the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Confirmation Bias

Posted by Jeff Id on August 22, 2009

Recently at the inappropriately named Open Mind, Tamino produced a ‘two box’ solution set of equations representing the atmosphere’s response to forcings from the Nasa sanctioned dataset. He opened his comments with an incredibly pompous and in my opinion foolish paragraph on computer models which I’ll be happy to reproduce here.

Denialists love to denigrate computer models of earth’s climate. In my opinion they only do this because they’re in denial of the result, not because of any valid evidence. They also love to make the false claim that without computer models there’s no reason to believe that global warming is real, and is going to get worse.

The term “computer model” refers to an actual simulation of earth’s climate, often in remarkable detail. Such models are (of course!) not able to predict, or even post-dict, the chaotic aspects of the sytem (the weather), but they do an outstanding job of post-dicting the global statistical characterization of the system (the climate).

Besides the fact that Tamino is deliberately ignoring the known uncertainties in computer models he’s accusing anyone who doesn’t believe in their accuracy a denier. Astounding considering the models don’t even agree with each other, perhaps the models are in denial?

Let me be clear about open mind which is impressively similar to the Soros funded “climate progress”, everyone who doesn’t salute and believe that the climate warming is a looming disaster and must be addressed through an immediate jump to socialist rule is Tamino’s enemy. His views are slightly left of Mao – I’m not kidding he’s left comments on other blogs which will send chills down the backs of those who believe in freedom. He again demonstrated his belief in thought censorship by responding to the always reasonable Lucia by clipping her comments, accusing her of falsifying her work and refusing to answer reasonable questions. It was a shocking display of his personality which if you haven’t seen it you can read the thread at the open mind link above.

Tamino presented his admittedly simple model as a confirmatoin of the basic results of computer models. In reality what he did was fit some values to a set of equations that matched the likely exaggerated GISS ground temperature curve almost perfectly. He then claimed that his fit was a real model of the atmosphere confirming the accuracy of computer models. Also, incredibly naive IMO. The models themselves can’t get their results without ocean circulation and atmospheric flow, so you know the eq’s aren’t perfect. Lucia made the mistake of asking if he had checked whether any physical laws were violated. Instead of replying to simple questions, Tammie stated she was trying to confuse the issue.

First, to the suggestion that the model was not really an accurate representation but rather an oversimplified and possibly non-physical curve fit.

[Response: Let’s be perfectly clear: the exact solution to the two-box model is of the form which is input to the regression in these analyses. So it’s a *real* two-box model.]

So Tamino believes he’s created a real model of Earth climate simply by back fitting two equations to forcing data with known accuracy problems. The question is the most basic possible for a thermal balance, does it violate the second law of thermodyamics? The second law simply states that heat flows from hot to cold–always.

Lucia asked every way she could until Tamino finally answered with this. Edit’s are his truncation of Lucia’s question:


Look. Have you checked? I know that it is possible for those curve fits to experimental data to map into something unphysical, that violate the 2nd law of thermo, or does other things that would not make anysense.


[Response: Yes I checked. You didn’t. I guess doing the work to find out before shooting your mouth off would get in the way of your modus operandi: FUD. Barton is right, you just mentioned the 2nd law of thermodynamics because it’s such a popular way to confuse the ignorati.]

A popular way to confuse the ignorati!!! Well I know that means me and a lot of us lowly engineers, biologists, chemists and physicists. Lucia finally gave up on the man with the personality glitch and attempted to rework the solution for a two box system according to Tamino.
Any guess what she found?

Two Box Models & The 2nd Law of Thermodynamics

It appears from her calculations that Tamino’s two box solution fit makes a pretty curve which has as much physical meaning as an upside down thermometer. He’s so ready to accept it that he won’t even consider answering polite questions from a professional who has professed belief in global warming to some degree.

Check out her post, I think you’ll like it.

