The Doctrine of RC Infallibility

Over Christmas, I thought good thoughts.

It is disappointing to be dragged back to reality by another stunt at realclimate. Pierrehumbert made a number of very strong allegations about the integrity of the Courtillot et al analysis, and, in particular, contested whether Courtillot had even used Phil Jones data in their analysis.

Pierrehumbert said:

there is the Ugly. These papers cross the line from the merely erroneous into the actively deceptive. Papers in this category commit what Damon and Laut judiciously call a “Pattern of strange errors.”. Papers in this category often use questionable (and often hidden and undocumented) data manipulations to manufacture correlations where none exist. .. We’ll leave it to the reader to decide, after the discussion to follow, whether Courtillot’s paper is merely Bad, or has crossed over into the Ugly.

and

and now for the really ugly part… Bard and Delaygue uncovered a number of errors of a more troubling nature…. The piece de resistance of Courtillot et al., is the following graph, which purports to show that for almost all of the past century, temperature correlates tightly with solar activity and magnetic field variability. The three curves on the graph are, according to the paper, Phil Jones’ global mean temperature record (Tglobe, in red circles) ,…

Pierrehumbert observes that the Courtillot curve does not match the most recent Jones global temperature curve (a point that I agree with) and says:

So if Courtillot’s data is not Jones’ global mean temperature, what is it that Courtillot plotted? We may never know. In his response to Bard and Delaygue, Courtillot claims the data came from a file called: monthly_land_and_ocean_90S_90N_df_1901-2001mean_dat.txt. Bard and Delaygue point out, however, that Jones has no record of any such file in his dataset, and does not recognize the purported “Tglobe” curve as any version of a global mean temperature curve his own group has ever produced.

Pierrehumbert goes on to genially observe:

Between the embarassing showing at the Academie debates and the travesty of science exposed by Bard and Delaygue in the case of the EPSL paper, You’d think that Courtillot would want to fine the nearest hole and go hide in it. Far from it, he was recently spotted giving a talk called “What global warming?” at this prestigious event gathering several famous physicists and chemists. Some people have no shame.

Pierrehumbert continues:

In the revised “Response” Courtillot now admits that the temperature record called “Tglobe” is not from any of Phil Jones’ datasets at all. Courtillot now claims that the data came from a study by Briffa et al. (2001), giving the address of a file stored at NCDC.

In a recent post, I reported that the Courtillot graphic could be easily replicated from column 7 of the data at ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/briffa1998/briffa2001jgr3.txt, which is entitled:

Observed temperatures from Jones et al. (1999) Rev Geophys

the latter being the source cited in the original article. In the same post, I observed that Jones was a coauthor of Briffa et al 2001 and that, contrary to Pierrehumbert’s allegations, the series almost certainly derived from Jones’ data, although it appeared to be a 20-90N composite calculated by the authors for Briffa et al 2001, rather than a version published in Jones et al 1999 (as indicated in the Briffa et al 2001 archive), while agreeing that it was inappropriate for such an obsolete version to be used in 2007 and noting that the failure of climate scientists to provide accurate data citations (with detailed provenance) contributed to the problem.

On Dec 24, 2007, I sent a short note to realclimate temperately pointing out to them that some of the statements in the Pierrehumbert post were incorrect as follows:

You say:” So if Courtillot’s data is not Jones’ global mean temperature, what is it that Courtillot plotted? We may never know.”

It is actually very easy to determine what Courtillot plotted. The Courtillot Tglobe plot can be replicated by using the column entitled “Observed temperatures from Jones et al. (1999) Rev Geophys” from the data archive for Briffa, Jones et al 2001 located at NCDC at ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/briffa1998/briffa2001jgr3.txt, and by carrying out the following operations: filter using a an 11-year running mean without end-period paddding, then normalizing on 1900-1990. This is shown at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2522.

Even though Briffa, Jones et al 2001 was published in 2001, it only contained temperature data to 1997 – something that should have been picked up by reviewers at the time. Authors in 2007 should obviously not be using this sort of vintage data version, as modern versions are readily available, as others have observed. However, I note that this is far from the only instance where climate scientists have used obsolete data versions and other cases have typically not drawn similar opprobrium.

As others have observed, it appears that the data is a 20-90N composite. The description in the Briffa, Jones et al 2001 archive is not as precise as one might like, as it only says that the series is “Observed temperatures from Jones et al. (1999) Rev Geophys”. Jones et al 1999 only illustrated GLB, NH and SH indexes. The archived version for Briffa, Jones et al 2001 differs from vintage versions of these three series, being most similar to the NH version. The most plausible interpretation of the archive is that it is a 20-90N composite calculated in the course of Briffa, Jones et al 2001 (rather than one of the series from Jones et al 1999 itself.)

Given that Jones is a coauthor of Briffa, Jones et al 2001 and the data in Briffa, Jones et al 2001 used data from Jones et al 1999, it is incorrect for Dr Pierrehumbert to say that the Courtillot temperature record is not “from any of Phil Jones’ datasets” regardless of Jones’ unhelpful and inaccurate communication on the matter. In my opinion, these allegations in Dr Pierrehumbert’s post should be withdrawn.

Between 5 pm Dec 24 and now, despite Christmas, a number of batches of RC posts have cleared, including (at least) some on Dec 24 and some already today. 9 posts have been cleared on the Pierrehumbert thread, including most recently a discussion of the date of the Council of Nicaea, which observed:

date of the (first) Council of Nicaea … was 325. Among its decisions on dogma was that angels are non-physical beings, hence unsexed. Sneers at what appear, taken out of their cultural context, to be absurd beliefs or disputes, are tokens of ignorance rather than sophistication.

It is perhaps appropriate that RC have turned their attention to theological matters as realclimate censored my post, which pointed out an incident of realclimate fallability, as opposed to admitting and correcting that part of their post which was in error.

UPDATE: After this post was placed online, Gavin cleared my post with two deletions. The first deletion was the link to CA showing that the Courtillot figure could be obtained from the Briffa et al 2001 dataset, the following sentence:

This is shown at http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2522.

The second deletion was the following sentence observing that Courtillot et al were not the only climate scientists to use obsolete data:

However, I note that this is far from the only instance where climate scientists have used obsolete data versions and other cases have typically not drawn similar opprobrium.

Indeed, I’ll probably post up some quotes sometime showing how Mann and Juckes have almost gloried in the use of obsolete data.

UPDATE #2: In the same RC thread, NASA employee and spokesman Gavin Schmidt published a defamatory statement by Eli Rabett, in which Rabett simply invented an account of the original submission by M&M to Nature and then censored my reply to the defamatory statement, which stated:

Re #40. Eli Rabett has, as all too often, simply fabricated calumnies against us, when he stated here :

The Mc’s submitted a garbage can full of issues and the editors at Nature worked to define what was an error, what was a controversy, and what was just silly, all requiring a voluminous correspondence. I guess that the editors told the Mcs that some of their issues were better dealt with in a submitted paper.

All these statements are untrue.

We submitted a short and clearly written article to Nature, online here which did not require a “voluminous” or even any correspondence to review. The initial submission received favorable reviews, also online here including the following:

I find merit in the arguments of both protagonists, though Mann et al. (MBH) is much more difficult to read than McIntyre & McKitrick (MM). Their explanations are (at least superficially) less clear and they cram too many things onto the same diagram, so I find it harder to judge whether I agree with them.
and
In general terms I found the criticisms raised by McIntyre and McKritik worth of being taken seriously. They have made an in depth analysis of the MBH reconstructions and they have found several technical errors that are only partially addressed in the reply by Mann et al.

and subsequently:
I am particularly unimpressed by the MBH style of ‘shouting louder and longer so they must be right’.

Rather than simply spreading calumnies, I would urge Eli to either investigate the facts, and, if he is not sufficiently interested in a matter to ascertain the facts, there is always the option of saying nothing on the matter.

And BTW, Gavin, if you’re going to allow Eli to post false speculations on realclimate, please have the simple courtesy to allow me to respond.

If you’re going to permit adverse comments on people on a blog, then simple fairness requires that you permit them to respond. On the few occasions that Schmidt posted here, I haven’t touched a comma of his posting.

Schmidt’s dishonest application of his posting policy probably does his cause more harm than good.

150 Comments

  1. Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    This might be off-thread.

    When I saw this statement on RC by raypierre: “Papers in this category often use questionable (and often hidden and undocumented) data manipulations to manufacture correlations where none exist.” I thought about posting a comment regarding the phrase ‘(and often hidden and undocumented)’. So long as all calculations, and I do mean every single one, by all software presented by the climate change community continue to performed with models/methods/codes/applications/users for which there is no Documentation and no independent Verification, Validation, Quality Assurance, and Qualification/Certification, ‘… hidden and undocumented … ‘ is a precise description of their ‘science’.

  2. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:04 AM | Permalink

    Well, It might be funny to do a map of the world according to M2007, rearranging the countries
    or continents to make the lat/lons of that paper come out true.

  3. Richard Sycamore
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:13 AM | Permalink

    “Although we can not back up our logical assertions with proofs, we are nonetheless infalliable.”

    It’s a game you can play at home. Fill in the blank:
    “Although we … , we are nonetheless infalliable.”

  4. Lawrence Hickey
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:19 AM | Permalink

    it’s calvinball they want to play

  5. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:21 AM | Permalink

    2, no need to do that; the spot in California where the BCPs grow is the “sweet spot” that teleconnects to the whole world. You just need a map of that area.

  6. MattN
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:23 AM | Permalink

    I don’t even really go over there anymore. At first, I thought it would be good to get “the other side” of the story,you know, for balance. That is until I realized quickly “the other side” is as balanced as Ted Kennedy on a Saturday night date.

    Nothing from them really surprises me anymore. They will do whatever they need to do….

  7. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    I hear a song coming on. “We are the consensus…..we are the infallible…..we are the ones who brought you the hockey stick that telleconnects to the world….”

    Well, aside from the fact that it doesn’t rhyme and the meter is all messed up, it works.

