National Post Today

We have an op ed in the National Post today about the Wegman Report. In addition, Terence Corcoran has a long article about a recent hatchet job published by the Globe and Mail about Tim Ball from a writer named Charles Montgomery. I had to laugh out loud at the following comments by Corcoran about Montgomery:

Touring for his latest book, The Shark God, about life on islands in the South Pacific, Mr. Montgomery asks the big science questions: "Can a man convince a shark to eat his enemies?" He says he found himself believing in "the strangest things: rainmaking stones, magic walking sticks."

I guess Mann’s temperature reconstruction might be another "magic stick"?

Anyway here’s our Op Ed entitled "Statisticians Blast Hockey Stick".

The recently released final report of a panel of three independent statisticians, chaired by an eminent statistics professor, Edward Wegman, Chairman of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences’ Committee on Theoretical and Applied Statistics, has resoundingly upheld criticisms of the famous “hockey stick” graph of Michael Mann and associates.

The Wegman report, which was submitted to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in July, stated that our published criticisms of Mann’s methodology were “valid and compelling” and stated that “Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.”

This comes on the heels of an earlier report in June by a National Academy of Sciences panel chaired by Gerald North of Texas A&M, which also endorsed specific criticisms of Mann’s methodology and which concluded that no statistical confidence could be placed in his claims that temperatures in the 1990s exceeded those in the medieval warm period.

Wegman also criticized lack of independence in paleoclimate science at multiple levels — in the selection of proxies, in the reviewing of articles and in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) process itself. In his testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, he sarcastically questioned Mann’s citation of his own articles or articles by his students as supposedly “independent” verification of his results.

Given the importance that the IPCC and others have placed on historical temperature reconstructions, Wegman recommended that qualified statisticians be involved in the analysis and that the work be reviewed by truly independent experts.

In response to the Wegman report, Michael Mann issued a statement saying that it “simply uncritically parrots claims by two Canadians”. However, in testimony to the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the President of the National Academy of Sciences, Ralph Cicerone stated his belief that Dr. Wegman was well qualified to make the statements in his report.

In what follows we simply quote, verbatim, from the report and Wegman’s Congressional testimony. The report and hearings are available at http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07272006hearing2001/Wegman.pdf, http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07192006hearing1987/hearing.htm and http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/Hearings/07272006hearing2001/hearing.htm

WEGMAN EXCERPTS

The debate over Dr. Mann’s principal components methodology has been going on for nearly three years. When we got involved, there was no evidence that a single issue was resolved or even nearing resolution. Dr. Mann’s RealClimate.org website said that all of the Mr. McIntyre and Dr. McKitrick claims had been ‘discredited’. UCAR had issued a news release saying that all their claims were ‘unfounded’. Mr. McIntyre replied on the ClimateAudit.org website. The climate science community seemed unable to either refute McIntyre’s claims or accept them. The situation was ripe for a third-party review of the types that we and Dr. North’s NRC panel have done.

While the work of Michael Mann and colleagues presents what appears to be compelling evidence of global temperature change, the criticisms of McIntyre and McKitrick, as well as those of other authors mentioned are indeed valid.

“Where we have commonality, I believe our report and the [NAS] panel essentially agree. We believe that our discussion together with the discussion from the NRC report should take the ‘centering’ issue off the table. [Mann's] decentred methodology is simply incorrect mathematics …. I am baffled by the claim that the incorrect method doesn’t matter because the answer is correct anyway. Method Wrong + Answer Correct = Bad Science.

The papers of Mann et al. in themselves are written in a confusing manner, making it difficult for the reader to discern the actual methodology and what uncertainty is actually associated with these reconstructions.

It is not clear that Dr. Mann and his associates even realized that their methodology was faulty at the time of writing the [Mann] paper.

We found MBH98 and MBH99 to be somewhat obscure and incomplete and the criticisms of MM03/05a/05b to be valid and compelling.

Overall, our committee believes that Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.

[The] fact that their paper fit some policy agendas has greatly enhanced their paper’s visibility. ,,,The “ ‘hockey stick’ reconstruction of temperature graphic dramatically illustrated the global warming issue and was adopted by the IPCC and many governments as the poster graphic. The graphics’ prominence together with the fact that it is based on incorrect use of [principal components analysis] puts Dr. Mann and his co-authors in a difficult face-saving position.

We have been to Michael Mann’s University of Virginia website and downloaded the materials there. Unfortunately, we did not find adequate material to reproduce the MBH98 materials. We have been able to reproduce the results of McIntyre and McKitrick

Generally speaking, the paleoclimatology community has not recognized the validity of the [McIntyre and McKitrick] papers and has tended dismiss their results as being developed by biased amateurs. The paleoclimatology community seems to be tightly coupled as indicated by our social network analysis, has rallied around the [Mann] position, and has issued an extensive series of alternative assessments most of which appear to support the conclusions of MBH98/99.

Our findings from this analysis suggest that authors in the area of paleoclimate studies are closely connected and thus ‘“independent studies’ may not be as independent as they might appear on the surface.

It is important to note the isolation of the paleoclimate community; even though they rely heavily on statistical methods they do not seem to be interacting with the statistical community. Additionally, we judge that the sharing of research materials, data and results was haphazardly and grudgingly done. In this case we judge that there was too much reliance on peer review, which was not necessarily independent.

Based on the literature we have reviewed, there is no overarching consensus on [Mann's work]. As analyzed in our social network, there is a tightly knit group of individuals who passionately believe in their thesis. However, our perception is that this group has a self-reinforcing feedback mechanism and, moreover, the work has been sufficiently politicized that they can hardly reassess their public positions without losing credibility.

It is clear that many of the proxies are re-used in most of the papers. It is not surprising that the papers would obtain similar results and so cannot really claim to be independent verifications.”

“We note that the American Meteorological Society has a Committee on Probability and Statistics. I believe it is amazing for a committee whose focus is on statistics and probability that of the nine members only two are also members of the American Statistical Association, the premier statistical association in the United States, and one of those is a recent Ph. D. with an assistant professor appointment in a medical school. The American Meteorological Association recently held the 18th Conference on Probability and Statistics in the Atmospheric Sciences.. Of the 62 presenters at a conference with a focus on statistics and probability, only 8 … are members of the American Statistical Association. I believe that these two communities should be more engaged and if nothing else our report should highlight to both communities a need for additional cross-disciplinary ties."

Especially when massive amounts of public monies and human lives are at stake, academic work should have a more intense level of scrutiny and review. It is especially the case that authors of policy-related documents like the IPCC report, Climate Change 2001: The Scientific Basis, should not be the same people as those that constructed the academic papers.”

347 Comments

  1. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    The lack of interdisciplinary exchange has been profoundly harmful. Now, as a result, there are huge political and institutional pressures which will actually limit or hinder future exchanges. Wegman presented a red flag that warrants attention.

  2. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    So, are you endorsing Corcoran’s piece? You can’t spot any errors in it?

  3. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 12:31 PM | Permalink

    I have provided a link to Corcoran’s piece. I also link to realclimate.org. Posting a link does not constitute “endorsing” an article.

    If you wish to comment on Corcoran’s piece, go ahead. Please don’t divert any attention from your Mann Screws It Up Again post that you’ve been working on for such a long time. But maybe as a diversion from that project, you could give us a first hand view about magic sticks. Also please tell us about the Shark God, Tim: Can a man convince a shark to eat his enemies?

  4. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Great job Steve. Any objective people reading these two articles will understand what has and what is happening.

  5. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    Yeah, but the Post is just part of the noise machine.

    Everybody expects this sort of thing in that paper, and those who you want to buy this line don’t read that paper (because those that do read that paper are the choir, see).

    Sure, it might get distributed around, but only to the same Wurlitzer Retail Outlets (WROs) with the same readership.

    See, when decisionmakers ask their staffs to brief them on the latest science, their staffs are briefing them on the science from journals, not from Nat Post op-eds.

    When decision-makers ask their staffs to help them find out which way the wind’s blowing, BigBiness opinion comes from NatPost. When they start hearing from a wider consitituency than BigBiness interests about this narrow concern, they might notice.

    That is: everybody know what policy recommendations come out of the WROs.

    Jus’ sayin’.

    This is the same ol’ stuff from the same ol’ place. You need some new play.

    Best,

    D

  6. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    This is the same ol’ stuff from the same ol’ place. You need some new play.

    Look who is talking!

  7. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 1:50 PM | Permalink

    Big ole bad ole big biz …. the consumate bogeyman of all revolutionaries and malcontents.

  8. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 2:02 PM | Permalink

    7:

    To clarify for those in the thrall of my 273: I merely stated that BigBiness opinion comes from NatPost. There were no statements of judgement (e.g. bad ole implication).

    The thesis of 5 above was stated in the third para. Refuting my thesis would include, say, samples of play outside of the WROs.

    HTH,

    D

  9. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    See, when decisionmakers ask their staffs to brief them on the latest science, their staffs are briefing them on the science from journals, not from Nat Post op-eds.

    Yes, and a lot of them probably use this source, since they can’t read everything. Moreover, I think a lot of staff work goes into making the policy-maker “look good,” not scientifically correct. That is one of the biggest negatives with the democratic system. Marketing, marketing, marketing. I’m sure you know a lot about marketing!

  10. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

    #2, Tim

    I’ve just read the piece and there are indeed several errors in it – all Montgomery’s errors.

    I’d personally like to thank you for helping me to become a AGW skeptic. Before reading one of the threads on your blog in which you called John Brignell ‘a crank’, I was if anything neutral. Thanks to the fact that you called John B ‘a crank’ (which piqued my interest as I know he isn’t having after visited his web site Numberwatch on many occasions) I decided to research the science that supports the IPCC 2001 TAR which lead to me visiting this blog, RC and severals others. But for you I might have not taken the time to do that and would never have got to find out the poor science that underpins AGW. I also have a lot of friends (many of them like me scientists and enginners) who I’m glad to say are following in my footsteps. Like me, rather than relying on the mass media, they are now doing there own research and reaching their own conclusions. So once again thank you.

    You may be interested to know that, in common with most of the people who post on thos blog, I do not work in the fossil fuel industry and I am not a member of any organisation that is funded by the fossil fuel industry. I will however admit to the fact that I am an ex-nuclear physicist which might mistakenly cause some to assume that I would be pro-AGW. On the contrary, my background in mathematically modelling of complex processes has given me insight into the applicability and validity range of computer models. In this respect having researched what numerical methods and techniques underpin GCMs, I find the range (in terms of both temporal extent i.e. 100 year predictions and global extent i.e. the entire plant) over which they are being applied are well beyond what can be reasonably claimed as their validity range. Keep up the good work on your blog.

    KevinUK

  11. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Addition to 9: You (appear to) greatly underestimate the power of the blogosphere. The staffs of the decisionmakers probably depend quite a bit on them to keep up to date on various issues. There is a lot of chaff (admittedly like most of my posts), but there are some really good gems, also. The staff of your favorite decisionmakers, Barton and Inhoff, probably even look at this site!

  12. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:37 PM | Permalink

    RE: #11 – I’ve got to imagine that even Gore’s staff look at it!

  13. Brooks Hurd
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 3:42 PM | Permalink

    Re: 5
    Dano,

    Yeah, but the Post is just part of the noise machine.

    What part of the media is not part of the noise machine?

  14. Robert
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    Re #12

    No We Don’t!
    :-)

  15. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    15: #14 – Hahaha! Say, is Al running in ’08? ;)

  16. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    Of course you can convince a shark to eat you enemies. Starve your pet shark for a month, then invite your enemies over to your swimming pool for a beer and a swim.

  17. jae
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    15. I hope so. This country really needs some humor.

  18. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    To Dano, National Post has a daily circulation of 240,000 (Globe and Mail is about 300,000 for comparison purposes.)

  19. Stephen Berg
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

    Re: #10,

    “I’d personally like to thank you for helping me to become a AGW skeptic. … I also have a lot of friends (many of them like me scientists and enginners) who I’m glad to say are following in my footsteps. Like me, rather than relying on the mass media, they are now doing there own research and reaching their own conclusions.”

    Now this doesn’t make any sense. If they’re doing their “own research and reaching their own conclusions” and these conclusions do not result in an Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) scenario, there must be something drastically wrong with their research, methodology, and conclusions.

    There is simply NO WAY that a non-AGW scenario can be the result of truly accurate research. It’s either correct (the research which points to an AGW scenario) or it’s wrong (the research which does not point to an AGW scenario). Is there any wonder why the non-AGW research cannot pass the peer-review test?

  20. Paul Penrose
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 6:57 PM | Permalink

    Dano,
    Your attempt to poison the well was pretty pathetic, even for you. How lame. I’m adding you to the growing list of people to ignore on this blog.

  21. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of noise, is USA Today and Newsweek reputable enough?

    On one hand we have Al Gore, who owns several home. “For someone rallying the planet to pursue a path of extreme personal sacrifice, Gore requires little from himself. ” One home is situated on land that also has a zinc mine, and that’s where some of his income comes from. Been fined before for contaminating river water too. Full article USA today : http://www.usatoday.com/news/opinion/editorials/2006-08-09-gore-green_x.htm

    Then on the other hand Bush built his house on land in Texas, which also includes a protected forest that is a sanctuary for an endangered species of bird, has gutters the recycle rainwater for watering the yard, solar panals, and beneath the house he uses thermal energy from the ground for a heating and air condition system. Full article: Newsweek: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/13773993/site/newsweek/

  22. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    18:

    I’m thinking of the demographic and influence, not circulation. For example, off the top o’ my head, I’d say the WSJ has a lower circulation # than USAT, but who reads which?

    20:

    I don’t write for you. No harm in your actions.

    Best,

    D

  23. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:13 PM | Permalink

    Dano, if you are thinking about influence, the National Post has far more influence with real decision-makers in Canada than most of the other media and the published media.

  24. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    21:

    SwiftBoating op-eds from Hoover aside, Schweitzer has a little niche he has to work.

    What would happen if we rejected, say, our current leaders for hubris or coveting money, or lying as we do our past leaders for hypocrisy?

    Anyway, Schweitzer tipped his hand with Maybe our very existence isn’t threatened.

    Best,

    D

  25. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:18 PM | Permalink

    RE: #19 What if ….. “There is simply NO WAY that a non-Newtonian scenario can be the result of truly accurate research.” ;)

  26. Stephen Berg
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:26 PM | Permalink

    Re: #23, “Dano, if you are thinking about influence, the National Post has far more influence with real decision-makers in Canada than most of the other media and the published media.”

    That’s because the current decision-makers representing the Canadian government are about as up to date on the climate change issue as a Neanderthal.

  27. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    23:

    Thank you Jeff.

    Best,

    D

  28. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 7:45 PM | Permalink

    Steve B, I’m confused. I was thinking when I saw your name, “Isn’t he a warmer?” Then I saw your post 19 and said, “No, this is an obvious spoof so he must be a skeptic.” Then I see post 26 and it looks serious. So which is it? Are you a wacked out warmer or a cynical skeptic who just isn’t funny every time?

  29. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    RE: #18 – well his #19 has either got to be a real bad joke, or, sheer horror! “There is simply NO WAY” that any results or constructs other than the scenarios depicted in “An Incovenient Truth” can be allowed to be considered. Well, if that is so, label me a heretic! ;)

  30. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    #21 Yes Dano, freedom of speech is a b*t*@H sometimes eh? . “What would happen if we rejected, say, our current leaders for hubris or coveting money, or lying as we do our past leaders for hypocrisy? ”

    Apples and oranges, this site and this blog is interested in the GW science and whether it is accurate science.

    Your spokesperson who travels the world and country for youis a hypocrite. We don’t have one.

    I do not believe you are a scientist.

  31. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 9:14 PM | Permalink

    #19 — “It’s either correct (the research which points to an AGW scenario) or it’s wrong (the research which does not point to an AGW scenario).

    Thanks for the example of the false logic of the excluded middle. The fact is that science can’t say yea or nay to AGW because GCMs are entirely incapable of resolving anything close to a 4 W/m^2 forcing.

    Like KevinUK, I came to the science of GW convinced that the IPCC was reporting competent science competently. What I found on reading the literature, though, is that the claims of an Anthro-CO2 effect on climate could not be sustained by physical theory — physical theory that is both incomplete and lacking accurate measures of the energy fluxes that are recognized. Top that off with Steve M.’s and Ross’ exposure of the MBH proxy climate corpus as completely unwarrantable, and the case for the “A” in AGW becomes completely absent.

    Not to say AGW isn’t happening. It’s to say that no one knows, and no one currently can know. And the empirical data, as Willis has fully established, show that the best guess for any CO2 doubling is that the effect will be small or undifferentiable from natural climate variation.

    So, what it really comes down to, Stephen, is that, “There is simply NO WAY that [an AGW] scenario can be the result of truly accurate research.” Unless, of course, one is a died-in-the-wool believer and dedicated to a preferred result.

    Best, Dano.

  32. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    30:

    this site and this blog is interested in the GW science and whether it is accurate science

    Huh. Yet you quote USAT and concern yourself with non-climate scientist’s matters.

    Your spokesperson who travels the world and country for you is a hypocrite

    ‘Mine’? Which ‘mine': Bush or Gore? Anyway,

    I don’t understand, being scientific and all, how you believe that ad hom arguments make the words go away (I used the term properly and in proper context, BTW, cheggidout everyone). Attacking the character negates the accuracy of non-scientists’ words? Really?!?

    Huh.

    Best,

    D

  33. Dano
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    31:

    Thanks for the example of the false logic of the excluded middle.

    Hypotheses are binary constructs. You either falsify them or you don’t.

    That is my understanding of the intent of the comment.

    HTH,

    D

  34. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 23, 2006 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

    #33 — Hypotheses must be falsifiable to be falsified. GCMs are not falsifiable at the 4 W/m^2 level. Stephen Berg, on the other hand, was not making a hypothesis. He was making an error of logic.

  35. Stephen Berg
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:32 AM | Permalink

    Re: #31, “The fact is that science can’t say yea or nay to AGW because GCMs are entirely incapable of resolving anything close to a 4 W/m^2 forcing.”

    and

    “What I found on reading the literature, though, is that the claims of an Anthro-CO2 effect on climate could not be sustained by physical theory “¢’‚¬? physical theory that is both incomplete and lacking accurate measures of the energy fluxes that are recognized. Top that off with Steve M.’s and Ross’ exposure of the MBH proxy climate corpus as completely unwarrantable, and the case for the “A” in AGW becomes completely absent.”

    Can you provide a peer-reviewed source that verifies your assumptions?

    Re: #28, “I was thinking when I saw your name, “Isn’t he a warmer?” Then I saw your post 19 and said, “No, this is an obvious spoof so he must be a skeptic.” Then I see post 26 and it looks serious. So which is it? Are you a wacked out warmer or a cynical skeptic who just isn’t funny every time?”

    I wasn’t spoofing. I was telling the complete, unadulterated, and sober truth.

    Re: #34, “Stephen Berg, on the other hand, was not making a hypothesis. He was making an error of logic.”

    No, I wasn’t. In science, something is either correct or wrong. There is no middle ground.

    As the X-Files’ slogan reads, “The Truth is out there” and the truth of the climate change subject is that human activities are primarily the cause of the global warming over the last century-and-a-half. As Naomi Oreskes showed in her study of 928 peer-reviewed articles, every one of them supported the fact that climate change is happening and that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature.

  36. James Lane
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:25 AM | Permalink

    Stephen Berg,

    No, I wasn’t. In science, something is either correct or wrong. There is no middle ground.

    Congratulations, you have just graduated to “kook”.

  37. Wm. L. Hyde
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:30 AM | Permalink

    Stephen…That the Oreskes ‘study’ was completely bogus is old news. Do some more wide-ranging fact-finding. Your present sources are misleading you. Try to catch up…theoldhogger

  38. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:40 AM | Permalink

    No, I wasn’t. In science, something is either correct or wrong. There is no middle ground.

    Yes, the middle ground is reserved for religions.

    As Naomi Oreskes showed in her study of 928 peer-reviewed articles, every one of them supported the fact that climate change is happening and that it is primarily anthropogenic in nature.

    So, the theory was subjected to 928 most rigorous attempts at falsification, and the theory survived?

  39. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    A little fact-checking on the Post piece.

  40. John A
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:42 AM | Permalink

    Re #39

    Except of course that the fact checking piece contained no actual facts in dispute. Hoggen didn’t even bother to refute the suggestion that he is a PR flack for extremist environmental groups, because he is. Or that Andrew Weaver backed the Hockey Stick and even taught it to his students as a fact, because he did.

    A little fact checking indeed.

  41. joshua corning
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:48 AM | Permalink

    Hypotheses are binary constructs. You either falsify them or you don’t.

    Wow, that is perhaps the most convoluted distortion of the scientific method ever constructed.

    Hypotheses are true when they are proven, not “true until disproved”.

  42. John Cross
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:24 AM | Permalink

    John A: In fact there are some interesting points brought up. That aduio clip, if it turns out to be true and Dr. Ball does in fact claim that the GCMs do not account for water vapour is very interesting.

    It is one thing for Dr. Ball to say things that have no support what-so-ever (like the satellites show global cooling) but it is quite another for him to say something and then deny it.

  43. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    #19, SB

    “Now this doesn’t make any sense. If they’re doing their “own research and reaching their own conclusions” and these conclusions do not result in an Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) scenario, there must be something drastically wrong with their research, methodology, and conclusions.”

    These friends of mine are scientist and engineers, well educated ones at that (some with PhD’s) who are more than capable of researching a subject once their interest is piqued like mine was thanks to Tim Lambert’s attack on John Brignell. Now what warmers need to understand is that educated people have an inate sense of fair play and if they see someone being attacked (not physically but intellectually) then they are prone to ask what is all the fuss about. The biggest mistake the warmers in the AGW debate have made is to rather than to defend their science through reasoned debate, they have instead chosen to deride, smear and character-assassinate AGW skeptics. It is therefore likely (as in my case and now several of my freinds cases) that people viewing this type of activity will ask them selves the question, why are these acts so co-ordinated and vociferous – there must be something wrong? This then leads them to look at the details behind the debate (as I did) and this sadly is where you have then subsequently lost the debate as once they start they will see what poor politically distorted science lies behind the so called evidence for AGW. It would have been better to have participated in a reasonable non-mud slinging debate instead but then perhaps you already knew that if you did that then you would inevitably lose the debate? Steve and Ross are an example of this. Because he ‘doth protest too much’, Mann has well and truly been revealed as a charlatan and the Wizard (and his junk science) can no longer operate his fear enducing, flame spouting mechanical image from behind the curtain anymore (thanks to Toto aka Steve M).

    KevinUK

  44. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:09 AM | Permalink

    Mann: “I did not calculate the verification r2 statistic – that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do.”

    Care to comment on this , Peter H?

  45. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:39 AM | Permalink

    Re: #32
    Why don’t you just make a list of what we can and can’t talk about Dano and be done with it. A “do as I say and not as I do” list. You can consult the Mann himself for ideas.

    I will try to bring it back to that topic using your own words.

    ” Attacking the character negates the accuracy of non-scientists’ words? Really?!? ”

    “The Wegman report, which was submitted to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee in July, stated that our published criticisms of Mann’s methodology were “valid and compelling” and stated that “Mann’s assessments that the decade of the 1990s was the hottest decade of the millennium and that 1998 was the hottest year of the millennium cannot be supported by his analysis.”

    So Michael Mann says: “”He simply uncritically parrots claims by two Canadians”.

    Translation: It so simple. Wegman, a scientist found no mistakes at all in Steve and Ross’ work so therefore the only explaination is that he has become a lowly mindless creature, such as a parrot, who only mimics the words of these two non-scientist men, in this case Canadian men (gasp), and therefore this all means nothing to me or anyone who believes in me. La la la la la Let’s move on.

    Well, what say you now?

    I don’t believe Mann is a scientist either.
    And in my world, a real scientific mind would also say- yeah you are right or I think you might be wrong; I’ve looked at the facts, and Al Gore might just be a hypocrite or I think he is not because A B C___. I am surrounded by real scientists all the time. They deal with facts and figures, one issue at a time, and they share their data, and for the most part, handle even their own errors with grace and interest! What climate science has become, I do not know but we find it disturbing and creepy!

    Thanks again SteveM for your work and providing a place to get to the truth-whatever it may be! Sorry I have to be so long winded here! Sheesh.

    And #43 right on. “why are these acts so co-ordinated and vociferous – there must be something wrong? This then leads them to look at the details behind the debate (as I did) and this sadly is where you have then subsequently lost the debate as once they start they will see what poor politically distorted science lies behind the so called evidence for AGW.”

  46. John Cross
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    KevinUK: I would be interested in what your associates had to say about what Dr. Ball asserts – after they have done their research of course. Can they defend his comments about the satellites showing cooling?

    Regards,
    John

  47. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    Nice Op ed, Steve, congrats.

  48. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    #35 I like Naomi Oreskes. She said:

    “The history of science demonstrates, however, that the scientific truths of yesterday are often viewed as misconceptions, and, conversely, that ideas rejected in the past may now be considered true. History is littered with the discarded beliefs of yesteryear, and the present is populated by epistemic resurrections. This realization leads to the central problem of the history and philosophy of science: How are we to evaluate contemporary science’s claims to truth given the perishability of past scientific knowledge? This question is of considerable philosophic interest and of practical import as well. If the truths of today are the flasehoods of tomorrow, what does this say about the nature of scientific truth? And if our knowledge is perishable and incomplete, how can we warrant its use in sensitive social and political decision-making?” (“The rejection of continental drift, Naomi Oreskes, Oxford University Press, 1999, p.3)

    I couldn’t have said it better. Maybe she should have reread herself before making that “survey”.

  49. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:47 AM | Permalink

    Both the MSU and radiosonde data show a cooling for 1979 to 1994. The surface data, on the other hand, has a strong warming.

    It depends on when Ball made his statement.

  50. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:50 AM | Permalink

    Mann aka Referee #2 did not deal with substantive comments of the Wegman Report in a peer review of B&C but ad hom-ed it as:

    "a politically motivated non-peer-reviewed report commissioned by vested interests in the U.S. congress"

    In fact, Wegman testified to the House Committee that it had been peer reviewed and mentioned some very eminent statisticians who had peer reviewed it.

  51. John A
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Re #45, no, I’ll not pretend to be a statistician (btw, nice oppertunity here for someone to insult my intelligence).

    I make it a policy not to mock the afflicted.

    In any case the statement was:

    Mann: “I did not calculate the verification r2 statistic – that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do.”

    This is a) true or b) false.

    It has nothing whatsover to do with “inate [sic] sense of fair play” or attacking someone (although you’d have to question Mann’s proclivity for attacking Steve McIntyre) but about whether a statement given to the NAS Panel was factually correct or not.

    A factual statement requires a factually based reply.

    Mann says he didn’t calculate it, but his source code reveals that he did. So what Mann testified was false.

    Oh and please spare us the claiming of the moral highroad regarding people’s honesty because it has nothing whatsover to do with the question at hand. People can be honestly wrong and honestly mistaken and I would be willing to accept that explanation had Mann not gone out of his way to defend the indefensible, after it had been pointed out to him multiple times that his maths was wrong and his results meaningless.

