The Georgia Tech Report Card

Thanks to Judith Curry for sending along these candid comments from a couple of her students about climateaudit. There has been discussion at the other thread wshich I’d prefer move to this thread.

Here is the report from the Georgia Tech hurricane class discussion on the climateaudit hurricane threads. Two students were assigned to make presentations: Student #1 is a 2nd year graduate student, slightly older and with a mature and broad perspective; student #2 is a recent Ph.D. awardee with good knowledge of statistics.

Student #1 gave an overview of the blogosphere and climate-related blogging activities, and some history of the climateaudit site. He described climateaudit’s practice as:
1. attacking a paper on global warming, before reading it very carefully or understanding the context of the paper, assuming that the author is either dumb or has an “agenda”
2. a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature
3. realization that the issues are complex
4. some attempts at trying to gain physical understanding of what is going on
5. realization that the issues are even more complex
6. give up and move onto something else

Student #1 then asked the following questions (which I answered):
1. How influential is climateaudit?
2. What items have they raised that we should pay attention to?
3. What can we learn and avoid the next time?
4. Was Dr. Curry’s blogging time well spent, or did it legitimize and prolong a discussion that in the end hasn’t really accomplished anything?

Student #2 focused on the statistical issues surrounding WHCC and Emanuel papers. He raised the following main points:
1. The climateauditors do not seem to understand parameteric vs nonparametric tests. The Kendall test (rank based test) used by WHCC does not require a normal distribution and is also fairly insensitive to serial correlation, so the emphasis on autocorrelation and distributions did not add anything.
2. The climateauditors show a general lack of physical interpretation and a lack of appreciation of the fundamentally Bayesian approach (if not explicitly, then implicitly) to climate science statistics, whereby physics and prior knowledge suggests your predictors.
3. ARMA (Spanish for weapon) is a brute force method used (not very productively) when nothing is known about the physics.
4. WHCC statistics were robust and appropriate; the Curry et al. BAMS article was unfairly criticized since the readers did not go back to the original paper cited in Figure 1, which explained what went into Fig 1 and how the trend was determined.
5. There were problems with Emanuel’s statistical analysis that should have been caught in the review process
6. Student #2 was pretty hot under the collar about the whole thing
7. “A lot of personal attacks. Not using bad manners… but still personal attacks. An example? Their opening lines on the hurricane thread: There are statistical issues in fitting trend lines to spiky data like this, which bender is well aware of and pointed out in the predecessor thread. If Curry is unaware of these issues, what does that say? If she is aware of these issues and ignored them, what does that say?”
8. “A biased blog that pretends it is not. In terms of most of the statistics they seem to know what they are talking about, but they should. Most of the stuff is part of basic statistical training. While they appear to be curious about some physics, there is a general lack of good physical interpretation.”

Topics raised in the discussion:

People reading only the thread leader and first few posts get the impression that the paper is wrong, when further down the thread the paper gets vindicated. This gives the casual visitor to the site a negatively biased impression of climate science.

One student raised the issue that statistical mistakes such as made by Emanuel (2005) should have been weeded out in the review process; suggested that a “statistical editor” was needed for climate journals to review the papers for basic sound statistical practices.

The students thought that the fact that the climateauditors did not have “external funding” to do this work diminished their credibility

The students agreed that statistics should be done correctly, data should be made publicly available (but extra work should not be done to make the data and programs convenient for the skeptics), and funding sources should be disclosed.

The “biases” of the climateauditors were discussed. Bender was perceived as a hardcore anti- warmer. SteveM and Willis were perceived has hardcore statistical skeptics, assuming that all analyses done be climate people are suspect. Steve Bloom was viewed as a somewhat heroic glutton for punishment. David Smith was viewed as the voice of reason.

I then went on to describe what I thought was useful and interesting about the site and about the hurricane threads, and the blogospheric approach to science. Everyone agreed that the climateauditors spotted things in the Emanuel paper that none of us had spotted.

Overall, the students were pretty negative about the site. I suggested that the two students post their comments; they did not want to, and I agreed to summarize the discussion (I was asked not to mention their names). They viewed blogging on climateaudit as entering a black hole of trying defend yourself against a prejudged guilty verdict. Well, I am not exactly sure what I expected from this discussion, but it doesn’t sound like the younger generation of scientists are very keen to enter the blogospheric discussions on climate science.

Student #2 ended with 3 quotes and a joke:

Bayesian statistics is difficult in the sense that thinking is difficult. Donald A. Berry

Some people use statistics as a drunken man uses lamp-posts”¢’‚¬?for support rather than illumination. Andrew Lang

Facts do not “speak for themselves.” They speak for or against competing theories. Facts divorced from theories or visions are mere isolated curiosities. Thomas Sowell

Two statisticians were traveling in an airplane from LA to New York. About an hour into the flight, the pilot announced that they had lost an engine, but don’t worry, there are three left. However, instead of 5 hours it would take 7 hours to get to New York. A little later, he announced that a second engine failed, and they still had two left, but it would take 10 hours to get to New York. Somewhat later, the pilot again came on the intercom and announced that a third engine had died. Never fear, he announced, because the plane could fly on a single engine. However, it would now take 18 hours to get to New York. At this point, one statistician turned to the other and said, "Gee, I hope we don’t lose that last engine, or we’ll be up here forever!"

307 Comments

  1. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:47 AM | Permalink

    Transferred comments from other thread:

    #

    Judy, thank you for sharing your class comments with us. It is interesting, though a bit disheartening, to see how others perceive the debates here on CA.

    I was a bit surprised on one technical point: Are you sure Student #2 said:

    1. The climateauditors do not seem to understand parameteric vs nonparametric tests. The Kendall test (rank based test) used by WHCC does not require a normal distribution and is also fairly insensitive to serial correlation, so the emphasis on autocorrelation and distributions did not add anything.

    I agree that the Kendall test provides robustness against non-normality. But are you sure it is robust with respect to serial correlation?

    Comment by TAC “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 9:17 pm | Edit This
    #

    Judith, thank you for your candid comments. I haven’t been an active paricipant in the hurricane threads. To my knowledge, no one has ever suggested that “extra work” be done to archive data for “skeptics”. I don’t know whether your students have waded into any of the proxy threads on MBH,Esper, etc. However, in the multiproxy threads that I’ve written that constitute the bulk of this blog, I would like to see an example of a thread which justifies the following comment:

    People reading only the thread leader and first few posts get the impression that the paper is wrong, when further down the thread the paper gets vindicated.

    I can’t think of any Hockey Team paper that has been “vindicated” in this fashion.

    Comment by Steve McIntyre “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 9:39 pm | Edit This
    #

    Re #221
    Very interesting, and, I hope rewarding for all involved. A follow-up might also be instructive and entertaining.

    As Steve M points out, though, it’s multiproxy reconstruction science that is the focus of the blog and where serious improvements are needed. (The hurricane threads were a departure graciously permitted by Steve while he was busy traveling.) It would be great to do the same kind of thing with a tree-ring seminar group. Any open-minded instructors out there willing to experiment a little?

    C’mon man, everyone’s doin’ it!

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 9:51 pm | Edit This
    #

    Oh – and there are plenty of solid rebuttals for each of these points, if you Yellowjackets are up for a whippin’ by a Gator.

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 9:56 pm | Edit This
    #

    Judith, very interesting. Thank you for taking the time to do the post. And congratulations David Smith and Steve Bloom!

    I do find the characterizations of the players ironic in light of the perceived unfairness of the opening comment of Bender about your piece and recognition of how it was corrected, but very interesting. I think I see the blog more as a process for discovering information than they do. But I appreciate their input, and will keep it in mind as I continue to lurk far in the background trying to learn and understand.

    Comment by Barclay E. MacDonald “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:01 pm | Edit This
    #

    The two generalized claims made in 221, and the highlighted 222 and especially 223 need statistical justification in their own right. Re the claim in 223, just how many papers were analysed and affirmed as examples to arrive at such a generalization? Specifically, subsequently vindicated papers on CA … a list please?

    And what was the class review and individual impressions of Prometheus, RC, Deltoid, Stoat and some of the other blogs? Perhaps the CA review is among the best or worst of the bunch. As a participant on some of these, I would also want to understand their perspective on the others blogs?

    Comment by McCall “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:06 pm | Edit This
    #

    Correction, friends, bender did not write that introduction. Go back and read. Careful with your detection & attribution algorithms. (See how the meme spreads?)

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:06 pm | Edit This
    #

    Re #228
    Here is the intro.

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:09 pm | Edit This
    #

    1. The climateauditors do not seem to understand parameteric vs nonparametric tests. The Kendall test (rank based test) …

    3. ARMA is a brute force method used when nothing is known about the physics.

    How is Kendall going to help you describe the physics? Check out the resident hurricane expert for an example of what reasoning on the basis of Kendall gets you.

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:20 pm | Edit This
    #

    Drs. McKitrick and Essex have referred to Sunstein’s “Law of Group Polarization” in TBS “¢’‚¬? such mutually reinforcing interaction/review was also spoken to by Dr Wegman in his congressional testimony, though principally and critically of the extended hockey team.

    The comment about Mr. Bloom, I find puzzling (bizarre)? Mr. Bloom displays a discrediting lack of understanding of basic physics and especially the thermodynamics of this debate; he barely conceals his cheerleading of natural disasters (e.g. hurricanes, in the hopes of making his AGW case); and his statistics have been found wanting on several threads. There are other blemishes, which Mr. McIntyre requests that I not revive “¢’‚¬? but other than that, he’s been a great contributor ranking only slightly higher than Dano in the requisite background??? If there was technical admiration of Mr. Bloom’s participation on CA, I’m confident one would have to mine his posts to find it.

    Comment by McCall “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 10:38 pm | Edit This
    #

    RE the snippy comment about ARMA testing: I’ve found it handy to routinely do ARMA(1,1) tests of time series as a type of quality control. For example, last summer, I performed ARMA(1,1) tests on all the gridcells of Jones’ CRU data set; picked out extreme values; plotted a world map of the coefficients and almost instantly found some bad data that CRU’s quality control had missed e.g. one location intermittently had the decimal places in the wrong spot. I did the same thing this spring on the von Storch-Zorita pseudoproxy network and found problems with their sea-ice formation in the Waddell Sea. It’s not very highbrow, but it can be a very quick way of looking at a large data set. Obviously the originators hadn’t done these tests or they wouldn’t have had the defects.

    Comment by Steve McIntyre “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 11:06 pm | Edit This
    #

    Anyone relying on Kendall should not imagine themselves as head analyst for FEMA. This is a trillion dollar problem we’re talking about here – not to mention the unmentionable uniquenesses of the South. It’s time to get serious, people. Do you want to win a debate on AGW by publishing in Nature, using whatever statistics it takes, or do you want to forecast hurricane occurrence so that you can help people? Cheerlead the activist agenda if you choose. That victory is going to seem a hollow, distant memory when the next Katrina rolls in … whatever the magnitude of A in AGW.

    (Whoever called me an anti-warmer hasn’t read my posts. At least 3 times I’ve dared to classify myself as an uncertain luke-warmer.)

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 11:12 pm | Edit This
    #

    Re #232
    AR(1) models were good enough for legendary dendrochronologist Hal Fritts. Does that mean he not understand the mechanics of plant growth?

    Comment by bender “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 11:30 pm | Edit This
    #

    Mann routinely uses AR1 to benchmark results. Does that mean, heaven forbid, that he doesn’t understand the physics? Who would have thought it?

    Comment by Steve McIntyre “¢’‚¬? 3 October 2006 @ 11:35 pm | Edit This
    #

    Judith, thank you very much for your sharing of the class comments. The one I particularly loved was …

    The students thought that the fact that the climateauditors did not have “external funding” to do this work diminished their credibility

    Methinks I should put in for an Exxon grant to increase my credibility …

    Your students’ characterization of me was half right. They said:

    SteveM and Willis were perceived has hardcore statistical skeptics, assuming that all analyses done by climate people are suspect.

    In fact, for me, all analyses are suspect, including my own. I’ve seen far too much garbage passed off as science to be anything but suspicious of all “scientific” studies, and I encourage your students to be the same. It was my Louisiana bayou grandmother who first pointed me in this direction by saying:

    Child, you can believe half of what you see, a quarter of what you hear … and an eighth of what you say …

    My very best to you and your students,

    w.

    PS – Like the others, I truly would like an example of a study that was demolished at the head of the thread, and then rehabilitated.

    Comment by Willis Eschenbach “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 12:53 am | Edit This
    #

    Re #221, Judith Curry

    Student #1 then asked the following questions (which I answered):
    1. How influential is climateaudit?
    2. What items have they raised that we should pay attention to?
    3. What can we learn and avoid the next time?
    4. Was Dr. Curry’s blogging time well spent, or did it legitimize and prolong a discussion that in the end hasn’t really accomplished anything?

    Dr Curry, I’m curious, what were your answers ? Particularly to #1 ?

    Comment by fFreddy “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 1:02 am | Edit This
    #

    Attn: Student #2
    I’m sorry that your review made you so hot under the collar. Now that it is completed, why not engage in the discussion here and show us where we are wrong ?

    Comment by fFreddy “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 1:04 am | Edit This
    #

    #228 and #226 Bender, so sorry. Mea Culpa! I confused Steve’s comment at the beginning of the thread with your earlier discussion with Steve Bloom regarding Judith Curry selecting a 5 year period for a graphic analysis of hurricanes. Regardless of the class opinions, your still one of my heroes:)

    Comment by Barclay E. MacDonald “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 1:41 am | Edit This
    #

    Re: 233

    Only a trillion dollar problem, oh then it’s not that serious. In a world economy of approximately $37 trillion it won’t cause excessive growth. There are plenty of companies able to build those CO2 extractors, coastal defenses, arctic coolers and relocate entire cities. Naturally taxes will have to increase a little :)

    Comment by Proxy “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 2:00 am | Edit This
    #

    #219 Judith,

    They viewed blogging on climateaudit as entering a black hole of trying defend yourself against a prejudged guilty verdict.

    They should definitely stay away from physics. I’ve been to more than one seminar where the speaker never made it past his second sentence before being pounded into dust. Your students don’t seem to understand that science at its highest levels is a bloodsport. When you are claiming to know the fate of the earth you better be prepared.

    Comment by Paul Linsay “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 6:45 am | Edit This
    #

    A few clarifications motivated by your comments: The appreciation of Steve Bloom was associated with his defense of what climate researchers do (I was also puzzled by their characterization of Bender). The students (newcomers to the site) did not pick up on the essential proxy hockeystick focus of the site. The students regularly read realclimate, this is a good way for them to keep up with current topics in climate research (I think they mostly tend to read the initial post, and not go deeply into the blogging). Re #241, student #2, having gone through the entire Ph.D. process is definitely a fighter and well accustomed to defending his research, but found your points (re the hurricane stuff) not very interesting owing to lack of knowledge of the data and the physics. For the 1st and 2nd yr graduate students (and the undergrads), this was probably an education. The “attacks” that were of most concern were the personal ones, such as at the beginning of the thread where either my knowledge or motives were arguably attacked. the “black hole” was the black hole of time, the students did not see the importance of defending anything on this site (there was some concerned voiced about the inordinate amount of time i had spent blogging on the site), as opposed to other venues such as scientific conferences.

    I chose to focus on climateaudit (as opposed to the other blogs) since I am intrigued by the “flat world” process of doing (or at least evaluating) science on the internet. I am also intrigued that there are so many people spending a huge amount of time doing research on these topics without any funding. I am somewhat surprised that the students were more “conservative” than me about blogging in general and this site in particular. It was an interesting experiment. I will continue to reflect on this.

    Comment by Judith Curry “¢’‚¬? 4 October 2006 @ 7:23 am | Edit This

  2. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:03 AM | Permalink

    The students regularly read realclimate, this is a good way for them to keep up with current topics in climate research (I think they mostly tend to read the initial post, and not go deeply into the blogging)

    By and large, this is how climate scientists seem to have obtained their understanding of the Hockey Stick debate – and here realclimate is hardly an unbiased source. It’s not just your students, but most climate scientists.

    It is a little disconcerting to me that their impression of this site should be based on a couple of threads in which I have not participated on a topic that has not been central to the blog. I’m sorry that they find the proxy statistics uninteresting. They have obviously attracted considerable interest in other venues, with NAS Panel, Wegman Report and a forthcoming AGU All-Union session.

    If they thought that Steve Bloom was contributing solid material as opposed to other people, with all respect for Steve Bloom, they were really just cheering for the home team.

    I remain interested in a specific example of a thread being demolished.

  3. cbone
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    I guess I am just old fashioned. My formal degrees are all in Engineering. I distinctly remeber the mindset that was drilled into us from day one, don’t believe everything you read. Read critically and make the author “prove” their point. It seems that the paradigm has been shifted to automatically assume the author is right and critical review is shunned.

    Odd.

  4. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:51 AM | Permalink

    The “attacks” that were of most concern were the personal ones, such as at the beginning of the thread where either my knowledge or motives were arguably attacked.

    “Arguably” being an important word; I’m glad to see it there.

    My primary concern was NOT the motive of the scientist (in this case Dr. Judtih Curry), but the interplay between scientist and policy-maker. Policy-makers want uncertainty-free icons like hockey sticks and trend lines. I know it because I’ve seen it. This demand leads to a watering down of the science, as the scientists work, through bodies like IPCC, to deliver what is demanded. My original question was whether this was what motivated the analytical and graphing methods used in the BAMS paper. It was a fair question. And I eventually got an answer. The answer was something like “Webster didn’t think any sophisticated analyses were necessary”. Hmmm, ok. I never did ask why he thought that; I dropped the subject – not wanting to be perceived as engaging in “personal attacks”.

    But what did he mean by “necessary”? Necessary to satisfy his colleagues and co-authors that the argument was robust? Necessary to pass review? Necessary to satisfy the audience’s skepticism? Necessary to satisfy the policy-making client? Some blend of each?

    After more than 2000 posts, my initial question still hasn’t been answered. Note: this is not a personal attack. I want to understand to what extent policy demands are influncing analytical decision-making at the scientists’ level.

    If you think it is trivial, please reconsider. Coping with uncertainty is something I think policy-makers are very bad at, but something most scientists are relatively good at. The primary coping strategy seems to be denial, which doesn’t help anyone. Bloom’s denial of the existence of sampling error, for example, is highly symbolic. Which is why I picked at him so incessantly. For him, uncertainty is the centrepiece of FUD. For a science-based forecaster, it is an undeniable challenge that must be taken on.

  5. John Lish
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:52 AM | Permalink

    The “black hole of time”? Hmmm… One could see that as avoiding having one’s assumptions challenged.

    Your students Judith, seem to have expressed considerable prejudice without having engaged with the site in any meaningful way. This is regretable.

    I was particularly amused by Student #1 comment of CA being “a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature”. Perhaps they should reflect on Dr Wegman’s support of M&M’s statistical criticisms of MBH9x. If authors of multiproxy papers cannot produce rudimentary statistics to support their claims, what merit do they have?

  6. Carl Christensen
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:55 AM | Permalink

    [snip]

  7. Carl Christensen
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:56 AM | Permalink

    [snip]

  8. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    A clarification regarding the education of the students at Georgia Tech. Each Fall, we have a climate seminar course, this fall the topic is multidecadal climate variability, and topics and specific papers are reviewed and critiqued at length. (maybe next fall we will do proxies and hockey stick)

    The students in the hurricane seminar course are students mainly interested in atmospheric dynamics and I do not believe that any of them have taken the paleoclimate course or have much knowledge of paleoclimate or the hockey stick debate. They are broadening their horizons into climate issues arguably in a useful way by surfing RC, which posts on hockey stick issues probably less than 10% of the time (so any RC hockey bias is arguably not having much of an influence on these students). The hurricane students are therefore not a representative sample of “climate” students. The hurricane students therefore cannot judge climateaudit on its proxy research, this is simply the wrong group of GT students, were merely passing judgement on the hurricane threads and the blogospheric process in general (as opposed to the more traditional venues of university seminars, the peer reviewed literature, conferences, etc).

    and again, I am experimenting with the blogosphere, I think this was in interesting experiment, but any conclusions drawn from this exercise should consider the context in which this experiment was undertaken

  9. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:02 AM | Permalink

    most climate scientists do not live or die by the “hockey stick”

    1. They don’t? What’s IPCC? Right – they’ve “moved on”. Still using the same questionable data and methods and arguments though.
    2. CA addresses alot more than just hockey sticks in mutiproxy studies. Where do you place your faith? GCMs? Bad news.

  10. Carl Christensen
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:03 AM | Permalink

    bender et al — publish or perish — faith in a blog is a recipe for stupidity!

  11. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:05 AM | Permalink

    Re #7

    that’s just another myth from M&M

    I wasn’t aware there was a first myth … care to expound?

  12. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    by the way, most climate scientists I run into (US & Europe) do not live or die by the “hockey stick”

    So what about the policymakers and educators?

  13. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    #8. When it started, realclimate was heavily into Hockey Stick posts – look at Dec 2004, Jan 2005, Feb 2005. They responded to our criticism in non-peer-reviewed settings, which climate scientists were quite content to accept. Mann, for example, never published a peer reviewed response to our articles. This site originated in response to severe attacks at realclimate. It’s amazing how often climate scientists reverse the order.

    As to Mann himself – he submitted a reply to MM03 to Climatic Change, but it was rejected. THe story of the rejection was amusing. Climatic Change had made a big deal of Mann not being allowed to review our 2003 article. So they asked me to review his submission to Climatic Change in 2004. In my capacity as a reviewer, I asked for the supporting data and code that Mann had previously refused to supply. Schneider said that noone had ever asked for such things in 28 years of his editing the journal – so much for due diligence at journals – and that my requests would require consideration of the editorial board. The board agreed that supporting data should be mandatory but not code. However, Mann refused to provide the supporting data and the submission was never published.

  14. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:15 AM | Permalink

    Re #10
    No one’s asking for your faith. Just that you look at the facts. Faith in blogs is, agreed, a bad idea, and faith in publication is not such a good idea either. Scientists, like any human, are prone to making errors. You’ve seen them in Mann. You’ve seen them in Emanuel. Watch out for errors. Watch out for advocates who make errors that continually tend to favor their hypothesis. Shop around for your news. As for your admonition to “publish or perish” – error reports are not easily published in the traditional literature.

  15. Jean S
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:17 AM | Permalink

    Judith, I found your students’ comments interesting and somewhat surprising. A think they do not seem to realize is that this site was founded on study of (and it’s main focus has been on) multiproxy temperature reconstructions, especially Mann’s work (only very recently there have been more general discussions). IMO, the lack of realizing this is reflected in comments like this:

    SteveM and Willis were perceived has hardcore statistical skeptics, assuming that all analyses done be climate people are suspect.

    Once you’ve gone through in any detail MBH98 (and related work), you would be nuts not to develope the attitude described above.

    Since especially Student#2 (S2) seems to have sufficient understanding of statistics, I’d like ask him/her to do the following: please review/replicate (a part of) MBH98 yourself. Especially I have one specific task in my mind:

    Replicate Figure 18 of Mann et al, Global Temperature Patterns in Past Centuries: An Interactive Presentation, Earth Interactions, 4-4, 1-29,2000. Once that is done it is easy to experiment with different window lenghts and lags (do it especially with 100 year window and lags 0,5,10). Try also with "standard correlations". Then I’d like to know S2’s opinion on
    a) how well the procedure was described in the papers
    b) statistical maturity of the approach
    c) what the choice of the method and the illustrated window lenghts (and lags) tell about the author(s) (read especially the text in MBH98)
    d) how much trust we can put on this attribution study (see also what IPCC TAR says about the analysis)

    Finally, I’d like to comment:

    The climateauditors do not seem to understand parameteric vs nonparametric tests.

    The climateauditors show a general lack of physical interpretation and a lack of appreciation of the fundamentally Bayesian approach

    I think these are unfair generalizations. Some of us have Ph.Ds in these statistical issues. Some of us have Ph.Ds is related physics. And what comes to the appreciation of the Bayesian approach, I can not comment the attitudes of others, but personally I could have a long discussion with S2 about the matter … but for now I only refer him/her here.

