The Meaning of "Climategate" (And Its Sequel)

The reaction thus far to the latest release of climate science emails (“son of climategate”) has played out along two tracks. Each has separate storylines.

In the feverish precincts of the climate blogosphere, especially those in permanent battle mode, the response has been predictable. Anthony Watts is in full swoon and Marc Morano has turned on all his sirens and flashing lights. Meanwhile, grim faced hall monitors at message control sites have been waving their rulers at all journalists in the vicinity. Their message: Move along, nothing to see here (just like last time!).

Reporters, of course, paid no heed. But the stories have generally sounded the same theme, which is encapsulated in Richard Black’s BBC headline:

Climate Emails: Storm or Yawn?

As Black noted, “what’s interesting” about the emails

is that some of the most frank and forthright wording comes from scientists telling their peers off – often, trying to calm them down and get them to be more grounded in accurate science, whatever the political implications.

Yes, Black says, there is additional evidence of scientists not complying with Freedom of Information requests, but all in all, he writes, no plot to deceive the world about climate change.

Well, maybe just a teensy little, according to this AP article:

Excerpts quoted on climate skeptic websites appeared to show climate scientists talking in conspiratorial tones about ways to promote their agenda and freeze out those they disagree with.

But the main point I noticed being emphasized in most of the mainstream stories I read is that nothing in the emails released this week or two years ago undermines the science showing greenhouse gases as a main contributor to climate change. Darren Samuelsohn at Politico underscores this in his piece, as does Juliet Eilperin at the Washington Post, and Andy Revkin at the NYT’s Dot Earth, who writes that,

as was soon clear following the last release, on Nov. 21, 2009, this has little bearing on the overall thrust of decades of research revealing a rising human influence on the global climate system, and the logic in wise policies to limit both the pace of change and its impacts.

But here’s something to consider about all this business: I don’t think the perpetrator (whoever has stolen and distributed these emails) believes he has provided evidence that calls into question an accumulated body of science that shows the earth is warming. What he’s done is somewhat akin to pulling back the curtain on the legislative sausage-making in Washington D.C. To the uninitiated, it’s ugly stuff. But power plays, insults, shouting matches, back-scratching, etc, are a way of life, whether it happens on The Office, Capitol Hill, in newsrooms, or among climate researchers in a university setting.

But because there are major policy implications and intense politics associated with climate science, what should be considered normal human tendencies–such as infighting and attempts to shape an outcome–are instead viewed in a harsh light, at best, or as an indictment of a profession, at worst.

Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record. And because climate scientists are doing work that sheds light on issues important to us. That said, the perpetrator of “climategate” (and its sequel) has succeeded in focusing attention on the behavior and actions of a small group of scientists, who, for better or worse, are seen as representative of the climate science community.

In politics, perception counts as much as reality. The same rule now applies to climate science.

222 Responses to “The Meaning of "Climategate" (And Its Sequel)”

  1. StuartR says:

    “Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record.”
     
    You meant that as a joke right? Weather forcasting has a good track record.

  2. OPatrick says:

    But the main point I noticed being emphasized in most of the mainstream stories I read is that nothing in the emails released this week or two years ago undermines the science showing greenhouse gases as a main contributor to climate change.

    But I wonder if that is the main point that the casual reader will get from the reports? If you try reading it from the perspective of someone not emersed in the debate would you come away with a different impression? My suspicion is that you would.

    I just tried skimming through Richard Black’s article in the way that I do 90% of the newspaper when I read it and I come away with a few key phrases, the sum total of which is ‘doubt’. That’s what people want to hear – enough doubt to avoid looking too deeply at it.

  3. OPatrick says:

    immersed even.

  4. Lazar says:

    Great post, Keith.

  5. StuartR says:

    “Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record.”
     
    I am really bemused by this. What is its track record? Is it by noticing that a fairly linear warming over a century and a half and projecting it would be maintained? How many Nobel prizes have been awarded to climate scientists or for a climate related discovery? 

     Climate could feasibly be cited in chemistry, physics, medicine and economics (we know it has won Peace) so the chances of gaining credibility and respect is quite wide I think. Besides the 1995 CFC chemistry prize being vaguely climate associated I can’t think of many Nobels awarded.

  6. grypo says:

    This batch sheds a little more light on the scientists’ distaste for McIntyre and how they felt about his and others’ intentions and how they communicated that to the administrators who worked with FOIA requests.  Ben Santer says he would rather move to another job if he doesn’t get some support in his position on dealing with McIntyre.  

    He also discusses how climate science has become a “reactive” science, continuously working on refuting the “outrageous claims” of Singer, Douglass, et al.  Alot of Jones mails echo their inability to work due to FOIA and dealing with political issues.  The interesting thing to note, as far as tribalism goes, people who are concerned about the future implications of climate can take note, but then refocus the discussion on important matters, like getting the scientists back to work, while those not so concerned, seem to want to focus primarily on how the scientists themselves reacted to it.

     This issue has been discussed a bit lately, I remember the subject came up on Eli’s, In It, etc, ie how to deal with contrarian papers, rebut, or take the usual tact in other non-political sciences, where the work is ignored.  This doesnt work as well when the field is constantly writing synthesis reports for policy makers.    

    This also reflects on the “gatekeeping” aspect.  I happen to think that gatekeeping is as important to the science as getting new work done.  The way in which this is accomplished has no rules, which is why it looks so bad in these emails.  Again, the tribes look at this very differently.

  7. BBD says:

    StuartR @ 5

    I am really bemused by this. What is its track record? Is it by noticing that a fairly linear warming over a century and a half and projecting it would be maintained?

    ‘Fairly linear’? Really?

    CRUTEM3 and BEST 1900 – present, decadal means

  8. StuartR says:

    BBD
    Ok “fairly linear” is fairly inaccurate there is a 30 year dip in the middle.

  9. Marlowe Johnson says:

    +1 on this post Keith.

  10. BBD says:

    StuartR
     
    Don’t be wilfully stupid.

  11. Tom C says:

    Mr. Kloor –

    This was a good post.  But, really, what on earth can you mean by proven track record?  Other than that the GMT has risen a little in fits and starts (which as Pielke Sr. points out is pretty inconsequential to anything of importance) name one prediction by the climate orthodoxy that has proven correct.  Just one.

  12. Tom C says:

    What the leaked E-mails show, both from the first and second tranche, is that the IPCC climate scientists are liars.  They all say one thing in public and another in private.  Liars cannot be trusted to have handled data corectly and played fair by the rules of peer review.

  13. jeffn says:

    The fact is that these two sentences from this post cannot both be KNOWN to be correct:
    “climate scientists talking in conspiratorial tones about ways to promote their agenda and freeze out those they disagree with.”
    “…nothing in the emails released this week or two years ago undermines the science…”
    The first sentence is direct evidence that those who brought forth the theory of AGW are actively avoiding contradictory evidence, consider their theory to now be an “agenda” that must be advanced, and are preventing the questioning of the theory.
    Given that, it is not possible to say that the theory is the result of a body of “science” that is a dispassionate examination of the data.  When the science comes from those who proudly wear their devotion to confirmation bias on their sleeves, then the science cannot be declared solid.  Period.
    It may turn out that the theories will be true- we certainly know there will be some small amount of warming from CO2 – but to discover how much will need a truly dispassionate examination of the science. The IPCC has clearly indicated that it refuses to do that (promotion of the agenda is a goal) and the emails show that climate science refuses to do that. Yes, for the record, I think Watts and McIntyre would also be unable to do that.

  14. thingsbreak says:

    For my money, I think the most interesting thing to come out of this is the first glimpse of the motivation of the person(s) behind the hack (or at least dissemination)- namely that money spent mitigating is somehow going to punish the developing world.

    This is absurd for any number of reasons- be it that the developing world is going to be worse hit by climate impacts, that developed nations under a Kyoto-like agreement will offset their own emissions through clean development mechanisms that leapfrog developing nations’ technology, etc.
     
    I would love to see a mainstream media outlet actually tackle this issue (the ostensible motivation vs. reality) head on. It seems like a perfect story for someone like you, Keith, or for one of your colleagues in the sci/enviro subfield. To my knowledge this was only briefly mentioned by one person (someone at the BBC?). It’s a great story.

  15. Jeff says:

    What about the e-mails excerpts about modelling, and how they differ from the IPCC’s presentation of how infallible and awesome the models are?

  16. Keith Kloor says:

    Roger Pielke Jr. has a related, eye-opening post that touches on the gate-keeping aspect of all this.

     

  17. Tom C,

    Global warming is a prediction come true. It was predicted that continuing emissions of CO2 would warm the globe long before it happened.

    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/co2.htm

  18. grypo says:

    The link for the email I discuss in #6 here

  19. OPatrick says:

    The Guardian has two articles up:
     
    Attacks on climate scientists are the real ‘climategate’

    Failure to catch climate email hacker is the real scandal

    Focusing on where the more significant scandal is.

  20. grypo says:

    It’s not quite the “shadowy” gatekeeping as Pielke would like to make it, considering they said the same thing in broad daylight.

    http://pds.lib.harvard.edu/pds/view/7795947?n=225 

    The real question is “is it an opinion piece?” or “does it belong in IPCC WG1 if it is an opinion piece?”  I don’t see argumentation in the review of the IPCC to further the argument and telling us about the citations sure doesn’t answer that question. 

  21. BBD says:

    thingsbreak @ 14
     
    For my money, I think the most interesting thing to come out of this is the first glimpse of the motivation of the person(s) behind the hack (or at least dissemination)- namely that money spent mitigating is somehow going to punish the developing world.


    This is subjective, of course, but my take here is that the introductory text was an utter red herring. The meme that the cost of mitigation will be unfairly borne by the developing world is a commonplace amongst ‘sceptics’ (who do not really care but aspire to the moral high ground).


    I was instantly suspicious and remain so. It felt contrived and specious.


    You are right though – it should be challenged head-on, and is potentially a great story.

  22. thingsbreak says:

    Keith,
     
    What’s “eye-opening” about that? Taking everything at face value there:
     
    Trenberth and Jones felt the paper in question didn’t need to be cited, as it was “political”.
     
    Roger himself points out that the IPCC’s eventual position on the science aspect of TCs was not terribly dissimilar to that of the paper in question, so it doesn’t make any sense to believe that it was kept out because the IPCC disliked the scientific conclusions it contained.
     
    In other words, Roger is essentially saying that the IPCC got the science aspect of TCs right. What, then, is the problem? That Roger disagrees with Jones and Trenberth’s characterization of his paper? That he wishes it had been cited?
     
    I’m sure he is not the only author of a paper that wasn’t cited that wishes he or she had been.

  23. Jeff says:

    thingsbreak,
     
    It is not Pielke’s “opinion” that there is no discernable signal in the frequency or intensity of hurricane, its a reflection of the scientific literature.
    I admit that I place myself on the “skeptical” side, but I truly cannot get my mind around the fact that a large number of people seem to think there really is nothing worrisome here. It’s like we are reading different e-mails.

  24. thingsbreak says:

    Jeff,
     
    Roger thinks the IPCC got the science aspect of TCs and climate correct, yes or no?

  25. ob says:

    also concerning eye-opening. why? it mainly displays rpielkejr’s wounded pride.
     
    of course, it should have been referenced, but in principle jones’ and trenberth’ argumentation is correct: it’s an opinion piece, it’s essentially not working group i material. if they would have handled every (similar) BAMS piece the same – which is doubtful, isn’t it? – then everything would be fine.
     
    on the other hand, taking a look at
    http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-references.html
    and e.g. http://ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch9s9-5-3-6.html
     
    gives references to that pielke jr. paper.
     
    now i’m confused, totally so.
     

  26. thingsbreak says:

    @25
     
    Wow. That’s some devious gate-keeping! They apparently kept Pielke et al. 2005 out of the AR4 by citing it directly. Those bastards.

  27. ob says:

    i guess, he only refers to chapter three, that is Trenberth, Jones et al. (2007). there he probably has a case. whatsoever …

  28. thingsbreak says:

    Roger claimed that the paper was excluded from the AR4 as a whole, not just a specific chapter:
     
    “That paper, despite being peer-reviewed and standing the test of time (as we now know), was ignored by the IPCC 2007. Thanks to the newly released emails from UEA (hacked, stolen, donated, or whatever) we can say with certainty why that paper was excluded from the IPCC 2007 report.”

  29. Jarmo says:

    the perpetrator of “climategate” (and its sequel) has succeeded in focusing attention on the behavior and actions of a small group of scientists, who, for better or worse, are seen as representative of the climate science community.

    Keith, would you argue against a statement that this “small group of scientists” includes the most influential scientists in climate science?

    It is hard to argue against the notion that these gentlemen have an agenda and certain bias …. something that science, as laymen understand it, should steer clear of. 

  30. George Clymer says:

    Climate gate is about this impossible triangle:
    1) Desire for non-transparent behind closed doors sausage making, even in science (*)
    2) Demand for respect as scientists
    3) Position as advocates of society changing, world changing economic policies
    Pick two out of three.
    It is made worse in that so many of the actors here, wanting all three sides of this triangle, are government/taxpayer funded actors which makes the demands for openness that much more salient, even if it opposed to certain theories of how science is done. 
    I understand that Jones et. al., may be burdened with FOI/FOIA and the skeptics, but while I can be empathetic with them, I am not sympathetic, because, Jones and the alarmists want three sides of an impossible triangle and because they understand (in fact proudly brag) of how important all of this is to society/the world/the economy/…
    Suffering transparency is something we ask of many in government or whose projects are taxpayer paid.
    It’s a pain, and yet, literally millions of people are able to still get their jobs done.

  31. George Clymer says:

    Oops, that (*) above is:
     
    (*) Certain theories of science, I forget whose, is that science is not conducted as this calm open rational process, with either linear progress or paradigm shifts, but is normally conducted as various (hidden/secret) range wars until a new Sheriff comes to town as consensus.  In those theories, the climategate letters really/truly ARE standard operating procedure, even as the most egregious letters themselves might seem shocking to the layman.

  32. bigcitylib says:

    Now Roger has changed his post so that his bitch is he got left out of chapter 3, although he hasn’t  retconned the post sufficiently that it makes sense again. 

    What is it about being left out of chapter 3?  Is all the good stuff in chapter 3?

  33. grypo says:

    In the Chapter 9 Review, in broad daylight again, Trenberth still argues the paper reference should be amended, as it was “totally rewritten” and “still wrong”. The lead author “noted” Trenberth’s complaint, but, as ob pointed out, it was included in the final draft.

  34. Jeff says:

    thingsbreak,
    It appears that in this instance the end result was fine. But now that you see the process by which some of the head honcho’s operate (and if you disagree that they are overly ideologically rigid, have an agenda/cause to promote, etc. then there’s no point in arguing further), do you think their involvement could negatively impact other parts of the report?
     
     

  35. The relevant IPCC chapter that surveyed hurricanes and climate change was Chapter 3 (ob gets it right in #27, thx).  Our paper was a peer-reviewed literature review of, wait for it … “hurricanes and climate change”.  I have always found it odd that it was not cited and have said so on various occasions on my blog.  But now we know why it was not cited — two guys over email and a glass of wine buried it.
     
    Thingsbreak and others are free to see no issue with the decision making process at work here (they would, wouldn’t they?;-).  Others clearly see problems with the criteria that was employed in this instance on how the IPCC decided what to include and what not to include. Put me in the latter category;-)

  36. bigcitylib says:

    Roger, your paper WAS cited.  You originally claimed it wasn’t until this falsehood was pointed out to you, after which you amended your claim.  Are we now going to get one of these long back and forths where you  alter your position as your mistakes are pointed out, and finally insist that the last claim standing is the one you meant all along? 

  37. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Roger I find you discussing these private emails here and on your blog reprehensible.  Will you do the right thing and release all of your private email correspondences so as to level the playing field?

  38. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe,

    Hang on a second. If these emails are part of the recent dump–which have since been publicly disseminated, why is it reprehensible for Roger to discuss them? 

  39. Dean says:

    bigcitylib – Actually Roger is very consistent. He can be counted on not to ever miss a chance to get a dig in on any scientist connected with the IPCC, Trenberth in particular. Watching it play out over the years, it seems that he takes it quite personal, though he does avoid the snark.

