the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Understanding Climate

Posted by Jeff Id on August 22, 2010

I’m not sure what the heck this post is.  I suppose it’s my attitude toward AGW after two years of discussing climate science in blogland.  Perhaps after a couple of weeks of publishing accurate pro-AGW science (not extremist) it’s cathartic to post the rest of the story.

Possible alternate titles:

Gaia in a nutshell

Why be a skeptic

The benefits of blogging

A short term view of the visionary goal

Climate science crystal balls need batteries.

—————–

Climate Science™:  We must act now, the end of the world is coming.

Science minded individual:  That’s scary, what do you mean?

Climate Science™:  The globe is warming from CO2 emissions, glaciers will melt, storms will strengthen, droughts will become commonplace, plantlife will die, the oceans will rise, the polar ice will melt, oceans will acidify, we must act now!

Science minded individual: Wow, CO2 causes all that?  How do you know?

Climate Science™: We have dozens of lines of evidence, Models, measurements, paleoclimate data, environmental data, it’s all in agreement.  We must act now.

Science minded individual:  Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions.  Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and special proxies.  Why is it that we can remove  some key data series and the whole thing loses the unprecedented shape?

Climate Science™:  There is uncertainty in science, engineers and physicists have trouble understanding.  These reconstructions don’t matter anyway, there are dozens of other branches and they are all in agreement.  We must act before it’s too late!

Science minded individual: But you agree the paleo reconstructions are in error?

Climate Science™:  They are unimportant, when you combine the whole of climatology the answer is clear.  We must act to save mankind now!!

Science minded individual:  Then why have them?

Climate Science™:  Models project 4 C of warming by the end of the century, they agree with paleo reconstructions.   Warming on this scale  will bring destruction across the globe.

Science minded individual: Ok, moving on, I see that models all seem to assume a positive feedback to a small temeprature rise.

Climate Science™:  It’s caused by water vapor in the atmosphere. The water vapor increases the global warming effect, crops will die, fish will shrink, people will starve if we don’t act.

Science minded individual: I see also that there is quite a bit of uncertainty in the amount of feedback.

Climate Science™:  There is uncertainty in all science, perhaps you don’t understand that concept.  We know it’s bettween 2 and 6 C of warming in the next century alone.

Science minded individual: Wow, that’s a lot of uncertainty.  Why aren’t the measurements which show a negative feedback being used?

Climate Science™:  Consensus says that a positive feedback is correct we must act now.

Science minded individual: But some believe the feedback is negative and what about the recent proofs on the internet and in publication that models have overshot measured data by 2 to 4 times?

Climate Science™: The IPCC represents the whole of climate science, the bulk of the evidence is in favor of 2 to 4C of warming.  The sea ice and ice caps will melt, the ocean is rising, low lying land will flood, storms will grow stronger.

Science minded individual: Hurricanes haven’t grown stronger, they’ve weakened.

Climate Science™:  You don’t understand the difference between weather and climate.

Science minded individual: But you said they will strengthen just 10 years ago, they didn’t.

Climate Science™:  In time they will strengthen,  especially if we don’t act, remember Katrina.

Science minded individual: Each year for say 10 years you’ve predicted stronger storms and each year you’ve been wrong, what’s happening?

Climate Science™: You have to look at 30 year trends, and other lines of evidence, the sea ice is melting, antarctic is loosing mass, the ocean is acidifying, we must decarbonize the economy.

Science minded individual: I notice that globally the total sea ice isn’t melting, yet all we read about is the Arctic.

Climate Science™: Models show clearly that the Arctic is more sensitive than the Antarctic to global warming.

Science minded individual: But you are missing my point, you predicted a decline in sea ice in the Antarctic as well, yet we have an increase?  Globally, sea ice is basically at the 30 year average.

Climate Science™: You have been confused by denialist talking points, the Arctic is critical, not the Antarctic.If we don’t act soon the ice caps will melt and the ocean will rise 5 meters.

Science minded individual: Wow, 5 meters.  How is that possible when the Antarctic averages 30 degrees below zero across its entire landmass.

Climate Science™: It will take time, there is uncertainty, I grow weary of your misinformation.

Science minded individual:  About that temperature data, it seems that there is substantial warming by UHI at several instrument locations, perhaps even most.

Climate Science™: Many papers have demonstrated UHI is a minor effect at best.

Science minded individual: I can’t find any of decent quality.  Can you show me one which did a proper analysis of the station data for trend.

Climate Science™: Such studies are boring, who would fund them?  We scientists like to do cutting edge stuff, not boring quality control.

Science minded individual: So no quality control is being done?  Aren’t you concerned that you may have bad information in your calculations?

Climate Science™: You are annoying us. There is uncertainty in everything, what we do know from all the lines of evidence is that we must act now to prevent certain disaster.

Science minded individual: But models show that satellite LT warming should be higher than ground measurements, doesn’t it concern you that these measurements are not just in disagreement but on opposite sides of what models predict.

Climate Science™:   They are statistically indistinguishable.

Science minded individual: But they are on opposite sides of the trend line, one or the other, both or the models must be in error.  And some would say they are statistically separable.

Climate Science™:  Oh, come on.  You have to understand, we’re working from a large body of evidence which taken as a whole, means that global warming is real, it is dangerous, and if we don’t act now it will be disasterous for humanity.

Science minded individual:  Ok, so if you’re right, what is it we need to do.

Climate Science™:  We must act globally to stop burning fossil fuels, stop cutting trees and adopt renewable energy.

Science minded individual: What is renewable energy?

Climate Science™: Energy which can be created from things like biofuels, wind, solar, geothermal.

Science minded individual: Won’t it be bad for humanity if we don’t produce enough electricity, or it comes at too high a cost?

