the recent alleged surface warming actually occurred from ~1850 to ~1940, before the huge increase in the use of fossil fuels.

    3. In spite of the huge increase in fossil fuel use, global average temperatures actually cooled from ~1940 to ~1975.

    4. Some surface warming has occurred ~1975 to 2005 but it has been difficult to separate the urban heat island component from true surface warming. The surface temperature data set appears to be rather compromised in much of the world.

    5. The USA’s NOAA data set, which is likely the very best in the world, actually shows slight summer and fall cooling from 1930 to 2005, and about 0.5 C warming only in winter and spring seasons. http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/oa/climate/research/cag3/na.html

    6. Satellite and weather balloon data show no net warming in the Lower Troposphere (“LT”) from ~1975 to ~2000. The satellite data set provides far better coverage of the planet than the surface data set. http://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/tltglhmam_5.2

    7. There is a possible small increase (~0.2 degrees C) in global average LT temperature from ~2000 to 2005, but this change is within the margin of uncertainty.

    8. The theoretical relationship between increased atmospheric CO2 and warming is logarithmic, not linear or exponential. As CO2 levels rise, they are less and less effective at causing warming. To project equal warming increments per decade requires that CO2 increase from 2 to 4 (units) in the first time period, then 4 to 8 in the next, then 8 to 16, etc. Quoting linear rates of warming implies a doubling and re-doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels over time, which is extremely unlikely.

    9. At the current 30% increase in CO2 above pre-industrial levels, Earth has already experienced more than 50% of the warming effect that it would experience from a hypothetical doubling of CO2. The IPCC models produce higher results by assuming additional positive feedbacks, for which there is no evidence.

    10. During the forty year period 1961-2000, both the number and intensity of landfalling U.S. hurricanes decreased sharply. The year 2005 remains an anomaly and we need more years of data to draw any different conclusions. http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/pdf/NWS-TPC-4.pdf

    Based on the data, one would conservatively conclude that:

    Increased atmospheric CO2 is at most a minor driver of warming. Closed form solutions suggest an upper limit of less than 1 degree C warming from a hypothetical doubling of atmospheric CO2.

    The surface warming is largely natural and may now be driving a slight warming response in the LT. Since any possible LT warming is lagging rather than leading the alleged surface warming, it is very difficult to conclude that the alleged surface warming is primarily caused by increased CO2 in the atmosphere.

  101. Haelfix
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:06 AM | Permalink

    Since I can’t seem to ever get a question published on realclimate, I’ll ask it here.

    How do you respond to the claims on realclimate that regardless of whether or not Mann has statistical errors in his reconstruction, that it ultimately does not make much a difference. The hockey stick reappears. It also reappears in various other authors work (Ahmen et al, Rutherford et al).

    That seems to me to be based on whether or not you include the pine cone data or not. Is that correct?

  102. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Haelfix.

    That has been discussed numerous times here.

    A) it appears in other works, using the same or similar methods. You’ll not references the the “Hockey Team” these are a variety of people that work together at time, and cite eachother in these other works.

    B) As to the “pine cone” it is Bristelcone, and the hockey stick disapears if it is not included. It has also been pointed out recently that the “hockey stick” of tree ring growth does not reflect the local temperature of the stand of bristlecones in question.

    All of this is simplistic in explanation. You can find much more detailed info if you look around some here.

  103. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    Re:#87
    Lee, you say “…Why Steve won’t aggregate his points and publish (or even do it here, although that is less useful), if his criticisms of the subsequent literature acutally matter to the conclusions, is beyond me…”.
    It’s useful to remember a few things:
    1) This blog is not the sum total of Steve’s activities in this field.
    2) Steve seems to like to get a reasonably full grasp of a subject before doing a writeup (unlike TCO :) ).
    3) It’s difficult to analyze a paper when the data and/or methods are withheld. As Steve has posted before, the Korean stem cell fiasco seems to have made Science more willing to “encourage” authors to respond to data/methods requests/complaints. The public brouhaha is also apparently helping to shame researchers into archiving some data.
    4) Steve has no support staff (this is your chance to volunteer, Lee!).

  104. MarkR
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 2:46 AM | Permalink

    Re#99 Haelfix

    From the Wegman Report:

    “Because the instrumental temperature records are only available for a limited window, they use instrumental temperature data from 1902-1995 to calibrate the proxy data set. This would seem reasonable except for the fact that temperatures were rising during this period. So that centering on this period has the effect of making the mean value for any proxy series exhibiting the same increasing trend to be decentered low. Because the proxy series exhibiting the rising trend are decentered, their calculated variance will be larger than their normal variance when calculated based on centered data, and hence they will tend to be selected preferentially as the first principal component. (In fact the effect of this can clearly be seen RPC no. 1 in Figure 5 in MBH98.). Thus, in effect, any proxy series that exhibits a rising trend in the calibration period will be preferentially added to the first principal component…. The net effect of the decentering is to preferentially choose the so-called hockey stick shapes.”

    MBH98/99 use the above to overemphasise any proxy that has a Hocket Stick shape. The derivative studies of Rutherford all use essentially the same data, and the same mistaken method.

    If you just do a straightforward average of the proxy data the Hockey Stick disappears. Mann and the rest of the Hockey Team lie about this point in particular.

  105. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:07 AM | Permalink

    #87. Because the data and methods from the Team come in dribs and drabs and require quasi-litigation, it’s an incredibly inefficient process trying to replicate Hockey Team studies. Each time I pick up a file, I always seem to have to re-do some work; my recall is far from perfect. Each time, I have to write a quasi-litigation request letter, it takes time.

    You may have noticed that I’ve had responsibilities with these panels. Our presentation to NAS took a lot of time to prepare,as did our supplemenmtaries. My presentation to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, while short, took a lot of time to prepare. I’m not particularly young any more and I get tired.

    New studies come up e.g. Wahl et al 2006 and I want to see what’s going on with then.

    Even after quasi-litigation, there are remaining problems with the data and methodological status of the 4 studies used in the NAS spaghetti graph. These 4 narrow the field somewhat – other studies have other problems):

    – Mann and Jones: the weights and replicable weighting method is not stated. I’ve sought this information for over 2 years. Measurement data for Taimyr, updated Tornetrask, Yamal and Jasper as used are unavailable. Annual versions and sufficient sample information to reconcile are unavailable for Dunde and Guliya (Lonnie Thompson) used in the Yang composite.
    – Esper et al 2002: it has taken me over 2 years and virtual litigation with Esper and then Science to get data, which dribbled in between Feb and April 2006 – only a couple of months ago. It’s not quite complete but I’ve got some footholds now. Esper has refused to provide operational explanations of methodology and Science has not required this.
    – Hegerl et al 2006. The sites have not been published nor the data as used. The method is not reported in detail. I’ve speculated that the sites overlap substantially with Osborn and Briffa 2006, where Science has required versions as used to be archived (available in March of this year). It has not even been published yet (it’s accepted for JClim). They almost certainly use unarchived and unavailable sources: Taimyr, updated Tornetrask, Yamal, Jasper or updated Jasper and Yang composite data (Dunde, Guliya) as per Mann and Jones 2003.
    – Moberg et al 2005. Most, but not all of the data, was cited, but 2 series were unavailable, frustrating replication. This time, I filed a Materials Complaint immediately and this led to a Corrigendum in which the authors provided versions of the data in Feb 2006.

    In the case of Briffa, Jones et al 2001, I do not even know the identity of the sites.

    I intend to ask NAS to obtain this information, since they relied on it.

    As I’ve mentioned before, the NAS report (and the Wegman Report) make it easier in a number of respects to proceed with detailed analyses of these other studies. I won’t have to argue about why it is relevant to show results without bristlecones or sensitivity to small subset selection variations. This ground has been broken with NAS.

    Finally, I’m not a particularly fast worker compared to most people in the field. I go into far more detail. Each little thing that I look takes a lot of time. I often stray into by-ways when I do so, because interesting things often turn up. I’ve mentioned before that the blog often acts as a sort of diary for me. They are not intended to be complete publications. I certainly intend to pull some thmese together for formal publication at some point.

  106. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    A comment on Comment by Michael Jankowski “¢’‚¬? 23 July 2006 @ 9:34 am

    “Ah, but AGW “may” cause more frequent tsunamis because rising sea levels will put more weight on top of ocean floors, making underwater plate shifts/earthquakes more likely to occur. And with rising sea levels putting more people globally at risk of tsunamis, more of us have the potential to be affected.”

    I don’t think the first statement is correct. Rising sea levels do not put more weight on top of ocean floors, because most of the rising is caused by expansion of water at higher temperatures. Only a fraction of the rising is caused by accumulating water from land.

  107. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #107
    I don’t think the statement is correct because the relevant forces differ by orders of magnitude. If the earth wants to shift, the sea is going to get out of the way – that’s what tsunamis are.
    But I would be interested to know if tidal forces are relevant – does anyone know if earthquakes are more likely to cut loose when the moon is in any particular position relative to the epicentre ?

  108. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #106, Steve M

    Finally, I’m not a particularly fast worker compared to most people in the field.

    Given that you are single-handedly doing the work that should have been done by the original authors, their editors, sub-editors and reviewers, and supposed peers in the field, including IPCC reviewers … I don’t think you are that slow.

  109. David H
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 5:58 AM | Permalink

    This might be a hair brain idea but I’ll float it any way. There is one conclusion in NAS/NRC report against which I cannot see any rational person attempting to argue.

    “Our view is that all research benefits from full and open access to published datasets and that a clear explanation of analytical methods is mandatory. Peers should have access to the information needed to reproduce published results, so that increased confidence in the outcome of the study can be generated inside and outside the scientific community.”

    This is view that goes way beyond global warming and affects science as a whole and I would bet almost everyone has some issue that they feel would benefit from disclosure of the scientific basis.

    I don’t know if petitions ever do any good but it would be interesting to see how many people would put their name to that particular statement from the report. Perhaps if enough people were to write or email their political representatives (and with flying and SUV driving now a sin, their religious leaders) asking if they concur the message might start to trickle through.

  110. MarkR
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:02 AM | Permalink

    Maybe this is starting to get traction with the politicos:

    Senator Inhofe on video names Mann as the root of all evil.

    By the way, I found this video on on a website with links to Bradley, and it had his email address rbradley@geo.umass.edu

    Well I’m afraid I couldn’t help myself.
    Who could?

  111. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:38 AM | Permalink

    Re: #90: Lee, seems to me that there was a fable about a boy crying “wolf” that may be applicable here!

    “The Mann Who Cried Wolf”
    Re#107

    Rising sea levels do not put more weight on top of ocean floors, because most of the rising is caused by expansion of water at higher temperatures. Only a fraction of the rising is caused by accumulating water from land.

    I certainly agree (although the portion of rising sea levels due to land-based ice and snow melt will add some weight), but you have to look at the “spin” angle. I didn’t make it up – I read that exact same thing within a few months after the big 2004 Indonesian disaster. There’s more to it, of course…”melting ice, snow, permafrost, etc, shifts weight to other parts of the globe and causes an imbalance, leading to more earthquakes,” etc. Sorry that I don’t have a link to provide for laughs.

  112. bender
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Haelfix,
    It’s not just MBH98 and the hockey stick that’s been refuted – it’s the method by which it was produced, in particular the highly unorthodox and statistically indefensible overfitted ‘training’ step on p. 786. (Which is very much aside from the whole problem of centering and scaling.) More recent papers use similar methods, although they are sufficiently different in flavor that it could take some time to have them all audited. Many of these research teams, because they do not actively collaborate with formally trained statisticians, are in denial about the degree of statistical uncertainty in their reconstructions. It is starting to appear as though the uncertainty is high enough that many of their conclusions will need to be retracted.

    Do not accept any reconstruction unless it has error bars on it. And if the error bars are narrow, ask yourself: how did they reconstruct temperature with that degree of precision? Read the methods. Conduct your own audit.

  113. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #113. Wasn’t MBH98 was the first recon to have error bars? Aren’t they wide, don’t they get wider before 1600?

  114. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

    #114. The "error bars" are completely bogus. They used calibration period errors in which they did something not dissimilar to a multiple linear regression of 1 series of length 79 on 22-112 series, all of which were highly autocorrelated.

    In their pseudoproxy discussions, they refer to verification period residuals. But verification period residuals result in verification r2 of 0 and HUGE confidence intervals. Useof verification period residuals was agreed to by the NAS panel in non-inflammatory terms. Also their error intervals do not include hocus-pocus like bristlecones.

    Their use of calibration period residuals to form 2-sigma "error bars" was highly misleading. It was also essential to their argment that 1998 was the warmest year of the millennium as they had no proxy information for 1998 and used their bogus confidence intervals to draw this conclusion.

  115. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:21 AM | Permalink

    Re#114, in Mann and Jones (2003), the error bars get narrower prior to 1000 (see Figure 1 at the bottom here here) than the 1000-1600 period of MBH99.

  116. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:31 AM | Permalink

    Yes, Michael, but I was talking about MBH98, as was the post I was replying to…

    Btw, you ought to be rubbishing them as per #115 – do try to keep on message ;)

    Fact is MBH98 has error bars. Steve thinks they are bogus, that doesn’t alter the fact it has them. Still, at least Steve is resisting calling the authors liars (just ‘highly misleading’).

    There are, of course, no liars here (just so you know how it feels to be on the recieving end).

  117. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:34 AM | Permalink

    “(just so you know how it feels to be on the recieving end)” by whom I mean Steve.

  118. Larry Huldén
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:49 AM | Permalink

    Peter Hearndens’ errorbars. Mann et al have errorbars, but these do not represent errorlimits of the temperature proxies. That’s why they are misleading and of no scientific use. So, in Peters’ words, they still have misleading errorbars, they really are there.

  119. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:53 AM | Permalink

    Armaund: I don’t think Steve is slow in terms of amount of analysis. I do think that he should write publications (emphasis on the plural) of the analyses that he’s done. They should be matter of fact and avoid over-conclusions if there is data unavailable. And the unavailable data (or undone analysis) should be explained in the paper. There is nothing to stop him or someone else from going and doing further publications when more data or methods details becomes available. Or from writing a review article in the future that takes themes of the various work and brings them together.

    If it’s not good enough to go into a journal, then is it good enough to say that the studies have all kinds of faults? I don’t know whether Steve is scared of criticism or just wants to get credit for everything or just hates writing. But regardless, if the thoughts can’t be finished, then how can we judge things. And we need to judge things. Steve is not always perfectly fair. And sometimes he has logical flaws like varying two factors at a time. So, his work is very valuable. But not perfect. And needing examination.