  16. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    Schneider said that no one had ever asked for such things in 28 years of his editing the journal

    Are you kidding me? What’s a reviewer expected to do? Suspend disbelief and just assume the calculations are correct? That’s not a critical review – that’s a rubber stamp!

  17. John Lish
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:20 AM | Permalink

    #8, Judith – I accept that but the impression given from your post gives a broad sweep judgement of CA by your two speakers. Perhaps the phrasing of your post is inaccurate but my impression was that generalisations were being made based on a small taster from a sub-topic. Were the criticism directed solely at the thread in question or broadened out to make a statement about the site?

  18. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    re #4 and the “attacks”: for the record, I did not feel attacked by the initial post (again i am very thick skinned and I had already taken numerous blogospheric hits over that paper), but the students did perceive an attack and a sense of hostility. It took me a while to develop an understanding of what this blog was about (my earlier posts on the initial thread in Aug were designed to help me answer questions as to what you were actually up to). the “style” of blogging is definitely more confrontational than what is typically encountered in our research community; the “hurricane wars” (a media driven, nonblogospheric “war”) with Bill Gray was apparently sufficiently newsworthy for the front page of the WSJ. our community values collegiality in scientific debate, and the blogospheric style is apparently not a comfortable one for many scientists.

  19. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    re #17 the specific assignment was to examine the hurricane threads, although previously in the semester i had pointed them to a number of blogs that were having interesting discussions on hurricanes (including climateaudit) so some of the students have been visiting the site prior to the assignment (but i don’t know exactly what they were reading). Of the two students that presented, #2 did make reference to the santer thread. So the bottom line is that this group of students have pretty much focused on the hurricane threads.

  20. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    The community may value collegiality in scientific debate, but, in my experience, doesn’t practice it. If you look at the types of personal attacks that have been levelled at me – for very dry technical comments on principal components and bristlecones – without any protest by the climate science community, you would be forced to conclude that it entirely depends on whose ox is being gored.

    #18. I would have thought that authors should be pleased that their papers are being discussed. The hurricane thread is atypical of topics here because it’s in the news, but I’m sure that I’ve caused attention to be paid to some proxy articles that would otherwise be ignored. I’ve certainly attempted to draw attention to Millar et al 2006; Naurzbaev et al 2004.

  21. David Smith
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:35 AM | Permalink

    Judith, I appreciate the time that you and your students have spent looking at this blog and blogs in general. The aggressive-tone problem is common across blogs (including RC) and I think it stems from 1) the anonymity of the internet and (2) the lack of visual interchange in internet communication (usually, one either sees or visualizes the face of the other party (“the enemy has a human face”), but not on blogs) Some day someone will solve these problems.

    Speaking of problems, I have a challenge for your graduate students!! They are very talented, perceptive people with a solid grounding in tropical climatology. I am not, and I need them to solve two problems for me. I hope they will accept, and help me grow my knowledge. The problems are related:

    1. Here, here, and here
    are specific humidity time plots for the tropics (25N to 25S, globally) for the 700mb, 500mb and 400mb levels, respectively. Why has the humidity declined, and continues to decline, in the mid-troposphere of the tropics?

    2. Problem number two is the specific humidity of the 300mb level, shown here.
    What happened in the mid-1970s that caused such a jump? This, by the way, is one of several (to me) mysterious shifts in various atmospheric parameters that happened in 1976-77. I hear “PDO”, and perhaps that is the answer, but what’s the connection with tropical upper-tropospheric humidity?

    Thanks!

  22. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    our community values collegiality in scientific debate, and the blogospheric style is apparently not a comfortable one for many scientists

    Collegiality is necessary when you rub shoulders with your colleagues. In the blogosphere, I don’t see it serves all that important a social function. Mind you, one should always strive for professionalism, even in the blogosphere. (But it’s pretty hard to maintain when there are trolls taking shots from all directions. You’re going to get muddy, no question. And if you spend all your time trying to stay clean you don’t get anywhere.)

    According to Popper the rate of growth of scientific knowledge (K) is proportional to the rate of conjecture ( C) times the rate of refutation ( R). The blogosphere gives you unprecedented connectivity between C & R. Collegiality is fine; but the college that figures this out first (+how to harness it & how to monopolize it) is going to make great strides.

  23. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:59 AM | Permalink

    Rather than overinterpret the GT experiment (which focused on a very narrow and atypical slice of CA dominated by one hothead), I suggest we run a second experiment which focuses on the proxies.

  24. jae
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:05 AM | Permalink

    It’s always interesting to see how “outsiders” perceive something (the blog in this case). Reading between the lines, it appears to me that the students have an underlying bias in favor of AGW, and their beliefs are threatened by the comments and general tone of this blog (Judith–would you say this is true?) This is a very small sample of students, and I wonder how representative it is. I suspect it is very representative, since students tend to be highly idealistic and tend to be very liberal (anti-establishment) I know I was!

  25. charles
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry,

    How do your students plan on making a living? Do they plan to draw from GW realated grant money? Do they believe they have a better chance of being funded if they are pro or con AGW?

    Do they recognize the bias of self preservation that each of us carries regarding our source of income?

    I am also struck that many of the AGW skeptics on this and other sites do so without monetary compensation. To me, this enhances their credibility rather than diminishing it.

  26. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:34 AM | Permalink

    re #25: Charles, I agree with you regarding the credibility of science without monetary compensation, this increases rather than diminishes credibility (although compensation is a small issue in my mind re the credibility of science and/or a scientist). This particular group of students does not live and breathe re the attribution of global warming, although I imagine that most of them would pretty much subscribe to the RC view of the overall issue (and they pretty much ignore paleo stuff). But you (and the tons of others that think we need “alarmism” to keep our funding going) totally misunderstand how research funding works. Lets say the policy makers decide to limit greenhouse gas emissions (which is what you think climate researchers are pushing for). Such a policy would dry up money for climate research more than anything i can think of. 99% of climate researchers are not active in any way in terms of promoting specific policies. Research funding is driven by uncertainty (Ramanathan is the master at this one). The net effect of climateaudit will probably be to increase funding for climate research. Funding for climate research will not increase if all climate researchers line up and say we know everything, we all believe in global warming. The research proposals that i write and review are about addressing some uncertainty or other, i have no idea where the proposer stands on the attribution of global warming, it simply doesn’t come up in the proposal process at least for the grant proposals that I review). I’m sure I’ve opened up a big can of worms here.

    The students (with the exception of a few senior students) in the hurricane class are just starting to learn about the science and the scientific process. Besides just teaching science, I have been trying to broaden their horizons, discussing politicization of science issues and using the blogosphere in the classroom. We have put two of our spanish speaking senior students through media training. We are trying to figure out how to train students to deal with the policy relevant aspects of our science. There is no recipe to follow here, the field has totally changed since when I was a student. So what are the students learing from this exchange? I will be interested to check in with them next week in class to see how this exchange has influenced their perception of climateaudit and the blogosphere.

  27. Carl Christensen
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    [snip ad hominem attack]

  28. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:45 AM | Permalink

    It takes two to tango.

  29. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    There are many academics who have visted CA, contributed, and not had that negative experience. Rob Wilson and Judith Curry are two examples I’m familiar with. I’m sure Steve M could name many more.

  30. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:51 AM | Permalink

    #20

    The community may value collegiality in scientific debate, but, in my experience, doesn’t practice it.

    Steve, the problem is that you are not part of the community. That makes you an easy target. With colleagues that can end up being reviewers for your papers, or for your grant applications, you’d better be collegial, at least in the open. God knows what is being said behind closed doors, however!

    This is the same reason your letters to Nature are so easily rejected, whereas Mann’s are published. He is still a star in the climate community, and presumably will be there for a long time. You’re an outsider, and nobody’s going to do you a favor if they don’t feel that they can get something in return later.

    To make an analogy with continental drift, which I’ve been studying lately, the main reason why Wegener’s hypothesis was so easily dismissed, and with such hostility (he had his share of nasty comments…), is that he was also an outsider to the geological community. He was a brilliant scientist (and incidentally published a book on paleoclimate…), but, wrong field (meteorology), and maybe also wrong country (Germany right after WW1).

  31. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:55 AM | Permalink

    Carl, we know you from the past. You’re a troll, here to poison the waters. Go back to whatever rock you’ve been hiding under!

    But to others reading this thread, here’s a fine example of why trolls are such a problem on any blog site. Either they get to say whatever nasty stuff they want with nothing to conteract it for bystanders, or people have to waste time and bandwidth contradicting them. Frankly Carl is one I’d just as soon Steve M give a pre-emptory expulsion to. He’s never once made a civil post. Just look at his contributions on this thread:

    #6 “real right-wing nutters”
    #7 “just another myth from M&M”
    #10 “faith in a blog is a recipe for stupidity”
    #27 “cowardly John A”

    Who needs him?

  32. Jean S
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:01 AM | Permalink

    Carl, are you trying to get to be a “hero” for Judith’s students… don’t bother… they are way too intelligent.

    And for Judith’s students, it is sometimes very hard here to talk only about scientific/technical issues, exactly because of people like Carl who have nothing to contribute to the actual matters. Just google his name and you’ll see the level of discussion he’s capable of. Or check his contributions from the thread he was referring to.

  33. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:04 AM | Permalink

    Judy-

    Congrats for conducting an interesting and open experiment in the blogosphere!

    I will take issue with your statement that “our community values collegiality in scientific debate, and the blogospheric style is apparently not a comfortable one for many scientists.”

    You and I have both seen colleagues in faculty meetings, etc. behave like the most juvenile blog poster. And you and I have probably each been guilty of a bit of the same from time to time. We academics aren’t always known for collegiality;-)

    Being afraid of the rough and tumble is not in my view why most scientists stay away from participating in blog discussions (but maybe for some this is the case). In my opinion the openness and immediate _public_ critique are far from the comfortableness of a good battle with the faculty member or scientist down the hall.

    Keep pushing the system!

    Thanks!

  34. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:19 AM | Permalink

    Thanks to Judith Curry for sending along these candid comments from a couple of her students about climateaudit.

    Are these comments from actual students of Judith Curry, who are graded by her and are not anonymous to her? Would they consider themselves as part of the AGW consensus? What were their judgments of realclimate. What are their experiences in blogging on general topics and in their specific fields of interest? I would think that these questions would provide some of the necessary background to better evaluate their comments.

    While their comments are much too general to be used for analytical purposes, they do seem to have hit on the weaknesses of this blog and almost all blogs in general. That is why I would question whether there was some naivety in their blog related comments.

    I would think the pertinent questions to be asked would be: Did you learn anything by participating, even if it was limited to reading and not posting and what did you learn at climateaudit — and realclimate? The learning process is to me what makes the weaknesses of the blogs worth enduring and learning not from just a factual standpoint but from getting a better feel for the personalities and backgrounds involved on all sides of a controversial issue.

    Judith, I believe in putting these comments out without opportunity for reply and further questioning goes back to the days of the anonymous letter to the editor of a newspaper. With all its weaknesses, I think the blogosphere provides an opportunity that goes far beyond that more or less one-way communication and, with all due respect, in my view and in this case, I think you blew it.

  35. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:26 AM | Permalink

    #27 — [snip – sorry about this, Pat. I’m invoking one of the Road Map rules – you’ll know which one]

  36. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    #26 Judith,

    Funding for climate research will not increase if all climate researchers line up and say we know everything, we all believe in global warming. The research proposals that i write and review are about addressing some uncertainty or other, i have no idea where the proposer stands on the attribution of global warming, it simply doesn’t come up in the proposal process at least for the grant proposals that I review). I’m sure I’ve opened up a big can of worms here.

    Can of worms indeed! Do you realize how paradoxical is your assertion that climate researchers are NOT lining up and say we know everything, we all believe in global warming? Have you read newspapers over the past ten years or so? Because that’s the message we keep hearing all the time! That’s what interested me in this topic at first, because as a scientist, I knew that what you’re saying is right: most climate scientists don’t think we know everything (otherwise, as you say, they’d be out of a job), and most probably don’t spend their days worrying about distressed polar bears… When I read the IPCC TAR, it sounded just like a usual big review paper, and my feeling was that, well, there’s stuff we know about, but there’s still an awful lot that we DON’T know about.

    So WHY do we keep hearing that message? You tell me…

    I also know enough about grant applications, and grant commitees, and can you swear you don’t mention “global warming” or “climate change” anywhere in the opening lines of your grant application? Of course, then you follow this up with the bulk of the application, and of course the committee couldn’t care less about the whole issue. But I’ll be damned if you don’t feel obliged to give it lip service. Something like “global warming is a tremendously important issue, but there are still uncertainties, and this is what we’re going to do…”.

    When I sat on a grant committee, the hot thing was “industrial applications”. Of course, most university projects will never have any “industrial applications”, especially here in Canada where funding for research is at a ridiculously low level. I was in industry at the time, and I knew there was not a chance. But eveynone had to talk about how they could revolutionize the industry. There was even a question in the grant application form about what impact the research would have on the Canadian economy! What about “zero”! That question was a pain in the *** for applicants and reviewers alike: we had to rate it!

    Anyway, of course the whole AGW is not a conspiracy by climate researchers to get more funding. But can you deny that you DO have more funding nowadays than 20 years ago? Why’s that? Would YOU have the same kind of funding, were it not for the fact that AGW is such a hot issue? I know that, after the tech bubble burst, funding for fiber optic gizmos wasn’t so easy to get.

  37. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:40 AM | Permalink

    Judy,

    It was a good experiment. I think given the lukewarm interest and evaluation by the students, you may not want to repeat it. That said, if you do repeat this in some form, it might be more productive to require the students to either audit the blog posts/arguments (could be here or RC) or to critique the original papers, while also evaluating the blog critiques. I find that, although it is more work, one learns more when one does some work and wades into details. I remember a seminar class that I had where we read 3 articles on a period of history written from different political slants. For one of the two weekly meetings, we had to write a 2 page compare/contrast paper. Seminar discussion was always much better on the day where people had written papers. (I know that this is more work, but you don’t build muscles without lifting weights…)

    For “my side”, I would not be terribly off-put by the lukewarm reactions. Sure, the students may have “gotten it wrong” or may have a bias, but at least they took the time to look at things. Take that as a minor victory–one can’t always win wars on the first battle. Personally, I disagree with some of the student comments, but there are some grains of truth in some of the characterizations: stronger on stats then on physical, not always grounded on the literature, quick to claim victory with initial stats evaluation but not sticking it out the end of the analysis (Chefen’s mud woman is a good example). For the student, I would reply that even given those faults, it is probably better to wade in and try to think through things even if one has weaknesses, then to accept on fate or just not get involved. If you think of the blog as a finished peice of communication, then it is bad…if you think of it as a salon or a blackboard for tying things out, it is very good. Of course, formal publications should also be performed to further knowledge and too much blogging and not enough publishing makes me think of policy PR, rather then furthering a field of science.

  38. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:44 AM | Permalink

    Re #33
    Dr Curry didn’t say academics were known for collegiality. She said they value collegiality. Maybe it’s valued because it’s a precious commodity?

  39. Angela Fritz
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:51 AM | Permalink

    Re: #25

    For students, credibility (and respect) is assigned to those practicing “good” science, whether or not they have a payday. In our efforts to understand the scientific community and process, we labor over reports and results and the methods used, not the source or amount of funding. One has to wonder, if these unfunded scientists are coming up with different results, and yet are using pristine methods, why are they not being funded? Ideally, the credible climate scientists have a steady source of funding because of the scientifically and mathematically sound methods they use (which peer editing should ensure), not because they are “pro” or “con” GW, AGW, anything.

    When did science turn into taking a side? We are pro-science, whatever the results may be.

  40. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:02 PM | Permalink

    Re # 34: the hurricane seminar course is pass fail (if you show up and participate, you pass). “student” #2 has already graduated and therefore is not even taking the course for credit (in that respect, i am a student of the course as well). there are several students in the seminar that are engineering majors and have never taken a climate course. We teach them how to think, not what to think. The statements of the two students and the subsequent discussion did not in particular match my personal opinions, and I did not make much of an effort to inflict my opinions on them other than when asked. The purpose of the exercise was to broaden the horizons of the students, not to entertain or enlighten bloggers, although I posted this thinking that it might do one or the other.

  41. Jean S
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    re #39: I suppose you are of of Judith’s students?!

    We are pro-science, whatever the results may be.

    Excellent attitude! This is exactly why I’m here, and this is also the reason I invite you to take in part of discussions here!

  42. jae
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:11 PM | Permalink

    39: You say:

    One has to wonder, if these unfunded scientists are coming up with different results, and yet are using pristine methods, why are they not being funded? Ideally, the credible climate scientists have a steady source of funding because of the scientifically and mathematically sound methods they use (which peer editing should ensure), not because they are “pro” or “con” GW, AGW, anything.

    Why do you think you have to have funding to be credible? One could argue that funding often taints the science. There is art for art’s sake, and science for science’s sake. Folks like Steve M, bender, TCO, and Willis apparently enjoy trying to ferret out the truth, and don’t need someone to pay them for it. As to peer review, you should read the Wegman report.

  43. Angela Fritz
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:20 PM | Permalink

    Re: 42

    Im sorry, I dont think I was clear. My point was that if your methods are sound, then you should (in theory) be receiving funding no matter what your results are.

  44. jae
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:28 PM | Permalink

    43: then you don’t believe in volunteers, such as volunteer fire districts and other philantropist activities?

  45. Jonathan Schafer
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    #26,

    Funding for climate research will not increase if all climate researchers line up and say we know everything, we all believe in global warming.

    One need only look at the essay written by Naomi Oreskes Undeniable Global Warming to believe that most climate researchers have lined up and say they know everything and have reached a consensus. Of course, that essay was flawed but reading the majority of the press, you’d think she hit it head on. See the letter that Science Magazine refused to publish by Benny Peiser here…RE: The consensus on climate change.

  46. jae
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:29 PM | Permalink

    BTW, Angelia, I too strongly agree with your last statement in #39!

  47. Nicholas
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:41 PM | Permalink

    Angela : You remind me of a joke. I’m sure I’ll butcher it, but here goes.

    A rich tycoon decides one day that he wants to discover a way to win bets on horse races, and become even richer, so he invents a scheme.

    He selects three experts, and tells them he will pay a million dollars to the first one who comes up with a way to consistently make money betting at the track. One of them is a farmer, one is a statistician and one is a physicist.

    A week later the farmer comes to his door and is invited in. The farmer tells him, “I spent a week down at the track. I looked at the horses, the winners and losers, and tried to determine what seperated them. I looked at the shape of the horses, the condition they were in, how muscular they were, what they ate, when they exercised… everything. And I just can’t find a way to pick a winner every time. Sorry.” Oh well, thinks the tycoon, maybe one of the other two will come up with the solution.

    The next week the statistician pays him a visit. “I’ve used every trick I know to analyze the form books and race results going back twenty years. I pored over the data for the last two weeks all day every day, and I can’t find any statistically significant way to know in advance when a horse is going to win. Sorry.”

    Oh well, he thinks, there’s still the physicist. And next week, he receives a visit from the very same, who tells him that there is good news. The tycoon is very excited, and tells the physicist to explain what has been discovered at once. “I’ve cracked it.. I worked out how to tell which horse is going to win.” “So, what’s the answer, I must know!” “Well… assume the horses are perfect spheres and move in a vacuum…”

    Many things are true in theory, including science funding being based upon merit. But we engineers and statisticians and assorted others have to deal with the ugly reality, I’m afraid ;)

    [sorry if that was off-topic but I hope it was amusing, anyway…]

  48. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    My personal research $$ (in real dollars) peaked in the early 90’s. Back then, in some of the funding programs success rate on proposals exceeded 50%. The success rate now is closer to 10% in many of the funidng programs (NSF Earth System History, funding most of the proxy research, has a teeny budget). On average, faculty in my department submit 4 grant proposals per year as PI (and are involved in many more proposals as co-PI). A huge amount of research funding gets eaten up in congressional earmarks (pork). In terms of overall dollars, the numbers seem large, but the funds get eaten up in various ways that don’t translate directly into climate research (cost overruns on satellites, etc). Contrary to what Michael Chrichton says, climate researchers do not do this work for the research dollars (we could all make more money in the private sector). At Georgia Tech, we have a pretty good funding base. Faculty members are expected to bring in some research dollars from the “prestige” funding agencies like NSF to show that they can compete in this arena. But research $$, other than paying for students and some travel, doesn’t drive this train. Scientists that participate in assessment projects like IPCC do this without pay from the IPCC and typically don’t get a heck of a lot in terms of consideration or rewards for such activities from their home institution. It is part of our “service” obligation.

  49. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    Re: #39

    In our efforts to understand the scientific community and process, we labor over reports and results and the methods used, not the source or amount of funding.

    If it is thought most admirable to labor without consideration of compensation but to be compensated then,

    One has to wonder, if these unfunded scientists are coming up with different results, and yet are using pristine methods, why are they not being funded?

    why would labor without any compensation suddenly be subjected to further scrutiny.

    I surmise that unless one sees the starkly different functions/values between the pursuits of the scientist and the blogger, one is going to be confused in comparing apples with oranges. I am appreciative of the efforts of scientists and do not begrudge them whatever compensation they may realize, but I am even more appreciative of the likes of a Steve M and the Roger Pielkes for doing what they do in the blogosphere — and with no compensation.

  50. jae
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    48: Judity, I was once an acedemic type, who opted to make more money by going to the private sector. I totally agree with your statements.

  51. Douglas Hoyt
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:08 PM | Permalink

    In my case, I am a retired climate and solar scientist who maintains an interest in the subject. I see many mistakes in climate science and from time to time comment on them. Not that that does much good since most of them won’t listen. It used to be that one could take a colleague aside and point out an error without acrimony. Those days have passed in the climate community. In the solar community, things are still cordial and the level of discourse is much higher than in the climate community, in my experience.

    In my career, I think I lost three proposals that I submitted. I never particularly liked getting government funding unless the topic was important. I also think good marketers tend to win more grants and they are not necessarily the best scientists. It is much better to be self-funded.

  52. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:33 PM | Permalink

    One has to wonder, if these unfunded scientists are coming up with different results, and yet are using pristine methods, why are they not being funded?

    I’m an unpaid volunteer who believes in the cause of democratic, participatory, flat & transparent internet-based science. I use a cheapo computer to do audits. What do I need money for?

  53. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Judith:

    I’ve got my union card and done my time in the academic world, even wrote a grant or so. I think that science and funding goes in fads and people will tend to jump on them. I think most people know that more attention payed to AGW helps funding. I also think that the field attracts people of an environmentalist bent, so they have an interest in getting things done, in saving the world.

    I don’t think that people in academia have some Machieavellian, explicit plan to drum up results or such to get grants and jobs. That said, they totally know which way winds are blowing (trends) on what is getting funded and it has an impact.

    I also think that the “we could make more in the private sector is a bit of a chimera”. There are some nice perks to being in the academic science world (tenure, freedom to do what you want, etc.) Try getting out and competing in the real world. It’s not like that day or two of plush consulting $, you got for expert witness at a trial. For that matter, imagine the screams if NCAR layed off employees or a university layed off professors. There are a lot of scientists who are dependant on the teat of federal largess–try taking it away and watch the reaction.

    P.s. Maybe your funding and the acceptance rate has gone down (50% to 10%) because of more people entering the field. Certainly, I doubt that available $$ has dropped to one fifth of what it was before…

  54. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:45 PM | Permalink

    RE: The “biases” of the climateauditors were discussed. Bender was perceived as a hardcore anti- warmer. SteveM and Willis were perceived has hardcore statistical skeptics, assuming that all analyses done be climate people are suspect. Steve Bloom was viewed as a somewhat heroic glutton for punishment. David Smith was viewed as the voice of reason.

    Now we know the the biases of the two students. Thinking back to my own University days, and extrapolating to present, incorporating the complete replacement of pre Baby Boomer by Boomer and younger generations within faculty and administration (with corresponding hard Left turn on top of past Left turns) ….. I am not surprised.