  8. Richard deSousa
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    Re #3: Sounds like the Pope is speaking… I didn’t know he was a climate scientist… ;)

  9. Raven
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    I get the impression that RealClimate is more of a political rather than a scientific blog. The primary purpose is to provide “scientific” counter arguments to address any evidence that casts doubt on the AGW hypothesis. The fact that these arguments are often contradictory is not relevant – they are targeting an unsophisticated audience that wants to be told why they can ignore something that they heard about in the media.

  10. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    7
    Yes, apart from that…

  11. Phil.
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Re the original post:

    Note that the Council of Nicea was brought up by a gentleman who asserted that it has been proven that 80% of CO2 production is by volcanoes and that 15% comes from the respiration of living beings! He also compares Pierrehumbert with a cartoon character so he seems more like a CA poster than an RC one.

    “Vos querelles me font penser au concile de Nicée en 425 au cours duquel les plus hautes sommités savantes de l’époque s’étaient penchées sur le sexe des anges.Des arguments de grande technicité s’étaient alors échangés.
    Vous êtes certainement un chercheur prestigieux mais moi je vous assimile plutôt au savant Cosinus._regardez où vous mettez les pieds.
    Vous estimez que 90°/° de la production de co2 est provoquée par les activités humaines mais moi je soutiens que c’est faux.
    1) elle est provoquée à 80°/° par le volcanisme terrestre. Des milliers de volcans sur terre et sous les mers emettent des gaz 24h/24.
    2)La respiration des ^etres vivants-6 milliards d’êtres humains-beaucoup plus d’animaux-des myriades d’oiseaux,de poissons,d’insectes et même de bactéries qui respirent 24h/24 emettent 15°/° du co2″

  12. ALee UK
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:52 AM | Permalink

    Steve,
    your post is on RC now

    it looks like they waited until they could put together a response before allowing it through

  13. Mark T.
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:12 AM | Permalink

    it’s calvinball they want to play

    Oh my, though I shouldn’t be surprised at this reference since it was the most popular comic strip ever while it was still running.

    Mark

  14. bender
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:20 AM | Permalink

    #9 I don’t think they see themselves that way. I think their attitude descends from the position that “the science is settled” (i.e. settled enough to move forward on a political CO2-control agenda). If the science weren’t settled (in their minds), they would probably be willing to entertain some skeptical arguments, including arguments about uncertainty on the numerous unknowns. But that isn’t the case.

    Ironically, they think that “the precautionary principle” means that scientific discussion is over. Whereas the reality is that you can’t define what is precautionary until you know (1) how much control you will need to exert and (2) what it is you’re going to have to adapt to in event you can’t exert the control you thought you could. (Don’t burn those science books just yet!) Therefore all the questions we are asking now about the validity, precision, accuracy in the GCMs are still in play, despite the spin the policy wonks are trying to put on it.

    RC is caught between a rock and a hard place, allowing any science that will generate/maintain forward momentum with the current political agenda and disallowing any science that undermines that agenda. At some point they are going to need to make use of the science that they are currently not willing to discuss*. Clouds, moist convection, ocean heating, solar issues, atmospheric clarity, albedo.

    *That there is a body of work RC is not willing to seriously discuss (e.g. Christy, McKitrick) explains why, instead, they spend their time erecting and refuting straw men, such as Courtillot. They know they can’t take down their real opposition so easily. They know they would look foolish trying – more foolish than they currently look wasting their time shadow-boxing. i.e. They seek to minimize their apparent foolishness.

  15. bender
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:29 AM | Permalink

    The “rules of” calvinball.

  16. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:31 AM | Permalink

    15, there’s a subtle nuancy thingy that you have to consider also, in that while all of the attention is being focused on the WG1 material (whether and how much to date), the WG2 material (future projections) and WG3 (remedies) go for the most part unchallenged. So it’s useful for the advocacy types to keep the focus back on WG1, where they can confuse more easily, and continue to pursue WG2 and WG3 unchallenged.

    The worst nightmare of the AGW policy advocates is a serious and savage audit of WG2 and WG3. If you think that there are skeletons in WG1, I’ll bet many, many quatloos that you’ll find an order of magnitude more in WG2 and WG3.

    So RC, as lame as it seems sometimes, serves a critical function in keeping the focus where they want it.

  17. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:34 AM | Permalink

    Its interesting to note what they cut from Steve’s post. and Gavin didnt think to check the orginal would be posted.
    It allows you to see what Gavin judges as unacceptable.

    I posted this. lets se if it gets through:

    Ray P wrote:

    “In the revised “Response” Courtillot now admits that the temperature record called “Tglobe” is not from any of Phil Jones’ datasets at all. Courtillot now claims that the data came from a study by Briffa et al. (2001), giving the address of a file stored at NCDC”

    And HERE is the header to that file:

    Data file to accompany Plate 3 of Briffa et al. (2001)

    The following reconstructions have been taken from the source
    “references listed below, and then RECALIBRATED to obtain estimates”
    of April-September mean temperatures from all land regions north
    of 20N. All series are temperature anomalies in degrees C with
    respect to the 1961-1990 mean. Note that in Plate 3 of Briffa
    “et al. (2001) all the series had been smoothed, while the data”
    listed below are unsmoothed (though column 5 never had any
    sub-5-year variability even when unsmoothed).

    Full references and details of the recalibration are given in
    “Briffa et al. (2001) J Geophys Res 106, 2929-2941.”

    Columns are:
    1: Jones et al. (1998) Holocene
    2: Mann et al. (1999) Geophys Res Lett
    3: Briffa et al. (2001) J Geophys Res
    4: Briffa (2000) Quat Sci Rev
    5: Overpeck et al. (1997) Science
    6: Crowley & Lowery (2000) Ambio
    7: Observed temperatures from Jones et al. (1999) Rev Geophys

    And Phil Jones is a co-author on this Briffa paper, correct gavin?

    Low-frequency Temperature Variations from a Northern Tree Ring Density Network
    Journal of Geophysical Research,
    106 D3 (16-Feb-2001) pp. 2929-2941
    K. R. Briffa*, T. J. Osborn, F.H. Schweingruber, I.C. Harris, P. D. Jones, S.G. Shiyatov, and E.A. Vaganov.

  18. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 11:47 AM | Permalink

    Aren’t they just buttressing the case for better and more transparent archiving?

    Gavin, Ray, how do you feel about transparent archiving of data? Is it a good thing?

  19. bender
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 12:08 PM | Permalink

    So RC, as lame as it seems sometimes, serves a critical function in keeping the focus where they want it.

    Build and maintain consensus on alarmist WG1 in order to generate panicked lust for WG2, WG3. Desired mandate: “Do something, anything. Just stop studying the problem.”

    Trouble is, anyone can do that. Dems no better than reps.

  20. yorick
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 12:17 PM | Permalink

    As far as I can tell, the best reason for refusing to archive your data is to prevent somebody, possibly smarter than you from having a chance to make better inferences or deductions from it than the original producer can. This is fine if you are manufacturing consumer goods, but it is no way to try to solve the dauntingly complex problem of climate modeling.

  21. Jeff Norman
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

    Larry,

    How about:

    We know it all,

    We are infallible,

    We are the ones who took a brighter past and made it all seem darker,

    There’s a choice we’re making, we’re padding our careers,

    It’s true we’ll make up better science for AR5

  22. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    We’re always right,

    We’re the consensus.

    Don’t deny it, we are right, because we said…

    The hockey stick,

    It is unbreakable,

    Our belief is unshakable, that all of you are bad…

    Ad nauseum.

  23. Gary
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 12:57 PM | Permalink

    #4 and #16 – Calvinball, with some 43-Man Squamish thrown in.

  24. John A
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

    I can name quite a few climate science papers which are “actively deceptive” which are defended by RC.

  25. Steve Moore
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:06 PM | Permalink

    RE 25:

    I spent 2 seasons as a Half-Frummert on my high school 43-Man Squamish team in the late 60’s.

    We were undefeated.

    Much the same as RC.

  26. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    27, you got that right:

    Each player is equipped with a Frullip, a long hooked stick very similar in appearance to a shepherd’s crook hockey stick. It is used to prevent opposing players from scoring with the Pritz.

    So the RC playbook is from a 1965 edition of Mad magazine. Now it all makes sense.

  27. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    Between the embarassing showing at the Academie debates and the travesty of science exposed by Bard and Delaygue in the case of the EPSL paper, You’d think that Courtillot would want to fine the nearest hole and go hide in it.

    1. It’s embarrassing that he can’t spell embarrassing.

    2. He wants to extract money from everything, doesn’t he?

  28. Bill F
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 2:11 PM | Permalink

    You’d think that Courtillot would want to fine the nearest hole

    Its going to take alot of money to keep paying for all the ongoing climate science now that the science is settled…

  29. Peter D. Tillman
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Re # 12, ALee UK
    # 19, steven mosher

    Could you post a link to SM’s comment? I can’t find it in a (casual) search.

    Thanks, PT

  30. Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 2:38 PM | Permalink

    As far as I can tell, the best reason for refusing to archive your data is to prevent somebody, possibly smarter than you from having a chance to make better inferences or deductions from it than the original producer can.

    Or, it give the original producer some time to think about it and/or run some fiduciary checks (That is, you can go in and run a few more experiments so you can feel certain about your data).

    Building test facilities and data is time consuming. Historically, if everyone had simply posted data on the door at the end of each day, the “theorists” would always have time to sit around testing theories while the experimentalist toiled in the lab. So, typically, someone would only really release data after they’d had a chance to take some time to test a few theories themselves.

    Also, unless the experimentalist has a chance to sit down and describe the uncertainties etc. the “theorist” can make a real hash in interpreting the data. Then, the poor experimentalist has to both explain what the theorist did wrong, and spend time explaining their data.

    So… yes, historically, there have been good reasons not to post data the afternoon after an experiment was run.

    This doesn’t quite explain why some data are never available, or why we see appearing and vanishing data sets. Certainly, with modern methods to save data, the journals should now be requiring people to provide files containing the data set on which their analysis is based.

    But.. of course, this is to some extent new, and it takes longer for journals to adapt.

