Pielke's Challenge

Roger Pielke notes that the hockey stick debate has been widely discussed and has issued a challenge to Mann and myself to summarize why the hockey stick debate should matter to anyone. A fair question. He characterizes the latest exchanges over realclimate posting policy in very unflattering terms to all parties involved (including myself). While I tend to think of my role in this little scuffle as being righteous, it’s hard to get involved without some diminution in dignity. Here’s Roger. (Archive)


72 Comments

  1. Andre Bijkerk
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 2:17 PM | Permalink

    Steve

    I started to draft some two cents notes for your answer:

    There are two basic questions, firstly, is the hockeystick correctly representing recent climate developments? Secondly if not, was the construction of the hockeystick based on sound scientific methods?

    The first question is the most crucial, if yes, the hockeystick is correctly resembling the strong correlation between greenhouse gas effect and global temperature, then it would end all discussions and MBH would get their statue in front of the UN building for convincing humanity of the serious climate problems we have to solve in unity.

    However numerous independent data, indications and studies lead to a rational impression that the climate variability was much larger in the past and against this multitude of evidence, the hockeystick can no longer be considered to be compelling evidence of a strong correlation between greenhouse gas forcing as main factor controlling climate. Obviously, if the number and weight of that independent evidence is to be considered a factor, then the first question is to be answered negative.

    Remains the question if the hockeystick was the result of honest, ethical science, with the spurious result being caused by factors beyond control of the researchers, or was the methodology flawed albeit scrupulous, or was the methodology aimed at getting a preset result that had to be obtained in order to sell the global warming notion. In the first case, we continue business as usual, learning from mistakes. In the latter case, non scientific, pure political objectives of the IPCC can be considered proven. Consequently, the exposure of the IPCC is at stake. Therefore it is of imminent importance to determine if the methodology was sound, if it was in error or if it was about a predetermined outcome.

    This is what the discussion is about.

  2. John A
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 2:28 PM | Permalink

    I’d like to ask Roger Pielke why he thinks he is the person to judge on whether the debate is “testosterone-fuelled”. Would he dare describe an argument between two female researchers as “estrogen-fuelled”?

    I’d also like to know on what basis he believes that the climate change debate has “moved on”? Is the Mann Hockey Stick not being used as the key reconstruction of past climate and the main justification for the Kyoto Protocol? Has it been withdrawn as flawed? Has the IPCC withdrawn its reference to it from its forthcoming review? Has any other study been used as a backdrop to the Hockey-Stick shaped Siple Curve of carbon dioxide concentration? Have policy makers stopped promoting rationing of energy used based on all of the above? Have we stopped paying for the policies that the Hockey Stick was used to promote?

  3. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 3:07 PM | Permalink

    Billions of people will be, and millions are currently affected by the Hockey Stick graph. Used as a justification to limit CO2 emissions and therefore industry, the politicization of the Stick has inflicted a premium on economic progress that provides better standards of living for us all, and has contributed to a growth in the size, scope and power of force-weilding government bureaucracies that are an anathema to free societies built on the concept of peaceful voluntary exchange. On this single issue of anthropogenic global warming based predominantly on this single Hockey Stick study hinges the future of mankind’s relationship with government: Will we go forward letting the few, priveleged bureaucrats determine what is in our best interests, or will we have the freedom to determine this for ourselves? The bureaucrats have and are making their stand that they know best how to run an industry, how to make a car, how much electrical power you need, how fast you should drive, what kind of car you should drive, when you should have your washer and air-conditioner on or off, etc… And they have their justification in the so-called threat of global warming based primarily on the Hockey Stick study. They need to be stopped. The brakes need to be put on the out-of-control growth of government and the power and control that politicians and bureaucrats have over our lives. The justification for this madness needs to revealed for the bad science that it is, and hopefully the insatiable greed of some people to want rule others will be forestalled momentarily.

  4. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    The hockey stick has appeared again and again as evidence that global warming is largely caused by humans. In the report on Arctic climate, released earlier this year, the hockey stick appeared side by side with the similarly looking CO2 concentration curve, combined from glacier air bubble studies and Mauna Loa measurements. Obviously the intention was that the readers should believe these curves look similar because CO2 is cause and the hockey stick shows the effect. But both curves are likely wrong. Why the hockey stick is wrong every regular visitor of this website should be able to understand. The CO2 concentration reconstructions from air bubbles trapped in ice are NOT confirmed by reconstructions from leaf and needle stomata frequencies. On the contrary. The latter reconstructions show large fluctuations and periods with as high CO2 concentrations as today.

  5. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 4:47 PM | Permalink

    I see two issues:

    1. The basic science issue of what has climate been like for the last several centuries–are recent temp increases unprecedented in recent history. This is important because it plays into evaluation of global warming.

    2. The other issue is that regardless of “how important an issue is”, it is important that scientists use correct methods and that they acknowledge mistakes. If they refuse to do so (or to think about it) in their “unimportant work”, they likely won’t do it in their other work. It becomes a sign of a poor scientific ethic.

  6. fFreddy
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    Huh. Another place that immediately bounces comments.
    I guess it must have an auto-reject on the word “pompous”.

  7. Louis Hissink
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 5:07 PM | Permalink

    #4

    Excellent point, and if you also look at the Hockey stick and temperature anomaly plots, they vary in the range +/- 0.5 Dec Celsius. I would contend this variation of the “mean temperature” is equal or less than the instrumental resolution of historical temperature measurements.

    An since when have weather forecasters predicted tomorrows max temp will be 27.3 Degrees Celsius?

  8. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 5:59 PM | Permalink

    I completely agree with PCO concerning the importance of the stick.

    The climate reconstruction of the past centuries is the main empirical tool to figure out whether the basic idea of significant anthropogenic global warming is justified or not. No model can be trusted until its predictions are experimentally verified against existing data, and long-term multi-century data are a key to this goal because the annual (and decadal) data have too much noise in them.

    Also, I agree that the second point is the question whether the research in general is done properly and whether there are mechanisms that reveal the mistakes. In this sense, the hockey stick is a well-defined laboratory to see how efficient the world is in looking for errors.

    Finally, my guess is that testosterone has been pretty important to find many important insights. But once again, I am politically correct and sure that estrogene can sometimes do a heck of a job, too. 😉

  9. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 6:01 PM | Permalink

    whipped…

  10. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 7:49 PM | Permalink

    When we talk about challenges, the readers of ClimateAudit should not answer the challenge here because they may have a slight advantage. 😉 But you can check whether you can solve it.

  11. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 7:57 PM | Permalink

    “At the end of the day, the debate over statistical methods and temperature reconstructions is an interesting science debate. It doesn’t change the nature of the science questions what testosterone or emotionalization of the debate is happening from either side (and the way you raise your topic here is a part of emphasizing the “struggle” of opposing camps rather then the debate of opposing views.)

    On the does it matter: I think yes. If the hockey stick is correct, it is a significant result. Showing that temp changes recently are abnormal in persepective to history. Thus helping to build a case for a view that CO2 is warming things up. (And if not, then the lack of such a case.)

    Also, the issue of efficacy of research methods is also more significant than you think. Remember reading Feynman’s essay about cargo cult science and the guy who didn’t get famous on rat running experiments but who figured out all the relevant controls to actually make those experiments worthwhile?”

  12. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:00 PM | Permalink

    I have a gossipy, catty question for you, Lumo (likely to get Steve in trouble that is my fault, not his)…

  13. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    What’s the Reference Frame and how did it get measurements of the two dude’s math IQ. And is there such a concept as “math IQ” as a real metric in psychometrics?

  14. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:12 PM | Permalink

    Hey TCO, not sure about the current conventional psychometrics, but certainly in mine. There is also a “g” factor that measures a “pure” intelligence. As you can see, the number +15 is just an estimate.

    Feynman’s story about Young’s experiments with the rats – well, the whole speech at Caltech – is among my favorite ones.