  120. Ross McKitrick
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    #102: Haelfix, The MBH98 data and method turn out to be like a device with some knobs that you can set to give you a hockey stick or a ‘bathtub’ shape. We explain the settings in our E&E2005 paper. When they say the PC error (assuming they agree there’s an error) ‘doesn’t matter’ what it means is they can find alternate knob setting sto get a ockey stick. The problem is that if they had had to explain what those settings were in the first place their results would not have had much credibility in the beginning.

    You are right that the decision about whether or not to include the bristlecone pines is one choice. The literature is clear (and the NAS affirmed: p. 50) that these series are contaminated with a non-temperature trend and should not be used. Without them there is no hockey stick shape regardless of where you set the other knobs. If you include them and you apply PC analysis correctly (based on covariance matrix decomposition), you have to retain the 4th North American PC, accounting for about 8% of the variance in that region. If you include it you get a hockey stick. If not, you get a bathtub. Then the issue to be considered is robustness. A robust conclusion should not reverse simply based on a decision about whether to include a single data series known on a priori grounds to be a small component of the variance in one region, and a contaminated signal at that. Finally, if you skip PC methods altogether you can get a hockey stick, as long as you use a regression model that lets the bristlecone pine series get the largest coefficients.

    RC authors argue that the bristlecones ought to be retained because they boost the RE statistic value. This is a lousy position to argue on 2 grounds. First, as we showed in our GRL paper and the reply to Huybers, the RE score is insignificant even with the bristlecones . Wahl and Ammann in their 2006 paper grudgingly listed the r-squared and CE test scores and they are insignificant as well, even with the bristlecones included. Second, it’s bad empirical practice to argue that data known to be questionable on a priori grounds should be added in if the apparent fit of the model improves. We could get even better results by putting in stock market series, but that doesn’t mean the stock market is a temperature proxy.

    I think these issues were included in my survey paper listed in the column to the right under Favorite posts, mckitrick: what is the hockey stick debate about.

  121. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Yes, Michael, but I was talking about MBH98, as was the post I was replying to…

    Well I just thought I’d point out an interesting tidbit about Mann’s use of error bars in a later work (in which he expands on the work done in MBH98 and MBH99). Please forgive me.

    Btw, you ought to be rubbishing them as per #115 – do try to keep on message

    I guess we need an endless string of “dittos” and “right-ons” from cheerleaders?

    Fact is MBH98 has error bars. Steve thinks they are bogus, that doesn’t alter the fact it has them.

    So they might be meaningless, but as long as there is a graphical representation and a bogus methodology for generating them (that only a few people have been able to decipher), that’s worth noting?

    Is it better to have a fake ID or none at all?

  122. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    121: I think you need to be more clear about what knobs you are turning to be fair and to convey understanding (vice making debate points). For instance, MBH98 lists Preisendorfer’s n as a criteria for number of series retained. If you decide to alter that, should note it more prominently in discussion.

    On the science, it’s not clear to me why a PC4 will “give you a hockey stick”. Surely the other series would dilute it and there would be more of them if n moves from 2 to 5, no?

  123. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    EVEN IF YOU ARE JUSTIFIED in changing the Preisendorfer’s n rationale, scientific ethics demand that you be clear to the reader that you did so.

  124. Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:33 AM | Permalink

    An example of a paper that would need auditing is “Amplification of Surface Temperature Trends and Variability in the Tropical Atmosphere“, by Ben Santer and an impressive list of about 20 authors, among which all the usual suspects like Wigley, Fu, Hansen, Gavin Schmidt, Ramaswamy etc. most of whom have shown in the past their own ideological bias. The paper is clearly an attack on John Christy, and on the SAT-troposphere discrepancy. The conclusion is that the models must be right, and the observations are probably wrong!

    Compare that with other evidence that links local CO2 emissions with surface temperature trends. This is just to show what can be found if you stop looking in just one direction, or don’t just waste time attacking honest researchers because they have results that don’t fit the orthodox point of view.

  125. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    On the doesn’t matter issue: It is true that you can fix a few errors in MBH98 (like the decentering error) and still get a hockey-stick out of it. However, the fact of the matter is that the MBH98/99 method is so flawed that it can’t be corrected, in the sense that if you fix a few errors you will have a unique statistically valid study.

    If you remove all the unsupportable statistical novelties you will wind up with a study which looks pretty much like those that preceded it. In other words, no hockey stick. Any other studies which use the NOAMER PC1 are also suspect since correcting the decentering error removes the hockey stick from it. I would also be wary of any other studies authored or coauthored by Mann, Bradley, or Hughes since it’s likely that they have incorporated the same sort of statistical novelties into those as well and there’s no way of knowing (at the present time) what the properties of those methods might be.

  126. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    Paul, I agree with you in actuality. But if you are going to enjoin the scientific debate, you will have to show how they are wrong. Just being suspicious is not significant. Nor are complaints about the knobs that confound the knobs.

  127. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    TCO,
    The reason that a hockey stick in PC4 still dominates the results is that PC4 is given equal weighting in the final regression even though it only explains 8% of the variation of the proxy data in the calibration period. PCs one through three are noise (ARMA if I remember correctly), so they effectively cancel out, leaving PC4 and it’s hockey stick shape. If the PCs were weighted properly then the hockey stick would not appear. Even if you don’t agree with that, one has to wonder why, if the tree-rings are such good proxies for temperature, the only component that even comes close to matching in the validation period is PC4. In this case one would expect it to be in PC1, or maybe PC2. This alone should be a big red flag.

  128. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    Steve, is it correct that if you do the Mannian reconstruction step with 8 or 10 PCs, the hockey stick disappears again ?
    And is this because, by ignoring the eigenvalues, you are effectively inflating the lower order PCs by the ratio of their eigenvalue to the eigenvalue of the PC1 ?

  129. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:48 AM | Permalink

    I wonder if the main critique of the acentering should be on the PC1 and the whole “dominant mode of variation” vice of acentering driving the recon.

    The part about cancellation is interesting. Need to think about that. Is that a general implication of PCA?

    On the weighting: is it appropriate “not to weight”?

  130. JJ
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    “They are observations of events that have not happened in thousands of years, that could not or are unlikely to be happening unless climate events are outside the range of anything observed in that period.”

    Absolute nonsense.

    They are observations of events that have not happened in thousands of years. This says absolutely *nothing* about how current climate conditions compare to the range of climate conditions over that period.

    JJ

  131. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    jj, at least one of those sets of observations is of substantial melting occuring in the last few years, penetrating through many years of ice accumulation on the surface of the ice cap, where there has not been observed melt in the ice cores for several thousands of years. That directly says that temps at that site have gone above freezing for the first time in several thousand years. Other evidence is less direct, but solidly indicative.

  132. Demesure
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    You did a great job (as always)at the testimony, yery professional compared to Crowley who far exceded his 5 minute summary.
    So bad the second panel time is too short and as you said with much less energy and questions from the committee.

    Congratulations again.

  133. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    The part about cancellation is interesting. Need to think about that. Is that a general implication of PCA?

    No, that’s a general implication of adding uncorrelated noise. I.e. the remaining PCs are (presumably) uncorrelated and their sums tend to ~N(0,1) ala the central limit theorem.

    Mark

  134. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Re:#132
    Lee, even if the melting is as you describe, that is not “direct” evidence that “…that temps at that site have gone above freezing for the first time in several thousand years.” One possible alternative: in previous times, substantial snow cover insulated/protected the ice cap when temperatures rose above freezing.

  135. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Re:#123
    TCO, you say “MBH98 lists Preisendorfer’s n as a criteria for number of series retained. ”
    Please verify this. It’s my understanding that Preisendorfaer’s was only mentioned years after MBH98, presumably as an attempt to retro-justify an ad hoc choice of which PCs to retain. Thus, your admonitions in #123 and 124 should be directed at Mann et al.

  136. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:33 AM | Permalink

    Sure, it is formally possible that something in previous times protected the ice cap from any sign of melt and degradation of the layering, and on this occasion melt penetrating through DECADES of accumulation just happened to correspond to a time with no protective cover. And that the hypothezied insulating cover was more effective at protecting the entire ice cap, than the decades of ice assumulation in the ice cap overlying the bottom extent of the melt has been. And that this correspondence of temps above freezing and no cover just happens to corresponde to observed temp increases worldwide, and obsrved upward movements of the equilibrium lines on tropcial glaciers worldwide. Its a real stretch, though.

    Remember that tropical atmosphere vertical temp profiles are highly stratified and pretty stable – melt to the extent described means that the freezing point horizon (or for subfreezing temps close enough to allow solar melting of the surface) in that profile moved up to that elevation for long enough to enable deep surface melt – I find this (along with all the other evidence) pretty convincing.

  137. JJ
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Lee,

    “jj, at least one of those sets of observations …”

    Cite, please.

    “Other evidence is less direct, but solidly indicative.”

    Hand waving.

    JJ

  138. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    jj, read the NAS report. Ive listed and cited many, many times here; it’s laid out there.

  139. JJ
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    I have seen you assert many times. I have seen you cite very little. Cite please.

  140. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Re: #137
    Lee, I’m glad you agree it’s not direct evidence of unprecedented warming. My general point on that was that this is at best yet another case of a combined temp/precipitation proxy.
    Snow cover is certainly not hypothetical, otherwise there wouldn’t be an ice cap. I think we can agree that for the type of melting you describe, the snow cover needs to be thin-to-gone, and there needs to be a somewhat sustained period of elevated temps (ie not a short pulse). So, all you can really say about such an event is that some combination of reduced precipitation and contiguous elevated temps occurred.
    In order to evalute this event in a broader context, we need to know:
    1) How often this happens over the ice cap (ie look at dozens of sites of different topographies if possible). Finding similar examples at other sites for the same time period would support this not being a local event.
    2) How did snow cover vary throughout the year, and how did temps vary throughout the year? It may be that the combination of little snow cover and extended warm temps is frequently approached, and so this event is not so unusual, but just happened to pass the threshold of “recordability”.
    Unfortunately, the “threshold” nature of such events makes it very difficult to determine their relevance to questions of climate.

  141. Bruce
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    Re:# 97: Lee, re boy crying wolf. Actually Lee, your comment suggests that you may not have understood the point of the fable. Let me explain it to you. The boy lost credibility with his community because he cried “wolf” too often, and when a real wolf came along, the community took no notice of him, and were exposed to the real danger.

    Wikipedia: The Boy Who Cried Wolf, also known as The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf, is a fable by Aesop. The protagonist of the fable is a bored shepherd boy who entertained himself by calling out “wolf”. Nearby villagers who came to his rescue found that the alarms were false and that they’d wasted their time. When the boy was actually confronted by a wolf, the villagers did not believe his cries for help and his flock perished. In another version the boy was killed by wolves. The moral is stated at the end of the fable as:

    Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed.
    The English idiom “to cry wolf”, derived from the fable, refers to the act of persistently raising the alarm about a non-existent threat, with the implication that the person who cried wolf would not be taken seriously should a real emergency take place.

    On the TV series, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Cardassian Garak has a different understanding of the story, suggesting its message is “Never tell the same lie twice”. On the Simpsons episode “Marge Gets a Job”, Bart Simpson indeed tells not one but several different lies to avoid taking a test, only to literally be attacked by a wolf and, subsequently, not believed.

    A cynical interpretation is also possible: Do not lie too often, and do not tell lies just for your own amusement; save lies for when they are urgently required.

    On reflection no doubt, and having grown up somewhat, the boy (and the community) realised that if he had undertaken detailed analysis, discussed his conclusions with critics, released his data and methods, and made sure that when he was crying “wolf” there really was a wolf, then the real problem could have been dealt with.

  142. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 1:59 PM | Permalink

    #98 — I’ve looked agian at the NAS summary, thinking I’d missed something. However, the opposite was the case. A list of evidences for 20th century warming provides no basis for attributing that warming to anthropogenic CO2. Nor do millennially unique retreats of glaciers support claims for non-spontaneous shifts in climate. You spoke of climate anomalies in #92 in a quantitative context, as well as qualitiative. In terms of global climate, I don’t even know what “qualitative evidence” means in terms of assessing the cause of a 0.6 C rise in average temperature.

    On that basis, I reiterate the point implied in #96. There is no evidence for anomalous climate in the late 20th century unless you want to restrict your comparison to the mid-19th century. That comparison, however, is trivial and completely non-controversial.

    Despite your claim in #98, Lee, you have never listed “evidence” for non-spontaneous climate warming. You’ve only listed obsrvations and made an ad hoc judgment about human causality. The field of climate sience is rife with that sort of careless thinking.

  143. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    Armand, I disagree. The report was melting sufficient to remove layering through decades of surface ice. The fact that previous layering was preserved means that any possible previous melting didn’t even extend into the firn. If previous potential melting periods were obscured because they happened in surface snow and didnt even extend into firn, then there must on any and all previous occasions of warming have been a mass of snow sufficient to equal the insulative power of decades of firn and ice (given that the report is eradication of layering going back decades).

    And remember, this is the tropics. You dont get seasonality and sudden unusually hot events of the kind that occur in temperate zones; you get stable vertical stratification. Movement of the melt zone to the surface of the ice cap means in the tropics that the freezing temp horizon in the vertical profile moved up to that elevation. In your scenario, that means in the past that the profile must have moved up to that elevation just briefly, sufficient to melt snow but not firn or ice – and on this occasion for long enough to eradicate decades of ice layering.

    And even if one accepts your point, which I think is weak in this case, one still arrives at the conclusion that the surface of the ice cap experienced a temp/precip history combination unprecedented in thousands of years – and that too is evidence for something unusual going on.

  144. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 2:27 PM | Permalink

    Pat, it lists temeprature-dependent or temperature-affected events and observatins that are unique on millenial time scales.

    You may not think that occurences of millenially unique temperature-affected climate events in close temporal correlation with observed warming is evidence that the warming is moving into millenially unique levels, or that warming on milennial unique levels in close temporal correlation with huge increases in anthropogenic greenhouse gasses is evidence in favor of anthropogenic impacty on temperatures: I disagree. It’s not conclusive proof, absent stringent demonstratin fo the mechanism, but it is strong evidence – science seldom offers proof, and oftenis abl eto make string inferences in the absense of stringent demonstrations of the mechanistic bases. I personally think we are to that point. You may disagree – people of good will can disagree, often even in science – but this is my reasoning and the point where I am willing to accept that the evidence is strong enough to accept an anthropogenic effect for policy planning purposes while continuing the studies.

    Couple the apparently millenially unique tropical ice cap melting with a millenially unique collapse of a southern high latitude ice shelf, with millenially unique temperatures from a northern high-latitude ice core, with the huge increase in anthropogenic ‘greenhouse’ gasses and basic physics supporting that they will have an effect on temp (even if we cant resolve the feedbacks enough to decide exactly how much)- and I start to see reasonable evidence of millenially unique global temperatures, even if the errors in the dendro reconstructions are too high to resolve the question quantitatively.