Climate Science™: Industry is destroying the planet, we must act now.  We’ve calculated that the damage from global warming is much more serious than a tax on energy.

Science minded individual: So you want to tax energy?

Climate Science™: We need to limit and eventually stop fossil fuel usage before it’s too late.

Science minded individual: Why biofuels? Chlorophyl can’t come close to catching enough energy to power even our cars.

Climate Science™: We must explore all avenues to achieve our goals.

Science minded individual:  But biofuel doesn’t and can’t work, and a first year engineering student can calculate it?  Also, solar power is several times higher cost than any other methods and we can’t store it for use at night.  It will be horribly damaging to industry if we have electricity that’s several times higher in cost.

Climate Science™: We must explore all avenues, we’re trying to save the world, if higher cost energy has a negative effect on industry it will be far better than what will happen if we don’t act now.

Science minded individual:  I notice that wind has similar problems and requires fast acting powerplants to offset when they aren’t turning.  None of these solutions seems to work for our problem, what about nuclear.

Climate Science™: Nuclear is part of the answer.

Science minded individual: Nuclear seems to be the only working answer, and it doesn’t work for cars because we have no good batteries.  I notice you didn’t mention nuclear above.

Climate Science™:  Everyone will have to make sacrifice for the good of the planet.  Nuclear has problems with waste and safety so new technologies must be developed.

Science minded individual: But it can prevent the disaster right, and we don’t have the technology to change to a different source.  If we limit production the cost of everything will rise and people will starve?

Climate Science™: We all must make sacrifices because not changing to renewable energy is far more dangerous than the damage to industry.  We must form a global coalition to fight CO2 emission today, we don’t have time to wait.

Science minded individual: With all the predictions and uncertainty, how are you so sure that something as severe as shutting down industry is the right idea?  I mean, you recommend a global coalition to tax successful countries and send the money to unsuccessful ‘developing’ countries for the purpose of balancing economies, yet that seems to have nothing to do with solving global warming.?

Climate Science™: Developing countries will be the worst polluters in the future, wealthy nations are known to be cleaner, so we must transfer the technology and ability to produce clean energy to developing nations.

Science minded individual: But wait a minute, don’t modern and properly managed nations need to work to stop emitting, aren’t these the countries which are creating the problem?  Why would modern society spend today’s resources on the repressed governments and the medieval cultures in developing nations which repress their people, technology and buisness instead of investing in ourselves and our emissions?  Shouldn’t we attack the source of the problem first?

Climate Science™: Developing nations are underprivileged and deserve equality.  They are suffering the damage from our excess.  They will suffer more than developed countries, so we must act now to help them make the transition to green technologies.

Science minded individual:  But we haven’t seen any damage yet, and you still want to send them our money.

Climate Science™:  The damage is everywhere, thousands of papers have reported it.  We must act now, on  a global scale to prevent doom.

Science minded individual:  You mean the damage from shrinking sheep, fish, birds and plants, all of which makes no sense and still the paleo, sea ice, storms, temperatures, and models ALL have demonstrated very serious disagreements with reality. How can you be so sure you know the future that you can voluntarily repress industry?

Climate Science™:  I’m tired of this denialist conversation.  Thousands of scientists concur, we have a consensus,  we must act now.

Science minded individual:  Sorry sir, to waste your my time.


90 Responses to “Understanding Climate”

  1. Tom Anderson said

    I am sorry but I need Josh to draw me a picture of the “science minded individual” so that I can properly visualize this debate, this character is really intreging. I can picture the “climate science” character on my own.

  2. Rick Bradford said

    You missed the obligatory Warmist reference to Big Oil.

  3. Brian H said

    There could be pages and pages more of this stuff. Like that the “act now” demand would have a projected “benefit” of about ½°C in 100 years. Etc., etc.

  4. Eric Anderson said

    Jeff, this is a pretty good description (albeit in a fun, tongue-in-cheek fashion) of the way the discussions so often go. The science-minded individual is unfortunately left to combat a whole litany of assumptions and statements that are trotted out in unending succession. Can be pretty tiring exercise to swat down all the nonsense, while still keeping one’s eye on the ball that the “science” is really secondary . . .

  5. Annabelle said

    One of the best summaries of the “climate debate” I have ever read!

  6. Ed said

    The futility of Man-made Climate Control

    Does Man-made CO2 really cause Global Warming: just running the numbers

    Calculates and presents the effect of the different Man-made and Natural agents generating the 33⁰C of the Greenhouse Effect shown in ⁰ centigrade, taking the impact of atmospheric water vapour as the major Greenhouse Gas fully into account.

    It then examines the impact of partially or fully closing down the carbon economies of the major nations expressed in millionths of a ⁰C.

    This may be the information that the alarmists, the IPCC and many politicians don’t want you to know.

  7. Ed said

  8. Mark T said

    You ought to do something like this with actual quotes. Of course, many of these I think I have seen in the past…

    Mark

  9. Beth Cooper said

    The science minded individual sounds like Socrates, the
    ‘scientist’ sounds like Plato,’Only we philosopher kings can intuit the truth the data is not relevant.’ Postscript: ‘And if you keep arguing we’ll put you on our list!’

  10. [...] Lifted in its entirety from Jeff Ids blog [...]

  11. AusieDan said

    Jeff – you obviously do not understand!
    /sarc off

  12. cohenite said

    Your conversation reminded me of Alan Turing and Computing Machinery and Intelligence; one of the first programs to conform to Turing’s criteria was Kenneth Colby’s PARRY which was a program designed to mimic the responses of a paranoid patient; it had 2 modes, weak and strong; that just about sums up the AGW acolytes.

  13. ArndB said

    # „Climate Science™: You don’t understand the difference between weather and climate.”

    Why should scientists on atmospheric matter do a difficult job by defining their work according the laws of physics, when they have such a huge success with a physically nonsense term: Climate?