  15. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:15 PM | Permalink

    1. “mine”. Do you have a “mine” physics or math? 😉

    2. What is this reference frame. And no, I don’t see anything. So if that is an estimate, what is it based on?

    3. Do you want the catty question?

  16. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:18 PM | Permalink

    TCO, if you’re asking what is the Reference Frame, then: it’s my blog, you speedy Gonzalez. 🙂 The estimate is based on a fuzzy analysis of the individuals’ responses to certain challenging questions involving PCs and their relationships.

  17. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 8:25 PM | Permalink

    I knew that about a second after posting it. But I’m not some smart physicist like you or Michael.

  18. Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 9:53 PM | Permalink

    The first question is the most crucial, if yes, the hockeystick is correctly resembling the strong correlation between greenhouse gas effect and global temperature, then it would end all discussions and MBH would get their statue in front of the UN building for convincing humanity of the serious climate problems we have to solve in unity.

    Actually, even if the MBH reconstruction is completely accurate, it means almost nothing, because:

    1) correlation is not causation (much of the “blade” could STILL be due to solar influences…or even land use changes that would be completely unaddressed by reducing greenhouse gas emissions), and

    2) the reconstruction says almost nothing about what will happen in the *future*.

    Even a completely accurate reconstruction doesn’t make the IPCC TAR “projections” of 1.4 to 5.8 degrees Celsius of additional warming from 1990 to 2100 any more scientific or likely.

  19. TCO
    Posted Oct 31, 2005 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

    It would not be a microscopic, mechanistic type prowf of GW, but would leend particular credence.

  20. andrewb
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 12:14 AM | Permalink

    Steve, Roger has accurately captured the immaturity of the they do/we don’t debate and you risk losing the respect of readers.

    I think you are being naive if you think that having raised serious questions regarding the proxy-based temperature reconstruction, that has the potential to serously damage the credibility/careers of a number of scientists and influence the debate over the presence or intensity of anthropogenic global warming, that the barricades would not be drawn up and the castle made ready for siege. I personally don’t care how someone else decides to manage their website, the important thing is how you manage your website.

  21. TCO
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 12:16 AM | Permalink

    You seem to care more about how people manage their website, than whether the science is correct.

    And Steve has been just fine…

  22. TCO
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 12:45 AM | Permalink

    I’m getting pretty sick of the “wounded honor” from the guys who don’t want to debate the issue. What a bunch of wimps and hypocrites. Hope that wounds your little tender flower feelings.

  23. Murray Duffin
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 12:00 PM | Permalink

    Steve, I hope in your reply to Roger you will emphasize the real issues, for which the hockey stick is now only a symbol. Please excuse my temerity in listing what I think the issues are:
    – Selective choice of data or application of emphasis to at least avoid an unsupportive result.
    – Use of highly arcane statistical methods without understanding all of the ramifications of the choice of methods, or without revealing all of the pitfalls to the inexpert reader.
    – Joining different (and possibly unrelated) types of data in the same curve, without justifying either the join or the practise to the reader.
    Failure to present the correlation between the proxy and the variable it represents over the entire time period when both are available.
    – Lack of rigor in climateology peer review.
    – Presenting shaky correlations/dating conclusions as if they were certain.
    – Failure of full disclosure to the detriment of sound science.
    – Use of proxies where their ability to represent the variable under investigation cannot be unambiguously demonstrated, and where the ambiguities are not dealt with.
    – The high probability that at least tree rings and mountain glacier cores are not valid proxies for temperature at all.
    I think it is important to demonstrate, at least briefly, that the issue has now moved way beyond MBH98 even if MBH98 remains unresolved. You have now demonstrated systemic problems with the whole field of climate proxies, and with the associated peer review and disclosure processes. An entire subset of an important area of scientific research has now been cast into question. Murray

  24. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 12:55 PM | Permalink

    The Hockeystick Discussion is important because:

    1. It speaks to the integrity of science. I know of no other branch of science where it is the norm to refuse to reveal scientific methods and data. Yet among climate scientists this is common practice, particularly among paleodendrochronologists.

    2. It speaks to the scientific rigor of the IPCC. The hockeystick, and the hockeystick alone, was the reason for the claims that this was the warmest century in the last long time. It was accepted without replication, and inserted in the IPCC document by one of the IPCC lead authors. The IPCC is supposed to be about solid, verified, proven science, not a lead author’s un-replicated good idea gone bad.

    3. It speaks to the research misconduct of Mann himself. He did shoddy, biased work, he selected datasets to obtain pre-desired results, and he attempted to hide those facts as soon as the first scientific investigator tried to replicate his results. Even faced with a subpoena, he has not revealed enough to allow a complete replication of his results. He now says it doesn’t matter … and Roger Pielke has been kind enough to ask why it matters.

    It matters because the record is clear — what Mann has done is certainly more than sufficient to justify an investigation as to whether he is guilty of Research Misconduct, as defined in the Federal Research Misconduct Policy. The very same charge just lost a man his job at MIT. Mann would like very much for everyone, including Roger Pielke, to forget about that little detail …

    Roger, thank you very much for asking. It is a fascinating question.

    w.

  25. John A
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    Willis,

    I was struck by that dismissal at MIT as well. Isn’t it amazing that journal peer review once again failed to properly check the reliability of the papers sent to it?

  26. Paul
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 3:15 PM | Permalink

    What I find fascinating about this challenge is the dichotomy of Roger Pielke’s position on the need to move immediately to a public policy reponse and the part played by the Hockey Stick in produing the most fundamental global public policy repsonse yet devised – Kyoto.

    Anyone who has spoken first hand to the political figures central to the Kyoto Agreement will affirm the role of the Hockey Stick within the Summary for Policy Makers in the Third Assessment as the catalyst for policy proposals.

    Strange now that Roger Pielke, who seems to be the single most vocal cheerleader for public policy in repsonse to a problem that may or may not require such a response should question the very piece of research that moved global leaders to act for the first time.
    I tend to believe that it is Pielke who needs to state the relevance of his own case – in fact, to state his case in one place.

  27. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 4:30 PM | Permalink

    Paul-

    Thanks. Here are in fact two places to start.

    On the climate issue:

    Sarewitz, D., R. A. Pielke, Jr., 2000: Breaking the Global-Warming Gridlock. The Atlantic Monthly, 286(1), 55-64.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-69-2000.18.pdf

    On the hockey stick:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000480on_the_hockey_stick.html

  28. andrewb
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Re #21 TCO, I care more about the science. That is why pointless arguments regarding “we don’t they did” is an uneccessary distraction, will ultimately devalue the argument that is being made and will provide ammunition to those who may seek to diminish your argument by your actions.

    As I stated previously, Steve would be naive to consider that heaven and earth will not be moved to discredit his work and that is why the science is important and ultimately the facts, whatever they may be, will come out. He need only consider that some of the protagonists in this debate were previously pottering away drilling holes in trees in a relatively low profile stream of science and are now centre stage in the pre-emininent scientific debate of the century, with their work potentially influencing future policy directions on the international stage. If they were the kind of people to suffer from hubris, do you think that someone who may influence this position is going to be received with a welcome mat at the front door?

    You are constantly berating Steve for not getting on with publishing and these distractions into the personalities and processes of others simply divert resources away from the priority, which is the science.

  29. TCO
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 4:45 PM | Permalink

    You have a good point. I would hope that there is some ability to seperate the issues. But if we have to pick one or the other, it should be Steve pumping out publications for sure. The amount of unpublished analyses and unfinished stories here is just shocking. Amazxing that he is so productive, but unfortunate that so little is in the peer reviewed literature. I think the other thing is that he sees things too much in a lense of “I’ve got to be perfect” and “I’ve got to disprove other people” rather than in a vien of “this is interesting, I should share it…via pulbication”.

