Christy on Source Code

John Christy writes in reply to my email, occasioned by Connolley’s remark that Wentz and Mears had been forced to reverse engineer his code:

Steve:

We gave RSS the part of the code that was still a source of confusion (a correction for diurnal drift for the LT product). In addition, we provided intermediate adjustment datafiles for both MT and LT – going far beyond only the “final product” that Connolley seems to think. We did this as early as 2003.

It is true that RSS has not audited our complete code (really codes), but they were essentially able to reproduce the intermediate and final results for the various adjustments based on descriptions in our papers and in dozens of emails with more detailed information. At a conference in Asheville NC, (Oct. 2003) Dr. Mears presented a talk entitled “Understanding the difference between the UAH and RSS retrievals of satellite-based tropospheric temperature estimate” and stated he was satisfied as to having understood the main reasons for the differences between our two datasets. This was for the MT product. In that presentation he showed data from some of the intermediate files we had sent. The subsequent issue with the LT product was dealt with by indeed sharing the part of the code that created the unresolved problem.

We are working on version 6 of the datasets (not much change in trends, but significant change in technique). The paper will describe each step so that is should be easily reproduceable for anyone with interest. You guys have made it clear this is important.

John C.

Two comments. It sounds like Christy has made and is continuing to make a diligent effort to provide support and documentation for his analyses, as compared to the obfuscation of the Hockey Team e.g. Michael “I will not be intimidated into disclosing my code”, “I did not calculate the verification r2 statistic – that would be a foolish and incorrect thing to do” Mann. Second, if Connolley and others are concerned about aspects of Christy’s code that have not been examined, then you’d have thought that any one of the NRC panels that have investigated surface-troposphere discrepancies would have dealt with the matter. But perhaps these panels, like the North panel, didn’t do any research and just “winged” it.


100 Comments

  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    Thanks for the information, Steve. Christy has shown nothing but proper honesty and up-front behavior throughout the entire emotionally superheated mess of the AGW debate.

    I wonder if Mr. Bloom will also now withdraw his “bait and switch” and ‘”FUDtanks” sell-out’ cop with respect to Christy, and turn his high moral dudgeon more appropriately to Prof. Mann.

    How about it, Steve B.? The data are now clear concerning who behaves with integrity. And let’s see, you’ve always argued as though personal failings made or broke the scientific argument. In your now necessarily revised evaluation of personas, does the lack of forthright behavior on the part of Mann vitiate the case for AGW?

  2. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 10:27 AM | Permalink

    “We gave RSS the part of the code…” If a certin well known climatologist said that most here, certainly you Pat!, would go ballistic! ‘What is he holding back?’ would be the cry, ‘How can we reproduce his work without all his code!’ the demand, ‘He’s a fr….’ the more extreme elements here would mutter darky.

  3. Max
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 10:58 AM | Permalink

    Don’t take it out of context, he actually said:

    “the part of the code that was still a source of confusion (a correction for diurnal drift for the LT product).”

    If Mann did that, I think many folks here would be at least thankful for his turn of mind. However, I don’t think this will happen in the next months…

  4. Dave Dardinger
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    The point, Peter, is that if you write in your publication, “we calculated the mean and standard deviation of the data using standard methods….”, and when when you do the calculation using standard methods you get the same result, then you don’t need to ask for code for that part of verification. It’s only when that doesn’t work that there’s a problem.

    Now it’s true that its better just to post up code for what you did to avoid having to send it multiple times for anyone who is interested, but Steve hasn’t complained about those who have made data and code available on request, but those who haven’t done so.

    That’s why Steve was willing to follow up when Connolley claimed Christy hadn’t.

  5. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 11:41 AM | Permalink

    #2 — Get serious, Peter. Read the whole story. Mears acknowledged being able to reproduce the UAH results based on the provided code. When was Mann ever voluntarily forthcoming?

    There are two elements here, Peter. Those who are confident of their results have no problem whatever showing how they got them. Typically, they are eager to show how they got them. Second, those who are committed to the integrity of the process are willing to show their work despite any personal fears of being shown wrong.

    The behavior is the same in each case: The person yields up the method.

    Those who do not yield up their methods to examination are either hiding something done incorrectly for fear of being exposed, or else, despite confidence in their work, are not committed to the integrity of the process. Neither position is commendable.

  6. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 11:49 AM | Permalink

    What’s the over/under on Connolley admitting that he mis-spoke in even a syllable?

  7. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

    Re # 6, I believe it’s \frac{17}{Manns(R^2)} against, …

  8. William Connolley
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 2:18 PM | Permalink

    Well, it looks like I was wrong, and I’ve posted an update on my blog about it. Thanks for finding out.

    You’ll note, however, that the code is still not public, and it doesn’t look like Christy has any intention of making it so. The comment about the paper documenting the steps is not useful, because (although Christy, you’ll notice, has still not actually identified the exact nature of the error) it was a sign-error in the code, not a problem with the method that caused this problem.

    Note that the 2003 timeframe is curious… if this problem was identified in 2003, why did it take another 2 years to bring it into the light?

  9. bender
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 2:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #7
    It’s Heisenberg. As soon as you state the probability of an event, that probability changes. 😉

  10. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

    #8. The only person making “bizarre assertions” was, ahem, Connolley. IF we review the bidding, it appears that my comments were appropriate and justified.

  11. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 3:18 PM | Permalink

    Steve

    I’m interested in knowing what your beef is with Bill? I’m surprised by your reaction to his posts as you are normally very polite.

    KevinUK

  12. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 3:23 PM | Permalink

    Note that the 2003 timeframe is curious… if this problem was identified in 2003, why did it take another 2 years to bring it into the light?

    I see that the code exchange was made in ’03, not the reporting of an error in ’03. I guess maybe it took the RSS folks awhile after that to spot the error in the code.

    I could be wrong, but I seem to recall that the impact of the “problem” became magnified over time time when one looked at the pre-corrected vs post-corrected data. So maybe that encourage some deeper snooping from the RSS folks and uncovered the incorrect signage.

  13. William Connolley
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 3:43 PM | Permalink

    MJ – because of "At a conference in Asheville NC, (Oct. 2003) Dr. Mears presented a talk entitled “Understanding the difference between the UAH and RSS retrievals of satellite-based tropospheric temperature estimate” and stated he was satisfied as to having understood the main reasons for the differences between our two datasets." – if that doesn’t mean that RSS had solved the problem by then, why is it in C’s reply?

  14. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 3:47 PM | Permalink

    Christy says that the MT issue was resolved in 2003 and the LT issues were “subsequent”

  15. Bill Bixby
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    Just out of curiosity, how many people here think Christy should put his entire code on a web site for anyone interested to download and audit?

    I’m raising my hand.

    Yours,
    Bixby

  16. TCO
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:10 PM | Permalink

    Raises hand.