    Policy VERY seldom gets to proceed from a position of absolute proof. The policy discussions are much more difficult than the science discussions in aprt for just that reason, and frankly I’m not sure what the appropriate policy decisions are, whether the science is iron-clad or just reasonably strong based on multiple lines of suggestive evidence. But that’s a different discussion from the one about whether the science is pointing to a reasonably strong inference of anthropogenic effecst on climate.

  145. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Bruce, I got the point.

    My point is that if lots of people are reporting the presense of a wolf, some with pics, some with foot prints that look a lot like wolf, some with scat samples tha ta wolf extpert sayus are from qolf, some with indirect inferences from looking at partially consumed sheep asn finding that tooth marks and consupmtin patterns look like wolf – and one demonstrates that a subset of the pictures were less certain than previously believed- it would be unwise to therefore conclude that there is no evidence and dismiss the possibility that a wolf exists.

  146. Dane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Lee, RE #144
    here is where I can’t agree with you;

    “one still arrives at the conclusion that the surface of the ice cap experienced a temp/precip history combination unprecedented in thousands of years – and that too is evidence for something unusual going on.”

    Even if everything your are saying is true, a few to several thousand years is really not enough time to say much of anything when it comes to global climate change, you must see that? It definetly isn’t evidence something unusual is going on.

    As for policy, I find it frightening that you actually believe there is enough evidence for AGW for policy changes or large scale decisions to be made. You must see how on these blogs many of the warmers take a religious view of the subject and ignore any evidence to the contrary. What is just as scary is the mass media (algore et al) campaign to scare the average shmo into believing the AGW story, without getting the other side as you do here. I don’t see enough evidence for AGW to set policy. I do however find enough national security interests in the US and our allies to get off fossil fuels /oil as our main energy source. I would agree to a policy based on that argument.

  147. Kopernik
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I was on vacation so I didn’t see the proceedings of either panel.

    Your impressions and analysis are very impressive for someone who is unfamiliar with the ways of Washington and American politics.

    I think I see the new approach of the AGW group: Mann doesn’t matter. AGW exists regardless of his work. The next set of major battles will be over the predective “models”.

    As an aside, I’ve noticed a substantial lack of “consensus” on what is meant by average annual global temperature. The instrumental surface temperature data of NASA, CRU, and NOAA seem to differ. (Christy has had some very interesting observations on “reliable” surface data.) The satellite data is different entirely. The deviations of recent proxy studies from instrumental surface measures is substantial. And tree rings seem to be going their own way. So this leads to my rhetorical question: unless there is one accepted definition of average global temperature, how can there be any advances?

    Comments and information will be appreciated.

    Kopernik

  148. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    Re #146, Lee
    All very true.
    But when you search the wolf expert’s luggage, and find a pair of shoes with wolf paws on the bottom, suitable for making bogus wolf tracks, and catch him using a set of artificial jaws to mutilate adead sheep so it looks like a wolf caught it …

  149. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Even if everything your are saying is true, a few to several thousand years is really not enough time to say much of anything when it comes to global climate change, you must see that? It definetly isn’t evidence something unusual is going on.

    What, you mean measurable climate change can only happen on scales greater than millennia? Try telling people here that, in this place where all discussion of the MWP/LIA not be major world events is squashed, or shouted down.

    [snip - Peter, stop using terms like "religious" and don't start acting like a martyr because I've snipped you. Nothing snipped was scientific, you're just trying to pick a fight. Next time, I'll delete the post as I odn't have time to snip.]

  150. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    Ooops.
    … then you should feel entitled to look at all the other evidence with a very suspicious eye.
    I’m not saying reject it all out of hand – just check it, in detail.

  151. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    Hello, Peter. You never did answer my question : Do you now accept that the methodology of MBH98/99 was completely bogus ?

  152. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    fF oh, [snip - stop this please]

  153. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:39 PM | Permalink

    #152. No.

  154. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    Re #154
    So you’re saying that Prof Wegman is being deceitful ? Or just wrong ?

  155. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    Wegman’s report is incomplete: it stops right at the point where the next step would be to show that the PC1 issues make a difference to the conclusions of the paper.

    Wegman’s report also contains a truly absurd hit piece – the entire social network part – where Wegman, a prominent statistician, fails to make any quantitative arguments or analyses to see if what he describes is anything at all out of the ordinary – and where he appears to be claiming with no evidence for THAT point that patterns of coauthorship translate to problems with peer review. I foudn that astounding,and it makes it hard for me not to interpret the Wegman report as an attempted hit piece on Mann and not just a dispassionate analysis of the issues.

    The few (two) statisticians I know well (both retired) won’t make claims about how much gray hair they (or I, dammit) have, without doing a quantitative analysis – hell, one of ‘em routinely does quantitative pattern analyses on the frequency and kind of disputes he has with his (loving and long-suffering) wife. They would not dream of offering a substantial part of a public report to congress, with imputations of (at least) unsound sets of professional relationships, with utterly no quantitative analysis or statistical comaprison to other such networks.

  156. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    I very much doubt W. said their methodolgy was ‘completely bogus’ – every bit of it. Jese, you can’t think the entire paper was completely wrong.

    Do I think they, with hindsight, might do things differently now? Yup – if only for a quiet life. Do I think MBH98 was completely wrong? No, for a start it shows the much worshipped MWP/LIA.

    I do, though, continue to wonder how much longer we need to keep chewing on this particular bone. I’ve been here for 2 (gulp) years we’re STILL bleeping well arguing about MBH98 for christ’s sake! Can’t you people start taking pot shots at new people like K.R. Briffa, T.J. Osborn, F.H. Schweingruber, I.C. Harris, P.D. Jones, S.G. Shiyatov, S.G. and E.A. Vaganov or A. Moberg, D.M. Sonechkin, K. Holmgren, N.M. Datsenko and W. Karlén or P.D. Jones, K.R. Briffa, T.P. Barnett, and S.F.B. Tett? Surely you can learn to hate them too?

  157. per
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    it stops right at the point where the next step would be to show that the PC1 issues make a difference to the conclusions of the paper.

    There is a simple issue here; wegman has pointed out fundamental errors in numerous facets of how MBH was performed. NAS panel has agreed, and moreover pointed out that there shouldn’t be bristlecones in there at all.

    MBH’98/99 cannot be relied upon, because the statistical methods are busted, and the data is flawed. Going through a million different permutations of things that you could do to rescue an irretrievable data set, never mind some of the more arcane/ imaginative issues that are hidden in the stats (or are even to this day undocumented), just isn’t a sensible way to go.

    yours
    per

  158. Dane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:33 PM | Permalink

    PH, yup, I’m a scientist, damn good one at that, just got another raise last week. I was referring to how warmers simply cannot fathom they might be wrong. I on the other hand have been wrong numerous times in my life, admit it, and move on.

    As far as AGW goes, I am pretty sure its not happening, but with some good sound evidence am willing to change my mind. I have changed political parties when it was needed due the evidence showing me I no longer agreed with the parties view. So no, I don’t have anything at stake here. I could care less except for the fact that people like you want to take money from my wallet for policy changes that will cost me who knows how much, based on inconclusive scientific evidence.

    As far as LIA and MWP, in a geologists eyes those are small blips on the ever recording device of continuing climate changes, some warm, some cold, all real, all happen, but you must look at the earth with a broader lense otherwise you can’t see the forest through the trees. I see you and Lee as those types, and too worried about your ego’s to ever admit when you are wrong.

    As far as honor goes,you said this;
    " can see how honourable people might not see enough evidence"
    Poeple like you no NOTHING of honor. I am the son of a West Point Grad and Vietnam Veteran. I served 10 glorious years in our wonderful US Army Infantry (I miss those grerat guys)and was medicalled out retired due to a combat related disability suffered in Panama one really bad night.

    [snip - Dane, please]

  159. Dane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    PH, RE # 150 above.

  160. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    per, that wasnt my point. In WEGMAN’s analysis, offered to congress as an analysis of the methods in MBH, WEGMAN showed a problem with one datum, the PC1, of the several proxies included in the final analysis. The overall analysis is what matters, and WEGMAN didnt analyze that. I know some of the argument regarding problems in the overall analysis, I buy some of them – but WEGMAN didnt analyze them and show that the issue with the PC1 makes a difference. We dont’t know if Wegman agrees that there are problems invalidating the entire analysis. Instead, he included the ludicrous unanalyzed social network hit piece.

    I agree with Hearnden, and Ive made the point before: if the point is to analyze whether the conclusions from the dendro field are valid, then analyze the damn field. Look at the newest, most advanced papers, rather than continuing to beat on the founder paper. Put the information in aggregated form, publish it so it can be subject to sceitnific criticism. Hell, if you think the stat methods are improper, there are a LOT of public data series out there. Take a bunch of them, analyze them, and publish the results, and point out how they (the error ranges, perhaps) differ from the other pubs in the field and why. Force an answer int eh scientific literature. Mann made errors, and part of his conclusion is likely not supported by his analysiis. So f*****g what? There are 8 years of subsequent study and scientific literature which, as far as I can see from this disjoint web site (and not scientific publications agregating and analyzing the issues), is only being addressed piecemeal.

    IF we inherently can’t extract the relevant climate info from these kinds of studies, that woudl be good to know. If we can, that is important – and publishing the results, the uincertainties, and the relevant methods would be good. Repeatedly b***h-slapping the oldest papers from the 8 years of literature whiel throwing disaggregated potshots at the remainder, and not actually moving closer to EITHER of these important conclusions, seems awfully close to indulging in useless vindictiveness.

  161. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:46 PM | Permalink

    DAne, why is it necesary for you to conclude that people who disagree with you, are ‘incapable of changing their minds,’ or make them the target of extraordinary insults like "Poeple like you no NOTHING of honor."

    Are you incapable of believing that people of good will, looking and thinking honestly at the evidence, can come to different conclusions than you? Or decide that a different threshold is acceptable to us for purposes of decisin making at this moment?

    Please.

    [snip ] And Steve, if you are going to leave in Dane’s imputation of other’s honor (which you seem to have done), [this had already been snipped - please stop this crap, both of you] then please leave in this response.

  162. Dane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:55 PM | Permalink

    RE 161 Lee,

    I kind of agree with you here. I think though why people keep harping away at the 8 yr old paper is because the authors won’t share data and admit they made a mistake, that bothers many and keeps the spotlight on the paper. I do think we should be looking closely at all studies relating to climate change and AGW.

    I think a policy blog might be good. I am interested in what people like PH and Lee think the policy direction should go, who should pay, how much per person or country etc, how to decide who must follow what GHG limits, what actualy human GHG emmisions are vs natural (easier to set limits if you can get a good estimate of manmade vs natural) So far all the numbers I have seen go back to one paper from 1991, that admits it is flawed. Seems if GHG are such a threat, than its even more important to know what the naturals GHG will be (since we can’t control that number), so we can control the human input of GHG to the system.

  163. Dane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    #162 Lee, [snip - stop this or both of you will be carded]

  164. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Lee, I’ve had to spend a lot of time last year responding to criticisms of our critique – two Ammann and Wahl submissions to GRL, their submission to Climatic Change, two Ritson submission to GRL, plus hit jobs from realclimate. If they wanted to concede MBH and move on, that would have been fine with me. But they’ve fought every inch of the way, issued national press releases that everything I’ve ever said is “unfounded”, Houghton has testified to congress that our claims were “largely false”. They didn’t need to stay in the hand, but once they did, their cards had to be turned over. Now they don’t like the result. Tough.

  165. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    Re: #144
    Lee, I think we pretty much agree, although I think your evidence that this was an unusual non-local event is weak (as I mentioned in my previous post, you’d need multiple cores all over the ice cap in different topographies in order to be able generalize for the whole ice cap as you’ve done). Now all you have to explain is why this can’t be natural.

  166. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Lee, regarding the various anecdotal pieces of evidence that you cite, I think people would be more convinced if the examples were collected systematically. There’s a lot of potential for reinforcing conventional wisdom by just publishing individual anecdotes.
    If you want to try to convince people that all frogs are green, you need to look systematically at frog populations, not just sample a French restaurant here, some Interstate roadkill there, and what’s in the pet shop.

  167. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:14 PM | Permalink

    I thought that Wegman came down pretty hard on MBH98 for using novel statistical methods without submitting it first to a statistical journal, or at least vetting it with a statistician. I believe he said that the properties of this new method were not known, but stopped short of saying that it was bogus. Given that the correctness of this novel method has not been proven, and given the errors already found, and given the proven non-robustness of the method, I would say the uncertainties are just too high to believe any of the claims.

    So much of what we take as “facts”, we take on faith without checking them out to the last detail. There are just too many new things coming out to check everything. This trust we have in scientists is not a bad thing, but if they violate this trust, then one naturally suspects their claims until they earn that trust back. “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.”

  168. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    Re#165, 10 bucks says that as soon as there’s silence about MBH98, the hockey team will claim it as a sign of victory.

  169. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    I enjoy debating but Dr. Mann is the only person who should be proving to us they have any honor or not!

    See the NAS Ice core thread for other evidence Lee refers to all the time.

    Lee told me oxygen isotopes had nothing to do with sea level studies (when I knew they did) Then *Silence* after Paul Dennis came onboard and it turned out to be a really good informative discussion on how well ice cores might or might not provide good temp data. We also all continued to speak about volcanos in another topic when Lee and Peter protested how stupid it was. So they can’t stop us!!! ;) They sure try ALL the time.

    I knew the kind of people Dr. Mann and Gavin were from personal experience trying to post on RC and from seeing them “do an interview” with the blog the Daily Kos. Also their comments about Steve and Ross were really unprofessional and egotistical. They still make comments like that on that blog! I think they are political ideologists not real enough serious scientists. Or perhaps their politics takes over their science mind and ethics gets brushed aside too. They behave like the media does and did during the last two Presidential elections. Half truths are still lies in my book.

    What I want to know is how many papers were rejected or not published because they didn’t hold the party line in the last ten or so years? How many scientists were treated how the Hockey Team treats Steve and Ross if their papers had other explainations about climate change or found discrepencies in Hockey Stick-like hypothosis?

  170. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    Re my #172:
    Paul Dennis’ ears must have been burning.
    he started up the conversation again here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=739

  171. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Steve M, I am looking forward to a written transcript of your testimony at the House of Representatives and to a much lesser extent that of the others testifying. I have a personal aversion to listening or watching real time audios or videos of Washington politicians spending my tax moneys in futile, but obvious, attempts to show-boat their knowledge on subjects far and wide to their constituents.

    It is my judgment that the case for a Kyoto or Kyoto-type climate policy has already been caste (incorrectly in my opinion) and the US part in it is simply a matter of getting the voters into more of a crisis mode about it. That is simply how our current system of government operates on most issues of the nature of climate control. As I stated previously here I do not believe that criticism of the current climatology science such as yours and others will be fully utilized by science or the public or politicians until the restrictions imposed by energy policies (and policies that most agree will have insignificant effects on carbon dioxide levels) are negatively felt in the every day lives of the voters. For now you will, or should be, personally satisfied and prideful that the NAS and the Wegman reports confirmed your initial criticisms of the HS.