  52. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:01 AM | Permalink

    Steve, as you are well aware, the Corcoran piece is full of false claims, which is why you don’t want to endorse it. But it’s interesting to see the bit that you did endorse. I found a review of Montgomery’s award-winning book. It sure looks like Corcoran has taken some quotes out of context to misrepresent Montgomery’s views. [snip of some comments about religion]

    KevinUK, it is interesting to see the way you evade the reason why I concluded that Brignell is a crank. Brignell asserted that a 50% increase in the death rate was not significant. Those of us with a more convential approach to statistics might want to look at the p value, but Brignell as his own statistical theory. To put it in the context of temperatures: if the global temperature increase by 50% next year, Brignell could declare the change "not significant&quot

  53. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    Peter H

    You are, once again, completely missing the Point. It’s not a matter of being a statistician. Other statisticians have shown that he DID calculate R2, then later he siad he did not. If someone does something, hides it, then says that they didn’t do it, what would your term for that be.

  54. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:07 AM | Permalink

    Ball claimed that it has been cooling since 1940…..

  55. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:13 AM | Permalink

    In walks the ad-Hominator, way to present things out of context.

    “Brignell asserted that a 50% increase in the death rate was not significant.”

    If the original death rate was 2, a 50% increase is insignifigant.

  56. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Ah, true to form, an ad hominem attack from Sid. If the original death rate was 2, you don’t have enough information to determine if a 50% increase is insignificant or significant.

  57. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    DOn’t worry Timmy I won’t step on the Ad Hominators turf. When it comes to Ad Homs you are the hands down master.

  58. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    RE: #41 – Well, you see, we now have this great revolution in science. Napoleonic Law has made its grand entrance. (Hand firmly planted under lapel) ….. ;)

  59. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    41:

    Hypotheses are true when they are proven, not “true until disproved”.

    Actually, hypotheses rise to the level of theories when supported by numerous studies. Theories are never really proven, just accepted for the time being. That is one problem with AGW; it is still a hypothesis, since the science is still equivocal. Yet we have some unscientific folks here that insist it is a PROVEN FACT, not just a hypothesis.

  60. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:34 AM | Permalink

    Wow, Sid makes another ad hominem attack while saying he isn’t going to make ad hominem attacks. And he doesn’t seem to have the corage to admit that he got the statistical question wrong.

    Don’t worry, I’m sure that Steve will be along soon to bail you out by banning discussion of statistical significance.

  61. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:38 AM | Permalink

    RE: #43 – this debate is, significantly, the first major one to occur entirely within the “post Modern” era – bereft of certain “assumed” rules of play that were shattered by the social upheavals which occured after the Second World War. A sociology PhD candidate could write a very interesting disertation looking at this!

  62. John Cross
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:44 AM | Permalink

    Re # 51: Douglas

    If you refer to the link I posted you can see that the comment is taken from an interview that he gave in November 2004. Here are the parts I was talking about:

    Frontier Centre: We are all familiar with the modern theory that the world’s climate is getting warmer. Is it?

    Tim Ball: Yes, it warmed from 1680 up to 1940, but since 1940 it’s been cooling down. The evidence for warming is because of distorted records. The satellite data, for example, shows cooling.

    FC: Could you summarize the evidence that suggests the world is cooling slightly, not warming up?

    TB: Yes, since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling. …. the South Pole shows cooling since 1957 and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well.

    Regards,
    John

  63. Reid
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 9:54 AM | Permalink

    Tim Lambert,

    You are boring.

  64. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    since 1940 and from 1940 until 1980, even the surface record shows cooling

    .

    That is true using Jones data.

    …. the South Pole shows cooling since 1957

    That is also true using the Jones data for 1957 to 2004.

    and the satellite data which has been up since 1978 shows a slight cooling trend as well.

    That is true for 1979 to 1994, but not for 1979 to 2004.

    Two out of three statements are true. Both the radiosonde and satellite trends are negative for 1979 to 1994 and the surface trend is positive. This inconsistency is not predicted by climate models. Also the tree rings indicate cooling for 1980 to 1995, as was discussed on another thread on this site.

  65. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    #62
    As #3 asks, can you point me to where this commentary on Michael Mann and the Wegman report might be, and where your associates Dano and John Cross comments are too? It would be most interesting to read, since you all do so well in covering and demanding explaination for the mistakes Tim Ball has made. Thank you.

  66. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    Also the tree rings indicate cooling for 1980 to 1995, as was discussed on another thread on this site

    Yeah, the divergence “problem.” A subtle play on words that says, without the perpetrators knowing it, “apparently our tree-rings don’t really measure temperature very well.”

    Duh.

    Mark

  67. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:15 AM | Permalink

    41:

    Wow, that is perhaps the most convoluted distortion of the scientific method ever constructed.

    When you finally go to college, joshua, and take a science class, let me know.

    Then let me know whether you learned enough to retract your statement.

    Best,

    D

  68. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    RE: #70 – that is the most blatent ad hom I’ve seen in quite a while. One thing I’ve noticed about the “warmer” meme – the tendency to paint so called “skeptics” as things like Far Right political operatives with neither a science nor an engineering background, bumpkins, cranks and “amateurs.” Might be sort of interesting, at some point, to put together our CVs and post them, minus of course any privacy-compromising info. Ready for that Dano? You’ve throw down a gantlet now you must be prepared for a bit of thrust, parry and riposte.

  69. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    Bloom: you need that science course, too. See 61.

  70. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    Well, I guess there is plain old science, and then there is Sierra Club science.

  71. Tim Lambert
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:33 AM | Permalink

    welikerocks, if you click on my name, you can then do a search for "Wegman" on my blog. I would post direct links but John A just deletes them.

  72. Tim L
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #68: welikerocks, if you click on my name, you can then do a search for "Wegman" on my blog. I would post direct links but John A just deletes them. Please let me know if you read this comment, because John A will probably delete it as well.

  73. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    71:

    that is the most blatent ad hom I’ve seen in quite a while

    Whatever.

    Learn to use the phrase the correct way.

    joshua can take it. He could be lonely because I don’t respond to his outrageous posts at the other place any more, hence his outrageous comment here.

    And here’s a hint for you: an ad hom would have been ‘you’re wrong joshua because you’re an idiot’ (or Al Gore is wrong because he’s a hypocrite). Of course, I didn’t say that. Rather, I implied: ‘joshua, you are wrong due to ignorance’. Telling someone they are wrong because they don’t know enough about the issue isn’t ad hom, [unless you're desperate or on certain sites, then it's OK].

    And stop grasping.

    Best,

    D

  74. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:03 AM | Permalink

    71:

    the tendency to paint so called “skeptics” as things like Far Right political operatives with neither a science nor an engineering background, bumpkins, cranks and “amateurs.”

    You should be using “or” instead of “and”. And the rest of the italicized doesn’t make sense, as the usual suspects have degrees, just not related to climate, and as in any population distribution, there’s a range. As for ‘amateurs’, yes.

    Sheesh. Grasping.

    Best,

    D

  75. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    RE: #75 – Ha ha ha. Yeah, right guy, it was not ad hom, whatever you say. You merely all but said “you’re wrong because you are an uneducated fool” – yeah right, that’s not ad hom? NOT!

  76. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    RE: #76 – once again, you have completely evaded the main point of the argument, the core of it. You cannot deny it because I have simply characterized things you and the other RCers constantly spew. Your meme is that so called “skeptics” are “deniers” or “Faux News” types. Or “alw bidness” stooges. The litany is well established. That’s why RCers hate CA. CA flies in the face of all the typical stereotypes propagated the “revolutionary” cult who war against “Evil AGW.” We are not Free Republic or some meaningless assemblage of bumpkins. We are your worst nightmare, a faction of the elite asking tough questions. We are no longer yours. We have split away. And nothing can change that.

  77. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    77:

    Like I said – you don’t know how to use the term. Or maybe you know how to maluse the term.

    78:

    I don’t evade, as explained elsewhere; you just don’t care to have your…interestingly phrased…phrases restated.

    Who cares about who asks your “tough” questions in a comment section of a blog unless they lead to changes. Let me know when they do.

    Like I said elsewhere, why don’t you just roll up all this wisdom in the comment section, delete the silly commenters, and publish this stuff straight into your own ground-breaking journal.

    Call it Galileo.

    After you eviscerate this discipline, move on to medicine. Then bridge engineering. Then goverment procurement. Aerospace. Lemme know how that works fer ya.

    BTW, you can have the name fo’ free, gratis, no charge.

    Best,

    D

  78. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:36 AM | Permalink

    #74

    I got it, thanks and I also looked. Funny, seems I’ve read this before, maybe it was the Real Climate’s Gavin feelings about it? I quote you:
    “I am beyond bored with the whole thing. I’m reaching the point of despair. Listen, people: This is an argument over a study that is now some eight years old. Eight years! You would think there is nothing new under the sun in climate science. ”

    Since this was the intro, I skipped the rest, but did skim and notice only a handful of names, Lee too! Been there done that. I much perfer the topics here, and the comments more original, out of the climate box, even when Lee posts! And come what may, it just feels better to read this site, and I even disagree sometimes with Steve when he mentions stuff like WMD, but I respect his opinion very much anyway.

    As far as deletions go, I have been deleted many times here. 99% of the time I DO understand why, other times I let it go, no big deal. I do have a problem with RC though. However, these are not democracies, they are blogs, and owners run it as they see fit. I have a blog myself, and I delete and ban people if I feel I need to or because I want to. It’s my domain.

    Dano, you underestmate the minds of people reading this blog and their ability to discern opinions. It’s almost embarrassing!

  79. Stephen Berg
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Permalink

    Re: #59, “DOn’t worry Timmy I won’t step on the Ad Hominators turf. When it comes to Ad Homs you are the hands down master.”

    Incorrect. Most of your fellow “skeptics” are the Kings of Ad-Hom-land. Your kind is the type that questions whether Dr. Mann is really a scientist, attempts to destroy the reputation of one of the greatest Vice-Presidents (Al Gore) the United States has ever seen, and calls a study which passed the peer-review process “crap.”

    No, Sid, since your kind has nothing to grasp onto with respect to actual science, you resort to personal attacks, lies, obfuscations, and misconceptions.

  80. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Incorrect. Most of your fellow “skeptics” are the Kings of Ad-Hom-land. Your kind is the type that questions whether Dr. Mann is really a scientist, attempts to destroy the reputation of one of the greatest Vice-Presidents (Al Gore) the United States has ever seen, and calls a study which passed the peer-review process “crap.”

    None of these are ad-homs, Mr. Berg. They are truths. Dr. Mann is a scientist, but he either is not a good one, or he is a deceitful one. I can’t even talk about that VP. Just because a study passes peer review does not mean it is a good study; where the hell have you been?

  81. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    80:

    Dano, you underestmate the minds of people reading this blog and their ability to discern opinions. It’s almost embarrassing!

    My thesis on this is outlined in 273. To my knowledge, I’ve never stated an opinion in this thread on the group’s discerning ability; feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

    Rather, just above, I challenged the outcome of the opinion-forming by suggesting the utility of the opinion be tested by starting the journal Galileo (and, generously, offered the name fo’ free, without even asking for a free sub or anything). Let no one doubt my magnanimity!

    Hope that helps.

    Best,

    D

  82. Reid
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Attempts to swiftboat M&M will fail. The Force is strong in them.

  83. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Hey, Dano: why don’t you do that at RealClimate? Now, that would really be a hoot!

  84. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:56 AM | Permalink

    BTW, Dano, following your logic regarding the utility of this blog, just what is the utility of RC? Is there a difference, and if so, what is it?

  85. Stephen Berg
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:57 AM | Permalink

    Re: #82, “Just because a study passes peer review does not mean it is a good study”

    I agree somewhat, though a study that passes the peer review test is infinitely better than one that doesn’t because the peer review test determines whether any flaws exist, or if there are flaws, whether these flaws jeopardise the findings of the study. If the flaws do not jeopardise the findings of the study, the study passes the test. If the flaws do jeopardise the findings, the study fails the test.

    How many anti-AGW studies have actually passed the peer review test? ZERO! Meaning that flaws exist in these studies and that these flaws render the findings either irrelevant, inconsistent, or simply incorrect.

  86. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    “one of the greatest Vice-Presidents (Al Gore) the United States has ever seen”

    Thanks I needed a goodd laugh

  87. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    RE: #86 – Well ya see, RC is run by a powerful academic mafia, who are the self proclaimed Puritans of the early 21st century utopian intellectual gentry. Therefore, they are simply better and we are simply lower life forms here. ;)

  88. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    Re:#79
    I find it quite amusing to see the time and effort D puts into a blog that he implies doesn’t matter. :)

    I’ll take a moment to renew a request to John A for a feature like that found in many bulletin board systems that allows users to set up their own personal “ignore” lists of posters. Any posts from folks on one’s list then appear as just a summary line; this would help many of us to reduce the visual clutter and focus on the scientific arguments. TIA!

  89. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    87:

    I agree somewhat, though a study that passes the peer review test is infinitely better than one that doesn’t because the peer review test determines whether any flaws exist, or if there are flaws, whether these flaws jeopardise the findings of the study. If the flaws do not jeopardise the findings of the study, the study passes the test. If the flaws do jeopardise the findings, the study fails the test.

    Wow, you must have never been through peer review, and you obviously do not understand what Steve M has done to show that peer review DOES NOT check “whether any flaws exist.”

  90. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:32 PM | Permalink

    #35 — It’s not an “assumption” Stephen B. Here’s a good over-view of the flux uncertainties; a paper that drew a lot of flack but no refutation. And if you’re feeling ambitious, take a look at Collins’ paper describing the varying outputs of the HadCM3 model with tiny variations in initial conditions, under the experimental bound of a perfectly accurate climate model.

    The “middle ground” in science is when the theory cannot resolve the question, Stephen.

    GCMs can’t be judged right or wrong when they are unable to make predictions at the level of experiment; in the case of Anthro-CO2, that level is 4 W/m^2. GCMs are easily an order of magnitude too crude to resolve that level of forcing. On the other hand, given the large errors GCMs make in predictions that can be tested — revealed in the model comparison project as Willis has pointed out several times — shows that GCMs are wrong even on the large scale.

    Under those circumstances, there is no scientific case to support the “A” in GW. That hasn’t stopped lots of folks from raising the dust of ad hoc conclusion mongering, though.

  91. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:33 PM | Permalink

    #54, #57 and #58, Tim

    Do you know anything about radioactivity? Do you eat baked beans and/or brazil nuts? Did you know that brazil nuts are 500,000 times more radioactive than baked beans? Shock horror – you’ve eaten brazil nuts and are now worried whether or not your statistical life expectancy has been significantly reduced as a result of eating those intensely radioactive brazil nuts? Worry not as 500,000 times BUGGER ALL is surprisingly still BUGGER ALL!

    Now as far as I know, so far no one has yet linked the consumption of brazil nuts to an increased likelihood of bowel cancer but now that I’ve put this vital and extreme important stat into the public domain, I suspect someone could well be tempted to apply for a grant from the US EPA to do an epidemiological study. This study will no doubt show based on a ‘trojan number’ (I love some of John B’s sayings) of 10 with a confidence limit of 90% that there is an RR of 1.05 which will mean an estimated annual excess death rate from brazil nut consumption in the US of 5000 deaths per year. This will obviously then lead to a total ban on brazil nut consumption in the US which will shortly afterwards subsequently be adopted by the UK and some after that by the WHO.

    Now please tell me what is your definition of ‘a crank’. Is it someone (as in John B’s case) whose opinions you disagree with? If so then please add me to your crank list as I’d be honoured to be in the same company as John B.

    #44, PH

    I appreciate you pointing out the contradiction in my statement, and I’m happy if you feel that my criticism of Mann makes you feel that you now need to support him due to your inate sense of fair play. Having seen what happened to Steve and Ross at the hands of Mann and the HT, I think I’ll pass on that one. Hypocritical I know based on my original statement but hey I’ll just have to live with it.

    and #50

    Pete in the part of the country were I live (the frozen north rather than the tropical SW) we call a spade a shovel i.e. we tell it as we see it. Perhaps its down to those Anglo-Saxon invaders, or may be it was all that polluted air that my ancestors were subjected to during the industrial revolution? Either way my style is my style and Steve M’s is his style and your style is your style, which are each entitled to.

    Regards

    KevinUK

  92. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    87:

    How many anti-AGW studies have actually passed the peer review test? ZERO! Meaning that flaws exist in these studies and that these flaws render the findings either irrelevant, inconsistent, or simply incorrect.

    Hundreds of peer reviewed studies indicate that there is no A in GW, if there is GW at all. Mr. Berg, you need to get out of the AGW church and get into the real world.

  93. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:36 PM | Permalink

    90:

    I find it quite amusing to see the time and effort D puts into a blog that he implies doesn’t matter

    Not to the science (unless you decide to put your prodigious skills out there to edit the new journal Galileo). BTW, my thesis is outlined in 273 here.

    Besides, I’m in downtime as I’m waiting for packages to come back to me, so why not use the brain while I’m at it; and if you ignore me, there’s even less responding to fake/mal ad hom accusations for me to wade thru! Bonus!

    Best,

    D

  94. charles
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    # 87 Mr Berg

    You say:

    “I agree somewhat, though a study that passes the peer review test is infinitely better than one that doesn’t because the peer review test determines whether any flaws exist, or if there are flaws, whether these flaws jeopardise the findings of the study. If the flaws do not jeopardise the findings of the study, the study passes the test. If the flaws do jeopardise the findings, the study fails the test.”

    This site has proven that in the case of Mann’s hockey stick ( a finding that was used as a poster child to motivate the world to make very expensive changes to its energy infrastructure)

    a) data a methods were not published so that they could be replicated (in violation of the first principles of science)

    b) the data and methods have now been proven to be junk science

    c) peer review did not catch the mistakes. (nor in the more general case is it every likely to since peer review rarely ever duplicates the “experiment”.)

    It is now time to put all of the science being used to justify an energy infrastructure change under the same “microsope”. I for one will have no confidence in the “concensus science” until this is done.

  95. John A
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:44 PM | Permalink

    Re: #95

    Not to the science (unless you decide to put your prodigious skills out there to edit the new journal Galileo). BTW, my thesis is outlined in 273 here.

    Your thesis just looks at lot like Tim Lambert-style ad hominem attacks with similar absence of argument. And, more to the point, why do we have to be the place where you rest your weary head in between bouts of heavy mouthbreathing on Doltoid?

  96. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:45 PM | Permalink

    I find it quite amusing to see the time and effort D puts into a blog that he implies doesn’t matter

    He puts in all the time, because he is paid to do it, I think…

  97. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    #41 — “Hypotheses are true when they are proven, not “true until disproved”.”

    That’s not how science works, Joshua. To be properly scientific, hypotheses must make deductive predictions that are so unlikely that their contradiction by experiment or observation would result in disproof. Very few hypotheses make that grade.

    After many unsuccessful attempts at disproof, a surviving hypothesis eventually graduates to theory-status. Electromagnetics, quantum mechanics, evolutionary theory, atomic theory, relativity theory, and others have graduated to accepted theory. They are all, however, still subject to disproof. QM and Relativity are incompatible, for example. One or both must be wrong.

    Disproof is central to progress in science; proof is never available. Find and read a copy of Karl Poppers’ “Conjectures and Refutations.”

  98. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 12:52 PM | Permalink

    #87 Stephen B. : Can you show me a study that positively proves AGW ? I’d like to see it, citation please (the IPCC TAR doesn’t count as a “scientific study”, it’s a review paper). What would be required for a single study to be “anti-AGW” ? What does that mean? Does a study that “proves” that at least half of 20th century warming is due to natural causes qualify? If so I can cite one. But since you are so well informed about this issue, you must have read it, no?

    The argument that there are no “anti-AGW” studies does not hold. There are many papers that point to this and that problem with our current knowledge, and show results that cast doubt on the conclusion the the “majority of the warming” is due to GHG. It took many studies to build a coherent picture leading to the link between GHG and warming. It may take just as many studies to deconstruct that picture completely (or not). Science is never “settled”. It may not be a reason not to act based on our current incomplete knowledge.

    Also, a study that passes the peer review process is not “infinitely better” than one that doesn’t. Steve’s work here is better than a lot of peer reviewed papers. There are many cases of scientific fraud involving papers that passed peer review. If a fraudulent paper can pass peer review, why wouldn’t a flawed paper? Do you accept the conclusion of the Wegman report and the NAS panel that the MBH99 paper was flawed? Your argument about peer reviewed is just an appeal to authority, one example of logical fallacy. I will nevertheless concede that peer reviewed papers are a better source of scientific information, if only because they have to rely on plausible scientific arguments, and usually report the work of full time competent scientists. They also usually avoid logical fallacies (but this is less and less true in climate science…).

  99. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    John A,

    Is it just me or have you also noticed that the number of ‘warmers’ posting on this blog appears to have increased somewhat in recent times? Is this a sign that this blog is having an effect? Is it a sign that the ‘contrarians’ are winning the debate, so the warmers feel that they must now come on to this blog to counter our arguments? Perhaps not but why the recent increase in the number warmers posting?

    KevinUK

  100. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:10 PM | Permalink

    97:

    Your thesis just looks at lot like Tim Lambert-style ad hominem attacks with similar absence of argument.

    Maybe I’ll make a standard reference post here too for the definition of ad hom to save you bandwidth and me time.

    I’d hate to take away a standard argumentation tactic, tho, that malusing of the term…hmmm…what to do…what to dooo…

    ==========

    100:

    Perhaps what Steven means (not that I’m speaking for him) is that there is no alternative hypothesis to test from the denialist/contrascience camp to explain the current phenomena seen throughout multiple disciplines in the literature.

    That is: where is the falsifiable hypothesis that says, oh, that a ~35% rise in CO2 ppmv won’t raise temps; or, better: a ~35% rise in CO2 ppmv will not raise temps x0 C.

    Something simple like that.

    Oh, wait: isn’t Hans about to publish his blockbuster paper auditing Arrhenius? Can’t wait.

    Best,

    D

  101. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:13 PM | Permalink

    101:

    A form of your comment appears periodically on this blog, with essentially the same argument.

    Big group hug.

    Best,

    D

  102. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    Well, I hate to do it, and he’s an ass for not pointing the error out explicitly instead of, as is his wont acting supercilliously, but Dano’s right about Joshua having the scientific method backward.

    Hypotheses are true when they are proven, not “true until disproved”.

    You can’t PROVE an hypothesis (except mathematical ones). You can only provide evidence which supports or dis-supports it. I know lots of people think that you can “disprove” an hypothesis but generally that’s only true in a narrow and technical sense. Particular results may be presented in a way which clearly “disproves” an hypothesis as stated either by the proposer or the disprover, but generally it’s not cut and dry that the evidence present is sufficiently vetted that it can serve as a disproof. That is, BTW, precisely what Steve McIntyre’s gig is all about. He’s trying to duplicate or refute findings which are presented as supporting an hypothesis which in turn denies a previous hypothesis; namely that present temperatures are lower than those in the MWP. Until such replication is done, the AGW hypothesis can’t rely on the Mann Hockey Stick (and its descendents) as a supporting pillar.

    Getting back to disproof, even if a piece of data does disprove a particular hypothesis, it rarely knocks out the entire structure it supports. Normally the hypothesis can be modified to take the new finding into consideration.

    So Joshua has it wrong, but so does Dano when he says,

    Hypotheses are binary constructs. You either falsify them or you don’t.

    Under the scientific method, evidence is presented which would falsify an hypothesis as presented, but the evidence needs to be verified and the hypothesis is normally capable of being modified with no great damage to its utility.

  103. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Well, I hate to do it, and he’s wrong for not pointing the error out explicitly instead of, as is his wont acting supercilliously, but Dano’s right about Joshua having the scientific method backward.

    Hypotheses are true when they are proven, not “true until disproved”.

    You can’t PROVE an hypothesis (except mathematical ones). You can only provide evidence which supports or dis-supports it. I know lots of people think that you can “disprove” an hypothesis but generally that’s only true in a narrow and technical sense. Particular results may be presented in a way which clearly “disproves” an hypothesis as stated either by the proposer or the disprover, but generally it’s not cut and dry that the evidence present is sufficiently vetted that it can serve as a disproof. That is, BTW, precisely what Steve McIntyre’s gig is all about. He’s trying to duplicate or refute findings which are presented as supporting an hypothesis which in turn denies a previous hypothesis; namely that present temperatures are lower than those in the MWP. Until such replication is done, the AGW hypothesis can’t rely on the Mann Hockey Stick (and its descendents) as a supporting pillar.

    Getting back to disproof, even if a piece of data does disprove a particular hypothesis, it rarely knocks out the entire structure it supports. Normally the hypothesis can be modified to take the new finding into consideration.

    So Joshua has it wrong, but so does Dano when he says,

    Hypotheses are binary constructs. You either falsify them or you don’t.

    Under the scientific method, evidence is presented which would falsify an hypothesis as presented, but the evidence needs to be verified and the hypothesis is normally capable of being modified with no great damage to its utility.

  104. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:18 PM | Permalink

    FYI:

    http://www.sierraclub.org/compass/2006/03/science-and-public.asp

  105. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    #54 — “but Brignell [h]as his own statistical theory.”

    So does Michael Mann, Tim, but that doesn’t seem to bother you.

  106. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Oops. It seems that the spam filter told me it was holding up my post with “ass” in it so I tried it without it and the net result is I now have two messages (and possibly a third on the way.) Please delete the extras, John A or Steve.

  107. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:32 PM | Permalink

    Wow, it must be a bummer to have been mixed up in this:

    http://www.malibutimes.com/articles/2004/04/28/news/news2.txt

  108. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    104:

    Thank you, I think, Dave.

    I spoke with my editor and she agrees that my Hypotheses are binary constructs. You either falsify them or you don’t is fine.

    That is: the hypothesis fails or passes the null test. This, of course, is for simple hypotheses.

    I used to commonly do stuff like (simplified): “A 5m wide band of a’ly distributed planted spp. vegetation along b drainage ditch will reduce turbidity at the outflow point by c% over y time”. You monitor your turbidity and then run the numbers. Your null test runs from the binary [will reduce c%/will not reduce c%] construct. Your proposal is based on the hypothesis.

    (BTW, joshua and I go at it pretty hard & he’ll give it back to me eventually)

    Best,

    D

  109. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    #103, Dano

    Have you ever heard of a UK comedian called Dick Emery? He had a catchphrase that went “Oh! you are awful but I like you”. Now what’s wrong with a group hug every now and then? Don’t they have group hugs on RC? Don’t footballers (soccer players to North Americans), hockey players etc have a group hug after they’ve scored a goal? Isn’t it a sign of impending victory?

    KevinUK

  110. John A
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:42 PM | Permalink

    John A,

    Is it just me or have you also noticed that the number of “warmers’ posting on this blog appears to have increased somewhat in recent times? Is this a sign that this blog is having an effect? Is it a sign that the “contrarians’ are winning the debate, so the warmers feel that they must now come on to this blog to counter our arguments? Perhaps not but why the recent increase in the number warmers posting?

    I’m not sure what it means. I take it to mean that certain environmental organizations (although they’re really multi-million dollar corporations) are so worried that Steve McIntyre is getting so much traction in climate science that they have one or more PR flacks sitting permanently on the blog trying to refute everything (and failing).

    With all of the multiproxy studies under the McIntyre microscope and looking pretty shakey, I guess that there is concern back in Public Panic Inc that the tide may be turning against them for backing the Hockey Stick and promoting the idea of “Tipping Points” in the climate as evidence of some dread catastrophe that only they can see. There’s palpable disappointment in the CEO’s office that the hurricane season has been a lot less active that last year at the same time.