  17. per
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:15 PM | Permalink

    i think Bill is right.

    the issue is you run into difficulties. Folk don’t write their code either (a) to be read by anyone else (sometimes even themselves) (b) appalling archiving practices, where the code in use at a particular time is a constantly evolving code

    none of this is an excuse; if you are getting oodles of government money, and folk rely on your work, you have to provide the information that shows your work is reliable.

    yours
    per

  18. TCO
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:19 PM | Permalink

    I bet if people start having their code up for review, the quality of work will improve (even before reviews, out of fear of people finding mistakes).

  19. john lichtenstein
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Did William Connelly’s post #13 get scrambled or something? Or am I just too slow to get it?

    Bill Bixby all Earth Science types should publish turnkey scripts. But that’s not been the norm.

  20. bender
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:22 PM | Permalink

    Raised hand, with stipulation that code be well-commented. Have a look at any of Steve M’s publicly available codes and you get an idea of the level of commentary required to ensure usability.

  21. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:23 PM | Permalink

    #15 — And Mann: Should he put his entire code on a web site for anyone interested to download and audit, too?

  22. bender
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:31 PM | Permalink

    Nah.

  23. Bill Bixby
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:42 PM | Permalink

    re: #21. Yes, Mann’s code should be available freely to anyone with interest and time on their hands. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why he didn’t release the code years ago. It makes no sense at all.

    Yours,
    Bixby

  24. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 4:51 PM | Permalink

    data + method = result

    omit one, and it isn’t science, then it’s “trust me, I am a doctor”.

  25. per
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 6:07 PM | Permalink

    I’m interested in knowing what your beef is with Bill?

    The good Dr Connolley is a real climate stalwart, and has been critical of M&M’s work since it was published. It is my recall that he castigated M&M as “fools” for disagreeing with one of the phrases in the MBH corrigendum; that he claimed that MM’05 was unimportant, and immediately backed that up by saying that he had not read the paper !

    yours
    per

  26. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 6:39 PM | Permalink

    #23 — “For the life of me, I cannot figure out why he didn’t release the code years ago. It makes no sense at all.

    Unless he doesn’t want anyone to see it.

  27. Jo Calder
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 7:16 PM | Permalink

    #11, 26. Connolley is on record as saying that he purposefully sowed confusion in Wikipedia pages, keeping alive the McKitrick&Michaels – McIntyre&McKitrick canard. His comment is buried deep inside the history for this page, I think, but I don’t have time to wade through it all. He now acts (as a Wikipedia admin) as gatekeeper on many climate-related pages, including those about Steve McI. Following some of the links around will give you an idea of how he operates.

  28. Tim Lambert
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 9:33 PM | Permalink

    Oh charming. Calder accuses Connolley of dishonesty despite having no evidence. Go on, make some more stuff up, they’ll believe anything here.

  29. O. Charming
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 9:43 PM | Permalink

    Connolley at Wikipedia:

    The reference is to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk:Ross_McKitrick There’s a section called rv by Sirk and several paragraphs down you get this exchange:

    your admission that your purpose was to discredite M&M[6] :::M&M didn’t make a mistake in degrees and radians I think you mean McKitrick in a not related article made that mistake.

    Of course M&M did. But McK and McI don’t have a trademark on the M&M label. And thereby deliberately misleading people who read this talk page. –MichaelSirks 20:40, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

    That is the reason why I am amazed that you want to mention it here. You give the impression that you want to suggest that McKitrick doesn’t know the differnce between radians and degrees.(thereby suggesting that you can’t trust the work of M&M.)

    On the latter point, definitely. William M. Connolley 20:15, 20 October 2005 (UTC).

    It doesn’t surprise me, but now it is in writting.–MichaelSirks 20:40, 20 October 2005 (UTC)

  30. Mike Carney
    Posted Oct 2, 2006 at 9:48 PM | Permalink

    Nice of William to admit the mistake. Its a step farther than some have taken. Unfortunately, in the same message he attempts to sow disrespect with three new accusations. Is there any truth to them? I don’t know the specifics. We do know that William already made a false comment about Christy with no evidence to back it up. More to the point, if William really wanted those questions answered, it appears that email would quickly resolve them. For my part, I don’t see the point. Christy has shown the desire to be open (talked the talk) and when asked by competitors has actually handed over key information. (Interestingly, RSS is a business so they actually stand to make money on Christy and Spencer’s work.) When they found mistakes, he swallowed hard and said, that’s science. If Mann and Jones had done half of what he did, Climate Audit might not exist.

  31. Tim Lambert
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:02 AM | Permalink

    O Charming: None of that supports in any way the claim that Connolley "purposely sowed confusion". Do you have anything to support it? I guess not.

  32. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:12 AM | Permalink

    For an overview of the Connelly dispute, see here. There’s a lot of folks that don’t care for what he did.

    w.

  33. Tim Lambert
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 3:07 AM | Permalink

    You mean a small number. The wikipedia community voted to make him an admin. Looks they felt that his behaviour was reasonable and responsible.

  34. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 4:18 AM | Permalink

    Jeez, we’re back to the “consensus” problem again …

    w.

  35. Michael Sirks
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 4:35 AM | Permalink

    #31 Let’s look at what Connoly said at his own site:

    However, CA have picked it up and the usual nonsense flows out again… but the bit I want to pick out is the bizarre assertion (by McI, comment 19) that of “the cooperative approach of S&C”. As far as I know, no-one has seen their computer code [Oops: see uupdate]. RSS made a major correction to S+C in fixing a sign error for them (which S+C have still not explicitly admitted) but had to do this by back-engineering, since… their code wasn’t available. TP even explicitly asks if anyone has audited this stuff… but of course, no-one is interested in doing that, especially not McI.

    The “bizarre’ assertion was correct. “The code that was still a source of confusion’ was shared. They have many times acknoledged the mistake and have thanked Mears and Wentz for finding the error. Back-enginering wasn’t required because they had the code. And finally McI send an e-mail which was what Connoly should have done instead of writig a piece where every sentence is wrong.

    The question did Connolley purposely sowed confusion is of course diffucult to answer because intent is difficult to proof. It could be lazyness or stupidity. Fact is that Connoly has been told many times that Christy has shared the code, but this was no reason for Connoly to look for evidence for his own bizarre assertion. Instead he kept repeating it without any evidence.

    Willis; there are more Wikipedia disputes in which Connoly is involved, but I don’t think we should discuse them here. If someone wants to wade through the varies disputes I am happy to assist.

    Michael Sirks

  36. John Cross
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:27 AM | Permalink

    Michael: I don’t want this to get into a S&C bashing/defending thread but for a little balance there is a history of S&C not cooperating with others who disagree with their work.

    I will once again bring up Q. Fu who published results that provided a way to resolve a well known problem with the MSU readings. Instead of actually reading his work and responding in a submission to the journal that published Fu’s paper, Spencer claimed that Fu was wrong and there was a conspiracy to ignore his and Christy’s work since they weren’t asked to be one of the reviewers for Fu’s paper. He further went on to imply that if he had been a reviewer he would have rejected it (presumable he would reject it after he read it of course – just to be fair).