  40. Alexander Harvey says:

    Keith,
     
    Off Topic, but related to your comments elsewhere on GWPF being a charity.
     
    Yes they are and are entitled to be so, with some restrictions.
     
    They are an education charity, they are registered as such and they are update with their filing of returns (historically many haven’t been).
     
    Most of their expenditure up to the end of their first and only accounting period, appears to have been spent on “other”, with no direct charitable spending. For charitable spending to be zero, is perhaps a little unusual, but to be tiny proportion is not historically unique, and the bulk of the funds have been retained anyway from the short period on record. “Other” seems to be defined as Governance and income raising.
     
    UK charities can campaign, but must not be principally a campaigning organisation. Similarly they can trade but must not be principally a trading organisation.
     
    For instance, the campaigning part of Greenpeace UK, is a company not a charity.
     
    My limited understanding is that GWPF could campaign to further their charitable goal, which is education, but not principally about climate policy.
     
    The RSPB, campaigns and seeks to influence policy in order to better further its charitable goals, e.g. the welfare of birds.
     
    As it stands, I cannot see that there is anything about GPWF that would bar it from being a charity. Having some charitable spending may help if they wish not to be questioned over their charitibale status.
     
    Alex

  41. NewYorkJ says:

    Sure would be interesting if the emails of the Pielkes were exposed.  The stuff they say publicly is ridiculous enough.  They have nothing to hide, right?  So why not share, in the interest of openness and transparency?

    A lesson of the CRU hack is that volumes of emails of any group of colleagues over 10 years is going to reveal something that casts some individuals in a poor light, particularly when lacking context and filled in by political hacks.  As noted here, in politics, perception is sometimes more influential in reality, and deniers, uncomfortable with reality, seek to replace it with false perceptions.

  42. harrywr2 says:

    http://foia2011.org/index.php?id=167
    Phil,
    I presume you have seen the attached. Can you comment?
    I/we have never been very keen on what GISS does or
    produces, but their results are still in reasonable
    accord with CRU and NOAA. Is this just luck? Why, I
    wonder do they go off half-cocked like this?
    What do/will CRU/NOAA get for Oct. 2008?
    Tom.
     
    If Anthony Watts questions NASA GISS methodology that’s denialism.
    What is it when Tom Wigley questions it?
    Ohh…I know…that is science going thru the normal process of questioning every result. Which is healthy as the science is ‘never settled’.



  43. willard says:

    > [Transparency]’s a pain, and yet, literally millions of people are able to still get their jobs done.

    Yes, see for yourself:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/30/world/middleeast/30reconstruct.html 

  44. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @38
    because he is directly involved and therefore has a direct interest in how they are interpreted.

    Personally, I find it distasteful that they’re discussed at all in these sorts of public forums, but the ethical bar is higher IMO for those who have more than a passing interest… 

  45. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe,

    I dunno, if somebody deliberated about me in such a fashion, and it pertained to my career, and those deliberations were made public, I don’t see why it would be unethical for me to discuss it on my blog. Obviously, people would not see me as a disinterested party, which is presumably how people are viewing Roger’s interpretation. 

  46. George Clymer says:

    Hand-wringing aside, as the subject of the emails, not only is Pielke Jr., entitled in every way to discuss them, and under no moral or ethical bounds not to, he is the best person to fill the rest of us in on what he believes the context, and subtext of the emails is.
     

  47. -36-bigcitylib
     
    You are correct.  I was imprecise, and even worse I’ve done the same thing with respect to the IPCC on numerous occasions on my blog, as the shorthand seems obvious — but apparently not.  Sorry about that, but now fixed.

  48. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith would you share all your private emails as well, for the sake of full disclosure? If not, why not? I think that Roger’s behaviour in this matter is crass and opportunistic, particularly given his long history with the relevant parties.

  49. Keith Kloor says:

    NYJ (46)

    All I can say is that I remain gratified that you read this blog, given your approval of cheerleading propoganda elsewhere. 

  50. -37-Marlowe Johnson
     
    Yes, it can be a difficult call on the emails, but not so much in this case.
     
    I don’t really think that there is much in my emails to trouble me were they to be hacked (aside of course from the under-the-table payments from ExxnMobil and the Republican Party;-).  Seriously though, you would get to see some colorful episodes that don’t reflect too well on some in the climate science community! 😉
     

  51. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe (48)

    Hold that thought, because you’re going to want to ask me that ridiculous question again with my next post on this subject. Look for it on Friday. 

  52. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @50
    In that case when can we expect them to be posted? 

    @51
    What is ridiculous exactly? Asking people for a little ethical consistency? Is the Golden Rule out of fashion these days?

    Just because you can read and comment on someone’s private emails doesn’t mean that you should

  53. NewYorkJ says:

    KK: given your approval of cheerleading propoganda elsewhere. 

    I’m not surprised at this point that you would immediately dismiss something as “propaganda” because of the URL.  Seems rather tribal.  But it’s also largely in line with what you wrote (although without the obvious banal faux balance appeal), so I’m surprised you’d characterize your writings as propaganda.

  54. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe,

    Were they talking about wine or the new patio? I must have missed the private parts. Anyway, hang on a bit, as you can lash me all you want over this in a few days.  

  55. Keith Kloor says:

    NYJ

    I read the piece, didn’t dismiss it because of url. That post does indeed share similar points as this one, but in other areas we depart.

    You have to remember: I may have green sympathies, but I’m not an advocate. It was extremely tough to deal with the tribal nature of enviro issues/arguments when I was at Audubon magazine. I will never put myself in that position again.

  56. Tom C says:

    Lubos Motl has a nice sampling of the E-mails.  How anyone can read these and trust the cast of characters is beyond me.  Trenberth makes Tobis look like a dispassionate observer.  Again, the big scandal is that they all make uber-confident pronouncements in public but in private they are candid about how weak or non-existent the data are.  Best examples:

    <1939> Thorne/MetO:

    Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest. Phil, hopefully we can find time to discuss these further if necessary […]

    <3066> Thorne:

    I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.

    <1611> Carter:

    It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by a select core group.

    BigCityLib and NewYorkJ – You defend these?

  57. Marlowe Johnson says:

    One last thing.  By talking about these emails we’re in some sense implicitly condoning their release, despite that the fact that they were released in an illegal and, more importantly, unethical fashion.  One could imagine several examples where unauthorized publication of someone’s communications might be ethically warranted, but clearly this isn’t one of them.

    Personally, I think it would be nice if we adopted the tactic that ‘Anonymous’ implemented following the publication of the Norwegian lunatic’s manifesto — corrupt and disseminate altered versions so that the original becomes unrecognizable.  

     

  58. Tom C says:

    Marlowe – Methinks you are scandalized about the wrong things

  59. Keith Kloor says:

    @58: “One could imagine several examples where unauthorized publication of someone’s communications might be ethically warranted, but clearly this isn’t one of them.”

    Yes, I have come to see that many climate concerned folks feel this way, including numerous colleagues of mine in the press. But I’m getting ahead of myself… 

  60. The funniest thing about Trenberth’s comments is that he thinks that IPCC SREX is a “Sham” because it doesn’t cite 5 of his papers, perhaps a gatekeeper kept them out … ironic, eh? 😉

  61. NewYorkJ says:

    KK: You have to remember: I may have green sympathies, but I’m not an advocate.

    Your approach to some topics is if one group says 1+1=2 and another group says 1+1=4, you think you are being objective by splitting the difference at 1+1=3.

    TomC, check out RC.  I’m always amazed how those who think the emails are bad rarely query those most familiar with the context of discussions.  Also, the context of your first quote is covered in #46, in a link to a source Keith blindly characterizes as a “message control site”.

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/201111220024

    That’s your “best example”?

  62. Keith Kloor says:

    NYJ (62)

    My problem for you that I don’t go along with the script. Right now, Desmog blog, Climate & Think Progress, Media Matters, among others are staying very much on script.

  63. Sashka says:

    > nothing in the emails released this week or two years ago undermines the science showing greenhouse gases as a main contributor to climate change.
     
    That’s not surprising since there is no science “showing greenhouse gases as a main contributor to climate change.” As opposed to the same statement with main omitted.
     
    > I don’t think the perpetrator (whoever has stolen and distributed these emails) believes he has provided evidence that calls into question an accumulated body of science that shows the earth is warming.
     
    Why? There are a lot of people who don’t believe in any of that science.
     
    > it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record
     
    In fact, it’s a proven track record of underachieving. (I’m not saying that they are incapable. It’s just very hard.)  Ask any reputable scientist about what they have collectively learned over the last 10, 20, 30 years and you’ll be surprised with how little they have to say. One number we care about the most uncertainty of CS never changes. Now, that’s a track record.
     
     

  64. -33-
     
    Thanks, I was unaware that Trenberth tried to keep our paper out of Chapter 9 as well!

  65. Marlowe Johnson says:

    @60

    You brave independent thinker you! Are you channeling your inner Curry? 

    🙄 

  66. Marlowe Johnson says:

    sorry that should be @63 not 60…

  67. Keith Kloor says:

    @66
    Nah, just trying not let my own biases get the better of me. 

  68. Alexander Harvey says:

    Marlowe #58:
     
    “Personally, I think it would be nice if we adopted the tactic that “˜Anonymous’ implemented following the publication of the Norwegian lunatic’s manifesto “” corrupt and disseminate altered versions so that the original becomes unrecognizable.”
     
    Keith:
     
    “In politics, perception counts as much as reality. The same rule now applies to climate science.”
     
    If I were to strengthen Marlowe’s point, it would be “until the original becomes lost”, and to strengthen Keith’s till it becomes “perception counts but not the reality”, we approach a Baudrillard solution. A endless sequence of deliquent copies usurping any notion of the original.
     
    Is that not the point? And indeed is that not much of the claim against the scientists?
     
    Alex

  69. grypo says:

    “Thanks, I was unaware that Trenberth tried to keep our paper out of Chapter 9 as well!”

    Point being that there is written record outside of the “shadowy” world of climategate about your paper and why certain scientists don’t find it appropriate for the IPCC WG1.  There is no lack of transparency here.  Gatekeeping is a normal part of writing synthesis papers, while you may have points about the process being poor or not equal to the task, the process itself doesn’t appear to have been broken here.

  70. grypo-
    I am sure that I’m not alone in being a bit surprised to see the actual level of “scientific rigor” employed in this instance of the much touted IPCC peer review process to decide what papers to include or not in its assessment of the science. I had suspicions, but will admit that this was still a surprise to see.  You may not be surprised, but perhaps I expect more from the IPCC and my scientific peers … Thanks!

  71. NewYorkJ says:

    No one disputes you’re a proud rebel, Keith.  Rebels are often woefully wrong, however.

    On the recent Pielke train wreck…

    IPCC: Thus, detection and attribution of observed changes in hurricane
    intensity or frequency due to external influences remains difficult
    because of deficiencies in theoretical understanding of tropical
    cyclones, their modelling and their long-term monitoring
    (e.g., Emanuel, 2005; Landsea, 2005; Pielke, 2005). These
    deficiencies preclude a stronger conclusion than an assessment
    that anthropogenic factors more likely than not have contributed
    to an increase in tropical cyclone intensity.

    Not only did the IPCC cite Pielke’s article, but they used it in part to form the weaker conclusions in the report on hurricane attribution.  Yet he’s whining about the alleged “gatekeepers” keeping him out of the IPCC, and he got good ol’ trusting Revkin to bite.

    Now the real question is why a shoddy article with such particularly politically-laced claims like

    Yet, claims of such connections persist…particularly in
    support of a political agenda

    gets published in BAMS in the first place.

  72. Menth says:

    72.
    “Yet, claims of such connections persist”¦particularly in
    support of a political agenda”

    Just curious: you don’t think this statement is true?

  73. Keith Kloor says:

    @72
    Rebel would be your characterization. Journalists are supposed to be skeptics and not run with a pack, though we often do. 
     

  74. NewYorkJ says:

    Let’s put it the other way, Menth.  “Claims of no connection exist, particularly in support of a political agenda.”  I recall Landsea was tapped by the Bush Administration to dispute the connection, a connection which has evidence for.  Regardless, what business does that phrase have being in a scientific article?

  75. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Keith isn’t everyone supposed to be a skeptic?

  76. thingsbreak says:

    Can someone please explain to me how Roger’s hissy fit is evidence of some sort of wrong-doing?
     
    The paper was cited in the AR4. Roger’s initial claim is false.
    Roger wishes it was cited in a specific chapter. He was given a reason for it not being cited there. Roger disagrees with that call. The entire process was documented. What’s the problem?
     
    I think it’s also interesting to note that Roger is trying to make it seem like Trenberth and Jones were the only ones who had a problem with the political nature of the paper in question.
    Kerry Emanuel, who is hardly someone can call an “alarmist” or whatever the epithet of the day is, apparently agreed.
     
    It’s fine to disagree with a judgment call. Obviously, decisions to include and exclude certain papers aren’t going to please everybody. I’m not saying Roger shouldn’t voice his disagreement, that’s all well and good.
    But then turning around and trying to make this into a scandal to cast aspersions on the IPCC generally/the larger field is just Roger’s schtick. It’s sad that he can use it so effectively on people like Keith and Andy Revkin.

  77. Keith Kloor says:

    Marlowe (76),

    You’d think so, right? But here’s the reality, succinctly stated in the opening line of George Monbiot’s latest piece:

    “One of the most widespread human weaknesses is our readiness to accept claims that fit our beliefs and reject those that clash with them.”  

  78. NewYorkJ says:

    It’s sad that he can use it so effectively on people like Keith and Andy Revkin

    You could say they aren’t being good skeptics.  A good skeptical journalist might actually read the report, check the references and reviews, and find that Pielke’s claim is bunk.  A lazy journalist will accept the claims based on their personal views of the source, and likewise dismiss others in the same fashion.

  79. Tom C says:

    New York J –

    The Media Matters spin is not in the least persuasive.  Yes, a bunch of mealy mouth sentences on uncertainty were strung together eventually.  The point is, according to the expert in this matter, the conclusion re current research should have been that “most studies do not show rising temperatures in the tropical troposphere”. Moreover, it should have then been pointed out that all the models predict substantial temperature rise in the tropical troposphere. 

    That would have been the honest, scientific approach.  Apparently, Thorne was appeased by the substitution of a garbled paragraph on uncertainty instead.

    But really, from the context, it was clear that his initial objection had to do with text that claimed a rise in tropical troposphere temps.  In other words, exactly the opposite of what the majority of measurements showed.  Clearly the author’s first attempt was to sneak this lie past the reviewers.

  80. -77-thingsbreak
     
    I’m happy to spell it out for you — the actual inclusion or not of our paper in the Trenberth/Jones IPCC chapter is secondary. What you should focus on here is the _process_ that was used to decide whether it should be included or not. Perhaps you are comfortable that a rigorous process up to the standards of the IPCC was at work here. Me not so much.
     
    Was this episode unique in the annals of IPCC? Nope, it is not even unique with respect to my own work;-)  See the discussion in TCF for more details. This episode just adds more data to the larger picture.
     
    As you might guess, I am not worried that anonymous blog commenters say that they don’t like the paper, it has been cited 179 by non-anonymous researchers 😉 But if you are actually interested in debating or discussing the substance (rather than trying to score blogpoints) just head on over to my blog and you will be welcomed.
     
    Thanks, happy turkey!

  81. dana1981 says:

    thingsbreak @ 14 – I’m going to do a post on this subject for Skeptical Science.

    Also, climate scientists’ excellent track record (plus correctly predicting Arctic amplification, ice melt, sea level rise, increased extreme weather [floods, droughts, etc.], and so on).

  82. -77-tb
     
    Wuld that be this Kerry Emanuel?
     
    http://cstpr.colorado.edu/prometheus/?p=3581
     
    “It is not surprising, therefore, that what I have come to believe is at odds with any reasonable consensus.”
     
    You’ll further note that the recent Nat. Geosci. WMO review paper (or should I say “opinion” paper?) signed onto by Kerry 2010 has him back in the fold with the “reasonable consensus.”
     