    There’s less fear about producing a scientific study that reaffirms the MWP and LIA as global phenomena of climate, but I think from my perspective of history that panics like this take time to shake out as the climate change oscillates toward the other pole (ie cooling). A lot of young idealistic people now learning climate science as a proxy for what David Henderson referred to as “global salvationism” are going to turn into curmudgeons by their late thirties as they realise that eco-Armageddon is not around the corner as they supposed (I call this the “Reid Bryson effect”). Some of them will get very reactionary as well (“Lowell Ponte” syndrome).

    In climate science, alarmists are wondering what else to panic the public with having deployed the three of the Four Horseman of the Apocalypse (the last one being War) and have little to show for it.

  111. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Who wrote: “The error-prone amateurs McIntyre and
    McKitrick were debunked long ago. See the “hockey stick” posts on
    http://www.realclimate.org for details. For those who haven’t been following this,
    right-wing think tanks have continued to promote M&M in the right-wing
    finanical press (e.g., the Financial Post and Wall Street Journal) far
    beyond their “sell by” date. Recently, after it became clear that his
    efforts were not going to result in Mann being abandoned by other climate
    scientists, and indeed when Mann and his co-authors were successfully
    defended by the entire scientific establishment against a Wall Street
    Journal-inspired attack by Rep. Joe Barton (R-Exxon), McIntyre has gone on
    the attack against the entire field of paleoclimatology. The basis for this
    is McIntyre’s belief that the scientific standards used by
    paleoclimatologists are not of adequate quality from the point of view of a
    geologist working in the fossil fuel industry. Imagine that. “

  112. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    and on top of #109 Dano,

    I’m sure we are all glad that you could ‘Come by Here’.

    KevinUK

  113. jae
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Spam Karma also nailed me. No cusswords, but I did mention Dano.

  114. Lee
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:15 PM | Permalink

    JohnA, jae, et al… y’all recognize this quote?
    —-
    May I suggest some ground rules for posts:

    1. Refrain from personal abuse and swearing,
    2. Never attribute ulterior motives to another participant
    3. Be patient with people who know less science or maths than you do yourself.

    People who consistently break rule 1 and 2 should be issued with a yellow card by the moderator. If they continue they get a red card and are banned from the site.

  115. John A
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    Lee

    You keep repeating these rules (that you have paid lip service to, in any case) as if they meant something to me. If I have fallen foul of these rules in a comment then try to be specific rather than simply spamming the comments repeating them.

  116. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    re: 108

    That is: the hypothesis fails or passes the null test.

    Just exactly what do you mean concerning the “null test”? Do you mean testing the “null hypothesis?” (see link below) If so which brand of Null Hypothesis are you referring to? In any case, I think that most of the time the null hypothesis can’t be either rejected or accepted, so where does that leave you?

    Null Hypothesis

    This reference indicates that there are several meanings to the term and I don’t know exactly what you’re trying to get at.

  117. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:22 PM | Permalink

    115:

    If I have fallen foul of these rules in a comment then try to be specific rather than simply spamming the comments repeating them.

    Short-term memory is the first to go: in between bouts of heavy mouthbreathing on Doltoid? ’bout 90 minutes ago upthread.

    ———

    Nonetheless, I see Lee’s point in 114 and I’ll note the line I walk on more carefully from now on.

    Best,

    D

  118. Lee
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    JohnA, it really isn’t that mysterious:

    2. Never attribute ulterior motives to another participant

    “I take it to mean that certain environmental organizations (although they’re really multi-million dollar corporations) are so worried that Steve McIntyre is getting so much traction in climate science that they have one or more PR flacks sitting permanently on the blog trying to refute everything (and failing).”

  119. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    116:

    Just exactly what do you mean concerning the “null test”? Do you mean testing the “null hypothesis?”

    Apologies, Dave – I shorthanded it & caused confusion. As you can see in the very first sentence of the abstract in the link you provided, the full term is ‘null hypothesis significance test’.

    I think that most of the time the null hypothesis can’t be either rejected or accepted, so where does that leave you?

    Well, no, if you aren’t going with an alternative hypothesis. Usu. you say ‘to the .05 significance level’, or whatever phrase that discipline uses (medicine commonly explicitly rejects results at certain levels in their abstracts). You can use the null to support an alternative hypothesis, if you want. But what you are doing is making a statement that you believe to be true, then set out to test that statement.

    When I used the ag. example, that was std method at that time to justify project. That is: ‘I can clean sediment by x% by a ym-wide strip of veg’. Now, what I personally think is more useful is rather than setting up justification for a project by accepting one number, I’d rather have some sort of magnitude or efficiency number range — e.g. ‘I can clean sediment 20-50% better than nothing with a ym-wide strip’, but managing from a desk requires hard numbers, thus measurement and reporting to the null (rejecting or accepting success as matching my number above). Such is the problem with the system.

    HTH,

    D

  120. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    Children, children, behave yourselves.

  121. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    #110, John A

    “I’m not sure what it means. I take it to mean that certain environmental organizations (although they’re really multi-million dollar corporations) are so worried that Steve McIntyre is getting so much traction in climate science that they have one or more PR flacks sitting permanently on the blog trying to refute everything (and failing).

    So who are the “PR flacks” (did you mean hacks?) who are posting on this web site? Are any of them posing as farmers or students, or characters from Hawaii Five-O?

    Talking of NGOs, in the UK we have Jonathan Porritt a former Director of Friends of the Earth as the the Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commision and our opposition leader and Prime Minister in waiting David Cameron (referred to as ‘Stuntman Dave’ by John Brignell on Numberwatch) has Zach Goldsmith, editor of the Ecologist magazine as his environmental advisor. Have a read here and you’ll see what we’ve got to look forward to here in the UK. What hope has the UK economy got with these eco-theologians in charge?

    KevinUK

  122. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 2:56 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I was hoping that you would see and comment on these articles.

    It is unfortunate that the Globe & Mail elected to not make their “Science” article entitled, “Nuturing doubt about climate change is big business”, available on line. The National Post article does not read well without the context of the original article to which it is responding.

    The original article (I have it here in front of me) had no science content. It was filled with heresay and inuendo. Not much else other than internal inconsistencies. I wish Terence Corcoran had addressed some of these in his article.

    For example, the author (Montgomery) presents evidence that AGW skeptics are funded by Big Oil.

    Take Fred Singer, a former professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, who supplied one of the chatrs for Dr. Ball’s slide show. A string leads from Mr. Singer’s name straight to Exxon Mobile, which has given $20,000 (U.S.) to his Science and Environmental Policy Project, according to the oil company’s 1998 and 2000 grant records.

    Other strings loop from Mr. Singer to Shell, Arco, Unocal, Sun Energy and the American Gas Association.

    This is a matter of public record. While Fred Singer’s SEPP presents a skeptical view of AGW he/they are also strong proponents of nuclear energy. It seems counter intuitive that any oil company would provide funding to proponents of nuclear energy. Regardless these are energy companies donating money to a project that is run by a scientist and lobbies on energy issues. Surprise.

    What is interesting is that they gave so little. If any other company had donated more than $20,000 (U.S.) I suspect Mr. Montgomery would have highlighted that contribution instead of Exxon’s.

    What supports one of Terence Corcoran’s theses is the fact that these donations are not current. Why has Big Oil stopped donating money to SEPP?

    Contrast this to the very next paragraph in Mr. Montomery’s article:

    Mr. Grandia’s boss, James Hogan, chuckles when he sees the wall of paper and string. Mr. Hoggan, whose clients include Alcan, CP Rail, Norske Canada and the david Suzuki Foundation, has assigned two of his 19 staffers to this bit of intra-industry tail-chasing. (It is supported by a donation of $300,000 from a former Internet entrepreneur John Lefebvre, now an environmentalist and philanthropist.)

    I find the contrast remarkable. $20,000 (U.S) or a little more than $22,000 Cdn. from an evil Oil Company with trillions of dollars to muscle public opinion versus $300,000 from a nice environmentalist with possible millions of dollars to…

    To what?

    What does a former Internet entrepeneur know about AGW that I don’t? Who is he giving the money to? According to the article he is giving the money to a public relations firm.

    If I had to guess who had more of a clue abought the AGW theory, SEPP or a public relations firm, I would have to go with SEPP.

    The original article contains several other questionable arguments. I suspect the G&M is not putting the article on line because it is just too embarassed to do so.

    Jeff

  123. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    Re #122: Funny you should mention the original article, Jeff. It does seem like other people would want to be able to read it, too. In fact, I linked a (legal) free version in what was #41 and someone, I’m guessing the lovely John A., deleted it. Imagine that. But as we know there is *never* any censorship on this blog.

  124. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 3:29 PM | Permalink

    122:

    I wonder how it is that the usual suspects in such devastating exposes as Jeff’s have such a prodigious learnin’ and expertises that span multiple disciplines? All reg’lur Galileos, surely (journal title Steve S – journal title. Take it and run with it. Take Jeff’s blockbuster too even tho it’s not science).

    Now, when I look for testable hypotheses by the usual suspects, now there’s me some readin’.

    Best,

    D

  125. joshua corning
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    Dave Dardinger

    You are magical…how you actaully got Dano to explain his argument is beyond me…now try to get him to explain what this means so we can deify you:

    It’s enjoyable for me to watch, on this site, how premises are constructed, then how conclusions follow from them, and finally how contagion and dispersal occur. Fascinating, too, the frameworks used and the meanings that arise from them.

    Others see this as well, but perhaps they don’t obtain the same enjoyment and fascination from the show that I do.

  126. John Cross
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    RE 122: Thank you Jeff for getting things back on track. I believe that the central issue here is the credibility of Dr. Tim Ball. I had posted some concerns of mine earlier but they seem to have been ignored – strange for a site that seems to take pride in discussing the science.

    I am hoping that you can pick up the thread.

    Regards,
    John

  127. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    125:

    Shorter italicized:

    Telephone game thru a psych and soc filter that concerns some and amuses others.

    Best,

    D

  128. bruce
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #122: Hey Steve B. Nice to see you, Dano, (and to a lesser degree Peter H, Tim L, and Lee) contributing to this site.

    I remain seriously interested in your answer to my question (directed to you since you clearly know a lot about TAR and IPCC processes) relating to the Summary for Policymakers of TAR. That is, can you please explain how it is, and why it is that the Summary for Policymakers presents a very different picture than the supporting body of the report. It looks like the original Summary was edited in such a way as to reduce (eliminate) the nuances and uncertainty evident in the body of the report relating to whether AGW is happening or not, and to present a politicised viewpoint that could grab headlines.

    Seems to me that this is an egregious example of no-doubt well-intended people taking the position that it is OK to tell lies since if it is to the benefit of the greater good, as indeed Al Gore and Stephen Schneider have clearly expressed is OK.

  129. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:05 PM | Permalink

    OK, I’ll try posting the link to the Globe and Mail article again.

  130. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    BTW here are some things that Andrew Weaver did say about MM03:

    “If that paper had been submitted to a science journal, it would have been rejected.” …

    Weaver believes that giving equal space to both sides in a dispute can be dangerous, particularly when applied to scientific matters. “They let these random diatribes of absolute, incorrect nonsense get published,” he says. “They’re not able to determine if what’s being said is correct or not, or whether it’s just absolute balderdash.”

  131. Steve Bloom
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:12 PM | Permalink

    Re #128: So bruce, you mean to say that the SPM contained *less information* than the WG reports!? No kidding…

    Actually you might try checking the definition of the word “summary.” If what you really mean is that you disagree with the authors about the content of the WG reports, well, stop beating around the bush and say so. :)

  132. Lee
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    well, I don’t know if it was the length, or my link to De***id, but my response to 126 re Tim Ball’s credibility seems have gotten swallowed.

  133. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Steve Bloom,

    That’s excellent. Thank you.

  134. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:05 PM | Permalink

    #102 — “That is: where is the falsifiable hypothesis that says, oh, that a ~35% rise in CO2 ppmv won’t raise temps; or, better: a ~35% rise in CO2 ppmv will not raise temps x0 C.

    So, Dano, you’re admitting that no one knows. Finally.

  135. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    I deleted a few posts just now that were flames. There’s been a lot of flaming today and it’s tiresome.

  136. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:24 PM | Permalink

    137:

    So, Dano, you’re admitting that no one knows. Finally

    Correct. No contrascientist knows how to construct a falsifiable hypothesis as my italicized.

    Thank your for helping me clarify my point, Pat.

    Best,

    D

  137. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    re: 128 Joshua,

    Well, I did point out that you were wrong about hypotheses needing to be proven rather than disproven. It’s hard for the opposition to get too sarcastic when you’re taking their position however tenatively.

    Second, I provided a link to a paper which actually discussed what I wanted info about.

    Third I wasn’t snarky.

    Now I’m perfectly capable of posting messages of the opposite sort, but when a contrary poster shows signs of wanting a civil discussion, I’m more than happy to have one. Anyway I still need to reply to him but don’t think I’ll have time yet tonight. So apologies all around and I’m off to ToastMasters.

  138. Jeff Norman
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 5:57 PM | Permalink

    I’m probably going to get bounced by the spam killer but here goes…

    Most Canadians recognize, of course, that fossil-fuel businesses could lose large sums if the federal government moves to curtail greenhouse-gas emissions.

    This is a rather naive assertion by Mr. Montgomery. Canadians are more cynical than that. Fossil-fuel business would not lose large sums of money. Neither would the government. We suspect we know who would be losing money though.

    A major lobbyist for Kyoto and/or the curtailling of greenhouse gases is the Ontario Clean Air Alliance which is supported by the natural gas industry.

    In February, the UN and the World Meteorological Society’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which brings together more than 2,000 scientists to review tens of thousands of peer-reviewed papers on climate science, will release its fourth report. The authors say it will contain a warning that human-caused global warming could drive the Earth’s temperature to levels far higher than previously predicted.

    This is slightly different from the print version. Why bother with AR4 if the models are scenarioizing even higher temperatures in the future? Or will they be predicting and/or forecasting this time. Is this a forecast of a forecast?

    Here is one of my favorites:

    Andrew Weaver is the Canada Research Chair in Climate Modelling and Analysis at the University of Victoria, and a lead author of a chapter in the upcoming IPCC report. He gives a frustrated sigh at the mention of Tim Ball’s cross-country tour.

    “He says stuff that is just plain wrong. But when you are talking to crowds, when you are talking on TV, there is no challenge, there is no peer review,” Prof. Weaver says.

    Like other senior scientists, he charges that Prof. Ball’s arguments are a grab bag of irrelevancies and falsehoods: “Ball says that our climate models do not [account for the warming effects of] water vapour. That’s absurd. They all do.”

    “There is no challenge, no peer review,” almost like being quoted in the newspaper.

    While I do not believe I need to defend Tim Ball, I believe that part of the skeptical screed is that “… our climate models do not adequately acount for the effects of water vapour because the effects are not known”. What’s an adjective between quotes? To a photo journalist a picture is probably worth a thousand adjectives.

  139. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 6:31 PM | Permalink

    #102 Dano, you know that the real question is not whether CO2 has an effect or not, but how much warming can be expected from, say, CO2 doubling. Actually, the questions are:

    (1) How much warming occured during the last 150 years (post-industrial period)
    (2) How much of that warming (if any) can be attributed to anthropogenic GHG emissions
    (3) How much more warming can we expect if there are more emissions in the future, e.g. doubling of CO2

    (1) is still contentious, as old data may or may not be reliable, and effects like UHI may not have been properly and completely accounted for. No big deal because in any case there wouldn’t be more than about 0,1C difference, but still, since you calibrate models with observational data, in the end it does make a difference
    (2) IPCC says “most of the observed warming”. How much is “most”? 51% 75% 100% Apparently there is not enough consensus to state a number. Furthermore, IPCC says it’s “likely”, so there is still, according to them, 30% chance that the “most” of the warming is due to “other causes”. Those other causes could be anthropogenic but not GHG, for example land use change. But they also said it is “very likely” that the 90’s were the warmest decade for 100 years, and we now know that was bogus. Furthermore, solar effects have since been shown to be possibly much stronger than previously thought.
    (3) All depends on models that are calibrated with (1). Models so far have failed to show observed decadal variations in the radiation budget, failed to predict recent stored heat drop in the oceans, and failed to explain the snow falls in Antarctica.

    In the end, there are very good reasons, based on IPCC and recent peer reviewed papers, to not believe that “most” of the warming is from GHG alone. My own conclusion was that what could look like a strong case is actually a rather weak case. In other circumstances, there would still be much healthy debate about the exact role of GHG’s. But somehow activists, including scientists, think that the public and the policy makers should be presented with a “strong” case. But that’s because they like a particular conclusion, that fits with their world view. I don’t mind about activists. But when scientists become activists and distort their own work to fit with their agenda, it’s a problem for everybody.

    Since I’m reading Oreskes “Continental drift” book, let me quote this from geologist T. Chamberlain in 1897, which Oreskes quotes (p.139):

    “Once any theory is held in a preferred position, (Chamberlain argued), there is the imminent danger of an unconscious selection and a magnifying of phenomena that fall into harmony with the theory and support it, and an unconscious neglect of phenomena that fail of coincidence. The mind lingers with pleasure upon the facts that fall happily into the embrace of the theory, and feels a natural coldness toward those that assume a refractory attitude. Instinctively, there is a special searching out of phenomena that support it… the mind rapidly degenerates into the partiality of paternalism. The search for facts, the observation of phenomena and their interpretation, are all dominated by affection for the favored theory until it appears to its author or its advocate to have been overwhelmingly established… a premature explanation passes first into a tentative theory, then into an adopted theory, and lastly into a ruling theory.”

  140. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 6:34 PM | Permalink

    #141, I will just wish all the truth be told. There’s still much wrong with the GW theory to be focused on one man’s words don’t you think? I am not disagreeing with you, just don’t understand the hammering, when this man’s words, not peer reviewed published papers used for policy making, mean nothing really to what I want to know about this issue for my family. You insult us if this article disproves everything we’ve come to know and see, and Tim Ball has written some really good personal observations about is own experience dealing with things here on this blog. So I am going to really look at this.

    I can discern what is wrong or right about it, even if I don’t discuss it with anyone specific here. I don’t want to hammer people just hammer at the science and data. That what the topic is about, the hammering. And you are a proving it. He is making mistakes in speeches right? I have to go read this when I have time. That’s why I haven’t said anything about Tim Ball. I can’t get passed the Mann thing, so sue me. Because that is peer reviewed, and used by the UN and just about everyone on the planet as the bible.

    There are going to be many other issues others will speak out about at some point. Just wait. Get out your hammers I guess, sheesh.

    Dano, I am writing a paper as well. “Athropology of the Internet” It’s all about behavior too and how some types like to evade spaces, and countries, and take over them like in “real life”. They do this by claiming there is “SSADBB” stockpiled and traded, which is real bad for the world and our security.

    “SSADBB” means: Skeptical Science Discussions And Blog Banter. Ooooh bad and scary.

    Cheers!

  141. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    #143 LOL typo: “evade spaces, and countries” should be “invade spaces and websites” like in real life. Sheesh, I have a headache trying to be as witty as Dano. ;)

  142. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    #141 Jeff, I’m not going to defend Tim Ball either. He’s an advocate, and as such uses all the rhetorical tricks he can. I understand Weaver’s exasperation. Actually, it’s a shouting match between activists from both sides, and at some point it has nothing to do with the actual science. I said I don’t mind activists, as long as they’re open about it. Dr. Ball cannot pretend to be objective, and should not claim to be objective “because he’s a climatologist”. But the same applies to Stephen Schenider and Jim Hansen. It’s worse for Hansen because he is also an active scientist, so you know his scientific work is tainted by his agenda. Same for Mann and the hockey team. They’re the worst. I don’t want to ad-hom, but I suspect Mann does it for the glory and prestige, not even for a noble cause.

  143. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:09 PM | Permalink

    142:

    That’s a well-constructed comment, FO.

    In the end, there are very good reasons, based on IPCC and recent peer reviewed papers, to not believe that “most” of the warming is from GHG alone.

    Well, I’ve seen here recently that some folk disparage using the term ‘believe’, so you should be careful. ;o) Nonetheless,

    I, personally – having an ecological education – think there are multiple factors** driving global change in addition to GHGs.

    Regardless of what decisions are made in the future by politicians, there are challenges ahead. Which sector phases out oil first will be key to soft landing: agriculture, materials, or transportation; implicit in this phrase is our future research agenda wrt alternatives. I hope we get going soon and find some more leadership somewhere.

    Best,

    D

    **seem to have some wierd char limit on HTML. Full text here:

  144. bruce
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    re #134:

    Steve B, thanks for responding on this issue.

    However, my point is not that I agree or disagree with the IPCC conclusions. And of course I understand what a Summary is. What I am referring to is the marked up draft of the Summary for Policymakers of TAR that shows that the original draft was heavily altered to remove nuances and uncertainties that were in the original draft. Presumably the original draft was an accurate summary of the body of TAR.

    The marked up version (presumably genuine – advise if not) was presented here on CA, but I have been unable to locate it. I would appreciate it if somebody could help locate it so that Steve B and I can continue our discussion.

  145. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

    #146 Dano, there are some very good reasons to find alternatives to oil other than a presumed catastrophic warming. With increasing demand and decreasing supply, oil is only going to get more and more expensive. OTHH, alternatives will get cheaper and cheaper, as the technology improves. Tomorrow’s winners will (a) be more energy efficient, and (b) use cheaper sources of energy. But you know what, clever business people realize that already. And I bet the Chinese know it too. But Kyoto is both flawed and doomed, and as much as I disagree with George Bush’s policies, I can only agree with him (or whoever advises him on that matter) that you need to get China and India on board if you want to achieve anything significant, and in any case to address any global environmental challenge. I wish environmental groups would stop making stupid doomsday scenarios and provide positive, realistic approaches to problems. The report you point to is yet another example of alarmist predictions, with words like “unprecedented, massive, irreversible environmental impacts”. Ehrlich said the same thing 35 years ago, and he was so abysmally wrong it’s a wonder he still has an ounce of credibility among any people.

    There are so many other problems faced by 80% of the earth’s population… My sister works as a doctor in Mali for one month every year. She visited that village in the Dogon country, where the women have to climb up the mountain every day to get fresh water, because they can’t afford to buy a pump that would only cost a few $100. Most people there can’t do any hard work for long because of anemia, and/or malaria. And here we are arguing about warming of half a degree…

  146. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    131:

    Thank you bruce. I missed that this was addressed to me.

    can you please explain how it is, and why it is that the Summary for Policymakers presents a very different picture than the supporting body of the report.

    Yes. It is a summary.

    It looks like the original Summary was edited in such a way as to reduce (eliminate) the nuances and uncertainty evident in the body of the report relating to whether AGW is happening or not

    Well, editing was necessary to make it a summary. The full text exists.

    and to present a politicised viewpoint that could grab headlines.

    Ooo-K…

    Seems to me that this is an egregious example of no-doubt well-intended people taking the position that it is OK to tell lies since if it is to the benefit of the greater good,

    Whoa, whoa there! Whoa Nellie!

    as indeed Al Gore and Stephen Schneider have clearly expressed is OK. [linky added]

    Ho-ly cow!

    Alrighty, gotta go now.

    Best,

    D

  147. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    148:

    The report you point to is yet another example of alarmist predictions, with words like “unprecedented, massive, irreversible environmental impacts”. [linky added]

    Let me know when you do the figgers and write your rebuttal to Science, esp wrt the ecosystem consequences you didn’t name. Some of my work’s similar but in urban ecosystems, but I can scale it up to help you if you like.

    Ehrlich said the same thing 35 years ago, and he was so abysmally wrong it’s a wonder he still has an ounce of credibility among any people.

    Well, I’ve enjoyed the man’s company more than once, respect his intellect and presence immensely, and I believe wrt time scale, the error would be roughly similar to, say, Greenspan’s errors. Which involve policy and real money, while Ehrlich’s did not.

    Best,

    D

  148. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    RE: #150 – So that would mean that you still believe in “The Population Bomb?”

    It will be interesting to see how soon (and I do mean soon) the global population peaks. There are going to be some interesting new types of problems after it does. I’m not saying that it is all bad. But, I think that those who have been dreaming of negative population growth tend to think only about the positive aspects of it. Not all aspects of it are positive. Those worst off will be the very old and poor (due to shrinking ability of an overall shrinking population to support them) and the newly graduated (hammered immediately by a painful tax / social safety net burden). Also, I suspect that most economists have not given any great general thought to how our economy will actually function when the baby bust has spread to the ends of the earth (and it will).

  149. Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    #150 Dano, do you acknowledge that Ehrlich was wrong in his predictions, or not? I’m sure he’s charming and intelligent, but he was still wrong, as far as I know. And that Science paper is of the same kind. What’s the point? You want to tell those starving people in Africa how to “manage their agriculture”. You know what they’ll say: “Go F*& yourself, you big rich american bastard”. I apologize if I sound rude, but I think this is all just wishful thinking.

  150. Dano
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    152:

    And that Science paper is of the same kind.

    The ag change paper was a book? I thought it was a falsifiable, peer-reviewed paper. Huh. Lemme read the two again.

    Anyway, if you have data that say otherwise, perhaps you can write it up and send it in to Science or better yet, include it in your premiere issue of Galileo.

    Dano, do you acknowledge that Ehrlich was wrong in his predictions

    I did above.

    You want to tell those starving people in Africa how to “manage their agriculture”.

    Tell. Surely you can imagine better methods. Why do you choose this one to sound defeatist or lacking solutions? Oh, wait…what’s that marginalization term possessive individualists use…statist? No…hmmm…oh, yes: command and control. Whatever.

    151:

    So that would mean that you still believe in “The Population Bomb?”

    If you mean ‘do I think populations have finite resource limits’, of course. So does everyone who receives an ecological education. Do I believe that predictions should be made in systems with multiple emergent phenomena? No.

    Best,

    D

  151. John Cross
    Posted Aug 24, 2006 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Jeff:

    While I do not believe I need to defend Tim Ball, I believe that part of the skeptical screed is that “… our climate models do not adequately acount for the effects of water vapour because the effects are not known”. What’s an adjective between quotes? To a photo journalist a picture is probably worth a thousand adjectives.

    In that case don’t you think he would have clarified the comment instead of denying it? However putting that aside, can you come up with any explanation what-so-ever for his comments about satellites showing cooling?

    Francois:

    OK, I can see your point of view. I suppose part of it (from my point of view) is that he is Canadian and his arguments are so transparent.

    Regards,
    John

  152. Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 7:24 AM | Permalink

    #153 Dano, I am actually surprised that the “Tilman” paper passed peer review. It is full of unproven assumptions, oversimplifications, and hasty conclusions. It paints a gloomy picture without any nuance. If the standards of peer review for the ecological science community let this pass as a serious scientific study, it’s even worse than climate science. You know, I nearly switched to ecological studies after my masters in physics. I was interested in the mathematical modeling of ecological systems. But a paper like that makes me glad I didn’t! Seriously, if you can’t find any problem with that paper (are you a co-author?), it’s time for a sabbatical. I hate to be provocative like this. Contrary to peer review, you post here as an anonymous person. I chose not to hide myself behind a nickname. If you want a detailed criticism of Tilman et al., send me all the cited papers, and give me a few weeks. I won’t refute it: it’s unfalsifiable, and as such is poor science. But many of the points raised would probably deserve detailed criticism.