    So lets just leave it that very few people actually like to have their work criticized and move on.

  37. Spence_UK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 6:30 AM | Permalink

    John, I find your logic in #36 confusing.

    The fact that Spencer (perhaps strongly) disagrees with Fu’s view is not “proof” that he is unco-operative. In science, it is acceptable for two scientists to disagree (even strongly!) on a subject. In fact disagreement is often useful, as it leads to experiments being designed to resolve the disagreement and adding to the knowledge base.

    The issue of reviewing you highlight is simply an indication of the limits of the peer-review system. If Spencer had produced an “Anonymous Referee #2” style review, then he would have been criticised for that by those here that believe scientific analysis should retain a shred of objectivity. But you are on a stretch here – you are making assumptions about what that review would have looked like.

    On your final point – if you don’t like having your work criticised, or more accurately, critically analysed, then you shouldn’t be a scientist, since attempting to falsify theories is an essential part of the chain of scientific reasoning. But that doesn’t mean you must not disagree.

    BTW, do you have a link to where Christy uses the term “conspiracy”, or are you inflating a claim of bias into a conspiracy?

  38. Thomas Palm
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:17 AM | Permalink

    It may be this article John Cross refers to in #36
    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=050504H
    "This kind of mistake would not get published with adequate peer review of manuscripts submitted for publication. But in recent years, a curious thing has happened. The popular science magazines, Science and Nature, have seemingly stopped sending John Christy and me papers whose conclusions differ from our satellite data analysis. This is in spite of the fact that we are (arguably) the most qualified people in the field to review them. This is the second time in nine months that these journals have let papers be published in the satellite temperature monitoring field that had easily identifiable errors in their methodology."
    (Note the irony that this outburst happened while S&C had their sign error)

    [snip – no religion ]

  39. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:23 AM | Permalink

    Re#38 –
    [snip – no religion]

    how many scientists openly endorsed MBH98 without knowing all of the "truth?" And how many still put their faith in MBH98 now that it has openly been exposed?

  40. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 8:01 AM | Permalink

    No discussion of religion please.

  41. Steve McIntyre
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 8:14 AM | Permalink

    #23. Bill Bixby, when Mann said that he would not be “intimidated” into disclosing his algorithm, do you know of a single climate scientist that e-mailed him and said – “C’mon, Mike, fuggedaboudit. Archive your code.” Do you know of any climate scientist that supported this aspect of the House E&C Committee request?

    Tell you what – why don’t you email Mann right now and ask him to archive (1) the values of the individual stepwise reconstructions; (2) ALL of his code for MBH98 (as requested by the House Committee), including, but not limited to, code showing the Preisendorfer calculations for determining the number of retained PCs; calculation of conifdence intervals; qualification of tree ring networks as described in the Corrigendum; the 100-year window calculation for MBH98 Figure 7.

  42. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 8:20 AM | Permalink

    The idea that faith doesn’t play a role in science is absurd. You have to work on certain assumptions. If you want to be productive and move ahead you have to suspend disbelief at some point and invest your faith in some set of propositions which you take to be axiomatic.

    I used to work on the assumption that paleoclimatologists knew what they were doing. Now I see they lack statistical rigor. Statements like ‘this or that event are “unprecedented” in X years’ have been rendered meaningless by their malfeasance. Through rigorous skepticism we have established that current temperatures are unprecedented in 400 years, not 1000000 years, as the climate alarmists would have us believe. Without statistics to keep their alarmism in check they would have us believe that number is 1000000000 years. Axiomatic faith will always have a role in science. But the more that climate alarmists try to one-up each other in Nature & Science, the greater the role for skepticism in keeping them honest.

    Is climate alarmism ruining the science? That would be a good topic for an AGU session, I would think.

  43. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    #11, Steve

    I’ve just followed the links in #27 (in particular the link which discuss thos for and against his appointment as a Wikipedia admin) and so I no longer need a reply to my question.

    It appears that a great many peole have a problem with Bill on Wikipedia. On behalf of my fellow UK citizens, may I apologise for his actions. I sincerely hope that other non-UK visitors to this blog do not tar the rest of us UK visitors with the same brush. I also appreciate much more so now (having read about his antics on Wikipedia) why you are reluctant to censor posts on this blog.

    KevinUK

  44. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 9:37 AM | Permalink

    Bender,

    You are absolutely right about faith (in the non-religious sense), and every scientist knows this. However, the scientific community likes to maintain this ideal picture of the “impartial scientist”, even though sociologists have debunked it for quite a while now. But it is a useful tool to discredit alternative theories, because you can always accuse their proponents of being biased and partial. The scientific establishment needs those rhetorical tools to protect themselves from new, threatening theories, whether they are valid or not. This is not conspiracy theory, it is just the way every social structure works, and science is no exception. Despite this, revolutions do happen in science, but it’s hard work. “Revolutionaries” have to win field battle after field battle, and win more converts every time. Eventually, there is a critical mass of converts, and the established regime falls. But of course the new regime can be as “bad” as the old one in the way it treats its opponents!

    The climate alarmists have, in a way, seized power of the climate science community by a process which is very similar to a “coup”. That was done, among other things, by setting up bodies like the IPCC, which are parallel structures that can be controlled via political bodies, and this has bypassed the established scientific community that works through peer-reviewed journals and grant committees. The IPCC has made repeated claims about a “consensus”, and by their alarmism and political activism, they have succeeded in gaining political support, and taken control of the grant agencies, and many peer-reviewed journals as well.

    Now AGW is seen as the “paradigm” of climate science, but it didn’t achieve this status by a normal process. Everybody’s hand was forced. Not too many scientists complain, because they are showered with grant money the moment they mention climate change, and denied support if they seem skeptical. Because of that, the normal science process is more and more “corrupted”, and we see more and more bad science, i.e. papers that get published even though they are not the result of rigorous work. Steve’s work here is very useful at exposing this corruption. But to restore a more “democratic” process, more is needed. The field needs courageous scientists to attack those bad papers in the peer-reviewed journals themselves. There are a lot of competent people here who could do that. At least give it a try! Getting published is never easy, but a well-written paper that makes a valid point WILL be published if you persevere. There are sympathetic ears out there.

  45. Steve Sadlov
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 9:43 AM | Permalink

    Another “aye” for Christy posting the whole enchilada.

  46. Spence_UK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Re #38

    I had a look at that article, and I did not see the term “conspiracy” – or anything like it – used once. It looks to me like Spencer is arguing that there appears to be an editorial bias in publications such as Science and Nature, which is something that other people (including pro-warmers, such as James Annan) have also observed.

    So, the link you present corroborates my point, that the statement in John Cross’ post that Spencer claims there is some kind of conspiracy is very likely to be false.

  47. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #43, so, Kevin, perhaps dissent to your view should not be allowed? I should not dare to voice any support for Willaim Connolley else I’m disloyal to the UK? Well, I do dare. I’ve seen nothing to merit your conviction without trial of him.