    Keep digging, there must be a pony in there somewhere;-)

  83. NewYorkJ says:

    I am not worried that anonymous blog commenters say that they don’t like the paper, it has been cited 179 by non-anonymous researchers

    Aside from confusing citations with researchers, one of the researchers in the list of citations is Trenberth.  Another is Pielke.

    Now when will Pielke get back to the “reasonable consensus”, which doesn’t involve claiming a connection between hurricane intensity and global warming is based on a desire to support a political agenda?

    http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalweathergang/2010/02/new_hurricanes_study_unites_fo.html

  84. thingsbreak says:

    Roger,
    Your original claims that the paper “was ignored by the IPCC 2007” and “was excluded from the IPCC 2007 report” are demonstrably false. In typical Roger fashion, you’re moving the goalposts.
     
    What you should focus on here is the _process_ that was used to decide whether it should be included or not. Perhaps you are comfortable that a rigorous process up to the standards of the IPCC was at work here. Me not so much.
     
    What’s the problem? You don’t think the paper in question was opinion/political, and deserved inclusion. Others- Jones, Trenberth, Emanuel apparently- disagreed. Your objection to non-inclusion in the specific chapter was voiced. The reason for non-inclusion was stated. All of this is public record.
     
    What’s the problem?
     
    Wuld that be this Kerry Emanuel?
     
    If that is indeed Emanuel in the email in question, he states at the time of the emails that he too thought the paper was too political, regardless of whatever justification he gave to you of ultimately withdrawing his authorship. Your link is non-responsive to that issue.

  85. NewYorkJ says:

    Tom C (#80),

    You might want to contact Thorne, are just as well, read his recent work on the topic:

    It is concluded that there is no reasonable evidence of a fundamental disagreement between tropospheric temperature trends from models and observations when uncertainties in both are treated comprehensively.

    This is similar to the IPCC conclusion.  Of course I’m referring to the final draft, not the first draft originally referred to – context which was left out by the quote miners.

  86. Tom Scharf says:

    KK: “Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record”

    I’ve got to believe you thought twice about including this sentence.  When viewed in the light of the hard sciences of physics, chemistry, engineering, etc., this is simply not true.

    The attack point here is clear:

    T.R.U.S.T.

    These e-mails call into question whether you can trust the messenger of climate science.  In some cases such as Jones, Trenberth, and Mann it has become clear that is not the case.  Nobody forced them to play out these academic whizzing matches and perform unethical behavior.  They did it, and they are being held accountable.

    The failure of the climate community itself to purge itself of this carcinogen has caused lasting damage to “the cause”, which for most scientists is honest science.  They are allowing these self appointed leader to stay in place, spoiling the whole apple cart.  Pretending it’s not happening hasn’t been successful.

    For those of you who disagree with this assesssment, I would just ask “How’s it working for you lately?”.
     

  87. Nullius in Verba says:

    Can I just take a moment here to praise – yes, praise! – a fine example of upstanding integrity and scientific principle on the part of a CRU climate scientist revealed by the new archive. 1656.txt
    Well done Dr Maraun!
     

    Regarding the ethics of discussing the emails, (#60 and others), you might also consider the ethics of policemen applying for search warrants before they have proof a crime has been committed. Was there ‘reasonable cause’?
     
    The argument in the case of the emails made by some people is that they are actually public property (having been paid for by taxpayers) and were illegally being withheld. That was the point of the original FOIA tag. Several people noted that the last emails of the archive were dated just before the decision was made to turn down a FOIA request from Steve McIntyre as part of their endless policy of obstruction, delay, and evasion. That ‘FOIA’ redacted private information clearly not owned by the public indicates they are operating according to some similar ethic.
     
    Nevertheless, the ethics of the way they were obtained and the ethics of the behaviour they reveal are entirely independent. It is possible to condemn the hack/leak as illegal/unethical, and at the same time talk freely about the bad behaviour they reveal.
     
    The proper application of the golden rule here I think is the same way I would apply it to, say, prison. One might argue that if you wouldn’t like to be sent to prison yourself, then you shouldn’t send criminals to prison. The argument misses the conditional: you only get sent to prison if you commit a crime, and I would (ethically) have to agree that if I committed a crime then I ought to get sent to prison too. (Skipping the debate over whether law = ethics.) Similarly, I would say that if as a scientist I behaved unscientifically and unethically in a matter of great public importance with a major impact on billions of lives, then yes, I ought to be exposed for having done it. The conditional is the important part.
     
    As it happens, all my work emails are archived and monitored, for precisely that purpose, and while it might not be noticed in the outside world, I would definitely expect to feel the consequences personally if I said or did some of the things in those emails. It’s a proposition I’ve already accepted for myself. The golden rule can then be applied.

  88. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom (87), 

    If the other sciences you mentioned were publicly x-rayed like climate science, I bet we’d see similar controversial episodes. That doesn’t excuse it, that’s just reality, which is what my post was trying to convey.

    The other part of my post that is relevant to your comment pertains to TRUST and messengers. Because climate change is so politically charged, the climate science community might want to think about whether its “messengers” are doing it more harm than good. Again, this comes with the caveat that any “messengers” are not going to be accepted by the likes of Morano, Watts, and Inhofe. These types will always seek to delegitimize for ideological/political reasons. (Watts certainly proved that with the Muller/Berkley affair.)

    But call me crazy, there’s something about the way certain high profile climate science “messengers” go about things that strikes me as counterproductive. 

  89. Eric Adler says:

    It seems to me, that the emails showed antipathy by a number of climate scientists towards Roger Pielke Jr.. This is reflected in the private emails that have been released. Despite that, the process leading up to the 2007 IPCC resulted in the inclusion of his paper in the bibliography, and endorsement of its conclusions. The same decision was made in 2011.
    This story should give one faith that despite all of the ugly infighting, the process has worked OK on the end.
    To get a balanced view of the infighting and political process, one would need a look at the private emails of the scientists on the so-called “skeptic” side,  including Michaels, Singer, Pielke Jr., McIntyre and others. 
     
     

  90. Jarmo says:

    #78
     “One of the most widespread human weaknesses is our readiness to accept claims that fit our beliefs and reject those that clash with them.”  

    Another is to have double standards:

    Failure to catch climate email hacker is the real scandal
    While evidence of global warming grows ever clearer, we are still in the dark over who is putting climate scientists’ emails online

     http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/damian-carrington-blog/2011/nov/23/climate-change-scepticism-hacked-climate-science-emails

     
    Nobel peace prize: Bradley Manning tops reader poll
    Bradley Manning heads our reader poll on who should win this year’s Nobel peace prize

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2011/oct/06/bradley-manning-reader-poll-nobel-peace-prize 

  91. Tom Scharf says:

    KK (89):  “…If the other sciences you mentioned were publicly x-rayed like climate science…”

    I agree that this type of inter-profession political infighting happens everywhere.  The difference with the hard sciences is that their conclusions are more readily reproducible and verifiable by others, even in the light of proven agendas.

    Climate science is pushing a theory on future AGW effects that by definition is unproven.  Because the claims are somewhat extraordinary, and their proof is arguably weak, trust in the messengers is paramount.  Showing the man behind the curtain has been effective.

    I also agree that Watt’s did not come out looking very good in the BEST affair.  I think the science has made it past station citing and the recent temperature record (except for why there still isn’t good monitoring at the poles?). 

  92. Tom C says:

    NewYorkJ – Sorry, but we are not that gullible.  This is the old Models-are-Consistent Two Step: widen the range of predictions until at least some encompass the data uncertainty range and then claim “the models are consistent with data”.  Then, when no one is looking, use only the high-predicting models for public consumption.  Don’t know if Thorne actively participates in this sham but it looks like he can be rolled so would not surprise me. 

  93. Tom Scharf says:

    Hurricanes:  Anyone who doesn’t think Trenberth has a political agenda in promoting the alleged Hurricane – Climate link probably doesn’t think Al Gore does either.

    It was blatant naked opportunism to link Katrina and an active 4 hurricane season in Florida to global warming 7 years ago that started this media exercise.  

    Global cyclone activity has fallen off a cliff since then and the US has had 2000+ days and counting of zero Cat3 landfalls, a modern day record.  Some of this is good fortune, some is more shearing winds, etc.  What it clearly is not, is global warming making things worse.

    Trenberth stands in a pretty lonely place waiting for the climate – hurricane link to show up statistically.

    This is not to claim there is zero link, only that mathematically it is not supportable yet, and the link itself is very likely to be quite small when and if it is detectable.  Call back in 30 to 50 years.  There simply is not enough data with relatively small number of cyclone events per year.

    For those asserting the “we never claimed linkage” meme, simply type in hurricane and climate change into Google and find the 70,000,000 hits (literally).    

    Look for this naked opportunism cycle to repeat itself for floods, droughts, etc. 

    Then the goal posts will be moved again.  

     

  94. thingsbreak says:

    Tom Scharf,
     
    That’s crazy. If the primary scientists involved in the Manhattan Project received the same kind of scrutiny and attacks that climate science did, Oppenheimer, as but an example, would have been tarred and feathered in the public square if not worse. He is considered today to be a giant in physics.
     
    He often was correct about the big picture but wrong in his calculations to get there. He was considered by the establishment to be radical in his personal politics. He claimed to have tried to poison one of his professors. And on and on.

  95. EdG says:

    Keith

    Did you look at the comments at Black’s blog?

    All this spin from the usual suspects is irrelevant. The Climategate emails reveal, once again, that the so called ‘scientists’ working for the AGW Team cannot be trusted, and thus neither can the so called ‘scientific’ results they have manufactured.

    In the meantime, it ain’t warming as the fearmongers insisted it would, and that reality just puts the icing on this corrupt Lysenko cake.

    P.S. Black CLAIMS to have been informed by someone that the release of these emails was a “hack” not a leak. So, logically, a commenter asked him whether he had informed the Norfolk police about this knowledge that they don’t seem to have. In other words, they called his bluff. Now… crickets I expect, and the sound of Black’s nose growing.

  96. EdG says:

    Oh Keith. So disappointing.

    “evidence that calls into question an accumulated body of science that shows the earth is warming.”

    That is not the question. It is a question of how much, how fast, how unusual, and what is causing it.

    I know that it is convenient to try to put this debate into such simplistic black-white terms – warming yes or no – but I would have hoped you were above that strawman by now.

    We have just come out of – and may still be coming out of – the Little Ice Age. Whatever recent acceleration there may have been in that trend – the point which the AGW proponents like to suggest ‘proves’ something – is not unprecedented nor unusual at all. Any look at Vostok tells us that for the big picture.

    Even if you fully accept the AGW story, one would still expect some warming from that natural variation. 

    This whole thing reminds me of the movie ‘Kindergarten Cop,’ when Arnold (playing a teacher) tells his class he has a headache… and one kid says, ‘Are you sure it is not a tumor?”

  97. PDA says:

     the so called “˜scientists’ working for the AGW Team cannot be trusted

    I could not agree more. Literally.

    “Trust” does not and should never have a place in the scientific lexicon. The universal cure for bad science is more and better science. Those who feel the science is distorted, corrupted and/or exaggerated should absolutely support doing better science.

    I can easily imagine billions of dollars that could be made available from certain industries to fund work that might result in a definitive overturning of the science underpinning anthropogenic climate change.

    We are way, way past put-up-or-you-know-what time, in my opinion. 

  98. StuartR says:

    re 95

    What has the Manhattan project have to do with current climate science?
     
    I wish people would quit with the patently false analogy of climate science to the Manhattan project, the attendant flattery is gagsome enough. Yeah, Feynman, Oppenheimer are like Jones and Mann.

    Nobody seems to ever makes any effort to flesh out any details in the comparison, it is just enough to utter it apparently.
     
    I’ll be clear by what I mean when I say the comparison is patently false – one was a high tech pioneering engineering project that needed  – as soon as possible – the best resources, best people, no questions asked. The other is an ongoing policy generating self supporting culture of pseudo science which ironically, sucks the life out of genuine high tech pioneering engineering projects that could mitigate any threat from CO2 and/or warming, and rather thrives on mediocrity and banal regressive comfortable moralising, and a conveyor belt of fake deadlines for “crisis” meetings.

  99. EdG says:

    #98 – In theory, and in an ideal world, trust should not be a significant factor in considering peer reviewed scientific evidence.

    But this is not an ideal world. All humans are political and economic animals with the potential for the full spectrum of human behaviors – including all those who happen to have had some training in some field of science.

    In this case, the emails reveal that some of these individuals cannot be trusted period. Nor can the pal review process. They are self-serving advocates masquerading as scientists. So how can, or why should, their supposed ‘scientific results’ they produce be trusted?

    For a perfect example, knowing what we know now, why would anyone believe any ‘scientific’ claim that Mann makes about the “cause”?

    Making matter worse for these salesman, the wolf they have been crying about keeps acting like a poodle. 

  100. EdG says:

    Instead of Black’s spin, why not use this?

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/11/23/supermandia-and-the-most-supersilly-climategate-rebuttal-ever/#comment-806496

    With AGW defenders like this (and Black), no wonder the folks at WUWT have a sense of humor.

    P.S. I guess Black has more ‘qualifications’ based on the very favorable comments about his good work in the Climategate emails.

  101. PDA says:

    I get it. I do.

    Seems like there is a need for ‘scientific results’ that are trusted.

    I wonder why no one has bothered to do anything to get some. 

  102. Jack Hughes says:

    // Climate science … is a highly reputable field with a proven track record.//

     What you smoking, dude?

  103. Alexander Harvey says:

    Can anyone point me towards a web-based history of media coverage of greenhouse warming/global warming/climate change,wierding,distruption?
     
    If not there is an oportunity for some bright folks to put together a wikiMedia for climate, I think.
     
    To the best of my recall, dissent (a noble persuit) first hit the mass media towards the end of the 1980s, which I think was the first decade to see global temperature records. These were questioned, both for accuracy (UHI) and interpretation (GHE or not GHE).
     
    The following decade saw the temps going up and then up and media hay was made in the sunshine.
     
    This new millenium saw the big push back with most of the same and many new players. The temperatures were no longer coming to us and few proponents of AGW theory seemed to see the consequences of that.
     
    I cannot say if or when the temperatures will start coming to the rescue again. But I think come they must for too much warming capital was wasted by too many, too incautious, too loud advocates.
     
    Warming is not a difficult concept to grasp, it has to due with rising temperatures. A lot of people get this. Rising temps will bring the media and the audience around. Sadly no so quickly as would be the case if more caution had been expressed back when hay could still be made.
     
    Alex

  104. Steve E says:

    Marlowe Johnson, self-appointed Grand Inquisitor. Someone answers your question in a way you cannot respond and you accuse that someone of another crime. Very old, very transparent technique. Grand Inquisitors have very little taste for truth but an insatiable appetite for orthodoxy. Doesn’t know how to respond when the supplicant (KK) offers himself up for further inquisition and thus goes silent. Ite missa est…vade in pace.

  105. Holly Stick says:

    David Appell apologizes to Mann for letting the Cru hacker/FOIA hoax him with a quote out of context.:

    http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2011/11/apology-to-michael-mann.html 

    Of course, since the Cru hacker/FOIA obviously behaved dishonestly in producing this truncated quotation taken out of context, we must assume that the other 4999 emails may also have been dishonestly altered.

  106. Keith Kloor says:

    EdG (97)

    I think you’re barking up the wrong tree. One of the things I was getting at in my post (perhaps it wasn’t clear enough) is that the black/white frame (is it warming versus is it not) has characterized most of the stories I was referring to. I agree that is simplistic.  

    To my eye–and I haven’t had a chance yet to do more than glance at a bunch of the most discussed emails–many of the reporters have missed one of the interesting storylines to emerge (Black danced around it), and that is the level of internal debate and outright skepticism displayed.

    That is definitely not the impression one gets from the representative messengers quoted most often in the media (and that is another bone of contention I have long had–that the same handful of scientists are always quoted, which is the fault of us journalists).

    Again, though, I want to add a caveat that I just haven’t had time to sift through the emails, which means I have to read them in context, too. 