    Weather and climate are colloquial words, and long term statistics on certain weather component (e.g. temperature, cloud cover, wind, pressure, water vapor) remain statistics and never presents “average weather” (over many months or million of years) in the way the layman has used it for thousand of years.

    Construing a difference between weather and climate shall establish a science discipline on its own, ignoring that it is all covered by meteorology.

  14. Geoff Sherrington said

    Climate science TM: We will tax fossil fuel energy industries and create a huge fund.
    Science minded Individual: What will you do with the money?
    Climate science TM: We will give it to people who lack our standard of living.
    Science minded Individual: What will THEY spend it on?
    Climate science TM: Using more fossil fuels to make industrial goods and food and breeding more children.
    Science minded Individual: So, what does this do for GHG in the atmosphere?
    Climate science TM: It inceases it initially because underdeveloped countries are less efficient.
    Science minded Individual: And the nett gain is? More GHG, but greater equality?
    Climate science TM: Yes, that’s fair. The advanced nations have taken advantage of hard work and clever thought for too long now.

  15. stan said

    You might like to add some questions/answers directed to the quality of the science that includes: failure to calibrate instruments (or even check siting), lack of replication, lack of transparency, crappy code, butchered statistics, failure to verify and validate climate models. And IPCC ‘consensus’ assessments that represent only peer-reviewed science — except for the thousands of references to activist propaganda.

  16. Titan28 said

    It’s good every once in a while to sum things up, separate out what we know or think we know from what we don’t. Jeff’s tongue-in-cheek effort here does exactly that. It’s so easy to get lost in the details of the climate debate, especially on sites like the Blackboard–or even here. To retain a sense of what’s important at the macro-level, where policy decisions get made, I often find it necessary to pull back and say to myself, “we’re talking about tenths of a degree change over a period of centuries”–so even if the industrial activity of humanity is at least to some extent responsible for the change (perhaps arguable), is this reason enough to turn the energy and transportation sectors of our economy over to witless drones like Waxman and Markey? Experts and practitioners of the dark arts tend to get happily lost in the blizzard of detail that is their bread and butter. So Jeff’s quick take here is succinct and clear, an anodyne in a sense.

    Sad thing is so many citizens have a baseless view on the issues surrounding climate science. Reason for this, of course, is they get their information from AP or the Times or even television. This example may be disanalogous or slightly OT, but the historian Michael Beschloss was going on the other day on Imus about what a genius Obama was and how his IQ was off the charts when Imus stepped in and said, “So what’s his IQ?” Beschloss didn’t know. Ignorance didn’t stop Beschloss from building a castle made out of sand; it hasn’t stopped millions of others in the AGW debate (e.g., has anyone of the pro CAGW side of the aisle moved toward the center yet?).

    When you ask people outside the climate science blogosphere even fundamental questions about AGW or CAGW–and I mean fundamental: what is the atmosphere? what is it comprised of? how is CO2 produced? where is it stored? why is it bad? when did AGW begin? how much hotter is Earth than it “ought” to be?–you can get some astounding responses. This is a real problem. While it is gratifying that more people today are skeptical of CAGW than they were five years ago, a lot of that skepticism is simply a reflection of the (slight) change in tone in the media in the debate post Climategate. The basic ignorance has simply crossed to the other side of the street.

    Which is why Jeff’s small piece here is gratifying and perhaps useful if it could get our deeper into the blogosphere or even show up on Real Clear Politics. People who would never in a million years read The Air Vent or Lucia or CA, etc., can read it quickly and get a (small) sense of the issues and the all but dizzying debate underneath them in the various and sundry specific sciences. All those researchers dancing on the head of a pin. So, a tip of the hat.

  17. stan said

    Titan,

    I think that a lot of scientists fall into the category of uninformed believers. They’ve been told that the science is solid and they’ve been told that science is under assault from religious fundamentalists and evil industrialists. They like to think that they practice competent, responsible science and assume that other scientists do as well. So their first instinct is to rally behind “Science”.

    That’s why simple questions like those Jeff posted in this dialogue are so effective. And even simpler questions can make the point even sharper. Real scientists follow basic standards in the use and calibration of their instruments. They realize that replication is the key to the scientific method. They understand that rigging the peer review system is a huge red flag. Which is part of why Climategate struck a chord with some (as I assume it did with Dr. Curry). The understanding that quality control in climate science is a complete shambles is starting to dawn.

  18. Mark F said

    Beginning readers may scoff at the summary. Do not. Be very, very afraid. Jeff has captured both the “phrase bites” and the context of recent climate politics and research very accurately. So far, only billions are involved. Watch it grow, and watch the alarmist politicians rake off trading commissions, which is where it goes when you follow the money trail. Sigh….

  19. Andrew said

    9-Interesting you should mention Plato. I was beginning to wonder if anyone else had noticed, but all of modern political leftism is straight out of The Republic. Pretty much the only person to have noticed this and commented on it specifically was none other than Karl Popper (The Open Society and It’s Enemies) who unfortunately had the title of his book hijacked by George Soros.

    “of all the different types of people, only the Philosopher is able to judge which type of ruler is best since only he can see the Form of the Good.” according to wiki, is a major argument of Plato’s (the elite just know better than you). Or how about this: “Ultimately [Plato-wiki says Socrates because these notions were put in his mouth by Plato] constructs a city in which there is no private property, “women” (449c-450c, 3 times) and children are held in common, and there is no philosophy for the lower castes. All is sacrificed to the common good and doing what is best fitting to your nature” or “the abolishment of riches among the guardian class (not unlike Max Weber’s bureaucracy) leads controversially to the abandonment of the typical family, and as such no child may know his or her parents and the parents may not know their own children. Socrates tells a tale which is the “allegory of the good government”. No nepotism, no private goods. The rulers assemble couples for reproduction, based on breeding criteria. Thus, stable population is achieved through eugenics and social cohesion is projected to be high because familial links are extended towards everyone in the City. Also the education of the youth is such that they are taught of only works of writing that encourage them to improve themselves for the state’s good, and envision (the) god(s) as entirely good, just, and the author(s) of only that which is good.”