  153. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 8:04 AM | Permalink

    Re#148, Good post. We are much in agreement.

    BTW, US is in a GHG agreement with China, India, and others involved. May not have a lot of “teeth” (I haven’t read it yet), but intends to be practical:

    The Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate, also known as AP6, is an international non-treaty agreement among Australia, India, Japan, the People’s Republic of China, South Korea, and the United States…

    …Member countries account for around 50% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, energy consumption, GDP and population…

    …Canada, Mexico, Russia, and several ASEAN members have expressed interest in joining the partnership in the future…

  154. Dano
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 10:10 AM | Permalink

    155:

    Dano, I am actually surprised that the “Tilman” paper passed peer review. It is full of unproven assumptions, oversimplifications, and hasty conclusions. It paints a gloomy picture without any nuance.

    Nuance! Well, you must be a writer! Excellent – I’m sure you are preparing your corrections to this egregious display of…of…um, oh whatever it is that you don’t specify or provide any evidence of.

    Let us know if Science accepts it.

    If not, Sadlov is (or should be – what an opportunity!) rolling up all the blockbuster discoveries in this blog’s comment thread into a journal (for which I generously contributed the name of Galileo) that will displace all that old, boring, nonnuanced sciency stuff with the new, nuanced science being made right here. You can be among the first contributors with your correcting of all the hooey in the Tilman paper.

    I look forward to reading your…nongloomy, nuanced paper.

    Best,

    D

  155. Dan Hughes
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    #149. bruce said, “can you please explain how it is, and why it is that the Summary for Policymakers presents a very different picture than the supporting body of the report.”

    And Dano said, “Yes. It is a summary.”

    hmmm … it seems that Dano should start a New Science journal of his own. One in which the Abstract is not required to have any relationship to the contents of a peer-reviewed paper. Better yet, why bother getting the full papers peer-reviewed and going to all that trouble to publish them and instead simply publish Abstracts the contents of which do not have to have any relationship to any known facts. Oh, now we need a name; how about Mythos.

    ps
    I know I should not feed the trolls, but this was such low-hanging fruit that I just could not stop myself. I am attempting to free my life of trolls.

  156. Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 11:24 AM | Permalink

    #157 Dano, You think because it was published in Science that it’s scientifically solid? That is, again, appeal to authority. Furthemore, you know full well that Science would not publish a comment on it. First, it’s five years old. Why would one want to comment on a five year old paper? Second, any comment would be reviewed by the same reviewers who let it pass in the first place, and they would definitely not accept a criticism from an “outsider” (see what happened to Steve’s comment to Nature). Finally, as I said, that paper cannot be refuted. It’s basically a pointless paper. It says: population is growing. We, as humans, use resources in ways that could be harmful to the environment. So if there are more people, things will only get worse. It’s such a simplistic line of reasoning! Holy cow! I wish I could have gotten away with stuff like that. Maybe I should have switched to ecology after all!

    But I’m willing to write a detailed criticism, just for you, if just for the fun of it. Just give me a few days. Will I, then, be treated like Bjorn Lomborg? Dragged in the mud, accused of fraud and dishonesty?

    p.s. Nuance is a French word. Look it up in a dictionnary if you want to know the meaning.

  157. Anonymous
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    159:

    You think because it was published in Science that it’s scientifically solid? That is, again, appeal to authority.

    No, I’m saying you’ve provided nothing (other than vague assertions) to back your assertion that it is not solid.

    You’ll note I’ve stated nothing about its robustness – I’ve merely asked commenters to be specific wrt their assertions, to no avail up to now, sadly.

    It says: population is growing. We, as humans, use resources in ways that could be harmful to the environment. So if there are more people, things will only get worse. It’s such a simplistic line of reasoning!

    Therefore my importuning you to refute this gobbledegook – that forecasting future trends by looking at past trends madness. Madness, I say!

    Will I, then, be treated like Bjorn Lomborg? Dragged in the mud, accused of fraud and dishonesty?

    Depends upon whether you ignore key studies and reach conclusions based on poor premises. But I look forward to your critique, as this sort of thing is my chosen area (and I’m still in debt repaying my education for it). My stuff is coming back today and you’ll see a drastic dropoff in my participation here, but I’ll look for your reply on this thread & respond to it.

    Best,

    D

  158. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

    #154 Dano

    “Do I believe that predictions should be made in systems with multiple emergent phenomena? No.”

    So therefore you don’t believe the predictions of the GCMs then? The world’s climate is a system right? It is determined by multiple phenomena some of which may only just be emerging now? Watch out Zach Goldsmith might be reading this blog.

    Does your alias have any connection with Hawaii Five-O by the way?

    KevinUK

  159. Dan Hughes
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    KevinUK, excellent point. I should have responded to that statement, but was overcome by my troll problem.

    The Earth’s climate is composed of several important subsystems in which inherently complex phenomena and processes are occuring over enormous temporal and spatial scales. None of the subsystems are likely to have ever been at steady/stationary states. The interactions between subsystems have likewise probably never been at steady/stationary states. Driving potentials for mass, momentum, energy, and chemical transport and exchanges will always be present within subsystems and between subsystems. The vastly different time constants for the different subsystems and phenomena and processes almost ensures that the complete system has never been and most likely never will be at steady/stationary states. Periodic and aperiodic temporal responses are very likely the norm.

    Many of the important phenomena and processes are not completely understood. Accurate mathematical models for many are beyond reach. Some are completely understood and maths models are available, but computational resources required for accurate and discrete-approximation-error free resolution are beyond reach. Present day calculations do not attempt to attain sufficient spatial detail to resolve important phenomena and processes, for example. The specifications of initial conditions is for all practical purposes impossible.

    The subsystems, being open systems in which unsteady driving potentials and motions are present, also present major problems relative to measurements of data. Simple closed-system approaches to reduction and understanding of the temporal changes in measured quantities (primarily temperature) are not correct.

    Under these conditions, predictions of the temporal evolution of even solution meta-functionals (such as Global Average Temperature) are not predictions in the usual sense. They are at most some kind of ‘what-if’ study, and even then only rough estimates can be determined from the calculations. For example, if the CO2 concentration was instantaneously changed to twice what it is now, what will the GAT be in 100 years (I guess that was a if-what).

    Predictions, as used in a technical sense, I predict, will most likely be impossible.

  160. Anonymous
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    161:

    So therefore you don’t believe the predictions of the GCMs then?

    Models differ in skill, so I don’t lump.

    ======

    162:

    Predictions, as used in a technical sense, I predict, will most likely be impossible.

    Hence the IPCC using projections.

    Best,

    D

  161. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    #161, dano

    Your reply to my question that based on your stated believe you don’t believe in climate model predictions is to post a link to Hansen’s SI2000 model? Is this a wind up or may be you havn’te read any of my posts on GCMs in particular the ones I have to pay for as a UK taxpayer? I’m sorry dano but you can’t logically say that you don’t believe in the predictions of population growth models by Malthusian Ehrlich and then turn round and then say you believe in the predictions of climate models. And please don’t resort to semantics by replacing the word prediction with projection – the semantics have already be argued on a different thread on this forum.

    KevinUK

  162. Anonymous
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    164:

    Sigh…

    Please reread my comments. You, for some reason, lumped in all GCMs together as if they were the same, and I clarified by offering an example of one’s output [here is a place where you can check out their differences]. And if you don’t like the output of the HADxxx models, I don’t know what to say; have you tried lending them your expertise on seeing the future to straighten out their purported deficiencies? Nor did I say I believe[d] in the predictions of population growth models by…Ehrlich, as I stated earlier; I stated I think populations have finite resource limits. If you disagree, either perhaps you are wishing too hard or you have some new information to overturn the discipline of population biology, in which case I’m very interested in reading your paper.

    Best,

    D

  163. Dan Hughes
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    #164, KevinUK

    If you Google (giss predictions etc) and/or search around the giss Web site, you’ll find that GISS/NASA use projections and predictions interchangeably. Here is one specific example: http://aom.giss.nasa.gov/

    which will have this phrase, “Climate Model Simulations: Past Climate Change and Future Climate Predictions” in very predominant display. There are many, many examples all over giss.nasa.gov.

    I don’t understand how RC and others have gotten into this situation, other than IPCC is not giss, but then if IPCC uses ‘projections’ what does giss do about the titles of their articles in the reference list of IPCC reports. I can only conclude that for giss, projections=predictions.

    However, I think (1) ‘what-if’ does not equal projections, and (2) projections does not equal predictions. ‘what-if’ are sensitivity studies, and in the case of climte change they are WAGs.

  164. jae
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 2:46 PM | Permalink

    the discipline of population biology, in which case I’m very interested in reading your paper.

    Dano, you keep whining about producing papers. Where are yours?

  165. Dave B
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of such matters as “producing papers”, or “coming up with your own reconstruction”…

    many people (not readers of this site), consider it “plausible” that crop circles are caused by aliens. such an extraordinary claim SHOULD require extraordinary evidence. nonetheless, TV shows and “news” stories carry on about it, and an embarrasingly high number believe it.

    is it REALLY necessary that one MUST provide an alternative scenario in order to effectively falsify this? or does the burden of proof lie with those making claims? and shouldn’t those making claims use GREAT care in order to avoid appearing as though they are hiding information, such as source code, calculated but ignored R2 scores, use of inappropriate proxies, etc.?

    of course, this is a purely philosophical point. if it’s considered flaming, so be it.

  166. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 4:03 PM | Permalink

    I am flattered by all the attention but why are some people so exercised? I am simply asking basic questions like,
    “Has Mann released the codes yet?” or “Has Jones released his methodology?” or “Who reviewed MBH98?”

  167. jae
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 5:01 PM | Permalink

    166:

    which will have this phrase, “Climate Model Simulations: Past Climate Change and Future Climate Predictions” in very predominant display. There are many, many examples all over giss.nasa.gov.

    Maybe it’s just a quirk in my mind, but something bothers me about the use of the words “simulations” and “predictions” together. Can you have a “simulated prediction?” Especially when you can’t really simulate past climate well.

  168. Anonymous
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 5:20 PM | Permalink

    169:

    I am flattered by all the attention but why are some people so exercised? I am simply asking basic questions like, “Has Mann released the codes yet?” or “Has Jones released his methodology?” or “Who reviewed MBH98?”

    Apparently you simply “forgot” some stuff, Tim:

    Ball says that our climate models do not [account for the warming effects of] water vapour. That’s absurd. They all do.”

    Likewise, he says, Prof. Ball’s claims that climate change could be explained by variations in the earth’s orbit or by sunspots are discounted by widely available data.

    “What Ball is doing is not about science,” says Prof. Weaver. “It is about politics.

    or

    I was the first Canadian Ph.D. in Climatology and I have an extensive background in climatology, especially the reconstruction of past climates and the impact of climate change on human history and the human condition. Few listen, even though I have a Ph.D, (Doctor of Science) from the University of London, England and that for 32 years I was a Professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg.

    or

    Schneider told Discover Magazine: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of doubts we may have” ** .

    [this, despite correction published 15 years ago]

    Maybe this kinda thing is what has everyone so exercised.

    Just a thought.

    Best,

    D

    ** doubts we may have

  169. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Dano,

    Does it ever make you wonder that the quote you’re so fond of presenting concerning Tim Ball,

    Ball says that our climate models do not [account for the warming effects of] water vapour. That’s absurd. They all do.

    has this big interpolation in it “account for the warming effects of”? Why is it necesssary to have this in the quote if it were so damning on its own? I think someone posted the actual quote the other day and IMO this bastardized version is a travesty. His actual point was that because we don’t know all the effects of water vapour (in particular the affect of increased water vapor on convection and cloud formation, we can’t know what sort of feedback water provides to a temperature rise. That’s a point I know I’d agree with and maybe you would too.

  170. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    “Likewise, he says, Prof. Ball’s claims that climate change could be explained by variations in the earth’s orbit or by sunspots are discounted by widely available data.”

    And why does this sentence sound so funky too?

  171. Lee
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 6:22 PM | Permalink

    Interesting that this link:

    http://www.orato.com/node/398/

    isn’t loading. Did it get ‘slashdotted?’

  172. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 7:02 PM | Permalink

    #170

    “Schneider told Discover Magazine: “We have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of doubts we may have” ** . ”

    Schneider didn’t retract that statement according to the piece published 15 yrs ago in the pdf link.
    See page 2

    His correction is that the news LEFT OUT the words in italics. And none of the words in italics are part of that sentence.

    In fact the sentences before that say:

    …we are not just scientists but human beings as well. [i] And like most people we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translated into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climate change [/i]That of course means getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified dramatic statements and make little mention of doubts we may have…”

    I can type out the whole thing…but I don’t see how he is retracting or correcting what he said in that sentence at all.

  173. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 7:12 PM | Permalink

    So once again they avoid the questions.

  174. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 8:03 PM | Permalink

    re: #174,

    It loaded fine for me.

  175. John Cross
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    Re 169: Nice of you to join us Dr. Ball. I am somewhat puzzled by this quote from you. By that time Spencer and Christy were saying that the satellites were showing warming and Fu had showed that the warming was faster than S&C thought so I find it hard to imagine that you were not aware of this. Any comment?

    Regards,
    John

  176. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    Speaking of which, Tim B., you may not like how climate models treat clouds or water vapor – and there’s lots not to like – but you can’t say that they simply “ignore” it.

  177. Pat Frank
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    #139 — Thanks for being disingenuous, Dano. It clarifies your approach to climate science.

  178. Tim Ball
    Posted Aug 25, 2006 at 10:24 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t say they ignore it. (Weaver keeps throwing up this canard to discredit me and draw away from the severe limitations of computer models). It’s the same trick you see used here – keep focusing on one minor point or a point taken out of context to distract from far more important issues.
    The conversation was about the greenhouse effect (not a good analogy) and the limitations of the computer models in representing the components and the mechanisms. In the context of a much wider discussion I talked about; the greenhouse effect and how water vapor was the most abundant and most important greenhouse gas yet the public were virtually unaware of it as a GHG; about diffculties in determining the actual amount of water vapor in the atmosphere and how it varied from location to location; about how it is the most variable of the GHGs globally; about the problems with considering water as a liquid (water droplets) and as a solid (ice crystals) and how little was known about the properties of these forms and their role in affecting short wave and long wave radiation; about the fact that the computer models cannot effectively model clouds and that is a serious limitation for a model that is supposed to simulate global climate. (Witness the latest flurry over ocean temperatures apparently cooled by cloud cover.) I talked about aerosols and their role as condensation nuclei and how variance in the amounts could affect condensation and cloud formation. I also talked about water vapor and clouds formed from ice crystals (noctilucent clouds) in the stratosphere.
    One point I have consistently made for the farmers is how the focus is almost exclusively on temperature and warmer temperatures in particular. However, unless temperature changes are significant and prolonged the precipitation changes were a much more important factor for the effects on flora and fauna. I have found that droughts are the single most serious climate event for plants, animals and thereby humans.
    I know the attack dogs will scan this response and try to find fault to distract from the real issue.
    The fact is Mann’s hockey stick is the only ‘evidence’ of a human signal (I don’t consider anything produced by a computer as having any relevance) and by trying to draw away from his refusal to dislcose the code they hope to survive the storm and recover credibility. They argue that the problems do not damage the evidence and the undisclosed code is not important. If that is true then why not disclose it? About the only conclusion one can draw is because disclosure will reveal something far more damaging.

  179. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 26, 2006 at 12:22 AM | Permalink

    Re 165, the claim is often made that climate models can hindcast the past, and that’s why they can be trusted to predict the future …

    DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶠprovided a very relevant link to the Coupled Model Intercomparison Project (CMIP) project. Here’s Figure 1 from the project, showing the “control run” for each computer. (Before they try to hindcast the past or forecast the future, they do a “control run”. This is described by the CMIP as a run with constant forcing, rather than a run where the CO2 is changing over time.) Here are the results from that control run:

    SOURCE: http://www-pcmdi.llnl.gov/projects/cmip/overview_ms/control_tseries.pdf

    Now, before we start talking about subtle changes in temperatures from subtle changes in atmospheric gases, you’d imagine that all of the GCMs would at least be able to give an accurate figure for the current global temperature … but noooooo …

    Instead, we find that when presented with identical forcings, the various GCMs give results for the current global temperature that vary from 11.5° to 16.5°C.

    Why does this matter? Well, we’ve been discussing the fact that the change in forcing is expected (according to DanàƒÆ’à‚⶧s reference, which agrees with my own forecast) to be on the order of 1 watt per square meter over the next fifty years. So we’re asking the computers to be accurate to this size of forcing, accurate to within 1 w/m2.

    The difference in the radiation temperatures from the highest to the lowest GCMs global control runs (from 19.5°C to 11.5°C), on the other hand, is 27 watts per square meter … clearly, some of them are very, very wrong. Heck, look at the top red line. It changes by 1°C, that’s 5.5 w/m2, when the forcings haven’t changed at all. Can this GCM tell us anything about a 1 watt/m2 change over 50 years? I don’t think so …

    What is the IPCC response to this? You’ld think that with the Fourth Annual Report coming up, that by now they would have created some standards and would only consider models that met those standards … but nooooo … that might offend somebody, I guess. So they just average them all together, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and call it an “ensemble” to make it sound scientific. Their only standard seems to be that the computer program be a) really complex, and b) have lots of people working on it. Other than that, anything goes.

    To me, that’s not science, that’s intellectual dishonesty.

    Perhaps the biggest scam in all of this is that they tune their models to reproduce the past temperature trends, and then claim that they are ready for prime time because they can reproduce the past … folks, the fact that they can reproduce the past means absolutely nothing. They have tuned their models to reproduce the past, it would be embarrassing if they couldn’t, but it doesn’t prove a thing.

    The real way to test GCMs against the past is to compare other metrics than temperature trends, to compare such things as the standard deviation, interquartile range, derivatives, skewness, kurtosis, outliers, and other statistical measures, for their hindcasts with the actual reality. When we do this, we find that although they may be able to roughly reproduce the temperature trends, they do it by predicting patterns of temperature that are widely different from reality “¢’‚¬? temperatures that wander all over the place, or temperatures that hardly change at all month to month, or temperatures that change monthly more than has ever been seen in the historical record. Yes, they reproduce the trends … but that is by no means enough.

    In fact, even if they could reproduce all of the above, that may not be enough. As the performance of computer models in related fields such as the stock market has proved over and over again, enough so that it is a required disclaimer in US brokers advertisements, “Past performance is no guarantee of future results, and there can be no assurance that any investment vehicle will perform as well as the prior performance results illustrated herein.”

    … and the same disclaimer should be required on all GCMs … but I digress …

    I am always amazed by the unbelievable credulity of people who, knowing full well that computers cannot forecast next week’s weather, nonetheless believe that they can forecast next century’s climate. Folks, they can’t even get today’s global temperature right, they’re all over the map, temperatures from 11.5°C to 16.5°C … do you really think they can forecast next century’s climate?

    w.

  180. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 26, 2006 at 12:25 AM | Permalink

    Corrigendum – I accidentally wrote “19.5°C” for “19.5C” …

    w.

  181. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 26, 2006 at 3:13 AM | Permalink

    Man, I’m tired … corrigendum 2 … I accidentally wrote 19.5°C for 16.5°C

    w.

  182. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 26, 2006 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    Great post Willis,

    But there are a few things you left out, like flux adjustments for example. What do you do when you try to link (couple) two models together i.e. a model of the atmosphere and a model of the ocean and after only a short period of simulation they diverge at their interface and the output becomes unstable? Answer you ignore the laws of physics (those Inconvenient Truths like conservation of energy and momentum) and you fiddle the energy/momentum balance at the interface through ‘flux adjustments’. Now that’s a ephemism if every I heard one. Now before anyone jumps in and says the latest GCMs don’t do this anymore then read these here and here and Google for ‘GCM flux adjustment’ for others.

    KevinUK

  183. Posted Aug 27, 2006 at 10:14 AM | Permalink

    Comments on « Forecasting Agriculturally Driven Global Environmental Change », by David Tilman et al.

    Background: In a recent discussion, one poster (Dano) pointed to a paper published in Science in 2001, that presumably shows how human activities other than GHG emissions have potentially dangerous effects on climate, and the environment in general. Upon a first reading of that paper, I noticed how scientifically weak it was, and in a further exchange with Dano, I offered to post a detailed critique. Here it is.

    I am not a specialist in ecological sciences. However the paper’s weaknesses are immediately obvious to anyone who has written or reviewed scientific papers. I am a scientist by training (Ph.D. in physics), and have pursued an academic career for 10 years after my Ph.D. before moving to industry. I have published 56 peer-reviewed papers, and 65 talks at international conferences, as well as editing 4 conference proceedings. More importantly, I have acted as a reviewer for probably a few hundred papers, and I have sat on conference program committees, and grant committees, where I had to review proposals that were well outside my main line of research. Thus I have learned to read quickly and with a critical eye. My comments below are the ones I would have made, had I been a reviewer for that paper.

    ***************************************************

    The avowed aim of the paper is to “forecast the potential global environmental impacts of agriculture” for the coming 20 to 50 years. The authors warn that “forecasts are not predictions, but rather estimates of environmental impacts should agriculture continue on the trajectories of the past 35 or more years”. To perform their forecasts, the authors have used data on 6 variables over the past 40 years (1960 to 2000), namely: use of Nitrogen, Phosphorus, global irrigation, global pasture and crop land, and global pesticide use. They have used univariate and multivariate trend estimations as a function of time, population, and GDP to extrapolate the values of those six variables in 2020 and 2050. They use those values as a basis for discussing the future environmental impacts.

    While the use of univariate and multivariate trend estimations gives a seemingly rigorous and quantified basis for their forecasting, it nevertheless amounts to a rather simplistic procedure. The authors appear surprised that, despite an expected exponential growth, their variables were well fitted by a linear trend. They seem to ignore that an exponential function is well fitted by a linear function over a short enough interval. A close examination of population data by this reviewer showed that they are indeed exponential. However, and importantly for the paper’s argument, the forecasted population growth is not a simple exponential, as growth is expected to slow over the next 50 years. Developed areas, like Europe, will indeed see a population decline. Other observations point to the possible oversimplistic use of linear trends. For example, while crop and pasture lands appear to follow a linear trend from 1960 to 1988, the trend has very clearly slowed down from 1988 to 2000, and indeed there is very little growth during that period. One wonders if this is indicative of a new trend, or just a temporary phenomenon. At the very least, the authors should have asked themselves that question before blindly extrapolating the trend. On the other hand, in the Nitrogen data, that show an 8-fold increase, the exponential shape should have been more evident. That it doesn’t may be indicative of a sub-linear dependence on other variables, such as crop land. They also show data on pesticide imports expressed in dollars, without saying if the relative price per quantity has changed over that period. Finally, one may question the validity of a multivariate analysis when dealing with non-independent variables, such as time, population, and GDP. Furthermore, there are complex interactions between crop land, fertilizer, irrigation and pesticide use, which may hide more complex trends than the ones assumed by the authors. For example, what is the trend for use of pesticide vs crop land area? What does it mean that irrigated land exceeds crop land area? How is the use of fertilizer related to GDP? Is the damage due to pesticide equally bad, or are some less damaging than others, and what are their respective trends? I believe that the author’s oversimplistic analysis is the main reason why their estimates vary by as much as a factor of two, leaving the reader perplex as to the utility (or futility) of the whole exercise.

    But that might be forgiven if not for the rest of the paper. Having forecasted increases in all six variables that anyone could have expected simply because the global population is expected to increase from 6 to 9.5 billions in 50 years, the authors then set out to forecasts the impacts on the environment. However, the entire discussion, which indeed constitutes the bulk of the paper, entirely fails to make the point expressed in the conclusion that: “agriculture has the potential to have massive, irreversible environmental impacts”. That is because, after having made a quantified forecast of use of fertilizers, irrigation, pesticides, crop and pasture land, the authors merely assume that because these activities have been shown to cause potential damage, they necessarily will in the future. But to prove their point, the authors needed three more elements. First, they needed to quantify past damage due to those activities. For this, they would need to use objective and quantifiable indicators of environmental damage. Secondly, they should have shown that the amount of damage has indeed followed the same trends as the activities themselves. In other words have the use of mitigation techniques increased over the given period or not? Thirdly, they need to make a convincing case that this same trend will continue in the future. But the authors have done nothing like that. Indeed, they recognize that “methods to forecast quantitatively the impact on ecosystem functioning of loss of habitat, loss of biodiversity, changes in species composition, and increased nutrient inputs need development”. But one can only wonder (and here I show my ignorance of recent progress in the field), what have ecologists done over the past 50 years?! Certainly, developing tools to quantify environmental damage would be much more useful than making hand-waving arguments about “massive impacts”. If there are such tools and the authors have not used them in their analysis, then they are even more guilty of ignoring relevant work, that would have made their analysis much more substantial and credible.

    The rest of the paper is really just a general discussion of well known methods to mitigate the environmental impacts of human agricultural activities. For anyone even remotely following those issues, there is nothing fundamentally new there. In fact, an assertion such as “land use and habitat conversion are, in essence, a zero-sum game” makes this reviewer wonder if the authors have ever been to an oasis! One also wonders why the authors fail to address how social and economic factors are likely to affect the trends they discuss.

    In the end, the authors arrive at the revealing conclusion that “these solutions will not be achieved unless far more resources are dedicated to their discovery and implementation”. The entire exercise turns out to be a plea for more funding!

    A final word about the abstract. After failing to prove their point about massive damage, the authors nevertheless assert in the abstract that: “This eutrophication and habitat destruction would cause unprecedented ecosystem simplification, loss of ecosystem services, and species extinctions.” True or not, there is no way that this alarmist assertion is demonstrated by the bulk of the paper.

    In conclusion, this paper, under the veneer of a quantitative and scientific analysis, completely fails to demonstrate the conclusion it asserts. While it is obvious to everyone that the growth of the world population will pose a great challenge to agriculture, and that we must find ways to minimize its environmental impacts, an estimation of those impacts would require a much finer analysis of the complex interactions between agricultural practices, population, and GDP, as well as an actual quantification of past damages and examination of their trend.

    At best, this paper would find its place in a promotional brochure for environmental groups. It clearly does not have enough original and significant scientific contents to warrant publication in a serious and prestigious journal like Science.

  184. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 27, 2006 at 3:12 PM | Permalink

    Dang, Francis, that review was brilliant. Game, set, and match.

    w.

  185. Tom Gray
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 10:20 AM | Permalink

    Has anyone any comment on the brief news item in the Scientific American on the recent NAS report on the Hockey Stick curve. The thrust of the item was that the hockey stick had been vindicated with only minor problems relating to a lack of reliably dated data for the early period.

    This does not jibe with my reading of other accounts of the report which strongly cirticised the hockey stick.

    I am not qualified to make comments on climate research. However I am required to make my own assessment of the political policy options that result from it. The SA article is typical of what I see from both sides in this debate but particularly from the pro-AGM side but from teh non-AGM side as well. My own impression of the physics is that it is not yet well understood. The debate turns on the possible effects of future climate changes on effects that are not underatood well. This uncertainty is compounded when mutliple effects are composed to create models. The uncertainlty is masked by implelmetning these composed models as computer programs that produce massess of data and multi-coloured plots and animations. With the imprimatur of the computer, networks of assumptions feeding back into surmises supplemented by hopes and guesses based on misunderstood statistics produce reliable predictions.