  107. grypo says:

    “one of the interesting storylines to emerge (Black danced around it), and that is the level of internal debate and outright skepticism displayed.”

    Bingo.  Point of tribal contention  — What’s more important…   What a single scientist thinks of a single paper or detail…  or what the consensus is in the literature.  There must be a few stories in that area alone that could be interesting.

  108. EdG says:

    Keith

    Thanks for your response. Yes, I did miss your point. Must read more carefully in future.

    I do agree entirely about the significance of this “level of internal debate and outright skepticism displayed” within the halls of academia, and its contrast with the ‘debate is over’ certainty that has been leveraged for this project.

    The obvious question is why this happened, isn’t it? If one even needs to ask. We have all seen what has happened when some of these skeptics have dared to question the othodoxy. In what are allegedly the cores of enlightened scientific thinking we find tribal behavior that Neanderthals would recognize. No surprise. They are only human. And once you throw in a “cause” – especially a professional one (e.g. pay, career, medals and all that) which will apparently “save the planet” – primate groupthink is a powerful thing.

    These emails reveal human beings. That alone pops the ‘objective scientific authority’ bubble that the whole Immaculate Consensus argument was built on. The one that imagines ‘scientists’ as another infallible species. Suddenly there’s George Costansa wearing a white coat. But from what some of the Team leaders wrote, you don’t see a character as benign and likable as George. 

    Long time since I believed that this project was driven by  a scientific question. So I see the political power of these emails on this political project and they sure won’t help the “cause.”

    Hopefully it will indeed improve that field of science. It sure is an interesting field. It would be great to see a more comprehensive scientific exploration of it outside of the CO2 box.

    Is CO2 a thought-trapping gas?

  109. Lady in Red says:

    Back to the beginning and Keith’s assertion:
    “Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record.”
    The interview below is an opportunity to see how a single, highly regarded “climate science” institution functions to better understand the important contributions and proven track record of this “science” community as a whole:
     
    BBC News – Chief defends Met Office record
    news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/8443687.stm
    Jan 6, 2010 ““ John Hirst, head of the Met Office, defends the record of the weathermen…
    From the weather tomorrow, to seasonal predictions so financially important to so many, to a better understanding of our weather one hundred years from now, we all must understand the worth of this multi-milion (billion?) community and its many green energy “spokes.”  /sarc off/
                      ….Lady in Red

  110. -108-grypo
    You write, “What’s more important”¦   What a single scientist thinks of a single paper or detail”¦  or what the consensus is in the literature.  There must be a few stories in that area alone that could be interesting.”
     
    Well said, now apply it to Trenberth and IPCC Ch3 and you are getting somewhere …

  111. @JulietteJowit says:

    Hi, apologies not read all comments, but quoting AP was misleading. Spent hours reading full emails excerpts were taken from, and some, and the more you read the better the scientist sound. They do disagree, and sometimes rather bitchily (these were ‘private’), but if anything it is reassuring that even this supposedly close cabal of self-reinforcing climate change mongers (the views of others) were so critical of each other, and so frequently at pains to make sure that uncertainty was not just taken account of but clearly shown, to make sure they would not undermine their field by appearing to hide observations which did not appear to fit the story.
    Having missed the 2009 furore in detail, I read the quotes and thought they looked daming the first time. The second time I began to see how they might be distortions. I was not prepared though for how dishonest a portrayal they are. I am not saying no email will embarrass one or some of the scientists involved, but every apparently damning quote I have looked into  so far has crumbled to dust, or at worst perhaps something one would rather have worded better.
    Guardian.co.uk/environment to publish my analysis soon (sorry about the plug, Keith)
     

  112. @JulietteJowit says:

    I should add except the Freedom of Information stuff, which does not look so good, but have not been able to examine in detail. And, of course, the Muir Russel inquiry into the 2009 batch has already criticised them/UAE for poor handling of such requests.
    At least one of the original FoI requests, however, gives a sense of how deliberately disruptive some of the inquirers were trying to be. And other emails suggest great pains were sometimes taken to accommodate and help visiting students/researchers and give them access to models/data/computer power etc.

  113. Neven says:

    And remember what the FOIA was for: The last few percent of CRU station data. That data is out in the open now. Where is the (fake) skeptic analysis?
     
    BTW, was this Climategate II or is there another wave coming? I sense some weariness, even on the (fake) skeptic side, except for the nutters and perverts who are still ejaculating all over each other, of course.

  114. BBD says:

    EdG @ 97

    We have just come out of ““ and may still be coming out of – the Little Ice Age. Whatever recent acceleration there may have been in that trend ““ the point which the AGW proponents like to suggest “˜proves’ something ““ is not unprecedented nor unusual at all. Any look at Vostok tells us that for the big picture.

    But as I recently explained to you, there is no published study that supports the claim about the ‘recovery’ from the LIA. The Akasofu paper you referenced was not published in a recognised, peer-reviewed journal. Its claims are incorrect and collapse under cursory examination. Why are you repeating this debunked argument?

    The variation evidenced by the Vostok cores is irrelevant to an examination of C20th climate change. Here, the focus is properly on the causes of the energetic imbalance that is heating the climate system. A substantial body of work exists showing RF from atmospheric CO2 to be the primary cause.

    You have earned your first George A. Romero medal.
    Congratulations.

    Wear it with pride.

  115. BBD says:

    Holly Stick @ 106
     
    David Appell apologizes to Mann for letting the Cru hacker/FOIA hoax him with a quote out of context.
     
    Thanks for posting this up. I said to Keith earlier that I wished that DA had either kept quite for a little longer or provided context for the quotes he reproduced in his article.
     
    Too late now.

  116. Alexander Harvey says:

    Keith,
     
    “To my eye”“and I haven’t had a chance yet to do more than glance at a bunch of the most discussed emails”“many of the reporters have missed one of the interesting storylines to emerge (Black danced around it), and that is the level of internal debate and outright skepticism displayed.”
     
    Thanks to the internet, there are many many video hours of climate scientists presenting their work to other scientists, and doing Q&As.
     
    It is clear to me, that there is a lot of debate, skeptism (about what can and connot be determined), even some humour.
     
    You can hear people being cautious, and sometimes downright rude, particularly concerning modelling. You even get people telling other people that they are flat out wrong (commonly statitistician criticising statistical approaches of others).
     
    I am pretty sure Steven Mosher has also sat through much of this material, so I would recommend his memory as a resource as it is simply better than mine.
     
    You will find the unspoken middle ground on display, This is the ground that the science community left largely publically undefended and where many of the sceptics are camped out. I think it quite shocking that this territory was largely left publically unoccupied by the science community. It is where the debate seems to take place internally, yet externally, in the public domain, the existence of that debate is denied or downplayed.
     
    In the emails, you may find disagreements, but I think that there is more than that. Some, more, or many scientists are just plain sceptical about what can and cannot be determined.
     
    The contrast between what they say to each other when it is just between themselves and the all seeing but forgotten videocam, and what those that choose to lead the debate say in public can be quite stark, in my opinion.
     
    Keith, I really do think there is a story in this, that is not just interesting but in the public good. If you can persuade people that you wish to tell it, without sensationalising it, perhaps they would talk with you. People that have balanced views that might wish to express them.
     
    If you can do this, don’t expect anyone “important” to thank you for it. Many would hate it. It amounts to muddying pools. Personally I think things need to get worse before they can get better, that there is a boil that needs to be lanced. Also that the current stasis is the time to get it out of the way. It is not like it could hamper policy decisions right now, as nobody seems to be planning on making any.
     
    In terms of the science nothing much will actually change just its perception. Nothing much has actually changed for decades.
     
    I think that there are some in the climate community that are trying to row back and express the greyness of much of the science. By grey I do not mean, whether the GHE exists, whether the temps are rising, or whether CO2 is a GHG, but what can and cannot be stated and with what confidence. Many dissidents get this, for which we should all be thankful, so do others. People that believe that treating people like adults is worth a try.
     
    Alex

  117. Barry Woods says:

    I agree with Alex..

    Within the emails, it is very much normal scientific debate, and  a lot of criticism of modellors, , etc, it is just as if you here sceptics talking (ie that middle ground)

    even the snows of kilamanjaro melting – due to global warming, gets short shrift.. and Al Gore, ie land use, change not temp.##The story is, the media political verson of climate science, is the public face..

    you do see a pressure from thrid parties, to be on message, or support ‘the cause’ (mann’s words) as to go off message, ie is to damage policies.. I knowa few modellors and when you say reason why you ‘are sceptical’ the respnse you get is that’s what we talk about al the time at condferences..

    So, the stroy is the ‘public’ version of climate science is very different form climate science. Quite refreshin to see many people behaving as scientist (and a few not)

    Alex was a bit more eleqant though..

  118. Keith Kloor says:

    Juliette (112)

    Glad to hear of that upcoming analysis. That’s exactly what’s needed.  

    Alexander (117)

    My experience in talking with many climate scientists over the years jibes with the kind of diversity of opinion evidently on display in some of the email exchanges highlighted these past few days. Still, as the point has been made numerous times in all the news stories, that doesn’t undermine the general scientific consensus that AGW is real and a legitimate concern.

    But if the public debate were more nuanced, then I bet these nuanced views on display would be heard more often. But because the debate is mostly shrill and politicized and dominated by the extremes, the public gets the fun-house version of climate science. 

  119. charles says:

    “Climate science will survive this latest viewing of its dirty laundry, because it is a highly reputable field with a proven track record”
    Brilliant deadpan humour. Fell off my chair laughing.

  120. Alexander Harvey says:

    Keith,
     
    “But if the public debate were more nuanced, then I bet these nuanced views on display would be heard more often.”
     
    The obvious question is “what to do about that?”
     
    Some specifics:
     
    In your view, could you, Juliette, or others, get something long form, that deals with the process of the science, NOT the narrative, NOR the debate published?
     
    Could you or others get cooperation from the media arms of the major climate research establishments (not just in the US), to gain access to, and assess, the process, to make an account of that, again NOT the narrative, NOR the debate?
     
    Do you think that anyone covering that story would be seen as just doing good journalism, or as a figure of hate, and object of derision?
     
    “My experience in talking with many climate scientists over the years jibes with the kind of diversity of opinion evidently on display in some of the email exchanges highlighted these past few days. Still, as the point has been made numerous times in all the news stories, that doesn’t undermine the general scientific consensus that AGW is real and a legitimate concern.”
     
    Precisely, but commenting on it solely in response to these emails, looks like and could be damage limitation. Showing that it is the normal practice needs another strand to the bow.  That being the normal discourse, what they commonly have to say, those who are not defending “the cause”.
     
    Perhaps the days of long form science journalism are gone, man went to the moon, and did many other things, and people lapped up the details.
     
    The modelling is, I could argue, some of the most interesting, and challenging areas in science. The current round of models are producing a data dump of monumental proportions. This is being analysed by scientists, many, many scientists, and they have opinions, hopes, doubts, and frustations. Who are they? Where are they? How do they view the burden that society is putting on them?
     
    Ask them what is is like, when their model trashes a nation state? Is it real, is it likely? What if is it just their model? There are real people facing a real and painful human dilemma.
     
    FWIW, I have heard that anyone trying to analyse all the next round of model data using only a standard broadband download link will still waiting for the data in 2050. I have heard that one of the current models has a penchant for consistently destroying one of the tropical rainforests.
     
    My thanks to you for listening and to Barry for listening and being supportive.
     
    Alex

  121. Barry Woods says:

    I was speaking to a couple of modellors just last week, their is very little we would disagree about.  They also expressed their concerns and said their ‘bosses’ should do more to communicate these things.

    This time round, i have friends with 100’s of mentions in the emails….

    As you can see most scientists are being scientists, it’s the one with ‘a cause’ in mind that bother me..

    If you look at them they are a bunch (most of them) sceptics privately.. sceptics as, in model are unceratin, clouds modelled poorly, sensitivity, not statitically warmed for a period (NOT proof against AGW) just publically, like getting blood out of a stone to discuss it..

    One choice quote, is how a core group seems to control things…

    One of my friends mentioned is off to Uganda this week spending some rockerfeller money on climate change. 

    Interestin times..

    This will be a slow burn, but I think more damaging to a small group of scientist (and politicians/policies and the media) hopefully not all climate scientists.

  122. Fred says:

    This e-mail release, as with the previous one, gives the impression of a cabal driven by political as much as scientific considerations.  They seem acutely aware of the public policy implications of their “science.” 
     
    Not responding to requests for data and information in a prompt and helpful manner is outside of my experience of science.  Plotting about how to discredit other scientists and suppress release of their findings is despicable.  My superiors never set such a tone, nor would they have tolerated that kind of behavior by me.  I feel sorry for anyone who can read these e-mails and not see them as way outside the atmosphere under which scientific investigations should take place.  They must not have had the opportunity to work with quality colleagues.
     
    It is a shame that “science” produced by such a crowd has the influence it claims over energy policy.  The public policy implications of AGW theory have hamstrung energy development in the US at the cost of many thousands of jobs and a reduced standard of living.  When you ask pro-AGW scientists what evidence is there that CO2 can cause harmful warming all you get are easily refuted claims. 

  123. harrywr2 says:

    #119
    But if the public debate were more nuanced, then I bet these nuanced views on display would be heard more often.
    Yes, treating the public to the ‘adult version’ of reality rather then the children’s version would be quite refreshing. 
    Unfortunately the trend is towards infantilizing the public.

  124. willard says:

    Speaking of nuanced views, here is John Nielsen-Gammon’s:

    http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2011/11/climategate-ii/

    A quote:

    > The original Climategate was the scandal(s) created by the release of emails.  In Climategate II, the release of emails IS the scandal. 

  125. OPatrick says:

    Alex Harvey, the e-mails we are reading are a small selection and that selection process has been made with the deliberate intention of causing the most embarassment possible. Therefore it is not safe to conclude from them that the level of internal dissent is higher than we see in public.

    There is nothing that I’ve seen yet in the e-mails which hasn’t been discussed publicly somewhere, most often in the peer-reviewed literature. Of course these discussions get pushed into a narrow bandwidth by the torrent of nonsense which swamps most discussions, so I’d argue that if you want to see why we’re getting the impression that this dissent isn’t evident in the public debate that is where we need to look to. I don’t believe any one would argue that many of the climate scientists aren’t being defensive, but nor do I believe that anyone can fail to see why they are being defensive.

  126. @JulietteJowit says:

    For what it is worth, my analysis of some of the emails. Better go – on deadlines over this side of the Pond.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/nov/24/leaked-climate-science-emails
    Have nice days

  127. Keith Kloor says:

    Willard,

    I’m mostly in agreement with John N-G’s take, except I think there is more to this than simply out-takes being released two years later. It’s too bad that whoever did this felt the need to selectively cherrypick excerpts out of context. I also agree with OPatrick that the “selection process has been made with the deliberate intention of causing the most embarassment possible.”

    Unfortunately, the obviously biased intentions of the leaker color how people (on the AGW side) will view the emails. If the leaker wanted simply to let some sunlight in on all this, he or she could have went about it a different way.

    Too bad, too, since there was a model already in place, which we saw with the embassy cables story. That was very controversial, too, with obvious parallels (such as privacy issues). Of course, the Guardian was a big conduit for dissemination and analysis of those communications, and funny, I don’t recall any Guardian columnists decrying the illicit nature of that as the real scandal. 

    So I wonder if this might have played out different if the leaker/hacker had better-intentioned motives and also tried contacting anyone in the media instead of going through the filter of skeptic sites.

  128. OPatrick says:

    Keith, the ‘leaker’s’ intentions were so transparently obvious that I don’t understand how anyone who wants to be taken seriously could reproduce their selected excerpts innocently. Are there any ‘sceptics’ who immediately distanced themselves from this distortion? It’s not the intention of the original ‘leaker’ that colours my view, but the failure of those who want to be taken seriously to put the excerpts in perspective before posting them.

  129. Fred says:

    The timing of these releases just before the Copenhagen and now right before the Durban conference suggests the possibility that someone from the “inside” perceives the whole AGW enterprise as rotten and lacking legitimacy.  If this scenario is correct, it reminds one of the KGB officers who defected during the cold war who provided secrets to US intelligence. 
     