  31. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 2:40 PM | Permalink

    Now that RC has posted my comment, Gavin added:

    PS. posting comments at 5pm on Christmas eve is not conducive to a rapid response)

    Had the thread been silent over Christmas and Boxing Day, I wouldn’t have thought anything about it. However, Gavin managed to clear 9 posts on this thread plus a number of posts on other threads. There was nothing to stop Gavin clearing my post at the same time as he cleared the other posts. Without a little sunshine from CA, would they ever have cleared the post (whih they edited BTW), I guess, in Raypierre’s words, we’ll never know.

  32. ALee UK
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 2:54 PM | Permalink

    Steve, @31

    The key is the word “response” – they wanted time to insert comments rather than just clear it

    It’s interesting that Gavin’s final response is to the part of Steve’s post that was edited out – making it read very oddly

    For those looking, Steve’s post is number 81

  33. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:30 PM | Permalink

    RE 29.. look on the right hand side. coments with inline responses.

  34. John Welt
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:34 PM | Permalink

    Here is the latest from RC.

    James Hansen writes to Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England. (CC’ing Queen Elizabeth so he must think very highly of his infallibility.)

    http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/mailings/20071219_DearPrimeMinister.pdf

  35. Steve Reynolds
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:50 PM | Permalink

    SM – However, Gavin managed to clear 9 posts on this thread plus a number of posts on other threads…

    I’m not sure it applies in this case, but from my experience posting there, it seems someone at a lower level clears ‘non-controversial’ posts, and puts a hold on ones like yours for Gavin to review. This also has the [unintended?] effect of burying these posts under a lot of chat and cheerleading.

  36. Larry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:54 PM | Permalink

    34, holy cow.

    I write, however, as a private citizen, a resident of Kintnersville, Pennsylvania.

    And he works at the Goddard center in NYC? That’s what, about a 50-mile commute? Set us a carbon footprint example, Jimmy. Get yourself a Manhattan condo. It’s not as if you can’t afford it with all of that “prize” money.

  37. henry
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 3:59 PM | Permalink

    Here is the latest from RC.

    James Hansen writes to Prime Minister Gordon Brown of England. (CC’ing Queen Elizabeth so he must think very highly of his infallibility.)

    I wonder if he’s ever thought of writing the same letter to the leaders of China and India.

  38. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 4:21 PM | Permalink

    Obviously hansen believes the PM isn’t, and can consequently be factored.

  39. Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 4:26 PM | Permalink

    Cultural note:

    I liken it more to Lucy ball.

  40. ejramberg
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    Steve –

    Very nice work on tracking down archived data and correcting pompous RC statements. This is your strength. Nice snarky comments in this post, also, and they don’t cross the line.

    Erik

  41. Mike M.
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been defending (and bragging about) CA here in a scrum with several RC fans…

    http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2007/12/20/climate-consensus-busted/#comment-5195

    I would really appreciate any contributions to the comments. You’ve been branded as a non-scientific hysteria-mongering website.

  42. Susann
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 9:22 PM | Permalink

    Nice snarky comments in this post, also, and they don’t cross the line.

    You see this is where I disagree. I think snark in substantive posts diminishes the tone of the posts, however well deserved it might be. The snark is unnecessary IMO. I think the work stands on its own merits and is very strong — devastating, even. I realize that this is a personal blog and that the owner has every right to be as snarky as he sees fit. For the most part, the posts by Steve McIntyre are pretty professional. That is why the snark, when it does appear, is off-putting. Supporters may see this as some kind of contest or battle between the “Team” and Steve, and so cheer when they see points being made, even if rhetorical or through snark. As someone searching for knowledge so I can understand the implications for policy, I find it discouraging. It becomes too personal. Yes, I know, no one asked for my opinion. There you have it.

  43. Richard Sycamore
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    Susann, precisely how many skeptical questions have you asked over at RC?

  44. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 9:57 PM | Permalink

    Susann I noted your comments on RC where you chastised Ray for his snarkiness.
    I thought it very even handed and open minded of you. And rather bold to test
    the RC community with the same standard you apply here. Very bold.

    Oh wait, your comment didnt get through over there.

  45. Phil.
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #39 and #45

    38 AFAIK, there are no sequestration plants or pilots plants anywhere in the world right now. It’s not super high-tech in concept, but I’m not aware of anything that can be engineered and built right now. I believe it’s more of a talking point than anything real.

    If you’re going to erase my posts demonstrating that this is untrue why don’t you remove the original statement (and one of Larry’s subsequent replies which now makes no sense)?

    Steve: because I don’t have an unlimited amount of time. Don’t presume that there was any other reason why I left the others.

  46. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:11 PM | Permalink

    Susann, if you believe that the following Pierrehumbert remark is “snarky” then I disagree. It’s not snarky at all: it’s heavy-handed and vicious.

    Between the embarassing showing at the Academie debates and the travesty of science exposed by Bard and Delaygue in the case of the EPSL paper, You’d think that Courtillot would want to fine the nearest hole and go hide in it. Far from it, he was recently spotted giving a talk called “What global warming?” at this prestigious event gathering several famous physicists and chemists. Some people have no shame.

    If one tries to describe this sort of diatribe other than ironically, then the report ends up being shrill and angry – tones that I try to avoid.

  47. SidViscous
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:12 PM | Permalink

    I just came across this and was going to post it in Off Topic, but based on Larry’s comments in #18, it might be relevant here, vis-a-vis open acess to data.

    http://www.sciencecodex.com/public_access_mandate_made_law

    NIH research to be made public after one year.

    Here’s hoping we can pass a similar law for climate research.

    I shall start holding my breath………..

    Now.

  48. Richard Sycamore
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:22 PM | Permalink

    #44 – A teleconnected cross-post as it were. I myself have had three recent comments at RC witheld. I am trying to understand Raymond Pierrehumbert’s assertion in “Les Chevaliers” that periodic solar radiation, if it has any effect on GMT, must produce a similarly periodic pattern in air temperature rise. Given the ocean’s incredible heat storage capacity, its long time constant, and its fluid dynamic nature, I am not convinced by a mere hand-waving argument. Rather, I should like to see something of a mathematical proof involving differential equations with estimated uncertainties and such. Quite disappointing. One presumptuous commenter even referred to me as a “dishonest troll”, suggesting I was negligent in my readings. Another suggested I should have to publish my question to prove that it is well-posed before being allowed to ask it! Ironically, if they were to spend half as much time answering questions as they do trying to ward off inquiry they would have answered my question a week ago.

  49. Phil.
    Posted Dec 26, 2007 at 10:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #45

    If you’re going to erase my posts demonstrating that this is untrue why don’t you remove the original statement (and one of Larry’s subsequent replies which now makes no sense)?

    Steve: because I don’t have an unlimited amount of time. Don’t presume that there was any other reason why I left the others.

    Thanks, I made no presumption I was just asking for them to be pulled (and #45 now).

  50. Falafulu Fisi
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 1:34 AM | Permalink

    I used to participate in the discussion at RealClimate but I have stopped. They censored my post heavily (most are not posted at all by the admin). My posts were all about climate numerical modeling and I wondered why, if they call themselves real climate scientists, then they should have comprehend some of the challenges that I posted up there instead of deleting my messages.

    The thing about Pierrehumbert et al from RC is that they are ready to spew out dismissive comments about the findings of other scientists (eg, Schwartz, etc) who questioned AGW, but are not ready to face the challenges of debunking of why these scientists views are wrong.

  51. Dave Adamson
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 1:58 AM | Permalink

    Re #41 Mike M, I read the lot and it doesn’t appear that you need any help at all. They do get really vicious ( I almost wrote viscous) IMHO I think you are winning the argument.

  52. PrimerX
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 2:51 AM | Permalink

    This is a little off topic but probably very interesting to many readers and Steve if he has not seen it…..

    Phenomenological reconstructions of the solar signature in the
    Northern Hemisphere surface temperature records since 1600
    NOV 2007, N. Scafetta and B. J. West

    I quote from the conclusion…..

    Climate is relatively insensitive to solar changes if a temperature reconstruction showing little preindustrial variability is adopted. In this scenario most of the global warming since 1900 has to be interpreted as anthropogenically induced. On the other hand, if a secular temperature showing large preindustrial variability is adopted, such as MOBERG05, the climate is found to be very sensitive to solar changes and a significant fraction of the global warming that occurred during last century should be solar induced. If ACRIM satellite composite is adopted the Sun might have further contributed to the recent global warming.
    [35] We have argued that MANN03 and LEAN2000 cannot both be correct because they would imply that climate responds almost instantaneously to solar changes. This almost instantaneous response would be unphysical because of the expected existence of a significant thermal inertia induced by the oceans, which would imply a relaxation time t of the order of several years. We observe that Mann et al.’s [1998, 1999] methodology to obtain secular proxy temperature reconstruction [1998, 1999] has been recently criticized by McIntyre and McKitrick [2005], see also von Storch et al. [2004] and Wegman et al. [2006] who have found larger preindustrial temperature variability. Alternatively, MOBERG05 and WANG2005 seems to be more thermodynamically compatible and using these data better pattern correspondence is found during the four centuries since 1600.

  53. Falafulu Fisi
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:16 AM | Permalink

    This almost instantaneous response would be unphysical because of the expected existence of a significant thermal inertia induced by the oceans, which would imply a relaxation time t of the order of several years.

    I quoted a paper by Rossow & Aires on multi-variate non-linear climate feedback a while ago at RC, but Gavin et al, didn’t try to respond to that post. In any dynamical system be it climate , economics, population, etc, there is ALWAYS a delay between the causal inputs & effectual outputs in that system. There is no such thing as Instantaneity between the inputs & outputs, because it would be unphysical.

  54. Falafulu Fisi
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:30 AM | Permalink

    That paper is freely downloadable from the author’s web site:

    “Phenomenological reconstructions of the solar signature in the NH surface temperature records since 1600″

    http://www.fel.duke.edu/~scafetta/pdf/2007JD008437.pdf

  55. Richard Sycamore
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:42 AM | Permalink

    #53 Thank you for the quote. They (Schmidt & Pierrehumbert) were willing to grant the existence of a time delay. They were not willing to entertain the idea that it might take some time for the heat to penetrate deeply below the well-mixed layer (50m), dissipate, then re-emerge at the surface over a prolonged period some years or decades later. They seemed to think the scenario implausible, although – and this is what concerns me – they did not say as much and did not offer any substantive proof to the contrary, theoretical or empirical. They simply became apoplectic. (I’ve since been censored a fourth time. And I see my comments are still drawing fresh abuse.) I would have thought the thing to do would be to point me to the primary literature on sun-ocean interactions, as you have done here.