40 Responses to “Confirmation Bias”

  1. hunter said

    One very annoying part of the AGW community is their creation of something called ‘climate’, as if it exists seperately from ‘weather’.
    No weather = no climate.
    climate is weather.

  2. Amabo said

    I wish I could base my views on climate change on people like Tamino. Then I could just go full denial mode and forget and ignore this whole mess…

  3. Layman Lurker said

    Tamin has responded to Lucia’s post:

  4. Layman Lurker said

    Tamino has responded to Lucia’s post:

  5. Jeff Id said

    You won’t be seeing any more comments from Lucia here because she doesn’t contribute anything useful. In an example of extreme irony, she actually missed her chance to contribute something useful because she was so intent on combining the implications that “Tamino is wrong” and “violates the 2nd law of thermo.”

    She missed her chance to contribute anything useful because of his ridiculous temper tantrum on the thread linked above. In his new pos, Tamino says she’s right but he already knew it.

  6. Jeff Id said

    Thanks Lurk.

  7. RomanM said

    Dueling blogs! Who woulda thunk it?

    My favourite part of Tamino’s original post was at the end (bold his):

    Many of you have seen the graphs (included in the IPCC reports) showing that using computer models, we can reproduce temperature history if we include human factors, but not if we omit them. That’s such powerful evidence that we’re the cause of global warming, it’s no wonder denialists have tried so hard to slander computer models and to insist that without them there’s no solid evidence of man-made global warming. The truth is that you don’t need computer models to show this. Even with very simple mathematical models (and these models are indeed simple) the result is the same. Without human causation, there’s no explanation for the global warming we’ve already observed. With human causation, there’s no explanation for a lack of global warming.

    Proof by complete elimination! Climate (omni)science is wonderful…

  8. Mark T said

    Besides his obvious logical errors in that quote, he fails to note that there has been no global warming in recent years, with assumed human causation. Therefore, isn’t his statement a bit of a contradiction with the previous statement, i.e., wouldn’t the logical conclusion be that there must be no human causation?

    Tamino does not impress me.


  9. RomanM said

    He can do some types of Math, but he seems not to be able to think objectively at times. He’d be a better scientist if he wasn’t such a true believer.

    THe flattening of the temperatures is easily explained by one of the tenets of AGW: Only cooling can be natural – warming must have other causes. Wait a minute, I’m on to something here. Entropy! Yeah, that’s right, … entropy! 🙂

  10. lucia said

    Layman alerted me to Tamino’s response. I responded at my blog. I don’t know how Tamino got his eigenvalues. I showed the more detailed solution, and mine appear to be correct.

    I will be posting my discussion of the phenomemology based on the eigenvalues I get later on. (Probably Monday.)

  11. Antonio San said

    “The term “computer model” refers to an actual simulation of earth’s climate, often in remarkable detail. Such models are (of course!) not able to predict, or even post-dict, the chaotic aspects of the sytem (the weather), but they do an outstanding job of post-dicting the global statistical characterization of the system (the climate).”

    This is the typical non sense coming out of a non-climatologist. This artificial dichotomy between a so-called “chaotic” weather versus a general “climate” is the tell tale of ignorance of meteorological realities. Weather is hardly “chaotic” and obeys to the rules that govern the atmospheric circulation. Not knowing those rules doesn’t mean they do not exist. Flush!

  12. Antonio San said

    Of course Tamino censured my post: we would not want reality to distract from “simulating”, would we?… -yes there is a double entendre here ;-)-

  13. timetochooseagain said

    Denialists love to denigrate computer models of earth’s climate.

    Because they aren’t very good at a lot of things. Denigrating crap as crap is bad?

    In my opinion they only do this because they’re in denial of the result, not because of any valid evidence.

    The result he refers to is…not sure, maybe this?

    You know, I don’t like some of those results-and I tend to think anyone who believes that the mean is the “truth” doesn’t like most of them either 😉 Of course, where the real trend is going, I feel justified in saying that those results are all wrong:

    And we will be able to statistically reject them soon I think:

    What’s that? You want some evidence of poor model performance? Oh, here you go:


    This one is funny:





    “Such models are (of course!) not able to predict, or even post-dict, the chaotic aspects of the sytem (the weather), but they do an outstanding job of post-dicting the global statistical characterization of the system (the climate).”