  30. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 4:57 PM | Permalink

    re:#29 TCO,

    This is Steve’s imperfect publication. And his way to get it looked at. Not to say that what goes on here is peer review as few of us are qualified to do so, but I think it will have a big impact in the long run.

    Also since it’s out here and dated he has any debates about precidence covered. IMO, the warmers had better start paying attention before events overwhelm them.

  31. John A
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 4:58 PM | Permalink

    Roger,

    I think what is different is the style and the tone. Do you see Steve getting defensive about sharing his data and showing his working?

    Now about Mann, Bradley and Hughes: why does it take the threat of a Congressional subpoena to get them to share data and show their working, especially considering the enormous influence on public policy that their study has had and is still having? Whatever happened to the open review of science? Why is the AGU so reticent to get these people to do what any reputable scientist would do? Why do their institutions, who actually own the work, so reluctant to tell these people that they must show their working? Why does the IPCC stand idly by? What about the NSF?

    Those are the issues. They are even more important today than ever. Just in the past few days MIT have sacked an associate professor for confabulating his results. But why not investigate Mann? Is it so vital that this one study stand that no-one dare investigate? Whatever happened to scientific ethics and probity?

    The one thing that does stand out about MBH is that almost nobody attaches any great weight to the robustness of its conclusions and yet for some reason, those conclusions are sacrosanct.

    There is a word for it: doublethink.

  32. TCO
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 5:13 PM | Permalink

    yep.

  33. Ian Castles
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 6:52 PM | Permalink

    Re #21: “The amount of unpublished analyses and unfinished stories here is just shocking. Amazing that he [Steve] is so productive, but unfortunate that so little is in the peer reviewed literature.” TCO, I agree that this is unfortunate, but wonder why you think it makes so much difference.

    I’ve agreed with most of your postings on this blog, but of course not with the series that you posted on “Ian Castles on IPCC Economic Assumptions” which ended with “I still don’t like PPP (of course I admit a lot of ignorance on the details). It just feels wrong to me to use a cobbled together metric when the market estimation is there” (#50). The need to use what you call the “cobbled together metric” has of course been established in the peer-review literature for decades (see for example scores, probably hundreds, of papers in the “Review of Income of Wealth”, or Sir Richard Stone’s Nobel Prize Address on “The Accounts of Society” in 1984).

    The IPCC disregarded all of this literature and, when David Henderson and I criticised them for it, issued a press release devoted exclusively and specifically to sweeping aside our criticisms. We were accused of spreading “disinformation” and of being “so-called two independent commentators”. The press release was issued on 8 December 2003 and remains available on the IPCC website. On the PPP “issue” (it’s not an issue as far as the experts are concerned), the IPCC has been able to ignore the peer-reviewed literature with impunity. I’d hope they’d take more notice of peer-reviewed papers by Steve McIntyre, but if the lead authors think the findings “feel wrong” I suppose they can safely ignore them?

  34. TCO
    Posted Nov 1, 2005 at 7:30 PM | Permalink

    PPP is for evil liberals. So there.

    Now stop threadjumping. It’s bad internet form to continue a war from one thread into another unrelated thread.

    Umm…I guess it makes a difference because I think Steve would like what come to him from having a big pub count. And that it would benefit the field.

  35. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 3:58 AM | Permalink

    Re 27: Roger, thank you for posting the links to your own stand on the debate. I was surprised by several things you had written.

    First, you say regarding Mann

    It is easy for me to say, but I recommend not complying with Rep. Barton’s request. Be respectful, but decline or bury him with paper. Let him subpoena you if he dares (and then watch him then get buried).

    So your advice is for Mann to break the law and not truly respond to the subpoena, but to do it cleverly so he neither gets caught nor reveals anything of substance … Have I understood you correctly?

    Second, you say that Steve should:

    Work to understand the norms of the climate science community, and don’t place blame for these norms on MBH. You might have a case to make for changing these norms, but make that case in the right venue.

    My concern here is that the current “norms” of climate science apparently include telling someone that wants to replicate your work to piss off, because the “norm” is that asking for data and methods is “intimidation”. Do you really have to “work to understand” someone justifying hiding their data and methods? I don’t have to work to understand that at all, it is basic human nature to run and hide when you get caught. And in science, it is research misconduct pure and simple. Where is the work in understanding that?

    Your idea that there should be different “norms” for climate science is both totally false and extremely depressing. The Federal Research Misconduct Policy (FRMP), for example, makes no special exemptions for climate science or anyone else. Your idea that these actions are OK because they are “norms” tars you with the same brush as those involved in the misconduct. Do you really want climate science to be some kind of grade school game where you don’t have to replicate results?

    You say it is OK for Mann to practice research misconduct, because many other dendrochronologists are doing the same. Are you sure you want to stand foursquare behind that statement?

    If Steve had followed your advice, he would have said to Mann “Oh, my bad, you’re right, it’s OK to hide your data and methods, sorry I asked, I didn’t realize it was intimidation, I apologize for breaking the ‘norms’ of climate science…”

    You seem to be missing a crucial point — your idea that climate science should be held to lower standards than any other branch of science diminishes your work, and decreases your credibility, along the lines of “Roger Pielke? You can’t believe him, he’s one of those climate so-called ‘scientists’ that never replicate their work and refuse to show their data and methods … he even says it’s OK to cheat, because others do it too, so it’s the norm.”

    I know that’s not the case, but Mann’s misconduct affects you as well as the rest of us, particularly when you support his misconduct as the “norm”, and explain it and make it all oh-so-reasonable, as you are doing.

    Finally, I have to say that your suspension of belief about Mann’s role in all of this strikes me as being … umm … well, let me call it “overly optimistic”. You say to Mann:

    Unless you really have something serious to hide, give the world access to your original computer code and whatever else MM are asking for.

    Two points about this.

    1. Unless he has something serious to hide? Why on earth do you think he’s hiding his data and methods in the first place? Why is he defending hiding them with such fervor? Why do you think it takes a subpoena to get him to cough it up, and even then (and I note, following your unscientific advice) he just piles on the paper and still does not tell all?

    Because he’s so proud of it? Because he knows it’s right? C’mon, bro’, you know better than that. Since it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, your claim that it is a chicken does not increase your credibility.

    2. But more to the point, your statement also says that if he does have something serious to hide, he should not give the world access to the methods and data.

    Is that really your position? That he should only reveal the data and methods if he’s not covering up misconduct, but if he is, he should not reveal anything? And in either case he should not comply with the subpoena? Is that really what you think will resolve this issue?

    I find all of this quite stunning. I had assumed that you were a scientist. For real scientists, the revealing of data and methods is not optional. It is an integral part of science, and as such it is required, not recommended but required, by the FRMP.

    For you to excuse research misconduct on the basis that in some corners of science it is common (the “norm”) makes my head swim. You recognize the problem is widespread, but rather than saying this is a problem we need to work to stamp it out, you call it a “norm” and say we should “work to understand” it like this was some encounter group where the point was to all feel good …

    For you to say he should reveal the data and methods unless he has something important to hide is … I must say, I’m at a loss for words. He should reveal his data and methods no matter what, and for you to claim otherwise is an incredibly unscientific point of view.

    Are these really your positions? Because they certainly are your words, and you are justifying research misconduct. If that is not what you meant, then you should say what you meant to clarify the record, because that’s assuredly what you said.

    w.

  36. John A
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 5:25 AM | Permalink

    Following Willis’s statement, I can state for the record that the behavior of the Hockey Team is by no means universal in climate science either.

    When I have asked a particular climate scientist for details of his reconstruction of paleoclimate, I have been given nothing but courteous replies to each and every question, and immediate access to any data or methodological step I have cared to ask for. All of this without him knowing or asking who I work for, my scientific background, my political beliefs, who I am “associated with”, or anything else. Moreover this person, has carefully stated the limitations of his conclusions, including estimates of error and encouraged me to seek out different lines of information on the robustness of his results.