    Re #44 ‘coup’, ‘forced’, ‘corruption’, blimey! You’d really think that, for example, the UK hadn’t seen two long term record breakingly warm months this year… Francois do you really, honestly, think it’s all made up? I mean is that what you really think, seriously?

  48. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 10:16 AM | Permalink

    #47
    how you do go on. “the UK hadn’t seen two long term record breakingly warm months this year… ”
    We already had a long debate about that. I see you didn’t come away with anything new. Just sticking to faithfully to your guns

    “Honestly, think it’s all made up?”

    I do. I think it’s all made up for political reasons.
    Everytime we look, search, examine papers, articles, data the geological data we had prior to 1998 gets dumped by the way side and imaginary senerios spewed out by computers become truth to those who want them such much to become that.

    Computer models arguing fractions of C, mm of sea level and causing alarm, gloom doom, it’s a State of Fear. That’s what it is.

  49. welikerocks
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 10:18 AM | Permalink

    such much..lol = So much. Still, it describes it well. And yes I type like crap.

  50. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    #42 — None of your faiths were axiomatic, Bender, because they were disproven. In formal systems, axioms are fixed and taken to be true, and logical elaborations are deduced from them. Mathematics is by far the most rigorous example we have of this sort of thinking.

    Science, however, is not axiomatic, no matter that scientists trust one another to be professionally careful. The reason that science is not axiomatic is because all of the theories are open to disproof by objective fact. None of the content of science is logically deduced from axioms and held afterwards as true. All of it is open to disproof. Further, the content of theory does not determine the outcomes of experiment. Theory and (experimental) results are entirely independent.

  51. Stan Palmer
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 10:41 AM | Permalink

    re 47

    I hesitate to enter in this discussion but in regard to assertion “the UK hadn’t seen two long term record breakingly warm months this year”, we had a very cool spring and summer in Quebec and the winter of 2003 and 2004 contained 5 continuous weeks of extremely low temperatures (Lows -35 to -40C, Highs below -25C). I don’t know if these examples prove anything but they prove as much as the assertion about hot weather in the UK.

  52. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 11:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #48, doesn’t surprise me…

    #51, Stan, you miss the point. Both record months (July and September) were the warmest in a record going back before 1700 – not just warm months, the warmest. Two record warm months in one year – how often does that happen in a record over 300 year long? Otoh, does it prove anything? No it does not – I’m not saying it does, OK? But, were these months exceptionally warm or just part of an “coup” (post #44). The former, that’s my point. Something IS happening.

  53. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 11:43 AM | Permalink

    You’d really think that, for example, the UK hadn’t seen two long term record breakingly warm months this year… Francois do you really, honestly, think it’s all made up? I mean is that what you really think, seriously?

    It would be nice to have some sort of reference for these record-breaking events.

    According to the Met Office, the only “long term breakingly warm month this year” was July, and the actual context was: “Many areas had their warmest July, with some areas also experiencing their warmest month.” I don’t remember any big news about a hot Sept, which is the only month this year the Met leaves out.

    I have no doubt there was a lot of hot air in the UK this year and that a substantial portion of it was from anthropogenic sources.

  54. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 11:53 AM | Permalink

    Re #52

    Two record warm months in one year – how often does that happen in a record over 300 year long?

    Under the hypothesis of a natural rebound out of the cold LIA you would expect record-setting temperatures to occur regularly over that time-scale. In fact, it’s warmer now than ever since AD1600, so I’m not sure why you chose AD1700+ as your time-frame.

    Something IS happening.

    We know that already. The question is to what extent it’s the A in AGW. Is A so big that we should be alarmed? And if the alarmism is justified, then does that mean we should let scientific standards slide into the abyss? That makes no sense because to adapt to A you need to know with some precision how big it is. But if the science is weak, then the estimates of A are unreliable, making it difficult to decide on a course of action.

    Francois, like CA, wants to make sure the science is sound.

  55. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 11:54 AM | Permalink

    Re#52:

    Both record months (July and September) were the warmest in a record going back before 1700

    Ok, I see now an unofficial source for Sept here, but where are you getting this “going back before 1700” stuff? The Met Office monthly records go back to 1914.

  56. Michael Sirks
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 12:48 PM | Permalink

    #36 John Cross: I wasn’t defending or bashing C+S. I hope I was bashing Connolley, who makes all kinds of statements which are baseless.

    I am sure you right when you say;

    So lets just leave it that very few people actually like to have their work criticized and move on.

    But I have some questions regarding the example you gave.
    1.) Is this the article you are referring to;
    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=050504H ?
    2) Where does it say that he didn’t read the article?
    3) If he didn’t read the article how could describe their method?
    4) Is Fu’s method correctly described?
    5) Do you think he has point?( stratospheric cooling leads to tropospheric warming)

    May be you have answered these question on another thread I am unaware of.

    Michael Sirks

  57. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:01 PM | Permalink

    very few people actually like to have their work criticized

    I love to have my work criticized by peers. What doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.

  58. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:25 PM | Permalink

    Re #57: Ten seconds on that link found this official source for the September record temps. Apparently the record reference is to CET, although presumably September will also be a record for the other data set (which includes all of England and Wales).

  59. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:28 PM | Permalink

    Re #58: That should have been #55, referring to the link in #53.

  60. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:37 PM | Permalink

    #47 Peter,

    Do I think “it’s all made up” ? What makes you think I do? My comment was basically that the scientific community needs to project an image of the scientific process as being objective, based on facts, immune to bias and ideology, etc. That image is useful, if only to maintain science’s status in society. But in reality, the process of making science is quite messy, and subject to all sorts of interferences. Yes, scientists have faith in their hypothesis. Yes, some scientists are blinded by their ideology and won’t accept some facts despite clear evidence. Yes, some scientists will block papers from publication if they risk losing face because it contradicts their own work.

    Most of the time, it doesn’t matter that much, and science keeps progressing. But in some cases, the whole process is so screwed up by these interferences that the science goes astray.

    When papers like MBH98, or the recent Hansen paper(s) get published, and nobody raises an eyebrow despite obvious weaknesses, something is definitely wrong. I don’t care if AGW is true or false. What I know is that the climate science establishment, at this point in time, will give a free pass to any paper that agrees with the AGW view, and give a hard time to papers that give a contrarian view (e.g. papers on a possible solar influence). The fact that the MSU data are under such intense scrutiny, while the Jones data aren’t, is another good example.

    Think about it: the guys who made the recent coup in Thailand, they all claim it is for the good of the people. They claim they have support from the population. Maybe they do, but it’s still a coup, and they have distorted the democratic process. Climate alarmists say the same: it’s for the good of the planet, they have a consensus, etc. But still, they are distorting the scientific process.