    My own naive impression is that this is not science. It is politics dressed in scientific garb.

    I hope that this comment has not distracted people from more important work. However I would like to ask the question. Is the SA article a fair representaion of the report or is it is now called political spin. An incovenient truth is hdownplayed to promote a poltical goal.

  186. Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 12:49 PM | Permalink

    Francois:

    It’s fine that you don’t like Tilman et al.’s estimates, but your argument is not compelling or nuanced, as you don’t calculate any estimate of your own to show/bound, outline, enumerate, or illustrate the paper’s deficiencies. None. That is: I don’t see any of your own methods with derived estimates to demonstrate how poor Tilman et al.’s numbers are.

    Nor do you cite anything that gives different estimates. You just complain about Tilman et al. without showing/citing/calculating/making up something better (actually, their numbers aren’t theirs despite your assertion, but let’s not bother with that just yet).

    Your argument would be more compelling (rather than appearing as a complaint that you, simply, didn’t like their paper) if you could actually show that, say, a respected demographer says that by 2050 x number rather than their y number is preferred by physicists reviewing ecological papers. To put it another way: the population projection number given was that standard at that time — it was what governments were using for their governance — for their investments, for their demographic forecasting, for their planning.

    But let’s just think about what the paper is saying. It’s very simple:

    In 50 years, the paper says there will be 3B more people needing 1B ha more land for crops. We’ll need lots more NPK and pesticides to farm that land. This may have — based on past trends — particular effects.

    That’s it. That’s what the paper is about.

    Now,

    Your argument about Developed areas, like Europe, will indeed see a population decline doesn’t matter. Why? Because current estimates say global population will likely increase by 3B people. You don’t address whether this number is robust; you just said you didn’t like the trend. If you don’t like the number, you’ll want to contact the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division, as it’s their number at that time (see, Tilman et al. didn’t derive it).

    Plus, unless we tear down empty towns and work to restore fertility to soils that have been under concrete for generations (um…thus adding NPK to the soil), then we’re gonna need a lot more land for cropping – in fact, the authors say 1B ha more (an estimate that you don’t say anything about).

    That’s the big picture that I didn’t see you correct by offering a better method with a better number (or a better citation).

    Now as to the effects.

    Let me just mention you fail to see the import of your statement the trend has very clearly slowed down from 1988 to 2000, and indeed there is very little growth during that period - if cropped area is slowing in growth trend, will this continue in light of the future population number that you didn’t give? You don’t say. Nor, for some reason, do you say this trend will result in x, y, or z ha by 2050. Nor do you see the import of the growth of N application vs the growth in cropped lands [thus the eutrophication]. Maybe this is why the paper was written. Certainly subsequent papers find the same issue, so you should be able to come up with a eutrophication trend number for us.

    Anyway, to the actual estimates that you don’t correct: that 1B ha of land will need so much NPK based on what’s happening now. What’s so hard about showing this is wrong? That is: you haven’t shown any argument that says the total amount of cropland [e.g. irrigated = 529*10^6 ha in 2050 ] will need x, y, or z amount of NPK. You simply say you don’t like the papers that the authors cited to get their numbers.

    Not very compelling, and the absence of numbers doesn’t allow us to consider nuance in your argument.

    Lastly, your ["first, second, third"] arguments are surprising, but probably arise from your ignorance of environmental science (as you admitted above); because in our discipline (as in most disciplines), we don’t go about re-explaining basic information, as the reader is expected to know that basics already if they read a paper at this level; nonetheless, journal papers usually reference stuff a lot, and a reader lacking information usually can look to the reference given for additional background. For example, in your “first’ point, you have eight references to choose from to address your complaint, and indeed there is an entire scientific subdiscipline called ‘global change’ that addresses this topic [this simple point, BTW, addresses your Certainly...argument. That is: you are simply ignorant of the field and can't speak to the issues therein. ]

    So, to recap, although you find fault with the derived estimates (estimates derived from numerous papers referenced in the article), you don’t derive your own different estimates, nor do you cite something that says anything different. Surely this arises from your lack of knowledge in the field (and not as any sort of character flaw or agenda for those who want to aver that I’m implying this).

    Oh, and BTW, your assertion that The entire exercise turns out to be a plea for more funding is not funding for Tilman et al., but for R&D to minimize fert externalities and to expand crop production. No wonder you are confused by this article – you can’t even ascertain what the authors are arguing for!

    I’m not sure how anyone can find this sort of argumentation without alternate conclusions and using specious premises compelling at all. Fascinating.

    Best,

    D

  187. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    re: #188 Dano,

    Even if we overlook the fact that since this data was from 1997 and of course everyone has moved on since then, the fact is that your link shows 3 projections for population in 2050 one increasing about 2B, one 3B & 1 4.5B. Your picking the middle one and mentioning only it is a bit misleading. I think the actual growth has followed the lower scenario fairly closely.

  188. Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    189:

    Your picking the middle one and mentioning only it is a bit misleading.

    I didn’t pick it, thanks, it’s what the paper said. Plus, it was a long post.

    And I believe it is a common practice in many arenas to take the middle projection of something. And I also believe that the recent revisions kept the medium variant rather on track with the previous projection, revising downward as the 1997 was a tad high in their projection [from my pvs linky].

    Thanks!

    Best,

    D

  189. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    Not being a scientist I don’t know the answer to this question, but is somone reviewing a parer or study expected to not only point out the possible errors or incorrect methodology but also to redo the study for the authors to come up with the right answers for them?

  190. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    Re 191, Dano, your whole argument seems to be that Francois should have produced his own paper with his own estimates.

    However, he clearly stated that what he was writing was what he would write if he were asked to review the paper.

    A reviewer is not expected to do more than point out the flaws in the paper, as he has done. For example, he says:

    However, the entire discussion, which indeed constitutes the bulk of the paper, entirely fails to make the point expressed in the conclusion that: “agriculture has the potential to have massive, irreversible environmental impacts”. That is because, after having made a quantified forecast of use of fertilizers, irrigation, pesticides, crop and pasture land, the authors merely assume that because these activities have been shown to cause potential damage, they necessarily will in the future. But to prove their point, the authors needed three more elements. First, they needed to quantify past damage due to those activities. For this, they would need to use objective and quantifiable indicators of environmental damage. Secondly, they should have shown that the amount of damage has indeed followed the same trends as the activities themselves. In other words have the use of mitigation techniques increased over the given period or not? Thirdly, they need to make a convincing case that this same trend will continue in the future. But the authors have done nothing like that.

    This seems to me to be the core of the problem with the paper “¢’‚¬? they have not done the spadework to establish their conclusions.

    You seem to think that Francois should do the spadework … but that’s not what a reviewer does. He/she merely points out where the spadework has not been done.

    w.

  191. Dano
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    191:

    Thank you for the opportunity to clarify Barney.

    but is someone reviewing a paper or study expected to not only point out the possible errors or incorrect methodology but also to redo the study for the authors to come up with the right answers for them

    No.

    Let’s look at it this way:

    Barney writes a column picked up by ESPN.com and sez: “If Albert Pujols keeps this up, my calculations say he’ll hit .350, 54 HRs and 146 RBI in 2006, maybe good enough for the Triple Crown”.

    I say: “You didn’t figger it right.”

    Barney says: “OK, well what did I do wrong then?”

    I say: “You shouldn’t have used linear trends”.

    Barney says: “OK, well what should I have done?”

    I say: “It’s a rather simplistic procedure”.

    Barney says: “OK, well what should I have done that would be better?”

    I don’t say.

    Barney then says: “Hmmm, OK, well then what does Chris Berman say Pujols will bat in 2006?”

    I say: “You didn’t quantify his past batting average, nor did you compute his OBA”.

    Barney says: “At least if you won’t tell me how to compute Pujols’ end-of-season projections, how about telling me what other people say so I can compare my numbers to theirs!”

    I say: “Your numbers do not have enough original and significant scientific contents to warrant publication in a serious and prestigious journal like ESPN”.

    Barney says: “Your conclusion follows from an incorrect premise!”

    ———-

    That is: I’m not asking to re-do the paper. I’m asking for some evidence that Tilman et al.’s numbers are as bad as as FO says. Namely: a number. I don’t see any. A number say, from a calc developed by FO showing something different, or some citations that show Tilman et al differ from respected scientists (I included a link from respected scientists that had their N number too low, BTW). The incorrect premise part comes from the body of my text above.

    Best,

    D

  192. Dano
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    193:

    willis, read my 189 again.

    The authors cited works that established the statement – the spadework has been done already and they cited it. This is basic stuff. If the paper was about calculating past damage, it would have different title. Come now.

    FO’s job was to know the spadework and judge whether their conclusions were sound according to the methods they used, or, if they differed from past research, why. He didn’t do any of that because he didn’t show Tilman et al’s homework was faulty, their numbers were contradicted by x, y, and z, nor did he show it lacked originality by pointing out what had gone before.

    I’m sure I would do just as poor a job if I reviewed a paper on laser optical waveforms, which is why I don’t do it – I don’t know the discipline.

    Best,

    D

  193. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    re: 191

    Hmmm. Rather peculiar set of numbers. Population growth had been going down fairly rapidly for many years and then levels off the past 3-4 years and the this makes the decline slow for the next decade or so before it begins to be rapid again. I’m not saying it’s wrong, but do you know why the population growth stopped decelerating recently? Might it be an artefact of the population gathering techniques, e.g. perhaps the figures tend to be adjusted down after 5 years or so when more precise figures become available?

  194. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 6:20 PM | Permalink

    Thanks for the reply Dano.
    I must confess however that your analogy is not too convincing.
    My question was, is a reviewer expected to correct the flaws in a paper he is reviewing.
    Your answer was “No” and then you provided an analogy in which you state someone reviewing my baseball article should correct the flaws in my analysis. The two don’t seem to jibe.
    If FO demonstrates that their methods were faulty or potentially so, isn’t the burden on them to demonstrate that they are not faulty?

  195. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 6:59 PM | Permalink

    Dano, you say the paper actually answered the following questions posed by Francois:

    First, they needed to quantify past damage due to those activities. For this, they would need to use objective and quantifiable indicators of environmental damage.

    Secondly, they should have shown that the amount of damage has indeed followed the same trends as the activities themselves

    Thirdly, they need to make a convincing case that this same trend will continue in the future.

    Perhaps you’d be so kind as to show where in the paper thay established these things?

    Their analysis method (draw a straight line through the trend, extend it fifty years) is not warranted by the shape of their data.

    They make no attempt to make a case that these trends will continue in the future. Instead, they assume they will continue. This leads to bad results … here’s just one example.

    Since 1961, we have been able to feed more and more people per hectare … and not only feed them, but feed them better each year. Now, let’s forget about the fact that we’re feeding them better, and just look at how many we can feed. Here’s the relationship between the year and the number of people fed per acre:

    Now, you can’t even see the data line, because it’s hidden under the linear trend line, so I think you’d agree that unlike their data (which they say are exponential), this is an actual linear trend. Every year we are able to feed more and more people per hectare.

    Now this is as good a straight line as you’re likely to find. If we extend it to 2050, we find that by that date, we’ll likely be able to feed slightly more than 6 people per hectare. This, combined with the 9 billion people 2050 population estimate, says that by 2050 we will need no more cropland than we are using today …

    Now I can’t promise you that the world in 2050 will look like that … but it has a better chance than their simple analysis, which totally ignores the fact that each hectare feeds more people each year.

    w.

    PS – not only are we feeding nearly twice as many people per year from each hectare as in 1961, we are feeding them better. World per capita calorie consumption increased 25% during that period (2,200 to 2,800 calories/cap/day).

    In short, the paper has not taken into account the changes that have happened, because they are masked by linear trends. They show nitrogenous fertilizer use rising in a straight line fashion, but they haven’t noticed that nitrogenous fertilizer use per hectare peaked in about 1988, and has been dropping ever since. Their linear regression analysis totally ignores this fact, and leads to erroneous conclusions. As Francois said, they need to make a convincing case that the trends will continue in a linear fashion as they claim. I find that claim to be clearly wrong.

  196. Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    198:

    If FO demonstrates that their methods were faulty or potentially so, isn’t the burden on them to demonstrate that they are not faulty?

    Excellent question, Barney, and thank you again for the opportunity to clarify (and see just above how I got carried away with my wish for specifics in the review, for caveats).

    I haven’t found that there was a demonstration that the two-part methodology [trends calcs and effects calcs] was faulty – that is: we have an assertion that the trends is so, but nothing was brought up (scholarship, alternate paper, calculations, etc) to refute it, just a mention of a different methodology that FO would use [BTW, he forgot to demonstrate that his methodology would result in a different number].

    I’d be happy to have the Tilman et al. paper shown to be faulty (as that would advance our knowledge), but we have a body of work that is the basis for their assumptions [which the review above hasn't refuted by the basic questions, the answers for which can be found in the citations and the scholarship, some of which I've included in this comment {and 1. , 2. , 3. } ]; if the assumptions or calcs are faulty, then the body of work from which the paper draws is faulty, and this body of work has driven assessments, plans, and investment. Again, this is basic stuff: N has cascading effects, P effects have resulted in major land-use changes to slow eutrophication.

    But, to back up to go forward, this sort of question you ask is always answered in the affirmative. It it allows us to ask such a question – if the error is so egregious, why hasn’t it been pointed out already? Hence my importuning to reply directly to Science, as numerous assessments, world conferences, and infrastructure investments have begun off of this sort of knowledge and work, and if FO is correct, he has the responsibility to stop this egregious waste of time and money, driven by faulty assumptions and projections.**

    Best,

    D

    **Read mouseover, and discusses FO’s complaint about Furthermore, there are complex interactions between crop land, fertilizer, irrigation and pesticide use, which may hide more complex trends than the ones assumed by the authors [this part is untrue that the authors don't understand this]. For example, what is the trend for use of pesticide vs crop land area?

  197. Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    200:

    Thank you very much willis.

    Now this is some of them there specifics I’m looking for! Hooray!

    They make no attempt to make a case that these trends will continue in the future. Instead, they assume they will continue. This leads to bad results … here’s just one example.

    Outstanding! The paper is about assuming trends will continue, in order to set a framework for adaptive governance (as alluded to and outlined in my link in 198). The criticism by willis is that this approach leads to some bad results. Of course it does.

    But let’s look at this ppl/ha number and the conclusion from extrapolating the trend. In order to contextualize the chart willis made, we must know more things:

    What is the world consumption vs production? Consumption is already starting to surpass production, so willis’ conclusion that we’ll likely be able to feed slightly more than 6 people per hectare must be contextualized, as we are having trouble feeding folk now, at ~4/ha. The dangers of trending!

    Another way: what is the grain production of the planet per capita? It peaked in 1984. Why is this? Population is increasing faster than arable land production and grain yield increases. Increases driven by fertilizer use [diminishing returns law, rise in NH4 cost, rise in nat gas cost (to fire Haber process)] and yield gains from breeding and irrigation.

    So you can see that willis’ graph is dependent upon not only production, but land expansion, which isn’t happening despite growing pop.. And that’s not increasing at nearrrrrly the rate as human population.

    Now, the food policy folk are concerned about our ability to irrigate enough land, what with the falling water tables and all.

    Anyway, this isn’t alarmist cr*p, despite some wishes for it to be so. Lots of folk are trying to figger out how to feed 9B ppl with all the attendant environmental challenges. If’n anyone here has an answer, rather than writing it up in the premiere issue of Galileo, take it to the UN or the markets – you’ll be a billionare, trust me.

    Rambling aside, the paper is about global environmental change. I haven’t seen anyone show numbers that discuss this. And I’m going to the local watering hole this evening to see what new kegs are out…

    Best,

    D

  198. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 9:08 PM | Permalink

    Dano, I’m afraid you didn’t understand what you had to show to prove your point. Let me reiterate.

    You claimed that the paper actually answered the following questions posed by Francois:

    First, they needed to quantify past damage due to those activities. For this, they would need to use objective and quantifiable indicators of environmental damage.

    Secondly, they should have shown that the amount of damage has indeed followed the same trends as the activities themselves

    Thirdly, they need to make a convincing case that this same trend will continue in the future.

    Perhaps you’d be so kind as to show where in the paper thay established these things?

    Now please note, I’m not asking you to establish these things. I’m asking you to back up your claim that the authors established these things in their document.

    Best of luck with the malted grain sampling, I’ll write more about your other ideas in a bit.

    w.

  199. JMS
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 10:02 PM | Permalink

    Dano,

    I think that this is a good example of what happens when people try to criticize scientific papers outside of their area of expertise. I hate to say it, but that is why I question analysis of GCM’s, tree rings and whatnot on this site. Nobody who criticises these fields has anything even approaching an undergrad education. They tend to think that since they understand statistics (Steve M?) that they understand the science.

    I think that those who are not hard core skeptics and think this is a good site to get skeptical information from would be well advised to that this effect into consideration. Remember that in the second set of house climate hearings, Steve M was the only person (including the skeptic John Christy, although he may be an ex-skeptic at this point) to say that the current warming is *not* unprecedented. Pretty weird, since even Wegman did not say “yo” to that question.

  200. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 10:20 PM | Permalink

    For anyone with a smattering of geological knowledge, the current warming is obviously not "unprecedented". Obviously, the Cretaceous was warmer than at present. It was warmer than at present for most of the earth’s history. You can argue that maybe Cretaceous warmth would not be a good thing to have back again, but not that present warmth is literally “unprecedented”.

    The exact question – if you listened carefully – was not whether it was unprecedented, but whether you knew that it was unprecedented. I submit that no one at the table "knew" that it was unprecedented and all of them should have answered that they did not know that it was "unprecendented".

  201. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 10:42 PM | Permalink

    Danàƒⶬ I’ll try to discuss your ideas point by point.

    You start by saying “Consumption is already starting to surpass production” … Danàƒⶬ think hard about that one … perhaps you can explain how we can consume what is not produced …

    You think that “assuming the trends will continue” is a good thing. It could be, if the paper really looked at the trends. But they just stick a straight line through what they say is an exponential trend, and assume that trend will continue … not good.

    You say “we are having trouble feeding folk now, at ~4/ha.” without any citation. The reason you didn’t have a citation is that it’s not true. In fact people are eating better now than at any time in history. This is true for the world, as well as the poorest of the world. Citation available upon request, it’s FAOSTAT data.

    You show a graph showing that wheat production/hectare peaked in about 1984, which is true. However, you failed to note that the amount of calories per capita from wheat have continued to rise. Why is this? Because excess wheat is fed to cattle, ensuring that humans always have enough wheat even in bad times. That’s why production can drop even while human consumption is increasing You also failed to note that wheat is not particularly where the world gets its calories, it’s not even in the top ten … which is (top ten in order)

    Potatoes
    Sweet Potatoes
    Cassava
    Beans, Dry
    Vegetables Fresh nes
    Bananas
    Soybeans
    Coconuts
    Chick-Peas
    Groundnuts in Shell

    And when we look at potato production and sweet potato production and cassava production, guess what … still increasing … you don’t seem to comprehend the fact that we are feeding more people per hectare, and feeding them better, and that shows no sign of decreasing … you do understand “no sign of decreasing”?

    Then you say a very strange thing:

    So you can see that willis’ graph is dependent upon not only production, but land expansion, which isn’t happening despite growing pop.. And that’s not increasing at nearrrrrly the rate as human population.

    Your link goes to an FAO site calculating total land area for each country … which you are quite correct, isn’t increasing … and my graph is population divided by cropland, so yes, danàƒⶬ it depends on both cropland and population … brilliant … but what is your point?

    The amount of land under cultivation has not been increasing much in the last decade, but clearly, you don’t understand the reason why it has not increased. It’s because we don’t need it to. In some countries, such as the US, huge amounts of what used to be cropland (when production was much less efficient) have been removed from cultivation. US cropland peaked in1981, and has dropped almost 20% since then. We’ve taken more cropland out of production than the total cropland of Israel. More than the total cropland of Gabon. Or of Sierra Leone. Or of Kuwait, or Oman, or Mauritius, or Bhutan, or Congo, or Mauritania, or Jamaica, or Lebanon, or Lesotho, or Liberia, or Papua New Guinea, or New Zealand, or Switzerland, or Costa Rica, or Jordan, or Panama …

    In fact, the US has taken more cropland out of production that the cropland of all of those countries combined

    Nor is there a shortage of unfarmed cropland in the world. The key document for this is the GAEZ study done by the UN. It shows, for example, that there is as much unfarmed cropland (land suitable for rainfed agriculture) in Africa as there is farmed cropland in Europe. There’s as much unfarmed cropland in South America as there is farmed cropland in North America. And there’s enough unfarmed cropland in the Sudan alone to feed all of Africa … don’t believe me? Look it up … http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/agll/gaez/index.htm, you’re not a serious player in this field unless you’ve read this study.

    So are we looking at an ecological disaster from feeding the projected population increase? Doubtful … consider that a huge amount of land has been converted to cropland during history, and while there have been consequences, the farms and fields of Switzerland or Senegal are not ecological disaster areas, they’re just … well, farms and fields.

    Does this mean we can convert land to cropland without regard for the consequences? Of course not, we need to be careful in everything we do … but it also doesn’t mean that we’re on the brink of disaster.

    The good news in all of this is that farmers are not stupid, and that pesticides and fertilizers are expensive. This will always mean that farmers will strive to use the least of those possible.

    Finally, we are just entering the era of genetic engineering. Without getting sidetracked into a discussion of GM, let me just note that bioengineered cotton has greatly reduced the use of pesticides on the cotton in the clothes we wear … so whatever else GM may or may not do (NOT TO BE DISCUSSED ON THIS THREAD!), it has already reduced pesticide use.

    w.

  202. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 10:51 PM | Permalink

    JMS, re your # 202, rather than jumping up to say “me too”, why didn’t you answer the questions that Francois raised, that I repeated in #198, that Dano didn’t answer despite writing a lot, that I repeated in #201, and that Dano so far hasn’t answered?

    And if you can’t answer them … please reconsider your “me too” as being perhaps being a bit premature …

    w.

  203. JMS
    Posted Aug 28, 2006 at 11:47 PM | Permalink

    No, I think that Dano answered the questions ably. There really are problems with people attempting to make serious criticisms of areas outside their realm of expertise. Steve has many times asked what “linear” and “non-linear” tree specimens refer to. He claims that he has not gotten an answer. Perhaps this is because it is an undergrad level of question and he doesn’t have the deep level of knowledge that he claims. As Dano pointed out, scientific papers are more like patents, where someone who is “skilled in the art” should be able to recreate the invention. Most papers that I have read assume a large amount of background knowledge. They are not written for someone who has none of the basic knowledge assumed to be held someone who has basic knowledge to be considered “skilled in the art”. Thus my comment in another thread, which was ridiculed, about not seeing any citations to basic texts in dendroclimatology. Without showing an understanding of how signals are teased out of data (something which might be assumed by an author) it is difficult to take such criticisms seriously.

    The only criticisms which I have seen on this site which I take seriously are the PCA centering issue. I also take Wegman’s criticism of using a trended period for the calibration of the recons, but it is hard to see what else can be done since the period which has the trend also has the best data. What should be done in this case, since the earlier data is of lower quality? And so far, I have not seen any convincing arguments that these flaws (and remember it really was the first attempt at doing something like this) actually effected the outcome.

  204. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:24 AM | Permalink

    #206

    You have a good point there. I’m sure that many of the blog readers are truly interested in climate science, even though sometimes there is a bit arrogant tone in the writings. Could you recommend a good book that covers these topics & questions that I’m interested of:

    1) Truly local climate phenomenon which are uncorrelated with larger scale climate variations

    2) Is the reconstructive skill insensitive to the spectrum of the noise or not?

    3) Spurious increases in variance back in time associated with decreasing sample sizes

    4) Teleconnections

    5) Processes exhibiting a white noise background

    What should be done in this case, since the earlier data is of lower quality?

    Restricting the calibration of the density data to the period before 1960 is a solution proposed by Briffa et al.

  205. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:28 AM | Permalink

    JMS, you’re way off the rails here. You say you won’t answer the questions, because Dano answered the questions ably? Dude, he didn’t answer them at all. Not one bit.

    Remember that the issue was not whether Danàƒⶠcould demonstrate something, but whether the authors had demonstrated something (as Danàƒⶠhad claimed). To date, he has said nothing, not one word, about that issue. Lots of words, yes, which is likely what fooled you, but not one word about that issue.

    Please re-read the correspondence until you see what he was asked to answer, and then look at what he actually answered.

    In fact, there are a number of people who write in regularly on this site that are very knowledgeable in a variety of areas. You, on the other hand, admit that you don’t even understand why Steve has discussed the linearity of tree response to temperature. If you don’t understand that, why do you think you are remotely qualified to criticize?

    Amazingly, you even question whether Mann’s malfeasance actually affected the outcome of his hockey stick calculations … I hate to be blunt, but if you don’t know the answer to that question, please go away and read and re-read the various threads here until you understand the issues, then come back and criticise. Criticism is welcome … but saying “nobody here understands much at all” is just negativity.

    w.

  206. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    but it is hard to see what else can be done since the period which has the trend also has the best data

    That’s precisely why the cross-validation statistic is relatively high for the period in which the “training” is done, yet worsens as you go back in time. The reason it fails outside of the training/calibration period is, in fact, largely due to non-stationary statistics and non-linear response of tree-rings to temperature.

    Mark

  207. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:11 AM | Permalink

    #202 JMS, so what is YOUR level of competence? I was very open about mine in my post. I did not criticize the paper on the basis of wrong facts, or because I deny that agriculture can be damaging to the environment. My main point is that they did not forecast “damages”, as claimed in the title and abstract. They forecast fertilizer use, pasture and crop land areas, irrigation and pesticide use. There’s a missing step between a given agricultural practice and it’s potential or presumed damage. There is no quantification of damage in the paper, nor any demonstration that damage is proportional to use. A much better approach would have been to quantify damage, then relate the damage trend to, say, the fertilizer trend, and then make the forecast. You don’t need a Ph.D. in biology to understand that. They’re probably right that there are great challenges ahead, but everybody knows that. It’s not like they suddenly realized it! Since “Silent spring” was published in the early 60’s, we have heard about environmental damage, and there has been tons and tons of research. Ehrlich in the 60’s rang the alarm bell. We should all be dead by now, or living in hell. So, yes, we got the message. But that paper did not otherwise add anything scientific to the question.

    Now here is a graph I plotted of fertilizer use since 1961, which I got from this site. (I hope this works, it’s the first time I try to post a picture. If it doesn’t, I’ll try to fix it later!).

    I don’t know if it’s because of updated data or what, but the nice linear trend isn’t so nice any more.

    Now this , for example, is what I call a fine analysis of the trend in fertilizer use in Sub-Saharan Africa. And this is a serious paper on ecological forecasts.

    I was just criticizing a bad paper, not the entire field of environmental studies!

  208. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:25 AM | Permalink

    #210 I would also leave this final comment. It took me about an hour to retrieve the fertilizer data and plot them in Excel. I also checked the population data, another hour or so. Add another couple of hours to get the crop and pasture land data, another hour to figure out the trends (well, say a minute or two, since Excel has a built-in function). Write this up, add a lot of blah-blah about massive damages, and with less than a day’s work, I would have a paper published in Science! And there are ten authors for that paper! Makes you wonder…

  209. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 9:11 AM | Permalink

    The only criticisms which I have seen on this site which I take seriously are the PCA centering issue.