    The behavior of the Hockey Team is in stark contrast to my experience with this scientist. I firmly believe that “Official Science”, as described by McKitrick and Essex in their book, is a cancer in the body of science that requires immediate surgery to remove it. The most invidious agents of “Official Science” is the notion of “validation by publication in quality peer-reviewed journals” rather than “validation by replication and skeptical review”, and the fallacious proposition of “scientific consensus”.

    The public, which is ultimately paying for all of this, is being hoodwinked by political propagandists hiding behind veils of secrecy, institutional inertia, yellow journalism and academic tenure.

  37. Paul
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 6:44 AM | Permalink

    re #27 Roger,

    Thank you for the links. I have read subtaantial amounts of your writing in this area. For that reason I find you position, as a political animal, wholly predictable, but as a rational animal bordering on the absurd.

    MBH matters because it, and the many associated work that uses the same or very similar proxies or method, represent the body of scientific knowledge (I don’t favour your reference to “scientific consensus”) on long term climate variability. And it is our understanding of long term climate variability that informs our understanding of material hum impact, which in turn informs our decisions regarding the need to take public policy action. So MBH is very important. Without it we are simply extrapolating 30 years of reliable climate data to give 100 year projections – a classic recipe for suprious modelling and forecasting. M&M, with their statisitcal knowledge know that. The wider public have an interest in learning this impartant fact as well.

    To pursue public intervention in energy usage, climate mitigation, social intervention for good reason is folly and a costly one at that.

    Which brings us full circle. In all your work, you have never made a strong case in support of public policy intervention. In fact you wander from assertions of “scientific concensus” across to ackowledgement of complete uncertainty. In fact it begs the question; why should anybody care what you believe is needed with regard to public policy, regulation and intervention? The obvious answer is because we are sure (enough) of the underlying science.

    Now if politicians and political scientists like youself don’t like the public putting a break on government that is understandable. But to patronise those trying to bring greater clarity to the information we do possess in order to push forward without underlying justification is unacceptable.

  38. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 7:00 AM | Permalink

    Update
    Michael Mann declined…
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000621challenge_update_2.html

  39. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 7:26 AM | Permalink

    Willis-

    Thanks much for the thoughtful comments. A few responses:

    1. The request from Rep. Barton was not a supoena, but an informal request. I maintained then, and still think, that Rep. Barton’s approach was misguided. I agree 100% with the comments of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee on how this issue whould have been handled. See here:

    http://www.house.gov/science/hot/climate%20dispute/index.htm

    I have no problem with Congressional oversight of science, in fct I have often called for more of it in my writings. But recognize that there are better and worse ways of conducting that oversight.

    2. That there are particular norms of behavior in the climate science community than other communities is simply a statement of fact. I (and others, see, an article by Ron Errico I cited a while back) have often pushed back against these norms. My advice to Steve is not simply to accept them, as you have converted my writings into strawman form, but simply that he is more likely to change those norms by first understanding them, finding some allies along the way and picking his battles. For example, publishing in the peer reviewed literature is a norm of the community, and likely to add to Steve’s legitimacy and acceptance among the broader community. I’d agree with you that climate science — all science — should be held to high standards. If you take a look at my own work, you’ll see that I have argued much the same in a different context:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000537the_other_hockey_sti.html

    From my observations from afar, I see no reason to change this advice.

    3. You’ve pretty well twisted my words in some odd directions. My advice to Michael Mann was indeed, “Unless you really have something serious to hide, give the world access to your original computer code and whatever else MM are asking for.” This is a hint (a pretty obvious one) to Mann that if he doesn’t agree to what is a pretty innocuous request, then many of us are going to assume the worst. It is not, as you suggest, a call for a cover-up, far from it.

    And from the standpoint of the realities of human behavior, if there is something more serious than the sloppiness that I described going on, Mann won’t release the code on his own anyway. You can kick and scream all you want, but all that will do is turn the whole debate into a playground brawl, as I’ve described, and probably diminish the chances that outsiders will care. If there are allegations of research misconduct, as you have suggested, then they should be handled through the channels established for dealing with them. That would be NSF, the relevant universities and journals. I am aware that Steve has done some of this. If these procedures break down or are ineffective, then the House Science Committee (not Joe Barton) is probably the next step. There are also the courts. How allegations of reserach misconduct are handled by those making the claims also signal to us outsiders what really matters on this issue.

    Overall, debate over this issue (in general, and not SM or MM in particular) has conflated three things, (a) the global warming debate over energy policies, (b) policies for research conduct, and (c) a bitter personal spat bewteen warring camps. Of these issues, I’d suggest that (b) is the most relevant and important here. But let me be honest, the mixing up with (a) and (c) works pretty strongly against any progress on (b). This is not a statement of how things should be, but how they are.

    Thanks again for the chance to disucss.

  40. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 7:35 AM | Permalink

    Paul-

    Thanks for the comments, but if the following summary that you offer is how you’d characterize my work, then I’d suggest having another go at it;

    “In all your work, you have never made a strong case in support of public policy intervention. In fact you wander from assertions of “scientific concensus” across to ackowledgement of complete uncertainty. In fact it begs the question; why should anybody care what you believe is needed with regard to public policy, regulation and intervention? The obvious answer is because we are sure (enough) of the underlying science.”

    I don’t recognize any of my perspectives in this summary. So, let me suggest a few papers that do in fact represent my views:

    On policy action:

    Pielke, Jr., R. A., 1998: Rethinking the Role of Adaptation in Climate Policy. Global Environmental Change, 8(2), 159-170.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-161-1998.13.pdf

    On the notion of consensus in climate science:

    Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2001: Room for doubt. Nature, 410:151.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-43-2001.02.pdf

    Pielke, Jr., R. A. 2005. Consensus about climate change? Science, 308: 952-953.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1761-2005.32.pdf

    On action in the face of uncertainty:

    Pielke Jr., R. A., D. Sarewitz and R. Byerly Jr., 2000: Decision Making and the Future of Nature: Understanding and Using Predictions. Chapter 18 in Sarewitz, D., R. A. Pielke Jr., and R. Byerly Jr., (eds.), Prediction: Science Decision Making and the Future of Nature. Island press: Washington, DC.
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-73-2000.06.pdf

    Thanks again.

  41. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:08 AM | Permalink

    re: #39

    “If these procedures break down or are ineffective, then the House Science Committee (not Joe Barton) is probably the next step.”

    It may be true that the particular issue of the compliance with data reporting and archiving would be better covered by the science committee, but Burton’s Energy Committee also has a need for the data requested. If the ur-document which has lead to the demand for internationally mandated energy controls is flawed, it’s necessary for the US Congress to be aware of it and consider it when re-evaluating what its stance should be toward Kyoto and other programs. Of course since the US hasn’t ratified Kyoto it’s not an urgent thing to be decided, but when it’s obvious that one side of the debate is stonewalling on releasing its data, giving them a push toward transparency, whether it eventually results in hearings and policy decisions or not, is appropriate. An ounce of prevention and all that.

  42. Paul
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:14 AM | Permalink

    Roger, did you write the following with regard to understanding the nature of anthropegnic climate change?

    “predicting the impact on climate of reducing carbon dioxide emissions is so uncertain as to be meaningless”

    Did you also write the following with regard to understanding the nature of anthropogenic climate change?

    “no matter what it is that MBH are not revealing, it could have no consequences for [either] the scientific consensus on human influence on climate […], as these issues are supported by a larger literature”

    So which is it? Total uncertainty with respect to human influence or robust “scientific consensus”.

    Writing in such a way confuses others about your arguements and leaves one thinking that you are simply advocating public policy intervention because you believe in public policy intervention.

    It would help me immensly if you could condense into 100 word you views on

    1. the extent of climate change you believe we have witnessed to date (no models)
    2. the extent to which you feel confident that human behaviour is a cause
    3. what public policies do you advocate in response (if applicable)
    3. the extent to which we can estimate the economic and social costs of climate change relative to public policy that you advocate

    What is very clear, either way, is that you are a public policy advocate. You have stated again and again the the science doesn’t matter (and this is where you seem to get muddled, because as those quotes show you seem to argue that it doesn’t matter because we know enough already, or because we don’t know enough but that is irrelevant.