    I believe these releases were done by a selfless and courageous individual of the highest principles.  One wonders, if these releases were done by an insider, what he or she has seen, probably not even reflected in the e-mails, that led him/her to switch allegiance.   

  130. Neven says:

    Shorter Alexander Harvey: Please, Keith (and other media), tell our blame-the-victim narrative, because it will 1) delay some more (just in case we are right after all, although we sometimes begin to doubt if we haven’t been taken for a ride by fake skeptics, and we dread the next El Niño year) and 2) if AGW turns out to be very serious and costly we can blame the climate scientists who provoked Anthony Watts and Steve McIntyre to go on a witch hunt, aided by us, the minions. We won’t have to admit we’re wrong or take any responsibility. And we get to satisfy our thirst for burning witches. We must never lose or our identity will be destroyed.
    Let me tell you something. Mosher was ahead of you all by quite a margin with this tactic. I respect his tactical intelligence, although it isn’t very honest IMO.
    All of you believed or still believe that AGW is a scam and that it can’t possibly have any costly consequences. Some of you have come round (for instance the “lukewarmers”), but will never admit it (‘we never said it didn’t warm, we never said it wasn’t caused by CO2, we never said the CO2 wasn’t emitted by human activities, we never said that it would have zero consequences, and BTW, geoengineering is great (now that it’s too late)!’). The blame-the-victim tactic is a rationalized way of retreat.
    First they came for the climate scientists…

  131. NewYorkJ says:

    So what can we discern from the recent leak?

    Laid to rest is any notion that the leaker(s) is a whistleblower seeking truth, openness, and transparency.  J-NG covers this sufficiently.  Most of those who believe the emails constitute a big scandal rocking the climate science world are an extension of the individual or individuals involved in the leak.  They don’t appear to be seeking truth or advancing scientific knowledge.

    Most obviously, the emails are a selective presentation, with quotes taken out of context (always be skeptical of […]), with the intention of casting scientists in the worst light.  It’s nothing beyond political football.  When context is provided, observe the dismissive reaction and spin of the some of the prosecutors.

    Even among the greatest hits selection, we can see that laid to rest is the notion that climate scientists are a “cabal”, “tribe”, or “Team”, or that they engage in groupthink, never questioning each other.  Among the “greatest hits”, we observe scientists seeking to highlight uncertainty, being cautious about overstating results, cross every “I”, and dot every “T”.  We see scientists disagreeing vehemently with each other on some occasions, on a particular colleague’s study or a presentation of a graph.

    For example, Bradley (castigated as a member of the “Team”) doesn’t think highly (to put it nicely) of one study by Mann and Jones.  But Bradley also doesn’t voice his opinion simply to embarass someone publicly, score political points, gain fame, get invited to a Heartland Institute conference or Congressional hearing, or tear down science.  This is one thing that separates him from a McIntyre, Watts, Curry, Keenan or Morano (aside from generally higher scientific competency and specific knowledge).  Bradley voices such critiques in hopes of advancing the science and maybe coming up with more robust reconstructions.  Bradley has in fact published with Mann on paleo reconstructions, recently in their 2008 study published in PNAS, one that was able to reduce some of the uncertainties from the early reconstructions, yet comes to the same broad conclusions on recent warming that essentially every other study does.

    So maybe not every scientist loves to be criticized.  I’m sure Mann didn’t like receiving such harsh criticism of his work from Bradley.  But scientists, like anyone really, are more open to those who are not perceived to be be acting in bad faith, and those perceptions are usually accurate.  The emails support this. 

    JJ (#113):

    At least one of the original FoI requests, however, gives a sense of how deliberately disruptive some of the inquirers were trying to be. And other emails suggest great pains were sometimes taken to accommodate and help visiting students/researchers and give them access to models/data/computer power etc.

    Happy Thanksgiving, folks.  Time to watch a little football.

  132. willard says:

    Keith,

    Yes, perhaps N-G’s scientist hat shows a bit.  Unless and until we have ALL the emails, we will have questions about its selection. 

    My own hat also shows, because I believe sociologists, historians and philosophers of science would have liked to have better quality control of the selection process, and perhaps also a way to preserve some kind of anonymity.  But I’m sure there is someone somewhere who is thinking about doing a thesis bout that anyway…

    In any case, we could be critical of our Miracle Worker’s process, if the intention was to taint climate scientists. Take for instance this comment from Jonathan Gilligan:

    http://neverendingaudit.tumblr.com/post/13221771856

    If a serious scholar can say, after a cursory glance of some the worse emails, can say:

    > I see members of the so-called team arguing vigorously amongst themselves, even saying very unflattering things about one another, with their attention fixed on the quality of the science. They are not emphasizing the need to create a coherent picture. When out of the public eye, they are attacking anything their colleagues do that seems substandard and fighting passionately about the quality of the science.

    I surmise that the Miracle Worker did not do the job properly.

    Perhaps he simply had to sacrifice nefariousness for more contextuality.

    The first time, the Miracle Worker said:

    > A miracle just happened.

    Can we believe in miracles that happen twice? 

  133. OPatrick says:

    I believe these releases were done by a selfless and courageous individual of the highest principles. 

    Fred, can I just clarify – you think that someone who selectively excerpts e-mails to create a false impression is an “individual of the highest principles”?

  134. Fred says:

    OPatrick (134)
     
    These released e-mails are not “selectively excerpted” in the sense of being narrowly chosen or few in number.  I believe the massive volume of these e-mails provides us with a very good indication of the characters of those who wrote them.  It is important to know what types of individuals are behind “science” that is influencing public policies in directions that are causing highly damaging economic repercussions. 
     
    Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose. 

  135. Holly Stick says:

     Alexander (117)  The real story here is the old, old one of shooting the messenger. Scientists started pointing out what was happening in the world and people started attacking them for telling the truth.

    An example of confirmation bias here: Fred I think, claimed the emails showed a small cabal of people working together. Well gosh, Fred, if we stole all your emails we would find that you sent many messages to the same people; to your family, workmates etc. You would clearly belong to a sinister cabal, a small core of people who sometimes discuss political issues. Ooh, scary!

    Confirmation bias (also called confirmatory bias or myside bias) is a tendency for people to favor information that confirms their preconceptions or hypotheses regardless of whether the information is true.[Note 1][1] As a result, people gather evidence and recall information from memory selectively, and interpret it in a biased way. The biases appear in particular for emotionally significant issues and for established beliefs…”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias 

  136. Neven says:

    Fred, what kind of character could I make you with some well-chosen excerpts from your personal mail from the last 10 years? My guess is any character I’d like.

  137. Holly Stick says:

    “…Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose. ”
    Many criminals use that sanctimonious excuse

  138. Fred says:

    Neven (136)
     
    To clarify a bit more, I see the contents of these e-mails as “critical incidents” which tell us about the characters of those who wrote them.  Selectivity by whoever released them is not a factor since even one such incident is dispositive.
     
    I am certainly no angel, but I have worked on a number of projects which led to a several research publications and am working on more such projects with colleagues at the present.  I know of no one who stooped to the kind of thoughts in these released e-mails.

  139. NewYorkJ says:

    […] Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose. 

    Interesting email.

  140. OPatrick says:

    These released e-mails are not “selectively excerpted” in the sense of being narrowly chosen or few in number. 

    No, they are “selectively excerpted” in the sense that the person who ‘released’ them excerpted them selectively. I’m not sure how you can argue they didn’t do this, nor that doing this wasn’t evidently, to anyone capable of reading, dishonest.

  141. Fred says:

    New YorkJ:
     
    Yes, Just read Gandhi or the psychologist Lawrence Kohlberg on this matter.
     
     

  142. Nick says:

    😉

    …Good grief. 

  143. willard says:

    > Fred, what kind of character could I make you with some well-chosen excerpts from your personal mail from the last 10 years? My guess is any character I’d like.

    Reading this blog might be enough for that. 

  144. Alexander Harvey says:

    Neven,
     
    I presume you characterising me, but is so I do find it unrecognisable.
     
    Which bit of the GHE do you think I don’t get?
     
    For the record, I have understood and appreciated the basics for a long time, a very very long time. I was recently reminded about how I used to bang on about it so. I was surprised at just how long ago that was.
     
    I am not much interested in these emails, I was not much interested in the last lot, which did have a tale to tell. I am on record somewhere as stating at the time that they ought to know better and probably needed talking to, or shouting at, but that it was not a firing offence and we still needed the CRU.
     
    I do think that the media and the environmental lobby groups played fast and loose during a period when the temperatures were going up rather rapidly, on the simple basis that there was a real risk that they were piling on. I told my friends this, all environmentalist types ranging from a concerned US republican, to the odd, perhaps very odd, anarcho-primitivist. I also tried to express caution online to the same types, but one would have thought I had spat in the bible.
     
    I am interested in getting ahead of the game, and not playing catchup all the time. To that end, I should like to see some decent media coverage on modelling, what it is, what it means, how it is interpreted, and from a human interest angle what it is like to go to work and frazzle a planet for a living.
     
    I have a hunch, which may be informed, that the current round of model results will need careful handling, for a couple of reasons.
     
    Some of the models do I believe contain bio-modelling or similar CO2 feedback modelling for the first time and that may be a challenge as the projected temperature uncertainty range may widen as opposed to narrow. Also that improved, regional modelling, may give some support to the notion of winners and losers in the medium turn, which could be very challenging.
     
    If any of that turns out to be the case and it drops from the sky with no prior thought given to how the uncertainties involved should be interpreted with people piling to the bits they like from both sides it will have the makings of a bun fight.
     
    Alex

  145. EdG says:

    #115 “But as I recently explained to you, there is no published study that supports the claim about the “˜recovery’ from the LIA.”

    First, since the peer review process in this field has been so thoroughly corrupted into a pal review process, this is essentially meaningless. 

    The BEST data, for what it is worth, shows this recovery – or whatever term you would like to use for it. So does any comparison between historic photographs of glaciers in the Rockies (and elsewhere) and now. And on another tangent, so does the northward expansion of some bird species that became noticeable around 1900 (e.g. White-throated Swift).

    The BEST data, for what it is worth, shows this recent warming trend began with what all other converging evidence shows marked the beginning of the end of the LIA, Remarkable coincidence.

    In the meantime, there is NO actual correlation between CO2 levels and temperature based on that full graph, for what it is worth. Unless, of course, you rely on Tricky Mike’s schtick and ignore everything else.

    You add that I “have earned your first George A. Romero medal.”

    Had to google that to get your meaning. Thanks. I try to learn something every day. But it doesn’t seem appropriate given who has actually been telling the scary stories here.

    Pardon my ignorance but I don’t you what that is. The same one that Tricky Mike Mann just got? Or worse… a Nobel Peace Prize?

  146. EdG says:

    Re my #146 – Oops. Last paragraph should have been deleted. Written before I decided to find out who Romero was, and left hanging there.

     

  147. BBD says:

    EdG

    First, since the peer review process in this field has been so thoroughly corrupted into a pal review process, this is essentially meaningless.

    Spare us the nutty conspiracy theories.

    The BEST data, for what it is worth, shows this recovery ““ or whatever term you would like to use for it.

    The BEST data that you continuously drizzle contempt upon because it does not support your bias shows a very clear acceleration in the rate of warming which has nothing to do with the LIA and everything to do with AGW. Again, we have been through this, and you are repeated debunked nonsense.

    BEST trends compared: full vs 1960 – present

    In the meantime, there is NO actual correlation between CO2 levels and temperature based on that full graph, for what it is worth. Unless, of course, you rely on Tricky Mike’s schtick and ignore everything else.

    Misdirection. The effects of CO2 forcing on the entire climate system are emerging slowly. You are focussing on surface temperature and ignoring thermal inertia as OHC increases. The correlation is not a simple linear one over the C20th, but the signal is there, plain as day.

    You would have to be deep in denial not to see it.

  148. Fred says:

    willard (144)
     
    Sorry, but such deviousness, deceptiveness, and mean-spiritedness as I perceive in the released e-mails is not found in my functioning.  Happy Thanksgiving!

  149. EdG says:

    BBD – Thanks for your opinion. But just to keep the record straight, the BEST data, for what it is worth, does support my “bias” as it shows a warming trend that began at the nadir of the LIA. Plain as day.

    As we both must know, we have reached a ‘Dead Parrot’ impasse here.

    You seem to have concluded that temperature changes following ice ages must be smooth and gradual (and thus anything else must be caused by something else). I have concluded just the opposite. I do know why I have reached my conclusion but don’t know why you have reached yours.

    In the meantime, these emails reveal the (suppressed) debate hidden in academia – while the Team sold the ‘debate is over’ story that you seem to have bought. Doesn’t that make you wonder about it, at least a little?

    So many known unkowns and unknown unknowns.

  150. Marlowe Johnson says:

    FWIW I’m glad you’re on my ‘side’ now BBD 😉

  151. BBD says:

    Marlowe
     
    Tribalism, God dammit!!
     
    But kind words. I feel much better too…
     
     

  152. willard says:

    Fred,

    Agreed that to portray you as deceptive would be tough.  Mean-spiritedness or devious?  That does not sound too difficult, but I have ran out of auditing funds lately.  

    When you say that:

    >  Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose. 

    some might see that as legitimate appeals to civil disobediance, while others might interpret this as Noble Corruption. 

    I would be tempted to hold the first interpretion in your case.  

    Which is it?

    My point was not a personal one anyway.

    Happy Thanksgiving! 

  153. EdG says:

    “Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose.”

    Also known as ‘The ends justify the means.”

    Chairman Mao would certainly agree. So would the Crusaders who pillaged the Middle East. So would the ‘Final Solution’ gang.

    As those examples illustrate, sombody’s idea of a “higher moral purpose” has been the excuse for some of the worst atrocities in history.

    That said, i would not be surprised if some of the AGW Team rationalized what they did based on this convenient excuse. And the big paychecks probably did help them find this version of morality. 

      

  154. BBD says:

    EdG

    Let’s try again.

    BEST 5 year mean

    Trend 1802 – 1975: 0.04C/decade

    Trend 1975 – 2010.2: 0.28C/decade

    The LIA ended ca 1850. So why do we see a hockey stick? Where’s the energy coming from?

    Non-physical explanations will not do, Ed. You need to show a mechanism here.

    Where’s the energy coming from?

  155. Tom Gray says:

    As a real question to Keith Kloor, do you think that reporters in the main steam media can control the content of public discussion as they did in the past?  Does anybody care about the opinions of reporters when one can find the direct information and much more (in quantity and in quality) analysis very easily if one only cares to look.

     

  156. Tom Gray says:

    =================
    The LIA ended ca 1850. So why do we see a hockey stick? Where’s the energy coming from?
    Non-physical explanations will not do, Ed. You need to show a mechanism here.
    Where’s the energy coming from?
    ===================

    In the LIA, where did the energy go? 

    Important societal questions cannot be solved by ‘gotcha” questions and shallow sysmobols like the IPCC hockey stick 

  157. Fred says:

    willard (153) and EdG(154):  Regarding “Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose” I meant it in the spirit of Kohlberg’s sixth (highest) stage of moral development.  Consider the scenario:
     
    A woman was near death from a special kind of cancer. There was one drug that the doctors thought might save her. It was a form of radium that a druggist in the same town had recently discovered. The drug was expensive to make, but the druggist was charging ten times what the drug cost him to produce. He paid $200 for the radium and charged $2,000 for a small dose of the drug. The sick woman’s husband, Heinz, went to everyone he knew to borrow the money, but he could only get together about $ 1,000, which is half of what it cost. He told the druggist that his wife was dying and asked him to sell it cheaper or let him pay later. But the druggist said, “No, I discovered the drug and I’m going to make money from it.” So Heinz got desperate and broke into the man’s store to steal the drug for his wife. Should Heinz have broken into the laboratory to steal the drug for his wife? Why or why not?
     
    A stage six (universal human ethics) response may be “Heinz should steal the medicine, because saving a human life is a more fundamental value than the property rights of another person.”
     
