the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion


Posted by Jeff Id on July 2, 2009

On RC the entire team shows this statement in defense of the endless ‘faster and worse than expected’ we the unwashed are continually bombarded with. LINK HERE

Some aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice.

Since I’ve only looked at sea ice myself and have gained some knowledge from several months of study, let’s look at the scientifically moot point of Arctic sea ice trend.

3. Arctic Sea Ice. The Synthesis Report states:

One of the most dramatic developments since the last IPCC Report is the rapid reduction in the area of Arctic sea ice in summer. In 2007, the minimum area covered decreased by about 2 million square kilometres as compared to previous years. In 2008, the decrease was almost as dramatic.

This decline is clearly faster than expected by models, as the following graph indicates.

This is one graph they present to show how wrong an accomplished scientist like Dr. Pielke is.

Figure 1 Arctic Ice vs Models

So the model sits above the projection by 1-2M km from 1977ish until 2009 and they just now realize that perhaps the “model” may have a problem. I’m still a rookie to climate science (for about 1 more month) but you can’t sell me this nonsense and expect me to pay. Ain’t happenin’ Dr’s.

Arctic Ice NasaTeam Bootstrap

Figure 2 - Jeff ID Calculated Arctic Sea Ice Anomaly NSIDC Dropoff on the last point of the series is due to the death of satellite NOAA15

Unfortunately RC has cherry picked the ice minima so they can’t see the record rate recovery of recent ice levels, why not show it. They also didn’t mention that global sea ice anomaly levels reached a near all time maximum this year for the ENTIRE record. The other point is that while climatology lately has often stiffen the endpoints of graphs to hide temperature down trends HERE, (check the NOAA also) they probably didn’t decide to stiffen the downtrend in Figure 1 but rather stopped it at an assumed standard filter series near absolute minimum endpoint, ignoring the recovery.

On hubris,

Consider the thought process that leads to posts like this one at RC. These boys know the shtick, they are aware of the details above yet are hammering away at their own equals or perhaps even superiors like dog’s at a steak. The reply could have been written so differently with respect and differentiation ….but it wasn’t. Those of us who know the detail and don’t make our livings in climate science can see through it like a window, so why the bullshit?

22 Responses to “Hubris”

  1. FatBigot said

    As a non-scientist I consider it my task to ask the sorts of questions an average simpleton like me considers relevant. So here’s today’s:

    Whether a computer model predicts, woops, “projects” more or less of something than the amount that actually occurs, is it not the case that the model must be flawed?

    I think I understand that any projection has an inherent margin of accuracy, it might be a bit low or a bit high without being wrong, and those who press its buttons will say what that margin is.

    Yet the projection is their case. It contains an implicit statement: “if we have got it right, the actual result will be within the margin we have stated”. It no more supports their case for the reality to be “worse” than their projection than for it to be “better”. In either such event their model is wrong.

    One cannot logically conclude that a model predicting something nasty contains correct methodology when the reality is even nastier. Maybe the methodology is correct but some other factor is in error, or the methodology is incorrect. Either way it is back to the drawing board.

    Or am I missing something?

  2. andrewt said

    The graph of September Sea Ice extent seems to include 2008 – why do you accuse realclimate of cutting it short??

  3. Jeff Id said

    How can you see the graph of figure 1 extending to 2008? —

    I’m sorry, I would delete the question but my own graph (Figure 2) isn’t labeled well enough. I’ll fix it.

  4. kuhnkat said

    Thank you for the logic lesson.

    Whether they miss high or low it is still a miss. Furthermore, if they can not explain why they missed, and how they can improve, they obviously do NOT have a functional understanding of climate processes!!!

    If they do not have a functional understanding of climate processes we should not take any action based on their incorrect conclusions.

  5. Kenneth Fritsch said

    If you forget about RC being an advocate site and look only at the differences between model and observed ice extents, the story it tells is that the climate scientists do not have a good grasp of the important factors that effect the summer ice melt. That in turn would seem to indicate that we do not have the capabilty to extrapolate what might happen in the future – be it greater or recovering ice extent in the Artic summer.

    On the other hand, an advocate for immediate AGW mitigation is going to spin it the way RC has – nothing really very surprising about any of this.

  6. timetochooseagain said

    Is it not more normal to show 2 standard deviations, rather than one? It would certainly make the observations look less extreme.

  7. Jeff Id said

    #6 good eye, this fact tempered the post a bit. Both one and two sigma are arbitrary limits but recall that only 30 year trends are valid and from 1978 — 2009 is below the measured ce level????

    The point that the sea ice never approached model measures in 30 years would likely reach 6 sigma over that timeframe.

  8. andrewt said

    You can tell the figure 1 graph has not been cut short from the plotted values – e.g. compare to figure 3 here .

  9. Bob Koss said

    I’m not surprised they model sea ice at a higher extent than observations. The majority of the models run cold when absolute temperatures are shown instead of anomalies. Lucia posted this graph a few months ago.

    How can they say the models are realistic and use actual physics when they have up to a two degree error in annual temperature? Seems to me that would greatly affect ice coverage and albedo.

  10. Jeff Id said

    Andrew, I see now what you mean and updated the text. Thanks much.


    Here’s another quote from the RC post. The fist portion is from Dr. Pielke Sr. The ‘Indeed’ is one of the few times I agree with RC.

    Media and policymakers who blindly accept these claims are either naive or are deliberately slanting the science to promote their particular advocacy position.


    It’s really a shame that the scientists of realclimatology can’t accept dissent in their own ranks with some form of class. The point of false consensus is only to help policy makers ram their socialist agenda down our throats. We also know it helps the realclimatologists receive funding and fame they seem to crave above science but consensus ain’t a natural state and it’s ugly to see the mechanism of consensus on public display.