    You are a much less involved, both politically and professionally, participant in the AGW issue than Mann and his cohorts and should not be expected to battle on the same basis as they have or will. As another poster noted a few days back the HS must survive in some form for the message of climate crises and tipping point to have a maximum effect on public policy and particularly here in the US. The von Storch approach to a tipping point crisis via the accelerating increases in instrumental temperatures may be a logical fallback position in the absence of more convincing evidence for pushing public policy (and it would allow for the anecdotal evidence of glacier melting and the like) but then that would demand, one would think, some historical comparisons with the pre-instrumental time period. For tipping point to really sell public policy the increase in temperature must be fast but not so fast that we could test the hypothesis out-of-sample in a reasonable time frame, but fast enough to make for a crisis where one cannot wait for out-of-sample results. The climate change must also be somewhat irreversible to encourage long term action to counter the change but not so irreversible that any counter strategies would be deemed impractical.

    I see Mann and company fighting back with future HSs and tipping points in climate change and that would logically commence from the hearings next week. Mann is certainly not a disinterested scientist on the subject of AGW as noted as recently as his appearance on the Lou Dobbs show. He will though have to make better use of the extra week he has had to prepare than he was for a fawning Dobbs.

    In the meantime, Steve M, I sincerely hope from a purely selfish standpoint that you can encourage even more technical and scientific input on your site involving climate change and the involved statistics. I have also enjoyed your accounts of the personalities involved in your public encounters and who has accompanied you to the bar for beers.

    Lately the postings have increased here as has the noise level, but making that more bearable has been some really good technical posts and exchanges.

  172. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    rocks – please.

    IIRC, my objection to your isotope / sea level comments was that you were implying that this was the origin or major use of the isotope studies, and that derived from the fact that you failed to identify that you were talking about a completely different use which had nothing to do with using them to infer temperatures in ice cores, when the topic under discussion was ice cores. I saw nothing to add to Paul’s (I assume – I dont personally remember the attribution) explanation (to you) of how the ice core values worked and how they were independent of how the sea isotope values might bu used to infer ice volume, I saw nothing to add. I have many times participated in discussion about ice core isotope analyses, before and since then. Plese dont make statements about me that are not true.

    My objection to the volcano discussion was SPECIFICALLY in attempting to attribute the breakup of the ice shelf to volcanoes, when there is uttterly no evidence for that, and to what looked like an attempt to claim that volcanoes might be responsible for the huge rise in atmospheric CO2 when there is a lot of good evidence otherwise. And to being told that no one was bothering to look at volcanic emissions when it took me a couple minutes on google to find a relevant paper. I have no problem with wanting to get a better estimate of volcanic emissions – I do have a problem with people claiming incorrectly that it hasnt been looked at, or claiming incorrectly in the face of all the other evidence that it, instead of anthropogenic emissions, might be responsible for the dramatic rise in atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

    And I also have a bit of a problem with people claiming I said and did things I didnt do. Talking about volcanoes is not stupid, and I never said it was; making unsupported claims about the effects of volcanoes is. THAT I will live with.

  173. per
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Re: #161

    In WEGMAN’s analysis, offered to congress as an analysis of the methods in MBH, WEGMAN showed a problem with one datum, the PC1, of the several proxies included in the final analysis. The overall analysis is what matters,…

    Lee, I am not sure that you are clear on this. All the PCs are from analysis; and if you centre, then PC1 shifts from hockey-stick to flat. Whether you then get a hockey-stick in the analysis is up to rather esoteric analysis, and under the most optimistic case for Mann, you cannot describe the resulting pattern as a dominant pattern of variance (one of MBH’s most important claims). Wegman’s analysis, in and of itself, invalidates MBH’98/99.

    Look at the newest, most advanced papers, rather than continuing to beat on the founder paper.

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding of science. You simply cannot have a dozen people analysing the same thing, getting very different results, and then claim they are all correct. Each individual paper from all the reconstructions has to stand on its own two feet, and either be right or wrong. It is fundamental that each study has to receive thorough scrutiny; it has taken Mann ~8 years to release his code, and it still isn’t clear all of the steps he undertook. The fact that it has taken so long to understand the first paper is a searing indictment of MBH. But you cannot just shift on to analysing a newer study everytime someone publishes; because then you would never come to a view on any one study.

    You complain that this is beating on Mann; it is not. It is finding the substantive issues that arise from the MBH paper. Once that has been thoroughly done, it will be possible to take the lessons learned from that, and move on to the rest of the studies. You will have noticed that it is now clear that bristlecone pines should not be in reconstructions (the NAS report), yet many of the other reconstructions are contaminated both with MBH’s PC1, or pine series. This puts the most severe pressure on these studies.

    yours
    per

  174. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Many of us who have followed the global warming debate from the beginning have been struck by a “gut instinct” that there is significant bias on the part of climate researchers who have feasted on the global warming bandwagon.

    The polar bears are drowning, the ice caps are melting, if Antarctica melts sea levels will rise 30 metres, the mountain glaciers are melting and … A day does not go by without a drama-filled media headline bombarding us about how a new climate change study shows us the world is going to end.

    Those of us who dig a little deeper into the latest study find a great deal of exageration and great lack of fact backing up the claim. Those of us who believe in the scientific method (it has served mankind very well for the last 4 centuries) are struck by how little scientific method is being used in this debate.

    The medical field has moved from the Middle Ages bleeding method to truly effective medical treatments by implementing the scientific method: Controlled, Double Blind, statistically significanct results, replicated by independent researchers, proven by a paucity of independent non-biased studies.

    I am prepared to change my opinion when a scientist presents his case, shows us the data, and makes a scientific method conclusion about it and the results are replicated by other independent non-biased researchers.

    Why did Wegman go the low road and point out the lack of independence in the climate research community? Because it is a fundamental concept in the proof required in the scientific method, the basis of modern science.

    I have had personal interest in this issue for many years. I see nothing but bias and a total lack of objectivity and a lack of proper training on behalf of climate researchers. Not knowing basic statistics, no geologiy training, models based on assumptions that physicists laugh at, no proper analysis of climate history …

    We need many more independent-scientific-method-based people like Steve in this debate. I want evidence and facts. Leave your “belief” at home. Prove it. It is not too much to ask because that is what they are supposed to be doing in the first place.

  175. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:27 PM | Permalink

    Weffer, Wegman did not do a damn bit of ‘scientific’ analysis of the social network stuff. He didnt have one piece of analysis saying this was unusual compared to any other field, not one bit of evidence for any bad effect of this network. He is a statistician, and yet he failed to offer the most basic of statistical analyses of that network to show that it was in any way unusual.

    Even worse, he then offered that analysis of essentially co-publishing patterns (leading to the amazing conclusion that Mann had published papers with everyone with whom he had published papers), and tried to use it to argue that there was a problem with independence of the anonymous peer review – about which he had NO DATA. None. Nada. Zip. Zilch. Not a single damn bit.

    And you defend this?

  176. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 8:49 PM | Permalink

    #145 — OK, Lee, let’s accept all of that as your best presentation of the evidence of AGW.

    Does it matter to your case that the southern ice-shelf has been melting back for 10,000 years? One thousand years ago, it was already melted very far back from its maximum at the beginning of the Holocene. Why should continued melting across the most recent 1000 years be any more than a continuation of that trend? That it might be accelerating now, during the warming after the LIA need not be a surprise. Why should a climate-driven melt-process be smoothly continuous?

    Does it matter to your case that there was a large change in arctic atmospheric circulation around 1850 that was involved in — either as partially causal of, or in response to — the end of the LIA? That without any change in CO2? Does it matter that there was a shift in the northern tropical monsoon 100 years ago and a discontinuity in the Pacific Decadal Oscillation 30 years ago that had nothing to do with CO2, but which likely have global climatological consequences? Does the fact that no one actually knows what those consequences should be matter to your sense of certainty about the correlation between CO2 and warming?

    Does it matter that the global cooling that happened between 1950 and 1975 was passed off in an ad hoc way as due to aerosols so as to save the CO2 = warming hypothesis?

    Does it matter that the physical theory you cite as supporting AGW is so incomplete that no one can actually calculate the effect of adding 2x CO2 to the atmosphere? That being true, then the “basic physics supporting that they will have an effect on temp” does not actually exist. There is no trustworthy base of climate physics that will predict the effect of CO2 in a real atmosphere, because the physical processes are not understood.

    Think about it in terms of biology, Lee. Suppose I said that the chemistry of iron and DNA would obviate cellular life, because all the iron would be sequestered by the phosphate groups in DNA and none would be left for the metalloenzymes. Therefore, life should be impossible. I could quote binding constants, and DNA supercoiling that would hide away all the iron from solution access. It would all be very quantitative. You would be entirely right to tell me that the chemical theories on which I was basing my prediction were too simple and too incomplete to describe the feedbacks and regulation inside a cell.

    That’s how it is for climate. The physical theory is too simple and too incomplete to know how Earth climate will respond to 2x CO2. Empirically, what we know about past climate changes makes the 20th century look pretty placid. I could be wrong and we might be on the edge of disaster, but there’s no way to know any of that and there is no reason to be alarmed.

    AGW alarmism is an attempt to cause a stampede, for political ends.

  177. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:15 PM | Permalink

    Armand: Page 786 of MBH98. 4th full para.

  178. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    TCO, on an earlier occasion, you may recall a poster here perceptively concluding:

    The Preisendorfer thing seems to come accross as an after the fact justification. They didn’t really use it. And they didn’t describe it’s use in their discussion of methods in the paper.

    I considered this question, including an analysis of what they said in MBH in a couple of earlier posts here and here with details here . It’s not mentioned in connection with tree ring networks and actual tree ring PC retentions in other networks besides the NOAMER network, and even the NOAMER network, show no evidence of use of this procedure.

  179. Lee
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    actually Pat, IMO you’ve got the fundamental fact backwards. We KNOW that increaing CO2 will increase heat retention on the planet. That is basic simple physics. We know how much. The uncertainty is in what kinds of feedbacks there are that MIGHT offset it or amplify it beynd a modest effect. We also think we understand some (bt nto all) of the feedbacks, and those we understand add up to an amplifying feedback. So what we are uncertain about is whether there are offsetting negative feedbacks that might keep us from warming, against a set of known effects that WILL cause us to warm.

    We know that there are other effects onobserved global temperature, including potentially heat transport effecs with potentially steadily increasing heat content even with observed varaitions in temperature at the locations where we measure it (as a for-example). Whether or not aerosols are the explanation for the midcentury, there is no reason to expect a monotonic increase of temperatures in lockstep with CO2, even if CO2 becomes a dominant forcing.

    Is it possible that we seem to be moving to a global high temperature regime causing effects not seen in thousands of years, precisely as we dramatically increase the concentration of a gas that we know traps heat, purely by coincidence? Sure. But remember this is not happening in a vaccuum (well, it is, but only outside the atmosphere, where it doent really matter to our point). We do have the (incomplete) models and the fact that even if imprecise they point toward roughly the patterns of warming we observe. More immediately relevant, we have vertical atmospheric temp profiles consistent with heating from increased ‘greenhouse gas’ effects. We have other evidence for CO2 impacts, including calculations of CO2 forcing from glacial/interglacial transitions which are roughly consistent with observed present warming, and evidence of hemispehric temp coupling through changes driven by insolation differences on one hemisphere that as of now can only be explained by atmospheric CO2 coupling.

    Taken together, we see a lot of evidence, not all of it precise but almost all consistent and of several different kinds, saying that we should be observing unusual warming right now. And we do observe unusual warming right now. That isnt proof, but adequate for me for now for the purposes of the interim scientific conclusions necessary to making policy decisions – which very often must get made in the absense of complete information. Once the information is complete the change we are trying to influence has typically already happened.

    Especially since ther are othe rlines of reasoning leading the the necesity of the same kinds of polciy discussions – energy dependence and future energy transitions, for one, and chemical effects on the oceans for another.

    What those policies should be, as I said before, I really dont know. These are hard issues. But I might offer that if nations were enforceably assigned a share of potential future global costs of anthro climate change and its effects, relative to total national production of greenhouse gasses, that it might cause a real and sudden shift in thinking about what to do. AND trigger some hardheaded thinking about risks and risk analysis. It’s the “enforceable” part that is the kicker here.

  180. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 9:55 PM | Permalink

    That f***ing poster! Who was it? :)

    Anyhoo…I had the same impression as Armand. So sometimes it is good to go back and relook at things (as with Huybers for instance).

  181. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 10:07 PM | Permalink

    go back and re-read my notes on this. You read up on the matter in more detail on the earlier occasion,

    They didn’t say that they used Preisendorfer on tree ring networks.

    You’tre extrapolation from temperature networks where they mention it. These are different animals and the reasons why Preisendorfer’s Rule might or might not apply are different.

    But again you’re getting all wound up in nits, the issue is whether it makes any sense that the covariance PC4 (bristlecones) is a unique world thermometer. This has to be proved scientifically not through Preisendorfer,s. I’ve written endlessly on this, I wish that you’d re-read these posts as I don’t have time right now to argue about it.

  182. TCO
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 10:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve, chill. I will reread it. I did note from the skim that you discerned a difference in where n rule was applied. When I get a chance will reread the remarks in detail (and the MBH paper). And then I’ll give my honest take as with Huybers.

  183. James Lane
    Posted Jul 24, 2006 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    #179 Steve, that third link is a beauty. I’d always wondered what the actual eigenvalues were for the various PCs and there they are.

    For those that haven’t followed the link, it shows that Preisendorfer’s Rule was not used in the selection of retained tree-ring PCs in MBH. It’s a bit rich for Mann to rely on Preisendorfer to justify retention of PC4 where the bristlecones are relegated via centred PCA.

  184. bender
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

    On those links in #179. I wouldn’t get so hung up on the use of Preisendorfer’s “rule”. As I said a few days ago, it’s more a rule of thumb, not a regulation. The number of PCs retained for interpretation is up to the analyst’s discretion. Why? Because interpretation of PCs is subjective anyways. It’s a starting point, not an ending point. Why dispense with elements that are interpretible if that’s what you’re after?

    At least these are the customs of ecosystem science. And maybe the customs are wrong. But I had never heard of Preisendorfer until this week.

    You could say that MBH are invoking Preisendorfer’s “rule” only after the fact. Or you could say that they used a form of reasoning similar to that represented by method. They may not have applied the rule a priori, sensu stricto, but does it matter? Is it worth the bandwidth, when you have other, better arguments to make?