    Perhaps disclosing the “Climategate” e-mails to inform everyone about the functioning of the members of the group that wrote them trumps the hacking involved.  

  158. BBD says:

    Tom Gray

    In the LIA, where did the energy go?

    Heard of the Maunder Minimum?

    Important societal questions cannot be solved by “˜gotcha” questions and shallow sysmobols like the IPCC hockey stick

    This is not a ‘gotcha’. The graph is not a ‘shallow symbol’. It is a surface temperature reconstruction. It is the work of Richard Muller and his team. It has nothing to do with the IPCC. Only someone unable to answer this valid question would attempt to mischaracterise it in this way.

    Let’s try again.

    BEST five year mean

    Trend 1802 ““ 1975: 0.04C/decade

    Trend 1975 ““ 2010.2: 0.28C/decade

    The LIA ended ca 1850. So why do we see a hockey stick?

    Why is energy accumulating in the climate system, causing it to heat up?

    Only physical explanations are acceptable. No more evasions.

  159. Nullius in Verba says:

    #159,
    Yesterday here, it was about 1 C cooler than it was today. Where did the energy come from? Why is it warming up? Five days ago it was about 2 C warmer than today. Where did the energy go? Why is it cooling down?

  160. Nullius in Verba says:

    I should perhaps note, in case it isn’t clear why I say that, that 1C in one day is a rate of heating of about 36,500 C per century, or 12,775 C over a comparable 35 years. That’s a massive rate of heating/cooling.
     
    The sun’s intensity and the CO2 level are pretty much the same as they were yesterday. The radiative balance is the same. So how can such a tremendous amount of heat just appear or vanish, and nobody notice?

  161. willard says:

    Fred,

    We could argue about the application of your reasoning to Heinz’s case. Principles higher than Law & Order are above the 4th step, so we could instead interpret your words as meaning:

    > Heinz should steal the medicine because everyone has a right to choose life, regardless of the law.

    This, I believe, corresponds very well to

    >  Sometimes breaking rules is called for if it is in service of a higher moral purpose. 

    It is clear that auditors are thinking in contractual terms.  The first time, I believe our Miracle Worker expressed contractual concerns, but I have to verify.  Also, our Miracle Worker has yet to sacrifice anything tangible.  So talking about the 5th step could also be appropriate.  But all this is theorical and Kohlberg was more of an empirical guy.
    I believe we can agree on what you mean, but hat you said might not convey all there is needed to constrain me to the meaning that you intended.  Hence the need to have a dynamic exchange.

    If what only mattered is what you said, you’d have a tough time defending yourself against Noble Corruption.  Any justification above the 4th step goes beyond Law & Order.  So anyone who claims that there are principles above the law could be said to be corrupted by noble ideals.

  162. rustneversleeps says:

    Ok, roger that, NiV. That was, er, brave.

  163. Neven says:

    Perhaps disclosing the “Climategate” e-mails to inform everyone about the functioning of the members of the group that wrote them trumps the hacking involved. 
    Of course, it wasn’t about someone’s functioning, but about AGW. I believe the ethical consequences of the hack depends on
    1) What was in those mails that changes anything we know about AGW.
    2) The consequences of AGW.
    The answer to 1) is ‘nothing’. We shall await the answer to 2). If AGW has costly consequences, FOIA did a bad, bad thing. Especially for the poor people in the world that he says he cares so much about.
    But as said before, the perverse tactic is now to try and blame climate scientists in advance if AGW turns out to be not nothing.

  164. Neven says:

    From one stupid man to two others:
    In the LIA, where did the energy go?
    A more exact question would be to ask where the energy didn’t come from.
    Yesterday here, it was about 1 C cooler than it was today. Where did the energy come from? Why is it warming up? Five days ago it was about 2 C warmer than today. Where did the energy go? Why is it cooling down?
    Part of the answer starts with an O (presuming you were talking about the global mean temperature and not your backyard) and ends with cean.

    Guys, please stop asking those incredibly stupid and embarrassing questions. Even I know the answers to those, which is damning to the extreme. Know thyself.

  165. Fred says:

    willard (162);
     
    Nice point about whether whoever disclosed the e-mails is guilty of Noble Corruption.  He/she will have to deal with that knotty issue.  Personally, given the very high stakes for public policy of climate science, I believe this disclosure reaches the point where the benefits outweigh the hacking issue.
     
    Meanwhile, the rest of us are better off knowing more about the approach to climate science of the folks that wrote the e-mails that were disclosed. 

  166. Tom Gray says:

    ========= 
    Trend 1802 ““ 1975: 0.04C/decade
    Trend 1975 ““ 2010.2: 0.28C/decade
    The LIA ended ca 1850. So why do we see a hockey stick?
    Why is energy accumulating in the climate system, causing it to heat up?
    Only physical explanations are acceptable. No more evasions.
    ==================

    Pielke Sentior ahs an explanation

    Svensmark has an explnation

    Other people have other explnations

    “Gotcha” questions are not useful for difficult societal issues         

  167. JohnB says:

    BBD, is the long term v short term the best comparison? One could take a perfect sine wave and get all sorts of “trend” lines.

    I must admit to not having delved into the BEST records, I find the GISS quite satisfactory. The thing is that there have been 3 warming periods since the LIA. 1850-1880, 1910-1940 and 1970-2000.

    Each of these three have virtually identical trends of circa .16 degrees/decade. This means that the 1970-2000 period can’t be called “accelerated” in any way, it’s the same trend as the (presumed) totally natural warming of 1850-1880.

    As to the LIA ending in 1850, I say the same thing but I must admit it bothers me. Why do we say 1850? Because that’s when it started getting warmer? Then why don’t we say Winter ends at the Solstice?

    I can’t help but think that 1850 was roughly the Winter Solstice and the “end” of Winter must have been at some time after that. When did the Winter of the LIA end and the following Spring begin? And why?

    The 1850 figure seems very artbitary to me. (Even though as I said, I use it myself.)

  168. Nullius in Verba says:

    #164,
    You need to add to your list:
    3) The costs of trying to mitigate AGW.
    And as for 1), what it (potentially) changes is what we know about how much we know about AGW. It’s not what it does to the estimate, it’s what it does to the uncertainty.
     
     
    #165,
    Of course you know the answer to the question. That was the point. It’s a rhetorical question. The answer isn’t the ocean.
    Oh, and I was talking about our local weather station, not the globe.
     
    #167,
    That’s right.
     
    #168,
    People shouldn’t be using BEST for analysis. It’s an early release of an unvalidated dataset/algorithm full of bugs and issues. It’s not finished yet. Releasing it now allows people to start examining these issues, constructively criticising the methods, which allows it to improve more quickly. It’s a laudable thing to do. Only the PR was a problem.
    GISTEMP also has its issues – the difference being they’re not planning to fix them.
     
    The winter solstice is when the rate of heat input/output by the sun reaches the minimum. There’s a time delay because the oceans store heat. The actual winter minimum occurs a couple of months later when the rising input from the sun equals the falling output from the oceans.
    1850 was the temperature minimum. By analogy, the ‘winter solstice’ would have been even earlier. When ‘spring’ starts depends on how long the cycle is. We might not be up to the MWP-level ‘summer’ peak yet.

  169. BBD says:

    I see no physical explanations as requested (for the second time) @ 159.
     
    Lots of waffling nonsense though.

  170. BBD says:

    Tom Gray

    Svensmark has an explnation

    No, he doesn’t.

    There are numerous studies that show that the effects of cosmic rays on climate are negligible. For example, Sloan & Wolfendale (2011) [all emphasis added]:

    A search has been made for a contribution of the changing cosmic ray intensity to the global warming observed in the last century. The cosmic ray intensity shows a strong 11 year cycle due to solar modulation and the overall rate has decreased since 1900. These changes in cosmic ray intensity are compared to those of the mean global surface temperature to attempt to quantify any link between the two. It is shown that, if such a link exists, the changing cosmic ray intensity contributes less than 8% to the increase in the mean global surface temperature observed since 1900.

    And Erlykin et al. (2011)

    A survey is made of the evidence for and against the hypothesis that cosmic rays influence cloud cover. The analysis is made principally for the troposphere. It is concluded that for the troposphere there is only a very small overall value for the fraction of cloud attributable to cosmic rays (CR); if there is linearity between CR change and cloud change, the value is probably ~1% for clouds below ~6.5km, but less overall. The apparently higher value for low cloud is an artifact. The contribution of CR to ‘climate change’ is quite negligible.

    And Pierce & Adams (2009):

    In this paper, we present the first calculations of the magnitude of the ion-aerosol clear-air mechanism using a general circulation model with online aerosol microphysics. In our simulations, changes in CCN from changes in cosmic rays during a solar cycle are two orders of magnitude too small to account for the observed changes in cloud properties; consequently, we conclude that the hypothesized effect is too small to play a significant role in current climate change.
     
    There are lots more, but this will do for now.

  171. BBD says:

    Tom Gray
     
    Pielke Sentior ahs an explanation


    Then share it with us.

  172. BBD says:

    JohnB @ 168

    I must admit to not having delved into the BEST records, I find the GISS quite satisfactory. The thing is that there have been 3 warming periods since the LIA. 1850-1880, 1910-1940 and 1970-2000.

    Each of these three have virtually identical trends of circa .16 degrees/decade. This means that the 1970-2000 period can’t be called “accelerated” in any way, it’s the same trend as the (presumed) totally natural warming of 1850-1880.

    First, GISTEMP (if that is what you mean by ‘GISS’) starts at 1880, so where do you get the 1850 – 1880 trend from?

    The ‘same slope’ argument is misleading and factually incorrect (congratulations – a twofer). The trend 1910 – 1940 is 0.11C/decade. The trend 1970 – 2000 is 0.15C/decade.

    GISTEMP: trends 1910 – 1940; 1970 – 2000

    It is simpler and clearer to smooth with a 5 or 10 year mean to reveal the underlying acceleration in the rate of warming:

    GISTEMP 5 year mean

  173. andrew adams says:

    Although I strongly disagree with Fred’s interpretation of the emails, I have some sympathy with his view regarding their release. There have been any number of occasions in the past when individuals have released information which they were not entitled to release because they felt it to be in the public interest and I would argue they were right to do so. I’m sympathetic to some of what Wikileaks has done and one could specifically point to the Pentagon Papers or, in the UK, to Clive Ponting and the documents regarding the sinking of the General Belgrano. That’s not to compare the actions of the climategate hacker to the individuals involved in those cases, I think one has to judge every case on its merits, but I think it’s fair for Fred to argue that sometimes it can be morally acceptable to break the law in pursuit fo the greater good. That doesn’t mean the law shouldn’t still apply in those circumstances – people have to recognise the possible consequences of their action and accept it if they are prosecuted as a result.

  174. Nullius in Verba says:

    #171,
    I had a quick look at the first link. They appear to repeat the mistake of their earlier papers of using the neutron monitor counts as a proxy for GCR ionisation. The neutrons measure cosmic rays at the top of the atmosphere – neutrons formed in collisions, being electrically neutral, penetrate the rest of the atmosphere easily. The Svensmark hypothesis is that only high energy GCRs produced the charged and deeply penetrating muons far enough in the lower atmosphere to affect low level (about 1 km) oceanic cloud nucleation. These behave differently.
     
    I know Sloan at least knows this, as I’ve seen discussions between him and others bringing it up. So why would he use neutron counts again?
     
    I’m also amused that they try to use lack of correlation in short-term wiggles to deny any connection. The objections are loud if anyone points out that in the 1960s the CO2 was going up while the temperature was going down. There’s poor signal-to-noise.
     
    I haven’t looked closely at the other two, but in the snippets you quote the first talks about all clouds, not low level ones, and the second uses models.
     
    Good try, but I won’t be writing the hypothesis off just yet.

  175. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Good try, but I won’t be writing the hypothesis off just yet.
     
    But you have nothing. No evidence, nothing in the literature. 
     
    Nothing.
     
    Just your scientifically weightless opinion, which I am happy to ignore now and in future.
     
    And it is always the case. ‘Sceptics’ have nothing except a loud voice and an inflated view of their own significance.
     
    Which begs the question: why does anyone listen? It’s certainly got nothing to do with the weight of scientific evidence, since there is none supporting the ‘sceptic’ case. 
     
    This is a trap I have fallen into many times. More fool me.

  176. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Also – and I should really have said this first – I’m sure that muons do have slight effects on low cloud formation.
     
    I am equally convinced by the studies that I have see that the effect is climatologically insignificant.
     
    There is a danger of these two things becoming confused. What you need to do – with references, of course – is show that there is a climatologically significant effect on low cloud formation.
     
    Can you do that?

  177. […] point was echoed by Guardian reporter Juliett Jowitt in a comment at Collide-a-Scape: They do disagree, and sometimes rather bitchily (these were “˜private’), […]

  178. BBD says:

    NiV

    I don’t want to put words into Terry Sloan’s mouth, so I will quote directly from his response to Nigel Calder on the latter’s blog:

    There is a deep flaw in Henrik Svensmark’s publications, your book and the TV programs you have made. In these you insist that the ionization is produced by muons. If this is the case then the solar modulation of the ionization from muons is 2.5% (averaged over Ahluwalia’s data or 3.6% if you take his largest value ““ other data show similar values). The change in low cloud cover is 4.6% in 1990 (solar cycle 22). Hence you propose that a change of 2.5% in ionization produces a 4.6% change in low cloud cover. This requires that the low cloud cover varies as a power of 4.6/2.5 i.e. 1.9 (or 1.3 if you artificially take Ahluwalia’s biggest value). The recombination argument (see Chalmer’s book) says that aerosol formation should go as the square root of the ionization i.e. the power should be 0.5. Now you can get over this by accepting that the soft component exists and the change in ionization over the globe during the solar cycle becomes more like 7%. The power then becomes 4.6/7 which is nearer 0.5. However, you must accept then that there is a rigidity cut-off dependence ““ which is not there in the cloud measurements as we showed in our paper. Hence either way your defence of the hypothesis fails.

    In none of this would I argue that there is no effect of ionization on clouds at all. However, the effect, if present, can only explain a fraction of the global warming observed in the last century and not most of it as you claim in your publications. In contrast, the effects of absorption of infra red radiation in greenhouse gases is known to happen and quantitatively explains the observations. So I cannot understand why you want to confuse the public by twisting the science to fit your cosmic ray hypothesis. It clearly does not fit the facts and there is now a growing body of refereed papers in the literature reporting this.
     
    And repeat my question:
     
    Can you show – with references – that there is a climatologically significant effect on low cloud formation?

  179. JohnB says:

    BBD@173

    Gah! HADCRUT, sorry. You might want to read this interview with a Dr. Phil Jones from UEA. I assume that you think he might actually know something about Global Temp trends?
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8511670.stm

    The warming periods he lists are 1860-1880, 1910-1940, 1975-1998 and 1975-2009.

    The trend per decade for each being .163, .15, .166 and .161.

    Hmmm, so neither “misleading” nor “factually incorrect”, not a twofer at all, was it? The question still stands.

    If the warming trend from 1860-1880 was .163 and from 1975-1998 was .166 how can you say the trend is accellerating? Or increasing?

    Don’t you find it at all odd that the three periods have the same trend? One is totally natural, one is supposedly part natural and part anthrop and the last is listed as mostly anthrop, yet they all have the same trend. What an amazing coincidence that the natural factors gave out at exactly the correct rate to balance the incoming anthrop forcings to give exactly the same trends. (Statistically speaking.)

    PS. Isn’t the BEST record currently only for Land temps? You aren’t trying to put forward a set of land temps as a global dataset are you?

  180. BBD says:

    Hmmm, so neither “misleading” nor “factually incorrect”, not a twofer at all, was it? The question still stands.
     
    No, what you said was incorrect. Do not pass off your errors as mine.
     
    PS. Isn’t the BEST record currently only for Land temps? You aren’t trying to put forward a set of land temps as a global dataset are you?
     
    No, when did I say that BEST was anything other than the Berkeley Earth SURFACE Temperature?
     
    Watch it.
     
    Meetings now – I will respond in full later.