    Quite a lot of shocking similarities.

  20. mrpkw said

    # 7

    I agree !!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Sam said

    Very good Jeff, but you forgot one common thread:

    Science minded individual: You’ve mentioned repeatedly how uncertainty exists in the data, with so much uncertainty why do you believe we must take such drastic action?

    Climate Science™: This is all clearly explained by the precautionary principle, even though we don’t have complete scientific information we must take action because of the potentially disastrous consequences.

    Science minded individual: Isn’t this principle designed in order to prevent potentially harmful action from being taken, instead of demanding action must be taken if there is some future threat? If you believe that this principle requires action for a future threat, then wouldn’t we be required to act without complete scientific information in a multitude of other areas?

    Climate Science™: Climate change is unique. There is no threat which is even comparable, the future of out entire planet hangs in the balance.

    Science minded individual: I don’t believe that is true, but even if it were, aren’t there many other conceivable dangers which threaten our planet? Using this principle, shouldn’t we be building some system to destroy or re-direct asteroids from hitting the earth? We may not have complete scientific information about the threat, but clearly the threat to the earth is genuine and yet there seems to be little action on ‘asteroid protection’.

    Climate Science™: Coming up with hypothetical scenarios is not convincing. Climate change is a fact which scientists all agree upon, and without action mankind is in danger.

    Science minded individual: Nevermind.

  22. Titan28 said

    Don’t know if the link below will work, but it is a perfect example of the scare-mongering tactics of the CAGW crowd, so it touches on Jeff’s summation of the issues. Yes, the world is warming. But the list of weather-climate dangers the NYTimes editorial writer believes we should adress (NOW!) as a result of warming are well beyond present day scientific and technological capabilities, and may always be. And as usual, the writer begins with the assumption that what he says about the consequences of warming is unassailable fact. The sky is falling; the sky is always falling.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/opinion/23homer-dixon.html?ref=opinion ?hp

  23. stan said

    Wouldn’t it be great if we could actually get some alarmist scientists to respond to some of these basic questions. When you think about it, it seems bizarre that we, as a society, can spend so many billions, but we can’t get legitimate answers to the most basic questions.

    Imagine if Revkin actually asked some difficult questions. Or even not so difficult questions. Might even reach the standards of real journalism (assuming anyone can remember what that is).

  24. j ferguson said

    JeffID. This is brilliant. Useful as well. I’ve finally got something that I can send to some of the people I know who aren’t familiar with (or even aware of) the areas of disagreement.

    The most bizarre things seem to flow from “Scientists agree….”

  25. DBD said

    Right up there with Mosh’s piece at Climate Audit a couple of weeks ago. Frustrating that at the same time it is so funny and so true.

  26. sod said

    an error in each sentence. wow, quite an achievement.

    this part for example:

    Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions. Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and a few unique proxies, why is it that we can remove a couple of key data series and the whole thing turns to a flat line?

    is completely false, and you know it.

  27. Jeff Id said

    #26, Actually that’s what SteveM showed with bristlecones in Mann98

  28. sod said

    no. you can use different mathematical techniques and you can drop all of the trees.

    and you know it.

  29. Jeff Id said

    I can’t understand you except that I know it.

  30. Jeff Id said

    Here’s a quote from MM05

    The MBH98 method creates a PC1 which is dominated by bristlecone pines and
    closely related foxtail pines. (Foxtail pines are located in an adjacent mountain range, interbreed
    with bristlecone pines and are included here with bristlecone pines collectively). Out of 70 sites
    in the network, 93% of the variance in the MBH98 PC1 is accounted for by only 15 bristlecone
    and foxtail pine sites collected by Donald Graybill [Graybill and Idso, 1993; see Table 1].

  31. sod said

    this is the famous Loehle reconstruction.

    the last 1000 years show hockey stick form, without a single tree being involved.

  32. RomanM said

    #31

    the last 1000 years show hockey stick form

    sod, besides being mathematically inept, you also seem to be pretty much sight impaired. A hockey stick has a slowly rising straight shaft. The graph you link to just doesn’t qualify as a “hokey stick” (misspelling intentional) just because it goes downwards for a while and then increases again.

    If you actually understood the math behind all of this, people might give some credence to your parroted ramblings.

  33. Jeff Id said

    #31, I’ve reworded it, per Sod’s request, my point was slightly to strongly worded and it’s important to admit error. In my defense, it was a stream of thought post that took as much time as one graph in the last post. Does anyone want to bet whether he’ll still find it offensive.

    Science minded individual: Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions. Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and special proxies. Why is it that we can remove some key data series and the whole thing looses the unprecedented shape?

    ——–

  34. Kan said

    Sod #31

    Yep, that is definitely a hockey stick. Here is another one, with a tree involved:

  35. KuhnKat said

    Nice.

  36. Layman Lurker said

    Sod, it sounds like you want readers of tAV to read your comments to the tune of “If You’re Happy (and you know it)”. ;)

  37. [...] The Rest: Understanding Climate [...]

  38. Bruce of Newcastle said

    Wonderful way to start a morning!

    I’m struck by “So no quality control is being done?” when I’ve just read about the Canadian FOIA which found exactly this.

    We now have this amazing result of Dr Hansen saying 2010 is the warmest year in history based on 1200 km smoothing of perhaps a single non quality controlled temperature station in Canada across the whole of the Arctic.