    What is significant is the big drop from PC1 down to PC4 when that vector is properly centred on its mean and not the mean during the calibration period. (I bet the paper would not even have been published in Nature if the hockey stick had fallen out as PC4. “AGW exists but there are more important things going on that we just don’t understand” = not much of a headline. Doh!) Of course, they retain PC4. Any analyst would include it – not because it conforms to an expectation (in this case HS), but because it’s interpretible. Interpretability is a precious commodity.

    What is significant is their interpretation of PC4 (or whatever the HS series falls out as). Is it best interpreted as a global temperature signal, or as a regional alpine process signal?

    In questioning the choice of number of PCs to retain you’re questioning something most academic scientists wouldn’t bother with. It’s a correct argument, but not all correct arguments are going to resonate within the scientific community.

  185. James Lane
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:49 AM | Permalink

    bender is quite right with his comments. I’ve been thinking a fair bit over the last couple of days about the difference between the social sciences and the way that PCA is implemented in MBH.

    Applying PCA to a bunch of “personality” type statements you might find a number of statements weighted on an early-order PC like:


    I often feel uncomfortable in social situations
    I would describe myself as shy
    I’m often the life and soul of the party (negative weight)

    You could conclude, reasonably, that you’ve identified an underlying dimension you could label “introversion”. This has both “face validity” (it makes sense) and “construct validity” (intoversion-extoversion has been identified as a fundamental personality dimension in the literature). Generally you will retain as many PCs as are interpretable. The eigenvalue-rule or scree test can be used as a guide (like bender I’ve never heard of Preisendorfer’s rule in any other context than MBH).

    What I don’t understand is, in the MBH example, if you’re going to interpret PC4 as a temperature signal, what is your interpretation of PCs 1-3, which explain most of the variance? There doesn’t seem to be any face validity or construct validity.
    When I first came across PCA deployed in the “hard” sciences, via MBH, I was very surprised, and I suppose the above is my best distallation of why.

  186. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:07 AM | Permalink

    #185. I agree with your point, but I have to argue some issues as rebuttal.

    In our article, we observed that the HS was not the “dominant component of variance”, but only such under Mannian PCA. That was an issue when we published.

    We ourselves sought to “interpret” the pattern and found a quite amazing interpretation in the bristlecones – where the pattern remained an orthogonal pattern within the network preserved almost unchanged in the covariance PC4.

    The interpretation issue, about which we wrote a lot, is that the pattern in specialist literature was said not to be a temperature or even climatic result, but one due to fertilization; that IPCC had even warned about this as a problem; that other prior studies had avoided bristlecones as a proxy; that Mann had done studies without bristlecones without getting a HS shape – so the entire edifice rested on a really wonky pattern.

    Once you know that, you simply can’t ignore it. 99.9% of all subsequent counter-attacks have been arguing that there exists some MATHEMATICAL rule by which bristlecone data should dominate results – always avoiding any mention of bristlecones in such discussions. We’ve had to respond at that level.

    In pseudoproxy experiments which I’ve done recently on Zorita’s pseudoproxies, it’s loud and clear that in a proxy network with an temperature signal plus white noise, any temperature signal is in the PC1. Any lower PC is some other animal. The NAS panel did not endorse the use of PCs for tree ring networks and indicated a potential preference for averages.

    The NAS panel has, in one way, cut through these issues by saying that bristlecones should be “avoided”.

  187. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:18 AM | Permalink

    #186. Preisendorfer was actually a very competent mathematician. Preisendorfer’s Rule N is a way of applying random matrix theory and I can perceive some similarities between his approach and that in recent articles by Galluccio and others see here connecting random matrix theory to noisy covariance matrices. While the recent articles do not cite Preisendorfer, both Preisendorfer and Galluccio have important common references.

    As a small coincidence, Chris Essex studied with Preisendorfer.

    Preisendorfer’s book is filled with cautions and caveats that rules could not be mechanically applied, but had to make sense. Mike Wallace of the NAS panel said in one of his writings that it was usually hard to interpret EOFs after the first couple. He didn’t mention that in the NAS panel.

  188. James Lane
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    I have no problem with Preisendorfer, I was only remarking that I had not heard of his “rule N’ in relation to PCA. That means nothing, there’s plenty of stuff I don’t know about!

  189. TCO
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 8:16 AM | Permalink

    I think there is a logical flaw in 187. (temp signals can’t be in PC4, but fertilization signals can.) It’s an issue of mathematics and needs to be expressed as such. The matrices and equations don’t know if a signal has temp or fertilization in it. Perhaps you mean to make some argument that a regional effect of low frequency won’t be in PC1, but will emerge lower down.

    I still need to reread the Preisendorfer stuff and see if it signals the same sort of issues that the Huybers commentary did.

  190. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 8:23 AM | Permalink

    Re#179, from the 3rd link, MBH98:
    a conventional Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is performed… An objective criterion was used to determine the particular set of eigenvectors which should be used in the calibration as follows. Preisendorfer’s selection rule “rule N’ was applied to the multiproxy network to determine the approximate number Neofs of significant independent climate patterns that are resolved by the network, taking into account the spatial correlation within the multiproxy data set.
    Looks like Mann tried to cover his hide and give himself wiggle-room by saying Preisendorfer only told him the “approximate number” to use. So he applied ‘rule N,’ looked at the results of that selection, and then picked whatever number to retain that he wanted so long as that number was “approxiately” what Preisendorfer provided.

    Hard to see how this could be an “objective criterion.”

    Of course, to even read any of that, you have to get past the “a conventional Principal Component Analysis (PCA) is performed” claim!

  191. Dane
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Re 180
    Interesting responses.

    “What those policies should be, as I said before, I really dont know. These are hard issues” and
    “It’s the “enforceable” part that is the kicker here.”

    Again may I suggest a new thread about these topics. I am interested to see how some of the people here would handle these delicate issues. They definetly need more discussion.

  192. jae
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    180

    More immediately relevant, we have vertical atmospheric temp profiles consistent with heating from increased “greenhouse gas’ effects.

    Prove this, Lee.

  193. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    For those interested in the urban-heat-island and land-use issue, new satellite images of temperatures in England for July 15, 2006 were released yesterday.

    The urban-heat-island effect is clearly visible with the highest temperatures occuring right over England’s largest cities. London, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester are clear hotspots and one can easily see industrial/developed areas. The historical temperature record for London has clearly been affected over time by increasing urban development.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/5211592.stm

  194. Geoff
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #157 – I’m not sure I would put the matter in the way that you have Peter, but your comment does remind me of some important work to be done. Who has developed a list of all the climate journal articles that have relied on MBH9X as an important part of their support for their arguments? (Perhaps someone with access to CrosRef?) Surely there is a need for a significant review of the literature to judge the extent to which those papers are weakened by the conclusion (of MM, NAS, and Wegman) that the methodology of MBH9X cannot be relied on. This would include not only direct references to MBH9X but also references to other often-cited articles supported by these works, (e.g.) Jones and Mann (2004) which relies in part on MBH9X.

    Of course others may be more interested in working out the implications of the “divergence” issue, but to each their own contribution to greater understanding. What is Malcolm Hughes doing to get the bottom of the divergence issue? David Frank and Jan Esper are doing a lot of interesting work, but it’s certainly not clear to me whether we are closer to a conclusion.

    Many interesting lines of investigation ahead (not forgetting models). It would be great if we see more thoughtful work and let the chips fall where they may, but without hysteria.

  195. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    jae, you’ve seen the numbers and figures – troposphere warming, stratosphere cooling. Here is a ink to an abstract fo a paper .

    There are also effors to examine the fine-grained distribution of the effect and interactions with ozone; here is one example:
    AMS

  196. Tim Ball
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Re #74
    This blog was diverted once again by the ploy of picking up on one specious issue. Instead of responding to the questions I posed about the limitations of models the focus was immediately deflected by the comment about my collective use of “we”. I only used it in the context of the science and more specifically the climate community as was pointed out in another post (#79), but by that time the diversion was effective. Let me just restate one question. Have they adjusted the models to accommodate the evidence that temperature changes before CO2, not as assumed? Then consider that the IPCC report claims anthropogenic sources are responsible for 0.8 +/- 1.3 W/m^2 of the forcing since the beginning of the industrial revolution. However, the range of inputs for insolation at the top of the atmosphere in the major computer models is over 10 W/m^2.

  197. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    #180 — “We KNOW that increaing CO2 will increase heat retention on the planet.

    Actually, we don’t, Lee. If increased CO2 caused more evaporation and low cloud cover, it could reduce Earth albedo and end up reducing retained heat. The entire point is that the physical models of climate are unable to make any valid prediction about this.

    there is no reason to expect a monotonic increase of temperatures in lockstep with CO2” Except that’s exactly what GCM models predict.

    Lee, look at your post #180. You keep referring to effects you say will happen, followed by caveats about uncertainties. It’s not possible, in science anyway, to argue you’re certain about the results some part of a feedback when you’re uncertain about other parts. All the feedbacks are intercoupled and affect one another. You’re treating them as though they are linearly independent modules that put their effects separately into the system. They’re not, and they don’t.

    we seem to be moving to a global high temperature regime causing effects not seen in thousands of years

    That is an entirely unjustifiable statement.

    [GCMs] point toward roughly the patterns of warming we observe.

    They’re tweaked to do that, Lee.

    You’re back to square 1: belief without reason.

  198. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Re#198, I think Lee did a pretty reasonable and even-handed job with most of his post. Your statement, “it could reduce Earth albedo and end up reducing retained heat,” refers to a negative feedback, something Lee addressed separately. I think the statement you were criticizing was one that I took to be simply stating the property of CO2 as a greenhouse gas, with his discussion of feedbacks discussed later in the post.

  199. Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    Re 77 & 60:
    Precisely my thinking since a long time ago. The consequences of the current global warming hysteria for the credibility of Science in the general public are potentially devastating. What’s going to happen if eventually the GW trend reverses and all these dire predictions we’re constantly being bombarded with by the media and even governmental agencies (especially here in Europe), allegedly backed by a scientific consensus, are proven dead-wrong?

    If I were a climate scientist convinced of the reality and possible seriousness of AGW, I would be the most interested one in moderating the constant exaggerations and unsubstantiated claims propagated by the media. And, given the broadly admitted uncertainties, I would also tolerate the existence of a “skeptic” minority. Far from that, I see that the “consensus” scientists, perfectly exemplified by the Real Climate authors, feel outraged each time they detect that some skeptic has managed to get a bit of media attention. They actually proclaim that the media should give much more coverage to their alarmist message (!) and take advantage of any weather event (hurricanes, heat waves, anomalous seasons,…) to present their “science” in an ever more alarmist approach. Our friend Dr. Mann felt obliged in the past months to post articles relating global warming to things such as the past mild winter in New England or the anomalous spring in Svalbard. William Connolley, for his part, is not willing to bet his money on an increase of the current warming trend (which would barely provoke a meager 0.75 C temp increase by 2050) but considers it his mission to defend climate alarmism at any conceivable venue: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:William_M._Connolley

    To me this behavior speaks tones about the credibility of these scientists. Because, indeed, the idea of human activities altering the biosphere dangerously is not an implausible one, to use a fashionable term. But how could scientists in the future be able to present the need of making sacrifices to the citizens if the current (and already very costly) hysteria is shown to be a politically motivated mistake?

  200. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    Re #200,

    It works both ways. Suppose SM is made a nobel laureate, and various august scientific bodies chaired/populated by the likes of Jae, fF, Willie Soon, Pat Michaels, Richard Lindzen, Senator Inhofe. The IPCC is disbanded, it’s then decided that actually the scientific truth is the world isn’t warming (nor has it warmed more than a tad), that the present time is actually freezing cold, relative to the MWP, that glaciers actually shrink, en masse, when it’s cold, and that we need not be concerned at all about CO2 emissions. How would that science look if it then warmed by 2C+ over the next 100 years and it was clear glacial melting was still gathering pace as were emissions? Pretty damn discredited that’s what, err if the people above still documented the climate that is…

    So, I think we have to take it that the scientists you refer to are telling it how they see it, (to emphasise like SM and the rest above do) and that they know where crying wolf might get us. You seem to want them to tell it not how they see it?

  201. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    it’s then decided that actually the scientific truth is the world isn’t warming (nor has it warmed more than a tad), that the present time is actually freezing cold, relative to the MWP, that glaciers actually shrink, en masse, when it’s cold

    WOW Peter, you’re not just overboard…you’re strapped to a 5-ton anchor and heading down to the bottom of Mariana. Who here is saying “the world isn’t warming?” Who here is saying it’s “freezing cold” relative to the MWP?

    BTW, glaciers certainly can “shrink, en masse, when it’s cold,” when they’re coming-out of an even colder long-term period. If you don’t believe me, take some ice cubes out of your freezer and put them in your cold fridge and see what happens. Try putting some in the fridges of your neighbors, family, and friends. They will “shrink, en masse, when it’s cold.”

  202. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    Re #202, hey, you do get irony ;) . Allow me just a bit of a florish when making my point.

  203. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Unfortunately I don’t think there was as much irony as you think.

    I honestly think your see this in black and white, and the slightest chink in the argument means you have to become a George Bush voting cowboy hat wearing oil company executive that burns oil for the fun of it. Since your not willing to do that, your not willing to concede any point happily.

    When the fact is that the skeptical position is nothing like that. It’s yes we are seeing some warming trend, some of it is man made, but not enough to get your pants in a bunch, we’ll be okay and there is no reason to go nutty. Especially since we’ve all been through it before.

  204. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    re #’204, blimey, you know me better than I do? OK, a honestly held view , but I’m afraid you’re wrong.

    Still, I’ll remember this bit: “It’s [the sceptical position] yes we are seeing some warming trend, some of it is man made, but not enough to get your pants in a bunch, we’ll be okay and there is no reason to go nutty.” since the fact is the one thing you can say about sceptics is they don’t agree. Some say it’s warming but it’s just the sun that’s done it, others that the sun will soon cool and with it us, others that the CO2 is all natural (the ‘Jarowiski’ ssp followers), other that it’s warming but it’s all due to comsic rays, others that it’s UHI, others that the sats still say it’s not warming but they’ve been fixed to show warming, others that it’s undersea volcanoes, others that there is no such thing a the gh effect, others talk about ‘irises’, other, well, the point is made. Nice to know where you stand though :). Me? It’s “yes we are seeing some warming trend, some of it is man made, this man made part will almost certainly increase, and it might well be enough to ‘get your pants in a bunch’, we might not be ‘ok’ and so we should be concerned and seek to address the problem”. Amazingly, not that different.

  205. Demesure
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    #205 : it might well be enough to “get your pants in a bunch’, we might not be “ok’ and so we should be concerned and seek to address the problem”. Amazingly, not that different.

