NASA/UAH Atmospheric Science Seminar

I doubt that there are many people who’ve made as many presentations to NAS panels as they have to university seminars in climate departments. Since I’ve done one of each, I presently qualify. (My only invitation to make a presentation to a university climate department was to Georgia Tech in early 2008. I’ve made a couple of presentations to non-climate seminars e.g. at Ohio State in 2008.)

Tomorrow I give my second – at the NASA/UAH Atmospheric Science Seminar in Huntsville where I’ll be hosted by John Christy.

The presentation will be on proxy reconstructions, not Climategate.

I’ve spent a lot of time in the past few weeks re-examining the issues. Unfortunately, try as I may, I always end up writing right onto the airplane and today is no exception.


  1. Pat Frank
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 4:54 PM | Permalink

    Good luck, Steve. And I’d enjoy reading your comparative impressions between your reception at GT and UAH.

    As I was reading your short post, my rising expectation was dashed as I read your last sentence. I was enjoyably anticipating it to be something like, ‘Unfortunately, try as I may, I always end up concluding they’re a crock.‘ 🙂

    • Scott Brim
      Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 5:54 PM | Permalink

      Pat Frank: ” …..I always end up concluding they’re a crock.”

      Would you place Loehle/McCulloch 2008 in the same category?

      • Pat Frank
        Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 7:23 PM | Permalink

        I haven’t read Loehle/McCulloch 2008, Scott. However, I’d suspect the paper is concerned with methodological integrity rather than with physical interpretation.

        My conclusion of crockness with regard to proxy paleo-temperature reconstructions concerns the complete lack of falsifiable theory behind them. Their acceptance relies entirely upon correlation = causation.

  2. KnR
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 5:15 PM | Permalink

    Good luck and have a good time

  3. RiHo08
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 5:36 PM | Permalink

    The pressure of time constraints tends to focus the mind. You’ll come up with a great presentation prior to presenting and a devastating comeback long after the janitor has swept the floor after everyone has left. Nature of the beast. Good Luck and God’s speed.

  4. Scott Brim
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 5:48 PM | Permalink

    Given your talk concerning paleoclimate proxy reconstructions will happen in Huntsville, Alabama, is it possible you will discover (what else) that “it’s not rocket science.”

    • John M
      Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 7:46 PM | Permalink

      I suspect he will be venturing to a location “where no Mann has gone before.”

      • GT
        Posted Oct 26, 2011 at 7:54 AM | Permalink

        “One small step for Mann; one giant leap-of-faith for Mannkind.” Somebody had to say it…

    • Faustino
      Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 11:28 PM | Permalink

      My daughter studied rocket science as part of her engineering (mechanical and space) degree, and said that, contrary to the intent of the saying, it is very simple.

      • Bill Drissel
        Posted Oct 30, 2011 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

        Maybe rocket science is simple; rocket engineering is not.
        Bill Drissel
        Grand Prairie, TX

  5. Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Permalink

    Can you have a discussion about paleo recons without referring to the CRU emails? Especially considering Ed Cook’s admission there that we know “f*** all” about climate variability (presumably based on dendro) greater than 100 years?

    Perhaps self-proclaimed muggins, Rob Wilson, could let us know what Dr. Cook really meant.

  6. bob
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 8:41 PM | Permalink

    Some of my best presentation ideas have come to me in the solitude and uninterrupted time during an extended flight. Just being away from the office and home can improve the thought process, not to mention the deadlines.

    Good luck.

  7. TAC
    Posted Oct 25, 2011 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    Good luck, Steve! I am sorry I cannot be there.

  8. kim
    Posted Oct 26, 2011 at 7:12 AM | Permalink

    Don’t miss the museum.

    • kim
      Posted Oct 26, 2011 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

      Able was I ere
      Miss Baker and I ripped it.
      Twenty-eight G’s, Haw!

  9. John Archer
    Posted Oct 26, 2011 at 8:42 AM | Permalink

    “I doubt that there are many people who’ve made as many presentations to NAS panels as they have to university seminars in climate departments.” SM

    On the contrary, the world’s full of them — indeed, I reckon almost everybody qualifies for that distinction. I do, for sure.

    But then I’m one of those special people — y’know, the ones with nothing to declare. 🙂

    Good luck on stage. I’m counting on you. 😉

    Steve: :). you’re right.

    • Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 7:10 AM | Permalink

      I’m with John with ‘nil points’, as they so often say to the UK entry in the Eurovision song contest.

      But haveing been made aware of the equation PNAS(Steve) = PUS(Steve) > 0 I think it’s worth generalising. For how many other disciplines covered by NAS, apart from climate science, would the following hold?

      there exists p where PNAS(p) = PUS(p) > 0

      Thanks to John Christy Steve has now broken out from being such a singular p. But for many years this relationship did hold. Is there any other person in the world that can say it now in any other discipline under the prestigious yet watchful eye of the National Academy?

      • Faustino
        Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 11:31 PM | Permalink

        “nul points” in a French accent, in fact.

  10. Green Sand
    Posted Oct 26, 2011 at 5:10 PM | Permalink

    Break a leg!

  11. mpaul
    Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 11:13 AM | Permalink

    One of the big issues with reconstructions has been calibration of the models. Here’s some new research on the difficulties with econometric model calibration that I think is quite relevant to climate reconstructions. While this research deals with future predictive skill, I would imagine that the same issues applies to hindcasting and reconstruction.

    • Ron Cram
      Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 11:41 PM | Permalink

      Economic models are not the only ones which are always wrong. Ecological models are always wrong as well. Orrin Pilkey and his daughter wrote a book on it in 2007:

      and this paper in 2008:

      Click to access PilkeyArticle2008.pdf

    • Faustino
      Posted Oct 27, 2011 at 11:44 PM | Permalink

      Economic forecasting models generally have very poor outcomes. A major problem is that they depend on projecting forward observed relationships, and can’t cope with changed circumstances, or “black swans.” That is, they can’t give you the really useful information.

      By contrast, computable general equilibrium models used for estimating the impact of various shifts in policy etc can be quite useful, e.g. at estimating the likely change over the next decade if one element of policy is changed, or to see the different impacts of Policy A and Policy B. They don’t seek to predict the future, but to estimate the difference in, say, GDP with different options.

      Note that while economic forecasting models are hopeless and CGE models usually have a ten-year horizon, the IPCC’s projections for 2100 outcomes are all based on national income forecasting models, which did not use experts in the field or accepted techniques.

  12. Posted Oct 28, 2011 at 1:00 AM | Permalink

    Steve, glad to hear you accepted this invite. And, thank you and congratulations for sharing again.

    Three things do come to mind. #1. Allow yourself the freedom to enjoy every possible moment. #2. Assume the best and go deep, rather than going shallow. #3. Reach out to network where ever you think it counts.

    And, as always, many of us are very much looking forward to your return. And, to any video/audio of the event that you can snare, to share!

    Btw, as an aside, the link to “McIntyre/McKitrick 2003” on the sidebar of every page is coming up as being dead.

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