  55. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    RE: “science at its highest levels is a bloodsport”

    LOLOLOLOL!!!!

  56. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    Someone called me “right-wing”, too. Well, I suppose my vote for Ralph Nader in Alachua FL did have some ironic unintended consequences.

  57. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 1:55 PM | Permalink

    One has to wonder, if these unfunded scientists are coming up with different results, and yet are using pristine methods, why are they not being funded?

    In a perfect world funding agencies would have talent scouts who scour the internet looking for the next Jim Hansen or Michael Mann. I know in that world that my talents would have been discovered long ago, although I would admit to wondering how they could be used.

  58. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:00 PM | Permalink

    Let me actually argue the converse. For someone coming in from the outside, if you see a “side” that is marginalized, unfunded, and lacks Ph.D.’s in the discipline, then it’s not unreasonable to have a quick assessment that “those guys are cranks”. If you’ve spent the time to look at the detailed science, then you should be able to evaluate it regardless of credentials. So, if you don’t have time or are lazy when given time/assignement, then credential-criticizing is relavent. If you have the time and energy and just refuse to “beleive your lying eyes”, then you are not being fair.

  59. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #58
    Agreed. It’s fair to assess someone’s credentials. It’s fair to ask someone what their credentials are. If they won’t divulge them then it’s even fair to ignore what they say … for a while. But recognize: there may come a point when credentials stop mattering and force of argument takes over. Then you have the tough task of deciding whether to continue to ignore them, or start taking their arguments seriously.

    I wouldn’t dismiss posts by Willis, Steve M, or bender out of hand. There’s always something to them. And I suspect the more time-consuming work being done by UC and Jean S is also going to lead to some interesting analysis. Posts by Ken Fritsch, Pat Frank, Dave Dardinger & Francois Ouellete are always well-crafted and enlightening in some way or another. (Even TCO’s broken-record rants – if you can manage to decode them – are dead on the mark: tendentiousness & non-disaggregation lead to more obfuscation (from the outsider’s view) than insight.)

    If you look for devils in people – the way Dano, Bloom, & Hearnden do – then that is what you will find. Let that be a warning to all pattern-seeking climate scientists.

  60. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:31 PM | Permalink

    #48 Judith,

    If this is the case (funding), then I sympathize. I have read somewhere that money for climate research had increased significantly over the past years, but then I haven’t checked the data. I would be curious to know more about it, however. If anyone has numbers, I’d be interested.

  61. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #61
    Funding for climatology (and science in general) has declined* since “the day that everything changed”. It’s funding for climate change impacts and adaptation research that has increased. The distinction is important. To a climatologist.

    *The same is not true in Canada or in Quebec.

  62. straightner
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #54

    “Now we know the the biases of the two students.”

    I am curious what you think those are?

  63. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:05 PM | Permalink

    Re: #53

    I agree with basically the entire comment. Did I just say that — and before my mellowing evening martini?

    The last paragraph in comment #53 would seem to imply that the field of climatology may have become more competitive with the lure of more grant money. I would interested to know the trends in (1) the total amount of grant money over the years for climate research, (2) the number of climate researchers and (3) the ratio of funding from government/academic to private sources.

  64. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:09 PM | Permalink

    Not to put words in #54’s mouth, but I think he was implying any or all of the following: left, AGW, environmental, Sierra Club, democrat, not aware of how the 20th c. hydrocarbon economy functions … that sort of thing. Why do you ask?

  65. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

    The climateauditors do not seem to understand parameteric vs nonparametric tests. The Kendall test (rank based test) used by WHCC does not require a normal distribution and is also fairly insensitive to serial correlation, so the emphasis on autocorrelation and distributions did not add anything.

    Some discussion of the Kendall test for trends are contained in the following thesis: online here saying:

    Trends are estimated using a nonparametric Mann-Kendall approach.

  66. Kevin
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    I would be curious to hear their comments about RealClimate.

  67. Follow the Money
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    “Now we know the the biases of the two students.”

    That they want jobs and grants in the future and don’t want to be blacklisted as having skepticism and an inability to tout the more lucrative party line? In real life the smart move.

    Student #1 has the right snarky and dismissive tone to make him popular in the faith-based AAGW circles.

  68. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:21 PM | Permalink

    “Now we know the the biases of the two students.”

    We have no way of determining whether either of the students has any biases or what they might be if they had any. That is the problem with an indirect one way (or two way interpreted) conversation. It is like the letter to the editor without any substantial back and forth conversation and how much one comes to appreciate the farther reaching understanding of a statement one can obtain at the blogs. It is far better to have an in depth conversation and for all the participants to reach their own conclusions than to receive a few sound bits.

    Blogs are not perfect as noted by a most diconcerting practice of the fly-by critic of a blog or discussion group who blasts away and never stays to be engaged, but in these instances the comments are normally ignored and attributed to cranks. I believe that almost all of this blog’s critics stay to be engaged.

  69. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    Re #64 Francois is in Quebec. I mention it specifically because it’s unique in North America for its dependence on hyrdoelectric power. Hence the relative increase in climate change research & funding there. I thought that might skew his perception of funding trends at the international scale. (I could be wrong. He seems well-read.)

  70. Angela Fritz
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    I would stray from associating a name to either of these students. I think it was generous that Dr. Curry volunteered the information so that the readers/owners of this blog could see some feedback (whether or not they like the feedback).

    That being said, I am not one of those students. =P

    Re: Everyone that has commented about my funding opinions. I am applying this train of thought to a fictional scientist that continuously applies for funding in climate research and continuously is being denied, or some kind of situation like that. Im NOT referring to scientists that research these things for the sake of science and knowledge in general. I am a strong supporter of “volunteer” methods. Im a graduate student, I understand this method very well.

  71. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #70
    pt. #1 Agreed. We can never be sure who the students are, and “GTstudent2″ is as good an identifier as “bender”. The last thing we want is people feeling personally intimidated.

  72. straightner
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    I would be curious to see if Judith Curry would agree with the assesments of both of those students biases.

    Why I am curious is that what these students said and their ‘biases’ are being evaluated in a hearsay capacity. From one post by Judith Curry, you are suggesting you know these people and can tell their biases. Seems illogical and not very thorough.

    Without having been in the classroom I think it would be tough for anyone to determine the biases. Even having been there I am uncertain that I could determine the biases based purely on a single presentation. To evaluate their tone or feeling toward CA, maybe. But even that is difficult without the full context of what they knew of CA before presenting.

    I guess to me the logical course is to try and digest what Judith has shared and look for points of value and discuss if there are better ways to blog. To get a point out effectively and try to eliminate as much ‘bias’ as we can in the process.

    The more sound and logical our process, and the less the bias, the more credible the blog becomes. IMHO

  73. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:36 PM | Permalink

    #70. When I noticed the article, the detection and attribution seemed rather fun, your point is reasonable and I’ve re-edited the comment.

  74. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    Not to play the cheerleader, but I think these two students and Judith Curry, regardless of their commentary or views, deserve some applause for participating. It rarely pays to stick your neck out, and I hope they understand that their contributions are valued. (If you feel under-valued re-read the earlier posts multiple times.)

    Remember, these are students, not professionals.

  75. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #73
    I like detection & attribution problems too, so I understand. You made the right decision – and I know no harm was intended.

    The great thing is: now we get to read this interesting paper! Free exposure to a large critical audience! How cool is that?

  76. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #72

    Seems illogical and not very thorough.

    Give Sadlov a chance to reply. He may or may not think y’all are a buncha warmers. Note: He was largely playing “tit-for-tat” – pointing out that if you infer a bias you better be prepared to back it up, or else expect to have it come right back in your face.

  77. straightner
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:01 PM | Permalink

    Re #76

    Agree that it would be intersting to hear Sadlov’s view, but since others chimed in (including yourself), just responding to those points of view.

    But that is also why I am curious if Judith would agree with the biases of what people think here of those two students.

  78. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:13 PM | Permalink

    What does “fairly insensative” mean?

  79. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:14 PM | Permalink

    Re #77
    My point is Sadlov is a pretty smart guy; he’s not going to try to win an unwinnable argument about what the biases might be in a bunch of people he’s never interacted with. His point was not about biases among GT2006 students, but student biases in general, and what you can expect if you accuse someone of a bias but can’t or won’t back it up.

    Dr. Curry probably does not have the time or inclination to get into it. She probably has papers to grade, which requires not only impartiality, but also the image of impartiality.

    Keep posting here. You make good points.

  80. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #78

    What does “fairly insensative” mean?

    Now THAT’s a good question. Let’s have an answer to that. It comes from #1:

    The Kendall test (rank based test) used by WHCC does not require a normal distribution and is also fairly insensitive to serial correlation

  81. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    But that is also why I am curious if Judith would agree with the biases of what people think here of those two students.

    Whoa, I do not think that there has been a consensus here on whether the students are biased or what there biases may be. Now you may be getting ahead of yourself.

    I think all these contorted surmises are the result of incomplete conversations. Involving student critics is a bit problematic for me as I do not think one is going to hold them to the same standards as one would a more known adult critic like Steve B.

  82. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Steve, how about a new headpost on the master’s thesis. Let’s try to be gentle, but let’s discuss it. It is fair game. That’s the great thing about scientific literature, Steve. Hint, hint.

  83. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Re #78
    Let’s see a comparative plot of the performance (% correct inferences) of the Kendall test vs. some alternative parametric method, where performance degrades differentially as a function of p (autocorrelation) and n (some index of noise variance).

  84. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:24 PM | Permalink

    It is my understanding that the Mann-Kendall test is appropriate to use in some situations with some data sets but that it should be used only after careful assessment of and appropriateness for the data set. One might inquire if other assessment tools (parametric and/or non-parametric) were used in the analysis to compliment the M-K test.

    I think the challenge has been thrown down to the statistically versed at this blog to look into the appropriateness of the use of Mann-Kendall in WHCC.

  85. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #81
    Yes, whoah. Maybe I read #77 too quickly. There is no basis for assuming there’s a consensus here. Just one guy’s flippant remark, and my interpretation of it.

  86. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    There’s an R-package containing the Mann-Kendall test in which the example is taken from the river running through Guelph, Ontario, where Ross McKitrick is located.
    http://cran.r-project.org/doc/packages/Kendall.pdf. In terms of small world, Myron Ebell’s wife worked for a while as a secretary for Kendall.

  87. Jean S
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    Please, someone check this paper (I do not have pdf access):

    Title: The influence of autocorrelation on the ability to detect trend in hydrological series
    Authors: Yue, Sheng; Pilon, Paul; Phinney, Bob; Cavadias, George
    Publication: Hydrological Processes, vol. 16, Issue 9, pp.1807-1829

    Abstract

    This study investigated using Monte Carlo simulation the interaction between a linear trend and a lag-one autoregressive (AR(1)) process when both exist in a time series. Simulation experiments demonstrated that the existence of serial correlation alters the variance of the estimate of the Mann-Kendall (MK) statistic; and the presence of a trend alters the estimate of the magnitude of serial correlation. Furthermore, it was shown that removal of a positive serial correlation component from time series by pre-whitening resulted in a reduction in the magnitude of the existing trend; and the removal of a trend component from a time series as a first step prior to pre-whitening eliminates the influence of the trend on the serial correlation and does not seriously affect the estimate of the true AR(1). These results indicate that the commonly used pre-whitening procedure for eliminating the effect of serial correlation on the MK test leads to potentially inaccurate assessments of the significance of a trend; and certain procedures will be more appropriate for eliminating the impact of serial correlation on the MK test. In essence, it was advocated that a trend first be removed in a series prior to ascertaining the magnitude of serial correlation. This alternative approach and the previously existing approaches were employed to assess the significance of a trend in serially correlated annual mean and annual minimum streamflow data of some pristine river basins in Ontario, Canada. Results indicate that, with the previously existing procedures, researchers and practitioners may have incorrectly identified the possibility of significant trends.

  88. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    I had just googled “mann kendall sheng yue autocorrelation” one second ago. I can get it tomorrow, but if someone emails it to me, I’ll forward to Jean S.

  89. TAC
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:56 PM | Permalink

    #84 The Mann-Kendall (aka “Kendall’s tau”) test is not robust against serial correlation. To quantify the statement, here are some quick Monte Carlo results (I have not checked them, but I’m pretty sure they’re right) providing the type 1 error rates (the probability of rejecting H0 when it is, in fact, true, for a nominal 5% test) for n=25 and rho (the lag-one serial correlation) between 0.1 and 0.9:

    [-,] rho M-K Pearson
    [1,] 0.1 0.07 0.08
    [2,] 0.2 0.09 0.10
    [3,] 0.3 0.13 0.14
    [4,] 0.4 0.16 0.19
    [5,] 0.5 0.21 0.26
    [6,] 0.6 0.28 0.31
    [7,] 0.7 0.37 0.39
    [8,] 0.8 0.46 0.50
    [9,] 0.9 0.56 0.63

    where “M-K” stands for “Mann-Kendall,” and “Pearson” is the standard parametric test. To summarize, the Mann-Kendall has essentially the same lack of robustness wrt serial correlation as the parametric estimator. For lag-one correlation of rho=0.7, for example, you will report a significant trend test result about 37 (39) percent of the time when there is no trend in the stochastic process. R

    Results were calculated in R using the cor.test and arima.sim commands.

  90. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    Phinney is from Guelph.

  91. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #65
    That document mentions “autocorrelation” but once.

  92. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    TAC, (apologies if I asked this before) you seem really smart. What is your background? You are not that retired NY dude are you?

  93. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #89
    Nice. (The power of spatially distributed human parallel processing is awesome. Flat & open science is where it’s at.)

  94. straightner
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    Re #79

    I wish I had the time to post more, but like Dr. Curry I have students to help and homeworks to grade that keep me from participating to any degree that would be useful. However I have found this thread and others useful.

    I think as blogs have becomre more prevalent and have moved beyond just one person’s ramblings or a bunch of kids just gabbing, that they have not always taken on the structure needed to be as fair and unbiased as they should aim to be with topics as important as this.

    While for those dedicated posters or readers who read posts from end to end it might be a valuable exchange of ideas and thougths, casual readers might go away with misinformation as bad or worse as a typical media outlet gives them.

    That is why I think it is useful to reflect on the perceptions provided and try to learn from them, even if not all are valid or agreeable.

    The topic of climate is a critical one and we certainly do not know a great many things. At the same time I applude Dr. Curry and others trying to enhance our understanding of the topic, even if they do not always get it right.

    CA could play an important role in the process, if the process used is fair and the critism provided is done so in a constructive way. For that to happen I think the CA and other blogs need to think how they share information with the broader community.

    Maybe this can happen, maybe not, but IMHO everything we do is open to improvement and we should always take the opportunity to encourage feedback and evaluate if we can become better from it.

  95. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:17 PM | Permalink

    Re #94
    What do you make of #89?

  96. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    On reflection, all of the student judgments — at least as reflected by Judith’s summary posted here — were very qualitative. Unless there was some quantitative evaluation of the critqued CA analyses, showing how they were naive or wrong, then the criticisms really have no scientific value.

    Considering the quantitative analyses that have been posted here, most notably the derivations posted by Steve M., but also the analyses by Willis, and various analytical posts by Jean S. Bender, David Stockwell, and Francois, among others, to suppose that this blog engages superficial criticisms is demonstrably wrong.

    As I think Steve M. pointed out, I don’t recall any set of critical analyses posted at CA to have followed the course of actions #1-#6 outlined by Student #1. As others have asked, I’d like to any specific thread that naively stabbed at a problem, retreated in confusion, and ‘moved on,’ to be linked here so that we can all go, take a look, and be properly chastened.

  97. Stan Palmer
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    Re 89

    Garry Kasparov, likely the strangest chess champion ever, played a pair of matches that may bring insight to the “power of spatially distributed human parallel processing”. These were is matches against IBM’s Deep Blue parallel computer and the game he played against the Internet. In the Internet game, Kasparov’s opponent was composed of all indivuduals on teh Internet who were willing to consider and vote on a possible move. Deep Blue was a special purpose parallel computer that used chess programs that were customized by players at the grand master level.

    Deep Blue won its matcvh with Kasparov but the victory was hollow since it was easily apparent that Kaspaparov lost because of human fatigue. However in his Internet match, Kasparpov admitted that from from a few moves into the opening, he was playing for a draw. The moves selected by the swarm intelligence in the Internet were estimated to be of the power of an International Grand Master (ranking above 2600. The swarm lsot to Kasparov only because of a blunder in teh end game.

    So argulably this is evidence that an Internet-enabled human swarm can produce a computer of much greater power than the heavily funded IBM Deep Blue technology.

  98. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

    Bender,

    I was referring to the funding in the US. In Canada, most of the funding for academic research comes from the federal govt. So being in Quebec or Ontario makes no difference, hydro power or not.

    But you may be right about funding for adaptation. The other day, there was something funny on the radio. This lady was talking about her research results on pollen allergies, and how there’s more and more cases. And of course, near the end, she said it’s only going to get worse because of… you guessed it, global warming !…which makes the growing season longer. But it’s a silly argument, because the growing season is already longer in Toronto, and Boston, New York or Washington, so the frequency of allergies should be dramatic over there! My conclusion was that she probably got the funding for her research by relating the allergies problem to climate change, because there must be some grant program for it.

  99. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:33 PM | Permalink

    Re #96
    “#6 Giving up and moving on” was a strange one. What are we still doing discussing this subject one month after the fact? We’re poised to do a very interesting analysis of detection & attribution on AMO vs. trend and I’m patiently waiting for a filter from John Creighton. I could do it myself, but thought it might save time if he did it because he’s a MATLAB freak of nature. If the GT students want to contribute and be co-authors, by all means, step right up.

    When there are many fronts to attack and so few auditers there is a mountain of literature to read and data to analyse, so naturally progress is slower than ideal. At the same time you just saw before your very eyes how quickly TAC came up with #89.

    Still waiting for a GT response though. (Maybe they gave up and moved on?)

  100. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:35 PM | Permalink

    Re #98
    Ouranos?

  101. Angela Fritz
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:46 PM | Permalink

    Bender – a GT response on what? I apologize if you asked something of me that I didnt respond to. Ive been in and out of classes and seminars all day.

  102. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #101
    The question in #95: What do you make of #89?

  103. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #97
    Exactly.

  104. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    #100 Bender: right! Thanks for the info.

  105. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    #88 — Done

  106. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 6:21 PM | Permalink

    CA could play an important role in the process, if the process used is fair and the critism provided is done so in a constructive way. For that to happen I think the CA and other blogs need to think how they share information with the broader community.

    I think blogging in general presents an opportunity for learning and personal improvement. What people do with the knowledge obtained blogging has much to do with their standing in a given field and initiatives taken outside the blogosphere. I personally do not see blogging as a substitute for other scholarly pursuits but more a compliment to them and a relaxed setting for discussing issues that a more formal approach would miss or ignore.

    Blogs are obviously varied in the formality with which they cover and approach a field of interest and some could perhaps begin to approximate the level of publishing in recognized journals, but then they would become that venue and lose some of the positive characteristics that are associated with what currently is more typical of blogs (at least good ones).

    I would personally hate to see blogs taking on a “save the world attitude”, and particularly so if they thought they had to lose their sense of humor to accomplish it. To be completely frank, I think there any number of participants at these blog who could publish a paper based on “auditing” done at this blog, but I do not judge that it could be practically (or efficiently) accomplishment from within the blog.

  107. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Based on the preliminary findings on M-K and autocorrelations, I sincerely hope that none of you cold hearted anti-warmers are considering the suggestion that the grade of that student who broached the subject be lowered — or Dr. Curry’s for that matter. Perhaps this will encourage more dialogue with GT.

  108. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 6:41 PM | Permalink

    #106 — Really, blogging is just a correspondence relationship. Every post is as thoughtful as the intellectual effort put into the message.

    To suppose that blogging is shallow or trivial is to suppose that letter-writing is shallow or trivial. The truth is that the intellectual level is determined by the correspondent and measured by the content. To toss off the content of CA merely because it’s a blog is to deny that anyone ever wrote an intelligent letter.

    Blogging has the distinctive trait of immediacy. That can be a disadvantage if a poster replies mindlessly. It is also an advantage, though, because cooperative serious thinkers can rapidly iterate to a critically good position. I’d observe that process has happened here. (Both processes, actually, with CC in mind. You can snip that last if you like, Steve. :-))

  109. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

    Re #107
    The thought never even crossed my mind ;) (Cold-hearted, yes, but my orange-and-blue blood runs lukewarm.)

  110. Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:05 PM | Permalink

    My view is that blogging is going to become a fact of life, and that academia had better get used to it.

    The reasons why I encouraged Steve to start blogging is in my reply to Wegman, who also questioned the validity of doing science through blogging. The most important reason, other than the power of instant rebuttal, was the straightforward fact that Steve McIntyre was having his work and responses censored, usually after Michael Mann had contacted the editors of certain journals telling them lies about Steve’s background, motivation or casting aspersions about the scientific quality of his work (which has since been vindicated by two expert panels).

    I had this conversation with a physicist friend of mine in the past few days – scientific institutions generally discourage faculty from participating in blogs, believing that discussions between scientists should be conducted in “peer reviewed, quality journals”.

    As I said in my reply to Wegman, ordinarily I would agree with him that science shouldn’t be conducted through blogs, but in the case of climate science an opinion about global warming in general, or the validity of multiproxy reconstructions or climate models in particular seems to constitute for some a political viewpoint that must be either trumpeted from the rooftops or suppressed by any means possible regardless of its scientific merit.

    In this asymmetric field, getting the wrong answer politically means an extraordinary uphill battle to be funded or published or both. Climate science has been thoroughly politicized and divided into camps in the same style as the two party politics in the US.

    More bizarrely, the notion of “scientific consensus” has been used to bludgeon any debate into submission, as if scientific consensus actually meant anything in science. Scientific consensuses have been so frequently wrong in the history of science that it amazes me that anyone should take such a view seriously.

    I fail to see how a mathematically justified viewpoint on the Hockey Stick, which is a statistical construction based on scientific data, could be construed as a political position but obviously we live, as the Chinese warn, in “interesting times”

  111. David Smith
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    Re #109 Bender, I hope your orange-and-blue are merciful to my purple-and-gold this Saturday.

  112. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:21 PM | Permalink

    blogging is going to become a fact of life, and that academia had better get used to it

    I predict it will become not just a fact of life, but a new way of doing business in the research world. If the big universites are too stiff to adapt, then they will be usurped in importance by some smaller colleges that figure it out the way John A has. Maybe John A should take an appointment at GT as head of their new program in Global Blogospheric Sciences? (Probably sounds like I’m kidding, but I’m not.) Who wants to be his first grad student?

  113. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #111
    Our boys are poised for a fall. Targets on their back. They think they’re pretty darn good. They’re dreaming big dreams. It happens often. (If you fit an ARMA(1,1) model to their weekly win-loss record going back to 1996 …) Grossman’s Bears on the other hand – now that’s a runaway trend.

  114. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:28 PM | Permalink

    The truth is that the intellectual level is determined by the correspondent and measured by the content. To toss off the content of CA merely because it’s a blog is to deny that anyone ever wrote an intelligent letter.

    I agree with these statements completely and for that matter the entire gist of your reply. I am confused about your second sentence above and at what/who it was aimed.

    Certainly the content of CA (and other good blogs) as judged by an average of all comments is significantly lower in quality than that of the most thoughtful and insightful ones. Some comments are better relegated to the circular file while the best could be published as letters to an outstanding publication. My point is that what is typically done at blogs is not the same as “doing” science in a formal sense. Good blogs serve a purpose as you have noted and provide a most, if not at times the most, important means of making a point, but are not a substitute for publishing an article in a professional journal.

  115. John M
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    #112 “Who wants to be his first grad student?”

    Post-Doc maybe? Does he have money?

  116. Angela Fritz
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Re 112:

    I think its QUITE unfair to say that GT as a “big university” has not adapted to blogging in science, dont you? Professors and students have been blogging (and been blogged about) for a while now, and I think this mini-study that she led in the hurricane seminar is proof of that.