    JMS, just sticking with tree rings, since that is your preferred topic, what about:
    1. 20th century” loss of sensitivity” to temperature
    2. the “divergence problem”
    3. positive and negative responders
    4. cherry-picked data series
    5. pine trees in the SW US that are currently in decline from drought
    6. trees responding to multiple effects, including fertilization from CO2, N, H20, etc.

    Are these not problems which could compromise one’s ability to reconstruct past temperatures? (References can be found in the various threads that span these topics.) Or will you – as in the past – simply appeal to authority in dismissing these concerns?

    More generally, you – as with Dano & Bloom – continually attack the CA case against tree-ring proxies out-of-thread, thus making it necessary for us to post redundant summaries in response. If you have a specific problem with a particular argument, please post in the appropriate thread, and we’ll take it up there.

    Your attempts to scare people away from the facts, data, models, and ideas discussed this site are obvious and ridiculous. We are asking the same questions everyone else is asking – members of the public, policy-makers, and, yes, even specialist scientists in labs around the world. We just do it publicly instead of privately – something the Ivory Tower specialists are afraid to do.

  210. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 9:42 AM | Permalink

    Btw, it should also be pointed out that PCA does _not_ assign the principal components to specific sources. In other words, the principal components do not come out labeled “CO2″, “temperature”, “soil quality”… This is part of the magic of using PCA for climate analysis as specific forcings are left to the whim of the analyst. In signal processing contexts, the forcings are known a-priori specifically because we are looking for certain known signals. In comm, for example, you know what the carrier frequency is, or in radar, you know your pulse repetition rate as well as the frequency of the transmission, etc.

    Mark

  211. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:00 AM | Permalink

    re #202 – **Nobody who criticises these fields has anything even approaching an undergrad education. They tend to think that since they understand statistics (Steve M?) that they understand the science. **
    Really? Do you know the education level of the participants here?
    The quality of questions and comments does not always depend on one’s education, but more on intelligence. This has been demonstrated here many times. In addition, I think Steve M has shown he is well above average in his questions and understanding of MANY different topics here.

  212. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Nobody who criticises these fields has anything even approaching an undergrad education. They tend to think that since they understand statistics (Steve M?) that they understand the science.

    Steve M. has at least an undergrad. I have two degrees (BS and MS, statistical signal processing specialty) and I’m working on a third, PhD, concentrating on component analysis techniques (ICA, PCA and MCA). Others have that and more.

    You’re falling into the same credentialism trap you brought up in another thread (“Steve M. does not cite texts therefore he must not be very well versed”, paraphrased). If an analysis of a technique is correct, or incorrect, it does not matter the credentials of, or sources used by, the individual performing the analysis. Even the intelligence of the individual is irrelevant (as suggested by Gerald) if their argument is sound (or not). An argument stands on its own, for better or worse, based solely on its own merit.

    Mark

  213. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    The problem, Mark T, is that these alarmists assume that visitors to this site are unable to distinguish correct from incorrect arguments; hence the need to discredit contributors, and not merely refute their arguments. Their goal is to minimize CA’s audience size & policy impact because they fear the momentum that CA is gaining. As they become more fearful of the facts, one can foresee that they will become increasingly desperate in their tactics.

  214. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    In terms of math credentials, I think that my credentials, such as they are, bear up nicely as compared to those of geologist Ammann or Reverend Wahl. It’s not as though they are Andrew Wiles and Grisha Perelman.

    Look, I wish that my math skills were greater than they are. But the real problem is not my skills, but the lack of skills on the Team – combined with their cocky over-confidence. As Satchell Paige more or less said – and this is surely the epitaph for the Team – “The problem ain’t the things that you don’t know; it’s the things that you know that ain’t so.”

  215. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    Agreed, though I still find it annoying. I would not otherwise give JMS the benefit of rebuttal if it weren’t for the fact that many people do not realize why such positions are fallacious.

    Either way, it is a serious ad-hom (coming from someone that has harped about ad-homs no less) to claim “you are all stupid and therefore you are wrong.” Why such tactics pass muster in any environment is beyond me.

    Mark

  216. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:49 AM | Permalink

    204:

    perhaps you can explain how we can consume what is not produced …

    Grain surpluses.

    I already gave a link that showed that.

    But they just stick a straight line through what they say is an exponential trend, and assume that trend will continue … not good.

    For the nth time, no one has demonstrated that this is ‘not good’ – what is ‘good’? Where are the citations showing ‘good’ NPK in 2050? Where are they? Where is ONE citation with a ‘better’ number?

    What are better future numbers? What will be a different amount of N applied? What will be the Mg of P applied, and what will be the new extent of dead zones and resultant loss of fish catch? Where is it? How much pesticide is forecast to be applied in 2050? Where is a citiation that has a different number (that is: something that shows Tilman et al. are ‘alarmist’)?

    The overarching point here is contained in FO’s use of the marginalization phrase ‘alarmist’.

    The Panglossians are not running the food policy investment planning for the planet; therefore, someone has to figger out how to feed 9B ppl; the paper many here don’t like but can’t say specifically why sets a framework for the figgerin’. You can dislike the framework but nobody here has a different framework at all. Nobody. No one.

    You say “we are having trouble feeding folk now, at ~4/ha.” without any citation.

    Check the links again.

    You show a graph showing that wheat production/hectare peaked in about 1984 [etc]

    The food products you show comprise what % of total caloric input? Small. Grain comprises what % of caloric intake? Big. Calories have risen because increasing wealth means ppl eat more meat (which takes far more land and water to produce a calorie than grain). So the arable land becomes more devoted to meat production.

    it depends on both cropland and population … brilliant … but what is your point?

    Sigh…

    Human population growing, arable land not. Yield/ha decreasing. Need more land.

    but clearly, you don’t understand the reason why it has not increased. It’s because we don’t need it to…[etc]

    Sigh…

    Sounds like you’ve hit on a blockbuster, willis. By gum, the FAO, USDA, etc haven’t figgered this out but the CEIs have. How come they don’t listen?

    Purely market driven, eh? Not climate/drought at all? No lack of irrigation infrastrucure/no barriers to market entries? No salinization? No erosion?

    There’s as much unfarmed cropland in South America as there is farmed cropland in North America.

    Ahhh…here we go! Outstanding! A real contextual issue! Excellent point.

    The paper you don’t wish to like is part of the process of looking at farming this unfarmed cropland so we can feed 3B more people somehow. That’s what it is doing.

    Why is it doing this? What might happen to biodiversity if we have all this cropland in production? Welllll, we have to add N inputs, and P inputs, and pesticides, etc.

    NPK and pesticides will have effects on ecosystems. What kind of effects might we expect? Wellllll… if we look at today and try to guess future effects, we’ll have x amount of extra N in terrestrial ecosystems and that may result in y amount of NOx and ammonification, and a amount of extra P in the terrestrial ecosystem, which may result in b amount of extra BOD and eutrophication, which will affect c amount more of nearshore fisheries, resulting in d amount fewer tonnes of fish which will have to be made up somewhere & will require investment.

    All basic stuff. I anxiously await some sort of citation showing the Tilman et al. overestimated effects of NPK on terrestrial ecosystems.

    Lastly,

    Of course not, we need to be careful in everything we do … but it also doesn’t mean that we’re on the brink of disaster.

    No one here said we were…oh, wait: except for FO who had to use the marginalization phrases he did to express his distaste for the paper. You’ll note that nowhere did I say anything about disaster. I said I…think there are multiple factors** driving global change in addition to GHGs. and here comes FO stating ‘alarmist predictions’ without providing anything showing these predictions are incorrect.

    No one here has shown one scrap of anything – again, nothing – that has one number – one – for an expected effect of adding x Mg of NPK to terrestrial ecosystems. Ze-ro. Nil.

    Nothing.

    Not one thing.

    That’s the point, for this topic and for the other distraction that was tried just above.

    Best,

    D

  217. John A
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:57 AM | Permalink

    Human population growing, arable land not. Yield/ha decreasing. Need more land.

    Can you demonstrate where the yield per area of arable land is decreasing? I was under the very strong assumption that yield had been steadily rising.

  218. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    re 218: I was stating “agreed” to bender’s comment in 216, but Steve M. one-upped me by posting first. However, I agree with what Steve M. has said, and certainly wish even my skills were better. Understanding a scientific field comes with it the requirement that you also acknowledge your limits, something the team is not willing to do. They are all very smart, and very credentialled, yet continually make fundamental errors in the areas they are obviously not well versed in.

    Mark

  219. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    Who doesn’t wish their math skills were better? Even the best wish for better.

    the real problem is … the lack of skills on the Team – combined with their cocky over-confidence

    Agreed … with “over-confidence” defined in a precise, mathematical way as the difference between HT-estimated confidence envelopes versus actual, statistically robust confidence levels. This is an area of vigorous debate, where nothing at the moment is certain.

  220. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:11 AM | Permalink

    re: #202, 206

    There really are problems with people attempting to make serious criticisms of areas outside their realm of expertise.

    I think a more general discussion of this claim is in order. What you seem to be missing is the value of cross-pollination. Flowers do it, why not scientists. Almost everyone here who contributes to the scientific discussion has one or more advanced degrees and even a troll like George B has a medical degree. As such, we’re all capable of understanding what’s being discussed to whatever degree we care to dig into it. But this is a voluntary community and not one where we’re being paid, even Steve M isn’t. I don’t believe that any of the trollish contributators are paid either, and only choose to stir things up from their own mixed-up beliefs as to what is appropriate behavior re one’s adversaries. (As an aside they might want to introspect on what this says about the validity of things like religious extremism.)

    Anyway to get back to my main point, people who come here have a lot of different backgrounds in any given subject, but are capable of learning much if a teaching attitude is adopted by those who do have expertise in a given subject. This, IMO, should be the stance of those who have widespread knowledge in an area rather than the typical attitude of superiority leading to dismissiveness.

    Between people of knowledge in a given area, however, a greater latitude of combativeness should be allowed. Thus if you’re an expert in statistics and come here you can be allowed to be a little crusty if you have something to complain about what Steve M or one of the other stat’s guys say, but if you’re going to do so, you’d better be prepared to back up your expertise with something more than knowing how to link to someone else. Either come with your reputation showing or be prepared to demonstrate your abilities.

    I.e. if Dr. Mann were to come here in his own name, I’d say he and Steve M could have a knock-down drag-out fight with expletitives undeleted but if you can’t handle the maths, better to be polite.

  221. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    bender, this is why I have been in school (college) off and on for 20 years now. I keep telling myself that it will end some day, but I know it won’t. :)

    Mark

  222. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:25 AM | Permalink

    210:

    Thank you for taking the time in making the graph, FO. I linked a similar in the #200 reply.

    220:

    Oops – yield/ha rate decreasing (raw data to audit). Apologies. I’ve ingested additional caffeine as penance.

    Best,

    D

  223. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    re: #225, Shirley, you jest!

    John A asks to be shown “where” yields are declining and you (mockingly) take him literally and present a crop outlook showing the areas where crop yields are declining this year. Sigh!

  224. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    227:

    No. Reread my reply.

    HTH,

    D

  225. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:12 PM | Permalink

    #188, Tom

    “Is the SA article a fair representaion of the report or is it is now called political spin. An incovenient truth is hdownplayed to promote a poltical goal.”

    I surprised that no one has privied Tom G with a reply to his questions about the SA article yet. I presume it ha sbeen misse dso far.

    Anyone prepared to step up to the plate?

    KevinUK

  226. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:15 PM | Permalink

    Dano, a local observation in one sector in one year is very far from being a global, sector-wide trend. But I know you know that already – because you listen to Dr. bender – so why do you play games like this – pretending to have something relevant to present, when in fact you don’t? The Dr. orders more caffeine for you …

  227. cbone
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:21 PM | Permalink

    Top Secret: From the Hockey Team Playbook… ;)

    THE FINAGLE FACTOR
    (Sometimes called the SWAG(Scientific Wild-Assed Guess) Constant)

    That quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to, or
    subtracted from the answer which you got, yields the answer you
    should have gotten.

    [note] Items such as ‘Finagle’s Constant’ and the more subtle ‘Bougerre
    Factor’ are loosely grouped, in mathematics, under constant
    variables, or, if you prefer, variable constants.

    Finagle’s Constant, a multiplier of the zero-order term, may be
    characterized as changing the universe to fit the equation.

    The Bougerre (pronounced ‘bugger’) Factor is characterized as changing the
    equation to fit the universe. It is also known as the ‘Soothing Factor';
    mathematically similar to the damping factor, it has the characteristic
    of dropping the subject under discussion to zero importance.

    A combination of the two, the Diddle Coefficient, is characterized as
    changing things so that universe and equation appear to fit without
    requiring a change in either.

  228. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #192: Barney Frank,
    Read as much of the material on this blog as you can stomach. The problem, in a nutshell, is that key scientists are loathe to make their data and methods available for a full and proper review. This means that interested auditers are forced to second-guess as to what the data and methods really are. This, unfortuantely, leaves a lot of room for multiple interpretations of the data. Basically, there is a core group of scientists who argue that they do not have to “open up the books” because they are honest people who know what they’re doing. The problem is that their methods have, bit by bit, been revealed to lack statistical credibility and robustness.

  229. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:27 PM | Permalink

    229:

    Dano, a local observation in one sector in one year…games…pretending…[yada etc.]

    Sigh…

    Let me repost, doc, the links from #225 that relate to the change in global grain production and the raw data to check the chart for yourself, note the mouseover titles so no one else gets confused. Also note w- and I discussed above the dcrs in total arable land ha (for which I provided linky):

    1. , 2.,

    I thank everyone for their continued attention to this matter.

    Best,

    D

  230. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:34 PM | Permalink

    Re #192
    And … given that it would cost billions of dollars and many decades to “redo” (or replicate) all this work (paleoclimatology, climatology, physical modeling, GCMs), does it not make sense to audit existing data collection, analysis & interpretation procedures? Already, many mistakes have been found. How many more are there?

  231. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #229

    I thank everyone for their continued attention to this matter

    You are trying our patience with these redundant postings and redundant links of yours. We saw them the first time. I will not bother to repeeat my #229, which is as relevant now as it was 20 minutes ago.

  232. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:42 PM | Permalink

    Re #232 Dano, why the need to quote selectively from my #229? You know JMS gets upset about intellectual honesty when entire clauses from sentences are missing in a quote. He’ll be on you shortly, I’m sure.

  233. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:54 PM | Permalink

    re 230: My fraternity brother used to refer to this as Ron’s constant (he used his last name, which would not be prudent for me to divulge). Ron’s constant was defined as “any number you have to add to, subtract from or multiply with your answer to get the answer in the back of the book.”

    Mark

  234. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    234:

    Yes, you didn’t check all of my links and misunderstood my reply. As you say, how many more are there?

    Anyway, hence my unpleasant, uncomfortable redundancy. Just to be clear, had you understood my correction in comment #225, there’d be no need for your continued valuable participation.

    235:

    I cut down your words to illustrate your point more succinctly. Do you disagree that you wished to paint me as tendentious or having irrelevancies in commenting? If not, why the adjectives?

    Best,

    D

  235. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    And Dano, your editorializing in #232 is unbecoming. If my “yada etc” is deemed by readers to be excessively boring or irrelevant, recognize: it is only in response to YOUR posts, which are loaded with links to ad nauseum “yada etc”.

  236. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #237
    My apologies. But of course I misunderstood your reply in #225! #227 is hardly an apology: “re-read my reply”. That’s an order, not an apology! When I goof up I say exactly that, in order to prevent further misunderstanding.

  237. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    239:

    Thank you bender.

    Now that you understand my reply in #225, how do you feel about the change in the slope in world grain production and how it relates to my discussion above wrt future projections and their effects?

    What about the other links that support my assertions, contra some arguments here (despite my ad nauseum request for specifics)?

    Best,

    D

  238. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:19 PM | Permalink

    Re #240
    What “change in slope”? As I just explained in #229:

    a local observation in one sector in one year is very far from being a global, sector-wide trend

    To be clear, let me now add: a local observation in one sector in two years is very far from being a global, sector-wide trend

    We are getting nowhere, maybe because you do not understand what a slope is (just as Bloom did not understand what sampling error is). Dano, how are you going to estimate a slope from two data points? Why don’t you go ask some of your favorite trusted experts in dendrochronology. Or JMS. I am not going to do your homework for you.

  239. John A
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:29 PM | Permalink

    Dano wrote:

    Sigh…

    Human population growing, arable land not. Yield/ha decreasing. Need more land.

    I wrote:

    Can you demonstrate where the yield per area of arable land is decreasing? I was under the very strong assumption that yield had been steadily rising.

    Dano’s reply:

    Oops – yield/ha rate decreasing (raw data to audit). Apologies. I’ve ingested additional caffeine as penance.

    With reference to world grain production increasing at a linear rate of knots, and short term fluctuations which are related to weather over the course of a single year.

    There was nothing at all about his statement that yields were falling requiring more arable land, but that short-term rates fluctuate with annual weather. Well duh!

    By the way Dano, the 1970s called. They want their “population bomb” and “billions to starve” scare stories back.

  240. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:43 PM | Permalink

    241:

    Dano, how are you going to estimate a slope from two data points?

    Again, thank you bender for the valuable contribution to our discussion of the methodology of future projections and their effects wrt global change.

    Now, to your serious question: to which, um, two data points do you mean? Do you mean from 1950-1960 (or any two of the 8 years in between), or, say, 1970-1990 (or any two of the 8 years in between), or maybe 1990-…ah, well.

    Best,

    D

  241. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    242:

    To be clear,

    o the ‘rate’ link had falling rate of production.

    o I have already provided a queryable link for w- and I to discuss wrt expansion of arable land (someone is unhappy about all the untidy redundancies, so I therefore provide a different link).

    o But to be nice, here’s plain text that describes the decrease

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade, due in part to changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices) and poorly functioning markets and infrastructure, but also due to reduced growth in agricultural research (Wood et al., 2000; Pingali and Heisey, 2001). (While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    (references omitted) [pg 10, 2nd column, compare with pop growth rate worldwide during that time vs ag land expansion - again, new link so no untidy redundancies]

    HTH,

    D

  242. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    The Dano character is nonsensical to me, asking questions in response to questions.

    In #243 he asks “Which two data points?” in response to question #241 “What change in slope?”. Dano-character, quit playing games, and answer your own question. What “change in slope” are you referring to in #240?

    If the Dano character replies like a robotic moron, which I know he isn’t, then this will be my last post in the exchange. Bender does not reply to fictional robotic characters.

  243. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    245:

    What “change in slope” are you referring to in #240?

    The visible one from 1990-2000.

    HTH,

    D

  244. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    re#240

    I’m not sure if you’re more obnoxious or condescending? But I’ll play along a moment. Your graph has a downtrend the last couple of years. If you run a straight-edge along the graph starting at the beginning then the graph to the recent peak is slightly concave upward, while if you place it on the most recent date it’s slightly convex upward. Neither is significant in the least. What you think it proves and why, I have not the slightest idea and only a clinical interest in knowing. I say clinical as it might help me settle the dilemma from my first sentence.

    Personally I suspect you’re trying out a version of the old “How do you hold a turkey in suspense?” joke.

  245. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    247:

    Thank you Dave.

    See my blockquote in 244. The grain production growth rate is now the same as pop. growth. That has caused much analysis and R&D activity, as we have 3B more mouths to feed by 2050, requiring 1B ha more land and the resultant environmental effects.

    Best,

    D

  246. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #247 Possibly. In which case, the joke’s on me. Ha ha. The other possibility is he’s a spambot wasting bandwidth trying to draw attention to an unrelated issue that is important to him. In which case he should be banned.

    Re #246 I could ask “what visible trend 1990-2000?”, but I refuse to play any longer. This appears to be an endless regress.

  247. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:32 PM | Permalink

    Dano,

    Why would you expect grain growth to be faster than population growth? Have you ever heard of markets? Despite the gloomsters wailing, the fact is that there’s plenty of food available for the world’s population. In the developed world, of course, the problem is obesity, not starvation. And in the undeveloped world the problem is a combination of transportation and politics.

    You might have noticed in your second link in #225 which you didn’t repeat in # 232, there was a headline about China reducing soybean production because of low prices. Markets work that way, even in a pseudo/quasi/ market economy like China’s. As Bender, Willis, and others have been trying to pound into your skull, there’s plenty of food production capability. Prices will determine how quickly they come on-line.

  248. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:35 PM | Permalink

    249:

    Ah, yes: that tactic. I appreciate that, bender. Anyway,

    Now that you understand my reply in #225, stating the production rate is decreasing, how do you feel about the change in the slope in world grain production and how it relates to our wider discussion above wrt future projections and their effects on global change (meaning there are multiple factors involved in adaptation and mitigation, which is, like, totally, like, germane to the implicit argument in the post)?**

    What about the other links that support my assertions, contra some arguments here (despite my ad nauseum request for specifics)?

    Best,

    D

    ** How is the data quality for auditing? Is it reproduceable enough?

  249. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ while you clearly know a lot about many subjects, you don’t know what you’re talking about here. Before, you were worried that consumption would outstrip production … say what? Now you claim that yields are decreasing.

    Here’s the facts:

    Note that only treenuts have shown any decline, and that decline reversed in about 1995. Yield has continued to increase for every other commodity.

    Also, DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ you seem to be worried about running out of agricultural land, which means you haven’t done your homework. Let me repeat my earlier quote:

    The amount of land under cultivation has not been increasing much in the last decade, but clearly, you don’t understand the reason why it has not increased. It’s because we don’t need it to. In some countries, such as the US, huge amounts of what used to be cropland (when production was much less efficient) have been removed from cultivation. US cropland peaked in1981, and has dropped almost 20% since then. We’ve taken more cropland out of production than the total cropland of Israel. More than the total cropland of Gabon. Or of Sierra Leone. Or of Kuwait, or Oman, or Mauritius, or Bhutan, or Congo, or Mauritania, or Jamaica, or Lebanon, or Lesotho, or Liberia, or Papua New Guinea, or New Zealand, or Switzerland, or Costa Rica, or Jordan, or Panama …

    In fact, the US has taken more cropland out of production that the cropland of all of those countries combined

    Nor is there a shortage of unfarmed cropland in the world. The key document for this is the GAEZ study done by the UN. It shows, for example, that there is as much unfarmed cropland (land suitable for rainfed agriculture) in Africa as there is farmed cropland in Europe. There’s as much unfarmed cropland in South America as there is farmed cropland in North America. And there’s enough unfarmed cropland in the Sudan alone to feed all of Africa … don’t believe me? Look it up … http://www.fao.org/ag/agl/agll/gaez/index.htm, you’re not a serious player in this field unless you’ve read this study.

    Let me sum up:

    1) Yields are not decreasing

    2) Cropland is not in short supply

    3) People are better fed now than at any time in history. Here’s the figures on that:

    Note that even the people in the Least Developed Countries are eating more now than ten years ago.

    4) Fertilizer use, both per hectare and per calorie of food produced, is dropping steadily. Here’s the figures on that:

    In short, the rumors of the world’s death have been greatly exaggerated. DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ you’re swimming upstream on this one.

    w.

  250. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 2:49 PM | Permalink

    Steve M, can we please ban Dano for excessive parasitism? He appears* to be (nominally) studying human blogging behavior and is contributing nothing of substance to the discussion.

    Dano, it is a trivial observation that confronting time-constrained people with text that says one thing and graphics that say another is extremely annoying to any intelligent person. Good luck in your research. It looks pathetic, but I could be wrong. Let us know if and when any of it gets published.

    *That is the generous interpretation. What he may be attempting to do is creatively bumping us off of #223. Of course, he probably doesn’t really know what he’s doing. Probably just poking a blog with a stick, like some 5-year-old.

  251. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Along the lines of this discusion (and I agree 100% (per usual) with Willis and Bender). I just re-watched Penn&Teller’s Bullsh*t episode on organic food. One thing I particuar liked about the episode is that they singled out Norman Borlock and credited him as being the greatest person ever (directly saying better than the likes of Einstein and Ghandi) having saved an estimated 1 Billion people over the years, through modification of crops and growing techniques.

    For any interested in this discusion I highly recomend this episode. You can find it at video.google.com (Search Penn and Teller). Excellent show, and they also do one on Climate change. More entertaining than scientific, and lots of harsh language, but I think they do a good job of presenting the issue in 30 minutes.

  252. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Willis, Dano only knows the minimum required to keep his blog-behavior studies in experimental psychology running. As soon as his ignorance in an area is exposed, he moves on. Ignore him.

    Dano, if you’re so damned superior, then why don’t you do a proper job of it? It might actually be interesting to do a formal study of blogging behavior. I’m sure you get a kick out of playing the godly part of the experimenter, but my hunch is you’re nothing but a hack. Experimental psychology is as challenging a field as climatology, and a hack like you would quickly be exposed.

  253. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    #252 Willis,

    This is exactly in line with my comments. Presumably those data were available to Tilman et al. at the time they wrote their paper. So if the yield is increasing linearly, then they should also have presumed that the trend will continue. This would have as a consequence that the amount of crop land is likely to decrease, since population growth will be less than in the past 50 years. As for fertilizers, if the use per calorie produced is in a down trend, then they would have had to predict a continuation of that trend, and therefore a decrease in the use of fertilizer. My guess is that they deliberately avoided to make such a fine (!) analysis. I knew that climate science was prone to publishing pamphlet-type papers, but I had not realized that environmental sciences were just as bad! Shame on Science for publishing such garbage!

  254. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    RE#244: So the text explanation you provided says:

    (1) “changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices)” – ie, not enough demand to support production…shouldn’t prices be high and rising if population growth were generating a demand that was threatening production/supply?
    (2) “poorly functioning markets and infrastructure” – ie, correctable issues
    (3) “reduced growth in agricultural research” – ie, drop in demand in research…shouldn’t there be a huge increase with all of this “analysis and R&D activity,” the fact we are barely able to keep food production in line with population growth, etc?

    I’m not sure where in that text we are to be struck with fear. In fact, I think items #1 and #3 suggest otherwise.

    Re#248:

    The grain production growth rate is now the same as pop. growth.

    Maybe so. But let’s look at a graph comparing the growth rates instead of just talking about “3B more mouths to feed by 2050.” Here’s Aug 2006 world population projection growth rates through 2050, courtesy of the US Census Bureau. Note that the global growth rate is also decreasing and projected to do so at a slightly accelerating rate. Even Table 2 of this linkie you so kindly provided suggests human population growth rates will slow dramatically. So what’s wrong with a slowing of growth in grain production?

    Of course, your linkie used projections done back in 1993-1994. The latest US Census Bureau estimate reduces the 2050 projection by a half billion or so – 17% of our supposed 2050 food shortage is solved right there. It looks like those full 3B won’t be added for another 20 yrs or so more after 2050. Aren’t you relieved? And compared to your chart of historical grain production at this linkie, the historical population trend seems right in line.

    All you seem to have is a strong case of Ehrlichea. The tick-borne affliction in dogs is treatable by a vet, but the human form of the disease has no known cure nor cause.

  255. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:19 PM | Permalink

    Oh, and Dano, the reason I say that you are a hack is because a good experimenter would do everything possible to preserve the integrity of his experiments. Your tone of superiority, however, ruins the experiment by revealing what your game is.