  39. [...] Understanding Climate I’m not sure what the heck this post is.  I suppose it’s my attitude toward AGW after two years of [...] [...]

  40. Tom Fuller said

    Really, really good, Jeff. Well done.

  41. Robert E. Phelan said

    Jeff,

    that was very nicely done.

    Sod: the Loehle graph clearly shows a MWP warmer than today, the LIA and the fact we are just coming out of it. That’s not a hockey-stick. I’ve seen hocley-sticks and that’s not one.

  42. stan said

    The examples of “no quality control” just keep piling up. These guys haven’t got a clue. Can you imagine if they were in charge of making something that actually had to work? If they had to make an airplane, they’d give us an ostrich with a broken leg.

  43. cohenite said

    sod, you gave me some advice over at Deltoid: ‘ps: cohenite, what you wrote was plain out stupid. just admit it and move on.”

    Take your own medicine son.

  44. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    #42
    The Ron White clip is a scream.

  45. Steve Fitzpatrick said

    Jeff,

    Nice rant. But I suspect you are only preaching to the faithful Reverend. The question in my mind is how to convince those who are not typical “science minded” (skeptical) individuals to become much more skeptical of both the doomsday predictions, and the endless shouting for drastic action immediately.

    The problem seems to me to be how to hold off the ‘urgent’ solutions until time demonstrates clearly that the dire predictions are grossly overstated. How can thinking skeptics maximize the chance that economically destructive actions are not taken for another 10 years or so? I fear rants won’t do it, but other than making sure Mr. Obama is voted out of office in two years, I’m not sure what will.

  46. Black Sabbath said

    I really enjoyed reading this article. Great job!

  47. JAE said

    LOL: ABSOLUTELY PERFECT PORTRAYAL OF THE “STATE-OF-THE-“SCIENCE.” You should get the next Pulitzer AND Nobel Peace Prizes (but I sort of doubt that you will). Great job!!!!!

  48. sod said

    #31, I’ve reworded it, per Sod’s request, my point was slightly to strongly worded and it’s important to admit error. In my defense, it was a stream of thought post that took as much time as one graph in the last post. Does anyone want to bet whether he’ll still find it offensive.

    Science minded individual: Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions. Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and special proxies. Why is it that we can remove some key data series and the whole thing looses the unprecedented shape?

    no, i don t find that version “offensive”. (i don t think that it is 100% correct, but at least it isn t plain out false)

    thanks for the correction Jeff.

    ps: Jeff did change the wording, because there are plenty of reconstruction without trees, that show a very similar form to the “original” one. he knows that even sceptics like McIntyre admit, that you also have to remove at least the Tiljander series, to really change the shape of the result. (and removing many series of course will weaken and change a reconstruction!)

  49. sod said

    sod, besides being mathematically inept, you also seem to be pretty much sight impaired. A hockey stick has a slowly rising straight shaft. The graph you link to just doesn’t qualify as a “hokey stick” (misspelling intentional) just because it goes downwards for a while and then increases again.

    my sight is fine. the problem with the revised Loehle graph is a simple one: it ends in 1935.

    here is what Loehle writes:

    While instrumental data are not strictly comparable, the rise in
    29 year-smoothed global data from NASA GISS (http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp)
    from 1935 to 1992 (with data from 1978 to 2006) is 0.34 Deg C. Even adding this rise
    to the 1935 reconstructed value, the MWP peak remains 0.07 Deg C above the end of
    the 20th Century values, though the difference is not significant.

    and that peak is not in the last 1000 years.

  50. Kan said

    Sod – Clever.

    However, within the last 1000 years (and I will throw in the .35 C increase from 1935) I see what looks like a big U, you know a horseshoe.

    But then again, I always did fail those silly Rorschach tests.

  51. sod said

    However, within the last 1000 years (and I will throw in the .35 C increase from 1935) I see what looks like a big U, you know a horseshoe.

    you are even sort of right.

    but here is the point: this is a reconstruction by a sceptic. he chose the series to use. he decided about methodology. (remember that completely false math part in Jeff’s claim?) and he insists in doing the 29 year smooth, also over the much more accurate modern temperature record. (so basically he compares the temperature of 1990 with the one 1000 years ago…)

    even with everything stacked in the sceptics favour, you still get the hockey stick shape. think about it.

    ps: 2010 so far is second warmest year in basically all datasets. think about it.

  52. co2fan said

    Jeff
    I updated my re-post of your Q&A with your change:

    “Science minded individual: Let’s see, I’ll start with the paleo reconstructions. Hmm, it seems that the unprecedentedness is due to your mathematical techniques and special proxies. Why is it that we can remove some key data series and the whole thing looses the unprecedented shape?”

    Except I corrected the spelling to “loses”, rather than “looses”

  53. Geoff Sherrington said

    Sod says “ps: 2010 so far is second warmest year in basically all datasets. think about it.”

    Any idea where the heat comes from in these hot years like 1998 and why it lasts a year or less?

    Is that a pattern you would expect from GHG?

  54. Jeff Id said

    #52 thanks.

    Sod, I’ve changed my wording from your criticism of a several hundred word post.

    From Sod 26 — an error in each sentence. wow, quite an achievement.

    What say you?

  55. sod said

    well, i did one for you. the next easy one to fix is this one:

    Science minded individual: Hurricanes haven’t grown stronger, they’ve weakened.

  56. Jeff Id said

    #55 Your sentence is completely incorrect — and you know it. ;)

    BTW, what’s wrong with the loss of hurricane strength.