    These students gave CA their perception of the blog. Its neither right nor wrong. Its an opinion. The way I see it, if CA doesnt like the feedback in this particular blog, then maybe its participants should reevaluate the message they are sending across the internet and adjust it so that their opinions (and their science, for that matter) are understood correctly.

  117. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:43 PM | Permalink

    They’re dreaming big dreams. It happens often. (If you fit an ARMA(1,1) model to their weekly win-loss record going back to 1996 …) Grossman’s Bears on the other hand – now that’s a runaway trend.

    We in Chicago tend to dream big dreams and it happens often that we are disappointed, no, crushed by reality is a better phrase. We need some cold hearted scientific aplomb in times like these to avoid crying like little babies later. Grossman is only a god at this point.

  118. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    Re #116
    Yes that would be unfair to say that. Thankfully I didn’t. I was speaking in general terms, not making a veiled reference to any one institution.

    Say, do you want to tackle #89?

  119. David Elder, Australia
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    Steve M. is disappointed that CA is poorly regarded by young students. I suspect that anything less than vigorous pro-AGW sentiment would be poorly regarded by young students. They pick up this sentiment as something self-evidently virtuous from media, populist Greens and the peer group. None of the above ask what AGW panic might cause in the way of crippling socioeconomic policies putting a lot of ordinary folk out of work for an AGW whose extent cannot be definitely predicted but may well be modest and susceptible to management by adaption. If this assessmemt sounds harsh, it is basically a critical reflection on one’s own younger self! Off-topic, I look forward to Steve M.’s response to the recent attempt by Sachs in the latest Scientific American to put the splintered hockey stick back together. After reading Sach’s piece, I will never criticise a politician for ‘spin’ again – Sachs now holds the record for this.

  120. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I spoke with students #1 and #2 today, #2 felt that my characterization of his points was correct, while #1 felt that my description missed some of the nuance of his presentation. Peter Webster and I had a beer this evening with a student group that included student #2 and several students from the hurricane seminar, and the climateaudit response was discussed.

    We are all rather surprised that with the exception of comments by straightner and an early post by TCO, there has been no actual reflection as to whether what the students actually said can be used to improve what goes on at climateaudit. If nothing else, you should be concerned by the perceptions of this site by people who drop in; you do not seem to be getting your message across as to what this site is all about. Rather, nearly all of your responses have been defensive or even offensive. We are all rather astonished that the bias of the students is even being discussed, and was automatically assumed to be that of tree hugging radical warmers (that are reflexively sucking up to Prof Curry’s perceived radical warmer ideas). In fact, the backgrounds of the two students are civil engineering and economics. Student #1 is very broadminded and nuanced thinker, coming to this whole subject relatively recently and without any obvious prejudices. I have NO IDEA where either of these students stands on the issue of attribution of global warming (note the complexities of attribution are nicely summarized in a current post over at RC); none of us conducts specific research in that area and that is not what we talk about. We try to teach the students critical thinking and this exercise in blogospheric discussion/evaluation turned out to be an excellent critical thinking exercise.

    Lets say for the sake of argument that post #89 is of some significance and there is something for us to learn from this (I am reserving judgment on this, I simply have no idea). Is it your objective to say “gotcha” to a group of students, or is it to move the science forward in a mutual learning exchange and potential collaboration and to try to explore the possibilities of this new medium in a constructive way? I suspect that the latter might be difficult after the silly assumptions of the students’ biases.

    I had rather hoped that the students would find something interesting in the hurricane posts, but apparently they were rather put off by the tone of the blog. The appreciation of Steve Bloom arose not so much from cheering a fellow “warmer”, but from appreciating someone who showed some respect for climate researchers. One student in the class last Tues commented that collaboration between statisticians and climate researchers would be a good thing, I said yes and then a number of voices chimed in and said “but not that group of statisticians”. The lack of scientists with domain expertise in the “physics” participating in this blog is not accidental; I imagine that anyone in the proxy/paleo world would scrupulously avoid posting on this site. The one GT student that you have engaged, Angela Fritz, is a first year graduate student interested in the intersection of climate change and policy (she is not taking the hurricane seminar, but is taking the multidecadal climate variability seminar).

    So if these issues are of concern to you (and I am not assuming that they are), what can climateaudit do? I would suggest that the regulars (I understand that you don’t have much control over random posters) stop making knee jerk assumptions about climate researchers motives and biases, show some respect for what they do, and try to engage them in a meaningful way. Encourage a constructive collaboration between climate researchers and the climateaudit statisticians.

  121. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:06 PM | Permalink

    The way I see it, if CA doesnt like the feedback in this particular blog, then maybe its participants should reevaluate the message they are sending across the internet and adjust it so that their opinions (and their science, for that matter) are understood correctly.

    Point 1: Feedback, in the blog sense, is a two way conversation with point and counter point and that is not what transpired here.

    Point 2: There is no single unified message (other than Steve M’s official one as owner of the blog) that is being sent across the internet. As in most blogs, there are numerous messages that correspond to the diverse views of its many participants.

    Some of the messages are most insightful and informative and some are a waste of time. It is a personal issue whether one wants to participate fully or simply read to find the important messages or not to participate at all. The beauty of the blog is that each of us can take away (and that includes criticisms of it and its participants) and apply as much of it to our own individual situation without any group consent or agreements.

    Maybe these students are better suited to participate at realclimate. That is another one of the many choices in the blogosphere.

  122. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

    Is it your objective to say “gotcha” to a group of students, or is it to move the science forward in a mutual learning exchange and potential collaboration and to try to explore the possibilities of this new medium in a constructive way?

    No! Not at all. Gotcha is not the game. Like you say – we don’t even have a second opinion yet, it’s just that TAC was *that* fast. Let’s explore this further. Let’s talk about #89.

    I suspect that the latter might be difficult after the silly assumptions of the students’ biases.

    There were only two people making such assumptions, jae & Sadlov. They have yet to respond to these concerns. Maybe they will recant. Who knows – maybe I misrepresented their accusations of bias? I tried to clarify that there are two ways of viewing Sadlov’s remarks. Twice it was clarified that there is no consensus here on what biases the students might have.

    When the mud starts flying sometimes it’s good to take a deep breath and relax. Let’s just wait & see how Sadlov & jae respond before burning our bridges.

    The constructive aspects of what the students provided is appreciated and is probably just being contemplated. Recognize: this is Steve M’s blog and the look and feel of the front end is his business. The rest of us just provide content. We have no formatting capability.

  123. David Elder, Australia
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:24 PM | Permalink

    Clarification on my post #119: I do not oppose practical attempts to reduce CO2 emissions. But something like Kyoto, despite its breathless boosting by Greens, is clearly not working in Europe, and would cause societal catastrophe there if seriously implemented, with current technology at least. The AP6 alternative approach of the US, Australia and various Asian nations may provide a better approach with improved CO2 emission reduction technology as its focus. If that works without putting lots of ordinary people out of work, fine.

  124. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:26 PM | Permalink

    #114 — Mostly the feeling left by this, Ken: “They viewed blogging on climateaudit as entering a black hole of trying defend yourself against a prejudged guilty verdict.

    I agree entirely with your comments.

  125. TCO
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:28 PM | Permalink

    Judy: I’m glad that you had the kids read the blog and I don’t think we should get too wound up one way or the other. I would have preferred a reading and an examination that actually had them analyzing the arguments, making specific mathematical interpretations, etc. I think the emphasis on the tone of the blog as opposed to the content is a little off, but given that you are teaching a pass/fail class for non-majors, perhaps not surprising that the assignment is a bit light. P.s. Please assign the Daily Show clip and the South Park Beaverton episode as well.

    Peace, out.

  126. Graham Smith
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:34 PM | Permalink

    regulars and those responding to this thread in particular may be interested in the class assignment I presently have underway: students are required to select an environmental issue of interest to them and compare the blogging from three sites that reflect a stasist perspective (command and control, science certainty, centalised government, precautionary principle) with the blogging from three dynamist sites (libertarian, individual responsibility, free market, adaptation over prevention, non-dogma): I expect that several of the students will use climate change as a topic and would expect that climate audit, real climate and prometheus will be prominent in the analysis.
    The assignment is due the middle of October and I will gladly report back on the findings, particularly as they pertain to the issues raised in the above discussion.
    FYI the class is third year undergraduate in geography on ‘Impact assessment and sustainable resource management’.

  127. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:39 PM | Permalink

    stop making knee jerk assumptions about climate researchers motives and biases

    If this is aimed at me, I believe I clarified already that my concern was not researcher bias pro-AGW, but policy-maker bias against incorporating uncertainty into decision-making. I’ve said that probably a dozen times now. Second, I would have you know that adorable My Bloom has labelled you as part of the consensus. So it is not me making the association, but him. I can look up the supporting posts if need be.

    The only knee-jerk assumption a skeptical auditer should make is there is no reason to believe an analysis is a priori correct. And I didn’t hear much praise for us finding all these interesting little errors that bias all these analyses in favour of the AGW alarmist agenda. (Landsea might have noticed the pinning effect of incorrect smoothing first, but our independent discovery of it was just as valid.)

    If the divide is too wide to be bridged, that’s fine. Not all collaborations work. Maybe in another blogospheric circumstance.

  128. ET SidViscous
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:44 PM | Permalink

    “Lets say the policy makers decide to limit greenhouse gas emissions (which is what you think climate researchers are pushing for). Such a policy would dry up money for climate research more than anything i can think of.”

    I’m sorry, but what would your reasoning be on this?

    Based in the lifetime of a researcher, would not the climate need to be monitored after such an adjustment. How many years would be required to confirm the change was as to be desired? 20 years, 30 years?

  129. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #128
    Judith is right. What policy people basically want is to shut down expensive science that, in their opinion, never delivers simple answers. They’ll gladly pay for the cheap stuff, but not the NASA-style Capital ‘S’ Science.

    You have a terrific point though, and I’ve never seen it addressed to my satisfaction: how are you going to prove whether a policy is effective or not. You have no controls, so the experimental approach is out. All you have are the GCMs. Scary.

  130. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:56 PM | Permalink

    #116 and #120 — maybe the thing to find astonishing is how your student assayers could have so radically misunderstood the serious analytical message of ClimateAudit despite the analyses being fully available right before their eyes.

    A better report might have said that there is a fair amount of trivial dross here, as in any blog, but that where analytical content is offered, very much of it is serious and worthy.

    Perhaps the real lesson of the exercise is that valid opinions of complex content cannot be attained through rather superficial examinations. There is no onus on CA to make its message more accessible; its message is right there in virtual print for all to see, and then to see again. I think the onus is on readers to make the effort to grasp the message. Perhaps that’s not easy. So what? They’re supposed to be studying or doing science. That’s not easy, either.

    Honestly the juxtaposition of their criticism of ClimateAudit with the comment enpassant that they do significant informational reading at RealClimate leads me to wonder whether their approach to CA suffered from prior propagandization.

  131. charles
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    I think the data shows that GW research spending has grown as the “concensus” has grown. I don’t see anyone in the GW research community saying “the science is settled, please spend the money somewhere else”.

  132. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Perhaps the real lesson of the exercise is that valid opinions of complex content cannot be attained through rather superficial examinations.

    That, precisely, was my concern at the outset. Check the posting history.

    A blog is a blog. It ain’t no published paper. They shouldn’t be judged against each other, and most seminar groups are used to dealing with published papers. Science at its best IS a bloodsport, sugar coat it in collegiality all you want. If you can’t stand the heat …

    (How many more clichés can I come up with?)

  133. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:02 PM | Permalink

    Re #131
    Do you have to data to back that up? (This is not a gotcha game either.)

  134. MrPete
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Well said, Judith.

    Putting on my online-community-facilitation hat for a moment…

    There’s a very difficult tradeoff involved in the unfettered no-commitment no-real-relationship online world.

    Summarizing a huge amount of material into a few brief thoughts:

    * The online world inadvertently is well-designed to maximize the opportunity to take offense.

    * Some people, either inadvertently or quite purposefully are adept at ‘twisting’ discourse to cause people to become convinced of specific objectives — whether those objectives are actually good or not, logical or not, etc.

    * CA values openness of discourse (and thus has been reluctant to censor even the most serious troll behavior), but has put zero effort into production of clarifying overviews or introductory material for the general public (or for those who ‘peek in’ as the GT students have done.

    Put it all together, and you end up with a community that brings much value to those willing to make a personal commitment to listen and understand the ongoing flow of conversation… yet it is possibly a detriment to understanding for those who simply want to peek in.

    SUGGESTION

    There’s a model that provides semi-automated modulation of different ‘voices’ in an online community. SlashDot has a moderation system that increases or decreases the visibility of both individual comments as well as commenters. Ultimately, it is relatively easy for a reader to filter out ‘troll’ content and focus in on the meat.

    I realize full use of such a model may require more time investment than JohnA can offer. Perhaps something simpler along those lines can be done.

    But ultimately, if there is no way for casual readers to highlight the ‘meat’ and ignore the dregs, it would probably be appropriate to put up a headline that says something like

    WARNING: This blog is largely uncensored, and contains a significant amount of material along a broad spectrum from immature ranting to incredibly creative higher order analysis. Visitors are forewarned that a significant investment of time and energy is required to understand and benefit from the valuable conversations found here.

  135. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #134
    Useful observations. On the mark. Too bad none of us has any time for bells & whistles.

  136. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    Worth nmetioning yet again that proxies are CA’s bread & butter. Far more rigorosly pursued that my efforts in hurricane climatology.

  137. Joel McDade
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    So I guess the paper by Bender, Curry, Willis, McIntyre is toast? :)

  138. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:19 PM | Permalink

    Judith,

    The comment by one of your students that bothered me was the characterization of posts as:

    1. attacking a paper on global warming, before reading it very carefully or understanding the context of the paper, assuming that the author is either dumb or has an “agenda”
    2. a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature
    3. realization that the issues are complex
    4. some attempts at trying to gain physical understanding of what is going on
    5. realization that the issues are even more complex
    6. give up and move onto something else

    I am surprised by this characterization of my work, as most observers, whether they like me or not, view me as being exceptionally persistent. However, in an effort to improve the quality of the blog as you suggest, I would like to examine a specific example of this unfortunate situation (in one of my own posts i.e. non-hurricane) so I that I can diagnose more closely how this happened. I asked for a specific example once before without any reply. In keeping with the student’s suggestion that I be more persistent, I would like to take the liberty of again requesting an example illustrating sequence 1-6 listed above.

  139. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    Re #137
    I’m still game. But we’d have to read and discuss the Mann & Emanuel (2006) paper, as they purport to do exactly what I suggested we do using orthogonal filters based on the cross-spectrum to partition effects due to AMO vs. trend. (Apparently the detection & attribution game is on already. Lots of papers to catch up on there.)

  140. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:24 PM | Permalink

    Re #138
    Ironically, one of RC’s major complaints of McI is that he WON’T “give up and move on”! Gotta love a gamer.

  141. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    Re #137/139
    If Dr. Curry would like to converse in private, McI has my email address.

  142. Joel McDade
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:54 PM | Permalink

    The students seem to be upset that they offered opinions and got a bunch of opinions in return. Well, that goes with the territory.

    Somewhere in a thread above the students were invited to participate, with the proviso that they be prepared to do so on a quantitative basis. IMO the regulars participants here would jump at the chance to debate the numbers/statistics/physics, or whatever. In fact I am hard pressed to cite an example blog where a decent quantitative argument would be so readily accepted for debate.

    I don’t see how you can ask for more. What, is the tuition to high?

    Best Regards.

  143. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    We are all rather surprised that with the exception of comments by straightner and an early post by TCO, there has been no actual reflection as to whether what the students actually said can be used to improve what goes on at climateaudit. If nothing else, you should be concerned by the perceptions of this site by people who drop in; you do not seem to be getting your message across as to what this site is all about.

    Judy, I will repeat my view of your exercise and state that using your students by proxy to comment in a one way fashion was not an efficient way of getting your or your students’ points across. The critique totally lacks specificity and makes those commenting appear to have a bias going into the exercise. There seems to be a tendency on your part and the students to attribute perceived problems to most of the posters here when in practice it is much the same as with climatologists where you have warned against generalizations. You would do better to directly relate your views on CA and have a point counter-point discussion much as was carried out with the Emanuel paper discussion. I certainly would not want to have a direct forced discussion with the two students at this point or to have relayed a message from an anonymous someone who doesn’t think much of the goings on here.

    As was noted by bender, the posters here provide some content, but Steve M controls the format. I think what the site is all about is influenced primarily by the topics that Steve M chooses to introduce for detailed explanation and then discussion. If you have a problem with that, that should be taken up with Steve M. I personally like that format and it seems to avoid a lot of OT discussion.

    Do you have information other than the impressions of yourself and your students on how the message comes across to others?

    The appreciation of Steve Bloom arose not so much from cheering a fellow “warmer”, but from appreciating someone who showed some respect for climate researchers.

    It has been my experience that Steve B and some other critics of this blog who post here tend to show respect for those scientists with whom they agree, but are known do get a little, I would say, disrespectful of some of those with which they do not.

    Is it your objective to say “gotcha” to a group of students, or is it to move the science forward in a mutual learning exchange and potential collaboration and to try to explore the possibilities of this new medium in a constructive way? I suspect that the latter might be difficult after the silly assumptions of the students’ biases.

    I hope this is not what provoked your reply and that the subject of comment #89 can be discussed in civil manner and joined by you since it was you, as a student proxy, who put it into play. I suppose one can concentrate more on style and delivery both by the participants at this blog and by yourself and we can get ourselves all bent out of shape over it or concentrate on content as I thought you were wont to do initially.

  144. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:16 PM | Permalink

    Re #143
    I think my enthusiasm for the human parallel processing experimental result represented by #89 (very fast, and seemingly correct) got mistaken for bloodlust. I thought others would be as excited as I was.

    It’s ok to be wrong. That’s how you learn.

  145. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:23 PM | Permalink

    If anyone should be insulted here it should be me. I’m an anti-warmer, I’m right-wing, I’m unaware of non-parametric statistics. What else? Talk about leaping to conclusions and assuming someone has an agenda! But, hey, you don’t see me crying, do you? I might play tit-for-tat for awhile; but I suck it up and move on.

  146. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:47 PM | Permalink

    I just read this whole thread top-to-bottom, and I don’t think we sound all that rabid. Maybe tomorrow everyone will see things a bit differently. I encourage you to read it over.

  147. Jeff Weffer
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:20 PM | Permalink

    Why is everyone being so nice to Judith Curry?

    She has been trolling this board ever since bender and Willis found the flaws in her BAMS hurricane study.

    Now she is throwing a direct back-handed attack on this board by using her “proxy-students” to criticize the excellent work that was done on hurricane numbers.

    Which one of the studies is more accurate of reality. The hurrican studies by Judith and hockey-stick-Mann or the analysis done by bender, Willis and the National Hurricane study.

    I hope everyone sees what I am saying.

  148. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:27 PM | Permalink

    re: #97

    I apparently missed some of the messages on this thread, as I hadn’t read the one on a Kasparov – Internet game.

    I really can’t understand how a vote on a move would be any better than that of someone a bit above the mean of the players voting. Sure you’d miss obvious blunders, but that isn’t how chess is won at the higher levels, or really even in the mediocre levels that I play at (I was USCF class A at my best.) A high-level chess player will be looking far ahead, subconsciously pruning wrong moves and looking for ideas which might give him (or her)advantages. Letting average players vote on the move would add nothing to the situation since they wouldn’t have any idea what a strong player was intending. Perhaps if candidate move series were issued by select strong players and people could look for flaws or stronger responses by the opponent there would be benefit to having many minds at work in parallel, but not by just voting on one single move.

    This has application concerning blog-science in general, and this thread in particular.

  149. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 11:42 PM | Permalink

    If pinned end-points are a problem with some of the hurricane studies, can someone make an estimate of the 2006 PDI and let’s re-do the calcs on an updated basis and see what they look like.

    I’ve posted up Sheng Yue et al 2002 on the impact of autocorrelation on Mann-Kendall statistics here.

    Kasparov – the “strangest” chess champion. Hello … Bobby Fischer?

  150. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:47 AM | Permalink

    Re #149
    Good idea. (Congratulations, by the way, on your 2006 a priori prediction. It’s looking pretty good!)

    Re #147
    Must be doing something right. GT AES think we’re disrespectful; Weffer thinks we’re too respectful. :)

    Striving for balance between collegiality and rigor. But if I’m forced to choose, y’all know my choice.

  151. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 1:01 AM | Permalink

    Yue et al (2002) Intro:
    “certain hydrological time-series, such as annual mean and annual minimum streamflows, may frequently display statistically significant serial correlation. In such cases the existence of serial correlation will increase the probability that the MK test detects a significant trend (e.g. von Storch 1995). This leads to a disproportionate rejection of the null hypothesis of no trend, whereas the null hypothesis is actually true.”

    Hello. #89

    Gotcha ;)

  152. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 1:09 AM | Permalink

    Yue et al. (2002) Fig 1a is exactly what I asked for in #83 and which TAC supplied in #89.

  153. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 1:47 AM | Permalink

    ARMA (Spanish for weapon*) is a brute force method used (not very productively) when nothing is known about the physics.

    If this is supposed to be a response to my questions in the preceding thread (on the parameters of an ARMA(1,1) model fit) it’s an artless dodge. If you understand the physics you should have no difficulty whatseover explaining the autocorrelation structure of a time-series.

    *ARMA is English for “Auto Regressive Moving Average”. Read Yue and learn.

  154. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 2:20 AM | Permalink

    Re #149

    can someone make an estimate of the 2006 PDI and let’s re-do the calcs on an updated basis

    1. Willis is the PDI guy. (I don’t think we have the 2005 PDI data. We need that before working in 2006.)

    2. The ARMA fits that I’ve tried don’t do a particularly good job of simulating the 2006 drop. With that spiky noise and 5 & 10 year cyclicity you may need a high order model, possibly nonlinear. It would help if I knew something about the physics of the process, but I haven’t got much help there so far. Just non-constructive criticism. (That’s ok. I’m thick-skinned.)

    3. Quick re-run on the HURDAT (where we do have 2005 data) with 2006 allstorms=6 indicates glm r^2 drops from 0.26 to 0.17 and p-value goes from ~.001 to ~.01. Trend still significant.

    4. If 2007 is as uneventful as 2006 r^2 drops to 0.1 and p-value goes to ~.04.

  155. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 2:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #154
    This is using the favorably cherry-picked start date of 1974.

  156. Carl Christensen
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 3:29 AM | Permalink

    You guys are really “ruff & tuff” — except when it comes to actually writing a scientific paper!

  157. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 3:54 AM | Permalink

    I’ve put the PDI data here.

    w.

  158. David Smith
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

    Steve & Willis, I’ll take a shot later today at 2006 PDI. I’ll use Gray’s forecast for the end of the season.

  159. TAC
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 5:18 AM | Permalink

    #149 Thanks for posting Yue et al. It is clear and focused. I strongly recommend reading it if you are interested in how time-series structure can affect trend significance, or if you are seeking a valid method for computing trend significance in the presence of AR(1) noise.

    Perhaps the “teachable moment” has been lost, but there is a lot more to be said about the technical issues. In particular, a strong case has been made that climatological processes exhibit time-series structures that are not well represented by an AR(1) model, either, and that a richer, fractal (scaling), model might correspond better to both the physics and the observed data (see Koutsoyiannis, here). The arguments are interesting both from a physical and statistical perspective. The implications with respect to trend detection and attribution are fascinating.

  160. TCO
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    You guys are getting too spun up. It’s a coupla data points, big deal. And the over-reaction is unbecoming. Look at #147. Don’t be so brittle and howler monkey shrieking when someone comes in with a different assessment.

  161. Nicholas
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 6:17 AM | Permalink

    #147 Jeff, I think that’s uncalled for.

    I don’t agree with 100% of what Judith says (although, since I am not a scientist, I keep my mouth shut and wait for somebody who knows more than me to argue about it). But that doesn’t mean she should not be treated cordially. I believe she posts here in good faith and we owe it to such people to treat them plesantly.