  56. bender
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:50 AM | Permalink

    #52-54 CA discussion on Scafetta & West is here
    #55 Read Wunsch. Use the CA search tool.

  57. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:02 AM | Permalink

    It all depends on what you mean by instantaneous.

    For EEs: Assume all voltage measurements are “ground” referenced. You have a voltage source followed by a switch. Then a resistor. Then another equal valued resistor. Then a “large” capacitor to ground completing the circuit. You close the switch. Upon closing the switch the point between the two resistors will “instantaneously” rise to 1/2 the source voltage and will then continue to rise to equal the source voltage as the capacitor charges.

    Now of course given the real world and real world measurement the “instantaneous” rise is nothing of the kind. There is some delay. However, if the delay is very short compared to the time constant of the system it is often described as instantaneous.

    We know the atmosphere time constant is pretty short because it rises and falls 10C to 20C from day time high to night time low.

    It might be fair to say that the atmospheric response is instantaneous compared to a month. (if you assume a TC of 1 day, 30 days = 30 TCs so after 30 days you are within about 1E-13 of the “final” temperature. i.e. other than as a heat transfer mechanism the atmosphere doesn’t have much heat capacity on longer time scales. Thus it is reasonable to say that its response relative to the climate system is instantaneous.

  58. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:23 AM | Permalink

    In fact if you assume a TC of the atmosphere at 1 day you are within the measurement error (generously assumed to be 1 part in 1,000) after 7 days. So even with respect to seasons atmospheric response can be assumed instantaneous.

    The real complications are heat transfer and fluid flow. A devilish subject even for the well trained.

    Anecdote: I was taking a heat transfer and fluid flow class at Naval Nuke Power School from a very well respected UC Berkley Physics Prof (he was an officer I was just an enlisted man) who, as was his wont, was filling the blackboard with equations. As was my wont I was in the back of the class reading a motorcycle magazine (I owned a ’56 Triumph at the time – sweet bike except fotr the Lucas electrics). Well he was on board three and to make an example of me he called on me to provide the next term in the equation. I pointed out that he had made a mistake at about board 1.5 and all the rest was garbage. He went back and looked and sure enough I was right. He must have figured I understood the material well enough so despite my superior interest in motorcycles I never got called on in class again. :-)

    So as I said: even for the very well trained heat transfer and fluid flow is a very tough subject. In nukes we had the advantage that the system was constrained by plumbing and boundary conditions were moderately well understood. The atmosphere is not so forgiving.

  59. STAFFAN LINDSTROEM
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:29 AM | Permalink

    #34 John Welt …James Hansen in Kintnersville, PA,
    Phil Groundhogsen in Punxsatawney, PA too…Who sees
    his shadow first next spring???? Sorry, could not
    resist a personal low…Hansen saves but Climate
    Auditeurs scores on the rebound…Gotcha again …!!

  60. PrimerX
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:37 AM | Permalink

    “#52-54 CA discussion on Scafetta & West is here
    #55 Read Wunsch. Use the CA search tool.”

    Thanks bender. Sorry to go offtopic :)

  61. Hasse@Norway
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:39 AM | Permalink

    I think it’s totally unfair to compare Realclimate to Calvinball. I’d like to call it “Gavinball”. It’s very much alike calvinball but in gavinball the word unprecedented is much more often used.

  62. Nicholas
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:54 AM | Permalink

    Now of course given the real world and real world measurement the “instantaneous” rise is nothing of the kind. There is some delay. However, if the delay is very short compared to the time constant of the system it is often described as instantaneous.

    Don’t forget to take account of parasitic capacitance and inductance in the components and traces, static and dynamic power loss in the capacitor, power supply sag and noise, thermal noise, shot noise, flicker noise, burst noise, avalanche noise, ground noise, ground potential shifts, AC signal coupling, switch bouncing, component nonlinearities, thermal effects, the antenna effect generated by any loops in the circuit, the bias current of your measurement device, etc. All this in a simple circuit of a couple of square centimeters. Imagine how complex the behaviour of the climate must be in comparison to this trivial circuit you have described.

    An engineer has to take account of some or all of these things when designing a high-performance circuit, or else it doesn’t work and the customer is not happy. You know you’ve made a mistake when your product doesn’t work properly. How do the climate people know when their model doesn’t work? What are the incentives for them to make sure it works properly, and isn’t just filled with fudge factors until it generates the result they expect?

    Anybody who thinks they are infallible is setting themselves up for a big fall..

  63. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:40 AM | Permalink

    Nicholas,

    Thanks for bringing it all closer to reality. ;-) Let me add some other effects to the measurement error budget. The local AM/FM/TV station. Intermittent artifacts from the police radio transmitter in the car parked on the other side of the wall. And cell phones. Plus we have wireless everything and power line communications and effects from lightning strikes collected by those 1,000 mi antennas called power lines.

    The better your measurement tools the farther from ideal reality actually is.

    Forty years ago first order effects dominated and second order effects could usually be ignored. These days third and fourth order effects are important.

  64. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    snarky
    Adjective – Any language that contains quips or comments containing sarcastic or satirical witticisms intended as blunt irony. Usually delivered in a manner that is somewhat abrupt and out of context and intended to stun and amuse. Origin: Snark=”snide remark”.

    As in: His snarky remarks had half the room on the floor laughing and the other half ready to walk out.

  65. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:46 AM | Permalink

    Now fixing all this stuff is not hard if you have a budget. The real trick is doing it for a high accuracy product that can afford no more than a dollar or two to get the whole lash up under control.

    All these problems are especially pertinent now that we have electronic weather monitoring stations.

    As I said in a long ago thread. Any reasonably competent engineer can get 12 bits of accuracy out of a 24 bit data converter.

  66. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    On this….

    Bard and Delaygue uncovered a number of errors of a more troubling nature. Courtillot et al. commit the “flat Earth” error from which our article draws its name: they give a misleading impression of the comparison of forcing by solar variability relative to greenhouse gas forcing by failing to take into account the Earth’s spherical geometry and albedo.

    In normal English, does this mean Courtillot et al. used 2π r2 for the projected plane when they should have used 4π r2? (I think the 2π is right for the sun hitting the disc of the earth, since the projected value matters, the 4 π is right for the emmissivity.)

    Using the wrong areas by substituting “2” for “4” would be sloppy. It’s sloppy in the way that swapping radians and degrees, or screwing up logs, or misplacing the √2π when doing Fourier transforms is sloppy.

    But the way the RC article is written, it makes it sound like a conceptual error– as if they truly believe in a flat earth. Depending on how the mistake occurred, it’s not necessarily a conceptual error. It could just be a sloppy screw up involving a loss of a factor of 2. This is the sort of mistakes people make all the time when rearranging algebraic equations and banging out codes, spreadsheets etc. We have seen all over the place. . .

    People don’t ordinarily write screeds about this sort of thing. I’m just not getting this.

    Of course, this does make the case for openness with data and methods for everyone, as everyone makes these sorts of errors occasionally, and the only way they are caught is when extra eyeballs look at things.

  67. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:57 AM | Permalink

    People don’t ordinarily write screeds about this sort of thing. I’m just not getting this.

    Kinda depends on their mission, doesn’t it? I won’t repeat RC’s (rather long) mission statement here, but I didn’t see character assassination in there. Seems like they have an unwritten addendum to the mission statement.

  68. Phil.
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 12:05 PM | Permalink

    Re #66

    In normal English, does this mean Courtillot et al. used 2? r2 for the projected plane when they should have used 4? r2? (I think the 2? is right for the sun hitting the disc of the earth, since the projected value matters, the 4 ? is right for the emmissivity.)

    First it’s ? r^2 for the projected plane and 4? r^2 for emission!

    From Bard & Delaygue:
    “On page 330, column 2, of their paper, the authors
    specifically describe the study of Crowley (2000), who
    simulated climate variations over the last millennium.
    Courtillot et al. write that « Solar variability results in
    forcing with decadal to millennial fluctuations with an
    amplitude ? 1–2 W m? 2. The range for CO2, which
    becomes significant mainly after 1800, is ? 2 W m? 2. »
    This is clearly a confusion, which could mislead the
    reader into thinking that the CO2 and solar forcings are
    similar in size. Crowley did not confuse the total solar
    irradiance at the Earth–Sun distance with its net
    component absorbed on average by the Earth system
    (‘net radiative forcing’). Both irradiance and forcing are
    expressed in W m? 2, but the former is 6 times larger
    than the latter, which is averaged over the Earth’s
    surface and takes into account the albedo. Indeed, the
    net radiative solar forcing used by Crowley exhibits a
    range of variability of ? 0.5 W m? 2 (see Crowley’s
    Fig. 2), which can be directly compared with the CO2
    forcing, and is much smaller.”

    So the suggestion by B&D is that Courtillot et al. deliberately tried to mislead by juxtaposing the data where they could have chosen the appropriate data from the same source.

    That Courtillot knew this is apparent from his contribution to La Lettre:
    “Pour pouvoir être comparés aux variations
    du bilan radiatif dû aux gaz à effet de serre,ces chiffres
    doivent être divisés par 4 (la chaleur incidente sur la sur-
    face de la Terre vue du Soleil,

  69. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 1:14 PM | Permalink

    First it’s ? r^2 for the projected plane and 4? r^2 for emission!

    Sure, it’s r^2 for the sun hitting the earth. But if you do make the mistake on projected surfaces for emission, if the earth were a disk, don’t sides of a flat disk emit? That creates the 2 in “2 π r^2. I guess that’s what I was thinking for flat earth emission by C02. (Admittedly, my parenthetical only discussed interception by the sun and emission by the sphere.)