  181. Nullius in Verba says:

    #176, 177, 178,
    I don’t expect my opinion to persuade you. (See my pseudonym.) But at the same time, your opinion unsupported by evidence is not going to persuade me, either. Just as you do not dismiss the idea that cosmic rays can have an effect on climate – the connection has been known since William Herschel noted it in 1801 after all – so I don’t dismiss the claim that greenhouse gases will make some positive contribution to temperatures. The magnitude of those effects, in relation to the multitude of other effects, is the question.
     
    I would also say that at the moment I consider the Svensmark proposal as a plausible hypothesis, just as I consider claims of significant/dangerous AGW to be a plausible hypothesis. At present, I do not consider the evidence sufficient to prove or disprove either. Your insistence that AGW be accepted by default until some alternative is proven beyond doubt is invalid reasoning. Nobody knows what’s causing it. Scientists often have to say “I don’t know” and it’s a quite acceptable position to be in. The climate is fantastically complicated and – while we know a lot – compared to what there is to know, poorly understood. There are half a dozen hypotheses, including CO2, but they all have issues yet to be resolved and more research is needed. One of the problems with the political dominance the CO2 hypothesis has enjoyed is that as a result not enough work has been done to investigate the alternatives.
     
    I don’t understand why people are so certain that science points unambiguously to CO2 catastrophe, and yet are unable to give a clear, accurate, and concise explanation of how they know; of what the evidence is. I don’t understand why, if there’s good solid evidence somewhere, why they keep on putting up all this bad science instead. And then defending it to the death. And while climate scientists have put up a united front in public, they appear to be just as uncertain and conflicted about it in private.
     
    The Svensmark claim is about a particular subset of cosmic rays that neutron counters don’t distinguish. So why have Sloan and Wolfendale put up yet another paper using neutron counters? How does this constitute useful evidence?
     
    I’m all in favour of people trying to criticise the Svensmark hypothesis – that’s how science works. I hope people like Sloan keep on trying. But you can’t take any just-published paper by anyone claiming to have falsified it as gospel truth and an end to the matter. The same goes for peer-reviewed papers claiming to refute AGW. They’re just single exchanges in an ongoing debate.

  182. andrew adams says:

    <i>Just as you do not dismiss the idea that cosmic rays can have an effect on climate ““ the connection has been known since William Herschel noted it in 1801 after all ““ so I don’t dismiss the claim that greenhouse gases will make some positive contribution to temperatures.</i>

    But we have a much greater understanding of the effects of GHGs on climate than we do of the effects of cosmic rays. To suggest they are merely competing hypotheses which are equally likely to be correct is just plain wrong.  

  183. Nullius in Verba says:

    #182,
    The difference in level of understanding is only because of the amount of work put into them, a difference with primarily political and historical rather than scientific causes. A fashion for looking at one theory over another does not make it more likely to be true.
    We know less about the effects of GHGs on climate than most people seem to think. That they’ll have some effect, yes, but not even the IPCC was willing to claim more than 90% confidence that more than 50% of the 0.6 C warming since 1950 was anthropogenic, and I think they might be stretching even that. But people confuse certainty about some of the basics with certainty about very much more speculative theories and predictions.

  184. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    I don’t expect my opinion to persuade you. (See my pseudonym.) But at the same time, your opinion unsupported by evidence is not going to persuade me, either.
     
    I am referencing. You are not. What is this crap about ‘my opinion’ being ‘unsupported by evidence’.
     
    If you are going to start making absurd, untrue statements then this discussion is over.
     
    Others please note.

  185. EdG says:

    #159 BBD – This seems to be your key point.

    “Why is energy accumulating in the climate system, causing it to heat up?”

    If heat was accumulating it would logically be primarily stored in the ocean. Yet there seems to be no sign of that. As they say, tis a travesty that this ‘missing heat’ cannot be found.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/09/20/pielke-sr-on-that-hide-and-seek-ocean-heat/

    As for the (dubious) land temperature data which does detect the heat supposedly driven by this accumulation, it is rather odd the way it sometimes doesn’t respond even while the CO2 continues to accumulate.

    The planet and climate must be very moody and conflicted about its relationship with CO2, or something.

    P.S. Re #180 – Yes, the BEST data is JUST land data. That is but one reason why I keep writing ‘the BEST data, for what it is worth.’ You seemed to have the impression that I kept using that qualifier only because of all the ‘adjustments’ to that data. That is reason enough for that label but that’s only part of the problem.

  186. BBD says:

    JohnB

    As you know, the highest rate of warming is projected to occur over land. The gridded GAT reconstructions (eg GISTEMP; HADCRUT) combine sea surface temperatures (where known) with surface temperatures. (Note: SSTs are not equivalent to OHC; OHC is increasing but reconstructions are shaky). This all adds to the confusion but it cannot be helped.

    Well, perhaps it can.

    Look at surface temperature records first, and then at GISTEMP, as the latter includes Arctic surface data absent from HADCRUT. It has more of a ‘surface weighting’ if you like. 
    HADCRUT should be considered in context and for what it is.

    (All graphs are on a common 1981 – 2010 baseline and smoothed with a 10 year mean for clarity)

    Surface: BEST and CRUTEM 10 year means

    Global: HADCRUT and GISTEMP 10 year means

    The reason HADCRUT shows the least rate of warming is because it has the most limited surface coverage and is ‘flattened’ by HADSST. This is easy enough to demonstrate by comparing land-only CRUTEM with BEST (see first graph). They are in good agreement (especially 1975 – present) and clearly show an increased rate of warming in the second half of the C20th.

    The danger here is that highly selective, ‘sceptic’ interpretations deliberately concentrated only on the slope of trends in HADCRUT miss the bigger picture.

  187. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Did you read Sloan’s response to Calder (178)? It’s all about muon-cloud interactions. It goes to the heart of your ‘argument’.
     
    Is that why you completely ignored it?

  188. Nullius in Verba says:

    #184,
    “I am referencing. You are not. What is this crap about “˜my opinion’ being “˜unsupported by evidence’.”
    Argument from authority is not evidence.
     
    But what I was referring to was not the referenced papers, but your opinion that the Sloan ones are correct and the Svensmark ones are not.
     
    #187,
    Yes. He says that Svensmark’s data does not match the theory in some textbook. That might mean there’s something wrong with the data, or it might mean the theory in the textbook is wrong or incomplete. Given how poorly cloud formation is understood, why would you assume it was one and not the other? It’s not presenting counter-evidence, it’s simply saying Svensmark’s conclusion is unconventional.
     
    It’s also based on Sloan’s work regarding cloud cover measurements in an earlier paper, where the measurements of cloud cover are not sufficiently accurate or well-resolved to draw the conclusion. But that was a different bit of work, already answered, and doesn’t address the question of why Sloan used neutron counts when Svensmark makes no claim that the cosmic rays detected by neutron counts have such an effect. Sloan is using a straw man argument – putting forward his own alternative version and then debunking it.
     
    Svensmark has said that in the early days of their work they went through a lot of the same misunderstandings. The cloud effect is subtle, and takes more than a shallow understanding of the physics to disentangle from the data. The opponents seem to make no effort to understand this, but keep on throwing up anything and everything they can find that doesn’t fit with their simplistic conception of the relationship. Others, impressed more with the number than the quality of papers, find that persuasive.
     
    I don’t.
    And I’m not impressed that Svensmark’s opponents seem more interested in discrediting him at any cost than in discovering the truth. But time will tell, and I’m not really worried that the science won’t sort itself out. The CERN work is being done more carefully, and should hopefully make good progress within the next few years.

  189. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    Argument from authority is not evidence.
     
    ‘Sceptical’ sophistry. Unreferenced argument is hand-waving. As I said some way back, you have nothing.
     
    Your commentary here has been a simple exercise in bias. You claim a false equivalence between the robustly-supported theory of AGW and the Svensmark hypothesis, while deliberately ignoring the very obvious problem:
     
    Even though muons may well be implicated in cloud nucleation, the effects are climatically insignificant.
     
    And now you will drone on, for ever and ever, NEVER conceding the point that you cannot actually make in the first place because you have not a shred of supporting evidence.
     
    Fortunately for any others here, I can’t be bothered tonight. Believe whatever makes you happy. And do try not to think too hard.

  190. andrew adams says:

    NiV
    Personally I think the IPCC statement is rather conservative, but even if it is realistic or even slightly overstated that’s still far more than we know about the effect of cosmic rays – we don’t know with any level of certainty if they have any effect at all.
     
    And the uncertaintly exists about the extent of the effect from CO2 is due partly to uncertainty over feedbacks and also the effect other factors as aerosols – the actual radiative effects of CO2 itself are very well understood. 
     

  191. Nullius in Verba says:

    All argument starts out unreferenced before anyone else can reference it. If you dismiss all unreferenced argument, then your house has no foundations.
     
    You’ve presented several references, but none of them provide any evidence that the claimed effects are climatically insignificant. They instead address various straw men that even a passing familiarity with Svensmark’s actual claims reveal to be empty of significance. One examines the wrong sort of radiation, one examines the wrong sort of clouds, and the third builds a computer model. On this foundation you claim that “many studies have shown…”.
     
    It’s much the same with the claims of the robustness of AGW. You get plenty of references, plenty of studies that “show” or “support” or “are consistent with”. I’m told there’s “mountains” of evidence for it. But when you try to look closely at it, it’s all supporting different claims, or with fallacious arguments, or using dodgy data. And what I cannot understand is why anyone would persist in pushing so much bad science if there was this “mountain” of good science available. Why would anyone rely on the weak reed of authority if they had evidence?
     
    We each of us believe what makes us happy. You should know by now that in this debate ‘conversions’ are rare. The aim can only be realistically to understand, to explore, to test the theories and arguments; not to persuade or ‘win’. You now know that arguments based on using neutron counters as proxies for GCRs are unpersuasive against Svensmark, and why. You now have the chance a think about how to counter that, and next time round you’ll be able to argue better, pick better references, whatever. That’s a positive, whichever way you look at it.

  192. Nullius in Verba says:

    #190,
    We do know cosmic rays have an effect. It’s basic physics. Svensmark and others have found strong correlations, and as I noted earlier, Herschel reported the relation between climate and the solar cycle as early as 1801.
     
    The real argument between sceptics and believers on AGW is over those feedbacks and other factors; they’re not just a minor adjunct to the radiative physics. And while it is probably true to say that the radiative effects of CO2 are sufficiently well understood by science, they’re not actually understood by most of the people who believe in AGW. The explanation most people give of the greenhouse effect is incorrect. So even if they are right, their belief is not well-founded. Whether people think this matters is one of the core philosophical differences between the two sides.

  193. andrew adams says:

    NiV,
    But we are not able to put any kind of figure on the effect of cosmic rays, whereas for CO2 we know the “no-feedback” response is about 1.2C for a doubling so we have an actual basis from which to work from when considering whether increased levels in the atmosphere are likely to have much effect.
    As for the greenhouse effect, I don’t think it does matter that much whether people who believe in AGW know in detail how it works, any more than you need to know the exact mechanics of how cells replicate in order to accept that the theory evolution is broadly correct. I would say my personal understanding is better than the average man in the street and pretty woeful compared with atmospheric scientists. As the existence of the GHG effect itself or the radiative properties of CO2 are not the issue I’m not sure why that matters. 

  194. BBD says:

    NiV

    As I predicted:

    And now you will drone on, for ever and ever, NEVER conceding the point that you cannot actually make in the first place because you have not a shred of supporting evidence.

    This is classic ‘sceptic’ twaddle:

    But when you try to look closely at it, it’s all supporting different claims, or with fallacious arguments, or using dodgy data. And what I cannot understand is why anyone would persist in pushing so much bad science if there was this “mountain” of good science available. Why would anyone rely on the weak reed of authority if they had evidence?

    Fallacious arguments, dodgy data, bad science, weak reed of authority…

    Otherwise known as a substantial body of currently unrefuted work supporting the theory (not hypothesis) that RF from CO2 is causing energy to accumulate in the climate system and heating it up. As we can easily see (unless we sunk in denial and blinded thereby) in all the pretty pictures I link above in the discussion of C20th warming trends.

  195. Nullius in Verba says:

    #193,
    Why does being able to estimate a figure for one and not the other mean the one is more likely to be ‘the explanation’ and not the other?
     
    If somebody were to say conversely “I understand this cosmic ray – cloud theory, but I don’t understand the greenhouse effect at all”, would they be correct to say that the cloud effect was therefore the more likely explanation?

  196. Nullius in Verba says:

    #194,
    The argument you just used there (the “pretty pictures”) is known as ‘correlation implying causation’.
     
    It’s known that more CO2 will make a positive contribution to temperature. It’s known that temperature has risen. But deducing from this that CO2 has therefore caused the observed temperature rise is an example of ‘confirming the consequent’. It’s a fallacious, illogical, non-argument.
     
    And that’s what I mean. We keep on being told there’s this substantial body of work making the case, and then we keep on getting handed these simplistic fallacies and straw men that totally fail to do so. And then getting told that yes, ok, attribution is a little more complicated, I should go away and read the literature.
    Or that I’m just being awkward in asking for an argument that stands up to scrutiny.
     
    But I’m used to it by now. Like I said, it’s more just a matter of furthering mutual understanding.

  197. BBD says:

    NiV
     
    #194,
    The argument you just used there (the “pretty pictures”) is known as “˜correlation implying causation’.
     
    It’s known that more CO2 will make a positive contribution to temperature. It’s known that temperature has risen. But deducing from this that CO2 has therefore caused the observed temperature rise is an example of “˜confirming the consequent’. It’s a fallacious, illogical, non-argument.


    Someone should tell all those silly scientists. How could they have missed this?



  198. willard says:

    > But deducing from this that CO2 has therefore caused the observed temperature rise is an example of “˜confirming the consequent’. It’s a fallacious, illogical, non-argument.

    Indeed, and portraying that this is an argument is called a strawman.

    Hint: the word “deducing” is not the right word here.

    This is not the first time this has been told to NiV.

    Auditors are used to it by now.  

  199. willard says:

    > Indeed, and portraying that this is an argument is called a strawman.

    should be 
    > Indeed, and portraying this as *the* argument is called a strawman.

  200. Nullius in Verba says:

    #197,
    They didn’t miss it. But when it comes to explaining things to the public, it’s amazing how often it gets trotted out.
     
    #199,
    I didn’t say it was “the” argument, I said it was effectively the argument that BBD had just used.
     
    Having looked at the stuff on attribution, the standard scientific arguments seems to be basically of the form “The models incorporate our current best understanding of the physics, and we cannot get them to produce the observed amount and pattern of warming without simulating increased CO2.” It’s been applied to big complicated models and simple models, and it’s been applied to the current warming and past ones, but in each case the argument is similar. All the sources of natural variation as they’re currently modelled don’t fit.
     
    Just because the currently constructed models can’t get close without CO2 does not, of course, mean that such a model would be impossible to construct. Saying otherwise would be an ‘argument from ignorance’ fallacy. They do, of course, know that. That’s why they say:
    “As noted in the SAR (IPCC, 1996) and the TAR (IPCC, 2001), unequivocal attribution would require controlled experimentation with the climate system. Since that is not possible, in practice attribution of anthropogenic climate change is understood to mean demonstration that a detected change is “˜consistent with the estimated responses to the given combination of anthropogenic and natural forcing’ and “˜not consistent with alternative, physically plausible explanations of recent climate change that exclude important elements of the given combination of forcings’ (IPCC, 2001).”
     
    Being sure that you have covered every conceivable alternative, physically plausible possibility requires a complete understanding of the climate system. Being sure that you can tell if a plausible possibility really is inconsistent requires that you can predict its consequences accurately. It all comes down to how much you trust the models.
     
    And when asked privately, climate scientists say again and again that they don’t. The models don’t match the variance, they don’t reproduce the oscillations and shifts, they don’t do clouds well and they fudge aerosols and they get the precipitation variance wrong and they don’t do regional predictions and so on. They’re close enough for many purposes, but they’re not right.
     
    So the big question is: are they close enough for attribution? The climate scientists “gut feeling” is that they are, but that sort of thing is not something you can quantify. It’s an “unknown unknowns” sort of thing.
     