    I read this blog because people here disagree – Steve McInyre disagrees with Michael Mann, Richard Courtney disagrees with Ferdinand Engelbeen – but they do so in a manner which (a) teaches me something and (b) does not turn me off with bad manners or foul language. I think if the “hockey team” decided to comment here we should treat them nicely too, even if we disagree with them vehemently. Well-natured, spirited arguments are so much better than mud-slinging matches.

    I cringed a little at what Dr. Curry’s students had to say about CA, mainly because I don’t think they spent long enough looking at the site to make a proper judgement and went off half-cocked (although I understand they can’t spend too long here). But I don’t see the point of getting nasty about it unless the other person is being completely unreasonable, or “trollish” if you like.

  162. TAC
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 6:36 AM | Permalink

    #120 Judith:

    We are all rather surprised that with the exception of comments by straightner and an early post by TCO, there has been no actual reflection as to whether what the students actually said can be used to improve what goes on at climateaudit. If nothing else, you should be concerned by the perceptions of this site by people who drop in; you do not seem to be getting your message across as to what this site is all about. Rather, nearly all of your responses have been defensive or even offensive. We are all rather astonished that the bias of the students is even being discussed, and was automatically assumed to be that of tree hugging radical warmers (that are reflexively sucking up to Prof Curry’s perceived radical warmer ideas). In fact, the backgrounds of the two students are civil engineering and economics. Student #1 is very broadminded and nuanced thinker, coming to this whole subject relatively recently and without any obvious prejudices. I have NO IDEA where either of these students stands on the issue of attribution of global warming (note the complexities of attribution are nicely summarized in a current post over at RC); none of us conducts specific research in that area and that is not what we talk about. We try to teach the students critical thinking and this exercise in blogospheric discussion/evaluation turned out to be an excellent critical thinking exercise.

    This exercise has been eye-opening for me. Because the student comments were so unexpected, my immediate reactions are more emotional than rational (if that is a permissible distinction). Nonetheless, your students are undeniably bright and thoughtful, and if they perceive CA as they describe it, that is something we should all be worried about. Their comments deserve careful reflection and analysis; until I have done that, how can I respond in a useful way?

    Well, maybe it would be worth mentioning what I thought your students would report. I imagined they would say (as Student #1 did in part (sort of)) that CA is: irrelevant (“all they care about is details of statistical estimation theory — kind of like straightening deckchairs on the Titanic”); hot-headed (“ready; fire; aim”); boring (“they are so slow”); self-promoting; narrow-minded; etc.; etc. I could argue the affirmative on every one of those points (though I don’t fully agree with any of them, I can easily understand how a student might see it differently).

    At the same time, I was confident (and wrong) that students would find many things to like about CA. In particular, I thought they would appreciate the considerable intellectual horsepower at CA. The bloggers are interesting. Some have impressive academic credentials, publish regularly in the best journals, serve on editorial boards, and have written books on diverse subjects. At the same time, everyone is welcome at CA, regardless of credentials or beliefs. As a result, CA is a democratic place, full of chaos, disagreements, and misunderstandings. I am reassured to learn that some of the most interesting people have no academic credentials at all. I imagined students would like that.

    I am also mystified that anyone would think it possible to pigeon-hole either the students or the CA bloggers into trivial categories (is this just another example of climate scientists misusing PCA?). With respect to the latter group, my sense is that CA bloggers represent the full range of attitudes about politics, religion, social values, etc. In particular, we do not come close to agreeing about whether there should be an “A” in “AGW”. However, there is something we do agree about. Orthogonal to all of those issues is the world of mathematical statistics: Get the numbers right! That is what SteveM, and ClimateAudit, are dedicated to achieving. It really has nothing to do with whether or not you favor or oppose Kyoto, or believe that we ought to reduce consumption of fossil fuels. However, I recognize that there is a lot of “noise” in the blogosphere; perhaps the signal gets lost.

    Obviously there is a problem here. It may have something to do with communication, or maybe there is something more fundamental. But I do think it is worth thinking about. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts on how to improve things.

    Once again, I thank you for conducting the experiment and sharing your data. It has been immensely valuable to me.

  163. Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 6:37 AM | Permalink

    I think people go too far one way or the other with the role of blogs. What is – Steve writes posts, we in the peanut gallery comment. Sometimes he lets someone else take the podium with a guest post. There is a difference between what gets done in the post section and what gets done in the comment section. There is a heirarchy and confusing them is one reason people get twisted about blogs.

  164. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 6:47 AM | Permalink

    OK, everyone’s had their say. Judith’s a good sport.

    The urging to be less shrill is reasonable enough. When you’re writing materials for blogs, it’s easy to add that one extra and unnecessary adjective that is a bridge too far. When I’m writing well, I avoid the extra adjective, although when you’re writing straight to air as I usually do now, it’s easy to forget this policy. Others have criticized me for this. It’s something that always has to be watched in this type of forum. That people elsewhere are intemperate is irrelevant to this point.

    The students seem to have only read the hurricane threads, which are atypical threads in this blog in that I’ve had negliible involvement in either the calculations or presentations or discussions. Nonetheless, they have extrapolated from that sample to the entire blog. One of the ongoing issues at this blog is random sampling. I would submit that we have a pretty example of non-random sampling. I doubt that I will receive any response to my request of a specific example justifying student #1’s critique.

    I think that I will get a little more involved in the hurricane topic. I’ve been looking at the Hansen material which involves tropical oceans and have had occasion to review some of the temperature data sets, including Agudelho and Curry, which is an interesting and useful comparison of satellite and surface trends – a topic in the air from the US CCSP report. It uses a non-parametric trend estimate, but points out that the results are insensitive to the use of paramateric or nonparametric methods. Its main focus is on the geographic distribution of differing trends, a useful and interesting topic, which did not require more than rudimentary statistics.

    I do not conclude that because some scientists have an agenda, that all scientists have an agenda. I think that it is reasonable to assume that Hansen, Thompson, Jones, Briffa, Mann and Bradley have an agenda. It would be naive to assume otherwise. I’ve dealt in the stock market for many years where naivete is punished. Hansen, for example, included a discussion of the Framework Convention in his PNAS article rather than, say, details of calibration of foraminifera Mg/Ca in the presence of dissolution; I think that one can validly assume that he has an "agenda". That does not invalidate his arguments; they have to be taken seriously. However, I think that it is far more likely that some statistical artifice will exist in this type of article than in a quiet article unaccompanied by a press release making no reference to the Framework Convention.

    What people do here also has changed over time and threads differ in scope. For example, the threads on MBH98 Figure 7 were a really excellent case where blogs served a rather unique function of puttting people together who then solved a problem. The result of that particular analysis would be immediately publishable in most originating journals; here there is a problem in that the originating journal is Nature, which is unlikely to be interested in documenting yet another misrepresentation. The active discussion on MBH99 Confidence Intervals is another rather unique thread; it’s not a popular thread, but it is very substantive.

    It’s not all that easy maintaining a balance between this type of technical thread and what has developed into rather a wide readership. We get over 10,000 hits per day. We get a wide variety of readers and there are a LOT of lurkers. Compared to similar blogs, we get a LOT of comments. Without the blog, would there have been a NAS Panel into Surface Temperature Reconstructions or a Wegman Report or hearings at the House Energy and Commerce Committee? I doubt it.

  165. Jean S
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Judith’s students, attention! I want to highlight this story that went on in this very thread so it does not get burried under the other issues around. I think this is a good example of CA in action.

    So S#2 claimed that the autocorrelation does not have (much) affect on the Kendall tau trend test (=standard Mann-Kendall test) used in WCHH hurricane study, and claimed that therefore the issues raised in the hurricane threads "did not add anything". This claim was immediately doubted by TAC (#1) and others. So bender proposed (#83) to check if the claim is true while I (#87) and Steve (#88) looked for articles describing the effect. TAC (#89) answered bender’s request by presenting simulation results that showed that indeed correlation affects badly on Mann-Kendall test. This was also confirmed (#151-#152) by the article (Yue et al, #149) we found. So now we know for sure that Mann-Kendall test is not completely appropriate for the hurricane data. Very likely we had known that few weeks earlier if S#2 had expressed his/her concerns directly in the hurricane threads when the thing occured him/her … (hint ;) )

    So how to continue from here? We know that the MK test is not appropriate… but what would be? My professional exprerience tells me that this issue is not so complicated (or rare), that someone, somewhere had not thought about it. So I checked, and bingo, I found a proposed modification of the MK test for the situation in hand (bender&Willis&Judith et al., you are welcome :) ):

    K. Hamed and A.R. Rao, A modified Mann-Kendall trend test for autocorrelated data, Journal of Hydrology, 204(1-4), 182-196, 1998.

    BTW, the authors note that the effect of autocorrelation on the standard Mann-Kendall test was observed already in 1955 by Cox and Stuart. Who says reading old articles isn’t useful?

    This might also come handy: A. Nordgaard and A. Grimvall, A resampling technique for estimating the power of non-parametric trend tests, Environmetrics 17(3), 257-267, 2006.

  166. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    re #162 TAC, thank you very much for your comments. your take on what to expect from the students sort of matched my own. The reason that i think the students’ impression is important is because that, while anecdotal, I suspect that a number of people react to the site the same way. While i have no idea how many climate researchers “lurk” at this site, they certainly all seem to be voting with their feet by not participating in this (while many are prepared to blog at RC). Your statement about about the initial emotional reaction is an astute one; it is this reaction that people reading a criticism of themselves will have. This then provokes a defensive reaction, then possibly an offensive reaction. The student’s relative dislike of this site was most likely associated with an emotional reaction to “attack” on scientists that they admire and papers that they find on the whole to be worthwhile and important, in spite of whatever minor flaws in the statistical analysis that might emerge, who arguably did the best they could with available data, models, whatever. You can understand this emotion, you felt the same thing yourself. The key is to move past this, to the rational response. Personally, my emotions of this nature were surgically removed about a year ago as a result of the media wars with NHC, Gray etc. Reactions are further complicated by biases that people have personally, and about what other peoples biases “must” be. If people can get past that (and it isn’t always easy), then progress can be made.

    If i get further feedback from the students i will pass it along (if they choose not to post here). By the way, one thing i forgot to mention in my post last nite. The attempt at “outing” student #2 was not well received. Student # 2 is NOT the author of the M.S. thesis you pulled down (hint: >1 GT student uses the Kendall statistic). This was viewed as an attempt to intimidate the student (since i “know” you guys better i just assumed you would enjoy sparring with this person). This may have squashed any budding inclination of the students to post, I don’t know.

    So what to do. Maybe nothing. If bloggers can take a deep breath after clearly seeing their emotions getting tweaked by a post, then maybe we can tone down some of the emotional responses and keep it more rational. In terms of the web site perception by people coming to it for the first time or lurking casually, maybe a “mission” statement for first time visitors would be useful. Also some greater care in formulating the initial posts on a thread would be helpful (i think this more than anything contributes to the apparent greater readership at RC). I don’t have a lot of suggestions to offer,

    In terms of my personal interest in the blog, I will continue to “troll” it for useful info and will participate in productive exchanges. If anyone wants to email me offblog, my email address is pretty easy to find (and SteveM has it also).

  167. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:06 AM | Permalink

    Jean and steve, thanks also for your analysis

  168. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:19 AM | Permalink

    re: #166

    If bloggers can take a deep breath after clearly seeing their emotions getting tweaked by a post, then maybe we can tone down some of the emotional responses and keep it more rational.

    Here’s the problem. The natural tendency on this blog is for things to calm down and become rational. Then we have Steve Bloom, or Peter Hearndon, or Carl Christianson, or Dano or even TCO…. come along and start insulting Steve B or calling the regulars Bozos or whatever and the decision has to be made to ignore them or respond. Perhaps because most of the people here are men we tend to go to battle rather than have a group hug.

    Hey, here’s an idea. Perhaps Steve could set himself up a macro so that as he’s reading along and if a message is trollish he hits alt A and a scarlet A (for Agitator) is put in front of that message. Then those reading later could choose whether to skip such messages or not.

  169. Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Judith:

    The student’s relative dislike of this site was most likely associated with an emotional reaction to “attack” on scientists that they admire and papers that they find on the whole to be worthwhile and important, in spite of whatever minor flaws in the statistical analysis that might emerge, who arguably did the best they could with available data, models, whatever.

    There we have the problem in a nutshell. Your students need to grow up some more and realise that just because they admire a scientist, they cannot afford to not check that work and that a blinkered viewpoint that some scientists must be right on all their pronouncements is just that: blinkered and immature.

    I admire Einstein as a scientist and as a thinker about science – nevertheless where Einstein was wrong was as least as instructive as when he was right.

    The problem with climate science in general and climate scientists in particular is that CS is small, insular from the other sciences and has a disproportionate impact in public policy. My impression from outside is that the statistical analyses are weak, the climate models are simplistic and overinfluenced by selection and publication biases, the theoretic underpinning is extraordinarily shakey and the belief engine is overrevved with the popularity of certain "star performers" and the Romantic desire for a Paradise Lost that never existed.

    From my own reading on the history of science, antagonism and skepticism are essential to good science and to scientific progress in general, and scientific consensuses are more frequently wrong than right especially when the experimental evidence is ambiguous, and impede scientific progress more often than not.

  170. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:46 AM | Permalink

    The attempt at “outing” student #2 was not well received.

    Judith Curry in #166 impugns motive to “out” where there was none. (It was part of the process of researching the issue.) Moreover bender gets no thanks for quickly suggesting the name be removed for exactly the reasons cited. Bender also gets no credit for holding back on criticism of the incorrect claim of student 2 – which I spotted instantly but was too “collegial” to mention. (But which TAC did not withold on. Good on you, TAC.)

    Time to grow up. Science is about the battle of ideas. Conjecture and refutation are what make knowledge grow. Have climatologists forgotten that? Just a question …

  171. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    #157. Link isn’t valid.

  172. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 9:04 AM | Permalink

    It’s kind of ironic, don’t you think – that when this experiment was announced I suggested the group broaden their scope to CA & blogospheric science, but Dr Curry informed us the focus would be on hurricane climatology, statistical analysis, and Emanuel’s papers. And now here we are avoiding the issues we said we’d discuss, and discussing the ones we said we’d avoid.

  173. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 9:24 AM | Permalink

    Whoops – I was supposed to be taking a deep breath. Sorry! Breathing …

  174. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:03 AM | Permalink

    From the Hamed & Rao paper in #165:
    “The null hypothesis in the Mann-Kendall test is that the data are independent and randomly ordered. However, the existence of positive autocorrelation in the data increases the probability of detecting trends when actually none exist, and vice versa. Although this is a well-known fact, few studies have addressed this issue, and autocorrelation in the data is often ignored.”

    autocorrelation = non-random ordering

  175. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:07 AM | Permalink

    RE: #3 – there are specific reasons, which you’ve hinted at here, why the Western countries are getting our butts kicked by a whole new set of players and increasingly need to bring in new blood from other parts of the world. Critical thinking, always somewhat in short supply, has all but evaporated. Ergo, not enough young engineers (or others in other disciplines with an engineering mind set) being produced domestically.

  176. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    RE: #62
    1) Pro AGW
    2) Affinity with the “Gaia” concept
    3) Anti capitalist
    4) Neo Anarcho Marxist

    etc

  177. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    Re #165
    Will get the whole Hamed & Rao paper soon. What I want to know is if the modification is parametric. That would be pretty ironic – a parametric modification so that an invalid non-parametric test can be made valid.

  178. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    Re #176
    Good. My #64 wasn’t far off, then.

  179. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:29 AM | Permalink

    Re: #166

    The student’s relative dislike of this site was most likely associated with an emotional reaction to “attack” on scientists that they admire and papers that they find on the whole to be worthwhile and important, in spite of whatever minor flaws in the statistical analysis that might emerge, who arguably did the best they could with available data, models, whatever.

    I think this statement can be applied more generally to how the criticism from this blog translates across much of the climatology world and particularly with that part considered to be the consensus on AGW. Unfortunately it shows, in my judgment, a current tendency by this group of scientists and their supporters to react by down grading some serious and basic statistical errors and inabilities to place uncertainty measures on results to a level of “minor” flaws and to characterize the criticisms as personal attacks. The students’ comments are, in my view, not so much two data points but rather indicative of the prevailing attitude within the world to which they are being exposed.

    I would not see that attitude being changed from outside that community but eventually from within. I see blogs such as Steve M’s functioning to inform those outside the consensus community and not to make converts of those from within it.

    What really bothers me about most of the critics of this blog is that they eventually get caught up in how they are being treated and concentrate less on content to make their points. I have seen critics of blogs/discussion groups functioning at other sites in a most collegial manner and bringing information to the discussion that is appreciated and respected. These people tend to stick to the content and ignore those posters who would attempt to provoke them — or at least have an ability to separate content from provocation.

  180. straightner
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    Re: #162

    “(as Student #1 did in part (sort of)) that CA is: irrelevant”. From reading the original post it looks for like student #1 posed the question, not answered it.

    It is interesting to me that in some ways this very thread seems to be going through the cycle laid out (maybe not exactly as this is not a statistical evaluation), but 1. Everyone started ripping the comments apart, 2. Actually some statistical analysis was commented on, 3. there was a realization that the topic is more complex, 4. Participants now seem to be trying to understand what do to with the larger picture…

    Maybe an interesting experiment would be: 1. Find out which threads precisely Dr. Curry had her students read 2. Each regular participant find one friend or colleague that has an interest climate but that has not participated in CA in the past to read those threads 3.Report back on their perceptions and see how they compare

    It seems to me that CA needs to take the “human’ element into consideration here. Dr. Curry described the two students as an economist and a civil engineer. These are the very types of people CA should want to appeal to and the initial feedback is that is not being achieved.

    Just some food for thought

  181. David Smith
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:36 AM | Permalink

    I guess the chances of actually exchanging thoughts on hurricanes here is near-zero, but nevertheless here is the estimated PDI for 2006: 7.9

    This is scaled so that it matches the PDIs listed in an earlier thread. The link in #157 didn’t work for me. For comparison, the data table I used shows 2002 with a 6.35 PDI and 1997 as 4.15

    I assumed one more cat 2 hurricane and one more tropical storm in 2006.

    I will calculate 2005 as soon as I get a big paper tablet.

  182. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

    RE: #76 – Bingo, spot on! Remember what I am. I started out adult life on an academic track but then rethought and ended up in high tech. I remember well the academic gamesmanship, as well as the more noble aspects. I also can remember how, as an undergrad, set “free” into the wilds of a Southern California “youth ghetto” some 10 years after the radical and violent protest years, there was still enough of a certain ambience to infect me. I hung out with Earth First, MeCHA and other usual suspects. I read “The Monkey Wrench Gang” and “Ecotopia.” This resulted in massive dissonance in my academic life. I was getting my BS in Geophysics. A significant number of my peers were of the “old school” and called me, derisively, a “Quaternary Urbanite” due to my rantings regarding tree spirits and the EEEEeeevil oil companies. Little did I realize that I was the archetype of the vast majority of those who innately gravitate to, instead of Geological disciplines, things like ecology, field bio, and of course, so called “climate science.” So, how is it that me, the hippie greenie, got to where I am now as opposed to say, where Steve Bloom is? I am innately a hater of BS. Once I reached a certain level of maturity and sophistication, I looked myself in the mirror and my social circle and was aghast. There you have it.

  183. Jean S
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

    re #177: Nope, the trick is (non-parametric) variance estimator.

  184. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:47 AM | Permalink

    RE: #119 – Hear, hear! You and I both!

  185. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    some reflections:

    re #168: now I get it, not enough females posting on this blog

    has anyone twigged that the “straightner” handle is sort of the antithesis of “bender”?

    as for me, I am ready to get back to hurricanes

  186. jae
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:53 AM | Permalink

    122. jae doesn’t recant, but he’s sorry if he hurt anyone’s feelings (one certainly does not want to do THAT, in the PC world of a modern American university). Let’s face it, the students were openly hostile to this blog and provided no details to back up their accusations. That reveals a strong bias to me. If you are alive, you are biased. I’m alive, so I’m biased also.

  187. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    As a one-sided conversation, this discussion of biases isn’t going anywhere, so let’s refocus on hurricanes, as Dr. Curry suggests.

  188. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:10 AM | Permalink

    RE: #186 – We all start out in life as naive utopians and then reality intervenes. Some of us learn to recognize that intervention, while a good many persist in their infantile meme until death. Witness a character like Noam Chomsky. I rest my case.

  189. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:17 AM | Permalink

    Re: #148

    Letting average players vote on the move would add nothing to the situation since they wouldn’t have any idea what a strong player was intending. Perhaps if candidate move series were issued by select strong players and people could look for flaws or stronger responses by the opponent there would be benefit to having many minds at work in parallel, but not by just voting on one single move.

    I think that this an important distinction to be made for an optimal functioning of the blogosphere — it is not the average comment that we cherish or the potential to make/take a group think democratic vote, but the bits of brilliant insights and prose that we can glean in the process.

    Some may think that CA poster responses have been a bit too defensive in the answer to the critique, but to me they have brought forth some thinking from people that I respect that can help me in further formulating judgments about and understanding of the blogosphere. Throw in the discussion of M-K with a link on the effects of autocorrelation that I can understand and all in all it has been a productive experience for me.

    If I had already made up my mind on all these issues then this exercise would perhaps be viewed more as chaos with a resulting preference for the more selective environs of RC where issues such as a critique of the blog would probably never see the light of day.

  190. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:32 AM | Permalink

    Re #183
    Yes – you beat me to it!
    I notice there is no corrected M-K test available in R. Perhaps the “Kendall” package author (A.I. MacLeod, U. Western Ontario) has already worked out an implementation but has just not submittd it yet.

  191. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    This guy’s a Wegman!

    http://www.stats.uwo.ca/faculty/aim/

  192. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:37 AM | Permalink

    Re: #181

    I guess the chances of actually exchanging thoughts on hurricanes here is near-zero, but nevertheless here is the estimated PDI for 2006: 7.9

    Should not the technical discussion of PDI go back to Bender on Hurricanes Part II or is it III? I am interested in getting back to hurricanes as there were some issues that needed resolving or at least more discussion — and were not ready for grading.

  193. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

    Re #192
    For technical discussion, good idea to switch back to the last thread: “more bender on Emanuel”. Let this thread wallow in accusations of bias.

  194. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    A dendroclimatology student was totally hung over for the final exam. He was somewhat relieved to find that the exam was a true/false test. He had taken a basic stat course and did remember his professor once performing a coin flipping experiment. Since his brain was pretty mushy he decided to flip a coin he had in his pocket to get the answers for each question. The professor watched the student the entire two hours as he was flipping the coin…writing the answer…flipping the coin …writing the answer, on and on. At the end of the two hours, everyone else had left the room except for this one student. The professor walks up to his desk and angrily interrupts the student, saying: “Listen, it is obvious that you did not study for this exam since you didn’t even open the question booklet. If you are just flipping a coin for your answer, why is it taking you so long?”

    The stunned student looks up at the professor and replies (as he is still flipping the coin): “Shhh! I am checking my answers!”

  195. Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:22 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry:

    I am glad your students have taken to the blogosphere to investigate climatic issues. We are doing something similar over the whole climate change “debate” in our introductory meteorology class (the project is ~8 weeks and is currently underway), and it looks like another poster (can’t find it now) is doing something that resembles what our class is doing.

    Blogs are only valuable, in my experience, if a) one has the time to read through them, and b)if one believes that they offer something unique, either to the science with which the blog is concerned, or to the general public. Of course you can get around a) by assigning it to students and thereby mandating the time allotment. ;)

    We began our assignment with the assumption that the average person is opinionated but underinformed about climate change and global warming. After doing the assignment last year with 90 students, I am even more confident in this assertion. It is not realistic to expect the public at large to read the primary journal articles; as a graduate student who studies climatology (though not climate change, so much), I can not always do this, especially if the article is outside my wheelhouse, irrelevant to my dissertation topic, or if it has not been assigned. So how is the “real” information supposed to get out to the public, especially at a time when people are mistrustful of biases in media?