    While you are playing games of psychology, the rest of us – even Bloom, bless his under-educated, over-argumentative soul – are trying to figure out what the heck is happening on this planet.

    Here is blogger behaviour #144 for you: Get lost! And here is #145: May you be forever ignored, if not banned, from this site!

  256. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    bender – I’d suggest that you don’t bother rising to the bait. If Dano has the last word, so be it.

  257. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Re#252, How did we ever live through that decline in treenut yields from 1960-1990? I’d like to be able to tell that story to my grandkids someday. I can’t believe that story took a backseat to the Cold War, fall of the Berlin Wall, etc.

  258. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:32 PM | Permalink

    I understand that I need to resist rising to the bait. But how to do that, and respond to the ricidulous claim – which Dano seemed to be making, based on his graphs – that two data points, 2005-06 and 2006-07, constitute a trend? In the scientific world we are used to dealing with intelligent, sentient people who agree to deal in facts, fact-based interpretations, and well-accepted rules for debate. I have little capacity for coping with robotic caricatures who deal in fictions and false logic. I was not born to blog, I guess.

  259. L Nettles
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    Each August since 1998, as faculty prepare for the academic year, Beloit College in Wisconsin has released the Beloit College Mindset List. A creation of Beloit’s Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it looks at the cultural touchstones that have shaped the lives of today’s first-year students.

    According to McBride, this year’s entering students form “a generation that has always been “connected’ and is used to things happening in “real time,’ like live satellite coverage of revolutions and wars, instant messaging and movies on demand. They expect solutions for every problem, from baldness to diseased organs. To the chagrin of teachers and parents, they’ve developed their own generational means of communication.”

    From this year’s list.

    71. The U.S. has always been studying global warming to confirm its existence.

    Unlike today’s college Freshmen I’m old enough to remember The Coming Ice Age.

  260. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:40 PM | Permalink

    Remember? Coming? Around here I don’t think it’s broke 75 in August, Nightime tempratures have been hovering in the low 60s, dipping into the 50s. It’s not often that I have to make sure I have a jacket handy in AUgust.

    I think it’s here.

  261. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #262, Ah yes, a blast from the past. There’s even plenty of Ehrlichea in the article:

    …In England, farmers have seen their growing season decline by about two weeks since 1950, with a resultant overall loss in grain production estimated at up to 100,000 tons annually…Meteorologists think that they can forecast the short-term results of the return to the norm of the last century. They begin by noting the slight drop in overall temperature that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperate areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of local weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, delayed monsoons and even local temperature increases — all of which have a direct impact on food supplies…”The world’s food-producing system,” warns Dr. James D. McQuigg of NOAA’s Center for Climatic and Environmental Assessment, “is much more sensitive to the weather variable than it was even five years ago.” Furthermore, the growth of world population and creation of new national boundaries make it impossible for starving peoples to migrate from their devastated fields, as they did during past famines…

    Combined with the decrease in treenut yields, how did we ever survive?

  262. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    252:

    Excellent reply willis. I must say that comments are most enjoyable to read, even if’n I may disagree with one or two now and then. ;o)

    First, let me address your

    the rumors of the world’s death have been greatly exaggerated. Danàƒⶬ you’re swimming upstream on this one.

    I have neither claimed nor implied no such thing. I have said there is a lot of work to do in the future to ameliorate environmental effects – I have not said it can’t be done. I’ve seen no one contradicting me on this ‘effects’ assertion, yet it is implicitly wielded here in the past two days that I claim ‘death’. Perhaps you, yourself, do not believe this and merely presume the others that claim this are correct.

    Now,

    Your very first sentence contains no contradiction. Consumption is very close to outstripping production, as the declining surplus grain stocks show, and I’ve shown multiple times that production rates are decreasing, as indeed your first (nice) chart shows wrt world grain production (the others are hi-value products in niche markets). My concern is the lack of progress in halting the decline, as stated in my b-quote in #244.

    you seem to be worried about running out of agricultural land, which means you haven’t done your homework. Let me repeat my earlier quote [deleted]

    You’ll recall I addressed this in 219. I have no problem with expanding ag land. I have a problem with future absorptive capacity, which I addressed in 219, and the effects of added NPK/pesticides, for which I provided a citation and no one has provided alternate projections stating my original is off base (but indeed I have pointed out that other scholars think the original is low in N).

    Replying to your summation:

    1) The rates are decreasing, as in b-quote in 244. The thread has been for 2050 projections wrt to implicit assertions in a paper (impicitly that linear trends are insufficient for future projections).
    2) The thread has been for 2050 projections wrt to implicit assertions in a paper.
    3) Yes. As stated in 219, this is due to added protein intake from meat. This is a standard indicator for many things: rising income, distribution of infrastructure, etc. The thread, however, has been for 2050 projections wrt to implicit assertions in a paper.
    4) Well, there is a diminishing returns law on NPK application, and having had little ag land expansion this decrease in application is expected – it wouldn’t be economical to continue to increase application if there is no benefit. The thread, however, has been for 2050 projections wrt to implicit assertions in a paper and their environmental effects.

    In short, the thread has been about the year 2050 and what will the environmental implications be with the addition of more NPK/pesticide needed to farm 1B ha more land? Your data certainly can be used to figger what is needed for the year 2050 and may yet prove invaluable in our discussion here of future impacts wrt climate.

    Thank you, again, willis for the stimulating comment thread. Would that there were more like this!

    Best,

    D

  263. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:51 PM | Permalink

    Dano,
    I asked you a couple of civil questions and you gave a couple of civil replies, but they were not convincing and not really even on point.
    I hope that your analyses of agricultural production sans any apparent understanding of economic incentives and disincentives is an isolated affliction in your field. Apparently Julian Simon’s humiliation of Erlich had no effect.

    But worst of all is your constant invocation of “sigh” “ah, well” and “ummm” when “answering” legitimate questions. They tend to discredit any point you are trying to make. Sort of a self-inflicted ad hominem. I have found that critics who come here and are respectful are treated respectfully. Those who incessantly sigh over the blockheadedness of everyone else here are repaid according to their works, as they should be.

  264. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 3:58 PM | Permalink

    256:

    This is exactly in line with my comments. Presumably those data were available to Tilman et al. at the time they wrote their paper. So if the yield is increasing linearly, then they should also have presumed that the trend will continue.

    FO, the issue is that you haven’t shown that the scholarship (that would have appeared in your Review) shows that all the indicators have different numbers than Tilman et al (e.g. aren’t ‘alarmist’).

    That is: you claimed ‘alarmist’, so where are the Panglossian projections to back your claim? I’m just asking for one, not a 1000 word review. Where is the scholarship with the better-calculated new number for increased eutrophication and resultant lower fish catch?

    I have no problem in saying the paper is weak (since I’ve linked a paper that shows their N Mg number projection may be low), but I’m merely asking you to back your assertion with some evidence, that’s all.

    Best,

    D

  265. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    267:

    I hope that your analyses of agricultural production sans any apparent understanding of economic incentives and disincentives is an isolated affliction in your field. Apparently Julian Simon’s humiliation of Erlich had no effect.

    Thank you Barney. Ouchie, as I’ve meet Paul (my grad advisor was a student of his) & have discussed this bet with him & his subsequent declined bet using additional resource indicators.

    But the point of the thread (hard to keep OT, I know) has been methodology for future projection, and does anyone have a number or grasp of the scholarship to show the paper is weak? So far, no. So, wrt the economic incentives and future projections of impacts of LU/LC changes and NPK/fert application, that hasn’t really come up yet except when I mentioned the N thing decreasing in willis’ comment (I hope this demonstrates rudimentary understanding of AgEcon). We’ve been discussing (with high S/N) about methodology and haven’t really gotten to economics.

    But worst of all is your constant invocation of “sigh” “ah, well” and “ummm” when “answering” legitimate questions. They tend to discredit any point you are trying to make.

    Yes, the point I’m making is how conclusions are made in this comment thread, then distributed as assumed valid. Certainly the point you make is a good one, as I could dial back on the reciprocity to add clarity and lower bandwidth costs to Steve’s site admin.

    Best,

    D

  266. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    If Dano is a role character designed to gather information resources together and get people focused on analysing particular data sets, then, fine, he should take care to avoid making ridiculous or nonsensical claims and provocative remarks that could distract from that effort. In the future I will not be replying directly to Dano’s posts because of his love of rhetoric, semantic debate, and gratuitous editorializing. If I have something substantial & material to contribute to the thread, I will – but no one should take my lack of commentary on his posts as approving of anything he says. (As others have pointed out, that tone of superiority is off-putting, even in a role character. I’m not interested in refuting a role character who writes with the tone of a hack. I have nothing to gain from that.)

  267. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:25 PM | Permalink

    269:

    [Dano] should take care to avoid making ridiculous or nonsensical claims

    Perhaps bender can show one?

    Best,

    D

  268. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    as I could dial back on the reciprocity to add clarity and lower bandwidth costs to Steve’s site admin.

    Dano, I think the problem is you’re just a smart ass. But, unlike some others here, you seem to be a relatively good natured one so I guess I’ll drop the subject.

  269. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps someone else can? [Hint: "visible trend 1990-2000" referred to in #246 and previous.] Not sure what exact words Dano is trying to put in my mouth, but let someone else say it. This game stinks.

  270. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Barney Frank, did you see #231?

  271. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    bender, you’re wasting your time on Dan0. He’s just playing with you. I do note that he failed to / overlooked my last remarks to him (#250). I think it’s fairly clear he’s not into market economics. Consequently the changes in production in response to demand are a complete mystery to him. I think the best thing to do, as Steve M suggests, is to let him have a last word and move on to (back to), something productive.

  272. Dano
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 4:59 PM | Permalink

    272:

    Not sure what exact words Dano is trying to put in my mouth,

    Words that back your claim that [Dano] should take care to avoid making ridiculous or nonsensical claims.

    That is: Dano claims x. x is ridiculous.

    x = ?

    Should be easy to show, I imagine.

    Best,

    D

  273. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 5:11 PM | Permalink

    Re #274
    Dave, at first I thought Dano was just playing with me. But now I think he’s trying to play me. Trying to get me (or, if necessary, someone else) to refute an argument by making a very specific counter-statement about recent trends in agricultural production. I won’t play.

    Re #275
    Yes, it is easy to show. Let someone else rise to the bait. The hint as to what x is is in #272. [You're smart, Dano. Can you draw for us the graph showing the visible trend in 1990-2000? Can someone else help Dano?]

  274. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    OK,

    Starting from #148, shorter Dano:

    “Does anyone have any scholarship*,*,*,*,*,*,*,*,*,*,*,* that disagrees with the projections in this paper? Hello? Hello?

    [Thank you JMS in 206 but I don't want to cause anyone any trouble by my endorsement]

    Best,

    D

  275. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 5:38 PM | Permalink

    25 minutes and no reply to a simple yes/no question in #276:

    Dano, can you draw for us the graph?

    Not sure exactly what Dano’s game is, but it smells fishy. He knows the answer; he just wants someone else with more credibility than him to say it. His bait is unattractive to me, however. Anyone else?

  276. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    276:

    The hint as to what x is is in #272. [Dano[, c]an you draw for us the graph showing the visible trend in 1990-2000?

    The slope is decreasing, as I said numerous times and finally capitulated and spelled out in the b-quote in 244:

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade, due in part to changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices) and poorly functioning markets and infrastructure, but also due to reduced growth in agricultural research (Wood et al., 2000; Pingali and Heisey, 2001). (While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    If you have evidence that this statement is ridiculous or nonsensical in this thread wrt my assertions that world grain production rates are decreasing**, please share, or try another example.

    [The b-quote link herein is an excellent primer for the concerns surrounding this excellent thread and the paper in 277 for those who wish to address my issue in 277 {full report}].

    Best,

    D

    **http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=789#comment-43354 — not sure why this wouldn’t show.

  277. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    Finally! But Dano, that is not a graph, that is a link to an 11p document. And it was not cited until #244. Whereas my complaint arose in response to #225/#226 etc. At that point you appeared to be making an inference of a trend based on two years worth of observations – which you know you can’t do.

    Now you appear to be referring to Fig 3.1 in the cited document, or are you?

    In the future you are going to have to be more specific if you expect succinct responses. You see the endless problems you cause in posting multiple links to large documents, redundant postings, irrelevant links, and your continual circumlocution? It is hard to refute an argument that is everywhere at once. No one’s got the time to go through all that. If you present a coherent argument, then that is something that can be focused on in a productive way.

    Do you want to be ignored? Because that is what people are suggesting I do.

  278. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:09 PM | Permalink

    Re #280 I meant Fig 2.1, not 3.1.

  279. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    re:#279

    If you have evidence that this statement is ridiculous or nonsensical in this thread wrt my assertions that world grain production rates are decreasing**, please share

    A world grain production rate would be measured in bushels per year, for instance. What you’ve shown is the the increase in production rates has slowed. That would be measured in bu./yr/yr. So your claim that production rates are decreasing is untrue, whether it’s ridiculous or nonsensical notwithstanding.

  280. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #282
    Dano, show us the graph for this assertion of a decreasing 1990-2000 trend in agricultural productivity. You say it’s visible. I want to see it, and it alone. Because now it appears you may be talking about some other graph entirely than the ones you linked to in #279 – a graph that possibly uses the wrong units. (Now you see why I ask to see the graph?)

  281. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:28 PM | Permalink

    280, 281:

    The request is for evidence that this particular ‘decreasing’ statement is ridiculous or nonsensical in this thread wrt my assertions that world grain production rates are decreasing (in response to a general request for evidence that I make ridiculous or nonsensical asssertions).

    If you have any such evidence, I’d like you to please share it with others.

    Do you want to be ignored? Because that is what people are suggesting I do.

    The thread diverged from Steve’s topic to a related subtopic, started by my statement: I, personally – having an ecological education – think there are multiple factors driving global change in addition to GHGs.

    Sadly, it’s run on so long due to my quest to have anyone provide a number in support of an assertion that the paper’s numbers are a standard marginalization term (alas, still to no avail). If you have nothing substantive to add to this particular thread, I’d prefer to be ignored, in order to help in my futile quest for someone to find a number (this doesn’t count any evidence you may have per above).

    Best regards sir,

    D

  282. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:37 PM | Permalink

    Show the graph.

  283. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:42 PM | Permalink

    282:

    So your claim that production rates are decreasing is untrue, whether it’s ridiculous or nonsensical notwithstanding.

    (surely cross-posted, see b-quote in 279)

    283:

    I don’t have a homepage to graph it, àƒ➠la willis. I linked to the raw data above to audit. You can straight-edge it and see the slope decadally.

    If someone wants to ‘splain how I do a trendline for a particular period in .xls, I’ll do it & report it. Otherwise, plz refer to b-qoute in 279 for judgement on ridiculousness.

    Best,

    D

  284. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:44 PM | Permalink

    Paste the data values.

  285. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 6:45 PM | Permalink

    And state the precise source.

  286. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 7:01 PM | Permalink

    re #273,

    Yes bender I saw #231. I am aware of and have been for some time the shenanigans going on in climate science. I face the same agenda driven ‘science’ regarding endangered species in my line of work. Unlike JMS it is my belief that a sharp person can grasp the basic nature of a discipline pretty quickly. Not all the details and nuances by any stretch, but enough to know who’s got a strong argument and who couldn’t hit a bull in the ass with a handful of wheat.
    My comment regarding Dano is that he is relatively good natured. There are others who are not and I fully understand your exasperation with them and even the seemingly chameleon-like arguments of Dano.
    I’m a patient sort of chap and am confident that the acidity directed toward critics of the consensus means its props are wobbly. I also find a certain honor in not responding in kind to trolls.

  287. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 7:04 PM | Permalink

    287-88:

    I gotta get work done here, 15 more mins:

    1960s: y = 31.085x + 755.3
    1970s: y = 36.667x + 1059.1
    1980s: y = 21.861x + 1447.7
    1990s: y = 18.23x + 1693.3

    This was the easiest dataset I could find without downloading big .xls (FAOSTAT) and sorting.

    Best,

    D

  288. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 7:31 PM | Permalink

    Re #290
    1. Those aren’t data values. They appear to be regression curves.
    2. You’ve linked yet again to a document containing a dozen or so figures. Just paste the annual data values on which your original assertion of a trend is based.
    3. Was any of this material in #290 presented prior to #225? I don’t think so.

  289. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Re:#286
    Dano, I don’t get it. Dave is right in post #282.
    You claim your block quote in #279 supports an assertion that production rates are decreasing. However, the blockquote in #279 says the opposite: “While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950…”
    Let’s break it down.
    “Production rate” is equivalent to “yield”. So, according to *your* post, “production rates” are increasing. They are not increasing as quickly as in the past, but are still increasing.

  290. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 7:51 PM | Permalink

    last one tonite, quickly:

    291:

    1. I plotted slopes of lines for trendline
    2. tbl: World Grain Production, Total and Per Person, 1950-2006.
    3. Yes, I’ve linked the resultant chart, in 225 (rate linky), which is what the data in 2. look like.

    292:

    “Production rate” is equivalent to “yield”

    per b-quote:

    “While yield growth rates have been declining” they still “have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion”

    So, yes, we are saying the same thing. My assertion numerous times above is that the growth rate has slowed down. Mr Jankowski asks the question in 257 ‘why is that a bad thing’.

    Best,

    D

  291. Armand MacMurray
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    Re:#293

    So, yes, we are saying the same thing. My assertion numerous times above is that the growth rate has slowed down.

    Thanks for finally clarifying. You’ll understand everyone’s confusion, as you never asserted that *production growth rates* were decreasing, but rather asserted that “production rates” were decreasing (e.g. “my assertions that world grain production rates are decreasing” from #279). A bit more effort put into proofreading your statements would help greatly in reducing the unproductive clutter here.

  292. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:13 PM | Permalink

    Now, Dano, show me the downward trend in these USDA numbers you cite for world grain production, millions of tons. You say it is “visible”. I can’t see it. Show me.
    1950 631
    1951 655
    1952 680
    1953 705
    1954 730
    1955 759
    1956 773
    1957 788
    1958 802
    1959 815
    1960 824
    1961 800
    1962 851
    1963 858
    1964 906
    1965 905
    1966 989
    1967 1,014
    1968 1,053
    1969 1,063
    1970 1,079
    1971 1,177
    1972 1,141
    1973 1,253
    1974 1,204
    1975 1,237
    1976 1,342
    1977 1,320
    1978 1,445
    1979 1,410
    1980 1,429
    1981 1,482
    1982 1,533
    1983 1,469
    1984 1,632
    1985 1,647
    1986 1,664
    1987 1,600
    1988 1,550
    1989 1,673
    1990 1,768
    1991 1,709
    1992 1,785
    1993 1,711
    1994 1,756
    1995 1,708
    1996 1,873
    1997 1,878
    1998 1,876
    1999 1,872
    2000 1,842
    2001 1,874
    2002 1,821
    2003 1,862
    2004 2,044
    2005 2,008
    2006 1,984

  293. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:21 PM | Permalink

    Re #294
    It’s not that either. He appears to be referring to the per capita rate of agricultural production, which is the ratio of two independent processes – growth in agricultural output and growth in world population:
    1950 250
    1951 255
    1952 260
    1953 265
    1954 270
    1955 275
    1956 275
    1957 276
    1958 275
    1959 275
    1960 272
    1961 259
    1962 271
    1963 268
    1964 277
    1965 271
    1966 290
    1967 292
    1968 297
    1969 293
    1970 292
    1971 312
    1972 296
    1973 319
    1974 301
    1975 304
    1976 324
    1977 313
    1978 337
    1979 323
    1980 322
    1981 328
    1982 333
    1983 314
    1984 343
    1985 340
    1986 338
    1987 319
    1988 304
    1989 322
    1990 335
    1991 319
    1992 328
    1993 309
    1994 313
    1995 300
    1996 324
    1997 321
    1998 316
    1999 312
    2000 303
    2001 304
    2002 292
    2003 295
    2004 320
    2005 311
    2006 303

    The anuual change in agricultural output is not, in fact, decreasing. It is neutral, albeit highly variable.

  294. jae
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:52 PM | Permalink

    Dano:

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade, due in part to changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices) and poorly functioning markets and infrastructure, but also due to reduced growth in agricultural research (Wood et al., 2000; Pingali and Heisey, 2001). (While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    The way I read this is that the production on 1 acre of land is increasing at a rate of 1.2 percent. It may have slowed from 1.25% ?? prior to ten years ago. But yields are increasing; this shows a continual increase in the ability of one acre to grow more food. 100 years, 120 percent more per acre. What the hell is wrong with that?

  295. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    1. Here are the trends:
    1983-2006 agricultural production rose by 18.7Mt/y.
    1983-2006 per capita production fell by 1.2 Mt/y.

    2. Why the difference? I suspect it’s the exponential (soon to be logistic?) trend in population growth.

    3. Dano should have clarified that his inferred trend was based on more than 20 years of data on per capita production, and not two years of data on raw production, as I had assumed from his graphs. This is the last time I ever deal with his circuitous method of arguing.

    4. Supporting analysis:

    Production:

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) -35551.38 3529.85 -10.07 1.06e-09 ***
    c(1983:2006) 18.72 1.77 10.57 4.33e-10 ***

    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ‘ 1

    Residual standard error: 60.02 on 22 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-Squared: 0.8356, Adjusted R-squared: 0.8281
    F-statistic: 111.8 on 1 and 22 DF, p-value: 4.326e-10

    Per capita production:

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) 2814.3697 645.5747 4.359 0.000251 ***
    c(1983:2006) -1.2526 0.3237 -3.870 0.000828 ***

    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ‘ 1

    Residual standard error: 10.98 on 22 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-Squared: 0.405, Adjusted R-squared: 0.378
    F-statistic: 14.98 on 1 and 22 DF, p-value: 0.0008278

  296. John Creighton
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:57 PM | Permalink

    The rate of per capita agricultural growth decreasing. I wonder if that is because the west doesn’t want to get any more obese. Lol.

  297. jae
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 8:58 PM | Permalink

    oops. It is better than that. It’s compounded. Where are my compound interest tables?

  298. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 9:05 PM | Permalink

    What is utterly ridiculous about the Dano character is his lofty tone. He makes confident statements about trends, but does not himself know how to do a regression analysis in Excel. He mocks people who criticize him, and yet is careless about the data he reports on. He asks for intelligent feedback on papers, but gives nothing in return. As I say … never again.

  299. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 9:35 PM | Permalink

    Dano, you’ve offered the following quote for our consideration

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade, due in part to changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices) and poorly functioning markets and infrastructure, but also due to reduced growth in agricultural research (Wood et al., 2000; Pingali and Heisey, 2001). (While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    Several comments about that. Let me say to start that my research agrees entirely with the numbers in that quote. My comments:

    First, and most important, is that “low and falling cereal prices” means one thing, and one thing only “¢’‚¬? an abundance of cereal grains on the world market. The price is low because we’re producing an excess, which of course drives the prices down.

    Second, as Dyson notes, global cereal yields have continued to rise … and continued to rise … and continued to rise. It turns out that for the last 50 years or so, cereal yields have increased by about 50 kg/Ha per year. This trend shows no sign of abating. References or graphs available on request.

    Third, since the increase has been linear, of course the increase as a percentage is gradually decreasing. Simple math. However, the rate of decrease (of the increase, remember) is also decreasing, since the absolute growth is constant.

    Fourth, as long as the fifty year trend of absolute increases continues, the increase as a percentage will never reach zero or go negative.

    w.

  300. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #302

    This trend shows no sign of abating.

    Willis, I think Dano was implying, with his map of European production, that this trend *is* showing signs of abating. (There he was arguing on the basis of one data point. Then he argued on the basis of the two data points, 2005 and 2006, in his time-series graph. Finally, he switched to arguing on the basis of 20+ data points, but by appealing to per capita production.)

  301. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:08 PM | Permalink

    Re: the map and time-series referred to in #303

    Look at Dano’s links to the words “yield” and “rate” in this statement, lifted from #225:

    yield/ha rate decreasing

    His argument was 100% incorrect and he spent the entire day dodging his error. And I appear to have wasted my time holding him to account.

  302. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 10:49 PM | Permalink

    1. Does all this mean that this statement:

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade [1990-2000 -D]… ([w]hile yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    is incorrect?

    2. And then the assertion that I made ridiculous statements (that I quoted from elsewhere that are government and business standard): how does that stand?

    3. Does anyone else see that someone is going on about 2+ data points (303) due to a non-clicking on a link, explained again in 232? (I can see that this has caused no little concern and I should apologize to Steve here – sorry, Steve)

    4. And, lastly, does any of this answer my call for “Does anyone have any scholarship that disagrees with the projections in this paper (the orginal point, I fear, has been lost)?

    5. 304: (again, we’ve discussed above where the data are for ha expansion – too late now but you haven’t shown ag acreage anywhere so you cannot make your claim).

    Best,

    D

  303. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:01 PM | Permalink

    1. annual production
    2. per capita annual production
    3. rate of change in annual production

    These are three different variables, which Dano has referred to interchangeably. Yet they are not synonymous. In fact, they represent such different things that they exhibit three different trends:
    1. increasing
    2. decreasing
    3. no trend

    If you are going to be that loose with your language and definitions, and yet adopt that superscilious a tone, you can expect to be taken to task.

  304. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:03 PM | Permalink

    302:

    Thank you willis. It’s late,

    First, and most important, is that “low and falling cereal prices” means one thing, and one thing only “¢’‚¬? an abundance of cereal grains on the world market. The price is low because we’re producing an excess, which of course drives the prices down.

    Yes. The surpluses are getting less and less, as traditionally stocks were kept higher. I linked a chart showing this above, too late to find it now. This shrinking surplus is now driving R&D in China, as they are consuming a larger share of the grain.

    Second, as Dyson notes, global cereal yields have continued to rise … and continued to rise … and continued to rise. It turns out that for the last 50 years or so, cereal yields have increased by about 50 kg/Ha per year. This trend shows no sign of abating. References or graphs available on request.

    Yes. Concern is over available land for planting and resultant effects of NPK/fert application on absorptive capacity of terrestrial ecosystems. Personally, I think too that NPK is expensive and some are lowering application, thus lowering yields (just a thought right now).

    BTW, FO in his review above hints at decrease in expansion in land conversion.

    Third, since the increase has been linear

    Some trends are linear. Thank you.

    In short, my attempt to keep the thread OT has been about the year 2050 (from the Tilman et al) and what will the environmental implications be with the addition of more NPK/pesticide needed to farm 1B ha more land?

    Your thoughts certainly can be used to foster discussion about what is needed for the year 2050 and may yet prove invaluable in our discussion here of future impacts of expanded ag wrt climate; this value can be seen in the R&D stimulated by this concern – you’re certainly on the right track in your analyses!

    Thank you, again, willis for the stimulating comment thread. Would that there were more like this!

    Best,

    D

  305. Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:14 PM | Permalink

    306:

    If you are going to be that loose with your language and definitions, and yet adopt that superscilious a tone, you can expect to be taken to task.

    Can you show where I used per capita production in the context of you trying to back your assertions (that is: in the way you say) that my assertions were ridiculous?

    [annual production…[interchangeable w/] rate of change in annual production…

    It is certainly possible I accidentally interchanged this once or twice. Can you show where – as in, say, 232 – I was presumably loose with the language (note again the chart and the raw data)?