  61. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:38 PM | Permalink

    Re #43: In behalf of the entire English-apeaking world, oh heck the whole world just to make sure Francois doesn’t feel left out, I apologize for KevinUK. ‘Tis a heavy burden I bear… 🙂

  62. John Cross
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

    Re #46: SpenceUK, according to Spencer “But in recent years, a curious thing has happened. The popular science magazines, Science and Nature, have seemingly stopped sending John Christy and me papers whose conclusions differ from our satellite data analysis. “ And you are saying that he is not claiming there is a conspiracy? Don’t let me stop you from claiming anything you wish but in this case I don’t need to make a case for it. Spencer already has far better than I could.

    Re # 56 Michael: I was pointing out that there are reasons to question the openess of S&C. In regards to your questions, I went into this in the previous Satellite thread, but in summary here are very short answers to your questions.

    #1 – No, but it will bo.
    #2 – It doesn’t say that but the methodology he describes is not the one used by Fu.
    #3 – In another article he implies that he read the press release.
    #4 – See 2
    #5 – I don’t know if I understood your comment but there is no question that stratospheric cooling contributes to a reduced warming trend using MSU Channel 2. The question is how best to correct for it.

    Regards,
    John

  63. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:06 PM | Permalink

    Re #50
    The insertion of the adjective “axiomatic” was a knee-jerk after-thought, when I realized the word “faith” could be taken the wrong way, as in rel… faith. Point is: science demands faith, in the sense that scientists at some point are forced to suspend disbelief, and skepticism, in order to make progress. You are right, Pat, to point out how the conjectural nature of scientific knowledge puts every proposition at risk (i.e. there are no axioms); however every scientist accepts this. They must have faith, but they must not have not blind faith. They must know their faith may be tested. They must be willing to switch faiths.

    I have to say: I really enjoy Francois’ posts. He understands how science functions.

  64. Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:07 PM | Permalink

    The CET is here:

    http://www.metoffice.com/research/hadleycentre/CR_data/Daily/HadCET_act.txt

    Having a quick look, September 1729 was 16.6C, for 2006 it is 16.8C. July 2006 was very hot too for the same reason – the prevailing winds brought warm air from Spain. August was rather naff. January to March were rather cool. Armageddon or just the weather?

  65. Paolo M.
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:19 PM | Permalink

    All that warm air in England was missing in Malta:

    Coldest September ever!

    Reading their words, their “ever” is questionable, but this is the news.

  66. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:24 PM | Permalink

    For anyone who wonders why Spencer and Christy, and in particular the former, are on the outs with their colleagues have a look here and in particular here.

  67. Stan Palmer
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:26 PM | Permalink

    re 58
    In regard to reports of UK weather and very hot summers:

    Toronto had a perfect summer this year.
    Further east Quebec had a cool and very wet summer
    Further west the Canadian prairies had a very hot summer

    From this information calulate the rise in in sea level in the 21st century along with an expression for the orbital velocity of the planet Neptune (include pertubations due to Jupiter)

  68. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:37 PM | Permalink

    Re #61: On behalf of all americans (even though I’m not one) , oh heck the whole world just to make sure Peter H doesn’t feel left out, I apologize for Steve Bloom. “Tis a hard life being a political lobbyist in the Dark State of Insanity’.

    KevinUK

  69. David H
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:39 PM | Permalink

    Re #52,
    I am not aware that that many people doubt that we have seen warming in the last three decades. In the UK we have the benefit of records that tell us it is not unique. However imperfect the science may have been it is likely that if Peter were living in 1738 he could say without fear of contradiction that in Central England it was the sixth warmest year on record and 7 out of the 8 hottest years on record had occurred in the previous ten years. The fact is it warmed as much and as fast in Central England over three decades then as it has recently.

    The UK DEFRA website used to show a Hadley Centre graph of Central England Temperatures overlaid with the CRU Global average which showed that 1733 in Central England was very near as warm as the then current global average. They only plotted from 1772 however when it had cooled down a bit.

  70. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:42 PM | Permalink

    It’s useless to discuss anecdotal evidence when talking about global climate change. It’s not even clear that global mean temperature is a useful metric. Pielke Sr. proposed ocean heat storage. Even Hansen thought it was a good idea, until Lyman published results showing recent ocean cooling! But of course, those data must be wrong… In fact, the MSU data for the SH seem to show the same recent cooling trend, which may reflect the fact that SH is dominated by oceans. But again, there is little significance in short term trends.

    BTW, I don’t hear about hurricanes that much…

  71. Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:44 PM | Permalink

    Re 66
    The second link you provided is ad hom. Is there anything technical in the first link that you think is significant?

  72. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:55 PM | Permalink

    #64. Paul B

    Despite the fact that Peter H claims to be a farmer he doesn’t seem capable of understanding the difference between weather and climate. Then again a lot of non-farmers (even some climatologists) don’t seem to understand the difference either. Peter seems to think that there is some signifance in having two claimed (claimed by the very same people who do the ‘experiments’ with GCMs that prove global warming is caused by man) record temperature months in the same year. Is this proof of AGW? I very much doubt it. Well actually I know it isn’t because the GCM experiments that I regularly perform on my ‘fag packet supercomputer’ have told me so. I’d like to also point out that Steve B declined to check the validity of the calculation I performed on this same computer extrapolating the future predicitive acuracy of GCMs (based on the highly reliable data that he gave me on hurricane prediction models). Given that my calculation went unchallanged by Steve B then I assume that he also concurs with the predictive accuracy of my GCM?

    KevinUK

  73. Hans Erren
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 2:59 PM | Permalink

    http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060731fa_fact

    KNOW IT ALL
    Can Wikipedia conquer expertise?
    by STACY SCHIFF
    Issue of 2006-07-31
    Posted 2006-07-24

    — snip —

    For all its protocol, Wikipedia’s bureaucracy doesn’t necessarily favor truth. In March, 2005, William Connolley, a climate modeller at the British Antarctic Survey, in Cambridge, was briefly a victim of an edit war over the entry on global warming, to which he had contributed. After a particularly nasty confrontation with a skeptic, who had repeatedly watered down language pertaining to the greenhouse effect, the case went into arbitration. “User William M. Connolley strongly pushes his POV with systematic removal of any POV which does not match his own,” his accuser charged in a written deposition. “His views on climate science are singular and narrow.” A decision from the arbitration committee was three months in coming, after which Connolley was placed on a humiliating one-revert-a-day parole. The punishment was later revoked, and Connolley is now an admin, with two thousand pages on his watchlist”¢’‚¬?a feature that enables users to compile a list of entries and to be notified when changes are made to them. He says that Wikipedia’s entry on global warming may be the best page on the subject anywhere on the Web. Nevertheless, Wales admits that in this case the system failed. It can still seem as though the user who spends the most time on the site”¢’‚¬?or who yells the loudest”¢’‚¬?wins.

    Connolley believes that Wikipedia “gives no privilege to those who know what they’re talking about,” a view that is echoed by many academics and former contributors, including Larry Sanger, who argues that too many Wikipedians are fundamentally suspicious of experts and unjustly confident of their own opinions. He left Wikipedia in March, 2002, after Wales ran out of money to support the site during the dot-com bust. Sanger concluded that he had become a symbol of authority in an anti-authoritarian community. “Wikipedia has gone from a nearly perfect anarchy to an anarchy with gang rule,” he told me.