    The problem with your reasonning is that the multiple “might be” quickly become certainties.
    Amazingly, you’re “not that different” from primitive populace, dancing and praying for the rain and blaming human responsibilities.
    And you make truth sacrifice instead of human sacrifice. Nothing new after all.

  206. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    I think it comes down to a cost and certainty curve. If the solution for a problem is relatively cheap, then the certainty that the problem is real does not have to be too high to justify the cost. If the cost is very high, then the certainty had better be very high as well. In the case of AGW the proposed solutions will eventually be ghastly expensive (replacing fossil fuels compeletly), so the certainty that AGW is happening in the magnitude claimed had better be very, very high. In my mind on the order of our certainty of E=MC^2 (and that’s still being tested, BTW). It’s not there yet. Not by a long shot.

  207. Paul Penrose
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #206,

    The problem with your reasonning is that the multiple “might be” quickly become certainties.

    Not necessarily. It all depends on the properties of the data and how it was processed. It’s not as simple as weak-study1 + weak-study2 + weak-study3 = strong-conclusion.

  208. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    #199 — Agreed, but CO2 can’t be considered in the isolation that Lee’s analysis presumes.

  209. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    #205 Hey its my opinion about you, and sure I could be wrong, however the opinion is not based on pure conjencture, but rather from seeing the postings you have made over the past what, year 18 months. If we could see you cncede anything without a hard fight, and not bringing up ludicrous danger scenarios that opinion would be different.

    But I can say you are wrong about your other statements. very few skeptics will label the climate down to one factor, they will have a primary mover, and I agree that it is the sun that is the primary mover in our climate. But let us review your statements.

    1. “Some say it’s warming but it’s just the sun that’s done it,”
    Correction that the sun is the primary driver.

    2. “others that the sun will soon cool and with it us,”
    That is not seperate from 1., but rather the same as one. We’ve seen warming in the 20th century, but as solar activity decreases we will see cooling. All really simple really. Turn up the heater it gets warmer, turn down the heater it gets cooler. That doesn’t mean there are two different heaters.

    3. “others that the CO2 is all natural (the “Jarowiski’ ssp followers),”
    I don’t know this Jarowiski that you speak of, but a quick google search and a posting from he and he does not state this.

    This is from his posting, first line the quote he is responding too.

    “I’m reminded of the contrarian argument that the CO2 humans are emitting is all aborbed, & it’s the natural CO2 sources that are causing the increase in the atmosphere”

    I’ve never seen/heard that argument before.

    So he has never heard that arguement, yet you attribute him to that belief.

    4. “other that it’s warming but it’s all due to comsic rays,”
    How is that different than the sun?

    5. “others that it’s UHI”
    UHI is only explaining the magnitude of warming reflected in the surface temperature record, and it does not contradict any of the above.

    6. “others that the sats still say it’s not warming”
    Incorrect/incomplete attribution. The sats do not show the magnitude of atmospheric warming that is required by the AGW theory that the majority of surface warming is coming form atmospheric CO2. Again none of this is contradictory from the above, in fact it is complimentary.

    7. “but they’ve been fixed to show warming,”
    Totally false attribution, this stems from that you not conceding any points. Even the “fixed” data, and this is an ADW camp term not a skeptic term, does not show the required warming, in fact the fix was so minor as to not be noticeable. Didn’t stop a press release though. Again not contradictory.

    8. “others that it’s undersea volcanoes,”
    Who presactly attriibutes all of the warming to undersea volcanoes? Much like item 3 I’ve never seen that before.

    9. “others that there is no such thing a the gh effect”
    Another one I’ll ask for a who. the GH effect is seperate from the AGW theory. While the GH effect may be an innacurate term, the effect, as it is known, is well understood and accepted pretty universally except for maybe a few crackpots. Soome simple calculations can show that something like the GH effect is required by the fact that you don’t live under a glacier.

    10 “others talk about “irises'”
    They do, but that is an entirely differnet subject matter. WE know how, and there is as much an arguement for “irises” as there is fro GH theory, and the magnitude of “Irises” is as well known as the magnitude of AGW, which is very little is known. Again does not contradict any of the above, again in addition too, not exclusive of.

    “other, well, the point is made.”

    I’d argue that the point you made is very much different than the point you think you made.

    “Amazingly, not that different.”

    The difference comes in with what you or I think is a reasonable action to take at this time.

  210. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    Actualy, Pat, “If increased CO2 caused more evaporation and low cloud cover, it could reduce Earth albedo and end up reducing retained heat,” it would do so by warmng. That would be a limiting feedback reducing the amount of warming, but that feedback only comes in to play when warming has occured. I’m pickng a bit of a nit – but the signs matter here.

    Paul, you left a term out of your informal ‘risk analysis’ equation – the cost of the problem if it happens, and we were wrong and did nothing. Adn wha tI think is another consideration – what does it cost to change our minds, if we make policy decisions one way or the other and later find we decided on the wrong side of the problem.

    I think there is sufficient evidence to be doing the cheap and easy stuff – efficiency efforts, research efforts, financial incentives (like allowing partial-sales of saving on carbon markets to create incentives for efficiency, for example), and so on. These kinds of things have independent direct financial and long-term policy benefits as well.

    I also think there is sufficient evidence to be causing us to factor this into decision making for things like the pending massive committment of the US to next-generation coal plants, with the large and very long-lived investment they will constitute . If we commit to that directin now – and we are wrong and they are a problem – we are going to live with that problem for a while, or have to abandon a very expensive part fo our infrstructure at increased cost. If we dont build them – and find out in 15 years that we were wrong – we can still build them then.

    There is also the moral cost. If we are wrong, and warming destroys 1/2 of bangladesh (et al) by flooding in 100 years (to go for the dramatic example – ther are others less dramatic but just as potentially serious), that does not hurt us economically, but it is a very serious cost to be considered. Personally, I consider the moral issue of damage to innocent others as a consequence of my actions to be more serious than damage to my own economic standing.

    Being wrong either way comes with serious costs, and the reversibility of current decisin making is not symmetric for mistakes one way or the other, and one can not simply decide not to consider one side of those costs and reversibility of decisions and expect to make a rational analysis of the risks.

  211. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:50 PM | Permalink

    Since the topic of this thread is related to Washington politics and climate policy, I am hoping that Steve M will indulge me in looking past Mann’s HS and MM’s critique thereof to what a Kyoto type world approach will have on GHG. I am particularly interested in the views of Peter H, Lee, Steve B, Dano and others who post here whom I really would judge are more the majority view in this country and world than the skeptics or those who have not made up their minds on the subject of AGW. If this is too far off topic for this blog and this thread, specifically, a verbal slap up side my head will stop me in my tracks.

    I use the EU as an example of advanced nations with populations and governments that have aggressively accepted the Kyoto protocols — at least in principle if not in practice. They have accepted a legally enforceable reduction of 8% in GHG from the 1990 base year for the year 2008. Now many of the western European nations have been seeing slow economic and population growth in this time period that should make meeting these goals much less difficult than for a nation that has been growing faster economically and with an increasing population, e.g. the US. What has been the result over the past several years? After being on a trend that seemed to show possibilities of extrapolation to their legal quota they now are increasing their GHG emissions and are further from their quota then they were a few years ago with most commentators predicting that they will miss their legal quotas significantly. One hears comments of unintended consequences such that with better gas mileages realized by government edict they have people driving more miles and actually increasing overall fuel consumptions.

    Based on the EU experience and the fact that most proponents of Kyoto assume that it is only a first step in more drastic measures required in reducing GHG to levels that will significantly affect climate change and temperatures (lets say as dictated by the results of your favorite climate model), what can you say about this approach and its political future? Are there alternative measures that you see in more effectively dealing with what you must assume are going to otherwise be very negative developments for the climate.

    I have read reports of nations talking about meeting their legal GHG obligations by buying carbon credits from Russia and its fading economy. For those nations with debt that will be passed to the future generations, such an act is like asking the future generations to pay for what this generation supposes will be a remedy of a problem that will affect them more than the current generation. Knowing the huge unfunded liabilities that are being generated for future generations in the form of government pension and health care programs do you see this debt financing as a problem? Does the fact that we tend to pass our problems to future generations give you any pause as to the will of the public to “fix” projected climate problems that are less certain of being problems than those of pensions and health care?

    What are your estimates of how fast and how much we must reduce GHG in order to avoid major negative changes in the global climate? I have also noted that up-to-date GHG emissions for nations was difficult to find on a current basis. Fequently the lag was 2 years. Can any of you help me obtain more current data? And is not current data going to be a cornerstone for the enforcement of the Kyoto protocols?

  212. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    “what does it cost to change our minds, if we make policy decisions one way or the other and later find we decided on the wrong side of the problem.”

    You do realize of course that, that is a double edged sword?

    I’ll agree with you to a point, and disagree with you a little on your next points.

    “efficiency efforts” Efficiency is a worthy goal regardless of anything else, so certainly a good thing to do.

    “research efforts” Knowledge as well is its own reward. Can I assume by research you mean “learning the truth” and as such full and frank disclosure of data and methods is something that you think would be worthwhile us pursuing.

    “financial incentives” Efficiency is its own financial incentive, and large enough that nothing else (carbon credits) is required, as carbon credits have a negative, as well as a positive impact. And this is the crux of the matter betweeen the two sides (from a policy perspective)

    The chance of 1/2 Bangladesh flooding in 100 years is non-existent, completely and totally is not going to happen barring something dramatic like an asteroid hit, all out nuclear war against Antartica or something of the like. It just isn’t possible. So, good news, you can stop worrying about that.

  213. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    It’s not like those in Bangladesh would stand around till the water was up to their necks anyway.

    Mark

  214. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    It’s coming in quick man. Do you realize how fast .02mm a year is.

    You can’t expect weak poor Bangladesh to outrun that.

    Ferrari would like to see accelartion like that.

    [saracasam off]

  215. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    ET, Id give it (in 100 yers0 a lo w probability. But not zero – the ice models assumemelting as a massive block and tht is simply nto correct.

    Much less extreme sea level rise – like less than half a meter, WOULD cause large scale majopr [problems. Among other thiings, it would likely take out the california delta farmlands (only so much yo can do when the river bottoms inside the levees is feet above the surrounding farmland), among the richest in the world and selling for many thousands of dollars an acre, and convert them back to shallow inland sea, and require additional alrge investemtns in cnals an dpumin gstations to get water around instead of through and keep california’s economy going. That’s just one example local to me, that I know reasonably well.

  216. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Your still overstating it.

    Yes it would be less than half a meter. Much less.

    Worse case would be like 20mm an inch if you will. Hardly likely to impact anything.

  217. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:03 PM | Permalink

    being one of 80 milion refugees would be so much better…

    I said, I was going for the extreme exmple – a lot of the effects would be as serious and a lot quicker than this one low-probability (in the short term) example..

  218. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:04 PM | Permalink

    ET, the worst possibilty scenarios for sea level increas in a century are a LOT more than one inch. The middle-road projectins are a lot more than that.

  219. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:08 PM | Permalink

    The worse possible scenarios that you mention assume an increase of more than 1000 fold over current sea level rise. Low-probability is an understatement.

  220. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Current middle-of-the-roadish estimates, using block-melt assumptions for the ice caps, give a projected rise over the century of about 0.1 – 0.25 meter. These are not insignificant – they would endanger the california delta, for example. There isnt much margin in that levee system.

    I think, (assuming the existence of continuing warming – which of course is the debate here) that this range actually is giving a lower bound – because we already have good evidence that the static-ice block-melt assumption is seriously wrong. I think that at this time, the actual possible values above that range (through reasonable sets of values, not assuming wholesale and very unlikely wholesale collapses of big chunks of ice caps) is simply not known.

  221. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    You’ll have to cite something. I’ve spent plenty of time running around these and I do not believe that anything reasonable in that term.

    The fact is current sea level rise is ~0.02mm a year SOMETHING will have to happen to drastically increase that. I’m pretty sure the “middle-of-the-road” estiamtes you speak of assume total melting of the greenland ice pack, an incorrect assumption.

    But I’m willing to look at any of these estimates you speak of so ling as the citation has details of the assumptions used.

  222. jae
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    196:

    There are also effors to examine the fine-grained distribution of the effect and interactions with ozone; here is one example:
    AMS

    Gawd, Lee, look at the date on that link! Are you serious?

  223. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Re#212:

    They have accepted a legally enforceable reduction of 8% in GHG from the 1990 base year for the year 2008. Now many of the western European nations have been seeing slow economic and population growth in this time period that should make meeting these goals much less difficult than for a nation that has been growing faster economically and with an increasing population, e.g. the US.

    And that’s a great example of how people misunderstand how Kyoto works. It’s many of the EU nations that stand to benefit from Kyoto or have an easier means of reaching targets, not the other way around. Germany made a switch in power source between the 1990 base year and the 1997 signing, and I believe that alone has allowed them to reach their target (I thought it was 5.2% below 1990 levels, but whatever…let’s call it x%). Think about it – if Germany had made this move in 1970, 1980, or 1989, that tougher goal to reach. But because they waited until after 1990, they benefitted. The nations who were the most industrially efficient in 1990 can’t make some easy switch to improve their conditions. They’ve got a higher standard to attain to.

    And it’s those nations which haven’t boomed economically or population-wise – which you claim are western Euros – that don’t have to reduce their GHG emissions as much to get to x% below 1990 levels. Think about it – if your nation emitted Y tons CO2/yr in 1990, and you had stagnant economic and population growth, wouldn’t you be right around Y tons CO2/yr in 2008? So you’ve just got to reduce emissions by x%. But if you are at Y tons CO2/yr in 1990, then grow significantly thereafter, you are at Y+Z tons CO2/yr, with Z being a substantial number. The more you’ve grown, the bigger Z is, and the more severe your cuts need to be to get to x% below 1990 levels. How is this idea rational?

    Nations like the US would be disproportionately affected/harmed by Kyoto, which is a major reason they are not committed. The western Euro nations you speak of would have the least amount to do and/or the most to gain from Kyoto (selling carbon credits, for example).

  224. jae
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    If China and India agree to curb greenhouse gas emissions, I’ll go along. LOL.

  225. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

    jae, yes, pointing out that these efforts go back a long way. I wil admit, though, that that isnt the paper I thought was at the end of that bookmark- I’ll try to find the one I thought I was quickly grabbing. The key point is that the pattern of tropospheric warming and stratospheric cooling is a signature of ‘greenhouse’ warming. It is complicated by the impact of ozone depletion and its effects on stratospheric temps, but the signal still appears to be ther adnconsistnet with greenhouse warming.

  226. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    Lee, I think you’ll find that the water level hazards to the Delta farmland are from river (i.e. rain & snowmelt) water, not from the Bay. If you want to look for problems from small sea-level rises, you’d probably do better to investigate what that would do to the salinity of upper San Pablo Bay and the Delta. Salinity effects were a big worry in the debates about the proposed Peripheral Canal in the 80s.