  70. Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 1:17 PM | Permalink

    Oh– anyway, I see what they did now, so thanks. Unfortunately, the precise nature of the error was not clear to me when I read the RC article.

  71. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Pierrehumbert’s comments raise an interesting question. If Courtillot’s paper is “suspicious”, it would be interesting to know of “what”? What exactly are they accusing him of? If it is dishonesty, what kind of dishonesty are we talking about? Is Pierrehumbert suspecting some vast conspiracy funded by “big oil”, paying dishonest scientists to publish erroneous papers to prove that AGW is incorrect, and thus we can all continue wasting oil? Or maybe it’s a milder dishonesty, that Courtillot is just guilty of not being objective, maybe because he himself does not “believe” in AGW.

    The reason this is an interesting question is that if one scientist can publish papers that are not “objective”, then obviously any other scientist can. In other words, the much praised peer review process does not guarantee that the work being published is “objective”. But that is then true of any other peer reviewed paper. How, then, can we trust Pierrehumbert’s papers? What would make us believe that he is himself objective and “disinterested”?

    The answer is, of course, nothing. Thus, if you accept that fact, the entire argument about the IPCC being a consensus of “disinterested” scientists is just worthless. Nobody can really tell who is objective and who isn’t. Ultimately, the debate becomes a “political” debate. In politics, nobody is required to be objective and disinterested, quite the contrary. Your political beliefs drive your arguments. By accusing Courtillot of being political, Pierrehumbert must admit that any paper on AGW can be considered a political statement.

    One would wish that, instead of flinging such accusations outside of the peer reviewed environment, Pierrehumbert would have offered guidelines as to how we can avoid that politicization of the publication system. For a start, he could have criticized the paper solely on a scientific basis, without accusing the author of dishonesty.

    Personnally, I find this all very troubling. It is very rare that a scientist accuses another one of publishing something dishonest. It is a very grave accusation. If there were mistakes, let them be corrected to everyone’s satisfaction. I’m wondering at what point these comments can become libelous.

  72. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    >> I’m wondering at what point these comments can become libelous.

    when the targeted person can prove that the comment is actually false, can show economic damages and the person making the comment has significant assets, and the target wants to spend significant chunks of money to pursue it.

  73. GTTofAK
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:04 PM | Permalink

    74

    I doubt Courtillot has suffered any damages at this time so there is no point in pursuing it with a civil suit. Now if at some point in the future Pierrehumbert’s accusations caused Courtillot to not get a job, promotion etc then yes there could very well be cause for a civil suit.

  74. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    #74 — Francois, you raise a very principled and critical issue for science. As soon as scientific publications get criticized through dark speculations about personal motivations instead of on the objective merits, science is lost.

    We take science for granted these days, after 250 years of the Enlightenment, but science is a latter-day hard-won gain. We subvert it with opinionizing politics at the mortal peril of our civilization.

    As a working scientist, I can say without doubt that the attacks on character we see in climate science are virtually unique to that unfortunate discipline. Apart from my own specialty, following my own interests I’ve read some of the primary literature in evolutionary biology, in origin of life, in cosmology, and in paleoanthropology. In none of those fields have I ever seen any attempts to delegitimize ideas using attacks on personal integrity, such as one sees almost routinely these days in climate science.

    It’s very clear that climate science has been thoroughly, willfully, and determinedly polluted with politics, and by now for so long that almost no one looks askance anymore on scientific conclusions being determined by the green sanctimony of an author. This state of affairs is a huge victory of politics over science, but made possible only by a huge — and I think conscious — betrayal of scientific integrity by some scientists.

    The fact that most of these scientists are physicists is really frightening, because physics is the most objective of all sciences. Its professionals should have been most resistant of subjectivist perversions. But instead, we see them vigorously indulging politics speciously represented as science. [snip]

  75. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:06 PM | Permalink

    #42 — Susann, as someone who has been reading, and occasionally posting, on CA from fairly early on, I’ve seen Steve M.’s evolutionary migration from stringently polite, through to occasionally pointed comments, to finally arrive, now, at posting bits of cynical irony.

    Cynical irony is not snide, and hence not snarky. If the cynicism is justified by experience, and the irony is based in objectively real contradictions, then confluence of the two in print is entirely justifiable.

    In Steve’s case, he’s experienced one inexcusable and unethical data blockade after another from various members of Team Hockey, many of which continue even after several years and repeated requests. Team Hockey have attempted to ignore, speciously “disprove,” or otherwise obfuscate the import of, his published work. Steve has observed upon one convenient and tendentious adjustment of data after another, only to see the same works repeatedly cited as authoritative in subsequent publications. He has also shown many times that data in proxy climatology are routinely cherry-picked with the end result in view, only to see these practices continued, rationalized, and uncriticized in the field at large. Following Steve’s specific requests, editors of high-ranking journals have refused to honor their own data archiving rules, and have declined to intervene when legitimate requests for data published in their journals were refused by authors. Steve M. has also absorbed personal abuse for speaking out on all of this.

    So if you had followed this history from the start, you’d know that Steve’s occasional ironical humor is completely justifiable by circumstance, and represents a god-like restraint in view of the frustrations and outrages he’s encountered.

  76. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:23 PM | Permalink

    76, I don’t want to go off topic, but it’s actually a lot more complicated and a lot more interesting than that because courts have not yet established who has jurisdiction over comments made on the internet. A landmark case is inevitable in the next few years. Right now there’s an interesting case of an American who was sued in the UK over books that were never distributed in the UK, but nonetheless available to order from Amazon. So stay tuned. This is a rapidly developing area of law that may go places that may surprise you.

  77. bender
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:25 PM | Permalink

    #84 An irony that probably escapes many alarmists.

  78. GTTofAK
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    85,
    The question of jurisdiction on the internet in relation to libel is one that still has to be worked out. In this case we have one American scientist is making accusations against a French Scientist. Courtillot could very well sue in France. I don’t know that much about French libel laws but I do know that they are more strict than the US but not as strict as the UK. There is a problem in the internet that everyone sees libel through US centric glasses even those who don’t live in the US. You should always remember your nationality and the nationality of whom you are talking negatively about.

  79. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    It’s amazing how far Gavin will go to act like CA/McIntyre don’t exist. He couldn’t give Steve credit for uncovering the GISS “Y2k” problem, and now he can’t let CA be linked on RC. God forbid one of the RC disciples click on the link and see what’s going on.

  80. Lance in AZ
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    I think that under the English system (and most American states) that being accused of dishonesty in one’s profession would be considered libel “per se,” as opposed to “per quod.” In other words, damages would be presumed to have occurred to some degree or other, but the suit would not be dismissed for proof of actual damages.

    Who knows what a French court would say?

  81. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:29 PM | Permalink

    But you guys are missing the point of the Ehrenfeld case (google for more details). In that case, an American was sued in British court, for no other reason than the plaintiff could, by virtue of the fact that it was possible to order the book from the UK. The book was not distributed inside of the UK. Ehrenfeld lost by default, and is now arguing in US court that the judgment is unenforceable by reason of the First Amendment. If she loses, it’s open season, and anyone living anywhere can sue anyone living anywhere in the UK, and then have the judgment enforced in their country by virtue of the Hague Convention.

  82. welikerocks
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:33 PM | Permalink

    To me SteveM says it all right here:

    Over Christmas, I thought good thoughts.

    What is wrong with people these days?
    Is “Courtillot” V Courtillot? Is he/she a French citizen or an American, or a Canadian scientist? Sorry if that’s a stupid question. I’ve forgotten reading all the french play. I found a V. Courtillot? (something about volcanic plumes)

    what Larry said in #85 : NASA scientists promoting this kind of dialog? I go and read this at RC and geez I want to light sage and smudge myself or something. I guess I was wondering about diplomacy. Its so petty.

    Seriously “we who like rocks” are freezing right now-really low temps for us, (we are not used to 40’s during the day) and we are trying not to use the heater and adapt lol, and these people think they are best in charge of something they claim is important to us all? And in charge of “truth” too? No thanks! (re:#79 and #74!) yikes.

  83. Phil.
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 6:50 PM | Permalink

    Re #76
    An easier target might be Le Monde whose headline was: “Une étude “climato-sceptique” soulève des soupçons de fraude”

  84. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:03 PM | Permalink

    #85, irrelevant. Your crackpot legal theory wouldn’t prevent the suit. What’s important is the location of publication and location of defendent. The french guy would sue in the jurisdiction of the defendent, so that the court could serve the papers.

    #91, true, but I listed that hurdle not because it would trigger dismissal but that it might eventually be used to determine the money that would be awarded.

    The bottom line: is it true? is that easily proven?

    Let’s be very careful:

    http://www.dba-oracle.com/oracle_news/2006_7_31_blogger_libel_win.htm

  85. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    Depending on where you live (or anywhere your blog may be accessed), you may fall under the laws of that country. This article notes that if your blog can be accessed in Australia, you could be sued for libel, where the law strongly favors the defamed person:

    “What it means is that foreign publishers writing material about persons in Australia had better have regards to the standards of Australian law before they upload material to the Internet,” he said”

    The standard for libel and defamation are very different in the UK and Australia than in the USA. In some countries, the burden of proof is on the publisher to prove that their information is true, while in the USA the harmed party must prove that the publishers content was wrong.

    This is very important if you have a web site that allows article commentary, a blog that allows comments, or a forum, where you might be held responsible for publishing the libelous comments of other people.

  86. STAFFAN LINDSTROEM
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:24 PM | Permalink

    #97 In that case, Gunnar Steve McIntyre should delete this whole blog
    and we all pretended we’ve ever had any opinions on climate or whatever??!!

  87. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:32 PM | Permalink

    97, Uhh it’s not my crackpot legal theory, it’s going on right now:

    http://www.publishersweekly.com/article/CA6514697.html

    And it looks like as of the 20th, it’s a done deal. Anybody can sue anyone in the jurisdiction of their choice. Read it and weep. This is some serious stuff.

  88. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:33 PM | Permalink

    #99, I wouldn’t go that far. I do think that ad-homs are far worse than off topic comments, for various reasons, including this one. By publishing a blog with comments, one becomes subject to libel laws in every country that can access the web.