    Now what I think you want to say, but you tend to give mixed messages, is that climatic events have a social and economic influence in the world. You then jump to the need for a public policy response. My position is that anybody needs to make a case why public interevention is needed when the human race have powerful adaptive capabilities. This is abundantly clear. What might those reasons be?

    Primarily, that we know with an appropriate level of probability that we are witnessing and will witnessing increasing costs imparted by some market failure (i.e. the extreme anthropogenic climate change position). Hence we need costly policy intervention to avoid or mititgate against even more costly market failure.

    How can we make that judgement? Only by initially understanding the extent and nature of climate change. MBH, Jones Briffa, Moberg etc. etc. etc. are all attempts to do this, but increasingly they look flawed and more alarmingly, the research behind them can not verified due to shoddy scientific practice.

    The solution is to sideline the science, but to demand more openness in its execution. Ther eis no way I, as a taxpayer and voter, going to buy into any public policy action unless I believe it is necessary. I don’t think I am unique.

  43. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:36 AM | Permalink

    Paul-

    You must be a very fast reader, which might explain why you completely misrepresent my perspectives. For one, there is absolutely no inconsistency between the two statements that you pull out. As far as answers:

    1. + 2. In general, not my area of expertise. Check out IPCC for what the climate science community thinks. And then read our 2000 Atlantic Monthly article. With respect to disaster losses, which is my area of expertise, see the recent exchange in BAMS, cited last week on my weblog.

    3. “No regrets” adaptation and mitigation, as a start. Read my 1998 paper on adaptation. Read my forthcoming paper on ESP for an update of this perspective.

    3. I’ve published extensively on this topic with respect disaster costs, others have done similar work related to water resources, public health, etc. Have a look. Most recently, read our paper in Population and Environment from early this year.

    When you are ready to talk substance rather than sound bite or sophistry come visit us over at Prometheus — http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/.

    Thanks again for the exchange.

  44. Frank H. Scammell
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:39 AM | Permalink

    The biggest problem I have with the ongoing debate focusses on the merging of the proxies with the “instrumental” record. All of us realize that “instrumental” doesn’t mean just straight thermometer readings. It may start with these readings, but it is heavily massaged with “corrections” of dubious origin. Without the “instrumental” record, the proxies don’t seem to give much insight into anything exciting happening in the future. I know you have lobbied for “update the proxies”, and I fully support that, but I would lobby for get rid of the “instrumental” record. The satellite tropo records don’t show much even after the “big” correction which marginally moves the two closer into agreement. See Junk Science comparing “instrumental” with satellite. Also what happened on the prominent scientist being instructed on “We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period”.

  45. John A
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    Roger

    Check out IPCC for what the climate science community thinks.

    Nope. The IPCC does not seek what the climate science community thinks – instead the IPCC tells the climate science community what to think – or else.

    Nor does the IPCC represent some sort of “consensus”. Nor is it a clearing house for what is happening in climate science.

    You are operating under a set of assumptions which are not shared.

  46. Jeff Norman
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 4:02 PM | Permalink

    IMO the Hockey Stick is no longer relevant to the IPCC. It has served its purpose.

    To test my hypothesis, I created a new computer model to study possible future reports issued by the IPCC. After averaging the results of numerous scenario runs together I have concluded that the concise edition of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (FARce) in all likelihood (confidence level D (see footnotes) will not include a Hockey Stick Graph. The Hockey Stick will be replaced by the Spaghetti graph.

    In fact it will be presented as Spaghettini so you can’t actually see what happens after 1980 (this prefabrication has a much higher confidence level).

  47. TFox
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 4:18 PM | Permalink

    WRT crafting a response to this challenge, here’s a few things which occur to me:

    1. You get to assume that you’re right, and your opponents are wrong. No need to spend words rearguing what has been argued elsewhere.

    2. You don’t get to assume that the entire edifice of AGW collapses once the hockey stick is gone. Eg, RAP Jr once blogged, “Of course, most Prometheus readers will know that the case for a human influence on climate is well established through multiple independent lines of research” and I don’t think this is an uncommon point of view. If your case involves disproving AGM entirely, you have to address the totality of evidence.

    3. Even the existence or lack thereof of past and current AGW is not the same as the GHG policy question, which is to what extent and at what cost (and to whom) can modifying current and future GHG emissions modify future climate change, bringing what benefits (and to whom), and especially as compared to what alternative mitigation or adaption strategies?

    The challenge is essentially, what do these results, which we assume are correct, say about policy, considered in context of everything known about climate?

  48. John A
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 4:49 PM | Permalink

    RAP Jr once blogged, “Of course, most Prometheus readers will know that the case for a human influence on climate is well established through multiple independent lines of research” and I don’t think this is an uncommon point of view.

    It may not be an uncommon view. It may even be a majority view. That does not mean that “human influence on climate is established”. Instead it’s an appeal to popularity dressed up as a scientific statement.

    The statement “..well established through multiple lines of research” is also misleading. We are never told what are these multiple lines of research and whether a) individually they bear the weight of the conclusions placed on them b) those multiple lines are truly independent and truly robust or c) those “multiple lines of research have been properly audited in the data they have used and the methodology used to extract information to inform the conclusions”

    Which leaves us with the same old “the studies are based on trees and other proxies, no you can’t check them because you are obviously a shill for the fossil fuel industry for even doubting my word” schtick.

    “Trust me, I’m a climate scientist. Look ,I’ve got a PhD and a list of peer reviewed articles published and academic tenure and I’m pure and noble in spirit in my relentless quest for The Truth”

  49. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 5:22 PM | Permalink

    John A.-

    Reading some of your posts, I can’t see how you are helping Steve’s cause. For some mutiple lines of evidence, I’ll pass you a (very) short way up the family tree. Check out my father’s blog:

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/

  50. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    tsk tsk Roger,

    “I can’t see how you are helping Steve’s cause.”

    It’s actually dead simple:

    Mann’s algorithm is still a black box.

    That ain’t science. Who’s side are you on?

  51. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    Hans- “Who’s side are you on?” Indeed. I need to be careful or I’ll start talking again about “pimple-faced junior high school boys” and that got me in trouble the first time;-) Sometimes there are more than two sides. My 2 cents on the HS debate can be found here:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000480on_the_hockey_stick.html

  52. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 6:04 PM | Permalink

    re 39: Roger, thank you for your thoughtful response. You said :

    Willis-

    1. The request from Rep. Barton was not a supoena, but an informal request. I maintained then, and still think, that Rep. Barton’s approach was misguided. I agree 100% with the comments of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, chairman of the House Science Committee on how this issue whould have been handled. See here:

    http://www.house.gov/science/hot/climate%20dispute/index.htm

    I have no problem with Congressional oversight of science, in fact I have often called for more of it in my writings. But recognize that there are better and worse ways of conducting that oversight.

    Regardless of whether it is a subpoena or a request, regardless whether you might think that the issue should have been handled otherwise, advising Mann to pretend to comply while burying the committee in meaningless paper is a) unscientific, as he should show his results to everyone, b) illegal, as it constitutes research misconduct, and c) damaging to your reputation.

    That’s the amazing part in all of this to me, that otherwise reputable scientists such as yourselves are saying anything to Mann et. al. other than COME CLEAN, TELL ALL TO WHOMEVER ASKS. That is what science is about. To advise him to cover up the results because you don’t happen to like who is asking, or the way the question was handled, is research misconduct on your part, because you become his accomplice in the misconduct by actively encouraging him to keep the data secret.