  57. Andrew said

    51-“and he insists in doing the 29 year smooth, also over the much more accurate modern temperature record. (so basically he compares the temperature of 1990 with the one 1000 years ago…)”

    Wow. So let me get this straight, after the debate you and I had on CA about this very point, you still don’t understand how this is incorrect? That the thirty year average centered on 1990 is NOT THE SAME THING as the temp in 1990, AND YOU CAN’T COMPARE INDIVIDUAL YEARS IN NOISY PROXIES! Of COURSE He insists on a smooth and OF COURSE he keeps it apples to apples by SMOOTHING THE MODERN RECORD TOO. It’s the only thing that makes sense to do!

    You were breathtakingly ignorant then, you are just as ignorant now. Not even understanding what a smooth is…

  58. Carrick said

    Sod, it’s also pretty interesting that you still have the hockey stick if you remove the anthropogenic forcings… As is pointed out in innumerable places, pre 1975 the warming was primarily natural.

    I’d love to see you admit this and address this point, all the why agreeing with you of the importance of post 1980 warming, and it’s origin and significance.

  59. Carrick said

    Andrew:

    AND YOU CAN’T COMPARE INDIVIDUAL YEARS IN NOISY PROXIES!

    Or in noisy climate data.

    If what you want to compare is climate signal, you need to do at least a 30 year average.

  60. Carrick said

    To be perfectly clear, I mean “in noisy temperature data”. Short-term temperature trends are dominated by atmospheric ocean oscillations.

  61. AMac said

    Sod wrote at #48

    …even sceptics like McIntyre admit, that you also have to remove at least the Tiljander series, to really change the shape of the result. (and removing many series of course will weaken and change a reconstruction!)

    This is an interesting argument.

    1. Tiljander varve data series cannot be meaningfully calibrated to the 1850-1995 instrumental temperature record, because they are all heavily contaminated with non-climate signal during that period: roadbuilding, farming, peat-cutting, bridge reconstruction, lake eutrophication.

    2. Mann08’s methods require the direct calibration of each proxy to the 1850-1995 instrumental temperature record.

    Neither of these two points has been seriously disputed. Instead, Prof. Mann has talked about fossil-fuel-funded conspiracies. Gavin Schmidt and his allies have claimed that it’s not possible to know whether the Tiljander proxies are valid, and that their use “doesn’t matter.”

    I don’t understand why “even skeptics” should be in agreement about removing the Tiljander proxies. Because their use is invalid, everybody should agree that they mustn’t be used. Right?

    If removing invalid proxies weakens and changes a reconstruction: that would be evidence that their use “does matter.” Right?

    At Lucia’s a while back, I offered you a guest post at my blog to explain your views on the subject. The offer is still open.

  62. Frank K. said

    Carrick said
    August 24, 2010 at 9:44 am

    “If what you want to compare is climate signal, you need to do at least a 30 year average.”

    Why 30 years? What makes that time period special?

  63. Carl Gullans said

    Sod #48 “Jeff did change the wording, because there are plenty of reconstruction without trees, that show a very similar form to the “original” one. he knows that even sceptics like McIntyre admit, that you also have to remove at least the Tiljander series, to really change the shape of the result. (and removing many series of course will weaken and change a reconstruction!)”

    Ok…. reconstructions without trees, and those without sloppy calibration errors of certain influential proxies, do not show hockey sticks. That also goes for proxies that have had instrumental temperature measurements grafted onto the end of them… it shouldn’t have to be said that these need to be removed as well.

  64. TGSG said

    Very good Jeff. I’ll be sharing this with friends and family.

    Sod, hyperbole much?

  65. Kan said

    Sod,
    “even with everything stacked in the sceptics favour, you still get the hockey stick shape. think about it.”

    Thinking…*furrows brow*… a horseshoe used to play hockey. ummm. maybe somewhere, somehow, but then it would not really be hockey would it? Or to boundary test, lets perform a converse test. Lets play horseshoes with hockey sticks….Struggling here too.

    Nope, a horseshoe is just not the same as a hockey stick.

    You know, sometimes a tree is just a tree.

  66. Borepatch said

    Jeff, this post is entirely made of win Here’s one more.

    Climate Science™: It’s a crisis. The seas will rise, crops will fail, cute polar bear cubs will drown. Our computer models and temperature measurements show this conclusively. There’s a consensus!

    Science Minded Individual: Wow. Can I look at the data and the computer source code>

    Climate Science™: No. It’s a crisis! We have to act now! The consensus says we must.

    Science Minded Individual: OK, but can I first see the data and code?

    Climate Science™: No. You must be funded by Exxon-Mobil.

    Science Minded Individual: But if your evidence is so solid, wouldn’t you want to give me your data and code? I mean, wouldn’t that just end the discussion?

    Climate Science™: Our lawyer says we don’t have to comply with Freedom Of Information Act Requests, you Denier.

  67. sod said

    #55 Your sentence is completely incorrect — and you know it.

    yeah, sorry. direct translation from my language. plain out stupid. sorry again! (i will blame global warming for my lack of concentration!)

    That the thirty year average centered on 1990 is NOT THE SAME THING as the temp in 1990, AND YOU CAN’T COMPARE INDIVIDUAL YEARS IN NOISY PROXIES! Of COURSE He insists on a smooth and OF COURSE he keeps it apples to apples by SMOOTHING THE MODERN RECORD TOO. It’s the only thing that makes sense to do!

    i never said it is the same. but in the temperature set that shows rising temperature, the 29 years running mean is pretty similar to the 1990 number.

    proxies and the much more accurate thermometer data are apples and oranges as well. it also makes sense to think about how to smooth an endpoint.

    the rise of the 29 year running average since the paper was published is pretty strong. and it will continue of course.

    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/gistemp/mean:348

    At Lucia’s a while back, I offered you a guest post at my blog to explain your views on the subject. The offer is still open.

    if i had time to write long, well thought out posts, i would revive my own blog. and i would write them about stuff, that i have full knowledge of. but thanks again for the offer.