    It makes me think I’ll design a feature into my blog software that will allow anyone (or any regular) to flag a comment as having an ad-hom. This will make the comment invisible, while the author can still edit to remove the offending ad-hom.

    The system will keep track of how often this happens, and treat that poster differently. Maybe some threshold of ad-homs will trigger moderation.

  89. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:44 PM | Permalink

    As with so many other things, you missed the point. In #100, you refer to the 2nd part of your 85, which has nothing to do with the first part, ie book != internet.

    The crackpot legal theory was in the first part: “because courts have not yet established who has jurisdiction over comments made on the internet.” It’s quite well established.

    >> Anybody can sue anyone in the jurisdiction of their choice.

    Which has always been true. The ruling is equivalent to “yes, the sun will rise in the morning”. But the complete truth would be:

    Anybody can sue anyone, anywhere, for any reason. It just has to sound remotely plausible.

  90. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 7:56 PM | Permalink

    102, no, one can’t sue anyone anywhere. Jurisdiction has to be established. This case (and the case that established the original judgment) has established that the availability via the internet (in this case, because the book could be ordered via Amazon) gives the UK (or any country of the plaintiff’s choice) jurisdiction, even though neither the plaintiff nor the defendant live in that country, and even though the material was never physically distributed in that country. It’s a very short hop from there to allowing you to sue Mr T. (who lives in Peru) in Luxembourg, because Mr. T makes a defamatory statement on this blog, simply because the blog can be read in Luxembourg.

  91. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:01 PM | Permalink

    I could explain it to you, but this would go too far off topic.

  92. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:07 PM | Permalink

    Y’know, in the same RC thread, NASA employee and spokesman Gavin Schmidt published a defamatory statement by Eli Rabett, in which Rabett simply invented an account of the original submission by M&M to Nature and then censored my reply to the defamatory statement, which stated:

    Re #40. Eli Rabett has, as all too often, simply fabricated calumnies against us, when he stated here :

    The Mc’s submitted a garbage can full of issues and the editors at Nature worked to define what was an error, what was a controversy, and what was just silly, all requiring a voluminous correspondence. I guess that the editors told the Mcs that some of their issues were better dealt with in a submitted paper.

    All these statements are untrue.

    We submitted a short and clearly written article to Nature, online here which did not require a “voluminous” or even any correspondence to review. The initial submission received favorable reviews, also online here including the following:

    I find merit in the arguments of both protagonists, though Mann et al. (MBH) is much more difficult to read than McIntyre & McKitrick (MM). Their explanations are (at least superficially) less clear and they cram too many things onto the same diagram, so I find it harder to judge whether I agree with them.
    and
    In general terms I found the criticisms raised by McIntyre and McKritik worth of being taken seriously. They have made an in depth analysis of the MBH reconstructions and they have found several technical errors that are only partially addressed in the reply by Mann et al.

    and subsequently:
    I am particularly unimpressed by the MBH style of ‘shouting louder and longer so they must be right’.

    Rather than simply spreading calumnies, I would urge Eli to either investigate the facts, and, if he is not sufficiently interested in a matter to ascertain the facts, there is always the option of saying nothing on the matter.

    And BTW, Gavin, if you’re going to allow Eli to post false speculations on realclimate, please have the simple courtesy to allow me to respond.

    If you’re going to permit adverse comments on people on a blog, then simple fairness requires that you permit them to respond. On the few occasions that Schmidt posted here, I haven’t touched a comma of his posting.

    Schmidt’s dishonest application of his posting policy probably does his cause more harm than good.

  93. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:10 PM | Permalink

    Gunnar and Larry, no more legal theorizing on this please.

  94. Larry
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 8:14 PM | Permalink

    Ok, Gunnar. Why don’t you go over to Lucia’s blog and ‘splain it. We need to liven thing up over there.

    http://rankexploits.com/musings/2007/new-climate-blog/#comments

  95. Susann
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:04 PM | Permalink

    Susann, precisely how many skeptical questions have you asked over at RC?

    and

    Susann I noted your comments on RC where you chastised Ray for his snarkiness.
    I thought it very even handed and open minded of you. And rather bold to test
    the RC community with the same standard you apply here. Very bold.

    Oh wait, your comment didnt get through over there.

    I don’t post at RC. It seems quite a few posters here see this as a us v them, RC v CA. I am not on either “team”. Do I have to make my “bones” by being critical at RC in order to be critical of CA? My criticism of snark applies to both “sides.”

    As I said in my original post, I find Steve McIntyre’s posts to be largely professional in tone. They should stay that way. As a reader of both RC and CA, I find all such snarky posts to be like a slap in the face because it is so unprofessional and petty. I find it to be quite disheartening because I expect more. Maybe that is naive. Snark and comments intended to demean have nothing to do with climate science. It matters not whether the other side does more or worse. There is no need to be dragged into the muck to score points. The points should be scored on the merits of the case not on rhetorical flair or rapier wit. I was reading the whole back and forth between Monbiot and Cockburn earlier and that is what struck me. Empty rhetorical attacks may be viscerally gratifying and even entertaining but they are empty all the same. After reading the back and forth between Monbiot and Cockburn, I felt the whole issue had been diminished by the tenor of the debate. YMMV.

  96. Pat Frank
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:27 PM | Permalink

    #95 — Susann, maybe the problem is that you have too broad an understanding of “snarky.” Steve M.’s comments aren’t snarky in any fair definition of that word. His cycnicism with respect to RC and the HT is completely justified by circumstance. His comments under your scrutiny reflect a kind of cynical gallows-humor, rather than being snide. See his description in #92 of Gavin Schmidt’s unfairly censorious practices as a small example of years of experience. FYI, RC was started as a purely political ‘defense of Mann and his crocksies proxies’ blog, after MM03 was published. The entire RC blog is founded on snidery.

  97. bender
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:29 PM | Permalink

    The point, Susann, is that if you had the same experience that many at CA have had at RC, then you might be more understanding how Steve M’s attitude has evolved over time. You can not ask a skeptical question there without being labelled a dishonest denialist troll. That experience can’t help but shape your view. Give it a try.

  98. Raven
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:37 PM | Permalink

    Susann, Why haven’t you posted at RC?

  99. Phil.
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:47 PM | Permalink

    Re #95

    Susann for what it’s worth I had the same reaction you did.

  100. bender
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 9:49 PM | Permalink

    Susann is like any policymaker. If you want consensus, there is a lot to complain about these days. When science blogs are increasingly at war – over facts and over interpretation of facts – you are moving further from consensus, not closer. The policymaker’s view that there must be a safe middle ground denies the fact that science is not determined by a democratic vote. In science, it is occasionally possible for 99% of popular opinion to be dead wrong. The blogs most likely to reach consensus are non-scientific blogs. You want consensus? Go there. You want correctness? Stay tuned.

  101. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 10:14 PM | Permalink

    I noted a brief discussion at RC about the Council of Nicaea. There’s an interesting mention of consensus in the wikipedia article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First_Council_of_Nicaea

    The Council of Nicaea was historically significant because it was the first effort to attain consensus in the church through an assembly representing all of Christendom.

    Sort of a precursor to IPCC, I guess. I mention the council in sociological terms here - NO religious discussion please.

  102. Dennis Wingo
    Posted Dec 27, 2007 at 11:38 PM | Permalink

    Steve

    In sociological terms my wife pointed me to an experiment that was done to determine how the opinions of the majority, though absolutely wrong, influenced a test subject.

    http://www.overcomingbias.com/2007/12/aschs-conformit.html?

    Have fun!

  103. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 1:55 AM | Permalink

    Arrived today, the quarterly “Australian Skeptic” journal Summer 2007 page 14 “The ‘Robustness’ of Climate Change” by Emeritus Professor Garth Paltridge ex CSIRO, Division of Atmospheric Research, Director of the Institute of Antarctic and Southern Ocean Studies at Uni Tasmania and CEO of the Antarctic CRC. These are impressive qualifications.

    The Australian Skeptics will be happy to sell/provide a DVD with the talk as soon as it is ready.

    A few shortened quotes.

    (In my talk) ‘… there will be a fair amount of hand-waving argument – which is my excuse for things to be simplified for a general audience. Anyone who knows anything about the subject will recognise that excuse as nonsense. The actual reason is that I don’t fully understand the topic myself.’

    ‘One can throw a grid of measurement (as dense as you like) all over the plume at some particular time, but you won’t be able to forecast eddy behaviour for very long thereafter. Basically this is because of the growth of sub-grid scale eddies which seem to come out of nowhere.’

    ‘As a first quess one might be able to forecast things over the scale of ocean basins, but one cannot really expect much more detailed skill than that. This hasn’t stopped people trying. It’s a fairly popular technique these days in order to get over this business of sub-grid cell scale eddies to run ensembles of global climate models, i.e to use GCMs … start them running into the future with initial conditions taken from measured averages at each of the grid points, and look at the forecast output … then one looks for what are called “robust results” (whose) initial conditions don’t seem to make too much difference. There are quite a few issues about this.’

    Later: ‘The big danger is that … the number of truly independent climate models around the world is decreasing. This is because slabs of model code are often exchanged between groups … plus bureaucratic tendency to avoid duplication of effort. The net result will surely be a natural decrease in the spread of total feedback over the various remaining models, and a consequent joy at the tightening of the range of forecast temperature rise … which might have nothing to do with the physics’.

    “As a final random thought, it is at least conceivable that the total feedback gain of the Earth-atmosphere system is actually very close to 1.0. In such a circumstance one could imagine the temperature skating from one extreme of temperature to another and back again. … Were such a situation to exist, it wouldn’t matter very much whether or not humans added more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.” END

  104. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 2:08 AM | Permalink

    Re#74, Pat Frank:

    Politisation of science and brutal smear of scientists are not unique to climate science:

    http://www.gnxp.com/blog/2007/10/james-watson-tells-inconvenient-truth_296.php

  105. Geoff Sherrington
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 2:14 AM | Permalink

    snip

  106. Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 4:57 AM | Permalink

    #100 Bender et. al.,

    The idea of consensus science has really caught on. See the Thursday, September 13, 2007 3:38:00 PM UTC comment at:

    http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/03/mr-fusion.html

    I don’t know how we can kill it since it is now so firmly established in the popular imagination.