  11. hunter said

    I am fascinated about hos the AGW community is able to who future ice levels.

  12. MikeN said

    The whole dispute is over what the definition of ‘is’ is.

    RC argues Pielke is lying because these short-term trends don’t say anything about the underlying trends.

    Pielke was right since the statement that ‘aspects of climate change are progressing faster than was expected a few years ago – such as rising sea levels, the increase of heat stored in the ocean and the shrinking Arctic sea ice.’ means that those tings are currently progressing faster, not that a new model projection has them rising faster in the future.

  13. Terry said

    Given the latest post on CA, I think RC is going to have their hands full for a bit. I can’t wait to see what sort of gymnastics they’re going to need to go through to defend the super-duper *new* filter, and Rahmstorf’s being caught in a blatant lie.

  14. Ray said

    Hmmm, my model deviates from reality… maybe I should revise it instead of claiming that nature refuses to follow my computerized mathematical theoritical model.

  15. Terry said

    Anyone want to put odds on this not being zapped at “Open Mind”?

    Terry // July 4, 2009 at 12:53 am | Reply

    dhogaza, I think Dr. Rahmstorf needs your help. I think he probably needs Gavin, Mike, Eric, and Jim too. I’d have included you too Tamino, but given that the math is so obivious, and so contrary to Rahmstorf’s comments about it, you probably want nothing to do with this one.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  16. Terry said

    Betting closed already, sorry – deleted.

  17. Terry said

    Jeff – let me know if I’m polluting your blog – just documenting my attempts to reason… I won’t solicit odds on this one being deleted.

    Terry // July 4, 2009 at 1:18 am | Reply

    Tamino I see I got snipped – sorry if I was off topic or too forward. In an open thread on open mind. You and I are both math guys. You more than me, I’m sure. In your opinion, does Grinsted’s method use padding? Rahmstorf said it doesn’t. Is it just a steeper version of a triangle filter? Again, according to him, it isn’t. Looking forward to hearing your response. Or… delete away. Have a great weekend either way!

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.

  18. Terry said

    And, deleted. I don’t think I’ll post there anymore.

  19. lucia said

    The argument is also over what “was expected a few years ago” means. This phrase is a masterpiece of ambiguity. When was “a few years ago”? And who, precisely, expected things to be progressing more slowly back whenever that was?

    When I read the first few paragraphs surrounding that phrase, i thought “a few years ago” was sometime around 2007. I assumed the “who” expecting something would be people who were familiar with material in the AR4. But, I am now under the impressoin that “when” must mean “back in 1950” and “who” is “people who haven’t been monitoring the data”.

    We know the sea ice level are reported near real time. On the graph, the ice levels fall below projections starting in 1980. Presumably, people who pay attention to data about the sea ice were aware of the sea ice levels in both 2001 and 2008 and noticed that the those particular simulations incorrectly hindcast ice loss way back when the projections were first published. So, why would such people “expect” the sea ice to suddenly jump up to match the simulatoins?

    Are normal people to believe that Rahmstorf honestly things that someone publishing a paper showing the hindcasts based on models were wrong mean that ice watchers didn’t expect the ice to continue melting at the nearly constant rate observed since 1980? Why would they have believed models which simple comparison to data would demonstrate to be wrong even on the day they were published?

  20. John F. Pittman said

    Let’s see, IPCC FAR was published when? The graph, as Lucia points out, starts showing a bad forecast by 1977. So is RC guilty of “cherrypicking” to fight Pielke, or are they guilty of admitting their models can’t backcast worth the electrons they pushed through it? Enquiring minds want to know.

    Though it seems to me that Dr. Pielke could surrender the ice argument and claim victory for his other arguments, if this is the best that RC can post.

    It seems with this rebuttal of Pielke and the Rahmstorf dust up at CA, that it looks like the current temperature drops and increased ice are taking their toll on the percieved integrity of climate scientists. Or is just their capabilities, or lack thereof, that are beginning to show? I definetely would not say it was capabilities, which leaves us with an impalatable situation, considering so many of these individuals and institutions are at the public trough.

    In fact, it is a bit of a shame, since the near future is likely to see increased temperatures, if for no other reason than, recent numbers have been low. I can’t help but to think that RC would be the first to complain about cherrypicking, changing criteria (moving goals), and graphical shenanigans that we have seen employed by realclimatescientists lately if the shoe were on the other foot. And likely it will be. I, for one, will be unable to resist rubbing their nose in it, if temperatures increase, with the same chicken malaka they have been giving us.

    Of course, if they just behaved like scientists are supposed to: open, informative, sharing (data and code), little of the angst we see so prevalent would have occurred. Yes, a little hubris would go quite far.

  21. Antonio San said

    Their “Figure 1 Arctic Sea-ice versus models” is summing up their entire paradigm: the reality does not follow the models therefore the reality signals an impending catastrophe. Of course since this is a complete fabrication, the impending doom keeps happening later: just like the ad “Tomorrow, we shave for FREE”… It is always tomorrow.

    One can marvel at the ability these people have to turn science inside out and create a perfect world that reality is unlikely to ever approach, setting up the perfect foundation for any policy: a dream for bureaucrats and politicians alike. This is the perfect totalitarism. Congratulations to all involved…

  22. stumpy said

    So RC show us their models have no skill in hindcasting ice cover in the NH and that they dont understand ice dynamics, whats their point? How does it relate to Pilkes comments?

    Shouldnt they calibrate their models first so they fit with the observed trend in ice melt (or attempt to better understand what has been happening since the 1970’s), rather than just simply model it wrong and then suggest natures wrong because it doesnt match their un-calibrated model?

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