    Ok…. reconstructions without trees, and those without sloppy calibration errors of certain influential proxies, do not show hockey sticks.

    look, if you build a house, and then some guy comes along, and tells you to remove all wooden structures, because there is a problem with bristlecone. and then he tells you to remove some metal beams, because they were used in the wrong way.

    it is no surprise, that the static of the house will change, if you remove enough important stuff!

  68. sod said

    BTW, what’s wrong with the loss of hurricane strength.

    why don t you look at some publications, for example by Judith Curry?

    Potential Increased Hurricane Activity in a Greenhouse Warmed World

    is a nice chapter and can be accessed via google books.

    a claim that would be closer to the truth and more difficult to contradict, would be this one:

    “there is very small support for an increase in hurricane numbers, and some scientists even dispute the increase in hurricane strength.”

    (in reality, hurricanes increase in number, strength and damage cause. exactly as we would expect, in a world with warming oceans!)

  69. Jeff Id said

    #68 So Dr. Sod, since you’ve taken over as the scientist, why hasn’t it happened? It seems to me that you’ve predicted more and stronger hurricanes yet we’ve seen the opposite? Enlighten us!

  70. sod said

    you did not read the Judith Curry text, did you?

    http://www.eas.gatech.edu/files/Maccracken_chapter.pdf

    The most striking finding from this study is that while the total number of hurricanes has not increased globally, the number and percentage of category 4 + 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled since 1970 (Figure 1).

    and

    T
    increase in tropical sea surface temperature (Emanuel 2005; Webster et al. 2005; Hoyos et al. 2006). Figure 3 shows the variation of tropical sea surface temperature (SST) in each of the ocean regions where tropical cyclone storms form. It is seen that in each of these regions that the sea surface temperature has increased by approximately 0.5oC (or 1oF) since 1970. The causal link between SST and hurricane intensity was established over 50 years ago, when it was observed that tropical cyclones do not form unless the underlying SST exceeds 26.5oC and that warm sea surface temperatures are needed to supply the energy to support development of hurricane winds. The role of SST in determining hurricane intensity is generally understood and is supported by case studies of individual storms and by the theory of potential intensity.

    so will you fix another claim?

  71. Niels A Nielsen said

    Atlantic hurricanes have apparantly increased in number (or is it the detection probality?), not in strength.

    _Global_ tropical cyclone activity, however, seems to have no trend:

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/Maue_grl_2009.pdf

    Recently, global cyclone activity has dropped to 30-year lows:

    “Global TC Activity remains at 30-year lows at least — The last 24-months of ACE at 1090 represents a decrease from the previous months and a return to the levels of September 2009…Since Hurricane Katrina (August 2005) and the publication of high-profile papers in Nature and Science, global tropical cyclone ACE has collapsed in half. This continues the now 4-consecutive years global crash in tropical cyclone activity. While the Atlantic on average makes up about 10% of the global, yearly hurricane activity, the other 90% deserves attention and has been significantly depressed since 2007. See Figure below.”

    Spot the hockey stick here ;-)

    http://www.coaps.fsu.edu/~maue/tropical/

  72. sod said

    Niels, your link does not say a single word about the TREND.

    i have some serious doubts, that a linear trend in this graph will point downward.

    the author of that page links to wattsup! i am sorry, but that is the end of all credibility.

    but i am looking forward to your trendline since 1979 pointing downward. i ll hang around!

  73. Andrew said

    67-“i never said it is the same. but in the temperature set that shows rising temperature, the 29 years running mean is pretty similar to the 1990 number. proxies and the much more accurate thermometer data are apples and oranges as well. it also makes sense to think about how to smooth an endpoint. the rise of the 29 year running average since the paper was published is pretty strong. and it will continue of course.”

    You still don’t understand at all. It just doesn’t make sense to not smooth the temp record for doing this comparison. And you still seem to think that all the post 1990 data is essentially ignored WHICH IS FLAT OUT WRONG.

    70-“The most striking finding from this study is that while the total number of hurricanes has not increased globally, the number and percentage of category 4 + 5 hurricanes has nearly doubled since 1970 (Figure 1).”

    Globally the data is very unreliable in the 70’s. Which also, incidentally is centered on a low point in several long period climate patterns linked to tropical cyclone variations. If you look at the Northern Hemisphere since 1987, when the data quality pretty much locked into it’s present form, there is no increase:

    http://devoidofnulls.wordpress.com/2010/04/08/no-increase-in-category-4-and-5-tropical-cyclones-in-the-northern-hemisphere-since-1987/

    Whether there has been any increase globally that is not due changes in monitoring is extremely dubious.

    68-“in reality, hurricanes increase in number, strength and damage cause. exactly as we would expect, in a world with warming oceans!”

    The first and third claims are just FALSE! And incredibly so. In fact, the add on claim that we “expect” that is also FALSE with respect to the first claim. In fact, a very large number of studies using modeling have found that the numbers will probably DECREASE in a warmer world. The reality is indeed, in this case, essentially as reported by the same papers which get intensity WRONG: there is no real trend in numbers. As far as damage caused goes you are once again WRONG:

    http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.com/2010/02/normalized-us-hurricane-losses-1900.html

    (Please note that normalized records outside the US going back so far are next to impossible. In other parts of the world, however, it is clear that changes in damages due to storms, and essentially all disasters, have gone up, but due to greater population and vulnerable assets called fancy beach front property, NOT climate!)

    Sod, you are the one who really needs to do some serious correcting of your claims.

  74. Jeff Id said

    So Dr. Sod,

    Why is intensity not increasing. Is there increased turbulence in the temperatures on the ocean surface or is it the deltat between the ocean and atmosphere.

    And no, I won’t be changing the statement because it’s true – and you know it.