    I wrote a bit here called No Doubt, Not Science in an attempt to counter the popular “wisdom”. It probably got read by a few thousand people at most.

    I did this one too:

    http://powerandcontrol.blogspot.com/2007/12/why-science-is-not-religion.html

    All we can do is keep doing it right and hope it catches on.

  107. EW
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 5:44 AM | Permalink

    The idea of consensus science has really caught on

    Indeed. Yesterday I saw in German TV some summary of the 2007 important issues. Climate was among them, all inclusive, polar bears, floods, drought, Greek fires, refugees, and a smug self-content about how the public facing the reported disasters finally got the message that the planet is on the verge of a catastrophe, unless we all don’t change our error ways.

    And then there was a German appointee to the UN climate comission (?) saying firmly, that the science is SETTLED on AGW(sorry, but only the caps can express his voice).

  108. Hoi Polloi
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 7:45 AM | Permalink

    The intuitive idea behind verisimilitude is that the assertions or hypotheses of scientific theories can be objectively measured with respect to the amount of truth and falsity that they imply. And, in this way, one theory can be evaluated as more or less true than another on a quantitative basis which, Popper emphasizes forcefully, has nothing to do with “subjective probabilities” or other merely “epistemic” considerations.

    Vs(a) is the verisimilitude of a, Ctv(a) is a measure of the content of truth of a, and CTf(a) is a measure of the content of the falsity of a.

    “Conjectures and Refutations” – Karl Popper

  109. Susann
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 7:56 AM | Permalink

    The point, Susann, is that if you had the same experience that many at CA have had at RC, then you might be more understanding how Steve M’s attitude has evolved over time. You can not ask a skeptical question there without being labelled a dishonest denialist troll. That experience can’t help but shape your view. Give it a try.

    I don’t post at RC because I know full well that my more skepical or critical questions would probably not get through. Why bother? That does not negate the fact that it is better to be professional than not, in spite of how one is treated. I could understand if Steve McIntyre became a cynical snarker, but my post was a plea for that not to occur. I’m looking for clear statements of objective science, not clever witticisms and snarky comments about personalities on the other side. Snark is for the gossip comumnists. That said, let me repeat that I find Steve McIntyre’s posts to be mostly professional and I’d vote for them to stay that way. When posts have descended to snark, their force is diminished — at least, to those outside the community. And no, Bender, not consensus. That’s not what I’m after. Clarity. The snark and wit and personal attacks, however clever, obfuscate and are purely partisan. That’s not what this should be about IMO.

  110. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:13 AM | Permalink

    #109. Susann, which phrases do you consider snarky? Most of the post is factual and there are only a few adjectives. Or is it more that you consider the issue itself snarky? I suspect that any offending adjectives could be removed and the tone of the post would not change very much and thus it is the topic rather than the expressions that are your primary objection.

    Please also understand that it is my opinion that placing the matter in the sunshine resulted in RC clearing most of the post in question. I can’t prove that they weren’t going to, but, as noted in the post, they had cleared 9 posts on this thread without clearing mine.

  111. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    Susann, I didn’t say you were after consensus – in part because I knew you’d deny it. I said the average policymaker is after consensus. Right now you may be young and exceptional, searching for clarity. In 5-10 years, if you stay in policy world, I predict you will learn not to care about clarity; you’ll be like the rest of them, wanting consensus over clarity. You’ll tire of the scientific details, lose the ability to keep track of all the complexity and uncertainty. And if you don’t, well you’re one in a million. Good luck in your work.

  112. Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:29 AM | Permalink

    @Steve– Actually, I think in comment 42 Susan was originally responding to someone else who thought you were snarky. She thinks snarky is bad.

    As it happens, I didn’t think this post was particularly snarky. It has some appearance of snark in so much as it focused on RayPierre and what he did. Normally, in science, one focuses on data. But, in this case, how is this really to be avoided.

    The fact is: RayPierre lodged substantive criticisms of Courtillot. On their face, these criticisms are valid if they can be shown to applie.

    However, it is also the case that those at RC consistently claim criticisms of this nature are not valid when applied to Mann. For some reason, one is not allowed to discuss whether or not the facts of the matter show these issues apply to his work. Rater, the whole idea that the behaviors, errors etc. would be problematic if true are problems is treated as silly.

    The truth is: These types of criticism are valid criticisms. The question to debate is: Do papers, analysis, or a scientist’s behavior demonstrate these flaws? With regard to both Courtillot & Mann, those are valid questions.

  113. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:30 AM | Permalink

    Susann & Steve M: Sometimes you need snark on one side to get clarity on the other. Sometimes you need snark to get consensus. (It can get ugly, but desperate times call for desperate measures. Collegiality can sometimes be a barrier to vigorous scientific debate.)

    Speaking of enforcing clarity, Gavin Schmidt thinks that espousing data openness is a “motherhood statement”; everyone agrees with it like they agree with “apple pie”. He averts his eyes, however, when “the world is melting” Lonnie Thompson refuses to disclose his data. Maybe it is not a motherhood statement after all. Maybe Lonnie Thompson is an apple pie-hater.

  114. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:35 AM | Permalink

    RC should simply dump Mann. That would clear up some of the double-standard that they have going on over there. Everybody would be better off that way.

  115. Gunnar
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:53 AM | Permalink

    There is a big difference between snide remarks and personal attacks. The former is fine, the latter is deplorable. In all the Steve M postings I have read, there are occasional snide remarks, often quite humourous, but no personal ad-hom type attacks. RC OTOH, is full of these.

  116. Pat Keating
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 8:54 AM | Permalink

    114 bender

    But think of the collateral damage! Think of the way it has propagated, and how many other works would have to be dumped, including Algore’s masterpiece…….

  117. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 9:19 AM | Permalink

    The topic of the post is “RC infallibility” and I think it is noteworthy how Gavin Schmidt continually, dogmatically defends the GCMs as infallible. Noteworthy because the alarmist AGW argument hinges rather critically on the GCMs. This is a tool that Dr Jekyll Schmidt declares is open to anybody, but which My Hyde Schmidt sneeringly declares requires a supercomputer in order to run efficiently. Well, then it’s not really open to everybody, is it?

    If AAGW is now all about the GCMs – and it is – then it would be wise to get rid of the paleoclimatology boat anchor in order to focus on the real issue.

  118. Larry
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 9:28 AM | Permalink

    105, no, no, no, no….In his mind, he’s not a commoner, and certainly not lowly. A messiah certainly has standing to address the queen, and when he speaks, she had better listen.

  119. Mark T.
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 9:30 AM | Permalink

    However, it is also the case that those at RC consistently claim criticisms of this nature are not valid when applied to Mann. For some reason, one is not allowed to discuss whether or not the facts of the matter show these issues apply to his work.

    This is the special pleading that bender often harps about (rightly, I might add). Ultimately, using special pleading, your theory is poised in such a manner that it is not falsifiable. Everything that happens can be somehow explained by your theory. “Today it will either be warmer than, cooler than or the same as yesterday, but this is all expected with AGW theory.”

    Mark

  120. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    One of Karl Popper’s most significant arguments was his Principle of Demarcation. He asked, how can we tell whether something is not science (astrology) or is science? He said: If it is possible (even in principle) to refute it, then it is science. But this means that if something is shown to be false or an artifact then it should be rejected. The problem with climate science, uncovered to a large degree by SteveM, is that when things are shown to be false (the wrong data is used, the algorithm creates hockey sticks out of red noise, etc) this fact is completely ignored. The only reason this situation continues is that the field is not experimental, so an airtight demonstration of falsity is not possible. The seriousness of the problem is indicated by the fact that the response to a publication is dictated by which side of the debate it seems to support. If it looks like it undermines AGW, the author’s integrity, honesty, and skill are attacked (as I have recently experienced). If not, any old slop is allowed.

  121. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 10:42 AM | Permalink

    The topic of the post is “RC infallibility” and I think it is noteworthy how Gavin Schmidt continually, dogmatically defends the GCMs as infallible. Noteworthy because the alarmist AGW argument hinges rather critically on the GCMs. To what extent does RC infallibility flow from one man’s infallible model? (He will undoubtedly declare that it’s twenty models and not just his one. But au contraire: the APPROACH is really what we’re talking about here. And the “multiple” approaches are in fact completely non-independent. Indeed, there is actually only one approach.)

    Consider this. The GCM is a tool that Dr. Jekyll G. Schmidt declares is open to anybody, but which My. Hyde G. Schmidt sneeringly declares requires a supercomputer in order to run efficiently. Well, then it’s not really open to everybody, is it?

    If AAGW is now all about the GCMs – and it is – then it would be wise for RC to get rid of the paleoclimatology boat anchor in order to focus on the real issue: GCM infallibility.

  122. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 10:56 AM | Permalink

    re 122.. its more like 7 models and 3 different ocean models for each.

    I need to look atthe chart again and actually figure that out. Also, have a look
    at Annans blog. the post caled “puzzle” what happens when you host a GCM on a new
    piece of hardware and recompile.. 1.8C change.. kinda funny

  123. bender
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 11:07 AM | Permalink

    #123 Please expound. I’ve checked out “the puzzle”. What do you mean about platform instability? What’s the link?

  124. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 11:16 AM | Permalink

    RE 124… read the comments, where the puzzle is explained..

    annan:
    ” The story is only at best 2nd hand to me, but AIUI the colour changes indicate
    when the integration switched hardware (and thus presumably the model was recompiled).
    There were no deliberate changes in model parameters or forcing though”

    dan hughes would not be amused.

  125. Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 3:17 PM | Permalink

    bender,

    RC should simply dump Mann. That would clear up some of the double-standard that they have going on over there. Everybody would be better off that way.