    It is my opinion that blogs are currently an excellent antidote. They give the reader a direct link to the source(s), and they are almost always more understandable (for the lay) than the refereed literature. Whether one likes what happens here, at RealClimate, Prometheus etc or not, one cannot deny this medium presents numerous opportunities to find out exactly what the author/site owner(s) believe(s) about a certain topic. But the blogosphere is definitely not the place to make friends. Look at what drives people to comment: it is almost always a refutation, challenge, or slight tweaking of something someone else has said. Sometimes people are merely asking questions, but I would submit that those questions are usually in the spirit of debate. The “I agree with everyone here on everything that has been said” comments are quite rare, and for a good reason…they add nothing. I am sure the Myers-Briggs (temperment typology) people would have a field day analyzing which “kinds” of people take to blogging (me: E-N-F-P). But I imagine one requirement is that you must enjoy a good argument, either passively or actively. This seems to be true on every climate-related blog I have visited; it is part of the experience, as I see it.

    And all of this means, as I have learned the hard way, that if you step up, you must have your game on. If you present a “fact,” someone will ask for evidence; if you do it confrontationally, you will get fact-checked by a whole bunch of people who are quite eager to see you look foolish. I have been there…not fun. I spent what seemed like a whole day (back in March?) arguing with a few people on here, resolving the argument, and then having a few others step in and challenge me. By the end of the day I was drained. Sometimes, you may think you are not being confrontational, and bam, someone else thought you were, and then you have a half-thread dedicated to resolving the argument.

    I am not quite as optimisitc as others that blogs are going to become part of academia, along with journal publications and conferences, but they will play at least a small role in network-building and information sharing, and those bridges will certainly “trickle up” into articles, conferences, and the whole medium may recruit a small proportion of future scientists into the field.

    After having typed this many words, and then seeing that the thread is trying to move back to hurricanes, I will stop here (thankfully).

  196. David Smith
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:40 PM | Permalink

    RE #193 Agreed. I’m heading to the “More bender on Emanuel” thread. I have some thoughts on all this blog discussion, for later.

    As I said before, my thanks to the Georgia Tech students nad Dr. Curry for taking the time to critique the website.

  197. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 12:56 PM | Permalink

    This blog didn’t start out with the intent of being a medium for co-operative science; having said, that there are a couple of nice examples of that developing. If you look at the deconstruction of MBH98 Figure 7 and its related false claims, it’s a rather nice example of a blog connecting the dots. The issue wasn’t even put on the table here. It was put in the air by Chefen and resolved in a series of posts by Jean S and myself http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=685 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=689 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=690 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=692 . In short order, the posts show the identification of an issue and the solving of a problem. This particular defect in MBH98 is 100% established, but has not been recognized in climate literature. Mann’s false result was used in IPCC TAR.

    So let’s review this particular case study according to the categories of Student #1:
    1. attacking a paper on global warming, before reading it very carefully or understanding the context of the paper, assuming that the author is either dumb or has an “agenda”
    – in fact, the key commenters had read the paper extremely carefully, understood the issues and had written code to try to reproduce the result. The writing and sharing of code as part of reading is something that is encouraged here.

    2. a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature
    – the statistical analysis was rudimentary because the original MBH98 statistical analysis was rudimentary, or less than rudimentary;

    3. realization that the issues are complex
    – the only complexification of the issues here was orotund and inaccurate description of methodoogy in the original article and the related misrepresentation of findings;

    4. some attempts at trying to gain physical understanding of what is going on
    – no attempt was ever made to gain a “physical understanding” of what was involved in MBH98 Figure 8; if the results were statistically meaningless, then the search for physical meaning was pointless.

    5. realization that the issues are even more complex
    – in this case, we resolved the problem. Mann had misrepresented his results – nothing more complex than that

    6. give up and move onto something else
    – we didn’t “give up”, although we did move on to something else. In part, the moving on was related to events of the summer taking some precedence for me – the release of the NAS report, the Wegman report, two appearanced before the House Energy and Commerce Committee, travel to Europe. The result is worth publishing and maybe we’ll do so. But whether we do so or not or whether the climate science community admists it, the result is established.

  198. Gerald Machnee
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 1:30 PM | Permalink

    Re # 194 – I cannot resist this one. I get asked “How do the almanacs get 80 percent accuracy in their forecasts?
    Well, there are about 4 popular ones. So you verify the forecasts, finding about 20 percent accuracy in each. Then 4 X 20 = 80 percent. Voila!!

  199. TCO
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    This particular defect in MBH98 is 100% established, but has not been recognized in climate literature. Mann’s false result was used in IPCC TAR.

    1. How could it be recognized in the literature? You haven’t published it, or even submitted a paper. Is a journal editor supposed to read this blog and write up his own paper citing your blog?

    2. Is the result simply “false” or an overstatement or skew?

    3. Noting this in the same para is either poor writing or poor logic. There is no way that the 2000 IPCC TAR could take into account the CA blog defect 100% establishment from 2006.

  200. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 2:23 PM | Permalink

    TCO, don’t be silly. I’m not expecting IPCC TAR to take account of 2006 CA results. I’m simply saying that IPCC used results that were misrepresented. I doubt whether they care.

  201. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #199
    Steve M said the problem hasn’t been recognized, not that the blog’s illustration of the problem hasn’t been recognized. They’re different things.

  202. Jean S
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 2:51 PM | Permalink

    The issue wasn’t even put on the table here. It was put in the air by Chefen and resolved in a series of posts by Jean S and myself http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=685 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=689 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=690 http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=692 . In short order, the posts show the identification of an issue and the solving of a problem.

    Shhh… you are giving answers to my assignment (#15) ;) Btw, check that figure, I think it should be printed under “biased choice” in a dictionary :)

  203. TCO
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    200, 201: “either poor writing or poor logic”. How about point 1?

  204. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 4:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #203
    Pt #1 in #199 is pretty dumb. The answer as to how to recognize a defect is to use your head and be self-critical and check your work BEFORE someone else points the problem out to you. No, Journal Editors are not supposed to read blogs. The authors who submit to their journals are supposed to be self-critical and the reviewers are supposed to act as a second, external check on errors. Read #201. The primary correcting mechanism is the review process. When it fails, the problem is said to “go unrecognized in the literature”. #197 is not a whining complaint. It’s a statement of fact.

  205. David Elder, Australia
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 7:07 PM | Permalink

    Re #184: thanks, Steve S. for favourable comment on my politically incorrect #119 (with #123).

  206. Barney Frank
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

    I would suggest that the regulars (I understand that you don’t have much control over random posters) stop making knee jerk assumptions about climate researchers motives and biases, show some respect for what they do, and try to engage them in a meaningful way. Encourage a constructive collaboration between climate researchers and the climateaudit statisticians.

    I’m a little puzzled by this comment. What are some examples of regulars making kneekjerk assumptions about climate rearchers motives and biases? I have seen comments about climate researchers motives and biases by regulars that are based on comments or actions by some researchers which call into question their motives or biases, but those are not knee jerk assumptions. They are reasonable assumptions. They may not turn out to be correct assumptions in 100% of the cases but that doesn’t make them kneejerk.
    I have seen a great deal of respect expressed toward climate researchers who are open and cooperative, even those who are “warmers”. And what more meaningful way to engage a climate researcher than to engage his/her work product?
    I agree that personal insults are pointless and counterproductive but these are issues of trillion dollar consequences. The intellectual and scientific field had better be rough and tumble to sort out the wheat from the chaff. Collegiality is fine until it starts breeding sophomoric science.
    I have seen numerous appeals here for climate researchers to make efforts to include statisticians in their studies. Are there similar appeals flowing in the opposite direction? If one group points out a weakness in another groups methods, is the burden not on the second group to shore up the weakness, as in seeking out the help of the first group or those with similar skills?

  207. jae
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    Encourage a constructive collaboration between climate researchers and the climateaudit statisticians

    That is one of the goals of this blog, I think.

  208. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 9:40 PM | Permalink

    I’m disappointed. I thought the GT students were going to pay a visit today. Maybe they’re lurking out there, not willing to post? Oh well …

  209. john lichtenstein
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 10:32 PM | Permalink

    About “a plethora of statistical activity of a fairly rudimentary nature”. Someone needs to loosen up. Rudimentary statistics are a blast. Also the lower the quality of the data the less elaborate the procedures that should be applied. These days Mann et al are using EM! The data includes trees that are known to be not correlated with temp. And they have to use them the other trees are worse (from the perspective of EM)! Amazing.

  210. bender
    Posted Oct 5, 2006 at 11:32 PM | Permalink

    Re #209 I think it’s funny, because look at how much of that “trend” literature does not bother to plot standard errors, fitted trend lines, confidence intervals. As if they’re so far beyond the “rudimentary” basics that the basics don’t matter any more. In the field I work in you can not get a paper published without these basics. The reviewers won’t allow it. So why should warmers have an easy time of it? Is climate alarmism causing scientific standards to slip?

  211. John Creighton
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 3:48 AM | Permalink

    #99 Bender I posted a suggested filter a while ago here:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=824#comment-47523

    Since no one responded I got board with it. I have been reading more internet stuff on world events lately then global warming. Well….that and getting a lot of exercise. Thinking of the students comments about the blog being a black hole of time, it takes me a lot of time to even keep up with the hurricane threads here let alone all the thread in general. This is a very active blog and if you are not here all the time you can miss alot. No wonder the students are reluctant to participate. When you read a paper the material is much more focused and therefore arguably a more efficient use of ones time. Of course focused means narrow in scope and thus not always superior.

  212. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:52 AM | Permalink

    Re #211
    Somehow I missed them the first time around, JC. (I think it was the volume of posting around that time.) My humble apologies. The stuff looks good. Thanks for the formalized documentation.

  213. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 6:29 AM | Permalink

    This is a very active blog and if you are not here all the time you can miss alot. No wonder the students are reluctant to participate.

    Maybe that is a factor. I’m not so sure. There’s only one thread for them to monitor, so it’s pretty easy to catch up.

  214. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 8:10 AM | Permalink

    Judith, you said:

    I would suggest that the regulars (I understand that you don’t have much control over random posters) stop making knee jerk assumptions about climate researchers motives and biases, show some respect for what they do, and try to engage them in a meaningful way. Encourage a constructive collaboration between climate researchers and the climateaudit statisticians.

    Judith, I personnally think that you are very courageous to engage in the debate, despite the nasty comments about your BAMS paper. I understand your comment about respect. Most scientists just try to do an honest job. However, Bender asks:

    Is climate alarmism causing scientific standards to slip?

    That question is the “raison d’àƒ⩴re” of this blog. Steve M. hasn’t just said it does. In fact, I don’t think he ever said so explicitly. However, he has demonstrated it meticulously, and with much perseverance, by auditing a number of papers in the narrow field of climate reconstruction. He was proven right by both the NAS and the Wegman panels.

    Having achieved that, he should have been applauded by the climate science community. In fact, if he was an academic, part of that community, he would probably have a few invited talks at major conferences, and his papers would have been published in Nature.

    Instead, he was the subject of nasty personnal attacks from Mann and his entourage. Apart from Von Storch and his colleagues, almost no one openly admitted their mistake. The NAS panel, depspite objectively having to admit that M&M were right on all technical points, didn’t have the courage to blame Mann et al. and the review process. They formulated their conclusions in such a way that the media turned it into a victory for Mann.

    And after all that, you would like to have more respect, and no assumptions about motives?

    If you guys in the climate science “community” had only a tiny bit of courage, you would have openly criticized the actions of Michael Mann, and you would have openly denounced the lack of seriousness of the review process in journals like Nature.

    This is a blog where people are free to express what they feel. I think your students, if they want respect, would do well to listen to what is being said. Respect is something you earn, it doesn’t come automatically with the Ph.D.

  215. ET SidViscous
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 8:28 AM | Permalink

    Here here, very well said.

  216. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 8:58 AM | Permalink

    Ultimately, the core of this discussion is on the topic of quality. A surprisingly large subset of the so called “Climate Science” community, have been allowed by peers and by society in general, to issue studies and writings of unacceptably low quality. The same could be said of the underlying experimental designs, basic logic / critical thinking, measurements and data crunching which produced them. If so called “Climate Science” wants to still be around, as a legitimate discipline, 100 or 200 years from now, and eventually, become one of the generally accepted and acknowledged hard sciences, then the quality level of all aspects of the discipline must be increased dramatically. Failure to do that will assuredly, at some future point, perhaps after a long period of pain, both within and without the field, result in a label of “junk science” or “pseudo science.” Yes these are harsh and stark words. This is tough love.

  217. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Question for GT gang: do you agree or disagree with the following assertion:
    “hurricane PDI has doubled in recent decades”

  218. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 9:57 AM | Permalink

    Re: #207

    Judith C said:

    Encourage a constructive collaboration between climate researchers and the climateaudit statisticians.

    Jae said:

    That is one of the goals of this blog, I think.

    I doubt very much that climate researchers are going to collaborate with participants of this blog as a group and very limitedly on an individual basis. My view of the climate science community is that it in general thinks of itself as an earnest, honest and principled group who is working with information that I am sure nearly all in it feel can have a critical impact on this planet. Mistakes that they make are apparently all or nearly all cosidered minor relative to demonstrating AGW – since that is more or less a given.

    It would appear that in working with a rapidly evolving science with immediate links to national and world policy that one needs to write up that quick paper and if it is found deficient, on later more thorough analyses, one can show one has already moved on to another paper with more and better evidence.
    Do not look alone for a reaction to CA but to the reaction of climate people to Wegman’s report and the case he made and publicized for better statistical analyses by climate science and using statistician from outside the community. What is critical for changes to be made in climate science is the reaction of non-community members to it and perhaps starting with more skepticism from the main stream media and less knee jerk reactions that we approaching a tipping point.

  219. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:17 AM | Permalink

    Yesterday I had a conversation with a group of students that included student #1, Angela Fritz, and two other students in the hurricane class. The two students that are most interested in this are student #1 and Angela Fritz, who share my interest in the sociology of science and the blogosphere. The students that are just interested in the science don’t see the point of this (maybe you can convince them otherwise by a sterling analysis of the PDI etc), and tend to react emotionally to the “attacks”, barbs, etc., while those interested also in the sociopsycho aspects of all this find some of that interesting or at least entertaining. Blogging on a site like this is not suited to everyone’s temperament, and a lack of willingness to engage does not reflect in any way a lack of rigour in a scientists approach or evaluation of their science. The main issue (raised by Kenneth a few posts ago) is the black hole for time (which is why student #2 opted not to post his detailed response).

    BTW, you have way underestimated student #1 (straightner raised a few points that I think went at the heart of some of the issues raised by student #1 which may not have been translated very well by me). Student #1 has a background in economics and spent > decade in the business world. HIs assessment is a very valid assessment of the reactions of first time visitors to the site, and he is not one of the students that has reacted emotionally to the site.

    So you may seduce some of the GT students to post here (or on the more technical thread), whether or not they choose to identify themselves as GT students is up to them (I won’t “out” them). I continue to encourage them to look at the blogs to keep up to date on the science issues and to sharpen their critical thinking skills and should they opt to post, their rhetorical skills

    p.s. thanks kenneth blumenfeld for your very insightful analysis

  220. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:26 AM | Permalink

    sharpen their critical thinking skills

    No question blogging at CA will do that for you. It’s sink or swim here.

  221. jae
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:32 AM | Permalink

    219

    Student #1 has a background in economics and spent > decade in the business world. HIs assessment is a very valid assessment of the reactions of first time visitors to the site, and he is not one of the students that has reacted emotionally to the site.

    Fair enough as an assessment (summary?) of the reactions of first time visitors. But he didn’t say it was an assessment of the reactions of first time visitors; it appears to be HIS assessment of the site, and I would like to see him back up his statements. If he has been in the business world for over 10 years, he should be thick-skinned enough to post here and defend his strong criticisms of the site.

  222. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Re: #208

    I’m disappointed. I thought the GT students were going to pay a visit today. Maybe they’re lurking out there, not willing to post? Oh well …

    Is that bender, the Gator, or bender, the luke warm GWer, talking?

    Seriously though, I think the GT students (and Judith Curry) have spoken and we should make what we will of it without expecting more discourse. In a general way I think that their judgment (nearly all negative and I suspect that those report card grades will be nearly all F’s and that coming in this age of grade inflation –darn glad I do not have parents to show it to) reflects on how this blog handles subject matter relative to a paper published for a professional journal.

    The limitations of a blog as compared to a paper are the difficulties involved in throwing a subject out for discussion and frequently as Steve M likes to do an analysis and not seeing, as is the case in a paper, the same logical sequence of presentation and knowing where to look for a summary, conclusions and supporting evidence. In a blog like this one you had better be reading extensively and expecting to make your own judgments on the conclusions or one could get lost or at least temporarily confused.

    Sometimes the discussion is limited to a passing observation and is not ammenable to a conclusion. I personally would do better with someone taking the time to write summaries of discussions of those more important ones that take place here and where a summary would be appropriate. I have seen this done with other internet discussions on a more or less ad hoc basis but have never seen it work routinely. Steve’s lead-in presentations and analyses are usually self contained and as such are more easily read and assembled for digestation. The discussions following the presentations, which in probing the subject often imparts further understanding, are not so easily assembled.

    Any thoughts from other posters on the benefits of a summary — given the time and effort required to do it. I know it currently gets done on occasion by posters who in apparent exasperation take the time to straighten out another confused poster.

  223. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    RE: #219 – RE: “Student #1 has a background in economics and spent > decade in the business world. HIs assessment is a very valid assessment of the reactions of first time visitors to the site, and he is not one of the students that has reacted emotionally to the site.”

    Somewhat ironically, it has been my finding, as someone currently in the thick of the business world, located in the US, that the business world is perhaps almost as much a boiling cauldron of AGW alarmism as are academia, government and the NGO world. I guess the truth is, most of society at large is such a cauldron, so effective has been the propaganda increasingly set forth over the past 15 – 20 years. By way of a compliment of sorts to the environmental activist community, this is a strong testament to the degree to which what was once a subculture has embedded itself into the mainstream of society. Now, after that succession, for me to raise even the driest, most analytical criticisms or questions regarding the frame of reference of the “climate science” orthodoxy is to commit a revolutionary act. That is utterly amazing. I am now smeared as a “denialist” or a crank, even by corporate capitalistic types who ought to know better.

  224. Hank Roberts
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    For Dr. Curry and Ken Blumenfeld, a couple of thoughts —
    _________________
    On what to disregard:

    Do you show your students how to distinguish the cut-and-paste ideologues from people actually writing on weblogs? The same web searches you’d use to detect plagiarism in academic writing work quite well to find where that stuff comes from. A little Boolean logic chopping text into search strings is very helpful.

    Often, I can track some often-pasted comment to a source, then I can ask the coiner whether he has reason to trust the source. Most people doing this have no idea where their favored ideas originated, they just like repeating them.

    For your students, just doing that to know what to ignore may increase the yield of useful content on weblogs about science.

    For myself, when someone’s pasting in a chunk they repeat many places, taken from a “CO2Science” page or an Associated Press wire release — when it’s a chunk that’s clearly a mistake or misstatement — nudging the person to actually think about what they’re repeating sometimes helps. (Those who never reply often are sock puppet userids; the page owner can see at least when the same IP address is repeating the same thing under multiple names.)

    Once that level of fluff is dismissed, the weblogs appear a bit more real.
    ____________________________________
    On making friends (or at least finding respect)

    My dad used to teach his cytology students, back when all the telephones had round dials, that they should be able to read a researcher’s work, then call up the scientist’s department, talk to the department secretary and ask politely if the researcher might be available for a few minutes to talk.

    With groups of his grad students, he’d prearrange such calls in class with a speakerphone each year, to talk with researchers about their work. Learning how to read (as an amateur or student) enough to ask an inteligent question is an important skill. It’s teachable.

    I think weblogs can and do serve that purpose — quite well.

    And I think you can find if not friends at least respect, by making yourselves available. I’m very grateful for you all who take the time to do this sort of public contact.

  225. Dano
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

    An interesting and fascinating dive into the trenches of sociology and psychology, and these trenches are illuminated by the multitudinous defensive posts. Lots to reflect on here, if one chooses to do so (but please, at low bandwidth).

    And it would be good, IMHO, to pay attention to Hank’s ‘intelligent questions’ point in 224. Why? Certainly technology enables and facilitates inquiry, but technology doesn’t replace wisdom or education; technology must be used by fallible people and is not a crutch. Judith is showing her students the path to wisdom, via education, using technology as a tool and not a crutch.

    Best,

    D

  226. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 2:58 PM | Permalink

    There is a significant difference between the GT population in the hurricane seminar (nearly all of whom are actually in the process of conducting hurricane research, even the undergrads) vs students in Kenneth’s freshman meteorology course. There was also a significant difference in the nature of the assignments given to the students. I wanted to know whether the students, who had been very actively reading the hurricane literature and were involved in hurricane research themselves, would find this site useful (and nearly all of them were first time visitors to climateaudit). The answer (so far) seems to be no. Some students couldn’t get past the “attacks”, and the more senior students with more knowledge and expertise didn’t see what they could learn here. Lets see if they will change their mind based upon the (anticipated) breathtaking statistical analyses on the ongoing technical threads.

  227. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    These are good points, Dano.

    On bandwidth consumption: I agree with this stance, noting, though, that it takes two to prevent wastage. (Hopefully this does not mean we can’t ask how the hiking trip was? Maybe reply on “road map”, where wastage is not an issue?) Anyways, we tried to make as much progress as we could in your absence. Glad you approve.

  228. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    #226
    Don’t expect anything breathtaking. This is ClimateAudit, not RocketScience. What you can expect is a sound examination of the Emanuel (2005) claim that “PDI has doubled in the last few decades” – which is the question we were asked to address by David Stockwell. If the students aren’t learning anything, that may be a good sign. Maybe it means they won’t make the same mistakes that others are making on a regular basis. Maybe it means they’re doing a good job following the guidelines set out by Wigley for statistical analysis in climatology. That’s all we ask for: due diligence, open code, and sharing of the most up-to-date data. If that bores you, so be it.

  229. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:27 PM | Permalink

    The answer (so far) seems to be no. Some students couldn’t get past the “attacks”, and the more senior students with more knowledge and expertise didn’t see what they could learn here. Lets see if they will change their mind based upon the (anticipated) breathtaking statistical analyses on the ongoing technical threads.

    Judith, you conducted a survey of your students (not a very well conducted one for someone with academic credentials in my estimation) and they apparently to the student agreed that this site is of no value to them and their general evaluations of it were nearly 100% negative. I am perhaps more familiar with students who would have less of a consensus view on just about any subject because of their contrarian nature, but one could receive these comments as simply too consistently negative to accept as having constructive value or as typical of someone the blog needs and be, well, either crushed or overwhelmed about what to do to obtain their approval and go into a defensive frenzy.

    Your breath taking reference probably says more about your attitude than that of your students. I’ll take bets that they will not be impressed nor will you and I say that without knowing the outcome of the analyses.

    Dano says:

    Certainly technology enables and facilitates inquiry, but technology doesn’t replace wisdom or education; technology must be used by fallible people and is not a crutch. Judith is showing her students the path to wisdom, via education, using technology as a tool and not a crutch.

    Dano, when I decipher what you just said maybe I’ll discover the key to this whole discussion. In the meantime I’ll have to content to be clueless.

  230. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Maybe he means statistics is a tool to be used if it helps your case, but ignored if not. If so, that would be AGW double-standard #12. Personally, my breath was taken away by the thought of using non-parametric statistics to answer a parametric question. Intriguing.

  231. TCO
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:47 PM | Permalink

    Would you all give it a rest. They took a look, gave their opinion and moved on. Take it for consideration, but don’t get antsed up about it. Getting all bothered that we need to argue with them is silly. So is getting all worried that we need to change the tone of the place. Don’t be such wimps.

  232. TCO
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Kudos to Steve for his phlegmatic posting of the student views.

  233. TCO
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 5:50 PM | Permalink

    Comments were to Ken. Bendie’s post is fine.