  74. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 3:20 PM | Permalink

    Re #71 It is all about managing the herd, demarcation of who is in and out of the consensus, keeping the groups pure & distinct. Bloom is the party whip. One can even imagine him imagining emails that could be used to keep scientists from straying too far outside accepted consensus boundaries.

  75. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 3:22 PM | Permalink

    RE#59

    Re #57: Ten seconds on that link found this official source for the September record temps.

    Steve,

    After eleven seconds on the link I provided (one second after you found “this official source for the September record temps), you should the date on that release is Sept 29. Surely the “official” declaration of a record September would have to wait not only for the Sept 29th data to be added, but also the Sept 30th!

    As you’ll note in the text: “This September looks set to be the warmest on record in the United Kingdom.”

    Last paragraph: “Although there are still two days of the month to go (the above values are as of 9 a.m. GMT on 29 September 2006), climate experts at the Met Office are confident that records will be broken around the country, in many cases by some margin.”

    As the 2nd link that I provided (dated Oct 1 – two days after the date of the press release on the Met Office you proclaimed as “official”) and termed “unofficial” stated: “‘It certainly looks like the record has been broken,’ a Met Office spokesman said…Final confirmation is not expected until Monday, but temperatures for the month up to Friday…”

    “Looks to be” with 2 days left in the month is not an “official” declaration. “Confident that records will be broken” with 2 days left in the month is not an “official” declaration. “It certainly looks like” is not an “official” declaration. Awaiting “final conformation” is not an “official” declaration.

    Until there is a press release stating that the i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed (and it seems these types of data sets do get reviewed and sometimes revised), there has not been an “official” record set.

    I would assume based on the Met Office statements that Sept will end up being a “record” as far as their data goes, but please don’t try to badger me for not finding your “official” source that has yet to become “official” in the first place!

  76. Barney Frank
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 3:55 PM | Permalink

    I would like to stipulate that September 2006, was the warmest September in the last billion years in the UK, regardless of whether it was or not.

    Now then, can we return to a discussion of the climate and not one fairly small island’s weather for one month in one year?

  77. Spence_UK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 4:36 PM | Permalink

    Re #62

    That article, to me, clearly reads as an editorial bias, rather than a conspiracy. Let’s look at some definitions of these words:

    conspiracy, noun
    1. An agreement to perform together an illegal, wrongful, or subversive act.
    2. A group of conspirators.
    3. Law. An agreement between two or more persons to commit a crime or accomplish a legal purpose through illegal action.

    and some definitions of bias:

    bias, noun
    1. A preference or an inclination, especially one that inhibits impartial judgment.
    2. An unfair act or policy stemming from prejudice.
    3. A statistical sampling or testing error caused by systematically favoring some outcomes over others.

    I would argue that the latter is far closer to Christy’s comments in that article than the former. Christy is no more suggesting a “conspiracy” than James Annan is, he is merely pointing out bias in two of the highest profile journals in science.

    It is of continuing frustration that whenever I claim there is bias present in climate science, I am accused of seeing “conspiracies”. Steve Bloom and Peter Hearnden are active proponents of this distortion. I do not see conspiracy, I see bias, it is Steve and Peter who are claiming on my behalf that I see conspiracy, which is an atrocious straw man. I’m disappointed to see you engaged in it as well John; your arguments usually rise above that level.

  78. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:16 PM | Permalink

    #44 — Francois wrote, “However, the scientific community likes to maintain this ideal picture of the “impartial scientist”, even though sociologists have debunked it for quite a while now.

    The scientific community doesn’t particularly maintain an image of the impartial scientist. Neither the community, nor to my knowledge most individual scientsts, consider scientists themselves to be free of personal biases.

    The scientific community does maintain, however, that the body of scientific knowledge is indifferent to opinion, as is the scientific method, and that any scientist who constrains his/her views to that body of knowledge is necessarily impartial. Impartiality so constrained is a demonstrable impartiality.

    Sociologists of science don’t merely debunk the impartiality of scientists. Their project is much more ambitious than that. They dispute the objective standing of scientific knowledge itself. That project is an entirely different kettle of fish, and, frankly, one quite stupid of them to attempt.

  79. John Cross
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:26 PM | Permalink

    Spence: I have never claimed that you saw conspiracies. However to me a key point that differs a conspiracy from a bias is that two or more are involved in a conspiracy but a bias could have any number – including (perhaps usually) only one. If Spencer had said that Nature (the journal in question) had “seemingly stopped sending” him articles to review then I would call it bias. But he does not. He goes out of his way to say that Science does this as well even though Science had nothing to do with this exchange. This, to me, is the part that implies conspiracy.

    In regards to Dr. Annan, while I recall comments that he made on Nature I do not recall his expressing an opinion about the journal Science. Thus in this case I would agree with your argument and call it a bias.

    Regards,
    John

  80. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:42 PM | Permalink

    All good scientists know there is nothing materially there for sociologists to have debunked. But it is also fair to say that the public/media image of the 1950s scientist as objectivist (and there are some who see themselves that way) has been, shall we say, demystified. If sociologists want to take “credit” for this “unmasking” in the popular media, who cares? (It’s probably more a function of the proportion of Americans with graduate degrees, or who watch science programming on TV, than anything else.)

    This is the first I’ve heard of any “project” seeking to expose the non-impartiality of science. That *would* be stupid. In the short-term and at the level of the individual, it may be partial. In the long-run and at the level of the scientific community, it is highly impartial. I don’t see a conflict.

  81. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:43 PM | Permalink

    #66 Steve B

    Thank you for that first link. even though its wellpast midnight in the UK now I ha dto read it all and it was well worth while as the following quote from it gave me one of the biggest belly laughs I’ve had in quite a while

    “I know John likes paleoclimate stuff. I think it is all a bunch of scientists pleasuring themselves, though. We can’t figure out what is going on today, let alone what has happened in past centuries.” I’m tempted to reduce things on this blog to a lowest common denominator by use of the word w****r and pointing out the resemblance between the HS and a certain male reproductive organ but I won’t.

    Spencer has therefore as a result of your post gone up a great deal in my estimations. Can I ask what you think of the work Spencer has done on comparing the Valley instrumental station temperature measurements with the Sierra measurements? Do you agree that the startling positive trend in nightime temperatures for the Valley is down to irrigation and land use?

    KevinUK

  82. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Re #79 Good grief. Climate science is a tight network. Drawing a line in the sand between “bias” and “conspiracy” is silly. Conspiracy is a strong word. Maybe “non-independent shared bias” is more appropriate? People do get shut out, you know. Call it what you like.