    Yep, if they’s want to keep some kind of credibility, You_should_re-read_Mann_et_al_1998_to_understand_the_issues_better -mike has to leave RC. But they can’t do it, what if Mann then reveals the true story of HS ? (including MBH99 CIs, I want to see a movie about this ;) )

  126. Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 5:00 PM | Permalink

    @steve moscher:
    I like Susann’s posts. :)

    As many of you know, Hansen et al. 1988 ran scenarios A, B & C. Up to 1983, all scenarios has the same forcing. After wards, A had the highest forcing and C had the lowest.

    Interestingly, the simulation for A had the highest temperature in 1983 and C had the lowest. Of course, this was a pure coincidence. It had a 1/6 chance of lining up that way…. so I’m sure it just happened. :)

    (My post today was on precision uncertainty though. No axes to grind, but I couldn’t help but notice this. I’m looking at the stuff after 1984 later on, but I’m trying to figure out how to judge a few things fairly.)

  127. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 9:21 PM | Permalink

    Re infallibility (remember? the topic of the thread)– there is a fundamental problem with someone setting themselves up as an authority on a topic with the right to “correct” the poor misinformed masses. On any topic. I like the way SteveM does it–he says “see what I found” and invites comments. He corrects mistakes in his graphs. In contrast, certain people hold themselves as above the rest of the scientific community and treat the rest of us with scorn. Totally unacceptable. Remember that major discoveries are regularly made by graduate students or junior scientists. If current theory wasn’t incomplete or wrong in some way, then none of us would have anything to discover. If a scientist can’t look back and see his own mistakes, then he isn’t learning anything along the way.

  128. Andrey Levin
    Posted Dec 28, 2007 at 11:02 PM | Permalink

    Re:105:

    Geff, you missed the funniest part. It was not letter to Her Majesty. It was CC.

  129. Raven
    Posted Dec 29, 2007 at 12:08 AM | Permalink

    Lucia,

    Any “conclusion” depends on how you formulate your null hypothesis: If you take “they work” as null, you can’t disprove it. If you take “they dont’ work” as null, you can’t disprove that either!

    I am not a fan of the word ‘proof’ when it comes to climate science because I don’t think it is possible to prove any point of view. That said, I think your graphs show that the GCMs consistently over-estimate the extent of the warming. Scenario C is the only one that comes close yet it is the scenario that assumed that CO2 production was halted by 2000. I think these over estimates are a sign of a systematic error in the GCMs. A systematic error does not necessarily mean the GCMs, however, it is also wrong to assume that they are correct that the source of the error lies elsewhere (i.e. aerosols).

  130. Posted Dec 29, 2007 at 9:45 AM | Permalink

    re: lucia et al. at #143, 153 and others

    This question very likely will not make sense. But is there any way to stats test that the measured experimental data and the results of the calculations are samples from the same population? Maybe that is obvious, or the test is a usual part of other stats analyses. Isn’t it necessary to determine if the calculations might kind-of line up with the data solely by chance?

    Thanks

  131. bender
    Posted Dec 29, 2007 at 1:36 PM | Permalink

    Sadly, I must confess I agree with #168.
    To see why, look at this comment:

    http://www.climateaudit.org/?p=2510#comment-180265

    The second slide is one Lonnie Thompson used to argue that the GCMs are on track. But look at the width of those pink confidence envelopes. And those are OPTIMISTIC. Imagine what a pessimist would figure reckon.

  132. bender
    Posted Dec 29, 2007 at 9:03 PM | Permalink

    #173 Agreed. My hunch is the true error is devastating. Far, far worse than on the paleoclimatic series. Don’t mention it at RC; they’ll go ballistic on you.

  133. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 29, 2007 at 9:10 PM | Permalink

    Re: infallibility. I have an old friend who is a genuine Appalachian hillbilly (65 yrs old) who said once “Those of you who think you know everything are really getting on the nerves of those of us who do”

  134. Craig Loehle
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 7:52 AM | Permalink

    [snip - no more DDT]

  135. bender
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 9:52 AM | Permalink

    I’m not replying. These subjects are OT. I shouldn’t have replied to Sherrington in the first place. The topic is RC infallibility.

  136. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 1:57 PM | Permalink

    HOCKEY STICK MATTERS.

    “Uncertainty in the net forcing for 1880–2003 is dominated
    by the aerosol forcing uncertainty, which is at least 50%.
    Given our estimates, we must conclude that the net forcing
    is uncertain by 1 W/m2. Therefore the smallest and largest
    forcings within the range of uncertainty differ by more than a
    factor of three, primarily because of the absence of accurate
    measurements of aerosol direct and indirect forcings.
    One implication of the uncertainty in the net 1880–2003
    climate forcing is that it is fruitless to try to obtain an accurate
    empirical climate sensitivity from observed global temperature
    change of the past century. However, paleoclimate evidence
    of climate change between periods with well-known
    boundary conditions (forcings) provides a reasonably precise
    measure of climate sensitivity: 3±1C for doubled CO2
    (Hansen et al., 1984, 1993; Hoffert and Covey, 1992). Thus
    we conclude that our model sensitivity of 2.9C for doubled
    CO2 is reasonable.”

  137. Ron Cram
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 2:20 PM | Permalink

    Mosh,

    Wow. That is quite an interesting argument. I’m not sure if I’m more surprised by the admission there is no adequate way to estimate aerosol forcings or the claim paleoclimate reconstructions may be used to measure climate sensitivity in a reasonably precise way.

    Obviously it was published before Chylek’s estimate of aerosol forcings. Who published this and when?

    • Curt Covey
      Posted Feb 13, 2009 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

      Re: Ron Cram (#137), Re: Ron Cram (#137), Marty Hoffert and I followed up our 1992 Nature paper on using paleoclimate reconstructions to measure climate sensitivity. We published in 1996 in the journal Climatic Change with Lisa Sloan. The 1996 paper entrained more data and came to about the same conclusion as the 1992 paper. Nowadays I only agree halfway with the assertion that paleodata can get climate sensitivity “in a reasonably precise way.” In my opinion it is a reasonable technique — and has value because it is independent of climate models — but no more accurate than the traditional model-intercomparison method.

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Feb 13, 2009 at 6:19 PM | Permalink

        Re: Curt Covey (#147), wrote, “I only agree halfway with the assertion that paleodata can get climate sensitivity “in a reasonably precise way.” In my opinion it is a reasonable technique…

        So, Curt, you must know a reasonable physics-methodological technique to get a true temperature from a tree ring. What is it?

        And with dO-18 data, what method do you know that removes regional climate shifts from the record to extract an unbiased temperature?

  138. Larry
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    136, Now Hansen’s saying it’s 5, 6, every time he opens his mouth, it’s a little higher. Kinda like [self-snip].

  139. Ron Cram
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 2:41 PM | Permalink

    Mosh re:136,

    I remember people saying they did not find any of the evidence for AGW convincing until they saw the Hockey Stick graph. The HS was persuasive because people believed it showed 20th century temps to be higher than could occur naturally. I was really surprised someone would try to use temp reconstruction to estimate climate sensitivity.

  140. steven mosher
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 3:10 PM | Permalink

    RE 137.. It’s hansen and schmidt 2007.

    The problem is that 3C for doubling predict a Much warmer world than we have.

    SO, warming is “in the pipeline” or hidden nu Aersosal.

    Hansen puts Aerosol at 1Wm^2 which is roughly .75C

    If solar amounts to NOTHING as leif suggests then the problem for the models gets worse.

  141. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Dec 30, 2007 at 4:39 PM | Permalink

    RC could easily dump Mann. He could just “walk away,” and Mann and RC can say it has to do with him devoting more time to family and career. It seems to me one of the RC folks recently departed in such a manner (William Connelly?).

    But they’ve already hitched their zamboni to Mann. And even if he weren’t at RC, they won’t be able to find any errors in his works while he’s toting the company line.

  142. SteveSadlov
    Posted Jan 2, 2008 at 3:00 PM | Permalink

    A certain past US President presented a case for shutting down the Department of Education. In retrospect it was largely an academic exercise but yet, an important statement. I say, shut down NASA. This is both a serious proposal and an important statement. Of course, there would still be Federal funding and action around core space exploration activities. NASA, per se, is not needed for this. Shut it down.

  143. steven mosher
    Posted Jan 2, 2008 at 4:34 PM | Permalink

    re 142. They are all C students. You know that. what in the hell will they do for money?

  144. Posted Jan 7, 2008 at 10:48 AM | Permalink

    Of course, the final Nature submission in Fall 2004 was after your materials complaint to them, after the 2003 E and E article and after you and/or McKitrick had communicated with the Editors of Nature how many times about how many things? You raised many complaints. You even have a scorecard. Try not to be so dramatic.

    Steve: Eli, please stop making up stories. At the time that we submitted a Materials Complaint which was in late Nov-Dec 2003, we notified Nature that we wold be submitting a non-overlapping article, which we did in January 2004. The two had separate editors. If you don’t know something, don’t fabricate a rabbit story.

  145. Posted Jan 7, 2008 at 5:56 PM | Permalink

    GMAB Steve, but at least now you add that there was a materials complaint. BTW, where is the text, and had you had contact with the Nature editors before you submitted the complaint or the letter?. The separate tables thing is a hoot tho.

  146. Posted Jan 7, 2008 at 6:11 PM | Permalink

    Never mind, found it and added it to my post.

  147. Posted May 27, 2010 at 7:15 PM | Permalink

    Really great writing. Really!

  148. Posted Nov 24, 2011 at 6:49 PM | Permalink

    Steve, just for fun enter ‘Courtillot’ as a search term in the FOIA2011 emails.

    0739.txt date: Wed Feb 6 13:21:06 2008
    to: James Hansen (from Phil Jones)

    “…just make sure one or two reasonable scientists are aware that they have invited a bit of rogue!
    Cheers
    Phil”

    3124.txt Wed Feb 6 13:36:32 2008
    to: Robert Marsh (from Phil Jones)

    “You’ll get one awful talk on the Friday from a Vincent Courtillot. If he
    lays into me, or says the world isn’t warming you have my permission
    to go and put the boot it. Shouldn’t be difficult.
    Have emailed Jim as well.
    Vincent is a prat, but he’s a well connected prat – French Academy and all that.”

    Some background on stuff covered at CA and review of at least one rejected paper.

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