    No, not really. the failures above are all climatic failures, not chaotic-unless Tamino is suddenly a believer in “trendy” chaos!!!

    They also love to make the false claim that without computer models there’s no reason to believe that global warming is real, and is going to get worse.

    Well, that’s true if you insist on using and. Global warming is real, we can get that from observations and not models…but the “will get worse” MUST come from models! There are no observations of the future!!!

    Tamino is not just a Maoist. He’s the love child of Mao, Stalin, Pol-pot, and Ho Chi Min in giant collectivist gay Communist Dictator orgy.

  14. John F. Pittman said

    Did I miss a retraction from Tamino? He already banned her. So then he presents this strawman about how she could have posted but missed her chance. Let’s see. “”She’s a petulant child, one who won’t be commenting here again”” says Tamino at editorial on a post clazy // August 19, 2009 at 7:54 pm. Then bunches of other posts that end at Gavin’s Pussycat // August 22, 2009 at 4:39 pm.

    Time of banning and whining about how Lucia missed her chance … from first post in the whine with Gavin’s Pussycat // August 22, 2009 at 7:33 pm.

    Yep. He already banned her then complains how she misses her chance. How typical! He must be a realclimatescientist not to remember that he already banned her, and complains of it.

    It would be better to be like Gavin and answer questions not asked. At least you don’t look like a total moron. And sometimes answering a question not asked has some real information and value. Tamino is just showing how nuerotic his posting is.

    Wonder if he forgot to have his “”Warmies”” this morning. Breakfast of Gaia’s rescuers.

    Perhaps he just got his whitey-tighties just a little too tight.

  15. lucia said

    Ok… I haven’t even been reading comments over at T. So, evidently, I missed a chance to post there He snipped my second to last post and blocked my last post. He also announced I was no longer permitted to post there.

    All these things happened before I posted my blog post showing how his solution violate the 2nd law of thermo (assuming his boxes are box1=atmosphere and box 2= ocean.) The certainly all happened before he posted his absolutely ridiculous response to my post.

    If he think his eigenvalues are correct, he should show his work.

  16. wattsupwiththat said

    Lucia said #10: “I don’t know how Tamino got his eigenvalues”

    I wonder how he got his personal values. He owns a cat, maybe Schrödinger was involved.

    To settle this, I propose a death match between Lucia’s orange weiner dog and Tamino’s cat, <a href="; in a box.

  17. Mark T said

    You demonstrated that he was wrong, and thus he can no longer afford to have you post there, Lucia. You make him look bad. This is not about science, and I can only hope that some day you will realize this: he is defending his belief.


  18. lucia said

    Anthony– Haven’t you noticed my avatar is a cat with a chipmunk in his mouth? His nickname was “the e-rabbitator”.

    Unfortunately, he is no longer with us. But I’m sure he would come back from cat heaven to assist the weiner dog (also in heaven) in any death match.

  19. wattsupwiththat said

    I had noticed the cat with chipmunk. I had assumed it was just another favorite pet.

    I’m truly sorry for your losses.

    I have a cat named “Minners”. My previous cat was named “Max” who met a statistically early death.

    I think I’ll name my next cat based on his personality:

    If he’s warm, lovable, and speeds off in the direction of mouses: Eigenkitty.

    If he’s mean and antisocial…hmmm can’t think of a name. Oh, wait.

  20. DJA said

    I assumed the chipmunk is named “Tamino”

  21. Jeff Id said

    #19 LMAO,,,,tears.

    #14 So she’s first clipped then banned then posts a reply and was banned again. Thou shalt not speak the truth.

  22. MikeN said

    >there has been no global warming in recent years

    Tamino denies that as well. According to him any lack of warming is meaningless unless it lasts for 16 years.