  227. mark
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:35 PM | Permalink

    Nations like the US would be disproportionately affected/harmed by Kyoto, which is a major reason they are not committed.

    Depending upon your political view of the world, it is extremely clear why everyone else wants the US to sign on. They (the rest of the developed nations) are fully aware of this little fact.

    Mark

  228. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    Armand, the major threats happen when river flooding coincides with high tides – sea level sets the baseline water level up as far as sacramento and stockton, which are deepwater seaports. Increased sea level would raise the mean water levels that far inland – by decreasing amounts as one goes inland, but still upwards.

    I suspect that permanent flooding of a couple islands would cause far more salinity problems than a seal level rise would – there is precedent in many ways for this – but the sea level rise woudl be a problem too. When Frank’s Tract went (1938? I’m not sure if that is a memory or a wild stab at a guess), the state purchased a couple of the agricultural islands lower in the delta and converted them to wildlife refuges, because with the water in franks tract, salinity levels did migrate upstream. And one of he issues they face every time they get a levee breach and flooded island is that they need to reduce water flows through the delta to help with the repair, but at the same time need to increase water flows to offset the tendency for upscream migration of salinity levels caused by the increased water.

  229. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 10:27 PM | Permalink

    211 — “Actualy, Pat, “If increased CO2 caused more evaporation and low cloud cover, it could reduce Earth albedo and end up reducing retained heat,” it would do so by warmng. That would be a limiting feedback reducing the amount of warming, but that feedback only comes in to play when warming has occured. I’m pickng a bit of a nit – but the signs matter here.

    Only initially, Lee. Increased albedo and more clouds could lead to increased precipitation at the poles, an even larger albedo, and a turn to a colder global regime even with somewhat elevated CO2. There’s no way to know. Recall, in that light, that something like 43% of the Climateprediction.net runs dove into colder climates with doubled CO2. These runs were judged “unstable” and were discarded in an ad hoc sort of way, but the point is that at least some of the GCMs that are used to validate global warming also validate global cooling under the same conditions of 2x CO2.

    I agree with your comments to Paul, in that care taken in power generation and an eye toward maximizing the efficiency of energy use can all go for the good. But the rationale is for the good and not for the false reasoning of AGW.

    Your moral argument has no standing, by the way, because there is no way to know whether adding CO2 will improve or degrade the climate — not even at Bangladesh for the reasons just noted. That is, first, increased CO2 might even produce a net cooling, and second the effect of doubled CO2 may be climatologically undetectable. The moral offense might well be the alarmist regulatory burdening that turned out to derail the very economic advances that could have lifted Bangladeshi society out of poverty.

  230. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 10:36 PM | Permalink

    re 230:

    Pat, making decisions that benefit me, and leave others at risk without their consent, is morally wrong – even if I am not certain the potential bad outcome will happen, and even if I think there might potentially be a good outcome.

    The moral problem is that the people bearing the risk on my behalf have not consented to do so.

    This argument loses weight with the degre of risk (risk being approximately chance of negative outcome and cost of negative outcome) and the absense of realistic alternatives, but the burden is to err on the side of not inflicting such risk on others who have not consented to bear them. IMO, the moral issue is huge.

  231. Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    Hi Steve!

    Welcome back and great effort once again.
    But you did’nt talked much about your interactions with the scientists, i m wondering for your view on their brilliance or lack thereof. Hey, steve why dont you try podcast service for such interviews and conferences??? That’s pretty easy to read and listen to and infact you too feel like a live spectator there. Plz consider my words.

    Regards
    Connor

  232. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:37 PM | Permalink

    re: #231

    making decisions that benefit me, and leave others at risk without their consent, is morally wrong

    Ahhh, the excuse of every tyrant for stealing people’s liberty – They can’t be allowed to choose since they’re likely to choose wrongly. Well, I’m not surprised you think that way. When it’s one individual possibly taking advantage of another individual, that’s one thing. But when it’s essentially every action anyone makes affecting every other person on earth, it’s impossible and simply allows whatever people are able to lie most convincingly to take power.

  233. Lee
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:53 PM | Permalink

    Dave, uhhh… wtf?

    You got my argument precisely backwards. I’m saying it is morally wrong when people bearing a significant asymmetric risk have NOT chosen to do so. IOW, I am arguing precisely that they SHOULD be allowed to choose.

    Of course my point involves thresholds – for example, the risk to my neighbors of the several cases of shotgun shells I currently have safely stored in the house is low enough that I dont think twice about it – but I would not store high explosives here even if I were willing to bear the risk, because of the risk to them. Well, that, and it would be illegal.

    The fact that threshold issues are sometimes difficult, and that we all inherently bear each other’s risks to some extent, does not remove the moral issues – it just makes them difficult. I do NOT approve of putting those threshold decisions in the hand of ‘tyrants.’ IMO, one of the strengths of democratic-based forms of government (when they are functioning) is that they create a forum for dealing with such issues without sliding toward tyranny.

    But this is getting way off topic…

  234. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 25, 2006 at 11:57 PM | Permalink

    231 — “IMO, the moral issue is huge

    The moral issue is huge but your judgment begs the question. Your mode of reasoning, therefore, is immoral.

  235. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 12:10 AM | Permalink

    Re #224, Michael Jankowski

    Germany made a switch in power source between the 1990 base year and the 1997 signing, and I believe that alone has allowed them to reach their target

    Remember that Germany started 1990 as two countries, West Germany and East Germany, and reunified in the course of that year. Over the following years, much of the inefficient old soviet-style industrial plant in the East was closed down or upgraded for reasons that had nothing to do with Kyoto.
    Using 1990 as the base year was, of course, the reason that Germany and most of the former Warsaw Pact was willing to sign on to Kyoto.

  236. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 12:11 AM | Permalink

    Pat, your statement reduces to, “you disagree with me, therefore you are immoral.”

    And you can put that judgement precisely where it belongs… if it fits.

  237. Demesure
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 1:44 AM | Permalink

    #224 fFredd,
    Remember also that Kyoto is a such mess NOW. The carbon exchange mecanism is near collapse because every EU government tries to tweak its country’s carbon credit, firt of them all the Germans. Almost no EU country has kept its carbon reduction target and there is no way they will comply, except maybe for us the French who just by chance had built plenty of nuclear plants 30 years ago (but who wants nuclear in Germany ?).
    So just wait until 2012 when Kyoto will finish so we’ll be finished with all these GW regulation crap. Then we’ll let those catastrophists continue to talk and shout, who cares.

  238. Bob K
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 2:25 AM | Permalink

    To put things in perspective, I call the people 100 years from now imaginary people. None of us can state with certainty who will exist at that time. And if a giant rock hits the earth before then, maybe no one will exist. It galls me to no end when people present the moral argument, we should do it for them.

    Right now there are 10’s of millions of people dying every year from lack of food and clean water. These are real people, we know for sure they exist. Why in the world should we be spending enormous resources on imaginary people before providing at minimum food and clean water for those we know exist. If the world’s going to expend resources on a united project, we should be taking care of the living first. It would be a heck of a lot cheaper, and we’ll get instant feedback on the result.

    To my knowledge, no human project has ever been intentionally undertaken where it was known that every person in the world alive at project start would be dead before project end. The longest I know of is NYC water tunnel #3. A 50 year project. Well within human lifespan.

    So, drop the morality BS until we have our own house in order.

    Of course, if any of you think your decendants will be too dumb to adapt, and will actually appreciate your effort, feel free to be upset with my perspective.

  239. John A
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 4:53 AM | Permalink

    To my knowledge, no human project has ever been intentionally undertaken where it was known that every person in the world alive at project start would be dead before project end. The longest I know of is NYC water tunnel #3. A 50 year project. Well within human lifespan.

    Medieval cathedral builders started projects that they would not live to see finished.

  240. TAC
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    Science.

  241. Bob K
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 6:18 AM | Permalink

    re #240

    I considered that, but weren’t those actually meant to be accomplished during the course of a lifetime? With the reason they weren’t completed being lack of funds or major construction defects? I’m not really sure, but I know at least some of them fell into that category. It’s likely they were at least somewhat beneficial during one lifetime. Extremely unlikely with Kyoto.

    I apologize to all for the abruptness of my previous comment. Usually I’m just a lurker. The brain is getting too ossified to comment appropriately on the science discussion.

    It really irritates me when people want to use morality towards imaginary people to feel good about themselves. Yet don’t give a second thought concerning how those same resources could be used more effectively for the flesh and blood unfortunates that exist now. Are imaginary people more valuable than real ones? Just seems totally misguided to me.

  242. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    Re: 236 fFreddy

    Just to make your point clearer, the combined Federal Republic of Germany was able to claim a credit for the emission reductions derived forcing many former East German businesses into bankruptcy or by shutting them down. When they set the DM to OstMark exchange rate at 1:1, most former East German enterprises were not competitive and thus went bankrupt. The result was reduced emissions and massive unemployment.

  243. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 7:18 AM | Permalink

    #242 “Are imaginary people more valuable than real ones? Just seems totally misguided to me. ”

    That’s because environmentalism has morphed into religion.
    See, Earth was an Eden and a gift to us, we sinned, and messed up the perfectness of our “gentle loving planet” through use and development of any or all modern technology. (that in reality we know ; improved our way of life, and we have this funny trend already of wanting to get away from smokey carbon based fuels since living in caves and huts)

    Also, “morals” or “taking care of everyone” are natural born states of mind in this religion, and in born to us all in the beginning, and over such a short time have they been forgotten! Therefore future generations not yet born have to be “saved” and guided away from this horrible behavior! We have to be told over and over!

    Everyone was so kind and took care of each other in the beginning! And we didn’t pollute the earth!
    We have drifted so far away from our roots!
    We all evolved in paradise dont you know? (And women died in childbirth, and babies didn’t make it all the time, and you had to walk paces behind the men in another class as yourself, or carry their belongings for them, and build all those monuments and buildings for them, and if you so much as looked at your chief wrong you could be killed)

    Life was so much better before!
    /sarc off

  244. Tim Ball
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 7:51 AM | Permalink

    #240 The cathedral builders could work because there were climate conditons like today and warmer and surplus food produced surplus time. The Domesday Book (1088) records commercial vineyards into central England. Of course, all we ever hear about are the negative aspects of warming.

  245. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 7:57 AM | Permalink

    #242 “Are imaginary people more valuable than real ones? Just seems totally misguided to me. ”

    That’s because environmentalism has morphed into religion.

    Quite true. And the “imaginary people” haven’t “sinned” like we have, so they are more worthy than us.

    That’s not to say that there are people out there who don’t view environmentalism as a religion but still think steps should be taken.

  246. fFreddy
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 8:02 AM | Permalink

    Re #246, Michael Jankowski

    That’s not to say that there are people out there who don’t view environmentalism as a religion but still think steps should be taken.

    Yes, and I bet they all work for the public sector.

  247. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 8:34 AM | Permalink

    re: #234 Lee,

    You’re confusing the “choices” the “imaginary” people (as others here have termed them) can’t make with the real “choices” you and I make every day, but which …. hmmm. I want to say “people of your mindset don’t want us to make” but I suppose that’s unfair. I expect you don’t see it that way, though certainly that’s how it looks to me. I didn’t get to choose to be born into wealth or poverty (instead of the middle class), and that’s the case with everyone.

    Increasing the possibility of people being able to make choices is good, but the method movement enviromentalism has taken actually reduces real choices. Generally, those in poverty or in unfree countries can’t make use of “envirochoices” anyway. Example. If you live in a country with a rainforest and your country signs an international agreement to protect this rainforest, have you had your “choices” increased or decreased? Now you can’t pasture your flock in openings in the rainforest. You can’t create a farm there. You can’t hunt in it. You can’t gather herbs in it. But according to the environmentalist mantra, your “choices” have been increased because now you and your posterity haven’t had the “choice” of preventing a .05 deg warming which might eventually occur if the rainforest were opened up for “exploitation” taken away from you.

    I expect that is enough on this subject. I wouldn’t be surprised if Steve comes along and deletes half this thread anyway, so no used pouring much analysis into it.

  248. Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    Lee wrote:

    “we seem to be moving to a global high temperature regime causing effects not seen in thousands of years

    The term “Seem” used in this sentence betrays a lack of confidence in the scientific conclusion you defend. How can you say we’re moving to a global high temperature regime causing effects not seen in thousands of years if don’t have any reliable and accurate way of measuring these things beyond the last four hundred years.

    The NAS panel said the Mann Hockey Stick, the most visible study that gave the AGW theory its mojo, is really only reliable for a 400 year period. That is shaving 600 years off the thousand year figure they were pushing behind the scenes. Why is the Mann graph the most replicated in articles showing AGW? It was held up as the definitive proof that confirmed AGW. Mann et. al. currently contend that, since the peer reviewed publication of MBH, there are numerous PR’d published studies which confirm the MBH conclusion, so we should just move along: “Nothing to see here!”. Just for a moment, lets accept that defense of MBH. Lets say tomorrow, a PR’d published paper exposes a flaw in the formula Einstein used to extrapolate the theory of relativity. What, do you think, would happen. Even if the newer relativity proofs used COMPLETELY different methods and formulas to reach the same conclusion, the broad scientific community would still pick through all the newer research to double and triple check that the same, or other errors did not occur. But the HS defenders seem to not want to be held to the same standards of scrutiny. Wonder why?

    The bottom line, no one can say with any certainty the speed or magnitude of environmental / climatological changes that occurred beyond our abilities to accurately measure or deduce, in this case 400 years. Once again it boils down to the question of what is the parameter of natural viability.

  249. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    #237 — Wrong, Lee. Your entire approach begs the question of AGW. You presume to know it’s happening and choose to believe whatever supports that position. You have systematically neglected or dismissed the obvious fact that science not only can’t support the proposition, but is very far from being able to say anything reliably systematic about it. You claim to know what is not known and you’ve made proceeding on your claim a matter of morals. Making morally-freighted decisions from a position of aggressive ignorance, such as you are doing, is ipso facto immoral.

  250. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 11:05 AM | Permalink

    #244 — I wrote an article for Skeptic magazine a few years ago about the noble savage myth. Ancient peoples used up everything they could get their hands on. They were neither environmentalistic, nor conservationist. Plenty of them were opportunistic cannibals. Systematic environmental ethics are clearly a modern (and western) phenomenon.

  251. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    Come on, enough about morality. Time to get back to the science, folks.

  252. per
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    I’m saying it is morally wrong when people bearing a significant asymmetric risk have NOT chosen to do so. IOW, I am arguing precisely that they SHOULD be allowed to choose.

    So the hypothetical, unquantifiable risk of AGW is unacceptable.