  83. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 6:05 PM | Permalink

    Also, authors on a paper are allowed to say if there are particular people they DON’T want reviewing their manuscripts. In which case no collusion among Editors or Associated Editors is required for a reviewer to become shut out. This provides a powerful mechanism for shared knowledge as to who is “in” and who is “out” of the consensus. As pressure on an issue mounts, fence-sitters will be strongly persuaded to choose. (Imagined emails are one way of doing this.) No conspiracy required. It’s a natural emergent property of a spatially distributed co-dependent bistable belief network.

  84. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 6:13 PM | Permalink

    In fact, attempting to have someone labelled as a “conspiracy theorist” is another example of this consensus-building demarcation & herding process. Consensus over here. Kooks over there. No middle ground. That is by design, in order to set the stage for ad hom. attacks aginst the non-conformists. This is ironic behavior for anyone who likes to think of himself as a libertarian.

  85. Paul Linsay
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:10 PM | Permalink

    #66, Steve B: regarding Spencer and evolution. Take a look at Brian Josephson

  86. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:35 PM | Permalink

    Rational consensus over here. Kooks over there. (Imagined emails outlining imagined implications of associating with kooks.) Keep it up.

  87. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:48 PM | Permalink

    #80 — You should read Levitt’s and Gross’ “Higher Superstition.” It’ll tell you what’s been going on while your back’s been turned.

    It will also inform you in detail of the intellectual obscenities that pass for thought in some academic venues these days. The post-modern project, in its various guises, is to dissolve all ideas into undifferentiated mush. No value judgments allowed, including objective value judgments. Politics is all. These ideas are extremely wide-spread in academic circles, and with AGW have now infected physical science. You’ll probably also come away with a much better idea of what motivates folks like Steve Bloom.

    Along with all that, the book is a terrific read; one of the most intellectually enjoyable books I’ve ever read.

  88. bender
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 7:55 PM | Permalink

    Thanks, Pat. Very interesting. You’re right: my back *has* been turned.

  89. TAC
    Posted Oct 3, 2006 at 8:23 PM | Permalink

    #83 bender:

    It’s a natural emergent property of a spatially distributed co-dependent bistable belief network.

    Could you provide a reference? 😉

  90. Steve Bloom
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 3:37 AM | Permalink

    Re #70: Francois, maybe you’d care to address the implications of Lyman et al being entirely correct about the inferred melt rate of the last couple of years. As Gavin pointed out over on RC, that level of increase is nothing that skeptics can take comfort in.

  91. Peter Hearnden
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:38 AM | Permalink

    Re #54 ‘ever’ in this case being, wait for it…, “The average maximum temperature of 27.2°C for September was the coldest ever since temperature records began at Balzan in 1987! 1987? LOL!

    Re #72. Thanks, but I know the difference between weather and climate. You clearly haven’t read my comment in post #52 wrt the two record months (which I note you don’t dispute) “Otoh, does it prove anything? No it does not – I’m not saying it does, OK?“. But, don’t worry about misrepresenting me…

  92. Willis Eschenbach
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 5:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #91, Steve B., Hansen and Gavin claimed in Earth’s Energy Imbalance: Confirmation and Implications, that:

    Our climate model, driven mainly by increasing human made greenhouse gases and aerosols among other forcings, calculates that Earth is now absorbing 0.85 ± 0.15 W/m2 more energy from the Sun than it is emitting to space. This imbalance is confirmed by precise measurements of increasing ocean heat content over the past 10 years. Implications include:

    (i) expectation of additional global warming of about 0.6°C without further change of atmospheric composition;

    (ii) confirmation of the climate system’s lag in responding to forcings, implying the need for anticipatory actions to avoid any specified level of climate change; and

    (iii) likelihood of acceleration of ice sheet disintegration and sea level rise.

    This was the paper that Gavin and Hansen called the “smoking gun.” Lyman’s paper, in addition to showing the cooling in the last two years, shows that their paper is wrong. Gavin would prefer to discuss anything but that. Here’s the graph that “proved” the smoking gun …

    They claimed that the very close correspondence of their model with the data showed the truth of their claim. However, here’s the Lyman data:

    Out the window goes the “smoking gun” …

    Now, Gavin claims that the recent cooling has some great meaning regarding ice melt, that it must be going way up … but let’s look at a larger picture. Here’s the history of the ocean, along with the full Hansen model run …

    A couple things worth noting. First, Hansen and Gavin’s claim of being able to measure the Earth’s radiation budget is nonsense. But more to the current point, look at the size of the changes in the past before you start getting too worried about the ocean temperature changes Lyman says are occurring …

    Gavin’s claim is that, because the TOPEX satellite shows no change in the rate of sea level rise over the last ten years, that the change in sea level from the cooling must be made up by increasing ice melt. But the TOPEX radar has shown no change over the entire ten years. Now, how likely is it that suddenly, two years ago, the ice started melting in just the right amount to exactly balance the lowering of the sea level due to the cooling … right …

    w.

  93. Michael Jankowski
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 6:40 AM | Permalink

    Re #70: Francois, maybe you’d care to address the implications of Lyman et al being entirely correct about the inferred melt rate of the last couple of years. As Gavin pointed out over on RC, that level of increase is nothing that skeptics can take comfort in.

    As stated repeatedly…the combination of past sea level rise data and estimated contribution of warming to those sea level rises suggests we have a number of similar and even higher “inferred melt rates” in the past of longer duration than the one “implied” by Lyman et al. Yet in every one of those instances, it reverted back to a lower rate. The “implication” of Lyman et al will only cause “discomfort” to “skeptics” should it distinguish itself from those previous events in magnitude and duration, which it has yet to come close to doing.

    Yes, as you like to point-out, the sea level data of the last decade or so is more accurate…but to imply that higher inferred sea melt rates in the past should be dismissed solely on that basis is like suggesting we should completely dismiss the temperature record prior to satellites, hurricane statistics prior to the last few decades, etc. If you want to poke holes into the historical sea level rise and inferred melt rates, then maybe you should just argue that climate data should start around 1970. Maybe you shouldn’t even consider the surface-based temperature trends and only pay attention to the satellite trends. And you should certainly just consider all of the Lonnie Thompson ice core work, Mann’s reconstructions, etc, to be jokes.
    Re#93:

    But more to the current point, look at the size of the changes in the past before you start getting too worried about the ocean temperature changes Lyman says are occurring …

    As stated above, I’ve tried to convey this to Steve B a number of times. But he apparently doesn’t buy into anything B.T. (before TOPEX), unless it supports his side of the discussion.

  94. Francois Ouellette
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 7:43 AM | Permalink

    #83 : Bender:

    It’s a natural emergent property of a spatially distributed co-dependent bistable belief network.

    Brilliant! Is that from you?

    #88 Of course I’ve read it (Higher superstition). But both sociologists and philosophers of science tend to come back to a more balanced view now. “Social Empiricism” by Miriam Solomon is a good example of that. She gives as much weight to epistemic factors as non-epistemic ones in scientists decisions to adhere (or not) to a given theory.

    #78 Pat:

    The scientific community does maintain, however, that the body of scientific knowledge is indifferent to opinion, as is the scientific method, and that any scientist who constrains his/her views to that body of knowledge is necessarily impartial. Impartiality so constrained is a demonstrable impartiality.