    And that’s why the statement on attribution was such weak tea.
    90% likelihood of more than 50% of post-1950 warming – it’s a statement a fair number of out-and-out sceptics would sign up to. If post-1950 warming is 0.6 C, half of that is 0.3 C, from a 40% increase in CO2 – that puts it close to the 0.7 C/2xCO2 sensitivity that some sceptics have put forward.
     
    And note their use of the word “likelihood” instead of “confidence”. In IPCC-speak, likelihood is conditional, the probability of a prediction (or postdiction) assuming the models are correct. Confidence is the probability that the models/theories are correct. They say: “The uncertainty guidance provided for the Fourth Assessment Report draws, for the first time, a careful distinction between levels of confidence in scientific understanding and the likelihoods of specific results. This allows authors to express high confidence that an event is extremely unlikely (e.g., rolling a dice twice and getting a six both times), as well as high confidence that an event is about as likely as not (e.g., a tossed coin coming up heads).”
    It is of course possible they just used the wrong word by accident, but given that this is such a headline statement it would show a remarkable recklessness to have been so sloppy.
     
    The truth is, they’re not nearly that sure of themselves, and they know it. But they’re happy to craft their language to sell the best impression they can get, and most of them seem willing to keep quiet while the activists take their words and push the message beyond what limits of certainty they’ve set.
     
    And thus it is that poor people like BBD, thinking the climate scientists have got their back, tell me that there’s a huge body of robust evidence to show it. I reckon that in about 20 years time in the midst of the next big scare, when advocates are challenged “Hey, remember global warming?”, people will go back through the scientific record and say that there are no such papers, and science never said it; like scientists never said the world was cooling into a new ice age back in the 1970s. The media and politicians somehow made it all up.
    The whole shining edifice will vanish in the morning light, like fairy gold. I’ll admit I’m not totally unsympathetic about that.

  201. Anteros says:

    Nullius in Verba @200
     
    Very well put. However, I think there is another very likely outcome, which is that many believers will look back and say ‘Thank God for Kyoto, and Rio and (wherever..)’ ‘We just managed to avoid those tipping points and so saved the planet’ [by feeding corn-ethanol to cars?] The exaggerating and doomsaying will be forgotten and the recollection will be how close we were to disaster. And anyway, we now have a new apocalypse to contend with….
     
    I can’t help noticing how short a time it is since BBD could think for himself [now being a believer, no thought is necessary]
    Here is BBD from a few months ago –
    “In summary, while I ‘believe’ in the likelihood of AGW being real, I am far from certain that observational evidence backs the consensus estimate for climate sensitivity to CO2 as ~+3C per doubling of the notional pre-industrial level”
     
    That is so sensible I could even have said it myself! And while we’re talking about evidence we should notice that high priest Michael Mann admits that the observational evidence is consistent with many things including a sensitivity of 1.5 degrees per doubling of Co2.

    But what does BBD think now? Nothing of course – thinking isn’t required. What you’ll hear is that ‘A vast majority of priests (I mean, ‘scientists’) agree that CS is 3C’.

     
    Most interstingly, if you disagree – for example if you have the belief BBD had just a few months ago – you are pompously accused of ‘not knowing what you’re talking about’ and that you should ‘go and do some reading’. Hilarious – scientific scepticism morphs rapidly into dogmatic certainty. A religion is born!
     
    And of course notice that the certainty has slid towards and utterly engulfed the original ‘fear’. So that even if CS is slightly lower than the (orthodox, alarmist) priests say, perhaps only 2.2C……. it is irrelevant because the apocalypse is coming anyway! All we should be asking is ‘how bad is it going to be?’.

  202. andrew adams says:

    NiV
     
    <i>Why does being able to estimate a figure for one and not the other mean the one is more likely to be “˜the explanation’ and not the other?</i>
     
    Because if one can estimate a figure for something then it is possible to make a judgement about whether that figure is high enough to have a significant effect.

  203. Nullius in Verba says:

    “Because if one can estimate a figure for something then it is possible to make a judgement about whether that figure is high enough to have a significant effect.”
     
    OK, let’s try that out. I’m thinking of a particular phenomenon for which the known contributions are:
    -121.3
    +60
    +90
    +60
    +1.6
    -92
    +5.5
    and let us say three “unknown unknown” values, x, y, and z. Some of the numbers above are a bit flaky and approximate, but you don’t necessarily know which ones.
    Which of these has the most significant effect? How do you determine that it isn’t x? What’s your reasoning?

  204. BBD says:

    Anteros

    How interesting that you have gone mining back over a year looking for quotes. Really very, very interesting. How did you do that BTW? Do tell.

    Most interstingly, if you disagree ““ for example if you have the belief BBD had just a few months ago ““ you are pompously accused of “˜not knowing what you’re talking about’ and that you should “˜go and do some reading’. Hilarious ““ scientific scepticism morphs rapidly into dogmatic certainty. A religion is born!

    Such a shame that you cannot draw the correct inference. More information changed my views. It’s called ‘learning’.

    You should try it. It’s an improvement on being grossly ill-informed, as you are. Especially on the topic of climate sensitivity. If you would like me to make you look stupid – again – in a discussion of this field, then do come back and I will be delighted to oblige.

  205. Anteros says:

    I happened to be reading a thread about Climate sensitivity from a few months ago. It’s not difficult – reading, that is.
     
    You misunderstand what’s happened to you. A tiny bit of speculative information and you have morphed from open minded to closed minded – the difference is stark and depressing. And of course with the dogmatic certainties [which are laughably unjustified] comes the blind fundamentalism and sneering at people you disagree with.
     
    One interesting snippet from the thread I was reading is that the three people there all had the same experience as I did with you. You simply refuse to read what other people write and choose to argue with ideas you basically make up yourself. It was gratifying to find myself in the company of others similarly baffled by your refusal to follow a simple idea.
    I explained to you in four separate comments that there are rational reasons from psychology and sociology – way beyond your understanding – that lead intelligent people to suspect that estimates of CS will fall. That is all I said. It is really not that threatening an idea [except for those who have become ‘believers’] But amazingly, you simply refused to read such a simple statement. Four times. It must be a kind of word-blindness, or thinking-blindness,
     
    I even offered you a friendly wager which you embarrassingly thought was a rhetorical device!! I’m quite happy to do the same, again, but I don’t hold out much hope that you can tear yourself away from your false imaginings.
     
    AR6 – <3 degrees. Understand?

  206. BBD says:

    Anteros

    Well, that was quick.

    I explained to you in four separate comments that there are rational reasons from psychology and sociology ““ way beyond your understanding ““ that lead intelligent people to suspect that estimates of CS will fall.

    You explained nothing. What exactly do psychology and sociology have to do with estimating climate sensitivity?

    Nothing. You are repeating the same nonsense as last time. And, unsurprisingly, it’s still nonsense.

    There is a strong confluence of evidence around a value of 3C. It might bit a bit higher or a bit lower, but not much and certainly not enough to be worth arguing over.

    I don’t find the higher estimates of CS (significantly above 3C) persuasive any more than you do. But you believe that climate change is all over-hyped and not really that big a deal, so you have to accommodate your bias. Even though it directly conflicts with best scientific understanding. You need a low CS because the alternative frightens you so much you have gone into denial. 
     
    It’s so very, very obvious.

  207. BBD says:

    Anteros
     
    I happened to be reading a thread about Climate sensitivity from a few months ago. It’s not difficult ““ reading, that is.
     
    I don’t believe you. I can remember what I wrote, and who I was talking to (Marlowe Johnson, in this case). The thread was not about climate sensitivity.
     
    Very interesting that you have gone mining back over a year (not a few months) looking for quotes.

  208. Menth says:

    I don’t get it BBD. I applaud that you used to feel differently about climate change and have changed your mind based on your examination of the evidence but as a former “lukewarmer” or “skeptic” or whatever your prior disposition was, don’t you think you’d be a more effective ambassador of your new found perspective by, you know…being a smidge less cantankerous? No offense it just seems like if I were trying to persuade somebody who believes what I formerly believed I would probably start more sentences with things like “You know I used to feel the same way” or “I could see how you would think that” as opposed to “Silly mongoloid, your brain is too puny to understand!”

  209. Anteros says:

    BBD

    You are really embarrassing yourself now.

    I don’t care that you don’t believe that I happened to be reading a thread. Or that it was about climate sensitivity. Or that it was in April. It was. Perhaps you don’t believe me because you are projecting? I, for one am not in the habit of lying – everything I said was true.

    Also, two of the people you were abusing were Shub and ZedsDeadBed. Philip was AFAIK another.

    If you think April is more than a year ago, or that I ‘mined’ for it [this is getting so funny] you are beyond the kind of help I can offer.

    Milikan’s Oildrop. Remember? You were too embarrassed to admit that you hadn’t the faintest idea wht it had to do with the history of science or how it might imply (as it does) that the estimate of CS might fall.

    If you don’t think this is worth discussing you seriously shouldn’t have opened your mouth – you would havre saved yourself a great deal of embarassment.

    Yet again you are wrong to think that I need CS to be anything at all. It makes no difference to me. You mistake me for a fundamentalist like yourself.

    You could do two things to help yourself. Firstly go back to the original discussion to find out where you went wrong so that you don’t embarrass yourself again. And ssecondly don’t make the assumption that other people have the same defects you so patently have yourself.

  210. BBD says:

    Anteros

    Oh, so you are quote mining an eight month-old thread on Bishop Hill. I thought it was here.

    You do love the Milikan Oildrop don’t you? Pity it has nothing to do with estimating climate sensitivity. It’s borderline farcical the way you cling to this. But then you haven’t got anything else, so I suppose you have to make do with scraps.

    You could do two things to help yourself. Firstly go back to the original discussion to find out where you went wrong so that you don’t embarrass yourself again. And ssecondly don’t make the assumption that other people have the same defects you so patently have yourself.

    Oh dear. Lies and insults. Not going very well, is it?

  211. OPatrick says:

    Menth, you don’t understand BBD’s cantankerousness but are quite happy with Anteros using phrases like “dogmatic certainties “, “blind fundamentalism” and “high priest”?

  212. Menth says:

    @212 No, I generally lament snarkyness on both sides of the debate. Though in hindsight I regret interjecting into a debate I wasn’t apart of.
     
    I could certainly take some of my own advice in many respects. When I was young I thought Naomi Klein and Noam Chomsky were the bee’s knees and now I think differently. When debating people who still subscribe to that political view I try to remind myself that I too once felt the way they did and people telling me I was a dumbass wasn’t what changed my mind. That said I often lapse from this effort and probably shouldn’t be too concerned with the snark of others. This is the internet after all.

  213. Fred says:

    Anteros and NiV:
     
    Thanks for your most enlightening posts taking a broad and deep approach to climate science!

  214. BBD says:

    Anteros

    I don’t want to cross-post, so please see here for my most recent comment on the actual scientific debate over CS:

    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2011/11/25/climate-science-the-media-and-the-middle-ground/comment-page-2/#comment-89221

    Since I posted that comment, Sceptical Science has put up an article on Schmittner et al. which essentially says the same thing, but with a proper analysis and extensive links. It also makes the point that S11 rules out low values for CS, which is inimical to the Lindzen/Spencer camp. A point worth making.

    Yet again you are wrong to think that I need CS to be anything at all. It makes no difference to me. You mistake me for a fundamentalist like yourself.

    Everything you say is predicated on a belief that AGW is not a problem and the ‘orthodox alarmist priesthood’ aka mainstream climate science is mistaken.

    You say that, eventually:

    The exaggerating and doomsaying will be forgotten and the recollection will be how close we were to disaster.

    For your argument to maintain internal coherence, you do need CS to be low. It is illuminating that you claim otherwise. Internal contradiction is characteristic of denial. Although it could just be sloppy thinking.

  215. BBD says:

    Keith
     
    What happened to the comment that got stuck in moderation last night?

  216. BBD says:

    KK: Some weirdness this morning. The comment is now visible again, but still marked in moderation.
     
    Do you know if Firefox is less that perfectly compatible with your blog? I do seem to have a lot of freezes and crashes with CaS.

  217. Jeff Norris says:

     
    Keith
     
    Could not the real meaning of climate gate 2.0 be?
     
    That the perpetrators have found a way to revive interest in an issue that had fallen off the radar. Or if nothing else, the perpetrators have succeeded in breathing life into a moribund climate movement.  🙂
     
     
     

  218. JohnB says:

    @186 BBD.

    Where I come from, picking a subset of the data because it backs up your point has a name. If you want to argue a global effect then you use global data, not just the bits you like.

    Secondly, GISSTEMP does not “have more data” than HADCRUT from the arctic. They both use exactly the same data, but GISSTEMP extrapolates theirs into the arctic and HADCRUT does not. So one uses data and the other uses data plus estimates.

    The danger here is that highly selective, “˜sceptic’ interpretations deliberately concentrated only on the slope of trends in HADCRUT miss the bigger picture.

    I’m unsure of how concentrating “only on the slope of trends” misses the bigger picture when discussing the “slope of trends”.

    This isn’t highly selective, it’s basics. Why do the three warming periods have the same slope? Even in your second graph the MK I eyeball says that the two warmings from 1910-1940 and 1975-2000 are virtually identical.

    The problem is that to have two or three warmings of roughly similar length and virtually identical slopes using thre entirely different sets of forcings requires a rediculous series of coincidences.

    Take a step back and consider all the forcings and what they were doing for each period since 1860. Consider what must have been happening within each 30 (odd) year period to have the results we see in the record. It’s not hard to do this.

    But now string them together into a constant narrative and you’ll see what I mean.

    BTW, I have to agree with NIV above. When asked to produce something from this “mountain of evidence” that supposedly exists the pickings are very poor. Arguments from authority, examples of warming (which isn’t the question, the question is attribution), 100 year old experiments and my personal favourite “But the models don’t work if we don’t have a large CO2 forcing”.

    I made my own climate model and it doesn’t work unless I have a large forcing from Unicorn farts. Does this mean that I’ve proven the existence of Unicorns? That a model doesn’t work without assuming some large factor is not proof of the existence of that factor.

    Just on the side. Am I the only person who finds it more than mildly amusing that the climate debate is really the only one where both sides have likened the other to religious fanatics? 🙂

  219. BBD says:

    JohnB

    Where I come from, picking a subset of the data because it backs up your point has a name. If you want to argue a global effect then you use global data, not just the bits you like.

    But you basing your entire argument solely on HADCRUT is okay?

    And why is it incorrect to concentrate on the land-only data sets when examining the projection that warming will be most pronounced over land? (Clue: it isn’t).

    Secondly, GISSTEMP [sic] does not “have more data” than HADCRUT from the arctic. They both use exactly the same data, but GISSTEMP [sic] extrapolates theirs into the arctic and HADCRUT does not.

    The dangers of over-simplification. GISTEMP is an approximation of global temperatures using surface station data (AR4 WG1; 3.2.2):

    Most of the differences arise from the diversity of spatial averaging techniques. The global average for CRUTEM3 is a land-area weighted sum (0.68 × NH + 0.32 × SH). For NCDC it is an area-weighted average of the grid-box anomalies where available worldwide. For GISS it is the average of the anomalies for the zones 90°N to 23.6°N, 23.6°N to 23.6°S and 23.6°S to 90°S with weightings 0.3, 0.4 and 0.3, respectively, proportional to their total areas. For Lugina et al. (2005) it is (NH + 0.866 × SH) / 1.866 because they excluded latitudes south of 60°S. As a result, the recent global trends are largest in CRUTEM3 and NCDC, which give more weight to the NH where recent trends have been greatest.
     
    You say:
     
    I’m unsure of how concentrating “only on the slope of trends” misses the bigger picture when discussing the “slope of trends”.

    Again – you are basing everything on HADCRUT. This is misleading. Second, you are ignoring the duration of warming and focussing only on the trend. You need both to understand what is happening. This is why means show the underlying nature of the temperature change more effectively. Third, I repeat: the projected warming is greatest over land (essentially meaning NH). This is clearly visible from the land-only data. The projections are confirmed.

    If you are determined to reject the evidence, fine. It’s still there though.

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