  234. MrPete
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 6:12 PM | Permalink

    Dano says…

    Certainly technology enables and facilitates inquiry, but technology doesn’t replace wisdom or education; technology must be used by fallible people and is not a crutch. Judith is showing her students the path to wisdom, via education, using technology as a tool and not a crutch.

    To which I must append a quote from a wizened friend in India:

    An educated scoundrel is still a scoundrel.

    Ethics is foundational to all of this. Unfortunately, some of what we’re seeing gets a pass only because the community’s standards have become quite lax.

    Of course, calling a spade a spade tends to attract vehement responses. No surprise there.

  235. Curt
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    Steve S:

    “for me to raise even the driest, most analytical criticisms or questions regarding the frame of reference of the “climate science” orthodoxy is to commit a revolutionary act.”

    As the most technically competent person in my social circle (in liberal LA), I am increasingly being asked by worried friends what I think of the global warming issue. I gently express the kind of skepticism that many readers at this site have, that yes, it does look to be getting warmer now, but neither the temperatures now or their rate of change looks to be unusual historically, that most (good) evidence shows that it was at least as warm 1000 years ago, and warmer 5000 years ago, etc., and that all this change was happening without human intervention, etc. etc.

    The looks that I get on this are rather priceless. My wife has taken to whispering to the wife of the other couple, “He doesn’t believe the Holocaust happened, either.” For a minute, they don’t know whether she is serious or not.

  236. jae
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    curt: please keep it up…

  237. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 7:40 PM | Permalink

    Some students couldn’t get past the “attacks”, and the more senior students with more knowledge and expertise didn’t see what they could learn here.

    Again this speaks to the problem of the “front end” of a site. CA doesn’t look like much, there are lots of trolls, and not a lot of domain experts. If your mind is all made up on AGW, damn the uncertainties, you’re not going to like it here. Unless you’re interested in the soc-pysche aspects of it. The “attacks” can be harsh; they can be off the mark. Posters do not control the look and feel of the front end. It’s ugly. But the content is democratic. And that makes it beautiful. It’s principled, and that makes it useful. It’s mission is not extraordinary (due diligence, share the code, update the proxies), and that makes it boring. Hey, accounting is boring. Auditing is boring.

    Things only get exciting when climatologists start making unsupportable claims, like:

    -temperature trends are unprecedented in the last 2000 years
    -temperatures are unprecedented in 10000000 years
    -hurricane PDI has doubled in the last 30 years
    -GCMs are the best proof we have of the inevitability of CO2-caused warming of 3±1°C

    If getting to the bottom of these rare statements doesn’t excite you, well, go get your news & entertainment elsewhere. I have a hard time understanding how students in climatology could not wonder about the physical and statistical basis underlying these claims. As an undergraduate student I didn’t believe anything I was told. As a graduate student I learned that if you want to play this game you have to keep your mouth shut to get the grants. Now, I find Steve’s blog is cathartic because I have no confidence whatsoever in any science that is closed or otherwise inscrutable – and this gives me a place to not only express my skepticism, but to do something about it.

    In short, I don’t see a need to “fix” the presentation of the CA front end. If undergraduates and graduates “don’t have time” to investigate (Ha! Who does?!), it’s largely their loss. They don’t see its value because they’re not skeptical. They don’t crave to hear other skeptical viewpoints. Fine. Like “Follow the Money” says: suspending skepticism is the path of least resistance for getting a job in climatology and keeping it. You’d have to be crazy to go against the “consensus”. And today’s kids ain’t crazy. They know where the money is: it’s in daddy’s wallet.

  238. jae
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    bender, you are correct. But, there will be no leaders in that group, and they will eventually be left in the dust.

  239. bender
    Posted Oct 6, 2006 at 8:53 PM | Permalink

    Re #222

    Any thoughts from other posters on the benefits of a summary “¢’‚¬? given the time and effort required to do it. I know it currently gets done on occasion by posters who in apparent exasperation take the time to straighten out another confused poster.

    Periodic summaries are obviously a good idea; I mean, who doesn’t like a compact digestible morsel? The problem is the work they entail. I could write a hurricane thread summary in about a half hour. But as Steve points out there are about 800 threads with lead-in stories. You can’t be updating 800 threads a month. Maybe 12 threads every quarter. But even that’s a fair amount of work.

    I’m rather inclined to dismiss all the requests for beautification and better packaging. Let it fall to the regulars to summarize what’s gone on in the past, and let the summaries come whenever there’s a consensus feeling that a thread or topic needs summarizing. Since there is so much to package and so many different experiences coming to the table that’s the only way to make sure a given storyline has handles that the new reader can grab onto.

    One thing that will definitely and instantly improve the connection between current and past discussions is if the regulars try a little harder to make explicit links to past posts. Jean S’s #165 for example does a great job documenting the flow of a within-thread argument. Between-thread arguments are a little harder to trace, but they’re the ones newbies need guidance on.

  240. Ken Fritsch
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 1:05 PM | Permalink

    Re: #231

    Would you all give it a rest. They took a look, gave their opinion and moved on. Take it for consideration, but don’t get antsed up about it. Getting all bothered that we need to argue with them is silly. So is getting all worried that we need to change the tone of the place. Don’t be such wimps.

    TCO, from a later post of yours, I assume this was aimed at me and recognizing that I must apologize for not first checking in with this blog’s master giver of advice. I agree with you in your preferred reaction to the students comments.

    My take on the situations was that it did give an opportunity to hear how others here view the intent, purpose, message and overall efficiency of presentation by this blog and also sneak in a suggestion of my own. I think the idea of more formal summarization was a good one if it could be carried out in an efficient manner. Sometimes, when you have sufficiently provoked an intelligent and articulate poster here or Steve M himself, they do give some very good summaries that at the time of reading I sometimes wish could be saved for convenient retrieval at a future date. That is just about the extent of my wish list: save those so painfully extracted explanations and summaries. I doubt that they would necessarily satisfy you but I think they would help most of us.

    As for Judith Curry and her students, I would only have one general request for my own edification and that would be to tell us if they have read the Wegman report, what is their overall evaluation of it on reading it and how do they see it being applied to any of the recognized weaknesses in climate science today. I believe the Wegman report summarizes much of what this blog is about and without the distractions to outsiders of the noise levels here that sometimes could appear to the outsider to overwhelm the content.

  241. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 1:26 PM | Permalink

    Re #240 Ken, I have read the Wegman report, but I suspect that none of the students in the hurricane seminar have read this since it is pretty far from their area of interest (the students in the multidecadal seminar would be the better group to ask to evaluate the Wegman report). Personally, I agree with the broad recommendations that Wegman makes (I will make no comment on other aspects of the report). I have a few comments on some of the recommendations made by Wegman that I will post on the road map thread (or if anyone suggests another more approprate thread for this, not about paleoproxies but the broader issues of review and accountability).

  242. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 1:40 PM | Permalink

    #241. Judith, I’ll create a separate thread on this. I published an Op Ed in the National Post on a similar topic here http://www.climateaudit.org/index.php?p=66

  243. David Archibald
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    It is very difficult for students to prove their lecturers wrong about anything and expect to get decent grades. Judith Curry has been more than a foot soldier in the AGW camp, and the students would have picked up tone in the absence of any instruction. Observe this interview in Environmental Science and Technology: http://pubs.acs.org/subscribe/journals/esthag/40/i01/html/010106interview.html

    Let’s quote a slab of it:

    Paul Thacker: Do you think that the American public is starting to wake up since Hurricane Katrina? Even if this one hurricane had nothing to do with climate change, it seems like people are at least starting to pay attention to the issue.

    Judith Curry: With all the confusion from the scientific community . . . the American public doesn’t read scientific journals.

    They listen to the media, and the media likes a good debate. So they trot out this small minority of people to present their contrarian views. And they are given just as much legitimacy as scientists with strong credentials and who publish in the peer-reviewed literature. The media gives equal weight to both sides of this.

    So the American public gets confused, but at the same time people are starting to be worried about this now.

    Paul Thacker: Before, people said the world is not warming; now, they say you can’t tie it to hurricanes. But other changes are occurring such as the melting of glaciers and ice packs in the Arctic and the acidification of the oceans. Aren’t hurricanes just one issue?\

    Judith Curry: Exactly. But you can’t use hurricanes to prove that there is global warming. What you can do is show an unambiguous link between the increase in hurricane intensity and the warming sea surface temperatures. And if you look for why the sea surface temperatures are warming since the 1970s, you don’t have any explanation other than greenhouse warming. “¢’‚¬?PAUL D. THACKER

    So Judith Curry is guilty of plenty of sins of commission, the worst of which is suggesting that non-AGW views are not helpful to the laity. Why would it surprise that her students were not completely flattering to Climate Audit?

  244. TCO
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 7:34 PM | Permalink

    Dave, her course is pass-fail. They just have to show up and participate. They’re non-majors kids.

  245. John M
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 7:37 PM | Permalink

    I think long-time readers of this blog will recognize the name Paul Thacker. To be fair to Judith Curry, take a look at this exchange between her and Roger Pielke Jr. at Prometheus here.

    (The link may take a while, since it is to Prometheus’ archives. You can use the “Find” feature to look for “Thacker” or just scroll down to October 2005.)

    There are two postings from late October 2005, the oldest is from RP Jr, pretty much mirroring Steve M’s opinion with regard to that particular journalist and publication. The other is a response from JC about being quoted out of context. Thacker has a history of melding his opinion with his reporting.

  246. John M
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    #245

    This link is much faster and simpler. Sorry for the double post.

  247. TCO
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 7:47 PM | Permalink

    Thack is a hack.

  248. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 9:51 PM | Permalink

    Given the alacrity with which people give advice on how to make this site more “popular”, we receive an almost overwhelming number of comments – 125 in the past 24 hours. This is not abnormal as there have been over 50,000 comments in the 18 months of the blog existence with lower volume at the start-up. In the past 24 hours, RC had less than 10 comments and William Connolley 1. Whatever the other sins of this blog, involving readership doesn’t appear to be one of them.

  249. chrisl
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 10:01 PM | Permalink

    Steve, re # 248
    Perhaps you could do a statistical analysis of these figures and Willis could graph them!

  250. bender
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 10:21 PM | Permalink

    And perhaps we could get could Mann or Emanuel or Hansen to make a provocative statement about the time-scale over which the number of hits is “unprecedented”.

  251. gb
    Posted Oct 8, 2006 at 2:06 AM | Permalink

    The original posting by JC was an invitation to some self-reflection. It is therefore quite sad that some people still start personal attacks on her as in #243 and #244. This was just the reason why many people avoid to participate on this site! So, if you appreciate the contributions from serious scientists on this site you should refrain from such (stupid) attacks/remarks.

  252. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 8, 2006 at 2:33 AM | Permalink

    Re #248, so science is a popularity contest now then Steve?

  253. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 8, 2006 at 3:32 AM | Permalink

    … ignore the troll … ignore the troll … must control fist of death … ignore the troll …

    w.

  254. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 8, 2006 at 3:33 AM | Permalink

    #252, Peter H

    Sadly in this day and age I’m afraid to say that science has become a popularity contest. If you aren’t popular with the grant panel then you don’t get the funding and so your science doesn’t get done. It doesn’t get done, so it doesn’t get published so no one gets to know about it.

    #248, Steve

    While I don’t think that you should give in to requests to make this blog more popular (as your figures show its already more popular than the opposition – love the quote about Bill’ blog) I think you should think seriously about changing the software used from blog software (WordPress) to content management softare (CMS) instead. I say this because I think its become clear that the web site needs (for the sake of getting the information across) to ecome more functional. Now there are some who wil tell you that CMS software is expensive, complex to use and difficult to maintain. let me tell you that, that is old news. CMS software is no cheap, very cheap (indeed zero cost as a lot of it is open source), is very easy to use (but not as easy to use as WordPress), as easy to use a an on-line wordprocessor/text editor and is very easy to maintain.

    I’m primarily a MS Web/Windows developer so I use Dotnetnuke a lot, but non-MS open source alternatives like PHPNuke,Drupal, Mambo, OpenCMS etc are just as good (OK John A – better). I recently set up a web site using Dotnetnuke for less than US $90 (the annual hosting cost and domain name registration). If you have ever watched ‘Dancing with the Stars’ on ABC in the US or ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ on the BBC in the UK then like me , you might be interested in Dancesport (competitive form of ballroom and latin american dancing) here.

    Now the transition to CMS from blog software would not be easy but it would provide many worthwhile benefits to thi sweb site e.g. fully indexed comments, indexed searchable document/links module (with user added summaries and commentries), private (only viewable after login to registered users) content etc. What do you think Steve and John A?

    KevinUK

  255. Kevin
    Posted Oct 8, 2006 at 4:32 AM | Permalink

    I am a layman but have followed the AGW/Climate Change issue quite closely for many years and it is my strong impression that there is a considerable gap between what the news media typically claim the climate scientists are saying, and what the climate scientists are really saying. Perhaps the climate scientists among our posters would care to comment on their own impressions of media coverage of AGW/Climate Change.

  256. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 7:15 AM | Permalink

    I think the students missed this topic where Steve Bloom and Jim Barrett were demanding ” make sure you come up with some actual numbers and not just qualitative generalisations” about sea level rise for California.
    which we provided… and got SILENCE as a reply.

    Or Steve Bloom’s claim: “CA sea level has gone up 19 cm in the last century, measured at both San Francisco and San Diego (Cayan et al [2006], quoted on page 32 of this report)” which was a huge error on his part. He read the data with his GW brain and was totally off the mark. When we ALL provided data, and corrected his interpretation, what was his reply?

    …SILENCE!

  257. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 7:19 AM | Permalink

    re: 255 here’s link to the topic I mentioned :

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=832#comments

  258. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    #256, rocks

    I totally agree. It seems that every time Steve B asks for ‘dano linkies’ to support a claim on this blog, they are provided and after they are discussed and he is subsequently asked questions he inexplicably shuts up.

    I’m still waiting for a reply to the question I asked him about the differences in night-time temperatures between the ‘Valleys’ and the ‘Sierras’ given in a Roy Spencer paper linked to in a different thread. I’m also (tongue in cheek) waiting for him to confirm the accuracy of my calculated future predictive skill of climate models based on the data which he personally very kindly provided me with on the improved predictive capability of hurricane trend models. Still waiting (for greenhouse) for a reply!

    KevinUK

  259. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 9:47 AM | Permalink

    RE: #256 – Anyone who has seen those unfossilized mollusk shells embedded in partially consolidated sediments way up on top of that ridge above Rincon Point knows that the sea level in California cannot be rising, at least relative to some tectonic reference point! Even beyond that, the true sea level here appears not to be rising. Someone on another thread had posted something about tectonic subsidence of the Pacific Ocean crust. Combine that with the seeming net accumulation of ice in the central areas of Greenland and Antarctica and these results make sense. I attribute both the “global” (dominated by Atlantic basin measurement points) and European supposed “rise” in sea level to tectonic subsidence at the passive margin combined with the trailing edge of the great melt of 10K years ago. Holland is case in point – Holland was not always below MSL, that really only started to happen during the Age of Pisces, and at that, the latter half of it.

  260. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    I have intermittent problems commenting here due to SpamKarma. Apparently this happens because I often comment in clumps. As far as I can see from the SK2 documentation there is a way to solve the problem, but for whatever reason the proprietors of this blog choose not to do so. The upshot is that when I send in comments only to see them disappear either permanently or for several days, I’m not real motivated to wait and try to respond again.

    Re #s 256/7: Rocks originally wrote “As someone with real field experience in the arena, and living along the So. Cal coast line my entire life, 42 yrs, I can tell you the California sea levels have not come up noticably more than one cm during that time.”

    There was nothing there about causes. The material you linked showed that it’s wrong. (Later on in the same thread Rocks referred to a rise of “several” cms. Whatever.) You also misread the link in terms of GW versus non-GW causes. (Hint: Calculations like that take global average SL rise into account.) Why argue with someone who can’t even keep their own references straight?

    Re #258: Try connecting the paper with the correct author and you might get a response.

    Re #259: Keep making stuff up, Steve S. It’s entertaining. BTW, you forgot to relate these observations back to the current weather at your house.

  261. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 1:35 PM | Permalink

    #250, Steve B.

    I’ve posted lots of times on this blog and not once have I been caught out by the SpamKarma so I don’t buy your excuse. However I’m glad to see that you’re back.

    Now what do you think of the differences in night-time temperatures between the “Valleys’ and the “Sierras’ given in a Roy Spencer’s paper linked to in a different thread a few days ago? I’m also still waiting for you to confirm the accuracy of my calculated future predictive skill of climate models based on the data which you very kindly provided me with on the improved predictive capability of hurricane trend models.

    KevinUK

    PS Steve B. Little tip when posting on any forum/blog. Type your post first in a text editor or word processor and save it and then cut and paste it into the forum/blog. That way you don’t lose it and can then just re-paste it if it doesn’t get through (funnily enough mine always do anyway) the SpamKarma.

  262. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 1:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #261: Keep trying on that citation. If the title and author don’t match you won’t get a response from me. If you’ve read it the easiest thing to do would be to just provide a link to the text.

  263. Mark T.
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Re #259: Keep making stuff up, Steve S. It’s entertaining. BTW, you forgot to relate these observations back to the current weather at your house.

    There ya go… call Steve S. a liar. Thwart spam karma by disguising your personal attacks.

    Mark

  264. Dane
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    Steve B,

    Re read those sources again. I see them supporting Rocks view.

    Try this, look at photos of the surf Break At Malibu Point (surfrider beach I think its officially called) in So Cal. Look at the pics from the late 50’s to early 60’s, then look at todays pics. There is virtually no difference in sea level, how thw wave breaks, where it breaks etc. If sea level were rising so fast along the Calif coastline, don’t you think the first people to notice might be surfers who depend on the tides and breaks sensitivities to it for good waves? Malibu has not changed in 40 years, thats a fact. I recently took my father up to see the break as he taught me to surf about 35 years ago, and we shared some really great times surfing Malibu together when he was younger. Neither of us could visually see any noticeable changes in the beach, where the waves break, or anything. There is a lifeguard station at first point that has been there since the early 60’s one can use as a reference point to measure sea level changes, there simply has not been any change beyond a few mm to maybe a couple of cm, which is in line with Late Holocene sea level rise. Taking local tectonics into account, leaves one with not much sea level rise at all along the Calif coastline in the last 40 yrs. Go re read that paper, I think you might have missed the units of measure or something. Avg sea level rise has been quite small and quite constant for a very long time.

  265. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 2:13 PM | Permalink

    #262, Steve B

    As you are a political lobbyist I would have expected you to keep your favourites well organised in your browser but never mind.

    Here is the link

    I’ve copied it from your post #66 in the the thread on ‘Christy on Source Code’. In that thread you posted

    “For anyone who wonders why Spencer and Christy, and in particular the former, are on the outs with their colleagues have a look here and in particular here.”

    It is the first of your links so I presume that like myself you’ve read it from cover to cover so to speak?

    Now what do you think of Figures 16 and 17 on page 13?

    What do you think of Spencers explanation?

    “Here is the point: when you look at daytime temperatures of the Valley versus the Sierras, you see a dramatic drop in the temperatures in the Valley versus the Sierras in the daytime, especially during the summer, and that is what is consistent with irrigation. Irrigation will cool the air in the boundary layer. You won’t see this up in the deep layer of the atmosphere, but in the boundary layer you would. Now in the night-time temperatures, you see here rapid warming in the Valley; relative to the mountains, it peaks in the irrigation season. This is consistent with two things, both irrigation and urbanization. But what you don’t see up there is something that is consistent forcing of that particular part of the world.

    Here is the region that has seen rapid warmth in the past hundred years, but it is more consistent with changes in the land use. Irrigation is dark and green compared to the original state of a dry, light desert, so joules of energy that come in from the sunlight don’t heat up the desert much and it gets cool at night. If you make it green and wet, now those joules of energy are absorbed because of the darkness and the water holds those joules of energy and so they release them at night, sensibly.”

    Once again thank you for the link and since I’ve gone to the trouble of providing you (at your request) with the link that you already had, would you now like to comment on Spencer’s explanation?

    KevinUK

  266. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    RE: #260 – you would have flunked undergraduate field geology. The facts regarding sea levels in California are undeniable. The only places experiencing an APPARENT rise are where there is subsidence induced by ground water extraction. With that exception, the California coast is either not changing or is experiencing a net lowering of sea level. Do you know what the zero potential spheroid is?

  267. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    Re #263: It would be more fair to say flights of fancy based on wishful thinking.

    Re #264: Dane, this was the only linked source. According to this table, Santa Monica is undergoing a relative sea level rise of 1.98 mm/yr, or close to the average 8 cm figure I had quoted before for the last forty years. What a happy coincidence that the Malibu beaches you frequent are immune to this trend. (Rocks didn’t say exactly which OC beach he visits, but the Newport Beach figure from the same table works out to about 6.5 cm for the forty years.)

    Oddly enough, this same article notes that the West Coast is generally undergoing uplift. Didn’t some Rocks or another say the exact opposite?

    (Note again that report linked above is from 1997. The CA report I originally linked to uses more current data that shows an increasing trend; i.e., the 1997 figures can now be taken as conservative.)

  268. Dane
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 3:08 PM | Permalink

    Steve B,

    As a surfer I frequent many so cal beachs and have not noticed any sea level rise at all at any of them, I picked malibu because you can easily check it out with a bit of googling and simple air photo analysis or use standard photo’s and compare them by date. The malibu beach where the surfers go has a pier and is very photogenic, pictures can be easily found from the late 50’s to today.

    The point is that sea level is not going up at some dramatic rate, but is slowly crawling up as it has been for the last several thousands of years. The rate can be increase or decrease based on local tectonics, but the overall “average” (bad term) is slowly going up, as it has been doing. No global warming alarmism needed, nothing to worry about unless you own beachfront property, and even then, a tsunami is a much bigger threat than sea level rise. (I guess one could look at a tsunami as a type of sea level rise, very rapid and not permanent?)

    You are simply wrong on this one. Try again.

  269. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 3:16 PM | Permalink

    RE: #268 – As you know, our “California” eco radicals (most of them actually transplants / escapees from other areas) have really been tooting the sea level rise horn of late. Recently, some of them made marks on buildings in San Francisco indicating where sea level was purportedly going to be at some future date. I did not bother to tell them that San Francisco used to be an island chain that has since risen out of the sea and that at some point, the remaining islands in the Bay will be hills upon the land. What a joke….

  270. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Re #265: Actually I do know a few things about this paper. The first is that it is one of many recent ones looking at how to quantify land use as a climate forcing. The second is that such studies then get used to adjust the models, as in this exercise (quoting):

    “5.5 Regional climate effects of land use changes in the Western United States

    “We studied regional climate effects of land use changes in the Western United States using Regional Spectral Model. This is a part of the model intercomparison project with UC Davis, UC Santa Cruz, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. Regional climate models including Regional Spectral Model of ECPC were run with pre-settlement natural vegetation land cover and modern land cover that include irrigation and urbanization. The difference between the two runs is interpreted as potential climate effects of modern land use changes. Water was added into soil in irrigated cropland of the modern land cover run. All models produced cooler daytime maximum temperature in the summer due to enhanced evaporation in irrigated cropland. Regional Spectral Model produced warmer nighttime minimum temperature in the summer (HK1) but three other models did not show clear signals. This unique response of RSM to extra soil moisture provided by irrigation is consistent with Christy et al. (2006)’s observational study that found increased nighttime minimum temperature in California Central Valley during the last century. Diagnostic study of RSM simulation suggests that greater downward latent heat flux (dew formation) supplied more energy to the surface during nighttime in RSM. In addition, depending on the natural vegetation type, ground heat flux supplied a relatively large amount of energy to the surface (HK2).”

    So, good for Christy (Spencer was not an author, BTW). That said, I do have a question as to whether Christy made a good assumption about the baseline temps in the Valley. He assumed it was essentially a high-albedo desert prior to irrigation, and I don’t think that’s entirely accurate. There was considerable permanent vegetation in at least some of the study area. It’s possible that all of that was gone by the time the temp records began, but Christy didn’t even consider the issue. OTOH the effect might not be substantial enough to meaningfully change the results.