    That’s quite a general statement, and in practice it doesn’t mean much, IMO. What is “the body of scientific knowledge” ? And what is “the scientific method” ? Just defining what those things are is open to subjectivity. In the end, empirical success is the best measure of science’s usefulness. It doesn’t matter if it’s impartial or not, as long as it works…

    As for the 1950’s image of the objectivist scientist, I think it’s still pretty much alive in the general public. All those references to the scientific consensus on AGW rely on the objectivity of science and scientists.

  95. bender
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 9:25 AM | Permalink

    Re #95
    Yes, 100% my own. Use it freely as you wish. May you profit. [Steve Sadlov liked it too. And he doesn’t like anything 🙂 ]

  96. Spence_UK
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:06 AM | Permalink

    Re #79

    Spence: I have never claimed that you saw conspiracies

    Not sure why you’ve said this. I didn’t say that you did. Steve B has certainly accused me of this in the past and Peter H has accused others, and these accusations were made pejoratively. I was merely drawing parallels with your claims.

    Your definition of conspiracy (more than one person sharing a viewpoint) is not the same as my definition. It is quite possible for more than one person to share a bias, and for that bias not to be a conspiracy. To me, a conspiracy requires deliberate collusion between parties, rather than coincidental agreement through common viewpoints. I believe my definition (supported with quotes from dictionaries above) is seems more accurate than your definition.

    As an example, I have stated that I believe there is a bias within climate science. This involves multiple people; yet I do not believe these people meet in a darkened room and a priori decide to exert a point of view on climate science (which would be a conspiracy); I believe the people are acting quite independently to form such a bias. This is the key difference I am making: I don’t believe Spencer has implied any sort of explicit collusion between Science and Nature, but that Science and Nature (independently, of their own volition) have chosen to take this position.

    The difference is clear and important. Otherwise you could argue every single elected official is put in place through a conspiracy, the conspiracy of a group of people to vote in a particular way (multiple people doing the same thing). This is clearly a distortion of the term “conspiracy”.

    The problem we run into is that the term “conspiracy” is often used pejoratively to dismiss arguments without addressing the main point (as a form of straw man); without clear evidence that Spencer is referring to a conspiracy instead of bias (as stressed, more than one person adopting a viewpoint does not form a conspiracy), you are definitely in “straw man” / “ad hom” territory with your line of reasoning.

  97. KevinUK
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 10:39 AM | Permalink

    #81 Steve B,

    You still haven’t answered my question yet. What do you think of Spencer’s explanation for the marked positive trend in nighttime temperatures in the Valley compared to the Sierras? As a Sierra Club VIP you must be interested in this observation and after all you did point us to this paper?

    KevinUK

  98. John Cross
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 2:01 PM | Permalink

    Spence_UK, Let me start by saying that this is a somewhat pointless argument since it is down to us arguing about what Spencer means when using certain words and phrases but neither of us knows for certain. In my opinion he brought in Science to indicate that there was more than one group involved and he goes on to say that this is the second time in nine months that this happened in these journals indicating that they act together. To me this is an indication that he thinks there was cooperation between the “popular science magazines”. Thus I am standing by my opinion of conspiracy.

    However I must point out that your voting analogy is an extremely poor one. To be a conspiracy the communal act must be something that is wrong or illegal. Unless you are arguing that voting in a democracy is wrong then there is no conspiracy.

    I will again say that we will not ever resolve this argument so I suspect that we will just have to agree to disagree.

    John

  99. Spence_UK
    Posted Oct 4, 2006 at 4:27 PM | Permalink

    John

    Funnily enough I was going to bring up the “wrong or illegal” point (dictionary definition is actually “illegal or subversive”), on the grounds that choosing not to ask Spencer or Christy would not be illegal (science and nature are under no legal obligation to ask them) or subversive. Biased, perhaps, but not subversive. So, once again, this point illustrates exactly how poor a choice of word “conspiracy” is.

    I agree that we shouldn’t be trying to second guess what Spencer actually meant – but that is exactly what you did by using the word conspiracy (which, as far as I am aware, neither Spencer or Christy have used in this context), you have imposed an opinion on them that they have not stated. Note your original statement:

    Spencer claimed that Fu was wrong and there was a conspiracy to ignore his and Christy’s work

    Note – your statement was Spencer claimed there was a conspiracy. Now you are saying that you believe Spencer was claiming a conspiracy. And a conspiracy that apparently involved no illegalities, subversion or necessarily collusion. And note your choice of word (conspiracy) is often used pejoratively.

    I’m happy to agree to disagree – I understand you think that Spencer claimed a conspiracy (you can think the sky is green and the moon is made of cheese for all I care) but when attributing a claim directly to Spencer (as you did above), can I recommend you use a direct quote rather than putting words in his mouth? It helps to avoid poison the well with pejorative terms (which is, IN MY OPINION, a fair representation of your original statement).

  100. John Cross
    Posted Oct 7, 2006 at 12:51 PM | Permalink

    Spence_UK: Not sure what happened, but I think there may have been a delay in the posting of your comment (at least judging from the time on it). Anyway, since you don’t appear to be willing to disagree I guess we shall have to dig a bit more.

    Lets go back to definitions – how you seem to be defining conspiracy is a bit narrow. Instead of using online definitions, I tend to like my old texts and thus Webster’s New Universal Unabridged gives as one of the definitions of conspiracy:

    4. a combining or working together.

    So there is no need for anything to be illegal (and that does not even touch what the definition of what subversive is). So that neatly dispatches your illegal argument however it does breathe a bit of life into your voting analogy.

    Now, did Spencer mean to say that Science and Nature worked together? All I can do in this regards is to see what he said. He brought Science into the conversation even though the only papers he references are Nature and J. Climate. In addition he puts a definite time frame on it by saying that they did it at the same time. To me this implies collusion and thus the necessity for conspiracy is met.

    Next, looking at this from you.

    you have imposed an opinion on them that they have not stated.

    To begin with I would ask you to follow your own advice when you say “can I recommend you use a direct quote rather than putting words in his (or in this case my) mouth?” I have NEVER attributed anything to Christy. I respect Dr. Christy a great deal. I don’t know why you said that but I am going to ask you to back it up and show me a case where I involved Christy in this argument.

    However, have I imposed an opinion on Spencer, well, of course. Every time you read something you impose an opinion on it based on your background and experience and what you understand words to mean. What is important is whether the opinion is warranted by the words and context used. I have shown that in this case it is.

    Finally – I just re-read our comments and I believe that part of the argument in this thread comes from post #77. I confess that I did not read it correctly and I now see that you were talking about a quote from Christy not Spencer (although to be fair I was clear in my post #62 that I was talking about Spencer). Please be assured (as I implied above) that I was not saying that Christy believed that there was a conspiracy and if you post the link you were talking about I would be pleased to review it.

    Regards,
    John

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