    2. That there are particular norms of behavior in the climate science community than other communities is simply a statement of fact. I (and others, see, an article by Ron Errico I cited a while back) have often pushed back against these norms. My advice to Steve is not simply to accept them, as you have converted my writings into strawman form, but simply that he is more likely to change those norms by first understanding them, finding some allies along the way and picking his battles. For example, publishing in the peer reviewed literature is a norm of the community, and likely to add to Steve’s legitimacy and acceptance among the broader community. I’d agree with you that climate science “¢’‚¬? all science “¢’‚¬? should be held to high standards. If you take a look at my own work, you’ll see that I have argued much the same in a different context:

    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000537the_other_hockey_sti.html

    From my observations from afar, I see no reason to change this advice.

    1) Certainly, as you point out, there are “norms” in the climate science community. However, both the law and I distinguish between “norms” and scientific misconduct, and I strongly advise you to do the same. Research misconduct is clearly defined in the FRMP, which does not exempt climate science from its dictates because it has “norms”.

    2) I read your paper above on the “other hockey stick”, and enjoyed it greatly. You make the point that Science magazine should not have published the Mills paper, and you can’t understand why they did, or how it passed peer review … good questions all, but you’ve neglected to take the next step. You keep telling Steve “publish in the Journals” as though the Journals were not businesses but scientific institutions … and yet you see them acting like businesses, accepting papers purely for their shock value. Science, at present, has handed the guardianship of “real” science to businesses, and you are protesting it re the Mills paper, and rightly so.

    However, now that you know that about Science and the “scientific” journals, what chance do you think Steve has of getting published there? Read up on the struggles that he (and a host of other sceptical scientists) have to get published, while unscientific nonsense like the Mills paper, which you rightly excoriate, are published there every week. Do you think Steve and other scientists prefer to have this discussion in the blogs? How is it that otherwise inductive, deductive, investigative, curious scientists like yourself seem unable to draw the obvious conclusion from the publication of the Mills paper? Climate science is in a political whirlpool, the ethics are so bad that research misconduct is excused as the “norm”, reputable scientists like yourself refuse to speak out against the concealment of data and methods, the journals only publish one side of the story, and that without proper peer review … and you question why there is passion in this, and tell us to fight it out in the Journals? Open your eyes, look outside of your university, put that astounding scientific brain of yours to work on real world questions like why the fight is not taking place in the Journals, or the consequences of having the NSF wimp out of the discussion because scientists like yourself refuse to speak out, or why it was necessary to get Barton involved, or why your suggestions won’t work in the real world.

    3. You’ve pretty well twisted my words in some odd directions. My advice to Michael Mann was indeed, “Unless you really have something serious to hide, give the world access to your original computer code and whatever else MM are asking for.” This is a hint (a pretty obvious one) to Mann that if he doesn’t agree to what is a pretty innocuous request, then many of us are going to assume the worst. It is not, as you suggest, a call for a cover-up, far from it.

    And from the standpoint of the realities of human behavior, if there is something more serious than the sloppiness that I described going on, Mann won’t release the code on his own anyway. You can kick and scream all you want, but all that will do is turn the whole debate into a playground brawl, as I’ve described, and probably diminish the chances that outsiders will care. If there are allegations of research misconduct, as you have suggested, then they should be handled through the channels established for dealing with them. That would be NSF, the relevant universities and journals. I am aware that Steve has done some of this. If these procedures break down or are ineffective, then the House Science Committee (not Joe Barton) is probably the next step. There are also the courts. How allegations of reserach misconduct are handled by those making the claims also signal to us outsiders what really matters on this issue.

    Sorry I misunderstood you regarding your advice to Mann. You advised him to come clean unless he had something to hide. You claim that you were giving a “broad hint” to Mann that if he didn’t come clean, that “many of us are going to assume the worst.” I didn’t even consider that interpretation, because as near as I can tell, you’ve continued to assume the best.

    OK, we’ve now moved along some months. Mann still hasn’t come clean, has paid no attention to your broad hint. You say that you must now assume that he has “something serious to hide”, as I do. What do you plan to do? When are you going to take a stand against it? I see nothing in your writings but handwringing. You are still saying, up to your very last post, “if there is something more serious than the sloppiness that I described going on [with Mann’s refusal] ,,,”

    If? IF? You already told him if he didn’t come clean, you’d assume something serious was going on, and he hasn’t come clean, and now you’re back on “if”? You told us, and him, that you’d make the assumption of serious wrongdoing — OK, we’re waiting …

    When are you going to stop excusing Mann’s actions by claiming they are the “norm” of climate science?. Your own career, along with that of other reputable scientists, proves that they are not the norm, at least not yet. When are you and the rest of the reputable climate scientists going to stand up and tell Mann to put up or shut up — either defend the Hockeystick or withdraw it? When? You guys remind me of the “good Germans” in WWII, you actually think you can stand on the side and avert your eyes and you will be untouched. Not.

    If cheating and lying and hiding and manipulating data does become the “norm” in climate science, your career goes down in flames too. People out here are getting sick of genteel handwaving and obfuscation about a billion dollar question …

    Overall, debate over this issue (in general, and not SM or MM in particular) has conflated three things, (a) the global warming debate over energy policies, (b) policies for research conduct, and (c) a bitter personal spat bewteen warring camps. Of these issues, I’d suggest that (b) is the most relevant and important here. But let me be honest, the mixing up with (a) and (c) works pretty strongly against any progress on (b). This is not a statement of how things should be, but how they are.

    Thanks again for the chance to disucss.

    I agree with your analysis that the important question is b), research misconduct. However, when the powers that be (NSF, pusillanimous but oh-so-respectable scientists, journals only interested in the bottom line, etc.) refuse to stand up and be counted, when they say “oh, it’s just the norm”, when they decline to even comment on the case, at that point the other questions and issues tend to spill over.

    Michael Mann’s response to your offer to him, to put up an argument for his position, is sadly typical. He declined to answer on the grounds it may tend to incriminate him. That’s no surprise.

    And I guess your response (to express regret, but not to express any other opinion whatsoever) is no surprise either, but at some point, Roger, you have to take a stand on this. Is it OK with you or not what Mann has done? And if not, what should you and other scientists do about it?

    At this point, you are the one who is asking for information, and Mann is once again refusing. Are you going to roll over like the rest, or will you stand up and tell us what you think of Mann’s actions? You have said that the important part of this regards research misconduct. You have said that if Mann doesn’t reveal all (and he hasn’t) that you will have to assume something is seriously wrong. We’re waiting for you to act on that assumption …

    I keep waiting, I guess, for the outrage. Here’s Michael Mann, who just now has spit (not crudely like I might, but by means of a “thoughtful” email) in the hand that you were generously holding out to him, a hand to allow him to explain himself, a hand to let him rejoin the ranks of scientists. Are you just going to wipe off the spit, because after all it’s “thoughtful” spit, and keep going?

    Don’t you see that at this point it is your credibility that is blowing in the breeze, and not just Mann’s?

    w.

    PS — While the NSF is the body empowered to bring charges of research misconduct, they will do nothing until reputable scientists like yourself condemn the actions. There is certainly more than enough evidence to investigate the charges, but as long as scientists like yourself do nothing … neither will the NSF … and both of your reputations will suffer.

  53. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 6:15 PM | Permalink

    Roger, thanks again for your interesting links, in this case to your father’s web site. You say:

    For some mutiple lines of evidence, I’ll pass you a (very) short way up the family tree. Check out my father’s blog:

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/

    I went to that page, and all I could find about evidence was a quote from Gavin saying there is “plenty of evidence”:

    As my final comment, I want to add to Gavin’s closing remarks, reproduced below

    “On a final note, an implicit background to these kinds of questions is often the perception that scientific concern about global warming is wholly based on these (imperfect) models. This is not the case. Theoretical physics and observed data provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate. The models are used to fill out the details and to make robust quantiative projections, but they are not fundamental to the case for anthropogenic warming. They are great tools for looking at these problems though.”