    Re #268: No cloud o’ ink for you, Dane. What *exactly* was I wrong about? Quote from me and from the linked source showing the contradiction, please. As I recall I said (citing the source) 8 cm for forty years (which I don’t recall characterizing as “dramatic” or much of anything at all other than proof of Rocks’ error). Some Rocks or another (and then you) disputed that, referring to the source Rocks had linked. I quoted from the linked source as to how Rocks was wrong (along with you, since you agreed). Now, put up or shut up.

    Re #269: At least you know the coast is undergoing uplift. I’ll take what I can get.

    But wait, in #266 you said “The facts regarding sea levels in California are undeniable. The only places experiencing an APPARENT rise are where there is subsidence induced by ground water extraction. With that exception, the California coast is either not changing or is experiencing a net lowering of sea level.” Hmm, the linked source says most of the coast is experiencing uplift and net sea level rise at the same time, Steve S. Please explain! Oh, and the source also says that the major factor causing subsidence is transverse faulting. Go figure.

  271. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    #267 Steve B, the point is that over forty years you have a range of all kinds of sea levels from around -4 to about 8cm in forty years. You are cherry picking the highest ones where subsidence also happens to be occuring, and those rates are not known exactly. Nothing in that data table says “constant” or “dire straights”, it just says “normal” for the dynamics of the California coast. You could measure alot more places and the trend could just as easily be the other way. So it’s not really conservative it’s just a small sample number. 40yrs, my husband has seen no changes either in the beaches. Neither has my father in law, and his property is on Oahu, on the beach, so it matters and he watches. It’s been 40 yrs for him there. The beach is growing in front of his property.

  272. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 7:17 PM | Permalink

    Here is the post mortem on the Georgia Tech hurricane seminar experience, as per the class meeting last Tuesday afternoon.

    I asked how many students were still going to climate audit. 2 people raised their hand: one is still visiting as a defensive posture (spotted the posting on Gray’s article), and the other student is fascinated by the climate blogging on a number of different sites. The majority of the students do go to realclimate, although student #2 does not look at any blogs

    I asked the students how accurate they thought my original post was, and how well did i do in explaining the sentiments of the students in reply to the posts. A few students commented that I could have made a clearer statement of the actual assignment, it seems to have been misinterpreted somewhat. They felt that the students were appropriately defended (although I totally missed the student # 2 outing exercise before it was deleted).

    I asked for reactions to the posts. They were surprised at how defensive the posts were, and the need to attack the students. The were surprised that so much effort went into criticizing their opinions: an opinion is an opinion. They particularly did not like two things: “they are only students, not professionals”. This was resented since most of them have B.S. degrees and few have Ph.D.s, and all of them have more technical training related to atmospheric science and hurricanes than probably any of the climateauditors. The other thing that they really did not like was the attempt to “out” student #2.

    I had expected them to get a broader idea of what climateaudit was about, but they didn’t seem to care owing to their reactions to the posting on the GT report card site. They felt that this behavior vindicated their original analysis.

    I then asked them how many think i am wasting my time blogging on climateaudit. 8/14 raised their hand. I then explained to them why i was continuing to blog here. After the posting on Gray’s paper was spotted, several students sought me out to say that they wanted to change their vote, they though i needed to keep posting and particularly with regards to the Gray thread (which I decided not to do, actually)

    Well i said i would follow up. I thought a few minds would change, but i guess not. In any event you have picked up two new readers among the students

  273. jae
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 7:38 PM | Permalink

    Judith: Please tell me that the students are familiar with this site.

  274. TAC
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    Judith,

    Thank you for the update. Let me add that I greatly appreciate your willingness to visit and engage us here on CA. I hope it has been worthwhile for you and your students. Despite their comments, I suspect they learned a lot — much more than they realize. If nothing else, getting them to listen carefully and critically to opposing viewpoints is good exercise — something we all need more of.

    All the Best!

  275. Hank Roberts
    Posted Oct 12, 2006 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

    Dr. Curry, would a killfile help?
    I started using Usenet with a 300 baud acoustic cup modem, back when Henry Spencer at UTZoo was still archiving it on mag tape — and I mean using it, to learn things; I got some things done partly thanks to good advice from people ‘met’ that way. Thanks to killfiles I can still use the net, by filtering out most of the exchanges. Web boards so far don’t have killfiles, though OSX with Firefox and Platypus do a bit of that. I have the feeling you’re looking to work with people online who are interested in digging into details, and that it’s hard to keep focused on what you’d hope to accomplish because of the social intensity. Like having to do colloquia solely at cocktail parties, perhaps.

  276. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 12:52 AM | Permalink

    Sea level rise. This should probably be a new thread, but I’ll put it here anyways, Steve M. or John A. can put it where they see fit.

    An Analysis of the TOPEX Sea Level Record.

    I wanted to see if there was acceleration in the TOPEX sea level record. I have looked all over the web to find either the data used to create the following image of the sea level rise as measured by the TOPEX satellite, available here, or some estimate of any acceleration that might be present in the trend. I could find neither. Here’s the record cited above:

    Fig. 1 Original graph of the change in sea level rise. Note that the trend is estimated to the nearest hundredth of a mm per year.

    Being unable to find the data, I resorted to my usual technique “¢’‚¬? digitize it myself. This was difficult, because they used large colored circles for the data points, so it was hard to decipher the graph. As this procedure may be of interest to readers, here’s what I did.

    I found the exact dates of the starting and ending of each TOPEX cycle. I used my CAD software (Vectorworks, but you can do it in other programs as well) to convert a text file of these dates to vertical lines, spaced by date. I overlaid this grid on the image to give me the exact horizontal coordinates. I then was able to figure out where all the data points were located. Here’s a closeup of the procedure in process:

    Figure 2. Closeup of the digitization process. Blue circles are added by hand, and adjusted to the exact location of each data point.

    Note that I left out the Poseidon satellite data, as I wanted to have a clean set of TOPEX data. This seems to be the modern preference when analyzing the data as well. Also, note that the addition of the lines for the dates allowed me to determine exactly which blob represented which data point.

    To verify my digitizations, I always make up a graph in Excel, and then overlay it on the data. I found they matched exactly. Here is my reconstruction:

    Figure 3. Digitized reconstruction of Figure 1.

    Now, this all looks very reasonable. There is a clear annual signal, plus an overall trend. So I decided to remove the annual signal, so I could see what the underlying trends actually look like. The result was quite surprising.

    Figure 4. TOPEX data with monthly anomalies removed. Note the apparent misalignment of the records, which is not visible in Fig. 1. The lines at the bottom are the Gaussian residuals, i.e., the remainder after the 7 month Gaussian average is subtracted from the data. Note the decrease in error in 1997. Red dot marks the start of the degradation of the Altimeter “A” signal.

    As you can see, we are back to the old “spliced records” problem. Of course, this is known to the scientists who did the splice. A good description of the splicing procedure is shown here. They say that the changeover between altimeters A and B was because of gradually increasing inaccuracy in altimeter A from cycle 130 onwards. They also show the ~1 cm difference between the two altimeters at the time of the changeover. However, they have not removed the bad signal from the graph.

    Under the reasonable assumption of a quasi-lineal change during the gradual increase in inaccuracy, it is possible to linearly remove the increasing error following cycle 130. This gives us the following graph:

    Figure 5. TOPEX data showing the adjustment after Cycle 130

    And now that we have a coherent record, although it is still spliced, we can look for changes in the trend. Here is the full record, with the monthly anomalies removed:

    Figure 6. TOPEX sea level record with monthly anomaly removed, and trends in the TOPEX sea level record. One year and two year trailing trends of the sea level record are shown at the bottom of the record.

    Note the one year and two year trailing trends. There is no significant change in these over the period of the record. The trend increased in the middle of the record, and then decreased again.

    Overall, then, to date there is no sign of any acceleration in the TOPEX record of the sea level rise.

    w.

  277. Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 6:15 AM | Permalink

    #272. Judith C is confused about blogs.

    I asked for reactions to the posts. They were surprised at how defensive the posts were, and the need to attack the students.

    The post are written by Steve M. generally. The others make comments on the posts.

    I then asked them how many think i am wasting my time blogging on climateaudit.

    Steve M is blogging. Lubos and Gavin are blogging. Ocassionally Steve invites someone to blog. The rest of the time people are commenting – not blogging.

    Other misleading terminology is calling the commenters here ‘climatauditors’. As far as I can see, Steve and Willis and a few other are the only ones really doing what I would think is auditing. Most are doing something else.

    Where CA is compared with RC there seems to be comparison between the comments section of CA and the post section of RC. A fairer comparison would be comments with comments and posts with posts.

  278. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    I hate to be petty, petty begets petty; and the comment about Dr. Gray and groupies she made was petty. It also got me to googling together “Judith Curry” and “Steve Bloom” of all things.

    It just so happens they do pop up on other climate blogs together, alot.

    One hit I found was this blog here which I’ve never heard of :
    “The Volokh Conspiracy”

    http://volokh.com/posts/1157158094.shtml

    This blog owner finds some mistakes in her article also refers to commentary on RC
    (I can’t stomach to go there and read it) He also finds a typo (She later acknowleged the typo-did you tell your students what this lone blogger found Dr Curry?)

    Anyway, Steve Bloom comes to the rescue half way through the comments, and also a Eli Rabbit. (these names are also posting together elsewhere on blogs with or about Dr. Curry)

    Dr. Curry comes in at the very end of this blog commentary saying “Dear Volokh bloggers: I wandered onto this site via a circuitous route”

    Hmmm-mmm

    From what I’ve seen this morning I think Dr. Curry’s should take back her comment about Dr. Gray and his groupies, and should also admit she’s collected few groupies along the way herself whilst particpating in the blogsphere of climate. All in a very short time period I might add.

  279. TCO
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 10:09 AM | Permalink

    Just let it go guys. Deal with the interesting comments from Judy with substance. Same with the students. On the ones that are more opinion without extensive explanation/fact support, just take it as input and say “noted”. TAC has got it right. You can’t convince everyone immediately. Just be happy that they looked. Take that as a victory. The students don’t seem interested in a debate, they want to drop off their opinion and let it go at that. So let it go at that.

    For all I know this blog may have some silliness on the science. I have caught some at times. I don’t think it’s all silliness…and I think that one has to deal with comments on the facts and the science particulars. I liked the student who made the comments about Mann-Kendall. At least it is a very specific point about a perceived gap. I wish he (or she) had stayed around and pursued it to the end, when others here contested it. Maybe he is right.

    I also wish that the student exercise was more about proving or disproving a post of Steve’s. Would welcome substance-based auditing of the auditor. Digging into the math, etc. Would welcome insights from the literature, that are additive or corrective to points Steve makes. It seemed like all the comments were on the “atmosphere of blogging” rather then on the particulars of the hurricane papers and whether CA is finding relevant errors there. I think actual high energy particulars reading of a paper and of CA critiques would better show if CA finds relevant errors, than a surface level examination/judegment-passing. But Judy is the teacher. And the students are pass-fail.

    P.s. I know I’ve said this before, but I tend to repeat my good points over and over. I’m also the uber-troll of this board, young ‘jackets. Don’t forget it. The internet is about funposting and flamewarrior games.

    P.s.s. I agree that the “student outing” was akward. I prefer to think that Steve did not mean anything by it. He has a curious mind (like Lambert or Patterico) and it leads to some interesting discoveries. Still, it gave me pause. I don’t like the Hunter attempts to hurt JohnA with his private life (publicize his name and jeapordize his employment). Wouldn’t like it if done to me. Don’t want to see it on the opposition. Didn’t even like the “cry to Mommie” that Steve used on Carl Christianson. I think Steve understands how that student discovery thought experiment appeared.

  280. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 11:02 AM | Permalink

    RE: #270 – I’ve really got nothing to add beyond what rocks wrote in #271. Steve B, excuse my French, but you are p______ into the wind on this one!

  281. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 11:06 AM | Permalink

    RE: #278 – “Eli Rabbit”

    You can see brilliant examples of this individual behaving overtly as a disinfo troll over at Pielke Sr’s blog. What a piece of work.

  282. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 11:28 AM | Permalink

    #270, Steve B

    Thank you at last for answering my question. So you agree with what Roy Spencer said in the presentation (I presume when quoting from Christy’s 2006 report?) that the sharp increasing in nighttime relative to decreasing daytime tempeartures in the Valley relative to the Sierras is largely due to irrigation and increased urbanization? I’m intrigued by this part of your reply.

    “Diagnostic study of RSM simulation suggests that greater downward latent heat flux (dew formation) supplied more energy to the surface during nighttime in RSM. In addition, depending on the natural vegetation type, ground heat flux supplied a relatively large amount of energy to the surface (HK2).” You appear to be quoting the results of a computer model. Does this mean like Isaac held that you consider the output from computer simulations to be data?

    Finally you didn’t comment on the second half of the quote namely

    “Here is the region that has seen rapid warmth in the past hundred years, but it is more consistent with changes in the land use. Irrigation is dark and green compared to the original state of a dry, light desert, so joules of energy that come in from the sunlight don’t heat up the desert much and it gets cool at night. If you make it green and wet, now those joules of energy are absorbed because of the darkness and the water holds those joules of energy and so they release them at night, sensibly.”

    Now I read that what he is saying is that the “rapid warmth in the past hundred years” in the Dark State of Insanity has not due to AGW but rather to land use. Your reply to my question indicates that you are in agreement with this statement. Are you?

    KevinUK

  283. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Please pay better attention, Kevin:

    1) Land use changes are a component forcing of AGW. (Note that it’s a little artificial to try to deconvolute land use effects from GHG effects since the type of land uses that contribute heavily to AGW — e.g. irrigated areas and urban centers — are also GHG-intensive.

    2) Assuming that by “Dark State of Insanity” you refer to California, note that the point of the paper was to look at a relatively small part of the state that has the most intensive irrigation. Had you been paying attention, you would have known that such areas have long been thought to contribute to warming.

    BTW, an issue I forgot to mention above is that the CA Central Valley has famously bad air, i.e. a lot of low-hanging aeorsols. I don’t know, but I hope Christy took that effect into account.

  284. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    Re #277 thanks for the edification, i am definitely clueless re blog terminology. Help me with this one, if i write a comment and SteveM elevates it to a lead on a thread, have I blogged or commented?

  285. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 3:31 PM | Permalink

    #283, Steve B

    Let me assure you that unlike the anonymous referees that peer review climate science publications in Science and Nature I am very much paying attention.

    1) “Land use changes are a component forcing of AGW” and I thought (according to the IPCC TAR) it was CO2 emissions but at least in your reply you are prepared to admit that CO2 is a secondary effect and that the major GHG is water vapour. On that basis shouldn’t the State of California be suing the orange growers rather than the AAM?

    2) Sorry for exaggerating and extending the word ‘region’ to the entire State of California (the Dark State of Insanity by the way is a phrase often used by John Brignell on Numberwatch when referring to California) but this is a habit which unlike Jim Hansen, Steve Schneider etc I am at least trying to get out of.

    And finally thank you for reminding me about the ‘low-hanging aerosols’. That’ll be those same aerosols that caused the mean global surface temperature to cool between the 1940s to 1970s? What I can’t work out is why hasn’t the Clean Air Act (that classes CO2 as a pollutant but not of course water vapour) got rid of the ‘bad air’ since the 1970s?

    KevinUK

  286. TCO
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 3:45 PM | Permalink

    Judy, you’ve “guestblogged”. And I welcome it. Seriously. Even if you are “against us”. In the end what matters is find truth, not winning. If you can prove “us” wrong or visa versa, then we have won either way, if either of us has gotten smarter.

    To restate the fundamental issue (which has nothing to do with terminology of blogging): Are we going to compare Lynn to jae and Gavin to Steve? Or Lynn to Steve and Gavin to jae? Capisce?

    P.s. In terms of the “worth” of your spending time here, need to judge several things: (1) Are you learning anything? (2) Is the bender/Willis style criticism on target and helpful? (3) Do you enjoy talking about these kinds of things. (4) Do you enjoy hanging with intellecual he-men like TCO? (5) Is it becoming addictive and hurting your real work? (6) Are you getting your PR message accross? (7) Are you learning about the animals in the zoo?

    P.s.s. The above list is prioritized. I think you are spending too much time thinking about 6 and 7 and not enough about 1-5.

  287. TCO
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Oh…and I thought the Volokh comments on your paper were reasonable and author quite bright and logical. Sometimes smarts can carry you farther then domain expertise. Sometimes, not. He seemed to be doing ok, though.

  288. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #285:

    First paragraph: Slanderous snark.

    1) Wrong. Go back and read the TAR.

    2) Actually I’m fine with “Dark State of Insanity” as long as you make sure to include Sadlov’s house.

    Fourth paragraph: Think “valley” and “inversion,” plus do some homework on the Clean Air Act (aka “the somewhat less dirty” Air Act) and on aerosol effects (you got it wrong).

  289. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:11 PM | Permalink

    #286, TCO

    And you forgot

    8) Would she like to get a room so that you can both discuss ‘nookie pookie’? lol.

    KevinUK

  290. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    Hey folks,

    This stuff is beginning to get boring. How about knocking off the worthless chatter, and that includes you, TCO!

    I will add one remark concerning Steve B’s #283-1.

    Land use changes are a component forcing of AGW.

    It’s a matter of definition what is included in AGW, but if it includes land use changes, then we still need to pull out AGW from CO2 per se. Otherwise it’s impossible to determine how much warming there will be from say, doubling CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere. Likewise he needs to separate out cause and effect. It may be that urban areas and irrigated areas are also heavily fossil fuel intensive, but they’d also be intensive of any other energy source which might replace CO2 generating ones. So unless he wants to establish a pol pot regime in the US and eliminate half the population and get rid of cities, there’s not much which can be done about that part of AGW.

  291. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:40 PM | Permalink

    #288 Steve B

    How did you know that I was into mathematical puzzles?

    So the GISS model must have a hell of a lot of ‘valleys’ and ‘inversions’ in it then?

    KevinUK

  292. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #290: It’s way off topic, but appropriate public policy changes would make a big difference. Taking the CA Central Valley as an example, the single largest use of irrigation water is cotton, the production of which would scale back greatly if the federal subsidies for growing cotton were eliminated. As well, calling a halt to continued low-density sprawl development (which also eats up the best farmland) would make a big difference. Steps such as these would result in little or no econmic disruption.

  293. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    #290, Sorry Dave D

    I promise that this having fun with Steve B session will stop shortly.

    KevinUK

  294. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    RE: #292 – I could have written that, it’s so predictable. In fact, I USED TO write exactly that, back in the days I still believed religiously in the Brand/Callenbach/Brower/et al credo!

  295. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    RE: #293 – I guess I’ll stop tweaking him as well, but it’s so much fun! ;)

  296. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    http://www.library.utoronto.ca/pcs/state/chinaeco/forest.htm

    Deforestation and Desiccation in China
    A Preliminary Study
    Wang Hongchang

    I. INTRODUCTION
    The goal of this paper is to discover the impact of deforestation on the desiccation of China’s north and northwest. The study starts with a brief discussion of the long-term impact of deforestation on precipitation. It continues with a rough estimate of China’s forest cover and rate of deforestation, followed by an evaluation of the impact of deforestation on China’s water resources, environment and economy. The paper concludes with a number of recommendations for afforestation.

    For the purpose of this study the term “desiccation” refers to the gradual reduction of water resources in a geographical region. Desiccation can involve a reduction of surface water (including ice and snow), ground water, and atmospheric moisture, as well as water present in plant and animal life. North and northwest China, where the average annual precipitation has decreased by one third between the 1950s and the 1980s,2 has been experiencing just such a desiccation process. Evidence is clear and abundant. For example, lake Lobnor vanished in 1972, and lake Kukunor, since the beginning of Holocene period, has dwindled in area by one third and in depth by 100 m.3 Finally, the depth of lake Ohlin, at the head of the Yellow River, has been dropping by over 2 cm annually.4

    This paper identifies astronomical and geological factors, as well as deforestation as contributing to desiccation. While important, the first two factors are not subject to human control; therefore, this study is limited to the impact of deforestation. Deforestation causes forests to shrink thereby lessening their capacity to intercept and retain precipitation. Instead of trapping precipitation which then percolates into the soil, deforested areas become sources of surface water runoff. Deforestation also contributes to decreased evapotranspiration, which lessens atmospheric moisture and precipitation levels. This is exemplified by precipitation levels in the Black River basin, a tributary of the Min River in Sichuan province, where since the 1970s, precipitation has declined by 8 to 20 percent during the months of July and August.5

  297. TCO
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    Kevin, 8 is covered in 5. And Dave, Steve M. gave me special permission to be silly. I appreciate your chiding the others though.

  298. Judith Curry
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #286: TCO, you have somewhat confused the students reaction to my blogging vs my own reasons for blogging. re:

    **Are we going to compare Lynn to jae and Gavin to Steve? Or Lynn to Steve and Gavin to jae? Capisce?

    I have managed to sort this out over time, but the students were not able to really do this in the short amount of time they spent perusing the blog.

    ***Re
    (1) Are you learning anything?
    (2) Is the bender/Willis style criticism on target and helpful?
    (3) Do you enjoy talking about these kinds of things.
    (4) Do you enjoy hanging with intellecual he-men like TCO?
    (5) Is it becoming addictive and hurting your real work?
    (6) Are you getting your PR message accross?
    (7) Are you learning about the animals in the zoo?

    My reasons for blogging here in order are (2), (7), (3), (6)

    My “work” is broadly defined, and it includes understanding the communication issues surrounding climate change. As I contemplate becoming more active in public communication and the policy process, I certainly need to learn more about the animals in the zoo. (6) and (7) are a big part of why I am here, although i really would like to get back to (2)

  299. TCO
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 5:58 PM | Permalink

    I didn’t confuse anything, Jude. Was reaching out to you direct. Thanks for the response.

    -zoo animal maximus

  300. jae
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    For the record, jae thinks TCO is a perfect example of a person with a high IQ, but no common sense.

  301. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 13, 2006 at 11:15 PM | Permalink

    Ok, Steve B, one more but this is it.

    calling a halt to continued low-density sprawl development

    IOW Central Planning AKA Socialism. No thank you.

  302. David Archibald
    Posted Oct 17, 2006 at 5:18 PM | Permalink

    Re #278, congratulations, your sleuthing uncovered a tag team of misanthropic misinformation. To paraphrase some Henry V, a nest of hollow bosoms, who for the gilt of France (read EU), would sell their people into the slavery and oppression of AGW theory. One has now promised to depart the scene. Rejoice therefore! For her time and troubles here, she will most likely be rewarded with a minor co-authorship of a GCM paper.

  303. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 18, 2006 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    #302 Or rewarded by being asked to a review/reject a paper…

    I found a post on a blog from over a year ago where Dr. Curry said :

    " I came across this exchange entirely by accident while searching for something else. I am not a blogger and have never posted anything to a blog in my life"

    2005-10-22 is the date for the topic. Steve Bloom/Eli Rabbit all in attendence
    (TCO too )

    I wonder why she wants to give the impression a year later she doesn’t really understand how blogs work? I find it odd, but I guess it could be understandable if I choose to see it a certain way. Yet, I also I wonder how many new email friends were made back then? [because she announced having acquired them here on departure-"thank you for your support " ]

  304. bender
    Posted Oct 18, 2006 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #303
    rocks: you sure that wasn’t 2006-10-22?

  305. TCO
    Posted Oct 18, 2006 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Hey Rocks…was I misbehaving in that thread? Link please.

  306. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 18, 2006 at 3:46 PM | Permalink

    bender,
    The date I saw is a date up on the left hand top real grey, it could be wrong.

    TCO, no I don’t think so, whatever that means. I think you were acting as Ambassador [for all sides]-something per usual, which is not bad thing either.

    And Correction: I meant to say “almost a year ago”, “not over a year ago”-

  307. bender
    Posted Oct 18, 2006 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    I was referring to the link in #278, not in #303. Never mind. Apologies, rocks.

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