    Of course my point involves thresholds – for example, the risk to my neighbors of the several cases of shotgun shells I currently have safely stored in the house is low enough…

    but the proven and quantifiable risk of someone using your gun to shoot your neighbour is acceptable.

    I do NOT approve of putting those threshold decisions in the hand of “tyrants.’

    strangely enough, I can imagine that some neighbours might consider your decision to put them at risk from your guns is asymmetric and tyrannical.

    This boils down to my morals are better than yours; there is no objective case here, and your “threshold”, with its pretensions towards rationality, is a distraction. All of which is built upon the shifting sand of a scientific debate which is far from settled.

    yours
    per

  253. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    re 250:

    This modification reduces to: I disagree with you, therefore, I am ignorant, therefore I am immoral.

    I’ve outlined my reasons, I’ve explicitly outlined the weaknesses in them, I’ve made explicit the restriction on the kidns of decision I think we should be making in the face of the uncertainty, and the reasons why I think we should be making some deciions of some knds based on what we do know today, and that I realize that thinking people of good will cn disagree with mo e ont all that – and the best I get back from you are statemetns that reduce to: “we arent certain, so its immoral to do anything, and therefore you are immoral.”

    Andhere I had hoped that perhaps you could recognize that people of good will can disagree with your positions.

    So, frank: ppphhfffftttt. And I mean that sincerely.

  254. per
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Lee;

    I had hoped that perhaps you could recognize that people of good will can disagree with your positions.

    No-one is arguing on that one; but wasn’t it your case originally that only your position was moral (it follows that other positions are immoral) ?

    confused
    per

  255. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    no, per. I said that I thought it was a serious moral issue. The fact that there are disagreements about the underlying science and the risks of possible bad outcomes, means there can be legitimate disagreements about what the proper moral response should be. I was presenting MY moral analysis deriving from MY analysis of what the science is likely telling us (provisionally, at least) as part of a broader explanation of why *I* hold the positions that I do. If I implied that I was disparaging other’s moral positions, my sincere apologies; I am not and did not mean to imply that I was.

    Pat, on the other hand, didnt simply say he held a different opinion based on his analysis of the facts and implications – he said my position is immoral, precisely (once you read through his verbage) because it does disagree with his position.

  256. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 6:46 PM | Permalink

    btw, per (and I hesitate to go this far off topic – Steve, feel free to delete this if you wish). My guns are kept unloaded with trigger locks secured, in a locked gun safe, which is securely through bolted to a wall in a closet which is also kept locked, and my ammo lives in two locked ammo cases inside that locked gun safe, and with all the keys kept outside the house in my desk at work. Those are heirloom and hunting weapons, and I take very seriously the responsibilty of keeping them adequately secured and safe.

  257. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 7:58 PM | Permalink

    #254 — “This modification reduces to: I disagree with you, therefore, I am ignorant, therefore I am immoral.”

    Wrong, Lee. The objective theory of science demonstrates that GCMs cannot sustain the AGW claim. The objective facts of empirical investigations, including uncertainties, of past climate reconstruction show that 20th century climate cannot be said to be non-spontaneous. Your position is not sustainable on the merits, Lee. You went on to make it a moral issue. There is no controversy over the immorality of making moral judgments based on a begged question. A begged question, in case you didn’t know, is one in which the desired conclusion filters the arguments. Your position vis-a-vis AGW is identical to selecting the bits of evidence you prefer to believe, in order to decide that a certain person is criminally guilty.

    I didn’t suggest you were immoral, by the way. I wrote that your mode of thinking is immoral. My comment was directed to behavior, and not ad hominem. I’ve noticed this problem before in your recapitulations. You often don’t absorb what is written in reply to you. Instead, you impose your own meaning, and then reply to that meaning instead of to the original meaning. For example, you paraphrased my comments as: “statemetns that reduce to: “we arent certain, so its immoral to do anything, and therefore you are immoral.”” Nothing I wrote to you even remotely conveys the meaning you have assigned.

    Likely many of the umbrages you’ve taken here have rested on the misunderstandings arising because a similar lack of care. It’s a common problem in debate, in my experience.

  258. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    Pat, what you just did ( again) was to fail to respond to my summaries of the evidence (which are not based on the reconstructions) that leads me to the interim judgement that there is enough evidence to assume that there is a real risk, and that therefore it is justifiable to do the relatively easy and reversible things to ameliorate while we wait for better evidence, and to avoid/delay doing things that are difficult to reverse that would increase the problem if it is real, while we wait for better evidence.

    As near as I can tell, your argument is that in the absense of absolute final compelling demonstration of AGW and negative consequences, that one is wrong to do anything at all. I may be misreading what you write – if so, then clarify your position. I don’t agree with that – I think it is dangerous reasoning for policy makers in general – but I don’t think holding that position is immoral or the process that takes you to that positon is immoral. It is a lgeitimate position with which I disagree.

    You, on the other hand, have said that the reasoning that I use is immoral, meaning if I read yo right that failing to agree with you about not doing anything unless we have absolute proof is immoral.

    If have read you wrongly, then tell me how your positin is different from this. But as of now it is hard for me to come to any concluson other than that you are calling my position (if not me) immoral simply because I use a different set of necessary evidence filters to evaluate risks, and am willing to look at reversible partial responses from a positon of risk but not definitive certainty rather than what looks like your insistence on absolute definitive final proof before acting in any way – which as I’ve pointed out before is IMO a recipe for policy immobility in the face of any uncertainty at all.

  259. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    259 — Lee I didn’t have in mind the proxy climate reconstructions of Mann & co. There are plenty of ice cores, foraminiferal core-counts, organic carbon assessmenets, alkanone sea temperature reconstructions and other data that tell us something about climate status and climate swings in the past, relative to now. Those data tell us that the present climate is not inconsistent with past climates.

    I did respond to your summaries in #’s 96, 143, 177, 198, and 230. In #82, I referred to Collins’ work showing that the HadCM3 GCM cannot predict climate even when it is a perfect physical model. Ferdinand Engelbeen already pointed out the a-predictive nonsense represented by the Climateprediction.net paper in Nature. The inadequacy of climate physics is evident in multiple papers testing the GCMs. I have posted here extensively on that, and you have either ignored or dismissed all of it. Your position on AGW is not scientifically reasonable, Lee. It’s not about waiting for a “final compelling demonstration.” It’s that there is *no* evidence because the theory cannot sustain the judgment and the empirical facts don’t sustain the inference.

    Your summary of my position as regards ‘doing something’ captures nothing of what I have actually written here. The point about moral reasoning, Lee, is that if your thinking assumes your conclusion when making moral judgments, which is what you’re doing, then you are making those judgments without carefully considering the real consequences of your actions. Instead, you’re imposing your desired conclusion, and the ‘evidence’ you purport is mere window-dressing. The entire AGW charade is of that order. That sort of thinking is not a moral mode.

    Personally, I have supported all sorts of worthwhile environmental and social programs. I do not support the bastardization of science in service to political extremism.

  260. Lee
    Posted Jul 26, 2006 at 10:37 PM | Permalink

    Pat, once again, your argument is that we disagree about what the evidence says, as toward an interim assessment of risks. FAir enough – bu the fact that I look at a set of evidence and make different assessments about what is says, is NTO evidence that I am “imposing my desired conclusion” nor that my thinking on the issue is immoral. It means that we disagree about the weight and impact of different kinds of evidence, and about the threshold necessary before we start making interim policy choices about what to do about a possible risk, in the face of curernt incomplete evidence.

    This is why your statements reduce to ‘you disagree, therefore your thinking is “not a moral mode.” I do not agree taht there is no evidence, and I dont agree with the nihilistic attitude that refuses to entertain evidence before it can be placed into a “complete theory”.

  261. Demesure
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 2:31 AM | Permalink

    This is why your statements reduce to “you disagree, therefore your thinking is “not a moral mode.” I do not agree taht there is no evidence, and I dont agree with the nihilistic attitude that refuses to entertain evidence before it can be placed into a “complete theory”.

    Come on Lee, no one with sane reasonning refuses scientific evidence.
    The problem is you ask people to agree with YOUR “evidence” that Bangladesh “might” be flushed by water or mass starving “might” happen because of GW.

    Please stop your victimization & doomer mode before talking about “moral mode” let alone “scientific mode”.

  262. per
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    The fact that there are disagreements about the underlying science and the risks of possible bad outcomes, means there can be legitimate disagreements about what the proper moral response should be.

    i agree.
    per

  263. Mark T.
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 9:46 AM | Permalink

    The problem is you ask people to agree with YOUR “evidence” that Bangladesh “might” be flushed by water or mass starving “might” happen because of GW.

    Actually, he expects people to agree with his INTERPRETATION of the evidence. Even worse.

    Mark

  264. Lee
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    Demesure and mark – I am arguing my interpretations of the evidence I think relevant to the “A” questin in AGW, yes. With caveats, and with focus on how it informs the issue of deciding if there is sufficient risk to think that policy responses are appropriate, and if so, what kinds of things they shoudl be and how they should be limited based on the uncertainty.

    Y’all are arguing your interpretations of the evidence you think relevant, etc.

    How is that a bad thing, either way? How is it somehow “even worse” for me to lay out my position and how I come to it? And how on earth, Mark, do you interpret the phrase ‘people of good will can disagree’ to mean “he expects people to agree with his interpretation of the evidence?” I am presenting my interpretation of the evidence – isnt that allowed?

  265. mark
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    I base my statements on the whole of your arguments, Lee. It was not borne of one comment alone, nor in a vaccum.

    Mark

  266. Lee
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 10:54 AM | Permalink

    Right, mark. My statements in whole are laying out what I beleive and why. Again – isnt that allowed?

  267. mark
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 10:59 AM | Permalink

    And, as I said, you expect people to believe in your interpretation and don’t seem to understand why many of us find other interpretations more plausible.

    Mark

  268. Lee
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    mark, I’m dropping this after this post, becasue it it absurd and unproductive. I do understand why others dont agree and hold other interpretations – I don’t agree, and I argue my positions, just as those others do for their positions. You are essentially saying that anyone who argues their positions against people who agree with you are somehow doing something not only wrong, but “even worse.” If your point held any weight, which it does ot, it would work the other way, and I coudl argue that anyonewho arguues their position in opposition to what I believe are somehow browbeating me and doing somethign wrong – and I dont hold that.

  269. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    “My statements in whole are laying out what I beleive and why. Again – isnt that allowed? ”

    I don’t know, is it okay to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre?

    Your yelling Fire on a Crowded planet, S’okay since no one is panicking. But then you, and others are calling for billions to put out the fire. Then it starts to have another effect, because that Billions comes out of peoples pockets. Yet there is no fire to put out.

    You want the Billions to put out a fire that you -Think- will happen. I won’t say you have no evidence of this, but the rest of us want unequivocal evidence. That you haven’t got.

    If you want to talk moral. It moral to use your own money to fight an imaginary fire, but it is immoral to force others to pay for it.

  270. Lee
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    ET, tell me what exactly I am arguing we should be doing that will take billions out of people’s pockets?

    Adn I’m not “yelling fire on a crowded planet” (to continue using a really badly flawed analogy). I’m saying, “I smell smoke – perhaps we should take reasonable precautions while we look to see if there’s a fire.”

  271. welikerocks
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 12:18 PM | Permalink

    I wish they’d only give my kids the scientific fact and leave the SMOKE at home, so my husband and I can discuss it with OUR OWN KIDS. Keep your opinions of what policy in the future should be and why, at home! Keep it out of my kid’s class rooms!

  272. ET SidViscous
    Posted Jul 27, 2006 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    Well before I answer that.

    What is your position vis-a-Vis AGW and how we should be forestalling the great danger ahead.

    But your definition of reasonable is difrerent than others definition of reasonable. If I smell smoke, as I did yesterday, I look around, I examine, and then I detrmine it was a grill down the street. That was reasonable. Certainly not trying to frighten people that Bangledeshi grills are going to wip out half the county, I wouldn’t consider that reasonable. Not calling in the fire department to find out what’s causing the smoke. Not spending millions on a smoke trading plan.

  273. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Jul 29, 2006 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Re #270, Et, continuing the theme of Lee. OK, it’s your opinon that people like Lee, and me, are not just saying what we think but deliberately out to cause panic and alarm (“is it okay to yell “fire” in a crowded theatre?” you wondered). That’s a smear, but you might genuinely think that’s what we’re up to.

    Ok, the other view to that is “At what point does increasing evidence there is a fire in a theatre mean you say ‘I think there is a fire’?” Should on keep quite in a theatre if one sees smoke? And, crucially, we can’t leave the theatre (Earth).

    Essentially many of us, myself inculded, honestly think we see a ‘fire’ (please don’t twist this parallel, I’m running with it, but I don’t think we need to panic/evacuate but instead address the problem over the next decades). I say ‘fire’ because that’s what I see, ‘fire’ starting and yes imo. I really resent the smear I say ‘fire’ to alarm or to frighten. I say it because that’s what I see – OK? (no, perhaps not, I suspect you still think I’m lying and or trying to frighten alarm…???).

    What would you ‘unequivocal’ evidence be?

  274. Pat Frank
    Posted Jul 29, 2006 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    #261 — Lee, our differences are not a matter of personal opinion, but rather a matter of objective science.

    You’re still begging the question of climate. You claim to know the answer without actually knowing the answer. When the uncertainty limits from theory are easily 10-fold larger than the effect claimed, it is scientifically impossible and incorrect to claim certain facts support a conclusion. In case you didn’t know, that’s called prejudicial bias, Lee.

    I stand by the observation that a morally-freighted conclusion is immorally-derived when it is imposed with full factual knowledge that the conclusion is based on ignorance.

    And it’s a fact, Lee, that there is no theoretical basis at all for presuming a large-scale anthro-CO2-driven increase in global climate temperature. Nor is there any rationally undisputable empirical evidence that 20th century climate was unprecedented during the Holocene (much less the Pleistocene).

  275. Brusegadi
    Posted Aug 5, 2006 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Lee,

    Stop wasting your time man. You are anti-preaching to the quire.

  276. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 8, 2006 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    RC has allowed blatent disinfo from ABC / Disney on their site. There is a bogus claim that the well known, long standing bubbling up of (mostly H2SO4) off of Santa Barbara is “methane” coming up from “thawing out frozen mud” – utter lies. Here is an attempt by me to set the record straight, well see of the Ministry of Truth allow it in:

    “RE: #61 – Beyond the viral popups that killed my Mozilla, I have some real problems with the false claim of methane coming up beneath frozen mud off of SB. Firstly, what bubbles up there is actually mostly hydrogen sulfide, not methane. And it is from the same trends as the oil deposits, not some shallow deposits below so called frozen mud. And because the entire area of the So Cal coast is continental crust, and non abyssal, while certainly there are deep water temps down in the upper 30s, there ain’t no frozen mud. Lies, and damned lies.
    by Steve Sadlov”

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