    Models are a powerful tool to better understand the climate system and to assess the sensitivity of the climate system to human and natural climate forcings. They have shown us that the radiative effect of the of addition of greenhouse gases is a first-order climate forcing that alters our climate.

    However, where I and others disagree with Gavin is the statement that “The models are used to fill out the details and to make robust quantitative projections…”. What “details” and what demonstration of “robust quantitative projections”?This blanket statement needs to be clarified. Even Mike MacCracken and colleagues for example, have published a paper in Nature in 2004 entitled “Reliable regional climate model not yet on horizon.” The overselling of regional and global models as skillful (robust) projections, unfortunately, rather than as sensitivity simulations, adds to the existing politicalization of climate science and provides justifiable criticism of the assessment reports that are published.

    Every other quotation on the page about “evidence” was about climate models, which, as we all know, are not evidence.

    What am I missing on your dad’s page?

    Many thanks,

    w.

  54. per
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 6:30 PM | Permalink

    Re: #39 “I agree 100% with the comments of Rep. Sherwood Boehlert…”
    Dear Roger
    I took the liberty of reading Boehlert’s letter.

    Boehlert writes that (Barton’s) “investigation is not needed to gain access to data”, and that the only charge levelled against Mann is that “he was refusing to share data”. Of course, it is a matter of record that MBH published the data listing for MBH’98 in their corrigendum in 2004, and I cannot imagine why anyone would want to make the charge that he was refusing to share data.

    More to the point, MBH refused to make available the details of their methodology; details that are essential for replication. It was not until Barton made his investigation, that MBH released the relevant source code. I find it surprising that you would wish to associate yourself with such a misleading set of comments.

    Even worse, Barton phrased his enquiry to address issues of openness, data sharing in publically funded science and due process. Boehlert’s letter seems to ignore any consideration of the substantial issues raised in these enquiries.

    However, Boehlert does raise the issue that science is HIS committee’s area of remit. Perhaps you would wish to argue that no other committee in the House of Representatives should make any decisions that are underpinned by science, and scientists ? That way, no other committee will have to make enquiries of scientists, and we can amicably resolve the turf war between these two committees.

    yours
    per

  55. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 7:41 PM | Permalink

    Willis- Thanks. I’d suggest reading this subset of posts:

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/?cat=7

  56. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 7:50 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Roger. I’ll take a look. I’m also interested in your comments on my previous post, as I’m still not clear about your position.

    w.

  57. per
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 8:04 PM | Permalink

    it is worth noting that Michael Mann has refused Pielke’s challenge to open debate.
    no surprise there !
    http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/#000621
    per

  58. Roger Pielke, Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 8:05 PM | Permalink

    Willis- Are you looking for #39?

  59. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 8:29 PM | Permalink

    Roger, I’ve gone through the headings of each of the threads at http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/?cat=7 . By and large, they are of the order of:

    Is the Effect of Increased XXX on the Climate System a First-Order Climate Forcing?

    where XXX is one of a variety of forcings (changes in nitrogen, biogeochemical CO2, etc)

    The answer in each case seems to be based on the results of climate models.

    Let me digress a moment here. I once made a model, using Stella, an advanced modeling language, of a company I worked for. It was a good model, it reproduced the company’s past quite well. It predicted that we would make a whole lot of money in the next three years. My questions is:

    Do the results of my model constitute evidence that the company would make money?

    Clearly (and in the event sadly) the answer is no. The results of models can help us to understand situations, but can never be evidence. Even in physics, which is much better understood than climate science, they still build giant syncrotrons. Why? Because although the models forecast what we might find up there in the high energy regions, they are not evidence.

    Jim Hansen just did a study published in Science magazine about ocean heat. Yes, his model-to-data correlation for the last six years was impressive. But he didn’t mention the lack of correlation for the previous fifty years between his model and the data. I’m sorry, but that’s not evidence. (It is also deceptive, but hey, I am reliably informed that deception is OK because it’s the climate science norm …)

    And it would not be evidence even if he had gotten a good correlation over the prior 50 years. This is because what is a great simulation with high correlation in-sample altogether too often disappears out-of-sample.

    But I digress … where is the evidence? Gavin Schmidt, on your fathers web page, says it’s not all just based on models, there’s lot’s of evidence. I ask where, and you direct me to … model studies. Here’s Gavin again, just so we know what we are looking for:

    On a final note, an implicit background to these kinds of questions is often the perception that scientific concern about global warming is wholly based on these (imperfect) models. This is not the case. Theoretical physics and observed data provide plenty of evidence for the effect of greenhouse gases on climate.

    (Let me say in passing that Gavin is mistaken, because theoretical physics cannot provide evidence either, that’s why it’s called “theoretical” and is thus distinguished from “experimental” physics, which can provide evidence …)

    So we are left with the “observational evidence”. Where is this mystery “observational evidence” that both you and Gavin say exists apart from models? Your links to date have not revealed it to date.

    w.

    PS – I just had a horrible thought, and wanted to make sure that you understand that we are looking for evidence of anthropogenic global warming.

  60. Paul
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 8:36 PM | Permalink

    Willis…

    Well put. This is exactly the question that has been forming in my mind as I’ve looked at the issue.

    The other question, which I haven’t been able to find any resolution to, is this “Is global warming (by any cause) a bad thing?” Of course, there are a lot of other questions that go along with that one “At what temperature does it stop being good? Is it better for some people than other people? Etc.” We seem to be having a great deal of consternation about the fact that its happening without thinking that it might not be a bad thing.

  61. Roger Pielke Jr.
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 8:54 PM | Permalink

    Willis- Good questions, and I’m sure you’d get a response by posing them on my father’s blog.

  62. nanny_govt_sucks
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

    #59 – “We seem to be having a great deal of consternation about the fact that its happening without thinking that it might not be a bad thing. ”

    IMHO, a warmer, wetter, CO2-fertilized planet will be a huge benefit to plants and the animals (including humans) that feed on plants. Other than the issue of a slight and gradual rise in sea-levels (we’ll have 100-200 years to move to higher ground), I see positive results virtually everywhere. Here are a few links I’ve collected on the subject:

    Global Warming Sparks Increased Plant Production in Arctic Lakes
    http://www.livescience.com/environment/051024_arctic_lakes.html
    “Biological activity in some Arctic lakes has ratcheted up dramatically over the past 150 years as a result of global warming, according to a new study.”

    Earth is becoming a greener greenhouse
    http://cliveg.bu.edu/greenergh/nontechsum.html
    “Our results … indicate that the April to October average greenness level increased by about 8% in North America and 12% in Eurasia during the period 1981 to 1999.”
    “the growing season is now about 12 ± 5 days longer in North America and 18 ± 4 days in Eurasia”

    Climate driven increases in global terrestrial net primary production from 1982 to 1999
    http://cliveg.bu.edu/globalgarden/nemanietal-science.htm
    “Most of the observed climatic changes have been in the direction of reducing climatic constraints to plant growth.”

    Greening of arctic Alaska, 1981-2001
    http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2003/2003GL018268.shtml
    “Here we analyzed a time series of 21-yr satellite data for three bioclimate subzones in northern Alaska and confirmed a long-term trend of increase in vegetation greenness for the Alaskan tundra that has been detected globally for the northern latitudes.”

  63. Paul Linsay
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:42 PM | Permalink

    Since this thread is labeled Pielke’s Challenge maybe one of the Pielke’s would like to update it now that Mann has declined the first. I agree with Willis in #58 that all the “evidence” for AGW is based on models. So let’s have a challenge that tests the models but not in 100 years time but right away. Can they predict the climate accurately for the next five years? The challenge is as follows: by 12/21/05 publish on the web, in pdf format available for anyone to download, global temperature maps for every season for the next five years. That’s 20 maps. The average temperature for each season in at least 12 climatic zones( seven continents, the north and south Pacific, the north and south Atlantic, and the Artic ) would have to agree with the measured MSU temperatures to +- 0.25 C in 68 % of the cases and within +- 0.5 C in 96% of the 240 cases.