    It would be nice if he would use his math skills and analyze the works of RealClimate as thoroughly as he evaluates skeptic claims.

  23. MikeN said

    In another post Tamino denied that the use of models involved curve fitting, and said that they are based on physics only. When I pointed out the papers bythe authors of the models that showed they used tuning, they just went intoa denial mode.

  24. Lucia joins an elite group of those who’s views are unwanted by dear Mr Foster, membership includes Leif Svalgaard.
    The man’s just plain rude, he censored one poster who raised the issue of Rahmstorf’s use of traingular filters, decrying this slur upon the good name of this scientist, then merrily slings mud in the direction of Pielke Snr or Spencer (Can’t remember which one!), accusing him of basically lying to deliberately hide the truth of AGW from some innocent woman.
    Oh, he had come out on record as saying that ENSO has no effect on global temperatures.

  25. I’ve got a theory (it is mine) that anyone who calls themselves something so publically is not that at all. “Open Mind” is definitely not; he seems to start with what he wants and then finds the right data / backfits the right models. I posted something rather amateur on random walks and temperature and there he was quick to claim the statistical checks had been done (surely must have been done…), without any real thought of what those might be.

    I’m sure I recall him arguing somewhere a couple of years ago that picking 1998 as a start point to show cooling was cherry picking, but that using 1975-2000 to show global warming was correct, because it was the time of global warming. But I can’t find a reference now so it might all be imagination.

    Still, this is all rather personal. It seems to be the nature of this topic…

  26. Jeff Id said

    Tammie either has one of the most severe personality disorders of anyone we’ve ever met or he’s an undisclosed paid voicebox for a non-profit.

    I got kicked off for discussing Sea Ice. Yup that’s it. Evil sea ice.

  27. Jeff Id said

    #25, I did a series of posts on it directed at Tammies denial that the decrease in temperatures even existed. Search open mind for lomborg on his blog. You’ll find it.

  28. Carrick said

    Mike N:

    Tamino denies that as well. According to him any lack of warming is meaningless unless it lasts for 16 years.

    Well you need to integrate for long enough of a period of time to start removing effect of solar variability, or remove the effects of the periodic drivers on climate, so I would agree with him here.

    That said, I think the cooling since 2002 is robust enough that we can say the climate has been cooling since then.

    Adam Gallon:

    Oh, he had come out on record as saying that ENSO has no effect on global temperatures.

    I think he meant on climate.

    If you only had one ENSO ever, he would be right. If you periodically have ENSOs, as we do, then of course they influence climate. (Think of the long term average of a train of spikes… it’s not zero).

  29. Ha yes I’d read those, I’ll look for yours.

    The ‘denial’ of the recent record by some of the warmers is ironic and revealing and frustrating and sometimes funny (‘deluding deniers…‘). It’s not as if it’s important In The Scheme Of Things.

  30. DeWitt Payne said

    softestpawn said
    August 23, 2009 at 11:21 am

    I’ve got a theory (it is mine) that anyone who calls themselves something so publically is not that at all. “Open Mind” is definitely not….

    Your theory is merely a corollary of my much more fundamental law of human behavior: Irony increases.

  31. timetochooseagain said

    22-This appears to be loosely based on:

    Easterling, D. R., and M. F. Wehner (2009), Is the climate warming or cooling?,
    Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, L08706, doi:10.1029/2009GL037810.

    Roger Pielke Jr comments:

    “To explore how rare an event it is to observe no warming over a period of more than a decade the authors ran a climate model (HadCM3) and compared the statistics from those runs to the observations as follows:’Ensembles with different modifications to the physical parameters of the model (within known uncertainties) (Collins et al. 2006) are performed for several of the IPCC SRES emissions scenarios (Solomon et al. 2007). Ten of these simulations have a steady long-term rate of warming between 0.15° and 0.25ºC decade–1, close to the expected rate of 0.2ºC decade–1. ENSO-adjusted warming in the three surface temperature datasets over the last 2–25 yr continually lies within the 90% range of all similar-length ENSO-adjusted temperature changes in these simulations (Fig. 2.8b). Near-zero and even negative trends are common for intervals of a decade or less in the simulations, due to the model’s internal climate variability. The simulations rule out (at the 95% level) zero trends for intervals of 15 yr or more, suggesting that an observed absence of warming of this duration is needed to create a discrepancy with the expected present-day warming rate.'”