  75. Sod, what value does a linear trend have when the interannual variability is so large? This is a common mistake that senior researchers and armchair climatologists make over and over again. The global warming signal is NOT detectable yet within the tropical cyclone best track data — read Knutson et al. (2010) and other papers that suggest it may be 30, 50, or even 100 years for a physically and statistically meaningful signal appears!

    As per your dumb comment about watt’s up with that — it’s the number one science blog on the net.

    The linear trend r^2 for the global time series = 0.0558
    The linear trend r^2 for the NH time series = 0.0364

  76. PhilJourdan said

    I am curious to know how much SOD is getting paid to imitate Climate Science™. I hope it is enough to cover his embarrassment. ;)

  77. sod said

    Sod, what value does a linear trend have when the interannual variability is so large? This is a common mistake that senior researchers and armchair climatologists make over and over again. The global warming signal is NOT detectable yet within the tropical cyclone best track data — read Knutson et al. (2010) and other papers that suggest it may be 30, 50, or even 100 years for a physically and statistically meaningful signal appears!

    Ryan, as you will see when you read what i wrote above, i did NOT base my opinion about warming and hurricanes on statistics. i base it on the simple physics of warmer water.

    but even statistics support my claim, and dismiss what Jeff said:

    Jeff said: Hurricanes haven’t grown stronger, they’ve weakened.

    i have offered to replace it with: “there is very small support for an increase in hurricane numbers, and some scientists even dispute the increase in hurricane strength.”

    i would love to hear your (comparative) evaluation of those two phrases, Ryan!

    i quoted an expert on the subject (Judith Curry), in support of growing strength of hurricanes. i accurately pointed out, that the trend in the graph presented by Ryan N. Maue is upwards, not downwards.

    so far, nobody has shown any piece of scientific evidence, supporting the thesis of Hurricanes having weakened.

  78. Jeff Id said

    A little context for Sod.

    Science minded individual: Hurricanes haven’t grown stronger, they’ve weakened.

    Climate Science™: You don’t understand the difference between weather and climate.

    Science minded individual: But you said they will strengthen just 10 years ago, they didn’t.

    Climate Science™: In time they will strengthen, especially if we don’t act, remember Katrina.

    Science minded individual: Each year for say 10 years you’ve predicted stronger storms and each year you’ve been wrong, what’s happening?

    Sod, Can you describe the trend in the last 10 years?

  79. This is a waste of time. Sorry I even ventured here. Please stop linking to my tropical page and images if you are going to make stupid statements about my work and then appeal to hurricane “expert” Judy Curry to argue with me.

  80. Jeff Id said

    Ryan,

    I appreciated the expertise but you picked the wrong guy to argue with. Sod doesn’t ever listen and may not realize who you are. He’ll just disappear when he feels overmatched.

  81. Jeff Id said

    Actually, today has been a crappy day at work and your comment was about the best thing this morning! I don’t moderate very heavily here so the crowd is more rambunctious than CA.

  82. sod said

    Sod, Can you describe the trend in the last 10 years?

    funny that you would ask this. here is what Ryan just wrote:

    Sod, what value does a linear trend have when the interannual variability is so large? This is a common mistake that senior researchers and armchair climatologists make over and over again. The global warming signal is NOT detectable yet within the tropical cyclone best track data — read Knutson et al. (2010) and other papers that suggest it may be 30, 50, or even 100 years for a physically and statistically meaningful signal appears!

    looks like you made a common mistake, Mr. armchair climatologist!

  83. Jeff Id said

    Which way is the trend Sod?

  84. Trend in last 10-years = down. It means as much as the upward trend before it. Cold PDO + La Nina = depressed global tropical cyclone activity. So yes, hurricanes have indeed become “weaker” during the past 10-years, and the weakest globally in 30-years (at least).

  85. Jeff Id said

    Ryan,

    Did you ever see Anastassia’s paper on condensation driving hurricanes?

    http://noconsensus.wordpress.com/2010/02/02/the-power-behind-hurricanes-and-tornadoes/

  86. timetochooseagain said

    If I may interject (I’ve pointed this out before): If the numbers of storms globally has been essentially unchanging for a few decades, and we also find that ACE shows little change, then if there was really a big increase in intensity, as has been claimed, it would imply that the overall duration of storms has gone DOWN. Surely that would have some serious significance for the “impact” of such storms. Of course I think that you will find that the reality is little change in any measure of activity (number, duration, intensity) because when I look at the data that are reliable to a reasonable degree, I just don’t see any.

  87. Joe Crawford said

    Jeff,

    Thanks… it’s a perfect description of the ‘debate’ from an engineer’s perspective. It reminds me of the open fights between the physic and the engineering departments 50 years ago when I was in school (e.g “Theory says it works this way…”, “That’s nice, but if you want it to work you had better build it this way …”).

  88. Mr E said

    Sod says “ps: 2010 so far is second warmest year in basically all datasets. think about it.”

    I’ve thought about it. If 1998 was the warmest year in the datasets, and 2010 was the second warmest, then logically there must have been no warming trend from 1999-2009.

  89. sod said

    I’ve thought about it. If 1998 was the warmest year in the datasets, and 2010 was the second warmest, then logically there must have been no warming trend from 1999-2009.

    it is rather funny. i just had a discussion with Jeff on another blog, where he asked me to do some math, and i accused his audience of being uncritical of his and their position and being scientifically illiterate. sigh.

    your claim above of course is wrong. look at the following series, and see where your “logic” failed:

    2010.1
    1999
    2000
    2001
    2002
    2003
    2004
    2005
    2006
    2007
    2008
    2009
    2010

    (sorry Jeff, i am starting this pretty slow..)

  90. Lachlan said

    I love this post, absolutely brilliant!

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