    If the models are correct then we will have to accept AGW. If not, it’s been a waste of time and money but maybe someone learned something.

    So Roger, how about it? Schmidt, Connelly and company won’t talk to us, but coming from you or your father they just might bite. I’m betting that they’ll pass on the challenge but even that would tell us a whole lot.

  64. James Lane
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 9:44 PM | Permalink

    Paul’s comment is a good one, and quite germane to the question Pielke has posed. One of the fascinations about the way climate change theory is depicted in the media is that everything is bad. If you live somewhere hot, it’s going to get hotter. If you live somewhere cold, it’s going to get colder. Somewhere dry will get drier, somewhere wet will get wetter. If you’re cute and cuddly, you’re going extinct If you’re are nasty beast (e.g. malarial mosquito) you’ll thrive.

    It seems pretty obvious that if the climate is warming, there will be winners and losers, both among humans and the biosphere in general. And faced with a choice between warming and cooling, I think most would choose warming every time.

    The idea that there is some “acme” of global temperature, represented in, what, 1850 or 1900 seems intuitively unlikely. Yet what the hockeystick tells us is there has been extremely limited temperature variability for the last 1000 years, until AGW pushed temperatures to “unprecendented” levels. If the hockeystick is wrong, however, and temperature has been highly variable over the last 1000 years, not only does this put paid to the idea that there is some sort of “optimum” temperature, but also the observation that the biosphere seems to have coped quite well with variability over that time. That’s a key reason (although not the only one) why the hockeystick debate is important.

  65. Louis Hissink
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 10:50 PM | Permalink

    #63

    Predictions – Paul, interestingly Warwick Hughes recounts a reply he got from the Australian BOM to Warwick’s suggestion they should try 30 day prediction was that their 30 day predictions were worse than their 90 day ones!

    I think that climate can’t be modelled accurately in the first place, non-linear chaotic system etc etc.

    I think it falls into the issue of looking at a Cambrian tribolite and from that guessing what a dinosaur might look like.

  66. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Nov 2, 2005 at 11:17 PM | Permalink

    Re: #65 Louis,

    This puts me in mind of Steven Jay Gould, one of my favorite pop-science writers, though one I always disagreed with on a fundamental level. Anyway I don’t expect a discussion of him is apropo on this thread

    Which bring me to a suggestion. Since we waste a lot of Steve’s time making him come up with interesting things to respond to, he might want to take suggestions on interesting topics the readers here might want to have a thread to bang away on. The first such might be a call for such topics which Steve could save and search through when he thought it was time for a new thread but he didn’t have time to come up with something. This would give him more time to work on producing publishable papers, which should keep TCO and others happy. It might also attract new readers when they found there was an interesting thread around on Alien Abductions (just kidding.)

    Of course, there’d have to be a rule not to start discussing a suggested subject unless Steve actually posted a thread for it, but that wouldn’t be too hard to police. In fact Steve wouldn’t even have to read such ‘off topic’ threads if he could get John or someone else to monitor them and only give hims a call if things got out of hand.

  67. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Nov 3, 2005 at 12:09 AM | Permalink

    Re: 61, thank you for that excellent suggestion. I have posted it at

    http://climatesci.atmos.colostate.edu/?p=77

    Your willingness to engage in discussion of these questions is quite refreshing.

    w.

  68. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 3, 2005 at 1:31 AM | Permalink

    re 51

    In the long run I am confident that the technical dispute between MBH and MM will be resolved in the peer-reviewed literature. But so what? Already research on paleoclimate modeling and proxies by von Storch et al. and Moberg et al. has superceded the work of MBH.

    Has it? Is Mobergs data and method transparant?
    Have you read crititique of von Storch here.

    The bottom bottom bottom line in science is:
    Show your work!

    Otherwise I’ll write a paper tomorrow claiming the moon is actually made of green cheese with reference to new data and methods which I can’t reveal because of copyright issues.

  69. Hans Erren
    Posted Nov 3, 2005 at 1:35 AM | Permalink

    And it’s not “two pimple faced boys”, it’s more the emperor wears no clothes….

  70. beng
    Posted Nov 3, 2005 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    It’s quite interesting reading Pielke Sr’s blog. His studies seem far in advance & complexity than most other climate studies.

    Only as a hypothetical scenario, perhaps Pielke Sr et al have discovered that CO2/H20/biological effects are quite substantial, but the “straight” radiational CO2 is not the biggest player in the overall combined effects, which are both positive and negative in various situations — for ex., increased broadleaf cover produces cooling & might be increasing w/CO2 fertilization (and other important reasons). This would be a huge step forward in understanding, but it would also suggest that land-cover changes have already had significant climatic effects ever since forest-clearing & agriculture started (ex., the US 1930s dust-bowl/heat-waves), and hence humans for millenium have been living & adjusting to its effects (w/the pure radiational effects of increased CO2 recently not being a particularly big player). If so, it wouldn’t be a good case for massive societal intervention, at least not for CO2.

  71. Posted May 1, 2007 at 1:31 PM | Permalink

    Sorry if this topic is too old for this to be pertinent, or if anyone will even read this…. It seems at least now, it doesn’t matter. Or does it still?

    Here’s a few questions, ignoring what appears to me to only be a lesson that the IPCC doesn’t review things well all the time, and that this is mostly political. No, I don’t have the answers, and I don’t think anyone does — I don’t think this question can be answered, yet.

    1. Is the rise of CO2 caused by temperature or is the rise in temperature caused by CO2? Or is it really more likely it’s a large variety of factors, as is probably the case? (It would be nice to see some better proof of which is what.)

    2. Is 380 ppmv of CO2 a problem? What’s the best amount of CO2? 480? 280? Does that 380 continue to go up, stay the same, go down, slow down, speed up?

    3. Is a .7 degree C warming trend over 130 years a big deal? (I’ve been seen the margin of error back for a lot of that means it could actually be between .4 and 1 or so)

    4. Will that temperature continue to rise, accelerate, stay the same or drop? What happens depending on the answer to question 3 compared to that?

    5. If the trend should continue and it was a global mean of 15 C (or fall and be 13 C) what does that mean to the ecosystems, weather patterns, and so on.

    6. If we assume that CO2 rises, CO2 causes temps, temps will rise and 15 C (or even 20 C) for the global mean over time is very very very very very bad, can we logically and realistically do anything about it with carbon taxes, cap and trade, emissions controls, and if so, what needs to be done, how much does it need to be done, and how quickly does it need to be done.

    7. Will new technology and new sources of fuel make it all moot regardless?

    This all rather makes the data, what the IPCC does or doesn’t do, and a number of other unanswered questions, at least here and now.

    Interestingly enough, the data being asked for is supposedly here. Since I have no idea what it’s supposed to look like, I don’t know if it’s really it. I appologize if this thread is too old, or if the data is meaningless, or if it’s the wrong stuff. Or it’s 2007 or meaningless or what.

    ftp://holocene.evsc.virginia.edu/pub/MANNETAL98/METHODS/
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/mann1998/
    http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v430/n6995/suppinfo/nature02478.html

    Here’s some more recent work, with Jones:
    ftp://ftp.ncdc.noaa.gov/pub/data/paleo/contributions_by_author/jones2004/

    RE: #63 Paul:
    Of course they’re not going to talk to you. You are a denier and a skeptic so obviously nothing you say, do or think is worthwhile to them. You can’t do anything for them.

    All:
    My it’s gotten a lot hotter since this discussion all started. Oh, wait, it hasn’t. Neverrmind. My models must be off. 🙂

  72. Posted May 1, 2007 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Obviously I should have come in the main page, I see you already have links to the data and looks to be as bogus as I thought it might be. The rest of the post I suppose is still somewhat meaningful. Sorry if it’s not, I just like to comment when I read something I think is interesting. Thanks!

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