    Really? That’s very interesting. Well, what’s really interesting is that the don’t specify 1. Which emissions scenarios from SRES they are using and 2. While it may be interesting to know if all the models are wrong, we might also want to know if it’s just most of them. They only say that ten year trends of no warming are “common”-one wonders if they are “common” for some simulations and not others? For some emissions scenarios and not others? Let’s focus on the IPCC’s models, and the A1B scenarios-let’s focus on the recent period-the simulations from 200-2020. Let’s take the HadCrut data set. And let’s compared all sorts of trend length’s. And let’s not forget to take into account the Pinatubo eruption which didn’t happen in model simulations from 2000-2020, but in the real world in 1991:

    These models are failing at the .05 level. Specifically, the probability that trends as low as those observed is, according to the models, less than 2.5% in many cases. Either a result which models rarely produce occurred by random chance-a probability which is decidedly small, as we already noted-or the models are wrong in some serious respect. In stats we called these rejected hypotheses.

    Let’s make the agreement even worse. Note that the trend in HadCrut for 11 and twelve years is very close to zero. Well, it turns out that the surface data way be significantly overestimating warming:

    Click to access R-345.pdf

    Note that LT trends should be (that is, models tend to have…) 1.25 times those at the surface. It turns out that you have to go back to before April of 1997 to find warming in the UAH data! That’s more than twelve years of no atmospheric warming. That leads to an even greater discrepancy between the model projections for the “midrange emissions scenarios” and what is actually happening. This is all not merely meaningful in my mind, but totally invalidates all the IPCC AR4 projections of global temperature change in the near future!

  32. Ryan O said

    #31 Lucia has a post about that one, too.

  33. Fred said

    Denialist for not believing in the predictive accuracy of computer models of complex systems?

    Guess he doesn’t know any macroeconomists, many of whom are the beneficiaries of some very painful lessons about the predictive accuracy of models of complex systems back in the 1970s and 1980s.

    Gotta love the “actual simulation” of earth’s climate oxymoron.

  34. Mark T said

    Uh, and the 2000s. His comment about an “actual simulation” was rather daft, wasn’t it?


  35. Artifex said


    That’s awesome. I am so stealing that one.

  36. timetochooseagain said

    33-Well, in fairness to the Macro guys of the seventies, their entire field was bunk. Some Austrian Economists I believe still think all macro is bunk. But back in the seventies, it was all totally bunk.

  37. Page48 said

    Can’t believe he banned Lucia. Foster really ought to change the title of his blog.

    I won’t hold my breath.

  38. KW said

    I’m so glad that there are people and blogs for righteous defiance of the stat quo. Not that it’s anti-gov’t or anti-est or being a pest, but its pro-scientist/pro-skeptic. And if someone is crying “wolf,” they better damn well be able to prove that something frightening is scaring little red riding hood. Otherwise, as the Rock would say: “know your role – shut your mouth!” Hah.

  39. RWD said

    Hunter (1), I agree with your drawing attention to the oft heard incantation that “climate is not weather”. Isn’t this really an analog of the Cartesian mind/body split? Any chance those computer models are going to be any more successful as connecting points between climate and weather than Descartes was with his pineal gland as the connection between thought and flesh? Seems to me the problem is not that they can’t be connected, it’s that they should never have been split in the first place.

  40. […] original post by Tamino himself. What he said was highlight on another climate blog, The Air Vent, here. What he said-and I do not link directly to him because I fundamentally object to Tamino’s […]

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