    My point was – and certainly can be muddled by attempting to respond to most queries here – that the rate of production incrs was decreasing (thank you willis) and was not keeping pace with rate pop. incrs (as in 244), and the reduction in ag land expansion was of concern and has spurred new efforts to solve.

    Perhaps we can focus on that statement and whether that is ridiculous.

    Nighty-nite!

    D

  306. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #305
    If I’m missing something from one of your too-numerous, too-opaque links, Dano, it sure ain’t for lack of trying. For the record, I followed everything in #224+, including the posts you refer to here – the first time around. Never again though. It takes hours to debunk statements of yours that should take only minutes. No one has that kind of time. Good luck in your ‘quest’.

  307. McCall
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Looks like the thermodynamically naked lil’ emperor Dano forsakes clothing in his statistics too. It’s been a tough year for the life-science trolls…

  308. bender
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:26 PM | Permalink

    the rate of production incrs was decreasing

    I repeat:
    1. plot the graph
    2. post the data
    3. state the source
    4. be specific
    5. don’t bury it in multiple links to extraneous material

    Expect very slow response times and very low SNR when you consistently refuse to follow 1-5. You have only yourself to blame for this.

  309. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 29, 2006 at 11:48 PM | Permalink

    DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ you say:

    … does any of this answer my call for “Does anyone have any scholarship that disagrees with the projections in this paper (the orginal point, I fear, has been lost)?

    You have been offered a variety of scholarship that disagrees with the projections in the paper. The paper uses simpleminded linear extensions of trends which are by no means linear.

    I have shown, for example, that we are using less fertilizer to produce each calorie. The paper ignores that. That’s called “scholarship”, DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ I provided graphs and citations for the sources of the data. I will guarantee that you can’t poke a hole in my numbers, and you are more than welcome to try. It’s not rocket science, bro’, just go get the numbers, graph them, and think about what they mean.

    I have shown that we are feeding more and more people per hectare, a trend which truly is linear and which shows no sign of abating. This trend shows that their their projections of croplands needed are way, way too high.

    But that’s too vague, I suppose, so let me provide some final proof that the paper is full of bovine waste products.

    Heck, DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ let’s just look at the raw numbers. Work with me a moment here, I’ll show you math that even you can do, no scholarship needed.

    We currently have about 6.6 billion people in the world, and we feed them off of about 1.5 billion hectares of land. The paper you cite says the population will level off at about 9 billion people. That means we’ll need a little more than a third (9/6.6-1 = 36%) more food to feed those people.

    Now, let’s ignore the constant increase in yield, let’s say we all get stupid and we don’t improve our farming practices one bit, how much more land will we need to feed the additional people?

    That’s right, 36%. Now, that’s a maximum, because we actually are feeding more people per hectare every year, and yields are increasing every year, but we’ll use that as a maximum number for the new cropland needed, 36%. That works out to a little over half a billion hectares.

    Now. How much more cropland does your most scholastic paper say that we’ll need? Why, my goodness, they say that we’ll need another billion hectares of cropland, thats 66% more cropland than we have now, almost twice what we know to be the maximum needed …

    DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ you don’t need “scholarship” to demolish that paper … a high school student with a calculator could do it. Here’s the final nail in the coffin.

    We know we’ll need to feed an additional 2.4 billion people.

    So we notice that hey, we don’t need no steenkin’ projections, because we’ve got superb data on that question, we’ve already done this experiment before “¢’‚¬? we added 2.4 billion people to the earth during the period between 1973 and 2003.

    And how much cropland did we have to add to do that? A billion acres like they say? A half billion acres, like we’ve calculated should be the maximum?

    Actually, DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶬ we fed the addional 2.4 billion people on a little more than a tenth of a billion hectares. And we’re getting better at it, so we can assume we’ll need less land next time …

    Their paper is garbage, DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶠ… their estimate of the land needed is too large by a factor of at least ten, we know that for a fact, we’ve done the experiment already.

    And since all of their other projections, their projections of pesticide use and fertilizer use and all the rest, are based on their wildly-overestimated numbers for the need for new arable land, the whole paper goes up in smoke …

    w.

  310. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:13 AM | Permalink

    Dano, it is not at all clear what you are talking about because your original quoted text refers to “yield growth”, in units of “percent per year” but then in later posts you drop the term “percentage”. Meanwhile none of the time-series data you’ve posted expresses production as a percentage. (What I do see there are weak decreasing trends for per capita production.) This, to me, looks like inconsistent terminology. If I’ve missed something critical, I apologize; but it is only because you keep on breaking rule #5.

    Willis has debunked your “decrease in percentage increase” as an artifact of arithemtic:

    since the increase has been linear, of course the increase as a percentage is gradually decreasing. Simple math.

    Not clear why you thank him for this. But he goes on to assert:

    However, the rate of decrease (of the increase, remember) is also decreasing, since the absolute growth is constant.

    You accept the latter unquestioningly. I’m not sure if this is a deduction based on data or a logical inference. Either way, I have simply asked you to show the data on which your assertion (echoed by Willis) is based. Why you won’t do that is utterly beyond me. Obfuscation to a degree I have never before witnessed.

    If I missed a critical datum in one of your opaque and cluttered posts, be a gentleman, and reproduce that bit for me?

  311. ET SidViscous
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:15 AM | Permalink

    “So we notice that hey, we don’t need no steenkin’ projections, because we’ve got superb data on that question, we’ve already done this experiment before “¢’‚¬? we added 2.4 billion people to the earth during the period between 1973 and 2003.”

    And as has been alluded to. Ehrlich made approximately the same kind of statements at the same time, I believe he also wrote a paper on it, it would be interesting to compare the two different works. He made the same alarmists statements about not having enough food to feed people.

    The experiment as you call it proved him wrong then too.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  312. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:33 AM | Permalink

    Looking at global trends in per capita production (production/population) may be misleading, as the population trends and production trends which go into that calculation are likely to vary quite a bit regionally. If production is increasing in the places where where population is decreasing (and vice versa) then you have a worsening distribution/inequity problem.

  313. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:36 AM | Permalink

    Re 313, Cap’n Viscous, good to hear from you. You note that I had said:

    However, the rate of decrease (of the increase, remember) is also decreasing, since the absolute growth is constant.

    You ask of DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶺ

    You [DanàƒÆ’à‚ⷝ accept the latter unquestioningly. I’m not sure if this is a deduction based on data or a logical inference. Either way, I have simply asked you to show the data on which your assertion (echoed by Willis) is based. Why you won’t do that is utterly beyond me. Obfuscation to a degree I have never before witnessed.

    Since DanàƒÆ’à‚ⶠhas larger problems than this, let me answer. It’s a simple fact of mathematics “¢’‚¬? if we add a constant amount to a quantity, the percentage increase is smaller with each addition, but will never reach zero.

    An example is probably the easiest way to demonstrate this. We start with say 100, and we add 10, giving us 110. This is an increase of (110/100-1), or 10%.

    But look what happens when we add another 10. We start with 110, we add 10, giving us 120. This is an increase of (120/110-1), or about a 9% increase …

    Similarly, adding another 10 gives us (130/120-1), or about an 8.3% increase. And with another addition of 10, we get a 7.7% increase

    Note the decrease with each addition. And more to the point you asked about above, notice that the first time it dropped about 1%. the second time, it decreased by 0.7%, and the third time, it decreased by 0.6%. The rate of the decrease is decreasing, as I said above.

    We will never reach zero in this way, however, for the obvious reasons.

    w.

  314. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:42 AM | Permalink

    Anyone finding any percentage-based production data in any links in any of Dano’s posts (such as this one), please advise me.

  315. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:51 AM | Permalink

    Re #316
    Willis, this is an appeal to arithemtical reasoning. I want to see data – specifically, the data that Dano used to make his deduction regarding a trend in some yet-to-be-clarified production-related variable in #225. I know he’s got bigger problems. Those are not my concern. Trend statistics are.

  316. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Re 318, bender, sorry, I didn’t understand the question. I assume that you and Danàƒⶠare referring to the original statement, viz:

    World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year over the past decade, due in part to changes in input use (reflecting low and falling cereal prices) and poorly functioning markets and infrastructure, but also due to reduced growth in agricultural research (Wood et al., 2000; Pingali and Heisey, 2001). (While yield growth rates have been declining, global cereal yields have continued to rise in roughly linear fashion in absolute terms since 1950 (Dyson 1999; fig. 2.3.)

    If this is correct, let me know, as I have done the graphs for these already, and am happy to post them. That’s why I said (above) that I agree with the numbers in this quote.

    w.

  317. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #320
    Willis, I was trying to determine if Dano was making a statistically valid, data-based argument in #225, or if he was just parrotting someone else’s text. I don’t want to see just *any* data. I want to see the *specific* data he had in mind when he made that statement.

  318. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:37 AM | Permalink

    Re 320, bender, ah, yes, I see the problem. Having looked at the data he references, none of it is adequate to back up his claims.

    Me, I’m still waiting for him to respond to my post 312 that shows his paper is wildly exaggerated … he asked for “scholarship that disagrees with the projections” in the Tilman paper, I gave him plenty to chew on.

    w.

  319. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:39 AM | Permalink

    Re #320 That was supposed to be e #319

    Willis, I have two beefs. The first is very simple, professional and has to do with the statistical inference that appears to have been made regarding an ‘alarming’ trend in noisy agricultural data. (i.e. It’s not about the trend pattern, it’s about the inference process.) The second, now personal, has to do with Dano’s dodgy modus operandi. I may look silly chasing after a “troll”, but that is, after all, an ad hom – one which I am trying hard not to invoke. I would prefer that visitors come to their own conclusions as to who the dodgy characters are.

  320. James Lane
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:45 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    It’s a direct quote from the DSDA Economic Research Service paper that Dano linked to earlier:

    http://www.ers.usda.gov/publications/aer823/aer823c.pdf

    The quote itself is from the paragraph immediately above Fig 2.3

  321. James Lane
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:46 AM | Permalink

    Oops, should be USDA.

  322. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 1:57 AM | Permalink

    Re #321

    Having looked at the data [Dano] references, none of it is adequate to back up his claims.

    You see? And yet he thanks you for supporting his position?!

    He accuses me of not leafing through every sentence, every graphic, in every link of every post of his … but then hasn’t the gentle-manliness to point out what exactly I’ve missed. (I don’t think I’ve missed anything. I think he made a mistake. I could be wrong, but …)

    Note the similarity two weeks ago in the acrimonious exchange with Bloom – the guy who insisted hurricane frequency was not subject to sampling error (!), and who accused me of committing a serious error over at RC, and of dodging his “rebuttal”. Please! Enough!

    But what is one to do about such baseless accusations? Let them hang there? I try to be thorough. But if I miss something, point it out, and let’s move on.

    The reason why I am banging on about this “unprecedented, alarming trend” in agricultural production (or whatever the actual variable is) should be obvious to anyone who is familiar with the HS story. “Unprecedented trends” are awfully hard to prove in noisy systems.

  323. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    Re 322, bender, during the last five years I’ve looked at so much agricultural and population data that my head is overflowing. Danàƒⶠmade the mistake of picking a topic that I know way too much about.

    One thing is clear from the mass of my research … there are no alarming trends. In fact, the trends are almost all positive, from the steady 50 kg/Ha per year increase in cereal yields, to the increase in calories/day for even the poorest of the poor, to the increasing number of people fed per hectare, to the decreasing amount of fertilizer and pesticides used per hectare, the trends are generally positive, and none are “alarming”.

    w.

  324. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 2:15 AM | Permalink

    Re 323:
    This implies he never had the actual time-series data on which the USDA inference statement was based. All he had was the graphic in Fig 2.3, and he was just parrotting the text on p. 10. Why didn’t he say so, in response to the direct question asked in #280? You see why I find the Dano character’s motives suspect (posts 237-251)? He doesn’t make arguments. He just presents other people’s arguments as targets to shoot at. Like a poor student who gets by getting someone else to do his homework for him.

    Let him have the last word. He’s a robotic moron. Programmed to dismiss/discredit/dodge his opponent with an ad hom whenever given last word.

  325. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 2:37 AM | Permalink

    Re 323, James Lane, thanks for the interesting link to the quote Danàƒⶠused. I found an even more interesting quote in the paper, where they said [emphasis mine]:

    Global cereals production per capita fell from a peak of 342 kilograms in 1984 to 323 kilograms in 1996/98, with steady increases in Asia offset by long-term declines in Sub-Saharan Africa and more recent declines in North America, Europe, Oceania, and the former Soviet Union (fig. 2.1).

    These more recent declines were due not to binding resource and technology constraints but rather to the combined effects of weak grain prices, deliberate policy reforms (in North America and Europe), and institutional change (in the former Soviet Union).

    In other words, the decline was not a result of running up against some production constraints, but was from a combination of excess production leading to weak markets, as well as institutional and policy reforms …

    w.

  326. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    Mean decadal productivity, expressed as percentages, based on data in #295:
    1957-66: 2.4
    1967-76: 2.9
    1977-86: 2.0
    1987-96: 1.0
    1997-06: 0.5
    This would appear to be most relevant to Dano’s USDA docuemnt referred to in #323.

    Cherry picking the 1970s as the start-date suggests the declining trend is significantly negative:

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) 3.66644 0.18381 19.95 0.00250 **
    c(1:4) -0.81476 0.06712 -12.14 0.00672 **

    Signif. codes: 0 ‘***’ 0.001 ‘**’ 0.01 ‘*’ 0.05 ‘.’ 0.1 ‘ ‘ 1

    Residual standard error: 0.1501 on 2 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-Squared: 0.9866, Adjusted R-squared: 0.9799
    F-statistic: 147.4 on 1 and 2 DF, p-value: 0.006718

    But, as intuited by Willis, much of this trend is attributable to a rising denominator.

    Moreover, as with hurricane counts, the annual data are much noisier than decadally summed data. So much so that the negative trend disappears.

    Coefficients:
    Estimate Std. Error t value Pr(>|t|)
    (Intercept) 94.78230 64.17927 1.477 0.146
    c(1950:2006) -0.04692 0.03244 -1.447 0.154

    Residual standard error: 3.923 on 54 degrees of freedom
    Multiple R-Squared: 0.03731, Adjusted R-squared: 0.01948
    F-statistic: 2.093 on 1 and 54 DF, p-value: 0.1538

  327. James Lane
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 2:59 AM | Permalink

    Congratulations Bender, you have learned the futility of arguing with Dano. Apart from the ever-present obnoxious and condescending tone:

    (1) He will make sweeping statements without any evidence.

    (2) Asked for evidence, he will spout “linkies”, without attempting to summarise what such links are supposed to show.

    (3) The “linkies” are often to multiple page documents you are supposed to wade through in search of whatever point it is that he is supposedly making.

    (4) Often the “linkies” don’t support or even contradict the point that you imagine he might be trying to make.

    (5) If you try to sound him out on the above, he will refer you to “linkie” at (2). Rinse, lather, repeat.

    (6) Ask a direct question and he will ignore it.

    (7) Make an argument contrary to his (changeable) position and he will congratulate you on your blinding insight and ask you to let him know when your paper is published in Science or Nature.

    (8) Refer you to people who “do this for a living”.

    (9) Rule 9 of Dano is that Dano is never wrong about anything. Ever.

  328. Spence_UK
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 5:36 AM | Permalink

    Re#330

    Pretty good summary James, but you forgot to mention “fieldwork”.

    Because only someone who has cored a tree can truly understand the meaning of multivariate regression and out-of-sample verification. Apparently.

    Ehrlich, Tilman, etc., are all simply repeating the same mistakes originally made by the Reverend Thomas Malthus nearly 200 years ago, by projecting crude models and ignoring human ingenuity and ability to solve problems. The crude models are now more complex thanks to computing, but no more skillful. When the data are built on invalid logical steps such as those illustrated by Francois, Willis, Bender etc., even valid models would be rendered worthless.

  329. jae
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 5:55 AM | Permalink

    326: Lomborg’s book, “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” covers the food production issues very well, and it agrees with your statements.

  330. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 6:33 AM | Permalink

    Re#265 and others (Dano):

    and I’ve shown multiple times that production rates are decreasing, as indeed your first (nice) chart shows wrt world grain production (the others are hi-value products in niche markets). My concern is the lack of progress in halting the decline, as stated in my b-quote in #244…The rates are decreasing, as in b-quote in 244…

    No, as others have pointed-out, what you showed “multiple times” is a reduction of the RATE of INCREASE in production, not a decrease in production rate as you claim. There is a huge distinction. As you posted in #244, “World cereal yield growth has slowed to 1.2 percent per year.” A decrease in growth rate is still growth, not a decrease in production.

    Re#293:

    My assertion numerous times above is that the growth rate has slowed down. Mr Jankowski asks the question in 257 “why is that a bad thing’.

    No, as shown previously, your assertion numerous times was that there was loss, not growth, and you tried to use a quote showing a reduction in growth rate to support this.

    But yes, I asked the type of question you paraphrased – but it was explicitly in the context of ‘while population growth rates have ALSO slowed down and are projected to continue to do so,’ for which I included supporting information.

    As stated previously, the quote you gave in 244 that was supposed to be a smoking gun to defend your point actually does the opposite. Two of the three explanations for the decrease in grain growth rate were (1) not presently cost effective (over-supply) and (2) drop in agricultural research involving grain (ie, the intensive “analysis and R&D” you spoke of apparently determined there is less need for R&D).

    Re#307:

    First, and most important, is that “low and falling cereal prices” means one thing, and one thing only “¢’‚¬? an abundance of cereal grains on the world market. The price is low because we’re producing an excess, which of course drives the prices down.

    Yes. The surpluses are getting less and less, as traditionally stocks were kept higher.

    If “the surpluses are getting less and less,” then the prices would be getting higher, not lower. It’s simple economics. If you’re in a surplus condition, price increases as the surplus approaches zero. Falling prices means you’ve got an increase in surplus.

  331. James Lane
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 6:48 AM | Permalink

    Re #331

    Pretty good summary James, but you forgot to mention “fieldwork”.

    Because only someone who has cored a tree can truly understand the meaning of multivariate regression and out-of-sample verification. Apparently.

    Good call, Spence we’ll make that Dano rule (10).

    I deliberately left a few out, as they are not specifically argumentative tactics, but what the hell:

    (11) Repetition of terms like “spreading FUD” (“fear, uncertainty, doubt” for the less experienced Dano watcher), “astroturf organisations” (never really understood that one), “shills” (obvious), and “rubes” (not sure, but clearly patronising).

    (12) “No scientists pay any attention to this blog. No policy-makers pay any attention to this blog.” You’d think if that were true, Dano would leave us alone to play in our hopeless self-referential sand-pit.

  332. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

    RE: #202 – “Nobody who criticises these fields has anything even approaching an undergrad education. ”

    Why not have a CV face off? Everyone would post their CV to a thread. Any takers? For those who require privacy the name / address / etc could be blacked out prior to posting.

  333. welikerocks
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 7:44 AM | Permalink

    As a side note, look what I found on the “Center for Global Food Issues” website:
    ” California Seal Pups Predict Pacific Ocean Cooling”
    A new study of California elephant seal pups and their weaning weights predicts that a 25-year cycle warming has ended, and the second half of a 50-year cycle has begun to cool the northern Pacific. Historical fish catch data indicate the ocean cooling trend is likely to last until about 2025.

    http://www.cgfi.org/materials/articles/2005/june_20_05.htm

  334. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    re: #335

    Actually I think this is just bad wording by JMS rather than an absolute slam on his/her part. I think what was meant was that the people didn’t have degrees in the particular fields being criticized. This is likely true, though you can never tell. But such credentialism (sp?) is futile as it can be used against people on the team as easily as their opponents.

  335. bender
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 8:27 AM | Permalink

    Re #330
    Never again.

  336. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    Actually I think this is just bad wording by JMS rather than an absolute slam on his/her part.

    No, I don’t agree. He made a similar charge, as I noted, in another thread. He really believes this.

    But you’re right, people making such fallacious charges should be careful because we all know that Mann is “not a statistician.” For that matter, he’s only a geologist.

    Mark

  337. Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    #335 I think comparing CVs would make us as bad as them :) Let’s just wait for answers/book references to my undergraduate level questions (#207) and bender’s graduate level questions (#212).

  338. Barney Frank
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    Re #331,

    I am living proof that coring trees does not a statistician make.

    One more rule regarding Dano is his continuing references to the proposed journal Galileo which he apparently and inexplicably thinks is extremely clever. He does seem less ill tempered than some others here. Too bad he can’t cut out the condescension, I suspect he could provide a little useful info at times.

  339. JMS
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:08 AM | Permalink

    No, Dave got the meaning I wanted. It was bad wording on my part.

  340. Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    Good morninnnnnggggg everyone!

    OK, let’s recap the assertions I’m looking for backing on:

    1. That Dano was incorrect in stating ag production growth rates are slowing (plz, no quibbling over whether I hurried a post and was unclear – look at the entirety).

    The rate of production increase is slowing, is it not? The b-quote that is bandied about here, sez, decadally, the rate has slowed. I plotted the trendlines and gave the equations in 290 (to match the quote).

    If this is incorrect, someone say so, as we need to notify USDA and FAO and some academics that they need to issue corrections to their publications.

    2. That the Tilman et al. is ‘alarmist’.

    No one has provided scholarship that has different forecasts.

    Now, willis has assiduously taken current numbers and tried to argue that the numbers mean all is fine; I have no problem with this technique and I am willing to further discuss the issue, but the remainder of the high dudgeon is based on market stuff and I’m looking for some sort of number – alas, still to no avail.

    Is there a different number for future NPK/fert application and resultant eutrophication?

    3. That Dano should take care to avoid making ridiculous or nonsensical claims.

    The two claims that I have made are 1. and 2. (1. being: a) a citation and b) interpretation of a graph). Has anyone shown that:

    1. The slope for 1990-2000 is steeper/same as 1980-1990 (what the guy said in the b-quote),
    2. Other papers/R&D show less alarmist numbers for 2050?

    Thank you so much.

    Best,

    D

  341. Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    Serrrrious accusations!

    Dano, [in addition to] the ever-present obnoxious and condescending tone[, will]:

    (1) …make sweeping statements without any evidence.

    Please provide an example.

    (2) Asked for evidence, he will spout “linkies”, without attempting to summarise what such links are supposed to show.

    This is incorrect. Please provide an example with context.

    (3) The “linkies” are often to multiple page documents you are supposed to wade through in search of whatever point it is that he is supposedly making.

    Presumably this is for the trendline. Do you have another example to show your ‘other’?

    (4) Often the “linkies” don’t support or even contradict the point that you imagine he might be trying to make.

    OK, I call BS. Back your claim.

    (5) If you try to sound him out on the above, he will refer you to “linkie” at (2). Rinse, lather, repeat.

    OK, I call BS. Back your claim with evidence. Be prepared to defend your choice.

    (6) Ask a direct question and he will ignore it.

    If it’s not germane I will, or if it’s a distractor, or if 9 guys are on me. So what. Who cares.

    (7) Make an argument contrary to his (changeable) position and he will congratulate you on your blinding insight and ask you to let him know when your paper is published in Science or Nature.

    OK, I call BS. Back your claim with evidence showing my position is changeable. My position is the one that backs the scientific evidence. If your blinding insight is so wonderful, publish it.

    Let’s see it. Back your claim.

    Best,

    D

  342. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    OK, let’s recap the assertions I’m looking for backing on:

    1. That Dano was incorrect in stating ag production growth rates are slowing (plz, no quibbling over whether I hurried a post and was unclear – look at the entirety).

    Well recently in post #333 I quoted you as follows…

    and I’ve shown multiple times that production rates are decreasing, as indeed your first (nice) chart shows wrt world grain production (the others are hi-value products in niche markets). My concern is the lack of progress in halting the decline, as stated in my b-quote in #244…The rates are decreasing, as in b-quote in 244…

    As stated in #333 and elsewhere, there is a huge difference between your claims of “production rates are decreasing” versus the “production growth rates are slowing” you quoted to support your claim – a distinction you’ve failed to make repeatedly.

    A decrease in production rate means less production than the previous year. A slowing in production growth rate means more production than the previous year, just not as much increase in production as there was one year further back. HTH.

    3. That Dano should take care to avoid making ridiculous or nonsensical claims.

    Start with your post of #307:
    Willis says:

    First, and most important, is that “low and falling cereal prices” means one thing, and one thing only “¢’‚¬? an abundance of cereal grains on the world market. The price is low because we’re producing an excess, which of course drives the prices down.

    Dano responds:

    Yes. The surpluses are getting less and less, as traditionally stocks were kept higher.

    A decreasing surplus leads to higher prices, not lower.

    These were both covered in post #333. If you had bothered to read it, it would have likely saved you the time of typing most of #343.

    HTH.

  343. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:35 AM | Permalink

    Dano, at a certain point, you’ll have to take your discussion of agricultural production elsewhere unless you can tie it in to climate or statistical issues. Your example has, if inadvertently, proved the usefulness of providing exact data citations as this has helped people decode your inaccurate descriptions of what you did. In your case, you promptly acknowledged the inaccurate descriptions, but this is not always the case with the Team and illustrates why exact data citations are important.

    BTW I’m confident that you will find that there has been declining per capita production of copper and virtually every other commodity over the past 35 years. There have also been no shortages of copper and other commodities, which have had mostly poor markets for a generation. In the last year or so, there has been a dramatic change in commodity prices. It pains me to think of all the potential business opportunities that have been created in the last couple of years, while I’ve been amusing myself with climate.

    Long-term commodity forecasting is a tricky business and something that I’ve done in a younger incarnation. I say this to reassure you that it’s something I know about and a few linkies here and there from you prove nothing to me. There are lots of interesting issues but I’d prefer that you discuss them in another forum.

  344. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 11:58 AM | Permalink

    No, Dave got the meaning I wanted. It was bad wording on my part.

    Apologies, but still a very bad tactic, particularly given that those you defend don’t have degrees in statistical signal analysis. I.e., it works both ways, but note that none of us care about the other direction. It does not matter that Mann does not have a degree as such, it only matters that his use of the statistics is incorrect.

    Mark

  345. KevinUK
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:01 PM | Permalink

    Steve,

    I think the latter half (as well as the first half) of this thread has actually been quite interesting and informative. Although strictly speaking it is not a GW subject, the discussion of the Tilman (and the refuting of its conclusions by Willis) has been quite illuminating with some good links tht are well worth following. Perhaps as I’ve seen you do with other threads it would be a good idea to pull most of it out onto a separate thread. Dano is clearly a troll and if possible shouldn’t be fed quite so often but having said that it’s surprising just what useful stuff can come out of a troll feeding session.

    KevinUK

  346. Mark T.
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    A decreasing surplus leads to higher prices, not lower.

    That’s why the supply-demand curve is called a law, not a theory.

    Mark

  347. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Aug 30, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    On the principles adopted in an earlier case, I’ve created a troll’s corner thread here for further discussion of Tilman etc. Please move discussion over there. This thread was getting inconveniently long anyway.

2 Trackbacks

  1. [...] Correct = Bad Science. More @ http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/…001/Wegman.pdf Analysis here. __________________ I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty [...]

  2. [...] Correct = Bad Science. More @ http://energycommerce.house.gov/108/…001/Wegman.pdf Analysis here. Welcome to the forum. __________________ Liberalism is a progressive degenerative [...]

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,301 other followers

%d bloggers like this: