Gavin's Perspective

UPDATE: Gavin Schmidt has won kudos from skeptics in the comments below, who appreciate his participation in the thread and his responses to their questions.

There are two high-profile protagonists in the climate science community that are increasingly squaring off: Judith Curry and Gavin Schmidt. In an interview here yesterday, Curry elaborated on her most recent testy exchange with Schmidt over at Real Climate, as well as some of her by now well-known concerns about climate science.

Schmidt, unsurprisingly, has a different take on his exchange with Curry. He also questions the issues Curry has seized on and the charges she has leveled broadly at the climate science community. Schmidt addressed these and other matters, such as the politicization of climate science, in an email exchange with me last night and this morning.

KK. Can you identify issues where you agree with Judith Curry and where you disagree?

GS. I have absolutely no argument with Judy on any number of a dozen issues. We both agree that climate is a fascinating subject well deserving of the attention of the brightest minds around. We both agree that Feynman is a great role model. We agree that sustainability is indeed the overriding need and this involves much more than climate change – encompassing water resources, fisheries management, traditional kinds of air pollution, habitat loss etc. Climate change is going to play an ever bigger role in those issues as the century progresses but it will never be the only problem we have to deal with. Finding win-win solutions for both climate and these other problems are obviously preferable to being forced to choose one thing over another and climate scientists can certainly play a role in finding those solutions. I also absolutely agree that we should aim to depoliticize climate science.

I go to meetings and workshops and write papers with scientists across a wide range of the sub-disciplines, and in every single case I see scientists doing exactly what Judith (and I) think they should be doing. Looking into the issues, pinning down the questions, deciding what needs to be done to make progress. I don’t see any of this supposed ‘authoritarianism’ or ‘power politics’ she thinks are infecting the field. I just don’t recognise that in the work that is actually being done. For instance, I was part of a review paper with Phil Jones on high resolution paleo-climate records (Jones et al, 2009) and that was exemplary in the care that was paid to real issues and questions in the field.

Where I think we disagree is in what drives the politicisation and rancour. In my opinion it has very little to do with anything specific related to particular scientists or papers or how people treated Steve McIntyre. Instead, it is something that has happened to many fine scientists through no fault of their own, mainly because something got traction – Ben Santer, Steve Schnieder, Mike Mann, Phil Jones, have all had horrendous and untrue things said about them mainly because it was useful for some people to do that in order to discredit science and scientists. But if it hadn’t been them, it would have been someone else, and next year it will be. When people turn reasonable questions about science into excuses for personal abuse, it poisons the debate and makes it almost impossible to resolve things in an efficient manner. How can people have a dialog with someone who thinks that every word they say is a lie? Every time people throw around terms like fraud, corruption and crime without any basis, it just makes reasonable discussion harder. This is the hallmark of political rhetoric, not science, and blaming scientists for the state of affairs is completely backwards.

KK. In making her criticisms, should Judith consider a different approach and/or a different venue? What about you? Is there anything you think you can do differently that might facilitate a more constructive dialogue?

GS. There is a big difference in expectations for mainstream scientists who comment in the blogosphere. Like it or not, there are not very many who do so (and we could discuss why that is). Given the existing polarisation and politicization, this means that any individual voice is likely going to be imbued with more significance and get more attention than it necessarily deserves. In those circumstances, people need to be well prepared, know what it is they want to say, and make sure they say it clearly. That wasn’t always evident last weekend. There are also some strategic issues – linear conversations in one spot, perhaps on quieter blogs, are almost always more satisfying than sprawling multi-blog threaded conversations with multiple people, some of whom are posting very different things in different places. Playing games should be avoided at all costs. All of this is easier to handle if you have your own space which allows you to set the agenda and the tone, so if Judy wants to do more in this medium, she should certainly think about that. It’s not hard. But she should remember that as a good scientist, expectations will be higher and that she will be held to a higher standard than some less well known bloggers. There is a greater responsibility there.

Can we do something differently? I don’t know. We can always try and be more understanding of people’s points, but it helps a lot if they are made clearly rather than obliquely. Drive-by postings are not conducive to a nuanced discussion because too much gets said in-between times. We can always improve moderation – we deleted many comments that went too far in criticising posters (including Judy) rather than their arguments, but this is always hard when there is a lot of traffic, and over-moderation gets criticised just as much. If I can offer one observation that might help, it would be this – once you start to have an online presence in a field like this, it is inevitable that people will misunderstand and misrepresent you. You will be accused of thinking things you would actually find abhorrent and acting in ways that would be anathema. But it is important to remember that this has very little to do with you. You will end up as a some kind of symbol, and while people might talk about someone with your name and your place of work, it helps to think of them as an internet doppelganger.

KK. There is this perception of Real Climate as intolerant of dissenting opinions. Do you see any value in allowing occasional guests posts from climate scientists who have been critical of any tenets of mainstream climate science? If so, who would you consider as good candidates?

GS. It’s a convenient argument for some people to claim we don’t tolerate dissent. They don’t even need to try to engage. But it doesn’t stack up if you actually read any of the threads – lot’s of people disagree with us on many issues. Where we draw the line is with comments that turn methodological issues into personal ones, misrepresent us or insist that we or scientific colleagues are frauds, or that just bring up tired old contrarian talking points over and again. We don’t apologise for that, and I think are threads are more focused for it. If people don’t like it they don’t need to read. One issue is that RC is seen as the voice of the mainstream, and so that becomes a draw for all sorts of people. It’s a bit of a misperception – we don’t consult with anyone else before posting and we do not claim to speak for anyone other than us. Our main purpose is to talk about what real scientists are talking about and thinking, giving context to what people are talking about. I generally don’t find that the critics have much to add to that, but I suppose it could happen. None of them have ever suggested any such post. One possibility might be to support people like Roy Spencer when he takes on (as he did last week) people that erroneously insist that the greenhouse effect does not exist.

KK: I want to return to something you said at the outset, that you “absolutely agree that we should aim to depoliticize climate science.” How would you propose to do that? And I’m assuming you think that all sides–including members of the climate science community–should work towards this. How would you go about depoliticizing climate science?

GS: Well, let’s be clear about what we are talking about. We can’t make the political decisions about what to do about climate change (how to mitigate, how to adapt) go away. And we have to remember that the overwhelming majority of scientists working in this field are just trying to do their jobs as best they can, following where the data and understanding are leading them. I don’t see any politicisation in how the community does science and gets grants. So what I am referring to the fact that a few very select issues in the science have become political flash points. Studies in those fields have become lightning rods for very partisan and unpleasant campaigns, and Senators, Congressmen, lawyers and Attorneys-General have piled on to make political hay out of it, without any regard for the underlying issues. Really, no one is making policy decisions based on 15th Century tree rings!

One of the more worrying trends over the last few years has been the extent to which the rejection of climate science has become more party political in the US. I think this is very worrying – whereas 5 years ago you had Sherwood Bohlert (the Republican head of the House Science Committee), John McCain and Olympia Snowe in the Senate talking sensibly about the issue, this is something that is happening less often today. This has a number of causes which climate scientists can’t do much about, but it certainly fuels some of the rancor.

I think we can do a much better job in one or two key areas. First, we need to continue to stress that climate change is a multi-faceted problem – it doesn’t just involve CO2, but also CH4, ozone, black carbon and other aerosols. It isn’t caused by a single activity – cars and planes yes, but also power stations, deforestation, and agriculture. But with that complexity, and the inevitable intertwining of policies that affect climate with those that effect energy, public health and water resources, come opportunities. This is where I think the climate science community has not played its full role.

Take the ‘forcings’ diagram in the summary for policymakers in IPCC AR4 (Fig SPM 2). This shows the estimated contributions to the 1750-2000 radiative forcing from different constituents in the atmosphere. There is a lot of good science in there, but why do we think it is useful for policy makers? The decisions they make affect many of those constituents at once – sometimes with a net effect on climate that might be opposite to what was originally thought, and climate scientists have basically left it to the policy makers to work it out for themselves. So I think the second thing we should do is to provide more policy-specific science. We should be quantifying the consequences – not only for climate, but also for smog, congestion, public health etc. What impact would moving to plug-in hybrids have? You need to work out how the electricity is produced, but it turns out that reductions in ozone and black carbon make a big contribution to reducing climate forcing on top of the efficiency savings.

These co-benefits can bring along sometimes unexpected allies which often cross party lines – for instance, Inhofe has sponsored legislation to reduce black carbon effects.

Basically, though it sounds paradoxical, by getting more involved with policies, the climate science community can have less to do with politics. That doesn’t mean we should stop talking about CO2 – that would be irresponsible, but continuing to be clearer about the complexities can help get the conversations out of the rut.

569 Responses to “Gavin's Perspective”

  1. John N-G says:

    I agree fully with Gavin that Judy Curry’s failure to clearly say what she means has led to lots of cacaphony.  My armchair diagnosis is that her other duties (dept head, etc.) limit her time and ability to fully engage, and that given the choice of her trying to make a point imperfectly and nobody making that point, she chooses imperfection over silence.
    But Gavin’s inadvertent counterexample to speaking clearly — “no argument…on any number of a dozen issues” — had me ROFL.

  2. Judith Curry says:

    Gavin certainly raises one point that i have been thinking about.  I either need to start my own blog or identify 1-2 sites where I can post.  The drive by of last week was disastrous, no more of that.  I’m not committing to my own blog because it is very likely that my blogging activity will be drastically reduced starting Aug 16, when other responsibilities will overwhelm any spare time i have.
     
    I think that more scientific voices on this topic would be a good thing overall, but not necessarily for  the individual voice.

  3. Jay Currie says:

    Good to see this interview Gavin.
    Two points: “Really, no one is making policy decisions based on 15th Century tree rings!” is true but ignores the fact that policy is being made on the basis of the claim that the current warming is unprecedented in the historical record. In you comments, Gavin, you have acknowledged that this record, so far as validated dendro proxies are concerned goes back no further than 1500. Which is really not very long.
    So when the scare stories about “unprecedented warming” come up, it is important for policy makers to know the very real limits of the dendro record and to understand that Mann’s work cannot be relied upon in the manner in which the IPCC has done.
    Second point, I understand how difficult it is to moderate a large site with many comments. However, with the exception of the brief period following the climategate letters, there is very little question that your moderation excludes the majority of dissenting voices. Now, I am a huge believer in the “your blog, your rules” school. However, by excluding large numbers of skeptics you have simply undermined the limited credibility RC has enjoyed. Tactically, excluding dissent, is almost always an error. Given how badly damaged the warmist side has been by the climategate revelations, the collapse of the hockey stick, the loss or political will surrounding climate legislation, don’t you think you should revisit your moderation policy?

  4. Hank Roberts says:

    This rate of change is unprecedented — right?

  5. Barry Woods says:

    One point I made at Realclimate a while ago, was related to de-politicising the science and be more constructive.

    Ie
    I asked why there were no links to Climate Audit, or Lucia’s Blackboard, or Pielke Junior, for example, in the Other Opinion sections of RealClimate’s website..

    As a small gesture of goodwill.

    It drew this response at RealClimate

    “[Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list — whether they are run by scientists or not — tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that a) we haven’t heard of the site, b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.–eric]

    My Comment:
    “If realclimate could link to luke wamer blogs, it might reduce the criticism of advocatcy..
    “˜climate Sicence for climate scientists’
    as they link to desmog blog and geaorge monbiot,
    but not climate audit, pielke’s or say lucia’s blackboard..
    george monbiot is not a scientist, he is a journalist!
    So it does look like advocacy to a new observer
    If they could bring themselve to do this it would be a gesture of goodwill..
    Having a link to “˜how to talk to Global Warming Sceptic’ vetted and endorsed by professionals at RealClimate, reflects, to an observer badly on RealClimate..
    So, constructive advice, drop the links to the more “˜flag waving’ type advocacy sites, include some “˜respected’ alternative views, it would help Realclimate stop being “˜perceived’ as an advocacy site rather than a science site”¦

    RealClimate’s (eric’s) response was commented on, at Bishop Hill, Air Vent, Climate Audit and here.

    Is that still RealClimates position on these and other people, (Judith?)

    My following two comments, responding to other people,giving me some abuse, including Ray Ladbury
    did NOT appear at RealClimate.

    One of my missing RC comments:
    Comment 106 at RealClimate awaiting moderation:
    “In response to Ray Bradbury. I was merely trying to suggest to Realclimate, how it could help itself, in something that has become very political:
    as an example:
    The link to George Monbiot ““ Guardian journalist ““ who quiet famously has a Picture Card ““
    Top Ten Climate Change Deniars ““ article –
    on a mainstream UK newspapers website -not just a blogger but a political activist
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/georgemonbiot/2009/mar/06/climate-change-deniers-top-10
    “Deniars”- inclusding Senator Inholfe!!! And Sarah Palin,
    How does that help Real Climate, linking to this, most of his articles only help push people into warring tribes, which helps no one.
    Whatever anyone may think of those politicians he call deniars. I’m not a USA citizen, but I imagine that can not exacty help Real climate in the current political climate..
    Some of these sites are not talking science , but the worse sort of politics, whatever the science.”

    I was met with the reply below when I bought this up with Gavin, at Collide a Scape.”¦ being apparently ‘blocked’ at RC.
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/06/20/citizen-climate-science-at-a-crossroads/
    Gavin Says:
    June 25th, 2010 at 3:39 pm
    #164 Read the comment policy. Off topic digressions are moderated.
    —————————-
    Presumably, Ray having a go at me was ‘on-topic’ !

    RealClimate, I  think, must be considered a PR site for the ‘team’ and a ‘consensus’ view, and not as a neutral apolitical blog with respect to climate science, in my opinion.

    Behaviour like this, (and I am not the only one to notice)which as I was trying to point out to them, is actually very counter productive. (ie people have noticed)

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/07/01/extreme-climate/#comments

  6. Gavin says:

    #1 whoops. Pick a number, any number as long as it is a dozen? Point taken.
    #3 I’m sorry but I have to disagree. The reason why climate policy is an issue because greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities at a very rapid rate. We know how the greenhouse effect works, and we have evidence that climate sensitivity to increasing GHGs is significant. It has nothing to do with whether it is warming now, or whether it was warmer at some earlier point (both of which are true though). Detection and attribution of climate change in the 20th Century gives us some confidence that we know what we are talking about, as do model-data comparisons for paleo-climate. But as President Johnson said in 1965, Wally Broecker stressed in 1975, and Charney illuminated in 1979, increasing emissions are going to cause problems. And note that was before the warming of the last 30 years.  Feel free to ignore any paleo-climate data if you want, but it doesn’t affect decisions about risk management going forward.  See this post for instance.
    As for moderation, if you get invited to a dinner party, you should feel free to argue with the host, but don’t insult them or the other guests, and don’t start throwing food. Same with the blog. Free-for-all’s preclude any meaningful discussion and there are already plenty of places online where people can vent to their heart’s content. What is needed are more places where reasoned discussion can occur, not less.

  7. Barry Woods says:

    I made a commet it was allowed,  other guests  at RealClimate were allowed to give me  some abuse.. 

    But other polite responses – non abusive responses of mine, advicing (helping) RealClimate how they are perceived get ‘blocked’…

    I was directed to RealClimate by a real life, IPCC, co editor of the ‘hockey stick’ (2001) synthesis report.. When, climate gate happened..

    RealClimate,made be more sceptical..  RealClimate’s moderation, just appears to be encouraging bullying and just childish

  8. Hank Roberts says:

    Here’s a thought experiment:
     
    Read the abstract of the review paper linked above, but imagine it came from a different set of authors — say McI and JC — and was published.  You could spin those exact words as a devastating critique of all the climate proxy work done to date, setting out what should have been done instead.
    But that would be spin.
    This kind of take is attractive for people who don’t know how science works.  Hard criticism is normal routine, and understood as such among the people in the field.  That review sets out what’s needed to improve the work — it doesn’t undermine the work done to get to this point.
    Over and over, we hear criticism in terms of the past steps taken,  from people who don’t understand that science is done at the growing edge, wherever opportunities for good work are found, no matter how the research got there — looking back, of course, it’s always possible to say there was a better way that could have been taken.
    Science is like exploring a swamp  — there’s occasional solid footing under the water, on which to move forward, but you can’t see it until you get your feet onto it, and you can’t tell where it’s going to be without trying.
    Of course, later, looking back, one can see the missed steps and better alternatives that would’ve gotten you farther, faster, more efficiently.   But those complaining that the scientists did it wrong misunderstand how it’s done.

  9. Francis says:

    re: moderation of comments.
    Has anyone considered a “bathroom wall” approach?  Why not moderate the main thread, but then post everything that doesn’t make the cut (and isn’t obviously defamatory) to an unmoderated open thread, ie, a bathroom wall?  I seem to recall another science blog (maybe Panda’s Thumb) tried this a while back, but I don’t know if it was successful.
     

  10. Derek H says:

    “… it is something that has happened to many fine scientists through no fault of their own, mainly because something got traction ““ Ben Santer, Steve Schnieder, Mike Mann, Phil Jones, have all had horrendous and untrue things said about them mainly because it was useful for some people to do that in order to discredit science and scientists.”

    Interesting perspective. From what I’ve seen, Gavin’s list of “victims” have had far fewer untrue things said about them than McIntyre, McKittrick, Montford (what is with the plethora of Ms in this subject anyway?), Watt, et al. Astoundingly hateful venomous attacks when someone like Pielke or Curry fails to back RC and the AGW crowd 100%. Astounding to me because Pielke and Curry seem to be largely in the AGW camp except where they appear to cross the bounds of good science.

    Interesting as well because a large number of the questions — at least the ones I don’t ignore — come from those who are trying to DEFEND science and scientists by promoting good scientific practice. The strongest critics of AGW that I know are scientists and engineers who are experienced in analyzing volumes of data.

    Want to win us over? Practice openness and transparency with the data and processes — one of the reasons CA and Dr. Spencer have gained a following is they put their hypotheses and data out for everyone to see and critique. Quit the hand waving I see the few times I venture to read RC and answer the inconvenient questions. That tactic works for my mother and cousins; unfortunately, I happen to have done a little bit of physics and systems engineering analysis and it doesn’t wash for me or others like me.

    “What is needed are more places where reasoned discussion can occur, not less.”

    I’ll agree with that sentiment. This blog appears to be doing a much better job with that than so many others.

  11. RickA says:

    Gavin:
    I have had several comments blocked at RC, which I do not believe deserved to be blocked.
    My hunch is that in the past people were blocked by name (i.e. RickA) and no future comments from that person are ever let through, without the moderators even getting to see that comment.  I would like to know if that is possible.
    I remember a time at RC when the blocking was much more frequent – then it loosened up dramatically after climagegate – now it seems more frequent.
    So perhaps an individual was blocked during a high blocking period and is just ignored now (without any intent by the moderators – as they never see the comment?).
    Here is my last comment which never came out of moderation at RC – you be the judge if it “turn methodological issues into personal ones, misrepresent us or insist that we or scientific colleagues are frauds, or that just bring up tired old contrarian talking points over and again”:

    RickA says:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    7 July 2010 at 4:17 PM
    Let us hope that all the scientists in the climate arena will take the recommendations of the Muir report to heart!
    I hope that everybody sees the importance of archiving data, standardizing the metadata for locations, providing enough information as to methods and the data for proper replication, being really descriptive and accurate about figure descriptions and being cooperative with requests, even if they are trying to find fault with the conclusions of a paper. That is just good science.
    The Muir report shows that climate scientists need to step up in these areas.
    I especially hope the scientists take the recommendation to heart about putting uncertainty on a proper statistical footing. A lot of the battle really revolves around statistics, and being rigorous will only help.
    My observation is that a lot of the problems come from trying to persuade (like the WMO and AR documents), rather than merely reporting the science.
    To much spin, in my opinion.
    Anyway ““ good luck with your future work.

  12. DBD says:

    A far more measured response from Gavin than he made on the RC comment thread. Still deceitful.

  13. Keith Kloor says:

    RickA (10)-

    Your comment to RC does seem pretty innocuous to me, but Gavin’s explanations notwithstanding, I still believe blog moderation can be pretty arbitrary.

    DBD (11)-

    If you’re going to characterize someone’s comments as “deceitful,” then you should at least explain why you assert this.

  14. JimR says:

    First I’d like to thank Gavin for taking the time to share his thoughts.
     
    That said I am a bit surprised by his description of RC moderation policies. RC has been around too many years and too many people have had polite rebuttals rejected (often documenting them on other blogs) for the insult the host or guests at a dinner party analogy to be believable. RC also allows an amazingly harsh and insulting tone from it’s regular commenters. I think you would gain more traction and general respect by more moderation of the RC faithful and allowing polite yet dissenting opinions though and addressing those points. Judith Curry’s drive by comment last week may not have been the best tactic, but do you think allowing the hostile RC commenters with their far from polite comments toward her helped the situation? It’s always puzzled me that with the heavy hand of moderation at RC, even claiming it is about impolite or abusive posts that you allow the RC faithful to behave in the manner they do.
     
    I’ve been enjoying Keith’s blog the past several months because there has been so much actual discussion by people on different sides of the issue with little of the rudeness so common in the blogosphere. I would have expected something similar on a blog run by climate scientists. I fall in the lukewarmer category so while I may not be in agreement with RC in general I was a daily reader in the early days of RC. However the tone on your blog has changed over the years and Gavin if you haven’t realized it allowing few dissenting voices but rude supportive ones means instead of public outreach by climate scientists you are now simply preaching to the choir.
     
     

  15. Bernie says:

    Keith:
    Congratulations on getting both sides of a debate. 

    I cannot imagine the burden of continuing to moderate a site like RC.  Gavin also did a remarkable job moderating emails last November and December.  I agree with a previous comment, moderation at RC became dramatically more balanced. 

    As to the recent discussion of Montford’s book that Judith contributed to – alas, the moderation here was less constructive.  There was considerable piling on.  Judith Curry undoubtedly mis-spoke in a couple of areas.  However, what was clear, at least to me, was that there was essentially zero tolerance for giving Montford and McIntyre any legitimacy whatsoever – even that needed to show that they were in error.  (Tamino’s reference to Steve McIntyre was to Sourcewatch and was uncalled for to say the least).  The effect was that the more Dr. Curry pushed for openness, the more vitriol she received.  This same pattern of behavior is visible on Revkin’s dotearth site and involves most of the same characters.   The same occurs when either of the Pielke’s are mentioned at RC. 

    So here is a litmus test that you Keith perhaps could broker.  Ask Gavin to host a post from Steve McIntyre on say the use of R2 and RE in proxy reconstructions or some similar technical issue.  The ground rules being that the paper should only use purely hypthetical examples – i.e., no references to existing HS articles, etc.  Then simply do not moderate for 24 hours.

  16. Keith Kloor says:

    JimR:

    I think you’re spot on with this: “Judith Curry’s drive by comment last week may not have been the best tactic, but do you think allowing the hostile RC commenters with their far from polite comments toward her helped the situation?”

    I also agree with the idea of allowing more dissenting voices–either in a comment thread or as guest posts. I hope Gavin gives it greater consideration. I’ve personally (and professionally) valued RC as a resource since its inception. But I can see how not everyone feels that way. Like it or not, the hosts of RC should realize that the site symbolically reflects the mainstream climate science community. Inclusion of diverse perspectives reflecting a broader climate spectrum would go a long way, methinks.

  17. Gavin says:

    Discussion of one blog’s policies on another blog is boring and is often just an excuse not to discuss substance (ooh look at how terrible they are, climate sensitivity must be zero!). It has about as much interest as people complaining that the New York Times didn’t print their letter. I’ll be happy to respond to anything substantive about science or policy or their interaction though.

  18. Keith Kloor says:

    Bernie,

    Gavin can answer your question directly, if he chooses, since he is already wading into the thread when he can.

    I have thought that a McIntyre guest post at RC would be terrific. You have to wonder if there’s too much bad blood on both sides for that to happen.

    But I do want to point something out–and its an observation from the political world, ironically (since one of the topics is depoliticization of climate science). Does anybody remember what happened after Hillary Clinton went into the Senate? She won over even her most meanspirited opponents. Senate Republicans who previously had nothing but the vilest things to say about her changed their tune once they got to know her–and work with her.

    Now if I was one of the principals in the climate community involved in this war of attrition, I might just ask myself what Hillary Clinton did when she was in the senate to successfully disarm her enemies.

  19. AMac says:

    This is really constructive, giving Judy Curry and then Gavin Schmidt the opportunity to speak to a diverse and educated audience, each in their own natural voice.  And it’s encouraging to possibly perceive a “climb down” with respect to the position that they each had held.  Perhaps this sort of structured dialog represents a way forward.
     
    I hope these sorts of interviews become a regular feature of C-a-s; thanks, Keith.

  20. Bernie says:

    Gavin:
    But isn’t what happened on RC an essential part of Keith’s discussion with you?  Can you clarify.

    Also since you are monitoring responses here , how about an invited post from Steve McIntyre along the lines I outlined above or any other that will not automatically lead to a food fight?

  21. Barry Woods says:

    The Guardian Climategate itself, backs up Keith above, real people sceptical and pro, got to meet face to face, have drinks, exchange contact details and just chat. (post the event)

    One point I made at Realclimate a while ago, was related to de-politicising the science and be more constructive.
    Ie
    I asked why there were no links to Climate Audit, or Lucia’s Blackboard, or Pielke Junior, for example, in the Other Opinion sections of RealClimate’s website..
    As a small gesture of goodwill.
    It drew this response at RealClimate
    “[Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list — whether they are run by scientists or not — tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that a) we haven’t heard of the site, b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.–eric]

    RealCLimate links to some vey politicised pro-AGW blogs. yet not Lucia’s blackboard.

    Does eric;s comments reflect a RealClimate’s standing policy for moderators.

    I certainly learned something with that statement.

    These
    sites are against ‘the mission’,

    Are Lucia, etc, really ‘dishonest’, ‘disengenous’ or is that just PR spin at work, to belittle or even smear other voices.

    How can there be any progress, with this approach and attitude by RealClimate, ie barely to acknowledeg these websites existance.

    (expanded in comment 5 in moderation above ( 3 links – spammed myself?) )

  22. JimR says:

    Gavin,
     
    “Discussion of one blog’s policies on another blog is boring and is often just an excuse not to discuss substance (ooh look at how terrible they are, climate sensitivity must be zero!).


    Please sir, if you don’t want to discuss your blog moderation which was part of the head post above that is fine, but there is no need to build a silly straw man argument. No one equated poor blog moderation with specific climate science issues. But your moderation policy does impact your interaction with the public on climate science and policy issues and you should realize this. You need not respond, I’m not looking to pick a fight on this issue. Far from it.

  23. RickA says:

    Gavin #17:
    I would go directly to RC to discuss my comments being blocked – but since I am on the blocked list – nothing from me gets through at RC (since I was blocked) .  So as someone who is blocked at RC (I believe) –  the only way to discuss RC moderation policy is at some other site.
    Are people blocked by name – or is it comment specific?
    If it is not to boring – I would like to know.

  24. GaryM says:

    Gavin (16)
    This question might be a bit off topic, but given your offer to  “respond to anything substantive about science or policy or their interaction:” rather than ask a question about the nature of the debate, I would like to ask a question about the substance of the debate.
     
    Without asking for a recapitulation of all the myriad issues involved in the debate, would you be willing to identify two or three specific policy proposals that you think are most important to be implemented in the U.S. given the current state of scientific knowledge regarding climate?
     
    There is much argument about blurring of the lines between science and policy, so to be clear, I am asking for policy prescriptions that you believe are not necessarily dictated by the science, but that the science demonstrates are essential.   For example James Hansen recently wrote approvingly of one version of cap and trade (or cap and dividend) with specifics.
     
    Are there any specific policy proposals that you similarly would endorse, or have already endorsed, that you think are essential given the state of the science today?

  25. Steve Koch says:

    Gavin’s comments impressed me.  He came across as a mature, level headed guy.

  26. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    “Basically, though it sounds paradoxical, by getting more involved with policies, the climate science community can have less to do with politics.”
     
    Where I have I heard that before? 😉

  27. SimonH says:

    I see little point in criticising RC moderation policies, since they are what they are. The faithful supporters of RC will never see their comments stuck in moderation and those whose comments are critical could talk anecdotally for days. The experience for each group is different, and because of the divisive nature of blog moderation there is no common ground between them.
     
    I have no professional expertise in the fields of science, nor any contribution to make in that respect except my observations of arguments and their strengths and tangibilities. Something I do have, though, is an abundance of experience in internet-based moderation and dispute arbitration. A long decade and a half, and counting.
     
    Striking a perfect balance, as a moderator, between your own view and those in opposition is, to put it simply, unachievable. I know probably better than most how difficult it is to resist the use of the “ban-hammer”, and I know how very difficult it is to give opposing views a platform which is of equal measure to those whose views you share. But while I grant that it is not possible to do perfectly, I assert also that, attainable or not, it MUST BE the goal. Once, as an arbiter, you have acknowledged that you’re only human, you’ve acknowledged the necessity to introduce safeguards to minimise the effect of the imbalances that your human response introduces. If you don’t, you fall short in your DUTY to aim for balance.
     
    Whether on purpose or by omission, I can’t say. I would not presume to know motive, but what is certainly not evident in RC comment threads is balance. Moreover, knowing the disparity of opinion and feeling that exists in this area, balance is particularly notable by its absence there. Because of this, RC moderation exists as a very good example of excessively defensive and poor moderation.

  28. apl says:

    Gavin,
    The final paragraph of your first answer mentions Steve McIntyre by name, and then talks about how scientists “have all had horrendous and untrue things said about them” and  that  “people throw around terms like fraud, corruption and crime”.
    Using his name in the same paragraph as the behavior you criticize creates the impression that McIntyre is involved in this behavior, without you actually saying so.  George W Bush used a similar technique in various speeches when he talked about 9.11 and then immediately talked about Iraq and Saddam Hussein, without ever accusing Hussein of being behind 9.11.
    I think it would be useful for you to clarify whether or not you are accusing McIntyre of saying these things.

  29. Keith Kloor says:

    apl (28);

    I think you’re making an illogical leap. I don’t read that intent at all from the way Gavin worded his answer.

  30. Artifex says:

     
    Gavin says:
     
    Feel free to ignore any paleo-climate data if you want, but it doesn’t affect decisions about risk management going forward.  See this post for instance.
     
    I do not believe this is true. One of the major components of risk management is an attempt to really comprehend the true nature and extent of a threat. Since any one person seldom has a grasp on all of the details due to time constraints, we attempt to figure out which experts to trust.
     
    It is a convenient strawman to blame the current furor on problematic paleo-climate data. The truth is that the furor is really over problematic behavior by climate experts when discussing and speaking to the general public  about the problematic data. If I have reason to think that the paleo data is being politically spun, why should I have faith in items such as cost and risk projections ? After reading up on the paleo issues, I would guess that the odds are very high that those are being spun as well.
     

  31. apl says:

    Keith,
    There is a technique (particularly effective in speeches) where you mention some activity you are critical of immediately before or after mentioning a person.  The audience links the two, even though you have not made the connection and can deny later having done so.  The BBC explored how Bush would do this repeatedly, first by talking about 9.11 and then without pause talking about Saddam Hussein.  The audience would be likely to draw the conclusion that Hussein was behind 9.11.
    I don’t know whether making a linkage was Gavin’s intent, but it would be useful if he would clarify the matter.  My observation is that McIntyre has been scrupulous to avoid making accusations of fraud etc, and bans such words from his site.

  32. Keith Kloor says:

    Artifex (30):

    Do you think this emerging picture from paleo data is being spun?

  33. Gavin says:

    #24 These are just my personal preferences, but a) I’d like to see a price on carbon emissions – by whatever method can be made to work. – without this there will not be enough market pressure to reduce emissions before we are committed to living on a different planet,  b) I’d like to see incentives in place to move towards a plug-in hybrid transport fleet, and c) policies targeting methane emissions and black carbon. Many of these have significant co-benefits in public health and energy efficiency gains. This ideas are informed by the science, particularly work we have done recently cf. Unger et al, Shindell et al 2009, but not dictated by it. As to exactly how these things should be implemented, I have no idea – that is the policy-makers job.

  34. Dave L. says:

    Since Gavin finds Feynman a role model,  perhaps he will remember the following quote from Caltech 1974:
    “The first principle is that you must not fool yourself — and you are the easiest person to fool.  So you have to be very careful about that. After you’ve not fooled yourself,  it’s easy not to fool other scientists. You just have to be honest in a conventional way after that.”
    I have steadfastly refused to visit Realclimate since late last November.
     
     
     

  35. Gavin
    Sorry to say this – what you say about your blog’s moderation is false.

    To swallow inconvenient comments whole, to send them circling down the memory drainhole and delay replies while piling your regulars’ comments, and then to come to a neutral venue, only to say that blog comment modertation policy is ‘boring’ – well, that is an interesting stance indeed.

    It makes the rest of us think – it is the same technique used with climate papers as well.

    Everyone using the Internet for a while gets used to others’ abusive, and aggressive language – they’ve been a fixture since bulletin board days. Comment deletion and delay at RC is even then, something special indeed.

    Have fun.

  36. Hector M. says:

    Accusing MacIntyre of “those things” would be difficult, for Gavin or anyone else, given the unfailingly polite style of Steve MacIntyre and his stubborn fixation with technical issues refusing to commit himself to particular views on climate change in general, or on climate policy, or to engage in ad hominem arguments.  The most one could unearth from SMcI posts are some ironical (and mostly harmless) comments about “watching the pea under the thimble” when reviewing arguments from his opponents, hardly a matter to justify a duel at dawn, let alone a complete personal disqualification. On the other side, McI’s arguments have been largely ignored, whilst he has been accused of a large number of sins, from being funded by “big oil” to making bizarre assertions, from being a non scientist or a non academic to be a right-wing denier of climate change, and worse. All of McI, presented by him or others, views failed to pass moderation at RC, while accusations as those above have been regularly allowed for years.
    There are, very recently, quite encouraging signs of possible change, including this interview, but RC is like an ancoholic at AA, with only one week of doubtful sobriety to speak of: more will be needed to qualify for an AA medal. First step: Recognize that one has a problem.

  37. Jay Currie says:

    Keith, when I read “White responded that most predictions are for roughly 3 feet of sea level rise by the end of the century” my spin alert goes off. Whose predictions backed by what observations? Three feet in 90 years is .4 inches a year. As I recall the measured rate of rise ranges from 0 to a few centimeters per decade. .4 inches a year would be nearly five inches per decade and this would be noticed rather immediately.
    Yup, that article was spun.

  38. Derek H says:

    that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.
    Wow.  Ignoring the slap against ClimateAudit (since we know emotions run high between RC and CA), to claim Pielke and Blackboard are dishonest or disingenuous with the science …
    Why, because they aren’t in the AGW camp 100% of the time?  Because they point out inconvenient facts and inconsistencies or publish the math?
    Does Gavin understand why this kind of behavior reinforces the impression that RC is intolerant of dissenting opinions (KK’s third question)?

  39. Jay Currie says:

    A good overview of sea level rise can be found here.

  40. Dave H says:

    Shub et al.
    I for one am mighty sick of the incessant whining about RC moderation policy. Its yet another of those things that has been repeated so often in one particular sphere it has reached the level of groupthink.
    1. I (and many others) have had perfectly innocuous (to my mind) comments moderated and accounts blocked at blogs like WUWT etc. Your insinuation that RC moderation policy is somehow excessive is slanted by your viewpoint. Indeed, the tale of Anthony Watts excising an embarrassingly incorrect post and retroactively editing an entire historical comment trail to remove all evidence of its existence stands out to me as the most egregious example of blog comment moderation abuse.
    2. Taking your personal hurt feelings about comment moderation on a *blog* and extrapolating that to *suppression in scientific publishing* is about the most ludicrous thing I’ve read today.
    3. Someone else’s blog is not something you have any personal right to. You are always there as a guest and should respect the owner’s right to keep a clean house in as arbitrary and capricious way as they see fit.
    4. Having had discussions on this blog about the difficulty of maintaining a healthy conversation in comments, I’m in favour of any approach to moderation that keeps the signal to noise ratio high. RC is an obvious target for abuse and pure noise type comments, so I’d say a strict approach to moderation is entirely warranted. That there exist anti-AGW blogs entirely devoted to collating allegedly moderated posts from RC serves only to prove this point to my mind, and smacks to me of yet another smear campaign.

  41. Dave H says:

    @Dave L
    Yup, its fun to pull out a Feynman quote isn’t it? If course, it works equally well applied to you and doesn’t actually add anything of substance, but hey.
    And if you disagree that it applies to you… well, I can just quote it at you again.
     

  42. sambo says:

    Gavin
    I’d like to first thank you for engaging in some way with a forum that is open to both sides. Regardless of what anyone says that does take courage and I commend you on it.

    I did have one quick question on the science though. During the discussion last week you stated that the reason the R2 statistic is not as important as the RE is that it gives more weight to low (or maybe high, sorry I don’t have time to find the specifics of this) frequency variations in the data than the overall trend. Can you explain why this happens or point me to a good explaination. (I do understand enough math/statistics to understand a moderately complex explanation)

  43. Hank Roberts says:

    Compare KK’s pointer:  http://www.cejournal.net/?p=3305 with the one to ‘worldclimatreport’ — how do you know who’s spinning?  Does it just depend on where you stand, or is there some absolute way to tell whether it’s you spinning, or the rest of the world?

  44. Artifex says:

    Keith says
     
    Do you think this emerging picture from paleo data is being spun?”

    In all honesty, that is not what I would consider spin. I think White honestly believes what he is saying. I must hasten to add that what he is saying seems a bit at odds with other things I have heard, but he has given me no reason to automatically doubt him. At first glance, I would concede the benefit of the doubt, but then dig deeper.

    The next step here would be to ask a series of more technical questions aimed at the assumptions White is making. The article linked was pretty light on the technical, so we could start with what warming he is assuming and  a closer look at the physics. How I would consider this would largely depend on what followed.

    If no more technical info is forthcoming, I would remain intensely skeptical. If he decides to discuss the issue on a technical blog, my confidence would be based on the questions ask and the answers given. If when discussing the issue, he dodges the technical issues, censors his critics best arguments, builds strawmen and plays language games, I would call that spinning and label him a hack. The important thing is that based on that single article, there is really no way for me to know what his arguments really are.

    It is also worth understanding that there is a world of difference between spin and simply being wrong. One is easily forgivable, the other isn’t.

  45. Jack Hughes says:

    Gavin – can you explain the reasons why the RC website was created and the links with Al Gore’s PR team? Fenton communications?

  46. Doug Badgero says:

    A note for both Dr Curry and Dr Schmidt:
    I don’t care much what your opinion is on the normative arguments of policy.  However, I do care what your research has told you about the probative arguments of science.  Climate scientists (and the media?) have done a poor job of separating the two.  This separation is fundamental to restoring my confidence in climate science.
    Dr Schmidt could you provide a link to a blog post or paper supporting this statement……”and we have evidence that climate sensitivity to increasing GHGs is significant.”  That really is the crux of the issue isn’t it?
    V/R

  47. HaroldW says:

    Blackboard & Pielke are “dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science”? Wow. Sounds an awful lot like projection to me. OK, that’s a cheap shot. But as a regular visitor to those sites, I can say that’s just way off base.

    Therefore, I believe I shall take Mr Schmidt’s advice, “If people don’t like it they don’t need to read.”

  48. Gavin says:

    #43 I said nothing of the sort. The issue is what kind of valid information is given by these reconstructions and under what circumstances. If you had high r2 on the verification interval you would be entitled to have some confidence that interannual ups-and-downs would be reasonably estimated. If you have high RE you would be entitled to have some confidence that the longer term mean level would be reasonably estimated. These are different possible aspects of a reconstruction. Many other metrics could be devised to assess skill, and a good score in each would say something a little different about what you could and could not have confidence in. There is a good description of what the r2 and RE statistics say in the NRC report, page 92 onwards. There is no rule that says that one metric is objectively better than another, they are just different and say different things.

  49. SimonH says:

    Hank Roberts Says: 
    August 4th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
    > bans such words from his site.
    http://www.google.com/search?q=site%3Aclimateaudit.org+fraud
     
    hehe! I just read through the first couple of pages of those results. I take it you didn’t!

  50. sambo says:

    Thanks Gavin, that’s what I was looking for. As I said, I don’t have much time right now and so I didn’t look up your exact comment. I hope you didn’t take it as me trying to put words in your mouth (not my intention). I’ll try to read this reference later tonight or maybe on the weekend.

  51. Dave L. says:

    Dave H.
    I suggest that you re-read your tirade to Shub.  You could learn much from Feynman.

  52. Tom Fuller says:

    Gavin,
     
    I find it both objectionable and illustrative that in a post of a letter defending Anderegg et al that you actively suppress dissenting opinion. I posted a substantive comment without rancor that was not published and a later one today that edited my major points and left only the minor ones.
     
    Objectionable because of the nature of the post–a defense of a paper against criticism should admit to explanations and even repetitions of the criticism, especially as the paper did not address all criticism. Illustrative as you seem to think that this is good policy overall for the communication of science.
     
    Obviously, I disagree.  I think you are doing neither science nor the policy mechanisms you say you favor by acting in this way. Whether you  chose the role or not, Real Climate has become the de facto voice of the climate ‘consensus.’ With that role comes some responsibilities, not all of them welcome.

  53. Dave H
    Your comments are welcome at Realclimate – good for you. Mine are deleted routinely, (because I shamelessly persisted in posting there??) – so my experience is different.

    You think anyone is personally *hurt* by RC comment deletion? Like I said previously, one develops a thick skin for this anyway. The point is that, the Internet and Web, have always followed a ‘free spirit of inquiry’ mode of communication and exchange, rules about being a ‘guest’ and other nonsensically trite ideas notwithstanding. RealClimate does not follow this mould – it breaks an unwritten rule. It is not the only place doing it, I am sure – but it is what it is.

    Apparently the ‘guests’ are the only one with responsiblities, the hosts not.

  54. Hank Roberts says:

    Yep, I read’em; it’s selective pruning.

  55. Brian Dodge says:

    “The faithful supporters of RC will never see their comments stuck in moderation…”
    Bullshit. I’m a regular contributor to RC, and I occasionally get bounced. I’ve also learned what the boundaries are, so I self edit and would have a much higher reject rate if I didn’t. What I don’t do is post a bunch of unsubstantiated opinion or conflate off topic politics with science and then run off elsewhere to piss and moan about the mean guys at RC who unfairly edited me – it’s their blog, not mine.

    “what is certainly not evident in RC comment threads is balance.”
    You mean false balance. What purpose is served by tiresome discussions about how the greenhouse effect violates the Second Law, or it’s all water vapor, or cloud iris effects will create nonlinearities in sensitivity that will permit BAU emissions, or that it’s actually turtles all the way down? Or that it’s just a scam and the climatologists are in it for the money-
    NASA FY 2008 budget $17.318 billion
    National Science Foundation FY09 budget $6.49 billion
    BP FY09 capital expenditures $20 billion, profits $14 billion (find me any scientist that gets $1.40 in salary for every $2.00 in grant overhead &;>)
    “Apr 27, 2006 … The cost of the war in Iraq will reach $320 billion after the expected passage next month of an emergency spending bill currently before the Senate, and that total is likely to more than double before the war ends…” http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/04/26/AR2006042601601.html
    – clearly a lot more money is where the oil is.

  56. ul says:

    @Hank Roberts (41)
    Sonebody said that before, see the first Link of your Google, search, search the page, you find:
    Steve: I don’t know what your point is. Those hits include comments discussing the term “fraudit”, various comments by Ford and others, discussions of Enron which use the word “fraud” but do not make specific allegations. If there are comments that breach blog policies against making such allegations, please draw them to my attention so that I can enforce blog policies. There are nearly 200,000 comments in the blog and it is possible that despite my efforts, some comments breach blog policies. Nonetheless, I try to enforce these policies and welcome the assistance of readers in doing so.
     
    as McI answer to a guy who had even 464 hits. (Now there are 254. )
    So did you ever read a fraud accusation at CA or do you just let Google do the reading ?

  57. SimonH says:

    I suspect Hank is riding on the hope that his implicit suggestion that fraud allegations are frequently made at CA, or in CA comments, will not be picked up or be challenged, and will just soak in as if his suggestion is valid.
     
    It is not valid.

  58. SimonH says:

    Brian Dodge #56: That’s an unusually liberal use of poor language usually not seen here. The RC boundaries extend beyond similar language to that which you’ve used here. Perfectly reasonable queries and criticisms are routinely rejected or reduced (see #53 for a recent example). You may as well argue that black is pink as argue that there is balance in RC moderation. Why bother to pretend?

  59. pouncer says:

    Gavin thank you for engaging
    I used to read RC but it was obviously biased.  I may have to try again someday.

  60. pouncer says:

    Brian Dodge Says:  “Bullshit. ”
    How wonderfully persuasive.  If only I could aspire to such rhetorical skill.

  61. Hector M. says:

    MacIntyre has made a point of not making accusations of fraud or misconduct. He forcefullyt repudiated the Virginia AG fishing expedition looking for fraud in Mike Mann’s research. He just asked technical questions about the way climate reconstructions were constructed, and the uncertainties thereof, mostly on technical details and statistical procedures. Probably commenters at CA have made fraud allegations, although Steve MacI’s snip scissors are very active to eliminate abuse and suchlike. On the other hand, namecalling (“Fraudit”) and allegations of defending vile interests, telling lies or making bizarre assertions abound in posts and comments at RC as well as in the Climategate documents. Some sort of calming down, and restoration of a dialogue disposition on scientific matters, are evidently needed. Not just among the faithful, but involving the faithful and the supposed “infidels” or “heretics”, and most especially involving those speaking with a moderate voice (e.g. Steve MacI. or Dr Curry). Conflating all of them with flat-earth warming deniers and throwing abuse at them all is not really helpful, is it? But times, I guess, are starting to be a-changing, or at least so one hopefully presumes.

  62. Dave H says:

    @shub
    > Your comments are welcome at Realclimate
    They may be, I’m not sure – AFAICR I’ve not posted a comment there.
     
    > one develops a thick skin for this anyway.
     
    So demonstrate that by never whining about it again. Please.
     
    @Dave L
    When did disagreement become a “tirade”? Or do you just delight in passive-aggressive behaviour? I instead suggest you reread my comment, and consider how you might learn from Feynman instead. Ooh, this is circular…

  63. Hank Roberts says:

    > > bans such words
    The word isn’t banned.  The _word_ .  You said it was, I said you can find it.  Nuances were left to the reader.  Alas, suspicion prevails.
    Sorry for the digression.  Was there a science question open?
    Someone asked about climate sensitivity; try a site search for those two words to find topics over the years, about that.

  64. willard says:

    To illustrate Dave H’s exasperation in #40.  There are 63 posts above mine.  Here are some comments I believe refer to RC moderation policy: 3, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27, 34, 35, 36, 38, 53, 54, 56, 59.  And that’s not to count Gavin, nor Keith’s posts.  “Yes, but RC moderation” indeed.  (Sorry if that’s untrue, recounting might even also be worse.)
     
    I agree with some of those comments, actually.  That’s not my point.  I only want to point out that the only use I can see for these comments is to pressure Gavin.  And to what avail?
     
    To be able to speak to him.  You have him, now.  Now is the time to question him.  He’s there, listening.  Where is the Tiljander question, for instance?  Please, no more “yes, but Climategate”, “yes, but Feynman said”.  Stop whining and ask him question!
     
    Or else talk about sustainability!
     
    Here, I can whine alright too!
     
    😛
     
     
     
     

  65. Shub says:

    Dave H,
    How long do you think it would take for me to take apart your characterization of “whining” with a few equally choice words?
     
    I view the climate debate as one of freedom of expression of thought and alternate viewpoints – at all levels. Defense of this freedom does not imply, as we have been repeatedly told (by some morons) that all ideas are equally important or valid, or that the “unthinking public” will fall for the more seductive argument and the sky will fall on our heads. There is no need to jury-rig the discussion – whether it be in the peer-reviewed literature, in inquiry panels or in the climate blogs.
     
    Apparently, RealClimate and its proponents think otherwise. We have their own words from the emails, their historical actions, the comment deletions as proof for their worldview and actions.
     
    The problem of comment deletion, therefore takes on the role of a symptom – it speaks of the underlying thinking. Those of us whose non-abusive, non-repetitive comments have been affected by this, have come to know the underlying thinking.
     
    For someone who has never commented at RC and only viewed comments (that are published), you do ask for too much in the first place. Your own sensible requests on the other hand, should say something about the insidious hand that censorship plays – you don’t what has been taken out.
     
    Regards

  66. Tom Fuller says:

    I have yet another comment in moderation at RC on the Blacklist Paper. I don’t understand why.

  67. willard says:

    > We have their own words from the emails, their historical actions, the comment deletions as proof for their worldview and actions.
     
    Here we go again: yes, but Climategate.

  68. Tom Fuller says:

    Willard, Climategate means something to most people who follow the issue.
     
    It does not mean climate science is a fraud or that global warming is a myth. It means to most of us that many who talked to us as scientists and saying that the science said this were actually acting as advocates and telling us what they wanted us to do from a policy standpoint.
     
    The hockey stick chart was a celebrated icon. (Which is why Gavin is still defending it.) It joined other icons that were misused and are still being defended–ranging from charismatic megafauna to phoney trends in hurricanes, from African agriculture to incorrect reports from Undersecretaries of the British Treasury. And they are being defended too.
     
    It just means we have to judge these people as people–which isn’t so bad. Some have white coats and black hats at the same time.

  69. willard says:

    I know, I know, Tom, but Climategate.  Climategate does not mean much about climate, but yes, still Climategate.  Why Gavin, Climategate.  Hockey stick is cool, that means we can play hockey, and we even have Climategate.
     
    Now, what you think I am defending?  Nevermind, Climategate.
     
    Climategate.  One should write a book about that.
     
    Let’s not forget RC moderation sucks.  That’s an important one.
     
    Climate science.
     
    Climate gate.
     
    RC moderation.
     
     

  70. willard says:

    PS: Just received an email from my SEO advisor – got a raise!

  71. Jay Currie says:

    willard, comment moderation on the leading warmist blog is of interest especially as Gavin has been so forthright as to how his blogroll and comment moderation work. That’s refreshing; wrong, but refreshing.
    But you are right, Gavin, what about Tiljander? And is it correct to say that if you remove both Tiljander and the dendro you are left with very little of the hockey stick and, worse, the shaft is rather less than straight?
    As well, have we understood you correctly when you stated in your comments that the proxies were effectively useless before 1500 AD?
    And, as a follow up, does this mean that the team is back to accepting the existence of the MWP as a world wide phenomena?
     

  72. Lazar says:

    Tom Fuller,

    “Climategate means something to most people who follow the issue”
    probably… to me it means a bunch of dubious (less than ‘best’) practices by one scientist at some time in the past… which don’t impact any results…
    “It means to most of us”
    who are “us”… is it “most people who follow the issue”?… “most” of “most”?… how do you ‘know’ what ‘it’ “means” to “us”?
    “that many who talked to us as scientists”
    … how “many” is “many”? is it “many” relative to the number of individuals “who talked to us as scientists”… or the number of scientists… or something else?
    “celebrated icon”
    … celebrated by whom? and how? what is an “icon”? why does ‘icon-ness’ matter?
    “why Gavin is still defending it”
    … what does “defending it” mean?… how do you ‘know’ his reason(s)?

  73. Hank Roberts says:

    “GS. There is a big difference in expectations for mainstream scientists who comment in the blogosphere. Like it or not, there are not very many who do so (and we could discuss why that is)….”
    I’d like to see this discussion happen.  I’ve wondered if giving scientists a scientists-only public conversation/blog/forum would help bring some of those people out a bit.  Just put all us nonscientist kibitzers on moderation or into a parallel thread that could be ignored or mined if anything useful got said.
    This is partly because I grew up around scientists, listened to much informal talk while I was a kid with big ears under the table, and I understand hard argument among scientists.  And most nonscientists have never heard it, and when they do, they’re either aghast or they’re immediately imitating wannabes.
    But hard argument with a scientist is respected if you can also publish work — hard argument, I think, is accepted because it furthers the field of knowledge.  And of course what Peter Watts said:  http://www.rifters.com/crawl/?p=886
    So many people who aren’t scientists want to sound like they’re doing ht — being as  sharp, pointed, caustic, critical, abrasive as they see scientists be with one another — but they don’t have the chops to be respected when they try.

  74. Hector M. says:

    I humbly propose: (a) a general congratulation to KK for this dialogue with Gavin after the previous dialogue with Judith; they do not solve the problems, but getting people to speak calmly and moderately is no lesser achievement in this field. A good start; and (b) commenters should recognize when some subjects have been discussed long enough, and just stop for the moment. In a more ambitious way, I would also suggest (c) trying to pass to a more advanced phase, such as engaging directly the main arguments of disagreement, which are not about denying climate change or anthropogenic climate change, but technical points about the selection and processing of station data in the instrumental record (including a number of debated issues about China, Russia, the US and other locations, real extent of uncorrected UHI, and other issues), the validity of the claim that the currently recorded and predicted global warming is millennially unprecedented (which implies openly discussing the details of CA arguments). and establishing clear rules of behavior for the future in the context of IPCC AR5 (implying transparency of data and code, and careful examination and discussion of dissenting views and uncertainties).

  75. Lady in Red says:

    I am on Gavin’s blocked list — and I am merely a person…. who, apparently, asked uncomfortable questions.  …Lady in Red

  76. GaryM says:

    Gavin (33),
    Thank you for your reply.
    I understand that you do not want to recommend specifics on any legislation, but can you say the degree to which emissions must be reduced through such policies to avoid, as you say, living on a different planet?  There is much talk that science dictates that, in order to avoid such a “different planet” scenario, we have to” decarbonize” completely in 10 – 20 years maximum.
     
    Does the current state of the science as you understand it require such drastic reductions to avoid the more serious consequences such as unacceptable rise in ocean levels, loss of arable land, irretrievable harm to rain forests, etc.?
     
    And if I may ask a second substantive question, I read a reply by you on Real Climate where I believe you indicated that some of the proxies that have come under the greatest attack (bristle cone pines, Yamal and some of the Tiljander proxies I believe you wrote)  can still be used for paleo reconstructions.
     
    Could you expand a bit?  I read the links you included in your reply.  Is it your position that:  1) those proxies can be used as they are now because any criticisms have been adequately dealt with by the authors; and/or 2) they can be used as is with reduced levels of confidence/certainty; and/or 3) they can be “rehabilitated,” if you will, by addressing any valid criticisms made of them?  Or perhaps something else entirely?

  77. Bernie says:

    Gavin:
    I assume your non-response to my suggestion of a guest post for Steve McIntyre (#15 and #20 above) means that you are not interested and, moreover, decline to say you are not interested? I am just checking, especially since out host also thought it was a good idea.

  78. JimR says:

    Willard,
     
    I agree with some of those comments, actually.  That’s not my point.  I only want to point out that the only use I can see for these comments is to pressure Gavin.  And to what avail?

    I can’t answer for the many others, but it wasn’t my intent to pressure Gavin. This is a rare opportunity on neutral ground where one can actually be confident their comment will go through and with RC moderation in the head post it’s even on topic for this thread. The about page on Realclimate states:
     
    “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.”
     
    With years worth of the interested public and I suppose in some cases journalists having been negatively impacted by RC moderation it shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone so many speak up to Gavin about the RC moderation policy. In fact it’s a bit of an insult for Gavin to continue disingenuously claiming RC moderates for bad behavior when there is sooo much evidence showing otherwise. Polite but critical posts rarely survive RC moderation and one can see the behavior in the comments by the RC faithful which tend to be far from polite.  Last week’s Judith Curry episode is a perfect example of this. Instead of pressuring Gavin he should look on this in a constructive way as other than RC regulars many, many people see Realclimate in a negative light due to RC moderation. If climate scientists reaching the public is his goal change in moderation policy would be beneficial.
     
    And in this thread I’m not sure what this distracts from. Gavin’s interview is all over the map. I was curious what the discussion would be and we see what struck a note with most people.
     
     
     
     

  79. Doug Badgero says:

    Hank,
    Thanks I did the search you suggested.  I see many posts on the subject but they only discuss climate sensitivity as a concept, e.g. probability density functions, the shape of their tail, etc.  I am interested in empirical evidence or a first principle theory that sensitivity is “significant”, or even positive.  This IS what the real debate is about and why the hockey stick DID matter……at least politically.

  80. Keith Kloor says:

    Gavin,

    I’m finally getting some additional time to chew over our exchange. There’s something you said that I’d like to follow up on (my emphasis added):

    “I think we can do a much better job in one or two key areas. First, we need to continue to stress that climate change is a multi-faceted problem ““ it doesn’t just involve CO2, but also CH4, ozone, black carbon and other aerosols. It isn’t caused by a single activity ““ cars and planes yes, but also power stations, deforestation, and agriculture. But with that complexity, and the inevitable intertwining of policies that affect climate with those that effect energy, public health and water resources, come opportunities. This is where I think the climate science community has not played its full role.”

    This intrigues me very much, because it implies a greater degree of cross-disicplinary collaboration. Am I getting that right? Whether I am or not, I’d like to hear how you think the climate science community can play a greater role in our understanding of the climate & environmental variables that you list–which, as you note have overlapping policy implications.

  81. Michael Larkin says:

    I’m trying to take a step back here and articulate something obvious, a blue whale in the room which nonetheless seems to have become invisible.
     
    I’m no one; just an ordinary bod who, like many, didn’t know much about the climate controversy until Climategate broke, at which time I made my first ventures into climate blogland. Perhaps it’s because I am comparatively new to this realm that I can still remember how odd it all seemed.
     
    I’m reasonably well-educated, with a degree in biology and a masters in education, with some professional qualifications and past experience (15 years) in commercial programming and systems analysis. Not a scientist, but neither completely ignorant in matters of scientific thinking, and someone who has trained himself to examine as much as he can in a critical, but hopefully not a priori hostile, fashion.
     
    What was this strange world I had stumbled upon? Why, when I went to certain blogs, was there so much emphasis on shooting the messengers of ill-tiding, sometimes to the exclusion of dealing with their messages?
     
    It was completely obvious that science wasn’t the only, or indeed perhaps always the main, consideration. The whole scene was so permeated by the politics that it made it that much harder to get to the truth insofar as a non-expert like me could understand it.
     
    Look at the two most recent threads relating to Drs. Curry and Schmidt. Where is the science being discussed? It’s mostly a meta-level discussion of the fallout from political friction ““ at several levels, including academic and national/global.
     
    Indeed, where on the Web can one find a dispassionate discussion that focuses purely on the science between those experts espousing different views? I do not buy the assertion that 90+% or whatever of scientists are completely sold on the so-called “consensus”. I suspect that, given a free rein to discuss matters in the open, with no implications for career prospects, many more would step forward with contrarian viewpoints. That wouldn’t make contrarian views correct, but it would make for a more balanced discussion.
     
    Fairly ordinary people like me would really like to witness an open dialogue like this. We have been surprised (perhaps we are simply naive, who can say?) that this isn’t the default approach. But it isn’t, and because of that, we despair of ever getting at the truth. At the current level and mode of discussion, truth doesn’t seem the primary objective.
     
    Mostly, it seems to be about persuasion, or rhetoric. Rhetoric has its place in human affairs, in areas like politics and perhaps law, but it has no place at all in science. I did actually do a few years in postgraduate scientific research without actually presenting a PhD thesis, so I have at least some grasp of what science is about. As inept a researcher as I probably was, I nonetheless  developed a lifelong respect for questioning ideas, both my own and those of others.
     
    How have we come to the pass where the very concept of questioning is being questioned? Where, de facto, a questioner can be dismissed not because questions necessarily betray ineptitude or ignorance, but because they are interpreted as being based on ignoble motivation?
     
    I question the assertions of the so-called “consensus”. That does not mean that they are all necessarily untrue, and nor does it mean that I have a hidden political agenda. It just means that I’m an agnostic who is adopting a sceptical approach to try to extract the truth. Neither Dr. Curry nor Dr. Schmidt are offering me the means to do that here. Okay, maybe it’s not precisely the correct venue. Maybe we have to wade through the meta-discussion to get to a place where, at long last, the experts can meet and discuss openly the evidence for and against the key propositions.
     
    I’d love to see a thread somewhere in which at least one articulate proponent from “left”, “centre” and “right” of the spectrum (no political connotations of those terms intended!) met and engaged with one another’s SCIENTIFIC arguments, eschewing all politics, leaving it to the reader to evaluate the worth of those arguments. It’s possible such a thread needn’t be open for general comments from readers, at least until the discussion was over, and it could be given as much time as needed to unfold.
     
    This has never been done, as far as I can see; not anywhere, in any shape or form. All of the so-called video “debates” I have seen, for example, have seemed to me to be polluted by politics in one way or another, sometimes by stacking the panel and/or the moderator. Same sort of thing with various enquiries into Climategate, etc.
     
    The whole thing has made me heartily sick. One doesn’t have to be an expert to see that various kinds of political gamesmanship are involved. Joe Sixpacks without axes to grind can readily see this, and no amount of rhetorical sophistry can pull the wool over their eyes. These are the same Joes that proponents want assent to ““ who knows – possibly inappropriate and even damaging policies, and feel can be made to do so by the application of even more of the same.
     
    The jig is up. Anyone with an ounce of commonsense can see that. If the pro-CAGW people want to impress, then they have to face their sceptics and defeat them in open debate. They have to do that which they seem to have been studiously avoiding: namely, give some credit and respect to those with differing opinions, and let the chips fall as they may. The results could establish not only where the differences lie, but also the commonalities.
     
    There aren’t that many moderators who I think could carry the confidence of all participants in, and readers of, such a debate, but I think KK is probably one of them. It’s an ambitious aim; one it is easy for me to propose, but difficult for anyone to implement. But for whatever it’s worth, I’m mentioning it.

  82. Keith Kloor says:

    Michael (82):

    Thanks for your thoughtful comment. Firstly, it’s hard to maintain a focused discussion in a thread AND be as inclusive as possible, because many commenters come into a conversation with varying agendas or predisposed mindsets.

    Secondly, I think the best person to moderate the kind of debate you’re after (straight climate science) would be Andy Revkin. He’s been writing and reporting on climate change for decades and is steeped deeply in the science.  In fact, I’d encourage everyone to pay close attention to Dot Earth (most of you probably do). His exploration of this topic is tops among journalists.

  83. GaryM says:

    Michael Larkin,
    I blame the Jesuits.  If they had kept John McLaughlin in the priesthood, maybe we wouldn’t have been subjected The McLaughlin Group, which begat Crossfire and on and on.
     
    This inability to have a civil discussion between people with strongly differing opinions is nothing new (though regrettable none the less).  Who can forget the great Saturday Night Live send up of the phenomenon:  “Jane you ignorant slut.”
     
    It is a particularly sad phenomenon where the stakes are so high, on both sides of the argument.  So when the rare opportunity presents itself, as seems to be occurring here, rather than debating the terms of the debate, we should give it a shot.
     
    One of the most respected voices on the climate change consensus side of the debate just offered to “respond to anything substantive about science or policy or their interaction….”  I am a “nobody Joe Sixpack” myself (and one of the token conservatives around here at that), but I asked a polite question and got a polite, responsive answer.  I wonder why more aren’t taking him up on the offer?  We can gaze at our navels again later.

  84. willard says:

    > Where is the science being discussed?
    http://scienceofdoom.com/
     
    PS: I also blame the Jesuits.  Poor Pascal.

  85. Hank Roberts says:

    Doug, try Spencer Weart’s history for pointers; basically it’s the same math used making CO2 lasers and semiconductors work.

  86. Steve Reynolds says:

    My question for Gavin:
    When do you think we will have reliable scientific evidence (from a combination of paleo-climate, instrumental records, models, and other methods) to determine present day climate sensitivity within a 90% confidence range of 1C? (that sensitivity is within the range of 2.5 to 3.5C, for example)

  87. Gavin says:

    #77 In order to stabilize CO2 you need to reduce global emissions by some 70% and progressively decrease them further over time. The level at which CO2 will stabilize depends how fast that happens. If you do it now, we’d stay at close to 400ppm, wait 10 years, it gets to 450ppm, wait til 2050, maybe 550 ppm, wait until 2100, upwards of 700 ppm etc. (The numbers are roughly right, but don’t quote me!).  The longer we wait, the worse the problem gets and the worse the problems will be. So to my mind that implies we should get on with it as fast as is politically, economically and technologically possible. That doesn’t appear to be very fast unfortunately.
    The consequences of 550ppm (which is close 2x pre-industrial CO2) will likely be very large – some 3 deg C of eventual warming, large shifts in rainfall patterns, significant increases in glacier melting, and large (if uncertain) eventual sea level rise. The last time the planet was that warm was in the Pliocene (some 3 million years ago and with sea levels some 20 meters (!) higher than today. That sounds bad to me. Anything above that is obviously worse.
     
    As for proxies, there is plenty of evidence that tree rings contain useful climate information, and the recent papers I linked to (Salzer et al, 2009; Briffa and Melvin, 2009) demonstrate that the specific tree ring reconstructions addressed are robust to new and more complete data. No proxy is perfect, but I think that the workers on these topics are making a lot of progress on dealing with the systematic issues that arise. So yes, these proxies are likely to be useful and should be used.
     

  88. Gavin says:

    #82 I apologise for not giving you what you wanted on this thread. However, while you might find it hard to believe that upwards of 95% of climate scientists sign up for the basic consensus, that is indeed the case, as it attested by going to any meeting or workshop. The reason for this is that the basic stuff was worked out decades ago and is no longer at the cutting edge of research.
     
    Your desire for good faith debate between opposing factions is interesting, but difficult to arrange. Far more often you are going to get rhetorical debates which make for great theatre, but lousy science. The place the real debates take place is in the literature and in assessments like that of the NAS or the IPCC. You would do well to start there. For more resources, you might want to start here too.
     

  89. Gavin says:

    #81 Keith, policy-makers have more than one mandate, and many different kinds of instruments available to them. They are also keenly aware that actions on one target or problem often have implications for others. I think scientists can play a much greater role in fostering ‘joined up thinking’ when it comes to a number of key overlap: climate, air pollution, water management, public health etc. The tools for this have now been developed – starting with Earth System Models with interactive chemistry and aerosols, but also integrated assessment models and downscaling techniques etc.
     
    This does involve greater cross-disciplinary work (and education), and that is clearly part of the challenge. But I’ve been talking about this to many very diverse groups and we are finding that there is a lot of enthusiasm for these kinds of ideas both from government departments and large corporations.

  90. Gavin says:

    #87 Not any time soon. We will have a better idea of transient sensitivity with increasing time and the improved monitoring that is being put in place for oceans and aerosols.

  91. Jay Currie says:

    Ah, yes Gavin, 95% of “climate scientists” have signed up. But, apparently you have not.
     
    You chose not to answer my questions at 72 supra, namely: “what about Tiljander? And is it correct to say that if you remove both Tiljander and the dendro you are left with very little of the hockey stick and, worse, the shaft is rather less than straight?

    As well, have we understood you correctly when you stated in your comments that the proxies were effectively useless before 1500 AD?

    And, as a follow up, does this mean that the team is back to accepting the existence of the MWP as a world wide phenomena?”
    We have the various Mann versions “in the literature” but you’ve said Mann is simply wrong back before 1500, though, to be fair, you have not put a paper into press for peer review stating that. Just on your blog. So, do you stand by your statements? Is Mann wrong, or more charitably, mistaken as to the existence of the HS without either the doubtful dendro or Tiljander in the mix?

  92. James Evans says:

    Gavin #6 “I’m sorry but I have to disagree. The reason why climate policy is an issue because greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities at a very rapid rate. We know how the greenhouse effect works, and we have evidence that climate sensitivity to increasing GHGs is significant. It has nothing to do with whether it is warming now, or whether it was warmer at some earlier point (both of which are true though). ”

    Seriously? So if the temperatures were dropping now, and the modern period was seen to be comparatively cool this would have no relevence to climate policy? Wouldn’t it be hard to argue that CO2 was a problem if the temperature of the last 50 years couldn’t be shown to be doing anything unusual?

  93. Martin says:

    I wonder if climate scientist could have a do over re: McIntyre how would they have handled it differently?
    It’s an issue of trust for me.
    What I don’t get is that much of what he has been claiming seems to be true (stolen emails or not).
    Unavailable Data
    Attempts to evade
    Sketchy science
    Poor math
    Cherry picking
    Issues in the peer review process
    etc.
    The science may indeed be settled but it is hard for me to move on when I see what appears to be a glossing over of previous issues.  I’m told that doesn’t matter because we’ve done more and better papers since. This doesn’t seem good to me.
    Martin
     
     
     

  94. Gavin says:

    #92 There are so many false premises and misunderstanding in your ‘logic’ that I don’t even know where to start. I’ll start off with by pointing out that I was just reading the papers concerned and reported what they said – there was nothing new to my comments at all. If other people had not read those papers, that is not my fault. I certainly don’t think that proxies are useless before 1500, and neither do I think we have no information from the medieval period, and neither do I think that tree rings are dubious – they have issues (as do all proxies) but that doesn’t make them useless. And look at Osborn and Briffa (2006) or Moberg et al (2004) – different methodologies completely.
    If your position is that we don’t know anything about medieval times because all proxies are imperfect, that will at least be consistent, but if you are going to insist that the medieval warm period was warmer globally than today  at the same time you insist that proxies are all crap, then we have a bit of a problem. However, if you hold the first position, I don’t see how that provides you any comfort at all – it might still have been cooler than today (or warmer) – you just wouldn’t know.
     
    Of course, if your only point is provoke, your comment makes more sense.

  95. Gavin says:

    #93 Look up the references I gave, people were warning of the issue in 1975 and 1979 right at the minimum of the 1940-1970s cooling. Of course, we did not know as much then, and we’ve had 30 years of correct predictions, so it is appropriate that we should be more confident now. Note that our concern as scientists has always been because of the physics of the greenhouse effect – it has not been based on linear extrapolation of temperature trends.

  96. Steve Koch says:

    Keith [32],
     
    In the article that you linked to, White emphasized that the Eemian (which ended 114,000 years ago) was warmer than nowadays.  In the comments, Steve Bloom said that CO2 topped out at 300 in the Eemian.
    You said:
    “Do you think this emerging picture from paleo data is being spun?”

    Just to make sure that I understand properly, is your point that White’s paleo work with Eemian ice cores destroys the hockey stick (since it was significantly warmer in the Eemian than now)?

    Any comment re: CO2 levels being much lower in the Eemian than now (even though it was warmer back then)?

    Question (to Gavin or Keith) is how can climate scientists be so confident they understand feedbacks?  I get that there is going to be a small amount of warming if you add CO2 to the atmosphere (because CO2 is a thermal mass).  But biological and cloud and solar (as it impacts clouds) feedbacks are poorly understood, right? The impact of the oceans (where almost all the climate energy is stored) is poorly understood, right?  The climate models did not accurately predict either atmospheric or oceans temps for the last 10 years, right?  It seems that rather than the science being settled, climate science is just scratching the surface of understanding how our climate works.

    It is totally understandable to me that a young science like climatology has a long way to go but I don’t understand this claim that the science is settled.

  97. apl says:

    Gavin (94)
    You say “I was just reading the papers concerned”.  I think you were doing more than that.  You were reading the withdrawal of some of the main claims of one paper, where that withdrawal was buried in the SI of another paper.  IMO it is the failure of RC to deal with this openly that has made censorship such a hot topic here.
    Most readers will understand that this is a tiny part of the case for CAGW.  Unfortunately RC refusal to admit to such errors in a mature way reduces rather than increases confidence in the overall argument.

  98. Steve Koch says:

    One more question for either Keith or Gavin:
    CO2 is a bit under 400 ppm and is increasing at about 2 ppm/year.  At this rate, doubling CO2 levels will take on the order of 200 years.  If the luke warmists are right, that means a little over 1C degree rise in temps over 200 years.  That sounds like nothing to worry about.  If 95% of climate scientists are right, then it is a rise of around 3C degrees in 200 years (an average of  .015 degree change per year).  Since the rise in temp is a log function of CO2 increase and CO2 rises roughly linearly, the temp rise per year  from CO2 will slow down over time.  This implies the greatest change in temp WRT change in CO2 is happening right now and will just slow down  (i.e. get easier to deal with) from now on.
     
    Does that sound about right?

  99. Dave H says:

    @Steve Koch
    > CO2 rises roughly linearly,
    This part is incorrect I believe. As far as I’m aware, CO2 is rising exponentially or faster.
    Any increase in CO2 output (eg. from rapidly industrialising countries like China) will only accelerate the rate of increase further.
    Then you have the issue of natural sinks (currently taking in around 50% of human CO2 emissions) becoming  less effective as levels of CO2 rise.
    The precise levels of CO2 by 2100 will depend on action we take now to curb emissions. Given that Gavin gave a scenario above that indicated that an immediate 70% cut in emissions followed by gradual decrease would be required to stabilise at 400ppm, I think its safe to say some of your assumptions are not in accord with current scientific understanding.

  100. Dave H says:

    @Steve Koch
    > In the article that you linked to, White emphasized that the Eemian (which ended 114,000 years ago) was warmer than nowadays
    > Just to make sure that I understand properly, is your point that White’s paleo work with Eemian ice cores destroys the hockey stick (since it was significantly warmer in the Eemian than now)?
    Well, given that MBH98 covered the last 1000 years, and the Eemian ended 114,000 years ago, I’d hazard a guess that the answer is a resounding no.

  101. Jerry says:

    Given how often I’ve seen skeptics cite Cargo Cult science and how often I’ve seen alarmists say that Cargo Cult science does not apply to them, I find Gavin’s immense respect for Feynman tremendously encouraging.  Good on you Gavin! Pip Pip!

  102. Dave H says:

    @ Shub

    > How long do you think it would take for me to take apart your characterization of “whining” with a few equally choice words?

    I’m not sure. Probably quite a few. Of course the best rebuttal would be for you to never mention it again.

    > you don’t what has been taken out.

    Was that an intentional joke? Because I laughed at that 🙂

  103. Jay Currie says:

    #94, Well if you position is that we “we don’t know anything about medieval times because all proxies are imperfect, that will at least be consistent, but if you are going to insist that the medieval warm period was warmer globally than today  at the same time you insist that proxies are all crap, then we have a bit of a problem.” my answer would be that given our lack of knowledge we might be a bit humble regarding our claims that the current warming is unprecedented.
     
    The point being that if you cannot go back to prior to 1500 AD you are pretty much done on the “unprecedented” line. You’ve admitted that we can’t so we are not to be afraid or impressed with the “unprecedented” rubbish.
    Growups recognize that the Earth cools and warms. They try to figure out why. They avoid preposterous claims about “unprecedented warming”.

    And I am still waiting for an answer as to you remarks on “Tiljander and the dendro you are left with very little of the hockey stick and, worse, the shaft is rather less than straight?”
    But good for you coming over to Keith’s site.
     

  104. Dave H says:

    @Jay Currie
    > my answer would be that given our lack of knowledge we might be a bit humble regarding our claims that the current warming is unprecedented.
    And I hope you direct that answer just as forcefully at those that claim the MWP was definitely warmer than today.
    > Growups recognize that the Earth cools and warms. They try to figure out why. They avoid preposterous claims about “unprecedented warming”.
    You do a number of things here. First you imply childish behaviour on the part of the scientists diligently studying these very problems, you make a vague empty statement about climate fluctuations that completely avoids the question of *why* it warms and cools at any given period, and then you ignore that proxy studies are couched in terms of unknowns and statistical likelihood – ie represent a rational and humble approach to analysing the evidence available. Finally you presuppose that the presentation of the likelihood of present warming being unprecedented over the past few thousand years represents a “preposterous” claim.

  105. Phil Clarke says:

    Jay,
    From what I can see, Gavin HAS been responsive to your questions. The answers are also perfectly clear if you read the relevant threads on RC and the associated papers.
    In summary:
      It is not the case that ‘we cannot go back prior to 1500AD’. The Salzer paper Gavin cited considers proxies from http://www.pnas.org/content/106/48/20348.full 2650BC, for example, and includes a frank discussion of the issues involved in doing so.
      It is the case that, if you discard <b>ALL</b> dendro evidence <b>AND</b> the 7 proxies identified in Mann et al as potentially problematic (4 of these are Tiljander, and the rest date from after 1500), then the resultant, very sparse, network does show modern temperatures as anomalously warm, but the skill of the reconstruction falls below a meaningful level. I can now exclusively reveal that this finding was published last year in Mann et al 2009.
    Logically, if one accepts the test of skill as a meaningful one, then one has to explain the reasoning behind dropping those dendro proxies that do have skill. I call this the reverse pea and thimble.
    That’s may take, anyhow. I don’t presume to speak for Dr Schmidt.

  106. Laws of Nature says:

    Hello there,

    well, perhaps here is finally a place to decide for good, if the use of erroneous proxies maters or not. You can cite Gavin with comments showing that he is aware, that MBH98 without bristlecone-pines has issues as well as not using the so called Tiljander-proxies fails validation before 1500AD.
    Given that it is not possible to validate the reconstruction claim about the midle age period after removing this problematic proxi, isn’t it time for M. Mann to withdraw this claim in peer reviewed literature?
     

  107. Barry Woods says:

    A Professor of Phycology, comparing the myths in self help book, with ‘peer reviewed’ pshycoligical research on each issue..

    On Group descisions: (any type, business, etc)

    “..studies have shown that, compared to individuals, groups tend to be more dogmatic, better able to justify irrational actions, more likely to see their actions as highly moral and have a tendency to form stereotypical views of outsiders.  In addition, when strong-willed people lead group discussions, they can pressurise others into conforming, encourage self censorship and create an illusion of unamity.

    Two headsare not necessarily better than one.  Over 50 years of research suggests that irrational thinking occurs when peopl try to reac decisions in groups, and this can lead to a polarisation of opinions and a highly biased assessment of the situation…”

    I just thought instantly of the IPCC process, or Michael Mann and Briffa in the emails..

    Only a popular book aimed at the public, written by Professor Richard Wiseman, this quote from a section on decision making.

  108. Deech56 says:

    willard,  some more terms for you: “unprecedented” and “CAGW”  (to go along with “moderation” and “but, Climategate”).

  109. Peter Wilson says:

    Gavin
    I am interested to know how you can justify the statement you made at RC  that “Medieval temperatures are not very interesting, despite what you might read elsewhere” (quote from memory, but that certainly the gist)
    Surely one of the principal claims of the CAGW position is that the current warm period is unprecedented in recent history. If it isn’t, why should we be worried? As you now claim that this cannot be known with any degree of certainty (prior to 1500 anyway), what evidence is there remaining that there is anything unusual about the recent climate. I am certainly aware of a good deal of evidence to the contrary, but you are always saying what a huge preponderance of evidence there is for the CAGW position – here is your chance to enlighten us as to exactly what that is, if the Hockey Stick isn’t it.
    If this isn’t an interesting question to you, it certainly is to me and many others, so I’d be very appreciative of a response.

  110. Shub says:

    Dave H
    I see that you sidestepped the larger issue I raised in my post – the *reason* for why post deletion at RealClimate is an important general issue, and not a personal one with just me – and trolled about something else.
     
    I think you should engage with your complaints with KK, who questioned Gavin about RC moderation, and Dr Curry about the display at RC. I wonder why he brings it up at all – if it is so boring and if it raises the hackles of the faithful.
     
    You run your mouth here in favor of RC, while having not submitted any comments there yourself – your comments are based solely on viewing the end-product of someone’s deft scissors. How difficult is it for you to understand that what you don’t know about is the stuff that has been taken out?
     
    Continue this patting people on their heads and never confronting the real problem  – as Gavin does above as well, and soon we’ll all be totally convinced.
    KK:
    I think you are making Andy Revkin into something he is not.

  111. Gavin says:

    #96 where did I claim the ‘science was settled’? If I thought such a thing, I wouldn’t be a scientist. What would be the point? Please read this post for my views on this terminology.
     
    As for feedbacks, there are two approaches – bottom up, and top down. The bottom up approach looks at specific processes and the dependencies they have on temperature etc. and tries to create a net total feedback from looking at each separate feedback. As Roe and Baker discussed, uncertainties in this approach and concerns about completeness make the errors on the total feedback very large. Thankfully, we also have a top down approach – looking at times in the past when we know the situation was different (and have good ideas why). The classic example of that is the Last Glacial Maximum (20,000 years ago), when there were extensive ice sheets, lower CO2 and CH4 levels, higher amounts of dust and different vegetation. You can estimate the impacts of all of those things on the climate and compare that to the estimated global temperature changes (5-6ºC cooler than today) and get a constraint on the sensitivity (and hence total net feedback).
     
    This isn’t perfect of course, but the substantial temperature change at the LGM makes it very hard for the feedbacks to be small or negative (otherwise the LGM would not have been expected to be anything like as cold). The best estimate of the sensitivity from this approach is around 3ºC (+/-1ºC) – very similar to what GCMs suggest as well.  There is a paper by Kohler et al (2010) that recently revisted this issue. From the other side, we have some constraints starting to come from warm climates in the Pliocene (e.g. see Lunt et al, 2010) .
     
    In the meantime of course, we have had enough data to confirm that the ice-albedo feedbacks and the water vapour/lapse rate feedbacks work pretty much as expected (net amplifying factors), while there is more uncertainty associated with clouds changes (which can either be amplifying or dampening depending on where you are and what kind of cloud you are talking about) .
     
    So, we have reasonable constraints that suggest the feedbacks are net positive (amplifying), observations/theory/models that explain the bulk of that effect and remaining uncertainties on one (key) part of it. But if you want to claim that the clouds can cancel out everything else, you still need to explain why the planet appears to be so sensitive to changes in the past. No-one has successfully done so. Not even close.

  112. Marco says:

    Jay Currie: you may want to actually read Mann 2008. You will see a MCA in there with Tiljander and tree rings. Mann later provided an updated supplemental figure without Tiljander and the treerings which shows a slighly higher MCA, but since the proxies are then much poorer validated, there essentially is no evidence of a global MCA without Tiljander and the treerings!!

    It’s funny to see how you talked yourself into a narrative that completely contradicts the point you wanted to make.

    Oh, and please note that MBH99 also contains a MCA. What seems to bother some people is that the MCA isn’t warmer than today’s temperatures. And that must be wrong. Why? It just has to be.

  113. Marco says:

    Doug Badgero:
    One keyword for you: interglacials. If climate sensitivity is low, there must have been a humongous change that caused temperatures to rise by so much.

    You can also enjoy yourself with this article by the ‘skeptics’ favorite economist:
    http://www.springerlink.com/content/x324801281540j8u/

  114. Judith Curry says:

    Sadly, “this is solid settled science” has been uttered by some leading scientists.  This has done much damage, IMO.

  115. Gavin says:

    #107 I don’t even know what you mean by the ‘CAGW position’ – perhaps you would care to point me to the publication that defines it? Then we could check what its principal claims were…
     
    But your main question is whether or not the overall medieval temperature is ‘interesting’? Obviously many people find many different things interesting, and so what is not interesting to me may be fascinating to someone else. So let me define terms. I consider something interesting (in this context) if it allows us to better constrain possible future climate change. Other people may be interested in the medieval period for its own sake, but I am very much focused on using paleo-climate information as best we can to inform future predictions (see Schmidt (2010) for a clearer explanation of this).
     
    Therefore the question, for me, becomes whether reasonable re-evaluations or improved constraints  on the level of global medieval warmth will help constrain anything that is relevant for a future prediction. The relevant variable in this case is the global mean temperature sensitivity.  But for this calculation you need two things: the temperature change (say relative to the Little Ice Age) and the changes in the drivers (mainly solar, volcanic, some land use and a little bit of greenhouse gas change). Unfortunately, there is a lot of uncertainty in how to calibrate solar and volcanic changes that far back and so there is a wide uncertainty in the net forcing difference. Since sensitivity = temp diff/forcing diff, that uncertainty tends to dominate the uncertainty in sensitivity (you can plug in some real numbers from the PMIP3 forcing data if you like) . Thus if you change the temp diff for whatever reason, you don’t get a a meaningful reduction in the  sensitivity constraints – and the error bars would have to come way down on everything before a medieval constraint came close to being as useful as the LGM constraint mentioned above.
     
    Does that mean nothing can be learned from the medieval period? Not at all. Some of the other uncertainties in the future concern regional rainfall changes and the sensitivity of phenomena like ENSO. There are some intriguing results concerning mega-droughts in the American SW – and coral results from the tropical Pacific which indicate these things might be linked, and indeed might be linked to the climate drivers mentioned above. But the answers to these problems require regional reconstructions and spatial patterns of change and are much less sensitive to the overall mean warmth.
     
    Furthermore, your question appears to imply that you think that our concern about future climate change is related to the changes we have seen already. That is not the case at all. Temperature changes so far have been modest and for the most part people and ecosystems have adapted to changes (though for some that has not been cost free). Rather, the concern is related to the fact that we can easily foresee further changes, driven in large part by the continually increasing CO2 level, that completely dwarf what we have seen so far, and complete obliterate the idea that medieval times would be at all relevant. A 3ºC change by 2100 – which is not the high end projection – puts the planet in a temperature range not seen since the Pliocene some 3 million years ago. A period of radically different climate and sea levels some 20 meters above today. That is what people are worried about.

  116. Shub says:

    Saying something and joining it with something else, but only to claim no connection between the two was actually made – that is the game in CAGW.
     
    Examine Gavin’s post #113. He manages to say that sea levels were 20 meters higher in the Pliocene with similar temperatures of the projected 3 C, but yet, not say that sea levels will rise 20 meters by 2100. Climate state similarities with respect to some variables are used to give the rhetorical impression of predicted causality. This is CAGW. It is there all around us.

  117. Marco says:

    Michael Larkin, you said:
    “The jig is up. Anyone with an ounce of commonsense can see that. If the pro-CAGW people want to impress, then they have to face their sceptics and defeat them in open debate. ”

    Allow me to call you naive. Evolutionists have debated creationists on many occasions. Defeat is in the eye of the beholder, and on various occasions the creationists were declared the ‘winner’ of the debate by the audience.

    You can only convince those that are willing to be convinced. In the climate arena I have found few ‘skeptics’ that are skeptics in the scientific sense: those that are willing to be convinced. People who regularly deal with HIV/AIDS denial or the antivaxxers have run into similar issues.

  118. Peter Wilson says:

    Gavin
     
    Thank you for the thoughtful reply. If I could ask one more question, could you please explain why it is that you are convinced that he climate sensitivity to CO2 changes is as high as you surmise, in view of the fact that, as you say, climate change to at has been modest, while CO2 levels have increased about 35% .
    Does this judgement rest on the output of the various GCMs , or is there some empirical justification for the confidence of your forecast?

  119. Marco says:

    Peter Wilson:
    There are two issues you seemingly neglect. The first is that the temperature is expected to increase more. Much more. The second is related to comparing the past to the present without taking into account the changes that have happened in the meantime. In the Middle Ages local communities were very much self-relient and comparatively small. Today, the whole world is interconnected, and we are with 20 times as many people.

  120. Doug says:

    Peter Wilson:
    There is a lag in the response of global temperatures to changes in CO2. This is because modifying the CO2 concentrations changes the global radiative energy budget (energy in minus energy out). This budgetary change leads to an incremental change in the global energy content (the driver behind global temperatures); but this change takes place over a long period of time, because of the difference in magnitude of the global energy content compared with the changes in global radiative energy budget.
    So, we do not expect to see the full effects of the current increase in CO2 levels for several decades yet.

  121. Bernie says:

    Gavin:
    Given the size and potential scope of the AGW issue as you lay it out, I assume therefore that you are in favour of a massive reinvestment in Nuclear Power technologies?  How else can we possibly reduce CO2 emissions without drastically curtailing GDP and growth in GDP in developed and developing countries.

  122. Gavin says:

    #119 Peter Wilson (comment numbers are not stable, so I’ll add the name to make it clearer who I’m talking to).
    Judging what should have happened so far requires taking all drivers into account (and that isn’t just CO2, but also other GHGs, aerosols, land use change, the sun, volcanoes etc.), and also the time lags in the system. The principle lag is related to the time it takes for the upper ocean to come into balance with a new atmospheric composition – a few decades for the bulk of the response, a few centuries for 90% or more. And when you make that calculation – either with simple models or more complex GCMs you end up with temperature changes that are pretty much in line with what is observed. For the future, the mix of drivers will not be the same (aerosols will not keep increasing at the same rate as CO2 for instance). The overall effect will depend on climate sensitivity (as you state), and my reasons for thinking that it is non-negligible were outlined in #112. GCMs are very consistent with the empirical constraints.
     

  123. Gavin says:

    #117 Shub
     
    It would be a complete misreading of my comment to infer that sea level would reach 20m by 2100 if the temperature increased by 3ºC.  There is a very significant lag in sea level with respect to the temperatures that is related to the uncertain response time of the ice sheets. But your implication that we can happily sit around in Pliocene temperatures without eventually arriving at Pliocene sea level is unsupported by logic or observations. We have discussed likely changes in SL in the next century many times on RC and I suggest you look at those discussions to get a more nuanced idea of my views. Even changes of 1 meter are potentially very serious and, in my mind, well worth trying to prevent.

  124. oneuniverse says:

    Gavin: A 3ºC change by 2100 ““ which is not the high end projection ““ puts the planet in a temperature range not seen since the Pliocene some 3 million years ago. A period of radically different climate and sea levels some 20 meters above today. That is what people are worried about.
     
    Such a rise, assuming the conditions for it persist, would take place over thousands of years .
     
    According to the IPCC AR4 (“FAQ 5.1: Is Sea Level Rising?” , p.409), a sea level rise of 0.2-0.5 meters is predicted by 2100, under the SRES A1B emission scenario.
     
    From ACSM Bulletin 2008 – Understanding Sea Level Change :


    Projections of sea level rise for the 21st Century is being debated by the climate research community. Some of these projections for the end of the 21st Century are in excess of 2 meters. One scenario reported by the IPCC in their 2007 assessment projects, with an increase of 1.7o C to 4.4o C in global mean surface air temperature, global sea level could rise by 0.21-0.48 m by the end of the 21st century. The recent work by Pfeffer (2008), however, projects that global sea-level rise under accelerated conditions could lead to a total sea level rise of about 0.8 meter by 2100. The possibility of a dramatic rise in sea level in the future will most likely depend on whether the land-based glaciers on Greenland and Antarctica begin melting at an accelerated rate. Thermal expansion of the ocean surface layers alone could probably not account for the larger projections being made.
     
    A total melting of the Greenland ice-sheet is estimated to contribute ~7m to sea level rise.  A melting of the Antarctic ice-sheet would contribute ~60m. A collapse of the WAIS, the marine portion of the Antarctic ice sheet, would raise levels by ~5-6m.  (According to IPCC TAR . WAIS figure is from this article from Michael Studinger at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Via Wiki).
     
    A melting of the Greenland and Antarctic land ice-sheets is considered to be an event that would be measured on a millenial time-scale. The WAIS is thought to be more vulnerable to melting, yet even a ‘catastrophic’ collapse of the WAIS would take place over centuries.

  125. Lazar says:

    Here’s a climate scientist engaging in serious, meaningful discussion of uncertainties and IPCC processes.
    Note that James Annan does not write anything like… ‘the uncertainties are wrong but I can’t demonstrate that or cite any supporting material, but it’s a fact nevertheless, and the refusal of scientists to address my unsupported claim is seriously damaging to their credibility’.
    Just sayin’.

  126. AMac says:

    Witnessing this discussion ‘across the lines,’ a very heartening development.  From the timestamps, Gavin is being a true gentleman (hopefully well supplied with espresso at this point).
     
    Certain aspects of the Tiljander story are straightforward, and easy for educated laypeople to grasp.  I’ll make a few statements, numbered so that others can easily refer to them.
     
    (1) The paleotemperature reconstruction strategy employed by Prof. Mann’s research group in their 2008 PNAS paper (“Mann08”) absolutely required that each data series (“proxy”) be calibrated to the instrumental temperature record that spans 1850 to 1995.
     
    (2) Mann08’s authors considered using the many-thousand-year record of lake-bed sediments that graduate student Mia Tiljander and her advisor collected and analyzed from the bottom of Lake Korttajarvi in Finland.  In their paper (“Tiljander03”), Prof. Matti Saarnisto and his student warned that their lakebed data became progressively more unreliable from ~1720 on, as the sediments recorded nearby activites unrelated to climate:  farming, peat cutting, roadbuilding, bridge reconstruction, and lake eutrophication.
     
    (3) Mann08’s text acknowledges these issues as potential problems.  However, the paper’s authors went ahead and incorporated four data sets from Tiljander’s work into their own reconstruction.
     
    (4) The post-1720 contamination of the Lake Korttajarvi data series turns out to be much, much worse than Mann08’s authors suspected.  Anyone who looks can quickly grasp the problem.  This JPEG is a graph of three of Tiljander’s series:  “Darksum,” “Lightsum,” and “X-Ray Density” (in each case, Tiljander03’s “warmer” is plotted “up.”)  It shows 2,000 years’ worth of data, using a running 20-year average to smooth out the curves.  Look to the 1850-1995 interval at the right of the picture, where the instrumental temperature record is available for proxy calibration.  Yikes!
     
    (5) Mann08’s authors found a strong correlation between the rising temperature in southern Finland, 1850-1995 and the rising value of “Darksum” (r=0.3066).  They got another one between rising temperature and rising “Lightsum” (r=0.2714).  These are “spurious correlations,” unrelated to any pre-1850 climate signals that are contained in the sediments.
     
    (6) In and of itself, this error is not a big deal.  Scientists make mistakes all the time.  The controversy has arisen over the refusal of Prof. Mann and his co-authors to acknowlege what happened, straighten out the mess, and incorporate any lessons into best scientific practices.
     
    Judy Curry has written extensively about the woeful effects of Tribalism on Climate Science.  The Tiljander/Mann affair is an object lesson of its dangers.  Each reader will have their own take–and many partisans will bring their own spin to the analysis.  In this Comment, I’ve sketched my own view of the matter.  Perhaps, with Prof. Curry’s insights in mind, it will be possible to find more constructive ways of handling this (and future) controversies that arise at the interface between professional climatologists and citizen-scientists.

  127. Dave H says:

    @Shub

    > I see that you sidestepped the larger issue I raised in my post

    Sidestepped? No – I stated you’d reached the conclusion you wanted to and disagreed with your basis for doing so. You’re the one that keeps banging on about it. If RC wanted to capriciously ban all comments form those whose name starts with “S” they’d be welcome to, and such a move would say precisely nothing about the state of climate science as you imply.

    > trolled

    That word has a specific meaning, distinct from simply disagreeing with someone. Do you really need to descend to cheap smears like that?

    > You run your mouth here in favor of RC, while having not submitted any comments there yourself ““ your comments are based solely on viewing the end-product of someone’s deft scissors. How difficult is it for you to understand that what you don’t know about is the stuff that has been taken out?

    How difficult is it for you to understand that – without ever posting a single comment at RC worthy of moderation or otherwise – I can read the complaints made by Curry, Fuller yourself and many others at other sources (frequented by such as yourself) filled with indignant posts about being censored or edited, and “posting this here because it’s been suppressed at RC – they fear the TRUTH!!1!” type comments. What extra knowledge can I possibly glean by posting some recycled drivel about a “broken” hockey stick and seeing it fail to appear? Would reposting it over at CA in a huff afford me an impressive new insight to the soul-crushing horror of having one’s musings deleted specifically by RC rather than any other blog? If I did so would I suddenly realise that RC is run by a cabal hell bent on suppressing not just *blog comments*, but in fact *any dissent anywhere in the sphere of climate science*? I know what you’re talking about, I am not blind, and I am not confined to some WWW ghetto. Given that the most likely way you’ll have a picture of the wider complaints of moderation beyond your own direct experience is by relying on reading second-hand many of the same threads I have, don’t imagine you have some unique perspective not afforded to those that happen to disagree with you. I just have no sympathy, because a blog has no obligation to publish your comments, no matter how invaluable you seem to think they are, and choosing not to publish *your* comments says precisely nothing about the wider commitment to openness or honesty by the individuals doing the moderation, or indeed climate science as a whole.

    Frankly, I would rather RC was *more* censorious. Even now vacuous comments come through which are met with a firestorm of derision – I’d prefer an much tighter conversational thread, with no tolerance for straying off topic and nothing even remotely abusive or derogatory permitted by any party. Essentially, deny even a whiff of credence to the claim by you and those like you that the comment threads at RC are somehow more ill-mannered than anywhere else (hah!). We’ve had the discussion about how to keep comment threads in order here before, and to make it really work on this topic I think you have to either moderate like an iron-fisted dictator, or have *no* comments and rely on top-level blog postings with trackbacks to maintain a conversational thread. Neither of those are particularly good, but hey – invariably what I see in comments is a free-associating war of attrition between those who can be bothered to stay and argue, and those that can’t.

  128. Bernie says:

    Keith:
    As an aside you might take a look at an interesting post at Jeff Id’s Air Vent Site (http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/04/21/reader-background/#comment-33866 where by my rough count you can see the backgrounds of roughly 180  folks who frequent his site.  Three things jumped out at me.  First, there are a significant number of individuals with advnaced degrees in the hard sciences.  Second, RC is generally seen as a very inhospitable site that tends to reinforce if not trigger the skepticism of many.  Third, Steve McIntyre and CA is held in high regard.

    It is a very small self-selected sample I grant you given that roughly 1% of the US population have degrees at some level in the hard sciences if you include engineering.   However, it probably reflects your readership as well judging by the current commenters.

  129. vieras says:

    Gavin writes: “Other people may be interested in the medieval period for its own sake, but I am very much focused on using paleo-climate information as best we can to inform future predictions (see Schmidt (2010) for a clearer explanation of this).
     
    You might want to talk to Stephen McIntyre. He’s good at that and you two might be able to achieve great results together.

  130. Gavin
    If sea levels rise slowly – here one can define slowly as being greater than policy-relevant timescales, say two-three-four centuries from now – then the sea level rise issue has passed out the realm of scientific alarm and into the realm of metaphysical and philosophical concern. In other words, the question becomes – “what do we think about human life and behaviour on the earth system?’ I don’t think you’ll argue that there is one right answer to that question.

    If by ‘slowly’, we mean decades into the future – we are certainly committed to more fossil-fuel consumption to assist coastal communities drag themselves out of harm’s way.

    Once again, throwing in the “20 meters sea level rise” is CAGW, –  just pointing it out simply because it happened to be found in a comment of yours which begins asking “what is this CAGW thing”?

    Dave H
    So my “trolled” word bothers you. Your “whining” word bothers me. Is the underlying idea which you tried to convey by using that word – complaining about moderation of one forum in a different forum – correct? Yes. But is that what I did? No.

    I’ve said something else – which you have tried to repeatedly shoot down and delegitimize (the dreaded word ;)). That is what I called ‘trolling’. Our dear friend willard tries the same thing by equating “emails” with ‘Climategate’. (nice to see ‘climategate’ being used as a smear word- against skeptics)

    The form in which you do confront the issue, however, adds up to saying that – people like me – ‘skeptics’ and their comments preferably be deleted from RealClimate. I have no problem with that. I hope the RealClimate folks listen to your advice even more, and delete even more comments which stray from the line, contaminate the signal, are recycled drivel, or are ill-mannered comments. Sanitize the whole thing.

  131. JohnB says:

    Kudos to KK and Gavin for the post and thread.

    I’d like to take Gavin up on his offer in two areas, both pertaining to paleo climate but not often discussed. I ask these two questions because frankly I’m curious.

    1. Anyone looking at long term ice cores would see quickly that the current interglacial is quite different from those before. Previous ones spiked and dropped rather sharply whereas the current one levelled off at a lower temperature than previously attained and hasn’t (apparently) done much.

    Gavin, in your opinion, why is the current interglacial different?

    I realise that this has little to do with the AGW debate, but there is a difference and I’d like your opinion as to why.

    2. Why is the field of Archaeology (apparently) so poorly represented in discussions about paleoclimate?

    One would think that if you are discussing the climate in 1,000 AD the first people to ask would be those who study 1,000 AD. My own thought is that while historical and archaeological evidence can qualitatively describe past climate change they would be little help in a quantitative fashion. (ie We know the temperature changed, but can’t really tell by how much.) 

    Your thoughts please.

  132. Dave H says:

    @Bernie
    What struck me while reading through that thread was:
    – How many offtopic anti-AGW comments were permitted before Bart interjected and was accused of trying to derail the thread.
    – How many people seem to have unshakeable belief in their position based on the flimsiest evidence (“I read a text file and decided it was all a bunch of hooey, I didn’t like Al Gore’s movie, someone was rude to me on a blog” etc.).
    – How self-congratulatory the belief is that the commenters are so much more clever and educated than commenters at RC.
    – How many retirees there are.
    – How many engineers there are.
    – How few climate scientists there are.
    – How politically motivated many of the dissenting stories are.

  133. Lazar says:

    It is interesting that attention received is inversely proportional to the rigor of claims being made which criticize uncertainties and processes in the IPCC, whilst being directly proportional to one’s standing with the CA crowd. Keith: how about an interview with JA?
    From the link…
    “We complained to the authors of this piece of nonsense, and they replied with the remarkable claim that despite being listed as the authors, they were not in fact responsible for the accuracy of anything they wrote”
    … sound familiar?

  134. James Evans says:

    Gavin #93  “Look up the references I gave, people were warning of the issue in 1975 and 1979 right at the minimum of the 1940-1970s cooling. Of course, we did not know as much then, and we’ve had 30 years of correct predictions, so it is appropriate that we should be more confident now. Note that our concern as scientists has always been because of the physics of the greenhouse effect ““ it has not been based on linear extrapolation of temperature trends.”

    So, if the globe warms, then this is a correct prediction that helps confirm the idea that increasing CO2 leads to global warming. But if global temperatures fall, that doesn’t refute the idea that increasing CO2 leads to global warming?

    Are there any possible observations of the real world that might make you re-think the theory that increasing CO2 leads to global warming?

  135. AMac says:

    Dave H #133 —
     
    Perhaps climatologists could benefit from a re-read of universally-admired Richard Feynman’s short Caltech address, “Cargo Cult Science.”  One of his mandates to all scientists is to seek out the evidence that most compellingly suggests that some of their ideas — some of their cherished ideas — might be incomplete or even incorrect.
     
    Of course, everybody thinks that they do this, so just about everyone congratulates themselves and their friends on this point.  But have those plaudits truly been earned?
     
    You can see the particular topic that makes me answer “regrettably, No” in #127 supra.
     
    It’s not fair-and-balanced that “skeptics” get to take potshots from the sidelines while professional scientists have to defend their favorite notions.  And as Judy Curry has pointed out, there is an unhappy and complex history to climatology that includes the “merchants of doubt” narrative.
     
    But other specialties and industries have made it through analogous growing pains, such as aeronautics, pharmacology, architectural engineering, implantable medical devices, and clinical diagnostics.  If climatology is to play a useful social function as the Earth continues to warm, its practitioners are going to have to grow into more responsible roles.
     
    I hope AGW Consensus advocates counter that “skeptic” and citizen-scientist tribes should also take Feynman’s admonitions to heart, just like working scientists (and like AGW Consensus advocates themselves).  Agree!

  136. Doug says:

    @James Evans
    CO2 is a “greenhouse” gas; all other things being the same, increasing CO2 will cause an increase in temperature – it will cause global warming. This part of the scientific story is based firmly on laboratory measurements, and is indisputable. What is less certain (and much more varied) is the contribution of other factors, such as aerosols, clouds, multi-year global atmosphere-ocean system oscillations, land-use, solar activity, etc. It’s factors like these that have to be explored to explain deviations from the expected warming caused by greenhouse gases such as CO2.

  137. Hank Roberts says:

    Judith Curry points to Sommerville’s post at Scripps, which begins:
    “The essential findings of mainstream climate change science are firm. This is solid settled science.”
    “This” refers to the list of “essential findings of mainstream climate change science” which he then lists.
    I’d suggest Dr. Curry take his list and challenge any of those specific points she considers incorrect.
    Specifics, please.  He did not make a general statement that everything is settled; he lists what he says he considers settled, the mainstream major points.
    You can publish a parallel list and make clear what you doubt.
    Please do.

  138. Hank Roberts says:

    PS. Dr. Curry, would you put your response to Sommerville’s list in your own topic, please, to keep your material in one place?

  139. DBD says:

    Keith,

    Apologies for the delay – off the grid yesterday. From my persepctive Gavin has a tremendous amount of influence (total control??) over the comment content at RC. Many of the comments made in response to Dr. Curry’s posting there were hurtful and in poor taste yet Gavin did nothing to reign those types of comment in. In effect he condoned them. Now, away from the friendly confines of RC, the tone of his comments is reasonable and fair. I find the fact that in the one forum (RC) tastless comments are fairly made (and permitted by him) but in a different environment (C’Scape) the tone has changed. I believe that is deceitful or disingenuous (sp?).

  140. Bernie says:

    Dave:
    I am sure that Keith will bear your points in mind, if he gets a chance to review the link.  I do find your response interesting, both rhetorically and psychologically.
    You say:
    What struck me while reading through that thread was:
    – How many offtopic anti-AGW comments were permitted before Bart interjected and was accused of trying to derail the thread.
    OK, I will play.  How many?
    – How many people seem to have unshakeable belief in their position based on the flimsiest evidence (“I read a text file and decided it was all a bunch of hooey, I didn’t like Al Gore’s movie, someone was rude to me on a blog” etc.).
    Speaking for myself, I am open to all kinds of evidence ““ for and against AGW, but are you not doing exactly what you are charging others with?
    – How self-congratulatory the belief is that the commenters are so much more clever and educated than commenters at RC.
    I do not agree.  I would say they do believe, as I do based on 4 years of visiting RC, that they are more polite than many regulars at RC.  In over 200 comments there may be even one or two assertions that they are smarter.  If so, I doubt that they have the data to support such an assertion and should not be so silly.  By the way, what are your credentials?
    – How many retirees there are.
    I am a retiree.  I am not sure I understand your point?
    – How many engineers there are.
    I am not an engineer.  Again, can you clarify your point?
    – How few climate scientists there are.
    I would have led with this point.  It is accurate and an interesting point.  However, there are physicists, chemists, meteorologists, statisticians, data modelers, computer scientists and, as you noted, many engineers.  I also bet that many do not work for the government or institutions that depend on government money. 
    – How politically motivated many of the dissenting stories are.
    Are you suggesting that the posters at RC are any less politically motivated?

  141. cial says:

    Hank Roberts,
    I think you misread Sommerville.  The statement you reference (“The essential findings of mainstream climate change science are firm. This is solid settled science”) is itself the first item in the list.   From the structure of the article, it is clearly a standalone point. and is not an introduction to a list  Your reading is strained.

  142. Lazar says:

    What Hank said in #138.

  143. laursaurus says:

    AMac “Witnessing this discussion “˜across the lines,’ a very heartening development.  From the timestamps, Gavin is being a true gentleman (hopefully well supplied with espresso at this point).”
    ITA!
    So many questions for just one man to answer. He’s truly engaging with the skeptics’ questions with detailed responses and links. I have developed a pretty negative opinion of Gavin due to the RealClimate experience. A few months back, I watched him participate in a formal debate on global warming from several years ago. Despite the usual contentious tone in this type of forum, he came across as much more likable than he does on RC. To me, it seemed like they were 2 completely different people. I really hoped for an improved perception of the RC blog, but the environment continued to seem just as abrasive and hostile. All my life, I’ve relied on science to develop my opinions. I really, really, wanted to be convinced of CAGW. But to no avail. Every aspect of the consensus science failed to convince me. It just lacks the depth and weight that other established areas of science. The snark, censorship, name-calling insults, and contempt for the average citizen and even scientist or engineers in other fields just doesn’t exist outside of climate change. Whether this impression is factually accurate, the reality is that this is how it comes across to much of the public.
    So I truly appreciate Gavin’s diligent and thoughtful participation. This is beginning to feel like science.  I know, I’m going to be criticized for letting my feelings influence my logic. But when it comes to climate change,  the scientists themselves become intensely emotional. Nice to have an adult, informative dialogue.
    Thanks for “giving it a go”, as they say in the UK.
    Keith: you’ve reached an historic milestone! Who or where else could both sides of a heated public dispute, each participate on their very own threads? Maybe we can’t bury the hatchet just yet, but now it actually seems possible one day.

  144. Bernie says:

    laursaurus #144
    In general I agree that Gavin has been both forthcoming and courteous.  However, I do suggest that you look carefully at which questions Gavin choses not to respond to.  If they are redundant or obnoxious then OK.  However, I try to be polite and not redundant, but Gavin appears to have decided to ignore my questions among others. 
    I again second your plaudits to Keith.

  145. Gavin says:

    #132 John B
     
    1) interglacials are all different because of the unique orbital configuration that occurs (they are not all the same), and in particular, this interglacial is much closer to stage 11 (400K) than it is to stage 5e, stage 7 or stage 9 (the three in-between).   But even stage 11 is not that close. Understanding the taxonomy of interglacials is still a work in progress.
     
    2) I don’t see that it is underrepresented. There are many archeologists working with paleo-people (Harvey Weiss comes to mind, certainly people working on the Classic Maya, people studying the pre-Pueblo cultures in the American SW, the deglaciation is a big topic in neolithic archeology in Eurasia etc.). However, there is a bit of residual bias in archeological  circles against ideas of climatological determinism (due to some clear excesses in the early 20th C as I understand it), but I think as a whole, paleo-climate information is very much appreciated.
     
     

  146. Arthur Smith says:

    Gavin (#116) – on whether the medieval climate anomaly is interesting, you say “… whether reasonable re-evaluations or improved constraints  on the level of global medieval warmth will help constrain anything that is relevant for a future prediction. The relevant variable in this case is the global mean temperature sensitivity.”
    While I agree there is considerable uncertainty about forcings, there are surely some reasonable *bounds* that can be put on those forcings. And those bounds surely then imply that any global MWP/MCA provides a *lower bound* on climate sensitivity.
    For example, let’s say that we can constrain radiative forcings during the medieval to be very likely less than 2 W/m^2 (or is it really more uncertain than this?) Now suppose we find a MWP warming of 1 C. That high MWP means climate sensitivity must be higher than 2 C/doubling. That’s interesting. If we find a MWP warming of 0.5 C, then those numbers would constrain climate sensitivity only to be higher than 1 C/doubling, and it would not be so interesting, unless we can better constrain the forcings.
    The point is, the bigger the MWP is, the higher the likely range of climate sensitivity is. A climate that swings wildly on small perturbations is one that will respond even more wildly to large forced increases as we are doing with CO2.
    This is something that “skeptics” talking about the MWP don’t seem to grasp. Is this just a failure of their logic, or is the problem that scientists hasn’t communicated the point clearly enough? A warm MWP is something to be very concerned about, not a matter for reassurance at all.

  147. Tom Fuller says:

    I will try and phrase this as delicately as possible, but I’m never going to be a diplomat, so please accept this as intended without rancor.
     
    Gavin, I find it troubling that there is such a difference in your behaviour and demeanor here as opposed to Real Climate. You are doing very well here, and I compliment you on that.
     
    Simultaneously, you are engaged in the moderating behaviour that has made RC infamous over the years. As I am one of the subjects of it, let me just say that RC’s collective behaviour has been one of the reasons I do not trust what you collectively say. In the past 24 hours you have refused to post two comments, edited the sense completely out of one, and posted comments after hours of delay while approving other comments, insuring that my comments are completely out of the order of discussion.
     
    As this is the fifth or sixth time I have been treated in this fashion, I am not likely to be swayed by previous arguments that things get lost, caught in moderation, or that your edits are for brevity.
     
    My posts at RC were carefully worded not to be personal. They are in response to a defense of a scientific paper that was posted on your weblog. It has received 144 comments–that you have seen fit to publish, at least, including a good half dozen that contain personal attacks on me.
     
    Which method of communication do you prefer? That which you practice at RC, or that which you preach here at CaS?

  148. James Evans says:

    Doug #137  “CO2 is a ‘greenhouse’ gas; all other things being the same, increasing CO2 will cause an increase in temperature ““ it will cause global warming. This part of the scientific story is based firmly on laboratory measurements, and is indisputable.”

    This is plainly incorrect. Your laboratory experiments cannot possibly show that anything will cause “global warming”. Do you have a planet in your laboratory? If not then your experiments cannot possibly demonstrate a warming of the Globe. Your experiments might show all sorts of warmings, which you then believe will, by extension, cause a warming of the planet.

    It’s surely entirely possible, given the immense complexity of the atmosphere, that the globe will not warm as your theory suggests. Is it not entirely possible that there are many aspects of the effects of an increase of CO2 in the atmosphere that you have not yet contemplated?

  149. cial says:

    Arthur,
    You say:  “the bigger the MWP is, the higher the likely range of climate sensitivity is …  is something that “skeptics” talking about the MWP don’t seem to grasp. ”
    I think you are over generalizing and also missing half the question.  Many skeptics do accept your point, but also focus on why did the MWP end.  Is there some longer-term negative feedback mechanism that is not incorporated in current GCMs?  At a minimum, the existence of a MWP suggests a significant incompleteness in current understanding.
     

  150. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Tom,
     
    In the interest of transparency, don’t you think you should let readers see the comments that you’re referring to so that we can make our judgment?

  151. SimonH says:

    I agree.. show us your workings, Tom ;o)

  152. laursaurus says:

    I noticed that, too, Bernie.
    He is putting a heck of a lot more effort here than last time Keith dedicated a thread especially to him.  He vaguely answered about 3 or 4 questions, then disappeared for good. Incidentally, it appeared he was chased off by a very specific yes/no question from AMac. Now he/she is praising Gavin’s efforts, which is significant considering the past. Plus, if I try to put myself in his shoes, it seems like more questions than I could possibly adequately answer. But to be fair, he might concede that JC was also bombarded on RC by not only an impossible amount of relevant questions, but an unbelievable amount of personal attacks phrased in the form of a question. Whoever is responsible for moderating RC, was deliberately inept or bears a bitter judge against her. “How did you manage to graduate from college?” is not just merely OT. Remarks like that have no place in adult dialogue.
    BTW, did AMac ever get an answer about the Tiljander details? I’ve come across related discussions on other blogs, so maybe the question was finally answered elsewhere.

  153. Tom Fuller says:

    Sorry Marlowe and SimonH, I didn’t remember to save them (something you should always do when commenting at RC and Joe Romm’s site) so when Gavin didn’t publish them they disappeared.

  154. SimonH says:

     

    Arthur Smith, it seems that the peculiar belief that sceptics just haven’t been sufficiently preached at is alive and well. There are issues with your observation, as cial points out. Nevertheless, a great many sceptics consider that investments would be better made in adaptation than mitigation. Your argument, though not new, serves the case made by Pielke Jnr for energy transformation innovation investment.

     

  155. Doug says:

    @James Evans
    Please read the *whole* of my post #137 again.

  156. GaryM says:

    Gavin,
    I would like to ask what for me is one of the central questions I have about the state of the science, if you have time given the volume of previous questions and comments from those who have taken up your offer. Your willingness to take the time you have already to answer so many is, for what my opinion is worth, commendable.  I for one am enjoying this thread a great deal and hope you will continue as the other demands on your time permit.  (I also hope the inside baseball stuff regarding tone etc. does not derail the dialogue(s).)
     
    One of the main roots of my self-described layman’s skepticism is my doubt as to what the scientists may not know.  The primary issue for me is whether in fact the climate models include all (or better, a sufficient number of) the major influences and processes involved in determining climate to be trusted when making policy decisions of the scale being advocated.
     
    I do read articles on Real Climate for background in climate science.  This one in particular seemed to confirm some part of my preexisting beliefs (I don’t pretend to know a whole lot about climate).  This article from 2004 discussing the lag in CO2 in ice cores, includes the quote:  “Some (currently unknown) process causes Antarctica and the surrounding ocean to warm.”
     
    Yet the article posted by Judith Curry above states “We know why ice ages come and go. That is due to changes in the Earth’s orbit around the sun, changes that take thousands of years.”  I have also read the portion of the IPCC AR4 which says something similar (without the unqualified “we know”).
     
    My question is two fold:
    1) What is the state of the science on the issue of the process(es) that end ice ages in particular, including the level of certainty.  To my untrained eye, it seems that if we are having these kinds or arguments regarding the temperature signal in proxies, it should be even more difficult to correlate shifts in orbit.  If there is a process that can warm the Earth for 800 years before CO2 begins to have an impact, and we don’t know what it is, and can’t predict it, that seems a rather large gap in our understanding of climate in general.  (I certainly don’t suggest it proves or disproves anything, just that it suggests to me we have a lot to learn before we understand the climate.)
     
    2) And thus the larger issue for me, given the chaotic nature of climate, and the point you made earlier that what sound like small changes in temperature can have  dramatic effects on climate over time (which is how I took your answer), how do we (meaning you scientists) know that the impact of other known unknowns and  “unknown unknowns” cannot explain the recent (geologically speaking) warming?  And by “know” I do not mean in some metaphysical sense, but in the sense of having sufficient confidence to make the policy choices that have been advocated.

  157. Gavin says:

    #148 Tom Fuller.
     
    This will be my only word on this issue.
    1) You do not have the right to comment on any blog anywhere, nor do I have any responsibility to provide you with a platform.
    2) Your blog, your blog rules. Same for everyone else.
    3) You are not as interesting as you think you are (this is of course true for everyone).
    4) If you want to have comments posted at RC, don’t accuse people falsely, don’t insist that contributors are unethical or liars, don’t compare the authors of a scientific paper with homophobes and don’t whine about how you are being repressed when insults are edited out. We are simply not interested in being a platform for you jumping on your ethical high horse. It’s extremely  tiresome.
    4) If you don’t like RC, then fine, never read it again.  If you don’t like me, then stop demanding I pay attention to you. I am not running for office, and your personal feeling towards me or RC are not something I care about.
    5) Nonetheless, you appear to want to communicate with us and care what we say. Given choices I have to make with my time and that I generally need to have a positive reason to engage with someone particular, you might want to try harder to provide one.
    6) Your call.
     

  158. Tom Fuller says:

    Gavin, your point number 4 is flat out untrue. The rest are obvious. My call? To go on treating RC as a biased source of propaganda that occasionally posts something interesting regarding the science.
     
    I thank you for your previous service, especially the climate basics on your site.

  159. Doug says:

    @GaryM (post #156)
    2) And thus the larger issue for me, given the chaotic nature of climate, and the point you made earlier that what sound like small changes in temperature can have  dramatic effects on climate over time (which is how I took your answer), how do we (meaning you scientists) know that the impact of other known unknowns and  “unknown unknowns” cannot explain the recent (geologically speaking) warming?  And by “know” I do not mean in some metaphysical sense, but in the sense of having sufficient confidence to make the policy choices that have been advocated.
    This is an important question, but I think you are coming at it from the wrong angle. The influence of CO2, and other “greenhouse” gases on radiative transfer is well known (from laboratory studies, and multi-layer atmospheric numerical models). Because of this we can reliably predict the change in energy content of the atmosphere that variations in the concentrations of these gases should produce.
     
    So, the question to ask is not what unknowns could explain the recent warming (instead of CO2) – instead it is what unknowns could produce the deviations between the predicted warming due to increasing CO2, and what we observe in the real atmosphere?

  160. Doug says:

    Hmm – the editing failed in my last post. The first paragraph is a quote from GaryM’s post – the following two paragraphs are my reply.

  161. Arthur Smith says:

    cial (#150) – your suggestion of a longer-term “negative feedback” mechanism is interesting, but this is the first I’ve heard of it. Perhaps you have a reference?
    Mathematically, one can take the climate of the Earth as a sort of black-box function of radiative forcing (under the standard approximation that radiative change at the tropopause is the main perturbation causing change). Since, as Gavin mentioned above, the radiative change is a change in the *rate* at which energy accumulates on Earth, while the response is an affect of that accumulation, there is a time factor as well. If a stable climate is given a step-wise change in radiative forcing f0 starting at time t = 0, then the response of, say, global average surface temperature is going to be a function G(f0, t).
    Now what governs G is not directly feedbacks, but first of all the heat capacities of the relevant portions of Earth’s climate system. Tamino had a post a while ago (which seems to have gone missing, but <a href=”http://arthur.shumwaysmith.com/life/content/playing_with_r_trying_to_fit_the_modern_temperature_record_to_forcings”>I expounded on it here</a>) on fitting that response to a “two-box model”, assuming Earth had just two major components in this response (“atmosphere”, and “upper ocean”, say) and trying to fit observational data. The “atmosphere” responds quickly, while the “ocean” may take decades to fully adjust.
    That means the response G(f0, t) rises quickly to a short-term response (associated with the atmospheric heat capacity), the magnitude of which is also controlled by short-term feedbacks (the large negative Planck response, water vapor, lapse rate, clouds). It then continues rising slowly as the oceans warm, glaciers melt, etc.
    So the expectation from the physical constraints and modeling of observations is that G(f0, t) is monotonically increasing to a limit, the equilibrium response to the forcing.
    What you’re suggesting is that the shape of G(f0, t) is quite different, that it rises quickly, but then falls back down again. I’d be interested to see any realistic proposal for a physical mechanism to explain that. I’ve certainly never heard it before in the context of the MWP!

  162. Dave H says:

    @Bernie
    > OK, I will play.  How many?

    A quick scan showed about 25 to my mind. A couple were innoccuous, some were cheerleading for others’ comments, some were digs at RC, some were just random anti-AGW interjections (smoking gun!, put them under federal supervision, that’ll teach them!). It was interesting to me that supportive comments were tacitly approved, while a dissenting one was frowned upon.

    That’s just counting the non-biographical comments. Many of the “who am I” comments are used as a launchpad into free ranging attacks on a variety of subjects (“Almost all environmental/scientific stuff in my life has been hyped and exaggerated, from swine flu to mad cow to killer bees to HIV, you all know the list… Vociferous greens are nuts, and so anti-libertarian…”), all of which are again given tacit approval.

    > Speaking for myself, I am open to all kinds of evidence ““ for and against AGW, but are you not doing exactly what you are charging others with?

    I don’t see how I’ve given you any indication as to what evidence shapes my particular take on this for you to make that assertion. I’m referring here to people in that thread stating reasons for believing AGW is not occurring (or similar), many of which come across to me as pretty poor.

    > I would say they do believe, as I do based on 4 years of visiting RC, that they are more polite than many regulars at RC.

    Politeness is in the eye of the beholder, and it is easier to be polite in a monoculture. For example, in that very thread someone presents their bio in support of the IPCC position and is immediately compared to Richard Nixon. I’ve said in other threads here that I find double standards and lack of intellectual rigour far more disturbing than strongly worded comments. That thread is littered with statements I find not just impolite but offensive – but to someone that has a predisposition to accept that worldview (or gloss over transgressions because they are on the same “side”) they are innocuous.

    > By the way, what are your credentials?

    Considerably less than the majority on display in that thread! And – let me be absolutely clear – in my response it was never my intention to belittle the acheivements of anybody listed. I am merely pointing out the things that stood out to me when I was reading.

    > I am a retiree.  I am not sure I understand your point?

    Yes, I should clarify this. One narrative that is repeated is of the forces of honest skeptical enquiry bravely standing up to the entrenched orthodoxy of climate science (forgive the meldramatic paraphrasing ;)). Yet I have seen it said – largely anecdotally, I’ll admit – that there is a bias towards old age in the anti-AGW camp. This is something that fits with an alternative narrative of entrenched beliefs and those with an interest in the status quo resenting the rise of young upstarts (something vocalised pretty much in those terms by Ian Plimer), and which also fits with the general difference in political leaning between the young and the old. Its just interesting to me to see another anecdotal sample of anti-AGW commenters that are skewed towards late-middle -age and upwards. I’m not making a particular comment about views of retirees being invalid or anything stupid like that, just offering an alternative perspective to the picture that is commonly painted.

    > I am not an engineer.  Again, can you clarify your point?

    This really is just an observation. Again, I’ve seen it claimed – anecdotally – that there is a skew towards engineering in the credentials that doubt AGW. I really can’t back that up or quantify it, but it may be a point worthy of further examination?

    > Are you suggesting that the posters at RC are any less politically motivated?

    That’s not really what I was getting at. Essentially, there are people on that thread stating that their dispute with the *science* of AGW stems from their *political* beliefs. That pretty much means that no amount of scientific discussion is worthwhile – as has recently been shown in studies, if someone holds a position based on a political rational, challenging their beliefs with contrary evidence actually only reinforces their original position.

  163. Gavin says:

    #156 GaryM
     
    The early posts on RC were not as well written as what we do now (live and learn), and the particular word choice “(currently unknown)” was not the best. (This is a more recent covering of the topic). The point Jeff was making is I think twofold – first of all that a) we don’t know exactly how the changes in orbital forcing get translated into temperature and climate change and we are also not absolutely sure how those climate changes affect the carbon cycle (land and ocean). So there are “unknown” processes at play.
     
    The big point is of course that climate can affect the carbon cycle as well as CO2 affecting climate. Much of the confusion exists because these two features are somehow seen as mutually exclusive – they certainly are not.
     
    The specific lags that people talk about (800 years or so) are also worth thinking about. A lag in this regard is not the same as saying that something happens to temperature, and then nothing happens until 800 years later at which point something happens to CO2. The real situation is much more that temperatures change on many different timescales, and the carbon cycle integrates that climate signal and responds slowly with a ~800 year integrating time. In a situation where the temperatures are driven by orbital change, you’d end up with a temperature trend over a few thousand years and a CO2 record that lags by an average of 800 yrs.
     
    Where does that timescale come from? Most likely it is related to the time it takes for the ocean carbon pool to be significantly affected, but it is important to note that the 800 year estimate is not particularly precise (a few hundred years either way), nor necessarily constant in time – for instance, it could well be that the variations occur faster in a deglaciation versus a glaciation. 

  164. GaryM says:

    Doug,
    I wasn’t aware that the consensus scientists agreed that there is a  deviation between “the predicted warming due to increasing CO2, and what we observe in the real atmosphere” sufficient to cast doubt on the climate models.  My question is not meant  to identify additional unknowns, but to express one source of my own doubts as an example, and ask the reasons for the confidence level in general of the models.  It is not that I don’t think that the consensus scientists are unaware of any of the issues, I would be astounded if every one of them didn’t know of many more such issues than I.  I just don’t know their answer to my particular question regarding the reason for their level of confidence.

  165. Gavin says:

    #158 Tom Fuller.
     
    Against my better judgment, here are some direct quotes from the deleted posts:
    “What would your reaction be if somebody took all those letters and petitions and published them as sodomites deserving of God’s punishment for the crime of having AIDS? Tell me how what you have done is any different?”
    “This is unethical. It also makes the authors’ claim that no repercussions will occur as a result of the paper’s publication somewhat disingenuous.”
    “The [XX]’s of this world have already called for this list to be used to deny funding, tenure and grants to scientists.”
    It is worth pointing out that “XX” made no such call. Readers can judge the whether Fuller’s comments are useful contributions to any dialog. I have no interest in communicating further with him.

  166. Hank Roberts says:

    > the reasons for the confidence level
    GaryM, here’s the answer from 2007, including ideas for further improvement
    http://www.ipcc.ch/publications_and_data/ar4/wg1/en/ch8s8-6-4.html

  167. gavin
    None of your condescension towards Mr Fuller seems to apply to anyone who agrees with the basic ‘tenets’ of CAGW at Realclimate. Some climateers are more equal than others. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course.

    Since people here think (for eg Doug) that comment moderation is something totally unconnected to other aspects in climate science and debate, I have a question. Do you remember the discussion with Roger Pielke Jr, soon after climategate, where you argued that gatekeeping should be practised on enforced in the peer-reviewed literature?

    I’ve always taken that (long) discussion to be indicative of how RC moderators keep their good conscience after bumping off people comments.

  168. Tom Fuller says:

    Gavin, I really don’t want to hijack this thread or take you away from good responses to other questions.
     
    I’ve done my best to recreate the comment you didn’t post and I put it on examiner.com. Readers are free to judge how accurate your characterization is. My own opinion is that you are deliberately distorting what I wrote, and my opinion of you is not enhanced by what I consider to be distortion.
     
    But if you want to continue, either comment at examiner (where you won’t be edited, censored or deleted–wouldn’t that be something refreshing?) or we can take it up via email.

  169. laursaurus says:

    Dave H.
    By any chance do you post under the pseudonym “Completely Fed Up?” He’s been MIA from RC, lately. Not sure what happened to him, but your answer might solve the mystery.
    Your polemic, wordy style is similar. Keith usually doesn’t tolerate ranting, flame wars.
    Guess I’m next on your list. OOPS!

  170. GaryM says:

    Gavin,
    Thank you for your answer.
    As to the second part of my question, is there a similar article somewhere on the general basis for the apparently high confidence levels the scientific community has that the climate models are sufficiently certain to justify some very extensive, and expensive, policy recommendations (not proposed by you, but by others in the consensus community)?

  171. Gavin says:

    #170 GaryM
     
    I don’t think you have this right at all. The models are just there to quantify what we think will happen in physically consistent ways. Removing them from the equation doesn’t change any of the reasons why we should be concerned, and indeed increases the bounds of what might happen quite substantially. There’s a good argument to be made that the models actually give a more constrained set of projections than we ought to prudently assume.
     
    The fact of the matter is that we are conducting a massive geophysical experiment on a planet that is known to be sensitive to these kinds of perturbations. Models are used to quantify that sensitivity, they don’t invent it.

  172. Artifex says:

    Arthur Smith says:
     
    Now what governs G is not directly feedbacks, but first of all the heat capacities of the relevant portions of Earth’s climate system. Tamino had a post a while ago (which seems to have gone missing

    Is this the thread in which Lucia questions Tamino’s understanding of the second law of thermo, gets booted from Open Mind and then clearly demonstrates Tamino really didn’t address vital concerns of the model ? Is it that thread ?

    I can easily understand why that thread would go missing. So did you ever reconcile your model with real world limitations, or is this model the results of that thread ? I am curious how much further you pushed onward.

  173. James Evans says:

    Doug #155 “Please read the *whole* of my post #137 again.”

    I read it all, and have read it all again. And I have understood it. I am not stupid. The only bit of your post that I did not directly reference was: “What is less certain (and much more varied) is the contribution of other factors, such as aerosols, clouds, multi-year global atmosphere-ocean system oscillations, land-use, solar activity, etc. It’s factors like these that have to be explored to explain deviations from the expected warming caused by greenhouse gases such as CO2.”

    I read all of that, and I understood it. What you are referring to there, it seems to me, are factors that might *mask* the effects of warming due to CO2 (according to global warming theory.) I was making a point that there might not be global warming to mask.

    Isn’t it entirely possible that there might be aspects to the physics of the globe’s atmosphere that you have not yet considered? Or are you so sure that you know it all? Do you see any need for verification from observations outside of the laboratory?

  174. AMac says:

    Earlier, I should have made my question explicit.
     
    Gavin, at Comment #127 upthread, I listed five statements about the use of the Tiljander proxies in Mann et al. (2008).  Could you state areas of agreement and disagreement with them, as you see things?
     
    Whether or not you respond to this query:  thanks for doing the interview with Keith and the Q & A.

  175. Richard J says:

    My background is in geology. With the Eemian interglacial mentioned recently, I would like to add some thoughts and questions to the thread.

     We find our civilisation established at what is probably a late stage of the Holocene interglacial of the Quaternary ice age. Interglacials during the last half million years of the record typically extend for approximately 10,000 years while glacial advances around ten times as long. I consider the relative lack of enquiry concerning the natural mechanisms governing these changes and relative paucity of predictive effort concerning their impact on future glacial cycles, given the enormous funding levels climate science receives, frankly, astounding, particularly in view of the devastating consequences for humanity of another glacial advance. Why is this not given more attention, Gavin?

    There have been several naturally induced intra-interglacial climatic oscillations in the latter part of the Holocene interglacial, of which historic warmings have proved beneficial, in latitudinal extension of cultivable land and crop yield. They are thus traditionally called climate optimums. Elevated CO2 is also well established experimentally to bring acceleration in plant growth and increase in crop yield, while cooling appears historically to go hand in hand with deprivation.  Why do we hear so much on negative consequences of a putative warming climate, but so little on positive warming benefits? Why are cooling scenarios and respective impacts seemingly not likewise quantified and discussed?  What would the consensus community rate as the chance of a sustained (multidecadel) cooling in the present century, for presumably it is greater than zero, and how long would it need to endure before it is fully recognised as such and not dismissed as a “˜blip’ on a warming trend?
     

  176. Barry Woods says:

    Earlier I posted this, a question I asked at RealClimate.

    I asked why there were no links to Climate Audit, or Lucia’s Blackboard, or Pielke Junior, for example, in the Other Opinion sections of RealClimate’s website..
    As a small gesture of goodwill.
    It drew this response at RealClimate
    “[Response: Being listed on our blogroll does not constitute endorsement. In general, the sites we do list — whether they are run by scientists or not — tend to get the science right much of the time, and hence are consistent with our mission. Being not-listed could mean that a) we haven’t heard of the site, b) that it is uninteresting or unimportant, or c) that we consider it dishonest or disingenuous with respect to the science. Pielke Jr, Blackboard, and ClimateAudit all fall squarely into the latter category.–eric]

    Maybe Gavin, could explain, the ‘mission’ or why these websites are treated like this?

    Or is eric that thinks they are dishonest?

    Even Pachauri has said sceptical voices should be rightly heard (to paraphrase)

  177. Keith Kloor says:

    I’ve been out of pocket most of the day, so I’m just hastily catching up on the thread since this morning.

    I appreciate the cordial tone of the exchanges and especially appreciate Gavin for being so participatory in this thread.

    I do feel that some of the side exchanges on RC’s moderation is counterproductive at this point. I think that horse has been beaten enough for this thread. Tom F: in the future, I suggest you save your comments and just post them at your site if they don’t make it through.

    Thanks to all for an overall great discussion.

  178. Gavin says:

    #176 Richard J
     
    The study of the different interglacials is a big subject in the paleo community – lead by the ice core and ocean sediement groups. It’s made a lot of progress with the EPICA Dome C core, and with work by people like Jerry McManus on the ocean sediments. Climate modelling is coming along on this, but it has not yet advanced very far (there is an Eemian PMIP project for instance), but there are clear reasons why that is the case (other priorities, lack of ice sheet reconstructions prior to 125,000 BP etc.).
     
    As for Holocene variability, the dominant trend is driven by orbital forcing progressively cooling NH summers since about 8000 BP. On top of that you have events like the 8.2 kyr event (related most likely to lake drainage events), and, potentially, solar/volcanic related variations. Unfortunately, our characterisation of the forcings or climate details over the whole Holocene aren’t yet good enough to allow us to identify what is forced and what is internal and what is simply noise in the proxies.
     
    As for positive vs. negative impacts, the IPCC WG2 report and similar do take these things into account and find that negatives increasingly outweigh positives as the warming increases. The basic picture being that small, slow changes can be adapted to relatively easily, but large and relatively rapid changes need much more than just changes at the margins.

  179. SimonH says:

    Perhaps the cause of the conflict between RC and many sceptics is a misunderstanding of what RC is, the purpose of its existence and its targeted goals.
     
    Fundamentally, I think there is a basic misunderstanding that, because RC is the public-facing side of climate scientists, that it intends to present the balance of scientific understanding – the current state of the science, so to speak. This obviously is an error on the part of a sceptic visiting RC. Anticipating balance, they find themselves affronted when the net balance of RC is not where they’d expected it to be.
     
    Once you recognise that RC is actually not there to present the balance of climate science but instead to advance a particular brand of ideological/political advocacy to the exclusion, ridicule or the diminishing of views that counter its tenets, then the moderation policies make sense, there is no more offence and the whole thing falls into place. Sceptics should, at this point, either walk away to find a site (like Keith’s) where the discussion is balanced, where contrary views are permissible (if not encouraged) and the rational debate about the state of the science can ensue. It’s not that RC couldn’t achieve balance, it’s simply that this is not its purpose. There are other places for that.
     
    There then only remains the possible concern that RC may be erroneously *perceived* as the balance of the science. There is nothing in the assertion that “RealClimate is a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists.” to suggest that it represents the balance of ALL climate scientists, so it’s perhaps fair to state that any misunderstandings are sourced in the presumptions of visitors to the site themselves rather than the site authors. One might counter that by suggesting that, because this misunderstanding might arise, RC should be more explicit about its exact representation. However, this isn’t necessarily reasonable; FOX News isn’t required to state “Fair & Balanced & biased as hell“. So, arguably, neither FOX nor RC should be required to make such an admission.
     
    Hans von Storch recently gave an interview in which he covered the IPCC and the politicisation of climate science. I found his points compelling. I wonder how others feel about scientists playing policy? Is it appropriate? Should it be encouraged or ignored? Does the very act of venturing into advocacy compromise the value of, or trust in, scientific findings?

  180. Barry Woods says:

    180#  Their ‘mission’  ?  ref  177…

    seriously, if the RealClimate mindest thinks and will put into ‘writing’ that Pielke Junior is disengenous or dishonest (also Mcintyre, Lucia mentioned, let alone others Spencer, Lindzen, Michaels, Plimer, et al, presumably),  I see very little chance of anything but continued ‘climate tribalism’. 

    If they said he was simply wrong, misguided, mistaken, I would not be concerened at all, especially if they allowed a debate to discuss why.

    It just speaks of a mindset, not with us, you arer against us.
    Ie similar to Stoat and in the RealClimate comments (not Gavin), casting Judith Curry out to the ‘dark side’, and must be ‘taken down’.

  181. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    I too would like to hear Gavin’s responses to the questions posed in #127.
     
    I’d also like to hear Gavin’s reaction to Steve McIntyre’s post on the fact that pre-1500 reconstructions lack skill, despite earlier claims to the contrary:
    http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/01/the-no-dendro-illusion/
    Does RealClimate owe its readers a correction to its earlier claims?
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/
     
    Gavin is to be applauded for his stick-with-itedness on this thread.

  182. Arthur Smith says:

    Artifex (#173) – yes, that was the thread, though Lucia’s claims were repeatedly shown to be quite wrong in our subsequent discussion.
    Fundamentally she mistook a model intended only as a statistical fit for a physical model and claimed there were no realistic physical parameters that matched that statistical model. Despite moving goalposts on what constituted a “realistic” model over and over again, I repeatedly showed her claims were false. Final denouement is here, you can follow links to earlier iterations.
    But this is quite off topic for this discussion – if you want to follow up, do so on my blog (use the current Open Thread).

  183. GaryM says:

    Gavin,
    Speaking as a layman, I wouldn’t begin to try to debate the science with you.  All I can do is express my doubts and see what the science says to answer them.
     
    My questions have been about the over all confidence level of the risks of climate change; the certainty that our current path will lead to the degree of warming and serious consequences that are predicted in the near future.  I had  read the article you just linked to some time ago, and read the additional links from you and Hank Roberts today.  They are well reasoned and contain qualifications and uncertainties.  But in the larger debate those limitations on confidence seem to disappear for many.
     
    I understand your argument that “we are conducting a massive geophysical experiment on a planet that is known to be sensitive to these kinds of perturbation.”  It is a valid argument, one I have heard and understood before.  But as a layman, the certainty/likelihood of the risk is as relevant tome as the nature of the risk.
     
    My questions were designed to try to find out, for my own information, what the science says as to the level of confidence/certainty on the ultimate questions.  At some point in time, a full cost benefit analysis has got to be done.  In that debate, the level of confidence of the scientists, and the basis for that level, on the amount of warming, the risks, and the likelihood of both, will be key.
     
    The high confidence levels as to the underlying science regarding CO2, forcings etc. are not what I was asking about.  If the point is that the uncertainties I asked about are irrelevant, or they have already been taken into account, I haven’t seen that, including in the references you and Hank Roberts posted.  If the paleo reconstructions are not the source of the level of confidence on those issues, and the climate models are not, what is?
     
    I think that making an icon of the hockey stick, warning of the imminent demise of galciers, rain forests and ice sheets, etc. (correct or not) were attempts to address this issue.  If the results are going to be that drastic, and that soon, the public will countenance much more severe impacts on the economy to avoid it.  If the near term risks are not so great, or not so likely, the public taste for such policies diminishes significantly, as we are currently seeing.
     
    I appreciate your responses and attempts to help me muddle through.

  184. Brian Dodge says:

    @ Michael Larkin August 4th, 2010 at 10:59 pm
    If you can ignore my rude, vulgar, opinionated, intolerant, “poor”, albeit “persuasive”[1] style and rant, I offer the following-

    “Where is the science being discussed?” Mostly in the peer reviewed paywalled journals – I shell out $110(?) a year for Science, because I’m interested in a wide range of subjects. http://aaasmember.sciencemag.org/

    ” Indeed, where on the Web can one find a dispassionate discussion that focuses purely on the science…” http://www.aip.org/history/climate/index.htm IMHO is a good place to start, but it isn’t completely neutral
    http://www.aip.org/history/climate/summary.htm “The response was vehement. Corporations and individuals who opposed all government regulation began to spend many millions of dollars on lobbying, advertising, and “reports” that mimicked scientific publications, in an effort to convince people that there was no problem at all. ”

    Another place to look is http://www.skepticalscience.com/argument.php – they’re not neutral either, and some may say that they are making straw man arguments.

    [1] “How wonderfully persuasive. If only I could aspire to such rhetorical skill.” Yes, I’m quote mining and ignoring the sarcasm.

  185. Doug Badgero says:

    Gavin #112
    Thanks that is the argument I was looking for.

  186. Thank you Gavin for participating here with those who disagree with you. I mean this sincerely. I too disagree (profoundly) with your science. But I cannot ignore the fact that it was the existence of so much serious disagreement that actually interested me in the science of climate in the first place, and gave me courage to look for myself at the evidence.

  187. Gavin says:

    #127, #175, #182
    For the sake of completeness, I will simply repeat what I have said before on various RC threads, This is drawn entirely from the Mann et al (2008, 2009) papers (so you could just cut out the middle man). I’m not sure why people think that asking the same question a dozen times in different places will get a different answer, but here goes…
     
    1) Varved lake sediments often contain climate related signals, through changes in temperature, local runoff, stratification. Tiljander et al (2003) reported on records taken from a lake in Finland. They also reported possible anthropogenic contamination of their signal in more recent centuries. This makes them potentially useful, but also potentially dubious.
    2) Mann et al (2008) used these proxies (4 out of 1209) as input data into two reconstruction methodologies. One (CPS) requires a local correlation to temperature before they can be used, the other (EIV) does not. In CPS,  the local correlation requirement fixes the orientation of any proxy – if you have an a priori expectation that it should be a different way, that proxy cannot be used.
    3) Since Mann et al (2008) were very aware of the potentially dubious nature of the modern portion of the Tiljander proxies, they performed their reconstructions without those proxies (and three others with potential problems) in sensitivity tests in the supplemental information  (specifically Fig S8). Neither reconstruction (for NH mean (EIV) or NH land (CPS) temperature) is materially affected by the absence of the Tiljander proxies. This is the identical result to what you would have if you had a priori insisted on the opposite orientation of the proxies in CPS.
    3) The reconstruction without the Tiljander proxies validates back to 700 AD (NH mean, EIV)  or 400 AD (NH land, CPS).
    4) If you think the Tiljander proxies are not usable or must be used in a different orientation, then Mann et al (2008) already showed what difference that makes to the overall reconstruction. There is nothing else left to do. All code and all data are available online for people to check this for themselves.
    5) Please read the papers. Nothing stated in the RC posts or comments was incorrect. There is a sensitivity to how far back you can go without tree rings if you drop the Tiljander proxies as well. So if you don’t like them, and are convinced that tree rings are useless, these methodologies don’t allow you to say anything  before 1500 (compared to 1760 in the original MBH) (though the structure is pretty similar back further (CPS)) (see SI in Mann et al 2009 for the EIV result). Other methodologies may still be useful (cf Osborn and Briffa, 2006; Moberg et al, 2004). If however, you think that tree rings do contain useful climate information (see Salzer et al, 2009 for instance), then you get validated reconstructions back to well before medieval times.  All validated reconstructions show late 20th Century warmth as anomalous over the their range of validity.
     
    (Consequences of all this)/(amount of time devoted to discussing it in the blogosphere) = a very small number.

  188. JohnB says:

    #146 Gavin.

    Thank you for the reply. I used the word “apparently” because when reading the AR4, I didn’t see many Archaeological Journals referenced, so it was an impression that I had got. Thank you for the clarification.

  189. Richard J. 176:
    While the average interglacial was about 10,000 years during the past 7 ice ages (which lasted 100,000 years), as you know, the actual value varied quite a bit, with (as Gavin mentioned earlier) a particularly long interglacial 400 kya.
    A paper I like, and will hope you can get hold of, is <a href=”http://europa.agu.org/?view=article&uri=/journals/gl/95GL03027.xml&t=1995,ledley”>Tamara Ledley’s</a> investigation based from the orbital theory of climate change.  There are different takes than hers; William Ruddiman thinks that if it weren’t for anthropogenic activity in developing agriculture (and attendant greenhouse gas releases) we’d have gone to an ice age back then.  One merit of Ledley’s paper is that it outlines a good way to approach the question of when, barring human activity, we might expect the next ice age to really get going.  Her answer then was 70,000 years.

  190. er, each of the last 7 ice ages lasted 100,000 years (or so).  Not that they totalled 100,000.  (Keith, a preview option would be a plus.)

  191. hew says:

    Gavin,
    Mann et al state: “”Where the sign of the correlation could a priori be specified (positive for tree-ring data, ice-core oxygen isotopes, lake sediments, and historical documents, and negative for coral oxygen-isotope records), a one-sided significance criterion was used.”
    So they believed there is an a priori correlation for lake sediments.
    However, for the CPS calibration, they fed in the data with an upside down orientation to the a priori meaning posited by the data collector (Tijlander).  It then passed the calibration test (likely because of the contamination issue).  Don’t you think they had an obligation to explain that  they had used a different a priori correlation than Tijlander and why they did so?
     
     
     

  192. Keith Kloor says:

    JohnB (132),

    As someone keenly interested in prehistoric reconstruction of the climate as it relates to archaeology, I can tell you there’s a lot of fascinating work being done. Forgive me if I’ve mentioned this before, but s Science magazine article that I wrote in 2007 has a discussion on the climate forcings (e.g., drought) that contributed to collapse of the Fremont, Anasazi, Hohokam, and Cahokia cultures. (I posted a PDF of the piece in the My articles page of this blog. See “The Vanishing Fremont.”)

    As Gavin indicated (146), archaeologists today tend to shy away from deterministic narratives involving climate change. Personally, I see it as a compelling common thread.

  193. Pasteur says:

    Gavin’s post above is yet another study in Aristotle’s fallacies – non sequitur, appeal to pity, et al.  To wit, the premise of the RC website, Climate Science from Climate Scientists, is a fallacious appeal to authority.  He perpetuates that fallacy through his response and follow-up comments here.
     
    In the interest of brevity (and hoping to avoid another intervention by our host) I won’t post more examples.  But don’t tempt me.  J
     
    My point?
     
    1.        Did the “mainstream scientists” or the “skeptical denialists” cause this rancor?  First, tell me which one is the chicken and which one the egg.
     
    2.       Gavin, his colleagues and their opponents would all be well served by studying, then avoiding logical fallacies.    Argumentum ad infinitum equals rancor and politicization.
     
    If you have a point then make it, if you have lost the point then be graceful.

  194. JohnB says:

    #193 KK, I tend to agree. Egypt is my prefered area of study which of course leads to the annual flooding of the Nile.

    A couple of poor floods would mean drought in lower Africa but it strikes me that both the Intermediary Periods were preceeded by prolonged periods of below average to poor floods.

    Rather than just drought, this would indicate to me that a climate shift occurred resulting in very reduced rainfall for extended periods. Civilisation didn’t recover until the Nile floods again became full enough to support the society.

    So the evidence would seem to indicate a climatic oscillation that we might be able to qualify as being warmer/cooler, however it doesn’t give us enough to quantify as warmer/cooler by .3 degrees plus or minus. Aknowledging this lack of precision was sort of the basis for my question.

    While it might be of benefit to know that it was warmer in 2800-2500BC than it was from 2400-2200BC, without some way of quantifying the difference, I doubt that the information is of much use to Gavin or others in paleo research. Which is a pity.

  195. Gavin-
     
    Thanks for the reply,but you did not address this question:
     
    “Does RealClimate owe its readers a correction to its earlier claims?”
     
    Is this a page 1 story followed by a page 37 correction situation?

  196. Pasteur says:

    Roger –

    With his ratio, consequences/debate time, hasn’t Gavin answered that question?  If the differences in results are of no consequence, of what consequence are  the  adjustments to the methods? 

  197. 197, No, Gavin has not answered that question.
     
    RC prominently advertised some info later shown (by RC) to be false.  The question has to do with how then to deal with such a situation.
     
    I am not disputing the facts of the matter, only how RC decides to present them.

  198. Michael Larkin says:

    #84 GaryM:

    “One of the most respected voices on the climate change consensus side of the debate just offered to “respond to anything substantive about science or policy or their interaction”¦.”
     
    That’s of little use. All I would get is the view from the consensus side. Likewise, an enquiry to the contrarian side would evoke a contrarian view. What I want to see is a debate between experts deemed to be of equal standing, focussed purely on the science. One can pick up a great deal from such interaction.
     
    IMO, it’s not very useful to be a passive absorber of information, whether or not that information is correct. One wants to see the interplay of competing ideas, and what key points that throws up, not to mention how each side handles the intellectual challenges presented.
     
    To transpose it to a very roughly comparable situation, in Britain until the last general election, candidates for prime minister did not meet in debate on television. Instead, we mostly got party monologues. Typically, one side said grey was mostly white, and another said it was mostly black. I could always understand the justifications for differing opinions, but was none the wiser about the actual truth of the matter.
     
    It’s different when candidates meet face-to-face and have, at least to some degree, to modify the words coming from their mouths to deal with what someone else is saying. This is where one gets a much better insight into the relative strength of arguments, maybe even sees some issue or resolution that all the debaters have missed. I don’t want well-rehearsed arguments from any side. I want to see what emerges from real debate, where protagonists are placed on the spot.
     
    To say that is navel gazing seems to be equating propaganda with truth. Propaganda may sometimes be the truth, I suppose, but one may never know that.
     
    As to references to Jesuits and John McLoughlin, I’m afraid the allusion escapes me – maybe because I’m a Brit.
     
    I’m not interested in monlogues passing at high speed on different lines. You and I have not had a dialogue, and dialogues are in general quite rare on climate blogs. As I said, it’s the blue whale in the room, and I’m beginning to think that people have fallen in love with aggro just for the craic.
     
    I seriously want to know the truth. If I’m being encouraged to believe the sky is falling, I want to KNOW whether it is or not. The longer the proponents of such a view continue to promulgate that idea whilst refusing to engage face-to-face on equal footing with prominent and deemed-to-be-well-qualified contrarian experts – in full view of disinterested parties – the more will grow the suspicion that the emperor is naked.
     

  199. Marco says:

    Roger, to me it is quite clear Gavin DID answer the question. One part is RTFP. The other part is that only if you remove tree rings do you get problems pre-1500. It is clear that the paleoclimate community considers tree rings valuable proxies. There is thus no need for a correction.

  200. Michael Larkin says:

    Marco #118
     
    “Allow me to call you naive. Evolutionists have debated creationists on many occasions. Defeat is in the eye of the beholder, and on various occasions the creationists were declared the “˜winner’ of the debate by the audience.
     
    “You can only convince those that are willing to be convinced. In the climate arena I have found few ‘skeptics’ that are skeptics in the scientific sense: those that are willing to be convinced. People who regularly deal with HIV/AIDS denial or the antivaxxers have run into similar issues.”
     
    It may have escaped your attention, but I mentioned my degree in biology. I am not a creationist, and having seen with my own eyes the evidence of the fossil record, I can state that without doubt, evolution has occurred.
     
    As regards the HIV/antivax debates, I don’t know enough about them to comment and they are in any case of little interest to me.
     
    Now, why are you introducing these issues? Is it to insinuate that because some “naive” people don’t accept evolution, and can’t ever be convinced that evolution has occurred, then anyone who remains sceptical about CAGW must also be a naive? If so, I hope you can see the logical flaw in your argument.
     
    Also bear in mind that the solidity of the evidence for evolution is much greater than for CAGW. Climate science is a much younger discipline than biology, and the evidence isn’t anywhere near as concrete or convincing as the fossil record is for evolution.

  201. Marco says:

    Michael Larkin: I brought those issues up because you as a biologist would know that you cannot convince ‘skeptics’ in any area in a debate. It is THAT part that is naive in YOUR narrative.

  202. Dave H says:

    @Michael Larkin
    > Now, why are you introducing these issues?
    I thought it was pretty clear in the section you quoted:
    > Defeat is in the eye of the beholder, and on various occasions the creationists were declared the “˜winner’ of the debate by the audience.
    A public debate is a *terrible* format for determining the “truth” on a scientific matter.
    For instance, Michael Crichton took part in debates on climate science and I’d say hands down “won” all of them, despite being flat-out wrong on points of substance. This is because he was a charismatic and persuasive communicator. Points of science are not clarified by rhetoric, they are obfuscated by it.
    Unless you want to watch a live debate where each point is punctuated by a couple of hours of silence as the other party furiously runs through mathematical workings to check them, verifies sources to ensure they are not being misrepresented or that no subsequent work has changed the picture, etc…
    Witness the Abraham/Monckton exchange – it took *months* for Abraham to fact-check all of the points Monckton made.
    There is also the problem of the fallacious belief that – on a controversial point – the truth lies somewhere in the middle if only a civil compromise can be reached. It is human to believe this, but unfortunately in most case, one “side” is simply more correct than the other. Working out which is which has nothing to do with who can stand up and convey their ideas best in a public debate – indeed, in such an environment it is easy to be swayed by whoever tells us most what we want to hear.
    The real debate you seek is alive and well, and happening through publication.

  203. Dave H says:

    @Michael Larkin
    > Also bear in mind that the solidity of the evidence for evolution is much greater than for CAGW. Climate science is a much younger discipline than biology […]
    Interesting that you switch to *biology* instead of *evolution* in the second sentence, given that the physics of the “greenhouse effect” underpinning our current understanding of AGW predate Darwinian evolution, and that the idea that human emissions of CO2 might enhance this effect only emerged about 35 years after Origin of Species.

  204. Deech56 says:

    To build on Dave H’s post (now #204) to Michael Larkin, as soon as you use an undefined term like “CAGW” or argue against the sky falling, you are setting up a man of straw.

  205. SimonH says:

    “CAGW” isn’t undefined, it’s well understood to refer to an imperative of policy action to counter anthropogenic influences in climate changes to avert future catastrophe. The C is “catastrophic”. I’ve taken to using the innocuous terms AGW[+], AGW[-] and AGW[/] in place of “warmistas”, “denialists” and “luke-warmers”, but CAGW is certainly sufficient to describe a premise from which relative positions in the debate are broadly descriptive.

  206. Shub says:

    Deech
    ‘Catastrophic’ is understood well and has many dimensions, as Simon points out. If climate changes ‘rapidly’ for the population to adjust to – ‘catastrophe’. If CAGW is a skeptic creation (much like Climategate, it seems), and the ‘anthropogenic’ is on shaky grounds, all we have left is ‘global warming’.Given that climate observation are only completely valid retrospectively, what we truly have is ‘globe warmed’.

  207. AMac says:

    Marco #200 —
     
    > Roger, to me it is quite clear Gavin DID answer the question. One part is RTFP…
     
    Marco, at #188, Gavin offered some thoughts about Tiljander.  He was under no obligation, so that was sporting of  him.  As Lucia (of “Blackboard” fame) noted during the last C-a-s go-round on this subject, “some thoughts” is a different standard than answers to the particular questions that particular questioners have raised.  Indeed, Gavin has a lawyerly knack for declaring scientific questions settled, notwithstanding that they remain unaddressed.  Of the six Tiljander-related issues I invited Gavin to agree or disagree with; he entirely ignored four, by my count.  In my opinion, there is a reason why defenders of Mann08 prefer fancy footwork to facts and logic, and it is the obvious pound-the-table one.
     
    I have RTFP, thanks.

  208. hew says:

    I also appreciate Gavin’s #188 which is a lucid explanation of the Tiljander issue.  However, he strangely does not address the original M&M criticism.  Gavin says: ” if you have an a priori expectation that it should be a different way, that proxy cannot be used.”  Yes, that is correct but what Gavin doesn’t explain is why the a priori expectation used by Mann for the CPS calibration period was opposite to that recommended by the series collector and seemingly unsupported by any published studies.
     
    I hope Gavin will address why they did this and why they did not disclose they had done so.  I do not believe that Mann or anyone associated with him has at any stage admitted a mistake, so I assume they had a good reason for this choice.
     

  209. Pasteur says:

    @Roger 198 and 182

    This got me to reread the several posts (at RC, CA and here).  And I could use some help.  The back and forth between several websites and several years has my head spinning.

    You point out there are 2 points of contention here.
    1.       Amac (127) would like clarification on the merits of Tiljander.  He’s dissatisfied with Gavin’s explanation thus far.
    2.       However, you indicated that you are further interested in a response to CA’s recent post regarding the validity of the reconstruction absent tree rings before 1500, the Tiljander only reconstruction?
    My current confusion stems from the latter.
    If I’ve framed that correctly, my question is, can someone show me where Gavin, in his own words, stated that the  Tiljander only construction fails before 1500?  Does this whole thing hinge on Nicolas Nierenberg’s paraphrasing  of Gavin’s words? “/” being switched to “, or”?

    Here’s a clip of Steve’s post at CA.  I’ve bolded the parts from RC, underscored the parts that CA previously bolded, then cleaned up the formatting to make it a bit easier to parse.
    Note too that while the EIV no-dendro version does validate to 1000 AD, the no-dendro/no-Tijl only works going back to 1500 AD (Mann et al, 2009, SI). So again, McIntyre is setting up a strawman, not performing any ‘due diligence’ and simply making stuff up – all in order to demonstrate some statistical prestidigitation to the adoring commenters. – gavin]
     
    This time, the point wasn’t missed. A few minutes later,(529 July 31) Nicolas Nierenberg asked Gavin to confirm the surprising information that the no-dendro reconstruction did not validate prior to AD1500:
     
    Gavin, So just to be clear with regard to your response to 525. Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tijlander sediments
     

  210. Pasteur says:

    Some of my formatting was lost in translation and I did accidently hit submit before I had completed my review.  Apologies.

    I did want to add that Gavin @188, had this to say…

    “…So if you don’t like [the Tiljander proxies], and are convinced that tree rings are useless, these methodologies don’t allow you to say anything  before 1500…”

    Emphasis original.

  211. Deech56 says:

    To SimonH @ 206, who wrote, “‘CAGW’ isn’t undefined, it’s well understood to refer to an imperative of policy action to counter anthropogenic influences in climate changes to avert future catastrophe.”
    So “CAGW” is warming to a level that requires that we reduce CO2? What future catastrophe? What sea level rise is OK, what is catastrophic? How much drought is OK? I asked Tom Fuller and his definition involved a climate sensitivity  greater than the IPCC range. Is that your definition as well?
    I’ve only seen this acronym used by those who challenge either the scientists or the science. To me, this seems like a wiggle word, so people can say they “believe” in AGW, but not CAGW. The difference? Apparently the former is not something to worry about, but the latter is.

  212. Pasteur-
     
    My question to Gavin is simple.  RC announced in 2008 (in a post by Gavin) that: “For the NH land and ocean target, it’s even possible to get a coherent non-tree ring reconstruction back to 700 AD!”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/
     
    It turns out that this claim, also presented in the peer reviewed literature, is false (as Gavin himself has explained upthread).  So my question is not to debate the substance of the science, but rather, the responsibility of scientists to correct errors in their work.  In this case, while the original claim was broadcast via press release and a prominent entry on RC, sharing the correction has been done quietly on an obscure and archived webpage and in an inline response to a commenter by Gavin, deep in the bowels of a comment thread.  To my knowledge no corrigendum has been submitted to the relevant journal, nor has RC announced the correction in a manner proportionate to the original announcement.
     
    Not long ago Gavin found some minor mistakes in a paper I co-authored (which we immediately corrected in print via a corrigendum — the mistakes had no implication for our conclusions).  At the time Gavin seemed to make a mountain out of a molehill when he lectured us about how, “We’ve often discussed the how’s and why’s of correcting incorrect information that is occasionally found in the peer-reviewed literature.”
     
    He was of course right to ask us to correct our paper’s mistakes, and we did so.  That he could not identify more significant errors was also important.  Better science results through such cross-check, and when needed, correction.
     
    So I am curious about the apparent double standard here.  To the naive onlooker it might appear that Gavin has very different standards in similar situations.  Hence my question to him.

  213. SimonH says:

    Deech, to answer your question in the frame it is set would require acceptance of the presupposition that increases in global temperature equate to increased drought and dangerous sea level rise. It also presumes that the GHCN’s accuracy and integrity is not in question. At this time, I’m unwilling to accept the scaremongery. For example, I question the integrity of the climate science when its scientists that claim that Tibet is warming faster than anywhere else in the world and that China is also warming faster than anywhere else in the world, or that Spain is warming faster than anywhere else in the whole Northern Hemisphere or that the Western US (also in the Northern Hemisphere) is heating faster than the rest of the world.
     
    So let’s start with the basics. What science is being challenged by people using the acronym “CAGW”?

  214. AMac says:

    Pasteur #210/#211 —
     
    In my experience, the defenders of Mann08’s use of the Tiljander proxies never make statements that are easily understood.  Instead, these statements are gramatically complex, carefully-parsed, and contain conditional if/then branchings.
     
    Here are two  statements that I believe are correct, followed by a simple conclusion.
     
    * Mann08’s methods require the calibration of all proxies to the 1850-1995 temperature record.
     
    * The Tiljander proxies are massively contaminated due to land-use changes and water pollution, and thus cannot be calibrated.
     
    * Therefore, the Tiljander proxies must be excluded from all analyses in Mann08.
     
    I have graphed three of the Tiljander proxies from 0 AD through 1995.  The 19th and 20th Century contamination is obvious upon visual inspection, in addition to being described by the original authors.
     
    To my knowledge, neither the authors of Mann08 nor any of the paper’s defenders have ever addressed these issues in a straightforward manner, e.g. by asserting,
     
    “Mann08 correctly calibrated the Tiljander proxies to the 1850-1995 instrumental temperature record.”
     
    Such a declaration would be very helpful in clearing up the confusion on this contentious subject.  That is, if it is defensible.

  215. Marco says:

    Roger, you are not reading very well. It is the non-tree ring + non-“fourproblematicproxies” reconstruction that fails validation pre-1500. Not the “non-dendro”. You have to remove more proxies than just the tree rings.

  216. Pasteur says:

    @Roger –

    I appreciate being spoon fed as I am taking a crash course in the science.  Your video earlier in the week is right at my acquisition level.

    The part here is that I don’t understand what specifically did he explain upthread that is inconsistent with

    “For the NH land and ocean target, it’s even possible to get a coherent non-tree ring reconstruction back to 700 AD!”

    The relevant clips from his posts (and I have read and reread them all)  from what I can tell are –

    “3) The reconstruction without the Tiljander proxies validates back to 700 AD (NH mean, EIV)  or 400 AD (NH land, CPS).”

    which is only relevant because it is similar but not insconsistent, and

    “5.  …So if you don’t like [the Tiljander proxies], and are convinced that tree rings are useless, these methodologies don’t allow you to say anything  before 1500…”

    Which is a reconstruction without either the Tiljander and tree rings.

    The peer reviewed literature may or may not be correct.  But I don’t see where Gavin has conceded the point.

  217. Keith Kloor says:

    JohnB-

    On a related note (archaeology and climate change), I forgot to mention Brian Fagan’s very readable The Great Warming: Climate Change and the rise and Fall of Civilization. (Fagan is an anthropologist who has written many books on archaeology for a laymen audience.)

    Here’s a nice review of the book by William Grimes in the NYT.

  218. Pasteur says:

    Amac #216

    I am slowly understanding the science enough to believe your repeatedly well made case about the contamination and calibration of Tiljander. 

    But Steve’s post and Roger’s comments here, suggest that Gavin has conceded the point.  Indeed that was the very thesis of Steve’s last post.

    And I was hoping that given the attention given to this “Aha you admitted it” moment that somebody could point me towards where the admission was made.  I didn’t find it in Steve’s post and I don’t find it here.

    I am truly not trying to be argumentative or repetitive.

  219. Pasteur …
     
    “But I don’t see where Gavin has conceded the point.”  Perhaps so … but then this is certainly part of the problem as the information at RC then (2008) and what Gavin says now are clearly different (and it is OK, science progresses).  Why else would Mann quietly issue corrections to his work on his website other than to _correct_ something?   Why did Gavin say that Tiljander “didn’t matter”, when it now appears central?
     
    It is the bizarre tactic of claiming to always be absolutely and infallibly right (and others always wrong or worse), even when faced with obviously (and apparently internally contradictory) untenable positions that gets these guys in trouble.  I think that the complaints about RC website moderation has more to do with this behavior than any thing else.  To broker no dissent is just not very … scientific.
     
    Thus, when Mcintyre writes . . .
    “There was nothing in the text of Mann et al 2009 that stated or even hinted that claims in Mann et al 2008 on the validation of their non-dendro reconstruction were conceded to be no longer valid. Nor did they issue a Corrigendum for Mann et al 2008 at PNAS where the no-dendro claim had actually been made. Nor was the withdrawal of the claim to have a 1300-year validated no-dendro reconstruction reported at the Mann et al 2008 website. Nor were there any press releases withdrawing the claim of a “validated” no-dendro reconstruction with equal prominence to the original press release.”
    . . . reasonable people can see that he has a point.
     
    Back over to AMac …
    http://climateaudit.org/2010/08/01/the-no-dendro-illusion/#comment-237895

  220. GaryM says:

    Michael Larkin (199),
    Would an open, well moderated debate between the principles of both sides of any given issue be better than the type of informal engagement we have here? Maybe.  Please let me know when you get one scheduled, I will be sure to watch.  Given the rancor in this debate, that hasn’t happened, and doesn’t appear to be imminent.  I think what Keith is doing  here is been a very good attempt to bridge the chasm between the consensus and skeptics.  And I think Gavin Smith’s participation, while not sufficient to some, has been welcome.  I am a skeptic and a conservative and I very much appreciated his answers to my questions.  I hope it continues.
     
    Whatever the level of the substance, the first step to a real debate like you suggest is to get past the point where people can’t even speak to one another. While this thread is not resolving the major issues (who ever thought it would?), I think it has “advanced the ball” as it were.
     
    As to the general concept of face to face debates generating more information…have you ever seen a U.S. presidential debate?  In some ways this forum is superior in that people, for now, are trying to remain civil without relying on the same gotcha statements that are used on blogs over and over.  I also think debate is more civilized if people don’t say the first thing that comes into their heads.
     
    As to your comment “IMO, it’s not very useful to be a passive absorber of information, whether or not that information is correct. One wants to see the interplay of competing ideas, and what key points that throws up, not to mention how each side handles the intellectual challenges presented.”  I am not sure what you mean by “passive observer,” nor of how “see[ing] the interplay of ideas” is somehow a better, more active pursuit than observing them?  If you mean it is not very useful for those interested in the debate to learn more about the science, I couldn’t disagree more.
    I should have worded my “navel gazing” comment differently.  But since I have been reading these blogs and following the debates more closely, I have read innumerable complaints about one side of the debate or the other not being willing to discuss this or that point.  Here we had one of the consensus scientists everyone seems to talk about offer to engage.  I just thought it was a good idea to focus on that level for now.  It would be great to resolve the issues of the tone of the debate, the openness of blogs, but that was not the offer at the time.
     
    As for the McLaughlin Group comment, it was a reference to one of the first talk shows in the U.S. that involved people yelling at each other rather than engaging in actual debate.  Next time I want to make a crack, I will try to find something less obscure.

  221. hew says:

    Pasteur,
     
    You are correct – Gavin has conceded nothing. And therein lies the problem.  While we all appreciate his participation in these threads and his expert opinions, we are frustrated by his failure to address the underlying fundamental question about the Tijlander series.  Perhaps you can explain why Mann et al used a different a priori expectation than Tijlander for the CPS calibration?  If it was a mistake, just concede it already!  If it wasn’t a mistake, explain why.  Unfortunately for Gavin this issue  will continue to dog him on the climate blogs for a long time to come until he forthrightly addresses the question.

  222. Tom Fuller says:

    I jumped out of this thread as I felt I was distracting from the other issues which are far more important (short term) in terms of taking advantage of the opportunity to query Gavin.
     
    Now that the dust has settled a bit, I think the problem remains one of due diligence on the part of participants. It’s really useful to get Gavin Schmidt to answer questions. But looking at this thread, I see that there are just too many questions Gavin didn’t have either the time or the inclination to address.
     
    This is streets ahead of the stony lack of communication it replaces–but it won’t change hearts, minds or positions because of the scattergun approach.
     
    In the longer term, RC’s moderation tactics and what they represent are in fact just as important as Tiljander, etc. The belief of Gavin and company that they can and should control the dialogue between their crew and the rest of the world has led to a lot of the rancor and confusion regarding this subject. Perhaps it can be addressed another time.

  223. I’ve been a bit puzzled by this for long. Why should Gavin answer questions for Mann? I mean, there is only so much he can say – in defense or obfuscation or whatever – he is not an author in the paper after all. Why can’t Mann answer?

    If the aim is to force Gavin to concede something about Mann, you are obviously putting him in a spot. Why will Gavin do it? It is sort of – not fair (only by half though).

  224. willard says:

    > Not long ago Gavin found some minor mistakes in a paper I co-authored (which we immediately corrected in print via a corrigendum “” the mistakes had no implication for our conclusions).
     
    It might be interesting to compare the two situations.  Gavin spots a mistake in one of Roger’s paper.  Rogers corrects it.
     
    Now, Roger is asking that Gavin corrects a mistake.  A mistake into another person’s paper.
     
    Notice the closeness of the word “mistake” to the word “minor”.  That the mistake is considered minor certainly does not mean this has been “arbitrated” as such.
     
    Notice also the long parenthesis.

    > So I am curious about the apparent double standard here.  To the naive onlooker it might appear that Gavin has very different standards in similar situations.
     
    The reader is to wonder who this naive onlooker might be.   The reader is also to wonder who “the reader” is, of course.
     
    This double standard trick is an interesting one to study.  Sometimes, it underlies a tu quoque.  Sometimes, it’s some other fallacy.  The conditions under which this it is proper to use that kind of justification is an open question.

  225. willard says:

    In a nutshell: what Shub just said.

  226. Hank Roberts says:

    Amac, check your paragraph numbering on your blog, you’ve got “3” twice and no “6” on the right hand side, and no cites to what you’re quoting or paraphrasing.

  227. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Let me try to summarize the problem here.  If anything in the below is in error, then explain why and I’ll update my understandings.

    Gavin in 2008 listed some conditions that need to be met in order to do a valid plaeoclimate reconstruction:

    “You need proxies that are a) well-dated, b) have some fidelity to a climate variable of interest, c) have been calibrated to those variable(s), d) that are then composited together somehow, and e) that the composite has been validated against the instrumental record.”

    Gavin then reported of the new research (Mann et al. 2008) that:

    “For the NH land and ocean target, it’s even possible to get a coherent non-tree ring reconstruction back to 700 AD!”
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/09/progress-in-millennial-reconstructions/

    Why care about with/without tree rings?  Mann et al. explain:

    “we perform reconstructions both with and without dendroclimatic proxies to address any potential sensitivity of our conclusions to issues that have been raised with regard to the reliability of tree-ring data on multicentury time scales”
    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/02/0805721105.abstract

    Some people had argued, apparently successfully according to Mann et al. 2008, that tree rings are potentially problematic with respect to their “reliability” so it was best to test conclusions with or without them.

    Subsequently, some issues were raised with one of the proxies used in Mann et al, 2008, the Tiljander proxy.  Claims were made that Tiljander did not meet the conditions that Gavin listed as being required in a reconstruction.

    Gavin explained that was OK because Tiljander “didn’t matter” to the conclusions:

    “But trying to reduce the whole issue of paleo-climate reconstructions to a simple yes or no question about a single set of proxies is disingenuous. Why? Because the answer is either yes or no; if yes, they can be useful in the Mann et al method, and if not, they can’t ““ but both possibilities were *already* presented in the paper. For any actual practical purpose the question posed is moot. It simply doesn’t matter. If you don’t like those proxies, use the reconstruction without them (and without the tree rings as well if you want), and if you do like them, then use the reconstruction that includes them. The differences are minimal.”
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/06/16/the-main-hindrance-to-dialogue-and-detente/#comment-7585

    This statement is incorrect, according to information that Gavin himself provides:

    “the no-dendro/no-Tilj only works going back to 1500 AD” [no-dendro = no tree rings, no-Tilj = no-Tiljander]
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2010/07/the-montford-delusion/comment-page-11/#comment-183182

    The differences are far from minimal, they are perhaps better characterized as maximal.

    So how does this all add up?

    1.    Gavin says that paleo-reconstructions can go back 1300 years without tree rings
    2.    Critics say that such a reconstruction depends upon a flawed proxy
    3.    Gavin says that the use of the allegedly flawed proxy doesn’t matter
    4.    Gavin later says that without tree rings and the allegedly flawed proxy the reconstruction can only go back 500 years

    Now, the only way to read #3 above is in the context of relying on tree rings.  The only way that the argument holds up is in one relies on tree rings or an allegedly flawed proxy.  If tree rings are unreliable then the conclusion rests on an allegedly flawed proxy.  If the allegedly flawed proxy is in fact flawed then one must rely on arguably unreliable tree rings.  There is a circularity of reasoning here that is problematic.

    McIntyre sums it up:

    “In my opinion, knowing of the contamination of the Tiljander sediments and the problems with strip bark (e.g. NAS panel recommendation), it was the responsibility of the authors not to use either, not the responsibility of critics to spend weeks trying to figure out all the weird things in the Mann 2008 algorithm in order to calculate a non-dendro non-Tiljander result if that was what was of interest.

    In November 2009, just before Climategate, Mann placed a non-Tiljander non-dendro reconstruction on his website. He did not issue a Corrigendum at PNAS nor did he publish a notice of the new information at realclimate.”
    http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/25/the-team-defends-paleo-phrenology/#comment-236732

    Thus, Mann et al. 2008 says some things that have not stood the test of time so well.  Why they can’t admit this is the question.

  228. Pasteur says:

    Hew –

    Don’t confuse me for a junior member of the Team.  I don’t intend to defend their behavior generally nor their science.   

    In this instance which speaks to rancor, the general topic of this posting, Gavin may have a point about reading more carefully.

    I appreciate you agreeing that he has not in fact explicitly conceded anything.  And I will cautiously agree with Roger that through carefully puncuated sentences and quietly modified SI’s the Team may have conceded a fair amount.

    In regards to the Real Science there are plenty of technically competent people available to make the case against tilj, tree rings and etc.  I’ll just sit, read, and nod my head.

  229. Gavin says:

    So here we go again. Roger spends much time urging people to talk about substantive issues and to stop obsessing about issues that make no difference because they are just proxy arguments for clashes between underlying values. Which I agree with.  As mentioned in the head post, no-one is making policy based on 15th Century tree rings (or lake varves).
     
    But then Roger comes along to a thread that did have a pretty high component of substantive discussion, throws in a misrepresentation of my statements (#182) and along with a couple of others causes the thread to be completely derailed in an attempt to force me to admit I said something wrong in the past on an issue that neither he nor I think has any salience.
     
    Clearly his later comment in #220 that I apparently think I’m perfect and inerrant is rhetoric (in case anyone was wondering, I am not perfect and I have made many mistakes in my time). But it is intended to convey an impression that I am bizarre or unscientific and so not to be trusted. Way to go with the ad hom, Roger.
     
    Roger has frequently stated he has no interest in paleo-reconstructions, so his desire for clarity on these issues is not because he actual cares or that he thinks this is germane to anything important. It must therefore be a one of those ‘proxy’ arguments where people are really arguing about something else.
     
    What would that something else be? Well, as Roger is very fond of accusing other people of doing, this is likely an attempt to deligitimize another voice. Regardless of the fact that there is a fair amount of overlap between our approaches on policy interactions (#26), it’s more important for Roger to keep trying to limit scientists’ influence on public discussion of scientific issues (why he might want to do this is a question for another day). So finding issues where he can make some false accusation against an ‘activist’  scientist (his description) and have a chance of it sticking (regardless of the facts) is one of his specialties – as Eric Steig, myself, Jim Hansen and many others have found in the past.
     
    In the beginning interview, I alluded to, but didn’t discuss, reasons why more climate scientists don’t get involved more in blogging. This dynamic is why. When people’s words are misrepresented (as Roger et al are doing right now), these ‘debating points’  get used as rhetorical clubs to shut down discussion on anything interesting. No comment can apparently be made by me without someone coming along and insisting that I talk about their pet obsession. Indulging them once just provides more ammunition because it is rare that I will have a sufficiently appropriate response (in their eyes).
     
    Churchill once defined a fanatic as someone who can’t change their mind and won’t change the subject. And if scientists aren’t being allowed any choice in the subject of the conversation, they aren’t going to bother to converse at all. That might suit Roger fine, but I think it greatly impoverishes the public discourse when people with relevant expertise are shut out by these kinds of rhetorical games.
     
    It should go without saying (although it apparently doesn’t) that I do not consider my statements to be false – if I did, I would fix them immediately (as I have on many occasions). But I’m sure this will just lead Roger to come up with some more rhetoric about how that’s just the sneaky kind of thing I’d claim. So what should one do? Admit that something that you don’t think is false, is wrong, to appease the hounds on the comment thread? That does not have any integrity and in any case would not really appease anyone.
     
    So instead, I am writing a comment that lays clear the dynamic of what is happening, people can decide for themselves who is being straightforward and who isn’t. For the people who were reading this thread for discussions of things that are actually important, I apologise, that does not seem to be possible.
     
    Addenda: The specific of the claim revolves around the statement that “a reconstruction without tree rings is possible back to 700 AD”. This statement is true – such a reconstruction was presented in Mann et al (2008). But it is clearly a statement that is contingent on many issues – the methodology employed, the input data set, the validation criteria used etc. It therefore (on its own) cannot possibly be a complete statement. One dependency is the inclusion of the Tiljander proxies or indeed any of few non-tree ring well-dated long records (there just aren’t that many of them). Without the Tiljander proxies, the validation for the non-tree ring reconstruction only goes back to 1500 (as already stated in Mann et al (2009)), while the validation for the full reconstruction is not affected.  It is in the nature of science that contingencies and dependencies get explored in the subsequent literature and discussion and this is just one example.

  230. Bernie says:

    Roger:
    Clearly and precisely stated.  That is exactly my understanding, FWIW.

    Gavin’s point that if MWA is significant then future warming may be greater is interesting but immaterial to the question of whether scientists need to correct on the record statements that no longer are accurate.

  231. Gavin-
     
    Interesting response.  I would simply note that the reinvigorated discussion of paleoclimate proxies results from a recent post at Real Climate in which your guest author was himself a bit bamboozled.  If you guys don’t want to talk about such things, that is a strange way of showing it 😉
     
    In any case how prominent scientists represent themselves to the public, such as you do, is something I study.  I think science is important in policy decisions, so I utterly reject your characterizations of my motivations and actions.   Understanding details of debates is important if I am to make sense of how scientist interact with the public and especially their critics.  Understanding the long-running debate that you have with McIntyre is difficult.  And let me say that I am pretty sure that people would be talking about paleo proxies with or without my involvement.
     
    You said a lot about me in your reply, but you did not say if anything here is incorrect:
    http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/2010/08/04/gavins-perspective/comment-page-5/#comment-13237
    If I said something that is incorrect, just say so.

  232. Roger, great post. It seems you specialize in clean-up, as you did with the Amazongate issue. 😉

    “hounds on the comment thread…”!
    Gavin, I think you should be well at home in such a situation. Or is it only when their tails face the other direction?

    🙂

  233. RickA says:

    Gavin #230:
    You choose not to discuss things which you think are boring (i.e. MWP or RC moderation policy) and would like to keep the topic focused on what you think is important.
    That is fine and your choice.

    Clearly some  some people disagree with you about what is “boring” and/or what is” important”.
    So naturally the conversation wanders from what you would like.
    I just hope you stay engaged in this thread – and do appreciate your participation.

    I will confess that I myself am interested in RC moderation policy (because my comments at RC don’t get through anymore) – but am reading the whole thread with great interest.

  234. hew says:

    Shub and Willard,
     
    You both ask a good question as to why is Gavin placed in the role of having to answer for Mann.  I would argue that it is a self appointed role.  Mann and Gavin are co-contributors at RealClimate, and Gavin is the real face: he is the person most prominent in attacking skeptic papers and in defending their own publications.  Remember one of the the original justifications given for founding RC was to defend the hockey stick reconstructions against the attacks of M&M.   So as a colleague of Mann, the predominant voice of RC, and as someone well conversant with the paleo issues, Gavin is a natural person to defend Mann against unfair attacks.  The fact that he will not address the key questions is not a good sign.

  235. Bruce Friesen says:

    Gavin,
    Your Addendum to your response #230 is clear and complete.  Thank you for that.
    For many people posting comments on this thread, the next step is “so what are you going to do about it?” To what extent is there a process-driven expectation this clear statement come to the attention of all those following this issue.  What should RC do to communicate this information?  Count me as one who considers a less-clear version in an inline response buried deep in a long thread as not valid to the integrity of the process RC is engaged in.  Feel free to differ, please state your position.
    The second thing people, including myself, are seeking is a clear (short – two words will do) statement of Dr. Gavin Schmidt’s best understanding of the status of the proxies in question.  You have written thousand of words on the subject; I for one consider “Not my area” or “not my job” an inadequate response.  Again, you may disagree.  So: a) do you accept the NAS Panel conclusion on the stripbark bristlecones (should not be used) and b) do you accept aMac’s conclusion on the Tiljander varves (not reliable beyond 1720 so not to be used beyond 1720).  My reason for asking is not some kind of parsing gotyah; rather, by my reading of your #230, you have characterized these points as normal contingencies and dependencies.  Yes, but, in your opinion, with your current understanding, which set of assumptions should now be the  core case?
    Thanks in advance.

  236. Judith Curry says:

    I agree with Gavin on this one, that a published corrigenda on this is not necessary.  But I will  $%^&  if all this shows up as “likely” in the AR5.
     
    And given all the problems emerging with the Mann 08 paper, my little misstatement on the RC thread seems miniscule and over reacted to, and particularly my concerns about too much confidence shown in the AR4 on this subject.

  237. Pasteur says:

    Gavin –

    You’ve made your self abudently clear in the addenda, even if many folks qualified and unqualified will disagree with your position.  (count me among the latter)

    But your statement above is still contradicted by the thread on your blog.  Did you mistakenly confirm the following comment?

    “So just to be clear with regard to your response to 525. Under either method (CPS or EIV) it is not possible to get a validated reconstruction to before 1500 without the use of tree rings, or the Tiljander sediments. I understand, of course, that as you remove proxies that the ability to project backward will naturally diminish.
    [Response: That appears to be the case with the Mann et al 2008 network. Whether you can say more general things about medieval times using these and other proxies (cf osborn and briffa 2006) is another question. -gavin]

  238. Hank Roberts says:

    Blog commenters who aren’t scientists are actively filling every climate thread reposting the same “issues” and saying they need responses, ignoring the responses.  No scientist is following up so far — or do y’all know of anyone who’s published a comment or followup paper?  If so, please cite to a source.
    Otherwise you’ve got opinion.  You flood comment threads repeating the same stuff and saying you don’t like the answers.
    Find a scientist who will publish.
    Y’all aren’t, I suppose, organized to suppress conversation, like has blown up at Digg:  http://news.cnet.com/8301-27076_3-20012916-248.html
    But you have the same effect.  Nobody gets to talk coherently about the science, because you flood every topic with your samesame.
     

  239. GaryM says:

    Hank Roberts,
    Gee, non-scientists posting comments on blogs?  Oh the horror!  Why doesn’t everybody who doesn’t agree with you just shut up and go away?
     
    Here’s one reason.  If only climate scientists’ opinions mattered, Copenhagen would have been a resounding success, cap and trade would have been enacted and we would be decarbonizing our brains out.
     
    I know it sucks, but you are stuck in a democratic society, and so far, regardless of how right they are, the scientists haven’t convinced enough people of the certainty of the risk, the degree of the risk, or even the cause of the risk.  But by all means, alienate as many people as you can.

  240. Keith Kloor says:

    I want to make some comments on several issues that keep popping up in this thread.

    1) Tiljander. Roger Pielke Jr. (213) referred to some recent concessions over this occurring deep in a comment thread. Well,  this discussion is also now ocurring deep in another comment thread. Thus, the proper place for Gavin to fully satisfy his critics  would be over at RC in a post, if Gavin believes it is worth doing. So additional hectoring of Gavin on Tiljander seems counterproductive for this particular thread.

    2) The role of RC in the climate debate. In the main post, Gavin said (emphasis added):

    “There is a big difference in expectations for mainstream scientists who comment in the blogosphere. Like it or not, there are not very many who do so (and we could discuss why that is). Given the existing polarisation and politicization, this means that any individual voice is likely going to be imbued with more significance and get more attention than it necessarily deserves. In those circumstances, people need to be well prepared, know what it is they want to say, and make sure they say it clearly.”

    I respectfully suggest this is something he might want to consider with respect to how the moderation and some of the hosts (such as Gavin) are perceived in the skeptical/dissenting wing of the climate blogosphere. Fairly or unfairly, everything Gavin says–from what he says to how he says it–is magnified out of proportion.

    As a result, I tend to think that the tone of the main moderators at RC is a contributing factor to the ill will between the opposing sides. Some commenters on this thread have noted the difference between Gavin’s tone here and over at RC. But you know what: I don’t blame him for being baited into snappishness over there; I get baited here all the time  and it’s hard for to not respond with a verbal jab, as well. (And yeah, sometimes I can’t help myself.)

    The thing I’ve noticed, though, is that the snappish, snarky tone of moderators at RC comes through all too often, even when they’re not being baited. I think this undermines the communication of the moderators. And here’s the thing, it’s really on the moderator, I believe, to take the high road in these exchanges.

    So given that whatever Gavin says will be “ imbued with more significance and get more attention than it necessarily deserves,” and given that he is one of the public faces of climate science, because of his role at RC, I think it behooves him to consider the manner of his blog-style communication.

  241. Isabelle says:

    re 239.
     
    Dear Mr Roberts.
    Why do you think that is?   The blog commentators may not be scientists, some may be, others may be  concerned about the policies that will arise from the scientific findings.  Why are they flooding every topic with the “samesame”?  If you step back from the position of scientist and into that “samesame” place, how would you view your post at 239?
    Kind regards
    Isabelle

  242. Roger Pielke Jr. says:

    Keith-
     
    Having said my piece and heard Gavin’s interesting response, I will not bother him further on this thread.
     
    I appreciate your hosting this type of conversation, and I hope that you see fit to do so with others, including Steve McIntyre, and perhaps others of the RC blog who are so inclined.
     
    Even though Gavin and I disagree on some things, I very much respect his willingness to participate in a conversation that he could have avoided.  Thanks Gavin, and thanks Keith!

  243. D. Robinson says:

    Gavin – Does the absence / presence of a global MWP have an effect on GCM output?
    Specifically 1) Do they show an MWP when used for back-casting?   2) If modelers accepted a global MWP as “fact” and reprogrammed or re-parameterized (or “used”) the historical data from an MWP in the models how would their scenario outputs for the future change?  (Do they just get noisier or is there a discernible difference in trend or would it have zero impact?)
     

  244. Pasteur says:

    Keith,

    My sincere apologies for spurring the hectoring.   Gavin was gracious in devoting his time on your blog.

    Indeed I was attempting to this week’s activities in the blogosphere to illustrate  Gavin’s point.  Generally I do not find his positions compelling but I thought his words had been unfairly mischaracterized and I attempted to point it out.

    Thank you for  your patience.

  245. Tom Gray says:

    Hank Roberts says in 239

    ==============
    Blog commenters who aren’t scientists are actively filling every climate thread reposting the same “issues” and saying they need responses, ignoring the responses.  No scientist is following up so far “” or do y’all know of anyone who’s published a comment or followup paper?  If so, please cite to a source.
    Otherwise you’ve got opinion.  You flood comment threads repeating the same stuff and saying you don’t like the answers.
    Find a scientist who will publish
    ==========================

    I thought that much of the Climategate Emails were about how to get Wahl and Amman’s papers into print and thus the AR4. This was in response to Steve McIntyre. Does this count?

  246. Judith Curry says:

    For the hockey stick afficionados on the thread, i just spotted a brand new article entitled “A noodle, a hockeystick and a plate of spaghetti: a perspective on high-resolution paleoclimatology.”  By Frank, Esper, Zorita and Wilson.
     
    Read it at your own risk, we all saw what happened the last time i recommended reading something on this subject 🙂
     

  247. I keep trying to open my mind on this subject, but in invariably leads down a path to inconsequential hairsplitting, and I end up regretting trying yet again to open my mind to the complaints.
     
    What the tree ring guys appear to be doing is reading the data, finding less variability in the past millenium than might have been expected, and reporting that. That is an intellectually interesting result, but its consequence for IPCC or policy is minuscule. The straight shaft of the stick improves the detection/attribution case, but constrains the sensitivity. As far as impact on policy goes, it’s really six of one and half a dozen of the other.
     
    The straight shaft of the hockey stick is of course iconic, because if it is true it makes the attribution question trivial. I think it is fair to say that it was emphasized prematurely; I myself went to some trouble to publicize it when it came out. and regret it As I understand it, the straightness of the shaft is still disputed, but it’s really not a question of great import to the public, as the attribution question seems to be resolved by multiple other evidentiary chains. However, nobody has published a reconstruction wherein the recent temperature is matched in this sort of high temporal resolution (hence relatively recent) record.
     
    In short, this conversation confirms my opinions that
    1) this matter is relatively unimportant to science
    2) this matter is entirely unimportant to policy
    3) this matter sheds a small amount of light on some errors in public communication in AR3
    4) this matter is still being fought like a first world war trench battle, a matter of inches separating the sides at this point, despite all the posturing and statements of outrage
    5) Tamino’s summary on RC that the hockey stick doesn’t totally go away until you remove multiple proxies stands
    6) consequently the outrage is unjustified, just as is most outrage directed at climate science (in fact, as far as I know, all of it)
    7) the past decade was probably the warmest in thousands of years, and almost certainly in hundreds, but remains not as warm as the period about 8000 years ago, as nobody bothers to note but everybody agrees
    8) the defensive side is obligated to respond but the attackers are free to go away and acknowledge that the whole business is unimportant and
    9) the failure of the attackers to stop after all this time and so little substantive success indicates ulterior and hardly benign though possibly unconscious motivations, despite the endless protestations of defending the integrity of science.
     

  248. Sorry about the unintentional smiley. It was supposed to be an 8 followed by a parenthesis :-/
     

  249. Lewis says:

    #88
    “#77 In order to stabilize CO2 you need to reduce global emissions by some 70% and progressively decrease them further over time. The level at which CO2 will stabilize depends how fast that happens. If you do it now, we’d stay at close to 400ppm, wait 10 years, it gets to 450ppm, wait til 2050, maybe 550 ppm, wait until 2100, upwards of 700 ppm etc. (The numbers are roughly right, but don’t quote me!).  The longer we wait, the worse the problem gets and the worse the problems will be. So to my mind that implies we should get on with it as fast as is politically, economically and technologically possible. That doesn’t appear to be very fast unfortunately.”
    Gavin, I don’t know if anyone is still following this thread and I certainly don’t expect you to be ( busy and all that) but, if you are, just a few comments on the above passage:
    It’s seems to be emblematic of what is wrong with you and your colleagues approach when it comes to both the science and policy: the 70% is totally Utopian within the time scales you envisage and hence you end up being respected as a scientists and politely ignored as a policy advocate.
    2nd) ( my machine has somehow increased the font and I don’t know how!) your estimates of the consequencies of inaction are based on a completely flawed misunderstanding of mankind, viz.- that he is some kind of inert, leaden mass that will not change. Analogous to a former colleague, who, among a number of doom scenarios, predicted mass starvation and famine by the 1980’s (not realising our ingenuity, adaptability and all round technological intelligence), you seem to see mankind as a collection of stupidities that, if not lead by an intelligent vanguard, an expert elite, will roll into doom. You and I, just like our forefathers ( and , mothers), have no conception of what and in which way humans will advance (or not) and change. But looking back and knowing ourselves I am pretty confident that the challenges ahead are well met.
    Your attitude – contempt for mankind, pessimism and Utopian proscriptions – produces intolerance, a Cassandra complex and an eventual belief in undemocratic means – is the way of communism, fascism etc and I have to tell you, from my extensive knowledge of history, mass murder and genocide – and always because that stupid thing, a man or a woman will not fit in to ‘my plan’ or, worse, is antithetical to it – and, of course, in the mean time, a great deal of frustration and personal unhappiness.
    My attitude, well, produces results!
    With respect
    Lewis Deane.

  250. Lewis says:

    Just to make that clearer ( my writing skills of late seem to have fallen off!) I believe in mankind in general, including Joe Blogs of the street ( who the Americans, unfortunately, have come to call ‘Joe six-pack’), and Jane, his/her intelligence, understanding, adaptability and technical genius. Forgive me, I don’t think you do. Indeed, I detect something very British in your attitude, an Academic ivory tower intolerance, which seems very odd for a person who set up a blog in order to communicate with the public. It reminds me of those appearances on TV in the 50s and 60s of the Waugh’s etc guffawing at each others unfunny ‘in’ jokes.
    It also reminds me of myself, many years ago, reading Marx and then Nietzsche, and coming away with that wish that mankind had only one neck!

  251. sambo says:

    #249 I don’t think the warmth of the MWP is scientifically interesting for WG1, however wouldn’t it be something that WG2 could be much more interested in? If the MWP was 1C warmer than now, you could look at fossile records and see what the impacts are to various species. I would even argue that if the MWP was localised, you could look at some of the impacts at the regional scale (ie Europe).

    Gavin, I know you’re much more involved in WG1, but do you know if this is something that is being looked at in WG2?

  252. Jack Hughes says:

    Hi Keith, and thanks for hosting this discussion.
    You seem to think that RC is some kind of scientific endeavour – to highlight what is known and what is unknown about climate.
    Have you considered a different angle – that it has always been a PR / activist project. It was started by Fenton Communications – Al Gore’s PR chums –  and they still bankroll it through a front organisation called “EMS”.
    Any idea why this is so? Why would a *genuine* science blog be run by a PR company?
     
     
     

  253. GaryM says:

    Hank Roberts – googlemeister.
    And Hank (245), no, that’s not me.  (except for any links to this site…)  Sorry to disappoint.  Must be a slow day today,

  254. Jay Currie says:

    First, thank you Dr. Curry for the reference to a very interesting paper.
     
    Second, at 249 Michael Tobis states “2) this matter is entirely unimportant to policy”.
     
    Politically it is very important and therefore has a huge effect on the likelihood of significant steps being taken in the direction of the reduction of CO2.
     
    The iconic nature of the straight shafted hockey stick means that it has acquired a great deal of symbolic weight. Politics is about the manipulation of symbols.  For the pro-cap and trade/CO2 reduction, Kyoto supporters, the HS was the weapon of choice to prod a complacent public towards accepting limits on CO2 emissions.
     
    Break the HS and that capacity to produce the fear required to achieve buy in on a massive and largely untested set of real world measures begins to crumble. And, of course, this has always been the political problem of the alarmists.  They were torn between the modest and often uncertain claims the science could support and the political requirement to go well beyond the science.
     
    Policy is the political response to science. If the science is shaky or oversold the political response will be minimal and there will be no policy. As well, having embraced AGW without really understanding the uncertainties, politicians in the face of contrary evidence are likely to be a good deal more skeptical as those uncertainties come to the fore.
     
     

  255. Steve Reynolds says:

    Michael: “2) this matter is entirely unimportant to policy”
    Not IMO. If the MWP was warmer than present temperatures and humans prospered, then that is at least some evidence that a 3C rise is unlikely to be catastrophic.
    Policy should then be weighted more heavily toward adaptation and avoiding economic burdens than would otherwise be the case.

  256. Hank Roberts says:

    > If the MWP was warmer
    Nobody seems to think that any longer, nor that it was global — compare the 1990 to the 2001 and 2007 info  (hat tip to Dr. Curry):
    http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/fulltext/123397276/PDFSTART
    “Current anthropogenic activities have led to unprecedented trajectories and states in the earth’s coupled climate system…”
    We’re off the map, and going in a new direction.    Then they say
    “In the context of trying to understand the consequences of new anthropogenic regimes, this uniformitarianism paradigm must be flipped and the past used to grasp hints for what the future may hold….”
    The past is not reassuring on this, so far.  One fairly old example:
    “It is still unclear how the climate on a regional or even global scale can change as rapidly as present evidence suggests. It appears that the climate system is more delicately balanced than had previously been thought, linked by a cascade of powerful mechanisms that can amplify a small initial change into a much larger shift in temperature and aridity (e.g., Rind and Overpeck, 1993). At present, the thinking of climatologists tends to emphasize several key components:…”
    http://www.esd.ornl.gov/projects/qen/transit.html
     

  257. Steve Reynolds says:

    Hank, reading your link to Frank et al, I don’t see any support for your claims, especially that “nor that it was global”.
    This is what they say about spatial scale:
    “The pre-1000 a.d. period hints at a rise of
    temperatures into the MWP, with the convergence of
    most reconstructions toward peak values ∼1000 years
    ago suggesting for some sort of large-scale MWP.
    However, the high dispersion of the records away
    from the calibration period mean casts doubt on the
    absolute amplitude of past temperature change.
     
    The prominent MWP of Lamb (1965) appears to have
    fueled debate on the spatial extent of this era.28,39,61″“63
    For example, in the 2007 IPCC report eight regional proxy series were purported to illustrate “˜the heterogeneous
    nature of climate during the “˜”˜MWP”’. However,
    a recent analysis showed that based upon these
    data the IPCC conclusions were nontenable and that
    the MWP was no more heterogeneous than the LIA or
    even the present.63 Rather, it was suggested that too
    few (and noisy) proxy series currently exist to assess
    possible heterogeneity. A recent reconstruction of the
    North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO; see Ref 64) showed
    a persistently positive low-frequency state between
    about 1050 and 1400 and thus helped provide a
    dynamical explanation for European Warmth during
    Medieval times.41,65 However, globally distributed
    proxy data suggest widespread reorganization of the
    oceanic and atmospheric circulation during the MWPLIA
    transition,64,66″“68 leaving the question open of
    the climate state, forcing, and teleconnections during
    Medieval times.”

  258. Steve McIntyre says:

    Gavin Schmidt says above:
    “The specific of the claim revolves around the statement that “a reconstruction without tree rings is possible back to 700 AD”. This statement is true ““ such a reconstruction was presented in Mann et al (2008).”

    As he does so often, Gavin does not provide a reference for his quotation, which seems to come from a Mystery Man.  The relevant claim in Mann et al 2008 was not simply that a reconstruction was possible but that a “skilful” EIV reconstruction was possible and that this was a a “significant development”. A news release was issued that mentioned this accomplishment.

    “A skillful EIV reconstruction without tree-ring data is possible even further back, over at least the past 1,300 years, for NH combined land plus ocean temperature (see SI Text). This achievement represents a significant development relative to earlier studies with sparser proxy networks (4) where it was not possible to obtain skillful long-term reconstructions without tree-ring data.”
     
    In a comment at PNAS, Ross McKitrick and I criticized the use of the sediments in question, in which bridge and farming debris were mis-interpreted by Mann et al as a climate “signal”.  In their response, Mann et al stated that the SI to Mann et al 2008 showed that “none of our central conclusions relied on their  use [the Tiljander sediments]”.
     
    Obviously, the claim to have created a “skilful” reconstruction without tree rings for 1300 years was one of the “central conclusions” of Mann et al 2008 – which described this accomplishment as a “significant development”. The claim that this accomplishment does not “rely” on use of the Tiljander sediments is incorrect.

    Surely once the authors became aware of the invalidity of their original claim (to have made a “significant development”) and the related claim in their Reply (that none of their “central conclusions” relied on the Tiljander sediments), their obligation was to issue appropriate correction notices – at a minimum, to PNAS, as an addendum to the September 2008 realclimate post and at the Supplementary Information to Mann et al 2008.  Obviously the mention in the Supplementary Information to Mann et al 2009 (not the article itself, contrary to Gavin’s implication above) did not function as effective notice to the interested community, since, among others, Tamino seemed to be unaware of the withdrawal of the claim to have accomplished a validated no-dendro reconstruction through the medieval period at the time that he linked to the uncorrected realclimate post of September 2008 as supposed evidence of a no-dendro hockey stick.

  259. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Steve M,
    It’s been close to 10 years now.  Surely you must be expert enough now to move beyond your role as ‘auditor’ to a more productive one as ‘researcher’?

  260. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Oh. and what MT said above.

  261. Tom Fuller says:

    The reason MT is mistaken above is the same as the reason Steve McIntyre has to come here to set the record straight. It’s not the temperatures of the past. It’s the temperaments of the present.
     
    If the HS Team cannot be trusted to tell the truth about their science and what it means about the past, and if the scientific establishment rallies behind them without examining McIntyre’s work, they are not going to be believed.
     
    Pretty simple, really.

  262. Marlowe Johnson says:

    Tom,
     
    What’s preventing McIntyre et al from publishing their work or other researchers for that matter?  you seem to be suggesting that the normal peer review process is broken in this particular case.  which of course begs many other questions doesn’t it?

  263. Keith Kloor says:

    Tom (264), as I suggested in 241, temperaments can get in the way of communication. But I think Michael (249) has a point here, when he says:

    “this matter is still being fought like a first world war trench battle, a matter of inches separating the sides at this point, despite all the posturing and statements of outrage.”

    At some point, I have to think there are diminishing returns to such a battle of “inches.”

  264. Steve McIntyre says:

    Contrary to Michael Tobis’ statement above, Tamino’s recent post is full of disinformation. For example, much of his post is devoted towards showing that a sensitivity combining the removal of the Stahle PC1 and NOAMER (bristlecone) PC1 did not result eliminate the Stick. Neither Montford (who was being criticized) nor I ever made such a claim.

    Ironically, the only person to make such a claim was Mann himself, in his 2003 response to McIntyre and McKitrick (2003).  Montford reported our interest in Mann’s response since it stated that the difference in results arose from a few individual proxies.
    We quickly determined that Mann’s inclusion of the Stahle PC1 as an active ingredient in the difference was incorrect – it was the Gaspe chronology not the Stahle PC1 that made the additional difference.  Exactly how Mann got the results in his 2003 response remains unknown. However, here Tamino is rebutting Mann and not Montford or I.

    The point is discussed in more detail at http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/27/taminos-trick-mann-bites-bulldog/ .
    Tamino also claimed that the original Stick was supported by a reconstruction “without any tree ring data at all” – a reconstruction that is well known to have used the contaminated Tiljander sediments and now conceded even by Mann not to be “validated” prior to AD1500. Here, Tamino seems to have been wrongfooted by realclimate’s failure to place a correction notice on the September 2008 post to which he linked. In any event, this particular reconstruction, relying as it does on contaminated sediments for its “validation”, can no longer be seriously advanced as scientific evidence.

    Tamino’s other supposedly independent support links to Kaufman et al 2009, the Stick-ness of which is heavily dependent on Briffa’s Yamal series.  Discussion of this topic was overtaken by the Climategate controversy. The inconsistency of Briffa’s Yamal chronology with nearby chronologies – which are characterized by the “divergence problem” – was not resolved by Briffa’s online response last October.

    If the IPCC doesn’t want to defend these reconstructions,  then its wisest course of action in AR4 would have been to discontinue the product line in AR4. I suggested this very course of action at the time.  Discontinuing this topic in IPCC reports would have had the additional benefit of helping IPCC focus on those  issues that it believes to be essential to the scientific argument.  (I, for one, would welcome a more thorough discussion of water cycle and cloud feedbacks.)  However, this sensible advice was disregarded – presumably there was a “consensus” at the time that, notwithstanding the present opinion of Tobis and others – and my advice at the time,  that the tree ring reconstructions were relevant to policy makers.

  265. JimR says:

    Gavin,
    As a climate modeler, paleoclimate or the MWP may be boring but isn’t paleoclimate very important to understanding the climate system as inputs to climate models?
     
    A quote from the Frank, Esper et al paper that Judith Curry posted: “Current anthropogenic activities have led to unprecedented trajectories and states in the
    earth’s coupled climate system, but characterization of the natural climate variability will at least allow a better understanding of the basic operating rules and patterns of climate change
    .”
     
    I realize these are paleo guys so it’s certainly an important topic to them, but in a larger context isn’t paleoclimate what is needed to assess natural variability as well as climate sensitivity? Forgive my ignorance of climate models, but as a long time technical/computer person I would think subjects like paleoclimate and the MWP would be critical to a climate modeler such as yourself. Possibly not first hand, but don’t the results of such work impact GCMs?

  266. kim says:

    Look, Keith; Real Climate was founded in order to defend the hockey stick, and for good reason because it is the single most important icon in this whole matter.  And now it has collapsed.  This is not a matter of ‘inches’.
    =========================

  267. As to the “battle of inches”:
    in December 2005, as I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, I invited Caspar Ammann for lunch at AGU.  I observed that our codes reconciled, that there were many points of empirical agreement that could and should be articulated and that the “community” would be far more interested in a joint paper setting out points of agreement, points of disagreement and how to resolve things.  I suggested that we allow ourselves two months to accomplish this, during which time there would be a ceasefire on both journal submissions and blogs. If we were unsuccessful in accomplishing our goal, then we would return to square one.
    Ammann replied that this would be “bad for his career”.  Both at the time and subsequently, I’ve strongly believed that this was an unacceptable answer and one that surely reflected very poorly on the “community”.
    Notwithstanding Ammann’s concern that this would be “bad for his career”, I followed up with  two emails to Ammann confirming the offer in writing, hoping that he would reconsider. I did not even receive an acknowledgment to either email.
    I discussed the offer with Eduardo Zorita who was at the AGU session and someone else (I think Hugo Beltrami) – both of whom thought that it was an excellent idea and very constructive.  So at least there were some people in the “community” who were interested in resolving issues.
    Had my proposal been accepted, it would have saved me and others a lot of time. Keep in mind that this offer preceded most of the history of Climate Audit.  In any successful organization, this sort of joint statement would have been welcomed and Ammann praised for contributing to it, rather than condemned.
     

  268. Andy says:

    Well, these last two posts and comment threads have really been great.  C-A-S is one of a very few places where these two posts could happen back-to-back, which is great for C-A-S but, sadly enough, also reflects poorly on much of the climate blogosphere.
     
    A couple of comments:
     
    My interest in climate change isn’t the science.  Therefore, most of the arcane arguments made deep in climate blog threads about the minutiae of tree rings and other topics isn’t of much interest to me.  My interest is in policy and the role the science plays in policymaking.  And, in my opinion, that’s the biggest problem right now.  It’s also something I’m not sure can be avoided.  Unlike, for instance, cosmology, climate science is going to have a large influence on policy regardless of what “the science” says.  Like any other discipline there will be some politics, personality-driven conflicts and passionate arguments for various views but the difference between a science like cosmology and climate science is policy impact.  So, much of the rancor isn’t usually about the science at all in my opinion.  Instead I would suggest that there are a lot of policy disputes masquerading as scientific disputes.  As I’ve noted before here on Keith’s blog, that same dynamic is integral to my own profession – intelligence analysis.
     
    Secondly, from a policy standpoint, climate change is a tough nut to crack.  Looking at two of Gavin’s comments (#37 and #88), this becomes clear:
     
    In order to stabilize CO2 you need to reduce global emissions by some 70% and progressively decrease them further over time. The level at which CO2 will stabilize depends how fast that happens. If you do it now, we’d stay at close to 400ppm, wait 10 years, it gets to 450ppm, wait til 2050, maybe 550 ppm, wait until 2100, upwards of 700 ppm etc. (The numbers are roughly right, but don’t quote me!).  The longer we wait, the worse the problem gets and the worse the problems will be. So to my mind that implies we should get on with it as fast as is politically, economically and technologically possible. That doesn’t appear to be very fast unfortunately.
     
    And:
     
    These are just my personal preferences, but a) I’d like to see a price on carbon emissions ““ by whatever method can be made to work. ““ without this there will not be enough market pressure to reduce emissions before we are committed to living on a different planet,  b) I’d like to see incentives in place to move towards a plug-in hybrid transport fleet, and c) policies targeting methane emissions and black carbon. Many of these have significant co-benefits in public health and energy efficiency gains. This ideas are informed by the science, particularly work we have done recently cf. Unger et al, Shindell et al 2009, but not dictated by it. As to exactly how these things should be implemented, I have no idea ““ that is the policy-makers job.
     
    70% is a big number.  For people who understand what that means in terms of policy, it is a crazy-scary number.  It’s so big and scary that it goes beyond mere policy.   Although the policy prescriptions in the second quote are meaningful and significant, they won’t come close to getting us to that 70%.    See, for example, this from Hansen, J. et all 2008:
     
    Continued growth of greenhouse gas emissions, for just another decade, practically eliminates the possibility of near-term return of atmospheric composition beneath the tipping level for catastrophic effects.


    The most difficult task, phase-out over the next 20-25 years of coal use that does not capture CO2, is herculean, yet feasible when compared with the efforts that went into World War II. The stakes, for all life on the planet, surpass those of any previous crisis. The greatest danger is continued ignorance and denial, which could make tragic consequences unavoidable.

     
     

    World War II?  That wasn’t policymaking, that was  reordering global society.  To do that requires both a high degree a public consensus as well as additional power to government to overcome the various interests who would inevitably try to throw up legal roadblocks.  That isn’t something a technocratic policy prescription can provide.  Policymakers today understand that there isn’t anything close to public consensus for that scale of change nor will there be anytime soon. Policymakers must work within the constraints of what is politically practicable and a 70% reduction is completely outside those boundaries.
     
    I state all this simply because it often appears to me that many climate scientists and especially supporters of very strong policy action don’t understand the limits of policy. Absent a clear, present and  existential crisis, change on the scale of a World War II simply isn’t going to happen.  There is no amount of scientific consensus and no level of rhetoric that can change that except over very long, probably generational, time frames. Which brings me two something Gavin said in the original post:
     
    Basically, though it sounds paradoxical, by getting more involved with policies, the climate science community can have less to do with politics.
     
    For reasons mentioned above, I think there are real limits on the ability of the climate science community to have” less to do with politics.”  I think you need to recognize that you can’t get away from the politics – what you can do is change the nature of the politics you do engage in.  As you suggest, broadening into other areas where policy alignment is possible is something to focus on, but more importantly, the process of policy engagement is critically important.  Science and scientists must be perceived as informing policy and not demanding or predetermining it.  This is a subject where I think Roger Pielke Jr. has a lot of good things to say.
     
    Anyway, I’m rambling now, but if you’re still listening Gavin, I’d be interested in your perspective on how to crack that nut and how science and scientists can best inform policy.

  269. GaryM says:

    My primary interest in following this thread has been in seeing what the climate consensus community has to say about the basis for their level of confidence that anthropogenic warming is the primary cause of increased warming to the present, and will be in the future.  I thought, based on my prior readings to date, that it was a combination of (in no order of significance):  1) the “unprecedentedness” of current warming, as shown in paleo reconstructions; 2) climate models; 3) observations of current (and recent past) rising temperatures; and 4) the fundamental science regarding the CO2 green house effect (the science of which to my understanding is not in dispute), forcings, climate sensitivity, etc.
     
    Reading Gavin’s responses on this thread, and the articles he and others have referenced, it seems that I was mistaken, that  the confidence in the consensus of the cause and extent of future AGW is not based on paleo reconstructions, climate models or observations of recorded temperatures because (variously):
     
    (6)  Gavin
    …The reason why climate policy is an issue because greenhouse gases are increasing in the atmosphere due to human activities at a very rapid rate. We know how the greenhouse effect works, and we have evidence that climate sensitivity to increasing GHGs is significant. It has nothing to do with whether it is warming now, or whether it was warmer at some earlier point (both of which are true though)….
     
    (116) Gavin
    …Furthermore, your question appears to imply that you think that our concern about future climate change is related to the changes we have seen already. That is not the case at all. Temperature changes so far have been modest and for the most part people and ecosystems have adapted to changes (though for some that has not been cost free)….
     
    (172) Gavin
    …The models are just there to quantify what we think will happen in physically consistent ways. Removing them from the equation doesn’t change any of the reasons why we should be concerned, and indeed increases the bounds of what might happen quite substantially….
    (emphasis added)
     
    The Real Climate article Gavin pointed me to to explain the basics of the overall prediction does not in fact refer to climate models, temperature records or paleo reconstructions as support.
     
    But at least as late as 2005, in an article titled Betting on Climate Change, Real Climate described the consensus reflected in the TAR (using an analogy to a futures contract) as follows:
    “But how can we assign fair prices to the contracts? One obvious starting point would be to look at model predictions and historical data. This is essentially what the IPCC does, eg with its estimate of 0.3+-0.1C /decade for anthropogenically-forced warming over the next 20 years in the absence of substantial mitigation of emissions (at the “likely” level, ie 66%-90% probability) .”
     
    And in reviewing the AR4, in the section discussing Combining Evidence of Anthropogenic Climate Change,it states:
    “The evidence from surface temperature observations is strong: The observed warming is highly significant relative to estimates of internal climate variability which, while obtained from models, are consistent with estimates obtained from both instrumental data and palaeoclimate reconstructions.”
    (The table at the end of this section refers repeatedly to all three factors that are now apparently irrelevant.)
     
    When I studied basic economics back in the dark ages, the most common phrase I heard was “all other things being equal.”  And as the relative failure of economics to be able to predict recessions shows, all other things are seldom really equal.
     
    The gist of my questions has been, how do the climate scientists know, in applying the science on the GHG phenomenon, forcings, sensitivity, that they have accounted for all the variables to ensure that “all other things are equal?” Are the paleo, model and temperature records still considered relevant to the consensus as to the  cause, degree and likelihood of the predicted warming or not?  If not, when did that change and why?

  270. Hank Roberts says:

    Seems like you ought to publish in a science journal.
    E’n’E if nothing else.
    Otherwise you’re trying to establish that science journals are obligated to respond to blog science.
    Which, I can see, could be desirable from your point of view.
    But it’d be quite a change in the way science is done:  write a comment, or a letter, or a paper — maybe to a journal that would have it reviewed, before considering whether to publish it.

  271. Hank Roberts says:

    Seems like you ought to publish in a science journal.  Or E’n’E if nothing else.Otherwise you’re trying to establish that science journals are obligated to respond to blog science.Which, I can see, could be desirable from your point of view.But it’d be quite a change in the way science is done:  write a comment, or a letter, or a paper — maybe to a journal that would have it reviewed, before considering whether to publish it.

  272. Marco says:

    Lewis, Gavin answered a simple question. Is it wrong to note that you need to reduce emissions by 70% if you want to stabilise CO2 concentrations? Is it wrong to note that with every x-years we wait to do anything(!), we’re putting ourself in more and more trouble? As a policy maker, I would be very interested to learn that delay gives exponential increase in risks, and that if we aren’t doing any mitigation, we better already start at (major) adaptation.

    Of course, many people would note that there is a wealth of possibilities between doing nothing and reduction by 70%. And so far, we’re much closer to doing nothing, while there are substantial reductions possible without much effort. Plenty of examples in the literature of that. Those reductions do require some change in our behavior, and funnily enough, some of those changes will SAVE money! The complaint that people would do something if only it did not cost so much is outright nonsense. I know my share of people who use their car to go 1 km further away to the hairdresser, while they have a bike rotting away due to inactivity. I know enough people who throw three sweaters in a dryer, because “they want to wear them in this week”. Expensive waste of energy. Oh, and I am no saint in this matter either.

  273. Marco says:

    Jack Hughes: will you please apologise for making false claims about realclimate?

  274. Marco says:

    Jay Currie, politicians always work with uncertainties when making policy decisions. Most are very much aware that increasing uncertainty may actually require more aggressive policy actions. You can think about that for a while.

  275. Marco says:

    JimR:
    GCM’s are based on physics, and are not tuned to the past. This has been explained on numerous occasions, amongst others on Realclimate.

    GaryM:
    Are you aware that the uncertainty you add works both ways? That is, it may be even worse than the constraints put by the “all other things being equal”. Also, the IPCC refers to the expected rise in temperatures due to increasing CO2 merely by comparing to prior increase due to increasing CO2, an extrapolation of the surface record, and the physics-based GCMs. Three lines of, almost independent, evidence converging to a similar prediction.

    Steve McIntyre:
    If Eduardo Zorito thinks it is such a good idea, where’s your shared paper?

  276. JimR says:

    Marco,
     
    GCM’s are based on physics, and are not tuned to the past.
     
    I appreciate your attempt at an answer and GCM’s are primarily physics, yes. But Earth’s very dynamic climate system is well beyond physics, such as ocean dynamics, the role of cloud feedbacks, the hydrologic cycle. If natural variability isn’t accounted for, variability the magnitude of which even the past 1,000 years is still debated doesn’t that go into a climate model?
     
    Perhaps Gavin will take a minute to explain how information from paleoclimate such as sensitivity and natural variability make it from the paleo arena into climate models. Or is it approached from the other end and GCM’s are purely physics in which certain parameters such as climate sensitivity adjusted to hindcast and this is the relationship between models and paleoclimate?

  277. Deech56 says:

    SimonH @214, I think we’re going OT, but I just wanted to make the point that to many, the term “CAGW” is imprecise and to me, looks like a straw man. Maybe people should add their best guess as to climate sensitivity to their user names, so I would be “Deech56_3”. 😉

  278. Stu says:

    Marco says:
    “Of course, many people would note that there is a wealth of possibilities between doing nothing and reduction by 70%. And so far, we’re much closer to doing nothing, while there are substantial reductions possible without much effort. Plenty of examples in the literature of that. Those reductions do require some change in our behavior, and funnily enough, some of those changes will SAVE money! The complaint that people would do something if only it did not cost so much is outright nonsense. I know my share of people who use their car to go 1 km further away to the hairdresser, while they have a bike rotting away due to inactivity. I know enough people who throw three sweaters in a dryer, because “they want to wear them in this week”. Expensive waste of energy. Oh, and I am no saint in this matter either.”
     
    Hi Marco. I am little informed on energy, and no- I haven’t read any of the examples in the literature which have outlined these small effort/substantial reductions you refer to. My scepticism regarding the apparent ease of transitioning to a low carbon economy and saving everybody money to boot comes from the perception that if it were really that easy we’d probably already be there by now.
    I guess you could blame the corporations and their supposed interest in preserving the status quo- but I also have trouble with this because the status quo seems to me to be eye to eye with the current ‘consensus’ on climate, as put forward by Realclimate and other blogs, and the MSM. With all of this apparent agreement- scientific, political, commercial, social- why then are we moving at such a snails pace in pursuit of this goal of decarbonisation?  Especially if there are ‘substantial reductions possible’ which require ‘little effort’?
    Perhaps you were trying to answer your own (and my own) question by providing the following examples (car use and dryer), but significant and meaningful reductions will  of course require much more than these token and well-meaning behavioural changes. So what else can we do? This is an honest question, I’m not trying to be snarky. Perhaps you can give some examples you’ve read about in the literature.
    BTW, I don’t have a car, or a dryer, so I can’t cut back on those things. 😉

  279. Deech56 says:

    Steve Reynolds @258 writes, “If the MWP was warmer than present temperatures and humans prospered, then that is at least some evidence that a 3C rise is unlikely to be catastrophic.”
    Was there a 3C rise in medieval times?

  280. SimonH says:

    Deech #279: CAGW is simply an extension on AGW, which is an accepted term and is itself imprecise for the same reasons.
     
    Deech #280 “Was there a 3C rise in medieval times?” – welcome to the concept of paleo reconstruction imprecision and uncertainty. As Briffa said, “I know there is pressure to present a nice tidy story as regards ‘apparent unprecedented warming in a thousand years or more in the proxy data’ but in reality the situation is not quite so simple.[..] I believe that the recent warmth was probably matched about 1000 years ago.”


    There’s much in the way of variation of opinion on all matters climate-related. Sometimes I think RC’s preferred line in the sand, “faithful unquestioning believer in impending global climate catastrophe of a devastating magnitude” and “deniarrrrr!!!!!!”, is as good as any. If we must assign divisive labels, using RC’s works for me!
     
    Regards, SimonH_0.18 ;o)

  281. Lady in Red says:

    Wow!  This is toooooooooooo cool.  Gavin Schmimdt talks to Steve McIntyre!
    It certainly trumps my being trashed at Read Climate.  Wow.  More wow.  …..Lady in Red
     

  282. Lady in Red says:

    That’s Real Climate.  Pls correct.

  283. Tim Lambert says:

    Steve McIntyre claims: “Tamino’s recent post is full of disinformation. For example, much of his post is devoted towards showing that a sensitivity combining the removal of the Stahle PC1 and NOAMER (bristlecone) PC1 did not result eliminate the Stick. Neither Montford (who was being criticized) nor I ever made such a claim.”
    Who to believe, McIntyre or your lying eyes? Montford, HSI p 103 says it is a “fact”:
    To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series – the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s – you got a completely different result – the Medieval Warm Period magically reappeared and suddenly the modern warming didn’t look quite so frightening. What this meant was that Mann’s result – that the Medieval Warm Period didn’t exist – seemed to rest on just a tiny fraction of his data. The rest of the series were just ‘noise’.

  284. AMac says:

    There have been some outstanding overnight additions to the thread, giving Keith plenty of future grist for the C-a-s mill.  Special thanks for the long essays by Andy (#270) and GaryM (#271).
     
    One of the many issues that arises concerns what the instrumental temperature record–with all its flaws–has to tell us about whether the Earth’s temperature has risen, fallen, or stayed about the same since, say, 1900 or 1850.  In my opinion, an answer can be stated with a pretty high degree of confidence:  surface temperature has recently risen at the rate of 1 C per century (one significant figure).  Zeke Hausfather’s posts at Lucia’s Blackboard contain much insightful analysis on this point, accompanied by graphs, links, and spirited skeptical commentary.
     
    “What do we know with a high degree of confidence?” and “What don’t we know with a high degree of confidence?” are two sides of the same coin.  It’s difficult to weigh them both judiciously, especially when passions flare.

  285. Tim Lambert says:

    McIntyre writes: “in December 2005, as I’ve mentioned on a number of occasions, I invited Caspar Ammann for lunch at AGU.  … the “community” would be far more interested in a joint paper setting out points of agreement, points of disagreement and how to resolve things. … Had my proposal been accepted, it would have saved me and others a lot of time. Keep in mind that this offer preceded most of the history of Climate Audit.”
    But not prior to your posting abuse of Amman on Climate Audit.  I can certainly understand why he want to have nothing to do with you.

  286. Deech56 says:

    SimonH @283: That was Briffa’s position in 1999. But what does he say now? From Briff, et al. 2008: “This provides strong evidence that the extent of recent widespread warming across northwest Eurasia, with respect to 100- to 200-year trends, is unprecedented in the last 2000 years.” <a href=”http://rstb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/363/1501/2269.full”>ref</a> When there’s an apparent contradiction, I would go with what’s in the recent literature.
     
    But we were talking about a 3C increase, not a 0.75C increase, which is what we have now. I cannot see how noting that the current increase is not so bad (and may or may not have been matched in the geologically-recent past) means that a fourfold higher increase will be benign.

  287. Deech56 says:

    Oh, and SimonH I did like your new moniker. Like to see you defend 0.18C, though. LOL.

  288. AMac says:

    Tim Lambert (currently #286) —
     
    As committed partisan in the Climate Wars, you frame a specific Montford/Tamino dispute as a clear-cut case of “your lyin’ eyes.”
     
    Even without taking the time (hours?) to investigate, I  doubt your framing.  Two well-spoken, well-informed, and reasonable people, Brandon Shollenberger and Arthur Smith, have been debating this very question at Arthur’s “Not Spaghetti” blog.  Neither has made a knockout case for their stance–there seem to be various factors that weigh in different directions.
     
    That back-and-forth starts with Brandon’s comment “Mann response to McIntyre.”

  289. Marco says:

    JimR: you could start here to get info:
    http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2008/11/faq-on-climate-models/

    Stu: I know there was a paper, I think in PNAS, which had an extensive discussion of several issues, including cost-benefit, but I can’t find it now (which irritates me to no end). I remember that using a clothes line instead of a dryer was very cost-effective.

    But of use:
    http://globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips.html
    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/climate/tensteps.htm

    Note that quite a few of the tips in those two links save money (some in the long run). They won’t bring us to 70% reduction, perhaps not even 10% reduction (depending on the country), but if we can’t even do these simple things that save money, we would need authoritarian actions to force us to make those changes. I’m no fan of that, but it almost looks like a necessity.

  290. Marco says:

    Deech56: there is no arguing with people who come with the “but we were fine during the MWP”. It is as if we have not had a 20 times increase in global population since then. It is as if the MWP was oh so wonderful (apart from the ignorance in the European societies); ‘we’ hardly cared when our neighbour died of a disease. It is as if our current high-tech society does not depend on events on the other side of the globe (in contrast to the MWP).

  291. Hank Roberts says:

    Ask yourself:  understand ocean pH and rate of change?
    If you don’t, you have no idea why the biologists are concerned, for values of concern in the range of already mourning.
    “It is within our technical and economic means to modify our energy and transportation systems and land-use practices to largely eliminate carbon dioxide emissions from our economies by mid-century. It is thought that the cost of doing this — perhaps 2% of the worldwide economic production — would be small, yet at present it has proven difficult for societies to decide to undertake this conversion.- Dr. <a href=”http://www.epoca-project.eu/index.php/what-is-ocean-acidification/faq.html“>Ken Caldeira</a>
    Do you fear an effort comparable to that of WWII — in which we have only our own behavior, not a fanatical enemy, to overcome?
    Does this description strike fear into your heart?  Maybe so.  But why?  Because you have no idea what ocean pH change is about or how fast it’s going, do you? Nor do you care to look it up.
    What’s the worst thing that could happen if we succeed at a cost of 2 percent of GDP, analogous to the WWII expense without the destruction?
    “The American Economy during World War II
    For the United States, World War II and the Great Depression constituted the most important economic event of the twentieth century. The war’s effects were varied and far-reaching. The war decisively ended the depression itself. The federal government emerged from the war as a potent economic actor, able to regulate economic activity and to partially control the economy through spending and consumption. American industry was revitalized by the war, and many sectors were by 1945 either sharply oriented to defense production (for example, aerospace and electronics) or completely dependent on it (atomic energy). The organized labor movement, strengthened by the war beyond even its depression-era height, became a major counterbalance to both the government and private industry. The war’s rapid scientific and technological changes continued and intensified trends begun during the Great Depression and created a permanent expectation of continued innovation on the part of many scientists, engineers, government officials and citizens….”
    Save the oceans at _that_ expense?  Makes sense.
    Check off the list those things you consider politically intolerable — stronger government? stronger labor unions? atomic energy?
    Balance those against what we know is greatly at risk — what _nobody_ participating here seems to want to talk about, though the change in chemistry is inarguable, already happening.
    What kind of future _do_ you imagine wanting?
    Can you get there going in the direction we’re headed?
    Do you understand ocean pH and rate of change?
    Because if you don’t, no policymaker who does will listen to you very long.

  292. SimonH says:

    Marco, your mischaracterising isn’t just bordering on the idiotic, it’s through passport control and waiting in line for a social security number.

  293. Chuck L says:

    I am late to this party but when Gavin claims that the website tolerates dissent, he is being disingenuous. Several of my comments in which I merely cited factual information and asked for reactions to it, disappeared into the black hole of RC moderation. Why is it that RC sees fit to permit the bile and venom of its audience to be directed at posters and scientists who disagree with, or question the RC orthodoxy?

  294. Gavin says:

    #279 Jim R.
     
    I recently wrote a paper on exactly the topic you are asking about, and that goes into how pale0-climate data/modeling have been used, and how they can be made more useful still (Schmidt, 2010).
     
    #241 Keith
    I have no problem with the fact that comments I make generate more interest than they merit. Such is life. However, I am a scientist, not a diplomat. Answering genuine questions is a lot of fun and I enjoy it from whomever, regardless of their political perspective (cf. the conversation with GaryM above). However, if someone is wrong in some premise or fact, I do not refrain from saying so.
     
    Being wrong is a curable, but it is not dealt with by always pretending that ‘it raises interesting questions’ or that the person has ‘a novel perspective’.  People post wrong information on RC all the time – some out of ignorance, some out of malice, some just because they want to play games. Only the first group are worth any of our time.  However indulging the others in a high traffic blog leads to comment thread gridlock on every single posting – same issues, same nonsense, same people – each and every time. That is very boring to read regardless of the points they are trying to make. But some of the wrongness that people keep trying to insist on is funny, some is hopelessly incoherent, and some is so off the wall that it is worth pointing out. I have my own style in dealing with this, which people may or may not like. So be it.
     
    But I think you are confusing a number of things. The hostility some people have against climate science (and by extension) climate scientists, has nothing to do with RC, or me, or Mike Mann. It is very much a political posture (read anything by Delingpole for instance). The way in which any perceived misstep (whether stemming from an out-of-context quote, a blatant misrepresentation, or naivety) suddenly becomes ‘a story’ is all about that larger issue, and very little to do with the specific instance. The idea that climate science is somehow uniquely rancorous because of my attitude towards comments on a blog just doesn’t stand up to the briefest examination. The same dynamics occur on blogs about the anti-vaccine crowd, or evolution, or in discussions about GM foods, etc.  Complaining about the tone on RC is another one of those proxy arguments – a handy stick with which to bash scientists you disagree with. If people have genuine issues with anything I’ve said, or comments that go too far, they can email us, and we will remove anything offensive (but we rarely get such specific complaints). And contrary to popular opinion we do moderate overheated or tedious comments from supporters of the mainstream as well – they just don’t run to CA to complain about it.
     
    Internet dynamics are very different to those in real life as we are all aware, but one of the biggest mistakes we make is conflating these episodic blog-storms with anything that is actually important. They reveal far more about the incestuousness of a small group than they illuminate about the topic they purport to be talking about. As a journalist, you know more than most that you need to look beyond the surface to see the substance. Good luck with that.

  295. Øystein says:

    AMac@291

    Remove Tim Lambert’s editorializing, and suppose his quote from HIS is correct (I haven’t read it, but it should be easily attainable), and you are left with two mutually exclusive statements. Which means one of them must be wrong.

  296. Baccus says:

    @Øystein 

    Lambert is just making trouble via the gullible.  What part of “To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting” is different than what Mc reported?

  297. Tim Lambert says:

    AMac, I think folks can read Montford’s words and work out what they mean.  They don’t need you to tell them that they mean something else.

  298. Steve McIntyre says:

    #299. If you read Mann’s 2003 response to McIntyre and McKitrick 2003, you’ll see that Mann provided a diagram with an elevated early 15th century, supposedly calculated as a sensitivity to the Stahle PC1 and NOAMER Pc1 and one other series that doesn’t affect the early 15th century (Twisted Tree)> The 2003 Mann response is online here http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/mann/EandEPaperProblem.pdf. The Stahle PC1-NOAMER PC1 combination occurred as a sensitivity case only in the Mann paper.
    In this section of his narrative, Montford described my contemporary reaction to Mann’s reply.  At no time did McKitrick or I argue that the  Stahle PC1-NOAMER PC1 (as opposed to the Gaspe-NOAMER PC1) combination had the particular impact contested by Tamino. The only person to suggest this was Mann himself.

    My point stands – Tamino is arguing against a position advanced only by Mann himself.
     
     
     
     
     

  299. AMac says:

    Tim Lambert #301,
     
    Readers can take your word that this is an obvious case of “your lyin’ eyes,” or they can click the link I offered in #291 to the pro-AGW Consensus blog “Not Spaghetti” and read a back-and-forth on the subject between two well-informed individuals.  Sometimes “obvious to Tim Lambert” maps to “obvious to most reasonable people.” At other times, it may not.

  300. Hank Roberts says:

    GaryM asked above
    “… Are the paleo … records still considered relevant …”
    Sure. Look up ANDRILL, a project that’s only recently begun to produce publications after years of drilling work still going on. Just for 2010, for example:  http://scholar.google.com/scholar?hl=en&q=andrill+-andril&as_sdt=2000&as_ylo=2010&as_vis=0
    Or this kind of puzzle:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/may/04/climatologist-mosley-thompson-warming-antarctica
    “… Another thing that our team here at Ohio State is intently studying is a fairly large abrupt climate event around 5,200 years ago that seems to be very widespread, and no driving mechanism has yet been identified for that. …
    e360: Is this the same signal that your husband, Lonnie Thompson, picked up in some Andean glaciers?
    Mosley-Thompson: Exactly. …. All throughout the tropical regions there are different types of evidence suggesting a very rapid change. And the change wasn’t consistent. In some areas the change was to cold and dry and in other areas it was to cold and wet….”

  301. Steve McIntyre says:

    As at the time of my lunch with Ammann at AGU in early December 2005, there had been relatively little criticism of Ammann at Climate Audit (see http://climateaudit.org/category/wahl-and-ammann/ ).  I took exception to the UCAR press release making untrue claims that our results were “unfounded”, particularly when I was very confident that Wahl and AMmann’s results yielded virtually identical verification statistics (with the insignificant verification r2) as ours. However, in a quick review of 2005 comments on Ammann, I didn’t see anything that seems to be “posting abuse”, particularly given Lambert’s own standard of conduct. Much of the 2005 commentary on Wahl and Ammann was simply technical – discussing my reconciliation of our code to theirs and the virtual identity of our code results and theirs on well-specified conditions.

    Ammann’s stated reason for rejecting the offer was not that he had been so offended by the previous criticism.  We had a civil and somewhat cordial lunch. He said that he regarded himself as a “bridge builder”.  His concern was the one that he stated quite frankly – that such a project would be “bad for his career”.

    Even if his “real” reason was that he was delicate and had taken umbrage at being criticized, he should have let bygones be bygones at that point – as I had offered.  In other walks of life, people settle disputes all the time and this was a fairly straightforward way of resolving this dispute.

    However, I believed Ammann when he provided the explanation that he did. Even if he was not being completely candid  (as Lambert suggests), this doesn’t mean that he was being untruthful when he said that this would be “bad for his career”.   As I noted above, in most successful organization, resolving disputes is commended – especially if they are contentious ones.  That Ammann thought otherwise is something that warrants some thought by the “community”.

  302. Steve McIntyre says:

    Here’s what Tamino said:
    “As another example, Montford makes the claim that if you eliminate just two of the proxies used for the MBH98 reconstruction since 1400, the Stahle and NOAMER PC1 series, “you got a completely different result “” the Medieval Warm Period magically reappeared and suddenly the modern warming didn’t look quite so frightening.” That argument is sure to sell to those who haven’t done so. But I have.”

    Here’s what Montford said:
    “Mann may well have felt that he had done enough to fend off McIntyre’s criticisms but McIntyre’s perspective was quite different. Without realising that he’d done it,Mann had inadvertently shone a little light on another murky corner of his famous paper. To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result ““ the Medieval Warm Period magically reappeared and suddenly the modern warming didn’t look quite so frightening.What this meant was that Mann’s result ““ that the Medieval Warm Period didn’t exist ““ seemed to rest on just a tiny fraction of his data. The rest of the series were just “˜noise’. Mann may well have been justified in using a stepwise procedure, but if his conclusions depended on just two PC series, then they could hardly be considered robust.”

    Tamino has extracted a conditional clause from a longer paragraph. In the full setting, it is completely evident, despite disinformation from Lambert, that Montford is describing a reaction to Mann’s 2003 Reply. As I observed in a previous comment, this is supported by the fact that the only contemporary document using the Stahle PC1-NOAMER PC1 combination was the Mann 2003 response linked above.

    Again, Tamino and Lambert are providing disinformation.

  303. RichieRich says:

    IMHO debate on this excellent thread would be (very) much easier if KK enabled <blockquote>  – see Steve McIntyre’s latest post.

  304. Øystein says:

    @Steve McIntyre

    Apoligies if this has been answered some other place I haven’t looked as of yet, but if I read Mann et al’s answer correctly, they claim you did not reveal your method, and subsequently they had to guess what method was used.

    May I ask how you reached your result?

  305. Marco says:

    Steve McIntyre:

    I see three options here:
    1. Assuming Mann’s figure is correct (in which three proxies were removed), and Tamino’s analysis (removing only the two proxies quoted by Montford) is correct, that third proxy DOES matter.

    2. Assuming Tamino’s analysis is correct, and your comment about the third proxy also, this would mean Mann made a mistake in his figure.

    3. Assuming Mann did everything right, and your comment about the third proxy is correct, Tamino made a mistake in his analysis.

    I’d be interested to see any evidence from you that supports either point 2 and 3. After all, point 1 being correct means you (and Montford) are wrong…

  306. Steve McIntyre says:

    #308. There are two extreme HS-series in the Mann 1400 network – Gaspe and the bristlecone PC1.  You get a different looking figure without these two series.  This point is not actually contested by Mann, Wahl and Ammann or Tamino – it’s just spun differently.
    Results of various permutations and combinations were reported in our 2005 (EE) paper.  Wahl and Ammann confirmed many specific results reported in our 2005(EE) paper – though they presented them as new results.

    Tamino’s introduction of the Stahle PC1 as a supposed point in dispute was completely out of left field, turning the clock back to Mann’s early November 2003 response.  It was never been at issue in any of the contemporary analysis by ourselves or Mann’s 2004 commentary or Wahl and Ammann. If you want to know how Mann got the results in his 2003 response, you’d have to ask him.

  307. Tim Lambert says:

    Well, Montford’s paragraph does contain a condtional cause: ” if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result”, but not one that would justify his claim that Montford never claimed that ” if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result”.  Montford did not say that “if Mann’s response was accurate then …” but rather  “the fact that …”.

    I know that most people don’t have the background or the time to dive into the ins and outs of the statistics, but this is one that you just have to understand English to get.  Ask yourself: if McIntyre won’t admit to making an error on something this clear cut and unimportant (all he has to do is concede that Montford’s paragraph was badly written), what chance is there on more complicated issues?

    Notice, by the way, that in the paragraph above, Montford shows that he doesn’t even know when the Medieval Warm Period was. MBH98 starts in 1400 and the 15th century is not part of the MWP.
     
    I don’t expect to convince partisans like AMac with this, but for the rest of you — you just have to read it for yourself.

  308. Steve McIntyre says:

    #308. Mann’s statement that we “did not reveal our method” was disinformation. We provided exhaustive documentation of our methodology and placed our code online so that others could examine and challenge our results.  Our code was in fact consulted by critics at the time, including Wahl and Ammann and Huybers, for example, both of whom refer to our code.
    Our 2003 emulation of MBH methodology did not reproduce some undocumented aspects of MBH methodology.  A lot of additional information came out about MBH as a result of our 2003 paper.

    One issue at the time was MBH use of “stepwise” principal components – a technique that is not standard and was not articulated in the original article. Mann refused our request for further particulars on methodology prior to our article. As it turned out, there were other more serious  issues with this methodology lwhich we articulated in our 2005 articles – with Mann’s short-centered PCA, rather than stepwise PCA;  the weighting and reliance of his results on controversial bristlecone pine chronologies (even conventional PCA not resolving this problem) and failed verification statistics.
     

  309. Tim Lambert says:

    McIntyre has covered his tracks by scrubbing his abusive comments from his blog, but <a href=”http://climateaudit.org/2005/08/04/source-code-preisendorfers-rule-n/#comment-35304″>here</a> is one he missed, where he called Schmidt and Amman,  “Dumb and Dumber”.

  310. GaryM says:

    Hank Roberts,
    The article you cite shows the cost of WW II as a percentage of gdp as 32% in 1943, 36% in 1944 and 37% in 1945.  A graph of the debt to gdp ratio of the time can be found here.
     
    I don’t think anyone knows what the cost of immediate large scale reductions in emissions will be, but I think it is fair to say they will be substantial.  In the current economy, if we are going to imposing WW II levels of spending (in addition to the trillions already being spent in other areas), I think we might as well just roll up the streets.
     
    If the risk of rising temperatures is as dramatic as forecast, and is sufficiently certain, then the cost might be something we have to bear.  Which is why my interest is in the basis for the level of certainty claimed.
     
    In other words, before I (and more importantly the voting public) follow the consensus, I want to know how sure they are we are heading for a cliff (and why they are so certain), before I follow them in another direction where I know there is a cliff.

  311. SimonH says:

    Tim Lambert: #311: “Ask yourself: if McIntyre won’t admit to making an error on something this clear cut and unimportant (all he has to do is concede that Montford’s paragraph was badly written), what chance is there on more complicated issues?”
     
    So you want Steve McIntyre to admit he made a mistake in Montford’s sentence structure…  and assert that if McIntyre won’t admit he made an error in a book  he didn’t write, what else that he says can be trusted!?
     
    Weird.
     
    And #313: These are obviously standards you demand of others that you won’t apply to yourself. In the great scheme of things, you will NEVER sell the abstract idea that McIntyre is a primary source of ad hominem.
    One of the primary differences between the behaviours of individuals in academia and in industry, I’m frequently reminded by individuals like you and Gavin, is that everyone except the academics eventually left school. Nobody else retains that adolescent element to their character like those at RC.

  312. I agree that Montford’s point would have been more accurately expressed by including the following words:
    “Mann may well have felt that he had done enough to fend off McIntyre’s criticisms but McIntyre’s perspective was quite different. Without realising that he’d done it,Mann had inadvertently shone a little light on another murky corner of his famous paper. To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that, according to Mann’s response,  if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result …”
    While I do not claim to be immune from error and attempt to acknowledge and correct errors, I am unclear what particular error I am supposed to have made here. I observed that Tamino was criticizing a straw man and this observation remains correct – the only contemporary person arguing the Stahle PC1-NOAMER PC1 combination was Mann – not myself or Montford.  Had Tamino consulted the contemporary exchange that Montford was discussing – surely an elementary precaution – he would have readily seen this. This was neglect on Tamino’s part .

     

  313. hew says:

    Tim Lambert,
     
    You seem desperate for Steve M to admit a mistake that doesn’t exist.  Let’s turn this around on you.  Can you explain why Mann et al used the opposite a priori expectation to what Tijlander recommended for the CPS calibration and why Mann did not disclose this?  I have asked that question three times already in this discussion and no-one has taken up the challenge of what is a very simple question.
     
    You are no novice to finding errors in climate papers and continually boast about the degrees versus radians thing.  So you should find the technical issues here very simple (actually everyone should find them very simple).  To paraphrase you (badly): if AGW proponents will not admit making an error on something this clear cut, what does it say for more complicated issues?
     
     
     
     

  314. Tom Fuller says:

    GaryM, you are discussing the issues that most interest me. I hope Keith gets a post more attuned to those issues soon.

  315. Steve Reynolds says:

    GaryM: ” I want to know how sure they are we are heading for a cliff (and why they are so certain), before I follow them in another direction where I know there is a cliff.”
    I doubt they are very sure we are heading for a cliff. Part of why this is such a political issue is that for people like Hank, the cliff you know about is not a bug; it is a feature. Hank says the growth of government and other organizations at the expense of individuals during WW2 was a good thing.
     
     

  316. Hank Roberts says:

    Steve — you’re making a kneejerk response to the study I pointed to.
    That paper is about the results of winning WWII — “at the expense of individuals” — but stating the benefits overall to the US (at the expense of the rest of the world, clearly).
    You’d be more free if the US had lost?  Tell us how.
     
     

  317. Hank Roberts says:

    And to avoid a hopeless tangent — Steve, trying to cast me as a statist or antilibertarian or whatever it is you’re doing, is nonsense.
    I’m pointing out Caldera’s 2 percent of GDP to decarbonize, compared to the hugely greater cost of World War II, and noting that even WWII (for the US, which won without internal destruction) was a net economic boon.
    No country needs to be destroyed to stabilize the changes we’ve been making to climate.  The benefits exceed the cost — and the cost has to be paid regardless, as carbon fuels are limited.

  318. GaryM says:

    Steve Reynolds,
    Yes (as to your second point).  And the debate  about WW II is just as contentious.  Did WW II end because of government spending?  If so, why didn’t it end with the previous massive outlays?  Or rather (from a conservative point of view), did the depression end because the war took the Roosevelt administration’s attention away from micro managing the economy; ie. did the government take its boot off the neck of business (using a recent turn of phrase) allowing them to start investing, building, and growing again?
     
    As to the consensus side not being very sure there is a cliff, I don’t think it is that they aren’t very sure.  I believe they believe what they say they believe.  (What a horrific sentence.)  I do wonder if they aren’t concerned that the established science won’t make the policy makers and general public sure enough to implement the policies they think are necessary (hence the disappearing glaciers etc.).
     
    In other words, I don’t think the scientific consensus is a scam by the scientists (although I think the accuracy of the science is irrelevant to many politicians).   But I do believe that their belief in the danger (yes added to potential bias from their own politics seeping in as it does with everyone) leads them to down play the uncertainties (paleo and GCMs under attack are less relevant now) and create the appearance of certainty elsewhere (the process that ends ice ages described as “unknown” in 2004, becomes “we don’t know exactly but it’s the Earth’s orbit” by 2007).
     
    Are these lies? I don’t think so.  Are they just rewrites, same answer.  Are the changes based on science done in the interim? That was what I was trying to get at, and I don’t think it has been answered yet, so until it is, my guess is no.

  319. laughingfit says:

    Lambert upset that someone allegedly called somebody dumb?  That is ironic from him!
     
    So Lambert wants McItyre to take responsibility for Montofrd’s writing?  What is Lambert implying? Have Mac and Monty ever been seen together at the same time?
     
    Lambert is too much!

  320. Marco says:

    Steve McIntyre, you did not answer my question at all. Mann removed three proxies to get the same result you did (in 2003). Yes or no? Montford claimed (or rather, made you claim) that removing TWO proxies resulted in a completely different reconstruction (which is NOT the one in Mann’s comment you linked to, since that has THREE proxies removed). Montford specifically mentions those two proxies, but Tamino’s analysis shows that removing those two do NOT have the same effect as the THREE that Mann removed in the reply. Someone somewhere made an error.

  321. Steve Reynolds says:

    Hank and GaryM,
    First, I certainly do not intend to say that anyone (with occasional exceptions for politicians and PR people) in this debate is insincere in their stated beliefs. Also, I don’t want to steer this into a political discussion.
    I’m just trying to point out that different values and economic beliefs lead sincere people that may be only “inches” apart on the science to question different aspects of the scientific uncertainties and have very different policy ideas in light of those uncertainties.
    Also, Hank, I don’t think I’d “be more free if the US had lost?  Tell us how.”
    I think nearly everyone would be more free and prosperous if there had never been a need for WW2 to have occurred.

  322. vieras says:

    #292 (Marco): “But of use:
    http://globalwarming-facts.info/50-tips.html

    http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/hep/climate/tensteps.htm

    Note that quite a few of the tips in those two links save money (some in the long run). They won’t bring us to 70% reduction, perhaps not even 10% reduction (depending on the country), but if we can’t even do these simple things that save money, we would need authoritarian actions to force us to make those changes. I’m no fan of that, but it almost looks like a necessity.
     
    Cutting co2 by 70% is not easy. If you want to do that, we basically have to stop using coal worldwide altogether. We burn about 5000 million tons of coal yearly (worldwide) only to produce electricity.
     
    The link you quote has 50 tips, that are supposed to stop global warming. Not a single one of them has a chance to reduce that 5000 million tons of coal in any meaningful way. It’s completely unrealistic to daydream, that those 50 tips will do it.
     
    The most important thing on that list is what’s not on it. For example: Investing heavily on nuclear power or on making nuclear fusion viable.

  323. Bernie says:

    vieras:
    I am with you.  Those arguing that we face “unmanageable anthropogenic global warming unless we change our energy consumption habits,” i.e., CAGW, would be significantly more credible on the policy front if they include nuclear options.  When they do not, it is fantasy land.  Hence my unanswered question to Gavin above.

  324. Steve McIntyre says:

    Mann removed three proxies to get the same result you did (in 2003). Yes or no?

    Mann said that he got an high early 15th century by removing the Stahle PC1 and NOAMER PC1.  However, what he said he did and what he actually did are not necessarily the same thing.  Simply removing the Stahle PC1 and NOAMER PC1 doesn’t change things as much as Mann’s 2003 Reply indicated.

    Montford claimed (or rather, made you claim) that removing TWO proxies resulted in a completely different reconstruction (which is NOT the one in Mann’s comment you linked to, since that has THREE proxies removed).

    No, you’re misunderstanding the point entirely. As Montford reported, I was intrigued by Mann’s observation that the difference between an elevated early 15th century and a Stick was attributable to only a couple of proxies (which Mann identified as the Stahle PC1 and the NOAMER PC1). Neither I nor Montford asserted that this particular combination caused the difference.  When I investigated the matter, I determined that the difference was attributable to the Gaspe series and the NOAMER (bristlecone) PC1. All parties that have examined the matter in detail agree on this – including Mann, ourselves and Wahl and Ammann.
    Montford specifically mentions those two proxies, but Tamino’s analysis shows that removing those two do NOT have the same effect as the THREE that Mann removed in the reply. Someone somewhere made an error.

    Montfoed mentioned those two as having been mentioned in Mann’s 2003 Reply.  Montford is correct about this.  Tamino is also correct that this particular combination doesn’t result in a high early 15th century. However, as I observed, the only person who made this claim was Mann in his 2003 response.  Now that I think about it, Mann’s error may have been that he actually did his analysis without Gaspe rather than Twisted Tree as he said in his 2003 Reply. The result of Mann’s 2003 Reply was that the differences between results were pinned down to a couple of proxies. We quickly determined that Mann’s attribution of part of the problem to the Stahle PC1 was incorrect. 


    Tamino’s analysis is irrelevant in that he is purporting to rebut an analytical claim that neither Montford nor us ever made. Perhaps, as I noted above, Montford’s paragraph could have been slightly clearer, but I think that Tamino had to work pretty hard to misunderstand it.
     
     

  325. Bishop Hill says:

    Steve has beaten me to this but I would add one other point: I had already reported that Mann had said the difference was the three series – TTHH, Stahle and NoAmer – a couple of pages earlier.

  326. #313. Lambert says that Ammann was justified in not accepting my proposed joint statement of results because of a slight in an line comment about the authors of the realclimate
    Dummies Guide.
    How absurd.
    People in the real world settle disputes all the time, agreeing to shake hands and move beyond past slights far greater than this particular inline comment.  For that matter, so do children in schoolyards.
    I made a sensible offer to Ammann, despite also having been slighted. The offer should have been accepted.
    I took Ammann’s explanation for his refusal at face value – that it would be “bad for his career.”  Perhaps, as Lambert suggests,  Ammann was lying to me and, unknown to me, believed that it would be “good” for his career, but was harboring resentment about the inline comment in the thread cited by Lambert. If so, that is an even more foolish reason for refusing the offer.
     
     
     
     
     

  327. Judith Curry says:

    Finally, this is the discussion about HSI that I hoped to see happen.  It wasn’t easy getting to this point tho.

  328. JimR says:

    Gavin (298) Thank you, downloaded and the paper looks interesting and should answer my question or at minimum shed light on the subject.
     
     

  329. Bernie says:

    Judy:
    You are right that it has been a pretty comprehensive discussion of the issues raised originally by Tamino.  It would have been nice to hear Gavin’s take on Steve’s explanation.

  330. Francis says:

    Quick question from a novice on these issues:
    Where is the evidence of “corruption”?  I see hard-nosed disagreements, professional pride and ego and possibly some errors in an innovative piece of work.  But (1) where is the corruption and (2) hasn’t the science moved on?
     

  331. richyRich says:

    Francis (334) – yes, the science has moved on; unfortunately, one particular individual has not… a decade later and the guy is still looking for vindication. Publish a paper, issue a comment… or get off the pot. Of course, having fangirl beak-off about “finally” seeing the discussion she hoped for, is… oh, so predictable – ya, think?

  332. Francis says:

    so, hypothetically, even if Gavin and MMann jointly published a comment here to the effect that yes, Mann was wrong and yes, he should have known he was wrong, and yes, in the years since they have not treated McIntyre terribly well, the matter still would not be put to rest?  There would still be allegations of corruption?

  333. Shub says:

    Gavin
    “The hostility some people have against climate science (and by extension) climate scientists, has nothing to do with RC, or me, or Mike Mann. It is very much a political posture (read anything by Delingpole for instance).”
    Repeating, from above – RC can be analysed – as a symptom. A symptom of what? Of defensiveness of a certain sect of the climate-IPCC establishment. That is not what the blog is all about, but…

    “Institutions under siege seek to channel perceptions into forms compatible with the relations they authorize.”
    “To protect its boundaries, an instituted community blocks personal curiosity, organizes public memory and heroically imposes certainty on uncertainty”
    -Mary Douglas

    Gavin

    They reveal far more about the incestuousness of a small group than they illuminate about the topic they purport to be talking about.

    “For example, the group that is seeking to turn a particular set of beliefs into certainties can close itself up, shut out foreigners, label them barbarians, exclude them from the assembly, refuse intermarriage, exalt the idea of a pure race.”
    -Mary Douglas

    No one can blame skeptics for not trying to mingle with the RC crowd – they wont let us! 🙂

  334. SimonH says:

    Francis, go ahead and test your hypothesis.

  335. Shub says:

    I am on moderation again?

  336. SimonH says:

    Nope, Shub 🙂
     
    Francis, richyRich: This entire topic has been spawned by Tamino’s review of The Hockey Stick Illusion, by Andrew Montford, at RealClimate. If you have a complaint about this discussion, go ahead and take it up with Gavin Schmidt or with Keith Kloor. Jumping in on this thread like you have just makes you look silly.

  337. Arthur Smith says:

    Since AMac pointed to my blog, perhaps somebody here can provide a clear reference or support to back up McIntyre/Montford’s claim that, in the 2003 response, Mann claimed to have removed just the 2 (or 3) proxies? I don’t see the term “NOAMER PC1” anywhere in the pdf file linked by McIntyre above (nor do I see “Stahle PC1”, or “PC1” at all). Rather, Mann refers to “the entire dataset of 70 Western North
    American (WNA) tree-ring series available between 1400 and 1600″

    and then further says the eliminated data sets “account for the overwhelming majority of proxy data used during the
    interval AD 1400-1500”. Are the 2 or three series claimed by McIntyre and Montford really the “overwhelming majority of proxy data” in that period?
    Additionally, of course, the cited document from Mann also makes no mention of the “Medieval Warm Period” since that was not the issue at all. In fact, the only words in Montford’s statement which actually appear in Mann’s document at all are: “just”, “of”, “the”, “proxy”, “series”, “Stahle”, “NOAMER” (in a URL), “a”, “different” ,”result”, “warming” and “so”.
    How can this be claimed to be a Mann’s statement when at best 1/3 of the nontrivial words used appear in the original, and there is nothing resembling the claim anywhere to be found in the original?

  338. Francis says:

    SimonH:
    Your perception of my seriousness bothers me not at all.  And for the record, the title of the book is “The Hockey Stick Illusion: Climategate and the Corruption of Science.” (emphasis added).
     
    Since we’re almost 350 posts in (and McIntyre didn’t appear personally until 261) and there’s not a shred of evidence of corruption, I remain curious where that allegation comes from.

  339. SimonH says:

    Francis, if you’d take a moment to review the thread, you’ll note that Steve McIntyre does not accuse anyone of corruption, of fraud, malfeasance, misconduct or anything similar or related.
     
    So… what allegation?

  340. Marlowe Johnson says:

    So Steve why did you quit when Amann said no?  Why didn’t you pursue something with Zorita and/or any of the other researchers in the field (Hubyers, Von Storch etc.).  Is Caspar Amann such a giant without him onboard further attempts at publication are pointless?
     
    Methinks you’re more interested in constructing a particular narrative than truth seeking…

  341. D. Robinson says:

    Mr. Lambert – Respectfully, the paragraph starts with “To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting…”
    “To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result ““ the Medieval Warm Period magically reappeared and suddenly the modern warming didn’t look quite so frightening.What this meant was that Mann’s result ““ that the Medieval Warm Period didn’t exist ““ seemed to rest on just a tiny fraction of his data. The rest of the series were just “˜noise’. Mann may well have been justified in using a stepwise procedure, but if his conclusions depended on just two PC series, then they could hardly be considered robust.”
    Again, it is about “Mann’s response” the entire paragraph is about “Mann’s response” and what exactly made his response “interesting to McIntyre”.   This does not appear to me to be a difficult paragraph to parse.  No doubt, you won’t concede the point, but
    “for the rest of you”  who have to “read it for yourself.”    Note how in #311 Lambert starts with “Well,”  (He’s conceding he’s wrong but thinks the paragraph could’ve been more clear.)  Then in #313 he changes the subject completely with a totally unrelated attack on McIntyre (because gee he’s just so evil!)
    Same old tactics, never admit to being wrong but if you are, change the subject….

  342. Tim Williams says:

    Simon H. @343
    How about McIntyre’s  submission to the Oxburgh inquiry?
    “In my opinion, CRU has manipulated and/or
    withheld data with an effect on the research record. The manipulation includes (but is not
    limited to) arbitrary adjustment (“bodging”), cherry picking and deletion of adverse data.”
    That inquiry  (along with all the others)  rejected those allegations.
    Does that help?
     
     
     

  343. #341.  Arthur,  Mann used 22 series in this network, including what are denoted elsewhere as the NOAMER PC1 and the Stahle SWM PC1. These correspond to the series discussed here.  This has never been in dispute. Most people familiar with the issue are aware that Mann used principal components.  If you are unfamiliar with this aspect of the methodology, you should familiarize yourself with the previous discussions.
     

  344. To be clear the “22 series” include two PC1s, which are calculated from larger networks. Mann’s idiosyncratic PC methodology effectively “threw out” all the NOAMER dendro data in this step except the bristlecones.
    Mann obviously objected at the time (and subsequently) to  reconstructions without bristlecones, with the objections couched in language of retained principal components – that sort of thing. But the issue was the weight applied to bristlecones.
    The non-Stickness of Mann-style reconstructions without bristlecones+Gaspe or with reduced bristlecone+Gaspe weight – a point conceded by Wahl and Ammann – was inconsistent with MBH98 claims that their results were “robust” to the prsence/absence of dendroclimatic indicators. MBH98 stated that “the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network”, apoint made even more forcefully in a note to Mann et al 2000, which stated:”Whether we use all data, exclude tree rings, or base a reconstruction only on tree rings, has no significant effect on the form of the reconstruction for the period in question.

  345. #344. The offer to Ammann was based on the fact that our codes matched closely and we should have been able to make a joint statement of results. It was nothing to do with Ammann being a “giant” or someone whose views I was particularly interested in.  It was an offer aimed at resolving a conflict that could have been resolved.  Doing something similar with Eduardo Zorita (with whom I was then and remain on good terms with) would not have resolved the conflict.
    While I’ve obviously not been actively publishing in academic journals, I’ve made a few submissions over the past few years, all of which have received extremely hostile reviews.  Ross McKitrick and I have just published an interesting critique of Santer et al 2008 in a statistical journal after efforts to publish a comment in IJC were rejected.   Roger Pielke and I submitted an interesting paper on hurricane distributions – one that Kerry Emanuel thought meritorious, but it also got savage reviews and was rejected.   If I was a young academic, I would undoubtedly have played the journal game a bit more, but I’m writing primarily for my own interest and am not worried about career advancement at this stage of my life. As you may be aware, I operate Climate Audit, a popular blog, and have written a great deal of material for it.
     

  346. Marco says:

    Vieras: I referred to things we can do ourselves, each individually. Las time I checked, building a nuclear power plant wasn’t so easy for any individual.

    Bernie: could you indicate where Gavin, or Realclimate for that matter, has ever discussed options to reduce global warming? If you cannot, it is a rather odd complaint that Gavin does not ‘include’ nuclear power.

  347. Ted Carmichael says:

    Tim: I believe you are misreading what Montford said in his book.  Let me try another tact, to see if this can be made more clearly.
     
    Montford essentially wrote that McIntyre was intrigued “…not by X, but by Y.”  Let’s take out the unnecessary not clause and read it thus:
     
    “To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was [snip] the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result…”
     
    Montford is actually being kind to Mann here, in that he is assuming what Mann reported is “fact.”  He could have been less generous and said something slightly derogatory, such as Mann’s claims rather than Mann’s facts.  But I think it is clear that the facts are Mann’s, not Montford’s or McIntyre’s.
     
    Francis: The word “corruption” in the title is used in reference to “science” rather than a specific person.  Thus, it is more likely the original sense of the word “corruption,” as in a corrupted computer file or corrupted video recording.  When good data is mixed with bad data, the good data is corrupted.  Similarly, a good scientific process can be corrupted into a bad one.  The book certainly criticizes some practices very pointedly.  Montford calls this a corruption of science.  But I don’t believe any charges are made about individuals regarding motive, such as involving malice or criminal intent, which is what it sounds like you are referring to.  Anyway, if you have something specific in mind, I – or someone else – may be able to address that.
     
    SimonH (#315): You seem to be saying that academics, more than anyone else, act in a juvenile and immature fashion.  As it turns out, I am in academia and have been so for years.  And I am perfectly capable of acting in a mature and sensible manner.  So: nener, nerer.

  348. Marco says:

    Steve McIntyre: could you please point to that reply by Mann? The one you referred to does not contain the supposed two-proxy claim from Mann.

  349. Marco says:

    Bishop Hill: but that would make your later statement flat out wrong…

  350. Marco says:

    Wrong, SimonH: if we are to believe Judith Curry, this was all spawned by Mann not handling criticism by McIntyre very well. This is apparently the ‘take home message’.

    What spawned THIS thread is that Judith Curry made a number of poorly substantiated (and some even simply wrong) comments on RC, and got called out for making those comments. Which caused several people to whine she was so poorly treated (see a pattern there?).

  351. Marco says:

    SimonH: perhaps you want to read the full title of Montford’s book again? It contains the exact words “corruption of science”.

  352. vieras says:

    #350 Marco: “I referred to things we can do ourselves, each individually. Las time I checked, building a nuclear power plant wasn’t so easy for any individual.
     
    Hey, really. GW is not going to be stopped with a list like that. It’s even counterproductive as it gives people an illusion, that small stuff like that is all that’s needed.
     
    However, I don’t want to distract this great discussion with too much policy discussion. If Keith does a separate piece about that, I’d be happy to discuss this more throughly.

  353. Jay Currie says:

    Marco, “corruption” is an interesting term. In plain meaning it is to take consideration for advocating a false belief. But it is far more nuanced than that.
     
    Imagine that you believe that there is such a thing as CO2 induced GW. And then imagine you look at data and pick the data which, upside down or not, confirms your belief.
     
    Leave aside the grants and the acclaim; are you corrupt or merely  incompetent? To reach corruption the act must have intention. We have no idea what Mann’s intentions were. We know he was incompetent; but his intentions remain a mystery.
     
    The strong claim is that Mann knew exactly what he was doing and did it with intent. The weaker claim is that Mann is simply incompetent and, when called on his lack of skill, has, over and over tried to walk back his claims without admitting error.
     
    The weak claim is non-contentious. The strong claim will be dealt with in the courts of science and the plain old courts. Steve has never suggested fraud straight up and I will agree; but discovery will be interesting because it will be conducted by people who have no interest in whitewash.
     

  354. Marco says:

    Jay Currie:
    Please provide evidence Mann was incompetent. He may have made decisions that could be criticised, but that does not make him incompetent. Unless you want to call ALL scientists incompetent, as they ALL have made decisions that can be criticised. As a result, even your weak claim is contentious.

    Your strong claim has also already been dealth with. Those using the same proxies but different methodology find essentially the same as Mann. Those using different proxies and different methodology find essentially the same as Mann. You’d have to go to Loehle’s reconstruction to find something that strongly contradicts Mann’s work. Unless you can provide evidence that all the paleoclimatologists are interested in a whitewash, the court of science has already answered your second claim.

  355. Robin Levett says:

    @Jay Currie #356(currently):
    “Imagine that you believe that there is such a thing as CO2 induced GW. And then imagine you look at data and pick the data which, upside down or not, confirms your belief.”
    ” We have no idea what Mann’s intentions were. We know he was incompetent; but his intentions remain a mystery.”
    Objection – facts not in evidence…
    More generally – the premise of JC’s claim is that climate scientists throw around casual allegations of denialism etc at those who are merely skeptical; and that that is what makes outsiders unwilling to accept their message.  The climate scientists (the 95%ers) point to the continual drip drip drip of allegations against their competence and integrity; and JC points to SMcI who, she says is representative of the tendency she sees as skeptical, and who never makes allegations of corruption and/or incompetence.
    Then  you dive in…

  356. Marco says:

    Vieras: my point was simply that we don’t even do the simple stuff that easily will reduce emissions AND save money. I have seen too many claim that if only it did not costs so much money, we’d be mitigating. Outright nonsense. Even the money-saving stuff apparently requires government action. That it lulls people into believing it is easy to stop CO2 emissions is IMO nonsense. Neither link I gave claims these things are enough.

  357. SimonH says:

    Tim Williams #346: “Does that help?”
     
    Yes thanks! As I said, McIntyre has never accused the team of corruption. He’s pointed to repeated examples of data manipulation by cherry-picking, cutting, splicing and smoothing etc. but has never, as far as I can tell, ever extrapolated these bad practices to accuse those responsible of corruption. On the other hand, clearly you perceive these acts as acts of corruption. You’ve made the leap, not McIntyre.
     
    Marco #354: “SimonH: perhaps you want to read the full title of Montford’s book again? It contains the exact words “corruption of science”.”
     
    The hockey stick had become the flagship of climate science. Widely communicated, touted as definitive proof, frightening, and broadly underpinning the impetus (now lost) in the drive to world-changing economic and lifestyle changes. But it is not what it appears to be. Used in support of, and to underpin, many further assertions, observations and projections of catastrophic changes in climate science, the hockey stick appeared to offer the “proof” that climate change DID NOT happen – apart from minor natural variations – in a thousand years or more, until the Industrial Revolution. These are the ways in which the science has been corrupted by the hockey stick.
     
    I doubt very much that you are incapable of distinguishing between an observation that the science has become corrupted and an accusation that an individual is guilty of corruption. And yet.. strangely.. somehow you manage it.

  358. Michael Larkin says:

    #221 GaryM:
     
    Thank you for your response to my posting, in which I detected genuine dialogue and thank you for it. If I could arrange a venue for the principals to meet, I would, but as a member of the peanut gallery, no one would take me seriously! 🙂
     
    I’ve seen US presidential debates and they aren’t much good. The recent British general election debates weren’t that much better, but I did say it was only a rough approximation of the idea. It isn’t so much a *debate* I want, I suppose, as some genuine and completely snark-free interchange to which I can be a witness and from which I can draw my own conclusions.
     
    There have been a number of articles over at WUWT recently on key issues like the source of increased CO2 in the atmosphere and how CO2 actually leads to warming. Pros and cons have been discussed fairly amicably between a number of pretty well-qualified contributors, though because it’s WUWT, we haven’t seen the likes of Gavin taking part.
     
    Even so, these issues have been discussed in earnest from a number of different viewpoints (most sceptics accept a rise in CO2 and the “greenhouse” principle), and the whole thing has been highly enlightening and educational. I have rarely seen such good, science-focussed discussions anywhere else on the Web.
     
    Say what you like about WUWT, it accepts articles from pretty much anyone qualified, pro or con, who is prepared to lay it out there and deal with the crits – which are for the most part respectful (there have been odd exceptions to this in the past – wrt Judith Curry in particular – which I didn’t enjoy).
     
    I can’t speak for Anthony Watts, but if I had to bet, I think he would post something from Gavin or Mann or any other prominent member of the “consensus”. But it’s just unimaginable that they would ever do that. A discussion could only occur at some neutral venue.
     
    IMO, until consensus representatives actually engage with sceptical representatives in a mutually respectful manner, the only way for them is further downhill. One can only avoid the discussion for so long before all credibility is lost and CAGW withers away with a whimper rather than a bang.
     
    Doubtless it’ll then be time for the next big scare, but somehow I doubt there can be anything quite as big again, as the boy may have cried wolf once too often.
     
    There would likely also be quite a lot of fallout to deal with wrt the general credibility of science in the public mind. It’s already taken quite nosedive, and no amount of shouting of the same message they’ve been hearing for years is going to change that. By now, most of them are wearing earplugs and getting on with the rest of their lives.

  359. Tim Lambert says:

    Steve, while I’m sure that you’ve honestly recounted your recollection of  what Amman said, and such recollections are notoriously unreliable.  In this very thread you’ve claimed that Montford’s paragraph quoted above contains a conditional clause that it does not, in fact, contain, so you’ll forgive me if I discount your account of what he told you.
    Amman had and has good reason not to coauthor a paper with you and not just because he might resent your name calling.
    The attitude you revealed by calling him “Dumber” suggests that an attempt at joint work would not be fruitful.

  360. Tim Lambert says:

    McIntyre’s comment 348 provides another case where readers can judge the reliability of his claims without having to delve into the mathematics.  McIntyre claims that MBH98 said that their results were “robust” to the presence/absence of dendroclimatic indicators. But if you look at the paper you’ll see what they actually said:

    “But certain sub-components of the proxy dataset (for example, the dendroclimatic indicators) appear to be especially important in resolving the large-scale temperature patterns, with notable decreases in the scores reported for the proxy data set if all dendroclimatic indicators are withheld from the multiproxy network. On the other hand, the long-term trend in NH is relatively robust to the inclusion of dendroclimatic indicators in the network,suggesting that potential tree growth trend biases are not influential in the multiproxy climate reconstructions.”
    So in fact they said that dendro was “particularly important” for large-scale temperature patterns.  What they said was “robust” was just the “long-term trend”.

    It gets worse.  McIntyre continues
    ‘a point made even more forcefully in a note to Mann et al 2000, which stated:”Whether we use all data, exclude tree rings, or base a reconstruction only on tree rings, has no significant effect on the form of the reconstruction for the period in question.”‘
    What do you think “the period in question” refers to? McIntyre has artfully removed that sentence from its context to make it look like Mann is making a claim about the period from 1400 to the present.  But <a href=”http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/ei/ei_nodendro.html”>look at the sentence in context</a>.  They are discussing a graph comparing the full network, no tree rings, and all tree rings OVER THE PERIOD FROM 1760 to present.  If the graph and linked data wasn’t clear enough, the paragraph that McIntyre quote mined starts with:
    “Note that the NH reconstruction based on the sparse “non-dendro” multiproxy network (19 non-dendro indicators available back to 1760) is remarkably similar to that based on the full (more than 100 indicators) multiproxy network of MBH98.”
    You don’t have to take my word for any of this — check it out for yourself and ask yourself if you can trust the claims McIntyre makes about things that aren’t so easy to check.

  361. Keith Kloor says:

    Andy (271) raises some very interesting points. As this is quite a long thread that has spun off into several (mostly fruitful) discussions, I wonder if we can return to his comment, specifically this:

    “it often appears to me that many climate scientists and especially supporters of very strong policy action don’t understand the limits of policy. Absent a clear, present and  existential crisis, change on the scale of a World War II simply isn’t going to happen.  There is no amount of scientific consensus and no level of rhetoric that can change that except over very long, probably generational, time frames.”

    What do folks make of this?

  362. Øystein says:

    Well, when it comes to Andy’s comment, I guess we are reduced to hoping (or praying, or whatever) that the IPCC is dead wrong. Or that geoengeneering will solve all our problems. Because the implication, as I see it, will be that nothing serious (enough) will be done until consequenses are abundantly clear. And if IPCC et al ( 🙂 ) are correct, we’ll be in for a few decades of worsening until it might get better.

  363. Øystein says:

    The last sentence should read: “we’ll then be in for a few decades more of worsening until it might get better.”

  364. laursaurus says:

    Richyrich: “Of course, having fangirl beak-off about “finally” seeing the discussion she hoped for, is”¦ oh, so predictable ““ ya, think?”
    How does your condescending remark contribute to the quality of this unprecedented exchange? This is not Deltoid or RC, where snarky insults from the in-group regulars are typically encouraged. If that’s the level of conversation you enjoy, then you will easily find it on almost every other climate blog or the comment section of any online MSM op-ed section.
    This is my favorite climate blog because by the elimination of ad hom, personal attacks or impugning motives makes threads like this and the one previous possible.

  365. Doug Wilson says:

    Does anyone find it odd that Mann will write letters to the editors to some of the worlds most influential newspapers (Fredericton Daily Gleaner, Minneapolis Star Tribune etc.) but doesn’t want to chime in here to defend his work?

  366. Tom Fuller says:

    Well, I wonder. I think we have examples of societies mobilized for strong action on causes short of war. Just in my lifetime, in the U.S., the civil rights struggle and the fight against pollution seem to qualify. In the UK, the fight against nuclear weapons do, too.
     
    If we start making a list, though, we should also look at ’causes’ where people tried to make of them a ‘celebre’ but failed–and why.
     
    I would suspect that clarity of message and believability of proponents (or opponents, depending) are pretty visible in successful causes, not so much in the failures.
     
    And as this struggle has always been led by ‘professional’ (crafted by others than the real actors) messaging, credibility is immediately distanced. One would think that the cause had been helped in an equal way by the professional quality of the message. That may not have been the case with what I (still) call the CAGW movement, as they chose their symbols poorly.
     
    Perhaps a v2 of the movement, led in a manner more restrained and with more appropriate symbols, could actually gain real traction.
     
    (It would have to be more like a ‘British’ than an ‘American’ movement–What do we want? Gradual Change! When do we want it? In due course…)

  367. Bernie says:

    Marco #350

    You said:
    “Bernie: could you indicate where Gavin, or Realclimate for that matter, has ever discussed options to reduce global warming? If you cannot, it is a rather odd complaint that Gavin does not “˜include’ nuclear power.”
    Logically, I believe yours is the “odd” statement.  First, a quick search at Real Climate indicates plenty of references to nuclear energy, including among others a specific post on Geoengineering solutions.  I did not go through all the RC links so I do not know whether Gavin has specifically commented at RC – though he did briefly in his book – Climate Change, Picturing the Science. and in his American Scientist article on George Plass.
    Second, I am unaware of any RC policy that precludes the discussion of CO2 abatement, mitigation or substitution or Nuclear Energy. 

    Third, assuming that you are correct, I find it passing strange that there is no discussion which raises the question, “why not?”    Is this absence not in itself a manifestation of the apparent hostility to nuclear energy of many of those who fear potentially unmanageable AGW – which was I believe my point.
    Finally, I was simply responding to Gavin’s invitation at #17,
    where he said  “… I’ll be happy to respond to anything substantive about science or policy or their interaction …”
    Specifically I asked at #122,
    “Gavin:
    Given the size and potential scope of the AGW issue as you lay it out, I assume therefore that you are in favour of a massive reinvestment in Nuclear Power technologies?  How else can we possibly reduce CO2 emissions without drastically curtailing GDP and growth in GDP in developed and developing countries.”

    So far he has not responded to this question.

    James Hansen, Gavin’s close colleague at Goddard, clearly does have a viewpoint.  I asked Gavin for his.  I am unclear why asking the question is an issue in any way,  shape or form.

    Public policy discussions always have a significant component that is based on credibility and trust.  If you propose a solution to a problem but deliberately do not reveal its costs, you lose credibility and the public trust.  If you ignore simple and proven solutions, in pursuit of unrealistic and very expensive solutions, you lose credibility and public trust.  If burning fossil fuels is an issue, why are those who feel most strongly about the issue not championing the solutions pursued by France and to a lesser extent Japan?  This apparent inconsistency indicates to me, and I suspect others, that many of those concerned about AGW lack credibility and standing when it comes to policy decisions – they are forever creating Catch-22 situations.  (See for example Steven Schneider’s and Rondi Londer’s Coevolution of Climate and Life and his opposition to economic growth. )  This fundamental different view of economic freedom and liberty then gets manifested in the blog climate wars.  It is also why Judith Curry’s call to reframe climate issues in terms of sustainability will not basically address these underlying conflicts.

  368. Hank Roberts says:

    Keith — could you create a _separate_ topic for a conversation about science, aside from the stuff here, and invite Gavin there?
    It would be a great proof of concept, to see if people can ask and learn about something other than their own personal passionate single issue.

  369. Hank Roberts says:

    > bristlecones
    Since that keeps coming up, I recall blogging about SM’s trip a few years ago to the Southwest.
    I thought I recalled he had new cores drilled out of the bristlecones, and that those new cores were sent off to a dendro lab.  Is that right?  If so, pointer please to the results?

  370. All core sent to a dendro lab and results posted online as soon as I received them (in Oct 2007). Data is at http://www.climateaudit.info/data/colorado/
    Discussed in various posts  http://www.climateaudit.info/category/almagre and presented at AGU in a poster session http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/agu07.almagre.ppt
     
     

  371. Keith, I was just about to say something similar to Hank’s 372. If this thread emerges as neutral ground in the endless hockey stick controversy, let those interested in it or entangled in it hash it out here.
     
    Interestingly, I don’t think this blog is the right place to work out more normal scientific questions. More typically some curatorial services from an expert are needed to ensure progress; this is why in practice we have universities, thesis committees, degrees, and peer review.
     
    But regarding this: “it often appears to me that many climate scientists and especially supporters of very strong policy action don’t understand the limits of policy. Absent a clear, present and  existential crisis, change on the scale of a World War II simply isn’t going to happen.  There is no amount of scientific consensus and no level of rhetoric that can change that except over very long, probably generational, time frames.”
    I appreciate your question and think it’s far more important than quibbling about the millenial record. I am resolute in opposing the argument from “political realism” and would be happy to discuss it in a more dedicated thread.
     

  372. Data online as soon as I received it at: http://www.climateaudit.info/data/colorado/
    Discussed in posts http://www.climateaudit.org/category/almagre
    Presented at AGU poster session http://www.climateaudit.info/pdf/agu07.almagre.ppt
    I was told by the lab that they were contacted by Michael Mann, asking them not to do the measurements.
     

  373. Marco says:

    SimonH:
    All the predictions about potential future catastrophe come from model ‘predictions’. The hockeystick is and was essentially irrelevant to that.

    But I do have a challenge if you believe otherwise: list here all occasions in which the hockeystick has been used in the way you claim it was used: “Widely communicated, touted as definitive proof, frightening, and broadly underpinning the impetus (now lost) in the drive to world-changing economic and lifestyle changes.”

    Good luck with that.

  374. Gavin says:

    #371
    I generally talk about things that a) I know about, and b) am interested in and c) (in public) things I can usefully add information about. My feelings about nuclear power are a little of a), a little on b) and none on c). If you are desperate to know what I think (always appreciating that I am not an expert on power generation), my feeling is that there is some scope for an expansion of nuclear power, but that a) it is not worth subsidising over other non-carbon emitting sources (i.e. it needs to become viable given a reasonable price on carbon), b) hugely capital intensive, c) not obviously more publicly palatable than other generating sources, and d)  there are obvious security/geopolitical issues that preclude it being a global solution (Iran anyone?). The reason this doesn’t get a lot of play on RC is because everytime people get going on nuclear energy, the threads end up rehahsing the same points (usually by the same people)  without any resolution. Barry Brooks (thingsbreak) is much more interested in that discussion than us, and so go there.
     
    However, as a general point, having a good understanding of the impacts of CO2 emissions on the climate, an appreciation of the risks of significant climate change, and therefore having concluded that further emissions of  CO2 into the atmosphere are not a good idea, do not make climate scientists experts on alternative energy solutions or carbon pricing mechanisms. Nor should a lack of that expertise be used to downplay the domain knowledge that scientists do have.

  375. Marco says:

    Bernie:
    I should have been more clear. With “options” I actually meant “policy”. Besides that, RC is about climate science, which includes many geoengineering approaches for mitigation. That you do not see nuclear discussed (by RC editors, it is found in the comments) is to be expected: none of the RC editors has any expertise in that area). You may note you also do not see discussions about solar power. Or windpower. Same story.

    Another issue I have with your narrative is that you appear to claim that Stephen Schneider is opposed to economic growth. If so, that would be a distortion of Schneider’s views. He was opposed to putting economic growth above everything else. In reality a not so subtle difference.

  376. SimonH says:

    Marco, #375: I maintain that the hockey stick is the “ident”, and it serves to reinforce scientists’ alarming assertions of climatic changes due to “unprecedented” warming. As I said, “Widely communicated, touted as definitive proof, frightening, and broadly underpinning the impetus (now lost) in the drive to world-changing economic and lifestyle changes.”
     
    Note “broadly underpinning the impetus”, not “forming the foundation of science”. It’s a sales tool and not much more than that.

  377. SimonH says:

    .. but, hat tip to Mann et al, it really was a BRILLIANT sales tool. Kudos to them for their creativity.

  378. Richard J says:

    SimonH #379
      ‘it really was a BRILLIANT sales tool’

    Initially perhaps. But,  in retrospect, devastating. ‘Inappropriate torquing’ to borrow a coined phrase;  the ‘Bridge too Far’ that launched a McIntyre on his mission, a Hockey Stick Illusion into best sellers, and, with Climategate, an exocet into public trust and credibility, fuelled by counter-reaction to unrestrained media fanaticism (yes, you BBC).

    Perception of truth and trust is, in the last analysis, the harsh scale of justice in the public court of climate change.

    In that court, many jurymen wear frowns. So do I.

  379. TerryMN says:

    This kerfuffle is just another episode in what looks to be a pattern of shoddy science.  “Mike’s Nature trick” of lopping off divergent proxy records and replacing them with temp averages.  Maine’s Seine rain.  Steig’s Antarctic smearing.  Phil Jones’ “Mike’s trick” of replacing proxy records w/temps with multiple series for a more tidy graph, Mike’s “WTF? trick” of inverting a[n] (already suspect) Kottarjave proxy series.
    And… Seemingly always… They’re either not wrong, or “it doesn’t matter.”
    Combine that with the ever present one-sided view of predicted harmful effects (no good can come of any warming!) and my BS meter starts to ping, sorry.

  380. laursaurus says:

    Marco,
    In my reply to Arthur Smith, who raised the same issue over on the Curry Agonistes thread, comment 140:
    The Hockey Stick was most certainly used exploit public alarm.
    a.) An Inconvenient Truth
    b.) The Summary for Policy Makers
    c.) Distributed to every Canadian household through the mail.
    JC had already beaten me to the punch with the following response(in part):”At the news conference for the rollout of the TAR, John Houghton had the hockey stick image behind him.  It was also a compelling image in Al Gore’s movie.  The public really identified with this image.  Re avoiding the conflict, you really have to read the book, as I read the book i saw so many “if only” points.  But I think the real story starts circa 1998.  Why was Mike Mann, a recent Ph.D., asked to be a lead author for the IPCC, positions usually reserved for much more senior scientists?  I can only infer that the substantial publicity surrounding is 98/99 papers motivated his selection, i.e. somebody wanted that icon, even though the field of global reconstructions was brand new.  It would have been better to stick with the historical temperature record.”
    The CAGW proponents shoved the HS in the public’s face as factual evidence of the next impending doom. After Y2K turned out to be such a disappointment, CAGW scrambled to fill the void. Then of course, Hurricane Katrina was perfectly timed to confirm it’s predictive power. Suddenly a whole host of social-political movements used it to push their agendas. Hey, it worked for Al Gore! Although temperatures plateaued, “green” came to mean so much more than a color. Believe me, I wasn’t exactly searching for something to keep me awake at night. RC still defends it with a hypothetical “what if?” I predict Michael Mann will go to his deathbed without a shadow of doubt that the HS is “spot on”, as they say in the UK.

  381. Dave L. says:

    I commenced reading The Hockey Stick Illusion after this blog was posted and am currently on Page 176. Fascinating book. A must read for anyone who has followed the comments.

  382. Phil Clarke says:

    We have to get rid of the Medieval Warm Period!

    This is one of handful of one-line money quotes pushed around the net, alongside Schneider’s ‘scary scenarios’, John Houghton’s ‘Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen’ and Phil Jones’ ‘Why should I make the data available to you…?’.
     
    This one has gained a wide currency, quoted by Montford, Monckton, Tim Ball and many more. An insensitive commentator might observe that the quote was seized upon like crack cocaine by those wishing to spin an anti-climate-science narrative.

    The phrase comes to us via David Deming. His claim is that after publishing a piece in Science in line with the concensus, a senior climate scientist assumed that Deming must be a ‘Team’ player, and let slip a key strand of the battle plan to him in a personal email. Rather oddly, Deming deleted this vital evidence, yet still he felt confident enough to repeat the phrase in testimony to the US Senate.

    Andrew Montford certainly likes the quote, and deploys it early on, citing an article by Deming in a fringe science publication and writing :-

    “This sudden flash of light on a particularly murky shadow of climatological practice is probably unique. Suddenly it was possible to see that the Hughes and Diaz retake on the Medieval Warm Period was not considered enough. The aim was to erase it from the climatological record in its entirety. Although Deming himself did not indentify the email’s author, Richard Lindzen of MIT has confirmed that the email was written by Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona. It was evident to anyone who was watching that, in some quarters at least, there was a concerted effort to rewrite the Earth’s climate history so that the Medieval Warm Period disappeared.”

    Only problem is – in one of the illictly-released CRU mails, Overpeck asserts that he had never before heard of Deming, that he had no memory of ever emailing him, that he had no knowledge of ever using the quoted phrase, that he never would use it in the context being ascribed to him, it was bogus and that he found the whole thing rather upsetting. In the regrettable absence of the actual mail, the quote thus has the status of uncorroborated hearsay, strongly disputed by the alleged quotee. This is not what historians would call a reliable primary source.
     
    Such ammunition is just too good to lose, though. Instead of mentioning this bombshell upfront and alongside the quote itself, or even adding a footnote, readers of the Montford book must wait another 400-odd pages before the Overpeck mail is included in a hastily-added chapter on the CRU mails at the very end of the volume.

    Judith Curry wrote, “Montford’s book is a history of science tome, not a journal article. In reviewing it like a journal article or a blog post on climateaudit, Tamino’s review missed the mark, independent of whether his scientific arguments are somehow more “true” than those made by Montford. ”

    Dr Curry also says the book contains ‘an element of spin’. I speculate that, in spinning his anti-science narrative, Montford relaxed the normal standards of honest reporting. An actual science historian would likely discard this quote, or at the very least footnote or discuss its dubious provenance. But then there would be scant evidence of ‘a concerted effort to rewrite the Earth’s climate history’.

    And we couldn’t have that, could we?

    PC

    Houghton: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change/fabricated-quote-used-to-discredit-climate-scientist-1894552.html
    Schneider: http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Mediarology/Mediarology.html
    Overpeck http://eastangliaemails.com/emails.php?eid=868
     

  383. Phil Clarke says:

    Tim Lambert: “They are discussing a graph comparing the full network, no tree rings, and all tree rings OVER THE PERIOD FROM 1760 to present.”

    What!? McIntyre inserts into a debate about proxies pre-1500AD, a note about proxies from 160 years later, without mentioning this little detail? I tell ya, you gotta watch like a hawk the pea under the thimble with these auditor types.

  384. “This kerfuffle is just another episode in what looks to be a pattern of shoddy science.  “Mike’s Nature trick” of lopping off divergent proxy records and replacing them with temp averages.  Maine’s Seine rain.  Steig’s Antarctic smearing.  Phil Jones’ “Mike’s trick” of replacing proxy records w/temps with multiple series for a more tidy graph, Mike’s “WTF? trick” of inverting a[n] (already suspect) Kottarjave proxy series.
    And”¦ Seemingly always”¦ They’re either not wrong, or “it doesn’t matter.”
    Combine that with the ever present one-sided view of predicted harmful effects (no good can come of any warming!) and my BS meter starts to ping, sorry.”
     
    What’s apparent is that no matter how many times the false implications that make up your post above, are refuted, folks like you will keep offering them up as truths that the poor blind ‘warmists’ can’t or won’t see.
     
    Again, I’m reminded of the zombie argumentation style of those who pretend to  ‘audit’ evolutionary biology.
     
    In short, your BS meter is broken, sir; consider getting a new one.

  385. TerryMN says:

    “What’s apparent is that no matter how many times the false implications that make up your post above, are refuted”
    Please refute the content.  To start with, here’s an easy one for you – was the Tiljander proxy inverted in Mann08?  If so, why (because it wasn’t explained in the paper)? If not, please show how it was not.  Thank you.

  386. Steven Mosher says:

    re 373.
    Hank go search CA. It doesnt take long to find.  or use google. you know how that works

  387. Arthur Smith says:

    Steve McIntyre (#347) – MBH 98 refers to 22 “indicators” for the period 1400-1450, so I am assuming that corresponds to your otherwise confusing statement regarding “22 series in this network”.
    But the 2003 PDF from Mann that you pointed to as justification for Montford’s statement clearly states that the eliminated datasets “account for the overwhelming majority of proxy data used during the
    interval AD 1400-1500”. Overwhelming majority suggests far more than 2 out of 22. More like 18 or 20 out of 22, but that number isn’t stated in the PDF that I can find.
    Or do you have some different interpretation of this discrepancy?
    Additionally, the original MBH98 clearly states that the tree ring data was not represented by a single principle component, but  “typically 3″“11 depending on the spatial extent and size of the data set”. So removing all the Western North America data (70 series condensed to 3 – 11, or more?) would surely correspond to removing more than just 1 “series” according to the identification of “series” with “indicator” that your number of 22 seems to correspond with.
    So, is there some other reference where Mann actually did show a graph that he claimed had been created by removing just 2 proxy series, with such strange 15th century behavior?

  388. SimonH says:

    Phil Clarke, #384: I think your parallels with Broughton and Schneider are poor choices, to be frank.
     
    I find Schneider’s FULL quote to be no less egregious because of its detailed recognition of the scientific method while simultaneously considering excuses for breaching it for the purpose of reinforcing an advocacy agenda. There is no argument for a scientist to balance honesty and effectiveness. To propose merely HOPING to be both is to wilfully drop centuries of scientific endeavour on its backside.
     
    Regarding Houghton’s “misquote”, I’ll see your quote and raise you one scanned-from-the-original newspaper clipping.
     
    As for Overpeck, I think I’ll take sworn testimony over an emailed claim of bad memory. Unless you have something more substantive?

  389. SimonH says:

    Incidentally, I’m not saying that the Houghton quote was correct. But Phil, I do recall that you yourself know what it is to be “correct in spirit”. The spirit of the quote was correct, and the actual quote is no less damning:
     
    Sir John Houghton: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.”
     

  390. JD Ohio says:

    Gavin: ” We agree that sustainability is indeed the overriding need and this involves much more than climate change ““ encompassing water resources, fisheries management, traditional kinds of air pollution, habitat loss etc.”

    I disagree. Julian Simo’s work  has shown that human knowledge increases in a manner similar to compound interest and that human knowledge has always outpaced scarcity.  With the Internet & increased connectivity, with the addition of hundreds of millions of educated Chinese & Indians to the knowledge base, knowledge is increasing even faster than it did when Simon’s work was done and was proven to be robust.   I find it hard to believe that a giant like Simon is barely even addressed by the mainstream climatic community, much less refuted.

    JD

  391. JD Ohio says:

    Andy 271  — Keith Kloor 365  Limits of Policy
     
    I agree with the thrust of Andy’s thought but come at it from a different angle.  Based on past experience, grand social experiments or plans based upon achieving goals far into the future have been failures.  Nothing comes close to the scope of planning 100 years into the future and using government to eliminate economic entities as huge as the fossil fuel energy sector of the world economy.  Past  roughly similar failures include :  1.  China’s great leap forward;  2.  School busing   3.  Prohibition   4.  The Vietnam War  (based on the domino theory of communists taking over target states, the U.S. went to war in Vietnam to forestall problems that were projected to be far in the future.)  If anyone has examples of successful long-term governmental planning that was intended to solve problems far into the future and necessitated substantial changes in the way people lived, I would like to see them.
     
    JD

  392. Steve McIntyre says:

    #389. Arthur, there isn’t any confusion among the various parties as to what is being counted. You just need to get used to the terminology. For example, in Tamino’s post on this matter that originated the present discussion, he said:

    “The reconstruction all the way back to the year 1400 used 22 proxy data series, although some of the 22 were combinations of larger numbers of proxy series by a method known as “principal components analysis” “¦

    Tamino goes on to say:
    “But I have. I computed my own reconstructions by multiple regression, first using all 22 proxy series in the original MBH98 analysis, then excluding the Stahle and NOAMER PC1 series. Here’s the result with all 22 proxies (the thick line is a 10-year moving average):”

    When you say that  I made an ” otherwise confusing statement regarding “22 series in this network””, please keep in mind that these are the same 22 series that Tamino was talking about and the same network that Tamino was talking about. I do not understand why you find my reference to 22 series in the network to be “confusing” when you are not troubled by Tamino’s previous reference to 22 series in this network.

    In any event, just so you don’t waste time caviling about things that have never been at issue, you seem to have lost sight of the most interesting aspect of Mann’s 2003 reply and the thing that interested me – that he also got very high early 15th century results through a sort of sensitivity analysis which showed that the differences arose out of only a couple of the 22 series in the regression step.  Yeah, yeah – the 2 series were PC series, but his paper pointed squarely to the PC series for further analysis.

    Mann’s  2003 analysis wasn’t quite right.  But again you’ve missed the straw man-ness of Tamino’s article. The only person who involved the Stahle PC1 as an active ingredient in the difference was Mann himself.  I quickly determined that the Stahle PC1 didn’t affect things and never made that assertion at any time.  Had Tamino bothered consulting the documents, then he would not have misled the realclimate audience on this point.
     

  393. Marco says:

    Yes, SimonH, you maintain. Evidence? Not needed.

  394. Marco says:

    Laursaurus: AIT did not use ‘the hockeystick’ to claim future catastrophe. Neither did the SPM of TAR. I can’t speak for the document that was sent to Canadians, as I have not seen it.

    And to make matters worse for your narrative, ‘the hockeystick’ used in AIT is not MBH99…(oops).

    And I already challenged Judith Curry on her attempt to rewrite history. TAR authors were, to my best knowledge, selected in 1998. ‘The hockeystick’ was published in 1999. Back to the future much?

  395. Marco says:

    SimonH: you really cannot see the difference between the original quote, and the made-up quote people like Christopher Booker used?

  396. Hank Roberts says:

    > Mosher … go search CA
    Pony there somewhere? You claim it’s there, you point it out.

  397. Phil Clarke says:

    SimonH – No, that is not the ‘actual’ Houghton quote. Academic Benny Peiser, who also deployed it, sourced it to the 1994 edition of Sir John’s book, even though it never appears there. Journalist Christopher Booker duly used the quote as the opening words of his book, clearly without checking its veracity. The Times quote was dug up, I think, by Lubos Motl in an arguably desperate attempt to find <i>something</i> similar uttered by Sir John. This is the stuff of satire as opposed to scholarship.

    It’s true that memory is fallible, and in the absence of the text, Deming is relying on his; the quote is thus questionable. Generally, the person being quoted is the best judge of whether or not they are being misrepresented and Overpeck strongly disputes the attribution of the phrase to himself. This is simply not reliable source material.

    Interesting that blog posts and a history of science text are equated. The former are often ephemeral, written in haste [like this one], express personal opinion, serve an agenda, contain errors of fact and detail (I strive to be accurate, like most I make mistakes, I correct these when they are brought to my attention). The latter should strive to be objective, based on documented primary sources, reliable and authoratitive. Not ‘correct in spirit’. I have read more compelling recommendations.

  398. Steven Mosher says:

    397 Hank , the measurements have been online. Same place.   was even discussed on July 29th of this year.  The expedition was not about collecting data however. The expedition was designed to test a single hypothesis. That was accomplished without coring a single tree.
    Anyways nice attempt at derailing the thread

  399. Øystein says:

    SimonH, about Overpeck and history:

    While you may take the sworn testimony, PC’s claim is sound: no professional historian would include the quote (which comes from a secondary source, as it is) without at least a discussion about why he/she trusted that quote (and the testimony) over a primary source, the private e-mail.

  400. Shub says:

    Oystein
    Do you think, likewise, that anyone following these issues, believes, as Phil does, that Deming’s email quote is the *only* and primary source for noticing a trend, to “get rid of the MWP”? People had a ‘strong suspicion’ even before the emails were released.
    Phil Clarke
    Schneider, Phil Jones and Michael Mann – all have made enough statements, apart of the ones you refer to in conspiratorial overtones, for any third party to reach the same conclusions about their ideology.

  401. Phil Clarke says:

    Shub,

    Examples?

    cheers,

    PC.

  402. Phil Clarke says:

    Shub – My point was simply that the hearsay quote, described as ‘a sudden flash of light’, was given prominence in the book, was referenced or paraphrased frequently, yet the contradictory views of the quotee relegated almost to an afterthought. Strange for an historical work. The index entry is illuminating:
    MWP, get rid of the 28,33,136-137,167,277,320.
    Note that Overpeck’s mail is referenced on page 421, so not even mentioned in the index entry.

  403. DaleC says:

    Marco, #396, you say

    “And to make matters worse for your narrative, “˜the hockeystick’ used in AIT is not MBH99″¦(oops).”

    Tim Lambert, on the one occasion I know of where where he was right and Steve McIntyre was wrong, says

    http://climateaudit.org/2007/11/09/al-gore-and-dr-thompsons-thermometer/
    Tim Lambert
    Posted Nov 9, 2007 at 11:28 AM | Permalink | Reply
    It’s MBH99 + the instrumental record.

    This was a very amusing moment in the annals of CA. We are all grateful to Tim for setting Steve straight. Thompson, however, refuses to correct the record.

    http://climateaudit.org/2008/01/13/sticking-thermometers-in-places-they-dont-belong/

  404. Lazar says:

    Arthur Smith is right.
    Montford claims;
    “To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result ““ the Medieval Warm Period magically reappeared and suddenly the modern warming didn’t look quite so frightening.”
    Mann (2003) state;
    “FIGURE 1. COMPARISON OF MBH98 RECONSTRUCTION (BLUE) WITH RECONSTRUCTION RESULTING FROM THE ELIMINATION OF KEY PROXY DATA SETS (1)-(3) OVER THE AD 1400-1500 INTERVAL.”
    As described in Mann (2003);

    Data set 3) is the Stahle PC1, which extends to 1400
    Data set 1) is the “Jacoby et al (1989) Northern Treeline”, which extends to 1450
    Data set 2) is “the entire dataset of 70 Western North
    American (WNA) tree-ring series […] represented by MBH98 in terms of a smaller number of representative Principal Component (PC) time series”, which extends to 1400. Two principal components were used to represent the WNA (i.e. NAITRDB) series in the 1400 and 1450 steps.

    So the 1400 step in Mann (2003) eliminated three series, Stahle PC1 and NAITRDB PC1 and PC2, and the 1450 step eliminated four series, the three previous plus Jacoby, not two series as Montford claimed.
    Lists of proxy series used in MBH98 can be found here (datalist[xxxx].txt).

  405. Øystein says:

    Shub,

    I merely stated (correctly) that sticking with a secondary source that suits his story, instead of discussing the soruces and choosing a story line based on a discussion is not what you’d get from a historian.

    It’s all about honest writing. History attempts to be value neutral, to check sources and judge them against each other. Apparently, Montford has not bothered to do so, and that means that the book is of less historical value than it could have been.

  406. Bishop Hill says:

    For the avoidance of doubt, I describe Mann’s claim that the reconciliation involved three series on p102. I state this again on p107. The sentence you are talking about concerns what McIntyre found interesting.

  407. Bishop Hill says:

    Øystein #408

    “…sticking with a secondary source that suits his story, instead of discussing the soruces and choosing a story line based on a discussion is not what you’d get from a historian.”

    The sources are discussed on page 420.

    Could we just do a survey on who has actually read the book?

  408. Keith Kloor says:

    Many thanks to Gavin and Judith for taking the time to frequently engage with both threads. And also to all of you who contributed to both discussions. Thanks for keeping it polite and for spurring excellent exchanges.

    Hank (372):

    These kinds of threads will arise organically. I don’t plan on making a habit of asking Gavin to hold court at my blog. He’s got enough on his plate. (Same with Judith, who has been more than generous with her time in recent months.) But I’m sure the opportunity will present itself again at some point.

  409. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    “The sentence you are talking about concerns what McIntyre found interesting.”
    You wrote;
    Mann may well have felt that he had done enough to fend off McIntyre’s criticisms but McIntyre’s perspective was quite different. Without realising that he’d done it, Mann had inadvertently shone a little light on another murky corner of his famous paper. To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result”
    The sentence claims — “the fact” — that Mann (2003) left out “just two” proxy series. Are you now attributing this misinterpretation of Mann’s (2003) work to McIntyre?
    Could you please quote relevant parts from p102 and p107 for clarity?

  410. Bishop Hill says:

    You did get a completely different result. The quotes are as follows (it would save everyone a lot of wasted effort if you could bring yourself to buy a copy).

    p101-2: “Mann’s claim that McIntyre andMcKitrick had missed out key data from the early part of the reconstruction was two-pronged. Firstly he was disputing the validity of the corrections. He pointed first to Twisted Tree, Heartrot Hill, which you may remember from Chapter 3 had been used in MBH98 with an obsolete version…

    Mann’s second line of attack was to accuse McIntyre and McKitrick of missing out data by not following the same procedures that had been used in MBH98….[then I explain the stepwise procedure that Mann described in his response]… This stepwise process was how he was able to avoid any failures of the PC algorithm, Mann said, and because McIntyre had failed to use the same procedure, great swathes of data had been dropped from the calculations ““ in particular the Stahle PC1 and the North American PC1… This failure explained much of the discrepancy between his results and McIntyre’s.”

    p107: “Mann had said that McIntyre’s attempt at replication had failed because he hadn’t used stepwise methods, leading to data from three key “˜indicators’ dropping out of the reconstruction: the NOAMER and Stahle PC1s and the Twisted Tree, Heartrot Hill series.”

  411. Marco says:

    DaleC: I stand corrected. I should have known not to trust climateaudit…

  412. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    “You did get a completely different result.”
    That is not being questioned. I am disputing your description of how “a completely different result” was obtained in Mann (2003).
    In my first comment I noted that Mann (2003) claimed to leave out three series for the 1400 step (Stahle and two NAITRDB PCs) whereas you described their methodology as leaving out Stahle and one NAITRDB PC. I further noted that the 1450 step left out four series, the three previous and Jacoby.
    Your response was to
    a) hand wave
    “The sentence you are talking about concerns what McIntyre found interesting”
    … which is true but irrelevant.
    b) a new claim
    “I describe Mann’s claim that the reconciliation involved three series on p102. I state this again on p107.”
    … which is not responsive to your claim of “just two” series being dropped being wrong.
    Mann (2003) described dropping three series in the 1400 step, Stahle and two NAITRDB PCs. Whereas your new claim regarding three series describes the dropping of Stahle, one NAITRDB PC, and Jacoby (Heartrot Hill). Jacoby was dropped in the 1450 step, not the 1400 step to which my claim relates. Moreover, in the 1450 step, Mann (2003) describe the dropping of four series, Stahle, two NAITRDB PCs, and Jacoby. So your new claim is also wrong.

  413. Hank Roberts says:

    A Little Secret « Climate Audit
    Oct 12, 2007 All the cores are currently at a dendrochronological laboratory, …… a core was removed from the tree, it was saved and sent to the lab for analysis. ….. This is not the only bristlecone series in MAnn’s PC1 or for
    climateaudit.org/2007/10/12/a-little-secret/

  414. Steven Mosher says:

    Still struggling Hank.
    http://climateaudit.org/2010/07/27/taminos-trick-mann-bites-bulldog/
    read the comments:
    As i said the issue was discussed on the 29th of last month, that should have helped you do a better google search or try other engines. failing that you could just take the couple minutes to speed scan visually.
    In any case feel free to download the xls file.  The simple fact is that Mann claimed that updating the proxies was difficult and involved going to remote places with heavy equipment. The point of the exercise was to test this claim, or rather to show that you could get a starbucks and core some trees without herculean efforts. hypothesis proven. case closed.
    mann was just silly to claim that the proxies were not updated for the reason he stated. Silly. I dont know what the real reason is, the real reason doesnt change the science. Mann isnt a bad scientist for speaking in a loose manner. but, it would seem like a good thing to update proxies that are key to our understanding of the past. motherhood and apple pie. Just say “yes that would be a good idea”
     

  415. I tried to post up links to the data at CA yesterday, but the post wouldn’t go through. ‘ll try without three links today.
    http://www.climateaudit.info/data/colorado – all data was posted up as soon as I received results from the lab.
    discussions are in group http://www.climateaudit.org/category/almagre and were presented at a poster session at AGU in 2007 (where I talked to lots of people).
     

  416. Steven Mosher says:

    Overpecks position on the MWP/hockey stick  is a interesting topic for folks who have read all the mails.
    Its more subtle than :” he wanted to eliminate the MWP” or ” he was being rigorously objective”
     
    The MOST you can get out of it is something like this.
    Overpeck seemed interested in encouraging Briffa to produce a graphic more compelling that the hockey stick. call that an editorial bias, established before all the science was actually in. That’s pretty clear. he makes the request of Briffa, early on in the process.
    Mann, soloman, and Jones seem to join Overpeck in this editorial desire ( at least in briffas mind). Get a nice compelling  graphic/story
    Briffa seems reluctant to push the conclusions ( over egg the pudding) much beyond the findings of the TAR ( mann’s work)
    Thats the gist of the conversation between the players.  I kinda see Briffa as a man caught in the middle, along with Mc.
    That’s the reading you get if you take the stuff at face value. Ideally, you would want to interview these guys and ask them questions about that process.
    You have a review editor who wants a nice tidy word limited  story with powerful messages delivered by the charts.
    You have a scientist writing who has a history of  finding and publishing some work that indicates the picture is not as clear as others (say Mann) think.
    You have a critic (Mc) who likes to see all the warts on full display.
    You got some drama there. yes there are a few minor points of science and statistics, but the real story ( in my tiny mind) is that drama.
     
    In the end, nothing changes in the core science. nothing. I think its silly to make too much of this ( it aint fraud) and its obtuse to be unconcerned about it. More than anything I had a great deal of sympathy for Briffa . Mc thinks I view Briffa as a hero, kinda sorta do, or at least a ‘tragic’ figure of sorts.
     

  417. Keith Kloor says:

    Steve,

    I just fetched those two posts out of the spam filter. They now can be viewed here and here.

    (People need to tell me when their posts don’t go through. Those containing three or more links tend to end up in the spam filter. Those with two or more links require approval.)

  418. Tim Lambert says:

    Steve McIntyre writes: “The simple fact is that Mann claimed that updating the proxies was difficult and involved going to remote places with heavy equipment.”
    More quote mining.  Mann was obviously referring to ice coring when he wrote “heavy equipment”.  It would be unwise to take at face value any of McIntyre’s claims about what Mann has said.
     

  419. Arthur Smith says:

    Steve McIntyre (#396) – you devote several paragraphs to my side remark about your earlier brief comment being “confusing”, but then fail to address the main question I asked, instead re-asserting the thing which I and others here have pointed out does not reconcile with anything we can read in that 2003 Mann document:
    “he also got very high early 15th century results through a sort of sensitivity analysis which showed that the differences arose out of only a couple of the 22 series in the regression step.  Yeah, yeah ““ the 2 series were PC series, but his paper pointed squarely to the PC series for further analysis.”
    But the Mann document removed more than 2 series from the 1400-1500 time period: at least 4, and according to the document itself, “the vast majority” of the data. How do you reconcile these statements in Mann’s document with your persistent claim that he removed only 2?

  420. Bishop Hill says:

    Here is the quote that Tim is referring to in #422:

    “Most reconstructions only extend through about 1980 because the vast majority of tree-ring, coral, and ice core records currently available in the public domain do not extend into the most recent decades. While paleoclimatologists are attempting to update many important proxy records to the present, this is a costly, and labor-intensive activity, often requiring expensive field campaigns that involve traveling with heavy equipment to difficult-to-reach locations (such as high-elevation or remote polar sites). For historical reasons, many of the important records were obtained in the 1970s and 1980s and have yet to be updated.”

  421. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    ‘fess up. You missed there being two NAITRDB PCs. The mistake may not even *matter* (I certainly couldn’t care), but it’s there and it needs correcting.

  422. Bishop Hill says:

    Lazar #425

    The number of PCs in the AD1400 step is obviously discussed in some detail in the book since PC retention is one of the hotly disputed issues in the story, so no, I didn’t miss there being two PCs in NoAmer. In terms of Mann’s response to McIntyre, I don’t even consider the issue since the reconciliation proposed by Mann is soon after shown to be wrong and so we end up looking at Gaspe and the NoAmer PC1 as the key ingredients in the reconciliation.

  423. Arthur Smith says:

    Lazar – Montford hasn’t even fessed up that he made a mistake talking about the “Medieval Warm Period” in the 15th century! Not to mention it “magically reappearing” when Mann’s point in the referenced document was that the apparent warmth, after removing the “overwhelming majority” of the proxy data, was entirely spurious.
    Who trusts people who find it impossible to admit mistakes?

  424. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    “I didn’t miss there being two PCs in NoAmer. In terms of Mann’s response to McIntyre, I don’t even consider the issue since the reconciliation proposed by Mann is soon after shown to be wrong and so we end up looking at Gaspe and the NoAmer PC1 as the key ingredients in the reconciliation.
    Yes you do “consider the issue”…
    In your response to me…
    “I describe Mann’s claim that the reconciliation involved three series on p102. I state this again on p107.”
    The quote you then provide from p107…
    Mann had said that McIntyre’s attempt at replication had failed because he hadn’t used stepwise methods, leading to data from three key “˜indicators’ dropping out of the reconstruction: the NOAMER and Stahle PC1s and the Twisted Tree, Heartrot Hill series.“

    That’s Stahle PC1, NAITRDB PC1, and Jacoby.
    It’s clearly not a claim about Steve’s subsequent efforts re “reconciliation” or “Gaspe”.

  425. Tom Fuller says:

    427, regardless of whether Mr. Montford is in error or not, you might find your question could be appropriately directed to other participants of this thread…

  426. Bishop Hill says:

    You are right that the “PC1s” should read “PCs”, yes.

  427. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    “PC1s” should read “PCs”
    Thanks. That’s in p107, right? If you change the sentence to…
    “leading to data from three key “˜indicators’ dropping out of the reconstruction: the NOAMER and Stahle PCs and the Twisted Tree, Heartrot Hill series.”
    … it still reads as one NAITRDB PC. So you’ll want to change from “three” to “four” “indicators”, and mention Stahle PC1 and NAITRDB PC1 and PC2, right?
    Does this also apply to…
    “Mann may well have felt that he had done enough to fend off McIntyre’s criticisms but McIntyre’s perspective was quite different. Without realising that he’d done it, Mann had inadvertently shone a little light on another murky corner of his famous paper. To McIntyre, what made Mann’s response most interesting was not the fact that Mann had used an undisclosed methodology, but the fact that if you left out just two of the proxy series ““ the Stahle and NOAMER PC1s ““ you got a completely different result”
    ?

  428. TerryMN says:

    Still waiting on Mr. Sullivan to check in on proxy data inversion as well.  Steve?

  429. Oystein
    “History attempts to be value neutral”

    Montford’s book is quite the neutral thing. Any observer can read through with hardly any judgement of the author itself coming in the way. The book is a easy read – there is good flow, and therefore the historical development can be tracked. As a reader, one has enough primary source material – the IPCC reports, the emails – to arrive at a conclusion about “value judgements” about the Team’s actions, outside of this one book. And by the way, have you read the book? (asking out of curiosity, nothing more)

    I don’t think the Mann/Gavin side has offered any convincing explanations beyond – “it doesn’t matter” – the weakest possible excuse – for their failings.

    When your opponent offers a critique of your work – from first principles – to refute that using an argument from consequence – is to admit defeat.

    Have fun

  430. Dave H says:

    @Shub
    > Montford’s book is quite the neutral thing.
    What was the title again?

  431. SimonH says:

    Phil Clarke, #401: Which is not the “actual” quote?? You mean the actual scanned quote from the interview “Sir John Houghton talks to Frances Welch”, that is there, in black and white and scanned from the paper in which it was printed “If we want a good environmental policy in the future, we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.”? Do you mean to say that THAT actual quote isn’t an ACTUAL quote?

  432. TerryMN,
    You missed the crucial word ‘implications’ in my previous post apparently.   So let me make it plainer:
    You ran down a short list of well-worn skeptico-blogerrific ‘greatest hits’ is if they were dispositive — as if everyone accepts the roles (implications) granted them by denialists in a dark and increasingly paranoid narrative that casts climate science as having been revealed as so much ‘BS’.
     
    Shorter version still:  those things may not mean what you think they mean.
     
     
     

  433. Bishop Hill says:

    Lazar

    A complication: if you refer to M&M’s submission to Nature (MM04 hereafter), there is this…

    “In their response, Mann et. al. highlighted the influence of three (of 22) proxy series in
    their data that extend back to 1400. The three proxies are: a ring width series from the site at
    Twisted Tree Heartrot Hill (TTHH) in northern Canada; the first principal component (PC1) of
    earlywood and latewood ring widths from a roster of 10 sites in southwestern United States and
    Mexico (“SWM”) studied by Stahle et al. and the PC1 of ring widths and some densities from
    70+ North American sites (“NOAMER”) partly overlapping the SWM network.”

    This ties in with the three item list presented in Mann’s response to MM03. and since Mann didn’t object to MM04’s characterisation of the differences in his Mann’s subsequent reply to MM04, so I can only presume that he had no problems with this. What I think this means is that the NoAmer PC2 was an “indicator” but not a “key indicator”, something that seems to be confirmed by eyeballing the graph.

  434. Robin Levett says:

    OK SimonH; assuming that the quote is accurate, what is your problem with the words attributed to Houghton in the Sunday Torygraph?

  435. Phil Clarke says:

    SimonH

    “‘Unless we announce disasters, no one will listen'” – Sir John Houghton, first Chairman of the IPPC Scientific working Group 1994.
    These are the very first words of ‘The Real Global Warming Disaster’, a book by journalist Christopher Booker. The source given is Houghton’s book ‘Global Warming: The Complete Briefing’. The same quote is featured Viscount Monckton in his presentations and if you Google it you will find many instances around the net.  This is the quote I meant.
    It’s a useful quote if you’re spinning a ‘corruption of science’ narrative as it gives the strong impression that a senior member of the IPCC is alarmist. Only trouble is – Houghton never wrote it, and it appears nowhere in the book. So rather than reflecting Houghton’s alarmism, the facts actuall reflect unprofessional journalism by leading sceptical authors.
    Ooops! Once this emerged, the hunt was on for something that Houghton did say that could be stood in its place. Hence the unearthing of his unremarkable observation that human beings tend to ignore potential problems until they become serious. This never has been, and never would be the start of anybody’s book, as it is a general statement about human nature, rather than specifically connected to the IPCC and climate change policy. Prior to this February, almost nobody was aware of this second quotation, ……

  436. SimonH says:

    Robin Levett #439: “OK SimonH; assuming that the quote is accurate, what is your problem with the words attributed to Houghton in the Sunday Torygraph?”
     
    As I said to Mr Clarke, the Houghton quote/misquote is a poor example.
     
    Houghton was misquoted but substantially the implication of Houghton’s actual words was not lost in the misquotation and carries from direct quote to misquote. It matters because trust matters, and it matters because when Houghton says (of the misquote) “It’s not the sort of thing I would ever say. It’s quite the opposite of what I think and it pains me to see this quote being used repeatedly in this way. I would never say we should hype up the risk of climate disasters in order to get noticed” it becomes difficult to trust Sir John. Or to keep a straight face, for that matter. Trust is a delicate thing, not to be abused.

  437. Phil Clarke says:

    Keith – My reply to SimonH is held up in moderation – we are talking past each other!

  438. Phil Clarke says:

    “I am pleased to accept Dr Peiser’s apology for his use of a false quotation (“unless we announce disaster, no one will listen”) that bolstered his accusation that both I and the IPCC deliberately exaggerated the evidence for human induced climate change and its likely consequences.
    The new quote Dr Peiser has found is from an interview in 1995: “If we want a good environmental policy in the future we’ll have to have a disaster. It’s like safety on public transport. The only way humans will act is if there’s been an accident.” The first sentence requires the second two sentences to provide the context for the whole quotation. It is wrong to describe the false quotation as derivative from or supported by the quotation from 1995. Their contexts are very different as is what they say. The 1995 quotation describes how attitudes might change in response to disasters after they have actually occurred. It cannot be used to prove that I am alarmist or that I promote exaggeration .”
    Sir John Houghton

    Letter to the Observer http://www.guardian.co.uk/theobserver/2010/feb/28/observer-letters-arts-funding

  439. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH:

    “Houghton was misquoted but substantially the implication of Houghton’s actual words was not lost in the misquotation and carries from direct quote to misquote. ”

    This is where the problem lies.  A fair reading of Houghton’s full quote is:

    “It takes an actual disaster to get people’s attention; telling them, truthfully, that there’s going to be a disaster won’t do so. ”

    The misquote is taken as meaning:

    “We are going to have to tell people there will be a disaster so as to get their attention.”

    which is inaccurate on multiple levels.  In particular, the true quote reflects on the futility of telling people there will be a disaster!

  440. SimonH says:

    Phil Clarke, Robin Levett: There are many different ways to interpret Houghton’s words in the genuine quote, but I accept that on balance the differentiation, as detailed by Robin, is fair. But we all also must accept that others may reasonably infer differently – interpretation being subjective, and significantly based on an individual’s interpretation of Houghton’s and Schneider’s ideological motivation. Clearly, rightly or wrongly, many far and wide have taken both Schneider’s and Houghton’s quotes and interpreted, or read them poorly. I do not believe, however, that this is an error attributable only to the “sceptic camp”. What has been interpreted by sceptics as a “red flag” has also been interpreted as a “green light” by AGW[+] proponents. The evidence for this is widespread, and is in no small part responsible for the divide between AGW[+/-].
     
    RPJ has today blogged on “Catastrophe Catnip“. I implore you to read it. Scientists have long courted media focus and have coached on impending catastrophe (Monbiot at The Guardian of course being one of the more prominent examples, with Black and Harrabin in hot pursuit). IF scientists do not concur with the assertions their friends in the “excited media” are making, they have a duty to counter the misinformation – as much as they perceive it is their duty to counter sceptical misinformation – and if they do not do so, then it is perfectly reasonable to interpret their silence as complicity by omission in the communication of that misinformation. This failure to act in no small way, by extension, feeds suspicion of both Houghton and Schneider.

  441. Tim Williams says:

    SimonH.
    Having been implored to do so, I read it .
     
    It’s not true.
     
    IPCC AR4 synthesis report: “Heavy precipitation events. Frequency increases over most areas      Very likely      Damage to crops; soil erosion, inability to cultivate land due to waterlogging of soils      Adverse effects on quality of surface and groundwater; contamination of water supply; water scarcity may be relieved      Increased risk of deaths, injuries and infectious, respiratory and skin diseases      Disruption of settlements, commerce, transport and societies due to flooding: pressures on urban and rural infrastructures; loss of property”
     

  442. SimonH says:

    Tim Williams, there’s arguably much flex in RPJ’s specific reference to AR4 but I disagree that the thrust of his point is “not true” with respect to “coat-racking” future catastrophic climate change model predictions* on the Pakistan floods. It’s emotive alarmism in the specific context of our discussion about Houghton and disasters.
     
    * Remember, kids, a computer model is not an experiment. Its results are not evidence.

  443. SimonH says:

    Further to my footnote, here is Professor Michael Kelly writing notes to Professor Hand, while they were reviewing the CRU papers in connection with the Oxburgh report:
    “I take real exception to having simulation runs described as experiments (without at least the qualification of ‘computer’ experiments). It does a disservice to centuries of real experimentation and allows simulations output to be considered as real data. This last is a very serious matter, as it can lead to the idea that real ‘real data’ might be wrong simply because it disagrees with the models! That is turning centuries of science on its head.”

  444. GaryM says:

    You know, I knew I had heard this story somewhere before.
    “And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. Make thee an ark of gopher wood….And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  “(Genesis Ch.6)
     
    It’s just been rewritten:
     
    And [the IPCC] looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted [Gaia’s] way upon the earth. And [the IPCC] said unto [the taxpayers], The end of all flesh is come before [us]; for the earth is filled with [CO2] through them; and, behold, [it] will destroy them with the earth. Make thee a [cap and trade]….And, behold, [CO2] do[es] bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under [the UN]; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.”  (IPCC AR4)

  445. Laursaurus says:

    Alright, Gary!
    I compared Noah’s Arc to climate change alarmism on a previouw thread. The earth destroyed by flood is a reoccurring theme.
    Also, Noah prioritized protecting animal species threatened with extinction (and saving his family). All the evil, wicked humans who wouldn’t heed his warning deserved to die.
    Sound familiar?

  446. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    Gary, I know it is humour, but I have a serious question. Does the IPCC AR4, anywhere, make policy recommendations such as cap and trade?
     
    I don’t think so, but then again, I really only am familiar with WG1, as that is my own interest in the subject. I’ve glanced at the others; WG3 would be the only place I’d expect to see such things mentioned; but not as recommendations. That is not the IPCC role, if I understand it. Science gives information which policy makers (should)  take into account, but making particular choices on a government or society response is beyond the scope of the IPCC, I think.
     
    It seems to me that by far the major reason for the large difference between public perceptions of what is known about climate and perceptions in the working scientific community is that the public debate is bedevilled by concerns about policy — indeed about any suggestion that governments might seek to regulate or manage industry in any way at all — and people simply go way over the top in “skepticism” about any science that might be a basis for policy. Its not rational, and it distorts the information which any policy choice should ideally take into account.

  447. SimonH says:

    Chris, #451: I don’t think many sceptics have a problem with policy based on sound, dispassionate science. The concern is that too much of the science being done is apparently ideologically tainted, advocacy research. There is too much to suggest that the science is being fashioned to fit the policy rather than the other way around. The cart has been placed before the horse, so to speak. Some of us are calling for a moratorium on world-afflicting policy decisions while the extent of the damage to the science is determined, the influence removed and the integrity of the science re-established. Science of course has its place – it’s essential for good policy. But only good, dispassionate science in accordance with the scientific method can underpin a good policy, otherwise it’s the old “garbage in, garbage out” issue.

  448. GaryM says:

    Chris,
    I am no expert on the AR4, but I don’t think that document makes the claims made by the more, energetic shall we say, advocates.  My post was “inspired’ by Tim Williams’ comment (446) which does quote the AR4.  As to cap and trade, James Hansen has already endorsed one version of cap and trade, and I think Gavin Smith’s comment (33) suggests rather firmly he believes such a system is called for.
    As far as the “public debate [being] bedevilled by concerns about policy,”  I think that is precisely what the public debate should be about.  Also, I could not disagree more strongly with your comment that skepticism is not rational.  Judith Curry, Steve McIntyre, et al. are certainly not. And while I am aware that as a conservative I am probably seen as a superstitious, opinionated, illiterate, backwoods bumpkin around here, my skepticism is not irrational either.
     
    Laursaurus,
    On the other hand, in the Bible Noah was right, and look at what happened to those who ignored the warning.

  449. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH #452:
     
    “The concern is that too much of the science being done is apparently ideologically tainted, advocacy research.”
     
    Name 10 important climatology papers that you say fall into this category.

  450. SimonH says:

    Robin, I didn’t say that any do. Are you claiming that no concern has been expressed that climate sciences have been ideologically tainted?

  451. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH:
    “Robin, I didn’t say that any do. Are you claiming that no concern has been expressed that climate sciences have been ideologically tainted?”
     
    So you do not share the concern, and believe that “sceptics” are full of it when they make that claim?

  452. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH:
    “I don’t think many sceptics have a problem with policy based on sound, dispassionate science.”
     
    was what you opened your reference to ideologically tainted science with.  If you are correct in (i) not saying that any important climatology papers are so tainted, and (ii) that not many sceptics have a problem other than with such papers, then how is this consistent with the rejection of much of climate science by so many “sceptics”.

  453. Lazar says:

    Bishop Hill,
    Sure.
    I think you ought to state…
    a) what series were dropped by Mann (2003), according to their account
    b) which series are considered “key indicators” and the source(s) for those claim(s)
    c) any disagreements with a) or b)

  454. JohnB says:

    Robin and SimonH. I think part of the problem is identification. While reasonable science may convince one to act, a lot of the supposed “bad” things the policy will be trying to avoid are coming from advocate literature and not solid science. This situation is not helped by the advocacy units intentionally muddying the waters.

    For example the “Woods Hole Research Centre” is an obvious attempt to piggyback on the good name of the “Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute”. Those who willfully and intentionally mislead through their name do not inspire confidence in the honesty of their research.

    Many times in climate debates I’ve gone looking for the data behind a “paper” only to find it was never published but was a “report” from people like WHRC and not WHOI. Oddly it’s always presented as a “paper from Woods Hole.”)

    Unfortunately, when your ideological bend is that you know better then everybody else and you are saving the world from itself, then that justifies pretty much anything you want.

    The bottom line is that you cannot have advocates in the game and have dispassionate science. The two are mutually exclusive. And as soon as science stops being dispassionate, it stops being “science”.

  455. SimonH says:

    JohnB: “The bottom line is that you cannot have advocates in the game and have dispassionate science. The two are mutually exclusive. And as soon as science stops being dispassionate, it stops being “science”.”
     
    Quite so.
     
    Robin, you’re developing a pattern, now, of trying to manoeuvre me from my position as an observer to that of a protagonist. I sense you’re trying to line up a skittle to take pot shots at. I’ll give you a feeder:
     
    I believe there is much in evidence in the public domain to give reason to suspect that some practices within the subject of paleo reconstructions amount to unscientific behaviour – what MP Graham Stringer described as “anti-scientific”.
     
    I further believe that neither the Oxburgh nor Muir Russell enquiries were either diligent nor sincere in their endeavours. They did not address the issues raised by sceptics or by the Climategate emails and documents.
     
    I believe that there is reason to conclude that scientists have acted inappropriately, by courting – and allowing themselves to be courted by – political NGOs and in so doing have both called the integrity of sciences broadly into question (the net result of which, longer term, may not be a bad thing.. but that’s a story for another day) and have also severely undermined the credibility of scientists across all climate sciences.
     
    I do NOT believe that all climate sciences have been compromised, and I believe that GOOD work is being done in most disciplines, but I believe that there is a sufficient weight of evidence of anti-scientific behaviour in KEY areas such that it would be an act of gross negligence to form policy based on science in this state.
     
    I further believe that the responsibility for the damage to climatology, and to policy, rests entirely on the shoulders of those climatologists responsible for breaches of the scientific method and on their universities for their failure to ensure that the standard of academic work being performed in their names was maintained at the highest level.

  456. Tom Fuller says:

    FWIW, while I agree with SimonH at 460, I don’t think the scientists went out looking for sponsors or patrons. I think they were approached. Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the IPCC was approached and then went to the paleoclimatologists.
     
    Idle speculation, we’ll probably never know…

  457. richyRich says:

    @Tom Fuller #461
    Actually, I wouldn’t be surprised if the IPCC was approached and then went to the paleoclimatologists.
    Idle speculation, we’ll probably never know…
     
    How are book sales coming along?

  458. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH #460:
     
    “Robin, you’re developing a pattern, now, of trying to manoeuvre me from my position as an observer to that of a protagonist. I sense you’re trying to line up a skittle to take pot shots at.”
     
    Not at all.  I do however see claims like:
     
    “I believe that there is a sufficient weight of evidence of anti-scientific behaviour in KEY areas such that it would be an act of gross negligence to form policy based on science in this state.”
     
    as non-neutral.  I had the (mis)fortune to be exposed to S Fred Singer’s presentation on climate change when he did his sales tour a couple of years ago.  His thesis was superficially plausible, and he plays the white-haired professor schtick to perfection; but when you started digging into any of his claims, they are exposed as so much hot air.  If its a contest of credibility, I ain’t going for SFS or his ilk.
     
    As for:
     
    “I further believe that the responsibility for the damage to climatology, and to policy, rests entirely on the shoulders of those climatologists responsible for breaches of the scientific method and on their universities for their failure to ensure that the standard of academic work being performed in their names was maintained at the highest level.”
     
    well…  You demand perfection of climatologists, while giving little credit for the damage to their reputation to the constant barrage of attacks from denialists and the false balance demanded by mass media organisations.  AiT and TGGWS, for example, are held up as equivalents (Dimmock wanted TGGWS sent out with AiT to provide balance); that shows you how balanced the presentation is.
     
    The basic facts *are* clear; we have dug up and dumped into the atmosphere (as CO2) a significant amount of carbon, which has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.  We know that CO2 is a GHG and have reasonably good quantitative constraints on its effect as such.  We know therefore that, unless some unknown mechanism is operating, we are going to see higher global  temperatures (simply because it is a GHG) and a lower bound on those higher temperatures.  We see higher temperatures already.  We also know that there are feedbacks operating to amplify the CO2 induced warming; such as that a warmer atmosphere will take up more water vapour, itself a GHG.  None of this is, so far as I can see, in any way scientifically controversial, whatever SFS or the SPPI may say.
     
    We are operating a huge experiment – not just with GHGs – on quite how much stress the earth’s ecology can take before flipping into a configuration that is much less favourable to human life, or at least the current human civilisation.  If a scientist were operating an experiment with such huge potential adverse outcomes, he would be required to justify continuing the experiment; and if he couldn’t give some very high degree of confidence that those outcomes wouldn’t happen, then he would have to shut the experiment down.  The burden is on the S Fred Singers of this world to reassure us that tobacco is safe – sorry, that anthropogenic CO2 won’t have these effects.

  459. Robin Levett says:

    …one last point: I too am an observer.  I have had no formal scientific education since age 18, which was “a few” years ago.  I have however remained interested and have tried to follow the debate.  I do see many similarities between the creation/evolution tussles and that over AGW.

  460. Yarmy says:

    <em>The basic facts *are* clear; we have dug up and dumped into the atmosphere (as CO2) a significant amount of carbon, which has increased the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.  We know that CO2 is a GHG and have reasonably good quantitative constraints on its effect as such.  We know therefore that, unless some unknown mechanism is operating, we are going to see higher global  temperatures (simply because it is a GHG) and a lower bound on those higher temperatures.  We see higher temperatures already.  We also know that there are feedbacks operating to amplify the CO2 induced warming; such as that a warmer atmosphere will take up more water vapour, itself a GHG. </em>
     
    See, I agree with all that yet it’s important to get some perspective from sources other than the usual suspects. For example,
    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/columnist/aprilholladay/2006-08-07-global-warming-truth_x.htm?csp=34
    (I picked Craig Bohren only because he’s written some terrific books for the layman on atmospheric science).
    It’s possible to understand that AGW is a real phenomenon and one that should be acted upon without being deeply uncomfortable with the behaviour of certain individuals (in the paleoclimatology arena in particular).

  461. SimonH says:

    Robin, I won’t labour on this, I’ll just pick off your assertions about my observations for the sake of clarity.
     
    “I do however see claims like: [..] as non-neutral.”
     
    That may how you see things, but my position isn’t non-neutral, it’s a result of evidential reasoning.
     
    “If its a contest of credibility”
     
    It isn’t a contest of credibility. There’s only one horse in the climate science credibility race: “Paleo-Pony”.
     
    “You demand perfection of climatologists [..]”
     
    Not quite. I demand science of climatologists. I demand adherence to the scientific method. I demand the highest standards of integrity and I will accept nothing less. Too much? Too bad.
     
    “[..] while giving little credit for the damage to their reputation to the constant barrage of attacks from denialists and the false balance demanded by mass media organisations.”


    The damage to the reputations of climate scientists has been exacted by themselves. Their behaviour has been abysmal and their reputations have suffered in direct proportion. Blaming sceptics for the damage to climate scientists’ reputations is akin to dropping a piano on someone and accusing gravity of murder.
     

  462. Marco says:

    JohnB: the Woods Hole Research Center was established in Woods Hole, Massachusetts. That happens to be the same place as the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. Misleading? Why? Or is the University of Massachusetts trying to mislead the public by using the same city in its name as the Massachusetts Institute of Technology?

    But more importantly, you can’t use an ad hominem to dismiss the research from the WHRC. There simply is no evidence that its research, published in a wide diversity of well-recognised peer-reviewed scientific journals, is flawed, misleading or anything else negative.

    You also claim: “Many times in climate debates I’ve gone looking for the data behind a “paper” only to find it was never published but was a “report” from people like WHRC and not WHOI. Oddly it’s always presented as a “paper from Woods Hole.”)”.
    I have a simple request: point me to such examples.

    Finally, it is quite amusing to have Judith Curry calling for open dialogue with dissenting voices, and then have JohnB outright dismissing information from an organisation which ideological standpoint he does not like.

  463. Marco says:

    Gawd, Massachusetts a city…sigh. Make that “same state” in my previous message, instead of “same city”.

  464. Steven Mosher says:

    richeyRich.
    Book sales are fine. As we note in the book, citing the abuses in pharma science, Money doesnt change the answer. Money changes the questions.
    The question, what C02 levels are “safe”, of necessity pushes one towards answers that, while true, are overly narrow. It further constrains policy decisions to those covered by the answers. Hence it drives policy toward a global reduction of C02, and of necessity, global treaties. That solution, while technologically correct may be politically unmanageable. So the question predetermines a style of answer. which constrains the policy options.
    Suggest you do some reading on adaptive management as a alternative to scientific management.
    Another way to look at it is this. The prospect of getting a global solution is uncertain. The precautionary principle can be applied here as well. We would do well to consider local mitigation and adaptation paths to mitigate against the risk of failed global solutions. Simply, putting all your eggs in the basket of global controls of C02 is very risky.
     

  465. Hank Roberts says:

    Tim Lambert is right again.
    SM wrote:  “the warm 1990s – which should be an ideal period to show the merit of the proxies …”
    — but, duh, we know both CO2 and temperature have changed very fast since the 1970s, we know the divergence problem for some species of trees in some locations emerged in that time span, we know ocean plankton has declined rapidly in recent decades, we know glaciers have mostly melted losing the upper layers — so we’d expect those data from updating those proxies to be bollixed and not useful to validate the older data from before the CO2 increase. So why should we focus on tree data we expect to be bollixed by climate change, rather than using the data from ice cores, ocean sediments, and trees collected before the CO2 rise?  Hmmmm.
    Then SM quotes Mann as saying, replying to someone’s question about updating paleo proxies:
    While paleoclimatologists are attempting to update
    many important proxy records to the present, this is a costly, and labor-intensive activity, often requiring expensive field campaigns that involve traveling with heavy equipment to difficult-to-reach locations (such as high-elevation or remote polar sites).”
    Yep, Tim’s right.  You have to read the quote in context to know Mann was not answering SM about bristlecones there.

  466. Sashka says:

    Wow! What a thread! Too bad I missed it.
    I’ll just add quickly that Gavin’s denial of heavy moderation of dissenting opinion is essentially a lie. He may me technically correct when he says that they filter out some comments from the warmists but it doesn’t matter because there are so many of them. They have the luxury of (maybe) deleting the most outrageous ad homs but they leave in enough. With the skeptics, they don’t just filter out ad homs. They delete whatever is inconvenient to answer. That’s the difference.
     

  467. RickA says:

    Sashka #471:
    I don’t think we should throw around the word “lie” so easily.
    A lie implies intent to deceive.
    I have been moderated myself at RC and complained about it above.
    However, I prefer to think Gavin is merely mistaken with his comments about moderation at RC.
    I do not think Gavin is lying (in my opinion).

  468. Sashka says:

    He says he is not a diplomat and neither am I.
    Moreover, IMO the intent is actually there.  At least in one instance, I got into direct email contact with him trying to get him to publish a comment regarding an error in the model code (with reference to the source of the info) and he still refused. That’s not a mistake, that’s a policy.

  469. Keith Kloor says:

    Sashka,

    Your personal grudges against RC and Gavin are OT.  Also, your acidic tone is not constructive.

  470. Sashka says:

    KK: you brought up the issue of moderation in the post. How is it OT?

  471. Hank Roberts says:

    > difficult-to-reach
    “… an ice cap perched precariously on the edge of a 16,000-foot-high Indonesian mountain ridge ….
    This project is largely focused on capturing a record of ENSO….”
    http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/puncakjaya.htm
    New blog:  http://researchnews.osu.edu/blog/
     

  472. JohnB says:

    #467 Marco. I think you were correct to pull me up on this, as I wrote in haste. WHRC came to mind for two reasons and I’ll try to explain better this time.

    Concerning the name. I’m from a background of business and business names have much advertising power.  The WHOI is long established with a highly commendable reputation for exceptional science. Along comes an advocacy group that decides to start up in the same city and use a name remarkably similar to the well established name.

    This is called “cashing in on the good name of…..” and depending on how close the second name is, is either immoral but good business tactics, or illegal. Since the WHRC is still operating, I think we can go with immoral, or unethical if you prefer. YMMV on this, but that is how I see it. WHRC did not have to set up in Woods Hole, they chose to. It was a deliberate decision to use the reputation of the WHOI as a boost.

    I find such actions unethical. More so in this case because an advocacy group is using the name of an impartial research centre to further their aims.

    If you really wish, I will dig back through 3 or 4 years worth of internet debate and find the references for you. Again, my point was poorly worded and perhaps unfairly used WHRC as an example. The point was more that there is a lot of “grey” literature wandering around and it is very frustrating trying to sort out the peer reviewed from the grey rather than pointing a finger at a particular org. It is even more confusing when orgs like WHRC publish in both peer reviewed and non peer reviewed journals.

    Note the recent kerfuffle about the Amazon and glaciers to see what happens when you mix grey in with peer reviewed literature. Or simply the citizens audit of the AR4, like it or not, a lot of grey got mixed in there.

    Marco, is that more understandable? I certainly think it’s phrased better.

    The second point or problem that I have with advocacy groups is that they masquerade as science in many areas. The key to science is that it is dispassionate whereas the defining criteria of the advocate is passion.

    The two are mutually exclusive. Someone may do research and they may publish anywhere they want to, they can do so if passionate about their subject, one could argue that passion for the subject is required. However, once they step over the line into advocacy, then they have removed themselves from the very basic tenet of science itself, impartiality.

    You can be impartial, or you can be an advocate. My problem with orgs like WHRC is that they claim to be both. Simply not possible. Either these orgs are out to fool people, or they are simply fooling themselves.

    It’s sort of like someone calling themselves an “impartial fundamentalist christian” in a debate on religion. Somehow I don’t think so.

    Does all that explain my position and thinking better?

  473. Marco says:

    JohnB: it indeed explains your thinking better. But my opinion of you doesn’t get any better after reading what you wrote. Woodwall, who started the WHRC, was working in Woods Hole (founder and director of the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory). Of course he *could* have started the WHRC elsewhere. But he was already working in Woods Hole, and the research activities of WHRC have connection to both WHOI and MBL.

    I also have great trouble linking your comments about dispassionate science and advocacy to the real world. ALL people are advocates of something, and scientists WILL be advocates in some areas of their science. That does not mean their research can not be impartial. Moreover, for whatever reason you put doubt on the work of the WHRC because of its advocacy, but I doubt you would question the work of Sallie Baliunas (George C. Marshall Institute), Bob Carter (NZCSC and more), Chris de Freitas (ibid), etc etc. There are many, many so-called skeptics who have published work on climate change, and who have associated themselves to thinktanks and advocacy groups. Groups, notably, who are not shy to publish false (e.g., NZCSC) and/or libelous (e.g., SPPI) information.

    You CAN be both, but it requires good personal and institutional ethics. I have not seen anyone provide any evidence that the WHRC has passed the line and made false claims or statements.

    And the “citizen audit” of AR4 was a joke. Any and all books (+book chapters) and IPCC reports were labelled ‘grey’.

    Finally, please do give me some examples. Three will do.

  474. Hank Roberts says:

    You can be an advocate and a scientist.  Few people bother becoming experts in matters they don’t find fascinating.
    Nobody’s worried about the electron going extinct, or gravity becoming scarce, or photons being wiped out.
    The real world we live in attracts scientists too, you know.  And they will, passionately, tell you what’s being lost.
    “… the habitat destruction is unbelievable. This is photograph, a typical photograph of what the continental shelves of the world look like. You can see the rows in the bottom, the way you can see the rows in a field that has just been plowed to plant corn. What that was, was a forest of sponges and coral, which is a critical habitat for the development of fish. What it is now is mud. And the area of the ocean floor that has been transformed from forest to level mud, to parking lot, is equivalent to the entire area of all the forests that have ever been cut down on all of the earth in the history of humanity. And we’ve managed to do that in the last 100 to 150 years.”
    — Jeremy Jackson, found at http://www.theoildrum.com/node/6474

  475. SimonH says:

    Of course you can be passionate about a subject and be a scientist in the same subject. But if your personal ideology can be directly inferred from your scientific paper, then you’re doing it wrong.

  476. Shub says:

    Being an advocate and a scientist is like getting married to two people.

  477. Marco says:

    SimonH: care to give some examples?

  478. Hank Roberts says:

    > if your personal ideology can be directly inferred
    You’re confusing ecology with ideology here.  Maybe you’re confusing science with ideology.  Maybe that’s the basic problem.
    Look at the “slow drips” topic for more examples.  There’s the beginning of a list — many problems are ignored because the externalized costs accrue slowly to the future while the profit-making activities causing them pay off quickly.
    As the Silicon Valley folks used to ask the venture capitalists — and the public health folks today ask the rich anti-vaccine nuts in Marin County, during a whooping cough epidemic  — “If you’re so damn rich why ain’t you smart?”
    Maybe people can’t afford to be smart if they want to be rich.
    Aldo Leopold had it figured out:
    “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”
    and
    “This sounds simple: do we not already sing our love for the obligation of the land of the free and the home of the brave? Yes, but just what and whom do we love? Certainly not the soil, which we are sending helter-skelter downriver. Certainly not the waters, which we assume have no function except to turn turbines, float barges, and carry off sewage. Certainly not the plants, of which we exterminate whole communities without batting an eye. Certainly not the animals, of which we have already extirpated many of the largest and most beautiful species. A land ethic of course cannot prevent the alteration, management, and use of these ‘resources’, but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state. In short, a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it. It implies respect for his fellow-members, and also respect for the community as such.”
    That’s not ideology. It’s information from scientific observation. It’s about rates of change and scales not observable without the scientific method and tools.
    It’s information.  It can be incorporated into any ideology that is capable of accepting new information about the world.
    This is one reason I was asking JC above what facts everyone in the scientific conversation _can_ agree on, down to the basic radiation physics numbers.  I think it’s one reason people like Roy Spencer are trying patiently to explain those same numbers to people who haven’t been able to incorporate them into their beliefs yet.
    You are, to paraphrase Moynihan, entitled to your own ideology, your own theology.
    You are not entitled to your own facts — not if you intend to share the world.
    When the facts say you are consuming the world, it’s time to change the ideology to accept the facts.
    When the science shows you the “slow drip” changes are happening, it’s time to pay attention.
    http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/phytoplankton-boyce
     

  479. GaryM says:

    “…a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it….That’s not ideology. It’s information from scientific observation.
     
    Yer honor….I rest my case.

  480. Hank Roberts says:

    Don’t rest until you learn how to use quotation marks, Gary.
    The “first name plus initial” gang often screws up quotes.
    Please try to be more skeptical, and smarter.

  481. GaryM says:

    googlemeister, school marm, self important, self impressed  AND a raving radical polemicist…an impressive combination.
     
    But it’s just science.
     
    “‘”¦a land ethic changes the role of Homo sapiens from conqueror of the land-community to plain member and citizen of it”¦.’ That’s not ideology. It’s information from scientific observation.”

  482. Hank Roberts says:

    “… information … about rates of change and scales not observable without the scientific method …. can be incorporated into any ideology that is capable of accepting new information about the world.”
    Try it with your belief system.  Can the information about rates of change that science provides be believed, within your ideology?  Can your ideology change when the facts change?
    Pick older examples, longer understood, better known, widely accepted — ozone/CFCs; leaded gasoline; antibiotic resistance; vaccination — do those fit in the world you believe?
    If you reject science generally, then best of luck to you.  If you reject specific information, but accept other results from science, then you can make up your own mind over time, and may change your mind based on the facts as you come to understand them.

  483. Hank Roberts says:

    PS, I should have credited this writer for quotes I used above; this piece has clear thinking about how people from many different belief systems, whether ideological or theological, can bring in facts about the real world as science leads us to them, and agree on basic ideas _that_change_ about how the world works:
    http://snr.unl.edu/powell/research/Powell_theology08.pdf

  484. Shub says:

    Hank
    Antibiotic resistance?
    The day AGW proponents stop giving their propaganda real-world analogies and examples, and talk about the real thing….

  485. Hank Roberts says:

    Shub, I’m trying to find out where we all do agree about science.  Seems like the basic CO2-warming connection is generally accepted, except for the people Spencer’s still explaining it to.
    What else do you believe is known that we agree on?  I suggested a few possibilities I think are widely accepted.  Any of ’em work for you?
    Where can we start that we agree on facts?  Pick a fact, one you agree the science is good on, see if others agree.

  486. Steve Reynolds says:

    Hank quoting: “A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

    Even if we agree completely on science, we may totally disagree on policy when our values are different.

    What you quote above is about values. Others may say: “A thing is right when it tends to improve the health and happyness of humans. It is wrong when it tends otherwise.”

  487. JohnB says:

    @Marco.
    1. Hm, I may have to reconsider my attitude to WHRC.
    2. I’ll get the examples, it might take a couple of days.
    3. The whole point of the citizen audit was to find grey material, that which was not peer reviewed. I don’t see your problem with it. Or do book chapters count as “peer reviewed” now?

    Wasn’t there some kerfuffle a little while ago about right wing fundies on the Texas School Board and changing textbooks?  If you don’t have a problem with referencing book chapters, then I can assume that if Creationists manage to get their crap into a textbook you will allow it to be quoted as “peer reviewed”?

    I know I bloody well wouldn’t.

    Concerning advocates and science. You can be an advocate and practice science, provided that your advocacy is in a different area than your research.

    An advocate is emotionally involved in the topic and has emotional capital in the outcome of research. Science to be science must be impartial and unemotional.

    The idea that a person can be both emotionally involved in the outcome of his research and also impartial is contrary to human nature.

    Is a scientist better then a judge? If a judge has any interest in a case, he must recuse himself to avoid partiality. The system is thus because experience has shown that impartiality goes out the window if the person judging has emotional involvment in the topic. This is acknowledged to be true in every field of human endeavour and any attempt to exclude science from this is nothing more than “Special Pleading”.

    Hank,
    “The “first name plus initial” gang often screws up quotes.”

    Making vague and pointless characterisations is hardly condusive to reasonable conversation. However if it is so terribly important to you. (And I assume it is since you bothered to mention it) I use JohnB simply because the first company I worked for that issued email addys had 4 Johns.

    We had JohnA, JohnB, JohnM and JohnS. I got used to it and tend to stick with it where possible. I admit to being rather psycho concerning my internet security and since I don’t have a blog or similar I see no need to post my real name on a public forum. Exactly why that should stigmatise me in some way I have yet to understand.

    Re your first reference;
     “….but it does affirm their right to continued existence, and, at least in spots, their continued existence in a natural state.”
    Sorry, but no. The concept here is that all species have the same rights (or similar) as humans. No species, not even humans has a “right to continued existence”, the simple fact that what? 99% of all species that ever lived are now extinct shows the basic fallacy here.

    Perhaps the author meant that they had the “right” in the face of mans encroachment on their habitat? This still doesn’t wok in reality. Although I find continual amazment that those with an “ecological” bent are quite happy to sit safe and sound in the West and declare that people in poorer nations should allow their children to feed the tigers.

    If an animal or group of animals threaten/s a human group then if possible the animals should be relocated, if they can’t be relocated, they die. (Depending on the situation, it might also be possible to relocate the humans.) I value human life above the lives of animals, do you?

    Re your second reference;
    “Are human children more worthy as a theological yardstick than young lions, young salamanders, young baboons, young trout, young eagles, or a section of land?”

    That the author can even ask that question throws his morals into question. The problem with this moral relativism can be simply illustrated.You have a human baby and a starving lion cub. Unless you feed the baby to the cub the cub will die. To be true to the espoused concept, since there are many more humans than lions and as the two (baby and cub) are worth the same morally, then it is correct to feed the child to the lion. Any other decision is a direct statement that the human life is worth more than the animals.

    Like many ideologies, it doesn’t survive contact with the real world.

    By all means get on your knees and worship Gaia if you wish, but don’t expect the rest of us to follow suit.

    “But if the welfare of human children is used as the yardstick for the moral decision in each instance””if we optimize our decisions for the benefit of human children””we may end up destroying a portion of the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community.”

    IOW, don’t make human survival the top priority in your considerations. Australia saw the result of that type of thinking not long ago. Too many died to repeat the mistake.

  488. JohnB says:

    Sorry, but I should have added in the first post.

    Marco your assumption is wrong.  I treat everything from any thinktank on either side as suspect. I really do try to walk the centre line.

    While I think it is reasonable to be more critical about something from an industry or green funded thinktank, to dismiss out of hand is wrong.

    Which is why I thought you correct to pull me up on doing just that. To be impartial and dispassionate is my goal and sometimes my own biases will get in the way.

    As an aside, I presume that those arguing that a person can be both a passionate advocate and do good science will agree that the logical conclusion of that is that those who are passionate advocates for, say, the oil industry can also do good science?

  489. Hank Roberts says:

    > the oil industry can also do good science?
    Chuckle.  I’m sure it was Gavin, years back at RC, who pointed out that much paleo science and modeling is done to define climates of the past, the climates in which large basins of sediment formed — because they find oil in those.  There is plenty of good science there.

  490. Marco says:

    JohnB: there are multiple issues with the “citizen audit”. First of all, it talked about “grey literature” without actually knowing what that is. For starters, “grey” does not equal “not peer reviewed” (and vice versa). Second, many books and book chapters ARE peer-reviewed, even many textbooks. I myself am editing a book where we will have the chapters peer reviewed. Third, IPCC reports, which are most definately peer reviewed, were also labeled as “grey”. Fourth, many government reports, but also reports by NGOs or international organisations like IAEA, are peer reviewed. It is the blind “not a journal THUS not peer reviewed” that shows how easily a citizen audit can fail due to ignorance. Note that my alarm bells went off immediately when the first chapter comments I read were by Donna Laframboise, in which she gave the benefit of the doubt to Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. Yeah, very obscure journal, that one.

  491. Marco says:

    JohnB: actually, I did not ask whether you considered something from a thinktank as suspicious. I wondered whether you considered the research by e.g. Bob Carter (University of Adelaide) or Chris de Freitas (University of Auckland) as suspicious. These two happen to have attached themselves to the NZCSC (amongst others).

    Being an advocate *can* affect one’s judgment, but it will depend on what type of advocacy. The WHRC can be called “passionate” about a healthy environment.

    In my opinion the problem is mainly when someone’s *ideology* (which is not the same as “passion”) is confrontational to the conclusions of one’s research. A young-earth creationist would find it difficult to publish research that indicates the earth is more than 6,000-8,000 years old. An anti-creationist would be less inclined to publish research that indicates the earth is only 6,000-8,000 years old. Most others ideologically do not care, whether atheist or religious. Something similar with a libertarian or communist (Soviet-style) thinktank: anything that would indicate that some limited government control is good, will be dismissed because it contradicts the ideology (as in “no government control” and “complete government control”, respectively). Or, to get back to WHRC: if it’s ideology was that humankind is the main sinner of environmental destruction, I’d be a whole lot more skeptical about their research.

    Finally, in response to your query: yes, I believe people that are passionate about oil companies can produce good research in that area. Sometimes passion results in perseverance, which then sometimes produces interesting results, while the dispassionate would already have given up.

  492. Deech56 says:

    JohnB @492 writes, “The idea that a person can be both emotionally involved in the outcome of his research and also impartial is contrary to human nature.”
     
    Those of us who have been involved in medical research would  challenge you on this. Nobody is “pro-disease” and we all hope that our research will be the key to preventing or treating disease. As Marco points out, passion can be a strong motivating factor, which is important i na field where one;’s efforts will usually lead to failure.
     
    But the way to get the science right is to continually challenge results through statistical testing, peer review and independent confirmation. A lot of ideas end up falling by the wayside, but the field progresses.

  493. Phil Clarke says:

    “The whole point of the citizen audit was to find grey material, that which was not peer reviewed.”
    I disagree. Audits have to be independent and impartial. This was more of a propaganda effort designed to discredit the IPCC. It was based on a logical fallacy, it is possible for an Assessment Report to be based on peer-reviewed science while at the same time referencing some non peer-reviewed material, which principle the IPCC rules acknowledge. For example the report references a diary entry from Sir Isaac Newton, our citizen auditors duly added this to the ‘non-peer-reviewed references’ total. Absurd. They also classed the numerous self-cites, that is, references to the current or previous ARs, as non-peer-reviewed even though these must be amongst the most reviewed documents on the planet.
    On book chapters, they failed to exercise due diligence on at least one occasion, adding a book chapter that was a straight reprint of a (widely-cited) journal article to the non-peer-reviewed total, presumably not reading beyond the first page where this information is clearly stated.  I ‘audited’ WG3 Ch1, one of the lowest-scoring chapters and the ‘citizen auditors’ number is at best less than half the true figure. Epic fail. Note also that even on this deeply flawed methodology, the chapters from WG1 – The Physical Science – score a minimum of 80%, and mainly >90%.
    PC

    PS Here’s the mis-classified paper http://scholar.google.co.uk/scholar?q=Modelling+uncertainty+of+induced+technological+change&hl=en&btnG=Search&as_sdt=2001&as_sdtp=on

  494. Robin Levett says:

    @SimonH #466:

    “The damage to the reputations of climate scientists has been exacted by themselves. Their behaviour has been abysmal and their reputations have suffered in direct proportion. Blaming sceptics for the damage to climate scientists’ reputations is akin to dropping a piano on someone and accusing gravity of murder.”

    I think this is the money quote from your comment.

    You claim that your views result from evidential reasoning.  Is this view supported by the evidence of the cherry-picked stolen emails, or does it rest on some other evidence, and if so what?

  495. Shub says:

    Robin
    Even without the emails, the behaviour of some climate scientists is pretty abysmal.

  496. GaryM says:

    “It was based on a logical fallacy, it is possible for an Assessment Report to be based on peer-reviewed science while at the same time referencing some non peer-reviewed material, which principle the IPCC rules acknowledge. ”
     
    The IPCC rules appear to explicitly allow non-peer reviewed literature to be cited (sec.4.2.3 and Annex II)(no reference to Newton required).  That is not the problem.  The problems are that: 1) IPCC spokesmen have claimed special authority for the AR4 based on the false claim, repeated frequently, that the assessment reports rely solely on peer reviewed literature; and 2) the IPCC did not follow its own rules regarding proper citation of non-peer reviewed literature.
     
    Annex II of the Principles Governing IPCC Work provides:  “Non-peer-reviewed sources will be listed in the reference sections of IPCC Reports. These will be integrated with references for the peer-reviewed sources. These will be integrated with references to the peer reviewed sources stating how the material can be accessed, but will be followed by a statement that they are not published.”  (emphasis added)
     
    No citizen audits should have been necessary.   Non-peer reviewed material should be identified as such.  Here is the citation from the AR4 regarding the disappearing Himalayan glacier:  “WWF (World Wildlife Fund), 2005: An overview of glaciers, glacier retreat, and subsequent impacts in Nepal, India and China. World Wildlife Fund, Nepal Programme, 79 pp.”  No  mention of it being “unpublished” as that term is used in the IPCC rules.
     
    It seems a bit much to criticize “citizen auditors” supposed errors in identifying what material in the AR4 was not peer reviewed, when the IPCC should have made that clear from the start.  Maybe the next time the IPCC can be honest about its policy, actually follow its policy, and do so in an objective way.

  497. Marco says:

    GaryM:
    First of all, any evidence that the WWF report was not peer reviewed? (ah, didn’t think of that possibility, eh!)

    Second, I think I’ll have to send (another) mail to the IPCC headquarters, since the citation you provide clearly contains a grievous error. One cannot equate “non-peer-reviewed” with “not published”. One can only equate “not published” with “not published” and “non-peer-reviewed” with “non-peer-reviewed”. The WWF report, for example, is published by a commercial publisher, just like most journals are. Published as in “published”. Perhaps even peer-reviewed, but we cannot see if it is.

  498. Shub says:

    Dear Marco
    We’ve dealt with the Laframboise Audit at length before. WWF reports are ‘reviewed’ by experts self-chosen by the WWF.

    That is not what peer-review is. Therefore, the WWF reports are not peer-reviewed, WWF’s own brainwashing and protestations notwithstanding.  This is clearly evident from the glacier error and the Amazon fire statement.

    The citizen audit was an effort to determine, how many of the cited publications, are well and truly, and definitely peer-reviewed. “How much can we be completely sure about?” About 5000+ out of 18,000 fail that test. This was undertaken primarily to answer Pachauri’s peer-review fetishism in the first place. No one in their right senses argued  that “peer-reviewed” literature is the only fount of valid knowledge – AGW proponents did that.

    If you want to argue against that – you are only bringing Pachauri’s original point down.

    The forms of review that you talk about – NGO reports, governmental reports, intergovernmental reports etc – is not what is understood as peer-review. That should be the end of the story because it was the IPCC and IPCC sympathizers who made an issue out of it in the first place.

  499. Hank Roberts says:

    > well and truly, and definitely peer-reviewed
    I forget, did they count “Energy & Environment” or not?

  500. GaryM says:

    Marco,
    First, before writing the comment you criticize I did read this from the IPCC:  “It has, however, recently come to our attention that a paragraph in the 938-page Working Group II
    contribution to the underlying assessment2 refers to poorly substantiated estimates of rate of recession and date for the disappearance of Himalayan glaciers. In drafting the paragraph in question, the clear and well-established standards of evidence, required by the IPCC procedures,
    were not applied properly.”  Is that good enough evidence for you that the IPCC ignored its own rules in including that little bit of information in the AR4?
     
    However, given the IPCC’s credibility issues, perhaps you are right and I should have investigated further.  Is that better?
     
    Second, yes, the paragraph I quoted was very poorly drafted.  But whatever term of art the IPCC used for non-peer reviewed citations, I did not find any that contained such qualifications.  My review was only cursory (maybe a dozen sections of the AR4), so if there are citations to non-peer reviewed literature that have an appropriate caveat in the AR4, it would be interesting to see them. That might also mitigate against the concerns about the IPCC ignoring its own rules.
     
    Can you point to an example where the IPCC did include the required caveat for non-peer reviewed literature in the AR4?  Anywhere?  And if not, can you explain why not?

  501. GaryM says:

    Marco,
    On second thought, let’s say the claim that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035 was peer reviewed. What would that say about the reliability of the process in catching even the most egregious factual errors? Sure you even want to suggest that argument?

  502. Robin Levett says:

    @Shub:

    “Even without the emails, the behaviour of some climate scientists is pretty abysmal.”

    Eg?

    I have seen it convincingly argued that science works not despite, but because of, the fact that scientists are human and prey to human faults.  The one unforgiveable sin is falsification of data; but I presume you’re not alleging that?

  503. Hank Roberts says:

    By the way, wossname up there postulated:
    > You have a human baby and a starving lion cub.
    > Unless you feed the baby to the cub the cub will die.
    Sorry, I don’t get myself into situations like that.  Plan better.

  504. Marco says:

    Yes, Shub, we discussed this before. You set up a strawman of what peer review is, consider some other types of peer review as not peer review, and presto, you can dismiss the IPCC reports, books and book chapters, reports, etc, as not peer reviewed.

    Moreover, Pachauri has never said the IPCC report is 100% based on peer reviewed science. Another strawman the ‘citizen auditors’ set up.

  505. Marco says:

    GaryM: there were a few instances where some of the authors of the chapters made poor choices. Good grief, humans are fallable. Who knew?

    Second, you’d have to look for unpublished information, not for “non-peer-reviewed”. As I noted, this very much looks like a mistake in the Annex II. I wonder whether there have been such references to non-published work at all, so it may well be a mute point. “Non-peer-reviewed” is extremely difficult to determine. Reports by the IEA, for example, are usually (perhaps even always) peer reviewed, but as far as I can tell they do not indicate this. Reports by many international organisations are often widely reviewed, although at times after publication (upon which corrections are issued). In fact, some of such reports are likely much more rigorously reviewed internally than the vast majority of scientific papers.

    Regarding your second comment: no one says peer review is infallable. If the 2035 statement was in a peer reviewed paper, it would still be wrong. Egregious factual errors are not always caught. It does not say anything specific about the peer review process, other than what I stated before: it is not infallable. The problem is only when it gets spread around in other publications. Most scientists, however, do not base their work on one publication. In the case of the Himalayas, it was clear that for this chapter they lacked a glaciologist (after all, WG1 did get the science on the Himalayas right). Lesson learned: get an expert to check your comments.

    Of course, ‘skeptic’ reviewers massively attacked the IPCC reports on all kinds of things, not uncommonly throwing in their ideological view, but somehow they missed this one…

  506. Artifex says:

    Marco: You might want to take a step back, take a deep breath and take a look at where your argument is leading you. I myself tend to be more skeptical of the peer review process and place much more stock in the technical arguments made so I am sympathetic to your more liberal view of peer review, but lets take a quick look at where that leads us shall we ?
    If you can argue that WWF ‘experts’ constitute a completely valid form of peer review on their own papers, why cannot I make the counter claim that Climate Audit is also peer reviewed. In fact my case is better than yours. I can show that there is decades more direct statistical experience at Climate Audit then at RealClimate.
     
    By your own definition of peer review, you no longer have the excuse “well we can ignore this it’s not peer reviewed” Given that your tribe has the propensity to argue from authority instead of directly addressing technical questions, I would think this is not the rhetorical “win” you think it is.
     

  507. Shub says:

    Artifex,
    Let us think in that direction. That would mean realizing Marco’s argument is like the snake biting its own tail. Instead, let us argue for environmental pressure groups to produce literature that can be included in the IPCC reports because they are ‘peer-reviewed’ – I don’t know how.

    The point is, if you argue that ‘y’ is true and not ‘x’, and ‘x’ being a skeptical argument put forth in the first place to counter ‘z’ – you have conceded ‘z’.

    If  you want all kinds of printed matter to make it to the IPCC – don’t bash on skeptics because they don’t publish in the peer-reivewed literature. That is where this started.

  508. GaryM says:

    Marco (509):  “Moreover, Pachauri has never said the IPCC report is 100% based on peer reviewed science. Another strawman the “˜citizen auditors’ set up.”
    1. “Given that it is all on the basis of peer-reviewed literature. I’m not sure there is any better process that anyone could have followed.”
    2. “IPCC relies entirely on peer reviewed literature in carrying out its assessment and follows a process that renders it unlikely that any peer reviewed piece of literature, however contrary to the views of any individual author, would be left out.
    3. “IPCC studies only peer-review science. Let someone publish the data in a decent credible publication. I am sure IPCC would then accept it, otherwise we can just throw it into the dustbin.”

    (emphasis added in each)
     
    I guess we can now argue the meaning of “all,” “entirely,” and “only.”

     
    “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”  (Bill Clinton)

     

  509. TerryMN says:

    Steven Sullivan @437
    That was a spectacular job of avoiding the question. I’m not interested in what you posted earlier, and/or whether I misconstrued it.  I’m interested in *your* answer to the question I asked you.  Nothing more.  Thank you.

  510. JohnB says:

    #508 Hank Roberts. It’s not my fault if your philisophical constructs can’t handle basic morality questions. Perhaps you moral philosophy needs some work. 🙂

    A thought on government etc reports and reviews of said reports. I think it wise to remember that systems differ from nation to nation. The way an EPA report into something in the US is handled is very different from how a Royal Commission report is handled in Australia.

    When we write about reports and their methods, we write WRT our experience in our own system, but the reader interprets the comment WRT his experience in his system. They may not be the same.

    #497 Deech56. I think you misunderstood me. A person can be passionate about their field of study. (I think that you would pretty much have to be to be any good.)

    My point was (and in keeping your medical theme) if there are two possible therapies and a person is a passionate supporter of “Therapy A”, then it is against human nature to expect them to give an unbiased comparison of the two therapies. Because they passionately favour “Therapy A” they have already decided what the outcome of the comparison should be.

    Concerning the citizens audit. I never took it to be anything other than a check of the claims made by Pachauri that the IPCC relies entirely on peer reviewed literature. As GaryM shows above, the claims were made.

    The audit, even flawed as it was showed those claims to be false. Pachauri was at best exaggerating and at worst lying. Given that the IPCC had procedures in place for the referencing of Grey literature he must have known that grey reports were in the AR4 and we can only put his statements as propaganda (exaggeration) or lies.

    Which of course begs the question. If everything is so sound and above board, why did he feel the need to exaggerate or lie on a number of occasions? 

    “The WWF report, for example, is published by a commercial publisher, just like most journals are.”

    Marco, the problem with this line of reasoning is that MAD Magazine is “published by a commercial publisher” too. Published as in “published”. Perhaps even peer-reviewed, but we cannot see if it is. 😉

  511. Judith Curry says:

    Not sure if you have caught the emerging hoopla about a new hockey stick paper, by leading statisticians, to be published (in press) by a leading statistics journal.  It is being discussed at climateaudit and WUWT.   WUWT has a diagram of the new hockey stick with a warm MWP.  This paper looks like the real deal to me, i look forward to seeing how the discussion on this evolves.

  512. SimonH says:

    Word in the comments at WUWT is that Romm and Tamino are deleting comments, on sight, which make any reference to this paper. If I hadn’t already read the paper and could see its significance for myself, then noting Tamino and Romm’s behaviour would lead me to that conclusion alone 😉

  513. Judith Curry says:

    To be expected from Romm.  I would have expected better from Tamino (but not anymore).  Will be interesting to watch RC.

  514. wildlifer says:

    As Gavin has stated, it’s not just the denialist’s posts that get moderated. Several of mine have been, either due to being off-topic or ill-advised, and/or repetitive.
    I learned from those situations, corrected the error and reposted without difficulties.
    Unless Romm or Tamino have a thread devoted to the paper (Tamino didn’t, last I looked) any such references to it would be OT in the current threads.
    Although, there is at least one reference to it at Open Mind: http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/08/13/changes/#comment-43765
    So, the denialists are lying/distorting the case again.

  515. SimonH says:

    wildlifer #519: “So, the denialists are lying/distorting the case again.”
     
    I’ll be perfectly frank, wildlifer, I don’t think there’s any point, with the depth of analysis AND defence of moderation policies at blogs like RC that we’ve had at this blog, to perpetuate the myth that the denialists are lying about extreme moderation policies there. Rather than cause yourself further embarrassment, you should read the “Gavin’s Perspective” post and comments in full before making such daft claims.
     

  516. wildlifer says:

    SimonH,
    I don’t doubt that they are moderated, especially if they are posting the trash they post elsewhere and especially if they’re repeating points even after being corrected, as they do elsewhere.  What I doubt is the claim they shouldn’t be moderated, that the posts were “innocent”  and not derogatory, ad hom, repetitive tripe etc as they are elsewhere and were so brilliant it’s a travesty the posts didn’t see the light of day.
    They’re no different from the creationists we biologists have been dealing with for decades in that respect.
    I mean, heck, RC even let The Lawds posts through… And Watts moderated one of my comments just for challenging The Lawds reading comprehension skills (He still thinks IPCC scenarios are predictions despite emphatic statements by the IPCC that they are not).
    Go figure.
     
     

  517. SimonH says:

    Meh.. wildlifer, this is where I’m at with the moderation. You’d probably agree with much of it. But we’re so much further along these days and you clearly have some reading to do (and possibly some attitude adjustment/self moderation) if you intend to catch this wave.

  518. SimonH says:

    Ack! I’m so sorry! In my hurry to dismiss you out of hand, wildlifer, I forgot to ask you what you thought of the Wyner & McShane paper?

  519. wildlifer says:

    SimonH,
    Re:522
    That’s some interesting spin. It conflicts with reality I’ve observed of the posts there, but as long as it keeps you warm at night.
    Re:523 Where are the error bars/uncertainties?
    They don’t even exclude the “hockey stick” do they?

  520. SimonH says:

    Wildlifer #524: They use Mann’s data, including the series we know are problematic but which Mann keeps slipping in there anyway. They make the assumption that the data used by Mann is collected in accordance with the standards expected in the discipline. Knowing the issues with certain proxy series included by Mann, of course, this is a big leap.
     
    If it’s error bars you’re looking for, fast forward to p36 and p37. You’ll be well satisfied.

  521. wildlifer says:

    Simon,
    Right.  The “hockey stick” still fits well within them … Tempest. Teapot.

  522. J Bowers says:

    516 Judith Curry: “To be expected from Romm.  I would have expected better from Tamino (but not anymore).  Will be interesting to watch RC.”
    Don’t worry Judith, both Joe Romm and RC deleted posts of mine the other day simply because they were off topic. A bit like how WUWT does from time to time.
     
    517 SimonH: “Word in the comments at WUWT is that Romm and Tamino are deleting comments, on sight, which make any reference to this paper.”
    Funnily enough it’s being discussed in Tamino’s Changes thread. Of course, you could have just demonstrated some scepticism and verified the claims like I did.

  523. SimonH says:

    wildlifer, hehe! You could draw an elephant, in a room within those error bars! Life-size! 😀

  524. guthrie says:

    Thats interesting Simon H, I’ve seen at least 5 comments about the paper by some statisticians on Tamino’s blog, all askin ghave you seen this? and what do you think of this? 
    Perhaps you had better head over there yourself and see that the accusations of censorship are unfounded.   The same goes for Judith Curry. 

  525. Lars Karlsson says:

    <a href=”http://climateprogress.org/2010/08/15/new-york-times-front-page-story-in-weather-chaos-a-case-for-global-warming/#comment-291109″>Here is the McShane and Wyner paper at Climate Progress</a>.

  526. Lars Karlsson says:

    Sorr about the HTML mess above.

    Here is the McShane and Wyner paper at Climate Progress.

  527. SimonH says:

    guthrie, ohhh.. did you manage to lock down a comment of mine that, 24 hours later, might not still reflect a developing situation? Oh, well done! You must be so proud.
     
    At the time the observation was made, and at the time I referred to it here, it was apparent that comments on the subject were being dropped. If, since then, 5 comments have got through moderation on Tamino’s blog (and maybe even, yanno, like RC or Romm’s blog even), then.. oohh. For goodness sake.

  528. Eli Rabett says:

    There is a useful discussion at Policy Lass,
    http://shewonk.wordpress.com/2010/08/15/the-eternal-return/
    This one also has a number of serious problems.  As someone said, not only do climate scientists need the help of statisticians, but statisticians need the help of climate scientists.

  529. Judith,

    Based on what does the McS & W paper look like the real deal to you?

  530. Hank Roberts says:

    The paper is listed:
    http://www.imstat.org/aoas/next_issue.html
    The link as of this moment goes to a PDF that includes this mangle–looks like someone pasted a revision into older draft text rather than deleting the old text:
    “If they are correct, modern temperatures are indeed comparatively quite alarming such temperatures are much warmer than what the backcasts indicate was observed over the past millennium.”

  531. Hank Roberts says:

    PS to KK — your page is coming up with errors on posting, including this one just now:
    Content Encoding Error

    The page you are trying to view cannot be shown because it uses an invalid or unsupported form of compression.

    * Please contact the website owners to inform them of this problem.

  532. Hank Roberts says:

    Wait.  First they say it might have been as warm in 1200 as it is now (for values of “now” equaling AD 2000, I think?) — at the extreme upper edge of their broadened uncertainty range, so not likely even in their terms.
    Wouldn’t we see the divergence problem in the proxies at 1200, and the other phenology changes that are being observed, back then rather than only nowadays?
    Then they say this
    “… we should temper our alarm somewhat by considering again Figure 15 and the fact that the proxies seem unable to capture the sharp run-up in temperature of the 1990s. That is, our posterior probabilities are based on derivatives from our model’s proxy-based reconstructions and we are comparing these derivatives to derivatives of the actual temperature series; insofar as the proxies cannot capture sharp run-ups, our model’s reconstructions will not be able to either and therefore will tend to understate the probability of such run-ups….”
    And this is reassuring how?

  533. Judith Curry says:

    Bart #534   The paper looks like an interesting contribution to the literature on how to analyze multi-proxy data sets

  534. Nick Stokes says:

    Judith, you described the authors as “leading statisticians”. The lead author has been awarded his PhD within the last few weeks, and I’m not sure his advisor, Assoc Prof Wyner, stands out as a “leading” statistician.

    It is a very readable paper, but I’m not sure what it proves. The content is often surprisingly political for the Annals of Applied Stats.

  535. wildlifer says:

    SimonH.
    Looks like there was a post on the paper at Open Mind that beat your claim by more than 8 hours:
    Derecho64 | August 15, 2010 at 1:27 am | Reply Looks like WTFWT is a-flutter about some new paper that supposedly shows the “hockey stick” is broken.

  536. SimonH says:

    wildlifer, perhaps Tamino can confirm honestly if that comment was waiting in moderation when the observation that comments were not clearing moderation was made. Comments are often Unix timestamped or similar and, on being cleared through moderation, are inserted into the comment stream at the point they were posted, not necessarily the time they were cleared through moderation. Keith would be able to confirm this on his blog, but regardless it’s widely known to be so.
     
    I searched Tamino’s Changes thread at the time and I didn’t discover this comment, and I’m therefore pretty confident that my observation regarding comments at the time I made it was a fair and accurate observation.
     
    I’m glad that the paper IS being discussed. It seems insightful, but I see that there are already misunderstandings on both sides regarding what this paper represents, and even what it intends to show. I think the implications for the hockey stick are being understood by many AGW[-] campers, but conversely a lot of AGW[+] campers seem to be misunderstanding the dire implications for the entire subject of paleo reconstruction.
     
    I note that there were already ad hominem attacks on the statisticians when I checked earlier. I’ve just got back in after an evening out, and haven’t cruised the blog roll yet. For the sake of the paleo scientists and the subject generally, I hope they don’t launch into their traditional “crank” and “second-rate” attacks on the statisticians or their journal. If they do, I anticipate that they’ll be releasing a whole load of grief upon themselves. My gut says they don’t want any more statisticians crawling over their methodologies than they’ve had already.

  537. SimonH says:

    Sorry.. I meant ” I think the implications for the hockey stick are being MISunderstood by many AGW[-] campers”

  538. Robert says:

    Comment from paper

    “For example, 1998 is generally considered to be the warmest year on record in the Northern Hemisphere. Using our model, we calculate that there is a 36% posterior probability that 1998 was the warmest year over the past thousand. If we consider rolling decades, 1997-2006 is the warmest on record; our model gives an 80% chance that it was the warmest in the past thousand years. Finally, if we look at rolling thirty-year blocks, the posterior probability that the last thirty years(again, the warmest on record) were the warmest over the past thousand is 38%. […] For k = 10, k = 30, and k = 60, we estimate a zero posterior probability that the past thousand years contained run-ups larger than those we have experienced over the past ten, thirty, and sixty years (again, the largest such run-ups on record). This suggests that the temperature derivatives encountered over recent history are unprecedented in the millennium.”

  539. SimonH says:

    Hmm. Case in point, I think. Or is this a case of careful cherry-picking and lifting out of context, Robert? For a start, this paper accepts, as a premise, that proxy selection has been made appropriately. Can we say Tijlander? BCPs? The paper gives the data a work-over using appropriate methods of analysis, instead of Mann’s creative and special methods, and as a result finds the proxies to be pretty much useless as historical temperature indicators. The same paragraph from which you quote an extract goes directly on to make clear:


    “While this does seem alarming, we should temper our alarm somewhat by considering again Figure 15 and the fact that the proxies seem unable to capture the sharp run-up in temperature of the 1990s. That is, our posterior probabilities are based on derivatives from our model’s proxy-based reconstructions and we are comparing these derivatives to derivatives of the actual temperature series; insofar as the proxies cannot capture sharp run-ups, our model’s reconstructions will not be able to either and therefore will tend to understate the probability of such run-ups.”


    You didn’t feel this worth mentioning.

  540. Judith,

    Thanks for clarifying. I had interpreted your initial statement slightly different than your clarification.

  541. Hank Roberts says:

    > JohnB
    > “You have a human baby and a starving lion cub.”
    What do you plan to eat the following day?
    Morality includes planning ahead.

  542. Deech56 says:

    SimonH @541: The moderation time at Open Mind can take hours, so it is not far-fetched to believe that Tamino had posts in the queue when people were complaining about the lack of posts. It is odd to hear that complaining come from denizens of WUWT, a site  on which I can no longer post.

  543. SimonH says:

    Deech, I’m sad to hear you can’t post on WUWT any more. I let off a cannon earlier at WUWT for apparently mimicking RC too closely in another respect. As I’ve said before, I accept that moderators moderate but I certainly don’t support moderation to filter out legitimate questions or expressions of doubt. If you find you have to do that on your blog, you betray your fears of your own position’s tenuousness.

  544. S Basinger says:

    I’ve been following this debate for quite some time. As an electrical engineer, I make many decisions based upon usage and installed cost. There exist certain devices (VFDs) that reduce energy usage, but often result in a higher installed cost and reduced reliability. Currently, I recommend these types of devices where they are a ‘no-brainer’ – where mechanical and usage costs far outweigh the installed costs and reduced reliability.

    I would be more inclined to rethink the way I go about my work if I felt that I could trust the results of IPCC AR4, press releases, and the statements of various climate scientists who undoubtedly understand the topic far better than I do. The problem is that I can’t.

    Why?

    Primarily because of the abuse that I see honest scientsists who seem primarily interested in fixing obvious errors, defining uncertainties, expressing healthy skepticism – hell even those attempting to broker co-operation – absolutely vilified, attacked with snark and virtually crucified on various blogs on both sides of the fence.

    It’s absolutely shameful.

    One commenter above compared it to WW-I trench warfare.

    In my field, I believe that we’re far more collegial. Often we have folks with several different perspectives and agendas on working committees or writing papers together.

    I don’t understand why you folks (McI, Mann, Gavin) can’t throw an olive branch into the mix and learn to get along since it’s obvious to me that none of you folks are going anywhere anytime soon. WTH, maybe even write a paper together.

    It’s obvious to me that all of you have developed significant expertise – and by embracing differing perspectives you can’t help but to improve the honesty, accuracy and quality of what’s being presented to the public.

    Until then, good luck with your trench warfare. None of this is engendering any trust or affection from the public, the engineers who actually will design and construct the works that contribute to your lifestyle, or to any policy of consequence.

  545. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    S Basinger, I don’t think your comment makes much sense. Gavin Schmidt and Michael Mann HAVE written papers together. There’s a heap of co-operation and collegiality, going on all the time in this area with the working scientists involved.
     
    The odd one out in your list of three is McIntyre. Seriously. He isn’t a scientist, but a fairly low key guy with a bit of knowledge and ability, but nothing exceptional and not much in the way of publication or research.  WHY would you pick him as a co-author for research co-operation?
     
    The people involved in the IPCC reports DON’T generally abuse honest scientists. There’s surely mutual criticism going on all the time on substance, but I don’t believe you can substantiate any serious campaign of real abuse from IPCC authors to working scientists. Legitimate criticisms and disagreements are not abuse, in any direction.
     

  546. bassireland says:

    @SimonH 544

    “While this does seem alarming, we should temper our alarm somewhat by considering again Figure 15 and the fact that the proxies seem unable to capture the sharp run-up in temperature of the 1990s. That is, our posterior probabilities are based on derivatives from our model’s proxy-based reconstructions and we are comparing these derivatives to derivatives of the actual temperature series; insofar as the proxies cannot capture sharp run-ups, our model’s reconstructions will not be able to either and therefore will tend to understate the probability of such run-ups.

    If the strongest argument you have against current reconstructions is that it appears recent warming is so fast that an equivalent warming episode could possibly have happened and died away without it showing up in the proxy record then I think you need to take a wider view of the overall evidence.
    Models that include anthropogenic warming predict exactly the type of warming we are seeing, something that doesn’t happen if you leave anthropogenic factors such as CO2 out.
    So McShane and Wyner, and you by extension apparently, agree we are in an exceptionally fast warming phase and that nothing like it can be detected in the last 1000 years, right? We also have models that predict such a warming because of anthropogenic factors. Much longer studies covering millions rather than thousands of years show considerable evidence of CO2 links to temperature. With me so far? And yet, and yet, if an unknown cause produced an undetectable spike in the historical record then maybe, just maybe, it’s not us and it won’t last.
    Well, quite. But you are betting the farm – or more exactly lives and futures – on one set of lucky numbers in the lottery. (And this is on your selection of the most important concept in the paper).

  547. SimonH says:

    Chris Ho-Stuart #550: I think you rather misunderstand the climate science landscape, both with regard to paleo reconstruction scientists and a substantial portion of what paleo reconstruction is. McIntyre is a capable statistician with demonstrated prowess. Mann and Schmidt are not  statisticians, and yet an overwhelmingly significant portion of pale reconstruction involves complex statistical analysis – McIntyre’s field. Describing McIntyre as “a fairly low key guy with a bit of knowledge and ability, but nothing exceptional and not much in the way of publication or research” is an odd mix of ad hominem and appeal to authority. Unfortunately this doesn’t help Mann’s or Schmidt’s case when someone as miserable and worthless as you imply is able to find such significant deficiencies in the statistical work of paleo reconstruction scientists. The M&W paper broadly appears to confirm McIntyre’s findings and undermine Mann’s on matters of statistical analysis of proxy data.

  548. SimonH says:

    bassireland #551: “If the strongest argument you have against current reconstructions is that it appears recent warming is so fast that an equivalent warming episode could possibly have happened and died away without it showing up in the proxy record then I think you need to take a wider view of the overall evidence.”
     
    The wider view of the available evidence, as presented by M&W, is that there is nothing of value to be gleaned from the paleo proxy data used in Mann(08) to make any assertions with regard to “unprecedented” warming OR rate of warming in the late temperature record.
     
    I think you need to re-read the M&W paper, but this time read it more carefully, rather than with a mind to cherry-picking carefully selected textbites to repeat as if they reflect your ideological position.

  549. bassireland says:

    @SimonH 553
    I think you need to re-read the M&W paper, but this time read it more carefully, rather than with a mind to cherry-picking carefully selected textbites to repeat as if they reflect your ideological position.

    Simon, that was your carefully selected cherry-picked soundbite that you chose to illustrate how the hockey stick had apparently been killed off! I am not sure you are reading the paper, my comments or possibly even your own very carefully!

  550. SimonH says:

    No, it wasn’t, bassireland. Read again what I posted, and why. I posted that portion of the paragraph because Robert cherry-picked the FIRST portion of a paragraph, leaving out the significant portion of its qualifier because it didn’t fit what he wanted to convey.
     
    I quoted the remainder of the paragraph specifically to address Robert’s misleading cherry-picking. BOTH portions of the paragraph are required for context. I posted the 2nd half to address Robert’s purposeful deficiency in this respect.

  551. D.B. Stealey says:

    I have been moderating comments on WattsUpWithThat.com for about two years.


    I dispute this post by Deech56:


    Deech56 Says: 
    August 17th, 2010 at 5:04 am
    [ … ] “It is odd to hear that complaining come from denizens of WUWT, a site  on which I can no longer post.”
     
    Deech56 has never been banned or otherwise barred from posting on wattsupwiththat.com.
     
    Deech56 posted 79 comments at WUWT this year alone. His last comment was posted on July 15, 2010.
     
    Deech56’s total posts at WUWT number 145 comments, none of which were snipped or deleted.
     
    D.B. Stealey, moderator,
    http://wattsupwiththat.com

  552. Deech56 says:

    D.B., I can only write about my experience, which is detailed in the “Tribal Outcast” thread. For whatever reason, after my March 7 post, posts stopped going through. Tried again in April, but nada. One post did appear in July (I don’t think I tried in May or June), but a second try yielded no posting. Was I jumping to conclusions? Maybe, but I have no technical problems with other sites.

  553. bassireland says:

    @SimonH
    I find it illuminating that you accuse me of cherry-picking when I address a quote you made from the paper, especially since I was not making any value judgement on the claim of the authors in your quote, rather considering the consequences if they were correct. Rather than address the issue you seek to accuse me of cherry-picking, which is clearly false (this is where you can apologise and retract: a sceptic, by definition open to evidence and can read back and analyse the comment would do that) and an ideological bias (ditto) while at the same time seeking to narrow the term “available evidence” to temperature reconstructions of the last 2000 years – there is little more to it than that as you know or at least should know.
    The wider view of the available evidence, as presented by M&W, is that there is nothing of value to be gleaned from the paleo proxy data used in Mann(08) to make any assertions with regard to “unprecedented” warming OR rate of warming in the late temperature record.

    As discussed, that is a view on one small part of the evidence – temperature reconstructions. Still, you seem to consider this a – if not the – key conclusion of the M&W paper – is that fair? I am sceptical myself, but let’s go with it for the sake of argument.
    So what would do it do to the overall evidence for AGW? Let’s say that this paper in 5 years time has been widely replicated and that its conclusions are generally accepted.
    Well, it leaves all the current 2000 year proxy records with such wide error bars as to be effectively useless. We still have the basic physics of CO2 suggesting that CO2 will trap heat, we still have analysis of the known feedbacks showing a positive balance, we still have a current temperature record showing sharp increases (though we would not know how this compared to other periods), we still have melting ice, in short we still have a consistently persuasive body of evidence that humanity is warming the planet significantly.
    It leaves open the possibility of other warming periods (e.g. a global MWP) but more or less by definition says we can’t know whether there were any and certainly doesn’t provide evidence for any. So any putative cause for a speculative warm period is even further removed from any evidential basis!
    Now I suspect you would disagree with those points, but that isn’t the issue. This paper has nothing to say about them. So what exactly do you think changes if your interpretation of the conclusions of this paper become widely accepted?
     

  554. SimonH says:

    bassireland #558: “As discussed, that is a view on one small part of the evidence ““ temperature reconstructions. Still, you seem to consider this a ““ if not the ““ key conclusion of the M&W paper ““ is that fair? I am sceptical myself, but let’s go with it for the sake of argument.”
     
    I’d say that the paper’s conclusion is essentially that the pinnacle of proxy reconstruction, as presented by Mann in his latest work in the field, when analysed using established and accepted statistical techniques, shows that there is nothing much of value in the current field of paleo reconstruction. That’s what I take away from the paper.
     
    “So what would do it do to the overall evidence for AGW?”
     
    The paper makes no reference to the overall evidence for AGW. It is very specifically only examining the statistical analysis of Mann’s pale data.
     
    On the other hand, assuming wide acceptance in the field of statistics (that’s up to the statisticians, not the paleo reconstructors), the paper does by implication make quite clear that, even with the best evidence we have (again presuming Mann and the chronologists have done their paleo work to the best standards), it’s impossible to know whether where we are now is exceptional, unprecedented, or really even more than “relatively comparable” with earth’s varied temperature in the past millennium.
     
    “We still have the basic physics of CO2 suggesting that CO2 will trap heat”
     
    Nobody disputes the basic physics.
     
    “we still have analysis of the known feedbacks showing a positive balance”
     
    Not so. There is evidence in the mid 20th century to suggest that natural variability is greater than the suggested influence of increases in anthropogenic CO2.
     
    “we still have a current temperature record showing sharp increases (though we would not know how this compared to other periods)”
     
    It’s fundamental to the argument to know how exceptional recent increases are in comparison with other periods before claiming that catastrophic effects of anthropogenic contributions can be made. Since, at this time, we cannot know with sufficient certainty, we cannot at this time draw any such conclusion.
     
    “we still have melting ice”
     
    Where? Last time I looked, Arctic sea ice extent for mid August exceeds that of 2007, 2008 and 2009. Recent ice compaction due to surface winds suggest that 2011 will see further increases in Arctic sea ice extent. At its winter peak, sea ice extent this year exceeded all of the last 5 years. Where exactly is it supposed to be melting?
     
    “in short we still have a consistently persuasive body of evidence that humanity is warming the planet significantly.”
     
    Seriously, no. We do NOT have a consistently persuasive body of evidence that humanity is warming the planet significantly.

  555. Deech56 says:

    For the record, I posted this over at WUWT, in the M&W thread:
     
    Eduordo Zorita (no Mann fan) has a strong <a href=”http://klimazwiebel.blogspot.com/2010/08/mcshane-and-wyner-on-climate.html”>critique</a> of M&W. His conclusion: <blockquote>In summary, admittedly climate scientist have produced in the past bad papers for not consulting professional statisticians. The McShane and Wyner paper is an example of the reverse situation. What we need is an open and honest collaboration between both groups.</blockquote>
     
    HTML formatting may not translate.

  556. SimonH says:

    Deech, M&W took Mann’s data, as Mann provided it, and performed statistical analysis on it. I’d be interested to understand what Zorita thinks that climate scientists can add to the statistical analysis that statisticians cannot do for themselves.

  557. Deech56 says:

    And I’m now in their good graces. 🙂
     
    SimonH, in Zorita’s eyes, there were a number of errors and misunderstandings that a climatologist would have caught. Of more importance is that M&W got the MBH98 analysis wrong. Zorita criticizes the methods as well – echoed by Deep Climate:
     
    http://deepclimate.org/2010/08/19/mcshane-and-wyner-2010/
     
    I don’t have the statistical chops to determine whose analysis is right, but it seems that the hoopla (“stunning” … “Definitely a devastating ‘curtain call’ for Mann, et. al.”) is premature.

  558. SimonH says:

    Deech, as you note it remains to be seen. I must be perfectly honest, with the proxy bait and switch nonsense we’ve seen from Mann – much of which was replayed thanks to some over-reaching gaffes by Tamino at RC – I’m not ready to trust the team at their word that poor statistical choices have been made by statisticians. I’d sooner hear that from statisticians, frankly. So we wait and see the reception the paper receives.

  559. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    I’m reading this thread, intermittently; but for what it is worth, I stand by my remarks at #550, and consider that it reflects a much more accurate picture of the “climate science landscape” than SimonH presents in his response #552, where he suggests that I rather misunderstand that landscape.
     
    Time will tell… SimonH wants to see what statisticians say about the McShane and Wyner paper. Good idea. I think it is a safe bet that the fall out will confirm that my view of the landscape is accurate.
     
    Recall. My position is that there IS extensive engagement across all kinds of disciplines in the work relating to climate science. Every major scientific endorses the basic picture (loosly, Earth is experiencing a strong global anthropogenic warming effect primarily from greenhouse gases). There are a heap of open questions and disagreements on various aspects and details that  clarify this picture. The work on reconstructing temperatures over the past couple of millenia from various proxies is a small part of climate research. There’s plenty of scope for input from statisticians… and there IS input from statisticians.
     
    The major conclusions continue to be confirmed  statistically. This is the general “hockey stick” shape for global temperature… meaning that there is good empirical support that warming in the twentieth century represents an upswing significantly stronger than trends over the last millenium or so — as should be expected on the basis of physics.
     
    People may be interested that the “American Statistical Association” has a Climate Change Policy Advisory Committee (confirming my perspective that climate change IS being addressed with collegiality and across many disciplines).
     
    See also: Statisticians Comment on Status of Climate Change Science from AMSTATNews.
     
    Statisticians can help sort out and improve the particular work relating the proxy based reconstruction of past climate. They HAVE done so, and more can be done. The input from statisticians tends to be much more critical of the poor statistics in attempts to undermine the hockey stick than of poor statistics of the original hockey stick papers, and it is the authors of the original papers (Mann, Bradley and Hughes in particular) who have taken the most account of substantive criticisms and improved the work as a result.

  560. SimonH says:

    Chris, just one small, but I feel essential, observation: You say “Every major scientific [body?] endorses the basic picture”.
     
    Tom Wigley, former CRU boss, responded to a group of advocacy scientists trying to illicit signatures in order to influence the Kyoto accord, writing:
    “No scientist who wishes to maintain respect in the community should ever endorse any statement unless they have examined the issue fully themselves. You are asking people to prostitute themselves by doing just this! I fear that some will endorse your letter, in the mistaken belief that you are making a balanced and knowledgeable assessment of the science — when, in fact, you are presenting a flawed view that neither accords with IPCC nor with the bulk of the scientific and economic literature on the subject.”


    The “consensus”, such as one exists at all, is made up in large part of scientists who in good faith have added their voices in support of science they believe – rightly or wrongly – has been performed to the highest standard. But Tom Wigley is right. No scientist should add his/her voice to something they have not fully researched themselves. He wrote:
     
    “When scientists color the science with their own PERSONAL views or make categorical statements without presenting the evidence for such statements, they have a clear responsibility to state that that is what they are doing.”

  561. Chris Ho-Stuart says:


    SimonH, I agree with Wigley (who you quote in #565) on the importance of knowing what you sign to.
     
    That is why I prefer the statements of science organizations, which I recommended above in #564, rather than petitions. I am meaning specifically the statements by bodies that are constituted to represent a particular professional field, or else national academies of science ““ NOT groups that are defined by some political or social perspective on the science, or “think-tank” organizations. The statements I refer to in my comment above are by people who DO study the issues, and the statements themselves are generally not at all scientifically exceptional.
     
    Wikipedia has a list of statements from bodies representing professional science in various nations and fields. See Scientific opinion on climate change: Statements by organizations.
     
    The committee of the American Statistical Association to which I referred you is an example of the responsible scientific way of doing things. The formal statements of a professional body are carefully chosen and have to be properly justified to membership.
     
    The statement to which Wigley was objecting did not represent any organization.It seems to have gone beyond the basic science ““ which pretty much everyone involved accepts ““ and into comparisons of different responses, beyond what was well warranted on the basis of unexceptional science. I’m not sure, but as far as I know the statement Wigley was questioning did not really get off the ground or win a lot of support. In any case, Wigley’s advice IS taken to heart by scientists already, and the statements that DO get endorsed by scientific bodies are a good guide ““ in no small part because competent scientists DON’T generally endorse statements without knowing and checking the relevant background, and because experts like Wigley are able to make critical input.
     
    In brief, I stand by my comment above (#564) all the more strongly. I strongly recommend the major professional scientific organizations, statisticians definitely included, as a much more reliable guide to the scientific landscape than petitions or letters such as the one Wigley was concerned about.
     

  562. SimonH says:

    Chris, I don’t believe that disparate scientific organisations issuing broad statements of support on subjects not within their field is actually any better than scientists signing statements or petitions in support of other scientists’ positions. Building a consensus of opinion out of a wide range of non-experts is an unscientific endeavour. It is a fallacy for an organisation with, say, 2000 members to issue a statement claiming to represent the understanding of all 2000 members.
     
    If, as Tom Wigley says, scientists that sign petitions supporting positions with which they are not fully conversant are prostituting themselves, then by extension these organisations are just vast whore-houses.

  563. bassireland says:

    @SimonH
    Now let’s see. Someone who has been quite generous on this thread about throwing accusations of cherry-picking around (generally inaccurately) now seeks to compare 2010 arctic sea ice to 2007, 2008 and 2009 – three extraordinarily low years in which melt far exceeded the declining trend. Does your dictionary define “reversion to the mean” or indeed “irony”?
    (In fact according to NSIDC it is about the same as 2008 anyway).
    By the way, we know about Antarctic sea ice extent, and we have a fair idea why its increasing: those much maligned models actually predict it (due to increased precipitation). It doesn’t mean there aren’t very worrying signs in the antarctic as well.
    Mid-twentieth century variability is pretty well understood.
    It’s fundamental to the argument to know how exceptional recent increases are in comparison with other periods before claiming that catastrophic effects of anthropogenic contributions can be made. Since, at this time, we cannot know with sufficient certainty, we cannot at this time draw any such conclusion.
    You are rather pre-judging the analysis of the paper here. But in any case not knowing whether there were warming episodes in the past is not the same as knowing that there were or even having any persuasive evidence that there were.
    We would be left with a situation in which we had no good reason to believe that such warming had occurred in the last 2000 years rather than one in which we were had significant evidence that it hadn’t. Given the rest of the balance of evidence I would like you to show me evidence that such warming had occurred and persuasive reasons why today’s warming has similar causes and could therefore be expected to reduce rather than accelerate.
    As far as M&W are concerned I am interested to see the analyses of both statisticians and climatologists. But I do strongly suspect that they will come down closer to the view expressed by Chris Ho-Stuart and myself than to yours.
     

  564. Chris Ho-Stuart says:

    SimonH, at this stage we have an impasse.
     
    All I can say is that you are plainly wrong, extraordinarily so. Science organizations are NOT whore houses. The statements of professional organizations are NOT just random statements in fields where they have no expertise. The strong level of consistency is not because of some conspiracy, or because scientists are like whores, or because there are a couple of lousy studies that are blindly accepted by science organizations. Consistency arises because science works. There’s a real world out there which is complex and hard to understand, and science is an enterprise for illuminating things by careful examination of that world. Science is never perfect, but it does converge towards better understanding of the world, even if some folks would rather insult scientists than accept inconvenient discoveries.
     
    Whore houses, indeed! Good grief. You might have a point if it was one organization, or two. It isn’t. As I pointed out right from the start, ALL the statements on this subject from professional bodies go to build up the same broad picture of support; many areas of science and many lines of investigation all continuing to illuminate the same phenomenon. And you are flatly wrong to think that these statements are all just people in unrelated fields commenting on what they don’t understand. Unrelated fields tend not to make statements.
     
    Statements from professional bodies invariably deal specifically with the relevance of their own field to the topic. You KNOW that statistics is important for climate science. Indeed, one major part of the ASA statement is a recommendation that more statisticians be involved in the work, to improve the level of statistics being used. Isn’t that what you want? Statisticians to comment on the validity of work by climate scientists?
     
    Well, they DO.
     
    The statements of professional bodies are carefully chosen and considered and do exactly what Wigley would require… commenting on what they know.
     
    But as I said previously, we’ll see. The McShane and Wyner paper is — I expect — going to get strong substantive criticism because of specifically identifiable basic errors on the climate science. It will show up as a contrast to the generally higher standard set by scientists and statisticians who do make the effort to know the subject matter better.
     
    My estimation is that the paper is going to end up showing by example the kinds of problems you are speaking of; and not by exposing any actual basic errors in the work it purports to criticize.

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